Offshore Patrol Cutter Acquisition Program; Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement, 52162-52166 [2021-20298]

Download as PDF 52162 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 179 / Monday, September 20, 2021 / Notices Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications. Place: National Institutes of Health, Rockledge II, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892 (Virtual Meeting). Contact Person: Margaret Chandler, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 4126, MSC 7814, Bethesda, MD 20892, (301) 435– 1743, margaret.chandler@nih.gov. Name of Committee: Integrative, Functional and Cognitive Neuroscience Integrated Review Group; Auditory System Study Section. Date: October 21–22, 2021. Time: 9:30 a.m. to 8:00 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: Brian H. Scott, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, National Institutes of Health, Center for Scientific Review, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892 301– 827–7490, brianscott@mail.nih.gov. Name of Committee: Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Neuroscience Integrated Review Group; Neurotransporters, Receptors, and Calcium Signaling Study Section. Date: October 21, 2021. Time: 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 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: Peter B. Guthrie, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 4182, MSC 7850, Bethesda, MD 20892, (301) 435– 1239 guthriep@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: September 15, 2021. David W. Freeman, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy. [FR Doc. 2021–20279 Filed 9–17–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140–01–P National Institutes of Health Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; Notice of Closed Meeting 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 16:49 Sep 17, 2021 Jkt 253001 Name of Committee: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Initial Review Group; Health, Behavior, and Context Study Section. Date: October 18, 2021. Time: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications. Place: Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, 6710B Rockledge Drive, Room 2137C, Bethesda, MD 20892 (Video-Assisted Meeting). Contact Person: Kimberly L. Houston, M.D., Scientific Review Officer, Scientific Review Branch, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, 6710B Rockledge Drive, Room 2137C, Bethesda, MD 20892, (301) 827–4902, kimberly.houston@nih.gov. (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.864, Population Research; 93.865, Research for Mothers and Children; 93.929, Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research; 93.209, Contraception and Infertility Loan Repayment Program, National Institutes of Health, HHS) Dated: September 15, 2021. Melanie J. Pantoja, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy. [FR Doc. 2021–20263 Filed 9–17–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140–01–P DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES 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 PO 00000 Frm 00040 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 applications, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. Name of Committee: National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities Special Emphasis Panel; NIMHD Support for Conferences and Scientific Meetings (R13). Date: October 27, 2021. Time: 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications. Place: National Institutes of Health, Gateway Plaza, 7201 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20817 (Virtual Meeting). Contact Person: Xinli Nan, M.D., Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Division of Scientific Programs, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, National Institutes of Health, Gateway Building, 7201 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301–594–7784, Xinli.Nan@ nih.gov. Dated: September 15, 2021. David W. Freeman, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy. [FR Doc. 2021–20280 Filed 9–17–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140–01–P DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard [Docket Number USCG–2021–0738] Offshore Patrol Cutter Acquisition Program; Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement/ Overseas Environmental Impact Statement Coast Guard, Department of Homeland Security (DHS). ACTION: Notice of availability of a Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement; request for comments. AGENCY: The United States (U.S.) Coast Guard (Coast Guard), as the lead agency, announces the availability of the Draft 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 for the operation of up to 25 total OPCs. The complete OPC Program of Record comprises 25 OPCs. OPC Stage 1 is already under contract to provide the first 4 OPCs. OPC Stage 2 is the focus of this PEIS/POEIS and will provide the remaining 21 OPCs. This PEIS/POEIS is being prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and the regulations implemented by the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and SUMMARY: National Institutes of Health National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities; Notice of Closed Meeting DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES VerDate Sep<11>2014 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. E:\FR\FM\20SEN1.SGM 20SEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 179 / Monday, September 20, 2021 / Notices the Executive order titled ‘‘Environmental Effects Abroad of Major Federal Actions.’’ 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. This Notice of Availability (NOA) announces the start of the public review and comment period on this PEIS/ POEIS. After the Coast Guard addresses comments provided, Coast Guard will publish a final PEIS/POEIS. DATES: Comments and related material must be post-marked or received by the Coast Guard on or before November 4, 2021. ADDRESSES: Obtaining Documents: You may access the Draft PEIS/POEIS using the Federal eRulemaking Portal at https:// www.regulations.gov. Search using docket number USCG–2021–0738 to access the Draft PEIS/POEIS. Submitting Comments: You may submit comments on the Draft PEIS/ POEIS by one of the following methods: • Via the Web: You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG–2021–0738 using the Federal eRulemaking Portal at https:// www.regulations.gov. See the ‘‘Public Scoping Process’’ portion of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for further instructions on submitting comments. • Via U.S. Mail: OPC Program Manager (CG–9322), U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters, 2703 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE, Stop 7800, Washington, DC 20593. Please note that mailed comments must be postmarked on or before the comment deadline of 45 days following publication of this notice to be considered. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information about this document contact Andrew Haley, Chief, Office of Environmental Management, Coast Guard at HQS-SMB-OPC-EIS@uscg.mil or 202–372–1821. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This NOA briefly summarizes the proposed project, including the purpose and need and reasonable alternatives. As required VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:49 Sep 17, 2021 Jkt 253001 by NEPA and CEQ implementing regulations (40 CFR parts 1500 through 1508, specifically § 1502.3), a Federal agency must prepare an EIS if it is proposing a major Federal action to analyze the environmental consequences of implementing each of the alternatives, if carried forward for full review, following public scoping, by assessing the effects of each alternative on the human environment. 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 nautical mile (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. Proposed Action and Alternative Coast Guard has identified and analyzed three action alternatives and the No Action Alternative in the PEIS/ POEIS for public review and comment. Proposed Action (Alternative 1, Preferred Alternative): Under the 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 PO 00000 Frm 00041 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 52163 Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and Pacific Ocean, including the ice-free waters of 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, rigid-hull inflatable Over the Horizon (OTH) boats, but only one to two OTH boats would be launched at any one time 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 boarding, passenger transfer, and rescue of persons in distress. All OPCs would be flight deckequipped with the ability to launch, recover, hangar, and maintain helicopters. The flight deck of the OPC would be capable of launching and recovering all variants of helicopters up E:\FR\FM\20SEN1.SGM 20SEN1 52164 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 179 / Monday, September 20, 2021 / Notices 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 have 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 available 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 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. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:49 Sep 17, 2021 Jkt 253001 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 2023 and would undergo approximately one year of training to become ‘‘Ready for Operations.’’ OPC–1 would then become operational in 2024. The last OPC (i.e., OPC–25) is expected to be delivered in 2037 and would then become operational in 2038. 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. Operations and training using OPCs acquired under Alternative 2 are the same as for Alternative 1. 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-forone MEC replacement cost would increase more per replacement hull because it eliminates any workforce savings associated with ship capabilities designed specifically to conduct Coast Guard missions in areas that may exceed 50 nm (93 km) from shore. The purchase, lease, and inherit alternative include the lack of an existing domestic commercial vessel capable of meeting available options to Purchase and Buildto-Lease. This approach would not properly integrate Coast Guard systems, limiting ability of assets to communicate in real time and resulting in decreased PO 00000 Frm 00042 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 efficiency throughout the system, as well as higher maintenance costs. Operations and training using OPCs acquired under Alternative 2 are the same as for Alternative 1. 