[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 13 (Friday, January 20, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 2999-3000]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-940]



[[Page 2999]]

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Bureau of Land Management

[LLNVSO3100 L51010000 ER0000 LVRWF09F8740.241A; 12-08807; MO 
4500027523; TAS: 14X5017]


Notice of Availability of the Draft Environmental Impact 
Statement and Notice of Segregation for the Searchlight Wind Energy 
Project, Clark County, NV

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.

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SUMMARY: In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969, as amended, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has prepared a 
Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Searchlight Wind 
Energy Project and by this notice is announcing the opening of the 
comment period. Publication of this notice also serves to segregate the 
identified lands from appropriation under the public land laws for a 
period of 2 years, including location under the Mining Law, but not the 
Mineral Leasing Act or the Materials Act, subject to valid existing 
rights.

DATES: To ensure comments will be considered, the BLM must receive 
written comments on the Searchlight Wind Energy Project Draft EIS 
within 90 days following the date the Environmental Protection Agency 
publishes this 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 Searchlight Wind 
Energy Project by any of the following methods:
     Web site: http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/lvfo/blm_programs/energy/searchlight_wind_energy.html
     Email: [email protected].
     Fax: (702) 515-5010, attention Gregory Helseth.
     Mail: BLM Las Vegas Field Office, Attn: Gregory Helseth, 
4701 North Torrey Pines Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89130-2301.
    Copies of the Searchlight Wind Energy Project are available in the 
Las Vegas Field Office at the above address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gregory Helseth, Renewable Energy 
Project Manager, (702) 515-5173; 4701 North Torrey Pines Drive, Las 
Vegas, NV 89130-2301; email: [email protected]. 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 business hours.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Searchlight Wind Energy, LLC (SWE), a wholly 
owned subsidiary of Duke Energy, applied to the BLM for a right-of-way 
(ROW) grant on public lands to develop a 200-megawatt (MW) wind energy 
facility. The ROW application area encompasses approximately 18,789.71 
acres of BLM-administered public lands adjacent to Searchlight, located 
approximately 60 miles southeast of Las Vegas, in Clark County, Nevada. 
The project is in conformance with the 1998 Las Vegas Resource 
Management Plan.
    The proposed wind turbines would be up to 262-feet-tall from the 
ground to the hub with blades extending up to an additional 153 feet. 
The total height of each turbine would be up to 415 feet. In addition 
to the wind turbines, the proposed project would require the 
construction of new access roads, two electrical substations, an 
overhead transmission line connecting the two substations, an 
electrical interconnection facility/switchyard owned and operated by 
Western Area Power Administration (Western), an operations and 
maintenance building, and temporary and permanent laydown areas. Three 
permanent meteorological masts would remain on the site to measure the 
wind speed and direction across the site over the life of the project.
    SWE has requested to interconnect its proposed project to the 
electrical transmission grid via Western's Davis-Mead 230-kilovolt (kV) 
transmission line. Western, a Federal agency, is participating in the 
EIS process as a cooperating agency and may use the EIS to support its 
decision to approve or deny SWE's interconnection request. Western has 
also submitted a ROW application to the BLM for construction and 
operation of the electrical interconnection facility/switchyard, which 
is analyzed as part of this EIS.
    The proposed action analyzed in the Draft EIS is to approve the 
project in response to the applications received from SWE and Western. 
Three alternatives are analyzed in the Draft EIS--an 87 wind turbine 
layout, a 96 wind turbine alternative, and a no-action alternative. The 
87 wind turbine alternative is the BLM's preferred alternative and has 
a smaller footprint than the 96 wind turbine alternative. The Draft EIS 
describes and analyzes the project's site-specific impacts on air 
quality, biological resources, cultural resources, environmental 
justice, geological resources, human health, and hazardous materials, 
lands and realty, noise, noxious weeds, paleontological resources, 
recreation, socioeconomic resources, transportation, visual resources 
and water resources.
    A Notice of Intent was published in the Federal Register on 
December 16, 2008 (73 FR 76377). The BLM held three public scoping 
meetings in Searchlight, Laughlin, and Boulder City, Nevada, on January 
27, 28, and 29, 2009, respectively. The formal scoping period ended on 
February 17, 2009. Sixty-six comment submissions were received, which 
identified 384 issues. The issues are grouped into 14 main issue 
categories: Process, project alternatives, project description, project 
need, air quality, cultural, hazardous materials, land use, noise, 
socioeconomics, vegetation, visual, water, and cumulative impacts.
    Maps of the proposed project area and the alternatives analyzed in 
the Draft EIS are available at the Las Vegas Field Office. Please note 
that public comments and information submitted 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.
    In connection with its processing of SWE's and Western's 
application, the BLM is also segregating the public lands within the 
project application area for the project from appropriation under 
public land laws, including the Mineral Law of 1872, as amended, but 
not the Mineral Leasing or the Material Sales Acts, for a period of 2 
years from the date of publication of this notice. This is done under 
the authority contained in 43 CFR 2091.3-1(e) and 43 CFR 2804.25(e), 
and is subject to valid existing rights. The public lands contained 
within this temporary segregation total approximately 18,789.71 acres 
and are described as follows:

