Tonto National Forest; Gila County, AZ; Pinto Valley Mine Environmental Impact Statement, 15322-15324 [2017-06020]

Download as PDF sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES 15322 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 58 / Tuesday, March 28, 2017 / Notices and must be treated in accordance with the regulations. As part of its swine health protection program, APHIS conducts a pseudorabies (PRV) eradication program in cooperation with State governments, swine producers, swine shippers, herd owners, and accredited veterinarians. The program identifies PRV-affected swine, provides herd management techniques, and has eliminated PRV in commercial production herds. However, APHIS periodically finds infected swine when swine are exposed to feral swine or other swine that have had exposure to feral swine. The regulations in 9 CFR parts 71 and 85 facilitate the PRV eradication program and general swine health by providing requirements for moving swine interstate within a swine production system. (A production system consists of separate farms that each specialize in a different phase of swine production such as sow herds, nursery herds, and finishing herds. These separate farms, all members of the same production system, may be located in more than one State.) The regulations for the feeding of garbage to swine and for the PRV eradication program require the use of a number of information collection activities, including the creation of food waste reports; the completion of applications to operate garbage treatment facilities and acknowledgement of the Act and regulations; garbage treatment facility inspection; cancellation of license by State animal health officials; request for a hearing; cancellation of license by licensee; notification by licensee of sick or dead animals; notification by licensee of changes to name, address, or management; swine health protection program inspection summary; permit to move restricted animals; owner-shipper statement; certificate of veterinary inspection; accredited veterinarian’s statement; embryo and semen shipments; identification for swine moving interstate; swine production system health plan; interstate movement report and notification; cancellation or withdrawal of a swine production system health plan; appeal of cancellation of a swine production system health plan; shipment to slaughter seal; appraisal and indemnity claim form; report of net salvage proceeds; herd management plans; and recordkeeping. The information collection requirements above are currently approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under OMB control numbers 0579–0137 (Swine Health Protection) and 0579–0065 (Swine VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:14 Mar 27, 2017 Jkt 241001 Health Protection). After OMB approves this combined information collection package (0579–0065), APHIS will retire OMB control number 0579–0137. We are asking OMB to approve our use of these information collection activities, as described, for an additional 3 years. The purpose of this notice is to solicit comments from the public (as well as affected agencies) concerning our information collection. These comments will help us: (1) Evaluate whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) Evaluate the accuracy of our estimate of the burden of the collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, through use, as appropriate, of automated, electronic, mechanical, and other collection technologies; e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses. Estimate of burden: The public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 1.89 hours per response. Respondents: Owners/operators (licensees) of garbage treatment facilities, herd owners, food establishments, accredited veterinarians, and State animal health authorities. Estimated annual number of respondents: 27,050. Estimated annual number of responses per respondent: 31.55. Estimated annual number of responses: 853,318. Estimated total annual burden on respondents: 1,614,460 hours. (Due to averaging, the total annual burden hours may not equal the product of the annual number of responses multiplied by the reporting burden per response.) All responses to this notice will be summarized and included in the request for OMB approval. All comments will also become a matter of public record. Done in Washington, DC, this 23rd day of March 2017. Jere L. Dick, Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. [FR Doc. 2017–06217 Filed 3–27–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–34–P PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Tonto National Forest; Gila County, AZ; Pinto Valley Mine Environmental Impact Statement Forest Service, USDA. Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement for approval of a mining plan of operations for the Pinto Valley Mine, notice of public scoping, and request for scoping comments. AGENCY: ACTION: The Tonto National Forest (TNF) is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to evaluate and disclose the potential environmental effects from approval of the Mining Plan of Operations (MPO) submitted by Pinto Valley Mining Corp. (PVMC), for operations on National Forest System (NFS) land associated with expansion of an existing open pit copper and molybdenum mine, the Pinto Valley Mine. An amendment to the Tonto National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan (Forest Plan, 1985, as amended) may be required. DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received no later than April 27, 2017. Public scoping meetings will be held on April 18 at Superior Junior/Senior High School, 100 Mary Drive, Superior, Arizona and April 20 at Miami Junior/Senior High School, 4739 S. Ragus Rd., Miami, Arizona from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Pinto Valley Mine EIS Comments, 2324 E McDowell Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85006. Comments may also be sent via email to Comment@pintovalleymineeis.us, or via facsimile to (602) 225–5302, ATTN: Pinto Valley Mine EIS Comments. Written and oral comments may also be submitted during scoping meetings that will be held by the U.S. Forest Service (Forest Service) on April 18 and 20. Additional details may be found at the Pinto Valley Mine EIS Web site at http://www.pintovalleymineeis.us. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Judd Sampson, Interim Project Manager, at 602–225–5272 or juddsampson@ fs.fed.us during normal business hours. Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1–800–877–8339 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: PVMC submitted the proposed MPO for approval by the Forest Service in May 2016. The proposed MPO was submitted in accordance with Forest Service SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\28MRN1.SGM 28MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 58 / Tuesday, March 28, 2017 / Notices mining operations that occur on private land. However, the EIS will consider and disclose environmental effects associated with the MPO. Connected actions related to the MPO and potential amendment of the forest plan, if required, would be analyzed in the EIS. Impacts from past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future actions will be considered in combination with impacts of the proposed project to estimate potential cumulative impacts. Purpose and Need for Action The purpose of this project is to analyze the proposed action as required by the regulations at 36 CFR 228.5(a). Approval of the proposed MPO would be a major federal action subject to National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). Accordingly, the Forest Service must prepare an EIS to identify the scope of issues associated with the MPO, identify and assess reasonable alternatives to the MPO in order to avoid or minimize adverse effects of MPO actions and evaluate and disclose the potential environmental effects. An amendment to the Tonto National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan (Forest Plan, 1985, as amended) may be required. The need for this project is to comply with the regulations of the Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, that govern the use of surface resources in conjunction with mining operations on NFS lands as set forth under 36 CFR part 228. These regulations require that the Forest Service respond to parties who submit proposed mining plans for approval to conduct mining operations on or otherwise use NFS lands in conjunction with mining for part or all of their planned actions. In accordance with regulations at 36 CFR 228.5, the submittal of the proposed MPO by PVMC requires the Forest Service to consider whether to approve the proposed MPO or to require changes or additions deemed necessary to meet the purpose of the regulations for locatable mineral operations at 36 CFR part 228, subpart A. Forest Service cannot categorically prohibit mining operations that are reasonably incident to mining of locatable minerals on NFS lands in the area of the proposed action. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES regulations for locatable minerals set forth at Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), part 228 (36 CFR part 228), subpart A, Locatable Minerals. The proposed action would consolidate prior permitted activities reasonably incident to extraction, transportation, and processing of copper and molybdenum on NFS lands and expand existing mining operations from private lands on to NFS lands primarily for tailings disposal and pit expansion. Existing and Proposed Mining Operations Pinto Valley Mine is an existing open pit copper and molybdenum mine with adjacent milling and processing operations, tailings disposal areas, and waste rock disposal, all operated by PVMC. The majority of Pinto Valley Mine is located on PVMC property. However, certain facilities and operations are located on TNF, and were authorized by the Forest Service or the U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) through Rights-of-Way, Plans of Operations, Special Use Permits, and a Letter Agreement. The authorizations date from as early as the 1940s, and have been amended, updated, and reauthorized over the years. Existing surface disturbance associated with the Pinto Valley Mine currently encompasses an estimated 3,845 acres, of which 3,389 acres are on private and 456 acres are on NFS lands. The proposed disturbance acreage would be an additional 1,011 acres of surface disturbance (766 acres on private land, 245 acres on NFS lands) for a total estimated surface disturbance of 4,856 acres (4,155 on private land, 701 acres on NFS lands). Each of the past, present, and proposed future uses of NFS lands is addressed in the MPO. Existing or proposed mining use of NFS