[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 160 (Thursday, August 18, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 55173-55174]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-19700]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service


White River National Forest; Eagle County, CO; Berlaimont Estates 
Access Route EIS

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement.

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SUMMARY: Berlaimont Estates LLC (Berlaimont) owns a 680-acre private 
inholding (subject property) within the White River National Forest to 
the north of Interstate 70 in the vicinity of Edwards, Colorado. 
Berlaimont intends on the developing the property as 19 individual 
residential lots, with each at least 35 acres in size. Currently, the 
subject property may be accessed by National Forest System Roads (NFSR) 
774 and 780, which connects to the southeastern corner of this 
horseshoe-shaped subject property. Berlaimont has applied for an 
easement to construct, improve, utilize, and maintain an access road 
for reliable, year-round vehicular access to reach the developable 
areas (northern portion) of the subject property. Specifically, 
Berlaimont is proposing to improve segments of the existing NFSR 774 
(1.04 miles) and NFSR 780 (3.09 miles), as well as construct a new road 
segment (1.16 miles) across additional National Forest System (NFS) 
lands in order to access the northern portion of the subject property. 
Improvements would consist of constructing a 20'-wide asphalt road with 
a 3' gravel shoulder, vehicle turnouts, retaining walls, traffic signs, 
guardrails, erosion control facilities, and drainage facilities.

DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received 
by October 3, 2016. The draft environmental impact statement is 
expected to be available for public review in the March of 2017 and the 
final environmental impact statement is expected in the June of 2017.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Scott Fitzwilliams, Forest 
Supervisor, c/o Matt Klein, Realty Specialist, White River National 
Forest, P.O. Box 190, Minturn, CO 81645. Comments may also be sent via 
email to [email protected] (include ``Berlaimont Estate Access 
Route EIS'' in the subject line), electronically at https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public//CommentInput?Project=50041, or 
via facsimile to (970) 827-9343.
    All comments, including names and addresses when provided, are 
placed in the record and are available for public inspection and 
copying. The public may inspect comments received at the Holy Cross 
Ranger Station, 24747 U.S. Highway 24, Minturn, CO 81645. Visitors are 
encouraged to call ahead to (970) 827-5715 to facilitate entry into the 
building.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Additional information related to the 
project can be obtained from the project Web page: http://www.fs.fed.us/nepa/nepa_project_exp.php?project=50041 or by contacting 
Matt Klein, Realty Specialist, Eagle/Holy Cross Ranger District, 24747 
US Hwy 24, P.O. Box 190, Minturn, Colorado 81645. Mr. Klein can be 
reached by phone at (970) 827-5182 or by email at 
[email protected].
    Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) 
may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 
between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Estimated Dates

    The draft Environmental Impact Statement is expected March of 2017, 
and the final Environmental Impact Statement is expected June of 2017.

Purpose and Need for Action

    The purpose of the proposed project is to provide reliable, year-
round vehicular access to the developable portions of Berlaimont's 
private inholding property.
    The need for the proposed project is that the existing NSFRs may 
not provide adequate access to secure reasonable use and enjoyment of 
the Berlaimont's property, to which they assert they are entitled under 
the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA).

Proposed Action

    The Proposed Action is to grant an easement to Berlaimont to 
improve (pave), utilize, and maintain segments of the existing NFSR 774 
(1.04 miles) and NFSR 780 (3.09 miles), which grants access to the 
southeastern corner of the property only.

Possible Alternatives

    An alternative will also be analyzed that includes the proposed 
action with the addition of constructing, utilizing, and maintaining a 
new road segment (1.16 miles) across NFS lands in order to access the 
northern portion of the subject property.

Responsible Official

    The Responsible Official is Mr. Scott Fitzwilliams, Forest 
Supervisor, c/o Matt Klein, Realty Specialist, White River National 
Forest, P.O. Box 190, Minturn, CO 81645.

Nature of Decision To Be Made

    Based on the analysis that will be documented in the forthcoming 
EIS, the Responsible Official will decide whether or not to implement, 
in whole or in part, the Proposed Action or another alternative that 
may be developed by the Forest Service as a result of scoping.

