Meetings

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Pursuant to 18 Code of Federal Regulations Section 5.8(b), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) held a site visit and two scoping meetings to receive input on the scope of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that the Commission plans to prepare for the Peabody Trout Creek Reservoir Project (Project). Interested agencies, Indian tribes, non-government organizations, and individuals were invited to attend those meetings.

A Project site visit for interested parties was held on October 24, 2012. Attendees met at the Steamboat Springs Community Center and commuted to Peabody's Lodge adjacent to the Project site (see photo). There, attendees reviewed maps of the proposed Project area, walked certain boundaries of the proposed reservoir footprint, and drove to look at the Project site from various vantage points.

Also on October 24, 2012, a public scoping meeting was hosted by the Commission at the Steamboat Springs Community Center. The meeting began at 7 p.m. The Commission's Project Coordinator, Shana Murray, made a presentation explaining the Integrated Licensing Process (ILP) (see schematic) and explained how to submit comments on the Applicant's Pre-Application Document (PAD) and the process for submitting study requests. The Commission also provided guidance on study request criteria (see short and expanded versions of these criteria). The Applicant presented an overview of Peabody Energy and the proposed Project. Handouts at the public scoping meeting included a Meeting Agenda; ILP Schematic; Peabody Trout Creek Reservoir Fact Sheet; and FERC's Hydropower Licensing – Get Involved, a Guide for the Public.

An agency scoping meeting followed on October 25, 2012 at the Steamboat Springs Community Center. Commission staff and the Applicant made similar presentations to those made at the public scoping meeting on the 24th, and then a round-table discussion regarding the Project followed.

Both the public scoping meeting and the agency scoping meeting were recorded by a court reporter. The transcript of the public scoping meeting is available here, and the transcript of the agency scoping meeting is available here.

Comments on the PAD and study requests were due to the Commission by December 4, 2012. Copies of the comments and study requests received by the Commission can be accessed here.

On January 18, 2013, Peabody Trout Creek Reservoir LLC (PTCR) filed its Proposed Study Plan for the Project with the Commission. PTCR hosted a Proposed Study Plan meeting on February 12, 2013, beginning at 9 a.m. to clarify questions pertaining to the Proposed Study Plan and explain initial information gathering needs (see invitation that was sent to the stakeholder distribution list on January 22, 2013). The Proposed Study Plan meeting was held at URS Corporation, 8181 East Tufts Avenue, Denver, Colorado, 80237. Wednesday, February 13, 2013, was reserved as an additional meeting day at URS Corporation if all Proposed Study Plan items could not be covered on the 12th (see attached January 22, 2013 notice about this change), but a second meeting day was not required. A conference call line was available for anyone wishing to participate in the meeting that was not available to attend in person.

David Merritt, URS Corporation (PTCR’s Consultant on the proposed Project), opened the Proposed Study Plan meeting with introductions and an overview for the meeting. Brian Yansen, PTCR, then provided a short Project update. Mr. Yansen was followed by Shana Murray, Commission Project Coordinator, who provided an overview of the Commission's ILP and explained where the Project was in that process. After that, various staff from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Colorado West Regulatory Branch (Corps) (who participated in the meeting via conference call), led a discussion regarding comments the Corps had on the Proposed Study Plan. Following that discussion, the resource specialist responsible for each proposed resource study presented on their studies and fielded questions/comments on their studies.

Additional subset calls and meetings took place following the Proposed Study Plan Meeting on February 12, 2013 (see the call notes for the subset conference calls relating to the water quality and aquatics studies call that took place on March 13, 2013 and the cultural resources study call that took place on March 21, 2013). Per a commitment PTCR made to its stakeholders at the February 12th meeting, a Revised Proposed Study Plan was made available to all stakeholders on March 15, 2013. The updates made were those that resulted from the discussions that took place at the February 12th Proposed Study Plan Meeting and the subset conference calls that transpired following that meeting. PTCR mailed a letter notifying stakeholders of the availability of the Revised Proposed Study Plan on March 15, 2013. That letter also contained a reminder to stakeholders that the review/comment period on the Revised Proposed Study Plan extended through April 18, 2013.

