Record of Decision for the San Luis Transmission Project (DOE/EIS-0496), 28065-28068 [2016-10802]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 89 / Monday, May 9, 2016 / Notices DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. EL16–63–000] Indicated RTO Transmission Owners; Notice of Petiton for Declaratory Order mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES Take notice that on April 26, 2016, pursuant to Rule 207(a)(2) of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (Commission) Rules of Practice and Procedure, 18 CFR 385.207(a)(2) (2015), the Indicated RTO Transmission Owners (RTO) 1 filed a petition for declaratory order finding that RTO may use single-issue ratemaking in future filings under section 205 of the Federal Power Act to modify existing Commission jurisdictional rates, all as more fully explained in the petition. Any person desiring to intervene or to protest in this proceeding must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission’s Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests will be considered by the Commission in determining the appropriate action to be taken, but will not serve to make protestants parties to the proceeding. Any person wishing to become a party must file a notice of intervention or motion to intervene, as appropriate. Such notices, motions, or protests must be filed on or before the comment date. Anyone filing a motion to intervene or protest must serve a copy of that document on the Petitioner. The Commission encourages electronic submission of protests and interventions in lieu of paper, using the FERC Online links at http:// www.ferc.gov. To facilitate electronic service, persons with Internet access who will eFile a document and/or be listed as a contact for an intervenor must create and validate an eRegistration account using the 1 American Electric Power Service Corporation, on behalf of its affiliates Appalachian Power Company, Indiana Michigan Power Company, Kentucky Power Company, Kingsport Power Company, Ohio Power Company, Wheeling Power Company, AEP Appalachian Transmission Company, AEP Indiana Michigan Transmission Company, AEP Kentucky Transmission Company, AEP Ohio Transmission Company, AEP West Virginia Transmission Company, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, Southwestern Electric Power Company, AEP Oklahoma Transmission Company, Inc., AEP Southwestern Transmission Company, Inc., Transource Missouri, LLC, Transource Kansas, LLC, Transource Wisconsin, LLC, Transource West Virginia, LLC; Kansas City Power & Light Company and KCP&L Greater Missouri Operations Company; Oklahoma Gas & Electric Company; Westar Energy, Inc., Prairie Wind Transmission, LLC, and Kanstar Transmission. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:44 May 06, 2016 Jkt 238001 eRegistration link. Select the eFiling link to log on and submit the intervention or protests. Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and 5 copies of the intervention or protest to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426. The filings in the above proceeding are accessible in the Commission’s eLibrary system by clicking on the appropriate link in the above list. They are also available for review in the Commission’s Public Reference Room in Washington, DC. There is an eSubscription link on the Web site that enables subscribers to receive email notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please email FERCOnlineSupport@ferc.gov.or, call (866) 208–3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502–8659. Comment Date: 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on May 26, 2016. Dated: May 2, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary. [FR Doc. 2016–10769 Filed 5–6–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717–01–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. EL16–59–000] MidAmerican Energy Company; Notice of Institution of Section 206 Proceeding and Refund Effective Date On May 2, 2016, the Commission issued an order in Docket No. EL16–59– 000, pursuant to section 206 of the Federal Power Act (FPA), 16 U.S.C. 824e (2012), instituting an investigation into the justness and reasonableness of MidAmerican Energy Company’s proposed rate reduction. MidAmerican Energy Company, 155 FERC ¶ 61, 122 (2016). The refund effective date in Docket No. EL16–59–000, established pursuant to section 206(b) of the FPA, will be the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register. Dated: May 3, 2016. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary. [FR Doc. 2016–10785 Filed 5–6–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717–01–P PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 28065 DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY ADMINISTRATION Western Area Power Administration Record of Decision for the San Luis Transmission Project (DOE/EIS–0496) Western Area Power Administration, DOE. ACTION: Record of decision and statement of floodplain findings. AGENCY: The Western Area Power Administration (Western), a power marketing administration within the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority (Authority), a California joint powers agency, have prepared a joint Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)/ Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the San Luis Transmission Project (SLTP or Proposed Project). Western is the Federal lead agency under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and the Authority is the state lead agency under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) is a NEPA Cooperating Agency. The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) is a CEQA Responsible Agency. Western proposes to construct, own, operate, and maintain approximately 95 miles of new transmission lines within easements ranging from 125 to 250 feet wide through Alameda, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Merced Counties along the foothills of the western San Joaquin Valley. Western also would upgrade or expand its existing substations, make the necessary arrangements to upgrade or expand existing Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) substations, or construct new substations to accommodate the interconnections of these new transmission lines. The Notice of Availability (NOA) of the Final EIS/EIR was published in the Federal Register on March 25, 2016 (81 FR 16175). After considering the environmental impacts, Western has decided to construct, operate, and maintain the transmission line and other project components within the corridors identified as the Agency Preferred Alternative in the Final EIS/ EIR. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Donald Lash, NEPA Document Manager, Western Area Power Administration, Sierra Nevada Region, 114 Parkshore Drive, Folsom, CA 95630–4710; telephone (916) 353–4048. Hard copies of the EIS/EIR are available from Mr. Lash upon request. For general information on DOE’s NEPA review SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\09MYN1.SGM 09MYN1 mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES 28066 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 89 / Monday, May 9, 2016 / Notices 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. For information related to Reclamation’s participation, contact Mr. Russell Grimes, Chief, Environmental Compliance and Conservation, Bureau of Reclamation, Mid-Pacific Region, 2800 Cottage Way, Sacramento, CA 95818, telephone (916) 978–5051, email at rwgrimes@usbr.gov. For information related to the Authority’s participation and the CEQA process, contact Ms. Frances Mizuno, General Manager, San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority, 15990 Kelso Road, Byron, CA 94514, telephone (209) 832–6200. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Western delivers Federal electric power (mostly hydroelectric power) to Federal preference customers defined to include municipalities, rural electric cooperatives, public utilities, irrigation districts, Federal and state agencies, and Native American tribes. Western also is responsible for making the necessary arrangements to deliver federal power to Federally authorized projects. Reclamation is the largest wholesaler of water in the country, supplying more than 31 million people, and providing one out of five western farmers with irrigation water for 10 million acres of farmland. Reclamation is also the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the western United States with 53 power plants that provide more than 40 billion kilowatt hours annually and generate nearly a billion dollars in power revenues. Reclamation’s mission is to assist in meeting the increasing water demands of the West while protecting the environment and the public’s investment in these structures. Reclamation emphasizes fulfilling its water delivery obligations, water conservation, water recycling, and reuse goals; developing partnerships with customers, states, and Native American tribes; and finding ways to address the competing needs for limited water resources. The Authority is a California joint powers agency, comprised of water agencies representing approximately 28 Federal and exchange water service contractors within the western San Joaquin Valley, San Benito and Santa Clara counties. One of the primary purposes of establishing the Authority was to assume the operation and maintenance responsibilities of certain Reclamation facilities located in the Central Valley, and to do so at an optimum level and at a lower cost than VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:44 May 06, 2016 Jkt 238001 Reclamation. The Authority also has the mission of pursuing additional reliable water supply for its member districts and delivering the water with a reliable system in a cost efficient manner. Reclamation entered into a contract with PG&E in 1965 for power transmission and distribution service between Western’s Tracy Substation and Reclamation’s San Luis Unit (SLU) facilities. The existing transmission contract with PG&E expired in March 2016, and PG&E has stated it will not be renewed. Without the contract or a federal transmission line to serve the primary