White Wind Farm Project (DOE/ EIS-0376), 37525-37527 [E7-13328]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 131 / Tuesday, July 10, 2007 / Notices Act of 1973. For accessibility accommodations please send an e-mail to accessibility@ferc.gov or call toll free (866) 208–3372 (voice) or 202–502–8659 (TTY), or send a fax to 202–208–2106 with the required accommodations. All interested parties and staff are permitted to attend. For further information please contact Katie Williams at (202) 502–8246 or e-mail kathleen.williams@ferc.gov. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary. [FR Doc. E7–13307 Filed 7–9–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717–01–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Western Area Power Administration White Wind Farm Project (DOE/ EIS– 0376) Western Area Power Administration, DOE. ACTION: Record of decision. jlentini on PROD1PC65 with NOTICES AGENCY: SUMMARY: White Wind Farm, LLC (Applicant), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Navitas Energy, Inc., has applied to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Western Area Power Administration (Western), to interconnect its proposed White Wind Farm Project (Project) to Western’s transmission system at the existing White Substation, near Brookings, South Dakota. The project would involve building up to 103 2megawatt (MW) wind turbine generators (WTG or Turbine) with a net capacity of up to 200 MW. Western considered the environmental impacts of the Project and has decided to grant the Applicant’s request to interconnect to the White Substation. Taking into consideration the mitigation measures the Applicant has incorporated into the Project, Western expects no significant longterm or short-term impacts to resources from construction, operation, and maintenance of the proposed Project. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Catherine Cunningham, Western Area Power Administration, P.O. Box 281213, Lakewood, CO 80228, telephone (720) 962–7000, e-mail cunningh@wapa.gov. For information about DOE’s National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, contact Ms. Carol M. Borgstrom, Director, NEPA Policy and Compliance, GC–20, U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585, telephone (202) 586–4600 or (800) 472–2756. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Applicant’s objective for the proposed Project is to develop a technically feasible and economically viable, wind- VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:17 Jul 09, 2007 Jkt 211001 powered, electrical generation resource. The Applicant has identified the Project Area, near the White Substation, as suitable to meet the required criteria for developing a large, utility-scale wind energy project and has applied to Western for interconnection there. The White Substation is located near Brookings, South Dakota. The Project Area encompasses approximately 28 square miles (17,920 acres). It is bisected by a 345-kilovolt (kV) transmission line owned by Western. The location and land availability would enable the economic viability of the proposed Project. The Applicant expects the proposed Project to meet a portion of the projected regional demand for electricity produced from wind resources. The Federal action associated with the proposed Project is approval or denial of the Applicant’s interconnection request. Western needs to respond to the interconnection request, provide transmission service under its Notice of Final Open Access Transmission Service Tariff, protect transmission system reliability and service to its customers, ensure compliance with applicable environmental laws, and consider the Applicant’s objective. A Notice of Intent to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) was published in the Federal Register on February 18, 2005. Western held a scoping meeting to solicit public comments on the proposed Project in Hendricks, Minnesota, on March 1, 2005. In addition, the Applicant has been communicating and meeting with area landowners throughout development of the proposed Project, as part of lease negotiations. On August 18, 2006, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published a notice in the Federal Register, announcing the availability of the Draft EIS. Western held an Open House and Public Hearing on September 14, 2006, to solicit public comments on the Draft EIS. For both the initial scoping meeting and subsequent Open House/Public Hearing, Western provided notice of the meetings to Federal, State, and local agencies, Tribes, and the public, with print media, local newspapers announcements, and direct mailings. Western accepted public comments on the Draft EIS August 18 through October 2, 2006. The Notice of Availability of the Final EIS was published in the Federal Register on April 13, 2007. Western decided to grant the Applicant’s request to interconnect to its transmission system at the White Substation. This decision is based on a review of the potential environmental PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 37525 impacts of the Project. Western considered proposed mitigation measures as part of the proposed Project to determine impacts. Alternatives Western analyzed the Proposed Action and No Action alternatives in the EIS. Western considered alternative sites for the Project but dismissed them from consideration, as no viable alternative locations were identified. Therefore, Western limited its analysis to the proposal the Applicant submitted for approval. Proposed Action Under the Proposed