[Federal Register Volume 60, Number 236 (Friday, December 8, 1995)]
[Notices]
[Pages 63032-63033]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 95-29915]



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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
[Docket No. CP96-89-000]


Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Corporation; Notice of Application

December 4, 1995.
    Take notice that on November 30, 1995, Transcontinental Gas Pipe 
Line Corporation (``Transco''), P.O. Box 1396, Houston, Texas 77251, 
filed in the above an abbreviated application pursuant to Section 7(c) 
and Section 7(b) of the Natural Gas Act and the Regulations of the 
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (``Commission'') for (1) a 
certificate of public convenience and necessity authorizing certain 
Tombigbee River replacement crossings and certain interconnections at 
that location for downstream delivery of gas to an industrial plant, 
and (2) an order permitting and approving the abandonment of existing 
facilities at the same location. For the reasons described herein, 
Transco requests a certificate and construction clearance by January 8, 
1996.
    Transco states that it has four pipelines across the Tombigbee 
River in Alabama 30-inch diameter Main Line A, 30-inch diameter Main 
Line B, 36-inch diameter Main Line C and 42-inch diameter Main Line D. 
This river crossing is 29.03 miles east of the location where Transco's 
system crosses the Mississippi-Alabama state line. At this location, 
the Tombigbee River forms the boundary between Choctaw and Marengo 
Counties, Alabama. Transco states that all gas produced onshore and 
offshore, Texas and Louisiana, onshore Mississippi and the Mobile Bay 
offshore Alabama area which moves on Transco's system to Transco's 
markets in the Deep South, Atlantic Seaboard and eastern markets flows 
through this Tombigbee River crossing.
    Transco states that because of chronic mass erosion of the river 
banks, Main Line C is exposed and subject to potential physical damage 
from boat and barge traffic. Main Line D is not yet exposed, but 
Transco is concerned that it will become exposed because of the 
continuing bank erosion.
    Transco states that it cannot perform these replacements pursuant 
to Section 2.55(b) of the Regulations because of the Commission's 
clarification of Section 2.55(b) in the order issued on May 12, 1994 in 
Arkla Energy Resources Company, Docket No. CP91-2069-000 (67 FERC para. 
61,173) (replacements outsides of existing right-of-way cannot be 
performed pursuant to Section 2.55(b)). Transco states that it is 
imperative that Transco complete the new crossings soon to ensure that 
gas from the production areas described above is able to flow to 
Transco's markets. Transco states that it proposes to install 
approximately 2,000 feet of new 36-inch diameter Main Line C by 
horizontal directional drilling under the Tombigbee River, at the 
location of its existing pipeline crossings of the Tombigbee River.\1\ 
The alignment of the new Main Line C will parallel Main Line B 
(installed in 1991 by horizontal directional drilling) with a spacing 
of approximately 75 feet to the south of Main Line B. Approximately 950 
feet of 36-inch diameter pipe will be conventionally installed by 
trenching from the entrance and exit of the bore and tied in to 
existing Main Line C.

    \1\ Transco states that directionally drilled pipelines under 
rivers are significantly more secure than the older pipelines which 
are installed by way of trenching the river bed. The 36-inch and 42-
inch pipeline crossings will be at an approximate depth of 45 feet 
beneath the Tombigbee River navigation channel.
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    Transco states that it also proposes to install approximately 2,300 
feet of new 42-inch diameter Main Line D by horizontal directional 
drilling under the Tombigbee River. Approximately 500 feet of 42-inch 
diameter pipe will be conventionally installed from the entrance and 
exit of the bore and tied in to existing Main Line D. The alignment of 
the Main Line D will parallel the new Main Line C with a spacing of 
approximately 75 feet to the south of Main Line C.
    Transco states that the proposed replacements will restore the 
long-term integrity of Transco's transmission system at the Tombigbee 
River crossings. Since 36-inch and 42-inch diameter crossings are being 
replaced by identical 36-inch and 42-inch diameter crossings, system 
capacity across the Tombigbee River will remain unchanged at 33,639,606 
MCFD. The existing shallow, conventionally installed Main Lines C and D 
at this location will be retired--portions by removal and portions in 
place.
    The cost of installation of new Main Line C is estimated to be 
$2,029,007, and the cost of installation of new Main Line D is 
estimated to be $2,925,170.
    It is stated that Transco needs to replace Main Line C as soon as 
possible because of its vulnerable condition. Coming quickly 
thereafter, Transco plans to replace Main Line D beginning in May 1996 
because of Transco's concern that its condition could rapidly worsen.
    Transco states that issuance of a certificate to Transco and 
construction clearance by January 8 is justified for two reasons: (1) 
the above-described need for security of gas service to Transco's 
market areas, and (2) the de minimis impact on the environment of the 
crossing project (as described below). With respect to the environment, 
Transco states that the following are the significant points:
    1. On the east side of the river (where the drilling rig will be 
set up) temporary 

