Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Planned WB Xpress Project, Request for Comments on Environmental Issues, and Notice of Public Scoping Meeting, 45210-45213 [2015-18484]

Download as PDF 45210 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 145 / Wednesday, July 29, 2015 / Notices TABLE 1—CRITERIA FOR QUALIFYING CONDUIT HYDROPOWER FACILITY Satisfies (Y/N) Statutory provision Description FPA 30(a)(3)(A), as amended by HREA ............ The conduit the facility uses a tunnel, canal, pipeline, aqueduct, flume, ditch, or similar manmade water conveyance that is operated for the distribution of water for agricultural, municipal, or industrial consumption and not primarily for the generation of electricity. The facility is constructed, operated, or maintained for the generation of electric power and uses for such generation only the hydroelectric potential of a nonfederally owned conduit. The facility has an installed capacity that does not exceed 5 megawatts. On or before August 9, 2013, the facility is not licensed, or exempted from the licensing requirements of Part I of the FPA. FPA 30(a)(3)(C)(i), as amended by HREA ......... tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES FPA 30(a)(3)(C)(ii), as amended by HREA ........ FPA 30(a)(3)(C)(iii), as amended by HREA ....... Preliminary Determination: Based upon the above criteria, Commission staff preliminarily determines that the proposal satisfies the requirements for a qualifying conduit hydropower facility, which is not required to be licensed or exempted from licensing. Comments and Motions to Intervene: Deadline for filing comments contesting whether the facility meets the qualifying criteria is 45 days from the issuance date of this notice. Deadline for filing motions to intervene is 30 days from the issuance date of this notice. Anyone may submit comments or a motion to intervene in accordance with the requirements of Rules of Practice and Procedure, 18 CFR 385.210 and 385.214. Any motions to intervene must be received on or before the specified deadline date for the particular proceeding. Filing and Service of Responsive Documents: All filings must (1) bear in all capital letters the ‘‘COMMENTS CONTESTING QUALIFICATION FOR A CONDUIT HYDROPOWER FACILITY’’ or ‘‘MOTION TO INTERVENE,’’ as applicable; (2) state in the heading the name of the applicant and the project number of the application to which the filing responds; (3) state the name, address, and telephone number of the person filing; and (4) otherwise comply with the requirements of sections 385.2001 through 385.2005 of the Commission’s regulations.1 All comments contesting Commission staff’s preliminary determination that the facility meets the qualifying criteria must set forth their evidentiary basis. The Commission strongly encourages electronic filing. Please file motions to intervene and comments using the Commission’s eFiling system at http:// www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling.asp. Commenters can submit brief comments up to 6,000 characters, without prior registration, using the eComment system at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/ 1 18 ecomment.asp. You must include your name and contact information at the end of your comments. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at FERCOnlineSupport@ferc.gov, (866) 208–3676 (toll free), or (202) 502–8659 (TTY). In lieu of electronic filing, please send a paper copy to: Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426. A copy of all other filings in reference to this application must be accompanied by proof of service on all persons listed in the service list prepared by the Commission in this proceeding, in accordance with 18 CFR 4.34(b) and 385.2010. Locations of Notice of Intent: Copies of the notice of intent can be obtained directly from the applicant or such copies can be viewed and reproduced at the Commission in its Public Reference Room, Room 2A, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426. The filing may also be viewed on the web at http:// www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/elibrary.asp using the ‘‘eLibrary’’ link. Enter the docket number (e.g., CD15–30–000) in the docket number field to access the document. For assistance, call toll-free 1–866–208–3676 or email FERCOnlineSupport@ferc.gov. For TTY, call (202) 502–8659. Dated: July 22, 2015. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary. [FR Doc. 2015–18480 Filed 7–28–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717–01–P CFR 385.2001–2005 (2014). VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:33 Jul 28, 2015 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Y Y Y Y DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. PF15–21–000] Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Planned WB Xpress Project, Request for Comments on Environmental Issues, and Notice of Public Scoping Meeting The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) will prepare an environmental assessment (EA) that will discuss the environmental impacts of the WB XPress Project involving construction and operation of facilities by Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC (Columbia) in Kanawha, Grant, Upshur, Randolph, Pendleton, Clay, Braxton, and Hardy Counties, West Virginia and Fairfax, Shenandoah, Warren, Clark, Fauquier, and Loudoun Counties, Virginia. The Commission will use this EA in its decision-making process to determine whether the project is in the public convenience and necessity. This notice announces the opening of the scoping process the Commission will use to gather input from the public and interested agencies on the project. You can make a difference by providing us with your specific comments or concerns about the project. Your comments should focus on the potential environmental effects, reasonable alternatives, and measures to avoid or lessen environmental impacts. Your input will help the Commission staff determine what issues they need to evaluate in the EA. To ensure that your comments are timely and properly recorded, please send your comments so that the Commission receives them in Washington, DC on or before August 24, 2015. If you sent comments on this project to the Commission before the opening of this docket on April 1, 2015, you will E:\FR\FM\29JYN1.SGM 29JYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 145 / Wednesday, July 29, 2015 / Notices tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES need to file those comments in Docket No. PF15–21–000 to ensure they are considered as part of this proceeding. This notice is being sent to the Commission’s current environmental mailing list for this project. State and local government representatives should notify their constituents of this planned project and encourage them to comment on their areas of concern. If you are a landowner receiving this notice, a pipeline company representative may contact you about the acquisition of an easement to construct, operate, and maintain the planned facilities. The company would seek to negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement. However, if the Commission approves the project, that approval conveys with it the right of eminent domain. Therefore, if easement negotiations fail to produce an agreement, the pipeline company could initiate condemnation proceedings where compensation would be determined in accordance with state law. A fact sheet prepared by the FERC entitled ‘‘An Interstate Natural Gas Facility On My Land? What Do I Need To Know?’’ is available for viewing on the FERC Web site (www.ferc.gov). This fact sheet addresses a number of typically asked questions, including the use of eminent domain and how to participate in the Commission’s proceedings. Public Participation For your convenience, there are four methods you can use to submit your comments to the Commission. The Commission will provide equal consideration to all comments received, whether filed in written form or provided verbally. The Commission encourages electronic filing of comments and has expert staff available to assist you at (202) 502–8258 or efiling@ferc.gov. Please carefully follow these instructions so that your comments are properly recorded. (1) You can file your comments electronically using the eComment feature on the Commission’s Web site (www.ferc.gov) under the link to Documents and Filings. This is an easy method for submitting brief, text-only comments on a project; (2) You can file your comments electronically by using the eFiling feature on the Commission’s Web site (www.ferc.gov) under the link to Documents and Filings. With eFiling, you can provide comments in a variety of formats by attaching them as a file with your submission. New eFiling users must first create an account by clicking on ‘‘eRegister.’’ If you are filing VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:33 Jul 28, 2015 Jkt 235001 a comment on a particular project, please select ‘‘Comment on a Filing’’ as the filing type; or (3) You can file a paper copy of your comments by mailing them to the following address. Be sure to reference the project docket number (PF15–21– 000) with your submission: Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426. (4) In lieu of sending written or electronic comments, the Commission invites you to attend the public scoping meeting(s) its staff will conduct in the project area, scheduled as follows. FERC Public Scoping Meeting, WB XPress Project, August 12, 2015, 7:00 p.m.–9:30 p.m., Virginia Run Elementary School, 15450 Martins Hundred Drive, Centreville, VA 20120 We 1 will begin our sign up of speakers at 6:00 p.m. The scoping meeting will begin at 7:00 p.m. with a description of our environmental review process by Commission staff, after which speakers will be called. The meeting will end once all speakers have provided their comments or at 9:30 p.m., whichever comes first. Please note that there may be a time limit of three minutes to present comments, and speakers should structure their comments accordingly. If time limits are implemented, they will be strictly enforced to ensure that as many individuals as possible are given an opportunity to comment. The meetings will be recorded by a stenographer to ensure comments are accurately recorded. Transcripts will be entered into the formal record of the Commission proceeding. Columbia representatives will be present one hour prior to the start of the scoping meeting to provide additional information about the project and answer questions. Please note this is not your only public input opportunity; please refer to the review process flow chart in appendix 1.2 Summary of the Planned Project Columbia plans to construct and operate approximately 28.7 miles of various diameter pipeline, perform modifications to seven existing 1 ‘‘We,’’ ‘‘us,’’ and ‘‘our’’ refer to the environmental staff of the Commission’s Office of Energy Projects. 2 The appendices referenced in this notice will not appear in the Federal Register. Copies of the appendices were sent to all those receiving this notice in the mail and are available at www.ferc.gov using the link called ‘‘eLibrary’’ or from the Commission’s Public Reference Room, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, or call (202) 502–8371. For instructions on connecting to eLibrary, refer to the last page of this notice. PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 45211 compressor stations, construct two new compressor stations, and uprate the maximum allowable operation pressure (MAOP) on various segments of the existing WB and VB natural gas transmission pipeline systems. According to Columbia, its project would expand the capacity of its pipeline system by 1.3 billion cubic feet per day to provide firm bi-directional transportation service along Columbia’s existing Line WB natural gas pipeline system to meet growing market demands in western West Virginia and northern Virginia. The WB XPress Project would consist of the following facilities: West Virginia Aboveground Facilities • One new West Virginia Compressor Station: a new, natural gas-fired compressor station at approximately MP 0.3 of the Line WB–5 Extension in Kanawha County, West Virginia. • Installation of new valve sites and launcher/receiver facilities along Line WB–5 in Kanawha, Grant and Clay Counties, West Virginia. • Modifications to increase horsepower at four (4) existing Compressor Stations including Cleveland, Files Creek, Seneca, and Lost River Compressor Stations in Upshur, Randolph, Pendleton, and Hardy Counties, West Virginia, respectively. • Modifications to existing natural gas pipeline appurtenances at the Frametown Compressor Station in Braxton County, West Virginia. • Modifications to four existing Valve Sites including Glady Valve Site in Randolph County, West Virginia; Dink Valve Site in Clay County, West Virginia; Whitmer and Smokehole in Pendleton County, West Virginia; and one regulator station, Panther Mountain Regulator Station, in Kanawha County, West Virginia. Pipeline Facilities • Line WB–5 Extension: Installation of approximately 0.3 mile of new 36inch-diameter natural gas transmission pipeline from the planned new Compressor Station to the Panther Mountain Regulator Station in Kanawha County, West Virginia. • Line WB–22: Installation of approximately 0.6 mile of new 36-inchdiameter natural gas transmission pipeline from the proposed new West Virginia Compressor Stations to the Panther Regulator Station, ending at the proposed WB–22 Receiver Site in Kanawha County, West Virginia. • Line WB: Generally lift and lay replacement of approximately 25.3 E:\FR\FM\29JYN1.SGM 29JYN1 45212 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 145 / Wednesday, July 29, 2015 / Notices miles of 26-inch-diameter natural gas transmission pipeline loop and associated appurtenances in Randolph and Pendleton Counties, West Virginia. • Line WB: Replacement of 5 sections, totaling approximately 0.3 mile of 26-inch-diameter natural gas transmission pipeline between Mileposts (MP) 134.6 and 146.4 in Pendleton, Grant, and Hardy Counties, West Virginia. • Line WB–5: Replacement of approximately 1,185 feet (0.2 mile) of 36-inch-diameter natural gas transmission pipeline between MP 4.5 and MP 4.7 in Grant County, West Virginia. MAOP Restoration • Line WB–5: Incremental pressure increase of approximately 72.4 miles of the Line WB–5 Segment to restore this segment to its originally certificated MAOP of 1,000 square inch gauge (psig) in Upshur, Randolph, Pendleton, Grant and Hardy Counties, West Virginia. Uprate Segments • Line WB–6: Incremental pressure increase of approximately 2.4 miles of the Line WB–6 to 1,000 psig MAOP in Randolph County, West Virginia. • Line WB–5: Incremental pressure increase of approximately 22.1 miles of the Line WB–5 Segment to 1,000 psig in Pendleton, Grant, and Hardy Counties, West Virginia. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Virginia Aboveground Facilities • One new, electric-driven compressor station at approximately MP 0.0 of the proposed new Line VA–1 in Fairfax County, Virginia. • Installation of a receiver facility at the end of the proposed Line VA–1, in Fairfax County, Virginia. • Modifications to increase horsepower at the existing Strasburg Compressor Station located in Shenandoah County Virginia, in order to increase capacity for the transportation of additional volume along Columbia’s Line VB natural gas pipeline system. • Modifications to existing natural gas pipeline appurtenances at the Loudoun Compressor Station in Loudoun County, Virginia. • Modifications to the existing Dysart Valve Site, in Shenandoah County, Virginia and one metering station, Nineveh Meter Station, in Warren County, Virginia. Pipeline Facilities • Line VA–1: installation of approximately 2.0 miles of new 12-inchdiameter natural gas transmission VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:33 Jul 28, 2015 Jkt 235001 pipeline and associated appurtenances in Fairfax County, Virginia. MAOP Restoration • Line VB–5: Incremental pressure increase of approximately 70.4 miles of the Line VB–5 Segment to restore this segment to its originally certificated MAOP of 1,000 psig in Shenandoah, Warren, Clark, Fauquier, and Loudoun Counties, Virginia. The general location of the project facilities is shown in appendix 1.3 Land Requirements for Construction Construction of the planned facilities would disturb about 605.5 acres of land, which includes 257.6 acres of existing right-of-way, 36.3 acres of proposed new permanent right-of-way, 97.1 acres of existing fenced facilities, and 16.7 acres of new proposed aboveground facilities that would be retained for operational activities. Approximately 311.6 acres of temporary workspace, staging areas, and access roads would be used temporarily during construction and would revert back to pre-construction conditions. The entire planned pipeline route parallels existing pipeline, utility, or road rightsof-way. The EA Process The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires the Commission to take into account the environmental impacts that could result from an action whenever it considers the issuance of a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. NEPA also requires us to discover and address concerns the public may have about proposals. This process is referred to as scoping. The main goal of the scoping process is to focus the analysis in the EA on the important environmental issues. By this notice, the Commission requests public comments on the scope of the issues to address in the EA. We will consider all filed comments during the preparation of the EA. In the EA we will discuss impacts that could occur as a result of the construction and operation of the planned project under these general headings: • Geology and soils; • land use; • water resources, fisheries, and wetlands; • cultural resources; 3 The appendices referenced in this notice will not appear in the Federal Register. Copies of the appendices were sent to all those receiving this notice in the mail and are available at www.ferc.gov using the link called ‘‘eLibrary’’ or from the Commission’s Public Reference Room, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, or call (202) 502–8371. For instructions on connecting to eLibrary, refer to the last page of this notice. PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 • vegetation and wildlife, including migratory birds; • air quality and noise; • endangered and threatened species; • public safety; and • cumulative impacts. We will also evaluate possible alternatives to the planned project or portions of the project, and make recommendations on how to lessen or avoid impacts on the various resource areas. Although no formal application has been filed, we have already initiated our NEPA review under the Commission’s pre-filing process. The purpose of the pre-filing process is to encourage early involvement of interested stakeholders and to identify and resolve issues before the FERC receives an application. As part of our pre-filing review, we have begun to contact some federal and state agencies to discuss their involvement in the scoping process and the preparation of the EA. The EA will present our independent analysis of the issues. The EA will be available in the public record through eLibrary. Depending on the comments received during the scoping process, we may also publish and distribute the EA to the public for an allotted comment period. We will consider all comments on the EA before we make our recommendations to the Commission. To ensure we have the opportunity to consider and address your comments, please carefully follow the instructions in the Public Participation section, beginning on page 2. With this notice, we are asking agencies with jurisdiction by law and/ or special expertise with respect to the environmental issues related to this project to formally cooperate with us in the preparation of the EA.4 Agencies that would like to request cooperating agency status should follow the instructions for filing comments provided under the Public Participation section of this notice. Currently, the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Virginia Department of Historical Resources, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, and West Virginia Department of Natural Resources have expressed their intention to participate as a cooperating 4 The Council on Environmental Quality regulations addressing cooperating agency responsibilities are at Title 40, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 1501.6. E:\FR\FM\29JYN1.SGM 29JYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 145 / Wednesday, July 29, 2015 / Notices agency in the preparation of the EA to satisfy their NEPA or other permitting responsibilities related to this project. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Consultations Under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act In accordance with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation’s implementing regulations for section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, we are using this notice to initiate consultation with the applicable State Historic Preservation Office(s) (SHPO), and to solicit their views and those of other government agencies, interested Indian tribes, and the public on the project’s potential effects on historic properties.5 We will define the project-specific Area of Potential Effects (APE) in consultation with the SHPO(s) as the project develops. On natural gas facility projects, the APE at a minimum encompasses all areas subject to ground disturbance (examples include construction right-of-way, contractor/ pipe storage yards, compressor stations, and access roads). Our EA for this project will document our findings on the impacts on historic properties and summarize the status of consultations under section 106. Environmental Mailing List The environmental mailing list includes federal, state, and local government representatives and agencies; elected officials; environmental and public interest groups; Native American Tribes; other interested parties; and local libraries and newspapers. This list also includes all affected landowners (as defined in the Commission’s regulations) who are potential right-of-way grantors, whose property may be used temporarily for project purposes, or who own homes within certain distances of aboveground facilities, and anyone who submits comments on the project. We will update the environmental mailing list as the analysis proceeds to ensure that we send the information related to this environmental review to all individuals, organizations, and government entities interested in and/or potentially affected by the planned project. If we publish and distribute the EA, copies will be sent to the environmental mailing list for public review and comment. If you would prefer to receive a paper copy of the document instead of 5 The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation regulations are at Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 800. Those regulations define historic properties as any prehistoric or historic district, site, building, structure, or object included in or eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:33 Jul 28, 2015 Jkt 235001 45213 the CD version or would like to remove your name from the mailing list, please return the attached Information Request (appendix 2). DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Becoming an Intervenor [Docket No. CP15–528–000] Once Columbia files its application with the Commission, you may want to become an ‘‘intervenor’’ which is an official party to the Commission’s proceeding. Intervenors play a more formal role in the process and are able to file briefs, appear at hearings, and be heard by the courts if they choose to appeal the Commission’s final ruling. An intervenor formally participates in the proceeding by filing a request to intervene. Instructions for becoming an intervenor are in the User’s Guide under the ‘‘e-filing’’ link on the Commission’s Web site. Please note that the Commission will not accept requests for intervenor status at this time. You must wait until the Commission receives a formal application for the project. Equitrans, L.P.; Notice of Application Additional Information Additional information about the project is available from the Commission’s Office of External Affairs, at (866) 208–FERC, or on the FERC Web site (www.ferc.gov) using the eLibrary link. Click on the eLibrary link, click on ‘‘General Search’’ and enter the docket number, excluding the last three digits in the Docket Number field (i.e., PF15– 21). Be sure you have selected an appropriate date range. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at FercOnlineSupport@ferc.gov or toll free at (866) 208–3676, or for TTY, contact (202) 502–8659. The eLibrary link also provides access to the texts of formal documents issued by the Commission, such as orders, notices, and rulemakings. In addition, the Commission offers a free service called eSubscription which allows you to keep track of all formal issuances and submittals in specific dockets. This can reduce the amount of time you spend researching proceedings by automatically providing you with notification of these filings, document summaries, and direct links to the documents. Go to www.ferc.gov/docsfiling/esubscription.asp. Finally, public meetings or site visits will be posted on the Commission’s calendar located at www.ferc.gov/ EventCalendar/EventsList.aspx along with other related information. Dated: July 22, 2015. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary. [FR Doc. 2015–18484 Filed 7–28–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717–01–P PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Take notice that on July 10, 2015, Equitrans, L.P. (Equitrans), having its principal place of business at 625 Liberty Avenue, Suite 1700, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15222, filed in the above referenced docket an application pursuant to sections 7(b) and 7(c) of the Natural Gas Act (NGA), and Part 157 of the Commission’s regulations requesting authorization for the replacement of existing segment located in Armstrong and Indiana Counties, Pennsylvania (the TP–371 Pipeline Replacement Project), all as more fully set forth in the application which is on file with the Commission and open to public inspection. The filing is available for review at the Commission in the Public Reference Room or may be viewed on the Commission’s Web site web at http://www.ferc.gov using the ‘‘eLibrary’’ link. Enter the docket number excluding the last three digits in the docket number field to access the document. For assistance, contact FERC at FERCOnlineSupport@ferc.gov or call toll-free, (886) 208–3676 or TYY, (202) 502–8659. Any questions concerning this application may be directed to Matthew Eggerding, Counsel—Midstream, EQT Corporation, 625 Liberty Avenue, Suite 1700, Pittsburgh, PA 15222; by calling (412) 553–5786; by faxing (412) 553– 7781; or by emailing MEggerding@ eqt.com. Specifically, the applicant proposes to replace approximately 21 miles of 12inch diameter pipe with 20-inch diameter pipe and install a pig launcher and receiver in order to improve system integrity, reliability, and safety of the TP–371 pipeline. The cost of the project will be approximately $93.6 million, and was included as part of the sales agreement when Equitrans acquired the TP–371 pipeline. Pursuant to section 157.9 of the Commission’s rules (18 CFR 157.9), within 90 days of this Notice, the Commission staff will either: Complete its environmental assessment (EA) and place it into the Commission’s public record (eLibrary) for this proceeding; or issue a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review. If a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review is issued, it will indicate, among other milestones, the anticipated date for the Commission staff’s issuance of the final environmental impact statement (FEIS) E:\FR\FM\29JYN1.SGM 29JYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 145 (Wednesday, July 29, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 45210-45213]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-18484]


