Notice of Availability of the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement and Environmental Impact Report and Proposed Land Use Plan Amendment to the California Desert Conservation Area Plan for the Palen Solar Project, California, 23298-23299 [2018-10574]

Download as PDF 23298 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 97 / Friday, May 18, 2018 / Notices The authority for this action is the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). Jerold Gidner, Principal Deputy Special Trustee, Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians. [FR Doc. 2018–10596 Filed 5–17–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4334–63–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [LLCAD06000 L51010000.ER0000 LVRWB17B5480 17X] Notice of Availability of the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement and Environmental Impact Report and Proposed Land Use Plan Amendment to the California Desert Conservation Area Plan for the Palen Solar Project, California Bureau of Land Management, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability. AGENCY: In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA), and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, as amended (FLPMA), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has prepared a Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Proposed Land Use Plan Amendment to the California Desert Conservation Area (CDCA) Plan for the Palen Solar Project, and by this notice is announcing its availability. This document is also an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) prepared by Riverside County under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). DATES: BLM planning regulations state that any person who meets the conditions as described in the regulations may protest the BLM’s Proposed Land Use Plan Amendment and Final Supplemental EIS. A person who meets the conditions and files a protest must file the protest within 30 days of the date that the Environmental Protection Agency publishes its Notice of Availability in the Federal Register. ADDRESSES: Copies of the Final Supplemental EIS and Proposed Land Use Plan Amendment have been sent to affected Federal, State, local, and tribal government agencies and to other stakeholders. Copies of the Final Supplemental EIS and Proposed Land Use Plan Amendment are available for public inspection at the BLM-Palm Springs South Coast Field Office at 1201 Bird Center Dr., Palm Springs, CA 92262 and at the BLM-California Desert daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:38 May 17, 2018 Jkt 244001 District Office, 22835 Calle San Juan de Los Lagos, Moreno Valley, CA 92553. Interested persons may also review the Final Supplemental EIS and Proposed Land Use Plan Amendment on the internet at https://eplanning.blm.gov/ epl-front-office/eplanning/ planAndProjectSite.do?methodName= renderDefaultPlanOrProjectSite& projectId=68122. All protests must be in writing and mailed to one of the following addresses: • Regular Mail: BLM Director (210), Attention: Protest Coordinator, P.O. Box 71383, Washington, DC 20024–1383. • Overnight Delivery: BLM Director (210), Attention: Protest Coordinator, 20 M Street SE, Room 2134LM, Washington, DC 20003. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark DeMaio, BLM Project Manager, telephone (760) 833–7124; address Bureau of Land Management, Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office, 1201 Bird Center Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262; email mdemaio@blm.gov. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at (800) 877–8339 to contact the above individual during normal business hours. The FRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question with the above individual. You will receive a reply during normal business hours. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: EDF Renewable Energy has applied for a Right-of-Way (ROW) from the BLM to construct, operate, maintain, and decommission a 500 megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic facility near Desert Center, Riverside County, California. The ROW application area comprises about 4,200 acres, with a proposed project footprint of about 3,400 acres. The proposed project also includes construction of a 6.7-mile single circuit 230 kilovolt generation interconnection (gen-tie) transmission line connecting the project to the Southern California Edison (SCE) Red Bluff Substation. The BLM is also considering an amendment to the CDCA Plan that would be necessary to authorize the project. This is a joint EIS/EIR for compliance with NEPA and CEQA. Riverside County is the lead agency under CEQA. This Project application was originally submitted in 2007 as the Palen Solar Power Project (PSPP) by Palen Solar I, LLC (PSI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Solar Millennium. The PSPP was proposed as a solar trough project, and was the subject of