The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is publishing a Notice of Availability in the Federal Register and opening a 60-day public comment period on the revised Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the R-Project Transmission Line (R-Project) in Nebraska. The public comment period begins on February 9, 2024, and ends on April 9, 2024. 

The Service will host two in-person and one virtual public meeting.

Public Meeting Format

The Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) Public Meetings will include the following:

  • Presentation providing an overview of: 
  • National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Endangered Species Act (ESA) processes 
  • R-Project and Draft Revised Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP)
  • Draft SEIS Contents
  • How to submit public comments on the Draft Revised HCP and Draft SEIS 
  • Opportunity for attendees to ask clarifying questions to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) staff  
  • Opportunity for attendees to provide verbal comments, to be transcribed by a court reporter as official public comments  
  • In-person meetings will also provide attendees the opportunity to submit comments in writing 

In-Person Meetings:

  • Tuesday, February 27, 2024, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Central Standard Time. Prairie Arts Center, 416 North Jeffers Street, North Platte, Nebraska.
  • Thursday, February 29, 2024, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Central Standard Time. Mid Plains Community College, 2520 South “E” Street (West Highway 2), Broken Bow, Nebraska. 

Signage will be posted at both in-person meeting locations to direct attendees to the correct room.

Virtual Meeting:  

In addition to the in-person public hearings, USFWS is hosting an additional virtual hearing to allow members of the public to learn about the Draft SEIS for the NPPD R-Project HCP, ask clarifying questions, and provide verbal public comments. 

The virtual meeting will be held on Thursday, March 7, 2024, at 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. CT. 

This virtual meeting will present the same information as the in-person meetings. To register to attend the virtual meeting and pre-register to provide verbal comments, please visit: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ca8hb7UdQYWcKQ4KXqx7IQ.  

Please review the instructions and tips in advance of attending the virtual public meeting.

VIRTUAL PUBLIC MEETING INSTRUCTIONS:

The virtual public meeting will use the following Zoom link and phone number.

VIRTUAL MEETING TIPS:

  • Prior to the meeting, please access the Zoom link above and download any needed software. This may take a few minutes, so it is best to download software in advance of the meeting. When logging-on to the meeting, please indicate your organization name in parentheses after your last name, if you represent one.
  • All lines will be muted upon entry and stay muted throughout the meeting and video feeds will not be permitted.
  • If you need assistance, please use the chat function to send a note to the meeting host. For call-in only users, press *9 to raise your hand.
  • If you need assistance accessing the meeting, please email NPPD_HCP_SEIS@icf.com
  • To hear audio when connecting through the Zoom link, please make sure the volume on your computer speakers is on and that you do not have any programs with audio features (e.g., Skype, Pandora, YouTube) open that may interfere with the online meeting audio.
  • A verbal comment session will be held at the end of the presentation to record attendees’ comments on the Draft SEIS. Throughout the meeting, participants can indicate if they would like to make a verbal comment in the chat box located at the bottom of the screen on the Zoom platform. During the verbal comment session, a facilitator will provide instructions for providing verbal comments and a court reporter will transcribe verbal comments. 
  • Individual internet connections and bandwidths may impact your viewing experience during the virtual meeting. It is best to close all other applications (i.e., Outlook) and limit streaming or downloads during the virtual meeting.

To ensure accessibility, a recording of the virtual public meeting will be available online at www.fws.gov/project/r-project-transmission-line and at the following library locations: 

  • North Platte Public Library, 120 W 4th St, North Platte, NE 69101; 
  • Thomas County Library, 501 Main St, Thedford, NE 69166; and
  • Taylor Public Library, 106 William St., Taylor, NE 68879.

The public may submit comments by April 9, 2024, using one of the following methods:

  • Online: at www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments on Docket No. FWS-R6-ES-2014-0048.
  • U.S. mail: Public Comments Processing; Attn: Docket No. FWS-R6-ES-2014-0048; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, MS: PRB/3W; 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041–3803.
  • During the in-person or virtual public meetings (see above).

The Notice of Availability is associated with the preparation of a SEIS to the February 2019 Final Environmental Impact Statement on Issuance of an Incidental Take Permit and Implementation of a revised HCP for the R-Project Transmission Line. 

The FWS is seeking public feedback on the effect of the potential action (issuance of a permit authorizing incidental take of a covered species in association with covered activities and revised HCP implementation) on the human environment.  Input received during the scoping period will be incorporated into the final SEIS. 

Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) has resubmitted an application for a federal Incidental Take Permit (permit) to authorize the take of the federally threatened American burying beetle (Nicrophorus americanus) under the Endangered Species Act for the proposed construction, operation, and maintenance of a 226-mile-long, 345-kilovolt (kV) transmission line and associated infrastructure.   

The purpose of the R-Project is three-fold:  

  1. Relieve electrical congestion within the existing transmission system;  
  2. Enhance system reliability;  
  3. Provide opportunities for development of renewable resources.

The proposed project starts at NPPD’s substation at Gerald Gentleman Station; north to a 345 kV substation in Thomas County near Thedford; and then extends eastward to another 345 kV substation sited in Holt County, which is interconnected with Western Area Power Administration’s existing Fort Thompson to Grand Island 345 kV line located on the eastern border of Holt County.  The R-Project study area is within the following Nebraska counties: Antelope, Blaine, Brown, Cherry, Garfield, Holt, Hooker, Lincoln, Logan, Loup, McPherson, Rock, Thomas, and Wheeler. 

Additional Information

Notice of Availability

News Release

Frequently Asked Questions

Species

Facilities

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