Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill; Draft Phase I Early Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment, 78016-78018 [2011-32185]

Download as PDF 78016 Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 241 / Thursday, December 15, 2011 / Notices material, all submissions will be posted, without change, to the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http:// www.regulations.gov, and will include any personal information you provide. Therefore, submitting this information makes it public. You may wish to read the Privacy Act notice, which can be viewed by clicking on the ‘‘Privacy Notice’’ link in the footer of http:// www.regulations.gov. You may submit your comments and material by the methods specified in the ADDRESSES section. Please submit your comments and any supporting material by only one means to avoid the receipt and review of duplicate submissions. Docket: The proposed solution document is available in docket ID FEMA–2011–0025. Additionally, the document can be found at http:// www.fema.gov/plan/prevent/fhm/ lv_lamp.shtm. For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http:// www.regulations.gov and search for the docket ID. Submitted comments may also be inspected at FEMA, Office of Chief Counsel, Room 835, 500 C St. SW., Washington, DC, 20472. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES II. Public Online Forum FEMA will hold three public online forums to present the approach. The first public forum will be held on December 21, 2011 from 1:30 p.m. EST to 3 p.m. EST. The second online forum will be held on January 3, 2012, from 1:30 p.m. EST to 3 p.m. EST. The third online forum will be held on January 10, 2012 from 1:30 p.m. EST to 3 p.m. EST. All meetings will take place through an online webinar. If you are interested in participating in the online forum, please email FEMA-GS@dhs.gov to reserve a slot for the forum and receive further instructions for logging in and participating. III. Background FEMA maps flood hazards on Flood Insurance Rate Maps, a tool used to support the National Flood Insurance Program. These maps identify areas that are flood prone for a variety of reasons. One unique category of flood hazards is the areas behind levees. Levees can be recognized as providing protection on FEMA’s flood maps if they meet all requirements of 44 CFR 65.10, the regulations that define the design, maintenance and operation standards specifically for this purpose. Levees meeting all aspects of 44 CFR 65.10 are considered eligible to be accredited. Those that cannot meet all of these standards cannot be accredited. The current approach for analyzing and mapping flood hazards associated with non-accredited levees is a singular approach where one technical procedure applies to all non-accredited levees. The feedback on this one-size-all approach is that it does not take the unique conditions of each levee into consideration. Many stakeholders also believe this approach does not adequately reflect the ability of these levees to provide some level of flood hazard reduction. FEMA is listening to this stakeholder feedback that this current approach used to map flood hazards associated with non-accredited levees is too coarse to represent the variety of situations associated with levees. In response, FEMA has worked to revise the mapping procedures for non-accredited levees. This approach works within the confines of existing federal regulations, yet is more flexible, collaborative and feasible. FEMA is replacing the former, singular approach with a suite of procedures that are technically sound, understandable to stakeholders, and cost effective. This suite of procedures will better meet the needs of the public and provide more precise results, while at the same time recognizing that uncertainty will remain. While these procedures allow for more detailed modeling and mapping of flood hazards for non-accredited levee systems, the risk of flooding in levee-impacted areas remains. Therefore, levee system owners and communities still need to remain engaged in flood risk management and communication activities. IV. Request for Comments FEMA welcomes your comments, questions, and concerns regarding the proposed approach’s technical clarity, potential local impact, and feasibility for community participation. FEMA also welcomes any suggestions for improvement to the proposed approach. Date Sandra Knight, Deputy Associate Administrator, Federal Insurance and Mitigation, Federal Emergency Management Agency. [FR Doc. 2011–32128 Filed 12–14–11; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110–12–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior [FWS–R4–FHC–2011– N255;FVHC98130406900Y4–XXX– FF04G01000] Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill; Draft Phase I Early Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment Department of the Interior. Notice of availability; request for comments. AGENCY: ACTION: In accordance with the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and the Framework Agreement for Early Restoration Addressing Injuries Resulting from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, the Federal and State natural resource trustee agencies (Trustees) have prepared a Draft Early Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment (DERP/EA) describing and proposing a suite of early restoration projects intended to commence the process of restoring natural resources and services injured or lost as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which occurred on or about April 20, 2010, in the Gulf of Mexico. The purpose of this notice is to inform the public of the availability of the DERP/ EA and to seek written comments on the proposed restoration alternative presented in the DERP/EA. DATES: Comments Due Date: We will consider public comments received on or before February 14, 2012. Public Meetings: A series of public meetings are scheduled to facilitate public review and comment on the DERP/EA. Both written and verbal public comments will be taken at the meetings. The meeting dates, times, and locations are listed below. Meeting facilities and their addresses will be published in local newspapers and will be posted on the web at www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov. SUMMARY: Time Jan 11, 2012 ................... Jan 12, 2012 ................... VerDate Mar<15>2010 Authority: 42 U.S.C. 4001, 44 CFR part 65. 6:00 7:00 6:00 7:00 16:49 Dec 14, 2011 pm pm pm pm Location Open House .............................................................................................................................. Meeting/presentation/comment Open House .............................................................................................................................. Meeting/presentation/comment Jkt 226001 PO 00000 Frm 00054 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\15DEN1.SGM 15DEN1 Florida Florida Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 241 / Thursday, December 15, 2011 / Notices Date Time Jan 17, 2012 ................... Jan 18, 2012 ................... Jan 19, 2012 ................... Jan 23, 2012 ................... Jan 24, 2012 ................... Jan 26, 2012 ................... Jan 31, 2012 ................... Feb 1, 2012 .................... Feb 2, 2012 .................... Feb 7, 2012 .................... 