Intent To Prepare a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (Supplement 2) for the Mississippi River Ship Channel, Gulf to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, General Reevaluation Study, 27296-27298 [2015-11556]

Download as PDF 27296 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 92 / Wednesday, May 13, 2015 / Notices asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES document actions to correct significant deficiencies in contractor business systems. DoD contracting officers use the information to mitigate the risk of unallowable and unreasonable costs being charged on government contracts. Affected Public: Businesses or other for-profit institutions. Frequency: On occasion. OMB Desk Officer: Ms. Jasmeet Seehra. Written comments and recommendations on the proposed information collection should be sent to Ms. Seehra at the Office of Management and Budget, Desk Officer for DoD, Room 10236, New Executive Office Building, Washington, DC 20503. You may also submit comments, identified by docket number and title, by the following method: Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name, docket number, and title for the Federal Register document. The general policy for comments and other public submissions from members of the public is to make these submissions available for public viewing on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov as they are received without change, including any personal identifiers or contact information provided. To confirm receipt of your comment(s), please check http://www.regulations.gov approximately two to three days after submission to verify posting (except allow 30 days for posting of comments submitted by mail). DoD Public Collections Clearance Officer: Mr. Frederick C. Licari. Written requests for copies of the information collection proposal should be sent to Mr. Licari at: Publication Collections Program, WHS/ESD Information Management Division, 4800 Mark Center Drive, 2nd Floor, East Tower, Suite 02G09, Alexandria, VA 22350–3100. Manuel Quinones, Editor, Defense Acquisition Regulations System. [FR Doc. 2015–11553 Filed 5–12–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001–06–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:27 May 12, 2015 Jkt 235001 DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers Intent To Prepare a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (Supplement 2) for the Mississippi River Ship Channel, Gulf to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, General Reevaluation Study Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DoD. ACTION: Notice of Intent. AGENCY: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), New Orleans District intends to prepare a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS), to be integrated with a General Reevaluation Report (GRR), for the Mississippi River Ship Channel, Gulf to Baton Rouge, Louisiana Project. The GRR and SEIS will investigate deepening and maintaining the Mississippi River Ship Channel from 45 feet deep to as much as 50 feet deep. DATES: A public scoping meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 26, 2015 in Belle Chasse, LA. An open house will be held at 6:00 p.m. followed by the scoping meeting at 6:30 p.m. A second public scoping meeting will be held Thursday morning, May 28, 2015 in New Orleans, LA. An open house will be held at 9 a.m. followed by the scoping meeting at 9:30 a.m. A third public scoping meeting will be held Thursday evening, May 28, 2015 in Baton Rouge, LA. An open house will be held at 6:00 p.m. followed by the scoping meeting at 6:30 p.m. ADDRESSES: The scoping meeting and open house on Tuesday, May 26 will be held at the Belle Chasse Branch Library, 8442 Highway 23, Belle Chasse, LA 70037. The scoping meeting and open house in the morning of Thursday, May 28 will be held at Corps of Engineers District Office in the District Assembly Room, 7400 Leake Ave, New Orleans, LA 70118. The scoping meeting and open house in the evening of Thursday, May 28 will be held at Louisiana State Police Training Academy, 7901 Independence Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70806. SUMMARY: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Questions about the public scoping meeting, the GRR and SEIS should be addressed to: Mr. Richard Boe or Mr. Steve Roberts, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Environmental Compliance Branch, P.O. Box 60267, New Orleans, LA 70160–0267, by email to richard.e.boe@usace.army.mil or steve.w.roberts@usace.army.mil, or by PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 telephone at (504) 862–1505 or (504) 862–2517. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 1. Project Background and Authorization. The 1981 Feasibility Study entitled ‘‘Deep-Draft Access to the Ports of New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana’’ (1981 Feasibility Study) was authorized by Section 2 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1945, (Pub. L. 79–14), which combined several existing deep-draft projects on the Mississippi River and modified them to provide new navigation channel dimensions. The 1981 Feasibility Study, which included an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), recommended deepening the Mississippi River’s navigation channel to a 55-foot depth from Baton Rouge to the Gulf of Mexico. A Chief of Engineers Report was completed in April 1983, and a Record of Decision was signed on December 23, 1986. The Mississippi River Ship Channel, Gulf to Baton Rouge, Louisiana project was authorized for construction by Section 101 of the 1985 Supplemental Appropriations Act (Pub. L. 99–88). The authorized plan provides for a navigation channel with a 55-foot depth over a 750-foot bottom width from the Gulf of Mexico to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and a turning basin at the head of the deepened channel in Baton Rouge. Authorization also included deepening the existing 35 feet deep by 1,500 feet wide channel at the New Orleans harbor to 40 feet, providing river training works in South Pass and Pass a Loutre, and creating wetlands and upland habitat with dredged material along Southwest Pass. Phase I of the Mississippi River Ship Channel, Gulf to Baton Rouge, LA Project consisted of a 45-foot channel from the Gulf of Mexico to river mile 181 near Donaldsonville, Louisiana, and was completed in December 1987. Phase II consisted of the remainder of the 45 foot channel from river mile 181 to Baton Rouge, and was completed in December 1994. Phase III of the Project was identified as the deepening of the entire channel to 55 feet from the Gulf of Mexico to Baton Rouge. The NonFederal Sponsor, the State of Louisiana, Department of Transportation and Development, has requested that an incremental phase of deepening the entire length of the channel to 50 feet be considered. A final phase of deepening the channel to 55 feet may be considered in the future. The Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 amended the Water Resources and Development Act of 1986, to increase the Federal threshold for full E:\FR\FM\13MYN1.SGM 13MYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 92 / Wednesday, May 13, 2015 / Notices Federal channel maintenance responsibilities from 45 feet to 50 feet deep. The General Reevaluation Report will identify the depth that creates the greatest net benefits up to a 50 foot channel in order to proceed to implementation and to phase the remaining work accordingly. A report released by the Institute of Water Resources (IWR) in June 2012 evaluated the preparedness of U.S. ports to accommodate Post-Panamax size vessels. The Panama Canal is being enlarged to accommodate vessels that draft 50 feet (Post-Panamax vessels) and the enlarged waterway is expected to be completed in 2016. The IWR report found that these vessels currently call at U.S. ports and will dominate the world fleet in the future. Post-Panamax vessels will call in increasing numbers at U.S. ports that can accommodate them. Currently, Mississippi River ports cannot accommodate these vessels. There may be economic justification in expanding port projects to accommodate post-Panamax vessels. The ports located along the lower Mississippi River, being the dominant ports for the export of grains from the U.S., will likely play a key role in meeting these future needs if they are ready with a post-Panamax sized channel. asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 2. Proposed Action The purpose of the GRR and SEIS is to identify the depth that creates the greatest net benefits up to a depth of 50 feet in order to implement the deepening the Mississippi River channel from the current depth of 45 feet. An evaluation of population growth trends, trade forecasts and examination of the current port capacities shows that there is very likely economic justification for deepening the channel. This GRR and SEIS will evaluate existing conditions, alternative designs, and provide environmental analysis of anticipated impacts associated with dredging and disposal alternatives. The handling of dredged material generated during construction, the engineering design of dredged material disposal areas, and several other aspects of the Project, that were evaluated in the 1981 Feasibility Report and EIS, will be updated as appropriate. 3. Alternatives An evaluation of alternatives, including a ‘‘no action’’ alternative will be included. In the SEIS, the ‘‘no action’’ alternative will be the continued operation and maintenance of the 45 feet deep Mississippi River deep-draft navigation channel from Baton Rouge, LA to the Gulf of Mexico. Other VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:27 May 12, 2015 Jkt 235001 alternatives will be determined through scoping, but are anticipated to include an alternative of a 48 feet deep channel and an alternative of a 50 feet deep channel. The plan with the highest net benefits (the difference between transportation cost savings and project costs) will be identified as the recommended plan. Previous evaluations of alternative dredging methods, dredged material handling, and disposal alternatives will also be updated and/or re-evaluated as appropriate. 