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LRH-2012-254-TUS

Published Jan. 30, 2013
Expiration date: 2/28/2013

 

PUBLIC NOTICE: The purpose of this public notice is to inform you of a proposal for work in which you might be interested. It is also to solicit your comments and information to better enable us to make a reasonable decision on factors affecting the public interest. We hope you will participate in this process.

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: The intent of this public notice is to provide an opportunity for the public to express their views on proposed adverse effects to historic properties regarding a proposed construction of a natural gas processing facility and to identify potential consulting parties that wish to participate in addressing the proposed adverse effects.

APPLICANT: Utica East Ohio Midstream, LLC 1099 Main A venue, Suite 210 Durango, Colorado 81301

LOCATION: The proposed project is located in unnamed tributaries to Conotton Creek and adjacent wetlands south of Scio-Bowerston Road just northwest of Scio, Harrison County, Ohio.

DESCRIPTION OF PROPOSED WORK: The applicant is requesting authorization to discharge fill material into waters of the U.S. in association with the expansion (Phase II) of a natural gas liquid processing facility and associated distribution. Phase I of this project included construction of a natural gas liquid (NGL) fractionation processing facility, NGL storage areas, and a rail distribution facility. The applicant received authorization for Phase I of the project under a Nationwide Permit on October 23, 2012. Phase I is currently under construction. Phase I included the discharge of fill material into 515 linear feet (0.068 acres) of streams to construct road crossings and rail crossings. Culverts were used within streams to conduct flow under the proposed roads and railroad lines. Two streams were excavated and then filled with crushed stone on the undisturbed subgrade. Phase I also included the discharge of fill material into 0.006 acre if wetland in order to construct a site access roadway. Phase I of the project consists of three processing plants, storage tanks, and a truck and rail facility for outbound shipment of ethane, propane, butane and natural gasoline. A separate project, a regional cryogenic gas processing facility located near Kensington, Ohio, is also under construction which would ship NGL's to the Harrison Hub via a 35-mile pipeline. A pipeline to supplement shipment ofNGL's to market by rail and truck would also be constructed.

The applicant mitigated the Phase I stream impacts by preserving portions of streams within the Phase I project area, including 2,045 linear feet of stream within a 3.07 acre riparian habitat preserve. Although no specific mitigation was provided to offset the discharge of fill material into 0.006 acre of jurisdictional wetland, the applicant purchased 0.40 acre of non-forested mitigation credit from Ohio Wetland Foundation's Big Darby Hellbranch Wetland Mitigation Bank for 0.18 acres of isolated wetland impact. Isolated waters are regulated by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA).

In relation to the proposed Phase II of this project, the applicant has indicated yields from wells drilled to date in the region have significantly increased projections for NGL production at the Harrison Hub. According to the applicant, this accompanied with favorable market conditions, requires an expansion of the original facility. This expansion (Phase II) would consist primarily of additional rail infrastructure to handle the large volume of rail car shipments of NGL's to market. The applicant has stated rail car shipment of NGL's to market is critical since sufficient pipeline capacity does not exist. Additional natural gas fractionation plants, storage tanks, and a separate rail loading facility for condensate are also proposed.

The majority of Phase II would be developed on a 250 acre site that has been acquired immediately west of Phase I. In addition, two additional industrial facility areas would be developed on the 265 acre Phase I site. The grading associated with construction of these features would involve the discharge of fill material into 8.81 acres of jurisdictional wetlands and 1,438linear feet of jurisdictional stream. The Phase II discharge of fill material would include 2.43 acres of wetland previously identified on the Phase I property. A summary of the aquatic resources proposed to be impacted under Phase II ofthe project is shown in Table 1.

The applicant has indicated a separate project, a regional cryogenic gas processing facility located near Kensington, Ohio, is also under construction which would ship NGL's to the Harrison Hub via a 35-mile pipeline. A pipeline to supplement shipment ofNGL's to market by rail and truck is also proposed to be constructed. At this time, the applicant has indicated the Kensington facility would not involve the discharge of fill material into waters ofthe U.S. In addition, it has been determined the two pipeline projects would be considered separate from the review for the Harrison Hub Facility.

 

Table 1

Proposed Jurisdictional Surface Water Impacts Associated with Phase II of the Utica East – Harrison Hub Facility

 

Feature Name (Property)

Stream Impact (linear feet)

Wetland Impact (acres)

Stream 1

391

-

Stream 4

1,047

-

Wetland 3 (Phase I)

-

0.09

Wetland 30 (Phase I)

-

2.34

Wetland 1 (Phase II)

-

5.91

 

 

Wetland 5 (Phase II)

-

0.04

Wetland 6 (Phase II)

-

0.08

Wetland 7 (Phase II)

-

0.06

Wetland 8 (Phase II)

-

0.14

Wetland Ditch (Phase II)

-

0.15

Total

1,438

8.81

 

As Phase II of the project is dependent on Phase I, the discharges of fill material into waters ofthe U.S. authorized under Phase I and proposed under Phase II are being reviewed as one singleand complete project. To facilitate review of the project, Table 2 provides a list of the proposedischarges of fill material into streams associated with each Phase of the project. Table 3 provides a list of the proposed discharges of fill material into wetlands associated with each Phase of the project.

 

Table 2

 

Stream ID/ Project Phase

Stream Flow Classification

Total Stream Length (linear feet)

Jurisdictional Stream Impacts (linear feet)

Stream 2 (Phase I)

Ephemeral

856

60

Stream 3 (Phase I)

Perennial

4,224

235

Stream 4 (Phase I)

Ephemeral

154

0

Stream 5 (Phase I)

Ephemeral

286

0

Stream 6 (Phase I)

Intermittent

316

0

Stream 7 (Phase I)

Intermittent

2,829

55

Stream 8 (Phase I)

Ephemeral

92

0

Stream 10 (Phase I)

Intermittent

441

-

Stream 26 (Phase I)

Ephemeral

200

91

Stream 29 (Phase I)

Ephemeral

167

74

Stream 30 (Phase I)

Perennial

1,324

0

Stream 31 (Phase I)

Intermittent

127

0

Stream 32 (Phase I)

Perennial

514

0

Stream 33 (Phase I)

Intermittent

103

0

Stream 34 (Phase I)

Intermittent

104

0

Stream 35 (Phase I)

Intermittent

184

0

Stream 38 (Phase I)

Ephemeral

45

0

Stream 40 (Phase I)

Intermittent

782

0

Stream 41 (Phase I)

Ephemeral

147

0

Stream 42 (Phase I)

Intermittent

223

0

Stream 43 (Phase I)

Ephemeral

125

0

Phase I Total

-

13,897

515

Stream 1 (Phase II)

Intermittent

725

391

Stream 2 (Phase II)

Intermittent

168

0

 

Stream 3 (Phase II)

Intermittent

356

0

Stream 4 (Phase II)

Intermittent

1,947

1,047

Stream 5 (Phase II)

Intermittent

96

0

Stream 6 (Phase II)

Intermittent

140

0

Stream 7 (Phase II)

Perennial

2,232

0

Phase II Total

-

5,664

1,438

 

Table 3

 

Wetland ID (Project Property)

Forested/ Shrub-Scrub/ Emergent

Total Wetland Size (acres)

Jurisdictional Wetland Impacts in Acres

(Project Phase)

Wetland 1 (Phase I)

Emergent

0.08

0

Wetland 2 (Phase I)

Emergent

0.15

0

Wetland 3 (Phase I)

Emergent

0.09

0 (Phase I)

0.09 (Phase II)

Wetland 17 (Phase I)

Emergent

1.83

0

Wetland 30 (Phase I)

Emergent

5.39

0.006 (Phase I)

2.34 (Phase II)

Wetland 33 (Phase I)

Emergent

0.04

0

Wetland 34 (Phase I)

Emergent

0.22

0

Wetland 35 (Phase I)

Emergent

0.34

0

Wetland 36 (Phase I)

Emergent

0.08

0

Wetland 39 (Phase I)

Shrub-Scrub

0.23

0

Wetland 40 (Phase I)