Action, the Applicant would construct up to 103 2– MW WTGs with a net capacity of 200 MW. The Applicant would also construct underground and overhead electrical collector lines; a new Project substation; a line interconnecting its Project substation to Western’s White Substation; and associated facilities. The Applicant proposes to construct or improve approximately 22 miles of roads for access to the WTGs and electrical collector lines. The Project would temporarily disturb approximately 626 acres of land during construction of the proposed Project. It would permanently disturb about 93 acres for installation of Project components (access roads, turbine and crane pads, overhead poles, and new substation). The disturbed areas would be dispersed throughout the Project Area. The Applicant would mount each WTG on a single steel self-supporting tower, approximately 255 feet high. The towers would be approximately 16 feet in diameter at the base and secured to concrete foundations. The housing, mounted at the top of each tower, would enclose the electric generator, a voltage step-up transformer, and a gearbox. Each WTG rotor would have three blades made of laminated glass and carbon fiber. The full WTG height at its tallest point would be approximately 400 feet from the ground to the tip of the turbine blade. The Applicant would paint the towers a flat neutral color to blend into the natural environment. The Applicant proposes to construct the new Project substation adjacent to Western’s existing White Substation. The substation would have a footprint of no more than 1 acre. The Applicant would construct the substation on private land immediately north of White Substation. The network of underground and overhead 34.5-kV collector lines would interconnect the WTGs. Approximately 45 miles of underground 34.5-kV sub- E:\FR\FM\10JYN1.SGM 10JYN1 jlentini on PROD1PC65 with NOTICES 37526 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 131 / Tuesday, July 10, 2007 / Notices transmission collection line and approximately nine miles of overhead 34.5-kV collector line would be needed. The Applicant would bury the underground electric collection line at least four feet below grade. The underground collection line would link each turbine to the next one or to the overhead lines, which would in turn, connect to the substation. The Applicant would construct the overhead lines within public road rights-of-way. The overhead lines would be supported on wooden single-pole structures, approximately 25 to 30 feet tall and spaced approximately 150 feet apart along road rights of way. A temporary staging area would be developed on approximately eight acres of tilled farmland. While the location of the staging area is not final, the Applicant expects that it would be located near the proposed Project substation. This staging area would be used by the Applicant for construction safety meetings, office trailers, parking for equipment and vehicles, and staging for some project components. To accommodate interconnection of the proposed Project to Western’s substation, the Applicant would construct a 345-kV overhead connection line from the proposed Project substation to the White Substation. The new overhead line would terminate on a steel structure inside the White Substation. Western would install a sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), gas-insulated power circuit breaker; two high-voltage disconnect switches; and other miscellaneous equipment at the White Substation. Western would monitor the use, storage, and replacement of SF6 to minimize releases to the environment. The Applicant anticipates an 8-month construction schedule. This schedule is subject to negotiations with regulatory agencies and utilities and may change. With the exception of the overhead lines within public road right of way, the Applicant would construct the proposed Project on privately-owned lands, according to landowner agreements and in compliance with county, State, and Federal requirements. The Applicant has obtained all necessary leases from private landowners to construct and operate the proposed Project up to 20 years. The Applicant would have the option to renew leases at the end of the 20-year agreements. Depending on wind turbine technology and market conditions at the end of the lease period, the Applicant may decommission the project or update it with more efficient components and renew lease agreements. Following construction, the Applicant would reclaim areas not maintained as VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:17 Jul 09, 2007 Jkt 211001 permanent facilities to their prior land use. The Applicant would reseed disturbed vegetation in non-agricultural areas in accordance with landowner agreements or local county extension service protocols. During operation and maintenance, the Applicant would continuously monitor the WTGs for any abnormalities. If required, maintenance staff would be dispatched to repair WTGs. The Applicant would conduct routine maintenance of the WTGs every six months. Maintenance activities include lubrication and inspection of WTG components and fasteners. The WTGs have a design life of 20 years. Occasionally, a crane may be necessary to remove and replace turbine components. In this event, the Applicant would conduct all construction activity within previously disturbed areas. During operation of the proposed Project substation, authorized personnel would conduct periodic inspections and service and repair equipment as needed. Substation equipment would include a step-up transformer, SF6 circuit breakers, switchgears, and other electrical equipment. Project personnel would monitor the use, storage, and replacement of SF6 to minimize releases to the environment. Within 120 days of the completion of Project construction, the Applicant would submit a Decommissioning Plan to the Brookings County Planning and Zoning Department. The Decommissioning Plan would outline the manner in which decommissioning activities would be conducted. Upon termination of operations, and if the WTGs are not updated, the Applicant would be obligated to dismantle and remove all Project components. Unless written approval is given by the affected landowner, all Project components would be removed to a depth of 48 inches below grade and the soil would be restored to a condition reasonably similar to the condition of the surrounding soil. Western completed wetland surveys to determine the presence of jurisdictional and non-jurisdictional wetlands in the Project Area. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has determined that the majority of streams and wetlands in the Project Area are jurisdictional waters of the United States. The Applicant’s final site design would avoid all wetlands, both jurisdictional and non-jurisdictional. The Applicant would apply for appropriate permits for utility line activities, including access roads administered under section 404 of the Clean Water Act. These would contain PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 general and permit-specific mitigation conditions for areas where the proposed access roads and utility lines would impact jurisdictional waters of the United States. The Applicant would employ directional boring techniques where underground collector systems would require a stream or wetland crossing. The use of directional boring would reduce erosion and/or sedimentation impacts. The Applicant would use Best Management Practices such as installing silt fencing to ensure that sediment or fill material does not impact adjacent waterways. No Action Alternative Under the No Action Alternative, Western would not grant the Applicant’s request to interconnect to Western’s transmission system, and the Applicant would not build the Project. Without the Project, existing environmental conditions would remain unchanged. Environmentally Preferred Alternative Western evaluated the alternatives to determine which is environmentally preferred, as required under 40 CFR 1505.2(b). The No Action Alternative is the environmentally preferred alternative, because no new disturbance would result. No impacts to environmental or social resources would occur. The No Action Alternative would not, however, meet the Applicant’s objective. Mitigation Measures The Applicant has committed to minimize potential short-term and longterm environmental and social impacts of the Proposed Action through project design, which includes implementation of mitigation measures. These measures are consolidated in Appendix B of the Final EIS. The Applicant, in consultation with Western, developed a monitoring plan to collect data on avian collisions with WTGs. Western and the Applicant would continue to coordinate with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to ensure adequacy of the plan. Through such monitoring, the Applicant and Western would be able to identify and implement reasonable operational changes or additional mitigation measures to further reduce avian and bat mortality. Western and the Applicant are working with the USFWS to identify thresholds for making appropriate changes. Surveys associated with the monitoring plan include 1 year prior to construction to establish baseline data and 2 years following operational start-up. The Applicant would develop additional mitigation E:\FR\FM\10JYN1.SGM 10JYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 131 / Tuesday, July 10, 2007 / Notices measures in consultation with the appropriate regulatory agency, if needed. Western will develop a Mitigation Action Plan (MAP) to provide additional information on how mitigation measures, associated with the proposed Project, would be implemented. The MAP would be developed and made available prior to any project activities directed by this Record of Decision (ROD) that are subject to a mitigation commitment. jlentini on PROD1PC65 with NOTICES Consultation Western is the lead Federal agency for compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and Tribal consultation for all components of the Project. The Applicant would avoid all archaeological and traditional cultural properties determined significant in consultation with the South Dakota State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) and interested Tribes. Western prepared a Programmatic Agreement (PA) in coordination with the South Dakota SHPO. The PA was executed on December 18, 2006. It establishes the Area of Potential Effect for the proposed Project, proposes a treatment plan for identified resources, describes procedures for unanticipated discoveries, sets forth procedures for Tribal consultation, and suggests general mitigation measures. The PA ensures that there would be no ‘‘unmitigatable’’ adverse effects on historic properties as defined under the NHPA. The Applicant would avoid areas containing identified resources. Western is also the lead for compliance with Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. Western prepared a biological assessment and submitted it to the USFWS. Western determined that the project may affect but is not likely to adversely affect the western prairie fringed orchid, the Topeka shiner, and the bald eagle and is not likely to affect the Dakota skipper. The USFWS responded with a letter of concurrence on May 30, 2006, and an email on May 31, 2007. Western reviewed additional literature and conducted field reconnaissance to supplement this analysis. Western may conduct further field studies prior to construction as a component of the Applicant’s monitoring study. Western will continue to consult informally with the USFWS. Floodplain Statement of Findings Western prepared a floodplain assessment in the EIS according to 10 CFR part 1022. The assessment can be found in the Draft EIS along with project VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:17 Jul 09, 2007 Jkt 211001 maps. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has not updated the Flood Insurance Rate Maps for this portion of South Dakota to reflect 500year floodplains. One-hundred-year floodplains occur along Deer Creek and along several unnamed streams in the Project Area. The floodplains are generally confined to the streambed and immediately adjacent, low-lying areas. The floodplains associated with the ephemeral streams generally range from 200 to 500 feet in width. The Deer Creek floodplain ranges from approximately 400 to 1,500 feet in width. On-site or off-site flooding would not result from construction and operation of the proposed Project. The Applicant would not construct WTGs in floodplains. Implementation of county-approved design standards for areas of concentrated flow would ensure that onsite or off-site flooding does not occur. Decision Western decided to grant the Applicant’s request to interconnect with Western’s transmission system at the White Substation. The Proposed Action would meet the Applicant’s objectives for the Project. Construction, operation, and maintenance of the proposed Project would not result in significant, short-or long-term environmental impacts. The Applicant would employ all practical means to avoid or minimize environmental harm as a result of the proposed Project. This ROD meets the requirements of NEPA as well as the Council on Environmental Quality and DOE’s NEPA implementing regulations. Additional analyses may affect this decision and result in subsequent analysis or decisions. Western will notify the public of any additional activities necessary to meet Western’s NEPA and other public involvement requirements. Dated: June 22, 2007. Timothy J. Meeks, Administrator. [FR Doc. E7–13328 Filed 7–9–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450–01–P ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [FRL–8337–7] Coastal Elevations and Sea Level Rise Advisory Committee Meeting Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ACTION: Notice of meeting. AGENCY: PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 37527 SUMMARY: Under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92–463), EPA gives notice of a public meeting of the Coastal Elevations and Sea Level Rise Advisory Committee (CESLAC). DATE AND TIME: The meeting will be held on Friday, July 27, 2007, from 12:30 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. ADDRESSES: The meeting will take place via teleconference. Interested parties can access the teleconference as follows. First, dial the following toll free number: (866) 299–3188. Second, enter the following conference code: 2023439719#. The leader will begin the conference call. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jack Fitzgerald, Designated Federal Officer, Climate Change Division, Mail Code 6207J, Office of Atmospheric Programs, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20460; e-mail address: Fitzgerald.jack@epa.gov, telephone number (202) 343–9336, fax: (202) 343– 2337. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The purpose of CESLAC is to provide advice on the conduct of a study titled Coastal Elevations and Sensitivity to Sea Level Rise which is being conducted as part of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP). The study pays particular attention to the coastal area of the U.S. from the state of New York through North Carolina. A copy of the study prospectus is available at: http:// www.climatescience.gov/Library/sap/ sap4–1/default.php. A copy of the Committee Charter is available at http://www.fido.gov/facadatabase/. This is the third meeting of CESLAC. The meeting will focus on consideration of a draft of the study. Draft materials that will be considered in the meeting can be found at: http:// www.environmentalinformation.net/ CESLAC/ as of Friday, July 13, 2007. If a printed copy of the material is needed, please contact Ms. Beth Scherer by: (1) E-mail at BScherer@stratusconsulting.com; (2) phone at (202) 466–3731, ext. 20; (3) mail at Stratus Consulting, 1920 L St., NW., Suite 420, Washington, DC 20036. Based on the extent of public participation in the first two meetings of CESLAC, thirty minutes of this third meeting will be allocated for statements by members of the public. Individuals who are interested in making statements should inform Jack Fitzgerald of their interest by Tuesday, July 24, and provide a copy of their statements for the record. Individuals will be scheduled in the order that their statements of intent to present are received. A minimum of three minutes E:\FR\FM\10JYN1.SGM 10JYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 72, Number 131 (Tuesday, July 10, 2007)]
[Notices]
[Pages 37525-37527]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E7-13328]


