Notice of Availability of the Final Environmental Impact Statement and Proposed Land Use Plan Amendments for the Boardman to Hemingway Transmission Line Project, Oregon, 85632-85636 [2016-28691]

Download as PDF 85632 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 228 / Monday, November 28, 2016 / Notices DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [LLCON04000 L16100000.DT0000–17X] Notice of Availability of the Record of Decision for the Roan Plateau Planning Area Resource Management Plan Amendment and Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, Colorado Bureau of Land Management, Interior. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announces the availability of the Record of Decision (ROD) for the Approved Resource Management Plan (RMP) Amendment for the Roan Plateau planning area in Garfield and Rio Blanco Counties, Colorado. The BLM Director signed the ROD on November 16, 2016, which constitutes the final decision of the BLM and makes the Approved RMP effective immediately. ADDRESSES: Copies of the ROD/ Approved RMP Amendment are available upon request at the BLM Colorado River Valley Field Office, 2300 River Frontage Road, Silt, CO 81652; at the BLM White River Field Office, 220 East Market Street, Meeker, CO 81641; or via the Internet at https:// eplanning.blm.gov/epl-front-office/ eplanning/nepa/nepa_register.do. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Greg Larson, Project Manager, at 970–876– 9000; Colorado River Valley Field Office (see address above), or glarson@blm.gov. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Relay Service at 1–800–877– 8339 to contact the above individual during normal business hours. The Service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question with the above individual. You will receive a reply during normal business hours. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The planning area, which is in west-central Colorado, includes approximately 73,602 acres of land (Federal surface, Federal mineral estate, or both). It is located primarily in Garfield County with a small portion in southern Rio Blanco County. The Roan Plateau RMP Amendment amends the Glenwood Springs and White River RMPs to address resource management decisions within the planning area. The BLM prepared the Roan Plateau Proposed RMP Amendment/Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to evaluate a range of management mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 21:15 Nov 25, 2016 Jkt 241001 decisions for resources, resource uses, and special designations within the planning area, and to respond to a June 22, 2012, ruling by the United States District Court for the District of Colorado remanding the 2007 Roan Plateau RMP Amendment. The Court set aside the 2007 Roan Plateau RMP Amendment and remanded the matter to the BLM for further action in accordance with the Court’s decision. In particular, the Court found that the Final EIS supporting the 2007 Roan Plateau RMP Amendment was deficient insofar as it: (i) Failed to sufficiently address the ‘‘Community Alternative’’ that various local governments, environmental organizations and individual members of the public recommended; (ii) Failed to sufficiently address the cumulative air quality impacts of the 2007 RMP Amendment in conjunction with anticipated oil and gas development on private lands outside the Roan Plateau planning area; and (iii) Failed to adequately address the issue of potential ozone impacts from proposed oil and gas development. Based on the Court’s ruling and new information available since the BLM developed the 2007 Final EIS, the BLM determined that a new RMP Amendment and supplemental analysis under NEPA were warranted. Additionally, the parties involved in the litigation reached a settlement agreement in November 2014. In the settlement agreement, the BLM agreed to consider an alternative that included closing certain lands on top of the Roan Plateau to new oil and gas leasing while keeping other lands in the planning area open for leasing, exploration, and development subject to certain conditions. As part of the settlement agreement, the BLM cancelled 17 leases held by Bill Barrett Corporation. The Roan Plateau Approved RMP Amendment adopts the Settlement Alternative that was identified in the November 2014 settlement agreement. The Approved RMP Amendment contains management actions to meet desired resource conditions for fluid minerals management; social and economic impacts; riparian habitat; recreation; and air, water and ecological resources. The Approved RMP Amendment also addresses decisions regarding Wild and Scenic Rivers, Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, and lands with wilderness characteristics. Greater Sage-Grouse decisions in the Approved RMP Amendment are consistent with the Northwest Colorado Greater Sage-Grouse RMP Amendment ROD. The BLM’s Preferred Alternative (the Settlement Alternative) for the Draft PO 00000 Frm 00125 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 RMP Amendment/Draft Supplemental EIS was carried forward into the Proposed RMP Amendment/Final Supplemental EIS published on July 1, 2016. The BLM did not receive any protests on the Proposed RMP Amendment/Final Supplemental EIS and the Govenor did not identify any inconsistencies with State or local plans, policies or programs during the Governor’s consistency review. As a result, the BLM made only minor editorial modifications in preparing the Approved RMP Amendment. These modifications provide further clarification of some of the decisions, and are discussed in Section 1.3 of the Approved RMP Amendment/ROD. The Approved RMP Amendment/ROD also includes certain implementation decisions that are immediately appealable under 43 CFR part 4. These decisions involve the desgination of the following individual travel routes— TRR–IMP–01, TRR–IMP–02, and TRR– IMP–03. Any party adversely affected by these route designation decisions may appeal within 30 days of publication of this Notice of Availability pursuant to 43 CFR, part 4, subpart E. The appeal should state the specific route(s), as identified in Chapter 2 of the Approved RMP Amendment/ROD, on which the decision is being appealed. The appeal must be filed with the Colorado River Valley Field Manager at the above listed address. Please consult the appropriate regulations (43 CFR, part 4, subpart E) for further appeal requirements. Authority: 40 CFR 1506.6. Ruth Welch, BLM Colorado State Director. [FR Doc. 2016–28519 Filed 11–25–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–JB–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [LLORV00000. L51010000.ER0000. LVRWH09H0480. 16X.HAG 17–0026] Notice of Availability of the Final Environmental Impact Statement and Proposed Land Use Plan Amendments for the Boardman to Hemingway Transmission Line Project, Oregon Bureau of Land Management, Interior. ACTION: Notice. 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 SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\28NON1.SGM 28NON1 mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 228 / Monday, November 28, 2016 / Notices Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has prepared a Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and proposed Land Use Plan (LUP) Amendments for the Boardman to Hemingway Transmission Line Project (Project) and by this notice is announcing its availability. The Final EIS analyzes the potential environmental impacts of granting a right-of-way to Idaho Power Company to construct and operate a 300 mile long high-voltage alternating-current transmission line. DATES: A person who meets the conditions for protesting an LUP Amendment outlined in 43 CFR 1610.5– 2 and wishes to file a protest must file the protest within 30 days of the date that the Environmental Protection Agency publishes its Notice of Availability (NOA) in the Federal Register. The BLM will issue its Record of Decision (ROD) after any protests are resolved, but no earlier than 30 days after the Final EIS is available. ADDRESSES: Copies of the Final EIS and proposed LUP Amendments have been sent to Federal, Tribal, State, and local governments potentially affected by the proposed Project, to public libraries in the area, and to interested parties that previously requested a DVD copy. Copies of the Final EIS and Proposed LUP Amendments are also available for public inspection at the locations identified in the Supplementary Information section of this notice. Interested persons may also review the Final EIS and Proposed LUP Amendments and supporting documents on the internet at http:// www.boardmantohemingway.com/blm. All protests must be in writing and mailed to one of the following addresses: Regular Mail: Overnight Delivery: BLM Director (210), Attention: Protest Coordinator, P.O. Box 71383, Washington, DC 20024–1383 Overnight Delivery: BLM Director (210), Attention: Protest Coordinator, 20 M Street SE., Room 2134LM, Washington, DC 20003 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tamara Gertsch, National Project Manager, Bureau of Land Management, Vale District Office, P.O. Box 655, Vale, OR 97918; by telephone at 307–775– 6115; or email to comment@ boardmantohemingway.com. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at (800) 877–8339 to contact the above individual during normal business hours. The FRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question with the VerDate Sep<11>2014 21:15 Nov 25, 2016 Jkt 241001 above individual. You will receive a reply during normal business hours. For information about the United States Forest Services’ (USFS) involvement, contact Arlene Blumton, USFS Project Lead by telephone at 541– 962–8522; email: ablumton@fs.fed.us. The USFS will provide a mailing address in its Boardman to Hemingway NOA of the Final EIS and Proposed LUP Amendments and a draft USFS ROD to be published in the Federal Register at a later date. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Idaho Power Company filed a right-of-way (ROW) application with the BLM to construct, operate, and maintain the Project, which is an approximately 300mile-long (depending on the route selected) overhead, single-circuit, 500kilovolt (kV), alternating-current electric transmission line with additional ancillary facilities. The Project would connect at its northern terminus with the Longhorn Substation proposed by Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), approximately four miles northeast of the city of Boardman in Morrow County, Oregon, to the existing Hemingway Substation, near the city of Melba in Owyhee County, Idaho. When completed, the Project would provide additional electrical load capacity between the Pacific Northwest region and the Intermountain region of southwestern Idaho. The Project also would alleviate existing transmission constraints and ensure sufficient electrical capacity to meet present and forecasted customer needs as described in Idaho Power Company’s 2015 Integrated Resource Plan available online at https://www.idahopower.com/ AboutUs/PlanningForFuture/irp/2015. The requested right-of-way width is 250 feet for its entire length, except for a section about 7 miles long that will replace an existing 69kV transmission line, requiring a 90-foot-wide right-ofway within and parallel to the eastern boundary of the Naval Weapons Systems Training Facility (NWSTF) Boardman, as well as a 0.9-mile-long section that will require a 125-foot-wide right-of-way to relocate an existing 230kv transmission line. The Project would take approximately 2 to 3 years to construct and would consist of the following permanent facilities: • A single-circuit 500-kV electric transmission line (including structures and conductors, and other associated facilities) between the proposed Longhorn Substation and the existing Hemingway Substation; • Associated access roads and access control gates; PO 00000 Frm 00126 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 85633 • Communication regeneration sites every 40 miles; • Removal of approximately 15 miles of the existing Boardman to Tap 69-kV transmission line; and • The re-routing of 0.3 miles of the existing Quartz to Tap 230-kV transmission line. The BLM may issue a separate shortterm right-of-way grant for temporary facilities, including temporary access roads, and geotechnical investigation (also analyzed in the Final EIS) for a period of five years. Alternative routes considered in the Final EIS cross Federal, State, and private lands. Indian reservations are not crossed; however, lands of Native American concern are within the Project area. Under Title V of FLPMA, the BLM considers applications for ROWs on BLM-administered lands and must determine whether to grant, grant with modifications, or deny ROW applications. Title V of FLPMA also provides direction to the USFS in responding to applications for specialuse authorizations on lands it administers. The BLM is the designated lead Federal agency for preparing the EIS as defined at 40 CFR § 1501.5. The USFS is a cooperating agency because the proposed Project may require a special-use authorization across USFS lands. Additional cooperating agencies include Federal, State, and local agencies. In accordance with NEPA, the BLM prepared a Draft EIS for the ROW application for the proposed Project using an interdisciplinary approach in order to consider a variety of resource issues and concerns identified during internal, interagency and public scoping. An NOA for the Draft EIS for the Project was published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the Federal Register on December 19, 2014 (79 FR 75834), initiating a 90-day public comment period. The BLM also published an NOA for the Draft EIS on the same date (79 FR 78088). To allow the public an opportunity to review information associated with the proposed Project and comment on the Draft EIS, the BLM conducted openhouse meetings in January 2015 in Boardman, Pendleton, Le Grande, Baker City, Durkee, and Ontario, Oregon; and Marsing, Idaho. An online open house meeting was also available on the Project Web site from December 19, 2014, to March 19, 2015. During the comment period, the BLM received 382 submittals containing 3,750 comments from Federal, State, and local agencies; public and private organizations; and individuals. Principal issues identified E:\FR\FM\28NON1.SGM 28NON1 mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES 85634 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 228 / Monday, November 28, 2016 / Notices in the comments received by BLM included: • Mitigation; • Opposition to, or support for, specific route alignments; • Impacts on sensitive biological resources, including sage-grouse and special status plant species; • Impacts on the Oregon National Historic Trail (NHT) and other resources in the National Trail System; • Methods of analysis not clearly explained; and • Difficulty in comparing alternatives. The BLM incorporated the comments received on the Draft EIS, where appropriate, to clarify the analysis presented in the Final EIS. Based on comments received on the Draft EIS, the BLM made revisions to update the resource data used to analyze the alternatives in the EIS and added route variations in response to comments and input from cooperating agencies. Comments on the Draft EIS offered recommendations for routing options as variations of sections of the longer alternative routes. The BLM evaluated each route variation option and many of the routing options were carried forward as sections of alternative routes in the Final EIS; only a few were considered, but eliminated from detailed analysis in the Final EIS. Consistent with agency requirements, a systematic approach was used to compare alternatives by analyzing potential impacts and mitigation. The Final EIS organizes the alternatives into six segments that are based generally on similar geography, natural features, drainages, resources, and/or land uses. Each segment examines multiple alternative routes for those segments, and some of the alternative routes have one or more smaller localized variations. This effort evaluated 24 alternative routes and 40 variations totaling approximately 850 miles in detail, along with a No Action Alternative. Under the No Action Alternative, neither the BLM right-of-way nor the USFS special-use permit would be granted. As a result, the transmission line and ancillary facilities would not be constructed, and the BLM would not amend its land use plans. The Final EIS identifies the AgencyPreferred Alternative route, which is approximately 293 miles long. Approximately 34 miles (12 percent) of the Agency-Preferred Alternative route is located within designated utility corridors. The Agency-Preferred Alternative route is co-located with existing transmission lines and pipelines for a distance of approximately 90 miles (31 percent) of VerDate Sep<11>2014 21:15 Nov 25, 2016 Jkt 241001 the total length of 293 miles. The Agency-Preferred Alternative crosses approximately 100 miles of Federal land, 3 miles of State land, and 190 miles of private land. Although no Indian reservations are crossed, lands of Native American concern are within the Project area. Segment 1 of the Agency-Preferred Alternative begins in Oregon. There are a few small, isolated parcels of land administered by the BLM; however, the NWSTF Boardman is administered by the Navy. The route exits the proposed Longhorn Substation to the south, crossing the boundary of the NWSTF Boardman at the northeastern corner and parallels the eastern boundary of the NWSTF Boardman on the west side of Bombing Range Road for approximately 7 miles. At that point, the route crosses to the east side of Bombing Range Road, thereby avoiding the Resource Natural Area B, a Resource Management Area, and traditional cultural properties on the NWSTF Boardman. The route proceeds across Bombing Range Road for approximately 350 feet where the route intersects with and the parallels along the east side of Bombing Range Road to the south for approximately 3.6 miles before joining the Applicant’s Proposed Action Alternative. From there, the route heads south to join the southern route variation proposed by Morrow and Umatilla counties. The