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Notice

Trunkline LNG Company, LLC; Trunkline LNG Export, LLC; Trunkline Gas Company, LLC; Supplemental Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Planned Lake Charles Liquefaction Project and Request for Comments on Environmental Issues

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As previously noticed on September 14, 2012, and supplemented herein, the staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) will prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) that will discuss the environmental impacts of the Lake Charles Liquefaction Project involving construction and operation of facilities by Trunkline LNG Company, LLC; Trunkline LNG Export, LLC; and Trunkline Gas Company, LLC (collectively referred to as Trunkline) in Louisiana and Mississippi. The Commission will use this EIS in its decision-making process to determine whether the project is in the public convenience and necessity.

This Supplemental Notice of Intent (NOI) announces the opening of a second scoping period the Commission will use to gather input from the public and interested agencies on additional pipeline, compression, and metering facilities planned by Trunkline, which will be included in the EIS. Your input will help determine what issues need to be evaluated in the EIS. Please note that the scoping period will close on April 22, 2013.

This notice is being sent to the Commission's current environmental mailing list for this project, including the newly affected landowners along the pipeline routes or near the aboveground facilities. State and local government representatives should 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 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 (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

As previously noticed, Trunkline plans to expand its existing liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana to liquefy natural gas and export the LNG. The planned facility would be capable of processing approximately 2.4 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas, and exporting approximately 15 million metric tons of LNG per year. In addition, in January 2013, Trunkline expanded its project to include plans to construct and modify certain pipeline facilities to supply natural gas to the liquefaction facility.

The Lake Charles Liquefaction Project would consist of the following:

  • LNG facilities in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana, include:

○ a new liquefaction facility including three liquefaction trains (each train contains metering and gas treatment facilities, liquefaction and refrigerant units, safety and control systems, and associated infrastructure);

○ modifications and upgrades at the existing LNG terminal; and

○ about 0.5 mile of 48-inch-diameter feed gas line in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana to supply natural gas to the liquefaction facility from existing gas transmission pipelines.

  • Pipeline facilities now included as part of the project, include:

○ an 11.6-mile-long, 36-inch-diameter greenfield natural gas pipeline (Mainline Connector) in Jefferson Davis and Calcasieu Parishes, Louisiana;

○ a 6.5-mile-long, 24-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline loop [1] (Mainline 200-3 Loop Line) in Jefferson Davis and Calcasieu Parishes, Louisiana; and

○ ancillary facilities associated with the pipeline.

  • Compression and metering facilities now included as part of the project, include:

○ a new 59,840-horsepower (hp) compressor station (Compressor Station 203-A) in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana;

○ modifications to the existing Longville Compressor Station in Beauregard Parish, Louisiana, involving retirement of an existing 3,000-hp unit and installation of a new 15,000-hp unit, as well as piping modifications to make the station bi-directional;

○ piping modifications at the existing Pollock, Epps, and Shaw Compressor Stations in Grant and West Carroll Parishes, Louisiana and Bolivar County, Mississippi, respectively, to make the stations bi-directional;

○ four new meter stations in Calcasieu, Acadia, and Richland (2) Parishes, Louisiana; and

○ modifications to six existing meter stations in Calcasieu, Jefferson Davis (2), Cameron, and Beauregard (2) Parishes, Louisiana to make the stations bi-directional.

Trunkline plans to initiate construction of the planned liquefaction facilities in August 2014, and construction of the pipelines, compressor stations, and metering facilities are planned to take place in the second and third quarters of 2017. Trunkline plans to commence operation of the planned facilities in August 2018. The general location of the project facilities is shown in appendices 1 and 2.[2]

Land Requirements for Construction

The planned liquefaction facilities would be constructed on a 268-acre site that is largely undeveloped and located immediately north of and adjacent to the existing LNG terminal. The majority of the site would be required for both construction and operation of the facility. An additional 200-acre area, at a location yet to be determined, would be required during construction of the liquefaction facilities for materials storage and contractor facilities. Modifications to take place at the Start Printed Page 18971existing LNG terminal would occur within the existing terminal boundaries.

