Northern Natural Gas Company; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Planned Cedar Station Upgrade Project, Request for Comments on Environmental Issues, and Notice of Public Scoping Meeting, 10612-10615 [2016-04393]

Download as PDF asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 10612 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 40 / Tuesday, March 1, 2016 / Notices submit brief comments up to 6,000 characters, without prior registration, using the eComment system at http:// www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/ 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. The first page of any filing should include docket number P–14677–001. The Commission’s Rules of Practice require all intervenors filing documents with the Commission to serve a copy of that document on each person on the official service list for the project. Further, if an intervenor files comments or documents with the Commission relating to the merits of an issue that may affect the responsibilities of a particular resource agency, they must also serve a copy of the document on that resource agency. k. This application has been accepted for filing and is now ready for environmental analysis. l. The Clark Canyon Dam Hydroelectric Project would utilize the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Clark Canyon Dam and outlet works including an intake structure and concrete conduit in the reservoir. The project would consist of the following new facilities: (1) A 360-foot-long, 8-foot-diameter steel penstock within the existing concrete conduit, ending in a trifurcation; (2) two 35-foot-long, 8-foot-diameter penstocks extending from the trifurcation to the powerhouse, transitioning to 6-footdiameter before entering the powerhouse; (3) a 10-foot-long, 8-footdiameter steel penstock leaving the trifurcation and ending in a 7-footdiameter cone valve and reducer to control discharge into the existing outlet stilling basin; (4) a 65-foot-long, 46-footwide reinforced concrete powerhouse containing two vertical Francis-type turbine/generator units with a total capacity of 4.7 megawatts; (5) two 25foot-long steel draft tubes transitioning to concrete draft tube/tailrace section; (6) a 17-foot-long, 15-foot-diameter tailrace channel connecting with the existing spillway stilling basin; (7) a 45foot-long, 10-foot-wide aeration basin downstream of the powerhouse with three frames containing 330 diffusers; (8) a 1,100-foot-long, 4.16-kilovolt (kV) buried transmission line from the powerhouse to a substation; (9) a substation containing step-up transformers and switchgear; (10) a 7.9mile-long, 69-kV transmission line VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:18 Feb 29, 2016 Jkt 238001 extending from the project substation to the Peterson Flat substation (the point of interconnection); and (11) appurtenant facilities. The estimated annual generation of the Clark Canyon Dam Project would be 15.4 gigawatt-hours. All project facilities would be located on federal lands owned by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The applicant proposes to operate the project as run-of-release. m. A copy of the application is available for review at the Commission in the Public Reference Room or may be viewed on the Commission’s Web site 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 Online Support. A copy is also available for inspection and reproduction at the address in item h above. Register online at http:// www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/ esubscription.asp to be notified via email of new filings and issuances related to this or other pending projects. For assistance, contact FERC Online Support. n. Any qualified applicant desiring to file a competing application must submit to the Commission, on or before the specified intervention deadline date, a competing development application, or a notice of intent to file such an application. Submission of a timely notice of intent allows an interested person to file the competing development application no later than 120 days after the specified intervention deadline date. Applications for preliminary permits will not be accepted in response to this notice. A notice of intent must specify the exact name, business address, and telephone number of the prospective applicant, and must include an unequivocal statement of intent to submit a development application. A notice of intent must be served on the applicant(s) named in this public notice. Anyone may submit comments, a protest, or a motion to intervene in accordance with the requirements of Rules of Practice and Procedure, 18 CFR 385.210, .211, and .214. In determining the appropriate action to take, the Commission will consider all protests or other comments filed, but only those who file a motion to intervene in accordance with the Commission’s Rules may become a party to the proceeding. Any comments, protests, or motions to intervene must be received on or before the specified comment date for the particular application. PO 00000 Frm 00048 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 All filings must (1) bear in all capital letters the title ‘‘PROTEST’’, ‘‘MOTION TO INTERVENE’’, ‘‘NOTICE OF INTENT TO FILE COMPETING APPLICATION,’’ ‘‘COMPETING APPLICATION,’’ ‘‘COMMENTS,’’ ‘‘REPLY COMMENTS,’’ ‘‘RECOMMENDATIONS,’’ ‘‘TERMS AND CONDITIONS,’’ or ‘‘PRESCRIPTIONS;’’ (2) set forth in the heading the name of the applicant and the project number of the application to which the filing responds; (3) furnish the name, address, and telephone number of the person protesting or intervening; and (4) otherwise comply with the requirements of 18 CFR 385.2001 through 385.2005. All comments, recommendations, terms and conditions or prescriptions must set forth their evidentiary basis and otherwise comply with the requirements of 18 CFR 4.34(b). Agencies may obtain copies of the application directly from the applicant. A copy of any protest or motion to intervene must be served upon each representative of the applicant specified in the particular application. 