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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Western Area Power Administration


White Wind Farm Project (DOE/ EIS-0376)

AGENCY: Western Area Power Administration, DOE.

ACTION: Record of decision.

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

SUMMARY: White Wind Farm, LLC (Applicant), a wholly-owned subsidiary of 
Navitas Energy, Inc., has applied to the U.S. Department of Energy 
(DOE), Western Area Power Administration (Western), to interconnect its 
proposed White Wind Farm Project (Project) to Western's transmission 
system at the existing White Substation, near Brookings, South Dakota. 
The project would involve building up to 103 2-megawatt (MW) wind 
turbine generators (WTG or Turbine) with a net capacity of up to 200 
MW. Western considered the environmental impacts of the Project and has 
decided to grant the Applicant's request to interconnect to the White 
Substation. Taking into consideration the mitigation measures the 
Applicant has incorporated into the Project, Western expects no 
significant long-term or short-term impacts to resources from 
construction, operation, and maintenance of the proposed Project.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Catherine Cunningham, Western Area 
Power Administration, P.O. Box 281213, Lakewood, CO 80228, telephone 
(720) 962-7000, e-mail cunningh@wapa.gov. For information about DOE's 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, contact Ms. Carol M. 
Borgstrom, Director, NEPA Policy and Compliance, GC-20, U.S. Department 
of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585, 
telephone (202) 586-4600 or (800) 472-2756.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Applicant's objective for the proposed 
Project is to develop a technically feasible and economically viable, 
wind-powered, electrical generation resource. The Applicant has 
identified the Project Area, near the White Substation, as suitable to 
meet the required criteria for developing a large, utility-scale wind 
energy project and has applied to Western for interconnection there. 
The White Substation is located near Brookings, South Dakota. The 
Project Area encompasses approximately 28 square miles (17,920 acres). 
It is bisected by a 345-kilovolt (kV) transmission line owned by 
Western. The location and land availability would enable the economic 
viability of the proposed Project. The Applicant expects the proposed 
Project to meet a portion of the projected regional demand for 
electricity produced from wind resources.
    The Federal action associated with the proposed Project is approval 
or denial of the Applicant's interconnection request. Western needs to 
respond to the interconnection request, provide transmission service 
under its Notice of Final Open Access Transmission Service Tariff, 
protect transmission system reliability and service to its customers, 
ensure compliance with applicable environmental laws, and consider the 
Applicant's objective.
    A Notice of Intent to prepare an environmental impact statement 
(EIS) was published in the Federal Register on February 18, 2005. 
Western held a scoping meeting to solicit public comments on the 
proposed Project in Hendricks, Minnesota, on March 1, 2005. In 
addition, the Applicant has been communicating and meeting with area 
landowners throughout development of the proposed Project, as part of 
lease negotiations. On August 18, 2006, the U.S. Environmental 
Protection Agency published a notice in the Federal Register, 
announcing the availability of the Draft EIS. Western held an Open 
House and Public Hearing on September 14, 2006, to solicit public 
comments on the Draft EIS. For both the initial scoping meeting and 
subsequent Open House/Public Hearing, Western provided notice of the 
meetings to Federal, State, and local agencies, Tribes, and the public, 
with print media, local newspapers announcements, and direct mailings. 
Western accepted public comments on the Draft EIS August 18 through 
October 2, 2006. The Notice of Availability of the Final EIS was 
published in the Federal Register on April 13, 2007.
    Western decided to grant the Applicant's request to interconnect to 
its transmission system at the White Substation. This decision is based 
on a review of the potential environmental impacts of the Project. 
Western considered proposed mitigation measures as part of the proposed 
Project to determine impacts.

