National Environmental Policy Act Categorical Exclusions, 23945-23950 [2014-09730]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 82 / Tuesday, April 29, 2014 / Notices and Central GOA trawl C/Ps, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Pacific daylight savings time; and Pacific cod longline C/Ps, 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Pacific daylight savings time. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE The workshop will be held at the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) Seattle Office, 2320 West Commodore Way, Suite 300, Seattle, WA. Directions to the IPHC are on its Web site at http://www.iphc.int/ component/content/article/135-newoffice.html. RIN 0648–XD264 ADDRESSES: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of a public meeting. Alan Kinsolving, 928–774–4362 or Jennifer Watson, 907–586–7537. SUMMARY: NMFS is developing proposed revisions to the atsea scales program for C/Ps and motherships that are required to weigh catch at sea. NMFS is considering three major changes to current regulations. First, NMFS is proposing to change regulations concerning daily scale testing and require electronic reporting of daily scale test results. Second, scales used to weigh catch would need electronics capable of logging and printing the frequency and magnitude of scale calibrations as well as the time and date of each scale fault and scale startup. Finally, NMFS is proposing to require that the area around the scale be monitored using video. These changes are being proposed to reduce the possibility of scale tampering, to improve the accuracy of catch estimation by the C/P and mothership sector, and to revise technical regulations that are no longer applicable. The workshop—to be held Friday, May 16, 2014 (see DATES section for the specific times of the three sessions)—is open to the public, but NMFS is particularly seeking participation by those who are knowledgeable about the operations of the three groups of vessels described above and who can discuss with NMFS the potential operational impacts of proposed monitoring requirements. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: AGENCY: The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s (Council) Executive Committee will meet in a closed session via webinar. DATES: The webinar will be Tuesday, May 20, 2014, starting at 1:30 p.m. ADDRESSES: The closed meetings will be held via webinar. Council Address: Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 800 N. State Street, Suite 201, Dover, DE 19901; telephone: (302) 674–2331. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Christopher M. Moore Ph.D., Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 800 N. State Street, Suite 201, Dover, DE 19901; telephone: (302) 526–5255. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The purpose of the webinar is to develop recommendations to the Council Chairman regarding appointments to the River Herring and Shad Advisor Panel. Dated: April 23, 2014. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2014–09602 Filed 4–28–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Telecommunications and Information Administration First Responder Network Authority sroberts on DSK5SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Special Accommodations [Docket Number 131219999–4338–02] The workshop will be physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Jennifer Watson, 907–586–7537, at least 10 working days prior to the meeting date. RIN 0660–XC008 Dated: April 24, 2014. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2014–09732 Filed 4–28–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:56 Apr 28, 2014 Jkt 232001 National Environmental Policy Act Categorical Exclusions National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) publishes this notice of its categorical exclusions (CEs) of actions that FirstNet has determined SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 23945 do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment and, thus, should be categorically excluded from the requirement to prepare an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). DATES: These categorical exclusions become effective on April 29, 2014. ADDRESSES: A complete set of comments filed in response to the First Responder Network Authority: National Environmental Policy Act Implementing Procedures and Categorical Exclusions published on January 6, 2014, is available at: http://www.ntia.doc.gov/ federal-register-notice/2014/commentsnotice-firstnet-categorical-exclusions. The FirstNet categorical exclusions and the supporting administrative record for these categorical exclusions is available at: http://www.ntia.doc.gov/category/ firstnet. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Genevieve Walker, First Responder Network Authority, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., HCHB Room CC 219, Washington, DC 20230; (202) 482–4385; or genevieve.walker@firstnet.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. National Environmental Policy Act The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321–4347) (NEPA) requires federal agencies to undertake an assessment of environmental effects of their proposed actions prior to making a final decision and implementing the action. NEPA requirements apply to any federal project, decision, or action that may have a significant impact on the quality of the human environment. NEPA also establishes the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), which issued regulations implementing the procedural provisions of NEPA as codified in 40 CFR Parts 1500–1508. Among other considerations, CEQ regulations require federal agencies to adopt their own implementing procedures to supplement the Council’s regulations, and to establish and use ‘‘categorical exclusions’’ to define categories of actions that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. Thus, such actions do not require preparation of an environmental assessment or an environmental impact statement as required by NEPA. The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (Pub. L. 112–96, 126 Stat. 156 (2012)) (Act) created and authorized FirstNet to take all actions E:\FR\FM\29APN1.SGM 29APN1 23946 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 82 / Tuesday, April 29, 2014 / Notices sroberts on DSK5SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES necessary to ensure the design, construction, and operation of a nationwide interoperable public safety broadband network (PSBN) based on a single, national network architecture. The Act meets a long-standing and critical national infrastructure need, to create a nationwide interoperable broadband network that will, for the first time, allow police officers, fire fighters, emergency medical service professionals, and other public safety officials to effectively communicate with each other across agencies and jurisdictions. As a newly created entity, FirstNet does not have any existing CEs. Thus, the following CEs are necessary to assist FirstNet in applying the appropriate level of NEPA review for activities undertaken by FirstNet in the design, construction, and operation of the PSBN. Accordingly, on January 6, 2014, FirstNet published a notice in the Federal Register (First Responder Network Authority: National Environmental Policy Act Implementing Procedures and Categorical Exclusions, 79 FR 639 (January 6, 2014)) requesting public comment on the following CEs (as well as the administrative records supporting each CE) before utilizing them as part of its NEPA review process. II. Development Process for Establishing FirstNet CEs FirstNet is responsible for, at a minimum, ensuring nationwide standards for the use of and access to the network; issuing open, transparent, and competitive requests for proposals (RFPs) to build, operate, and maintain the network; encouraging these RFPs to leverage, to the maximum extent economically desirable, existing commercial wireless infrastructure to speed deployment of the network; and overseeing contracts with non-federal entities to build, operate, and maintain the network. Due to the similarity in project activities and scope, FirstNet is establishing its CEs based primarily on the existing CEs that were approved and applied by NTIA in the implementation of the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), a program that provided grant funding for the deployment of broadband infrastructure throughout the country. The list of CEs developed for BTOP was compiled at the Department of Commerce (DOC) through a joint effort with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS); NTIA; DOC’s Office of Sustainable Energy and Environmental Programs; and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:56 Apr 28, 2014 Jkt 232001 Representatives from these organizations comprised the review panel responsible for determining appropriate CEs for the BTOP program. The BTOP CEs were approved by DOC Office of General Counsel and the designated Senior Agency Official for NEPA at NOAA. Each BTOP CE was reviewed and deliberated in concept, coverage, applicability, and wording by members of the review panel. The panel carefully reviewed the administrative record on each of the CEs to ensure they fulfilled the goal of balancing increased administrative efficiency in NEPA compliance with avoidance of misinterpretations and misapplications of exclusionary language that could lead to non-compliance with NEPA requirements. The review panel concurred that all of the BTOP CEs met both objectives. The FirstNet CEs found below are currently in use by other agencies and are comparable to those applied by NTIA as part of BTOP. Specifically, these CEs are comparable because they (1) relate to planning, deployment, and construction of broadband infrastructure; (2) utilize the same methods and equipment of installing broadband infrastructure; (3) are not restricted to an environmental setting or geographic region of the country; and (4) are subject to review for extraordinary circumstances. NTIA, through BTOP, provided over $4 billion in federal funding to 233 projects to construct and expand telecommunications infrastructure and increase broadband adoption throughout all U.S. states, territories and the District of Columbia. BTOP projects were funded in four categories. These four