[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 140 (Thursday, July 21, 2011)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 43616-43629]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-18279]


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NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION

14 CFR Part 1216

[Notice (11-069)]
RIN 2700-AD71


Procedures for Implementing the National Environmental Policy Act

AGENCY: National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.

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SUMMARY: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) 
hereby gives notice that it is proposing revised policy and procedures 
for implementing the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) 
and the Council on Environmental Quality's (CEQ) Code of Federal 
Regulations (CFR). This proposed rule would replace procedures 
contained in NASA's current regulation, Procedures for Implementing the 
National Environmental Policy Act. The revision is necessary to clarify 
and update the current regulation. Since the previous major update of 
NASA's NEPA regulation in 1988, a number of Executive Orders have 
streamlined the Federal Government through decentralization, reduction 
and simplification of regulations, and management of risk. This 
proposed rule strives to meet the spirit of these Executive Orders, 
which are included in the section entitled Procedural Requirements 
herein.

DATES: Submit comments on or before September 19, 2011.

ADDRESSES: Comments can be submitted by one of the following methods:
    1. Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow 
the online instructions for submitting comments electronically. 
Comments may be entered directly on the Web site. Electronic files may 
be submitted to this Web site.
    2. Mail comments to: NASA Rulemaking Comments, Environmental 
Management Division, Suite 5B11, 300 E Street, SW., Washington, DC 
20546. Because security screening may delay mail sent through the U.S. 
Postal Service, NASA encourages electronic submittal of comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For general information about NASA's 
NEPA process, readers are directed to the NASA NEPA Portal and NEPA 
Library at http://www.nasa.gov/green/nepa/. Questions may be directed 
to Tina Borghild Norwood, NASA NEPA Manager, at (202) 358-7324, or via 
e-mail at Tina.Norwood-1@nasa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Comments: Before including your address, 
phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information 
in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment, 
including your personal identifying information, may be made publicly 
available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold 
your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot 
guarantee that we will be able to do so.

Background

    This proposed rule revises policies and responsibilities for 
assessing the effects of NASA's actions in accordance with NEPA 
(revising the current regulation at 14 CFR 1216.3). The last major 
revision of this regulation was

[[Page 43617]]

previously published in 53 FR 9761 on March 25, 1988. Since that time, 
understanding and implementation of NEPA has matured, and initiatives 
such as the National Performance Review have streamlined the Federal 
Government through decentralization, reduction, and simplification of 
regulations.

Introduction

    NASA is amending its procedures for implementing the requirements 
of NEPA, 42 U.S.C. 4321-4347. The proposed amendments include: (1) 
Consolidating and standardizing the procedural provisions of the 
Agency's environmental review process under NEPA; (2) clarifying the 
general procedures associated with categorical exclusions (CatExs), 
consolidating the categories of actions subject to categorical 
exclusion, and amending existing and adding new CatExs; (3) adding 
extraordinary circumstances as factors which limit the applicability of 
CatExs; (4) consolidating and amending the actions that generally 
require an EIS or Environmental Assessment (EA); and (5) incorporating 
other proposed revisions consistent with the CEQ regulations.
    These proposed regulations, like NASA's existing NEPA regulations, 
are a supplement to the CEQ regulations implementing NEPA. These 
proposed regulations were drafted with the objective of minimizing 
repetition of requirements already contained in the CEQ regulations and 
with the understanding that these NASA-specific regulations would be 
applied with (and be bounded by) the CEQ regulations. The terminology 
used in this Preamble and the proposed regulations include many words 
and phrases that are specifically defined in either NEPA or the CEQ 
regulations. Many of these definitions can be found in part 1508 of the 
CEQ regulations (40 CFR part 1508).

Revised Categorical Exclusions

    As part of this rulemaking, NASA is amending existing and adding 
new categories of actions that are eligible for categorical exclusion 
and proposing to add generally applicable extraordinary circumstances 
to bound the use of all NASA categorical exclusions. Consistent with 
CEQ regulations, Sec.  1216.304 of the proposed rule defines 
``categorical exclusion'' to mean ``categories of agency actions with 
no individually or cumulatively significant effect on the human 
environment.'' Some of the new CatExs are similar to the CatExs of 
other Federal agencies and reflect NASA's experience with similar 
factual circumstances. Other new CatExs are more specific to NASA and 
reflect NASA's past experience with similar factual circumstances, 
which were considered by NASA's environmental professionals when 
applying NASA's current NEPA process, and which have been found, 
through monitoring, to have no significant impacts on the ``human 
environment'' (as that term is broadly defined in CEQ regulations at 40 
CFR 1508.4).
    The rationale supporting the amended and new CatExs and 
extraordinary circumstances is summarized herein. The CEQ regulations 
state that Federal agencies must implement NEPA procedures, in part to 
``reduce paperwork and the accumulation of extraneous background data 
and to emphasize real environmental issues and alternatives.'' (40 CFR 
1500.2(b)). NASA believes that amending current and identifying new 
CatExs meets the intent of this NEPA policy. For ease of comparison, 
the current NASA CatExs (adopted in 1988) are as follows:
    (1) Research and Development (R&D) or Space Flight, Control, and 
Data Communications (SFCDC) activities in space science (e.g., physics 
and astronomy research and analysis, planetary exploration mission 
operations and data analysis) other than specific spacecraft 
development and flight projects.
    (2) R&D activities in space and terrestrial applications (e.g., 
resource observations, applied research and data analysis, technology 
utilization) other than specific spacecraft development and flight 
projects.
    (3) R&D activities in aeronautics and space technology and energy 
technology applications (e.g., research and technology base, systems 
technology programs) other than experimental projects.
    (4) R&D (or SFCDC) activities in space transportation systems 
engineering and scientific and technical support operations, routine 
transportation operations, and advanced studies.
    (5) R&D (or SFCDC) activities in space tracking and data systems.
    (6) Facility planning and design (funding).
    (7) Minor construction of new facilities, including rehabilitation, 
modification, and repair.
    (8) Continuing operations of a NASA installation at a level of 
effort, or altered operations, provided the alterations induce only 
social and/or economic effects, but no natural or physical 
environmental effects.
    For proposed Agency actions that do not clearly require an EIS or 
EA, NASA uses a Record of Environmental Consideration (REC) to record: 
(1) The fact that a proposed action has been reviewed for environmental 
impacts and (2) the level of NEPA documentation required for the 
proposed action. RECs typically cite an applicable CatEx. The RECs 
cited in this preamble provide examples of past NASA activities that 
support the proposed CatEx in that the activities were monitored and 
did not create environmental effects.
    Where a new CatEx is proposed and NASA relies on previous RECs, 
these RECs are available for review in the NASA NEPA Library on the 
NASA NEPA Web site at http://www.nasa.gov/green/nepa/index.html. The 
public portal also includes links to other relevant NASA environmental 
policies and practices. For example, NASA monitors actions while they 
are being performed and after they are completed to ensure they have 
caused no significant environmental effects. Such monitoring is 
included as part of the NASA Environmental Management System (EMS). 
NASA also utilizes an external environmental auditing system known as 
Environmental Functional Reviews (EFRs) to ensure compliance with NEPA. 
Both the EMS and EFR are discussed on the NASA NEPA Web site.
    The NASA NEPA Web site also provides the full name and location of 
all ten NASA Centers and five Component Facilities.
    The applicability of any CatEx to Agency actions is limited by the 
extraordinary- circumstances analysis required by this proposed 
regulation and described in detail following the discussion of the 
proposed CatExs. The following paragraphs review the 23 CatExs included 
in the proposed rule. Where CatExs are amended or consolidated, the 
reasons are provided. For new CatExs, the supporting rationale is 
explained.
    NASA provides specific instructions pertaining to implementation of 
NEPA program responsibilities internally through NASA Procedural 
Requirements (NPR), 8580.1. NASA has identified that the 13 proposed 
CatExs under the heading ``Administrative Activities'' and ``Operations 
and Management Activities'' do not result in individually or 
cumulatively significant environmental impacts. As a result, the NPR 
will be updated to reflect that no environmental checklist is required. 
A REC will be required for the remaining ten CatExs.
    Sec.  1216.304(d)(1): Administrative Activities including:
    (i) Personnel actions, organizational changes, and procurement of 
routine goods and services.
    (ii) Issuance of procedural rules, manuals, directives, and 
requirements.

