[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 124 (Friday, June 27, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 36493-36497]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-15070]


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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

[Docket No. PP-398]


Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement and 
To Conduct Public Scoping Meetings, and Notice of Floodplains and 
Wetlands Involvement; Great Northern Transmission Line

AGENCY: Department of Energy.

ACTION: Notice of Intent.

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SUMMARY: The Department of Energy (DOE) announces its intent to prepare 
an environmental impact statement (EIS) to assess the potential 
environmental impacts from its proposed federal action of granting a 
Presidential permit to Minnesota Power to construct, operate, maintain, 
and connect a new electric transmission line across the U.S.-Canada 
border in northern Minnesota. The Great Northern Transmission Line 
Project Environmental Impact Statement (DOE/EIS-0499) will address 
potential environmental impacts from the proposed action and the range 
of reasonable alternatives.
    The purpose of this Notice of Intent (NOI) is to inform the public 
about the proposed action, announce eight public scoping meetings, and 
solicit public comments on the scope of the EIS. Because the proposed 
project would involve actions in floodplains and wetlands, in 
accordance with 10 CFR part 1022, Compliance with Floodplain and 
Wetland Environmental Review Requirements, the EIS will include a 
floodplain and wetland assessment.

DATES: The public scoping period starts with the publication of this 
Notice in the Federal Register and will continue until August 11, 2014. 
Written and oral comments will be given equal weight, and DOE will 
consider all comments submitted or postmarked by August 11, 2014 in 
defining the scope of this EIS. Comments submitted or postmarked after 
that date will be considered to the extent practicable.
    Eight public scoping meetings will be held between July 16 and July 
24. Locations, dates, and start times for the public scoping meetings 
are listed in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this NOI.
    Requests to speak at any one or more public scoping meeting(s) 
should be received by Julie Ann Smith at the address indicated below on 
or before July 14, 2014; requests received by that date will be given 
priority in the speaking order. However, requests to speak also may be 
made at the scoping meetings.

ADDRESSES: Comments on the scope of the EIS and requests to be added to 
the document mailing list should be addressed to: Julie Ann Smith, 
Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE-20), U.S. 
Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 
20585; by electronic mail to [email protected]; or by facsimile 
to 202-586-1472.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Julie Ann Smith at the addresses 
above, or at 202-586-7668. For general information on the DOE National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, contact Ms. Carol M. 
Borgstrom, Director, Office of NEPA Policy and Compliance (GC-54) at: 
U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 
20585; by electronic mail at [email protected]; by facsimile at 202-
586-7031; by phone at 202-586-4600 or leave a message at 800-472-2756.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Executive Order (E.O.) 10485, as amended by 
E.O. 12038, requires that a Presidential permit be issued by DOE before 
electric transmission facilities may be constructed, operated, 
maintained, or connected at the U.S. international border. The E.O. 
provides that a Presidential permit may be issued after a finding that 
the proposed project is consistent with the public interest and after 
favorable recommendations from the U.S. Departments of State and 
Defense. In determining consistency with the public interest, DOE 
considers the potential environmental impacts of the proposed project 
under NEPA, determines the project's impact on electric reliability 
(including whether the proposed project would adversely affect the 
operation of the U.S. electric power supply system under normal and 
contingency conditions), and considers any other factors that DOE may 
find relevant to the public interest. The regulations implementing the 
E.O. have been codified at 10 CFR part 205. DOE's issuance of a 
Presidential permit indicates that there is no federal objection to the 
project, but does not mandate that the project be undertaken.
    Minnesota Power, an operating division of ALLETE, Inc., applied on 
April 15, 2014, to DOE's Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy 
Reliability (OE) for a Presidential permit to construct, operate, 
maintain, and connect an approximately 220-mile, 500-kilovolt (kV) 
overhead, single-circuit, alternating current (AC) electric 
transmission system from the Canadian Province of Manitoba to the 
existing Blackberry Substation near Grand Rapids, Minnesota. After due 
consideration of the nature and extent of the proposed project, 
including evaluation of the ``Information Regarding Potential 
Environmental Impacts'' section of the Presidential permit application, 
DOE has determined that the appropriate level of NEPA review for this 
project is an EIS.
    The Great Northern Transmission Line Presidential permit 
application,