an EIS under NEPA. The BLM, pursuant to its obligations under FLPMA and NEPA, published a Draft EIS, followed by a PO 00000 Frm 00047 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Proposed CDCA Plan Amendment and Final EIS on May 13, 2011 (76 FR 28064). Before the BLM issued a Record of Decision (ROD), PSI informed the BLM that it would not construct the Project due to bankruptcy. As a result, the BLM did not issue a ROD, did not amend the CDCA Plan, and did not issue a ROW grant for the PSPP. On June 21, 2012, the bankruptcy court approved the transfer of the application from PSI to Palen Solar III, LLC (PSIII). BrightSource Energy Inc. (BSE) then acquired all rights to PSIII at auction. PSIII submitted a revised ROW application to the BLM for the Palen Solar Electricity Generating System Project (PSEGS), a 500 MW concentrating solar power tower technology facility and single-circuit 230 kV gen-tie line. On July 27, 2013, the BLM issued a Draft Supplemental EIS and Plan Amendment to evaluate the potential additional environmental impacts caused by PSEGS. As part of the state permitting process, the California Energy Commission evaluated the PSEGS under CEQA, and issued Preliminary and Final Staff Assessments for the amended project in June and November of 2013, respectively. The BLM did not issue a Final Supplemental EIS for the PSEGS Project because BSE and its partner, Abengoa Solar Inc., abandoned the State authorization proceedings at the California Energy Commission. In December 2015, EDF Renewable Energy acquired the PSEGS application. EDF Renewable Energy has submitted a revised ROW application for the Proposed Project, which is analyzed in this Final Supplemental EIS/EIR and Proposed Land Use Plan Amendment. The BLM held public meetings on the revised ROW application in June and August 2016 in Palm Springs, California. On October 27, 2017, the BLM issued the Draft Supplemental EIS/ EIR and Draft Land Use Plan Amendment, which analyzed the impacts of the Proposed Action and two action alternatives, in addition to a No Action Alternative. Alternative 1, Reduced Footprint, would be a 500 MW Photovoltaic (PV) array on about 3,100 acres. It avoids the central and largest desert wash and incorporates a more efficient use of the land for the solar array. Alternative 2, Avoidance Alternative, would be a solar PV project on about 1,620 acres (160 to 230 MW). Like the Proposed Action, under each of these alternatives, the BLM would amend the CDCA Plan to allow the project. Under the No-Action Alternative, the BLM would deny the E:\FR\FM\18MYN1.SGM 18MYN1 daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 97 / Friday, May 18, 2018 / Notices ROW application, and would not amend the CDCA Plan to allow the project. The Draft Supplemental EIS/EIR and Draft Land Use Plan Amendment included analysis of the revised ROW application as it related to the following issues: (1) Updated description of the Proposed Project, based on the revised ROW application; (2) Impacts to cultural resources and tribal concerns; (3) Impacts to the Sand Transport Corridor and Mojave fringe-toed lizard habitat and washes; (4) Impacts to Joshua Tree National Park; (5) Impacts to avian species; (6) Impacts to visual resources; and (7) Relationship between the proposed project and the California Desert Conservation Area (CDCA) Plan, including the amendment to the CDCA Plan by the 2016 Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan. A Draft Supplemental EIS/EIR was released in October 2017, which included a formal 45-day public comment period. The BLM held a public meeting on November 14, 2017, in Palm Desert, CA. Fourteen individuals attended that meeting. The BLM received 40 comment letters during the comment period. Comments on the Draft Supplemental EIS/EIR and Draft Land Use Plan Amendment received from the public and internal agency review were considered and incorporated as appropriate into the proposed plan amendment. Public comments resulted in the addition of clarifying text, but did not significantly change proposed land use plan decisions. A response to substantive comments is included in the Final Supplemental EIS/EIR and Proposed Land Use Plan Amendment. The BLM has selected Alternative 1, the Reduced Footprint, as the Agency Proposed Alternative in the Final Supplemental EIS/EIR and Proposed Land Use Plan Amendment. Instructions for filing a protest with the Director of the BLM regarding the Proposed Land Use Plan Amendment/ Final Supplemental EIS may be found in the ‘‘Dear Reader’’ Letter of the Final Supplemental EIS/EIR and Proposed Land Use Plan Amendment and at 43 CFR 1610.5–2. All protests must be in writing and mailed to the appropriate address, as set forth in the ADDRESSES section above. Emailed protests will not be accepted as valid protests unless the protesting party also provides the original letter by either regular mail or overnight delivery postmarked by the close of