Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment To Reconsider the January 19, 2017, Record of Decision Approving Segments 8 and 9 for the Gateway West Transmission Line Project, Idaho, 40797-40799 [2017-18181]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 165 / Monday, August 28, 2017 / Notices Authority: We issue this notice under the authority of the ESA, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), and the MMPA, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.). Joyce Russell, Government Information Specialist, Branch of Permits, Division of Management Authority. [FR Doc. 2017–18209 Filed 8–25–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [16XL LLWY9200000.L51010000.ER0000. LVRWK09K0990.241A.0 4500106832] Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment To Reconsider the January 19, 2017, Record of Decision Approving Segments 8 and 9 for the Gateway West Transmission Line Project, Idaho Bureau of Land Management, Interior. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA), and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, as amended (FLPMA), and the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area (NCA) Boundary Modification Act of 2017 (Modification Act), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is reconsidering the decision to approve a Right-of-Way (ROW) application for Segments 8 and 9 of the Gateway West 500-kilovolt (kV) Transmission Line Project (Project). By this Notice the BLM announces the beginning of scoping to solicit public comments and identify issues associated with such reconsideration, including the potential amendment of several Resource Management Plans (RMPs) and Management Framework Plans (MFPs) in the project area. The BLM analyzed the impacts of the alternative that it is reconsidering in the 2016 Gateway West Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The BLM will prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA) to reconsider the January 19, 2017 Decision, including the land use plan amendments associated with a specific action alternative identified in the Supplemental EIS. DATES: Comments on issues may be submitted in writing until September 27, 2017. In order to be included in the analysis, all comments must be postmarked prior to the close of the 30day scoping period. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on issues and planning criteria related asabaliauskas on DSKBBXCHB2PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:45 Aug 25, 2017 Jkt 241001 to this EA by any of the following methods: • Web site: https://www.blm.gov/ gatewaywest • Email: blm_id_gateway_west@blm.gov • Fax: 208–384–3326 • Mail: BLM Boise District Office, 3948 Development Ave., Boise, ID 83705 Documents pertinent to this proposal may be examined at the BLM Boise District Office, 3948 Development Ave,, Boise, ID 83705. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Contact Courtney Busse by calling 208–373– 3872 or emailing at cbusse@blm.gov. You can also contact Ms. Busse to have your name added to the BLM mailing list for the Project. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1–800–877–8339 to contact Ms. Busse. The FRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question with Ms. Busse. You will receive a reply during normal business hours. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: PacifiCorp, dba Rocky Mountain Power, and Idaho Power (Proponents) submitted an initial ROW application under FLPMA in 2007 to locate 500-kV electric transmission lines on Federal lands as part of the Project. The original Project comprised 10 transmission line segments originating at the Windstar Substation near Glenrock, Wyoming, and terminating at the Hemingway Substation near Melba, Idaho. After completing NEPA analysis in an EIS, the BLM issued a Record of Decision (ROD) in November 2013 that authorized routes and associated land use plan amendments on Federal lands for Segments 1 through 7, and Segment 10, but the BLM deferred a Decision for Segments 8 and 9 in southwestern Idaho. In August 2014, the BLM received from the Proponents a revised ROW application for Segments 8 and 9 and a revised Plan of Development for the Project, which the BLM determined required additional NEPA analysis through a Supplemental EIS. On October 7, 2016, the BLM released a Final Supplemental EIS that analyzed seven alternative ROW routes for Segments 8 and 9 and the land use plan amendments needed to accommodate each alternative route pair. The BLM issued a ROD on January 19, 2017, selecting the route described as Alternative 5 in the Final Supplemental EIS. Following the Decision, several environmental organizations, the State of Idaho, and Owyhee County, Idaho, appealed the ROW Decision to the PO 00000 Frm 00054 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 40797 Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA). In a letter to the Secretary of the Interior, the Governor of Idaho requested that the BLM reconsider the January 19, 2017, Decision and select an alternative with fewer impacts to State and county resources and communities. The Proponents also requested that the BLM reconsider the January Decision and possibly select the alternative proposed in their revised application, as more cost-effective and providing greater system reliability. On April 18, 2017, the IBLA granted BLM’s Motion to Remand