Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement: Launches and Reentries Under an Experimental Permit, 15251-15253 [E6-4373]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 58 / Monday, March 27, 2006 / Notices instrument approach procedures for Runways 36L and 36R; relocation of a portion of Fox Farm Road to remove the facility from within the Runway Protection Zone (RPZ) for Runway 06; relocation of the existing Visual Approach Descent Indicator (VADI) lights and associated wind cone to serve the relocated Runway 36L threshold; installation of Medium Intensity Runway Lights (MIRL) on the extended and widened runway; installation of Medium Intensity Taxiway Lights (MITL) on the extended on widened taxiway; relocation of a portion of the Southern Illinois Power Company’s electric lines to allow for the new SIAPs to Runways 36L and 36; removal of obstructions in the approaches to Runways 06 and 18L; mitigation of impacts to 2.7 acres of wetlands; and the approval of the Southern Illinois ALP. Copies of the environmental decision and the Final EA are available for public information review during regular business hours at the following locations: 1. Southern Illinois Airport, 665 North Airport Road, Murphysboro, Illinois 62966. 2. Division of Aeronautics-Illinois Department of Transportation, One Langhorne Bond Drive, Capital Airport, Springfield, IL 62707. 3. Chicago Airports District Office, Room 320, Federal Aviation Administration, 2300 East Devon Avenue, Des Plaines, Illinois 60018. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT: E. Lindsay Butler, Airports Environmental Program Manager, Federal Aviation Administration, Chicago Airports District Office, Room 320, 2300 East Devon Avenue, Des Plaines, Illinois 60018. Ms. Butler can be contacted at (847) 294–7723 (voice), (847) 294–7046 (facsimile) or by e-mail at lindsay.butler@faa.gov. Issued in Des Plaines, Illinois on February 15, 2006. Larry H. Ladendorf, Acting Manager, Chicago Airports District Office, FAA, Great Lakes Region. [FR Doc. 06–2913 Filed 3–24–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–13–M DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION wwhite on PROD1PC65 with NOTICES Federal Aviation Administration Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement: Launches and Reentries Under an Experimental Permit Federal Aviation Administration, Office of Commercial Space Transportation, DOT. AGENCY: VerDate Aug<31>2005 18:19 Mar 24, 2006 Jkt 208001 Notice of intent to prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement. ACTION: SUMMARY: The Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004 (CSLAA), enacted on December 23, 2004, directs the Secretary of Transportation and, through delegations, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Office of Commercial Space Transportation, to establish an experimental permit regime for developmental reusable suborbital rockets. The intent of Congress for the experimental permit regime is to reduce the regulatory burden on developers of reusable suborbital rockets. Congress intended that, ‘‘[a]t a minimum, permits should be granted more quickly and with fewer requirements than licenses.’’ (H. Rep. 108.429 Sec. VII) To address the intent of Congress and meet a reduced timeline for issuing permits, a congressionally mandated 120 day timeline, the FAA is preparing a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) to evaluate the impacts of launches and reentries conducted under an experimental permit. The intent of the PEIS is to facilitate the development of a permit application package and the subsequent environmental review by FAA, and to ensure that the issuance of an experimental permit is consistent with the FAA’s mission of protecting public health and safety, safety of property, and the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States. The proposed action for this PEIS is to issue experimental permits for the launch and reentry of reusable suborbital rockets. Suborbital rocket means a vehicle, rocket-propelled in whole or in part, intended for flight on a suborbital trajectory, the thrust of which is greater than its lift for the majority of the rocket-powered portion of its ascent. Suborbital trajectory means the intentional flight path of a launch vehicle, reentry vehicle, or any portion thereof, whose vacuum instantaneous impact point does not leave the surface of the Earth. The FAA will prepare the PEIS in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) NEPA regulations (40 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] Parts 1500– 1508), and the FAA procedures for implementing NEPA in FAA Order 1050.1E. DATES: The FAA invites interested agencies, organizations, Native American tribes, and members of the public to submit comments or suggestions to assist in identifying PO 00000 Frm 00095 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 15251 significant environmental issues, and in determining the appropriate scope of the PEIS. The public scoping period starts with the publication of this notice in the Federal Register and will continue until May 19, 2006. The FAA will consider all comments received or postmarked by May 19, 