[[Page 36494]]

including associated maps and drawings, can be viewed or downloaded in 
its entirety from the OE program Web site at: http://energy.gov/oe/downloads/application-presidential-permit-oe-docket-no-pp-398-great-northern-transmission-line. Also available at this same OE Web site 
location is the May 14, 2014, Federal Register Notice of Receipt of 
Application (79 FR 27587).
    The proposed federal action is the granting of the Presidential 
permit for the international border crossing. The proposed 
construction, operation, maintenance, and connection of the portion of 
the transmission line within the United States is a connected action to 
DOE's proposed action. DOE will analyze potential environmental impacts 
from the proposed federal action and the connected action in the EIS. 
The EIS will be prepared in accordance with NEPA of 1969, as amended 
(42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) 
NEPA regulations (40 CFR parts 1500-1508), and the DOE NEPA 
implementing procedures (10 CFR part 1021). Because the proposed 
project may involve actions in floodplains and wetlands, in accordance 
with 10 CFR part 1022, Compliance with Floodplain and Wetland 
Environmental Review Requirements, the EIS will include a floodplain 
and wetland assessment. DOE will include a floodplain statement of 
findings in the final EIS or issue such statement separately.
    The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MN PUC) regulates 
transmission line construction in the state of Minnesota: First, by 
determining whether there is a need for a transmission line through its 
Certificate of Need (CON) process; and second, through its Route Permit 
process. The CON process establishes the size, type and required end 
points of a proposed project. Minnesota Power filed its CON application 
for the proposed GNTL Project with the MN PUC on October 22, 2013, and 
anticipates a decision on the CON by May 2015.
    Under the state's Power Plant Siting Act (PPSA), the MN PUC must 
also determine the route for the proposed line and any conditions it 
will require for the construction, operation, and maintenance of the 
proposed GNTL Project through its Route Permit process. Specifically, 
the PPSA requires proposals for high-voltage transmission lines 
(defined as a transmission line of 100 kV or more and one that is 
greater than 1,500 feet in length with associated facilities) to be 
issued a Route Permit by the MN PUC prior to construction. Minnesota 
Power filed its Route Permit application for the proposed GNTL Project 
concurrently with the DOE Presidential permit application on April 15, 
2014. As part of the MN PUC Route Permit decision-making process, an 
environmental impact statement must be prepared.
    DOE will act as federal joint lead agency with the Minnesota 
Department of Commerce--Energy Environmental Review and Analysis (DOC-
EERA) acting as state joint lead agency per 40 CFR 1501.5(b). DOC-EERA 
prepares EISs for proposed high-voltage transmission lines pursuant to 
Minnesota Statute Section 216E.03, Subdivision 5. In order to avoid 
duplication with state environmental review procedures, DOE and DOC-
EERA will prepare a single EIS to comply with environmental review 
requirements under NEPA and the PPSA.
    DOE invites Tribal governments and federal, state, and local 
agencies with jurisdiction by law or special expertise with respect to 
environmental issues to be cooperating agencies in the preparation of 
the EIS, as defined at 40 CFR 1501.6.
    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), St. Paul District, will 
be a cooperating agency on this EIS. A Department of the Army permit is 
expected to be required for proposed discharges of dredged or fill 
material into waters of the United States, including wetlands, under 
Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1344), and also for 
proposed crossing(s) of navigable waterways under Section 10 of the 
Rivers and Harbors Act (33 U.S.C. 403). Minnesota Power will apply to 
the USACE for the required Department of Army permit as part of the 
proposed GNTL Project.

