[Federal Register Volume 69, Number 26 (Monday, February 9, 2004)]
[Notices]
[Pages 6013-6014]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 04-2703]


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TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY


Environmental Impact Statement for Paradise-Wilson 500-kV 
Transmission System Upgrades

AGENCY: Tennessee Valley Authority.

ACTION: Notice of intent.

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SUMMARY: This notice is provided in accordance with the Council on 
Environmental Quality's regulations (40 CFR 1506.6), Section 106 of the 
National Historic Preservation Act and its implementing regulations (36 
CFR part 800) and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) procedures for 
implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). TVA will 
prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) addressing the proposed 
construction and operation of a new 500-kilovolt (kV) transmission line 
and other transmission system upgrades in Kentucky and Tennessee. The 
proposed transmission line would extend from TVA's Paradise Fossil 
Plant in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, to TVA's Wilson 500-kV Substation 
in Wilson County, Tennessee. Depending on the route, the proposed line 
could involve portions of Muhlenberg, Butler, Simpson, Warren, Logan, 
Allen, and Ohio Counties in Kentucky and parts of Robertson, Sumner, 
and Wilson Counties in Tennessee. Proposed transmission system upgrades 
include uprating 52 miles of TVA's Paradise-Montgomery 500-kV line from 
2000 amps to 3000 amps and the replacement of conductors (i.e., wires) 
on approximately 6 miles of TVA's Wilson-Gladeville 161-kV transmission 
line. In the EIS, TVA will evaluate the potential environmental impacts 
of the construction, operation, and maintenance of the new line and 
other system upgrades. As part of its EIS process, TVA will include 
public involvement on this proposal. Public comment is invited 
concerning both the scope of the EIS and environmental issues that 
should be addressed as a part of this EIS.

DATES: Comments on the scope and environmental issues for the EIS must 
be postmarked or e-mailed no later than March 26, 2004, to ensure 
consideration. Late comments will be considered if possible.

ADDRESSES: Written comments should be sent to James F. Williamson, Jr., 
Senior NEPA Specialist, Environmental Policy and Planning, Tennessee 
Valley Authority, WT 8C, 400 West Summit Hill Drive, Knoxville, 
Tennessee 37902-1499. Comments may be e-mailed to jfwilliamson@tva.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Hugh S. Barger, Environmental 
Engineer, Transmission/Power Supply, Tennessee Valley Authority, MR 4G-
C, 1101 Market Street, Chattanooga, Tennessee 37402-2801, or telephone 
1-800-362-4355. E-mail may be sent to hsbarger@tva.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    Peabody Energy Corporation plans to construct and operate the 
Thoroughbred Energy Campus, which would consist of a 1,500 megawatt 
power plant and mine complex, in northern Muhlenberg County, Kentucky. 
The Federal Power Act, as amended, requires operators of transmission 
systems to provide interconnection access to independent power 
generators. Peabody has requested interconnection to the TVA power 
transmission system and would use the TVA transmission system to 
distribute as much as half of the 1,500 megawatts of electric power 
generated by the Thoroughbred plant. Because interconnection service 
would be provided at Peabody's request, Peabody will reimburse TVA for 
the cost of necessary upgrades to its transmission system. The planned 
upgrades are necessary to accommodate Peabody's request and maintain 
the reliability of the TVA transmission system.

Project Description

    In order to interconnect to the TVA transmission system, Peabody 
Energy Corporation would construct and operate a new 13-mile-long 500-
kV transmission line from the Thoroughbred plant to the switchyard at 
TVA's Paradise Fossil Plant. To maintain reliability of its 
transmission system, TVA would construct and operate a new 500-kV 
transmission line from TVA's Paradise Fossil Plant to TVA's Wilson 500-
kV substation located about 10 miles west of Lebanon, Tennessee. This 
proposed line would likely be about 90 miles long, depending on the 
final route alignment. Neither detailed routing studies nor line design 
studies have yet been conducted. The Kentucky portion of the proposed 
line route is primarily rural, consisting of forested areas, reclaimed 
strip mines, and scattered agriculture. The Tennessee portion contains 
developing suburban areas along with mixed agricultural land uses. The 
line would likely be built using self-supporting, laced steel towers on 
175-foot-wide right-of-way. The structure type, right-of-way 
characteristics, and line length remain to be determined and could 
change when additional information is gathered.
    Line construction would require removal of trees within the line 
right-of-way as well as any other nearby tall trees that would endanger 
the safe operation of the line.
    Construction of the support structures would require the excavation 
of foundations for the tower legs. Cranes and other heavy equipment 
would be needed for tower construction and to pull the electrical 
conductors into place. After construction, the disturbed areas would be 
restored, and the right-of-way would be maintained periodically to 
control the growth of tall vegetation that could endanger the line. A 
detailed description of these activities, as well as applicable and 
appropriate environmental protection measures, will be provided in the 
EIS.
    TVA also proposes to upgrade portions of two of its existing 
transmission lines. The 52-mile-long Paradise-Montgomery 500-kV 
transmission line would be uprated from 2000 amps to 3000s amps by re-
tensioning the line (i.e., removing excess slack to allow adequate 
clearance between the conductors and the ground). This line is located 
in Muhlenberg and Todd Counties, Kentucky, and in Montgomery County, 
Tennessee. Also, the electrical conductors would be replaced on about 6 
miles of the Wilson-Gladeville 161-kV