[[Page 63033]]
work space will occupy 8.82 acres. Of this east side work space only 
0.54 acre is presently forested (0.25 acres is forested wetland). The 
remainder of the work space on the east side is located either on 
existing permanent right-of-way or in a cultivated field, both of which 
have previously been cleared.
    On the west side of the river (where crossing segment fabrication 
and pre-testing will occur) temporary work space will occupy 22.94 
acres. Of this west side work space only 3.12 acres is presently 
forested (2.56 acres is forested wetland). The remainder of the work 
space on the west side is located either on existing permanent right-
of-way or in a cultivated field, both of which have previously been 
cleared.
    In summary, areas requiring additional clearing for the 
installation of Main Lines C and D are relatively minor. Of these 
additional cleared areas only 3.66 acres are forested and of those only 
2.81 acres are forested wetland.
    2. Clearance has been received with respect to endangered/
threatened species from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Alabama 
Natural Heritage Program provided Transco with a list of candidate and 
protected species within the general area of the project. Transco 
evaluated this list in the context of the project to ensure that the 
project will not impact these species; the evaluation verified that the 
project will not impact these species.
    3. Clearance has been received from the Alabama State Historical 
Preservation Officer (``SHPO'') with respect to cultural resources 
related to the project area. There is a known archaeological site on 
the east bank of the Tombigbee River to the north of the project area 
that will not be impacted by this project; thus, the SHPO has no 
concern with regard to this site. Transco has contacted several Native 
American groups. Transco states that it does not consider in situ 
replacement a practical option because such conventional replacement 
would be subject to the same erosive forces of the river.
    4. Transco states that the proposed installation and removals will 
improve the visual or aesthetic value of the river banks at the 
Tombigbee River crossing by allowing native revegetation and dynamics 
of the river to control the natural succession of the banks at the 
crossing. Transco will implement measures to restore and stabilize the 
construction work spaces and abandoned rights-of-way.
    Therefore, Transco states that in view of (1) the essential need 
for the Tombigbee River crossings to be able to move gas from Transco's 
production areas to Transco's market areas, and (2) the de minimis 
environmental impact of such project, Transco requests the Commission 
to issue a certificate and construction clearance by January 8, 1996 so 
that security of the Tombigbee River crossings can be assured as soon 
as possible. By this application, Transco also seeks authorization to 
abandon in place and by removal the portions of its Main Lines C and D 
at the Tombigbee River which will be replaced. Gas transmission across 
the Tombigbee River will be unaffected by these abandonments. The cost 
of the Line C removal work is estimated to be $140,000. The cost of the 
Line D removal work is estimated to be $201,540.
    It is further stated that on the west bank at the location of the 
Tombigbee River crossings, Transco has interconnections on Main Lines C 
and D that enable gas to flow into a meter and regulator (M&R) station 
for downstream delivery to a plant owned by American Can Company 
(``American Can''), which is north of the crossings on the west bank. 
As a result of the replacements of Lines C and D, as above described, a 
reconfiguration of the American Can interconnections will be necessary. 
One new interconnection with the M&R station will involve conventional 
installation of approximately 1,200 feet of 4-inch diameter pipe from 
the M&R station west to a tap on the new segment of Line C. This will 
effectuate delivery of gas from of Line C to the M&R station. A second 
new interconnection will involve conventional installation of 
approximately 30 feet of 4-inch diameter pipe from a new tap on Line D 
to a tee near the western terminus of the above-described 1,200-foot 4-
inch line. This will effectuate delivery of gas from Line D to the M&R 
station.
    The estimated cost of installation of the 1,200-foot line is 
$154,718. The estimated cost of installation of the 30-foot line is 
$83,924.
    By this application, Transco also seeks authorization to abandon by 
removal the interconnections between existing Main Lines C and D and 
the M&R station. Gas supply to the American Can plant will be 
unaffected by these abandonments. The estimated cost of removal of the 
interconnection between Main Line C and the M&R station is $5,000. The 
estimated cost of removal of the interconnection between Main Line D 
and the M&R station is $12,000.
    Any person desiring to be heard or to make any protest with 
reference to said application should on or before December 14 1995, 
file with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 
20426, a motion to intervene or a protest 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 Natural Gas Act 
(18 157.10). All protests filed with the Commission will be considered 
by it in determining the appropriate action to be taken, but will not 
serve to make the protestants parties to the proceedings. Any person 
wishing to become a party to a proceeding or to participate as a party 
in any hearing therein must file a motion to intervene in accordance 
with the Commission's Rules.
    Take further notice that, pursuant to the authority contained in 
and subject to the jurisdiction conferred upon the Federal Energy 
Regulatory Commission by Sections 7 and 15 of the Natural Gas Act and 
Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure, a hearing will be held 
without further notice before the Commission or its designee on this 
application if not motion to intervene is filed within the time 
required herein, if the Commission on its own review of the matter 
finds that a grant of the certificate is required by the public 
convenience and necessity. If a motion for leave to intervene is timely 
filed, or if the Commission on its own motion believes that a formal 
hearing is required, further notice of such hearing will be duly given.
    Under the procedure herein provided for, unless otherwise advised, 
it will be unnecessary for Transco to appear or be represented at the 
hearing.
Lois D. Cashell,
Secretary.
[FR Doc. 95-29915 Filed 12-7-95; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6717-01-M