Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge, Brazoria County, TX; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment or an Environmental Impact Statement on a Proposed Right-of-Way Permit Application for Pipelines Crossing the Refuge, 34452-34453 [2015-14714]

Download as PDF 34452 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 115 / Tuesday, June 16, 2015 / Notices Appendix. The National Infrastructure Advisory Council shall provide the President, through the Secretary of Homeland Security, with advice on the security and resilience of the Nation’s critical infrastructure sectors. The NIAC will meet to discuss issues relevant to critical infrastructure security and resilience as directed by the President. The meeting will commence at 1:30 p.m. EDT. At this meeting, the Council will receive an unclassified briefing from government officials on the implementation progress of recommendations in the Council’s 2012 report on ‘‘Intelligence Information Sharing.’’ The Council will receive and deliberate on the Transportation Resiliency Working Group draft report and recommendations. A government official will provide the Council a briefing on climate impacts to infrastructure systems to support the development of the council’s new study (to be presented by senior Federal government representatives following the presentation) to provide recommendations on improving infrastructure security and resilience to climate-related hazards. Finally, the Administration will provide the Council with additional new taskings for the coming year. All presentations and the draft transportation resilience report will be posted no later than one week prior to the meeting on the Council’s public Web page—www.dhs.gov/NIAC, in the section titled, ‘‘Meeting Resources’’. asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Public Meeting Agenda I. Opening of Meeting II. Roll Call of Members III. Opening Remarks and Introductions IV. Approval of March 20, 2015 Meeting Minutes V. Government Progress Report on 2012 Intelligence Information Sharing Recommendations VI. Working Group Presentation on Transportation Resilience Report and Recommendations VII. Public Comment: Topics Limited to Agenda Topics and Previously Issued National Infrastructure Advisory Council Studies and Recommendations VIII. Discussion and Deliberation on the Transportation Resilience Report and Recommendations IX. Government Presentation on Climate Impacts to Infrastructure Systems X. Discussion and Recommendations on Scope of Climate Impact Topic of Study XI. Discussion of Additional Administration-Identified Taskings for Coming Year VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:18 Jun 15, 2015 Jkt 235001 XII. Closing Remarks Nancy J. Wong, Designated Federal Officer for the National Infrastructure Advisory Council. [FR Doc. 2015–14673 Filed 6–15–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110–9P–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R2–R–2015–N042; FXRS12610200000–156–FF02R06000] Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge, Brazoria County, TX; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment or an Environmental Impact Statement on a Proposed Right-of-Way Permit Application for Pipelines Crossing the Refuge Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of intent; request for comments. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), are in the process of considering an application from Praxair, Inc. (Praxair) for a right-ofway (ROW) permit to construct, operate, and maintain two pipelines within an existing maintained pipeline corridor crossing the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Brazoria County, Texas. The Service requests comments on environmental issues and announces the opening of the scoping process, which will inform the decision to prepare either an environmental assessment (EA) or environmental impact statement (EIS) pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended. This notice provides an opportunity for input from other Federal and State agencies, local government, Native American Tribes, nongovernmental organizations, the public, and other interested parties on the scope of the NEPA analysis, pertinent issues which should be addressed, and the alternatives to be analyzed. DATES: To ensure consideration of written comments on the issues and possible alternatives to be addressed in the documents, they must be received no later than July 16, 2015. ADDRESSES: Comments, questions, and requests for further information may be submitted by U.S. mail to Project Leader, Texas Mid-coast NWR Complex, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2547 County Road 316, Brazoria, TX 77422; by email at jennifer_sanchez@fws.gov; by phone at (979) 964–4011; or by fax to (979) 964–4021. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00090 Fmt 4703 We are in the process of considering an application from Praxair, Inc. (Praxair) for a right-of-way (ROW) permit to construct, operate, and maintain a 24inch carbon steel pipeline for transport of nitrogen, and a 14-inch carbon steel pipeline for transport of hydrogen, within an existing maintained 4.25-mile pipeline corridor crossing the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Brazoria County, Texas. We request comments on environmental issues and announce the opening of the scoping process, which will inform our decision to prepare either an environmental assessment (EA) or environmental impact statement (EIS) pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended, in conjunction with preparation of a plan of operations for the proposed new pipelines. The decision to initially prepare an EA or EIS will be, in part, contingent on the complexity of issues identified during, and following, the scoping phase of the NEPA process. This notice provides an opportunity for input from other Federal and State agencies, local government, Native American Tribes, nongovernmental organizations, the public, and other interested parties on the scope of the NEPA analysis, pertinent issues which should be addressed, and the alternatives to be analyzed. The NEPA document will include an analysis of environmental consequences of the proposed action and alternatives, including direct and indirect impacts, as well as an assessment of the overall cumulative effects resulting from the incremental impact of the proposed action when added to other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future actions. The NEPA document will also include proposed measures for avoiding or minimizing adverse impacts to refuge resources during construction and operations, as well as a proposal for compensatory mitigation for replacement of lost habitat values through land conservation and protection as part of the NWR. We will use this NEPA document in our decision-making process to determine whether the proposed new pipelines are an appropriate and compatible use of lands in the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS), as well as whether processing of the application for a Pipeline ROW Permit should proceed to the next