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Federal Register Summary for week of 16 March

    Council on Environmental Quality

  • Final Guidance on Improving the Process for Preparing Efficient and Timely Environmental Reviews Under the National Environmental Policy Act

    AGENCY: Council on Environmental Quality.

    ACTION: Notice of availability, final guidance.


    SUMMARY: The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) is issuing its final guidance on Improving the Process for Preparing Efficient and Timely Environmental Reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and CEQ Regulations implementing NEPA provide numerous techniques for preparing efficient and timely environmental reviews. CEQ is issuing this guidance for Federal departments and agencies to emphasize and clarify that these techniques are available for all NEPA Environmental Assessments and Environmental Impact Statements. These techniques are consistent with a thorough and meaningful environmental review and agencies using these techniques should keep in mind the following basic principles: NEPA encourages straightforward and concise reviews and documentation that are proportionate to potential impacts and effectively convey the relevant considerations in a timely manner to the public and decision makers, while rigorously addressing the issues presented; NEPA shall be integrated into project planning to ensure planning and decisions reflect environmental considerations, avoid delays later in the process, and anticipate and attempt to resolve issues, rather than be an after-the-fact process that justifies decisions already made; NEPA reviews should coordinate and take appropriate advantage of existing documents and studies, including through adoption and incorporation by reference; early and well-defined scoping can assist in focusing environmental reviews on appropriate issues that would be meaningful to a decision on the proposed action; agencies are encouraged to develop meaningful, predictable, and expeditious timelines for environmental reviews; and agencies should respond to comments in proportion to the scope and scale of the environmental issues raised. This guidance applies equally to the preparation of an Environmental Assessment or an Environmental Impact Statement consistent with legal precedent and agency NEPA experience and practice. This guidance does not change or substitute for any law, regulations, or any other legally binding requirement. It does provide CEQ's interpretation of existing regulations promulgated under NEPA.

    DATES: The guidance is effective March 12, 2012.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: The Council on Environmental Quality (ATTN: Horst Greczmiel, Associate Director for National Environmental Policy Act Oversight), 722 Jackson Place NW., Washington, DC 20503. Telephone: (202) 395-5750.

    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-03-12/html/2012-5812.htm

  • National Ocean Council--National Ocean Policy Draft Implementation Plan

    AGENCY: Council on Environmental Quality.

    ACTION: Extension of comment period.


    SUMMARY: On July 19, 2010, President Obama signed Executive Order 13547 establishing a National Policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, our Coasts, and the Great Lakes (National Ocean Policy). As part of the President's charge for Federal agencies to implement the National Ocean Policy, the National Ocean Council developed actions to achieve the Policy's nine priority objectives, and to address some of the most pressing challenges facing the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes. Collectively, the actions are encompassed in a single draft National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan (Implementation Plan). The draft Implementation Plan describes more than 50 actions the Federal Government will take to improve the health of the ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes, which support tens of millions of jobs, contribute trillions of dollars a year to the national economy, and are essential to public health and national security.

    Next, public comments on the draft Implementation Plan will inform the preparation of the final plan. Per our prior notice, which was published at 77 FR 2514 on January 18, 2012, we welcome your general input, and also pose the following questions:

    Does the draft Implementation Plan reflect actions you see are needed to address the nine priorities for the ocean, coasts, and the Great Lakes?

    What is the most effective way to measure outcomes and to detect whether a particular action in the Implementation Plan has achieved its intended outcome? Would a report card format be useful?

    With this notice, we are pleased to inform you that the comment period on the draft Implementation Plan has been extended. As stated on the National Ocean Council's Web site, http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/oceans, on February 28, 2012, the new deadline for public comment on the draft Implementation Plan is March 28, 2012. Comments received will be collated and posted on the National Ocean Council Web site. The final Implementation Plan is expected in the spring of 2012.

    DATES: The National Ocean Council must receive comments by midnight, March 28, 2012.

    ADDRESSES: The draft Implementation Plan and additional information can be found at http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/oceans. Comments should be submitted electronically to http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/oceans. Comments may also be sent in writing to "ATTN: National Ocean Council'' by fax to (202) 456-0753, or by mail to National Ocean Council, 722 Jackson Place NW., Washington, DC 20503. Heightened security measures in force may delay mail delivery; therefore, please allow at least two (2) to three (3) weeks of additional time for mailed comments to arrive. We encourage you to also submit comments through the National Ocean Council Web site.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Questions about the content of this request may be submitted through the National Ocean Council Web site at http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/administration/eop/oceans/contact or by mail to National Ocean Council, 722 Jackson Place NW., Washington, DC 20503. Please note, heightened security measures in force may delay mail delivery; therefore, we encourage you to also submit questions through the National Ocean Council Web site.

    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-03-14/html/2012-6215.htm

  • Environmental Protection Agency

  • Environmental Laboratory Advisory Board Membership

    AGENCY: U. S. Environmental Protection Agency.

    ACTION: Notice Soliciting Nominations for Membership.


    SUMMARY: The EPA invites nominations from a diverse range of qualified candidates to be considered for appointment to the Environmental Laboratory Advisory Board (ELAB). The ELAB is a multi-stakeholder federal advisory committee that provides independent advice and recommendations to the EPA Administrator, Science Advisor, and Forum on Environmental Measurements about cross-cutting issues related to enhancing measurement programs in the EPA, and facilitating the operation and expansion of national environmental accreditation.

    This notice solicits nominations to fill six new vacancies. To maintain diverse representation, nominees will be selected from the following stakeholder work force sectors:

    • Academia.
    • Business and industry.
    • Environmental laboratory commercial, municipal, small, other.
    • Environmental laboratory suppliers of services.
    • State and local government agencies.
    • Tribal governments and indigenous groups.
    • Trade associations.

    Within these sectors, the EPA is seeking nominees with knowledge in methods development; measurements; monitoring and regulatory programs; quality systems; and environmental accreditation. In an effort to obtain nominations of diverse candidates, the EPA encourages nominations of women and men of all racial and ethnic groups. All nominations will be fully considered.

    Any interested person or organization may nominate qualified persons to be considered for appointment to this advisory committee. Individuals may self-nominate. Nominees should possess the following qualifications:

    • Demonstrated experience with environmental measurement programs and environmental accreditation;
    • Willingness to commit time to the committee, and demonstrated ability to work constructively and effectively on committees;
    • Excellent interpersonal, oral, and written communication and consensus-building skills; and
    • Ability to serve a two-year appointment and volunteer approximately five to seven hours per month to support the activities of the ELAB.

    How to Submit Nominations: Nominations can be submitted in electronic format (preferred) to Lara P. Autry, Designated Federal Officer, US EPA, MC E243-05, 109 T. W. Alexander Drive, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, or emailed to autry.lara@epa.gov and should be received by April 13, 2012 for October 2012 appointment. To be considered, all nomination packages should include:

    • Current contact information for the nominee, including the nominee's name, organization (and position within that organization), current business address, email address, and daytime telephone number.
    • A brief statement describing the nominee's interest in serving on the ELAB.
    • A resume describing the professional and educational qualifications of the nominee, including a list of relevant activities, and any current or previous service on advisory committees.
    • Letter(s) of recommendation from a third party supporting the nomination.

    For further questions regarding this notice, please contact Lara P. Autry on (919) 541-5544 or autry.lara@epa.gov.

    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-03-14/html/2012-6178.htm

  • Request for Nominations of Experts for a Science Advisory Board Panel To Review EPA's Web-Based Report on the Environment

    AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION: Notice.


    SUMMARY: The EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB) Staff Office requests public nominations of technical experts to form an SAB panel to review the Agency's Web-based Report on the Environment.

    DATES: Nominations should be submitted by April 6, 2012 per the instructions below.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Any member of the public wishing further information regarding this Notice and Request for Nominations may contact Dr. Thomas Armitage, Designated Federal Officer (DFO), SAB Staff Office, by telephone/voice mail at (202) 564-2155, by fax at (202) 565-2098, or via email at armitage.thomas@epa.gov. General information concerning the EPA SAB can be found at the EPA SAB Web site at www.epa.gov/sab.