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. Therefore, the No Action Alternative would not meet the Coast Guard’s statutory mission requirements in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and Gulf of Mexico to provide 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 E:\FR\FM\20SEN1.SGM 20SEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 179 / Monday, September 20, 2021 / Notices biological environment in the AORs. Potential acoustic stressors include: The fathometer and Doppler speed log noise (navigation system), vessel noise, aircraft noise, and gunnery noise. 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 are assessed to determine if they 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 identify 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 of each biological resource or critical habitat. No significant impacts to environmental resources were identified. Anticipated Permits and Authorizations The Proposed Action is programmatic in nature and each OPC would have a design service life of 30 years. As such, potential permits and authorizations are identified in the PEIS/POEIS. Certain approvals may be completed as part of the PEIS/POEIS, but specific permits and authorizations under the laws listed below will be determined through consultations with the appropriate regulatory agencies, and would not necessarily be issued until an OPC is operational in a specific geographic area. Implementation of all alternatives will ultimately require compliance with the following laws and regulations through issuance of permits and/or 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 engaging with the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, pursuant to Section 7 of the ESA, which have VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:49 Sep 17, 2021 Jkt 253001 jurisdiction over ESA-listed species and critical habitat (50 CFR 402.14(a)). The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA; 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) regulates ‘‘take’’ of marine mammals in U.S. waters. 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 engaging with the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service for potential Level B Harassment of marine mammals under their respective jurisdiction from proposed action activities. The National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA; 16 U.S.C. 470, et seq.), Section 106, requires that each Federal agency identify and assess the effects its actions may have on historic resources, including potential effects on historic structures, archaeological resources, and tribal resources. The Coast Guard would determine if any historic resources are present in the project area, evaluate the potential for the proposed action to adversely affect these resources, and consult with the appropriate state agency and any interested or affected Tribes to resolve any adverse effects by developing and evaluating alternatives or measures that could avoid, minimize, or mitigate impacts. The Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7401, et seq.) regulates emissions from both stationary (industrial) sources and mobile sources. The Coast Guard evaluated the potential for increased emissions during proposed action activities to determine if the emissions would be in conformity with the State Implementation Plan for attainment of National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Schedule for the Decision-Making Process Following the comment period announced in this Notice of Availability, and after consideration of all comments received, Coast Guard will prepare a Final PEIS/POEIS for the acquisition of 21 OPCs and operation of up to 25 OPCs. In meeting CEQ PO 00000 Frm 00043 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 52165 regulations requiring EISs to be completed within 2 years the Coast Guard anticipates the Final PEIS/POEIS would be available in 2022. Availability of the Final PEIS/POEIS would be published in the Federal Register and would be available for a 30-day waiting period. Because new information may become available after the completion of the Draft or Final PEIS/POEIS, supplemental NEPA documentation may be prepared in support of new information or changes in the Proposed Action considered under the PEIS/ POEIS. Public Scoping Process The Coast Guard is seeking comments on the potential environmental impacts that may result from the Proposed Action or preliminary Alternatives. 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. The PEIS/POEIS includes, 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. E.O. 12114, Environmental Effects Abroad of Major Federal Actions (44 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 intends to follow the CEQ regulations implementing NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500 through 1599) by scoping through public comments. Scoping, which is integral to the process for implementing NEPA, provides a E:\FR\FM\20SEN1.SGM 20SEN1 52166 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 179 / Monday, September 20, 2021 / Notices 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 began with publication of the Notice of Intent to prepare the PEIS/POEIS, published November 18, 2020 (85 FR 73491). The Coast Guard did not receive any comments or input on alternatives, information, or analysis relating to the Proposed Action during the 45-day public scoping period that began November 18, 2020 and ended January 4, 2021. In this Notice of Availability, the Coast Guard is providing the public with the opportunity to comment on