Finding of No Significant Impact – Sheep Solar

FINDING OF NO SIGNIFICANT IMPACT Sheep Solar, LLC Solar Project Marion County, Oregon Rural Business Services U.S. Department of Agriculture Sheep Solar, LLC Prepared by: Michael Beyer State Environmental Coordinator – Oregon August 2017 A. INTRODUCTION Sheep Solar, LLC plans to submit a financing request to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Business Service (RBS) to construct the proposed Solar Project in Marion County, Oregon. RBS is considering this financing request. Prior to taking a federal action (i.e., providing financial assistance), RBS is required to complete an environmental impact analysis in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (U.S.C. 4231 et seq.), the Council on Environmental Quality’s (CEQ) regulations for implementing NEPA (40 CFR Parts 1500-1508), and RD’s NEPA implementing regulations, Environmental Policies and Procedures (7 CFR Part 1970). After completing an independent analysis of an environmental report prepared by Sheep Solar, LLC and its consultant, RBS concurred with its scope and content. In accordance with 7 CFR 1970.102, RBS adopted the report and issued it as the Agency’s Environmental Assessment (EA) for the proposed Project. RBS finds that the EA is consistent with federal regulations and meets the standards for an adequate assessment. Sheep Solar, LLC published a newspaper notice, announcing the availability of the EA for public review, in accordance with 7 CFR 1970.102. In addition, RBS considers the proposed Project an undertaking subject to review under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), 16 USC 470(f), and its implementing regulation, Protection of Historic Properties (36 CFR Part 800). B. PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND PURPOSE/NEED The overall purpose of the Project is to utilize only 20.0 acres of the total 46.46 acre tract producing 4,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of energy per year. When constructed, the electrical energy would be sold to Portland General Electric under a long-term fixed power purchase agreement. Each ground-mounted, single-axis tracking solar array would be approximately twelve-feet in height over the 20.0 acre site and be surrounded by a six-foot tall chain link security fence. The facility will be located on privately-owned property in Turner, Marion County, Oregon. C. ALTERNATIVES EVALUATED 1. No Action Under the No Action Alternative, RBS would not provide financial assistance to Sheep Solar, LLC, and/or the proposed Project would not be constructed. This alternative would not assist Sheep Solar, LLC in providing sustainable electrical energy to the adjacent community. 2. Action Alternative (Preferred Alternative) Under the Action Alternative, RBS would consider financing the proposed Project, and Sheep Solar, LLC would construct the solar facility. The proposed project would consist of the installation of a utility scale solar power generating facility providing sustainable electrical energy to the adjacent community. 3. Alternatives Eliminated from Further Consideration In addition to the No Action Alternative and Action Alternative, Sheep Solar, LLC considered other technology and siting alternatives, which are documented in the Alternatives section of the EA. D. SUMMARY OF ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS The analyses in the EA documented that the proposed Project would have no adverse effects to cultural resources within the designated APE. A summary of anticipated impacts on the human environment is provided below, including any mitigation measures deemed necessary to avoid or minimize impacts. Sheep Solar, LLC is responsible for implementing these measures. At the direction of RBS, Sheep Solar, LLC notified the following tribes on December 8, 2016, regarding the Solar Facility Project: (1) The Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs, (2) The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and (3) The Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians. Based on consultations with the tribes, and other NEPA related review, the following actions will be incorporated into the project: 1. The Applicant shall obtain and comply with all required County, State, and federal permits, including mitigations measures. 2. An Inadvertent Discovery Plan (IDP) must be in place before construction begins. If earth disturbing activities during project construction uncover cultural materials (i.e. structural remains, historic artifacts, or prehistoric artifacts), the area around the discovery shall be secured, all work shall cease, and the appropriate authorities shall be contacted to discuss appropriate protocol for removal, inventory, and proper preservation of the resource(s). These authorities are: 1) RD State Environmental Coordinator (SEC) Michael Beyer, at (503) 414-3368; 2) the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office Archaeologist, Dennis Griffin, at (503) 986-0674, and 3) Christopher Bailey, Cultural Protection Specialist, Confederated Tribes of the Grande Ronde, at (503) 879-1675. 