[[Page 3000]]

Mount Diablo Meridian

T. 28 S., R. 63 E.,
    Sec. 22, that portion of the E\1/2\SE\1/4\ lying east of the 
easterly right-of-way of S.R. 95 NVCC-020733;
    Sec. 23, that portion lying east of the easterly right-of-way of 
S.R. 95 NVCC-020733, excepting Patent No. 27-72-0013, and patented 
mineral surveys;
    Sec. 24, excepting patented mineral surveys;
    Sec. 25, excepting patented mineral surveys;
    Sec. 26, excepting patented mineral surveys;
    Sec. 27, those portions of lots 1, 8, 9, 10, 14, and 15 lying 
east of the easterly right-of-way of S.R. 95 NVCC-020733.
    T. 29 S., R. 63 E.,
    Sec. 1;
    Sec. 11, that portion lying east of airport leases NEV-065340 
and N-81843;
    Sec. 12, NE\1/4\, N\1/2\NW\1/4\, E\1/2\SW\1/4\, SW\1/4\SW\1/4\, 
and SE\1/4\;
    Sec. 13;
    Sec. 14, that portion lying east of the easterly right-of-way of 
S.R. 95 NVCC-020845, excepting airport lease NEV-065340;
    Sec. 24, that portion lying east of the easterly right-of-way of 
S.R. 95 NVCC-020845;
    Sec. 25, that portion lying east of the easterly right-of-way of 
S.R. 95 NVCC-020845.
T. 28 S., R. 64 E.,
    Secs. 19 and 20;
    Sec. 26, those portions of the N\1/2\NE\1/4\SW\1/4\, N\1/2\NW\1/
4\SW\1/4\, and W\1/2\NW\1/4\NW\1/4\SE\1/4\, lying north of the 
northerly right-of-way of Cottonwood Cove Road;
    Secs. 27 and 28;
    Sec. 29, excepting patented mineral surveys;
    Sec. 30, excepting patented mineral surveys;
    Sec. 31, excepting patented mineral surveys;
    Sec. 32, excepting patented mineral surveys;
    Secs. 33 and 34.
T. 29 S., R. 64 E.,
    Sec. 4;
    Sec. 5, excepting patented mineral surveys;
    Secs. 6 to 8 inclusive, 17 to 20 inclusive, and 29 and 30.

    The area described contains 18,789.71 acres, more or less, in Clark 
County, Nevada.
    The BLM has determined that this temporary segregation is necessary 
to ensure the orderly administration of the public lands by maintaining 
the status quo while it processes SWE's and Western's ROW applications 
for the above described lands. The temporary segregation period will 
terminate and the lands will automatically reopen to appropriation 
under the public land laws, including the Mining Law, if one of the 
following events occurs: (1) The BLM issues a decision granting, 
granting with modifications, or denying SWE's and Western's ROW 
authorization request; (2) Publication in the Federal Register of a 
notice terminating this segregation; or (3) No further administrative 
action occurs at the end of this segregation. Any segregation made 
under this authority is effective only for a period of up to 2 years.

    Authority:  40 CFR 1506.6, 40 CFR 1506.10.

Vanessa Hice,
Assistant Field Manager, Division of Lands.
[FR Doc. 2012-940 Filed 1-19-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-HC-P