Notice of Availability of the Record of Decision for the TransWest Express Transmission Project in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and Nevada, 91189-91191 [2016-30345]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 242 / Friday, December 16, 2016 / Notices afforded in connection with the withdrawal extension application. All interested parties who desire a public meeting for the purpose of being heard on the withdrawal extension application must submit a written request to the BLM State Director at the address indicated above by March 16, 2017. Upon determination by the authorized officer that a public meeting will be held, a notice of the time and place will be published in the Federal Register and a local newspaper at least 30 days before the scheduled date of the meeting. This extension will be processed in accordance with 43 CFR 2310.4. Steve Storo, Acting Chief, Branch of Land, Mineral, and Energy Resources. [FR Doc. 2016–30317 Filed 12–15–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3411–15–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [LLWY920000/L51010000.ER0000.16X/ LVRWK09K1160/241A; WYW–177893, WYW–177893–01; COC–72929, COC–72929– 01; UTU–87238, UTU–87238–01; NVN– 86732, NVN–86732–01] Notice of Availability of the Record of Decision for the TransWest Express Transmission Project in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and Nevada Bureau of Land Management, Department of the Interior. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announces the availability of the Record of Decision (ROD) approving the TransWest Express 600-kilovolt (kV) Direct Current Transmission Project (Project) right-of-way in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada and associated amendments to the Rawlins Field Office (FO) Resource Management Plan (RMP) in Wyoming, the Little Snake FO RMP in Colorado, the Vernal FO and Pony Express RMPs in Utah, and the Ely District RMP in Nevada. ADDRESSES: Copies of the ROD are being sent to Federal, State and local governments, public libraries in the Project area, and interested parties who previously requested a copy. Copies of the ROD and support documents are also available for public inspection at the locations identified in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this notice and electronically on the following Web site: http://bit.ly/ TransWestExpress. mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:42 Dec 15, 2016 Jkt 241001 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sharon Knowlton, Project Manager, BLM Wyoming State Office, P.O. Box 20879, Cheyenne, WY 82003, by telephone at 307–775–6124, or by email at sknowlto@blm.gov. Any persons wishing to be added to a mailing list of interested parties may write or call the Project Manager at this address or phone number. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Relay Service at 1–800–877–8339. 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: In November 2007, National Grid filed a ROW application with the BLM to construct and operate an extra high voltage transmission line between Wyoming and delivery points in the Southwestern United States. An amended application was filed on September 2, 2008, and the Project application was transferred to TransWest Express LLC (TransWest), a subsidiary of the Anschutz Corporation. TransWest submitted additional amended applications to the BLM in 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, and 2015 to reflect minor changes and refinements to the proposed Project. In April 2010, the BLM and Western Area Power Administration (Western) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in which the BLM and Western agreed to act as joint lead agencies in the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Project. The BLM’s status as a joint lead agency is based on the BLM’s potential Federal action to grant a ROW across BLM lands. Western’s status as a joint lead agency is based on its potential Federal action to provide Federal funds for the proposed Project. Western and TransWest entered into a development agreement (executed in September 2011, amended in June 2014) wherein Western agreed to support Project development by providing technical assistance and/or financing. The U.S. Forest Service (USFS), U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and Utah Reclamation Mitigation Conservation Commission are cooperating agencies in the proposed Project, based on their potential issuance of permits authorizing the use of lands under their management. Additional cooperating agencies include Federal, State, tribal, and local agencies. On January 4, 2011, the BLM and Western jointly published in the Federal Register (76 FR 379) a Notice of Intent to Prepare an EIS in PO 00000 Frm 00075 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 91189 compliance with the requirements of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). To allow the public an opportunity to review information associated with the proposed Project, the BLM held public scoping meetings from January through March 2011 in Baggs, Rawlins, and Rock Springs, Wyoming; Craig, Grand Junction, and Rangely, Colorado; Castledale, Cedar City, Central, Delta, Duchesne, Enterprise, Milford, Moab, Nephi, Pine Valley, Richfield, and St. George, Utah; and Caliente, Henderson, Las Vegas, and Overton, Nevada. Issues and potential impacts to specific resources were identified during the scoping period and the preparation of the Draft EIS. The BLM and Western, in coordination with the USFS and other federal, state, and local governments and agencies, considered