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 Palmyra North Expansion Project involving construction and operation of new facilities by Northern Natural Gas Company (Northern) in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and South Dakota. On August 29, 2006, Northern filed an application with the FERC, in Docket No. CP06-433-000, for authorization under sections 7(c) and 7(b) of the Natural Gas Act (NGA) and Part 157 of the Commission's regulations for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (Certificate) to expand the capacity of its Palmyra North Facilities (Palmyra). On December 6, 2006, Northern filed an amendment to their application with the FERC, in Docket No. CP06-433-001, for authorization to include two additional meter stations in Clay and Sioux Counties, Iowa; the subject of this Notice. The EA will encompass all proposed facilities and be used by the Commission in its decision-making process to determine whether the project is in the public convenience and necessity.
On September 12, 2006, the FERC issued a Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Proposed Palmyra North Expansion Project and Request for Comments on Environmental Issues (NOI). The NOI was published in the Federal Register and was also mailed to 114 interested parties, including Federal, State, and local officials; agency representatives; conservation organizations; Native American groups; local libraries and newspapers; and property owners affected by the proposed facilities. This NOI is requesting comments on the two additional meter stations that Northern has proposed.
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?” was attached to the project notice Northern provided to landowners. 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. It is available for viewing on the FERC Internet Web site (http://www.ferc.gov).
Summary of the Proposed Project
Northern proposes to expand the capacity of its Palmyra North Facilities in Clay and Sioux Counties, Iowa in order to transport an additional 12,100 dekatherms per day of natural gas in order to meet agricultural and ethanol customer demand and to increase incremental winter peak day service. By this Application Amendment, Northern seeks authority to also:
- Install a new meter station to an existing Northern line at MP 21.9 in Clay County, Iowa; and
- install a new meter station to an existing Northern line at MP 28.3 in Sioux County, Iowa.
Two nonjurisdictional facilities, a new ethanol plant and an ethanol plant expansion, have been proposed in association with the Palmyra North Expansion Project. We have made a preliminary decision to not address the impacts of these facilities. We will briefly describe their location and summarize the status of state and local environmental reviews in the EA.
The general location of the project facilities is shown in Appendix 1.
Land Requirements for Construction
Construction of the proposed facilities would impact about 1.8 acres of land. Following construction, approximately 0.4 acre of new land would be maintained for operation. The remaining 1.4 acres of land would be restored and allowed to revert to its former use.
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 are 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  will discuss impacts that could occur as a result of the construction and operation of the proposed project under these general headings:
- Land Use.
- Water Resources and Wetlands.
- Cultural Resources.
- Vegetation and Wildlife.
We will also evaluate possible alternatives to the proposed project, and make recommendations on how to lessen or avoid impacts on the various resource areas.
Our independent analysis of the issues will be in the EA. Depending on Start Printed Page 78180the comments received during the scoping process, the EA may be published and mailed to federal, state, and local agencies, public interest groups, interested individuals, affected landowners, newspapers, libraries, and the Commission's official service list for this proceeding. A comment period will be allotted for review if the EA is published. We will consider all comments on the EA before we make our recommendations to the Commission.
To ensure your comments are considered, please carefully follow the instructions in the public participation section below.
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. You should focus on the potential environmental effects of the proposal, alternatives to the proposal (including alternative locations), 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 OEP/DG2E, Gas Branch 3.
- Reference Docket No. CP06-433-001.
- Mail your comments so that they will be received in Washington, DC on or before January 19, 2007.
We will include all comments that we receive within a reasonable time frame in our environmental analysis of this project. However, the Commission strongly encourages electronic filing of any comments or interventions or protests to this proceeding. See 18 CFR 385.2001(a)(1)(iii) and the instructions on the Commission's Web site at http://www.ferc.gov under the “e-Filing” link and the link to the User's Guide. Before you can file comments you will need to create a free account which can be created on-line.
We may mail the EA for comment. If you are interested in receiving it, please return the Information Request (Appendix 2). If you do not return the Information Request, you will be taken off the mailing list.
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 e-mail addresses may be served electronically; others must be served a hard copy of the filing.
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.
Environmental Mailing List
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 additions. This includes all landowners who are potential right-of-way grantors, whose property may be used temporarily for project purposes.
Additional information about the project is available from the Commission's Office of External Affairs, at 1-866-208-FERC or on the FERC Internet Web site (http://www.ferc.gov) using the eLibrary link. Click on the eLibrary link, click on “General Search” and enter the docket number excluding the last three digits in the Docket Number field. Be sure you have selected an appropriate date range. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at FercOnlineSupport@ferc.gov or toll free at 1-866-208-3676, or for TTY, contact (202) 502-8659. The eLibrary link also provides access to the texts of formal documents issued by the Commission, such as orders, notices, and rulemakings.
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.
Finally, public meetings or site visits will be posted on the Commission's calendar located at http://www.ferc.gov/EventCalendar/EventsList.aspx along with other related information.Start Signature
Magalie R. Salas,
1. The Commission issued a Notice of Application on September 6, 2006 for Northern's August 29, 2006 application. On December 12, 2006, the Commission issued a Notice of Application for Northern's December 6, 2006 amendment.Back to Citation
2. The appendices referenced in this notice are not being printed in the Federal Register. Copies of all appendices, other than Appendix 1 (maps), are available on the Commission's Web site at the “eLibrary” link or from the Commission's Public Reference Room, 888 First Street, NE., Washington, DC 20426, or call (202) 502-8371. For instructions on connecting to eLibrary, refer to the last page of this notice. Copies of the appendices were sent to all those receiving this notice in the mail.Back to Citation
3. “We”, “us”, “our” refer to the environmental staff of the Office of Energy Projects (OEP).Back to Citation
[FR Doc. E6-22207 Filed 12-27-06; 8:45 am]
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