[Federal Register: January 23, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 14)]
[Page 4228-4229]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Bureau of Land Management

[WY-060-1320-EL, WYW163340]

Notice of Availability of the West Antelope II Coal Lease by 
Application Final Environmental Impact Statement, Wyoming.

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969 (NEPA, 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and the Federal Land Policy and 
Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA, 43 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.), the Bureau of 
Land Management (BLM) announces the availability of the West Antelope 
II Coal Lease by Application (LBA) Final Environmental Impact Statement 
(FEIS). The tract is being considered for sale as a result of a coal 
lease application received from the operator of the adjacent Antelope 
Mine in Campbell and Converse Counties, Wyoming.

DATES: To ensure comments will be considered, the BLM must receive 
written comments on the West Antelope II Coal LBA FEIS within 30 days 
following the date the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) publishes 
their Notice of Availability in the Federal Register.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods:
     E-mail: casper_wymail@blm.gov.
     Fax: 307-261-7587.
     Mail: Casper Field Office, Bureau of Land Management, 
Attn: Sarah Bucklin, 2987 Prospector Drive, Casper, Wyoming 82604.
    Copies of the FEIS are available at the following BLM office 
locations: BLM Wyoming State Office, 5353 Yellowstone Road, Cheyenne, 
Wyoming 82009; and BLM Casper Field Office, 2987 Prospector Lane, 
Casper, Wyoming 82604. The FEIS is available electronically on the 
following Web site: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/info/NEPA/cfodocs/West_Antelope_II.html.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sarah Bucklin or Mike Karbs at the BLM 
Casper Field Office address above or telephone 307-361-7600.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The FEIS analyzes and discloses to the 
public direct, indirect, and cumulative environmental impacts of 
issuing a Federal coal lease in the Wyoming portion of the Powder River 
Basin. The BLM is considering a coal lease issuance as a result of an 
April 6, 2005, application submitted by Antelope Coal Company 
(Antelope) to lease Federal coal near the Antelope Mine approximately 
50 miles north of Douglas, Wyoming.
    The applicant proposes to lease the tract as a maintenance tract to 
extend the life of the existing mining operations at the Antelope Mine 
under the provisions of the Leasing on Application regulations at 43 
CFR subpart 3425. This tract, case number WYW163340, is referred to as 
the West Antelope II tract.
    The following lands in Campbell and Converse Counties, Wyoming, are 
included in the tract as applied for:
T. 40 N., R. 71 W., 6th PM, Wyoming
    Section 5: Lot 18;
    Section 8: Lots 1 through 3, 6 through 11, 14 through 16;
    Section 9: Lots 2 through 16;
    Section 10: Lots 5, 6, 11 through 14.
T. 41 N., R. 71 W., 6th PM, Wyoming
    Section 9: Lots 9 through 16;
    Section 10: Lots 11 through 15;
    Section 14: Lots 3 and 4;
    Section 15: Lots 1 through 5, 12, 13;
    Section 20: Lots 14 through 16;
    Section 21: Lots 1 through 16;
    Section 22: Lots 2, 7, 8, 14 through 16;
    Section 27: Lots 6 through 11;
    Section 28: Lots 1 through 8;
    Section 29: Lots 1 through 3, 6 through 8.
    Containing 4,108.6 acres more or less.

    Antelope estimates that approximately 429.7 million tons of Federal 
coal are included in the tract for which they applied. The Office of 
Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM), the USDA-Forest 
Service, the Land Quality and Air Quality Divisions of the Wyoming 
Department of Environmental Quality (WDEQ), and the Converse County 
Board of Commissioners are cooperating agencies in the preparation of 
the FEIS. If the tract is leased as a maintenance tract, the new lease 
will be incorporated into the existing mining and reclamation plan for 
the adjacent mine. The Secretary of the Interior (Secretary) must 
approve the revision to the Mineral Leasing Act (MLA) mining plan 
before the Federal coal can be mined. If the tract is leased, the OSM 
is the Federal agency that would be responsible for recommending 
approval, approval with conditions, or disapproval of the revised MLA 
mining plan to the Office of the Secretary. The WDEQ has entered into a 
cooperative agreement with the Secretary to regulate surface coal 
mining operations on Federal and non-Federal lands within the State of 
    On October 17, 2006, the BLM published a Notice of Intent (NOI) to 
prepare an EIS for the West Antelope II coal lease application in the 
Federal Register. A notice announcing the availability of the Draft EIS 
(DEIS) was published in the Federal Register by the EPA on February 8, 
2008. A 60-day comment period on the DEIS commenced with publication of 
the EPA's notice of availability and ended on April 8, 2008. The BLM 
published a Notice of Availability and Notice of Public Hearing in the 
Federal Register on March 17, 2008. The BLM's Federal Register notice 
announced the date and time of a public hearing, which was held on 
March 24, 2008, in Douglas, Wyoming. The purpose of the hearing was to 
solicit comments on the DEIS, fair market value, and the maximum 
economic recovery of the Federal coal. Four statements were given as 
testimony at the public hearing; they are summarized in an appendix in 
the FEIS. During the DEIS comment period, the BLM received 14 comment 
letters, included in an appendix to the FEIS with BLM's responses to 
the comments. The FEIS analyzes leasing the West Antelope II coal tract 
as-applied-for as the Proposed Action. Under the Proposed Action, a 
competitive sale would be held and a lease issued for Federal coal in 
the tract as applied for by Antelope. As part of the coal leasing 
process, the BLM identified an alternative tract configuration to 
assure the maximum economic recovery of the coal, avoid isolating or 
bypassing marketable coal, and potentially prompt

[[Page 4229]]

competitive interest in the unleased Federal coal for this area. The 
alternate tract configuration that BLM has identified is described and 
analyzed as a separate alternative in the FEIS. Under this alternative, 
a competitive sale would be held and a lease would be issued for 
Federal coal lands included in a tract modified by the BLM. The FEIS 
also analyzes the alternative of rejecting the application to lease 
Federal coal as the No Action Alternative. The Proposed Action and 
alternatives being considered in the FEIS are in conformance with the 
Approved Resource Management Plan for Public Lands Administered by the 
Bureau of Land Management Buffalo Field Office (2001), the Bureau of 
Land Management Casper Field Office Resource Management Plan (2007), 
and the USDA-Forest Service Land and Resource Management Plan for the 
Thunder Basin National Grassland (2002). A Record of Decision (ROD) 
will be prepared after the close of the 30-day review period for the 
FEIS. Comments received on the FEIS will be considered during 
preparation of the ROD.
    Four copies of the FEIS will be included on the mailing list for 
this project. Please make requests for copies in writing, by facsimile, 
or electronically to the addresses listed at the beginning of this 
notice. The BLM asks that those submitting comments on the FEIS make 
them as specific as possible with reference to page numbers and 
chapters of the document. Comments that contain only opinions or 
preferences will not receive a formal response; however, they will be 
considered as part of the BLM decision-making process. Please note that 
comments and information submitted including names, street addresses, 
and e-mail addresses of respondents will be available for public review 
and disclosure at the BLM Casper Field Office during regular business 
hours (7:45 a.m. through 4:30 p.m.), Monday through Friday, except 
holidays. Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, 
or other personal identifying information in your comment, please be 
aware that your entire comment, including your personal identifying 
information, may be made publicly available at any time. While you may 
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.

Martin G. Griffith,
Acting State Director.
 [FR Doc. E9-1308 Filed 1-22-09; 8:45 am]