15A NCAC 07M .0402     DEFINITIONS

(a)  "Impact Assessment" is an analysis which discusses the potential environmental, economic and social consequences, including cumulative and secondary impacts, of a proposed major energy facility.  At a minimum, the assessment shall include the following and for each of the following shall discuss and assess any effects the project will have on the use of public trust waters, adjacent lands and on the coastal resources, including the effects caused by activities outside the coastal area:

(1)           a discussion of the preferred sites for those elements of the project affecting the use of public trust waters, adjacent lands and the coastal resources:

(A)          In all cases where the preferred site is located within an area of environmental concern (AEC) or on a barrier island, the applicant shall identify alternative sites considered and present a full discussion [in terms of Subparagraphs (a)(2) through (9) of this Rule] of the reasons why the chosen location was deemed more suitable than another feasible alternate site;

(B)          If the preferred site is not located within an AEC or on a barrier island, the applicant shall present evidence to support the proposed location over a feasible alternate site;

(C)          In those cases where an applicant chooses a site previously identified by the state as suitable for such development and the site is outside an AEC or not on a barrier island, alternative site considerations shall not be required as part of this assessment procedure;

(2)           a discussion of the economic impacts, both positive and negative, of the proposed project.  This discussion shall focus on economic impacts to the public, not on matters that are purely internal to the corporate operation of the applicant.  No proprietary or confidential economic data shall be required.  This discussion shall include analysis of likely adverse impacts upon the ability of any governmental unit to furnish necessary services or facilities as well as other secondary impacts of significance;

(3)           a discussion of potential adverse impacts on coastal resources, including marine and estuarine resources and wildlife resources, as defined in G.S. 113-129;

(4)           a discussion of potential adverse impacts on existing industry and potential limitations on the availability of, and accessibility to, coastal resources, including beach compatible sand and water, for future use or development;

(5)           a discussion of potential significant adverse impacts on recreational uses and scenic, archaeological and historic resources;

(6)           a discussion of potential risks to human life or property;

(7)           a discussion of the impacts on the human environment including noise, vibration and visual impacts;

(8)           a discussion of the procedures and time needed to secure an energy facility in the event of severe weather conditions, such as extreme wind, currents and waves due to northeasters and hurricanes;

(9)           other specific data necessary for the various state and federal agencies and commissions with jurisdiction to evaluate the consistency of the proposed project with relevant standards and guidelines;

(10)         a plan regarding the action to be taken upon the decommissioning and removal of the facility and related structures.  The plan shall include an estimate of the cost to decommission and remove the energy facility including a discussion of the financial instrument(s) used to provide for the decommissioning and the removal of the structures that comprise the energy facility.  The plan shall also include a proposed description of the condition of the site once the energy facility has been decommissioned and removed.

(11)         a specific demonstration that the proposed project is consistent with relevant local land use plans and with guidelines governing land uses in AECs.

Any impact assessment for a proposed major energy facility shall include a discussion of the items described in Subparagraphs (a)(1) through (11) of this Rule for the associated energy exploration or development activities including all foreseeable assessments of resource potential, including the gathering of scientific data, exploration wells, and any delineation activities that are likely to follow development, production, maintenance and decommissioning.

(b)  "Major energy facilities" are those energy facilities which because of their size, magnitude or scope of impacts, have the potential to affect any land or water use or coastal resource of the coastal area.  For purposes of this definition, major energy facilities shall include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:

(1)           Any facility capable of refining petroleum products;

(2)           Any terminals (and associated facilities) capable of handling, processing, or storing petroleum products or synthetic gas;

(3)           Any petroleum storage facility that is capable of storing 15 million gallons or more on a single site;

(4)           Gas, coal, oil or nuclear electric generating facilities 300 MGW or larger;

(5)           Wind energy facilities, including turbines, accessory buildings, transmission facilities and other equipment necessary for the operation of a wind generating facility that cumulatively, with any other wind energy facility whose turbines are located within one-half mile of one another, are capable of generating three megawatts or larger;

(6)           Thermal energy generation;

(7)           Major pipelines 12 inches or more in diameter that carry petroleum products or synthetic gas;

(8)           Structures, including drillships and floating platforms and structures relocated from other states or countries, located in offshore waters for the purposes of energy exploration, development or production; and

(9)           Onshore support or staging facilities related to offshore energy exploration, development or production.

(c)  "Offshore waters" are those waters seaward of the state's three-mile offshore jurisdictional boundary in which development activities may impact any land or water use or natural resource of the state's coastal area.


History Note:        Authority G.S. 113A-102(b); 113A-107; 113A-124;

Eff. March 1, 1979;

Amended Eff. October 1, 1988;

Amended Eff. November 3, 1997 pursuant to E.O. 121, James B. Hunt Jr., 1997;

Temporary Amendment Eff. July 8, 1999; December 22, 1998;

Amended Eff. March 1, 2011; August 1, 2000.