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 proposed Woodhull Storage Pool Boundary Project (Project) involving Dominion Transmission, Inc.'s (Dominion) extension of the certificated boundary of the Woodhull Natural Gas Storage Pool in Steuben County, New York. The EA will be used by the Commission in its decision-making process to determine whether the Start Printed Page 39866project 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 Amendment. 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 July 29, 2011.
This notice is being sent to the Commission's current environmental mailing list for the Project Amendment. 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 Dominion representative about the acquisition or modification 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, Dominion could initiate condemnation proceedings where compensation would be determined in accordance with state or federal 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 Proposed Project
Dominion is proposing to extend the perimeter of its Woodhull Natural Gas Storage Pool (Pool) existing boundary by an additional 2,000 feet, impacting 5,472.27 acres below ground surface (bgs). Located in the Oriskany Sandstone geologic formation 3,995 feet bgs and capped by Marcellus Shale and Onondaga Limestone Formations 30 feet above, Dominion contends that extending the perimeter would protect the Pool from encroachment from third parties drilling into the Marcellus Shale and potentially jeopardizing the sealing/trapping geology of the natural gas storage zone.
No facilities would be constructed; therefore there would be no impact on the surface. Dominion's proposal would only enlarge the Pool's current boundary by 2,000 feet creating a buffer zone around the Pool.
The general location of the proposed facilities is shown in Appendix 1.
The EA Process
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires the Commission to take into account the environmental impacts that could result from the issuance or amendment 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 be addressed 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 storage field extension. We will also evaluate possible alternatives to the proposed project or portions of the project.
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 4.
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 your comments so that they will be received in Washington, DC on or before July 29, 2011.
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 (CP11-493-000) with your submission. The Commission encourages electronic filing of comments and has expert eFiling staff available to assist you at (202) 502-8258 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
(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 libraries and newspapers. This list also includes all affected landowners (as defined in the Commission's regulations) who are owners of property interests and are within the area of the proposed expansion of a storage field, 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 Start Printed Page 39867all 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 or would like to remove your name from the mailing list, please return the attached Information Request (Appendix 1).
Becoming an Intervenor
In addition to participating 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 (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., CP11-159). 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
Dated: June 30, 2011.
Kimberly D. Bose,
1. “We,” “us,” and “our” refer to the environmental staff of the Commission's Office of Energy Projects.Back to Citation
[FR Doc. 2011-16998 Filed 7-6-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6717-01-P