Update to the Regulations for Implementing the Procedural Provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act, 28591-28592 [2018-13246]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 119 / Wednesday, June 20, 2018 / Proposed Rules requirements, Superfund, Water pollution control, Water supply. Authority: 33 U.S.C. 1321(d); 42 U.S.C. 9601–9657; E.O. 13626, 77 FR 56749, 3 CFR, 2013 Comp., p. 306; E.O. 12777, 56 FR 54757, 3 CFR, 1991 Comp., p. 351; E.O. 12580, 52 FR 2923, 3 CFR, 1987 Comp., p. 193. Dated: May 30, 2018. Cosmo Servidio, Regional Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 3. [FR Doc. 2018–12709 Filed 6–19–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560–50–P COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY 40 CFR Parts 1500, 1501, 1502, 1503, 1504, 1505, 1506, 1507, and 1508 [Docket No. CEQ–2018–0001] RIN: 0331–AA03 Update to the Regulations for Implementing the Procedural Provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). ACTION: Advance notice of proposed rulemaking. AGENCY: The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) is considering updating its implementing regulations for the procedural provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Over the past four decades, CEQ has issued numerous guidance documents but has amended its regulations substantively only once. Given the length of time since its NEPA implementing regulations were issued, CEQ solicits public comment on potential revisions to update the regulations and ensure a more efficient, timely, and effective NEPA process consistent with the national environmental policy stated in NEPA. DATES: Comments should be submitted on or before July 20, 2018. ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by docket identification (ID) number CEQ–2018–0001 through the Federal eRulemaking portal at https:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Edward A. Boling, Associate Director for the National Environmental Policy Act, Council on Environmental Quality, 730 Jackson Place NW, Washington, DC 20503. Telephone: (202) 395–5750. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with PROPOSALS SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:51 Jun 19, 2018 Jkt 244001 I. Background The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq., was enacted in 1970. NEPA states that ‘‘it is the continuing policy of the Federal Government, in cooperation with State and local governments, and other concerned public and private organizations, to use all practicable means and measures, including financial and technical assistance, in a manner calculated to foster and promote the general welfare, to create and maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in productive harmony, and fulfill the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations of Americans.’’ 42 U.S.C. 4331(a). NEPA also established CEQ as an agency within the Executive Office of the President. 42 U.S.C. 4342. By Executive Order (E.O.) 11514, ‘‘Protection and Enhancement of Environmental Quality’’ (March 5, 1970), President Nixon directed CEQ in Section 3(h) to issue ‘‘guidelines to Federal agencies for the preparation of detailed statements on proposals for legislation and other Federal actions affecting the environment, as required by section 102(2)(C) of the Act.’’ CEQ published these guidelines in April of 1970 and revised them in 1973. President Carter issued E.O. 11991 (May 24, 1977), ‘‘Relating to Protection and Enhancement of Environmental Quality,’’ which amended Section 3(h) of E.O. 11514 to direct CEQ to issue regulations providing uniform standards for the implementation of NEPA, and amended Section 2 of E.O. 11514 to require agency compliance with the CEQ regulations. CEQ promulgated its ‘‘Regulations for Implementing the Procedural Provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act’’ (CEQ’s NEPA regulations) at 40 CFR parts 1500–1508. 43 FR 55978 (November 29, 1978). Since that time, CEQ has amended its NEPA regulations substantively only once, to eliminate the ‘‘worst case’’ analysis requirement of 40 CFR 1502.22. 51 FR 15618 (April 25, 1986). On August 15, 2017, President Trump issued E.O. 13807, ‘‘Establishing Discipline and Accountability in the Environmental Review and Permitting Process for Infrastructure Projects.’’ 82 FR 40463 (August 24, 2017). Section 5(e) of E.O. 13807 directed CEQ to develop an initial list of actions to enhance and modernize the Federal environmental review and authorization process. In response, CEQ published its initial list of actions pursuant to E.O. 13807 and stated that it intends to PO 00000 Frm 00045 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 28591 review its existing NEPA regulations in order to identify changes needed to update and clarify these regulations. 