Offshore Patrol Cutter Acquisition Program; Preparation of a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement, 73491-73495 [2020-25452]

Download as PDF khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 223 / Wednesday, November 18, 2020 / Notices SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this notice. DATES: Only written comments and/or applications for a license which are received by the NIDDK Technology Advancement Office December 3, 2020 will be considered. ADDRESSES: Requests for copies of the patent applications, inquiries, and comments relating to the contemplated exclusive patent license should be directed to: Betty B. Tong, Ph.D., Senior Licensing and Patenting Manager, NIDDK Technology Advancement Office, Telephone: 301–451–7836; Email: tongb@mail.nih.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The following and all continuing U.S. and foreign patents/patent applications thereof are the intellectual properties to be licensed under the prospective agreement to SLU: 1. U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 62/877,385, filed July 23, 2019, entitled ‘‘Treatment And Prevention Of Neuropathic Pain With P2Y14 Antagonists’’ (HHS Ref. No. E–144– 2019–0–US–01) 2. U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 63/013,792, filed April 22, 2020, entitled ‘‘Treatment And Prevention Of Neuropathic Pain With P2Y14 Antagonists’’ (HHS Ref. No. E–144– 2019–1–US–01) 3. U.S. Patent Application 16/936,951, filed July 23, 2020, entitled ‘‘Treatment And Prevention Of Neuropathic Pain With P2Y14 Antagonists’’ [HHS Ref. No. E–144– 2019–2–US–01] The patent rights in these inventions have been assigned to the Government of the United States of America, and Saint Louis University. The prospective patent license will be for the purpose of consolidating the patent rights to SLU, co-owner of said rights, for commercial development and marketing. Consolidation of these co-owned rights is intended to expedite development of the invention, consistent with the goals of the Bayh-Dole Act codified as 35 U.S.C. 200–212. The prospective patent license will be worldwide, exclusive, and may be limited to those fields of use commensurate in scope with the patent rights. It will be sublicensable, and any sublicenses granted by SLU will be subject to the provisions of 37 CFR part 401 and 404. The invention pertains to methods for treating and preventing neuropathic pain by using selective antagonists for the P2Y14 receptor, a purinergic G protein-coupled receptor that is activated by extracellular UDP-glucose and related nucleotides. The technology provides a method of treating VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:59 Nov 17, 2020 Jkt 253001 neuropathic pain by administering a P2Y14 receptor antagonist comprising a naphthalene or phenyl-triazolyl scaffold, potentially increase efficacy of treatments for neuropathic pain, and minimize risk of addiction. This notice is made pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 209 and 37 CFR part 404. The prospective exclusive patent license will include terms for the sharing of royalty income with NIDDK from commercial sublicenses of the patent rights and may be granted unless within fifteen (15) days from the date of this published notice the NIDDK receives written evidence and argument that establishes that the grant of the license would not be consistent with the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 209 and 37 CFR part 404. Complete applications for a license that are timely filed in response to this notice will be treated as objections to the grant of the contemplated exclusive patent license. In response to this Notice, the public may file comments or objections. Comments and objections, other than those in the form of a license application, will not be treated confidentially, and may be made publicly available. License applications submitted in response to this Notice will be presumed to contain business confidential information and any release of information from these license applications will be made only as required and upon a request under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552. Dated: November 12, 2020. Charles D. Niebylski, Director, Technology Advancement Office, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. [FR Doc. 2020–25455 Filed 11–17–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140–01–P 73491 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: Center for Scientific Review Special Emphasis Panel; Member Conflict: Population Science and Epidemiology–B. Date: December 8, 2020. Time: 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications. Place: National Institutes of Health, Rockledge II, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892 (Virtual Meeting). Contact Person: Gianina Ramona Dumitrescu, Ph.D., MPH, Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 4193–C, Bethesda, MD 28092, dumitrescurg@csr.nih.gov. Name of Committee: Center for Scientific Review Special Emphasis Panel; PAR Panel: Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems—Basic Mechanisms of Health Effects. Date: December 17–18, 2020. Time: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications. Place: National Institutes of Health, Rockledge II, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892 (Virtual Meeting). Contact Person: Ghenima Dirami, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 4122, MSC 7814, Bethesda, MD 20892, (240) 498– 7546, diramig@csr.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: November 13, 2020. Patricia B. Hansberger, Supervisory Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy. [FR Doc. 2020–25454 Filed 11–17–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140–01–P DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY National Institutes of Health Coast Guard Center for Scientific Review Notice of Closed Meetings 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, PO 00000 Frm 00037 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 [Docket Number USCG–2020–0667] Offshore Patrol Cutter Acquisition Program; Preparation of a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement Coast Guard, DHS. Notice of intent to prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS)/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement (POEIS); request for comments. AGENCY: ACTION: E:\FR\FM\18NON1.SGM 18NON1 73492 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 223 / Wednesday, November 18, 2020 / Notices The United States (U.S.) Coast Guard (Coast Guard), as the lead agency, announces its intent to prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS)/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement (POEIS) for the Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) Program’s Stage 2 acquisition of up to 21 OPCs and operation of up to 25 total OPCs. This acquisition is a continuation of the OPC Program of Record for acquiring up to 25 total cutters. Notice is hereby given that the public scoping process has begun for the preparation of a PEIS/POEIS that will address the reasonable alternatives and potential environmental impacts associated with implementing the Proposed Action. The scoping process solicits public comments regarding the range of issues, information and analyses relevant to the Proposed Action, including potential environmental impacts and reasonable alternatives to address in the PEIS/ POEIS. The Coast Guard has determined that a PEIS/POEIS is the most appropriate type of NEPA document for this action because of the scope and complexity of the proposed acquisition and operation of up to 25 OPCs. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES Purpose and Need for the Proposed Action The Coast Guard’s current fleet of Medium Endurance Cutters (MEC) consists of 28 operational vessels homeported in the Coast Guard’s area of responsibility (AOR) in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf of Mexico. MECs primarily operate outside the 12 nm territorial seas and within the 200 nm Exclusive Economic Zone and primarily execute maritime law enforcement and search and rescue missions. Additional MEC operations occur in the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and the Pacific between California and Panama. Current operational MECs have exceeded their designed 30-year service life and can no longer meet this need for the Coast Guard. Therefore, the Coast Guard must replace the aging MECs because they are too old and costly to be operationally effective. Some of the oldest MECs are already more than 55 years old and do not have sufficient hull life remaining to justify any attempts to modernize them. Therefore, the purpose of the Proposed Action is the acquisition and operation of up to 25 OPCs to replace the capabilities of the current operational MECs. OPCs have identical missions and operational characteristics as the MECs they replace. OPC differences include increased length to accommodate a fixed hanger VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:59 Nov 17, 2020 Jkt 253001 for assigned aircraft, larger flight deck, greater at-sea endurance, an increased number of cutter boats, and modernized Command, Control, Computers, Navigation, and Combat systems. OPCs also feature enhanced environmental standards for clean air, noise, sewage, trash, and ballast. Preliminary Proposed Action and Alternatives Preliminary Proposed Action (Alternative 1): Under the preliminary Proposed Action, the Coast Guard would acquire and operate up to 25 OPCs with planned design lives of 30 years to fulfill mission requirements in the proposed action areas in the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and Pacific Ocean, including Alaska, Hawaii, and Pacific Islands. Similar to the current fleet’s operations, the Proposed Action would include vessel and aircraft operations as well as shipboard training exercises to meet the Coast Guard’s mission responsibilities. OPCs would support the Coast Guard’s missions that generally occur more than 50 nm (92 km) from shore and require long transit time to reach the farthest extent of the Coast Guard’s AORs, forward deployment of forces with the U.S. Navy for National Defense, and an extended on-scene vessel presence. An OPC’s typical deployment schedule would be to perform law enforcement activities, which include interdicting any vessel suspected of illegal or unsafe activity in U.S. waters (e.g., fishing without appropriate permits, carrying excessive passengers, or transporting contraband). However, the OPC would be expected to perform other federally-mandated emergent (e.g., hurricane disaster response) or nonemergent missions, typically without sufficient time to return to port for additional provisions or reconfiguration. These missions include Ports, Waterways, and Coastal Security, Search and Rescue, Drug Interdiction, Migrant Interdiction, Living Marine Resource, Other Law Enforcement, and Defense Readiness. The OPC would also be required to enforce maritime environmental laws and regulations, escort vessels to protect national security, and to ensure safe maritime navigation. Coast Guard mandated missions are covered under Title 14 U.S.C. and 6 U.S.C. 468. OPCs would carry up to three small, ridged hull inflatable over the horizon (OTH) boats, but only one to two OTH boats would be launched in support of OPC operations. Operations with OTH boats would enhance operational effectiveness by allowing for simultaneous boarding, inspecting, PO 00000 Frm 00038 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 seizing, and neutralizing of surface targets of interest (i.e., civilians suspected of breaking the law or requiring assistance). The OTH boats would also perform in situations and areas where it is either physically impossible or dangerous for the OPC to navigate. OTH boats would support activities such as vessel boardings, passenger transfers, and rescue of a person in distress. All OPCs would be flight deckequipped with the ability to launch, recover, hangar, and maintain manned (i.e., helicopters) aircraft. The flight deck of the OPC would be capable of launching and recovering helicopters including all variants up to equivalent weight of a Sikorsky S–92. In general, helicopters supporting an OPC would either be from an embarked aviation detachment, or would fly from an established airstrip on shore either to the OPC or from the OPC to shore. Helicopter flights associated with the Proposed Action would occur in all Coast Guard AORs, and could be used for transport of personnel and equipment and for conducting training (e.g., landing qualifications), in addition to supporting all OPC missions. All aircraft would follow the Coast Guard’s Air Operations Manual (COMDTINST M3710.1H, October 2018). All OPCs would also be flight deckequipped with the ability to launch, recover, hangar, and maintain an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). Depending on available space, multiple UAS may be utilized. The OPC would have the capability to operate videoequipped UAS that would extend the visual capability of the OPC when conducting operations. The UAS would be deployed and recovered from the OPC. At this time, the specific type of UAS that would be deployed from the OPC is not known because the Coast Guard would acquire the most current UAS technology after the OPCs are operational. Coast Guard UAS Division sets policies and Standard Operating Procedures specific to UAS operations, including regulations that differ from those governing manned flight operations Every 18–24 months, the OPC crew would undergo 3–4 weeks of training and evaluation, including over 100 drills and exercises in different scenarios (e.g., flooding, combat, fires, refueling at sea, towing, active shooter) to demonstrate the crew’s abilities to safely and effectively run the ship. During this training evaluation, a significant administrative portion is dedicated to ensure the ship’s compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and policies. Some of the E:\FR\FM\18NON1.SGM 18NON1 khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 223 / Wednesday, November 18, 2020 / Notices activities are integral to Coast Guard emergency response. Although emergency response is not a part of the Proposed Action, training is required. Therefore, training on an OPC for an emergency response is considered part of the Proposed Action. Training would entail practicing response to a simulated emergency while continuing the safe operation and navigation of the OPC. Gunnery training may occur up to four times per year on each OPC vessel and would only occur in ranges authorized by the Coast Guard and when possible, in established Navy ranges, particularly when live ammunition is used. Areas with sensitive marine resources would not be used for gunnery training. Vessel performance testing would occur up to annually and would typically occur near that vessel’s homeport similar to testing currently conducted for MECs. Coast Guard OPC operations and training would occur after delivery of each OPC from the shipbuilder to the Coast Guard. For example, OPC–1 delivery to the Coast Guard is expected in 2022 and would undergo approximately one year of training to become ‘‘Ready for Operations.’’ OPC–1 would then become operational in 2023. The last OPC (i.e., OPC–25) is expected to be delivered in 2037 and would then become operational in 2038. Under Alternative 2, Reduced Acquisition: The Coast Guard would explore the acquisition of fewer OPCs after the completion of OPC–1 through OPC–4 which are under contract. The Coast Guard would consider five, ten, or fifteen OPCs via a re-competition of the original OPC contract as replacements for a corresponding number of inservice MECs. The Coast Guard would then need to replace the remaining MECs on a one-for-one basis, using whatever replacement hulls the Coast Guard could obtain when deterioration or obsolescence requires decommissioning. The life cycle training and logistical costs of maintaining several unique hulls would exceed the corresponding costs of maintaining a class of 25 cutters that would be built specifically to conduct missions in the Coast Guard’s AORs. Costs and challenges are similar to what is described under Alternative 3. Under Alternative 3, Purchase, Lease, and Inherit: The Coast Guard would explore various forms of cutter purchase or lease, or inherit vessels from the U.S. Navy, as the need arises. This would mean that as a MEC reaches or surpasses the end of its economic service life, that cutter would not necessarily be replaced with the same type of asset or by an VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:59 Nov 17, 2020 Jkt 253001 asset with similar capabilities. One-forone MEC replacement would cost far more per replacement hull because it eliminates any workforce savings associated with a ship with capabilities designed specifically to conduct Coast Guard missions in areas that may exceed 50 nm (93 km) from shore. Other drawbacks to the purchase, lease, and inherit alternative include the lack of an existing domestic commercial vessel capable of meeting available options to Purchase and Build-to-Lease. One of the major challenges with this approach is that Coast Guard systems would not be properly integrated, limiting ability of assets to communicate in real time and resulting in decreased efficiency throughout