Maintenance and Vegetation Management Along Existing Western Area Power Administration Transmission Line Rights of Way on National Forest System Lands, Colorado, Utah, and Nebraska (DOE/EIS-0442), 17913-17915 [2010-7724]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 67 / Thursday, April 8, 2010 / Notices Signed: Gracia Hillman, Commissioner, U.S. Election Assistance Commission. PERSON TO CONTACT FOR INFORMATION: Bryan Whitener, Telephone: (202) 566– 3100. Gineen Bresso Beach, Commissioner, U.S. Election Assistance Commission. [FR Doc. 2010–8171 Filed 4–6–10; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 6820–KF–P [FR Doc. 2010–8174 Filed 4–6–10; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 6820–KF–P Sunshine Act; Notice of Virtual Public Forum for EAC Standards Board sroberts on DSKD5P82C1PROD with NOTICES ELECTION ASSISTANCE COMMISSION DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY DATE & TIME: Monday, May 3, 2010, 9 a.m. EDT through Friday, May 14, 2010, 9 p.m. EDT. PLACE: EAC Standards Board Virtual Meeting Room at http://www.eac.gov. Once at the main page of EAC’s Web site, viewers should click the link to the Standards Board Virtual Meeting Room. The virtual meeting room will open on Monday, May 3, 2010, at 9 a.m. EDT and will close on Friday, May 14, 2010, at 9 p.m. EDT. The site will be available 24 hours per day during that 12-day period. PURPOSE: The EAC Standards Board will review and provide comment on a draft version of the EAC Research Department’s Recounts and Contests study. The draft version contains information about the laws and procedures each States uses to govern recounts, contests, and standards for what constitutes a valid vote. The study includes best practices that States use with respect to recounts and contests. The EAC Standards Board Virtual Meeting Room was established to enable the Standards Board to conduct business in an efficient manner in a public forum, including being able to review and discuss draft documents, when it is not feasible for an in-person board meeting. The Standards Board will not take any votes or propose any resolutions during the 12-day forum of May 3–May 14, 2010. Members will post comments about the draft version of the Recounts and Contests study. This activity is open to the public. The public may view the proceedings of this special forum by visiting the EAC standards board virtual meeting room at http://www.eac.gov at any time between Monday, May 3, 2010, 9 a.m. EDT and Friday, May 14, 2010, 9 p.m. EDT. The public also may view recounts and contests, which will be posted on EAC’s Web site beginning April 26, 2010. The public may file written statements to the EAC standards board at standardsboard@eac.gov and by copying Sharmili Edwards at sedwards@eac.gov. Data on EAC’s Web site is accessible to visitors with disabilities and meets the requirements of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. VerDate Nov<24>2008 16:26 Apr 07, 2010 Jkt 220001 Western Area Power Administration DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Maintenance and Vegetation Management Along Existing Western Area Power Administration Transmission Line Rights of Way on National Forest System Lands, Colorado, Utah, and Nebraska (DOE/ EIS–0442) AGENCIES: Western Area Power Administration, DOE; Forest Service, USDA. ACTION: Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement and to Conduct Scoping Meetings; Notice of Floodplain and Wetlands Involvement. SUMMARY: Western Area Power Administration (Western) proposes to improve the way it manages vegetation along its rights-of-way (ROW) on National Forest System lands in the states of Colorado, Utah, and Nebraska. Implementing the proposal would include modifying existing United States Forest Service (Forest Service) authorizations or issuing new authorizations to accommodate Western’s vegetation management proposal and maintenance of the electrical transmission facilities. Western and the FS will be joint lead agencies in the preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS) on the proposal in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) NEPA Implementing Procedures, and the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations for implementing NEPA. Western’s need for agency action is to ensure that it can safely and reliably operate and maintain its existing electrical transmission facilities. Western must meet North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s mandatory vegetation management and maintenance standards (FAC–003–1) in accordance with section 1211 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and industry standards. These industry standards are PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 17913 designed to ensure the safe and reliable operation of the transmission system. Portions of the proposed Project may affect floodplains and wetlands, so this Notice of Intent (NOI) also serves as a notice of proposed floodplain or wetland action, in accordance with DOE floodplain and wetland environmental review requirements. DATES: This NOI begins the public scoping period. The public scoping period will close May 26, 2010. Western and the Forest Service will consider all electronic and written scoping comments that are received or postmarked by midnight May 26, 2010. ADDRESSES: Western and the Forest Service will host public scoping meetings on Thursday, April 22, 2010, at the Ramada Plaza Denver North, 10 East 120th Avenue, Denver, CO 80233; Friday, April 23, 2010, at the Museum of Western Colorado, Whitman Educational Center, 248 S. 4th (4th and Ute), Grand Junction, CO 81501; and Monday, April 26, 2010, at the Uintah Basin Applied Technology College, 450 N. 2000 W., Vernal, UT 84078. Scoping meetings will be from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. The meetings will provide information to the public and gather comments from the public. The meetings will be informal, and attendees will be able to speak directly with Western and FS representatives about the proposal. Attendees may provide written comments at the public scoping meetings, or send them to James Hartman, Environmental Manager, Rocky Mountain Regional Office, Western Area Power Administration, P.O. Box 3700, Loveland, CO 80539– 3003, e-mail: Western-FSEIS@wapa.