2006 in defining the scope of the Draft PEIS. Written comments postmarked or sent after this date will be considered to the degree practicable. If an agency, organization, or a member of the general public desires to have a scoping meeting at a specific location, please contact Stacey M. Zee at the address listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this Notice. ADDRESSES: Written comments or suggestions on the scope and content of the PEIS and requests to receive a copy of the Draft PEIS when it is issued should be directed via mail to: PEIS Experimental Permits, c/o ICF Consulting, 9300 Lee Highway, Fairfax VA 22031; via e-mail at PEISExperimentalPermits@icfconsulting.com; or via fax at 703–934–3951. The subject line of emails or faxes should be labeled ‘‘Scoping for the Experimental Permits PEIS.’’ FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information on the proposed project or to request a location for a scoping meeting, contact Stacey M. Zee via mail at: Federal Aviation Administration, Office of Commercial Space Transportation, Room 331, 800 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20591; via phone at (202) 267–9305; via fax at (202) 267– 5463; or via e-mail at Stacey.Zee@faa.gov. Additional information may also be found on the PEIS Web site at http://ast.faa.gov/lrra/ PEISSite.htm. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background and Need for Agency Action Under Title 49, U.S. Code, Subtitle IX, Sections 70101–70121, Commercial Space Launch Activities, the FAA oversees, licenses, and regulates both launches and reentries of launch and reentry vehicles, and the operation of launch and reentry sites when carried out by U.S. citizens or within the United States. (49 U.S.C. 70104, 70105) Chapter 701 directs the FAA to exercise this responsibility consistent with public health and safety, safety of property, and the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States; and to encourage, facilitate, and promote commercial space launch and reentry by \\ALPHA3\E\FR\FM\27MRN1.SGM 27MRN1 15252 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 58 / Monday, March 27, 2006 / Notices wwhite on PROD1PC65 with NOTICES the private sector. (49 U.S.C. 70103, 70105) Under the CSLAA, which was signed into law on December 23, 2004, FAA can issue experimental permits rather than licenses for the launch and reentry of reusable suborbital rockets. Previously, the FAA could only issue a license for these operations. Congress directed that experimental permits could be issued for: • Research and development to test new design concepts, new equipment, or new operating techniques; • Showing compliance with requirements as part of the process for obtaining a license; or • Crew training prior to obtaining a license for a launch or reentry using the design of the rocket for which the permit would be issued. The CSLAA of 2004 also directs the FAA to make a determination on issuing an experimental permit within 120 days of receiving a complete application. The FAA currently has 180 days to make a license determination. Because of this reduced review time, the FAA is seeking to clearly define the requirements for an experimental permit application in the proposed rulemaking and streamline the environmental review process for such applications in the future. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that is being issued concurrent with this Notice of Intent specifies the proposed application requirements for an operator of a reusable suborbital rocket to obtain an experimental permit and the proposed operating requirements and restrictions on launch and reentry of a reusable suborbital rocket operating under a permit. The FAA is preparing this PEIS to examine the environmental impacts of reusable suborbital rockets operating under an experimental permit. The PEIS will provide information and analyses common to all reusable suborbital rockets, will facilitate tiering of subsequent environmental assessments and environmental impact statements, and will allow the environmental analysis of an individual permit applicant to focus on the environmental effects specific to their permit application. The FAA’s intent is to focus the scope of future environmental analyses and improve the efficiency of acting on individual permit applications. Proposed Action The proposed action for this PEIS is to issue experimental permits for the launch and reentry of reusable suborbital rockets, develop the environmental criteria for issuing those permits, and prepare documentation VerDate Aug<31>2005 18:19 Mar 24, 2006 Jkt 208001 that can be referenced or tiered from in future applications. The proposed action includes four conceptual reusable suborbital rockets based on the type of take-off as follows: 1. A vertical take-off suborbital rocket, 2. A combination jet and rocket powered horizontal take-off suborbital rocket, 3. A horizontal take-off suborbital rocket, and 4. A suborbital rocket that requires a support aircraft or balloon to transport the rocket to altitude. For each type of suborbital rocket, a range of propellants will be analyzed including those used in liquid and hybrid rocket engines. In addition, the