Findings for the Sacramento Area Voltage Support Project (DOE/EIS-0323S1), 24970-24973 [E8-9956]

Download as PDF 24970 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 88 / Tuesday, May 6, 2008 / Notices filing/efiling/quick-comment-guide.pdf. Quick Comment does not require a FERC eRegistration account; however, you will be asked to provide a valid email address. All comments submitted under either eFiling or the Quick Comment option are placed in the public record for the specified docket. Becoming an Intervenor In addition to involvement in the EA scoping process, you may want to become an official party to the proceeding known as an ‘‘intervenor.’’ Intervenors play a more formal role in the process. Among other things, intervenors have the right to receive copies of case-related Commission documents and filings by other intervenors. Likewise, each intervenor must send one electronic copy (using the Commission’s eFiling system) or 14 paper copies of its filings to the Secretary of the Commission and must send a copy of its filings to all other parties on the Commission’s service list for this proceeding. If you want to become an intervenor you must file a motion to intervene according to Rule 214 of the Commission’s Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.214) (see Appendix 2) 3. Only intervenors have the right to seek rehearing of the Commission’s decision. Affected landowners and parties with environmental concerns may be granted intervenor status upon showing good cause by stating that they have a clear and direct interest in this proceeding which would not be adequately represented by any other parties. You do not need intervenor status to have your environmental comments considered. Environmental Mailing List rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES Additional Information Additional information about the project is available from the Commission’s Office of External Affairs, at 1–866–208–FERC or on the FERC Internet Web site (http://www.ferc.gov) 3 Interventions may also be filed electronically via the Internet in lieu of paper. See the previous discussion on filing comments electronically. 17:11 May 05, 2008 Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary. [FR Doc. E8–9904 Filed 5–5–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717–01–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Western Area Power Administration Findings for the Sacramento Area Voltage Support Project (DOE/EIS– 0323S1) Western Area Power Administration, DOE. ACTION: Notice of Record of Decision and Floodplain and Wetland Statement. AGENCY: As described above, we may mail the EA for comment. If you are interested in receiving an EA for review and/or comment, please return the Environmental Mailing List form (Appendix 3). If you do not return the Environmental Mailing List form, you will be taken off the mailing list. All individuals who provide written comments will remain in our environmental mailing list for this project. VerDate Aug<31>2005 using the ‘‘eLibrary’’ link. Click on the eLibrary link, then on ‘‘General Search’’ and enter the docket number excluding the last three digits in the Docket Number field. Be sure you have selected an appropriate date range. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at FercOnlineSupport@ferc.gov or toll free at 1–866–208–3676, or for TTY, contact (202) 502–8659. The eLibrary link also provides access to the texts of formal documents issued by the Commission, such as orders, notices, and rulemakings. In addition, the Commission now offers a free service called eSubscription which allows you to keep track of all formal issuances and submittals in specific dockets. This can reduce the amount of time you spend researching proceedings by automatically providing you with notification of these filings, document summaries and direct links to the documents. Go to http:// www.ferc.gov/esubscribenow.htm. Finally, any public meetings or site visits will be posted on the Commission’s calendar located at http://www.ferc.gov/EventCalendar/ EventsList.aspx along with other related information. Jkt 214001 SUMMARY: Western Area Power Administration (Western) plans to construct a new double-circuit, 230kilovolt (kV) transmission line, approximately 31 miles long, between Western’s O’Banion Substation and the area just south of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s (SMUD) Elverta Substation and reconstruct SMUD’s existing 230 kV/115 kV transmission line between SMUD’s Elverta and Natomas substations. The Sacramento Area Voltage Support (SVS) Project (Project) would be located in Sutter, Placer, and Sacramento counties in California. Western proposes to build the Project to provide needed transmission system additions and upgrades to maintain system voltage PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 stability, reliability, and security. Western evaluated seven action alternatives and the No Action Alternative in its supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS). Of these, Alternative B was selected as both the Preferred Alternative and the Environmentally Preferred Action Alternative. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Steve Tuggle, Natural Resource Manager, Western Area Power Administration, Sierra Nevada Region, 114 Parkshore Drive, Folsom, CA 95630–4710; telephone (916) 353–4549; e-mail tuggle@wapa.gov. Copies of the SEIS are available from Mr. Tuggle. For information about the Department of Energy (DOE) National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, contact Ms. Carol M. Borgstrom, Director, Office of NEPA Policy and Compliance, GC–20, U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20585; telephone (800) 472–2756. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Western issued the SVS draft and final environmental impact statement (EIS) in November 2002 and September 2003, and issued a record of decision (ROD) on January 12, 2004. In 2005, SMUD and the City of Roseville agreed to provide funding for Western to proceed with additional environmental review of the SVS Project and prepare an SEIS and environmental impact report (EIR). Western markets and transmits electricity from multi-use, Federal water projects. Western sells wholesale electricity to more than 70 preference customers in central and northern California and Nevada. Western’s Sierra Nevada Region (SNR) includes the greater Sacramento, California, area. SNR maintains and operates numerous substations and more than 1,200 miles of transmission lines. These transmission lines are interconnected to other greater Sacramento-area transmission system owners, Load Serving Entities, and utilities, including the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) and the City of Roseville (Roseville). Western’s system contributes to and is affected by voltage stability, reliability, and security of the greater Sacramento area transmission system. Transmission system studies in 2001/2002 and 2006/2007 showed that the existing transmission lines in the greater Sacramento area have reached their maximum power transfer limits for serving the area’s energy needs, particularly in the