Environmental Impact Statement

Background

Between 1969 and 1972, a site lease, federal grants for land use and right of way, and several other approvals were obtained from the Navajo Nation and various federal agencies to locate the plant, transmission lines, railroad and water lines on Navajo lands as well as to secure water from Lake Powell.

The time period to renew these agreements and approvals commences in 2019. The Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), Bureau of Indian Affairs and other federal agencies must approve or authorize the renewals to extend operation of NGS and associated facilities beyond 2020. A revision to the Kayenta Life of Mine Plan must also be approved by the Office of Surface Mining in order to supply fuel to NGS through 2044.

The federal approvals or extensions of these agreements will not be issued until comprehensive environmental reviews are completed under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is required for NEPA compliance, culminating in the Record of Decision (ROD) by the Secretary of the Interior and other federal agencies.

The Salt River Project and Peabody Western Coal Company have coordinated closely with BOR and other federal agencies to prepare the environmental review documents. More information about the NEPA, ESA and NHPA process for NGS can be found in this fact sheet.

NEPA process schedule and major milestones

EIS process timeline

Draft EIS comment period

On Sept. 30, 2016, BOR announced the availability of the draft EIS and schedule of public meetings that were held on the Navajo and Hopi reservations, Page, Casa Grande and Phoenix between Oct. 24 and Dec. 29, 2016.

The public comment period was an important step in the NEPA process for the federal agencies to gain an understanding of both the benefits and concerns with the extension of NGS and KMC operations beyond 2019. The public had the opportunity to review and comment on the draft EIS and learn more about the NEPA process and the draft EIS at the meetings.

Next steps

More information about the draft EIS can be found on the agency website: www.NGSKMC-EIS.net

Comments collected during the public hearing period will be used by Reclamation to revise and finalize the EIS for an anticipated publication in late 2017.