[Federal Register: November 21, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 226)]
[Notices]               
[Page 70614-70616]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr21no08-25]                         

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service

 
Payette National Forest, Idaho, Golden Hand 1 and 
2 Lode Mining Claims Plan of Operations

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The USDA Forest Service will prepare an environmental impact 
statement (EIS) for the proposed Plan of Operations (POO) for the 
Golden Hand 1 and 2 lode mining claims in the Frank 
Church--River of No Return (FC-RONR) Wilderness on the Krassel Ranger 
District, Payette National Forest. The purpose of the POO is to allow 
for collection of subsurface geological information on the claims. The 
EIS will disclose the environmental effects of the POO submitted by 
American Independence Mines and Minerals, Inc. The Forest Service now 
invites comments on the scope of the Analysis and the issues to 
address.

DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received 
by the Payette National Forest within 30 days following the publication 
of this notice in the Federal Register. The Draft EIS (DEIS) for the 
Golden Hand 1 and 2 Lode Mining Claims Plan of 
Operations is expected to be available for public review in April, 2009 
and the Final EIS (FEIS) and a Record of Decision are expected to be 
completed in July, 2009.

[[Page 70615]]


ADDRESSES: Written comments on this notice maybe mailed or hand-
delivered to Payette National Forest, Attn: Golden Hand 1 and 
2 Lode Mining Claims Plan of Operations, 800 West Lakeside 
Avenue, McCall, Idaho 83638. Comments may also be submitted by 
facsimile to (208) 634-0744 and by electronic mail (e-mail) to 
comments-intermtn-payette@fs.fed.us. E-mail and facsimile comments must 
include the words ``Golden Hand 1 and 2 Lode Mining 
Claims Plan of Operations.''

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jim Egnew, Minerals and Geology 
Program Manager, in writing at Payette National Forest, 800 West 
Lakeside Avenue, McCall, Idaho 83638, or by telephone at (208) 634-
0700.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Purpose and Need for Action

    American Independence Mines and Minerals, Inc. (AIMMCO) has 
proposed a Plan of Operations (POO) to allow for collection of 
subsurface geological information on the Golden Hand 1 and 
2 mining claims. The mining claims are located in the Frank 
Church--River of No Return Wilderness (FC-RONRW), approximately 50 
miles northeast of McCall, Idaho in section 26, T22N, R9E, Boise 
Meridian. The claims encompass approximately 20 acres each adjacent to 
Coin Creek, a tributary of Beaver Creek, which flows into Big Creek, a 
tributary of the Salmon River.

Proposed Action

    The Forest Service proposes to authorize AIMMCO to perform core 
drilling at up to 13 locations and excavate up to 2500 feet of 
trenches. This proposed action would not include mining extraction or 
transporting of minerals for processing. Access to the claims would be 
on Forest Service (FS) roads to the FC-RONR Wilderness boundary at 
Pueblo Summit, north of the town of Edwardsburg. Proposed access would 
then require vehicle passage for approximately 3 miles past the 
wilderness boundary on FS trail 13. Within the boundary is a 
roadbed that existed before creation of the wilderness. The roadbed was 
converted to use as a trail upon establishment of the wilderness. 
Vehicle access would require clearing slough, downed trees, and other 
obstacles to maintain a safe width for equipment transport. The 
proposed operation would require reconstructing approximately 2000 feet 
of pre-existing roadbed on each claim. These roads would access 13 
drill locations from which up to core holes would be drilled. 
Approximately 2500 feet of trench would be excavated in the roadbed to 
allow collection of rock chip samples. The Ella Mine, inaccessible 
since the 1930s, would be opened and retimbered to allow underground 
mapping and sampling.
    Equipment proposed for use includes 4-wheel drive pickup trucks, a 
3 cubic yard tracked or rubber-tired loader, tracked excavator, buggy 
or track mounted drill rig, D-7-size bulldozer, an air compressor, 
chainsaws, gasoline-powered generator, jackhammer, and hand tools. 
Waste rock would be placed on an existing dump at the Ella portal site. 
Fuel would be transported in sealed containers and stored in a leak-
proof containment.

Responsible Official

    The responsible official is Suzanne Rainville, Forest Supervisor of 
the Payette National Forest, 800 West Lakeside Avenue, McCall, Idaho 
83638.

