[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 87 (Friday, May 4, 2012)]
[Pages 26539-26541]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-10783]



Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

[Docket No. CP12-6-000]

El Paso Natural Gas Company; Supplemental Notice of Intent To 
Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Proposed Willcox Lateral 
2013 Expansion Project and Request for Comments on Environmental Issues

    As previously noticed on December 2, 2011, and supplemented herein, 
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 Willcox Lateral 2013 Expansion 
Project (Project) proposed by El Paso Natural Gas Company (EPNG). The 
Project involves modification, construction, and operation of certain 
meter, compressor, and lateral facilities in Cochise County, Arizona to 
accommodate a proposed increase in the maximum allowable operating 
pressure (MAOP) of the Willcox Lateral. The Commission will use the EA 
in its decision-making process to determine whether the Project is in 
the public convenience and necessity.
    Since issuance of the Commission's initial notice of intent (NOI) 
for the Project, EPNG has determined that additional modifications are 
necessary to operate the Willcox Lateral at the proposed increase in 
MAOP and has identified 21 public road crossings where replacement with 
thicker-walled pipe would be required. In addition, EPNG would install 
Over Pressure Protection (OPP) at the Line 2163/2164 Bifurcation 
Facility and limit the downstream facilities to an MAOP of 1219 pounds 
per square inch gauge. EPNG states the replacements are required to 
comply with the Pipeline Hazardous Material Safety Administration 
design factor requirements for public road crossings as codified in 49 
Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 192.111(b)(1) and (2).
    This Supplemental NOI addresses these changes and announces the 
opening of a scoping period 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 need to be evaluated in 
the EA. Please note that the scoping period will close on May 30, 2012.
    Further details on how to submit written comments are in the Public 
Participation section of this notice.
    This notice is being sent to the Commission's current environmental 
mailing list for the entire Project. The mailing list includes the 
affected 28 landowners of the 21 public roads crossings where 
replacement with thicker-walled pipe would be required. EPNG has 
notified these landowners affected by the road crossing replacements. 
State and local government representatives should notify their 
constituents of this proposed Project and encourage them to comment on 
their areas of concern.
    EPNG 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

    The Project involves the modification of EPNG's existing pipeline 
system and installation of new facilities in Cochise County, Arizona 
     A new 400-foot-long, 16-inch-diameter lateral pipeline to 
connect the Douglas Meter Station to EPNG's existing Line No. 2164;
     Replacement of compressor modules and station yard piping 
at the existing Willcox Compressor Station;

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     Expansion of the existing Douglas Meter Station by 
installing updated flow control and pressure regulation equipment;
     Replacement of the existing two 8-inch orifice meters with 
two 8-inch ultrasonic meters to increase the capacity at the El Fresnal 
Meter Station; and
     Replacement of existing pipeline at 21 existing public 
road crossings along the Project route with thicker-walled pipe and 
installation of OPP at the Bifurcation Facility.

Land Requirements for Construction

    Total ground disturbance activities associated with pipeline 
replacement at the 21 public road crossings would affect approximately 
24.51 acres of land located on private property and lands administered 
by the Arizona State Land Department and the Bureau of Land Management. 
EPNG proposes to use the existing line Nos. 2163 and 2164 50-foot 
permanent right-of-way and additional temporary workspace at each of 
the identified road crossing locations. Pipeline replacement segments 
would vary in length from 75 to 175 feet, and would be installed using 
traditional open cut or non-intrusive methods, such as a bore or pull. 
All ground disturbances related to the proposed construction activities 
would be temporary in nature. No new access roads or expansion of 
existing roads would be required for replacement activities. Figure 1 
identifies the proposed activity locations for all road crossing sites.
    EPNG proposes to utilize the existing Bifurcation Facility located 
at milepost 61.4 for staging of construction equipment, pipe 
fabrication storage, and construction work space for the installation 
of the OPP equipment. Approximately 1.1 acres of temporary workspace/
staging is proposed at the existing location.

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 whenever it considers the issuance of a 
Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. The NEPA also requires 
us \1\ 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 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.

    \1\ ``We'', ``us'', and ``our'' refer to the environmental staff 
of the Commission's Office of Energy Projects.

    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 and recreation;
     Water resources, fisheries, and wetlands;
     Cultural resources;
     Vegetation and wildlife;
     Air quality and noise; 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 (FERC's records 
information system, see the Additional Information section of this 
Notice). To ensure we have the opportunity to consider and address your 
comments, please carefully follow the instructions in the Public 
Participation section. 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. Comments on the EA will be 
considered before we make our recommendations to the Commission.
    With this notice, we are asking agencies with jurisdiction by law 
and/or special expertise with respect the environmental issues of this 
project to formally cooperate with us in the preparation of the EA.\2\ 
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.

    \2\ The Council on Environmental Quality regulations addressing 
cooperating agency responsibilities are at Title 40, Code of Federal 
Regulations, Part 1501.6.

Consultations Under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation 

    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 the Arizona 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.\3\ 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 
on consultations under section 106.

    \3\ 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 

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 in your comments 
so that they will be received in Washington, DC on or before May 31, 
    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 (CP12-6-000) 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 may file your comments electronically by using the eComment 
feature, which is located on the Commission's Web site at 
(www.ferc.gov) under the link to Documents and Filings. An eComment is 
an easy method for interested persons to submit brief, text-only 
comments on a project;
    (2) You may file your comments electronically by using the eFiling 
feature, which is located on the Commission's Web site at 
(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

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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 may 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 

Environmental Mailing List

    The environmental mailing list includes federal, state, and local 
government representatives and agencies; elected officials; 
environmental and public interest groups; Indian 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 we publish and distribute the EA, 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 

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., 
CP12-6). 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: April 30, 2012.
Kimberly D. Bose,
[FR Doc. 2012-10783 Filed 5-3-12; 8:45 am]