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PN16-45 (Pennsylvania Pipelline Project) - 2015-01664

Posted: 8/5/2016

Expiration date: 8/30/2016

                                        Public Notice                                               

U.S. Army Corps             In Reply to Application Number

of Engineers                    CENAB-OPR-P-2015-01664-P06 (Pennsylvania Pipeline Project)

Baltimore District                     

PN-16-45          Comment Period:           August 1, 2016 to August 30, 2016




This District has received an application for a Department of the Army permit pursuant to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and/or Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33. U.S.C. 1344) as described below:


APPLICANT:            Sunoco Pipeline, L.P.

                                  535 Fritztown Road

                                  Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania 19608


WATERWAY AND LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED WORK: The proposed Sunoco Pennsylvania Pipeline Project extends approximately 254.6 miles from Marcus Hook, Delaware County, Pennsylvania to Delmont, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, and would cross through numerous municipalities in southern Pennsylvania in Delaware, Chester, and Berks (partial) Counties in the Corps of Engineers Philadelphia District; Lancaster, Lebanon, Dauphin, York, Cumberland, Perry, Juniata, Huntingdon, Berks (partial), Blair, and Cambria (partial) Counties in the Corps of Engineers Baltimore District; and Indiana, Westmorland, and Cambria (partial)  Counties in the Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District (See enclosed map – PPP 2 (Enclosure 1)). The project includes multiple stream and wetland crossings in the Susquehanna River, Delaware River, and Ohio River watersheds. The proposed pipeline construction proposes directional drilling under the following navigable waters of the United States: Susquehanna River (3906 linear feet) in the Baltimore District; and Conemaugh River (225 linear feet) in the Pittsburgh District. Approximately 150 miles of the pipeline is proposed within the Corps of Engineers Baltimore District area of responsibility. In addition to the referenced 254.6 mile pipeline, an additional pipeline extending 52 miles from Houston, Pennsylvania to Delmont, Pennsylvania is being reviewed for authorization under the Pennsylvania State Programmatic General Permit - 5 and the Nationwide Permits by the Pittsburgh District of the Corps of Engineers (See enclosed map – PPP 1 (Enclosure 1)).


The purpose of this Public Notice is to solicit comments concerning two of the proposed pipeline crossings of waters and/or wetland, which require authorization under a Department of the Army Individual Permit.  One of the crossings is located in North Middleton Township, Cumberland County, (Enclosure 2), while the second crossing is located in Frankstown Township, Blair County, Pennsylvania, (Enclosure 3).


PURPOSE AND PROPOSED WORK:  Sunoco Pipeline, L.P. is proposing to construct and operate the Pennsylvania Pipeline for the purpose of expanding existing pipeline systems, providing transportation of up to 700,000 barrels of natural gas liquids per day, and interconnecting with the existing Sunoco Mariner East pipelines. The applicant is proposing to the install one 20-inch diameter pipeline and one 16-inch pipeline running parallel to each other for a total distance of 254.6 miles within existing and new right-of-ways (ROWs).  Additional supporting infrastructure, including staging areas, pump stations, and access roads are included in the project workspaces. The pipelines would cross an estimated 643 streams/waters and 461 wetlands, resulting in approximately 47,721 linear feet of temporary impact to streams and 32.34 acres of temporary impact to wetlands. Approximately 0.71 acre of permanent conversion of palustrine forested (PFO) wetlands to palustrine emergent (PEM) wetlands is also proposed.  In the Baltimore District, the pipelines would cross an estimated 345 streams/waters and 246 wetlands, resulting in approximately 27,451 linear feet of temporary impact to streams; 18.33 acres of temporary impact

to wetlands; and permanent conversion of 0.52 acre of PFO wetland to PEM wetland. The applicant has co-located the majority of the project with existing utility right-of-ways (approximately 75% of the overall mileage).  Twenty-two percent of proposed impacts to waters and twenty-nine percent of proposed impacts to wetlands are within existing maintained utility right-of-way areas.  Re-route alternatives and alternative crossing methods have been presented by the applicant demonstrating wetland, water, and endangered species habitat avoidance and minimization.  The construction right-of-way across the majority of water and wetland crossings is proposed to be reduced to a width of 50 feet. Through implementation of construction right-of-way reduction at water and wetland crossings, and the implementation of directionally drilling under certain waters and/or wetlands, the applicant has reduced the potential impact associated with the project by approximately 29,000 linear feet of stream impact and 60 acres of wetland impact.  Where possible the applicant would utilize existing access roads to access project workspaces during construction.  No permanent filling, or loss of waters and/or wetlands is proposed by the applicant.  The applicant proposes to restore all stream crossings to pre-construction contours, and all wetland crossings to the pre-construction contours, with a dominance of wetland vegetation, and adequate wetland hydrology, with the exception of the 0.71 acre of PFO wetland conversion to PEM wetland.  This conversion occurs across 21 wetlands located within 11 separate counties.  The applicant is currently preparing a compensatory mitigation plan to offset the aquatic functions and services lost as a result of these wetland conversion impacts.


