Telecommunications Program: Notice of Availability of a Programmatic Environmental Assessment, 10575-10576 [2016-04381]

Download as PDF 10575 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 40 / Tuesday, March 1, 2016 / Notices following geographic area, in the States of Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, and South Dakota, is assigned to this official agency. In Iowa Bounded on the North by the northern Iowa State line from the Big Sioux River east to U.S. Route 169. Bounded on the East by U.S. Route 169 south to State Route 9; State Route 9 west to U.S. Route 169; U.S. Route 169 south to the northern Humboldt County line; the Humboldt County line east to State Route 17; State Route 17 south to C54; C54 east to U.S. route 69; U.S. Route 69 south to the northern Hamilton County line; northern Hamilton County line east to Interstate 35; Interstate 35 northeast to C55; C55 east to S41; S41 north to State Route 3; State Route 3 to east U.S. Route 65; U.S. Route 65 north to C25; C25 east to S56; S56 north to C23; C23 east to T47; T47 south to C33; C33 east to T64; T64 north to B60; B60 east to U.S. Route 218; U.S. Route 218 north to Chickasaw County; the western Chickasaw County line; and the western and northern Howard County lines. Bounded on the East by the Eastern Howard and Chickasaw County lines; the eastern and southern Bremer County lines; V49 south to State Route 297; State Route 297 south to D38; D38 west to State Route 21; State Route 21 south to State Route 8; State Route 8 west to U.S. Route 63; U.S. Route 63 south to Interstate 80; Interstate 80 east to the Poweshiek County line; the eastern Poweshiek, Mahaska, Monroe, and Appanoose County lines; Bounded on the South by the southern Appanoose, Wayne, Decatur, Ringgold, and Taylor County lines. Bounded on the West by the western Taylor County line; the southern Montgomery County line west to State Route 48; State Route 48 north to M47; M47 north to the Montgomery County line; the northern Montgomery County line; The western Cass and Audubon County Lines; the northern Audubon County line east to U.S. Route 71; U.S. Route 71 north to the southern Sac and Ida County lines; the eastern Monona County line south to State Route 37; State Route 37 west to State Route 175; State Route 175 west to the Missouri River; and by the Missouri River north to the Big Sioux River; the Big Sioux River north to the northern Iowa State line. In Minnesota Yellow Medicine, Renville, Lincoln, Lyon, Redwood, Pipestone, Murray, Cottonwood, Rock, Nobles, Jackson, and Martin Counties. In Nebraska Cedar, Dakota, Dixon, Pierce (north of U.S. Route 20), and Thurston Counties. In South Dakota Bounded on the North by State Route 44 (U.S. 18) east to State Route 11; State Route 11 south to A54B; A54B east to the Big Sioux River. Bounded on the East by the Big Sioux River. Bounded on the South and West by the Missouri River. The following grain elevators are part of this geographic area assignment. In D. R. Schaal Agency’s area: Maxyield Coop, Algona, Kossuth County; Stateline Coop, Burt, Kossuth County; Gold-Eagle, Goldfield, Wright County; North Central Coop, Holmes, Wright County, Iowa; Advantage F.S., Chapin, Franklin County; and Five Star Coop, Rockwell, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa. The following grain elevators are not part of this geographic area assignment and are assigned to Omaha Grain Inspection Service, Inc.: Scoular Elevator, Elliot, Montgomery County and two Scoular elevators, Griswold, Cass County, Iowa. Interested persons may obtain official services by contacting these agencies at the following telephone numbers: Designation start Headquarters location and telephone Farwell Southwest ........................... Jamestown ....................................... Lincoln .............................................. Midsouth .......................................... Sioux City ......................................... asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Official agency Casa Grande, AZ—(520) 421–1027 ......................................................... Jamestown, ND—(701) 252–1290 ............................................................ Lincoln, NE—(402) 435–4386 ................................................................... Memphis, TN—(901) 942–3216 ................................................................ Sioux City, IA—(712) 255–8073 ............................................................... Section 79(f) of the USGSA authorizes the Secretary to designate a qualified applicant to provide official services in a specified area after determining that the applicant is better able than any other applicant to provide such official services (7 U.S.C. 79 (f)). Under Section 79(g) of the USGSA, designations of official agencies are effective for no longer than three years unless terminated by the Secretary; however, designations may be renewed according to the criteria and procedures prescribed in Section 79(f) of the USGSA. Authority: 7 U.S.C. 71–87k. Larry Mitchell, Administrator, Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration. [FR Doc. 2016–04457 Filed 2–29–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–KD–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:18 Feb 29, 2016 Jkt 238001 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Rural Utilities Service Telecommunications Program: Notice of Availability of a Programmatic Environmental Assessment Rural Utilities Service, USDA. Notice of Availability of a Programmatic Environmental Assessment of USDA Rural Utilities Service’s Financial Support for Deployment of the Telecommunications Programs to Rural America. AGENCY: ACTION: The Rural Utilities Service (RUS, Agency), an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture, seeks public and federal agency comments regarding the preparation of a Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) for the development of a more efficient and effective environmental review process for the SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 4/1/2015 4/1/2015 4/1/2015 4/1/2015 4/1/2015 Designation end 3/31/2017 3/31/2018 3/31/2018 3/31/2018 3/31/2017 RUS Telecommunications Program—an environmental review process that is commensurate with the potential environmental impacts of both wired and wireless broadband projects financed by the Agency. RUS is seeking comment from interested stakeholders regarding compliance with relevant laws and regulations, including the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), Endangered Species Act (ESA) and other environmental statutes, regulations, and Executive Orders applicable to the RUS Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan Program, Farm Bill Broadband Loan Program, Community Connect Grant Program, and Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program (collectively, the Telecommunications Program). The proposed review process supports the Agency’s mission of facilitating the development of affordable and reliable E:\FR\FM\01MRN1.SGM 01MRN1 asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 10576 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 40 / Tuesday, March 1, 2016 / Notices broadband infrastructure to improve the quality of life and promote economic development in rural