step. The public will also have a chance to review and comment on the draft EA or EIS when it is available (a notice of availability will be published in the Federal Register). SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\16JNN1.SGM 16JNN1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 115 / Tuesday, June 16, 2015 / Notices Refuge Background collection of lands and waters set aside specifically for the conservation of wildlife and ecosystem protection. The mission of the Refuge System is ‘‘to administer a national network of lands and waters for the conservation, management and, where appropriate, restoration of the fish, wildlife, and plant resources and their habitats within the United States for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans’’ (National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, Pub. L. 105–57). The Brazoria NWR encompasses approximately 44,500 acres and includes the largest contiguous salt marsh and coastal prairie habitats and managed fresh water wetlands on the Texas Mid-coast NWR Complex (Complex). The Complex is comprised of three refuges: Brazoria NWR, San Bernard NWR, and Big Boggy NWR, which consist of a vital complex of salt and freshwater marshes, sloughs, ponds, coastal prairies, and bottomland hardwood forests that provide habitat for a wide variety of resident and migratory wildlife. The goals established for the Complex include the following: • To contribute to conservation efforts and to foster the ecological integrity of the Gulf Coast Prairies and Marshes Ecoregion through proven and innovative management practices across the Complex. • To conserve, restore, enhance, and protect Complex habitats by implementing appropriate management programs to benefit native flora and fauna, including threatened and endangered species and other species of concern. • To protect, maintain, and enhance populations of migratory birds and resident fish and wildlife, including Federal and State threatened and endangered species. • To develop and implement quality wildlife-dependent recreation programs that are compatible with each refuge’s purposes and foster enjoyment and understanding of the Complex’s unique wildlife and plant communities. • To provide administrative and public use facilities needed to carry out each refuge’s purposes and meet management objectives. The Refuge System is the only system of federally owned lands managed chiefly for the conservation of wildlife. Most national wildlife refuges are strategically located along major bird migration corridors, ensuring that ducks, geese, and songbirds have rest stops on their annual migrations. The Refuge System is the world’s largest Public Involvement The public’s ideas and comments are an important part of the planning process, and we invite public participation. We encourage the public to provide comments, which will help us determine the issues and formulate alternatives. We will be accepting comments via U.S. mail, email, and Proposed Project asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Praxair proposes to use a combination of conventional, open trenching, and subsurface Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) in its construction methods to cross the Refuge lands. The proposed two pipelines would be constructed at the same time, near the center of an existing maintained 4.25mile pipeline corridor and between existing pipelines. The existing pipeline corridor pre-dates Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) ownership of the land in fee title, and extends from Farm-toMarket Road 2004 on the northeast end to Austin Bayou on the southwest end. Construction of the proposed pipelines would require a 100-foot-wide temporary right-of-way, including 70 feet of temporary workspace used during construction activities, and a 30foot-wide right-of-way after construction is complete. Praxair is working with Service staff in the development of its proposed plan of operations in order to determine construction methods and develop measures to avoid or minimize potential adverse impacts during construction activities. However, some impacts are unavoidable and can reasonably be anticipated during pipeline construction, operations, and maintenance activities. Conventional trenching for simultaneous construction of the proposed two pipelines would require excavation of an open trench approximately 5.5 to 6 feet deep, 8 feet wide at the bottom, and 19 feet wide at the surface, with an approximately 45degree slope on the sides, depending on soil conditions. Workspace required for HDD sites would be 300 feet by 300 feet. Other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future actions occurring on the Brazoria NWR that could contribute to cumulative impacts include: (1) Construction of a 12-inch propane pipeline within the same corridor, completed in May 2014; (2) construction of a 12-inch ethane pipeline within the same corridor, tentatively scheduled to begin May 2015; (3) a 3–D seismic survey which will encompass the entire refuge, tentatively scheduled to begin second or third quarter of 2016. These actions have been previously approved and permitted. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:18 Jun 15, 2015 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00091 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 34453 telephone during the open comment period (see DATES and ADDRESSES), as well as through personal contacts throughout the planning process. However, written comments are preferred. Public Availability of Comments Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Authorities NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and its implementing regulations; and the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 (Refuge Administration Act), as amended by the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 (Refuge Improvement Act). Dated: June 5, 2015. Joy Nicholopoulos, Acting Regional Director, Southwest Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. [FR Doc. 2015–14714 Filed 6–15–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [LLWO35000.L14300000.FR0000] Renewal of Approved Information Collection; OMB Control No. 1004– 0029 Bureau of Land Management, Interior. ACTION: 60-Day Notice and Request for Comments. AGENCY: In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) invites public comments on, and plans to request approval to continue, the collection of information from applicants for a land patent under the Color-of-Title Act. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has assigned control number 1004–0029 to this information collection. SUMMARY: Submit comments on the proposed information collection by August 17, 2015. ADDRESSES: Comments may be submitted by mail, fax, or electronic DATES: E:\FR\FM\16JNN1.SGM 16JNN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 115 (Tuesday, June 16, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 34452-34453]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-14714]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R2-R-2015-N042; FXRS12610200000-156-FF02R06000]


Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge, Brazoria County, TX; Notice of 
Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment or an Environmental 
Impact Statement on a Proposed Right-of-Way Permit Application for 
Pipelines Crossing the Refuge

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), are in the 
process of considering an application from Praxair, Inc. (Praxair) for 
a right-of-way (ROW) permit to construct, operate, and maintain two 
pipelines within an existing maintained pipeline corridor crossing the 
Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Brazoria County, Texas. The 
Service requests comments on environmental issues and announces the 
opening of the scoping process, which will inform the decision to 
prepare either an environmental assessment (EA) or environmental impact 
statement (EIS) pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act 
(NEPA) of 1969, as amended. This notice provides an opportunity for 
input from other Federal and State agencies, local government, Native 
American Tribes, nongovernmental organizations, the public, and other 
interested parties on the scope of the NEPA analysis, pertinent issues 
which should be addressed, and the alternatives to be analyzed.

DATES: To ensure consideration of written comments on the issues and 
possible alternatives to be addressed in the documents, they must be 
received no later than July 16, 2015.

ADDRESSES: Comments, questions, and requests for further information 
may be submitted by U.S. mail to Project Leader, Texas Mid-coast NWR 
Complex, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2547 County Road 316, 
Brazoria, TX 77422; by email at jennifer_sanchez@fws.gov; by phone at 
(979) 964-4011; or by fax to (979) 964-4021.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We are in the process of considering an 
application from Praxair, Inc. (Praxair) for a right-of-way (ROW) 
permit to construct, operate, and maintain a 24-inch carbon steel 
pipeline for transport of nitrogen, and a 14-inch carbon steel pipeline 
for transport of hydrogen, within an existing maintained 4.25-mile 
pipeline corridor crossing the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) 
in Brazoria County, Texas. We request comments on environmental issues 
and announce the opening of the scoping process, which will inform our 
decision to prepare either an environmental assessment (EA) or 
environmental impact statement (EIS) pursuant to the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended, in conjunction 
with preparation of a plan of operations for the proposed new 
pipelines. The decision to initially prepare an EA or EIS will be, in 
part, contingent on the complexity of issues identified during, and 
following, the scoping phase of the NEPA process.
    This notice provides an opportunity for input from other Federal 
and State agencies, local government, Native American Tribes, 
nongovernmental organizations, the public, and other interested parties 
on the scope of the NEPA analysis, pertinent issues which should be 
addressed, and the alternatives to be analyzed. The NEPA document will 
include an analysis of environmental consequences of the proposed 
action and alternatives, including direct and indirect impacts, as well 
as an assessment of the overall cumulative effects resulting from the 
incremental impact of the proposed action when added to other past, 
present, and reasonably foreseeable future actions. The NEPA document 
will also include proposed measures for avoiding or minimizing adverse 
impacts to refuge resources during construction and operations, as well 
as a proposal for compensatory mitigation for replacement of lost 
habitat values through land conservation and protection as part of the 
NWR. We will use this NEPA document in our decision-making process to 
determine whether the proposed new pipelines are an appropriate and 
compatible use of lands in the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS), 
as well as whether processing of the application for a Pipeline ROW 
Permit should proceed to the next step. The public will also have a 
chance to review and comment on the draft EA or EIS when it is 
available (a notice of availability will be published in the Federal 
Register).