SLU facilities, the Federal Government will have to take transmission service under the California Independent System Operator Tariff. This would substantially increase Reclamation’s transmission costs, which are paid by its water service contractors, including members of the Authority. Reclamation submitted a transmission service request to Western to consider various transmission service arrangements, including the construction of new Federal transmission lines for Reclamation’s continued delivery of federal water after the PG&E contract expires. To meet its purpose and need Western must respond to Reclamation’s request for transmission service consistent with Western’s Open Access Transmission Tariff and existing laws. In October 2013, Duke American Transmission Company (DATC) submitted a transmission service request to Western for transmission service within the same corridor as requested by Reclamation. Western evaluated both requests jointly in order to determine if it can satisfy Reclamation’s need and DATC’s request with a single project. The Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an EIS/EIR was published in the Federal Register on November 22, 2013 (78 FR 70035). Formal public scoping for the EIS/EIR began with the publication of the NOI and ended on January 21, 2014. Two public scoping meetings were held on January 8 and 9, 2014. Western distributed notices to 75 local agencies, 8 state agencies, 6 Federal agencies, 21 organizations, and 39 elected officials. Western also sent postcards announcing the public scoping meetings and comment period to all property owners within or adjacent to the Proposed Project or alternative routes, and published advertisements on the meetings and comment period in five local newspapers. The NOA for the Draft EIS/EIR was published in the Federal Register on July 17, 2015 (80 FR 42491). The NOA established a 45-day public comment period that ended August 31, 2015. Two public meetings PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 on the Draft EIS/EIR were held in Tracy, California, on August 10, 2015 and Los Banos, California, on August 11, 2015. Notice of the meeting was provided through an advertisement in the local newspaper and direct mailing to approximately 475 addressees. Four individuals provided oral comments during the public meetings. Western received 26 comment letters and emails on the Draft EIS/EIR during the comment period, and Western considered all comments received in developing the Final EIS/EIR. The NOA for the Final EIS/EIR was published in the Federal Register on March 25, 2016 (81 FR 16175). Approximately 500 notifications were sent to landowners in the Project area and other agencies and stakeholders, and notices were published in online and printed versions of the local newspaper on March 25, 2016. Copies of the Final EIS/ EIR were available for review at two local reading rooms and were available for download from Western SNR’s Web site and the project Web site. A copy of the EIS/EIR was sent to those who requested one. Proposed Action The SLTP would consist of: (1) A new 500-kilovolt (kV) transmission line about 65 miles in length between the new Tracy East and Los Banos West Substations; (2) a new 230-kV transmission line about 3 miles in length between the new Los Banos West Substation and Western’s existing San Luis Substation; (3) a new 230-kV transmission line about 20 miles in length between Western’s existing San Luis Substation and Western’s existing Dos Amigos Substation or a new 230-kV transmission line about 18 miles in length between the new Los Banos West Substation and Western’s existing Dos Amigos Substation; (4) an interconnection with the existing Western 500-kV Los Banos-Gates No. 3 transmission line just south of PG&E’s existing Los Banos Substation into the new Los Banos West Substation; and (5) a new 70-kV transmission line about 7 miles in length between the existing San Luis and O’Neill Substations. Additional components of the SLTP would include new 230-kV line terminal bays at Western’s San Luis and Dos Amigos Substations, as well as a new 230/70-kV transformer bank and interconnection facilities at the San Luis Substation. The SLTP also would include ancillary facilities, such as communication facilities, improvements to existing access roads, new permanent access roads, and temporary access roads to facilitate construction activities. Western would acquire the E:\FR\FM\09MYN1.SGM 09MYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 89 / Monday, May 9, 2016 / Notices Appendix F to the Final EIS as integral components of the Proposed Action. These EPMs and Construction Standards would be implemented as part of the Proposed Project. The No Action/No Project Alternative is the Environmentally Preferred Alternative because it would avoid any adverse direct, indirect, or cumulative environmental impacts. However, the No Action/No Project Alternative would not achieve the purpose and need or basic project objectives. Therefore, an environmentally preferred action alternative was identified among the other (i.e., action) alternatives. The Environmentally Preferred Action Alternative is comprised of: Route is the Agency Preferred Alternative. Although it would be closer to residences and have slight increases in the associated visual and temporary noise impacts, it would have less of an impact on biological resources. In particular, it would impact fewer special-status plant species. Additionally, it would require fewer crossings of the existing high voltage transmission lines, which would increase reliability by providing more space between circuits. In the South Segment, the Billy Wright Road Alternative is the Agency Preferred Alternative. Although it would have greater recreation impacts by crossing the Path of the Padres Trail and slightly greater soil disturbance due to its longer length, it would avoid conflicts with the Wright Solar Park, which is now fully permitted and expected to begin construction in 2016. The Agency Preferred Alternative is comprised of: mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES North Segment—Proposed Route; Central Segment—Patterson Pass Road Alternative; San Luis Segment (500-kV)—Proposed Route; San Luis Segment (70-kV)—Proposed Route; and South Segment—San Luis to Dos Amigos Alternative. After analysis of public comments and further internal review of the EIS/ EIR, Western has determined its Agency Preferred Alternative is the same as the Environmentally Preferred Action Alternative in the Northern and San Luis (500-kV and 70-kV) segments. In the Central Segment, the Proposed VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:44 May 06, 2016 Jkt 238001 Description of Alternatives Western analyzed six corridor alternatives and the No Action/No Project alternative in the EIS/EIR. An additional seven alternatives were North Segment—Proposed Route; Central Segment—Proposed Route; San Luis Segment (500-kV)—Proposed Route; PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 considered in a screening process and eliminated from further review based on feasibility considerations. Western divided the Proposed Project, at common points of the corridors, into four segments (North, Central, San Luis, South) and examined available alternatives. Alternative corridors are presented by segment in Table 1, with the Agency Preferred Alternative shown in highlight: San Luis Segment (70-kV)—Proposed Route; and South Segment—Billy Wright Road Alternative. Mitigation Measures All methods identified in Final EIS Table 6.1 to avoid, minimize, and mitigate 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/EIR, will be implemented as part of the Proposed Action, as will all terms and conditions of any required permits or consultation agreements. Floodplain Statement of Findings In accordance with 10 CFR part 1022, Western considered the potential impacts of the Project on floodplains and wetlands. The Project could affect floodplains through ground disturbance associated with construction and operations and maintenance activities, including operation of heavy equipment, grading, and vegetation clearing for access roads, site leveling, E:\FR\FM\09MYN1.SGM 09MYN1 EN09MY16.295</GPH> necessary easements and fee land for the Proposed Project. Western implements Environmental Protection Measures (EPMs) and Construction Standards to reduce environmental consequences associated with its construction and maintenance activities. The Final EIS analysis of environmental consequences considered the EPMs listed in Table 2–5 and the Construction Standards presented in 28067 28068 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 89 / Monday, May 9, 2016 / Notices auguring of transmission tower foundations, and other infrastructure excavations. The Project will place new structures outside of floodplains where possible. In areas where floodplains cannot be avoided, Western will engineer transmission towers to withstand a 100-year flood. Additionally, new structures will be located and designed so as not to impede flood flows. All construction within a designated 100-year floodplain will be undertaken in consultation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. No floodwater will be blocked, nor will floodwater be diverted outside of an existing floodplain. If avoidance is infeasible, transmission towers will be located and engineered so as not to block or substantially alter the natural drainage pattern. In accordance with Western’s Environmental Protection Measures and Construction Standard 13, culverts or bridges will be installed where needed to avoid surface water impacts during construction of transmission line structures. Decision Western’s decision is to construct the project along the Agency Preferred Alternative described in the Final EIS/ EIR. The measures identified in Final EIS Table 6.1 are adopted as part of this decision. The selection of the Agency Preferred Alternative, the adopted measures from Final EIS Table 6.1, and all terms and conditions of required permits and consultation agreements satisfies Western’s statutory mission while minimizing harm to the environment. This decision is based on the