Archive for December, 2012

Last Week in Environmental Impact Statements: Ice Age Complex

Photo by Matito. Some rights reserved.

While Federal agencies are required to prepare Environmental Impact Statements in accordance with 40 CFR Part 1502, and to file the EISs with the EPA as specified in 40 CFR 1506.9, the EPA doesn’t yet provide a central repository for filing and viewing EISs electronically. Instead, each week they prepare a digest of the preceding week’s filed EISs, which is published every Friday in the Federal Register under the title, “Notice of Availability” (NOA).

We’ve done the dirty work for you. Below, we’ve located and linked to the EISs referenced in last week’s NOA. Please note that some of these documents can be very large, and may take a while to load.

You can read any available EPA comments on these EISs here.

UPDATE: Starting October 1, 2012, EPA will not accept paper copies or CDs of EISs for filing purposes. All submissions on or after October 1, 2012 must be made through e-NEPA. Electronic submission does not change requirements for distribution of EISs for public review and comment. To begin using e-NEPA, you must first register with EPA’s electronic reporting site. An EPA source says that as EISs begin to come in electronically, they will appear alongside EPA comments here.

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EIS No. 20120394, Draft EIS, USFS, OR, Tollgate Fuels Reduction Project, Umatilla National Forest, Walla Walla Ranger District, Umatilla and Union Counties, OR, Comment Period Ends: 02/13/2013, Contact: Kimpton Cooper 509-522-6009. Website.

EIS No. 20120395, Draft EIS, USFS, CA, AP Loblolly Pine Removal and Restoration Project, Andrew Pickens Ranger District, Sumter National Forest, Oconee County, CA, Comment Period Ends: 02/13/2013, Contact: Victor Wyant 864-638-9568. Website.

EIS No. 20120396, Final Supplement, USACE, CA, Folsom Dam Modification Project Approach Channel, Providing New or Additional Information on the Design and Means to Construct the Auxiliary Spillway Approach Channel, Placer and El Dorado Counties, CA, Review Period Ends: 01/29/2013, Contact: Tyler Stalker 916-557-5107. Website.

EIS No. 20120397, Final EIS (scroll about halfway down the page), BLM, AK, National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska (NPR-A) Integrated Activity Plan, North Slope Borough, AK, Review Period Ends: 01/29/2013, Contact: Serena Sweet 907-271-4543. Website.

EIS No. 20120398, Final EIS, NPS, WI, Ice Age Complex at Cross Plains General Management Plan, Implementation, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Dane County, WI, Review Period Ends: 02/26/2013, Contact: John Madden 608-441-5610. Website.

EIS No. 20120399, Draft EIS, USACE, CA, Feather River West Levee Project, To Reduce Flood Risk in the Sutter Basin, Sutter and Butte Counties, CA, Comment Period Ends: 02/13/2013, Contact: Jeff Koschak 916-557-6994. Website.

EIS No. 20120400, Draft EIS, USACE, CA, Encinitas-Solana Beach Coastal Storm Damage Reduction Project, San Diego County, CA, Comment Period Ends: 02/26/2013, Contact: Lawrence Smith 213-452-3846. Website.

EIS No. 20120401, Final EIS, DOE, MA, RI ADOPTION – Cape Wind Energy Project, Construction, Operation and Maintenance, and Decommissioning of a Electric Generation Facility, Barnstable, Nantucket and Duke Counties, MA and Washington County, RI, Review Period Ends: 01/29/2013, Contact: Matthew McMillen 202-586-7248. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has adopted the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Mineral Management Service final EIS filed 1/09/2009. The DOE was not a cooperating agency for the above final EIS. Recirculation of the document is necessary under Section 1506.3(b) of the Council on Environmental Quality Regulations. Website.

California Cap-And-Trade Kicks Off

Let’s hope this doesn’t represent the future of California’s cap-and-trade system. Photo by Chuck Coker, some rights reserved.

Starting next Tuesday, 350 California companies will begin to pay for their emissions. The New York Times has a piece on the decisions these companies are faced with and how industries will be affected.

The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 directs the state’s Air Resources Board to operate a cap-and-trade system. At the end of 2014, the 350 companies to whom the system initially applies will present allowances for each ton of emissions from 2013. Most of these credits have been granted for free, but the number distributed will decrease quickly over the next five years. The goal is to reduce emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, and to structure incentives so that investment in energy efficiency both cuts costs and reduces emissions.

Regulators are trying to be sensitive to industry concerns. The rules are fine-tuned for each industry to avoid imposing severe economic hardship, but they walk a fine line with making the rules ineffective. However, the New York Times gives the example of the tomato industry, whose high-emissions processers fall under the law’s first round of emitters. The industry is wary of going the way of California’s garlic industry, which lost half its market to Chinese imports in less than ten years.

California wants to show that a cap-and-trade system can work in the U.S., but they also fear that if their industries lose a competitive edge, other states will be even more wary of adopting a similar approach. On the other hand, the more allowances are passed out for free, the less effective the system is in reducing emissions.

