28 May 2006

[Federal Register: May 24, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 100)]
[Page 29941-29944]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

[Docket No. PF06-22-000]

AES Sparrows Point LNG, LLC and Mid-Atlantic Express, LLC; Notice 
of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed 
Sparrows Point Project, Request for Comments on Environmental Issues 
and Notice of a Joint Public Meeting

May 16, 2006.
    The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or 
Commission) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Coast 
Guard (Coast Guard) are in the process of evaluating the Sparrows Point 
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Project planned by AES Sparrows Point LNG, 
LLC (AES) and the associated pipeline planned by Mid-Atlantic Express 
LLC (Mid-Atlantic Express). The project would consist of an onshore LNG 
import and storage terminal located on the west shore of Sparrows 
Point, south of Dundalk, Maryland, and an approximately 87-mile natural 
gas sendout pipeline, extending north from the terminal to 
interconnects with existing pipelines of Transco, Tetco, and Columbia 
Gas Transmission near Eagle, Pennsylvania.
    As a part of this evaluation, FERC staff will prepare an 
environmental impact statement (EIS) that will address the 
environmental impacts of the project and the Coast Guard will assess 
the maritime safety and security of the project. As described below, 
the FERC and the Coast Guard will hold a joint public meeting at 
Sparrows Point to allow the public to provide input to these 
assessments. The FERC will host additional public meetings along the 
pipeline route to provide input to the assessment of the pipeline 
component of the project.
    The Commission will use the EIS in its decision-making process to 
determine whether or not to authorize the project. This Notice of 
Intent (NOI) explains the scoping process we \1\ will use to gather 
information on the project from the public and interested agencies and 
summarizes the process that the Coast Guard will use. Your input will 
help identify the issues that need to be evaluated in the EIS and in 
the Coast Guard's maritime safety and security assessment. Please note 
that scoping comments are requested by June 16, 2006.

    \1\ ``We,'' ``us,'' and ``our'' refer to the environmental staff 
of the FERC's Office of Energy Projects.

    Comments on the project may be submitted in written form or 
verbally. Further details on how to submit written comments are 
provided in the Public Participation section of this NOI. In lieu of 
sending written comments, we invite you to attend any of the following 
public scoping meetings or site visits scheduled as follows:

Monday, June 5, 2006, 7 p.m.:
North Point/Edgemere Volunteer Fire Co., 7500 North Point Road, 
Sparrows Point, MD, 410-477-1310.
Tuesday, June 6, 2006, 7 p.m.:
East Brandywine Fire Hall, 2096 Bondsville Road, Downingtown, PA, 610-
Wednesday, June 7, 2006, 7 p.m.:
Harford Community College, 401 Thomas Run Road, Bel Air, MD, 410-836-

    FERC will be conducting a site visit of the proposed project route 
over a two-day period. The tour each day will begin and end at the 
locations and times listed below. Please note that no private property 
will be entered and all locations of anticipated alignment of the 
project pipeline will be viewed from public rights-of-way.

Tour Day 1, June 6, 2006

    Tour Start Location--Sparrows Point Shipyard. Note: The Shipyard 
may not be open to the public on the day of the tour depending upon 
site work scheduled that day. Persons wishing to enter the Shipyard 
site must have photo identification. The Shipyard may not be entered 
without a security escort and all tour participants will need to meet 
in a marshalling area outside the security entrance for Sparrows Point 
Shipyard at the location shown on the map in Appendix 1. Follow signs 
for Bethlehem Blvd. west off of Rt 695 at Sparrows Point. Bethlehem 
Blvd. will turn into Riverside Drive as you near Bear Creek on the west 
side of Sparrows Point. Take the right hand turn at the flashing sign 
that says ``All Shipyard Traffic to Sparrows Point'' and park in the 
parking area before the security guard trailer.
    Tour Start Time--8 a.m. The tour will depart promptly at 8:15 a.m. 
and will proceed from the marshalling area northerly along the proposed 
primary pipeline route. All attendees must provide their own 
transportation. Several locations that are publicly accessible will be 
visited along the route section between Sparrows Point and Bel Air, MD 
where the tour will end on Day 1. The Day 1 Tour will end on or near 
Walter's Mill Road north of Bel Air, MD, by 1 p.m.

