Notice of Availability of the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Monument Butte Area Oil and Gas Development Project, Duchesne and Uintah Counties, Utah, 41331-41333 [2016-15023]

Download as PDF sradovich on DSK3GDR082PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 122 / Friday, June 24, 2016 / Notices Agencies: Nevada Department of Wildlife, State of Nevada Sagebrush Ecosystem Program, Eureka County, White Pine County, and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge. A Notice of Availability was published in the Federal Register on August 14, 2015 (80 FR 48913–48914), and the public was invited to provide written comments on the Draft EIS during the 45-day comment period (8/14/2015 to 9/28/ 2015). The BLM extended the comment period an additional 15 days to 60 days based on several comments received that requested an extension of the comment period on the Draft EIS. A legal notice was prepared by the BLM and published in the Elko Daily Free Press, Ely Times, Eureka Sentinel, and Reno Gazette-Journal informing the public of the availability of the Bald Mountain Mine North and South Operations Area Projects Draft EIS and upcoming public meetings, which were held in Ely, Eureka, Elko, and Reno (9/ 15/2015 to 9/18/2015). A total of 35 individual comment submittals containing 451 individual comments were received. Comments on the Draft EIS received from the cooperating agencies, the public, and the internal BLM review were considered and incorporated, as appropriate, into the Final EIS. Concerns included potential impacts (1) to mule deer migration; (2) to Greater Sage-Grouse leks and associated habitats; (3) to springs from groundwater pumping; (4) to Wild Horse Herd Management Areas (HMAs), including herd access to surface water sources; (5) to air quality (specifically from mercury); (6) of climate change on wildlife and other resources; and (7) to visual resources and other indirect impacts to the setting of the Pony Express National Historic Trail, Ruby Valley Pony Express Station, Fort Ruby National Historic Landmark, and Sunshine Locality National Register District and the Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge. There were also comments received in general support or opposition to the Project. These public comments resulted in the addition of clarifying text, but did not significantly change the analysis. The selected agency preferred alternative is the Western Redbird Modification Alternative. On September 21, 2015, during the public comment period for the Draft EIS, the Record of Decision (ROD) and 2015 Nevada and Northeastern California Greater Sage-Grouse Approved Resource Management Plan Amendment was signed. To ensure consistency with the Plan Amendment, the BLM compared the maps and habitat VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:43 Jun 23, 2016 Jkt 238001 management categories in that document to the initial habitat maps from BLM Instruction Memorandum 2012–044 (December 27, 2011) that were used in the development of the DEIS. The proponent has proposed a robust suite of applicant-committed environmental protection measures into their Proposed Action and all Alternatives, to incorporate Design Features and Management Decisions from the 2015 Nevada and Northeastern California Greater Sage-Grouse Approved Resource Management Plan Amendment. As a result, the analysis and resulting mitigation for Greater Sage-Grouse outlined in Chapter 6 (Mitigation and Monitoring) of this Final EIS are consistent with the Greater Sage-Grouse Plan. This will be achieved by avoiding, minimizing, and compensating for residual impacts by applying beneficial mitigation actions. Following a 30-day Final EIS availability and review period, a Record of Decision (ROD) will be issued. The decision reached in the ROD is subject to appeal to the Interior Board of Land Appeals. The 30-day appeal period begins with the issuance of the ROD. 41331 [16X L1109PF LLUTG01100 L13110000.EJ0000 24 1A] publishes its Notice of Availability of the Final EIS in the Federal Register. ADDRESSES: Copies of the Monument Butte Area Oil and Gas Development Project Final EIS are available for public inspection at the BLM-Vernal Field Office at 170 South 500 East Vernal, Utah 84078. Interested persons may also review the Final EIS on the Internet at http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/vernal/ planning/nepa_.html. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Stephanie Howard, NEPA Coordinator; telephone: 435–781–4469; address 170 South 500 East Vernal, Utah 84078; email BLM_UT_Vernal_Comments@ blm.gov. 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 individual 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 individual. Replies are provided during normal business hours. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Newfield Exploration Company (Newfield) submitted oil and gas field development plan for the Monument Butte Project Area (MBPA) to the BLM. The MBPA encompasses approximately 119,784 acres in an already developed field containing approximately 3,209 existing oil and gas wells. The MBPA contemplates the drilling of up to 5,750 new oil and gas wells over a 16-year period, and the construction and operation of ancillary transportation, transmission, processing, and treatment facilities. The MBPA is located in southeastern Duchesne County and southwestern Uintah County: Notice of Availability of the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Monument Butte Area Oil and Gas Development Project, Duchesne and Uintah Counties, Utah Salt Lake Meridian, Utah Tps. 8 S., Rs. 15 thru 19 E. Tps. 9 S., Rs. 15 thru 19 E. The areas described, including both Federal and non-Federal lands, aggregate 119,784.12 acres. Authority: 40 CFR 1506.6 and 40 CFR 1506.10. Jill A. Moore, Field Manager, Egan Field Office. [FR Doc. 2016–15017 Filed 6–23–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–HC–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management Bureau of Land Management, Interior. 