Construction of the 0.5-mile-long gas feed line would occur within the LNG facility sites. Construction of the Mainline Connector and Mainline 200-3 Loop Line would disturb about 223 acres of land. Following construction, about 106 acres would be maintained for permanent operation of the pipelines. Approximately 60.0 acres of land would be disturbed to construct the new Compressor Station 203-A, including about 10 acres to be used temporarily during construction and about 50 acres to be retained for permanent operation of the facility. Modifications to be made at the existing compressor stations would take place within the existing facility sites. Construction and operation of the four new meter stations would affect about 4.0 acres of land (1.0 acre for each meter station). The modifications at the six existing meter stations would disturb a total of about 9.0 acres during construction. Following construction, operation of the modified meter stations would not require additional permanent easements. The existing meter station modification in Cameron Parish would, however, require an additional 1.1-acre permanent impact for operation.

The EIS 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 [3] 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 EIS on the important environmental issues. By this notice, the Commission requests public comments on the scope of the issues to address in the EIS. We will consider all filed comments during the preparation of the EIS.

In the EIS 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 and wetlands;
  • cultural resources;
  • vegetation, fisheries, and wildlife;
  • socioeconomics;
  • air quality and noise;
  • endangered and threatened species; and
  • public 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 the FERC receives an application. As part of our pre-filing review, we have begun to contact federal and state agencies to discuss their involvement in the scoping process and the preparation of the EIS. In addition, representatives from the FERC participated in the public open houses sponsored by Trunkline in Lake Charles, Louisiana on July 19, 2012; Iowa, Louisiana on February 4, 2013; and Jennings, Louisiana on February 5, 2013, to explain the environmental review process to interested stakeholders. On October 3, 2012, the FERC held a public scoping meeting in Sulphur, Louisiana, to solicit comments regarding the planned liquefaction facility.

The EIS will present our independent analysis of the issues. We will publish and distribute the draft EIS for public comment. After the comment period, we will consider all timely comments and revise the document, as necessary, before issuing a final EIS. To ensure we have the opportunity to consider and address your comments, please carefully follow the instructions in the Public Participation section beginning on page 6.

With this notice, we are asking agencies with jurisdiction by law and/or special expertise with respect to the environmental issues related to this project to formally cooperate with us in the preparation of the EIS.[4] 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, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Department of Transportation have expressed their intention to participate as a cooperating agency in the preparation of the EIS 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 the Louisiana State Historic Preservation Office and the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (SHPOs), 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.[5] We will define the project-specific Area of Potential Effects (APE) in consultation with the SHPOs 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 EIS 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 planned facilities and the environmental information provided by Trunkline. This preliminary list of issues may change based on your comments and our analysis. Issued identified include:

  • potential effects of construction workforce on local housing, infrastructure, public services, and economy;
  • potential impacts on recreational fishing and aquatic resources in the Calcasieu Ship Channel;
  • potential impacts on wetland and waterbody resources at facility locations;
  • potential impacts on residences in the vicinity of the pipelines;
  • potential impacts on agricultural lands crossed by the pipelines;
  • potential visual effects on surrounding areas;
  • potential noise impacts in the vicinity of the new compressor station; andStart Printed Page 18972
  • public safety and hazards associated with the transport of natural gas and LNG.

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 April 22, 2013. This is not your only public input opportunity; please refer to the Environmental Review Process flowchart in appendix 3.

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 (PF12-8-000) 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 located 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 located 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 planned project.

Copies of the completed draft EIS 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 Trunkline 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 (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., PF12-8). 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: March 21, 2013.

Kimberly D. Bose,

Secretary.

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Footnotes

1.  A pipeline “loop” is a segment of pipeline that is installed adjacent to or in the vicinity of an existing pipeline and connected to the existing pipeline at both ends. A loop increases the volume of gas that can be transported through that portion of the system.

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2.  The appendices referenced in this notice will not appear in the Federal Register. Copies of the 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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3.  “We,” “us,” and “our” refer to the environmental staff of the Commission's Office of Energy Projects.

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4.  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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5.  The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation 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 for Historic Places.

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[FR Doc. 2013-07079 Filed 3-27-13; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6717-01-P