all public scoping comments received, as well as TransWest’s refinements to the Proposed Action, when they identified the Agency Preferred Alternative in the Draft EIS. The Agency Preferred Alternative was developed through a comparative evaluation of routing opportunities and constraints and the relative impacts among the various alternative segments. The Environmental Protection Agency published a Notice of Availability (NOA) for the Draft EIS/Draft RMP Amendments on June 28, 2013 in the Federal Register (78 FR 38975), which began a 90-day public comment period. The BLM and Western published their NOA for the Draft EIS/Draft RMP Amendments on July 3, 2013 in the Federal Register (78 FR 40163). To help facilitate the public review of and comment on the Draft EIS, the agencies held public meetings in July, August, and September 2013 in Baggs and Rawlins, Wyoming; Craig, Colorado; Cedar City, Delta, Duchesne, Fort Duchesne, Nephi, Price, St. George, and Vernal, Utah; and Henderson and Panaca, Nevada. On December 6, 2013, the USFS published an additional NOA in the Federal Register (78 FR 73524) to initiate an additional 30-day public comment period specific to the USFS decision whether to authorize the Project across USFS-managed lands. Similarly, the USFS will publish their own NOA to notify the public of their decision whether to authorize the Project. The agencies received over 1,800 comments, contained in 457 submissions, during the Draft EIS public comment periods. All submitted E:\FR\FM\16DEN1.SGM 16DEN1 mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES 91190 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 242 / Friday, December 16, 2016 / Notices comments were addressed in the Final EIS. As a result of cooperating agency input and public comments, refinements were made to the Agency Preferred Alternative presented in the Final EIS. These refinements include: • Reduction in the separation distance from existing transmission to reflect updated Western Electricity Coordinating Council guidance; • Removal of or adjustment to portions of the proposed Project to address resource impacts or conflicts; and • Reduction in the width of the study area and refinements to the transmission alignment to reflect preliminary engineering designed to reduce resource impacts and conflicts. In addition to these refinements, the agencies also developed a suite of hierarchical mitigation requirements for application on an on-site, regional and compensatory basis, including landscape-level conservation and management actions to reduce resource impacts and achieve planning objectives across the area impacted by the Project. Project linear mileage lengths of the Agency Preferred Alternative by agency jurisdiction are found in the Final EIS, Chapter 2.0, Tables 2–23 through 2–26 and also below. The Final EIS and proposed RMP Amendments were made available for a 30-day protest period and a 60-day Governors’ Consistency Review on May 1, 2015. Six protest letters were received and considered. The Director determined that the BLM followed applicable laws, regulations and policies; therefore, all protests were denied or dismissed. The Governors of Wyoming and Utah provided Consistency Review letters, which the BLM reviewed and considered in developing the route alignment approved in the ROD (referred to as the Selected Alternative). The Selected Alternative approved by the BLM’s ROD is a 728 mile, 600kilovolt direct current transmission system centered within a 250 foot wide corridor, and includes access roads and ancillary permanent facilities. Approximately 275 miles (38 percent) of the Selected Alternative are located within designated federal utility corridors. It is also co-located with existing transmission lines for a distance of 398 miles (55 percent of the total length). In Wyoming, the Selected Alternative crosses 58 miles of federal, 4 miles of state, and 29 miles of private land. In Colorado, the Selected Alternative crosses 63 miles of Federal, 13 miles of State, and 15 miles of private land. In Utah, the Selected Alternative crosses VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:42 Dec 15, 2016 Jkt 241001 210 miles of Federal, 27 miles of State, and 153 miles of private land. In Nevada, the Selected Alternative crosses 137 miles of Federal, 14 miles of tribal, and 5 miles of private land. The Selected Alternative largely follows the Agency Preferred Alternative, in the Final EIS, except for two minor modifications. The Final EIS’ analysis of the Project was organized into four geographic regions based on region-specific topographical or other resource constraints and issues (Southern Wyoming, Northwestern Colorado; Northwestern Colorado, Eastern Utah, and Central Utah; Central Utah, Southwestern Utah, and Southern Nevada; Southern Nevada-Apex to the Marketplace Hub). The approximately 728-mile Selected Alternative is discussed below, by region. BLM Decision—ROW Grant: The ROD approves, subject to mitigation measures identified in the ROD, a ROW grant as outlined below by EIS Region: • Region I: (Southern Wyoming, Northwestern Colorado). Final EIS Alternative I–B with the Tuttle Micrositing Option 4 and the Bolten Ranch ground electrode system siting. The Selected Alternative transmission line route would extend approximately 157 miles from the vicinity of Sinclair, Carbon County, Wyoming to the vicinity of U.S. Highway 40 southwest of Maybell in western Moffat County, Colorado. • Region II: (Northwestern Colorado, Eastern Utah, and Central Utah). Final EIS Alternative II–G. The Selected Alternative transmission line route would extend approximately 