[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 112 (Friday, June 10, 2011)]
[Pages 34097-34099]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-14149]



Bureau of Land Management

[LLNVL00000.L51010000.ER0000.LVRWF09F3450 241A; N-78803; 11-08807; 
MO4500020763; TAS: 14X5017]

Notice of Availability of the Draft Environmental Impact 
Statement, Including a Draft Programmatic Agreement, for the Clark, 
Lincoln, and White Pine Counties Groundwater Development Project, NV

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of Availability.


SUMMARY: In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act 
(NEPA) of 1969, as amended, and the National Historic Preservation Act 
of 1966 (NHPA), as amended, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has 
prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and a Draft 
Programmatic Agreement (PA), which is included as an Appendix to the 
EIS, for the Southern Nevada Water Authority's (SNWA) Clark, Lincoln, 
and White Pine Counties Groundwater Development Project (SNWA Project), 
and by this notice is announcing the opening of the comment period.

DATES: To ensure comments will be considered, the BLM must receive 
written comments on the SNWA Project Draft EIS and Draft PA within 90 
days following the date the Environmental Protection Agency publishes 
its 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 Draft EIS or the 
Draft PA for the SNWA Project by any of the following methods:
     E-mail: [email protected].
     Fax: (775) 861-6689.
     Mail: SNWA Project, Bureau of Land Management, Attn: Penny 
Woods, P.O. Box 12000, Reno Nevada 89520.

For a copy of the SNWA Project Draft EIS and Draft PA you may: send a 
written request to BLM at the above address; call project manager Penny 
Woods at (775) 861-6466; e-mail [email protected]; or download the 
document from the BLM's Web site at http://www.blm.gov/5w5c. A list of 
where review copies are available is in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION 

telephone (775) 861-6466; address P.O. Box 12000, Reno, Nevada 89520; 
e-mail [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: Cooperating Agencies: Federal--Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Indian Affairs, 
National Park Service, Forest Service, Army Corps of Engineers, Nellis 
Air Force Base; State--Nevada Department of Wildlife, State of Utah; 
Counties and County Organizations--Central Nevada Regional Water 
Authority, White Pine, Lincoln, and Clark counties (NV); and Juab, 
Millard, and Tooele counties (UT).
    Review copies are also available in the following locations:

BLM Offices in Nevada

Nevada State Office, 1340 Financial Blvd., Reno
Ely District Office, 702 N. Industrial Way, Ely
Caliente Field Office, U.S. Hwy. 93, Building 1, Caliente
Southern Nevada District Office, 4701 N. Torrey Pines Drive, Las Vegas.

Libraries in Nevada

Nevada State Library, 100 N. Stewart St., Carson City
White Pine County Library, 950 Campton St., Ely
Lincoln County Library, 100 Depot Ave., Caliente
Lincoln County Library, 100 N. First St. E., Alamo
Mesquite Library, 121 W. First N. St., Mesquite
Clark County Library, 1401 E. Flamingo Road, Las Vegas.

BLM Offices in Utah

Utah State Office, 440 W. 200 S., Salt Lake City
West Desert District Office, 2370 S. 2300 W., Salt Lake City
Color Country District Office, 1760 East DL Sargent Drive, Cedar City
Fillmore Field Office, 35 E. 500 N., Fillmore
St George Field Office, 345 E. Riverside Drive, St. George.

Libraries in Utah

Utah State Library, 250 N. 1950 W., Salt Lake City
Delta City Library, 76 N. 200 W., Delta
Cedar City Library, 303 N. 100 E., Cedar City
Washington County Library, 88 W. 100 S., St George
Tooele City Library, 128 W. Vine St., Tooele
Nephi Library, 21 E. 100 N., Nephi
Beaver Library, 55 W. Center St., Beaver.