[[Page 43618]]

    (iii) Program budget proposals, disbursements, and transfer or 
reprogramming of funds.
    (iv) Preparation of documents, including design and feasibility 
studies, analytical supply and demand studies, reports and 
recommendations, master and strategic plans, and other advisory 
documents.
    (v) Information-gathering exercises such as inventories, audits, 
studies, and field studies, including water sampling, cultural 
resources surveys, biological surveys, geologic surveys, modeling or 
simulations, and routine data collection and analysis activities.
    (vi) Preparation and dissemination of information, including 
document mailings, publications, classroom materials, conferences, 
speaking engagements, Web sites, and other educational/informational 
activities.
    (vii) Software development, data analysis, and/or testing, 
including computer modeling.
    (viii) Interpretations, amendments, and modifications to contracts, 
grants, or other awards.
    Under the heading ``Administrative Activities,'' NASA is proposing 
eight new CatExs. Based on NASA's experience with these types of 
actions, as documented in the following examples of NASA RECs and other 
environmental documentation which have been completed and monitored by 
NASA environmental professional staff, these actions do not result in 
individually or cumulatively significant environmental impacts.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Center                    Date                 Title
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. JPL, CA....................        11/10/2008  NASA Extragalactic
                                                   Database.
2. JPL, CA....................        03/12/2009  Advanced Information
                                                   System Technology.
3. JPL, CA....................        05/19/2009  GIPSY/RTG Software
                                                   Support for
                                                   Specialized Studies.
4. NASA HQ....................        09/23/2009  ARRA Implementation of
                                                   Venture-Class
                                                   Mission, HQ ID-1095.
5. LaRC, VA...................        11/20/2009  Develop Data
                                                   Acquisition System to
                                                   be added to Embedded
                                                   Avionics Research
                                                   Lab.
6. LaRC, VA...................        03/23/2010  Contrail Study
                                                   Document.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In addition, based on a review of the activities covered by other 
agencies' CatExs, NASA has determined that it would be conducting 
similar activities, under similar circumstances, and with similar 
environmental impacts. Examples of other agencies' CatExs include:
    1. Army, 32 CFR, Appendix B, Section II(b)(1-14) Administrative/
Operation Activities.
    2. Environmental Protection Agency, 40 CFR 6.204(a)(2)(I). 
Procedural, ministerial, administrative, financial, personnel, and 
management actions necessary to support the normal conduct of EPA 
business.
    3. Navy, 32 CFR 775.6(f)(1), (2), (4), (5), and (10) Routine final 
and administrative activities.
    Accordingly, based on its own experience and that of other 
agencies, NASA has concluded that its activities under this CatEx would 
not result in significant environmental impacts and are, therefore, 
eligible for categorical exclusion.
    Sec.  1216.304(d)(2): Operations and Management Activities 
including:
    (i) Routine maintenance, minor construction or rehabilitation, 
minor demolition, minor modification, minor repair, and continuing or 
altered operations at, or of, existing NASA or NASA-funded or -approved 
facilities and equipment such as buildings, roads, grounds, utilities, 
communication systems, and ground support systems, such as space 
tracking and data systems.
    (ii) Installation or removal of equipment, including component 
parts, at existing Government or private facilities.
    (iii) Contribution of equipment, software, technical advice, 
exchange of data, and consultation to other agencies and public and 
private entities, where such assistance does not control a receiving 
entity's program, project, or activity.
    (iv) NASA ceremonies, commemorative events, and memorial services.
    (v) Routine packaging, labeling, storage, and transportation of 
hazardous materials and wastes in accordance with applicable Federal, 
federally recognized Indian tribe, State, and/or local law or 
requirements.
    Under the heading ``Operations and Management Activities,'' NASA is 
proposing five CatExs. The first one is ``Routine maintenance, minor 
construction or rehabilitation, minor demolition, minor modification, 
minor repair, and continuing or altered operations at, or of, existing 
NASA or NASA-funded or -approved facilities and equipment such as 
buildings, roads, grounds, utilities, communication systems, and ground 
support systems, such as space tracking and data systems.'' This 
proposed CatEx consolidates two existing NASA CatExs. For years, NASA 
has relied on the existing CatExs for routine maintenance and repair 
activities at facilities it owns and operates. Based on NASA's 
experience with these types of actions, as documented in the following 
examples of NASA RECs and other environmental documentation which have 
been completed and monitored by NASA's environmental professional 
staff, these actions do not result in individually or cumulatively 
significant environmental impacts.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Center                    Date                 Title
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. MSFC, AL...................        09/04/2002  Replace Roofing System
                                                   (103).
2. MSFC, AL...................        09/04/2002  Replace Roofs (101,
                                                   102).
3. KSC, FL....................        07/17/2007  Close/Demolish
                                                   Facilities Structures
                                                   Project 97963.
4. SSC, MS....................        08/18/2008  Replace Potable Water
                                                   Well System.
5. JSC, TX....................        03/18/2009  Replace Hangar 280.
6. JSC, TX....................        03/18/2009  Repair JSC Barge Dock.
7. SSC, MS....................        02/23/2010  Child Day Care
                                                   Drainage System
                                                   Improvements.
8. SSC, MS....................         7/19/2010  Internal Modification
                                                   North Gate Reception
                                                   Center.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 43619]]

    In addition, based on a review of the activities covered by other 
agencies' CatExs, NASA has determined that it would be conducting 
similar activities, under similar circumstances, and with similar 
environmental impacts. Examples include:
    1. Army, 32 CFR part 651, Appendix B, Section II(g)(1)(2)(3). 
Routine repair and maintenance building equipment, roads, vehicles, and 
grounds.
    2. EPA, 40 CFR 6.204(a)(1)(i). Actions at EPA facilities involving 
routine facility maintenance, repair, grounds keeping; minor 
rehabilitation, restoration, renovation.
    3. Navy, 32 CFR 775.6(f)(8). Routine repair and maintenance of 
buildings, facilities, vessels, aircraft, and equipment.
    4. Department of Energy (DoE), 10 CFR part 1021, Subpart D, 
Appendix B, B1.3. Routine maintenance/custodial service for buildings, 
structures, infrastructure, and equipment. DoE has proposed new NEPA 
regulations; see Web site http://nepa.energy.gov/1601.htm. DOE's 
proposed regulations do not modify their relevance to NASA's proposed 
CatEx.
    Accordingly, based on its own experience and that of other 
agencies, NASA has concluded that its activities under this CatEx would 
not result in significant environmental impacts and are, therefore, 
eligible for categorical exclusion. The second CatEx proposed under 
``Operations and Management Activities'' is ``Installation or removal 
of equipment, including component parts, at existing government or 
private facilities.'' This is a new CatEx, which NASA is proposing to 
further clarify the existing ``minor construction'' CatEx with respect 
to equipment at NASA facilities. Cost and size of equipment can vary 
dramatically, but normally, equipment is installed within a new or 
existing building or facility, or outside on the walls, roof, or 
surrounding grounds. Examples of minor construction include, but are 
not limited to, replacement of boilers and chillers and installation of 
a nitrogen storage system outside on a small concrete pad in a grassy 
area adjacent to a building. As is always the case with CatExs, this 
CatEx would not apply when the proposed action is connected to another 
action that has the potential, by itself or in conjunction with the 
equipment action, to cause significant environmental impacts. Based on 
NASA's experience with these types of actions, as documented in the 
following NASA RECs and other environmental documentation which have 
been completed and monitored by NASA's environmental professional 
staff, these actions do not result in individually or cumulatively 
significant environmental impacts.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Center                    Date                 Title
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. MSFC, AL...................        09/04/2002  Replace Cell E Air
                                                   Handling Units 1 and
                                                   2.
2. MSFC, AL...................        09/04/2002  Replace Site Wide High
                                                   Voltage Oil Switches.
3. JPL, CA....................        02/09/2009  Multiangle
                                                   Spectropolarimetric
                                                   Aerosol
                                                   Characterization.
4. LaRC, VA...................        10/08/2009  Install Acoustic
                                                   Phased Array with
                                                   Test Section.
5. LaRC, VA...................        10/08/2009  Add Jet Engine
                                                   Simulator to Wind
                                                   Tunnel.
6. KSC, FL....................        11/03/2009  Starfighters Fuel Tank
                                                   Project 4244.
7. SSC, MS....................        03/19/2010  Removal of Emergency
                                                   Generator/Fuel
                                                   Aboveground Storage
                                                   Tank from Building
                                                   1100.
8. WSTF, NM...................        07/26/2010  Gantry Crane Removal
                                                   400 Area.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The third proposed CatEx under ``Operations and Management 
Activities'' is ``Contribution of equipment, software, technical 
advice, exchange of data, and consultation to other agencies and public 
and private entities, where such assistance does not control the 
receiving entity's program, project, or activity.'' This is a new 
CatEx. Examples of activities that would fall under this CatEx include 
technical advice on implementing a science education activity or on the 
design or operation of a space launch facility where the advice does 
not control the design and implementation. Based on NASA's experience 
with these types of actions, as documented in the following NASA REC 
supported by a CatEx, which has been completed and monitored by NASA's 
environmental professional staff, these actions do not result in 
individually or cumulatively significant environmental impacts.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Center                    Date                 Title
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. JPL, CA....................        04/09/2009  Global Differential
                                                   GPS Technology
                                                   Transfer Data
                                                   Exchange.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Based on a review of the activities covered by other agencies' 
CatExs, NASA has determined that it would be conducting similar 
activities, under similar circumstances, and with similar environmental 
impacts. Examples include:
    1. EPA, 40 CFR 6.204(a)(2)(vii). Actions involving providing the 
provision of providing technical advice to Federal agencies, State and 
local governments, federally recognized Indian tribes, foreign 
governments, or public and private entities.
    2. Department of Agriculture, 7 CFR 1 b.3(a)(6). Activities which 
are advisory and consultative to other agencies and public and private 
entities, such as legal counseling and representation.
    3. Federal Highway Administration, 23 CFR 771.117(c)(16). Program 
administration, technical assistance activities, and operating 
assistance to transit authorities to continue existing service or 
increase service to meet routine change in demand.
    4. DoE, 10 CFR part 1021, Subpart D, Appendix A, A11. Technical 
advice and planning assistance to international, national, State, and 
local organizations. DoE has proposed new NEPA regulations; see Web 
site http://nepa.energy.gov/1601.htm. DoE's proposed regulations do not 
modify their relevance to NASA's proposed CatEx.
    Accordingly, based on its own experience and that of other 
agencies, NASA has concluded that its activity under this CatEx would 
not result in significant environmental impacts and is, therefore, 
eligible for categorical exclusion.
    The fourth proposed CatEx under ``Operations and Management 
Activities'' is ``NASA ceremonies, commemorative events, and memorial 
services.'' NASA enjoys celebrating America's space history. NASA 
celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2008 with numerous events for 
employees

