Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Inc.: Notice of Availability of a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement, 2407-2409 [2014-00461]

Download as PDF 2407 Notices Federal Register Vol. 79, No. 9 Tuesday, January 14, 2014 This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains documents other than rules or proposed rules that are applicable to the public. Notices of hearings and investigations, committee meetings, agency decisions and rulings, delegations of authority, filing of petitions and applications and agency statements of organization and functions are examples of documents appearing in this section. (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1–800–877–8339 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday. 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 For Further Information. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Forest Service Lincoln County Resource Advisory Committee Forest Service, USDA. Notice of meeting. AGENCY: ACTION: The Lincoln County Resource Advisory Committee will meet in Libby, Montana. The committee is authorized under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act (Pub. L. 110–343) (the Act) and operates in compliance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The purpose of the committee is to improve collaborative relationships and to provide advice and recommendations to the Forest Service concerning projects and funding consistent with the title II of the Act. The meeting is open to the public. The purpose of the meeting is to review past year project status, and review and vote to recommend funding projects for the 2013 Secure Rural Schools Act reauthorizaion. DATES: The meeting will be held January 30, 2014 @ 6:00 p.m. ADDRESSES: The meeting will be held at the Forest Supervisor’s Office, 31374 Hwy 2 West, Libby, Montana. Written comments may be submitted as described under Supplementary Information. All comments, including names and addresses when provided, are placed in the record and are available for public inspection and copying. The public may inspect comments received at the Forest Supervisor’s Office, 31374 Hwy 2 West, Libby, Montana. Please call ahead to 406–283–7764 to facilitate entry into the building to view comments. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Janette Turk, RAC Coordinator, Kootenai National Forest Supervisor’s Office @4 406–283–7764. Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:32 Jan 13, 2014 Jkt 232001 The following business will be conducted: The purpose of the meeting is to review past year project status, and review and vote to recommend projects for the 2013 Secure Rural Schools Act reauthorizaion. Anyone who would like to bring related matters to the attention of the committee may file written statements with the committee staff before or after the meeting. The agenda will include time for people to make oral statements of three minutes or less. Individuals wishing to make an oral statement should request in writing by January 27, 2014 to be scheduled on the agenda. Written comments and requests for time for oral comments must be sent to Kootenai National Forest, 31374 Hwy 2 West or by email to jturk@fs.fed.us, or via facsimile to 406–283–7709. A summary of the meeting will be posted at: https://fsplaces.fs.fed.us/ fsfiles/unit/wo/secure_rural_ schools.nsf/RAC/ Lincoln+County?OpenDocument, within 21 days of the meeting. Dated: January 6, 2014. Paul Bradford, Forest Supervisor. [FR Doc. 2014–00507 Filed 1–13–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–11–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Rural Utilities Service Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Inc.: Notice of Availability of a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement Rural Utilities Service, USDA. Notice of Availability of a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement. AGENCY: ACTION: The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), has SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 issued 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 (proposed Project) in North Dakota. RUS is issuing the SDEIS 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 addressed in the SDEIS. RUS also will use the SDEIS to meet its responsibilities under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, 16 U.S.C. 470, and its implementing regulations, ‘‘Protection of Historic Properties’’ (36 CFR Part 800). RUS made the decision to prepare a SDEIS for the AVS Project to evaluate significant project changes. These changes in the scope of the proposed Project are due to an increase in the electric load forecast for western North Dakota. To accommodate this change, the SDEIS will evaluate additional alternatives for the siting of the transmission line. The SDEIS addresses the construction, operation, and maintenance of approximately 278 miles of new 345-kV single pole transmission line (approximately 85 miles more than the project identified in the Draft EIS https:// www.rurdev.usda.gov/UWP-AVSNeset.html), 230-kV single pole transmission line and double circuit 345/115-kV transmission lines, 4 new substations and a switchyard, 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. The overall project area encompasses parts 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 NOA also serves as a notice of proposed floodplain or wetland action. RUS will hold a public hearing meeting 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 E:\FR\FM\14JAN1.SGM 14JAN1 emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with NOTICES 2408 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 9 / Tuesday, January 14, 2014 / Notices 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. The U.S. Forest Service may issue a special use permit under the Federal Land Policy Management Act and is also serving as a cooperating agency. 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 to meet reliability and system stability requirements for the region resulting from increases in demand and load forecasts. 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 proposed Project will consist of constructing approximately 278 miles of new single circuit 345-kV (approximately 85 miles more than the project identified in the DEIS), 230-kV and double circuit 345/ 115-kV transmission lines, the construction of 4 new substations and a switchyard, modifications to 4 existing VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:32 Jan 13, 2014 Jkt 232001 substations, maintenance access roads, temporary construction roads, river crossings, temporary construction staging sites, and other facilities. The proposed 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. The new 345-kV transmission line would start at the AVS Electric Generation Station located near Beulah, North Dakota, and extend west where it would connect with Basin Electric’s existing Charlie Creek 345-kV Substation located near Grassy Butte. The line would then extend north where it would connect with Basin Electric’s proposed Judson Substation near Williston and terminate at Basin Electric’s newly proposed Tande Substation. Additional 230-kV transmission lines would be constructed between the new Judson 345-kV Substation and Western’s existing Williston Substation, between a new 345/230/115-kV substation referred to as the Blue Substation and Western’s existing 230-kV transmission line, and also between the Tande 345-kV Substation and Basin Electric’s existing Neset 230-kV Substation located near Tioga, North Dakota. Basin Electric has requested financial assistance from RUS for the proposed Project. Along with other technical and financial considerations, completing the EIS is one of RUS’s requirements in processing Basin Electric’s application. In accordance with 36 CFR § 800.2(b)(2), Western has been designated as the lead agency for Section 106 review. Following publication of the SDEIS, Western will meet with the Section 106 review consulting parties, including at this time the North Dakota State Historic Preservation Office, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation and the Killdeer Mountain Battlefield Alliance, to consider and evaluate the effects of the project on historic properties. Anyone wishing to participate in Section 106 review must submit that request in writing via Davie Kluth at Western Area Power Administration, Upper Great Plains region, P.O. Box 35800, Billings, MT 59107–5800 or via email to Kluth@ WAPA.GOV. 