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Notice of Availability of the Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for the Designation of Energy Corridors on Federal Land in the 11 Western States, Including Proposed Amendments to Selected Land Use Plans LLW0350000.L14300000.PN0000

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AGENCY:

Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

ACTION:

Notice of availability.

SUMMARY:

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Department of Energy (DOE) as co-lead agencies, and the U.S. Forest Service (FS) of the Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Department of Defense (DOD), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) of the Department of the Interior (DOI) as cooperating Federal Agencies (the Agencies) announce the availability of the Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for the Designation of Energy Corridors on Federal Land in the 11 Western States (Final PEIS) (DOE/EIS-0386) that also proposes to amend 138 land use plans.

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 Final 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; Compliance with Floodplain and Wetland Environmental Review Requirements, 10 CFR Part 1022; the BLM planning regulations, 43 CFR subpart 1610; and applicable FS planning regulations.

Section 368 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005), Public Law 109-58, directs the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, and the Interior, in consultation with FERC, states, tribal or local units of governments, as appropriate; affected utility industries; and other interested persons to designate, under their respective authorities, corridors on Federal land in the 11 Western States for oil, gas, and hydrogen pipelines as well as electricity transmission and distribution facilities; 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:

Copies of the Final PEIS were distributed beginning November 20, 2008 to Members of Congress, American Indian Tribal governments, state and local governments, other Federal agencies, and organizations and individuals who are known to have an interest in the Final PEIS.

The DOI, USDA and DOD would issue separate Records of Decision (ROD) to amend selected land use plans for the purpose of designating EPAct 2005 Section 368 corridors no sooner than 30 days after the Environmental Protection Agency publishes the Notice of Availability of the Final PEIS. BLM's ROD must also await a 60-day Governors' Consistency Review in accordance with 43 CFR 1610.3-2.

ADDRESSES:

Send written requests for compact discs (CD) or printed copies of the Final PEIS to: West-wide Energy Corridor Final PEIS, Argonne National Laboratory, 9700 S. Cass Avenue, Bldg. 900, Mailstop 4, Argonne, IL 60439; by toll-free fax: 1-866-542-5904; or order online at http://corridoreis.anl.gov.

The Final PEIS consists of a stand alone Summary, the PEIS Chapters (Volume 1-648 pages), the Appendices (Volume 2-564 pages), Maps (Volume 3-148 pages), and Comments and Responses (Volume 4-174 pages). The Final PEIS Volume 3 map atlas is printed on 11x17-inch paper. The CD version of the Final 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 on the Web site. The Final PEIS is available on the project Web site at http://corridoreis.anl.gov, on the DOE NEPA Web site at http://www.gc.energy.gov/​nepa, and at the following reading room locations:

  • The BLM state and field offices and FS regional offices in the 11 Western States, and
  • The DOE Freedom of Information Act Office and Reading Room, Room 1E-190, 1000 Independence Ave., SW., Washington, DC 20585; phone 202-586-3142.
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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

For information on the Final PEIS, please contact Kate Winthrop, BLM, WO-350, MS 1000 LS, 1849 C Street, NW., Washington, DC 20240; by phone: 202-452-5051; or by e-mail: kate_winthrop@blm.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Agencies prepared the Final PEIS to implement Section 368 of EPAct to designate preferred locations for future Start Printed Page 72522oil, gas, and hydrogen pipelines as well as electricity transmission and distribution facilities and to incorporate the designated corridors into the relevant agencies' 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, Section 368 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 demand. The Agencies hope to improve the delivery of energy, while enhancing the electric transmission grid for the future, by establishing a coordinated network of Federal energy corridors on Federal lands in the West. The Final 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 Agencies are preparing this PEIS at the designation stage because they believe it is an appropriate time to examine environmental concerns at the programmatic level. Impacts that affect the quality of the environment will only occur after specific proposals are submitted, analyzed through the NEPA process, and approved by the land management agency. 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.

