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 NET Mexico Pipeline Project (Project) involving construction and operation of border crossing facilities at the international border between Mexico and the United States in Starr County, Texas by NET Mexico Pipeline Partners, LLC (NET Mexico). 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 August 2, 2013.
You may submit comments in written form or verbally. Further details on how to submit written comments are in the Public Participation section of this notice.
This notice is being sent to the Commission's current environmental mailing list for the Project. 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, a pipeline company representative may contact you about the acquisition of an easement to construct, operate, and maintain the planned 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.
NET Mexico provided landowners with a fact sheet prepared by the FERC Start Printed Page 41396entitled “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
NET Mexico proposes to construct a new border crossing at the international boundary between the United States and Mexico in Starr County, Texas. The Project would consist of approximately 1,400 feet of 48-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline, directionally drilled underneath the Rio Grande River in Starr County, Texas. The new pipeline would have a design capacity of 2.1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d), and a maximum allowable operating pressure of 1,480 pounds per square inch gauge designed to transport natural gas to a new delivery interconnect with NET Mexico's non-jurisdictional intrastate pipeline and to a new interconnection with the Los Ramones Pipeline at the United States-Mexico border.
The general location of the Project is shown in Appendix.
In addition to the facilities described above, NET Mexico would perform activities that are not under the jurisdiction of the FERC (non-jurisdictional). NET Mexico would construct and operate approximately 124 miles of 42-inch-diameter non-jurisdictional intrastate pipeline. The non-jurisdictional intrastate pipeline would consist of a header system with 100,000 horsepower of compression in Nueces County, Texas with interconnections with six Texas intrastate pipelines and two interstate pipelines. NET Mexico would connect to four Texas processing plants in Nueces, Jim Wells, Kenedy and Starr counties, Texas.
NET Mexico would also construct about 1, 247 feet of 48-inch-diameter pipeline on the Mexican side of the international border. Los Ramones would own and operate all facilities on the Mexican side of the international border.
These related non-jurisdictional facilities are not subject to the FERC's review procedures. In the EA, we will provide available descriptions of the non-jurisdictional facilities and include them under our analysis of cumulative impacts.
Land Requirements for Construction
Construction of the planned facilities would require ground disturbance of approximately 8.2 acres of land for the pipeline. NET Mexico would require approximately 3.4 acres for one temporary access road and 4.5 acres for temporary workspace. Following construction, NET Mexico would maintain 0.3 acre for operation of the Project and the remaining 7.9 acres would be revegetated to preconstruction use.
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. 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 planned Project under these general headings:
- geology and soils;
- water resources and fisheries;
- vegetation, wildlife, and endangered and threatened species;
- land use and cumulative impacts;
- cultural resources;
- air quality and noise; 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.
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 beginning on page 5.
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 EA.
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 Texas Historical Commission (THC), 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 in consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer as the Project develops. On natural gas facility projects, the Area of Potential Effects at a minimum encompasses all areas subject to ground disturbance (examples include construction right-of-way, contractor/pipe storage yards, meter 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.
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 Start Printed Page 41397your comments are timely and properly recorded, please send your comments so that the Commission receives them in Washington, DC on or before August 2, 2013.
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 (CP13-482-000) with your submission. The Commission encourages electronic filing of comments and has expert staff available to assist you at (202) 502-8258 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
(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.
If we publish and distribute the EA, copies of the completed 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 3).
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 at http://www.ferc.gov/help/how-to/intervene.asp.
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., CP13-482). 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.
Dated: July 2, 2013.
Kimberly D. Bose,
[FR Doc. 2013-16500 Filed 7-9-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6717-01-P