FAQs

Overview of Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC

Note: Click on the question to expand or collapse accordion panels.

Natural gas is a mixture of many hydrocarbons, primarily methane. Natural gas is typically found in underground beds of porous rock and retrieved from drilled wells through a series of collection pipes.

From wellhead collection points, natural gas is processed to separate valuable components, like oil and natural gas liquids, from impurities, like water, carbon dioxide and sulfur, which could cause pipeline corrosion.

Processed natural gas is pressurized and introduced into an interstate pipeline network for safe, reliable transport. Large underground steel pipes of up to 48 inches in diameter carry natural gas from processing facilities to consumers - often for thousands of miles. Natural gas is moved along by pressure, which also reduces the volume of the gas, so that it travels more efficiently. As the gas travels, friction and elevation differences gradually reduce the pressure, so compressor stations are staggered along the length of the pipeline to give the gas another "push" or "boost."

The interstate natural gas pipeline network delivers natural gas directly to some large commercial and industrial consumers, like utilities. The remainder is delivered to local distribution companies which add odorant - to ease detection of even small leaks - before transporting the gas through smaller distribution pipes, or "mains," to millions of businesses and homes throughout the U.S. Natural gas companies can store natural gas underground, so it can be used during periods of high demand.

The pipeline is built of high-strength carbon steel and is coated with fusion-bonded epoxy, a corrosion-resistant, nonconductive resin that forms a waterproof seal around the pipe. Coating on the entire pipeline is electronically inspected before the pipeline is placed in the ground.

The U.S. Department of Transportation ("USDOT") regulates the safety of interstate pipelines and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ("FERC") is the lead agency for the siting and construction of new and/or expanded interstate pipeline facilities.

While Sabal Trail is an interstate pipeline, other pipelines may be called "intrastate" pipelines. Intrastate natural gas pipelines operate within state borders and link natural gas producers to local markets and to the interstate pipeline network. Although an intrastate pipeline system is defined as one that operates totally within a state, an intrastate pipeline company may have operations in more than one state. As long as these operations are separate, that is, they do not physically interconnect, they are considered intrastate, and are not jurisdictional to the FER.

While Sabal Trail is an interstate pipeline, other pipelines may be called "intrastate" pipelines. Intrastate natural gas pipelines operate within state borders and link natural gas producers to local markets and to the interstate pipeline network. Although an intrastate pipeline system is defined as one that operates totally within a state, an intrastate pipeline company may have operations in more than one state. As long as these operations are separate, that is, they do not physically interconnect, they are considered intrastate, and are not jurisdictional to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC (Sabal Trail) identifies any person, group or organization with interest in or concern regarding the Sabal Trail project as a "stakeholder." Stakeholders could be landowners, public officials, community members or organizations, environmental agencies and interested parties, local business owners, contractors, etc.

Sabal Trail Transmission LLC ("Sabal Trail"), a joint venture of Spectra Energy Corp and NextEra, Inc., is proposing to design, construct and operate a nearly 500-mile interstate natural gas pipeline to provide transportation services for power generation needs to Florida Power and Light ("FPL") and Duke Energy of Florida ("DEF") beginning in May 2017. For energy security and reliability purposes, FPL requires this new pipeline to be onshore and independent from its current access to interstate pipelines. In addition, Sabal Trail and DEF have executed a precedent agreement for Sabal Trail to provide transportation services to DEF's proposed new power plant to be located in Citrus County, Florida.

Sabal Trail is also continuing to work with other potential customers to enhance the availability and reliability of natural gas supplies in the Southeast region. As additional customers are secured, Sabal Trail will make that information available to the public.

Sabal Trail is an independent legal entity owned by affiliates of Spectra Energy and NextEra Energy. It is not a wholly-owned Spectra Energy entity.

Sabal Trail, LLC is responsible for the Sabal Trail pipeline project through the FERC pre-filing process as well as all activities relative to the construction of the Sabal Trail pipeline.

Spectra Energy will be responsible for the Sabal Trail pipeline once the pipeline has been placed into service (May 2017). At that time, the responsible governmental agency is the United States Department of Transportation ("DOT").

The Sabal Trail pipeline will be capable of transporting over 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day - enough to meet the needs of more than 4 million American homes annually

The current natural gas transmission infrastructure in Florida is either fully or near fully subscribed and is not adequate to meet the increased demand of natural gas in Central and Southern Florida. Sabal Trail is being designed to provide 1,100,000 Dth/day of new transportation capacity into the state of Florida. The Sabal Trail interstate pipeline will increase energy diversity, security and reliability to Southeastern markets, and will provide consumers and businesses with critical access to an affordable, new natural gas supply source. The current available capacity of the pipelines serving Central and Southern Florida is only 184 million cubic feet per day (“MMcf/d”) or just over 16 percent of the Sabal Trail capacity in 2017.

There are currently four interstate pipelines that provide natural gas into at least some portion of the state of Florida. Florida Gas Transmission Company, LLC (“FGT”) is the largest pipeline into the state with approximately 3.1 billion cubic feet per day (“Bcf/d”) of deliverability. According to FGT’s website, it currently has 184 MMcf/d, or less than 6 percent of its design capacity, of unsubscribed capacity available on its system in 2017. The Gulfstream Natural Gas System, LLC (“Gulfstream”) is the second largest pipeline system into the state with 1.3 Bcf/d of deliverability into Central Florida. The Gulfstream system is 100 percent subscribed and has no available capacity on its system in 2017. Gulf South Pipeline Company, LP and Southern Natural Gas Company, LLC pipelines both deliver small volumes of gas into the state, but do not have delivery capability into Central and Southern Florida.

The Sabal Trail Project was awarded by FPL to provide dedicated natural gas transportation services for their power generation needs starting in May 2017. In addition, Sabal Trail and DEF have executed a precedent agreement for Sabal Trail to provide transportation services to DEF’s proposed new power plant to be located in Citrus County, Florida. Sabal Trail is also working with other potential customers to enhance the availability and reliability of natural gas supplies in the Southeast region. As additional customers are secured, Sabal Trail will make that information available to the public.

The preliminary estimates are in the range of three billion dollars.

Approval to use Pre-Filing Review Process - October 16, 2013
Landowner Informational Meetings - October - November 2013
File Draft Resource Reports 1 & 10 - November 2013
Public Open Houses - December 2013 - January 2014
FERC Scoping Meetings - March 2014
Submitted Draft Resource Reports - June 2014
File Certificate Application and Federal Permits - October 2014
FERC Certificate Issuance - November 2015
FERC Notice to Proceed - 1st Qtr 2016
Start of Construction - 2nd Qtr 2016
In-Service - May 1, 2017

Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC (Sabal Trail) is committed to informing and consulting with all affected stakeholders throughout project development and construction.

The pre-filing process provides stakeholders with a number of opportunities to raise concerns and questions with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), including multiple agency and public meetings. This will enable incorporation of identified issues and concerns into the FERC Certificate Application and other permit applications, and will allow FERC to incorporate these issues or concerns into their review of the project and their National Environmental Policy Act environmental document.

Sabal Trail encourages all interested persons to participate in the pre-filing process.

For more information, please refer to the "Regulatory Process" document, which includes a detailed descriptor of every step in the regulatory process.

Sabal Trail plans to begin delivering natural gas by May 2017.

  • December 2014 – Supplemental information was filed as part of the formal Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) application. This supplemental information included documentation on the reroutes addressed in Resource Report #10, and copies of other federal and state permit applications. While the period of being an intervener has closed with FERC, public comments are still being accepted and can be filed.
  • November 2014 – Application for Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity Officially was filed with FERC. Docket number CP15-17-000 was assigned. FERC allows one month after the official application has been filed for concerned individuals to comment or express motions to intervene regarding the Sabal Trail pipeline.
  • June 2014 – Draft version of Resource Reports #1 - #12 were filed for the project with FERC. All resource reports, along with other documentation that is filed with FERC, can be found on the Sabal Trail website (wwww.sabaltrail.com) for stakeholders to view.
  • March 2014 – FERC held 13 scoping meetings to seek input from the affected stakeholders and communities. Scoping meetings provided stakeholders the opportunity to have their questions answered and express concerns regarding the potential impacts the proposed pipeline may have.
  • February 2014 – October 2014 – Species - specific surveys were conducted along the project route in consultation with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (“US F&W”) and each state Wildlife management division.
  • February 2014 – FERC issued a Notice of Intent (“NOI”) for the Planned Southeast Markets Pipeline Project (three related projects which includes the Sabal Trail Project). The NOI includes a Request for Comments on Environmental Issues, and a Notice of Public Meetings.
  • November 2013 – Sabal Trail filed Draft Resource Reports #1 and #10 with FERC. These drafts provided general project information, as well as information about alternative routing.
  • October 2013 – January 2014 – Nearly 50 public meetings were conducted to address any and all comments or concerns from interested parties within and around the survey corridor.
  • October 2013 – FERC pre-filing process (Docket PF14-1-000) was entered into. FERC is the lead agency in reviewing the pipeline project. By accepting the request from Sabal Trail to use the pre-filing process, FERC allows informal consultation among all stakeholders prior to filing a formal application for project approval.
  • September 2013 – Survey work was initiated and Sabal Trail officials started to meet with landowners to discuss the project. Federal, state and local officials began to be engaged with Sabal Trail’s preliminary planned work in the study corridor areas.
  • June 2013 – Landowners along the proposed pipeline route began to be contacted for request to survey their property.

The Sabal Trail interstate pipeline will increase energy diversity, security and reliability to Southeastern markets, and will provide consumers and businesses with critical access to an affordable, new natural gas supply source that will:

  • Invigorate economies, spur growth and ensure regional economic competitiveness
  • Enhance natural gas supply diversity, reliability and security
  • Ensure clean-burning, affordable natural gas will continue to be available
  • In addition, the Sabal Trail interstate pipeline project will create significant jobs during the planning, construction and development stages, as well as add capital investment and tax base to all three states.

Sabal Trail will deliver natural gas to FPL for its electric generation needs and Sabal Trail representatives are currently in discussions with potential customers along the proposed pipeline route.