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. o. A license applicant must file no later than 60 days following the date of issuance of this notice: (1) A copy of the water quality certification; (2) a copy of the request for certification, including proof of the date on which the certifying agency received the request; or (3) evidence of waiver of water quality certification. Dated: February 23, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary. [FR Doc. 2016–04392 Filed 2–29–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717–01–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [ Docket No. PF15–32–000] Northern Natural Gas Company; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Planned Cedar Station Upgrade 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 E:\FR\FM\01MRN1.SGM 01MRN1 asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 40 / Tuesday, March 1, 2016 / Notices discuss the environmental impacts of the Cedar Station Upgrade Project involving construction and operation of facilities by Northern Natural Gas Company (Northern) in Dakota County, Minnesota. 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 March 24, 2016. If you sent comments on this project to the Commission before the opening of this docket on September 28, 2015, you will need to file those comments in Docket No. PF15–32–000 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. VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:18 Feb 29, 2016 Jkt 238001 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 (PF15–32– 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 its staff will conduct in the project area, scheduled as follows. 10613 present to answer questions about the project. Verbal comments will be recorded by a court reporter and transcripts will be placed into the docket for the project and made available for public viewing on FERC’s eLibrary system (see page 7 ‘‘Additional Information’’ for instructions on using eLibrary). It is important to note that verbal comments hold the same weight as written or electronically submitted comments. If a significant number of people are interested in providing verbal comments, a time limit of 3 to 5 minutes may be implemented for each commenter to ensure all those wishing to comment have the opportunity to do so within the designated meeting time. Time limits will be strictly enforced if they are implemented. Summary of the Planned Project Northern plans to construct and operate approximately 7.8 miles of 20inch-diameter pipeline from its existing Rosemont Junction in Rosemont, Minnesota, to its existing Cedar Station Meter Station in Eagan, Minnesota. The Cedar Station Upgrade Project would allow Northern to increase the pressure from 400 pounds per square inch gauge (psig) to 650 psig at the Cedar Station. According to Northern, its project would accommodate a contractual obligation to meet a delivery pressure for Northern States Power Company’s Black Dog Generating Station. The Cedar Station Upgrade Project would consist of the following facilities: • 7.8 miles of 20-inch-diameter pipeline loop 1 • a pig 2 launcher and receiver; • modified and new regulators; and • cathodic protection test stations. The general location of the project facilities is shown in appendix 1.3 Land Requirements for Construction Construction of the planned facilities FERC PUBLIC SCOPING MEETING FOR would disturb about 114 acres of land THE CEDAR STATION UPGRADE for the aboveground facilities and the pipeline. Following construction, PROJECT Northern would maintain about 43 acres for permanent operation of the project’s Location Date and Time facilities; the remaining acreage would Hilton Garden Inn, 1975 Rahncliff Court, Eagan, MN 55122. Tuesday, March 15, 2016, 11:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. local time You may attend at any time during the meeting, as the primary goal of a scoping meeting is for us to have your verbal environmental concerns documented. There will not be a formal presentation by Commission staff, but FERC staff will be available to answer your questions about the FERC environmental review process. Representatives of Northern will also be PO 00000 Frm 00049 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 1 A pipeline loop is a segment of pipe constructed parallel to an existing pipeline to increase capacity. 2 A ‘‘pig’’ is a tool that the pipeline company inserts into and pushes through the pipeline for cleaning the pipeline, conducting internal inspections, or other purposes. 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 page 7 of this notice. E:\FR\FM\01MRN1.SGM 01MRN1 10614 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 40 / Tuesday, March 1, 2016 / Notices be restored and revert to former uses. About 90 percent of the planned pipeline route parallels existing pipeline, utility, or road rights-of-way. asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 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 4 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; • 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 4 ‘‘We,’’ ‘‘us,’’ and ‘‘our’’ refer to the environmental staff of the Commission’s Office of Energy Projects. VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:18 Feb 29, 2016 Jkt 238001 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.5 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. 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 Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office (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.6 We will define the project-specific Area of Potential Effects (APE) in consultation with the SHPO 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. Currently Identified Environmental Issues We have already identified several issues that we think deserve attention based on a preliminary review of the planned facilities and the environmental information provided by Northern. This preliminary list of issues may change based on your comments and our analysis. • Alternative routes 5 The Council on Environmental Quality regulations addressing cooperating agency responsibilities are at Title 40, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 1501.6. 