categories included (1) Broadband Infrastructure-Last Mile; (2) Broadband Infrastructure- Middle Mile; (3) Public Computer Centers; and (4) Sustainable Broadband Adoption. BTOP infrastructure projects typically required the deployment of broadband equipment including the installation of fiber optic cables, cell towers, antenna colocations, buildings, and power units. The methods used for deploying this equipment varied depending on the individual project plan and location but in general followed standard commercial approaches for completing such work (e.g., the use of trenching and plowing construction methods to install buried fiber, aerial installation of fiber cables on existing poles, or collocating antenna equipment on existing towers). These projects were initially required to be complete within three years of the original award date and were intended to be self-sustaining at the end of the PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 award period. The nationwide scope of BTOP resulted in projects being implemented in a wide range of environmental settings (e.g., varying biological, cultural, or socio-economic conditions) and many required a detailed environmental review focusing on the unique characteristics of a specific project area and type of proposed project. Each BTOP project was individually reviewed for NEPA compliance prior to funding. Based on NTIA’s review, the CEs below applied to 133 projects. The remaining 100 projects, primarily infrastructure projects, were required to complete an Environmental Assessment (EA) due to the potential existence of extraordinary circumstances. Typically, these extraordinary circumstances included project implementation activities in locations where NTIA could not reasonably determine a project’s potential effect on environmentally or culturally sensitive resources (i.e., project activities occurring on or near endangered habitat or species, water resources, or tribal country) and was based on its review of an applicant’s responses to an environmental questionnaire, project descriptions, and mapping submitted as part of the BTOP application. To date, NTIA has reviewed and adopted 99 EAs and issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for each of those projects, with the completion and review of one EA still in process. When evaluating the effects of the completed projects where an EA was prepared and reviewed and a FONSI was issued, NTIA has consistently found that the actions resulted in no significant environmental impacts. FirstNet, similar to BTOP, is mandated to plan and construct telecommunication and broadband infrastructure across the United States and its territories. The specific activities anticipated to be undertaken by FirstNet are comparable to BTOP project implementation activities and will primarily include the installation of cables, cell towers, antenna collocations, buildings, and power units as defined in the following examples: (a) Buried Plant/Facilities: The construction of buried outside plant facilities generally consists of plowing or trenching cable at a depth of approximately 36’’ to 48’’ alongside the road, usually in a utility corridor or within public road rights-of-way. (b) Aerial Plant/Facilities: The construction of aerial facilities is either done by hanging cables on new poles typically on public rights-of-way or by installing cables using existing pole lines from a third party. E:\FR\FM\29APN1.SGM 29APN1 sroberts on DSK5SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 82 / Tuesday, April 29, 2014 / Notices (c) Towers: The construction of towers for cell sites and/or microwave dishes. Tower construction is typically done by building a tower on a new foundation. The heights of the towers generally vary from 120 feet to 400 feet. (d) Collocations: The mounting or installation of an antenna on an existing tower, building, or structure for the purpose of transmitting and/or receiving radio frequency signals for communication purposes. (e) Building Construction: Generally consists of installing small prefabricated shelters on tower sites that are used for housing electronic equipment. These shelters are usually placed on concrete pads and generally require very minimal disturbance of the land. On extremely rare occasions, the construction of a headquarters and/or warehouse building may be necessary. The amount of land disturbance resulting from this type of construction can vary depending on the size of the proposed building. (f) Power Units: The installation of power units, such as an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), could be added to existing tower sites either on the existing concrete pad or by adding a new concrete pad if required at the site. (g) Wireless Telecommunications Facility: An installation that sends and/ or receives radio frequency signals, including directional, omni-directional, and parabolic antennas, structures, or towers (no more than 199 feet tall with no guy wires), to support receiving and/ or transmitting devices, cabinets, equipment rooms, accessory equipment, and other structures, and the land or structure on which they are all situated. FirstNet is also required to leverage, to the maximum extent economically desirable, existing commercial infrastructure in its deployment and operation of the nationwide PSBN. The geographic scope of the PSBN will, like BTOP, encompass all U.S. states and territories. Thus, FirstNet actions will likely occur in a wide range of environmental settings and require FirstNet to establish an environmental review process for analyzing proposed actions and making NEPA determinations based on the specific location and type of proposed project activities, of which the CEs would be an integral part. Accordingly, because the characteristics of the actions in deploying and operating the nationwide PSBN are comparable in intensity, scope, and geography to BTOP projects, and based on the outcomes of NTIA applying these CEs to BTOP projects, FirstNet has determined that the CEs will not have significant impacts on the human environment. VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:56 Apr 28, 2014 Jkt 232001 III. Comments and Agency Responses Comment #1 The PCIA-Wireless Infrastructure Association (PCIA) recommends FirstNet establish a forum for the governmental and non-governmental parties, including telecommunications providers, manufacturers, and tower owners, to an play an integral role in FirstNet’s build-out, so that FirstNet can factor in the forum’s input in developing its procedures and any future Notices. 23947 ‘‘nuts and bolts’’ of its proposed procedures, including specific NEPA and NHPA procedures and timelines for completing the review process where an action requiring FirstNet review is by a private applicant or non-federal entity. Agency Response FirstNet intends to provide additional guidance on NEPA and NHPA requirements that may affect a private applicant or non-federal entity on its Web site and through future stakeholder outreach, as appropriate. Agency Response Comment #5 FirstNet acknowledges the recommendation and will continue to engage governmental and nongovernmental parties, as appropriate, in order to comply with relevant environmental requirements. PCIA recommends that the FirstNet NEPA implementing procedures provide guidance for determining which agency will be the lead agency in any multi-agency projects. Comment #2 FirstNet understands the importance of coordinating with other agencies in complying with NEPA and intends to follow the process described in 40 CFR 1501.5 in determining lead and cooperating agencies in multi-agency projects for the purpose of NEPA. PCIA comments that collocating on existing facilities is the most economical and expeditious method of deploying wireless facilities, and, by maximizing collocations, FirstNet could minimize delays, achieve significant cost savings, and build-out a more comprehensive nationwide public safety broadband network. Agency Response FirstNet understands the importance of leveraging existing infrastructure, including collocations, and will utilize, to the maxim extent economically desirable, existing federal, state, tribal, local, commercial or other communications infrastructure in establishing the nationwide public safety broadband network. Comment #3 PCIA expresses concerns that the proposed ‘‘extraordinary circumstances’’ identified in Appendix D do not provide any discussion of rationale for why and when an extraordinary circumstance will preclude the application of a categorical exclusions. Agency Response FirstNet determinations relating to the existence of extraordinary circumstances that preclude the application of a categorical exclusion will be made on a case-by-case basis and based on a review of the relevant factors (e.g., type of activity, geography, and biology. . .) related to a specific proposed action. Comment #4 PCIA comments that FirstNet should provide more detail concerning the PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Agency Response Comment #6 PCIA commented that FirstNet should consider integrating aspects of the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) environmental and historic preservation processes and procedures, including FCC rules establishing the standard for developing an EA and use of the Tower Construction Notification System (TCNS). Agency Response FirstNet will evaluate the effectiveness of these and other processes and procedures in complying with applicable environmental and historic requirements. Comment #7 U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) recommends including the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act to the list of requirements to Section 1.07, Environmental Review and Consultation Requirements of NEPA Review. Agency Response FirstNet has added the citations for the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act to this section. Comment #8 DOI recommends the inclusion of language in Section 1.07, Developing the Purpose and Need, which would ensure consideration of all other authorities to E:\FR\FM\29APN1.SGM 29APN1 23948 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 82 / Tuesday, April 29, 2014 / Notices which NEPA is supplemental as opposed to simply the FirstNet mission. Agency Response FirstNet intends to consider all other relevant authorities during the NEPA review