the protest period. Under these conditions, the BLM will consider the email as an advanced copy, and it will receive full consideration. If you wish to provide the BLM with such advance VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:38 May 17, 2018 Jkt 244001 notification, please direct emails to: protest@blm.gov. Before including your phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your protest, you should be aware that your entire protest—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your protest to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Authority: 40 CFR 1506.6, 40 CFR 1506.10, 43 CFR 1610.2, 43 CFR 1610.5. Danielle Chi, Deputy State Director. [FR Doc. 2018–10574 Filed 5–17–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–40–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [17XL5017AP LLUTG01100 L51010000.ER0000.LVRWJ17J8060] Notice of Availability of the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Enefit American Oil Utility Corridor Project, Uintah County, Utah Bureau of Land Management, Interior. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA), and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, as amended (FLPMA), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has prepared a final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Enefit American Oil Utility Corridor Project (Utility Corridor Project) and is announcing a 45-day wait period before making any final decisions. DATES: The BLM will not issue a final decision on the proposal for a minimum of 45 days after the date on which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) publishes its Notice of Availability (NOA) of the final EIS in the Federal Register. SUMMARY: Copies of the Enefit American Oil Utility Corridor Project final EIS are available for public inspection in the BLM Vernal Field Office at 170 South 500 East Vernal, Utah 84078. Interested persons may also review the final EIS on the internet at http://go.usa.gov/csa9j. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Stephanie Howard, NEPA Coordinator; telephone 435–781–4469; address 170 ADDRESSES: PO 00000 Frm 00048 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 23299 South 500 East Vernal, Utah 84078; email BLM_UT_Vernal_Comments@ blm.gov. Persons who use a Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1–800–877–8339 to contact the above individual during normal business hours. The FRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question with the above individual. You will receive a reply during normal business hours. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Enefit American Oil (Enefit) submitted five right-of-way applications to the BLM which are collectively known as the Utility Corridor Project. The Project Area is located in the southern portion of Townships 8–10 South, Ranges 24–25 East, Salt Lake Meridian, in Uintah County, Utah, approximately 40 miles south of Vernal, Utah. The entire project area is located within the original extent of the Uinta and Ouray Reservation. The purpose of this Federal action is to respond to the applicant’s right-ofway applications for construction, operation, and maintenance of the Utility Corridor Project infrastructure across Federal land. FLPMA provides the BLM with discretionary authority to grant use of public lands, including rights-of-way, taking into consideration impacts on natural, cultural, and historical resources. The BLM is the lead Federal agency for this EIS as defined at 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 1501.5. Cooperating agencies include the U.S. EPA Region 8, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Utah Regulatory Office, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Utah Field Office, the State of Utah’s Public Lands Policy and Coordination Office, and Uintah County. In accordance with NEPA, the BLM prepared an EIS analyzing the right-ofway applications using an interdisciplinary approach in order to consider a variety of resource issues and concerns identified during internal, interagency, and public scoping. On April 8, 2016, the BLM published in the Federal Register (81 FR 20671) a NOA of the Draft EIS for public review and comment. The EPA published in the Federal Register (81 FR 22263) a NOA of the draft EIS for public review and comment on April 15, 2016, which initiated the 60-day public comment period. To allow the public an opportunity to review information associated with the utility corridor project and comment on the draft EIS, the BLM conducted three open-house meetings in May 2016 in Vernal and Salt Lake City, Utah and in Rangely, Colorado. During the comment period, E:\FR\FM\18MYN1.SGM 18MYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 97 (Friday, May 18, 2018)]
[Notices]
[Pages 23298-23299]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-10574]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Bureau of Land Management