[[Page 43620]]

and the public at all of its Centers. Events generally ranged from 
formal, solemn services at Arlington National Cemetery to honor 
America's lost astronauts to events such as NASA's participation in the 
week-long Smithsonian Folk Festival on the National Mall in Washington, 
DC. This is a new CatEx. Based on NASA's experience with past 
ceremonies and commemorative events, which have been documented in the 
following four NASA RECs and other environmental documentation, which 
have been completed and monitored by NASA's environmental professional 
staff, these actions do not result in individually or cumulatively 
significant environmental impacts.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Center                    Date                 Title
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. KSC, FL....................        10/15/2001  Expedition 2 Crew Tree
                                                   Planting Ceremony.
2. KSC, FL....................        11/15/2002  Delta 4 Launch
                                                   Viewing.
3. KSC, FL....................        12/22/2008  2009 Center All-
                                                   American Picnic.
4. KSC, FL....................        03/03/2010  2010 Center All-
                                                   American Picnic.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In addition, based on a review of the activities covered by other 
agencies' CatExs, NASA has determined that it would be conducting 
similar activities, under similar circumstances, and with similar 
environmental impacts. Examples include:
    1. Army, 32 CFR part 651, Appendix B, Section II, (b)(11). 
Ceremonies, funerals, and concerts, including flyovers.
    2. Navy, 32 CFR 775.6(f)(6). Military ceremonies.
    3. Air Force, 32 CFR part 989, Appendix B, A 2.3.38. Conducting Air 
Force ``open houses'' and similar events, including air shows, golf 
tournaments, and horse shows.
    Accordingly, based on its own experience and that of other 
agencies, NASA has concluded that its activity under this CatEx would 
not result in significant environmental impacts and is, therefore, 
eligible for categorical exclusion.
    The final proposed CatEx under ``Operations and Management 
Activities'' is ``Routine packaging, labeling, storage, and 
transportation of hazardous materials and waste in accordance with 
applicable Federal, federally recognized Indian tribe, State, or local 
law or requirement.'' This is a new CatEx. NASA currently packages, 
labels, stores and transports hazardous material and waste in 
accordance with all applicable Federal, State, tribal, and local 
statutes and regulations. Based on this experience, NASA has determined 
that these actions do not result in a significant impact to the 
environment.
    Based on a review of the activities covered by other agencies' 
CatExs, NASA has determined that it would be conducting similar 
activities, under similar circumstances, and with similar environmental 
impacts. Examples include:
    1. Army, 32 CFR part 651, Appendix B, Section II (h)(4). Routine 
management, to include transportation, distribution, use, storage, 
treatment, and disposal of solid waste and/or hazardous waste.
    2. Navy, 32 CFR 775.6(f)(16). Routine movement, handling, and 
distribution of materials, including hazardous materials/wastes.
    3. Air Force, 32 CFR part 989, Appendix B, A 2.3.28. Routine 
transporting of hazardous materials and waste in accordance with 
applicable Federal, State, interstate, and local laws.
    4. DoE, 10 CFR part 1021, Subpart D, Appendix B, B 3.4. Transport 
packaging for radioactive/hazardous material. DoE has proposed new NEPA 
regulations, see Web site http://nepa.energy.gov/1601.htm. DoE's 
proposed regulations do not modify their relevance to NASA's proposed 
CatEx.
    Accordingly, based on its own experience and that of other 
agencies, NASA has concluded that its activity under this CatEx would 
not result in significant environmental impacts and is, therefore, 
eligible for categorical exclusion.
    Sec.  1216.304(d)(3): Research and Development (R&D) Activities 
including:
    (i) Research, development, and testing in compliance with all 
applicable Federal, federally recognized Indian tribe, State, and/or 
local law or requirements, and Executive orders.
    (ii) Use of small quantities of radioactive materials in a 
laboratory or in the field. Uses include material for instrument 
detectors, calibration, and other purposes. Materials must be licensed, 
as required, and properly contained and shielded.
    (iii) Use of lasers for research and development, scientific 
instruments and measurements, and distance and ranging, where such use 
meets all applicable Federal, federally recognized Indian tribe, State, 
and/or local law or requirements, and Executive orders. This applies to 
lasers used in spacecraft, aircraft, laboratories, watercraft, or 
outdoor activities.
    Under the heading ``Research and Development (R&D) Activities,'' 
NASA is proposing three CatExs. The first one is ``Research, 
development, and testing in compliance with all applicable Federal, 
federally recognized Indian tribe, State, and/or local law or 
requirements, and Executive orders.'' This proposed CatEx consolidates 
five existing R&D CatExs and ensures applicability to the broad range 
of NASA R&D activities that have minimal or no impact on the 
environment. Based on NASA's experience with these types of actions, as 
documented in the following NASA RECs and other environmental 
documentation which have been completed and monitored by NASA's 
environmental professional staff, these actions do not result in 
individually or cumulatively significant environmental impacts.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Center                    Date                 Title
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. MSFC, AL...................        09/04/2002  Pilot Scale Testing of
                                                   Remediation
                                                   Technologies.
2. JPL, CA....................        03/15/2006  Array Prototype:
                                                   Construct of Operate.
3. KSC, FL....................        07/07/2008  Post Landing Orion
                                                   Recovery Test.
4. LaRC, VA...................        10/06/2009  Develop Air Traffic
                                                   Management Concepts.
5. NASA HQ....................        12/23/2009  ARRA-Funded Activities
                                                   (HQ ID-1119).
6. GSFC, MD...................        04/20/2010  Operation Ice Bridge.
7. LaRC, VA...................        05/05/2010  Integrated
                                                   Intelligence Flight
                                                   Deck.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 43621]]

    In addition, NASA has reviewed activities covered by R&D CatExs 
used by other Federal agencies, and these other agency activities are 
similar to some of NASA's R&D activities and thus provide additional 
support for this proposed NASA CatEx. Examples include:
    1. Army, 32 CFR part 651, Appendix B, Section ii(h)(5). Research, 
testing, and operations conducted at existing closed facilities.
    2. EPA, 40 CFR 6.204(a)(2)(iv). Actions relating to or conducted 
completely within a permanent, existing contained facility such as a 
laboratory.
    3. Air Force, 32 CFR part 989, Appendix B, A 2.3.27. Normal or 
routine basic and applied scientific research.
    NASA recognizes that these other agency examples are generally 
bounded to existing facilities; however, the nature of NASA's R&D 
activities is such that it is not practical for NASA to bound its R&D 
CatExs to existing facilities or even existing ranges. Instead, NASA 
has proposed its new ``Extraordinary Circumstances'' to bound this R&D 
CatEx, as well as its other CatExs. NASA has performed numerous R&D 
activities outside existing facilities and ranges, located both on its 
Centers and off its Centers, with no significant environmental impacts. 
The broad variety and geographic diversity of NASA's environmentally 
benign research activities is illustrated by the seven examples of past 
NASA R&D activities listed in this preamble and by the additional 24 
examples included in the NASA NEPA Library on the previously mentioned 
NASA NEPA Web site at http://www.nasa.gov/green/nepa/index.html.
    Based on a review of NASA's own R&D experience and the activities 
covered by other agencies' R&D CatExs, NASA's has determined that its 
R&D activity under this CatEx, as bounded by the proposed Extraordinary 
Circumstances, would not result in significant environmental impacts 
and is, therefore, eligible for categorical exclusion.
    The second proposed CatEx under ``Research and Development (R&D) 
Activities'' is ``Use of small quantities of radioactive materials in a 
laboratory or in the field. Uses include material for instrument 
detectors, calibration, and other purposes. Materials must be licensed, 
as required, and properly contained and shielded.'' This is a new 
CatEx. Based on NASA's experience with these types of actions, as 
documented in the following NASA RECs and other environmental 
documentation which have been completed and monitored by NASA 
environmental professional staff, these actions do not result in 
individually or cumulatively significant environmental impacts.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Center                    Date                 Title
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. WFF, VA....................        05/18/2006  NASA African Monsoon
                                                   Multidisciplinary
                                                   Analysis.
2. WFF, VA....................        05/14/2007  Tropical Composition,
                                                   Cloud, Climate
                                                   Coupling (TC-4).
3. WFF, VA....................        03/28/2008  ARCTAS Mission.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The third proposed CatEx under ``Research and Development (R&D) 
Activities'' is ``Use of lasers for research and development, 
scientific instruments and measurements, and distance and ranging, 
which meet all applicable Federal, federally recognized Indian tribe, 
State, and/or local law or requirements, and Executive orders. This 
applies to lasers in spacecraft, aircraft, laboratories, watercraft, or 
outdoor activities.'' This is a new CatEx. Based on NASA's experience 
with these types of actions, as documented in the following NASA RECs 
and other environmental documentation, which have been completed and 
monitored by NASA environmental professional staff, these actions do 
not result in individually or cumulatively significant environmental 
impacts. Examples include:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Center                    Date                 Title
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. GSFC, MD...................        06/20/2002  ICE SAT (Laser
                                                   Research) EA.
2. GSFC, MD...................        11/19/2007  Push Broom Laser
                                                   Altimeter
                                                   Demonstration.
3. KSC, FL....................        02/12/2008  USCG Laser Test
                                                   Project.
4. LaRC, VA...................        10/05/2009  1064 nm Pump Laser
                                                   Transmitter.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Sec.  1216.304 (d)(4): Real and Personal Property Activities 
including:
    (i) Acquisition, transfer, or disposal of any personal property, or 
personal property rights or interests.
    (ii) Granting or acceptance of easements, leases, licenses, rights-
of-entry, and permits to use NASA-controlled property or any other real 
property for activities which, if conducted by NASA, would be 
categorically excluded in accordance with this section. This assumes 
NASA has included any terms and conditions necessary and any required 
notices in the transfer documentation, as applicable, to ensure 
protection of the environment.
    (iii) Transfer or disposal of real property or real property rights 
or interests if the change in use is one which, if conducted by NASA, 
would be categorically excluded in accordance with this section.
    (iv) Transfer of real property administrative control to another 
Federal agency, including the return of public domain lands to the 
Department of the Interior (DoI) or other Federal agencies, and 
reporting of property as excess and surplus to the General Services 
Administration (GSA) for disposal, when the agency receiving 
administrative control (or GSA, following receipt of a report of 
excess) will complete any necessary NEPA review prior to any change in 
land use.
    (v) Acquisition of real property (including facilities) where the 
land use will not change substantially.
    Under the heading ``Real and Personal Property Activities,'' NASA 
is proposing five CatExs. The first is ``Acquisition, transfer, or 
disposal of any personal property, or personal property rights or 
interests.'' This is a new CatEx. Changes in ownership of personal 
property (such as furnishings, vehicles, office, laboratory, or field 
supplies and equipment), or interests in personal property do not 
normally have the potential to significantly affect the environment. 
Based on past experience with similar actions, NASA has determined that 
its activity under this proposed CatEx would not result in

