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Notice

Neptune LNG, L.L.C., Liquefied Natural Gas Deepwater Port License Application; Preparation of Environmental Impact Statement

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

Maritime Administration, DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of availability; notice of public meeting; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

The Maritime Administration (MARAD) announces the availability of Start Printed Page 32383the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Neptune LNG, L.L.C., Liquefied Natural Gas Deepwater Port license application. The application describes a project that would be located in Federal waters of Massachusetts Bay, in Block 125, approximately 8 miles southeast of Gloucester, MA and 22 miles northeast of Boston, MA. The Coast Guard and MARAD request public comments on the DEIS. Publication of this notice begins a 45 day comment period and provides information on how to participate in the process. As a point of clarification, there is another deepwater port application by Northeast Gateway Energy Bridge, L.L.C. in the same vicinity. These applications are being processed and reviewed independently. The Northeast Gateway Energy Bridge, L.L.C. DEIS was noticed May 19, 2006 and is available on the Docket at USCG-2005-22219.

DATES:

Public meetings will be held in Salem, MA on June 21, 2006 and in Gloucester, MA on June 22, 2006. Both meetings will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and will be preceded by an informational open house from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. The public meetings may end later than the stated time, depending on the number of persons wishing to speak. Material submitted in response to the request for comments on the DEIS must reach the Docket Management Facility by July 17, 2006.

ADDRESSES:

The public meeting in Salem will be at the Salem State College Library, Charlotte Forten Hall, 360 Lafayette Street, Salem, MA, telephone: 978-542-7192. The public meeting in Gloucester will be held at the Gloucester High School Auditorium, 32 Leslie O. Johnson Road, Gloucester, MA, telephone: 617-635-4100.

The DEIS, the application, and associated documentation is available for viewing at the DOT's Docket Management System Web site: http://dms.dot.gov under docket number 22611. The DEIS is also available at public libraries in Beverly, MA, Boston, MA (Central Library), Gloucester, MA, Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA, Marblehead, MA, and Salem, MA.

Address docket submissions for USCG-2005-22611 to: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001.

The Docket Management Facility accepts hand-delivered submissions, and makes docket contents available for public inspection and copying at this address, in room PL-401, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The Facility's telephone number is 202-366-9329, the fax number is 202-493-2251, and the Web site for electronic submissions or for electronic access to docket contents is http://dms.dot.gov.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Roddy Bachman, U.S. Coast Guard, telephone: 202-372-1451, e-mail: rbachman@comdt.uscg.mil. If you have questions on viewing the docket, call Renee V. Wright, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone: 202-493-0402.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Public Meeting and Open House

We invite you to learn about the proposed deepwater port at an informational open house, and to comment at a public meeting on the proposed action and the evaluation contained in the DEIS.

In order to allow everyone a chance to speak at the public meeting, we may limit speaker time, or extend the meeting hours, or both. You must identify yourself, and any organization you represent, by name. Your remarks will be recorded or transcribed for inclusion in the public docket.

You may submit written material at the public meeting, either in place of or in addition to speaking. Written material must include your name and address, and will be included in the public docket.

Public docket materials will be made available to the public on the Docket Management Facility's Docket Management System (DMS). See “Request for Comments” for information about DMS and your rights under the Privacy Act.

All of our public meeting locations are wheelchair-accessible. If you plan to attend the open house or public hearing, and need special assistance such as sign language interpretation or other reasonable accommodation, please notify the Coast Guard (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT) at least 3 business days in advance. Include your contact information as well as information about your specific needs.

Request for Comments

We request public comments or other relevant information on the DEIS. The public meeting is not the only opportunity you have to comment. In addition to or in place of attending a meeting, you can submit comments to the Docket Management Facility during the public comment period (see DATES). We will consider all comments and materials received during the comment period and prepare the Final EIS (FEIS). We will announce the availability of the FEIS and once again give you the opportunity to review and comment. If you want a notice sent directly to you, please contact representatives at the public hearing or the Coast Guard representative identified in FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

Submissions should include:

  • Docket number USCG-2005-22611.
  • Your name and address.
  • Your reasons for making each comment or for bringing information to our attention.

Submit comments or material using only one of the following methods:

  • Electronic submission to DMS, http://dms.dot.gov.
  • Fax, mail, or hand delivery to the Docket Management Facility (see ADDRESSES). Faxed or hand delivered submissions must be unbound, no larger than 81/2 by 11 inches, and suitable for copying and electronic scanning. If you mail your submission and want to know when it reaches the Facility, include a stamped, self-addressed postcard or envelope.

Regardless of the method used for submitting comments or material, all submissions will be posted, without change, to the DMS Web site (http://dms.dot.gov), and will include any personal information you provide. Therefore, submitting this information makes it public. You may wish to read the Privacy Act notice that is available on the DMS Web site, or the Department of Transportation Privacy Act Statement that appeared in the Federal Register on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477).