Alternatives

    Western analyzed the Proposed Action and No Action alternatives in 
the EIS. Western considered alternative sites for the Project but 
dismissed them from consideration, as no viable alternative locations 
were identified. Therefore, Western limited its analysis to the 
proposal the Applicant submitted for approval.

Proposed Action

    Under the Proposed Action, the Applicant would construct up to 103 
2-MW WTGs with a net capacity of 200 MW. The Applicant would also 
construct underground and overhead electrical collector lines; a new 
Project substation; a line interconnecting its Project substation to 
Western's White Substation; and associated facilities. The Applicant 
proposes to construct or improve approximately 22 miles of roads for 
access to the WTGs and electrical collector lines.
    The Project would temporarily disturb approximately 626 acres of 
land during construction of the proposed Project. It would permanently 
disturb about 93 acres for installation of Project components (access 
roads, turbine and crane pads, overhead poles, and new substation). The 
disturbed areas would be dispersed throughout the Project Area.
    The Applicant would mount each WTG on a single steel self-
supporting tower, approximately 255 feet high. The towers would be 
approximately 16 feet in diameter at the base and secured to concrete 
foundations. The housing, mounted at the top of each tower, would 
enclose the electric generator, a voltage step-up transformer, and a 
gearbox. Each WTG rotor would have three blades made of laminated glass 
and carbon fiber. The full WTG height at its tallest point would be 
approximately 400 feet from the ground to the tip of the turbine blade. 
The Applicant would paint the towers a flat neutral color to blend into 
the natural environment.
    The Applicant proposes to construct the new Project substation 
adjacent to Western's existing White Substation. The substation would 
have a footprint of no more than 1 acre. The Applicant would construct 
the substation on private land immediately north of White Substation.
    The network of underground and overhead 34.5-kV collector lines 
would interconnect the WTGs. Approximately 45 miles of underground 
34.5-kV sub-

[[Page 37526]]