for a proposed action and does not consider further supplemental language in this section to be necessary. Comment #9 DOI recommends that FirstNet be required to coordinate with federal agencies having jurisdiction by law or special expertise on construction and lighting of its network of towers. Agency Response FirstNet understands the importance of coordinating with other agencies in complying with NEPA and intends to follow the process described in 40 CFR 1501.5 in determining lead and cooperating agencies for the purpose of NEPA. Comment #10 DOI recommends including species covered under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act to the list of environmentally sensitive resources. Agency Response FirstNet has added language to include the species and habitat listed under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act to the list of environmentally sensitive resources listed in Appendix D. Comment #11 projects on those 241 species for which the incremental impact of tower mortality, when added to other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future actions, is most likely significant, given their overall imperiled status authorizing FirstNet projects, including the impacts on species of birds whose populations are in trouble or otherwise merit special protection. will allow another agency or the public to make an appeal after FirstNet has made an environmental determination or final decision. Rather, FirstNet anticipates that public and agency involvement relating to NEPA compliance will occur as described in Environmental Review Process established in section 1.07 of its NEPA implementing procedures. Agency Response Comment #16 Commenters suggested various minor edits to the document. FirstNet will consider this recommendation as it continues to integrate the NEPA process with its other planning for the nationwide public safety broadband network. Comment #13 DOI recommends revisions to the procedures that better reflect the impacts on resources under DOI jurisdiction resulting from communication towers, including injury, crippling loss, and death from collision with towers or supporting guywire infrastructure and significant issues associated with communication towers involving impacts from nonionizing electromagnetic radiation. Agency Response FirstNet will consider impacts on resources under DOI or other agency jurisdiction as part of the NEPA review for its proposed actions, as appropriate, and considers the Environmental Review Process established in section 1.07 of the procedures a reasonable process for identifying and accounting for impacts on these resources. Comment #14 Agency Response sroberts on DSK5SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES DOI recommends adding important resources to migratory birds such as sites in the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve and Audubon Important Bird Areas to list of environmentally sensitive resources listed in Appendix D. Agency Response FirstNet will consider impacts on migratory birds in areas such as the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve and Audubon Important Bird Areas as part of the NEPA review for its proposed actions, as appropriate, and considers the addition of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act to Appendix D sufficient to identify and account for impacts on these resources. FirstNet will consider this recommendation as it continues to integrate the NEPA process with its other planning for the nationwide public safety network. A commenter suggested the development and inclusion of a Determination of Adequacy or some form of a checklist to identify and address issues relating to whether an action requires NEPA review. Comment #12 DOI suggests that FirstNet consider preparing a programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) to determine and address cumulative impacts from authorizing FirstNet VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:56 Apr 28, 2014 Jkt 232001 Comment #15 A commenter asked whether FirstNet will have a formal appeal process which allows another agency or the public to make an appeal of an environmental determination or final decision. Agency Response FirstNet will comply with the timing of agency action requirements described in 40 CFR 1506.10, but will not have an additional formal appeal process that PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Agency Response FirstNet reviewed these suggestions and made minor word and document edits, as appropriate. FirstNet Categorical Exclusions Certain types of actions undertaken by FirstNet will not normally require the completion of an environmental assessment or an environmental impact statement. These categorical exclusions include: A–1: The issuance of bulletins and information publications that do not concern environmental matters or substantial facility design, construction or maintenance practices. This categorical exclusion is supported by long-standing categorical exclusions and administrative records. In particular, these include exclusions from the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, U.S. General Services Administration, and the U.S. Department of the Interior. A–2: Procurement activities related to the day-to-day operation of FirstNet including routine procurement of goods and services. This categorical exclusion is supported by long-standing categorical exclusions and administrative records. In particular, these include exclusions from the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Air Force. A–3: Personnel and Administrative Actions. This categorical exclusion is supported by long-standing categorical exclusions and administrative records. In particular, these include exclusions from the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Coast Guard, and U.S. Army. A–4: Purchase of existing facilities or a portion thereof where use or operation will remain unchanged. This categorical E:\FR\FM\29APN1.SGM 29APN1 sroberts on DSK5SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 82 / Tuesday, April 29, 2014 / Notices exclusion is supported by long-standing categorical exclusions and administrative records. In particular, these include exclusions from the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and U.S. Department of Homeland Security. A–5: Internal modifications or equipment additions (e.g., computer facilities, relocating interior walls) to structures or buildings. This categorical exclusion is supported by long-standing categorical exclusions and administrative records. In particular, these include exclusions from the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and U.S. Department of Homeland Security. A–6: Construction of buried and aerial telecommunications lines, cables, and related facilities. This categorical exclusion is supported by long-standing categorical exclusions and administrative records. In particular, these include exclusions from the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of the Interior, and U.S. Department of Energy. A–7: Construction of wireless telecommunications facilities involving no more than five acres (2 hectares) of physical disturbance at any single site. This categorical exclusion is supported by long-standing categorical exclusions and administrative records. In particular, these include exclusions from the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and U.S. Department of Energy. A–8: Construction of cooperative or company headquarters, maintenance facilities, or other buildings involving no more than 10 acres (4 hectares) of physical disturbance or fenced property. In particular, these include exclusions from the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Navy, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). A–9: Changes to existing transmission lines that involve less than 20 percent pole replacement or the complete rebuilding of existing distribution lines within the same right of way. Changes to existing transmission lines that require 20 percent or greater pole replacement will be considered the same as new construction. This categorical exclusion is supported by long-standing categorical exclusions and administrative records. In particular, these include exclusions from the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and U.S. Department of Energy. A–10: Changes or additions to existing substations, switching stations, telecommunications switching or VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:56 Apr 28, 2014 Jkt 232001 multiplexing centers, or external changes to buildings or small structures requiring one acre (0.4 hectare) or more but no more than five acres (2 hectares) of new physically disturbed land or fenced property. This categorical exclusion is supported by long-standing categorical exclusions and administrative records. In particular, these include exclusions from the U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Department of Agriculture. A–11: Construction of substations, switching stations, or telecommunications switching or multiplexing centers requiring no more than five acres (2 hectares) of new physically disturbed land or fenced property. This categorical exclusion is supported by long-standing categorical exclusions and administrative records. In particular, these include exclusions from the U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Department of Agriculture. A–12: Changes or additions to wireless telecommunication sites, substations, switching stations, telecommunications switching or multiplexing centers, buildings, or small structures requiring new physical disturbance or fencing of less than one acre (0.4 hectare). This categorical exclusion is supported by long-standing categorical exclusions and administrative records. In particular, these include exclusions from the U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Department of Agriculture. A–13: Ordinary maintenance or replacement of equipment or small structures (e.g., line support structures, line transformers, microwave facilities, telecommunications remote switching and multiplexing sites). This categorical exclusion is supported by long-standing categorical exclusions and administrative records. In particular, these include exclusions from the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and U.S. Department of Energy. A–14: The construction of telecommunications facilities within the fenced area of an existing substation, switching station, or within the boundaries of an existing electric generating facility site. This categorical exclusion is supported by long-standing categorical exclusions and administrative records. In particular, these include exclusions from the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and U.S. Department of Energy. A–15: Testing or monitoring work (e.g., soil or rock core sampling, monitoring wells, air monitoring). This categorical exclusion is supported by long-standing categorical exclusions and PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 23949 administrative records. In particular, these include exclusions from the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and U.S. Department of Energy. A–16: Studies and engineering undertaken to define proposed actions or alternatives sufficiently so that environmental effects can be assessed. This categorical exclusion is supported by long-standing categorical exclusions and administrative records. In particular, these include exclusions from the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and U.S. Department of Energy. A–17: Rebuilding of power lines or telecommunications cables where road or highway reconstruction requires the applicant to relocate the lines either within or adjacent to the new road or highway easement or right-of-way. This categorical exclusion is supported by long-standing categorical exclusions and administrative records. In particular, these include exclusions from the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and U.S. Department of Energy. A–18: Phase or voltage conversions, reconductoring, or upgrading of existing electric distribution lines or telecommunication facilities. This categorical exclusion is supported by long-standing categorical exclusions and administrative records. In particular, these include exclusions from the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and U.S. Department of Energy. A–19: Construction of standby diesel electric generators (one megawatt or less total capacity) and associated facilities, for the primary purpose of providing emergency power at an existing applicant headquarters or district office, telecommunications switching or multiplexing site, or at an industrial, commercial, or agricultural facility served by the applicant. This categorical exclusion is supported by long-standing categorical exclusions and administrative records. In particular, these include exclusions from the U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Department of Agriculture. IV. Paperwork Reduction Act The notice does not contain collection-of-information requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). Moreover, any action taken or made by FirstNet is exempt from the requirements of the PRA. See 47 U.S.C. 1426(d). Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, no person is required to, nor shall a person be subject to penalty for failure to comply with, a E:\FR\FM\29APN1.SGM 29APN1 23950 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 82 / Tuesday, April 29, 2014 / Notices collection of information subject to the requirements of PRA unless that collection of information displays a currently valid OMB control number. Dated: April 23, 2014. Stuart Kupinsky, Chief Counsel, First Responder Network Authority. [FR Doc. 2014–09730 Filed 4–28–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–60–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Telecommunications and Information Administration First Responder Network Authority [Docket Number: 131219999–4337–02] RIN 0660–XC009 National Environmental Policy Act Implementing Procedures and Categorical Exclusions National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) publishes this notice of its final procedures for implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). DATES: These procedures become effective April 29, 2014. ADDRESSES: A complete set of comments filed in response to the First Responder Network Authority: National Environmental Policy Act Implementing Procedures and Categorical Exclusions published on January 8, 2014, is available at: http://www.ntia.doc.gov/ federal-register-notice/2014/commentsnotice-firstnet-nepa-implementingprocedures. The final First Responder Network Authority: National Environmental Policy Act Implementing Procedures is available at: http:// www.ntia.doc.gov/category/firstnet. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Genevieve Walker, First Responder Network Authority, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., HCHB Room CC219, Washington, DC 20230; (202) 482–4385; or genevieve.walker@firstnet.gov. SUMMARY: sroberts on DSK5SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. National Environmental Policy Act The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321–4347) (NEPA) requires federal agencies to undertake an assessment of environmental effects of their proposed actions prior to making a final decision and implementing the action. NEPA VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:56 Apr 28, 2014 Jkt 232001 requirements apply to any federal project, decision, or action that may have a significant impact on the quality of the human environment. NEPA also establishes the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), which issued regulations implementing the procedural provisions of NEPA as codified in 40 CFR parts 1500–1508. Among other considerations, CEQ regulations require federal agencies at 40 CFR 1507.3 to adopt their own implementing procedures to supplement CEQ’s regulations implementing NEPA and to consult with CEQ during their development and prior to publication in the Federal Register. The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (Pub. L. 112–96, 126 Stat. 156 (2012)) (Act) creates and authorizes FirstNet to take all actions necessary to ensure the design, construction, and operation of a nationwide, interoperable public safety broadband network (PSBN) based on a single, national network architecture. The Act meets a long-standing and critical national infrastructure need to create a nationwide interoperable network that will, for the first time, allow police officers, fire fighters, emergency medical service professionals, and other public safety officials to effectively communicate with each other across agencies and jurisdictions. As a newly created entity, FirstNet did not have procedures for implementing NEPA. These NEPA implementing procedures are necessary to assist FirstNet in establishing a NEPA compliance program and applying the appropriate level of NEPA review for activities undertaken by FirstNet in the design, construction, and operation of the nationwide interoperable PSBN. Accordingly, on January 8, 2014, FirstNet published a notice in the Federal Register (First Responder Network Authority: National Environmental Policy Act Implementing Procedures and Categorical Exclusions, 79 FR 1363 (January 8, 2014)) requesting public comment on its proposed implementing procedures before utilizing them as part of its NEPA review process. The final procedures are set forth as an addendum to this notice. II. Background FirstNet is responsible for, at a minimum, ensuring nationwide standards for the use of, and access to, the network; issuing open, transparent, and competitive requests for proposals (RFPs) to build, operate, and maintain the network; encouraging these RFPs to leverage, to the maximum extent PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 economically desirable, existing commercial wireless infrastructure to speed deployment of the network; and overseeing contracts with non-federal entities to build, operate, and maintain the network. The specific actions anticipated to be undertaken by FirstNet encompass a variety of activities including the installation of cables, cell towers, antenna collocations, buildings, and power units as defined in the following examples: (a) Buried Plant/Facilities: The construction of buried outside plant facilities generally consists of plowing or trenching cable at a depth of approximately 36’’ to 48’’ alongside the road usually in a utility corridor or within public road rights-of-way. (b) Aerial Plant/Facilities: The construction of aerial facilities is either done by hanging cables on new poles, typically on public rights-of-way, or by installing cables using existing poles owned by a third party. (c) Towers: The construction of towers for cell sites and/or microwave dishes. Tower construction is typically done by building a tower on a new foundation. The heights of the towers generally vary from 120 feet to 400 feet. (d) Collocations: The mounting or installation of an antenna or other communications device on an existing tower, building, or structure for the purpose of transmitting and/or receiving radio frequency signal for communication purposes. (e) Ancillary Facilities: Generally consists of installing small prefabricated shelters on tower sites that are used for housing electronic equipment. These shelters are usually placed on concrete pads and generally require very minimal disturbance of the land. On extremely rare occasions, the construction of a headquarters and/or warehouse building may be necessary. The amount of land disturbance resulting from this type of construction can vary depending on the size of the proposed building. (f) Power Units: The installation of power units, such as, an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), could be added to existing third party tower sites either on the existing concrete pad or by adding a new concrete pad if required at the site. (g) Wireless Telecommunications Facility: An installation that sends and/ or receives radio frequency signals, including but not limited to directional, omni-directional, and parabolic antennas, structures or towers (no more than 199 feet tall with no guy wires) to support receiving and/or transmitting devices, cabinets, equipment rooms, E:\FR\FM\29APN1.SGM 29APN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 82 (Tuesday, April 29, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 23945-23950]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-09730]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Telecommunications and Information Administration

