[Federal Register: January 4, 2011 (Volume 76, Number 2)]
[Page 379-381]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Bureau of Land Management


Western Area Power Administration

[LLWY920000.51010000.ER0000-LVRWK09K1160; WYW177893; COC72929; 
UTU87238; NVN86732]

Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for 
the TransWest Express 600 kV Direct Current Transmission Project in 
Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada (DOE/EIS-0450), and Notice of 
Potential for Land Use Plan Amendments

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior; Western Area Power 
Administration, Department of Energy.

ACTION: Notice of Intent.


SUMMARY: The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wyoming State Office, 
Cheyenne, Wyoming, intends to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement 
(EIS) analyzing the impacts of a right-of-way (ROW) application for the 
TransWest Express 600-kilovolt (kV) Direct Current Transmission Project 
(Project) and potential land use plan amendments. The Western Area 
Power Administration (Western) is a joint lead agency with the BLM for 
the EIS preparation. Western is a power-marketing agency within the 
Department of Energy (DOE) and is proposing to jointly own the Project 
with TransWest Express, LLC. TransWest Express, LLC is a wholly-owned 
subsidiary of the Anschutz Corporation. The EIS will be prepared in 
accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as 
amended (NEPA).

DATES: This notice initiates a 90-day public scoping period that will 
assist in the preparation of a Draft EIS. The scoping period will end 
on April 4, 2011, or 15 days after the date of the last public scoping 
meeting, whichever is later.
    To provide the public an opportunity to review the proposal and 
project information, the BLM and Western expect to hold 22 open-house 
meetings at various locations in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada 
during the public scoping period. The exact dates, times, and locations 
for these meetings will be announced at least 15 days prior to the 
event through local media, newspapers, newsletters, and posting on the 
BLM Web site at http://www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/info/NEPA/HighDesert/
transwest.html. To be considered in the Draft EIS, comments must be 
received prior to the close of the scoping period.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments related to the Project by any of the 
following methods:
    Mail: Bureau of Land Management, Wyoming State Office, TransWest 
Express Transmission Project, P.O. Box 20678, 5353 Yellowstone Road, 
Cheyenne, Wyoming 82003, Attention: Sharon Knowlton.
    E-mail: TransWest_WYMail@blm.gov.
    Web site: http://www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/info/NEPA/HighDesert/

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sharon Knowlton, BLM Project Manager; 
telephone (307) 775-6124; e-mail: TransWest_WYMail@blm.gov; mailing 
address: BLM, Wyoming State Office, P.O. Box 20678, Cheyenne, Wyoming 
    For information about Western's involvement, contact Liana Reilly, 
Western NEPA Document Manager; telephone (720) 962-7253; e-mail: 
reilly@wapa.gov; address: Western Area Power Administration, P.O. Box 
281213, Lakewood, Colorado 80228-8213.
    For general information on the DOE's NEPA review procedures or on 
the status of a NEPA review, contact Carol M. Borgstrom, Director of 
NEPA Policy and Compliance, GC-54, U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 
Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20585, telephone (202) 586-
4600 or toll free at (800) 472-2756.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under Federal law, the BLM, the U.S. Forest 
Service (USFS), and the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) are each 
responsible for responding to right-of-way (ROW) applications for lands 
within their respective jurisdictions. Some of the land that may be 
considered for this right-of-way is within the jurisdictions of the 
USFS and Reclamation. The USFS and Reclamation are cooperating agencies 
in the preparation of this EIS. This notice announces the beginning of 
a 90-day public scoping process for the EIS.
    TransWest Express, LLC has filed a ROW application with the BLM, 
the USFS, and Reclamation proposing to construct, operate, maintain, 
and decommission the Project. The Project consists of an overhead 
transmission line extending approximately 725 miles from south-central 
Wyoming crossing Colorado and Utah, with a potential interconnection at 
the Intermountain Power Project near Delta, Utah, and terminating at 
the Marketplace Hub in southern Nevada. This Project would include two 
AC/DC converter stations,

[[Page 380]]

