Polar Icebreaker Program; Preparation of Environmental Impact Statement, 18319-18321 [2018-08795]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 81 / Thursday, April 26, 2018 / Notices Democracy Blvd., Ste. 401, Bethesda, MD 20892–5475, (301) 594–3462, khalsap@ mail.nih.gov. Any interested person may file written comments with the committee by forwarding the statement to the Contact Person listed on this notice. The statement should include the name, address, telephone number and when applicable, the business or professional affiliation of the interested person. In the interest of security, NIH has instituted stringent procedures for entrance onto the NIH campus. All visitor vehicles, including taxicabs, hotel, and airport shuttles will be inspected before being allowed on campus. Visitors will be asked to show one form of identification (for example, a government-issued photo ID, driver’s license, or passport) and to state the purpose of their visit. Information is also available on the Institute’s/Center’s home page: https:// nccih.nih.gov/about/naccih/, where an agenda and any additional information for the meeting will be posted when available. (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.213, Research and Training in Complementary and Integrative Health, National Institutes of Health, HHS) Dated: April 20, 2018. Michelle D. Trout, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy. [FR Doc. 2018–08719 Filed 4–25–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140–01–P DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; Notice of Closed Meeting amozie on DSK30RV082PROD with NOTICES Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended, notice is hereby given of the following meeting. The meeting will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), Title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The grant applications and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the grant applications, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. Name of Committee: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Special Emphasis Panel; Brain Initiative— Exploratory Research U01 Review. Date: May 21–22, 2018. Time: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:58 Apr 25, 2018 Jkt 244001 Place: The Alexandrian, 480 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. Contact Person: Ernest W Lyons, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Scientific Review Branch, NINDS/NIH/DHHS, Neuroscience Center, 6001 Executive Blvd., Suite 3208, MSC 9529, Bethesda, MD 20892–9529 (301) 496–4045 lyonse@ninds.nih.gov. (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.853, Clinical Research Related to Neurological Disorders; 93.854, Biological Basis Research in the Neurosciences, National Institutes of Health, HHS) Dated: April 20, 2018. Sylvia L. Neal, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy. [FR Doc. 2018–08718 Filed 4–25–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140–01–P DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES 18319 Date: May 23, 2018. Time: 11:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications. Place: National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892, (Virtual Meeting). Contact Person: Laurent Taupenot, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 4188, MSC 7850, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301–435– 1203, laurent.taupenot@nih.gov. (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.306, Comparative Medicine; 93.333, Clinical Research, 93.306, 93.333, 93.337, 93.393–93.396, 93.837–93.844, 93.846–93.878, 93.892, 93.893, National Institutes of Health, HHS) Dated: April 20, 2018. Sylvia L. Neal, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy. [FR Doc. 2018–08720 Filed 4–25–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140–01–P National Institutes of Health Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed Meetings DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended, notice is hereby given of the following meetings. The meetings will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), Title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The grant applications and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the grant applications, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. Coast Guard Name of Committee: Center for Scientific Review Special Emphasis Panel; PAR–18– 413: Mechanistic Basis of Diffuse White Matter Disease and Small Vessel Pathology in Vascular Contributions to Cognitive Impairment and Dementia (VCID). Date: May 22, 2018. Time: 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications. Place: National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892 (Virtual Meeting). Contact Person: Linda MacArthur, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 4187, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301–537–9986, macarthurlh@csr.nih.gov. Name of Committee: Center for Scientific Review Special Emphasis Panel; RFA–MH– 18–600: Development and Validation of Technologies for Rapid Isolation and Characterization of Extracellular Vesicles of Central Nervous System Origin. PO 00000 Frm 00058 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 [Docket Number USCG–2018–0193] Polar Icebreaker Program; Preparation of Environmental Impact Statement Coast Guard, DHS. Notice of intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS); notice of public meeting; and request for comments. AGENCY: ACTION: The U.S. Coast Guard, as lead agency, is providing notice of their intent to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for the Polar Icebreaker Program’s design and build of up to six polar icebreakers (PIB). Notice is hereby given that the public scoping process has begun for the preparation of an EIS that will address the impacts and alternatives of the Proposed Action. The purpose of the scoping process is to solicit public comments regarding the range of issues, including potential environmental impacts and alternatives that should be addressed in the EIS. This notice also notifies the public that the U.S. Coast Guard intends to hold public meetings to discuss potential issues, concerns and reasonable alternatives that should be considered in the EIS. Following the scoping meetings and comment period, a Draft EIS will be prepared and ultimately circulated for public comment. DATES: Comments and related material must be received by the U.S. Coast SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\26APN1.SGM 26APN1 18320 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 81 / Thursday, April 26, 2018 / Notices Guard on or before June 25, 2018. The public meetings will be held in May ˙ 2018 in Anchorage, Utqiagvik (Barrow), Nome, and Kotzebue. The exact days and times of the public meetings will be announced through notice in the local papers (The Arctic Sounder, The Anchorage Daily News, and The Nome Nugget) and online at http:// www.dcms.uscg.mil/Our-Organization/ Assistant-Commandant-forAcquisitions-CG-9/Programs/SurfacePrograms/Polar-Icebreaker/. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG– 2018–0193 using the Federal portal at http://www.regulations.gov. See the ‘‘Public Participation and Request for Comments’’ portion of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for further instructions on submitting comments. Written comments and related material may also be submitted to U.S. Coast Guard personnel specified at the public meetings. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you have questions about this notice of intent, email Mr. Ahmed Majumder, Deputy Program Manager, Polar Icebreaker Program, U.S. Coast Guard; email PIBEnvironment@uscg.mil. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Table of Abbreviations amozie on DSK30RV082PROD with NOTICES CFR Code of Federal Regulations CGC Coast Guard Cutter EIS Environmental Impact Statement FR Federal Register NEPA National Environmental Policy Act PIBs Polar Icebreakers U.S.C. United States Code II. Background and Purpose The U.S. Coast Guard’s current fleet of PIBs consists of two heavy icebreakers, Coast Guard Cutter (CGC) POLAR STAR and CGC POLAR SEA, and one medium icebreaker, CGC HEALY. The U.S. Coast Guard’s heavy icebreakers have both exceeded their designed 30 year service life. CGC POLAR STAR was commissioned in 1976 and CGC POLAR SEA in 1978. CGC POLAR STAR began reactivation in 2010 and completed a service life extension in 2013 to allow CGC POLAR STAR to operate for an additional seven to ten years. CGC POLAR SEA has remained out of service since 2010 and is not expected to be reactivated. The current PIB program acquisition strategy is approved to construct up to three heavy PIBs and may (at a future date) potentially expand to include up to three medium icebreakers, with planned service design lives of 30 years each. The first of these new PIBs is expected to delivered in 2023. Because the first new PIB would not be operational in the Polar Regions VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:58 Apr 25, 2018 Jkt 244001 until at least 2023, new information may become available after the completion of this EIS. In that case, supplemental NEPA documentation may, as appropriate, be prepared in support of individual proposed actions. Examples of new information may include, but are not limited to, changes to a species listing status or any other applicable laws and directives, and information regarding mission, training, homeporting, maintenance, and eventual decommissioning of the new PIBs. A new PIB would be designed to carry out the U.S. Coast Guard’s primary missions supported by the current polar icebreaker fleet. Expected missions include Ice Operations, Defense Readiness, Aids to Navigation, Living Marine Resources, Marine Safety, Marine Environmental Protection, Other Law Enforcement, Ports, Waterways, and Coastal Security, and Search and Rescue. In executing its various missions, the U.S. Coast Guard protects the public, the environment, and U.S. economic and security interests in any maritime region, including international waters and the Nation’s coasts, ports, and inland waterways, as required to support national security. Legislation and Executive orders assign the U.S. Coast Guard a wide range of responsibilities applicable to Polar regions. The U.S. Coast Guard derives its authority for the use of icebreaking from several statutes governing execution of its missions. These include 14 U.S.C. 81 (Coast Guard establishment, maintenance, and operation of aids to navigation), 14 U.S.C. 88 (Coast Guard saving of life and property), 14 U.S.C. 89 (Coast Guard law enforcement), 14 U.S.C. 90 (Arctic maritime transportation), 14 U.S.C. 91 (controlling