First Responder Network Authority

[Docket Number 131219999-4338-02]
RIN 0660-XC008


National Environmental Policy Act Categorical Exclusions

AGENCY: National Telecommunications and Information Administration, 
U.S. Department of Commerce.

ACTION: Notice.

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

SUMMARY: The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) publishes 
this notice of its categorical exclusions (CEs) of actions that 
FirstNet has determined do not individually or cumulatively have a 
significant effect on the human environment and, thus, should be 
categorically excluded from the requirement to prepare an environmental 
assessment or environmental impact statement under the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

DATES: These categorical exclusions become effective on April 29, 2014.

ADDRESSES: A complete set of comments filed in response to the First 
Responder Network Authority: National Environmental Policy Act 
Implementing Procedures and Categorical Exclusions published on January 
6, 2014, is available at: http://www.ntia.doc.gov/federal-register-notice/2014/comments-notice-firstnet-categorical-exclusions. The 
FirstNet categorical exclusions and the supporting administrative 
record for these categorical exclusions is available at: http://www.ntia.doc.gov/category/firstnet.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Genevieve Walker, First Responder 
Network Authority, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution 
Avenue NW., HCHB Room CC 219, Washington, DC 20230; (202) 482-4385; or 
genevieve.walker@firstnet.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. National Environmental Policy Act

    The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321-4347) 
(NEPA) requires federal agencies to undertake an assessment of 
environmental effects of their proposed actions prior to making a final 
decision and implementing the action. NEPA requirements apply to any 
federal project, decision, or action that may have a significant impact 
on the quality of the human environment. NEPA also establishes the 
Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), which issued regulations 
implementing the procedural provisions of NEPA as codified in 40 CFR 
Parts 1500-1508. Among other considerations, CEQ regulations require 
federal agencies to adopt their own implementing procedures to 
supplement the Council's regulations, and to establish and use 
``categorical exclusions'' to define categories of actions that do not 
individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human 
environment. Thus, such actions do not require preparation of an 
environmental assessment or an environmental impact statement as 
required by NEPA.
    The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (Pub. L. 
112-96, 126 Stat. 156 (2012)) (Act) created and authorized FirstNet to 
take all actions

[[Page 23946]]

necessary to ensure the design, construction, and operation of a 
nationwide interoperable public safety broadband network (PSBN) based 
on a single, national network architecture. The Act meets a long-
standing and critical national infrastructure need, to create a 
nationwide interoperable broadband network that will, for the first 
time, allow police officers, fire fighters, emergency medical service 
professionals, and other public safety officials to effectively 
communicate with each other across agencies and jurisdictions.
    As a newly created entity, FirstNet does not have any existing CEs. 
Thus, the following CEs are necessary to assist FirstNet in applying 
the appropriate level of NEPA review for activities undertaken by 
FirstNet in the design, construction, and operation of the PSBN. 
Accordingly, on January 6, 2014, FirstNet published a notice in the 
Federal Register (First Responder Network Authority: National 
Environmental Policy Act Implementing Procedures and Categorical 
Exclusions, 79 FR 639 (January 6, 2014)) requesting public comment on 
the following CEs (as well as the administrative records supporting 
each CE) before utilizing them as part of its NEPA review process.

