Southern LNG, Inc. and Elba Express Company, L.L.C.; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement and U.S. Coast Guard Letter of Recommendation for the Proposed Elba III Project, Request for Comments on Environmental Issues, and Notice of Public Comment Meetings, 16143-16148 [E6-4654]

Download as PDF cprice-sewell on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 61 / Thursday, March 30, 2006 / Notices alternatives (including alternative facility sites and pipeline routes), and measures to avoid or lessen environmental impacts. The more specific your comments, the more useful they will be. To ensure that your comments are timely and properly recorded, please carefully follow these instructions: • Send an original and two copies of your letter to: Magalie R. Salas, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First St., NE., Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426. • Label one copy of your comments for the attention of Gas Branch 2, DG2E. • Reference Docket No. PF06–16–000 on the original and both copies. • Mail your comments so that they will be received in Washington, DC on or before April 24, 2006. Please note that we are continuing to experience delays in mail deliveries from the U.S. Postal Service. As a result, we will include all comments that we receive within a reasonable time frame in our environmental analysis of this project. The Commission strongly encourages electronic filing of any comments in response to this Notice of Intent. For information on electronically filing comments, please see the instructions on the Commission’s Web site at http://www.ferc.gov under the ‘‘eFiling’’ link and the link to the User’s Guide, as well as information in 18 CFR 385.2001(a)(1)(iii). Before you can submit comments you will need to create a free account, which can be created on-line. Public scoping meetings are designed to provide another opportunity to offer comments on the proposed project. The FERC is arranging and will announce plans for public scoping meetings in the vicinity of the proposed project before the close of the scoping period on April 24, 2006. Interested groups and individuals are encouraged to attend these meetings and to present comments on the environmental issues they believe should be addressed in the EIS. A transcript of each meeting will be generated so that your comments will be accurately recorded. Once Kinder Morgan formally files its application with the Commission, you may want to become an official party to the proceeding known as an ‘‘intervenor.’’ 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 a Commission proceeding by filing a request to intervene. Instructions for becoming an intervenor are included in the User’s Guide under the ‘‘e-filing’’ VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:32 Mar 29, 2006 Jkt 208001 link on the Commission’s Web site. Please note that you may not request intervenor status at this time. You must wait until a formal application is filed with the Commission. Environmental Mailing List An effort is being made to send this notice to all individuals, organizations and government entities interested in and/or potentially affected by the proposed project. This includes all landowners who are potential right-ofway grantors, whose property may be used temporarily for project purposes or who own homes within distances defined in the Commission’s regulations of certain aboveground facilities. If you received this notice, you are on the environmental mailing list for this project. If you do not want to send comments at this time, but still want to remain on our mailing list, please return the Information Request (Appendix 2). If you do not return the Information Request, you will be removed from the Commission’s environmental mailing list. Availability of Additional Information Additional information about this project can be obtained by contacting the Commission’s Office of External Affairs, at 1–866–208–FERC (3372). Additional information is also available on the Internet at http://www.ferc.gov. The ‘‘eLibrary link’’ on the FERC Web site provides access to documents submitted to and issued by the Commission, such as comments, orders, notices and rulemakings. Once on the FERC website, click on the ‘‘eLibrary link,’’ select ‘‘General Search’’ and in the ‘‘Docket Number’’ field enter the project docket number excluding the last three digits (PF06–16). When researching information be sure to select an appropriate date range. In addition, the FERC now offers a free e-mail service called eSubscription that 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. To register for this service, go to http://www.ferc.gov/ esubscribenow.htm. Public meetings or site visits will be posted on the Commission’s calendar located at http://www.ferc.gov/ EventCalendar/EventsList.aspx along with other related information. For assistance with the FERC Web site or with eSubscription, please contact FERC Online Support at FERCOnlineSupport@ferc.gov or toll PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 16143 free at 1–866–208–3676, or TTY, contact (202) 502–8659. Kinder Morgan has also established an Internet Web site for this project at http://www.kindermorgan.com/ business/gas_pipelines/KMLP. This Web site includes a description of the project, a map of the proposed pipeline route and answers to frequently asked questions. You can also request additional information or provide comments directly to Kinder Morgan at 1–877–751–7626 or by e-mail at kmlpinfo@kindermorgan.com. Magalie R. Salas, Secretary. [FR Doc. E6–4643 Filed 3–29–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717–01–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. PF06–14–000; COTP Savannah–06–04] Southern LNG, Inc. and Elba Express Company, L.L.C.; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement and U.S. Coast Guard Letter of Recommendation for the Proposed Elba III Project, Request for Comments on Environmental Issues, and Notice of Public Comment Meetings March 24, 2006. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Coast Guard (Coast Guard) are in the process of evaluating the Elba III Project planned by Southern LNG, Inc. and Elba Express Company, L.L.C., both wholly-owned subsidiaries of Southern Natural Gas Company (SNG). The project would consist of an expansion of SNG’s existing onshore Elba Island Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Import Terminal on the Savannah River in Georgia, and construction and operation of onshore natural gas pipeline and compressor facilities in various counties in Georgia and South Carolina. As a part of this evaluation, the FERC staff will prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) that will address the environmental impacts of the project. The Commission will use the EIS in its decision-making process to determine whether or not to authorize the project. The Coast Guard will assess the safety and security of the import terminal expansion portion of the project and issue a Letter of Recommendation. As described below, the FERC and the Coast Guard will hold E:\FR\FM\30MRN1.SGM 30MRN1 16144 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 61 / Thursday, March 30, 2006 / Notices public comment meetings to allow the public to provide input to these assessments. This Notice of Intent (Notice) explains the scoping process that will be used to gather information on the project from the public and interested agencies, and summarizes the Coast Guard’s process. Your input will help identify the issues that need to be evaluated in the EIS and in the Coast Guard’s safety and security assessment. Please note that the scoping period for the project will close on April 24, 2006. The FERC will be the lead federal agency in the preparation of an EIS that will satisfy the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). Two other federal agencies have already agreed to serve as cooperating agencies during preparation of the EIS: the Coast Guard and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE). The COE (Savannah and Charleston Districts) has agreed to participate as a cooperating agency in the preparation of this EIS to satisfy its NEPA responsibilities under section 404 of the Clean Water Act and section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act. In addition, we have invited the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service; the Georgia Department of Natural Resources; and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources to serve as cooperating agencies in the preparation of this EIS. With this Notice, we 1 are asking other Federal, state, and local agencies with jurisdiction and/or special expertise with respect to environmental issues in the project area to formally cooperate with us in the preparation of this EIS. These agencies may choose to participate once they have evaluated the planned project relative to their responsibilities. Agencies that would like to request cooperating agency status should follow the instructions for filing comments described in the Public Participation section of this Notice. We encourage government representatives to notify their constituents of this planned project and encourage them to comment on their areas of concern. Comments on the project may be submitted in written form or verbally. Instructions for the submission of written comments are provided in the Public Participation section of this Notice. In lieu of sending written comments, we invite you to attend the public scoping meetings that we have scheduled as follows: SCHEDULE AND LOCATIONS FOR PUBLIC MEETINGS Date and time Location Monday, April 10, 2006, at 7:00 p.m. ................. Comfort Inn & Suites Conference Center (Southburg Chateau Room), 301 Governor Truetlen Drive, Pooler, GA 31322; Phone: (912) 748–6464. Sylvania Recreation Building, 605 Millen Highway, Sylvania, GA 30467; Phone: (912) 863– 2388. Thomson High School Cafeteria, 1160 White Oak Road, Thomson, GA 30824; Phone: (706) 986–4200. Washington-Wilkes High School Cafeteria, 304 Gordon Street, Washington, GA 30673; Phone: (706) 678–2426. Tuesday, April 11, 2006, at 7:00 p.m. ................ Wednesday, April 12, 2006 at 7:00 p.m. ............ cprice-sewell on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES Thursday, April 13, 2006 at 7:00 p.m. ................ The scoping meeting in Pooler, Georgia, will be combined with the Coast Guard’s public meeting regarding the safety and security of the import terminal expansion. At that meeting, the Coast Guard will discuss the process for assessing the suitability of the Savannah River to accommodate increased LNG carrier traffic, and the comprehensive review of the facility’s operations manual, emergency response plan, and security plan. The Coast Guard’s Letter of Recommendation process is further described below. This Notice is being sent to Federal, state, and local government agencies; elected officials; environmental and public interest groups; Native American tribes; commentors and other interested parties; and local libraries and newspapers. This includes all landowners who are potential right-ofway grantors, whose property may be used temporarily for project purposes, or who own homes within distances defined in the Commission’s regulations of certain aboveground facilities. We encourage government representatives to notify their constituents of this planned project and encourage them to comment on their areas of concern. To ensure that your comments are considered, please follow the instructions in the Public Participation section below. If you are a landowner receiving this Notice, you may be contacted by an SNG representative about the acquisition of an easement to construct, operate, and maintain the proposed pipeline facilities. The pipeline company would seek to negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement. However, if the pipeline portion of the project is approved by the FERC, that approval conveys with it the right of eminent domain to secure easements for the facilities. Therefore, if easement negotiations fail to produce an agreement, the pipeline company could initiate condemnation proceedings in accordance with state law. A fact sheet prepared by the FERC entitled ‘‘An Interstate Natural Gas Facility on My Land? What Do I Need to Know?’’ is available for viewing on the FERC Internet Web site (http:// www.ferc.gov. This fact sheet addresses a number of typically asked questions, including the use of eminent domain for pipeline facilities and how to participate in the FERC’s proceedings. Summary of the Planned Project Southern LNG, Inc. plans to construct and operate an expansion of its existing Elba Island LNG Import Terminal on the Savannah River in Georgia (Elba Terminal Expansion), and Elba Express Company, L.L.C. plans to construct and operate a natural gas transmission pipeline in Georgia and South Carolina (Elba Express Pipeline). The general location of the project is shown in appendix 1. Elba Terminal Expansion Southern LNG Inc. plans to construct and operate an expansion to its existing LNG import terminal on Elba Island near Savannah, in Chatham County, Georgia. The expansion would (a) more than double the site’s LNG storage capacity by adding 400,000 cubic meters 1 ‘‘We,’’ ‘‘us,’’ and ‘‘our’’ refer to the environmental staff of the FERC’s Office of Energy Projects. VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:32 Mar 29, 2006 Jkt 208001 PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\30MRN1.SGM 30MRN1 cprice-sewell on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 61 / Thursday, March 30, 2006 / Notices (m3) of new storage; (b) substantially increase the facility’s existing vaporization capacity; (c) upgrade the terminal’s send-out meter station to increase the natural gas send-out capacity of the facility by an additional 900 million cubic feet per day (MMcfd); and (d) modify the terminal’s LNG tanker berthing and unloading facilities to accommodate larger tankers and provide faster and simultaneous unloading of two LNG tankers. All of the planned facilities would be located entirely within the existing 190-acre facility site on Elba Island. The LNG terminal expansion would be constructed in two phases, A and B. Phase A would be completed as early as January 2010 and would include the following facilities: a. One new 200,000 m3 LNG storage tank, one associated boil-off gas condenser, and three boil-off gas compressors; b. Three submerged combustion vaporizers, each with a peak capacity of 180 MMcfd, providing an incremental peak send-out capacity of 540 MMcfd (or a total peak send-out capacity of 1,755 MMcfd for the full facility at the completion of phase A); and c. Modifications to the unloading docks to accommodate new, larger LNG tankers and to allow simultaneous unloading of two LNG tankers. The modifications to the dual berthing slip include: • Adding four mooring dolphins (two for each berth); • Dredging approximately 20,500 cubic yards of material from the slope at the back of the existing slip (and disposing of dredged material into the existing spoil disposal area adjacent to the terminal); and • Installing a sheetpile bulkhead at the back of the slip. These modifications would allow the slip to accommodate larger LNG tankers with an approximate overall length of 345 meters (m) (compared to the current 288 m), breadth of 55 m (compared to the current 49 m), design laden draft of 12.0 m (compared to the current 11.7 m), and displacement of 177,000 metric tons (compared to the current 128,000 metric tons). Phase B would be completed no later than December 2012 and would include the following facilities: a. One new 200,000 m3 LNG storage tank; and b. Three submerged combustion vaporizers (two for service and one spare), each with a peak capacity of 180 MMcfd, providing an incremental peak send-out capacity of 360 MMcfd (or a total peak send-out capacity of 2,115 VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:32 Mar 29, 2006 Jkt 208001 MMcfd for the full facility at the completion of phase B). Each of the two phases would include all necessary ancillary equipment including related pumps, piping, controls and appurtenances, and associated systems (electrical, mechanical, civil, instrumentation, hazard detection, and fire protection) and buildings necessary to accommodate the associated tanks and vaporizer units. Southern LNG estimates that following the expansion, the terminal would receive LNG shipments about every 5 to 10 days, depending on natural gas demand and LNG carrier size. Elba Express Pipeline Elba Express Company, L.L.C. plans to construct and operate about 188 miles of new natural gas pipeline and appurtenant facilities in Georgia and South Carolina. The pipeline would be constructed in two phases, extending between an interconnection with SNG near Port Wentworth, Chatham County, Georgia on the southern end and an interconnection with Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Corporation (Transco) in Anderson County, South Carolina on the northern end. The first phase is proposed to be placed in service as early as January 2010 with a design capacity of 945 MMcfd, and would consist of: a. The ‘‘Southern Segment,’’ which includes about 104.6 miles of 42-inchdiameter pipeline extending from Port Wentworth to the existing SNG Wrens Compressor Station (Wrens) in Jefferson County, Georgia (to be collocated with the existing SNG pipelines); and b. The ‘‘Northern Segment,’’ which includes about 83.8 miles of 36-inchdiameter pipeline extending from Wrens to interconnects with Transco in Hart County, Georgia, and Anderson County, South Carolina. The second phase would also involve construction and operation of a new compressor station of about 1,000 horsepower near Woodcliff, Screven County, Georgia, where SNG currently operates other aboveground facilities. The compressor station would increase the pipeline design capacity by 230 MMcfd to a total of 1,175 MMcfd, and is proposed to be placed in service no later than December 2012 (corresponding to the in-service date for Phase B of the Elba terminal expansion). Land Requirements for Construction Construction workspace for the Elba Terminal Expansion is undetermined at this time, but would be located entirely within the existing 190-acre facility site. SNG estimates that construction of the PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 16145 Elba Express Pipeline facilities would require about 1,600 acres of land, not including warehouses, staging areas, pipe storage yards, contractor yards, and access roads. The typical construction right-of-way for the Southern Segment would be 125 feet wide (for the 42-inchdiamter pipeline) and would overlap the existing SNG rights-of-way by varying widths based upon the existing right-ofway configuration. The typical construction right-of-way for the Northern Segment would be 110 feet wide (for the 36-inch-diameter pipeline) and, as currently planned, would not be located adjacent to existing rights-ofway. Temporary extra workspace would also be required outside the typical construction right-of-way at certain feature crossings (e.g., roads, railroads, waterbodies) and in areas requiring extensive topsoil segregation or special construction techniques. The construction and operation workspace at the compressor station would be on a 15-acre site and used for certain miscellaneous facilities (i.e., metering, mainline valves, pig launching and receiving equipment). This site would be primarily within, or adjacent to, the proposed right-of-way. Following construction, new permanent right-of-way would be required for the pipeline, compressor station, and miscellaneous facilities. Temporary workspace that is used outside existing rights-of-way would be restored and allowed to revert to its current use. The EIS Process NEPA requires the FERC to take into account the environmental impacts that could result from an action when it considers whether an LNG import terminal expansion or an interstate natural gas pipeline should be approved. The FERC will use the EIS to consider the environmental impacts that could result if it issues project authorizations to SNG under sections 3 and 7 of the Natural Gas Act. 