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, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has prepared a Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Monument Butte Area Oil and Gas Development Project and is announcing its availability. DATES: The BLM will not issue a final decision on the proposal for at least 45 days after the date on which the Environmental Protection Agency SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00045 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 The BLM’s purpose and need for the action is to respond to Newfield’s proposal. The BLM intends to approve, approve with modifications, or disapprove Newfield’s proposed project and project components based on the analysis of potential impact in the Final EIS and related documents. As part of this process, the BLM worked with Newfield, the State of Utah, Environmental Protection Agency Region 8 (EPA) to develop measures designed to avoid, minimize, or mitigate environmental impacts to the extent possible, while allowing Newfield to exercise its valid existing lease rights. The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 recognizes oil E:\FR\FM\24JNN1.SGM 24JNN1 sradovich on DSK3GDR082PROD with NOTICES 41332 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 122 / Friday, June 24, 2016 / Notices and gas development as one of the uses of the public lands. Federal mineral leasing statutes, including the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, 30 U.S.C. 181 et seq., and their implementing regulations recognize the right of lease holders to develop Federal mineral resources to meet continuing national needs and economic demands, subject to lease stipulations and reasonable measures that the BLM may require to minimize adverse impacts. The BLM is the lead Federal agency for this Final EIS. Cooperating agencies include the EPA, Utah’s Public Lands Policy and Coordination Office, and Duchesne and Uintah Counties. On August 25, 2010, the BLM published in the Federal Register a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an EIS. Public response to the NOI and public meetings included seven letters: Two from Federal agencies, one from a State agency, one from a county agency, and three from industry or private individuals. Comments focused on air quality impacts, impacts to adjacent gilsonite mining operations, recognition of valid existing lease rights, requests for flexibility in the decision, economic benefits, water impacts and protection, produced water treatment and management alternatives, noise impacts to wildlife and residences, weed expansion, the BLM’s statutory and regulatory authority to manage air resources, and resource management plan (RMP) conformance. On December 20, 2013, the BLM published a Notice of Availability in the Federal Register announcing the availability of the Draft EIS. The Draft EIS was made available for a 45-day public comment period, which was subsequently extended by an additional 30 days at the request of the State of Utah. Twenty-three unique comment letters or emails were submitted: One from a Federal agency, one from the House of Representatives, one from a State agency, two from county governments, one from the proponent (Newfield), nine from other oil and gas industry representatives or trade groups, one from the proponent’s outside legal counsel, one from a non-governmental organization, and six from private individuals. There were also 1,780 form letters received from members of the public that expressed concern regarding ozone impacts, and 161 form letters received from Newfield employees that expressed concern over impacts to their livelihoods from the Agency Preferred Alternative. Substantive comments focused on technical flaws, water impacts and protection, air quality impacts, the BLM’s statutory or regulatory authority to protect air VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:43 Jun 23, 2016 Jkt 238001 quality or enforce air quality laws, economic benefits and losses, protection of wetlands and streams, produced water treatment and management alternatives, and surface restrictions in the Pariette Wetlands Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) and Sclerocactus core conservation areas. The parameters of the Agency Preferred Alternative, Alternative D, were adjusted between the Draft EIS and the Final EIS in response to issues raised during the public comment period, which were not considered when the alternative was originally designed. The BLM engineers determined that the data provided regarding these technical issues was accurate and that measures presented in Alternative D adversely affected the proponent’s ability to diligently and efficiently develop oil and gas resources in the MBPA consistent with their valid existing rights. The BLM also determined that other adjustments to the alternative were necessary. Since these adjustments were all within the range of alternatives considered in the Draft EIS, the BLM determined that a supplement to the Draft EIS was not necessary. However, the review period following release of the Final EIS has been extended to 45 days to provide additional time for review of these changes prior to BLM making a decision on the project. The Final EIS describes and analyzes the impacts of Newfield’s Proposed Action and three alternatives, including the No Action Alternative. The following is a summary of the alternatives: 1. Proposed Action—Up to 5,750 new oil or gas wells would be drilled over a period of 16 years. Additionally, this alternative includes the construction of approximately 243 miles of new roads and pipelines, 363 miles of new pipeline adjacent to existing roads, 21 new compressor stations, one gas processing plant, 7 new water treatment and injection facilities, 12 gas and oil separation plants, 6 water pump stations, as well as the drilling of a freshwater collector well, and the expansion of 6 existing water treatment and injection facilities and 3 existing compressor stations. Total new surface disturbance under the Proposed Action would be approximately 16,129 acres, which would be reduced to 7,808 acres through interim reclamation. 