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Notice

Texas Eastern Transmission, LP; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Planned Texas Eastern Appalachia to Market Expansion 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 August 19, 2010.

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 planned Texas Eastern Appalachia to Market Expansion Project (TEAM 2012 Project) which involves the construction and operation of interstate natural gas transmission facilities by Texas Eastern Transmission, LP (Texas Eastern) in Adams, Bedford, Greene, Fayette, and Franklin Counties, Pennsylvania. This EA will be used by the Commission in its decision-making process to determine whether the TEAM 2012 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 TEAM 2012 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 17, 2010.

This notice is being sent to the Commission's current environmental mailing list for the TEAM 2012 Project. State and local government representatives are asked to notify their constituents of this 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 planned 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 where compensation would be determined 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 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 Commission's proceedings.

Summary of the Planned Project

Texas Eastern has agreed to provide Range Resources—Appalachia and the Chesapeake Utilities Corporation natural gas transportation services. According to Texas Eastern, these services are required to meet a growing demand for natural gas in the northeast and to provide additional natural gas supply diversity and reliability.

To satisfy its agreements, Texas Eastern plans to install and operate approximately 17.8 miles of 36-inch-diameter natural gas transmission pipeline and associated aboveground facilities adjacent to its existing natural gas transmission pipeline system. Texas Eastern also plans to abandon approximately 11.3 miles of 24-inch-diameter natural gas transmission pipeline. The planned new pipeline facilities include:

Facility name *Length (miles)County
Heidlersburg Discharge Abandonment and Loop4.0Adams.
Holbrook East Loop4.7Fayette.
Chambersburg Discharge Abandonment and Loop7.3Franklin.
Holbrook West Loop1.8Greene.
* Associated aboveground facilities include main line valves, pig launchers and receivers, cathodic protection stations, and meter stations.

Additionally, Texas Eastern plans to increase the amount of compression at its Bedford Compressor Station by 20,720 horsepower (hp). Texas Eastern plans to install a 26,000 horsepower (hp) electrical compressor unit, uprate two 11,000 hp electrical units to 14,300 hp units, and abandon in-place nine reciprocating units.Start Printed Page 52525

The general location of the planned project facilities is shown in Appendix 1.1

Land Requirements for Construction

Texas Eastern anticipates temporarily disturbing approximately 303.29 acres of land during construction of the planned TEAM 2012 Project. Following construction, Texas Eastern plans to maintain approximately 161.95 acres of land for operation of the planned facilities. Of the land required for use during construction and operation of the planned facilities, approximately 141.64 acres of this land is currently utilized as Texas Eastern natural gas pipeline permanent right-of-way.

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 [2] 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 construction and operation of the planned 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
  • Reliability and safety.

We will also evaluate possible alternatives to the planned project or portions of the project, and make recommendations on how to lessen or avoid impacts on the various resource areas.

Although no formal application has been filed, we have already initiated our NEPA review under the Commission's pre-filing process. The purpose of the pre-filing process is to encourage early involvement of interested stakeholders and to identify and resolve issues before an application is filed with the FERC. As part of our pre-filing review, we will contact numerous federal and state agencies to discuss their involvement in the scoping process and the preparation of the EA.

Our independent analysis of the issues will be presented in the EA. The EA will be placed in the public record, and depending on the comments received during the scoping process, may be published and distributed to the public. A public 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 on page 5.

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.

Consultations Under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act

In accordance with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation's implementing regulations for section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, we are using this notice to initiate consultation with applicable State Historic Preservation Office(s), and to solicit their views and those of other government agencies, interested Indian tribes, and the public on the project's potential effects on historic properties.[3] We will define the project-specific Area of Potential Effects (APE) in consultation with the SHPO(s) as the project is further developed. On natural gas facility projects, the APE at a minimum encompasses all areas subject to ground disturbance (examples include construction right-of-way, contractor/pipe storage yards, compressor stations, and access roads). Our EA for this project will document our findings on the impacts on historic properties and summarize the status of consultations under section 106.

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 comments are timely and properly recorded, please send your comments so that they will be received in Washington, DC on or before September 17, 2010.

For your convenience, there are three methods you can use to submit your comments to the Commission. In all instances, please reference the project docket number (PF10-21-000) with your submission. The Commission encourages electronic filing of comments and has expert eFiling staff available to assist you by phone at (202) 502-8258 or by e-mail at efiling@ferc.gov.

(1) You may file your comments electronically by using the eComment feature, which is located on the Commission's Web site at http://www.ferc.gov under the link to Documents and Filings. An eComment is an easy method for interested persons to submit brief, 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 Web site at http://www.ferc.gov under the link to Documents and Filings. With eFiling you can provide comments in a variety of formats by attaching them as a file with your submission. New eFiling users must first create an account by clicking on “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 government representatives and Start Printed Page 52526agencies; 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 planned project.

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

Once Texas Eastern files its application with the Commission, 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. Please note that the Commission will not accept requests for intervenor status at this time. You must wait until a formal application for the project is filed with the Commission.

Additional Information

Additional information about the project is available from the Commission's Office of External Affairs, at (866) 208-FERC, or on the FERC 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 (i.e., PF10-21-000). Be sure you have selected an appropriate date range. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support by e-mail at FercOnlineSupport@ferc.gov or by phone toll free at (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, any 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 (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.

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3.  The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation's regulations are at Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 800. Historic properties are defined in those regulations as any prehistoric or historic district, site, building, structure, or object included in or eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.

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[FR Doc. 2010-21171 Filed 8-25-10; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6717-01-P