Notice of Availability of the Proposed Southline Transmission Line Project Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Draft Resource Management Plan Amendment, New Mexico and Arizona, 20224-20227 [2014-08018]

Download as PDF 20224 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 70 / Friday, April 11, 2014 / Notices 20 Miles Northwest of Rapid City SD Rapid City SD 57702 Landholding Agency: Agriculture Property Number: 15201410016 Status: Excess Comments: off-site removal only; 55 sq. ft.; toilet; poor conditions; contamination; secured area; contact Agriculture for more information. Pactola CG Toilet #6 1087 20 Miles Northwest of Rapid City SD Rapid City SD 57702 Landholding Agency: Agriculture Property Number: 15201410017 Status: Excess Comments: off-site removal only; 55 sq. ft.; toilet; poor conditions; contamination area; contact Agriculture for more information. Washington Randle Access Bankhouse East RPUID 1976.004731 07659–00 418 Silverbrook Road Randle WA 98377 Landholding Agency: Agriculture Property Number: 15201410029 Status: Excess Comments: 744 sq. ft.; bunkhouse; 5+ months vacant; poor to fair conditions; contact Agriculture for more information. South Carolina Former FAA Outer Marker Facility—Greer Brookfield Parkway Greer SC 29651 Landholding Agency: GSA Property Number: 54201410011 Status: Excess GSA Number: 1–U–SC–0631 Comments: 0.99 acres; contact GSA for more information. Tennessee 1.80 Acres Riverport Road Memphis TN 38109 Landholding Agency: COE Property Number: 31201410008 Status: Excess Comments: legal constraints; contact COE for more information regarding property. Former FAA Outer Marker Facility—Nashville W End of Kinhawk Drive Nashville TN 37211 Landholding Agency: GSA Property Number: 54201410012 Status: Excess GSA Number: 1–U–TN–0672 Comments: 12.20 acres; contact GSA for more information. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Unsuitable Properties Building Alaska Building 3005 and 3008 Fort Wainwright Fort Wainwright AK 99703 Landholding Agency: Army Property Number: 21201410046 Status: Unutilized Directions: 3005, 3008 Comments: public access denied and no alternative method to gain access without compromising nat’l security. VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:55 Apr 10, 2014 Jkt 232001 Reasons: Secured Area Reasons: Secured Area Arkansas [FR Doc. 2014–07967 Filed 4–10–14; 8:45 am] House; ID No. NIMPOD–44963 Structure No. NIMHQ01 Nimrod-Blue Mountain Project Office Plainview AR 72857 Landholding Agency: COE Property Number: 31201410012 Status: Unutilized Comments: public access denied and no alternative method to gain access w/out compromising national security. Reasons: Secured Area BILLING CODE 4210–67–P Florida [LLNM930000 L51010000.ER0000 LVRWG14G0790 14XL5017AP] 2 Buildings MacDill AFB MacDill FL 33621 Landholding Agency: Air Force Property Number: 18201410028 Status: Underutilized Comments: public access denied & no alternative method to gain access w/out compromising nat’l security. Reasons: Secured Area Maryland Building 044, Radioactive Soil Building 1200B00044/08940 RPUID#03.52070 Beltsville MD 20705 Landholding Agency: Agriculture Property Number: 15201410024 Status: Excess Comments: documented deficiencies; structure has collapsed; interior has eroded away causing the wood floor to break away and falling to lower level. Reasons: Extensive deterioration Michigan 4 Buildings Fort Custer Training Center Augusta MI 49012 Landholding Agency: Army Property Number: 21201410047 Status: Unutilized Directions: 02441, 02509, 02536, 02525 Comments: public access denied; no alternative method to gain access w/out compromising nat’l security. Reasons: Secured Area Missouri U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Louis District Mark Twain Lake Project Office Monroe City MO 63456 Landholding Agency: COE Property Number: 31201410009 Status: Unutilized Comments: public access denied and no alternative method to gain access without compromising national security. Reasons: Secured Area Alaska 47.09 Acres JBER—R JBER AK 99505 Landholding Agency: Air Force Property Number: 18201410029 Status: Underutilized Comments: public access denied and no alternative method to gain access without compromising national security. PO 00000 Frm 00060 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Western Area Power Administration Notice of Availability of the Proposed Southline Transmission Line Project Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Draft Resource Management Plan Amendment, New Mexico and Arizona Bureau of Land Management, Interior; Western Area Power Administration, Department of Energy. ACTION: Notice of availability. AGENCY: In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969,as amended (NEPA), and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, as amended (FLPMA), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Western Area Power Administration (Western), have prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Draft Resource Management Plan (RMP) Amendment for the proposed Southline Transmission Line Project (Project), and by this notice are announcing the opening of the comment period. DATES: To ensure that comments will be considered, the BLM must receive written comments on the Draft EIS and Draft RMP Amendment within 90 days following the date the Environmental Protection Agency publishes its Notice of Availability in the Federal Register. The BLM and Western will hold public hearings on the Draft EIS and Draft RMP Amendment at various locations in New Mexico and Arizona during the public comment period, and will announce future meetings or hearings and any other public involvement activities at least 15 days in advance through direct mailings to the Project mailing list, local news media, newsletters, and posting on the BLM Web site at http:// www.blm.gov/nm/southline. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments related to the Southline Transmission Line Project by any of the following methods: • Web site: http://www.blm.gov/nm/ southline. • Email: BLM_NM_Southline@ blm.gov. SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\11APN1.SGM 11APN1 tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 70 / Friday, April 11, 2014 / Notices • Fax: 575–525–4412. • Mail: BLM, Las Cruces District Office, Southline Transmission Project, Attention: Frances Martinez, 1800 Marquess Street, Las Cruces, NM 88005. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark Mackiewicz, PMP, BLM Senior National Project Manager; telephone 435–636–3616; email: mmackiew@ blm.gov. For information about Western’s involvement contact Mark Wieringa, Western NEPA Document Manager; telephone 800–336–7288 or 720–962–7448; email: wieringa@ wapa.gov. For general information on the Department of Energy’s (DOE) NEPA review procedures or on the status of a NEPA review, contact Carol M. Borgstrom, Director of NEPA Policy and Compliance, GC–54, U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585–0119, telephone 202–586–4600 or toll free at 800–472–2756, fax 202–586–7031. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1–800–877–8339 to contact the above individuals during normal business hours. The FIRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question with the above individuals. You will receive a reply during normal business hours. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Copies of the Southline Draft EIS/Draft RMP Amendment are available at the following BLM locations: Las Cruces District Office (see ADDRESSES); New Mexico State Office, 301 Dinosaur Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87508; Arizona State Office, One North Central Avenue Suite 800, Phoenix, AZ 85004; Safford Field Office, 711 14th Avenue, Safford, AZ 85546; and Tucson Field Office, 3201 East Universal Way, Tucson, AZ 85756. The Draft EIS/Draft RMP Amendment and supporting documents will be available electronically on the Project Web site at http://www.blm.gov/nm/ southline. Southline has filed a right-of-way (ROW) application with the BLM pursuant to Title V of FLPMA, proposing to construct, operate, maintain, and eventually decommission a high-voltage, alternating current electric transmission line. The BLM and Western have agreed to be joint lead agencies under NEPA, 40 CFR 1501.5(b). Western is a power-marketing agency within the DOE, and has been a participant in the proposed Project with the applicant, Southline Transmission, LLC (Southline). The proposed Project would consist of two sections. The first section would entail construction of about 240 miles of new double-circuit VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:55 Apr 10, 2014 Jkt 232001 345-kV transmission line in a 200-foot ROW between the Afton Substation, south of Las Cruces, New Mexico, and Western’s Apache Substation, south of Willcox, Arizona (Afton-Apache or New Build Section). The second section would entail the upgrade of about 120 miles of Western’s existing SaguaroTucson and Tucson-Apache 115-kV transmission lines in a 100-foot existing ROW to a double-circuit 230-kV transmission line in a 150-foot ROW, where feasible (Apache-Saguaro or Upgrade Section). The Upgrade Section would originate at the Apache Substation and terminate at the Saguaro Substation northwest of Tucson, Arizona. Both new permanent ROW and temporary construction ROW would be required in the New Build Section and in some portions of the Upgrade Section for the transmission line, substations, access roads, and other permanent and temporary Project components. The proposed Project would also include installation of new communications equipment, and connect to 14 substations distributed throughout southern New Mexico and Arizona, including expanding/upgrading existing substations and potentially constructing a new substation in New Mexico. The New Build Section (Afton– Apache) would include construction and operation of: • 205 miles of 345-kV double-circuit electric transmission line in New Mexico and Arizona with a planned bidirectional capacity of up to 1,000 MW. This section is defined by endpoints at the existing Afton ˜ Substation, south of Las Cruces in Dona Ana County, New Mexico, and Western’s existing Apache Substation, south of Willcox in Cochise County, Arizona; • 5 miles of 345-kV single-circuit electric transmission line between the existing Afton Substation and the existing Luna-Diablo 345-kV transmission line; • 30 miles of 345-kV double-circuit electric transmission line between New Mexico State Route 9 and Interstate 10 east of Deming in Luna County, New Mexico, to provide access for potential renewable energy generation sources in southern New Mexico. This segment of the proposed Project is included in the analysis, however, development of this segment would be determined at a later date; and • A new substation (proposed Midpoint Substation) in Luna County, New Mexico, to provide an intermediate connection point for future interconnection requests. The Upgrade Section (ApacheSaguaro) would include: PO 00000 Frm 00061 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 20225 • Replacing 120 miles