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 EIS on the important environmental issues and reasonable alternatives. With this Notice, we are requesting public comments on the scope of the issues to be addressed in the EIS. All comments received will be considered during preparation of the EIS. In the EIS we will discuss impacts that could occur as a result of the construction, operation, maintenance, and abandonment of the project. We will also evaluate possible alternatives E:\FR\FM\30MRN1.SGM 30MRN1 16146 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 61 / Thursday, March 30, 2006 / Notices cprice-sewell on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES to the planned project or portions of the project, and make recommendations on how to lessen or avoid impacts on various resource areas. The EIS will be used by the Commission in its decisionmaking process to determine whether the project is consistent with the public interest. If it finds such, it will issue an order authorizing the project. Our independent analysis of the issues will be included in a draft EIS. The draft EIS will be mailed to Federal, state, and local government agencies; elected officials; environmental and public interest groups; Native American tribes; commentors; other interested parties; local libraries and newspapers; and the FERC’s official service list for this proceeding. A 45-day comment period will be allotted for review of the draft EIS. We will consider all timely comments on the draft EIS and revise the document, as necessary, before issuing a final EIS. Although no formal application has been filed with the FERC, we have already initiated our NEPA review under the Commission’s Pre-Filing Process. The purpose of the Pre-Filing Process is to encourage early involvement of interested stakeholders and to identify and resolve issues before an application is filed with the FERC. The Coast Guard, which will be responsible for reviewing the safety and security aspects of the planned terminal expansion and regulating safety and security if the project is approved, has initiated its review as well. Coast Guard Letter of Recommendation Process In accordance with the requirements of Title 33 of the Code of Federal Regulations, part 127.009 (33 CFR 127.009), the Coast Guard Captain of the Port (COTP) Savannah is preparing a Letter of Recommendation as to the suitability of the Savannah River for a potential increase in LNG marine traffic. The Letter of Recommendation is in response to a Letter of Intent submitted by Southern LNG, Inc. to expand its LNG import terminal facility on Elba Island near Savannah, Georgia. The COTP Savannah is soliciting written comments and related material, and will hold a public meeting in conjunction with the FERC seeking comments, pertaining specifically to maritime safety and security aspects of the proposed LNG facility expansion. In preparation for issuance of a Letter of Recommendation and the completion of certain other regulatory mandates, the COTP Savannah will consider comments received from the public as input into a formalized risk assessment process. This process will assess the VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:32 Mar 29, 2006 Jkt 208001 safety and security aspects of the facility, adjacent port areas, and navigable waterways. Background and Purpose In accordance with the requirements of 33 CFR 127.007, Southern LNG, Inc. submitted a Letter of Intent on January 12, 2006, to expand its LNG import facility on Elba Island near Savannah, Georgia. This portion of the overall project is referred to as the Elba III Terminal Expansion Project. Southern LNG, Inc.’s Elba Island facility is designed for marine receipt of LNG for storage, re-gasification, and delivery into the interstate natural gas pipeline network. The proposed expansion is described in the Summary of Planned Project—LNG Terminal Expansion section of this Notice. The Coast Guard exercises regulatory authority over LNG facilities which affect the safety and security of port areas and navigable waterways under Executive Order 10173, the Magnuson Act (50 U.S.C. 191), the Port and Waterways Safety Act of 1972, as amended (33 U.S.C. 1221 et seq.) and the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 (46 U.S.C. 701). The Coast Guard is responsible for matters related to navigation safety, vessel engineering and safety standards, and all matters pertaining to the safety of facilities or equipment located in or adjacent to navigable waters up to the last valve immediately before the receiving tanks. The Coast Guard also has authority for LNG facility security plan review, approval, and compliance verification as provided in 33 CFR part 105, and recommendation for siting as it pertains to the management of vessel traffic in and around the LNG facility. Upon receipt of a Letter of Intent from an owner or operator intending to build or expand an LNG facility, the Coast Guard COTP conducts an analysis that results in a Letter of Recommendation issued to the owner or operator and to the state and local governments having jurisdiction, addressing the suitability of the waterway to accommodate an increase of LNG carrier traffic. Specifically, the Letter of Recommendation addresses the suitability of the waterway based on: • The physical location and layout of the facility and its berthing and mooring arrangements; • The LNG vessels characteristics and the frequency of LNG shipments to the facility; • Commercial, industrial, environmentally sensitive, and residential areas in and adjacent to the waterway used by LNG vessels en route to the facility; PO 00000 Frm 00034 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 • Density and character of marine traffic on the waterway; • Bridge or other manmade obstructions in the waterway; • Depth of water; • Tidal range; • Natural hazards, including rocks and sandbars; • Underwater pipelines and cables; and • Distance of berthed LNG vessels from the channel, and the width of the channel. In addition, the Coast Guard will review and approve the updated facility operations manual and emergency response plan (33 CFR 127.019), as well as the updated facility security plan (33 CFR 105.410). The Coast Guard will also provide input to other Federal, state, and local government agencies reviewing the project. Under an interagency agreement, the Coast Guard will provide input to FERC—the lead Federal agency for authorizing the siting and construction of onshore LNG facilities—on the maritime safety and security aspects of the Elba III Terminal Expansion Project. To help FERC make sure that the EIS covers the Coast Guard’s Letter of Recommendation and other actions under this proposal, the Coast Guard will serve as a cooperating agency. In order to complete a thorough analysis and fulfill the regulatory mandates cited above, the COTP Savannah will be conducting a formal risk assessment and evaluation of various safety and security aspects associated with the Elba III Terminal Expansion Project. This assessment will be accomplished through workshops focusing on waterways safety, port security, and consequence management, with involvement from a broad crosssection of government and port stakeholders with expertise in each of the respective areas. The workshops will be by invitation only, but comments received during the public comment period will be considered as input into the risk assessment process. Currently Identified Environmental Issues We have already identified issues that we think deserve attention based on attendance at SNG’s Open House meetings, verbal comments and comment letters received thus far, a preliminary review of the project area, and information provided by SNG. This preliminary list of issues will be revised based on your comments and our continuing analyses. • Conversion of the planned pipeline right-of-way from private/commercial and forested land uses to pipeline E:\FR\FM\30MRN1.SGM 30MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 61 / Thursday, March 30, 2006 / Notices easement, and associated economic impact; • Potential impacts on watersheds and associated wetlands, tributaries and streams, and sensitive aquatic and terrestrial wildlife; • Potential biological impacts from ballast water intake by the LNG carriers; • Potential impacts on federally listed threatened and endangered species; • Potential impacts on essential fish habitat; • Consistency with Georgia Coastal Zone Management program; • Potential impacts on air quality resulting from operation of the pipeline compressor station, expanded LNG terminal, and increased LNG carrier traffic; • Potential impacts of increased LNG carrier traffic and associated support vessels on other river users; • Potential impacts on cultural resources; • Risks associated with the transport and storage of LNG; • Alternative locations for the LNG terminal expansion and pipeline route alignment, respectively; and • Assessment of the cumulative effects of the project when combined with other past, present, or reasonably foreseeable future actions in the project area. cprice-sewell on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES Public Participation You can make a difference by providing us with your specific comments or concerns about the planned project. By becoming a commentor, your concerns will be addressed in the EIS and considered by the Commission. Your comments should focus on the potential environmental effects, reasonable alternatives (including alternative facility sites and pipeline routes), and measures to avoid or lessen environmental impacts. In addition, the Coast Guard encourages you to submit written comments and related material pertaining specifically to marine safety and security aspects associated with the proposed LNG facility expansion. To maintain a single administrative record and public comment repository, all original written comments and related material associated with the Coast Guard’s Letter of Recommendation process must be submitted to the FERC. The more specific your comments, the more useful they will be. To ensure that your comments are timely and properly recorded, please follow these instructions: • Send an original and two copies of your letter to: Magalie R. Salas, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:32 Mar 29, 2006 Jkt 208001 Commission, 888 First Street, NE., Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426; • Label one copy of your comments for the attention of Gas Branch 1, DG2E; • Reference Docket No. PF06–14–000 on the original and both copies; and • Mail your comments so that they will be received in Washington, DC on or before April 24, 2006. If you submit comments by mail, submit them in an unbound format, no larger than 8.5 by 11 inches, suitable for copying and electronic filing. However, the Commission strongly encourages electronic filing of any comments in response to this Notice. For information on electronically filing comments, please see the instructions on the Commission’s Web site at http:// www.ferc.gov under the ‘‘e-Filing’’ link and the link to the User’s Guide as well as information in 18 CFR 385.2001(a)(1)(iii). Before you can file comments you will need to create a free account, which can be accomplished online. Comment letters received by the FERC regarding the Coast Guard’s safety and security assessment and Letter of Recommendation will be forwarded to the Coast