Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Inc.: Notice of Intent To Prepare a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), intends to prepare a supplemental draft environmental impact statement (SDEIS) for Basin Electric Power Cooperative's (Basin Electric) proposed Antelope Valley Station (AVS) to Neset 345-kV Transmission Project (Project) in North Dakota. RUS is issuing this Notice of Intent (NOI) to inform the public and interested parties about a change in the proposed Project and invite the public to comment on the scope, proposed action, and other issues to be addressed in the SDEIS. RUS made the decision to prepare an SDEIS for the AVS Project to evaluate significant project changes. These changes are due to an increase in the electric load forecast for western North Dakota which is changing the scope of the project. To accommodate this change, the SDEIS will evaluate a new alternative for the transmission line. The SDEIS will address the construction, operation, and maintenance of Basin Electric's proposed Project. The Project includes construction, operation and maintenance of approximately 275 miles of new 345-kV single pole transmission line (approximately 85 miles more than the project identified in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)), 230-kV single pole transmission line and double circuit 345/115-kV transmission lines, 5 new substations, modifications to 4 existing substations, maintenance access roads, temporary construction roads, river crossings, temporary construction staging sites, and other facilities to be described in the SDEIS. Basin Electric's proposed Project would be located in portions of Dunn, McKenzie, Mercer, Mountrail, and Williams counties in western North Dakota. Portions of Basin Electric's proposed Project may affect floodplains and wetlands. This NOI also serves as a notice of proposed floodplain or wetland action. RUS will hold public hearing meetings to share information and receive comments on the SDEIS.
Energy Efficiency and Conservation Loan Program Finding of No Significant Impact
Notice is hereby given that the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service (RUS) has made a finding of no significant impact (FONSI) for implementing its new Energy Efficiency and Conservation Loan Program. The FONSI decision document is based on impact analysis documented in a programmatic environmental assessment of the new program that was issued for 30-day public comment beginning February 26, 2013.
Announcement of Grant Application Deadlines and Funding Levels for the Assistance to High Energy Cost Rural Communities and Bulk Fuel Grants
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), announces the availability of up to $7.766 million in fiscal year 2013 (FY13) for competitive grants to assist communities with extremely high energy costs and, up to $1 million in FY13 for competitive grants to state entities to establish and support a revolving fund to provide a more cost-effective means of purchasing fuel where the fuel cannot be shipped by means of surface transportation. The grant funds to assist communities with extremely high energy costs may be used to acquire, construct, extend, upgrade, or otherwise improve energy generation, transmission, or distribution facilities serving communities in which the average residential expenditure for home energy exceeds 275 percent of the national average. The grant funds to establish and support a revolving fund must be used to facilitate cost effective fuel purchases for persons, communities, and businesses in eligible areas. This notice describes the eligibility and application requirements, the criteria that will be used by RUS to award funding, and information on how to obtain application materials.