Revised National Environmental Policy Act Procedures and Categorical Exclusions, 28621-28627 [2017-13156]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 120 / Friday, June 23, 2017 / Notices ACTION: Announcement of meeting. Notice is hereby given, pursuant to the provisions of the rules and regulations of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (Commission) and the Federal Advisory Committee Act that the Kansas Advisory Committee (Committee) will hold meetings on Friday, July 28, 2017, and Thursday September 7, 2017 at 3 p.m. Central time. The Committee will begin discussion and preparations to hold a public hearing as part of their current study on civil rights and school funding in the state. DATES: These meetings will take place on Friday, July 28, 2017, and Thursday, September 7, 2017, at 3 p.m. Central time. asabaliauskas on DSKBBXCHB2PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: Public Call Information • Friday July 28, 2017: Dial: 800–967– 7185, Conference ID: 3532368 • Thursday September 7, 2017: Dial: 877–718–5106, Conference ID: 7020808 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Melissa Wojnaroski, DFO, at mwojnaroski@usccr.gov or (312) 353– 8311. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Members of the public can listen to these discussions. These meetings are available to the public through the above call in numbers. Any interested member of the public may call this number and listen to the meeting. An open comment period will be provided to allow members of the public to make a statement as time allows. The conference call operator will ask callers to identify themselves, the organization they are affiliated with (if any), and an email address prior to placing callers into the conference room. Callers can expect to incur regular charges for calls they initiate over wireless lines, according to their wireless plan. The Commission will not refund any incurred charges. Callers will incur no charge for calls they initiate over landline connections to the toll-free telephone number. Persons with hearing impairments may also follow the proceedings by first calling the Federal Relay Service at 1–800–977–8339 and providing the Service with the conference call number and conference ID number. Members of the public are also entitled to submit written comments; the comments must be received in the regional office within 30 days following the meeting. Written comments may be mailed to the Regional Programs Unit, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 55 W. Monroe St., Suite 410, Chicago, IL VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:21 Jun 22, 2017 Jkt 241001 60615. They may also be faxed to the Commission at (312) 353–8324, or emailed to Corrine Sanders at csanders@ usccr.gov. Persons who desire additional information may contact the Regional Programs Unit at (312) 353– 8311. Records generated from this meeting may be inspected and reproduced at the Regional Programs Unit Office, as they become available, both before and after the meeting. Records of the meeting will be available via www.facadatabase.gov under the Commission on Civil Rights, Kansas Advisory Committee link (http:// www.facadatabase.gov/committee/ meetings.aspx?cid=249). Click on ‘‘meeting details’’ and then ‘‘documents’’ to download. Persons interested in the work of this Committee are directed to the Commission’s Web site, http://www.usccr.gov, or may contact the Regional Programs Unit at the above email or street address. 28621 Meeting Agenda I. Approval of Agenda II. Program Planning • Vote on November 13th as Commission Business Meeting • Vote on 2017 Statutory Enforcement Report ‘‘Targeted Fines and Fees against Low-Income Communities of Color: Civil Rights and Constitutional Implications.’’ V. Adjourn Meeting. Dated: June 20, 2017, Brian Walch, Director of Communications and Public Engagement. [FR Doc. 2017–13244 Filed 6–21–17; 11:15 am] BILLING CODE 6335–01–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Telecommunications and Information Administration Agenda First Responder Network Authority Welcome and Roll Call Civil Rights in Kansas: School funding Future Plans and Actions Public Comment Adjournment [Docket Number: 131219999–7305–03] Dated: June 19, 2017. David Mussatt, Supervisory Chief, Regional Programs Unit. [FR Doc. 2017–13113 Filed 6–22–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS Sunshine Act Meeting Notice Thursday, June 29, 2017, at 12:00 p.m. EST. ADDRESSES: Meeting to take place by telephone. DATES: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brian Walch, (202) 376–8371, publicaffairs@usccr.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This business meeting is open to the public by telephone only. Participant Access Instructions: Dial in 5–10 minutes prior to the start time using the phone number and Conference Passcode below. Listen Only, Toll Free: 1 (888) 318– 7469; Conference ID: 897–2138. Persons with hearing impairments: Please contact the above about how to access the Federal Relay Service for the meeting. Frm 00004 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Revised National Environmental Policy Act Procedures and Categorical Exclusions First Responder Network Authority, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments. AGENCY: The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) publishes this notice to request comments on proposed revisions to its procedures for implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), categorical exclusions, and related extraordinary circumstances. Pursuant to Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations, FirstNet is soliciting comments on its proposed revisions to its NEPA implementing procedures from members of the interested public. Additionally, in this notice, FirstNet is providing a synopsis of the proposed changes to its NEPA implementing procedures and categorical exclusions to assist the public in reviewing those changes. SUMMARY: United States Commission on Civil Rights. ACTION: Notice of Commission Telephonic Business Meeting. AGENCY: PO 00000 RIN 0660–XC009 Comments due on or before July 24, 2017. ADDRESSES: The public is invited to submit written comments to FirstNet’s proposed revisions to its NEPA implementing procedures, categorical exclusions, and related extraordinary circumstances. Written comments may DATES: E:\FR\FM\23JNN1.SGM 23JNN1 28622 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 120 / Friday, June 23, 2017 / Notices asabaliauskas on DSKBBXCHB2PROD with NOTICES be submitted electronically through www.regulations.gov or by mail to Eli Veenendaal, First Responder Network Authority, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 3122 Sterling Circle, Suite 100 Boulder, CO 80301. FirstNet may not consider comments if they are sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the comment period ends. Comments received in response to this docket will be made a part of the public record and be posted to www.regulations.gov without change. Comments should be machine-readable and should not be copy-protected. All personally identifiable information (e.g., name, address) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. FirstNet will make this notice and the draft Revised FirstNet NEPA Implementing Procedures, Categorical Exclusions, and supporting administrative record available for public inspection at www.firstnet.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Eli Veenendaal, First Responder Network Authority, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 3122 Sterling Circle, Suite 100 Boulder, CO 80301 or elijah.veenendaal@firstnet.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: National Environmental Policy Act The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) requires federal agencies to undertake an assessment of the environmental effects of their proposed actions prior to making a final decision and implementing the action. NEPA requirements apply to major federal actions that may significantly affect the quality of the human environment.1 NEPA also established the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), which issued regulations implementing the procedural provisions of NEPA (see 40 CFR part 1500 et. seq.). Among other considerations, CEQ regulations at 40 CFR 1507.3 require federal agencies to (1) adopt their own implementing procedures to supplement CEQ’s regulations, and (2) consult with CEQ during development of these supplemental procedures prior to publication in the Federal Register. Agency-specific NEPA implementing procedures are intended to provide 1 See 42 U.S.C. 4332. VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:21 Jun 22, 2017 guidance that assists agencies in fulfilling their responsibilities under NEPA. The requirements for establishing NEPA procedures are set forth at 40 CFR 1505.1 and 1507.3. Further, NEPA and the CEQ implementing regulations provide for environmental review of a proposed government action in the form of a Categorical Exclusion (CE), Environmental Assessment (EA), or Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). A CE is ‘‘a category of actions which do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment,’’ and does not require further NEPA review in the form of either an EA or EIS. See 40 CFR 1508.4; CEQ, ‘‘Final Guidance for Federal Departments and Agencies on Establishing, Applying, and Revising Categorical Exclusions Under the National Environmental Policy Act’’ (75 FR 75628; December 6, 2010). A CE does not exempt an action from NEPA review; rather, it is one form of environmental review under NEPA. See 75 FR 75631. A CE may be applied to a proposed action after an agency has reviewed and determined that the action fits within the category of actions encompassed by the CE. See 40 CFR 1508.4. In making this determination, the decision maker must also consider whether extraordinary circumstances apply, which would lead to a normally categorically excluded action to have the potential for significant impacts. Thus, a CE does not eliminate environmental review of a proposed action, but reduces paperwork and delay and allows an agency to efficiently focus its resources on proposed actions with the potential for significant environmental effects. FirstNet NEPA Implementing Procedures The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (Pub. L. 112–96, Title VI, 126 Stat. 156 (codified at 47 U.S.C. 1401 et seq.)) (the ‘‘Act’’) established the First Responder Network Authority (‘‘FirstNet’’) as an independent authority within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (‘‘NTIA’’). FirstNet’s statutory mission is to take all actions necessary to ensure the establishment of a nationwide public safety broadband network (‘‘NPSBN’’).2 Moreover, the Act meets a long-standing and critical national infrastructure need to create a single, nationwide interoperable network that will, for the first time, allow public safety entities such as police officers, fire fighters, 2 47 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 U.S.C. 1426(b). Frm 00005 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 emergency medical service professionals, and other public safety personnel to effectively communicate with each other across agencies and jurisdictions. Consequently, because of the critical nature of this network, the Act requires FirstNet to, among other things, seek opportunities to speed the deployment of the network.3 To help facilitate FirstNet’s mission, the Act requires the Federal Communications Commission (‘‘FCC’’) to reallocate and grant a license to FirstNet for the use of the 700MHz D block spectrum and existing public safety broadband spectrum.4 As a result, FirstNet is in the unique position of being the only entity that is both an independent federal authority and a FCC licensee. Accordingly, FirstNet must comply with potentially duplicative regulations, such as those imposed under NEPA and the CEQ regulations and by FCC regulations. Consequently, it was determined that aligning the FirstNet and FCC NEPA processes was necessary in order to avoid duplicating analysis and documentation resulting in additional costs or delays in network deployment, which could severely impact FirstNet’s ability to complete its statutory mission and ensure the establishment of a network for public safety. On April 28, 2014, FirstNet, as a newly created federal entity, published a notice in the Federal Register finalizing its original NEPA implementing procedures.5 These NEPA implementing procedures provide the framework for FirstNet’s establishment of a NEPA compliance program and applying the appropriate level of NEPA review for major federal actions related to the deployment of the NPSBN. More specifically, FirstNet’s NEPA implementing procedures supplement CEQ regulations and provide guidance to FirstNet employees and potential Applicants regarding the procedural requirements for the application of NEPA. Proposed Changes to NEPA Implementing Procedures As it has continued to mature as an organization, FirstNet, as mentioned above, has identified the need to modify its NEPA implementing procedures, CEs, and related extraordinary 3 See, e.g., 47 U.S.C. 1426 (b)(3). U.S.C. 1421(a) (consistent with this provision FCC granted a license to FirstNet for the use of the 700 MHz D block spectrum under Call Sign WQQE234 on November 15, 2012). 