Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Inc.: Notice of Intent To Prepare a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement, 50026-50027 [2013-19956]

Download as PDF 50026 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 159 / Friday, August 16, 2013 / Notices oral statement should request in writing to be scheduled on the agenda 5 days prior to the meeting date. Written comments and requests for time to present oral comments must be sent to Lynn Wright, RAC Committee Coordinator, 1330 Bayshore Way, Eureka, CA. 95501; Email: hwright02@fs.fed.us; or Facsimile: 707– 445–8677. A summary of the meeting will be posted at http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/ srnf/home within 21 days of the meeting. If you are a person requiring resonable accomodation, please make requests in advance for sign language interpreting, assistive listening devices or other reasonable accomodation for access to the facility or procedings by contacting the person listed under For Further Information Contact. All reasonable accommodation requests are managed on a case by case basis. Dated: August 9, 2013. Tyrone Kelley, Forest Supervisor. [FR Doc. 2013–19933 Filed 8–15–13; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–11–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Rural Utilities Service Energy Efficiency and Conservation Loan Program Finding of No Significant Impact Rural Utilities Service, USDA. ACTION: Notice of availability of a Finding of No Significant Impact. AGENCY: Notice is hereby given that the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service (RUS) has made a finding of no significant impact (FONSI) for implementing its new Energy Efficiency and Conservation Loan Program. The FONSI decision document is based on impact analysis documented in a programmatic environmental assessment of the new program that was issued for 30-day public comment beginning February 26, 2013. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Deirdre M. Remley, Environmental Protection Specialist, RUS, Water and Environmental Programs, Engineering and Environmental Staff, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Stop 1571, Washington, DC 20250–1571, Telephone: (202) 720–9640 or email: deirdre.remley@wdc.usda.gov. The FONSI is available online at http:// www.rurdev.usda.gov/UWP-ea.htm or you may contact Ms. Remley for a hard copy. emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 19:06 Aug 15, 2013 Jkt 229001 On May 22, 2008, the U.S. Congress enacted the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill) as Public Law 110–234. The 2008 Farm Bill amended Section 12 to authorize energy audits and energy efficiency measures and devices to reduce demand on electric systems. Section 6101 of the 2008 Farm Bill amended Sections 2(a) and 4 of the Rural Electrification Act (RE Act) by inserting ‘‘efficiency and’’ before ‘‘conservation’’ each place it appears. Under the authority of the ‘‘efficiency’’ provisions added to the RE Act by the 2008 Farm Bill, RUS proposes to amend 7 CFR part 1710 by adding a new subpart H entitled ‘‘Energy Efficiency and Conservation Loan Program,’’ which expands upon policies and procedures specific to loans for a new Energy Efficiency and Conservation Loan program. The program would provide loans to eligible rural utility providers (Primary Recipients) who would act as intermediaries to make Energy Efficiency (EE) loans to consumers (Ultimate Recipients) in the Primary Recipients’ service territories for EE improvements at the Ultimate Recipients’ premises. This program is funded through existing authorizations and appropriations. RUS expects that $250 million per year will be dedicated to the EE program. On July 26, 2012, RUS published a proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register at 77 FR 43723, with a 60-day comment period, for the subpart H of 7 CFR part 1710, which would implement the EE program. The final rule will outline the procedures for providing loans to eligible Primary Recipients who will establish EE activities in their service territories and to pay reasonable administrative expenses associated with their loans under the program. The proposed rule defines an ‘‘Eligible Borrower’’ (Primary Recipient) as an electric utility that has direct or indirect responsibility for providing retail electric service to persons in a rural area. Certain financing actions taken by RUS are Federal actions subject to compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations implementing the procedural provisions of NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500–1508), and RUS ‘‘Environmental Policies and Procedures’’ (7 CFR part 1794). The Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) considered two Federal actions under the new EE program: (1) Loans awarded by RUS to Primary Recipients, and (2) Loans and SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 other EE activities that the Primary Recipient executes for the benefit of Ultimate Recipients. Based on its analysis in the PEA for the EE program, RUS has concluded that agency actions implementing the new program would have no significant impact to the quality of the human environment. Therefore, RUS will not prepare an environmental impact statement for its rulemaking adding subpart H to 7 CFR part 1710 nor its actions related to implementing the EE program. The FONSI will be available on RUS’s Web site at http:// www.rurdev.usda.gov/UWP-ea.htm. Dated: July 2, 2013. Nivin Elgohary, Assistant Administrator, Electric Programs, USDA, Rural Utilities Service. [FR Doc. 2013–19954 Filed 8–15–13; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–15–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Rural Utilities Service Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Inc.: Notice of Intent To Prepare a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement Rural Utilities Service, USDA. Notice of Intent To Prepare a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement. AGENCY: ACTION: The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), intends to prepare a supplemental draft environmental impact statement (SDEIS) for Basin Electric Power Cooperative’s (Basin Electric) proposed Antelope Valley Station (AVS) to Neset 345-kV Transmission Project (Project) in North Dakota. RUS is issuing this Notice of Intent (NOI) to inform the public and interested parties about a change in the proposed Project and invite the public to comment on the scope, proposed action, and other issues to be addressed in the SDEIS. RUS made the decision to prepare an SDEIS for the AVS Project to evaluate significant project changes. These changes are due to an increase in the electric load forecast for western North Dakota which is changing the scope of the project. To accommodate this change, the SDEIS will evaluate a new alternative for the transmission line. The SDEIS will address the construction, operation, and maintenance of Basin Electric’s proposed Project. The Project includes construction, operation and maintenance of approximately 275 SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\16AUN1.SGM 16AUN1 emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 159 / Friday, August 16, 2013 / Notices miles of new 345-kV single pole transmission line (approximately 85 miles more than the project identified in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)), 230-kV single pole transmission line and double circuit 345/115-kV transmission lines, 5 new substations, modifications to 4 existing substations, maintenance access roads, temporary construction roads, river crossings, temporary construction staging sites, and other facilities to be described in the SDEIS. Basin Electric’s proposed Project would be located in portions of Dunn, McKenzie, Mercer, Mountrail, and Williams counties in western North Dakota. Portions of Basin Electric’s proposed Project may affect floodplains and wetlands. This NOI also serves as a notice of proposed floodplain or wetland action. RUS will hold public hearing meetings to share information and receive comments on the SDEIS. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information on the proposed Project, the SDEIS process, and RUS financing, contact Mr. Dennis Rankin, Engineering and Environmental Staff, Rural Utilities Service, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Stop 1571, Washington, DC 20250– 1571, telephone: (202) 720–1953, or email: dennis.rankin@wdc.usda.gov. Parties wishing to be placed on the Project mailing list for future information and to receive copies of the SDEIS and the Final EIS when available should also contact Mr. Rankin. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: RUS is authorized to make loans and loan guarantees that finance the construction of electric distribution, transmission, and generation facilities, including system improvements and replacements required to furnish and improve electric service in rural areas, as well as demand side management, energy conservation programs, and on-grid and off-grid renewable energy systems. Based on an interconnection with the Western Area Power Administration’s (Western) transmission system, Western has in accordance with 40 CFR 1501.6, requested to serve as a cooperating agency for the environmental review of the proposed Project. Basin Electric is a regional wholesale electric generation and transmission cooperative owned and controlled by its member cooperatives. Basin Electric serves approximately 2.5 million customers covering 430,000 square miles in portions of nine states, including Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. Project Description: Basin Electric has identified the need for additional VerDate Mar<15>2010 19:06 Aug 15, 2013 Jkt 229001 electric transmission capacity in northwestern North Dakota as a result of increased demand and to meet reliability and system stability requirements for the region. Investigations and analyses conducted for the overall power delivery systems found that without improvements, the flow of power along existing lines may result in local line overloads, especially in the vicinity of Williston, North Dakota. To resolve these issues, Basin Electric is proposing to construct, own and operate a new 345-kV transmission line and associated supporting infrastructure. The entire Project will consist of constructing approximately 275 miles of new single circuit 345-kV (approximately 85 miles more than the project identified in the Draft EIS), 230kV and double circuit 345/115-kV transmission lines, the construction of 5 new substations, modifications to 4 existing substations, maintenance access roads, temporary construction roads, river crossings, temporary construction staging sites, and other facilities. The Project would connect to the Integrated System at several locations, including Western’s Williston Substation. The proposed Project would be located in portions of Dunn, McKenzie, Mercer, Mountrail, and Williams counties in western North Dakota. Basin Electric has requested financial assistance for the proposed Project from RUS. Completing the EIS is one of RUS’s requirements in processing Basin Electric’s application, along with other technical and financial considerations. In accordance with 40 CFR 1501.5(b) on the Council of Environmental Quality’s Regulation for Implementing the Procedural Provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act, RUS will serve as the lead agency in the preparation of the EIS. The proposed Project is subject to the jurisdiction of the North Dakota Public Service Commission (NDPSC), which has regulatory authority for siting electrical transmission facilities within the State. Basin Electric will submit applications for NDPSC Transmission Corridor and Route Permits. The NDPSC Permits would authorize Basin Electric to construct the proposed Project under North Dakota rules and regulations. RUS intends to prepare a SDEIS and Final EIS to analyze the impacts of its respective federal actions and the proposed Project in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), as amended, Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Regulation for Implementing the Procedural Provisions of the NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500–1508), DOE NEPA PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 9990 50027 Implementing Procedures (10 CFR part 1021), and RUS Environmental Policies and Procedures (7 CFR part 1794). RUS has already produced a Draft EIS which was released to the public on December 7, 2012 and can be found on the World Wide Web at http://www.rurdev.usda. gov/UWP-AVS-Neset.html. Because the proposed Project may involve action in floodplains or wetlands, this NOI also serves as a notice of proposed floodplain or wetland action. The SDEIS will include a floodplain/wetland assessment and, if required, a floodplain/wetland statement of findings will be issued with the Final EIS. Agency Responsibilities: RUS is serving as the lead Federal agency, as defined at 40 CFR 1501.5, for preparation of the SDEIS. Western Area Power Administration and the U.S. Forest Service are participating as cooperating agencies and will be issuing decisions relevant to the project under separate authorities. Public Participation: Public participation and full disclosure are planned for the entire EIS process. The EIS process has included a scoping comment period to solicit comments from interested parties; publication of a DEIS and public hearing and comment period; consultation and involvement with appropriate Federal, State, local, and tribal governmental agencies. In addition, public review and hearings on the SDEIS will be scheduled on the fall followed by publication of a final EIS; and publication of a Record of Decision. Expected EIS completion date is March 2014. Additional informal public meetings may be held in the proposed Project areas, if public interest and issues indicate a need. If additional public meetings are determined to be necessary public notices will be published as appropriate. RUS will hold open-house public hearing meetings once the SDEIS is published. The times and locations of these meetings will be well-advertised in local media outlets a minimum of 15 days prior to the time of the meetings. Attendees will be welcome to come and go at their convenience and provide written or oral comments on the Project. In addition, attendees may provide written comments by letter, fax, email. Dated: July 18, 2013. Mark S. Plank, Director, Engineering and Environmental Staff, Rural Utilities Service. [FR Doc. 2013–19956 Filed 8–15–13; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P E:\FR\FM\16AUN1.SGM 16AUN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 159 (Friday, August 16, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 50026-50027]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-19956]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Rural Utilities Service


Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Inc.: Notice of Intent To 
Prepare a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement

AGENCY: Rural Utilities Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of Intent To Prepare a Supplemental Draft Environmental 
Impact Statement.

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

SUMMARY: The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency within the U.S. 
Department of Agriculture (USDA), intends to prepare a supplemental 
draft environmental impact statement (SDEIS) for Basin Electric Power 
Cooperative's (Basin Electric) proposed Antelope Valley Station (AVS) 
to Neset 345-kV Transmission Project (Project) in North Dakota. RUS is 
issuing this Notice of Intent (NOI) to inform the public and interested 
parties about a change in the proposed Project and invite the public to 
comment on the scope, proposed action, and other issues to be addressed 
in the SDEIS.
    RUS made the decision to prepare an SDEIS for the AVS Project to 
evaluate significant project changes. These changes are due to an 
increase in the electric load forecast for western North Dakota which 
is changing the scope of the project. To accommodate this change, the 
SDEIS will evaluate a new alternative for the transmission line.
    The SDEIS will address the construction, operation, and maintenance 
of Basin Electric's proposed Project. The Project includes 
construction, operation and maintenance of approximately 275

[[Page 50027]]

miles of new 345-kV single pole transmission line (approximately 85 
miles more than the project identified in the Draft Environmental 
Impact Statement (EIS)), 230-kV single pole transmission line and 
double circuit 345/115-kV transmission lines, 5 new substations, 
modifications to 4 existing substations, maintenance access roads, 
temporary construction roads, river crossings, temporary construction 
staging sites, and other facilities to be described in the SDEIS. Basin 
Electric's proposed Project would be located in portions of Dunn, 
McKenzie, Mercer, Mountrail, and Williams counties in western North 
Dakota.
    Portions of Basin Electric's proposed Project may affect 
floodplains and wetlands. This NOI also serves as a notice of proposed 
floodplain or wetland action. RUS will hold public hearing meetings to 
share information and receive comments on the SDEIS.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information on the proposed 
Project, the SDEIS process, and RUS financing, contact Mr. Dennis 
Rankin, Engineering and Environmental Staff, Rural Utilities Service, 
1400 Independence Avenue SW., Stop 1571, Washington, DC 20250-1571, 
telephone: (202) 720-1953, or email: dennis.rankin@wdc.usda.gov. 
Parties wishing to be placed on the Project mailing list for future 
information and to receive copies of the SDEIS and the Final EIS when 
available should also contact Mr. Rankin.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: RUS is authorized to make loans and loan 
guarantees that finance the construction of electric distribution, 
transmission, and generation facilities, including system improvements 
and replacements required to furnish and improve electric service in 
rural areas, as well as demand side management, energy conservation 
programs, and on-grid and off-grid renewable energy systems. Based on 
an interconnection with the Western Area Power Administration's 
(Western) transmission system, Western has in accordance with 40 CFR 
1501.6, requested to serve as a cooperating agency for the 
environmental review of the proposed Project.
    Basin Electric is a regional wholesale electric generation and 
transmission cooperative owned and controlled by its member 
cooperatives. Basin Electric serves approximately 2.5 million customers 
covering 430,000 square miles in portions of nine states, including 
Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, 
South Dakota, and Wyoming.
    Project Description: Basin Electric has identified the need for 
additional electric transmission capacity in northwestern North Dakota 
as a result of increased demand and to meet reliability and system 
stability requirements for the region. Investigations and analyses 
conducted for the overall power delivery systems found that without 
improvements, the flow of power along existing lines may result in 
local line overloads, especially in the vicinity of Williston, North 
Dakota.
    To resolve these issues, Basin Electric is proposing to construct, 