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 PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 the State. Basin Electric has submitted applications to the NDPSC for Transmission Corridor and Route Permits. The NDPSC Permits would authorize Basin Electric to construct the proposed Project under North Dakota rules and regulations. RUS has prepared a SDEIS and intends to issue a 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), Department of Energy NEPA Implementing Procedures (10 CFR part 1021), and RUS Environmental Policies and Procedures (7 CFR part 1794). RUS has already prepared and published a Draft EIS which was released to the public on December 7, 2012, and can be found on the internet at https:// www.rurdev.usda.gov/UWP-AVSNeset.html. Because the Project covers a large land area and access in some cases has been restricted, Section 106 review will be phased in accordance with 36 CFR 800.4(b)(2) and 800.5(a)(3). Accordingly, Western will complete Section 106 review using a Programmatic Agreement (PA) pursuant to 36 CFR § 800.14(b)(1)(ii). RUS, at the request of Western, will manage the development and execution of the PA. RUS may issue the Record of Decision for the Final EIS once the PA has been executed. Because the proposed Project may involve action in floodplains or wetlands, this NOA 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 proposed Project under separate authorities. Western is also serving as the lead Federal agency for the Section 106 review, as defined at 36 CFR 800.2(b)(2), and for the review of threatened and endangered species under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. Public Participation: Pursuant to 36 CFR 800.22(d)(3), it is the intent of RUS to use its NEPA procedures for public involvement in lieu of the public E:\FR\FM\14JAN1.SGM 14JAN1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 9 / Tuesday, January 14, 2014 / Notices involvement requirements of 36 CFR 800.3 through 800.7. RUS held public scoping meetings for the original project on November 15 and 16, 2011. The EIS process has included a scoping comment period to solicit comments from interested parties; publication of a DEIS with a public hearing and comment period; and consultation and involvement with appropriate Federal, State, local, and tribal governmental agencies. A Notice of Intent to prepare a SDEIS was published in the Federal Register on August 16, 2012 (78 FR 50026). In addition, there is a 45-day review/ comment period beginning December 20, 2013. RUS will hold an open-house public hearing in January 2014 once the SDEIS is published. The time and location of the meeting will be welladvertised in local media outlets a minimum of 15 days prior to the time of the meeting. Attendees will be welcome to come and go at their convenience and provide written or oral comments on the proposed Project. In addition, attendees may provide written comments by letter, fax, or email to the individual listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this notice. Subsequent to the public comment period on the SDEIS, RUS will respond to comments received from all parties and publish a Final EIS. After a 30-day public comment period on the Final EIS, RUS will publish a Record of Decision. The expected environmental project review completion date is expected to be early spring 2014. Dated: December 12, 2013. Nivin Elgohary, Assistant Administrator, Electric Programs, USDA, Rural Utilities Service. [FR Doc. 2014–00461 Filed 1–13–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Census Bureau Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Monthly Wholesale Trade Survey U.S. Census Bureau. Notice. AGENCY: emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with NOTICES ACTION: The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:32 Jan 13, 2014 Jkt 232001 Public Law 104–13 (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)). DATES: To ensure consideration, written comments must be submitted on or before March 17, 2014. ADDRESSES: Direct all written comments to Jennifer Jessup, Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer, Department of Commerce, Room 6616, 14th and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230 (or via the Internet at jjessup@doc.gov). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional information or copies of the information collection instrument(s) and instructions should be directed to to William Abriatis, U.S. Census Bureau, Room 8K081, Washington, DC 20233–6500, (301) 763– 3686 (or via the Internet at william.m.abriatis@census.gov). SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Abstract The Monthly Wholesale Trade Survey (MWTS) provides the only continuous measure of monthly sales, end-of-month inventories, and inventories/sales ratios in the United States by selected kinds of business for merchant wholesalers, excluding manufacturers’ sales branches and offices. The Bureau of Economic Analysis uses this information to improve the inventory valuation adjustments applied to estimates of the Gross Domestic Product. The Bureau of Labor Statistics uses the data as input to their Producer Price Indexes and in developing productivity measurements. Estimates produced from the MWTS are based on a probability sample and are published on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) basis. The sample design consists of small, medium, and large cases requested to report sales and inventories each month. The sample, consisting of about 4,200 wholesale businesses, is drawn from the Business Register, which contains all Employer Identification Numbers (EINs) and listed establishment locations. The sample is updated quarterly to reflect employer business ‘‘births’’ and ‘‘deaths’’; adding new employer businesses identified in the Business and Professional Classification Survey and deleting firms and EINs when it is determined they are no longer active. The MWTS will continue to generate its monthly report form through a printon demand system. This system allows us to tailor the survey instrument to a specific industry. For example, it will print an additional instruction for a particular NAICS code. This system also reduces the time and cost of preparing mailout packages that contain unique PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 9990 2409 variable data, while improving the look and quality of the products produced. II. Method of Collection We collect this information by Internet, fax, mail, and telephone follow-up. III. Data OMB Control Number: 0607–0190. Form Number: SM4212–A and SM4212–E. Type of Review: Regular submission. Affected Public: U.S. merchant wholesale firms, excluding manufacturers’ sales branches and offices. Estimated Number of Respondents: 4,200. Estimated Time per Response: 7 minutes. Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 5,880 hours. Estimated Total Annual Cost: The cost to the respondent for fiscal year 2013 is estimated to be $179,634. Respondent’s Obligation: Voluntary. Legal Authority: Title 13, United States Code, Section 182. IV. Request for Comments Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden (including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for OMB approval of this information collection; they also will become a matter of public record. Dated: January 9, 2014. Glenna Mickelson, Management Analyst, Office of the Chief Information Officer. [FR Doc. 2014–00501 Filed 1–13–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–07–P E:\FR\FM\14JAN1.SGM 14JAN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 9 (Tuesday, January 14, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 2407-2409]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-00461]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Rural Utilities Service