the system, as well as higher maintenance costs. No Action Alternative: The evaluation of a No Action Alternative is required by the regulations implementing NEPA. Under the No Action Alternative, the Coast Guard would acquire OPC–1 through OPC–4, then would fulfill its missions in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and Gulf of Mexico using existing assets, which are reaching the end of their service lives. The existing assets would continue to age, causing a decrease in efficiency of machinery as well as an increased risk of equipment failure or damage, and would not be considered reliable for immediate emergency response. In addition, it would become more difficult for an ageing fleet to remain in compliance with environmental laws and regulations and standards for safe operation. Further Service Life Extensions become more challenging as significant systems and parts are no longer available, which requires contracting for systems or parts to be made specifically for the vessel. The No Action Alternative would also not meet the Coast Guard’s statutory mission requirements in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and Gulf of Mexico by providing air, surface, and shore-side presence in those areas. The Coast Guard also enforces the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and Endangered Species Act (ESA), and without reliable Coast Guard presence, enforcement of these laws would be significantly reduced. As such, the No Action Alternative does not meet the purpose and need. Summary of Expected Impacts While the Coast Guard must work toward environmental compliance during the design and acquisition of OPCs, each vessel is not expected to impact the environment or biological resources until it is operational. In addition, vessel construction in PO 00000 Frm 00039 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 73493 commercial shipyards is not expected to impact any physical or biological resources. Although the total number of OPCs may be subject to change, Congressional Authorization is for no more than 25. Therefore, the PEIS/POEIS analyzes the potential impact associated with the proposed acquisition and operation of up to 25 OPCs, as this would be the highest number projected to be operational in the Coast Guard’s AORs. Acoustic and physical stressors associated with the Proposed Action may potentially impact the physical and biological environment in the AORs. Potential acoustic stressors include: Underwater transmissions (depthsounder/navigation system), vessel noise, aircraft noise, and gunnery noise. OPCs would not feature SONAR, but would employ navigational systems. Potential physical stressors include: Vessel movement, aircraft movement (helicopters, UAS), and marine expended materials (MEM). Since the OPC AORs cover a broad geographic area, stressors associated with the Proposed Action may potentially impact air quality, ambient sound, biological resources (including critical habitat), and socioeconomic resources. The PEIS/POEIS evaluates the likelihood that a resource would be exposed to or encounter a stressor and identifies the potential impact associated with that exposure or encounter. The likelihood of an exposure or encounter is based on the stressor, location, and timing relative to the spatial and temporal distribution each biological resource or critical habitat. Under the Proposed Action, underwater acoustic transmissions, vessel noise, aircraft noise, gunnery noise, vessel movement, aircraft movement, and MEM associated with the Proposed Action is not expected to result in significant impacts to the following resources: Air quality, ambient sound, marine vegetation, marine invertebrates, flying insects, birds, bats, marine fish, Essential Fish Habitat, marine reptiles, marine mammals, commercial fishing, marine construction, mineral extraction, oil and gas extraction, recreation and tourism, renewable energy, research, transportation and shipping, and subsistence fishing and hunting. The Proposed Action may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect any ESA-listed marine invertebrates, flying insects, birds, bats, fish, marine reptiles, and marine mammals. There would be no effect to the critical habitat of black abalone, staghorn coral, and elkhorn coral. The E:\FR\FM\18NON1.SGM 18NON1 73494 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 223 / Wednesday, November 18, 2020 / Notices khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES Proposed Action is not expected to result in the destruction or adverse modification of federally-designated critical habitat for the piping plover, spectacled eider, Steller’s eider, western snowy plover, bocaccio, eulachon, green sturgeon, Gulf sturgeon, smalltooth sawfish, yelloweye rockfish, green sea turtle, hawksbill sea turtle, leatherback sea turtle, loggerhead sea turtle, humpback whale, North Atlantic right whale, North Pacific right whale, false killer whale, Southern resident killer whale, Steller sea lion, Hawaiian monk seal, ringed seal, West Indian manatee, sea otter, and polar bear. Pursuant to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA; 16 U.S.C. 703–712 et seq.), the Proposed Action would not result in a significant adverse effect on migratory bird populations. Pursuant to the MagnusonStevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA; 16 U.S.C. Sections 1801–1882), underwater acoustic transmissions, vessel noise, vessel movement, and MEM associated with the Proposed Action would not adversely affect the quality or quantity of EFH within the Coast Guard’s AORs. Anticipated Permits and Authorizations The Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA; 16 U.S.C. 1451 et seq.) was enacted to protect the coastal environment from demands associated with residential, recreational, and commercial uses. The Coast Guard would determine the impact of the Proposed Action and provide a Coastal Consistency Determination or Negative Determination to the appropriate state agency for anticipated concurrence once the homeports are selected for the OPCs. The Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) provides for the conservation of endangered and threatened species and the ecosystems on which they depend. The Coast Guard anticipates consulting under Section 7 of the ESA with the services, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that have jurisdiction over the species (50 CFR part 402.14(a)). The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA; 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) established, with limited exceptions, a moratorium on the ‘‘taking’’ of marine mammals in waters or on lands under U.S. jurisdiction, and on the High Seas by vessels or persons under U.S. jurisdiction. The MMPA further regulates ‘‘takes’’ of marine mammals in U.S. waters and by U.S. citizens on the High Seas. The term ‘‘take,’’ as defined in Section 3 (16 U.S.C. 1362) of the MMPA, means ‘‘to harass, hunt, capture, or kill, or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, or kill any marine mammal’’. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:59 Nov 17, 2020 Jkt 253001 ‘‘Harassment’’ was further defined in the 1994 amendments to the MMPA as any act of pursuit, torment, or annoyance which (i) has the potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild (i.e., Level A Harassment); or (ii) has the potential to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering (i.e., Level B Harassment). The Coast Guard anticipates requesting a Letter of Authorization to ‘‘take’’ marine mammals, defined as Level B harassment. Schedule for the Decision-Making Process The first OPC is expected to be operational by 2023 with a projected construction completion date of all 25 OPCs by 2037. Because the first OPC would not be operational until at least 2023 and the last not until at least 2038, new information may become available after the completion of the PEIS/POEIS. In that case, supplemental NEPA/E.O. 12114 documentation may be prepared in support of new information or changes in the Proposed Action considered under the PEIS/POEIS. Some examples of new information that may be included in supplemental NEPA/E.O. 12114 documentation are substantial changes in the Proposed Action relevant to environmental concerns, significant new environmental changes or information bearing on the Proposed Action, or information that arises to further the purposes of NEPA/E.O. 12114. The PEIS/OEIS is expected to be completed within 24 months of the date from which this notice is published in the Federal Register. Public Scoping Process The notice of intent initiates the scoping process, which guides the development of a PEIS/POEIS. The Coast Guard is seeking comments on the potential environmental impacts that may result from the acquisition, testing (post-dockside), and operation of up to 25 OPCs, and any associated onboard training to help in the development of a PEIS/POEIS. The Coast Guard is also seeking input on relevant information, studies, or analyses of any kind concerning impacts potentially affecting the quality of the human environment as a result of the Proposed Action. 