lands includes portions of the Open Pit, 19 Dump, portions of three tailings storage facilities, transportation on Forest Roads and temporary access roads, use of existing powerlines and water pipelines, existing water supply, stormwater management facilities, and a sign. In summary, at the end of the current planned life of the mine, PVMC would use approximately 701 acres of NFS lands and 42.45 miles of Forest Roads and temporary access roads to access mine facilities and/or as alignments for linear utility infrastructure. Proposed Action The proposed action is to approve the MPO as submitted by PVMC. Pinto Valley Mine expansion would affect federal lands administered by TNF and private lands owned by PVMC. The proposed action by the Forest Service would only approve mining operations on NFS lands, since the Forest Service does not have jurisdiction to regulate VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:14 Mar 27, 2017 Jkt 241001 Possible Alternatives The Pinto Valley Mine EIS will analyze the No Action Alternative, which would not approve of the proposed MPO. For the No Action PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 15323 Alternative, mining operations, reclamation, and closure would continue under current authorizations. The responsible official does not have discretion to select the No Action alternative, because it would not be consistent with requirements of 36 CFR 228.5. The EIS may evaluate additional alternatives that could include application of design features and other measures that address issues identified during scoping, that would meet the purpose and need for the project, and are reasonable and practicable. These alternatives may require changes to the proposed MPO, which are necessary to meet Forest Service regulations for locatable minerals set forth at 36 CFR part 228, subpart A. Lead and Cooperating Agencies The Forest Service will be the lead agency preparing the EIS. Cooperating agencies have not yet been confirmed, but may include agencies within the Department of the Interior, as well as other state and Federal agencies with regulatory and/or enforcement jurisdiction over the project. Responsible Official The Forest Supervisor of the TNF will be the responsible official who prepares the Record of Decision (ROD) and approves the MPO. Nature of Decision To Be Made TNF Forest Supervisor will consider beneficial and adverse impacts of each alternative analyzed in the EIS. TNF Forest Supervisor has discretion to determine whether changes in the proposed MPO will be required prior to approval. Plan of Operations Using the analysis in the EIS and supporting documentation, the TNF Forest Supervisor will make the following decisions regarding the proposed MPO: 1. Decide whether to approve the proposed MPO submitted by PVMC, or require changes in, or additions to, the proposed MPO to meet the purpose of the regulations, including those for environmental protection and reclamation set forth at 36 CFR part 228, subpart A before approving a final MPO. The alternative that is selected for approval in the final MPO must minimize adverse impacts on NFS surface resources where feasible. 2. If Forest Service determines that any amendment(s) is (are) required to the Forest Plan, then decide whether to approve amendments to the Forest Plan, E:\FR\FM\28MRN1.SGM 28MRN1 15324 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 58 / Tuesday, March 28, 2017 / Notices which would be necessary to approve the final MPO. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES Final EIS and Record of Decision The Forest Supervisor plans to release a draft ROD in conjunction with the final EIS. The draft ROD would address the decision on approval of the MPO. The decision would be subject to 36 CFR part 218, Project-Level Predecisional Administrative Review Process. If forest plan amendments are required, then the draft decision may also be subject to 36 CFR part 219, subpart B, Pre-decisional Administrative Review Process. Following resolution of objections to the draft ROD, a final ROD would be issued. PVMC would have an opportunity to appeal the decision as set forth at 36 CFR part 214, Postdecisional Administrative Review Process for Occupancy or Use of National Forest System Lands and Resources. Prior to approval of the MPO, PVMC may be required to modify the proposed MPO to align it with the description of the selected alternative in the final ROD. In addition, the TNF Forest Supervisor would require PVMC to submit a reclamation bond or other acceptable financial assurance to ensure that NFS lands and resources involved with the mining operation are reclaimed in accordance with the approved MPO and Forest Service requirements for environmental protection (36 CFR 228.8 and 228.13). After the Forest Service has determined that the MPO conforms to the ROD and that the reclamation bond is acceptable, the TNF Forest Supervisor would approve the MPO. Implementation of mining operations that affect NFS lands and resources may not commence until the MPO is approved and the reclamation bond or other financial assurance is in place. Preliminary Issues Issues to be analyzed in the EIS will be developed during the scoping process. Preliminary issues expected to be analyzed include potential impacts to: Groundwater and surface water quantity and quality; riparian and aquatic areas and springs; biological