[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 100 (Friday, May 22, 2020)]
[Pages 31208-31209]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-11048]



Bureau of Reclamation

[RR03240000, XXXR4079V4, RX122562102010000]

Termination of Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental 
Impact Statement for the Navajo Generating Station-Kayenta Mine Complex

AGENCY: Bureau of Reclamation, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: The Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) is terminating 
preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Navajo 
Generating Station-Kayenta Mine Complex (NGS-KMC). The proposed action 
was modified in 2017, and Reclamation determined that an Environmental 
Assessment (EA) rather than an EIS was the appropriate level of 
environmental documentation for the modified proposed action. An EA was 
prepared on an Extension Lease by Reclamation and the Bureau of Indian 
Affairs (BIA)-Navajo Region as joint lead agencies. Signed Findings of 
No Signficiant Impact (FONSI) were announced to the public on November 
30, 2017.

Reclamation, Phoenix Area Office, 6150 West Thunderbird Road, Glendale, 
AZ 85306-4001; telephone (623) 773-6211; facsimile (623) 773-6480; 
email [email protected]. Persons who use a telecommunications device for 
the deaf may call the Federal Relay Service (Fed Relay) at 1-800-877-
8339 TTY/ASCII to contact the above individual during normal business 
hours or to leave a message or question(s) after hours. You will 
receive a reply during normal business hours.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Pursuant to the National Environmental 
Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 4231-4347; the Council 
on Environmental Quality's Regulations for Implementing the Procedural 
Provisions of NEPA, 40 CFR parts 1500 through 1508; and the Department 
of the Interior's regulations, 43 CFR part 46, a Notice of Intent to 
prepare the EIS for the NGS-KMC Project was published in the Federal 
Register on May 16, 2014 (79 FR 28546). Under the proposed action, 
Reclamation and other federal agencies would provide federal approvals 
and/or decisions necessary to continue the operation and maintenance of 
the NGS-KMC facilities through December 2044.
    Publication of the Federal Register notice was followed with a 
public scoping period that ended on July 7, 2014. The Draft EIS was 
made available for public review and comment from September 30 to 
December 29, 2016.
    On February 13, 2017, the utility owners of NGS-KMC (Lessees) 
issued a statement indicating they no longer intended to operate NGS-
KMC after expiration of the existing 1969 Lease, on December 22, 2019, 
citing the rapidly changing economics of the energy industry. The 
statement also confirmed the Lessees would be willing to operate NGS-
KMC through December 2019, if all necessary agreements were reached 
with the Navajo Nation, to allow for retirement of NGS-KMC within 5 
years. The EIS proposed action was modified and Reclamation determined 
that an EA, rather than an EIS, was the appropriate

[[Page 31209]]

level of environmental documentation for the modified proposed action.


    The 1969 Lease allowed one additional year after December 2019 for 
retirement of NGS-KMC. Subsequent planning studies indicated 2 or more 
years would likely be required to complete this work. In addition, 30 
years of post-closure testing, monitoring, and reporting (post-closure 
activities) would be required. The Lessees along with the Navajo Nation 
agreed to a new lease, called the Extension Lease, which would enable 
NGS-KMC to continue to operate through December 22, 2019, and allow up 
to 5 years to complete retirement activities, and allow up to an 
additional 30 years for implementing post-closure activities. The 
Extension Lease became effective on December 1, 2017, following the 
Department of the Interior approvals.
    Reclamation and BIA-Navajo Region issued an EA and draft FONSIs for 
public comment beginning October 5, 2017. Comments from 10 entities 
were received. Reclamation and BIA-Navajo Region issued final signed 
FONSIs on November 27, and November 28, respectively. The Extension 
Lease and all accompanying documents were signed by then Principal 
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs on November 29, 2017. The 
Final Environmental Assessment For The Navajo Generating Station 
Extension Lease and the Final Finding of No Significant Impact for the 
Navajo Generating Station Extension Lease were announced to the public 
on November 30, 2017; therefore, the completion of the original EIS has 
been cancelled.

    Dated: May 18, 2020.
Stacy L. Wade,
 Deputy Regional Director, Interior Region 8: Lower Colorado Basin, 
Bureau of Reclamation.
[FR Doc. 2020-11048 Filed 5-21-20; 8:45 am]