anchorage and movement of vessels), 14 U.S.C. 94 (conduct oceanographic research), and 14 U.S.C. 141 (cooperation with agencies, States, territories, and others). In addition, Executive Order 7521 (Use of Vessels for Icebreaking in Channels and Harbors), 1 FR 2184, Dec. 24, 1936, directs the U.S. Coast Guard to assist in keeping channels and harbors open to navigation by means of icebreaking operations. The U.S. Coast Guard proposes to conduct polar icebreaker operations and training exercises to meet Coast Guard mission responsibilities in the U.S. Arctic and Antarctic regions of operation, in addition to vessel performance testing post-dry dock in the Pacific Northwest near the probable polar icebreaker homeport of Seattle, Washington (the exact location for homeporting has not been determined, PO 00000 Frm 00059 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 but the current fleet of polar icebreakers is homeported in Seattle, Washington). Polar regions are becoming increasingly important to U.S. national interests. The changing environment in these regions could lead to a rise in human activity and increased commercial ship, cruise ship, and naval surface ship operations, as well as increased exploration for oil and other resources, particularly in the Arctic. One of the U.S. Coast Guard’s highest priorities is safety of life at sea. This entails the artic responsibilities described above as well as assisting with McMurdo Station; Antarctica Logistics. Long term-projected increases in U.S. Coast Guard mission demand in the Polar Regions would require additional support from PIBs. A lack of infrastructure, polar environmental conditions, distance between operating areas and support bases, all influence the U.S. Coast Guard’s ability to provide comparable service and presence provided in other non-polar areas of operation with existing Coast Guard assets. Although the total number of new PIBs is subject to change, no more than six are proposed or anticipated, and therefore, the EIS will analyze the potential impacts of the range of up to six new PIBs, as this will be the highest number projected to be operational in the Polar Regions. Fewer than six new PIBs is also possible, but the analysis will cover impacts of fewer vessels and it is expected that fewer icebreakers will result in either similar impacts or some combination that should result in fewer impacts than what will be discussed and evaluated in the EIS. Potential environmental stressors include acoustic (underwater acoustic transmissions, vessel noise, icebreaking noise, aircraft noise, and gunnery noise), and physical (vessel movement, aircraft or in-air device movement, in-water device movement, icebreaking, and marine expended materials). III. Scoping Process The U.S. Coast Guard intends to follow the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations implementing the NEPA (40 CFR 1500 et seq.) by scoping through public comment and public meetings. Scoping, which is integral to the process for implementing NEPA, provides a process to ensure that (1) issues are identified early and properly studied; (2) issues of little significance do not consume substantial time and effort; (3) the draft EIS is thorough and balanced; and (4) delays caused by an inadequate EIS are avoided. E:\FR\FM\26APN1.SGM 26APN1 amozie on DSK30RV082PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 81 / Thursday, April 26, 2018 / Notices Public scoping is a process for determining the scope of issues to be addressed in this EIS and for identifying the issues related to the proposed action that may have a significant effect on the project environment. The scoping process begins with publication of this notice and ends after the U.S. Coast Guard has: D Invited the participation of Federal, State, and local agencies, any affected Indian tribe, and other interested persons; D Consulted with affected Federally Recognized Tribes on a government-togovernment basis, and with affected Alaska Native corporations, in accordance with Executive Order 13175 and other policies. Native concerns, including impacts on Indian trust assets and potential impacts to cultural resources, will be given appropriate consideration; D Requested the Environmental Protection Agency, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service, and the United States Army Corps of Engineers to serve as cooperating agencies in the preparation of this EIS. With this Notice of Intent, we are asking Federal, State, and local agencies with jurisdiction or special expertise with respect to environmental issues in the project area, in addition to those we have already contacted, to formally cooperate with us in the preparation of this EIS; D Determined the scope and the issues to be analyzed in depth in the EIS; D Allocated responsibility for preparing the EIS components; D Indicated any related environmental assessments or environmental impact statements that are not part of this EIS; D Identified other relevant environmental review and consultation requirements, such as Coastal Zone Management Act consistency determinations, and threatened and endangered species and habitat impacts; D Indicated the relationship between timing of the environmental review and other aspects of the application process; and D Exercised our option under 40 CFR 1501.7(b) to hold the public scoping meeting announced