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information on the proposal and the environmental review process, contact James Hartman at the above address. For general information on DOE’s NEPA review process, contact Carol M. Borgstrom, Director, Office of NEPA Policy and Compliance, GC–54, U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20585–0119, telephone (202) 586–4600 or (800) 472–2756, facsimile (202) 586–7031. For information on the Forest Service role in this effort, please contact David Loomis, Regional Environmental Planner, Rocky Mountain Regional Office, U.S. Forest Service, 740 Simms St., Golden, CO 80401 (303) 275–5008. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Western is a Federal power marketing agency within the DOE that markets and delivers Federal wholesale electric power (principally hydroelectric power) E:\FR\FM\08APN1.SGM 08APN1 17914 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 67 / Thursday, April 8, 2010 / Notices to municipalities, rural electric cooperatives, public utilities and irrigation districts, Federal and State agencies, and Native American tribes in 15 western and central States. The proposal covers existing transmission lines located on National Forest System lands in Colorado, Utah, and Nebraska and operated and maintained by Western’s Rocky Mountain Region. Western proposes to improve the way it manages vegetation on FS lands in part to ensure compliance with section 1211 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the subsequent changes in industry standards for vegetation management to control the costs of vegetation management, to reduce the risk of wildfires caused by vegetation interacting with energized transmission lines, and to reduce the potential impact of wildfires on the transmission lines. Forest Service authorizations, issued under 36 CFR 251.54, for Western’s use of National Forest System lands would need to be modified to accommodate this proposal. sroberts on DSKD5P82C1PROD with NOTICES Purpose and Need for Agency Action Western must ensure that it can safely and reliably operate and maintain its existing electrical transmission facilities to deliver electrical power. Western must ensure access to its transmission facilities for maintenance and emergency response. Western must also ensure that the costs associated with maintaining the transmission system can be controlled in accordance with sound business principles. Western must meet mandatory vegetation management standards in accordance with section 1211 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and industry standards. The vegetation management standards are designed to ensure the safe and reliable operation of the transmission system. To ensure that Western can safely, reliably, and cost-effectively operate, maintain, and access its transmission system and implement required vegetation management practices on lands managed by the FS, Western needs to participate with the FS to evaluate options to renew or modify Western’s current authorizations. Western’s objectives for this proposal are to maintain its transmission lines, ROW and access roads to: • Protect public and worker safety • Ensure power system reliability • Comply with current industry standards and mandatory reliability standards • Achieve technical and economic efficiencies to minimize impacts on transmission line tariff costs and electrical power rates VerDate Nov<24>2008 16:26 Apr 07, 2010 Jkt 220001 • Reduce the risk of wildfires caused by vegetation growing into or falling onto transmission lines • Reduce the risks to facilities from fires • Control the spread of noxious weeds • Ensure that Western’s transmission facilities remain operational for the useful life of the facility • Maintain flexibility to accommodate changes in transmission system operation and maintenance requirements Proposed Action Western proposes to improve the way it manages vegetation along its ROW on National Forest System lands in the states of Colorado, Utah, and Nebraska. Not all areas of Western’s ROW would require the proposed changes to vegetation management. Vegetation management approaches would vary along the ROW depending on site conditions and identified risks to the transmission lines, and other factors. Over the life of Western’s facilities, proposed vegetation management changes would be implemented in locations along its ROW where vegetation could interfere with Western’s ability to reliably operate and maintain the facilities. In general, Western proposes to change its vegetation management practices in the following manner: • Implement and then maintain vegetation conditions along the ROW that reduce the risk to the transmission lines from vegetation-caused interference with the maintenance and operation of the transmission line. This could include establishing relatively stable native vegetation that, at mature height, would not grow into conductors, fall onto conductors or structures, or contribute to high fuel loads. • Change from a largely reactive approach of cutting danger trees with annual ROW re-entry cycles to a proactive approach that incorporates integrated vegetation management. The objectives would be to control vegetation that, at mature height, presents a risk to transmission line maintenance and operation, and allow for longer ROW re-entry intervals. • Reduce as necessary and manage the amount of fuel-loading on the ROW to reduce the risk of transmission linecaused wildfires and to reduce the potential impacts of wildfires to transmission lines and structures. Alternatives Alternatives to Western’s proposal include the no action alternative. In this alternative, Western would continue its PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 maintenance according to past and current practices. Danger trees would be managed as they are now using a reactive approach with annual re-entry cycle to locate and cut danger trees. Other alternatives may be identified based on public and agency comments. Floodplain or Wetland Involvement Since the proposed Project may involve action in floodplains or wetlands, this NOI also serves as a notice of proposed floodplain or wetland action, in accordance with 10 CFR 1022.12 (a). The EIS will include a floodplain/wetland assessment and floodplain statement of findings following DOE regulations for compliance with floodplain and wetlands environmental review (10 CFR 1022). Environmental Issues The location of the proposal is on National Forest System lands in Colorado, Utah, and Nebraska. National Forests in Colorado include the Arapaho-Roosevelt, Grand MesaUncompahgre-Gunnison, White River, Routt, San Juan, and Pike-San Isabel. The project also includes the Nebraska National Forest in Nebraska and the Ashley National Forest in Utah. Western maintains approximately 300 miles of ROW in these forests. The ROWs cross through a variety of vegetation communities at elevations ranging from approximately 6,000 to 11,000 feet. The widths of the transmission line ROW depend on the voltage of the line and typically range from 75 to 175 feet. The EIS will evaluate impacts on a variety of environmental resources that may occur along the approximately 4,000 total acres of ROW. The EIS will include design criteria and other actions to avoid or minimize impacts. The EIS will also present the results of compliance with other environmental regulations including the Endangered Species Act, National Historic Preservation Act, Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act and others. Public Participation Interested parties are invited to participate in the scoping process to identify important issues to be analyzed in depth, and to eliminate from detailed study issues that are not pertinent. The scoping process will involve all interested agencies (Federal, State, county, and local), Native American tribes, public interest groups, businesses, affected landowners, and individual members of the public. Western and the FS will consult with affected tribes to evaluate and address the potential effects on cultural E:\FR\FM\08APN1.SGM 08APN1 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 67 / Thursday, April 8, 2010 / Notices resources, traditional cultural properties, or other resources important to the tribes. These consultations will be conducted in accordance with Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments (65 FR 67429), the President’s memorandum of April 29, 1994, Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal Governments (59 FR 22961), DOEspecific guidance on tribal interactions, and applicable natural and cultural resources laws and regulations. The public is encouraged to provide information and comments on issues it believes should be addressed in the EIS. Comments on the scope of the EIS will be addressed by Western and the Forest Service. Comments will be accepted at any time during the EIS process. Comments received outside of the scoping period may be addressed in the draft EIS if practicable, otherwise they will be addressed later in the process, such as in the final EIS. Western has set up a Web site at http://www.wapa.gov/transmission/ Western-FS-EIS.htm to facilitate the distribution of project information including meeting notices, project documents, schedules and other information. The public will be able to obtain documents for review from this Web site or request digital or hardcopies of documents for review. Western anticipates that the EIS process will take about 15 months, and will include public scoping meetings; consultation and coordination with appropriate Federal, State, county, and local agencies and tribes; distribution of and public review and comment on the Draft EIS; a formal public hearing on the Draft EIS; distribution of a Final EIS; and publication of the Record of Decision in the Federal Register. Responsible Officials sroberts on DSKD5P82C1PROD with NOTICES Western: Administrator; Forest Service: Rocky Mountain Regional Forester. Dated: March 24, 2010. Timothy J. Meeks, Administrator. Dated: March 24, 2010. Randall Karstaedt, Acting Deputy Regional Forester. [FR Doc. 2010–7724 Filed 4–7–10; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450–01–P VerDate Nov<24>2008 16:26 Apr 07, 2010 Jkt 220001 ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [EPA–HQ–OAR–2003–0079: FRL–9135–2] Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; 8–Hour Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard, EPA ICR No. 2236.03, OMB Control No. 2060–0594 AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ACTION: Notice. 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) 2236.03—8–Hour Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). This ICR is scheduled to expire on July 31, 2010. 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 June 7, 2010. ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA–HQ– OAR–2003–0079, by one of the following methods: • http://www.regulations.gov: Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments. • E-mail: a-and-r-docket@epa.gov. • Fax: (202) 564–9744. • Mail: Environmental Protection Agency, Air and Radiation Docket, Mailcode 2822T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Docket’s normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information. Please include a total of two copies. • Hand Delivery: EPA Docket Center, Public Reading Room, EPA West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20004. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Docket’s normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information. Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA–HQ–OAR–2003– 0079. 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 PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 17915 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 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: Mr. H. Lynn Dail, Air Quality Policy Division, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, Mail Code C539–01, Environmental Protection Agency, T.W. Alexander Drive, Research Triangle Park, NC 27711; telephone number: (919) 541–2363; fax number: (919) 541– 0824; e-mail address: dail.lynn@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–2003–0079, which is available for online viewing at http:// www.regulations.gov, or in person viewing at the Air Docket in the EPA Docket Center (EPA/DC), EPA West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC. The EPA/DC Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the Reading Room is 202–566–1744, and the telephone number for the Air Docket is 202–566– 1742. Use http://www.regulations.gov to obtain a copy of the draft collection of information, submit or view public comments, access the index listing of the contents of the docket, and to access E:\FR\FM\08APN1.SGM 08APN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 67 (Thursday, April 8, 2010)]
[Notices]
[Pages 17913-17915]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-7724]