Many economists say that more important than the cost effects of the emissions allowances is if the market for the emissions credits produces a stable price – which would inform companies on the relative costs of emitting and investing in cleaner technologies.

Exit Strategy

In a surprise announcement this morning, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has said she will resign her post and leave the adminisitration at some point following the President’s January State of the Union address. Jackson, 50, has held the post for four years and made headlines as the first African-American Administrator of the agency. While her brief official statement gave no indication of her reason for leaving, media speculation over possible reasons for her departure has already begun.

Last Week in Environmental Impact Statements: Elverta, Malheur, and Shadura

While Federal agencies are required to prepare Environmental Impact Statements in accordance with 40 CFR Part 1502, and to file the EISs with the EPA as specified in 40 CFR 1506.9, the EPA doesn’t yet provide a central repository for filing and viewing EISs electronically. Instead, each week they prepare a digest of the preceding week’s filed EISs, which is published every Friday in the Federal Register under the title, “Notice of Availability” (NOA).

We’ve done the dirty work for you. Below, we’ve located and linked to the EISs referenced in last week’s NOA. Please note that some of these documents can be very large, and may take a while to load.

You can read any available EPA comments on these EISs here.

UPDATE: Starting October 1, 2012, EPA will not accept paper copies or CDs of EISs for filing purposes. All submissions on or after October 1, 2012 must be made through e-NEPA. Electronic submission does not change requirements for distribution of EISs for public review and comment. To begin using e-NEPA, you must first register with EPA’s electronic reporting site. An EPA source says that as EISs begin to come in electronically, they will appear alongside EPA comments here.

* * *

EIS No. 20120387, Draft EIS, FHWA, VA, I–64 Hampton Roads Bridge- Tunnel, from I–664 in the City of Hampton to I–564 in the City of Norfolk, VA, Comment Period Ends: 02/13/2013, Contact: Marisel Lopez-Cruz 804–775–3376. Website.

EIS No. 20120388, Draft EIS (scroll down and expand Elverta Specific Plan under Environmental Impact Statements Under Preparation), USACE, CA, Elverta Specific Plan Project, Master Planned Community Development, Sacramento County, CA, Comment Period Ends: 02/04/2013, Contact: Marc A. Fugler 916–557–5255. Website.

EIS No. 20120389, Final EIS, USFWS, WA, Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan, Harney County, WA, Review Period Ends: 01/22/2013, Contact: Tim Bodeen 541–493–2612. Website.

EIS No. 20120390, Draft EIS, USFWS, AK, Shadura National Gas Development Project, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and Kenai Peninsula Borough, AK, Comment Period Ends: 02/04/2013, Contact: Peter Wikoff 907–786–3357. Website.

EIS No. 20120391, Final EIS, BLM, CA, McCoy Solar Energy Project, Proposed Plan Amendment, Riverside County, CA, Review Period Ends: 01/22/2013, Contact: Jeffery K. Childers 951–697–5308. Website.

EIS No. 20120392, Draft EIS, USACE, 00, Lower Snake River Programmatic Sediment Management Plan, Washington and Idaho, Comment Period Ends: 02/08/2013, Contact: Sandra Shelin 509–527–7265. Website.

EIS No. 20120393, Final EIS, WAPA, AZ, Quartzsite Solar Energy Project and Proposed Yuma Field Office Resource Management Plan Amendment, La Paz County, AZ, Review Period Ends: 01/22/2013, Contact: Matthew Blevins 720–962–7261. Website.

New England Fisheries to Reopen, and the Missing Identity of Most Seafood

Photo by Jim Maragos, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Some rights reserved.

Photo by Jim Maragos, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Some rights reserved.

The New England Fishery Management Council opened 5,000 square miles of protected waters off the coast of New England Thursday to new applications from commercial fishermen. These areas were closed in the 1990s to preserve habitat on the seafloor and give cod, haddock, and other species a safe place to spawn.

Fishermen have cheered the move, saying the 2010 adoption of a quota-based protection system made the geographic conservation areas an unnecessary restriction. Worried that 2013 will bring drastic cuts to the quotas for cod, haddock, and yellowtail flounder, industry groups will have to wait until January for the Council to review further fish stock data.

Environmentalists and scientists are concerned in particular because the protected areas provide a haven for older female fish that help increase stocks – but hope that the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration, which has to approve the vote and is expected to act by May, will be more cautious.

Fish are also noteworthy this week with the news – or reminder – that seafood fraud is widespread. That means seafood is often labeled as something it is not, usually a cheaper look-alike. A new report by Oceana, an international organization dedicated to ocean conservation, finds that 39% of seafood from 81 grocery stores in New York City was not what appeared on the label, and that 100% of the 16 sushi restaurants investigated sold mislabeled fish. Last year, a Boston Globe investigation found a problem of similar scope.

The problem goes beyond economic duping. Consumers and diners are buying fish whose incorrect labeling might mean it was caught illegally or contains unlisted and illegal chemical additives. Enforcement, however, has focused on health claims, and individual restaurants know that they are at little or no risk of being caught.