in this notice. Once the scoping process is complete, the U.S. Coast Guard will prepare a draft EIS, and will publish a Federal Register notice announcing its public availability. We will provide the public with an opportunity to review and comment on the draft EIS. Comments received during the draft EIS review period will be available in the public docket and made available in the final EIS. After the U.S. Coast Guard VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:58 Apr 25, 2018 Jkt 244001 considers those comments, we will prepare the final EIS and similarly announce its availability and solicit public review and comment. IV. Information Requested We are seeking comments on the potential environmental impacts that may result from the development, building, testing, and operation of up to three heavy polar icebreakers and potentially three medium icebreakers to help in the development of an EIS. NEPA requires Federal agencies to consider environmental impacts that may result from a proposed action, to inform the public of potential impacts and alternatives, and to facilitate public involvement in the assessment process. An EIS would include, among other matters, discussions of the purpose and need for the proposed action, a description of alternatives, a description of the affected environment, and an evaluation of the environmental impacts of the proposed action and alternatives. As required by the NEPA, the U.S. Coast Guard also will analyze the No Action Alternative as a baseline for comparing the impacts of the proposed action. For the purposes of this proposed action, the No Action Alternative is defined as not approving the design and build of new polar icebreakers. The U.S. Coast Guard encourages public participation in the EIS process. The scoping period will begin upon publication of this notice in the Federal Register and continue for a period of sixty (60) days. As part of the scoping process, and as authorized by 40 CFR 1508.22(b)(4), the U.S. Coast Guard will hold a public scoping meeting and informational open house ˙ in Anchorage, Utqiagvik (Barrow), Nome, and Kotzebue, Alaska in May 2018. Public comments will be accepted at those meetings and can also be submitted to the docket, as previously described under ADDRESSES. V. Public Participation and Request for Comments Pursuant to the CEQ regulations, the U.S. Coast Guard invites public participation in the NEPA process. This notice requests public participation in the scoping process, establishes a public comment period, and provides information on how to participate. We encourage you to submit comments through the Federal portal at http://www.regulations.gov. If your material cannot be submitted using http://www.regulations.gov, contact the person in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document for alternate instructions. In your submission, please include the docket PO 00000 Frm 00060 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 18321 number for this notice of intent and provide a reason for each suggestion or recommendation. We accept anonymous comments. All comments received will be posted without change to http:// www.regulations.gov and will include any personal information you have provided. For more about privacy and the docket, visit http:// www.regulations.gov/privacyNotice. Documents mentioned in this notice of intent as being available in the docket, and all public comments, will be in our online docket at http:// www.regulations.gov and can be viewed by following that website’s instructions. We plan to hold public meetings in ˙ Anchorage, Utqiagvik (Barrow), Nome, and Kotzebue to receive oral comments on this notice of intent. The dates, times, and locations of the public meetings will be announced in the local papers (The Arctic Sounder, The Anchorage Daily News, and The Nome Nugget) and online at http:// www.dcms.uscg.mil/Our-Organization/ Assistant-Commandant-forAcquisitions-CG-9/Programs/SurfacePrograms/Polar-Icebreaker/. If special assistance is required to attend the meetings, such as sign language interpretation or other reasonable accommodations, contact the U.S. Coast Guard as indicated in FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Dated: April 23, 2018. Ahmedur Majumder, Deputy Program Manager, Polar Icebreaker Program, United States Coast Guard. [FR Doc. 2018–08795 Filed 4–25–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110–04–P DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY U.S. Customs and Border Protection Notice of Issuance of Final Determination Concerning Axion Series Led Video Display Cabinets U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security. ACTION: Notice of final determination. AGENCY: This document provides notice that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (‘‘CBP’’) has issued a final determination concerning the country of origin of Axion series LED video display cabinets. Based upon the facts presented, CBP has concluded in the final determination that Taiwan is the country of origin of the Axion series LED video display cabinets for purposes of U.S. Government procurement. SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\26APN1.SGM 26APN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 81 (Thursday, April 26, 2018)]
[Notices]
[Pages 18319-18321]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-08795]


