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Notice

Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline, Inc.; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Proposed West Colony Expansion of the Colony Storage Field and Request for Comments on Environmental Issues

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Start Preamble February 14, 2006.

The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) will prepare an environmental assessment (EA) that will discuss the environmental impacts of the Colony Storage Field involving construction and operation of facilities by Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline, Inc. (Southern Star) in Anderson and Allen County, Kansas.

This notice announces the opening of the scoping period that will be used to gather environmental input from the public and interested agencies on the project. Your input will help the Commission staff determine which issues need to be evaluated in the EA. Please note that the scoping period will close on March 16, 2006.

This notice is being sent to affected landowners; federal, state, and local government representatives and agencies; environmental and public interest groups; Native American tribes; other interested parties in this proceeding; and local libraries and newspapers. We encourage government representatives to notify their constituents of this planned project and encourage them to comment on their areas of concern.

If you are a landowner receiving this notice, you may be contacted by a pipeline company representative about the acquisition of an easement to construct, operate, and maintain the proposed facilities. The pipeline company would seek to negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement. However, if the project is approved by the Commission, that approval conveys with it the right of eminent domain. Therefore, if easement negotiations fail to produce an agreement, the pipeline company could initiate condemnation proceedings in accordance with state law.

A fact sheet prepared by the FERC entitled “An Interstate Natural Gas Facility On My Land? What Do I Need To Know?” is available for viewing on the FERC Web site (http://www.ferc.gov). This fact sheet addresses a number of typically asked questions, including the use of eminent domain and how to participate in the Commission's proceedings.

Summary of the Proposed Project

Southern Star proposes to increase the certificated storage boundary and buffer zone of the Colony Storage Field by approximately 1,960 acres. The additional acreage is necessary to protect the field's integrity by re-capturing gas that has migrated outside the currently identified storage boundary. This added acreage is located at the southwestern boundary of the storage field in an area known as the West Colony Field in Anderson County, reaching into Allen County, Kansas. The existing storage field consists of about 4,900 acres and operates up to a maximum storage capacity of 12.7 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas. No increase in storage capacity of field deliverability is proposed as part of this action. The location of the project facilities is shown in appendix 1.[1]

The purpose of this project is to expand the field geographically and geologically to collect gas that has moved beyond the existing certificated field boundary. A gas collection system will be installed for collecting and recycling gas back into the presently certificated reservoir.

Southern Star proposes to:

  • Install and operate a 180-horsepower natural gas-driven compressor in Anderson County, Kansas;
  • Construct a 0.2-mile lateral line connecting the new compressor to an existing well;
  • Construct a 2.6-mile connection line from the new compressor to an existing injection/withdrawal well; and
  • Install two measurement settings, a filter separator, and an associated waste tank.

Storage rights and wells on approximately 680 acres have already been acquired by Southern Star, and approximately 1,280 additional acres are proposed for acquisition. Within the acreage already acquired, there are fourteen open wells which are used for pressure relief, observation, or salt water disposal. Within the acreage proposed for acquisition, there are eight active oil wells and five temporarily abandoned wells. Pending acquisition of the Start Printed Page 9538additional acreage, Southern Star plans to either plug these wells or convert some to observation wells.

Land Requirements for Construction

Construction of the proposed facilities would require about 5.6 acres of land. Of this acreage, 4.7 acres would be temporarily impacted and 0.9 acres would be permanently affected. An additional 0.5 acres of permanently affected land may or may not be required to convert two existing wells to pressure relief.

The EA Process

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires the Commission to take into account the environmental impacts that could result from an action whenever it considers the issuance of a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. NEPA also requires us to discover and address concerns the public may have about proposals. This process is referred to as “scoping”. The main goal of the scoping process is to focus the analysis in the EA on the important environmental issues. By this Notice of Intent, the Commission staff requests public comments on the scope of the issues to address in the EA. All comments received will be considered during the preparation of the EA. State and local government representatives are encouraged to notify their constituents of this proposed action and encourage them to comment on their areas of concern.

In the EA, we [2] will discuss impacts that could occur as a result of the construction and operation of the proposed project. We will also evaluate possible alternatives to the proposed project or portions of the project, and make recommendations on how to lessen or avoid impacts on the various resource areas. This EA will be used by the Commission in its decision-making process to determine whether the project is in the public convenience and necessity.

