Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for Implementation of the FutureGen Project, 42840-42844 [E6-12118]

Download as PDF 42840 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 145 / Friday, July 28, 2006 / Notices U.S. Department of Education, 830 First Street, NE., Union Center Plaza, room #41B4, Washington, DC 20202–5320. Telephone: 202–377–3212; and as a secondary contact, Shirley Wheeler, Director, Collections Management, Federal Student Aid, U.S. Department of Education, 830 First Street, NE., Union Center Plaza, room #41F1, Washington, DC 20202–5320. Telephone: (202) 377– 3294. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TTD), you may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1– 800–877–8339. Individuals with disabilities may obtain this document in an alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer diskette) on request to either contact person listed in the previous paragraph. 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E6–12131 Filed 7–27–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000–01–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for Implementation of the FutureGen Project Department of Energy. Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement. AGENCY: rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES ACTION: SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announces its intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:47 Jul 27, 2006 Jkt 208001 Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) NEPA regulations (40 CFR parts 1500–1508), and the DOE NEPA implementing procedures (10 CFR part 1021), to assess the potential environmental impacts for the proposed action of providing Federal funding (up to $700 million) for the FutureGen Project. The FutureGen Project would comprise the planning, design, construction and operation by a privatesector organization of a coal-fueled electric power and hydrogen gas (H2) production plant integrated with carbon dioxide (CO2) capture and geologic sequestration of the captured gas. Following an evaluation of 12 site proposals from seven states, DOE identified four sites as reasonable alternatives: (1) Mattoon, Illinois; (2) Tuscola, Illinois; (3) Jewett, Texas; and (4) Odessa, Texas. DOE has prepared this Notice of Intent (NOI) to inform interested parties of the pending EIS and to invite public comments on the proposed action, including: (1) The proposed plans for implementing the FutureGen Project, (2) the range of environmental issues and alternatives to be analyzed, and (3) the nature of the impact analyses to be considered in the EIS. A general overview of the proposed action was published on February 16, 2006, in an Advance Notice of Intent (71 FR 8283). DOE has signed a Cooperative Agreement that provides financial assistance to the FutureGen Industrial Alliance, Inc. (Alliance) for implementing the FutureGen Project. The Alliance is a non-profit industrial consortium led by the coal-fueled electric power industry and the coal production industry. Along with planning, designing, constructing and operating the FutureGen power plant and the sequestration facility, the Alliance would also monitor, measure, and verify geologic sequestration of CO2. The FutureGen Project aims to establish the technical and economic feasibility of co-producing electricity and H2 from coal while capturing and sequestering the CO2 generated in the process. FutureGen would employ integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) power plant technology that for the first time would be integrated with CO2 capture and geologic sequestration. DOE is providing technical and programmatic guidance to the Alliance, retains certain review and approval rights as defined in the Cooperative Agreement, and oversees Alliance activities for compliance with the terms of the Cooperative Agreement. DOE is responsible for NEPA compliance activities. Both DOE and the Alliance encourage state and local agencies, local PO 00000 Frm 00046 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 communities, the environmental community, international stakeholders, and research organizations to participate in the FutureGen Project through the NEPA process. Potential environmental impacts of each of the four alternatives will be analyzed in detail in the EIS. Reasonable power plant technologies and component configurations proposed by the Alliance will be used in the evaluation. In addition, DOE will consider potential mitigation opportunities in the EIS. DATES: To ensure that all of the issues related to this proposal are addressed, DOE invites comments on the proposed scope and content of the EIS from all interested parties. Comments must be received by September 13, 2006, to ensure consideration. Late comments will be considered to the extent practicable. In addition to receiving comments in writing and by telephone [See ADDRESSES below], DOE will conduct public scoping meetings in which government agencies, privatesector organizations, and the general public are invited to present oral comments or suggestions with regard to the alternatives and impacts to be considered in the EIS. Scoping meetings will be held during August 2006 near each proposed project site, at locations and on dates to be announced in a future Federal Register notice and in local newspapers. Oral comments will be heard during the scoping meetings beginning at 7 p.m. (See Public Scoping Process). The public will be invited to an informal session of the scoping meetings at the same locations beginning at 4 p.m. to learn more about the proposed action. Various displays and other information about the proposed action will be available, and DOE personnel will be present at the informal session to discuss the FutureGen Project and the EIS process. ADDRESSES: Comments on the proposed scope of the EIS and requests for copies of the Draft EIS may be submitted by fax (304–285–4403), e-mail (FutureGen.EIS@netl.doe.gov), or a letter addressed to the NEPA Document Manager for the FutureGen Project: Mr. Mark L. McKoy, National Energy Technology Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy, P.O. Box 880, Morgantown, WV 26507–0880, Attn: FutureGen Project EIS. Comments or requests to participate in the public scoping process also can be submitted by contacting Mr. Mark L. McKoy directly at telephone 304–285– 4426; toll free number 1–800–432–8330 (extension 4426); fax 304–285–4403; or e-mail FutureGen.EIS@netl.doe.gov. E:\FR\FM\28JYN1.SGM 28JYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 145 / Friday, July 28, 2006 / Notices To obtain additional information about this project, contact Mr. Mark L. McKoy by the means provided above. For general information on the DOE NEPA process, please contact: Ms. Carol M. Borgstrom, Director, Office of NEPA Policy and Compliance (EH–42), U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20585–0119. Telephone: 202–586–4600. Facsimile: 202–586–7031. Or leave a toll-free message at 1–800–472–2756. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES Background President Bush proposed on February 27, 2003, that the United States undertake a $1 billion, 10-year project to build the world’s first coal-fueled plant to produce electricity and H2 with nearzero emissions. In response to this announcement, the DOE developed plans for the FutureGen Project, which would establish the technical and economic feasibility of producing electricity and H2 from coal—a low-cost and abundant energy resource—while capturing and geologically storing the CO2 generated in the process. DOE would implement the FutureGen Project through a Cooperative Agreement that provides financial assistance to the FutureGen Industrial Alliance, Inc., a non-profit corporation that represents a global coalition of coal and energy companies. Members of the Alliance would be expected to provide an estimated $250 million to help fund Project development. The Alliance members are: American Electric Power Company, Inc. (Columbus, Ohio); Anglo American, LLC (London, UK); BHP Billiton Limited (Melbourne, Australia); China Huaneng Group (Beijing, China); CONSOL Energy, Inc. (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania); Foundation Coal Holdings, Inc. (Linthicum Heights, Maryland); Kennecott Energy (now: Rio Tinto Energy America based in Gillette, Wyoming); Peabody Energy Corporation (St. Louis, Missouri); PPL Corporation (Allentown, Pennsylvania); and Southern Company (Atlanta, Georgia). The U.S. government would invest about $700 million in the FutureGen Project, with up to $80 million of that money coming from foreign governments. Several foreign governments have recently entered into discussions with DOE regarding possible contributions. Purpose and Need for Agency Action In pursuing the United States’ goal of providing safe, affordable and clean energy for its citizens, coal must play an important role in the Nation’s energy mix. A key obstacle, however, is the fact VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:47 Jul 27, 2006 Jkt 208001 that combustion of fossil fuels leads to increased