82 FR 43226 (September 14, 2017). II. Request for Comment CEQ requests comments on potential revisions to update and clarify CEQ NEPA regulations. In particular, CEQ requests comments on the following specific aspects of these regulations, and requests that commenters include question numbers when providing responses. Where possible, please provide specific recommendations on additions, deletions, and modifications to the text of CEQ’s NEPA regulations and their justifications. NEPA Process 1. Should CEQ’s NEPA regulations be revised to ensure that environmental reviews and authorization decisions involving multiple agencies are conducted in a manner that is concurrent, synchronized, timely, and efficient, and if so, how? 2. Should CEQ’s NEPA regulations be revised to make the NEPA process more efficient by better facilitating agency use of environmental studies, analysis, and decisions conducted in earlier Federal, State, tribal or local environmental reviews or authorization decisions, and if so, how? 3. Should CEQ’s NEPA regulations be revised to ensure optimal interagency coordination of environmental reviews and authorization decisions, and if so, how? Scope of NEPA Review 4. Should the provisions in CEQ’s NEPA regulations that relate to the format and page length of NEPA documents and time limits for completion be revised, and if so, how? 5. Should CEQ’s NEPA regulations be revised to provide greater clarity to ensure NEPA documents better focus on significant issues that are relevant and useful to decisionmakers and the public, and if so, how? 6. Should the provisions in CEQ’s NEPA regulations relating to public involvement be revised to be more inclusive and efficient, and if so, how? 7. Should definitions of any key NEPA terms in CEQ’s NEPA regulations, such as those listed below, be revised, and if so, how? a. Major Federal Action; b. Effects; c. Cumulative Impact; d. Significantly; e. Scope; and f. Other NEPA terms. 8. Should any new definitions of key NEPA terms, such as those noted below, be added, and if so, which terms? E:\FR\FM\20JNP1.SGM 20JNP1 28592 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 119 / Wednesday, June 20, 2018 / Proposed Rules a. Alternatives; b. Purpose and Need; c. Reasonably Foreseeable; d. Trivial Violation; and e. Other NEPA terms. 9. Should the provisions in CEQ’s NEPA regulations relating to any of the types of documents listed below be revised, and if so, how? a. Notice of Intent; b. Categorical Exclusions Documentation; c. Environmental Assessments; d. Findings of No Significant Impact; e. Environmental Impact Statements; f. Records of Decision; and g. Supplements. 10. Should the provisions in CEQ’s NEPA regulations relating to the timing of agency action be revised, and if so, how? 11. Should the provisions in CEQ’s NEPA regulations relating to agency responsibility and the preparation of NEPA documents by contractors and project applicants be revised, and if so, how? 12. Should the provisions in CEQ’s NEPA regulations relating to programmatic NEPA documents and tiering be revised, and if so, how? 13. Should the provisions in CEQ’s NEPA regulations relating to the appropriate range of alternatives in NEPA reviews and which alternatives may be eliminated from detailed analysis be revised, and if so, how? sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with PROPOSALS (Authority: 42 U.S.C. 4332, 4342, 4344 and 40 CFR parts 1500, 1501, 1502, 1503, 1505, 1506, 1507, and 1508) III. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews Under E.O. 12866, ‘‘Regulatory Planning and Review,’’ 58 FR 51735 (October 4, 1993), this is a ‘‘significant regulatory action.’’ Accordingly, CEQ submitted this action to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review under E.O. 12866 and any changes made in response to OMB recommendations have been documented in the docket for this action. Because this action does not propose or impose any requirements, and instead seeks comments and suggestions for CEQ to consider in possibly developing a subsequent proposed rule, the various statutes and executive orders that normally apply to rulemaking do not apply in this case. If CEQ decides in the future to pursue a rulemaking, CEQ will address the statutes and executive orders applicable to that rulemaking at that time. Mary B. Neumayr, Chief of Staff, Council on Environmental Quality. [FR Doc. 2018–13246 Filed 6–19–18; 8:45 am] General BILLING CODE 3225–F8–P 14. Are any provisions of the CEQ’s NEPA regulations currently obsolete? If so, please provide specific recommendations on whether they should be modified, rescinded, or replaced. 