Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Wheatgrass Ridge Wind Project, Fort Hall Indian Reservation, Idaho, 31975-31976 [2011-13618]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 106 / Thursday, June 2, 2011 / Notices implementing recovery actions. Responses to individual commenters will not be provided, but we will provide a summary of how we addressed substantive comments in an appendix to the approved recovery plan. Before we approve the plan, we will consider all comments we receive by the date specified in DATES. Methods of submitting comments are in ADDRESSES. Public Availability of Comments Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Comments and materials we receive will be available, by appointment, for public inspection during normal business hours at our office (see ADDRESSES). Authority: We developed our draft recovery plan under the authority of section 4(f) of the Act, 16 U.S.C. 1533(f). We publish this notice under section 4(f) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Dated: January 28, 2011. Theresa E. Rabot, Acting Regional Director, Pacific Region. [FR Doc. 2011–13637 Filed 6–1–11; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Indian Affairs Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Wheatgrass Ridge Wind Project, Fort Hall Indian Reservation, Idaho Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of the Interior. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: This notice advises the public that the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), as Lead Agency, intends to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Wheatgrass Ridge Wind Project, Fort Hall Indian Reservation, Idaho. It also announces the beginning of the scoping process to identify potential issues and content for inclusion in the EIS. Construction of the Wheatgrass Ridge Wind Project within the Fort Hall Reservation is subject to BIA approval of a lease and, as proposed, is a major emcdonald on DSK2BSOYB1PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:40 Jun 01, 2011 Jkt 223001 Federal action under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended. The information in the EIS will be used to support a decision whether or not to lease Shoshone-Bannock Tribal lands to Wheatgrass Ridge Wind, LLC, for construction, operation, and maintenance of a wind energy facility up to 160 megawatt (MW). The EIS will describe and analyze potential environmental impacts from the proposed action and a range of reasonable alternatives. DATES: Written comments on the scope and implementation of this proposal must arrive by August 1, 2011. The date(s) and location(s) of any scoping meetings will be announced at least 15 days in advance through local news media, newspapers and the Wheatgrass Ridge Wind EIS Project Web site at: http:// www.wheatgrassridgewindeis.info. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments related to the Wheatgrass Ridge Wind Project EIS by any of the following methods: • E-mail: info@WheatgrassRidgeWindEIS.info. • Fax: (208) 288–6199 (attention: Steve Linhart, POWER EngineersWheatgrass Ridge Wind EIS). • Mail: Wheatgrass Ridge Wind EIS, c/o Steve Linhart, POWER Engineers, 2041 South Cobalt Point Way, Meridian, Idaho 83642. • In person: At any EIS public scoping meeting. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Bureau of Indian Affairs, Northwest Regional Office, Attention Dr. BJ Howerton, Environmental Services, 911 NE. 11th Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97232–4169 Telephone: (503) 231–6749. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The EIS will assess the potential environmental impacts of BIA approval of leasing Tribally-owned lands on Fort Hall Indian Reservation near Pocatello, Idaho, to Wheatgrass Ridge Wind, LLC, to construct, operate, and maintain a wind energy facility up to 160 megawatt (MW). Wheatgrass Ridge Wind, LLC, is a company co-owned by ShoshoneBannock Renewable Energy Development Company (SBRED) and Boreas Wind, LLC. SBRED (a corporation created under Section 17 of the Indian Reorganization Act) is wholly owned by the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of the Fort Hall Indian Reservation, a Federally recognized Indian Tribe organized under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 located in the State of Idaho. Boreas is wholly owned by Southern Ute Alternative Energy, LLC (SUAE), a Colorado limited PO 00000 Frm 00049 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 31975 liability company, and was formed for the purpose of pursuing and developing wind power projects. The SUAE is wholly owned by the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and was created to invest in and develop alternative and renewable energy. The wind energy facility would be located on 100 percent Tribally owned lands in the