Emergent

0.23

0

Phase I Total

-

8.928

0.006

Wetland 1 (Phase II)

Emergent

5.91

5.91

Wetland 2 (Phase II)

Emergent/ Shrub-Scrub

5.21

0

Wetland 3 (Phase II)

Emergent/ Forested

0.08

0

Wetland 4 (Phase II)

Emergent/ Forested

0.11

0

Wetland 5 (Phase II)

Emergent

0.04

0.04

Wetland 6 (Phase II)

Emergent

0.08

0.08

Wetland 7 (Phase II)

Emergent

0.06

0.06

Wetland 8 (Phase II)

Emergent

0.14

0.14

Wetland 9 (Phase II)

Forested/Shrub-Scrub

5.89

0

Wetland Ditch (Phase II)

Emergent

0.15

0.15

Phase II Total

-

17.67

8.81

Plans of the proposal are attached to this notice. Figures 1 and 2 illustrate the general location of the proposed facility. Figure 3 shows the relationship between the proposed facility, the Kensington, Ohio plant and pipelines associated with each. Figure 4 shows the location of the proposed Little Stillwater mitigation site. Figures 5 through 20 illustrate Phase II of the proposed facility. Figures 21 through 38 illustrate the previously authorized Phase I of the facility. Finally, Figure 39 shows the location of the preserved streams on Phase I.

ALTERNATIVE ANALYSIS: The applicant's stated basic project purpose is natural gas processing. In the majority of cases, the activity of natural gas processing does not require siting within a water of the U.S, Because natural gas processing is not water dependent, the applicant is required to show that there are no other less damaging practicable alternatives available that do not require the discharge of fill material into waters of the U.S., and that would achieve the overall project purpose. No permit would be issued unless the alternatives analysis clearly demonstrates that practicable upland alternatives are not available to achieve the overall project purpose.

Additional sites for the Phase II expanded facility were not contemplated by the applicant due to several constraints. According to the applicant, a single rail facility would be required for rail operations by both the applicant and the serving railroad, Columbus & Ohio River Railroad. This would allow dedicated trains to deliver and receive railcars from this single facility, reducing switching costs and transit times to ship NGL's to market. Second, an extensive pipeline rack would interconnect the existing and expanded facilities and storage tanks. Minimizing piping lengths would reduce the need for additional pumping capacity and larger diameter piping, which would increase the cost and complexity of the expansion. Finally, expanding the existing facility would consolidate the footprint and reduce environmental impacts through the use of shared facilities (rail facility, truck terminals, storage tanks, etc.), according to the applicant.

The applicant previously submitted alternatives analysis associated with Phase I of the proposed project. The applicant will be required to submit a detailed alternatives analysis for the combination of Phases I and II of the project to the Huntington District Office for review.

AVOIDANCE AND MINIMIZATION: The applicant has indicated efforts were made throughout the site alternative analysis process to avoid and minimize impacts to wetlands and streams on both phases of the project. The applicant successfully avoided 8.67 acres of wetland and 12,287 linear feet of stream during Phase I of the project. These numbers indicate avoidance of both jurisdictional and isolated features. Minimizing impacts during construction of Phase I of the project included utilizing an existing culvert in Stream 3 at the location of one access drive, A second access drive in the Phase I project area over Stream 3 will be accomplished by spanning the Ordinary High Water Mark (01-IWM).

The applicant is also proposing to avoid and minimize impacts to jurisdictional streams and wetlands under the proposed Phase II Preferred Design Alternative. Under the Preferred Design Alternative, the applicant would avoid impacts to 11.29 acres of jurisdictional wetlands and 4,226 linear feet of jurisdictional stream within the 250 acre Phase II property. A voidance and minimization efforts would include avoidance of 11.1 acres of high quality wetlands, 0.19 acre of moderate quality wetlands, and 2,850 linear feet of headwater stream. Efforts to avoid and minimize impacts on Phase II would bring the amount of jurisdictional waters avoided for both Phases of the project to 19.96 acres of wetlands and 16,513 linear feet of stream. However, as described above, activities associated with Phase II of the project would also involve discharges of fill material into 2.43 acres of wetland previously identified on the Phase I property. Therefore, the final cumulative amount of jurisdictional waters avoided for both Phases of the project is 17.54 acres of wetlands and 16,513 linear feet of stream.