Handouts at the Proposed Study Plan meeting included a Meeting Agenda, ILP Schematic, copies of the presentation from the meeting, and copies of the Proposed Study Plan. A copy of the sign-in sheet from the meeting is available by clicking here.

On May 17, 2013, PTCR e-filed its Revised Study Plan with the Commission; that document reflected the updates that resulted from coordination and consultation with agency stakeholders following the March 15, 2013 filing. The Commission’s Determination on the Revised Study Plan was released on June 11, 2013. The Commission’s Determination indicated all 19 of the studies included in PTCR’s Revised Study Plan were approved as filed.

Peabody completed the required key land acquisitions for the Project in the second quarter of 2013. Efforts to begin work for the various studies followed those land acquisitions, as described in the August 30, 2013, Study Plan Progress Report filed with the Commission and distributed to the stakeholder distribution list. In keeping with the ILP timeline, PTCR filed its second interim Study Plan Progress Report on February 28, 2014. Survey crews returned to the field in the spring of 2014 and work on several of the remaining resource studies and continued making progress on their studies; that progress was reported in the August 29, 2014 Study Plan Progress Report to the Commission, which was distributed to stakeholders the same day.

An Initial Study Report was electronically filed with the Commission on June 11, 2014, and paper copies of that report were mailed to the Bud Werner Memorial Library, West Routt Library, and Oak Creek Public Library for public viewing. Stakeholders were also mailed notice of availability of the Initial Study Report filing the same day.

On June 12, 2014, an invite to the Initial Study Report Meeting was mailed to the stakeholder distribution list, inviting stakeholders to participate in the Initial Study Report Meeting. The Initial Study Report Meeting was held in the 4 Main Conference Room of URS Corporation located at 8181 East Tufts Avenue, Denver, Colorado 80237, on Tuesday, June 24, 2014, beginning at 8:30 a.m. (Mountain Daylight Time). The purpose of that meeting was to discuss the Initial Study Report with resource agencies and interested members of the public. An Initial Study Report Meeting Summary was electronically filed with the Commission on July 9, 2014 and a copy of that summary was mailed to the Project stakeholder distribution list.

Comments on any existing studies and/or requests for new/additional studies were due by August 8, 2014. To date, no comments or requests for additional studies or study modifications have been received. On September 5, 2014, PTCR e-filed its formal response to comments and distributed that response to its Project stakeholder distribution list.

A Second Study Report was electronically filed with the Commission on June 11, 2015, and paper copies of that report were mailed to the Bud Werner Memorial Library, West Routt Library, and Oak Creek Public Library for public viewing. Stakeholders were also mailed a notice of availability of the Second Study Report filing the same day.

On June 11, 2015, an invite to the Second Study Report Meeting was mailed to the stakeholder distribution list, inviting stakeholders to participate in the Second Study Report Meeting. The Second Study Report Meeting was held in the 4th Floor Main Conference Room of AECOM (previously URS Corporation) located at 8181 East Tufts Avenue, Denver, Colorado, 80237, on Thursday, June 25, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. (Mountain Daylight Time). The purpose of that meeting was to discuss the Second Study Report with resource agencies and interested members of the public. A conference call line and web connection was made available to those who were unable to attend that meeting in person. In accordance with the ILP, a Second Study Report Meeting Summary was electronically filed with the Commission on July 9, 2015, and a copy of that summary was also mailed to the Project stakeholder distribution list that day, with this transmittal letter. Comments on existing studies and any requests for modifications to existing studies and/or new studies were due by August 7, 2015. Four comment submissions were received: one from the Western Area Power Administration (Western) (an e-mail dated July 17, 2015), one from FERC (a letter dated July 28, 2015), one from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region 8 (a letter dated August 6, 2015), and one from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) (a letter dated August 7, 2015).

