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Notice

Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assesment for the Proposed Brandywine Creek Replacement Project; Request for Comments on Environmental Issues; and Notice of Public Scoping Meeting

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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 Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC's (Transco) proposed Brandywine Creek Replacement Project (Project). The proposed project involves the replacement of existing interstate natural gas transmission pipeline in Chester County, Pennsylvania. The Commission will use this EA in its decision-making process to determine whether the project is in the public convenience and necessity.Start Printed Page 59392

This notice announces the opening of the scoping period the Commission will use to gather input from the public and interested agencies about the project. Your input will help the Commission's staff determine what issues need to evaluated in the EA. Comments about the project may be submitted in writing or verbally at the public scoping meeting to be held as described below. To submit written comments, please see the public participation section of this notice.

FERC Public Scoping Meeting, Brandywine Creek Replacement Project, October 9, 2012/7 p.m., Sykes Auditorium, West Chester University, 110 West Rosedale Avenue, West Chester, PA 19383, Sykes Union Lobby: (610) 436-2984.

Please note that this scoping period will close on October 22, 2012.

The purpose of the scoping meeting is to provide the public information about Transco's proposal and the Commission's environmental review process, and to provide an opportunity for the public to verbally submit environmental comments about Transco's proposed project. Comments received at the scoping meeting will be recorded and entered in the public record. Transco representatives will also be present before and after the meeting to answer questions about its proposal.

This notice is being sent to the Commission's current environmental mailing list for this project and will be posted on the Commission's Web site. The Commission's staff encourages all recipients to share this notice with anyone they think might be interested in the project. Elected officials are also encouraged to notify their constituents of this project, and the public scoping meeting.

Summary of the Proposed Project

Transco proposes to remove approximately 2,167 feet of existing 30-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline and replace it with 42-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline in East Brandywine and East Caln Townships—Chester County, Pennsylvania. As proposed, this replacement would require the crossing of Brandywine Creek and two crossings of Ludwig's Run. The Struble Trail would also be temporarily closed, crossed and used for temporary workspace.

According to Transco, this project would enable the passage of internal inspection devices to collect pipeline integrity data; bring it in compliance with federal pipeline safety regulations (49 CFR 192.150); mitigate system reliability issues; remove a flow restriction, and provide efficient natural gas transportation service.

The general location of the project area is shown in appendix 1.[1]

Land Requirements for Construction

Removing the existing pipeline and installing the replacement pipeline would require the temporary use of approximately 13.1 acres of land. No land in addition to that already used for existing pipeline operations would be required to permanently operate the replacement pipeline. Of the 13.1 acres of land that would be temporarily required to remove and install the proposed pipeline, approximately 4.2 acres are currently used for existing pipeline operations, and approximately 4.3 acres would be used for workspace access and an offsite pipe storage/contractor staging yard.

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. We will consider all filed comments during the preparation of the EA.

In the EA we will discuss the impacts that could occur as a result of the project under these general headings:

  • Geology and soils;
  • Water resources and wetlands;
  • Vegetation, wildlife, and fisheries;
  • Endangered and threatened species;
  • Land use and visual resources;
  • Cultural resources;
  • Air quality and noise;
  • Reliability and safety; and
  • Cumulative impacts.

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.

The EA will present our independent analysis of the issues. The EA will be available in the public record through eLibrary. Depending on the comments received during the scoping process, we may publish and distribute the EA to the public for an allotted comment period. We will consider all comments on the EA before making our recommendations to the Commission. To ensure we have the opportunity to consider and address your comments, please carefully follow the instructions in the Public Participation section of this notice.

With this notice, we are asking agencies with jurisdiction by law and/or special expertise with respect to the environmental issues of this project to formally cooperate with us in the preparation of the EA.[3] Agencies that would like to request cooperating agency status should follow the instructions for filing comments provided in 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 (SHPO), 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.[4] We will define the project-specific Area of Potential Effects (APE) in consultation with the SHPO as the project develops. 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.

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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 the Commission receives them in Washington, DC on or before October 22, 2012.

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 (CP12-497-000) with your submission. The Commission encourages electronic filing of comments and has expert staff available to assist you at (202) 502-8258 or efiling@ferc.gov.

(1) You can file your comments electronically using the eComment feature on the Commission's Web site (www.ferc.gov) under the link to Documents and Filings. This is an easy method for interested persons to submit brief, text-only comments on a project;

(2) You can file your comments electronically using the eFiling feature on the Commission's Web site (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 must select the type of filing you are making. If you are filing a comment on a particular project, please select “Comment on a Filing”; or

(3) You can file a paper copy of your comments by mailing them to 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 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.

Copies of the EA 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 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 (866) 208-FERC, or on the FERC Web site at 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., CP12-497). 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 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 www.ferc.gov/​esubscribenow.htm.

Finally, public meetings or site visits will be posted on the Commission's calendar located at www.ferc.gov/​EventCalendar/​EventsList.aspx along with other related information.

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Dated: September 21, 2012.

Kimberly D. Bose,

Secretary.

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Footnotes

1.  The appendices referenced in this notice will not appear in the Federal Register. Copies of appendices were sent to all those receiving this notice in the mail and are available at 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.

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3.  The Council on Environmental Quality regulations addressing cooperating agency responsibilities are at Title 40, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 1501.6.

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4.  The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation's regulations are at Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 800. Those regulations define historic properties 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. 2012-23803 Filed 9-26-12; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6717-01-P