2. No Action Alternative—Drilling and completion of development wells and infrastructure would continue as previously approved, and the proposed natural gas development on BLM lands as described in the Proposed Action would not be implemented. Based on PO 00000 Frm 00046 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 the foregoing documents and a review of information from Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining, the BLM has estimated that, as of December 31, 2012, 788 wells remain to be drilled including construction of roads, pipelines, and additional support facilities. Total new surface disturbance under the No Action Alternative would be 870 acres of new disturbance, which would be reduced to 659 acres through interim reclamation. 3. Field-wide Electrification Alternative—This alternative is identical to the Proposed Action, in that it would allow the drilling of up to 5,750 new wells in addition to the existing producing wells, with associated facilities. However, this alternative also incorporates a phased field-wide electrification component which consists of construction of 34 miles of overhead cross-country 69kV transmission lines, 156 miles of distribution lines, and 11 substations. Total new surface disturbance under this alternative would be approximately 20,112 acres, which would be reduced to 10,173 acres through interim reclamation. 4. Agency Preferred (Resource Protection) Alternative—This alternative was revised to meet the purpose and need for the project while: (1) Protecting the relevant and important values of the Pariette Wetlands ACEC; (2) minimizing the amount of new surface disturbance and habitat fragmentation within and around the Fish and Wildlife Service proposed Level 1 and 2 Core Conservation Areas (for two federallylisted plant species: The Uinta Basin hookless cactus and the Pariette cactus); (3) precluding new well pads (with the exception of Newfield’s proposed water collector well) and minimizing new surface disturbance (roads or pipelines) within 100-year floodplains; (4) precluding new well pads, pipelines, or roads within riparian habitats; and, (5) minimizing overall impacts from the proposed oil and gas development through the use of directional drilling technology. Under the Resource Protection Alternative, up to 5,750 new wellbores would be drilled. Additionally, this alternative includes the construction of approximately 226 miles of new roads and pipelines, 318 miles of new pipeline adjacent to existing roads, 21 new compressor stations, a gas processing plant, 7 new water treatment and injection facilities, 12 gas and oil separation plants, 6 water pump stations, as well as the drilling of a freshwater collector well, and the expansion of 6 existing water treatment and injection facilities and 3 existing compressor stations. Total new surface disturbance under the Agency Preferred E:\FR\FM\24JNN1.SGM 24JNN1 sradovich on DSK3GDR082PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 122 / Friday, June 24, 2016 / Notices Alternative would be approximately 10,122 acres, which would be reduced to 4,978 acres through interim reclamation. The Final EIS contains detailed analysis of impacts to: Air quality, including greenhouse gas emissions; geology and minerals; paleontological resources; soil, surface water and groundwater resources; vegetation, including weeds; range, including livestock grazing; fish and wildlife, including migratory birds and raptors; special status wildlife and plant species; cultural resources; land use and transportation; recreation; visual resources; special designations, including Pariette Wetlands ACEC, Lower Green River Corridor ACEC, and Suitable Lower Green River Wild and Scenic River; and social and economic resources, including environmental justice. Based on the impact analysis, on-site, landscape and compensatory conservation and mitigation actions have been identified for each alternative to achieve resource objectives. Also worth noting are changes between the draft and final EIS to the air quality section. In the Draft EIS BLM committed to conducting photochemical modeling post-ROD through the Air Resource Management Strategy modeling platform. However, that modeling platform became available shortly after the comment period on the Draft EIS closed, so that modeling was conducted for, and the results are included in, the Final EIS. Upon review of those modeling results, applicantcommitted air quality mitigation measures were refined, and additional applicant- and BLM-committed measures to further reduce emissions from the MBPA were included in the Final EIS. This robust suite of measures was developed in consultation between Neufield, the BLM, EPA and the State of Utah. The robust measures will help minimize and mitigate impacts to important air resource values. These measures have been analyzed in the Final EIS and are within the range of alternative analyzed in the Draft EIS. All required consultations, including Endangered Species Act section 7 Consultation, National Historic Preservation Act section 106 Consultation, and government-togovernment consultation with interested Native American Tribes, have been completed. During the section 7 Consultation for the Final EIS, many additional applicant- and agencycommitted mitigation measures, including a detailed Conservation, Restoration and Mitigation Strategy for the Pariette and Uinta Basin Hookless Cactus, were developed and VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:31 Jun 23, 2016 Jkt 238001 incorporated into the Agency Preferred Alternative. This process is explained in greater detail in the Biological Opinion. The Biological Assessment, Biological Opinion, and additional mitigation measures and cactus strategy are all attached to the Final EIS as Appendix J. Since the publication of the Monument Butte Draft EIS, the Utah Greater Sage-Grouse Land Use Plan Amendment Record of Decision (ROD) has been issued. No Sagebrush Focal Areas, General Habitat Management Areas, or Priority Habitat Management Areas are present within the Monument Butte project boundary. Therefore, the BLM determined that the provisions of the Utah Greater Sage-Grouse Land Use Plan Amendment do not affect the MBPA. After the conclusion of Final EIS review period, the BLM will issue a ROD which will describe the selected alternative and any conditions of approval, including a mitigation strategy. The selected alternative will be conceptual only. Any well pads, roads, pipelines and other facilities and infrastructure that may be constructed in the future in the project area will be subject to an appropriate level of sitespecific NEPA analysis prior to final approval. Authority: 40 CFR 1506.6, 40 CFR 1506.10. Jenna Whitlock, Acting State Director. [FR Doc. 2016–15023 Filed 6–23–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–DQ–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management Notice of Application for Withdrawal and Opportunity for Public Meeting; Idaho (IDI 38117) Bureau of Land Management, Interior. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service (USFS) has filed an application with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) requesting the Secretary of the Interior to withdraw approximately 107.02 acres of National Forest System land from the mining laws to protect the Dump Creek Diversion Ditch within the Salmon National Forest in Idaho. This notice temporarily segregates the land for up to 2 years from the United States mining laws while the application is being processed. This notice also gives an SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00047 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 41333 opportunity for the public to comment on the application and to request a public meeting. DATES: Comments and public meeting requests must be received by September 22, 2016. ADDRESSES: Comments and public meeting requests should be sent to the Idaho State Director, BLM, 1387 S. Vinnell Way, Boise, ID 83709. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeff Cartwright, BLM Idaho State Office 208– 373–3885 or Sherry Stokes-Wood, Lands, USFS Intermountain Regional Office 801–625–5800. 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 either of the above individuals. The FIRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You will receive a reply during normal business hours. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The USFS has filed an application with the BLM, pursuant to Section 204 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, 43 U.S.C. 1714, requesting that the Secretary of the Interior withdraw, for a 20-year period and subject to valid existing rights, the National Forest System land described below from location and entry under the United States mining laws. The land will remain open to discretionary uses. Salmon National Forest Boise Meridian T. 23 N., R. 20 E., Secs. 12, 13, and 24. Beginning at USLM No. 4, Eureka Mining District, said Monument No. 4 being more particularly located in the unsurveyed NW1/ 4SE1/4 Section 24. From point of beginning, North 4°32′52″ East 5061.93 feet to Corner No. 1, the True Point of Beginning, said Corner being identical with Corner No. 1 Lemhi Gold Placer, as shown on Moose Creek Hydraulic Placer Mineral Survey Plat No. 3057. Thence North 0°01′ West, 4109.7 feet along the west line of Lemhi Gold Placer to a point at the intersection of line 1–2 of Rocky Mountain Placer, MS No. 1867, which point lies North 58°56′ West, 58.1 feet from Corner No. 1 of MS No. 1867 and said point being Corner No. 2 of herein described lands; Thence North 58°56′ West, along line 1–2 of MS No. 1867 for a distance of 817.35 feet to Corner No. 3; Thence South 0°01′ East, 4529.24 feet to Corner No. 4; Thence South 8°33′ East, 1877.1 feet to Corner No. 5; Thence South 89°49′ East, 883 feet to Corner No. 6, said Corner No. 6 being identical with Corner No. 4 of Moose Creek Hydraulic Placer MS 3057; Thence North 8°33′ West, 1877.1 feet along the west line of said Moose Creek Hydraulic Placer to Corner No. 7 said Corner No. 7 being identical with Corner No. 5 of MS No. 3057; Thence North 89°49′ West, 183 feet to Corner No. 1, the True Point of Beginning. E:\FR\FM\24JNN1.SGM 24JNN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 122 (Friday, June 24, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 41331-41333]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-15023]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Bureau of Land Management