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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

[Docket No. PF15-21-000]


Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC; Notice of Intent To Prepare an 
Environmental Assessment for the Planned WB Xpress Project, Request for 
Comments on Environmental Issues, and Notice of Public Scoping Meeting

    The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or 
Commission) will prepare an environmental assessment (EA) that will 
discuss the environmental impacts of the WB XPress Project involving 
construction and operation of facilities by Columbia Gas Transmission, 
LLC (Columbia) in Kanawha, Grant, Upshur, Randolph, Pendleton, Clay, 
Braxton, and Hardy Counties, West Virginia and Fairfax, Shenandoah, 
Warren, Clark, Fauquier, and Loudoun Counties, Virginia. The Commission 
will use this EA in its decision-making process to determine whether 
the project is in the public convenience and necessity.
    This notice announces the opening of the scoping process the 
Commission will use to gather input from the public and interested 
agencies on the project. You can make a difference by providing us with 
your specific comments or concerns about the project. Your comments 
should focus on the potential environmental effects, reasonable 
alternatives, and measures to avoid or lessen environmental impacts. 
Your input will help the Commission staff determine what issues they 
need to evaluate in the EA. To ensure that your comments are timely and 
properly recorded, please send your comments so that the Commission 
receives them in Washington, DC on or before August 24, 2015.
    If you sent comments on this project to the Commission before the 
opening of this docket on April 1, 2015, you will

[[Page 45211]]

need to file those comments in Docket No. PF15-21-000 to ensure they 
are considered as part of this proceeding.
    This notice is being sent to the Commission's current environmental 
mailing list for this project. State and local government 
representatives should notify their constituents of this planned 
project and encourage them to comment on their areas of concern.
    If you are a landowner receiving this notice, a pipeline company 
representative may contact you about the acquisition of an easement to 
construct, operate, and maintain the planned facilities. The company 
would seek to negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement. However, if 
the Commission approves the project, that approval conveys with it the 
right of eminent domain. Therefore, if easement negotiations fail to 
produce an agreement, the pipeline company could initiate condemnation 
proceedings where compensation would be determined in accordance with 
state law.
    A fact sheet prepared by the FERC entitled ``An Interstate Natural 
Gas Facility On My Land? What Do I Need To Know?'' is available for 
viewing on the FERC Web site (www.ferc.gov). This fact sheet addresses 
a number of typically asked questions, including the use of eminent 
domain and how to participate in the Commission's proceedings.

