ABOUT THE NGS-KMC PROJECT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT – Why an Environment Impact Statement Must be Prepared
The NGS-KMC Project proposes to continue operating the NGS and Kayenta Mine for another 25 years after the current lease expires, from 2020 through the end of 2044. There is a Federal interest in the NGS, and Federal approval of the plant lease amendment is required. There also are other federal contract and permit actions that must be taken in order for the NGS to continue operations after December 2019. The Federal approval of the plant lease amendment and other federal actions, which would allow continuation of both the NGS and Kayenta Mine (the coal source for NGS) may result in significant impacts. To comply with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended, an environment impact statement (EIS) must be prepared for the proposed NGS-KMC Project.
The Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement are the three key Federal agencies involved in this proposed project. Our major roles are as follows:
- The Bureau of Reclamation is the lead agency responsible for preparing the EIS. Reclamation must approve the terms of the power plant lease amendment before the lease can be executed. Reclamation also must approve the terms of any extension of a water service contract after twenty-thirty-three (2033), for NGS’ use of Colorado River water.
- The Bureau of Indian Affairs is a key cooperating agency, and is responsible for reviewing and acting on the NGS lease amendment and extensions to rights-of-way grants on the Navajo Nation.
- The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement also is a key cooperating agency, and is responsible for reviewing the permit revision application for the Kayenta Mine, and must either approve the application, approve it with special conditions, or disapprove it, in keeping with the requirements of SMCRA.
Three action alternatives to the proposed project are evaluated in the EIS. Alternatives are other ways to provide a reliable source of power that, for the Bureau of Reclamation, would be continuously available to operate the Central Arizona Project pumps, and provide a source of revenue for the Development Fund, through 2044.
A No Federal Action Alternative, also is evaluated in the EIS. In an EIS, the No Federal Action Alternative describes what would happen if the proposed Federal actions are not taken. For this proposed project, the No Action Alternative involves closing the NGS after the lease expires in December 2019, and also closing the Kayenta Mine. The Bureau of Indian Affairs would not approve the NGS lease amendment or issue rights-of-way grants, and the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement would not approve the Kayenta Mine permit revision application.