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

Coast Guard

[Docket Number USCG-2018-0193]


Polar Icebreaker Program; Preparation of Environmental Impact 
Statement

AGENCY: Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement 
(EIS); notice of public meeting; and request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: The U.S. Coast Guard, as lead agency, is providing notice of 
their intent to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) in 
accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for the 
Polar Icebreaker Program's design and build of up to six polar 
icebreakers (PIB). Notice is hereby given that the public scoping 
process has begun for the preparation of an EIS that will address the 
impacts and alternatives of the Proposed Action. The purpose of the 
scoping process is to solicit public comments regarding the range of 
issues, including potential environmental impacts and alternatives that 
should be addressed in the EIS. This notice also notifies the public 
that the U.S. Coast Guard intends to hold public meetings to discuss 
potential issues, concerns and reasonable alternatives that should be 
considered in the EIS. Following the scoping meetings and comment 
period, a Draft EIS will be prepared and ultimately circulated for 
public comment.

DATES: Comments and related material must be received by the U.S. Coast

[[Page 18320]]

Guard on or before June 25, 2018. The public meetings will be held in 
May 2018 in Anchorage, Utqia[gdot]vik (Barrow), Nome, and Kotzebue. The 
exact days and times of the public meetings will be announced through 
notice in the local papers (The Arctic Sounder, The Anchorage Daily 
News, and The Nome Nugget) and online at http://www.dcms.uscg.mil/Our-Organization/Assistant-Commandant-for-Acquisitions-CG-9/Programs/Surface-Programs/Polar-Icebreaker/.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG-
2018-0193 using the Federal portal at http://www.regulations.gov. See 
the ``Public Participation and Request for Comments'' portion of the 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for further instructions on 
submitting comments. Written comments and related material may also be 
submitted to U.S. Coast Guard personnel specified at the public 
meetings.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you have questions about this 
notice of intent, email Mr. Ahmed Majumder, Deputy Program Manager, 
Polar Icebreaker Program, U.S. Coast Guard; email 
[email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Table of Abbreviations

CFR Code of Federal Regulations
CGC Coast Guard Cutter
EIS Environmental Impact Statement
FR Federal Register
NEPA National Environmental Policy Act
PIBs Polar Icebreakers
U.S.C. United States Code

