[Federal Register Volume 87, Number 43 (Friday, March 4, 2022)]
[Pages 12484-12485]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2022-04545]



Bureau of Indian Affairs


Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Chuckwalla 
Solar Projects, Clark County, Nevada

AGENCY: Bureau of Indian Affairs, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that the Bureau of Indian 
Affairs (BIA), as the lead Federal agency, with the Bureau of Land 
Management (BLM), Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), National Park Service 
(NPS), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service (USFWS), Department of the Air Force (DAF), Nevada Department 
of Wildlife (NDOW), and the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians (Moapa Band) 
as cooperating agencies, intends to file a draft environmental impact 
statement (DEIS) with the EPA for the proposed Chuckwalla Solar 
Projects (Projects). The DEIS evaluates four photovoltaic (PV) solar 
energy generation and storage projects on the Moapa River Indian 
Reservation (Reservation) and generation interconnection (gen-tie) 
lines along with the use of existing access roads and an existing gen-
tie line located on the Reservation, Reservation lands managed by BLM, 
BLM lands, and private land. This notice also announces that the DEIS 
is now available for public review and that public meetings will be 
held to solicit comments on the DEIS.

DATES: In order to be fully considered, written comments on the DEIS 
must arrive no later than 45 days after EPA publishes its Notice of 
Availability in the Federal Register.
    Meeting dates: The dates and times of the virtual public meetings 
will be published in the Las Vegas Review-Journal and Moapa Valley 
Progress and on the following website 15 days before the public 
meetings: www.chuckwallasolarprojectsEIS.com.

ADDRESSES: You may mail, email, hand carry or telefax written comments 
to Mr. Chip Lewis, Regional Environmental Protection Officer, BIA 
Western Regional Office, Branch of Environmental Quality Services, 2600 
North Central Avenue, 4th Floor Mail Room, Phoenix, Arizona 85004-3008. 
Comment may also be sent via email to: [email protected] or on the 
Projects website at www.ChuckwallaSolarProjectsEIS.com. Please see the 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this notice for directions on 
submitting comments. The public meetings can be joined online through 
the Projects website at www.ChuckwallaSolarProjectsEIS.com.

Office, Branch of Environmental Quality Services at 602-379-6750 or Mr. 
Garry Cantley at 602-379-6750. Individuals in the United States who are 
deaf, deafblind, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability may dial 
711 (TTY, TDD, or TeleBraille) to access telecommunications relay 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The proposed Federal action, taken under 25 
U.S.C. 415, is the BIA's approval of a solar energy ground lease and 
associated agreements entered into by the Moapa Band with EDF 
Renewables Development, Inc. (Applicant). The agreements provide for 
construction, operation and maintenance (O&M), and eventual 
decommissioning of the four PV electricity generation and battery 
storage facilities located entirely on the Reservation and specifically 
on lands held in trust for the Moapa Band, in Clark County Nevada.
    The PV electricity generation and battery storage facilities would 
be located on up to 6,500 acres of tribal trust land (1,977 acres for 
Project 1A, 689 acres for Project 1B, 1,573 acres for Project 2, and 
2,016 acres for Project 3) and would have a combined capacity of up to 
700 megawatts (MW)--200 MW for 1A, 50 MW for 1B, 200 MW for 2 and 250 
MW for 3. The four solar Projects include the solar fields, access 
roads, temporary water pipeline and connection with an existing 
transmission gen-tie line.
    Projects 1A and 1B would be built at the same time and would take 
up to 20 months. Construction of Projects 2 and 3 would each also take 
up to 20 months. The electricity generation and storage facilities are 
expected to be operated for up to 35 years under the terms of the 
leases, with time for construction and decommissioning. Major onsite 
facilities include multiple blocks of solar PV panels mounted on fixed 
tilt or tracking systems, pad mounted inverters and transformers, 
battery storage, access roads, and O&M facilities. Water will be

[[Page 12485]]

needed during construction for dust control and a minimal amount will 
be needed during operations for administrative and sanitary water use 
and for panel washing. The water supply required for the Projects would 
be leased from the Moapa Band. Access to the Projects will be provided 
via North Las Vegas Boulevard from the I-15/US 93 interchange.
    The purposes of the proposed Projects are, among other things, to: 
(1) Provide a long-term, diverse, and viable economic revenue base and 
job opportunities for the Moapa Band; (2) assist Nevada to meet their 
State renewable energy needs; and (3) 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 Moapa Band.
    The BIA and BLM will use the EIS to make decisions on the land 
lease and right-of-way applications under their respective 
jurisdiction; the BOR will use the document to make a decision 
regarding the approval of an interconnection agreement, the NPS and EPA 
may use the document to make decisions under its authorities; the Moapa 
Band may use the DEIS to make decisions under its Environmental Policy 
Ordinance; and the USFWS may use the DEIS to support its decision under 
the Endangered Species Act.
    Directions for Submitting Comments: Please include your name, 
return address and the caption: ``DEIS Comments, Proposed Chuckwalla 
Solar Projects'' on the first page of your written comments. You may 
also submit comments verbally during one of the virtual public meeting 
presentations or provide written comments to the address listed above 
in the ADDRESSES section.
    To help protect the public and limit the spread of the COVID-19 
virus, virtual public meetings will be held, where team members will 
provide a short presentation and remain available to discuss and answer 
questions. The PowerPoint presentation will be posted to the project 
website prior to the virtual meetings. Those who cannot live stream the 
presentation would be able to access the meeting presentation on the 
website and could join by telephone. Additionally, the live 
presentation will be recorded and made accessible for viewing 
throughout the comment period. The first public meeting will be held in 
the afternoon by video and telephone conference and the second public 
meeting will be held in the evening by video and telephone conference. 
The dates, times, and access information for the virtual meetings will 
be included in notices to be published in the Las Vegas Review-Journal 
and Moapa Valley Progress and on the project website at 
www.chuckwallasolarprojectsEIS.com 15 days before the meetings.
    Locations Where the DEIS is Available for Review: The DEIS will be 
available for review at: BIA Western Regional Office, 2600 North 
Central Avenue, 12th Floor, Suite 210, Phoenix, Arizona; BIA Southern 
Paiute Agency, 180 North 200 East, Suite 111, St. George, Utah; and the 
BLM Southern Nevada District Office, 4701 North Torrey Pines Drive, Las 
Vegas, Nevada. The DEIS is also available online at: 
    To obtain an electronic copy of the DEIS, please provide your name 
and address in writing or by voicemail to Mr. Chip Lewis or Mr. Garry 
Cantley. Their contact information is listed in the FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT section of this notice. Individual paper copies of 
the DEIS will be provided only upon request.
    Public Comment Availability: Written comments, including names and 
addresses of respondents, will be available for public review at the 
BIA Western Regional Office, at the mailing address shown in the 
ADDRESSES section during regular business hours, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 
p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. Before including your 
address, telephone 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. 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: This notice is published in accordance with section 
1503.1 of the Council on Environmental Quality regulations (40 CFR 1500 
et seq.) and the Department of the Interior Regulations (43 CFR part 
46) implementing the procedural requirements of the National 
Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), and in accordance 
with the exercise of authority delegated to the Principal Deputy 
Assistant Secretary--Indian Affairs by part 209 of the Department 

Bryan Newland,
Assistant Secretary--Indian Affairs.
[FR Doc. 2022-04545 Filed 3-3-22; 8:45 am]