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Notice

Port Arthur Pipeline, LLC; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Proposed Louisiana Connector Amendment 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 assessment (EA) that will discuss the environmental impacts of Start Printed Page 7986the Louisiana Connector Amendment Project (Project) involving construction and operation of facilities by Port Arthur Pipeline, LLC (PAPL) in Beauregard 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 issues to address in the EA. 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 6, 2020.

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 December 9, 2019, you will need to file those comments in Docket No. CP20-21-000 to ensure they are considered as part of this proceeding. If you have already filed comments in Docket No. CP20-21-000, you do not need to file those comments again.

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 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.

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

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”;

(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 (CP20-21-000) with your submission: Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE, Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426;

(4) Newly affected landowners wishing to obtain legal status by becoming a party to the proceeding for this project should, on or before the comment date (March 6, 2020), file with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20426, a motion to intervene in accordance with the requirements of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.214 or 385.211) and the Regulations under the NGA (18 CFR 157.10). A person obtaining party status will be placed on the service list maintained by the Secretary of the Commission and will receive copies of all documents filed by the applicant and by all other parties. A party must submit 3 copies of filings made with the Commission and must provide a copy to the applicant and to every other party in the proceeding. Only parties to the proceeding can ask for court review of Commission orders in the proceeding; or

(5) 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
Wednesday, March 4, 2020, 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Central TimeSouth Beauregard Recreation District Community Center, 6719 Highway 12, Ragley, LA 70657, 337-725-3717.
Please note that staff may conclude the session at 6:30 p.m. if all attendees planning to provide comments have done so.
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The primary goal of the scoping session is to have you identify the specific environmental issues and concerns that should be considered in the EA. 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 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Central Time. You may arrive any time at or after 4:00 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 7:00 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 6:30 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 3 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 PAPL will also be present to answer Project-specific questions.

Summary of the Proposed Project

PAPL proposes to amend its April 18, 2019 Order Issuing Certificate for the Louisiana Connector Project (CP18-7-000) by constructing and operating a compressor station in Beauregard Parish, Louisiana (the Beauregard Parish Compressor Station or BPCS) in lieu of the compressor station previously certificated in Allen Parish, Louisiana. The compressor station proposed for this Project would be constructed as part of the Louisiana Connector Project.

In its December 9, 2019 Amendment Application, PAPL proposed to locate the BPCS within the previously certificated Beauregard Parish Contractor Yard (LYBEA-01) and workspace associated with pipeline construction at milepost (MP) 72.3. However, on January 31, 2020, PAPL filed to relocate the new BPCS site approximately 0.75 mile south of Gaytine Road, to a location adjacent to and west-southwest of Cameron Interstate Pipeline, LLC's existing Ragley Compressor Station.[2] The proposed site would be approximately 2,750 feet directly south of the initially proposed BPCS location described in PAPL's December 9, 2019 Amendment Application. The new location for the BPCS would be south of and adjacent to the main pipeline corridor and would use the same mainline connection and interconnect location points near MP 72.3 as previously proposed.

As part of the Project, PAPL would:

  • Relocate the previously authorized compressor station consisting of four Solar Titan 130E gas turbine driven compressors in Allen Parish from MP 96.1, to MP 72.3 in Beauregard Parish, increasing horsepower from 89,900 to 93,880;
  • relocate an interconnect with the Texas Eastern Transmission Company from MP 96.1 to MP 72.3;
  • relocate pig launcher/receiver facilities from MP 96.1 to MP 72.3;
  • construct three new pipeline interconnections with Cameron Intrastate Pipeline, Transcontinental Gas Pipeline, and Louisiana Storage at MP 72.3;
  • construct one new mainline block valve at MP 72.3, resulting in a total of 10 mainline valves on the Louisiana Connector Project; and
  • use the former Allen Parish compressor station site at MP 96.1 as a contractor yard.

The Project facilities would result in a slight increase in the overall capacity of feed gas to the approved Port Arthur Liquefaction facility from approximately 1.98 to 2.05 billion cubic feet per day. The Project would allow gas from additional sources to supply the liquefaction facility.

The general location of the Project facilities is shown in appendix 2.

Land Requirements for Construction

The Project facilities would disturb approximately 59.9 acres, all of which would be permanently maintained as aboveground facilities or right-of-way.

The EA Process

The EA 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 and wetlands;
  • vegetation and wildlife;
  • threatened and endangered species;
  • socioeconomics;
  • cultural resources;
  • land use;
  • air quality and noise;
  • alternatives;
  • 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 will present Commission staffs' independent analysis of the issues. The EA 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 EA is issued. The EA may be issued for an allotted public comment period. Commission staff 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.[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 Start Printed Page 7988implementing regulations for section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, the Commission is using this notice to initiate consultation with the Louisiana State Historic Preservation Office, and to solicit its views and those of other government agencies, interested Indian tribes, and the public on the Project's potential effects on historic properties.[5] The EA for this Project will document 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 proposed facilities; the environmental information provided by PAPL; and comments already received, as listed below. This preliminary list of issues may change based on your comments and our analysis.

  • Alternative compressor station locations
  • Traffic on Gaytine Road
  • Impact on property values
  • Proposed developments near the compressor station
  • Cumulative 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 proposed Project.

If the Commission issues the EA for an allotted public comment period, a Notice of Availability of the EA 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).

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 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., CP20-21). 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.

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, 2020.

Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr.,

Deputy 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.  Newly affected landowners have an opportunity to file for timely intervention during this scoping period, which ends on March 6, 2020.

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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'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. 2020-02822 Filed 2-11-20; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6717-01-P