information in the Final EIS/EIR. The EIS including this Record of Decision was prepared according to the requirements of NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321, et seq.), 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: April 29, 2016. Mark A. Gabriel, Administrator. [FR Doc. 2016–10802 Filed 5–6–16; 8:45 am] mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES BILLING CODE 6450–01–P ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [FRL–9941–97–OEI] Agency Information Collection Activities OMB Responses Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). AGENCY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:44 May 06, 2016 Jkt 238001 ACTION: Notice. This document announces the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) responses to Agency Clearance requests, in compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et. Seq.). An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. The OMB control numbers for EPA regulations are listed in 40 CFR part 9 and 48 CFR chapter 15. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Courtney Kerwin (202) 566–1669, or email at kerwin.courtney@epa.gov and please refer to the appropriate EPA Information Collection Request (ICR) Number. SUMMARY: SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: OMB Responses to Agency Clearance Requests OMB Approvals EPA ICR Number 1362.10; NESHAP for Coke Oven Batteries (Renewal); 40 CFR part 63, subparts A and L; was approved without change on 1/27/2016; OMB Number 2060–0253; expires on 1/ 31/2019. EPA ICR Number 2491.02; Agricultural Worker Protection Standard Training, Notification and Recordkeeping (Final Rule); 40 CFR part 170; was approved without change on 1/ 21/2016; OMB Number 2070–0190; expires on 1/31/2019. EPA ICR Number 1360.15; Revision of Information Collection Request for Underground Storage Tanks: Technical and Financial Requirements, and State Program Approval Procedures (Final Rule); 40 CFR parts 280 and 281; was approved without change on 1/14/2016; OMB Number 2050–0068; expires on 1/ 31/2019. EPA ICR Number 1656.15; Risk Management Program Requirements and Petitions to Modify the List of Regulated Substances under Section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act (Renewal); 40 CFR part 68; was approved without change on 1/ 14/2016; OMB Number 2050–0144; expires on 1/31/2019. EPA ICR Number 1867.06; Voluntary Aluminium Industrial Partnership (VAIP) (Renewal); was approved without change on 1/14/2016; OMB Number 2060–0411; expires on 1/31/ 2019. EPA ICR Number 1821.08; NESHAP for Steel Pickling, HCI Process Facilities and Hydrochloric Acid Regeneration Plants (Renewal); 40 CFR part 63, subparts A and CCC; was approved without change on 1/12/2016; OMB PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 9990 Number 2060–0419; expires on 1/31/ 2019. EPA ICR Number 2468.02; NPDES Electronic Reporting (Final Rule); 40 CFR parts 122, 123, 127, 403, 501, and 503; was approved without change on 1/ 11/2016; OMB Number 2020–0035; expires on 1/31/2019. EPA ICR Number 2507.01; Lead Training, Certification, Accreditation and Authorization Activities (New); 40 CFR part 745; was approved with change on 1/8/2016; OMB Number 2070–0195; expires on 1/31/2019. EPA ICR Number 0107.11; Air Stationary Source Compliance and Enforcement Information Reporting (Renewal); 40 CFR parts 51, 52, 60, 61, and 63; was approved without change on 1/5/2016; OMB Number 2060–0096; expires on 1/31/2019. EPA ICR Number 2203.05; Amendments to the Protocol Gas Verification Program, and Minimum Competency Requirements for Air Emission (Renewal); 40 CFR parts 72 and 75; was approved without change on 1/5/2016; OMB Number 2060–0626; expires on 1/31/2019. EPA ICR Number 1783.08; NESHAP for Flexible Polyurethane Foam Product (Final Rule); 40 CFR part 63, subparts A and III; was approved with change on 1/ 4/2016; OMB Number 2060–0357; expires on 1/31/2019. EPA ICR Number 2475.02; Labeling Change for Certain Minimum Risk Pesticides under FIFRA Section 25(b) (New); 40 CFR part 152; was approved with change on 2/22/2016; OMB Number 2070–0187; expires on 2/28/ 2019. EPA ICR Number 1426.11; EPA Worker Protection Standards for Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (Renewal); 40 CFR part 311; was approved without change on 2/3/2016; OMB Number 2050–0105; expires on 2/28/2019. Comment Filed EPA ICR Number 2493.02; Categorical Non-Waste Determination for Selected Non Hazardous Secondary Materials (NHSM): Construction and Demolition Wood, Paper Recycling Residuals, and Creosote-Treated Railroad Ties (Additions to List of Section 241.4 Categorical Non-Waste Fuels) (Proposed Rule); 40 CFR parts 63 and 241; OMB filed comment on 1/20/2016. Courtney Kerwin, Acting Director, Collections Strategies Division. [FR Doc. 2016–10755 Filed 5–6–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560–50–P E:\FR\FM\09MYN1.SGM 09MYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 89 (Monday, May 9, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 28065-28068]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-10802]