concentrations of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Combined, the electricity and transportation sectors are responsible for nearly three-fourths of the country’s man-made greenhouse gas emissions. Because power plants are stationary sources, it is more feasible to capture these emissions and sequester them than it would be to capture greenhouse gas emissions from mobile sources, such as automobiles. To this end, DOE has identified a need for a near-zero emissions, coal-toenergy option that would produce electric power and H2 from coal while permanently sequestering CO2 in deep geological formations. The technical, economic, and environmental feasibility of producing electric power and hydrogen from coal, when coupled with sequestration technology, must be proven. In the absence of proven operations of a large, integrated, nearzero emissions power plant, the contribution of coal to the nation’s energy mix could be reduced, particularly if environmental regulations continue to tighten, thereby potentially increasing use of nondomestic energy resources, and impacting energy security. Proposed Action DOE proposes to provide financial assistance (up to $700 million) for the Alliance to implement the FutureGen Project. The Alliance would plan, design, construct, and operate the FutureGen Project, an advanced integrated coal gasification combined cycle power and hydrogen gas production plant and CO2 sequestration facility sized nominally at 275 MW (equivalent output), and appurtenant facilities (electrical transmission line connector, new pipelines and compressor stations to convey CO2, injection wells, and monitoring wells). The goal of this initiative would be to prove the technical and economic feasibility of a near-zero emissions, coalto-energy plant that could be commercially deployed by 2020. During the first phase of the FutureGen Project, the Alliance and DOE would quantify the specific emissions objectives. The FutureGen Project would co-produce electric power and H2 in an industrial/ utility setting while capturing and geologically sequestering approximately one to two million metric tons of CO2 per year. The FutureGen Project would be a prototype facility that would facilitate large-scale integrated testing of development-stage technologies and could also provide a test platform for cutting-edge research on technologies PO 00000 Frm 00047 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 42841 that support the goal of near-zero emissions. The FutureGen Project would proceed through 2018 with design, construction, operation, and monitoring. Performance and economic tests results would be shared among all participants, industry, the environmental community, and the public. DOE intends to invite participation from international organizations to maximize the global applicability and acceptance of FutureGen’s results, helping to support an international consensus on the role of coal and geological sequestration in addressing global greenhouse gas emissions and energy security. FutureGen Project Processes The FutureGen Project would employ advanced coal gasification technology integrated with combined cycle electricity generation, H2 production, CO2 capture, and sequestration of the captured gas in geologic repositories. The gasification process would combine coal, oxygen (O2), and steam to produce a H2-rich ‘‘synthesis gas.’’ After exiting the conversion reactor, the composition of the synthesis gas would be ‘‘shifted’’ to produce additional H2. The product stream would consist mostly of H2, steam, and CO2. Following separation of these three gas components, the H2 would be used to generate electricity in a gas turbine and/or fuel cell. Some of the H2 could be used as a feedstock for chemical plants or petroleum refineries or as a transportation fuel. Steam from the process could be condensed, treated, and recycled into the gasifier or added to the plant’s cooling water circuit. CO2 from the process would be sequestered in deep underground geologic formations that would be monitored to verify the permanence of CO2 storage. Technology Alternatives The FutureGen Project would incorporate cutting-edge and emerging technologies ready for full-scale or subscale testing in a power plant setting prior to their commercial deployment. Identification of technology alternatives is currently in progress for key components of the FutureGen facility, involving gasification, O2 production, H2 production, synthesis gas cleanup, H2 turbines, fuel cells and fuel cell/ turbine hybrids, CO2 sequestration, advanced materials, instrumentation, sensors and controls, and byproduct utilization. Decisions on incorporation of specific technologies would be made by the Alliance consistent with the overall project goal of proving the technical and economic feasibility of the near-zero emissions concept. E:\FR\FM\28JYN1.SGM 28JYN1 42842 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 145 / Friday, July 28, 2006 / Notices rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES In identifying technology alternatives, the FutureGen Alliance started with a list of major components and subsystems of the power plant facility and created a matrix of potential configurations of equipment. Following presentations by various technology vendors and with assistance from numerous power plant experts, the matrix of potential configurations has been gradually reduced to three configurations, which will undergo more detailed cost and project risk analysis. Ultimately, the Alliance will identify the specific technology alternatives that would be most appropriate for the FutureGen Project. The goal of this process is to arrive at an initial conceptual design, which also will provide reference information to be used in the EIS impact analyses. It is expected that sequestration would be accomplished using existing state-of-the-art technologies for both transmission and injection of the CO2 stream. Various technologies will be considered for monitoring at the injection sites. Alternatives, Including the Proposed Action NEPA requires that agencies evaluate the reasonable alternatives to the proposed action in an EIS. The purpose of the agency action determines the range of reasonable alternatives. In this case, DOE proposes to provide financial assistance to the Alliance to build the first ever coal-fueled plant to produce electricity and H2 with near-zero emissions. DOE believes the utility and coal industries should lead the project since they have significant interest in the success of near-zero emissions technology. The EIS will analyze reasonable alternative sites for the FutureGen Project. These sites have been identified through a process that started with a solicitation by the Alliance for proposals. Twelve proposals were submitted by state and local organizations, representing sites in seven states (Illinois, Kentucky, North Dakota, Ohio, Texas, West Virginia, and Wyoming). The Alliance, working through various technical experts, first applied qualifying criteria that eliminated four sites and then subjected the remaining site proposals to scoring criteria. Along with the scoring criteria, best value criteria were applied in the final step of determining which sites are reasonable from a technical, environmental and economic perspective. At the conclusion of the review of proposals, the Alliance provided DOE with a report that describes the screening process, the VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:47 Jul 27, 2006 Jkt 208001 results of the screening process, and identifies the sites that the Alliance concludes are candidates. The report is available at the Web site of the FutureGen Alliance, http:// www.FutureGenAlliance.org. DOE has reviewed the Alliance’s selection process for fairness and compliance with the established approach, and DOE is satisfied with the results. Furthermore, having considered all proposed site alternatives in ascertaining which ones were reasonable, DOE has determined that the Alliance’s candidate site list is the preliminary list of reasonable alternative sites for detailed analysis in the EIS. The preliminarily identified site alternatives are: Illinois—Mattoon The proposed 240-acre Mattoon power plant site is located in eastcentral Illinois approximately one mile northwest of the city of Mattoon and approximately 150 miles south of Chicago. This Coles County site is currently used as farmland, is flat, and is surrounded by a rural area of lowdensity population. The Rural King warehouse is located nearby. The site has access to coal delivery via rail and truck, and natural gas can be supplied via connection along rail right-of-way to an existing pipeline located one mile from the site. Cooling water would be gray water from wastewater treatment facilities in Mattoon (five miles southeast of the plant site) and Charleston (13 miles east of the plant site) and would be delivered via proposed new pipelines. Additional water would be supplied from local potable sources or from the Kaskaskia River, which is located about five miles to the north. Lake Shelbyville is more than