[[Page 43622]]

significant environmental impact and is, therefore, eligible for 
categorical exclusion. Based on a review of the activities covered by a 
similar DoE CatEx (10 CFR part 1021, Subpart D, Appendix A, A7 
``Transfer of property, use unchanged''), NASA has further determined 
that it would be conducting similar activities, under similar 
circumstances, and with similar environmental impacts. Accordingly, 
based on its own experience and that of DoE, NASA has concluded that 
its activity under this CatEx would not result in significant 
environmental impacts and is, therefore, eligible for categorical 
exclusion.
    The second proposed CatEx under ``Real and Personal Property 
Activities'' is ``Granting or acceptance of easements, leases, 
licenses, rights-of-entry, and permits to use NASA-controlled property 
or any other real property for activities which, if conducted by NASA, 
would be categorically excluded in accordance with this section. This 
assumes that NASA has included any terms and conditions necessary to 
ensure protection of the environment and any required notices in the 
transfer documentation, as applicable.'' This is a new CatEx. Based on 
NASA's experience with these types of actions, as documented in the 
following NASA RECs and other environmental documentation, which has 
been completed and monitored by NASA's environmental professional 
staff, these actions do not result in individually or cumulatively 
significant environmental impacts.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Center                    Date                 Title
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. DFRC, CA...................        11/20/2002  Dryden Aircraft
                                                   Operations Facility
                                                   Lease.
2. DFRC, CA...................        02/23/2007  Installation of Flight
                                                   Termination System.
3. KSC, FL....................        10/20/2008  AT&T Press Site
                                                   Enhanced Use Lease.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In addition, based on a review of the activities covered by other 
agencies' CatExs, NASA has determined that it would be conducting 
similar activities, under similar circumstances, and with similar 
environmental impacts. Examples include:
    1. Army, 32 CFR part 651, Appendix B, Section II (f)(1). Grants or 
acquisition of leases, licenses, easements, and permits for use of real 
property or facilities.
    2. Navy, 32 CFR 775.6(f)(33). Grants of license, easement, or 
similar arrangements for the use of existing right-of-way. Air Force, 
32 CFR part 989, Appendix B, A 2.3.19. Granting easements, leases, 
licenses, rights of entry, and permits to use Air Force-controlled 
property for activities that, if conducted by the Air Force, would be 
categorically excluded.
    Accordingly, based on its own experience and that of other 
agencies, NASA has concluded that its activity under this CatEx would 
not result in significant environmental impacts and is, therefore, 
eligible for categorical exclusion.
    The third proposed CatEx under ``Real and Personal Property 
Activities'' is ``Transfer or disposal of real property or real 
property rights or interests if the change in use is one which, if 
conducted by NASA, would be categorically excluded in accordance with 
this section.'' This is a new CatEx. Although NASA does not have 
project-specific NEPA documentation to include as support for this 
CatEx, NASA has conducted these types of activities without any 
significant environmental impact. For example, Goddard Space Flight 
Center transferred property to a county as part of a road project which 
was analyzed in the Goddard Master Plan EA and Finding of No 
Significant Impact (FONSI).
    In addition, based on a review of the activities covered by other 
agencies' CatExs, NASA has determined that it would be conducting 
similar activities, under similar circumstances, and with similar 
environmental impacts. Examples include:
    1. Army, 32 CFR part 651, Appendix B, Section II (f)(6). Disposal 
of real property (including facilities) by the Army where the 
reasonably foreseeable use will not change significantly.
    2. Navy, 32 CFR 775.6(f)(26)(28). Transfer of real property from 
the Department of the Navy to another military department or to another 
Federal agency. Minor land acquisition or disposal.
    3. DOE, 10 CFR part 1021, Subpart D, Appendix A, A7. Transfer, 
lease, disposition, or acquisition of interests in personal property or 
real property, if property use is to remain unchanged. DOE has proposed 
new NEPA regulations, see Web site http://nepa.energy.gov/1601.htm. 
Language similar to that found in DOE's current regulation has been 
moved to Appendix B 1.24. This modification does not change its 
relevance to NASA's proposed CatEx.
    Accordingly, based on its own experience and that of other 
agencies, NASA has concluded that its activity under this CatEx would 
not result in significant environmental impacts and is, therefore, 
eligible for categorical exclusion.
    The fourth proposed CatEx under ``Real and Personal Property 
Activities'' is ``Transfer of real property administrative control to 
another Federal agency, including the return of public domain lands to 
the Department of the Interior (DoI) or other Federal agencies, and 
reporting of property as excess and surplus to the General Services 
Administration (GSA) for disposal, when the agency receiving 
administrative control (or GSA, following receipt of a report of 
excess) will complete any necessary NEPA review prior to any change in 
land use.'' This is a new CatEx. Within the Federal real property 
inventory, NASA is a small land management agency. At numerous NASA 
Centers, NASA is collocated within or adjacent to, or is a tenant on, a 
DoD base with no land-expansion capacity. Excess land is typically 
transferred back to the landowner. Any such land no longer needed by 
NASA would likely be transferred to DoD. In the rare case that NASA has 
land to be excessed, as the Federal agent, NASA is required to declare 
the property excess to GSA. In such situations, NASA's action with 
regard to the United States' real property interest is merely an 
administrative action, and GSA and/or any receiving agency would 
conduct a NEPA review for any potential change in use. NASA has one 
example of a declaration of excess property that was reviewed by NASA 
and was determined not to require further NEPA action. The following 
example of NASA's activity supports this new CatEx because the activity 
did not have any environmental impacts.

[[Page 43623]]



