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Notice

Pointe LNG, LLC and Pointe Pipeline Company, LLC; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Planned Pointe LNG Project, Request for Comments on Environmental Issues, and Notice of Public Scoping Session

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The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) will prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) that will discuss the environmental impacts of the Pointe LNG Project (Project) involving construction and operation of facilities by Pointe LNG, LLC and Pointe Pipeline Company, LLC (collectively Pointe LNG) in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana. The Commission will use this EIS in its decision-making process to determine whether the project is in the public interest.

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 authorization. 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 EIS on the important environmental issues. By this notice, the Commission requests public comments on the scope of the issues to address in the EIS. To ensure that your comments are timely and properly recorded, please submit your comments so that the Commission receives them in Washington, DC on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on March 7, 2019.

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 EIS. Commission staff will consider all filed comments during the preparation of the EIS.

If you sent comments on this project to the Commission before the opening of this docket on September 14, 2018, you will need to file those comments in Docket No. PF18-8-000 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 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.

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 website (www.ferc.gov) at https://www.ferc.gov/​resources/​guides/​gas/​gas.pdf. 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.

Public Participation

The Commission offers a free service called eSubscription which makes it easy to stay informed of all issuances and submittals regarding the dockets/projects to which you subscribe. These instant email notifications are the fastest way to receive notification and provide a link to the document files which can reduce the amount of time you spend researching proceedings. To sign up go to www.ferc.gov/​docs-filing/​esubscription.asp.

For your convenience, there are four 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 (PF18-8-000) 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 comments, the Commission invites you to attend the public scoping session its staff will conduct in the project area, scheduled as follows:

Date and timeLocation
Tuesday, February 19, 2019, 5:00 p.m.-8:00 p.mPercy Griffin Community Center, 15577 Highway 15, Davant, Louisiana 70040, (504) 934-6285.

The primary goal of the scoping session is to have you identify the specific environmental issues and concerns that should be considered in the EIS. 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.

The scoping session is scheduled from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Central Time. You may arrive at any time after 5:00 p.m. There will not be a formal presentation by Commission staff when Start Printed Page 3439the session opens. If you wish to speak, the Commission staff will hand out numbers in the order of your arrival. Comments will be taken until 8:00 p.m. However, if no additional numbers have been handed out and all individuals who wish to provide comments have had an opportunity to do so, staff may conclude the session at 7:00 p.m. Please see appendix 1 for additional information on the session format and conduct.[1]

Your scoping comments will be recorded by a 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 the Commission provides equal consideration to all comments received, whether filed in written form or provided verbally at a scoping session. Although there will not be a formal presentation, Commission staff will be available throughout the scoping session to answer your questions about the environmental review process. Representatives from Pointe LNG will also be present to answer project-specific questions.

Summary of the Planned Project

Pointe LNG plans to construct a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility on the east bank (left descending bank) of the Mississippi River near river mile 46 in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana. The site covers an area of approximately 600 acres, with approximately 6,500 feet of frontage on the Mississippi River. Pointe LNG has acquired this property under long-term leases with options to purchase. The Pointe LNG Project would also include two gas supply pipeline laterals for a total of approximately 6.6 miles of supply pipeline. The Project would be developed to liquefy domestic natural gas for export to foreign markets as LNG.

The Project would be sited, constructed and operated pursuant to Section 3 of the Natural Gas Act (15 United States Code 717b). The Project would consist of three liquefaction trains, with each train having a capacity of 2.0 metric tonnes per annum (MTPA). The total annual capacity of the Project would be approximately 6.0 MTPA. The Pointe LNG Project would consist of the following facilities:

  • Natural gas pre-treatment systems;
  • a liquefaction facility;
  • a mixed refrigerant system;
  • a boil-off gas recovery system;
  • a propane refrigeration compressor;
  • a nitrogen system;
  • LNG storage;
  • LNG storage tank protection systems;
  • a marine loading terminal;
  • electric power generation; and
  • approximately 6.6 miles of 36-inch-diameter natural gas supply laterals (the Northern and Southern Pipelines).

The general location of the project facilities is shown in appendix 2.[2]

Land Requirements for Construction

The LNG export terminal would be constructed on the 600 acre site, of which approximately 195 acres would be developed with terminal facilities and about 1,640 feet of river frontage would be used for marine berth and loading facilities. The planned Northern and Southern Pipelines would be 3.2 and 3.4 miles long, respectively. Pointe LNG currently plans to use a 150-foot-wide or less construction right-of-way to install the pipelines, and would maintain a permanent easement of 50 feet centered on each pipeline. The remaining acreage would be restored and would revert to former usage.

The EIS Process

The EIS 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;
  • water resources and wetlands;
  • vegetation and wildlife;
  • threatened and endangered species;
  • cultural resources;
  • socioeconomics;
  • land use;
  • air quality and noise;
  • public safety; and
  • cumulative impacts.

Commission staff 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, Commission staff have already initiated a 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 Commission receives an application. As part of the pre-filing review, Commission staff will contact federal and state agencies to discuss their involvement in the scoping process and the preparation of the EIS.

The EIS will present Commission staffs' independent analysis of the issues. The draft EIS will be available in electronic format in the public record through eLibrary [3] and the Commission's website (https://www.ferc.gov/​industries/​gas/​enviro/​eis.asp). If eSubscribed, you will receive instant email notification when the draft EIS is issued. The draft EIS will be issued for an allotted public comment period. After the comment period on the draft EIS, Commission staff will consider all timely comments and revise the document, as necessary, before issuing a final EIS. To ensure Commission staff 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, the Commission is asking agencies with jurisdiction by law and/or special expertise with respect to the environmental issues related to this project to formally cooperate in the preparation of the EIS.[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.

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 using this notice to initiate consultation with the applicable State Historic Preservation Office(s), and to solicit their views and those of other government agencies, interested Indian Start Printed Page 3440tribes, and the public on the project's potential effects on historic properties.[5] Commission staff 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). The EIS 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. Commission staff will update the environmental mailing list as the analysis proceeds to ensure that Commission notices related to this environmental review are sent to all individuals, organizations, and government entities interested in and/or potentially affected by the planned project.

A Notice of Availability of the draft EIS will be sent to the environmental mailing list and will provide instructions to access the electronic document on the FERC's website (www.ferc.gov). If you need to make changes to your name/address, or if you would like to remove your name from the mailing list, please return the attached “Mailing List Update Form” (appendix 3).

Becoming an Intervenor

Once Pointe LNG files its application with the Commission, you may want to become an “intervenor” which is an official party to the Commission's proceeding. Only intervenors have the right to seek rehearing of the Commission's decision 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 pursuant to Rule 214 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedures (18 CFR 385.214). Motions to intervene are more fully described at http://www.ferc.gov/​resources/​guides/​how-to/​intervene.asp. 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, after which the Commission will issue a public notice that establishes an intervention deadline.

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 website (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., PF18-8). 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 all formal documents issued by the Commission, such as orders, notices, and rulemakings.

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.

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Dated: February 5, 2019.

Kimberly D. Bose,

Secretary.

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Footnotes

1.  The appendices referenced in this notice will not appear in the Federal Register. Copies of the 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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2.  The appendices referenced in this notice will not appear in the Federal Register. Copies of the 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.  For instructions on connecting to eLibrary, refer to the last page of this notice.

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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 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. 2019-02000 Filed 2-11-19; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6717-01-P