The United States Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has issued an environmental assessment notice of intent in connection with Questar Pipeline Company's proposed southern system expansion project.
Dated Feb. 27, the notice formally opened the scoping process implemented by FERC to gather public input and identify the concerns to address in completing an environmental assessment for the project.
The energy regulatory commission will utilize the assessment in determining whether to authorize Questar's expansion project. The scoping period will close April 7.
In Utah, the natural gas company's proposed expansion includes:
Installing 18.4 miles of 24-inch pipeline near Price
Approximately nine miles of the natural gas transmission expansion project would loop the company's existing main line.
The remaining nine miles would follow existing utility rights of way.
Constructing a new compressor station in Duchesne County.
Building a new compressor station in Utah County.
Modifying a compressor station in Carbon County.
Modifications would occur within fenced yards at the company's existing Oak Spring facility.
The proposed pipeline project also includes modifying a natural gas compressor station in Rio Blanco County, Colorado.
The energy regulatory commission will act as the lead federal agency in ensuring that Questar's southern system expansion project complies with the regulations established by the National Environmental Policy Act.
FERC will decide whether a certificate of public convenience and necessity should be issued for the project, explained the regulatory commission.
The United Bureau of Land Management will determine whether to issue a right of way grant for the portions of the expansion crossing public property under the federal jurisdiction.
FERC certification conveys the right of eminent domain for securing the property easements required to complete approved projects, indicated the federal agency.
Therefore, companies receiving regulatory commission approval can initiate property condemnation proceedings in accordance with state law in the event easement negotiations fail to produce mutually acceptable agreements.
FERC developed the NEPA pre-filing process as a mechanism to allow the public to participate in addressing the issues before applications are filed with the regulatory commission.
Pursuant to NEPA, the regulatory commission will conduct an independent analysis to determine the issues to be addressed in the environmental assessment on Questar's expansion proposal.
FERC's primary scoping objective focuses on identifying important environmental issues, reasonable alternatives and measures to avoid or lessen negative impacts.
Carbon County agencies and interested citizens should send one original and two copies of comment letters to: Magalie R. Salas, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street, NE, Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426.
Residents should direct one copy to the attention of gas branch 3, DG2E.
All originals and copies of comments should be labeled with reference docket number PF04-6-000.
Input on Questar's proposed pipeline expansion project may also be filed electronically at http://www.ferc.gov.
All comments and questions received during the scoping process will be considered in the environmental analysis of the pipeline expansion proposal, emphasized the federal agency.
In addition to the FERC certificate and BLM right of way grant, Questar must obtain permits and approvals from several regulatory and land management agencies.
When Questar applies for authorization to construct the proposed pipeline, the energy regulatory commission will publish the notice in the Federal Register and establish an intervention deadline.
Petitions to intervene will not be accepted during the scoping process, concluded the federal agency.