[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 20 (Thursday, January 30, 2020)]
[Pages 5467-5469]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-01708]



Bureau of Indian Affairs


Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Arrow Canyon 
Solar Project on the Moapa River Indian Reservation, Clark County, 

AGENCY: Bureau of Indian Affairs, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent.


SUMMARY: The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), as lead agency in 
cooperation with the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians (Moapa Band) and 
other agencies, intends to prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact 
Statement (SEIS) that will evaluate the expansion of the previously 
approved Moapa Solar Energy Center (MSEC) Project on the Moapa River 
Indian Reservation (Reservation). This project is now referred to as 
the Arrow Canyon Solar Project (Project) and this notice announces the 
beginning of the scoping process to solicit public comments and 
identify potential issues related to the expansion. It also announces 
that two public scoping meetings will be held in Nevada to identify 
potential issues, alternatives, and mitigation to be considered in the 

DATES: Written comments on the scope of the Project or implementation 
of the proposal must arrive by Monday, March 2, 2020. The dates and 
locations of the public scoping meetings will be published in the Las 
Vegas Sun, Las Vegas Review-Journal, and Moapa Valley Progress at least 
15 days before the scoping meetings.

ADDRESSES: You may mail, email, or hand carry written comments to Mr. 
Chip Lewis, BIA Western Regional Office, 2600 North Central Avenue, 4th 
Floor Mailroom, Phoenix, Arizona 85004; email: [email protected].

Office; telephone: (602) 379-6750; email: [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The proposed Federal action, taken under 25 
U.S.C. 415, is BIA's approval of an amendment of the solar energy 
ground lease and related agreements entered into by the Moapa Band with 

