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Notice of Availability of the Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for the Designation of Energy Corridors in Eleven Western States and Notice of Public Hearings

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Start Preamble

AGENCIES:

Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE), Department of Energy (DOE) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Department of the Interior (DOI).

ACTION:

Notice of Availability of the Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for the Designation of Energy Corridors in Eleven Western States and Notice of Public Hearings.

SUMMARY:

DOE and BLM of the DOI as co-lead agencies, and the U.S. Forest Service (FS) of the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Defense (DOD), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) of the DOI as cooperating Federal Agencies (the Agencies) announce the availability of the Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for the Designation of Energy Corridors in the 11 Western States (Draft PEIS) (DOE/EIS—0386) and the dates and locations for the public hearings to receive comments on the Draft PEIS.

The Coeur d'Alene Tribe, the California Energy Commission (CEC), the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the State of Wyoming, and the Lincoln, Sweetwater, and Uinta counties and conservation districts in Wyoming are also cooperating agencies. The Department of Commerce (DOC) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) are consulting agencies.

The Agencies prepared the Draft PEIS pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended, 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq., the Council on Environmental Quality NEPA regulations, 40 CFR Parts 1500-1508, the DOE NEPA regulations, 10 CFR part 1021, and 10 CFR part 1022, Compliance with Floodplain and Wetland Environmental Review Requirements, the BLM planning regulations, 43 CFR part 1600, and applicable FS planning regulations.

Section 368 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005), Public Law 109-58, directs the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Energy and the Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with FERC, States, tribal Start Printed Page 64592or local units of governments, as appropriate, affected utility industries, and other interested persons, to designate, under their respective authorities, corridors for oil, gas, and hydrogen pipelines and electricity transmission and distribution facilities on Federal land in the 11 contiguous Western States (as defined in section 103(o) of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1702(o)), perform any environmental reviews that may be required to complete the designation of such corridors, and incorporate the designated corridors into relevant agency land use and resource management plans or equivalent plans.

The 11 Western States are Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

DATES:

The 90-day public comment period begins with the publication of the Notice of Availability of the Draft PEIS in the Federal Register by the Environmental Protection Agency and continues until February 14, 2008. See Supplementary Information section for meeting dates.

ADDRESSES:

See Supplementary Information section for meeting addresses. Submit electronic comments and requests to speak at one of the public meetings on-line at http://corridoreis.anl.gov. Mail comments to: West-wide Energy Corridor Draft PEIS, Argonne National Laboratory, 9700 S. Cass Avenue, Bldg. 900, Mailstop 4, Argonne, IL 60439; or fax comments toll-free to: 1-866-542-5904. Requests to speak at one of the meetings or for more information about the Draft PEIS may also be addressed to: Ms. LaVerne Kyriss, Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE-20), U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20585, phone: 202-586-1056, facsimile: 202-586-8008, or electronic mail at laverne.kyriss@hq.doe.gov.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

For information on the proposed project contact Ms. LaVerne Kyriss as indicated in the ADDRESSES section of this notice.

For general information on the DOE NEPA process, contact: Carol M. Borgstrom, Director, Office of NEPA Policy and Compliance (GC-20), U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20585; phone: 202-586-4600 or leave a message at 800-472-2756; facsimile: 202-586-7031.

For general information on the BLM's NEPA process, contact: Ron Montagna, (202) 452-7782, or KateWinthrop, (202) 452-5051, at: BLM, WO-350, MS 1000 LS, 1849 C Street, NW., Washington, DC 20240.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Agencies invite interested Members of Congress, state and local governments, other Federal agencies, American Indian tribal governments, organizations, and members of the public to provide comments on the Draft PEIS. Written and oral comments will be given equal weight, and the agencies will consider all comments received or postmarked by February 14, 2008 in preparing the Final PEIS. Comments received or postmarked after that date will be considered to the extent practicable.