Bannock Creek District located in the southwestern part of the Fort Hall Indian Reservation. The proposed facility is anticipated to be comprised of between 53 and 106 wind turbines with a hub height of up to 330 feet and a tip height from 300 to 525 feet (tip height is measured from the ground to the tip of the rotor blade when it is perpendicular to the ground), depending on type and model of wind turbine). The facility would include: turbines anchored to concrete foundations approximately 20 feet in diameter surrounded by a gravel area around the exposed turbine foundation of approximately 60 feet; overhead and underground transmission lines; interconnection to adjacent transmission lines (138kV to 345 kV depending on the interconnection point) owned and operation by Idaho Power or PacifiCorp; up to three substations approximately two to five acres each; eight to 10 temporary and two to four permanent meteorological towers, approximately 200 to 315 feet in height, depending on the meteorological data collected; new all-weather gravel access roads approximately 16 feet wide to each turbine location; widening and improvements to existing two-track roads to achieve an approximate 16 to 22 foot wide all-weather gravel access road; temporary lay down yards and hardened crane pads used for erecting turbines; and an operations and maintenance building built on approximately five acres of land within the project area. Wind turbine models in the 1.5–3 MW range from various manufacturers are being considered. The wind project would be located in an area up to approximately 21,355 acres on a land feature known as Wheatgrass Ridge. However, the actual wind turbines, roads, transmission lines, substation(s), and other infrastructure would have a footprint of approximately 250 to 500 acres of land. The purpose of this project is to: (1) Increase electrical generation to meet existing and future energy demands in the western United States; (2) provide new opportunities for economic development and economic diversification for the ShoshoneBannock Tribes; (3) provide renewable energy resources for the western United States; (4) promote the self-governance E:\FR\FM\02JNN1.SGM 02JNN1 31976 Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 106 / Thursday, June 2, 2011 / Notices emcdonald on DSK2BSOYB1PROD with NOTICES and self-determination of the ShoshoneBannock Tribes; and (5) develop the project in an environmentally sound manner that addresses and preserves traditional and cultural practices of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. The purpose of the public scoping process is to determine relevant issues that will influence the scope of the environmental analysis, including alternatives, and guide the process for developing the EIS. At present, the BIA has identified the following preliminary issues (in no particular order of importance): (1) Visual resources—The wind turbines and other project components would be new features on the landscape and visible from various distances, and would be a long-term change to the rural view shed. (2) Traditional uses—The proposed project may affect traditional, cultural practices and spiritual uses in the Bannock Creek area by the Shoshone-Bannock Tribal members. (3) Wildlife—Projects of this magnitude may have an effect on wildlife. Focal species studies will include migrating and resident raptors, waterfowl, upland game birds and large game species. (4) Soils—Project transportation required for the project are located in an area with highly erodible soils. (5) Wildland Fire—The project area is subject to repeated wildland fires. (6) Socioeconomics—The EIS will evaluate potential impacts on socioeconomic resources, including impacts to range uses, increases and diversification of Tribal revenues and employment opportunities. The proposed project is expected to create a new revenue source and new employment opportunities on the Tribal lands as well as diversify the economic base for the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and the Fort Hall Indian Reservation. Local communities such as American Falls, Pocatello, Power County, and the State of Idaho will also likely experience economic benefit. As a new economic opportunity for the ShoshoneBannock Tribes, there are questions regarding the local economic benefits of the project and overall community support for the project. Directions for Submitting Public Comments Please include your name, return address, and the caption ‘‘EIS, Wheatgrass Ridge Wind Project’’ on the first page of any written comments you submit. You may also submit comments at the public scoping meetings. Public Comment Availability Comments, including names and addresses of respondents, will be available for public review at the VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:40 Jun 01, 2011 Jkt 223001 mailing address shown in the Section of this notice during regular business hours, 8 a.m. to 4.30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. Before including your address, telephone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information— may be made publicly available at any time. While you may ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. ADDRESSES Authority: This notice is published in accordance with sections 1503.1 and 1506.6 of the Council on Environmental Quality Regulations (40 CFR parts 1500 through 1508), and section 46.305 of the Department of the Interior Regulations (42 CFR part 46) implementing the procedural requirements of the NEPA, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), and is in the exercise of authority delegated to the Assistant Secretary—Indian Affairs by 209 DM 8.1. Dated: May 17, 2011. Paul Tsosie, Chief of Staff, Assistant Secretary—Indian Affairs. [FR Doc. 2011–13618 Filed 6–1–11; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–W7–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [LLMT921000–11–L13200000–EL0000–P; MTM 101688] Notice of Invitation—Coal Exploration License Application MTM 101688 Bureau of Land Management, Interior. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: Members of the public are hereby invited to participate with the Spring Creek Coal Company on a pro rata cost sharing basis in a program for the exploration of coal deposits owned by the United States of America in lands located in Big Horn County, Montana, encompassing 4,071.45 acres. DATES: Any party seeking to participate in this exploration program must send written notice to both the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Spring Creek Coal Company as provided in the ADDRESSES section below no later than July 5, 2011 or 10 calendar days after the last publication of this Notice in the Sheridan Press newspaper, whichever is later. This Notice will be published once a week for 2 consecutive weeks in the Sheridan Press, Sheridan, SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00050 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Wyoming. Such written notice must refer to serial number MTM 101688. ADDRESSES: The proposed exploration license and plan are available for review from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, in the public room at the BLM Montana State Office, 5001 Southgate Drive, Billings, Montana. A written notice to participate in the exploration licenses should be sent to the State Director, BLM Montana State Office, 5001 Southgate Drive, Billings, Montana 59101–4669 and the Spring Creek Coal Company, P.O. Box 67, Decker, Montana 59025–0067. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Robert Giovanini by telephone at 406– 896–5084 or by e-mail at rgiovani@blm.gov; or Connie Schaff by telephone at 406–896–5060 or by e-mail at cschaff@blm.gov. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1–800–877–8339 to contact the above individual during normal business hours. The FIRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question with the above individual. You will receive a reply during normal business hours. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The exploration activities will be performed pursuant to the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, as amended, 30 U.S.C. 201(b), and to the regulations at 43 CFR part 3410. The purpose of the exploration program is to gain additional geologic knowledge of the coal underlying the exploration area for the purpose of assessing the coal resources. The exploration program is fully described and will be conducted pursuant to an exploration license and plan approved by the BLM. The exploration plan may be modified to accommodate the legitimate exploration needs of persons seeking to participate. The lands to be explored for coal deposits in exploration license MTM 101688 are described as follows: Principal Meridian, Montana T. 8 S., R. 39 E., Sec. 4, lots 17 thru 24, inclusive; Sec. 26, SW1⁄4SW1⁄4 and S1⁄2SE1⁄4SW1⁄4; Sec. 27, NE1⁄4;SW1⁄4, SW1⁄4NE1⁄4SE1⁄4, NW1⁄4NW1⁄4SE1⁄4, S1⁄2NW1⁄4SE1⁄4, and S1⁄2SE1⁄4; Sec. 35, E1⁄2, E1⁄2W1⁄2, and NW1⁄4NW1⁄4. T. 9 S., R. 39 E., Sec. 1, lots 1 thru 4, inclusive, W1⁄2E1⁄2, and W1⁄2; Sec. 2, E1⁄2 and E1⁄2W1⁄2; Sec. 11, NE1⁄4, E1⁄2NW1⁄4, NE1⁄4SW1⁄4, and N1⁄2SE1⁄4; Sec. 12, lots 1 thru 4, inclusive, W1⁄2E1⁄2, NW1⁄4, N1⁄2SW1⁄4, and SE1⁄4SW1⁄4. T. 9 S., R. 40 E., Sec. 6, lots 5 thru 7, inclusive, S1⁄2SE1⁄4NW1⁄4, E1⁄2SW1⁄4, S1⁄2NE1⁄4SE1⁄4, NW1⁄4NW1⁄4SE1⁄4, S1⁄2NW1⁄4SE1⁄4, and S1⁄2SE1⁄4; E:\FR\FM\02JNN1.SGM 02JNN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 106 (Thursday, June 2, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 31975-31976]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-13618]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Bureau of Indian Affairs


Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for 
the Proposed Wheatgrass Ridge Wind Project, Fort Hall Indian 
Reservation, Idaho

AGENCY: Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of the Interior.

ACTION: Notice.

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

SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that the Bureau of Indian 
Affairs (BIA), as Lead Agency, intends to prepare an Environmental 
Impact Statement (EIS) for the Wheatgrass Ridge Wind Project, Fort Hall 
Indian Reservation, Idaho. It also announces the beginning of the 
scoping process to identify potential issues and content for inclusion 
in the EIS. Construction of the Wheatgrass Ridge Wind Project within 
the Fort Hall Reservation is subject to BIA approval of a lease and, as 
proposed, is a major Federal action under the National Environmental 
Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended. The information in the EIS will 
be used to support a decision whether or not to lease Shoshone-Bannock 
Tribal lands to Wheatgrass Ridge Wind, LLC, for construction, 
operation, and maintenance of a wind energy facility up to 160 megawatt 
(MW). The EIS will describe and analyze potential environmental impacts 
from the proposed action and a range of reasonable alternatives.

DATES: Written comments on the scope and implementation of this 
proposal must arrive by August 1, 2011. The date(s) and location(s) of 
any scoping meetings will be announced at least 15 days in advance 
through local news media, newspapers and the Wheatgrass Ridge Wind EIS 
Project Web site at: http://www.wheatgrassridgewindeis.info.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments related to the Wheatgrass Ridge Wind 
Project EIS by any of the following methods:
     E-mail: info@WheatgrassRidgeWindEIS.info.
     Fax: (208) 288-6199 (attention: Steve Linhart, POWER 
Engineers-Wheatgrass Ridge Wind EIS).
     Mail: Wheatgrass Ridge Wind EIS, c/o Steve Linhart, POWER 
Engineers, 2041 South Cobalt Point Way, Meridian, Idaho 83642.
     In person: At any EIS public scoping meeting.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Bureau of Indian Affairs, Northwest 
Regional Office, Attention Dr. BJ Howerton, Environmental Services, 911 
NE. 11th Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97232-4169 Telephone: (503) 231-6749.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The EIS will assess the potential 
environmental impacts of BIA approval of leasing Tribally-owned lands 
on Fort Hall Indian Reservation near Pocatello, Idaho, to Wheatgrass 
Ridge Wind, LLC, to construct, operate, and maintain a wind energy 
facility up to 160 megawatt (MW). Wheatgrass Ridge Wind, LLC, is a 
company co-owned by Shoshone-Bannock Renewable Energy Development 
Company (SBRED) and Boreas Wind, LLC. SBRED (a corporation created 
under Section 17 of the Indian Reorganization Act) is wholly owned by 
the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of the Fort Hall Indian Reservation, a 
Federally recognized Indian Tribe organized under the Indian 
Reorganization Act of 1934 located in the State of Idaho. Boreas is 
wholly owned by Southern Ute Alternative Energy, LLC (SUAE), a Colorado 
limited liability company, and was formed for the purpose of pursuing 
and developing wind power projects. The SUAE is wholly owned by the 
Southern Ute Indian Tribe and was created to invest in and develop 
alternative and renewable energy.
    The wind energy facility would be located on 100 percent Tribally 
owned lands in the Bannock Creek District located in the southwestern 
part of the Fort Hall Indian Reservation. The proposed facility is 
anticipated to be comprised of between 53 and 106 wind turbines with a 
hub height of up to 330 feet and a tip height from 300 to 525 feet (tip 
height is measured from the ground to the tip of the rotor blade when 
it is perpendicular to the ground), depending on type and model of wind 
turbine). The facility would include: turbines anchored to concrete 
foundations approximately 20 feet in diameter surrounded by a gravel 
area around the exposed turbine foundation of approximately 60 feet; 
overhead and underground transmission lines; interconnection to 
adjacent transmission lines (138kV to 345 kV depending on the 
interconnection point) owned and operation by Idaho Power or 
PacifiCorp; up to three substations approximately two to five acres 
each; eight to 10 temporary and two to four permanent meteorological 
towers, approximately 200 to 315 feet in height, depending on the 
meteorological data collected; new all-weather gravel access roads 
approximately 16 feet wide to each turbine location; widening and 
improvements to existing two-track roads to achieve an approximate 16 
to 22 foot wide all-weather gravel access road; temporary lay down 
yards and hardened crane pads used for erecting turbines; and an 
operations and maintenance building built on approximately five acres 
of land within the project area. Wind turbine models in the 1.5-3 MW 
range from various manufacturers are being considered. The wind project 
would be located in an area up to approximately 21,355 acres on a land 
feature known as Wheatgrass Ridge. However, the actual wind turbines, 
roads, transmission lines, substation(s), and other infrastructure 
would have a footprint of approximately 250 to 500 acres of land.
    The purpose of this project is to: (1) Increase electrical 
generation to meet existing and future energy demands in the western 
United States; (2) provide new opportunities for economic development 
and economic diversification for the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes; (3) 
provide renewable energy resources for the western United States; (4) 
promote the self-governance

