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Reclamation announces scoping for Lake Powell Pipeline Project

December 05, 2019
by John Weisheit

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
Bureau of Reclamation

WEBSITE

Notice of Intent to Prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Public Scoping Period for the Lake Powell Pipeline Project

AGENCY: Bureau of Reclamation, Upper Colorado Basin, Interior Region 7. ACTION: Notice of Intent; request for scoping comments.(SUMMARY: The Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) intends to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the Lake Powell Pipeline (LPP) Project. Reclamation is requesting public scoping comments to identify significant issues or other alternatives to be addressed in the EIS.

DATES: Submit comments on or before January 10, 2020.(Three scoping meetings will be held during the scoping period from 6:00pm to 8:00pm on January 7-9, 2020.

ADDRESSES: Provide written scoping comments and requests to be added to the mailing list to:

Mr. Rick Baxter, Program Manager
Bureau of Reclamation, Provo Area Office
302 East Lakeview Parkway
Provo, UT 84606
Via submittal form: https://www.usbr.gov/uc/envdocs/eis/LakePowellPipeline/index.html
Via eMail: lpp@usbr.gov

The three scoping meetings will be held at the following locations:

  • January, 7th 6PM - 8PM;  Kanab Center, 20 North 100 East, Kanab, UT, 84741
  • January, 8th 6PM - 8PM; Dixie Center, 1835 South Convention Center Dr., St. George, UT, 84790
  • January, 9th 6PM - 8PM; Valley High, 325 West 11000 South, South Jordan, UT, 84095

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Rick Baxter, Program Manager, Bureau of Reclamation, Provo Area Office, 302 East Lakeview Parkway, Provo, UT 84606; telephone (801) 379-1078; facsimile (801) 379-1159; e-mail lpp@usbr.gov. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf may call the Federal Relay Service (FedRelay) at 1-800-877-8339 TTY/ASCII to contact the above individual during normal business hours or to leave a message or question after hours. You will receive a reply during normal business hours. Information on this project may also be found at: https://www.usbr.gov/uc/envdocs/eis/LakePowellPipeline/index.html

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Reclamation is issuing this notice pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.; the Council on Environmental Quality’s regulations for implementing NEPA, 40 CFR parts 1500 through 1508; Department of the Interior’s NEPA regulations, 43 CFR part 46; and Bureau of Land Management regulations at 43 CFR 1610.2.(Background.

Reclamation will prepare an EIS for the LPP Project as proposed by the Utah Board of Water Resources (UBWR). The LPP is a proposed 140-mile, 69-inch- diameter water delivery pipeline that begins at Lake Powell near Glen Canyon Dam in Page, Arizona, and ends at Sand Hollow Reservoir near St. George, Utah. The pipeline would deliver up to 86,249 acre-feet of water from Lake Powell to Sand Hollow Reservoir. UBWR proposes building the LPP in order to bring a second source of water to Washington and Kane Counties in Utah to meet future water demands, diversify the regional water supply portfolio, and enhance the water supply reliability.

UBWR previously proposed a pipeline project with an intake at Lake Powell that included a hydroelectric peaking station at Hurricane Cliffs, Utah. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) was the lead Federal agency for that project because it would have required a hydroelectric license issued by the FERC. The UBWR withdrew its application to the FERC on September 25, 2019, and the project was terminated effective October 10, 2019. (https://elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20191016-3069) Reclamation has been designated the lead Federal agency by the Department for the LPP NEPA process. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and National Park Service (NPS) are cooperating agencies. Based on the changes to project design and the lead federal agency, Reclamation is initiating a new public scoping process, which will require interested parties to submit new comments on the current proposal. Reclamation is also reinitiating government to government consultation with Indian tribes under section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and in accordance with Executive Order 13175.

Two pipeline alignments have been proposed: the Southern Alternative and the Highway Alternative. Both alternatives begin and end in the same locations. The Southern Alternative would travel south of the Kaibab Indian Reservation while the alignment for the Highway Alternative would cross lands held in trust by the United States for the benefit of the Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians, following Arizona State Route 389. The Southern Alternative would cross land administered by the BLM in Utah and Arizona and would require multiple right-of-way (ROW) grants and an amendment to the Arizona Strip Resource Management Plan (RMP), because a small portion of the pipeline would go outside an approved utility corridor.

The Highway Alternative would cross BLM and Tribal trust lands, which would require the BLM and BIA to issue ROW grants and require a tribal resolution from the Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians. Both alternatives would cross lands administered by Reclamation and the NPS, requiring Reclamation to issue a license agreement and the NPS to issue a ROW permit under either alternative.

In addition, UBWR has requested a water exchange contract with Reclamation. Under the exchange contract, UBWR would forbear the diversion of a portion of the natural flows to which UBWR is entitled and allow these flows to contribute to meeting the Endangered Species Act Upper Colorado River Recovery Implementation Program requirements in the Green River. In exchange, UBWR would deplete an equal amount of water released from Flaming Gorge Dam throughout the year and available at Lake Powell. This exchange contract would not entitle UBWR to call for releases from Flaming Gorge.(Public Disclosure.
Before including your address, phone number, e-mail 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 may 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.