    The Draft EIS describes and analyzes SNWA's rights-of-way (ROW) 
request over public land for the SNWA Project, which would develop and 
convey groundwater rights that may be granted by the Nevada State 
Engineer (NSE) to SNWA in Spring, Snake, Delamar, Dry Lake, and Cave 
valleys based on applications that are currently pending before the 
NSE. The Draft EIS addresses the ROW request as submitted by SNWA; 
alternative alignments of pipelines, power lines and other ancillary 
facilities; alternative pumping

[[Page 34098]]

locations/scenarios; and a no action alternative.
    A programmatic agreement is a program alternative allowed under the 
regulations of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) for 
complying with the historic properties review process required of every 
Federal undertaking pursuant to section 106 of NHPA and its 
implementing regulations (36 CFR 800.14). When executed by the BLM, the 
Nevada State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), the U.S. Army Corps 
of Engineers, ACHP, and SNWA, the terms of the executed PA will set 
forth the conditions for satisfying the SNWA Project's obligations 
under section 106 of the NHPA.
    Under the proposed action, SNWA could be granted a ROW that would 
permit the development and operation of a system of regional water 
facilities that could be used to convey up to 217,655 acre-feet-per-
year (afy) of groundwater rights, including 184,655 afy of SNWA 
groundwater rights (if permitted by the NSE) with the remaining 
capacity reserved for future use by Lincoln County. The exact amount of 
groundwater available to the proposed project is dependent upon the 
future action by the NSE. The EIS and ROW application do not authorize 
or address permitting of water rights. The NSE is solely responsible 
for those issues.
    The proposed ROW project would include approximately 306 miles of a 
buried water pipeline between 16 and 84 inches in diameter; 
approximately 323 miles of 230 kilovolt (kV), 69 kV and 25 kV overhead 
power lines; 2 primary electrical substations, 5 secondary substations, 
3 pressure-reducing facilities; 5 pumping stations; 6 regulating tanks; 
a 40-million-gallon-per-day buried storage reservoir; a 165 million-
gallon-per-day water treatment facility; and associated access roads.
    This is the initial EIS in a tiered NEPA evaluation process. As 
described in Council on Environmental Quality Regulations, a tiered 
NEPA process can be used for Proposed Actions such as the SNWA Project 
when specific locations have not been defined for all phases. Under 
NEPA, tiering involves a two-fold approach wherein general analyses are 
first covered in a broad EIS and more detailed issues are tiered 
(referenced) to that broader EIS. Once the broader EIS is completed, 
subsequent narrower statements or environmental assessments incorporate 
the general discussions from the broader EIS by reference, allowing the 
subsequent document to concentrate on the issues specific to the 
project or project phase. The NEPA regulations encourage Federal 
agencies to tier environmental documents for multi-stage projects to 
eliminate repetitive discussions of the same issues and to focus on the 
issues that are ready for decision at each level of environmental 
    This EIS is broad in scope and evaluates the potential 
environmental effects of granting SNWA's proposed ROW, including: (1) 
Pumping up to 184,655 afy of SNWA groundwater rights (if permitted by 
the NSE); and (2) Construction of the SNWA Project's proposed main 
pipeline, power facilities, and water storage and treatment facilities 
which are part of the current ROW request. These mainline facilities 
are not all of the facilities ultimately required for construction and 
operation of the SNWA Project, if fully developed. Full development of 
the SNWA Project would likely require between 108 and 131 groundwater 
production wells, 100-250 miles of collector pipeline and overhead 
power lines, and 2 additional pumping stations and electrical 
substations. The specific locations of these additional facilities are 
dependent upon future rulings of the NSE (whether and where the SNWA's 
groundwater right applications are granted), exploratory drilling 
(which would determine where SNWA can best access its groundwater 
rights), and agency agreements (SNWA may agree to change the location, 
timing, and quantity of pumping to minimize or mitigate effects to 
sensitive resources). When SNWA later applies for site-specific ROWs 
for these additional groundwater production wells and associated 
facilities, then additional NEPA compliance, tiered to this EIS, would 
consider the site-specific effects of future facility construction and 
operation. The sources of water for the reserved Lincoln County 
capacity have not been determined at this time, and would be subject to 
additional NEPA compliance, tiered to this EIS, before it could be 
conveyed and delivered by the SNWA Project.
    A permanent ROW of up to 100 feet in width and temporary 
construction ROWs of an additional 100 feet would be required for the 
main and lateral pipelines. In areas of level terrain and stable soil 
conditions, the amount of disturbance of the temporary ROWs may be 
reduced, however, any potential reductions would not be known until 
after detailed alignment surveys and project design have been 
    The permanent ROW needed for power line combinations containing 230 
kV and/or 69 kV conductors would be 100 feet in width. This width is 
required for safety considerations to allow for displacement of the 
conductors. Only a portion of the permanent ROWs would be disturbed for 
installation of power poles and access roads where needed. The 
permanent ROWs for the power lines carrying only 25 kV are 50 feet in 
width. Temporary ROWs for the power lines are not required because the 
permanent ROWs are sufficient for construction needs.
    In connection with the development of the Draft PA, the BLM 
identified 15 federally recognized Indian tribes with a traditional or 
historic connection to the areas potentially impacted by the proposed 
project. The BLM has initiated government-to-government consultation 
and invited those 15 tribes to sign the PA as concurring parties. The 
BLM has also granted consulting party status to certain interested 
organizations, groups, and agencies that have requested such status for 
the Section 106 process.
    The Draft PA describes the roles and responsibilities of the 
signatories, the procedures and standards for determining the areas of 
potential effects from the project for direct, visual, indirect and 
cumulative effects. This document also describes the roles of Indian 
tribes and consulting parties in the Section 106 consultation process, 
and describes the procedures that will be used to encourage 
participation and take into account the comments of the public. The 
Draft PA also describes procedures for identifying historic properties 
that may be affected by the project, determine the eligibility of such 
properties for the National Register of Historic Places, assessing 
effects from the project to qualified historic properties, and seeking 
ways to avoid, minimize, mitigate or otherwise resolve any identified 
adverse effects to such properties. The Draft PA provides procedures 
for dealing with unanticipated discoveries of cultural resources, 
monitoring certain segments of construction by qualified archaeologists 
and Indian tribal monitors, resolving disputes among the signatories 
and concurring parties, and otherwise comply with Section 106 
    The BLM notified the public of nine scoping meetings that were held 
in various communities in Clark, Lincoln, and White Pine counties 
(Nevada) and Tooele and Juab counties (Utah) between April 26 and May 
11, 2005. The public was offered the opportunity to provide oral and 
written comments at the scoping meetings. A total of 648 individuals 
attended the scoping meetings, of which 210 individuals provided oral 
comments. During this first scoping period a total of 954