Public Meetings

Public meeting dates and addresses are:

1. January 8, 2008, 2 to 5 and 6 to 8 p.m., Portland, OR: Doubletree Portland Lloyd Center, 1000 North West Multnomah and Sacramento, CA: California Energy Commission, 1516 Ninth Street.

2. January 10, 2008, 2 to 5 and 6 to 8 p.m., Seattle, WA: Renaissance Hotel Seattle, 515 Madison Street and Ontario, CA: Ayres Hotel and Suites, Ontario Airport/Convention Center, 1945 East Holt Boulevard.

3. January 15, 2008, 2 to 5 and 6 to 8 p.m., Phoenix, AZ: BLM Training Center, 9828 North 31st Avenue and Grand Junction, CO: Marriott Courtyard, 765 Horizon Drive.

4. January 17, 2008, 2 to 5 and 6 to 8 p.m., Las Vegas, NV: The Atomic Testing Museum, 1755 E. Flamingo Road and Salt Lake City, UT: Airport Hilton Hotel, 5151 Wiley Post Way.

5. January 23, 2008, 2 to 5 p.m., Window Rock, AZ: Navajo Education Center, Morgan Boulevard.

6. January 24, 2008, 2 to 5 and 6 to 8 p.m., Albuquerque, NM: Holiday Inn and Suites, 5050 Jefferson Street.

7. January 29, 2008, 2 to 5 and 6 to 8 p.m., Helena, MT: Best Western Helena Great Northern Hotel, 835 Great Northern Boulevard and Cheyenne, WY: Best Western Hitching Post Inn and Conference Center, 1700 West Lincoln Way.

8. January 31, 2008, 2 to 5 and 6 to 8 p.m., Boise, ID: Best Western Vista Inn and Conference Center, 2645 Airport Way and Denver, CO: Holiday Inn Cherry Creek, 455 South Colorado Boulevard.

9. February 5, 2008, 2 to 4 p.m., Washington, DC: Embassy Suites Washington Convention Center, 900 10th Street, NW.

Requests to speak at a specific public hearing should be received by DOE as indicated in the ADDRESSES section no later than two business days before that hearing. Requests to speak may also be made at the time of registration for the hearing(s). However, persons who have submitted advance requests to speak will be given priority if time should be limited during the hearing. Please be aware that anthrax screening delays conventional mail delivery to DOE.

The Draft PEIS consists of a stand alone Summary, the PEIS Chapters (Volume 1, 567 pages), the PEIS Appendices (Volume 2, 400 pages), and Maps (Volume 3, 131 pages). The entire Draft PEIS is available online at http://corridoreis.anl.gov or on a CD-ROM. Requests for paper copies of the Draft PEIS, or additional copies in either format should be addressed to West-wide Energy Corridor Draft PEIS, 9700 South Cass Avenue, Building 900, Mailstop 4, Argonne, IL 60439. The Draft PEIS is also available on the DOE NEPA Web site at http://www.eh.doe.gov/​nepa/​docs/​deis/​deis.html.

The Draft PEIS Volume 3 map atlas is printed on ledger-sized paper. The CD version of the Draft PEIS includes the map atlas in PDF format. The most powerful and flexible version of the map data is available on the project Web site (http://corridoreis.anl.gov). The Web site maps are available within a geographic information system (GIS) database that allows users to merge, enlarge, and view multiple map data layers. Software and instructions to use the GIS data are user friendly and available for free download from the public Web site.

The purpose and need for the Agencies' action is to implement EPAct Section 368 by designating corridors for the preferred locations of future oil, gas, and hydrogen pipelines and electricity transmission and distribution facilities and to incorporate the designated corridors into the relevant agency land use and resource management plans or equivalent plans.

Section 368 directs the Agencies to take into account the need for upgraded and new infrastructure and to take actions to improve reliability, relieve congestion, and enhance the capability of the national grid to deliver energy. This action only pertains to the designation of corridors for potential facilities on Federal lands located within the 11 Western States. In addition, this action is intended to improve coordination among the Agencies to increase the efficiency of using designated corridors.