------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Center                    Date                 Title
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. MSFC, AL...................        11/14/2007  Reporting to GSA
                                                   Excess Property on
                                                   Santa Susana Field
                                                   Laboratory.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In addition, based on a review of the activities covered by other 
agencies' CatExs, NASA has determined that it would be conducting 
similar activities, under similar circumstances, and with similar 
environmental impacts. Examples include:
    1. Army, 32 CFR part 651, Appendix B, Section II (f)(3). Transfer 
of real property to another military department or to another Federal 
agency and reporting that property as excess to the GSA.
    2. Navy, 32 CFR 775.6(f)(26). Transfer of real property from the 
Department of the Navy to another military department or to another 
Federal agency.
    3. Air Force, 32 CFR part 989, Appendix B, A 2.3.18. Transfer of 
administrative control of real property within the Air Force to another 
military department or to another Federal agency.
    4. DoE, 10 CFR part 1021, Subpart D, Appendix A, A7. Transfer, 
lease, disposition, or acquisition of interests in personal property or 
real property, if property use is to remain unchanged. DoE has proposed 
new NEPA regulations, see Web site http://nepa.energy.gov/1601.html. 
Language similar to that found in DoE's current regulation has been 
moved to Appendix B 1.24. This modification does not change its 
relevance to NASA's proposed CatEx.
    Accordingly, based on its own experience and that of other 
agencies, NASA has concluded that its activity under this CatEx would 
not result in significant environmental impacts and is, therefore, 
eligible for categorical exclusion.
    The fifth proposed CatEx under ``Real and Personal Property 
Activities'' is ``Acquisition of real property (including facilities) 
where the land use will not change substantially.'' This is a new 
CatEx. Although NASA does not have specific NEPA documentation to 
include as support for this CatEx, NASA has reviewed activities covered 
by CatExs used by other Federal agencies for similar actions. Based on 
a review of the activities covered by other agencies' CatExs, NASA has 
determined that it would be conducting similar activities, under 
similar circumstances, and with similar environmental impacts. 
Accordingly, NASA has concluded that its activity under this CatEx 
would not result in significant environmental impacts and is, 
therefore, eligible for categorical exclusion. Examples of other 
agencies' CatExs include:
    1. Army, 32 CFR part 651, Appendix B, Section II (f)(5). 
Acquisition of real property where the land use will not change 
substantially.
    2. Navy, 32 CFR 775.6(f)(28). Minor land acquisition or disposal 
where anticipated or proposed land use is similar to existing land use 
and zoning, both in type and intensity.
    3. DOE, 10 CFR part 1021, Subpart D, Appendix A, A7. Transfer, 
lease, disposition, or acquisition of interests in personal property or 
real property, if property use is to remain unchanged. DOE has proposed 
new NEPA regulations, see Web site http://nepa.energy.gov/1601.html. 
Language similar to that found in DOE's current regulation has been 
moved to Appendix B 1.24. This modification does not change its 
relevance to NASA's proposed CatEx.
    Sec.  1216.304(d)(5): Aircraft and Airfield Activities including:
    (i) Periodic aircraft flight activities, including training and 
research and development, which are routine and comply with applicable 
Federal, federally recognized Indian tribe, State, and/or local law or 
requirements, and Executive orders.
    (ii) Relocation of similar aircraft not resulting in a substantial 
increase in total flying hours, number of aircraft operations, 
operational parameters (e.g., noise), or permanent personnel or 
logistics support requirements at the receiving installation.
    Under the heading ``Aircraft and Airfield Activities,'' NASA is 
proposing two CatExs. The first proposed CatEx is ``Periodic aircraft 
flight activities, including training and research and development, 
which are routine and comply with applicable Federal, federally 
recognized Indian tribe, State and/or local laws or requirements and 
Executive orders.'' This is a new CatEx. Based on NASA's experience 
with these types of actions, as documented in the following NASA RECs 
and other environmental documentation, which have been completed and 
monitored by NASA's environmental staff, these actions do not result in 
individually or cumulatively significant environmental impacts.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Center                    Date                 Title
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. MSFC, AL...................        10/31/2007  Compliance for Lunar
                                                   Reconnaissance
                                                   Orbiter.
2. DFRC, CA...................        11/20/2007  Dryden Aircraft
                                                   Operations Facility.
3. SSC, MS....................        07/03/2010  Subscale Diffuser
                                                   Test.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In addition, based on a review of the activities covered by the 
Army's CatEx (32 CFR part 651, Appendix B, Section II (i)(2) ``Flying 
activities in compliance with FAA regulations and in accordance with 
normal flight patterns.''), NASA has determined that it would be 
conducting similar activities, under similar circumstances, and with 
similar environmental impacts. Accordingly, based on its own experience 
and that of the Army, NASA has concluded that its activity under this 
CatEx would not result in significant environmental impacts and is, 
therefore, eligible for categorical exclusion.
    The second proposed CatEx under this heading is ``Relocation of 
similar aircraft not resulting in a substantial increase in total 
flying hours, number of aircraft operations, operational parameters 
(e.g., noise), or permanent personnel or logistics support requirements 
at the receiving installation.'' This is a new CatEx. Based on NASA's 
experience with these types of actions, as documented in the following 
NASA RECs and other environmental documentation, which have been 
completed and monitored by NASA's environmental staff, these actions do 
not result in individually or cumulatively significant environmental 
impacts.

[[Page 43624]]



------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Center                    Date                 Title
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. DFRC, CA...................        11/20/2007  Dryden Aircraft
                                                   Operations Facility.
2. DFRC, CA...................        07/21/2009  U.S. Army Twin Otter
                                                   Aircraft Operating
                                                   out of Dryden.
3. KSC, FL....................        11/10/2009  Relocate Helicopter
                                                   Operation.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In addition, based on a review of the activities covered by the Air 
Force's CatEx (32 CFR part 989, Appendix B, A 2.3.31 ``Relocating a 
small number of aircraft to an installation with similar aircraft that 
does not result in a significant increase of total flying hours or 
aircraft operations.''), NASA has determined that it would be 
conducting similar activities, under similar circumstances, and with 
similar environmental impacts. Accordingly, based on its own experience 
and that of the Air Force, NASA has concluded that its activity under 
this CatEx would not result in significant environmental impacts and 
is, therefore, eligible for categorical exclusion.

Extraordinary Circumstances

    NASA is proposing ``extraordinary circumstances'' to mean ``those 
circumstances * * * that may cause a significant environmental effect 
such that an action that otherwise meets the requirements of a 
categorical exclusion may not be categorically excluded.'' This meaning 
is consistent with CEQ regulations at Sec.  1508.4.
    NASA has identified the following extraordinary circumstances which 
must be considered as part of the environmental review process. NASA 
will prepare an EA or an EIS when a proposed action involves 
unmitigated extraordinary circumstances. All seven of the extraordinary 
circumstances are new to NASA's NEPA regulations. They identify 
criteria which normally require either an EA or an EIS. Extraordinary 
circumstances precluding the use of CatExs occur when the proposed 
action:
    1. Has a reasonable likelihood of having individually or 
cumulatively significant effects on public health, safety, or the 
environment.
    2. Imposes uncertain or unique environmental risks.
    3. Is of significantly greater scope or size than is normal for 
this category of action.
    4. Has a reasonable likelihood of violating Federal, federally 
recognized Indian tribe, State, or local law or requirements imposed 
for the protection of the environment.
    5. Involves effects on the quality of the environment that are 
likely to be environmentally controversial.
    6. May adversely affect environmentally sensitive resources, such 
as, but not limited to, federally listed threatened species, their 
designated critical habitat, wilderness areas, floodplains, wetlands, 
aquifer recharge areas, coastal zones, wild and scenic rivers, and 
significant fish or wildlife habitat, unless the impact has been 
resolved through another environmental review process; e.g., the Clean 
Water Act (CWA), the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA).
    7. May adversely affect known national natural landmarks or 
cultural or historic resources, including, but not limited to, property 
listed on or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, 
unless the impact has been resolved through another environmental 
review process; e.g., the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA).
    NASA believes there is a relationship between the extraordinary 
circumstances and the criteria for actions that generally require EAs 
or EISs. The intent is to standardize the essential concepts and 
combine the criteria into a consolidated set of extraordinary 
circumstances applicable to all NASA actions subject to NEPA. The 
extraordinary circumstances are not intended to be a listing of 
requirements for preparing EAs or EISs. Rather, they are to be used to 
determine whether a categorical exclusion applies to a proposed action. 
What constitutes a ``unique'' environmental risk in the second 
extraordinary circumstance can apply to a wide range of situations. For 
example, it could be a small construction project that would normally 
be categorically excluded, but a threatened bird species has been known 
to nest in the general area. In such a situation, the Center may decide 
that preparation of an EA is warranted. Similarly, what could be 
``environmentally controversial'' under paragraph 5 of the 
extraordinary circumstances can also apply to a wide range of actions. 
An example could be that a proposed action involves science, which is 
not conclusive as to its impacts or effects, and, as a result, is 
considered environmentally controversial by the public. If initial 
evaluation concludes that a categorical exclusion cannot be applied due 
to an extraordinary circumstance, the NASA Responsible Official may 
prepare an EA to determine whether a FONSI or an EIS is the appropriate 
NEPA document for the project, or the Responsible Official may proceed 
directly with preparing an EIS.

Actions Normally Requiring an EIS

    NASA has identified five categories of Agency actions that 
typically require an EIS. These actions, under the existing regulation, 
are found at Sec.  1216.305 (c)(1)(2) and (3) which is currently 
titled, Criteria for Actions Requiring Environmental Assessments. The 
proposed rule provides a stand-alone section, Sec.  1216.308, titled, 
Actions Normally Requiring an EIS. The five types of typical NASA 
actions that normally require an EIS include two actions from the 
current regulation, which have been modified to update and provide 
clarity, and three new types of actions. These five actions are:
    1. Development and operation of new launch vehicles or space 
transportation systems.
    2. Development and operation of a space flight project/program 
which would launch and operate a nuclear reactor or radioisotope power 
systems and devices using a total quantity of radioactive material 
greater than the quantity for which the NASA Nuclear Flight Safety 
Assurance Manager may grant nuclear safety launch approval (i.e., a 
total quantity of radioactive material for which the A2 Mission 
Multiple (see definitions in Appendix A) is greater than 10)).
    3. Development and operation of a space flight project/program 
which would return samples to Earth from solar system bodies (such as 
asteroids, comets, planets, dwarf planets, planetary moons, etc.), 
which would likely receive a Restricted Earth Return categorization (as 
defined in Appendix A) from the NASA Planetary Protection Office or the 
NASA Planetary Protection Subcommittee.
    4. Substantial modification of a NASA facility's master plan in a 
manner expected to result in significant effect(s) on the quality of 
the human environment.
    5. Substantial construction projects expected to result in 
significant effect(s) on the quality of the human environment, when 
such construction and its effects are not within the scope of an 
existing master plan and EIS.

