The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission took a step to strengthen landowner protections today by approving a final rule that expands notification requirements for certain interstate natural gas pipeline construction and upgrade projects.
The rule, which amends the Commission's blanket certificate requirements, also requires noise surveys for completed compressor stations constructed or upgraded under blanket certificate authority. It directs natural gas companies planning to build or upgrade compressors or liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities to notify all landowners of property located within one-half mile of the boundary of the project site before beginning construction. The rule amends the Commission's requirement that notification be provided only if the property contains a residence within one-half mile of the site for a compressor or LNG facility.
"Expanding the notification requirements is the Commission's latest step in protecting landowners and ensuring they have more opportunities to raise land use issues, regardless of whether the property contains a residence," Commission Chairman Joseph T. Kelliher said. "The rule will further enhance public participation in the Commission's consideration of proposed projects and ensures that compressor projects completed under blanket certificate authority will not cause significant environmental impact."
The rule requires natural gas companies to submit, after a compressor project is completed, a noise survey that demonstrates compliance with a noise level limit of 55 decibels at a noise- sensitive area when operating at full load. This is the same requirement applied to compressor facilities installed after case-specific certificate authority has been granted by the Commission.
The Commission's regulations provide blanket certificate authority for the upgrading of certain natural gas facilities that meet cost limits ranging up to $9.9 million under automatic authorization criteria or up to $28.2 million under prior notice criteria.
The final rule is effective 30 days after publication in The Federal Register.