Lake Powell Pipeline Project Environmental Impact Statement

The public comment period for the Lake Powell Pipeline Project will close at 11:59 p.m. MDT on September 8, 2020

The Bureau of Reclamation, on behalf of the U.S. Department of the Interior, has issued a Notice of Availability of the draft Environmental Impact Statement/draft Resource Management Plan Amendment for the Lake Powell Pipeline Project, in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. The Department is seeking public comment on the draft EIS/draft RMPA during a 90-day public comment period that will close at 11:59 pm MDT on September 8, 2020.

Substantive Comments

“To be most helpful, comments should be as specific as possible. A substantive comment provides new information about the Proposed Action, an alternative or the analysis; identifies a different way to meet the need; points out a specific flaw in the analysis; suggests alternate methodologies and the reason(s) why they should be used; makes factual corrections, or identifies a different source of credible research which, if used in the analysis, could result in different effects.”

Substantive comments do one or more of the following:

  • Question, with reasonable basis, the accuracy of information in the EIS.
  • Question, with reasonable basis, the adequacy of, methodology for, or assumptions used for the environmental analysis.
  • Present new information relevant to the analysis.
  • Present reasonable alternatives other than those analyzed in the EIS.
  • Cause changes or revisions in one or more of the alternatives.

Comments that are not considered substantive include the following:

  • Comments in favor of or against the proposed action or alternatives without reasoning that meet the criteria listed above.
  • Comments that only agree or disagree with Interior policy or resource decisions without justification or supporting data that meet the criteria listed above.
  • Comments that don’t pertain to the project area or the project.
  • Comments that take the form of vague, open-ended questions.

Reclamation will host two virtual, online public meetings on the evenings of July 8 and 9, 2020, at 6 p.m. MDT. The decision to hold virtual rather than in-person meetings was based on continuing public health concerns and a desire to facilitate maximum public participation without the need to limit attendees.

Web address for July 8 - http://ow.ly/He8f50Am5HX

Web address for July 9 - http://ow.ly/2glG50Am5HW

Virtual Draft Environmental Impact Statement Public Meetings – Presentation Link is to a PDF file

Interested parties and individuals may be added to the mailing and notification list at any of the contact methods below by submitting their email addresses and other contact information.

Comments on the draft EIS/draft RMPA and requests to be added to the mailing/notification list may be submitted by mail, e-mail or fax to:
Lake Powell Pipeline Project
Bureau of Reclamation, Provo Area Office
302 East Lakeview Parkway
Provo, Utah 84606
 
lpp@usbr.gov
801-379-1159


Intro and Project Overview

In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, the Bureau of Reclamation will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Lake Powell Pipeline Project proposed by the Utah Board of Water Resources. The LPP is a water delivery pipeline that begins at Lake Powell near Glen Canyon Dam in Page, Arizona, and ends at Sand Hollow Reservoir near St. George, Utah. UBWR proposes building LPP in order to bring a second source of water to Washington County in Utah to meet future water demands, diversify the regional water supply portfolio, and enhance the reliability of the water supply.


This interactive map shows the two proposed alternative water conveyance systems for the Lake Powell Pipeline to carry water from Lake Powell to Sand Hollow Reservoir. The Highway Alternative is shown in red while the Southern Alternative is shown in blue. To view the map in full screen click here.

UBWR previously proposed a pipeline project with an intake at Lake Powell that included a hydroelectric peaking station at Hurricane Cliffs, Utah. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission was the lead Federal agency for that project because it would have required a hydroelectric license issued by FERCUBWR withdrew its application to the FERC on September 25, 2019, and the project was terminated effective October 10, 2019. (https://elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20191016-3069 )  Reclamation has been designated the lead Federal agency by the Department of the Interior for the LPP National Environmental Policy Act process.  Based on the changes to project design and the lead federal agency, Reclamation is initiating a new public scoping process, which will require interested parties to submit new comments on the current proposal. Reclamation is also reinitiating government-to-government consultation with Indian tribes under section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and in accordance with Executive Order 13175.


Frequently Asked Questions

Who are the Cooperating Agencies and what are their roles?

Bureau of Land Management: The BLM is the lead federal agency for Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act compliance, and the proposed Arizona Strip Resource Management Plan Amendment. The BLM has the responsibility of deciding whether to amend the RMPA and whether to issue a right-of-way grants.

National Park Service: NPS will decide whether to issue a right-of-way permit.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: The FWS is responsible for the Biological Opinion.

Bureau of Indian Affairs: The BIA will assist the Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians throughout the NEPA process as a cooperating agency and may issue a right-of-way grant.

Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians: As of November 2019, is a cooperating agency because one of the Alternatives crosses tribal lands.

Are there any Alternatives?

