[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 204 (Friday, October 21, 2016)]
[Pages 72787-72788]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-25519]



Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers

Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the 
Jasper Ocean Terminal in Jasper County, South Carolina

AGENCY: Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DOD.

ACTION: Notice of intent.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), Charleston District 
intends to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to assess 
the potential social, economic, and environmental effects of the 
proposed construction and operation of a marine container terminal by 
the Jasper Ocean Terminal (JOT) Joint Venture, a partnership between 
the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) and the South Carolina Ports 
Authority (SCPA). In accordance with the National Environmental Policy 
Act (NEPA), the Corps is the lead Federal agency responsible for the 
preparation of the EIS. Information included in the EIS will serve as 
the basis for the Corps' evaluation of the proposed marine container 
terminal pursuant to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act (RHA) and 
Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (CWA). The EIS will assess the 
potential effects of the proposed project and a range of reasonable 
project alternatives on impacts to navigable waters and other waters of 
the United States. The EIS will also provide information for Federal, 
State, and local agencies having other jurisdictional responsibility.

DATES: Public Scoping Meeting: A public scoping meeting has not been 
scheduled; however, a local public notice will be issued by the 
Charleston District, and a meeting announcement will be published in 
local newspapers once the date and location for the scoping meeting has 
been determined. Individuals and organizations that are interested in 
the proposed JOT or whose interests may be affected by the proposed 
work are encouraged to attend the scoping meeting to submit oral and/or 
written comments to the Charleston District.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information and/or 
questions about the proposed project or the NEPA process, please 
contact Mr. Nat Ball, the Corps Project Manager, by telephone: 843-329-
8044 or toll-free 1-866-329-8187, or by mail: Mr. Nat Ball, U.S. Army 
Corps of Engineers, 69-A Hagood Avenue, Charleston, South Carolina 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Corps is evaluating a proposal from the 
JOT Joint Venture in accordance with Section 404 of the CWA, Section 10 
of the RHA, and NEPA. Based on the available information, the Corps has 
determined that the proposed JOT has the potential to significantly 
affect the quality of the human and natural environment, and therefore 
warrants the preparation of an EIS. Additional information about the 
proposed project and the NEPA process is available on the project Web 
site at: www.JasperOceanTerminalEIS.com.
    1. Description of the Proposed Project. According to the JOT Joint 
Venture, the Ports of Charleston and Savannah are expected to 
experience limitations and inefficiencies as a result of the forecasted 
growth in demand for containerized cargo within the region served by 
the two existing ports over the next 35 years. As a result, the JOT 
Joint Venture has proposed to construct and operate a state of the art 
marine container terminal on an approximately 1,500-acre site in Jasper 
County, South

[[Page 72788]]

Carolina. The proposed JOT would be located across the Savannah River 
from Elba Island, Georgia, and would increase the region's capacity to 
efficiently handle the forecasted cargo.
    The proposed JOT would include a pile supported wharf designed to 
accommodate Neo-Panamax containerships, a container storage yard, an 
intermodal rail yard, gate facilities to process entering and existing 
over the road truck traffic, administrative buildings, and equipment 
service facilities. The proposed JOT would also include elements common 
to other types of industrial sites, such as a water tower, underground 
utilities, electrical substations, backup generators, high-mast 
lighting, stormwater management facilities, perimeter fencing, and 
parking areas for employees and other personal vehicles.
    Proposed transportation and utility improvements that would serve 
the proposed JOT include a 4-lane divided highway to connect the JOT to 
U.S. Highway 17, a double track rail corridor to connect the JOT's 
intermodal rail yard to existing CSX Transportation and Norfolk 
Southern rail lines, a new rail bridge across the Savannah River, and 
utility lines and intermediary facilities to connect to existing 
services (water, sewer, electricity, etc). Likewise, navigation 
improvements associated with the proposed JOT include new work and 
maintenance dredging of berths, an access channel, and a turning basin 
to provide vessel access to the terminal, and shoreline stabilization, 
bulkhead, and wharf construction adjacent to the existing Savannah 
Harbor federal navigation channel.
    According to the JOT Joint Venture, a separate feasibility study 
will evaluate the costs and benefits of modifications to the existing 
Savannah Harbor Federal navigation channel. Should this feasibility 
study or the Corps' analysis of the proposed JOT determine that 
modifications to the federal navigation channel are required to operate 
the proposed marine container terminal, potential impacts to the human 
and natural environment (e.g., aquatic resources) associated with any 
navigational improvements will be evaluated and included in the EIS for 
the proposed JOT.
    2. Alternatives. A range of reasonable alternatives to the proposed 
action will be identified, and fully evaluated in the EIS, including: 
The No-Action Alternative, the applicant's proposed alternative, and 
alternatives that may result in avoidance and minimization of impacts; 
however, this list in not exclusive and additional alternatives may be 
considered for inclusion.
    3. Scoping and Public Involvement Process. A scoping meeting will 
be conducted to gather information on the scope of the project and the 
alternatives to be addressed in the EIS. Additional public and agency 
involvement will be sought through the implementation of a public 
involvement plan and agency coordination.
    4. Significant issues. Issues and potential impacts associated with 
the proposed JOT that are likely to be given detailed analysis in the 
EIS include, but are not necessarily limited to: Existing and proposed 
transportation infrastructure (roadways and railways), waters of the 
United States, air quality, noise, light, Environmental Justice, visual 
resources/aesthetics, general environmental concerns, cultural 
resources, fish and wildlife values, protected species, flood hazards, 
floodplain values, land use, recreation, water quality, hazardous 
materials and solid waste, socioeconomics, safety, and in general, the 
needs and welfare of the people.
    5. Additional Review and Consultation. Additional review and 
consultation, which will be incorporated into the preparation of the 
EIS, will include, but will not necessarily be limited to, Section 14 
of the RHA; Section 401 of the CWA; Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) 
consultation requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation 
and Management Act; the Endangered Species Act; Fish and Wildlife 
Coordination Act; National Historic Preservation Act; and the South 
Carolina Coastal Zone Management Act.
    6. Availability of the Draft EIS. At this time, the Corps expects 
the Draft EIS to be made available to the public in late fall/winter 
2020. A Public Hearing will be held during the public comment period 
for the Draft EIS.

Matthew W. Luzzatto,
Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District.
[FR Doc. 2016-25519 Filed 10-20-16; 8:45 am]