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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 Spire STL Pipeline Project (Project) involving construction and operation of facilities by Spire STL Pipeline Company, LLC (Spire) in Scott, Greene, and Jersey Counties, Illinois and St. Charles and St. Louis Counties, Missouri. 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. 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. Your input will help the Commission staff determine what issues they need to evaluate in the EA. 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 25, 2016.
If you sent comments on the Project to the Commission before the opening of this docket on July 22, 2016, you will need to file those comments in Docket No. PF16-9-000 to ensure they are considered as part of this proceeding.
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 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.
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.
For your convenience, there are four methods you can use to submit your comments to the Commission. The Commission will provide equal consideration to all comments received, whether filed in written form or provided verbally. The Commission encourages electronic filing of comments and has expert staff available to assist you at (202) 502-6652 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please carefully follow these instructions so that your comments are properly recorded.
(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 submitting brief, text-only comments on a project;
(2) You can file your comments electronically by 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.” If you are filing a comment on a particular project, please select “Comment on a Filing” as the filing type; or
(3) You can file a paper copy of your comments by mailing them to the following address. Be sure to reference the Project docket number (PF16-9-000) with your submission: Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426.
(4) In lieu of sending written or electronic comments, the Commission invites you to attend one of the public scoping sessions its staff will conduct in the Project area, scheduled as follows.
|Date and time||Location|
|Monday, November 14, 2016, 4:00-8:00 p.m.||North County Recreation Complex 2577 Redman Rd., St. Louis, MO 63136.|
|Tuesday, November 15, 2016, 4:00-8:00 p.m.||Elsah Township Community Building 14690 Fessler Rd., Dow, IL 62022. (at Fessler Rd. and Highway 3).|
|Wednesday, November 16, 2016, 4:00-8:00 p.m||Knights of Columbus Hall 1/2 mile south of Town of Carrollton on US 67 Highway, Carrollton, IL 62016. (at U.S. 67 and Jack Pine Rd., behind the Dollar General).|
The primary goal of these scoping sessions is to have you identify the specific environmental issues and concerns that should be considered in the EA to be prepared for this Project. Individual verbal comments will be taken on a one-on-one basis with a court reporter. This format is designed to receive the maximum amount of verbal comments, in a convenient way during the timeframe allotted.
Each scoping session is scheduled from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Central Standard Time. You may arrive at any time after 4:00 p.m. There will not be a formal presentation by Commission staff when the session opens. If you wish to speak, the Commission staff will hand out numbers in the order of your arrival; distribution of numbers will be discontinued at 7:30 p.m.
Your verbal scoping comments will be recorded by the court reporter (with FERC staff or representative present) and become part of the public record for this proceeding. Transcripts will be publicly available on FERC's eLibrary system (see below for instructions on using eLibrary). If a significant number of people are interested in providing verbal comments in the one-on-one settings, a time limit of 5 minutes may be implemented for each commentor.
It is important to note that verbal comments hold the same weight as written or electronically submitted comments. Although there will not be a formal presentation, Commission staff will be available throughout the scoping Start Printed Page 76577session to answer your questions about the environmental review process. Representatives from Spire will also be present to answer project-specific questions.
Please note this is not your only public input opportunity; please refer to the review process flow chart in appendix 1.
Summary of the Planned Project
Spire plans to construct and operate a pipeline to transport natural gas from the Rockies Express Pipeline LLC pipeline in Scott County, Illinois to an interconnect with Laclede Gas Company's Line 880. The Project would consist of the following facilities in Illinois and Missouri:
- Approximately 57.4 miles of new 24-inch-diameter pipeline in Scott, Greene, and Jersey Counties, Illinois and St. Charles and St. Louis Counties, Missouri;
- purchase of and modification of 7.6 miles of the existing 20-inch-diameter Line 880 pipeline in St. Louis County, Missouri;
- three new meter and regulating stations in Scott County, Illinois and St. Louis County, Missouri;
- modifications at the existing Redman Delivery Station in St. Louis County; Missouri; and
- appurtenant underground and aboveground facilities.
According to Spire, the Project would be designed to transport about 400,000 dekatherms per day of natural gas service. The general location of the Project facilities is shown in appendix 2.
Land Requirements for Construction
Construction of the planned facilities would disturb about 920.3 acres of land for the new pipeline, modifications to the existing Line 880, and aboveground facilities. Spire would maintain about 352.2 acres for permanent operation of the Spire Project's facilities following construction; the remaining acreage would be restored and revert to former uses. Modifications at the existing Redman Delivery Station would occur within the boundary of the facility.
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 be addressed 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; land use; water resources, fisheries, and wetlands; cultural resources; socioeconomics; vegetation and wildlife, including migratory birds; air quality and noise; endangered and threatened species; public safety; and cumulative impacts.
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 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 and 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 we make 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 2.
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. Currently, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Illinois Department of Agriculture have expressed their intention to participate as cooperating agencies in the preparation of the EA 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 applicable State Historic Preservation Offices (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.
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, meter and regulating 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.
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 Start Printed Page 76578update 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 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 (see appendix 3).
Becoming an Intervenor
Once Spire 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. Motions to intervene are more fully described at http://www.ferc.gov/resources/guides/how-to/intervene.asp. Instructions for becoming an intervenor are in the “Document-less Intervention 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 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., PF16-9). 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) 502-6652. 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/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.
Dated: October 26, 2016.
Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr.,
[FR Doc. 2016-26592 Filed 11-2-16; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6717-01-P