[Federal Register: April 21, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 77)]
[Page 21362-21363]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Bureau of Land Management

[ID-210-5101-ER-D050, IDI-35183/NVN-84663]

Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for 
the Proposed China Mountain Wind Project

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent.


SUMMARY: The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Jarbidge Field Office, 
Twin Falls District, Idaho, intends to prepare an Environmental Impact 
Statement (EIS) for the proposed China Mountain Wind Project, located 
on 30,700 acres of public, state, and private lands in the Jarbidge 
Foothills, southwest of the town of Rogerson in Twin Falls County, 
Idaho, and west of the town of Jackpot in Elko County, Nevada. The EIS 
will analyze the potential environmental impacts of the construction 
and operation of a proposed wind power generation facility, associated 
transmission facilities, and access roads. The EIS will be prepared in 
accordance with the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 
(FLPMA) (43 U.S.C. 1701), as amended; the National Environmental Policy 
Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321), as amended; and the Council on 
Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations (40 CFR parts 1500-1508). This 
notice initiates the public scoping process to identify relevant issues 
associated with the proposed project.

DATES: The scoping period will commence with the publication of this 
notice. The formal scoping period will end 60 days after the 
publication of this notice. Comments regarding issues relative to the 
proposed project should be received on or before June 20, 2008 using 
one of the methods listed below. The BLM will announce public scoping 
meetings through local news media, newsletters, and the BLM Web site: 
http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.blm.gov/id/st/en/fo/jarbidge.html at least 15 days prior to 
the first meeting.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods:
     E-mail: id_chinamtn_eis@blm.gov.
     Fax: (208) 736-2375 or (208) 735-2076.
     Mail: Project Manager, China Mountain EIS, Jarbidge Field 
Office, 2536 Kimberly Road, Twin Falls, Idaho 83301.
    Comments can also be hand delivered to the Jarbidge Field Office at 
the address above. Documents pertinent to this proposal may be examined 
at the Jarbidge Field Office.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: China Mountain Wind Project Manager, 
Jarbidge Field Office, 2536 Kimberly Road, Twin Falls, Idaho 83301, 
telephone (208) 732-7413.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: China Mountain Wind, LLC, has submitted a 
right-of-way application to BLM to build a commercial wind power 
generation facility capable of generating up to 425 megawatts (MW) of 
electricity. Up to 185 wind turbines, each having a generating capacity 
between 2.3 and 3.0 MW, would be installed on an area covering 
approximately 30,700 acres in the Jarbidge Foothills, southwest of 
Rogerson, Idaho and west of Jackpot, Nevada. The proposed project area 
includes public land administered by the BLM Elko District, Wells Field 
Office in northeastern Nevada, public lands administered by the BLM 
Twin Falls District, Jarbidge Field Office, and State of Idaho and 
private lands in south-central Idaho.

                  Administrating ownership                     (rounded)
BLM--Jarbidge Field Office, Twin Falls District, Idaho......      15,300
BLM--Wells Field Office, Elko District, Nevada..............       4,700
State of Idaho..............................................       2,000
Private.....................................................       8,700
    Total...................................................      30,700

The turbines proposed for the project would have tower heights ranging 
from 200 to 250 feet and rotor diameters ranging from 250 to 300 feet. 
Each turbine would be set on a large concrete foundation. Turbines 
would be connected by underground electrical cable to one or two 
substations. Each substation would be sited on a 2-acre area and would 
consist of a graveled, fenced area containing transformer and switching 
equipment and an area to park utility vehicles. Up to 15 miles of new 
3-phase 138 kV or 345 kV overhead transmissions circuit would be 
constructed from each substation to a switching station at the point of 
interconnection with an existing transmission line. The transmission 
line would be supported by single steel or double wood poles with a 
distance of 400 to 500 feet between poles. Other required facilities 
would include one or two fenced, graveled switching stations of 
approximately 2 acres each; one or more Operations and Maintenance 
buildings; approximately 40 miles of new access roads; approximately 30 
miles of improved existing road; and a temporary concrete batch plant. 
This plant would be centrally located on the site, occupying an area of 
approximately 5 acres, and would operate during project construction. 
The proposed project would disturb up to 540 acres on a temporary basis 
and up to 180 acres on a permanent basis, following reclamation of 
construction disturbance. Approximately 60% of both the temporary and 
permanent impacts would be on lands under the administration of the BLM 
and approximately 40% would be on State of Idaho and private lands. The 
proposed project would operate year-round for a minimum of 30 years.
    The purpose and need for the proposed project are: (1) Construct a 
wind power generation facility that utilizes wind energy resources in 
an environmentally sound manner to meet existing and future electricity 
demands in Idaho and Nevada. (2) Provide for renewable energy resources 
as encouraged by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and consistent with the 
BLM's Wind Energy Development Policy, as described in the Record of 
Decision for the Final Programmatic EIS on Wind Energy Development on 
BLM-Administered Lands in the Western United States (December 2005).
    Public Participation: The purpose of the public scoping process is 
to determine relevant issues that will influence the scope of the 
environmental analysis and EIS alternatives. General concerns in the 
following categories have been identified to date: Tribal concerns; 
wildlife (including birds and bats); vegetation (including noxious and 
invasive weeds); threatened, endangered and sensitive plants and 
animals, including sage grouse; public safety; public access; 
recreational opportunities; visual resources; cultural resources; 
rangeland resources; geology and soils; water quality; climate change 
and variability; hazardous materials; air quality; noise; fire 
management and socioeconomics. You may submit comments on issues in 
writing to the BLM at any public scoping meeting, or you may submit 
them to the BLM using one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES 
section above. E-mailed

[[Page 21363]]

comments, including attachments, should be provided in .doc, .pdf, 
.html, or .txt format. Electronic submissions in other formats or 
containing viruses will be rejected. Before including your address, 
phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information 
in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment--
including your personal identifying information--may be made publicly 
available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold 
your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot 
guarantee that we will be able to do so.
    The EIS process will be a collaborative effort that will consider 
local, regional, and national needs and concerns. The BLM will work 
closely with interested parties to identify the management decisions 
that are best suited to the needs of the public. After gathering public 
comments, the BLM will identify and provide rationale on those issues 
that will be addressed in the EIS or those issues beyond the scope of 
the EIS. The Draft EIS, which is scheduled for completion in early 
2010, will be provided to the public for review and comment. The BLM 
will consider and respond to public comments on the Draft EIS in the 
Final EIS. The Final EIS is expected to be published in late 2010.

    Dated: April 11, 2008.
Rick Vander Voet,
Jarbidge Field Office Manager, Idaho Bureau of Land Management.
 [FR Doc. E8-8511 Filed 4-18-08; 8:45 am]