[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 199 (Monday, October 15, 2012)]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-25288]
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
Bureau of Land Management
[LLNVS03000. L51010000.ER0000. LVRWF1204100; N-85801, N-89530, N-90050,
and N-90823; MO4500039783; TAS: 14X5017]
Notice of Availability of the Draft Supplemental Environmental
Impact Statement and the Draft Resource Management Plan Amendment for
the Proposed Silver State Solar South Project in Clark County Near
AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.
ACTION: Notice of Availability.
SUMMARY: In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of
1969, as amended (NEPA), and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act
of 1976, as amended, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has prepared a
Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and a Draft
Resource Management Plan (RMP) Amendment for the proposed Silver State
Solar South Project located on public lands east of Primm, Nevada, and
by this notice is announcing the opening of the comment period.
DATES: To ensure that comments will be considered, the BLM must receive
written comments on the Draft Supplementary EIS and the Draft RMP
Amendment within 90 days following the date the Environmental
Protection Agency publishes its Notice of Availability in the Federal
Register. The BLM will announce future meetings or hearings and any
other public involvement activities at least 15 days in advance through
public notices, media releases, and/or mailings.
ADDRESSES: You may submit comments related to the Silver State Solar
South Project by any of the following methods:
Web site: http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/lvfo/blm_programs/energy/Silver_State_Solar_South.html.
Fax: 702-515-5155, attention Gregory Helseth.
Mail: Bureau of Land Management, Las Vegas Field Office,
Attn: Gregory Helseth, 4701 North Torrey Pines Drive, Las Vegas, NV
Copies of the Silver State Solar South Project Draft Supplemental EIS
and the Draft RMP Amendment are available in the BLM Southern Nevada
District Office at the above address and on the project Web site.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gregory Helseth, Renewable Energy
Project Manager, at 702-515-5173; or address 4701 North Torrey Pines
Drive, Las Vegas, Nevada 89130-2301; or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Persons
who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the
Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to contact
the above individual during normal business hours. The FIRS is
available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question
with the above individual. You will receive a reply during normal
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Silver State Solar, LLC, has submitted a
right-of-way (ROW) application for the construction, operation,
maintenance, and termination of a solar energy generation facility on
13,183 acres of public land east of Primm, Nevada. The ROW application
is assigned BLM case number N-89530. This application expands on the
previously considered ROW application N-85801. The proposed solar
energy project would consist of photovoltaic (PV) panels and related
infrastructure ROW appurtenances, including a substation and switchyard
facilities, and would produce about 350 megawatts (MW) of electricity.
The solar field and infrastructure would consist of single-axis tracker
systems or fixed panels, an underground and overhead electrical power
collection system, two step-up transformers, 230 kilovolt (kV) and 220
kV transmission lines, an operation and maintenance area, a switchyard,
paved access and maintenance roads, flood and drainage controls, and a
The Silver State Solar South Project Draft Supplemental EIS will
address the new application N-89530 and update as necessary the
consideration of N-85801, which was initially analyzed in the Final EIS
for the Silver State Solar North Project. The approved Silver State
Solar North Project did not authorize ROW application N-85801. The BLM
approved a Record of Decision on October 12, 2010, for the Silver State
Solar North Project and authorized ROW N-85077 for the construction and
operation of a 50 MW PV solar energy facility on 618 acres of BLM
administered lands adjacent to the Silver State South project area. The
application for N-85801 is now included as part of the Silver State
Solar South Project, along with ROW application N-89530. If the BLM
approves ROW application N-89530, the BLM will also need to amend the
October 1998 Las Vegas RMP to address proposed changes in land and
resource use within the Jean Lake/Roach Lake Special Recreation
Management Area (SRMA).
The Draft Supplemental EIS analyzes the site-specific impacts on
air quality, biological resources, cultural resources, special
designations (SRMA), water resources, and geological resources and
hazards. The document will also analyze land and airspace use, noise,
paleontological resources, public health, socioeconomics, soils,
traffic and transportation, visual resources, wilderness
characteristics, waste management, worker safety, fire protection, and
hazardous materials handling; as well as facility-design engineering,
efficiency, reliability, transmission-system engineering, transmission
line safety, and nuisance issues.
By this notice, the BLM is complying with requirements in 43 CFR
1610.2(c) to notify the public of potential amendments to land use
plans. The BLM will integrate the land use planning process with the
NEPA process for this project. Besides the SRMA, the BLM will consider
additional plan amendments to the Las Vegas RMP, including a proposed
nomination for an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) within
the Ivanpah Valley and a Visual Resource Management (VRM) change within
the project boundary from Class III to Class IV.
