[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 135 (Monday, July 15, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 42062-42064]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-16850]


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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

[Docket No. CP13-477-000]


Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC; Notice of Intent to Prepare an 
Environmental Assessment and Request for Comments on Environmental 
Issues for the Proposed Smithfield III Expansion Project

    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 Smithfield III Expansion 
Project (Project) involving construction and operation of aboveground 
facilities by Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC (Columbia) in Greene and 
Washington Counties, Pennsylvania; and Monongalia, Wetzel, Gilmer, 
Roane, and Kanawha Counties, West Virginia. 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. Your input will help the Commission staff 
determine what issues they need to evaluate in the EA. Please note that 
the scoping period will close on August 7, 2013.
    Comments on the Project may be submitted in written form or 
electronically, as described in the Public Participation section of 
this notice. This notice is being sent to the Commission's current 
environmental mailing for this Project. State and local government 
representatives are asked to 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.
    Columbia 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 Web site (www.ferc.gov).

Summary of the Proposed Project

    Columbia states that the Project would increase its transportation 
capacity by 444 MDth per day.
    The Project would consist of the following facilities:
     New compressor station (Redd Farm Compressor Station) on 
Columbia's existing Line 1570 in Washington County, PA.
     Modifications at the Hero-Jollytown Valve Setting which 
would involve a new regulation setting;
     Modifications to the Smithfield Compressor Station 
consisting of upgrades to the existing reciprocating engine/compressor 
building ventilation systems, existing gas coolers, and installation of 
new gas coolers;
     Modifications to the Glenville Compressor Station by 
installing two gas-fired turbines, each rated at 7,800 horsepower (HP), 
and other auxiliary equipment; and
     Modifications at the Pigeon Valve Setting by removing and 
replacing the crossover piping and valve to enable gas to flow south.

The general location of the Project facilities is shown in Appendix 
1.\1\
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    \1\ The appendices referenced in this notice will not appear 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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Land Requirements for Construction

    Construction of the proposed facilities would disturb about 17.6 
acres of land including the temporary workspace areas for all 
aboveground facility sites. With the exception of the construction of 
the Redd Farm compressor Station, Columbia would utilize areas within 
the fenced boundaries of the existing facilities for materials staging 
and construction activities, or previously cleared land immediately 
adjacent to these facilities.

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

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whenever it considers the issuance of a Certificate of Public 
Convenience and Necessity. NEPA also requires us \2\ 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.
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    \2\ ``We,'' ``us,'' and ``our'' refer to the environmental staff 
of the Commission's Office of Energy Projects.
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    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;
     Land use;
     Water resources, fisheries, and wetlands;
     Cultural resources;
     Vegetation and wildlife;
     Air quality and noise;
     Endangered and threatened species;
     Cumulative impacts; and
     Public safety.
    We 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 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 recommendation 
to the Commission. To ensure your comments are considered, please 
carefully follow the instructions in the Public Participation section 
beginning on page 4.
    With this notice, we are asking agencies with jurisdiction by law 
and/or special expertise with respect to the environmental issues of 
this project to formally cooperate with us in the preparation of the 
EA.\3\ 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.
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    \3\ The Council on Environmental Quality regulations addressing 
cooperating agency responsibilities are at Title 40, Code of Federal 
Regulations, Sec.  1501.6.
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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.\4\ 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.
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    \4\ 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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Public Participation

    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. The more specific 
your comments, the more useful they will be. 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 August 
7, 2013.
    For your convenience, there are three methods which you can use to 
submit your comments to the Commission. In all instances please 
reference the project docket number (CP13-477-000) with your 
submission. The Commission encourages electronic filing of comments and 
has expert staff available to assist you at (202) 502-8258 or 
efiling@ferc.gov.
    (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 interested persons to 
submit brief, text-only comments on a project;
    (2) You can file your comments electronically 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.'' You must select the type of filing you are making. If 
you are filing a comment on a particular project, please select 
``Comment on a Filing''; or
    (3) You can file a paper copy of your comments by mailing them to 
the following address: Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary, Federal Energy 
Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Room 1A, Washington, DC 
20426.

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 the EA is published for distribution, 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 User's Guide under the ``e-filing'' link on the Commission's Web 
site.

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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., CP13-
477). 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 now 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/esubscribenow.htm.
    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.

    Dated: July 9, 2013.
Kimberly D. Bose,
Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2013-16850 Filed 7-12-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6717-01-P