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Notice

Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Corporation; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Proposed Hester Storage Field Retirement Project and Request for Comments on Environmental Issues

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble July 23, 2008.

The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) will prepare an environmental assessment (EA) that will discuss the environmental impacts of Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Corporation's (Transco) Hester Storage Field Retirement Project (Project) involving abandonment, construction, and temporary operation of facilities by Transco in St. James Parish, Louisiana.

This notice announces the opening of the scoping process we will use to gather 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 August 22, 2008.

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.

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 Transco provided to landowners. This fact sheet addresses a number of typically asked questions, including 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

The proposed project would involve temporary compression and minor modification and installation of yard pipeline at Compressor Station 64 to support the final withdrawal of base gas from the Hester Storage field; eventual removal and capping of 5 wells of the Hester Storage Field; closure of Compressor Station 64, and the abandonment in place of 4.75 miles of pipeline lateral.

Specifically, Transco proposes to:

  • Temporarily install one 630 horsepower engine/compressor unit associated yard pipes at Compressor Station 64;
  • Remove gathering lines between Compressor Station 64 and 5 injection/withdrawal wells, 1 monitoring well, and 3 water wells;
  • Abandon the 12-inch pipeline lateral from Compressor station 64 (milepost 8.66) to the interconnect with Occidental Chemical Corporation (milepost 3.91);
  • Abandon and cap 5 injection/withdrawal wells, 1 monitoring well, and 3 water wells; and Start Printed Page 44245
  • Remove all aboveground buildings and equipment at Compressor Station 64, including, but not limited to the compressor building, office/shop, air compressor building, utility shed, meter building, condensate and wastewater tanks, gas coolers, glycol units, gas scrubbers, 2 existing engine/compressor units, and associated piping.

The location of the project facilities is shown in Appendix 1.[1]

Nonjurisdictional Facilities

There are no non-jurisdictional facilities associated with this project.

Land Requirements for Construction

Construction of the proposed temporary facilities would be contained within the existing Compressor Station 64 fence line, existing well pads and existing pipeline right-of-way. Approximately 14.06 acres of land would be disturbed during the temporary installation of compression and the abandonment of wells and pipeline. Following construction, the use of the pipeline lateral right-of-way would revert to the landowner while the compressor station property would either be donated to the community or sold.

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 [2] will discuss impacts that could occur as a result of the construction and operation of the proposed project under these general headings:

  • Geology and soils.
  • Land use.
  • Water resources, fisheries, and wetlands.
  • Cultural resources.
  • Vegetation and wildlife.
  • Air quality and noise.
  • Endangered and threatened species.
  • Hazardous waste.
  • Public safety.

We will also evaluate reasonable 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.

Our 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.

To ensure your comments are considered, please carefully follow the instructions in the public participation section below.

Currently Identified Environmental Issues

We have already identified issues that we think deserve attention based on a preliminary review of the proposed facilities and the environmental information provided by Transco. This preliminary list of issues may be changed based on your comments and our analysis.

  • The project may have air emissions and noise impacts.
  • Safety of the storage field after abandonment.

Public Participation

You can make a difference by providing us with your specific comments or concerns about the Hester Storage Field Abandonment Project. Your comments should focus on the potential environmental effects, reasonable alternatives, and measures to avoid or lessen environmental impacts. The more specific your comments, the more useful they will be. To ensure that your comments are timely and properly recorded, please send in your comments so that they will be received in Washington, DC on or before August 22, 2008.

For your convenience, there are three methods which you can use to submit your comments to the Commission. In all instances please reference the project docket number CP08-207-000 with your submission. The docket number can be found on the front of this notice. The Commission encourages electronic filing of comments and has dedicated eFiling expert staff available to assist you at 202-502-8258 or efiling@ferc.gov.

(1) You may file your comments electronically by using the Quick Comment feature, which is located on the Commission's internet Web site at http://www.ferc.gov under the link to Documents and Filings. A Quick Comment is an easy method for interested persons to submit text-only comments on a project;

(2) You may file your comments electronically by using the eFiling feature, which is located on the Commission's internet Web site at http://www.ferc.gov under the link to Documents and Filings. eFiling involves preparing your submission in the same manner as you would if filing on paper, and then saving the file on your computer's hard drive. You will attach that file as your submission. New eFiling users must first create an account by clicking on “Sign up” or “eRegister.” You will be asked to select the type of filing you are making. A comment on a particular project is considered a “Comment on a Filing;” or

(3) You may file your comments via mail to the Commission by sending an original and two copies of your letter to: Kimberly D. Bose, 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, PJ11.3.

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. This includes all landowners whose property may be used temporarily for project purposes, who have existing easements from the pipeline, or who own homes within distances defined in the Commission's regulations of certain aboveground facilities. By this notice we are also asking governmental agencies, Start Printed Page 44246especially those in Appendix 2, to express their interest in becoming cooperating agencies for the preparation of the EA.

If you do not want to send comments at this time but still want to remain on our mailing list, please return the Information Request (Appendix 3). 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 known as an “intervenor.” Intervenors play a more formal role in the process. Among other things, intervenors have the right to receive copies of case-related Commission documents and filings by other intervenors. Likewise, each intervenor must send one electronic copy (using the Commission's eFiling system) or 14 paper copies of its filings to the Secretary of the Commission and must send a copy of its filings to all other parties on the Commission's service list for this proceeding.

If you want 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). Only intervenors have the right to seek rehearing of the Commission's decision.

The Notice of Application for this proposed project issued on May 6, 2008 identified the date for the filing of interventions as May 28, 2008. However, affected landowners and parties with environmental concerns may be granted late 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.

Availability of 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 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

Kimberly D. Bose,

Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

1.  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.

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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. E8-17404 Filed 7-29-08; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6717-01-P