[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 44 (Friday, March 6, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 12163-12166]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-05248]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

[Docket Nos. PF15-5-000; PF15-6-000]


Dominion Transmission, Inc., Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC; Notice 
of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Planned 
Supply Header Project and Atlantic Coast Pipeline Project, Request for 
Comments on Environmental Issues, and Notice of Public Scoping Meetings

    The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or 
Commission) will prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) that 
will discuss the environmental impacts of the Supply Header Project 
(SHP) involving construction and operation of facilities by Dominion 
Transmission, Inc. (Dominion) in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and 
the Atlantic Coast Pipeline Project (ACP Project) involving 
construction and operation of facilities by Atlantic Coast Pipeline, 
LLC (Atlantic) in West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina. The 
environmental impacts of both projects will be considered in one EIS, 
which will be used by the Commission in its decision-making process to 
determine whether the projects are 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 projects. Your input will help the Commission staff 
determine what issues they need to evaluate in the EIS. Please note 
that the scoping period will close on April 28, 2015.
    You may submit comments in written form or verbally. Further 
details on how to submit written comments are in the Public 
Participation section of this notice. If you sent comments on the SHP 
or ACP Projects to the Commission before the opening of the dockets on 
October 31, 2014, you will need to file those comments under Docket No. 
PF15-5-000 or PF15-6-000 to ensure they are considered as part of this 
proceeding. In lieu of or in addition to sending written comments, the 
Commission invites you to attend any of the public scoping meetings 
scheduled as follows:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
               Date and time                          Location
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Monday, March 9, 2015, 7:00 p.m.            Pine Forest High School, 525
                                             Andrews Road, Fayetteville,
                                             NC 28311.
Tuesday, March 10, 2015, 7:00 p.m.          Forest Hills Middle School,
                                             1210 Forest Hills Road,
                                             Wilson, NC 27896.
Wednesday, March 11, 2015, 7:00 p.m.        William R. Davie Middle
                                             School, 4391 Hwy. 158,
                                             Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870.
Thursday, March 12, 2015, 7:00 p.m.         Jolliff Middle School, 1021
                                             Jolliff Road, Chesapeake,
                                             VA 23331.
Monday, March 16, 2015, 7:00 p.m.           Dinwiddie Middle School,
                                             11608 Courthouse Road,
                                             Dinwiddie, VA 23841.
Tuesday, March 17, 2015, 7:00 p.m.          Prince Edward County High
                                             School Auditorium, 1482
                                             Zion Hill Road, Farmville,
                                             VA 23901.
Wednesday, March 18, 2015, 7:00 p.m.        Nelson County Middle School,
                                             6925 Thomas Nelson Highway,
                                             Lovingston, VA 22949.
Thursday, March 19, 2015, 7:00 p.m.         Stuarts Draft High School,
                                             1028 Augusta Farms Road,
                                             Stuarts Draft, VA 24477.
Monday, March 23, 2015, 7:00 p.m.           Elkins High School, 100
                                             Kennedy Drive, Elkins, WV
                                             26241.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015, 7:00 p.m.          Bridgeport High School, 515
                                             Johnson Avenue, Bridgeport,
                                             WV 26330.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The purpose of these scoping meetings is to provide an opportunity 
to verbally comment on the projects. If a significant number of people 
are interested in commenting at the meetings, we \1\ may establish a 3- 
to 5-minute time limit for each commentor to ensure that all people 
wishing to comment have the opportunity in the time allotted for the 
meeting. If time limits on comments are implemented, they will be 
strictly enforced. A transcript of each meeting will be added to the 
Commission's administrative record to ensure that your comments are 
accurately recorded.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

    This notice is being sent to the Commission's current environmental 
mailing list for these projects. State and local government 
representatives should notify their constituents of these

[[Page 12164]]

planned projects 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 planned facilities. The company 
would seek to negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement. However, if 
the Commission approves the projects, 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.
    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.

