Granby Pumping Plant Switchyard-Windy Gap Substation Transmission Line Rebuild, Grand County, Colorado, 60273-60275 [2013-23988]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 190 / Tuesday, October 1, 2013 / Notices DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Project No. 5865–015] David E. Cereghino, Idaho County Light & Power Cooperative Association, Inc.; Notice of Transfer of Exemption 1. By letter filed March 25, 2011, David E. Cereghino and Idaho County Light & Power Cooperative Association, Inc. informed the Commission that the exemption from licensing for the Cereghino Hydro Project, FERC No. 5865, originally issued April 6, 1984,1 has been transferred to Idaho County Light & Power Cooperative Association, Inc. The project is located on John Day Creek in Idaho County, Idaho. The transfer of an exemption does not require Commission approval. 2. Idaho County Light & Power Cooperative Association, Inc. is now the exemptee of the Cereghino Project, FERC No. 5865. Forward all mail to Mr. Jay G. Eimers, General Manager, Idaho County Light & Power Cooperative Association, Inc., P.O. Box 300, Grangeville, ID 83530. Dated: September 25, 2013. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary. [FR Doc. 2013–23880 Filed 9–30–13; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717–01–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY For further information contact Mr. Jim Hartman, Corporate Services Office, Western Area Power Administration, A7400, P.O. Box 281213, Lakewood, CO 80228, telephone (720) 962–7255, or email: gppwgp@wapa.gov. For general information on DOE’s National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) review process, please contact Ms. Carol M. Borgstrom, Director, Office of NEPA Policy and Compliance, GC– 20, U.S. Department of Energy, Washington, DC 20585, telephone (202) 586–4600 or (800) 472–2756. One public scoping meeting was held on August 30, 2007. The Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management were federal cooperating agencies on the EIS and Grand County was a local cooperating agency. The NOA for the Draft EIS was published in the Federal Register on March 30, 2012 (77 FR 19282). The NOA established a 60-day public comment period that ended May 29, 2012. A public meeting and hearing on the Draft EIS were held in Granby, Colorado on April 24, 2012. Notice of the meeting was provided through an advertisement in the local newspaper and direct mailing to approximately 1300 addressees. Six individuals provided oral comments during the public meeting and one individual provided an oral comment at the public hearing. Western received 43 comment letters, emails, or telephone comments on the Draft EIS during the comment period. Western received 135 unique comments from all comment sources. The NOA for the Final EIS was published in the Federal Register on July 5, 2013 (78 FR 40474). Approximately 1200 notifications were sent to landowners in the Project area and other stakeholders, and notices were published in online and printed versions of the local newspaper from June 21 to 28, 2013. Copies of the Final EIS were available for review at three local reading rooms and were available for download from Western’s Web site. A copy of the EIS was sent to those who requested one. Western markets and transmits wholesale electrical power generated at federal hydropower facilities through an integrated 17,000-circuit mile, highvoltage transmission system across 15 western states. At the beginning of the project, Western determined an environmental assessment (EA) would be the appropriate level of review under NEPA. In 2005, Western began to prepare the EA. Scoping for the EA started with notification in local newspapers and mailing to over 250 landowners, government officials, and persons known to be interested in similar projects. One public meeting was held in July 2005 and a second in November 2006. After reviewing public comments and concerns about potential impacts, Western determined an EIS would be appropriate for this project. The Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an EIS was published in the Federal Register on August 10, 2007 (72 FR 45040). Formal public scoping for the EIS began with the publication of the NOI and ended on September 17, 2007. Proposed Project Western needs to address electrical system deficiencies of their existing 70year-old transmission line in the Granby, Colorado area. Western also needs to ensure reliable power to the Granby Pumping Plant (also known as the Farr Pumping Plant) if the Adams Tunnel cable fails. The Adams Tunnel cable has exceeded its expected life and cannot be economically replaced. The purposes of the Project are to address the deficiencies in the existing system, ensure a reliable and safe electrical supply, and decrease maintenance costs. Western’s preferred alternative is to rebuild and upgrade the existing transmission line along Alternative D, (Option 1). This includes rebuilding and upgrading the existing single-circuit 69kV transmission line between the Windy Gap Substation and Stillwater Tap, and between the Stillwater Tap and the Granby Pumping Plant. The transmission line was constructed in 1939 by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation as part of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project. Much of the line has a 30-foot replace Western’s existing transmission