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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY ADMINISTRATION

Western Area Power Administration


Record of Decision for the San Luis Transmission Project (DOE/
EIS-0496)

AGENCY: Western Area Power Administration, DOE.

ACTION: Record of decision and statement of floodplain findings.

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

SUMMARY: The Western Area Power Administration (Western), a power 
marketing administration within the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), 
and the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority (Authority), a 
California joint powers agency, have prepared a joint Environmental 
Impact Statement (EIS)/Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the San 
Luis Transmission Project (SLTP or Proposed Project). Western is the 
Federal lead agency under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), 
and the Authority is the state lead agency under the California 
Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The Bureau of Reclamation 
(Reclamation) is a NEPA Cooperating Agency. The California Department 
of Water Resources (DWR) is a CEQA Responsible Agency. Western proposes 
to construct, own, operate, and maintain approximately 95 miles of new 
transmission lines within easements ranging from 125 to 250 feet wide 
through Alameda, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Merced Counties along the 
foothills of the western San Joaquin Valley. Western also would upgrade 
or expand its existing substations, make the necessary arrangements to 
upgrade or expand existing Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) 
substations, or construct new substations to accommodate the 
interconnections of these new transmission lines. The Notice of 
Availability (NOA) of the Final EIS/EIR was published in the Federal 
Register on March 25, 2016 (81 FR 16175). After considering the 
environmental impacts, Western has decided to construct, operate, and 
maintain the transmission line and other project components within the 
corridors identified as the Agency Preferred Alternative in the Final 
EIS/EIR.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Donald Lash, NEPA Document 
Manager, Western Area Power Administration, Sierra Nevada Region, 114 
Parkshore Drive, Folsom, CA 95630-4710; telephone (916) 353-4048. Hard 
copies of the EIS/EIR are available from Mr. Lash upon request. For 
general information on DOE's NEPA review

[[Page 28066]]

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.
    For information related to Reclamation's participation, contact Mr. 
Russell Grimes, Chief, Environmental Compliance and Conservation, 
Bureau of Reclamation, Mid-Pacific Region, 2800 Cottage Way, 
Sacramento, CA 95818, telephone (916) 978-5051, email at 
rwgrimes@usbr.gov. For information related to the Authority's 
participation and the CEQA process, contact Ms. Frances Mizuno, General 
Manager, San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority, 15990 Kelso Road, 
Byron, CA 94514, telephone (209) 832-6200.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Western delivers Federal electric power 
(mostly hydroelectric power) to Federal preference customers defined to 
include municipalities, rural electric cooperatives, public utilities, 
irrigation districts, Federal and state agencies, and Native American 
tribes. Western also is responsible for making the necessary 
arrangements to deliver federal power to Federally authorized projects.
    Reclamation is the largest wholesaler of water in the country, 
supplying more than 31 million people, and providing one out of five 
western farmers with irrigation water for 10 million acres of farmland. 
Reclamation is also the second largest producer of hydroelectric power 
in the western United States with 53 power plants that provide more 
than 40 billion kilowatt hours annually and generate nearly a billion 
dollars in power revenues. Reclamation's mission is to assist in 
meeting the increasing water demands of the West while protecting the 
environment and the public's investment in these structures. 
Reclamation emphasizes fulfilling its water delivery obligations, water 
conservation, water recycling, and reuse goals; developing partnerships 
with customers, states, and Native American tribes; and finding ways to 
address the competing needs for limited water resources.
    The Authority is a California joint powers agency, comprised of 
water agencies representing approximately 28 Federal and exchange water 
service contractors within the western San Joaquin Valley, San Benito 
and Santa Clara counties. One of the primary purposes of establishing 
the Authority was to assume the operation and maintenance 
responsibilities of certain Reclamation facilities located in the 
Central Valley, and to do so at an optimum level and at a lower cost 
than Reclamation. The Authority also has the mission of pursuing 
additional reliable water supply for its member districts and 
delivering the water with a reliable system in a cost efficient manner.
    Reclamation entered into a contract with PG&E in 1965 for power 
transmission and distribution service between Western's Tracy 
Substation and Reclamation's San Luis Unit (SLU) facilities. The 
existing transmission contract with PG&E expired in March 2016, and 
PG&E has stated it will not be renewed. Without the contract or a 
federal transmission line to serve the primary SLU facilities, the 
Federal Government will have to take transmission service under the 
California Independent System Operator Tariff. This would substantially 
increase Reclamation's transmission costs, which are paid by its water 
service contractors, including members of the Authority. Reclamation 
submitted a transmission service request to Western to consider various 
transmission service arrangements, including the construction of new 
Federal transmission lines for Reclamation's continued delivery of 
federal water after the PG&E contract expires. To meet its purpose and 
need Western must respond to Reclamation's request for transmission 
service consistent with Western's Open Access Transmission Tariff and 
existing laws. In October 2013, Duke American Transmission Company 
(DATC) submitted a transmission service request to Western for 
transmission service within the same corridor as requested by 
Reclamation. Western evaluated both requests jointly in order to 
determine if it can satisfy Reclamation's need and DATC's request with 
a single project.
    The Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an EIS/EIR was published in 
the Federal Register on November 22, 2013 (78 FR 70035). Formal public 
scoping for the EIS/EIR began with the publication of the NOI and ended 
on January 21, 2014. Two public scoping meetings were held on January 8 
and 9, 2014. Western distributed notices to 75 local agencies, 8 state 
agencies, 6 Federal agencies, 21 organizations, and 39 elected 
officials. Western also sent postcards announcing the public scoping 
meetings and comment period to all property owners within or adjacent 
to the Proposed Project or alternative routes, and published 
advertisements on the meetings and comment period in five local 
newspapers. The NOA for the Draft EIS/EIR was published in the Federal 
Register on July 17, 2015 (80 FR 42491). The NOA established a 45-day 
public comment period that ended August 31, 2015. Two public meetings 
on the Draft EIS/EIR were held in Tracy, California, on August 10, 2015 
and Los Banos, California, on August 11, 2015. Notice of the meeting 
was provided through an advertisement in the local newspaper and direct 
mailing to approximately 475 addressees. Four individuals provided oral 
comments during the public meetings. Western received 26 comment 
letters and emails on the Draft EIS/EIR during the comment period, and 
Western considered all comments received in developing the Final EIS/
EIR. The NOA for the Final EIS/EIR was published in the Federal 
Register on March 25, 2016 (81 FR 16175). Approximately 500 
notifications were sent to landowners in the Project area and other 
agencies and stakeholders, and notices were published in online and 
printed versions of the local newspaper on March 25, 2016. Copies of 
the Final EIS/EIR were available for review at two local reading rooms 
and were available for download from Western SNR's Web site and the 
project Web site. A copy of the EIS/EIR was sent to those who requested 
one.

