[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 199 (Thursday, October 15, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 62065-62067]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-26185]


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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

[Docket No. CP15-527-000]


Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC; Notice of Intent To 
Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Proposed New York Bay 
Expansion Project and Request for Comments on Environmental Issues

    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 New York Bay Expansion Project 
involving construction and operation of facilities by Transcontinental 
Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC (Transco) in Chester, Pennsylvania; Essex 
and Middlesex, New Jersey; and Richmond, New York. The Commission will 
use this EA in its decision-making process to determine whether 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. 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. 
Your input will help the Commission staff determine what issues they 
need to evaluate in the EA. 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 November 8, 2015.
    If you sent comments on this project to the Commission before the 
opening of this docket on July 8, 2015, you will need to file those 
comments in Docket No. CP15-527 to ensure they are considered as part 
of this proceeding.
    This notice is being sent to the Commission's current environmental 
mailing list for this project. State and local government 
representatives should 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 easement negotiations fail to 
produce an agreement, the pipeline company could initiate condemnation 
proceedings where compensation would be determined in accordance with 
state law.
    Transco 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

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participate in the Commission's proceedings. It is also available for 
viewing on the FERC Web site (www.ferc.gov).

Public Participation

    For your convenience, there are three methods you can use to submit 
your comments to the Commission. 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 on the Commission's Web site (www.ferc.gov) under the link to 
Documents and Filings. This is an easy method for submitting brief, 
text-only comments on a project;
    (2) You can file your comments electronically by using the eFiling 
feature 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.'' If you are filing a comment on a particular project, 
please select ``Comment on a Filing'' as the filing type; or
    (3) You can file a paper copy of your comments by mailing them to 
the following address. Be sure to reference the project docket number 
(CP15-527-000) with your submission:
    Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 
888 First Street NE., Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426.

Summary of the Proposed Project

    Transco proposes the New York Bay Expansion Project to modify 
existing facilities and replace existing pipeline to provide an 
additional 115,000 dekatherms per day of firm transportation service to 
National Grid New York to meet 2017-2018 winter heating season needs. 
The project would involve the following activities at existing 
aboveground facilities in the specified towns and municipalities:
     Uprate Compressor Station 200 from 30,860 horsepower (hp) 
to 33,000 hp (East Whiteland Township, Chester, Pennsylvania);
     uprate a unit of Compressor Station 303 from 25,000 hp to 
27,500 hp (Roseland Borough, Essex, New Jersey);
     add 11,000 hp of electric-driven compression to Compressor 
Station 207 (Old Bridge Township, Middlesex, New Jersey); and
     install various appurtenances and modifications at three 
meter and regulation stations in East Brandywine Township (Chester, 
Pennsylvania), Sayreville Borough (Middlesex, New Jersey), and Staten 
Island Borough (Richmond, New York).
    In addition, Transco proposes to replace three segments of its 42-
inch-diameter Lower New York Bay Lateral pipeline, totaling 0.25 mile, 
and uprate the lateral pipeline's operating pressure from 960 to 1000 
pounds per square inch in Middlesex County, NJ.
    The general location of the project facilities is shown in appendix 
1.\1\
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    \1\ The appendices referenced in this notice will not appear 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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Land Requirements for Construction

    Construction of the project would disturb about 56.70 acres of land 
for the aboveground facilities and 14.05 acres of land for the pipe 
replacement; these acres would be restored by Transco and revert to 
former uses. The permanent footprint for Compressor Stations 200 and 
303 would remain unchanged. The permanent footprint of Compressor 
Station 207 would expand by 0.59 acre, and the three existing meter and 
regulation stations would expand by combined total of 0.8 acre. No new 
acreage would be required for the replacement pipe as Transco would 
replace the pipeline in the same permanent right-of-way.

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 
\2\ 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. We will 
consider all filed comments during the preparation of the EA.
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    \2\ ``We,'' ``us,'' 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 proposed project under these 
general headings:
     Geology and soils;
     land use;
     water resources, fisheries, and wetlands;
     cultural resources;
     vegetation and wildlife;
     air quality and noise;
     endangered and threatened species;
     public safety; and
     cumulative impacts
    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. 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. We 
will consider all comments on the EA before making our recommendations 
to the Commission. To ensure we have the opportunity to consider and 
address your comments, please carefully follow the instructions in the 
Public Participation section, on page 2.
    With this notice, we are asking agencies with jurisdiction by law 
and/or special expertise with respect to the environmental issues of 
this project to formally cooperate with us in the preparation of the 
EA.\3\ 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.
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    \3\ The Council on Environmental Quality regulations addressing 
cooperating agency responsibilities are at title 40, Code of Federal 
Regulations, part 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 
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 (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.\4\ We will

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define the project-specific Area of Potential Effects (APE) in 
consultation with the SHPOs 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 of consultations under 
section 106.
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    \4\ 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 
Places.
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Environmental Mailing List

    The environmental mailing list includes: Federal, state, and local 
government representatives and agencies; elected officials; 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 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 ``Document-less Intervention Guide'' under the ``e-filing'' link on 
the Commission's Web site. Motions to intervene are more fully 
described at http://www.ferc.gov/resources/guides/how-to/intervene.asp.

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., CP15-
527). 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, 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: October 8, 2015.
Kimberly D. Bose,
Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2015-26185 Filed 10-14-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 6717-01-P