line between the Windy Gap Substation and Stillwater Tap and provide a redundant feed from the tap to the Granby Pumping Plant to prepare for when the existing 69-kV cable located in the Alva B. Adams Tunnel is no longer operable. The second circuit was requested by Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc. (TriState) to improve reliability for their local customer, Mountain Parks Electric, Inc., and to minimize environmental effects by sharing a right-of-way (ROW). The Notice of Availability (NOA) of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was published in the Federal Register on July 5, 2013 (78 FR 40474). After considering the environmental impacts, Western has decided to construct, operate, and maintain the transmission line on the preferred alignment identified as Alternative D (Option 1), in the EIS. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Western Area Power Administration [DOE/EIS–0400] Granby Pumping Plant SwitchyardWindy Gap Substation Transmission Line Rebuild, Grand County, Colorado Western Area Power Administration, DOE. ACTION: Record of decision. AGENCY: Western Area Power Administration (Western), a power marketing administration in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), owns and operates the 69-kilovolt (kV) Granby Pumping Plant Switchyard-Windy Gap Substation (Project) transmission line in Grand County, Colorado. The transmission line is 13.6 miles long. Western proposes to rebuild the singlecircuit line as a double-circuit line, increase the voltage rating to 138-kV, and operate one circuit at 69-kV and the second at 138-kV. One circuit would emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: 1 27 FERC ¶ 61,052, Order Granting Exemption from Licensing of a Small Project of 5 MW or Less. VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:45 Sep 30, 2013 Jkt 232001 60273 PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\01OCN1.SGM 01OCN1 60274 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 190 / Tuesday, October 1, 2013 / Notices emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with NOTICES wide ROW. To provide additional voltage support to address startup issues for the pumps at the Granby Pumping Plant, Western’s circuit would be upgraded to 138-kV capacity but operated at 69-kV. At the request of TriState, Western would share the ROW so Tri-State could construct a redundant feed for the local electrical system owned by Mountain Parks Electric, Inc. Adding a second 138-kV circuit requires the use of double-circuit steel structures. Western needs to expand ROWs where they are inadequate to ensure public safety and to support the higher voltage and double-circuit conductor. The Granby Pumping Plant Switchyard would be expanded to accommodate a 138-kV yard and a breaker would be added to the Windy Gap Substation. The proposal includes reroutes to avoid existing developments and existing incompatible commercial uses that have been built near the line since it was constructed. The proposal consolidates utility ROWs and reduces visual impacts. The proposed Project is located on private and Federal land and would be about 12.6 miles long. Western revised its preferred action alternative in the Final EIS to accommodate requests by landowners along County Road 64 to move the preferred alternative further to the west. Western met with the Forest Service on August 10, 2012, to discuss this request since the request would move the line closer to the Cutthroat Bay Campground. After this meeting, the alignment of the preferred alternative was moved further west of the residences to cross County Road 64 onto Forest Service lands. Based on the field review and discussions with the Forest Service, the route was modified to meet additional objectives and local constraints. Minor localized modifications to structure locations to protect resources and accommodate landowner requests will be considered during design as long as the modifications would not adversely affect adjacent landowners, increase environmental impacts, or appreciably increase costs or affect maintenance and operations. Description of Alternatives A range of reasonable alternatives for the proposed project was identified by evaluating routing opportunities and constraints, engineering design standards, public comments, and environmental resources. The objective was to identify alternatives that address public, environmental, and social concerns, and meet the project purpose and need and engineering criteria. Relevant issues identified during both VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:45 Sep 30, 2013 Jkt 232001 the EA and EIS public scoping processes were used to refine the alternatives. The Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest Plan goals and objectives and Grand County zoning and land use policies applicable to the project area were considered in the development of alternatives. Western relied on additional studies and public comments to refine transmission line alignments and to identify the proposed action and alternatives to analyze in the EIS. Ultimately, five alternatives were identified for detailed analysis in the EIS: (1) Alternative A: keep the existing transmission line (no action); (2) Alternative B1: rebuild and upgrade the transmission line primarily on the existing transmission line ROW; (3) Alternative C1: reroute and upgrade the transmission