Proposed Action

    The SLTP would consist of: (1) A new 500-kilovolt (kV) transmission 
line about 65 miles in length between the new Tracy East and Los Banos 
West Substations; (2) a new 230-kV transmission line about 3 miles in 
length between the new Los Banos West Substation and Western's existing 
San Luis Substation; (3) a new 230-kV transmission line about 20 miles 
in length between Western's existing San Luis Substation and Western's 
existing Dos Amigos Substation or a new 230-kV transmission line about 
18 miles in length between the new Los Banos West Substation and 
Western's existing Dos Amigos Substation; (4) an interconnection with 
the existing Western 500-kV Los Banos-Gates No. 3 transmission line 
just south of PG&E's existing Los Banos Substation into the new Los 
Banos West Substation; and (5) a new 70-kV transmission line about 7 
miles in length between the existing San Luis and O'Neill Substations.
    Additional components of the SLTP would include new 230-kV line 
terminal bays at Western's San Luis and Dos Amigos Substations, as well 
as a new 230/70-kV transformer bank and interconnection facilities at 
the San Luis Substation. The SLTP also would include ancillary 
facilities, such as communication facilities, improvements to existing 
access roads, new permanent access roads, and temporary access roads to 
facilitate construction activities. Western would acquire the

[[Page 28067]]

necessary easements and fee land for the Proposed Project.
    Western implements Environmental Protection Measures (EPMs) and 
Construction Standards to reduce environmental consequences associated 
with its construction and maintenance activities. The Final EIS 
analysis of environmental consequences considered the EPMs listed in 
Table 2-5 and the Construction Standards presented in Appendix F to the 
Final EIS as integral components of the Proposed Action. These EPMs and 
Construction Standards would be implemented as part of the Proposed 
Project.