[[Page 29942]]

Tour Day 2, June 7, 2006

    Tour Start Location--East Brandywine Fire Hall, 2096 Bondsville 
Road, near the intersection of Bondsville Road and Route 322. Tour 
Start Time--8 a.m. The Day 2 Tour will view the proposed pipeline route 
starting from an existing Columbia Gas Transmission compressor station 
in Eagle, PA, and will proceed south. All attendees must provide their 
own transportation. Several locations that are publicly accessible will 
be visited along the route section between Eagle, PA and Bel Air, MD 
where the tour will end on Day 2. The Day 2 Tour will end south of the 
Susquehanna River and north of Bel Air, MD in the area of Walter's Mill 
Road, by 1 p.m.
    The first public scoping meeting listed above (Sparrows Point, MD) 
will be combined with the Coast Guard's public meeting regarding the 
maritime safety and security of the project. At the meeting, the Coast 
Guard will discuss: (1) The waterway suitability assessment that the 
applicant will conduct to determine whether or not the waterway can 
safely accommodate the LNG carrier traffic and operation of the planned 
LNG marine terminal; and (2) the facility security assessment that the 
applicant will conduct in accordance with the regulations of the 
Maritime Transportation Security Act to assist with the preparation of 
a Facility Security Plan. The Coast Guard will not be issuing a 
separate meeting notice for the maritime safety and security aspects of 
the project.
    The Coast Guard is responsible for matters related to navigation 
safety, vessel engineering and safety standards, and all matters 
pertaining to the safety of facilities or equipment located in or 
adjacent to navigable waters up to the last valve immediately before 
the receiving tanks. The Coast Guard also has authority for LNG 
facility security plan review, approval, and compliance verification as 
provided in Title 33 CFR 105, and recommendation for siting as it 
pertains to the management of vessel traffic in and around the LNG 
    Upon receipt of a letter of intent from an owner or operator 
intending to build a new LNG facility, the Coast Guard Captain of the 
Port (COTP) conducts an analysis that results in a letter of 
recommendation issued to the owner or operator and to the state and 
local governments having jurisdiction, addressing the suitability of 
the waterway to accommodate LNG vessels. Specifically the letter of 
recommendation addresses the suitability of the waterway based on:
     The physical location and layout of the facility and its 
berthing and mooring arrangements.
     The LNG vessels' characteristics and the frequency of LNG 
shipments to the facility.
     Commercial, industrial, environmentally sensitive, and 
residential area in and adjacent to the waterway used by the LNG 
vessels en route to the facility.
     Density and character of the marine traffic on the 
     Bridges or other manmade obstructions in the waterway.
     Depth of water.
     Tidal range.
     Natural hazards, including rocks and sandbars.
     Underwater pipelines and cables.
     Distance of berthed LNG vessels from the channel, and the 
width of the channel.
    In addition, the Coast Guard will review and approve the facility's 
operations manual and emergency response plan (33 CFR 127.019), as well 
as the facility's security plan (33 CFR 105.410). The Coast Guard will 
also provide input to other federal, state, and local government 
agencies reviewing the project.
    In order to complete a thorough analysis and fulfill the regulatory 
mandates cited above, the applicant will be conducting a Waterway 
Suitability Assessment, a formal risk assessment evaluating the various 
safety and security aspects associated with the Sparrows Point LNG 
proposed project. This risk assessment will be accomplished through a 
series of workshops focusing on the areas of waterways safety, port 
security, and consequence management, with involvement from a broad 
cross-section of government and port stakeholders with expertise in 
each of the respective areas. The workshops will be by invitation only. 
However, comments received during the public comment period will be 
considered as input in the risk assessment process. The results of the 
Waterway Suitability Assessment will be submitted to the Coast Guard to 
be used in determining whether the waterway is suitable for LNG 
    This NOI is being sent to Federal, state, and local government 
agencies; elected officials; affected landowners; environmental and 
public interest groups; Indian tribes and regional Native American 
organizations; commentors and other interested parties; and local 
libraries and newspapers. We encourage government representatives to 
notify their constituents of this planned project and encourage them to 
comment on their areas of concern.

Summary of the Proposed Project

    The proposed project will consist of a 1.5 billion standard cubic 
feet per day (bscfd) LNG import terminal with unloading platforms, 
process equipment, boil-off compression system, and storage tanks, and 
a 28-inch-diameter, 87-mile send-out pipeline with ancillary facilities 
such as metering and flow-control facilities.

LNG Terminal Marine Facility

    The Sparrows Point LNG Terminal will consist of the following:
     500-foot marine finger pier/access trestle and unloading 
platform, supporting two unloading berths;
     Breasting and mooring dolphins;
     Turning basin and entrance channel
     Aids to navigation;
     Retractable security barrier;
     Three 1 million barrel (160,000 m3) net 
capacity full containment LNG storage tanks.
     Process equipment;
     Boil-off gas (BOG) compression system; and
     Electrical, control, and hazard protection system.

Sendout Pipeline

    The Mid-Atlantic Express sendout pipeline will consist of the 
     A 87-mile, 28-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline with 
capacity to deliver 1.5 bscfd, and a maximum allowable operating 
pressure (MAOP) of 2200 pounds per square inch (psig).
     A SCADA system for remote monitoring, control and leak 
     Local interconnections with the Baltimore Gas & Electric 
(BG&E) pipeline system;
     Three interconnections with Columbia, Tetco and Transco 
pipeline systems near Eagle, PA.
     Mainline valve facilities, at approximately four to six 
     Metering, flow control/pressure control, and security 
systems; and
     Scrapper launcher/receiver facilities (pigging 
    AES and Mid-Atlantic Express propose to begin construction of the 
project in mid-2007 with a projected in-service date of the 1st quarter 
of 2011.
    A location map depicting AES's proposed facilities, including its 
preferred pipeline route and several pipeline options, is attached to 
this NOI as Appendix 1 (Figures 1 and 2).\2\

    \2\ The appendices referenced in this notice are not being 
printed in the Federal Register. Copies are available on the 
Commission's Web site (excluding maps) at the ``e-Library'' link or 
from the Commission's Public Reference Room or call (202) 502-8371. 
For instructions on connecting to e-Library refer to the end of this 
notice. Copies of the appendices were sent to all those receiving 
this notice in the mail.


[[Page 29943]]

The EIS Process

    The NEPA requires the Commission to take into account the 
environmental impacts that could result from an action when it 
considers whether or not an LNG import terminal or an interstate 
natural gas pipeline should be approved. The FERC will use the EIS to 
consider the environmental impacts that could result if it issues 
project authorizations to AES and Mid-Atlantic Express under sections 3 
and 7 of the Natural Gas Act. The 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 EIS on the important environmental issues. 
With this NOI, the Commission staff is requesting public comments on 
the scope of the issues to be addressed in the EIS. All comments 
received will be considered during preparation of the EIS.
    In the EIS we will discuss impacts that could occur as a result of 
the construction, operation, maintenance, and abandonment of the 
proposed project under these general headings:
     Geology and Soils
     Water Resources
     Aquatic Resources
     Vegetation and Wildlife
     Threatened and Endangered Species
     Land Use, Recreation, and Visual Resources
     Cultural Resources
     Marine Transportation
     Air Quality and Noise
     Reliability and Safety
     Cumulative Impacts
    In the EIS, we will also evaluate possible alternatives to the 
proposed project or portions of the project, and make recommendations 
on how to lessen or avoid impacts on affected resources.
    Our independent analysis of the issues will be included in a draft 
EIS. The draft EIS will be mailed to federal, state, and local 
government agencies; elected officials; affected landowners; 
environmental and public interest groups; Indian tribes and regional 
Native American organizations; commentors; other interested parties; 
local libraries and newspapers; and the FERC's official service list 
for this proceeding. A 45-day comment period will be allotted for 
review of the draft EIS. We will consider all comments on the draft EIS 
and revise the document, as necessary, before issuing a final EIS. We 
will consider all comments on the final EIS before we make our 
recommendations to the Commission. To ensure that your comments are 
considered, please follow the instructions in the Public Participation 
section of this NOI.
    Although no formal application has been filed, the FERC staff has 
already initiated its NEPA review under its 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 an 
application is filed with the FERC. In addition, the Coast Guard, which 
would be responsible for reviewing the maritime safety and security 
aspects of the planned project and regulating maritime safety and 
security if the project is approved, has initiated its review of the 
project as well.
    With this NOI, we are asking federal, state, and local agencies 
with jurisdiction and/or special expertise with respect to 
environmental issues, especially those identified in Appendix 2, to 
express their interest in becoming cooperating agencies for the 
preparation of the EIS. These agencies may choose to participate once 
they have evaluated the proposal relative to their responsibilities. 
Agencies that would like to request cooperating agency status should 
follow the instructions for filing comments provided in Appendix 2.