The Final PEIS analyzes a No Action Alternative and a Proposed Action. Under the No Action Alternative, Federal energy corridors would not be designated on Federal lands in the 11 Western States. The siting and development of future energy transport projects would continue under current agency procedures for granting rights-of-way (ROW). Under the Proposed Action, the Agencies would designate and incorporate identified Federal energy corridors that would consist of existing, locally designated Federal energy corridors together with additional, newly designated energy corridors located on Federal land into relevant land use and resource management plans. The Proposed Action is the Agencies' preferred alternative.

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 6,120 miles of Federal energy corridors would be designated on Federal lands within the 11 Western States as the preferred location for oil, natural gas, and hydrogen pipelines as well as electricity transmission and distribution lines. Environmental, engineering, and land use screening criteria were applied during the development of the Proposed Action to reduce potential environmental and land use conflicts. The energy corridors would typically be 3,500 feet wide, although the width may vary in certain areas due to environmental, topographic, or management constraints. The DOI, USDA and DOD would amend their respective land use or equivalent plans to incorporate the designated energy corridors; the amendments would be effective upon signing of the relevant agency's ROD.

The policies and Interagency Operating Procedures (IOPs) developed under the Proposed Action would establish minimum requirements for the management of future individual energy transport projects. The proposed policies identify management objectives and address the administration of energy transport development activities. The proposed IOPs identify required management procedures that would need to be incorporated into future project-specific energy transport development proposals. The Proposed Action would amend a total of 138 (93 BLM, 38 FS, 4 DOD, and 3 NPS) land use and equivalent plans in the 11 Western States. The proposed land use plan amendments would incorporate the programmatic energy transport development policies and IOPs set forth in the Final PEIS. The proposed land use plan amendments would facilitate preparation and consideration of future energy transport development ROW applications on DOI-, USDA-, and DOD-administered lands in these states, but would not eliminate the need for site-specific NEPA analysis of individual development proposals.

The Agencies propose to amend the following land use management plans, itemized in appendix A of the Final PEIS:

Land Use or Equivalent Plans Proposed for Amendment to Incorporate Epact Section 368 Energy Corridors on Federal Lands in the 11 Western States