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. PO 00000 Frm 00040 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E.O. 12114, Environmental Effects Abroad of Major Federal Actions (44 Federal Register [FR] 1957), directs federal agencies to be informed of and take account of environmental considerations when making decisions regarding major federal actions outside of the U.S., its territories, and possessions. E.O. 12114 requires federal agencies to assess the effects of their actions outside the U.S. that may significantly harm the physical and natural environment. A PEIS/POEIS would include, among other topics, 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 impact of the Proposed Action and alternatives. The Coast Guard proposes to combine the PEIS and POEIS into one document, as permitted under NEPA and E.O. 12114, to reduce duplication. The Coast Guard will evaluate a range of reasonable alternatives, and 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 acquisition of OPC Stage 2 cutters (OPC cutters 5–25) and only replacing up to four of the current operational MECs using the four OPCs already under contract. Alternatives could include a reduction in the number of acquired vessels, upgrading the existing MEC fleet to further extend their useful life, and exploring various forms of cutter purchase or lease, or inheriting vessels from the U.S. Navy. The scoping period will begin upon publication of this notice in the Federal Register and continue for a period of forty-five (45) days. The Coast Guard intends to follow the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations implementing the NEPA (40 Code of Federal Regulations 1500 et seq.) by scoping through public comments. 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 PEIS/POEIS is thorough and balanced; and (4) delays caused by an inadequate PEIS/POEIS are avoided. Public scoping is a process for determining the scope of issues to be addressed in this PEIS/POEIS and for identifying the issues related to the Proposed Action that may have a significant effect on the environment. The scoping process begins with E:\FR\FM\18NON1.SGM 18NON1 khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 223 / Wednesday, November 18, 2020 / Notices publication of this notice and ends after the Coast Guard has: • Invited the participation of Federal, State, and local agencies, any affected Indian tribe, and other interested persons; • Consulted with affected Federally Recognized Tribes on a government-togovernment basis, and with affected Alaska Native corporations, in accordance with E.O. 13175 and other policies. Native American concerns, including impacts on Indian trust assets and potential impacts to cultural resources, will be given appropriate consideration; • Determined the scope and the issues to be analyzed in depth in the PEIS/POEIS; • Indicated any related environmental assessments or environmental impact statements that are not part of the PEIS/POEIS; • Identified other relevant environmental review and consultation requirements, such as Coastal Zone Management Act consistency determinations, and threatened and endangered species and habitat impacts; and • Indicated the relationship between timing of the environmental review and other aspects of the application process. With this Notice of Intent, we are asking federal, state, Tribal, and local agencies with jurisdiction or special expertise with respect to environmental issues in the project area to formally cooperate with us in the preparation of the PEIS/POEIS. Once the scoping process is complete, Coast Guard will prepare a draft PEIS/ POEIS, 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 PEIS/POEIS. After Coast Guard considers those comments, we will prepare the final PEIS/POEIS and similarly announce its availability and solicit public review and comment. Comments received during the draft PEIS/POEIS review period will be available in the public docket and made available in the final PEIS/POEIS. Pursuant to the CEQ regulations, 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. The 45-day public scoping period begins November 18, 2020 and ends January 04, 2021. Comments and related material must be received by the Coast Guard and submitted to the online docket via https://www.regulations. gov/., or otherwise reach the OPC VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:24 Nov 17, 2020 Jkt 253001 Program Manager on or before January 04, 2021. We encourage you to submit specific, timely comments through the Federal portal at http://www.regulations.gov, on the site provided when searching on the above docket number or searching for Offshore Patrol Cutter. If your material cannot be submitted using http:// www.regulations.gov, contact the OPC program manager at HQS-SMB-OPCEIS@uscg.mil. If you cannot submit comments electronically, written comments can be sent to: OPC Program Manager (CG–9322), U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters, 2703 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE, Stop 7800, Washington, DC 20593. 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. Public Meeting Coast Guard does not plan to hold public meetings during the scoping period, however if sufficient requests for public comment are received, Coast Guard will consider holding public meetings and will announce the dates, times, and locations in a separate document published in the Federal Register. To receive an email notice whenever a comment or notice, including the notice announcing when any meetings are to be held, is submitted or issued, go to the online docket and select the sign-up-for-emailalerts option. When it is published, we will place a copy of the announcement in the docket, and you will receive an email alert from www.regulations.gov. Comments received in response to this solicitation, including names and addresses of those who comment, will be part of the public record for this Proposed Action. Comments submitted anonymously will be accepted and considered, however. Authority: This PEIS/POEIS is being prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 40 CFR 1502.14(d)) and Executive Order (E.O.) 12114. PO 00000 Frm 00041 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 73495 Dated: November 13, 2020. Andrew T. Pecora, Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, OPC Program Manager (CG–9322). [FR Doc. 2020–25452 Filed 11–17–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110–04–P DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY U.S. Customs and Border Protection [1651–0067] Agency Information Collection Activities: Documentation Requirements for Articles Entered Under Various Special Tariff Treatment Provisions U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Department of Homeland Security. ACTION: 60-Day notice and request for comments; extension of an existing collection of information. AGENCY: The Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection will be submitting the following information collection request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA). The information collection is published in the Federal Register to obtain comments from the public and affected agencies. DATES: Comments are encouraged and must be submitted (no later than January 19, 2021) to be assured of consideration. SUMMARY: Written comments and/or suggestions regarding the item(s) contained in this notice must include the OMB Control Number 1651–0067 in the subject line and the agency name. Please use the following method to submit comments: Email. Submit comments to: CBP_ PRA@cbp.dhs.gov. Due to COVID–19-related restrictions, CBP has temporarily suspended its ability to receive public comments by mail. ADDRESSES: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional PRA information should be directed to Seth Renkema, Chief, Economic Impact Analysis Branch, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Trade, Regulations and Rulings, 90 K Street NE, 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20229–1177, Telephone number 202–325–0056 or via email CBP_PRA@cbp.dhs.gov. Please note that the contact information provided here is solely for questions regarding this notice. Individuals E:\FR\FM\18NON1.SGM 18NON1

