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Notice

Empire District Electric Company; Notice of Intent To File License Application, Filing of Pre-Application Document (PAD), Commencement of Pre-Filing Process, and Scoping; Request for Comments on the PAD and Scoping Document, and Identification of Issues and Associated Study Requests

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a. Type of Filing: Notice of Intent to File License Application for a New License and Commencing Pre-filing Process.

b. Project No.: 2221-038.

c. Dated Filed: January 26, 2017.

d. Submitted By: Empire District Electric Company.

e. Name of Project: Ozark Beach Hydroelectric Project.

f. Location: On the White River near the Town of Forsyth, in Taney County, Missouri. The project occupies 5.1 acres of United States lands administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

g. Filed Pursuant to: 18 CFR part 5 of the Commission's Regulations.

h. Potential Applicant Contact: Blake Mertens, Vice President of Energy Supply and Delivery Operations, Empire District Electric Company, P.O. Box 127, Joplin, MO 64802, (417) 625-6587 or bmertens@empiredistrict.com; and Randy Richardson, Plant Manager, Empire District Electric Company, 2537 Fir Road, Sarcoxie, MO 64862, (417) 625-6138 or RRichardson@empiredistrict.com.

i. FERC Contact: Colleen Corballis at (202) 502-8598 or email at colleen.corballis@ferc.gov.

j. Cooperating agencies: Federal, state, local, and tribal agencies with jurisdiction and/or special expertise with respect to environmental issues that wish to cooperate in the preparation of the environmental document should follow the instructions for filing such requests described in item o below. Cooperating agencies should note the Commission's policy that agencies that cooperate in the preparation of the environmental document cannot also intervene. See 94 FERC ¶ 61,076 (2001).

k. With this notice, we are initiating informal consultation with: (a) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act and the joint agency regulations thereunder at 50 CFR, Part 402 and (b) the State Historic Preservation Officer, as required by section 106, National Historic Preservation Act, and the implementing regulations of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation at 36 CFR 800.2.

l. With this notice, we are designating Empire District Electric Company as the Commission's non-federal representative for carrying out informal consultation, pursuant to section 7 of the Endangered Species Act and section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.

m. Empire District Electric Company filed with the Commission a Pre-Application Document (PAD; including a proposed process plan and schedule), pursuant to 18 CFR 5.6 of the Commission's regulations.

n. A copy of the PAD is available for review at the Commission in the Public Reference Room or may be viewed on the Commission's Web site (http://www.ferc.gov), using the “eLibrary” link. Enter the docket number, excluding the last three digits in the docket number field to access the document. For assistance, contact FERC Online Support at FERCONlineSupport@ferc.gov, (866) 208-3676 (toll free), or (202) 502-8659 (TTY). A copy is also available for inspection and reproduction at the address in paragraph h.

Register online at http://www.ferc.gov/​docs-filing/​esubscription.asp to be notified via email of new filing and issuances related to this or other pending projects. For assistance, contact FERC Online Support.

o. With this notice, we are soliciting comments on the PAD and Commission's staff Scoping Document 1 (SD1), as well as study requests. All comments on the PAD and SD1, and study requests should be sent to Randy Richardson at the address above in paragraph h. In addition, all comments on the PAD and SD1, study requests, requests for cooperating agency status, and all communications to and from Commission staff related to the merits of Start Printed Page 16195the potential application must be filed with the Commission.

The Commission strongly encourages electronic filing. Please file all documents using the Commission's eFiling system at http://www.ferc.gov/​docs-filing/​efiling.asp. Commenters can submit brief comments up to 6,000 characters, without prior registration, using the eComment system at http://www.ferc.gov/​docs-filing/​ecomment.asp. You must include your name and contact information at the end of your comments. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at FERCOnlineSupport@ferc.gov. In lieu of electronic filing, please send a paper copy to: Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426. The first page of any filing should include docket number P-2221-038.

All filings with the Commission must bear the appropriate heading: “Comments on Pre-Application Document,” “Study Requests,” “Comments on Scoping Document 1,” “Request for Cooperating Agency Status,” or “Communications to and from Commission Staff.” Any individual or entity interested in submitting study requests, commenting on the PAD or SD1, and any agency requesting cooperating status must do so by May 26, 2017.

p. Although our current intent is to prepare an environmental assessment (EA), there is the possibility that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will be required. Nevertheless, this meeting will satisfy the NEPA scoping requirements, irrespective of whether an EA or EIS is issued by the Commission.

Scoping Meetings

Commission staff will hold two scoping meetings in the vicinity of the project at the times and places noted below. The daytime meeting will focus on resource agency, Indian tribes, and non-governmental organization concerns, while the evening meeting is primarily for receiving input from the public. We invite all interested individuals, organizations, and agencies to attend one or both of the meetings, and to assist staff in identifying particular study needs, as well as the scope of environmental issues to be addressed in the environmental document. The times and locations of these meetings are as follows:

Evening Scoping Meeting

Date: April 18, 2017.

Time: 6:30 p.m.

Location: Taney County Courthouse, 1st Floor Hearing Room, 132 David Street, Forsyth, MO 65653.

Phone: (417) 546-7204.

Daytime Scoping Meeting

Date: April 19, 2017.

Time: 9:00 a.m.

Location: Taney County Courthouse, 1st Floor Hearing Room, 132 David Street, Forsyth, MO 65653.

Phone: (417) 546-7204.

SD1, which outlines the subject areas to be addressed in the environmental document, was mailed to the individuals and entities on the Commission's mailing list. Copies of SD1 will be available at the scoping meetings, or may be viewed on the web at http://www.ferc.gov, using the “eLibrary” link. Follow the directions for accessing information in paragraph n. Based on all oral and written comments, a Scoping Document 2 (SD2) may be issued. SD2 may include a revised process plan and schedule, as well as a list of issues, identified through the scoping process.

Environmental Site Review

The potential applicant and Commission staff will conduct an Environmental Site Review of the project on Tuesday, April 18, 2017, starting at 1:00 p.m. All participants should meet at the Ozark Beach Dam parking lot, located at 3292 State Highway Y, Forsyth, MO 65653. All participants are responsible for their own transportation. Anyone planning on participating in the site visit, or with questions about it, should contact Mr. Randy Richardson of Empire District Electric Company at (417) 625-6138 or RRichardson@empiredistrict.com on or before April 11, 2017.

Meeting Objectives

At the scoping meetings, staff will: (1) Initiate scoping of the issues; (2) review and discuss existing conditions and resource management objectives; (3) review and discuss existing information and identify preliminary information and study needs; (4) review and discuss the process plan and schedule for pre-filing activity that incorporates the time frames provided for in Part 5 of the Commission's regulations and, to the extent possible, maximizes coordination of federal, state, and tribal permitting and certification processes; and (5) discuss the appropriateness of any federal or state agency or Indian tribe acting as a cooperating agency for development of an environmental document.

Meeting participants should come prepared to discuss their issues and/or concerns. Please review the PAD in preparation for the scoping meetings. Directions on how to obtain a copy of the PAD and SD1 are included in paragraph n of this document.

Meeting Procedures

The meetings will be recorded by a stenographer and will be placed in the public records of the project.

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Dated: March 24, 2017.

Kimberly D. Bose,

Secretary.

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Footnotes

5.  Based on data from Fiscal Year 2016, there were 520 projects, owned by 242 FERC-regulated private and public licensees. Many of the licensees owned multiple projects.

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[FR Doc. 2017-06421 Filed 3-31-17; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6717-01-P