northern portion of the greater Sacramento area. Load Serving Entities and utilities in the area have taken interim measures to avoid E:\FR\FM\06MYN1.SGM 06MYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 88 / Tuesday, May 6, 2008 / Notices potential uncontrolled system-wide outages. As a last resort, operators may be required to implement postcontingency load shedding and/or rotating blackouts. These measures provide limited voltage stability improvement and are not always available or preferred. In addition, load shedding and rotating blackouts can have a significant negative impact on utility customers. The transmission system studies showed that additions and upgrades are needed to maintain system voltage stability, reliability, and security in accordance with NERC and WECC Planning/Operations Reliability Standards, and for Western to continue to meet its legislative and contractual requirements. The resulting system additions and upgrades would provide additional power-importing capabilities to the greater Sacramento area. Western, in coordination with SMUD and the City of Roseville, prepared an SEIS and EIR, in compliance with NEPA, the Council on Environmental Quality regulations for implementing NEPA (40 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] parts 1500–1508), California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) (Cal. Pub. Res. Code §§ 21000, et seq.), and California CEQA Guidelines (Cal. Code Reg. Tit. 14 §§ 15000, et seq.). rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES Project The Project consists of (1) constructing a new, double-circuit, 230 kV transmission line between O’Banion Substation and the area just south of Elverta Substation and (2) reconstructing the existing, doublecircuit, 230 kV/115 kV transmission line between Elverta Substation and Natomas Substation into a doublecircuit 230 kV transmission line. Alternatives Western analyzed seven action alternatives and the No Action alternative in the SEIS and EIR. Western proposes to build the Project following three route segments. Segments 1 and 3 are common to each action alternative. Segment 1 consists of constructing a new transmission line from O’Banion Substation to an area near Cross Canal in a new right-of-way (ROW). Segment 3 consists of rebuilding the existing SMUD double-circuit, 115/230 kV Elverta-North City and Elverta-Natomas transmission lines within a ROW between Elverta and Natomas substations. Segment 2 connects Segments 1 and 3. Seven routes were identified for Segment 2. Each of the 2A segments (i.e., segments 2A1, 2A2, 2A3, 2A4, and 2A5) include an option to be located along either the west or east side of VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:11 May 05, 2008 Jkt 214001 Highway 99. The Segment 2 routes differentiate the seven action alternatives (Alternatives A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, B, and C) as described below: Alternative A1 is composed of Segments 1, 2A1, and 3. It would involve construction of a new, doublecircuit, 230 kV transmission line approximately 33.6 to 33.8 miles long (depending on whether it is located on the east or west side of Highway 99) and rebuilding approximately 4.8 miles of existing Elverta-North City and ElvertaNatomas transmission lines. Alternative A2 is composed of Segments 1, 2A2, and 3. It would involve construction of a new, doublecircuit, 230 kV transmission line approximately 33.5 to 33.7 miles long (depending on whether it is located on the east or west side of Highway 99) and rebuilding approximately 4.8 miles of existing Elverta-North City and ElvertaNatomas transmission lines. Alternative A3 is composed of Segments 1, 2A3, and 3. It would involve construction of a new, doublecircuit, 230 kV transmission line approximately 33.8 to 34.0 miles long (depending on whether it is located on the east or west side of Highway 99) and rebuilding approximately 4.8 miles of existing Elverta-North City and ElvertaNatomas transmission lines. Alternative A4 is composed of Segments 1, 2A4, and 3. It would involve construction of a new, doublecircuit, 230 kV transmission line approximately 35.2 to 35.4 miles long (depending on whether it is located on the east or west side of Highway 99) and rebuilding approximately 4.8 miles of existing Elverta-North City and ElvertaNatomas transmission lines. Alternative A5 is composed of Segments 1, 2A5, and 3. It would involve construction of a new, doublecircuit, 230 kV transmission line approximately 33.7 to 33.9 miles long (depending on whether it is located on the east or west side of Highway 99) and rebuilding approximately 4.8 miles of existing Elverta-North City and ElvertaNatomas transmission lines. Alternative B is composed of Segments 1, 2B, and 3. It would involve construction of a new, double-circuit, 230 kV transmission line approximately 31.3 miles long and rebuilding approximately 4.8 miles of existing Elverta-North City and Elverta-Natomas transmission lines. Alternative C is composed of Segments 1, 2C1, 2C2, and 3. It would involve construction of a new, doublecircuit, 230 kV transmission line approximately 37.6 miles long and rebuilding approximately 4.8 miles of existing Elverta-North City and Elverta- PO 00000 Frm 00034 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 24971 Natomas transmission lines. This alternative would abandon 8.6 miles of existing Cottonwood-Roseville transmission line. The No Action Alternative would include operation and maintenance of the existing transmission lines. Western would not build any of the new transmission line segments presented in the SEIS and EIR. Implementing this alternative would preclude most shortterm environmental impacts associated with construction activities. This alternative would not meet the Project’s purpose and need. The No Action Alternative would not alleviate the greater Sacramento area power system voltage stability, reliability, and security problems. While Western and interconnected transmission system owners, Load Serving Entities, and area utilities would continue to take appropriate measures to manage power system reliability, they may be unable to meet system reliability standards and contractual obligations under the No Action Alternative. Western has proactively developed Environmental Protection Measures (EPMs) to protect sensitive resources in the field. These EPMs would be implemented as part of the Project. Preferred Alternatives Determining the preferred alternatives requires that Western balance many factors with the Project’s purpose and need. Western identified the No Action Alternative as the Environmentally Preferred Alternative because it would have no additional impacts to environmental resources. However, the No Action Alternative would not meet the Project’s purpose and need. Therefore, Western selected Alternative B as the Environmentally Preferred Action Alternative. With the implementation of the EPMs, Alternative B would not result in a significant adverse environmental effect on any resource and would be the shortest route, requiring the least amount of disturbance for the transmission line and access roads. In comparison to the other