II. Development Process for Establishing FirstNet CEs

    FirstNet is responsible for, at a minimum, ensuring nationwide 
standards for the use of and access to the network; issuing open, 
transparent, and competitive requests for proposals (RFPs) to build, 
operate, and maintain the network; encouraging these RFPs to leverage, 
to the maximum extent economically desirable, existing commercial 
wireless infrastructure to speed deployment of the network; and 
overseeing contracts with non-federal entities to build, operate, and 
maintain the network.
    Due to the similarity in project activities and scope, FirstNet is 
establishing its CEs based primarily on the existing CEs that were 
approved and applied by NTIA in the implementation of the Broadband 
Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), a program that provided grant 
funding for the deployment of broadband infrastructure throughout the 
country. The list of CEs developed for BTOP was compiled at the 
Department of Commerce (DOC) through a joint effort with the U.S. 
Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (RUS); NTIA; DOC's 
Office of Sustainable Energy and Environmental Programs; and the 
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Representatives 
from these organizations comprised the review panel responsible for 
determining appropriate CEs for the BTOP program. The BTOP CEs were 
approved by DOC Office of General Counsel and the designated Senior 
Agency Official for NEPA at NOAA.
    Each BTOP CE was reviewed and deliberated in concept, coverage, 
applicability, and wording by members of the review panel. The panel 
carefully reviewed the administrative record on each of the CEs to 
ensure they fulfilled the goal of balancing increased administrative 
efficiency in NEPA compliance with avoidance of misinterpretations and 
misapplications of exclusionary language that could lead to non-
compliance with NEPA requirements. The review panel concurred that all 
of the BTOP CEs met both objectives.
    The FirstNet CEs found below are currently in use by other agencies 
and are comparable to those applied by NTIA as part of BTOP. 
Specifically, these CEs are comparable because they (1) relate to 
planning, deployment, and construction of broadband infrastructure; (2) 
utilize the same methods and equipment of installing broadband 
infrastructure; (3) are not restricted to an environmental setting or 
geographic region of the country; and (4) are subject to review for 
extraordinary circumstances.
    NTIA, through BTOP, provided over $4 billion in federal funding to 
233 projects to construct and expand telecommunications infrastructure 
and increase broadband adoption throughout all U.S. states, territories 
and the District of Columbia. BTOP projects were funded in four 
categories. These four categories included (1) Broadband 
Infrastructure-Last Mile; (2) Broadband Infrastructure- Middle Mile; 
(3) Public Computer Centers; and (4) Sustainable Broadband Adoption. 
BTOP infrastructure projects typically required the deployment of 
broadband equipment including the installation of fiber optic cables, 
cell towers, antenna colocations, buildings, and power units. The 
methods used for deploying this equipment varied depending on the 
individual project plan and location but in general followed standard 
commercial approaches for completing such work (e.g., the use of 
trenching and plowing construction methods to install buried fiber, 
aerial installation of fiber cables on existing poles, or collocating 
antenna equipment on existing towers). These projects were initially 
required to be complete within three years of the original award date 
and were intended to be self-sustaining at the end of the award period. 
The nationwide scope of BTOP resulted in projects being implemented in 
a wide range of environmental settings (e.g., varying biological, 
cultural, or socio-economic conditions) and many required a detailed 
environmental review focusing on the unique characteristics of a 
specific project area and type of proposed project.
    Each BTOP project was individually reviewed for NEPA compliance 
prior to funding. Based on NTIA's review, the CEs below applied to 133 
projects. The remaining 100 projects, primarily infrastructure 
projects, were required to complete an Environmental Assessment (EA) 
due to the potential existence of extraordinary circumstances. 
Typically, these extraordinary circumstances included project 
implementation activities in locations where NTIA could not reasonably 
determine a project's potential effect on environmentally or culturally 
sensitive resources (i.e., project activities occurring on or near 
endangered habitat or species, water resources, or tribal country) and 
was based on its review of an applicant's responses to an environmental 
questionnaire, project descriptions, and mapping submitted as part of 
the BTOP application. To date, NTIA has reviewed and adopted 99 EAs and 
issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for each of those 
projects, with the completion and review of one EA still in process. 
When evaluating the effects of the completed projects where an EA was 
prepared and reviewed and a FONSI was issued, NTIA has consistently 
found that the actions resulted in no significant environmental 
impacts.
    FirstNet, similar to BTOP, is mandated to plan and construct 
telecommunication and broadband infrastructure across the United States 
and its territories. The specific activities anticipated to be 
undertaken by FirstNet are comparable to BTOP project implementation 
activities and will primarily include the installation of cables, cell 
towers, antenna collocations, buildings, and power units as defined in 
the following examples:
    (a) Buried Plant/Facilities: The construction of buried outside 
plant facilities generally consists of plowing or trenching cable at a 
depth of approximately 36'' to 48'' alongside the road, usually in a 
utility corridor or within public road rights-of-way.
    (b) Aerial Plant/Facilities: The construction of aerial facilities 
is either done by hanging cables on new poles typically on public 
rights-of-way or by installing cables using existing pole lines from a 
third party.

[[Page 23947]]

    (c) Towers: The construction of towers for cell sites and/or 
microwave dishes. Tower construction is typically done by building a 
tower on a new foundation. The heights of the towers generally vary 
from 120 feet to 400 feet.
    (d) Collocations: The mounting or installation of an antenna on an 
existing tower, building, or structure for the purpose of transmitting 
and/or receiving radio frequency signals for communication purposes.
    (e) Building Construction: Generally consists of installing small 
pre-fabricated shelters on tower sites that are used for housing 
electronic equipment. These shelters are usually placed on concrete 
pads and generally require very minimal disturbance of the land. On 
extremely rare occasions, the construction of a headquarters and/or 
warehouse building may be necessary. The amount of land disturbance 
resulting from this type of construction can vary depending on the size 
of the proposed building.
    (f) Power Units: The installation of power units, such as an 
uninterruptible power supply (UPS), could be added to existing tower 
sites either on the existing concrete pad or by adding a new concrete 
pad if required at the site.
    (g) Wireless Telecommunications Facility: An installation that 
sends and/or receives radio frequency signals, including directional, 
omni-directional, and parabolic antennas, structures, or towers (no 
more than 199 feet tall with no guy wires), to support receiving and/or 
transmitting devices, cabinets, equipment rooms, accessory equipment, 
and other structures, and the land or structure on which they are all 
situated.
    FirstNet is also required to leverage, to the maximum extent 
economically desirable, existing commercial infrastructure in its 
deployment and operation of the nationwide PSBN.
    The geographic scope of the PSBN will, like BTOP, encompass all 
U.S. states and territories. Thus, FirstNet actions will likely occur 
in a wide range of environmental settings and require FirstNet to 
establish an environmental review process for analyzing proposed 
actions and making NEPA determinations based on the specific location 
and type of proposed project activities, of which the CEs would be an 
integral part. Accordingly, because the characteristics of the actions 
in deploying and operating the nationwide PSBN are comparable in 
intensity, scope, and geography to BTOP projects, and based on the 
outcomes of NTIA applying these CEs to BTOP projects, FirstNet has 
determined that the CEs will not have significant impacts on the human 
environment.

III. Comments and Agency Responses

Comment 1

    The PCIA-Wireless Infrastructure Association (PCIA) recommends 
FirstNet establish a forum for the governmental and non-governmental 
parties, including telecommunications providers, manufacturers, and 
tower owners, to an play an integral role in FirstNet's build-out, so 
that FirstNet can factor in the forum's input in developing its 
procedures and any future Notices.