about 200 acres in size at each terminating point, a fiber optic 
network communications system, and two ground electrode facilities, 
each about 600 acres in size. When completed, this Project would 
transmit about 3,000 megawatts of electricity per year generated 
primarily from renewable resources at planned facilities in Wyoming.
    The requested right-of-way width on Federal lands is 250 feet. The 
proposal would predominantly use steel lattice towers 100 to 180 feet 
in height with average spans between towers of 900 to 1,500 feet. 
Temporary access roads up to 24-feet wide would be required. Temporary 
workspace would be needed during construction for batch plant sites, 
structure work areas and materials storage, conductor tensioning sites, 
and vehicles and equipment. Proposed routes cross Federal, State and 
private lands and include portions of designated utility corridors on 
Federal land and parallel portions of existing overhead and underground 
utilities and roadways, as well as portions of undisturbed areas.
    Under Section 402 of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act 
(Recovery Act), 42 U.S.C. 16421a, Public Law 111-5, 123 Stat. 141, Div 
A, Title IV, 402 (2009) (adding Section 301 to the Hoover Power Plant 
Act of 1984, Pub. L. 98-381, Title III, 301), Western may borrow funds 
from the United States Treasury to construct, finance, facilitate, 
plan, operate, maintain, and/or study construction of new or upgraded 
electric power transmission lines and related facilities with at least 
one terminus in Western's marketing area, that deliver or facilitate 
the delivery of power from renewable resources constructed or 
reasonably expected to be constructed after the date of enactment of 
the Recovery Act. Western is proposing to participate as a joint owner 
in the Project and as part of that proposal, Western is evaluating 
obtaining the ROWs necessary for those portions of the Project on 
private and State lands. Western may also apply for ROW grants over 
part of the Federal land and if this occurs, TransWest Express would 
concurrently modify its application to describe the remaining portions 
of the Federal land.
    Actions that result in a change in the scope of resource uses, 
terms and conditions, and decisions of Federal agency land use plans 
may require amendment of those plans. Approval of this proposal may 
result in the amendment(s) of USFS Land Management Plans (LMPs) and BLM 
Resource Management Plans (RMPs). Because of the congestion in the Las 
Vegas, Nevada area an alternative may be considered that would require 
a National Park Service (NPS) Management Plan amendment to implement. 
As required by 43 CFR 1610.2(c), the BLM notifies the public of 
potential amendments to RMPs and, pursuant to 36 CFR 219.9, the USFS 
notifies the public of potential amendments to LMPs. Any authorizations 
and actions proposed for approval in the EIS will be evaluated to 
determine if they conform to the decisions in the referenced land use 
plans. If amendments are needed, the BLM and the USFS would integrate 
the land-use planning process as described in 43 CFR part 1610 and 36 
CFR 219.8, respectively, with this EIS process as they proceed with 
NEPA compliance for the proposed Project. If the BLM or the USFS 
determine that plan amendments are necessary, compliance with NEPA for 
any land use plan amendments would occur simultaneously with the 
consideration of the Project.
    The BLM plans that may be amended include the Colorado Canyons 
National Conservation Area RMP, the Rawlins RMP, the Rock Springs RMP, 
the Kemmerer RMP, the Grand Junction RMP, the Glenwood Springs RMP, the 
Little Snake RMP, the White River RMP, the Cedar-Beaver-Garfield-
Antimony RMP, the House Range RMP, the Warm Springs RMP, the Kanab RMP, 
the Moab RMP, the Price RMP, the Richfield RMP, the St. George RMP, the 
Vernal RMP, Beaver Dam Wash Area of Critical Environmental Concern RMP, 
the Ely RMP, the Caliente RMP, and the Las Vegas RMP. The USFS Plans 
that may be amended include the Ashley National Forest Plan, the White 
River National Forest Revised Plan, the Dixie National Forest Plan, the 
Fishlake National Forest Plan, the Manti-La Sal National Forest Plan, 
the Uinta National Forest Plan, the Humboldt National Forest Plan, and 
the Toiyabe National Forest Plan. The NPS Plan that may be considered 
for amendment is the Lake Mead National Recreation Area Lake Management 
Plan. Only the BLM may amend a BLM RMP; only the USFS may amend a 
Forest Plan; and only the NPS may amend a National Park Service Plan. 
The NPS is not a formal cooperator in this EIS so any plan amendment 
process it may undertake would be considered separately.
    A Programmatic EIS was prepared by the Department of the Interior 
and the Department of Energy for energy corridors in 11 western States 
and completed in January 2009. The Records of Decision for this EIS 
designated energy transmission corridors and provided guidance, best 
management practices, and mitigation measures to be used for any power 
lines proposed to be constructed within the corridors. The Project 
proposes to use the corridors identified in the ROD to the maximum 
extent possible. No BLM plan amendments will be needed if the right-of-
way remains within designated corridors.
    The BLM and Western are joint lead agencies for this EIS as defined 
at 40 CFR 1501.5. Agencies with jurisdiction by law or special 
expertise have been invited to participate as cooperating agencies in 
preparation of the EIS. The following agencies have agreed to 
participate as cooperating agencies: The USFS, Intermountain Region; 
the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers South Pacific Division; Reclamation, 
Lower Colorado Region; the U.S. Navy Region Southwest; the States of 
Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada; Garfield, Mesa, Moffat, and Rio-
Blanco counties in Colorado; Beaver, Duchesne, Emery, Juab, Millard, 
Piute, Sanpete, Uintah, Wasatch, and Washington counties in Utah; 
Lincoln and Clark counties in Nevada and the Little Snake River 
Conservation District, Medicine Bow Conservation District, Saratoga-
Encampment-Rawlins Conservation District, and Sweetwater County 
Conservation District, Wyoming. The Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, the 
Moapa Band of Paiute, and the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe are also 
cooperating agencies.
    During the public scoping period, the BLM and Western will solicit 
public comments on behalf of all cooperating agencies regarding issues, 
concerns, and opportunities that should be considered in the analysis 
of the proposed action. Comments on issues and potential impacts, or 
suggestions for additional or different alternatives may be submitted 
to the addresses listed in the ADDRESSES section. Documents pertinent 
to the ROW application for the project may be examined at:
     BLM, Wyoming State Office, 5353 Yellowstone Road, 
Cheyenne, Wyoming 82009.
     BLM, Rawlins Field Office, 1300 N. Third Street, Rawlins, 
Wyoming 82301.
     BLM, Rock Springs Field Office, 280 Highway. 191 N., Rock 
Springs, Wyoming 82901.
     BLM, Little Snake Field Office, 455 Emerson Street, Craig, 
Colorado 81625.
     BLM, White River Field Office, 220 East Market Street, 
Meeker, Colorado 81641.
     BLM, Grand Junction Field Office, 2815 H Road, Grand 
Junction, Colorado 81506.
     BLM, Cedar City Field Office, 176 D.L. Sargent Drive, 
Cedar City, Utah 84721.