[[Page 31976]]

and self-determination of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes; and (5) develop 
the project in an environmentally sound manner that addresses and 
preserves traditional and cultural practices of the Shoshone-Bannock 
Tribes. The purpose of the public scoping process is to determine 
relevant issues that will influence the scope of the environmental 
analysis, including alternatives, and guide the process for developing 
the EIS. At present, the BIA has identified the following preliminary 
issues (in no particular order of importance): (1) Visual resources--
The wind turbines and other project components would be new features on 
the landscape and visible from various distances, and would be a long-
term change to the rural view shed. (2) Traditional uses--The proposed 
project may affect traditional, cultural practices and spiritual uses 
in the Bannock Creek area by the Shoshone-Bannock Tribal members. (3) 
Wildlife--Projects of this magnitude may have an effect on wildlife. 
Focal species studies will include migrating and resident raptors, 
waterfowl, upland game birds and large game species. (4) Soils--Project 
transportation required for the project are located in an area with 
highly erodible soils. (5) Wildland Fire--The project area is subject 
to repeated wildland fires. (6) Socioeconomics--The EIS will evaluate 
potential impacts on socioeconomic resources, including impacts to 
range uses, increases and diversification of Tribal revenues and 
employment opportunities.
    The proposed project is expected to create a new revenue source and 
new employment opportunities on the Tribal lands as well as diversify 
the economic base for the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and the Fort Hall 
Indian Reservation. Local communities such as American Falls, 
Pocatello, Power County, and the State of Idaho will also likely 
experience economic benefit. As a new economic opportunity for the 
Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, there are questions regarding the local 
economic benefits of the project and overall community support for the 
project.

Directions for Submitting Public Comments

    Please include your name, return address, and the caption ``EIS, 
Wheatgrass Ridge Wind Project'' on the first page of any written 
comments you submit. You may also submit comments at the public scoping 
meetings.

Public Comment Availability

    Comments, including names and addresses of respondents, will be 
available for public review at the mailing address shown in the 
ADDRESSES Section of this notice during regular business hours, 8 a.m. 
to 4.30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. Before including 
your address, telephone number, e-mail address, or other personal 
identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your 
entire comment--including your personal identifying information--may be 
made publicly available at any time. While you may ask us in your 
comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public 
review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

    Authority:  This notice is published in accordance with sections 
1503.1 and 1506.6 of the Council on Environmental Quality 
Regulations (40 CFR parts 1500 through 1508), and section 46.305 of 
the Department of the Interior Regulations (42 CFR part 46) 
implementing the procedural requirements of the NEPA, as amended (42 
U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), and is in the exercise of authority delegated 
to the Assistant Secretary--Indian Affairs by 209 DM 8.1.

    Dated: May 17, 2011.
Paul Tsosie,
Chief of Staff, Assistant Secretary--Indian Affairs.
[FR Doc. 2011-13618 Filed 6-1-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-W7-P