An initial economic benefit study has been conducted in all three impacted states; and, while it is early on and will ultimately be dependent upon the final routing, the reports estimate that the project will contribute:

  • $171 million in property taxes for taxing authorities in Alabama over a 60-year timeframe
  • $470 million in property taxes for taxing authorities in Georgia over a 60-year timeframe
  • $837 million in property taxes for taxing authorities in Florida over a 60-year timeframe
  • Sabal Trail will be updating this study based on the current routing in the near future.Generally, this data is based on the project scope or footprint, and Sabal Trail has made numerous alignment changes due to the survey work.

The export of natural gas from the U.S. requires the approval of the U.S. Department of Energy. Sabal Trail is not seeking any such approval, nor is it aware that any of its shippers have or will request such authorization.

These domestic natural gas supplies are to fuel new domestic gas fired power plants that our customers are currently or plan to construct.


Landowner Outreach and Communicating

Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC (Sabal Trail) identifies any person, group or organization with interest in or concern regarding the Sabal Trail project as a "stakeholder." Stakeholders could be landowners, public officials, community members or organizations, environmental agencies and interested parties, local business owners, contractors, etc.

Sabal Trail will continue to communicate with public officials, permitting agencies and area stakeholders during the initial development process and will maintain open lines of communication throughout the project's development. Landowners and other stakeholders will have multiple opportunities to provide input on the project during the permitting process.

Since June 2013, Sabal Trail has been in contact with property owners to inform them of the project and its need to perform surveys to collect information about their properties. Sabal Trail also hosted a series of local landowner informational meetings and public open houses for area residents to learn more about the project and ask questions.

There are also multiple opportunities for stakeholders to discuss and provide feedback on the project throughout the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ("FERC") process.

The project's experienced development team is committed to a comprehensive consultation and ongoing communications with stakeholders to develop a viable pipeline route that lessen impacts to landowners and the environment, and meets or exceeds customer needs, constructability requirements and safety regulations. This process involves evaluating various routes and study corridors. Whenever possible, Sabal Trail tries to locate the study corridor adjacent to existing utility corridors - either electric transmission lines or underground pipelines.

Sabal Trail continues to discuss the project directly with each landowner. The survey activities (engineering, environmental and cultural resources) help Sabal Trail obtain the necessary field data to further assess the pipeline alignments and address individual landowner concerns. These activities will be performed in a minimal amount of time and should not inconvenience any landowner.

Sabal Trail is also mindful of landowners' time; and, to that end, agents attempt to contact landowners during business hours, and will restrict calling times as requested by the landowners.

As an Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) member company, we believe that each company employee and representative is an ambassador for our industry, as well as our company, and we strive to train our representatives to interact positively and productively with landowners and other stakeholders.

We encourage all affected landowners and other stakeholders to participate in FERC's pre-filing process.

Sabal Trail's local land agent may be contacted directly or through the local field offices, however Sabal Trail also offers an 800 # for your convenience. For general information and inquiries about how this may involve your property, please contact our Right-of-Way team at 1.888.596.7732. Calls are then directed to the appropriate Sabal Trail project team member, and are generally responded to within 24 hours.

Please feel free to visit our "Contact" page on this website.

The purpose of the open houses hosted by Sabal Trail were to provide stakeholders with the opportunity to learn more about the project and to ask questions on specific issues and/or concerns with subject matter experts. It was also an opportunity for Sabal Trail to listen and understand the issues and/or concerns stakeholders may have on the project, including the proposed project route.

The open house format allowed for more one-on-one engagement; thereby, ensuring a wide variety of questions specific to a particular landowner could be answered. Additionally, this setting allowed for all stakeholders to be comfortable asking their questions in a casual manner.

This format has been effectively utilized for multiple interstate pipeline projects. Sabal Trail is also open to participating in other community updates, such as county commission meetings, where a formal presentation can be given by Sabal Trail leadership.

Additionally, FERC hosted scoping meetings in March 2014 and the structure of those meetings was more formal and managed by FERC. Formal comments were accepted as part of their Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement. Sabal Trail takes these comments very seriously as well and will apply those considerations to the FERC Application.

As the project continues, other meetings will be scheduled to provide updates and seek input from the communities.

Consistent with common practice and for the protection of individuals' privacy, information that may identity specific landowners potentially affected by the Sabal Trail project is not always made available to the public. Whatever mapping we can provide will be provided on our "By State" page on this website. These maps are labeled by county. If you are an impacted landowner, a copy of a map of your property can be obtained by contacting your land agent.


Right of Way

The permanent right-of-way, as defined in the Grant of Easement, is typically 50-feet wide. The access to the permanent right-of-way is limited to the existing public ways and any private access roads identified and acquired for the project.

Sabal Trail's local land agent may be contacted directly or through the local field offices, however Sabal Trail also offers an 800 # for your convenience. For general information and inquiries about how this may involve your property, please contact our Right-of-Way team at 1.888.596.7732. Calls are then directed to the appropriate Sabal Trail project team member, and are generally responded to within 24 hours.

Please feel free to visit our "Contact" page on this website.

Right-of-way and land department personnel, also known as right-of-way agents or land agents, are trained professionals and are involved in most aspects of a project's development - from the initial project plan through construction and into operations. As the need for clean-burning natural gas grows and new projects are explored, right-of-way agents assist in the development of new pipeline facilities and the expansion of existing facilities.

Working closely with landowners and project personnel, right-of-way agents work to ensure that all activities - from route selection to construction and restoration - minimize impacts and disruptions to individual properties, communities and the environment. To help develop new projects, right-of-way agents:

  • Identify landowners from local property records along the proposed corridor
  • Notify landowners of a proposed project
  • Meet with landowners to explain the details of the project, the process for acquiring right-of-way and potential impacts along the proposed pipeline route
  • Identify specific concerns landowners may have with the proposed route and facilities
  • Work with landowners, project engineers and environmental specialists to address these concerns
  • Arrange meetings to begin negotiations for the necessary right-of-ways (easements)

We take our landowner and stakeholder engagements very seriously and our goal is to reach a mutually agreeable result with all parties. Providing access to the property to conduct these necessary surveys does not authorize Sabal Trail to build a pipeline on the property and will not be used by Sabal Trail at anytime to imply that the landowner supports or agrees with the Project. Ultimately, Sabal Trail does have the authority to survey properties in accordance with state law. Each state allows access through its statutes regarding right of access to property for surveying purposes.

  • Alabama Code Section 18-1A-50 and 18-1A-51
  • Georgia statute O.C.G.A. 22-3-88
  • Florida statutes 472.029, 471.027 and 361.05
  • Sabal Trail will continue to work with each landowner in hopes of reaching agreement regarding these surveys and will remain open to consider reasonable conditions that may be specific to each parcel.

Before beginning negotiations for new permanent easement rights, Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC (Sabal Trail) retains the services of an independent real estate appraiser who has professional qualifications and is familiar with the project area. The appraiser will develop a market study of land values based on recent sales in the communities where we propose a new or expanded pipeline route.

Based upon the appraiser's market study, as well as other factors, Sabal Trail will determine the value (or compensation) for the necessary permanent and temporary easement rights. If permanent and/or temporary easement rights are necessary, a right-of-way agent will review the calculated values with the landowner in an effort to purchase the Grant of Easement and reach an agreement for compensation. After an agreement is reached on the amount of compensation and the language of the Grant of Easement, the easement agreement is executed and a check is issued by the right-of-way agent to the landowner.

Sabal Trail will compensate each landowner fairly for two different aspects relative to the property:

EASEMENT RIGHTS

Sabal Trail will pay fair market value for the rights and interest being acquired as it crosses the landowner's property. Sabal Trail also will pay a rental value for any additional land rights required on a temporary basis for use during construction.

DAMAGES

In accordance with the provisions contained in the easement or related agreements, Sabal Trail will pay for damages to any structures, landscaping or decorative trees directly impacted by the construction of the facilities. Sabal Trail will repair items, such as drain tiles, fences, streets, roads and driveways, and will restore the property as near as practicable to its pre-construction contours. If future maintenance activities are required on the easement, Sabal Trail will compensate the landowners for damages associated with that activity.

The permanent easement agreement will give Sabal Trail certain rights to construct, maintain and operate the pipeline, but the landowner will actually retain the ownership of the land covered by the easement. In most cases, the landowner's use of the land within the easement area, with certain limitations, will remain the same as before construction. If the property is sold, the rights and responsibilities under the easement will stay with the property under the new owner.

Temporary easement rights, obtained for construction purposes, typically will expire once the temporary workspace is re-established and stabilized consistent with the FERC approval. Upon expiration of these rights, the landowner will resume full use and ownership of the land.

Please be assured that Sabal Trail does not and will not use the eminent domain authority as a negotiating tool. We will only exercise that right as a means of last resort.

Sabal Trail begins each and every easement negotiation with the expectation that a mutual agreement can be reached with the landowner. In the unlikely event that Sabal Trail cannot reach an agreement with a landowner and must obtain the easement interests through the eminent domain process, a court will determine the appropriate compensation in a valuation proceeding. For further information, please refer to the FERC brochure "An Interstate Natural Gas Facility on My Land? What Do I Need to Know?" which can be found on the FERC's website at www.ferc.gov

The export of natural gas from the U.S. requires the approval of the U.S. Department of Energy. Sabal Trail is not seeking any such approval, nor is it aware that any of its shippers have or will request such authorization.

These domestic natural gas supplies are to fuel new domestic gas fired power plants that our customers are currently or plan to construct.

Route Determination

Generally, study corridors are established along the proposed routing options to determine the best possible locations for the pipeline facilities and potential workspace areas. The study corridors are typically 600-feet wide. However, once field evaluations are complete, the pipeline corridor will be reduced to a much narrower width that would be necessary to construct the pipeline. Typically, this is approximately a 50-foot easement and an additional 50-foot temporary construction workspace, totaling a 100-foot impact during construction.

When initially determining the path for the pipeline, Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC (Sabal Trail) determines the project requirements and obtains as much information as possible from detailed mapping and other data sources that depict existing utility corridors, sensitive environmental areas, residences and other land uses. Sabal Trail uses these resources to develop a study corridor and then contacts landowners along the corridor to request permission to survey their properties.

The surveys allow us to locate specific environmental and cultural resources, as well as significant land features or structures, which further define the pipeline routing within the study corridor.