the January 19, 2017, Decision for reconsideration. The BLM’s Motion was unopposed. On May 4, 2017, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 (H.R. 244), which incorporated the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey NCA Boundary Modification Act (Modification Act) by reference (Division G, Title IV, Sec. 431(a)). The President signed the Appropriations Act into law on May 5, 2017. The Modification Act directed the BLM to issue a ROW grant for the lands described in Sec. (b)(2) of the Modification Act for portions of Gateway West Segments 8 and 9, which represent the portions of Alternative 1 from the Final Supplemental EIS within the boundaries of the NCA. The Modification Act also removed the lands for this ROW from NCA status and stipulated that the mitigation framework presented in the Final Supplemental EIS will apply to the authorized segments. The Modification Act (Sec. (c)(1)) requires the BLM to issue the ROW (that portion in the NCA) within 90 days of the enactment of the Appropriations Act, or by August 2, 2017. In light of the Modification Act’s nondiscretionary direction to issue the statutory ROW, the BLM’s reconsideration of the January 19, 2017, Decision will consider the alternative(s) from the Supplemental EIS that align with the statutory ROW, so as to meet the agency’s purpose and need for action, i.e., to respond to the Proponents’ ROW application and the direction of the Modification Act, and the no-action alternative. Because the route pairing described as Alternative 1 (routes described as Revised Proposed 8 and Revised Proposed 9) in the Supplemental EIS is the only alternative that meets these criteria, it will be analyzed as the action alternative for reconsideration. Furthermore, because the statutory ROW directed the BLM to issue a ROW grant for certain portions of the routes within the NCA boundaries previously analyzed in Alternative 1 in the Supplemental EIS, the EA and E:\FR\FM\28AUN1.SGM 28AUN1 asabaliauskas on DSKBBXCHB2PROD with NOTICES 40798 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 165 / Monday, August 28, 2017 / Notices subsequent decision will address only public lands identified with Alternative 1 which lie outside the NCA boundaries that existed when the Final Supplemental EIS was published (October 7, 2016, 81 FR 69845). In the EA, the BLM plans to rely on the Supplemental EIS and the 2013 Final EIS for both the ROW alternatives for Segments 8 and 9 and the corresponding land use plan amendments necessary to support the alternative. Because the potential selection of a different ROW alternative would require a new decision for corresponding land use plan amendments, the BLM must ensure that it is satisfying the land use plan amendment requirements set forth in 43 CFR part 1600. The BLM is preparing an EA to inform reconsideration of the January 19, 2017, Decision and meet the regulatory requirements for amending land use plans, including public participation opportunities, and to ensure that any new information regarding the alternatives presented in the Supplemental EIS and 2013 Final EIS are analyzed. This Notice announces the beginning of scoping to seek public input on issues and planning criteria. The purpose of public scoping is to determine relevant issues that will influence the scope of the EA. The BLM invites public participation and comment on those issues, potential impacts, and mitigation measures associated with granting ROWs on public lands for Segments 8 and 9 that may not have been addressed in the Final Supplemental EIS. The BLM identified and analyzed the following issues and concerns in the Final Supplemental EIS for Segments 8 and 9 of the Project: • Effects to the objects and values for which the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area (NCA) was designated; • Land use conflicts and inconsistency with land use plans; • Effects of the project on local and regional socioeconomic conditions; • Effects on wildlife habitat, plants, and animals, including threatened, endangered, and sensitive species; • Effects to visual resources and existing view-sheds; • Effects to historic and cultural resources; • Effects to Indian trust assets; • Opportunities to apply mitigation strategies for on-site, regional, and compensatory mitigation; and • Siting on private lands versus public lands. Planning criteria considered for the plan amendments associated with each VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:45 Aug 25, 2017 Jkt 241001 action alternative in the Supplemental EIS include the following: • NEPA; • Existing laws, regulations, and BLM policies; • Plans, programs and policies of other Federal, State, and local governments, and Indian tribes; • Public input; • Future needs and demands for existing or potential resource commodities and values; • Past and present use of public and adjacent lands; • Environmental impacts; • Social and economic values; • Public welfare and safety; and • National energy policies and plans. Land Use Plan Amendments The Supplemental EIS identified 17 amendments to BLM land use plans needed to authorize Alternative 1. The January 2017 Decision approved two amendments to the Twin Falls MFP and one amendment to the Snake River Birds of Prey RMP that would also be necessary to authorize Alternative 1. The January Decision set aside and, remand notwithstanding, these approved plan amendments