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[Federal Register: August 8, 1994]

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Western Area Power Administration Replacement Resource Methods Report; Grand Canyon Protection Act of 1992

AGENCY: Western Area Power Administration, DOE.

ACTION: Notice of Initiation of Public Consultation, Grand Canyon Protection Act Replacement Resource Methods Report.

SUMMARY: The Western Area Power Administration (Western) is initiating a public consultation process to identify methods of replacing lost Glen Canyon Dam power and to report the findings to Congress, as required by the Grand Canyon Protection (GCP) Act of 1992, Title XVIII (P.L. 102-575), referred to hereafter as the GCP Act, enacted October 30, 1992. Section 1809 of the GCP Act states that the Secretary of Energy.

In consultation with the Secretary of the Interior and with representatives of the Colorado River Storage Project power customers, environmental organizations and the States of Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming shall identify economically and technically feasible methods of replacing any power generation that is lost through adoption of long-term operational criteria for Glen Canyon Dam***

This section further states that--

The Secretary shall present a report of the findings, and implementing draft legislation, if necessary, not later than two years after adoption of long-term operating criteria.

Western is beginning the process of identifying methods to replace lost Glen Canyon Dam hydropower at this time in order to effectively evaluate customer needs and implement necessary contract modifications as soon as possible. Section 1809 also requires that the Secretary shall

* * * Include an investigation of the feasibility of adjusting operations at Hoover Dam to replace all or part of such lost generation.

In addition, the Secretary shall

Include an investigation of the modifications or additions to the transmission system that may be required to acquire and deliver replacement power.

The Secretary of Energy, acting by and through Western, has the responsibility of marketing power generated at Glen Canyon Dam, including power sold in place of any lost Glen Canyon Dam marketable resource, which necessitates the Replacement Resource Methods Report to Congress.

Western's approach to identifying methods and acquiring long-term replacement resources for Glen Canyon Dam will be to consider cost- effectiveness while incorporating principles of integrated resource planning. Western will consider a variety of resource options, both supply-side and demand-side, as well as renewable resource options, which would enable it to provide reliable service to its customers at the lowest possible system cost.

Western has been formulating a plan (1) to prepare, through consultation, the report on the economically and technically feasible methods of replacing lost Glen Canyon Dam power, and draft legislation if necessary; and (2) to identify the range of replacement resources needed and the necessary revisions to existing wholesale firm power contracts to accommodate replacement resource obligations. Western will implement the acquisition of any replacement resources later, through a separate process.

As part of this planning, Western has had several meetings since April 1993 with firm power customers to discuss informally the range of customer replacement resources needed. Western has discussed limitations of, and needed modifications to, existing long-term wholesale firm power contracts, as well as assumed timing of decisions by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) and Western in certain ongoing environmental impact statements (EIS) and related decision processes. Reclamation's Glen Canyon Dam EIS will ultimately influence the magnitude and timing of available hydroelectric power from the Glen Canyon Dam. Western's Salt Lake City Area/Integrated Projects (SLCA/IP) electric power marketing (EPM) EIS will determine Western's commitment level for the near-term and may affect its long-term obligations in wholesale firm electric service contracts. Both short-term and long- term obligations may influence and be influenced by eventual costs to customers.

Future consultation meetings and informational mailings on replacing lost power from Glen Canyon Dam will focus on a reasonable range of future SLCA/IP firm power contract obligations and potential methods to acquire the most cost-effective alternative sources of replacement firm resources needed to meet those obligations. The SLCA/ IP consists of resources from the Rio Grande Project, Collbran Project, and Colorado River Storage Project (CRSP), which includes Glen Canyon Dam. Cost-effectiveness will be an integral component of the selection criteria for replacement resources.

PROCEDURES: The consultation period for identifying the methods of replacing the marketable resource lost at Glen Canyon Dam has begun and will end prior to submission of the report to Congress. Following publication of this notice, the next step will be the preparation of a brochure, which will address, among other items, the scope and schedule of the entire process envisioned by Western to identify the required replacement resource methods. Formal consultation will be initiated with representatives of CRSP power customers, environmental organizations and the Colorado River Basin States, Native Americans, the Secretary of the Interior, and other interested parties in late 1994 or early 1995. Notices of dates and locations of future meetings regarding identification of GCP Act replacement resource methods will be provided in Federal Register notices. In addition, the brochure and notices will be mailed to interested parties, including those identified in the GCP Act.

Western and the Colorado River Energy Distributors Association have cosponsored several informal regional customer meetings in Phoenix (June 23), Salt Lake City (July 1), Albuquerque (July 6), and Denver (July 7) to discuss contract-related issues regarding near-term and long-term firm power obligations and replacement resource needs. Discussions between Western and existing wholesale firm power customers concerning events, possible outcomes, and necessary contract modifications are expected to continue throughout 1994.