eight miles to the west. The site would require the construction of two miles of additional transmission line to reach a 138 kV substation southeast of the site or 16 miles of new line to connect to a 345 kV substation south of the site. The site is outside the 500-year floodplain, and while no wetlands were identified onsite, wetlands may be present 0.75 mile downstream of the site and may also exist in the water supply pipeline corridors. CO2 injection is proposed onsite, requiring no offsite pipeline construction. The Mt. Simon saline-bearing sandstone, the injection target at Mattoon, is expected to be between 1800 and 2100 meters (5900 and 6900 ft) deep beneath the site. The Mt. Simon is capped by the Eau Claire Formation, which is a laterally persistent shale expected to be between 100 and 150 meters (330 and 500 ft) thick at Mattoon. PO 00000 Frm 00048 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Illinois—Tuscola The proposed Tuscola site is a 208acre parcel of land located in eastcentral Illinois 1.5 miles west of the city of Tuscola and approximately 20 miles north of the Mattoon site. The city of Champaign is located approximately 20 miles to the north, and Decatur is located approximately 35 miles to the west. This Douglas County site is located on flat farmland near an industrial complex, which is immediately west of the site. To the immediate north and south the area is rural with a very low population density. From this site the proposed project would be able to connect to the power line grid via construction of a one-mile connection to reach the 138 kV line to the north, or a 14-mile connection to reach the 345 kV line to the east. The site is situated along the CSX railroad and is about three miles from Interstate Highway 57. Therefore, it has access to coal delivery via rail and truck, and natural gas would be supplied by an existing onsite pipeline. The site is outside the 500-year floodplain, and while no wetlands were identified on the site, wetlands are likely to occur in the proposed CO2 and electricity transmission corridors. Cooling water for the plant would be obtained from the Equistar Chemical Company, which draws water directly from the Kaskaskia River 1.5 miles to the west of the site, and would require the construction of a new pipeline of this length. An additional new pipeline between 9.5 and 11.5 miles in length would also be required to transport CO2 to one of two potential injection fields due south of the plant site. The primary injection site, located 11.5 miles from the plant site, is a 10-acre parcel in a rural, agricultural area. Tuscola’s proposed injection target is the Mt. Simon sandstone, a saline-bearing formation expected to be between 1200 and 1800 meters (4000 and 5900 ft) deep at the proposed injection site. The primary cap rock here is the Eau Claire Formation, which is a laterally persistent shale expected to be between 100 and 150 meters (330 and 500 ft) thick at the Tuscola injection site. Texas—Jewett Located north of the town of Jewett, in east-central Texas, 65 miles north of Bryan/College Station, and 60 miles east of Waco, the proposed 400-acre Jewett site is also known as the ‘‘Heart of Brazos’’ site. The site is located at the intersection of Leon, Limestone and Freestone counties along U.S. Highway 79 and Farm Road 39 in an area characterized by very gently rolling E:\FR\FM\28JYN1.SGM 28JYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 145 / Friday, July 28, 2006 / Notices rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES reclaimed mine lands immediately adjacent to an operating lignite mine and the 1800 MW Jewett power plant. It has access to coal delivery via rail and truck, and natural gas would be supplied by an existing onsite pipeline. Proposed groundwater wells on property immediately west of the site would supply cooling water to the plant via a new pipeline. Transmission infrastructure with excess capacity exists on the site. This site is outside of the 500-year floodplain. There are no jurisdictional wetlands on the site. Lake Limestone and the Navasota River are located about 3.5 miles to the west. It would be necessary to construct 33 miles of new CO2 pipeline, 25 miles of which would be built along an existing gas pipeline right-of-way, to transport CO2 to the storage site, which is located on 1550 acres located northeast of the power plant site. The land use at the sequestration site is pastures, wooded hills and open fields. The proposed target injection formations are the Travis Peak sandstone, and the Rodessa and Pettit limestones, all of which are saline-bearing formations between 1400 and 3600 meters (4600 and 11,800 ft) deep. The primary seal overlying these formations is the 120-meter (400 ft) thick Eagleford Shale. Texas—Odessa The proposed Odessa site is located on 600 acres, approximately 15 miles southwest of the city of Odessa in Ector County, Texas. The site is on flat land adjacent to Interstate Highway 20. There is an extensive junk yard of abandoned oil and gas equipment along the site’s southern border. The proposed power plant property is entirely above the 500year floodplain and contains no jurisdictional wetlands. Surrounding land is or was used primarily for oil and gas exploration with some scattered industrial plants (sulfur manufacturing, cement kiln, etc.). The site has access to coal delivery via rail and truck, and natural gas would be supplied by an existing onsite pipeline. Water would be provided via a pipeline to be constructed by the City of Odessa to transport water from the Texland Great Plains Water Supply well located 49 miles to the north, which produces water from the Ogallala aquifer. Alternatively, water may be purchased from the West Texas Water Supply System, located 37 miles west of the site. Two miles of new transmission line would be needed to connect the plant to either a 138 kV line or a 345 kV line. The proposed 6,000-acre injection field is 58 miles south of the Odessa plant site. CO2 would be transported in (and co-mingled in) an existing regional CO2 VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:47 Jul 27, 2006 Jkt 208001 pipeline network. A short new CO2 pipeline would connect the power plant site to the existing pipeline, and a new four-mile (approximately) pipeline would connect the existing CO2 pipeline to the proposed injection sites. Proposed injection targets for this site are the Queen Formation and the Delaware Mountain Group, both of which are more than 1100 meters (3600 ft) deep beneath grazing lands and scrub lands at the site. The system is capped by layers of anhydrite, dolomitic anhydrite, and anhydrite-halite, which are identified as the upper Queen and the overlying Seven Rivers Formations. In addition to the site alternatives preliminarily identified in the NOI, the EIS will describe different technologies and strategies for implementing important elements of the FutureGen Project. Critical technology alternatives for various components and subsystems of an integrated gasification combinedcycle power plant exist for the air separation unit (e.g., cryogenic separation versus physical membrane separation), gasifier (various commercial gasifiers with differing feed types, wall structures, and ash/slag recovery and cooler systems), gas turbine (e.g., syngas turbine versus H2 turbine), CO2 capture system (e.g., chemical scrubbers, pressure-swing absorption systems, physical membranes), and synthesis gas as well as turbine combustion gas cleanup systems (e.g., selective catalytic reduction versus selective non-catalytic reduction). The Alliance will provide to DOE a conceptual design that will be analyzed in the EIS for each of the alternative sites. This conceptual design will encompass the power plant and sequestration requirements and attributes (e.g., emissions, effluents, feed stocks, workers) for any of the technology alternatives that may be selected by the Alliance in the final designs. Mitigation will be addressed for the potential impacts of the FutureGen Project at each of the four sites and for the conceptual design and technologies considered. DOE will also consider a no-action alternative whereby DOE would not fund the FutureGen Project. In the absence of DOE funding, it would be unlikely that the Alliance, or industry in general, would soon undertake the utility-scale integration of CO2 capture and geologic sequestration with a coalfired power plant. Absent DOE’s investment in a utility-scale facility, the development of integrated CO2 capture and sequestration with power plant operations would occur more slowly. PO 00000 Frm 00049 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 42843 Decision Making Process No sooner than 30 days following completion of the Final EIS, DOE will announce in a Record of Decision (ROD) either the no-action alternative or those sites, if any, that are acceptable to DOE. If DOE selects the action alternative, the Alliance will subsequently select a host site from among those, if any, listed in the ROD as acceptable to DOE. Following the tentative selection of a host site, the Alliance will