Brent Esplin,

Regional Director,(Upper Colorado Basin
Interior Region 7, Bureau of Reclamation.
[FR Doc. 2019-26357
Filed: 12/5/2019 8:45 am
Publication Date: 12/6/2019

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Intro and Project Overview

In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, the Bureau of Reclamation will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Lake Powell Pipeline Project proposed by the Utah Board of Water Resources. The LPP is a 140-mile, 69-inch-diameter water delivery pipeline that begins at Lake Powell near Glen Canyon Dam in Page, Arizona, and ends at Sand Hollow Reservoir near St. George, Utah. UBWR proposes building LPP in order to bring a second source of water to Washington and Kane Counties in Utah to meet future water demands, diversify the regional water supply portfolio, and enhance the reliability of the water supply.

A map showing two proposed alternatives for the Lake Powell Pipeline project: The Highway Alternative and the Southern Alternative. Both alternatives begin and end in the same locations. The Southern Alternative would travel south of the Kaibab Indian Reservation. The Highway Alternative would cross lands held in trust by the United States for the benefit of the Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians, following Arizona State Route 389.

This MAP shows the two proposed alternative water conveyance systems for the Lake Powell Pipeline to carry water from Lake Powell to Sand Hollow Reservoir. The Highway Alternative is shown in blue while the Southern Alternative is shown in green.
UBWR previously proposed a pipeline project with an intake at Lake Powell that included a hydroelectric peaking station at Hurricane Cliffs, Utah.  The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission was the lead Federal agency for that project because it would have required a hydroelectric license issued by the FERC.  The UBWR withdrew its application to the FERC on September 25, 2019, and the project was terminated effective October 10, 2019. (https://elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20191016-3069)  Reclamation has been designated the lead Federal agency by the Department of the Interior for the LPP National Environmental Policy Act process.  Based on the changes to project design and the lead federal agency, Reclamation is initiating a new public scoping process, which will require interested parties to submit new comments on the current proposal. Reclamation is also reinitiating government-to-government consultation with Indian tribes under section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and in accordance with Executive Order 13175.

EIS Process

General Information

Scoping is the first step in the NEPA process and can include various means of information-gathering activities. It is to be an early and open process for determining the scope of issues to be addressed and for identifying the significant issues related to a proposed action. (40 CFR 1501.7 )

Public participation is an integral part of scoping because it gives the public an opportunity to help Reclamation identify issues of special concern and alternatives to the proposed action that may be included in the Environmental Impact Statement.
Public scoping period for Reclamation’s Notice of Intent to prepare an EIS for the pipeline project was announced in the Federal Register on December 6, 2019, and in a press release from Reclamation. The purpose of soliciting input is to identify relevant issues, alternatives, mitigation measures, and analytical tools so that they can be incorporated into the EIS. Comments may be submitted by 11:59 p.m. MST on January 10, 2020.

Getting input from as many affected and interested parties as possible is an important part of preparing an EIS. These usually include:
Citizens who live, work, or play in the area where the proposed project may occur. Public interest groups and Native communities that have concerns about possible impacts to environmental, social, or economic resources.

Federal, State, and local government agencies that have responsibilities for managing public resources or services.
Scientists and other technical experts with knowledge of the area's natural resources and the possible impacts of the project development.

Impact Analysis

An EIS analyzes the environmental concerns that were identified for each alternative. The objective of the analysis is to determine the nature, severity, and duration of impacts that might occur and to compare the impacts of the alternatives. Numerous technical aids are used in making the assessment, including 23 ecological and socioeconomic studies that were completed when Federal Energy Regulatory Commission was the lead agency. These studies will be updated and incorporated as appropriate for Reclamation’s EIS.

Draft EIS and Public Review

The impact analysis is first documented in a draft EIS. The draft EIS is made available to the public for 45 days for review and comment. The availability of the draft EIS is announced in a Federal Register notice and in press releases. Copies of the document are made available to the public on our web page. Requests for hard copies can also be submitted by email or phone using the “Contact Us” information. In order to make sure Reclamation can adequately respond to issues or concerns raised by the public, we ask that all comments be written and submitted via the methods described in the Notice of Intent or in the “Contact Us” section of this web page.

Final EIS

The principal objective when developing the final EIS is to address public comments on the draft EIS. The final EIS includes a summary of comments and Reclamation’s responses.

After the comments on the draft EIS are reviewed, Reclamation will revise the document to correct technical errors and add any relevant new information that became available since the draft EIS was published. Once again, the availability of the final EIS is announced in a Federal Register Notice and press releases.

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ON THE COLORADO
Articles about the Lake Powell Pipeline

 LIVING RIVERS ET AL: Submissions to the Public Scoping Process

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