Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Inc.: Notice of Availability of a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), has issued 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 (proposed Project) in North Dakota. RUS is issuing the SDEIS 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 addressed in the SDEIS. RUS also will use the SDEIS to meet its responsibilities under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, 16 U.S.C. 470, and its implementing regulations, ``Protection of Historic Properties'' (36 CFR Part 800). RUS made the decision to prepare a SDEIS for the AVS Project to evaluate significant project changes. These changes in the scope of the proposed Project are due to an increase in the electric load forecast for western North Dakota. To accommodate this change, the SDEIS will evaluate additional alternatives for the siting of the transmission line. The SDEIS addresses the construction, operation, and maintenance of approximately 278 miles of new 345-kV single pole transmission line (approximately 85 miles more than the project identified in the Draft EIS http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/UWP-AVS-Neset.html), 230-kV single pole transmission line and double circuit 345/115-kV transmission lines, 4 new substations and a switchyard, 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. The overall project area encompasses parts 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 NOA also serves as a notice of proposed floodplain or wetland action. RUS will hold a public hearing meeting to share information and receive comments on the SDEIS.