resources, including threatened and endangered species and Forest Service sensitive species; historical and cultural resources; air quality; socioeconomics; transportation and traffic; noise; visual resources; and recreation. This list is subject to change based on comments received from the public and resource agencies. Permits or Licenses Required The following is a list of permits for Pinto Valley Mine: Permits associated VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:14 Mar 27, 2017 Jkt 241001 with groundwater withdrawal and dam safety permits (Arizona Department of Water Resources); air quality Class II synthetic minor permit (Arizona Department of Environmental Quality), Arizona Pollutant Discharge Elimination System process and stormwater permits, Aquifer Protection Permit, and public water supply permit (Arizona Department of Environmental Quality); Mined Land Reclamation Plan (Arizona State Mine Inspector); letter agreement for a commercial vehicle staging area (Arizona Department of Transportation); and other required permits. Because the Pinto Valley Mine is an operating mine, PVMC already holds required permits. PVMC would update and amend permits for additional activities proposed in the MPO, as required. Scoping Process This notice of intent initiates the scoping process, which guides the development of the Pinto Valley Mine EIS. Public comments may be submitted to TNF in a variety of ways, including: By email, via the project Web site, by mail, and by facsimile. In addition, TNF will conduct two open houses during the scoping process through which members of the public can learn about the proposed action and the NEPA review process, and submit comments. Comments sought by TNF include specific comments related to the proposed action, appropriate information that could be pertinent to the description of baseline resource conditions and analysis of environmental effects, identification of significant issues, identification of reasonably foreseeable actions that should be considered in the cumulative analysis, and identification of potential design features and alternatives. Written comments may be sent to: Pinto Valley Mine EIS Comments, 2324 E McDowell Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85006. Comments may also be sent by email to: Comment@pintovalleymineeis.us, or sent by facsimile to (602) 225–5302. It is important that reviewers provide comments at such times and in such manner that they are useful to the agency’s preparation of the environmental impact statement. Therefore, comments should be provided prior to the close of the comment period and should clearly articulate the reviewer’s concerns and contentions and specific recommendations wherever possible. When submitting comments, please keep them specific to this proposal only. Comments which are not specific to the project and project area will be deemed outside the scope of the analysis and will not be considered. If you are PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 including references, citations, or additional information to be considered for this project, please provide a copy and specify exactly how the material relates to the project. Also indicate exactly what part of the material you would like us to consider (such as page or figure number). Comments received in response to this solicitation, including names and addresses of those who comment, will be part of the public record for this proposed action. Comments submitted anonymously will be accepted and considered; however, anonymous comments will not provide the agency with the ability to provide the respondent with subsequent environmental documents. Dated: March 21, 2017. Jeanne M. Higgins, Associate Deputy Chief, National Forest System. [FR Doc. 2017–06020 Filed 3–27–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3411–15–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Rural Utilities Service Information Collection Activity; Comment Request Rural Utilities Service, USDA. Notice and request for comments. AGENCY: ACTION: In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) invites comments on this information collection for which approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will be requested. DATES: Comments on this notice must be received by May 30, 2017. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Thomas P. Dickson, Acting Director, Program Development and Regulatory Analysis, Rural Utilities Service, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 1522, Room 5164 South Building, Washington, DC 20250–1522. Telephone: (202) 690–4492. Email: thomas.dickson@wdc.usda.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) regulation (5 CFR part 1320) implementing provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104–13) requires that interested members of the public and affected agencies have an opportunity to comment on information collection and recordkeeping activities (see 5 CFR 1320.8(d)). This notice identifies an information collection that RUS is submitting to OMB for approval. SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\28MRN1.SGM 28MRN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 58 (Tuesday, March 28, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 15322-15324]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-06020]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service