252 miles from Maybell Colorado, through eastern Utah, to the vicinity of the Intermountain Power Project (IPP) near Delta, Millard County, Utah. • Region III: (Central Utah, Southwest Utah, and Southern Nevada). Final EIS Alternative III–D with the Halfway Wash-Virgin River ground electrode system siting. The Selected Alternative transmission line route would extend approximately 282 miles from the vicinity of the IPP, Millard County, Utah, to the vicinity of Apex on Interstate 15, northeast of Las Vegas, Nevada. • Region IV: (Southern Nevada— Apex to the Marketplace Hub). Final EIS Alternative IV–A. The Selected Alternative transmission line route would extend approximately 37 miles from Apex on Interstate 15 to the Marketplace Hub in the Eldorado Valley, southeast of Las Vegas. In addition to approving the configuration identified above, the ROD also affirmatively recognizes two design PO 00000 Frm 00076 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 options that provide minor variations to the approved route. The Applicant has the option of construction either one of these design options with prior notification and approval by the BLM. BLM Decision—Land Use Plan Amendments: The BLM planning regulations (43 CFR 1610) require authorized uses of public lands to conform to approved land use plans. To bring the Project into conformance, the ROD approves the following amendments to BLM RMPs in the Project area: • Rawlins Field Office RMP (Wyoming): Amendment designates new utility corridor and expands an existing corridor to allow for overhead utilities and exceptions to other resource stipulations if avoidance measures or mitigation are not feasible. • Little Snake Field Office RMP (Colorado): Amendment designates a new utility corridor to allow for overhead utilities and exceptions to other resource stipulations if avoidance measures or mitigation are not feasible. • Vernal Field Office RMP (Utah): Amendment designates a new aboveground utility corridor. This corridor will allow for exceptions to other resource stipulations if avoidance measures or impact mitigation are not feasible. • Pony Express RMP (Salt Lake Field Office, Utah): Amendment designates a new aboveground utility corridor to accommodate future high voltage transmission lines. • Ely RMP (Caliente Field Office, Nevada): Amendment provides a onetime exception to accommodate one high-voltage transmission line through the ROW exclusion area adjacent to the existing utility corridor through the Mormon Mesa-Ely ACEC. All plan amendments comply with applicable Federal laws and regulations and apply only to Federal lands and mineral estates administered by the BLM. Approval of the ROW grant is subject to the terms and conditions laid out in the ROD and ROD appendices, and construction cannot begin until TransWest completes satisfies all terms and conditions identified in the ROD necessary to receive a written Notice to Proceed from the BLM (43 CFR 2805). Copies of the ROD are available for public inspection during normal business hours at the following locations. • BLM, Wyoming State Office, Public Reading Room, 5353 Yellowstone Road, Cheyenne, Wyoming 82009; • BLM, Colorado State Office, Public Reading Room, 2850 Youngfield Street, Lakewood, Colorado 80215–7093; E:\FR\FM\16DEN1.SGM 16DEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 242 / Friday, December 16, 2016 / Notices • BLM, Utah State Office, Public Reading Room, 440 West 200 South, Suite 500, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101– 1345; and • BLM, Nevada State Office, Public Reading Room, 1340 Financial Blvd., Reno, Nevada 89502. The Assistant Secretary of Land and Minerals Management, Department of the Interior, has approved the ROD. That approval constitutes the final decision of the Department and, in accordance with the regulations at 43 CFR 4.410, is not subject to appeal under Departmental regulations at 43 CFR part 4. Any challenge to these decisions must be brought in the Federal District Court and is subject to 42 U.S.C. 4370m–6. Mary Jo Rugwell, Wyoming State Director. [FR Doc. 2016–30345 Filed 12–15–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–22–P National Park Service [NPS–WASO–NAGPRA–22526; PPWOCRADN0–PCU00RP14.R50000] Notice of Intent to Repatriate Cultural Items: Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society, Fort Wayne, IN National Park Service, Interior. Notice. AGENCY: The Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society, 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. Lineal descendants or representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to claim these cultural items should submit a written request to the Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society. If no additional claimants come forward, transfer of control of the cultural items to the lineal descendants, Indian tribes, or Native Hawaiian organizations stated in this notice may proceed. DATES: Lineal descendants or representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to claim these cultural items should submit a written request with information in support of the claim to the Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society at the address in this notice by January 17, 2017. mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:42 Dec 15, 2016 Jkt 241001 Notice is here given in accordance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), 25 U.S.C. 3005, of the intent to repatriate cultural items under the control of the Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society that meet the definition of unassociated funerary objects under 25 U.S.C. 3001. This notice is published as part of the National Park Service’s administrative responsibilities under NAGPRA, 25 U.S.C. 3003(d)(3). The determinations in this notice are the sole responsibility of the museum, institution, or Federal agency that has control of the Native American cultural items. The National Park Service is not responsible for the determinations in this notice. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: History and Description of the Cultural Item(s) DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR ACTION: Walter Font, Curator, Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society, 302 East Berry Street, Fort Wayne, IN 46802, telephone 260–426–2882, email wfont@comcast.net. ADDRESSES: In 1912, 76 cultural items were removed from the Miami Chief Little Turtle (Mishikinakaw, 1747–1812) grave in Fort Wayne, Allen County, IN. The objects were excavated at 634 Lawton Place in Fort Wayne, IN, during the construction of a house for George W. Gillie in 1912. Jacob M. Stouder, a local collector, acquired many, but not all, of the objects discovered during the excavations. Most of the objects were acquired by the Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society in the 1930s from the J.M. Stouder family, from Mrs. George Gillie (7 items), and E.L. Dotson (3 items). Three objects were donated by George Carey in 1962. The objects were acquired by purchase, donation and loans with each source saying the objects were from the Lawton Place site. The 76 unassociated funerary objects, are 8 Armband/armband fragments; 1 axe head; 3 beads; 2 beads, string of; 1 razor blade; 2 bracelets; 9 brooch/brooch fragments; 1 buckle/leather remnants; 1 bullet mold; 3 buttons; 1 earring; 1 flintlock; 1 flint & steel; 3 gorgets; 1 gun stock fragment; 2 kettles, copper; 1 kettle, iron; 6 knife/knife blades; 3 iron nails; 2 musket barrels; 1 pewter cup; 1 pewter flask; 1 pigment jar; 1 pipe; 2 pocketknife fragments; 2 ramrod guides; 1 scissors; 7 silver crosses; 1 silver necklace; 2 spoons; 2 spurs; 1 sword; 1 tomahawk; and 1 trigger guard. Jacob M. Stouder’s research led him to believe that the site of Little Turtle’s grave had been found. A contemporary historian, Calvin M. Young, supported Stouder’s observations. The objects were appropriate to Little Turtle’s stature as PO 00000 Frm 00077 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 91191 a great chief and they reasoned that the sword and peace medal found in the grave gave weight to their conclusion. Except for a few items (ceramic, stone, or miscellaneous remnants), the funeralrelated artifacts are trade items of French, British or American manufacture. Most were made in the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries. Stouder’s research included interviews with old-time residents in the area and published sources available to him at the time. A review of his research and research using additional sources (fourteen altogether) has not negated Stouder’s findings, that the objects he collected were from grave of Little Turtle. On June 12, 1960, the Historical Society dedicated a small park along with a memorial plaque at the Lawton Place burial site. An inventory and detailed historical assessment was submitted for review and consultation to representatives of Little Turtle’s lineal descendants, the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, Miami, Oklahoma and the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, Dowagiac, Michigan. Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society staff and the consultants agreed that the objects found at Lawton Place in 1912 were from Little Turtle’s burial. Determinations Made by the Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society Officials of the Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society have determined that: • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(3)(B), the 76 cultural items described above are reasonably believed to have been placed with or near individual human remains at the time of death or later as part of the death rite or ceremony and are believed, by a preponderance of the evidence, to have been removed from a specific burial site of a Native American individual. • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(2), there is a relationship of shared group identity that can be reasonably traced between the unassociated funerary objects and lineal descendants of Chief Little Turtle. They include families represented by Daryl Baldwin, Oxford, OH, and John Froman, Miami, OK, whose confirmed genealogies are on file at the Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society. Additional Requestors and Disposition Lineal descendants or representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to claim these cultural items should submit a written request with information in support of the claim to Walter Font, Curator, Allen County-Fort E:\FR\FM\16DEN1.SGM 16DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 242 (Friday, December 16, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 91189-91191]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-30345]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Bureau of Land Management

[LLWY920000/L51010000.ER0000.16X/LVRWK09K1160/241A; WYW-177893, WYW-
177893-01; COC-72929, COC-72929-01; UTU-87238, UTU-87238-01; NVN-86732, 
NVN-86732-01]


Notice of Availability of the Record of Decision for the 
TransWest Express Transmission Project in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and 
Nevada

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Department of the Interior.

ACTION: Notice.

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

SUMMARY: The Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management 
(BLM) announces the availability of the Record of Decision (ROD) 
approving the TransWest Express 600-kilovolt (kV) Direct Current 
Transmission Project (Project) right-of-way in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, 
and Nevada and associated amendments to the Rawlins Field Office (FO) 
Resource Management Plan (RMP) in Wyoming, the Little Snake FO RMP in 
Colorado, the Vernal FO and Pony Express RMPs in Utah, and the Ely 
District RMP in Nevada.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the ROD are being sent to Federal, State and local 
governments, public libraries in the Project area, and interested 
parties who previously requested a copy. Copies of the ROD and support 
documents are also available for public inspection at the locations 
identified in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this notice and 
electronically on the following Web site: http://bit.ly/TransWestExpress.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sharon Knowlton, Project Manager, BLM 
Wyoming State Office, P.O. Box 20879, Cheyenne, WY 82003, by telephone 
at 307-775-6124, or by email at sknowlto@blm.gov. Any persons wishing 
to be added to a mailing list of interested parties may write or call 
the Project Manager at this address or phone number. Persons who use a 
telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Relay 
Service at 1-800-877-8339. 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: In November 2007, National Grid filed a ROW 
application with the BLM to construct and operate an extra high voltage 
transmission line between Wyoming and delivery points in the 
Southwestern United States. An amended application was filed on 
September 2, 2008, and the Project application was transferred to 
TransWest Express LLC (TransWest), a subsidiary of the Anschutz 
Corporation. TransWest submitted additional amended applications to the 
BLM in 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, and 2015 to reflect minor changes 
and refinements to the proposed Project.
    In April 2010, the BLM and Western Area Power Administration 
(Western) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in which the 
BLM and Western agreed to act as joint lead agencies in the preparation 
of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Project. The BLM's 
status as a joint lead agency is based on the BLM's potential Federal 
action to grant a ROW across BLM lands. Western's status as a joint 
lead agency is based on its potential Federal action to provide Federal 
funds for the proposed Project. Western and TransWest entered into a 
development agreement (executed in September 2011, amended in June 
2014) wherein Western agreed to support Project development by 
providing technical assistance and/or financing.
    The U.S. Forest Service (USFS), U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and 
Utah Reclamation Mitigation Conservation Commission are cooperating 
agencies in the proposed Project, based on their potential issuance of 
permits authorizing the use of lands under their management. Additional 
cooperating agencies include Federal, State, tribal, and local 
agencies. On January 4, 2011, the BLM and Western jointly published in 
the Federal Register (76 FR 379) a Notice of Intent to Prepare an EIS 
in compliance with the requirements of the Federal Land Policy and 
Management Act (FLPMA) and the National Environmental Policy Act 
(NEPA). To allow the public an opportunity to review information 
associated with the proposed Project, the BLM held public scoping 
meetings from January through March 2011 in Baggs, Rawlins, and Rock 
Springs, Wyoming; Craig, Grand Junction, and Rangely, Colorado; 
Castledale, Cedar City, Central, Delta, Duchesne, Enterprise, Milford, 
Moab, Nephi, Pine Valley, Richfield, and St. George, Utah; and 
Caliente, Henderson, Las Vegas, and Overton, Nevada. Issues and 
potential impacts to specific resources were identified during the 
scoping period and the preparation of the Draft EIS.
    The BLM and Western, in coordination with the USFS and other 
federal, state, and local governments and agencies, considered all 
public scoping comments received, as well as TransWest's refinements to 
the Proposed Action, when they identified the Agency Preferred 
Alternative in the Draft EIS. The Agency Preferred Alternative was 
developed through a comparative evaluation of routing opportunities and 
constraints and the relative impacts among the various alternative 
segments.
