[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 200 (Wednesday, October 16, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 62319-62322]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-24466]


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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

[Docket No. PF13-14-000]


Golden Pass Products, LLC, Golden Pass Pipeline, LLC; Notice of 
Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Planned Golden 
Pass LNG Export Project and Golden Pass Export Pipeline Project, 
Request for Comments on Environmental Issues, and Notice of Public 
Scoping Meeting

    The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or 
Commission) will prepare an environmental assessment (EA) that will 
discuss the environmental impacts that could result from the 
construction and operation of the Golden Pass Liquefied Natural Gas 
(LNG) Project and Golden Pass Export Pipeline Project, collectively 
called the Golden Pass LNG Export Project (Project) in Texas and 
Louisiana. The Project has been proposed by Golden Pass Products, LLC 
and Golden Pass Pipeline, LLC, collectively called Golden Pass. The EA 
will be used by the Commission in its decision-making process to 
determine whether construction and operation of 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 during the scoping process will 
help the Commission staff determine what issues need to be evaluated in 
the EA. The Commission staff will also use the scoping process to help 
determine whether preparation of an environmental impact statement is 
more appropriate for this Project based upon the potential significance 
of the anticipated levels of impact. Please note that the scoping 
period will close on October 19, 2013. This is not your only public 
input opportunity; please refer to the Environmental Review Process 
flow chart Appendix 1.\1\
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    \1\ The appendices referenced in this notice are not being 
printed 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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    Comments may be submitted in written form or verbally. Further 
details on how to submit written comments are in the Public 
Participation section of this notice. In lieu of, or in addition to 
sending written comments, you are invited to attend the public scoping 
meetings listed below.

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             Date and time                           Location
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Wednesday, October 2, 2013, 7:00 pm....  VFW Post 4759, 4402 LA Highway
                                          12, Starks, LA 70661, (337)
                                          743-6409.
Thursday, October 3, 2013, 7:00 pm.....  Sabine Pass ISD, (Auditorium),
                                          5641 South Gulfway Drive,
                                          Sabine Pass, TX 77655, (409)
                                          971-2321.
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    Golden Pass representatives will be present one hour before each 
meeting to answer questions.
    This notice is being sent to the Commission's current environmental 
mailing list for this Project. State and local government officials are 
asked to 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 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 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, Golden Pass could initiate condemnation 
proceedings where compensation would be determined in accordance with 
state law.
    A fact sheet 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 Web site (www.ferc.gov). 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.

[[Page 62320]]

Involvement of the U.S. Department of Energy

    The FERC is the lead federal agency in preparing the EA to satisfy 
the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The 
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Fossil Energy, has agreed to 
participate as a cooperating agency in the preparation of the EA to 
satisfy its NEPA responsibilities.
    Under section 3 of the Natural Gas Act of 1938, as amended (NGA), 
15 U.S.C. 717b, DOE would authorize applications to export natural gas, 
including LNG, to countries with which the United States has not 
entered into a free trade agreement providing for national treatment 
for trade in natural gas, unless it finds that the proposed export 
would not be consistent with the public interest. For the Project, the 
purpose and need for DOE action is to respond to Golden Pass' 
application filed with DOE on October 26, 2012 (FE Docket No. 12-156-
LNG), seeking authorization to export up to 15.6 million metric tons 
per annum (MTPA), which is equivalent to 740 billion standard cubic 
feet per year, of domestic natural gas as LNG for a 25-year period from 
the Golden Pass facilities in Jefferson County, Texas, commencing the 
earlier of the date of first export or seven years from the date that 
the requested authorization is issued. DOE authorization of Golden 
Pass' application would allow the export of LNG to any country: (1) 
With which the United States does not have a free trade agreement 
requiring the national treatment for trade in natural gas; (2) that 
has, or in the future develops, the capacity to import LNG via ocean-
going carrier; and (3) with which trade is not prohibited by U.S. law 
or policy.

Summary of the Planned Project

    Golden Pass plans to develop its existing LNG terminal in Jefferson 
County, Texas to enable the terminal to liquefy natural gas and export 
the LNG. The existing Golden Pass Pipeline extends from the terminal 
through Jefferson, Orange, and Newton Counties, Texas into Calcasieu 
Parish, Louisiana; Golden Pass plans to add approximately 8 miles of 
pipeline loop.\2\ The general locations of the planned pipeline and LNG 
export terminal are depicted in the figure included as Appendix 2.\3\
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    \2\ A pipeline loop is constructed parallel to an existing 
pipeline to increase capacity.
    \3\ 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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    The Golden Pass LNG Export Project would include construction and 
operation of the following facilities:
     Three liquefaction trains;
     a 200-250 megawatt self-generation power plant;
     modifications to marine and truck loading facilities;
     approximately 8 miles of 30- to 36-inch-diameter pipeline 
in two non-contiguous loops, connecting to existing pipelines in 
Jefferson County, Texas and Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana;
     up to four compressor stations providing 100,000 total 
horsepower to provide bi-directional flow capability to the existing 
Golden Pass Pipeline in Jefferson and Orange Counties, Texas and 
Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana; and
     support facilities, such as buildings for maintenance and 
storage.
    Golden Pass plans to begin Project construction in mid-2015 if all 
required permits, certificates, and authorizations are obtained.

Land Requirements for Construction

    Golden Pass is still in the planning phase for the project, and 
workspace requirements have not been finalized. The export LNG 
facilities would be within the existing terminal site and most of the 
planned pipeline route parallels existing pipeline, utility, or road 
rights-of-way. The planned pipeline construction would impact 
approximately 200 acres of land temporarily and 75 acres permanently 
and the construction of compressor stations would impact 60 acres 
temporarily and 30 acres permanently.

The EA Process

    The 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. NEPA also requires us \4\ 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. All comments received will be considered during the 
preparation of the EA.
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    \4\ ``Us,'' ``we,'' 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 planned Project under these 
general headings:
     Geology and soils;
     water resources;
     wetlands and vegetation;
     fish and wildlife;
     threatened and endangered species;
     land use, recreation, and visual resources;
     air quality and noise;
     cultural resources;
     socioeconomics;
     reliability and safety;
     engineering and design material; and
     cumulative environmental impacts.
    We will also evaluate possible alternatives to the planned Project 
or portions of the Project, including the no action alternative, and 
make recommendations on how to minimize or avoid impacts on affected 
resources.
    Although no formal application has been filed, we have already 
initiated our 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 an 
application is filed with the FERC. As part of our pre-filing review, 
we have begun to contact some federal and state agencies to discuss 
their involvement in the scoping process and the preparation of the EA. 
In addition, representatives from FERC participated in the public open 
houses sponsored by Golden Pass in the Project area in July and August 
2013 to explain the environmental review process to interested 
stakeholders.
    Our independent analysis of the issues will be presented in the EA. 
If the Commission staff determines the preparation of an EA is 
appropriate, the EA will be placed in the public record and be 
published and distributed to the public. A comment period will be 
allotted when the EA is noticed. We will consider all comments on the 
EA before we make our recommendations to the Commission. To ensure your 
comments are considered, please carefully follow the instructions in 
the Public Participation section beginning on page 6.
    With this notice, we are asking agencies with jurisdiction by law 
and/or special expertise with respect to the environmental issues 
related to this Project to formally cooperate with us in the 
preparation of the environmental document.\5\ Agencies that would like 
to request cooperating agency status should follow the instructions for 
filing

[[Page 62321]]

comments provided under the Public Participation section of this 
notice. Currently, the Department of Energy, the U.S. Army Corps of 
Engineers, and the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and 
Hazardous Materials Safety Administration have expressed their 
intention to participate as a cooperating agency in the preparation of 
the environmental document to satisfy its NEPA responsibilities related 
to these projects.
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    \5\ The Council on Environmental Quality regulations addressing 
cooperating agency responsibilities are at 40 CFR 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 
regulations for Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, 
we are using this notice to initiate consultation with the Texas 
Historical Commission and the Office of the State of Louisiana Cultural 
Development, which have been given the roles of the State Historic 
Preservation Officers (SHPO) for their respective states, 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.\6\ We will define the Project-specific Area of 
Potential Effects in consultation with the SHPOs as the Project is 
further developed. Our environmental document for the Project will 
document our findings of the impacts on historic properties and 
summarize the status of consultations under Section 106.
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    \6\ The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation regulations 
are at 36 CFR 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 for Historic Places.
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Currently Identified Environmental Issues

    We have already identified many issues that we think deserve 
attention based on a preliminary review of the Project site and 
facilities and information provided by Golden Pass, comments made to us 
at Golden Pass' open houses, and preliminary consultations with other 
agencies. The following preliminary list of issues may be changed based 
on your comments and our analysis:
     Evaluation of temporary and permanent impacts on wetlands 
and the development of appropriate mitigation, including flood 
protection;
     potential impacts on fish and wildlife habitat, including 
potential impacts on federally and state-listed threatened and 
endangered species;
     potential visual effects of the aboveground facilities on 
surrounding areas;
     potential impacts and potential benefits of construction 
workforce on local housing, infrastructure, public services, and 
economy;
     impacts on air quality and noise associated with 
construction and operation of the Project; and
     public safety and hazards associated with the transport of 
natural gas and LNG.

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 minimize 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 
the Commission receives them in Washington, DC on or before October 19, 
2013.
    For your convenience, there are three methods you can use to submit 
your comments to the Commission. In all instances, please reference the 
Project docket number (PF13-14-000) with your submission. The 
Commission encourages electronic filing of comments and has expert 
staff available to assist you at (202) 502-8258 or [email protected].
    1. You can file your comments electronically using the eComment 
feature located 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 located 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 attend and provide either oral or written comments at a 
public scoping meeting. A transcript of each meeting will be made so 
that your comments will be accurately recorded and included in the 
public record; or
    4. 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 
planned Project.
    When an 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 3).

Becoming an Intervenor

    Once Golden Pass files its applications with the Commission, 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. Please note that the Commission will not accept requests for 
intervenor status at this time. You must wait until a formal 
application for the Project is filed with the Commission.

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 (www.ferc.gov) using the eLibrary link. Click on the 
eLibrary link, click on

[[Page 62322]]

``General Search'' and enter the docket number, excluding the last 
three digits in the Docket Number field (i.e., PF13-14). Be sure you 
have selected an appropriate date range. For assistance, please contact 
FERC Online Support at [email protected] 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 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 filings, document summaries, and direct links to the 
documents. Go to www.ferc.gov/esubscribenow.htm.
    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.
    Finally, Golden Pass has established a Web site for the Project at 
http://goldenpassproducts.com/index.cfm/page/8. The Web site includes a 
description of the Project, permitting schedules and calendars, 
frequently asked questions and responses, and links to related press 
releases and news articles. You can also request additional information 
directly from Golden Pass at (877) 246-4728 or 
[email protected].

    Dated: September 19, 2013.
Kimberly D. Bose,
Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2013-24466 Filed 10-15-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6717-01-P