Federal Register: November 21, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 226)
DOCID: fr21no08-25 FR Doc E8-27622
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
ACTION: Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.:
DOCUMENT ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement.
Payette National Forest, Idaho, Golden Hand
DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received
by the Payette National Forest within 30 days following the publication
of this notice in the Federal Register. The Draft EIS (DEIS) for the
1 and 2 Lode Mining Claims Plan of
Operations is expected to be available for public review in April, 2009
and the Final EIS (FEIS) and a Record of Decision are expected to be completed in July, 2009.
The USDA Forest Service will prepare an environmental impact
statement (EIS) for the proposed Plan of Operations (POO) for the
Payette National Forest, ID; Golden Hand No. 1 and No. 2 Lode Mining Claims Plan of Operations,
Purpose and Need for Action
American Independence Mines and Minerals, Inc. (AIMMCO) has
proposed a Plan of Operations (POO) to allow for collection of
subsurface geological information on the Golden Hand
The Forest Service proposes to authorize AIMMCO to perform core
drilling at up to 13 locations and excavate up to 2500 feet of
trenches. This proposed action would not include mining extraction or
transporting of minerals for processing. Access to the claims would be
on Forest Service (FS) roads to the FCRONR Wilderness boundary at
Pueblo Summit, north of the town of Edwardsburg. Proposed access would
then require vehicle passage for approximately 3 miles past the
wilderness boundary on FS trail
Equipment proposed for use includes 4wheel drive pickup trucks, a 3 cubic yard tracked or rubbertired loader, tracked excavator, buggy or track mounted drill rig, D7size bulldozer, an air compressor, chainsaws, gasolinepowered generator, jackhammer, and hand tools. Waste rock would be placed on an existing dump at the Ella portal site. Fuel would be transported in sealed containers and stored in a leak proof containment.
The responsible official is Suzanne Rainville, Forest Supervisor of the Payette National Forest, 800 West Lakeside Avenue, McCall, Idaho 83638.
Nature of Decision To Be Made
The nature of the Forest Service decision to be made in response to the POO submitted by American Independence Mines and Minerals, Inc. is: (1) Approve the project as proposed, or (2) Notify the operator of changes or additions to the POO necessary to minimize or eliminate adverse environmental impacts from mineral activities on National Forest System (NFS) lands, as required by Forest Service regulations (36 CFR Part 228A). The Payette National Forest Supervisor has determined that preparation of the EIS is required for approval of the POO under Forest Service regulations governing locatable mineral activities on National Forest System Lands (36 CFR part 228A) and CEQ regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (40 CFR parts 15011508).
Public participation will be important at several points during the analysis, particularly during scoping of issues and review of the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS). This notice of intent initiates the scoping process, which guides the development of the EIS. The scoping process will identify potential issues and issues to be analyzed in detail, and will lead to the development of alternatives to the proposal. Comments received in response to this notice, including the names and addresses of those who comment, will be part of the project record and available for public review. The second major opportunity for public input is with the DEIS. The DEIS will analyze a range of alternatives to the proposed action, including the noaction alternative.
Preliminary issues identified by the Forest Service interdisciplinary team include use of mechanized equipment in wilderness, protection of wilderness character, effects to threatened and endangered species, and effects to aquatic species and water quality.
This notice of intent initiates the scoping process which guides the development of the environmental impact statement. The Forest Service encourages the public to express issues, concerns, and suggestions they may have about this proposed action. Comments should be directly related to issues associated with the proposed action, rather than general advocacy of or opposition to the project, to best assist us in the NEPA analysis. Although comments are welcome at any time during this NEPA analysis, they will be most useful to us if they are received within 30 days following the publication of this notice. Early Notice of Importance of Public Participation in Subsequent Environmental Review
A draft environmental impact statement will be prepared for
comment. The comment period on the draft environmental impact statement
will be 45 days from the date the Environmental Protection Agency
publishes the notice of availability in the Federal Register. The
Forest Service believes, at this early stage, it is important to give
reviewers notice of several court rulings related to public
participation in the environmental review process. First, reviewers of
draft environmental impact statements must structure their
participation in the environmental review of the proposal so that it is
meaningful and alerts an agency to the reviewer's position and
contentions. Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Corp. v. NRDC, 435 U.S. 519,
553 (1978). Also, environmental objections that could be raised at the
draft environmental impact statement stage but that are not raised
until after completion of the final environmental impact statement may
be waived or dismissed by the courts. City of Angoon v. Hodel, 803 F.2d
1016, 1022 (9th Cir. 1986) and Wisconsin Heritages, Inc. v. Harris, 490
F. Supp. 1334, 1338 (RD. Wis. 1980). Because of these court rulings, it
is very important that those interested in this proposed action
participate by the close of the 45 day comment period so that substantive
comments and objections are made available to the Forest Service at a time when it can meaningfully consider them and respond to them in the final environmental impact statement.
To assist the Forest Service in identifying and considering issues
and concerns on the proposed action, comments on the draft
environmental impact statement should be as specific as possible. It is
also helpful if comments refer to specific pages or chapters of the
draft statement. Comments may also address the adequacy of the draft
environmental impact statement or the merits of the alternatives
formulated and discussed in the statement. Reviewers may wish to refer
to the Council on Environmental Quality Regulations for implementing
the procedural provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act at
40 CFR 1503.3 in addressing these points. Comments received, including
the names and addresses of those who comment, will be considered part
of the public record on this proposal and will be available for public inspection.
(Authority: 40 CFR 1501.7 and 1508.22; Forest Service Handbook 1909.15, Section 21)
Dated: October 30, 2008.
Suzanne C. Rainville,
Payette National Forest Supervisor.
[FR Doc. E827622 Filed 112008; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 341011P
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
Jim Egnew, Minerals and Geology Program Manager, in writing at Payette National Forest, 800 West Lakeside Avenue, McCall, Idaho 83638, or by telephone at (208) 634 0700.