Tonto National Forest; Gila County, AZ; Pinto Valley Mine 
Environmental Impact Statement

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement 
for approval of a mining plan of operations for the Pinto Valley Mine, 
notice of public scoping, and request for scoping comments.

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SUMMARY: The Tonto National Forest (TNF) is preparing an Environmental 
Impact Statement (EIS) to evaluate and disclose the potential 
environmental effects from approval of the Mining Plan of Operations 
(MPO) submitted by Pinto Valley Mining Corp. (PVMC), for operations on 
National Forest System (NFS) land associated with expansion of an 
existing open pit copper and molybdenum mine, the Pinto Valley Mine. An 
amendment to the Tonto National Forest Land and Resource Management 
Plan (Forest Plan, 1985, as amended) may be required.

DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received 
no later than April 27, 2017. Public scoping meetings will be held on 
April 18 at Superior Junior/Senior High School, 100 Mary Drive, 
Superior, Arizona and April 20 at Miami Junior/Senior High School, 4739 
S. Ragus Rd., Miami, Arizona from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Pinto Valley Mine EIS Comments, 
2324 E McDowell Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85006. Comments may also be sent via 
email to Comment@pintovalleymineeis.us, or via facsimile to (602) 225-
5302, ATTN: Pinto Valley Mine EIS Comments. Written and oral comments 
may also be submitted during scoping meetings that will be held by the 
U.S. Forest Service (Forest Service) on April 18 and 20. Additional 
details may be found at the Pinto Valley Mine EIS Web site at http://www.pintovalleymineeis.us.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Judd Sampson, Interim Project Manager, 
at 602-225-5272 or juddsampson@fs.fed.us during normal business hours. 
Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may 
call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 
between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: PVMC submitted the proposed MPO for approval 
by the Forest Service in May 2016. The proposed MPO was submitted in 
accordance with Forest Service

[[Page 15323]]

regulations for locatable minerals set forth at Title 36 of the Code of 
Federal Regulations (CFR), part 228 (36 CFR part 228), subpart A, 
Locatable Minerals.
    The proposed action would consolidate prior permitted activities 
reasonably incident to extraction, transportation, and processing of 
copper and molybdenum on NFS lands and expand existing mining 
operations from private lands on to NFS lands primarily for tailings 
disposal and pit expansion.

Purpose and Need for Action

    The purpose of this project is to analyze the proposed action as 
required by the regulations at 36 CFR 228.5(a). Approval of the 
proposed MPO would be a major federal action subject to National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). Accordingly, the Forest 
Service must prepare an EIS to identify the scope of issues associated 
with the MPO, identify and assess reasonable alternatives to the MPO in 
order to avoid or minimize adverse effects of MPO actions and evaluate 
and disclose the potential environmental effects. An amendment to the 
Tonto National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan (Forest Plan, 
1985, as amended) may be required.
    The need for this project is to comply with the regulations of the 
Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, that govern the use of 
surface resources in conjunction with mining operations on NFS lands as 
set forth under 36 CFR part 228. These regulations require that the 
Forest Service respond to parties who submit proposed mining plans for 
approval to conduct mining operations on or otherwise use NFS lands in 
conjunction with mining for part or all of their planned actions. In 
accordance with regulations at 36 CFR 228.5, the submittal of the 
proposed MPO by PVMC requires the Forest Service to consider whether to 
approve the proposed MPO or to require changes or additions deemed 
necessary to meet the purpose of the regulations for locatable mineral 
operations at 36 CFR part 228, subpart A. Forest Service cannot 
categorically prohibit mining operations that are reasonably incident 
to mining of locatable minerals on NFS lands in the area of the 
proposed action.

Proposed Action

    The proposed action is to approve the MPO as submitted by PVMC. 
Pinto Valley Mine expansion would affect federal lands administered by 
TNF and private lands owned by PVMC. The proposed action by the Forest 
Service would only approve mining operations on NFS lands, since the 
Forest Service does not have jurisdiction to regulate mining operations 
that occur on private land. However, the EIS will consider and disclose 
environmental effects associated with the MPO. Connected actions 
related to the MPO and potential amendment of the forest plan, if 
required, would be analyzed in the EIS. Impacts from past, present, and 
reasonably foreseeable future actions will be considered in combination 
with impacts of the proposed project to estimate potential cumulative 
impacts.

