Energy Gateway South

From Open Energy Information


NEPA Document Collection for: Energy Gateway South
EIS

Environmental Impact Statement and Land Use Plan Amendments for the Energy Gateway South Transmission Project

Proposed Action

The Project is being constructed as part of the Applicant’s Energy GatewayProgram for transmission expansion. The Project includes the following: -Construction, operation, and maintenance of a 500kV single-circuit, AC transmission line from the Aeolus Substation near Medicine Bow in Carbon County, Wyoming to the Clover Substation near Mona in Juab County, Utah, a distance of 400 to 540 miles depending on the route selected -Two series compensation stations, at points between the Aeolus and Clover substations, to improve the transport capacity and efficiency of the transmission line -Communication regeneration stations (every 55 miles) -Rebuild two existing 345kV transmission lines between the Clover and Mona Substations (in existing right-of-way) -Reroute the Mona to Huntington 345kV transmission line through the Clover Substation

Conditions of Approval

Final EIS not yet released; no ROD issued.

Data Completion Notes

Document library updated May 2016: http://www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/info/NEPA/documents/hdd/gateway_south/docs.html

Documents

EA/EIS Report:



 

Resource Analysis

Resource Not
Present
Present,
Not
Affected
Present,
Potentially
Affected
Not
Indicated
Comment Applicant
Proposed
Mitigation
Agency
Imposed
Mitigation
Access and Transportation
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

   
Fire Resources
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

Vegetation removal would inhibit natural fire cycles to occur.

   
Fisheries Resources
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

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  • All construction-vehicle movement outside the right-of-way would be restricted to predesignated access, contractor-acquired access, public roads, or overland travel approved in advance by the applicable land-management agency, unless authorized by the CIC. This design feature would reduce traffic in areas susceptible to erosion and sedimentation to aquatic habits supporting fish and aquatic resources.
  • Design Feature 27 (construction activity access restriction). The spatial limits of construction activities, including vehicle movement, would be predetermined with activity restricted to and confined within those limits. No paint or permanent discoloring agents indicating survey or construction limits would be applied to rocks, vegetation, structures, fences, etc. This design feature would minimize the likelihood that activities related to construction, operation, and maintenance would result in direct or indirect impacts on fish and aquatic resources by limiting the proximity of those activities to sensitive aquatic habitats.
  • Design Feature 28 (personnel instruction). Prior to construction, the CIC would instruct all personnel on the protection of cultural, ecological, and other natural resources such as (a) federal and state laws regarding antiquities, paleontological resources, and plants and wildlife, including collection and removal; (b) the importance of these resources; (c) the purpose and necessity of protecting them; and (d) reporting and procedures for stop work. Application of this design feature will minimize impacts on fish and aquatic resources throughout the Project corridor, but especially in areas where aquatic habitats or special status species were not previously known to occur prior to commencement of construction.
  • Design Feature 30 (hazardous materials). Hazardous material would not be drained onto the ground or into streams or drainage areas. Totally enclosed containment would be provided for all trash. All construction waste, including trash and litter, garbage, other solid waste, petroleum products, and other potentially hazardous materials would be removed to a disposal facility authorized to accept such materials within one week of Project completion. A Spill Pollution Prevention, Containment, and Countermeasures Plan Framework, will be developed as part of the Project plan of development (POD). This design feature would be used to prevent exposure of aquatic habitats to harmful materials and would minimize the potential for direct and indirect impacts on fish and aquatic resources resulting from Project activities.
  • Design Feature 33 (riparian area avoidance). Refueling and storing potentially hazardous materials would not occur within a 100-foot radius of a water body, a 200-foot radius of all identified private water wells, and a 400-foot radius of all identified municipal or community water wells. Spill preventive and containment measures or practices would be incorporated as needed.
 
Geology and Minerals
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

   
Invasive, Nonnative Species
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

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  • A noxious weed management plan would be developed and approved by the BLM, USFS, and county weed management officer and incorporated into the POD. This plan would include specific measures to be taken to reduce the spread of noxious weeds associated with Project construction activities. Implementation of this design feature would minimize spread of noxious weed species in the Project area and the associated negative ecological effects of invasive species such as increased wildfire risk (Balch et al. 2012) and the competitive exclusion of special status plant species.
  • All construction vehicle movement would be restricted to predesignated access roads. This design feature would minimize disturbance to special status plant habitat and populations from excess overland travel and the associated potential increased spread of noxious weeds and wildfire risk.
 