transmission collection line and approximately nine miles of overhead 
34.5-kV collector line would be needed. The Applicant would bury the 
underground electric collection line at least four feet below grade. 
The underground collection line would link each turbine to the next one 
or to the overhead lines, which would in turn, connect to the 
substation. The Applicant would construct the overhead lines within 
public road rights-of-way. The overhead lines would be supported on 
wooden single-pole structures, approximately 25 to 30 feet tall and 
spaced approximately 150 feet apart along road rights of way.
    A temporary staging area would be developed on approximately eight 
acres of tilled farmland. While the location of the staging area is not 
final, the Applicant expects that it would be located near the proposed 
Project substation. This staging area would be used by the Applicant 
for construction safety meetings, office trailers, parking for 
equipment and vehicles, and staging for some project components.
    To accommodate interconnection of the proposed Project to Western's 
substation, the Applicant would construct a 345-kV overhead connection 
line from the proposed Project substation to the White Substation. The 
new overhead line would terminate on a steel structure inside the White 
Substation. Western would install a sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), gas-
insulated power circuit breaker; two high-voltage disconnect switches; 
and other miscellaneous equipment at the White Substation. Western 
would monitor the use, storage, and replacement of SF6 to minimize 
releases to the environment.
    The Applicant anticipates an 8-month construction schedule. This 
schedule is subject to negotiations with regulatory agencies and 
utilities and may change. With the exception of the overhead lines 
within public road right of way, the Applicant would construct the 
proposed Project on privately-owned lands, according to landowner 
agreements and in compliance with county, State, and Federal 
requirements. The Applicant has obtained all necessary leases from 
private landowners to construct and operate the proposed Project up to 
20 years. The Applicant would have the option to renew leases at the 
end of the 20-year agreements. Depending on wind turbine technology and 
market conditions at the end of the lease period, the Applicant may 
decommission the project or update it with more efficient components 
and renew lease agreements.
    Following construction, the Applicant would reclaim areas not 
maintained as permanent facilities to their prior land use. The 
Applicant would reseed disturbed vegetation in non-agricultural areas 
in accordance with landowner agreements or local county extension 
service protocols.
    During operation and maintenance, the Applicant would continuously 
monitor the WTGs for any abnormalities. If required, maintenance staff 
would be dispatched to repair WTGs. The Applicant would conduct routine 
maintenance of the WTGs every six months. Maintenance activities 
include lubrication and inspection of WTG components and fasteners. The 
WTGs have a design life of 20 years. Occasionally, a crane may be 
necessary to remove and replace turbine components. In this event, the 
Applicant would conduct all construction activity within previously 
disturbed areas.
    During operation of the proposed Project substation, authorized 
personnel would conduct periodic inspections and service and repair 
equipment as needed. Substation equipment would include a step-up 
transformer, SF6 circuit breakers, switchgears, and other 
electrical equipment. Project personnel would monitor the use, storage, 
and replacement of SF6 to minimize releases to the 
environment.
    Within 120 days of the completion of Project construction, the 
Applicant would submit a Decommissioning Plan to the Brookings County 
Planning and Zoning Department. The Decommissioning Plan would outline 
the manner in which decommissioning activities would be conducted. Upon 
termination of operations, and if the WTGs are not updated, the 
Applicant would be obligated to dismantle and remove all Project 
components. Unless written approval is given by the affected landowner, 
all Project components would be removed to a depth of 48 inches below 
grade and the soil would be restored to a condition reasonably similar 
to the condition of the surrounding soil.
    Western completed wetland surveys to determine the presence of 
jurisdictional and non-jurisdictional wetlands in the Project Area. The 
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has determined that the majority of 
streams and wetlands in the Project Area are jurisdictional waters of 
the United States. The Applicant's final site design would avoid all 
wetlands, both jurisdictional and non-jurisdictional. The Applicant 
would apply for appropriate permits for utility line activities, 
including access roads administered under section 404 of the Clean 
Water Act. These would contain general and permit-specific mitigation 
conditions for areas where the proposed access roads and utility lines 
would impact jurisdictional waters of the United States. The Applicant 
would employ directional boring techniques where underground collector 
systems would require a stream or wetland crossing. The use of 
directional boring would reduce erosion and/or sedimentation impacts. 
The Applicant would use Best Management Practices such as installing 
silt fencing to ensure that sediment or fill material does not impact 
adjacent waterways.

No Action Alternative

    Under the No Action Alternative, Western would not grant the 
Applicant's request to interconnect to Western's transmission system, 
and the Applicant would not build the Project. Without the Project, 
existing environmental conditions would remain unchanged.

Environmentally Preferred Alternative

    Western evaluated the alternatives to determine which is 
environmentally preferred, as required under 40 CFR 1505.2(b). The No 
Action Alternative is the environmentally preferred alternative, 
because no new disturbance would result. No impacts to environmental or 
social resources would occur. The No Action Alternative would not, 
however, meet the Applicant's objective.