remain in effect. In addition, the Modification Act superseded the need for seven plan amendments to the Snake River Birds of Prey RMP associated with Alternative 1 analyzed in the Supplemental EIS. As a result, selecting Alternative 1 in a Decision on reconsideration would require seven plan amendments to three current BLM land use plans, as follows: • Kuna MFP; • Bennett Hills/Timmerman Hills MFP; and • Jarbidge RMP (1987, for areas not covered by the 2015 Jarbidge RMP). In order to authorize Segment 8 in Alternative 1, the Kuna MFP would need an amendment to allow the transmission line outside of existing corridors. An amendment to the Bennett Hills/Timmerman Hills MFP would be needed to allow the route near archeological sites and to change Visual Resource Management (VRM) classes. The 1987 Jarbidge RMP would need amendments to change VRM Classes, allow crossing of the Oregon National Historic Trail, and change a utility avoidance/restricted area designation. In order to authorize Segment 9 in this alternative, the 1987 Jarbidge RMP would need an amendment to change VRM Class II to VRM Class III for areas still managed under that plan. The route pairing identified in the Supplemental EIS as Alternative 5 (Route 8G and Route 9K) was selected in the January Decision. The January 19, 2017, ROD approved one amendment to PO 00000 Frm 00055 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 the Bruneau MFP, two amendments to the Twin Falls MFP, and one amendment to the Snake River Birds of Prey RMP needed to grant a ROW for Alternative 5. These plan amendments remain in effect. The alignment pairing in this alternative does not connect with the ROW the BLM plans to issue pursuant to the Modification Act. Mitigation The Final Supplemental EIS presents a framework the BLM has developed in cooperation with the Proponents for assessing compensatory mitigation under FLPMA and for implementing NEPA regulations on mitigating projectrelated impacts to National Historic Trails; cultural resources; wetlands; and resources, objects, and values in the NCA. The framework discusses avoidance, minimization, and compensation measures that would be required under each alternative analyzed in the Supplemental EIS. The Modification Act directs implementation of this framework during construction of each respective project segment (Sec. 2(c)(A)). Impacts to Greater sage-grouse and migratory birds are addressed in the 2013 Final EIS for the entire, 10-segment project and in the corresponding 2013 ROD. The Supplemental EIS develops further mitigation measures for indirect effects to Greater sage-grouse. You may submit comments in writing to the BLM using one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section above, according to the time frame named in the DATES section above. We will provide additional opportunities for public participation as appropriate. During the Supplemental EIS process, the BLM coordinated through the NEPA scoping process and comment period to help fulfill the public involvement requirements under the National Historic Preservation Act (54 U.S.C. 306108) as provided in 36 CFR 800.2(d)(3). Any additional information about historic and cultural resources within the area potentially affected by the proposed action, but not available during preparation of the Supplemental EIS, will assist the BLM in identifying and evaluating impacts to such resources during preparation of the EA. During preparation of the Supplemental EIS, the BLM consulted with Indian tribes on a Government-toGovernment basis in accordance with Executive Order 13175 and other policies, and will continue such consultations during preparation of the EA. Tribal concerns, including impacts on Indian trust assets and potential impacts to cultural resources, will be given due consideration. Federal, State, E:\FR\FM\28AUN1.SGM 28AUN1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 165 / Monday, August 28, 2017 / Notices and local agencies, along with Tribes and other stakeholders who may be interested in or affected by the proposed action that the BLM is evaluating, are invited to participate in the scoping process and, if eligible, may request or be requested by the BLM to participate in the development of the EA as a Cooperating Agency. The BLM will provide a public comment period for the Draft RMP Amendment(s)/EA. The BLM will continue to work collaboratively with interested parties to identify the amendments and selected route that are best suited to local, regional, and national needs and concerns. The BLM used an interdisciplinary approach to select an alternative from the Supplemental EIS to respond to the ROW application, and will continue this approach in reconsidering the January 19, 2017, Decision. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Authority: 40 CFR 1501.7 and 43 CFR 1610.2. Timothy M. Murphy, BLM Idaho State Director. [FR Doc. 2017–18181 Filed 8–25–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–GG–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR National Park Service [NPS–WASO–NAGPRA–NPS0023877; PPWOCRADN0–PCU00RP14.R50000] Notice of Intent to Repatriate Cultural Items: Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY National Park Service, Interior. Notice. AGENCY: ACTION: The Brooklyn Museum, in consultation with the appropriate Indian Tribe, has determined that the cultural item listed in this notice meets the definition of sacred object and object of cultural patrimony. Lineal descendants or representatives of any Indian Tribe not identified in this notice that wish to claim this cultural item should submit a written request to the Brooklyn Museum. If no additional claimants come forward, transfer of asabaliauskas on DSKBBXCHB2PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:45 Aug 25, 2017 Jkt 241001 control of the cultural item to the Indian Tribe stated in this notice may proceed. DATES: Lineal descendants or representatives of any Indian Tribe not identified in this notice that wish to claim this cultural item should submit a written request with information in support of the claim to the Brooklyn Museum at the address in this notice by September 27, 2017. ADDRESSES: Nancy Rosoff, Andrew W. Mellon Senior Curator, Arts of the Americas, Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11238, telephone (718) 501–6283, nancy.rosoff@brooklynmuseum.org. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 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 a cultural item under the control of the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY, that meets the definition of sacred object and object of cultural patrimony 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 that has control of the Native American cultural item. The National Park Service is not responsible for the determinations in this notice. History and Description of the Cultural Item On August 7, 1905, Stewart Culin, the Brooklyn Museum’s Curator of Ethnology (1903–1929) purchased a woman’s dance skirt from Brouse Brizard in Arcata, Humboldt County, CA. Culin purchased the skirt at Brizard’s home, not in his Arcata store. Following Culin’s purchase of the skirt, it was brought to the Brooklyn Museum where it was accessioned as Hupa and given the accession number 06.331.7923. This woman’s dance skirt has been identified as Wiyot and as a sacred object and object of cultural patrimony. Museum records and information provided during consultation with Wiyot representatives indicate that the skirt is culturally affiliated with the Wiyot Tribe of northwestern California. The skirt is identified as Wiyot based upon its physical appearance and construction. It is made of deer hide and adorned with abalone shell, clam shell, copper, bear grass, maidenhair fern, iris fibers, and glass beads. While most abalone shell is a dull grey or white on the outside, the cut shell pieces on the Brooklyn Museum skirt are red, which means that they are from red abalone, an PO 00000 Frm 00056 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 40799 identification that relates to the Wiyot story of Abalone Woman, whose drops of blood created the red-shelled abalone. The story explains why red abalone is only found along the shores of Wiyot territory, and therefore is used in the making of Wiyot regalia. Tribal representatives also identified the skirt as a ceremonial garment worn by Wiyot women during the Brush Dance, which is held during the annual World Renewal Ceremony in winter or early spring. As such, it is considered sacred, and an inalienable ceremonial object, which was obtained without the consent of an appropriate Wiyot authority. The Wiyot maintain that Brouse Brizard was not the rightful owner of the garment because Wiyot law prohibits the sale of ceremonial items. The circumstances in which sacred and ceremonial objects were separated from the Wiyot people can be explained by their history. In 1860, Wiyot life in their traditional homeland was violently interrupted by the nighttime massacre of as many as 250 women, children and elders, probably by gold prospectors. The massacre resulted in survivors fleeing Wiyot territory and ultimately seeking protection among their Hupa and Yurok neighbors. During a lengthy period when the Wiyot were refugees, ceremonial life was curtailed. In 1981, the Wiyot Tribe received federal recognition and, in 1991, they were moved to the Table Bluff Reservation. Slowly they have been buying back lands that were originally part of their traditional territory. Today the Wiyot Tribe has approximately 650 enrolled members. It has a language revitalization program, and an active repatriation program to bring cultural heritage objects back home. In 2014, after the industrial contamination of their sacred site on Indian Island was cleaned up, the Wiyot held their first World Renewal Ceremonial in over 150 years. Determinations Made by the Brooklyn Museum Officials of the Brooklyn Museum have determined that: • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(3)(C), the one cultural item described above is a specific ceremonial object needed by traditional Native American religious leaders for the practice of traditional Native American religions by their present-day adherents. • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(3)(D), the one cultural item described above has ongoing historical, traditional, or cultural importance central to the Native American group or culture itself, rather than property owned by an individual. E:\FR\FM\28AUN1.SGM 28AUN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 165 (Monday, August 28, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 40797-40799]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-18181]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Bureau of Land Management