15. Which provisions of the CEQ’s NEPA regulations can be updated to reflect new technologies that can be used to make the process more efficient? 16. Are there additional ways CEQ’s NEPA regulations should be revised to promote coordination of environmental review and authorization decisions, such as combining NEPA analysis and other decision documents, and if so, how? 17. Are there additional ways CEQ’s NEPA regulations should be revised to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the implementation of NEPA, and if so, how? 18. Are there ways in which the role of tribal governments in the NEPA process should be clarified in CEQ’s NEPA regulations, and if so, how? 19. Are there additional ways CEQ’s NEPA regulations should be revised to ensure that agencies apply NEPA in a manner that reduces unnecessary VerDate Sep<11>2014 burdens and delays as much as possible, and if so, how? 20. Are there additional ways CEQ’s NEPA regulations related to mitigation should be revised, and if so, how? 16:51 Jun 19, 2018 Jkt 244001 GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION 41 CFR Part 105–60 [GSPMR Case 2016–105–1; Docket No. 2016–0004, Sequence No. 1] RIN 3090–AJ74 Public Availability of Agency Records and Informational Materials Office of Administrative Services (OAS), General Services Administration (GSA). ACTION: Proposed rule. AGENCY: The General Services Administration (GSA) is issuing a proposed rule to amend its regulations implementing the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The regulations are being revised to update and streamline the language of several procedural provisions and to incorporate certain changes brought about by the amendments to the FOIA under both statutory and nonstatutory authorities. This rule also amends the SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00046 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 GSA’s regulations under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to incorporate certain changes made to the FOIA by the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016. Additionally, the regulations are being updated to reflect developments in case law, executive guidance from the Department of Justice—Office of Information Policy, technological advancements in how the FOIA is administered, and to include current cost figures to be used in calculating and charging fees. Finally, the revisions increase the amount of information that members of the public may receive from the Agency without being charged processing fees through proactive disclosures. DATES: Interested parties should submit written comments to the Regulatory Secretariat Division at one of the addresses shown below on or before August 20, 2018 to be considered in the formation of the final rule. ADDRESSES: Submit comments in response to GSPMR case 2016–105–1 by any of the following methods: • Regulations.gov: http:// www.regulations.gov. Submit comments via the Federal eRulemaking portal by searching for ‘‘GSPMR Case 2016–105– 1’’. Select the link ‘‘Comment Now’’ that corresponds with ‘‘GPSMR Case 2016– 105–1.’’ Follow the instructions provided on the screen. Please include your name, company name (if any), and ‘‘GSPMR Case 2016–105–1’’ on your attached document. • Mail: General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat Division (MVCB), ATTN: Ms. Lois Mandell, 1800 F Street NW, 2nd Floor, Washington, DC 20405. Instructions: Please submit comments only and cite GSPMR Case 2016–105–1, in all correspondence related to this case. All comments received will be posted without change to http:// www.regulations.gov, including any personal and/or business confidential information provided. To confirm receipt of your comment(s), please check www.regulations.gov, approximately two to three days after submission to verify posting (except allow 30 days for posting of comments submitted by mail). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Travis S. Lewis, Director of GSA, OAS, Freedom of Information Act and Records Management Division, at 202– 219–3078 via email at travis.lewis@ gsa.gov for clarification of content. For information pertaining to status or publication schedules, contact the Regulatory Secretariat Division at 202– 501–4755. Please cite GSPMR Case 2016–105–1. E:\FR\FM\20JNP1.SGM 20JNP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 119 (Wednesday, June 20, 2018)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 28591-28592]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-13246]


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COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY

40 CFR Parts 1500, 1501, 1502, 1503, 1504, 1505, 1506, 1507, and 
1508

[Docket No. CEQ-2018-0001]
RIN: 0331-AA03


Update to the Regulations for Implementing the Procedural 
Provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act

AGENCY: Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ).

ACTION: Advance notice of proposed rulemaking.

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

SUMMARY: The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) is considering 
updating its implementing regulations for the procedural provisions of 
the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Over the past four 
decades, CEQ has issued numerous guidance documents but has amended its 
regulations substantively only once. Given the length of time since its 
NEPA implementing regulations were issued, CEQ solicits public comment 
on potential revisions to update the regulations and ensure a more 
efficient, timely, and effective NEPA process consistent with the 
national environmental policy stated in NEPA.

DATES: Comments should be submitted on or before July 20, 2018.

ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by docket identification 
(ID) number CEQ-2018-0001 through the Federal eRulemaking portal at 
https://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for 
submitting comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Edward A. Boling, Associate Director 
for the National Environmental Policy Act, Council on Environmental 
Quality, 730 Jackson Place NW, Washington, DC 20503. Telephone: (202) 
395-5750.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

    The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. 4321 et 
seq., was enacted in 1970. NEPA states that ``it is the continuing 
policy of the Federal Government, in cooperation with State and local 
governments, and other concerned public and private organizations, to 
use all practicable means and measures, including financial and 
technical assistance, in a manner calculated to foster and promote the 
general welfare, to create and maintain conditions under which man and 
nature can exist in productive harmony, and fulfill the social, 
economic, and other requirements of present and future generations of 
Americans.'' 42 U.S.C. 4331(a). NEPA also established CEQ as an agency 
within the Executive Office of the President. 42 U.S.C. 4342.
    By Executive Order (E.O.) 11514, ``Protection and Enhancement of 
Environmental Quality'' (March 5, 1970), President Nixon directed CEQ 
in Section 3(h) to issue ``guidelines to Federal agencies for the 
preparation of detailed statements on proposals for legislation and 
other Federal actions affecting the environment, as required by section 
102(2)(C) of the Act.'' CEQ published these guidelines in April of 1970 
and revised them in 1973.
    President Carter issued E.O. 11991 (May 24, 1977), ``Relating to 
Protection and Enhancement of Environmental Quality,'' which amended 
Section 3(h) of E.O. 11514 to direct CEQ to issue regulations providing 
uniform standards for the implementation of NEPA, and amended Section 2 
of E.O. 11514 to require agency compliance with the CEQ regulations. 
CEQ promulgated its ``Regulations for Implementing the Procedural 
Provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act'' (CEQ's NEPA 
regulations) at 40 CFR parts 1500-1508. 43 FR 55978 (November 29, 
1978). Since that time, CEQ has amended its NEPA regulations 
substantively only once, to eliminate the ``worst case'' analysis 
requirement of 40 CFR 1502.22. 51 FR 15618 (April 25, 1986).
    On August 15, 2017, President Trump issued E.O. 13807, 
``Establishing Discipline and Accountability in the Environmental 
Review and Permitting Process for Infrastructure Projects.'' 82 FR 
40463 (August 24, 2017). Section 5(e) of E.O. 13807 directed CEQ to 
develop an initial list of actions to enhance and modernize the Federal 
environmental review and authorization process. In response, CEQ 
published its initial list of actions pursuant to E.O. 13807 and stated 
that it intends to review its existing NEPA regulations in order to 
identify changes needed to update and clarify these regulations. 82 FR 
43226 (September 14, 2017).

II. Request for Comment

    CEQ requests comments on potential revisions to update and clarify 
CEQ NEPA regulations. In particular, CEQ requests comments on the 
following specific aspects of these regulations, and requests that 
commenters include question numbers when providing responses. Where 
possible, please provide specific recommendations on additions, 
deletions, and modifications to the text of CEQ's NEPA regulations and 
their justifications.

NEPA Process

    1. Should CEQ's NEPA regulations be revised to ensure that 
environmental reviews and authorization decisions involving multiple 
agencies are conducted in a manner that is concurrent, synchronized, 
timely, and efficient, and if so, how?
    2. Should CEQ's NEPA regulations be revised to make the NEPA 
process more efficient by better facilitating agency use of 
environmental studies, analysis, and decisions conducted in earlier 
Federal, State, tribal or local environmental reviews or authorization 
decisions, and if so, how?
    3. Should CEQ's NEPA regulations be revised to ensure optimal 
interagency coordination of environmental reviews and authorization 
decisions, and if so, how?

