San Juan Basin EC

From Open Energy Information


NEPA Document Collection for: San Juan Basin EC
EIS

San Juan Basin Energy Connect Project Environmental Impact Statement

Proposed Action

The proposed 65-mile transmission line, called the San Juan Basin Energy Connect Project, would be located between Shiprock, New Mexico, and Ignacio, Colorado, across Federal, State, Tribal, and private lands. It would improve reliability of the transmission system and deliver electricity generated at existing facilities to meet increasing demand in the San Juan Basin.

Increasing electric load growth in the San Juan Basin region of Colorado and New Mexico in commercial, residential, and industrial sectors has put a strain on the existing electrical system. Tri-State is proposing to construct a 230 kV transmission line from the Farmington area in northwest New Mexico to Ignacio, Colorado. Tri-State is pursuing the Project to:

• Improve electric system reliability with a high voltage transmission path from Colorado into northern New Mexico. • Provide electric system capacity to support the La Plata Electric Association’s (La Plata Electric) requested transmission capacity. • Directly improve the load-serving capability and reliability of the electric system serving La Plata Electric, Empire Electric Association (Empire Electric), and San Miguel Power Association.

Tri-State is requesting right-of-way grants to authorize use of specific public lands from the BLM; Southern Ute Indian Tribe (Southern Ute) tribal lands from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA); and State lands from the New Mexico State Land Office. Tri-State is also requesting approval from La Plata County for the operation and construction of the transmission line on private properties located in La Plata County. Tri-State is requesting financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service (Rural Utilities). Tri State is requesting approval from the Western Area Power Administration (Western) to interconnect its proposed 230 kV transmission line to Western’s Shiprock Substation and also to locate the new Three Rivers Substation on Western’s reserved area within BLM lands.

Conditions of Approval

"The Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the San Juan Basin Energy Connect Project is suspended indefinitely effective January 20, 2016, due to changes in regional load forecasts and uncertainty regarding recent Federal regulations. This has prompted Tri-State to re-evaluate the need for an electric transmission system in the San Juan Basin area of Colorado and New Mexico."

Final EIS not yet released; ROD not yet issued.

Data Completion Notes

Resource Analysis chart created May 2016.

Scoping documents and other project-related information available on the BLM project website: http://www.blm.gov/nm/st/en/prog/more/lands_realty/san_juan_basin_energy.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
Lands and Realty
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

Compensation for unavoidable disturbances would be offered.

   
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.

 

CloseSeasonal restrictions may be implemented in specific areas as required by permitting and land management agencies to mitigate effects to wildlife. With the exception of emergency repair situations, right-of-way construction, restoration, maintenance, and termination activities in designated areas will be modified or discontinued during sensitive periods (such as nesting and breeding periods) for candidate, proposed threatened and endangered, or other sensitive animal species, as required by permitting and land management agencies. The Final POD will incorporate the seasonal restrictions and stipulations contained in the ROD. A seasonal restriction of November 1 through March 31 and a 0.5-mile buffer will be implemented for the bald eagle roost located near the Iron Horse substation. Other seasonal restrictions that may apply in locations to be determined on a case-by-case basis include:

• Migratory Birds – May 15 through July 31 • Southwestern Willow Flycatcher and Yellow-Billed Cuckoo – May 1 through August 31 • Peregrine and Prairie Falcons – March 1st through June 30 • Bald Eagle – November 1 through March 31 • Golden Eagle – February 1 through June 30 • Western Burrowing Owl – April 1st through August 15 (In New Mexico)

Tri-State will repair holes created by construction of transmission structures to avoid and minimize effects to wildlife and livestock.
 
Recreation
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseAvoiding possible effects during BLM authorized recreation events, by not allowing construction or routine maintenance activities during these events.
 
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.

Compensation for unavoidable disturbances would be offered.

   
Cultural 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.

 

CloseIn consultation with the appropriate land management agencies and state historic preservation officers (SHPOs) specific measures for cultural resources will be developed and implemented to mitigate any identified adverse effects. These may include SJBEC Project modifications to avoid adverse effects, monitoring construction activities, data recovery, or other efforts.

Prior to and throughout construction, all construction personnel will be instructed on the protection of cultural resources, including the provisions of federal, state, and tribal laws regarding cultural resources, including prohibition of collection and removal; and the importance of these resources and the purpose and necessity of protecting them.

If a contractor or Tri-State discovers any previously unidentified historic or prehistoric cultural resources during construction or operation, then work in the vicinity of the discovery will be suspended, and the discovery would be promptly reported to the affected agency. The affected agency will then specify what action is to be taken. If there is an approved “discovery plan” in place for the SJBEC Project, then the plan will be executed. In the absence of an approved plan, the affected agency will evaluate the significance of the discovery and consult with the appropriate land managing agency and SHPO in accordance with 36 CFR § 800.11.

If in its construction or operations a contractor or Tri-State damages, or is found to have damaged, any previously documented or undocumented property, excluding “discoveries” as noted above, the contractor or Tri-State agrees to cover expenses to have a permitted cultural resources consultant prepare and execute an approved data recovery plan.
 
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.