5 FirstNet National Environmental Policy Act Implementing Procedures and Categorical Exclusions, 79 FR 23950 (April 29, 2014) (hereinafter ‘‘NEPA Procedures’’). 4 47 E:\FR\FM\23JNN1.SGM 23JNN1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 120 / Friday, June 23, 2017 / Notices circumstances to ensure that such procedures better align with FirstNet’s statutory mission and activities related to the deployment of the NPSBN, as well as better assist FirstNet in complying with NEPA and FCC regulations. More specifically, FirstNet, as both an independent federal authority and a licensee of the FCC, must satisfy its own NEPA requirements as well as comply with FCCpromulgated NEPA procedures. Under CEQ regulations, federal agencies with overlapping NEPA requirements related to the same project are encouraged to streamline their NEPA implementing procedures to avoid duplicative NEPA review.6 Accordingly, FirstNet is proposing to modify its NEPA procedures and CEs to better align with FCC procedures in order to avoid duplicative NEPA reviews that would otherwise likely result in unnecessary costs to and delays in the deployment of the NPSBN. Generally, FirstNet’s proposed revisions include: (1) Updates to the process for determining and documenting categorically excluded activities; (2) the addition of criteria that may trigger the need for the development of an EA; (3) modifications necessary to account for FirstNet’s changes in organizational structure and internal policies and procedures; (4) modifications to the definition and role of an Applicant in the environmental review process; and (5) the establishment of two new CEs and updates to its extraordinary circumstances. A synopsis of proposed changes is listed below and a full version of the revised implementing procedures and administrative record supporting the establishment of two new CEs is available at www.firstnet.gov. asabaliauskas on DSKBBXCHB2PROD with NOTICES Synopsis of Proposed Changes to Implementing Procedures Administrative FirstNet is seeking to modify its implementing procedures to reflect organizational changes that have occurred since the publishing of its existing procedures. Primary changes include: (1) Renaming the General Manager to Chief Executive Officer (CEO); (2) clarifying the roles of the Director of Environmental Compliance and/or NEPA Coordinator, the Office of Chief Counsel, and an Applicant; (3) updating the procedures from a Directive to a Policy; (4) the addition, removal, and updates to legal authorities used or cited throughout the 6 See generally 40 CFR 1507.3. VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:21 Jun 22, 2017 Jkt 241001 policy; and (5) corrections to any minor clerical errors. Definitions FirstNet proposes moving the ‘‘Definition’’ section from Appendix B to the body of the policy and adding references to applicable definitions from the FCC regulations. FirstNet is also seeking to modify the term ‘‘Applicant’’ to mean ‘‘any person, entity, or Federal, state, tribal, or territorial government body that seeks to take an action related to the NPSBN or an action that is otherwise under the direct control and responsibility of FirstNet, including, but not limited to, actions that occur under any type of agreement related to the use of the spectrum licensed to FirstNet under station license call sign WQQE234, or actions requiring the approval of or funding provided by FirstNet.’’ General Requirements for Categorical Exclusions FirstNet is seeking to amend the process for applying and documenting CEs by removing and replacing all of the section entitled ‘‘General Requirements for Categorical Exclusions’’ with the following language: ‘‘CEs are categories of actions that FirstNet has found, based on past experience with similar actions, do not individually or cumulatively have significant environmental impacts and normally do not require any further NEPA review. FirstNet actions, including those of Applicants, that fit the description of actions in Appendix B, Categorical Exclusions, and where no extraordinary circumstances exist, are categorically excluded from further environmental review. The approved list of FirstNet actions that normally qualify for a CE are only those listed in Appendix B, Categorical Exclusions. A CE may be applied to a proposed action in accordance with the following requirements: (a) FirstNet shall not be required to, but may at its discretion, document its determination that a CE applies to a proposed action. (b) Documentation prepared by an Applicant to demonstrate that an action qualifies for a CE shall be provided for FirstNet’s independent review and evaluation. (c) Any action that normally would be classified as a CE but would involve any of the extraordinary circumstances identified in Appendix C shall require FirstNet, in cooperation with the Applicant, to conduct and document the appropriate environmental analysis to determine if the action warrants a CE or PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 28623 if the preparation of an EA or EIS is required. (d) Extraordinary circumstances that, if present, may result in a potentially significant environmental effect are listed in Appendix C. (e) The list of approved FirstNet CEs is subject to continual review and can be modified by amending/revising this policy, in consultation with CEQ. (f) The use of a CE does not relieve FirstNet or an Applicant of obligations to comply with other statutes or required consultations, such as under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) or the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (16 U.S.C. 470 et seq.).’’ General Requirements for Environmental Assessments FirstNet is seeking to amend the requirements for determining the necessity of preparing an EA. Primary changes include adding criteria to account for existing FCC environmental regulatory requirements, removing overlapping or redundant language, and adding criteria for conducting tiered environmental reviews. Accordingly, FirstNet proposes removing and replacing all of the section entitled ‘‘General Requirements for Environmental Assessments’’ with the following language: ‘‘FirstNet or an Applicant shall prepare an EA, as defined in 40 CFR 1508.9, for a proposed action that FirstNet determines may have significant environmental impacts. Actions normally requiring an EA include those: (a) That fall within the scope of actions described in 47 CFR 1.1307(a); (b) Where a particular facility, operation, or transmitter would cause human exposure to levels of radiofrequency radiation in excess of applicable health and safety guidelines found in 47 CFR 1.1307(b); (c) That involve the construction or modification of certain antenna structures over 450 feet in height that are subject to the FCC’s antenna structure registration rules in 47 CFR part 17; (d) That have an adverse effect on a historic property so as to require an EA under 47 CFR 1.1307(a)(4); and (e) That meet categorical exclusion criteria, but for which extraordinary circumstances are present, requiring further environmental analysis and potentially the preparation of an EA to determine if there are significant impacts associated with the action.’’ E:\FR\FM\23JNN1.SGM 23JNN1 28624 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 120 / Friday, June 23, 2017 / Notices asabaliauskas on DSKBBXCHB2PROD with NOTICES Environmental Assessment Development Process the issues specific to the statement subsequently prepared.’’ FirstNet is proposing to move portions of the section ‘‘General Requirements for Environmental Assessments’’ to a new section entitled, ‘‘Environmental Assessment Development Process.’’ Primary changes include removing overlapping or redundant language, and adding criteria for conducting tiered environmental reviews. Accordingly, FirstNet proposes removing the section entitled ‘‘Environmental Assessment Development Process’’ to include the following language: ‘‘FirstNet or an Applicant shall develop an EA in accordance with the following process and requirements. (a) The FirstNet CEO or delegate can decide to prepare an EA as a planning tool to inform decision makers of the environmental impacts of a proposed action. (b) FirstNet or an Applicant, in preparing an EA, shall ensure, at minimum, the contents of the EA: (1) comply with the requirements of 40 CFR 1508.9; (2) include the information specified in 47 CFR 1.1311; (3) explain the environmental consequences of the proposed action; and (4) set forth sufficient analysis for FirstNet to determine the potential impacts associated with the proposed action. (c) If FirstNet determines, based on an independent review, that the proposed action will not have a significant impact, FirstNet may issue a FONSI as described in 40 CFR 1508.13. (d) If, after review of the EA, FirstNet determines that the proposed action may have a significant environmental impact, FirstNet, in coordination with the Applicant, may amend the action described in the EA to avoid, minimize, or mitigate the potential environmental impacts. (e) If actions cannot be taken to avoid, minimize, or mitigate the potential environmental impacts and FirstNet determines that the proposed action will have a significant environmental impact, FirstNet, in coordination with the Applicant, shall proceed with the preparation of an EIS. (f) Rather than preparing a single EA or EIS as a basis for approving an entire project, FirstNet, as necessary, may conduct one or more rounds or ‘‘tiers’’ of environmental reviews. These tiered reviews may cover general matters in a broader EA or EIS (e.g., contracts or policy statements) with subsequent narrower statements or environmental analyses (e.g., site-specific analyses), incorporating by reference the general discussion and concentrating solely on Environmental Justice FirstNet is proposing to remove extraneous and duplicative language from the body of the implementing procedures as this language is already cited in E.O. 12898, ‘‘Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations’’ which is referenced in this section. VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:21 Jun 22, 2017 Jkt 241001 Environmental Determinations and Final Decisions FirstNet is seeking to amend the section entitled ‘‘Environmental Determinations and Final Decisions’’ related to CEs by removing language that conflicts with the proposed changes to the application of CEs. Accordingly, FirstNet proposes removing and replacing the existing language with the following: ‘‘(a) Categorical Exclusion (CE) 1. FirstNet or Applicant actions that fall within a CE and where no extraordinary circumstances exist do not require any further NEPA review. 2. If a proposed action is determined to fall within a CE, FirstNet shall not be required to, but may at its discretion, document its determination that a CE applies to a proposed action, unless extraordinary circumstances exist.’’ Extraordinary Circumstances FirstNet proposes to remove and replace its existing list of extraordinary circumstances with the criteria established by the FCC regulations that require the development of an EA. Accordingly, the current list of extraordinary circumstances will be removed and replaced with the following: ‘‘The following extraordinary circumstances or First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) actions with respect to the following types of facilities may significantly affect the environment and may require further environmental review and the preparation of an Environmental Assessment (EA): 1. Facilities that are to be located in an officially designated wilderness area. 2. Facilities that are to be located in an officially designated wildlife preserve. 3. Facilities that: (i) May affect listed threatened or endangered species or designated critical habitats; or (ii) are likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any proposed endangered or threatened species or likely to result in the destruction or adverse modification of proposed critical PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 habitats, as determined by the Secretary of the Interior pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531). 4. Facilities that may affect prehistoric or historic districts, sites, buildings, structures, or objects that are significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, or culture and that are listed, or are eligible for listing, in the National Register of Historic Places (See 16 U.S.C. 470w(5); Parts 60 through 800 of Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations [36 CFR parts 60 and 800]).7 However, these requirements do not apply to: a. The mounting of antennas 8 (including associated equipment such as wiring, cabling, cabinets, or backuppower) on existing utility structures (including utility poles and electric transmission towers in active use by a ’’utility’’ as defined in Section 224 of the Communications Act of 1934, 47 U.S.C. 224, but not including light poles, lamp posts, and other structures whose primary purpose is to provide public lighting) where the deployment meets the following conditions: i. All antennas that are part of the deployment fit within enclosures (or if the antennas are exposed, within imaginary enclosures) that are individually no more than three (3) cubic feet in volume, and all antennas on the structure, including any preexisting antennas on the structure, fit within enclosures (or if the antennas are exposed, within imaginary enclosures) that total no more than six (6) cubic feet in volume; ii. All other wireless equipment associated with the structure, including pre-existing enclosures and including equipment on the ground associated with antennas on the structure, are cumulatively no more than 17 cubic feet in volume, exclusive of: 7 To ascertain whether a proposed action may affect properties that are listed, or are eligible for listing, in the National Register of Historic Places, an Applicant shall follow the procedures set forth in the rules of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, 36 CFR part 800, as modified and supplemented by the Nationwide Programmatic Agreement for the Collocation of Wireless Antennas (See 47 CFR Appendix B Part 1) and the Nationwide Programmatic Agreement Regarding the Section 106 National Historic Preservation Act Review Process (See 47 CFR Appendix C Part 1). 8 A non-visible new antenna is in the ‘‘same vicinity’’ as a pre-existing antenna if it will be collocated on the same rooftop, facade, or other surface. A visible new antenna is in the ‘‘same vicinity’’ as a pre-existing antenna if it is on the same rooftop, facade, or other surface and the centerpoint of the new antenna is within ten feet of the centerpoint of the pre-existing antenna. A deployment causes no new ground disturbance when the depth and width of previous disturbance exceeds the proposed construction depth and width by at least two feet. E:\FR\FM\23JNN1.SGM 23JNN1 asabaliauskas on DSKBBXCHB2PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 120 / Friday, June 23, 2017 / Notices 1. Vertical cable runs for the connection of power and other services; 2. Ancillary equipment installed by other entities that is outside of the Applicant’s ownership or control, and 3. Comparable equipment from preexisting wireless deployments on the structure; iii. The deployment will involve no new ground disturbance; and iv. The deployment would otherwise require the preparation of an EA under 47 CFR 1.1307(a)(4) solely because of the age of the structure. b. The mounting of antennas (including associated equipment such as wiring, cabling, cabinets, or backuppower) on buildings or other non-tower structures where the deployment meets the following conditions: i. There is an existing antenna on the building or structure; ii. One of the following criteria is met: 1. Non-Visible Antennas. The new antenna is not visible from any adjacent streets or surrounding public spaces and is added in the same vicinity as a preexisting antenna; 2. Visible Replacement Antennas. The new antenna is visible from adjacent streets or surrounding public spaces, provided that: a. It is a replacement for a pre-existing antenna; b. The new antenna will be located in the same vicinity as the pre-existing antenna, c. The new antenna will be visible only from adjacent streets and surrounding public spaces that also afford views of the pre-existing antenna, d. The new antenna is not more than three (3) feet larger in height or width (including all protuberances) than the pre-existing antenna; and e. No new equipment cabinets are visible from the adjacent streets or surrounding public spaces; or 3. Other Visible Antennas. The new antenna is visible from adjacent streets or surrounding public spaces, provided that: a. It is located in the same vicinity as a pre-existing antenna; b. The new antenna is visible only from adjacent streets and surrounding public spaces that also afford views of the pre-existing antenna; c. The pre-existing antenna was not deployed pursuant to the exclusion in this subsection (47 CFR 1.1307(a)(4)(ii)(B)(2)(iii)); d. The new antenna is not more than three (3) feet larger in height or width (including all protuberances) than the pre-existing antenna; and e. No new equipment cabinets are visible from the adjacent streets or surrounding public spaces; VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:21 Jun 22, 2017 Jkt 241001 c. The new antenna complies with all zoning conditions and historic preservation conditions applicable to existing antennas in the same vicinity that directly mitigate or prevent effects, such as camouflage or concealment requirements; d. The deployment of the new antenna involves no new ground disturbance; and e. The deployment would otherwise require the preparation of an EA under 47 CFR 1.1307(a)(4) solely because of the age of the structure. 5. Facilities that may affect tribal religious sites. 6. Facilities to be located in a floodplain (See Executive Order [E.O.] 11988, Floodplain Management, as amended). 7. Facilities whose construction will involve significant change in surface features (e.g., wetland fill, deforestation, water diversion). In the case of wetlands on federal property, see E.O. 11990, Protection of Wetlands. 8. Antenna towers and/or supporting structures that are to be equipped with high intensity white lights and located in residential neighborhoods, as defined by the applicable zoning law. 9. FirstNet actions granting permits or leases, or renewals thereof, or equipment authorizations or modifications in existing facilities require the preparation of an EA, subject to the specific conditions specified in 47 CFR 1.1307(b), if the particular facility, operation, or transmitter would cause human exposure levels of radio frequency radiation in excess of the limits described in 47 CFR 1.1310 and 2.1093. 10. If an interested person alleges that a particular action, otherwise categorically excluded, may have a significant environmental effect, the person shall submit to FirstNet a written petition setting forth in detail the reasons justifying or circumstances necessitating environmental consideration in the decision-making process. FirstNet shall review the petition and consider the environmental concerns that have been raised. If FirstNet determines that the action may have a significant environmental impact, FirstNet will require the Applicant to prepare an EA, which will serve as the basis for the determination to proceed with or terminate environmental processing. 11. FirstNet shall require an EA for an otherwise categorically excluded action involving a new or existing antenna structure, for which an antenna structure registration application (Federal Communications Commission [FCC] Form 854) is required under 47 PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 28625 CFR part 17, if the proposed antenna structure will be over 450 feet in height above ground level and involves either: a. Construction of a new antenna structure; b. Modification or replacement of an existing antenna structure involving a substantial increase in size as defined in 47 CFR (C)(1)(3) of Appendix B to Part 1, Nationwide Programmatic Agreement for Collocations of Wireless Antennas; or c. Addition of lighting or adoption of a less preferred lighting style as defined in 47 CFR 17.4(c)(1)(iii) of this chapter. FirstNet shall consider whether to require an EA for other antenna structures subject to 47 CFR 17.4(c) of this chapter in accordance with 47 CFR 17.4(c)(8). An EA required pursuant to this note will be subject to the same procedures that apply to any EA required for a proposed tower or modification of an existing tower for which an antenna structure registration application (FCC Form 854) is required, as set forth in 47 CFR 17.4(c). 12. If FirstNet is responsible for processing a particular action otherwise categorically excluded, and determines that the proposal may have a significant environmental impact, FirstNet on its own motion, shall require the Applicant to submit an EA.’’ Proposed Revisions to FirstNet Categorical Exclusions FirstNet, as discussed above, has a statutory mission to ensure the establishment of the NPSBN. As an FCC licensee, FirstNet actions related to network deployment will be the same activities as those undertaken by other FCC licensees and will be subject to the same FCC environmental review process. Thus, as federal entities, both FirstNet and the FCC are subject to the same NEPA requirements and will be performing a review of the same activities. Consequently, FirstNet, in an effort to establish a more efficient environmental review process, is seeking to more closely align its CEs with those of the FCC. More specifically, as described below, FirstNet’s proposed CE B–1 relies upon the FCC CE, as listed in 47 CFR 1.1306, as a benchmark for establishing the updated FirstNet CE B–1. In addition to proposed CE B–1, FirstNet is seeking to establish a CE B–15 that will account for the use of cells on wheels, systems on wheels, and similar network equipment. FirstNet has carefully reviewed the Administrative Record for the proposed CEs to ensure it fulfills the goal of balancing increased administrative efficiency in NEPA compliance with avoidance of misinterpretations and E:\FR\FM\23JNN1.SGM 23JNN1 28626 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 120 / Friday, June 23, 2017 / Notices misapplications of exclusionary language that could lead to noncompliance with NEPA requirements.9 Ultimately, FirstNet determined that the proposed CEs met both objectives. Moreover, FirstNet notes that proposed CE B–1 is currently part of the FCC’s rules for environmental review process and ensures that licensees, such as FirstNet, take appropriate measure to protect environmental and historic resources when conducting tower and antenna siting activities (i.e., constructing a new tower or collocating an antenna on an existing structure). Likewise, FirstNet proposed CE B–14, which encompasses to the use of deployable devices, is supported by existing CEs of the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Army. Consequently, through a deliberative process, FirstNet determined that the proposed CEs encompass activities that do not inherently have individual or cumulative significant impacts on the human environment. Synopsis of Proposed Changes to Categorical Exclusions The following is a summary of the proposed revisions to the CEs that may be applied to actions related to the deployment of the NPSBN to which NEPA applies. Key proposed changes include: (1) Reorganizing CEs into two separate groups (i.e., Group A covering administrative actions and Group B covering network deployment activities) and renumbering of existing CEs; (2) establishing two new CEs (B–1 and B– 15); (3) removing the current CE A–7 in its entirety and the term ‘‘wireless’’ from the CE A–12 as activities related to wireless communications will be covered by the proposed CE B–1; and (4) removing current CE A–8 because it is unnecessary based on the scope of FirstNet actions. Accordingly, the following list presents FirstNet’s proposed revisions to its CEs, along with a brief description of the reasoning for establishing a new CE or identifying substantive changes, if any, to the existing CE. As noted above, the Administrative Record supporting these CEs is available at www.firstnet.gov. asabaliauskas on DSKBBXCHB2PROD with NOTICES Administrative Actions [A.1.] ‘‘The issuance of bulletins and information publications that do not concern environmental matters or substantial facility design, construction, or maintenance practices.’’ FirstNet does not propose any change to this existing CE. 9 The Administrative Record for these proposed CEs is available at www.firstnet.gov. VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:21 Jun 22, 2017 Jkt 241001 [A.2.] ‘‘Procurement activities related to the day-to-day operation of FirstNet, including routine procurement of goods or services.’’ FirstNet does not propose any change to this existing CE. [A.3.] ‘‘Personnel and Administrative Actions.’’ FirstNet does not propose any change to this existing CE. [A.4.] ‘‘Purchase or lease of existing facilities or a portion thereof where use or operation will remain unchanged.’’ FirstNet does not propose any change to this existing CE. Network Deployment Activities [B.1.] ‘‘Actions related to network deployment that are subject to and satisfy the environmental requirements established under 47 CFR 1.1306 as described below: (a) Except as provided in 47 CFR 1.1307 (c) and (d), FirstNet’s actions not covered by 47 CFR 1.1307 (a) and (b) are deemed individually and cumulatively to have no significant effect on the quality of the human environment and are categorically excluded from environmental processing. (b) Specifically, any FirstNet action with respect to any new application, or minor or major modifications of existing or authorized facilities or equipment, will be categorically excluded, provided such proposals do not: (1) Involve a site location specified under 47 CFR 1.1307(a)(1)–(7). (2) Involve high intensity lighting under 47 CFR 1.1307(a)(8). (3) Result in human exposure to radio frequency radiation in excess of the applicable safety standards specified in 47 CFR 1.1307(b). (c) Any FirstNet action with respect to any new application, or minor or major modifications of existing or authorized facilities or equipment, will be categorically excluded, subject to the following: (1) Unless 47 CFR 1.1307(a)(4) is applicable, the provisions of 47 CFR 1.1307(a) requiring the preparation of Environmental Assessments (EAs) do not encompass the construction of wireless facilities, including deployments on new or replacement poles, if: (i) The facilities will be located in a right-of-way that is designated by a Federal, State, local, or tribal government for communications towers, above-ground utility transmission or distribution lines, or any associated structures and equipment; (ii) The right-of-way is in active use for such designated purposes; and (iii) The facilities would not: (A) Increase the height of the tower or non-tower structure by more than 10 PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 percent or 20 feet, whichever is greater, over existing support structures that are located in the right-of-way within the vicinity of the proposed construction; (B) Involve the installation of more than four new equipment cabinets or more than one new equipment shelter; (C) Add an appurtenance to the body of the structure that would protrude from the edge of the structure more than 20 feet, or more than the width of the structure at the level of the appurtenance, whichever is greater (except that the deployment may exceed this size limit if necessary to shelter the antenna from inclement weather or to connect the antenna to the tower via cable); or (D) Involve excavation outside the current site, defined as the area that is within the boundaries of the leased or owned property surrounding the deployment or that is in proximity to the structure and within the boundaries of the utility easement on which the facility is to be deployed, whichever is more restrictive. (2) Such wireless facilities are subject to 47 CFR 1.1307(b) and require EAs if their construction would result in human exposure to radiofrequency radiation in excess of the applicable health and safety guidelines cited in 47 CFR 1.1307(b). (d) The provisions of 47 CFR 1.1307(a) requiring the preparation of EAs do not encompass the mounting of antenna(s) and associated equipment (such as wiring, cabling, cabinets, or backup-power), on or in an existing building, or on an antenna tower or other man-made structure, unless 47 CFR 1.1307(a)(4) is applicable. Such antennas are subject to 47 CFR 1.1307(b) and require EAs if their construction would result in human exposure to radiofrequency radiation in excess of the applicable health and safety guidelines cited in 47 CFR 1.1307(b). The provisions of 47 CFR 1.1307(a) and (b) do not encompass the installation of aerial wire or cable over existing aerial corridors of prior or permitted use or the underground installation of wire or cable along existing underground corridors of prior or permitted use, established by the Applicant or others. The use of existing buildings, towers, or corridors is an environmentally desirable alternative to the construction of new facilities and is encouraged. The provisions of 47 CFR 1.1307(a) and (b) do not encompass the construction of new submarine cable systems. (e) The specific height of an antenna tower or supporting structure, as well as the specific diameter of a satellite Earth station, in and of itself, will not be deemed sufficient to warrant E:\FR\FM\23JNN1.SGM 23JNN1 asabaliauskas on DSKBBXCHB2PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 120 / Friday, June 23, 2017 / Notices environmental processing, see 47 CFR 1.1307 and 1.1308, except as required by FirstNet or the FCC pursuant to the note to 47 CFR 1.1307(d). (f) The construction of an antenna tower or supporting structure in an established ‘‘antenna farm’’ (i.e., an area in which similar antenna towers are clustered, whether or not such area has been officially designated as an antenna farm) will be categorically excluded unless one or more of the antennas to be mounted on the tower or structure are subject to the provisions of 47 CFR 1.1307(b) and the additional radiofrequency radiation from the antenna(s) on the new tower or structure would cause human exposure in excess of the applicable health and safety guidelines cited in 47 CFR 1.1307(b).’’ FirstNet proposes to establish this CE to better align its existing environmental review process with the FCC’s rules for environmental review that FirstNet must comply with as a licensee of the FCC. Further, the establishment of this CE ensures that FirstNet takes appropriate measures to protect environmental and historic resources when conducting tower and antenna siting activities (i.e., constructing a new tower or collocating an antenna on an existing structure). This CE is supported by long-standing CEs and administrative records. In particular, these include exclusions from the Federal Communications Commission, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and U.S. Department of Energy. [B.2.] ‘‘Internal modifications or equipment additions (e.g., computer facilities, relocating interior walls) to structures or buildings.’’ This CE was formerly classified as A– 5 but has been reclassified as B–5. No other changes to this CE have been proposed. [B.3] ‘‘Construction of buried and aerial telecommunications lines, cables, and related facilities.’’ This CE was formerly classified as A– 6 but has been reclassified as B–3. No other changes to this CE have been proposed. [B.4.] ‘‘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 CE was formerly classified as A– 9 but has been reclassified as B–5. No other changes to this CE have been proposed. [B.5.] ‘‘Changes or additions to existing substations, switching stations, VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:21 Jun 22, 2017 Jkt 241001 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 CE was formerly classified as A– 10 but has been reclassified as B–5. No other changes to this CE have been proposed. [B.6.] ‘‘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 CE was formerly classified as A– 11 but has been reclassified as B–6. No other changes to this CE have been proposed. [B.7.] ‘‘Changes or additions to 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 CE was formerly classified as A– 12 but has been reclassified as B–7. Further, FirstNet proposes to remove the term ‘‘wireless’’ from the CE as such activities related to wireless facilities fall within the scope of proposed CE B–1. [B.8.] ‘‘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 CE was formerly classified as A– 13 but has been reclassified as B–8. No other changes to this CE have been proposed. [B.9.] ‘‘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 CE was formerly classified as A– 14 but has been reclassified as B–9. No other changes to this CE have been proposed. [B.10.] ‘‘Testing or monitoring work (e.g., soil or rock core sampling, monitoring wells, air monitoring).’’ This CE was formerly classified as A– 15 but has been reclassified as B–10. No other changes to this CE have been proposed. [B.11.] ‘‘Studies and engineering undertaken to define proposed actions or alternatives sufficiently so that environmental effects can be assessed.’’ This CE was formerly classified as A– 16 but has been reclassified as B–11. No PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 28627 other changes to this CE have been proposed. [B.12.] ‘‘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 CE was formerly classified as A–17 but has been reclassified as B–12. No other changes to this CE have been proposed. [B.13.] ‘‘Phase or voltage conversions, reconductoring or upgrading of existing electric distribution lines, or telecommunication facilities.’’ This CE was formerly classified as A– 18 but has been reclassified as B–13. No other changes to this CE have been proposed. [B.14.] ‘‘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 CE was formerly classified as A– 19 but has been reclassified as B–14. No other changes to this CE have been proposed. [B.15.] ‘‘Deployment of Cells on Wheels, Systems on Wheels, or other deployable architecture intended for temporary placement (no more than two years) on an impervious surface.’’ FirstNet proposes to establish this CE to account for activities related to the use of deployable or similar equipment. This CE is supported by long-standing CEs and administrative records. In particular, these include exclusions from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Army. Elijah Veenendaal, Attorney—Advisor, First Responder Network Authority. [FR Doc. 2017–13156 Filed 6–22–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–TL–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Foreign-Trade Zones Board [B–40–2017] Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) 57— Charlotte, North Carolina, Notification of Proposed Production Activity, DNP Imagingcomm America Corporation (Coatings and Lamination on SemiCompleted Coated Paper), Concord, North Carolina The Charlotte Regional Partnership, Inc., grantee of FTZ 57, submitted a E:\FR\FM\23JNN1.SGM 23JNN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 120 (Friday, June 23, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 28621-28627]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-13156]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Telecommunications and Information Administration

