Published Nov. 13, 2014
Expiration date: 12/6/2014

November 13, 2014
NAO-2012-00080 / 13-V0408

The District Commander continues to review a joint application for Federal permit consideration as generally described below and is soliciting comments specific to historic property identification under the Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and Dominion’s November 6, 2014 Surry – Skiffes Creek – Wheatlon 500 kV / 230kV Alternatives Analysis:

Dominion Virginia Power
Courtney Fisher
701 E. Cary Street; 12th Floor
Richmond, Virginia 23219

LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED WORK:  The proposed project will take place in the Counties of Surry, James City, and York including the Cities of Newport News and Hampton.

PROPOSED WORK:  Dominion Virginia Power continues to propose construction of a new electrical transmission power line and associated infrastructure, known as Surry - Skiffes Creek - Whealton project, involving construction of 7.4-miles of 500kV overhead transmission power line from Surry nuclear power plant to a proposed Skiffes Creek 500kV-230kV-115kV switching station, followed by upgrades to 20.2-miles of existing  overhead transmission power line corridor from the switching station to the existing Whealton substation in Hampton.

On November 12, 2014 Dominion submitted a minor modification to their proposed route as the transmission line comes ashore on the James City County side of the James River at the BASF property. This modified alignment will avoid an active remediation site located on the BASF property that is currently subject to Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) corrective action under the auspices of the Environmental Protection Agency and Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.  pecifically, structures 582/29 through 582/33 have been relocated to avoid the remediation area.  Previously, the project required the conversion of 0.71 acre (AC) of palustrine forested (PFO) wetlands to palustrine scrub-shrub (PSS) wetlands. The modified route will now only result in the conversion of 0.52 AC of PFO to PSS wetlands.  All other impacts remain unchanged.

AUTHORITY:  A permit is required from the Norfolk District Corps of Engineers under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899.  As such, the proposed project constitutes a Federal undertaking subject to compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) which requires Federal agencies to take into account the effects of their actions, including permitted actions, on historic properties. In accordance with the requirements of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Section 106, USACE solicited public comments on the undertaking via public notice on August 28, 2013. These comments have helped to facilitate the initial steps of Section 106 review process and will continue to be considered when preparing an Environmental Assessment (EA) for NEPA compliance. 

SECTION 106 EVALUATION: We are soliciting final comments on historic property identification within the refined Area of Potential Effect for Dominion’s preferred alternative. Enclosed with this notice you will find archaeological and architectural resource tables listing all resources that have been identified for consideration. Identification efforts continue to be coordinated with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, Consulting Parties, Local Governments, and Indian Tribes. If a resource appears to have been overlooked from consideration, please use this opportunity to notify us so that the resource(s) can be captured moving forward. After identification and evaluation is complete, additional opportunities to comment will be provided via public notice on potential effects to historic properties and on resolution of adverse effects.

ALTERNATIVES: The majority of comments received to date object to the construction of an aerial crossing over the James River from Surry to Skiffes Creek and stress that Dominion explore other alternatives, specifically a burial crossing under the River or utilization of an existing crossing further south along the James River Bridge. Enclosed with this notice you will find Dominion’s alternatives analysis which captures these recommendations, as well as the other alternatives considered during their selection process of the preferred alternative being proposed. Dominion must take action to ensure continued reliable electric services, consistent with North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) Reliability Standards, is provided to its customers in the North Hampton Road Load Area. Failure to address the purpose and need of this project could lead to loss of service and potential damage to other facilities in the area, resulting in significant impacts to electric service and the region’s economy.

Our review must decide whether Dominion’s preferred alternative is in-fact the least environmentally damaging practicable alternative that accomplishes the purpose and need of the project. Our 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, with a consideration to the alternatives presented that may result in a lesser impact. 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. Factors to be considered, include 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). 

COMMENT PERIOD: Comments on the Historic Property Identification and Alternatives should be made in writing, addressed to the Norfolk District, Corps of Engineers (ATTN:  CENAO-WR-R), 803 Front Street, Norfolk, Virginia  23510-1096, and should be received by the close of business on December 6, 2014.

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, contact Randy Steffey of my staff at 757-201-7579 or .


Attachments: Location Map
Modified Project Impact Exhibit
Area of Potential Effect
Historic Property Identification Tables
Alternatives Analysis