Step 0: <Already Occurred> Kinder Morgan has held Open Season to determine market need and to negotiate commitments and has selected a proposed route that initially identifies landowners.
Step 1: <Already Occurred> Kinder Morgan has Pre-Filed. NOTE: There is no requirement of a pre-filing but KM has announced September as the date of their pre-file. This starts the process of Environmental Review with resource reports. To know when reviews come in, you have to watch the FERC website. Normally public utility departments grant approval to do surveys prior to pre-filing. KM is expected to pre-file without DPU approval. Pre-filing approval process takes between 6-8 months. In that time frame, Kinder Morgan will submit an initial survey, wide corridor and look at potential issues (endangered species, wetlands, etc.). They will plot their hopeful route and begin negotiations with landowners for easements.
Step 2: <Already Occurred> October, 2014 – FERC must approve the pre-filing. Between pre-filing and FERC approval of the pre-filing is about 3 weeks however the pre-filing “process” takes between 6-8 months and can be delayed. This will engage the FERC’s NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) Pre-Filing Process. Once approved, KM will receive a PF Docket No. number (issued from the FERC to the Applicant, KM). Applicant (KM) begins to study potential site locations, identifies stakeholders, and begins to hold open houses. Because KM is expected to pre-file without a precedent agreement (i.e., customers) with the DPUE, they will request a “conditioned certificate” to gain survey authority from the FERC.
Step 3: <Already Occurred> Oct/Nov/Dec, 2014 – 10 days after approval, FERC issues a “Notice of Intent” in the Federal Register which includes a general project description. All affected parties are mailed notices (NOI). The list of affected parties is NOT public information.
Step 4: <Already Occurred> Nov./Dec, 2014 – Open Houses. Those impacted by the pipeline are invited to hotel ballrooms to learn more from KM. The FERC participates. Impacted are given the opportunity to have one on one conversations with KM/FERC reps. who provide “information”. In other pipeline proceedings, opposition groups have shadowed KM reps to their one on one meetings with impacted individuals and “corrected” the “information” provided by KM reps.
Step 5: <Already Occurred> FERC issues notice of intent for preparation of an EIS. This opens the scoping period when public comments are sought Applicant conducts route studies and field surveys. Develops their FERC application.
Step 5: <Currently Occurring> NEPA Scoping Hearings (held by FERC). Project Managers from the FERC will conduct meetings in many affected communities along the route. FERC also performs site visits of project area and consults with stakeholders. This is when environmental impacts are prepared and attempts are made to resolve them (under NEPA). This is also an opportunity for the FERC to hear more about concerns. Comments will be limited to 3 minutes if it gets contentious. Proponents need to talk to the EPA and DEP that get involved in this phase. We need to get Senators and Reps. talking to the EPA during this period. One of the public’s key avenues toward reaching the EPA is through the AG’s office. We must comment on criteria we want included so we can sue later if they neglect it.
This is a 30-day comment period. Sometimes there is an extension and its not a hard deadline. FERC wants as much information as possible. Bring your list of environmental concerns, birds, endanger species, water, etc., the more specific the better. NOTE: Interveners are not permitted during Pre-filing activity because there is no application officially before the commission. However, comments can be filed during the Pre-filing phase. The FERC wants “useful” comments, not “I don’t want a pipeline” comments but comments such as these:
* KM came on my property, said they wanted to survey a 300 ft corridor and I asked them to avoid my septic field. They said they would but I never heard from them again
* They are 10 ft from my house and I have children
* Submit scientific studies
Step 6: approx Oct. 2015 – KM files a formal FERC application. FERC issues notice of application. FERC analyzes data and prepares Draft EIS. This is when interveners file a “motion to intervene” and interveners are given a 30 day comment period. This may go longer. The FERC often comments itself and will request environmental data. At some point, the FERC has answers to all its questions.
Step 7: approx Oct. 2015 – FERC issues a a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) or Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) <differences described here: http://www.epa.gov/reg3esd1/nepa/eis.htm> and opens comment period. If it issues an EA, there is less process and EPA is not obligated to comment. If its an EIS, the EPA is required to comment. KM will likely hire a contractor to process the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and pay for FERC’s time, since someone from FERC must read every word.
Step 8: 30-day Comment Period – FERC will hold public comment meetings where public can provide comment on the Draft EIS in the project area. FERC responds to the comments and revises the Draft EIS. Period can be extended. May involve additional meetings if there is much contention. It is suggested that opponents wait until the end of this comment period to comment on the EIS to slow the process.
Step 9: Final (non-draft) EIS is issued – Also given opportunity for comment.
Step 9.5: August, 2015 – KM issues a FERC filing
Step 10: November, 2016 – Commission Issues Order. Usually done in an open meeting. It is listed online. This begins a new public input opportunity. If approved, it can be appealed. If denied, parties can request to rehear the decision which are brought before a FERC Administrative Law Judge. Applicant or parties can take the FERC to court and sue.
Step 11: If approved, applicant submits outstanding information to satisfy conditions of Commission Order, includes Clean Water Act, Coastal Zone Management Act and Clean Air Act permits.
Step 12: FERC issues Notice to Proceed with construction
Step 13: January, 2017 – Kinder Morgan’s proposed start of construction activity
Step 14: November 2018 – Kinder Morgan’s proposed In-Service date
1. US EPA, Region 1, Tim Timmermann, One Congress Street, 11th Floor, Boston, MA 02203-0001, firstname.lastname@example.org 617-918-1035
2. FERC: Josh Hurwitz, Dispute Resolution Dept. 202-502-6668
3. FERC: Janine Cefalu, Environmental Protection Specialist – Office of Energy Projects, Dept. of Gas, Env. & Eng.: email@example.com
7. FERC Citizen Guideline