Scope of NEPA Review

    4. Should the provisions in CEQ's NEPA regulations that relate to 
the format and page length of NEPA documents and time limits for 
completion be revised, and if so, how?
    5. Should CEQ's NEPA regulations be revised to provide greater 
clarity to ensure NEPA documents better focus on significant issues 
that are relevant and useful to decisionmakers and the public, and if 
so, how?
    6. Should the provisions in CEQ's NEPA regulations relating to 
public involvement be revised to be more inclusive and efficient, and 
if so, how?
    7. Should definitions of any key NEPA terms in CEQ's NEPA 
regulations, such as those listed below, be revised, and if so, how?
    a. Major Federal Action;
    b. Effects;
    c. Cumulative Impact;
    d. Significantly;
    e. Scope; and
    f. Other NEPA terms.
    8. Should any new definitions of key NEPA terms, such as those 
noted below, be added, and if so, which terms?

[[Page 28592]]

    a. Alternatives;
    b. Purpose and Need;
    c. Reasonably Foreseeable;
    d. Trivial Violation; and
    e. Other NEPA terms.
    9. Should the provisions in CEQ's NEPA regulations relating to any 
of the types of documents listed below be revised, and if so, how?
    a. Notice of Intent;
    b. Categorical Exclusions Documentation;
    c. Environmental Assessments;
    d. Findings of No Significant Impact;
    e. Environmental Impact Statements;
    f. Records of Decision; and
    g. Supplements.
    10. Should the provisions in CEQ's NEPA regulations relating to the 
timing of agency action be revised, and if so, how?
    11. Should the provisions in CEQ's NEPA regulations relating to 
agency responsibility and the preparation of NEPA documents by 
contractors and project applicants be revised, and if so, how?
    12. Should the provisions in CEQ's NEPA regulations relating to 
programmatic NEPA documents and tiering be revised, and if so, how?
    13. Should the provisions in CEQ's NEPA regulations relating to the 
appropriate range of alternatives in NEPA reviews and which 
alternatives may be eliminated from detailed analysis be revised, and 
if so, how?

General

    14. Are any provisions of the CEQ's NEPA regulations currently 
obsolete? If so, please provide specific recommendations on whether 
they should be modified, rescinded, or replaced.
    15. Which provisions of the CEQ's NEPA regulations can be updated 
to reflect new technologies that can be used to make the process more 
efficient?
    16. Are there additional ways CEQ's NEPA regulations should be 
revised to promote coordination of environmental review and 
authorization decisions, such as combining NEPA analysis and other 
decision documents, and if so, how?
    17. Are there additional ways CEQ's NEPA regulations should be 
revised to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the 
implementation of NEPA, and if so, how?
    18. Are there ways in which the role of tribal governments in the 
NEPA process should be clarified in CEQ's NEPA regulations, and if so, 
how?
    19. Are there additional ways CEQ's NEPA regulations should be 
revised to ensure that agencies apply NEPA in a manner that reduces 
unnecessary burdens and delays as much as possible, and if so, how?
    20. Are there additional ways CEQ's NEPA regulations related to 
mitigation should be revised, and if so, how?

(Authority: 42 U.S.C. 4332, 4342, 4344 and 40 CFR parts 1500, 1501, 
1502, 1503, 1505, 1506, 1507, and 1508)

III. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

    Under E.O. 12866, ``Regulatory Planning and Review,'' 58 FR 51735 
(October 4, 1993), this is a ``significant regulatory action.'' 
Accordingly, CEQ submitted this action to the Office of Management and 
Budget (OMB) for review under E.O. 12866 and any changes made in 
response to OMB recommendations have been documented in the docket for 
this action. Because this action does not propose or impose any 
requirements, and instead seeks comments and suggestions for CEQ to 
consider in possibly developing a subsequent proposed rule, the various 
statutes and executive orders that normally apply to rulemaking do not 
apply in this case. If CEQ decides in the future to pursue a 
rulemaking, CEQ will address the statutes and executive orders 
applicable to that rulemaking at that time.

Mary B. Neumayr,
Chief of Staff, Council on Environmental Quality.
[FR Doc. 2018-13246 Filed 6-19-18; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3225-F8-P