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  1. ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEWS AND CASE STUDIES: The National Park Service Visual Resource Inventory: Capturing the Historic and Cultural Values of Scenic Views

    Several United States (US) federal agencies have developed visual resource inventory (VRI) and management systems that reflect specific agency missions and visual resource management objectives. These programs have varied in the degree to which they incorporate historic and cultural elements and values into the scenic inventory process. The recent nationwide expansion of renewable energy and associated transmission development is causing an increase in visual impacts on both scenic and historic/cultural resources. This increase has highlighted the need for better integration of visual and historic/cultural resource assessment and management activities for land use planning purposes. The US Department of the Interiormore » National Park Service (NPS), in response to concerns arising from potential scenic impacts from renewable energy, electric transmission, and other types of development on lands and waters near NPS units, has developed a VRI process for high-value views both within and outside NPS unit boundaries. The NPS VRI incorporates historic and cultural elements and values into the scenic resource inventory process and provides practical guidance and metrics for successfully integrating historic and cultural concerns into the NPS’s scenic resource conservation efforts. This article describes the NPS VRI process and compares it with the VRI processes of the US Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management and the US Department of Agriculture Forest Service, with respect to the incorporation of historic and cultural values. The article discusses why a scenic inventory approach that more robustly integrates the historic and cultural values of the landscape is essential for NPS landscapes, and for fulfillment of NPS’s mission. Inventories are underway at many NPS units, and the results indicate that the VRI process can be used successfully to capture important historic and cultural resource information and incorporate that information into the assessment of the scenic values of views within and outside NPS units. Environmental Practice 18: 166–179 (2016)« less
  2. Electricity Transmission, Pipelines, and National Trails: An Analysis of Current and Potential Intersections on Federal Lands in the Eastern United States, Alaska, and Hawaii

    As has been noted in many reports and publications, acquiring new or expanded rights-of-way for transmission is a challenging process, because numerous land use and land ownership constraints must be overcome to develop pathways suitable for energy transmission infrastructure. In the eastern U.S., more than twenty federally protected national trails (some of which are thousands of miles long, and cross many states) pose a potential obstacle to the development of new or expanded electricity transmission capacity. However, the scope of this potential problem is not well-documented, and there is no baseline information available that could allow all stakeholders to studymore » routing scenarios that could mitigate impacts on national trails. This report, Electricity Transmission, Pipelines, and National Trails: An Analysis of Current and Potential Intersections on Federal Lands in the Eastern United States, was prepared by the Environmental Science Division of Argonne National Laboratory (Argonne). Argonne was tasked by DOE to analyze the “footprint” of the current network of National Historic and Scenic Trails and the electricity transmission system in the 37 eastern contiguous states, Alaska, and Hawaii; assess the extent to which national trails are affected by electrical transmission; and investigate the extent to which national trails and other sensitive land use types may be affected in the near future by planned transmission lines. Pipelines are secondary to transmission lines for analysis, but are also within the analysis scope in connection with the overall directives of Section 368 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and because of the potential for electrical transmission lines being collocated with pipelines.« less
  3. Understanding Emerging Impacts and Requirements Related to Utility-Scale Solar Development

    Utility-scale solar energy plays an important role in the nation’s strategy to address climate change threats through increased deployment of renewable energy technologies, and both the federal government and individual states have established specific goals for increased solar energy development. In order to achieve these goals, much attention is paid to making utility-scale solar energy cost-competitive with other conventional energy sources, while concurrently conducting solar development in an environmentally sound manner.
  4. Electricity Transmission, Pipelines, and National Trails. An Analysis of Current and Potential Intersections on Federal Lands in the Eastern United States, Alaska, and Hawaii