    The Environmental Protection Agency published a Notice of 
Availability (NOA) for the Draft EIS/Draft RMP Amendments on June 28, 
2013 in the Federal Register (78 FR 38975), which began a 90-day public 
comment period. The BLM and Western published their NOA for the Draft 
EIS/Draft RMP Amendments on July 3, 2013 in the Federal Register (78 FR 
40163). To help facilitate the public review of and comment on the 
Draft EIS, the agencies held public meetings in July, August, and 
September 2013 in Baggs and Rawlins, Wyoming; Craig, Colorado; Cedar 
City, Delta, Duchesne, Fort Duchesne, Nephi, Price, St. George, and 
Vernal, Utah; and Henderson and Panaca, Nevada.
    On December 6, 2013, the USFS published an additional NOA in the 
Federal Register (78 FR 73524) to initiate an additional 30-day public 
comment period specific to the USFS decision whether to authorize the 
Project across USFS-managed lands. Similarly, the USFS will publish 
their own NOA to notify the public of their decision whether to 
authorize the Project.
    The agencies received over 1,800 comments, contained in 457 
submissions, during the Draft EIS public comment periods. All submitted

[[Page 91190]]

comments were addressed in the Final EIS.
    As a result of cooperating agency input and public comments, 
refinements were made to the Agency Preferred Alternative presented in 
the Final EIS. These refinements include:
     Reduction in the separation distance from existing 
transmission to reflect updated Western Electricity Coordinating 
Council guidance;
     Removal of or adjustment to portions of the proposed 
Project to address resource impacts or conflicts; and
     Reduction in the width of the study area and refinements 
to the transmission alignment to reflect preliminary engineering 
designed to reduce resource impacts and conflicts.
    In addition to these refinements, the agencies also developed a 
suite of hierarchical mitigation requirements for application on an on-
site, regional and compensatory basis, including landscape-level 
conservation and management actions to reduce resource impacts and 
achieve planning objectives across the area impacted by the Project. 
Project linear mileage lengths of the Agency Preferred Alternative by 
agency jurisdiction are found in the Final EIS, Chapter 2.0, Tables 2-
23 through 2-26 and also below. The Final EIS and proposed RMP 
Amendments were made available for a 30-day protest period and a 60-day 
Governors' Consistency Review on May 1, 2015. Six protest letters were 
received and considered. The Director determined that the BLM followed 
applicable laws, regulations and policies; therefore, all protests were 
denied or dismissed. The Governors of Wyoming and Utah provided 
Consistency Review letters, which the BLM reviewed and considered in 
developing the route alignment approved in the ROD (referred to as the 
Selected Alternative).
    The Selected Alternative approved by the BLM's ROD is a 728 mile, 
600-kilovolt direct current transmission system centered within a 250 
foot wide corridor, and includes access roads and ancillary permanent 
facilities. Approximately 275 miles (38 percent) of the Selected 
Alternative are located within designated federal utility corridors. It 
is also co-located with existing transmission lines for a distance of 
398 miles (55 percent of the total length).
    In Wyoming, the Selected Alternative crosses 58 miles of federal, 4 
miles of state, and 29 miles of private land. In Colorado, the Selected 
Alternative crosses 63 miles of Federal, 13 miles of State, and 15 
miles of private land. In Utah, the Selected Alternative crosses 210 
miles of Federal, 27 miles of State, and 153 miles of private land. In 
Nevada, the Selected Alternative crosses 137 miles of Federal, 14 miles 
of tribal, and 5 miles of private land. The Selected Alternative 
largely follows the Agency Preferred Alternative, in the Final EIS, 
except for two minor modifications.
    The Final EIS' analysis of the Project was organized into four 
geographic regions based on region-specific topographical or other 
resource constraints and issues (Southern Wyoming, Northwestern 
Colorado; Northwestern Colorado, Eastern Utah, and Central Utah; 
Central Utah, Southwestern Utah, and Southern Nevada; Southern Nevada-
Apex to the Marketplace Hub). The approximately 728-mile Selected 
Alternative is discussed below, by region.
    BLM Decision--ROW Grant: The ROD approves, subject to mitigation 
measures identified in the ROD, a ROW grant as outlined below by EIS 
Region:
     Region I: (Southern Wyoming, Northwestern Colorado). Final 
EIS Alternative I-B with the Tuttle Micro-siting Option 4 and the 
Bolten Ranch ground electrode system siting. The Selected Alternative 
transmission line route would extend approximately 157 miles from the 
vicinity of Sinclair, Carbon County, Wyoming to the vicinity of U.S. 
Highway 40 southwest of Maybell in western Moffat County, Colorado.
     Region II: (Northwestern Colorado, Eastern Utah, and 
Central Utah). Final EIS Alternative II-G. The Selected Alternative 
transmission line route would extend approximately 252 miles from 
Maybell Colorado, through eastern Utah, to the vicinity of the 
Intermountain Power Project (IPP) near Delta, Millard County, Utah.
     Region III: (Central Utah, Southwest Utah, and Southern 
Nevada). Final EIS Alternative III-D with the Halfway Wash-Virgin River 
ground electrode system siting. The Selected Alternative transmission 
line route would extend approximately 282 miles from the vicinity of 
the IPP, Millard County, Utah, to the vicinity of Apex on Interstate 
15, northeast of Las Vegas, Nevada.
     Region IV: (Southern Nevada--Apex to the Marketplace Hub). 
Final EIS Alternative IV-A. The Selected Alternative transmission line 
route would extend approximately 37 miles from Apex on Interstate 15 to 
the Marketplace Hub in the Eldorado Valley, southeast of Las Vegas.
    In addition to approving the configuration identified above, the 
ROD also affirmatively recognizes two design options that provide minor 
variations to the approved route. The Applicant has the option of 
construction either one of these design options with prior notification 
and approval by the BLM.
    BLM Decision--Land Use Plan Amendments: The BLM planning 
regulations (43 CFR 1610) require authorized uses of public lands to 
conform to approved land use plans. To bring the Project into 
conformance, the ROD approves the following amendments to BLM RMPs in 
the Project area:
     Rawlins Field Office RMP (Wyoming): Amendment designates 
new utility corridor and expands an existing corridor to allow for 
overhead utilities and exceptions to other resource stipulations if 
avoidance measures or mitigation are not feasible.
     Little Snake Field Office RMP (Colorado): Amendment 
designates a new utility corridor to allow for overhead utilities and 
exceptions to other resource stipulations if avoidance measures or 
mitigation are not feasible.
     Vernal Field Office RMP (Utah): Amendment designates a new 
aboveground utility corridor. This corridor will allow for exceptions 
to other resource stipulations if avoidance measures or impact 
mitigation are not feasible.
     Pony Express RMP (Salt Lake Field Office, Utah): Amendment 
designates a new aboveground utility corridor to accommodate future 
high voltage transmission lines.
     Ely RMP (Caliente Field Office, Nevada): Amendment 
provides a one-time exception to accommodate one high-voltage 
transmission line through the ROW exclusion area adjacent to the 
existing utility corridor through the Mormon Mesa-Ely ACEC.
    All plan amendments comply with applicable Federal laws and 
regulations and apply only to Federal lands and mineral estates 
administered by the BLM.
    Approval of the ROW grant is subject to the terms and conditions 
laid out in the ROD and ROD appendices, and construction cannot begin 
until TransWest completes satisfies all terms and conditions identified 
in the ROD necessary to receive a written Notice to Proceed from the 
BLM (43 CFR 2805).
    Copies of the ROD are available for public inspection during normal 
business hours at the following locations.
     BLM, Wyoming State Office, Public Reading Room, 5353 
Yellowstone Road, Cheyenne, Wyoming 82009;
     BLM, Colorado State Office, Public Reading Room, 2850 
Youngfield Street, Lakewood, Colorado 80215-7093;

[[Page 91191]]

     BLM, Utah State Office, Public Reading Room, 440 West 200 
South, Suite 500, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101-1345; and
     BLM, Nevada State Office, Public Reading Room, 1340 
Financial Blvd., Reno, Nevada 89502.
    The Assistant Secretary of Land and Minerals Management, Department 
of the Interior, has approved the ROD. That approval constitutes the 
final decision of the Department and, in accordance with the 
regulations at 43 CFR 4.410, is not subject to appeal under 
Departmental regulations at 43 CFR part 4.
    Any challenge to these decisions must be brought in the Federal 
District Court and is subject to 42 U.S.C. 4370m-6.

Mary Jo Rugwell,
Wyoming State Director.
[FR Doc. 2016-30345 Filed 12-15-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4310-22-P