6:00 7:00 6:00 7:00 6:00 7:00 6:00 7:00 6:00 7:00 6:00 7:00 5:30 6:30 5:30 6:30 5:30 6:30 6:00 7:00 pm pm pm pm pm pm pm pm pm pm pm pm pm pm pm pm pm pm pm pm Obtaining Documents: You may download the DERP/EA and the framework agreement at http:// www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov or http://www.doi.gov/deepwaterhorizon. Alternatively, you may request a CD of the DERP/EA (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). You may also review hard copies of the DERP/EA at any of the public repositories listed at http:// www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov. Submitting Comments: You may submit comments on the DERP/EA by one of following methods: • Via the Web: http:// www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov. • For electronic submission of comments containing attachments, email: Phase1DERPcomments@fws.gov. • U.S. Mail: c/o U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 200, Fairhope, AL 36533. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brian Spears at FW4DWHInfo@fws.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Introduction On or about April 20, 2010, the mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon, which was being used to drill a well for BP Exploration and Production, Inc. (BP) in the Macondo prospect (Mississippi Canyon 252— MC252), experienced a significant explosion, fire and subsequent sinking in the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in discharges of oil and other substances from the rig and from the wellhead on the seabed. An estimated 4.9 million barrels (210 million gallons) of oil were released from the well into the Gulf of Mexico over a period of approximately three months. In addition, approximately 771,000 gallons of dispersants were applied to the waters VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:49 Dec 14, 2011 Location Open House .............................................................................................................................. Meeting/presentation/comment Open House .............................................................................................................................. Meeting/presentation/comment Open House .............................................................................................................................. Meeting/presentation/comment Open House .............................................................................................................................. Meeting/presentation/comment Open House .............................................................................................................................. Meeting/presentation/comment Open House .............................................................................................................................. Meeting/presentation/comment Open House .............................................................................................................................. Meeting/presentation/comment Open House .............................................................................................................................. Meeting/presentation/comment Open House .............................................................................................................................. Meeting/presentation/comment Open House .............................................................................................................................. Meeting/presentation/comment ADDRESSES: Jkt 226001 of the spill area in an attempt to minimize impacts from spilled oil. Affected resources include ecologically, recreationally, and commercially important species and their habitats in the Gulf of Mexico and along the coastal areas of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. Federal and State trustees (listed below) are conducting the natural resource damage assessment for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill under the Oil Pollution Act 1990 (OPA; 33 U.S.C. 2701 et seq.). Pursuant to OPA, federal and state agencies and Indian tribes may act as trustees on behalf of the public to assess natural resource injuries and losses and to determine the damages required to compensate the public for those injuries and losses. OPA further instructs the designated trustees to develop and implement a plan for the restoration, rehabilitation, replacement, or acquisition of the equivalent of the injured natural resources under their trusteeship. The trustees have developed this DERP/EA under the Framework Agreement. The trustees are: • U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), as represented by the National Park Service, U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Land Management; • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), on behalf of the U.S Department of Commerce; • State of Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, Oil Spill Coordinator’s Office, Department of Environmental Quality, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and Department of Natural Resources; • State of Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality; PO 00000 Frm 00055 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 78017 Mississippi Mississippi Mississippi Alabama Alabama Texas Louisiana Louisiana Louisiana Washington, D.C. • State of Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Geological Survey of Alabama; • State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; and • Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas General Land Office and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) is a Trustee, but does not have affected lands in this Draft Phase I Early Restoration Project. Background On April 20, 2011, BP agreed to provide up to $1 billion toward early restoration projects in the Gulf of Mexico to address injuries to natural resources caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. This early restoration agreement, entitled ‘‘Framework for Early Restoration Addressing Injuries Resulting from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill’’ (Framework Agreement), represents a preliminary step toward the restoration of injured natural resources. The Framework Agreement is intended to expedite the start of restoration in the Gulf in advance of the completion of the injury assessment process. The Framework Agreement provides a mechanism through which the Trustees and BP can work together ‘‘to commence implementation of early restoration projects that will provide meaningful benefits to accelerate restoration in the Gulf as quickly as practicable’’ prior to the completion of the natural resource damage assessment process or full resolution of