action alternatives, Alternative B would have greater effects on wetlands, including vernal pools and existing residences; however, these impacts could be minimized through proper design. Also, Alternative B would generally have less impact on other resources, including air quality, giant garter snake habitat, existing and planned habitat conservation plan areas, prime and unique farmland, and planned transportation projects. Western considered its determination of the Environmentally Preferred Action E:\FR\FM\06MYN1.SGM 06MYN1 24972 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 88 / Tuesday, May 6, 2008 / Notices Alternative, consistency with the Project’s purpose and need, and economic and engineering factors to select Alterative B as the overall Preferred Alternative. Alternative B is partially within an established northsouth transmission line corridor and in or immediately adjacent to an abandoned railroad ROW. It is the shortest of the action alternatives, which would result in preferable economics and less-than-significant environmental impacts. rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES Public Involvement Notices of availability of the draft SEIS and EIR were published in several local newspapers and the Federal Register. Agencies, Tribes, property owners within 500 feet of the Project ROW, and those expressing interest were notified by direct mailings. Two public forums were held during the public comment period: one on August 7, 2007, in Roseville, California, and one on August 8, 2007, in Sacramento, California. Western received oral comments from ten people and written comments from two people at the public forums. Additionally, Western received written comments from about 40 commenters via mail, e-mail, and facsimile. The public comment period closed on August 27, 2007. Along with findings in the draft SEIS and EIR, Western used public and agency comments to guide its selection of the Preferred and Environmentally Preferred Alternatives. Western responded to public comments and made minor modifications, addenda, and corrections in its final SEIS and EIR. Notices of availability of the final SEIS and EIR were published in several local newspapers and the Federal Register. Upon identifying that it had overlooked some comment letters, Western evaluated the missed comments but made no significant corrections or changes to the Final SEIS and EIR. Western responded to the additional comments and included them in the Final SEIS and EIR, which was reissued. Notices of availability of the Final SEIS and EIR were re-issued by direct mail and republished in the local newspapers and the Federal Register. Environmental Impacts The SEIS and EIR provides a detailed impact analysis of the 17 resource areas analyzed. For cultural resources, electric and magnetic fields, environmental justice, floodplains, geology, health and safety, noise, paleontological resources, socioeconomics, soils, and water resources impacts would not appreciably differ among action VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:11 May 05, 2008 Jkt 214001 alternatives. With the implementation of the EPMs, none of the alternatives would result in significant direct, indirect, or cumulative impacts for any of these resource areas. The remaining resource areas are discussed below. With regard to air quality, the area is in non-attainment for ozone, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, reactive organic gases, and particulate matter less than 10 micrometers in diameter. Differences among alternatives would be small and contributions of the above-mentioned pollutants would be in direct correlation to the length of each alternative and time needed to complete construction. Because Alternative C involves the most distance and time for construction, it would have the most impact on air resources. Alternative B would have the least impact on air resources because it involves the least distance and time for construction. Impacts from the Project would be short-term, occurring only during construction. All recommended mitigation measures from applicable air districts would be applied to the Project. Therefore, no significant direct, indirect, or cumulative effects would result from any of the alternatives. The differences in impacts to biological and wetland resources among action alternatives would be small and vary by species and habitat. In particular, the alternatives would affect varying amounts of rice fields (habitat for the giant garter snake), wetlands, including vernal pools and existing or proposed conservation areas. The A alternatives would have the greatest impact on rice fields and would pass through and/or adjacent to the Natomas Basin Conservancy, an area managed under the Natomas Basin Habitat Conservation Plan. Alternative B would have the least impact on rice fields and habitat conservation plan areas. Conversely, Alternative B would have the greatest impact on wetlands and the A alternatives would have the least impact on wetlands. In addition to EPMs already developed, Western would incorporate mitigation measures identified during consultation with appropriate agencies. Therefore, no significant direct, indirect, or cumulative effects would result from any of the alternatives. The differences in impacts to land uses among action alternatives would be small and vary by use. In particular, the action alternatives demonstrate comparative differences for existing residences, prime and unique farmland, and planned development. Segment 2B of Alternative B would be constructed near 16 existing residences located adjacent to the Project alignment. The A PO 00000 Frm 00035 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 alternatives have the greatest impacts on prime and unique farmland. Alternative C would cross or be located adjacent to the greatest number of planned developments in the area. While these impacts exist among alternatives, none would result in significant direct, indirect, or cumulative effects for any alternative. The main difference in traffic and transportation impacts among alternatives is that, for the A alternatives west of Highway 99, the Project would have to cross Highway 99 three times compared with one time for all other action alternatives. These impacts would be limited to the construction period. No significant direct, indirect, or cumulative effects would result from any of the alternatives. The effects on visual resources from the Project are similar for all action alternatives. The City of Roseville, however, has a specific, approved visual policy with which Alternative C would conflict. Therefore, Alternative C would result in a significant indirect and cumulative impact. No other alternatives would result in significant direct, indirect, or cumulative effects. Agency Consultations Western will complete consultations and obtain applicable permits and approvals as appropriate, prior to construction. Western is currently developing a Programmatic Agreement to satisfy requirements under the National Historic Preservation Act. Western will consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to comply with the Endangered