northern portion of the Agency-Preferred Alternative was developed through collaboration with the Navy and Morrow and Umatilla counties and: (1) Repurposes an existing use area currently occupied by the BPA 69-kV transmission line on the NWSTF Boardman (on the west side of and parallel to Bombing Range Road), (2) avoids airspace conflicts by complying with the Navy’s requested 100-foot height restriction for transmission lines along Bombing Range Road, (3) avoids and/or minimizes effects on areas planned for potential wind-farm development, and (4) minimizes effects on high-value agricultural lands. The Agency-Preferred Alternative may require mitigation of effects on Washington ground squirrel habitat, traditional cultural properties, and the Oregon NHT. Where the Agency-Preferred Alternative crosses Navy-administered land, the BLM has analyzed environmental impacts to allow the Navy to tier to the Final EIS in support of its decision whether to grant the necessary authorizations for the removal of the existing BPA 69-kV transmission line and for the construction, operation, and maintenance of the proposed 500- PO 00000 Frm 00127 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 kV transmission line across the 7 miles of military-withdrawn land. The BLM identified the east-west section of the southern route as the Agency-Preferred Alternative for a number of reasons. This route minimizes effects on areas of potential windfarm development and existing active agricultural lands, and avoids effects on the traditional cultural landscape (associated with the area to the north). In the southernmost portion of Segment 1, on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, the USFS identified its preference for use of the designated utility corridor, and endorsed the route as the USFS Agency-Preferred Alternative on the Forest. There are a few small, isolated parcels of BLMadministered lands in Segment 1. In Segment 2, no lands administered by the BLM are crossed. The AgencyPreferred Alternative route in Segment 2 is the a combination of Variation S2–A2 on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, the Glass Hill Alternative with Variation S2–D2, and Variation S2–F2 along the southern portion of Segment 2. The USFS’s preference on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest in this northern portion of the Segment 2 is to co-locate more closely with the existing 230-kV transmission line within the USFS-designated utility corridor to the extent practicable (Variation S2–A2). The intent is to minimize vegetation removal and surface disturbance by using the existing service roads associated with the existing 230-kV transmission line. Continuing on to the southeast, the Agency-Preferred Alternative route follows the Glass Hill Alternative using the Variation S2–D2 (recommended in comments on the Draft EIS). In the area of Glass Hill, this route does not parallel existing linear facilities, but is west of and the farthest from the City of La Grande, Oregon. This option ensures the route is farthest from associated land uses, cultural resources (primarily historic sites) and the Oregon NHT and associated sites. Also, the Glass Hill Alternative avoids some high-value soils (for potential agriculture). Use of Variation S2–D2 would also result in the avoidance of the high elevation (unique ecology) land on Cowboy Ridge, reducing potential visual resource impacts on the Morgan Lake recreation area. Along the southern portion of Segment 2, the agency preference is (1) to parallel the existing 230-kV transmission line (Variation S2–F2); (2) avoid potential effects on center-pivot and other irrigated agricultural land, and (3) reduce effects on greater sage- E:\FR\FM\28NON1.SGM 28NON1 mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 228 / Monday, November 28, 2016 / Notices grouse General Habitat, and reduce effects on the Oregon NHT. The Agency-Preferred Alternative in Segment 3 crosses interspersed private land and BLM-administered lands. In the northern portion of Segment 3, the Agency-Preferred Alternative is colocated to parallel more closely an existing 230-kV transmission line. This alternative route has been identified as the Agency-Preferred Alternative because the route (1) parallels existing linear facilities along its entire length (existing 230-kV line along the northern portion and existing 138-kV line along the southernmost portion of the variation), (2) avoids and/or minimizes effects on greater sage-grouse Priority Habitat, (3) avoids and/or minimizes effects on irrigated agriculture, (4) minimizes impacts on a large gravel operation, and (5) was recommended by and developed in collaboration with Baker County and other local stakeholders. From the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center (NHOTIC), the proposed transmission line would be collocated with the existing 230-kV transmission line and existing agricultural development west of the center. The BLM identified specific mitigation that would minimize visual impacts from the NHOTIC, including a requirement for weathered H-Frame construction. At the southern end of Segment 3, the Agency-Preferred Alternative parallels an existing 138-kV transmission line for much of its length, avoids irrigated agriculture, avoids greater sage-grouse Priority Habitat, and avoids the Straw Ranch 1 parcel of the Oregon Trail Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC). In addition, in the southern portion of Segment 3, the AgencyPreferred Alternative is a route-variation option developed in coordination with Baker County to reduce: Impacts on irrigated agriculture, impacts on greater sage-grouse General Habitat, the number of freeway crossings, and visual impacts on the Chimney Creek portion of the Oregon Trail ACEC. The Agency-Preferred Alternative in Segment 4 is a mix of private and Federal land-ownership. This alternative route parallels an existing 138-kV transmission line, and then parallels Interstate 84 to the area west of Farewell Bend. The northern portion of the Agency-Preferred Alternative is within both a West-wide Energy Corridor and BLM-designated utility corridor in the area of Farewell Bend. The alternative route then turns south then southwest to (1) avoid crossing most greater sage-grouse Priority Habitat and (2) and avoid an area of irrigated agriculture of particular concern to local VerDate Sep<11>2014 21:15 Nov 25, 2016 Jkt 241001 stakeholders. However, there would be impacts on a broad cultural landscape that includes important pre-contact and historic cultural resources extending from the Farewell Bend area to the south as well as cultural and recreational resources associated with the Oregon NHT. These impacts would be addressed as part of mitigation requirements for the project. The Agency-Preferred Alternative in Segment 5 crosses land administered by the BLM with some private land interspersed. The Agency-Preferred Alternative (1) uses a variation to avoid impacts on lands with wilderness characteristics in the Double Mountain area; (2) avoids impacts on an Owyhee River Below the Dam ACEC; (3) uses portions of the BLM-designated utility corridor along the southern portion of Segment 5; and (4) minimizes habitat fragmentation, impacts on cultural resources, and avoids impacts on an area of the Owyhee River determined by the BLM to be suitable for designation as a National Wild and Scenic River. The Agency-Preferred Alternative in Segment 6 consists of mixed Federal and private land ownership in the northwestern portion of the segment. The Agency-Preferred Alternative avoids crossing certain private lands at the request of Owyhee County where land-owner permission is required and has not been given. This route also provides more distance from a large cultural resource area known as Graveyard Point. Moving into Idaho, the Agency-Preferred Alternative uses the West-wide Energy Corridor on BLMadministered land to preserve space for future use of the corridor. The BLM has developed the Final EIS consistent with relevant laws, regulations, and policies, including those guiding agency decisions that may have an impact on resources and their values, services, and functions. The BLM also has considered in the Final EIS measures to mitigate the impacts and, if the BLM approves the ROW application, the BLM will apply the mitigation hierarchy (avoid; minimize; rectify, reduce, or eliminate over time; and compensate) as identified by the Council on Environmental Quality (40 CFR 1508.20) and recent policies on mitigation, including the Presidential Memorandum on Mitigation (Nov. 3, 2015), Secretary of the Interior’s Secretarial Order 3330 (Oct. 31, 2013), Department of the Interior’s Departmental Manual, 600 DM 6, and BLM’s Draft Manual 1794—‘‘Regional Mitigation.’’ The Project’s siting and design, required design features, Project, mitigation measures identified in the Final EIS, and all associated PO 00000 Frm 00128 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 85635 implementation plans have been developed in consideration of the full mitigation hierarchy to avoid, minimize, rectify, or reduce impacts over time, and last, to compensate for unavoidable impacts on important, scarce, or sensitive resources. The priority is to mitigate impacts at the site of the activity through impact avoidance, minimization, rectification, and reduction. If these types of mitigation measures are not sufficient to adequately address anticipated direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts, the BLM will require additional measures to address these impacts, including through compensatory mitigation where appropriate. Copies of the Final EIS are available for public inspection during normal business hours at the following locations in Oregon: • Baker County Planning Department, 1995 Third St., Baker City • Baker County Library, 2400 Resort St., Baker City • BLM-Baker Field Office, 3285 11th St., Baker City • Boardman City Library, 200 S. Main St., Boardman • Harney County Public Library, 80 W. D St., Burns • Grant County Planning Department, 201 S. Humboldt, Canyon City • BLM-Burns District Office, 28910 Hwy 20 W., Hines • Hermiston Public Library, 235 E. Gladys Avenue, Hermiston • Morrow County Planning Department, 205 NE. Third St., Irrigon • Grant County Library, 507 S. Canyon Blvd., John Day • La Grande Public Library, 2006 Fourth St., La Grande • Union County Planning Department, 1001 4th St., Suite C, La Grande • USFS-Wallowa Whitman National Forest Office, La Grande Ranger District, 3502 Highway 30, La Grande • USFS-Wallowa Whitman National Forest, 1550 Dewey Ave, Baker City • Pendleton Public Library, 502 S.W. Dorion Ave., Pendleton • Umatilla County Planning Department, 216 SE. Fourth St., Pendleton • BLM-Prineville District Office, 3050 NE. 3rd St., Prineville • Ontario Library, 388 S.W. Second Ave., Ontario • BLM-Vale District Office, 100 Oregon St., Vale • Malheur County Planning Department, 251 B St. W., Vale • Oregon Department of Energy, 625 Marion St. NE., Salem • North Powder City Library, 290 East Street, North Powder E:\FR\FM\28NON1.SGM 28NON1 mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES 85636 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 228 / Monday, November 28, 2016 / Notices Copies of the Final EIS are available for public inspection during normal business hours at the following locations in Idaho: • BLM-Boise District Office, 3948 Development Ave., Boise • Boise Public Library, 715 S. Capitol Blvd., Boise • BLM-Owyhee Field Office, 20 1st Ave. W., Marsing • Owyhee County Planning Department, 17069 Basey St., Murphy • Nampa Public Library, 101 11th Ave. S., Nampa • Lizard Butte Library, 111 S 3rd Ave. W., Marsing Agency Decisions on the Proposed Project: Based on the environmental analysis in the Final EIS, the BLM Oregon/Washington State Director will decide whether to grant, grant with modifications, or deny the application for a ROW across BLM-managed lands based on the Agency-Preferred Alternative, another alternative route, or any combination of routes analyzed. The USFS will issue a separate ROD specific to its decision whether or not to issue a Special Use Permit for the portions of the Project that cross National Forest System lands. Depending on the route selected, the Navy and the Bureau of Reclamation also may need to issue decisions on the Project and adopt the Final EIS. BLM Land Use Plan Amendments and the Protest Process: Depending on the route alternative, the BLM would need to issue a decision to amend LUPs where the portions of the proposed Project crossing BLM-administered lands would not conform to the respective land use plan pursuant to 43 CFR 1610.3–2, 1610.5–5. The BLM has analyzed the environmental impacts of the proposed BLM LUP amendments in the Final EIS. Instances where the Project is not in conformance with applicable land-use plans or objectives include BLM visual resource management (VRM) classifications as explained in the Final EIS. In connection with the Agency-Preferred Alternative, the BLM is proposing three LUP amendments. All proposed LUP Amendments comply with applicable Federal laws and regulations and would apply only to Federal lands and mineral estate administered by the BLM. • BLM Baker RMP: o In Segment 3, the 250-feet-wide right-of-way for the Project in VRM Class II lands in Burnt River Canyon (23 acres) would be modified from Class II to Class IV. • BLM SEORMP—Segment 3 Æ In Segment 3, the 250-feet-wide right-of-way for the Project in VRM VerDate Sep<11>2014 21:15 Nov 25, 2016 Jkt 241001 Class III lands in the vicinity of the National Historic Oregon Trail ACEC (51 acres) would be modified from Class III to Class IV. Æ In Segment 5, the 250-feet-wide right-of-way in VRM Class II lands outside and north of the Owyhee River Below the Dam ACEC (20 acres) would be amended from Class II to Class IV. Instructions for filing a protest with the Director regarding the proposed BLM LUP Amendments can be found in the ‘‘Dear Reader’’ letter of the Final EIS, available at http:// www.boardmantohemingway.com/blm and at 43 CFR 1610.5–2. All protests must be in writing and mailed to the appropriate address, as set forth in the ADDRESSES section. Emailed protests will not be accepted as valid protests unless the protesting party also provides the original by regular mail or overnight delivery postmarked by the close of the protest period. Under these conditions, the BLM will consider the email an advance copy and it will receive full consideration. If you wish to provide the BLM with such advance notification, please direct emails to protest@blm.gov. USFS Land Use Plan Amendments. Depending on the route alternative selected, LUP Amendments proposed by the USFS are needed for the portions of the Project crossing USFS-administered lands that do not conform to the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan (LRMP). For the Agency PreferredAlternative, instances where the Project is not in conformance with applicable LRMP standards and guidelines include USFS visual quality objectives; LRMP direction for Eastside Screens; and LRMP direction for managing anadromous fish-producing watersheds (direction commonly known as PACFISH) and fish-producing watersheds (direction commonly known as INFISH). For the Agency-Preferred Alternative, the aspects of the Project that do not conform to current USFS LRMP management direction include: • VQOs crossed by the 250-feet-wide right-of-way for the Project on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest will be modified from the current objective class (Modified, Partial Retention and Retention) to Maximum Modification. • LRMP direction for Eastside Screens will be amended to allow sale of timber associated with the Project to proceed without characterizing patterns of stand structure and comparing to the Historic Range of Variability, as required by the Interim Ecosystem Standards (Scenario A). Associated wildlife standards also would be amended for the Project. PO 00000 Frm 00129 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 • LRMP direction for managing PACFISH and INFISH will be amended to allow timber harvest in riparian habitat conservation areas (associated with Project) and allow issuance of a special-use authorization for the Project. The USFS will a provide a final evaluation of LRMP compliance in a separate NOA for the Final EIS, Proposed LUP Amendments, and draft USFS ROD, to be issued later date. The BLM has used and coordinated the NEPA comment process to satisfy the public involvement process for Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (54 U.S.C. 306108), as provided for in 36 CFR 800.2(d)(3). Ongoing consultations with American Indian tribal governments will continue in accordance with policy; and tribal concerns, including impacts on Indian trust assets, will be given due consideration. Federal, State, and local agencies, along with other stakeholders that may be interested or affected by the BLM’s decision on this proposed Project, were invited to participate. Before including your phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your protest, you should be aware that your entire protest—including personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you may ask the BLM in your protest to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Sally J. Sovey, Acting State Director, Oregon/Washington. [FR Doc. 2016–28691 Filed 11–25–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–33–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR National Park Service [NPS–WASO–NAGPRA–22336; PPWOCRADN0–PCU00RP14.R50000] Notice of Intent To Repatriate Cultural Items: Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University, New Haven, CT National Park Service, Interior. Notice. AGENCY: ACTION: The Peabody Museum of Natural History, in consultation with the appropriate Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations, has determined that the cultural items listed in this notice meet the definition of unassociated funerary objects, sacred objects, and/or objects of cultural patrimony. Lineal descendants or representatives of any Indian tribe or SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\28NON1.SGM 28NON1

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[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 228 (Monday, November 28, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 85632-85636]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-28691]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Bureau of Land Management

[LLORV00000. L51010000.ER0000. LVRWH09H0480. 16X.HAG 17-0026]


Notice of Availability of the Final Environmental Impact 
Statement and Proposed Land Use Plan Amendments for the Boardman to 
Hemingway Transmission Line Project, Oregon

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.

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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

[[Page 85633]]

Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has prepared a Final Environmental 
Impact Statement (EIS) and proposed Land Use Plan (LUP) Amendments for 
the Boardman to Hemingway Transmission Line Project (Project) and by 
this notice is announcing its availability. The Final EIS analyzes the 
potential environmental impacts of granting a right-of-way to Idaho 
Power Company to construct and operate a 300 mile long high-voltage 
alternating-current transmission line.

DATES: A person who meets the conditions for protesting an LUP 
Amendment outlined in 43 CFR 1610.5-2 and wishes to file a protest must 
file the protest within 30 days of the date that the Environmental 
Protection Agency publishes its Notice of Availability (NOA) in the 
Federal Register. The BLM will issue its Record of Decision (ROD) after 
any protests are resolved, but no earlier than 30 days after the Final 
EIS is available.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the Final EIS and proposed LUP Amendments have 
been sent to Federal, Tribal, State, and local governments potentially 
affected by the proposed Project, to public libraries in the area, and 
to interested parties that previously requested a DVD copy. Copies of 
the Final EIS and Proposed LUP Amendments are also available for public 
inspection at the locations identified in the Supplementary Information 
section of this notice. Interested persons may also review the Final 
EIS and Proposed LUP Amendments and supporting documents on the 
internet at http://www.boardmantohemingway.com/blm.
    All protests must be in writing and mailed to one of the following 
addresses:

Regular Mail: Overnight Delivery: BLM Director (210), Attention: 
Protest Coordinator, P.O. Box 71383, Washington, DC 20024-1383
Overnight Delivery: BLM Director (210), Attention: Protest Coordinator, 
20 M Street SE., Room 2134LM, Washington, DC 20003

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tamara Gertsch, National Project 
Manager, Bureau of Land Management, Vale District Office, P.O. Box 655, 
Vale, OR 97918; by telephone at 307-775-6115; or email to 
comment@boardmantohemingway.com. Persons who use a telecommunications 
device for the deaf may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at (800) 
877-8339 to contact the above individual during normal business hours. 
The FRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message 
or question with the above individual. You will receive a reply during 
normal business hours.
    For information about the United States Forest Services' (USFS) 
involvement, contact Arlene Blumton, USFS Project Lead by telephone at 
541-962-8522; email: ablumton@fs.fed.us. The USFS will provide a 
mailing address in its Boardman to Hemingway NOA of the Final EIS and 
Proposed LUP Amendments and a draft USFS ROD to be published in the 
Federal Register at a later date.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Idaho Power Company filed a right-of-way 
(ROW) application with the BLM to construct, operate, and maintain the 
Project, which is an approximately 300-mile-long (depending on the 
route selected) overhead, single-circuit, 500-kilovolt (kV), 
alternating-current electric transmission line with additional 
ancillary facilities. The Project would connect at its northern 
terminus with the Longhorn Substation proposed by Bonneville Power 
Administration (BPA), approximately four miles northeast of the city of 
Boardman in Morrow County, Oregon, to the existing Hemingway 
Substation, near the city of Melba in Owyhee County, Idaho. When 
completed, the Project would provide additional electrical load 
capacity between the Pacific Northwest region and the Intermountain 
region of southwestern Idaho. The Project also would alleviate existing 
transmission constraints and ensure sufficient electrical capacity to 
meet present and forecasted customer needs as described in Idaho Power 
Company's 2015 Integrated Resource Plan available online at https://www.idahopower.com/AboutUs/PlanningForFuture/irp/2015.
    The requested right-of-way width is 250 feet for its entire length, 
except for a section about 7 miles long that will replace an existing 
69kV transmission line, requiring a 90-foot-wide right-of-way within 
and parallel to the eastern boundary of the Naval Weapons Systems 
Training Facility (NWSTF) Boardman, as well as a 0.9-mile-long section 
that will require a 125-foot-wide right-of-way to relocate an existing 
230-kv transmission line.
    The Project would take approximately 2 to 3 years to construct and 
would consist of the following permanent facilities:
     A single-circuit 500-kV electric transmission line 
(including structures and conductors, and other associated facilities) 
between the proposed Longhorn Substation and the existing Hemingway 
Substation;
     Associated access roads and access control gates;
     Communication regeneration sites every 40 miles;
     Removal of approximately 15 miles of the existing Boardman 
to Tap 69-kV transmission line; and
     The re-routing of 0.3 miles of the existing Quartz to Tap 
230-kV transmission line.
    The BLM may issue a separate short-term right-of-way grant for 
temporary facilities, including temporary access roads, and 
geotechnical investigation (also analyzed in the Final EIS) for a 
period of five years.
    Alternative routes considered in the Final EIS cross Federal, 
State, and private lands. Indian reservations are not crossed; however, 
lands of Native American concern are within the Project area.
    Under Title V of FLPMA, the BLM considers applications for ROWs on 
BLM-administered lands and must determine whether to grant, grant with 
modifications, or deny ROW applications. Title V of FLPMA also provides 
direction to the USFS in responding to applications for special-use 
authorizations on lands it administers. The BLM is the designated lead 
Federal agency for preparing the EIS as defined at 40 CFR Sec.  1501.5. 
The USFS is a cooperating agency because the proposed Project may 
require a special-use authorization across USFS lands. Additional 
cooperating agencies include Federal, State, and local agencies.
    In accordance with NEPA, the BLM prepared a Draft EIS for the ROW 
application for the proposed Project using an interdisciplinary 
approach in order to consider a variety of resource issues and concerns 
identified during internal, interagency and public scoping. An NOA for 
the Draft EIS for the Project was published by the U.S. Environmental 
Protection Agency in the Federal Register on December 19, 2014 (79 FR 
75834), initiating a 90-day public comment period. The BLM also 
published an NOA for the Draft EIS on the same date (79 FR 78088). To 
allow the public an opportunity to review information associated with 
the proposed Project and comment on the Draft EIS, the BLM conducted 
open-house meetings in January 2015 in Boardman, Pendleton, Le Grande, 
Baker City, Durkee, and Ontario, Oregon; and Marsing, Idaho. An online 
open house meeting was also available on the Project Web site from 
December 19, 2014, to March 19, 2015. During the comment period, the 
BLM received 382 submittals containing 3,750 comments from Federal, 
State, and local agencies; public and private organizations; and 
individuals. Principal issues identified

[[Page 85634]]

in the comments received by BLM included:
     Mitigation;
     Opposition to, or support for, specific route alignments;
     Impacts on sensitive biological resources, including sage-
grouse and special status plant species;
     Impacts on the Oregon National Historic Trail (NHT) and 
other resources in the National Trail System;
     Methods of analysis not clearly explained; and
     Difficulty in comparing alternatives.
    The BLM incorporated the comments received on the Draft EIS, where 
appropriate, to clarify the analysis presented in the Final EIS. Based 
on comments received on the Draft EIS, the BLM made revisions to update 
the resource data used to analyze the alternatives in the EIS and added 
route variations in response to comments and input from cooperating 
agencies. Comments on the Draft EIS offered recommendations for routing 
options as variations of sections of the longer alternative routes. The 
BLM evaluated each route variation option and many of the routing 
options were carried forward as sections of alternative routes in the 
Final EIS; only a few were considered, but eliminated from detailed 
analysis in the Final EIS. Consistent with agency requirements, a 
systematic approach was used to compare alternatives by analyzing 
potential impacts and mitigation.
    The Final EIS organizes the alternatives into six segments that are 
based generally on similar geography, natural features, drainages, 
resources, and/or land uses. Each segment examines multiple alternative 
routes for those segments, and some of the alternative routes have one 
or more smaller localized variations. This effort evaluated 24 
alternative routes and 40 variations totaling approximately 850 miles 
in detail, along with a No Action Alternative.
    Under the No Action Alternative, neither the BLM right-of-way nor 
the USFS special-use permit would be granted. As a result, the 
transmission line and ancillary facilities would not be constructed, 
and the BLM would not amend its land use plans.
    The Final EIS identifies the Agency-Preferred Alternative route, 
which is approximately 293 miles long. Approximately 34 miles (12 
percent) of the Agency-Preferred Alternative route is located within 
designated utility corridors. The Agency-Preferred Alternative route is 
co-located with existing transmission lines and pipelines for a 
distance of approximately 90 miles (31 percent) of the total length of 
293 miles. The Agency-Preferred Alternative crosses approximately 100 
miles of Federal land, 3 miles of State land, and 190 miles of private 
land. Although no Indian reservations are crossed, lands of Native 
American concern are within the Project area.
    Segment 1 of the Agency-Preferred Alternative begins in Oregon. 
There are a few small, isolated parcels of land administered by the 
BLM; however, the NWSTF Boardman is administered by the Navy. The route 
exits the proposed Longhorn Substation to the south, crossing the 
boundary of the NWSTF Boardman at the northeastern corner and parallels 
the eastern boundary of the NWSTF Boardman on the west side of Bombing 
Range Road for approximately 7 miles. At that point, the route crosses 
to the east side of Bombing Range Road, thereby avoiding the Resource 
Natural Area B, a Resource Management Area, and traditional cultural 
properties on the NWSTF Boardman. The route proceeds across Bombing 
Range Road for approximately 350 feet where the route intersects with 
and the parallels along the east side of Bombing Range Road to the 
south for approximately 3.6 miles before joining the Applicant's 
Proposed Action Alternative. From there, the route heads south to join 
the southern route variation proposed by Morrow and Umatilla counties. 
The northern portion of the Agency-Preferred Alternative was developed 
through collaboration with the Navy and Morrow and Umatilla counties 
and: (1) Repurposes an existing use area currently occupied by the BPA 
69-kV transmission line on the NWSTF Boardman (on the west side of and 
parallel to Bombing Range Road), (2) avoids airspace conflicts by 
complying with the Navy's requested 100-foot height restriction for 
transmission lines along Bombing Range Road, (3) avoids and/or 
minimizes effects on areas planned for potential wind-farm development, 
and (4) minimizes effects on high-value agricultural lands. The Agency-
Preferred Alternative may require mitigation of effects on Washington 
ground squirrel habitat, traditional cultural properties, and the 
Oregon NHT.
    Where the Agency-Preferred Alternative crosses Navy-administered 
land, the BLM has analyzed environmental impacts to allow the Navy to 
tier to the Final EIS in support of its decision whether to grant the 
necessary authorizations for the removal of the existing BPA 69-kV 
transmission line and for the construction, operation, and maintenance 
of the proposed 500-kV transmission line across the 7 miles of 
military-withdrawn land.
    The BLM identified the east-west section of the southern route as 
the Agency-Preferred Alternative for a number of reasons. This route 
minimizes effects on areas of potential windfarm development and 
existing active agricultural lands, and avoids effects on the 
traditional cultural landscape (associated with the area to the north). 
In the southernmost portion of Segment 1, on the Wallowa-Whitman 
National Forest, the USFS identified its preference for use of the 
designated utility corridor, and endorsed the route as the USFS Agency-
Preferred Alternative on the Forest. There are a few small, isolated 
parcels of BLM-administered lands in Segment 1.
    In Segment 2, no lands administered by the BLM are crossed. The 
Agency-Preferred Alternative route in Segment 2 is the a combination of 
Variation S2-A2 on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, the Glass Hill 
Alternative with Variation S2-D2, and Variation S2-F2 along the 
southern portion of Segment 2. The USFS's preference on the Wallowa-
Whitman National Forest in this northern portion of the Segment 2 is to 
co-locate more closely with the existing 230-kV transmission line 
within the USFS-designated utility corridor to the extent practicable 
(Variation S2-A2). The intent is to minimize vegetation removal and 
surface disturbance by using the existing service roads associated with 
the existing 230-kV transmission line. Continuing on to the southeast, 
the Agency-Preferred Alternative route follows the Glass Hill 
Alternative using the Variation S2-D2 (recommended in comments on the 
Draft EIS). In the area of Glass Hill, this route does not parallel 
existing linear facilities, but is west of and the farthest from the 
City of La Grande, Oregon. This option ensures the route is farthest 
from associated land uses, cultural resources (primarily historic 
sites) and the Oregon NHT and associated sites. Also, the Glass Hill 
Alternative avoids some high-value soils (for potential agriculture). 
Use of Variation S2-D2 would also result in the avoidance of the high 
elevation (unique ecology) land on Cowboy Ridge, reducing potential 
visual resource impacts on the Morgan Lake recreation area.
    Along the southern portion of Segment 2, the agency preference is 
(1) to parallel the existing 230-kV transmission line (Variation S2-
F2); (2) avoid potential effects on center-pivot and other irrigated 
agricultural land, and (3) reduce effects on greater sage-

[[Page 85635]]

grouse General Habitat, and reduce effects on the Oregon NHT.
    The Agency-Preferred Alternative in Segment 3 crosses interspersed 
private land and BLM-administered lands. In the northern portion of 
Segment 3, the Agency-Preferred Alternative is co-located to parallel 
more closely an existing 230-kV transmission line. This alternative 
route has been identified as the Agency-Preferred Alternative because 
the route (1) parallels existing linear facilities along its entire 
length (existing 230-kV line along the northern portion and existing 
138-kV line along the southernmost portion of the variation), (2) 
avoids and/or minimizes effects on greater sage-grouse Priority 
Habitat, (3) avoids and/or minimizes effects on irrigated agriculture, 
(4) minimizes impacts on a large gravel operation, and (5) was 
recommended by and developed in collaboration with Baker County and 
other local stakeholders. From the National Historic Oregon Trail 
Interpretive Center (NHOTIC), the proposed transmission line would be 
collocated with the existing 230-kV transmission line and existing 
agricultural development west of the center. The BLM identified 
specific mitigation that would minimize visual impacts from the NHOTIC, 
including a requirement for weathered H-Frame construction.
    At the southern end of Segment 3, the Agency-Preferred Alternative 
parallels an existing 138-kV transmission line for much of its length, 
avoids irrigated agriculture, avoids greater sage-grouse Priority 
Habitat, and avoids the Straw Ranch 1 parcel of the Oregon Trail Area 
of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC). In addition, in the southern 
portion of Segment 3, the Agency-Preferred Alternative is a route-
variation option developed in coordination with Baker County to reduce: 
Impacts on irrigated agriculture, impacts on greater sage-grouse 
General Habitat, the number of freeway crossings, and visual impacts on 
the Chimney Creek portion of the Oregon Trail ACEC.
    The Agency-Preferred Alternative in Segment 4 is a mix of private 
and Federal land-ownership. This alternative route parallels an 
existing 138-kV transmission line, and then parallels Interstate 84 to 
the area west of Farewell Bend. The northern portion of the Agency-
Preferred Alternative is within both a West-wide Energy Corridor and 
BLM-designated utility corridor in the area of Farewell Bend. The 
alternative route then turns south then southwest to (1) avoid crossing 
most greater sage-grouse Priority Habitat and (2) and avoid an area of 
irrigated agriculture of particular concern to local stakeholders. 
However, there would be impacts on a broad cultural landscape that 
includes important pre-contact and historic cultural resources 
extending from the Farewell Bend area to the south as well as cultural 
and recreational resources associated with the Oregon NHT. These 
impacts would be addressed as part of mitigation requirements for the 
project.
    The Agency-Preferred Alternative in Segment 5 crosses land 
administered by the BLM with some private land interspersed. The 
Agency-Preferred Alternative (1) uses a variation to avoid impacts on 
lands with wilderness characteristics in the Double Mountain area; (2) 
avoids impacts on an Owyhee River Below the Dam ACEC; (3) uses portions 
of the BLM-designated utility corridor along the southern portion of 
Segment 5; and (4) minimizes habitat fragmentation, impacts on cultural 
resources, and avoids impacts on an area of the Owyhee River determined 
by the BLM to be suitable for designation as a National Wild and Scenic 
River.
    The Agency-Preferred Alternative in Segment 6 consists of mixed 
Federal and private land ownership in the northwestern portion of the 
segment. The Agency-Preferred Alternative avoids crossing certain 
private lands at the request of Owyhee County where land-owner 
permission is required and has not been given. This route also provides 
more distance from a large cultural resource area known as Graveyard 
Point. Moving into Idaho, the Agency-Preferred Alternative uses the 
West-wide Energy Corridor on BLM-administered land to preserve space 
for future use of the corridor.
    The BLM has developed the Final EIS consistent with relevant laws, 
regulations, and policies, including those guiding agency decisions 
that may have an impact on resources and their values, services, and 
functions. The BLM also has considered in the Final EIS measures to 
mitigate the impacts and, if the BLM approves the ROW application, the 
BLM will apply the mitigation hierarchy (avoid; minimize; rectify, 
reduce, or eliminate over time; and compensate) as identified by the 
Council on Environmental Quality (40 CFR 1508.20) and recent policies 
on mitigation, including the Presidential Memorandum on Mitigation 
(Nov. 3, 2015), Secretary of the Interior's Secretarial Order 3330 
(Oct. 31, 2013), Department of the Interior's Departmental Manual, 600 
DM 6, and BLM's Draft Manual 1794--``Regional Mitigation.'' The 
Project's siting and design, required design features, Project, 
mitigation measures identified in the Final EIS, and all associated 
implementation plans have been developed in consideration of the full 
mitigation hierarchy to avoid, minimize, rectify, or reduce impacts 
over time, and last, to compensate for unavoidable impacts on 
important, scarce, or sensitive resources. The priority is to mitigate 
impacts at the site of the activity through impact avoidance, 
minimization, rectification, and reduction. If these types of 
mitigation measures are not sufficient to adequately address 
anticipated direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts, the BLM will 
require additional measures to address these impacts, including through 
compensatory mitigation where appropriate.
    Copies of the Final EIS are available for public inspection during 
normal business hours at the following locations in Oregon:

 Baker County Planning Department, 1995 Third St., Baker City
 Baker County Library, 2400 Resort St., Baker City
 BLM-Baker Field Office, 3285 11th St., Baker City
 Boardman City Library, 200 S. Main St., Boardman
 Harney County Public Library, 80 W. D St., Burns
 Grant County Planning Department, 201 S. Humboldt, Canyon City
 BLM-Burns District Office, 28910 Hwy 20 W., Hines
 Hermiston Public Library, 235 E. Gladys Avenue, Hermiston
 Morrow County Planning Department, 205 NE. Third St., Irrigon
 Grant County Library, 507 S. Canyon Blvd., John Day
 La Grande Public Library, 2006 Fourth St., La Grande
 Union County Planning Department, 1001 4th St., Suite C, La 
Grande
 USFS-Wallowa Whitman National Forest Office, La Grande Ranger 
District, 3502 Highway 30, La Grande
 USFS-Wallowa Whitman National Forest, 1550 Dewey Ave, Baker 
City
 Pendleton Public Library, 502 S.W. Dorion Ave., Pendleton
 Umatilla County Planning Department, 216 SE. Fourth St., 
Pendleton
 BLM-Prineville District Office, 3050 NE. 3rd St., Prineville
 Ontario Library, 388 S.W. Second Ave., Ontario
 BLM-Vale District Office, 100 Oregon St., Vale
 Malheur County Planning Department, 251 B St. W., Vale
 Oregon Department of Energy, 625 Marion St. NE., Salem
 North Powder City Library, 290 East Street, North Powder


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Copies of the Final EIS are available for public inspection during 
normal business hours at the following locations in Idaho:

 BLM-Boise District Office, 3948 Development Ave., Boise
 Boise Public Library, 715 S. Capitol Blvd., Boise
 BLM-Owyhee Field Office, 20 1st Ave. W., Marsing
 Owyhee County Planning Department, 17069 Basey St., Murphy
 Nampa Public Library, 101 11th Ave. S., Nampa
 Lizard Butte Library, 111 S 3rd Ave. W., Marsing

    Agency Decisions on the Proposed Project: Based on the 
environmental analysis in the Final EIS, the BLM Oregon/Washington 
State Director will decide whether to grant, grant with modifications, 
or deny the application for a ROW across BLM-managed lands based on the 
Agency-Preferred Alternative, another alternative route, or any 
combination of routes analyzed. The USFS will issue a separate ROD 
specific to its decision whether or not to issue a Special Use Permit 
for the portions of the Project that cross National Forest System 
lands. Depending on the route selected, the Navy and the Bureau of 
Reclamation also may need to issue decisions on the Project and adopt 
the Final EIS.
    BLM Land Use Plan Amendments and the Protest Process: Depending on 
the route alternative, the BLM would need to issue a decision to amend 
LUPs where the portions of the proposed Project crossing BLM-
administered lands would not conform to the respective land use plan 
pursuant to 43 CFR 1610.3-2, 1610.5-5. The BLM has analyzed the 
environmental impacts of the proposed BLM LUP amendments in the Final 
EIS. Instances where the Project is not in conformance with applicable 
land-use plans or objectives include BLM visual resource management 
(VRM) classifications as explained in the Final EIS. In connection with 
the Agency-Preferred Alternative, the BLM is proposing three LUP 
amendments. All proposed LUP Amendments comply with applicable Federal 
laws and regulations and would apply only to Federal lands and mineral 
estate administered by the BLM.
     BLM Baker RMP:
    o In Segment 3, the 250-feet-wide right-of-way for the Project in 
VRM Class II lands in Burnt River Canyon (23 acres) would be modified 
from Class II to Class IV.
     BLM SEORMP--Segment 3
    [cir] In Segment 3, the 250-feet-wide right-of-way for the Project 
in VRM Class III lands in the vicinity of the National Historic Oregon 
Trail ACEC (51 acres) would be modified from Class III to Class IV.
    [cir] In Segment 5, the 250-feet-wide right-of-way in VRM Class II 
lands outside and north of the Owyhee River Below the Dam ACEC (20 
acres) would be amended from Class II to Class IV.
    Instructions for filing a protest with the Director regarding the 
proposed BLM LUP Amendments can be found in the ``Dear Reader'' letter 
of the Final EIS, available at http://www.boardmantohemingway.com/blm 
and at 43 CFR 1610.5-2. All protests must be in writing and mailed to 
the appropriate address, as set forth in the ADDRESSES section. Emailed 
protests will not be accepted as valid protests unless the protesting 
party also provides the original by regular mail or overnight delivery 
postmarked by the close of the protest period. Under these conditions, 
the BLM will consider the email an advance copy and it will receive 
full consideration. If you wish to provide the BLM with such advance 
notification, please direct emails to protest@blm.gov.
    USFS Land Use Plan Amendments. Depending on the route alternative 
selected, LUP Amendments proposed by the USFS are needed for the 
portions of the Project crossing USFS-administered lands that do not 
conform to the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest Land and Resource 
Management Plan (LRMP). For the Agency Preferred-Alternative, instances 
where the Project is not in conformance with applicable LRMP standards 
and guidelines include USFS visual quality objectives; LRMP direction 
for Eastside Screens; and LRMP direction for managing anadromous fish-
producing watersheds (direction commonly known as PACFISH) and fish-
producing watersheds (direction commonly known as INFISH). For the 
Agency-Preferred Alternative, the aspects of the Project that do not 
conform to current USFS LRMP management direction include:

     VQOs crossed by the 250-feet-wide right-of-way for the 
Project on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest will be modified from 
the current objective class (Modified, Partial Retention and Retention) 
to Maximum Modification.
     LRMP direction for Eastside Screens will be amended to 
allow sale of timber associated with the Project to proceed without 
characterizing patterns of stand structure and comparing to the 
Historic Range of Variability, as required by the Interim Ecosystem 
Standards (Scenario A). Associated wildlife standards also would be 
amended for the Project.
     LRMP direction for managing PACFISH and INFISH will be 
amended to allow timber harvest in riparian habitat conservation areas 
(associated with Project) and allow issuance of a special-use 
authorization for the Project.

The USFS will a provide a final evaluation of LRMP compliance in a 
separate NOA for the Final EIS, Proposed LUP Amendments, and draft USFS 
ROD, to be issued later date. The BLM has used and coordinated the NEPA 
comment process to satisfy the public involvement process for Section 
106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (54 U.S.C. 306108), as 
provided for in 36 CFR 800.2(d)(3). Ongoing consultations with American 
Indian tribal governments will continue in accordance with policy; and 
tribal concerns, including impacts on Indian trust assets, will be 
given due consideration. Federal, State, and local agencies, along with 
other stakeholders that may be interested or affected by the BLM's 
decision on this proposed Project, were invited to participate.
    Before including your phone number, email address, or other 
personal identifying information in your protest, you should be aware 
that your entire protest--including personal identifying information--
may be made publicly available at any time. While you may ask the BLM 
in your protest to withhold your personal identifying information from 
public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

Sally J. Sovey,
Acting State Director, Oregon/Washington.
[FR Doc. 2016-28691 Filed 11-25-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4310-33-P