|The Mountain-Prairie Region|
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228
Otto Jose, 303 236-8156
March 6, 2006
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking Public Comment on its Proposal to Adopt the Final Environmental Impact Statement prepared for the ‘Piceance Basin Expansion Project’
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to adopt the Final Environmental Impact Statement prepared for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Piceance Basin Expansion Project. Specifically, that portion of the Project that will cross the Wick Wildlife Habitat Management Area (WHMA) and Fort Steele Public Fishing Access Area in Carbon County, Wyoming. Public comment period on this proposal is open for 30 days.
The WHMA and the Fort Steele Public Fishing Access Area were originally purchased by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) with Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act funds and Sport Fish Restoration Act funds, administered by the Service. The grant for the Wick Wildlife Habitat Management Area was purchased to provide winter range for elk. The grant funding the Fort Steele Public Fishing Access Area was purchased to provide public access for fishing.
The WGFD has submitted a grant amendment to the Service for a permanent easement to Entrega Gas Pipeline, Inc. for the placement and operation of an underground natural gas pipeline under 10,976 linear feet of the Wick WHMA and 2,638 linear feet of the Fort Steele site. This is a portion of the larger Project which will extend approximately 327 miles from Meeker, Colorado north to Wamsutter, Wyoming and then south and east to Weld County, Colorado. The decision by the Service whether to approve the grant amendment constitutes a federal action per NEPA regulations.
The Service provided comments concerning the Project to the FERC in response to the Draft EIS which were addressed by FERC in the Final EIS regarding the Service’s interest in the WHMA and the public access site, the affected environment at both sites, and mitigation measures that will minimize impacts to the affected resources. Also, the Final EIS assures that the purpose for which the property was bought will not be diminished. As the document adequately addresses the impact of the actions, the Service proposes to adopt the Final EIS.
The Final EIS will be available for review for 30 days at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Office, 134 Union Boulevard, Suite 440, Lakewood, Colorado 80225. The Final EIS may also be reviewed at the following web address: http://www.ferc.gov/industries/gas/enviro/eis/08-12-05.asp.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.
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