Personally, I was glad to read the tuna steak I bought last week had been injected with carbon monoxide to keep its bright red hue. Many of us in Seattle enjoy our inexpensive Japanese cuisine, but the New York wholesaler quoted in the Times is right: “People want cheap sushi, and this is what happens.”

Where the Deer and the Drilling Rigs Play

Yesterday, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced an ambitious plan for both the development and protection of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (aka NPR-A). Released as the Final Integrated Activity Plan/Environmental Impact Statement, the plan covers both the development of oil drilling and pipelines in the reserve and protection for caribou, migratory birds, and other wildlife in the area. The plan is notable in that “[t]he Final IAP/EIS is the first management plan that covers the entire Reserve, including 9.2 million acres in the southwest area. Previous plans covered the northeast and northwest planning areas only. The comprehensive blueprint will allow for access to oil and gas resources on 11.8 million acres, which are estimated to hold 549 million barrels of economically recoverable oil and 8.7 trillion cubic feet of economically recoverable natural gas.”

Not everyone is on board – a few politicians claim the measures regarding pipeline construction aren’t detailed enough – but some environmental groups have expressed satisfaction with the final plan.

The full list of documents comprising the Final Integrated Activity Plan/Environmental Impact Statement can be found on the Bureau of Land Management website. (Scroll down to the heading “National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska Final Integrated Activity Plan/Environmental Impact Statement”.) The draft version of the plan, released back in March, is still available on the same webpage.

Last Week in Environmental Impact Statements: West Chocolate Mountains

Photo by dicktay2000. Some rights reserved.

While Federal agencies are required to prepare Environmental Impact Statements in accordance with 40 CFR Part 1502, and to file the EISs with the EPA as specified in 40 CFR 1506.9, the EPA doesn’t yet provide a central repository for filing and viewing EISs electronically. Instead, each week they prepare a digest of the preceding week’s filed EISs, which is published every Friday in the Federal Register under the title, “Notice of Availability” (NOA).

We’ve done the dirty work for you. Below, we’ve located and linked to the EISs referenced in last week’s NOA. Please note that some of these documents can be very large, and may take a while to load.

You can read any available EPA comments on these EISs here.

UPDATE: Starting October 1, 2012, EPA will not accept paper copies or CDs of EISs for filing purposes. All submissions on or after October 1, 2012 must be made through e-NEPA. Electronic submission does not change requirements for distribution of EISs for public review and comment. To begin using e-NEPA, you must first register with EPA’s electronic reporting site. An EPA source says that as EISs begin to come in electronically, they will appear alongside EPA comments here.

* * *

 EIS No. 20120379, Final EIS, BLM, CA, West Chocolate Mountains Renewable Energy Evaluation Area, Proposed California Desert Conservation Area Plan Amendment, Imperial County, CA, Review Period Ends: 01/14/2013, Contact: Sandra McGinnis 916–978–4427. Website.

EIS No. 20120380, Draft EIS, BLM, AK, Ring of Fire Resource Management Plan Amendment, Haines Block Planning Area, Southeast Alaska, Comment Period Ends: 03/14/2013, Contact: Molly Cobbs 907–267–1221. Website.

EIS No. 20120381, Draft Supplement, NRC, TX, GENERIC—License Renewal of Nuclear Plants Supplement 48 Regarding South Texas Project, Units 1 and 2 (NUREG 1437) Matagorda County, TX, Comment Period Ends: 02/22/2013, Contact: Tam Tran 301–415–3617. Website.

EIS No. 20120382, Draft Supplement, FTA, MN, Central Corridor Light Rail Transit Project, Construction-Related Potential Impacts on Business Revenue, St. Paul and Twin Cities Metropolitan Area, MN, Comment Period Ends: 01/30/2013, Contact: Maya Sarna 202–366–5811. Website.

EIS No. 20120383, Draft EIS, USACE, CA, Gregory Canyon Landfill, Application for Permit Authorizing Discharge of Fill in U.S. Waters, San Diego County, CA, Comment Period Ends: 02/12/2013, Contact: William H. Miller 602–230–6954. Website.

EIS No. 20120384, Final EIS, BLM, NV, Searchlight Wind Energy Project, NVN–084626 and NVN–086777, Application for Right-of-Way Grant on Public Land to Develop, Construct, Operate, Maintain and Decommission of a 200 megawatt Wind Energy Facility, USACE Section 404 Permit, Clark County, NV, Review Period Ends: 01/14/2013, Contact: Gregory Helseth 702–515–5173. Website.

EIS No. 20120385, Final EIS, DOE, WA, Hanford Site Tank Closure and Waste Management Project, Richland, Benton County, WA, Review Period Ends: 01/14/2013, Contact: Mary Beth Burandt 888–829–6347. Website.

EIS No. 20120386, Final EIS, FTA, MD, Red Line Project, Implementation of a new East-West Light Rail Transit Alignment, Baltimore County, MD, Review Period Ends: 01/28/2013, Contact: Daniel Koenig 202–219–3528. Website.

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