[Federal Register: January 13, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 8)]
[Notices]               
[Page 1807-1809]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr13ja10-92]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Bureau of Land Management

 
Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for 
the Restoration Design Energy Project and Possible Land Use Plan 
Amendment

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of Intent.

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SUMMARY: In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act 
(NEPA) of 1969, as amended, and the

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Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, as amended, the Bureau 
of Land Management (BLM) Arizona State Office intends to prepare an 
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to support possible amendments to 
several BLM-Arizona Resource Management Plans (RMP) to identify sites 
and/or areas managed by the BLM that may be suitable for the 
development of renewable energy and to establish appropriate design 
criteria for such projects. By this notice, BLM-Arizona State Office is 
announcing the beginning of the scoping process to solicit public 
comments and identify issues.

DATES: This notice initiates the public scoping process for the EIS and 
possible plan amendments. Comments on issues may be submitted in 
writing until March 1, 2010. The dates and locations of any scoping 
meetings will be announced at least 15 days in advance through local 
media, newspapers and the BLM Web site at: http://www.blm.gov/az/st/
en.html. In order to be included in the Draft EIS, all comments must be 
received prior to the close of the scoping period or 15 days after the 
last public meeting, whichever is later. We will provide additional 
opportunities for public participation upon publication of the Draft 
EIS.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on issues and planning criteria 
related to the Restoration Design Energy Project by any of the 
following methods:
     Web site: http://www.blm.gov/az/st/en/prog/energy/arra_
solar.htm;
     E-mail: Include your name, any organization you represent, 
and return address in the e-mail message to: az_arra_rdep@blm.gov;
     Fax: Attn: Teri Raml, (602) 417-9454; and
     Mail or other delivery service: Please be sure to include 
your name, any organization you represent, and a return address to: 
Restoration Design Energy Project, Attention: Teri Raml, BLM-Arizona 
State Office, One North Central Avenue, Suite 800, Phoenix, Arizona 
85004-4427.
    Documents pertinent to this proposal may be examined at the BLM-
Arizona State Office, One North Central Avenue, Suite 800, Phoenix, 
Arizona 85004.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information and/or to have 
your name added to our mailing list, contact Teri Raml, Project 
Manager, telephone (602) 417-9388; address One North Central Avenue, 
Suite 800, Phoenix, Arizona 85004; or by e-mail teri_raml@blm.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The purpose of the Restoration Design Energy 
Project is to foster environmentally responsible production of 
renewable energy by amending plans, as necessary, to identify sites or 
areas that are already disturbed or that may be in need of some level 
of remediation or restoration, and which may be suitable for siting of 
renewable energy projects, as well as allocate such sites or areas for 
this purpose. Possible plan amendments may also include decisions about 
acquisition, disposal, or retention of sites or areas. The BLM will 
establish management direction for lands acquired for the purposes of 
this Project or will extend the applicable land use plan decisions to 
these lands, provided there are no unresolved management issues 
associated with the newly acquired lands. The environmental analysis 
will address, at each site or area, both existing remediation needs and 
any potential for renewable energy generation, and may also identify 
project design criteria to address environmental issues particular to 
the site or area identified. Implementation of the Project will help 
meet community energy needs, create economic opportunities, and provide 
good value to the taxpayer for the use of public lands. To accomplish 
this, some or all of the BLM's RMPs throughout Arizona may need to be 
amended. Plans that may be amended include the following: the Yuma 
Field Office RMP--2010; the Agua Fria and Bradshaw-Harquahala RMP--
2010; the Arizona Strip Field Office RMP--2008; the Lake Havasu Field 
Office RMP--2007; the Kingman Resource Area RMP--1995; the Safford 
District RMP--1991; the Phoenix RMP--1988; the Lower Gila South RMP--
1988 as amended 2005; and the Lower Gila North Management Framework 
Plan--1983 as amended 2005.
    The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Title II, Sec. 211) establishes a 
goal that at least 10,000 megawatts of renewable energy production 
capacity be approved on public lands by 2015. Additionally, Secretarial 
Order 3285 directs agencies within the Department of the Interior to 
encourage the development of environmentally responsible renewable 
energy generation. The Project is consistent with the Congressional 
direction, Department of the Interior policies, and is unique in that 
it offers an alternative process for site selection that includes the 
identification of lands in need of remediation that have renewable 
energy generation potential. At the initiation of the Project, the BLM-
Arizona State Office requested individual field offices and members of 
the public to identify previously utilized sites that might be suitable 
for development of renewable energy for consideration for inclusion in 
the Project. Examples of submitted sites include gravel pits, mine 
sites, landfills, isolated parcels that have been disturbed, and 
abandoned unauthorized airstrips. Sites and/or areas proposed for the 
Project will be analyzed according to the BLM's planning regulations at 
43 CFR part 1600, and proposed planning amendments will analyzed in the 
EIS. This analysis will take into consideration: (1) 42 proposed sites 
covering approximately 26,000 acres; (2) knowledge of existing and 
proposed energy transmission options; (3) concentrations of existing 
and proposed energy generation; (4) technical factors; and (5) 
environmental factors. The sites submitted so far include BLM-
administered, State, municipal, and private lands. While the BLM 
planning process will primarily address management of those lands and 
interests in lands administered by the BLM, the analysis in the EIS may 
be broader in scope. Additional restoration design concepts, which may 
be incorporated into the possible design criteria applicable to 
particular sites or areas, are expected to be developed through 
scoping. Suitable sites for application of this approach to reuse of 
land may also continue to be identified over time, and may be 
considered in this or subsequent planning initiatives, depending on 
when they are identified.
    The purpose of the public scoping process is to determine relevant 
issues that will influence the scope of the environmental analysis, 
including alternatives, and guide the process for developing the EIS. 
At present, the BLM has identified the following preliminary issues: 
(1) Site or area suitability for renewable energy generation and scale 
of possible generation; (2) site or area proximity to the existing 
electrical transmission grid and the feasibility of integrating new 
electric generation projects with the grid; (3) site or area proximity 
to population and electric use (load) centers; (4) determining the 
appropriate renewable energy generation technologies for implementation 
on a site-by-site and/or area-by-area basis; and (5) the possible need 
for environmental remediation of project sites or areas based on 
previous uses and levels of disturbance and possible contamination of 
the sites or areas, as well as how addressing the possible need for 
remediation may be incorporated into design criteria that may be 
applicable to projects proposed for a particular site or area.
    The EIS will use existing data for the analysis to support the 
planning decisions (e.g., allocation, disposal, or

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retention decisions) that may be made as a result of this initiative. 
When individual project proposals for renewable development are 
received, any site-specific analysis could be tiered to the EIS for 
this Project to avoid unnecessary duplication of analysis.
    Authorization of the project may require amendment of some or all 
of the BLM RMPs throughout Arizona, as listed above. 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, predicated on the 
findings of the EIS. If land use plan amendments are necessary, the BLM 
will integrate the land use planning process with the NEPA process for 
this project.
    The BLM will utilize and coordinate the NEPA commenting process to 
satisfy the public involvement process for Section 106 of the National 
Historic Preservation Act (16 U.S.C. 470f) as provided for in 36 CFR 
800.2(d)(3). Native American Tribal consultations will be conducted 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 
decision on this project are invited to participate in the scoping 
process and, if eligible, may request or be requested by the BLM to 
participate as a cooperating agency. Before including your address, 
phone number, e-mail 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 1501.7 and 43 CFR 1610.2.

Helen Hankins,
BLM Associate State Director.
[FR Doc. 2010-404 Filed 1-12-10; 8:45 am]
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