First Responder Network Authority

[Docket Number: 131219999-7305-03]
RIN 0660-XC009


Revised National Environmental Policy Act Procedures and 
Categorical Exclusions

AGENCY: First Responder Network Authority, National Telecommunications 
and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) publishes 
this notice to request comments on proposed revisions to its procedures 
for implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), 
categorical exclusions, and related extraordinary circumstances. 
Pursuant to Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations, 
FirstNet is soliciting comments on its proposed revisions to its NEPA 
implementing procedures from members of the interested public. 
Additionally, in this notice, FirstNet is providing a synopsis of the 
proposed changes to its NEPA implementing procedures and categorical 
exclusions to assist the public in reviewing those changes.

DATES: Comments due on or before July 24, 2017.

ADDRESSES: The public is invited to submit written comments to 
FirstNet's proposed revisions to its NEPA implementing procedures, 
categorical exclusions, and related extraordinary circumstances. 
Written comments may

[[Page 28622]]

be submitted electronically through www.regulations.gov or by mail to 
Eli Veenendaal, First Responder Network Authority, National 
Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of 
Commerce, 3122 Sterling Circle, Suite 100 Boulder, CO 80301. FirstNet 
may not consider comments if they are sent by any other method, to any 
other address or individual, or received after the comment period ends. 
Comments received in response to this docket will be made a part of the 
public record and be posted to www.regulations.gov without change. 
Comments should be machine-readable and should not be copy-protected. 
All personally identifiable information (e.g., name, address) 
voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do 
not submit confidential business information or otherwise sensitive or 
protected information. FirstNet will make this notice and the draft 
Revised FirstNet NEPA Implementing Procedures, Categorical Exclusions, 
and supporting administrative record available for public inspection at 
www.firstnet.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Eli Veenendaal, First Responder 
Network Authority, National Telecommunications and Information 
Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 3122 Sterling Circle, 
Suite 100 Boulder, CO 80301 or elijah.veenendaal@firstnet.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

National Environmental Policy Act

    The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321 et 
seq.) requires federal agencies to undertake an assessment of the 
environmental effects of their proposed actions prior to making a final 
decision and implementing the action. NEPA requirements apply to major 
federal actions that may significantly affect the quality of the human 
environment.\1\ NEPA also established the Council on Environmental 
Quality (CEQ), which issued regulations implementing the procedural 
provisions of NEPA (see 40 CFR part 1500 et. seq.). Among other 
considerations, CEQ regulations at 40 CFR 1507.3 require federal 
agencies to (1) adopt their own implementing procedures to supplement 
CEQ's regulations, and (2) consult with CEQ during development of these 
supplemental procedures prior to publication in the Federal Register. 
Agency-specific NEPA implementing procedures are intended to provide 
guidance that assists agencies in fulfilling their responsibilities 
under NEPA. The requirements for establishing NEPA procedures are set 
forth at 40 CFR 1505.1 and 1507.3.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ See 42 U.S.C. 4332.
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    Further, NEPA and the CEQ implementing regulations provide for 
environmental review of a proposed government action in the form of a 
Categorical Exclusion (CE), Environmental Assessment (EA), or 
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). A CE is ``a category of actions 
which do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on 
the human environment,'' and does not require further NEPA review in 
the form of either an EA or EIS. See 40 CFR 1508.4; CEQ, ``Final 
Guidance for Federal Departments and Agencies on Establishing, 
Applying, and Revising Categorical Exclusions Under the National 
Environmental Policy Act'' (75 FR 75628; December 6, 2010). A CE does 
not exempt an action from NEPA review; rather, it is one form of 
environmental review under NEPA. See 75 FR 75631. A CE may be applied 
to a proposed action after an agency has reviewed and determined that 
the action fits within the category of actions encompassed by the CE. 
See 40 CFR 1508.4. In making this determination, the decision maker 
must also consider whether extraordinary circumstances apply, which 
would lead to a normally categorically excluded action to have the 
potential for significant impacts. Thus, a CE does not eliminate 
environmental review of a proposed action, but reduces paperwork and 
delay and allows an agency to efficiently focus its resources on 
proposed actions with the potential for significant environmental 
effects.

FirstNet NEPA Implementing Procedures

    The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (Pub. L. 
112-96, Title VI, 126 Stat. 156 (codified at 47 U.S.C. 1401 et seq.)) 
(the ``Act'') established the First Responder Network Authority 
(``FirstNet'') as an independent authority within the National 
Telecommunications and Information Administration (``NTIA''). 
FirstNet's statutory mission is to take all actions necessary to ensure 
the establishment of a nationwide public safety broadband network 
(``NPSBN'').\2\ Moreover, the Act meets a long-standing and critical 
national infrastructure need to create a single, nationwide 
interoperable network that will, for the first time, allow public 
safety entities such as police officers, fire fighters, emergency 
medical service professionals, and other public safety personnel to 
effectively communicate with each other across agencies and 
jurisdictions. Consequently, because of the critical nature of this 
network, the Act requires FirstNet to, among other things, seek 
opportunities to speed the deployment of the network.\3\
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    \2\ 47 U.S.C. 1426(b).
    \3\ See, e.g., 47 U.S.C. 1426 (b)(3).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    To help facilitate FirstNet's mission, the Act requires the Federal 
Communications Commission (``FCC'') to reallocate and grant a license 
to FirstNet for the use of the 700MHz D block spectrum and existing 
public safety broadband spectrum.\4\ As a result, FirstNet is in the 
unique position of being the only entity that is both an independent 
federal authority and a FCC licensee. Accordingly, FirstNet must comply 
with potentially duplicative regulations, such as those imposed under 
NEPA and the CEQ regulations and by FCC regulations. Consequently, it 
was determined that aligning the FirstNet and FCC NEPA processes was 
necessary in order to avoid duplicating analysis and documentation 
resulting in additional costs or delays in network deployment, which 
could severely impact FirstNet's ability to complete its statutory 
mission and ensure the establishment of a network for public safety.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ 47 U.S.C. 1421(a) (consistent with this provision FCC 
granted a license to FirstNet for the use of the 700 MHz D block 
spectrum under Call Sign WQQE234 on November 15, 2012).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    On April 28, 2014, FirstNet, as a newly created federal entity, 
published a notice in the Federal Register finalizing its original NEPA 
implementing procedures.\5\ These NEPA implementing procedures provide 
the framework for FirstNet's establishment of a NEPA compliance program 
and applying the appropriate level of NEPA review for major federal 
actions related to the deployment of the NPSBN. More specifically, 
FirstNet's NEPA implementing procedures supplement CEQ regulations and 
provide guidance to FirstNet employees and potential Applicants 
regarding the procedural requirements for the application of NEPA.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\ FirstNet National Environmental Policy Act Implementing 
Procedures and Categorical Exclusions, 79 FR 23950 (April 29, 2014) 
(hereinafter ``NEPA Procedures'').
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Proposed Changes to NEPA Implementing Procedures

    As it has continued to mature as an organization, FirstNet, as 
mentioned above, has identified the need to modify its NEPA 
implementing procedures, CEs, and related extraordinary

[[Page 28623]]

circumstances to ensure that such procedures better align with 
FirstNet's statutory mission and activities related to the deployment 
of the NPSBN, as well as better assist FirstNet in complying with NEPA 
and FCC regulations. More specifically, FirstNet, as both an 
independent federal authority and a licensee of the FCC, must satisfy 
its own NEPA requirements as well as comply with FCC-promulgated NEPA 
procedures. Under CEQ regulations, federal agencies with overlapping 
NEPA requirements related to the same project are encouraged to 
streamline their NEPA implementing procedures to avoid duplicative NEPA 
review.\6\ Accordingly, FirstNet is proposing to modify its NEPA 
procedures and CEs to better align with FCC procedures in order to 
avoid duplicative NEPA reviews that would otherwise likely result in 
unnecessary costs to and delays in the deployment of the NPSBN.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \6\ See generally 40 CFR 1507.3.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Generally, FirstNet's proposed revisions include: (1) Updates to 
the process for determining and documenting categorically excluded 
activities; (2) the addition of criteria that may trigger the need for 
the development of an EA; (3) modifications necessary to account for 
FirstNet's changes in organizational structure and internal policies 
and procedures; (4) modifications to the definition and role of an 
Applicant in the environmental review process; and (5) the 
establishment of two new CEs and updates to its extraordinary 
circumstances. A synopsis of proposed changes is listed below and a 
full version of the revised implementing procedures and administrative 
record supporting the establishment of two new CEs is available at 
www.firstnet.gov.

Synopsis of Proposed Changes to Implementing Procedures

Administrative

    FirstNet is seeking to modify its implementing procedures to 
reflect organizational changes that have occurred since the publishing 
of its existing procedures. Primary changes include: (1) Renaming the 
General Manager to Chief Executive Officer (CEO); (2) clarifying the 
roles of the Director of Environmental Compliance and/or NEPA 
Coordinator, the Office of Chief Counsel, and an Applicant; (3) 
updating the procedures from a Directive to a Policy; (4) the addition, 
removal, and updates to legal authorities used or cited throughout the 
policy; and (5) corrections to any minor clerical errors.

Definitions

    FirstNet proposes moving the ``Definition'' section from Appendix B 
to the body of the policy and adding references to applicable 
definitions from the FCC regulations. FirstNet is also seeking to 
modify the term ``Applicant'' to mean ``any person, entity, or Federal, 
state, tribal, or territorial government body that seeks to take an 
action related to the NPSBN or an action that is otherwise under the 
direct control and responsibility of FirstNet, including, but not 
limited to, actions that occur under any type of agreement related to 
the use of the spectrum licensed to FirstNet under station license call 
sign WQQE234, or actions requiring the approval of or funding provided 
by FirstNet.''

General Requirements for Categorical Exclusions

    FirstNet is seeking to amend the process for applying and 
documenting CEs by removing and replacing all of the section entitled 
``General Requirements for Categorical Exclusions'' with the following 
language:
    ``CEs are categories of actions that FirstNet has found, based on 
past experience with similar actions, do not individually or 
cumulatively have significant environmental impacts and normally do not 
require any further NEPA review. FirstNet actions, including those of 
Applicants, that fit the description of actions in Appendix B, 
Categorical Exclusions, and where no extraordinary circumstances exist, 
are categorically excluded from further environmental review. The 
approved list of FirstNet actions that normally qualify for a CE are 
only those listed in Appendix B, Categorical Exclusions. A CE may be 
applied to a proposed action in accordance with the following 
requirements:
    (a) FirstNet shall not be required to, but may at its discretion, 
document its determination that a CE applies to a proposed action.
    (b) Documentation prepared by an Applicant to demonstrate that an 
action qualifies for a CE shall be provided for FirstNet's independent 
review and evaluation.
    (c) Any action that normally would be classified as a CE but would 
involve any of the extraordinary circumstances identified in Appendix C 
shall require FirstNet, in cooperation with the Applicant, to conduct 
and document the appropriate environmental analysis to determine if the 
action warrants a CE or if the preparation of an EA or EIS is required.
    (d) Extraordinary circumstances that, if present, may result in a 
potentially significant environmental effect are listed in Appendix C.
    (e) The list of approved FirstNet CEs is subject to continual 
review and can be modified by amending/revising this policy, in 
consultation with CEQ.
    (f) The use of a CE does not relieve FirstNet or an Applicant of 
obligations to comply with other statutes or required consultations, 
such as under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et 
seq.) or the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (16 U.S.C. 470 
et seq.).''

General Requirements for Environmental Assessments

    FirstNet is seeking to amend the requirements for determining the 
necessity of preparing an EA. Primary changes include adding criteria 
to account for existing FCC environmental regulatory requirements, 
removing overlapping or redundant language, and adding criteria for 
conducting tiered environmental reviews. Accordingly, FirstNet proposes 
removing and replacing all of the section entitled ``General 
Requirements for Environmental Assessments'' with the following 
language:
    ``FirstNet or an Applicant shall prepare an EA, as defined in 40 
CFR 1508.9, for a proposed action that FirstNet determines may have 
significant environmental impacts. Actions normally requiring an EA 
include those:
    (a) That fall within the scope of actions described in 47 CFR 
1.1307(a);
    (b) Where a particular facility, operation, or transmitter would 
cause human exposure to levels of radiofrequency radiation in excess of 
applicable health and safety guidelines found in 47 CFR 1.1307(b);
    (c) That involve the construction or modification of certain 
antenna structures over 450 feet in height that are subject to the 
FCC's antenna structure registration rules in 47 CFR part 17;
    (d) That have an adverse effect on a historic property so as to 
require an EA under 47 CFR 1.1307(a)(4); and
    (e) That meet categorical exclusion criteria, but for which 
extraordinary circumstances are present, requiring further 
environmental analysis and potentially the preparation of an EA to 
determine if there are significant impacts associated with the 
action.''

[[Page 28624]]

Environmental Assessment Development Process

    FirstNet is proposing to move portions of the section ``General 
Requirements for Environmental Assessments'' to a new section entitled, 
``Environmental Assessment Development Process.'' Primary changes 
include removing overlapping or redundant language, and adding criteria 
for conducting tiered environmental reviews. Accordingly, FirstNet 
proposes removing the section entitled ``Environmental Assessment 
Development Process'' to include the following language:
    ``FirstNet or an Applicant shall develop an EA in accordance with 
the following process and requirements.
    (a) The FirstNet CEO or delegate can decide to prepare an EA as a 
planning tool to inform decision makers of the environmental impacts of 
a proposed action.
    (b) FirstNet or an Applicant, in preparing an EA, shall ensure, at 
minimum, the contents of the EA: (1) comply with the requirements of 40 
CFR 1508.9; (2) include the information specified in 47 CFR 1.1311; (3) 
explain the environmental consequences of the proposed action; and (4) 
set forth sufficient analysis for FirstNet to determine the potential 
impacts associated with the proposed action.
    (c) If FirstNet determines, based on an independent review, that 
the proposed action will not have a significant impact, FirstNet may 
issue a FONSI as described in 40 CFR 1508.13.
    (d) If, after review of the EA, FirstNet determines that the 
proposed action may have a significant environmental impact, FirstNet, 
in coordination with the Applicant, may amend the action described in 
the EA to avoid, minimize, or mitigate the potential environmental 
impacts.
    (e) If actions cannot be taken to avoid, minimize, or mitigate the 
potential environmental impacts and FirstNet determines that the 
proposed action will have a significant environmental impact, FirstNet, 
in coordination with the Applicant, shall proceed with the preparation 
of an EIS.
    (f) Rather than preparing a single EA or EIS as a basis for 
approving an entire project, FirstNet, as necessary, may conduct one or 
more rounds or ``tiers'' of environmental reviews. These tiered reviews 
may cover general matters in a broader EA or EIS (e.g., contracts or 
policy statements) with subsequent narrower statements or environmental 
analyses (e.g., site-specific analyses), incorporating by reference the 
general discussion and concentrating solely on the issues specific to 
the statement subsequently prepared.''

Environmental Justice

    FirstNet is proposing to remove extraneous and duplicative language 
from the body of the implementing procedures as this language is 
already cited in E.O. 12898, ``Federal Actions to Address Environmental 
Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations'' which is 
referenced in this section.

Environmental Determinations and Final Decisions

    FirstNet is seeking to amend the section entitled ``Environmental 
Determinations and Final Decisions'' related to CEs by removing 
language that conflicts with the proposed changes to the application of 
CEs. Accordingly, FirstNet proposes removing and replacing the existing 
language with the following:
    ``(a) Categorical Exclusion (CE)
    1. FirstNet or Applicant actions that fall within a CE and where no 
extraordinary circumstances exist do not require any further NEPA 
review.
    2. If a proposed action is determined to fall within a CE, FirstNet 
shall not be required to, but may at its discretion, document its 
determination that a CE applies to a proposed action, unless 
extraordinary circumstances exist.''

