[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 31 (Wednesday, February 14, 2018)]
[Pages 6555-6557]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-03005]



Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

[Docket Nos: CP18-39-000; CP18-40-000]

Questar Southern Trail Pipeline Company, Navajo Tribal Utility 
Authority; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment for 
the Proposed Southern Trail Pipeline Abandonment Project 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 Southern Trail Pipeline 
Abandonment Project (Project) involving abandonment in place and by 
sale of facilities by Questar Southern Trail Pipeline Company 
(Questar). On December 22, 2017, Questar Southern Trails Pipeline 
Company (Questar), filed an application, in Docket No. CP18-39-000, 
pursuant to section 7(b) of the Natural Gas Act (NGA) to abandon its 
certificate of public convenience and necessity, including its blanket 
certificate authorities. Questar also requests to abandon, part by sale 
and part in-place, all of its certificated facilities dedicated to 
providing jurisdictional transportation service including approximately 
488 miles of natural gas pipeline and related facilities located in 
California, Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico.
    In a related filing, on December 22, 2017, the Navajo Tribal 
Utility Authority (NTUA), filed an application, in Docket No. CP18-40-
000, pursuant to section 7(f) of the NGA and Part 157 of the 
Commission's regulations, requesting a service area determination 
within which NTUA may, without further Commission authorization, 
enlarge or expand its natural gas distribution facilities and a waiver 
of all reporting, accounting, and other rules and regulations normally 
applicable to natural gas companies. NTUA would utilize those acquired 
facilities to provide its own service, replacing the service 
historically provided to it by Questar. The remaining facilities not 
sold to the NTUA would be abandoned in-place.
    About 220 miles of pipeline facilities that would be abandoned in 
place are in San Bernardino County, California; Mohave, Yavapai, 
Coconino and Apache Counties, Arizona; and San Yuan, Utah. About 268 
miles would be abandoned by sale and are in Coconino, Navajo and Apache 
Counties, Arizona; San Yuan County, Utah; and San Yuan County, New 
Mexico. The Commission will use this EA in its decision-making process 
to determine whether the project is in the public convenience and 
    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 March 5, 2018.
    If you sent comments on this project to the Commission before the 
opening of this docket on December 22, 2017, of the CP filing, you will 
need to file those comments in Docket No. CP18-39-000 and CP18-40-000 
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 abandonment by sale and in 
place of the proposed facilities. The company would seek to negotiate a 
mutually acceptable agreement.
    Questar 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 how to participate in the Commission's 
proceedings. It is also available for viewing on the FERC website 

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 FercOnlineSupport@ferc.gov. 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 website (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 website (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 
(CP18-39-000 and CP18-40-000 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

    The Project would consist of abandonment by sale approximately 268 
miles of pipeline facilities and abandon in-place another approximately 
220 miles of pipeline facilities, totaling approximately 488 miles of 
existing mainline natural gas pipeline located between the Essex Meter 
Facility with Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) in San

[[Page 6556]]

Bernardino County, California and extending northeast to the Milagro 
Plant in San Juan County, New Mexico. Specifically Questar proposes to:
     Abandon in place the following:

--About 220 miles of 16-inch diameter pipeline extending northeast from 
the current Questar Essex metering and regulating (M&R) Facility with 
PG&E in San Bernardino County, California to its Grey Mountain main 
line block valve in Coconino County, Arizona.
--Mohave Valley Compressor Station in Mohave County, Arizona;
--two delivery interconnects and associated M&R facilities, and all 
other appurtenant facilities, as necessary; and
--affiliated facilities in San Bernardino County, California; Mohave, 
Yavapai, Coconino and Apache Counties, Arizona; and San Yuan, Utah.

    Abandon by sale to NTUA approximately 268 miles of its interstate 
pipeline, three compressor stations, and related facilities. 
Specifically, Questar proposes to:
     Abandon by sale the following:

--approximately 41.3 miles of 20-inch diameter pipeline extending east 
from Quastar's Chinde Wash Launcher and Receiver facility in San Juan 
County, New Mexico to its Milagro Plant Interconnect in San Juan 
County, New Mexico;
--about 58.9 miles of 12-inch diameter pipeline extending southeast 
from Questar's Red Mesa Compressor Station in San Juan County Utah to 
its Chinde Wash Launcher and Receiver facility in San Juan County, New 
--about 168.0 miles of 16-inch diameter pipeline extending northeast 
from Questar's Grey Mountain block valve in Coconino County, Arizona to 
its Red Mesa Compressor Station in San Juan County, Utah;
--three compressor stations including Shiprock Compressor Station in 
San Juan County, New Mexico; Red Mesa Compressor Station in San Juan 
County, Utah; Cameron Compressor Station in Coconino County, Arizona; 
--six interconnects: three receipt point interconnects and three 
delivery point interconnects with associated M&R facilities, and other 
appurtenant facilities, as necessary.

    The general location of the project facilities is shown in appendix 

    \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.

Land Requirements for Construction

    There is no construction involved in this project. About 27.25 
acres of land would be disturbed during removal of minor aboveground 
facilities and all work would be limited to existing permanent right-of 
way and existing access roads. All disturbed areas would be restored to 
preexisting conditions.

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 EA. We will consider all 
filed comments during the preparation of the EA.

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

    In the EA we will discuss impacts that could occur as a result of 
the facilities to be abandoned in place and removal of minor facilities 
proposed 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, beginning 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. Currently, no agency has 
expressed intention to participate as a cooperating agency in the 
preparation of the EA to satisfy its 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 Office(s) (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(s) 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

[[Page 6557]]

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/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 

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 website. Motions to intervene are more fully described at 

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 website 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., CP18-
39 or CP18-40). Be sure you have selected an appropriate date range. 
For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at 
FercOnlineSupport@ferc.gov 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 sessions 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 8, 2018.
Kimberly D. Bose,
[FR Doc. 2018-03005 Filed 2-13-18; 8:45 am]