conduct extensive site characterization work on the chosen site. Information obtained from the characterization will be reviewed by the DOE and will support the completion of a supplement analysis (see 10 CFR 1021.314) by DOE to determine whether the newly gained information would have altered in a significant way the findings in the EIS. The supplement analysis will be used to determine whether a Supplemental EIS must be prepared. Preliminary Identification of Environmental Issues DOE intends to address the issues listed below when considering the potential impacts resulting from the siting, construction and operation of the FutureGen power plant, sequestration field, and associated facilities. This list is neither intended to be all-inclusive nor a predetermined set of potential impacts. DOE invites comments on whether this is the correct list of important issues that should be considered in the EIS. The environmental issues include: • Air quality impacts: potential for air emissions during construction and operation of the power plant and appurtenant facilities to impact local sensitive receptors, local environmental conditions, and special-use areas, including impacts to smog and haze and impacts from dust and any significant vapor plumes; • Noise and light impacts: potential impacts from construction, transportation of materials, and facility operations; • Traffic issues: potential impacts from the construction and operation of the facilities, including changes in local traffic patterns, deterioration of roads, traffic hazards, and traffic controls; • Floodplains: potential impacts to flood flow resulting from earthen fills, access roads, and dikes that might be needed in a floodplain; • Wetlands: potential impacts resulting from fill, sediment deposition, vegetation clearing and facility erection that might be needed in a wetland; • Visual impacts associated with facility structures: views from E:\FR\FM\28JYN1.SGM 28JYN1 rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES 42844 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 145 / Friday, July 28, 2006 / Notices neighborhoods, impacts to scenic views (e.g., impacts from water vapor plumes, power transmission lines, pipelines), internal and external perception of the community or locality; • Historic and cultural resources: potential impacts from the site selection, design, construction and operation of the facilities; • Water quality impacts: potential impacts from water utilization and consumption, plus potential impacts from wastewater discharges; • Infrastructure and land use impacts: potential environmental and socioeconomic impacts of project site selection, construction, delivery of feed materials, and distribution of products (e.g., power transmission lines, pipelines); • Marketability of products and market access to feedstocks; • Solid wastes: pollution prevention plans and waste management strategies, including the handling of ash, slag, water treatment sludge, and hazardous materials; • Disproportionate impacts on minority and low-income populations; • Connected actions: potential development of support facilities or supporting infrastructure; • Ecological impacts: potential on-site and off-site impacts to vegetation, terrestrial wildlife, aquatic wildlife, threatened or endangered species, and ecologically sensitive habitats; • Geologic impacts: potential impacts from the sequestration of CO2 and other captured gases on underground resources such as potable water supplies, mineral resources, and fossil fuel resources; • Ground surface impacts from CO2 sequestration: potential impacts from leakage of injected CO2, potential impacts from induced flows of native fluids to the ground surface or near the ground surface, and the potential for induced ground heave and/or microseisms; • Fate and stability of sequestered CO2 and other captured gases; • Health and safety issues associated with CO2 capture and sequestration; • Cumulative effects that result from the incremental impacts of the proposed project when added to other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future projects; • Compliance with regulatory requirements and environmental permitting; • Environmental monitoring plans associated with the power plant and with the CO2 sequestration site; • Mitigation of identified environmental impacts; and • Ultimate closure plans for the CO2 sequestration site and reservoirs. VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:47 Jul 27, 2006 Jkt 208001 Proposed EIS Schedule A tentative schedule has been developed for the EIS. The public scoping period will close on September 13, 2006. The Draft EIS is scheduled to be issued for public review and comment in March 2007, followed by a 45-day public comment period and public hearings. The Final EIS is scheduled to be issued in June 2007, followed by the ROD in August 2007. Public Scoping Process To ensure that all issues related to this proposed action are addressed, DOE seeks public input to define the scope of the EIS. The public scoping period will begin with publication of the NOI and end on September 13, 2006. Interested government agencies, privatesector organizations and the general public are encouraged to submit comments or suggestions concerning the content of the EIS, issues and impacts to be addressed in the EIS, and alternatives that should be considered. Scoping comments should clearly describe specific issues or topics that the EIS should address to assist DOE in identifying significant issues. Written, emailed, faxed, or telephoned comments should be received by September 13, 2006 (see ADDRESSES). DOE will conduct public scoping meetings at locations, dates and times specified in a future Federal Register notice and in notices published in local newspapers. These notices are scheduled to be published within the next two weeks and will provide the public with at least two weeks notice. Generally, one scoping meeting will be held near each proposed power plant site. An informal session of the public scoping meetings will begin at approximately 4 p.m., followed by a formal session beginning at approximately 7 p.m. Members of the public who wish to speak at a public scoping meeting should contact Mr. Mark L. McKoy, either by phone, fax, e-mail, or in writing (see ADDRESSES in this Notice). Those who do not arrange in advance to speak may register at a meeting (preferably at the beginning of the meeting) and may speak after previously scheduled speakers. Speakers will be given approximately five minutes to present their comments. Those speakers who want more than five minutes should indicate the length of time desired in their request. Depending on the number of speakers, DOE may need to limit all speakers to five minutes initially and provide second opportunities as time permits. Speakers may also provide written PO 00000 Frm 00050 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 materials to supplement their presentations. Oral and written comments will be given equal consideration. State and local elected officials and tribal leaders may be given priority in the order of those making oral comments. DOE will begin the meeting with an overview of the proposed FutureGen Project. The meeting will not be conducted as an evidentiary hearing, and speakers will not be crossexamined. However, speakers may be asked questions to help ensure that DOE fully understands the comments or suggestions. A presiding officer will establish the order of speakers and provide any additional procedures necessary to conduct the meeting. Issued in Washington, DC, this 25th day of July, 2006. Andrew Lawrence, Acting Assistant Secretary, Environment, Safety and Health. [FR Doc. E6–12118 Filed 7–27–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450–01–P ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [ER–FRL–6677–7] Environmental Impact Statements and Regulations; Availability of EPA Comments Availability of EPA comments prepared pursuant to the Environmental Review Process (ERP), under section 309 of the Clean Air Act and section 102(2)(c) of the National Environmental Policy Act as amended. Requests for copies of EPA comments can be directed to the Office of Federal Activities at 202–564–7167. An explanation of the ratings assigned to draft environmental impact statements (EISs) was published in FR dated April 7, 2006 (71 FR 17845). Draft EISs EIS No. 20060093, ERP No. D–AFS– K61164–CA, Commercial Pack Station and Pack Stock Outfitter/Guide Permit Issuance, Implementation, Special-Use-Permit to Twelve Pack Station and Two Outfitter/Guides, Inyo National Forest, CA. Summary: EPA expressed environmental concerns about adverse impacts to water quality from specific campsites, grazing, and trail use, and recommended implementation of protective measures described in Alternative 3 and the inclusion of a detailed monitoring and enforcement plan in the final EIS. Rating EC2. E:\FR\FM\28JYN1.SGM 28JYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 145 (Friday, July 28, 2006)]
[Notices]
[Pages 42840-42844]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E6-12118]