Applicant's Proposal

    The Applicant proposes to construct, operate, maintain, and connect 
a 220-mile, overhead, single-circuit 500 kV AC transmission line 
between the Minnesota-Manitoba border crossing northwest of Roseau, 
Minnesota, and the existing Blackberry 230/115 kV Substation near Grand 
Rapids, Minnesota. The Applicant's proposal also includes associated 
substation facilities and transmission system modifications at the 
Blackberry Substation site, and construction of a new 500 kV Series 
Compensation Station (a structure which will house the 500 kV series 
capacitor banks necessary for reliable operation and performance of the 
proposed transmission line). A new Blackberry 500 kV Substation would 
be required for the proposed Project and would be constructed adjacent 
to and east of the existing Blackberry 230/115 kV Substation. The 
proposed GNTL Project would carry hydropower generated by facilities 
operated by Manitoba Hydro, a Canadian electric utility, and would 
support the regional electric grid.
    The proposed GNTL Project would be located on all new right-of-way 
(ROW) that would be approximately 200-feet wide. A wider ROW would be 
required for certain spans of the proposed Project, at angle and corner 
structures, for guyed structures, or where special design requirements 
are dictated by topography. Steel lattice tower structure types and 
configurations would be considered for the proposed Project to 
accommodate variations in terrain and land use including a self-
supporting lattice structure, a lattice guyed-V structure, and a 
lattice guyed delta structure. The Applicant currently estimates 
approximately 4 to 5 structures per mile of transmission line with 
towers spaced approximately 1,000 to 1,450 feet apart, with shorter or 
longer spans as necessary. The type of structure in any given section 
of transmission line would be dependent on land type, land use, and 
potential effect on the surrounding landscape, and would typically 
range in height from approximately 100 feet above ground to 
approximately 150 feet above ground. In some instances, such as where 
the proposed Project crosses an existing transmission line, taller 
structures would be required. In cultivated lands, the Applicant would 
use self-supporting lattice structures (free-standing towers 
constructed in a crisscrossed pattern of steel beams) so as not to 
interfere with existing land use.
    The Applicant proposes to expand the site of its existing 
Blackberry 230/115 kV Substation near Grand Rapids, Minnesota, to 
incorporate the new Blackberry 500 kV Substation, which would be 
constructed adjacent to and east of the existing substation. The 500 kV 
Substation would accommodate the new 500 kV line, existing 230kV lines, 
and all associated 500 kV and 230 kV equipment. Additionally, the 
proposed GNTL Project would require construction of a new 500 kV Series 
Compensation Station, which would be located within or adjacent to the 
final route approved by the State of Minnesota, and would include the 
500 kV series capacitor banks necessary for reliable operation and 
performance of the proposed transmission line, and all associated 
equipment. The final location for the 500 kV Series Compensation 
Station would be determined by electric design optimization studies and 
final route selection. The Applicant has initiated the electric design

[[Page 36495]]

optimization studies to identify generally what would be a preferred 
location of the 500 kV Series Compensation Station along the final 
route permitted by the state. Based on these studies, candidate sites 
in Minnesota include the overall midpoint of the line and at one-third 
of the overall transmission line distance from Blackberry to the 
existing Dorsey Substation in Manitoba, Canada. Minnesota Power will 
provide more information on these studies and the preferred location of 
the 500 kV Series Compensation Station when available.
    The proposed GNTL Project (Blue Route) would originate at the 
Minnesota-Manitoba border roughly 1.4 miles west of Highway 89. It 
would proceed southeast 0.5 miles to 410th Street, approximately 0.16 
of a mile from the intersection of 410th Street and County Road 3. The 
proposed GNTL Project would travel south 2 miles to 390th Street and 
turn east following 390th Street for 10.5 miles (where 390th Street 
then turns into County Road 118). At 0.25 miles from Highway 310 the 
proposed line would turn southeast and continue for another 12 miles. 
At 0.5 miles from 510th Avenue the proposed line would again turn and 
travel 2.3 miles east to join the existing Minnkota Power 230 kV line. 
The proposed GNTL Project would parallel the existing Minnkota Power 
230 kV line southeast for 1.8 miles and then turn south where it would 
meet the existing Xcel 500 kV line. Beginning at a tenth of mile north 
of US Highway 11, the proposed transmission line would parallel the 
existing Xcel 500 kV line route for 36 miles after which it would turn 
east, leaving the Xcel 500 kV line 2 miles southeast of the 
intersection of Faunce Forest Road and 19th Street Southwest in Lake of 
the Woods County.
    The proposed GNTL Project would proceed east for 5.8 miles and then 
turn northeast to rejoin the existing Minnkota Power 230 kV line at its 
intersection with Pitt Grade Trail. The proposed line would then 
parallel this existing 230 kV line in an easterly direction for 31 
miles to a point 1.5 miles west of the County Road 86 in Koochiching 
County where it would then proceed southeast for 8.3 miles and then 
south for 1.8 miles. At this point, the proposed GNTL Project would be 
roughly 1.5 miles south from the intersection of County Road 32 and 
County Road 36 in Koochiching County. The line would then continue 
southeast for 21.3 miles and intersect Highway 71 roughly 4.5 miles 
northeast of Big Falls, where it would continue an additional 9.6 miles 
to the southeast where it would rejoin the existing Minnkota Power 230 
kV line, following the existing line in a southerly direction for 12.3 
miles.
    The proposed GNTL Project would continue south for 3 miles 
following Deer River Line Road (also called County Road 62). The 
transmission line would turn east for 3.5 miles and then turn southeast 
again and travel 5 miles to Itasca County near the intersection of 
County Road 523 and South Lofgrin Forest Road. The proposed line would 
extend south for 6.4 miles, turning south, southeast for another 2.8 
miles, and then head south for 11.5 miles. At 2.8 miles north of Scooty 
Lake, the proposed GNTL Project would continue to travel 7.5 miles 
south to County Road 530, where it would cross the West Fork Prairie 
River. At County Road 530, the proposed line would again turn south 
southwest and continue 6.5 miles to County Road 57. The line would turn 
south, southwest for 3.7 miles, and then head south for 3.8 miles to 
Diamond Lake Road. The route then heads south, southeast for 2.7 miles. 
At the Swan River, proposed GNTL Project heads south for 4.4 miles 
where it would meet an existing Minnesota Power 230 kV line, 
paralleling it for 1 mile to the existing Blackberry Substation near 
Grand Rapids, Minnesota.