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[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 223 (Wednesday, November 18, 2020)]
[Notices]
[Pages 73491-73495]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-25452]


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DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

Coast Guard

[Docket Number USCG-2020-0667]


Offshore Patrol Cutter Acquisition Program; Preparation of a 
Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental 
Impact Statement

AGENCY: Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact 
Statement (PEIS)/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement (POEIS); 
request for comments.

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SUMMARY: The United States (U.S.) Coast Guard (Coast Guard), as the 
lead agency, announces its intent to prepare a Programmatic 
Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS)/Overseas Environmental Impact 
Statement (POEIS) for the Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) Program's Stage 
2 acquisition of up to 21 OPCs and operation of up to 25 total OPCs. 
This acquisition is a continuation of the OPC Program of Record for 
acquiring up to 25 total cutters. Notice is hereby given that the 
public scoping process has begun for the preparation of a PEIS/POEIS 
that will address the reasonable alternatives and potential 
environmental impacts associated with implementing the Proposed Action. 
The scoping process solicits public comments regarding the range of 
issues, information and analyses relevant to the Proposed Action, 
including potential environmental impacts and reasonable alternatives 
to address in the PEIS/POEIS. The Coast Guard has determined that a 
PEIS/POEIS is the most appropriate type of NEPA document for this 
action because of the scope and complexity of the proposed acquisition 
and operation of up to 25 OPCs.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Purpose and Need for the Proposed Action

    The Coast Guard's current fleet of Medium Endurance Cutters (MEC) 
consists of 28 operational vessels homeported in the Coast Guard's area 
of responsibility (AOR) in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf of Mexico. 
MECs primarily operate outside the 12 nm territorial seas and within 
the 200 nm Exclusive Economic Zone and primarily execute maritime law 
enforcement and search and rescue missions. Additional MEC operations 
occur in the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and the Pacific between 
California and Panama. Current operational MECs have exceeded their 
designed 30-year service life and can no longer meet this need for the 
Coast Guard. Therefore, the Coast Guard must replace the aging MECs 
because they are too old and costly to be operationally effective. Some 
of the oldest MECs are already more than 55 years old and do not have 
sufficient hull life remaining to justify any attempts to modernize 
them. Therefore, the purpose of the Proposed Action is the acquisition 
and operation of up to 25 OPCs to replace the capabilities of the 
current operational MECs. OPCs have identical missions and operational 
characteristics as the MECs they replace. OPC differences include 
increased length to accommodate a fixed hanger for assigned aircraft, 
larger flight deck, greater at-sea endurance, an increased number of 
cutter boats, and modernized Command, Control, Computers, Navigation, 
and Combat systems. OPCs also feature enhanced environmental standards 
for clean air, noise, sewage, trash, and ballast.

