Office of Commercial Space Transportation; Notice of Approval on a Record of Decision (ROD) for the Spaceport America Commercial Launch Site, Sierra County, NM
In accordance with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations and FAA Order 1050.1E, Change 1, the FAA is announcing the availability of the ROD for the Spaceport America Commercial Launch Site, Sierra County, New Mexico. The ROD provides the FAA's final environmental determination and approval to support the issuance of a Launch Site Operator License to the New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) to operate Spaceport America, as proposed in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) published in November 2008. The ROD provides a description of the applicant's Proposed Action and reasonable alternatives, and identifies the FAA's preferred and the environmentally preferred alternative. It includes a discussion of environmental impacts associated with the Proposed Action in each resource area, as analyzed in the Final EIS. The ROD summarizes the mitigation and enforcement actions that would be made the subject of the terms and conditions of the Launch Site Operator License issued to NMSA, as well as other conservation and enhancement measures described in the Final EIS and presented for consideration. The Final EIS, prepared by the FAA for the Spaceport America Commercial Launch Site, serves as the primary reference and basis for preparation of the ROD. The Final EIS documents the analysis of environmental consequences associated with the construction and operation of Spaceport America and reasonable alternatives to the Proposed Action. The FAA is the lead Federal agency responsible for the preparation of the EIS and ROD for the proposed Spaceport America. Cooperating agencies include the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, the U.S. Army's White Sands Missile Range (WSMR), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The EIS and ROD were prepared pursuant to the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321, et seq.), the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Regulations for Implementing the Procedural Provisions of NEPA (40 CFR 1500-1508), and FAA Order 1050.1E, Change 1, Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures. The FAA has posted the ROD on the FAA Web site at http:// ast.faa.gov. In addition, paper copies of the ROD will be sent out with the signed Programmatic Agreement to persons and agencies on the distribution list (found in Chapter 8 of the Final EIS). The Programmatic Agreement addresses significant impacts to Historical, Architectural, Archaeological, and Cultural Resources from the Proposed Action. Additional Information: Under the Proposed Action, and the alternative selected by the FAA for implementation, the FAA would issue a Launch Site Operator License to NMSA that would allow the State to operate the proposed Spaceport America Commercial Launch Site. The EIS analyzed launching both horizontal and vertical launch vehicle (LV) launches. Horizontal LVs would launch and land at the proposed Spaceport America airfield. Vertical LVs would launch from Spaceport America and either land at Spaceport America or at WSMR. Rocket-powered vertical landing vehicles would land on either the Spaceport America airfield or a vertical launch/landing pad. In addition, the Proposed Action includes construction of facilities needed to support the licensed launch activities at the proposed launch site. Development of Spaceport America infrastructure would occur in two phases. The total area of land disturbed by construction would be approximately 970 acres; the total area of the final facilities footprint would be approximately 145 acres. The proposed Spaceport America boundary would encompass approximately 26 square miles. This area currently contains both State and private land. Operational activities in support of the Proposed Action would begin as soon as the phased construction activities related to the Proposed Action were completed. The operational activities that may have environmental consequences and would support, either directly or indirectly, licensed launches include:
Washington, DC Metropolitan Area Special Flight Rules Area; Correction
This document corrects a recently published final rule entitled, ``Washington, DC Metropolitan Area Special Flight Rules Area.'' The rule codified special flight rules and airspace and flight restrictions for certain aircraft operations in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area. A word in the codified text was incorrect. This document corrects that word.
Establishment of Low Altitude Area Navigation T-254; Houston, TX
This action delays the effective date for the establishment of the low altitude Area Navigation (RNAV) T-route, designated T-254, in the vicinity of the Houston, TX, terminal area until March 12, 2009. The FAA is taking this action to allow additional time for processing and charting.