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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY


Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for 
Implementation of the FutureGen Project

AGENCY: Department of Energy.

ACTION: Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announces its intent to 
prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) pursuant to the 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Council on Environmental 
Quality (CEQ) NEPA regulations (40 CFR parts 1500-1508), and the DOE 
NEPA implementing procedures (10 CFR part 1021), to assess the 
potential environmental impacts for the proposed action of providing 
Federal funding (up to $700 million) for the FutureGen Project. The 
FutureGen Project would comprise the planning, design, construction and 
operation by a private-sector organization of a coal-fueled electric 
power and hydrogen gas (H2) production plant integrated with 
carbon dioxide (CO2) capture and geologic sequestration of 
the captured gas. Following an evaluation of 12 site proposals from 
seven states, DOE identified four sites as reasonable alternatives: (1) 
Mattoon, Illinois; (2) Tuscola, Illinois; (3) Jewett, Texas; and (4) 
Odessa, Texas. DOE has prepared this Notice of Intent (NOI) to inform 
interested parties of the pending EIS and to invite public comments on 
the proposed action, including: (1) The proposed plans for implementing 
the FutureGen Project, (2) the range of environmental issues and 
alternatives to be analyzed, and (3) the nature of the impact analyses 
to be considered in the EIS. A general overview of the proposed action 
was published on February 16, 2006, in an Advance Notice of Intent (71 
FR 8283).
    DOE has signed a Cooperative Agreement that provides financial 
assistance to the FutureGen Industrial Alliance, Inc. (Alliance) for 
implementing the FutureGen Project. The Alliance is a non-profit 
industrial consortium led by the coal-fueled electric power industry 
and the coal production industry. Along with planning, designing, 
constructing and operating the FutureGen power plant and the 
sequestration facility, the Alliance would also monitor, measure, and 
verify geologic sequestration of CO2.
    The FutureGen Project aims to establish the technical and economic 
feasibility of co-producing electricity and H2 from coal 
while capturing and sequestering the CO2 generated in the 
process. FutureGen would employ integrated gasification combined-cycle 
(IGCC) power plant technology that for the first time would be 
integrated with CO2 capture and geologic sequestration.
    DOE is providing technical and programmatic guidance to the 
Alliance, retains certain review and approval rights as defined in the 
Cooperative Agreement, and oversees Alliance activities for compliance 
with the terms of the Cooperative Agreement. DOE is responsible for 
NEPA compliance activities. Both DOE and the Alliance encourage state 
and local agencies, local communities, the environmental community, 
international stakeholders, and research organizations to participate 
in the FutureGen Project through the NEPA process.
    Potential environmental impacts of each of the four alternatives 
will be analyzed in detail in the EIS. Reasonable power plant 
technologies and component configurations proposed by the Alliance will 
be used in the evaluation. In addition, DOE will consider potential 
mitigation opportunities in the EIS.

DATES: To ensure that all of the issues related to this proposal are 
addressed, DOE invites comments on the proposed scope and content of 
the EIS from all interested parties. Comments must be received by 
September 13, 2006, to ensure consideration. Late comments will be 
considered to the extent practicable. In addition to receiving comments 
in writing and by telephone [See ADDRESSES below], DOE will conduct 
public scoping meetings in which government agencies, private-sector 
organizations, and the general public are invited to present oral 
comments or suggestions with regard to the alternatives and impacts to 
be considered in the EIS. Scoping meetings will be held during August 
2006 near each proposed project site, at locations and on dates to be 
announced in a future Federal Register notice and in local newspapers. 
Oral comments will be heard during the scoping meetings beginning at 7 
p.m. (See Public Scoping Process). The public will be invited to an 
informal session of the scoping meetings at the same locations 
beginning at 4 p.m. to learn more about the proposed action. Various 
displays and other information about the proposed action will be 
available, and DOE personnel will be present at the informal session to 
discuss the FutureGen Project and the EIS process.

ADDRESSES: Comments on the proposed scope of the EIS and requests for 
copies of the Draft EIS may be submitted by fax (304-285-4403), e-mail 
(FutureGen.EIS@netl.doe.gov), or a letter addressed to the NEPA 
Document Manager for the FutureGen Project: Mr. Mark L. McKoy, National 
Energy Technology Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy, P.O. Box 880, 
Morgantown, WV 26507-0880, Attn: FutureGen Project EIS.
    Comments or requests to participate in the public scoping process 
also can be submitted by contacting Mr. Mark L. McKoy directly at 
telephone 304-285-4426; toll free number 1-800-432-8330 (extension 
4426); fax 304-285-4403; or e-mail FutureGen.EIS@netl.doe.gov.

[[Page 42841]]


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: To obtain additional information about 
this project, contact Mr. Mark L. McKoy by the means provided above. 
For general information on the DOE NEPA process, please contact: Ms. 
Carol M. Borgstrom, Director, Office of NEPA Policy and Compliance (EH-
42), U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue, SW., 
Washington, DC 20585-0119. Telephone: 202-586-4600. Facsimile: 202-586-
7031. Or leave a toll-free message at 1-800-472-2756.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    President Bush proposed on February 27, 2003, that the United 
States undertake a $1 billion, 10-year project to build the world's 
first coal-fueled plant to produce electricity and H2 with 
near-zero emissions. In response to this announcement, the DOE 
developed plans for the FutureGen Project, which would establish the 
technical and economic feasibility of producing electricity and 
H2 from coal--a low-cost and abundant energy resource--while 
capturing and geologically storing the CO2 generated in the 
process.
    DOE would implement the FutureGen Project through a Cooperative 
Agreement that provides financial assistance to the FutureGen 
Industrial Alliance, Inc., a non-profit corporation that represents a 
global coalition of coal and energy companies. Members of the Alliance 
would be expected to provide an estimated $250 million to help fund 
Project development. The Alliance members are: American Electric Power 
Company, Inc. (Columbus, Ohio); Anglo American, LLC (London, UK); BHP 
Billiton Limited (Melbourne, Australia); China Huaneng Group (Beijing, 
China); CONSOL Energy, Inc. (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania); Foundation Coal 
Holdings, Inc. (Linthicum Heights, Maryland); Kennecott Energy (now: 
Rio Tinto Energy America based in Gillette, Wyoming); Peabody Energy 
Corporation (St. Louis, Missouri); PPL Corporation (Allentown, 
Pennsylvania); and Southern Company (Atlanta, Georgia). The U.S. 
government would invest about $700 million in the FutureGen Project, 
with up to $80 million of that money coming from foreign governments. 
Several foreign governments have recently entered into discussions with 
DOE regarding possible contributions.

