Record of Decision for the Long-Term Management and Storage of Elemental Mercury, 66890-66893 [2019-26344]

Download as PDF lotter on DSKBCFDHB2PROD with NOTICES 66890 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 235 / Friday, December 6, 2019 / Notices Public Comment Procedures Interested persons will be provided 15 days from the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register in order to move to intervene, protest, and answer Pieridae US’s Notice. Protests, motions to intervene, notices of intervention, and written comments are invited in response to this notice only as to the change in control described in Pieridae US’s Notice.3 All protests, comments, motions to intervene, or notices of intervention must meet the requirements specified by DOE’s regulations in 10 CFR part 590. Filings may be submitted using one of the following methods: (1) Preferred method: Emailing the filing to fergas@ hq.doe.gov; (2) mailing an original and three paper copies of the filing to the Office of Regulation, Analysis, and Engagement at the address listed in ADDRESSES; or (3) hand delivering an original and three paper copies of the filing to the Office of Regulation, Analysis, and Engagement at the address listed in ADDRESSES. All filings must include a reference to the individual FE Docket Number(s) in the title line, or Pieridae Energy (USA) Ltd. Change in Control in the title line. Please Note: If submitting a filing via email, please include all related documents and attachments (e.g., exhibits) in the original email correspondence. Please do not include any active hyperlinks or password protection in any of the documents or attachments related to the filing. All electronic filings submitted to DOE must follow these guidelines to ensure that all documents are filed in a timely manner. Any hardcopy filing submitted greater in length than 50 pages must also include, at the time of the filing, a digital copy on disk of the entire submission. Pieridae US’s Notice and any filed protests, motions to intervene, notices of intervention, and comments are available for inspection and copying in the Office of Regulation, Analysis, and Engagement docket room, Room 3E– 042, 1000 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20585. The docket room is open between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The Notice and any filed protests, motions to intervene, notices of intervention, and comments will also be available electronically by going to the following DOE/FE Web address: http:// www.fe.doe.gov/programs/ gasregulation/index.html. 3 Intervention, if granted, would constitute intervention only in the change in control portion of this proceeding, as described herein. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:11 Dec 05, 2019 Jkt 250001 Signed in Washington, DC, on December 3, 2019. Amy Sweeney, Director, Office of Regulation, Analysis, and Engagement, Office of Oil and Natural Gas. Office of Environmental Management, U.S. Department of Energy. ACTION: Record of Decision. files can be accessed at https:// www.energy.gov/nepa/nepa-documents. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information on the management and storage of elemental mercury, please contact Dave Haught at David.Haught@em.doe.gov or visit https://www.energy.gov/em/services/ waste-management/waste-andmaterials-disposition-information/longterm-management-and. For general information on the Office of Environmental Management’s National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 process, please contact Bill Ostrum, at William.Ostrum@hq.doe.gov and at (202) 586–2513. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is issuing this Record of Decision (ROD) for the long-term management and storage of elemental mercury to meet the federal government’s statutory responsibility for long-term storage of the elemental mercury generated within the United States. This ROD is issued for the Final Long-Term Management and Storage of Elemental Mercury Environmental Impact Statement (DOE/EIS–0423; Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS) and the Final Long-Term Management and Storage of Elemental Mercury Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DOE/EIS–0423–S1; Final SEIS). In 2019 DOE prepared a Supplement Analysis of the Final LongTerm Management and Storage of Elemental Mercury Environmental Impact Statement (DOE/EIS–0423–SA– 01) to determine if there have been substantial changes to the proposal or if there are significant new circumstances or information relevant to environmental concerns as compared with those presented in the Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS and Final SEIS. This ROD announces the DOE decision to store up to 6,800 metric tons (7,480 tons) of elemental mercury in existing buildings at Waste Control Specialists near Andrews, Texas. ADDRESSES: For copies of this Record of Decision, the Supplement Analysis, the Long-Term Management and Storage of Elemental Mercury Environmental Impact Statement (DOE/EIS–0423), or the Long-Term Management and Storage of Elemental Mercury Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DOE/EIS–0423–S1), please contact Dave Haught at U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Environmental Management, Office of Waste Disposal (EM–4.22), 1000 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20585 or at David.Haught@em.doe.gov. Electronic Background Pursuant to Section 5 of the Mercury Export Ban Act of 2008 (Pub. L. 110– 414; MEBA), as amended by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, (Pub. L. 114–182) (herein referred to as MEBA), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) was directed to designate a facility or facilities for the long-term management and storage of elemental mercury generated within the United States. On July 2, 2009, DOE issued a Notice of Intent in the Federal Register (74 FR 31723) to prepare a draft environmental impact statement for elemental mercury storage. This notice invited the public to participate in the public scoping process on the proposed management and storage alternatives for analysis in the draft EIS and included information on public scoping meeting dates and locations. On January 29, 2010, DOE issued a Notice of Availability in the Federal Register (75 FR 4801) to notify the public of the issuance of the Draft LongTerm Management and Storage of Elemental Mercury Environmental Impact Statement (DOE/EIS–0423–D; Draft Elemental Mercury Storage EIS) for public comment and announce public hearings. The Draft Elemental Mercury Storage EIS analyzed the storage of up to 10,000 metric tons (11,000 tons) of elemental mercury in a facility or facilities constructed and operated in accordance with the Solid Waste Disposal Act, as amended by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (74 FR 31723). DOE evaluated seven government and commercial sites as the range of reasonable alternatives in the Draft Elemental Mercury Storage EIS. In the Draft Elemental Mercury Storage EIS, DOE identified the Waste Control Specialists (WCS) facility as its preferred alternative. On January 28, 2011, DOE issued a Notice of Availability in the Federal [FR Doc. 2019–26358 Filed 12–5–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450–01–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Record of Decision for the Long-Term Management and Storage of Elemental Mercury AGENCY: SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\06DEN1.SGM 06DEN1 lotter on DSKBCFDHB2PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 235 / Friday, December 6, 2019 / Notices Register (76 FR 5145) to notify the public of the issuance of the Final LongTerm Management and Storage of Elemental Mercury Environmental Impact Statement (DOE/EIS–0423) (Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS). The Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS evaluated the same seven government and commercial sites for management and storage of elemental mercury and considered all public comments received on the Draft Elemental Mercury Storage EIS. On June 5, 2012, DOE issued a Notice of Intent in the Federal Register (77 FR 33204) to prepare a supplement to the Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS to evaluate additional alternatives for a facility at and in the vicinity of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad, New Mexico, and to update some of the analyses presented in the Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS. DOE announced the availability of the Draft Long-Term Management and Storage of Elemental Mercury Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DOE/EIS–0423–S1–D; Draft Elemental Mercury Storage SEIS) on April 19, 2013 (78 FR 23548) for public comment. The Final Long-Term Management and Storage of Elemental Mercury Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DOE/EIS–0423–S1; Final Elemental Mercury Storage SEIS) was published on October 4, 2013. The Final Elemental Mercury Storage SEIS did not change the DOE preferred alternative, which remained as the WCS facility near Andrews, Texas. DOE prepared a Supplement Analysis of the Final Long-Term Management and Storage of Elemental Mercury Environmental Impact Statement (DOE/ EIS–0423–SA–01; SA) to determine whether supplemental or new National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) documentation was required to address the proposal to manage and store elemental mercury. The SA provided an analysis of the potential impacts presented in the Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS and Final SEIS to determine if there have been substantial changes to the proposal since 2013 or if there are significant new circumstances or information relevant to environmental concerns. The SA was prepared in accordance with the DOE NEPA implementing procedures at 10 CFR 1021.314(c) and concluded that there was not a substantial change to the proposal evaluated in the Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS or Final SEIS or significant new circumstances or information relevant to environmental concerns that would require preparation of an additional VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:11 Dec 05, 2019 Jkt 250001 SEIS or new EIS. DOE determined that no further NEPA analysis was required. Purpose and Need for Agency Action MEBA prohibits the export of elemental mercury from the United States (subject to certain essential-use exemptions). MEBA also prohibits, as of October 14, 2008, any Federal agency from conveying, selling, or distributing to any other Federal agency, any state or local government agency, or any private individual or entity any elemental mercury under the control or jurisdiction of the Federal agency (with certain limited exceptions). Banning the export of elemental mercury from the United States is expected to result in surplus inventories of elemental mercury. Section 5 of MEBA directs DOE to designate a DOE facility or facilities for the long-term management and storage of elemental mercury generated within the United States. In the Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS, DOE identified a need to provide such a facility capable of managing an elemental mercury inventory estimated to range up to 10,000 metric tons (11,000 tons) for a 40-year period of analysis. In the SA, DOE updated the projected inventory of elemental mercury that could need future storage to 6,800 metric tons (7,480 tons) for a 40-year period of analysis. Proposed Action As identified in the Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS, DOE proposes to construct one or more new facilities and/or select one or more existing facilities (including modification as needed) for the long-term management and storage of elemental mercury, as mandated by Section 5 of MEBA. Any such facility(ies) must comply with applicable requirements of Section 5 of MEBA, including the requirements of the Solid Waste Disposal Act, as amended by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) (42 U.S.C. 6901 et seq.) and other permitting requirements. Alternatives On March 20, 2009 (74 FR 11923), DOE published a Request for Expressions of Interest seeking potential locations for the elemental mercury storage facility(ies) from interested Federal agencies and the private sector. In addition, DOE issued an internal memorandum requesting that DOE site offices determine if they have a facility(ies) that could be used for elemental mercury storage. At the same time, DOE developed objective criteria for identifying candidate sites within PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 66891 the scope of the Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS. In addition to the No Action Alternative, DOE evaluated seven government and commercial sites as the range of reasonable alternatives in the Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS: The DOE Grand Junction Disposal Site, Grand Junction, Colorado; the DOE Hanford Site, Richland, Washington; Hawthorne Army Depot, Hawthorne, Nevada; Idaho Nuclear Technology and Engineering Center and Radioactive Waste Management Complex at the DOE Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho Falls, Idaho; DOE Kansas City Plant, Kansas City, Missouri; DOE Savannah River Site, Aiken, South Carolina; and WCS, Andrews, Texas. The Final Elemental Mercury Storage SEIS evaluated additional alternatives for a facility at and in the vicinity of WIPP. Existing buildings at the candidate locations were considered in the Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS to store the elemental mercury. Recognizing that existing buildings may not be available or adequate at some candidate locations, DOE also evaluated construction and operation of new facilities that would meet RCRA requirements. Potential Environmental Impacts The Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS and SEIS evaluated the construction of a new facility and the use of existing facilities for the long-term management and storage of elemental mercury. The documents included the assessment of potential impacts from the transportation of the elemental mercury from the origin sites to the long-term storage location via either truck or rail. The analysis of potential environmental impacts included an evaluation of the following environmental resource areas: Land use and visual resources; geology, soils, and geologic hazards; water resources; meteorology, air quality, and noise; ecological resources; cultural and paleontological resources; site infrastructure; waste management; occupational and public health and safety; ecological impacts; socioeconomics; and environmental justice. Based on analyses in the Final EIS and Final SEIS, the potential impacts on the various resource areas at each analyzed site from construction and operation of an elemental mercury storage facility(ies) would range from none to minor. The SA further evaluated whether the proposed change in the quantity of elemental mercury to be stored and managed (to 6,800 metric tons from 10,000 metric tons) and potential use of two existing facilities (Container Storage Building and Bin Storage Unit 1) rather than one at WCS represented a E:\FR\FM\06DEN1.SGM 06DEN1 lotter on DSKBCFDHB2PROD with NOTICES 66892 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 235 / Friday, December 6, 2019 / Notices substantial change to the proposal action relevant to environmental concerns or if there were significant new circumstances or information relevant to environmental concerns. While the SA found no effect on the potential impacts analyzed in the Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS and Final SEIS for many resource areas, it identified waste management and occupational and public health and safety as resource areas potentially affected. Modification of the existing facilities would produce negligible quantities of nonhazardous waste. Operations of elemental mercury storage facilities are estimated to generate approximately 23 drums of hazardous waste and less than 16,000 gallons of liquid sanitary waste annually. Since elemental mercury storage would not involve any treatment or processing of elemental mercury, the rate of hazardous waste generation would be very low. Any hazardous waste would be disposed in a licensed facility. In addition, the existing sanitary waste systems at WCS have sufficient capacity to handle the projected liquid sanitary waste volume, therefore, the potential impacts to waste management would be negligible. The potential impacts to occupational and public health and safety were presented in the Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS, Final SEIS, and SA for normal operations, facility accidents, and intentional destructive acts. Normal operations would involve the receipt and long-term storage of elemental mercury. Exposures could arise during normal operating conditions from small amounts of mercury vapor accumulating in the storage areas. The estimated consequences to involved workers, noninvolved workers, or members of the public are predicted to be negligible. Facility accidents could include elemental mercury spills inside or outside the storage building. The Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS and Final SEIS report the potential risks to workers and the offsite public to be negligible-to-low for these spills for all alternatives. Similarly, the Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS and SEIS report that human health risks of transportation accidents would be negligible-to-low for all alternatives. The Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS and Final SEIS analyzed intentional destructive acts and found that, while the probability of an intentional destructive act cannot be determined, consequences of such an act, were one to occur, were expected to be similar for all alternatives. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:11 Dec 05, 2019 Jkt 250001 Environmentally Preferable Alternative Constructing a new building would produce additional environmental impacts. Therefore, although the construction impacts are anticipated to be minimal, alternatives involving no construction are environmentally preferable. Although storage of the entire inventory of elemental mercury in an existing building at WCS was not evaluated in the Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS and Final SEIS, DOE has subsequently learned that the existing Container Storage Building and Bulk Storage Unit could be used to store the entire inventory of elemental mercury. Transportation of elemental mercury to any of these existing buildings would result in negligible-tolow human health risks from transportation accidents. The potential impacts of operating these elemental mercury storage buildings would be similar regardless of the location. The No Action Alternative would not involve the construction of a new facility for consolidation and storage of the elemental mercury. However, the No Action Alternative would still include transportation to and from elemental mercury storage sites, as described in Section 4.2.9.4 of the Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS, and therefore would not be significantly different than the transportation impacts under the action alternatives. Under the No Action Alternative, elemental mercury would be stored indefinitely at multiple nonDOE facilities; therefore, the biggest impact of the No Action Alternative would be widely dispersed storage. Taking this under consideration, the No Action Alternative would not be the environmentally preferable alternative. Federal and State Permits, Consultations, and Notifications MEBA prohibits the export of elemental mercury. Section 5 of the Act directs DOE to designate a facility(ies) for the long-term management and storage of elemental mercury generated within the United States. MEBA also requires that the facility(ies) be constructed and operated in accordance with the Solid Waste Disposal Act, as amended by RCRA. Comments Received on the Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS and Final SEIS DOE received five comment letters after publishing the Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS and Final SEIS. They included: (1) One letter from an individual that agreed with the DOE preferred alternative of the WCS site, (2) one letter from an individual that did PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 not agree with potential selection of the WCS site, (3) one letter from the Environmental Protection Agency that indicated the agency had no additional comments, (4) one letter that requested modifications to the EIS mailing list, and (5) one letter from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department notifying DOE that the federal listing status of two species had changed since the issuance of the Draft EIS. Since the use of existing buildings at the WCS site would not impact ecological resources, this change to the federal listing status of two species would not affect the potential impacts presented in the Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS or Final SEIS. DOE has considered these comments and finds that they do not present ‘‘significant new circumstances or information relevant to environmental concerns and bearing on the proposed action or its impacts’’ within the meaning of 40 CFR 1502.9(c) and 10 CFR 1021.314(a) and therefore do not require preparation of a new or a supplemental EIS. Decision Based on consideration of the analysis in the Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS, Final SEIS, and SA; DOE has decided to designate the WCS site near Andrews, Texas for the management and storage of up to 6,800 metric tons (7,480 tons) of elemental mercury and to manage and store the elemental mercury in leased portions of existing buildings, the Container Storage Building and Bin Storage Unit 1, at the WCS site. This decision is also based on other programmatic, policy, logistic, and cost considerations. For example, use of the Container Storage Building and Bin Storage Unit 1 avoids the costs associated with design and construction of a new facility and the utilization of an existing Basic Ordering Agreement with WCS simplifies the procurement process and allows DOE to mitigate some of the liabilities associated with the incentives added to MEBA, as amended by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act. Mitigation All practicable means to avoid or minimize environmental harm from the alternative selected have been adopted. Because the Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS and Final SEIS identified that potential environmental impacts associated with long-term management and storage of 10,000 metric tons of elemental mercury would be negligibleto-low, mitigation measures would not be required as part of this ROD. E:\FR\FM\06DEN1.SGM 06DEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 235 / Friday, December 6, 2019 / Notices Signed at Washington, DC, on December 3, 2019. William I. White, Senior Advisor for Environmental Management to the Under Secretary for Science. [FR Doc. 2019–26344 Filed 12–5–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450–01–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. ER20–486–000] lotter on DSKBCFDHB2PROD with NOTICES Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 Authorization; Golden Fields Solar III, LLC This is a supplemental notice in the above-referenced proceeding of Golden Fields Solar III, LLC’s application for market-based rate authority, with an accompanying rate tariff, noting that such application includes a request for blanket authorization, under 18 CFR part 34, of future issuances of securities and assumptions of liability. Any person desiring to intervene or to protest should file with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20426, in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission’s Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214). Anyone filing a motion to intervene or protest must serve a copy of that document on the Applicant. Notice is hereby given that the deadline for filing protests with regard to the applicant’s request for blanket authorization, under 18 CFR part 34, of future issuances of securities and assumptions of liability, is December 23, 2019. The Commission encourages electronic submission of protests and interventions in lieu of paper, using the FERC Online links at http:// www.ferc.gov. To facilitate electronic service, persons with internet access who will eFile a document and/or be listed as a contact for an intervenor must create and validate an eRegistration account using the eRegistration link. Select the eFiling link to log on and submit the intervention or protests. Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and 5 copies of the intervention or protest to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20426. The filings in the above-referenced proceeding are accessible in the VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:11 Dec 05, 2019 Jkt 250001 Commission’s eLibrary system by clicking on the appropriate link in the above list. They are also available for electronic review in the Commission’s Public Reference Room in Washington, DC. There is an eSubscription link on the website that enables subscribers to receive email notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please email FERCOnlineSupport@ferc.gov. or call (866) 208–3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502–8659. Dated: December 2, 2019. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary. [FR Doc. 2019–26342 Filed 12–5–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717–01–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings #1 Take notice that the Commission received the following electric corporate filings: Docket Numbers: EC20–20–000. Applicants: Verso Androscoggin LLC, Verso Energy Services LLC. Description: Application for Authorization Under Section 203 of the Federal Power Act, et al. of Verso Androscoggin LLC, et al. Filed Date: 11/27/19. Accession Number: 20191127–5218. Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/18/19. Take notice that the Commission received the following electric rate filings: Docket Numbers: ER11–2041–014; ER11–2042–014. Applicants: Innovative Energy Systems, LLC, Seneca Energy II, LLC. Description: Notice of Non-Material Change in Status of Innovative Energy Systems, LLC, et al. Filed Date: 12/2/19. Accession Number: 20191202–5017. Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/23/19. Docket Numbers: ER17–194–004. Applicants: Hartree Partners, LP. Description: Notice of Non-Material Change in Status of Hartree Partners, LP. Filed Date: 11/27/19. Accession Number: 20191127–5216. Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/18/19. Docket Numbers: ER19–62–000. Applicants: OneEnergy Baker Point Solar, LLC. Description: Report Filing: Refund Report (ER19–62–) to be effective N/A. Filed Date: 12/2/19. Accession Number: 20191202–5023. PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 66893 Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/23/19. Docket Numbers: ER20–32–001. Applicants: AEP Texas Inc. Description: Tariff Amendment: AEPTX(n)-LCRA TSC Hayter Ranch FDA Amend Pending to be effective 9/ 27/2019. Filed Date: 12/2/19. Accession Number: 20191202–5093. Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/23/19. Docket Numbers: ER20–494–000. Applicants: Milligan 3 Wind LLC. Description: Request for Waiver, et al. of Milligan 3 Wind LLC. Filed Date: 11/27/19. Accession Number: 20191127–5204. Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/16/19. Docket Numbers: ER20–495–000. Applicants: Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: 2019–12–02lSA 3380 Entergy Louisiana-Fresh Air Energy II GIA (J639) to be effective 11/15/2019. Filed Date: 12/2/19. Accession Number: 20191202–5004. Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/23/19. Docket Numbers: ER20–497–000. Applicants: Arizona Public Service Company. Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Rate Schedule No. 211, Amendment 20 to be effective 1/31/2020. Filed Date: 12/2/19. Accession Number: 20191202–5035. Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/23/19. Docket Numbers: ER20–498–000. Applicants: Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc., Otter Tail Power Company. Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: 2019–12–02lSA 3382 OTP–NSPM FSA (J460) Hankinson-Wahpeton to be effective 2/1/2020. Filed Date: 12/2/19. Accession Number: 20191202–5040. Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/23/19. Docket Numbers: ER20–499–000. Applicants: ISO New England Inc., The United Illuminating Company. Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: The United Illuminating Company; Docket No. ER20–ll–000 to be effective 1/31/ 2020. Filed Date: 12/2/19. Accession Number: 20191202–5065. Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/23/19. Docket Numbers: ER20–500–000. Applicants: Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc., Otter Tail Power Company. Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: 2019–12–02lSA 3383 OTP-Crowned Ridge Wind II FSA (G736 J442) to be effective 2/1/2020. Filed Date: 12/2/19. Accession Number: 20191202–5071. E:\FR\FM\06DEN1.SGM 06DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 235 (Friday, December 6, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 66890-66893]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-26344]


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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY


Record of Decision for the Long-Term Management and Storage of 
Elemental Mercury

AGENCY: Office of Environmental Management, U.S. Department of Energy.

ACTION: Record of Decision.

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

SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is issuing this Record of 
Decision (ROD) for the long-term management and storage of elemental 
mercury to meet the federal government's statutory responsibility for 
long-term storage of the elemental mercury generated within the United 
States. This ROD is issued for the Final Long-Term Management and 
Storage of Elemental Mercury Environmental Impact Statement (DOE/EIS-
0423; Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS) and the Final Long-Term 
Management and Storage of Elemental Mercury Supplemental Environmental 
Impact Statement (DOE/EIS-0423-S1; Final SEIS). In 2019 DOE prepared a 
Supplement Analysis of the Final Long-Term Management and Storage of 
Elemental Mercury Environmental Impact Statement (DOE/EIS-0423-SA-01) 
to determine if there have been substantial changes to the proposal or 
if there are significant new circumstances or information relevant to 
environmental concerns as compared with those presented in the Final 
Elemental Mercury Storage EIS and Final SEIS. This ROD announces the 
DOE decision to store up to 6,800 metric tons (7,480 tons) of elemental 
mercury in existing buildings at Waste Control Specialists near 
Andrews, Texas.

ADDRESSES: For copies of this Record of Decision, the Supplement 
Analysis, the Long-Term Management and Storage of Elemental Mercury 
Environmental Impact Statement (DOE/EIS-0423), or the Long-Term 
Management and Storage of Elemental Mercury Supplemental Environmental 
Impact Statement (DOE/EIS-0423-S1), please contact Dave Haught at U.S. 
Department of Energy, Office of Environmental Management, Office of 
Waste Disposal (EM-4.22), 1000 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 
20585 or at [email protected]. Electronic files can be accessed 
at https://www.energy.gov/nepa/nepa-documents.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information on the 
management and storage of elemental mercury, please contact Dave Haught 
at [email protected] or visit https://www.energy.gov/em/services/waste-management/waste-and-materials-disposition-information/long-term-management-and. For general information on the Office of Environmental 
Management's National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 process, please 
contact Bill Ostrum, at [email protected] and at (202) 586-
2513.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Pursuant to Section 5 of the Mercury Export Ban Act of 2008 (Pub. 
L. 110-414; MEBA), as amended by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical 
Safety for the 21st Century Act, (Pub. L. 114-182) (herein referred to 
as MEBA), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) was directed to designate 
a facility or facilities for the long-term management and storage of 
elemental mercury generated within the United States.
    On July 2, 2009, DOE issued a Notice of Intent in the Federal 
Register (74 FR 31723) to prepare a draft environmental impact 
statement for elemental mercury storage. This notice invited the public 
to participate in the public scoping process on the proposed management 
and storage alternatives for analysis in the draft EIS and included 
information on public scoping meeting dates and locations.
    On January 29, 2010, DOE issued a Notice of Availability in the 
Federal Register (75 FR 4801) to notify the public of the issuance of 
the Draft Long-Term Management and Storage of Elemental Mercury 
Environmental Impact Statement (DOE/EIS-0423-D; Draft Elemental Mercury 
Storage EIS) for public comment and announce public hearings. The Draft 
Elemental Mercury Storage EIS analyzed the storage of up to 10,000 
metric tons (11,000 tons) of elemental mercury in a facility or 
facilities constructed and operated in accordance with the Solid Waste 
Disposal Act, as amended by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act 
(74 FR 31723). DOE evaluated seven government and commercial sites as 
the range of reasonable alternatives in the Draft Elemental Mercury 
Storage EIS. In the Draft Elemental Mercury Storage EIS, DOE identified 
the Waste Control Specialists (WCS) facility as its preferred 
alternative.
    On January 28, 2011, DOE issued a Notice of Availability in the 
Federal

[[Page 66891]]

Register (76 FR 5145) to notify the public of the issuance of the Final 
Long-Term Management and Storage of Elemental Mercury Environmental 
Impact Statement (DOE/EIS-0423) (Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS). 
The Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS evaluated the same seven 
government and commercial sites for management and storage of elemental 
mercury and considered all public comments received on the Draft 
Elemental Mercury Storage EIS.
    On June 5, 2012, DOE issued a Notice of Intent in the Federal 
Register (77 FR 33204) to prepare a supplement to the Final Elemental 
Mercury Storage EIS to evaluate additional alternatives for a facility 
at and in the vicinity of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near 
Carlsbad, New Mexico, and to update some of the analyses presented in 
the Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS. DOE announced the availability 
of the Draft Long-Term Management and Storage of Elemental Mercury 
Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DOE/EIS-0423-S1-D; Draft 
Elemental Mercury Storage SEIS) on April 19, 2013 (78 FR 23548) for 
public comment. The Final Long-Term Management and Storage of Elemental 
Mercury Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DOE/EIS-0423-S1; 
Final Elemental Mercury Storage SEIS) was published on October 4, 2013. 
The Final Elemental Mercury Storage SEIS did not change the DOE 
preferred alternative, which remained as the WCS facility near Andrews, 
Texas.
    DOE prepared a Supplement Analysis of the Final Long-Term 
Management and Storage of Elemental Mercury Environmental Impact 
Statement (DOE/EIS-0423-SA-01; SA) to determine whether supplemental or 
new National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) documentation was 
required to address the proposal to manage and store elemental mercury. 
The SA provided an analysis of the potential impacts presented in the 
Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS and Final SEIS to determine if 
there have been substantial changes to the proposal since 2013 or if 
there are significant new circumstances or information relevant to 
environmental concerns. The SA was prepared in accordance with the DOE 
NEPA implementing procedures at 10 CFR 1021.314(c) and concluded that 
there was not a substantial change to the proposal evaluated in the 
Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS or Final SEIS or significant new 
circumstances or information relevant to environmental concerns that 
would require preparation of an additional SEIS or new EIS. DOE 
determined that no further NEPA analysis was required.

Purpose and Need for Agency Action

    MEBA prohibits the export of elemental mercury from the United 
States (subject to certain essential-use exemptions). MEBA also 
prohibits, as of October 14, 2008, any Federal agency from conveying, 
selling, or distributing to any other Federal agency, any state or 
local government agency, or any private individual or entity any 
elemental mercury under the control or jurisdiction of the Federal 
agency (with certain limited exceptions). Banning the export of 
elemental mercury from the United States is expected to result in 
surplus inventories of elemental mercury.
    Section 5 of MEBA directs DOE to designate a DOE facility or 
facilities for the long-term management and storage of elemental 
mercury generated within the United States. In the Final Elemental 
Mercury Storage EIS, DOE identified a need to provide such a facility 
capable of managing an elemental mercury inventory estimated to range 
up to 10,000 metric tons (11,000 tons) for a 40-year period of 
analysis. In the SA, DOE updated the projected inventory of elemental 
mercury that could need future storage to 6,800 metric tons (7,480 
tons) for a 40-year period of analysis.

Proposed Action

    As identified in the Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS, DOE 
proposes to construct one or more new facilities and/or select one or 
more existing facilities (including modification as needed) for the 
long-term management and storage of elemental mercury, as mandated by 
Section 5 of MEBA. Any such facility(ies) must comply with applicable 
requirements of Section 5 of MEBA, including the requirements of the 
Solid Waste Disposal Act, as amended by the Resource Conservation and 
Recovery Act (RCRA) (42 U.S.C. 6901 et seq.) and other permitting 
requirements.

Alternatives

    On March 20, 2009 (74 FR 11923), DOE published a Request for 
Expressions of Interest seeking potential locations for the elemental 
mercury storage facility(ies) from interested Federal agencies and the 
private sector. In addition, DOE issued an internal memorandum 
requesting that DOE site offices determine if they have a facility(ies) 
that could be used for elemental mercury storage. At the same time, DOE 
developed objective criteria for identifying candidate sites within the 
scope of the Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS. In addition to the No 
Action Alternative, DOE evaluated seven government and commercial sites 
as the range of reasonable alternatives in the Final Elemental Mercury 
Storage EIS: The DOE Grand Junction Disposal Site, Grand Junction, 
Colorado; the DOE Hanford Site, Richland, Washington; Hawthorne Army 
Depot, Hawthorne, Nevada; Idaho Nuclear Technology and Engineering 
Center and Radioactive Waste Management Complex at the DOE Idaho 
National Laboratory, Idaho Falls, Idaho; DOE Kansas City Plant, Kansas 
City, Missouri; DOE Savannah River Site, Aiken, South Carolina; and 
WCS, Andrews, Texas. The Final Elemental Mercury Storage SEIS evaluated 
additional alternatives for a facility at and in the vicinity of WIPP.
    Existing buildings at the candidate locations were considered in 
the Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS to store the elemental mercury. 
Recognizing that existing buildings may not be available or adequate at 
some candidate locations, DOE also evaluated construction and operation 
of new facilities that would meet RCRA requirements.

Potential Environmental Impacts

    The Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS and SEIS evaluated the 
construction of a new facility and the use of existing facilities for 
the long-term management and storage of elemental mercury. The 
documents included the assessment of potential impacts from the 
transportation of the elemental mercury from the origin sites to the 
long-term storage location via either truck or rail. The analysis of 
potential environmental impacts included an evaluation of the following 
environmental resource areas: Land use and visual resources; geology, 
soils, and geologic hazards; water resources; meteorology, air quality, 
and noise; ecological resources; cultural and paleontological 
resources; site infrastructure; waste management; occupational and 
public health and safety; ecological impacts; socioeconomics; and 
environmental justice. Based on analyses in the Final EIS and Final 
SEIS, the potential impacts on the various resource areas at each 
analyzed site from construction and operation of an elemental mercury 
storage facility(ies) would range from none to minor.
    The SA further evaluated whether the proposed change in the 
quantity of elemental mercury to be stored and managed (to 6,800 metric 
tons from 10,000 metric tons) and potential use of two existing 
facilities (Container Storage Building and Bin Storage Unit 1) rather 
than one at WCS represented a

[[Page 66892]]

substantial change to the proposal action relevant to environmental 
concerns or if there were significant new circumstances or information 
relevant to environmental concerns. While the SA found no effect on the 
potential impacts analyzed in the Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS 
and Final SEIS for many resource areas, it identified waste management 
and occupational and public health and safety as resource areas 
potentially affected.
    Modification of the existing facilities would produce negligible 
quantities of nonhazardous waste. Operations of elemental mercury 
storage facilities are estimated to generate approximately 23 drums of 
hazardous waste and less than 16,000 gallons of liquid sanitary waste 
annually. Since elemental mercury storage would not involve any 
treatment or processing of elemental mercury, the rate of hazardous 
waste generation would be very low. Any hazardous waste would be 
disposed in a licensed facility. In addition, the existing sanitary 
waste systems at WCS have sufficient capacity to handle the projected 
liquid sanitary waste volume, therefore, the potential impacts to waste 
management would be negligible.
    The potential impacts to occupational and public health and safety 
were presented in the Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS, Final SEIS, 
and SA for normal operations, facility accidents, and intentional 
destructive acts. Normal operations would involve the receipt and long-
term storage of elemental mercury. Exposures could arise during normal 
operating conditions from small amounts of mercury vapor accumulating 
in the storage areas. The estimated consequences to involved workers, 
noninvolved workers, or members of the public are predicted to be 
negligible.
    Facility accidents could include elemental mercury spills inside or 
outside the storage building. The Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS 
and Final SEIS report the potential risks to workers and the offsite 
public to be negligible-to-low for these spills for all alternatives. 
Similarly, the Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS and SEIS report that 
human health risks of transportation accidents would be negligible-to-
low for all alternatives. The Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS and 
Final SEIS analyzed intentional destructive acts and found that, while 
the probability of an intentional destructive act cannot be determined, 
consequences of such an act, were one to occur, were expected to be 
similar for all alternatives.

Environmentally Preferable Alternative

    Constructing a new building would produce additional environmental 
impacts. Therefore, although the construction impacts are anticipated 
to be minimal, alternatives involving no construction are 
environmentally preferable. Although storage of the entire inventory of 
elemental mercury in an existing building at WCS was not evaluated in 
the Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS and Final SEIS, DOE has 
subsequently learned that the existing Container Storage Building and 
Bulk Storage Unit could be used to store the entire inventory of 
elemental mercury. Transportation of elemental mercury to any of these 
existing buildings would result in negligible-to-low human health risks 
from transportation accidents. The potential impacts of operating these 
elemental mercury storage buildings would be similar regardless of the 
location.
    The No Action Alternative would not involve the construction of a 
new facility for consolidation and storage of the elemental mercury. 
However, the No Action Alternative would still include transportation 
to and from elemental mercury storage sites, as described in Section 
4.2.9.4 of the Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS, and therefore would 
not be significantly different than the transportation impacts under 
the action alternatives. Under the No Action Alternative, elemental 
mercury would be stored indefinitely at multiple non-DOE facilities; 
therefore, the biggest impact of the No Action Alternative would be 
widely dispersed storage. Taking this under consideration, the No 
Action Alternative would not be the environmentally preferable 
alternative.

Federal and State Permits, Consultations, and Notifications

    MEBA prohibits the export of elemental mercury. Section 5 of the 
Act directs DOE to designate a facility(ies) for the long-term 
management and storage of elemental mercury generated within the United 
States. MEBA also requires that the facility(ies) be constructed and 
operated in accordance with the Solid Waste Disposal Act, as amended by 
RCRA.

Comments Received on the Final Elemental Mercury Storage EIS and Final 
SEIS

    DOE received five comment letters after publishing the Final 
Elemental Mercury Storage EIS and Final SEIS. They included: (1) One 
letter from an individual that agreed with the DOE preferred 
alternative of the WCS site, (2) one letter from an individual that did 
not agree with potential selection of the WCS site, (3) one letter from 
the Environmental Protection Agency that indicated the agency had no 
additional comments, (4) one letter that requested modifications to the 
EIS mailing list, and (5) one letter from the Texas Parks and Wildlife 
Department notifying DOE that the federal listing status of two species 
had changed since the issuance of the Draft EIS. Since the use of 
existing buildings at the WCS site would not impact ecological 
resources, this change to the federal listing status of two species 
would not affect the potential impacts presented in the Final Elemental 
Mercury Storage EIS or Final SEIS. DOE has considered these comments 
and finds that they do not present ``significant new circumstances or 
information relevant to environmental concerns and bearing on the 
proposed action or its impacts'' within the meaning of 40 CFR 1502.9(c) 
and 10 CFR 1021.314(a) and therefore do not require preparation of a 
new or a supplemental EIS.

Decision

    Based on consideration of the analysis in the Final Elemental 
Mercury Storage EIS, Final SEIS, and SA; DOE has decided to designate 
the WCS site near Andrews, Texas for the management and storage of up 
to 6,800 metric tons (7,480 tons) of elemental mercury and to manage 
and store the elemental mercury in leased portions of existing 
buildings, the Container Storage Building and Bin Storage Unit 1, at 
the WCS site. This decision is also based on other programmatic, 
policy, logistic, and cost considerations. For example, use of the 
Container Storage Building and Bin Storage Unit 1 avoids the costs 
associated with design and construction of a new facility and the 
utilization of an existing Basic Ordering Agreement with WCS simplifies 
the procurement process and allows DOE to mitigate some of the 
liabilities associated with the incentives added to MEBA, as amended by 
the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act.

Mitigation

    All practicable means to avoid or minimize environmental harm from 
the alternative selected have been adopted. Because the Final Elemental 
Mercury Storage EIS and Final SEIS identified that potential 
environmental impacts associated with long-term management and storage 
of 10,000 metric tons of elemental mercury would be negligible-to-low, 
mitigation measures would not be required as part of this ROD.


[[Page 66893]]


    Signed at Washington, DC, on December 3, 2019.
William I. White,
Senior Advisor for Environmental Management to the Under Secretary for 
Science.
[FR Doc. 2019-26344 Filed 12-5-19; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6450-01-P