line; (4) Alternative C2: reroute and upgrade the transmission line, with options to use existing utility ROWs; and (5) Alternative D (Options 1 and 2): rebuild and upgrade the transmission line primarily on existing utility ROWs. Alternative D (Option 1) was selected as the preferred alternative. Both Option 1 and Option 2 of Alternative D follow the existing transmission line ROW and then interconnect with an existing water pipeline ROW. Option 1 follows the water pipeline ROW further than Option 2. Options 1 and 2 have the fewest residences within 100 feet of the proposed transmission line centerline. Both Options 1 and 2 reduce impacts to houses by removing the existing line and relocating the ROW further from existing development. The options also remove an existing line from a Forest Service campground and incorporate modification in the campground area that was requested by local residents. On the southwest end of the project area, key impacts and differences between alternatives surround issues of planned development and proximity to sage grouse leks. Alternative D (Option 1) is the environmentally preferable alternative because it best balances impacts to existing and planned development, scenic values, and wildlife resources. Alternative D (Option 1) consolidates a pipeline and transmission line ROW through a proposed development on the southwest end of the project area, which reduces impacts to proposed development by avoiding areas planned for higher density development. It locates the line away from the northern boundary of the planned development to reduce impacts to the last known active sage grouse lek in eastern Grand County and avoids construction of new access and utility ROWs. Alternative D (Option 1) reduces potential visual PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 impacts by placing the transmission line further away from the scenic byway near Scanloch Subdivision and Grand Elk Marina, removing an existing line and locating the rebuilt line out of the view toward Lake Granby from Scanloch Subdivision, and removing an existing line from the Cutthroat Bay Campground to improve views toward Lake Granby. Alternative D (Option 1) furthers the intent of the Grand County Three Lakes Design Review Area to preserve scenic values by using nonreflective conductors and consolidating two separate lines onto one ROW between Stillwater Tap and Granby Pumping Plant Switchyard, thereby avoiding the need for two separate, single-circuit transmission lines. Further, it would use non-reflective conductors. The proposal maximizes the use of Federal land and minimizes conflicts with existing development. Western considered eleven additional alternatives that were eliminated from further evaluation based on technical or economic considerations. Western assessed the alternatives for their reasonable ability to achieve the stated purpose and need of the project, while reducing significant environmental effects. Among the alternatives eliminated were undergrounding, placing the transmission lines inside an existing underground water pipeline, rebuilding and upgrading the Adams Tunnel Cable, installing part of the line under Lake Granby, and other routing and system alternatives. These are described in the EIS. The No Action Alternative did not meet the purpose and need for the project. This alternative would require continued actions to maintain the transmission line to ensure that it remained safe and provided reliable service. While this alternative would maintain the current level of service in the project area, it would not address the decreased system reliability if the Adams Tunnel cable failed. Additionally, Tri-State would still need to expand their transmission system to improve service reliability to their customers by building a line roughly parallel to Western’s because of topographic and environmental constraints and the need to interconnect at the same substations. The No Action Alternative would not address the increasing costs associated with maintaining the 70-year old transmission line, it would not address the voltage fluctuations and other system operation issues described in the EIS, and it would not address the constraints to maintenance that have developed in some areas where the E:\FR\FM\01OCN1.SGM 01OCN1 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 190 / Tuesday, October 1, 2013 / Notices ROW could not be expanded to ensure adequate clearances and access. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY Mitigation Measures Practicable methods to avoid or minimize environmental impacts from the selected alternative are adopted in this Record of Decision. Western’s standard practices and project-specific protection measures, listed in the Final EIS, will be implemented. Many of the protection measures will be implemented through design and the project construction contract. A Mitigation Action Plan will be prepared that includes protective measures that will be implemented during design, construction, and routine maintenance or Forest Service agreements. [FRL–9901–57–OAR] Comments on Final EIS Western received two comment letters on the Final EIS. Colorado Parks and Wildlife submitted a letter reiterating their preference to keep the project on the existing ROW and further from the sage grouse lek, and requesting that Western ensure that wildlife resource protection measures be implemented. The