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NAO-2018-00456

Posted: 8/21/2018

Expiration date: 9/19/2018


FEDERAL PUBLIC NOTICE

The District Commander has received a joint application for Federal and State permits as described below:

APPLICANT
Community Electric Cooperative
Mr. Jonathan Thompson
52 W. Windsor Blvd.
Windsor, VA 23487 

WATERWAY AND LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED WORK: The project is located in a tributary to Speights Run, which is a tributary to the Nansemond River, at 406 Copeland Road in Suffolk, Virginia.  

PROPOSED WORK AND PURPOSE: The applicant proposes to impact 1.63 acres of forested wetlands for the construction of the Copeland Substation, which would include a single 115 kV tap from the nearby Dominion transmission line to a single transformer bank, then exit underground via four (4) circuit exits to nearby, Community Electric-owned, 12.47 kV overhead distribution lines.The substation would accommodate four (4) total feeders, and provisions for a mobile transformer connection.  

The preferred alternative site provides direct access to an existing transmission line. The applicant reviewed three other sites and determined that the other locations would either impact more wetlands or would require a transmission line extension, which could ultimately disturb more wetlands and substantially increase construction costs. Additional transmission lines introduce more losses (wasted energy) due to transmitting power over long distances and can result in higher probability for interruption of service.   

The applicant reviewed multiple layouts for the substation gravel pad and electrical equipment to minimize disturbance within the delineated wetland areas on the site while maintaining enough space to access all necessary equipment. The applicant proposes to fill the wetlands to construct the gravel pad and driveway and divert the surface waters to the southeast. The applicant proposes to compensate for the proposed forested wetland impacts at a 2:1 ratio by purchasing credits from an approved mitigation bank within the service area.   

In addition to the required Department of the Army permit, the applicant must obtain a Virginia Water Protection Permit from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) assuring that applicable laws and regulations pertaining to water quality are not violated and possibly a permit from the Suffolk Wetlands Board. Project drawings are attached.  

AUTHORITY: Permits are required pursuant to Sections 401 and 404 of the Clean Water Act (Public Law 95-217) and Title 62.1 of the Code of Virginia.  

FEDERAL EVALUATION OF APPLICATION: The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impact including cumulative impacts of the proposed activity on the public interest. The decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources. The benefits which reasonably may be expected from the proposal must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments. All of the proposal's relevant factors will be considered, including conservation, economics, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, cultural values, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, flood plain values, land use classification, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food and fiber production, mineral needs, consideration of property ownership and, in general, the needs and welfare of the people. The Environmental Protection Agency's "Guidelines for Specification of Disposal Sites for Dredged or Fill Material" will also be applied (Section 404(b)(1) of the Clean Water Act).   

The Corps of Engineers is soliciting comments from the public; Federal, state, and local agencies and officials; Indian Tribes; and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of this proposed activity. Any comments received will be considered by the Corps of Engineers to determine whether to issue, modify, condition or deny a permit for this proposal. To make this decision, comments are used to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and the other public interest factors listed above. Comments are used in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment and/or an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act. Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the proposed activity.  Anyone may request a public hearing to consider this permit application by writing to the District Commander within 30 days of the date of this notice, stating specific reasons for holding the public hearing. The District Commander will then decide if a hearing should be held.  

Preliminary review indicates that: (l) no environmental impact statement will be required; (2) after conducting the NAO ESA Project Review Process, there may be an effect to listed/proposed/candidate species and/or designated/proposed critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 and the Official Species List and Species Conclusion Table are attached for review and comment by Fish and Wildlife Service; and (3) no known properties eligible for inclusion or included in the National Register of Historic Places are in or near the permit area, or would likely be affected by the proposal. Additional information might change any of these findings.  

For compliance with the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended for projects located in Tidewater, the applicant must certify that federally licensed or permitted activities affecting Virginia's coastal uses or resources will be conducted in a manner consistent with the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program (VCP) and obtain concurrence from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Office of Environmental Impact Review (OEIR). The applicant’s consistency certification is attached to this Public Notice and we are requesting review by DEQ-OEIR for concurrence or objection (the six-month consistency review clock begins when OEIR receives complete information to coordinate the review). It is the applicant’s responsibility to submit a consistency certification to the Office of Environmental Impact Review for concurrence or objection and proof of concurrence must be submitted to the Corps prior to final permit issuance. A template federal consistency certification can be found here:

http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/EnvironmentalImpactReview/FederalConsistencyReviews.aspx#cert

For more information or to obtain a list of the enforceable policies of the VCP, contact the Department of Environmental Quality, Office of Environmental Impact Review at (804) 698-4330 or e-mail: bettina.sullivan@deq.virginia.gov or john.fisher@deq.virginia.gov 

COMMENT PERIOD: Comments on this project should be in writing and can be sent by either email to melissa.a.nash@usace.army.mil, or by regular mail, addressed to the Norfolk District, Corps of Engineers (ATTN: CENAO-WR-R, Melissa Nash), 803 Front Street, Norfolk, Virginia  23510-1011, and should be received by the close of business on September 19, 2018.  

PRIVACY & CONFIDENTIALITY: Comments and information, including the identity of the submitter, submitted in response to this Public Notice may be disclosed, reproduced, and distributed at the discretion of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Information that is submitted in connection with this public notice cannot be maintained as confidential by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Submissions should not include any information that the submitter seeks to preserve as confidential.  

If you have any questions about this project or the permit process, please contact Melissa Nash at (757) 201-7489.

Copeland Road Nansemond River Speights Run Suffolk tributary