Soils
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

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  • Existing access roads and/or trails would not be widened or otherwise upgraded for construction and maintenance in areas, where soils and vegetation are particularly sensitive to disturbance, except in areas where repairs are necessary to make existing roads/trails passable and safe determined by the land-management agency. Avoiding unnecessary access road upgrades within 300 feet of outstanding water, impaired water, perennial streams, and intermittent streams would limit the amount of surface disturbance. Limiting ground disturbance in proximity to lotic water would reduce the potential for direct and indirect effects such as soil compaction and/or decompaction, loss of soil stabilizing vegetation, and increase potential for erosion and sediment transport.
  • Sensitive Resources Avoidance – There will be no blading of new access roads in certain areas of sensitive resources (e.g., perennial streams, riparian areas, wetlands, historic trails) during construction (or maintenance). In these particular areas, existing crossings will be used at perennial streams, national recreation trails, and irrigation channels and existing or overland access routes are to be used for construction and maintenance in these select areas. Every crossing must be identified and a crossing plan developed. To minimize ground disturbance, overland routes must be flagged with easily seen markers, and the route must be approved in advance. Avoiding blading in areas with sensitive resources would reduce ground disturbance in these area reducing the potential for increased sedimentation into water bodies or loss of soil resources. Use of well-defined overland routes would reduce removal of surface vegetation maintaining soil and land surface stability.
  • Minimize Slope Cut and Fill – The alignment of any new access roads or cross-country routes in designated areas would follow the landform contours where practicable to minimize ground disturbance and/or reduce scarring (visual contrast) of the landscape, providing that such alignment does not impact other resource values. In addition to reducing ground disturbance associated with the construction of new access roads, modification to the size and/or configuration of the permanent structure pads facilitated by minor structure design adjustments would allow cut and fill slopes to be minimized and contoured to blend with existing topography to the extent practicable. Following the existing land contours and terrain, particularly in steep terrain, minimizes the cutting and filling of slopes where soil resources are particularly sensitive to surface disturbance.
  • Minimize New or Improved Accessibility – To limit new or improved access into the Project area, as well as earthwork associated with the construction of structure pads in extremely steep terrain, all new or improved access (e.g., blading, widening existing access) and structure pads that would not be required for maintenance would be closed or rehabilitated using the most effective and least environmentally damaging methods, appropriate to that area and developed through consultation with the landowner or land-management agency. Methods for road closure or management include installing and locking gates, obstructing the path (e.g., earthen berms, boulders, redistribution of woody debris), revegetating and mulching the surface of the roadbed to make it less apparent, restoring the road to its natural contour and vegetation, or constructing waterbars to ensure proper drainage. Structure pads would be contoured to match existing grade and revegetate to the extent practicable to reduce their visual dominance in extremely steep terrain. Closure of access roads that are not needed for Project maintenance or repairs would allow these access roads to be fully rehabilitated reducing long- term effects on sensitive resources. Beyond returning the road to as close to its natural state as possible, road closure would remove the road from the transportation system and unauthorized use by public including off-highway vehicles. Restricting access would reduce the potential for unauthorized travel on the road that potentially would result in impacts on soil resources such as accelerated erosion.
  • Span and/or Avoid Sensitive Features – Within the limits of standard structure design and in conformance with engineering and Applicant requirements, structures would be located to allow conductors to clearly span identified sensitive features. Structures would be placed so as to avoid sensitive features, including, but not limited to, wetlands, riparian areas, water courses, hazardous substance remediation, and cultural sites. Avoidance measures may include selective structure placement, spanning sensitive features, or realigning access routes. Spanning and/or avoiding sensitive features would allow very specific alterations to the standard transmission line structure placements, either varying the distance between structure sites or moving the individual structure sites laterally relative to the general centerline to reduce or avoid impacting localized areas of sensitive resources.
 