Understanding the concerns and issues of all stakeholders is a key element of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ("FERC") pre-file process and providing permission for survey access, enhances our ability to fully evaluate and compare impacts with a proposed route and a landowner requested re-route. By not permitting Sabal Trail access to the property, it leaves Sabal Trail with the only option of eventually entering properties pursuant to state survey access laws.

The selection of the currently-proposed route was based upon multiple factors including, among other things: environmental impacts minimizing the amount of residential areas, minimizing the number of land owners affected, following existing utility corridors, avoiding infrastructure impacts, permitability and constructability.

The proposed pipeline route will continue to evolve as the process continues through ongoing discussions with agencies and other stakeholders, including further assessments of constructability, environmental impacts, and permitability of the options considered. Sabal Trail has reviewed numerous alternative routes, which are more fully described in draft Resource Report 10 – Alternatives. These alternatives addressed some of the suggested route alternatives raised during meetings with landowners, public informational meetings and open houses, FERC Scoping Meetings, as well as meetings and discussions with state and federal permitting agencies. The analysis of these route alternates are included in the FERC certificate application which was filed in November 2014.

Minor route changes to the Sabal Trail primary pipeline route are considered with the goal of minimizing overall impacts to the environment and stakeholders. Part of Sabal Trail's process in considering route alternatives includes communications, such as informational meetings and open houses, with various stakeholders, including government agencies, landowners, community leaders, interested citizens and elected officials about the Sabal Trail project. The specific details regarding a certain route’s viability for the Sabal Trail pipeline is provided in the formal application Resource Report 10 – Alternatives with FERC (Docket number CP15-17-000). Please refer to this application that was filed in November 2014 for the details on certain routes.

No, the proposed pipeline will not inhibit current and future residential and commercial development efforts. Sabal Trail is working closely with all parties to address their plans and avoid any disruption to plans for future development. This project will enhance future development with a greater reliability and flexibility of energy supply which is needed to support growth in the area. Spectra Energy has seen development and growth all along the existing pipeline systems. Throughout their approximately 19,100 miles of interstate transmission pipeline, Spectra Energy does not impede growth because Spectra Energy co-exists below ground as development continues to occur. Commercial and residential energy loads increase over time and having the pipeline there is a benefit.

Existing corridors are being used for the vast majority of the proposed route. When initially siting the pipeline route, Sabal Trail determined the Project requirements, including customer receipt and delivery points, and obtained as much information as possible about potential routes that may meet those requirements. Such information includes the location of existing facilities that could be paralleled, existing utility corridors, sensitive environmental areas, residences and other land uses. Sabal Trail then developed a study corridor that met the Project requirements and then contacted landowners along the study corridor to request permission to survey their properties. The surveys allowed Sabal Trail to identify specific environmental and cultural resources as well as significant land features or structures which further defined the Project routing within the study corridor.

A large portion of the proposed pipeline route is parallel and adjacent to existing power and pipeline corridors. As a result of the routing efforts stated above, Sabal Trail was able to position approximately 70 percent of the proposed route in commercial/industrial and collocated areas.

The FERC has stated that the co-location of pipelines with existing energy corridors reduces environmental impacts and that the FERC strives to achieve a balance between the benefits of co-location and the economic and land use impacts on individual landowners.

Sabal Trail has been in discussions regarding parallel facilities with representatives from respective companies. Sabal Trail will locate all existing utilities prior to construction and will take all necessary precautions to protect existing utilities during construction. Sabal Trail will review local records to identify existing utilities. The Pipeline Contractors will also contact the “Call Before You Dig” or “One Call” system, and state or local utility operators, to verify and identify all utilities along the Project workspaces to prevent damage to other buried facilities in the area. In the unlikely event any of these utilities are damaged during construction, the contractor will take immediate action to have them repaired.

Additional discussion regarding utility protection will be provided in draft Resource Report 11 – Reliability and Safety.

It is not uncommon to find pipelines in other parts of the country that are located in residential and urban areas and that are in close proximity to structures due to space constraints. USDOT regulations have no minimum set back requirements related to the proximity of homes, schools, hospitals and structures to the pipeline; however, in cases of close proximity thicker walled pipe may be required. 49 CFR Part 192 defines pipe class locations, which establish safety design factors that must be utilized to determine the required pipe wall thickness in every location. The pipe class location is based on population density and types of structures in the vicinity of the pipeline.

Additional information regarding pipeline design will be presented in draft Resource Report 11 – Reliability and Safety.

Construction through or near residential areas is undertaken to minimize adverse impacts on residents by ensuring that construction and restoration proceeds quickly and thoroughly. Additionally, landowners are notified prior to the commencement of construction, and work hours may be arranged to take landowners' needs into consideration. Site-specific construction plans typically are prepared to depict the temporary and permanent right-of-way, as well as any special construction techniques proposed for residences located within 25 feet of proposed construction work areas.

The FERC Guidance Manual For Environmental Report Preparation titled "Residential Areas" in Resource Report 8 states that FERC will allow residences to be within 25 feet of the construction work area - or actually within the construction work area itself, as long as a site specific plan is included in the FERC application. In these instances, special construction techniques would be necessary.

Given Sabal Trail's early surveys and route analysis, structures are being identified and avoided as much as possible.

Should they approve the project, FERC will issue a Certificate to construct particular route they deem as the route with minimal impacts to environment and stakeholders. To view our primary route, please click here.

Environmental and Regional Impact

Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC (Sabal Trail) is committed to protecting the environment. Wherever possible, the new pipeline will follow existing rights-of-way to substantially limit environmental impacts and effects to landowners. These development efforts are closely monitored by federal and state environmental agencies, requiring a number of permits, and Sabal Trail closely adheres to all applicable environmental standards to ensure its footprint is minimized.

Environmental aspects of the construction project are regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ("FERC"), which will review all plans and conduct its own environmental impact study of the project.

Sabal Trail is developing its pipeline route with the goal of minimizing overall impacts to the environment and stakeholders while balancing its constructability requirements along its primary pipeline route and potential alternatives to that route. Sabal Trail is committed to working with federal and state agencies and landowners to minimize issues and/or concerns related to its proposed facilities. The Sabal Trail project will be designed, constructed and operated in compliance with all applicable federal and state agencies' requirements for mitigation and monitoring of impacts to land, air, and water quality, as well as noise, including the requirements of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency, federal and state Historic Preservation Offices and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Potential impacts on rare and endangered animal species are similar to those that could occur to non-protected wildlife and primarily include disturbance to habitat. In an effort to minimize permanent impacts to wildlife and to promote the timely stabilization and revegetation of the disturbed areas, Sabal Trail will comply with FERC Plan and FERC Procedures minimizing disturbance to vegetation and providing for stabilization of impacted areas to mitigate direct and indirect impacts to wildlife.

Sabal Trail has initiated consultation with federal and state resource agencies relative to the presence of rare, threatened or endangered species along the Sabal Trail Project facilities and measures to implement to further protect those species. Sabal Trail will address the potential results of this consultation effort in draft Resource Report 3 – Vegetation and Wildlife and is committed to conducting any surveys deemed necessary by these agencies to confirm the presence or absence of protected species.

To minimize potential impacts, waterbodies, streams and rivers will be crossed as quickly and as safely as possible. Adherence to the approved construction procedures will ensure stream flow will be maintained throughout construction. There are four basic methods for crossing bodies of water. The techniques for each are site-specific:

OPEN-CUT WET-DITCH METHOD

The open-cut wet-ditch method consists of digging an open trench in the stream bottom, laying the prefabricated length of pipe necessary to reach bank to bank and then backfilling.

OPEN-CUT DRY-DITCH METHOD

The open-cut dry-ditch method uses flume pipe(s) to direct the stream through the disturbed area, which allows trenching to be done in drier conditions. Small sandbag dams are constructed both upstream and downstream around the work area across the stream channel. Stream flow is then diverted through the flume pipe, allowing the excavation to occur in the dry, under the flume pipe.

DAM & PUMP-AROUND METHOD

The pump-around method can act as a substitute to the open-cut dry-ditch method of construction. It may be employed on small, low-flow streams where the dry-ditch method cannot be employed because of site-specific conditions. In application, small sandbag dams are constructed both upstream and downstream around the work area across the stream channel. Stream flow is then diverted around the work area using pumps and hoses.

For more information on procedures to cross rivers and streams, please refer to the "How We Cross Rivers and Streams" document.

HORIZONTAL-DIRECTIONAL DRILLING (HDD) METHOD

Installation of a pipeline by HDD is generally accomplished in three stages:

  • The first stage consists of directionally drilling a small diameter pilot hole along a designed directional path. The path of the drilling string is tracked and directed using surface monitoring systems. The surface monitoring system determines the location of the drill bit in the hole by taking measurements from a grid or point on the surface. This allows the operator to follow the designed directional path.
  • he second stage involves enlarging the pilot hole to a diameter that will accommodate the pipeline. The enlargement process involves the use of hydraulic cutting with drill bits and jet nozzles and hydraulic motors (also called "mud motors") used to cut harder soils. It can take several passes to enlarge the hole to the required diameter, which is typically 12 inches larger than the pipeline being installed.
  • The third stage begins once the pilot hole is enlarged to the correct size. The section of pipe, prepared in advance, is pulled back through the hole using the horizontal-directional drilling unit.

When crossing topographic features, such as rivers, by means of HDD the construction activities are generally hundreds of feet from the feature being crossed. The minimum HDD length for the Sabal trail pipeline is approximately 2,000 feet. Often, the HDD lengths are significantly greater than the minimum length due to existing conditions on either side of the river. Generally, the feature being crossed is in the center of that length. This means that the disturbance due to construction activities will be several hundred to over a thousand feet from the banks of rivers depending on the width of the river and the final length of the HDD. There will be no shoreline damage caused by planned construction activities.

Natural gas is the cleanest of all the fossil fuels, as evidenced in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s data comparisons in the chart below, which is still current as of 2010. Composed primarily of methane, the main products of the combustion of natural gas are carbon dioxide and water vapor, the same compounds we exhale when we breathe. Coal and oil are composed of much more complex molecules, with a higher carbon ratio and higher nitrogen and sulfur contents. This means that when combusted, coal and oil release higher levels of harmful emissions, including a higher ratio of carbon emissions, nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide. Coal and fuel oil also release ash particles into the environment, substances that do not burn but instead are carried into the atmosphere and contribute to pollution. The combustion of natural gas, on the other hand, releases very small amounts of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, virtually no ash or particulate matter, and lower levels of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and other reactive hydrocarbons.