[[Page 34453]]

Proposed Project

    Praxair proposes to use a combination of conventional, open 
trenching, and subsurface Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) in its 
construction methods to cross the Refuge lands. The proposed two 
pipelines would be constructed at the same time, near the center of an 
existing maintained 4.25-mile pipeline corridor and between existing 
pipelines. The existing pipeline corridor pre-dates Fish and Wildlife 
Service (FWS) ownership of the land in fee title, and extends from 
Farm-to-Market Road 2004 on the northeast end to Austin Bayou on the 
southwest end. Construction of the proposed pipelines would require a 
100-foot-wide temporary right-of-way, including 70 feet of temporary 
workspace used during construction activities, and a 30-foot-wide 
right-of-way after construction is complete. Praxair is working with 
Service staff in the development of its proposed plan of operations in 
order to determine construction methods and develop measures to avoid 
or minimize potential adverse impacts during construction activities. 
However, some impacts are unavoidable and can reasonably be anticipated 
during pipeline construction, operations, and maintenance activities. 
Conventional trenching for simultaneous construction of the proposed 
two pipelines would require excavation of an open trench approximately 
5.5 to 6 feet deep, 8 feet wide at the bottom, and 19 feet wide at the 
surface, with an approximately 45-degree slope on the sides, depending 
on soil conditions. Workspace required for HDD sites would be 300 feet 
by 300 feet.
    Other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future actions 
occurring on the Brazoria NWR that could contribute to cumulative 
impacts include: (1) Construction of a 12-inch propane pipeline within 
the same corridor, completed in May 2014; (2) construction of a 12-inch 
ethane pipeline within the same corridor, tentatively scheduled to 
begin May 2015; (3) a 3-D seismic survey which will encompass the 
entire refuge, tentatively scheduled to begin second or third quarter 
of 2016. These actions have been previously approved and permitted.

Refuge Background

    The Refuge System is the only system of federally owned lands 
managed chiefly for the conservation of wildlife. Most national 
wildlife refuges are strategically located along major bird migration 
corridors, ensuring that ducks, geese, and songbirds have rest stops on 
their annual migrations. The Refuge System is the world's largest 
collection of lands and waters set aside specifically for the 
conservation of wildlife and ecosystem protection.
    The mission of the Refuge System is ``to administer a national 
network of lands and waters for the conservation, management and, where 
appropriate, restoration of the fish, wildlife, and plant resources and 
their habitats within the United States for the benefit of present and 
future generations of Americans'' (National Wildlife Refuge System 
Improvement Act of 1997, Pub. L. 105-57).
    The Brazoria NWR encompasses approximately 44,500 acres and 
includes the largest contiguous salt marsh and coastal prairie habitats 
and managed fresh water wetlands on the Texas Mid-coast NWR Complex 
(Complex). The Complex is comprised of three refuges: Brazoria NWR, San 
Bernard NWR, and Big Boggy NWR, which consist of a vital complex of 
salt and freshwater marshes, sloughs, ponds, coastal prairies, and 
bottomland hardwood forests that provide habitat for a wide variety of 
resident and migratory wildlife.
    The goals established for the Complex include the following:
     To contribute to conservation efforts and to foster the 
ecological integrity of the Gulf Coast Prairies and Marshes Ecoregion 
through proven and innovative management practices across the Complex.
     To conserve, restore, enhance, and protect Complex 
habitats by implementing appropriate management programs to benefit 
native flora and fauna, including threatened and endangered species and 
other species of concern.
     To protect, maintain, and enhance populations of migratory 
birds and resident fish and wildlife, including Federal and State 
threatened and endangered species.
     To develop and implement quality wildlife-dependent 
recreation programs that are compatible with each refuge's purposes and 
foster enjoyment and understanding of the Complex's unique wildlife and 
plant communities.
     To provide administrative and public use facilities needed 
to carry out each refuge's purposes and meet management objectives.

Public Involvement

    The public's ideas and comments are an important part of the 
planning process, and we invite public participation. We encourage the 
public to provide comments, which will help us determine the issues and 
formulate alternatives. We will be accepting comments via U.S. mail, 
email, and telephone during the open comment period (see DATES and 
ADDRESSES), as well as through personal contacts throughout the 
planning process. However, written comments are preferred.

Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.

Authorities

    NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and its implementing regulations; and 
the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 (Refuge 
Administration Act), as amended by the National Wildlife Refuge System 
Improvement Act of 1997 (Refuge Improvement Act).

    Dated: June 5, 2015.
Joy Nicholopoulos,
Acting Regional Director, Southwest Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-14714 Filed 6-15-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P