[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 222 (Friday, November 16, 2012)]
[Pages 68814-68816]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-27771]



Bureau of Land Management


Notice of Availability of the Draft Environmental Impact 
Statement for the Gas Hills In Situ Recovery Uranium Project, Fremont 
and Natrona Counties, WY

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969, as amended (NEPA), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has 
prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Gas Hills 
In Situ Recovery (ISR) Uranium Project and by this notice

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is announcing the opening of the comment period.

DATES: To ensure that comments will be considered, the BLM must receive 
written comments on the Gas Hills ISR Uranium Project draft EIS within 
45 days following the date the Environmental Protection Agency 
publishes its Notice of Availability in the Federal Register. The BLM 
will announce future meetings and any other public involvement 
activities at least 15 days in advance through public notices, media 
releases, and/or mailings.

ADDRESSES: Comments on the Gas Hills ISR Uranium Project may be 
submitted by any of the following methods:
     Web site: www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/info/NEPA/documents/lfo/gashills.html.
     Email: Gas_Hills_Uranium_EIS_WY@blm.gov.
     Fax: 307-332-8444.
     Mail or hand delivery: Bureau of Land Management, Attn: 
Kristin Yannone, Lander Field Office, 1335 Main Street, Lander, WY 
    Documents pertinent to this proposal may be examined at the 
following BLM offices:
     Lander Field Office, 1335 Main Street, Lander, Wyoming 
     High Plains District Office, 2987 Prospector Drive, 
Casper, Wyoming 82604;
     Wind River/Bighorn Basin District Office, 101 South 23rd, 
Worland, Wyoming 82401; and
     Wyoming State Office, 5353 Yellowstone Road, Cheyenne, 
Wyoming 82009; Interested persons may also view the documents online 
at: http://www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/info/NEPA/documents/lfo/gashills.html.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kristin Yannone, Project Manager, 
telephone: 307-332-8400; address: mail: 1335 Main Street, Lander, WY 
82520; email: Gas_Hills_Uranium_EIS_WY@blm.gov. 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: The applicant, Power Resources, Inc. (PRI), 
a wholly owned subsidiary of Cameco US Holdings, Inc., doing business 
as Cameco Resources, has filed a plan of operations pursuant to 43 CFR 
subpart 3809 regulations to construct uranium recovery facilities 
including: Waste water disposal facilities; access roads; pipelines and 
utility lines; delineation, injection and production wells; and 
improvement of one existing and construction of one new equipment-
housing satellite facility used in the ISR process. The project would 
be located in eastern Fremont and western Natrona counties, 
approximately 45 road miles east of Riverton, Wyoming, and 
approximately 65 road miles west of Casper, Wyoming.
    The boundary of the Gas Hills Project Area (GHPA) encompasses 
approximately 8,500 acres, of which approximately 1,300 acres would 
incur surface disturbance from the proposed project. Approximately 15 
percent of the surface within the GHPA has been disturbed by past 
mining and exploration activities. This disturbance includes an 
existing warehouse structure (the Carol Shop) and access road (the AML 
    If the proposed mining operation is not approved, existing 
reclamation responsibilities under the No-Action Alternative would 
require Cameco to remove and reclaim the existing disturbance once 
ongoing exploratory activities are concluded. This reclamation would 
include a minimum of 26.7 acres for the removal of the Carol Shop. If 
no other use for the existing 1.8 miles of road were identified, it 
would need to be removed and reclaimed, an additional 10.9 acres. 
Additional notice-level activities resulting from exploration would 
need to be reclaimed as well for a total of 40.2 acres. The use of the 
road and Carol Shop have been allowed during active exploration in the 
area and currently maintained mill-site claims.
    The Plan of Operations identifies five production areas, or mine 
units, with subsurface ore bodies within the Wind River Formation for 
ISR extraction. Construction, operation, groundwater restoration, and 
surface reclamation of five mine units would occur during an estimated 
period of approximately 25 years. At the end of the project, all 
surface structures would be removed, and all disturbances would be re-
contoured and reclaimed. In accordance with Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission (NRC) regulations, any radiological contaminated wastes, 
including any processing pipe and equipment as well as solid residue or 
liners from evaporation ponds, would be removed from the Project Area 
and disposed of in accordance with regulations.
    The Draft EIS addresses the direct, indirect, and cumulative 
impacts of the Proposed Action and two alternatives including the No 
Action Alternative and the Resource Protection Alternative.
    The Proposed Action Alternative is the project proposed by Cameco 
as identified by the Plan of Operations, the NRC license application, 
and the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality Land Quality 
Division's Mine Permit Application 687.
    Under the Resource Protection Alternative, the project would 
utilize the same ISR process occurring over the same time period as the 
Proposed Action, but modifications to the project would reduce surface 
disturbance and heavy truck transportation. Modifications would include 
on-site resin processing to produce slurry, submittal of an annual 
development plan, construction timing constraints, a disturbance offset 
for an additional satellite facility, reduced number of evaporation 
ponds, enhanced reclamation, and power line burial.
    The Notice of Intent to prepare an EIS was published in the Federal 
Register on September 7, 2010 (75 FR 54384). Key issues identified 
during scoping included: Alternative reclamation and restoration 
criteria and timing; alternative transportation routes; alternative 
wastewater treatment, storage, and disposal; potential groundwater 
restoration issues; enforcement of reclamation or restoration; impacts 
to area recreation, grazing, and hunting; impacts to surface waters 
from runoff; the potential to impact sage-grouse, migratory birds, mule 
deer, and antelope; adequate opportunity for comment by the public; and 
adequate analysis of cumulative impacts.
    The public is encouraged to comment on any of the draft 
alternatives. The BLM asks that those submitting comments make them as 
specific as possible with reference to chapters, page numbers, and 
paragraphs in the draft EIS document. Comments that contain only 
opinions or preferences will not receive a formal response; however, 
they will be considered and included as part of the BLM decision-making 
process. The most useful comments will include new technical or 
scientific information, identification of data gaps in the impact 
analysis, or technical or scientific rationale for opinions or 
    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 may 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we

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cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

(Authority: 40 CFR 1506.6, 40 CFR 1506.10)

Donald A. Simpson,
State Director, Wyoming.
[FR Doc. 2012-27771 Filed 11-15-12; 8:45 am]