Ruby Pipeline Supplemental Information and Comments
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), as the Federal land managing agency for the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge (Sheldon Refuge), is issuing supplemental information in response to a request from Ruby Pipeline, LLC (Ruby) to use certain roads located within Sheldon Refuge. If the Service agrees to allow Ruby to use Sheldon Refuge roads, the Service would do so by means of issuing a Special Use Permit (SUP) to Ruby.
This supplemental information pertains to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process conducted for the Ruby Pipeline Project (Project). The Ruby Pipeline Project Final Environmental Impact Statement (Project FEIS) was released to the public in January 2010. On April 5, 2010, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) released its finding and ordered the issuance of a certificate for the proposed pipeline route. The Project FEIS included an assessment of impacts related to access roads to/from the proposed pipeline route. Some of those access roads are located on the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge (Sheldon Refuge). The project proponent, Ruby Pipeline, LLC has worked closely with Sheldon Refuge to develop a transportation plan in requesting the use of certain roads within the Sheldon Refuge.
A preliminary version of Ruby’s Draft Transportation Plan for Use of Access Roads within Sheldon NWR (Sheldon Transportation Plan) was provided in Appendix X (Transportation Plans) of the Project FEIS. Since release of the Project FEIS, Ruby and Sheldon Refuge have continued to refine the Sheldon Transportation Plan.
One component of the plan includes a proposed land exchange between Ruby and Service and is considered a connected action to the Sheldon Transportation Plan and Ruby Pipeline Project. A separate document, Ruby Pipeline Project Land Exchange on Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge (Land Exchange) includes a description of the lands being considered for exchange and an analysis of the impacts associated with the proposed exchange. Much of the information in the Land Exchange document refers to analyses that have been refined in the Sheldon Transportation Plan.
In addition to analyzing potential impacts associated with the Sheldon Transportation Plan and proposed Land Exchange, Federal statute (16 U.S.C. 668dd-668ee) requires the Service to review a proposed use within a National Wildlife Refuge (like pipeline access roads) and determine that it is compatible with the purposes for which the refuge was established prior to being allowed on a refuge. A Compatibility Determination has been prepared as part of the process for determining whether Ruby’s proposed use of refuge roads is compatible.
The Service is making the Sheldon Transportation Plan, the Land Exchange, and Compatibility Determination available for review and comment for a 15-day period consistent with Service NEPA and National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act requirements. Following the comment period and after reviewing any comments received, the Service will announce its permit decision in a Record of Decision. Information about how to submit comments regarding the supplemental information can be found below.
USFWS will receive comments regarding the Ruby Pipeline Project Supplemental NEPA Information and the Compatibility Determination through July 1, 2010. Comments may be submitted in writing to:
John Kasbohm, Project Leader
Comments may also be submitted through e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org