Currently Identified Environmental Issues

    We have already identified issues that we think deserve attention 
based on a preliminary review of the project area, the planned facility 
information provided by AES and Mid-Atlantic Express, and the public 
open houses sponsored by AES and attended by FERC. This preliminary 
list of issues, which is presented below, may be revised based on your 
comments and our continuing analyses.
     Impact of LNG ship traffic on other Chesapeake Bay and 
Patapsco River users, including fishing and recreational boaters.
     Safety issues relating to LNG ship traffic, including 
transit through Chesapeake Bay, passage under the Bay Bridge, and 
transit through the Brewerton Channel to Sparrows Point.
     Potential impacts on residents in the project area, 
including safety issues at the import and storage facility, noise, air 
quality, and visual resources.
     Potential impacts of the construction of the LNG terminal 
and the pipeline on property values.
     Potential impacts of dredging contaminated sediments on 
water quality and estuarine fishery resources (contaminants may include 
tri-butyl tin and PCBs).
     Project impacts on threatened and endangered species.
     Project impacts on wetlands, vegetation, and wildlife 
     Project impacts on cultural resources.

Public Participation

    You can make a difference by providing us with your specific 
comments or concerns about the planned project. By becoming a 
commentor, your concerns will be addressed in the EIS and considered by 
the Commission. Your comments should focus on the potential 
environmental effects, reasonable alternatives (including alternative 
facility sites and pipeline routes), and measures to avoid or lessen 
environmental impacts. The more specific your comments, the more useful 
they will be. To ensure that your comments are timely and properly 
recorded, please follow these instructions:
     Send an original and two copies of your letter to: Magalie 
R. Salas, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First 
St., NE., Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426.
     Label one copy of your comments for the attention of Gas 
Branch 2, DG2E.
     Reference Docket No. PF06-22-000 on the original and both 
     Mail your comments so that they will be received in 
Washington, DC on or before June 16, 2006. Appropriate copies will be 
provided to the Coast Guard.
    The Commission strongly encourages electronic filing of any 
comments in response to this NOI. For information on electronically 
filing comments, please see the instructions on the Commission's Web 
site at http://www.ferc.gov under the ``e-Filing'' link and the link to 

the User's Guide as well as information in 18 CFR 385.2001(a)(1)(iii). 
Before you can file comments you will need to create a free account, 
which can be accomplished on-line.
    The public scoping meetings (dates, times, and locations listed 
above) are designed to provide another opportunity to offer comments on 
the proposed project. Interested groups and individuals are encouraged 
to attend the meetings and to present comments on the environmental 
issues that they believe should be addressed in the EIS. A transcript 
of each meeting will be

[[Page 29944]]

generated so that your comments will be accurately recorded.
    Once AES and Mid-Atlantic Express formally file their application 
with the Commission, you may want to become an ``intervenor,'' which is 
an official party to the 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 a Commission 
proceeding by filing a request to intervene. Instructions for becoming 
an intervenor are included in the User's Guide under the ``e-filing'' 
link on the Commission's Web site. Please note that you may not request 
intervenor status at this time. You must wait until a formal 
application is filed with the Commission.

Environmental Mailing List

    If you wish to remain on the environmental mailing list, please 
return the attached Mailing List Retention Form (Appendix 3 of this 
NOI). If you do not return this form, we will remove your name from our 
mailing list.
    To reduce printing and mailing costs, the draft and final EIS will 
be issued in both compact disk (CD-ROM) and hard copy formats. The FERC 
strongly encourages the use of CD-ROM format in its publication of 
large documents. Thus, all recipients will automatically receive the 
EIS on CD-ROM. If you wish to receive a paper copy of the draft EIS 
instead of a CD-ROM, you must indicate that choice on the return 

Additional Information

    Additional information about the project is available from the 
Commission's Office of External Affairs, at 1-866-208-FERC (3372) or on 
the FERC Internet Web site (http://www.ferc.gov) using the ``eLibrary 

link.'' Click on the eLibrary link, select ``General Search'' and enter 
the project docket number excluding the last three digits (i.e., PF06-
22) in the ``Docket Number'' field. Be sure you have selected an 
appropriate date range. For assistance with eLibrary, the eLibrary 
helpline can be reached at 1-866-208-3676, TTY (202) 502-8659, or by e-
mail at FercOnlineSupport@ferc.gov. The eLibrary link on the FERC 
Internet website also provides access to the texts of formal documents 
issued by the Commission, such as orders, notices, and rule makings.
    In addition, the FERC now offers a free service called 
eSubscription that 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. To register for this service, go to http://www.ferc.gov/esubscribenow.htm

    Public meetings or site visits will be posted on the Commission's 
calendar located at http://www.ferc.gov/EventCalendar/EventsList.aspx 

along with other related information.
    Finally, AES has established an Internet Web site for this project 
at http://www.AESsparrowspointLNG.com. The Web site includes a project 

overview, status, answers to frequently asked questions, and links to 
related documents. You can also request additional information by 
calling AES directly at (866) 640-9080.

Magalie R. Salas,
[FR Doc. E6-7888 Filed 5-23-06; 8:45 am]