Guard. Although original written comments must be submitted to the FERC, you may submit an identical copy of your written comments to: Commanding Officer, U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Savannah, 100 W. Oglethorpe, Savannah, GA 31401. Marine Safety Unit Savannah maintains a file for this Notice. Comments and material received will become part of this file and will be available for inspection and copying at Marine Safety Unit Savannah between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, except federal holidays. The Coast Guard’s comment period will run concurrently with the FERC’s 30-day public scoping period. The public scoping meetings (details provided above) are designed to provide another opportunity to offer comments on the proposed project. Interested groups and individuals are encouraged to attend the meetings and to present comments on the environmental issues that they believe should be addressed in the EIS. A transcript of each meeting will be generated so that your comments will be accurately recorded. To provide the public an opportunity to comment on the planned LNG facility expansion, the Coast Guard will hold a public meeting in conjunction with the FERC staff in Pooler, Georgia, on April 10, 2006. Organizations and members of the public may provide oral statements regarding the suitability of the Savannah River for an increase in LNG vessel traffic at the Pooler public meeting. In PO 00000 Frm 00035 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 16147 the interest of time and use of the public meeting facility, oral statements may be limited to five minutes (depending on the number of speakers). Persons wishing to make oral statements should notify the FERC when signing in at the meeting. Written comments may be submitted at the meeting or to the FERC as discussed above. When SNG formally files its application to site, construct, and operate its proposed project, the Commission will publish a Notice of Application in the Federal Register. The applicant will provide a copy of this notice to affected landowners within 3 days of its issuance. The Notice of Application will establish a deadline for interested parties to intervene in the proceeding. Because the Commission’s Pre-Filing Process occurs before an application to begin a proceeding is officially filed, petitions to intervene during this process are premature and will not be accepted by the Commission. Environmental Mailing List and EIS Format If you do not wish to remain on the environmental mailing list to receive notices or the EIS for this planned project, please return the mailer attached as appendix 2. To reduce printing and mailing costs, the draft and final EIS will be issued in both compact disk (CD–ROM) and hard copy formats. The FERC strongly encourages the use of CD–ROM format in its publication of large documents. Thus, all recipients will automatically receive the EIS on CD–ROM. If you wish to receive a paper copy of the draft EIS instead of a CD–ROM, you must indicate that choice on the return mailer. Additional Information Additional information about the project is available from the Commission’s Office of External Affairs, at 1–866–208–FERC (3372) or on the FERC Internet Web site (http:// www.ferc.gov) using the ‘‘eLibrary’’ link. Click on the eLibrary link, select ‘‘General Search’’ and enter the project docket number excluding the last three digits (i.e., PF06–14) in the ‘‘Docket Number’’ field. Be sure you have selected an appropriate date range. For assistance with eLibrary, the eLibrary helpline can be reached at 1–866–208– 3676, TTY (202) 502–8659, or by e-mail at FercOnlineSupport@ferc.gov. The eLibrary link on the FERC Internet Web site also provides access to the texts of formal documents issued by the Commission, such as orders, notices, and rule makings. E:\FR\FM\30MRN1.SGM 30MRN1 16148 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 61 / Thursday, March 30, 2006 / Notices If you have any questions about the Coast Guard’s safety and security assessment or its Letter of Recommendation process, contact Lieutenant Andy Meyers or Charlie Johnson at Marine Safety Unit Savannah, (912) 652–4353 or (912) 652– 4180 (fax). In addition, the FERC now offers a free service called eSubscription that 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. To register for this service, go to http://www.ferc.gov/ esubscribenow.htm. Public meetings or site visits will be posted on the Commission’s calendar located at http://www.ferc.gov/ EventCalendar/EventsList.aspx along with other related information. Finally, SNG has established an Internet Web site for this project at http://www.elba3.com. The Web site includes a description of the project, additional maps of the project area, and answers to frequently asked questions. You can also request additional information or provide comments directly to SNG at (800) 793–4514. Magalie R. Salas, Secretary. [FR Doc. E6–4654 Filed 3–29–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717–01–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Project No. 2145–060] Public Utility District No. 1 of Chelan County, WA (Chelan PUD); Notice of Settlement Agreement, Soliciting Comments, and New Procedural Schedule cprice-sewell on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES March 23, 2006. Take notice that the following settlement agreement has been filed with the Commission and is available for public inspection. a. Type of Application: Final Comprehensive Settlement Agreement. b. Project No.: P–2145–060. c. Date Filed: March 20, 2006. d. Applicant: Public Utility District No. 1 of Chelan County, Washington (Chelan PUD). e. Name of Project: Rocky Reach Hydroelectric Project (Project). f. Location: On the mid-Columbia River, near the city of Wenatchee, in VerDate Aug<31>2005 18:18 Mar 29, 2006 Jkt 208001 Chelan and Douglas Counties, Washington. g. Filed Pursuant to: Rule 602 of the Commission’s Rules of Practice and Procedure, 18 CFR 385.602. h. Applicant Contact: Gregg Carrington, Director of Hydro Services, 327 N. Wenatchee Avenue, Wenatchee, WA 98801, (509) 661–4178, gregg@chelanpud.org. i. FERC Contact: Kim A. Nguyen, (202) 502–6105, kim.nguyen@ferc.gov. j. The deadline for filing comments on the Settlement Agreement is 20 days from the date of this notice, or April 12, 2006. The deadline for filing reply comments is 30 days from the date of this notice, or April 24, 2006. All documents (original and eight copies) should be filed with: Magalie R. Salas, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street, NE., Washington, DC 20426. The Commission’s Rules of Practice require all intervenors filing documents with the Commission to serve a copy of that document on each person on the official service list for the project. Further, if an intervenor files comments or documents with the Commission relating to the merits of an issue that may affect the responsibilities of a particular resource agency, they must also serve a copy of the document on that resource agency. Comments may be filed electronically via the Internet in lieu of paper. The Commission strongly encourages electronic filings. See 18 CFR 385.2001(a)(1)(iii) and the instructions on the Commission’s Web site (http:// www.ferc.gov) under the ‘‘e-Filing’’ link. k. Chelan PUD filed the settlement agreement on behalf of themselves and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Washington Department of Ecology, the U.S. National Park Service, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, the City of Entiat, the Entiat Coalition, and Alcoa Power Generating, Inc. The purpose of the settlement agreement is to resolve among the signatories issues regarding the relicensing of the Rocky Reach Hydroelectric Project. The signatories have agreed that the settlement agreement is fair and reasonable and in the public interest. On behalf of the signatories, Chelan PUD requests that the Commission approve the settlement agreement and adopt it as part of a new license without material modification. l. A copy of the settlement agreement is available for review at the Commission in the Public Reference Room or may be viewed on the Commission’s Web site at http:// PO 00000 Frm 00036 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 www.ferc.gov using the ‘‘eLibrary’’ link. Enter the docket number excluding the last three digits in the docket number field to access the document. For assistance, contact FERC Online Support at FERCOnlineSupport@ferc.gov or tollfree at 1–866–208–3676, or for TTY (202) 502–8659. A copy is also available for inspection and reproduction at the address in item h above. You may also register online at http:// www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/ esubscription.asp to be notified via email of new filings and issuances related to this or other pending projects. For assistance, contact FERC Online Support. m. We are modifying our processing schedule for the relicensing of the Project. The schedule given in our Notice on January 30, 2006 is replaced with the following schedule: Target Date: Issue Final Environmental Impact Statement July, 2006; Ready for Commission Action October, 2006. Magalie R. Salas, Secretary. [FR Doc. E6–4593 Filed 3–29–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717–01–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Notice of Applications Accepted for Filing and Soliciting Comments, Motions To Intervene, and Protests March 24, 2006. Take notice that the following hydroelectric applications have been filed with the Commission and are available for public inspection: a. Type of Applications: Preliminary Permit (Competing). b. Applicants, Project Numbers, and Dates Filed: Wilkesboro Hydroelectric Company LLC filed the application for Project No. 12642–000 on January 25, 2006. Yadkin Hydropower LLC filed the application for Project No. 12651–000 on February 9, 2006. c. Name of the Project: W. Kerr Scott Hydroelectric Project. The project would be located on the Yadkin River in Wilkes County, North Carolina. It would use the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) existing W. Kerr Scott Dam. d. Filed Pursuant to: Federal Power Act, 16 U.S.C. 791a–825r. e. Applicants Contacts: For Wilkesboro Hydroelectric Company: M. Clifford Phillips, Wilkesboro E:\FR\FM\30MRN1.SGM 30MRN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 61 (Thursday, March 30, 2006)]
[Notices]
[Pages 16143-16148]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E6-4654]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