As required by 43 C.F.R. 1610.7-2(b), the BLM is also taking public
comments on the proposed ACEC. In order to adequately protect the
relevant and important values in the proposed 40,180-acre ACEC, the BLM
is evaluating whether to impose the following new restrictions:
[cir] Retaining the lands in Federal ownership;
[cir] Allowing facilities that provide resource protection;
[cir] Enhancing the relevant and important (R&I) values and/or
addressing human health and safety on a case-by-case basis;
[cir] Imposing a linear ROW avoidance restriction;
[cir] Excluding large site-type ROWs (greater than 5 acres);
[cir] Restoring temporary disturbances to meet the standard BLM
restoration standards; and
[cir] Allowing land use authorizations and small site-type ROWs (5
acres or less) on a case-by-case basis.
The proposed ACEC would be open to locatable mineral development and
closed to solid leasable mineral development. Fluid leasable mineral
development would be allowed with controlled surface use restrictions;
the BLM may require that a proposed facility or activity be relocated
by more than 200 meters from a proposed location as necessary to
achieve the desired level of resource protection. Saleable mineral
disposals that provide resource protection, enhancement of the R&I
values and/or address human health and safety would be allowed on a
The proposed ACEC would be closed to livestock grazing.
The BLM would limit development of recreation facilities to those
necessary for resource protection only. Off-highway vehicle (OHV) use
would be limited to designated routes, and permitted non-speed
recreation activities in the ACEC would require a desert tortoise
spotter during the tortoise active season. In addition, the BLM would
monitor the activities to ensure tortoises are not affected.
For sensitive species, the BLM would allow prescribed fire use to
meet resource objectives and habitat enhancement purposes in
appropriate areas to support habitat recovery objectives and allow use
of approved herbicides following ground-disturbing activities in order
to implement invasive species control methods and support habitat
recovery objectives. Military maneuvers would not be authorized.
Activities that result in loss or degradation of tortoise habitat would
require reclamation so that pre-disturbance conditions may be reached
within a reasonable time frame; reclamation may include, but is not
limited to, salvaging and transplanting cactus and yucca, recontouring
of the area, scarifying compacted soil, adding soil amendments,
seeding, and transplanting of seedling shrubs. Subsequent seeding or
transplanting efforts may be required if monitoring indicates that the
original effort was not successful. Alternative B and C would not
designate an ACEC; however, the BLM would manage the area as part of an
The visual resource class change from Class III to Class IV would
only apply to the project site and applies to alternatives B, C and D.
The BLM will use and coordinate the NEPA comment process to satisfy
the public involvement process for Section 106 of the National Historic
Preservation Act (16 U.S.C. 470(f)) as provided for in 36 CFR
800.2(d)(3). Native American tribal consultations have been conducted
in accordance with policy. Tribal concerns have been given due
consideration, including impacts on Indian trust assets.
The Draft Supplemental EIS analyzes four alternatives, including
the no action alternative (Alternative A) and three action
alternatives. Alternative B is Silver State's original proposal (as
described in its Plan of Development dated July 2011). This alternative
was introduced in initial scoping meetings and does not include
perimeter roads. Alternative B would disturb up to 3,855 acres of
Federal land. Alternative C would disturb up to 2,515 acres of Federal
lands, and includes the project layout for Phases II and III that was
previously evaluated in the 2010 Final EIS. Alternative D would disturb
up to 3,091 acres of Federal land and is a modified layout of Silver
State's original proposal (Alternative B above) to allow access through
a historically used recreation route.
The BLM is required to select a preferred alternative for the RMP
amendment; this decision is separate from whether a preferred
alternative is identified for the proposed project. The BLM preferred
alternative for the RMP amendment identified in the Draft Supplemental
EIS is to (1) Reduce the acreage of the SRMA by the project footprint
(if approved) and (2) To change the VRM class from VRM Class III to IV
for the project footprint (if approved). There is no BLM preferred
project alternative identified in the Draft Supplemental EIS so that
the BLM can make best use of public input to reach an informed
decision. Formal scoping for the project occurred from September 1 to
October 31, 2011 (74 FR 31306). The BLM received a total of 55 comment
submissions during the scoping period, identifying 201 issues. The
comments identified concerns in a broad range of categories, including
OHV access; recreation; socioeconomic resources; federally listed
species and their habitat, including desert tortoise habitat and rare
plants; surface water/storm runoff; alternatives for analysis; and
Maps of the proposed project area and the alternatives being
analyzed in the Draft Supplemental EIS are available at the BLM
Southern Nevada District Office and the Southern Nevada BLM energy Web
site cited above. Please note that public comments and information
submitted including names, street addresses, and email addresses of
persons who submit comments will be available for public review and
disclosure at the above address during regular business hours (8 a.m.
to 4 p.m.), Monday through Friday, except holidays.
Before including your address, phone number, email address, or
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be
able to do so.
Authority: 40 CFR 1506.6, 40 CFR 1506.10, 43 CFR 16.
Assistant Field Manager, Division of Lands.
[FR Doc. 2012-25288 Filed 10-12-12; 8:45 am]
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