Our independent analysis of the issues will be presented in the EA. The EA will also include possible alternatives to the proposed project or portions of the project, and our recommendations on how to lessen or avoid impacts on the various resource areas of concern. Depending on the comments received during the scoping process, the EA may be published and mailed to federal, state, and local government agencies; public interest groups; Native American tribes; interested individuals; affected landowners, newspapers, libraries, and the Commission's official service list for this proceeding. A 30-day comment period will be allotted for review if the EA is published. We will consider all comments submitted in any Commission Order that is issued for the project.

Public Participation

You can make a difference by providing us with your specific comments or concerns about the project. By becoming a commentor, your concerns will be addressed in the EA and considered by the Commission. Your comments should focus on the potential environmental effects of the proposal, reasonable alternatives to the proposal (including alternative locations and routes), and measures to avoid or lessen environmental impact. The more specific your comments, the more useful they will be. Please carefully follow these instructions to ensure that your comments are received in time and properly recorded:

  • Send an original and two copies of your letter to: Magalie R. Salas, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First St., NE., Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426.
  • Label one copy of the comments for the attention of Gas Branch 1.
  • Reference Docket No. CP06-49-000.
  • Mail your comments so that they will be received in Washington, DC on or before March 13, 2006.

Please note that the Commission encourages electronic filing of comments. See 18 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 385.2001(a)(1)(iii) and the instructions on the Commission's Internet Web site at http://www.ferc.gov under the “eFiling” link and the link to the User's Guide. Prepare your submission in the same manner as you would if filing on paper and save it to a file on your hard drive. Before you can file comments you will need to create an account by clicking on “Login to File” and then “New User Account.” You will be asked to select the type of filing you are making. This filing is considered a “Comment on Filing.”

The determination of whether to distribute the EA for public comment will be based on the response to this notice. If you are interested in receiving it, please return the Information Request (appendix 3). An effort is being made to send this notice to all individuals, organizations, and government entities interested in and/or potentially affected by the proposed project. This includes all landowners who are potential right-of-way grantors, whose property may be used temporarily for project purposes, or who own homes within distances defined in the Commission's regulations of certain aboveground facilities.

Becoming an Intervenor

In addition to involvement in the EA scoping process, you may want to become an official party to the proceeding, or “intervenor”. To become an intervenor you must file a motion to intervene according to Rule 214 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.214). Intervenors have the right to seek rehearing of the Commission's decision. Motions to Intervene should be electronically submitted using the Commission's eFiling system at http://www.ferc.gov. Persons without Internet access should send an original and 14 copies of their motion to the Secretary of the Commission at the address indicated previously. Persons filing Motions to Intervene on or before the comment deadline indicated above must send a copy of the motion to the Applicant. All filings, including late interventions, submitted after the comment deadline must be served on the Applicant and all other intervenors identified on the Commission's service list for this proceeding. Persons on the service list with email addresses may be served electronically; others must be served a hard copy of the filing. Please refer to appendix 2 if you would like more information on how to intervene in Commission proceedings.

Affected landowners and parties with environmental concerns may be granted intervenor status upon showing good cause by stating that they have a clear and direct interest in this proceeding which would not be adequately represented by any other parties. You do not need intervenor status to have your environmental comments considered.

Additional Information

Additional information about the project is available from the Commission's Office of External Affairs at 1-866-208 FERC (3372) or on the FERC Internet Web site (http://www.ferc.gov). Using the “eLibrary” link, select “General Search” from the eLibrary menu, enter the selected date range and “Docket Number” (i.e., PF06-49-000), and follow the instructions. For assistance with access to eLibrary, the helpline can be reached at 1-866-208-3676, TTY (202) 502-8659, or at FERCOnlineSupport@ferc.gov. The eLibrary link on the FERC Internet Web site also provides access to the texts of formal documents issued by the Start Printed Page 9539Commission, such as orders, notices, and rule makings.

In addition, the Commission now offers a free service called eSubscription which allows you to keep track of all formal issuances and submittals in specific dockets. This can reduce the amount of time you spend researching proceedings by automatically providing you with notification of these filings, document summaries and direct links to the documents. Go to http://www.ferc.gov/​esubscribenow.htm.

Start Signature

Magalie R. Salas,

Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

1.  The appendices referenced in this notice are not being printed in the Federal Register. Copies are available on the Commission's Web site (excluding maps) at the “eLibrary” link or from the Commission's Public Reference Room or call (202) 502-8371. For instructions on connecting to eLibrary refer to the end of this notice. Copies of the appendices were sent to all those receiving this notice in the mail.

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2.  “We”, “us”, and “our” refer to the environmental staff of the Office of Energy Projects (OEP).

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[FR Doc. E6-2622 Filed 2-23-06; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6717-01-P