Species Act 16 (U.S.C. § 1536.). Western will obtain permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in compliance with Rivers and Harbors Act Section 10 and Clean Water Act Section 404 (33 U.S.C. 1344.). Western will obtain a water quality certification from the Regional Water Quality Control Board in compliance with the Clean Water Act Section 401 (33 U.S.C. 1341.). Mitigation Western developed 104 EPMs to reduce environmental consequences associated with construction and operation activities. Western determined environmental consequences in the SEIS and EIR, based on the assumption that all EPMs would be fully implemented. These EPMs ensure that Western will avoid or minimize environmental harm from building the Project. During ongoing consultations and coordination with agencies and prior to construction, additional mitigation measures may be developed. Western will incorporate E:\FR\FM\06MYN1.SGM 06MYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 88 / Tuesday, May 6, 2008 / Notices these measures, as appropriate, to further avoid and mitigate impacts. Western will include these additional measures in a Mitigation Action Plan (MAP). Western will develop a MAP in accordance with 10 CFR 1021.331 that addresses mitigation commitments. It will explain how the mitigation will be planned and implemented. The MAP will be available upon request. With implementation of the EPMs and MAP, Western will adopt all practical means to avoid or minimize environmental harm for the Project. rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES Floodplain and Wetland Statement of Findings In accordance with 10 CFR 1022, Western considered the potential impacts of the Project on floodplains and wetlands. The Project and surrounding area are dominated by 100and 500-year floodplain zones and a network of flood control levees and canals. A map of Project and floodplain zone information is available in the Draft SEIS and EIR on page 4–46. There is no practical means of avoiding floodplains. Because of the nature of transmission line construction and its relative small amount of disturbance and implementation of the EPMs, such as erosion control, surface restoration, the Project would not substantially alter the normal drainage patterns or affect runoff rates. Western would maximize use of existing roads. Structures located in the floodplains, would not contribute to the impedance of flood flows. Western evaluated alternatives for the Project and found there was no practical means of avoiding wetlands entirely. Western estimates that approximately 2.4 acres of wetlands would be permanently affected by the construction of the Project Preferred Alternative (Alternative B). Western will design the Project to avoid wetlands where possible. Western will coordinate with agencies to ensure compliance with all applicable floodplain and wetland requirements. Western will mitigate the project for wetlands as deemed appropriate by the USACE. Decision Western’s decision is to build the Preferred Alternative (Alternative B), as described above and in the SEIS and EIR. This decision is based on the information contained in the ‘‘Sacramento Area Voltage Support Project Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement and Environmental Impact Report (DOE/EIS–0323S1)’’; (Draft SEIS and EIR issued July 2007 and Final reissued March 2008). This ROD has been prepared in accordance VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:11 May 05, 2008 Jkt 214001 with Council on Environmental Quality regulations for implementing NEPA (40 CFR Parts 1500–1508) and DOE Procedures for Implementing NEPA (10 CFR Part 1021). Full implementation of this decision is contingent upon the implementation of the EPMs for the Preferred Alternative and Project obtaining all applicable permits and approvals. Dated: April 29, 2008. Timothy J. Meeks, Administrator. [FR Doc. E8–9956 Filed 5–5–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450–01–P ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [EPA–HQ–OAR–2008–0317; FRL–8563–3] Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Rule To Reduce Interstate Transport of Fine Particulate Matter and Ozone (Clean Air Interstate Rule)—Final Rule; EPA ICR No. 2152.03, OMB Control No. 2060–0570. Environmental Protection Agency. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: SUMMARY: In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), this document announces that EPA is planning to submit a request to renew an existing approved Information Collection Request (ICR) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). This ICR is scheduled to expire on September 30, 2008. Before submitting the ICR to OMB for review and approval, EPA is soliciting comments on specific aspects of the proposed information collection as described below. DATES: Comments must be submitted on or before July 7, 2008. ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA–HQ– OAR–2006–0947. • http://www.regulations.gov: Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments. • E-mail: a-and-r-Docket@epa.gov. • Fax: (202) 566–9744. • Mail: Air Docket, Environmental Protection Agency, Mailcode: 2822T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460. • Hand Delivery: Docket Center, (EPA/DC), EPA West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Docket’s normal hours of operation, and special PO 00000 Frm 00036 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 24973 arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information. Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA–HQ–OAR–2006– 0947. EPA’s policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available online at http:// www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected through http:// www.regulations.gov or e-mail. The http://www.regulations.gov Web site is an ‘‘anonymous access’’ system, which means EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an e-mail comment directly to EPA without going through http:// www.regulations.gov your e-mail address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD–ROM you submit. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses. For additional information about EPA’s public docket visit the EPA Docket Center homepage at http:// www.epa.gov/epahome/dockets.htm. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ruben D. Deza, Clean Air Markets Division, (6204J), Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: 202–343–9364; fax number: 202–343–2359; e-mail address: deza.ruben@epa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: How Can I Access the Docket and/or Submit Comments? EPA has established a public docket for this ICR under Docket ID No. EPA– HQ–OAR–2006–0947, which is available for online viewing at http:// www.regulations.gov, or in person viewing at the Air and Radiation Docket in the EPA Docket Center (EPA/DC), EPA West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC. The EPA/DC Public Reading Room E:\FR\FM\06MYN1.SGM 06MYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 88 (Tuesday, May 6, 2008)]
[Notices]
[Pages 24970-24973]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-9956]


