18 CFR 50.5 - Pre-filing procedures.
(a) Introduction. Any applicant seeking a permit to site new electric transmission facilities or modify existing facilities must comply with the following pre-filing procedures prior to filing an application for Commission review.
(b) Initial consultation. An applicant must meet and consult with the Director concerning the proposed project.
(1) At the initial consultation meeting, the applicant must be prepared to discuss the nature of the project, the contents of the pre-filing request, and the status of the applicant's progress toward obtaining the information required for the pre-filing request described in paragraph (c) of this section.
(2) The initial consultation meeting will also include a discussion of whether a third-party contractor is likely to be needed to prepare the environmental documentation for the project and the specifications for the applicant's solicitation for prospective third-party contractors.
(3) The applicant also must discuss how its proposed project will be subject to the Commission's jurisdiction under section 216(b)(1) of the Federal Power Act. If the application is seeking Commission jurisdiction under section 216(b)(1)(C) of the Federal Power Act, the applicant must be prepared to discuss when it filed its application with the State and the status of that application.
(c) Contents of the initial filing. An applicant's pre-filing request will be filed after the initial consultation and must include the following information:
(1) A description of the schedule desired for the project, including the expected application filing date, desired date for Commission approval, and proposed project operation date, as well as the status of any State siting proceedings.
(2) A detailed description of the project, including location maps and plot plans to scale showing all major components, including a description of zoning and site availability for any permanent facilities.
(3) A list of the permitting entities responsible for conducting separate Federal permitting and environmental reviews and authorizations for the project, including contact names and telephone numbers, and a list of local entities with local authorization requirements. The filing must include information concerning:
(i) How the applicant intends to account for each of the relevant entity's permitting and environmental review schedules, including its progress in DOE's pre-application process; and
(ii) When the applicant proposes to file with these permitting and local entities for the respective permits or other authorizations.
(5) A description of what other work already has been done, including, contacting stakeholders, agency and Indian tribe consultations, project engineering, route planning, environmental and engineering contractor engagement, environmental surveys/studies, open houses, and any work done or actions taken in conjunction with a State proceeding. This description also must include the identification of the environmental and engineering firms and sub-contractors under contract to develop the project.
(6) Proposals for at least three prospective third-party contractors from which Commission staff may make a selection to assist in the preparation of the requisite NEPA document, if the Director determined a third-party contractor would be necessary in the Initial Consultation meeting.
(7) A proposed Project Participation Plan, as set forth in § 50.4(a).
(d) Director's notice.
(1) When the Director finds that an applicant seeking authority to site and construct an electric transmission facility has adequately addressed the requirements of paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) of this section, and any other requirements determined at the Initial Consultation meeting, the Director will so notify the applicant.
(i) The notification will designate the third-party contractor, and
(ii) The pre-filing process will be deemed to have commenced on the date of the Director's notification.
(2) If the Director determines that the contents of the initial pre-filing request are insufficient, the applicant will be notified and given a reasonable time to correct the deficiencies.
(e) Subsequent filing requirements. Upon the Director's issuance of a notice commencing an applicant's pre-filing process, the applicant must:
(1) Within 7 days, finalize and file the Project Participation Plan, as defined in § 50.4(a), and establish the dates and locations at which the applicant will conduct meetings with stakeholders and Commission staff.
(2) Within 14 days, finalize the contract with the selected third-party contractor, if applicable.
(3) Within 14 days:
(ii) Notify affected landowners in compliance with the requirements of § 50.4(c); and
(iii) Notify permitting entities and request information detailing any specific information not required by the Commission in the resource reports required under § 380.16 of this chapter that the permitting entities may require to reach a decision concerning the proposed project. The responses of the permitting entities must be filed with the Commission, as well as being provided to the applicant.
(4) Within 30 days, submit a mailing list of all stakeholders contacted under paragraph (e)(3) of this section, including the names of the Federal, State, Tribal, and local jurisdictions' representatives. The list must include information concerning affected landowner notifications that were returned as undeliverable.
(5) Within 30 days, file a summary of the project alternatives considered or under consideration.
(6) Within 30 days, file an updated list of all Federal, State, Tribal, and local agencies permits and authorizations that are necessary to construct the proposed facilities. The list must include:
(i) A schedule detailing when the applications for the permits and authorizations will be submitted (or were submitted);
(ii) Copies of all filed applications; and
(iii) The status of all pending permit or authorization requests and of the Secretary of Energy's pre-application process being conducted under section 216(h)(4)(C) of the Federal Power Act.
(7) Within 60 days, file the draft resource reports required in § 380.16 of this chapter.
(8) On a monthly basis, file status reports detailing the applicant's project activities including surveys, stakeholder communications, and agency and tribe meetings, including updates on the status of other required permits or authorizations. If the applicant fails to respond to any request for additional information, fails to provide sufficient information, or is not making sufficient progress towards completing the pre-filing process, the Director may issue a notice terminating the process.
(f) Concluding the pre-filing process. The Director will determine when the information gathered during the pre-filing process is complete, after which the applicant may file an application. An application must contain all the information specified by the Commission staff during the pre-filing process, including the environmental material required in part 380 of this chapter and the exhibits required in § 50.7.