Public Participation

    For your convenience, there are four methods you can use to submit 
your comments to the Commission. The Commission will provide equal 
consideration to all comments received, whether filed in written form 
or provided verbally. The Commission encourages electronic filing of 
comments and has expert staff available to assist you at (202) 502-8258 
or efiling@ferc.gov. Please carefully follow these instructions so that 
your comments are properly recorded.
    (1) You can file your comments electronically using the eComment 
feature on the Commission's Web site (www.ferc.gov) under the link to 
Documents and Filings. This is an easy method for submitting brief, 
text-only comments on a project;
    (2) You can file your comments electronically by using the eFiling 
feature on the Commission's Web site (www.ferc.gov) under the link to 
Documents and Filings. With eFiling, you can provide comments in a 
variety of formats by attaching them as a file with your submission. 
New eFiling users must first create an account by clicking on 
``eRegister.'' If you are filing a comment on a particular project, 
please select ``Comment on a Filing'' as the filing type; or
    (3) You can file a paper copy of your comments by mailing them to 
the following address. Be sure to reference the project docket number 
(PF15-21-000) with your submission: Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary, 
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Room 1A, 
Washington, DC 20426.
    (4) In lieu of sending written or electronic comments, the 
Commission invites you to attend the public scoping meeting(s) its 
staff will conduct in the project area, scheduled as follows.

FERC Public Scoping Meeting, WB XPress Project, August 12, 2015, 7:00 
p.m.-9:30 p.m., Virginia Run Elementary School, 15450 Martins Hundred 
Drive, Centreville, VA 20120

    We \1\ will begin our sign up of speakers at 6:00 p.m. The scoping 
meeting will begin at 7:00 p.m. with a description of our environmental 
review process by Commission staff, after which speakers will be 
called. The meeting will end once all speakers have provided their 
comments or at 9:30 p.m., whichever comes first. Please note that there 
may be a time limit of three minutes to present comments, and speakers 
should structure their comments accordingly. If time limits are 
implemented, they will be strictly enforced to ensure that as many 
individuals as possible are given an opportunity to comment. The 
meetings will be recorded by a stenographer to ensure comments are 
accurately recorded. Transcripts will be entered into the formal record 
of the Commission proceeding.
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    \1\ ``We,'' ``us,'' and ``our'' refer to the environmental staff 
of the Commission's Office of Energy Projects.
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    Columbia representatives will be present one hour prior to the 
start of the scoping meeting to provide additional information about 
the project and answer questions.
    Please note this is not your only public input opportunity; please 
refer to the review process flow chart in appendix 1.\2\
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    \2\ The appendices referenced in this notice will not appear in 
the Federal Register. Copies of the appendices were sent to all 
those receiving this notice in the mail and are available at 
www.ferc.gov using the link called ``eLibrary'' or from the 
Commission's Public Reference Room, 888 First Street NE., 
Washington, DC 20426, or call (202) 502-8371. For instructions on 
connecting to eLibrary, refer to the last page of this notice.
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Summary of the Planned Project

    Columbia plans to construct and operate approximately 28.7 miles of 
various diameter pipeline, perform modifications to seven existing 
compressor stations, construct two new compressor stations, and uprate 
the maximum allowable operation pressure (MAOP) on various segments of 
the existing WB and VB natural gas transmission pipeline systems. 
According to Columbia, its project would expand the capacity of its 
pipeline system by 1.3 billion cubic feet per day to provide firm bi-
directional transportation service along Columbia's existing Line WB 
natural gas pipeline system to meet growing market demands in western 
West Virginia and northern Virginia.
    The WB XPress Project would consist of the following facilities:

West Virginia

Aboveground Facilities
     One new West Virginia Compressor Station: a new, natural 
gas-fired compressor station at approximately MP 0.3 of the Line WB-5 
Extension in Kanawha County, West Virginia.
     Installation of new valve sites and launcher/receiver 
facilities along Line WB-5 in Kanawha, Grant and Clay Counties, West 
Virginia.
     Modifications to increase horsepower at four (4) existing 
Compressor Stations including Cleveland, Files Creek, Seneca, and Lost 
River Compressor Stations in Upshur, Randolph, Pendleton, and Hardy 
Counties, West Virginia, respectively.
     Modifications to existing natural gas pipeline 
appurtenances at the Frametown Compressor Station in Braxton County, 
West Virginia.
     Modifications to four existing Valve Sites including Glady 
Valve Site in Randolph County, West Virginia; Dink Valve Site in Clay 
County, West Virginia; Whitmer and Smokehole in Pendleton County, West 
Virginia; and one regulator station, Panther Mountain Regulator 
Station, in Kanawha County, West Virginia.
Pipeline Facilities
     Line WB-5 Extension: Installation of approximately 0.3 
mile of new 36-inch-diameter natural gas transmission pipeline from the 
planned new Compressor Station to the Panther Mountain Regulator 
Station in Kanawha County, West Virginia.
     Line WB-22: Installation of approximately 0.6 mile of new 
36-inch-diameter natural gas transmission pipeline from the proposed 
new West Virginia Compressor Stations to the Panther Regulator Station, 
ending at the proposed WB-22 Receiver Site in Kanawha County, West 
Virginia.
     Line WB: Generally lift and lay replacement of 
approximately 25.3

