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Notice

Southern Natural Gas Company, LLC; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Proposed Fairburn Expansion Project and 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 Fairburn Expansion Project involving construction and operation of facilities by Southern Natural Gas Company, LLC (Southern) in Clayton, Cobb, Fayette, Fulton, and Monroe Counties, Georgia. 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 April 19, 2017.

If you sent comments on this project to the Commission before the opening of this docket on February 3, 2017, you will need to file those comments in Docket No. CP17-46-000 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 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.

Southern 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 Start Printed Page 15052viewing on the FERC Web site (www.ferc.gov).

Public Participation

For your convenience, there are three methods you can use to submit your comments to the Commission. The Commission encourages electronic filing of comments and has expert staff available to assist you at (202) 502-8258 or efiling@ferc.gov. 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 (CP17-46-000) with your submission: Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426.

Summary of the Proposed Project

Southern proposes to provide approximately 343 million cubic feet per day of new firm transportation capacity to delivery points in Southern's Zone 2 and Zone 3 systems from a new interconnection with an existing Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company pipeline in Fayette County, Georgia. Southern plans to begin construction of the project in early 2018 for an anticipated in-service date of October 2018. The Fairburn Expansion project would include the following facilities:

  • One new 4.9-mile-long 30-inch-diameter Fairburn Lateral from the Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Company interconnect in Fayette County, Georgia, to the proposed Fairburn Compressor Station in Fulton County, Georgia;
  • one 1.6-mile-long 30-inch-diameter South Main 2nd Loop Line Extension looping [1] along with pig [2] receiver from mileposts (MP) 373.6 to 375.2 on Southern's existing South Main Line System in Monroe County, Georgia;
  • acquisition of the 19.7-mile-long 30-inch-diameter McDonough Lateral that extends from Southern's existing SNG-to-McDonough Meter Station in Fulton County, Georgia to the proposed Plant McDonough Meter Station in Cobb County, Georgia;
  • a new Plant McDonough Meter Station in Cobb County, Georgia, a SNG-to-McDonough Meter Station modification in Fulton County, Georgia; and a new UPS Meter Station in Fulton County, Georgia, all located on the McDonough Lateral;
  • one new Transco-to-SNG Meter Station with pig launcher in Fayette County, Georgia,
  • one new 18,000-horsepower electric Fairburn Compressor Station with pig receiver in Fulton County, Georgia; and
  • modification of the Jonesboro Meter Station in Clayton County, Georgia.

A map depicting the general location of the project facilities is included in appendix 1.[3]

Land Requirements for Construction

Southern proposes to use 170 acres of land for construction of the project, and would retain 59 acres of new permanent right-of-way for operations. The Fairburn Lateral would require 65 acres for construction, comprised of 34 acres of temporary right-of-way to be restored and allowed to revert to former uses, and 31 acres of new permanent right-of-way retained for operations. The South Main 2nd Loop Line Extension would require 21 acres for construction, comprised of 16 acres of temporary right-of-way and 5 acres of new permanent right-of-way. The Fairburn Compressor Station would require 28 acres for construction, comprised of 13 acres of temporary workspace and 15 acres of new permanent operational workspace. The five meter stations would require 4.3 acres for construction and Columbia would retain all of this acreage within its proposed permanent pipeline right-of-way for operations. Columbia would require six new permanent access roads totaling 4.5 acres for construction and operation. Columbia would require 8.5 acres of temporary access roads and three contractor yards totaling 39 acres for construction, all of which would revert to previous use following construction.

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 [4] 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;
  • water resources, fisheries, and wetlands;
  • cultural resources;
  • vegetation, wildlife, threatened and endangered species, and migratory birds;
  • land use and socioeconomics;
  • air quality and noise;
  • public safety; and
  • cumulative impacts.

We will also evaluate reasonable alternatives to the 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 2.

With this notice, we are asking agencies with jurisdiction by law and/Start Printed Page 15053or special expertise with respect to the environmental issues of this project to formally cooperate with us in the preparation of the EA.[5] 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 has expressed intention to participate as a cooperating agency in the preparation of the EA to satisfy its 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 applicable State Historic Preservation Office (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.[6] We will define the project-specific Area of Potential Effects (APE) in consultation with the SHPO 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.

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 proposed project.

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 “Document-less Intervention Guide” under the “e-filing” link on the Commission's Web site. Motions to intervene are more fully described at http://www.ferc.gov/​resources/​guides/​how-to/​intervene.asp.

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., CP17-46). 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/​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: March 20, 2017.

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.  A “pig” is a tool that the pipeline company inserts into and pushes through the pipeline for cleaning the pipeline, conducting internal inspections, or other purposes.

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3.  The appendices referenced in this notice are not being printed 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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4.  “We,” “us,” and “our” refer to the environmental staff of the Commission's Office of Energy Projects.

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5.  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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6.  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. 2017-05844 Filed 3-23-17; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6717-01-P