Special Status Species
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseSpecial status species would be considered in accordance with management policies set forth by land-management agencies. All actions that could affect federally listed plants would be subject to the conditions established during Section 7 consultation. Surveys for special status plants would be conducted prior to construction in suitable habitat (as designated by appropriate land-management agencies) along the proposed transmission line route and in vicinities of Project facilities to be constructed (e.g., access and spur roads, staging areas, etc.). Survey protocols accepted or recommended by BLM, USFS, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and state agencies would be followed, as appropriate. Actions would be taken to avoid adverse impacts on special status plant populations and habitat where identified, which may include altering the placement of roads or towers, as practicable, and special reclamation measures (e.g., seed collection for revegetation, relocation of plants out of the right-of-way). Monitoring of identified special status plant populations and habitat also may be required in cases for which this need is identified by land-management agencies. This design feature would minimize adverse impacts on special status plants through the exact identification of populations and habitats and the establishment of site-specific avoidance and monitoring objectives.
  • Avoid special status species where at all possible.
  • All Project personnel would be instructed in the importance, purpose, necessity, and regulations of protecting natural resources. Instruction would also be given for reporting and stop-work procedures in the event of a resource conflict. This would minimize impacts on special status plant habitat and populations throughout the Project corridor, especially in habitat areas that may not have been identified prior to commencement of construction.
  • Selective Mitigation Measure 1 (minimization of disturbance to sensitive soils and vegetation). Existing access roads/trails would not be widened or otherwise upgraded for construction and maintenance in areas where soils and vegetation are particularly sensitive to disturbance, except in areas where repairs are necessary to make existing roads/trails passable and safe as determined by the land-management agency. This would minimize impacts on habitats for special status plant species.
  • Selective Mitigation Measure 2 (avoidance of sensitive resources). No blading of new access roads would occur in certain resource areas (e.g., special status plant habitats and populations) where feasible. Existing roads would be used in these areas. This mitigation measure would minimize degradation and fragmentation of special status plant species habitat.
  • Selective Mitigation Measure 3 (minimization of slope cut and fill). The alignment of any new access roads or cross-country routes in designated areas would follow the landform contours where practicable. This mitigation would minimize ground disturbance and potential habitat fragmentation for special status plant species.
  • Selective Mitigation Measure 5 (minimization of new or improved Project accessibility). All new or improved access that would not be required for maintenance would be closed or rehabilitated following Project construction using the most effective and least environmentally damaging methods. This would limit public access to special status plant populations and habitat and thereby reduce continued anthropogenic disturbance in these areas, as well as potentially mitigate any habitat losses or fragmentation due to these road features.
  • Selective Mitigation Measure 7 (spanning or avoiding of sensitive features). Project structures would be located to allow conductors to span or avoid identified sensitive features, such as special status plant populations and habitat. This mitigation measure would reduce overall special status plant habitat destruction and fragmentation in the Project area.
  • Selective Mitigation Measure 15 (limiting accessibility in sensitive habitats). Where feasible, access roads that traverse sensitive habitats would be gated or otherwise blocked to limit public access. This would minimize impacts on habitats for special status plant species.
 
Threatened and Endangered Species
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseIn cases for which such species are identified, appropriate action would be taken to avoid adverse impacts on the species and its habitat, which may include altering the placement of roads or towers, where practicable as approved by the landowner and compliance inspection contractor (CIC), as well as monitoring activities. This design feature would avoid areas of particular concern due to the inhabitation of special status species or critical habitats reducing the potential for indirect and/or direct effects on special status fish and aquatic resources
 
