[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 114 (Wednesday, June 13, 2018)]
[Pages 27596-27598]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-12667]



Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

[Docket No. CP18-332-000]

Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the 
Proposed El Paso Natural Gas Company, LLC. South Mainline 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 South Mainline Expansion 
Project involving construction and operation of facilities by El Paso 
Natural Gas Company, L.L.C. (EPNG) in Hudspeth and El Paso Counties, 
Texas; Luna County, New Mexico; and Cochise County, Arizona. 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 5:00 p.m. 
Eastern Daylight Time on July 9, 2018.
    If you sent comments on this project to the Commission before the 
opening of this docket on April 27, 2018, you will need to file those 
comments in Docket No. CP18-332-000 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 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.
    EPNG 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 website (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 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 
(CP18-332-000) 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

    EPNG's project would consist of:
     Construction of an approximately 17-mile-long, 30-inch-
diameter loop line \1\ adjacent to existing EPNG Line No. 1100 and Line 
No. 1103 between mileposts 174.5 and 191.5 in El Paso and Hudspeth 
Counties, Texas.

    \1\ A pipeline loop is a segment of pipe constructed parallel to 
an existing pipeline to increase capacity.

     Construction of the new 13,220-horsepower Red Mountain 
Compressor Station at approximate milepost 301.2 of Line No. 1100 and 
Line No. 1103 in Luna County, New Mexico.
     Construction of the new 13,220-horsepower Dragoon 
Compressor Station to be co-located with EPNG's existing Willcox 
Compressor Station at approximate milepost 406.9 of Line No. 1100 and 
Line No. 1103 in Cochise County, Arizona.
    Appendix 1 shows the general location of the project facilities.\2\

    \2\ 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

    The three project locations proposed by EPNG include approximately 
418.4 combined acres of land, all of which

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would be temporarily disturbed during construction. Operational and 
maintenance areas (permanent disturbances) for these three locations 
would be approximately 162.0 acres. Land requirements for each proposed 
facility are summarized below:

Pipeline Loop

    Most of the centerline of the proposed new 17-mile-long pipeline 
loop would be sited 30 feet south of EPNG's existing Line No. 1100, in 
an expanded easement. From mileposts (MP) 189.2 to 191.5 (within the 
Homestead Meadows residential area), the pipeline would be sited 20 
feet south of Line 1100, wholly within the existing EPNG easement. 
During construction, EPNG would use a typical construction work area of 
approximately 80 feet in width. However, to account for the additional 
pipeline depth and workspace requirements in the sand dune area (MP 
188.5 to MP 189.2), EPNG proposes a construction area 190 feet in 
width. No additional construction work area outside of the existing 
easement is proposed in the residential area. The total area disturbed 
during pipeline construction, including contractor yards and staging 
areas, would be 279.0 acres. For operation of the loop, EPNG proposes 
to maintain a 60-foot-wide permanent right-of-way for most of its 
length, except in the area of the sand dunes, where a 100-foot-wide 
permanent right-of-way would be maintained.

Red Mountain Compressor Station

    The proposed Red Mountain Compressor Station would be entirely 
within the EPNG-owned land parcel which also contains the previously 
abandoned Deming Compressor Station. Construction of the new compressor 
facilities would temporarily disturb approximately 78.2 acres within 
the existing site, with 6.2 acres being permanently maintained for the 
new aboveground facilities.

Dragoon Compressor Station

    The proposed Dragoon Compressor station and its access road would 
be on the same site that currently contains EPNG's existing Willcox 
Compressor Station. Construction of the new compressor facilities would 
temporarily disturb approximately 61.2 acres within the existing site, 
with approximately 6.4 acres being permanently maintained for the new 
aboveground facilities.

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 
\3\ 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.

    \3\ 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 construction and operation of the proposed project under these 
general headings:
     Geology and soils;
     land use;
     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 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.\4\ 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.

    \4\ 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.\5\

    \5\ 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 

    We will 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.

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 
    If we publish and distribute the EA, 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

[[Page 27598]]

attached Information Request (appendix 2).

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-
332). 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 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: June 7, 2018.
Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr.,
Deputy Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2018-12667 Filed 6-12-18; 8:45 am]