The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) has prepared a final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Atlantic Sunrise Project, proposed by Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC (Transco) in the above-referenced docket. Transco requests authorization to expand its existing pipeline system from the Marcellus Shale production area in northern Pennsylvania to deliver an incremental 1.7 million dekatherms per day of year-round firm transportation capacity to its existing southeastern market areas.
The final EIS assesses the potential environmental effects of the construction and operation of the project in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The FERC staff concludes that approval of the project would result in some adverse environmental impacts; however, most of these impacts would be reduced to less-than-significant levels with the implementation of Transco's proposed mitigation and the additional measures recommended in the final EIS.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service participated as cooperating agencies in the preparation of the final EIS. Cooperating agencies have jurisdiction by law or special expertise with respect to resources potentially affected by the proposal and participate in the NEPA analysis. Although the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Natural Resources Conservation Service provided input to the conclusions and recommendations presented in the final EIS, the agencies will present their own conclusions and recommendations in their respective records of decision or determinations for the project.
The final EIS addresses the potential environmental effects of the construction and operation of about 199.4 miles of pipeline composed of the following facilities:
- 185.9 miles of new 30- and 42-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline in Pennsylvania;
- 11.0 miles of new 36- and 42-inch-diameter pipeline looping in Pennsylvania;
- 2.5 miles of 30-inch-diameter replacements in Virginia; and
- associated equipment and facilities.
The project's proposed aboveground facilities include two new compressor stations in Pennsylvania; additional compression and related modifications to three existing compressor stations in Pennsylvania and Maryland; two new meter stations and three new regulator stations in Pennsylvania; and minor modifications at existing aboveground facilities at various locations in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, and South Carolina to allow for bi-directional flow and the installation of supplemental odorization, odor detection, and/or odor masking/deodorization equipment.
The FERC staff mailed copies of the final EIS to federal, state, and local government representatives and agencies; elected officials; environmental and public interest groups; Native American tribes; potentially affected landowners and other interested individuals and groups; newspapers and libraries in the project area; and parties to this proceeding. Paper copy versions of this EIS were mailed to those specifically requesting them; all others received a CD version. In addition, the final EIS is available for public viewing on the FERC's Web site (www.ferc.gov) using the eLibrary link. A limited number of copies are available for distribution and public inspection at: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Public Reference Room, 888 First Street NE., Room 2A, Washington, DC 20426, (202) 502-8371.
In accordance with the Council on Environmental Quality's (CEQ) regulations implementing NEPA, no agency decision on a proposed action may be made until 30 days after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency publishes a notice of availability of the final EIS in the Federal Register. However, the CEQ regulations provide an exception to this rule when an agency decision is subject to a formal internal appeal process that allows other agencies or the public to make their views known. In such cases, the agency decision may be made at the same time the notice of the final EIS is published, allowing both periods to run concurrently. The Commission decision for this proposed action is subject to a 30-day rehearing period.
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., CP15-138). 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; 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 that 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 Start Printed Page 2345by 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.
Dated: December 30, 2016.
Kimberly D. Bose,
[FR Doc. 2017-00073 Filed 1-6-17; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6717-01-P