[16X L1109PF LLUTG01100 L13110000.EJ0000 24 1A]


Notice of Availability of the Final Environmental Impact 
Statement for the Monument Butte Area Oil and Gas Development Project, 
Duchesne and Uintah Counties, Utah

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

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, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has prepared a 
Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Monument Butte Area 
Oil and Gas Development Project and is announcing its availability.

DATES: The BLM will not issue a final decision on the proposal for at 
least 45 days after the date on which the Environmental Protection 
Agency publishes its Notice of Availability of the Final EIS in the 
Federal Register.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the Monument Butte Area Oil and Gas Development 
Project Final EIS are available for public inspection at the BLM-Vernal 
Field Office at 170 South 500 East Vernal, Utah 84078. Interested 
persons may also review the Final EIS on the Internet at http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/vernal/planning/nepa_.html.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Stephanie Howard, NEPA Coordinator; 
telephone: 435-781-4469; address 170 South 500 East Vernal, Utah 84078; 
email BLM_UT_Vernal_Comments@blm.gov. 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 
individual 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 
individual. Replies are provided during normal business hours.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Newfield Exploration Company (Newfield) 
submitted oil and gas field development plan for the Monument Butte 
Project Area (MBPA) to the BLM. The MBPA encompasses approximately 
119,784 acres in an already developed field containing approximately 
3,209 existing oil and gas wells. The MBPA contemplates the drilling of 
up to 5,750 new oil and gas wells over a 16-year period, and the 
construction and operation of ancillary transportation, transmission, 
processing, and treatment facilities. The MBPA is located in 
southeastern Duchesne County and southwestern Uintah County:

Salt Lake Meridian, Utah

Tps. 8 S., Rs. 15 thru 19 E.
Tps. 9 S., Rs. 15 thru 19 E.
    The areas described, including both Federal and non-Federal 
lands, aggregate 119,784.12 acres.

    The BLM's purpose and need for the action is to respond to 
Newfield's proposal. The BLM intends to approve, approve with 
modifications, or disapprove Newfield's proposed project and project 
components based on the analysis of potential impact in the Final EIS 
and related documents. As part of this process, the BLM worked with 
Newfield, the State of Utah, Environmental Protection Agency Region 8 
(EPA) to develop measures designed to avoid, minimize, or mitigate 
environmental impacts to the extent possible, while allowing Newfield 
to exercise its valid existing lease rights. The Federal Land Policy 
and Management Act of 1976 recognizes oil

[[Page 41332]]