America. The Agency programs provide a necessary source of low-cost capital for rural telecommunications companies (broadband, wireless, and fiber-to-thehome providers). RUS actions covered in the PEA include certain Agency preliminary decisions (such as obligation of funds and approval of interim financing requests) to eligible applicants for project proposals within eligible service areas. In accordance with NEPA, NHPA, ESA, and other applicable environmental statutes, regulations, and Executive Orders, RUS must evaluate the environmental impact of project proposals before providing financial assistance to eligible applicants. The PEA provides a broad environmental analysis of the Agency’s preliminary decisions and includes a tiered, site-specific analysis at the project level that would be completed before Agency dispersal of funds and/or applicant construction. DATES: Written comments on the PEA must be received on or March 31, 2016. ADDRESSES: Please submit written comments by physical mail or electronic mail to: Mr. Richard Fristik, Senior Environmental Protection Specialist, Water and Environmental Programs/ Engineering and Environmental Staff, Rural Utilities Service, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Mail Stop 1571, Room 2240, Washington, DC 20250, fax: (202) 690–0649, or email: Richard.Fristik@wdc.usda.gov. To obtain copies of the PEA or for further information, contact: Mr. Richard Fristik at the contact information provided in this Notice. A copy of the PEA is available for downloading through the Rural Development homepage at: http:// www.rd.usda.gov/publications/ environmental-studies/assessments/ programmatic-environmentalassessment. Additional information about the Agency and its programs is available on the Internet at http:// www.rd.usda.gov/. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information on the proposed PEA, please contact Mr. Richard Fristik, Senior Environmental Protection Specialist, Water and Environmental Programs/Engineering and Environmental Staff, Rural Utilities Service, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Mail Stop 1571, Room 2240, Washington, DC 20250, telephone: (202) 720–5093, fax: (202) 690–0649, or email: Richard.Fristik@wdc.usda.gov. Parties wishing to be placed on the PEA’s mailing list for future information and VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:18 Feb 29, 2016 Jkt 238001 to receive copies of the PEA should also contact Mr. Fristik. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The RUS Telecommunications Program provides a variety of loans and grants to build and expand broadband networks in rural America. Loans to build broadband networks and deliver service to households and businesses in rural communities provide a necessary source of capital for rural telecommunications companies. Grant funding is awarded based on a number of factors relating to the benefits to be derived from the proposed broadband network project, as specified in applicable program regulations. Eligible applicants for RUS loans and grants include for-profit and non-profit entities, tribes, municipalities, and cooperatives. The Agency particularly encourages investment in tribal and economically disadvantaged areas. Through low-cost funding for telecommunications infrastructure, rural residents can have access to services that will close the digital divide between rural and urban communities. Once funds are awarded, RUS monitors the projects to make sure they are completed in accordance with program conditions and requirements. The application process for requesting financial assistance for the various Telecommunications programs varies slightly from a competitive grant program, individual project proposals, or multi-year ‘‘loan design’’ applications. The Agency seeks to synchronize and create environmental review efficiencies for future projectlevel environmental review compliance for the various programs, commensurate with the potential environmental impacts. The Agency also seeks to establish proper sequencing of certain agency preliminary decisions (i.e., obligation of funds and/or approval of interim financing requests) with subsequent tiered, site-specific project environmental reviews. The PEA is intended to expedite the funding, deployment, and expansion of broadband infrastructure in rural America. The PEA includes detailed descriptions and analyses of the direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts associated with broadband infrastructure technologies and construction methods, such as impacts to water resources, terrestrial resources, historic and cultural resources, air and climate resources, noise, threatened and endangered species, electromagnetic radiation, and Environmental Justice issues. Use of the PEA analyses thereby saves project-level processing time, ensuring consistent and accurate PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 environmental evaluations while avoiding unnecessary duplication and repetition in project-level planning and evaluation. Use of the PEA enables project-level compliance with NEPA, ESA, NHPA, and other requirements to focus on the remaining relevant sitespecific issues, expediting planning, analysis, compliance, documentation, and ultimately project-level decisions. The PEA is available for public review at the digital and physical addresses provided in this Notice. Questions and comments should be sent to RUS at the mailing or email addresses provided in this Notice. RUS should receive written comments on the PEA on or before March 31, 2016 to ensure that they are considered in its environmental impact determination. Any final action by RUS related to the broadband portion of the RUS Telecommunications Program will be subject to, and contingent upon, compliance with all relevant presidential executive orders and federal, state, and local environmental laws and regulations in addition to the completion of the environmental review requirements as prescribed in RUS’s Environmental Policies and Procedures, 7 CFR part 1794, as amended. Dated: February 16, 2016. Keith B. Adams Assistant Administrator— Telecommunications Program, Rural Utilities Service. [FR Doc. 2016–04381 Filed 2–29–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE [Docket No. 151109999–6121–02] Privacy Act of 1974, New System of Records National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. ACTION: Notice of a New Privacy Act System of Records: COMMERCE/ NOAA–22, NOAA Health Services Questionnaire (NHSQ) and Tuberculosis Screening Document (TSD). AGENCY: The Department of Commerce publishes this notice to announce the effective date of a Privacy Act System of Records entitled COMMERCE/NOAA– 22, NOAA Health Services Questionnaire (NHSQ) and Tuberculosis Screening Document (TSD). DATES: The system of records becomes effective on March 1, 2016. ADDRESSES: For a copy of the system of records, please mail requests to: Sarah Brabson, NOAA Office of the Chief SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\01MRN1.SGM 01MRN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 40 (Tuesday, March 1, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 10575-10576]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-04381]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Rural Utilities Service