of Western’s existing Saguaro-Tucson and TucsonApache 115-kV single-circuit electric wood-pole H-frame transmission lines with a 230-kV double-circuit electric steel-pole transmission line. This section is defined by endpoints at the existing Apache Substation, south of Willcox in Cochise County, Arizona, to the existing Saguaro Substation, northwest of Tucson in Pima County, Arizona; and • Two miles of new build doublecircuit 230-kV electric transmission line to interconnect with the existing Tucson Electric Power Company Vail Substation, located southeast of Tucson and just north of the existing 115-kV Tucson-Apache line. Because Southline’s proposed Project may involve action in floodplains or wetlands, this Notice of Availability also serves as a notice of proposed floodplain or wetland action, in accordance with 10 CFR 1022.12(a). The Draft EIS includes a floodplain/wetland assessment and floodplain/wetland statement of findings following DOE regulations for compliance with floodplain and wetlands environmental review (10 CFR 1022). As part of its agency mission, Western routinely studies power system requirements; plans for transmission line upgrades and additions; facilitates and finances transmission projects; and constructs, owns, operates, and maintains transmission infrastructure. Such projects may be solely Western’s projects or may be projects undertaken with the participation of others. Southline is proposing to upgrade about 120 miles of Western’s existing transmission line between Saguaro and Apache substations as part of its proposed Project. An interdisciplinary approach was used to develop the Draft EIS to consider a variety of resource issues and concerns. The issues addressed in the Draft EIS that shaped the Project’s scope and alternatives include, but are not limited to: • Air and climate; • Biological resources; • Cultural resources; • Health and safety; • Noise; • Land use (including farmlands and military operations); • Recreation; • Socioeconomics and environmental justice; • National Conservation Lands or other special designations; • Wilderness characteristics units; • National Scenic and Historic Trails and trails under study; • Visual resources; and E:\FR\FM\11APN1.SGM 11APN1 tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 20226 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 70 / Friday, April 11, 2014 / Notices • Transportation. In addition to the Proponent-Proposed Action, Southline also submitted the Proponent Alternative route for the New Build Section of the proposed Project, both of which were the product of extensive stakeholder outreach. In addition to the Proponent-Proposed Action, the Proponent Alternative and the No Action Alternative, the BLM and Western are considering other local alternatives that provide additional route options. To simplify the analysis of alternatives, the Project area has been divided into four major route groups: (1) Afton Substation to Hidalgo Substation; (2) Hidalgo Substation to Apache Substation; (3) Apache Substation to Pantano Substation; and (4) Pantano Substation to Saguaro Substation. Route Group 1: Afton to Hidalgo (New Build Section). Under the ProponentProposed Action, the agencies considered 4 route segments that would cover about 146.9 miles between the Afton and Hidalgo substations. Under the Proponent Alternative, a southern alternative along the international border, the agencies considered 8 route segments that cover about 141.1 miles. A total of five local routing alternatives were considered for this route group. The route group crosses portions of ˜ Dona Ana, Luna, and Hidalgo Counties in New Mexico. Route Group 2: Hidalgo to Apache (New Build Section). Under the Proponent-Proposed Action, the agencies considered nine route segments that would cover about 95.5 miles between the Hidalgo and Apache substations. Under the Proponent Alternative, the agencies considered seven route segments that altogether cover about 95.9 miles. A total of eight local routing alternatives were considered for this route group. The route group crosses portions of Hidalgo County in New Mexico and Cochise, Greenlee, and Graham Counties in Arizona. Route Group 3: Apache to Pantano (Upgrade Section). Under the Proponent-Proposed Action, the agencies considered four route segments that would cover about 70.3 miles of the existing Western transmission line between Apache and Pantano substations. One local routing alternative was considered for this route group. The route group crosses portions of Cochise and Pima Counties in Arizona. Route Group 4: Pantano to Saguaro (Upgrade Section). Under the Proponent-Proposed Action, the agencies considered 13 route segments that would cover about 48.3 miles of the existing Western transmission line VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:55 Apr 10, 2014 Jkt 232001 between Pantano and Saguaro substations. A total of 10 local routing alternatives were considered for this route group. The route group crosses portions of Pima and Pinal counties in Arizona. The Draft EIS also considers two substation alternatives (Midpoint North and Midpoint South) proposed by Southline; they are options for the location of the proposed Midpoint Substation located within Route Group 1. Both alternative locations would be in Luna County, New Mexico. The BLM and Western AgencyPreferred Alternative for the New Build Section consists of a combination of the Proponent-Proposed Action, Proponent Alternative, and agency local alternative segments within Route Groups 1 and 2. The route was selected by