About the Project
In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, OSMRE and cooperating agencies will evaluate the environmental impacts associated with the following proposed actions:
- Power Plant Lease Amendment – Arizona Public Service Company recently executed a lease amendment with the Navajo Nation to extend the life of the Four Corners Power Plant to 2041. Environmental impacts from this lease amendment will be analyzed.
- Energy Transmission Lines – Arizona Public Service Company (APS) and co-owners have completed negotiations with the Navajo Nation for extension of the FCPP lease and associated rights-of-way on the Navajo Nation and Hopi Reservation in San Juan County, New Mexico, and Navajo, Coconino, and Apache Counties, Arizona. The signed lease extension agreement, which would extend the site lease for an additional 25 years, to 2041, has been submitted to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) for approval. APS will also be applying to renew rights-of-ways for ancillary plant facilities, two transmission lines crossing both Navajo and Hopi Tribal lands, and other support facilities. The Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM), a co-owner of the FCPP, will also be requesting issuance of renewed rights-of-way from the BIA for existing 345 kV transmission lines located on the Navajo Nation in New Mexico. These transmission lines are owned and controlled by PNM, are already in place, and will continue to be maintained and operated as part of the proposed action. No upgrades to these transmission lines are planned as part of the proposed Project. Environmental impacts from the renewal of rights-of-way permits will be analyzed.
- Coal Mine Area – BHP Navajo Coal Company (BNCC) has submitted an application to develop a new permit area, referred to as the Pinabete Permit, within its existing Navajo Mine Lease. The Navajo Mine is located on the Navajo Reservation in San Juan County, New Mexico. The area for the Pinabete Permit would include previously permitted but undeveloped coal reserves, as well as currently unpermitted and undeveloped coal reserves, all within the existing mine lease. The new mine permit area is proposed to supply coal to the FCPP for an additional 25 years, should the power plant continue to operate beyond 2016. In 2014 BNCC plans to submit an application for renewal of the existing Navajo Mine. Environmental impacts related to these two pending permitting actions will be analyzed within the EIS.
The purpose of the proposed actions is to facilitate ongoing operations at the Four Corners Power Plant, associated transmission lines, and on the Navajo Mine Lease to provide for long-term, reliable, continuous and uninterrupted base load electrical power to customers in the Southwestern United States using a reliable and readily available fuel source. The proposed actions would comply with tribal trust responsibilities to support economic opportunities on Navajo Nation and Hopi tribal trust lands and to help provide for economic development of the Navajo Nation and Hopi Tribe through lease and right-of-way revenue, royalties, tribal taxes, and jobs. The EIS will address the direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of these connected and other actions at the Four Corners Power Plant, the proposed Pinabete Mine Permit area, and the existing Navajo Mine Permit area, including any other connected federal actions relating to operations on the Navajo Mine Lease and at the Four Corners Power Plant.
On July 18, 2012, the OSMRE published the Notice of Intent (NOI) for the EIS in the Federal Register (77 FR 34041). The NOI is available on the Document Library page of this website. NOI publication initiated a 60-day public comment period which ends September 18, 2012. OSMRE plans to hold nine public scoping meetings in Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico from August 9-18, 2012 (specific dates for these meetings can be found on the Schedule Page).
Comments received by OSMRE during the scoping period will be considered in preparation of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Copies of the Draft EIS will be available for public review at several locations in and near the project area (dates and specific locations to be determined) or may be obtained from Mr. Marcelo Calle (email@example.com). The Draft EIS will also be available via this website on the Document Library page. As required by CEQ NEPA regulations, OSMRE will publish a notice of availability for the Draft EIS, during which public comments will be accepted for a minimum of 45 days. Any comments received during this review period will be considered in preparation of the Final EIS.