In many areas of the United States, including the West, the infrastructure required to deliver energy has not always kept pace with growth in energy Start Printed Page 64593demand. The Agencies hope to improve the delivery of energy in the West, while enhancing the western electric transmission grid for the future, by establishing a coordinated network of Federal energy corridors on Federal lands in the West. The Draft PEIS analyzes the environmental impacts of designating Federal energy corridors in 11 Western States, and incorporating those designations into relevant agency land use and resource management plans or equivalent plans.

The Draft PEIS analyzes two alternatives: A No Action Alternative and the Proposed Action to designate new and locally approved energy corridors (Proposed Action). Under the No Action Alternative, Federal energy corridors mandated by EPAct Section 368 would not be designated on Federal lands in the 11 Western States; the siting and development of energy transport projects would continue under current agency procedures for granting rights-of-way (ROW), for which energy transport project applicants must satisfy the often disparate requirements of multiple agencies for the same project. There would be relatively little West-wide coordination for siting and permitting these projects to meet current and future energy needs in the 11 Western States.

Under the Proposed Action, the Agencies would designate and incorporate through relevant land use and resource management plans certain Federal energy corridors that would consist of existing, locally designated Federal energy corridors together with additional, newly designated energy corridors located on Federal land. These energy corridors would comprise a comprehensive, coordinated network of preferred locations for future energy projects that could be developed to satisfy demand for energy. Under the Proposed Action, approximately 6,055 miles of Federal energy corridors would be designated for multimodal energy transmission and transportation in the 11 Western States. The energy corridors would typically be 3,500 feet wide, though the width may vary in certain areas because of environmental, topographic or management constraints. BLM, DOD, FS and USFWS would amend their respective land use or equivalent plans to incorporate the designated energy corridors; the amendments would be effective upon signing of a Record(s) of Decision. The designation of energy corridors under the Proposed Action would require the amendment of the following land management or equivalent plans.

Land Use or Equivalent Plans Proposed for Amendment by Designating EPAct Section 368 Energy Corridors on Federal Lands in the 11 Western States abc