the BLM and Western as the Agency-Preferred Alternative because it would maximize use of existing and linear ROWs by paralleling existing and proposed infrastructure and transmission lines; eliminate the need for plan amendments through conformance with existing land use plans; minimize impacts to military operations at and near the Willcox Playa; and minimize impacts to sensitive resources. The Agency-Preferred Alternative for the Upgrade Section consists of a combination of Proponent-Proposed Action and local alternatives at Tumamoc Hill, and near the Marana Airport, within Route Groups 3 and 4. The route was selected because it would maximize the use of the existing ROW and facilities currently used for Western’s Saguaro-Tucson and TucsonApache 115-kV transmission lines; minimize impacts to sensitive resources at Tumamoc Hill; and minimize impacts to military training operations at the Marana Airport. The BLM, Western, Southline, and cooperating agencies worked together to identify routes that would conform to existing BLM land use plans. However, this objective was not reached for all of the routes analyzed in the Draft EIS. A plan amendment for the Mimbres RMP may be required to bring the proposed Project into conformance, depending on the final route selected. The prospective plan amendment will comply with applicable Federal laws and regulations, be analyzed in the Final EIS, and apply only to Federal land administered by the BLM. Potential changes to the Mimbres RMP would include: • An amendment may be needed to change the visual resource management (VRM) Class II to a Class III or IV for segments that intersect VRM Class II lands. PO 00000 Frm 00062 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 • An amendment may be needed for the portion of the alternative route segment that parallels an avoidance area designated for the Butterfield Trail. The BLM and Western will use and coordinate the NEPA comment period to assist the agencies in satisfying the public involvement requirements under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (16 U.S.C. 470(f)), as provided for in 36 CFR 800.2(d)(3). In accordance with policy, the BLM will continue to conduct Native American tribal consultations on tribal concerns such as impacts on Indian trust assets. Federal, State, and local agencies, along with other stakeholders that may be interested or affected by the BLM’s and Western’s decisions on this proposed Project, are invited to participate in the public comment process. The BLM and Western have determined that public hearings to solicit comments on the Draft EIS and Draft RMP Amendment are necessary. Accordingly, the BLM and Western invite all interested parties to participate in the public hearings held throughout southern New Mexico and Arizona. Interested parties are invited to present oral statements at the hearings. For information on facilities or services for persons with disabilities or to request special assistance at the hearing, contact Ellen Carr at 480–629–4705 or email ellen.carr@galileoaz.com or in writing at 4700 South McClintock Drive, Tempe, AZ 85282, at least 5 business days before the date of the hearing. The hearings will be conducted in accordance with 455 DM 1 and the BLM NEPA Handbook by a representative designated by the BLM. Please note that public comments and information submitted including names, street addresses, and email addresses of persons who submit comments will be available for public review and disclosure at the above address during regular business hours (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.), Monday through Friday, except holidays. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. E:\FR\FM\11APN1.SGM 11APN1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 70 / Friday, April 11, 2014 / Notices Authority: 40 CFR 1506.6, 40 CFR 1506.10, 43 CFR 1610.2. Jesse J. Juen, State Director, New Mexico. Mark A. Gabriel, Administrator, Western Area Power Administration. [FR Doc. 2014–08018 Filed 4–10–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–FB–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [LLCAD07000; L16100000.DU0000; 14XL1109AF] Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment and an Associated Land Use Plan Amendment To Close the Airport Mesa Target Shooting Area, Imperial, CA Bureau of Land Management, Interior. ACTION: Notice of Intent. AGENCY: In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended, and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) of 1976, as amended, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) El Centro Field Office, California, intends to prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA) to consider amending the Eastern San Diego County (ESDC) Resource Management Plan (RMP) to close the Airport Mesa to recreational target shooting. This notice announces the beginning of the scoping process to solicit public comments and identify issues. SUMMARY: Comments on issues may be submitted in writing until May 12, 2014. The date(s) and location(s) of any scoping meetings will be announced at least 15 days in advance through local media, newspapers and the BLM Web site at: http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/ elcentro.html. In order to be included in the analysis, all comments must be received prior to the close of the 30-day scoping period or 30 days after the last public meeting, whichever is later. The BLM will provide additional opportunities for public participation as appropriate. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on issues and planning criteria related to the proposed Airport Mesa target shooting closure by any of the following methods: • Web site: http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/ en/fo/elcentro.html. • Email: ngaddis@blm.gov. • Fax: 760–337–4490. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES DATES: VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:55 Apr 10, 2014 Jkt 232001 • Mail: BLM El Centro Field Office, Attn: Nicollee Gaddis, 1661 S. 4th Street, El Centro, CA 92243. Documents pertinent to this proposal may be examined at the El Centro Field Office at the above address. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Nicollee Gaddis, BLM Planning and Environmental Coordinator; telephone 760–337–4427; address 1661 S. 4th Street, El Centro, CA 92243; or email ngaddis@blm.gov. Contact Ms. Gaddis if you wish to add your name to our mailing list. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1–800–877–8339 to contact Ms. Gaddis during normal business hours. The FIRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question for Ms. Gaddis. You will receive a reply during normal business hours. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This publication provides notice that the BLM El Centro Field Office, El Centro, California, intends to prepare an amendment to the 2008 ESDC RMP and an associated EA; announces the beginning of the scoping process; and seeks public input on issues and planning criteria. Airport Mesa is located in Eastern San Diego County, east of the town of Jacumba, south of U.S. Highway 80. The area described as the Airport Mesa/Carrizo Creek shooting area covers approximately 210 acres along the eastern slope of Airport Mesa. San Bernardino Base and Meridian (SBBM) Township 18 South, Range 8 East, Section 3, S1⁄2SW1⁄4SE1⁄4 and S1⁄2SE1⁄4SE1⁄4 (20 acres, more or less); Section 10, Lot 9 (17.15 acres); N1⁄2NE1⁄4 (80 acres); SE1⁄4NE1⁄4 (40 acres); Section 11, Lot 12 (13.05 acres); SW1⁄4NW1⁄4 (40 acres). The Secure Border Initiative (SBI) congressionally authorized and funded the California Border Patrol (U.S. Border Patrol) to increase its presence along the US/Mexico Border to improve our national security. The U.S. Border patrol has indicated that the Airport Mesa area is critical to its efforts to protect this area because the high elevation of the mesa gives agents the ability to monitor the nearby valleys for illegal activities. As part of this effort to increase its effectiveness in this area, the U.S. Border Patrol has constructed pedestrian and vehicle border barriers, as well as roads for access and maintenance. One of these access roads traverses the east slope of Airport Mesa. The U.S. Border Patrol now uses the top of the mesa as a vantage point to monitor this area. The Airport Mesa area PO 00000 Frm 00063 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 20227 has historically been an important recreational shooting area for residents of San Diego and Imperial Counties. The eastern slope of the mesa is easily accessible and provides a safe back-stop for target shooting. The U.S. Border Patrol’s new access road crosses this eastern slope and is within the line-offire for recreational target shooters. This has created an unsafe situation, subjecting U.S. Border Patrol agents to the dangers of stray bullets or ricochets. Since construction of the road in October 2009, the U.S. Border Patrol has worked to inform shooters of the dangers associated with shooting in this area and has requested that shooters move elsewhere to shoot. On August 18, 2009, the U.S. Border Patrol issued a letter to the BLM requesting that the BLM formally close Airport Mesa to target shooting in order to protect its agents in the area. A temporary closure has been in place since October 2009. This proposal for an area closure would initiate a land use plan amendment to the ESDC RMP with an associated EA. The plan amendment would be limited to closure of target shooting only and not consider use restriction of approved hunting or hiking in the area. The purpose of the public scoping process is to determine relevant issues that will influence the scope of the EA, including alternatives, and guide the process for developing the EA. You may submit comments on issues and planning criteria in writing to the BLM at any public scoping meeting, or you may submit them to the BLM using one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section above. To be most helpful, you should submit comments by the close of the 30-day scoping period. A preliminary list of the potential planning criteria that will be used to help guide and define the scope of the plan amendment includes: 1. The plan amendment will be completed in compliance with FLPMA, NEPA, and all other relevant Federal laws, executive orders, and BLM policies; 2. Existing valid plan decisions will not be changed and any new plan decisions will not conflict with existing plan decisions; and 3. The plan amendment(s) will recognize valid existing rights. The BLM will evaluate identified issues to be addressed in the plan amendment and will place them into one of three categories: 1. Issues to be resolved in the plan amendment; 2. Issues to be resolved through policy or administrative action; or E:\FR\FM\11APN1.SGM 11APN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 70 (Friday, April 11, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 20224-20227]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-08018]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Bureau of Land Management