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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Western Area Power Administration

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service


Maintenance and Vegetation Management Along Existing Western Area 
Power Administration Transmission Line Rights of Way on National Forest 
System Lands, Colorado, Utah, and Nebraska (DOE/EIS-0442)

AGENCIES: Western Area Power Administration, DOE; Forest Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement 
and to Conduct Scoping Meetings; Notice of Floodplain and Wetlands 
Involvement.

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

SUMMARY: Western Area Power Administration (Western) proposes to 
improve the way it manages vegetation along its rights-of-way (ROW) on 
National Forest System lands in the states of Colorado, Utah, and 
Nebraska. Implementing the proposal would include modifying existing 
United States Forest Service (Forest Service) authorizations or issuing 
new authorizations to accommodate Western's vegetation management 
proposal and maintenance of the electrical transmission facilities. 
Western and the FS will be joint lead agencies in the preparation of an 
environmental impact statement (EIS) on the proposal in accordance with 
the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), U.S. Department 
of Energy (DOE) NEPA Implementing Procedures, and the Council on 
Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations for implementing NEPA.
    Western's need for agency action is to ensure that it can safely 
and reliably operate and maintain its existing electrical transmission 
facilities. Western must meet North American Electric Reliability 
Corporation's mandatory vegetation management and maintenance standards 
(FAC-003-1) in accordance with section 1211 of the Energy Policy Act of 
2005 and industry standards. These industry standards are designed to 
ensure the safe and reliable operation of the transmission system.
    Portions of the proposed Project may affect floodplains and 
wetlands, so this Notice of Intent (NOI) also serves as a notice of 
proposed floodplain or wetland action, in accordance with DOE 
floodplain and wetland environmental review requirements.

DATES: This NOI begins the public scoping period. The public scoping 
period will close May 26, 2010. Western and the Forest Service will 
consider all electronic and written scoping comments that are received 
or postmarked by midnight May 26, 2010.