[16XL LLWY9200000.L51010000.ER0000.LVRWK09K0990.241A.0 4500106832]


Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment To 
Reconsider the January 19, 2017, Record of Decision Approving Segments 
8 and 9 for the Gateway West Transmission Line Project, Idaho

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.

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

SUMMARY: In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969, as amended (NEPA), and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act 
of 1976, as amended (FLPMA), and the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of 
Prey National Conservation Area (NCA) Boundary Modification Act of 2017 
(Modification Act), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is 
reconsidering the decision to approve a Right-of-Way (ROW) application 
for Segments 8 and 9 of the Gateway West 500-kilovolt (kV) Transmission 
Line Project (Project). By this Notice the BLM announces the beginning 
of scoping to solicit public comments and identify issues associated 
with such reconsideration, including the potential amendment of several 
Resource Management Plans (RMPs) and Management Framework Plans (MFPs) 
in the project area. The BLM analyzed the impacts of the alternative 
that it is reconsidering in the 2016 Gateway West Final Supplemental 
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The BLM will prepare an 
Environmental Assessment (EA) to reconsider the January 19, 2017 
Decision, including the land use plan amendments associated with a 
specific action alternative identified in the Supplemental EIS.

DATES: Comments on issues may be submitted in writing until September 
27, 2017. In order to be included in the analysis, all comments must be 
postmarked prior to the close of the 30-day scoping period.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on issues and planning criteria 
related to this EA by any of the following methods:

 Web site: https://www.blm.gov/gatewaywest
 Email: blm_id_gateway_west@blm.gov
 Fax: 208-384-3326
 Mail: BLM Boise District Office, 3948 Development Ave., Boise, 
ID 83705

    Documents pertinent to this proposal may be examined at the BLM 
Boise District Office, 3948 Development Ave,, Boise, ID 83705.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Contact Courtney Busse by calling 208-373-3872 
or emailing at cbusse@blm.gov. You can also contact Ms. Busse to have 
your name added to the BLM mailing list for the Project. Persons who 
use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal 
Relay Service (FRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to contact Ms. Busse. The FRS is 
available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question 
with Ms. Busse. You will receive a reply during normal business hours.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: PacifiCorp, dba Rocky Mountain Power, and 
Idaho Power (Proponents) submitted an initial ROW application under 
FLPMA in 2007 to locate 500-kV electric transmission lines on Federal 
lands as part of the Project. The original Project comprised 10 
transmission line segments originating at the Windstar Substation near 
Glenrock, Wyoming, and terminating at the Hemingway Substation near 
Melba, Idaho.
    After completing NEPA analysis in an EIS, the BLM issued a Record 
of Decision (ROD) in November 2013 that authorized routes and 
associated land use plan amendments on Federal lands for Segments 1 
through 7, and Segment 10, but the BLM deferred a Decision for Segments 
8 and 9 in southwestern Idaho.
    In August 2014, the BLM received from the Proponents a revised ROW 
application for Segments 8 and 9 and a revised Plan of Development for 
the Project, which the BLM determined required additional NEPA analysis 
through a Supplemental EIS. On October 7, 2016, the BLM released a 
Final Supplemental EIS that analyzed seven alternative ROW routes for 
Segments 8 and 9 and the land use plan amendments needed to accommodate 
each alternative route pair. The BLM issued a ROD on January 19, 2017, 
selecting the route described as Alternative 5 in the Final 
Supplemental EIS.
    Following the Decision, several environmental organizations, the 
State of Idaho, and Owyhee County, Idaho, appealed the ROW Decision to 
the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA). In a letter to the Secretary 
of the Interior, the Governor of Idaho requested that the BLM 
reconsider the January 19, 2017, Decision and select an alternative 
with fewer impacts to State and county resources and communities. The 
Proponents also requested that the BLM reconsider the January Decision 
and possibly select the alternative proposed in their revised 
application, as more cost-effective and providing greater system 
reliability. On April 18, 2017, the IBLA granted BLM's Motion to Remand 
the January 19, 2017, Decision for reconsideration. The BLM's Motion 
was unopposed.
    On May 4, 2017, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations 
Act, 2017 (H.R. 244), which incorporated the Morley Nelson Snake River 
Birds of Prey NCA Boundary Modification Act (Modification Act) by 
reference (Division G, Title IV, Sec. 431(a)).
    The President signed the Appropriations Act into law on May 5, 
2017. The Modification Act directed the BLM to issue a ROW grant for 
the lands described in Sec. (b)(2) of the Modification Act for portions 
of Gateway West Segments 8 and 9, which represent the portions of 
Alternative 1 from the Final Supplemental EIS within the boundaries of 
the NCA. The Modification Act also removed the lands for this ROW from 
NCA status and stipulated that the mitigation framework presented in 
the Final Supplemental EIS will apply to the authorized segments. The 
Modification Act (Sec. (c)(1)) requires the BLM to issue the ROW (that 
portion in the NCA) within 90 days of the enactment of the 
Appropriations Act, or by August 2, 2017.
    In light of the Modification Act's non-discretionary direction to 
issue the statutory ROW, the BLM's reconsideration of the January 19, 
2017, Decision will consider the alternative(s) from the Supplemental 
EIS that align with the statutory ROW, so as to meet the agency's 
purpose and need for action, i.e., to respond to the Proponents' ROW 
application and the direction of the Modification Act, and the no-
action alternative.
    Because the route pairing described as Alternative 1 (routes 
described as Revised Proposed 8 and Revised Proposed 9) in the 
Supplemental EIS is the only alternative that meets these criteria, it 
will be analyzed as the action alternative for reconsideration.
    Furthermore, because the statutory ROW directed the BLM to issue a 
ROW grant for certain portions of the routes within the NCA boundaries 
previously analyzed in Alternative 1 in the Supplemental EIS, the EA 
and