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Western Area Power Administration

[LLNM930000 L51010000.ER0000 LVRWG14G0790 14XL5017AP]


Notice of Availability of the Proposed Southline Transmission 
Line Project Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Draft Resource 
Management Plan Amendment, New Mexico and Arizona

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior; Western Area Power 
Administration, Department of Energy.

ACTION: Notice of availability.

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

SUMMARY: In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969,as amended (NEPA), and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act 
of 1976, as amended (FLPMA), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and 
the Western Area Power Administration (Western), have prepared a Draft 
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Draft Resource Management Plan 
(RMP) Amendment for the proposed Southline Transmission Line Project 
(Project), and by this notice are announcing the opening of the comment 
period.

DATES: To ensure that comments will be considered, the BLM must receive 
written comments on the Draft EIS and Draft RMP Amendment within 90 
days following the date the Environmental Protection Agency publishes 
its Notice of Availability in the Federal Register. The BLM and Western 
will hold public hearings on the Draft EIS and Draft RMP Amendment at 
various locations in New Mexico and Arizona during the public comment 
period, and will announce future meetings or hearings and any other 
public involvement activities at least 15 days in advance through 
direct mailings to the Project mailing list, local news media, 
newsletters, and posting on the BLM Web site at http://www.blm.gov/nm/southline.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments related to the Southline 
Transmission Line Project by any of the following methods:
     Web site: http://www.blm.gov/nm/southline.
     Email: BLM_NM_Southline@blm.gov.

[[Page 20225]]

     Fax: 575-525-4412.
     Mail: BLM, Las Cruces District Office, Southline 
Transmission Project, Attention: Frances Martinez, 1800 Marquess 
Street, Las Cruces, NM 88005.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark Mackiewicz, PMP, BLM Senior 
National Project Manager; telephone 435-636-3616; email: 
mmackiew@blm.gov. For information about Western's involvement contact 
Mark Wieringa, Western NEPA Document Manager; telephone 800-336-7288 or 
720-962-7448; email: wieringa@wapa.gov. For general information on the 
Department of Energy's (DOE) NEPA review procedures or on the status of 
a NEPA review, contact Carol M. Borgstrom, Director of NEPA Policy and 
Compliance, GC-54, U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue 
SW., Washington, DC 20585-0119, telephone 202-586-4600 or toll free at 
800-472-2756, fax 202-586-7031.
    Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may 
call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to 
contact the above individuals during normal business hours. The FIRS is 
available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question 
with the above individuals. You will receive a reply during normal 
business hours.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Copies of the Southline Draft EIS/Draft RMP 
Amendment are available at the following BLM locations: Las Cruces 
District Office (see ADDRESSES); New Mexico State Office, 301 Dinosaur 
Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87508; Arizona State Office, One North Central 
Avenue Suite 800, Phoenix, AZ 85004; Safford Field Office, 711 14th 
Avenue, Safford, AZ 85546; and Tucson Field Office, 3201 East Universal 
Way, Tucson, AZ 85756. The Draft EIS/Draft RMP Amendment and supporting 
documents will be available electronically on the Project Web site at 
http://www.blm.gov/nm/southline.
    Southline has filed a right-of-way (ROW) application with the BLM 
pursuant to Title V of FLPMA, proposing to construct, operate, 
maintain, and eventually decommission a high-voltage, alternating 
current electric transmission line. The BLM and Western have agreed to 
be joint lead agencies under NEPA, 40 CFR 1501.5(b). Western is a 
power-marketing agency within the DOE, and has been a participant in 
the proposed Project with the applicant, Southline Transmission, LLC 
(Southline). The proposed Project would consist of two sections. The 
first section would entail construction of about 240 miles of new 
double-circuit 345-kV transmission line in a 200-foot ROW between the 
Afton Substation, south of Las Cruces, New Mexico, and Western's Apache 
