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Notice

Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, LLC; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Proposed Abandonment and Capacity Restoration Project 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 Abandonment and Capacity Restoration Project (Project) involving abandonment of facilities by Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, LLC (Tennessee). 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 May 18, 2015. 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 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.

Tennessee 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

Tennessee proposes to abandon in place and remove from service approximately 964 miles of Tennessee's existing pipelines that run from Natchitoches Parish, LA, to Columbiana County, Ohio. Tennessee currently operates six parallel pipelines that transport natural gas from the Gulf of Mexico region to the Northeast markets. The proposed Project would occur on Tennessee's existing 100 and 200 Lines. In order to replace capacity that would be lost due to the abandonment, Tennessee would modify and construct certain facilities along the existing pipelines not proposed for abandonment.

Tennessee would abandon in place the following facilities:

  • 677 miles of Tennessee's 24-inch-diameter 100-1 Line from Compressor Station 40 in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, to Compressor Station 106 in Powel County, Kentucky;
  • 77 miles of Tennessee's 26-inch-diameter 100-3 Line from Compressor Station 106 to Compressor Station 200 in Greenup County, Kentucky; and
  • 210 miles of Tennessee's 26-inch-diameter 200-3 Line from Compressor Station 200 to MLV 216 in Columbiana County, Ohio, including disconnection of the 200-3 Line from an aerial crossing at either side of the Ohio River headers.

Tennessee would construct and install the following facilities:

  • An additional 10,771 horsepower (hp) compressor unit at Compressor Station 875, to be constructed by Tennessee as part of the Broad Run Expansion Project (FERC Docket CP15-77-000) in Madison County, Kentucky;
  • Two compressor units at Tennessee's existing Compressor Station 110 in Rowan County, Kentucky, adding 32,000 hp;
  • Four new mid-point compressor stations, (Compressor Stations 202.5, 206.5, 211.5, and 216.5), on lines 200-1, 200-2, and 200-4, adding a total of 82,000 hp in Jackson, Morgan, Tuscarawas, and Mahoning counties, Ohio;
  • A 7.6-mile-long new pipeline loop[1] in Carter and Lewis Counties, Kentucky to continue Tennessee's Line 100-7; and
  • Removal of certain crossovers, taps, valves and miscellaneous pipe, and the relocation and/or installation of new taps to complete the physical separation of the Abandoned Line from Tennessee's retained pipelines.

Land Requirements

Project activities, including abandonment, construction and modification of existing facilities, would disturb about 463 acres of land. Following abandonment and construction activities, Tennessee would maintain about 256.4 acres for permanent operation of the project's facilities; the remaining acreage would be restored and revert to former uses. About 105.3 acres of land would be disturbed by the construction of new compressor stations in Jackson, Morgan, Tuscarawas, and Mahoning counties, Ohio (60.3 acres would be permanently maintained for operation). Construction of the 7.6-mile-long new pipeline would disturb about 163 acres of land in Carter and Lewis Counties, Kentucky (46.3 acres would be permanently maintained for operation). Land disturbed by modifications to existing compressor stations and removal, relocation and/or installation of crossovers, taps, valves and miscellaneous pipe on Tennessee's existing pipeline would be mostly within Tennessee's existing right-of-way. The general location of the Project is shown in appendix 1.[2]

Future Use of the Abandoned Pipeline Facilities

Following the abandonment of Tennessee's pipeline facilities, if the Commission approves the Project, Start Printed Page 23531Tennessee indicates that it would complete necessary work to disconnect and transfer the Abandoned Line and associated facilities to Utica Marcellus Texas Pipeline, LLC (UMTP) who would convert the Abandoned Line to natural gas liquids (NGL) products transportation service (UMTP Project). These activities involving future use of the Abandoned Line are not under the FERC's jurisdiction, and therefore, are not subject to the FERC's review procedures. In the EA, we will provide available descriptions of the future use and non-jurisdictional activities, including the UMTP Project, and discuss them in our analysis of cumulative impacts.

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 [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 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; and
  • Public safety.

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 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 on page 5.

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 [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.

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(s) (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.[5] We will define the project-specific Area of Potential Effects (APE) in consultation with the SHPO(s) 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 May 18, 2015.

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 (CP15-88-000) 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 abandonment 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.Start Printed Page 23532

If we publish and distribute the EA, 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 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., CP15-88). 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/​docs-filing/​esubscription.asp.

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: April 17, 2015.

Kimberly D. Bose,

Secretary.

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Footnotes

1.  A pipeline loop is a segment of pipe constructed parallel to an existing pipeline to increase capacity.

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2.  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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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'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. 2015-09746 Filed 4-27-15; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6717-01-P