Purpose and Need for Agency Action

    In pursuing the United States' goal of providing safe, affordable 
and clean energy for its citizens, coal must play an important role in 
the Nation's energy mix. A key obstacle, however, is the fact that 
combustion of fossil fuels leads to increased concentrations of 
CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Combined, 
the electricity and transportation sectors are responsible for nearly 
three-fourths of the country's man-made greenhouse gas emissions. 
Because power plants are stationary sources, it is more feasible to 
capture these emissions and sequester them than it would be to capture 
greenhouse gas emissions from mobile sources, such as automobiles.
    To this end, DOE has identified a need for a near-zero emissions, 
coal-to-energy option that would produce electric power and 
H2 from coal while permanently sequestering CO2 
in deep geological formations. The technical, economic, and 
environmental feasibility of producing electric power and hydrogen from 
coal, when coupled with sequestration technology, must be proven. In 
the absence of proven operations of a large, integrated, near-zero 
emissions power plant, the contribution of coal to the nation's energy 
mix could be reduced, particularly if environmental regulations 
continue to tighten, thereby potentially increasing use of non-domestic 
energy resources, and impacting energy security.

Proposed Action

    DOE proposes to provide financial assistance (up to $700 million) 
for the Alliance to implement the FutureGen Project. The Alliance would 
plan, design, construct, and operate the FutureGen Project, an advanced 
integrated coal gasification combined cycle power and hydrogen gas 
production plant and CO2 sequestration facility sized 
nominally at 275 MW (equivalent output), and appurtenant facilities 
(electrical transmission line connector, new pipelines and compressor 
stations to convey CO2, injection wells, and monitoring 
wells). The goal of this initiative would be to prove the technical and 
economic feasibility of a near-zero emissions, coal-to-energy plant 
that could be commercially deployed by 2020. During the first phase of 
the FutureGen Project, the Alliance and DOE would quantify the specific 
emissions objectives. The FutureGen Project would co-produce electric 
power and H2 in an industrial/utility setting while 
capturing and geologically sequestering approximately one to two 
million metric tons of CO2 per year. The FutureGen Project 
would be a prototype facility that would facilitate large-scale 
integrated testing of development-stage technologies and could also 
provide a test platform for cutting-edge research on technologies that 
support the goal of near-zero emissions.
    The FutureGen Project would proceed through 2018 with design, 
construction, operation, and monitoring. Performance and economic tests 
results would be shared among all participants, industry, the 
environmental community, and the public. DOE intends to invite 
participation from international organizations to maximize the global 
applicability and acceptance of FutureGen's results, helping to support 
an international consensus on the role of coal and geological 
sequestration in addressing global greenhouse gas emissions and energy 
security.

FutureGen Project Processes

    The FutureGen Project would employ advanced coal gasification 
technology integrated with combined cycle electricity generation, 
H2 production, CO2 capture, and sequestration of 
the captured gas in geologic repositories. The gasification process 
would combine coal, oxygen (O2), and steam to produce a 
H2-rich ``synthesis gas.'' After exiting the conversion 
reactor, the composition of the synthesis gas would be ``shifted'' to 
produce additional H2. The product stream would consist 
mostly of H2, steam, and CO2. Following 
separation of these three gas components, the H2 would be 
used to generate electricity in a gas turbine and/or fuel cell. Some of 
the H2 could be used as a feedstock for chemical plants or 
petroleum refineries or as a transportation fuel. Steam from the 
process could be condensed, treated, and recycled into the gasifier or 
added to the plant's cooling water circuit. CO2 from the 
process would be sequestered in deep underground geologic formations 
that would be monitored to verify the permanence of CO2 
storage.

Technology Alternatives

    The FutureGen Project would incorporate cutting-edge and emerging 
technologies ready for full-scale or sub-scale testing in a power plant 
setting prior to their commercial deployment. Identification of 
technology alternatives is currently in progress for key components of 
the FutureGen facility, involving gasification, O2 
production, H2 production, synthesis gas cleanup, 
H2 turbines, fuel cells and fuel cell/turbine hybrids, 
CO2 sequestration, advanced materials, instrumentation, 
sensors and controls, and byproduct utilization. Decisions on 
incorporation of specific technologies would be made by the Alliance 
consistent with the overall project goal of proving the technical and 
economic feasibility of the near-zero emissions concept.

[[Page 42842]]

    In identifying technology alternatives, the FutureGen Alliance 
started with a list of major components and subsystems of the power 
plant facility and created a matrix of potential configurations of 
equipment. Following presentations by various technology vendors and 
with assistance from numerous power plant experts, the matrix of 
potential configurations has been gradually reduced to three 
configurations, which will undergo more detailed cost and project risk 
analysis. Ultimately, the Alliance will identify the specific 
technology alternatives that would be most appropriate for the 
FutureGen Project. The goal of this process is to arrive at an initial 
conceptual design, which also will provide reference information to be 
used in the EIS impact analyses.
    It is expected that sequestration would be accomplished using 
existing state-of-the-art technologies for both transmission and 
injection of the CO2 stream. Various technologies will be 
considered for monitoring at the injection sites.

Alternatives, Including the Proposed Action

    NEPA requires that agencies evaluate the reasonable alternatives to 
the proposed action in an EIS. The purpose of the agency action 
determines the range of reasonable alternatives. In this case, DOE 
proposes to provide financial assistance to the Alliance to build the 
first ever coal-fueled plant to produce electricity and H2 
with near-zero emissions. DOE believes the utility and coal industries 
should lead the project since they have significant interest in the 
success of near-zero emissions technology.
    The EIS will analyze reasonable alternative sites for the FutureGen 
Project. These sites have been identified through a process that 
started with a solicitation by the Alliance for proposals. Twelve 
proposals were submitted by state and local organizations, representing 
sites in seven states (Illinois, Kentucky, North Dakota, Ohio, Texas, 
West Virginia, and Wyoming). The Alliance, working through various 
technical experts, first applied qualifying criteria that eliminated 
four sites and then subjected the remaining site proposals to scoring 
criteria. Along with the scoring criteria, best value criteria were 
applied in the final step of determining which sites are reasonable 
from a technical, environmental and economic perspective. At the 
conclusion of the review of proposals, the Alliance provided DOE with a 
report that describes the screening process, the results of the 
screening process, and identifies the sites that the Alliance concludes 
are candidates. The report is available at the Web site of the 
FutureGen Alliance, http://www.FutureGenAlliance.org.
    DOE has reviewed the Alliance's selection process for fairness and 
compliance with the established approach, and DOE is satisfied with the 
results. Furthermore, having considered all proposed site alternatives 
in ascertaining which ones were reasonable, DOE has determined that the 
Alliance's candidate site list is the preliminary list of reasonable 
alternative sites for detailed analysis in the EIS. The preliminarily 
identified site alternatives are:

Illinois--Mattoon

    The proposed 240-acre Mattoon power plant site is located in east-
central Illinois approximately one mile northwest of the city of 
Mattoon and approximately 150 miles south of Chicago. This Coles County 
site is currently used as farmland, is flat, and is surrounded by a 
rural area of low-density population. The Rural King warehouse is 
located nearby. The site has access to coal delivery via rail and 
truck, and natural gas can be supplied via connection along rail right-
of-way to an existing pipeline located one mile from the site. Cooling 
water would be gray water from wastewater treatment facilities in 
Mattoon (five miles southeast of the plant site) and Charleston (13 
miles east of the plant site) and would be delivered via proposed new 
pipelines. Additional water would be supplied from local potable 
sources or from the Kaskaskia River, which is located about five miles 
to the north. Lake Shelbyville is more than eight miles to the west. 
The site would require the construction of two miles of additional 
transmission line to reach a 138 kV substation southeast of the site or 
16 miles of new line to connect to a 345 kV substation south of the 
site. The site is outside the 500-year floodplain, and while no 
wetlands were identified onsite, wetlands may be present 0.75 mile 
downstream of the site and may also exist in the water supply pipeline 
corridors. CO2 injection is proposed onsite, requiring no 
offsite pipeline construction. The Mt. Simon saline-bearing sandstone, 
the injection target at Mattoon, is expected to be between 1800 and 
2100 meters (5900 and 6900 ft) deep beneath the site. The Mt. Simon is 
capped by the Eau Claire Formation, which is a laterally persistent 
shale expected to be between 100 and 150 meters (330 and 500 ft) thick 
at Mattoon.