[[Page 34099]]

substantive letters were received from agencies, organizations, 
businesses, and individuals, and a total of 4,958 form letters (mainly 
email) were received from non-governmental organizations.
    In the summer of 2006, additional scoping was conducted to provide 
opportunity for public comment on substantive SNWA Project changes: (1) 
Providing additional pipeline capacity for use by Lincoln County; and 
(2) Removal of the Tikaboo Lateral in Tikaboo Valley North. A total of 
256 substantive letters and no form letters were received during the 
second scoping period.
    During both scoping periods, a total of 1,210 substantive letters 
were received. Of this total, 597 were received from Nevada, 459 from 
Utah, and 154 from other states or countries. Key issues identified by 
individuals, groups, and governmental entities include water supply and 
use, competing or conflicting land uses, and cumulative impacts and 
connected actions.
    The BLM has prepared the current draft version of the PA in 
consultation with the Nevada SHPO, ACHP and SNWA. In 2007, the BLM 
initiatiated government-to-government consultation with the interested 
tribes in the project area. In 2011, the BLM convened tribal 
information sessions in Ely and Las Vegas, Nevada, to discuss the Draft 
PA and to receive comments and suggestions on the Draft PA and other 
aspects of the project from interested Indian tribes. In March 2011, 
the BLM also coordinated with the nine other consulting parties that 
requested to participate in the Section 106 process.
    Please note that public comments will be available for public 
review and disclosure at the BLM Nevada State Office, 1340 Financial 
Blvd., Reno, Nevada during regular business hours, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., 
Monday through Friday, except holidays.
    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 1506.6, 40 CFR 1506.10.

Amy Lueders,
Acting Nevada State Director.
[FR Doc. 2011-14149 Filed 6-9-11; 8:45 am]