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Tribal Energy and Environmental Information Clearinghouse: Environmental resources for tribal energy development
Energy Resources Assessments & Monitoring Laws & Regulations
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Proposed Facilities and Activities

All proposed facilities, their layout, and functional interrelationships should be described. The overall project timeline should also be provided.

Project descriptions should include the following elements:

General Project Description

Objective: Provide a summary (i.e., big picture) description of the proposed project.

Describe the overall project and its purpose including the major elements of the project (e.g., buildings, generation facilities, resource extraction areas, roads, etc.), the area occupied by all facilities, project locations, and relationship to existing infrastructure. This description would be relatively general in nature as greater detail would be provided in subsequent sections.

Description of Primary Facilities

Objective: Provide a detailed description of those project facilities that provide the primary project function (e.g., energy production facilities, transmission infrastructure).

Examples of primary facilities associated with various energy production or transmission facilities are provided for wind, solar, oil and gas, coal, and transmission.

Provide a sufficiently detailed description to convey an understanding of the scope of the project's impact and include the function of each facility (including energy generation or transmission capacity), size of the area occupied by each facility, and relationship to other project facilities.

Description of Support Facilities

Objective: Provide a detailed description of those project facilities that support the primary function of the proposed project.

Support facilities include utility infrastructure (e.g., water supply, sanitary and solid waste facilities, roads, connections to the existing electrical grid to supply project requirements for lighting or other electrical needs), maintenance facilities, office buildings, security, and housing. Examples of support facilities associated with various energy production or transmission facilities are provided for wind, solar, oil and gas, coal, and transmission.

Describe new facilities and any proposed upgrades to existing facilities (e.g., road improvements, transmission upgrades). Provide sufficiently detailed descriptions to convey an understanding of the scope of the project's impact and include the function of each facility, size of the area occupied by each facility, and relationship to other project facilities.

Description of Connected Actions

Objective: Provide a description of all connected actions (i.e., those actions that are related to the proposed project that would not occur without the proposed project or that must occur in order for the proposed project to move forward).

It is very important to consider reasonably foreseeable future connected actions that are being planned or proposed but that are not directly a part of the proposed project. A typical example of a connected action related to energy projects is construction of transmission facilities, road improvements, or phased developments such as an additional generation facility that would use the infrastructure built for the proposed project. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires these actions be considered as a consequence of the proposed action.

A useful way to determine if an action is "connected" to the proposed action is to determine if that action would be made regardless of implementation of the proposed action. This is sometimes referred to as the "but for" test: "but for the proposed action, the connected action would not occur." An action that was not connected to the proposed action would proceed regardless of implementation of the proposed action.

Description of Project Timeline and Activities

Objective:: Provide a general description of the project timeline including phases of development.

Impacts differ according to project phase (e.g., site characterization, construction, operations, and decommissioning and reclamation), and each of these phases can have very different durations. Some short-term impacts can be scheduled to avoid important impacts (e.g., disturbance to birds during the breeding season). The significance of impacts from a facility that operates for 5 years could be much different than one that operates for 20 years.

Describe the overall project timeline (in days, months, or years) by phase. Typical activities associated with project phases are provided for wind, solar , oil and gas, coal, and transmission. Provide greater detail on project phases and activities in subsequent sections on site characterization, construction, operations, and decommissioning and reclamation.