MITIGATION PLAN: The applicant has proposed compensatory mitigation to be a combination of three efforts: (I) onsite enhancement and preservation of 11.1 acres of high quality wetland; (2) onsite enhancement and preservation of 4.82 acres of other wetlands; and (3) offsite re-establishment of9 acres of wetland in cooperation with the Ohio Wetlands Foundation at the Little Stillwater Wetland Mitigation site. The applicant has indicated final plans for all proposed wetland mitigation would be submitted at a later date.

The onsite enhancement and preservation of 11.1 acres of high quality wetlands would consist of Wetland 2 (5.21 acres) and Wetland 9 (5.89 acres). The applicant has indicated in spite of the high quality of these wetlands, they contain a small amount of invasive species. Invasive plant species would be eradicated from the wetland and the areas replanted with appropriate native wetlands material. The applicant has also indicated the subject property contains two other wetlands that would be good candidates for enhancement. These would include Wetland 17 (1.83 acres) and Wetland 30 (2.99 acres) for a total proposed 4.82 acres of enhancement. All of the enhanced and preserved wetlands and an appropriate upland buffer would be preserved through a real estate protection instrument in perpetuity.

According to the applicant, they are working with the Ohio Wetlands Foundation to come up with 9 acres of wetland mitigation at the Little Stillwater Wetland Mitigation site. This site is located south of U.S. Route 250, within Franklin Township, Harrison County, Ohio, on an 86-acre parcel that is owned by the Harrison County Commissioners. The mitigation site is within the Tuscarawas River watershed (HUC 05040001), the same watershed as the subject property.

To compensate for the discharges of fill material to jurisdictional streams, the applicant is proposing to enhance and preserve approximately 2,232 linear feet of headwater stream (Stream 7) that is tributary to a Wetland 2, also proposed to be preserved onsite. The stream would be enhanced primarily through restoration plantings along portions of the stream that have been historically impacted through clear-cutting and grazing encroachment. The stream and an appropriate upland buffer would be preserved through a real estate protection instrument in perpetuity.

The applicant has proposed additional water quality mitigation through the incorporation of vegetated shelves within the proposed storm water basin to be constructed onsite for the Phase II fractionation facility. The vegetated shelves are proposed for the purposes of providing additional onsite mitigation for water quality due to the proposed loss of headwater streams.

WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION: A Section 401 Water Quality Certification is required for this project. It is the applicant's responsibility to obtain certification from the OEPA.

HISTORIC & CULTURAL RESOURCES: This project must be reviewed to determine any potential effects to properties that may be eligible for or listed in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), in accordance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. The NRHP has been consulted and it has been determined the proposed project would have no effect on any property listed on or eligible for listing on the NRHP.

Archaeology investigations were completed on an approximately 88-acre portion of the 265-acre Phase I property. In total, eight prehistoric archaeological sites were recorded at the site; three of which were determined eligible for inclusion in the NRI-IP under Criterion D. As recommended, field investigations were completed by the applicant in October and November 2012. The applicant is currently in the process of completing the reporting requirements as outlined in the Data Recovery Plan and the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the Corps, the Ohio Historic Preservation Office (OHPO) and the applicant. The anticipated delivery date of the final Archaeological Survey documentation is November 14,2013. Archaeology investigations were completed in November 2012 on approximately 162 acres of the Phase II property. The results of the field investigations discovered eight prehistoric archaeological sites and one historic site on the Phase II property. None of the recorded sites were determined to be potentially eligible for the NRHP. The applicant is currently in the process of completing the final Cultural Resources Report for the Phase II property. The anticipated delivery date of the final report is February 1, 2013.