Agency Purpose and Need, Proposed Action, and Alternatives

    The DOE proposed federal action is the granting of a Presidential 
permit to Minnesota Power to construct, operate, maintain, and connect 
a new electric transmission line across the U.S.-Canada border 
northwest of Roseau, Minnesota. The Great Northern Transmission Line 
Project Environmental Impact Statement (DOE/EIS-0499) will address 
potential environmental impacts from the proposed action and the range 
of reasonable alternatives. The purpose and need for DOE's action is to 
decide whether to grant Minnesota Power a Presidential permit. It 
should be noted, however, that although the potential environmental 
impacts are important, they are not the only criteria that form the 
basis for the final permitting decision. DOE also considers the impact 
of the proposed action on electric reliability. If granted, the 
Presidential permit would authorize only that portion of the line that 
would be constructed, operated, and maintained wholly within the United 
States.
    Four action alternatives (routes) for constructing the proposed 
transmission line inside the United States have been identified by the 
Applicant: Two overall proposed route alternatives (Blue Route and 
Orange Route) and one segment option proposed for each complete route 
alternative (Blue Route Segment C2 and Orange Route Segment J2, 
respectively). The Blue Route would parallel existing transmission 
lines for 84.2 miles, while the Orange Route would parallel existing 
transmission lines for 66.4 miles. The proposed route alternatives vary 
slightly in total length: 219.5 miles for the Blue Route, 232.7 miles 
for Blue Route Segment C2, 219.9 miles for the Orange Route and 222.8 
total miles for Orange Route Segment J2. While the Blue Route is 
shorter in total length, it goes through undeveloped forest. Blue Route 
Segment C2 is longest in total length of the line and is closer to 
residences than the Blue Route alternative. The Orange Route 
alternative goes through undeveloped forest, whereas Orange Route 
Segment J2 is closer to residences. The majority of potentially 
impacted land for any route alternative would consist of woody wetlands 
and deciduous, evergreen, and mixed forest lands. Impacted agricultural 
land would include pasture and hay, row crops, and small grains. The 
combined Blackberry 500-kV Substation and the 500-kV Series 
Compensation Station for any route alternative would require 
approximately 25 acres.
    An interactive map showing the proposed GNTL Project route 
alternative (shown on the map as the ``Blue Route''), a second route 
alternative (shown on the map as the ``Orange Route''), and two route 
alternative segment options (shown on the map as ``Segments Options C2 
and J2'') may be found at http://www.greatnortherntransmissionline.com/map/.
    All route alternatives would cross the U.S.-Canada border in Roseau 
County, Minnesota, roughly 1.4 miles west of Highway 89. The Blue 
Route, the Applicant's preferred alternative, is described in detail 
above.
    The northwestern-most portion (approximately 65 miles) of the 
Orange Route alternative would be collocated with the Blue Route; 
therefore, the descriptions of this portion of the routes are the same 
up to the point at which both propose route alternatives would meet up 
with the existing Xcel 500 kV transmission line. Once arriving at the 
existing Xcel 500 kV line, the Orange Route alternative would parallel 
the existing 500 kV line ROW, in a general southeast orientation, for 
approximately 60 miles into extreme southeast Lake of the Woods County, 
to a point approximately 0.5 miles west of State Highway 72 and 1 mile 
north of Beltrami County. At this point, the Orange Route would turn 
south for approximately 1 mile, where it would