You may view docket submissions at the Docket Management Facility (see ADDRESSES), or electronically on the DMS Web site.

Background

Information about deepwater ports, the statutes, and regulations governing their licensing, and the receipt of the current application for a liquefied natural gas (LNG) deepwater port appears at 70 FR 58729, October 7, 2005. The Notice of Intent to Prepare an EIS for the proposed action was published in the Federal Register at 70 FR 61151, October 20, 2005. Application materials and associated comments are available on the docket. Information from the “Summary of the Application” from previous Federal Register notices is included below for your convenience.

Proposed Action and Alternatives

The proposed action requiring environmental review is the Federal licensing of the proposed deepwater port described in “Summary of the Application” below. The alternatives to Start Printed Page 32384licensing the proposed port are: (1) Licensing with conditions (including conditions designed to mitigate environmental impact), and (2) denying the application, which for purposes of environmental review is the “no-action” alternative. These alternatives are more fully discussed in the DEIS. The Coast Guard is the lead Federal agency for the preparation of the EIS/EIR. You can address any questions about the proposed action or the DEIS to the Coast Guard project manager identified in FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

Summary of the Application

Neptune LNG, L.L.C. proposes to own, construct, and operate a deepwater port, named Neptune, in the Federal waters of the Outer Continental Shelf on blocks NK 19-04 6525 and NK 19-04 6575, approximately 8 miles southeast of Gloucester, MA and 22 miles northeast of Boston, MA, in a water depth of approximately 250 feet. The Neptune deepwater port would be capable of mooring up to two approximately 140,000 cubic meter capacity LNG carriers by means of a submerged unloading buoy system.

The LNG carriers, or shuttle and regasification vessels (SRVs), would be equipped to store, transport and vaporize LNG, and to odorize and meter natural gas which would then be sent out by conventional subsea pipelines. Each SRV would have insulated storage tanks located within its hull. Each tank would be equipped with an in-tank pump to circulate and transfer LNG to the vaporization facilities located on the deck of the SRV. The proposed vaporization system would be a closed-loop water-glycol heat exchanger heated by steam from natural gas-fired boilers.

The major fixed components of the proposed deepwater port would be an unloading buoy system, eight mooring lines consisting of wire rope and chain connecting to anchor points on the seabed, eight suction pile anchor points, approximately 2.3 miles of natural gas flow line with flexible pipe risers and risers manifolds, and approximately 11 miles of 24-inch natural gas transmission line to connect to the existing Algonquin HubLine.

Neptune would have an average throughput capacity of 500 million standard cubic feet per day (MMscfd) and a peak capacity of approximately 750 MMscfd. Natural gas would be sent out by means of two flexible risers and subsea flowlines leading to a 24-inch gas transmission pipeline. The transmission pipeline would connect the deepwater port to the existing 30-inch Algonquin HubLine. No onshore components or storage facilities are associated with the proposed deepwater port application. Construction of the deepwater port components would be expected to take 36 months, with a startup of commercial operations in late 2009. The deepwater port would be designed, constructed and operated in accordance with applicable codes and standards and would have an expected operating life of approximately 20 years.

As required by their regulations, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) will maintain a permit file. The USACE New England District phone number is 978-318-8338 and their Web site is http://www.nae.usace.army.mil.

Comments sent to the USACE will also be incorporated into the DOT docket and EIS to ensure consistency with the NEPA process. The USACE among others are cooperating agencies and will assist in the NEPA process as described in 40 CFR 1501.6 and will conduct joint public hearings with the Coast Guard and MARAD.

Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA)

Through a Special Review Procedure established by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs (EOEA), the USCG and the MEPA Office are conducting a coordinated NEPA/MEPA review allowing a single document to serve simultaneously as both the EIS under NEPA and the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) under MEPA. The Certificates establishing the Special Review Procedure and the Scope for the Draft Environmental Impact Report can be viewed at http://www.mass.gov/​envir/​mepa/​secondlevelpages/​recentdecisions.htm. The Secretary of Environmental Affairs will accept written comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Report through July 17, 2006. Comments may be submitted electronically, by mail, via FAX, or by hand delivery. Please note that comments submitted on MEPA documents are public records. The mailing address for comments is: Secretary Stephen R. Pritchard, EOEA, Attn: MEPA Office, Richard Bourre, EOEA No. 13373/13374, 100 Cambridge Street, Suite 900, Boston, MA 02114.

(Authority: 49 CFR 1.66).

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By Order of the Maritime Administrator.

Dated: May 30, 2006.

Joel C. Richard,

Secretary, Maritime Administration.

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[FR Doc. E6-8632 Filed 6-2-06; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-81-P