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Notice

Centerpoint Energy Gas Transmission Company; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Proposed Carthage to Perryville Project-Phase IV and Request for Comments on Environmental Issues

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Start Preamble Start Printed Page 4427 January 15, 2009.

The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) will prepare an environmental assessment (EA) that will address the environmental impacts of the Carthage to Perryville Project—Phase IV involving construction and operation of facilities by Centerpoint Energy Gas Transmission Company (Centerpoint) in Red River and Jackson Parishes, LA.[1] The Commission will use the EA in its decision-making process to determine whether the project is in the public convenience and necessity.

This notice explains the scoping process we [2] will use to gather environmental input from the public and interested agencies on the projects. Your input will help the Commission determine the issues that need to be evaluated in the EA. Please note that the scoping period will close on February 17, 2009. Details on how to submit comments are provided in the “Public Participation” section of this notice.

This notice is being sent to affected landowners; Federal, State, and local government agencies; elected officials; environmental and public interest groups; Native American tribes; other interested parties; and local libraries and newspapers. State and local government representatives are asked to notify their constituents of this proposed project and to encourage them to comment on their areas of concern.

If you are a landowner receiving this notice, you may be contacted by a pipeline company representative about survey permission and/or the acquisition of an easement to construct, operate, and maintain the proposed facilities. The pipeline company would seek to negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement for its project. 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?” is available for viewing on the FERC Internet Web site (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 FERC's proceedings.

Summary of the Proposed Project

The purpose of the project is to increase the capacity of Line CP in meeting producer and shipper demand for Haynesville Shale natural gas in northwestern Louisiana that is planned for development. The proposed facilities would increase the capacity of Line CP by 274,000 dekatherms per day to a total capacity of 1.87 Billion cubic feet per day. Centerpoint specifically proposes to:

  • Install one 15,000-horsepower compressor unit, 11 air-cooled heat exchanger units, and minor yard and station piping at its existing Westdale Compressor Station in Red River Parish, LA; and
  • Install one 15,000-horsepower compressor unit, 11 air-cooled heat exchanger units, and minor yard and station piping at its existing Vernon Compressor Station in Jackson Parish, LA.

Centerpoint plans to begin constructing the project in June 2009, and to place the project in service in time for the winter 2009-2010 heating season.

Land Requirements for Construction

All proposed facilities would be constructed entirely within the existing fenced-in 6.1-acre Vernon Compressor Station and 12.2-acre Westdale Compressor Station. All temporary work areas within the compressor stations disturbed for the project would be restored to a vegetative, gravel, or paved cover following construction. Centerpoint may require the use of contractor/pipe yards outside of the compressor stations. Contractor/pipeyards would be located on commercial or industrial property and there would be no below-ground disturbance.

The general location of the proposed facilities is shown in appendix 1.[3]

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:

  • Geology and Soils.
  • Water Resources, Fisheries and Wetlands.
  • Vegetation and Wildlife.
  • Threatened and Endangered Species.
  • Land Use and Visual Quality.
  • Cultural Resources.
  • Air Quality and Noise.
  • Reliability and Safety.

We will also evaluate possible 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 presented 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, local libraries and newspapers, 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 Start Printed Page 4428Commission. To ensure your comments are received and considered, please carefully follow the instructions in the “Public Participation” section below.

Currently Identified Environmental Issues

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

  • Potential impacts on air quality and noise emissions may occur.
  • Potential water quality impacts on two streams adjacent to the Vernon Compressor Station.

Public Participation

You can make a difference by providing us with your specific comments or concerns about the Carthage to Perryville Project—Phase IV. Your comments should focus on the potential environmental effects of the proposal, reasonable alternatives, and measures to avoid or lessen the 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 February 17, 2009.

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 CP09-29-000 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 “eRegiste r”. 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.”

(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 2, PJ11.2.

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 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.

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 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 “intervenor,” which is an official party to the proceeding. Intervenors play a more formal role in the process and are able to file briefs, appear at hearings, and be heard by the courts if they choose to appeal the Commission's final ruling. An intervenor formally participates in a Commission proceeding by filing a request to intervene. Instructions for becoming an intervenor are included in the User's Guide under the “e-filing” link on the Commission's Web site.

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.  On December 5, 2008, Centerpoint filed its application with the Commission under section 7 of the Natural Gas Act and Part 157 of the Commission's regulations. The Commission issued its Notice of Application on December 17, 2008

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2.  2 “We,” “us,” and “our” refer to the environmental staff of the FERC's Office of Energy Projects.

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3.  The appendices referenced in this notice are not being printed in the Federal Register. Copies of all appendices 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 “Additional Information” section of this notice. Copies of the appendices were sent to all those receiving this notice in the mail. Requests for detailed maps of the proposed facilities should be made directly to Centerpoint.

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[FR Doc. E9-1474 Filed 1-23-09; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6717-01-P