StateLand use planAgency office(s)
ArizonaArizona Strip RMPBLM, Arizona Strip FO.
Coronado NF LRMPFS, Coronado NF.
Glen Canyon NRA GMPNPS, Glen Canyon NRA.
Havasu NWR Comprehensive Conservation PlanUSFWS, Lake Havasu NWR.
Kaibab NF LRMPFS, Kaibab NF.
Kingman RMPBLM, Kingman FO, Lake Havasu FO.
Lake Havasu RMPBLM, Lake Havasu FO.
Lake Mead NRA GMPNPS, Lake Mead NRA.
Lower Gila North MFPBLM, Hassayampa FO.
Lower Gila South RMPBLM, Hassayampa FO, Lower Sonoran FO.
Phoenix RMPBLM, Tucson FO, Hassayampa FO, Lower Sonoran FO.
Prescott NF LRMPFS, Prescott NF.
Safford RMPBLM, Safford FO, Tucson FO.
Apache-Sitgreaves NF LRMPFS, Apache-Sitgreaves NF.
Tonto NF LRMPFS, Tonto NF.
Yuma Proving Ground INRMPDOD, U.S. Army, Yuma Proving Ground.
Yuma RMPBLM, Yuma FO.
CaliforniaAlturas RMPBLM, Alturas FO.
Angeles NF LRMPFS, Angeles NF.
Arcata RMPBLM, Arcata FO.
Bishop RMPBLM, Bishop FO.
Caliente RMPBLM, Bakersfield FO, Bishop FO, Ridgecrest FO.
California Desert Conservation Area PlanBLM, Barstow FO, El Centro FO, Lake Havasu FO, Needles FO, Ridgecrest FO, Palm Springs-South Coast FO.
Proposed Eagle Lake RMPBLM, Eagle Lake FO.
China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station INRMPDOD, U.S. Navy, China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station.
Cleveland NF LRMPFS, Cleveland NF.
Eastern San Diego RMPBLM, El Centro FO.
Havasu NWR Comprehensive Conservation PlanUSFWS, Lake Havasu NWR.
Imperial Sand Dunes RAMPBLM, El Centro FO.
Inyo NF LRMPFS, Inyo NF.
Klamath NF LRMPFS, Klamath NF.
Lassen NF LRMPFS, Lassen NF.
Modoc NF LRMPFS, Modoc NF.
Proposed Alturas RMPBLM, Alturas FO.
Redding RMPBLM, Redding FO.
San Bernadino NF LRMPFS, San Bernadino NF.
Shasta-Trinity NF LRMPFS, Shasta-Trinity NF.
Proposed Sierra RMPBLM, Folsom FO.
Six Rivers NF LRMPFS, Six Rivers NF.
South Coast RMPBLM, Palm Springs-South Coast FO.
Tahoe NF LRMPFS, Tahoe NF.
Proposed Surprise RMPBLM, Surprise FO.
Ukiah RMPBLM, Ukiah FO.
ColoradoArapaho-Roosevelt NF LRMPFS, Arapaho-Roosevelt NF.
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Glenwood Springs RMPBLM, Glenwood Springs FO.
Grand Junction RMPBLM, Grand Junction FO.
Grand Mesa-Uncompahgre-Gunnison NF LRMPFS, Grand Mesa-Uncompahgre-Gunnison NF.
Gunnison RMPBLM, Gunnison FO.
Kremmling RMPBLM, Kremmling FO.
Little Snake RMPBLM, Little Snake FO.
Curecanti NCA GMPNPS, Curecanti NRA.
Routt NF LRMPFS, Medicine Bow and Routt NF, Thunder Basin NG.
Royal Gorge RMPBLM, Royal Gorge FO.
Pike-San Isabel NF LRMPFS, Pike-San Isabel NF.
San Juan NF LRMPFS, San Juan NF.
San Juan/San Miguel RMPBLM, Dolores FO, Uncompahgre FO.
Uncompahgre Basin RMPBLM, Uncompahgre FO.
White River RMPBLM, White River FO.
IdahoBig Desert MFPBLM, Upper Snake FO.
Bruneau MFPBLM, Bruneau FO.
Cassia RMPBLM, Burley FO.
Coeur d'Alene RMPBLM, Coeur d'Alene FO.
Idaho Panhandle NF LRMPFS, Idaho Panhandle NF.
Jarbidge RMPBLM, Bruneau FO, Four Rivers FO, Jarbridge FO.
Kuna MFPBLM, Four Rivers FO.
Little Lost-Birch Creek MFPBLM, Upper Snake FO.
Malad MFPBLM, Pocatello FO.
Medicine Lodge RMPBLM, Upper Snake FO.
Monument RMPBLM, Burley FO, Shoshone FO.
Pocatello RMPBLM, Pocatello FO.
Owyhee RMPBLM, Four Rivers FO, Owyhee FO.
Caribou-Targhee NF LRMPFS, Caribou-Targhee NF.
Twin Falls MFPBLM, Burley FO.
MontanaBeaverhead-Deerlodge NF LRMPFS, Beaverhead-Deerlodge NF.
Billings RMPBLM, Billings FO.
Dillon RMPBLM, Dillon FO.
Garnet RMPBLM, Missoula FO.
Headwaters RMPBLM, Butte FO.
Lolo NF LRMPFS, Lolo NF.
NevadaBlack Rock-High Rock NCA RMPBLM, Winnemucca FO.
Caliente MFPBLM, Ely FO.
Desert NWR CC Conservation PlanUSFWS, Desert NWR.
Egan RMPBLM, Ely FO.
Elko RMPBLM, Elko FO.
Hawthorne Army Depot INRMPDOD, U.S. Army, Hawthorne AD.
Humboldt-Toiyabe NF LRMPFS, Humboldt-Toiyabe NF.
Carson City Field Office Consolidated Resource Management PlanBLM, Carson City FO.
Lake Mead NRA GMPNPS, Lake Mead NRA.
Las Vegas RMPBLM, Las Vegas FO.
Nellis AFB Plan 126-4 INRMPDOD, U.S. Air Force, Nellis AFB.
Paradise-Denio MFPBLM, Winnemucca FO.
Schell MFPBLM, Ely FO.
Sonoma Gerlach MFPBLM, Winnemucca FO.
Tonopah RMPBLM, Battle Mountain FO.
Tuledad/Homecamp MFPBLM, Surprise FO.