 One historic site, the Crimm Farm, was identified as part of the cultural resources investigation performed on the 265-acre Phase I property. Due to the deteriorating condition of the structures and evidence of multiple alterations, this site was not recommended as eligible for the NRHP under Criterion C or Criterion D. The OHPO concurred with this determination. One historic site, the Reese Farm, was also identified as part of the cultural resources investigation performed on the 250-acre Phase II property. This site was also not recommended to be eligible for the NRHP under Criterion B, C, or D. The above determinations are based on each site's lack of significance and integrity (i.e. location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association). Given that no NRHP eligible historic sites would be located within the project area, construction of the proposed natural gas processing facility would not be anticipated to have adverse visual effects on the integrity of historic properties.

THREATENED & ENDANGERED SPECIES: This public notice will serve as coordination with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) concerning threatened or endangered species, pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1972 (as amended). The project is located within the known or historic range of the following candidate, threatened, or endangered species:

Indiana bat (E)

The Huntington District has determined that the project may affect but would not likely adversely affect the Indiana bat. An Indiana bat mist-net survey was completed for Phase I of the proposed project from May 31 to June 1, 2012. The results of the survey detected no Indiana bats at the site. A copy of the bat survey and habitat report was provided to the USFWS in June 2012. In correspondence dated June 18,2012, the USFWS concurred that the mist-net survey results and habitat information provided in the report document the likely absence of Indiana bats in the Phase I project area. As a result, the USFWS granted winter tree clearing approval for the Phase I site.

Approximately 57 acres of wooded property are proposed to be cleared as part of the Phase II construction activity. Based on the USFWS's Indiana bat habitat description, trees found within the project boundaries that exhibit the characteristics of potential Indiana bat habitat are limited. The forest areas and habitat composition within the Phase II project area are nearly identical to the Phase I project area. Additionally, the applicant has indicated that tree clearing activities would only occur between October 1st and March 31st. In correspondence to the applicant dated December 12, 2012, the USFWS concluded that impacts to Indiana bats as a result of the proposed project would likely be insignificant or discountable. This determination is based on the negative results ofthe mist-net survey completed for Phase I and the implementation of seasonal tree cutting restrictions for Phase II of the project.

This public notice serves as a request to the USFWS for any additional information they may have on whether any federally listed or proposed species may be present in the area which would be affected by the activity.

PUBLIC INTEREST REVIEW: This application will be reviewed in accordance with 33 CFR 320-332, the Regulatory Program of the Corps, and other pertinent laws, regulations, and executive orders. Our evaluation will also follow guidelines published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency pursuant to Section 404(b)(1) of the Clean Water Act. The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impacts 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 that reasonably may be expected to accrue from the proposal must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments. All factors that may be relevant to the proposal will be considered including the cumulative effects thereof; of those are conservation, economics, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, historic 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.

SOLICITATION OF 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. Interested parties are invited to state any objections they may have to the proposed work. For accuracy and completeness of the administrative record, all data in support of or in opposition to the proposed work should be submitted in writing setting forth sufficient detail to furnish a clear understanding of the reasons for support or opposition. Any person who has an interest that may be adversely affected by the issuance of a permit may request a public hearing. The request must be submitted in writing to the District Engineer on or before the expiration date ofthis notice and must clearly set forth the interest which may be adversely affected and the manner in which the interest may be adversely affected by the 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 decision, comments are used to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and the other public interest factors listed above. Comments are used in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment and/or an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act. Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the proposed activity. Written statements on these factors received in this office on or before the expiration date of this public notice will become a part of the record and will be considered in the final determination. A permit will be granted unless its issuance is found to be contrary to the public interest.

CLOSE OF COMMENT PERIOD: All comments pertaining to this public notice must reach this office on or before the close of the comment period listed at the beginning of this public notice. If no comments are received by that date, it will be considered that there are no objections. Comments and requests for additional information should be submitted to:

Mr. Jim Spence

 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

ATTN: CELRH-RD-E Public Notice No. 2012-254-TUS

502 8th Street

Huntington, West Virginia 25701-2070

Please note that names and addresses of those who submit comments in response to this public notice become part of our administrative record, and, as such, are available to the public under the provisions of the Freedom oflnformation Act. Thank you for your interest in our nation's water resources. If you have any questions concerning this public notice, please call Mr. James B. Spence at 304-399-5610 or contact by email at james.b.spence@usace.army.mil.