type of landing, vertical or horizontal, will be analyzed in the PEIS. Under the proposed action, the launch and reentry would occur from an FAA licensed launch location. FAA will evaluate the impacts associated with each conceptual vehicle from the following locations: Mojave Airport, Mojave, California; California Spaceport, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California; Spaceport Florida, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida; Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia; the proposed Oklahoma Spaceport, Burns Flat, Oklahoma; and the proposed Southwest Regional Spaceport, Upham, New Mexico. Based on comments received during the scoping period and the advancement of the NPRM, the FAA may propose additional suborbital rocket concepts, propellant types, and locations for impacts analysis. Under the proposed action, the FAA assumes that up to 50 launch and landing events per conceptual reusable suborbital rocket would occur annually, and no more than 100 annual launch and landing events would occur at any one location. The proposed action assumes that operations would take place from existing commercial launch sites and that no new infrastructure (e.g., buildings, runways, launch pads) would be required. Therefore, infrastructure construction and use are not included in the scope of the PEIS. Alternatives Other than the proposed action and the no action alternative, the FAA does not have any defined alternatives to consider, at this time. Based on the comments received during the scoping period and the advancement of the NPRM, the FAA may consider additional alternatives based on its discretion in implementing the CSLAA. The FAA will assess alternatives in accordance with the CEQ NEPA regulations (40 CFR 1502.14). PO 00000 Frm 00096 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Identification of Environmental Issues The purpose of this notice is to solicit comments and suggestions for consideration in the preparation of the PEIS. As background for public comment, this notice contains a list of potential environmental issues that the FAA has tentatively identified for analysis. This list, which the FAA developed from preliminary review of the experimental permit regime and similar projects, is not intended to be all-inclusive or to imply any predetermination of impacts. Instead, it is presented to facilitate public comment on the planned scope and content of the PEIS. Additions to or deletions from this list may occur as a result of the public scoping process. The preliminary list of potential environmental issues that may be analyzed in the PEIS includes the following: 1. Air Quality—the effects of emissions associated with launch and reentry operations, 2. Water Resources—the effects of emissions of launch and reentry operations on water resources, 3. Biological Resources—the effects of launch and reentry operations on terrestrial and aquatic plants and animals, including state- and federallylisted threatened and endangered species, and other protected resources (e.g., wetlands and essential fish habitat), 4. Public Health and Safety—the effects of launch and reentry operations on public health and safety, including potential incidental spills and releases of hazardous or toxic materials, 5. Socioeconomics—the effects of a potential influx of workers and the potential increase in demand for local services, 6. Cultural Resources—the potential effects on historical, archaeological, and culturally important sites, and 7. Environmental Justice—the potential for disproportionately high and adverse effects on populations protected under Executive Order 12898. Scoping Process To ensure that all issues related to this proposal are addressed, the FAA will conduct an open process to define the scope and content of the PEIS. Interested agencies, organizations, Native American tribes, and members of the public are encouraged to submit comments or suggestions concerning the content of the PEIS, issues and impacts to be addressed in the PEIS, and alternatives that should be considered. Written comments should be sent to the FAA as described in the ADDRESSES section above. \\ALPHA3\E\FR\FM\27MRN1.SGM 27MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 58 / Monday, March 27, 2006 / Notices Draft PEIS Schedule and Availability The Draft PEIS is scheduled to be issued in the fall of 2006. The availability of the Draft PEIS, the methods by which the Draft PEIS will be made available for public review, and dates for public hearings soliciting comments on the PEIS will be announced in the Federal Register. Comments on the Draft PEIS will be considered in preparing the Final PEIS. Those interested parties who do not wish to submit comments at this time, but who would like to receive a copy of the Draft PEIS and other project materials, should follow the guidance provided in the ADDRESSES section of this notice. Issued in Washington, DC, on March 20, 2006. Patricia G. Smith, Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation. [FR Doc. E6–4373 Filed 3–24–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–13–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration RTCA Special Committee 186: Automatic Dependent Surveillance— Broadcast (ADS–B) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of RTCA Special Committee 186 meeting. AGENCY: Thirty-Sixth Meeting SC–186 The FAA is issuing this notice to advise the public of a meeting of RTCA Special Committee 186: Automatic Dependent Surveillance— Broadcast (ADS–B). DATES: The meeting will be held April 17–20, 2006 starting at 9 a.m. (unless stated otherwise). ADDRESSES: The meeting will be held at MITRE/CAASD, 7515 Colshire Drive, McLean, VA 22102–7539. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: RTCA Secretariat, 1828 L Street, NW., Suite 805, Washington, DC 20036; telephone (202) 833–9339; fax (202) 833–9434; Web site http://www.rtca.org. MITRE telephone (703) 983–6000. For map and directions: http:// www.mitre.org/about/locations.html. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Pursuant to section 10(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92– 463, 5 U.S.C., Appendix 2), notice is hereby given for a Special Committee 186 meeting. wwhite on PROD1PC65 with NOTICES SUMMARY: Note: Specific working group sessions will be held on April 17, 18, 19. • April 17: VerDate Aug<31>2005 18:19 Mar 24, 2006 Jkt 208001 • WG4 STP Subgroup MITRE 2 Room 2N103 • April 18: • WG4 STP Subgroup MITRE 2 Room 2N103 • April 19: • WG4 STP Subgroup MITRE 2 Room 2N105 • WG4 ASSAP Subgroup MITRE 1 Room 4H204 • WG–3—1090 MHz MOPS–MITRE 2 Room 0N136 Note: ASAS—Aircraft Surveillance Applications System CDTI—Cockpit Display of Traffic Information MOPS—Minimum Operational Performance Standards STP—Surveillance Transmit Processing • April 20: • Opening Plenary Session (Chairman’s Introductory Remarks, Review of Meeting Agenda, Review/Approval of Previous Meeting Summary, RTCA Paper No. 058–06/ SC186–231 (currently in draft) • ADS–B Program Review/Status • Review/Approval—Change 1 to DO– 260–Minimum Operational Performance Standards for 1090 MHz Automatic Dependent Surveillance—Broadcast (ADS–B) • Review/Approval—Change 1 to DO– 260A–Minimum Operational Performance Standards for 1090 MHz Automatic Dependent Surveillance—Broadcast (ADS–B) and Traffic Information Services (TIS–B) RTCA Paper No. 059–06/SC186–232 March 16, 2006 Automatic Dependent Surveillance— Broadcast (ADS–B) Date: April 17–20, 2006. Time: 9 a.m. (Unless Otherwise Noted). Place: MITRE/CAASD, 7515 Colshire Drive McLean, VA 22102–7539, (703) 983–6000. Map and Directions: http:// www.mitre.org/about/locations.html. 15253 Agendas—Plenary Session—Agenda Thursday—April 20th, starting at 9 a.m. (MITRE 1 Auditorium) 1. Chairman’s Introductory Remarks. 2. Review of Meeting Agenda. 3. Review/Approval of the Thirty Fifth Meeting Summary, RTCA Paper No. 058–06/SC186–231 (currently in draft). 4. Date, Place and Time of Next Meeting. 5. ADS–B Program Review/Status. 6. Review/Approval—Change 1 to DO–260—Minimum Operational Performance Standards for 1090 MHz Automatic Dependent Surveillance— Broadcast (ADS–B). 7. Review/Approval—Change 1 to DO–260A—Minimum Operational Performance Standards for 1090 MHz Automatic Dependent Surveillance— Broadcast (ADS–B) and Traffic Information Services (TIS–B). 8. WG4: STP MOPS progress. 10. New Business. 11. Other Business. 12. Review Actions Items/Work Program. 13. Adjourn. • WG4: STP MOPS Review • Requirement Focus Group—NRA Document Status • Closing Plenary Session (New Business, Other Business, Review Action Items/Work Program, Date, Place and Time of Next Meeting, Other Business, Review Actions Items/Work Program, Adjourn) Attendance is open to the interested public but limited to space availability. With the approval of the chairmen, members of the public may present oral statements at the meeting. Persons wishing to present statements or obtain information should contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. Members of the public may present a written statement to the committee at any time. Specific Sessions Monday, April 17—WG4 STP Subgroup MITRE 2 Room 2N103 Tuesday, April 18—WG4 STP Subgroup MITRE 2 Room 2N103 Wednesday, April 19—WG4 STP Subgroup MITRE 2 Room 2N105; WG4 ASSAP Subgroup MITRE 1 Room 4H204; WG–3—1090 MHz MOPS— MITRE 2 Room 0N136. Issued in Washington, DC, March 20, 2006. Francisco Estrada C., RTCA Advisory Committee. [FR Doc. 06–2914 Filed 3–24–06; 8:45 am] Note: ASSAP—Aircraft Surveillance and Separation Assurance Processing System. CDTI—Cockpit Display of Traffic Information. MOPS—Minimum Operational Performance Standards. STP—Surveillance Transmit Processing. [Docket Number NHTSA–05–23389–2] Thursday, April 20—Plenary Session—See Agenda Below— PO 00000 Frm 00097 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 BILLING CODE 4910–13–M DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Reports, Forms and Record Keeping Requirements Agency Information Collection Activity Under OMB Review National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Department of Transportation. AGENCY: \\ALPHA3\E\FR\FM\27MRN1.SGM 27MRN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 58 (Monday, March 27, 2006)]
[Notices]
[Pages 15251-15253]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E6-4373]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration


Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement: Launches and 
Reentries Under an Experimental Permit

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration, Office of Commercial Space 
Transportation, DOT.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact 
Statement.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004 (CSLAA), 
enacted on December 23, 2004, directs the Secretary of Transportation 
and, through delegations, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) 
Office of Commercial Space Transportation, to establish an experimental 
permit regime for developmental reusable suborbital rockets. The intent 
of Congress for the experimental permit regime is to reduce the 
regulatory burden on developers of reusable suborbital rockets. 
Congress intended that, ``[a]t a minimum, permits should be granted 
more quickly and with fewer requirements than licenses.'' (H. Rep. 
108.429 Sec. VII) To address the intent of Congress and meet a reduced 
timeline for issuing permits, a congressionally mandated 120 day 
timeline, the FAA is preparing a Programmatic Environmental Impact 
Statement (PEIS) to evaluate the impacts of launches and reentries 
conducted under an experimental permit. The intent of the PEIS is to 
facilitate the development of a permit application package and the 
subsequent environmental review by FAA, and to ensure that the issuance 
of an experimental permit is consistent with the FAA's mission of 
protecting public health and safety, safety of property, and the 
national security and foreign policy interests of the United States.
    The proposed action for this PEIS is to issue experimental permits 
for the launch and reentry of reusable suborbital rockets. Suborbital 
rocket means a vehicle, rocket-propelled in whole or in part, intended 
for flight on a suborbital trajectory, the thrust of which is greater 
than its lift for the majority of the rocket-powered portion of its 
ascent. Suborbital trajectory means the intentional flight path of a 
launch vehicle, reentry vehicle, or any portion thereof, whose vacuum 
instantaneous impact point does not leave the surface of the Earth.
    The FAA will prepare the PEIS in accordance with the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Council on Environmental Quality 
(CEQ) NEPA regulations (40 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] Parts 
1500-1508), and the FAA procedures for implementing NEPA in FAA Order 
1050.1E.