II. Background and Purpose

    The U.S. Coast Guard's current fleet of PIBs consists of two heavy 
icebreakers, Coast Guard Cutter (CGC) POLAR STAR and CGC POLAR SEA, and 
one medium icebreaker, CGC HEALY. The U.S. Coast Guard's heavy 
icebreakers have both exceeded their designed 30 year service life. CGC 
POLAR STAR was commissioned in 1976 and CGC POLAR SEA in 1978. CGC 
POLAR STAR began reactivation in 2010 and completed a service life 
extension in 2013 to allow CGC POLAR STAR to operate for an additional 
seven to ten years. CGC POLAR SEA has remained out of service since 
2010 and is not expected to be reactivated. The current PIB program 
acquisition strategy is approved to construct up to three heavy PIBs 
and may (at a future date) potentially expand to include up to three 
medium icebreakers, with planned service design lives of 30 years each. 
The first of these new PIBs is expected to delivered in 2023. Because 
the first new PIB would not be operational in the Polar Regions until 
at least 2023, new information may become available after the 
completion of this EIS. In that case, supplemental NEPA documentation 
may, as appropriate, be prepared in support of individual proposed 
actions. Examples of new information may include, but are not limited 
to, changes to a species listing status or any other applicable laws 
and directives, and information regarding mission, training, 
homeporting, maintenance, and eventual decommissioning of the new PIBs.
    A new PIB would be designed to carry out the U.S. Coast Guard's 
primary missions supported by the current polar icebreaker fleet. 
Expected missions include Ice Operations, Defense Readiness, Aids to 
Navigation, Living Marine Resources, Marine Safety, Marine 
Environmental Protection, Other Law Enforcement, Ports, Waterways, and 
Coastal Security, and Search and Rescue.
    In executing its various missions, the U.S. Coast Guard protects 
the public, the environment, and U.S. economic and security interests 
in any maritime region, including international waters and the Nation's 
coasts, ports, and inland waterways, as required to support national 
security. Legislation and Executive orders assign the U.S. Coast Guard 
a wide range of responsibilities applicable to Polar regions. The U.S. 
Coast Guard derives its authority for the use of icebreaking from 
several statutes governing execution of its missions. These include 14 
U.S.C. 81 (Coast Guard establishment, maintenance, and operation of 
aids to navigation), 14 U.S.C. 88 (Coast Guard saving of life and 
property), 14 U.S.C. 89 (Coast Guard law enforcement), 14 U.S.C. 90 
(Arctic maritime transportation), 14 U.S.C. 91 (controlling anchorage 
and movement of vessels), 14 U.S.C. 94 (conduct oceanographic 
research), and 14 U.S.C. 141 (cooperation with agencies, States, 
territories, and others). In addition, Executive Order 7521 (Use of 
Vessels for Icebreaking in Channels and Harbors), 1 FR 2184, Dec. 24, 
1936, directs the U.S. Coast Guard to assist in keeping channels and 
harbors open to navigation by means of icebreaking operations.
    The U.S. Coast Guard proposes to conduct polar icebreaker 
operations and training exercises to meet Coast Guard mission 
responsibilities in the U.S. Arctic and Antarctic regions of operation, 
in addition to vessel performance testing post-dry dock in the Pacific 
Northwest near the probable polar icebreaker homeport of Seattle, 
Washington (the exact location for homeporting has not been determined, 
but the current fleet of polar icebreakers is homeported in Seattle, 
Washington).
    Polar regions are becoming increasingly important to U.S. national 
interests. The changing environment in these regions could lead to a 
rise in human activity and increased commercial ship, cruise ship, and 
naval surface ship operations, as well as increased exploration for oil 
and other resources, particularly in the Arctic. One of the U.S. Coast 
Guard's highest priorities is safety of life at sea. This entails the 
artic responsibilities described above as well as assisting with 
McMurdo Station; Antarctica Logistics. Long term-projected increases in 
U.S. Coast Guard mission demand in the Polar Regions would require 
additional support from PIBs. A lack of infrastructure, polar 
environmental conditions, distance between operating areas and support 
bases, all influence the U.S. Coast Guard's ability to provide 
comparable service and presence provided in other non-polar areas of 
operation with existing Coast Guard assets.
    Although the total number of new PIBs is subject to change, no more 
than six are proposed or anticipated, and therefore, the EIS will 
analyze the potential impacts of the range of up to six new PIBs, as 
this will be the highest number projected to be operational in the 
Polar Regions. Fewer than six new PIBs is also possible, but the 
analysis will cover impacts of fewer vessels and it is expected that 
fewer icebreakers will result in either similar impacts or some 
combination that should result in fewer impacts than what will be 
discussed and evaluated in the EIS. Potential environmental stressors 
include acoustic (underwater acoustic transmissions, vessel noise, 
icebreaking noise, aircraft noise, and gunnery noise), and physical 
(vessel movement, aircraft or in-air device movement, in-water device 
movement, icebreaking, and marine expended materials).

III. Scoping Process

    The U.S. Coast Guard intends to follow the Council on Environmental 
Quality (CEQ) regulations implementing the NEPA (40 CFR 1500 et seq.) 
by scoping through public comment and public meetings. Scoping, which 
is integral to the process for implementing NEPA, provides a process to 
ensure that (1) issues are identified early and properly studied; (2) 
issues of little significance do not consume substantial time and 
effort; (3) the draft EIS is thorough and balanced; and (4) delays 
caused by an inadequate EIS are avoided.

[[Page 18321]]

    Public scoping is a process for determining the scope of issues to 
be addressed in this EIS and for identifying the issues related to the 
proposed action that may have a significant effect on the project 
environment. The scoping process begins with publication of this notice 
and ends after the U.S. Coast Guard has:
    [ssquf] Invited the participation of Federal, State, and local 
agencies, any affected Indian tribe, and other interested persons;
    [ssquf] Consulted with affected Federally Recognized Tribes on a 
government-to-government basis, and with affected Alaska Native 
corporations, in accordance with Executive Order 13175 and other 
policies. Native concerns, including impacts on Indian trust assets and 
potential impacts to cultural resources, will be given appropriate 
consideration;
    [ssquf] Requested the Environmental Protection Agency, the United 
States Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Marine Fisheries 
Service, and the United States Army Corps of Engineers to serve as 
cooperating agencies in the preparation of this EIS. With this Notice 
of Intent, we are asking Federal, State, and local agencies with 
jurisdiction or special expertise with respect to environmental issues 
in the project area, in addition to those we have already contacted, to 
formally cooperate with us in the preparation of this EIS;
    [ssquf] Determined the scope and the issues to be analyzed in depth 
in the EIS;
    [ssquf] Allocated responsibility for preparing the EIS components;
    [ssquf] Indicated any related environmental assessments or 
environmental impact statements that are not part of this EIS;
    [ssquf] Identified other relevant environmental review and 
consultation requirements, such as Coastal Zone Management Act 
consistency determinations, and threatened and endangered species and 
habitat impacts;
    [ssquf] Indicated the relationship between timing of the 
environmental review and other aspects of the application process; and
    [ssquf] Exercised our option under 40 CFR 1501.7(b) to hold the 
public scoping meeting announced in this notice.
    Once the scoping process is complete, the U.S. Coast Guard will 
prepare a draft EIS, and will publish a Federal Register notice 
announcing its public availability. We will provide the public with an 
opportunity to review and comment on the draft EIS. Comments received 
during the draft EIS review period will be available in the public 
docket and made available in the final EIS. After the U.S. Coast Guard 
considers those comments, we will prepare the final EIS and similarly 
announce its availability and solicit public review and comment.