    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-03-16/html/2012-6422.htm

  • Interior

  • Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Expanding Incentives for Voluntary Conservation Actions Under the Endangered Species Act

    AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

    ACTION: Advance notice of proposed rulemaking.


    SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), are considering proposals to amend the regulations that implement parts of the Endangered Species Act. By this notice, we are inviting public comment to help us identify potential changes to our regulations that would create incentives for landowners and others to take voluntary conservation actions to benefit species that may be likely to become threatened or endangered species. In particular, we seek comment on whether and how the Service can assure those who take such voluntary actions that the benefits of such voluntary conservation actions will be recognized as offsetting the adverse effects of activities carried out after listing by that landowner or others. This practice sometimes referred to as "advance mitigation'' or "pre-listing mitigation,'' is intended to encourage early conservation efforts that could reduce or eliminate the need to list species as endangered or threatened.

    DATES: We will consider comments received or postmarked on or before May 14, 2012.

    ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by one of the following methods:

    Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the Enter Keyword or ID box, enter FWS-R9-ES- 2011-0099, which is the docket number for this notice. You may submit a comment by clicking on "Submit a Comment.''

    By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R9-ES-2011-0099; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.

    We will post all information received on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any personal information you provide us (see the Public Comments below for more details).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jim Serfis, Chief, Office of Communications and Candidate Conservation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Room 420, Arlington, VA 22203 (telephone 703-358-2171). If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339.

    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-03-15/html/2012-6221.htm

  • National Science Foundation

  • Advisory Panel for Integrative Activities, 1373; Notice of Meeting

    In accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92- 463, as amended), the National Science Foundation announces the following meeting.

    Name: Ad Hoc Advisory Committee on the Merit Review Process (MRPAC).

    Date/Time: March 28, 2012; 12 p.m.-4 p.m., EDT.

    Place: National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Room I-360 Arlington, VA.

    Type of Meeting: Open.

    Contact Person: Ms. Victoria Fung, National Science Foundation 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA, 22230. Email: vfung@nsf.gov.

    If you plan to attend the meeting, please send an email with your name and affiliation to the individual listed above, by the day before the meeting, so that a visitor badge can be prepared.

    Purpose of Meeting: To provide advice concerning issues related to NSF's merit review process.

    Agenda

    • Welcome.
    • Update on outreach activities.
    • Discussion of potential pilots of enhancements to the merit review process.

    For latest details information, please check with this following link: http://www.nsf.gov/od/oia/additional_resources/AC-MeritReview/index.jsp.

    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-03-12/html/2012-5861.htm

  • National Science Board; Sunshine Act Meetings

    The National Science Board's Committee on Strategy and Budget Task Force on Data Policies, pursuant to NSF regulations (45 CFR part 614), the National Science Foundation Act, as amended (42 U.S.C. 1862n-5), and the Government in the Sunshine Act (5 U.S.C. 552b), hereby gives notice in regard to the scheduling of a teleconference for the transaction of National Science Board business, as follows:

    DATE AND TIME: Wednesday, March 28, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., EDT.

    SUBJECT MATTER: Discussion of a continuation of the National Science Board's focus on data policies.

    STATUS: Open.

    LOCATION: This meeting will be held by teleconference at the National Science Board Office, National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22230. A public listening room will be available for this teleconference meeting. All visitors must contact the Board Office (call 703-292-7000 or send an email message to nationalsciencebrd@nsf.gov) at least 24 hours prior to the teleconference for the public room number and to arrange for a visitor's badge. All visitors must report to the NSF visitor desk located in the lobby at the 9th and N. Stuart Streets entrance on the day of the teleconference to receive a visitor's badge.

    UPDATES AND POINT OF CONTACT: Please refer to the National Science Board Web site www.nsf.gov/nsb for additional information and schedule updates (time, place, subject matter or status of meeting) may be found at http://www.nsf.gov/nsb/notices/. Point of contact for this meeting is: Blane Dahl, National Science Board Office, 4201 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22230. Telephone: (703) 292-7000.

    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-03-14/html/2012-6278.htm

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