[LLCAD06000 L51010000.ER0000 LVRWB17B5480 17X]


Notice of Availability of the Final Supplemental Environmental 
Impact Statement and Environmental Impact Report and Proposed Land Use 
Plan Amendment to the California Desert Conservation Area Plan for the 
Palen Solar Project, California

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.

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

SUMMARY: In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969, as amended (NEPA), and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act 
of 1976, as amended (FLPMA), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has 
prepared a Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and 
Proposed Land Use Plan Amendment to the California Desert Conservation 
Area (CDCA) Plan for the Palen Solar Project, and by this notice is 
announcing its availability. This document is also an Environmental 
Impact Report (EIR) prepared by Riverside County under the California 
Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

DATES: BLM planning regulations state that any person who meets the 
conditions as described in the regulations may protest the BLM's 
Proposed Land Use Plan Amendment and Final Supplemental EIS. A person 
who meets the conditions and files a protest must file the protest 
within 30 days of the date that the Environmental Protection Agency 
publishes its Notice of Availability in the Federal Register.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the Final Supplemental EIS and Proposed Land Use 
Plan Amendment have been sent to affected Federal, State, local, and 
tribal government agencies and to other stakeholders. Copies of the 
Final Supplemental EIS and Proposed Land Use Plan Amendment are 
available for public inspection at the BLM-Palm Springs South Coast 
Field Office at 1201 Bird Center Dr., Palm Springs, CA 92262 and at the 
BLM-California Desert District Office, 22835 Calle San Juan de Los 
Lagos, Moreno Valley, CA 92553. Interested persons may also review the 
Final Supplemental EIS and Proposed Land Use Plan Amendment on the 
internet at https://eplanning.blm.gov/epl-front-office/eplanning/planAndProjectSite.do?methodName=renderDefaultPlanOrProjectSite&projectId=68122. All protests must be in writing and mailed to one of the 
following addresses:
     Regular Mail: BLM Director (210), Attention: Protest 
Coordinator, P.O. Box 71383, Washington, DC 20024-1383.
     Overnight Delivery: BLM Director (210), Attention: Protest 
Coordinator, 20 M Street SE, Room 2134LM, Washington, DC 20003.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark DeMaio, BLM Project Manager, 
telephone (760) 833-7124; address Bureau of Land Management, Palm 
Springs-South Coast Field Office, 1201 Bird Center Drive, Palm Springs, 
CA 92262; email [email protected].
    Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may 
call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at (800) 877-8339 to contact the 
above individual during normal business hours. The FRS is available 24 
hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question with the 
above individual. You will receive a reply during normal business 
hours.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: EDF Renewable Energy has applied for a 
Right-of-Way (ROW) from the BLM to construct, operate, maintain, and 
decommission a 500 megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic facility near 
Desert Center, Riverside County, California. The ROW application area 
comprises about 4,200 acres, with a proposed project footprint of about 
3,400 acres. The proposed project also includes construction of a 6.7-
mile single circuit 230 kilovolt generation interconnection (gen-tie) 
transmission line connecting the project to the Southern California 
Edison (SCE) Red Bluff Substation. The BLM is also considering an 
amendment to the CDCA Plan that would be necessary to authorize the 
project. This is a joint EIS/EIR for compliance with NEPA and CEQA. 
Riverside County is the lead agency under CEQA.
    This Project application was originally submitted in 2007 as the 
Palen Solar Power Project (PSPP) by Palen Solar I, LLC (PSI), a wholly 
owned subsidiary of Solar Millennium. The PSPP was proposed as a solar 
trough project, and was the subject of an EIS under NEPA. The BLM, 
pursuant to its obligations under FLPMA and NEPA, published a Draft 
EIS, followed by a Proposed CDCA Plan Amendment and Final EIS on May 
13, 2011 (76 FR 28064). Before the BLM issued a Record of Decision 
(ROD), PSI informed the BLM that it would not construct the Project due 
to bankruptcy. As a result, the BLM did not issue a ROD, did not amend 
the CDCA Plan, and did not issue a ROW grant for the PSPP. On June 21, 
2012, the bankruptcy court approved the transfer of the application 
from PSI to Palen Solar III, LLC (PSIII). BrightSource Energy Inc. 
(BSE) then acquired all rights to PSIII at auction. PSIII submitted a 
revised ROW application to the BLM for the Palen Solar Electricity 
Generating System Project (PSEGS), a 500 MW concentrating solar power 
tower technology facility and single-circuit 230 kV gen-tie line. On 
July 27, 2013, the BLM issued a Draft Supplemental EIS and Plan 
Amendment to evaluate the potential additional environmental impacts 
caused by PSEGS. As part of the state permitting process, the 
California Energy Commission evaluated the PSEGS under CEQA, and issued 
Preliminary and Final Staff Assessments for the amended project in June 
and November of 2013, respectively. The BLM did not issue a Final 
Supplemental EIS for the PSEGS Project because BSE and its partner, 
Abengoa Solar Inc., abandoned the State authorization proceedings at 
the California Energy Commission. In December 2015, EDF Renewable 
Energy acquired the PSEGS application. EDF Renewable Energy has 
submitted a revised ROW application for the Proposed Project, which is 
analyzed in this Final Supplemental EIS/EIR and Proposed Land Use Plan 
Amendment.
    The BLM held public meetings on the revised ROW application in June 
and August 2016 in Palm Springs, California. On October 27, 2017, the 
BLM issued the Draft Supplemental EIS/EIR and Draft Land Use Plan 
Amendment, which analyzed the impacts of the Proposed Action and two 
action alternatives, in addition to a No Action Alternative. 
Alternative 1, Reduced Footprint, would be a 500 MW Photovoltaic (PV) 
array on about 3,100 acres. It avoids the central and largest desert 
wash and incorporates a more efficient use of the land for the solar 
array. Alternative 2, Avoidance Alternative, would be a solar PV 
project on about 1,620 acres (160 to 230 MW). Like the Proposed Action, 
under each of these alternatives, the BLM would amend the CDCA Plan to 
allow the project. Under the No-Action Alternative, the BLM would deny 
the

[[Page 23299]]

ROW application, and would not amend the CDCA Plan to allow the 
project.
    The Draft Supplemental EIS/EIR and Draft Land Use Plan Amendment 
included analysis of the revised ROW application as it related to the 
following issues: (1) Updated description of the Proposed Project, 
based on the revised ROW application; (2) Impacts to cultural resources 
and tribal concerns; (3) Impacts to the Sand Transport Corridor and 
Mojave fringe-toed lizard habitat and washes; (4) Impacts to Joshua 
Tree National Park; (5) Impacts to avian species; (6) Impacts to visual 
resources; and (7) Relationship between the proposed project and the 
California Desert Conservation Area (CDCA) Plan, including the 
amendment to the CDCA Plan by the 2016 Desert Renewable Energy 
Conservation Plan.
    A Draft Supplemental EIS/EIR was released in October 2017, which 
included a formal 45-day public comment period. The BLM held a public 
meeting on November 14, 2017, in Palm Desert, CA. Fourteen individuals 
attended that meeting. The BLM received 40 comment letters during the 
comment period.
    Comments on the Draft Supplemental EIS/EIR and Draft Land Use Plan 
Amendment received from the public and internal agency review were 
considered and incorporated as appropriate into the proposed plan 
amendment. Public comments resulted in the addition of clarifying text, 
but did not significantly change proposed land use plan decisions. A 
response to substantive comments is included in the Final Supplemental 
EIS/EIR and Proposed Land Use Plan Amendment. The BLM has selected 
Alternative 1, the Reduced Footprint, as the Agency Proposed 
Alternative in the Final Supplemental EIS/EIR and Proposed Land Use 
Plan Amendment.
    Instructions for filing a protest with the Director of the BLM 
regarding the Proposed Land Use Plan Amendment/Final Supplemental EIS 
may be found in the ``Dear Reader'' Letter of the Final Supplemental 
EIS/EIR and Proposed Land Use Plan Amendment and at 43 CFR 1610.5-2. 
All protests must be in writing and mailed to the appropriate address, 
as set forth in the ADDRESSES section above. Emailed protests will not 
be accepted as valid protests unless the protesting party also provides 
the original letter by either regular mail or overnight delivery 
postmarked by the close of the protest period. Under these conditions, 
the BLM will consider the email as an advanced copy, and it will 
receive full consideration. If you wish to provide the BLM with such 
advance notification, please direct emails to: [email protected].
    Before including your phone number, email address, or other 
personal identifying information in your protest, you should be aware 
that your entire protest--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your protest to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.

    Authority: 40 CFR 1506.6, 40 CFR 1506.10, 43 CFR 1610.2, 43 CFR 
1610.5.

Danielle Chi,
Deputy State Director.
[FR Doc. 2018-10574 Filed 5-17-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4310-40-P