Extraordinary Circumstances

    FirstNet proposes to remove and replace its existing list of 
extraordinary circumstances with the criteria established by the FCC 
regulations that require the development of an EA. Accordingly, the 
current list of extraordinary circumstances will be removed and 
replaced with the following:
    ``The following extraordinary circumstances or First Responder 
Network Authority (FirstNet) actions with respect to the following 
types of facilities may significantly affect the environment and may 
require further environmental review and the preparation of an 
Environmental Assessment (EA):
    1. Facilities that are to be located in an officially designated 
wilderness area.
    2. Facilities that are to be located in an officially designated 
wildlife preserve.
    3. Facilities that: (i) May affect listed threatened or endangered 
species or designated critical habitats; or (ii) are likely to 
jeopardize the continued existence of any proposed endangered or 
threatened species or likely to result in the destruction or adverse 
modification of proposed critical habitats, as determined by the 
Secretary of the Interior pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 
1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531).
    4. Facilities that may affect prehistoric or historic districts, 
sites, buildings, structures, or objects that are significant in 
American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, or culture and 
that are listed, or are eligible for listing, in the National Register 
of Historic Places (See 16 U.S.C. 470w(5); Parts 60 through 800 of 
Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations [36 CFR parts 60 and 
800]).\7\ However, these requirements do not apply to:
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    \7\ To ascertain whether a proposed action may affect properties 
that are listed, or are eligible for listing, in the National 
Register of Historic Places, an Applicant shall follow the 
procedures set forth in the rules of the Advisory Council on 
Historic Preservation, 36 CFR part 800, as modified and supplemented 
by the Nationwide Programmatic Agreement for the Collocation of 
Wireless Antennas (See 47 CFR Appendix B Part 1) and the Nationwide 
Programmatic Agreement Regarding the Section 106 National Historic 
Preservation Act Review Process (See 47 CFR Appendix C Part 1).
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    a. The mounting of antennas \8\ (including associated equipment 
such as wiring, cabling, cabinets, or backup-power) on existing utility 
structures (including utility poles and electric transmission towers in 
active use by a ''utility'' as defined in Section 224 of the 
Communications Act of 1934, 47 U.S.C. 224, but not including light 
poles, lamp posts, and other structures whose primary purpose is to 
provide public lighting) where the deployment meets the following 
conditions:
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    \8\ A non-visible new antenna is in the ``same vicinity'' as a 
pre-existing antenna if it will be collocated on the same rooftop, 
facade, or other surface. A visible new antenna is in the ``same 
vicinity'' as a pre-existing antenna if it is on the same rooftop, 
facade, or other surface and the centerpoint of the new antenna is 
within ten feet of the centerpoint of the pre-existing antenna. A 
deployment causes no new ground disturbance when the depth and width 
of previous disturbance exceeds the proposed construction depth and 
width by at least two feet.
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    i. All antennas that are part of the deployment fit within 
enclosures (or if the antennas are exposed, within imaginary 
enclosures) that are individually no more than three (3) cubic feet in 
volume, and all antennas on the structure, including any pre-existing 
antennas on the structure, fit within enclosures (or if the antennas 
are exposed, within imaginary enclosures) that total no more than six 
(6) cubic feet in volume;
    ii. All other wireless equipment associated with the structure, 
including pre-existing enclosures and including equipment on the ground 
associated with antennas on the structure, are cumulatively no more 
than 17 cubic feet in volume, exclusive of:

[[Page 28625]]

    1. Vertical cable runs for the connection of power and other 
services;
    2. Ancillary equipment installed by other entities that is outside 
of the Applicant's ownership or control, and
    3. Comparable equipment from pre-existing wireless deployments on 
the structure;
    iii. The deployment will involve no new ground disturbance; and
    iv. The deployment would otherwise require the preparation of an EA 
under 47 CFR 1.1307(a)(4) solely because of the age of the structure.
    b. The mounting of antennas (including associated equipment such as 
wiring, cabling, cabinets, or backup-power) on buildings or other non-
tower structures where the deployment meets the following conditions:
    i. There is an existing antenna on the building or structure;
    ii. One of the following criteria is met:
    1. Non-Visible Antennas. The new antenna is not visible from any 
adjacent streets or surrounding public spaces and is added in the same 
vicinity as a pre-existing antenna;
    2. Visible Replacement Antennas. The new antenna is visible from 
adjacent streets or surrounding public spaces, provided that:
    a. It is a replacement for a pre-existing antenna;
    b. The new antenna will be located in the same vicinity as the pre-
existing antenna,
    c. The new antenna will be visible only from adjacent streets and 
surrounding public spaces that also afford views of the pre-existing 
antenna,
    d. The new antenna is not more than three (3) feet larger in height 
or width (including all protuberances) than the pre-existing antenna; 
and
    e. No new equipment cabinets are visible from the adjacent streets 
or surrounding public spaces; or
    3. Other Visible Antennas. The new antenna is visible from adjacent 
streets or surrounding public spaces, provided that:
    a. It is located in the same vicinity as a pre-existing antenna;
    b. The new antenna is visible only from adjacent streets and 
surrounding public spaces that also afford views of the pre-existing 
antenna;
    c. The pre-existing antenna was not deployed pursuant to the 
exclusion in this subsection (47 CFR 1.1307(a)(4)(ii)(B)(2)(iii));
    d. The new antenna is not more than three (3) feet larger in height 
or width (including all protuberances) than the pre-existing antenna; 
and
    e. No new equipment cabinets are visible from the adjacent streets 
or surrounding public spaces;
    c. The new antenna complies with all zoning conditions and historic 
preservation conditions applicable to existing antennas in the same 
vicinity that directly mitigate or prevent effects, such as camouflage 
or concealment requirements;
    d. The deployment of the new antenna involves no new ground 
disturbance; and
    e. The deployment would otherwise require the preparation of an EA 
under 47 CFR 1.1307(a)(4) solely because of the age of the structure.
    5. Facilities that may affect tribal religious sites.
    6. Facilities to be located in a floodplain (See Executive Order 
[E.O.] 11988, Floodplain Management, as amended).
    7. Facilities whose construction will involve significant change in 
surface features (e.g., wetland fill, deforestation, water diversion). 
In the case of wetlands on federal property, see E.O. 11990, Protection 
of Wetlands.
    8. Antenna towers and/or supporting structures that are to be 
equipped with high intensity white lights and located in residential 
neighborhoods, as defined by the applicable zoning law.
    9. FirstNet actions granting permits or leases, or renewals 
thereof, or equipment authorizations or modifications in existing 
facilities require the preparation of an EA, subject to the specific 
conditions specified in 47 CFR 1.1307(b), if the particular facility, 
operation, or transmitter would cause human exposure levels of radio 
frequency radiation in excess of the limits described in 47 CFR 1.1310 
and 2.1093.
    10. If an interested person alleges that a particular action, 
otherwise categorically excluded, may have a significant environmental 
effect, the person shall submit to FirstNet a written petition setting 
forth in detail the reasons justifying or circumstances necessitating 
environmental consideration in the decision-making process. FirstNet 
shall review the petition and consider the environmental concerns that 
have been raised. If FirstNet determines that the action may have a 
significant environmental impact, FirstNet will require the Applicant 
to prepare an EA, which will serve as the basis for the determination 
to proceed with or terminate environmental processing.
    11. FirstNet shall require an EA for an otherwise categorically 
excluded action involving a new or existing antenna structure, for 
which an antenna structure registration application (Federal 
Communications Commission [FCC] Form 854) is required under 47 CFR part 
17, if the proposed antenna structure will be over 450 feet in height 
above ground level and involves either:
    a. Construction of a new antenna structure;
    b. Modification or replacement of an existing antenna structure 
involving a substantial increase in size as defined in 47 CFR (C)(1)(3) 
of Appendix B to Part 1, Nationwide Programmatic Agreement for 
Collocations of Wireless Antennas; or
    c. Addition of lighting or adoption of a less preferred lighting 
style as defined in 47 CFR 17.4(c)(1)(iii) of this chapter. FirstNet 
shall consider whether to require an EA for other antenna structures 
subject to 47 CFR 17.4(c) of this chapter in accordance with 47 CFR 
17.4(c)(8). An EA required pursuant to this note will be subject to the 
same procedures that apply to any EA required for a proposed tower or 
modification of an existing tower for which an antenna structure 
registration application (FCC Form 854) is required, as set forth in 47 
CFR 17.4(c).
    12. If FirstNet is responsible for processing a particular action 
otherwise categorically excluded, and determines that the proposal may 
have a significant environmental impact, FirstNet on its own motion, 
shall require the Applicant to submit an EA.''

Proposed Revisions to FirstNet Categorical Exclusions

    FirstNet, as discussed above, has a statutory mission to ensure the 
establishment of the NPSBN. As an FCC licensee, FirstNet actions 
related to network deployment will be the same activities as those 
undertaken by other FCC licensees and will be subject to the same FCC 
environmental review process. Thus, as federal entities, both FirstNet 
and the FCC are subject to the same NEPA requirements and will be 
performing a review of the same activities. Consequently, FirstNet, in 
an effort to establish a more efficient environmental review process, 
is seeking to more closely align its CEs with those of the FCC. More 
specifically, as described below, FirstNet's proposed CE B-1 relies 
upon the FCC CE, as listed in 47 CFR 1.1306, as a benchmark for 
establishing the updated FirstNet CE B-1. In addition to proposed CE B-
1, FirstNet is seeking to establish a CE B-15 that will account for the 
use of cells on wheels, systems on wheels, and similar network 
equipment.
    FirstNet has carefully reviewed the Administrative Record for the 
proposed CEs to ensure it fulfills the goal of balancing increased 
administrative efficiency in NEPA compliance with avoidance of 
misinterpretations and

[[Page 28626]]

misapplications of exclusionary language that could lead to non-
compliance with NEPA requirements.\9\ Ultimately, FirstNet determined 
that the proposed CEs met both objectives. Moreover, FirstNet notes 
that proposed CE B-1 is currently part of the FCC's rules for 
environmental review process and ensures that licensees, such as 
FirstNet, take appropriate measure to protect environmental and 
historic resources when conducting tower and antenna siting activities 
(i.e., constructing a new tower or collocating an antenna on an 
existing structure). Likewise, FirstNet proposed CE B-14, which 
encompasses to the use of deployable devices, is supported by existing 
CEs of the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Army. 
Consequently, through a deliberative process, FirstNet determined that 
the proposed CEs encompass activities that do not inherently have 
individual or cumulative significant impacts on the human environment.
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    \9\ The Administrative Record for these proposed CEs is 
available at www.firstnet.gov.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Synopsis of Proposed Changes to Categorical Exclusions

    The following is a summary of the proposed revisions to the CEs 
that may be applied to actions related to the deployment of the NPSBN 
to which NEPA applies. Key proposed changes include: (1) Reorganizing 
CEs into two separate groups (i.e., Group A covering administrative 
actions and Group B covering network deployment activities) and 
renumbering of existing CEs; (2) establishing two new CEs (B-1 and B-
15); (3) removing the current CE A-7 in its entirety and the term 
``wireless'' from the CE A-12 as activities related to wireless 
communications will be covered by the proposed CE B-1; and (4) removing 
current CE A-8 because it is unnecessary based on the scope of FirstNet 
actions. Accordingly, the following list presents FirstNet's proposed 
revisions to its CEs, along with a brief description of the reasoning 
for establishing a new CE or identifying substantive changes, if any, 
to the existing CE. As noted above, the Administrative Record 
supporting these CEs is available at www.firstnet.gov.

Administrative Actions

    [A.1.] ``The issuance of bulletins and information publications 
that do not concern environmental matters or substantial facility 
design, construction, or maintenance practices.''
    FirstNet does not propose any change to this existing CE.
    [A.2.] ``Procurement activities related to the day-to-day operation 
of FirstNet, including routine procurement of goods or services.''
    FirstNet does not propose any change to this existing CE.
    [A.3.] ``Personnel and Administrative Actions.''
    FirstNet does not propose any change to this existing CE.
    [A.4.] ``Purchase or lease of existing facilities or a portion 
thereof where use or operation will remain unchanged.''
    FirstNet does not propose any change to this existing CE.

Network Deployment Activities

    [B.1.] ``Actions related to network deployment that are subject to 
and satisfy the environmental requirements established under 47 CFR 
1.1306 as described below:
    (a) Except as provided in 47 CFR 1.1307 (c) and (d), FirstNet's 
actions not covered by 47 CFR 1.1307 (a) and (b) are deemed 
individually and cumulatively to have no significant effect on the 
quality of the human environment and are categorically excluded from 
environmental processing.
    (b) Specifically, any FirstNet action with respect to any new 
application, or minor or major modifications of existing or authorized 
facilities or equipment, will be categorically excluded, provided such 
proposals do not:
    (1) Involve a site location specified under 47 CFR 1.1307(a)(1)-
(7).
    (2) Involve high intensity lighting under 47 CFR 1.1307(a)(8).
    (3) Result in human exposure to radio frequency radiation in excess 
of the applicable safety standards specified in 47 CFR 1.1307(b).
    (c) Any FirstNet action with respect to any new application, or 
minor or major modifications of existing or authorized facilities or 
equipment, will be categorically excluded, subject to the following:
    (1) Unless 47 CFR 1.1307(a)(4) is applicable, the provisions of 47 
CFR 1.1307(a) requiring the preparation of Environmental Assessments 
(EAs) do not encompass the construction of wireless facilities, 
including deployments on new or replacement poles, if:
    (i) The facilities will be located in a right-of-way that is 
designated by a Federal, State, local, or tribal government for 
communications towers, above-ground utility transmission or 
distribution lines, or any associated structures and equipment;
    (ii) The right-of-way is in active use for such designated 
purposes; and
    (iii) The facilities would not:
    (A) Increase the height of the tower or non-tower structure by more 
than 10 percent or 20 feet, whichever is greater, over existing support 
structures that are located in the right-of-way within the vicinity of 
the proposed construction;
    (B) Involve the installation of more than four new equipment 
cabinets or more than one new equipment shelter;
    (C) Add an appurtenance to the body of the structure that would 
protrude from the edge of the structure more than 20 feet, or more than 
the width of the structure at the level of the appurtenance, whichever 
is greater (except that the deployment may exceed this size limit if 
necessary to shelter the antenna from inclement weather or to connect 
the antenna to the tower via cable); or
    (D) Involve excavation outside the current site, defined as the 
area that is within the boundaries of the leased or owned property 
surrounding the deployment or that is in proximity to the structure and 
within the boundaries of the utility easement on which the facility is 
to be deployed, whichever is more restrictive.
    (2) Such wireless facilities are subject to 47 CFR 1.1307(b) and 
require EAs if their construction would result in human exposure to 
radiofrequency radiation in excess of the applicable health and safety 
guidelines cited in 47 CFR 1.1307(b).
    (d) The provisions of 47 CFR 1.1307(a) requiring the preparation of 
EAs do not encompass the mounting of antenna(s) and associated 
equipment (such as wiring, cabling, cabinets, or backup-power), on or 
in an existing building, or on an antenna tower or other man-made 
structure, unless 47 CFR 1.1307(a)(4) is applicable. Such antennas are 
subject to 47 CFR 1.1307(b) and require EAs if their construction would 
result in human exposure to radiofrequency radiation in excess of the 
applicable health and safety guidelines cited in 47 CFR 1.1307(b). The 
provisions of 47 CFR 1.1307(a) and (b) do not encompass the 
installation of aerial wire or cable over existing aerial corridors of 
prior or permitted use or the underground installation of wire or cable 
along existing underground corridors of prior or permitted use, 
established by the Applicant or others. The use of existing buildings, 
towers, or corridors is an environmentally desirable alternative to the 
construction of new facilities and is encouraged. The provisions of 47 
CFR 1.1307(a) and (b) do not encompass the construction of new 
submarine cable systems.
    (e) The specific height of an antenna tower or supporting 
structure, as well as the specific diameter of a satellite Earth 
station, in and of itself, will not be deemed sufficient to warrant

[[Page 28627]]

environmental processing, see 47 CFR 1.1307 and 1.1308, except as 
required by FirstNet or the FCC pursuant to the note to 47 CFR 
1.1307(d).
    (f) The construction of an antenna tower or supporting structure in 
an established ``antenna farm'' (i.e., an area in which similar antenna 
towers are clustered, whether or not such area has been officially 
designated as an antenna farm) will be categorically excluded unless 
one or more of the antennas to be mounted on the tower or structure are 
subject to the provisions of 47 CFR 1.1307(b) and the additional 
radiofrequency radiation from the antenna(s) on the new tower or 
structure would cause human exposure in excess of the applicable health 
and safety guidelines cited in 47 CFR 1.1307(b).''
    FirstNet proposes to establish this CE to better align its existing 
environmental review process with the FCC's rules for environmental 
review that FirstNet must comply with as a licensee of the FCC. 
Further, the establishment of this CE ensures that FirstNet takes 
appropriate measures to protect environmental and historic resources 
when conducting tower and antenna siting activities (i.e., constructing 
a new tower or collocating an antenna on an existing structure). This 
CE is supported by long-standing CEs and administrative records. In 
particular, these include exclusions from the Federal Communications 
Commission, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and U.S. Department of 
Energy.
    [B.2.] ``Internal modifications or equipment additions (e.g., 
computer facilities, relocating interior walls) to structures or 
buildings.''
    This CE was formerly classified as A-5 but has been reclassified as 
B-5. No other changes to this CE have been proposed.
    [B.3] ``Construction of buried and aerial telecommunications lines, 
cables, and related facilities.''
    This CE was formerly classified as A-6 but has been reclassified as 
B-3. No other changes to this CE have been proposed.
    [B.4.] ``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 CE was formerly classified as A-9 but has been reclassified as 
B-5. No other changes to this CE have been proposed.
    [B.5.] ``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 CE was formerly classified as A-10 but has been reclassified 
as B-5. No other changes to this CE have been proposed.
    [B.6.] ``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 CE was formerly classified as A-11 but has been reclassified 
as B-6. No other changes to this CE have been proposed.
    [B.7.] ``Changes or additions to 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 CE was formerly classified as A-12 but has been reclassified 
as B-7. Further, FirstNet proposes to remove the term ``wireless'' from 
the CE as such activities related to wireless facilities fall within 
the scope of proposed CE B-1.
    [B.8.] ``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 CE was formerly classified as A-13 but has been reclassified 
as B-8. No other changes to this CE have been proposed.
    [B.9.] ``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 CE was formerly classified as A-14 but has been reclassified 
as B-9. No other changes to this CE have been proposed.
    [B.10.] ``Testing or monitoring work (e.g., soil or rock core 
sampling, monitoring wells, air monitoring).''
    This CE was formerly classified as A-15 but has been reclassified 
as B-10. No other changes to this CE have been proposed.
    [B.11.] ``Studies and engineering undertaken to define proposed 
actions or alternatives sufficiently so that environmental effects can 
be assessed.''
    This CE was formerly classified as A-16 but has been reclassified 
as B-11. No other changes to this CE have been proposed.
    [B.12.] ``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 CE was formerly classified as A-17 but has been reclassified 
as B-12. No other changes to this CE have been proposed.
    [B.13.] ``Phase or voltage conversions, reconductoring or upgrading 
of existing electric distribution lines, or telecommunication 
facilities.''
    This CE was formerly classified as A-18 but has been reclassified 
as B-13. No other changes to this CE have been proposed.
    [B.14.] ``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 CE was formerly classified as A-19 but has been reclassified 
as B-14. No other changes to this CE have been proposed.
    [B.15.] ``Deployment of Cells on Wheels, Systems on Wheels, or 
other deployable architecture intended for temporary placement (no more 
than two years) on an impervious surface.''
    FirstNet proposes to establish this CE to account for activities 
related to the use of deployable or similar equipment. This CE is 
supported by long-standing CEs and administrative records. In 
particular, these include exclusions from the U.S. Department of 
Homeland Security and U.S. Army.

Elijah Veenendaal,
Attorney--Advisor, First Responder Network Authority.
[FR Doc. 2017-13156 Filed 6-22-17; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-TL-P