People can request a hearing by the state of Georgia or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to stop GA-EPD or the USACE from rubberstamping Sabal Trail’s use of wetlands within 30 days from Friday. USACE explicitly asks for public comments on “cumulative impacts of the proposed activity on the public interest”, unlike FL-DEP’s attempts to narrow the issue. Presumably this includes crossings of the Chattahoochee, Flint, Ochlockonee, and Withlacoochee Rivers in Georgia (and the Suwannee, Santa Fe, and Withlacoochee (south) Rivers in Florida and other rivers in Alabama), although this USACE Jacksonville office public notice about the Clean Waters Act and the Rivers and Harbors Act doesn’t specify. It was released Friday September 11th just like the one USACE Mobile District released that same day on Proposed Discharge of Sabal Trail Fill Material. Apparently you can ask for a public hearing by USACE in Alabama or Florida as well as in Georgia.
Here’s the Jacksonville USACE public notice:
Posted: 9/11/2015Expiration date: 10/12/2015
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: The Mobile District, Savannah District, and Jacksonville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) have received applications for Department of the Army permits pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. §1344) and/or Section 10 and Section 14 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. §403) as described below:
Permit Application Numbers:
In Alabama: SAM-2014-00238 – Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC
SAM-2014-00655 – Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC
In Georgia: SAS-2013-00942 – Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC
In Florida: SAJ-2013-03030 – Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC
SAJ-2013-03099 – Florida Southeast Connection, LLC
APPLICANTS: Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC
Attn: Ms. Karen Olson
2800 Post Oak Boulevard, Level 17
Houston, Texas 77056
Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC
Attn: Mr. George McLachlan
400 Colonial Center Parkway, Suite 300
Lake Mary, Florida 32746
Florida Southeast Connection, LLC
Attn: Mr. Randall LaBauve
700 Universe Boulevard JES/JB
Juno Beach, Florida 33408
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The Southeast Market Pipelines Project (Project) would affect waters of the United States, including wetlands, within the States of Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. Please reference the attached general location map; and, refer to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) available on the FERC website (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 (i.e., CP14-354, CP15-16, and/or CP15-17 for the three respective Applicants). Be sure you have selected an appropriate date range.
Basic: The basic project purpose is the transmission of natural gas.
Overall: The overall project purpose is the construction and operation of new interstate natural gas pipeline infrastructure to meet the growing demand for natural gas by the electric generation, distribution, and end use markets in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida.
LEAD FEDERAL AGENCY ROLE: The FERC is considered the lead federal agency for the coordination and conduct of environmental reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Pursuant to NEPA, the FERC is preparing an EIS for the proposed Southeast Market Pipelines Project. The Corps is participating as a cooperating agency in the development of the EIS; however, a separate decision document would be prepared prior to a final decision concerning issuance or denial of the requested Department of the Army permit. Comments received would be used by Corps in the preparation of any documentation, if required, pursuant to NEPA prior to a final decision concerning issuance or denial of the DA permit.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: Please review the narratives within the FERC DEIS.
PROPOSED WORK: Please review the narratives within the FERC DEIS.
AVOIDANCE AND MINIMIZATION INFORMATION: Please review the narratives within the FERC DEIS.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: Please review the narratives within the FERC DEIS.
CULTURAL RESOURCES: Please review the narratives within the FERC DEIS.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: Please review the narratives within the FERC DEIS.
ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT: Please review the narratives within the FERC DEIS.
NOTE: This public notice is being issued based on information furnished by the applicants and the FERC. This information has not been specifically verified or evaluated to ensure compliance with laws and regulation governing the regulatory program. The jurisdictional lines have not been completely verified by Corps personnel.
AUTHORIZATION FROM OTHER AGENCIES:
Water Quality Certification may be required from State agencies where Federal authorization does not convey Water Quality Certification.
State of Georgia:
Water Quality Certification – The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Division, intends to certify this project at the end of 30 days in accordance with the provisions of Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, which is required for a Federal Permit to conduct activity in, on, or adjacent to the waters of the State of Georgia. Copies of the application and supporting documents relative to a specific application will be available for review and copying at the office of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Division, Water Protection Branch, 4220 International Parkway, Suite 101, Atlanta, Georgia 30354, during regular office hours. A copier machine is available for public use at a charge of 25 cents per page. Any person who desires to comment, object, or request a public hearing relative to State Water Quality Certification must do so within 30 days of the State’s receipt of application in writing and state the reasons or basis of objections or request for a hearing. The application can be reviewed in the Savannah District,
US Army Corps of Engineers, Regulatory Division, 1104 North Westover Boulevard, Unit 9 Albany, Georgia 31707.
State-owned Property and Resources: The applicant may also require assent from the State of Georgia, which may be in the form of a license, easement, lease, permit, or other appropriate instrument.
COMMENTS: The Corps is soliciting comments from the public; Federal, State, and local agencies and officials; Indian Tribes; and other Interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the impacts of this proposed activity. Any comments received will be considered by the Corps to determine whether to issue, modify, condition, or deny a permit for this proposal. To make this determination, comments are used to assess impacts to endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and the other public interest factors listed above. Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the proposed activity.
SUBMITTAL OF COMMENTS: Comments should be submitted within 30 days from the date of this notice. Comments regarding the potential authorization of the work proposed should be submitted in writing to the attention of the District Engineer through the project managers for each geographic area noted below:
Alabama: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Mobile District Regulatory Division
Montgomery Field Office
Attn: Mr. James S. Cherry II
605 Maple Street
Building 1429 Room 105
Maxwell AFB, Alabama 36112-6017
With a copy to the:
Alabama Department of Environmental Management
Post Office Box 301463
Montgomery, Alabama 36130-1463
Georgia: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Savannah District Regulatory Division
Attn: Mr. Terry Kobs
1104 North Westover Boulevard, Suite 9
Albany, Georgia 31707-6626
Florida: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Jacksonville District Regulatory Division
Jacksonville Permits Section
Attn: Mr. Mark R. Evans
Post Office Box 4970
Jacksonville, Florida 32232
The decision whether to issue or deny this permit application will be based on the information received from this public notice and the evaluation of the probable impact to the associated wetlands. This is based on an analysis of the applicants’ avoidance and minimization efforts for the project, as well as the compensatory mitigation proposed.
QUESTIONS concerning these applications should be directed to the project managers at the addresses noted above.
IMPACT ON NATURAL RESOURCES: Coordination with the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Marine Fisheries Services, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and other Federal, State, and local agencies, environmental groups, and concerned citizens generally yields pertinent environmental information that is instrumental in determining the impact the proposed action will have on the natural resources of the area. Please review the narratives within the FERC DEIS.
PUBLIC INTEREST REVIEW /CUMULATIVE EFFECTS: The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impact including cumulative impacts of the proposed activity on the public interest. That decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources. The benefits, which reasonably may be expected to accrue from the proposal, must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments. All factors which may be relevant to the proposal will be considered including cumulative impacts thereof; among these are conservation, economics, esthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, historical properties, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, floodplain values, land use, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food, and fiber production, mineral needs, considerations of property ownership, and in general, the needs and welfare of the people. Evaluation of the impact of the activity on the public interest will also include application of the guidelines promulgated by the Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, under authority of Section 404(b) Of the Clean Water Act or the criteria established under authority of Section 102(a) of the Marine Protection Research and Sanctuaries Act of 1972. A permit will be granted unless its issuance is found to be contrary to the public interest.
COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT CONSISTENCY:
In Alabama: The project would not be located within a coastal county. Therefore, Coastal Zone Management consistency would not be required.
In Georgia: The project would not be located within a coastal county. Therefore, Coastal Zone Management consistency would not be required.
In Florida: State approval constitutes compliance with the approved Coastal Zone Management Plan.
REQUEST FOR PUBLIC HEARING: Any person may request, in writing, within the comment period specified in this notice, that a public hearing be held to consider this application for a Department of the Army Permit. Requests for public hearings shall state, with particularity, the reasons for requesting a public hearing. The decision whether to hold a public hearing is at the discretion of the District Engineer, or his designated appointee, based on the need for additional substantial information necessary in evaluating the proposed project.
This Friday USACE release frequently mentions FERC’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement, which was released on a Friday before a long holiday weekend.
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