[Docket No. PF06-14-000; COTP Savannah-06-04]


Southern LNG, Inc. and Elba Express Company, L.L.C.; Notice of 
Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement and U.S. Coast 
Guard Letter of Recommendation for the Proposed Elba III Project, 
Request for Comments on Environmental Issues, and Notice of Public 
Comment Meetings

March 24, 2006.
    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) and 
the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Coast Guard (Coast 
Guard) are in the process of evaluating the Elba III Project planned by 
Southern LNG, Inc. and Elba Express Company, L.L.C., both wholly-owned 
subsidiaries of Southern Natural Gas Company (SNG). The project would 
consist of an expansion of SNG's existing onshore Elba Island Liquefied 
Natural Gas (LNG) Import Terminal on the Savannah River in Georgia, and 
construction and operation of onshore natural gas pipeline and 
compressor facilities in various counties in Georgia and South 
Carolina.
    As a part of this evaluation, the FERC staff will prepare an 
environmental impact statement (EIS) that will address the 
environmental impacts of the project. The Commission will use the EIS 
in its decision-making process to determine whether or not to authorize 
the project. The Coast Guard will assess the safety and security of the 
import terminal expansion portion of the project and issue a Letter of 
Recommendation. As described below, the FERC and the Coast Guard will 
hold

[[Page 16144]]

public comment meetings to allow the public to provide input to these 
assessments.
    This Notice of Intent (Notice) explains the scoping process that 
will be used to gather information on the project from the public and 
interested agencies, and summarizes the Coast Guard's process. Your 
input will help identify the issues that need to be evaluated in the 
EIS and in the Coast Guard's safety and security assessment. Please 
note that the scoping period for the project will close on April 24, 
2006.
    The FERC will be the lead federal agency in the preparation of an 
EIS that will satisfy the requirements of the National Environmental 
Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). Two other federal agencies have already 
agreed to serve as cooperating agencies during preparation of the EIS: 
the Coast Guard and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE). The COE 
(Savannah and Charleston Districts) has agreed to participate as a 
cooperating agency in the preparation of this EIS to satisfy its NEPA 
responsibilities under section 404 of the Clean Water Act and section 
10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act. In addition, we have invited the U.S. 
Fish & Wildlife Service; the U.S. Department of Commerce, National 
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries 
Service; the Georgia Department of Natural Resources; and the South 
Carolina Department of Natural Resources to serve as cooperating 
agencies in the preparation of this EIS.
    With this Notice, we \1\ are asking other Federal, state, and local 
agencies with jurisdiction and/or special expertise with respect to 
environmental issues in the project area to formally cooperate with us 
in the preparation of this EIS. These agencies may choose to 
participate once they have evaluated the planned project relative to 
their responsibilities. Agencies that would like to request cooperating 
agency status should follow the instructions for filing comments 
described in the Public Participation section of this Notice.
    We encourage government representatives to notify their 
constituents of this planned project and encourage them to comment on 
their areas of concern. Comments on the project may be submitted in 
written form or verbally. Instructions for the submission of written 
comments are provided in the Public Participation section of this 
Notice. In lieu of sending written comments, we invite you to attend 
the public scoping meetings that we have scheduled as follows:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ ``We,'' ``us,'' and ``our'' refer to the environmental staff 
of the FERC's Office of Energy Projects.

