Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
Minnkota's proposed Project is to construct a 230 kilovolt (kV) transmission line between the Wilton Substation near Bemidji, Minnesota and the Boswell Substation near Grand Rapids, Minnesota, which will cross portions of Beltrami, Hubbard, Itasca, and Cass counties. The Project involves modifying the Wilton and Boswell substations, constructing a new 115 kV breaker station at Nary Junction, Minnesota, and depending on the route alternative selected, upgrading the existing or constructing a new substation in the Cass Lake, Minnesota area. The purpose of the Project is for the Applicants to meet projected future electric demand and to maintain electric transmission reliability standards in accordance with the requirements of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). The Project as proposed provides increased voltage support not only to the Bemidji to Grand Rapids area, including the Leech Lake Reservation, but is also required to improve the regional transmission reliability throughout the Red River Valley and north central Minnesota. Refer to Final EIS, pp. 2-3, and the Alternative Evaluation Study, Section 1.2, for additional detail.
In accordance with NEPA, the CEQ regulations for implementing the procedural provisions of NEPA, and applicable agency NEPA implementing regulations, RUS, CNF, USACE, and LLBO DRM cooperated in the development of a Final EIS to assess the potential environmental impacts associated with the proposed Project. The decision being documented in RUS's ROD is that the Agency agrees to consider, subject to loan approval, funding the proposed Project (Route Alternative 4). Because of the distinct federal actions being proposed, RUS, USACE and CNF decided to issue separate RODs. LLBO DRM's decision will be through a Tribal Resolution.
On July 18, 2008, RUS published in the
After considering various ways to meet these future needs, Minnkota identified construction of the proposed Project (Route Alternative 4) as its best course of action.
The Final EIS considered 11 alternatives to meet the Project need, including five alternative route locations. These alternatives were evaluated in terms of cost-effectiveness, technical feasibility, and environmental factors (
The Final EIS analyzes in detail the No Action Alternative and Route Alternatives 1, 2, 3, and 4.
Based on an evaluation of the information and impact analyses presented in the EIS, including the evaluation of all alternatives, and in consideration of the Agency's NEPA implementing regulations, Environmental Policies and Procedures, as amended (7 CFR Part 1794), RUS finds that the evaluation of reasonable alternatives is consistent with NEPA. The Agency has selected the Route Alternative 4 as its preferred alternative.
Because the proposed Project may involve action in floodplains or wetlands, this Notice also serves as a final notice of action in floodplains and wetlands (in accordance with Executive Orders 11988 and 11990). This Notice concludes RUS's compliance with NEPA and the Agency's “Environmental Policies and Procedures.”