Telecommunications Program: Notice of Availability of a 
Programmatic Environmental Assessment

AGENCY: Rural Utilities Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of Availability of a Programmatic Environmental 
Assessment of USDA Rural Utilities Service's Financial Support for 
Deployment of the Telecommunications Programs to Rural America.

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

SUMMARY: The Rural Utilities Service (RUS, Agency), an agency of the 
United States Department of Agriculture, seeks public and federal 
agency comments regarding the preparation of a Programmatic 
Environmental Assessment (PEA) for the development of a more efficient 
and effective environmental review process for the RUS 
Telecommunications Program--an environmental review process that is 
commensurate with the potential environmental impacts of both wired and 
wireless broadband projects financed by the Agency. RUS is seeking 
comment from interested stakeholders regarding compliance with relevant 
laws and regulations, including the National Environmental Policy Act 
(NEPA), National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), Endangered Species 
Act (ESA) and other environmental statutes, regulations, and Executive 
Orders applicable to the RUS Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan 
Program, Farm Bill Broadband Loan Program, Community Connect Grant 
Program, and Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program (collectively, 
the Telecommunications Program). The proposed review process supports 
the Agency's mission of facilitating the development of affordable and 
reliable

[[Page 10576]]

broadband infrastructure to improve the quality of life and promote 
economic development in rural America. The Agency programs provide a 
necessary source of low-cost capital for rural telecommunications 
companies (broadband, wireless, and fiber-to-the-home providers). RUS 
actions covered in the PEA include certain Agency preliminary decisions 
(such as obligation of funds and approval of interim financing 
requests) to eligible applicants for project proposals within eligible 
service areas. In accordance with NEPA, NHPA, ESA, and other applicable 
environmental statutes, regulations, and Executive Orders, RUS must 
evaluate the environmental impact of project proposals before providing 
financial assistance to eligible applicants. The PEA provides a broad 
environmental analysis of the Agency's preliminary decisions and 
includes a tiered, site-specific analysis at the project level that 
would be completed before Agency dispersal of funds and/or applicant 
construction.

