Upper Great Plains Wind Energy Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (DOE/EIS-0408), 17653-17656 [2013-06614]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 56 / Friday, March 22, 2013 / Notices 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: 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on April 2, 2013. Dated: March 15, 2013. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary. 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: 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on April 4, 2013. Dated: March 15, 2013. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary. [FR Doc. 2013–06604 Filed 3–21–13; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717–01–P [FR Doc. 2013–06602 Filed 3–21–13; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717–01–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket Nos. EL13–54–000; QF11–141–002] [Docket No. ID–7103–000] Gadwall Wind LLC; Notice of Petition for Enforcement srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Wright, Laura H.; Notice of Filing Take notice that on March 14, 2013, Laura H. Wright filed an application to hold interlocking positions, pursuant to section 305(b) of the Federal Power Act, 16 U.S.C. 825d(b) (2008) and Part 45 of Title 18 of the Code of Federal Regulations, 18 CFR part 45 (2012). Any person desiring to intervene or to protest this filing must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission’s Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211, 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 comment date. On or before the comment date, it is not necessary to 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 14 copies of the protest or intervention to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426. VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:27 Mar 21, 2013 Jkt 229001 Take notice that on March 18, 2013, pursuant to section 210(h) of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA), 16 U.S.C. 824a–3(h), Gadwall Wind LLC (Petitioner) filed a Petition for Enforcement, requesting the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) to initiate enforcement action against the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to remedy the State of Minnesota’s improper implementation of PURPA by establishing an avoided cost rule that does not provide for the payment of a utility’s full avoided costs to a new renewable energy qualifying facility (QF). In the alternative, Petitioner requests that the Commission make specific findings with respect to Minn. Stat. 216B.164, as would allow Petitioner to pursue enforcement action in a US Federal District Court. Any person desiring to intervene or to protest this filing must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission’s Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211, 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 PO 00000 Frm 00027 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 17653 comment date. On or before the comment date, it is not necessary to 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 5 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: 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on April 8, 2013. Dated: March 18, 2013. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary. [FR Doc. 2013–06603 Filed 3–21–13; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717–01–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Western Area Power Administration DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Upper Great Plains Wind Energy Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (DOE/EIS–0408) Western Area Power Administration, U.S. Department of Energy, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. ACTION: Notice of Availability of Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Notice of Public Hearings. AGENCIES: SUMMARY: In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended, and the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations, the U.S. Department of Energy, Western Area Power Administration (Western) and the U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have, as joint lead agencies, prepared the Upper Great Plains Wind Energy Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (Draft E:\FR\FM\22MRN1.SGM 22MRN1 srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 17654 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 56 / Friday, March 22, 2013 / Notices PEIS).1 The Draft PEIS evaluates issues associated with wind energy development within Western’s Upper Great Plains Customer Service Region (UGP Region), which encompasses all or parts of the states of Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota, and upon the Service’s landscape-level grassland and wetland easements in the same area. The U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Utility Services (RUS) have participated as cooperating agencies. Public hearings will be held during the public comment period on the Draft PEIS. The Draft PEIS is available on the project Web site at: http://plainswindeis.anl.gov http:// www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/ ricesolar/index.html. DATES: The public hearings will be held April 30 and May 1 and 2, 2013. The agencies will also announce the public hearings through the local media, the project Web site (http:// plainswindeis.anl.gov), and an interested party mailing list. The public comment period on the Draft PEIS starts with the publication of this notice in the Federal Register and will continue until May 21, 2013. Western and the Service will consider all electronic and written comments on the Draft PEIS received or postmarked by that date. Agencies, interested parties, and the public are invited to submit comments on this Draft PEIS at any time during the public comment period. ADDRESSES: Western and the Service will hold public hearings to obtain comments on the Draft PEIS at the following locations: 1. April 30, 2013, Crowne Plaza Hotel, 27 North 27th Street, Billings, MT. 2. May 1, 2013, Ramada Bismarck Hotel & Conference Center, 1400 East Interchange Avenue, Bismarck, ND. 3. May 2, 2013, Best Western Plus Ramkota, 3200 West Maple Street, Sioux Falls, SD. Public hearings will begin at 5 p.m. and will include a pre-hearing informal open house; introductory presentations on the proposed action by Western and the Service; the formal hearing beginning at 6 p.m. where oral comments from interested parties and the public will be heard; and an informal period after the close of the hearing. You may submit comments electronically, using the online 1 On November 16, 2011, DOE’s Acting General Counsel delegated to Western’s Administrator all the authorities of the General Counsel respecting environmental impact statements. VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:27 Mar 21, 2013 Jkt 229001 comment form available on the project Web site (http://plainswindeis.anl.gov/ index.cfm), orally or written at the hearings, or by letter to WESTERN/FWS Draft Wind Energy PEIS Comments, c/ o John Hayse, Argonne National Laboratory, 9700 S. Cass Avenue—EVS/ 240, Argonne, IL 60439. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information on Western’s proposed programmatic environmental evaluation procedures for wind energy project interconnections, and general information about interconnections with Western’s transmission system, contact Nicholas Stas, Regional Environmental Manager, Upper Great Plains Customer Service Region, Western Area Power Administration, P.O. Box 35800, Billings, MT 59107–5800, telephone (406) 255–2810, facsimile (406) 255– 2900, email stas@wapa.gov. For information on the PEIS process, or to receive a copy of the Draft PEIS, contact Mark Wieringa, NEPA Document Manager, Western Area Power Administration, P.O. Box 281213, Lakewood, CO 80228–8213, telephone (800) 336–7288, facsimile (720) 962– 7263, email wieringa@wapa.gov. For information on the Service’s participation in the PEIS, contact Lloyd Jones, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Audubon National Wildlife Refuge Complex, 3275 11th Street, Coleharbor, ND 58531–9419, telephone (701) 442– 5474 ext. 111, facsimile (701) 442–5546, email Lloyd_Jones@fws.gov. For general information on the DOE NEPA process, please 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, telephone (202) 586–4600 or (800) 472–2756. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In response to an increase in wind energy development Western and the Service have interests in streamlining their procedures for conducting environmental reviews of wind energy applications by implementing standardized evaluation procedures and identifying measures to address potential environmental impacts associated with wind energy projects in the UGP Region. As joint lead agencies, Western and the Service have cooperatively prepared this PEIS to (1) assess the potential environmental impacts associated with wind energy projects within the UGP Region that may interconnect to Western’s transmission system, or that may propose placement of project elements on grassland or wetland easements managed by the Service; and (2) PO 00000 Frm 00028 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 evaluate how environmental impacts would differ under alternative sets of environmental evaluation procedures, best management practices, and mitigation measures that the agencies would request project developers to implement (as appropriate for specific wind energy projects). The objective of the PEIS is to support the environmental review process by having already addressed general environmental concerns. The Draft PEIS analyzes, to the extent practicable, the impacts resulting from development of wind energy projects and the effectiveness of best management practices and mitigation measures in reducing potential impacts. Impacts and mitigation have been analyzed for each environmental resource, and all aspects of wind energy projects have been addressed, including turbine, transformer, collector line, access road, substation installations, and operational and maintenance activities. The environmental procedures and mitigation strategies have been structured to complement Western’s Open Access Transmission Service Tariff. Many of the impacts resulting from wind energy infrastructure development, including siting wind turbines, access roads, underground collector lines, overhead lines, and substations, are well known. Similarly, effective best management practices and mitigation measures have been developed to reduce the environmental impacts of constructing and operating wind energy projects. The Draft PEIS collected and analyzed this information as it applies to wind energy development in the six states included in the UGP Region. Specifically, the Draft PEIS has: 1. Defined areas with a high potential for wind energy development near the UGP Region’s transmission system in anticipation of future wind-generation interconnection requests. 2. Defined natural and human environment resources in areas with high wind energy development potential, including Native American lands, to support analyses of the environmental impacts and development of wind energy projects. 3. Identified standardized environmental evaluation procedures, best management practices, and mitigation measures to be used by interconnection applicants for identifying and reducing wind energy development impacts of their projects on the natural and human environment. 4. Initiated a programmatic Endangered Species Act (ESA) Section 7 consultation for federally listed and E:\FR\FM\22MRN1.SGM 22MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 56 / Friday, March 22, 2013 / Notices srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES proposed threatened and endangered species within the study area boundaries established for the PEIS. 5. Provided guidance for interconnection applicants that includes information about natural resources within areas with a high potential for wind development, requirements for subsequent site-specific environmental reviews, and appropriate best management practices and mitigation measures to address adverse environmental impacts related to wind projects and associated transmission system enhancements. The Service maintains a grassland and wetland easement program to support and enhance waterfowl populations in the Prairie Pothole Region. The Service has developed a plan that will, in some circumstances, allow partial release of an easement for wind generation purposes, only with defined conditions and on a specified area, in exchange for additional easement acreage being conveyed to the Service. A streamlined approach for compliance (NEPA, National Historic Properties Act [NHPA], and ESA) for subsequent sitespecific wind development projects in the future would result from this PEIS. In accordance with the NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321), and CEQ regulations (40 CFR parts 1500–1508), 1501.5(b), Western and the Service have served as joint lead agencies in the preparation of the Draft PEIS. Western and the Service are engaged in informal consultation under Section 7 of the ESA in support of the PEIS process. A Programmatic Biological Assessment has been prepared for listed and candidate species occurring in the UGP Region, and it is expected that the Ecological Services Field Office will issue a letter of concurrence as a result of this consultation. CEQ regulations require that Western and the Service invite any Federal, State, or local agency or tribal government with jurisdiction by law or special expertise in wind energy development and/or electricity transmission operation to be a cooperating agency. Reclamation, BIA, and RUS have participated as cooperating agencies in the preparation of the Draft PEIS. Other agencies or state or tribal governments could become cooperating agencies at their request. Public Hearings Public hearings will begin at 5 p.m. and will include a pre-hearing informal open house; introductory presentations on the proposed action by Western and the Service; the formal hearing beginning at 6 p.m. where oral comments from interested parties and VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:27 Mar 21, 2013 Jkt 229001 the public will be heard; and an informal period after the close of the hearing. Oral comments from the public will commence immediately after the presentations. Equal consideration will be given to electronic, oral, and written comments. Western and the Service encourage electronic submissions if possible. All meeting locations will be handicapped-accessible. Anyone needing special accommodations should contact Western or the Service to make arrangements. Public Involvement and Comments Interested parties are invited to review the Draft PEIS and provide comments. The comment process is intended to involve all interested agencies (Federal, State, county, and local), public interest groups, businesses, and members of the public. The outcome of this PEIS may affect or apply to tribal resources. Therefore, Western and the Service have consulted with potentially affected tribes throughout the development of the Draft PEIS to jointly evaluate and address the potential effects, if any, of the proposed action. No specific concerns have been identified, mainly because specific projects and locations have not yet been developed. Once individual projects are proposed, project-specific consultations with tribes would be conducted in accordance with Executive Order 13175 ‘‘Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments’’ (65 FR 67249), the President’s memorandum of November 5, 2009, ‘‘Tribal Consultation’’ (http:// www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/ memorandum-tribal-consultationsigned-president), agency-specific guidance on tribal interactions, and applicable natural and cultural resource laws and regulations (e.g., NEPA, ESA, NHPA, and Migratory Bird Treaty Act). Public hearing locations and times as described above under DATES and ADDRESSES will also be announced through the local media, the project Web site (http://plainswindeis.anl.gov), and an interested party mailing list. A presiding officer will establish only those procedures needed to ensure that everyone who wishes to speak has a chance to do so and that the agencies understand all issues and comments. Speakers will be asked to provide brief comments to allow adequate time to hear all comments. Depending upon the number of persons wishing to speak, the presiding officer may allow longer speaking times. Persons wishing to speak on behalf of an organization should identify that organization in their request to speak. Meetings will begin at the times specified and will PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 17655 continue until all those present who wish to participate have had an opportunity to do so. Should any speaker desire to provide further information for the record that cannot be presented within the designated time, such additional information may be submitted at the hearing, electronically, or by letter by April 13, 2013. Speakers are encouraged to provide a written version of their oral comments at the hearings to ensure the agencies capture all comments completely and accurately. A transcript of all comments offered during the public hearings will be prepared and made available. The public is encouraged to communicate information and comments on issues it believes Western and the Service should address in the Final PEIS. The Agencies request that reviewers provide specific information and comments on factual errors, missing information, or additional considerations that should be corrected or included in the Final PEIS. Individual respondents may request confidentiality. The names, street addresses, and city or town information of those providing comments will be part of the administrative record, and will be subject to public disclosure unless confidentiality is requested. Such a request must be stated prominently at the beginning of the comment. We will honor requests to the extent allowed by law. All submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, will be available for public inspection in their entirety, consistent with applicable law. After gathering public comments on what issues should be addressed in the Final PEIS, Western and the Service will identify and provide rationale in the Final PEIS on those issues addressed and those issues beyond the scope of the PEIS. Depending on the extent and nature of the comments received, the agencies may republish the entire PEIS incorporating responses to comments, or publish an abbreviated Final version that, together with the Draft PEIS, would constitute the Final PEIS. Final PEIS Schedule and Availability Western and the Service anticipate that comments will be incorporated and the Final PEIS to be available to the public in October, 2013. Separate Records of Decision addressing each agency’s Federal actions will be issued by Western and the Service not sooner than 30 days following distribution of the Final PEIS, or about October, 2013. E:\FR\FM\22MRN1.SGM 22MRN1 17656 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 56 / Friday, March 22, 2013 / Notices Dated: March 15, 2013. Anita J. Decker, Acting Administrator, Western Area Power Administration. Dated: March 15, 2013. Noreen Walsh, Regional Director, Mountain-Prairie Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. [FR Doc. 2013–06614 Filed 3–21–13; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450–01–P ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [EPA–HQ–OPPT–2013–0127; FRL–9380–1] Certain New Chemicals; Receipt and Status Information Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ACTION: Notice. srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES AGENCY: SUMMARY: The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) requires any person who intends to manufacture (defined by statute to include import) a new chemical (i.e., a chemical not on the TSCA Chemical Substances Inventory (TSCA Inventory)) to notify EPA and comply with the statutory provisions pertaining to the manufacture of new chemicals. In addition under TSCA, EPA is required to publish in the Federal Register a notice of receipt of a premanufacture notice (PMN) or an application for a test marketing exemption (TME), and to publish in the Federal Register periodic status reports on the new chemicals under review and the receipt of notices of commencement (NOC) to manufacture those chemicals. This document, which covers the period from January 14, 2013 to February 8, 2013, and provides the required notice and status report, consists of the PMNs and TMEs, both pending or expired, and the NOC to manufacture a new chemical that the Agency has received under TSCA section 5 during this time period. DATES: Comments identified by the specific PMN number or TME number, must be received on or before April 22, 2013. ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by docket identification (ID) number EPA–HQ–OPPT–2013–[insert Docket ID no.], and the specific PMN number or TME number for the chemical related to your comment, by one of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. • Mail: Document Control Office (7407M), Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT), Environmental VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:27 Mar 21, 2013 Jkt 229001 Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460–0001. • Hand Delivery: OPPT Document Control Office (DCO), EPA East Bldg., Rm. 6428, 1201 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC. The DCO is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the DCO is (202) 564–8930. Such deliveries are only accepted during the DCO’s normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information. Instructions: EPA’s policy is that all comments received will be included in the docket without change and may be made available online at http:// www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected through regulations.gov or email. The 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 email comment directly to EPA without going through regulations.gov, your email address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the 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. Docket: All documents in the docket are listed in the docket index available at http://www.regulations.gov. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, e.g., CBI or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, will be publicly available only in hard copy. Publicly available docket materials are available electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, or, if only available in hard copy, at the OPPT Docket. The OPPT Docket is located in the EPA Docket Center (EPA/DC) at Rm. 3334, EPA West Bldg., 1301 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC. The EPA/DC Public Reading Room PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number of the EPA/DC Public Reading Room is (202) 566–1744, and the telephone number for the OPPT Docket is (202) 566–0280. Docket visitors are required to show photographic identification, pass through a metal detector, and sign the EPA visitor log. All visitor bags are processed through an X-ray machine and subject to search. Visitors will be provided an EPA/DC badge that must be visible at all times in the building and returned upon departure. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For technical information contact: Bernice Mudd, Information Management Division (7408M), Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460–0001; telephone number: (202) 564–8951; fax number: (202) 564–8955; email address: Mudd.Bernice@epa.gov. For general information contact: The TSCA-Hotline, ABVI-Goodwill, 422 South Clinton Ave., Rochester, NY 14620; telephone number: (202) 554– 1404; email address: TSCAHotline@epa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. General Information A. Does this action apply to me? This action is directed to the public in general. As such, the Agency has not attempted to describe the specific entities that this action may apply to. Although others may be affected, this action applies directly to the submitter of the PMNs addressed in this action. B. What should I consider as I prepare my comments for EPA? 1. Submitting CBI. Do not submit this information to EPA through regulations.gov or email. Clearly mark the part or all of the information that you claim to be CBI. For CBI information in a disk or CD–ROM that you mail to EPA, mark the outside of the disk or CD–ROM as CBI and then identify electronically within the disk or CD–ROM the specific information that is claimed as CBI. In addition to one complete version of the comment that includes information claimed as CBI, a copy of the comment that does not contain the information claimed as CBI must be submitted for inclusion in the public docket. Information so marked will not be disclosed except in accordance with procedures set forth in 40 CFR part 2. 2. Tips for preparing your comments. When submitting comments, remember to: E:\FR\FM\22MRN1.SGM 22MRN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 56 (Friday, March 22, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 17653-17656]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-06614]


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

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Western Area Power Administration

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service


Upper Great Plains Wind Energy Draft Programmatic Environmental 
Impact Statement (DOE/EIS-0408)

AGENCIES:  Western Area Power Administration, U.S. Department of 
Energy, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of the 
Interior.

ACTION: Notice of Availability of Draft Environmental Impact Statement 
and Notice of Public Hearings.

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

SUMMARY: In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969 (NEPA), as amended, and the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) 
regulations, the U.S. Department of Energy, Western Area Power 
Administration (Western) and the U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish 
and Wildlife Service (Service), have, as joint lead agencies, prepared 
the Upper Great Plains Wind Energy Draft Programmatic Environmental 
Impact Statement (Draft

[[Page 17654]]

PEIS).\1\ The Draft PEIS evaluates issues associated with wind energy 
development within Western's Upper Great Plains Customer Service Region 
(UGP Region), which encompasses all or parts of the states of Iowa, 
Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota, and upon 
the Service's landscape-level grassland and wetland easements in the 
same area. The U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation 
(Reclamation) and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), and the U.S. 
Department of Agriculture, Rural Utility Services (RUS) have 
participated as cooperating agencies. Public hearings will be held 
during the public comment period on the Draft PEIS. The Draft PEIS is 
available on the project Web site at: http://plainswindeis.anl.gov 
http://www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/ricesolar/index.html.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ On November 16, 2011, DOE's Acting General Counsel delegated 
to Western's Administrator all the authorities of the General 
Counsel respecting environmental impact statements.

DATES: The public hearings will be held April 30 and May 1 and 2, 2013. 
The agencies will also announce the public hearings through the local 
media, the project Web site (http://plainswindeis.anl.gov), and an 
interested party mailing list. The public comment period on the Draft 
PEIS starts with the publication of this notice in the Federal Register 
and will continue until May 21, 2013. Western and the Service will 
consider all electronic and written comments on the Draft PEIS received 
or postmarked by that date. Agencies, interested parties, and the 
public are invited to submit comments on this Draft PEIS at any time 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
during the public comment period.

ADDRESSES: Western and the Service will hold public hearings to obtain 
comments on the Draft PEIS at the following locations:
    1. April 30, 2013, Crowne Plaza Hotel, 27 North 27th Street, 
Billings, MT.
    2. May 1, 2013, Ramada Bismarck Hotel & Conference Center, 1400 
East Interchange Avenue, Bismarck, ND.
    3. May 2, 2013, Best Western Plus Ramkota, 3200 West Maple Street, 
Sioux Falls, SD.
    Public hearings will begin at 5 p.m. and will include a pre-hearing 
informal open house; introductory presentations on the proposed action 
by Western and the Service; the formal hearing beginning at 6 p.m. 
where oral comments from interested parties and the public will be 
heard; and an informal period after the close of the hearing.
    You may submit comments electronically, using the online comment 
form available on the project Web site (http://plainswindeis.anl.gov/index.cfm), orally or written at the hearings, or by letter to WESTERN/
FWS Draft Wind Energy PEIS Comments, c/o John Hayse, Argonne National 
Laboratory, 9700 S. Cass Avenue--EVS/240, Argonne, IL 60439.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information on Western's proposed 
programmatic environmental evaluation procedures for wind energy 
project interconnections, and general information about 
interconnections with Western's transmission system, contact Nicholas 
Stas, Regional Environmental Manager, Upper Great Plains Customer 
Service Region, Western Area Power Administration, P.O. Box 35800, 
Billings, MT 59107-5800, telephone (406) 255-2810, facsimile (406) 255-
2900, email stas@wapa.gov. For information on the PEIS process, or to 
receive a copy of the Draft PEIS, contact Mark Wieringa, NEPA Document 
Manager, Western Area Power Administration, P.O. Box 281213, Lakewood, 
CO 80228-8213, telephone (800) 336-7288, facsimile (720) 962-7263, 
email wieringa@wapa.gov.
    For information on the Service's participation in the PEIS, contact 
Lloyd Jones, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Audubon National Wildlife 
Refuge Complex, 3275 11th Street, Coleharbor, ND 58531-9419, telephone 
(701) 442-5474 ext. 111, facsimile (701) 442-5546, email Lloyd_Jones@fws.gov.
    For general information on the DOE NEPA process, please 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, telephone (202) 586-4600 or (800) 472-2756.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In response to an increase in wind energy 
development Western and the Service have interests in streamlining 
their procedures for conducting environmental reviews of wind energy 
applications by implementing standardized evaluation procedures and 
identifying measures to address potential environmental impacts 
associated with wind energy projects in the UGP Region. As joint lead 
agencies, Western and the Service have cooperatively prepared this PEIS 
to (1) assess the potential environmental impacts associated with wind 
energy projects within the UGP Region that may interconnect to 
Western's transmission system, or that may propose placement of project 
elements on grassland or wetland easements managed by the Service; and 
(2) evaluate how environmental impacts would differ under alternative 
sets of environmental evaluation procedures, best management practices, 
and mitigation measures that the agencies would request project 
developers to implement (as appropriate for specific wind energy 
projects).
    The objective of the PEIS is to support the environmental review 
process by having already addressed general environmental concerns. The 
Draft PEIS analyzes, to the extent practicable, the impacts resulting 
from development of wind energy projects and the effectiveness of best 
management practices and mitigation measures in reducing potential 
impacts. Impacts and mitigation have been analyzed for each 
environmental resource, and all aspects of wind energy projects have 
been addressed, including turbine, transformer, collector line, access 
road, substation installations, and operational and maintenance 
activities. The environmental procedures and mitigation strategies have 
been structured to complement Western's Open Access Transmission 
Service Tariff.
    Many of the impacts resulting from wind energy infrastructure 
development, including siting wind turbines, access roads, underground 
collector lines, overhead lines, and substations, are well known. 
Similarly, effective best management practices and mitigation measures 
have been developed to reduce the environmental impacts of constructing 
and operating wind energy projects. The Draft PEIS collected and 
analyzed this information as it applies to wind energy development in 
the six states included in the UGP Region. Specifically, the Draft PEIS 
has:
    1. Defined areas with a high potential for wind energy development 
near the UGP Region's transmission system in anticipation of future 
wind-generation interconnection requests.
    2. Defined natural and human environment resources in areas with 
high wind energy development potential, including Native American 
lands, to support analyses of the environmental impacts and development 
of wind energy projects.
    3. Identified standardized environmental evaluation procedures, 
best management practices, and mitigation measures to be used by 
interconnection applicants for identifying and reducing wind energy 
development impacts of their projects on the natural and human 
environment.
    4. Initiated a programmatic Endangered Species Act (ESA) Section 7 
consultation for federally listed and

[[Page 17655]]

proposed threatened and endangered species within the study area 
boundaries established for the PEIS.
    5. Provided guidance for interconnection applicants that includes 
information about natural resources within areas with a high potential 
for wind development, requirements for subsequent site-specific 
environmental reviews, and appropriate best management practices and 
mitigation measures to address adverse environmental impacts related to 
wind projects and associated transmission system enhancements.
    The Service maintains a grassland and wetland easement program to 
support and enhance waterfowl populations in the Prairie Pothole 
Region. The Service has developed a plan that will, in some 
circumstances, allow partial release of an easement for wind generation 
purposes, only with defined conditions and on a specified area, in 
exchange for additional easement acreage being conveyed to the Service. 
A streamlined approach for compliance (NEPA, National Historic 
Properties Act [NHPA], and ESA) for subsequent site-specific wind 
development projects in the future would result from this PEIS.
    In accordance with the NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321), and CEQ regulations 
(40 CFR parts 1500-1508), 1501.5(b), Western and the Service have 
served as joint lead agencies in the preparation of the Draft PEIS. 
Western and the Service are engaged in informal consultation under 
Section 7 of the ESA in support of the PEIS process. A Programmatic 
Biological Assessment has been prepared for listed and candidate 
species occurring in the UGP Region, and it is expected that the 
Ecological Services Field Office will issue a letter of concurrence as 
a result of this consultation.
    CEQ regulations require that Western and the Service invite any 
Federal, State, or local agency or tribal government with jurisdiction 
by law or special expertise in wind energy development and/or 
electricity transmission operation to be a cooperating agency. 
Reclamation, BIA, and RUS have participated as cooperating agencies in 
the preparation of the Draft PEIS. Other agencies or state or tribal 
governments could become cooperating agencies at their request.

Public Hearings

    Public hearings will begin at 5 p.m. and will include a pre-hearing 
informal open house; introductory presentations on the proposed action 
by Western and the Service; the formal hearing beginning at 6 p.m. 
where oral comments from interested parties and the public will be 
heard; and an informal period after the close of the hearing. Oral 
comments from the public will commence immediately after the 
presentations. Equal consideration will be given to electronic, oral, 
and written comments. Western and the Service encourage electronic 
submissions if possible. All meeting locations will be handicapped-
accessible. Anyone needing special accommodations should contact 
Western or the Service to make arrangements.

Public Involvement and Comments

    Interested parties are invited to review the Draft PEIS and provide 
comments. The comment process is intended to involve all interested 
agencies (Federal, State, county, and local), public interest groups, 
businesses, and members of the public.
    The outcome of this PEIS may affect or apply to tribal resources. 
Therefore, Western and the Service have consulted with potentially 
affected tribes throughout the development of the Draft PEIS to jointly 
evaluate and address the potential effects, if any, of the proposed 
action. No specific concerns have been identified, mainly because 
specific projects and locations have not yet been developed. Once 
individual projects are proposed, project-specific consultations with 
tribes would be conducted in accordance with Executive Order 13175 
``Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments'' (65 FR 
67249), the President's memorandum of November 5, 2009, ``Tribal 
Consultation'' (http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/memorandum-tribal-consultation-signed-president), agency-specific guidance on 
tribal interactions, and applicable natural and cultural resource laws 
and regulations (e.g., NEPA, ESA, NHPA, and Migratory Bird Treaty Act).
    Public hearing locations and times as described above under DATES 
and ADDRESSES will also be announced through the local media, the 
project Web site (http://plainswindeis.anl.gov), and an interested 
party mailing list. A presiding officer will establish only those 
procedures needed to ensure that everyone who wishes to speak has a 
chance to do so and that the agencies understand all issues and 
comments. Speakers will be asked to provide brief comments to allow 
adequate time to hear all comments. Depending upon the number of 
persons wishing to speak, the presiding officer may allow longer 
speaking times. Persons wishing to speak on behalf of an organization 
should identify that organization in their request to speak. Meetings 
will begin at the times specified and will continue until all those 
present who wish to participate have had an opportunity to do so. 
Should any speaker desire to provide further information for the record 
that cannot be presented within the designated time, such additional 
information may be submitted at the hearing, electronically, or by 
letter by April 13, 2013. Speakers are encouraged to provide a written 
version of their oral comments at the hearings to ensure the agencies 
capture all comments completely and accurately. A transcript of all 
comments offered during the public hearings will be prepared and made 
available.
    The public is encouraged to communicate information and comments on 
issues it believes Western and the Service should address in the Final 
PEIS. The Agencies request that reviewers provide specific information 
and comments on factual errors, missing information, or additional 
considerations that should be corrected or included in the Final PEIS. 
Individual respondents may request confidentiality. The names, street 
addresses, and city or town information of those providing comments 
will be part of the administrative record, and will be subject to 
public disclosure unless confidentiality is requested. Such a request 
must be stated prominently at the beginning of the comment. We will 
honor requests to the extent allowed by law. All submissions from 
organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying 
themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or 
businesses, will be available for public inspection in their entirety, 
consistent with applicable law.
    After gathering public comments on what issues should be addressed 
in the Final PEIS, Western and the Service will identify and provide 
rationale in the Final PEIS on those issues addressed and those issues 
beyond the scope of the PEIS. Depending on the extent and nature of the 
comments received, the agencies may republish the entire PEIS 
incorporating responses to comments, or publish an abbreviated Final 
version that, together with the Draft PEIS, would constitute the Final 
PEIS.

Final PEIS Schedule and Availability

    Western and the Service anticipate that comments will be 
incorporated and the Final PEIS to be available to the public in 
October, 2013. Separate Records of Decision addressing each agency's 
Federal actions will be issued by Western and the Service not sooner 
than 30 days following distribution of the Final PEIS, or about 
October, 2013.


[[Page 17656]]


    Dated: March 15, 2013.
Anita J. Decker,
Acting Administrator, Western Area Power Administration.
    Dated: March 15, 2013.
Noreen Walsh,
Regional Director, Mountain-Prairie Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-06614 Filed 3-21-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6450-01-P