Fossil Fuel Emission Levels - Pounds per Billion Btu of Energy Input

Pollutant

Natural Gas

Oil

Coal

Carbon Dioxide

117,000

164,000

208,000

Carbon Monoxide

40

33

208

Nitrogen Oxides

92

448

457

Sulfur Dioxide

1

1,122

2,591

Particulates

7

44

2,744

Mercury

0.000

0.007

0.016

Source: EIA - Natural Gas Issues and Trends 1998

Natural gas, as the cleanest of the fossil fuels, can be used in many ways to help reduce the emissions of pollutants into the atmosphere. Burning natural gas in the place of other fossil fuels gives off fewer harmful pollutants, and an increased reliance on natural gas can potentially reduce the emission of many of these most harmful pollutants.

Pollutants let off in the U.S., particularly from the combustion of fossil fuels, have led to the development of many pressing environmental problems. Natural gas, emitting fewer harmful chemicals into the atmosphere than other fossil fuels, can help to alleviate some of these environmental issues. These issues include:

  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  • Smog, Air Quality and Acid Rain
  • Industrial and Electric Generation Emissions
  • Pollution from the Transportation Sector
  • More information on natural gas can be found at www.naturalgas.org

The Sabal Trail project, including compressor stations, were designed, constructed, and operated in compliance with all applicable federal and state agencies' requirements for mitigation and monitoring of impacts to land, air, and water quality, as well as noise, including the EPA, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency, federal and state Historic Preservation Offices, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. In addition, Sabal Trail is committed to working with federal and state agencies and landowners to minimize issues and/or concerns related to its proposed facilities. Details of the mitigation measures and monitoring applicable to specific facilities and specific agencies were provided in the draft Resource Reports filed by Sabal Trail in June 2014.

The construction and operation of the Sabal Trail pipeline will be in compliance with all applicable provisions of the Federal Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act, and will meet or exceed all federal safety requirements and regulations in the execution of the project.

No, there are no toxins associated with the construction or operation of the pipeline and; therefore, no water quality impacts will occur.

No, the construction and operation of the project facilities will not contaminate the soils or sediments. Because there are no toxins associated with the natural gas and the operations of the pipeline, there are no soil contamination issues. As discussed below, the construction plan will include provisions to prevent the release of fuels and other fluids from excavating equipment into the soil. Sabal Trail will not use any contaminants during the operation of the pipeline that will enter the soil.

No, the proposed pipeline will not inhibit current and future residential and commercial development efforts. Sabal Trail is working closely with all parties to address their plans and avoid any disruption to plans for future development. This project will enhance future development with a greater reliability and flexibility of energy supply which is needed to support growth in the area. Spectra Energy has seen development and growth all along the existing pipeline systems. Throughout their approximately 19,100 miles of interstate transmission pipeline, Spectra Energy does not impede growth because Spectra Energy co-exists below ground as development continues to occur. Commercial and residential energy loads increase over time and having the pipeline there is a benefit.

Permitting agencies, like FERC, provide guidelines to follow when developing a preliminary, desktop route. These guidelines, along with other readily available information (tax assessor information, environmental information, topographic data, etc.) are used to develop an approximate route that is then investigated on the ground to determine the viability of the route. The results of the field investigation and the various field surveys are used to define the primary route that Sabal Trail will propose to FERC for the proposed pipeline.

When initially siting the pipeline, Sabal Trail determined the project requirements, including customer receipt and delivery points, and obtained as much information as possible about potential routes that may meet those requirements. Such information includes detailed mapping and information from other data sources that depict the location of existing utility corridors, sensitive environmental areas, residences and other land uses, avoiding infrastructure impacts, permitability and constructability. When considering each of these factors, Sabal Trail adhered to its core value of safety.

Sabal Trail then used these resources to develop a study corridor that met the project requirements and then contacted landowners along the corridor to request permission to survey their properties. The surveys allowed Sabal Trail to identify specific environmental and cultural resources, as well as significant land features or structures which further defined the Project routing within the study corridor.

This route will continue to evolve as the process continues through ongoing discussions with agencies and other stakeholders, including further assessments of constructability and permitability of the options considered. Sabal Trail is currently reviewing several alternate routes, which will be more fully described in Draft Resource Report 10, which may alleviate some of the issues that were brought up at the scoping meetings. The analysis of these alternates will be completed in time to include for review in the FERC certificate application filing.

Natural gas transported on Sabal Trail may include supply from Pennsylvania and Texas. Sabal Trail's primary supply of gas will be from the Transco system located in Tallapoosa County, Alabama. It will also have the ability to receive gas from Gulfstream in Osceola County, Florida and FGT in Suwannee and Osceola Counties, Florida. There are no direct sources of supply located at those receipt points, but through upstream transportation on these and other interstate pipelines, shippers on Sabal Trail will be able to deliver Gulf Coast, Mid-Continent, Gulf of Mexico and Northeast supplies, including supply located in Pennsylvania and Texas, to the various delivery points on Sabal Trail. The actual supply source of gas delivered into Sabal Trail will depend on a number of factors including, the Project shippers' contract arrangements for upstream transportation of interstate natural gas to transport to Sabal Trail, the amount of production and cost of natural gas supplies from each source, and the demand for natural gas in other regions of the United States.

As for radon, it is a naturally-occurring gas which is generated from minerals in the earth. There is radon in the atmosphere, in the air in our homes, in our water and in the food we eat.

There is, and always has been, some level of radon in virtually all natural gas supplies. The presence of radon in natural gas is not unique to hydrofracking or the Marcellus Shale. The EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy (U.S. DOE) have both concluded that radon in natural gas does not pose a public health or safety risk.

An independent laboratory measured the levels of radon in Texas Eastern's system and in the natural gas supplied by Marcellus Shale producers. These samples confirmed that the level of radon in this natural gas is at or below the levels assumed in the EPA and U.S. DOE reports, and the level presents no significant health risk. Spectra Energy, a partner in Sabal Trail, funded the above study; however, the measurements were taken by an independent testing laboratory.

The U.S. Geological Survey issued a report on the results of testing for radon in the natural gas produced from 11 wells in Pennsylvania which further confirmed that the level of radon in Marcellus Shale gas is at or below the levels reported in the EPA, U.S. DOE and Texas Eastern studies and the levels present no significant health risk.

Through safe, reliable, and efficient operations we strive to reduce methane emissions and conserve marketable methane. Spectra Energy is committed to continuously improving the way we manage emissions from our facilities. Certain facilities that we operate are subject to mandatory greenhouse gas regulatory reporting requirements. In addition, we voluntarily collect and report greenhouse gas emissions, from all of Spectra Energy's transmission operations to create an inventory of emissions and emission sources from all our gas transmission operations. This also helps us to identify potential reduction opportunities and develop mitigation strategies. We encourage you to visit Spectra Energy's Sustainability website and review the one-pager on Methane.

Regulatory Oversight

FERC exclusively authorizes the construction of new interstate natural gas facilities. FERC is also the lead federal agency responsible for conducting environmental reviews of interstate natural gas projects in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act.

On November 21, 2014, Sabal Trail filed with FERC an application for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to construct and operate the Sabal Trail Project and was assigned docket number CP15-17-000. You may visit FERC’s website at www.FERC.gov and enter this docket number to follow the Sabal Trail Project.

Sabal Trail commenced the project in May 2013, and in October 2013, Sabal Trail entered into FERC’s “Pre-file” process under pre-file docket number PF14-1-999. During the Pre-file process, Sabal Trail held nearly 50 public meetings with landowners, public officials, government agencies and community members to provide information and gather input on the Sabal Trail Project. As part of its environmental review, FERC issued a notice of Intent to Prepare and Environmental Impact Statement for the Planned Southeast Markets Pipeline Project on February 18, 2014. FERC held 13 scoping meetings in order to gather input about the project from the public and other interested stakeholders. These scoping meetings allow FERC’s environmental staff to identify relevant issues and define or refine the scope of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and are part of the formal record of FERC’s proceeding on the project. The FERC process and the permitting processes of other federal and state agencies will allow interested stakeholders multiple opportunities to comment on the proposed pipeline project. FERC exclusively authorizes the construction of new interstate and natural gas facilities. FERC is also the lead federal agency responsible for conducting environmental reviews of interstate natural gas projects in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act.

Because the pipeline is an interstate line, it will be regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Office of Pipeline Safety. DOT's technical specifications and requirements that apply to construction, installation and operation of pipelines will be met or exceeded.

In addition to its FERC certificate application, Sabal Trail will seek review from numerous other federal and state agencies, including, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, state departments of environmental protection, as well as other state and local agencies.

  • Approval to use Pre-Filing Review Process - October 16, 2013
  • Landowner Informational Meetings - October - November 2013
  • File Draft Resource Reports 1 & 10 - November 2013
  • Public Open Houses - December 2013 - January 2014
  • FERC Scoping Meetings - March 2014
  • Submitted Draft Resource Reports - June 2014
  • File Certificate Application and Federal Permits - November 2014
  • FERC Certificate Issuance - November 2015
  • FERC Notice to Proceed - 1st Qtr 2016
  • Start of Construction - 2nd Qtr 2016
  • In-Service - May 1, 2017
  • Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC (Sabal Trail) is committed to informing and consulting with all affected stakeholders throughout project development and construction.

    The pre-filing process provides stakeholders with a number of opportunities to raise concerns and questions with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), including multiple agency and public meetings. This will enable incorporation of identified issues and concerns into the FERC Certificate Application and other permit applications, and will allow FERC to incorporate these issues or concerns into their review of the project and their National Environmental Policy Act environmental document.

    Sabal Trail encourages all interested persons to participate in the pre-filing process.

    For more information, please refer to the "Regulatory Process" document, which includes a detailed descriptor of every step in the regulatory process.

Operations and Safety

Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC (Sabal Trail) is dedicated to the safe, reliable operation of facilities and the protection of employees, the public and the environment.

Natural gas pipelines monitor and control safety in many ways and use many different tools. Collectively, these tools make natural gas transmission pipelines one of the safest forms of energy transportation. Sabal Trail's safety programs are designed to prevent pipeline failures, detect anomalies, perform repairs and often exceed regulatory requirements.