Final EIS responded to these comments and described protective measures for wildlife. The Environmental Protection Agency commented that it was unclear whether new sources of power would be needed for the project. No new sources of power would be needed for the project. The resource mix would not be modified for the project. Other comments on the Final EIS included email comments stating a preference for undergrounding and requesting additional information on the construction schedule. emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with NOTICES Decision Western’s decision is to construct the project along the preferred alternative described in the Final EIS.1 This satisfies Western’s statutory mission while minimizing harm to the environment. This decision is based on the information in the Final EIS. This Record of Decision was prepared according to the requirements of the Council on Environmental Quality’s regulations for implementing NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500–1508) and DOE’s procedures for implementing NEPA (10 CFR part 1021). Dated: September 23, 2013. Mark A. Gabriel, Administrator. [FR Doc. 2013–23988 Filed 9–30–13; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450–01–P 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 14:45 Sep 30, 2013 Jkt 232001 Alternative Method for Calculating OffCycle Credits for Mercedes-Benz Vehicles Under the Light-Duty Greenhouse Gas Emissions Program Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: In the light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas rule for model year 2012 through 2016 vehicles, EPA established a program to allow automobile manufacturers to generate ‘‘off-cycle’’ carbon dioxide (CO2) credits by employing technologies that achieve CO2 reductions in the real world but are not appropriately captured on the test procedures used by manufacturers to demonstrate compliance with the CO2 standards. Under one of the program options, a manufacturer may develop and submit to EPA for approval an alternative demonstration methodology justifying eligibility for off-cycle credits and their amount. The regulations concerning off-cycle credits require an opportunity for public comment as part of EPA’s review of such an alternative methodology. EPA is requesting comment on an alternative methodology submitted by Mercedes-Benz for determining off-cycle credits for the following technologies: engine stopstart, high efficiency exterior lighting, infrared glazing, and active seat ventilation. The application is only for off-cycle credits for Mercedes-Benz vehicles for the 2012 through 2016 model years. DATES: Comments must be received on or before October 31, 2013. ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA–HQ– OAR–2013–0643, by one of the following methods: • On-Line at http:// www.regulations.gov: Follow the OnLine Instructions for Submitting Comments. • Email: a-and-r-docket@epa.gov. • Fax: (202) 566–1741. • Mail: Air and Radiation Docket, Docket ID No. EPA–HQ–OAR–2013– 0643, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Mailcode: 6102T, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20460. Please include a total of two copies. • Hand Delivery: EPA Docket Center, Public Reading Room, EPA West Building, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20460. Such deliveries are only accepted SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 60275 during the Docket’s normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information. On-Line Instructions for Submitting Comments: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA–HQ–OAR–2013– 0643. EPA’s policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available online at http:// www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business 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 http:// www.regulations.gov or email. The http://www.regulations.gov Web site is an ‘‘anonymous access’’ system, which means EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an email comment directly to EPA without going through http://www.regulations.gov, your email address will automatically be captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD–ROM you submit. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses. For additional information about EPA’s public docket visit the EPA Docket Center homepage at http:// www.epa.gov/epahome/dockets.htm. Materials relevant to this proceeding are contained in the Air and Radiation Docket and Information Center, maintained in Docket ID No. EPA–HQ– OAR–2013–0643. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically through http:// www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the Air and Radiation Docket in the EPA Headquarters Library, EPA West Building, Room 3334, located at 1301 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC. The Public Reading Room is open to the public on all federal government work days from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; generally, it is open Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. The telephone number for the Reading Room is (202) 566–1744. The Air and Radiation Docket and Information E:\FR\FM\01OCN1.SGM 01OCN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 190 (Tuesday, October 1, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 60273-60275]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-23988]