DATES: The FAA invites interested agencies, organizations, Native 
American tribes, and members of the public to submit comments or 
suggestions to assist in identifying significant environmental issues, 
and in determining the appropriate scope of the PEIS. The public 
scoping period starts with the publication of this notice in the 
Federal Register and will continue until May 19, 2006. The FAA will 
consider all comments received or postmarked by May 19, 2006 in 
defining the scope of the Draft PEIS. Written comments postmarked or 
sent after this date will be considered to the degree practicable.
    If an agency, organization, or a member of the general public 
desires to have a scoping meeting at a specific location, please 
contact Stacey M. Zee at the address listed in the FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT section of this Notice.

ADDRESSES: Written comments or suggestions on the scope and content of 
the PEIS and requests to receive a copy of the Draft PEIS when it is 
issued should be directed via mail to: PEIS Experimental Permits, c/o 
ICF Consulting, 9300 Lee Highway, Fairfax VA 22031; via e-mail at PEIS-
Experimental-Permits@icfconsulting.com; or via fax at 703-934-3951. The 
subject line of e-mails or faxes should be labeled ``Scoping for the 
Experimental Permits PEIS.''

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information on the proposed 
project or to request a location for a scoping meeting, contact Stacey 
M. Zee via mail at: Federal Aviation Administration, Office of 
Commercial Space Transportation, Room 331, 800 Independence Avenue, 
SW., Washington, DC 20591; via phone at (202) 267-9305; via fax at 
(202) 267-5463; or via e-mail at Stacey.Zee@faa.gov. Additional 
information may also be found on the PEIS Web site at http://
ast.faa.gov/lrra/PEISSite.htm.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background and Need for Agency Action

    Under Title 49, U.S. Code, Subtitle IX, Sections 70101-70121, 
Commercial Space Launch Activities, the FAA oversees, licenses, and 
regulates both launches and reentries of launch and reentry vehicles, 
and the operation of launch and reentry sites when carried out by U.S. 
citizens or within the United States. (49 U.S.C. 70104, 70105) Chapter 
701 directs the FAA to exercise this responsibility consistent with 
public health and safety, safety of property, and the national security 
and foreign policy interests of the United States; and to encourage, 
facilitate, and promote commercial space launch and reentry by

[[Page 15252]]

the private sector. (49 U.S.C. 70103, 70105)
    Under the CSLAA, which was signed into law on December 23, 2004, 
FAA can issue experimental permits rather than licenses for the launch 
and reentry of reusable suborbital rockets. Previously, the FAA could 
only issue a license for these operations. Congress directed that 
experimental permits could be issued for:
     Research and development to test new design concepts, new 
equipment, or new operating techniques;
     Showing compliance with requirements as part of the 
process for obtaining a license; or
     Crew training prior to obtaining a license for a launch or 
reentry using the design of the rocket for which the permit would be 
issued.
    The CSLAA of 2004 also directs the FAA to make a determination on 
issuing an experimental permit within 120 days of receiving a complete 
application. The FAA currently has 180 days to make a license 
determination. Because of this reduced review time, the FAA is seeking 
to clearly define the requirements for an experimental permit 
application in the proposed rulemaking and streamline the environmental 
review process for such applications in the future. The Notice of 
Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that is being issued concurrent with this 
Notice of Intent specifies the proposed application requirements for an 
operator of a reusable suborbital rocket to obtain an experimental 
permit and the proposed operating requirements and restrictions on 
launch and reentry of a reusable suborbital rocket operating under a 
permit.
    The FAA is preparing this PEIS to examine the environmental impacts 
of reusable suborbital rockets operating under an experimental permit. 
The PEIS will provide information and analyses common to all reusable 
suborbital rockets, will facilitate tiering of subsequent environmental 
assessments and environmental impact statements, and will allow the 
environmental analysis of an individual permit applicant to focus on 
the environmental effects specific to their permit application. The 
FAA's intent is to focus the scope of future environmental analyses and 
improve the efficiency of acting on individual permit applications.