Preliminary Proposed Action and Alternatives

    Preliminary Proposed Action (Alternative 1): Under the preliminary 
Proposed Action, the Coast Guard would acquire and operate up to 25 
OPCs with planned design lives of 30 years to fulfill mission 
requirements in the proposed action areas in the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf 
of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and Pacific Ocean, including Alaska, 
Hawaii, and Pacific Islands. Similar to the current fleet's operations, 
the Proposed Action would include vessel and aircraft operations as 
well as shipboard training exercises to meet the Coast Guard's mission 
responsibilities. OPCs would support the Coast Guard's missions that 
generally occur more than 50 nm (92 km) from shore and require long 
transit time to reach the farthest extent of the Coast Guard's AORs, 
forward deployment of forces with the U.S. Navy for National Defense, 
and an extended on-scene vessel presence.
    An OPC's typical deployment schedule would be to perform law 
enforcement activities, which include interdicting any vessel suspected 
of illegal or unsafe activity in U.S. waters (e.g., fishing without 
appropriate permits, carrying excessive passengers, or transporting 
contraband). However, the OPC would be expected to perform other 
federally-mandated emergent (e.g., hurricane disaster response) or non-
emergent missions, typically without sufficient time to return to port 
for additional provisions or reconfiguration. These missions include 
Ports, Waterways, and Coastal Security, Search and Rescue, Drug 
Interdiction, Migrant Interdiction, Living Marine Resource, Other Law 
Enforcement, and Defense Readiness. The OPC would also be required to 
enforce maritime environmental laws and regulations, escort vessels to 
protect national security, and to ensure safe maritime navigation. 
Coast Guard mandated missions are covered under Title 14 U.S.C. and 6 
U.S.C. 468.
    OPCs would carry up to three small, ridged hull inflatable over the 
horizon (OTH) boats, but only one to two OTH boats would be launched in 
support of OPC operations. Operations with OTH boats would enhance 
operational effectiveness by allowing for simultaneous boarding, 
inspecting, seizing, and neutralizing of surface targets of interest 
(i.e., civilians suspected of breaking the law or requiring 
assistance). The OTH boats would also perform in situations and areas 
where it is either physically impossible or dangerous for the OPC to 
navigate. OTH boats would support activities such as vessel boardings, 
passenger transfers, and rescue of a person in distress.
    All OPCs would be flight deck-equipped with the ability to launch, 
recover, hangar, and maintain manned (i.e., helicopters) aircraft. The 
flight deck of the OPC would be capable of launching and recovering 
helicopters including all variants up to equivalent weight of a 
Sikorsky S-92. In general, helicopters supporting an OPC would either 
be from an embarked aviation detachment, or would fly from an 
established airstrip on shore either to the OPC or from the OPC to 
shore. Helicopter flights associated with the Proposed Action would 
occur in all Coast Guard AORs, and could be used for transport of 
personnel and equipment and for conducting training (e.g., landing 
qualifications), in addition to supporting all OPC missions. All 
aircraft would follow the Coast Guard's Air Operations Manual 
(COMDTINST M3710.1H, October 2018).
    All OPCs would also be flight deck-equipped with the ability to 
launch, recover, hangar, and maintain an Unmanned Aircraft System 
(UAS). Depending on available space, multiple UAS may be utilized. The 
OPC would have the capability to operate video-equipped UAS that would 
extend the visual capability of the OPC when conducting operations. The 
UAS would be deployed and recovered from the OPC. At this time, the 
specific type of UAS that would be deployed from the OPC is not known 
because the Coast Guard would acquire the most current UAS technology 
after the OPCs are operational. Coast Guard UAS Division sets policies 
and Standard Operating Procedures specific to UAS operations, including 
regulations that differ from those governing manned flight operations
    Every 18-24 months, the OPC crew would undergo 3-4 weeks of 
training and evaluation, including over 100 drills and exercises in 
different scenarios (e.g., flooding, combat, fires, refueling at sea, 
towing, active shooter) to demonstrate the crew's abilities to safely 
and effectively run the ship. During this training evaluation, a 
significant administrative portion is dedicated to ensure the ship's 
compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and policies. Some of the

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activities are integral to Coast Guard emergency response. Although 
emergency response is not a part of the Proposed Action, training is 
required. Therefore, training on an OPC for an emergency response is 
considered part of the Proposed Action. Training would entail 
practicing response to a simulated emergency while continuing the safe 
operation and navigation of the OPC.
    Gunnery training may occur up to four times per year on each OPC 
vessel and would only occur in ranges authorized by the Coast Guard and 
when possible, in established Navy ranges, particularly when live 
ammunition is used. Areas with sensitive marine resources would not be 
used for gunnery training.
    Vessel performance testing would occur up to annually and would 
typically occur near that vessel's homeport similar to testing 
currently conducted for MECs.
    Coast Guard OPC operations and training would occur after delivery 
of each OPC from the shipbuilder to the Coast Guard. For example, OPC-1 
delivery to the Coast Guard is expected in 2022 and would undergo 
approximately one year of training to become ``Ready for Operations.'' 
OPC-1 would then become operational in 2023. The last OPC (i.e., OPC-
25) is expected to be delivered in 2037 and would then become 
operational in 2038.
    Under Alternative 2, Reduced Acquisition: The Coast Guard would 
explore the acquisition of fewer OPCs after the completion of OPC-1 
through OPC-4 which are under contract. The Coast Guard would consider 
five, ten, or fifteen OPCs via a re-competition of the original OPC 
contract as replacements for a corresponding number of in-service MECs. 
The Coast Guard would then need to replace the remaining MECs on a one-
for-one basis, using whatever replacement hulls the Coast Guard could 
obtain when deterioration or obsolescence requires decommissioning. The 
life cycle training and logistical costs of maintaining several unique 
hulls would exceed the corresponding costs of maintaining a class of 25 
cutters that would be built specifically to conduct missions in the 
Coast Guard's AORs. Costs and challenges are similar to what is 
described under Alternative 3.
    Under Alternative 3, Purchase, Lease, and Inherit: The Coast Guard 
would explore various forms of cutter purchase or lease, or inherit 
vessels from the U.S. Navy, as the need arises. This would mean that as 
a MEC reaches or surpasses the end of its economic service life, that 
cutter would not necessarily be replaced with the same type of asset or 
by an asset with similar capabilities. One-for-one MEC replacement 
would cost far more per replacement hull because it eliminates any 
workforce savings associated with a ship with capabilities designed 
specifically to conduct Coast Guard missions in areas that may exceed 
50 nm (93 km) from shore.
    Other drawbacks to the purchase, lease, and inherit alternative 
include the lack of an existing domestic commercial vessel capable of 
meeting available options to Purchase and Build[hyphen]to[hyphen]Lease.
    One of the major challenges with this approach is that Coast Guard 
systems would not be properly integrated, limiting ability of assets to 
communicate in real time and resulting in decreased efficiency 
throughout the system, as well as higher maintenance costs.
    No Action Alternative: The evaluation of a No Action Alternative is 
required by the regulations implementing NEPA. Under the No Action 
Alternative, the Coast Guard would acquire OPC-1 through OPC-4, then 
would fulfill its missions in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and Gulf 
of Mexico using existing assets, which are reaching the end of their 
service lives. The existing assets would continue to age, causing a 
decrease in efficiency of machinery as well as an increased risk of 
equipment failure or damage, and would not be considered reliable for 
immediate emergency response. In addition, it would become more 
difficult for an ageing fleet to remain in compliance with 
environmental laws and regulations and standards for safe operation. 
Further Service Life Extensions become more challenging as significant 
systems and parts are no longer available, which requires contracting 
for systems or parts to be made specifically for the vessel.
    The No Action Alternative would also not meet the Coast Guard's 
statutory mission requirements in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and 
Gulf of Mexico by providing air, surface, and shore-side presence in 
those areas. The Coast Guard also enforces the Marine Mammal Protection 
Act (MMPA) and Endangered Species Act (ESA), and without reliable Coast 
Guard presence, enforcement of these laws would be significantly 
reduced. As such, the No Action Alternative does not meet the purpose 
and need.