 

CloseGeotechnical investigations would be performed in the field to evaluate soils strength and bearing capacity, which is necessary for determining proper structure foundations. This effort would include field investigations at readily accessible proposed structure site locations along the proposed transmission line route. The drilling program would consist of drilling borings (6 to 8 inches in diameter up to 50 feet deep) from which soil or bedrock samples would be taken for laboratory testing and analysis. Soil borings would be performed with rubber-tired or low-impact drill rigs using approved access routes and methods in accordance with agency requirements and applicable mitigation measures. The typical drilling time at each site is approximately half a day. Work areas are typically 40 by 40 feet in size. Once drilling is completed at each site, holes would be backfilled with the drilled materials. Any remaining soils would be spread at the site. The size of excess soil spreading is small and typically would not exceed a 10- by 10-foot area. No open holes would be left unattended, and all holes would be backfilled prior to leaving the site.
 
Migratory Birds
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseTri-State will follow BLM, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and USFWS guidelines for raptor protection during the breeding season (Migratory Bird Executive

Order 13186, January 10, 2001).

The transmission line design will consider the Avian Power Line Interaction Committee’s suggested practices for avian protection on power lines.
 
Paleontological 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.

 

CloseIf paleontological material (fossils) is observed during construction or operations, Tri-State or contractor shall immediately contact the BLM. Tri-State shall cease any construction or operations that would result in the destruction of such objects. Further investigation would dictate site-specific measures for salvage of any significant paleontological resources.

Preconstruction surveys of areas having a high potential to contain paleontological material will be conducted as required the land managing agency or landowner. If paleontological material is found, Tri-State would work with the land managing agency or landowner to remove the material prior to construction.

 
Prime or Unique Farmlands
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseOn agricultural land, the right-of-way will be aligned, in so far as practicable, to reduce the effects to farm operations and agricultural production. Similarly, temporary construction and maintenance activities would be located to minimize disturbance to livestock, where practicable.

In cultivated agricultural areas, soil compaction caused by construction activities will be decompacted as required by landowners. Construction activities will occur so as to minimize effects to agricultural operations.

Fences, gates, or other natural barriers to livestock will be repaired or replaced by Tri-State or Tri-State’s contractor to their original predisturbed condition as required by the agency or private landowner if they are damaged or destroyed by construction or maintenance activities. Temporary gates will be installed only with the permission of the agency or private landowner and will be restored to their original predisturbed condition following construction. Cattle guards will be installed where new permanent access roads cut through fences, at the request of the affected agency, to prevent escape of livestock.

Tri-State is responsible to contact the grazing lessees prior to crossing any fence on public land or any fence between public and private land, and to offer the lessees an opportunity to be present when the fence is cut to ensure the fence is adequately braced and secured.
 
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.

 

CloseNon-specular conductors will be used to reduce visual effects.

The alignment of any new access roads will follow the designated area's landform contours where practical, providing that such alignment does not additionally affect resource values. This will minimize ground disturbance and reduce scarring (visual contrast).

No paint or permanent discoloring agents will be applied to rocks, vegetation, structures, and fences to indicate survey or construction activity limits.

Tri-State may be required to reconstruct rock rims as near as possible to the original condition.
 
Air Quality
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseAs part of the Final POD, Tri-State would develop and implement a fugitive dust control plan that would, at a minimum, include EPMs 65 to 70 listed below.

The contractor and subcontractors will be required to have and use air emissions control devices on construction machinery, as required by federal, state, or local regulations or ordinances.

All truck hauling soil, sand, and other loose material would be covered.

When appropriate, windbreaks will be installed at the windward sides of construction areas.

Tri-State will suspend excavation and grading activity when winds (instantaneous gusts) exceed 25 miles per hour.

Exposed stockpiles of dirt and sand will be enclosed, covered, or will have non- toxic soil binders applied.
 
Noise
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseTransmission line materials will be designed to minimize effects from corona. The proposed hardware and conductor will limit the audible noise, radio interference, and TV interference due to corona. Tension will be maintained on all insulator assemblies to assure positive contact between insulators, thereby avoiding sparking. Caution will be exercised during construction to avoid scratching or nicking the conductor surface which may provide points for corona to occur. Tri-State will respond to complaints of line-generated radio or television interference by investigating the complaints and implementing appropriate mitigation measures. The transmission line will be patrolled on a regular basis so that damaged insulators or other line materials that could cause interference are repaired or replaced.
 
Public Health and Safety
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseThe Final POD will include a blasting plan, which will identify methods and mitigation measures to minimize the effects of blasting, where applicable. The blasting plan will document the proposed methods to achieve the desired excavations, proposed methods for blasting warning, use of non-electrical blasting systems, and provisions for controlling fly rock, vibrations and air blast damage.

The SJBEC Project will be designed to comply with FAA regulations, to avoid potential safety issues associated with proximity to airports, military bases or training areas, or landing strips.

The transmission line will be regularly patrolled and properly maintained in compliance with applicable safety codes.
 
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.

 

CloseTri-State will provide a Hazardous Materials Management Plan. Hazardous material shall 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.

Vehicle refueling and servicing activities would be performed in the right-of-way or in designated construction zones located more than 300 feet from wetlands and streams. Spill preventative and containment measures or practices would be incorporated as needed.

Tri-State will provide a spill prevention notification and cleanup plan. The SJBEC Project will comply with all applicable federal, state, and local regulations, and will include: spill prevention measures, notification procedures in the event of a spill, employee awareness training, and commitment of manpower, equipment, and materials to respond to spills, if they occur.
 
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.

 

CloseA fire protection plan would be developed and approved by the affected agency prior to the issuance of a right-of-way grant. Tri-State or its contractors would:

 Implement and follow the fire protection plan approved by the affected agency.

 Operate all internal and external combustion engines on federally managed lands per 36 CFR 261.52(j), which requires all such engines to be equipped with a qualified spark arrester that is maintained and not modified.