[[Page 40798]]

subsequent decision will address only public lands identified with 
Alternative 1 which lie outside the NCA boundaries that existed when 
the Final Supplemental EIS was published (October 7, 2016, 81 FR 
69845). In the EA, the BLM plans to rely on the Supplemental EIS and 
the 2013 Final EIS for both the ROW alternatives for Segments 8 and 9 
and the corresponding land use plan amendments necessary to support the 
alternative.
    Because the potential selection of a different ROW alternative 
would require a new decision for corresponding land use plan 
amendments, the BLM must ensure that it is satisfying the land use plan 
amendment requirements set forth in 43 CFR part 1600. The BLM is 
preparing an EA to inform reconsideration of the January 19, 2017, 
Decision and meet the regulatory requirements for amending land use 
plans, including public participation opportunities, and to ensure that 
any new information regarding the alternatives presented in the 
Supplemental EIS and 2013 Final EIS are analyzed. This Notice announces 
the beginning of scoping to seek public input on issues and planning 
criteria.
    The purpose of public scoping is to determine relevant issues that 
will influence the scope of the EA. The BLM invites public 
participation and comment on those issues, potential impacts, and 
mitigation measures associated with granting ROWs on public lands for 
Segments 8 and 9 that may not have been addressed in the Final 
Supplemental EIS.
    The BLM identified and analyzed the following issues and concerns 
in the Final Supplemental EIS for Segments 8 and 9 of the Project:
     Effects to the objects and values for which the Morley 
Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area (NCA) was 
designated;
     Land use conflicts and inconsistency with land use plans;
     Effects of the project on local and regional socioeconomic 
conditions;
     Effects on wildlife habitat, plants, and animals, 
including threatened, endangered, and sensitive species;
     Effects to visual resources and existing view-sheds;
     Effects to historic and cultural resources;
     Effects to Indian trust assets;
     Opportunities to apply mitigation strategies for on-site, 
regional, and compensatory mitigation; and
     Siting on private lands versus public lands.
    Planning criteria considered for the plan amendments associated 
with each action alternative in the Supplemental EIS include the 
following:
     NEPA;
     Existing laws, regulations, and BLM policies;
     Plans, programs and policies of other Federal, State, and 
local governments, and Indian tribes;
     Public input;
     Future needs and demands for existing or potential 
resource commodities and values;
     Past and present use of public and adjacent lands;
     Environmental impacts;
     Social and economic values;
     Public welfare and safety; and
     National energy policies and plans.

