Interconnection of the Grande Prairie Wind Farm, Holt County, NE, 22569-22571 [2012-9038]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 73 / Monday, April 16, 2012 / Notices issuance of a new license for the project or other disposition under the FPA, whichever comes first. If issuance of a new license (or other disposition) does not take place on or before March 31, 2013, notice is hereby given that, pursuant to 18 CFR 16.18(c), an annual license under section 15(a)(1) of the FPA is renewed automatically without further order or notice by the Commission, unless the Commission orders otherwise. If the project is not subject to section 15 of the FPA, notice is hereby given that the Madison Paper Industries, FPL Energy Maine Hydro, LLC, and Merimil Limited Partnership are authorized to continue operation of the Brassua Hydroelectric Project, until such time as the Commission acts on its application for a subsequent license. Dated: April 9, 2012. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary. [FR Doc. 2012–9015 Filed 4–13–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717–01–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY date need not serve motions to intervene or protests on persons other than the Applicant. The Commission encourages electronic submission of protests and interventions in lieu of paper using the ‘‘eFiling’’ link at http://www.ferc.gov. Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and 7 copies of the protest or intervention to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426. This filing is accessible on-line at http://www.ferc.gov, using the ‘‘eLibrary’’ link and is available for review in the Commission’s Public Reference Room in Washington, DC. There is an ‘‘eSubscription’’ link on the Web site that enables subscribers to receive email notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please email FERCOnlineSupport@ferc.gov, or call (866) 208–3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502–8659. Comment Date: 5 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday, April 16, 2012. Dated: April 4, 2012. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. PR12–20–000] [FR Doc. 2012–9014 Filed 4–13–12; 8:45 am] emcdonald on DSK29S0YB1PROD with NOTICES NorthWestern Corporation; Notice of Petition for Rate Approval BILLING CODE 6717–01–P Take notice that on April 2, 2012, NorthWestern Corporation (NorthWestern) filed a Rate Election pursuant to 284.123(b)(1) of the Commissions regulations and to revise its Statement of Operating Conditions. NorthWestern proposes to utilize rates that are the same as those contained in NorthWestern’s transportation rate schedules for comparable intrastate service on file with the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission as more fully detailed in the petition. Any person desiring to participate in this rate filing must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission’s Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214). Protests will be considered by the Commission in determining the appropriate action to be taken, but will not serve to make protestants parties to the proceeding. Any person wishing to become a party must file a notice of intervention or motion to intervene, as appropriate. Such notices, motions, or protests must be filed on or before the date as indicated below. Anyone filing an intervention or protest must serve a copy of that document on the Applicant. Anyone filing an intervention or protest on or before the intervention or protest DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:39 Apr 13, 2012 Jkt 226001 Western Area Power Administration Interconnection of the Grande Prairie Wind Farm, Holt County, NE Western Area Power Administration, Department of Energy. ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement and conduct scoping meetings; Notice of potential floodplain and wetlands involvement. AGENCY: The Western Area Power Administration (Western), an agency of the Department of Energy (DOE), intends to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) on the proposed interconnection of the Grande Prairie Wind Farm (Project) in Holt County, near the city of O’Neill, Nebraska. Grande Prairie Wind, LLC (Grande Prairie Wind), a majority-owned subsidiary of Midwest Wind Energy, LLC, has applied to Western to interconnect their proposed wind energy generation project to Western’s power transmission system. Western’s Federal action would be to execute an interconnection agreement with Grande Prairie Wind and make any necessary SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 22569 modifications to the transmission system to accommodate the interconnection at Grande Prairie Wind’s expense. Western is issuing this notice to inform the public and interested parties about Western’s intent to prepare an EIS, conduct a public scoping process, and invite the public to comment on the scope, proposed action, alternatives, and other issues to be addressed in the EIS. Construction activities proposed by Grande Prairie Wind 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. The public scoping period begins with the publication of this notice and closes on May 16, 2012. To provide the public an opportunity to review the proposal and project information, Western will hold one public meeting in O’Neill, Nebraska. Western will announce the date and location of the public scoping meeting through local news media, and posting on the Western Web site at http://www.wapa.gov/ugp/ Environment/default.htm at least 15 days prior to the meeting. While comments will be accepted at any time during the EIS process, submission of comments by the end of the scoping comment period will ensure full consideration in the Draft EIS. ADDRESSES: Written comments on the scope of the EIS should be addressed to Mr. Matt Marsh, Western Area Power Administration, P.O. Box 35800, 2900 4th Avenue, North, Billings, MT 59107, fax (406) 255–2900 or email at grandeprairie@wapa.gov. DATES: Mr. Matt Marsh, Western Area Power Administration, P.O. Box 35800, 2900 4th Avenue, North, Billings, MT 59107, telephone (406) 255–2811, or email grandeprairie@wapa.gov. For general information on DOE’s National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review procedures or status of a NEPA review, contact Ms. Carol M. Borgstrom, Director, Office of NEPA Policy and Compliance, GC–54, U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585, telephone (202) 586–4600 or (800) 472–2756, fax (202) 586–7031. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Western, an agency within DOE, markets Federal hydroelectric power to preference customers, as specified by law. These customers include municipalities, cooperatives, irrigation districts, Federal and State agencies, and Native FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: E:\FR\FM\16APN1.SGM 16APN1 22570 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 73 / Monday, April 16, 2012 / Notices American tribes. Western’s service territory covers 15 western states, including Nebraska. Western owns and operates more than 17,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines. Western offers capacity to deliver electricity on its transmission system, when such capacity is available, under Western’s Open Access Transmission Service Tariff. Grande Prairie Wind has applied to Western to interconnect their proposed wind energy generation Project to Western’s Fort Thompson–Grand Island transmission line. The proposed Project is subject to county and local approvals prior to Project construction. emcdonald on DSK29S0YB1PROD with NOTICES Grand Prairie Project Description Grande Prairie Wind proposes to construct and operate a 400-megawatt (MW) wind energy generation facility in Holt County in northern Nebraska. The Project area would occupy approximately 45,000 acres in portions of Willowdale, Antelope, Grattan, Iowa, Scott, and Steel Creek Townships. Grande Prairie Wind proposes to build up to 266 wind turbines. Permanent disturbance for each wind turbine generator location would be approximately 0.25 acres. Grande Prairie Wind is considering a variety of wind turbine generator types, with capacities ranging from 1.5 to 2.4 MW. Each wind turbine generator would be mounted on a single steel tower between 263 and 329 feet tall and have blade sweep diameter ranging from 271 to 385 feet, depending on the wind turbine generator model selected. Approximate total height at the rotor apex would be between 398 and 521 feet. Approximately 60 to 80 miles of underground electrical collector cable would be required to carry generated power from each wind turbine generator to a single Project collection substation. The underground collector cables would be buried to a depth that would not interfere with farming operations. The collection substation would occupy about 7 to 15 acres of land. A 6-mile tieline would be built from the collector substation to a point adjacent to Western’s existing Fort Thompson– Grand Island transmission line. Grande Prairie Wind proposes to build about 45 to 60 miles of new roads and upgrade 30 to 50 miles of existing roads for construction and maintenance access to all turbines and Project facilities. Other Project facilities may include two or more permanent meteorological towers, a SODAR unit, and an operations and maintenance building. VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:39 Apr 13, 2012 Jkt 226001 Grande Prairie Wind would site wind turbine generators and supporting infrastructure to optimize wind and land resources in the area while minimizing environmental impacts to the extent practicable. The proposed Project would be located on publicly and privately owned lands consisting of a mix of rural cropland and grazing land. The publicly owned land is owned by the State of Nebraska Board of Education Lands and Funds. Grande Prairie Wind would comply with local zoning requirements, including setbacks from residences, roads, and existing transmission and distribution lines. Grande Prairie Wind proposes to begin construction as early as spring 2014. The life of the Project is anticipated to be a minimum of 20 years. Western’s Federal involvement is related to consideration of the interconnection request, and any resultant impact to the transmission system. However, the EIS will also identify and review the environmental impacts of constructing, operating, maintaining, and decommissioning Grand Prairie Wind’s proposed Project. Grand Prairie Wind would be responsible for completing necessary coordination with local agencies to permit its proposed Project. Proposed Action and Alternatives Western’s proposed Federal action is to execute an interconnection agreement to interconnect the proposed Project to the Federal transmission system at a new substation adjacent to its Fort Thompson–Grand Island 345-kilovolt transmission line. Any modification necessary to accommodate the proposed interconnection with Western’s transmission system will be made at Grand Prairie Wind’s expense. Western will also consider the no-action alternative in the EIS. Under the noaction alternative, Western would not interconnect the proposed Project. If additional reasonable alternatives are identified during the scoping process, they will be analyzed in the EIS. Agency Responsibilities Because interconnection of the proposed Project would incorporate a major new generation resource into Western’s power transmission system, Western has determined that an EIS is required under 10 CFR 1021.400(a)(3) and (c), and DOE NEPA implementing procedures (10 CFR part 1021), Appendix D to Subpart D of part 1021, provision D7. Accordingly, Western will prepare an EIS on the interconnection of PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 the proposed Project.1 Western is the lead Federal agency for preparing the EIS, as defined at 40 CFR 1501.5. Western invites other Federal, State, local, and tribal agencies with jurisdiction by law or special expertise with respect to environmental issues to be cooperating agencies on the EIS, as defined at 40 CFR 1501.6. Such agencies may also make a request to Western to be a cooperating agency by contacting Mr. Marsh at the address listed above in the ADDRESSES section. Western will consult with affected tribes to jointly evaluate and address the potential effects on cultural 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 67249), the President’s memorandum of April 29, 1994, Government-toGovernment Relations with Native American Tribal Governments (59 FR 22951), DOE-specific guidance on tribal interactions, and applicable natural and cultural resources laws and regulations. Floodplain or Wetland Involvement Western’s proposed action may affect floodplains or wetlands. This notice also serves as notice of proposed floodplain or wetland action, in accordance with 10 CFR part 1022. The EIS will include an assessment of impacts to floodplains and wetlands, and if required, a statement of findings following DOE regulations for compliance with floodplain and wetlands environmental review (10 CFR part 1022). Environmental Issues This notice is to inform agencies and the public of Western’s intent to prepare an EIS and solicit comments and suggestions for consideration in the EIS. To help the public frame its comments, the following list contains potential environmental issues preliminarily identified for analysis in the EIS: • Impacts on protected, threatened, endangered, or sensitive species of animals or plants • Impacts on migratory birds • Impacts from noxious weeds, invasive, and non-native species • Impacts on recreation and transportation • Impacts on land use and farmland • Impacts on cultural or historic resources and tribal values • Impacts on human health and safety 1 On November 16, 2011, DOE’s Acting General Counsel delegated to Western’s Administrator all EIS authorities. E:\FR\FM\16APN1.SGM 16APN1 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 73 / Monday, April 16, 2012 / Notices emcdonald on DSK29S0YB1PROD with NOTICES • Impacts on air, soil, and water resources (including air quality and surface water impacts) • Visual impacts • Socio-economic impacts and disproportionately high and adverse impacts to minority and low-income populations This list is not intended to be allinclusive or to imply any predetermination of impacts. Western invites interested parties to suggest specific issues within these general categories, or other issues not included above, to be considered in the EIS. Public Participation Interested parties are invited to participate in the scoping process to help define the scope of the EIS, significant resources, and issues to be analyzed in depth, and to eliminate from detailed study issues that are not pertinent. The EIS 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 will hold one public meeting in O’Neill, Nebraska, and will announce the EIS scoping meeting details through local news media, direct mailings, and by posting on the Western Web site at http://www.wapa.gov/ugp/Environment/ default.htm at least 15 days prior to the meeting. Attendees will be able to speak directly with Western and Grand Prairie Wind representatives at the EIS scoping meetings about the proposed Project. Attendees are welcome to come and go at their convenience throughout the meeting. If inclement weather should prohibit hosting the scoping meeting, an alternate meeting date and location will be publicized locally. The meeting location is handicapped-accessible. Anyone needing special accommodations should contact