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 MARC I Hub Line Project involving construction and operation of facilities by Central New York Oil and Gas Company, LLC (CNYOG) in Bradford, Sullivan, and Lycoming Counties, Pennsylvania. 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. Start Printed Page 63463Your 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 October 25, 2010.
Comments may be submitted in written form or verbally. Further details on how to submit written comments are provided in the Public Participation section of this notice. In lieu of or in addition to sending written comments, the Commission invites you to attend the public scoping meeting scheduled as follows: FERC Public Scoping Meeting, MARC I Hub Line Project, October 13, 2010, at 6:30 p.m., Sullivan County Court House, 245 Muncy Street, Laporte, PA.
On October 13 and 14, 2010, the Office of Energy Projects staff will be in the MARC I Hub Line Project area to gather data related to the environmental analysis. Staff will examine the proposed route and aboveground facility locations and possible modifications to the proposed facilities. This will assist staff in completing its comparative evaluation of environmental impacts of the proposed project. Viewing of this area is anticipated to be from public access points.
All interested parties planning to attend must provide their own transportation. Those attending should meet at the following location:
On both October 13 and 14, 2010, at 8:30 a.m.: Sullivan County Road House, Route 220, Muncy Valley, PA.
This notice is being sent to the Commission's current environmental mailing list for this project. State and local government representatives are asked to notify their constituents of this planned 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 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?” was attached to the project notice CNYOG 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
CNYOG proposes to construct and operate about 39 miles of 30-inch-diameter pipeline (the MARC I Hub Line), a total of 31,660 horsepower (hp) of compression, metering and regulating facilities, and appurtenant facilities in Bradford, Sullivan, and Lycoming Counties, Pennsylvania. The MARC I Hub Line Project would provide transportation service of about 550,000 dekatherms of natural gas per day, and would have a maximum allowable operating pressure of 1260 pounds per square inch gauge. According to CNYOG, its project would provide interstate pipeline infrastructure to receive natural gas produced from Marcellus Shale production areas for delivery to existing interstate pipeline systems of Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company (TGP), CNYOG, and Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Corporation (Transco). It would also provide for bi-directional transportation between TGP, CNYOG, and Transco.
The MARC I Hub Line Project would consist of the following facilities:
- The MARC I Hub Line consisting of approximately 39 miles of 30-inch-diameter pipeline extending southward from interconnections with CNYOG's South Lateral and TGP's Line 300 in Bradford County, through Sullivan County, and ending at an interconnection with Transco's Leidy Line in Sullivan County, all in Pennsylvania;
- The M1-N Unit consisting of 15,300 hp of additional electric-driven compression, filter separators, gas coolers, and electrical infrastructure at CNYOG's NS2 Compressor Station on CNYOG's South Lateral proposed in Docket No CP10-194-000;
- The M1-S Compressor Station consisting of 16,360 hp of gas-driven compression, gas coolers, filter separators, and a 300 kilovolt (nominal) emergency generator located on the MARC I Hub Line about 3 miles north of the proposed interconnection with Transco's Leidy Line;
- The Northern Meter Station at the NS2 Compressor Station including metering facilities, valves, filter separator, and related telemetry equipment;
- The Southern Meter Station at the Transco interconnection including metering facilities, valves, filter separator, related telemetry equipment, and possibly odorant equipment for deliveries to Transco;
- Interconnections to gathering lines;
- Wareyards for temporary equipment and materials storage located near mileposts (MPs) 4.3, 10.6, and 16.0 of the MARC I Hub Line; and
- About 33 temporary access roads to be used during construction of the project, and permanent access roads to the Southern Meter Station and the M1-S Compressor Station.
The general location of the project facilities is shown in Appendix 1.
Land Requirements for Construction
Construction of the proposed facilities would disturb about 591 acres of land for the aboveground facilities and the pipeline, including access roads. Additional areas would be used for temporary wareyards or contractor yards to store equipment and materials. Following construction, about 236 acres would be maintained for permanent operation of the project's facilities; the remaining acreage would be restored and allowed to revert to former uses. About 4 percent of the proposed pipeline route parallels existing pipeline, utility, or road rights-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  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 proposed project under these general headings:
- Geology and soils;
- land use;Start Printed Page 63464
- 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 in the public record and, depending on the comments received during the scoping process, 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 beginning on page 6.
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. Currently, no agencies have expressed their intention to participate as a cooperating agency in the preparation of the EA to satisfy their NEPA responsibilities related to this project.
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. 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.
Currently Identified Environmental Issues
We have already identified several issues that we think deserve attention based on a preliminary review of the proposed facilities and the environmental information provided by CNYOG. This preliminary list of issues may be changed based on your comments and our analysis:
- Impacts on present and future land use;
- impacts on vegetation and wildlife;
- impacts on federally listed threatened and endangered species;
- impacts on water resources;
- impacts on cultural resources;
- erosion and sediment control;
- impacts on traffic caused by construction equipment;
- impacts due to construction and operation;
- pipeline route alternatives or variations;
- alternative access roads; and
- safety during construction and operation.
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 October 25, 2010.
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 (CP10-480-000) with your submission. The Commission encourages electronic filing of comments and has expert eFiling staff available to assist you at (202) 502-8258 or email@example.com.
(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 agencies; elected officials; environmental and public interest groups; Native American Tribes; other interested parties; and local 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 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 Start Printed Page 63465formal 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 (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., CP10-480-000). Be sure you have selected an appropriate date range. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at FercOnlineSupport@ferc.gov or 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 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,
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
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 for Historic Places.Back to Citation
[FR Doc. 2010-25966 Filed 10-14-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6717-01-P