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 Sabine Pass Compression Project (Project); involving the construction and operation of facilities by Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America, LLC (Natural) in Cameron Parish, Louisiana. 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 about issues regarding the Project. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires the Commission to take into account the environmental impacts that could result from its action whenever it considers the issuance of a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. NEPA also requires the Commission to discover 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. To ensure that your comments are timely and properly recorded, please submit your comments so that the Start Printed Page 32115Commission receives them in Washington, DC on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on August 2, 2018.
You can make a difference by submitting 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. Commission staff will consider all filed comments during the preparation of the EA.
If you sent comments on this project to the Commission before the opening of this docket on May 18, 2018, you will need to file those comments in Docket No. CP18-487-000 to ensure they are considered as part of this proceeding.
This notice is being sent to the Commission's current environmental mailing list for the 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 easement agreement. You are not required to enter into an agreement. However, if the Commission approves the project, that approval conveys with it the right of eminent domain. Therefore, if you and the company do not reach an easement agreement, the pipeline company could initiate condemnation proceedings in court. In such instances, compensation would be determined by a judge in accordance with state law.
Natural 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 website (www.ferc.gov).
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 staff available to assist you at (866) 208-3676 or FercOnlineSupport@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, which is located on the Commission's website (www.ferc.gov) under the link to Documents and Filings. Using eComment 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, which is located on the Commission's website (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 will be asked to select the type of filing you are making; a comment on a particular project is considered a “Comment on a Filing”; 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 CP18-487-000 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
The Project is designed to provide 400,000 dekatherms per day (Dth/day) of natural gas on a firm basis for delivery to Sabine Pass Liquefaction, LLC (SPL) Terminal, and provide a level of increased operational flexibility on Natural's system.
The Project would consist of the following facilities:
- A new gas-fired compressor station (CS 348) with a 22,490 horsepower (hp) turbine and necessary auxiliary equipment;
- new 36-inch suction and discharge pipelines and interconnections from CS 348 to the existing Louisiana Line Nos. 1 and 2 and existing Natural Lateral; and
- modifications to allow for remote operation of Natural's existing X-L8E South Valve located approximately 61 miles northeast of CS 348 along existing Louisiana Line Nos. 1 and 2 at approximate milepost (MP) 154.
The general location of the project facilities is shown in appendix 1.
Land Requirements for Construction
Constructing the proposed facilities would require the use of about 24.3 acres in Cameron Parish, Louisiana. Following construction, Natural would maintain 3.3 acres for permanent operation of the Project's facilities. Natural proposes to utilize two contractor/staging yards, requiring a total of 11 acres, during construction of the Project. Natural would restore the contractor/staging yards to pre-existing conditions following activities, resulting in no permanent impacts. To access the Project workspaces and facilities during construction and operations, Natural would utilize existing roads to the extent practicable. Natural proposes to utilize five access roads, requiring a total of 4 acres, during construction of the Project facilities. Four access roads (Access Roads 1, 2, 4, and 5) proposed to be used for the Project are located along existing gravel roads. Access Road 3 is not located along an existing road. Following the completion of construction, areas impacted by Access Road 3 would be restored to pre-construction conditions. Natural proposes to permanently expand Access Road 2 by 0.1 acre and maintain this area to accommodate access to CS 348 during operations.
The EA Process
The EA would 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;
- public safety; and
- cumulative impacts.
Commission staff 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 would present Commission staffs' 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, the Commission may also publish and distribute the EA to the public for an allotted comment period. Commission Start Printed Page 32116staff will consider all comments on the EA before making recommendations to the Commission. To ensure Commission staff have the opportunity to address your comments, please carefully follow the instructions in the Public Participation section, beginning on page 2.
With this notice, the Commission is asking agencies with jurisdiction by law and/or special expertise with respect to the environmental issues of this Project to formally cooperate 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.
Consultation 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, the Commission is are using this notice to initiate consultation with the 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.
Commission staff 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). The EA for this project will document 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. Commission staff will update the environmental mailing list as the analysis proceeds to ensure that information related to this environmental review is sent to all individuals, organizations, and government entities interested in and/or potentially affected by the proposed project.
If the Commission publishes and distributes the EA, 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 a CD version or would like to remove your name from the mailing list, please return the attached “Mailing List Update Form” (appendix 2).
Additional information about the project is available from the Commission's Office of External Affairs, at (866) 208-FERC, or on the FERC website at www.ferc.gov using the “eLibrary” link. Click on the eLibrary link, click on “General Search” and enter the docket number in the “Docket Number” field, excluding the last three digits (i.e., CP18-487-000). Be sure you have selected an appropriate date range. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at FercOnlineSupport@ferc.gov or (866) 208-3676, or for TTY, contact (202) 502-8659. The eLibrary link also provides access to the texts of all 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 sessions 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 3, 2018.
Kimberly D. Bose,
[FR Doc. 2018-14777 Filed 7-10-18; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6717-01-P