Substation, south of Willcox, Arizona (Afton-Apache or New Build 
Section). The second section would entail the upgrade of about 120 
miles of Western's existing Saguaro-Tucson and Tucson-Apache 115-kV 
transmission lines in a 100-foot existing ROW to a double-circuit 230-
kV transmission line in a 150-foot ROW, where feasible (Apache-Saguaro 
or Upgrade Section). The Upgrade Section would originate at the Apache 
Substation and terminate at the Saguaro Substation northwest of Tucson, 
Arizona. Both new permanent ROW and temporary construction ROW would be 
required in the New Build Section and in some portions of the Upgrade 
Section for the transmission line, substations, access roads, and other 
permanent and temporary Project components. The proposed Project would 
also include installation of new communications equipment, and connect 
to 14 substations distributed throughout southern New Mexico and 
Arizona, including expanding/upgrading existing substations and 
potentially constructing a new substation in New Mexico.
    The New Build Section (Afton-Apache) would include construction and 
operation of:
     205 miles of 345-kV double-circuit electric transmission 
line in New Mexico and Arizona with a planned bidirectional capacity of 
up to 1,000 MW. This section is defined by endpoints at the existing 
Afton Substation, south of Las Cruces in Do[ntilde]a Ana County, New 
Mexico, and Western's existing Apache Substation, south of Willcox in 
Cochise County, Arizona;
     5 miles of 345-kV single-circuit electric transmission 
line between the existing Afton Substation and the existing Luna-Diablo 
345-kV transmission line;
     30 miles of 345-kV double-circuit electric transmission 
line between New Mexico State Route 9 and Interstate 10 east of Deming 
in Luna County, New Mexico, to provide access for potential renewable 
energy generation sources in southern New Mexico. This segment of the 
proposed Project is included in the analysis, however, development of 
this segment would be determined at a later date; and
     A new substation (proposed Midpoint Substation) in Luna 
County, New Mexico, to provide an intermediate connection point for 
future interconnection requests.
    The Upgrade Section (Apache-Saguaro) would include:
     Replacing 120 miles of Western's existing Saguaro-Tucson 
and Tucson-Apache 115-kV single-circuit electric wood-pole H-frame 
transmission lines with a 230-kV double-circuit electric steel-pole 
transmission line. This section is defined by endpoints at the existing 
Apache Substation, south of Willcox in Cochise County, Arizona, to the 
existing Saguaro Substation, northwest of Tucson in Pima County, 
Arizona; and
     Two miles of new build double-circuit 230-kV electric 
transmission line to interconnect with the existing Tucson Electric 
Power Company Vail Substation, located southeast of Tucson and just 
north of the existing 115-kV Tucson-Apache line.
    Because Southline's proposed Project may involve action in 
floodplains or wetlands, this Notice of Availability also serves as a 
notice of proposed floodplain or wetland action, in accordance with 10 
CFR 1022.12(a). The Draft EIS includes a floodplain/wetland assessment 
and floodplain/wetland statement of findings following DOE regulations 
for compliance with floodplain and wetlands environmental review (10 
CFR 1022).
    As part of its agency mission, Western routinely studies power 
system requirements; plans for transmission line upgrades and 
additions; facilitates and finances transmission projects; and 
constructs, owns, operates, and maintains transmission infrastructure. 
Such projects may be solely Western's projects or may be projects 
undertaken with the participation of others. Southline is proposing to 
upgrade about 120 miles of Western's existing transmission line between 
Saguaro and Apache substations as part of its proposed Project.
    An interdisciplinary approach was used to develop the Draft EIS to 
consider a variety of resource issues and concerns. The issues 
addressed in the Draft EIS that shaped the Project's scope and 
alternatives include, but are not limited to:
     Air and climate;
     Biological resources;
     Cultural resources;
     Health and safety;
     Noise;
     Land use (including farmlands and military operations);
     Recreation;
     Socioeconomics and environmental justice;
     National Conservation Lands or other special designations;
     Wilderness characteristics units;
     National Scenic and Historic Trails and trails under 
study;
     Visual resources; and

