NEPA/NHPA/ESA Activities

National Environmental Policy Act

Reclamation, OSMRE, and BIA, are working with the consulting firm, AECOM, using an interdisciplinary approach to develop the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).  Technical subgroups currently are working to gather data and overseeing additional studies that are needed for the following resources:  Air quality; biological resources including native fish; cultural resources; socioeconomics, including environmental justice; and water resources.  The following studies have been undertaken in support of preparing the EIS:  Air dispersion modeling analyses; water modeling of the Navajo aquifer (N-aquifer); groundwater quality data reviews; springs/seeps inventory; human health and ecological risk assessments.

A notice of intent to prepare an EIS was issued on May 13, 2014 in the Federal Register.  Ten public scoping meetings were held June 10 through June 20, 2014, in the following Arizona locations:  Window Rock, Forest Lake, Kayenta, Shonto, LeChee, and Tuba City on the Navajo Reservation; Kykotsmovi on the Hopi Reservation; and Page, Phoenix, and Marana.  At the request of the Hopi Tribal Chairman, an additional scoping meeting was held August 14, 2014, on the Hopi Reservation on Third Mesa; two community outreach meetings also were held on First and Second Mesas on August 13, 2014.  A notice announcing the additional scoping meeting, as well as reopening of the public scoping comment period through August 31, 2014, was published in the Federal Register on July 25, 2014.  A scoping summary report is available [here] or the report and additional information from the scoping process can be accessed by clicking on the “Public Scoping” heading in the left sidebar. For more information please contact Sandra Eto, at seto@usbr.gov.

A notice of availability and notice of public meetings for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement was issued on September 30, 2016 in the Federal Register. On November 21, 2016 a notice was published in the Federal Register to extend the comment period from November 29, 2016 through December 29, 2016, to respond to public requests for additional review time. Click here for more information on the Draft EIS including the public meeting schedule and locations.

National Historic Preservation Act

National Historic Preservation Act, Section 106, studies being undertaken to support the EIS include: a Class I cultural resource overview of the area of potential effect (APE); a data quality assessment survey of a sample of the areas proposed to be mined at the KMC; and and ethnographic surveys for the Navajo Nation and the Hopi Tribe.  Future work includes Class III cultural resource surveys of the Western and Southern Transmission systems, a Class III cultural resource survey of the areas to be mined at KMC; ethnographic studies with the Zuni Tribe, and an ethnographic overview for the power line areas.

Cultural Resources Update Meetings (CRUMs) informed interested agencies, non-governmental organizations, and the general public on the approach and progress in complying with Section 106 for the NGS-KMC Project. Three meetings were held at the Northern Arizona Museum in Flagstaff, Arizona—on October 30, 2013, May 15, 2014 and December 2, 2014.  View summaries of the discussions at each of these meetings by clicking the link on the appropriate date in the previous sentence, or by using the “Documents” tab, above.
For more information please contact Mark Slaughter at mslaughter@usbr.gov.

Endangered Species Act

The following studies are being undertaken in support of the EIS and preparation of the Biological Assessment (BA) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA):  Electrical Power Research Institute (EPRI) air quality and watershed modeling evaluation; San Juan ecological risk assessment; Navajo Generating Station (NGS) near field ecological risk assessment; Kayenta Mine Complex (KMC) ecological risk assessment; and a NGS Gap Region ecological risk assessment.
Reclamation has submitted to the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) a list of the federally-protected species that will be considered for analysis in the BA being prepared for the NGS-KMC Project.  Other special status species and biological resources will be included in the EIS analysis. View the letter from Reclamation to the FWS dated February 12, 2015 [here] and their response to Reclamation dated March 11, 2015 [here]. Access information pertinent to the Endangered Species Act by using the “Documents” tab, above.
For more information, please contact Carol Evans at caevans@usbr.gov.