The U.S. Department of Transportation's ("USDOT") Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration ("PHMSA") oversees the safety of interstate natural gas pipelines and mandates minimum requirements, from the design and construction to testing, operations, maintenance and emergency response. The new pipeline will operate in strict accordance with all federal and state safety requirements.

Sabal Trail will work closely with local public safety officials to provide them with a thorough awareness of pipelines and pipeline safety.

Once the facilities are placed in service, Sabal Trail will implement operation procedures designed to monitor the pipeline 24 hours a day/7 days a week, and Sabal Trail maintains the facilities per applicable federal and state regulations.

To ensure our pipelines remain in safe and reliable operating condition, we employ a number of techniques - from high-tech monitoring at our gas control centers to foot patrols of pipeline right-of-ways.

  • Gas Control - Our high-tech computer control center is staffed 24-hours a day and monitors the flow of natural gas. As an added safety measure, remote control equipment is installed along the pipeline system, enabling us to operate valves remotely from gas control.
  • Gas Measurement - We precisely measure the quantity of natural gas along the pipeline as well as sample the natural gas at many sites to identify potential corrosive components.
  • Rectifiers and Cathodic Protection - Rectifiers transfer a regulated amount of current flow to the pipelines and receive electric current from AC sources like power lines. We check all rectifiers along the pipeline system every two months to ensure they are operating properly. Proper electric current flow along the surface of a pipeline impedes corrosive activity and prolongs the useful life of pipelines for many decades. The amount of current applied to the pipelines is harmless to humans, animals and plant life.
  • Above/Below Ground Coating Maintenance - Above and below ground pipeline facilities are protected by a coating that inhibits corrosion. Routine visual inspection of all above-ground facilities is conducted to determine if any coating damage or deterioration has occurred. During excavation or maintenance activities, we always inspect the coating for damage or deterioration.
  • Internal Pipe Cleaning - Our pipeline facilities are cleaned to minimize internal corrosion. Cleaning is conducted using devices called "pigs" that travel inside designated sections of the pipeline and remove liquids and debris from inside the pipe.
  • Inline Inspection - Inline inspections are performed with "smart pigs" which are mechanical tools that allow us to see the pipeline from the inside. These inline inspections can locate possible internal and external corrosion or other irregularities in the pipeline.
  • Ground Surveys - The pipeline right-of-way is patrolled in populated areas and some other areas of interest on foot and by vehicle. These ground surveys can reveal leaks and other potential issues.
  • Leak Surveys - We routinely perform leak surveys on all of our facilities. These leak surveys look for fugitive emissions of natural gas. Many miles of the pipeline are surveyed with ground surveying techniques and aerial patrols are also used.
  • Aerial Patrols - Company planes conduct aerial patrols of the pipeline right-of-ways at least once a week. The aerial patrol looks for ground changes, construction activities or other conditions that could affect the pipeline.
  • Waterway Inspections - Locations where the pipeline crosses waterways are inspected at the surface every year to check for bank erosion, visible pipeline exposure and natural gas leaks indicated by bubbles. Many waterway crossings are inspected at the bottom of the waterway each year by contract divers under our direction. These divers determine if the pipeline is adequately covered.
  • Right-of-Way Maintenance - Mowing and clearing the right-of-way allows us to patrol the area by ground and air to discover activity that could lead to pipeline damage. It also allows the company to easily discover leaks and natural earth movement that could damage the pipeline facilities.
  • Sign/Marker Maintenance - Markers and signs are posted along our pipeline right-of-ways to inform the public of the presence of the natural gas pipelines. The markers are placed at street and road crossings, railroad crossings and other significantly visible points along the right-of-way to reduce the possibility of damage to or interference with the pipeline.

      In densely populated areas, we frequently place the markers within "line of sight" proximity - this means the markers are so close together that you can see from one marker to the next. Markers and signs include our name and the phone number to call if any abnormal condition or suspicious activity is detected that would threaten the integrity of the pipeline. In addition, 1 foot below natural grade, we install a bright yellow warning ribbon reflecting the location of the pipeline to notify potential excavators of the pipe's location.

      With regard to safety, the Sabal Trail pipeline project is a joint venture between affiliates of Spectra Energy Partners (Spectra Energy) and NextEra Energy. Accordingly, the Sabal Trail project will be designed, constructed and operated by a Spectra Energy entity, Sabal Trail Management, LLC. With this extensive corporate interstate transmission experience, the Sabal Trail pipeline will be designed, constructed and operated, in accordance with the USDOT PHMSA. Pursuant to the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act, as amended, PHMSA has exclusive jurisdiction over the design and safety of interstate natural gas pipelines and its associated facilities. In addition, Sabal Trail will utilize specifications, standards and practices for the design, construction and operation of its facilities that meet or exceed these federal requirements. PHMSA routinely conducts inspections of pipeline construction, operation, maintenance and integrity management to verify that pipeline operators comply with pipeline safety regulations. Each year, PHMSA conducts inspections on pipeline facilities. These inspections are conducted for the following purposes:

      • Verify that procedures as written are compliant with regulations;
      • Observe the operator and ensure that its procedures are being followed and validate this through documentation; and
      • Observe above ground pipeline and facility conditions.

      PHMSA has a number of enforcement options if it identifies safety concerns, finds noncompliance or if there is an incident. To learn more about pipeline safety and regulations, visit the PHMSA website at www.phmsa.dot.gov.

Safety is at the forefront of all we do. We have a strong safety record. Over the past five years, the incident rate for Spectra Energy's onshore pipelines in the U.S. is half of that in the industry as a whole. While we already have a strong safety record, our goal is zero incidents. No incident is acceptable. Spectra Energy works closely with federal and state regulators to ensure safe, reliable natural gas for Americans and inspects more pipeline annually than required by state and federal regulations. We also are committed to being a good neighbor in the communities that host our facilities.

Over the past five years, the USDOT PHMSA has inspected our pipelines on average 15 to 20 weeks per year. Since 2009, Spectra Energy's natural gas pipelines have received 22 enforcement actions from USDOT PHMSA – 14 of which were offshore. These include: six Warning Letters, seven Notices of Amendment, and nine Notices of Proposed Violation. To put these numbers in perspective, during this same period USDOT PHMSA issued 398 Warning Letters, 331 Notices of Amendment and 327 Notices of Probably Violation to the industry.

Below are the common issues found in most of these enforcement actions:

  • Incorrect Documentation - Many of the documentation issues are related to a change from paper forms to the electronic recording of work, and the field personnel's understanding of how to use the electronic system. Other documentation issues include entering incorrect values or failure to sign the forms.
  • Timing Issues - The amount of time to remediate low cathodic protection levels or conduct other required activities. For example, the regulations require "prompt" remediation for low cathodic protection levels. USDOT PHMSA is now enforcing "prompt" as being remediated within 1 year, even though the regulations don't specify 1 year. Over the past few years, USDOT PHMSA has started to enforce their 1-year expectation.
  • Procedural Detail - Numerous findings were related to USDOT PHMSA's perception that the level of detail in our procedures was not adequate.
  • Additional Documentation - A number of findings are related to USDOT's higher expectations for documentation of work performed.

In summary, no enforcement action is acceptable. All of these notices from the USDOT have been or are being addressed, and we continually strive to improve our documentation, procedures and programs.

Spectra Energy has gone well beyond the integrity management threshold required by PHMSA, starting with extremely demanding practices across its entire system, not just within the required 'high consequence areas.'

Spectra Energy's integrity management program also includes detailed risk analysis, integrity assessments that utilize in-line inspections and pressure testing, field investigations, scheduled maintenance, and ongoing evaluation, innovation and improvements.

Spectra Energy has also implemented tremendous technological developments in a number of important areas, including the pipe manufacturing process, advanced detection tools, corrosion prevention, testing methods, in-line inspection and the implementation of remote control valves that enable immediate shutdown as needed.

Spectra Energy is employing best practices and the most advanced safety precautions in the design, construction and operation of the Sabal Trail pipeline project, and Spectra Energy representatives are engaging with regulatory agencies, elected officials and all interested parties to ensure all concerns and suggestions are addressed.

Spectra Energy has gone well beyond the integrity management threshold required by PHMSA, starting with extremely demanding practices across its entire system, not just within the required 'high consequence areas.'

Spectra Energy's integrity management program also includes detailed risk analysis, integrity assessments that utilize in-line inspections and pressure testing, field investigations, scheduled maintenance, and ongoing evaluation, innovation and improvements.

Spectra Energy has also implemented tremendous technological developments in a number of important areas, including the pipe manufacturing process, advanced detection tools, corrosion prevention, testing methods, in-line inspection and the implementation of remote control valves that enable immediate shutdown as needed.

Spectra Energy is employing best practices and the most advanced safety precautions in the design, construction and operation of the Sabal Trail pipeline project, and Spectra Energy representatives are engaging with regulatory agencies, elected officials and all interested parties to ensure all concerns and suggestions are addressed.

Compressor stations will be equipped with emergency shutdown systems designed to quickly isolate the stations from the pipeline and vent gas within the station in the unlikely event of an emergency. Mainline block valves will also be spaced in accordance with USDOT's regulations. Mainline block valves will be equipped for remote operation from Spectra Energy's control room in Houston, Texas, in accordance with USDOT regulation. Completion of the detailed design is required to finalize the specifics of pipeline valve design.

The maximum operating pressure of the Sabal Trail pipeline project is planned to be 1,456 psig (pounds per square inch). The project will have an initial capacity of 800,000 dekatherms per day (Dth/d) with an in-service date beginning May 1, 2017. Through a series of phased compressor expansions to meet the future capacity needs of Sabal Trail's shippers, the project capacity will increase to approximately 1.1 million Dth/d by 2021.

The pipeline will be buried a minimum of 3 feet (36"), per Spectra Energy standards, beneath the ground surface (measured to the top of the pipeline). The burial depth of the pipeline in cultivated fields will be determined during discussions with the landowner/tenant farmer to ensure the pipeline will be operated safely and will not hinder farming activities.

Sabal Trail will maintain the right-of-way. Once the pipeline becomes operational, the company will manage a thorough inspection schedule.