Mr. Marsh to make arrangements. The public is encouraged to provide information and comments on issues it believes Western should address in the EIS. Comments may be broad in nature or restricted to specific areas of concern. After gathering comments on the scope of the EIS, Western will address those issues raised during scoping in the EIS. While comments will be accepted at any time during the EIS process, submission of comments by the end of the scoping comment period will ensure full consideration in the Draft EIS. Comments may be submitted at the public scoping meeting or sent to Western as described under the ADDRESSES section above. Comments received outside of the designated comment periods may be addressed in VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:39 Apr 13, 2012 Jkt 226001 the Draft EIS; otherwise they will be addressed later in the process, such as in the Final EIS, if practicable. The EIS process will include this NOI, local EIS scoping meeting notifications, a public scoping meeting; consultation and coordination with appropriate Federal, State, county, and local agencies and tribal governments; involvement with affected landowners; distribution of and public review and comment on the Draft EIS; a formal public hearing or hearings on the Draft EIS; distribution of a published Final EIS; and publication of a Record of Decision in the Federal Register. Dated: April 6, 2012. Timothy J. Meeks, Administrator. [FR Doc. 2012–9038 Filed 4–13–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450–01–P ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [EPA–HQ–RCRA–2011–0890; FRL–9515–6] Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to OMB for Review and Approval; Comment Request; RCRA Expanded Public Participation (Renewal) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), this document announces that an Information Collection Request (ICR) has been forwarded to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval. This is a request to renew an existing approved collection. The ICR, which is abstracted below, describes the nature of the information collection and its estimated burden and cost. DATES: Additional comments may be submitted on or before May 16, 2012. ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, referencing Docket ID No. EPA–HQ– RCRA–2011–0890, to (1) EPA, either online using www.regulations.gov (our preferred method), or by email to rcradocket@epa.gov, or by mail to: EPA Docket Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Mail Code 28221T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460, and (2) OMB, by mail to: Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Attention: Desk Officer for EPA, 725 17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20503. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael Pease, (5303P), Environmental SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 22571 Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: 703–308–0008; fax number: 703–308–8433; email address: pease.michael@epa.gov. EPA has submitted the following ICR to OMB for review and approval according to the procedures prescribed in 5 CFR 1320.12. On December 6, 2011 (76 FR 76158), EPA sought comments on this ICR pursuant to 5 CFR 1320.8(d). EPA received no comments. Any additional comments on this ICR should be submitted to EPA and OMB within 30 days of this notice. EPA has established a public docket for this ICR under Docket ID No EPA– HQ–RCRA–2011–0890, which is available for online viewing at www.regulations.gov, or in person viewing at the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Docket at 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 RCRA Docket is (202) 566–0270. Use EPA’s electronic docket and comment system at www.regulations.gov, to submit or view public comments, access the index listing of the contents of the docket, and to access those documents in the docket that are available electronically. Once in the system, select ‘‘docket search,’’ then key in the docket ID number identified above. Please note that EPA’s policy is that public comments, whether submitted electronically or in paper, will be made available for public viewing at www.regulations.gov as EPA receives them and without change, unless the comment contains copyrighted material, confidential business information (CBI), or other information whose public disclosure is restricted by statute. For further information about the electronic docket, go to www.regulations.gov. Title: RCRA Expanded Public Participation (Renewal). ICR Numbers: EPA ICR No. 1688.07, OMB Control No. 2050–0149. ICR Status: This ICR is scheduled to expire on April 30, 2012. Under OMB regulations, the Agency may continue to conduct or sponsor the collection of information while this submission is pending at OMB. An Agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information, unless it displays a SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: E:\FR\FM\16APN1.SGM 16APN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 73 (Monday, April 16, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 22569-22571]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-9038]


