Certain interstate gas pipeline construction and upgrade projects will have to meet stricter landowner notification requirements under a final rule approved Thursday by FERC.

The rule amends the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s blanket certificate requirements. 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 of a compressor or LNG facility. It also requires noise surveys for completed compressor stations constructed or upgraded under blanket certificate authority.

“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,” said FERC Chairman Joseph T. Kelliher. “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.”

After a compressor project is completed, companies must submit 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.

Commission 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 takes effect 30 days after its publication in the Federal Register.

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