The environmental staffs of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission or FERC); the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM); the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service (FS); the U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS); the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA); and the Navajo Nation, collectively referred to as the Agency Staffs, have prepared the final environmental impact statement (EIS) to address Transwestern Pipeline Company, LLC's (Transwestern) proposed expansion of its natural gas pipeline system. A Final General Conformity Determination was also prepared by the FERC to assess the potential air quality impacts associated with construction and operation of the proposed Phoenix Expansion Project and is included as Appendix Q of the final EIS.
The final EIS was prepared to satisfy the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The Agency Staffs have concluded that if the project is constructed and operated in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, Transwestern's proposed mitigation, and the Agency Staffs' additional mitigation measures, it would have limited adverse environmental impact.
The FERC is the lead federal agency and will use the final EIS to consider the environmental impacts that could result if it issues Transwestern a Certificate of Public Convenience and Start Printed Page 55195Necessity under section 7 of the Natural Gas Act.
The BLM and the FS are federal land management agencies affected by Transwestern's proposal and have elected to act as cooperating agencies in preparing the final EIS. The BLM will use the document to meet its NEPA responsibilities in considering Transwestern's application for a Right-of-Way Grant and obtain Temporary Use Permits for the portion of the project on federal lands under section 185(f) of the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920. The BLM would issue the Right-of-Way Grant and Temporary Use Permits for the crossing of BLM-managed lands and the Kaibab and Prescott National Forests, which are managed by the FS, and for crossing lands managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation (BOR). The BLM would consider the concurrence or non-concurrence of the FS and BOR, as well as FERC approval or denial, in making its decision whether to issue the Right-of-Way Grant and Temporary Use Permits. The BLM's decision would be documented in a Record of Decision.
The OPS is participating as a cooperating agency in preparing the final EIS because it is responsible for ensuring the safe, reliable, and environmentally sound operation of the nation's transportation system and for providing oversight for oil and natural gas pipelines. The OPS' authority is found under the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968 (49 U.S.C. 1671 et seq.) and the Hazardous Liquids Pipeline Safety Act of 1979 (49 U.S.C. 2001 et seq.).
The BIA and the Navajo Nation have also elected to act as cooperating agencies in preparing the final EIS because the proposed project would be near tribal lands in Arizona and would cross two classes of Navajo Nation lands in New Mexico: Tribal lands and allotted lands. Tribal lands are owned in fee by the Navajo Nation, and access to these lands would be acquired through direct negotiation between Transwestern and officials of the Navajo Nation Tribal Headquarters in Window Rock, Arizona. Allotted lands are held in trust by the United States government and managed by the BIA for the benefit of individual allottees.
The Phoenix Expansion Project is designed to transport up to 500 million cubic feet per day of natural gas to the Phoenix area, which is one of the fastest-growing regions in the United States. The project would not only help to satisfy the increasing demand for electricity and natural gas, but would also increase competition in the regional energy market, thereby working to stabilize costs to the consumer.
The final EIS addresses the potential environmental effects of the construction and operation of the following facilities proposed by Transwestern:
- 24.6 miles of new 36-inch-diameter pipeline loop  (the San Juan Lateral Loops A and B) extending along the existing San Juan Lateral in San Juan and McKinley Counties, New Mexico;
- 259.3 miles of new 42- and 36-inch-diameter lateral  pipeline (the Phoenix Lateral), consisting of 95.7 miles of 42-inch-diameter pipeline extending from milepost (MP) 0.0 in Yavapai County, Arizona to MP 95.2 in Maricopa County, Arizona, and 163.6 miles of 36-inch-diameter pipeline extending from MP 95.2 in Maricopa County, Arizona to MP 255.1 in Pinal County, Arizona;
- 1.4 miles of new 24-, 20-, 16-, and 6-inch-diameter lateral pipeline (the customer laterals) connecting the Phoenix Lateral to meter stations that are not located immediately adjacent to the Phoenix Lateral right-of-way;
- Minor piping and pressure control modifications at the existing Bloomfield Compressor Station in San Juan County, New Mexico and at the existing Seligman Compressor Station No. 1 in Mohave County, Arizona;
- Installation of the Ash Fork Facility at MP 0.0 of the Phoenix Lateral in Yavapai County, Arizona including 2 filter separators, odorant injection facilities, and telecommunications equipment; and
- Installation of 4 taps, 31 valves, 11 meter stations, 6 pig  launchers, and 3 pig receivers.