[[Page 36496]]

cross into Beltrami County, and continue south for an additional 4.6 
miles, then would turn to head east for approximately 0.5 miles, 
crossing State Highway 72.
    After crossing Highway 72, the Orange Route would turn southeast 
for 7.5 miles, crossing into Koochiching County, after which, the route 
would continue southeast for another 3 miles to a point approximately 
0.5 miles east of Pine Island Road. At this point, the Orange Route 
alternative would turn south for 15.7 miles to the vicinity of Flowing 
Well Trail. Approximately 0.1 miles north of Flowing Well Trail, the 
line would turn east for 11.1 miles, to a point approximately 1.7 miles 
north of the City of Gemmell and 0.7 miles east of County Road 64. The 
Orange Route would then turn southeast for 13.0 miles, head east for 
another 4.5 miles to a point approximately 0.8 miles west of State 
Highway 6 and 1.3 miles north of the Itasca County Line. At this point, 
the Orange Route would turn southeast for 4.2 miles, crossing into 
Itasca County, before it would head east for 3.8 miles, to a point 
approximately 0.4 miles east of County Road 5 and 1.6 miles south of 
the City of Craigville.
    The Orange Route alternative would turn southeast for 1.3 miles, 
and then head south for 1.7 miles to cross State Highway 1. After 
crossing State Highway 1, the proposed line would continue south for 
2.4 miles, to a point approximately 2.4 miles east of State Highway 38, 
where it would then head east for 6.1 miles. At this point, the Orange 
Route would be approximately 2.4 miles west of the intersection between 
State Highway 1 and Bass Lake Campground Road, where it would veer 
southeast for 11.5 miles, to a point approximately 3 miles east of 
State Highway 65 and 0.6 miles north of County Road 52. At this 
location, this route alternative would follow a southern orientation 
for approximately 14.7 miles, crossing County Road 52, Wolf Lake Road 
(among others) and the West Fork Prairie River.
    Approximately 2.8 miles west of State Highway 65 and 1.1 miles 
north of County Rd 57, the Orange Route alternative would turn 
southwest for 5.1 miles, before it would follow a general south 
orientation for another 8.8 miles to meet up with an existing Minnesota 
Power 115 kV transmission ROW. The Orange Route would continue south, 
paralleling the existing 115 kV line for 2.7 miles, then would veer 
southeast at Diamond Lake Rd and crossing U.S. Highway 169 between the 
Cities of Taconite and Marble. After crossing Highway 169, this route 
alternative would continue southeast for another 4.0 miles, crossing 
the Swam River. Approximately 0.3 miles north of Foot Lake, the route 
would then turn south for 1.1 miles, where it meets up with the 
existing Minnesota Power 115 kV line. The Orange Route would parallel 
this existing 115 kV line ROW southeast for 1.4 miles, where it would 
turn south for another 0.8 miles, terminating at the existing 
Blackberry Substation near Grand Rapids, Minnesota.
    The Blue Route Segment C2 alternative would be the same as the 
proposed Blue Route alternative until the line reaches a point roughly 
1.5 mile south from the intersection of County Road 32 and County Road 
36 in Koochiching County. From this point the Blue Route Segment C2 
alternative would follow the existing Minnkota and Minnesota Power 230 
kV transmission lines east and then head south for 47.0 miles to the 
point where the Blue Route alternative would follow the existing 
Minnkota Power 230 kV line.
    The Orange Route Segment J2 alternative would be the same as the 
Orange Route until the line would reach approximately 5.0 miles 
northeast of Kelliher. From this point, the Orange Route Segment J2 
would head southeast for 2.5 miles, turn south for 6.0 miles, and then 
proceed southeast for 1.0 mile to County Road 1. It would continue 
southeast for 1.0 mile, head east for 24.0 miles to County Road 6, 
continuing east for another 2.0 miles. The Orange Route Segment J2 
alternative would then head southeast for 3.0 miles, cross TH 1, and 
turn slightly east for 2.0 miles, crossing TH 38, where it would join 
back up with the Orange Route alternative.
    Under the No Action alternative, DOE would not grant a Presidential 
permit for the proposed project. Under the No Action alternative, the 
EIS assumes for purposes of analysis that the proposed line and 
associated facilities would not be constructed.

Identification of Environmental Issues

    The EIS will examine potential public health and safety effects and 
environmental impacts in the U.S. from the proposed transmission 
facilities. This notice is intended to inform agencies and the public 
of the proposed project, and to solicit comments and suggestions for 
consideration in the preparation of the EIS. To help the public frame 
its comments, the following is a list of examples of several potential 
environmental issues that DOE has identified for analysis:
    1. Protected, threatened, endangered, or sensitive species of 
animals or plants, or their critical habitats: The EIS will consider 
the potential effects of the construction and operation of the project 
on protected or candidate species, including the Canada lynx (federally 
listed threatened species), piping plover (federally listed threatened 
species), Western prairie fringed orchid (federally listed threatened 
species), Sprague's pipit (federally listed threatened species), 
Poweshiek skipperling (proposed federally listed endangered species as 
of October 24, 2013), Dakota skipper (proposed federally listed 
threatened species as of October 24, 2013), and Northern long-eared bat 
(proposed federally listed endangered species as of October 2, 2013).
    2. Biological resources: The EIS will consider the potential 
effects of the construction and operation of the project on shellfish, 
insects, birds and other wildlife, as well as effects on forests, 
shrubland, wetland, peatland, and grassland plant species, and the 
potential for introduction of invasive species.
    3. Floodplains and wetlands: The EIS will consider the potential 
effects of the construction and operation of the project on freshwater 
floodplains and wetlands, including those associated with peatland and 
lowland forest type vegetation, as well as calcareous fens communities.
    4. Cultural or historic resources: The EIS will consider the 
potential effects of the construction and operation of the project on 
archeological, architectural, and Traditional Cultural Properties 
(i.e., properties of religious and cultural importance), National 
Historic Landmarks, historic properties currently listed and 
potentially eligible for listing on the National Historic Register, 
prehistoric sites, and cultural landscape.
    5. Human health and safety: The EIS will consider the nature and 
potential effects of electric and magnetic fields that may be generated 
by the operation of the project.
    6. Air quality: The EIS will consider the potential effects of the 
construction and operation of the project on air quality, including the 
emission and effects of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.
    7. Soil: The EIS will consider the potential effects of the 
construction and operation of the project on the loss or disturbance of 
soils.
    8. Water resources: The EIS will consider the potential effects of 
the construction and operation of the project on a diverse set of water 
resource types that are found throughout the proposed project area 
including, but not limited to, major watersheds, public water inventory 
watercourses and basins, groundwater,

[[Page 36497]]

trout streams, and impaired water bodies.
    9. Land use: The EIS will consider the potential effects of the 
installation and operation of the project on land uses, including 
agricultural lands, parks, recreational areas, and other public lands.
    10. Visual resources: The EIS will consider the potential effects 
of the installation and operation of the project on visual resources, 
mainly from tower structures and conductors that could be viewed from 
residences and where recreational trails are either crossed or 
paralleled by route alternatives including, but not limited to, 
potential effects to recreational users of the Big Fork Canoe and Red 
Lake Canoe Trails in Koochiching County and Beltrami County, 
respectively, and Big Bog State Recreation Area in Beltrami County.
    11. Noise: The EIS will consider the potential effects of the 
installation and operation of the project on noise levels at 
location(s) along the proposed line as well as at the location(s) of 
the 500-kV Blackberry Substation and the 500 kV Series Compensation 
Station.
    12. Socioeconomics: This EIS will consider potential impacts on 
community services.
    This list is not intended to be all inclusive or to imply any 
predetermination of impacts. DOE invites interested parties to suggest 
specific issues within these general categories, or other issues not 
included above, to be considered in the EIS.