3. If earth disturbing activities in any portion of the project area uncover human remains, all work shall cease immediately in accordance with Treatment of Native American Human Remains Discovered Inadvertently or through Criminal Investigations on Private and Public, State-Owned Lands in Oregon and ORS 97.740-.994 and 358.905-961. The area around the discovery shall be secured and the Marion County Coroner and RD SEC shall be notified immediately. The RD SEC shall notify the State Archeologist at SHPO and the appropriate tribes without delay. 4. When disposing of excess, spoil, or other construction materials on public or private property, the ultimate recipient shall not fill in or otherwise convert wetlands or 100-year floodplain areas delineated on the latest Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) floodplain maps. 5. A 10-foot-wide buffer shall be maintained for the life of the project around the wetlands located on the project site. The buffer must be clearly delineated with high visibility during the construction period to discourage wetland disturbance of any kind. 6. To avoid impact on the streaked horned lark, construction shall occur relative quickly between the clearing / grubbing and construction. No more than two (2) weeks shall occur between these two phases of operation to discourage migration and/or occupation of the streaked horned lark to this ideal phased habitat (large flat areas of bare ground with scattered low vegetation). 7. The project will require a Stormwater Management Plan that must be kept at the construction site with records of weekly inspections and storm event monitoring reports. Construction specifications shall contain requirements that reflect Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (ORDEQ) Best Management Practices (BMP) for temporary erosion and sedimentation controls during construction. E. PUBLIC AND AGENCY INVOLVEMENT A local newspaper advertisement, announcing the availability of the EA and participation under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, was published on July 18, 2017 and July 25, 2017 in the Portland Tribune, Portland, Oregon. A copy of the EA was available for public review upon request. The 14-day comment period ended on August 1, 2017. RBS received no comments from the general public. F. FINDING OF NO SIGNIFICANT IMPACT Based on its EA, RBS has concluded that the proposed Project would have no significant effects to historical or cultural resources. The proposed Project will have no effects on historic properties listed or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places and no effects to federally listed species or designated critical habitat. The proposed Project would not disproportionately affect minority or low-income populations. In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), the Council on Environmental Quality Regulations (40 CFR 1500-1508), and RD’s Environmental Policies and Procedures (7 CFR Part 1970), RBS has determined that the environmental impacts of the proposed Project have been adequately addressed and that no significant impacts to the quality of the human environment would result from construction and operation of the proposed Project. Any final action by RBS related to the proposed Project will be subject to, and contingent upon, compliance with all relevant federal and state environmental laws and regulations. Because RBS’s action will not result in significant impacts to the quality of the human environment, RBS will not prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for its potential federal action associated with the proposed Project. G. RBS LOAN REVIEW AND RIGHT OF ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW This FONSI is not a decision on a loan application and therefore not an approval of the expenditure of federal funds. Issuance of the FONSI and its notices concludes RBS’s environmental review process. The ultimate decision on loan approval depends upon conclusion of this environmental review process in addition to financial and engineering reviews. Issuance of the FONSI and publication of notices will allow for these reviews to proceed. The decision to provide financial assistance also is subject to the availability of loan funds for the designated purpose in RBS’s budget. There are no provisions to appeal this decision (i.e., issuance of a FONSI). Legal challenges to the FONSI may be filed in Federal District Court under the Administrative Procedures Act. H. APPROVAL This Finding of No Significant Impact is effective upon signature. ____________________ Signature ____________________ ____________________ Name Title 8/2/2017 ____________________ Date Published Aug. 8, 2017. BT15912371

ad: 15912371

Publication: Misc.

Section: Misc.

Start Date: 08/08/2017

End Date: 08/08/2017

Owner: Pine Gate Renewables, LLC