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

AGENCY: Rural Utilities Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of Availability of a Supplemental Draft Environmental 
Impact Statement.

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

SUMMARY: The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency within the U.S. 
Department of Agriculture (USDA), has issued 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 (proposed Project) in North 
Dakota. RUS is issuing the SDEIS 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 addressed in 
the SDEIS. RUS also will use the SDEIS to meet its responsibilities 
under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, 16 U.S.C. 
470, and its implementing regulations, ``Protection of Historic 
Properties'' (36 CFR Part 800).
    RUS made the decision to prepare a SDEIS for the AVS Project to 
evaluate significant project changes. These changes in the scope of the 
proposed Project are due to an increase in the electric load forecast 
for western North Dakota. To accommodate this change, the SDEIS will 
evaluate additional alternatives for the siting of the transmission 
line.
    The SDEIS addresses the construction, operation, and maintenance of 
approximately 278 miles of new 345-kV single pole transmission line 
(approximately 85 miles more than the project identified in the Draft 
EIS https://www.rurdev.usda.gov/UWP-AVS-Neset.html), 230-kV single pole 
transmission line and double circuit 345/115-kV transmission lines, 4 
new substations and a switchyard, 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. The overall project area 
encompasses parts 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 NOA also serves as a notice of proposed 
floodplain or wetland action. RUS will hold a public hearing meeting 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

[[Page 2408]]