4. Scoping The Council on Environmental Quality Regulations for implementing the procedural provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) relating to ‘‘Scoping’’ as set forth in at 40 CFR 1501.7 require an early and open process for determining the scope of the issues to be addressed in an EIS or SEIS and for identifying significant issues related to the proposed action. The public will be involved in the scoping and evaluation process through advertisements, notices, and other means. Federal, state and local agencies, and other interested groups will also be involved. Meetings to address discrete issues or parts or functions of the study may be held. All parties are invited to participate in the scoping process by identifying any additional concerns on issues, studies needed, alternatives, procedures, and other matters related to the scope of the SEIS. A. The Corps will provide additional notification of the times and locations of the public scoping meetings through newspaper advertisements and other means (see DATES). Following short presentations at the scoping meetings, verbal and written comments on the scope of the SEIS will be accepted. A transcript of verbal comments will be generated to ensure accuracy. Comments will also be accepted via email or postal mail. B. Issues. Issues that have been identified include, but are not limited to, the level of existing and forecasted vessel traffic, changes in socio-economic conditions since the 1981 Feasibility Report and EIS, evaluation of direct and indirect social and cultural impacts on affected communities and the appropriate and practicable mitigation measures to address those impacts, a reevaluation of salt water intrusion on municipal drinking water supply, and re-evaluation of reasonable dredging and disposal alternatives and associated impacts. This non-exhaustive list of issues is intended to facilitate public comment on the scope of the SEIS. PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 27297 Concurrent with the NEPA process, the Corps will ensure compliance with all applicable environmental laws, regulations, and executive orders governing issues such as Federallylisted threatened and endangered species, essential fish habitats, health and safety, general environmental concerns, wetlands and other aquatic resources, historic properties, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, navigation, recreation, water quality, and environmental justice. In selecting a recommended plan, the Corps will also consider issues identified and comments made throughout scoping, public involvement, and interagency coordination. The Corps expects to better define the issues of concern and the methods that will be used to evaluate those issues through the scoping process. C. Environmental Review and Consultation. The proposed action (recommended plan) will undergo an evaluation for compliance with all applicable guidelines pursuant to Section 404(b) of the Clean Water Act. This review will include a detailed reevaluation of all practicable alternatives as it relates to the handling and disposal of the dredged material. The Corps will develop and provide information on the resources to be impacted and the proposed mitigation measures as it relates to each of the alternatives. Although the Corps does not plan to invite any Federal agencies to be cooperating agencies, input and critical information from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and other Federal, state, and local agencies is expected. 5. Public Scoping Meeting Special Accommodations The public scoping meeting places will be physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Steve Roberts, (504) 862–2517 (voice), or email at steve.w.roberts@ usace.army.mil at least 5 business days prior to the meeting dates. 6. Estimated Date of Draft SEIS Availability It is estimated that the draft SEIS will be available to the public for review and comment in December 2016. At least one public hearing will be held at that time, during which the public will be provided the opportunity to comment on the SEIS before it becomes final. E:\FR\FM\13MYN1.SGM 13MYN1 27298 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 92 / Wednesday, May 13, 2015 / Notices Dated: May 5, 2015. Austin T. Appleton, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army, Acting District Commander. [FR Doc. 2015–11556 Filed 5–12–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3720–58–P DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION [Docket No.: ED–2015–ICCD–0062] Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; Federal Perkins Loan Program Master Promissory Note Federal Student Aid (FSA), Department of Education (ED). ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. chapter 3501 et seq.), ED is proposing a revision of an existing information collection. DATES: Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before July 13, 2015. ADDRESSES: Comments submitted in response to this notice should be submitted electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http:// www.regulations.gov by selecting Docket ID number ED–2015–ICCD–0062 or via postal mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery. If the regulations.gov site is not available to the public for any reason, ED will temporarily accept comments at ICDocketMgr@ed.gov. Please note that comments submitted by fax or email and those submitted after the comment period will not be accepted; ED will ONLY accept comments during the comment period in this mailbox when the regulations.gov site is not available. Written requests for information or comments submitted by postal mail or delivery should be addressed to the Director of the Information Collection Clearance Division, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., LBJ, Mailstop L–OM–2–2E319, Room 2E103, Washington, DC 20202. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For specific questions related to collection activities, please contact Beth Grebeldinger, 202–377–4018. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Department of Education (ED), in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)), provides the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed, revised, and continuing collections of information. This helps the Department assess the impact of its information asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:27 May 12, 2015 Jkt 235001 collection requirements and minimize the public’s reporting burden. It also helps the public understand the Department’s information collection requirements and provide the requested data in the desired format. ED is soliciting comments on the proposed information collection request (ICR) that is described below. The Department of Education is especially interested in public comment addressing the following issues: (1) Is this collection necessary to the proper functions of the Department; (2) will this information be processed and used in a timely manner; (3) is the estimate of burden accurate; (4) how might the Department enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (5) how might the Department minimize the burden of this collection on the respondents, including through the use of information technology. Please note that written comments received in response to this notice will be considered public records. Title of Collection: Federal Perkins Loan Program Master Promissory Note. OMB Control Number: 1845–0074. Type of Review: A revision of an existing information collection. Respondents/Affected Public: Individuals or Households. Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 276,934. Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 138,467. Abstract: The Federal Perkins Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) provides the terms and conditions of the Perkins Loan program and is prepared by the participating eligible institution and signed by the borrower. The borrower may receive loans for a single academic year or multiple academic years. The adoption of the MPN in the Perkins Loan Program has simplified the loan process by eliminating the need for institutions to prepare and students to sign, a promissory note each award year. Dated: May 7, 2015. Kate Mullan, Acting Director, Information Collection Clearance Division, Office of the Chief Privacy Officer, Office of Management. [FR Doc. 2015–11474 Filed 5–12–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000–01–P PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION [Docket No.: ED–2015–ICCD–0063] Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; Gainful Employment Recent Graduates Employment and Earning Survey Pilot Test Federal Student Aid (FSA), Department of Education (ED). ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. chapter 3501 et seq.), ED is proposing a new information collection. DATES: Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before July 13, 2015. ADDRESSES: Comments submitted in response to this notice should be submitted electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http:// www.regulations.gov by selecting Docket ID number ED–2015–ICCD–0063 or via postal mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery. If the regulations.gov site is not available to the public for any reason, ED will temporarily accept comments at ICDocketMgr@ed.gov. Please note that comments submitted by fax or email and those submitted after the comment period will not be accepted; ED will ONLY accept comments during the comment period in this mailbox when the regulations.gov site is not available. Written requests for information or comments submitted by postal mail or delivery should be addressed to the Director of the Information Collection Clearance Division, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., LBJ, Mailstop L–OM–2–2E319, Room 2E105, Washington, DC 20202. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For specific questions related to collection activities, please contact Beth Grebeldinger, 202–377–4018. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Department of Education (ED), in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)), provides the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed, revised, and continuing collections of information. This helps the Department assess the impact of its information collection requirements and minimize the public’s reporting burden. It also helps the public understand the Department’s information collection requirements and provide the requested data in the desired format. ED is soliciting comments on the proposed information collection request (ICR) that SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\13MYN1.SGM 13MYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 92 (Wednesday, May 13, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 27296-27298]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-11556]