Illinois--Tuscola

    The proposed Tuscola site is a 208-acre parcel of land located in 
east-central Illinois 1.5 miles west of the city of Tuscola and 
approximately 20 miles north of the Mattoon site. The city of Champaign 
is located approximately 20 miles to the north, and Decatur is located 
approximately 35 miles to the west. This Douglas County site is located 
on flat farmland near an industrial complex, which is immediately west 
of the site. To the immediate north and south the area is rural with a 
very low population density. From this site the proposed project would 
be able to connect to the power line grid via construction of a one-
mile connection to reach the 138 kV line to the north, or a 14-mile 
connection to reach the 345 kV line to the east. The site is situated 
along the CSX railroad and is about three miles from Interstate Highway 
57. Therefore, it has access to coal delivery via rail and truck, and 
natural gas would be supplied by an existing onsite pipeline. The site 
is outside the 500-year floodplain, and while no wetlands were 
identified on the site, wetlands are likely to occur in the proposed 
CO2 and electricity transmission corridors. Cooling water 
for the plant would be obtained from the Equistar Chemical Company, 
which draws water directly from the Kaskaskia River 1.5 miles to the 
west of the site, and would require the construction of a new pipeline 
of this length. An additional new pipeline between 9.5 and 11.5 miles 
in length would also be required to transport CO2 to one of 
two potential injection fields due south of the plant site. The primary 
injection site, located 11.5 miles from the plant site, is a 10-acre 
parcel in a rural, agricultural area. Tuscola's proposed injection 
target is the Mt. Simon sandstone, a saline-bearing formation expected 
to be between 1200 and 1800 meters (4000 and 5900 ft) deep at the 
proposed injection site. The primary cap rock here is the Eau Claire 
Formation, which is a laterally persistent shale expected to be between 
100 and 150 meters (330 and 500 ft) thick at the Tuscola injection 
site.

Texas--Jewett

    Located north of the town of Jewett, in east-central Texas, 65 
miles north of Bryan/College Station, and 60 miles east of Waco, the 
proposed 400-acre Jewett site is also known as the ``Heart of Brazos'' 
site. The site is located at the intersection of Leon, Limestone and 
Freestone counties along U.S. Highway 79 and Farm Road 39 in an area 
characterized by very gently rolling

[[Page 42843]]

reclaimed mine lands immediately adjacent to an operating lignite mine 
and the 1800 MW Jewett power plant. It has access to coal delivery via 
rail and truck, and natural gas would be supplied by an existing onsite 
pipeline. Proposed groundwater wells on property immediately west of 
the site would supply cooling water to the plant via a new pipeline. 
Transmission infrastructure with excess capacity exists on the site. 
This site is outside of the 500-year floodplain. There are no 
jurisdictional wetlands on the site. Lake Limestone and the Navasota 
River are located about 3.5 miles to the west. It would be necessary to 
construct 33 miles of new CO2 pipeline, 25 miles of which 
would be built along an existing gas pipeline right-of-way, to 
transport CO2 to the storage site, which is located on 1550 
acres located northeast of the power plant site. The land use at the 
sequestration site is pastures, wooded hills and open fields. The 
proposed target injection formations are the Travis Peak sandstone, and 
the Rodessa and Pettit limestones, all of which are saline-bearing 
formations between 1400 and 3600 meters (4600 and 11,800 ft) deep. The 
primary seal overlying these formations is the 120-meter (400 ft) thick 
Eagleford Shale.

Texas--Odessa

    The proposed Odessa site is located on 600 acres, approximately 15 
miles southwest of the city of Odessa in Ector County, Texas. The site 
is on flat land adjacent to Interstate Highway 20. There is an 
extensive junk yard of abandoned oil and gas equipment along the site's 
southern border. The proposed power plant property is entirely above 
the 500-year floodplain and contains no jurisdictional wetlands. 
Surrounding land is or was used primarily for oil and gas exploration 
with some scattered industrial plants (sulfur manufacturing, cement 
kiln, etc.). The site has access to coal delivery via rail and truck, 
and natural gas would be supplied by an existing onsite pipeline. Water 
would be provided via a pipeline to be constructed by the City of 
Odessa to transport water from the Texland Great Plains Water Supply 
well located 49 miles to the north, which produces water from the 
Ogallala aquifer. Alternatively, water may be purchased from the West 
Texas Water Supply System, located 37 miles west of the site. Two miles 
of new transmission line would be needed to connect the plant to either 
a 138 kV line or a 345 kV line. The proposed 6,000-acre injection field 
is 58 miles south of the Odessa plant site. CO2 would be 
transported in (and co-mingled in) an existing regional CO2 
pipeline network. A short new CO2 pipeline would connect the 
power plant site to the existing pipeline, and a new four-mile 
(approximately) pipeline would connect the existing CO2 
pipeline to the proposed injection sites. Proposed injection targets 
for this site are the Queen Formation and the Delaware Mountain Group, 
both of which are more than 1100 meters (3600 ft) deep beneath grazing 
lands and scrub lands at the site. The system is capped by layers of 
anhydrite, dolomitic anhydrite, and anhydrite-halite, which are 
identified as the upper Queen and the overlying Seven Rivers 
Formations.
    In addition to the site alternatives preliminarily identified in 
the NOI, the EIS will describe different technologies and strategies 
for implementing important elements of the FutureGen Project. Critical 
technology alternatives for various components and subsystems of an 
integrated gasification combined-cycle power plant exist for the air 
separation unit (e.g., cryogenic separation versus physical membrane 
separation), gasifier (various commercial gasifiers with differing feed 
types, wall structures, and ash/slag recovery and cooler systems), gas 
turbine (e.g., syngas turbine versus H2 turbine), 
CO2 capture system (e.g., chemical scrubbers, pressure-swing 
absorption systems, physical membranes), and synthesis gas as well as 
turbine combustion gas clean-up systems (e.g., selective catalytic 
reduction versus selective non-catalytic reduction). The Alliance will 
provide to DOE a conceptual design that will be analyzed in the EIS for 
each of the alternative sites. This conceptual design will encompass 
the power plant and sequestration requirements and attributes (e.g., 
emissions, effluents, feed stocks, workers) for any of the technology 
alternatives that may be selected by the Alliance in the final designs. 
Mitigation will be addressed for the potential impacts of the FutureGen 
Project at each of the four sites and for the conceptual design and 
technologies considered.
    DOE will also consider a no-action alternative whereby DOE would 
not fund the FutureGen Project. In the absence of DOE funding, it would 
be unlikely that the Alliance, or industry in general, would soon 
undertake the utility-scale integration of CO2 capture and 
geologic sequestration with a coal-fired power plant. Absent DOE's 
investment in a utility-scale facility, the development of integrated 
CO2 capture and sequestration with power plant operations 
would occur more slowly.

