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Notice

Texas Eastern Transmission, LP; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Texas Eastern and Appalachia Market Expansion Project 2014 and Request for Comments on Environmental Issues

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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 Texas Eastern and Appalachia Market Expansion Project 2014 (TEAM 2014) involving construction and operation, modification and abandonment of facilities proposed by Texas Eastern Transmission, LP (Texas Eastern) in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi. The Commission will use this EA 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 they need to evaluate in the EA. Please note that the scoping period will close on November 3, 2012. You may submit comments in written form. Further details on how to submit written comments are in the Public Participation section of this notice. This is not your only public input opportunity; please refer to the Environmental Review Process flow chart in Appendix 1.[1]

This notice is being sent to the Commission's current environmental mailing list for this project. State and local government representatives should notify their constituents of this proposed project and encourage them to comment on their areas of concern.

If you are a landowner receiving this notice, a pipeline company representative may contact you 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 Commission approves the project, 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.

Texas Eastern may have provided landowners with a fact sheet prepared by the FERC entitled “An Interstate Natural Gas Facility on My Land? What Do I Need To Know?”. 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 (www.ferc.gov).

Summary of the Proposed Project

TEAM 2014 involves constructing approximately 33.4 miles of 36-inch-diameter natural gas transmission pipeline comprised of seven separate pipeline loops [2] and associated pipeline facilities in Pennsylvania; upgrade the horsepower (hp) at four existing compressor stations in Pennsylvania, and modify existing pipeline facilities in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi. According to Texas Eastern, the new pipeline would supply an additional 600,000 dekatherms per day of natural gas to markets along the Texas Eastern system in the Northeast, Midwest, and Gulf Coast areas, as well as to markets in the Southeast through Texas Eastern's interconnections with downstream pipelines. TEAM 2014 modifications would also result in a bi-directional natural gas transmission system that would provide access to the new, emerging liquefied natural gas export and gas-to-liquids markets. The 33.4 miles of planned pipeline loops are, as follows:

  • The Holbrook Loop—a 6.6-mile pipeline in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, downstream of the existing Holbrook Compressor Station. A pig [3] receiver assembly and crossover piping would be installed along this loop;
  • The Perulack West Loop—a 2.7-mile pipeline in Perry County, Pennsylvania, downstream of the existing Perulack Compressor Station;
  • The Perulack East Loop—5.3-mile pipeline in Perry County, Pennsylvania, downstream of the existing Perulack Compressor Station. A pig receiver assembly and crossover piping would be installed along this loop;
  • The Shermans Dale Loop—7.1-mile pipeline in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, downstream of the existing Shermans Dale Compressor Station. A pig receiver assembly and crossover piping would be installed along this loop;
  • The Grantville West Loop—a 2.4-mile pipeline in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, downstream of the existing Grantville Compressor Station;
  • The Grantville East Loop—a 3.8-mile pipeline in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, downstream of the existing Grantville Compressor Station. A pig receiver assembly and crossover piping would be installed along this loop; and
  • The Bernville Loop—a 5.5-mile pipeline in Berks County, Pennsylvania, downstream of the existing Bernville Compressor Station. A pig receiver assembly and crossover piping would be installed along this loop.

In addition, as part of TEAM 2014, Texas Eastern plans to add approximately 80,060 hp of compression and aboveground facility modifications at four existing Texas Eastern compressor stations:

  • Uniontown Compressor Station—a paper uprate (software update to meet maximum hp) of one existing electric unit and power uprate (replacing hardware to improve hp) of two existing gas turbine units;
  • Delmont Compressor Station—installation of one new gas turbine compressor unit, one new electric unit, and abandonment of one gas turbine unit and six gas-reciprocating units;
  • Armagh Compressor Station—installation of a new gas compressor unit; and
  • Entriken Compressor Station—installation of a new gas compressor unit.

TEAM 2014 would require modifications to numerous existing facilities to allow bi-directional flow/transmission of natural gas. These facilities include 18 existing compressor stations, 17 separate and existing pig launcher and receiver sites, and two existing meter and regulating facilities between Pennsylvania and Mississippi. These are described in Appendix 2. Although these modifications would occur at existing facilities, temporary workspaces may be needed outside of the existing/maintained facility footprints. The general location of the project facilities are shown in Appendix 3.

Land Requirements for Construction

Texas Eastern is still in the planning phase of the project, and workspace requirements have not been finalized. However, TEAM 2014 would disturb approximately 1191.5 acres and install or modify about 12 miles of new access roads. The construction and operation of the pipeline loops would be mostly collocated adjacent to existing pipelines and would affect about 547.1 acres of land in Berks, Dauphin, Fayette, Lebanon, and Perry Counties, Pennsylvania. In addition, 48 new access roads would be required. Modifications at the compressor stations would be confined to the existing facility property and would temporarily affect 124 acres in Fayette, Westmoreland, Indiana and Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. Workspace for the bi-directional flow modifications is planned to temporarily impact about 520.4 acres within or adjacent to existing facilities in the following counties: Marshall County, West Virginia; Monroe, Noble, Athens, Meigs, and Scioto Counties, Ohio; Bath, Madison, Lincoln, Casey, and Monroe Counties, Kentucky; Trousdale, Wilson, Rutherford, Williamson, Giles, and Lawrence Counties, Tennessee; Colbert County, Alabama; and Itawamba, Monroe, Oktibbeha, Attala, Madison, Hinds, and Jefferson Counties, Mississippi.

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 [4] 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 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;
  • water resources, fisheries, and wetlands;
  • cultural resources;
  • vegetation and wildlife;
  • air quality and noise;
  • endangered and threatened species;
  • public 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.

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 the FERC receives an application. As part of our pre-filing review, we have begun to contact some federal and state agencies to discuss their involvement in the scoping process and the preparation of the EA.

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 also 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.[5] 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 the 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.[6] 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.

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 November 3, 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 (PF12-19-000) 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.

When an 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 4).

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 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 the Commission receives a formal application for the project.

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., PF12-19). 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 www.ferc.gov/esubscribenow.htm.

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

Dated: October 4, 2012.

Kimberly D. Bose,

Secretary.

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 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.  A pipeline loop is constructed parallel to an existing pipeline to increase capacity.

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3.  A “pig” is a tool that is inserted into and moves through the pipeline, and is used for cleaning the pipeline, internal inspections, or other purposes.

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4.  “We,” “us,” and “our” refer to the environmental staff of the Commission's Office of Energy Projects.

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

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6.  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. 2012-25206 Filed 10-12-12; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6717-01-P