18 CFR § 50.4 - Stakeholder participation.

§ 50.4 Stakeholder participation.

A Project Participation Plan is required to ensure stakeholders have access to accurate and timely information on the proposed project and permit application process.

(a) Project Participation Plan. An applicant must develop a Project Participation Plan and file it with the pre-filing materials under § 50.5(c)(7) that:

(1) Identifies specific tools and actions to facilitate stakeholder communications and public information, including an up-to-date project Web site and a readily accessible, single point of contact within the company;

(2) Lists all central locations in each county throughout the project area where the applicant will provide copies of all their filings related to the proposed project; and

(3) Includes a description and schedule explaining how the applicant intends to respond to requests for information from the public as well as Federal, State, and Tribal permitting agencies, and other legal entities with local authorization requirements.

(b) Document Availability.

(1) Within three business days of the date the pre-filing materials are filed or application is issued a docket number, an applicant must ensure that:

(i) Complete copies of the pre-filing or application materials are available in accessible central locations in each county throughout the project area, either in paper or electronic format; and

(ii) Complete copies of all filed materials are available on the project Web site.

(2) An applicant is not required to serve voluminous or difficult to reproduce material, such as copies of certain environmental information, on all parties, as long as such material is publicly available in an accessible central location in each county throughout the project area and on the applicant's project website.

(c) Project notification.

(1) The applicant must make a good faith effort to notify: all affected landowners; landowners with a residence within a quarter mile from the edge of the construction right-of-way of the proposed project; towns and communities; permitting agencies; other local, State, Tribal, and Federal governments and agencies involved in the project; electric utilities and transmission owners and operators that are or may be connected to the application's proposed transmission facilities; and any known individuals that have expressed an interest in the State permitting proceeding. Notification must be made:

(i) By certified or first class mail, sent:

(A) Within 14 days after the Director notifies the applicant of the commencement of the pre-filing process under § 50.5(d);

(B) Within 3 business days after the Commission notices the application under § 50.9; and

(ii) By twice publishing a notice of the pre-filing request and application filings, in a daily, weekly, and/or tribal newspaper of general circulation in each county in which the project is located, no later than 14 days after the date that a docket number is assigned for the pre-filing process or to the application.

(2) Contents of participation notice

(i) The pre-filing request notification must, at a minimum, include:

(A) The docket number assigned to the proceeding;

(B) The most recent edition of the Commission's pamphlet Electric Transmission Facilities Permit Process. The newspaper notice need only refer to the pamphlet and indicate that it is available on the Commission's website;

(C) A description of the applicant and a description of the proposed project, its location (including a general location map), its purpose, and the timing of the project;

(D) A general description of the property the applicant will need from an affected landowner if the project is approved, how to contact the applicant, including a local or toll-free phone number, the name of a specific person to contact who is knowledgeable about the project, and a reference to the project website. The newspaper notice need not include a description of the property, but should indicate that a separate notice is being mailed to affected landowners and governmental entities;

(E) A brief summary of what rights the affected landowner has at the Commission and in proceedings under the eminent domain rules of the relevant State. The newspaper notice does not need to include this summary;

(F) Information on how to get a copy of the pre-filing information from the company and the location(s) where copies of the pre-filing information may be found as specified in paragraph (b) of this section;

(G) A copy of the Director's notification of commencement of the pre-filing process, the Commission's Internet address, and the telephone number for the Commission's Office of External Affairs; and

(H) Information explaining the pre-filing and application process and when and how to intervene in the application proceedings.

(ii) The application notification must include the Commission's notice issued under § 50.9.

(3) If, for any reason, a stakeholder has not yet been identified when the notices under this paragraph are sent or published, the applicant must supply the information required under paragraphs (c)(2)(i) and (ii) of this section when the stakeholder is identified.

(4) If the notification is returned as undeliverable, the applicant must make a reasonable attempt to find the correct address and notify the stakeholder.

(5) Access to critical energy infrastructure information is subject to the requirements of § 388.113 of this chapter.

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