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Tricor Ten Section Hub LLC; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Proposed Ten Section Storage Project and Request for Comments on Environmental Issues, and Notice of Public Scoping Meeting

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Start Preamble August 21, 2009.

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 Ten Section Storage Project involving construction and operation of facilities proposed by Tricor Ten Section Hub LLC (Tricor) in Kern County, California. 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 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 what issues need to be evaluated in the EA. Please note that the scoping period will close on September 21, 2009.

Comments on the project may be submitted in written form in a letter to the Secretary of the Commission, or verbally at the public scoping meeting. Further details on how to submit written comments are provided in the Public Participation section of this notice (page 5). In lieu of sending written comments, we invite you to attend a public scoping meeting scheduled as follows:

FERC Public Scoping Meeting, Tricor Ten Section Storage Project, Thursday, September 10, 2009, 6:30 p.m., Bakersfield Marriott at the Convention Center, 801 Truxtun Ave., Bakersfield, CA 93301. 661-323-1900.

This notice is being sent to the Commission's current environmental mailing for this project, which includes affected landowners; Federal, State, and local government agencies; elected officials; environmental and public interest groups; Indian tribes and Native American organizations; parties to this proceeding; and local libraries and newspapers. State and local government representatives are asked to notify their constituents of this proposed project and 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 the acquisition of an easement to construct, operate, and maintain the proposed facilities. The 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 Tricor 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 also available for viewing on the FERC Web site (http://www.ferc.gov).

Summary of the Proposed Project

On June 12, 2009, Tricor submitted its application to the FERC under section 7(c) of the Natural Gas Act (NGA), in Docket No. CP09-423-000. The FERC issued a Notice of Application on June 23, 2009.

Tricor proposes to construct and operate a natural gas storage field and pipeline in unincorporated Kern County, California. The storage facilities would be within the existing Ten Section oil and gas field, about 12 miles southwest of the city of Bakersfield. This field was first established in 1936, and is still in operation. Between 1977 and 1982, the field was used to store natural gas by two local distribution companies (Pacific Gas and Electric [PG&E] and Southern California Gas).

According to Tricor, its project would provide natural gas storage services to the interstate system in the southwestern United States. Tricor stated that the project would meet a growing demand for firm and interruptible storage services for customers in the gas marketing, distribution, transmission, production, Start Printed Page 44839and electric power generation industries.

The Ten Section Storage Project would consist of a 32.5 billion cubic foot (Bcf) storage field with a working capacity of 22.4 Bcf (with 10.1 Bcf of cushion gas). The storage facilities would be designed to inject natural gas into underground storage at a maximum rate of 0.8 Bcf/d, and withdraw natural gas from storage at a maximum rate of about 1.0 Bcf/d. The Ten Section Storage Project would consist of the following facilities:

  • 26 new gas injection and withdrawal wells drilled within 5 well pads at the field;
  • 9 existing oil production wells converted into observation wells;
  • 5 existing water disposal wells used for the same purpose;
  • New 42,000 horsepower electric driven compressor station;
  • 2 new 20-inch-diameter field pipelines (high pressure and low pressure), extending for a total of 1.8 miles, connecting the gas injection/withdrawal wells to the Tricor compressor station;
  • New 4-inch-diameter water disposal pipeline, extending for 1.1 miles, connecting the 5 water disposal wells to the produced water tank at the compressor station;
  • New 36-inch-diameter bi-directional header pipeline, extending for 20.4 miles, between the Tricor compressor station and the existing Kern River Gas Transmission Company (Kern) interstate pipeline; and
  • New metering and regulating station at the interconnection with the Kern pipeline.

Non-jurisdictional facilities associated with the project would include:

  • New electric substation to be built and operated by PG&E about 1.5 miles southwest of the storage field;
  • New 230-kilovolt transmission line, about 1.6-miles-long, to be built and operated by PG&E, connecting the new electric substation with the Tricor compressor station; and
  • New 10-inch-diameter crude oil pipeline, extending for 0.3-mile, between the Tricor compressor station and the existing facilities of Kern Oil and Refining Company.

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

Land Requirements for Construction

Construction of the proposed jurisdictional facilities would disturb a total of about 400 acres of land. Following construction, about 179 acres would be maintained for permanent operation of the project's facilities. The remaining temporary construction acreage would be restored and allowed to revert to former uses. About 83 percent of the construction right-of-way is agricultural land, and 14 percent is oil and gas production open land.

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. The 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, the Commission requests public comments on the scope of the issues to address in the EA. All comments received will be considered during the preparation of the EA.

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;
  • Water resources and wetlands;
  • Vegetation and wildlife;
  • Cultural resources;
  • Land use and socioeconomics;
  • Air quality and noise; and
  • Safety and reliability.

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 presented in the EA. Depending on the comments received during the scoping process, the EA may be published and mailed to those on our environmental mailing list (see discussion of how to remain on our mailing list on page 6 of this notice). 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 of this notice (below).

With this notice, we are asking agencies with jurisdiction and/or special expertise with respect to environmental issues to formally cooperate with us in the preparation of the EA. These agencies may choose to participate once they have evaluated the proposal relative to their responsibilities. Agencies that would like to request cooperating agency status should follow the instructions for filing comments provided under the Public Participation section of this notice (below).

Public Participation

You can make a difference by providing us with your specific comments or concerns about the 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 written comments are timely and properly recorded, please send in your comments so that they will be received in Washington, DC on or before September 21, 2009.

For your convenience, there are three methods which you can use to submit your written comments to the Commission. The Commission encourages electronic filing of comments and has expert eFiling 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 at http://www.ferc.gov under the link called “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 that is listed under the “Documents and Filings” link. 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 to your submission. New eFiling users must first create an account by clicking on the links called “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 with the Commission via mail by sending an original and two copies of your letter to: Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary, Federal Start Printed Page 44840Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street, NE., Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426.

In all instances, please reference the project docket number CP09-432-000 with your submission. Label one copy of the comments for the attention of Gas Branch 3, PJ-11.3.

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 who are potential right-of-way grantors, whose property may be used temporarily for project purposes, or who own homes within certain distances of aboveground facilities (as defined in the Commission's regulations).

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 Commission's 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 the 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 Internet at 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 appendices were sent to all those receiving this notice in the mail and are available at http://www.ferc.gov using the link called “eLibrary” 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.

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

Back to Citation

[FR Doc. E9-20848 Filed 8-28-09; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6717-01-P