Agency Response

    FirstNet acknowledges the recommendation and will continue to 
engage governmental and non-governmental parties, as appropriate, in 
order to comply with relevant environmental requirements.

Comment 2

    PCIA comments that collocating on existing facilities is the most 
economical and expeditious method of deploying wireless facilities, 
and, by maximizing collocations, FirstNet could minimize delays, 
achieve significant cost savings, and build-out a more comprehensive 
nationwide public safety broadband network.

Agency Response

    FirstNet understands the importance of leveraging existing 
infrastructure, including collocations, and will utilize, to the maxim 
extent economically desirable, existing federal, state, tribal, local, 
commercial or other communications infrastructure in establishing the 
nationwide public safety broadband network.

Comment 3

    PCIA expresses concerns that the proposed ``extraordinary 
circumstances'' identified in Appendix D do not provide any discussion 
of rationale for why and when an extraordinary circumstance will 
preclude the application of a categorical exclusions.

Agency Response

    FirstNet determinations relating to the existence of extraordinary 
circumstances that preclude the application of a categorical exclusion 
will be made on a case-by-case basis and based on a review of the 
relevant factors (e.g., type of activity, geography, and biology. . .) 
related to a specific proposed action.

Comment 4

    PCIA comments that FirstNet should provide more detail concerning 
the ``nuts and bolts'' of its proposed procedures, including specific 
NEPA and NHPA procedures and timelines for completing the review 
process where an action requiring FirstNet review is by a private 
applicant or non-federal entity.

Agency Response

    FirstNet intends to provide additional guidance on NEPA and NHPA 
requirements that may affect a private applicant or non-federal entity 
on its Web site and through future stakeholder outreach, as 
appropriate.

Comment 5

    PCIA recommends that the FirstNet NEPA implementing procedures 
provide guidance for determining which agency will be the lead agency 
in any multi-agency projects.

Agency Response

    FirstNet understands the importance of coordinating with other 
agencies in complying with NEPA and intends to follow the process 
described in 40 CFR 1501.5 in determining lead and cooperating agencies 
in multi-agency projects for the purpose of NEPA.

Comment 6

    PCIA commented that FirstNet should consider integrating aspects of 
the Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) environmental and historic 
preservation processes and procedures, including FCC rules establishing 
the standard for developing an EA and use of the Tower Construction 
Notification System (TCNS).

Agency Response

    FirstNet will evaluate the effectiveness of these and other 
processes and procedures in complying with applicable environmental and 
historic requirements.

Comment 7

    U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) recommends including the 
Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act to 
the list of requirements to Section 1.07, Environmental Review and 
Consultation Requirements of NEPA Review.

Agency Response

    FirstNet has added the citations for the Migratory Bird Treaty Act 
and Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act to this section.

Comment 8

    DOI recommends the inclusion of language in Section 1.07, 
Developing the Purpose and Need, which would ensure consideration of 
all other authorities to

[[Page 23948]]

which NEPA is supplemental as opposed to simply the FirstNet mission.

Agency Response

    FirstNet intends to consider all other relevant authorities during 
the NEPA review for a proposed action and does not consider further 
supplemental language in this section to be necessary.

Comment 9

    DOI recommends that FirstNet be required to coordinate with federal 
agencies having jurisdiction by law or special expertise on 
construction and lighting of its network of towers.

Agency Response

    FirstNet understands the importance of coordinating with other 
agencies in complying with NEPA and intends to follow the process 
described in 40 CFR 1501.5 in determining lead and cooperating agencies 
for the purpose of NEPA.

Comment 10

    DOI recommends including species covered under the Migratory Bird 
Treaty Act and Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act to the list of 
environmentally sensitive resources.

Agency Response

    FirstNet has added language to include the species and habitat 
listed under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Bald and Golden Eagle 
Protection Act to the list of environmentally sensitive resources 
listed in Appendix D.

Comment 11

    DOI recommends adding important resources to migratory birds such 
as sites in the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve and Audubon 
Important Bird Areas to list of environmentally sensitive resources 
listed in Appendix D.

Agency Response

    FirstNet will consider impacts on migratory birds in areas such as 
the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve and Audubon Important Bird 
Areas as part of the NEPA review for its proposed actions, as 
appropriate, and considers the addition of the Migratory Bird Treaty 
Act and Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act to Appendix D sufficient 
to identify and account for impacts on these resources.

Comment 12

    DOI suggests that FirstNet consider preparing a programmatic 
environmental impact statement (PEIS) to determine and address 
cumulative impacts from authorizing FirstNet projects on those 241 
species for which the incremental impact of tower mortality, when added 
to other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future actions, is 
most likely significant, given their overall imperiled status 
authorizing FirstNet projects, including the impacts on species of 
birds whose populations are in trouble or otherwise merit special 
protection.

Agency Response

    FirstNet will consider this recommendation as it continues to 
integrate the NEPA process with its other planning for the nationwide 
public safety broadband network.

Comment 13

    DOI recommends revisions to the procedures that better reflect the 
impacts on resources under DOI jurisdiction resulting from 
communication towers, including injury, crippling loss, and death from 
collision with towers or supporting guy-wire infrastructure and 
significant issues associated with communication towers involving 
impacts from non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation.

Agency Response

    FirstNet will consider impacts on resources under DOI or other 
agency jurisdiction as part of the NEPA review for its proposed 
actions, as appropriate, and considers the Environmental Review Process 
established in section 1.07 of the procedures a reasonable process for 
identifying and accounting for impacts on these resources.

Comment 14

    A commenter suggested the development and inclusion of a 
Determination of Adequacy or some form of a checklist to identify and 
address issues relating to whether an action requires NEPA review.

Agency Response

    FirstNet will consider this recommendation as it continues to 
integrate the NEPA process with its other planning for the nationwide 
public safety network.

Comment 15

    A commenter asked whether FirstNet will have a formal appeal 
process which allows another agency or the public to make an appeal of 
an environmental determination or final decision.

Agency Response

    FirstNet will comply with the timing of agency action requirements 
described in 40 CFR 1506.10, but will not have an additional formal 
appeal process that will allow another agency or the public to make an 
appeal after FirstNet has made an environmental determination or final 
decision. Rather, FirstNet anticipates that public and agency 
involvement relating to NEPA compliance will occur as described in 
Environmental Review Process established in section 1.07 of its NEPA 
implementing procedures.

Comment 16

    Commenters suggested various minor edits to the document.

Agency Response

    FirstNet reviewed these suggestions and made minor word and 
document edits, as appropriate.

FirstNet Categorical Exclusions

    Certain types of actions undertaken by FirstNet will not normally 
require the completion of an environmental assessment or an 
environmental impact statement. These categorical exclusions include:
    A-1: The issuance of bulletins and information publications that do 
not concern environmental matters or substantial facility design, 
construction or maintenance practices.
    This categorical exclusion is supported by long-standing 
categorical exclusions and administrative records. In particular, these 
include exclusions from the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. 
Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 
Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, U.S. 
Air Force, U.S. General Services Administration, and the U.S. 
Department of the Interior.
    A-2: Procurement activities related to the day-to-day operation of 
FirstNet including routine procurement of goods and services. This 
categorical exclusion is supported by long-standing categorical 
exclusions and administrative records. In particular, these include 
exclusions from the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of 
Agriculture, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Coast Guard, 
U.S. Navy, and U.S. Air Force.
    A-3: Personnel and Administrative Actions. This categorical 
exclusion is supported by long-standing categorical exclusions and 
administrative records. In particular, these include exclusions from 
the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. 
Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Coast Guard, and U.S. Army.
    A-4: Purchase of existing facilities or a portion thereof where use 
or operation will remain unchanged. This categorical

[[Page 23949]]

exclusion is supported by long-standing categorical exclusions and 
administrative records. In particular, these include exclusions from 
the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and 
U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
    A-5: Internal modifications or equipment additions (e.g., computer 
facilities, relocating interior walls) to structures or buildings. This 
categorical exclusion is supported by long-standing categorical 
exclusions and administrative records. In particular, these include 
exclusions from the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of 
Agriculture, and U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
    A-6: Construction of buried and aerial telecommunications lines, 
cables, and related facilities. This categorical exclusion is supported 
by long-standing categorical exclusions and administrative records. In 
particular, these include exclusions from the U.S. Department of 
Commerce, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of the 
Interior, and U.S. Department of Energy.
    A-7: Construction of wireless telecommunications facilities 
involving no more than five acres (2 hectares) of physical disturbance 
at any single site. This categorical exclusion is supported by long-
standing categorical exclusions and administrative records. In 
particular, these include exclusions from the U.S. Department of 
Commerce, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and U.S. Department of 
Energy.
    A-8: Construction of cooperative or company headquarters, 
maintenance facilities, or other buildings involving no more than 10 
acres (4 hectares) of physical disturbance or fenced property. In 
particular, these include exclusions from the U.S. Department of 
Commerce, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Navy, and National 
Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
    A-9: Changes to existing transmission lines that involve less than 
20 percent pole replacement or the complete rebuilding of existing 
distribution lines within the same right of way. Changes to existing 
transmission lines that require 20 percent or greater pole replacement 
will be considered the same as new construction. This categorical 
exclusion is supported by long-standing categorical exclusions and 
administrative records. In particular, these include exclusions from 
the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and 
U.S. Department of Energy.
    A-10: Changes or additions to existing substations, switching 
stations, telecommunications switching or multiplexing centers, or 
external changes to buildings or small structures requiring one acre 
(0.4 hectare) or more but no more than five acres (2 hectares) of new 
physically disturbed land or fenced property. This categorical 
exclusion is supported by long-standing categorical exclusions and 
administrative records. In particular, these include exclusions from 
the U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Department of Agriculture.
    A-11: Construction of substations, switching stations, or 
telecommunications switching or multiplexing centers requiring no more 
than five acres (2 hectares) of new physically disturbed land or fenced 
property. This categorical exclusion is supported by long-standing 
categorical exclusions and administrative records. In particular, these 
include exclusions from the U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. 
Department of Agriculture.
    A-12: Changes or additions to wireless telecommunication sites, 
substations, switching stations, telecommunications switching or 
multiplexing centers, buildings, or small structures requiring new 
physical disturbance or fencing of less than one acre (0.4 hectare). 
This categorical exclusion is supported by long-standing categorical 
exclusions and administrative records. In particular, these include 
exclusions from the U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Department of 
Agriculture.
    A-13: Ordinary maintenance or replacement of equipment or small 
structures (e.g., line support structures, line transformers, microwave 
facilities, telecommunications remote switching and multiplexing 
sites). This categorical exclusion is supported by long-standing 
categorical exclusions and administrative records. In particular, these 
include exclusions from the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. 
Department of Agriculture, and U.S. Department of Energy.
    A-14: The construction of telecommunications facilities within the 
fenced area of an existing substation, switching station, or within the 
boundaries of an existing electric generating facility site. This 
categorical exclusion is supported by long-standing categorical 
exclusions and administrative records. In particular, these include 
exclusions from the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of 
Agriculture, and U.S. Department of Energy.
    A-15: Testing or monitoring work (e.g., soil or rock core sampling, 
monitoring wells, air monitoring). This categorical exclusion is 
supported by long-standing categorical exclusions and administrative 
records. In particular, these include exclusions from the U.S. 
Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and U.S. 
Department of Energy.
    A-16: Studies and engineering undertaken to define proposed actions 
or alternatives sufficiently so that environmental effects can be 
assessed. This categorical exclusion is supported by long-standing 
categorical exclusions and administrative records. In particular, these 
include exclusions from the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. 
Department of Agriculture, and U.S. Department of Energy.
    A-17: Rebuilding of power lines or telecommunications cables where 
road or highway reconstruction requires the applicant to relocate the 
lines either within or adjacent to the new road or highway easement or 
right-of-way. This categorical exclusion is supported by long-standing 
categorical exclusions and administrative records. In particular, these 
include exclusions from the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. 
Department of Agriculture, and U.S. Department of Energy.
    A-18: Phase or voltage conversions, reconductoring, or upgrading of 
existing electric distribution lines or telecommunication facilities. 
This categorical exclusion is supported by long-standing categorical 
exclusions and administrative records. In particular, these include 
exclusions from the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of 
Agriculture, and U.S. Department of Energy.
    A-19: Construction of standby diesel electric generators (one 
megawatt or less total capacity) and associated facilities, for the 
primary purpose of providing emergency power at an existing applicant 
headquarters or district office, telecommunications switching or 
multiplexing site, or at an industrial, commercial, or agricultural 
facility served by the applicant. This categorical exclusion is 
supported by long-standing categorical exclusions and administrative 
records. In particular, these include exclusions from the U.S. 
Department of Commerce and U.S. Department of Agriculture.

IV. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The notice does not contain collection-of-information requirements 
subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et 
seq.). Moreover, any action taken or made by FirstNet is exempt from 
the requirements of the PRA. See 47 U.S.C. 1426(d). Notwithstanding any 
other provisions of law, no person is required to, nor shall a person 
be subject to penalty for failure to comply with, a

[[Page 23950]]

collection of information subject to the requirements of PRA unless 
that collection of information displays a currently valid OMB control 
number.

    Dated: April 23, 2014.
Stuart Kupinsky,
Chief Counsel, First Responder Network Authority.
[FR Doc. 2014-09730 Filed 4-28-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-60-P