[[Page 20226]]

     Transportation.
    In addition to the Proponent-Proposed Action, Southline also 
submitted the Proponent Alternative route for the New Build Section of 
the proposed Project, both of which were the product of extensive 
stakeholder outreach. In addition to the Proponent-Proposed Action, the 
Proponent Alternative and the No Action Alternative, the BLM and 
Western are considering other local alternatives that provide 
additional route options. To simplify the analysis of alternatives, the 
Project area has been divided into four major route groups: (1) Afton 
Substation to Hidalgo Substation; (2) Hidalgo Substation to Apache 
Substation; (3) Apache Substation to Pantano Substation; and (4) 
Pantano Substation to Saguaro Substation.
    Route Group 1: Afton to Hidalgo (New Build Section). Under the 
Proponent-Proposed Action, the agencies considered 4 route segments 
that would cover about 146.9 miles between the Afton and Hidalgo 
substations. Under the Proponent Alternative, a southern alternative 
along the international border, the agencies considered 8 route 
segments that cover about 141.1 miles. A total of five local routing 
alternatives were considered for this route group. The route group 
crosses portions of Do[ntilde]a Ana, Luna, and Hidalgo Counties in New 
Mexico.
    Route Group 2: Hidalgo to Apache (New Build Section). Under the 
Proponent-Proposed Action, the agencies considered nine route segments 
that would cover about 95.5 miles between the Hidalgo and Apache 
substations. Under the Proponent Alternative, the agencies considered 
seven route segments that altogether cover about 95.9 miles. A total of 
eight local routing alternatives were considered for this route group. 
The route group crosses portions of Hidalgo County in New Mexico and 
Cochise, Greenlee, and Graham Counties in Arizona.
    Route Group 3: Apache to Pantano (Upgrade Section). Under the 
Proponent-Proposed Action, the agencies considered four route segments 
that would cover about 70.3 miles of the existing Western transmission 
line between Apache and Pantano substations. One local routing 
alternative was considered for this route group. The route group 
crosses portions of Cochise and Pima Counties in Arizona.
    Route Group 4: Pantano to Saguaro (Upgrade Section). Under the 
Proponent-Proposed Action, the agencies considered 13 route segments 
that would cover about 48.3 miles of the existing Western transmission 
line between Pantano and Saguaro substations. A total of 10 local 
routing alternatives were considered for this route group. The route 
group crosses portions of Pima and Pinal counties in Arizona.
    The Draft EIS also considers two substation alternatives (Midpoint 
North and Midpoint South) proposed by Southline; they are options for 
the location of the proposed Midpoint Substation located within Route 
Group 1. Both alternative locations would be in Luna County, New 
Mexico.
    The BLM and Western Agency-Preferred Alternative for the New Build 
Section consists of a combination of the Proponent-Proposed Action, 
Proponent Alternative, and agency local alternative segments within 
Route Groups 1 and 2. The route was selected by the BLM and Western as 
the Agency-Preferred Alternative because it would maximize use of 
existing and linear ROWs by paralleling existing and proposed 
infrastructure and transmission lines; eliminate the need for plan 
amendments through conformance with existing land use plans; minimize 
impacts to military operations at and near the Willcox Playa; and 
minimize impacts to sensitive resources.
    The Agency-Preferred Alternative for the Upgrade Section consists 
of a combination of Proponent-Proposed Action and local alternatives at 
Tumamoc Hill, and near the Marana Airport, within Route Groups 3 and 4. 
The route was selected because it would maximize the use of the 
existing ROW and facilities currently used for Western's Saguaro-Tucson 
and Tucson-Apache 115-kV transmission lines; minimize impacts to 
sensitive resources at Tumamoc Hill; and minimize impacts to military 
training operations at the Marana Airport.
    The BLM, Western, Southline, and cooperating agencies worked 
together to identify routes that would conform to existing BLM land use 
plans. However, this objective was not reached for all of the routes 
analyzed in the Draft EIS. A plan amendment for the Mimbres RMP may be 
required to bring the proposed Project into conformance, depending on 
the final route selected. The prospective plan amendment will comply 
with applicable Federal laws and regulations, be analyzed in the Final 
EIS, and apply only to Federal land administered by the BLM.
    Potential changes to the Mimbres RMP would include:
     An amendment may be needed to change the visual resource 
management (VRM) Class II to a Class III or IV for segments that 
intersect VRM Class II lands.
     An amendment may be needed for the portion of the 
alternative route segment that parallels an avoidance area designated 
for the Butterfield Trail.
    The BLM and Western will use and coordinate the NEPA comment period 
to assist the agencies in satisfying the public involvement 
requirements under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation 
Act (16 U.S.C. 470(f)), as provided for in 36 CFR 800.2(d)(3). In 
accordance with policy, the BLM will continue to conduct Native 
American tribal consultations on tribal concerns such as impacts on 
Indian trust assets. Federal, State, and local agencies, along with 
other stakeholders that may be interested or affected by the BLM's and 
Western's decisions on this proposed Project, are invited to 
participate in the public comment process.
    The BLM and Western have determined that public hearings to solicit 
comments on the Draft EIS and Draft RMP Amendment are necessary. 
Accordingly, the BLM and Western invite all interested parties to 
participate in the public hearings held throughout southern New Mexico 
and Arizona. Interested parties are invited to present oral statements 
at the hearings. For information on facilities or services for persons 
with disabilities or to request special assistance at the hearing, 
contact Ellen Carr at 480-629-4705 or email ellen.carr@galileoaz.com or 
in writing at 4700 South McClintock Drive, Tempe, AZ 85282, at least 5 
business days before the date of the hearing. The hearings will be 
conducted in accordance with 455 DM 1 and the BLM NEPA Handbook by a 
representative designated by the BLM.
    Please note that public comments and information submitted 
including names, street addresses, and email addresses of persons who 
submit comments will be available for public review and disclosure at 
the above address during regular business hours (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.), 
Monday through Friday, except holidays.
    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.


[[Page 20227]]


    Authority:  40 CFR 1506.6, 40 CFR 1506.10, 43 CFR 1610.2.

Jesse J. Juen,
State Director, New Mexico.
Mark A. Gabriel,
Administrator, Western Area Power Administration.
[FR Doc. 2014-08018 Filed 4-10-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-FB-P