Other Modifications and Additions

    NASA is amending its procedures for implementing the requirements 
of

[[Page 43625]]

NEPA, 42 U.S.C. 4321-4347. These proposed regulations, like NASA's 
existing NEPA regulations, are a supplement to the CEQ regulations 
implementing NEPA. Consistent with this fact, these proposed 
regulations were drafted with the objective of minimizing repetition of 
requirements already contained in the CEQ regulations and with the 
understanding that these NASA-specific regulations would be applied 
with (and be bounded by) the CEQ regulations.
    The proposed rule includes a number of additional modifications, 
deletions, and additions that consolidate, streamline, and clarify 
NASA's procedures for the implementation of NEPA. These include the 
following:
    1. Section 1216.300, Scope, adds the express adoption by NASA of 
the CEQ regulations implementing NEPA.
    2. The definition of key terms has been moved to Appendix A of 14 
CFR 1216.3.
    3. Section 1216.303, NEPA Process in NASA Planning and Decision-
Making, has been updated and streamlined.
    4. Section 1216.304, Categorical Exclusions, NASA has added the 
requirement that CatExs be reviewed every seven years, as specified in 
the CEQ's November 2010 guidance on categorical exclusion under NEPA.
    5. Section 1216.305, Criteria for Actions Requiring Environmental 
Assessments, has been expanded from the previous rule and is now 
specifically for EAs only. It identifies five specific actions that 
normally require an EA.
    6. Section 1216.308, Supplemental EAs and EISs have been added to 
recognize the potential requirement for supplemental NEPA documentation 
in accordance with CEQ regulations.
    7. Section 1216.310, Classified Actions, has been modified to 
reflect current NASA policy.
    8. Section 1216.311, Emergency Responses, is a new section which 
recognizes appropriate NEPA response in an emergency situation.

Procedural Requirements

    NASA's proposed rule complies with and addresses the following 
procedural requirements and policies as described in more detail below:

The Regulatory Flexibility Act (January 1981)

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 United States Code (U.S.C.) 601 
et seq., requires that a regulation that has a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities, small businesses, or 
small organizations must include an initial regulatory flexibility 
analysis describing the regulation's impact on small entities.
    NASA has considered the impact of the proposed rule under the 
Regulatory Flexibility Act and certifies that the proposed rule will 
not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities.

The Paperwork Reduction Act (December 1980)

    This proposed rule does not require information collection as 
defined under the Paperwork Reduction Act. Therefore, this rule does 
not constitute a new information collection system requiring Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act 
(44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

Executive Order 13132, Federalism (August 1999)

    This proposed rule does not have significant Federalism effects or 
implications; therefore, a Federalism assessment under Executive Order 
13132 is not required. The policies and procedures will not have 
substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between 
the Federal Government and the States, or on the distribution of power 
and responsibilities among the various levels of Government. No 
intrusion on State policy or administration is expected if roles or 
responsibilities of Federal or State governments will not change and 
fiscal capacity will not be substantially affected.

The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (March 1995)

    This proposed rule will not significantly or uniquely affect small 
governments. Therefore, a Small Government Agency Plan is not required 
under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501, et seq.). The 
rule does not require any additional management responsibilities. 
Further, this rule will not produce a Federal mandate of $100 million 
or greater in any year; and thus, it is not a significant regulatory 
action under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act. This proposed rule is 
not expected to have significant economic impacts nor will it impose 
any unfunded mandates on other Federal, State, or local government 
agencies to carry out specific activities.

Executive Order 12875, Enhancing the Intergovernmental Partnership 
(October 1993)

    This proposed rule does not impose non-statutory unfunded mandates 
on small governments and is not subject to the requirements of 
Executive Order 12875.

Executive Order 12898, Federal Actions To Address Environmental Justice 
in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations (February 1994)

    Executive Order 12898 establishes Federal executive policy on 
environmental justice. Its main provision directs Federal agencies, to 
the greatest extent practicable and permitted by law, to make 
environmental justice part of their mission by identifying and 
addressing, as appropriate, disproportionately high and adverse human 
health or environmental effects of their programs, policies, and 
activities on minority populations and/or low-income populations. In 
developing this proposed rule in compliance with Executive Order 12898, 
NASA determined that the proposed rule did not raise any environmental 
justice concerns.

Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal 
Governments (November 2000)

    Executive Order 13175 requires NASA to develop an accountable 
process to ensure ``meaningful and timely input by tribal officials in 
the development of regulatory policies that have tribal implications.'' 
This proposed rule does not have Indian tribal implications, as 
specified in Executive Order 13175.
    NASA's proposed rule imposes no new regulatory obligations on 
tribes. It will not have substantial direct effects on tribes, on the 
relationship between the national Government and tribes, or on the 
distribution of power and responsibilities between the national 
Government and tribes. These proposed regulations do not preempt tribal 
law. Thus, Executive Order 13175 does not apply to this proposed rule.

Essential Fish Habitat (December 2006)

    NASA has analyzed this proposed rule in accordance with Section 305 
(b) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (18 
U.S.C. 1855) and determined that the proposed rule will not affect the 
essential fish habitat of federally managed species; and, therefore, an 
essential fish habitat consultation on this rule is not required.

Executive Order 13045, Protection of Children From Environmental Health 
Risks and Safety Risks (April 1997)

    Executive Order 13045 applies to any rule that is determined to be 
``economically significant,'' as defined

[[Page 43626]]

under Executive Order 12866, and concerns an environmental health or 
safety risk that may have a disproportionate effect on children. This 
proposed rule is not subject to Executive Order 13045 because it does 
not establish an environmental standard to mitigate health; it does not 
create a safety risk; and it is not ``economically significant.''

Executive Order 13211, Actions Concerning Regulations That 
Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use (May 2001)

    This proposed rule is not a ``significant energy action'' as 
defined in Executive Order 13211 because it is not likely to have a 
significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of 
energy. The proposed rule does not impose new regulatory obligations 
related to energy supply, distribution, or use of energy on NASA, State 
or local governments, tribes, or individuals. Therefore, NASA has 
concluded that this proposed rule is not likely to have any adverse 
energy effects.

Executive Order 13212, Actions To Expedite Energy-Related Projects (May 
2001)

    Executive Order 13212 requires agencies to expedite energy-related 
projects by streamlining internal processes while maintaining safety, 
public health, and environmental protections. The proposed rule is in 
conformance with this requirement as it promotes the streamlining of 
the existing NEPA process within NASA.

Executive Order 12630, Government Action and Interference With 
Constitutionally Protected Property Rights (March 1988)

    This proposed rule is issued with respect to NEPA and, therefore, 
establishes NASA's responsibilities for early integration of 
environmental consideration into planning and decision making. This 
proposed rule is not expected to impact the provisions of Executive 
Order 12630.

Executive Order 13423, Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and 
Transportation Management (January 2007)

    Executive Order 13423 requires agencies to implement environmental 
management systems and improve energy efficiency. NASA is developing 
environmental management systems and energy efficiency programs in 
compliance with this Executive order. The proposed rule furthers these 
objectives and goals by ensuring that NEPA compliance is done in 
accordance with the policy set forth in the Executive order.

Executive Order 13514, Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and 
Economic Performance (October 2009)

    Executive Order 13514 requires agencies to prepare and annually 
update an integrated Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan, which 
will prioritize Agency actions based on life-cycle return on 
investment. In addition, it requires agencies to establish greenhouse 
gas emission reduction targets and report annually on their progress in 
achieving these goals. The Executive order also requires agencies to 
improve water use efficiency and management and promote pollution 
prevention and elimination of waste. Sustainable building design, 
construction, operation, and management are also required for future 
Federal buildings. The proposed rule furthers the objectives and goals 
by ensuring that NEPA compliance is done in accordance with the policy 
set forth in the Executive order.

Executive Order 13563 and Executive Order 12866

    Executive Orders 13563 and 12866 direct agencies to assess all 
costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if 
regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize 
net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public 
health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). Executive 
Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and 
benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting 
flexibility. This rule has been designated as a ``significant 
regulatory action,'' although not economically significant, under 
section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866. Accordingly, the rule has been 
reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget.
    For the reasons given in the preamble, NASA proposes to amend 14 
CFR part 1216 by revising subpart 1216.3 to read as follows:

PART 1216--ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY

Subpart 1216.3--Procedures for Implementing the National Environmental 
Policy Act (NEPA)
Sec.
1216.302 Responsibilities.
1216.303 NEPA process in NASA planning and decision making.
1216.304 Categorical exclusions.
1216.305 Actions requiring environmental assessments.
1216.306 Actions normally requiring an EIS.
1216.307 Programmatic EAs, and EISs, and tiering.
1216.308 Supplemental EAs and EISs.
1216.309 Mitigation and monitoring.
1216.310 Classified actions.
1216.311 Emergency responses.

Subpart 1216.3--Procedures for Implementing the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

    Authority: The National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, as 
amended (42 U.S.C. 2451 et seq.); The National Environmental Policy Act 
of 1969, as amended (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.); the Council on 
Environmental Quality (CEQ) Regulations for Implementing the Procedural 
Provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act (40 CFR parts 1500-
1508).


Sec.  1216.300  Scope.