Vegetation
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

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  • Vegetation would be left in place wherever possible where recontouring is not required. This would minimize damage to habitats and populations of special status plant species through the minimization of vegetation disturbance in general.
  • Areas subject to ground disturbance would be recontoured and revegetated as required by the land-management agency or landowner. This would generally include reseeding with a seed mix (approved by the BLM or USFS, as appropriate, or as negotiated by individual landowners) appropriate to the vegetation community in which the disturbance has occurred. Reseeding treatments on federally managed lands where sensitive plants occur or have the potential to occur would be established in coordination with the BLM and USFS, as appropriate. This design feature would minimize the temporal scope of disturbance and decrease the likelihood that a disturbance area would be colonized by invasive species, as well as providing the best opportunity for an area to return to functioning as habitat for special status species. A Reclamation, Revegetation, and Monitoring Framework Plan identifying reclamation requirements and stipulations would be developed and incorporated in the Project plan of development (POD), which would be approved by the BLM and USFS prior to the issuance of a right-of-way grant or special-use authorization, respectively. Selective Mitigation Measure 1 (minimization of disturbance to sensitive soils and vegetation). Existing access roads/trails would not be widened or otherwise upgraded for construction and maintenance in areas where soils and vegetation are particularly sensitive to disturbance, except in areas where repairs are necessary to make existing roads/trails passable and safe as determined by the land-management agency. This would minimize impacts on habitats for special status plant species.
  • Selective Mitigation Measure 2 (avoidance of sensitive resources). No blading of new access roads would occur in certain resource areas (e.g., special status plant habitats and populations) where feasible. Existing roads would be used in these areas. This mitigation measure would minimize degradation and fragmentation of special status plant species habitat.
  • Selective Mitigation Measure 3 (minimization of slope cut and fill). The alignment of any new access roads or cross-country routes in designated areas would follow the landform contours where practicable. This mitigation would minimize ground disturbance and potential habitat fragmentation for special status plant species.
  • Selective Mitigation Measure 5 (minimization of new or improved Project accessibility). All new or improved access that would not be required for maintenance would be closed or rehabilitated following Project construction using the most effective and least environmentally damaging methods. This would limit public access to special status plant populations and habitat and thereby reduce continued anthropogenic disturbance in these areas, as well as potentially mitigate any habitat losses or fragmentation due to these road features.
  • Selective Mitigation Measure 7 (spanning or avoiding of sensitive features). Project structures would be located to allow conductors to span or avoid identified sensitive features, such as special status plant populations and habitat. This mitigation measure would reduce overall special status plant habitat destruction and fragmentation in the Project area.
  • Selective Mitigation Measure 15 (limiting accessibility in sensitive habitats). Where feasible, access roads that traverse sensitive habitats would be gated or otherwise blocked to limit public access. This would minimize impacts on habitats for special status plant species.
 
Visual Resources
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

   
Wastes Hazardous or Solid
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseHazardous materials would be contained and removed to a disposal facility and not drained into the ground, streams, or drainages. This design feature would minimize degradation to special status plant species habitat due to Project activities.
 
Wildlife Resources
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

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  • Preconstruction nest and winter roost surveys would be conducted in suitable bald eagle habitat (Design Feature 3), and seasonal and spatial restrictions would be implemented during construction and maintenance to reduce disturbance to roosting or wintering bald eagles (Selective Mitigation Measure 12 and Design Feature 8). In the event that bald eagle winter roosts or nests are located during preconstruction surveys, access roads constructed for the Project would be closed following construction (Selective Mitigation Measure 15) to reduce disturbance to roosting or nesting bald eagles. Potential for mortality to bald eagles from collision with transmission structures would be reduced by implementing avian-safe transmission line design standards (Design Feature 4). Furthermore, due to the phase-to-phase, and phase-to-ground separation of components of 500kV transmission lines, electrocution of bald eagles would not be possible on the transmission line.
  • Impacts would be minimized through the use of avian-safe transmission line design standards (Design Feature 4) that would reduce the potential for avian collisions with the transmission line. Due to the separation of components of 500kV transmission lines, and the small body size and wing span of the flammulated owl, electrocution would not be possible on the transmission line. In addition, preconstruction nest surveys would be conducted in potentially suitable flammulated owl habitat (Design Feature 3), and seasonal and spatial restrictions would be implemented during construction and maintenance to avoid disturbing flammulated owls during sensitive breeding periods (Selective Mitigation Measure 12 and Design Feature 8). Project access roads would be closed in the event that flammulated owl nests are located during preconstruction surveys and if new access roads are likely to facilitate increased human use and disturbance of these areas (Selective Mitigation Measure 15). After application of design features and selective mitigation measures, impacts on potentially suitable flammulated owl habitat on all three national forests from all alternative routes would be limited to localized loss and modification of potentially suitable flammulated owl habitat.