18 CFR § 380.15 - Siting and maintenance requirements.

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§ 380.15 Siting and maintenance requirements.

(a) Avoidance or minimization of effects. The siting, construction, and maintenance of facilities shall be undertaken in a way that avoids or minimizes effects on scenic, historic, wildlife, and recreational values.

(b) Landowner consideration. The desires of landowners should be taken into account in the planning, locating, clearing, and maintenance of rights-of-way and the construction of facilities on their property, so long as the result is consistent with applicable requirements of law, including laws relating to land-use and any requirements imposed by the Commission.

(c) Landowner notification.

(1) (i) No activity described in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section that involves ground disturbance is authorized unless a company makes a good faith effort to notify in writing each affected landowner, as noted in the most recent county/city tax records as receiving the tax notice, whose property will be used and subject to ground disturbance as a result of the proposed activity, at least five days prior to commencing any activity under this section. A landowner may waive the five-day prior notice requirement in writing, so long as the notice has been provided. No landowner notice under this section is required:

(A) If all ground disturbance will be confined entirely to areas within the fence line of an existing above-ground site of facilities operated by the company; or

(B) For activities done for safety, DOT compliance, or environmental or unplanned maintenance reasons that are not foreseen and that require immediate attention by the company.

(ii) The notification shall include at least:

(A) A brief description of the facilities to be constructed or replaced and the effect the activity may have on the landowner's property;

(B) The name and phone number of a company representative who is knowledgeable about the project; and

(C) A description of the Commission's Landowner Helpline, which an affected person may contact to seek an informal resolution of a dispute as explained in § 1b.22(a) of this chapter and the Landowner Helpline number.

(2) “Affected landowners” include owners of interests, as noted in the most recent county/city tax records as receiving tax notice, in properties (including properties subject to rights-of-way and easements for facility sites, compressor stations, well sites, and all above-ground facilities, and access roads, pipe and contractor yards, and temporary work space) that will be directly affected by (i.e., used) and subject to ground disturbance as a result of activity under this section.

(d) Safety regulations. The requirements of this paragraph do not affect a project sponsor's obligations to comply with safety regulations of the U.S. Department of Transportation and recognized safe engineering practices for Natural Gas Act projects and the National Electric Safety Code for section 216 Federal Power Act projects.

(e) Pipeline and electric transmission facilities construction.

(1) The use, widening, or extension of existing rights-of-way must be considered in locating proposed facilities.

(2) In locating proposed facilities, the project sponsor shall, to the extent practicable, avoid places listed on, or eligible for listing on, the National Register of Historic Places; natural landmarks listed on the National Register of Natural Landmarks; officially designated parks; wetlands; and scenic, recreational, and wildlife lands. If rights-of-way must be routed near or through such places, attempts should be made to minimize visibility from areas of public view and to preserve the character and existing environment of the area.

(3) Rights-of-way should avoid forested areas and steep slopes where practical.

(4) Rights-of-way clearing should be kept to the minimum width necessary.

(5) In selecting a method to clear rights-of-way, soil stability and protection of natural vegetation and adjacent resources should be taken into account.

(6) Trees and vegetation cleared from rights-of-way in areas of public view should be disposed of without undue delay.

(7) Remaining trees and shrubs should not be unnecessarily damaged.

(8) Long foreground views of cleared rights-of-way through wooded areas that are visible from areas of public view should be avoided.

(9) Where practical, rights-of-way should avoid crossing hills and other high points at their crests where the crossing is in a forested area and the resulting notch is clearly visible in the foreground from areas of public view.

(10) Screen plantings should be employed where rights-of-way enter forested areas from a clearing and where the clearing is plainly visible in the foreground from areas of public view.

(11) Temporary roads should be designed for proper drainage and built to minimize soil erosion. Upon abandonment, the road area should be restored and stabilized without undue delay.

(f) Right-of-way maintenance.

(1) Vegetation covers established on a right-of-way should be properly maintained.

(2) Access and service roads should be maintained with proper cover, water bars, and the proper slope to minimize soil erosion. They should be jointly used with other utilities and land-management agencies where practical.

(3) Chemical control of vegetation should not be used unless authorized by the landowner or land-managing agency. When chemicals are used for control of vegetation, they should be approved by EPA for such use and used in conformance with all applicable regulations.

(g) Construction of aboveground facilities.

(1) Unobtrusive sites should be selected for the location of aboveground facilities.

(2) Aboveground facilities should cover the minimum area practicable.

(3) Noise potential should be considered in locating compressor stations, or other aboveground facilities.

(4) The exterior of aboveground facilities should be harmonious with the surroundings and other buildings in the area.

(5) For Natural Gas Act projects, the site of aboveground facilities which are visible from nearby residences or public areas, should be planted in trees and shrubs, or other appropriate landscaping and should be installed to enhance the appearance of the facilities, consistent with operating needs.

[Order 603, 64 FR 26619, May 14, 1999, as amended by Order 689, 71 FR 69741, Dec. 1, 2006; Order 756, 77 FR 4895, Feb. 1, 2012; Order 790, 78 FR 72812, Dec. 4, 2013; Order 790-A, 79 FR 70068, Nov. 25, 2014; Order 821, 81 FR 5380, Feb. 2, 2016]