the Trustees’ natural resource damages claim. The Trustees have actively solicited public input on restoration project ideas E:\FR\FM\15DEN1.SGM 15DEN1 78018 Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 241 / Thursday, December 15, 2011 / Notices through a variety of mechanisms, including public meetings, electronic communication, and creation of a Trustee-wide public Web site and database to share information and receive public project submissions. The Trustees are considering a broad array of potential early restoration projects. Their key objective in pursuing early restoration is to secure tangible recovery of natural resources and natural resource services for the public’s benefit while the longer-term process of fully assessing injury and damages is still underway. As the first step in this accelerated process, the Trustees are first proposing eight projects as set forth in this Phase I Draft Early Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment (DERP/ EA) in accordance with OPA and NEPA. The projects proposed in this plan are not intended to, and do not fully, address all injuries caused by the spill or provide the extent of restoration needed to satisfy claims against BP. In keeping with the Framework Agreement, the DERP/EA includes an estimate of the gains anticipated to result from each project, referred to as ‘‘Natural Resource Damage Offsets’’ (NRD Offsets). These NRD Offsets were identified consistent with the terms of the Framework Agreement. If these projects are approved, at the end of the NRDA process, the Trustees would credit these NRD Offsets generated by these early restoration projects towards the total restoration credits required based on the completed injury assessment. Further comprehensive restoration will still be required to fully compensate the public for natural resource losses from the oil spill. Overview of the Phase 1 DERP/EA mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Draft Early Restoration Plan Alternatives, Including Proposed Alternative The DERP/EA describes two early restoration alternatives: No Action— Natural Recovery (required for consideration by OPA) and Proposed Action—Proposed Early Restoration Projects. Under the No Action alternative, the trustees would not implement early restoration projects as described in this DERP/EA. Rather, the trustees would rely, for the time being, solely on natural recovery processes to restore natural resources to their prespill conditions and would undertake no early actions to accelerate recovery or to help address interim resource losses. Under the Proposed Action, the Trustees are considering eight projects that meet the selection criteria as described in the DERP/EA. VerDate Mar<15>2010 19:28 Dec 14, 2011 Jkt 226001 Proposed Action—Proposed Early Restoration Projects The proposed projects are intended to provide services that will benefit injured marshes, coastal dune habitats, nearshore sediments, oysters, and human uses (on water recreation). Each of these projects provides benefits to natural resources and their services injured by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The proposed projects are: (1) Lake Hermitage Marsh Creation, Louisiana; (2) Louisiana Oyster Cultch Project; (3) Mississippi Oyster Cultch Restoration; (4) Mississippi Artificial Reef Habitat; (5) Marsh Island (Portersville Bay, Alabama) Marsh Creation; (6) Alabama Dune Restoration Cooperative Project; (7) Florida Boat Ramp Enhancement Cooperative Project; (8) Florida Dune Restoration. Next Step After the public comment period ends, we will analyze and address the comments. After close of the public comment period, the Trustees will consider all input received before a Phase I Early Restoration Plan is finalized. As described above, a series of public meetings are scheduled to facilitate the public review and comment process. Upon completion of the Phase I Early Restoration Plan, negotiations with BP will be completed and approved projects will proceed to implementation, pending compliance with all applicable state and federal laws. Public Availability of Comments Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment including your personal identifying information, may be publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Administrative Record The documents comprising the Administrative Record can be viewed electronically at the following location: http://www.doi.gov/deepwaterhorizon. Author The primary author of this notice is Nanciann Regalado. Authority The authority of this action is the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (33 U.S.C. 2701 et seq.), the implementing Natural Resource Damage Assessment PO 00000 Frm 00056 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 regulations found at 15 CFR Part 990, and the Framework Agreement for Addressing Injuries Resulting from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Cynthia K. Dohner, DOI Authorized Official. [FR Doc. 2011–32185 Filed 12–14–11; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Indian Affairs Renewal of Agency Information Collection for the Bureau of Indian Education Adult Education Program; Request for Comments Bureau of Indian Affairs, Interior. ACTION: Notice of submission to OMB. AGENCIES: In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) is submitting to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) a request for renewal for the collection of information for the Adult Education Program. The information collection is currently authorized by OMB Control Number 1076–0120, which expires December 31, 2011. DATES: Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before January 17, 2012. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on the information collection to the Desk Officer for the Department of the Interior at the Office of Management and Budget, by facsimile to (202) 395–5806 or you may send an email to: OIRA_ DOCKET@omb.eop.gov. Please send a copy of your comments to Brandi Sweet, Bureau of Indian Education, 1849 C Street NW., MS–4141, Washington, DC 20240, fax (202) 208–3312; email: Brandi.Sweet@bie.edu. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brandi Sweet, Bureau of Indian Education, at (202) 208–5504. You may review the ICR online at http://www. reginfo.gov. Follow the instructions to review Department of the Interior collections under review by OMB. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: I. Abstract The Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) is seeking renewal of the approval for the information collection conducted under 25 CFR part 46 to manage program resources and for fiscal accountability and appropriate direct services documentation. Approval for this collection expires on December 31, 2011. This information includes an E:\FR\FM\15DEN1.SGM 15DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 241 (Thursday, December 15, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 78016-78018]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-32185]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior

[FWS-R4-FHC-2011-N255;FVHC98130406900Y4-XXX-FF04G01000]


Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill; Draft Phase I Early Restoration Plan 
and Environmental Assessment

AGENCY: Department of the Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: In accordance with the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA), the 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and the Framework Agreement 
for Early Restoration Addressing Injuries Resulting from the Deepwater 
Horizon Oil Spill, the Federal and State natural resource trustee 
agencies (Trustees) have prepared a Draft Early Restoration Plan and 
Environmental Assessment (DERP/EA) describing and proposing a suite of 
early restoration projects intended to commence the process of 
restoring natural resources and services injured or lost as a result of 
the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which occurred on or about April 20, 
2010, in the Gulf of Mexico. The purpose of this notice is to inform 
the public of the availability of the DERP/EA and to seek written 
comments on the proposed restoration alternative presented in the DERP/
EA.

DATES: Comments Due Date: We will consider public comments received on 
or before February 14, 2012.
    Public Meetings: A series of public meetings are scheduled to 
facilitate public review and comment on the DERP/EA. Both written and 
verbal public comments will be taken at the meetings. The meeting 
dates, times, and locations are listed below. Meeting facilities and 
their addresses will be published in local newspapers and will be 
posted on the web at www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Date                        Time               Location
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jan 11, 2012..................  6:00 pm Open House...  Florida
                                7:00 pm Meeting/
                                 presentation/comment.
Jan 12, 2012..................  6:00 pm Open House...  Florida
                                7:00 pm Meeting/
                                 presentation/comment.

[[Page 78017]]

 
Jan 17, 2012..................  6:00 pm Open House...  Mississippi
                                7:00 pm Meeting/
                                 presentation/comment.
Jan 18, 2012..................  6:00 pm Open House...  Mississippi
                                7:00 pm Meeting/
                                 presentation/comment.
Jan 19, 2012..................  6:00 pm Open House...  Mississippi
                                7:00 pm Meeting/
                                 presentation/comment.
Jan 23, 2012..................  6:00 pm Open House...  Alabama
                                7:00 pm Meeting/
                                 presentation/comment.
Jan 24, 2012..................  6:00 pm Open House...  Alabama
                                7:00 pm Meeting/
                                 presentation/comment.
Jan 26, 2012..................  6:00 pm Open House...  Texas
                                7:00 pm Meeting/
                                 presentation/comment.
Jan 31, 2012..................  5:30 pm Open House...  Louisiana
                                6:30 pm Meeting/
                                 presentation/comment.
Feb 1, 2012...................  5:30 pm Open House...  Louisiana
                                6:30 pm Meeting/
                                 presentation/comment.
Feb 2, 2012...................  5:30 pm Open House...  Louisiana
                                6:30 pm Meeting/
                                 presentation/comment.
Feb 7, 2012...................  6:00 pm Open House...  Washington, D.C.
                                7:00 pm Meeting/
                                 presentation/comment.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


ADDRESSES: Obtaining Documents: You may download the DERP/EA and the 
framework agreement at http://www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov or 
http://www.doi.gov/deepwaterhorizon. Alternatively, you may request a 
CD of the DERP/EA (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). You may also 
review hard copies of the DERP/EA at any of the public repositories 
listed at http://www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov. Submitting 
Comments: You may submit comments on the DERP/EA by one of following 
methods:
     Via the Web: http://www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov.
     For electronic submission of comments containing 
attachments, email: Phase1DERPcomments@fws.gov.
     U.S. Mail: c/o U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 
200, Fairhope, AL 36533.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brian Spears at FW4DWHInfo@fws.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Introduction

    On or about April 20, 2010, the mobile offshore drilling unit 
Deepwater Horizon, which was being used to drill a well for BP 
Exploration and Production, Inc. (BP) in the Macondo prospect 
(Mississippi Canyon 252--MC252), experienced a significant explosion, 
fire and subsequent sinking in the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in 
discharges of oil and other substances from the rig and from the 
wellhead on the seabed. An estimated 4.9 million barrels (210 million 
gallons) of oil were released from the well into the Gulf of Mexico 
over a period of approximately three months. In addition, approximately 
771,000 gallons of dispersants were applied to the waters of the spill 
area in an attempt to minimize impacts from spilled oil. Affected 
resources include ecologically, recreationally, and commercially 
important species and their habitats in the Gulf of Mexico and along 
the coastal areas of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and 
Texas.
    Federal and State trustees (listed below) are conducting the 
natural resource damage assessment for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill 
under the Oil Pollution Act 1990 (OPA; 33 U.S.C. 2701 et seq.). 
Pursuant to OPA, federal and state agencies and Indian tribes may act 
as trustees on behalf of the public to assess natural resource injuries 
and losses and to determine the damages required to compensate the 
public for those injuries and losses. OPA further instructs the 
designated trustees to develop and implement a plan for the 
restoration, rehabilitation, replacement, or acquisition of the 
equivalent of the injured natural resources under their trusteeship. 
The trustees have developed this DERP/EA under the Framework Agreement.
    The trustees are:
     U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), as represented by 
the National Park Service, U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of 
Land Management;
     National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), on 
behalf of the U.S Department of Commerce;
     State of Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration 
Authority, Oil Spill Coordinator's Office, Department of Environmental 
Quality, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and Department of Natural 
Resources;
     State of Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality;
     State of Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural 
Resources and Geological Survey of Alabama;
     State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection 
and Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; and
     Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas General Land 
Office and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
    The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) is a Trustee, but does not 
have affected lands in this Draft Phase I Early Restoration Project.