On August 6, 2015, under Section 5 of the Federal Power Act, PTCR requested a two-year extension for the Project, extending the date for filing a License Application to February 28, 2018 (extending the preliminary permit term by two years beyond the three years previously permitted, for a total term of five years). While PTCR intends to continue with this Project, the economics of the coal industry have impacted the ability of PTCR to continue with the significant capital investments needed to execute and complete the required resource studies this year to develop this Project. Additionally, PTCR needs a more intensive/longer hydrologic record to assess the viability of the hydropower component of this Project. Note that during the two-year time extension, PTCR will continue to submit semi-annual progress reports to the Commission, and pursue good faith and reasonable diligence efforts towards the development of this hydropower Project.

In response to FERC’s July 28, 2015 comment submission, PTCR e-filed and distributed an August 21, 2015 letter response that included an updated process plan and updated schedule as attachments. The updated plan and schedule reflect the revised dates and timelines through the filing of a License Application, based on the two-year extension request that PTCR filed on August 6, 2015, and that the Commission approved on September 11, 2015, via its Order Granting Extension of Term for Preliminary Permit.

In response to FERC’s, Western’s, EPA’s, and CDPHE’s comment submissions on the Second Study Report and Meeting Summary, and as required by the ILP, PTCR filed and distributed an August 21, 2015 Second Study Report Response to Comments. The Director’s Study Plan Determination on the Second Study Report was due October 5, 2015. PTCR was notified on October 7, 2015, that the Commission did not see any unresolved issues from the Second Study Report and associated meeting and comments that warranted a Director’s Determination. Therefore, the Commission opted not to file a Determination. Based on the comments received, PTCR plans to continue to progress the resource studies as described in the June 11, 2015 Second Study Report, and summarized in the July 9, 2015 Second Study Report Meeting, with the time and study extensions that result from PTCR’s two-year extension request that was filed on August 6, 2015. PTCR will modify the water quality sample protocols for sample analysis to comply with CDPHE’s stated requests, including the collection of hardness data. As noted in the July 9, 2015 Second Study Report Meeting Summary, PTCR will also consider and coordinate with Matt Rice, American Rivers, regarding his suggestion at the June 25, 2015 Second Study Report Meeting to share and discuss the hydrologic data and associated modeling and results, when available and organized, with stakeholders from the Yampa Valley (including a broader list than that reflected on PTCR’s current stakeholder list). PTCR looks forward to continuing resource study discussions and stakeholder involvement with the studies. PTCR filed and distributed its fifth Interim Study Progress Report on August 21, 2015; the next report will be filed on February 29, 2016.

PTCR Licensing Schedule – Upcoming Major Milestones

Licensing Milestone Due Date
File Interim Study Progress Report #6 February 29, 2016
File Third Study Report June 10, 2016
Third Study Report Meeting June 24, 2016
File Third Study Report Meeting Summary July 8, 2016
Study Disputes/Requests to Modify Study Plans Filed with FERC (if necessary) August 5, 2016
File Interim Study Progress Report #7 August 31, 2016
File Responses to Disputes (if necessary) September 2, 2016
Director’s Study Plan Determination October 3, 2016
File Interim Study Progress Report #8 February 28, 2017
File Fourth Study Report June 9, 2017
Fourth Study Report Meeting June 23, 2017
File Fourth Study Report Meeting Summary July 7, 2017
Study Disputes/Requests to Modify Study Plans Filed with FERC (if necessary) August 4, 2017
File Interim Study Progress Report #9 August 31, 2017
File Responses to Disputes (if necessary) September 1, 2017
Director’s Study Plan Determination October 2, 2017
File Preliminary License Proposal October 5, 2017
Comment Period on Preliminary License Proposal December 27, 2017
File License Application February 28, 2018
Ready for Environmental Analysis (REA) March 1, 2018

Meeting Materials