Summary of Expected Impacts

    While the Coast Guard must work toward environmental compliance 
during the design and acquisition of OPCs, each vessel is not expected 
to impact the environment or biological resources until it is 
operational. In addition, vessel construction in commercial shipyards 
is not expected to impact any physical or biological resources.
    Although the total number of OPCs may be subject to change, 
Congressional Authorization is for no more than 25. Therefore, the 
PEIS/POEIS analyzes the potential impact associated with the proposed 
acquisition and operation of up to 25 OPCs, as this would be the 
highest number projected to be operational in the Coast Guard's AORs. 
Acoustic and physical stressors associated with the Proposed Action may 
potentially impact the physical and biological environment in the AORs. 
Potential acoustic stressors include: Underwater transmissions (depth-
sounder/navigation system), vessel noise, aircraft noise, and gunnery 
noise. OPCs would not feature SONAR, but would employ navigational 
systems. Potential physical stressors include: Vessel movement, 
aircraft movement (helicopters, UAS), and marine expended materials 
(MEM).
    Since the OPC AORs cover a broad geographic area, stressors 
associated with the Proposed Action may potentially impact air quality, 
ambient sound, biological resources (including critical habitat), and 
socioeconomic resources. The PEIS/POEIS evaluates the likelihood that a 
resource would be exposed to or encounter a stressor and identifies the 
potential impact associated with that exposure or encounter. The 
likelihood of an exposure or encounter is based on the stressor, 
location, and timing relative to the spatial and temporal distribution 
each biological resource or critical habitat.
    Under the Proposed Action, underwater acoustic transmissions, 
vessel noise, aircraft noise, gunnery noise, vessel movement, aircraft 
movement, and MEM associated with the Proposed Action is not expected 
to result in significant impacts to the following resources: Air 
quality, ambient sound, marine vegetation, marine invertebrates, flying 
insects, birds, bats, marine fish, Essential Fish Habitat, marine 
reptiles, marine mammals, commercial fishing, marine construction, 
mineral extraction, oil and gas extraction, recreation and tourism, 
renewable energy, research, transportation and shipping, and 
subsistence fishing and hunting. The Proposed Action may affect, but is 
not likely to adversely affect any ESA-listed marine invertebrates, 
flying insects, birds, bats, fish, marine reptiles, and marine mammals.
    There would be no effect to the critical habitat of black abalone, 
staghorn coral, and elkhorn coral. The

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Proposed Action is not expected to result in the destruction or adverse 
modification of federally-designated critical habitat for the piping 
plover, spectacled eider, Steller's eider, western snowy plover, 
bocaccio, eulachon, green sturgeon, Gulf sturgeon, smalltooth sawfish, 
yelloweye rockfish, green sea turtle, hawksbill sea turtle, leatherback 
sea turtle, loggerhead sea turtle, humpback whale, North Atlantic right 
whale, North Pacific right whale, false killer whale, Southern resident 
killer whale, Steller sea lion, Hawaiian monk seal, ringed seal, West 
Indian manatee, sea otter, and polar bear. Pursuant to the Migratory 
Bird Treaty Act (MBTA; 16 U.S.C. 703-712 et seq.), the Proposed Action 
would not result in a significant adverse effect on migratory bird 
populations. Pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and 
Management Act (MSA; 16 U.S.C. Sections 1801-1882), underwater acoustic 
transmissions, vessel noise, vessel movement, and MEM associated with 
the Proposed Action would not adversely affect the quality or quantity 
of EFH within the Coast Guard's AORs.

Anticipated Permits and Authorizations

    The Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA; 16 U.S.C. 1451 et seq.) was 
enacted to protect the coastal environment from demands associated with 
residential, recreational, and commercial uses. The Coast Guard would 
determine the impact of the Proposed Action and provide a Coastal 
Consistency Determination or Negative Determination to the appropriate 
state agency for anticipated concurrence once the homeports are 
selected for the OPCs.
    The Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) 
provides for the conservation of endangered and threatened species and 
the ecosystems on which they depend. The Coast Guard anticipates 
consulting under Section 7 of the ESA with the services, the National 
Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that 
have jurisdiction over the species (50 CFR part 402.14(a)).
    The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA; 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) 
established, with limited exceptions, a moratorium on the ``taking'' of 
marine mammals in waters or on lands under U.S. jurisdiction, and on 
the High Seas by vessels or persons under U.S. jurisdiction. The MMPA 
further regulates ``takes'' of marine mammals in U.S. waters and by 
U.S. citizens on the High Seas. The term ``take,'' as defined in 
Section 3 (16 U.S.C. 1362) of the MMPA, means ``to harass, hunt, 
capture, or kill, or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, or kill any 
marine mammal''. ``Harassment'' was further defined in the 1994 
amendments to the MMPA as any act of pursuit, torment, or annoyance 
which (i) has the potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal 
stock in the wild (i.e., Level A Harassment); or (ii) has the potential 
to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by 
causing disruption of behavioral patterns, including, but not limited 
to, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering 
(i.e., Level B Harassment). The Coast Guard anticipates requesting a 
Letter of Authorization to ``take'' marine mammals, defined as Level B 
harassment.