Mitigation Measures

    The Applicant has committed to minimize potential short-term and 
long-term environmental and social impacts of the Proposed Action 
through project design, which includes implementation of mitigation 
measures. These measures are consolidated in Appendix B of the Final 
EIS.
    The Applicant, in consultation with Western, developed a monitoring 
plan to collect data on avian collisions with WTGs. Western and the 
Applicant would continue to coordinate with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service (USFWS) to ensure adequacy of the plan. Through such 
monitoring, the Applicant and Western would be able to identify and 
implement reasonable operational changes or additional mitigation 
measures to further reduce avian and bat mortality. Western and the 
Applicant are working with the USFWS to identify thresholds for making 
appropriate changes. Surveys associated with the monitoring plan 
include 1 year prior to construction to establish baseline data and 2 
years following operational start-up. The Applicant would develop 
additional mitigation

[[Page 37527]]

measures in consultation with the appropriate regulatory agency, if 
needed.
    Western will develop a Mitigation Action Plan (MAP) to provide 
additional information on how mitigation measures, associated with the 
proposed Project, would be implemented. The MAP would be developed and 
made available prior to any project activities directed by this Record 
of Decision (ROD) that are subject to a mitigation commitment.

Consultation

    Western is the lead Federal agency for compliance with Section 106 
of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and Tribal 
consultation for all components of the Project. The Applicant would 
avoid all archaeological and traditional cultural properties determined 
significant in consultation with the South Dakota State Historic 
Preservation Officer (SHPO) and interested Tribes. Western prepared a 
Programmatic Agreement (PA) in coordination with the South Dakota SHPO. 
The PA was executed on December 18, 2006. It establishes the Area of 
Potential Effect for the proposed Project, proposes a treatment plan 
for identified resources, describes procedures for unanticipated 
discoveries, sets forth procedures for Tribal consultation, and 
suggests general mitigation measures. The PA ensures that there would 
be no ``unmitigatable'' adverse effects on historic properties as 
defined under the NHPA. The Applicant would avoid areas containing 
identified resources.
    Western is also the lead for compliance with Section 7 of the 
Endangered Species Act. Western prepared a biological assessment and 
submitted it to the USFWS. Western determined that the project may 
affect but is not likely to adversely affect the western prairie 
fringed orchid, the Topeka shiner, and the bald eagle and is not likely 
to affect the Dakota skipper. The USFWS responded with a letter of 
concurrence on May 30, 2006, and an e-mail on May 31, 2007. Western 
reviewed additional literature and conducted field reconnaissance to 
supplement this analysis. Western may conduct further field studies 
prior to construction as a component of the Applicant's monitoring 
study. Western will continue to consult informally with the USFWS.

Floodplain Statement of Findings

    Western prepared a floodplain assessment in the EIS according to 10 
CFR part 1022. The assessment can be found in the Draft EIS along with 
project maps. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has not updated 
the Flood Insurance Rate Maps for this portion of South Dakota to 
reflect 500-year floodplains. One-hundred-year floodplains occur along 
Deer Creek and along several unnamed streams in the Project Area. The 
floodplains are generally confined to the streambed and immediately 
adjacent, low-lying areas. The floodplains associated with the 
ephemeral streams generally range from 200 to 500 feet in width. The 
Deer Creek floodplain ranges from approximately 400 to 1,500 feet in 
width. On-site or off-site flooding would not result from construction 
and operation of the proposed Project. The Applicant would not 
construct WTGs in floodplains. Implementation of county-approved design 
standards for areas of concentrated flow would ensure that on-site or 
off-site flooding does not occur.

Decision

    Western decided to grant the Applicant's request to interconnect 
with Western's transmission system at the White Substation. The 
Proposed Action would meet the Applicant's objectives for the Project. 
Construction, operation, and maintenance of the proposed Project would 
not result in significant, short-or long-term environmental impacts. 
The Applicant would employ all practical means to avoid or minimize 
environmental harm as a result of the proposed Project.
    This ROD meets the requirements of NEPA as well as the Council on 
Environmental Quality and DOE's NEPA implementing regulations. 
Additional analyses may affect this decision and result in subsequent 
analysis or decisions. Western will notify the public of any additional 
activities necessary to meet Western's NEPA and other public 
involvement requirements.

    Dated: June 22, 2007.
Timothy J. Meeks,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. E7-13328 Filed 7-9-07; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6450-01-P