IV. Information Requested

    We are seeking comments on the potential environmental impacts that 
may result from the development, building, testing, and operation of up 
to three heavy polar icebreakers and potentially three medium 
icebreakers to help in the development of an EIS. NEPA requires Federal 
agencies to consider environmental impacts that may result from a 
proposed action, to inform the public of potential impacts and 
alternatives, and to facilitate public involvement in the assessment 
process. An EIS would include, among other matters, discussions of the 
purpose and need for the proposed action, a description of 
alternatives, a description of the affected environment, and an 
evaluation of the environmental impacts of the proposed action and 
alternatives.
    As required by the NEPA, the U.S. Coast Guard also will analyze the 
No Action Alternative as a baseline for comparing the impacts of the 
proposed action. For the purposes of this proposed action, the No 
Action Alternative is defined as not approving the design and build of 
new polar icebreakers. The U.S. Coast Guard encourages public 
participation in the EIS process. The scoping period will begin upon 
publication of this notice in the Federal Register and continue for a 
period of sixty (60) days. As part of the scoping process, and as 
authorized by 40 CFR 1508.22(b)(4), the U.S. Coast Guard will hold a 
public scoping meeting and informational open house in Anchorage, 
Utqia[gdot]vik (Barrow), Nome, and Kotzebue, Alaska in May 2018. Public 
comments will be accepted at those meetings and can also be submitted 
to the docket, as previously described under ADDRESSES.

V. Public Participation and Request for Comments

    Pursuant to the CEQ regulations, the U.S. Coast Guard invites 
public participation in the NEPA process. This notice requests public 
participation in the scoping process, establishes a public comment 
period, and provides information on how to participate.
    We encourage you to submit comments through the Federal portal at 
http://www.regulations.gov. If your material cannot be submitted using 
http://www.regulations.gov, contact the person in the FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document for alternate 
instructions. In your submission, please include the docket number for 
this notice of intent and provide a reason for each suggestion or 
recommendation.
    We accept anonymous comments. All comments received will be posted 
without change to http://www.regulations.gov and will include any 
personal information you have provided. For more about privacy and the 
docket, visit http://www.regulations.gov/privacyNotice.
    Documents mentioned in this notice of intent as being available in 
the docket, and all public comments, will be in our online docket at 
http://www.regulations.gov and can be viewed by following that 
website's instructions.
    We plan to hold public meetings in Anchorage, Utqia[gdot]vik 
(Barrow), Nome, and Kotzebue to receive oral comments on this notice of 
intent. The dates, times, and locations of the public meetings will be 
announced in the local papers (The Arctic Sounder, The Anchorage Daily 
News, and The Nome Nugget) and online at http://www.dcms.uscg.mil/Our-Organization/Assistant-Commandant-for-Acquisitions-CG-9/Programs/Surface-Programs/Polar-Icebreaker/. If special assistance is required 
to attend the meetings, such as sign language interpretation or other 
reasonable accommodations, contact the U.S. Coast Guard as indicated in 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

    Dated: April 23, 2018.
Ahmedur Majumder,
Deputy Program Manager, Polar Icebreaker Program, United States Coast 
Guard.
[FR Doc. 2018-08795 Filed 4-25-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 9110-04-P