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

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers


Intent To Prepare a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact 
Statement (Supplement 2) for the Mississippi River Ship Channel, Gulf 
to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, General Reevaluation Study

AGENCY: Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DoD.

ACTION: Notice of Intent.

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

SUMMARY: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), New Orleans District 
intends to prepare a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement 
(SEIS), to be integrated with a General Reevaluation Report (GRR), for 
the Mississippi River Ship Channel, Gulf to Baton Rouge, Louisiana 
Project. The GRR and SEIS will investigate deepening and maintaining 
the Mississippi River Ship Channel from 45 feet deep to as much as 50 
feet deep.

DATES: A public scoping meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 26, 2015 
in Belle Chasse, LA. An open house will be held at 6:00 p.m. followed 
by the scoping meeting at 6:30 p.m. A second public scoping meeting 
will be held Thursday morning, May 28, 2015 in New Orleans, LA. An open 
house will be held at 9 a.m. followed by the scoping meeting at 9:30 
a.m. A third public scoping meeting will be held Thursday evening, May 
28, 2015 in Baton Rouge, LA. An open house will be held at 6:00 p.m. 
followed by the scoping meeting at 6:30 p.m.

ADDRESSES: The scoping meeting and open house on Tuesday, May 26 will 
be held at the Belle Chasse Branch Library, 8442 Highway 23, Belle 
Chasse, LA 70037. The scoping meeting and open house in the morning of 
Thursday, May 28 will be held at Corps of Engineers District Office in 
the District Assembly Room, 7400 Leake Ave, New Orleans, LA 70118. The 
scoping meeting and open house in the evening of Thursday, May 28 will 
be held at Louisiana State Police Training Academy, 7901 Independence 
Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70806.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Questions about the public scoping 
meeting, the GRR and SEIS should be addressed to: Mr. Richard Boe or 
Mr. Steve Roberts, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Environmental 
Compliance Branch, P.O. Box 60267, New Orleans, LA 70160-0267, by email 
to richard.e.boe@usace.army.mil or steve.w.roberts@usace.army.mil, or 
by telephone at (504) 862-1505 or (504) 862-2517.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

1. Project Background and Authorization.

    The 1981 Feasibility Study entitled ``Deep-Draft Access to the 
Ports of New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana'' (1981 Feasibility 
Study) was authorized by Section 2 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 
1945, (Pub. L. 79-14), which combined several existing deep-draft 
projects on the Mississippi River and modified them to provide new 
navigation channel dimensions. The 1981 Feasibility Study, which 
included an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), recommended deepening 
the Mississippi River's navigation channel to a 55-foot depth from 
Baton Rouge to the Gulf of Mexico. A Chief of Engineers Report was 
completed in April 1983, and a Record of Decision was signed on 
December 23, 1986. The Mississippi River Ship Channel, Gulf to Baton 
Rouge, Louisiana project was authorized for construction by Section 101 
of the 1985 Supplemental Appropriations Act (Pub. L. 99-88).
    The authorized plan provides for a navigation channel with a 55-
foot depth over a 750-foot bottom width from the Gulf of Mexico to 
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and a turning basin at the head of the deepened 
channel in Baton Rouge. Authorization also included deepening the 
existing 35 feet deep by 1,500 feet wide channel at the New Orleans 
harbor to 40 feet, providing river training works in South Pass and 
Pass a Loutre, and creating wetlands and upland habitat with dredged 
material along Southwest Pass.
    Phase I of the Mississippi River Ship Channel, Gulf to Baton Rouge, 
LA Project consisted of a 45-foot channel from the Gulf of Mexico to 
river mile 181 near Donaldsonville, Louisiana, and was completed in 
December 1987. Phase II consisted of the remainder of the 45 foot 
channel from river mile 181 to Baton Rouge, and was completed in 
December 1994. Phase III of the Project was identified as the deepening 
of the entire channel to 55 feet from the Gulf of Mexico to Baton 
Rouge. The Non-Federal Sponsor, the State of Louisiana, Department of 
Transportation and Development, has requested that an incremental phase 
of deepening the entire length of the channel to 50 feet be considered. 
A final phase of deepening the channel to 55 feet may be considered in 
the future. The Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 
amended the Water Resources and Development Act of 1986, to increase 
the Federal threshold for full

[[Page 27297]]

Federal channel maintenance responsibilities from 45 feet to 50 feet 
deep.
    The General Reevaluation Report will identify the depth that 
creates the greatest net benefits up to a 50 foot channel in order to 
proceed to implementation and to phase the remaining work accordingly. 
A report released by the Institute of Water Resources (IWR) in June 
2012 evaluated the preparedness of U.S. ports to accommodate Post-
Panamax size vessels. The Panama Canal is being enlarged to accommodate 
vessels that draft 50 feet (Post-Panamax vessels) and the enlarged 
waterway is expected to be completed in 2016. The IWR report found that 
these vessels currently call at U.S. ports and will dominate the world 
fleet in the future. Post-Panamax vessels will call in increasing 
numbers at U.S. ports that can accommodate them. Currently, Mississippi 
River ports cannot accommodate these vessels. There may be economic 
justification in expanding port projects to accommodate post-Panamax 
vessels. The ports located along the lower Mississippi River, being the 
dominant ports for the export of grains from the U.S., will likely play 
a key role in meeting these future needs if they are ready with a post-
Panamax sized channel.

2. Proposed Action

    The purpose of the GRR and SEIS is to identify the depth that 
creates the greatest net benefits up to a depth of 50 feet in order to 
implement the deepening the Mississippi River channel from the current 
depth of 45 feet. An evaluation of population growth trends, trade 
forecasts and examination of the current port capacities shows that 
there is very likely economic justification for deepening the channel. 
This GRR and SEIS will evaluate existing conditions, alternative 
designs, and provide environmental analysis of anticipated impacts 
associated with dredging and disposal alternatives. The handling of 
dredged material generated during construction, the engineering design 
of dredged material disposal areas, and several other aspects of the 
Project, that were evaluated in the 1981 Feasibility Report and EIS, 
will be updated as appropriate.