Scoping Process

    Interested parties are invited to participate in the scoping 
process, both to help define the environmental issues to be analyzed 
and to identify the range of reasonable alternatives. DOE invites 
interested agencies, organizations, Native American tribes, and members 
of the public to submit comments to assist in identifying significant 
environmental issues and in determining the appropriate scope of the 
EIS. Written and oral comments will be given equal weight. Public 
scoping meetings will be held at the locations, dates, and times as 
indicated below:
    1. Roseau, MN: Roseau Civic Center, 121 Center Street East, Roseau, 
MN, 56751; Wednesday. July 16, 2014, at 11:00 a.m.
    2. Baudette, MN: Lake of the Woods School, 236 15th Ave. SW., 
Baudette, MN, 56623; Wednesday, July 16, 2014, at 6:00 p.m.
    3. Littlefork, MN: Littlefork Community Center, 220 Main Street, 
Littlefork, MN, 56653; Thursday, July 17, 2014, at 11:00 a.m.
    4. International Falls, MN: AmericInn, 1500 Highway 71, 
International Falls, MN, 56649; Thursday, July 17, 2014, 6:00 p.m.
    5. Kelliher, MN: Kelliher Public School, 345 4th Street NW., 
Kelliher, MN, 56650; Wednesday, July 23, 2014, at 11:00 a.m.
    6. Bigfork, MN: Bigfork School, 100 Huskie Boulevard, Bigfork, MN, 
56628; Wednesday, July 23, 2014, at 6:00 p.m.
    7. Grand Rapids, MN: Sawmill Inn, 2301 South Hwy 169, Grand Rapids, 
MN, 55744; Thursday, July 24, 2014, at 11:00 a.m.
    8. Grand Rapids, MN: Sawmill Inn, 2301 South Hwy 169, Grand Rapids, 
MN, 55744; Thursday, July 24, 2014, at 6:00 p.m.
    The scoping meetings will be structured in two parts: first, a 
``workshop'' period with presentations on the proposed GNTL Project, 
and the state and federal decisions, followed by informal discussion 
that will not be recorded; and, second, the formal taking of comments 
with transcription by a court stenographer. The meetings will provide 
interested parties the opportunity to view proposed project exhibits, 
ask questions, and make comments. The Applicant, DOE, and MN DOC-EERA 
will be available to answer questions and provide additional 
information to attendees to the extent that additional information is 
available at this early stage of the proceedings.
    Persons submitting comments during the scoping process, whether 
orally or in writing, will receive either paper or electronic copies of 
the draft EIS, according to their preference. Persons who do not wish 
to submit comments or suggestions at this time but who would like to 
receive a copy of the document for review and comment when it is issued 
should notify Julie Ann Smith as provided above, with their paper-or-
electronic preference.

EIS Preparation and Schedule

    In preparing the draft EIS, DOE will consider comments submitted 
during the scoping period. They can be submitted to Julie Ann Smith 
either electronically or by paper copy; if the latter, consider using a 
delivery service because materials submitted by regular mail are 
subject to security screening, which both causes extended delay and 
potential damage to the contents. DOE will summarize all comments 
received in a ``Scoping Report'' that will be available on a project 
EIS Web site, and will be distributed either electronically to all 
parties of record for whom we have an email address, or by mailing 
paper copies upon request. DOE and the MN DOC-EERA expect to issue the 
draft GNTL EIS in February 2015 and the final EIS in July 2015.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on June 23, 2014.
Patricia A. Hoffman,
Assistant Secretary, Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy 
Reliability.
[FR Doc. 2014-15070 Filed 6-26-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6450-01-P