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Notice

Dominion Transmission, Inc. Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Proposed USA Storage Project and Request for Comments on Environmental Issues

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Start Preamble January 17, 2007.

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 USA Storage Project involving construction and operation of natural gas facilities by Dominion Transmission, Inc. (DTI) in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, Virginia and West Virginia.[1] DTI proposes to drill 14 new storage wells and install approximately a total of 1.57 miles of associated six-inch-diameter pipeline that would connect the new wells to the existing piping network within DTI's Pennsylvania natural gas storage complexes. In addition, DTI plans to construct a new compressor station at its West Virginia storage complex and expand three of its existing compressor stations located in New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. 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.

This notice announces the opening of the public comment period that will be used to gather environmental input from the public and interested agencies on the project. Comments are requested by February 19, 2007.

With this notice, the FERC staff is asking other federal, state, local and tribal agencies with jurisdiction and/or special expertise with respect to environmental issues to cooperate with us in the preparation of the EA. These agencies may choose to participate once they have evaluated DTI's proposal relative to their responsibilities. Agencies that would like to request cooperating status should follow the instructions for filing comments described in Appendix 1.

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 brochure 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 at 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

DTI seeks authority to construct and operate the following natural gas facilities:

Potter and Clinton Counties, PA:

  • Drill six new storage wells and install a total of approximately 0.45 mile of new six-inch-diameter pipeline to connect the new wells to the existing storage piping network within DTI's Greenlick Storage Complex;

Tioga County, PA:

  • Drill eight new storage wells and install a total of about 1.52 miles of new six-inch-diameter pipeline to connect the new wells to the existing storage piping network within DTI's Sabinsville Storage Complex;
  • Expand the existing Sabinsville Compressor Station by adding a 2,370 horsepower (HP) natural gas-fired reciprocating unit, a 5,800 HP gas turbine and a desiccant dehydration capacity of 100 mmcfd;

Gilmer County, WV:

  • Construct a new compressor station at the Racket-Newberne Storage Complex that would include a 1,150 HP natural gas-fired reciprocating unit and would have a glycol dehydration capacity of 50 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd);

Fauquier County, VA:

  • Expand the existing Quantico Compressor Station by adding a 7,800 HP gas turbine;

Steuben County, NY:

  • Expand the existing Woodhull Compressor Station by adding two additional 1,800 HP reciprocating units; and

Frederick and Washington Counties, MD and Franklin County, PA:

  • Hydrostatically re-test three sections of DTI's existing 30-inch-diameter PL-1 pipeline which would allow the system to operate at a 1,250 pounds per square inch gauge (psig) of Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure (MAOP). The total pipeline length that would be hydrostatically re-tested is approximately 4.46 miles.

The expansions of and additions to these existing natural gas facilities would allow DTI to meet its precedent agreements to provide 184,994 Dekatherms per day (Dt/d) of new firm transportation capacity on its existing PL-1 pipeline system for delivery to two existing delivery points. The new facilities would allow an additional 4.29 billion cubic feet (bcf) of natural gas to be withdrawn from storage, which would be used to fulfill DTI's increasing requests for service.

The general locations of the project facilities are shown in Appendix 2.[2]

Land Requirements

Construction and expansion of the proposed pipeline and aboveground facilities would affect approximately 132.61 acres of land and includes access roads, pipe/contractor yards, and extra work areas. Following construction, about 41.65 acres would be permanently maintained. The remaining 90.96 acres land would be restored and allowed to revert to its former use. Start Printed Page 3834

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.

Our [3] independent analysis of the issues will be in the EA. Depending on the 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.

Currently Identified Environmental Issues

In the EA, we will discuss impacts that could occur as a result of the construction and operation of the proposed project. We will also evaluate reasonable alternatives to the proposed project or portions of the project.

We have already identified the following issues that we think deserve attention based on a preliminary review of the proposed facilities and the environmental information provided by DTI:

  • Two private water supply wells within 150 feet of the construction workspace;
  • Six waterbody crossings, one of which is a sensitive surface waterbody;
  • Seven wetland crossings;
  • Potential impacts to a historic farmstead; and
  • Crossing of Susquehannock State Forest, a designated area used for conservation and recreation.

The above preliminary list of issues may be changed based on your comments and our analysis.

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. You should focus on the potential environmental effects of the proposal, 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 the instructions below 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 3.
  • Reference Docket No. CP07-031-000.
  • Mail your comments so that they will be received in Washington, DC on or before February 19, 2007.

The Commission strongly encourages electronic filing of comments. Please refer to 18 Code of Federal Regulations (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. 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 a copy of the EA, please return the Information Request form (Appendix 3). An effort is being made to send this notice to all individuals 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.

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

If you wish to remain on our environmental mailing list, please return the Information Request form included in Appendix 3. If you do not return this form, you will be removed from our mailing list.

Additional Information

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 Start Printed Page 3835Commission, 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,

Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

1.  DTI's application was filed with the Commission under section 7 of the Natural Gas Act and Part 157 of the Commission's regulations.

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2.  The appendices referenced in this notice are not being printed in the Federal Register. Copies of all appendices, other than Appendix 2 (map), 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.

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

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[FR Doc. E7-1134 Filed 1-25-07; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6717-01-P