the Draft PEIS/POEIS. After Coast Guard considers those comments, the Final PEIS/POEIS will be prepared and its availability similarly announced to 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 comments, establishes a public comment period, and provides information on how to participate. The 45-day public comment period begins September 20, 2021 and ends November 4, 2021. Comments and related material submitted to the online docket via https://www.regulations.gov/ must be received by the Coast Guard on or before November 4, 2021, and mailed submission, must be postmarked on or before that same date. We encourage you to submit specific, timely, substantive, and relevant comments through the Federal portal at https://www.regulations.gov, on the site provided when searching the above docket number or searching for ‘‘Offshore Patrol Cutter.’’ If comments cannot be submitted using https:// www.regulations.gov, contact the OPC program manager at HQS-SMBOPCEIS@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 submissions, please include the docket number for this Notice of VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:49 Sep 17, 2021 Jkt 253001 Availability and provide reasoning for comments. To be considered timely, comments must be received on or before November 4, 2021 to be considered in the Draft PEIS/POEIS. Comments mailed to the contact above must be postmarked by November 4, 2021. We will consider all substantive and relevant comments received during the comment period. We accept anonymous comments. Comments posted to https:// www.regulations.gov will include any personal information you have provided. For more about privacy and submissions in response to this document, see DHS’s eRulemaking System of Records notice (85 FR 14226, March 11, 2020). We review all comments received, but we will only post comments that address the topic of the notice. We may choose not to post off-topic, inappropriate, or duplicate comments that we receive. Documents mentioned in this Notice of Availability as being available in the docket, and posted public comments, will be in the online docket at https://www.regulations.gov and can be viewed by following that website’s instructions. 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. Dated: September 15, 2021. Andrew T. Pecora, Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, OPC Program Manager (CG–9322). [FR Doc. 2021–20298 Filed 9–16–21; 11:15 am] BILLING CODE 9110–04–P DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Transportation Security Administration Intent To Request Extension From OMB of One Current Public Collection of Information: TSA Airspace Waiver Program Transportation Security Administration, Homeland Security (DHS). ACTION: 60-Day notice. AGENCY: The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) invites public comment on one currently approved Information Collection Request (ICR), Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number 1652–0033, that we will submit to OMB for an extension in compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). The ICR describes the nature of the information collection SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00044 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 and its expected burden. The collection of information allows TSA to conduct security threat assessments on individuals on board aircraft operating in restricted airspace pursuant to an airspace waiver or flight authorization. DATES: Send your comments by November 19, 2021. ADDRESSES: Comments may be emailed to TSAPRA@tsa.dhs.gov or delivered to the TSA PRA Officer, Information Technology (IT), TSA–11, Transportation Security Administration, 6595 Springfield Center Drive, Springfield, VA 20598–6011. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Christina A. Walsh at the above address, or by telephone (571) 227–2062. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Comments Invited In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), an agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a valid OMB control number. The ICR documentation will be available at http://www.reginfo.gov upon its submission to OMB. Therefore, in preparation for OMB review and approval of the following information collection, TSA is soliciting comments to— (1) Evaluate whether the proposed information requirement is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) Evaluate the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden; (3) Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including using appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Information Collection Requirement OMB Control Number 1652–0033; TSA Airspace Waiver Program. TSA is seeking approval to extend this collection of information. The airspace waiver program allows U.S. and foreign general aviation aircraft operators to apply for approval to operate in U.S. restricted airspace, including flying over the United States and its territories. This program includes both processing of applications for airspace waivers and flight authorizations for flights operating under the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) Access Standard Security Program (see subpart B of 49 E:\FR\FM\20SEN1.SGM 20SEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 179 (Monday, September 20, 2021)]
[Notices]
[Pages 52162-52166]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-20298]


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DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

Coast Guard

[Docket Number USCG-2021-0738]


Offshore Patrol Cutter Acquisition Program; Draft Programmatic 
Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement

AGENCY: Coast Guard, Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

ACTION: Notice of availability of a Draft Programmatic Environmental 
Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement; request for 
comments.

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SUMMARY: The United States (U.S.) Coast Guard (Coast Guard), as the 
lead agency, announces the availability of the Draft 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 for the operation of up to 25 total 
OPCs. The complete OPC Program of Record comprises 25 OPCs. OPC Stage 1 
is already under contract to provide the first 4 OPCs. OPC Stage 2 is 
the focus of this PEIS/POEIS and will provide the remaining 21 OPCs. 
This PEIS/POEIS is being prepared in compliance with the National 
Environmental Policy Act and the regulations implemented by the Council 
on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and

[[Page 52163]]

the Executive order titled ``Environmental Effects Abroad of Major 
Federal Actions.'' 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. This Notice of Availability (NOA) announces the start of 
the public review and comment period on this PEIS/POEIS. After the 
Coast Guard addresses comments provided, Coast Guard will publish a 
final PEIS/POEIS.

DATES: Comments and related material must be post-marked or received by 
the Coast Guard on or before November 4, 2021.

ADDRESSES: 
    Obtaining Documents: You may access the Draft PEIS/POEIS using the 
Federal eRulemaking Portal at https://www.regulations.gov. Search using 
docket number USCG-2021-0738 to access the Draft PEIS/POEIS.
    Submitting Comments: You may submit comments on the Draft PEIS/
POEIS by one of the following methods:
     Via the Web: You may submit comments identified by docket 
number USCG-2021-0738 using the Federal eRulemaking Portal at https://www.regulations.gov. See the ``Public Scoping Process'' portion of the 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for further instructions on 
submitting comments.
     Via U.S. Mail: OPC Program Manager (CG-9322), U.S. Coast 
Guard Headquarters, 2703 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE, Stop 7800, 
Washington, DC 20593. Please note that mailed comments must be 
postmarked on or before the comment deadline of 45 days following 
publication of this notice to be considered.
    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information about this document 
contact Andrew Haley, Chief, Office of Environmental Management, Coast 
Guard at [email protected] or 202-372-1821.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This NOA briefly summarizes the proposed 
project, including the purpose and need and reasonable alternatives. As 
required by NEPA and CEQ implementing regulations (40 CFR parts 1500 
through 1508, specifically Sec.  1502.3), a Federal agency must prepare 
an EIS if it is proposing a major Federal action to analyze the 
environmental consequences of implementing each of the alternatives, if 
carried forward for full review, following public scoping, by assessing 
the effects of each alternative on the human environment.

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 nautical mile (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.

Proposed Action and Alternative

    Coast Guard has identified and analyzed three action alternatives 
and the No Action Alternative in the PEIS/POEIS for public review and 
comment.
    Proposed Action (Alternative 1, Preferred Alternative): Under the 
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 the ice-free 
waters of 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, rigid-hull inflatable Over the 
Horizon (OTH) boats, but only one to two OTH boats would be launched at 
any one time 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 boarding, 
passenger transfer, and rescue of persons in distress.
    All OPCs would be flight deck-equipped with the ability to launch, 
recover, hangar, and maintain helicopters. The flight deck of the OPC 
would be capable of launching and recovering all variants of 
helicopters up

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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 have 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 available 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 
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 2023 and would undergo 
approximately one year of training to become ``Ready for Operations.'' 
OPC-1 would then become operational in 2024. The last OPC (i.e., OPC-
25) is expected to be delivered in 2037 and would then become 
operational in 2038.
    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. Operations and training using OPCs 
acquired under Alternative 2 are the same as for Alternative 1.
    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 cost would 
increase more per replacement hull because it eliminates any workforce 
savings associated with ship capabilities designed specifically to 
conduct Coast Guard missions in areas that may exceed 50 nm (93 km) 
from shore. 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. This approach would 
not properly integrate Coast Guard systems, limiting ability of assets 
to communicate in real time and resulting in decreased efficiency 
throughout the system, as well as higher maintenance costs. Operations 
and training using OPCs acquired under Alternative 2 are the same as 
for Alternative 1.
    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. Therefore, 
the No Action Alternative would not meet the Coast Guard's statutory 
mission requirements in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and Gulf of 
Mexico to provide 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

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biological environment in the AORs. Potential acoustic stressors 
include: The fathometer and Doppler speed log noise (navigation 
system), vessel noise, aircraft noise, and gunnery noise. 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 are assessed to determine if they 
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 identify 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 of each biological 
resource or critical habitat. No significant impacts to environmental 
resources were identified.

Anticipated Permits and Authorizations

    The Proposed Action is programmatic in nature and each OPC would 
have a design service life of 30 years. As such, potential permits and 
authorizations are identified in the PEIS/POEIS. Certain approvals may 
be completed as part of the PEIS/POEIS, but specific permits and 
authorizations under the laws listed below will be determined through 
consultations with the appropriate regulatory agencies, and would not 
necessarily be issued until an OPC is operational in a specific 
geographic area. Implementation of all alternatives will ultimately 
require compliance with the following laws and regulations through 
issuance of permits and/or 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 
engaging with the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service, pursuant to Section 7 of the ESA, which have 
jurisdiction over ESA-listed species and critical habitat (50 CFR 
402.14(a)).
    The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA; 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) 
regulates ``take'' of marine mammals in U.S. waters. 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 
engaging with the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S Fish 
and Wildlife Service for potential Level B Harassment of marine mammals 
under their respective jurisdiction from proposed action activities.
    The National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA; 16 U.S.C. 470, et 
seq.), Section 106, requires that each Federal agency identify and 
assess the effects its actions may have on historic resources, 
including potential effects on historic structures, archaeological 
resources, and tribal resources. The Coast Guard would determine if any 
historic resources are present in the project area, evaluate the 
potential for the proposed action to adversely affect these resources, 
and consult with the appropriate state agency and any interested or 
affected Tribes to resolve any adverse effects by developing and 
evaluating alternatives or measures that could avoid, minimize, or 
mitigate impacts.
    The Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7401, et seq.) regulates emissions 
from both stationary (industrial) sources and mobile sources. The Coast 
Guard evaluated the potential for increased emissions during proposed 
action activities to determine if the emissions would be in conformity 
with the State Implementation Plan for attainment of National Ambient 
Air Quality Standards.

Schedule for the Decision-Making Process

    Following the comment period announced in this Notice of 
Availability, and after consideration of all comments received, Coast 
Guard will prepare a Final PEIS/POEIS for the acquisition of 21 OPCs 
and operation of up to 25 OPCs. In meeting CEQ regulations requiring 
EISs to be completed within 2 years the Coast Guard anticipates the 
Final PEIS/POEIS would be available in 2022. Availability of the Final 
PEIS/POEIS would be published in the Federal Register and would be 
available for a 30-day waiting period. Because new information may 
become available after the completion of the Draft or Final PEIS/POEIS, 
supplemental NEPA documentation may be prepared in support of new 
information or changes in the Proposed Action considered under the 
PEIS/POEIS.

Public Scoping Process

    The Coast Guard is seeking comments on the potential environmental 
impacts that may result from the Proposed Action or preliminary 
Alternatives. 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. The PEIS/POEIS includes, 
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.
    E.O. 12114, Environmental Effects Abroad of Major Federal Actions 
(44 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 intends to follow the CEQ regulations implementing 
NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500 through 1599) by scoping through public 
comments. Scoping, which is integral to the process for implementing 
NEPA, provides a

[[Page 52166]]

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 began with publication of the Notice 
of Intent to prepare the PEIS/POEIS, published November 18, 2020 (85 FR 
73491). The Coast Guard did not receive any comments or input on 
alternatives, information, or analysis relating to the Proposed Action 
during the 45-day public scoping period that began November 18, 2020 
and ended January 4, 2021. In this Notice of Availability, the Coast 
Guard is providing the public with the opportunity to comment on the 
Draft PEIS/POEIS. After Coast Guard considers those comments, the Final 
PEIS/POEIS will be prepared and its availability similarly announced to 
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 
comments, establishes a public comment period, and provides information 
on how to participate.
    The 45-day public comment period begins September 20, 2021 and ends 
November 4, 2021. Comments and related material submitted to the online 
docket via https://www.regulations.gov/ must be received by the Coast 
Guard on or before November 4, 2021, and mailed submission, must be 
postmarked on or before that same date.
    We encourage you to submit specific, timely, substantive, and 
relevant comments through the Federal portal at https://www.regulations.gov, on the site provided when searching the above 
docket number or searching for ``Offshore Patrol Cutter.'' If comments 
cannot be submitted using https://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 submissions, please include the docket number for this Notice of 
Availability and provide reasoning for comments. To be considered 
timely, comments must be received on or before November 4, 2021 to be 
considered in the Draft PEIS/POEIS. Comments mailed to the contact 
above must be postmarked by November 4, 2021. We will consider all 
substantive and relevant comments received during the comment period.
    We accept anonymous comments. Comments posted to https://www.regulations.gov will include any personal information you have 
provided. For more about privacy and submissions in response to this 
document, see DHS's eRulemaking System of Records notice (85 FR 14226, 
March 11, 2020).
    We review all comments received, but we will only post comments 
that address the topic of the notice. We may choose not to post off-
topic, inappropriate, or duplicate comments that we receive. Documents 
mentioned in this Notice of Availability as being available in the 
docket, and posted public comments, will be in the online docket at 
https://www.regulations.gov and can be viewed by following that 
website's instructions.
    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.

    Dated: September 15, 2021.
Andrew T. Pecora,
Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, OPC Program Manager (CG-9322).
[FR Doc. 2021-20298 Filed 9-16-21; 11:15 am]
BILLING CODE 9110-04-P