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Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980 (ANILCA) Title XI Notice of Time Extension for Environmental Impact Statement

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980 (ANILCA) Title XI Notice of Time Extension for Environmental Impact Statement

Sandra A. Garcia-Aline
Federal Highway Administration
6 February 2018


[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 25 (Tuesday, February 6, 2018)]
[Notices]
[Pages 5292-5293]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-02265]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Highway Administration


Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980 (ANILCA) 
Title XI Notice of Time Extension for Environmental Impact Statement

AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice; Final Environmental Impact Statement Time Extension for 
Good Cause.

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SUMMARY: The FHWA has determined it necessary to extend the date by 
which a final environmental impact statement will be published for the 
Sterling Highway Milepost 45-60 Project in Alaska, and thereby to 
extend the timing of decisions of involved Federal agencies regarding 
the project. Timelines and the process of extending timelines are 
established in the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation

[[Page 5293]]

Act of 1980 (ANILCA) for certain projects. The FHWA is extending the 
date to accommodate a potential shift in the preferred alternative and 
to determine with the Department of the Interior how a 2017 commitment 
to undertake a land exchange in the project area would affect the 
decision making process. The delay is agreeable to the applicant 
(Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities) and other 
involved Federal agencies.

DATES: The publication of a final environmental impact statement for 
the Sterling Highway MP 45-60 Project is extended to March 13, 2018.

ADDRESSES: Applicant's project website: http://sterlinghighway.net.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: John Lohrey, FHWA Alaska Division 
Transportation Planner, 907-586-7428, john.lohrey@dot.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Alaska Department of Transportation and 
Public Facilities (DOT&PF) proposes to upgrade and partially realign 
the Sterling Highway (AK-1) over about 14 miles in the vicinity of 
Cooper Landing, in the Kenai Peninsula Borough, Alaska. The Sterling 
Highway Milepost 45-60 Project, in part, would use Federal funding 
administered by the FHWA. The FHWA and DOT&PF issued a draft 
supplemental environmental impact statement (EIS) for the project in 
March 2015. The EIS was a supplemental EIS because FHWA had issued a 
draft EIS in 1994 for a 23-mile stretch of the Sterling Highway and had 
issued authorization following the 1994 draft EIS to split the project 
into two parts, each with independent utility. A decision in 1995 
authorized design and construction of the Milepost 37-45 portion 
(completed in 2001) and development of a supplemental EIS for the 
Milepost 45-60 portion.
    Some alternatives evaluated in the current EIS would cross lands 
classified as conservation system units (CSUs) by the ANILCA. Title XI 
of ANILCA requires special procedures for completion of an EIS under 
the National Environmental Policy Act if a transportation project will 
cross a CSU. The ANILCA Section 1104(e) [16 U.S.C. 3164(e)] describes 
procedural requirements, including a requirement that the project's 
final EIS shall be completed within 1 year of submittal of a form 
applying to cross a CSU. The procedural requirements allow the lead 
Federal agency to extend the time period for good cause if a notice is 
published in the Federal Register to explain the reasons for the 
extension.
    For ANILCA requirements, the involved Federal agencies are FHWA 
(Department of Transportation); Forest Service (Department of 
Agriculture); U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Department of the 
Interior); and Corps of Engineers (Department of the Army). These 
agencies have long been cooperating agencies and have been working in 
good faith to produce the EIS.
    Under ANILCA Title XI, FHWA and the other involved Federal agencies 
consider the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and the Resurrection Pass 
National Recreation Trail on Chugach National Forest to be CSUs. Two 
alternatives would use land from these CSUs, and two alternatives would 
not use land from any CSUs. DOT&PF filed the required Federal form, 
Standard Form 299, as an application for crossing the CSUs. The filing 
date was March 13, 2015. At that time, neither DOT&PF nor FHWA had 
identified a preferred alternative, so the application was made in 
general, because two alternatives would involve CSUs. In December 2015, 
DOT&PF and FHWA agreed that the G South Alternative was the preferred 
alternative and released this information to the public. The FHWA 
issued a letter dated December 9, 2016, to cooperating agencies stating 
that the preferred alternative would not cross any CSU and that no 
decision under ANILCA Title XI would be required. Consideration of the 
timelines under ANILCA Title XI was put aside.
    However, based on public and agency comment following publication 
of the Draft Supplemental EIS and the announcement of the preferred 
alternative, and based on input from cooperating agencies during 
preparation of the Final EIS, FHWA and DOT&PF have been reconsidering 
the preferred alternative. New information also affects identification 
of the preferred alternative. Therefore, the involved Federal agencies 
and DOT&PF as the applicant are in agreement that it is in the best 
interest of good decision-making for this project to extend the 
timeline given in ANILCA.
    Specifically, FHWA is extending the timeline for publishing the 
Final EIS to March 13, 2018. The FHWA and the other involved Federal 
agencies expect to publish the Final EIS within that time and to issue 
their individual decisions regarding permits and authorizations in 
accordance with ANILCA following the Final EIS publication. The actual 
issuance of a permit or right-of-way, or actual transfer of funds, is 
expected to occur as promptly as possible following these decisions, 
per ANILCA sections 1106(a)(1)(A) and 1106(c)(6).

    Authority:  16 U.S.C. 3164(e).

    Issued on: January 29, 2018.
Sandra A. Garcia-Aline,
Division Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2018-02265 Filed 2-5-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-22-P

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