Summary of the Planned Projects

    The SHP would involve the construction and operation of 
approximately 38.7 miles of pipeline loop \2\ and the modification of 
existing compression facilities in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The 
pipeline facilities associated with the SHP would be comprised of two 
main components: (1) Approximately 3.8 miles of 30-inch-diameter 
natural gas pipeline loop adjacent to Dominion's existing LN-25 
pipeline in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania; and (2) approximately 
34.9 miles of 36-inch-diameter pipeline loop adjacent to Dominion's 
existing TL-360 pipeline in Harrison, Doddridge, Tyler, and Wetzel 
Counties, West Virginia.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ A pipeline ``loop'' is a segment of pipe constructed 
parallel to an existing pipeline to increase capacity.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In addition to the planned pipelines, Dominion plans to modify four 
existing compressor stations in Westmoreland and Green Counties, 
Pennsylvania and Marshall and Wetzel Counties, West Virginia. Dominion 
would install new gas-fired turbines that would provide for a combined 
increase of 75,700 horsepower of compression. Dominion would also 
install new valves, pig launcher/receiver sites,\3\ and associated 
appurtenances at these existing compressor station locations.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ A ``pig'' is a tool that the pipeline company inserts into 
and pushes through the pipeline for cleaning the pipeline, 
conducting internal inspections, or other purposes.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The ACP Project would involve the construction and operation of 554 
miles of variable diameter natural gas pipeline in West Virginia, 
Virginia, and North Carolina. The pipeline facilities associated with 
the ACP Project would be comprised of four main components as follows:
     Approximately 295.6 miles of 42-inch-diameter pipeline in 
Harrison, Lewis, Upshur, Randolph, and Pocahontas Counties, West 
Virginia; Highland, Augusta, Nelson, Buckingham, Cumberland, Prince 
Edward, Nottoway, Dinwiddie, Brunswick, and Greensville Counties, 
Virginia; and Northampton County, North Carolina;
     approximately 179.9 miles of 36-inch-diameter pipeline in 
Northampton, Halifax, Nash, Wilson, Johnston, Sampson, Cumberland, and 
Robeson Counties, North Carolina;
     approximately 75.7 miles of 20-inch-diameter lateral 
pipeline in Northampton County, North Carolina; and Greensville, 
Southampton, Suffolk, and Chesapeake Counties, Virginia; and
     approximately 3.1 miles of 16-inch-diameter natural gas 
lateral pipeline in Brunswick County, Virginia.
    In addition to the planned pipelines, Atlantic plans to construct 
and operate three new compressor stations totaling 108,275 horsepower 
of compression. These compressor stations would be located in Lewis 
County, West Virginia; Buckingham County, Virginia; and Northampton 
County, North Carolina. Atlantic would also install metering stations, 
valves, pig launcher/receiver sites, and associated appurtenances along 
the planned pipeline system.
    The SHP and ACP Projects would be capable of delivering 1.5 billion 
cubic feet of natural gas per day to seven planned distribution points 
in West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina. If approved, 
construction of the projects is proposed to begin in September 2016. 
The general location of the projects' facilities and a number of 
alternatives under consideration are shown in the maps in appendix 
1.\4\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ 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.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Land Requirements for Construction

    Construction of the planned facilities would disturb about 12,972 
acres of land for the pipeline and aboveground facilities. The typical 
construction right-of-way for pipeline facilities would vary between 
125 feet wide for the 42-inch-diameter pipeline and 75 feet wide for 
the 16-inch-diameter lateral pipeline, with additional workspace needed 
in some locations due to site-specific conditions. Following 
construction, approximately 4,370 acres of land would be retained for 
permanent operation of the facilities. Land affected by construction 
but not required for operation would generally be allowed to revert to 
former uses.

The EIS Process

    The FERC will be the lead federal agency for the preparation of the 
EIS. The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) is participating as a cooperating 
agency because the ACP Project would cross the Monongahela and George 
Washington National Forests in West Virginia and Virginia. As a 
cooperating agency, the USFS intends to adopt the EIS per Title 40 of 
the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 1506.3 to meet its 
responsibilities under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) 
regarding Atlantic's planned application for a Right-of-Way Grant and 
Temporary Use Permit for crossing federally administered lands. The 
USFS additionally will assess how the planned pipeline conforms to the 
direction contained in the Monongahela and George Washington National 
Forests' Land and Resource Management Plans (LRMP). Changes in the LRMP 
could be required if the pipeline is authorized across the National 
Forests. The EIS will provide the documentation to support any needed 
amendments to the LRMPs.
    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 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 EIS on the 
important environmental issues. By this notice, the Commission requests 
public comments on the scope of the issues to address in the EIS. We 
will consider all filed comments during the preparation of the EIS.
    In the EIS we will discuss impacts that could occur as a result of 
the construction and operation of the planned projects under these 
general headings:
     Geology and soils;
     land use;