[[Page 381]]

     BLM, Fillmore Field Office, 35 East, 500 North, Fillmore, 
Utah 84631.
     BLM, Kanab Field Office, 318 North, 100 East, Kanab, Utah 
     BLM, Moab Field Office, 82 E. Dogwood, Moab, Utah 84532.
     BLM, Price Field Office, 125 South, 600 West, Price, Utah 
     BLM, Richfield Field Office, 150 East, 900 North, 
Richfield, Utah 84701.
     BLM, St. George Field Office, 345 East Riverside Drive, 
Saint. George, Utah 84790.
     BLM, Salt Lake Field Office, 2370 South, 2300 West, Salt 
Lake City, Utah 84119.
     BLM, Vernal Field Office, 170 South, 500 East, Vernal, 
Utah 84078.
     BLM, Egan Field Office, 702 North Industrial Way, HC33, 
Ely, Nevada 89301.
     BLM, Caliente Field Office, U.S. Highway. 93, Building. 
1, Caliente, Nevada 89008.
     BLM, Las Vegas Field Office, 4701 N. Torrey Pines Drive, 
Las Vegas, Nevada 89130.
     USFS (Lead Forest Office), Dixie National Forest Office, 
1789 North Wedgewood Lane, Cedar City, Utah 84721.
    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.
    The public scoping will help determine relevant issues that can 
influence the scope of the environmental analysis, alternatives, and 
the process for developing the EIS. The BLM and the USFS, other 
agencies, cooperators, and individuals have preliminarily identified 
the following issues that will be addressed in the EIS: Socioeconomic 
impacts; public health and safety; plant and animal species (including 
special and sensitive status species, desert tortoise and sage-grouse); 
cultural resources and historic sites; visual intrusions; lands with 
wilderness characteristics; national scenic and historic trails; wild 
and scenic rivers; and inventoried roadless areas on National Forests.
    Public meetings will also be held during the scoping period. The 
BLM staff, Western staff, and Project proponents will be available at 
the public meetings to explain Project details and gather information 
from interested individuals or groups. The USFS and other cooperating 
agencies are expected to participate in the public meetings. The BLM, 
Western, and cooperating agencies will also provide additional 
opportunities for public participation upon publication of the Draft 
    Because the proposed Project may involve activities and 
construction in floodplains or wetlands, this NOI also serves as a 
notice of proposed floodplain or wetland action, in accordance with DOE 
regulations for Compliance with Floodplain and Wetlands Environmental 
Review Requirements, 10 CFR 1022.12(a). The EIS will include a 
floodplain/wetland assessment and, if required, a floodplain statement 
of findings will be issued with the Final EIS or in the RODs issued by 
Western, the BLM, and the USFS, if any.
    The BLM and Western will use and coordinate the NEPA commenting 
process to satisfy the public involvement process for Section 106 of 
the National Historic Preservation Act, 16 U.S.C. 470f, as provided for 
in 36 CFR 800.2(d)(3). Consultation with Native American Tribes will be 
conducted in accordance with applicable policies, and Tribal concerns, 
including impacts on Indian trust assets, will be given due 
consideration. Federal, State, and local agencies, along with other 
stakeholders that may be interested or affected by the BLM, USFS, or 
Western's decisions on the project are invited to participate in the 
scoping process and, if eligible, may request or be requested by the 
BLM and Western to participate as a cooperating agency.

Timothy J. Meeks,
Administrator, Western Area Power Administration.
Donald A. Simpson,
Wyoming State Director, Bureau of Land Management.
[FR Doc. 2010-33180 Filed 1-3-11; 8:45 am]