[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 230 (Tuesday, December 1, 2015)]
[Pages 75088-75091]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-30472]



Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

[Docket Nos. CP15-115-001; CP15-115-000]

National Fuel Gas Supply Corporation Empire Pipeline, Inc.; 
Supplemental Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Assessment 
for the Proposed Northern Access 2016 Project and Request for Comments 
on Environmental Issues

    On October 22, 2014, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC 
or Commission) issued in Docket No. PF14-18-000 a Notice of Intent to 
Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Planned Northern Access 
2016 Project, Request for Comments on Environmental Issues, and Notice 
of Public Scoping Meetings (October 22, 2014 NOI). In their application 
in Docket No. CP15-115-000, National Fuel Gas Supply Corporation 
(Supply) and Empire Pipeline, Inc. (Empire) (collectively referred to 
as National Fuel) filed proposed locations for one new compressor 
station and one natural

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gas dehydration facility in Niagara County, New York. To solicit 
comments on the new proposed aboveground facilities, on April 29, 2015, 
the Commission issued a Supplemental Notice of Intent to Prepare an 
Environmental Assessment for the Proposed Northern Access 2016 Project, 
Request for Comments on Environmental Issues, Notice of Environmental 
Site Review, and Notice of Public Scoping Meeting (April 29, 2015 NOI). 
Based on public input received throughout the scoping process, National 
Fuel now proposes a new location for its new compressor station and has 
made other modifications to its proposed facilities in an amendment 
application in Docket No. CP15-115-001. This Supplemental Notice is 
being issued to seek comments on these changes, and opens a new 30-day 
scoping period for interested parties to file comments on environmental 
issues specific to these facilities.
    The October 22, 2014 NOI announced that the FERC will prepare an 
environmental assessment (EA) to address the environmental impacts of 
the Northern Access 2016 Project (Project). Please refer to the NOI for 
more information about the facilities proposed by National Fuel in 
Pennsylvania and New York. The Commission will use the EA in its 
decision-making process to determine whether to authorize 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 
Commission staff determine what issues they need to evaluate in the EA. 
To ensure your comments are timely and properly recorded, please send 
your comments so that the Commission receives them in Washington, DC on 
or before December 19, 2015.
    The Commission previously solicited input on the pipeline portion 
of the project in Pennsylvania and New York in the fall of 2014. In 
addition, the Commission solicited input on the aboveground facilities 
in Niagara County in the spring of 2015. If you have previously 
submitted comments during the pre-filing review in docket no. PF14-18-
000 or since the application filing in docket no. CP15-115-000, you do 
not need to resubmit your comments at this time. We \1\ are 
specifically seeking comments on the new proposed location of the 
Pendleton Compressor Station and additional modifications associated 
with National Fuel's amended application for the Project.

    \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 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.
    National Fuel 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).

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 
(CP15-115-000) with your submission: Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary, 
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Room 1A, 
Washington, DC 20426.
    Please note this is not your only public input opportunity; please 
refer to the review process flow chart in appendix 1.\2\

    \2\ 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.

Summary of the Newly Proposed Facilities

    The facilities that are the focus of this notice are the new 
Pendleton Compressor Station (Killian Road Site) and an additional 2.07 
miles of 16- and 14-inch diameter pipeline in the town of Pendleton, 
New York to connect the new Pendleton Compressor Station to the 
northward to the existing XM-10 pipeline and southward to the existing 
X-North Pipeline.
    The tie-in between the southern end of Line XM-10 and National 
Fuel's X-North pipeline in Wheatfield, New York is no longer necessary 
due to the newly proposed Pendleton Compressor Station site. National 
Fuel previously proposed to abandon all 3.09 miles of the XM-10 
Pipeline system in Wheatfield, New York and Pendleton, New York via 
sale to Empire. Based on the new location of the Pendleton Compressor 
Station, Empire would only acquire 1.08 miles of the XM-10 Pipeline 
system and associated facilities from National Fuel.
    The general location of the project facilities is shown in appendix 

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 the important 
environmental issues. By this notice, the Commission requests public 
comments on the scope of the issues to

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address in the EA. We will consider all filed 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:
     Geology and soils;
     Water resources and wetlands;
     Vegetation and wildlife, including migratory birds;
     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 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.
    Please note that since the amended application has been filed, an 
additional docket number has been assigned (CP15-115-001) for the 
amended Project facilities. As part of our pre-filing review, we 
participated in public Open House meetings sponsored by National Fuel 
in the project area in August 2014 to explain the environmental review 
process to interested stakeholders. We also conducted public scoping 
meetings of along the proposed pipeline route in November 2014 and in 
Pendleton, New York in May 2015. We have also contacted federal and 
state agencies to discuss their involvement in the scoping process and 
the preparation of the EA.
    The EA will present our independent analysis of the issues. We will 
publish and distribute the EA for public comment. 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, beginning on page 2 of this notice.
    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. Currently, the U.S. Army 
Corps of Engineers and New York Department of Agriculture and Markets 
have expressed their intention to participate as cooperating agencies 
in the preparation of the EA to satisfy their NEPA responsibilities 
related to this project.

    \3\ 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 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 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 
of consultations under section 106.

    \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 

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 
proposed project.
    Copies of the 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 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

    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-
115). 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.

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    Dated: November 19, 2015.
Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr.,
Deputy Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2015-30472 Filed 11-30-15; 8:45 am]