    As has been noted in many reports and publications, acquiring new or expanded rights-of-way for transmission is a challenging process, because numerous land use and land ownership constraints must be overcome to develop pathways suitable for energy transmission infrastructure. In the eastern U.S., more than twenty federally protected national trails (some of which are thousands of miles long, and cross many states) pose a potential obstacle to the development of new or expanded electricity transmission capacity. However, the scope of this potential problem is not well-documented, and there is no baseline information available that could allow all stakeholders to studymore » routing scenarios that could mitigate impacts on national trails. This report, Electricity Transmission, Pipelines, and National Trails: An Analysis of Current and Potential Intersections on Federal Lands in the Eastern United States, was prepared by the Environmental Science Division of Argonne National Laboratory (Argonne). Argonne was tasked by DOE to analyze the “footprint” of the current network of National Historic and Scenic Trails and the electricity transmission system in the 37 eastern contiguous states, Alaska, and Hawaii; assess the extent to which national trails are affected by electrical transmission; and investigate the extent to which national trails and other sensitive land use types may be affected in the near future by planned transmission lines. Pipelines are secondary to transmission lines for analysis, but are also within the analysis scope in connection with the overall directives of Section 368 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and because of the potential for electrical transmission lines being collocated with pipelines. Based on Platts electrical transmission line data, a total of 101 existing intersections with national trails on federal land were found, and 20 proposed intersections. Transmission lines and pipelines are proposed in Alaska; however there are no locations that intersect national trails. Source data did not indicate any planned transmission lines or pipelines in Hawaii. A map atlas provides more detailed mapping of the topics investigated in this study, and the accompanying GIS database provides the baseline information for further investigating locations of interest. In many cases the locations of proposed transmission lines are not accurately mapped (or a specific route may not yet be determined), and accordingly the specific crossing locations are speculative. However since both national trails and electrical transmission lines are long linear systems, the characteristics of the crossings reported in this study are expected to be similar to both observed characteristics of the existing infrastructure provided in this report, and of the new infrastructure if these proposed projects are built. More focused study of these siting challenges is expected to mitigate some of potential impacts by choosing routes that minimize or eliminate them. The current study primarily addresses a set of screening-level characterizations that provide insights into how the National Trail System may influence the siting of energy transport facilities in the states identified under Section 368(b) of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. As such, it initializes gathering and beginning analysis of the primary environmental and energy data, and maps the contextual relationships between an important national environmental asset and how this asset intersects with energy planning activities. Thus the current study sets the stage for more in-depth analyses and data development activities that begin to solve key transmission siting constraints. Our recommendations for future work incorporate two major areas: (1) database development and analytics and (2) modeling and scenario analysis for energy planning. These recommendations provide a path forward to address key issues originally developed under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 that are now being carried forward under the President’s Climate Action Plan.« less
  5. Potential Visual Impacts of Utility-Scale Solar Energy Development within Solar Energy Zones on Selected Viewpoints in Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Parks, and El Camino Real De Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail

    In connection with the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) Solar Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (Solar PEIS), Argonne National Laboratory (Argonne) has conducted an extended visual impact analysis for selected key observation points (KOPs) within three National Park Service (NPS) units located within the 25-mi (40-km) viewshed of four solar energy zones (SEZs) identified in the Solar PEIS. The analysis includes only those NPS units that the Solar PEIS identified as potentially subject to moderate or strong visual contrasts associated with solar development within the SEZs. The NPS units included in the analysis are Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Parksmore » and El Camino Real De Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail. The analysis showed that certain KOPs in each of these NPS units could potentially be subject to major visual contrast and impacts from solar development within the SEZs, but many of the KOPs would likely be subject to moderate, minor, or negligible contrasts and impacts, generally because they were relatively distant from the relevant SEZ, had views of the SEZ partially blocked by intervening terrain, and/or had very low vertical angles of view toward the SEZ. For all three NPS units, power tower facilities were found to be major contributors to potential visual contrasts, primarily because of the long-distance visibility of intensely bright reflection of light from the receivers on the central towers, but also because of the height and strong vertical line of the tower structures and the potential for night-sky impacts from FAA-mandated hazard navigation lighting.« less
  6. Method of lining a vertical mine shaft with concrete

    The apparatus includes a cylindrical retainer form spaced inwardly of the wall of the shaft by the desired thickness of the liner to be poured and having overlapping edges which seal against concrete flow but permit the form to be contracted to a smaller circumference after the liner has hardened and is self-supporting. A curb ring extends downwardly and outwardly toward the shaft wall from the bottom of the retainer form to define the bottom surface of each poured liner section. An inflatable toroid forms a seal between the curb ring and the shaft wall. A form support gripper ringmore » having gripper shoes laterally extendable under hydraulic power to engage the shaft wall supports the retainer form, curb ring and liner until the newly poured liner section becomes self-supporting. Adjusting hydraulic cylinders permit the curb ring and retainer form to be properly aligned relative to the form support gripper ring. After a liner section is self-supporting, an advancing system advances the retainer form, curb ring and form support gripper ring toward a shaft boring machine above which the liner is being formed. The advancing system also provides correct horizontal alignment of the form support gripper ring.« less

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