State land use planAgency office(s)
ArizonaApache-Sitgreaves NS LRMPFS, Apache-Sitgreaves NF
Arizona Strip RMPBLM, Arizona Strip FO
Coronado NF LRMPFS, Coronado NF
Glen Canyon NRA GMPNPS, Glen Canyon NRA
Kaibab NF LRMPFS, Kaibab NF
Kingman RMPBLM, Kingman FO
Lake Havasu RMPBLM, Lake Havasu FO
Lower Gila North MFPBLM, Hassayampa FO
Lower Gila South RMPBLM, Hassayampa FO
Lower Sonoran RMPBLM, Lower Sonoran FO
Phoenix RMPBLM, Hassayampa FO
Prescott NF LRMPFS, Prescott NF
Safford RMPBLM, Safford FO
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
Bishop RMPBLM, Bishop FO
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California Desert Conservation Area PlanBLM, Barstow FO, El Centro FO, Lake Havasu FO, Needles FO, Ridgecrest FO, Palm Springs-South Coast FO
China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station INRMPDOD, U.S. Navy, China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station
Cleveland NF LRMPFS, Cleveland NF
Eagle Lake RMPBLM, Eagle Lake FO
Inyo NF LRMPFS, Inyo NF
Klamath NF LRMPFS, Klamath NF
Lassen NF LRMPFS, Lassen NF
Modoc NF LRMPFS, Modoc NF
Redding RMPBLM, Redding FO
San Bernadino NF LRMPFS, San Bernadino NF
Shasta-Trinity NF LRMPFS, Shasta-Trinity NF
Sierra RMPBLM, Folsom FO
Six Rivers NF LRMPFS, Six Rivers NF
South Coast RMPBLM, Palm Springs-South Coast FO
Surprise RMPBLM, Surprise FO
Tahoe NF LRMPFS, Tahoe NF
Toiyabe NF LRMPFS,Toiyabe NF
ColoradoArapaho-Roosevelt NF and Pawnee NG LRMPFS, Arapaho-Roosevelt NF and Pawnee NG
Curecanti NCA GMPNPS, Curecanti NRA
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
Routt NF LRMPFS, Routt-Medicine Bow 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
Caribou-Targhee NF LRMPFS, Caribou-Targhee NF
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
Medicine Lodge RMPBLM, Upper Snake FO
Monument RMPBLM, Burley FO, Shoshone FO
Pocatello RMPBLM, Pocatello FO
Owyhee RMPBLM, Four Rivers FO, Owyhee FO
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 Emigrant Trail NCA RMPBLM, Winnemucca FO
Carson City FO Consolidated RMPBLM, Carson City FO
Elko RMPBLM, Elko FO
Ely RMPBLM, Ely FO
Hawthorne Army Depot INRMPDOD, U.S. Army, Hawthorne AD
Humboldt NF LRMPFS, Humboldt-Toiyabe NF
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
Sonoma Gerlach MFPBLM, Winnemucca FO
Surprise RMPBLM, Surprise FO
Toiyabe NF LRMPFS, Humboldt-Toiyabe NF
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Tonopah RMPBLM, Battle Mountain FO
Wells RMPBLM, Elko FO
New MexicoCarlsbad RMPBLM, Carlsbad FO
Farmington RMPBLM, Farmington FO
Mimbres RMPBLM, Las Cruces DO
Rio Puerco RMPBLM, Rio Puerco FO
Roswell RMPBLM, Roswell FO
Socorro RMPBLM, Socorro FO
White Sands RMPBLM, Las Cruces DO
OregonAndrews-Steens RMPBLM, Andrews FO
Baker RMPBLM, Baker FO
Brothers-Lapine RMPBLM, Central Oregon FO, Deschutes FO
Deschutes NF LRMPFS, Deschutes NF
Eugene RMPBLM, Upper Willamette FO
Fremont NF LRMPFS, Fremont-Winema NFs
Klamath Falls RMPBLM, Klamath Falls FO
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
Upper Deschutes RMPBLM, Deschutes FO
Winema NF LRMPFS, Fremont-Winema NF
UtahCedar-Beaver-Garfield-Antimony RMPBLM, Cedar City FO
Dixie NF LRMPFS, Dixie NF
Fishlake NF LRMPFS, Fishlake NF
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Management PlanBLM, Grand Staircase-Escalante NM FO
House Range RMPBLM, Fillmore FO
Kanab RMPBLM, Kanab FO
Moab RMPBLM, Moab FO
Pinyon MFPBLM, Cedar City FO
Pony Express RMPBLM, Salt Lake FO
Price RMPBLM, Price FO
Richfield RMPBLM, Richfield FO
St. George (Dixie) RMPBLM, St. George FO
San Juan RMPBLM, Monticello FO
Uinta NF LRMPFS, Uinta-Wasatch-Cache NF
Vernal RMPBLM, Vernal FO
Warm Springs RMPBLM, Fillmore FO
Wasatch-Cache NF LRMPFS, Uinta-Wasatch-Cache NF
WashingtonMount Baker-Snoqualmie NF LRMPFS, Mount Baker-Snoqualmie NF
Spokane RMPBLM, Wenatchee FO
Wenatchee NF LRMPFS, Wenatchee NF
WyomingAshley NF LRMPFS, Ashley NF
Casper RMPBLM, Casper FO
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.
Medicine Bow NF LRMPFS, Routt-Medicine Bow NF, Thunder Basin NG
Washakie RMPBLM, Worland FO
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; RAMP= Recreation Area Management Plan; RFP= Revised Forest Plan, RMP = Resource Management Plan.
This list represents the most current plans. This list differs in some particulars from the list in the Draft PEIS, Vol. 2. Since planning is dynamic and there may also be further changes in the locations of specific corridors, the individual agency Records of Decision may also include changes in this list.
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The Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for the Designation of Energy Corridors on Federal Land in the 11 Western States (Draft PEIS) was made available for public review and comment from November 16, 2007, to February 14, 2008. The Draft PEIS was posted on the project Web site at http://corridoreis.anl.gov, the DOE NEPA Web site at http://www.gc.energy.gov/​nepa, and provided, on request, as a CD or printed document. Notice was provided to more than 2,200 individuals and organizations who registered on the project Web site to receive information about the PEIS. Approximately 14,000 individuals and organizations commented on the Draft PEIS, providing more than 3,500 substantive comments. About 57 percent of the comment documents were received via the project Web site, 21 percent were submitted by regular mail, and 22 percent were submitted at the public hearings, as oral statements, written submissions, or both.