Background

    On April 20, 2011, BP agreed to provide up to $1 billion toward 
early restoration projects in the Gulf of Mexico to address injuries to 
natural resources caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. This early 
restoration agreement, entitled ``Framework for Early Restoration 
Addressing Injuries Resulting from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill'' 
(Framework Agreement), represents a preliminary step toward the 
restoration of injured natural resources. The Framework Agreement is 
intended to expedite the start of restoration in the Gulf in advance of 
the completion of the injury assessment process. The Framework 
Agreement provides a mechanism through which the Trustees and BP can 
work together ``to commence implementation of early restoration 
projects that will provide meaningful benefits to accelerate 
restoration in the Gulf as quickly as practicable'' prior to the 
completion of the natural resource damage assessment process or full 
resolution of the Trustees' natural resource damages claim.
    The Trustees have actively solicited public input on restoration 
project ideas

[[Page 78018]]

through a variety of mechanisms, including public meetings, electronic 
communication, and creation of a Trustee-wide public Web site and 
database to share information and receive public project submissions. 
The Trustees are considering a broad array of potential early 
restoration projects. Their key objective in pursuing early restoration 
is to secure tangible recovery of natural resources and natural 
resource services for the public's benefit while the longer-term 
process of fully assessing injury and damages is still underway. As the 
first step in this accelerated process, the Trustees are first 
proposing eight projects as set forth in this Phase I Draft Early 
Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment (DERP/EA) in accordance with 
OPA and NEPA. The projects proposed in this plan are not intended to, 
and do not fully, address all injuries caused by the spill or provide 
the extent of restoration needed to satisfy claims against BP.
    In keeping with the Framework Agreement, the DERP/EA includes an 
estimate of the gains anticipated to result from each project, referred 
to as ``Natural Resource Damage Offsets'' (NRD Offsets). These NRD 
Offsets were identified consistent with the terms of the Framework 
Agreement. If these projects are approved, at the end of the NRDA 
process, the Trustees would credit these NRD Offsets generated by these 
early restoration projects towards the total restoration credits 
required based on the completed injury assessment. Further 
comprehensive restoration will still be required to fully compensate 
the public for natural resource losses from the oil spill.

Overview of the Phase 1 DERP/EA

Draft Early Restoration Plan Alternatives, Including Proposed 
Alternative

    The DERP/EA describes two early restoration alternatives: No 
Action--Natural Recovery (required for consideration by OPA) and 
Proposed Action--Proposed Early Restoration Projects. Under the No 
Action alternative, the trustees would not implement early restoration 
projects as described in this DERP/EA. Rather, the trustees would rely, 
for the time being, solely on natural recovery processes to restore 
natural resources to their pre-spill conditions and would undertake no 
early actions to accelerate recovery or to help address interim 
resource losses.
    Under the Proposed Action, the Trustees are considering eight 
projects that meet the selection criteria as described in the DERP/EA.

Proposed Action--Proposed Early Restoration Projects

    The proposed projects are intended to provide services that will 
benefit injured marshes, coastal dune habitats, nearshore sediments, 
oysters, and human uses (on water recreation). Each of these projects 
provides benefits to natural resources and their services injured by 
the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The proposed projects are: (1) Lake 
Hermitage Marsh Creation, Louisiana; (2) Louisiana Oyster Cultch 
Project; (3) Mississippi Oyster Cultch Restoration; (4) Mississippi 
Artificial Reef Habitat; (5) Marsh Island (Portersville Bay, Alabama) 
Marsh Creation; (6) Alabama Dune Restoration Cooperative Project; (7) 
Florida Boat Ramp Enhancement Cooperative Project; (8) Florida Dune 
Restoration.

Next Step

    After the public comment period ends, we will analyze and address 
the comments. After close of the public comment period, the Trustees 
will consider all input received before a Phase I Early Restoration 
Plan is finalized. As described above, a series of public meetings are 
scheduled to facilitate the public review and comment process. Upon 
completion of the Phase I Early Restoration Plan, negotiations with BP 
will be completed and approved projects will proceed to implementation, 
pending compliance with all applicable state and federal laws.

Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment including your personal identifying 
information, may be publicly available at any time. While you can ask 
us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information 
from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

Administrative Record

    The documents comprising the Administrative Record can be viewed 
electronically at the following location: http://www.doi.gov/deepwaterhorizon.

Author

    The primary author of this notice is Nanciann Regalado.

Authority

    The authority of this action is the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (33 
U.S.C. 2701 et seq.), the implementing Natural Resource Damage 
Assessment regulations found at 15 CFR Part 990, and the Framework 
Agreement for Addressing Injuries Resulting from the Deepwater Horizon 
Oil Spill.

Cynthia K. Dohner,
DOI Authorized Official.
[FR Doc. 2011-32185 Filed 12-14-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P