Environmental Review Process
WAPA and SMUD are preparing a joint Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR) pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), respectively. WAPA is the lead federal agency under NEPA and SMUD is the lead agency under CEQA. The EIS/EIR will examine construction of the CoSu Line, any modifications to WAPA's and/or SMUD's existing facilities (including potential modifications to SMUD's Elverta Substation) to accommodate the new line, and SMUD's action to fund the proposed project.
The project underwent a public scoping period from December 18, 2015, to April 18, 2016 to receive public comments on issues and concerns to be considered in the environmental analysis. WAPA and SMUD considered every public comment received, including comments about project alternatives. The agencies determined that several options suggested in the comments appear to be feasible, fulfill the project's purpose and need, and should be included in the public scoping process. These options range from slight adjustments to the previously identified study areas to avoid specific concerns to evaluating a different study area to connect the COTP and WAPA/SMUD facilities south of O'Banion Substation in Sutter County.
WAPA and SMUD conducted an additional 60-day scoping period, from January 6 through March 7, 2017, to gather public input on potential environmental impacts, alternatives, and mitigation measures of all study areas, slight additions to the previously identified study areas, and the new study area that would connect to the COTP in Yolo County and terminate near the Elverta Substation in northwestern Sacramento County (referred to as the County Road 16 Corridor Study Area). Due to potential impacts from the regional flooding during February 2017, WAPA and SMUD accepted comments through Tuesday, March 21, 2017.
The agencies reviewed all comments received during the scoping periods, and prepared a scoping summary report that includes public comments from the 2015-2016 scoping period and the 2017 scoping period. The scoping report will inform the analysis of the Draft EIS/EIR, which WAPA and SMUD will begin developing now that the scoping phase of the project has concluded. The first steps in this process are to develop a reasonable range of alternatives, including a "No Action" alternative, and then analyze the effects of the alternatives. No final decisions will be made regarding going forward with the CoSu Line until completion of the NEPA and CEQA process. See the timeline below for the schedule for developing the Draft EIS/EIR.