6 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. PO 00000 Frm 00050 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 • Recreational impacts • Forested impacts • Residential construction 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 Northern 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. Motions to intervene are more fully described at http:// www.ferc.gov/resources/guides/how-to/ intervene.asp. Instructions for becoming an intervenor are in the ‘‘Document-less Intervention 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 E:\FR\FM\01MRN1.SGM 01MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 40 / Tuesday, March 1, 2016 / Notices 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– 32). 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: February 23, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary. [FR Doc. 2016–04393 Filed 2–29–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717–01–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Combined Notice of Filings #1 Take notice that the Commission received the following exempt wholesale generator filings: Docket Numbers: EG16–56–000. Applicants: Red Horse III, LLC. Description: Notice of SelfCertification of Exempt Wholesale Generator Status of Red Horse III, LLC. Filed Date: 2/23/16. Accession Number: 20160223–5123. Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 3/15/16. Docket Numbers: EG16–57–000. Applicants: 62SK 8ME LLC. Description: Notice of SelfCertification of Exempt Wholesale Generator Status of 62SK 8ME LLC. Filed Date: 2/23/16. Accession Number: 20160223–5126. Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 3/15/16. Take notice that the Commission received the following electric rate filings: Docket Numbers: ER16–984–000. Applicants: Pacific Gas and Electric Company. VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:18 Feb 29, 2016 Jkt 238001 Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: PG&E UOG SGIA and LGIA Revisions to be effective 4/25/2016. Filed Date: 2/22/16. Accession Number: 20160222–5184. Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 3/14/16. Docket Numbers: ER16–985–000. Applicants: Arizona Public Service Company. Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Limited Section 205 Filing—IRS Normalization ADIT to be effective 4/ 23/2016. Filed Date: 2/22/16. Accession Number: 20160222–5210. Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 3/14/16 Docket Numbers: ER16–986–000. Applicants: The Narragansett Electric Company. Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Cost Reimbursement Agreement between Narragansett & CV South Street Landing LLC to be effective 2/19/2016. Filed Date: 2/22/16. Accession Number: 20160222–5224. Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 3/14/16. Docket Numbers: ER16–987–000. Applicants: Wisconsin Power and Light Company. Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Amended WPL–MGE LBAOCA Agreement to be effective 2/22/2016. Filed Date: 2/22/16. Accession Number: 20160222–5225. Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 3/14/16. Docket Numbers: ER16–988–000. Applicants: Duke Energy Florida, LLC. Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: City of Chattahoochee NITSA OATT SA No. 154 to be effective 3/1/2016. Filed Date: 2/23/16. Accession Number: 20160223–5033. Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 3/15/16. Docket Numbers: ER16–989–000. Applicants: Southern California Edison Company. Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Market-Based Rates Tariff 2015 Update to be effective 4/24/2016. Filed Date: 2/23/16. Accession Number: 20160223–5043. Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 3/15/16. Docket Numbers: ER16–990–000. Applicants: Avista Corporation. Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Avista Corp NITSA Low Voltage Facilities Chgs to be effective 4/1/2016. Filed Date: 2/23/16. Accession Number: 20160223–5074. Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 3/15/16. Take notice that the Commission received the following electric reliability filings: Docket Numbers: RR15–2–003. Applicants: North American Electric Reliability Corporation. PO 00000 Frm 00051 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 10615 Description: Annual Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Program Filing of North American Electric Reliability Corporation. Filed Date: 2/18/16. Accession Number: 20160218–5218. Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 3/10/16. The filings are accessible in the Commission’s eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number. Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission’s Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding. eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/ docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208–3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502–8659. Dated: February 23, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary. [FR Doc. 2016–04386 Filed 2–29–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717–01–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings Take notice that the Commission has received the following Natural Gas Pipeline Rate and Refund Report filings: Filings Instituting Proceedings Docket Numbers: RP16–620–000. Applicants: Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, Description: Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC submits a request for waiver of the Commission’s capacity release regulations to allow a transaction to occur under RP16–620. Filed Date: 2/22/16. Accession Number: 20160222–5161. Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 3/7/16. Docket Numbers: RP16–621–000. Applicants: PGPipeline LLC. Description: Section 4(d) Rate Filing: Annual FRP Filing to be effective 4/1/ 2016. Filed Date: 2/22/16. Accession Number: 20160222–5182. Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 3/7/16. Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings E:\FR\FM\01MRN1.SGM 01MRN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 40 (Tuesday, March 1, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 10612-10615]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-04393]