Volume IV of the Final PEIS contains the public comments on the Draft PEIS and the agencies' responses. Public comments addressed a broad range of issues. Nearly 35 percent of the comments addressed various topics related to the alternatives presented in the PEIS, 20 percent commented on the purpose and need, and 17 percent commented on corridor location. Nearly 5 percent of the comments were concerned with ecological issues, approximately 4 percent raised concerns about multiple impact areas, 4 percent addressed cumulative impacts, and slightly more than 2 percent dealt with tribal issues.

The remaining comments were divided among a number of topics, each comprising less than 2 percent of the total. The topics (listed in decreasing order) include general impacts, land use, water resources, health and safety, cultural resources, maps, visual resources, socioeconomics, regulations, air quality, environmental justice, and noise.

Public and internal agency review comments on the Draft PEIS were incorporated into the Final PEIS. Public comments resulted in changes to the text and modifications to corridor segments. These changes have improved the analysis and clarified the discussion of important issues but did not significantly modify the Proposed Action or proposed land use plan amendments. The Final PEIS contains a number of modifications to corridor segments in response to public and agency comments. These changes are detailed in appendix K of the Final PEIS.

Government-to-government consultation regarding potential energy transport development and land use plan amendments on DOI-, USDA-, and DOD-administered lands was conducted with federally recognized Tribes whose interests might be directly and substantially affected. The Tribes contacted are listed in appendix C of the Final PEIS.

In addition, the Agencies have initiated activities to coordinate and consult with the governors of each of the 11 Western States addressed in the PEIS and with State agencies. Prior to the Agencies' issuance of their respective RODs, the governor of each state has the opportunity to identify any inconsistencies between the proposed land use plan amendments and State or local plans and to provide recommendations, in writing, during the 60-day consistency review period required by the BLM land use planning regulations (43 CFR 1610.3-2).

The DOI Assistant Secretary, Land and Minerals Management (AS/LM) is the responsible official for publishing the proposed plan amendments affecting public lands. The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 and its implementing regulations provide land use planning authority to the Secretary, which has been delegated to this Assistant Secretary. Because any decision regarding these plan amendments is being made by the AS/LM, it is the final decision for the DOI. This decision is not subject to administrative review (protest) under the BLM (DOI) land use planning regulations (43 CFR 1610.5-2).

The USDA Under Secretary of Natural Resources and Environment is the responsible official for publishing the proposed plan amendments on National Forest System lands. The Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974 as amended by the National Forest Management Act of 1976, and their implementing regulations provide land use planning authority to the Secretary, as delegated to this Under Secretary. Because any decision regarding these plan amendments is being made by the Under Secretary, Natural Resources and Environment, it is the final decision for the Department of Agriculture. This decision is not subject to administrative review (objection) under the FS or Departmental regulations (36 CFR 219.13(a)(2)).

Copies of the Final PEIS have been sent to the Environmental Protection Agency, DOI Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance, DOI Library, and the governors' offices in each of the 11 Western States covered by this PEIS. Copies of the Final PEIS are available at the BLM state offices and FS regional offices in the 11 Western States, DOE Headquarters Reading Room, the BLM Washington, DC, Public Affairs office and the FS Washington, DC, offices. Those interested may also review the Final PEIS and proposed land use plan amendments online at http://corridoreis.anl.gov.

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Michael D. Nedd,

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

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[FR Doc. E8-28279 Filed 11-26-08; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4310-84-P