[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 71 (Wednesday, April 15, 2009)]
[Notices]
[Pages 17448-17449]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-8546]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Rural Utilities Service


PowerSouth Energy Cooperative Incorporated: Notice of 
Availability of an Environmental Assessment

AGENCY: Rural Utilities Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of Availability of an Environmental Assessment for 
Public Review.

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SUMMARY: The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) has prepared an 
Environmental Assessment (EA) to meet its responsibilities under the 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Agency's environmental 
policies and procedures (7 CFR 1794) related to possible financial 
assistance to PowerSouth Energy Cooperative Incorporated (PowerSouth). 
PowerSouth is requesting financial assistance for the construction of a 
new 360-megawatt (MW) peaking-load gas-fired generation facility at the 
existing McIntosh Power Plant in Washington County, Alabama. The 
proposed new unit is needed to provide additional electric generating 
capacity that would allow PowerSouth to meet its projected electrical 
peaking demand in 2010.

DATES: Written comments on this Notice must be received on or before 
May 15, 2009.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Contact Stephanie Strength, 
Environmental Protection Specialist, USDA, Rural Utilities Service, 
1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Room 2244, Stop 1571, Washington, DC 
20250-1571, or e-mail stephanie.strength@wdc.usda.gov.

ADDRESSES: Comments may be submitted to Stephanie Strength, 
Environmental Protection Specialist, USDA, Rural Utilities Service, 
1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Room 2244, Stop 1571, Washington, DC 
20250-1571, or e-mail stephanie.strength@wdc.usda.gov.
    A copy of the EA may be viewed online at the Agency's Web site: 
http://www.usda.gov/rus/water/ees/ea.htm or at PowerSouth Energy 
Cooperative, Inc., 2027 East Three Notch Street, Andalusia, Alabama 
36420 and at the following libraries:

McIntosh Branch Library, 83 Olin Road, McIntosh, AL 36553, (251) 944-
2047.
Washington Public Library, 14102 St. Stephens Avenue, Chatom, AL 36515, 
(251) 847-2097.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: PowerSouth Energy Cooperative, Inc. proposes 
to construct a new 360-megawatt peaking-load gas-fired generation 
facility at the existing McIntosh Power Plant in Washington County, 
Alabama with an in-service date of late 2010. The existing plant 
includes a compressed air energy storage (CAES) unit and two gas-fired 
combustion turbines (CTs) with a combined total capacity of 348 MW. The 
proposed 360 MW generating facility will consist of two simple-cycle 
combustion turbines, Siemens SCT6-5000F units, and generators plus 
associated support facilities. The site will be connected to the 
existing on-site transmission system. The existing substation will be 
rebuilt on the existing plant site to handle the three existing units 
and the two new units. The existing plant plus the new equipment, 
structures and other facilities will occupy the majority of the 
existing 42-acre power plant site. The CTs would operate on natural gas 
as a fuel source. The construction of the proposal is tentatively 
scheduled to begin in 2009 with an estimated duration of two years.
    A Notice of Intent to Prepare an EA and Hold a Scoping Meeting was 
published in the Federal Register at 73 FR 65830, on November 5, 2008, 
Mobile Press Register on November 6, 2008, The Washington County News 
on November 6, 2008, The South Alabamian on November 6, 2008, and The 
Clarke County Democrat on November 6, 2008. A public meeting was held 
on November 20, 2008, at the McIntosh Elementary School, 8945 Highway 
43 North, McIntosh, Alabama. A summary of public comments can be found 
at the Web site listed in the ADDRESSES section of this notice.
    As part of its broad environmental review process, RUS must take 
into account the effect of the proposal on historic properties in 
accordance with section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act 
and its implementing regulation, ``Protection of Historic Properties'' 
(36 CFR part 800). Pursuant to 36 CFR 800.2(d)(3), RUS is using its 
procedures for public involvement under NEPA to meet its 
responsibilities to solicit and consider the views of the public during 
section 106 review. Accordingly, comments submitted in response to this 
notice will assist RUS in meeting its section 106 review obligations. 
Any party wishing to participate more directly with RUS as a 
``consulting party'' in the section 106 review process may submit a 
written request to the contact provided in the ADDRESSES section of 
this notice.
    Alternatives considered by RUS and PowerSouth included for the CTs 
were: (a) No action, (b) alternate sources of power, (c) load 
management, (d) renewable energy sources, (e) non-renewable energy 
sources, and (f) alternate sites. An Environmental Report that 
describes the proposal in detail and discusses its anticipated 
environmental impacts has been prepared by PowerSouth. The Rural 
Utilities Service has independently reviewed and accepted the document 
as its EA of the proposal. The EA is available for public review at the 
addresses provided in the ADDRESSES section of this notice.
    Questions and comments should be sent to RUS at the mailing or e-
mail addresses provided in the ADDRESSES section of this notice. RUS 
should receive comments on the EA in writing by May 15, 2009 to ensure 
that they are considered in its environmental impact determination.
    Should RUS determine, based on the EA, that the impacts of the 
construction

[[Page 17449]]

and operation of the proposal would not have a significant 
environmental impact, it will prepare a Finding of No Significant 
Impact. Public notification of a Finding of No Significant Impact will 
be published in the Federal Register and in newspapers with circulation 
in the proposal area.
    Any final action by RUS related to the proposal will be subject to, 
and contingent upon, compliance with all relevant Federal, State and 
local environmental laws and regulations, and completion of the 
environmental review requirements as prescribed in the RUS 
Environmental Policies and Procedures (7 CFR part 1794).

    Dated: March 30, 2009.
Mark S. Plank,
Director, Engineering and Environmental Staff, USDA/Rural Development/
Utilities Programs.
 [FR Doc. E9-8546 Filed 4-14-09; 8:45 am]
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