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Because Tri-State is requesting federal funds from the Rural Utilities Service (RUS), the agency will lead the environmental review process outlined by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). To ensure the impacts of construction and operation of the proposed transmission line are considered, the project is undergoing an in-depth environmental review. Input gathered during the August 2009 scoping meetings and input that will be gathered during the additional scoping meetings and upcoming routing workshops will be considered in developing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). A scoping report is available that summarizes comments received during the August 2009 scoping period.
Another round of scoping meetings will be held by RUS prior to preparation of the EIS.
Environmental Impact Statement
The public will have an opportunity to comment on the draft EIS which is expected to be available for comment in the Summer or Fall 2012. Upon reviewing and responding to public comments on the draft EIS, the RUS will distribute the final EIS for review and public comment. At the conclusion of the study, the RUS will issue a Record of Decision (ROD) that describes the final agency decision and the associated environmental impacts.
In addition to NEPA, other federal environmental laws including the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and Endangered Species Act (ESA) apply. NHPA requires federal agencies to consider the effects of their undertakings on historic properties and affords the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, as well as interested parties, an opportunity to comment. Consultation under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act may be needed if any endangered or threatened species are likely to be affected.
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