[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 108 (Friday, June 5, 2015)]
[Pages 32105-32107]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-13728]



Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

[Equitrans, L.P.; Docket Nos. CP15-41-000; CP15-41-001]

Supplemental Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental 
Assessment for the Proposed Ohio Valley Connector Project Amendment and 
Request for Comments on Environmental Issues

    On August 29, 2014, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC 
or Commission) issued in Docket No. PF14-13-000 a Notice of Intent to 
Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Planned Ohio Valley 
Connector Project and Request for Comments on Environmental Issues 
(NOI). Since its application in the above-referenced docket, Equitrans, 
L.P. (Equitrans) has amended the original proposal to no longer include 
the H-313 Pipeline Loop \1\ and incorporate route modifications along 
the remaining pipeline segments. This Supplemental Notice is being 
issued to seek comments on the revised pipeline alignment and opens a 
new scoping period for interested parties to file comments on 
environmental issues specific to these facilities.

    \1\ A loop is a segment of pipeline constructed parallel to an 
existing pipeline that ties into the existing system to increase 

    The August 29, 2014 NOI announced that the FERC staff will prepare 
an environmental assessment (EA) to address the environmental impacts 
of the Ohio Valley Connector Project (Project). Please refer to the NOI 
for more information about the facilities proposed by Equitrans in West 
Virginia and Ohio. The Commission will use this EA in its decision-
making process to determine whether the Project is in the public 
convenience and necessity.
    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. 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 June 
29, 2015.
    The Commission previously solicited public input on the Project in 
the fall of 2014. We \2\ are specifically seeking comments on the 
pipeline route modifications to help the Commission staff determine 
what issues need to be evaluated in the EA. If you have previously 
submitted comments during the pre-filing review in docket no. PF14-13-
000, you do not need to resubmit your comments. Please note that this 
special scoping period will close on June 29, 2015.

    \2\ ``We,'' ``us,'' and ``our'' refer to the environmental staff 
of the Commission's Office of Energy Projects.

    This Supplemental Notice is being sent to the Commission's current 
environmental mailing list for this Project, with the exception that 
only those landowners that are newly affected by the proposed pipeline 
route modifications, or those that were previously affected by the H-
313 Pipeline Loop are receiving this Notice. 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 the 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.

Public Participation

    For your convenience, there are three methods you can use to submit 
your comments to the Commission. The Commission will provide equal 
consideration to all comments received, whether filed in written form 
or provided verbally. The Commission encourages electronic filing of 
comments and has expert staff available to assist you at (202) 502-8258 
or [email protected]. Please carefully follow these instructions so that 
your comments are properly recorded.
    (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

[[Page 32106]]

    (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 

Summary of Project Modifications

    Since Equitrans filed its application for the Project, it has 
incorporated the following changes:
     No longer proposing the 14-mile-long, 24-inch-diameter 
pipeline (also known as the H-313 segment) along with the associated 
facilities, access roads, and workspaces in Marion and Wetzel Counties, 
West Virginia;
     adoption of four route modifications along the H-310 
pipeline segment in Wetzel and Marshall Counties, West Virginia and 
Monroe County, Ohio for a total increase of 0.9 mile of pipeline;
     minor modifications to the alignments of the H-311 and H-
314 pipeline segments in Monroe County, Ohio;
     minor modifications to the layout in aboveground 
facilities; and
     modifications to the locations and whether access roads 
would be permanent or temporary, laydown/contractor yards, and 
additional temporary workspaces.
    An overview of the proposed Project is shown in Appendix 1.\3\ 
Additionally, Appendix 1 includes a figure that shows the revisions of 
the Project compared to what was originally proposed.

    \3\ 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.

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. 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 EA on important environmental 
issues. By this notice, the Commission requests public comments on the 
scope of issues to address in the EA. We will consider all substantive 
comments during the preparation of the EA.
    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:
     water resources;
     wildlife and aquatic resources;
     fisheries and aquatic resources;
     threatened, endangered, and other special-status species;
     land use, recreation, special interest areas, and visual 
     cultural resources;
     air quality and noise;
     reliability and safety; and
     cumulative environmental impacts.
    We will also evaluate possible 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. We will 
publish and distribute the EA for public comment. After the comment 
period, we will consider all timely comments which will be addressed in 
the Commission's decisional order.
    Please note that since Equitrans has filed an application for the 
proposed Project, a docket number has been assigned (CP15-41-000). As 
part of our pre-filing review, we participated in public Open House 
meetings sponsored by Equitrans in the Project area in July 2014 to 
explain the environmental review process to interested stakeholders. We 
have also contacted federal and state agencies to discuss their 
involvement in the scoping process and the preparation of the EA. To 
date, only the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has expressed its intention 
to participate as a cooperating agency in the preparation of the EA to 
satisfy its NEPA responsibilities related to this Project.

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 initiated consultation with the applicable State 
Historic Preservation Offices with the issuance of the August 2014 NOI 
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 in consultation with the State Historic 
Preservation Offices as the Project develops. On natural gas facility 
projects, the Area of Potential Effects 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.

    \4\ The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation's regulations 
are at Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 800. Historic 
properties are defined in those regulations as any prehistoric or 
historic district, site, building, structure, or object included in 
or eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic 

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; commenters; and local libraries and newspapers. 
This list also includes landowners affected by the amendment 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; or those previously identified landowners that 
would have been affected by the H-313 Pipeline Loop. 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.
    Copies of the completed EA 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 a CD version or would 
like to remove your name from the mailing list, please return the 
attached Information Request (Appendix 2). In addition, those 
landowners along the previously proposed H-313 Pipeline Loop will be 
removed from the environmental mailing list after receipt of this 
Notice, unless the Information Request is filled out and returned to 
the FERC in a timely manner.

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

[[Page 32107]]

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 (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., CP15-
41). 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 these filings, document summaries, and direct links to 
the documents. Go to www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/esubscription.asp.
    Finally, Equitrans has established a toll-free phone number (1-844-
EQT-TALK, or 844-378-8255) and an email support address 
([email protected]) so that parties can call them directly with 
questions about the Project.

    Dated: May 29, 2015.
Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr.,
Deputy Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2015-13728 Filed 6-4-15; 8:45 am]