and gas development as one of the uses of the public lands. Federal 
mineral leasing statutes, including the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, 30 
U.S.C. 181 et seq., and their implementing regulations recognize the 
right of lease holders to develop Federal mineral resources to meet 
continuing national needs and economic demands, subject to lease 
stipulations and reasonable measures that the BLM may require to 
minimize adverse impacts.
    The BLM is the lead Federal agency for this Final EIS. Cooperating 
agencies include the EPA, Utah's Public Lands Policy and Coordination 
Office, and Duchesne and Uintah Counties.
    On August 25, 2010, the BLM published in the Federal Register a 
Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an EIS. Public response to the NOI 
and public meetings included seven letters: Two from Federal agencies, 
one from a State agency, one from a county agency, and three from 
industry or private individuals. Comments focused on air quality 
impacts, impacts to adjacent gilsonite mining operations, recognition 
of valid existing lease rights, requests for flexibility in the 
decision, economic benefits, water impacts and protection, produced 
water treatment and management alternatives, noise impacts to wildlife 
and residences, weed expansion, the BLM's statutory and regulatory 
authority to manage air resources, and resource management plan (RMP) 
conformance.
    On December 20, 2013, the BLM published a Notice of Availability in 
the Federal Register announcing the availability of the Draft EIS. The 
Draft EIS was made available for a 45-day public comment period, which 
was subsequently extended by an additional 30 days at the request of 
the State of Utah. Twenty-three unique comment letters or emails were 
submitted: One from a Federal agency, one from the House of 
Representatives, one from a State agency, two from county governments, 
one from the proponent (Newfield), nine from other oil and gas industry 
representatives or trade groups, one from the proponent's outside legal 
counsel, one from a non-governmental organization, and six from private 
individuals. There were also 1,780 form letters received from members 
of the public that expressed concern regarding ozone impacts, and 161 
form letters received from Newfield employees that expressed concern 
over impacts to their livelihoods from the Agency Preferred 
Alternative. Substantive comments focused on technical flaws, water 
impacts and protection, air quality impacts, the BLM's statutory or 
regulatory authority to protect air quality or enforce air quality 
laws, economic benefits and losses, protection of wetlands and streams, 
produced water treatment and management alternatives, and surface 
restrictions in the Pariette Wetlands Area of Critical Environmental 
Concern (ACEC) and Sclerocactus core conservation areas.
    The parameters of the Agency Preferred Alternative, Alternative D, 
were adjusted between the Draft EIS and the Final EIS in response to 
issues raised during the public comment period, which were not 
considered when the alternative was originally designed. The BLM 
engineers determined that the data provided regarding these technical 
issues was accurate and that measures presented in Alternative D 
adversely affected the proponent's ability to diligently and 
efficiently develop oil and gas resources in the MBPA consistent with 
their valid existing rights. The BLM also determined that other 
adjustments to the alternative were necessary. Since these adjustments 
were all within the range of alternatives considered in the Draft EIS, 
the BLM determined that a supplement to the Draft EIS was not 
necessary. However, the review period following release of the Final 
EIS has been extended to 45 days to provide additional time for review 
of these changes prior to BLM making a decision on the project.
    The Final EIS describes and analyzes the impacts of Newfield's 
Proposed Action and three alternatives, including the No Action 
Alternative. The following is a summary of the alternatives:
    1. Proposed Action--Up to 5,750 new oil or gas wells would be 
drilled over a period of 16 years. Additionally, this alternative 
includes the construction of approximately 243 miles of new roads and 
pipelines, 363 miles of new pipeline adjacent to existing roads, 21 new 
compressor stations, one gas processing plant, 7 new water treatment 
and injection facilities, 12 gas and oil separation plants, 6 water 
pump stations, as well as the drilling of a freshwater collector well, 
and the expansion of 6 existing water treatment and injection 
facilities and 3 existing compressor stations. Total new surface 
disturbance under the Proposed Action would be approximately 16,129 
acres, which would be reduced to 7,808 acres through interim 
reclamation.
    2. No Action Alternative--Drilling and completion of development 
wells and infrastructure would continue as previously approved, and the 
proposed natural gas development on BLM lands as described in the 
Proposed Action would not be implemented. Based on the foregoing 
documents and a review of information from Utah Division of Oil, Gas 
and Mining, the BLM has estimated that, as of December 31, 2012, 788 
wells remain to be drilled including construction of roads, pipelines, 
and additional support facilities. Total new surface disturbance under 
the No Action Alternative would be 870 acres of new disturbance, which 
would be reduced to 659 acres through interim reclamation.
    3. Field-wide Electrification Alternative--This alternative is 
identical to the Proposed Action, in that it would allow the drilling 
of up to 5,750 new wells in addition to the existing producing wells, 
with associated facilities. However, this alternative also incorporates 
a phased field-wide electrification component which consists of 
construction of 34 miles of overhead cross-country 69kV transmission 
lines, 156 miles of distribution lines, and 11 substations. Total new 
surface disturbance under this alternative would be approximately 
20,112 acres, which would be reduced to 10,173 acres through interim 
reclamation.
    4. Agency Preferred (Resource Protection) Alternative--This 
alternative was revised to meet the purpose and need for the project 
while: (1) Protecting the relevant and important values of the Pariette 
Wetlands ACEC; (2) minimizing the amount of new surface disturbance and 
habitat fragmentation within and around the Fish and Wildlife Service 
proposed Level 1 and 2 Core Conservation Areas (for two federally-
listed plant species: The Uinta Basin hookless cactus and the Pariette 
cactus); (3) precluding new well pads (with the exception of Newfield's 
proposed water collector well) and minimizing new surface disturbance 
(roads or pipelines) within 100-year floodplains; (4) precluding new 
well pads, pipelines, or roads within riparian habitats; and, (5) 
minimizing overall impacts from the proposed oil and gas development 
through the use of directional drilling technology. Under the Resource 
Protection Alternative, up to 5,750 new wellbores would be drilled. 
Additionally, this alternative includes the construction of 
approximately 226 miles of new roads and pipelines, 318 miles of new 
pipeline adjacent to existing roads, 21 new compressor stations, a gas 
processing plant, 7 new water treatment and injection facilities, 12 
gas and oil separation plants, 6 water pump stations, as well as the 
drilling of a freshwater collector well, and the expansion of 6 
existing water treatment and injection facilities and 3 existing 
compressor stations. Total new surface disturbance under the Agency 
Preferred