               Schedule and Locations for Public Meetings
------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date and time                           Location
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Monday, April 10, 2006, at     Comfort Inn & Suites Conference Center
 7:00 p.m..                     (Southburg Chateau Room), 301 Governor
                                Truetlen Drive, Pooler, GA 31322; Phone:
                                (912) 748-6464.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006, at    Sylvania Recreation Building, 605 Millen
 7:00 p.m..                     Highway, Sylvania, GA 30467; Phone:
                                (912) 863-2388.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006 at   Thomson High School Cafeteria, 1160 White
 7:00 p.m..                     Oak Road, Thomson, GA 30824; Phone:
                                (706) 986-4200.
Thursday, April 13, 2006 at    Washington-Wilkes High School Cafeteria,
 7:00 p.m..                     304 Gordon Street, Washington, GA 30673;
                                Phone: (706) 678-2426.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The scoping meeting in Pooler, Georgia, will be combined with the 
Coast Guard's public meeting regarding the safety and security of the 
import terminal expansion. At that meeting, the Coast Guard will 
discuss the process for assessing the suitability of the Savannah River 
to accommodate increased LNG carrier traffic, and the comprehensive 
review of the facility's operations manual, emergency response plan, 
and security plan. The Coast Guard's Letter of Recommendation process 
is further described below.
    This Notice is being sent to Federal, state, and local government 
agencies; elected officials; environmental and public interest groups; 
Native American tribes; commentors and other interested parties; and 
local libraries and newspapers. This includes all landowners who are 
potential right-of-way grantors, whose property may be used temporarily 
for project purposes, or who own homes within distances defined in the 
Commission's regulations of certain aboveground facilities. We 
encourage government representatives to notify their constituents of 
this planned project and encourage them to comment on their areas of 
concern. To ensure that your comments are considered, please follow the 
instructions in the Public Participation section below.
    If you are a landowner receiving this Notice, you may be contacted 
by an SNG representative about the acquisition of an easement to 
construct, operate, and maintain the proposed pipeline facilities. The 
pipeline company would seek to negotiate a mutually acceptable 
agreement. However, if the pipeline portion of the project is approved 
by the FERC, that approval conveys with it the right of eminent domain 
to secure easements for the facilities. Therefore, if easement 
negotiations fail to produce an agreement, the pipeline company could 
initiate condemnation proceedings in accordance with state law.
    A fact sheet prepared by the FERC entitled ``An Interstate Natural 
Gas Facility on My Land? What Do I Need to Know?'' is available for 
viewing on the FERC Internet Web site (http://www.ferc.gov. This fact 
sheet addresses a number of typically asked questions, including the 
use of eminent domain for pipeline facilities and how to participate in 
the FERC's proceedings.

Summary of the Planned Project

    Southern LNG, Inc. plans to construct and operate an expansion of 
its existing Elba Island LNG Import Terminal on the Savannah River in 
Georgia (Elba Terminal Expansion), and Elba Express Company, L.L.C. 
plans to construct and operate a natural gas transmission pipeline in 
Georgia and South Carolina (Elba Express Pipeline). The general 
location of the project is shown in appendix 1.

Elba Terminal Expansion

    Southern LNG Inc. plans to construct and operate an expansion to 
its existing LNG import terminal on Elba Island near Savannah, in 
Chatham County, Georgia. The expansion would (a) more than double the 
site's LNG storage capacity by adding 400,000 cubic meters

[[Page 16145]]

(m3) of new storage; (b) substantially increase the 
facility's existing vaporization capacity; (c) upgrade the terminal's 
send-out meter station to increase the natural gas send-out capacity of 
the facility by an additional 900 million cubic feet per day (MMcfd); 
and (d) modify the terminal's LNG tanker berthing and unloading 
facilities to accommodate larger tankers and provide faster and 
simultaneous unloading of two LNG tankers. All of the planned 
facilities would be located entirely within the existing 190-acre 
facility site on Elba Island.
    The LNG terminal expansion would be constructed in two phases, A 
and B. Phase A would be completed as early as January 2010 and would 
include the following facilities:
    a. One new 200,000 m3 LNG storage tank, one associated 
boil-off gas condenser, and three boil-off gas compressors;
    b. Three submerged combustion vaporizers, each with a peak capacity 
of 180 MMcfd, providing an incremental peak send-out capacity of 540 
MMcfd (or a total peak send-out capacity of 1,755 MMcfd for the full 
facility at the completion of phase A); and
    c. Modifications to the unloading docks to accommodate new, larger 
LNG tankers and to allow simultaneous unloading of two LNG tankers. The 
modifications to the dual berthing slip include:
     Adding four mooring dolphins (two for each berth);
     Dredging approximately 20,500 cubic yards of material from 
the slope at the back of the existing slip (and disposing of dredged 
material into the existing spoil disposal area adjacent to the 
terminal); and
     Installing a sheetpile bulkhead at the back of the slip. 
These modifications would allow the slip to accommodate larger LNG 
tankers with an approximate overall length of 345 meters (m) (compared 
to the current 288 m), breadth of 55 m (compared to the current 49 m), 
design laden draft of 12.0 m (compared to the current 11.7 m), and 
displacement of 177,000 metric tons (compared to the current 128,000 
metric tons).
    Phase B would be completed no later than December 2012 and would 
include the following facilities:
    a. One new 200,000 m3 LNG storage tank; and
    b. Three submerged combustion vaporizers (two for service and one 
spare), each with a peak capacity of 180 MMcfd, providing an 
incremental peak send-out capacity of 360 MMcfd (or a total peak send-
out capacity of 2,115 MMcfd for the full facility at the completion of 
phase B).
    Each of the two phases would include all necessary ancillary 
equipment including related pumps, piping, controls and appurtenances, 
and associated systems (electrical, mechanical, civil, instrumentation, 
hazard detection, and fire protection) and buildings necessary to 
accommodate the associated tanks and vaporizer units. Southern LNG 
estimates that following the expansion, the terminal would receive LNG 
shipments about every 5 to 10 days, depending on natural gas demand and 
LNG carrier size.

Elba Express Pipeline

    Elba Express Company, L.L.C. plans to construct and operate about 
188 miles of new natural gas pipeline and appurtenant facilities in 
Georgia and South Carolina. The pipeline would be constructed in two 
phases, extending between an interconnection with SNG near Port 
Wentworth, Chatham County, Georgia on the southern end and an 
interconnection with Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Corporation 
(Transco) in Anderson County, South Carolina on the northern end.
    The first phase is proposed to be placed in service as early as 
January 2010 with a design capacity of 945 MMcfd, and would consist of:
    a. The ``Southern Segment,'' which includes about 104.6 miles of 
42-inch-diameter pipeline extending from Port Wentworth to the existing 
SNG Wrens Compressor Station (Wrens) in Jefferson County, Georgia (to 
be collocated with the existing SNG pipelines); and
    b. The ``Northern Segment,'' which includes about 83.8 miles of 36-
inch-diameter pipeline extending from Wrens to interconnects with 
Transco in Hart County, Georgia, and Anderson County, South Carolina.
    The second phase would also involve construction and operation of a 
new compressor station of about 1,000 horsepower near Woodcliff, 
Screven County, Georgia, where SNG currently operates other aboveground 
facilities. The compressor station would increase the pipeline design 
capacity by 230 MMcfd to a total of 1,175 MMcfd, and is proposed to be 
placed in service no later than December 2012 (corresponding to the in-
service date for Phase B of the Elba terminal expansion).