Land Use Plan Amendments

    The Supplemental EIS identified 17 amendments to BLM land use plans 
needed to authorize Alternative 1. The January 2017 Decision approved 
two amendments to the Twin Falls MFP and one amendment to the Snake 
River Birds of Prey RMP that would also be necessary to authorize 
Alternative 1. The January Decision set aside and, remand 
notwithstanding, these approved plan amendments remain in effect. In 
addition, the Modification Act superseded the need for seven plan 
amendments to the Snake River Birds of Prey RMP associated with 
Alternative 1 analyzed in the Supplemental EIS. As a result, selecting 
Alternative 1 in a Decision on reconsideration would require seven plan 
amendments to three current BLM land use plans, as follows:
     Kuna MFP;
     Bennett Hills/Timmerman Hills MFP; and
     Jarbidge RMP (1987, for areas not covered by the 2015 
Jarbidge RMP).
    In order to authorize Segment 8 in Alternative 1, the Kuna MFP 
would need an amendment to allow the transmission line outside of 
existing corridors. An amendment to the Bennett Hills/Timmerman Hills 
MFP would be needed to allow the route near archeological sites and to 
change Visual Resource Management (VRM) classes. The 1987 Jarbidge RMP 
would need amendments to change VRM Classes, allow crossing of the 
Oregon National Historic Trail, and change a utility avoidance/
restricted area designation.
    In order to authorize Segment 9 in this alternative, the 1987 
Jarbidge RMP would need an amendment to change VRM Class II to VRM 
Class III for areas still managed under that plan.
    The route pairing identified in the Supplemental EIS as Alternative 
5 (Route 8G and Route 9K) was selected in the January Decision. The 
January 19, 2017, ROD approved one amendment to the Bruneau MFP, two 
amendments to the Twin Falls MFP, and one amendment to the Snake River 
Birds of Prey RMP needed to grant a ROW for Alternative 5. These plan 
amendments remain in effect. The alignment pairing in this alternative 
does not connect with the ROW the BLM plans to issue pursuant to the 
Modification Act.

Mitigation

    The Final Supplemental EIS presents a framework the BLM has 
developed in cooperation with the Proponents for assessing compensatory 
mitigation under FLPMA and for implementing NEPA regulations on 
mitigating project-related impacts to National Historic Trails; 
cultural resources; wetlands; and resources, objects, and values in the 
NCA. The framework discusses avoidance, minimization, and compensation 
measures that would be required under each alternative analyzed in the 
Supplemental EIS. The Modification Act directs implementation of this 
framework during construction of each respective project segment (Sec. 
2(c)(A)). Impacts to Greater sage-grouse and migratory birds are 
addressed in the 2013 Final EIS for the entire, 10-segment project and 
in the corresponding 2013 ROD. The Supplemental EIS develops further 
mitigation measures for indirect effects to Greater sage-grouse.
    You may submit comments in writing to the BLM using one of the 
methods listed in the ADDRESSES section above, according to the time 
frame named in the DATES section above. We will provide additional 
opportunities for public participation as appropriate.
    During the Supplemental EIS process, the BLM coordinated through 
the NEPA scoping process and comment period to help fulfill the public 
involvement requirements under the National Historic Preservation Act 
(54 U.S.C. 306108) as provided in 36 CFR 800.2(d)(3). Any additional 
information about historic and cultural resources within the area 
potentially affected by the proposed action, but not available during 
preparation of the Supplemental EIS, will assist the BLM in identifying 
and evaluating impacts to such resources during preparation of the EA.
    During preparation of the Supplemental EIS, the BLM consulted with 
Indian tribes on a Government-to-Government basis in accordance with 
Executive Order 13175 and other policies, and will continue such 
consultations during preparation of the EA. Tribal concerns, including 
impacts on Indian trust assets and potential impacts to cultural 
resources, will be given due consideration. Federal, State,

[[Page 40799]]

and local agencies, along with Tribes and other stakeholders who may be 
interested in or affected by the proposed action that the BLM is 
evaluating, are invited to participate in the scoping process and, if 
eligible, may request or be requested by the BLM to participate in the 
development of the EA as a Cooperating Agency.
    The BLM will provide a public comment period for the Draft RMP 
Amendment(s)/EA. The BLM will continue to work collaboratively with 
interested parties to identify the amendments and selected route that 
are best suited to local, regional, and national needs and concerns.
    The BLM used an interdisciplinary approach to select an alternative 
from the Supplemental EIS to respond to the ROW application, and will 
continue this approach in reconsidering the January 19, 2017, Decision.
    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.

    Authority: 40 CFR 1501.7 and 43 CFR 1610.2.

Timothy M. Murphy,
BLM Idaho State Director.
[FR Doc. 2017-18181 Filed 8-25-17; 8:45 am]
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