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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

[ Docket No. PF15-32-000]


Northern Natural Gas Company; Notice of Intent To Prepare an 
Environmental Assessment for the Planned Cedar Station Upgrade 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

[[Page 10613]]

discuss the environmental impacts of the Cedar Station Upgrade Project 
involving construction and operation of facilities by Northern Natural 
Gas Company (Northern) in Dakota County, Minnesota. 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 March 24, 2016.
    If you sent comments on this project to the Commission before the 
opening of this docket on September 28, 2015, you will need to file 
those comments in Docket No. PF15-32-000 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 
(PF15-32-000) 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 its staff 
will conduct in the project area, scheduled as follows.

    FERC Public Scoping Meeting for the Cedar Station Upgrade Project
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                 Location                           Date and Time
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hilton Garden Inn, 1975 Rahncliff Court,    Tuesday, March 15, 2016,
 Eagan, MN 55122.                            11:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m.
                                             local time
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    You may attend at any time during the meeting, as the primary goal 
of a scoping meeting is for us to have your verbal environmental 
concerns documented. There will not be a formal presentation by 
Commission staff, but FERC staff will be available to answer your 
questions about the FERC environmental review process. Representatives 
of Northern will also be present to answer questions about the project.
    Verbal comments will be recorded by a court reporter and 
transcripts will be placed into the docket for the project and made 
available for public viewing on FERC's eLibrary system (see page 7 
``Additional Information'' for instructions on using eLibrary). It is 
important to note that verbal comments hold the same weight as written 
or electronically submitted comments. If a significant number of people 
are interested in providing verbal comments, a time limit of 3 to 5 
minutes may be implemented for each commenter to ensure all those 
wishing to comment have the opportunity to do so within the designated 
meeting time. Time limits will be strictly enforced if they are 
implemented.

Summary of the Planned Project

    Northern plans to construct and operate approximately 7.8 miles of 
20-inch-diameter pipeline from its existing Rosemont Junction in 
Rosemont, Minnesota, to its existing Cedar Station Meter Station in 
Eagan, Minnesota. The Cedar Station Upgrade Project would allow 
Northern to increase the pressure from 400 pounds per square inch gauge 
(psig) to 650 psig at the Cedar Station. According to Northern, its 
project would accommodate a contractual obligation to meet a delivery 
pressure for Northern States Power Company's Black Dog Generating 
Station.
    The Cedar Station Upgrade Project would consist of the following 
facilities:
     7.8 miles of 20-inch-diameter pipeline loop \1\
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    \1\ A pipeline loop is a segment of pipe constructed parallel to 
an existing pipeline to increase capacity.
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     a pig \2\ launcher and receiver;
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    \2\ A ``pig'' is a tool that the pipeline company inserts into 
and pushes through the pipeline for cleaning the pipeline, 
conducting internal inspections, or other purposes.
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     modified and new regulators; and
     cathodic protection test stations.
    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 page 7 of this notice.
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Land Requirements for Construction

    Construction of the planned facilities would disturb about 114 
acres of land for the aboveground facilities and the pipeline. 
Following construction, Northern would maintain about 43 acres for 
permanent operation of the project's facilities; the remaining acreage 
would

[[Page 10614]]

be restored and revert to former uses. About 90 percent of the 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 
\4\ 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.
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    \4\ ``We,'' ``us,'' and ``our'' refer to the environmental staff 
of the Commission's Office of Energy Projects.
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    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;
     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.\5\ 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.
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    \5\ 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 Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office (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.\6\ We will define the project-specific Area of 
Potential Effects (APE) in consultation with the SHPO 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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    \6\ 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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Currently Identified Environmental Issues

    We have already identified several issues that we think deserve 
attention based on a preliminary review of the planned facilities and 
the environmental information provided by Northern. This preliminary 
list of issues may change based on your comments and our analysis.

 Alternative routes
 Recreational impacts
 Forested impacts
 Residential construction

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 Northern 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. Motions to intervene are more fully described at 
http://www.ferc.gov/resources/guides/how-to/intervene.asp. Instructions 
for becoming an intervenor are in the ``Document-less Intervention 
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

[[Page 10615]]

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., PF15-32). 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: February 23, 2016.
Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr.,
 Deputy Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2016-04393 Filed 2-29-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 6717-01-P