3. Alternatives

    An evaluation of alternatives, including a ``no action'' 
alternative will be included. In the SEIS, the ``no action'' 
alternative will be the continued operation and maintenance of the 45 
feet deep Mississippi River deep-draft navigation channel from Baton 
Rouge, LA to the Gulf of Mexico. Other alternatives will be determined 
through scoping, but are anticipated to include an alternative of a 48 
feet deep channel and an alternative of a 50 feet deep channel. The 
plan with the highest net benefits (the difference between 
transportation cost savings and project costs) will be identified as 
the recommended plan. Previous evaluations of alternative dredging 
methods, dredged material handling, and disposal alternatives will also 
be updated and/or re-evaluated as appropriate.

4. Scoping

    The Council on Environmental Quality Regulations for implementing 
the procedural provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act 
(NEPA) relating to ``Scoping'' as set forth in at 40 CFR 1501.7 require 
an early and open process for determining the scope of the issues to be 
addressed in an EIS or SEIS and for identifying significant issues 
related to the proposed action. The public will be involved in the 
scoping and evaluation process through advertisements, notices, and 
other means. Federal, state and local agencies, and other interested 
groups will also be involved. Meetings to address discrete issues or 
parts or functions of the study may be held. All parties are invited to 
participate in the scoping process by identifying any additional 
concerns on issues, studies needed, alternatives, procedures, and other 
matters related to the scope of the SEIS.
    A. The Corps will provide additional notification of the times and 
locations of the public scoping meetings through newspaper 
advertisements and other means (see DATES). Following short 
presentations at the scoping meetings, verbal and written comments on 
the scope of the SEIS will be accepted. A transcript of verbal comments 
will be generated to ensure accuracy. Comments will also be accepted 
via email or postal mail.
    B. Issues. Issues that have been identified include, but are not 
limited to, the level of existing and forecasted vessel traffic, 
changes in socio-economic conditions since the 1981 Feasibility Report 
and EIS, evaluation of direct and indirect social and cultural impacts 
on affected communities and the appropriate and practicable mitigation 
measures to address those impacts, a re-evaluation of salt water 
intrusion on municipal drinking water supply, and re-evaluation of 
reasonable dredging and disposal alternatives and associated impacts. 
This non-exhaustive list of issues is intended to facilitate public 
comment on the scope of the SEIS. Concurrent with the NEPA process, the 
Corps will ensure compliance with all applicable environmental laws, 
regulations, and executive orders governing issues such as Federally-
listed threatened and endangered species, essential fish habitats, 
health and safety, general environmental concerns, wetlands and other 
aquatic resources, historic properties, fish and wildlife values, flood 
hazards, navigation, recreation, water quality, and environmental 
justice. In selecting a recommended plan, the Corps will also consider 
issues identified and comments made throughout scoping, public 
involvement, and interagency coordination. The Corps expects to better 
define the issues of concern and the methods that will be used to 
evaluate those issues through the scoping process.
    C. Environmental Review and Consultation. The proposed action 
(recommended plan) will undergo an evaluation for compliance with all 
applicable guidelines pursuant to Section 404(b) of the Clean Water 
Act. This review will include a detailed reevaluation of all 
practicable alternatives as it relates to the handling and disposal of 
the dredged material. The Corps will develop and provide information on 
the resources to be impacted and the proposed mitigation measures as it 
relates to each of the alternatives. Although the Corps does not plan 
to invite any Federal agencies to be cooperating agencies, input and 
critical information from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and other Federal, state, and local 
agencies is expected.

5. Public Scoping Meeting Special Accommodations

    The public scoping meeting places will be physically accessible to 
people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or 
other auxiliary aids should be directed to Steve Roberts, (504) 862-
2517 (voice), or email at steve.w.roberts@usace.army.mil at least 5 
business days prior to the meeting dates.

6. Estimated Date of Draft SEIS Availability

    It is estimated that the draft SEIS will be available to the public 
for review and comment in December 2016. At least one public hearing 
will be held at that time, during which the public will be provided the 
opportunity to comment on the SEIS before it becomes final.


[[Page 27298]]


    Dated: May 5, 2015.
Austin T. Appleton,
Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army, Acting District Commander.
[FR Doc. 2015-11556 Filed 5-12-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3720-58-P