Schedule for the Decision-Making Process

    The first OPC is expected to be operational by 2023 with a 
projected construction completion date of all 25 OPCs by 2037. Because 
the first OPC would not be operational until at least 2023 and the last 
not until at least 2038, new information may become available after the 
completion of the PEIS/POEIS. In that case, supplemental NEPA/E.O. 
12114 documentation may be prepared in support of new information or 
changes in the Proposed Action considered under the PEIS/POEIS. Some 
examples of new information that may be included in supplemental NEPA/
E.O. 12114 documentation are substantial changes in the Proposed Action 
relevant to environmental concerns, significant new environmental 
changes or information bearing on the Proposed Action, or information 
that arises to further the purposes of NEPA/E.O. 12114. The PEIS/OEIS 
is expected to be completed within 24 months of the date from which 
this notice is published in the Federal Register.

Public Scoping Process

    The notice of intent initiates the scoping process, which guides 
the development of a PEIS/POEIS. The Coast Guard is seeking comments on 
the potential environmental impacts that may result from the 
acquisition, testing (post-dockside), and operation of up to 25 OPCs, 
and any associated onboard training to help in the development of a 
PEIS/POEIS. The Coast Guard is also seeking input on relevant 
information, studies, or analyses of any kind concerning impacts 
potentially affecting the quality of the human environment as a result 
of the Proposed Action. 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. E.O. 12114, Environmental 
Effects Abroad of Major Federal Actions (44 Federal Register [FR] 
1957), directs federal agencies to be informed of and take account of 
environmental considerations when making decisions regarding major 
federal actions outside of the U.S., its territories, and possessions. 
E.O. 12114 requires federal agencies to assess the effects of their 
actions outside the U.S. that may significantly harm the physical and 
natural environment. A PEIS/POEIS would include, among other topics, 
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 impact of the Proposed Action 
and alternatives. The Coast Guard proposes to combine the PEIS and 
POEIS into one document, as permitted under NEPA and E.O. 12114, to 
reduce duplication.
    The Coast Guard will evaluate a range of reasonable alternatives, 
and 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 
acquisition of OPC Stage 2 cutters (OPC cutters 5-25) and only 
replacing up to four of the current operational MECs using the four 
OPCs already under contract. Alternatives could include a reduction in 
the number of acquired vessels, upgrading the existing MEC fleet to 
further extend their useful life, and exploring various forms of cutter 
purchase or lease, or inheriting vessels from the U.S. Navy. The 
scoping period will begin upon publication of this notice in the 
Federal Register and continue for a period of forty-five (45) days.
    The Coast Guard intends to follow the Council on Environmental 
Quality (CEQ) regulations implementing the NEPA (40 Code of Federal 
Regulations 1500 et seq.) by scoping through public comments. 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 PEIS/POEIS is thorough and balanced; and 
(4) delays caused by an inadequate PEIS/POEIS are avoided.
    Public scoping is a process for determining the scope of issues to 
be addressed in this PEIS/POEIS and for identifying the issues related 
to the Proposed Action that may have a significant effect on the 
environment. The scoping process begins with

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publication of this notice and ends after the Coast Guard has:
     Invited the participation of Federal, State, and local 
agencies, any affected Indian tribe, and other interested persons;
     Consulted with affected Federally Recognized Tribes on a 
government-to-government basis, and with affected Alaska Native 
corporations, in accordance with E.O. 13175 and other policies. Native 
American concerns, including impacts on Indian trust assets and 
potential impacts to cultural resources, will be given appropriate 
consideration;
     Determined the scope and the issues to be analyzed in 
depth in the PEIS/POEIS;
     Indicated any related environmental assessments or 
environmental impact statements that are not part of the PEIS/POEIS;
     Identified other relevant environmental review and 
consultation requirements, such as Coastal Zone Management Act 
consistency determinations, and threatened and endangered species and 
habitat impacts; and
     Indicated the relationship between timing of the 
environmental review and other aspects of the application process.
    With this Notice of Intent, we are asking federal, state, Tribal, 
and local agencies with jurisdiction or special expertise with respect 
to environmental issues in the project area to formally cooperate with 
us in the preparation of the PEIS/POEIS.
    Once the scoping process is complete, Coast Guard will prepare a 
draft PEIS/POEIS, 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 PEIS/POEIS. After Coast Guard 
considers those comments, we will prepare the final PEIS/POEIS and 
similarly announce its availability and solicit public review and 
comment. Comments received during the draft PEIS/POEIS review period 
will be available in the public docket and made available in the final 
PEIS/POEIS.
    Pursuant to the CEQ regulations, 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.
    The 45-day public scoping period begins November 18, 2020 and ends 
January 04, 2021. Comments and related material must be received by the 
Coast Guard and submitted to the online docket via https://www.regulations.gov/ gov/., or otherwise reach the OPC Program Manager on 
or before January 04, 2021.
    We encourage you to submit specific, timely comments through the 
Federal portal at http://www.regulations.gov, on the site provided when 
searching on the above docket number or searching for Offshore Patrol 
Cutter. If your material cannot be submitted using http://www.regulations.gov, contact the OPC program manager at [email protected]. If you cannot submit comments electronically, written 
comments can be sent to: OPC Program Manager (CG-9322), U.S. Coast 
Guard Headquarters, 2703 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE, Stop 7800, 
Washington, DC 20593.
    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.

Public Meeting

    Coast Guard does not plan to hold public meetings during the 
scoping period, however if sufficient requests for public comment are 
received, Coast Guard will consider holding public meetings and will 
announce the dates, times, and locations in a separate document 
published in the Federal Register. To receive an email notice whenever 
a comment or notice, including the notice announcing when any meetings 
are to be held, is submitted or issued, go to the online docket and 
select the sign-up-for-email-alerts option. When it is published, we 
will place a copy of the announcement in the docket, and you will 
receive an email alert from www.regulations.gov. Comments received in 
response to this solicitation, including names and addresses of those 
who comment, will be part of the public record for this Proposed 
Action. Comments submitted anonymously will be accepted and considered, 
however.

    Authority: This PEIS/POEIS is being prepared in compliance with 
the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 40 CFR 1502.14(d)) and 
Executive Order (E.O.) 12114.

    Dated: November 13, 2020.
Andrew T. Pecora,
Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, OPC Program Manager (CG-9322).
[FR Doc. 2020-25452 Filed 11-17-20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 9110-04-P