Southline Transmission Line Project Environmental Impact Statement
The Western Area Power Administration (Western) and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), acting as joint lead agencies, issued the Proposed Southline Transmission Line Project (Project) Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) (DOE/EIS-0474) on November 6, 2015. The Agency Preferred Alternative developed by Western and the BLM through the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process and described in the Final EIS is summarized in this Record of Decision (ROD). This alternative is also the Environmentally Preferred Alternative for most of the Project. One segment in the New Build Section and some local alternatives in the Upgrade Section were selected that reduce substantial existing resource conflicts while creating only minor new impacts. All practicable means to avoid or minimize environmental harm have been adopted. Since the BLM and Western were joint lead agencies in the preparation of the EIS, each agency will issue its own ROD(s) addressing the overall Project and the specific matters within its jurisdiction and authority. This ROD constitutes Western's decision with respect to the alternatives considered in the Final EIS. Western has selected the Agency Preferred Alternative identified in the Final EIS as the route for the Project. This decision on the route will enable design and engineering activities to proceed. This ROD also commits Western and Southline Transmission, LLC (Southline) to implement the proponent-committed environmental measures (PCEMs) identified in table 2-8, Project PCEMs by Resource, of the Final EIS. Selection of the Agency Preferred Alternative will also allow detailed Project costs to be developed, which are necessary for future participation and financing decisions. This ROD does not make decisions about Western's participation in the Project or financing. Those decisions are contingent on the successful development of participation agreements and financial underwriting, and would be recorded in a second ROD.
Boulder Canyon Project
Western Area Power Administration (Western) is proposing an adjustment to the Boulder Canyon Project (BCP) electric service base charge and rates. The current base charge and rates under Rate Schedule BCP-F9 expire September 30, 2016. The current base charge is not sufficient to cover all annual costs including operation and maintenance, replacements, and interest expense; and repay investment obligations within the required period. The proposed base charge will provide sufficient revenue to cover all annual costs and to repay investment obligations within the allowable period. Western will post a detailed rate package that identifies the reasons for the base charge and rates adjustment on its Web site during the consultation and comment period. The proposed base charge and rates are scheduled to become effective October 1, 2016, and will remain in effect through September 30, 2017. Publication of this Federal Register notice initiates the formal process for the proposed base charge and rates.