[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 222 (Friday, November 16, 2012)]
[Pages 68816-68817]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-27929]



Bureau of Land Management

[L51010000.FX0000.LVRWA11A2990.LLAZP02000.XXX; AZA35079]

Notice of Availability of the Draft Environmental Impact 
Statement for the Proposed Sun Valley to Morgan 500/230kV Transmission 
Line Project (Formerly Called TS-5 to TS-9), Arizona, and the Draft 
Bradshaw-Harquahala Resource Management Plan Amendment and Notice of 
Public Hearings

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.


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 (FLPMA), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has 
prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Proposed 
Sun Valley to Morgan 500/230-kilovolt (kV) Transmission Line Project 
(Project) and Draft Bradshaw-Harquahala Resource Management Plan (RMP) 
amendment for the BLM Hassayampa Field Office, 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 EIS and 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 hold 
public hearings on the Draft EIS and Draft RMP amendment on December 
11, 2012, in Peoria, Arizona; December 12 in Wittmann, Arizona; and 
December 13 in Phoenix, Arizona. All of the public hearings will begin 
with an open house at 5:30 p.m., followed by a presentation at 6 p.m. 
Further details about these hearings and any other public involvement 
activities will be published at least 15 days in advance through public 
notices, media releases, and/or mailings.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods:
     Web site: http://www.blm.gov/az/st/en.html.
     Email: SunValley-Morgan@blm.gov.
     Fax: 623-580-5580.
     Mail: BLM Phoenix District Office, Hassayampa Field 
Office, Attention: Joe Incardine/Sun Valley-Morgan Project, 21605 North 
7th Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona 85207-2929.
    Copies of the Draft EIS and Draft RMP amendment are available in 
the BLM Hassayampa Field Office at the above address.

Manager, telephone 801-539-4118; address BLM Phoenix District Office, 
Hassayampa Field Office, 21605 North 7th Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona 
85027-2929; email jincardi@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 Arizona Public Service Company (APS) 
submitted a right-of-way (ROW) application to construct, operate, and 
maintain a 500/230kV overhead transmission line from the Sun Valley 
Substation to the Morgan Substation in Maricopa County. The Project 
would be located on a combination of BLM-managed lands, Arizona State 
Trust lands, and private lands in northern Maricopa County, northwest 
of Phoenix, Arizona. The Project is an overhead transmission line, 
approximately 38 miles long, on monopole structures. The BLM-managed 
lands within the Project area are managed under the existing Bradshaw-
Harquahala Resource Management Plan (RMP).
    Environmental and social concerns and issues were identified 
through internal and public scoping. The issues addressed in the EIS 
that shaped the Project's scope and alternatives include:
     Need and reliability;
     RMP amendment;
     Project design features, mitigation measures, and 
     Air and climate;
     Biological resources;
     Cultural resources;
     Health and safety;
     Scenic/Visual; and
     Transportation and traffic.
    In addition to the Proposed Action and No Action Alternative, three 
Action Alternative routes and one sub-alternative route (as proposed by 
the Arizona State Land Department) were analyzed in detail in the Draft 
EIS. As proposed, the Project would require an RMP amendment because 
the current RMP requires high-voltage transmission lines crossing BLM-
managed lands to be within designated utility corridors, and a utility 
corridor for the proposed ROW on public lands was not established in 
the current RMP, the proposed action is within a designated 
transportation corridor. In addition, the Visual Resource Management 
(VRM) class designation would need to be amended from Class III to 
Class IV for those BLM-managed lands where views would be dominated by 
the transmission line, and thus would not meet the objectives of the 
current VRM designation. The VRM class would also be changed for those 
BLM-managed public lands north and south of State Route (SR) 74 
surrounding the proposed transmission line ROW (i.e., the existing 
transportation corridor north of SR 74 and the key-shaped piece south 
of SR 74) in order to avoid creating narrow linear strips with 
different VRM classes.
    An interdisciplinary approach was used to develop the Draft EIS in 
order to consider the variety of resource issues and concerns 
identified. An amendment to the Bradshaw Harquahala RMP would be based 
upon the following planning criteria:
     The amendment will be completed in compliance with FLPMA, 
NEPA, and all other relevant Federal laws, Executive Orders, and 
management policies of the BLM;
     Where existing planning decisions are still valid, those 
decisions will remain unchanged and be incorporated into the new 
amendment; and
     The amendment will recognize valid existing rights.
    The BLM has identified a modified Proposed Action route crossing 
BLM-managed lands as the Agency Preferred Alternative route for the 
proposed transmission line, including best management practices and 
mitigative measures. Mitigative measures could consist of minor route 
deviations for micro-siting of structures or segments of the line at 
the time of route engineering to reduce impacts to visual and other 
sensitive resources. However, mitigative measures would still allow for 
the transmission line route to remain within the Arizona Corporation 
Commission-certificated route.
    Under the Agency Preferred Alternative, the BLM would amend the RMP 
     Designate a 200-foot-wide single-use utility corridor on 
public lands managed by the BLM north of SR 74;

[[Page 68817]]

     Designate a multi-use utility corridor on 1,021 acres of 
public lands managed by the BLM south of SR 74 to address potential 
future BLM management considerations; and
     Change the existing VRM class designations of 2,362 acres 
north of SR 74 and 1,013 acres south of SR 74 from Class III to Class 
IV to allow for the newly established utility corridors.
    Once the RMP were amended, the BLM would approve a 200-foot-wide 
ROW within the newly designated utility corridor on public lands 
managed by the BLM north of SR 74 and within the existing designated 
utility corridor northeast of the Sun Valley Substation.
    The BLM will utilize and coordinate the NEPA comment period to 
satisfy the public involvement process for Section 106 of the National 
Historic Preservation Act (16 U.S.C. 470) as provided for in 36 CFR 
800.2(d)(3). Native American tribal consultations will be conducted in 
accordance with policy, and tribal concerns, including impacts on 
Indian trust assets, will be given due consideration. Federal, State, 
and local agencies, along with other stakeholders that may be 
interested or affected by the BLM's decisions on this project, are 
invited to participate in the public comment process. The BLM has 
determined that public hearings to solicit comments on the Draft EIS 
are necessary. Accordingly, the BLM invites all interested persons to 
participate in one of the following public hearings:
Public Hearing Locations
Centennial High School, 14388 North 79th Avenue, Peoria, Arizona 
85381--December 11, 2012
Nadaburg Elementary School, 21419 West Dove Valley Road, Wittmann, 
Arizona 85361--December 12, 2012
BLM National Training Center, 9828 North 31st Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona 
85051--December 13, 2012

    All public hearings begin with an open house at 5:30 p.m., followed 
by a presentation at 6 p.m.
    Interested parties are invited to present oral statements at the 
hearings. For information on facilities or services for persons with 
disabilities or to request special assistance at the hearing, contact 
Ellen Carr at 480-629-4705 or email ellen.carr@galileoaz.com or in 
writing at 4700 South McClintock Drive, Tempe, Arizona 85282, at least 
5 business days before the date of the hearing.
    The hearings will be conducted in accordance with 455 DM 1 and the 
BLM NEPA Handbook by a representative designated by the BLM.
    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 1610.2.

Raymond Suazo,
State Director.
[FR Doc. 2012-27929 Filed 11-15-12; 8:45 am]