    This subpart implements NEPA, setting forth NASA's policies and 
procedures for the early integration of environmental considerations 
into planning and decision making. Through this subpart, NASA adopts 
the CEQ regulations implementing NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500-1508) and 
supplements those regulations with this subpart 1216.3, for actions 
proposed by NASA that are subject to NEPA requirements. This regulation 
is to be used in conjunction with the CEQ regulations. Consistent with 
the CEQ regulations at 40 CFR 1500.3, no trivial violation of this part 
shall give rise to any independent cause of action.


Sec.  1216.301  Applicability.

    This subpart applies to all organizational elements of NASA.


Sec.  1216.302  Responsibilities.

    (a) The NASA Senior Environmental Official (SEO) (as defined in 
Appendix A to this subpart) is responsible for overseeing and guiding 
NASA's integration of NEPA into the Agency's planning and decision 
making. The SEO, with the assistance of the Office of the General 
Counsel (OGC), is responsible for developing NASA NEPA regulations and 
maintaining up-to-date Agency-wide NEPA guidance that fully integrates 
NEPA analysis into Agency planning and decision-making processes. The 
SEO shall monitor this process to ensure that these regulations and the 
associated Agency guidance are achieving their purposes. In addition, 
the NASA SEO is responsible for coordinating with other Federal 
agencies and the CEQ and consolidating and transmitting NASA's comments 
on

[[Page 43627]]

EISs and other NEPA documentation prepared by other Federal agencies:
    (1) The NASA Headquarters/Environmental Management Division (HQ/
EMD) has delegated the SEO's overall responsibility of implementing 
NEPA functions and guiding NASA's integration of NEPA into the Agency's 
planning and decision making for all NASA activities. The HQ/EMD 
provides advice and consultation to all NASA entities in implementing 
their assigned responsibilities under NEPA.
    (2) Each NASA Center has an environmental management office that 
guides and supports the working-level functions of the NEPA process, 
such as evaluating proposed actions; developing, reviewing, and 
approving required documentation; and advising project managers.
    (b) The Responsible Official shall ensure that planning and 
decision making for each proposed Agency action complies with these 
regulations and with Agency NEPA policy and guidance provided by the 
SEO, HQ/EMD, and the Center's environmental management office. For 
facility programs and projects, the Responsible Official is the 
individual responsible for establishing, developing, and maintaining 
the institutional capabilities required for the execution of programs 
and projects (e.g., Center Director, facility manager). For other 
programs and projects, (e.g., space flight programs/projects, R&D 
programs/projects) the Responsible Official is the NASA official 
responsible for the formulation and implementation of the program or 
project (e.g., The Associate Administrator for Science Mission 
Directorate, Center Director).
    (c) NASA must comply with this regulation when considering issuance 
of a permit, lease, easement, or grant to a non-Federal party and may 
seek such non-Federal party's assistance in obtaining necessary 
information and completing the NEPA process. The Responsible 
Official(s) for such action(s), in consultation with HQ/EMD and/or the 
Center's environmental management office, will determine the type of 
environmental information needed from the non-Federal party and the 
extent of the non-Federal party's participation in the necessary NEPA 
process.


Sec.  1216.303  NEPA process in NASA planning and decision making.

    (a) NEPA requires the systematic examination of the environmental 
consequences of implementing a proposed Agency action. Full integration 
of the NEPA process with NASA project and program planning improves 
Agency decisions and ensures that:
    (1) Planning and decision making support NASA's strategic plan 
commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship and comply 
with applicable environmental statutes, regulations, and policies.
    (2) The public is appropriately engaged in the decision-making 
process.
    (3) Procedural risks and delays are minimized.
    (b) Determining the appropriate level of NEPA review and 
documentation for a proposed NASA action will depend upon the scope of 
the action and the context and intensity of the reasonably foreseeable 
environmental impacts.
    (c) The environmental impacts of a proposed Agency action must be 
considered, along with technical, economic, and other factors that are 
reasonably foreseeable, beginning in the early planning stage of a 
proposed action. NASA will take no action which would have an adverse 
environmental impact or limit the choice of reasonable alternatives 
prior to completion of its NEPA review.


Sec.  1216.304  Categorical exclusions.

    (a) Categorical Exclusions (CatExs) are categories of Agency 
actions with no individually or cumulatively significant impact on the 
human environment and for which neither an EA nor an EIS is required. 
The use of a CatEx is intended to reduce paperwork, improve Government 
efficiency, and eliminate delays in the initiation and completion of 
proposed actions having no significant impact.
    (b) A proposed action may be categorically excluded if the action 
fits within a category of actions eligible for exclusion (such 
categories are listed in paragraph (d) of this section), and the 
proposed action does not involve any extraordinary circumstances as 
described in paragraph (c) of this section.
    (c) Extraordinary circumstances that may preclude the use of CatExs 
occur when the proposed action:
    (1) Has a reasonable likelihood of having (individually or 
cumulatively) significant impacts on public health, safety, or the 
environment;
    (2) Imposes uncertain or unique environmental risks;
    (3) Is of significantly greater scope or size than is normal for 
this category of action;
    (4) Has a reasonable likelihood of violating Federal, federally 
recognized Indian tribe, State, and/or local law or requirements 
imposed for the protection of the environment;
    (5) Involves impacts on the quality of the environment that are 
likely to be environmentally controversial;
    (6) May adversely affect environmentally sensitive resources, such 
as, but not limited to, federally listed threatened or endangered 
species, their designated critical habitat, wilderness areas, 
floodplains, wetlands, aquifer recharge areas, coastal zones, wild and 
scenic rivers, and significant fish or wildlife habitat, unless the 
impact has been resolved through another environmental review process; 
e.g., the Clean Water Act (CWA), the Coastal Zone Management Act 
(CZMA); and
    (7) May adversely affect known national natural landmarks, or 
cultural or historic resources, including, but not limited to, property 
listed on or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, 
unless the impact has been resolved through another environmental 
review process; e.g., the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA).
    (d) Specific NASA actions meeting the criteria for being 
categorically excluded from the requirements for EAs and EISs are as 
follows:
    (1) Administrative Activities including:
    (i) Personnel actions, organizational changes, and procurement of 
routine goods and services.
    (ii) Issuance of procedural rules, manuals, directives, and 
requirements.
    (iii) Program budget proposals, disbursements, and transfer or 
reprogramming of funds.
    (iv) Preparation of documents, including design and feasibility 
studies, analytical supply and demand studies, reports and 
recommendations, master and strategic plans, and other advisory 
documents.
    (v) Information-gathering exercises, such as inventories, audits, 
studies, and field studies, including water sampling, cultural 
resources surveys, biological surveys, geologic surveys, modeling or 
simulations, and routine data collection and analysis activities.
    (vi) Preparation and dissemination of information, including 
document mailings, publications, classroom materials, conferences, 
speaking engagements, Web sites, and other educational/informational 
activities.
    (vii) Software development, data analysis, and/or testing, 
including computer modeling.
    (viii) Interpretations, amendments, and modifications to contracts, 
grants, or other awards.
    (2) Operations and Management Activities including:
    (i) Routine maintenance, minor construction or rehabilitation, 
minor

[[Page 43628]]

demolition, minor modification, minor repair, and continuing or altered 
operations at, or of, existing NASA or NASA-funded or -approved 
facilities and equipment, such as buildings, roads, grounds, utilities, 
communication systems, and ground support systems, such as space 
tracking and data systems.
    (ii) Installation or removal of equipment, including component 
parts, at existing Government or private facilities.
    (iii) Contribution of equipment, software, technical advice, 
exchange of data, and consultation to other agencies and public and 
private entities, where such assistance does not control a receiving 
entity's program, project, or activity.
    (iv) NASA ceremonies, commemorative events, and memorial services.
    (v) Routine packaging, labeling, storage, and transportation of 
hazardous materials and wastes, in accordance with applicable Federal, 
federally recognized Indian tribe, State, and/or local law or 
requirements.
    (3) Research and Development (R&D) Activities including:
    (i) Research, development, and testing in compliance with all 
applicable Federal, federally recognized Indian tribe, State, and/or 
local law or requirements and Executive orders.
    (ii) Use of small quantities of radioactive materials in a 
laboratory or in the field. Uses include material for instrument 
detectors, calibration, and other purposes. Materials must be licensed, 
as required, and properly contained and shielded.
    (iii) Use of lasers for research and development, scientific 
instruments and measurements, and distance and ranging, where such use 
meets all applicable Federal, federally recognized Indian tribe, State, 
and/or local law or requirements, and Executive orders. This applies to 
lasers used in spacecraft, aircraft, laboratories, watercraft, or 
outdoor activities.
    (4) Real and Personal Property Activities including:
    (i) Acquisition, transfer, or disposal of any personal property, or 
personal property rights or interests.
    (ii) Granting or acceptance of easements, leases, licenses, rights-
of-entry, and permits to use NASA-controlled property, or any other 
real property, for activities which, if conducted by NASA, would be 
categorically excluded in accordance with this section. This assumes 
that NASA has included any required notices in transfer documentation 
and any terms and conditions necessary to ensure protection of the 
environment, as applicable.
    (iii) Transfer or disposal of real property or real property rights 
or interests if the change in use is one which, if conducted by NASA, 
would be categorically excluded in accordance with this section.
    (iv) Transfer of real property administrative control to another 
Federal agency, including the return of public domain lands to the 
Department of the Interior (DoI) or other Federal agencies, and 
reporting of property as excess and surplus to the General Services 
Administration (GSA) for disposal, when the agency receiving 
administrative control (or GSA, following receipt of a report of 
excess) will complete any necessary NEPA review prior to any change in 
land use.
    (v) Acquisition of real property (including facilities) where the 
land use will not change substantially.
    (5) Aircraft and Airfield Activities including:
    (i) Periodic aircraft flight activities, including training and 
research and development, which are routine and comply with applicable 
Federal, federally recognized Indian tribe, State, and/or local law or 
requirements, and Executive orders.
    (ii) Relocation of similar aircraft not resulting in a substantial 
increase in total flying hours, number of aircraft operations, 
operational parameters (e.g., noise), or permanent personnel or 
logistics support requirements at the receiving installation.
    (e) The Responsible Official shall review the proposed action in 
its early planning stage and will consider the scope of the action and 
the context and intensity of any environmental impacts to determine 
whether there are extraordinary circumstances that could result in 
environmental impacts. If extraordinary circumstances exist, the 
Responsible Official will either withdraw the proposed action or 
initiate an EA or EIS.
    (f) The NASA SEO will review the categorical exclusions at least 
every seven years, in accordance with CEQ guidance, to determine 
whether modifications, additions, or deletions are appropriate, based 
upon NASA's experience. Recommendations for modifications, additions, 
or deletions shall be submitted to the SEO for consideration and 
informal discussion with the CEQ.


Sec.  1216.305  Actions requiring environmental assessments.

    (a) The Responsible Official will prepare an EA when a proposed 
action cannot be categorically excluded, and the proposed action is not 
expected to result in impacts that require analysis in an EIS. The 
Responsible Official will consider the scope of the action and the 
context and intensity of any environmental impacts when determining 
whether to prepare an EA.
    (b) Typical NASA actions normally requiring an EA include:
    (1) Specific spacecraft development and space flight projects/
programs (as defined in Appendix A to this subpart).
    (2) Actions altering the ongoing operations at a NASA Center which 
could lead directly, indirectly, or cumulatively to substantial natural 
or physical environmental impacts.
    (3) Construction or modifications of facilities which are not 
minor.
    (4) Proposed actions that are expected to result in significant 
changes to established land use.
    (5) A space flight project/program that would return 
extraterrestrial samples to Earth from solar system bodies (such as 
asteroids, comets, planets, dwarf planets, and planetary moons), which 
would likely receive an Unrestricted Earth Return categorization (as 
defined in Appendix A) from NASA's Planetary Protection Office (PPO) or 
the NASA Planetary Protection Subcommittee prior to the return of 
samples to the Earth.


Sec.  1216.306  Actions normally requiring an EIS.

    (a) NASA will prepare an EIS for actions with the potential to 
significantly impact the quality of the human environment, including 
actions for which an EA analysis demonstrates that significant impacts 
will potentially occur which will not be reduced or eliminated by 
changes to the proposed action or mitigation of its potentially 
significant impacts.
    (b) Typical NASA actions normally requiring an EIS include:
    (1) Development and operation of new launch vehicles or space 
transportation systems.
    (2) Development and operation of a space flight project/program 
which would launch and operate a nuclear reactor or radioisotope power 
systems and devices using a total quantity of radioactive material 
greater than the quantity for which the NASA Nuclear Flight Safety 
Assurance Manager may grant nuclear safety launch approval (i.e., a 
total quantity of radioactive material for which the A2 Mission 
Multiple (see definitions in Appendix A) is greater than 10)).
    (3) Development and operation of a space flight project/program 
which would return samples to Earth from solar system bodies (such as 
asteroids,

[[Page 43629]]

comets, planets, dwarf planets, and planetary moons), which would 
likely receive a Restricted Earth Return categorization (as defined in 
Appendix A) from the NASA Planetary Protection Office or the NASA 
Planetary Protection Subcommittee.
    (4) Substantial modification of a NASA facility's master plan in a 
manner expected to result in significant effect(s) on the quality of 
the human environment.
    (5) Substantial construction projects expected to result in 
significant effect(s) on the quality of the human environment, when 
such construction and its effects are not within the scope of an 
existing master plan and EIS.


Sec.  1216.307  Programmatic EAs, and EISs, and tiering.

    NASA encourages the analysis of actions at the programmatic level 
for those programs similar in nature or broad in scope. Programmatic 
NEPA analyses may take place in the form of an EA or EIS. These 
documents allow ``tiering'' of NEPA documentation for subsequent or 
specific actions.


Sec.  1216.308  Supplemental EAs and EISs.

    As detailed in CEQ regulations, supplemental documentation may be 
required for previous EAs or EISs (see 40 CFR 1502.9). If changed 
circumstances require preparation of a supplemental EA or EIS, such 
document will be prepared following the same general process as the 
original EA or EIS. No new scoping is required for a supplemental EIS; 
however, NASA may choose to conduct scoping.


Sec.  1216.309  Mitigation and monitoring.

    When the analysis proceeds to an EA or EIS and mitigation measures 
are selected to avoid or reduce environmental impacts, such mitigation 
measures will be identified in the EA/FONSI or the EIS Record of 
Decision (ROD). NASA will implement mitigation measures (including 
adaptive management strategies, where appropriate) consistent with 
applicable FONSIs and/or RODs and will monitor their implementation and 
effectiveness. The Responsible Official will ensure that funding 
requests for such mitigation measures are included in the program or 
project budget.


Sec.  1216.310  Classified actions.

    (a) Classification does not relieve NASA of the requirement to 
assess, document, and consider the environmental impacts of a proposed 
action.
    (b) When classified information can reasonably be separated from 
other information and a meaningful environmental analysis can be 
produced, unclassified documents will be prepared and processed in 
accordance with these regulations. Classified portions will be kept 
separate and provided to properly cleared reviewers and decision makers 
in the form of a properly classified document that meets the 
requirements of these regulations to the extent permitted, given such 
classification.


Sec.  1216.311  Emergency responses.

    (a) When the Responsible Official determines that an emergency 
exists that makes it necessary to take urgently needed actions before 
preparing a NEPA analysis and any required documentation, in accordance 
with the provisions in sections 305 and 307 of this subpart, then the 
following provisions apply:
    (1) The Responsible Official may take urgently needed actions that 
are necessary to control the immediate impacts of the emergency needed 
to mitigate harm to life, property, or resources. When taking such 
actions, the Responsible Official shall, to the extent practical, 
mitigate foreseeable adverse environmental impacts.
    (2) At the earliest practicable time, the Responsible Official 
shall also notify the SEO of the emergency situation and the action(s) 
taken. The SEO will determine the appropriate NEPA action associated 
with the urgent actions taken as a result of the emergency. If the 
urgent actions will reasonably result in significant environmental 
impacts, the SEO will consult with the CEQ to ensure compliance with 40 
CFR 1506.11 as soon as is reasonable.
    (b) If the Responsible Official proposes emergency actions which 
continue beyond the urgent actions taken as a result of the emergency, 
and these actions are not categorically excluded, the Responsible 
Official will consult with the SEO to determine the appropriate level 
of NEPA compliance. If continuation of the emergency actions will 
reasonably result in significant environmental impacts, the SEO will 
consult with the CEQ to ensure compliance with 40 CFR 1506.11 as soon 
as is reasonable.

Appendix A to Subpart 1216.3

Acronyms and Definitions

CatEx Categorical Exclusion
CEQ Council on Environmental Quality
CFR Code of Federal Regulations
CWA Clean Water Act
CZMA Coastal Zone Management Act
DoI (U.S.) Department of the Interior
EA Environmental Assessment
EIS Environmental Impact Statement
FONSI Finding of No Significant Impact
FR Federal Register
GSA General Services Administration
NEPA National Environmental Policy Act
NHPA National Historic Preservation Act
SEO Senior Environmental Official
OGC Office of the General Counsel
PPO Planetary Protection Office
ROD Record of Decision
U.S.C. United States Code

Definitions

    1. A2 Mission Multiple--The A2 Mission Multiple is a calculated 
value based on the total amount of radioactive material being 
launched. This value is used in defining the level of review and 
approval required for launch.
    2. Earth Return Mission (also known as a Sample Return)--A 
subcategory of missions that would collect extraterrestrial 
materials from solar system bodies and return them to Earth.
    3. NASA Senior Environmental Official--The Senior NASA 
Headquarters Official responsible for providing executive and 
functional leadership for environmental compliance. As of January 1, 
2011, the SEO is the Assistant Administrator for Strategic 
Infrastructure.
    4. Restricted Earth Return--A subcategory of Earth Return 
Missions which requires additional measures to ensure that any 
potential indigenous life form would be contained so that it could 
not impact humans or Earth's environment.
    5. Space Flight Projects/Programs--Those NASA actions that 
develop products intended for use in space and/or that support 
ground and space operations for products in space.
    6. Unrestricted Earth Return--NASA Procedural Requirements 
define this as a subcategory of Earth Return Missions that would 
collect extraterrestrial materials from solar system bodies (deemed 
by scientific opinion to have no indigenous life forms) and return 
those samples to Earth. No planetary protection measures are 
required for the inbound (return to Earth) phase of the mission.

    Dated: July 14, 2011.
Charles F. Bolden, Jr.,
Administrator, National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

[FR Doc. 2011-18279 Filed 7-20-11; 8:45 am]
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