Description of Alternatives

    Western analyzed six corridor alternatives and the No Action/No 
Project alternative in the EIS/EIR. An additional seven alternatives 
were considered in a screening process and eliminated from further 
review based on feasibility considerations. Western divided the 
Proposed Project, at common points of the corridors, into four segments 
(North, Central, San Luis, South) and examined available alternatives. 
Alternative corridors are presented by segment in Table 1, with the 
Agency Preferred Alternative shown in highlight: 
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TN09MY16.295

    The No Action/No Project Alternative is the Environmentally 
Preferred Alternative because it would avoid any adverse direct, 
indirect, or cumulative environmental impacts. However, the No Action/
No Project Alternative would not achieve the purpose and need or basic 
project objectives. Therefore, an environmentally preferred action 
alternative was identified among the other (i.e., action) alternatives. 
The Environmentally Preferred Action Alternative is comprised of:

North Segment--Proposed Route;
Central Segment--Patterson Pass Road Alternative;
San Luis Segment (500-kV)--Proposed Route;
San Luis Segment (70-kV)--Proposed Route; and
South Segment--San Luis to Dos Amigos Alternative.

    After analysis of public comments and further internal review of 
the EIS/EIR, Western has determined its Agency Preferred Alternative is 
the same as the Environmentally Preferred Action Alternative in the 
Northern and San Luis (500-kV and 70-kV) segments. In the Central 
Segment, the Proposed Route is the Agency Preferred Alternative. 
Although it would be closer to residences and have slight increases in 
the associated visual and temporary noise impacts, it would have less 
of an impact on biological resources. In particular, it would impact 
fewer special-status plant species. Additionally, it would require 
fewer crossings of the existing high voltage transmission lines, which 
would increase reliability by providing more space between circuits. In 
the South Segment, the Billy Wright Road Alternative is the Agency 
Preferred Alternative. Although it would have greater recreation 
impacts by crossing the Path of the Padres Trail and slightly greater 
soil disturbance due to its longer length, it would avoid conflicts 
with the Wright Solar Park, which is now fully permitted and expected 
to begin construction in 2016.
    The Agency Preferred Alternative is comprised of:

North Segment--Proposed Route;
Central Segment--Proposed Route;
San Luis Segment (500-kV)--Proposed Route;
San Luis Segment (70-kV)--Proposed Route; and
South Segment--Billy Wright Road Alternative.

Mitigation Measures

    All methods identified in Final EIS Table 6.1 to avoid, minimize, 
and mitigate 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/EIR, will 
be implemented as part of the Proposed Action, as will all terms and 
conditions of any required permits or consultation agreements.

Floodplain Statement of Findings

    In accordance with 10 CFR part 1022, Western considered the 
potential impacts of the Project on floodplains and wetlands. The 
Project could affect floodplains through ground disturbance associated 
with construction and operations and maintenance activities, including 
operation of heavy equipment, grading, and vegetation clearing for 
access roads, site leveling,

[[Page 28068]]

auguring of transmission tower foundations, and other infrastructure 
excavations. The Project will place new structures outside of 
floodplains where possible. In areas where floodplains cannot be 
avoided, Western will engineer transmission towers to withstand a 100-
year flood. Additionally, new structures will be located and designed 
so as not to impede flood flows. All construction within a designated 
100-year floodplain will be undertaken in consultation with the U.S. 
Army Corps of Engineers. No floodwater will be blocked, nor will 
floodwater be diverted outside of an existing floodplain. If avoidance 
is infeasible, transmission towers will be located and engineered so as 
not to block or substantially alter the natural drainage pattern. In 
accordance with Western's Environmental Protection Measures and 
Construction Standard 13, culverts or bridges will be installed where 
needed to avoid surface water impacts during construction of 
transmission line structures.

Decision

    Western's decision is to construct the project along the Agency 
Preferred Alternative described in the Final EIS/EIR. The measures 
identified in Final EIS Table 6.1 are adopted as part of this decision. 
The selection of the Agency Preferred Alternative, the adopted measures 
from Final EIS Table 6.1, and all terms and conditions of required 
permits and consultation agreements satisfies Western's statutory 
mission while minimizing harm to the environment. This decision is 
based on the information in the Final EIS/EIR. The EIS including this 
Record of Decision was prepared according to the requirements of NEPA 
(42 U.S.C. 4321, et seq.), 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: April 29, 2016.
Mark A. Gabriel,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2016-10802 Filed 5-6-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 6450-01-P