Existing and Proposed Mining Operations

    Pinto Valley Mine is an existing open pit copper and molybdenum 
mine with adjacent milling and processing operations, tailings disposal 
areas, and waste rock disposal, all operated by PVMC. The majority of 
Pinto Valley Mine is located on PVMC property. However, certain 
facilities and operations are located on TNF, and were authorized by 
the Forest Service or the U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Land 
Management (BLM) through Rights-of-Way, Plans of Operations, Special 
Use Permits, and a Letter Agreement. The authorizations date from as 
early as the 1940s, and have been amended, updated, and re-authorized 
over the years.
    Existing surface disturbance associated with the Pinto Valley Mine 
currently encompasses an estimated 3,845 acres, of which 3,389 acres 
are on private and 456 acres are on NFS lands. The proposed disturbance 
acreage would be an additional 1,011 acres of surface disturbance (766 
acres on private land, 245 acres on NFS lands) for a total estimated 
surface disturbance of 4,856 acres (4,155 on private land, 701 acres on 
NFS lands).
    Each of the past, present, and proposed future uses of NFS lands is 
addressed in the MPO. Existing or proposed mining use of NFS lands 
includes portions of the Open Pit, 19 Dump, portions of three tailings 
storage facilities, transportation on Forest Roads and temporary access 
roads, use of existing powerlines and water pipelines, existing water 
supply, stormwater management facilities, and a sign.
    In summary, at the end of the current planned life of the mine, 
PVMC would use approximately 701 acres of NFS lands and 42.45 miles of 
Forest Roads and temporary access roads to access mine facilities and/
or as alignments for linear utility infrastructure.

Possible Alternatives

    The Pinto Valley Mine EIS will analyze the No Action Alternative, 
which would not approve of the proposed MPO. For the No Action 
Alternative, mining operations, reclamation, and closure would continue 
under current authorizations. The responsible official does not have 
discretion to select the No Action alternative, because it would not be 
consistent with requirements of 36 CFR 228.5.
    The EIS may evaluate additional alternatives that could include 
application of design features and other measures that address issues 
identified during scoping, that would meet the purpose and need for the 
project, and are reasonable and practicable. These alternatives may 
require changes to the proposed MPO, which are necessary to meet Forest 
Service regulations for locatable minerals set forth at 36 CFR part 
228, subpart A.

Lead and Cooperating Agencies

    The Forest Service will be the lead agency preparing the EIS. 
Cooperating agencies have not yet been confirmed, but may include 
agencies within the Department of the Interior, as well as other state 
and Federal agencies with regulatory and/or enforcement jurisdiction 
over the project.

Responsible Official

    The Forest Supervisor of the TNF will be the responsible official 
who prepares the Record of Decision (ROD) and approves the MPO.

Nature of Decision To Be Made

    TNF Forest Supervisor will consider beneficial and adverse impacts 
of each alternative analyzed in the EIS. TNF Forest Supervisor has 
discretion to determine whether changes in the proposed MPO will be 
required prior to approval.

Plan of Operations

    Using the analysis in the EIS and supporting documentation, the TNF 
Forest Supervisor will make the following decisions regarding the 
proposed MPO:
    1. Decide whether to approve the proposed MPO submitted by PVMC, or 
require changes in, or additions to, the proposed MPO to meet the 
purpose of the regulations, including those for environmental 
protection and reclamation set forth at 36 CFR part 228, subpart A 
before approving a final MPO. The alternative that is selected for 
approval in the final MPO must minimize adverse impacts on NFS surface 
resources where feasible.
    2. If Forest Service determines that any amendment(s) is (are) 
required to the Forest Plan, then decide whether to approve amendments 
to the Forest Plan,

[[Page 15324]]

which would be necessary to approve the final MPO.