Nature of Decision To Be Made

    The nature of the Forest Service decision to be made in response to 
the POO submitted by American Independence Mines and Minerals, Inc. is: 
(1) Approve the project as proposed, or (2) Notify the operator of 
changes or additions to the POO necessary to minimize or eliminate 
adverse environmental impacts from mineral activities on National 
Forest System (NFS) lands, as required by Forest Service regulations 
(36 CFR Part 228A). The Payette National Forest Supervisor has 
determined that preparation of the EIS is required for approval of the 
POO under Forest Service regulations governing locatable mineral 
activities on National Forest System Lands (36 CFR part 228A) and CEQ 
regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (40 CFR 
parts 1501-1508).

Scoping Process

    Public participation will be important at several points during the 
analysis, particularly during scoping of issues and review of the draft 
environmental impact statement (DEIS). This notice of intent initiates 
the scoping process, which guides the development of the EIS. The 
scoping process will identify potential issues and issues to be 
analyzed in detail, and will lead to the development of alternatives to 
the proposal. Comments received in response to this notice, including 
the names and addresses of those who comment, will be part of the 
project record and available for public review. The second major 
opportunity for public input is with the DEIS. The DEIS will analyze a 
range of alternatives to the proposed action, including the no-action 
alternative.

Preliminary Issues

    Preliminary issues identified by the Forest Service 
interdisciplinary team include use of mechanized equipment in 
wilderness, protection of wilderness character, effects to threatened 
and endangered species, and effects to aquatic species and water 
quality.

Comment Requested

    This notice of intent initiates the scoping process which guides 
the development of the environmental impact statement. The Forest 
Service encourages the public to express issues, concerns, and 
suggestions they may have about this proposed action. Comments should 
be directly related to issues associated with the proposed action, 
rather than general advocacy of or opposition to the project, to best 
assist us in the NEPA analysis. Although comments are welcome at any 
time during this NEPA analysis, they will be most useful to us if they 
are received within 30 days following the publication of this notice.

Early Notice of Importance of Public Participation in Subsequent 
Environmental Review

    A draft environmental impact statement will be prepared for 
comment. The comment period on the draft environmental impact statement 
will be 45 days from the date the Environmental Protection Agency 
publishes the notice of availability in the Federal Register. The 
Forest Service believes, at this early stage, it is important to give 
reviewers notice of several court rulings related to public 
participation in the environmental review process. First, reviewers of 
draft environmental impact statements must structure their 
participation in the environmental review of the proposal so that it is 
meaningful and alerts an agency to the reviewer's position and 
contentions. Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Corp. v. NRDC, 435 U.S. 519, 
553 (1978). Also, environmental objections that could be raised at the 
draft environmental impact statement stage but that are not raised 
until after completion of the final environmental impact statement may 
be waived or dismissed by the courts. City of Angoon v. Hodel, 803 F.2d 
1016, 1022 (9th Cir. 1986) and Wisconsin Heritages, Inc. v. Harris, 490 
F. Supp. 1334, 1338 (RD. Wis. 1980). Because of these court rulings, it 
is very important that those interested in this proposed action 
participate by the close of the 45 day comment period so that 
substantive

[[Page 70616]]

comments and objections are made available to the Forest Service at a 
time when it can meaningfully consider them and respond to them in the 
final environmental impact statement.
    To assist the Forest Service in identifying and considering issues 
and concerns on the proposed action, comments on the draft 
environmental impact statement should be as specific as possible. It is 
also helpful if comments refer to specific pages or chapters of the 
draft statement. Comments may also address the adequacy of the draft 
environmental impact statement or the merits of the alternatives 
formulated and discussed in the statement. Reviewers may wish to refer 
to the Council on Environmental Quality Regulations for implementing 
the procedural provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act at 
40 CFR 1503.3 in addressing these points. Comments received, including 
the names and addresses of those who comment, will be considered part 
of the public record on this proposal and will be available for public 
inspection.

(Authority: 40 CFR 1501.7 and 1508.22; Forest Service Handbook 
1909.15, Section 21)

    Dated: October 30, 2008.
Suzanne C. Rainville,
Payette National Forest Supervisor.
 [FR Doc. E8-27622 Filed 11-20-08; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-11-P