[[Page 45212]]

miles of 26-inch-diameter natural gas transmission pipeline loop and 
associated appurtenances in Randolph and Pendleton Counties, West 
Virginia.
     Line WB: Replacement of 5 sections, totaling approximately 
0.3 mile of 26-inch-diameter natural gas transmission pipeline between 
Mileposts (MP) 134.6 and 146.4 in Pendleton, Grant, and Hardy Counties, 
West Virginia.
     Line WB-5: Replacement of approximately 1,185 feet (0.2 
mile) of 36-inch-diameter natural gas transmission pipeline between MP 
4.5 and MP 4.7 in Grant County, West Virginia.
MAOP Restoration
     Line WB-5: Incremental pressure increase of approximately 
72.4 miles of the Line WB-5 Segment to restore this segment to its 
originally certificated MAOP of 1,000 square inch gauge (psig) in 
Upshur, Randolph, Pendleton, Grant and Hardy Counties, West Virginia.
Uprate Segments
     Line WB-6: Incremental pressure increase of approximately 
2.4 miles of the Line WB-6 to 1,000 psig MAOP in Randolph County, West 
Virginia.
     Line WB-5: Incremental pressure increase of approximately 
22.1 miles of the Line WB-5 Segment to 1,000 psig in Pendleton, Grant, 
and Hardy Counties, West Virginia.

Virginia

Aboveground Facilities
     One new, electric-driven compressor station at 
approximately MP 0.0 of the proposed new Line VA-1 in Fairfax County, 
Virginia.
     Installation of a receiver facility at the end of the 
proposed Line VA-1, in Fairfax County, Virginia.
     Modifications to increase horsepower at the existing 
Strasburg Compressor Station located in Shenandoah County Virginia, in 
order to increase capacity for the transportation of additional volume 
along Columbia's Line VB natural gas pipeline system.
     Modifications to existing natural gas pipeline 
appurtenances at the Loudoun Compressor Station in Loudoun County, 
Virginia.
     Modifications to the existing Dysart Valve Site, in 
Shenandoah County, Virginia and one metering station, Nineveh Meter 
Station, in Warren County, Virginia.
Pipeline Facilities
     Line VA-1: installation of approximately 2.0 miles of new 
12-inch-diameter natural gas transmission pipeline and associated 
appurtenances in Fairfax County, Virginia.
MAOP Restoration
     Line VB-5: Incremental pressure increase of approximately 
70.4 miles of the Line VB-5 Segment to restore this segment to its 
originally certificated MAOP of 1,000 psig in Shenandoah, Warren, 
Clark, Fauquier, and Loudoun Counties, Virginia.
    The general location of the project facilities is shown in appendix 
1.\3\
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    \3\ The appendices referenced in this notice will not appear in 
the Federal Register. Copies of the appendices were sent to all 
those receiving this notice in the mail and are available at 
www.ferc.gov using the link called ``eLibrary'' or from the 
Commission's Public Reference Room, 888 First Street NE., 
Washington, DC 20426, or call (202) 502-8371. For instructions on 
connecting to eLibrary, refer to the last page of this notice.
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Land Requirements for Construction

    Construction of the planned facilities would disturb about 605.5 
acres of land, which includes 257.6 acres of existing right-of-way, 
36.3 acres of proposed new permanent right-of-way, 97.1 acres of 
existing fenced facilities, and 16.7 acres of new proposed aboveground 
facilities that would be retained for operational activities. 
Approximately 311.6 acres of temporary workspace, staging areas, and 
access roads would be used temporarily during construction and would 
revert back to pre-construction conditions. The entire planned pipeline 
route parallels existing pipeline, utility, or road rights-of-way.

The EA Process

    The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires the 
Commission to take into account the environmental impacts that could 
result from an action whenever it considers the issuance of a 
Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. NEPA also requires us 
to discover and address concerns the public may have about proposals. 
This process is referred to as scoping. The main goal of the scoping 
process is to focus the analysis in the EA on the important 
environmental issues. By this notice, the Commission requests public 
comments on the scope of the issues to address in the EA. We will 
consider all filed comments during the preparation of the EA.
    In the EA we will discuss impacts that could occur as a result of 
the construction and operation of the planned project under these 
general headings:
     Geology and soils;
     land use;
     water resources, fisheries, and wetlands;
     cultural resources;
     vegetation and wildlife, including migratory birds;
     air quality and noise;
     endangered and threatened species;
     public safety; and
     cumulative impacts.
    We will also evaluate possible alternatives to the planned project 
or portions of the project, and make recommendations on how to lessen 
or avoid impacts on the various resource areas.
    Although no formal application has been filed, we have already 
initiated our NEPA review under the Commission's pre-filing process. 
The purpose of the pre-filing process is to encourage early involvement 
of interested stakeholders and to identify and resolve issues before 
the FERC receives an application. As part of our pre-filing review, we 
have begun to contact some federal and state agencies to discuss their 
involvement in the scoping process and the preparation of the EA.
    The EA will present our independent analysis of the issues. The EA 
will be available in the public record through eLibrary. Depending on 
the comments received during the scoping process, we may also publish 
and distribute the EA to the public for an allotted comment period. We 
will consider all comments on the EA before we make our recommendations 
to the Commission. To ensure we have the opportunity to consider and 
address your comments, please carefully follow the instructions in the 
Public Participation section, beginning on page 2.
    With this notice, we are asking agencies with jurisdiction by law 
and/or special expertise with respect to the environmental issues 
related to this project to formally cooperate with us in the 
preparation of the EA.\4\ Agencies that would like to request 
cooperating agency status should follow the instructions for filing 
comments provided under the Public Participation section of this 
notice. Currently, the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Army Corps of 
Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Virginia Department of 
Historical Resources, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, 
Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Virginia Department 
of Environmental Quality, West Virginia Department of Environmental 
Protection, and West Virginia Department of Natural Resources have 
expressed their intention to participate as a cooperating

[[Page 45213]]

agency in the preparation of the EA to satisfy their NEPA or other 
permitting responsibilities related to this project.
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    \4\ The Council on Environmental Quality regulations addressing 
cooperating agency responsibilities are at Title 40, Code of Federal 
Regulations, Part 1501.6.
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Consultations Under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation 
Act

    In accordance with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation's 
implementing regulations for section 106 of the National Historic 
Preservation Act, we are using this notice to initiate consultation 
with the applicable State Historic Preservation Office(s) (SHPO), and 
to solicit their views and those of other government agencies, 
interested Indian tribes, and the public on the project's potential 
effects on historic properties.\5\ We will define the project-specific 
Area of Potential Effects (APE) in consultation with the SHPO(s) as the 
project develops. On natural gas facility projects, the APE at a 
minimum encompasses all areas subject to ground disturbance (examples 
include construction right-of-way, contractor/pipe storage yards, 
compressor stations, and access roads). Our EA for this project will 
document our findings on the impacts on historic properties and 
summarize the status of consultations under section 106.
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    \5\ The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation regulations 
are at Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 800. Those 
regulations define historic properties as any prehistoric or 
historic district, site, building, structure, or object included in 
or eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic 
Places.
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Environmental Mailing List

    The environmental mailing list includes federal, state, and local 
government representatives and agencies; elected officials; 
environmental and public interest groups; Native American Tribes; other 
interested parties; and local libraries and newspapers. This list also 
includes all affected landowners (as defined in the Commission's 
regulations) who are potential right-of-way grantors, whose property 
may be used temporarily for project purposes, or who own homes within 
certain distances of aboveground facilities, and anyone who submits 
comments on the project. We will update the environmental mailing list 
as the analysis proceeds to ensure that we send the information related 
to this environmental review to all individuals, organizations, and 
government entities interested in and/or potentially affected by the 
planned project.
    If we publish and distribute the EA, copies will be sent to the 
environmental mailing list for public review and comment. If you would 
prefer to receive a paper copy of the document instead of the CD 
version or would like to remove your name from the mailing list, please 
return the attached Information Request (appendix 2).

Becoming an Intervenor

    Once Columbia files its application with the Commission, you may 
want to become an ``intervenor'' which is an official party to the 
Commission's proceeding. Intervenors play a more formal role in the 
process and are able to file briefs, appear at hearings, and be heard 
by the courts if they choose to appeal the Commission's final ruling. 
An intervenor formally participates in the proceeding by filing a 
request to intervene. Instructions for becoming an intervenor are in 
the User's Guide under the ``e-filing'' link on the Commission's Web 
site. Please note that the Commission will not accept requests for 
intervenor status at this time. You must wait until the Commission 
receives a formal application for the project.

Additional Information

    Additional information about the project is available from the 
Commission's Office of External Affairs, at (866) 208-FERC, or on the 
FERC Web site (www.ferc.gov) using the eLibrary link. Click on the 
eLibrary link, click on ``General Search'' and enter the docket number, 
excluding the last three digits in the Docket Number field (i.e., PF15-
21). Be sure you have selected an appropriate date range. For 
assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at 
FercOnlineSupport@ferc.gov or toll free at (866) 208-3676, or for TTY, 
contact (202) 502-8659. The eLibrary link also provides access to the 
texts of formal documents issued by the Commission, such as orders, 
notices, and rulemakings.
    In addition, the Commission offers a free service called 
eSubscription which allows you to keep track of all formal issuances 
and submittals in specific dockets. This can reduce the amount of time 
you spend researching proceedings by automatically providing you with 
notification of these filings, document summaries, and direct links to 
the documents. Go to www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/esubscription.asp.
    Finally, public meetings or site visits will be posted on the 
Commission's calendar located at www.ferc.gov/EventCalendar/EventsList.aspx along with other related information.

    Dated: July 22, 2015.
Kimberly D. Bose,
Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2015-18484 Filed 7-28-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6717-01-P