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. The U.S. Forest Service 
may issue a special use permit under the Federal Land Policy Management 
Act and is also serving as a cooperating agency.
    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 
to meet reliability and system stability requirements for the region 
resulting from increases in demand and load forecasts. 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 proposed Project will consist of 
constructing approximately 278 miles of new single circuit 345-kV 
(approximately 85 miles more than the project identified in the DEIS), 
230-kV and double circuit 345/115-kV transmission lines, the 
construction of 4 new substations and a switchyard, modifications to 4 
existing substations, maintenance access roads, temporary construction 
roads, river crossings, temporary construction staging sites, and other 
facilities. The proposed 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.
    The new 345-kV transmission line would start at the AVS Electric 
Generation Station located near Beulah, North Dakota, and extend west 
where it would connect with Basin Electric's existing Charlie Creek 
345-kV Substation located near Grassy Butte. The line would then extend 
north where it would connect with Basin Electric's proposed Judson 
Substation near Williston and terminate at Basin Electric's newly 
proposed Tande Substation. Additional 230-kV transmission lines would 
be constructed between the new Judson 345-kV Substation and Western's 
existing Williston Substation, between a new 345/230/115-kV substation 
referred to as the Blue Substation and Western's existing 230-kV 
transmission line, and also between the Tande 345-kV Substation and 
Basin Electric's existing Neset 230-kV Substation located near Tioga, 
North Dakota.
    Basin Electric has requested financial assistance from RUS for the 
proposed Project. Along with other technical and financial 
considerations, completing the EIS is one of RUS's requirements in 
processing Basin Electric's application.
    In accordance with 36 CFR Sec.  800.2(b)(2), Western has been 
designated as the lead agency for Section 106 review. Following 
publication of the SDEIS, Western will meet with the Section 106 review 
consulting parties, including at this time the North Dakota State 
Historic Preservation Office, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the 
Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation and the 
Killdeer Mountain Battlefield Alliance, to consider and evaluate the 
effects of the project on historic properties. Anyone wishing to 
participate in Section 106 review must submit that request in writing 
via Davie Kluth at Western Area Power Administration, Upper Great 
Plains region, P.O. Box 35800, Billings, MT 59107-5800 or via email to 
Kluth@WAPA.GOV.
    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 has submitted applications to the NDPSC for 
Transmission Corridor and Route Permits. The NDPSC Permits would 
authorize Basin Electric to construct the proposed Project under North 
Dakota rules and regulations.
    RUS has prepared a SDEIS and intends to issue a 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), Department of Energy NEPA Implementing Procedures (10 CFR 
part 1021), and RUS Environmental Policies and Procedures (7 CFR part 
1794). RUS has already prepared and published a Draft EIS which was 
released to the public on December 7, 2012, and can be found on the 
internet at https://www.rurdev.usda.gov/UWP-AVS-Neset.html.
    Because the Project covers a large land area and access in some 
cases has been restricted, Section 106 review will be phased in 
accordance with 36 CFR 800.4(b)(2) and 800.5(a)(3). Accordingly, 
Western will complete Section 106 review using a Programmatic Agreement 
(PA) pursuant to 36 CFR Sec.  800.14(b)(1)(ii). RUS, at the request of 
Western, will manage the development and execution of the PA. RUS may 
issue the Record of Decision for the Final EIS once the PA has been 
executed.
    Because the proposed Project may involve action in floodplains or 
wetlands, this NOA 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 
proposed Project under separate authorities. Western is also serving as 
the lead Federal agency for the Section 106 review, as defined at 36 
CFR 800.2(b)(2), and for the review of threatened and endangered 
species under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.
    Public Participation: Pursuant to 36 CFR 800.22(d)(3), it is the 
intent of RUS to use its NEPA procedures for public involvement in lieu 
of the public

[[Page 2409]]

involvement requirements of 36 CFR 800.3 through 800.7.
    RUS held public scoping meetings for the original project on 
November 15 and 16, 2011. The EIS process has included a scoping 
comment period to solicit comments from interested parties; publication 
of a DEIS with a public hearing and comment period; and consultation 
and involvement with appropriate Federal, State, local, and tribal 
governmental agencies. A Notice of Intent to prepare a SDEIS was 
published in the Federal Register on August 16, 2012 (78 FR 50026). In 
addition, there is a 45-day review/comment period beginning December 
20, 2013. RUS will hold an open-house public hearing in January 2014 
once the SDEIS is published. The time and location of the meeting will 
be well-advertised in local media outlets a minimum of 15 days prior to 
the time of the meeting. Attendees will be welcome to come and go at 
their convenience and provide written or oral comments on the proposed 
Project. In addition, attendees may provide written comments by letter, 
fax, or email to the individual listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT section of this notice. Subsequent to the public comment period 
on the SDEIS, RUS will respond to comments received from all parties 
and publish a Final EIS. After a 30-day public comment period on the 
Final EIS, RUS will publish a Record of Decision. The expected 
environmental project review completion date is expected to be early 
spring 2014.

    Dated: December 12, 2013.
Nivin Elgohary,
Assistant Administrator, Electric Programs, USDA, Rural Utilities 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-00461 Filed 1-13-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE P