[Federal Register Volume 69, Number 235 (Wednesday, December 8, 2004)]
[Notices]
[Page 71068]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 04-26863]


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DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

Coast Guard

[USCG-2001-9267]


Shipboard Technology Evaluation Program; Programmatic 
Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact

AGENCY: Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION: Notice of availability.

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SUMMARY: The Coast Guard announces the availability of the Final 
Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) and Finding of No 
Significant Impact (FONSI) that evaluated the potential environmental 
impacts resulting from the implementation of the Shipboard Technology 
Evaluation Program (STEP). The purpose of STEP is to facilitate the 
development of effective ballast water treatment technologies to 
protect U.S. waters against the unintentional introduction of 
nonindigenous species via ballast water discharges. STEP will create 
more options for vessels seeking alternatives to ballast water exchange 
as they manage their ballast water.

ADDRESSES: Comments and material received from the public, as well as 
documents mentioned in this notice as being available in the docket, 
are part of docket USCG-2001-9267 and are available for inspection or 
copying at the Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of 
Transportation, room PL-401, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC, 
between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal 
holidays. You may also find this docket on the Internet at http://
dms.dot.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you have questions on this program 
call Mr. Bivan Patnaik, Project Manager at (202) 267-1744 or e-mail: 
bpatnaik@comdt.uscg.mil. If you have questions on viewing or submitting 
material to the docket, call Andrea M. Jenkins, Program Manager, Docket 
Operations, Department of Transportation, telephone 202-366-0271.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In accordance with the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (Section 102(2)(c)), as implemented by 
the Council on Environment Quality regulations (40 CFR parts 1500-1508) 
and Coast Guard Policy for Considering Environmental Impacts (COMDTINST 
M16475.1D), the Coast Guard prepared a final PEA and FONSI for 
implementing STEP.

Response to Comments

    The Coast Guard received one comment on the draft PEA. The 
commenter stated that the Coast Guard made inaccurate statements 
regarding the effectiveness of ozone as a ballast water treatment 
technology and the corrosion issues associated with the use of ozone.
    Although the Coast Guard commends the ongoing efforts of developers 
of ozone technologies as an effective treatment for ballast water, we 
disagree with the commenter. Based on our review of peer-reviewed 
published literature and documents submitted by the commenter, it is 
premature to conclude that ozone will effectively remove all organisms 
or that corrosion is not an issue. Therefore, no changes were made to 
the final PEA. We look forward to the results of future research on the 
effectiveness of ozone technologies and we encourage the commenter to 
consider participation in STEP.

Programmatic Environmental Assessment

    The final PEA identified and examined those reasonable alternatives 
needed to effectively implement STEP. The final PEA analyzed the no 
action alternative and two action alternatives that could fulfill the 
purpose and need of STEP. The final PEA is a program document meant to 
provide a broad environmental review of a Federal agency's (Coast 
Guard) national program. In this case, the final PEA provided a broad, 
general view of the potential environmental impacts that could be 
anticipated by implementing STEP. Specifically, the final PEA 
considered potential effects to the natural and human environments 
including: fish; marine mammals; invertebrates; microbes and plankton; 
submerged and emergent species; threatened and endangered species; 
essential fish habitats; and various socioeconomic resources. The final 
PEA could not foresee all possible specific operational sites or 
cumulative environmental impacts as a result of implementing any of the 
action alternatives. However, once specific operational sites and 
individual shipboard ballast water treatment technologies have been 
identified, these technologies will undergo a more specific 
environmental review (tiering). This environmental review of individual 
shipboard ballast water treatment technologies and specific operational 
sites will result in the issuance of either: (1) Categorical Exclusion; 
(2) Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) after an Environmental 
Assessment (EA); or (3) Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

    Dated: November 18, 2004.
Joseph J. Angelo,
Director of Standards, Marine Safety, Security & Environmental 
Protection.
[FR Doc. 04-26863 Filed 12-7-04; 8:45 am]
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