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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Western Area Power Administration

[DOE/EIS-0400]


Granby Pumping Plant Switchyard-Windy Gap Substation Transmission 
Line Rebuild, Grand County, Colorado

AGENCY: Western Area Power Administration, DOE.

ACTION: Record of decision.

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

SUMMARY: Western Area Power Administration (Western), a power marketing 
administration in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), owns and 
operates the 69-kilovolt (kV) Granby Pumping Plant Switchyard-Windy Gap 
Substation (Project) transmission line in Grand County, Colorado. The 
transmission line is 13.6 miles long. Western proposes to rebuild the 
single-circuit line as a double-circuit line, increase the voltage 
rating to 138-kV, and operate one circuit at 69-kV and the second at 
138-kV. One circuit would replace Western's existing transmission line 
between the Windy Gap Substation and Stillwater Tap and provide a 
redundant feed from the tap to the Granby Pumping Plant to prepare for 
when the existing 69-kV cable located in the Alva B. Adams Tunnel is no 
longer operable. The second circuit was requested by Tri-State 
Generation and Transmission Association, Inc. (Tri-State) to improve 
reliability for their local customer, Mountain Parks Electric, Inc., 
and to minimize environmental effects by sharing a right-of-way (ROW).
    The Notice of Availability (NOA) of the Final Environmental Impact 
Statement (EIS) was published in the Federal Register on July 5, 2013 
(78 FR 40474). After considering the environmental impacts, Western has 
decided to construct, operate, and maintain the transmission line on 
the preferred alignment identified as Alternative D (Option 1), in the 
EIS.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information contact Mr. 
Jim Hartman, Corporate Services Office, Western Area Power 
Administration, A7400, P.O. Box 281213, Lakewood, CO 80228, telephone 
(720) 962-7255, or email: gppwgp@wapa.gov. For general information on 
DOE's National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) review process, 
please contact Ms. Carol M. Borgstrom, Director, Office of NEPA Policy 
and Compliance, GC-20, U.S. Department of Energy, Washington, DC 20585, 
telephone (202) 586-4600 or (800) 472-2756.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Western markets and transmits wholesale 
electrical power generated at federal hydropower facilities through an 
integrated 17,000-circuit mile, high-voltage transmission system across 
15 western states. At the beginning of the project, Western determined 
an environmental assessment (EA) would be the appropriate level of 
review under NEPA. In 2005, Western began to prepare the EA. Scoping 
for the EA started with notification in local newspapers and mailing to 
over 250 landowners, government officials, and persons known to be 
interested in similar projects. One public meeting was held in July 
2005 and a second in November 2006. After reviewing public comments and 
concerns about potential impacts, Western determined an EIS would be 
appropriate for this project.
    The Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an EIS was published in the 
Federal Register on August 10, 2007 (72 FR 45040). Formal public 
scoping for the EIS began with the publication of the NOI and ended on 
September 17, 2007. One public scoping meeting was held on August 30, 
2007.
    The Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management were federal 
cooperating agencies on the EIS and Grand County was a local 
cooperating agency. The NOA for the Draft EIS was published in the 
Federal Register on March 30, 2012 (77 FR 19282). The NOA established a 
60-day public comment period that ended May 29, 2012. A public meeting 
and hearing on the Draft EIS were held in Granby, Colorado on April 24, 
2012. Notice of the meeting was provided through an advertisement in 
the local newspaper and direct mailing to approximately 1300 
addressees. Six individuals provided oral comments during the public 
meeting and one individual provided an oral comment at the public 
hearing. Western received 43 comment letters, emails, or telephone 
comments on the Draft EIS during the comment period. Western received 
135 unique comments from all comment sources.
    The NOA for the Final EIS was published in the Federal Register on 
July 5, 2013 (78 FR 40474). Approximately 1200 notifications were sent 
to landowners in the Project area and other stakeholders, and notices 
were published in online and printed versions of the local newspaper 
from June 21 to 28, 2013. Copies of the Final EIS were available for 
review at three local reading rooms and were available for download 
from Western's Web site. A copy of the EIS was sent to those who 
requested one.

Proposed Project

    Western needs to address electrical system deficiencies of their 
existing 70-year-old transmission line in the Granby, Colorado area. 
Western also needs to ensure reliable power to the Granby Pumping Plant 
(also known as the Farr Pumping Plant) if the Adams Tunnel cable fails. 
The Adams Tunnel cable has exceeded its expected life and cannot be 
economically replaced. The purposes of the Project are to address the 
deficiencies in the existing system, ensure a reliable and safe 
electrical supply, and decrease maintenance costs. Western's preferred 
alternative is to rebuild and upgrade the existing transmission line 
along Alternative D, (Option 1). This includes rebuilding and upgrading 
the existing single-circuit 69-kV transmission line between the Windy 
Gap Substation and Stillwater Tap, and between the Stillwater Tap and 
the Granby Pumping Plant. The transmission line was constructed in 1939 
by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation as part of the Colorado-Big Thompson 
Project. Much of the line has a 30-foot

[[Page 60274]]

wide ROW. To provide additional voltage support to address startup 
issues for the pumps at the Granby Pumping Plant, Western's circuit 
would be upgraded to 138-kV capacity but operated at 69-kV. At the 
request of Tri-State, Western would share the ROW so Tri-State could 
construct a redundant feed for the local electrical system owned by 
Mountain Parks Electric, Inc. Adding a second 138-kV circuit requires 
the use of double-circuit steel structures. Western needs to expand 
ROWs where they are inadequate to ensure public safety and to support 
the higher voltage and double-circuit conductor. The Granby Pumping 
Plant Switchyard would be expanded to accommodate a 138-kV yard and a 
breaker would be added to the Windy Gap Substation. The proposal 
includes reroutes to avoid existing developments and existing 
incompatible commercial uses that have been built near the line since 
it was constructed. The proposal consolidates utility ROWs and reduces 
visual impacts. The proposed Project is located on private and Federal 
land and would be about 12.6 miles long.
    Western revised its preferred action alternative in the Final EIS 
to accommodate requests by landowners along County Road 64 to move the 
preferred alternative further to the west. Western met with the Forest 
Service on August 10, 2012, to discuss this request since the request 
would move the line closer to the Cutthroat Bay Campground. After this 
meeting, the alignment of the preferred alternative was moved further 
west of the residences to cross County Road 64 onto Forest Service 
lands. Based on the field review and discussions with the Forest 
Service, the route was modified to meet additional objectives and local 
constraints. Minor localized modifications to structure locations to 
protect resources and accommodate landowner requests will be considered 
during design as long as the modifications would not adversely affect 
adjacent landowners, increase environmental impacts, or appreciably 
increase costs or affect maintenance and operations.