[[Page 12165]]

     water resources, fisheries, and wetlands;
     cultural resources;
     vegetation and wildlife;
     air quality and noise;
     endangered and threatened species;
     socioeconomics; and
     public safety.
    We will present our recommendations in the EIS on how to lessen or 
avoid impacts on the various resource areas, as applicable.
    Dominion and Atlantic are evaluating several route alternatives 
that were developed through the company's route selection and 
constraint analysis processes or identified by stakeholders during 
public outreach efforts. Major route alternatives that have been 
identified by Dominion and Atlantic are presented in appendix 1. More 
detailed maps of these, and other, potential alternative routes can be 
found on the FERC Web site at www.ferc.gov, or Dominion's Web site at 
https://www.dom.com/corporate/what-we-do/natural-gas/atlantic-coast-pipeline. Part of our NEPA analysis will include evaluating possible 
alternatives to the planned projects or portions of the projects. Thus, 
as part of our scoping process, we are specifically soliciting comments 
on the range of alternatives for both of the projects.
    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 
the FERC receives an application. 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 EIS.
    The EIS will present our independent analysis of the issues. We 
will publish and distribute the draft EIS for public comment. After the 
comment period, we will consider all timely comments and revise the 
document, as necessary, before issuing a final EIS. To ensure we have 
the opportunity to consider and address your comments, please carefully 
follow the instructions in the Public Participation section beginning 
on page 8.
    With this notice, we are asking agencies with jurisdiction by law 
and/or special expertise with respect to the environmental issues 
related to these projects to formally cooperate with us in the 
preparation of the EIS.\5\ 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. As discussed above, the USFS has expressed its intention to 
participate as a cooperating agency in the preparation of the EIS to 
satisfy its NEPA responsibilities related to these projects. In 
addition to the USFS, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, and the 
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have also agreed to participate as 
cooperating agencies.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\ 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 
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 the applicable State Historic Preservation Offices, and to solicit 
their views and those of other government agencies, interested Indian 
tribes, and the public on the projects' potential effects on historic 
properties.\6\ We will define the project-specific Area of Potential 
Effects (APE) in consultation with the SHPOs as the projects develop. 
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 EIS for these projects will document our findings on 
the impacts on historic properties and summarize the status of 
consultations under Section 106.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \6\ The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation 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.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Currently Identified Environmental Issues

    We have already identified several issues that we think deserve 
attention based on a preliminary review of the planned facilities and 
the environmental information provided by Dominion and Atlantic. This 
preliminary list of issues may change based on your comments and our 
analysis.
     Land use impacts, including the exercise of eminent domain 
and future land use restrictions;
     impacts on property values, tourism, and recreational 
resources;
     safety issues, such as construction and operation of the 
planned facilities near existing residences, schools, businesses, and 
military training facilities, and in karst and steep slope terrain;
     alternatives, including routing within existing linear 
corridors, avoiding private property, National Forests, National 
Parkway lands, National Wildlife Refuge land, and other sensitive 
environmental features;
     impacts on local emergency management systems;
     impacts on forested areas and other vegetation;
     impacts on surface water resources including springs, 
seeps, and wetlands;
     impacts on groundwater resources and wells;
     impacts on protected species and habitat;
     impacts on cultural resources including battlefields, 
cemeteries, and historic properties; and
     concerns regarding construction and operational noise, 
especially related to compressor stations.

Public Participation

    You can make a difference by providing us with your specific 
comments or concerns about the projects. 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 April 
28, 2015.
    For your convenience, there are three methods you can use to submit 
your comments to the Commission. In all instances, please reference the 
appropriate project docket number(s) (PF15-5-000 for the SHP and PF15-
6-000 for the ACP Project) 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,

[[Page 12166]]

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, as well as anyone who 
submits comments on the projects. 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 projects.
    Copies of the completed draft EIS 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

    Once Dominion and Atlantic file 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 the Commission 
receives formal applications for the projects.

Additional Information

    Additional information about the projects 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 ``General Search,'' and enter the docket 
number, excluding the last three digits in the Docket Number field 
(i.e., PF15-5 or PF15-6). 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 that 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/docs-filing/esubscription.asp.
    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: February 27, 2015.
Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr.,
Deputy Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2015-05248 Filed 3-5-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 6717-01-P