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 Southern 2011/2012 Abandonment and Replacement Project, involving the abandonment and replacement of facilities by Southern Natural Gas Company (Southern) in Louisiana and Mississippi. 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 the Commission 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 March 8, 2010.
This notice is being sent to the Commission's current environmental mailing for this project. 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.
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 Southern 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
Southern proposes to abandon, replace, and modify certain pipeline facilities located within East Carroll and West Carroll Parishes, Louisiana, and Issaquena, Sharkey, Yazoo, Madison, Attala, and Winston Counties, Mississippi. Specifically, Southern proposes to abandon in place 68.5 miles (in five segments) of its North Main Loop Line, consisting of 16- to 24-inch-diameter pipeline. To adjust for the abandonment, Southern would also replace and/or modify small segments of its North Main and North Main Loop pipelines. These pipeline segments were installed using a mechanical coupling technology in the late 1930s and early 1940s. The pipeline, consisting of 18- to to 24-inch-diameter pipe, would be cut, cleaned, sealed, and abandoned in place.
Overall, the project would involve 29 separate areas of disturbance along Southern's system in Louisiana and Mississippi. The general location of the project facilities is shown in appendix 1.
Land Requirements for Construction
The proposed project would temporarily disturb about 6.91 acres of land for the abandonment and modification of the facilities. Afterwards, all areas of disturbance would be revegetated and return to its previous use. All pipeline abandonment activities would be conducted within the existing right-of-way and compressor station areas. No new access roads would be required to facilitate the abandonment of the pipeline facilities.
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, 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 will discuss impacts that could occur as a result 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; and
- 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 presented in the EA. The EA will be placed into the public record and, depending on the comments received during the scoping process, the EA may be published and distributed to the public. A comment period will be allotted if the EA is published for review. 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.
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.
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 comments are timely and properly recorded, please send in your comments so that they will be received in Washington, DC on or before March 8, 2010.
For your convenience, there are three methods which you can use to submit Start Printed Page 7473your 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
(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 a paper copy of your comments at the following address: Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street, NE., Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426.
Environmental Mailing List
The environmental mailing list includes federal, state, and local agencies; elected officials; environmental and public interest groups; Native American tribes; other interested parties; and local libraries and newspapers. This list also includes all affected landowners (as defined in the Commission's regulations) 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, and anyone who submits comments on the project. We will update the environmental mailing list as the analysis proceeds to ensure that we send the information related to this environmental review to all individuals, organizations, and government entities interested in and/or potentially affected by the proposed project.
If the EA is published for distribution, copies will be sent to the environmental mailing list for public review and comment. If the EA is published for distribution, copies will be sent to the environmental mailing list for public review and comment. If you would prefer to receive a paper copy of the document instead of the CD version or would like to remove your name from the mailing list, please return the attached Information Request (appendix 2).
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 about the project is available from the Commission's Office of External Affairs, at 1-866-208-FERC, or on the FERC Web site 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 (i.e., CP10-36). 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 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,
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.Back to Citation
2. “We,” “us,” and “our” refer to the environmental staff of the Commission's Office of Energy Projects.Back to Citation
[FR Doc. 2010-3108 Filed 2-18-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6717-01-P