Two pipeline alignments have been proposed: The Southern Alternative and the Highway Alternative. Both alternatives begin and end in the same locations. The Southern Alternative would travel south of the Kaibab Indian Reservation while the alignment for the Highway Alternative would cross lands held in trust by the United States for the benefit of the Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians, following Arizona State Route 389. The Southern Alternative would cross land administered by the BLM in Utah and Arizona and would require multiple ROW grants and an amendment to the Arizona Strip RMPA, because a small portion of the pipeline would go outside an approved utility corridor. Three action alternatives, plus a No Action Alternative, are being considered based on scoping conducted by the BLM in 2018.

The Highway Alternative would cross BLM and tribal trust lands, which would require the BLM and BIA to issue ROW grants and require a resolution from the Tribe. Both alternatives would cross lands administered by Reclamation and the NPS, requiring Reclamation to issue an easement and the NPS to issue a ROW permit under either alternative.

In addition, UBWR has requested a water exchange contract with Reclamation.

What is a Water Exchange Contract?

Under the water exchange contract, UBWR would forbear the diversion of a portion of the natural flows to which UBWR is entitled and allow these flows (~400 miles) to contribute to meeting the Endangered Species Act and Upper Colorado River Recovery Implementation Program requirements in the Green River. In exchange, UBWR would deplete an equal amount of water released from Flaming Gorge Dam throughout the year and available at Lake Powell. This exchange contract would not entitle UBWR to call for releases from Flaming Gorge.


EIS Process

General Information

Scoping is the first step in the NEPA process and can include various means of information-gathering activities. It is to be

an early and open process for determining the scope of issues to be addressed and for identifying the significant issues related to a proposed action. (40 CFR 1501.7 )
Public participation is an integral part of scoping because it gives the public an opportunity to help Reclamation identify issues of special concern and alternatives to the proposed action that may be included in the Environmental Impact Statement.

Public scoping period for Reclamation’s Notice of Intent to prepare an EIS for the pipeline project was announced in the Federal Register on December 6, 2019, and in a press release from Reclamation. The purpose of soliciting input is to identify relevant issues, alternatives, mitigation measures, and analytical tools so that they can be incorporated into the EIS. The public scoping period closed at 11:59 p.m. MST on January 10, 2020.

Getting input from as many affected and interested parties as possible is an important part of preparing an EIS. These usually include:

  • Citizens who live, work, or play in the area where the proposed project may occur.
  • Public interest groups and native communities that have concerns about possible impacts to environmental, social, or economic resources.
  • Federal, state, and local government agencies that have responsibilities for managing public resources or services.
  • Scientists and other technical experts with knowledge of the area's natural resources and the possible impacts of the project development.

Impact Analysis

An EIS analyzes the environmental concerns that were identified for each alternative. The objective of the analysis is to determine the nature, severity, and duration of impacts that might occur and to compare the impacts of the alternatives. Numerous technical aids are used in making the assessment, including 23 ecological and socioeconomic studies that were completed when Federal Energy Regulatory Commission was the lead agency. These studies will be updated and incorporated as appropriate for Reclamation’s EIS.

Draft EIS and Public Review

The impact analysis is first documented in a draft EIS. The draft EIS is made available to the public for 90 days for review and comment. The availability of the draft EIS is announced in a Federal Register Notice and in press releases. Copies of the document are made available to the public on our web page. Requests for hard copies can also be submitted by email or phone using the “Contact Us” information. In order to make sure Reclamation can adequately respond to issues or concerns raised by the public, we ask that all comments be written and submitted via the methods described in the Notice of Availability or in the “Contact Us” section of this web page.

Final EIS

The principal objective when developing the final EIS is to address public comments on the draft EIS. The final EIS includes a summary of comments and Reclamation’s responses.

After the comments on the draft EIS are reviewed, Reclamation will revise the document to correct technical errors and add any relevant new information that became available since the draft EIS was published. Once again, the availability of the final EIS is announced in a Federal Register Notice and press releases.


Related Documents

Studies

The following documents are studies created on behalf of FERC, when they were the lead Federal agency, to inform the drafting of the Lake Powell Pipeline draft Environmental Impact Statement. In so far as the information remains relevant, it will be used for the current proposed project. The documents for each resource are ordered by date they were submitted to FERC. These links will take you outside of Reclamation’s website to the water.utah.gov website where you can view all of the documents.

Public Notifications and other documents


Contact Us

For further information contact:

Mr. Rick Baxter, Program Manager
Bureau of Reclamation, Provo Area Office
302 East Lakeview Parkway
Provo, UT 84606
(801) 379-1078
(801) 379-1159
lpp@usbr.gov

Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf may call the Federal Relay Service (FedRelay) at 1-800-877-8339 TTY/ASCII to contact the above individual during normal business hours or to leave a message or question after hours. You will receive a reply during normal business hours.

Last Updated: 9/22/20