own and operate a new 345-kV transmission line and associated 
supporting infrastructure. The entire Project will consist of 
constructing approximately 275 miles of new single circuit 345-kV 
(approximately 85 miles more than the project identified in the Draft 
EIS), 230-kV and double circuit 345/115-kV transmission lines, the 
construction of 5 new substations, modifications to 4 existing 
substations, maintenance access roads, temporary construction roads, 
river crossings, temporary construction staging sites, and other 
facilities. The Project would connect to the Integrated System at 
several locations, including Western's Williston Substation. The 
proposed Project would be located in portions of Dunn, McKenzie, 
Mercer, Mountrail, and Williams counties in western North Dakota.
    Basin Electric has requested financial assistance for the proposed 
Project from RUS. Completing the EIS is one of RUS's requirements in 
processing Basin Electric's application, along with other technical and 
financial considerations.
    In accordance with 40 CFR 1501.5(b) on the Council of Environmental 
Quality's Regulation for Implementing the Procedural Provisions of the 
National Environmental Policy Act, RUS will serve as the lead agency in 
the preparation of the EIS.
    The proposed Project is subject to the jurisdiction of the North 
Dakota Public Service Commission (NDPSC), which has regulatory 
authority for siting electrical transmission facilities within the 
State. Basin Electric will submit applications for NDPSC Transmission 
Corridor and Route Permits. The NDPSC Permits would authorize Basin 
Electric to construct the proposed Project under North Dakota rules and 
regulations.
    RUS intends to prepare a SDEIS and Final EIS to analyze the impacts 
of its respective federal actions and the proposed Project in 
accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), as 
amended, Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Regulation for 
Implementing the Procedural Provisions of the NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500-
1508), DOE NEPA Implementing Procedures (10 CFR part 1021), and RUS 
Environmental Policies and Procedures (7 CFR part 1794). RUS has 
already produced a Draft EIS which was released to the public on 
December 7, 2012 and can be found on the World Wide Web at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/UWP-AVS-Neset.html.
    Because the proposed Project may involve action in floodplains or 
wetlands, this NOI also serves as a notice of proposed floodplain or 
wetland action. The SDEIS will include a floodplain/wetland assessment 
and, if required, a floodplain/wetland statement of findings will be 
issued with the Final EIS.
    Agency Responsibilities: RUS is serving as the lead Federal agency, 
as defined at 40 CFR 1501.5, for preparation of the SDEIS. Western Area 
Power Administration and the U.S. Forest Service are participating as 
cooperating agencies and will be issuing decisions relevant to the 
project under separate authorities.
    Public Participation: Public participation and full disclosure are 
planned for the entire EIS process. The EIS process has included a 
scoping comment period to solicit comments from interested parties; 
publication of a DEIS and public hearing and comment period; 
consultation and involvement with appropriate Federal, State, local, 
and tribal governmental agencies. In addition, public review and 
hearings on the SDEIS will be scheduled on the fall followed by 
publication of a final EIS; and publication of a Record of Decision. 
Expected EIS completion date is March 2014. Additional informal public 
meetings may be held in the proposed Project areas, if public interest 
and issues indicate a need. If additional public meetings are 
determined to be necessary public notices will be published as 
appropriate.
    RUS will hold open-house public hearing meetings once the SDEIS is 
published. The times and locations of these meetings will be well-
advertised in local media outlets a minimum of 15 days prior to the 
time of the meetings. Attendees will be welcome to come and go at their 
convenience and provide written or oral comments on the Project. In 
addition, attendees may provide written comments by letter, fax, email.

    Dated: July 18, 2013.
Mark S. Plank,
Director, Engineering and Environmental Staff, Rural Utilities Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-19956 Filed 8-15-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE P