Environmental Planning and Historic Preservation Program, 70538-70540 [2014-27966]

Download as PDF 70538 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 228 / Wednesday, November 26, 2014 / Notices Place: National Cancer Institute Shady Grove, 9609 Medical Center Drive, Room 1E030, Rockville, MD 20850 (Telephone Conference Call). Contact Person: Gerald G. Lovinger, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Research Technology and Contract Review Branch, Division of Extramural Activities, National Cancer Institute, 9609 Medical Center Drive, Room 7W266, Bethesda, MD 20892–9750, 240–276–6385, lovingeg@mail.nih.gov. Name of Committee: National Cancer Institute Special Emphasis Panel Omnibus SEP–17. Date: March 25, 2015. Time: 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications. Place: National Cancer Institute Shady Grove, 9609 Medical Center Drive, 7W124, Rockville, MD 20850 (Telephone Conference Call). Contact Person: David Ransom, Ph.D., Research Programs Review Branch, Division of Extramural Activities, National Cancer Institute, NIH, 9609 Medical Center Drive, Room 7W124, Bethesda, MD 20892–9750, 240–276–6351 david.ransom@nih.gov. Information is also available on the Institute’s/Center’s home page: http:// deainfo.nci.nih.gov/advisory/sep/sep.htm, where an agenda and any additional information for the meeting will be posted when available. (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.392, Cancer Construction; 93.393, Cancer Cause and Prevention Research; 93.394, Cancer Detection and Diagnosis Research; 93.395, Cancer Treatment Research; 93.396, Cancer Biology Research; 93.397, Cancer Centers Support; 93.398, Cancer Research Manpower; 93.399, Cancer Control, National Institutes of Health, HHS) Dated: November 20, 2014. Melanie J. Gray, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy. [FR Doc. 2014–27937 Filed 11–25–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140–01–P DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Center for Scientific Review Amended; Notice of Meeting Notice is hereby given of a change in the meeting of the Center for Scientific Review Special Emphasis Panel, November 11, 2014, 02:00 p.m. to November 11, 2014, 03:00 p.m., National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Bethesda, MD, 20892 which was published in the Federal Register on October 16, 2014, 79 FR 200 Pg. 62166. The meeting will be held on December 9, 2014 instead of November 11, 2014. The meeting will start at 12:00 VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:21 Nov 25, 2014 Jkt 235001 p.m. and will end at 2:00 p.m. The meeting location remains the same. The meeting is closed to the public. Dated: November 20, 2014. Carolyn A. Baum, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy. [FR Doc. 2014–27936 Filed 11–25–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140–01–P DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY [Docket Number DHS–2013–0052] Environmental Planning and Historic Preservation Program Department of Homeland Security. ACTION: Notice of Final National Environmental Policy Act Implementing Procedures. AGENCY: The purpose of this notice is to inform the public that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS or the Department) is issuing the final update to its policy and procedures for implementing the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), as amended, and the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations for implementing the procedural provisions of NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500–1508). The Department’s NEPA procedures are contained in Directive 023–01, Rev. 01 and Instruction Manual 023–01–001–01, Rev. 01, Implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act (herein after referred to as Directive and Instruction). This notice also responds to the comments received on the Department’s draft updated procedures published on June 5, 2014 (79 FR 32563). DATES: The Directive and Instruction will be effective on March 26, 2015. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: A. Marie Ecton, Senior Environmental Specialist, Department of Homeland Security, Telephone (202) 360–5661, or Email a.marie.ecton@hq.dhs.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Once effective, the Directive and Instruction will apply to all of DHS, which is currently comprised of over 20 support and operational components, and help ensure the integration of environmental stewardship into DHS decision making as required by NEPA. The Directive and Instruction will serve as the DHS implementing procedures for NEPA and the CEQ regulations (as required by 40 CFR 1505.1 and 1507.3) and therefore must be read in conjunction with the CEQ regulations. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00040 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 The Directive and Instruction were substantially revised to address a number of circumstances and requirements that have arisen since April 19, 2006, the effective date of the original DHS NEPA procedures (Federal Register, Vol. 71, No. 64, April 4, 2006). For example, when originally published in 2006 the Directive and Instruction did not apply to the following three Components of DHS: Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and United States Coast Guard (USCG); these three Components each maintained their own procedures for implementing NEPA when the Department was established in 2002. This revision to the Directive and Instruction incorporates FEMA, CBP, and USCG into the Department’s NEPA procedures and addresses the full scope of DHS activities to which NEPA applies. When the updated procedures become effective, they will apply to all Components of DHS, including FEMA, CBP, and USCG. In addition, every Component will have the option of developing Supplemental Instructions to establish how that particular Component will meet the requirements of the final version of the DHS Directive and Instruction. In a separate yet related effort, FEMA will pursue rescission of its regulations at 44 CFR 10 and replace them with Supplemental Instructions that conform to requirements of the DHS Directive and Instruction. The requirements put forth in the revised Directive and Instruction emphasize that the NEPA process must be appropriately integrated into the performance of DHS missions and activities and decision making. The revised Directive establishes the overall policy that DHS will comply with NEPA, and the revised Instruction establishes the procedures for ensuring this compliance is implemented in an effective and efficient manner. The Instruction covers the following: Overview of NEPA requirements, including requirements for the preparation and content of NEPA documents; management of NEPA implementation in DHS; criteria for Components to obtain a delegation of authority to approve their respective NEPA reviews; public involvement; dispute resolution; information protected from public disclosure; procedures for emergencies; review of applications from persons or organizations outside of DHS (e.g., grant applications); and an identification of the types of DHS activities normally reviewed in a CATEX, Environmental E:\FR\FM\26NON1.SGM 26NON1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 228 / Wednesday, November 26, 2014 / Notices Assessment, or Environmental Impact Statement. The CATEXs published in 2006 are being retained and are included in the Instruction (Appendix A, Table 1). In addition, the Instruction includes the following new CATEXs: One CATEX for an administrative activity; five CATEXs for real property management activities; 13 CATEXs for non-grant activities unique to FEMA’s mission and authorities; and 19 CATEXs for federal assistance (e.g., grant) activities. For synopses of the administrative record support for the Department’s list of 2006 and new CATEXs, see the docket and the DHS NEPA Web page at http:// www.dhs.gov/nepa. DHS invested over three years in developing the proposed revision to its NEPA procedures. The draft revised Directive and Instruction were provided to CEQ in the fall of 2013 for review and discussion prior to the June 5, 2014 publication for public comment. DHS provided its proposed final revised Directive and Instruction to CEQ in early September 2014; CEQ responded with a letter dated November 10, 2014 prior to this publication of the final Directive and Instruction as required under 40 CFR 1507.3(a), indicating that the Department’s revised procedures conform to NEPA and the CEQ regulations. Comments on Categorical Exclusions and DHS Response: DHS received a comment from the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IACF) regarding the proposed new CATEX for federally-assisted wildfire mitigation activities. To improve readability (but with no change to the scope), DHS revised the CATEX between the draft and final version to read as follows: *N11 Federal Assistance for Wildfire Hazard Mitigation Actions. Federal assistance for wildfire hazard mitigation actions involving the creation of defensible space or hazardous fuel reduction for up to 100 feet of at-risk structures which includes the selective removal of vegetation less than 12 inches in diameter through thinning, pruning, limbing, sawing, or brush cutting; removal of downed, dead, or dry vegetation material as part of the overall action. The actions must be limited to less than 100 acres of vegetation removal either individually or when combined with other reasonably foreseeable private or public actions and follow appropriate best management practices. Although IACF was supportive of the draft proposed CATEX, they recommended removal of the 100-foot limit on the creation of defensible space. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:21 Nov 25, 2014 Jkt 235001 DHS supports the mission and respects the perspective of IACF; however, for the time being DHS has decided to retain the proposed wording of the CATEX. DHS relied on only a small number of FEMA Environmental Assessments (EAs) to support development of the new CATEX, and none of those EAs included a buffer greater than 100 feet. Without sufficient information from past DHS-funded wildfire mitigation projects that demonstrates that a larger buffer results in no potential for environmental impacts, DHS currently believes that a higher level of NEPA review and impact evaluation is necessary for actions involving more than 100 acres of vegetation removal. If, as a result of additional DHS reviews of wildfire mitigation projects, DHS is able to document and determine that the buffer can reasonably be extended because there are few to no environmental impacts associated with larger scale clearing for wildfire mitigation purposes, then DHS will consider revising the CATEX. In addition, DHS will work with subject matter experts, including IACF, to obtain other data that may support future revisions to the CATEX. Lastly, it is important to note that if proposed vegetation clearing for wildfire mitigation purposes is greater than 100 feet from a structure, DHS can still provide grant funding for the project once the appropriate level of environmental review has been conducted. DHS received two comments from the State of Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) regarding the following proposed CATEX for federally-assisted new construction activities: *N8 Federal Assistance for New Construction Activities of Less Than One Acre in Undisturbed or Undeveloped Areas. Federal assistance for new construction and associated site preparation activities in undisturbed or undeveloped areas when the activities comprise less than one acre and follow best management practices to control noise, water, and air pollution. This category does not apply to new construction in undisturbed or undeveloped floodplains, wetlands, or seaward of the limit of moderate wave action (or V zone when the limit of moderate wave action has not been identified). This CATEX covers the range of activities typically necessary for new construction, including field work (e.g.orings, site inspection) and temporary staging and use of construction equipment and vehicles. PO 00000 Frm 00041 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 70539 AZGFD’s first comment was that the draft proposed CATEX as written ‘‘has the potential to impact wildlife resources in undisturbed/undeveloped areas without appropriate direct or cumulative impact analysis of construction activities. Construction activities within an acre of undisturbed or undeveloped areas have the potential to result in direct take of wildlife, habitat fragmentation, and reduced landscape wildlife permeability.’’ AZGFD’s second comment was a request that DHS include ‘‘clarifying language that ensures cumulative impacts for state trust wildlife resources are identified for all related actions, and that reasonable mitigation measures are implemented’’ and include ‘‘Best Management Practices (BMPs) . . . that reduce impacts to wildlife including timing restrictions, trenching guidelines, fencing guidelines, etc.’’ In response to AZGFD’s comments on new CATEX N8, DHS added the following sentence to Section V.B(2) of the Instruction, which discusses how to appropriately apply CATEXs to proposed actions: ‘‘Application of a CATEX to a proposed action presumes review and compliance under other relevant environmental planning and historic preservation laws, regulations, and Executive Orders (e.g., National Historic Preservation Act, Endangered Species Act) has occurred, and that a higher level of NEPA analysis is not warranted as a result of any identified impacts to resources protected under those other requirements.’’ In addition, DHS believes it has enough data from past actions to justify that no significant cumulative impacts result from the clearing of plots less than one acre each. If DHS were to provide federal assistance for the clearing of multiple one acre plots in close proximity to each other, this situation would constitute an extraordinary circumstance that would prohibit use of the CATEX and would require a higher level of NEPA analysis. The list of DHS extraordinary circumstances is provided in Section V.B(2)(c) of the Instruction; these include a consideration of impacts to protected species and habitat and environmentally sensitive areas, and a consideration of whether the proposed action is related to other actions with individually insignificant, but cumulatively significant impacts. As to cumulative impacts on habitat and species, these will get covered in the ESA consultation process; notwithstanding the new CATEX N8, DHS will consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and relevant state agencies, such as AZGFD, for proposed E:\FR\FM\26NON1.SGM 26NON1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 70540 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 228 / Wednesday, November 26, 2014 / Notices actions potentially affecting protected species and habitat. AZGFD also commented that the definition of Cooperating Agency included in Section II of the draft Instruction was not fully consistent with the CEQ definition in 40 CFR 1508.5. DHS agrees with AZGFD, and has revised the definition accordingly in the final Instruction. DHS received questions regarding the need for CATEXs for Congressionallymandated activities (existing USCG CATEXs L18 and L53, and new DHSwide CATEX C6), to which NEPA does not apply. When Congress mandates an activity, such as the transfer of DHS controlled real property to a nonFederal entity, DHS has no discretion whether or not to perform the activity; however, DHS may have discretion on some aspects of how the activity is executed. Therefore, DHS NEPA practitioners expressed the need for such CATEXs where DHS has some level of discretion and the activities have been determined not to have the potential for significant environmental impacts. Lastly, DHS received three comments regarding the accessibility and readability of the draft revised Directive and Instruction and supporting documents; namely that the Federal Register notice was inadequate as a means of communicating with stakeholders and the public, that hyperlinks to the documents should have been clearly identified and easily accessible, and that the documents were difficult to comprehend. The Federal Register and www.regulations.gov are widely recognized as appropriate sources for the public to learn about and comment on Federal government initiatives. DHS wrote the documents according to style guides and writing standards applicable to the federal government as well as DHS-specific requirements of its formal Directives system. All relevant documents were and remain available to the public on the Department’s NEPA Web page (www.dhs.gov/nepa) and on the www.regulations.gov Web site under Docket Number DHS–2013–0052. The June 5, 2014 Federal Register notice provided clear instructions to readers to visit these two Web sites to view the draft revised Directive and Instruction and supporting documents. A copy of this Federal Register publication and the final Directive and Instruction and supporting documents are available on the internet at www.regulations.gov (Docket Number VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:21 Nov 25, 2014 Jkt 235001 DHS–2013–0052) and http:// www.dhs.gov/nepa. Teresa R. Pohlman, Director of Sustainability and Environmental Programs. [FR Doc. 2014–27966 Filed 11–25–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110–9B–P DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard [USCG–2014–0666; OMB Control Number 1625–0022] Collection of Information Under Review by Office of Management and Budget Coast Guard, DHS. Thirty-day notice requesting comments. AGENCY: ACTION: In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 the U.S. Coast Guard is forwarding Information Collection Requests (ICRs), abstracted below, to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), requesting approval of a revision to the following collection of information: 1625–0022, Application for Tonnage Measurement of Vessels. Review and comments by OIRA ensure we only impose paperwork burdens commensurate with our performance of duties. DATES: Comments must reach the Coast Guard and OIRA on or before December 26, 2014. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by Coast Guard docket number [USCG–2014–0666] to the Docket Management Facility (DMF) at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and/or to OIRA. To avoid duplicate submissions, please use only one of the following means: (1) Online: (a) To Coast Guard docket at http://www.regulations.gov. (b) To OIRA by email via: OIRA-submission@ omb.eop.gov. (2) Mail: (a) DMF (M–30), DOT, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590–0001. (b) To OIRA, 725 17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20503, attention Desk Officer for the Coast Guard. (3) Hand Delivery: To DMF address above, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone number is 202– 366–9329. (4) Fax: (a) To DMF, 202–493–2251. (b) To OIRA at 202–395–6566. To SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00042 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 ensure your comments are received in a timely manner, mark the fax, attention Desk Officer for the Coast Guard. The DMF maintains the public docket for this Notice. Comments and material received from the public, as well as documents mentioned in this Notice as being available in the docket, will become part of the docket and will be available for inspection or copying at room W12–140 on the West Building Ground Floor, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. You may also find the docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov. Copies of the ICRs are available through the docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov. Additionally, copies are available from: COMMANDANT (CG–612), ATTN: PAPERWORK REDUCTION ACT MANAGER, US COAST GUARD, 2703 MARTIN LUTHER KING JR AVE SE., STOP 7710, WASHINGTON DC 20593– 7710. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Contact Mr. Anthony Smith, Office of Information Management, telephone 202–475–3532 or fax 202–372–8405, for questions on these documents. Contact Ms. Cheryl Collins, Program Manager, Docket Operations, 202–366–9826, for questions on the docket. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Public Participation and Request for Comments This Notice relies on the authority of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995; 44 U.S.C. Chapter 35, as amended. An ICR is an application to OIRA seeking the approval, extension, or renewal of a Coast Guard collection of information (Collection). The ICR contains information describing the Collection’s purpose, the Collection’s likely burden on the affected public, an explanation of the necessity of the Collection, and other important information describing the Collection. There is one ICR for each Collection. The Coast Guard invites comments on whether these ICRs should be granted based on the Collection being necessary for the proper performance of Departmental functions. In particular, the Coast Guard would appreciate comments addressing: (1) The practical utility of the Collection; (2) the accuracy of the estimated burden of the Collection; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of information subject to the Collection; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the Collection on respondents, including the use of automated E:\FR\FM\26NON1.SGM 26NON1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 228 (Wednesday, November 26, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 70538-70540]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-27966]


=======================================================================
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DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

[Docket Number DHS-2013-0052]


Environmental Planning and Historic Preservation Program

AGENCY: Department of Homeland Security.

ACTION: Notice of Final National Environmental Policy Act Implementing 
Procedures.

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

SUMMARY: The purpose of this notice is to inform the public that the 
Department of Homeland Security (DHS or the Department) is issuing the 
final update to its policy and procedures for implementing the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), as 
amended, and the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations for 
implementing the procedural provisions of NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500-
1508). The Department's NEPA procedures are contained in Directive 023-
01, Rev. 01 and Instruction Manual 023-01-001-01, Rev. 01, 
Implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act (herein after 
referred to as Directive and Instruction). This notice also responds to 
the comments received on the Department's draft updated procedures 
published on June 5, 2014 (79 FR 32563).

DATES: The Directive and Instruction will be effective on March 26, 
2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: A. Marie Ecton, Senior Environmental 
Specialist, Department of Homeland Security, Telephone (202) 360-5661, 
or Email a.marie.ecton@hq.dhs.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Once effective, the Directive and 
Instruction will apply to all of DHS, which is currently comprised of 
over 20 support and operational components, and help ensure the 
integration of environmental stewardship into DHS decision making as 
required by NEPA. The Directive and Instruction will serve as the DHS 
implementing procedures for NEPA and the CEQ regulations (as required 
by 40 CFR 1505.1 and 1507.3) and therefore must be read in conjunction 
with the CEQ regulations.
    The Directive and Instruction were substantially revised to address 
a number of circumstances and requirements that have arisen since April 
19, 2006, the effective date of the original DHS NEPA procedures 
(Federal Register, Vol. 71, No. 64, April 4, 2006). For example, when 
originally published in 2006 the Directive and Instruction did not 
apply to the following three Components of DHS: Federal Emergency 
Management Agency (FEMA), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and 
United States Coast Guard (USCG); these three Components each 
maintained their own procedures for implementing NEPA when the 
Department was established in 2002. This revision to the Directive and 
Instruction incorporates FEMA, CBP, and USCG into the Department's NEPA 
procedures and addresses the full scope of DHS activities to which NEPA 
applies. When the updated procedures become effective, they will apply 
to all Components of DHS, including FEMA, CBP, and USCG. In addition, 
every Component will have the option of developing Supplemental 
Instructions to establish how that particular Component will meet the 
requirements of the final version of the DHS Directive and Instruction. 
In a separate yet related effort, FEMA will pursue rescission of its 
regulations at 44 CFR 10 and replace them with Supplemental 
Instructions that conform to requirements of the DHS Directive and 
Instruction.
    The requirements put forth in the revised Directive and Instruction 
emphasize that the NEPA process must be appropriately integrated into 
the performance of DHS missions and activities and decision making. The 
revised Directive establishes the overall policy that DHS will comply 
with NEPA, and the revised Instruction establishes the procedures for 
ensuring this compliance is implemented in an effective and efficient 
manner. The Instruction covers the following: Overview of NEPA 
requirements, including requirements for the preparation and content of 
NEPA documents; management of NEPA implementation in DHS; criteria for 
Components to obtain a delegation of authority to approve their 
respective NEPA reviews; public involvement; dispute resolution; 
information protected from public disclosure; procedures for 
emergencies; review of applications from persons or organizations 
outside of DHS (e.g., grant applications); and an identification of the 
types of DHS activities normally reviewed in a CATEX, Environmental

[[Page 70539]]

Assessment, or Environmental Impact Statement.
    The CATEXs published in 2006 are being retained and are included in 
the Instruction (Appendix A, Table 1). In addition, the Instruction 
includes the following new CATEXs: One CATEX for an administrative 
activity; five CATEXs for real property management activities; 13 
CATEXs for non-grant activities unique to FEMA's mission and 
authorities; and 19 CATEXs for federal assistance (e.g., grant) 
activities. For synopses of the administrative record support for the 
Department's list of 2006 and new CATEXs, see the docket and the DHS 
NEPA Web page at http://www.dhs.gov/nepa.
    DHS invested over three years in developing the proposed revision 
to its NEPA procedures. The draft revised Directive and Instruction 
were provided to CEQ in the fall of 2013 for review and discussion 
prior to the June 5, 2014 publication for public comment. DHS provided 
its proposed final revised Directive and Instruction to CEQ in early 
September 2014; CEQ responded with a letter dated November 10, 2014 
prior to this publication of the final Directive and Instruction as 
required under 40 CFR 1507.3(a), indicating that the Department's 
revised procedures conform to NEPA and the CEQ regulations.
    Comments on Categorical Exclusions and DHS Response:
    DHS received a comment from the International Association of Fire 
Chiefs (IACF) regarding the proposed new CATEX for federally-assisted 
wildfire mitigation activities. To improve readability (but with no 
change to the scope), DHS revised the CATEX between the draft and final 
version to read as follows:
    *N11 Federal Assistance for Wildfire Hazard Mitigation Actions. 
Federal assistance for wildfire hazard mitigation actions involving the 
creation of defensible space or hazardous fuel reduction for up to 100 
feet of at-risk structures which includes the selective removal of 
vegetation less than 12 inches in diameter through thinning, pruning, 
limbing, sawing, or brush cutting; removal of downed, dead, or dry 
vegetation material as part of the overall action.
    The actions must be limited to less than 100 acres of vegetation 
removal either individually or when combined with other reasonably 
foreseeable private or public actions and follow appropriate best 
management practices.
    Although IACF was supportive of the draft proposed CATEX, they 
recommended removal of the 100-foot limit on the creation of defensible 
space. DHS supports the mission and respects the perspective of IACF; 
however, for the time being DHS has decided to retain the proposed 
wording of the CATEX. DHS relied on only a small number of FEMA 
Environmental Assessments (EAs) to support development of the new 
CATEX, and none of those EAs included a buffer greater than 100 feet. 
Without sufficient information from past DHS-funded wildfire mitigation 
projects that demonstrates that a larger buffer results in no potential 
for environmental impacts, DHS currently believes that a higher level 
of NEPA review and impact evaluation is necessary for actions involving 
more than 100 acres of vegetation removal.
    If, as a result of additional DHS reviews of wildfire mitigation 
projects, DHS is able to document and determine that the buffer can 
reasonably be extended because there are few to no environmental 
impacts associated with larger scale clearing for wildfire mitigation 
purposes, then DHS will consider revising the CATEX. In addition, DHS 
will work with subject matter experts, including IACF, to obtain other 
data that may support future revisions to the CATEX.
    Lastly, it is important to note that if proposed vegetation 
clearing for wildfire mitigation purposes is greater than 100 feet from 
a structure, DHS can still provide grant funding for the project once 
the appropriate level of environmental review has been conducted.
    DHS received two comments from the State of Arizona Game and Fish 
Department (AZGFD) regarding the following proposed CATEX for 
federally-assisted new construction activities:
    *N8 Federal Assistance for New Construction Activities of Less Than 
One Acre in Undisturbed or Undeveloped Areas. Federal assistance for 
new construction and associated site preparation activities in 
undisturbed or undeveloped areas when the activities comprise less than 
one acre and follow best management practices to control noise, water, 
and air pollution. This category does not apply to new construction in 
undisturbed or undeveloped floodplains, wetlands, or seaward of the 
limit of moderate wave action (or V zone when the limit of moderate 
wave action has not been identified). This CATEX covers the range of 
activities typically necessary for new construction, including field 
work (e.g.orings, site inspection) and temporary staging and use of 
construction equipment and vehicles.
    AZGFD's first comment was that the draft proposed CATEX as written 
``has the potential to impact wildlife resources in undisturbed/
undeveloped areas without appropriate direct or cumulative impact 
analysis of construction activities. Construction activities within an 
acre of undisturbed or undeveloped areas have the potential to result 
in direct take of wildlife, habitat fragmentation, and reduced 
landscape wildlife permeability.'' AZGFD's second comment was a request 
that DHS include ``clarifying language that ensures cumulative impacts 
for state trust wildlife resources are identified for all related 
actions, and that reasonable mitigation measures are implemented'' and 
include ``Best Management Practices (BMPs) . . . that reduce impacts to 
wildlife including timing restrictions, trenching guidelines, fencing 
guidelines, etc.''
    In response to AZGFD's comments on new CATEX N8, DHS added the 
following sentence to Section V.B(2) of the Instruction, which 
discusses how to appropriately apply CATEXs to proposed actions: 
``Application of a CATEX to a proposed action presumes review and 
compliance under other relevant environmental planning and historic 
preservation laws, regulations, and Executive Orders (e.g., National 
Historic Preservation Act, Endangered Species Act) has occurred, and 
that a higher level of NEPA analysis is not warranted as a result of 
any identified impacts to resources protected under those other 
requirements.'' In addition, DHS believes it has enough data from past 
actions to justify that no significant cumulative impacts result from 
the clearing of plots less than one acre each. If DHS were to provide 
federal assistance for the clearing of multiple one acre plots in close 
proximity to each other, this situation would constitute an 
extraordinary circumstance that would prohibit use of the CATEX and 
would require a higher level of NEPA analysis. The list of DHS 
extraordinary circumstances is provided in Section V.B(2)(c) of the 
Instruction; these include a consideration of impacts to protected 
species and habitat and environmentally sensitive areas, and a 
consideration of whether the proposed action is related to other 
actions with individually insignificant, but cumulatively significant 
impacts. As to cumulative impacts on habitat and species, these will 
get covered in the ESA consultation process; notwithstanding the new 
CATEX N8, DHS will consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and 
relevant state agencies, such as AZGFD, for proposed

[[Page 70540]]

actions potentially affecting protected species and habitat.
    AZGFD also commented that the definition of Cooperating Agency 
included in Section II of the draft Instruction was not fully 
consistent with the CEQ definition in 40 CFR 1508.5. DHS agrees with 
AZGFD, and has revised the definition accordingly in the final 
Instruction.
    DHS received questions regarding the need for CATEXs for 
Congressionally-mandated activities (existing USCG CATEXs L18 and L53, 
and new DHS-wide CATEX C6), to which NEPA does not apply. When Congress 
mandates an activity, such as the transfer of DHS controlled real 
property to a non-Federal entity, DHS has no discretion whether or not 
to perform the activity; however, DHS may have discretion on some 
aspects of how the activity is executed. Therefore, DHS NEPA 
practitioners expressed the need for such CATEXs where DHS has some 
level of discretion and the activities have been determined not to have 
the potential for significant environmental impacts.
    Lastly, DHS received three comments regarding the accessibility and 
readability of the draft revised Directive and Instruction and 
supporting documents; namely that the Federal Register notice was 
inadequate as a means of communicating with stakeholders and the 
public, that hyperlinks to the documents should have been clearly 
identified and easily accessible, and that the documents were difficult 
to comprehend. The Federal Register and www.regulations.gov are widely 
recognized as appropriate sources for the public to learn about and 
comment on Federal government initiatives. DHS wrote the documents 
according to style guides and writing standards applicable to the 
federal government as well as DHS-specific requirements of its formal 
Directives system. All relevant documents were and remain available to 
the public on the Department's NEPA Web page (www.dhs.gov/nepa) and on 
the www.regulations.gov Web site under Docket Number DHS-2013-0052. The 
June 5, 2014 Federal Register notice provided clear instructions to 
readers to visit these two Web sites to view the draft revised 
Directive and Instruction and supporting documents.
    A copy of this Federal Register publication and the final Directive 
and Instruction and supporting documents are available on the internet 
at www.regulations.gov (Docket Number DHS-2013-0052) and http://www.dhs.gov/nepa.

Teresa R. Pohlman,
Director of Sustainability and Environmental Programs.
[FR Doc. 2014-27966 Filed 11-25-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 9110-9B-P