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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Western Area Power Administration


Interconnection of the Grande Prairie Wind Farm, Holt County, NE

AGENCY: Western Area Power Administration, Department of Energy.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement 
and conduct scoping meetings; Notice of potential floodplain and 
wetlands involvement.

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

SUMMARY: The Western Area Power Administration (Western), an agency of 
the Department of Energy (DOE), intends to prepare an environmental 
impact statement (EIS) on the proposed interconnection of the Grande 
Prairie Wind Farm (Project) in Holt County, near the city of O'Neill, 
Nebraska. Grande Prairie Wind, LLC (Grande Prairie Wind), a majority-
owned subsidiary of Midwest Wind Energy, LLC, has applied to Western to 
interconnect their proposed wind energy generation project to Western's 
power transmission system. Western's Federal action would be to execute 
an interconnection agreement with Grande Prairie Wind and make any 
necessary modifications to the transmission system to accommodate the 
interconnection at Grande Prairie Wind's expense. Western is issuing 
this notice to inform the public and interested parties about Western's 
intent to prepare an EIS, conduct a public scoping process, and invite 
the public to comment on the scope, proposed action, alternatives, and 
other issues to be addressed in the EIS.
    Construction activities proposed by Grande Prairie Wind 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: The public scoping period begins with the publication of this 
notice and closes on May 16, 2012. To provide the public an opportunity 
to review the proposal and project information, Western will hold one 
public meeting in O'Neill, Nebraska. Western will announce the date and 
location of the public scoping meeting through local news media, and 
posting on the Western Web site at http://www.wapa.gov/ugp/Environment/default.htm at least 15 days prior to the meeting. While comments will 
be accepted at any time during the EIS process, submission of comments 
by the end of the scoping comment period will ensure full consideration 
in the Draft EIS.

ADDRESSES: Written comments on the scope of the EIS should be addressed 
to Mr. Matt Marsh, Western Area Power Administration, P.O. Box 35800, 
2900 4th Avenue, North, Billings, MT 59107, fax (406) 255-2900 or email 
at grandeprairie@wapa.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Matt Marsh, Western Area Power 
Administration, P.O. Box 35800, 2900 4th Avenue, North, Billings, MT 
59107, telephone (406) 255-2811, or email grandeprairie@wapa.gov. For 
general information on DOE's National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) 
review procedures or status of a NEPA review, contact Ms. Carol M. 
Borgstrom, Director, Office of NEPA Policy and Compliance, GC-54, U.S. 
Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 
20585, telephone (202) 586-4600 or (800) 472-2756, fax (202) 586-7031.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Western, an agency within DOE, markets 
Federal hydroelectric power to preference customers, as specified by 
law. These customers include municipalities, cooperatives, irrigation 
districts, Federal and State agencies, and Native

[[Page 22570]]

American tribes. Western's service territory covers 15 western states, 
including Nebraska. Western owns and operates more than 17,000 miles of 
high-voltage transmission lines. Western offers capacity to deliver 
electricity on its transmission system, when such capacity is 
available, under Western's Open Access Transmission Service Tariff.
    Grande Prairie Wind has applied to Western to interconnect their 
proposed wind energy generation Project to Western's Fort Thompson-
Grand Island transmission line. The proposed Project is subject to 
county and local approvals prior to Project construction.

Grand Prairie Project Description

    Grande Prairie Wind proposes to construct and operate a 400-
megawatt (MW) wind energy generation facility in Holt County in 
northern Nebraska. The Project area would occupy approximately 45,000 
acres in portions of Willowdale, Antelope, Grattan, Iowa, Scott, and 
Steel Creek Townships.
    Grande Prairie Wind proposes to build up to 266 wind turbines. 
Permanent disturbance for each wind turbine generator location would be 
approximately 0.25 acres. Grande Prairie Wind is considering a variety 
of wind turbine generator types, with capacities ranging from 1.5 to 
2.4 MW. Each wind turbine generator would be mounted on a single steel 
tower between 263 and 329 feet tall and have blade sweep diameter 
ranging from 271 to 385 feet, depending on the wind turbine generator 
model selected. Approximate total height at the rotor apex would be 
between 398 and 521 feet.
    Approximately 60 to 80 miles of underground electrical collector 
cable would be required to carry generated power from each wind turbine 
generator to a single Project collection substation. The underground 
collector cables would be buried to a depth that would not interfere 
with farming operations. The collection substation would occupy about 7 
to 15 acres of land. A 6-mile tie-line would be built from the 
collector substation to a point adjacent to Western's existing Fort 
Thompson-Grand Island transmission line.
    Grande Prairie Wind proposes to build about 45 to 60 miles of new 
roads and upgrade 30 to 50 miles of existing roads for construction and 
maintenance access to all turbines and Project facilities. Other 
Project facilities may include two or more permanent meteorological 
towers, a SODAR unit, and an operations and maintenance building.
    Grande Prairie Wind would site wind turbine generators and 
supporting infrastructure to optimize wind and land resources in the 
area while minimizing environmental impacts to the extent practicable. 
The proposed Project would be located on publicly and privately owned 
lands consisting of a mix of rural cropland and grazing land. The 
publicly owned land is owned by the State of Nebraska Board of 
Education Lands and Funds. Grande Prairie Wind would comply with local 
zoning requirements, including setbacks from residences, roads, and 
existing transmission and distribution lines. Grande Prairie Wind 
proposes to begin construction as early as spring 2014. The life of the 
Project is anticipated to be a minimum of 20 years.
    Western's Federal involvement is related to consideration of the 
interconnection request, and any resultant impact to the transmission 
system. However, the EIS will also identify and review the 
environmental impacts of constructing, operating, maintaining, and 
decommissioning Grand Prairie Wind's proposed Project. Grand Prairie 
Wind would be responsible for completing necessary coordination with 
local agencies to permit its proposed Project.

Proposed Action and Alternatives

    Western's proposed Federal action is to execute an interconnection 
agreement to interconnect the proposed Project to the Federal 
transmission system at a new substation adjacent to its Fort Thompson-
Grand Island 345-kilovolt transmission line. Any modification necessary 
to accommodate the proposed interconnection with Western's transmission 
system will be made at Grand Prairie Wind's expense. Western will also 
consider the no-action alternative in the EIS. Under the no-action 
alternative, Western would not interconnect the proposed Project. If 
additional reasonable alternatives are identified during the scoping 
process, they will be analyzed in the EIS.

Agency Responsibilities

    Because interconnection of the proposed Project would incorporate a 
major new generation resource into Western's power transmission system, 
Western has determined that an EIS is required under 10 CFR 
1021.400(a)(3) and (c), and DOE NEPA implementing procedures (10 CFR 
part 1021), Appendix D to Subpart D of part 1021, provision D7. 
Accordingly, Western will prepare an EIS on the interconnection of the 
proposed Project.\1\ Western is the lead Federal agency for preparing 
the EIS, as defined at 40 CFR 1501.5. Western invites other Federal, 
State, local, and tribal agencies with jurisdiction by law or special 
expertise with respect to environmental issues to be cooperating 
agencies on the EIS, as defined at 40 CFR 1501.6. Such agencies may 
also make a request to Western to be a cooperating agency by contacting 
Mr. Marsh at the address listed above in the ADDRESSES section.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ On November 16, 2011, DOE's Acting General Counsel delegated 
to Western's Administrator all EIS authorities.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Western will consult with affected tribes to jointly evaluate and 
address the potential effects on cultural 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 67249), the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994, Government-to-
Government Relations with Native American Tribal Governments (59 FR 
22951), DOE-specific guidance on tribal interactions, and applicable 
natural and cultural resources laws and regulations.

Floodplain or Wetland Involvement

    Western's proposed action may affect floodplains or wetlands. This 
notice also serves as notice of proposed floodplain or wetland action, 
in accordance with 10 CFR part 1022. The EIS will include an assessment 
of impacts to floodplains and wetlands, and if required, a statement of 
findings following DOE regulations for compliance with floodplain and 
wetlands environmental review (10 CFR part 1022).

Environmental Issues

    This notice is to inform agencies and the public of Western's 
intent to prepare an EIS and solicit comments and suggestions for 
consideration in the EIS. To help the public frame its comments, the 
following list contains potential environmental issues preliminarily 
identified for analysis in the EIS:

     Impacts on protected, threatened, endangered, or sensitive 
species of animals or plants
     Impacts on migratory birds
     Impacts from noxious weeds, invasive, and non-native 
species
     Impacts on recreation and transportation
     Impacts on land use and farmland
     Impacts on cultural or historic resources and tribal 
values
     Impacts on human health and safety

[[Page 22571]]

     Impacts on air, soil, and water resources (including air 
quality and surface water impacts)
     Visual impacts
     Socio-economic impacts and disproportionately high and 
adverse impacts to minority and low-income populations
    This list is not intended to be all-inclusive or to imply any 
predetermination of impacts. Western invites interested parties to 
suggest specific issues within these general categories, or other 
issues not included above, to be considered in the EIS.

Public Participation

    Interested parties are invited to participate in the scoping 
process to help define the scope of the EIS, significant resources, and 
issues to be analyzed in depth, and to eliminate from detailed study 
issues that are not pertinent. The EIS 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 will hold one public meeting in O'Neill, Nebraska, and will 
announce the EIS scoping meeting details through local news media, 
direct mailings, and by posting on the Western Web site at http://www.wapa.gov/ugp/Environment/default.htm at least 15 days prior to the 
meeting. Attendees will be able to speak directly with Western and 
Grand Prairie Wind representatives at the EIS scoping meetings about 
the proposed Project. Attendees are welcome to come and go at their 
convenience throughout the meeting. If inclement weather should 
prohibit hosting the scoping meeting, an alternate meeting date and 
location will be publicized locally. The meeting location is 
handicapped-accessible. Anyone needing special accommodations should 
contact Mr. Marsh to make arrangements.
    The public is encouraged to provide information and comments on 
issues it believes Western should address in the EIS. Comments may be 
broad in nature or restricted to specific areas of concern. After 
gathering comments on the scope of the EIS, Western will address those 
issues raised during scoping in the EIS. While comments will be 
accepted at any time during the EIS process, submission of comments by 
the end of the scoping comment period will ensure full consideration in 
the Draft EIS. Comments may be submitted at the public scoping meeting 
or sent to Western as described under the ADDRESSES section above. 
Comments received outside of the designated comment periods may be 
addressed in the Draft EIS; otherwise they will be addressed later in 
the process, such as in the Final EIS, if practicable.
    The EIS process will include this NOI, local EIS scoping meeting 
notifications, a public scoping meeting; consultation and coordination 
with appropriate Federal, State, county, and local agencies and tribal 
governments; involvement with affected landowners; distribution of and 
public review and comment on the Draft EIS; a formal public hearing or 
hearings on the Draft EIS; distribution of a published Final EIS; and 
publication of a Record of Decision in the Federal Register.

    Dated: April 6, 2012.
Timothy J. Meeks,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2012-9038 Filed 4-13-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6450-01-P