Land Requirements for Construction

    Construction workspace for the Elba Terminal Expansion is 
undetermined at this time, but would be located entirely within the 
existing 190-acre facility site. SNG estimates that construction of the 
Elba Express Pipeline facilities would require about 1,600 acres of 
land, not including warehouses, staging areas, pipe storage yards, 
contractor yards, and access roads. The typical construction right-of-
way for the Southern Segment would be 125 feet wide (for the 42-inch-
diamter pipeline) and would overlap the existing SNG rights-of-way by 
varying widths based upon the existing right-of-way configuration. The 
typical construction right-of-way for the Northern Segment would be 110 
feet wide (for the 36-inch-diameter pipeline) and, as currently 
planned, would not be located adjacent to existing rights-of-way. 
Temporary extra workspace would also be required outside the typical 
construction right-of-way at certain feature crossings (e.g., roads, 
railroads, waterbodies) and in areas requiring extensive topsoil 
segregation or special construction techniques.
    The construction and operation workspace at the compressor station 
would be on a 15-acre site and used for certain miscellaneous 
facilities (i.e., metering, mainline valves, pig launching and 
receiving equipment). This site would be primarily within, or adjacent 
to, the proposed right-of-way.
    Following construction, new permanent right-of-way would be 
required for the pipeline, compressor station, and miscellaneous 
facilities. Temporary workspace that is used outside existing rights-
of-way would be restored and allowed to revert to its current use.

The EIS Process

    NEPA requires the FERC to take into account the environmental 
impacts that could result from an action when it considers whether an 
LNG import terminal expansion or an interstate natural gas pipeline 
should be approved. The FERC will use the EIS to consider the 
environmental impacts that could result if it issues project 
authorizations to SNG under sections 3 and 7 of the Natural Gas Act. 
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 EIS on 
the important environmental issues and reasonable alternatives. With 
this Notice, we are requesting public comments on the scope of the 
issues to be addressed in the EIS. All comments received will be 
considered during preparation of the EIS.
    In the EIS we will discuss impacts that could occur as a result of 
the construction, operation, maintenance, and abandonment of the 
project. We will also evaluate possible alternatives

[[Page 16146]]

to the planned project or portions of the project, and make 
recommendations on how to lessen or avoid impacts on various resource 
areas. The EIS will be used by the Commission in its decision-making 
process to determine whether the project is consistent with the public 
interest. If it finds such, it will issue an order authorizing the 
project.
    Our independent analysis of the issues will be included in a draft 
EIS. The draft EIS will be mailed to Federal, state, and local 
government agencies; elected officials; environmental and public 
interest groups; Native American tribes; commentors; other interested 
parties; local libraries and newspapers; and the FERC's official 
service list for this proceeding. A 45-day comment period will be 
allotted for review of the draft EIS. We will consider all timely 
comments on the draft EIS and revise the document, as necessary, before 
issuing a final EIS.
    Although no formal application has been filed with the FERC, we 
have already initiated our NEPA review under the Commission's Pre-
Filing Process. The purpose of the Pre-Filing Process is to encourage 
early involvement of interested stakeholders and to identify and 
resolve issues before an application is filed with the FERC. The Coast 
Guard, which will be responsible for reviewing the safety and security 
aspects of the planned terminal expansion and regulating safety and 
security if the project is approved, has initiated its review as well.

Coast Guard Letter of Recommendation Process

    In accordance with the requirements of Title 33 of the Code of 
Federal Regulations, part 127.009 (33 CFR 127.009), the Coast Guard 
Captain of the Port (COTP) Savannah is preparing a Letter of 
Recommendation as to the suitability of the Savannah River for a 
potential increase in LNG marine traffic. The Letter of Recommendation 
is in response to a Letter of Intent submitted by Southern LNG, Inc. to 
expand its LNG import terminal facility on Elba Island near Savannah, 
Georgia. The COTP Savannah is soliciting written comments and related 
material, and will hold a public meeting in conjunction with the FERC 
seeking comments, pertaining specifically to maritime safety and 
security aspects of the proposed LNG facility expansion. In preparation 
for issuance of a Letter of Recommendation and the completion of 
certain other regulatory mandates, the COTP Savannah will consider 
comments received from the public as input into a formalized risk 
assessment process. This process will assess the safety and security 
aspects of the facility, adjacent port areas, and navigable waterways.

Background and Purpose

    In accordance with the requirements of 33 CFR 127.007, Southern 
LNG, Inc. submitted a Letter of Intent on January 12, 2006, to expand 
its LNG import facility on Elba Island near Savannah, Georgia. This 
portion of the overall project is referred to as the Elba III Terminal 
Expansion Project.
    Southern LNG, Inc.'s Elba Island facility is designed for marine 
receipt of LNG for storage, re-gasification, and delivery into the 
interstate natural gas pipeline network. The proposed expansion is 
described in the Summary of Planned Project--LNG Terminal Expansion 
section of this Notice. The Coast Guard exercises regulatory authority 
over LNG facilities which affect the safety and security of port areas 
and navigable waterways under Executive Order 10173, the Magnuson Act 
(50 U.S.C. 191), the Port and Waterways Safety Act of 1972, as amended 
(33 U.S.C. 1221 et seq.) and the Maritime Transportation Security Act 
of 2002 (46 U.S.C. 701). The Coast Guard is responsible for matters 
related to navigation safety, vessel engineering and safety standards, 
and all matters pertaining to the safety of facilities or equipment 
located in or adjacent to navigable waters up to the last valve 
immediately before the receiving tanks. The Coast Guard also has 
authority for LNG facility security plan review, approval, and 
compliance verification as provided in 33 CFR part 105, and 
recommendation for siting as it pertains to the management of vessel 
traffic in and around the LNG facility.
    Upon receipt of a Letter of Intent from an owner or operator 
intending to build or expand an LNG facility, the Coast Guard COTP 
conducts an analysis that results in a Letter of Recommendation issued 
to the owner or operator and to the state and local governments having 
jurisdiction, addressing the suitability of the waterway to accommodate 
an increase of LNG carrier traffic. Specifically, the Letter of 
Recommendation addresses the suitability of the waterway based on:
     The physical location and layout of the facility and its 
berthing and mooring arrangements;
     The LNG vessels characteristics and the frequency of LNG 
shipments to the facility;
     Commercial, industrial, environmentally sensitive, and 
residential areas in and adjacent to the waterway used by LNG vessels 
en route to the facility;
     Density and character of marine traffic on the waterway;
     Bridge or other manmade obstructions in the waterway;
     Depth of water;
     Tidal range;
     Natural hazards, including rocks and sandbars;
     Underwater pipelines and cables; and
     Distance of berthed LNG vessels from the channel, and the 
width of the channel.
    In addition, the Coast Guard will review and approve the updated 
facility operations manual and emergency response plan (33 CFR 
127.019), as well as the updated facility security plan (33 CFR 
105.410). The Coast Guard will also provide input to other Federal, 
state, and local government agencies reviewing the project. Under an 
interagency agreement, the Coast Guard will provide input to FERC--the 
lead Federal agency for authorizing the siting and construction of 
onshore LNG facilities--on the maritime safety and security aspects of 
the Elba III Terminal Expansion Project. To help FERC make sure that 
the EIS covers the Coast Guard's Letter of Recommendation and other 
actions under this proposal, the Coast Guard will serve as a 
cooperating agency.
    In order to complete a thorough analysis and fulfill the regulatory 
mandates cited above, the COTP Savannah will be conducting a formal 
risk assessment and evaluation of various safety and security aspects 
associated with the Elba III Terminal Expansion Project. This 
assessment will be accomplished through workshops focusing on waterways 
safety, port security, and consequence management, with involvement 
from a broad cross-section of government and port stakeholders with 
expertise in each of the respective areas. The workshops will be by 
invitation only, but comments received during the public comment period 
will be considered as input into the risk assessment process.