ADDRESSES: Western and the Forest Service will host public scoping 
meetings on Thursday, April 22, 2010, at the Ramada Plaza Denver North, 
10 East 120th Avenue, Denver, CO 80233; Friday, April 23, 2010, at the 
Museum of Western Colorado, Whitman Educational Center, 248 S. 4th (4th 
and Ute), Grand Junction, CO 81501; and Monday, April 26, 2010, at the 
Uintah Basin Applied Technology College, 450 N. 2000 W., Vernal, UT 
84078. Scoping meetings will be from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. The meetings will 
provide information to the public and gather comments from the public. 
The meetings will be informal, and attendees will be able to speak 
directly with Western and FS representatives about the proposal. 
Attendees may provide written comments at the public scoping meetings, 
or send them to James Hartman, Environmental Manager, Rocky Mountain 
Regional Office, Western Area Power Administration, P.O. Box 3700, 
Loveland, CO 80539-3003, e-mail: Western-FS-EIS@wapa.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information on the proposal and 
the environmental review process, contact James Hartman at the above 
address. For general information on DOE's NEPA review process, contact 
Carol M. Borgstrom, Director, Office of NEPA Policy and Compliance, GC-
54, U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue, SW., 
Washington, DC 20585-0119, telephone (202) 586-4600 or (800) 472-2756, 
facsimile (202) 586-7031. For information on the Forest Service role in 
this effort, please contact David Loomis, Regional Environmental 
Planner, Rocky Mountain Regional Office, U.S. Forest Service, 740 Simms 
St., Golden, CO 80401 (303) 275-5008.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Western is a Federal power marketing agency 
within the DOE that markets and delivers Federal wholesale electric 
power (principally hydroelectric power)

[[Page 17914]]

to municipalities, rural electric cooperatives, public utilities and 
irrigation districts, Federal and State agencies, and Native American 
tribes in 15 western and central States. The proposal covers existing 
transmission lines located on National Forest System lands in Colorado, 
Utah, and Nebraska and operated and maintained by Western's Rocky 
Mountain Region. Western proposes to improve the way it manages 
vegetation on FS lands in part to ensure compliance with section 1211 
of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the subsequent changes in industry 
standards for vegetation management to control the costs of vegetation 
management, to reduce the risk of wildfires caused by vegetation 
interacting with energized transmission lines, and to reduce the 
potential impact of wildfires on the transmission lines. Forest Service 
authorizations, issued under 36 CFR 251.54, for Western's use of 
National Forest System lands would need to be modified to accommodate 
this proposal.

Purpose and Need for Agency Action

    Western must ensure that it can safely and reliably operate and 
maintain its existing electrical transmission facilities to deliver 
electrical power. Western must ensure access to its transmission 
facilities for maintenance and emergency response. Western must also 
ensure that the costs associated with maintaining the transmission 
system can be controlled in accordance with sound business principles. 
Western must meet mandatory vegetation management standards in 
accordance with section 1211 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and 
industry standards. The vegetation management standards are designed to 
ensure the safe and reliable operation of the transmission system.
    To ensure that Western can safely, reliably, and cost-effectively 
operate, maintain, and access its transmission system and implement 
required vegetation management practices on lands managed by the FS, 
Western needs to participate with the FS to evaluate options to renew 
or modify Western's current authorizations.
    Western's objectives for this proposal are to maintain its 
transmission lines, ROW and access roads to:
     Protect public and worker safety
     Ensure power system reliability
     Comply with current industry standards and mandatory 
reliability standards
     Achieve technical and economic efficiencies to minimize 
impacts on transmission line tariff costs and electrical power rates
     Reduce the risk of wildfires caused by vegetation growing 
into or falling onto transmission lines
     Reduce the risks to facilities from fires
     Control the spread of noxious weeds
     Ensure that Western's transmission facilities remain 
operational for the useful life of the facility
     Maintain flexibility to accommodate changes in 
transmission system operation and maintenance requirements

Proposed Action

    Western proposes to improve the way it manages vegetation along its 
ROW on National Forest System lands in the states of Colorado, Utah, 
and Nebraska. Not all areas of Western's ROW would require the proposed 
changes to vegetation management. Vegetation management approaches 
would vary along the ROW depending on site conditions and identified 
risks to the transmission lines, and other factors. Over the life of 
Western's facilities, proposed vegetation management changes would be 
implemented in locations along its ROW where vegetation could interfere 
with Western's ability to reliably operate and maintain the facilities. 
In general, Western proposes to change its vegetation management 
practices in the following manner:
     Implement and then maintain vegetation conditions along 
the ROW that reduce the risk to the transmission lines from vegetation-
caused interference with the maintenance and operation of the 
transmission line. This could include establishing relatively stable 
native vegetation that, at mature height, would not grow into 
conductors, fall onto conductors or structures, or contribute to high 
fuel loads.
     Change from a largely reactive approach of cutting danger 
trees with annual ROW re-entry cycles to a proactive approach that 
incorporates integrated vegetation management. The objectives would be 
to control vegetation that, at mature height, presents a risk to 
transmission line maintenance and operation, and allow for longer ROW 
re-entry intervals.
     Reduce as necessary and manage the amount of fuel-loading 
on the ROW to reduce the risk of transmission line-caused wildfires and 
to reduce the potential impacts of wildfires to transmission lines and 
structures.