Decision Making Process

    No sooner than 30 days following completion of the Final EIS, DOE 
will announce in a Record of Decision (ROD) either the no-action 
alternative or those sites, if any, that are acceptable to DOE. If DOE 
selects the action alternative, the Alliance will subsequently select a 
host site from among those, if any, listed in the ROD as acceptable to 
DOE. Following the tentative selection of a host site, the Alliance 
will conduct extensive site characterization work on the chosen site. 
Information obtained from the characterization will be reviewed by the 
DOE and will support the completion of a supplement analysis (see 10 
CFR 1021.314) by DOE to determine whether the newly gained information 
would have altered in a significant way the findings in the EIS. The 
supplement analysis will be used to determine whether a Supplemental 
EIS must be prepared.

Preliminary Identification of Environmental Issues

    DOE intends to address the issues listed below when considering the 
potential impacts resulting from the siting, construction and operation 
of the FutureGen power plant, sequestration field, and associated 
facilities. This list is neither intended to be all-inclusive nor a 
predetermined set of potential impacts. DOE invites comments on whether 
this is the correct list of important issues that should be considered 
in the EIS. The environmental issues include:
     Air quality impacts: potential for air emissions during 
construction and operation of the power plant and appurtenant 
facilities to impact local sensitive receptors, local environmental 
conditions, and special-use areas, including impacts to smog and haze 
and impacts from dust and any significant vapor plumes;
     Noise and light impacts: potential impacts from 
construction, transportation of materials, and facility operations;
     Traffic issues: potential impacts from the construction 
and operation of the facilities, including changes in local traffic 
patterns, deterioration of roads, traffic hazards, and traffic 
controls;
     Floodplains: potential impacts to flood flow resulting 
from earthen fills, access roads, and dikes that might be needed in a 
floodplain;
     Wetlands: potential impacts resulting from fill, sediment 
deposition, vegetation clearing and facility erection that might be 
needed in a wetland;
     Visual impacts associated with facility structures: views 
from

[[Page 42844]]

neighborhoods, impacts to scenic views (e.g., impacts from water vapor 
plumes, power transmission lines, pipelines), internal and external 
perception of the community or locality;
     Historic and cultural resources: potential impacts from 
the site selection, design, construction and operation of the 
facilities;
     Water quality impacts: potential impacts from water 
utilization and consumption, plus potential impacts from wastewater 
discharges;
     Infrastructure and land use impacts: potential 
environmental and socioeconomic impacts of project site selection, 
construction, delivery of feed materials, and distribution of products 
(e.g., power transmission lines, pipelines);
     Marketability of products and market access to feedstocks;
     Solid wastes: pollution prevention plans and waste 
management strategies, including the handling of ash, slag, water 
treatment sludge, and hazardous materials;
     Disproportionate impacts on minority and low-income 
populations;
     Connected actions: potential development of support 
facilities or supporting infrastructure;
     Ecological impacts: potential on-site and off-site impacts 
to vegetation, terrestrial wildlife, aquatic wildlife, threatened or 
endangered species, and ecologically sensitive habitats;
     Geologic impacts: potential impacts from the sequestration 
of CO2 and other captured gases on underground resources 
such as potable water supplies, mineral resources, and fossil fuel 
resources;
     Ground surface impacts from CO2 sequestration: 
potential impacts from leakage of injected CO2, potential 
impacts from induced flows of native fluids to the ground surface or 
near the ground surface, and the potential for induced ground heave 
and/or microseisms;
     Fate and stability of sequestered CO2 and other 
captured gases;
     Health and safety issues associated with CO2 
capture and sequestration;
     Cumulative effects that result from the incremental 
impacts of the proposed project when added to other past, present, and 
reasonably foreseeable future projects;
     Compliance with regulatory requirements and environmental 
permitting;
     Environmental monitoring plans associated with the power 
plant and with the CO2 sequestration site;
     Mitigation of identified environmental impacts; and
     Ultimate closure plans for the CO2 
sequestration site and reservoirs.

Proposed EIS Schedule

    A tentative schedule has been developed for the EIS. The public 
scoping period will close on September 13, 2006. The Draft EIS is 
scheduled to be issued for public review and comment in March 2007, 
followed by a 45-day public comment period and public hearings. The 
Final EIS is scheduled to be issued in June 2007, followed by the ROD 
in August 2007.

Public Scoping Process

    To ensure that all issues related to this proposed action are 
addressed, DOE seeks public input to define the scope of the EIS. The 
public scoping period will begin with publication of the NOI and end on 
September 13, 2006. Interested government agencies, private-sector 
organizations and the general public are encouraged to submit comments 
or suggestions concerning the content of the EIS, issues and impacts to 
be addressed in the EIS, and alternatives that should be considered. 
Scoping comments should clearly describe specific issues or topics that 
the EIS should address to assist DOE in identifying significant issues. 
Written, e-mailed, faxed, or telephoned comments should be received by 
September 13, 2006 (see ADDRESSES).
    DOE will conduct public scoping meetings at locations, dates and 
times specified in a future Federal Register notice and in notices 
published in local newspapers. These notices are scheduled to be 
published within the next two weeks and will provide the public with at 
least two weeks notice. Generally, one scoping meeting will be held 
near each proposed power plant site.
    An informal session of the public scoping meetings will begin at 
approximately 4 p.m., followed by a formal session beginning at 
approximately 7 p.m. Members of the public who wish to speak at a 
public scoping meeting should contact Mr. Mark L. McKoy, either by 
phone, fax, e-mail, or in writing (see ADDRESSES in this Notice). Those 
who do not arrange in advance to speak may register at a meeting 
(preferably at the beginning of the meeting) and may speak after 
previously scheduled speakers. Speakers will be given approximately 
five minutes to present their comments. Those speakers who want more 
than five minutes should indicate the length of time desired in their 
request. Depending on the number of speakers, DOE may need to limit all 
speakers to five minutes initially and provide second opportunities as 
time permits. Speakers may also provide written materials to supplement 
their presentations. Oral and written comments will be given equal 
consideration. State and local elected officials and tribal leaders may 
be given priority in the order of those making oral comments.
    DOE will begin the meeting with an overview of the proposed 
FutureGen Project. The meeting will not be conducted as an evidentiary 
hearing, and speakers will not be cross-examined. However, speakers may 
be asked questions to help ensure that DOE fully understands the 
comments or suggestions. A presiding officer will establish the order 
of speakers and provide any additional procedures necessary to conduct 
the meeting.

    Issued in Washington, DC, this 25th day of July, 2006.
Andrew Lawrence,
Acting Assistant Secretary, Environment, Safety and Health.
 [FR Doc. E6-12118 Filed 7-27-06; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6450-01-P