[[Page 41333]]

Alternative would be approximately 10,122 acres, which would be reduced 
to 4,978 acres through interim reclamation.
    The Final EIS contains detailed analysis of impacts to: Air 
quality, including greenhouse gas emissions; geology and minerals; 
paleontological resources; soil, surface water and groundwater 
resources; vegetation, including weeds; range, including livestock 
grazing; fish and wildlife, including migratory birds and raptors; 
special status wildlife and plant species; cultural resources; land use 
and transportation; recreation; visual resources; special designations, 
including Pariette Wetlands ACEC, Lower Green River Corridor ACEC, and 
Suitable Lower Green River Wild and Scenic River; and social and 
economic resources, including environmental justice. Based on the 
impact analysis, on-site, landscape and compensatory conservation and 
mitigation actions have been identified for each alternative to achieve 
resource objectives.
    Also worth noting are changes between the draft and final EIS to 
the air quality section. In the Draft EIS BLM committed to conducting 
photochemical modeling post-ROD through the Air Resource Management 
Strategy modeling platform. However, that modeling platform became 
available shortly after the comment period on the Draft EIS closed, so 
that modeling was conducted for, and the results are included in, the 
Final EIS. Upon review of those modeling results, applicant-committed 
air quality mitigation measures were refined, and additional applicant- 
and BLM-committed measures to further reduce emissions from the MBPA 
were included in the Final EIS. This robust suite of measures was 
developed in consultation between Neufield, the BLM, EPA and the State 
of Utah. The robust measures will help minimize and mitigate impacts to 
important air resource values. These measures have been analyzed in the 
Final EIS and are within the range of alternative analyzed in the Draft 
EIS.
    All required consultations, including Endangered Species Act 
section 7 Consultation, National Historic Preservation Act section 106 
Consultation, and government-to-government consultation with interested 
Native American Tribes, have been completed. During the section 7 
Consultation for the Final EIS, many additional applicant- and agency-
committed mitigation measures, including a detailed Conservation, 
Restoration and Mitigation Strategy for the Pariette and Uinta Basin 
Hookless Cactus, were developed and incorporated into the Agency 
Preferred Alternative. This process is explained in greater detail in 
the Biological Opinion. The Biological Assessment, Biological Opinion, 
and additional mitigation measures and cactus strategy are all attached 
to the Final EIS as Appendix J.
    Since the publication of the Monument Butte Draft EIS, the Utah 
Greater Sage-Grouse Land Use Plan Amendment Record of Decision (ROD) 
has been issued. No Sagebrush Focal Areas, General Habitat Management 
Areas, or Priority Habitat Management Areas are present within the 
Monument Butte project boundary. Therefore, the BLM determined that the 
provisions of the Utah Greater Sage-Grouse Land Use Plan Amendment do 
not affect the MBPA.
    After the conclusion of Final EIS review period, the BLM will issue 
a ROD which will describe the selected alternative and any conditions 
of approval, including a mitigation strategy.
    The selected alternative will be conceptual only. Any well pads, 
roads, pipelines and other facilities and infrastructure that may be 
constructed in the future in the project area will be subject to an 
appropriate level of site-specific NEPA analysis prior to final 
approval.

    Authority:  40 CFR 1506.6, 40 CFR 1506.10.

Jenna Whitlock,
Acting State Director.
[FR Doc. 2016-15023 Filed 6-23-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4310-DQ-P