Description of Alternatives

    A range of reasonable alternatives for the proposed project was 
identified by evaluating routing opportunities and constraints, 
engineering design standards, public comments, and environmental 
resources. The objective was to identify alternatives that address 
public, environmental, and social concerns, and meet the project 
purpose and need and engineering criteria. Relevant issues identified 
during both the EA and EIS public scoping processes were used to refine 
the alternatives. The Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest Plan goals 
and objectives and Grand County zoning and land use policies applicable 
to the project area were considered in the development of alternatives. 
Western relied on additional studies and public comments to refine 
transmission line alignments and to identify the proposed action and 
alternatives to analyze in the EIS.
    Ultimately, five alternatives were identified for detailed analysis 
in the EIS: (1) Alternative A: keep the existing transmission line (no 
action); (2) Alternative B1: rebuild and upgrade the transmission line 
primarily on the existing transmission line ROW; (3) Alternative C1: 
reroute and upgrade the transmission line; (4) Alternative C2: reroute 
and upgrade the transmission line, with options to use existing utility 
ROWs; and (5) Alternative D (Options 1 and 2): rebuild and upgrade the 
transmission line primarily on existing utility ROWs. Alternative D 
(Option 1) was selected as the preferred alternative.
    Both Option 1 and Option 2 of Alternative D follow the existing 
transmission line ROW and then interconnect with an existing water 
pipeline ROW. Option 1 follows the water pipeline ROW further than 
Option 2. Options 1 and 2 have the fewest residences within 100 feet of 
the proposed transmission line centerline. Both Options 1 and 2 reduce 
impacts to houses by removing the existing line and relocating the ROW 
further from existing development. The options also remove an existing 
line from a Forest Service campground and incorporate modification in 
the campground area that was requested by local residents. On the 
southwest end of the project area, key impacts and differences between 
alternatives surround issues of planned development and proximity to 
sage grouse leks.
    Alternative D (Option 1) is the environmentally preferable 
alternative because it best balances impacts to existing and planned 
development, scenic values, and wildlife resources. Alternative D 
(Option 1) consolidates a pipeline and transmission line ROW through a 
proposed development on the southwest end of the project area, which 
reduces impacts to proposed development by avoiding areas planned for 
higher density development. It locates the line away from the northern 
boundary of the planned development to reduce impacts to the last known 
active sage grouse lek in eastern Grand County and avoids construction 
of new access and utility ROWs. Alternative D (Option 1) reduces 
potential visual impacts by placing the transmission line further away 
from the scenic byway near Scanloch Subdivision and Grand Elk Marina, 
removing an existing line and locating the rebuilt line out of the view 
toward Lake Granby from Scanloch Subdivision, and removing an existing 
line from the Cutthroat Bay Campground to improve views toward Lake 
Granby. Alternative D (Option 1) furthers the intent of the Grand 
County Three Lakes Design Review Area to preserve scenic values by 
using non-reflective conductors and consolidating two separate lines 
onto one ROW between Stillwater Tap and Granby Pumping Plant 
Switchyard, thereby avoiding the need for two separate, single-circuit 
transmission lines. Further, it would use non-reflective conductors. 
The proposal maximizes the use of Federal land and minimizes conflicts 
with existing development.
    Western considered eleven additional alternatives that were 
eliminated from further evaluation based on technical or economic 
considerations. Western assessed the alternatives for their reasonable 
ability to achieve the stated purpose and need of the project, while 
reducing significant environmental effects. Among the alternatives 
eliminated were undergrounding, placing the transmission lines inside 
an existing underground water pipeline, rebuilding and upgrading the 
Adams Tunnel Cable, installing part of the line under Lake Granby, and 
other routing and system alternatives. These are described in the EIS.
    The No Action Alternative did not meet the purpose and need for the 
project. This alternative would require continued actions to maintain 
the transmission line to ensure that it remained safe and provided 
reliable service. While this alternative would maintain the current 
level of service in the project area, it would not address the 
decreased system reliability if the Adams Tunnel cable failed. 
Additionally, Tri-State would still need to expand their transmission 
system to improve service reliability to their customers by building a 
line roughly parallel to Western's because of topographic and 
environmental constraints and the need to interconnect at the same 
substations. The No Action Alternative would not address the increasing 
costs associated with maintaining the 70-year old transmission line, it 
would not address the voltage fluctuations and other system operation 
issues described in the EIS, and it would not address the constraints 
to maintenance that have developed in some areas where the

[[Page 60275]]

ROW could not be expanded to ensure adequate clearances and access.

Mitigation Measures

    Practicable methods to avoid or minimize environmental impacts from 
the selected alternative are adopted in this Record of Decision. 
Western's standard practices and project-specific protection measures, 
listed in the Final EIS, will be implemented. Many of the protection 
measures will be implemented through design and the project 
construction contract. A Mitigation Action Plan will be prepared that 
includes protective measures that will be implemented during design, 
construction, and routine maintenance or Forest Service agreements.

Comments on Final EIS

    Western received two comment letters on the Final EIS. Colorado 
Parks and Wildlife submitted a letter reiterating their preference to 
keep the project on the existing ROW and further from the sage grouse 
lek, and requesting that Western ensure that wildlife resource 
protection measures be implemented. The Final EIS responded to these 
comments and described protective measures for wildlife. The 
Environmental Protection Agency commented that it was unclear whether 
new sources of power would be needed for the project. No new sources of 
power would be needed for the project. The resource mix would not be 
modified for the project. Other comments on the Final EIS included 
email comments stating a preference for undergrounding and requesting 
additional information on the construction schedule.

Decision

    Western's decision is to construct the project along the preferred 
alternative described in the Final EIS.\1\ This satisfies Western's 
statutory mission while minimizing harm to the environment. This 
decision is based on the information in the Final EIS. This Record of 
Decision was prepared according to the requirements of the Council on 
Environmental Quality's regulations for implementing NEPA (40 CFR parts 
1500-1508) and DOE's procedures for implementing NEPA (10 CFR part 
1021).
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    \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.

    Dated: September 23, 2013.
Mark A. Gabriel,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2013-23988 Filed 9-30-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6450-01-P