[[Page 6014]]

transmission line in Wilson County, Tennessee. Acquisition of new 
right-of-way would not be necessary for either of these two upgrades.
    After the completion of scoping, TVA will begin detailed line 
routing studies using maps, aerial photography, and other relevant 
data. When the studies have progressed sufficiently, potentially 
affected landowners will be contacted directly, and additional field 
surveys will be conducted.

Proposed Issues To Be Addressed

    The EIS will contain descriptions of the existing environmental and 
socioeconomic resources within the area that would be affected by 
construction and operation of the proposed transmission line and 
upgrades. TVA's evaluation of potential environmental impacts to these 
resources will include, but will not necessarily be limited to, the 
potential impacts on water quality, aquatic and terrestrial ecology, 
endangered and threatened species, wetlands, aesthetics and visual 
resources, land use, historic and archaeological resources, and 
socioeconomic resources.

Alternatives

    The results of evaluating the potential environmental impacts and 
other important issues identified in the scoping process, as well as 
engineering and economic considerations, will be used by TVA in 
selecting a preferred alternative. At this time, the range of 
alternatives TVA has identified for detailed evaluation include: (1) No 
action; and (2) construction and operation of a 500-kV transmission 
line from Paradise Fossil Plant to the Wilson 500-kV Substation, along 
with upgrades to existing lines. As additional analyses are conducted, 
TVA contemplates that alternative routes within the study corridor from 
Paradise to the Wilson Substation will be identified and evaluated in 
detail. The no action option is included as an alternative consistent 
with applicable regulations implementing NEPA. Because TVA is legally 
required to provide interconnection service to Peabody, the no action 
alternative is not a feasible option.

Scoping Process

    Scoping, which is integral to the process for implementing NEPA, is 
a procedure that solicits public input to the EIS process to ensure 
that: (1) Issues are identified early and studied properly; (2) issues 
of little significance do not consume substantial time and effort; (3) 
the draft EIS is thorough and balanced; and, (4) delays caused by an 
inadequate EIS are avoided. TVA's NEPA procedures require that the 
scoping process commence soon after a decision has been reached to 
prepare an EIS in order to provide an early and open process for 
determining the scope of the analysis and for identifying the 
significant issues related to a proposed action. The range of 
alternatives and the issues to be addressed in the draft EIS will be 
determined, in part, from written comments submitted by mail or e-mail 
and comments presented orally or in writing at public meetings. The 
preliminary identification of reasonable alternatives and environmental 
issues in this notice is neither exhaustive nor final. The scoping 
process will include both interagency and public scoping. The public is 
invited to submit written comments or e-mail comments on the scope of 
this EIS no later than the date given under the DATES section of this 
notice.
    TVA will conduct three public scoping meetings within the project 
study area. Dates and locations of the meetings are:
     February 24, 4-8 p.m.--Butler County High 
School, 2247 South Main Street, Morgantown, Kentucky.
     February 25, 3-7 p.m.--Franklin-Simpson County 
School Central Office, Board Room, 400 S. College Street, Franklin, 
Kentucky.
     March 2, 3-7 p.m.--Gallatin Civic Center, Room 
101, 210 Albert Gallatin Avenue, Gallatin, Tennessee.
    At each meeting, TVA management and project staff will present 
overviews of the proposed transmission line project and the EIS 
process, answer questions, and solicit comments on the issues that the 
public would like addressed in the EIS. These meetings will be 
publicized through notices in local newspapers, by TVA press releases 
to newspapers and radio stations in the study area, and on the TVA Web 
site (http://www.tva.gov/environment/calendar.htm).
    The agencies to be included in the interagency scoping are U.S. 
Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Kentucky 
Department for Environmental Protection, Kentucky State Historic 
Preservation Officer, Tennessee Department of Environment and 
Conservation, Tennessee State Historic Preservation Officer, and other 
federal, state, and local agencies, as appropriate.
    After consideration of the scoping comments, TVA will identify any 
additional alternatives and environmental issues to be addressed in the 
EIS. Following analysis of the environmental consequences of each 
alternative, TVA will prepare a draft EIS for public review and 
comment. Notice of availability of the draft EIS will be published by 
the Environmental Protection Agency in the Federal Register. TVA will 
solicit written comments on the draft EIS, and information about 
possible public meetings to comment on the draft EIS will be announced. 
TVA expects to release a draft EIS by fall 2004 and a final EIS by 
summer of 2006.

    Dated: February 2, 2004.
Kathryn J. Jackson,
Executive Vice President, River System Operations and Environment.
[FR Doc. 04-2703 Filed 2-6-04; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8120-08-U