Currently Identified Environmental Issues

    We have already identified issues that we think deserve attention 
based on attendance at SNG's Open House meetings, verbal comments and 
comment letters received thus far, a preliminary review of the project 
area, and information provided by SNG. This preliminary list of issues 
will be revised based on your comments and our continuing analyses.
     Conversion of the planned pipeline right-of-way from 
private/commercial and forested land uses to pipeline

[[Page 16147]]

easement, and associated economic impact;
     Potential impacts on watersheds and associated wetlands, 
tributaries and streams, and sensitive aquatic and terrestrial 
wildlife;
     Potential biological impacts from ballast water intake by 
the LNG carriers;
     Potential impacts on federally listed threatened and 
endangered species;
     Potential impacts on essential fish habitat;
     Consistency with Georgia Coastal Zone Management program;
     Potential impacts on air quality resulting from operation 
of the pipeline compressor station, expanded LNG terminal, and 
increased LNG carrier traffic;
     Potential impacts of increased LNG carrier traffic and 
associated support vessels on other river users;
     Potential impacts on cultural resources;
     Risks associated with the transport and storage of LNG;
     Alternative locations for the LNG terminal expansion and 
pipeline route alignment, respectively; and
     Assessment of the cumulative effects of the project when 
combined with other past, present, or reasonably foreseeable future 
actions in the project area.

Public Participation

    You can make a difference by providing us with your specific 
comments or concerns about the planned project. By becoming a 
commentor, your concerns will be addressed in the EIS and considered by 
the Commission. Your comments should focus on the potential 
environmental effects, reasonable alternatives (including alternative 
facility sites and pipeline routes), and measures to avoid or lessen 
environmental impacts. In addition, the Coast Guard encourages you to 
submit written comments and related material pertaining specifically to 
marine safety and security aspects associated with the proposed LNG 
facility expansion. To maintain a single administrative record and 
public comment repository, all original written comments and related 
material associated with the Coast Guard's Letter of Recommendation 
process must be submitted to the FERC. The more specific your comments, 
the more useful they will be. To ensure that your comments are timely 
and properly recorded, please follow these instructions:
     Send an original and two copies of your letter to: Magalie 
R. Salas, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First 
Street, NE., Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426;
     Label one copy of your comments for the attention of Gas 
Branch 1, DG2E;
     Reference Docket No. PF06-14-000 on the original and both 
copies; and
     Mail your comments so that they will be received in 
Washington, DC on or before April 24, 2006.
    If you submit comments by mail, submit them in an unbound format, 
no larger than 8.5 by 11 inches, suitable for copying and electronic 
filing. However, the Commission strongly encourages electronic filing 
of any comments in response to this Notice. For information on 
electronically filing comments, please see the instructions on the 
Commission's Web site at http://www.ferc.gov under the ``e-Filing'' 
link and the link to the User's Guide as well as information in 18 CFR 
385.2001(a)(1)(iii). Before you can file comments you will need to 
create a free account, which can be accomplished online.
    Comment letters received by the FERC regarding the Coast Guard's 
safety and security assessment and Letter of Recommendation will be 
forwarded to the Coast Guard. Although original written comments must 
be submitted to the FERC, you may submit an identical copy of your 
written comments to: Commanding Officer, U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety 
Unit Savannah, 100 W. Oglethorpe, Savannah, GA 31401.
    Marine Safety Unit Savannah maintains a file for this Notice. 
Comments and material received will become part of this file and will 
be available for inspection and copying at Marine Safety Unit Savannah 
between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, except federal 
holidays. The Coast Guard's comment period will run concurrently with 
the FERC's 30-day public scoping period.
    The public scoping meetings (details provided above) are designed 
to provide another opportunity to offer comments on the proposed 
project. Interested groups and individuals are encouraged to attend the 
meetings and to present comments on the environmental issues that they 
believe should be addressed in the EIS. A transcript of each meeting 
will be generated so that your comments will be accurately recorded.
    To provide the public an opportunity to comment on the planned LNG 
facility expansion, the Coast Guard will hold a public meeting in 
conjunction with the FERC staff in Pooler, Georgia, on April 10, 2006. 
Organizations and members of the public may provide oral statements 
regarding the suitability of the Savannah River for an increase in LNG 
vessel traffic at the Pooler public meeting. In the interest of time 
and use of the public meeting facility, oral statements may be limited 
to five minutes (depending on the number of speakers). Persons wishing 
to make oral statements should notify the FERC when signing in at the 
meeting. Written comments may be submitted at the meeting or to the 
FERC as discussed above.
    When SNG formally files its application to site, construct, and 
operate its proposed project, the Commission will publish a Notice of 
Application in the Federal Register. The applicant will provide a copy 
of this notice to affected landowners within 3 days of its issuance. 
The Notice of Application will establish a deadline for interested 
parties to intervene in the proceeding. Because the Commission's Pre-
Filing Process occurs before an application to begin a proceeding is 
officially filed, petitions to intervene during this process are 
premature and will not be accepted by the Commission.

Environmental Mailing List and EIS Format

    If you do not wish to remain on the environmental mailing list to 
receive notices or the EIS for this planned project, please return the 
mailer attached as appendix 2.
    To reduce printing and mailing costs, the draft and final EIS will 
be issued in both compact disk (CD-ROM) and hard copy formats. The FERC 
strongly encourages the use of CD-ROM format in its publication of 
large documents. Thus, all recipients will automatically receive the 
EIS on CD-ROM. If you wish to receive a paper copy of the draft EIS 
instead of a CD-ROM, you must indicate that choice on the return 
mailer.

Additional Information

    Additional information about the project is available from the 
Commission's Office of External Affairs, at 1-866-208-FERC (3372) or on 
the FERC Internet Web site (http://www.ferc.gov) using the ``eLibrary'' 
link. Click on the eLibrary link, select ``General Search'' and enter 
the project docket number excluding the last three digits (i.e., PF06-
14) in the ``Docket Number'' field. Be sure you have selected an 
appropriate date range. For assistance with eLibrary, the eLibrary 
helpline can be reached at 1-866-208-3676, TTY (202) 502-8659, or by e-
mail at FercOnlineSupport@ferc.gov. The eLibrary link on the FERC 
Internet Web site also provides access to the texts of formal documents 
issued by the Commission, such as orders, notices, and rule makings.

[[Page 16148]]

    If you have any questions about the Coast Guard's safety and 
security assessment or its Letter of Recommendation process, contact 
Lieutenant Andy Meyers or Charlie Johnson at Marine Safety Unit 
Savannah, (912) 652-4353 or (912) 652-4180 (fax).
    In addition, the FERC now offers a free service called 
eSubscription that 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. To register for this service, go to http://www.ferc.gov/
esubscribenow.htm.
    Public meetings or site visits will be posted on the Commission's 
calendar located at http://www.ferc.gov/EventCalendar/EventsList.aspx 
along with other related information.
    Finally, SNG has established an Internet Web site for this project 
at http://www.elba3.com. The Web site includes a description of the 
project, additional maps of the project area, and answers to frequently 
asked questions. You can also request additional information or provide 
comments directly to SNG at (800) 793-4514.

Magalie R. Salas,
Secretary.
[FR Doc. E6-4654 Filed 3-29-06; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6717-01-P