Scoping Process

    This Notice of Intent initiates the scoping process, which guides 
the development of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The Forest 
Service is soliciting comments from Federal, State and local agencies 
and other individuals or organizations that may be interested in or 
affected by implementation of the proposed project. Public questions 
and comments regarding this proposal are an integral part of this 
environmental analysis process. Input provided by interested and/or 
affected individuals, organizations and governmental agencies will be 
used to identify alternative actions and resource issues that will be 
analyzed in the EIS. The Forest Service will identify significant 
issues raised during the scoping process, and use them to formulate 
alternatives, prescribe mitigation measures and project design 
features, or analyze environmental effects.
    A public open house meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 
7th, 2016 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Edwards facility for Eagle 
County EMS/

[[Page 55174]]

Paramedics (1055 Edwards Village Blvd., Edwards, CO 81632). The meeting 
will be held in the classroom. It is important that reviewers provide 
their comments at such times and in such manner that they are useful to 
the agency's preparation of the EIS. Therefore, comments should be 
provided prior to the close of the comment period and should clearly 
articulate the reviewer's concerns and contentions.
    Comments received in response to this solicitation, including names 
and addresses of those who comment, will be part of the public record 
for this proposed action. Comments submitted anonymously will be 
accepted and considered, however.
    There will be an additional opportunity to comment when the Notice 
of Availability of the Draft EIS is published in the Federal Register. 
For objection eligibility, each individual or representative from each 
entity submitting written comments must either sign the comment or 
verify identity upon request. Individuals and organizations wishing to 
be eligible to object must meet the information requirements in 36 CFR 
218.25(a)(3).

Preliminary Issues

    Section 1323(a) of the ANILCA statute (incorporated into 36 CFR 
Subpart D) compels the agency to authorize access to non-Federal land 
within the boundaries of NFS lands [i.e. inholdings], to the extent 
that such access is adequate for providing reasonable use and enjoyment 
of that inholding consistent with other, similiarly situated non-
Federal lands.
    In addition to providing reasonable use and enjoyment, 36 CFR 
Subpart D requires that any authorized access route be located and 
constructed so as to minimize damage or disturbance to NFS lands and 
resources.
    Consequently, a key issue for this project is to determine what 
route location(s) and level of construction are necessary in order to 
achieve ``adequate access'' for ``reasonable use and enjoyment'' of the 
applicant's inholding property.

Permits or Licenses Required

    This Proposed Action considers the issuance of a road easement from 
the Forest Service to Berlaimont under the authority of the Federal 
Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA).

Comment Requested

    The comment period on the draft environmental impact statement will 
be 45 days from the date the Environmental Protection Agency publishes 
the notice of availability in the Federal Register.
    The Forest Service believes, at this early state, it is important 
to give reviewers notice of several court rulings related to public 
participation in the environmental review process. First, reviewers of 
draft Environmental Impact Statements must structure their 
participation in the environmental review of the proposal so that it is 
meaningful and alerts an agency to the reviewer's positions and 
contentions. Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Corp. v. NRDC, 435 U.S. 519, 
553 (1978). Also, environmental objections that could be raised at the 
draft Environmental Impact Statement stage but that are not raised 
until after completion the final Environmental Impact Statement may be 
waived or dismissed by the courts. City of Angoon v. Hodel, 803 F.2d 
1016, 1022 (9th Cir. 1986) and Wisconsin Heritages, Inc. v. Harris, 490 
F. Supp. 1334, 1338 (E.D. Wis. 1980). Because of these court rulings, 
it is very important that those interested in this proposed action 
participate by the close of the 45-day comment period so that 
substantive comments and objections are made available to the Forest 
Service at a time when it can meaningfully consider them and respond to 
them in the final environmental impact statement.
    To assist the Forest Service in identifying and considering issues 
and concerns on the proposed action, comments on the draft 
Environmental Impact Statement should be as specific as possible. It is 
also helpful if comments refer to specific pages or chapters of the 
draft statement. Comments may also address the adequacy of the draft 
Environmental Impact Statement or the merits of the alternatives 
formulated and discussed in the statement. Reviewers may wish to refer 
to the Council on Environmental Quality Regulations for implementing 
the procedural provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act at 
40 CFR 1503.3 in addressing these points.

    Dated: August 12, 2016.
Scott G. Fitzwilliams,
Forest Supervisor.
[FR Doc. 2016-19700 Filed 8-17-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3411-15-P