Alternatives

    Alternatives to Western's proposal include the no action 
alternative. In this alternative, Western would continue its 
maintenance according to past and current practices. Danger trees would 
be managed as they are now using a reactive approach with annual re-
entry cycle to locate and cut danger trees. Other alternatives may be 
identified based on public and agency comments.

Floodplain or Wetland Involvement

    Since the proposed Project may involve action in floodplains or 
wetlands, this NOI also serves as a notice of proposed floodplain or 
wetland action, in accordance with 10 CFR 1022.12 (a). The EIS will 
include a floodplain/wetland assessment and floodplain statement of 
findings following DOE regulations for compliance with floodplain and 
wetlands environmental review (10 CFR 1022).

Environmental Issues

    The location of the proposal is on National Forest System lands in 
Colorado, Utah, and Nebraska. National Forests in Colorado include the 
Arapaho-Roosevelt, Grand Mesa-Uncompahgre-Gunnison, White River, Routt, 
San Juan, and Pike-San Isabel. The project also includes the Nebraska 
National Forest in Nebraska and the Ashley National Forest in Utah. 
Western maintains approximately 300 miles of ROW in these forests. The 
ROWs cross through a variety of vegetation communities at elevations 
ranging from approximately 6,000 to 11,000 feet. The widths of the 
transmission line ROW depend on the voltage of the line and typically 
range from 75 to 175 feet. The EIS will evaluate impacts on a variety 
of environmental resources that may occur along the approximately 4,000 
total acres of ROW. The EIS will include design criteria and other 
actions to avoid or minimize impacts. The EIS will also present the 
results of compliance with other environmental regulations including 
the Endangered Species Act, National Historic Preservation Act, Clean 
Water Act, Clean Air Act and others.

Public Participation

    Interested parties are invited to participate in the scoping 
process to identify important issues to be analyzed in depth, and to 
eliminate from detailed study issues that are not pertinent. The 
scoping process will involve all interested agencies (Federal, State, 
county, and local), Native American tribes, public interest groups, 
businesses, affected landowners, and individual members of the public.
    Western and the FS will consult with affected tribes to evaluate 
and address the potential effects on cultural

[[Page 17915]]

resources, traditional cultural properties, or other resources 
important to the tribes. These consultations will be conducted in 
accordance with Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination 
with Indian Tribal Governments (65 FR 67429), the President's 
memorandum of April 29, 1994, Government-to-Government Relations with 
Native American Tribal Governments (59 FR 22961), DOE-specific guidance 
on tribal interactions, and applicable natural and cultural resources 
laws and regulations.
    The public is encouraged to provide information and comments on 
issues it believes should be addressed in the EIS. Comments on the 
scope of the EIS will be addressed by Western and the Forest Service. 
Comments will be accepted at any time during the EIS process. Comments 
received outside of the scoping period may be addressed in the draft 
EIS if practicable, otherwise they will be addressed later in the 
process, such as in the final EIS.
    Western has set up a Web site at http://www.wapa.gov/transmission/Western-FS-EIS.htm to facilitate the distribution of project 
information including meeting notices, project documents, schedules and 
other information. The public will be able to obtain documents for 
review from this Web site or request digital or hardcopies of documents 
for review.
    Western anticipates that the EIS process will take about 15 months, 
and will include public scoping meetings; consultation and coordination 
with appropriate Federal, State, county, and local agencies and tribes; 
distribution of and public review and comment on the Draft EIS; a 
formal public hearing on the Draft EIS; distribution of a Final EIS; 
and publication of the Record of Decision in the Federal Register.

Responsible Officials

    Western: Administrator; Forest Service: Rocky Mountain Regional 
Forester.

    Dated: March 24, 2010.
Timothy J. Meeks,
Administrator.
    Dated: March 24, 2010.
Randall Karstaedt,
Acting Deputy Regional Forester.
[FR Doc. 2010-7724 Filed 4-7-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6450-01-P