DATES: Written comments on the PEA must be received on or March 31, 
2016.

ADDRESSES: Please submit written comments by physical mail or 
electronic mail to: Mr. Richard Fristik, Senior Environmental 
Protection Specialist, Water and Environmental Programs/Engineering and 
Environmental Staff, Rural Utilities Service, 1400 Independence Ave. 
SW., Mail Stop 1571, Room 2240, Washington, DC 20250, fax: (202) 690-
0649, or email: Richard.Fristik@wdc.usda.gov.
    To obtain copies of the PEA or for further information, contact: 
Mr. Richard Fristik at the contact information provided in this Notice. 
A copy of the PEA is available for downloading through the Rural 
Development homepage at: http://www.rd.usda.gov/publications/environmental-studies/assessments/programmatic-environmental-assessment. Additional information about the Agency and its programs is 
available on the Internet at http://www.rd.usda.gov/.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information on the proposed PEA, 
please contact Mr. Richard Fristik, Senior Environmental Protection 
Specialist, Water and Environmental Programs/Engineering and 
Environmental Staff, Rural Utilities Service, 1400 Independence Ave. 
SW., Mail Stop 1571, Room 2240, Washington, DC 20250, telephone: (202) 
720-5093, fax: (202) 690-0649, or email: Richard.Fristik@wdc.usda.gov. 
Parties wishing to be placed on the PEA's mailing list for future 
information and to receive copies of the PEA should also contact Mr. 
Fristik.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The RUS Telecommunications Program provides 
a variety of loans and grants to build and expand broadband networks in 
rural America. Loans to build broadband networks and deliver service to 
households and businesses in rural communities provide a necessary 
source of capital for rural telecommunications companies. Grant funding 
is awarded based on a number of factors relating to the benefits to be 
derived from the proposed broadband network project, as specified in 
applicable program regulations.
    Eligible applicants for RUS loans and grants include for-profit and 
non-profit entities, tribes, municipalities, and cooperatives. The 
Agency particularly encourages investment in tribal and economically 
disadvantaged areas. Through low-cost funding for telecommunications 
infrastructure, rural residents can have access to services that will 
close the digital divide between rural and urban communities. Once 
funds are awarded, RUS monitors the projects to make sure they are 
completed in accordance with program conditions and requirements.
    The application process for requesting financial assistance for the 
various Telecommunications programs varies slightly from a competitive 
grant program, individual project proposals, or multi-year ``loan 
design'' applications. The Agency seeks to synchronize and create 
environmental review efficiencies for future project-level 
environmental review compliance for the various programs, commensurate 
with the potential environmental impacts. The Agency also seeks to 
establish proper sequencing of certain agency preliminary decisions 
(i.e., obligation of funds and/or approval of interim financing 
requests) with subsequent tiered, site-specific project environmental 
reviews.
    The PEA is intended to expedite the funding, deployment, and 
expansion of broadband infrastructure in rural America. The PEA 
includes detailed descriptions and analyses of the direct, indirect, 
and cumulative impacts associated with broadband infrastructure 
technologies and construction methods, such as impacts to water 
resources, terrestrial resources, historic and cultural resources, air 
and climate resources, noise, threatened and endangered species, 
electromagnetic radiation, and Environmental Justice issues. Use of the 
PEA analyses thereby saves project-level processing time, ensuring 
consistent and accurate environmental evaluations while avoiding 
unnecessary duplication and repetition in project-level planning and 
evaluation. Use of the PEA enables project-level compliance with NEPA, 
ESA, NHPA, and other requirements to focus on the remaining relevant 
site-specific issues, expediting planning, analysis, compliance, 
documentation, and ultimately project-level decisions.
    The PEA is available for public review at the digital and physical 
addresses provided in this Notice. Questions and comments should be 
sent to RUS at the mailing or email addresses provided in this Notice. 
RUS should receive written comments on the PEA on or before March 31, 
2016 to ensure that they are considered in its environmental impact 
determination.
    Any final action by RUS related to the broadband portion of the RUS 
Telecommunications Program will be subject to, and contingent upon, 
compliance with all relevant presidential executive orders and federal, 
state, and local environmental laws and regulations in addition to the 
completion of the environmental review requirements as prescribed in 
RUS's Environmental Policies and Procedures, 7 CFR part 1794, as 
amended.

    Dated: February 16, 2016.
Keith B. Adams
Assistant Administrator--Telecommunications Program, Rural Utilities 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2016-04381 Filed 2-29-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE P