Wildfire Risk Reduction, Reliability, and Asset Protection (WRAP) Project, Trinity County, California (DOE/EIS-0548), 80091-80093 [2020-27147]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 239 / Friday, December 11, 2020 / Notices jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES 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 28, 2020. 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 may mail similar pleadings to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20426. Hand delivered submissions in docketed proceedings should be delivered to Health and Human Services, 12225 Wilkins Avenue, Rockville, Maryland 20852. In addition to publishing the full text of this document in the Federal Register, the Commission provides all interested persons an opportunity to view and/or print the contents of this document via the internet through the Commission’s Home Page (http:// ferc.gov) using the ‘‘eLibrary’’ link. Enter the docket number excluding the last three digits in the docket number field to access the document. At this time, the Commission has suspended access to the Commission’s Public Reference Room, due to the proclamation declaring a National Emergency concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID–19), issued by the President on March 13, 2020. For assistance, contact the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission at FERCOnlineSupport@ferc.gov or call toll-free, (886) 208–3676 or TYY, (202) 502–8659. Dated: December 7, 2020. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary. [FR Doc. 2020–27265 Filed 12–10–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717–01–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 23:25 Dec 10, 2020 Jkt 253001 DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Western Area Power Administration Wildfire Risk Reduction, Reliability, and Asset Protection (WRAP) Project, Trinity County, California (DOE/EIS– 0548) Western Area Power Administration, Department of Energy. ACTION: Notice of Intent to prepare a joint Environmental Impact Statement/ Environmental Impact Report and to conduct scoping meetings; Notice of Floodplain and Wetlands Involvement. AGENCY: The Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) and Trinity Public Utility District (Trinity PUD) are proposing a proactive Wildfire Risk Reduction, Reliability, and Asset Protection (WRAP) Project to reduce fire risk to the surrounding communities and public lands, as well as to increase electric reliability to maintain critical services in local communities. WAPA and Trinity PUD will prepare a joint Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Environmental Impact Report (EIR) in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) NEPA Implementing Procedures, Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations for implementing NEPA, and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) as codified in California’s Public Resource Code, and the Guidelines for Implementation of the California Quality Act (CEQA Guidelines) in Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations. Portions of the proposed action may affect floodplains or wetlands, so this Notice of Intent (NOI) also serves as a notice of proposed floodplain or wetlands action in accordance with DOE floodplain and wetlands review requirements. SUMMARY: WAPA invites public comments on the scope of the WRAP EIS/EIR during a 45-day public scoping period. WAPA will provide a notice in local media outlets of the dates of the scoping period and scoping meetings. Public notice of the date and time of the public scoping meetings will also be posted on the Project website at https:// www.wapa.gov/regions/SN/ environment/Pages/WRAP.aspx. ADDRESSES: Written comments on the scope of the EIS/EIR and requests to be added to the EIS/EIR distribution list may be submitted by any of the following methods: • Electronic comments via the Project website at: https://www.wapa.gov/ DATES: PO 00000 Frm 00102 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 80091 regions/SN/environment/Pages/ WRAP.aspx. • Email: saare@wapa.gov. • U.S. Mail: Tish Saare, Western Area Power Administration, 114 Parkshore Dr., Folsom, CA 95630. WAPA will consider all comments on the scope of the EIS received or postmarked by the end of the scoping period. The public is invited to submit comments on the proposed WRAP Project for WAPA’s consideration at any time during the EIS process. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For additional information or to have your name added to our mailing list, contact Tish Saare, Western Area Power Administration, 114 Parkshore Dr., Folsom, CA 95630, telephone (916) 847– 3608, email at saare@wapa.gov. For general information on DOE’s NEPA review process, contact Brian Costner, Office of NEPA Policy and Compliance, GC–54, U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20585–0119, email AskNEPA@hq.doe.gov, telephone (202) 586–4600 or (800) 472–2756, facsimile (202) 586–7031. For more information related to Trinity PUD’s participation, contact Mr. Andy Lethbridge, Electric Superintendent, 26 Ponderosa Ln, Weaverville, CA 96093, telephone (530) 623–5537, email alethbridge@ trinitypud.com. WAPA is a power marketing administration within DOE. WAPA has a statutory responsibility to make the necessary arrangements to deliver Federal power to Federally authorized water projects and to market and deliver cost-based Federal power in excess of that needed to meet Federal load to wholesale preference customers in regions within the central and western United States. WAPA’s preference customers include Federal and State agencies, Native American tribes, electric cooperatives, municipal utilities, public utility districts, irrigation districts, and water districts. Trinity PUD receives the majority of its power from WAPA’s Trinity Interconnect 60-kilovolt (kV) Transmission Line. Trinity PUD is the local electric utility provider for Trinity County, California. It provides most of the customers in Trinity County with 100-percent renewable hydroelectric energy from the Trinity Dam. Trinity PUD supplies power through its 604 miles of power lines that are located in rugged and mountainous terrain. Its service area covers approximately 2,100 square miles in Trinity County and is sparsely SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: E:\FR\FM\11DEN1.SGM 11DEN1 jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES 80092 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 239 / Friday, December 11, 2020 / Notices populated, with fewer than 12 customers per mile of line. The areas surrounding WAPA’s and Trinity PUD’s electric transmission and distribution systems in Trinity County are particularly vulnerable to fire risk due to the dense vegetation and steep terrain. The proposed WRAP Project would reduce these fire risks by expanding WAPA’s and Trinity PUD’s existing transmission/distribution rights-of-way (ROWs) and implementing a proactive, integrated vegetation management program within the expanded ROWs. WAPA has determined that an EIS is the appropriate level of review under NEPA. WAPA will prepare the EIS in accordance with NEPA, DOE’s NEPA Implementing Procedures, and the CEQ regulations for implementing NEPA. WAPA will be the lead Federal agency for the NEPA EIS review process, and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) will be cooperating agencies. WAPA intends to prepare a joint EIS/EIR for the proposed WRAP Project. Trinity PUD will be the lead agency for the CEQA EIR review process. As portions of the proposed action may affect floodplains and wetlands, this NOI also serves as a notice of proposed floodplain or wetland action in accordance with DOE floodplain and wetland environmental review requirements (10 CFR parts 1021 and 1022). Purpose and Need for Agency Action: The purpose of WRAP is to: (1) Reduce the risk of wildfire by proactive vegetation management; (2) enhance protection of the WAPA and Trinity PUD electrical transmission and distribution line systems; (3) improve the reliability of power delivery to Trinity PUD under WAPA’s contract; (4) improve transmission line access by road improvement; and (5) protect the health and safety of the Trinity County community and surrounding biological and natural resources from transmission- and distribution-related wildfires. Proposed Action and Alternatives: In accordance with the proposed Project purpose and need, WAPA and Trinity PUD propose the WRAP Project. WAPA proposes to expand the width of its ROW for its 17.5-mile, 60–kV transmission line between Trinity Substation and Weaverville Switchyard from 80 feet to up to 130 feet on USFS, BLM, and private lands. This transmission line provides the majority of the electricity to the Trinity PUD system. Trinity PUD proposes to expand its utility ROW width from 20 feet to up to VerDate Sep<11>2014 23:25 Dec 10, 2020 Jkt 253001 130 feet for its overhead transmission and distribution system (216.8 miles) in high-fire risk areas on USFS, BLM, BOR, and private or other lands. The existing ROW easement for the underground distribution lines would not change. The proposed Project would also include the improvement of WAPA’s existing legal access roads using best management practices for routine access road maintenance and associated rehabilitation. Trinity PUD would maintain their existing local access roads to the standards set by the land managers. Vegetation in the ROW may be cleared using a combination of mechanical, manual, and herbicidal control methods. Manual methods may include cutting, girdling, topping and trimming, slash disposal/fuels reduction techniques, and burning. Mechanical methods would be used in areas in which vegetation can be removed nonselectively. Most pieces of mechanical equipment are not safe to operate on slopes over 30-to 35-percent; mechanical methods are also constrained where soils are susceptible to compaction or erosion. Herbicidal control is another option that WAPA and Trinity PUD are exploring as an option to manage vegetation. Only those herbicides that have been approved for use in ROW maintenance based on evaluations of toxicity, solubility, soil adsorption potential, and persistence in water and soil would be used. Additionally, herbicides would only be applied by individuals with applicator licenses/certificates and in accordance with label requirements. In order to maintain long-term vegetation clearances along the expanded ROWs, the proposed Project would include an updated and improved operation and maintenance plan (O&M Plan) and GIS database of all assets and sensitive resources along the subject ROWs. As part of the updated O&M Plan and GIS database, the proposed Project would develop Standard Operating Procedures, which would be implemented for all O&M tasks, as well as Project Conservation Measures that would be implemented to protect specific sensitive species in the ROW. As part of the proposed Project, WAPA and Trinity PUD would submit applications for ROW authorizations for the expansion of transmission and distribution line ROWs on BLM and USFS administered lands. Trinity PUD would also amend its Interagency Agreement with BOR. In addition, the proposed Project may include timber sale contracts with the USFS, BLM, BOR, and private landowners for PO 00000 Frm 00103 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 merchantable timber resulting from ROW expansions and vegetation removal. No Action Alternative: NEPA requires WAPA to consider a no action alternative. The no action alternative serves as a baseline to measure the environmental impacts of action alternatives. No action does not mean no change; the no action alternative would include current vegetation management, access road maintenance, and other ongoing O&M activities within existing ROWs. There would be no ROW expansion under the no action alternative. As part of the EIS/EIR process, WAPA will consider a no action alternative. Notice of Floodplain or Wetlands Involvement: Floodplains and wetlands may be present in the Project area. As the proposal may involve action in floodplains or wetlands, this NOI serves as a notice of proposed floodplain or wetland action. The EIS/EIR will include an assessment of impacts to floodplains and wetlands. If needed, WAPA will prepare a floodplain statement of findings following DOE regulations for compliance with floodplains and wetlands environmental review requirements and include that statement in the EIS/EIR. Preliminary Identification of Environmental Issues: WAPA proposes to analyze potential short-term environmental impacts, such as those from implementation, and potential long-term environmental impacts of maintaining the expanded ROW. DOE’s guidance for the preparation of an EIS/ EIR recommends the use of a slidingscale approach when evaluating environmental impacts. This approach would focus the analysis and discussion of impacts on significant environmental issues in proportion to the level of the potential impacts. WAPA identified the following preliminary list of impact areas for evaluation in the EIS/EIR: • Air Quality and Greenhouse Gas Emissions • Biological Resources • Cultural and Tribal Resources • Energy • Hazards and Hazardous Materials • Hydrology and Water Quality • Land Use and Recreation • Noise and Vibration • Population and Housing • Soils and Mineral Resources • Transportation • Utilities/Service Systems/Public Services • Visual Resources • Wildfire and Forestry Resources This list is not intended to be allinclusive or to imply a predetermination E:\FR\FM\11DEN1.SGM 11DEN1 jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 239 / Friday, December 11, 2020 / Notices of impacts. WAPA invites interested stakeholders to suggest specific issues, including possible mitigation measures, within these general categories, or other categories not included above, to be considered in the EIS/EIR. Public Participation: The purpose of the scoping process is to identify issues, concerns, possible alternatives, and potential environmental impacts that WAPA should analyze in the EIS/EIR. There will be two scoping meetings, one in the morning and one in the evening on the date determined, to accommodate and encourage public participation. Each meeting will use Zoom Webinar and will be virtual or online consistent with statewide restrictions with in-person meetings because of the COVID–19 pandemic. WAPA will also announce the public scoping meetings in local news media and by posting on the Project environmental website at https:// www.wapa.gov/regions/SN/ environment/Pages/WRAP.aspx at least 14 days before the meetings. The public will have the opportunity to learn about the Project, view maps, and present comments on the scope of the WRAP EIS/EIR. Representatives from WAPA and Trinity PUD will be available to answer questions and provide additional information to meeting attendees. In addition to providing comments at the webinar public scoping meetings, stakeholders may submit written comments as described in the ADDRESSES section above. WAPA will consider all comments postmarked or received during the public scoping period identified in the DATES section above. The public is also invited to submit comments on the proposed Project for WAPA’s consideration at any time during the EIS process. WAPA will coordinate with appropriate Federal, State, and local agencies, and potentially affected Native American tribes during the preparation of the EIS/EIR. Agencies with legal jurisdiction or special expertise are invited to participate as cooperating agencies in preparation of the EIS, as defined in 40 CFR 1501.8(a).1 Designated cooperating agencies have responsibilities to support the NEPA process, as specified in 40 CFR 1501.8(b).2 WAPA will contact tribes and inform them of the planned EIS/ EIR. Government-to-government consultations will be conducted in 1 CEQ revised its NEPA implementing regulations, effective September 14, 2020. Update to the Regulations Implementing the Procedural Provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act, 85 FR 43304, 43361 (July 16, 2020). 2 See id. at 85 FR 43361–43362. VerDate Sep<11>2014 23:25 Dec 10, 2020 Jkt 253001 accordance with Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments (65 FR 67249); the President’s memorandum of April 29, 1994, Government-toGovernment Relations with Native American Tribal Governments (59 FR 22951); DOE-specific guidance on tribal interactions; and other applicable Federal and State natural and cultural resources laws and regulations. Upon completion of the scoping period, WAPA will draft an EIS/EIR. A Notice of Availability of the Draft EIS/ EIR will be published in the Federal Register, which will begin a minimum 45-day public comment period. WAPA will announce how to comment on the Draft EIS/EIR and will hold two public hearings during the comment period. People who would like to receive a copy of the Draft EIS/EIR should submit a request as provided in the ADDRESSES section above. For those requesting to be added to the distribution list, you are encouraged to download the EIS/EIR and other documents from the above website; however, if you prefer to be mailed a copy, please specify the format of the EIS/EIR that you would like to receive (CD or printed) and a preference for either the complete EIS/EIR or the Summary only. WAPA will maintain information about the process, including documents, meeting information, and important dates, on the Project website given above. The EIS/ EIR, along with other Project information, will be available for download from the Project website. Please visit the Project website for current information. Signing Authority This document of the Department of Energy was signed on December 1, 2020, by Mark A. Gabriel, Administrator, Western Area Power Administration, pursuant to delegated authority from the Secretary of Energy. That document, with the original signature and date, is maintained by DOE. For administrative purposes only, and in compliance with requirements of the Office of the Federal Register, the undersigned DOE Federal Register Liaison Officer has been authorized to sign and submit the document in electronic format for publication, as an official document of the Department of Energy. This administrative process in no way alters the legal effect of this document upon publication in the Federal Register. PO 00000 Frm 00104 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 80093 Signed in Washington, DC, on December 7, 2020 Treena V. Garrett, Federal Register Liaison Officer, U.S. Department of Energy. [FR Doc. 2020–27147 Filed 12–10–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450–01–P ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [ER–FRL–9054–3] Environmental Impact Statements; Notice of Availability Responsible Agency: Office of Federal Activities, General Information 202– 564–5632 or https://www.epa.gov/nepa. Weekly receipt of Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) Filed November 30, 2020 10 a.m. EST Through December 7, 2020 10 a.m. EST Pursuant to 40 CFR 1506.9. Notice Section 309(a) of the Clean Air Act requires that EPA make public its comments on EISs issued by other Federal agencies. EPA’s comment letters on EISs are available at: https:// cdxnodengn.epa.gov/cdx-enepa-public/ action/eis/search. EIS No. 20200249, Final Supplement, USFS, WV, Mountain Valley Pipeline and Equitrans Expansion Project, Review Period Ends: 01/11/2021, Contact: Ken Arney, Regional Forester 888–603–0261. EIS No. 20200250, Draft Supplement, USN, AK, Gulf of Alaska Navy Training Activities, Comment Period Ends: 02/16/2021, Contact: Kimberly Kler 360–315–5103. EIS No. 20200251, Final, USCG, GU, ADOPTION—Mariana Islands Training and Testing Final EIS–OEIS, Contact: Maile Norman 808–535– 3264. The United States Coast Guard (USCG) has adopted the United States Navy Final EIS No. 20150136, filed 5/ 15/2015 with EPA. USCG was a cooperating agency on this project. Therefore, republication of the document is not necessary under Section 1506.3(b)(2) of the CEQ regulations. EIS No. 20200252, Final Supplement, USCG, GU, ADOPTION—Mariana Islands Training and Testing, Contact: Maile Norman 808–535–3264. The United States Coast Guard (USCG) has adopted the United States Navy Final Supplemental EIS No. 20200155, filed 5/29/2020 with EPA. USCG was a cooperating agency on this project. Therefore, republication of the E:\FR\FM\11DEN1.SGM 11DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 239 (Friday, December 11, 2020)]
[Notices]
[Pages 80091-80093]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-27147]


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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Western Area Power Administration


Wildfire Risk Reduction, Reliability, and Asset Protection (WRAP) 
Project, Trinity County, California (DOE/EIS-0548)

AGENCY: Western Area Power Administration, Department of Energy.

ACTION: Notice of Intent to prepare a joint Environmental Impact 
Statement/Environmental Impact Report and to conduct scoping meetings; 
Notice of Floodplain and Wetlands Involvement.

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

SUMMARY: The Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) and Trinity 
Public Utility District (Trinity PUD) are proposing a proactive 
Wildfire Risk Reduction, Reliability, and Asset Protection (WRAP) 
Project to reduce fire risk to the surrounding communities and public 
lands, as well as to increase electric reliability to maintain critical 
services in local communities. WAPA and Trinity PUD will prepare a 
joint Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Environmental Impact 
Report (EIR) in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act 
of 1969 (NEPA), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) NEPA Implementing 
Procedures, Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations for 
implementing NEPA, and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) 
as codified in California's Public Resource Code, and the Guidelines 
for Implementation of the California Quality Act (CEQA Guidelines) in 
Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations. Portions of the 
proposed action may affect floodplains or wetlands, so this Notice of 
Intent (NOI) also serves as a notice of proposed floodplain or wetlands 
action in accordance with DOE floodplain and wetlands review 
requirements.

DATES: WAPA invites public comments on the scope of the WRAP EIS/EIR 
during a 45-day public scoping period. WAPA will provide a notice in 
local media outlets of the dates of the scoping period and scoping 
meetings. Public notice of the date and time of the public scoping 
meetings will also be posted on the Project website at https://www.wapa.gov/regions/SN/environment/Pages/WRAP.aspx.

ADDRESSES: Written comments on the scope of the EIS/EIR and requests to 
be added to the EIS/EIR distribution list may be submitted by any of 
the following methods:
     Electronic comments via the Project website at: https://www.wapa.gov/regions/SN/environment/Pages/WRAP.aspx.
     Email: [email protected].
     U.S. Mail: Tish Saare, Western Area Power Administration, 
114 Parkshore Dr., Folsom, CA 95630.
    WAPA will consider all comments on the scope of the EIS received or 
postmarked by the end of the scoping period. The public is invited to 
submit comments on the proposed WRAP Project for WAPA's consideration 
at any time during the EIS process.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For additional information or to have 
your name added to our mailing list, contact Tish Saare, Western Area 
Power Administration, 114 Parkshore Dr., Folsom, CA 95630, telephone 
(916) 847-3608, email at [email protected].
    For general information on DOE's NEPA review process, contact Brian 
Costner, Office of NEPA Policy and Compliance, GC-54, U.S. Department 
of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20585-0119, 
email [email protected], telephone (202) 586-4600 or (800) 472-2756, 
facsimile (202) 586-7031.
    For more information related to Trinity PUD's participation, 
contact Mr. Andy Lethbridge, Electric Superintendent, 26 Ponderosa Ln, 
Weaverville, CA 96093, telephone (530) 623-5537, email 
[email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: WAPA is a power marketing administration 
within DOE. WAPA has a statutory responsibility to make the necessary 
arrangements to deliver Federal power to Federally authorized water 
projects and to market and deliver cost-based Federal power in excess 
of that needed to meet Federal load to wholesale preference customers 
in regions within the central and western United States. WAPA's 
preference customers include Federal and State agencies, Native 
American tribes, electric cooperatives, municipal utilities, public 
utility districts, irrigation districts, and water districts. Trinity 
PUD receives the majority of its power from WAPA's Trinity Interconnect 
60-kilovolt (kV) Transmission Line.
    Trinity PUD is the local electric utility provider for Trinity 
County, California. It provides most of the customers in Trinity County 
with 100-percent renewable hydroelectric energy from the Trinity Dam. 
Trinity PUD supplies power through its 604 miles of power lines that 
are located in rugged and mountainous terrain. Its service area covers 
approximately 2,100 square miles in Trinity County and is sparsely

[[Page 80092]]

populated, with fewer than 12 customers per mile of line.
    The areas surrounding WAPA's and Trinity PUD's electric 
transmission and distribution systems in Trinity County are 
particularly vulnerable to fire risk due to the dense vegetation and 
steep terrain. The proposed WRAP Project would reduce these fire risks 
by expanding WAPA's and Trinity PUD's existing transmission/
distribution rights-of-way (ROWs) and implementing a proactive, 
integrated vegetation management program within the expanded ROWs.
    WAPA has determined that an EIS is the appropriate level of review 
under NEPA. WAPA will prepare the EIS in accordance with NEPA, DOE's 
NEPA Implementing Procedures, and the CEQ regulations for implementing 
NEPA. WAPA will be the lead Federal agency for the NEPA EIS review 
process, and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Bureau of Land Management 
(BLM), and Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) will be cooperating agencies. 
WAPA intends to prepare a joint EIS/EIR for the proposed WRAP Project. 
Trinity PUD will be the lead agency for the CEQA EIR review process. As 
portions of the proposed action may affect floodplains and wetlands, 
this NOI also serves as a notice of proposed floodplain or wetland 
action in accordance with DOE floodplain and wetland environmental 
review requirements (10 CFR parts 1021 and 1022).
    Purpose and Need for Agency Action: The purpose of WRAP is to: (1) 
Reduce the risk of wildfire by proactive vegetation management; (2) 
enhance protection of the WAPA and Trinity PUD electrical transmission 
and distribution line systems; (3) improve the reliability of power 
delivery to Trinity PUD under WAPA's contract; (4) improve transmission 
line access by road improvement; and (5) protect the health and safety 
of the Trinity County community and surrounding biological and natural 
resources from transmission- and distribution-related wildfires.
    Proposed Action and Alternatives: In accordance with the proposed 
Project purpose and need, WAPA and Trinity PUD propose the WRAP 
Project.
    WAPA proposes to expand the width of its ROW for its 17.5-mile, 60-
kV transmission line between Trinity Substation and Weaverville 
Switchyard from 80 feet to up to 130 feet on USFS, BLM, and private 
lands. This transmission line provides the majority of the electricity 
to the Trinity PUD system.
    Trinity PUD proposes to expand its utility ROW width from 20 feet 
to up to 130 feet for its overhead transmission and distribution system 
(216.8 miles) in high-fire risk areas on USFS, BLM, BOR, and private or 
other lands. The existing ROW easement for the underground distribution 
lines would not change.
    The proposed Project would also include the improvement of WAPA's 
existing legal access roads using best management practices for routine 
access road maintenance and associated rehabilitation. Trinity PUD 
would maintain their existing local access roads to the standards set 
by the land managers.
    Vegetation in the ROW may be cleared using a combination of 
mechanical, manual, and herbicidal control methods. Manual methods may 
include cutting, girdling, topping and trimming, slash disposal/fuels 
reduction techniques, and burning. Mechanical methods would be used in 
areas in which vegetation can be removed non-selectively. Most pieces 
of mechanical equipment are not safe to operate on slopes over 30-to 
35-percent; mechanical methods are also constrained where soils are 
susceptible to compaction or erosion. Herbicidal control is another 
option that WAPA and Trinity PUD are exploring as an option to manage 
vegetation. Only those herbicides that have been approved for use in 
ROW maintenance based on evaluations of toxicity, solubility, soil 
adsorption potential, and persistence in water and soil would be used. 
Additionally, herbicides would only be applied by individuals with 
applicator licenses/certificates and in accordance with label 
requirements.
    In order to maintain long-term vegetation clearances along the 
expanded ROWs, the proposed Project would include an updated and 
improved operation and maintenance plan (O&M Plan) and GIS database of 
all assets and sensitive resources along the subject ROWs. As part of 
the updated O&M Plan and GIS database, the proposed Project would 
develop Standard Operating Procedures, which would be implemented for 
all O&M tasks, as well as Project Conservation Measures that would be 
implemented to protect specific sensitive species in the ROW.
    As part of the proposed Project, WAPA and Trinity PUD would submit 
applications for ROW authorizations for the expansion of transmission 
and distribution line ROWs on BLM and USFS administered lands. Trinity 
PUD would also amend its Interagency Agreement with BOR. In addition, 
the proposed Project may include timber sale contracts with the USFS, 
BLM, BOR, and private landowners for merchantable timber resulting from 
ROW expansions and vegetation removal.
    No Action Alternative: NEPA requires WAPA to consider a no action 
alternative. The no action alternative serves as a baseline to measure 
the environmental impacts of action alternatives. No action does not 
mean no change; the no action alternative would include current 
vegetation management, access road maintenance, and other ongoing O&M 
activities within existing ROWs. There would be no ROW expansion under 
the no action alternative. As part of the EIS/EIR process, WAPA will 
consider a no action alternative.
    Notice of Floodplain or Wetlands Involvement: Floodplains and 
wetlands may be present in the Project area. As the proposal may 
involve action in floodplains or wetlands, this NOI serves as a notice 
of proposed floodplain or wetland action. The EIS/EIR will include an 
assessment of impacts to floodplains and wetlands. If needed, WAPA will 
prepare a floodplain statement of findings following DOE regulations 
for compliance with floodplains and wetlands environmental review 
requirements and include that statement in the EIS/EIR.
    Preliminary Identification of Environmental Issues: WAPA proposes 
to analyze potential short-term environmental impacts, such as those 
from implementation, and potential long-term environmental impacts of 
maintaining the expanded ROW. DOE's guidance for the preparation of an 
EIS/EIR recommends the use of a sliding-scale approach when evaluating 
environmental impacts. This approach would focus the analysis and 
discussion of impacts on significant environmental issues in proportion 
to the level of the potential impacts. WAPA identified the following 
preliminary list of impact areas for evaluation in the EIS/EIR:

     Air Quality and Greenhouse Gas Emissions
     Biological Resources
     Cultural and Tribal Resources
     Energy
     Hazards and Hazardous Materials
     Hydrology and Water Quality
     Land Use and Recreation
     Noise and Vibration
     Population and Housing
     Soils and Mineral Resources
     Transportation
     Utilities/Service Systems/Public Services
     Visual Resources
     Wildfire and Forestry Resources

    This list is not intended to be all-inclusive or to imply a 
predetermination

[[Page 80093]]

of impacts. WAPA invites interested stakeholders to suggest specific 
issues, including possible mitigation measures, within these general 
categories, or other categories not included above, to be considered in 
the EIS/EIR.
    Public Participation: The purpose of the scoping process is to 
identify issues, concerns, possible alternatives, and potential 
environmental impacts that WAPA should analyze in the EIS/EIR. There 
will be two scoping meetings, one in the morning and one in the evening 
on the date determined, to accommodate and encourage public 
participation. Each meeting will use Zoom Webinar and will be virtual 
or online consistent with statewide restrictions with in-person 
meetings because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    WAPA will also announce the public scoping meetings in local news 
media and by posting on the Project environmental website at https://www.wapa.gov/regions/SN/environment/Pages/WRAP.aspx at least 14 days 
before the meetings.
    The public will have the opportunity to learn about the Project, 
view maps, and present comments on the scope of the WRAP EIS/EIR. 
Representatives from WAPA and Trinity PUD will be available to answer 
questions and provide additional information to meeting attendees.
    In addition to providing comments at the webinar public scoping 
meetings, stakeholders may submit written comments as described in the 
ADDRESSES section above. WAPA will consider all comments postmarked or 
received during the public scoping period identified in the DATES 
section above. The public is also invited to submit comments on the 
proposed Project for WAPA's consideration at any time during the EIS 
process.
    WAPA will coordinate with appropriate Federal, State, and local 
agencies, and potentially affected Native American tribes during the 
preparation of the EIS/EIR. Agencies with legal jurisdiction or special 
expertise are invited to participate as cooperating agencies in 
preparation of the EIS, as defined in 40 CFR 1501.8(a).\1\ Designated 
cooperating agencies have responsibilities to support the NEPA process, 
as specified in 40 CFR 1501.8(b).\2\ WAPA will contact tribes and 
inform them of the planned EIS/EIR. Government-to-government 
consultations will be conducted in accordance with Executive Order 
13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments (65 
FR 67249); the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994, Government-to-
Government Relations with Native American Tribal Governments (59 FR 
22951); DOE-specific guidance on tribal interactions; and other 
applicable Federal and State natural and cultural resources laws and 
regulations.
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    \1\ CEQ revised its NEPA implementing regulations, effective 
September 14, 2020. Update to the Regulations Implementing the 
Procedural Provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act, 85 
FR 43304, 43361 (July 16, 2020).
    \2\ See id. at 85 FR 43361-43362.
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    Upon completion of the scoping period, WAPA will draft an EIS/EIR. 
A Notice of Availability of the Draft EIS/EIR will be published in the 
Federal Register, which will begin a minimum 45-day public comment 
period. WAPA will announce how to comment on the Draft EIS/EIR and will 
hold two public hearings during the comment period. People who would 
like to receive a copy of the Draft EIS/EIR should submit a request as 
provided in the ADDRESSES section above. For those requesting to be 
added to the distribution list, you are encouraged to download the EIS/
EIR and other documents from the above website; however, if you prefer 
to be mailed a copy, please specify the format of the EIS/EIR that you 
would like to receive (CD or printed) and a preference for either the 
complete EIS/EIR or the Summary only. WAPA will maintain information 
about the process, including documents, meeting information, and 
important dates, on the Project website given above. The EIS/EIR, along 
with other Project information, will be available for download from the 
Project website. Please visit the Project website for current 
information.

Signing Authority

    This document of the Department of Energy was signed on December 1, 
2020, by Mark A. Gabriel, Administrator, Western Area Power 
Administration, pursuant to delegated authority from the Secretary of 
Energy. That document, with the original signature and date, is 
maintained by DOE. For administrative purposes only, and in compliance 
with requirements of the Office of the Federal Register, the 
undersigned DOE Federal Register Liaison Officer has been authorized to 
sign and submit the document in electronic format for publication, as 
an official document of the Department of Energy. This administrative 
process in no way alters the legal effect of this document upon 
publication in the Federal Register.

    Signed in Washington, DC, on December 7, 2020
Treena V. Garrett,
Federal Register Liaison Officer, U.S. Department of Energy.
[FR Doc. 2020-27147 Filed 12-10-20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6450-01-P