Final EIS and Record of Decision

    The Forest Supervisor plans to release a draft ROD in conjunction 
with the final EIS. The draft ROD would address the decision on 
approval of the MPO. The decision would be subject to 36 CFR part 218, 
Project-Level Pre-decisional Administrative Review Process. If forest 
plan amendments are required, then the draft decision may also be 
subject to 36 CFR part 219, subpart B, Pre-decisional Administrative 
Review Process.
    Following resolution of objections to the draft ROD, a final ROD 
would be issued. PVMC would have an opportunity to appeal the decision 
as set forth at 36 CFR part 214, Postdecisional Administrative Review 
Process for Occupancy or Use of National Forest System Lands and 
Resources.
    Prior to approval of the MPO, PVMC may be required to modify the 
proposed MPO to align it with the description of the selected 
alternative in the final ROD. In addition, the TNF Forest Supervisor 
would require PVMC to submit a reclamation bond or other acceptable 
financial assurance to ensure that NFS lands and resources involved 
with the mining operation are reclaimed in accordance with the approved 
MPO and Forest Service requirements for environmental protection (36 
CFR 228.8 and 228.13). After the Forest Service has determined that the 
MPO conforms to the ROD and that the reclamation bond is acceptable, 
the TNF Forest Supervisor would approve the MPO. Implementation of 
mining operations that affect NFS lands and resources may not commence 
until the MPO is approved and the reclamation bond or other financial 
assurance is in place.

Preliminary Issues

    Issues to be analyzed in the EIS will be developed during the 
scoping process. Preliminary issues expected to be analyzed include 
potential impacts to: Groundwater and surface water quantity and 
quality; riparian and aquatic areas and springs; biological resources, 
including threatened and endangered species and Forest Service 
sensitive species; historical and cultural resources; air quality; 
socioeconomics; transportation and traffic; noise; visual resources; 
and recreation. This list is subject to change based on comments 
received from the public and resource agencies.

Permits or Licenses Required

    The following is a list of permits for Pinto Valley Mine: Permits 
associated with groundwater withdrawal and dam safety permits (Arizona 
Department of Water Resources); air quality Class II synthetic minor 
permit (Arizona Department of Environmental Quality), Arizona Pollutant 
Discharge Elimination System process and stormwater permits, Aquifer 
Protection Permit, and public water supply permit (Arizona Department 
of Environmental Quality); Mined Land Reclamation Plan (Arizona State 
Mine Inspector); letter agreement for a commercial vehicle staging area 
(Arizona Department of Transportation); and other required permits. 
Because the Pinto Valley Mine is an operating mine, PVMC already holds 
required permits. PVMC would update and amend permits for additional 
activities proposed in the MPO, as required.

Scoping Process

    This notice of intent initiates the scoping process, which guides 
the development of the Pinto Valley Mine EIS. Public comments may be 
submitted to TNF in a variety of ways, including: By email, via the 
project Web site, by mail, and by facsimile. In addition, TNF will 
conduct two open houses during the scoping process through which 
members of the public can learn about the proposed action and the NEPA 
review process, and submit comments. Comments sought by TNF include 
specific comments related to the proposed action, appropriate 
information that could be pertinent to the description of baseline 
resource conditions and analysis of environmental effects, 
identification of significant issues, identification of reasonably 
foreseeable actions that should be considered in the cumulative 
analysis, and identification of potential design features and 
alternatives.
    Written comments may be sent to: Pinto Valley Mine EIS Comments, 
2324 E McDowell Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85006. Comments may also be sent by 
email to: Comment@pintovalleymineeis.us, or sent by facsimile to (602) 
225-5302.
    It is important that reviewers provide comments at such times and 
in such manner that they are useful to the agency's preparation of the 
environmental impact statement. Therefore, comments should be provided 
prior to the close of the comment period and should clearly articulate 
the reviewer's concerns and contentions and specific recommendations 
wherever possible. When submitting comments, please keep them specific 
to this proposal only. Comments which are not specific to the project 
and project area will be deemed outside the scope of the analysis and 
will not be considered. If you are including references, citations, or 
additional information to be considered for this project, please 
provide a copy and specify exactly how the material relates to the 
project. Also indicate exactly what part of the material you would like 
us to consider (such as page or figure number). Comments received in 
response to this solicitation, including names and addresses of those 
who comment, will be part of the public record for this proposed 
action. Comments submitted anonymously will be accepted and considered; 
however, anonymous comments will not provide the agency with the 
ability to provide the respondent with subsequent environmental 
documents.

     Dated: March 21, 2017.
Jeanne M. Higgins,
Associate Deputy Chief, National Forest System.
[FR Doc. 2017-06020 Filed 3-27-17; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3411-15-P