Wells RMPBLM, Elko FO.
New MexicoCarlsbad RMPBLM, Carlsbad FO.
Farmington RMPBLM, Farmington FO.
Fort Bliss INRMPDOD, U.S. Army, Fort Bliss.
Mimbres RMPBLM, Las Cruces DO.
Rio Puerco RMPBLM, Rio Puerco FO.
Roswell RMPBLM, Roswell FO.
Sevilleta NWR Comprehensive Conservation PlanUSFWS, Sevilletta NWR.
Socorro RMPBLM, Socoro FO.
White Sands RMPBLM, Las Cruces DO.
OregonAndrews-Steens RMPBLM, Andrews FO.
Baker RMPBLM, Baker FO.
Brothers-Lapine RMPBLM, Central Oregon FO, Deschutes FO.
Ochocco NF LRMPFS, Ochocco NF.
Deschutes NF LRMPFS, Deschutes NF.
Eugene RMPBLM, Upper Willamette FO.
Fremont NF LRMPFS, Winema-Fremont NFs.
Klamath Falls RMPBLM, Klamath Falls FO.
Klamath NF LRMPFS, Klamath NF.
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Lakeview RMPBLM, Lakeview FO.
Medford RMPBLM, Ashland FO, Butte Falls FO, Glendale FO.
Mt. Hood NF LRMPFS, Mt. Hood NF.
Roseburg RMPBLM, South River FO, Swiftwater FO, Upper Willamette FO.
Salem RMPBLM, Cascades FO, Tillamook FO.
Southeastern Oregon RMPBLM, Jordan FO, Malheur FO.
Three Rivers RMPBLM, Three Rivers FO.
Two Rivers RMPBLM, Deschutes FO.
Umatilla NF LRMPFS, Umatilla NF.
Upper Deschutes RMPBLM, Deschutes FO.
Winema NF LRMPFS, Winema-Fremont NFs.
UtahAshley NF LRMPFS, Ashley NF.
Beaver RMPBLM, Kanab FO.
CBGABLM, Cedar City FO.
Book Cliffs RMPBLM, Vernal FO.
Wasatch-Cache NF LRMPFS, Wasatch-Cache NF.
Diamond Mountain RMPBLM, Vernal FO.
Dixie NF LRMPFS, Dixie NF.
Fishlake NF LRMPFS, Fishlake NF.
Grand RMPBLM, Moab FO.
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Management PlanBLM, Grand Staircase-Escalante NM FO.
House Range RMPBLM, Fillmore FO.
Mountain Valley MFPBLM, Richfield FO.
Paria MFPBLM, Kanab FO.
Pinyon MFPBLM, Cedar City FO.
Pony Express RMPBLM, Salt Lake FO.
Price River RMPBLM, Price FO.
San Juan RMPBLM, Moab FO, Monticello FO.
St. George (Dixie) RMPBLM, St. George FO.
Uinta NF LRMPFS, Uinta NF.
Vermillion MFPBLM, Kanab FO.
Warm Springs RMPBLM, Fillmore FO.
Zion MFPBLM, Kanab FO.
WashingtonMount Baker-Snoqualmie NF LRMPFS, Mount Baker-Snoqualmie NF.
Spokane RMPBLM, Wenatchee FO.
Wenatchee NF LRMPFS, Wenatchee NF.
WyomingAshley NF LRMPFS, Ashley NF.
Cody RMPBLM, Cody FO.
Grass Creek RMPBLM, Worland FO.
Great Divide RMPBLM, Rawlins FO.
Green River RMPBLM, Rock Springs FO.
Kemmerer RMPBLM, Kemmerer FO.
Lander RMPBLM, Lander FO.
Thunder Basin National Grassland LRMPFS, Medicine Bow and Routt NF, Thunder Basin NG.
Platte River RMPBLM, Casper FO.
Washakie RMPBLM, Worland FO.
a AFB = Air Force Base; BLM = Bureau of Land Management; CBGA = Cedar-Beaver-Garfield-Antimony; CCCP = Complex Comprehensive Conservation Plan; DO = district office; DOD = Department of Defense; FO = field office; FS = Forest Service; GMP = General Management Plan; INRMP = Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan; LMP = Land Management Plan; LRMP = Land and Resource Management Plan; MFP = Management Framework Plan; NCA = National Conservation Area; NF = National Forest; NM = National Monument; NG = National Grassland; NPS = National Park Service; NRA = National Recreation Area; NWR = National Wildlife Refuge; RAMP= Recreation Area Management Plan; RFP= Revised Forest Plan, RMP = Resource Management Plan; USFWS = U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
b This list represents the most current plans. This list differs in some particulars from the list in the Draft PEIS, Vol. 2, which went to print prior to these changes. Since planning is dynamic and there may also be further changes in the locations of specific corridors, the Final PEIS may also include changes in this list.
c The PEIS identifies corridors through three national wildlife refuges, administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Development on these refuges may only occur if the specific proposed project is determined to be compatible with refuge purposes and the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System. Existing refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan(s) may require amendment should a specific project be found compatible, and subsequent right-of-way permitting by the USFWS occur.