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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Western Area Power Administration


Findings for the Sacramento Area Voltage Support Project (DOE/
EIS-0323S1)

AGENCY: Western Area Power Administration, DOE.

ACTION: Notice of Record of Decision and Floodplain and Wetland 
Statement.

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

SUMMARY: Western Area Power Administration (Western) plans to construct 
a new double-circuit, 230-kilovolt (kV) transmission line, 
approximately 31 miles long, between Western's O'Banion Substation and 
the area just south of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District's 
(SMUD) Elverta Substation and reconstruct SMUD's existing 230 kV/115 kV 
transmission line between SMUD's Elverta and Natomas substations. The 
Sacramento Area Voltage Support (SVS) Project (Project) would be 
located in Sutter, Placer, and Sacramento counties in California. 
Western proposes to build the Project to provide needed transmission 
system additions and upgrades to maintain system voltage stability, 
reliability, and security. Western evaluated seven action alternatives 
and the No Action Alternative in its supplemental environmental impact 
statement (SEIS). Of these, Alternative B was selected as both the 
Preferred Alternative and the Environmentally Preferred Action 
Alternative.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Steve Tuggle, Natural Resource 
Manager, Western Area Power Administration, Sierra Nevada Region, 114 
Parkshore Drive, Folsom, CA 95630-4710; telephone (916) 353-4549; e-
mail tuggle@wapa.gov. Copies of the SEIS are available from Mr. Tuggle. 
For information about the Department of Energy (DOE) National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, contact Ms. Carol M. 
Borgstrom, Director, Office of NEPA Policy and Compliance, GC-20, U.S. 
Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 
20585; telephone (800) 472-2756.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Western issued the SVS draft and final 
environmental impact statement (EIS) in November 2002 and September 
2003, and issued a record of decision (ROD) on January 12, 2004. In 
2005, SMUD and the City of Roseville agreed to provide funding for 
Western to proceed with additional environmental review of the SVS 
Project and prepare an SEIS and environmental impact report (EIR).
    Western markets and transmits electricity from multi-use, Federal 
water projects. Western sells wholesale electricity to more than 70 
preference customers in central and northern California and Nevada. 
Western's Sierra Nevada Region (SNR) includes the greater Sacramento, 
California, area. SNR maintains and operates numerous substations and 
more than 1,200 miles of transmission lines. These transmission lines 
are interconnected to other greater Sacramento-area transmission system 
owners, Load Serving Entities, and utilities, including the Sacramento 
Municipal Utility District (SMUD) and the City of Roseville 
(Roseville). Western's system contributes to and is affected by voltage 
stability, reliability, and security of the greater Sacramento area 
transmission system. Transmission system studies in 2001/2002 and 2006/
2007 showed that the existing transmission lines in the greater 
Sacramento area have reached their maximum power transfer limits for 
serving the area's energy needs, particularly in the northern portion 
of the greater Sacramento area. Load Serving Entities and utilities in 
the area have taken interim measures to avoid