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Solar LLC allowing the expansion of the solar field previously approved 
for the MSEC Project. The agreements provide for construction, 
operation and maintenance (O&M), and decommissioning of a 200-megawatt 
(MW) alternating current solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity generation 
facility located entirely on the Reservation and specifically on Tribal 
lands held in trust by BIA for the Moapa Band. The MSEC Project was 
originally developed by Moapa Solar LLC and approved in 2014. It 
included an 850-acre solar site on the Reservation and associated 
rights-of-way (ROWs) on Bureau of Land Management (BLM)-managed lands 
for an access road, gen-tie line, and water pipeline. BIA and BLM 
issued Records of Decision (RODs) in May 2014 and BLM issued a ROW in 
August 2015 for the linear facilities. In March 2017, EDF Renewables 
Development, Inc. (EDFR) purchased the MSEC Project from the original 
owner and renamed the Project the Arrow Canyon Solar Project. EDFR 
subsequently transferred the project to Arrow Canyon Solar, LLC 
(Applicant). The Applicant currently plans to expand the solar field on 
the Reservation from 850 acres to 2,200 acres. This expansion would 
occur on Tribal lands identified by the Moapa Band adjacent to the 
originally approved MSEC site. The linear facilities (i.e. main access 
road, 230kV gen-tie line, and permanent buried water pipeline) 
previously approved by the BLM would remain part of the Project 
description and as previously evaluated; therefore, these facilities 
will not need to be reevaluated in the SEIS. The 2,200-acre solar site 
would be located in all or parts of Sections 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, and 33 
in Township 16 South, Range 64 East; and part of Section 7 in Township 
17 South, Range 64 East, Mount Diablo Meridian, Nevada. Access to the 
Project would be provided from I-15, US-93, and North Las Vegas 
Boulevard via the 2.5-mile access road previously approved by BLM. The 
solar project would interconnect to the regional grid via the 
previously approved 7.1-mile 230kV generation-tie transmission line on 
BLM-managed Federal lands that would connect the solar facility to NV 
Energy's Harry Allen 230kV substation. The Applicant is expected to 
operate the energy facility for up to 35 years under the terms of the 
solar lease with the Moapa Band. The Project is expected to be built in 
one phase of 200 MW to meet an existing Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) 
for the output of the Project. Major components of the solar site would 
include multiple blocks of solar PV panels mounted on tracking systems, 
H-beam or pad mounted inverters, transformers, collection lines, 
battery storage facilities, project substation, and O&M facilities. 
Construction of the Project is expected to take approximately 18 to 20 
months. Water will be needed during construction for dust control and a 
minimal amount will be needed during operations for administrative and 
sanitary water use and up to two panel washings annually. The water 
supply required for the Project would be leased from the Moapa Band and 
delivered to the site via the previously approved water pipeline.
    The purposes of the proposed Project are, among other things, to: 
(1) Help to provide a long-term, diverse, and viable economic revenue 
base and job opportunities for the Moapa Band; (2) meet the terms of 
the existing PPA for the output of the Project; (3) help Nevada and 
neighboring States to meet their State renewable energy needs; and (4) 
allow the Moapa Band, in partnership with the Applicant, to optimize 
the use of the lease site while maximizing the potential economic 
benefit to the Tribe. BIA will prepare the SEIS in cooperation with the 
Moapa Band, BLM, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW). 
In addition, the National Park Service (NPS) will provide input on the 
analysis. The resulting SEIS will aim to; (1) provide agency decision 
makers, the Moapa Band, and the general public with a comprehensive 
understanding of the impacts of the proposed expansion of the solar 
field on the Reservation; (2) describe the cumulative impacts of 
increased development on the Reservation; and (3) identify and propose 
mitigation measures that would minimize or prevent significant adverse 
impacts. Consistent with these objectives, the SEIS will focus on the 
expansion of the solar field and analyze the proposed expansion and 
appurtenant features, viable alternatives, and the No Action 
alternative. Other alternatives may be identified in response to issues 
raised during the scoping process. The SEIS will provide a framework 
for BIA to make decisions and determine whether to amend the existing 
lease agreement to include the expanded Project footprint. In addition, 
BIA will use and coordinate the NEPA commenting process to satisfy its 
obligations under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act 
(NHPA) (16 U.S.C. 470f) as provided for in 36 CFR 800.2(d)(3). Tribal 
consultation will be conducted in accordance with policy, and Tribal 
concerns will be given due consideration, including impacts on Indian 
trust assets. Other Federal agencies may rely on the SEIS to make 
decisions under their authority and the Moapa Band may also use the 
SEIS to make decisions under their Tribal Environmental Policy 
Ordinance. USFWS will review the SEIS for consistency with the 
Endangered Species Act, as amended, and other implementing acts and may 
rely on the SEIS to support its decisions and opinions regarding the 
Project. Issues to be addressed in the SEIS analysis may include, but 
would not be limited to, Project impacts on water resources, biological 
resources, threatened and endangered species, cultural resources, 
Native American religious concerns, and aesthetics. In addition to 
those resource topics identified above, Federal, State, and local 
agencies, along with other stakeholders that may be interested or 
affected by the BIA's decision on the proposed Project, are invited to 
participate in the scoping process to identify additional issues to be 

Directions for Submission of Public Comments

    Please include your name, return address, and the caption ``SEIS, 
Arrow Canyon Solar Project,'' on the first page of any written 
comments. You may also submit comments at the public scoping meetings. 
The public scoping meetings will be held to further describe the 
Project and identify potential issues and alternatives to be considered 
in the SEIS. The first public scoping meeting will be held on the 
Reservation and the other public scoping meeting will be held in Las 
Vegas, Nevada. The dates of the public scoping meetings will be 
included in notices to be posted in the Las Vegas Sun, Las Vegas 
Review-Journal, and Moapa Valley Progress 15 days before the meetings.

Public Comment Availability

    Comments, including names and addresses of respondents, will be 
available for public review at the mailing address shown in the 
ADDRESSES section during regular business hours, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 
Monday through Friday, except holidays. 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.

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    This notice is published in accordance with 40 CFR 1501.7 of the 
Council of Environmental Quality regulations and 43 CFR 46.235 of the 
Department of the Interior regulations implementing the procedural 
requirements of the NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), and in accordance 
with the exercise of authority delegated to Assistant Secretary--Indian 
Affairs by part 209 of the Department Manual.

    Dated: January 23, 2020.
Tara Sweeney,
Assistant Secretary--Indian Affairs.
[FR Doc. 2020-01708 Filed 1-29-20; 8:45 am]