Prior to construction, Sabal Trail will coordinate its construction activities for road crossings and emergency response with the affected counties and municipalities. Additionally, the construction contractor is required to file an Emergency Response Plan with Sabal Trail that details the locations of hospitals, helicopter landing zones, emergency responder contacts, emergency vehicle ingress and egress routes, etc. At the construction site, there will be personnel trained to handle emergencies on site to the best of their ability. Adequate first-aid kits will always be on site.

Alabama, Georgia and Florida each have a state-wide one-call system in place that requires anyone who intends to dig on private or public property to make a call to a single toll-free number so that existing utilities can be located and marked in the area of any proposed excavation. While most utilities contract out the marking of the location of their facilities, Spectra Energy does not. Spectra Energy personnel will go out and physically mark the location of the pipeline and be on site while any work is being done near the pipeline.

Spectra Energy will also closely monitor the pipeline right-of-way when the pipeline is built and in operation. Spectra Energy personnel will drive or walk the right-of-way three times a week looking for construction activities near the pipeline. For all excavation activities near the Spectra Energy facilities the entity is advised about the location of the pipeline and the protocol to be followed should they perform any work near the pipeline.

Following construction, the location of the pipeline will be identified with plastic pipe markers in line of sight or when the pipeline is under pavement, circular decals will be installed over the pipeline. In addition, approximately 12-inches below natural grade, bright yellow ribbon 24-inches wide will be placed directly over the pipeline warning of the location of the pipeline and providing a toll free number to dial. The yellow ribbon serves as another visual warning of the presence of a natural gas pipeline.

During the construction phase all inspections occur in advance of the pipeline being buried. Once the pipeline is place in-service, it is not typically necessary to excavate the pipeline for inspection; therefore, there will be no impact to residents. In-service inspection is performed using an inline inspection tool investigating the pipeline from the inside. Should any excavation occur, Sabal Trail will contact the surrounding landowners and advise them in advance of any excavation taking place and address any concerns. Once the excavation occurs, Sabal Trail will restore the area.

There is always certain level of inherent risk in our daily activities as a society; however, Sabal Trail recognizes and strongly believes that safety and the well-being of the citizens of the communities where we live and operate is of the utmost importance. As a result, the potential risks must be identified and mitigated. The likelihood that there would be a failure in the project pipeline as a result of negligence on the part of Sabal Trail third-party damage, terrorism or an act of God are very minimal and no greater than the risks residents along the route are exposed to in their daily lives.

Nonetheless, to provide effective mitigation of these risks Spectra Energy incorporates multiple safeguards into the construction, operation and maintenance activities associated with our natural gas transmission pipeline system.

Sabal Trail will participate proactively with various activities in close collaboration with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Transportation Safety Administration ("TSA") and key industry groups in the area of security.

Some of the key highlights are listed below:

  • Comply with the TSA's Pipeline Security Division's Security Guidelines, which are also known as smart practices.
  • Comply with the new guidelines once they are published.
  • Participate in monthly intelligence meetings both with Department of Homeland Security's Intelligence Program, and also with TSA's Pipeline Security Division's monthly update conference calls.
  • Attend classified briefings with Department of Homeland Security for the industry, annually and as-needed.
  • Participate in TSA's 1-STEP Program which conducts extensive, robust, tabletop crisis management drills. Spectra Energy was the first natural gas pipeline company to participate in the 1-STEP Program. Spectra Energy's scenario was a VBIED (Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device) at metering and regulating Station 058. Spectra Energy has received high marks from TSA for its performance.
  • Chair the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America Security Committee and participate in the American Gas Association Security Committee, as well as the Oil and Natural Gas Sector Coordinating Council's Pipeline Working Group. All of these activities allow Spectra Energy to frequently coordinate with Department of Homeland Security/TSA.
  • Participate in the production of a new video, sponsored by TSA, aimed at training law enforcement officers to respond to security events at pipe line facilities.
  • Participate, annually, in TSA's International Pipeline Security Forum.
  • Report every suspicious incident to the Transportation Security Operations Center, which is an arm of TSA.
  • Conduct major crisis management drills, at least annually, within the company.

The potential for gas leaks is very minimal. The Project pipeline and associated aboveground facilities will be designed, constructed, maintained and operated to meet or exceed the safety requirements exclusively governed by the USDOT. Pipelines and related facilities are designed and maintained with strict adherence to USDOT standards to ensure public safety, and reliability, and to minimize the opportunity for system failure or leaks. Sabal Trail will conduct leak detection surveys along its pipeline systems at prescribed intervals to ensure that the pipeline is leak free, as required by the USDOT. Sabal Trail will also periodically conduct additional surveys to identify any anomalies on its pipelines.

Pipe material is both strong and ductile and the wall thickness for the project facilities will meet or exceed USDOT standards. Each piece of pipe is welded together and each weld is carefully x-rayed to detect any flaws. The entire pipeline is coated with corrosion resistant fusion bonded epoxy to prevent corrosion. The coating material is protected by a technology called cathodic protection. The cathodic protection system impresses a low voltage current to the pipeline to off-set natural soil and groundwater corrosion potential. The functional capability of cathodic protection systems are inspected frequently to ensure proper operating conditions for corrosion mitigation.

The pipeline is pressurized with water to a pressure that is much higher than the operating pressure to verify the pipeline integrity. Prior to placing the pipeline in service, Sabal Trail's operating personnel will patrol the entire pipeline looking for any issues or concerns. While the pipeline is in service, it will be patrolled by operating personnel at least three times a week which exceeds the regulatory requirement.

The Project's pipeline facilities will be equipped with Remote Control Valves. This safety feature allows the valves to be operated remotely by Gas Control in the event of an emergency, usually evidenced by a sudden loss of pressure on the pipeline. Remotely closing the valve allows any leaking or damaged section of the pipeline to be isolated from the rest of the pipeline system. Gas Control also continuously monitors the pressure of the pipeline every few minutes, 24 hours a day/365 days a year, and sends operations personnel to investigate should a change in the pressure be experienced.

Safeguards will be put in place to mitigate any potential damages caused by negligence by third-parties excavating close to the vicinity of the proposed pipeline. These safeguards include the notification requirements of the One-Call System, the various types of markers and signage that Spectra Energy uses to indicate the location of our pipeline, the patrol of the pipeline at a frequency exceeding requirements mandated by the regulations as well as the toughness of our pipe material. Additionally, if there is excavation occurring near a Spectra Energy pipeline, Spectra Energy operational personnel will remain on site during the work near the pipeline to ensure there is no risk of damage to Spectra Energy's facilities. Spectra Energy also has a very proactive outreach program which includes, but is not limited to local meetings and mail-outs to ensure that the public is aware of our presence.

To better quantify past pipeline incidents it is important to understand the different types of products or substances that are transported within a pipeline, how that pipeline is regulated, as well as its intended operating function.

Pipelines are used to transport a variety of different types of products through a pipe. However the most common use is for liquids and gases. For the energy sector, a pipeline can be used to transport crude oil, refined products or natural gas. Each of these types of pipelines are subject to differing regulatory requirements and regulating agencies.

The statistics on pipeline incidents and consequences are often lumped into one generic "pipeline" category so it is important to compare apples to apples when assessing the risk for an individual type of pipeline.

Based on operating function, there are also different types of pipelines, including gathering, transporting and distributing:

  • Gathering Pipelines - are a group of smaller interconnected pipelines forming complex networks with the purpose of bringing crude oil or natural gas from several nearby wells to a treatment plant or processing facility. In this group, pipelines are usually short - a couple of hundred meters - and with small diameters. Also sub-sea pipelines for collecting product from deepwater production platforms are considered gathering systems. These facilities are typically regulated by the individual state agencies governing gas and electric utilities and by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement (formerly, the U.S. Minerals Management Service).
  • Transmission Pipelines - are mainly long pipes with large diameters, moving products between cities, countries and even continents. These transportation networks include several compressor stations in gas lines or pump stations for crude and multi-products pipelines. These facilities are typically regulated by FERC and USDOT.
  • Distribution Pipelines - are composed of several interconnected pipelines with small diameters, used to take the products to the final consumer, including feeder lines to distribute gas to homes and businesses downstream. Pipelines at terminals for distributing products to tanks and storage facilities are also included in this group. These facilities are typically regulated by the individual state agencies governing gas and electric utilities.
  • Spectra Energy operates interstate natural gas transmission pipelines. Interstate natural gas pipelines are typically long, large diameter pipelines that cross state and international boundaries to transport and deliver products. Intrastate pipelines are typically smaller diameter pipelines that provide product deliveries within an individual state's borders.

As noted above, Spectra Energy employs multiple safeguards from design to operation and maintenance to ensure incidents do not occur on our transmission pipeline system. There also have been a number of changes in regulations, technology, and procedures:

Changes in regulations:

  • Mandatory State One Call Systems: http://www.call811.com
  • National One Call Program
  • Damage Prevention Program requirements.
  • Integrity management programs requiring threat evaluation, risk mitigation, periodic inspection and improved pipeline marking.

Improvements in technology:

  • Greatly improved technology in properties of pipe developed to prevent puncture and crack propagation.
  • Enhanced In Line Inspection ("ILI") technology to detect damage.

Improvements in procedures:

  • Active Participant in State and National One Call System.
  • Spectra Energy's Representatives respond to one call requests and remain present during all third-party excavation around the pipeline.
  • Pipeline patrolled at a frequency that significantly exceeds USDOT requirements.
  • Spectra Energy's Standard Operating Procedures ("SOPs") and Operations and Maintenance ("O&M") Plan actively manage risks and meet/exceed US DOT requirements.
  • Cathodic Protection Systems utilized to protect pipelines from external corrosion.
  • ILI program identifies metal loss and dents in the pipe that require repair and validates effectiveness of cathodic protection systems.
  • Extensive Public Awareness and Industrial Liaison Program, including the yearly mailing to inform the public about pipelines in the area.
  • Remote Control Valves ("RCVs") used extensively in heavily populated areas to facilitate rapid response.
  • Spectra Energy monitors the pipeline systems at its gas control center, which is staffed 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Natural gas pipeline operators are required by PHMSA to develop emergency response plans designed to minimize the consequences of a pipeline failure. Operators must also educate local emergency responders on a periodic basis, and have public awareness requirements for informing those living near a pipeline.

Sabal Trail’s operating personnel will develop, maintain and implement emergency response plans. Sabal Trail will work closely with local, state and federal agencies to ensure our pipelines meet or exceed regulatory requirements for safety. Sabal Trail will also communicate regularly with members of the public who live or work near our pipelines, and we will collaborate with organizations that share our dedication to pipeline safety and public awareness. Periodically, Sabal Trail employees and local emergency response personnel will come together for emergency drills to test staff readiness and identify improvement opportunities.

As part of our public awareness program, and in accordance with USDOT regulations, Sabal Trail will establish a working relationship early on with emergency responders to ensure effective communication, education, and training.

Sabal Trail will also coordinate efforts with pipeline companies already working with first responders in the area to ensure effective and efficient communications.

The Sabal Trail 36-inch diameter pipeline has a maximum allowable operating pressure (“MAOP”) of 1,456 psig. The potential impact radius (“PIR”) for this pipeline is 948 feet. PIR is required to be calculated by the USDOT regulations primarily to define where the potential consequences of a pipeline rupture would be most significant in order to define high consequence areas (“HCA”) adding additional operational and precautionary measures as part of the Integrity Management Regulations for natural gas pipelines.

In order to determine the PIR area if the pipeline were to be breached is difficult to answer without knowing all the relevant variables. Moreover, it is important to note that multiple layers of safeguards will be incorporated into the design, construction, inspection and operation of the proposed pipeline to diminish the probability for such an event. These safeguards will either meet or often exceed all applicable requirements mandated by the USDOT, which has exclusive jurisdiction over the safety regulation of interstate pipelines.

Construction and Design

Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC (Sabal Trail) commits great care, thoughtful planning, stewardship and safe work practices to building the network of pipelines.

The typical construction ROW or work space width in upland areas is 100 feet and that is reduced down to 75 feet in wetlands as described in the FERCs' Wetland and Waterbody Construction and Mitigation Procedures ("FERC Procedures"). The purpose of reducing to 75 feet in wetlands is to minimize disturbance to protected waters. The boundaries of the construction ROW will be accurately marked by surveyors and Sabal Trail and its contractors will not be allowed to perform any work outside those boundaries without the approval of FERC and the landowner. There will be clearing, grading, ditching, stringing, welding, lowering and backfill activities inside the ROW.

During construction, pipe sections, approximately 40-60 feet in length, are welded together, then visually inspected and nondestructively x-ray tested to verify the integrity of the weld. The pipeline is cathodically protected when it is placed in the ground. Cathodic protection is the process of applying a safe, low voltage direct current to all surfaces of the pipeline to prevent corrosion. A grounding system is installed to protect the pipeline in areas where it parallels high-voltage electric power lines.

After the pipeline has been installed and tested, final cleanup and re-vegetation will be conducted to restore the ROW. In upland areas, the permanent ROW will be subjected to mowing every 3 years where the terrain allows or mechanical or hand cutting various woody species. However, to facilitate periodic corrosion surveys a 10-foot-wide strip centered on the pipeline may be mowed annually to maintain herbaceous growth. The pipeline will remain within a permanent 50-foot-wide easement.

Additional information regarding the configuration of the ROW will be provided in draft Resource Report 1 – General Project Description.

As an additional safety measure, the pipeline is hydrostatically tested at a high pressure before being placed into service. During hydrostatic testing, the pipeline is filled with water and pressurized to levels greater than the maximum allowable operating pressure. The test pressure is maintained for a minimum of eight hours to confirm the integrity of the pipeline.

Sabal Trail pipelines are generally installed with a minimum of 3 feet of soil coverage on top of the pipe.

Below, please find the construction procedures that are followed:

WELDING & NONDESTRUCTIVE INSPECTION

Once the individual pipe joints are bent to fit the trench, they are welded together. The welding is highly controlled and performed by qualified welders using approved welding procedures.

Each weld made on the pipeline is visually inspected and radiographs or ultrasonic images by way of x-ray are processed on-site to ensure the integrity of every weld.

COATING

Specialized epoxy coating is applied to each of the weld joint areas after the radiographic inspection is complete and the weld has been approved. The coating on the entire pipe section is electronically checked to ensure satisfaction.

HYDROSTATIC TESTING

As various long sections are completed and backfilled, they are filled with water and pressurized to a point one and a half times higher than the maximum pressure at which the pipe will be allowed to operate. This test pressure is held for a minimum of eight continuous hours.

CLEANUP & RESTORATION

Restoration begins as soon as the pipe is backfilled and continues until the construction work area is fully restored as close as possible to its original state. Temporary workspaces will be allowed to return to their previous state.

Construction is scheduled to commence in June 2016 and be completed by March 2017. The construction of each segment of the pipeline will vary but typically the majority of the work will be conducted in discrete areas over a period of 4 to 8 weeks. This duration will vary based upon features that are being crossed at each location. There will be some areas where construction will take longer based upon construction techniques and existing conditions, such as in areas where the HDD method will be utilized. Sabal Trail will work with each specific landowner along the route to help define the extent of construction on the landowner’s property.

There are four basic methods for crossing bodies of water. The techniques for each are site-specific:

OPEN-CUT WET-DITCH METHOD

The open-cut wet-ditch method consists of digging an open trench in the stream bottom, laying the prefabricated length of pipe necessary to reach bank to bank and then backfilling.

OPEN-CUT DRY-DITCH METHOD

The open-cut dry-ditch method uses flume pipe(s) to direct the stream through the disturbed area, which allows trenching to be done in drier conditions. Small sandbag dams are constructed both upstream and downstream around the work area across the stream channel. Stream flow is then diverted through the flume pipe, allowing the excavation to occur in the dry, under the flume pipe.

DAM & PUMP-AROUND METHOD

The pump-around method can act as a substitute to the open-cut dry-ditch method of construction. It may be employed on small, low-flow streams where the dry-ditch method cannot be employed because of site-specific conditions. In application, small sandbag dams are constructed both upstream and downstream around the work area across the stream channel. Stream flow is then diverted around the work area using pumps and hoses.

For more information on procedures to cross rivers and streams, please refer to the How We Cross Rivers and Streams" document.

HORIZONTAL-DIRECTIONAL DRILLING (HDD) METHOD

Installation of a pipeline by HDD is generally accomplished in three stages:

  • The first stage consists of directionally drilling a small diameter pilot hole along a designed directional path. The path of the drilling string is tracked and directed using surface monitoring systems. The surface monitoring system determines the location of the drill bit in the hole by taking measurements from a grid or point on the surface. This allows the operator to follow the designed directional path.
  • The second stage involves enlarging the pilot hole to a diameter that will accommodate the pipeline. The enlargement process involves the use of hydraulic cutting with drill bits and jet nozzles and hydraulic motors (also called "mud motors") used to cut harder soils. It can take several passes to enlarge the hole to the required diameter, which is typically 12 inches larger than the pipeline being installed.
  • The third stage begins once the pilot hole is enlarged to the correct size. The section of pipe, prepared in advance, is pulled back through the hole using the horizontal-directional drilling unit.

Up to 1 foot (12 inches) of top soil for the entire width of the construction right-of-way will be removed and stock piled along the edge of the right-of-way. The top soil will be returned and graded over the right-of-way as the final step in restoration.

In agricultural and residential areas, topsoil will be stripped and stockpiled separately from the subsoil during grading. There may be some areas where the construction right-of-way is limited and topsoil will need to be stockpiled offsite. Topsoil will be replaced with appropriate imported material as required. The mixing of topsoil with subsoil will be minimized by using topsoil segregation construction methods in wetlands (except when standing water or saturated soils are present). Rock will be removed from all actively cultivated or rotated agricultural land. The size, density and distribution of rock left in construction work areas should be similar to adjacent areas not disturbed by construction, unless otherwise approved in writing by the landowner.

We recognize the value of agricultural areas, and Sabal Trail will work diligently with each landowner/tenant farmer to determine any construction requirements specific to each tract of land.

Sabal Trail will install its pipeline with at least 3 feet of cover over the pipeline in accordance with their specifications. In agricultural areas, Sabal Trail will install the pipeline at greater depths to allow the continued use of the field consistent with the needs of the landowner.

Our common practices for pipeline construction in agricultural areas include:

  • Working closely with farmers, Natural Resources Conservation Service and local agricultural extension organizations
  • Consideration of the types of tilling practices currently utilized
  • Performing top soil segregation during construction which includes restoration and decompaction in order to return the area to pre-construction conditions
  • Location and avoidance of irrigation pipes, water, drain tiles, and electrical
  • Assisting landowners/tenant farmers with livestock management during construction
  • Performing typical pest and noxious weed control to insure that the area disturbed by construction is the same as the surrounding area

Sabal Trail representatives will notify affected landowners well before construction begins, and the inspection team will closely monitor all activities to ensure that the terms of the easement and agreed upon restrictions are adhered to.

Generally, a width of 100 feet of work area will be required for construction of the pipeline. This includes both the permanent right-of-way and temporary workspace. Additional workspace may also be necessary. In certain circumstances, the workspace may be narrowed or expanded for short distances.

When the pipeline is constructed or expanded, temporary workspace will be needed adjacent to and along the permanent right-of-way. The width of the temporary workspace will vary depending upon the local topography and/or sensitive resource areas in the vicinity of the construction. In certain areas, additional temporary workspace may be required to create safe working environments or to accommodate special crossing techniques required by permit conditions.

These areas may include rocky or sloping terrain, as well as street, road, stream, railroad or wetland crossings. Sabal Trail will work with each landowner who is directly affected by the proposed construction to negotiate fair compensation for the permanent right-of-way and temporary workspace.

Some disruption to property is unavoidable during construction and certain damages may result. In all such cases, each landowner will be fairly compensated for any damages.

Early on, it is very important to identify to Sabal Trail any structures to ensure they are not impacted by construction. In certain areas, blasting is necessary to create the trench. All blasting will be performed by registered licensed blasters, in accordance with all appropriate state and local approvals, and monitored by blasting inspectors.

In the unlikely event that Sabal Trail's construction directly causes any damage to a structure, Sabal Trail will either repair the damage or fairly compensate the owner for the damages.

Following pipeline installation, all disturbed areas will be returned as close as possible to the original contours.

Temporary workspace will be allowed to return to its original state. The entire work area will be restored in compliance with all applicable federal, state and local permits.

All temporary fencing and gates required during construction will be removed. All fences will be restored as near as practicable to pre-construction condition.