Proposed Action

    The proposed action for this PEIS is to issue experimental permits 
for the launch and reentry of reusable suborbital rockets, develop the 
environmental criteria for issuing those permits, and prepare 
documentation that can be referenced or tiered from in future 
applications. The proposed action includes four conceptual reusable 
suborbital rockets based on the type of take-off as follows:
    1. A vertical take-off suborbital rocket,
    2. A combination jet and rocket powered horizontal take-off 
suborbital rocket,
    3. A horizontal take-off suborbital rocket, and
    4. A suborbital rocket that requires a support aircraft or balloon 
to transport the rocket to altitude.
    For each type of suborbital rocket, a range of propellants will be 
analyzed including those used in liquid and hybrid rocket engines. In 
addition, the type of landing, vertical or horizontal, will be analyzed 
in the PEIS. Under the proposed action, the launch and reentry would 
occur from an FAA licensed launch location. FAA will evaluate the 
impacts associated with each conceptual vehicle from the following 
locations: Mojave Airport, Mojave, California; California Spaceport, 
Vandenberg Air Force Base, California; Spaceport Florida, Cape 
Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida; Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, 
Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia; the proposed Oklahoma Spaceport, 
Burns Flat, Oklahoma; and the proposed Southwest Regional Spaceport, 
Upham, New Mexico. Based on comments received during the scoping period 
and the advancement of the NPRM, the FAA may propose additional 
suborbital rocket concepts, propellant types, and locations for impacts 
analysis.
    Under the proposed action, the FAA assumes that up to 50 launch and 
landing events per conceptual reusable suborbital rocket would occur 
annually, and no more than 100 annual launch and landing events would 
occur at any one location. The proposed action assumes that operations 
would take place from existing commercial launch sites and that no new 
infrastructure (e.g., buildings, runways, launch pads) would be 
required. Therefore, infrastructure construction and use are not 
included in the scope of the PEIS.

Alternatives

    Other than the proposed action and the no action alternative, the 
FAA does not have any defined alternatives to consider, at this time. 
Based on the comments received during the scoping period and the 
advancement of the NPRM, the FAA may consider additional alternatives 
based on its discretion in implementing the CSLAA. The FAA will assess 
alternatives in accordance with the CEQ NEPA regulations (40 CFR 
1502.14).

Identification of Environmental Issues

    The purpose of this notice is to solicit comments and suggestions 
for consideration in the preparation of the PEIS. As background for 
public comment, this notice contains a list of potential environmental 
issues that the FAA has tentatively identified for analysis. This list, 
which the FAA developed from preliminary review of the experimental 
permit regime and similar projects, is not intended to be all-inclusive 
or to imply any predetermination of impacts. Instead, it is presented 
to facilitate public comment on the planned scope and content of the 
PEIS. Additions to or deletions from this list may occur as a result of 
the public scoping process. The preliminary list of potential 
environmental issues that may be analyzed in the PEIS includes the 
following:
    1. Air Quality--the effects of emissions associated with launch and 
reentry operations,
    2. Water Resources--the effects of emissions of launch and reentry 
operations on water resources,
    3. Biological Resources--the effects of launch and reentry 
operations on terrestrial and aquatic plants and animals, including 
state- and federally-listed threatened and endangered species, and 
other protected resources (e.g., wetlands and essential fish habitat),
    4. Public Health and Safety--the effects of launch and reentry 
operations on public health and safety, including potential incidental 
spills and releases of hazardous or toxic materials,
    5. Socioeconomics--the effects of a potential influx of workers and 
the potential increase in demand for local services,
    6. Cultural Resources--the potential effects on historical, 
archaeological, and culturally important sites, and
    7. Environmental Justice--the potential for disproportionately high 
and adverse effects on populations protected under Executive Order 
12898.

Scoping Process

    To ensure that all issues related to this proposal are addressed, 
the FAA will conduct an open process to define the scope and content of 
the PEIS. Interested agencies, organizations, Native American tribes, 
and members of the public are encouraged to submit comments or 
suggestions concerning the content of the PEIS, issues and impacts to 
be addressed in the PEIS, and alternatives that should be considered. 
Written comments should be sent to the FAA as described in the 
ADDRESSES section above.

[[Page 15253]]

Draft PEIS Schedule and Availability

    The Draft PEIS is scheduled to be issued in the fall of 2006. The 
availability of the Draft PEIS, the methods by which the Draft PEIS 
will be made available for public review, and dates for public hearings 
soliciting comments on the PEIS will be announced in the Federal 
Register. Comments on the Draft PEIS will be considered in preparing 
the Final PEIS.
    Those interested parties who do not wish to submit comments at this 
time, but who would like to receive a copy of the Draft PEIS and other 
project materials, should follow the guidance provided in the ADDRESSES 
section of this notice.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on March 20, 2006.
Patricia G. Smith,
Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation.
 [FR Doc. E6-4373 Filed 3-24-06; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-P