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Notice

Venture Global Delta LNG, LLC and Venture Global Delta Express, LLC; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Planned Delta LNG and Delta Express Pipeline 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 Delta LNG and Delta Express Pipeline Project (Project) involving construction and operation of facilities by Venture Global Delta LNG, LLC and Venture Global Delta Express, LLC (collectively referred to as Delta LNG) in Plaquemines, Richland, Franklin, Catahoula, Concordia, Avoyelles, St. Landry, Pointe Coupee, West Baton Rouge, Iberville, Ascension, Assumption, Lafourche, and Jefferson Parishes, Louisiana. The Commission will use this EIS in its decision-making process to determine whether the Project is in the public interest and 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 an 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 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 August 29, 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 comments received during the preparation of the EIS.

If you sent comments on this Project to the Commission before the opening of this docket on April 30, 2019 you will need to file those comments in Docket No. PF19-4-000 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 pipeline easement agreement. You are not required to enter into an agreement. However, if the Commission approves the pipeline, 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 document 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 document 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 (PF19-4-000) 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 one of the public scoping Start Printed Page 38622sessions its staff will conduct in the Project area, scheduled as follows:

Date and timeLocation
Monday, August 12, 2019, 4:30-7:30 p.mBelle Chasse High School, 8346 Highway 23, Belle Chasse, LA.
Tuesday, August 13, 2019, 4:30-7:30 p.mDonaldsonville High School, 100 Tiger Drive, Donaldsonville, LA.
Wednesday, August 14, 2019, 4:30-7:30 p.mPointe Coupee Historical Society, Poydras Center, 500 West Main Street, New Roads, LA.
Thursday, August 15, 2019, 4:30-7:30 p.mJack Hammons Community Center, 810 Adams Street, Winnsboro, LA.

The primary goal of these scoping sessions 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.

Each scoping session is scheduled from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Central Time. You may arrive at any time after 4:30 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. Comments will be taken until 7:30 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 the last page of this notice 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 written comments mailed to the Commission and those submitted electronically are reviewed by staff with the same scrutiny and consideration as the verbal comments given at the public comment session. Therefore, you do not need to attend a meeting in order for your comments to be considered.

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 Delta LNG 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 2.

Summary of the Planned Project

The Project would involve the construction of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana and two parallel, 42-inch-diameter pipelines in a single approximately 283-mile-long right-of-way in 14 parishes in Louisiana. Domestically sourced natural gas would be transported by the Delta Express Pipeline to the Delta LNG terminal which would produce, store, and deliver up to 24 million tons per annum of LNG to LNG carriers for export overseas. More specifically, the Project would include the following facilities:

  • The Delta LNG export terminal, consisting of:

○ Pretreatment facilities;

○ a liquefaction plant with 18 integrated single-mixed refrigerant blocks and supporting facilities;

○ four 200,000-cubic-meter aboveground full-containment LNG storage tanks;

○ three LNG carrier loading docks within a common LNG carrier berthing area; and

○ two 720-megawatt air-cooled electric power generation facilities;

  • the Delta Express Pipeline, consisting of:

○ Two approximately 283-mile-long, 42-inch-diameter pipelines beginning in Richland Parish and ending at the Delta LNG export terminal;

○ 4 natural gas-fired compressor stations in Richland, Concordia, Pointe Coupee, and Lafourche Parishes;

○ 16 mainline block valves;

○ 4 pig launchers and receiver facilities; [2]

○ 2 metering and regulation stations; and

○ other pipeline-related facilities (e.g., access roads, contractor and pipe yards).

Delta LNG plans to construct the Project in two phases. Phase 1 at the LNG export terminal site would generally include one-half of the LNG processing and storage facilities, one-half of the electric power generation facilities, and two LNG carrier loading docks. Phase 1 of the Delta Express Pipeline would generally include one of the two planned natural gas transmission pipelines and all four planned compressor stations. Phase 2 of the Project would be based on market conditions and would include construction of the remaining facilities at the LNG export terminal, the second of the two planned natural gas transmission pipelines, and modifications to the four planned compressor stations. The EIS will disclose the environmental impacts of each phase of the Project as well as the total impacts of the Project at completion.

The general location of the Project facilities is shown in appendix 3.

Land Requirements for Construction

Construction and operation of the planned LNG terminal facilities would disturb about 500 acres. Construction of the planned pipeline facilities, including aboveground facilities, would disturb about 6,000 acres. Following construction of the pipeline facilities, Delta LNG would maintain about 2,744 acres for permanent operation of the pipeline Project; the remaining acreage would be restored and revert to former uses.

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, fisheries, and wildlife;Start Printed Page 38623
  • threatened and endangered species;
  • cultural resources;
  • land use;
  • socioeconomics;
  • 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 tribes, and the public on the Project's potential effects on historic properties.[5] The EIS for this Project will document our findings on the impacts on historic properties and summarize the status of consultations under section 106.

Currently Identified Environmental Issues

Commission staff have already identified several issues that deserve attention based on a preliminary review of the planned facilities and the environmental information provided by Delta LNG. This preliminary list of issues may change based on your comments and our analysis.

  • impacts on wetlands including coastal marsh and forested wetlands;
  • cumulative impacts on air quality, noise, wetlands, socioeconomic systems and other resources associated with construction and operation of the planned Delta LNG export terminal and the nearby proposed Plaquemines LNG export terminal and other large projects at various stages of planning in the region;
  • LNG terminal site alternatives;
  • Delta Express Pipeline route alternatives; and
  • alternative construction methods and workspace configurations that would avoid or reduce impacts.

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 4).

Becoming an Intervenor

Once Delta 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., PF19-4). 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.Start Printed Page 38624

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: July 30, 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.  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.  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. 2019-16861 Filed 8-6-19; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6717-01-P