As part of the proposed pipeline project, one crossing in Cumberland County, measuring approximately 1298 linear feet, would result in approximately 1.98 acres of temporary impact to a PEM wetland and a crossing in Blair County, measuring approximately 1,102 linear feet, would result in approximately 1.87 acres of temporary impact to a PEM wetland. Approximately thirty percent of the impact to the wetlands at these crossings is a result of the temporary placement of timber mats, which will be placed on a layer of geo-textile material. The timber mats are proposed to access the trench excavation areas for both pipelines. The proposed right-of-way at these two crossings has been reduced to 50 feet for the purpose of further avoidance and minimization of impacts to the aquatic resources. The purpose of this public notice is to solicit comments regarding these two crossings, including construction of the crossings as depicted on the enclosed plans (Enclosure 4).  The remaining crossings of aquatic resources associated with the Pennsylvania Pipeline are being reviewed for authorization under the Pennsylvania State Programmatic General Permit - 5 by the Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh Districts.




If you have any questions concerning this matter, please contact Mrs. Deborah Nizer, at telephone (410) 962-6085, or by mail at USACE, Baltimore District, CENAB-OPR-P, 10 South Howard Street, Baltimore, Maryland, 21203.


The decision whether to issue a permit for these two crossings 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 benefit, which reasonable 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 the cumulative effects thereof; among those are conservation, economic, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, cultural values, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, flood plain values, land use, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food and fiber production, mineral needs, and consideration of property ownership and in general, the needs and welfare of the people.


The Corps of Engineers 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 of Engineers 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 provided will become part of the public record for this action.  Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the proposed activity.  Written comments concerning the work described above related to the factors listed above, or other pertinent factors must be received by the District Engineer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, CENAB-OPR-P, 10 South Howard Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21201 within the comment period specified above.


ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT:  The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSFCMA), as amended by the Sustainable Fisheries Act of 1996 (Public Law 04-267), requires all Federal agencies to consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) on all actions, or proposed actions, permitted, funded, or undertaken by the agency that may adversely affect Essential Fish Habitat (EFH).  The Corps has determined this project will not affect any EFH.


WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION:  The applicant is required to obtain a water quality certification in accordance with Section 401 of the Clean Water Act from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.  The Section 401 certifying agency has a statutory limit of one year from the date of this public notice to make its decision.


COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS:  Where applicable, the applicant has certified in this application that the proposed activity complies with and will be conducted in a manner consistent with the approved Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Program.  By this public notice, we are requesting the State concurrence or objection to the applicant’s consistency statement.  It should be noted that the CZM Program has a statutory limit of 6 months to make its consistency determination.


The applicant must obtain any State or local government permits which may be required.


ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT: A preliminary review of this application indicates that the proposed work is not likely to or will insignificantly affect Federal listed threatened or endangered species or their critical habitat, pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, as amended, provided time of year restrictions and avoidance/conservation measures are implemented.  As the evaluation of this application continues, additional information may become available which could modify this preliminary determination.


NATIONAL HISTORIC PRESERVATION ACT: Currently, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission is reviewing information, including archeological surveys, to determine if the proposed project will impact sites that are eligible for listing or are included in the National Register of Historic Places. Unknown archeological, scientific, prehistoric, or historical data may be lost or destroyed by the work to be accomplished under the request permit.


TRIBAL COORDINATION: A formal request for Government to Government consultation regarding the pipeline project was sent to sixteen Federally recognized Tribes on June 2, 2016 in accordance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended (NHPA) and USACE Tribal Policy.  On June 24, 2016, additional information regarding the pipeline project, including the technical reports for the cultural resource investigations were provided to the Tribes that confirmed their interest in project review and coordination.  At the current time the Tribes are reviewing the information submitted.


The evaluation of the impact for these two crossings on the public interest will include application of the guidelines promulgated by the Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, under authority of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. 


Any person who has an interest which may be adversely affected by the issuance of the permits for these two crossings may request a public hearing.  The request, which must be in writing, must be received by the District Engineer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, CENAB-OPR-P, 10 South Howard Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21201, within the comment period as specified above to receive consideration.  Also it must clearly set forth the interest which may be adversely affected by this activity and the manner in which the interest may be adversely affected.









It is requested that you communicate this information concerning the proposed work to any persons know by you to be interested and not being known to this office, who did not receive a copy of this notice.






                                                                        Wade B. Chandler

                                                                        Chief, Pennsylvania Section

                                                                        Regulatory Branch

Sunoco Pipeline