Western's Salt Lake City Area Office is developing an initial list of individuals and organizations interested in the replacement resource process. Parties interested in receiving information or adding their names to the mailing list may contact the sources listed below.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Replacement Resource--Jeffrey J. McCoy, Resources and Marketing Studies, Western Area Power Administration, P.O. Box 11606, Salt Lake City, Utah 84147-0606. Telephone: (801) 524-5399 or (801) 524-5493. Contract Modifications-- Burt Hawkes, Contracts and Customer Services, Western Area Power Administration, P.O. Box 11606, Salt Lake City, Utah 84147-0606. Telephone: (801) 524-3344 or (801) 524-5493.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The GCP Act states that the Secretary of the Interior:

Shall operate Glen Canyon Dam in accordance with the additional criteria and operating plans * * * and exercise other authorities under existing law in such a manner as to protect, mitigate adverse impacts to, and improve the values for which Grand Canyon National Park and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area were established,... (GCP Act, Section 1802) (emphasis added)

The GCP Act was enacted to address resource management problems in Grand Canyon National Park and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area attributed to the operation of Glen Canyon Dam. Operations of Glen Canyon Dam have been modified during the interim period prior to completion of the Glen Canyon Dam EIS. It is anticipated that compliance with the GCP Act to reduce operations-related impacts to the downstream environment will result in further long-term modifications following the Glen Canyon Dam EIS Record of Decision.

The Glen Canyon Dam EIS was initiated in 1989 to evaluate impacts of Glen Canyon Dam operations on downstream resources of the Colorado River. The draft Glen Canyon Dam EIS, published by Reclamation in January 1994, presents a range of long-term operational alternatives for the dam. Reclamation published a notice of availability of such draft EIS on January 7, 1994; (59 FR 1023). The Glen Canyon Dam EIS is mandated by the GCP Act to be completed no later than 2 years after the date of enactment of the Act, or October 1994.

Long-term operating criteria will be established based on the findings, conclusions, and recommendations made in the Glen Canyon Dam EIS and the audit performed by the Comptroller General on the costs and benefits of management policies. A Reasonable and Prudent Alternative, presented in a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Biological Opinion on operations of Glen Canyon Dam, may also be incorporated into the long- term operating criteria.

The amount of marketable resource lost at Glen Canyon Dam will be a function of the long-term operating criteria selected and operational changes made in response to conclusions emerging from research and the long-term monitoring results. Estimates of the amount of hydropower resource available at Glen Canyon Dam will become better defined as the dam operations are revised.

Identifying feasible methods of replacing the power will require assessment by existing firm power customers of both the magnitude and timing of the lost resource at Glen Canyon Dam. Western's firm power customers will influence whether Western will replace any or all of the lost Glen Canyon Dam resource. Customers' decisions concerning replacement resource needs will depend in large part on the availability and costs of alternative resources. Such acquisitions might be made by Western on behalf of firm power customers on a pass- through-cost basis, incorporating all associated costs.

Since neither lost marketable resources nor customer replacement resource demand may be known for some time, and may vary as more scientific knowledge of the effects of dam operations becomes available, the replacement Resource Methods Report to Congress is expected to address both changes in hydropower generation under several possible long-term operational alternatives at Glen Canyon Dam and a range of customer-defined firm replacement resource needs.

The final SLCA/IP EPM EIS is expected to be released in November 1994. The Record of Decision which follows may establish new firm power resource commitment levels for the SLCA/IP. The timing of the implementation of Western's SLCA/IP EPM EIS Record of Decision, relative to Reclamation's Glen Canyon Dam EIS Record of Decision, is uncertain at this time.

The Replacement Resource Methods Report to Congress is to be completed no later than 2 years after implementation of long-term operational criteria at Glen Canyon Dam. Contract amendments to replace the lost resource will need to take effect at the time of implementation of Reclamation's Glen Canyon Dam EIS Record of Decision, or other accommodations will need to be made to satisfy contractual commitments. Western and its firm power customers have been working to develop a mutual understanding of principles for revising existing wholesale firm power contracts to address the possible range of outcomes.

Formal consultation with representatives of environmental organizations, Native Americans, the Colorado River Basin States, the Secretary of the Interior, as well as CRSP power customers and other interested parties, for identifying GCP Act replacement resource methods and any necessary legislation begins with publication of this notice in the Federal Register. Meetings are planned for late 1994 or early 1995, and their dates and locations will be published in subsequent Federal Register notices. A brochure will be prepared to provide more information on a range of subjects including (1) the quantification of lost marketable resources from Glen Canyon Dam and other CRSP sites, (2) the range of replacement resource needs, (3) the relation of resource replacement to Western's other EISs, (4) the proposed schedule for related replacement resource and Glen Canyon Dam EIS and SLCA/IP EPM EIS events, and (5) a list of common questions and answers related to these topics. It will be distributed to representatives of organizations specified in the GCP Act and other interested parties in the summer of 1994.

ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE: Western will comply with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 through an appropriate level of environmental analysis on the impacts of any proposed replacement resource methods. Western is just beginning the process of identifying methods to replace lost Glen Canyon Dam hydropower. Those processes will address environmental concerns.

DETERMINATION UNDER EXECUTIVE ORDER 12866: DOE has determined this is not a significant regulatory action because it does not meet the criteria of Executive Order 12866, 58 FR 51735. Western has an exemption from centralized regulatory review under Executive Order 12866; accordingly, no clearance of this notice by the Office of Management and Budget is required.

Issued in Golden, Colorado, July 27, 1994.
William H. Clagett, Administrator.
[FR Doc. 94-19297 Filed 8-5-94; 8:45 am]

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