Sabal Trail’s right-of-way agents will be available throughout restoration to respond to landowner questions and concerns. After the landowner and right-of-way agent have reviewed the restoration, Sabal Trail will return to review and evaluate any follow-up issues or concerns.

While Sabal Trail will maintain the permanent right-of-way per the Grant of Easement, temporary work areas will revert to the property owner following construction and restoration.

Any local lighting for nighttime activities will be pointed down toward the work area and not up in the air.

Only survey activities are occurring at this time. Construction of the pipeline and related facilities cannot begin until authorization is received from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ("FERC") and all necessary permits and environmental clearances have been obtained from federal, state and local agencies. These numerous authorizations and permits are expected to be issued in early 2016 and construction is not scheduled to commence until the first half of 2016.

Sabal Trail will use a combination of mechanized and manual welding for the field welding on the pipeline. Each field will be ultrasonically or x-ray inspected to ensure each weld meets or exceeds all federal safety requirements and regulations.

It has been Sabal Trail's experience that the U.S. Department of Transportation ("USDOT") and FERC representatives will perform inspections and audits of significant pipeline construction projects, such as this project. When USDOT's representatives inspect and/or perform audits on projects, they examine criteria, such as the design of the pipeline, the selection of pipe and its material characteristics, welding, hydrostatic testing just to name a few. USDOT's representatives want to verify that all the aspects mentioned above are in full compliance with the regulations. FERC's representatives typically make frequent visits to the work site to ensure that the project team is fully adhering to all the conditions and requirements mandated by FERC for the project. Sabal Trail will also implement a comprehensive quality assurance program, including multiple on-site inspectors, to assure the work performed by the contractor is conducted in accordance with the project plans, specifications, regulations and permit conditions.

For the most part, public roads will not be directly affected by construction activities as they will be bored under using either HDD or conventional jack and bore methods. However, equipment, materials and work force will utilize public roads to go to and from the job site. It is not expected that this will have a dramatic effect on the everyday traffic flow. In heavily traffic congested areas, there may be requirements by local authorities that some sections of the pipeline be constructed at night to minimize interruptions to the traffic flow or in order to complete construction faster. Where the flow of traffic is affected by construction activities, a traffic control plan will be provided to the local authorities for approval and implementation.

Traffic engineers with experience in the local area will design site-specific traffic control plans that will be coordinated with local authorities. The traffic control plans will be designed to minimize the disruption of local traffic patterns and ensure maintenance of the traffic flow with safe driving conditions along the pipeline route during construction. Pipeline construction within roadways is typically accomplished in a manner that avoids road closures. Traffic will be directed by police or flaggers past the work area, which will typically be in one lane of the roadway. Emergency access for fire and police will be a priority of the traffic control plan as will insuring any residents of the area will be able to access their homes.

While there is no code mandating minimum distances a pipeline can be constructed from structures, in the context of pipeline routing and construction, residential areas are generally defined as areas where residential structures are located within 50 feet of the construction work areas, as well as land classified as residential yard, subdivision and approved planned residential development.

Construction through or near residential areas is undertaken to minimize adverse impacts on residents by ensuring that construction and restoration proceeds quickly and thoroughly. Additionally, landowners are notified prior to the commencement of construction, and work hours may be arranged to take landowners' needs into consideration. Site-specific construction plans typically are prepared to depict the temporary and permanent right-of-way, as well as any special construction techniques proposed for residences located within 25 feet of proposed construction work areas.

The FERC Guidance Manual For Environmental Report Preparation titled "Residential Areas" in Resource Report 8 states that FERC will allow residences to be within 25 feet of the construction work area - or actually within the construction work area itself, as long as a site specific plan is included in the FERC application. In these instances, special construction techniques would be necessary.

Given Sabal Trail's early surveys and route analysis, structures are being identified and avoided as much as possible.

The distance of the project from houses and structures vary along the proposed pipeline route. The pipeline will be designed with consideration to the proximity of dwellings; however, there are locations where the pipeline will be closer than 200 feet to a house. USDOT mandates the design of any pipeline based on Class Locations (i.e. Class 1, 2, 3 and 4) depending on the types of structures and human occupancy close to the pipeline.

Sabal Trail anticipates that rock excavation and/or rock blasting during construction activities will not be required or will be minimal. If blasting is necessary, pre-blast and post-blast inspections/surveys will be performed if construction is within 200 feet of any structure, with the permission of the owner. Blasting mats or soil cover will be used as necessary to prevent the scattering of loose rock. All blasting will be conducted during daylight hours and will not begin until occupants of nearby buildings, stores, residences and places of business have been notified. Sabal Trail will obtain the required permits and comply with applicable regulations applying to blasting and blast vibration limits with regard to structures and underground utilities.

Sabal Trail does not anticipate any impacts to the existing utilities or other pipelines during construction or maintenance of the project facilities. Sabal Trail will obtain maps of the existing utilities and meet with appropriate municipal engineers and planners to assess different construction options to minimize impacts to these utilities.

Sabal Trail will continue to meet with engineers and planners as the route is further refined to ensure it has accurate information of utility location. Prior to excavating (during construction and maintenance), each utility will be located to determine its horizontal and vertical location so the pipeline can be installed without impacts to the existing infrastructure. Should any damage occur, such as utilities that were not identified, they will be immediately repaired to the satisfaction of the municipality or company that owns the utility.

Once the pipeline is in-service, Sabal Trail will continue to work with municipality to identify any modifications to existing utilities which could affect pipeline maintenance activities.

Spectra Energy has co-existed with utilities for more than 60 years and maintenance of the pipeline in both urban and rural areas has not had an adverse impact on utilities or surrounding businesses.

Sabal Trail representatives will notify affected landowners and/or tenants of the actual timing of construction as far in advance as possible, and the inspection team will closely monitor all activities to ensure that they adhere to the terms of the easement and agreed-upon restrictions. The early notification will include a general timeline and description of construction activities in order to allow the landowner to schedule activities with construction in mind and detailed information on how to contact Sabal Trail with any construction related concerns.

During construction a Sabal Trail right-of-way agent will be readily available on short notice to address any construction questions or concerns landowners may have. The right-of-way agent will also be responsible for following up on these questions and concerns and will respond to inquiries within 48 hours.

During construction of the proposed facilities Sabal Trail will set-up a toll-free 24-hour hotline to address construction- or environmentally-related issues.

Construction activities will be performed with standard (normal) construction-type equipment, such as track-excavators, backhoes, side-boom tractors, dump truck(s), etc. Much of the construction machines operate intermittently and the types of machines in use during construction change with each construction phase. The noise that can be expected during construction will be no different than the daily construction activities that occur in the project area on a daily basis. Noise buffering measures to be employed during construction include ensuring that sound muffling devices that are provided as standard equipment by the construction equipment manufacturer are kept in good working order.

Sabal Trail anticipates that rock excavation and/or rock blasting during construction activities will not be required or will be minimal. If blasting is necessary, pre-blast and post-blast inspections by Sabal Trail will be performed as required. Blasting mats or soil cover will be used as necessary to prevent the scattering of loose rock. All blasting will be conducted during daylight hours and will not begin until occupants of nearby buildings, stores, residences and places of business have been notified. Sabal Trail will comply with applicable regulations applying to blasting and blast vibration limits with regard to structures and underground utilities.

No, residents' tax dollars will not be used to pay for construction and maintenance of the project which is one of the benefits of an interstate natural gas pipeline. Sabal Trail will pay for the cost of constructing and maintaining the pipeline and facilities. Once the project facilities are in place, Sabal Trail will be assessed appropriate annual property taxes on their respective project facilities and will not draw on the municipalities' services (i.e. schools, water, etc.). Sabal Trail will pay ongoing, annual property tax dollars that will support the communities.

Nighttime or 24-hour construction is not expected to be necessary (i.e., site construction to occur primarily during daylight hours). If it is determined that night construction is required, notice would be provided to the general public concerning these locations in advance of any work taking place.

No, the project will not require any additional municipal facilities to operate and maintain the pipeline. However, the pipeline could generate property tax relief that can be allocated to these and other municipal services.

Compressor Stations

Natural gas is highly pressurized as it travels through the interstate pipeline system. To ensure that the gas continues to flow optimally, it must be periodically compressed and pushed through pipelines by 700 to 1,600 pounds per square inch of pressure. Over distance, friction and elevation differences slow the gas and reduce pressure, so compressor stations are placed about 70 miles apart along the pipeline to give the gas a "boost." These stations operate day and night, year-round to push re-pressurized gas through the pipelines.

For a pictorial descriptor of a compressor station, please refer to the "Inside a Natural Compressor Station" document.

Compressor stations integrate a variety of safety systems and practices to protect the public and station employees and properties. For example, every station has an emergency shutdown system that stops the compressor units and isolates and vents the compressor station gas piping. Regulations require that compressor stations periodically test or perform maintenance on the emergency shutdown system to ensure reliability. During the shutdown, natural gas in the pipeline will be able to bypass the station.

All compressor stations are monitored - and some are even controlled remotely - by highly-trained personnel at a centralized gas control center. Experienced personnel operate and maintain the station equipment and pipelines.

Air emissions from the project will comply with all applicable federal and state air quality regulations. Federal and state ambient air quality standards are promulgated to protect the public health, welfare and environment by limiting the levels of pollutants that can occur in the outside air. Beyond construction and in the long-term, the pipeline will deliver clean natural gas to the area, carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced.

Sabal Trail will install mainline valves at requisite locations. Federal code mandates that mainline valves be spaced along the pipeline based on the population density and the surrounding communities. In no case will a point on the pipeline be greater than 10 miles from a valve (measured along the pipeline). Mainline valves can be used to isolate sections of the pipeline.

Natural gas pipeline operators go to great lengths to ensure safe operations. In addition to using high-quality materials, proven construction techniques and advanced valve and pipeline maintenance technology, pipeline operators are trained rigorously. Below are methods used to monitor the pipeline activity:

  • Pipeline control centers are manned by trained professionals 24/7.
  • Electronic monitoring devices at various points along the pipeline transmit pressure readings to control centers. If pressures fall outside established parameters, an alarm alerts gas control professionals who take appropriate action.
  • Emergency responders or the public may report a pipeline leak or incident to gas control centers by dialing toll-free numbers. The controllers use this information to quickly assess the situation.