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Notice of Availability of Revised Guidance on the Environmental Review Process

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Notice of Availability of Revised Guidance on the Environmental Review Process

Gregory G. Nadeau
Federal Highway Administration
Therese W. McMillan
Federal Transit Administration
March 13, 2015


[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 49 (Friday, March 13, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 13458-13459]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-05786]


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

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Highway Administration

Federal Transit Administration

[Docket Number: FHWA-2015-0001]


Notice of Availability of Revised Guidance on the Environmental 
Review Process

AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration, 
DOT.

ACTION: Notice of availability; Request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit 
Administration (FTA) announce the availability of its revised Section 
139 Environmental Review Process guidance (previously referred to as 
the SAFETEA-LU Environmental Review Process Final Guidance), which was 
amended to reflect provisions of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 
21st Century Act (MAP-21). The document provides guidance on 
environmental review process requirements and best management practices 
for transportation projects funded or approved by the FHWA, FTA, or 
both agencies. The revisions to the joint guidance reflect the FHWA and 
FTA's proposed implementation of the MAP-21 changes within their 
statutory environmental review process requirements, in accordance with 
the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other Federal laws. 
The FHWA and FTA request public comments on the proposed guidance.

[[Page 13459]]


DATES: Comments must be received by May 12, 2015. Late filed comments 
will be considered to the extent practicable.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments to Docket No. FHWA-2015-0001 by any 
of the following methods:
    Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to www.regulations.gov and follow 
the online instructions for submitting comments.
    Mail: Docket Management Facility: U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building Ground Floor, 
Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
    Hand Delivery or Courier: West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 
p.m. e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
    Fax: (202) 493-2251.
    Instructions: You must include the agency name (Federal Highway 
Administration or Federal Transit Administration) and the Docket Number 
of this notice at the beginning of your comments. Note that all 
comments received will be posted without change to www.regulations.gov, 
including any personal information provided. You may review DOT's 
complete Privacy Act Statement published in the Federal Register on 
April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For the FHWA: Neel Vanikar, Office of 
Project Development and Environmental Review, (202) 366-2068, or Jomar 
Maldonado, Office of Chief Counsel, (202) 366-1373. For FTA: Chris Van 
Wyk, Office of Environmental Programs, (202) 366-1733, or Helen 
Serassio, Office of Chief Counsel, (202) 366-1974. The FHWA and FTA are 
located at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. Office 
hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, except 
Federal holidays.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The FHWA and FTA, hereafter referred to as the ``Agencies,'' are 
proposing the issuance of revised joint guidance on the environmental 
review process based on revisions to 23 U.S.C. 139 (Efficient 
environmental rules for project decisionmaking) by various MAP-21 
provisions. The proposed guidance would update and supersede the Safe, 
Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy 
for Users (SAFETEA-LU) Environmental Review Process Final Guidance 
issued on November 16, 2006.
    The MAP-21 added requirements and refinements to the project 
development procedures found in 23 U.S.C. 139 (Section 139), which 
contains statutory requirements supplemental to the process required by 
NEPA, the Council on Environmental Quality regulations at 40 CFR 1500, 
and the FHWA/FTA joint environmental regulations at 23 CFR part 771. 
Section 139 provides the roles of the project sponsor and the lead, 
participating, and cooperating agencies; sets requirements for 
coordinating and scheduling agency reviews; identifies the authority of 
States to use Federal funding to ensure timely environmental reviews; 
specifies a process for resolving interagency disagreements; and 
establishes a statute of limitations on claims against transportation 
projects. The MAP-21 amended Section 139 by emphasizing a framework for 
setting deadlines for decisionmaking in the environmental review 
process; modifying the process for issue resolution and referral; 
establishing penalties for Federal agencies that do not make a timely 
decision; and, providing an option for complex projects stalled in the 
environmental review process to receive technical assistance with a 
goal of completing the environmental review process (i.e., issuance of 
a record of decision (ROD)) within 4 years. In addition, MAP-21 
mandated the combination of the Final Environmental Impact Statement 
and ROD into one document under certain circumstances, to the maximum 
extent practicable, although that process change was not codified in 
Section 139.
    The Agencies request comments on the revised guidance, which is 
available in the docket (FHWA-2015-0001) and on FHWA's and FTA's MAP-21 
Web sites. The Agencies will respond to comments received on the 
guidance in a second Federal Register notice, to be published after the 
close of the comment period. That second notice will also announce the 
availability of final guidance that reflects any changes implemented as 
a result of comments received.

    Authority: 23 U.S.C. 139; Pub. L. 112-141, 126 Stat. 551.

    Issued on: February 27, 2015.
Gregory G. Nadeau,
Deputy Administrator, Federal Highway Administration.
Therese W. McMillan,
Acting Administrator, Federal Transit Administration.
[FR Doc. 2015-05786 Filed 3-12-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-22-P

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