[[Page 24971]]

potential uncontrolled system-wide outages. As a last resort, operators 
may be required to implement post-contingency load shedding and/or 
rotating blackouts. These measures provide limited voltage stability 
improvement and are not always available or preferred. In addition, 
load shedding and rotating blackouts can have a significant negative 
impact on utility customers. The transmission system studies showed 
that additions and upgrades are needed to maintain system voltage 
stability, reliability, and security in accordance with NERC and WECC 
Planning/Operations Reliability Standards, and for Western to continue 
to meet its legislative and contractual requirements. The resulting 
system additions and upgrades would provide additional power-importing 
capabilities to the greater Sacramento area.
    Western, in coordination with SMUD and the City of Roseville, 
prepared an SEIS and EIR, in compliance with NEPA, the Council on 
Environmental Quality regulations for implementing NEPA (40 Code of 
Federal Regulations [CFR] parts 1500-1508), California Environmental 
Quality Act (CEQA) (Cal. Pub. Res. Code Sec. Sec.  21000, et seq.), and 
California CEQA Guidelines (Cal. Code Reg. Tit. 14 Sec. Sec.  15000, et 
seq.).

Project

    The Project consists of (1) constructing a new, double-circuit, 230 
kV transmission line between O'Banion Substation and the area just 
south of Elverta Substation and (2) reconstructing the existing, 
double-circuit, 230 kV/115 kV transmission line between Elverta 
Substation and Natomas Substation into a double-circuit 230 kV 
transmission line.

Alternatives

    Western analyzed seven action alternatives and the No Action 
alternative in the SEIS and EIR. Western proposes to build the Project 
following three route segments. Segments 1 and 3 are common to each 
action alternative. Segment 1 consists of constructing a new 
transmission line from O'Banion Substation to an area near Cross Canal 
in a new right-of-way (ROW). Segment 3 consists of rebuilding the 
existing SMUD double-circuit, 115/230 kV Elverta-North City and 
Elverta-Natomas transmission lines within a ROW between Elverta and 
Natomas substations.
    Segment 2 connects Segments 1 and 3. Seven routes were identified 
for Segment 2. Each of the 2A segments (i.e., segments 2A1, 2A2, 2A3, 
2A4, and 2A5) include an option to be located along either the west or 
east side of Highway 99. The Segment 2 routes differentiate the seven 
action alternatives (Alternatives A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, B, and C) as 
described below:
    Alternative A1 is composed of Segments 1, 2A1, and 3. It would 
involve construction of a new, double-circuit, 230 kV transmission line 
approximately 33.6 to 33.8 miles long (depending on whether it is 
located on the east or west side of Highway 99) and rebuilding 
approximately 4.8 miles of existing Elverta-North City and Elverta-
Natomas transmission lines.
    Alternative A2 is composed of Segments 1, 2A2, and 3. It would 
involve construction of a new, double-circuit, 230 kV transmission line 
approximately 33.5 to 33.7 miles long (depending on whether it is 
located on the east or west side of Highway 99) and rebuilding 
approximately 4.8 miles of existing Elverta-North City and Elverta-
Natomas transmission lines.
    Alternative A3 is composed of Segments 1, 2A3, and 3. It would 
involve construction of a new, double-circuit, 230 kV transmission line 
approximately 33.8 to 34.0 miles long (depending on whether it is 
located on the east or west side of Highway 99) and rebuilding 
approximately 4.8 miles of existing Elverta-North City and Elverta-
Natomas transmission lines.
    Alternative A4 is composed of Segments 1, 2A4, and 3. It would 
involve construction of a new, double-circuit, 230 kV transmission line 
approximately 35.2 to 35.4 miles long (depending on whether it is 
located on the east or west side of Highway 99) and rebuilding 
approximately 4.8 miles of existing Elverta-North City and Elverta-
Natomas transmission lines.
    Alternative A5 is composed of Segments 1, 2A5, and 3. It would 
involve construction of a new, double-circuit, 230 kV transmission line 
approximately 33.7 to 33.9 miles long (depending on whether it is 
located on the east or west side of Highway 99) and rebuilding 
approximately 4.8 miles of existing Elverta-North City and Elverta-
Natomas transmission lines.
    Alternative B is composed of Segments 1, 2B, and 3. It would 
involve construction of a new, double-circuit, 230 kV transmission line 
approximately 31.3 miles long and rebuilding approximately 4.8 miles of 
existing Elverta-North City and Elverta-Natomas transmission lines.
    Alternative C is composed of Segments 1, 2C1, 2C2, and 3. It would 
involve construction of a new, double-circuit, 230 kV transmission line 
approximately 37.6 miles long and rebuilding approximately 4.8 miles of 
existing Elverta-North City and Elverta-Natomas transmission lines. 
This alternative would abandon 8.6 miles of existing Cottonwood-
Roseville transmission line.
    The No Action Alternative would include operation and maintenance 
of the existing transmission lines. Western would not build any of the 
new transmission line segments presented in the SEIS and EIR. 
Implementing this alternative would preclude most short-term 
environmental impacts associated with construction activities. This 
alternative would not meet the Project's purpose and need. The No 
Action Alternative would not alleviate the greater Sacramento area 
power system voltage stability, reliability, and security problems. 
While Western and interconnected transmission system owners, Load 
Serving Entities, and area utilities would continue to take appropriate 
measures to manage power system reliability, they may be unable to meet 
system reliability standards and contractual obligations under the No 
Action Alternative.
    Western has proactively developed Environmental Protection Measures 
(EPMs) to protect sensitive resources in the field. These EPMs would be 
implemented as part of the Project.

Preferred Alternatives

    Determining the preferred alternatives requires that Western 
balance many factors with the Project's purpose and need. Western 
identified the No Action Alternative as the Environmentally Preferred 
Alternative because it would have no additional impacts to 
environmental resources. However, the No Action Alternative would not 
meet the Project's purpose and need. Therefore, Western selected 
Alternative B as the Environmentally Preferred Action Alternative. With 
the implementation of the EPMs, Alternative B would not result in a 
significant adverse environmental effect on any resource and would be 
the shortest route, requiring the least amount of disturbance for the 
transmission line and access roads. In comparison to the other action 
alternatives, Alternative B would have greater effects on wetlands, 
including vernal pools and existing residences; however, these impacts 
could be minimized through proper design. Also, Alternative B would 
generally have less impact on other resources, including air quality, 
giant garter snake habitat, existing and planned habitat conservation 
plan areas, prime and unique farmland, and planned transportation 
projects.
    Western considered its determination of the Environmentally 
Preferred Action

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Alternative, consistency with the Project's purpose and need, and 
economic and engineering factors to select Alterative B as the overall 
Preferred Alternative. Alternative B is partially within an established 
north-south transmission line corridor and in or immediately adjacent 
to an abandoned railroad ROW. It is the shortest of the action 
alternatives, which would result in preferable economics and less-than-
significant environmental impacts.

Public Involvement

    Notices of availability of the draft SEIS and EIR were published in 
several local newspapers and the Federal Register. Agencies, Tribes, 
property owners within 500 feet of the Project ROW, and those 
expressing interest were notified by direct mailings. Two public forums 
were held during the public comment period: one on August 7, 2007, in 
Roseville, California, and one on August 8, 2007, in Sacramento, 
California. Western received oral comments from ten people and written 
comments from two people at the public forums. Additionally, Western 
received written comments from about 40 commenters via mail, e-mail, 
and facsimile. The public comment period closed on August 27, 2007. 
Along with findings in the draft SEIS and EIR, Western used public and 
agency comments to guide its selection of the Preferred and 
Environmentally Preferred Alternatives. Western responded to public 
comments and made minor modifications, addenda, and corrections in its 
final SEIS and EIR. Notices of availability of the final SEIS and EIR 
were published in several local newspapers and the Federal Register. 
Upon identifying that it had overlooked some comment letters, Western 
evaluated the missed comments but made no significant corrections or 
changes to the Final SEIS and EIR. Western responded to the additional 
comments and included them in the Final SEIS and EIR, which was 
reissued. Notices of availability of the Final SEIS and EIR were re-
issued by direct mail and republished in the local newspapers and the 
Federal Register.

Environmental Impacts

    The SEIS and EIR provides a detailed impact analysis of the 17 
resource areas analyzed. For cultural resources, electric and magnetic 
fields, environmental justice, floodplains, geology, health and safety, 
noise, paleontological resources, socioeconomics, soils, and water 
resources impacts would not appreciably differ among action 
alternatives. With the implementation of the EPMs, none of the 
alternatives would result in significant direct, indirect, or 
cumulative impacts for any of these resource areas. The remaining 
resource areas are discussed below.
    With regard to air quality, the area is in non-attainment for 
ozone, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, reactive organic 
gases, and particulate matter less than 10 micrometers in diameter. 
Differences among alternatives would be small and contributions of the 
above-mentioned pollutants would be in direct correlation to the length 
of each alternative and time needed to complete construction. Because 
Alternative C involves the most distance and time for construction, it 
would have the most impact on air resources. Alternative B would have 
the least impact on air resources because it involves the least 
distance and time for construction. Impacts from the Project would be 
short-term, occurring only during construction. All recommended 
mitigation measures from applicable air districts would be applied to 
the Project. Therefore, no significant direct, indirect, or cumulative 
effects would result from any of the alternatives.
    The differences in impacts to biological and wetland resources 
among action alternatives would be small and vary by species and 
habitat. In particular, the alternatives would affect varying amounts 
of rice fields (habitat for the giant garter snake), wetlands, 
including vernal pools and existing or proposed conservation areas. The 
A alternatives would have the greatest impact on rice fields and would 
pass through and/or adjacent to the Natomas Basin Conservancy, an area 
managed under the Natomas Basin Habitat Conservation Plan. Alternative 
B would have the least impact on rice fields and habitat conservation 
plan areas. Conversely, Alternative B would have the greatest impact on 
wetlands and the A alternatives would have the least impact on 
wetlands. In addition to EPMs already developed, Western would 
incorporate mitigation measures identified during consultation with 
appropriate agencies. Therefore, no significant direct, indirect, or 
cumulative effects would result from any of the alternatives.
    The differences in impacts to land uses among action alternatives 
would be small and vary by use. In particular, the action alternatives 
demonstrate comparative differences for existing residences, prime and 
unique farmland, and planned development. Segment 2B of Alternative B 
would be constructed near 16 existing residences located adjacent to 
the Project alignment. The A alternatives have the greatest impacts on 
prime and unique farmland. Alternative C would cross or be located 
adjacent to the greatest number of planned developments in the area. 
While these impacts exist among alternatives, none would result in 
significant direct, indirect, or cumulative effects for any 
alternative.
    The main difference in traffic and transportation impacts among 
alternatives is that, for the A alternatives west of Highway 99, the 
Project would have to cross Highway 99 three times compared with one 
time for all other action alternatives. These impacts would be limited 
to the construction period. No significant direct, indirect, or 
cumulative effects would result from any of the alternatives.
    The effects on visual resources from the Project are similar for 
all action alternatives. The City of Roseville, however, has a 
specific, approved visual policy with which Alternative C would 
conflict. Therefore, Alternative C would result in a significant 
indirect and cumulative impact. No other alternatives would result in 
significant direct, indirect, or cumulative effects.

Agency Consultations

    Western will complete consultations and obtain applicable permits 
and approvals as appropriate, prior to construction. Western is 
currently developing a Programmatic Agreement to satisfy requirements 
under the National Historic Preservation Act. Western will consult with 
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to comply with the Endangered 
Species Act 16 (U.S.C. Sec.  1536.). Western will obtain permits from 
the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in compliance with Rivers and 
Harbors Act Section 10 and Clean Water Act Section 404 (33 U.S.C. 
1344.). Western will obtain a water quality certification from the 
Regional Water Quality Control Board in compliance with the Clean Water 
Act Section 401 (33 U.S.C. 1341.).

Mitigation

    Western developed 104 EPMs to reduce environmental consequences 
associated with construction and operation activities. Western 
determined environmental consequences in the SEIS and EIR, based on the 
assumption that all EPMs would be fully implemented. These EPMs ensure 
that Western will avoid or minimize environmental harm from building 
the Project. During ongoing consultations and coordination with 
agencies and prior to construction, additional mitigation measures may 
be developed. Western will incorporate

[[Page 24973]]

these measures, as appropriate, to further avoid and mitigate impacts. 
Western will include these additional measures in a Mitigation Action 
Plan (MAP). Western will develop a MAP in accordance with 10 CFR 
1021.331 that addresses mitigation commitments. It will explain how the 
mitigation will be planned and implemented. The MAP will be available 
upon request. With implementation of the EPMs and MAP, Western will 
adopt all practical means to avoid or minimize environmental harm for 
the Project.

Floodplain and Wetland Statement of Findings

    In accordance with 10 CFR 1022, Western considered the potential 
impacts of the Project on floodplains and wetlands. The Project and 
surrounding area are dominated by 100- and 500-year floodplain zones 
and a network of flood control levees and canals. A map of Project and 
floodplain zone information is available in the Draft SEIS and EIR on 
page 4-46. There is no practical means of avoiding floodplains. Because 
of the nature of transmission line construction and its relative small 
amount of disturbance and implementation of the EPMs, such as erosion 
control, surface restoration, the Project would not substantially alter 
the normal drainage patterns or affect runoff rates. Western would 
maximize use of existing roads. Structures located in the floodplains, 
would not contribute to the impedance of flood flows.
    Western evaluated alternatives for the Project and found there was 
no practical means of avoiding wetlands entirely. Western estimates 
that approximately 2.4 acres of wetlands would be permanently affected 
by the construction of the Project Preferred Alternative (Alternative 
B). Western will design the Project to avoid wetlands where possible.
    Western will coordinate with agencies to ensure compliance with all 
applicable floodplain and wetland requirements. Western will mitigate 
the project for wetlands as deemed appropriate by the USACE.

Decision

    Western's decision is to build the Preferred Alternative 
(Alternative B), as described above and in the SEIS and EIR. This 
decision is based on the information contained in the ``Sacramento Area 
Voltage Support Project Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement and 
Environmental Impact Report (DOE/EIS-0323S1)''; (Draft SEIS and EIR 
issued July 2007 and Final reissued March 2008). This ROD has been 
prepared in accordance with Council on Environmental Quality 
regulations for implementing NEPA (40 CFR Parts 1500-1508) and DOE 
Procedures for Implementing NEPA (10 CFR Part 1021). Full 
implementation of this decision is contingent upon the implementation 
of the EPMs for the Preferred Alternative and Project obtaining all 
applicable permits and approvals.

    Dated: April 29, 2008.
Timothy J. Meeks,
Administrator.
 [FR Doc. E8-9956 Filed 5-5-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6450-01-P