Transwestern would also acquire an undivided interest in the existing East Valley Lateral consisting of 36.7 miles of 24-inch-diameter lateral pipeline in Pinal and Maricopa Counties, Arizona.
The final EIS, including the Final General Conformity Determination, has been placed in the public files of the FERC and is available for distribution and public inspection at: Federal Regulatory Energy Commission, Public Reference Room, 888 First St., NE., Room 2A, Washington, DC 20426, (202) 208-1371.
A limited number of copies are available from the FERC's Public Reference Room identified above. These copies may be requested in hard copy or as .pdf files on a CD that can be read by a computer with a CD-ROM drive. The final EIS, including the Final General Conformity Determination, is also available for viewing on the FERC Internet Web site at http://www.ferc.gov. In addition, copies of the document have been mailed to federal, state, and local government agencies; elected officials; Native American tribes; affected landowners; local libraries and newspapers; intervenors to the FERC's proceeding; and other interested parties. Hard copies of the final EIS, including the Final General Conformity Determination, can be viewed at the following libraries in the project area:
Ash Fork Public Library, 518 Lewis Avenue, Ash Fork, AZ 86320
Avondale-Goodyear Public Library, 328 West Western Avenue, Avondale, AZ 85323
Black Canyon City Community Library, 34701 South Old Black Canyon Hwy, Black Canyon, AZ 85324
Buckeye Public Library, 310 North 6th Street, Buckeye, AZ 85032
Casa Grande Public Library, 449 North Dry Lake, Casa Grande, AZ 85222
Chino Valley Public Library, 1020 West Palomino Road, Chino Valley, AZ 86323
Coolidge Public Library, 160 West Central Avenue, Coolidge, AZ 85228
Flagstaff Public Library, 300 West Aspen, Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Fredonia Public Library, 118 North Main Street, Fredonia, AZ 86022
Mayer Public Library, 10004 Wicks Street, Mayer, AZ 86333
Arizona State Library, 1700 West Washington Street, Phoenix, AZ 85007
North Central Regional Library, 17811 North 32nd Street, Phoenix, AZ 85032
Yavapai County Library District, 172 East Merritt Street, Suite E, Prescott, AZ 86301
Prescott Public Library, 215 East Goodwin, Prescott, AZ 86303
Prescott Valley Public Library, 7501 East Civic Circle, Prescott Valley, AZ 86314
Williams Public Library, 113 South First Street, Williams, AZ 86046
Bloomfield Public Library, 333 South First Street, Bloomfield, NM 87413
Farmington Public Library, 2101 Farmington Avenue, Farmington, NM 87401-6420
Octavia Fellin Public Library, 115 West Hill, Gallup, NM 87301
Additional information about the project is available from the Commission's Office of External Affairs at 1-866-208-FERC or on the FERC Start Printed Page 55196Internet 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 on the FERC Internet Web site 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 that 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. To register for this service, go to the eSubscription link on the FERC Internet Web site.
Information concerning the involvement of the cooperating agencies in the EIS process may be obtained from:
U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management
Mark Mackiewicz, (435) 636-3616
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service
Prescott National Forest, Vicki Clay, (928) 443-8013
Kaibab National Forest, Tom Mutz, (928) 635-5661
U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Pipeline Safety
Ross Reineke, (720) 963-3182
U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs
Navajo Area Office, Harrilene Yazzi, (505) 863-8286
Phoenix Area Office, Amy Heuslein, (602) 379-6750
Ron Maldonado, (928) 871-7139Start Signature
Kimberly D. Bose,
1. A loop is a segment of pipeline that is usually installed adjacent to an existing pipeline and connected to it at both ends. The loop allows more gas to be moved through the system.Back to Citation
2. A lateral pipeline typically takes gas from the main system to deliver it to a customer, local distribution system, or another interstate transmission system.Back to Citation
3. A pig is an internal tool that can be used to clean and dry a pipeline and/or to inspect it for damage or corrosion.Back to Citation
[FR Doc. E7-19189 Filed 9-27-07; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6717-01-P