In addition to designating Federal energy corridors through these amendments, the Agencies would establish cooperative procedures to expedite the application process for energy projects proposed to be sited within these corridors.

Under the No Action Alternative, no Federal energy corridors would be designated pursuant to Section 368. The No Action alternative represents the status quo. Siting and development would continue, likely without coordination among the Agencies, under each agency's procedures for granting ROW. It would be incorrect to assume that the No Action Alternative signifies that there will be no groundbreaking for energy projects at some point in the future.

Neither alternative authorizes site-specific energy transport projects. The Draft PEIS does not examine the Start Printed Page 64596environmental impacts of specific projects or related ROW that may or may not at some point be proposed for the Federal energy corridors. These projects would be subject to individual, project-specific NEPA review at the siting stage.

Although actual environmental impacts must inevitably await proposals before being analyzed, the Agencies are preparing a PEIS at the designation stage because they believe it is an appropriate time to examine the region-wide environmental concerns. The Agencies expect that the PEIS will greatly assist subsequent, site-specific analyses for individual project proposals by allowing the Agencies to incorporate this PEIS into those later analyses.

Availability of the Draft PEIS

The Agencies distributed copies of the Draft PEIS to appropriate members of Congress, state and local government officials in the 11 Western States, American Indian tribal governments, and other Federal agencies, groups, and interested parties. Copies of the document may be obtained online at the project Web site or by contacting DOE as provided in the ADDRESSES section of this notice. Copies of the Draft PEIS are also available for inspection at the Agencies' affected field office locations (see list above) within the 11 Western States and at public libraries near public meeting locations. A list of these libraries is available on the project Web site.

Start Signature

Issued in Washington, DC, on October 24, 2007.

Michael D. Nedd,

Assistant Director, Minerals, Realty and Resource Protection, Bureau of Land Management, Department of the Interior.

Issued in Washington, DC, on October 30, 2007.

Kevin M. Kolevar,

Assistant Secretary, Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, Department of Energy.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 07-5716 Filed 11-15-07; 8:45 am]

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