[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 14 (Monday, January 23, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 3102-3106]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-1272]


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

NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION

14 CFR Part 1216

[Notice 12-004]
RIN 2700-AD71


Procedures for Implementing the National Environmental Policy Act

AGENCY: National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

ACTION: Final rule.

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

SUMMARY: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is 
amending its regulations governing compliance with the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) and the Council on 
Environmental Quality's (CEQ) Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) (40 CFR 
parts 1500-1508). This rule replaces procedures contained in NASA's 
current regulations. The revised regulations are intended to improve 
NASA's efficiency in implementing NEPA requirements by reducing costs 
and preparation time while maintaining quality. In addition, NASA's 
experience in applying the NASA NEPA regulations since they were issued 
in 1988 suggested the need for NASA to make changes in its NEPA 
regulations.

DATES: Effective January 23, 2012.

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/agency/nepa/. Questions may be directed 
to Tina Borghild Norwood, NASA NEPA Manager, at (202) 358-7324, or via 
email at Tina.Norwood-1@nasa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: These final regulations are a supplement to 
the CEQ regulations implementing NEPA. These final 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.
    During the public comment period, the following documents were 
posted on the NASA's NEPA Portal and NEPA Library at http://www.nasa.gov/agency/nepa/ (under News); the Federal Register Notice of 
NASA's Proposed Rule with Preamble, Preparers, and More Information on 
NASA's Categorical Exclusions. The Federal Register Notice (Volume 76, 
pages 43616-43629) includes a detailed preamble explaining the changes 
being made to NASA's NEPA regulations. The list of preparers and sample 
Categorical Exclusions were posted at the request of CEQ. This Federal 
Register Notice will also be posted on this Web site upon publication.
    The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on July 21, 
2011, for a 60-day comment period. No public comments were received. 
Accordingly, NASA is issuing this rule with minor edits and the changes 
discussed below.
    NASA reviewed the Categorical Exclusions (CatExs) in 1216.304(d) 
(1)-(5) and identified those CatExs that would require documentation 
(see 1216.304(d)(4) and (5)). This documentation will support the use 
of the CatEx for a site- or project-specific proposal, and the periodic 
review of CatExs stated in 1216.304(g). The reference to NASA's NEPA 
portal has been added to this subpart indicating where the public can 
access this subpart, NASA's NEPA policy, NEPA Library, public notices, 
and the list of NASA's NEPA personnel. NASA also added text to section 
1216.302(a)(1) to identify where interested persons can get information 
or status reports on environmental impact statements and other elements 
of the NEPA process.
    For further clarification NASA is also changing ``installation'' to 
``Center'' in section 1216.305(b)(2), which describes the activities 
typically analyzed in an Environmental Assessment, but does not change 
the scope of the activities covered by that section. NASA ``Centers'' 
are the geographic boundaries of land that NASA manages and operates as 
a land-owner or tenant. NASA has ten Centers, several of which also 
manage remote locations. This subpart applies to all Centers in their 
entirety, including the management of remote locations. The Centers are 
comprised of ``facilities'', which are the buildings that contain 
offices and technical structures; such as wind tunnels, space chambers, 
launch structures, and laboratories. ``Laboratories'', as used in two 
CatExs, are a specialized type of facility.
    In accordance with the CEQ NEPA regulations, 40 CFR 1507.3, NASA 
has consulted with CEQ regarding these final amendments to the NASA 
NEPA rule. CEQ has found the amendments are in conformity with NEPA and 
CEQ regulations.
    The revisions to this subpart were included in NASA's retrospective 
analysis, conducted in accordance with Executive Order 13563, Improving 
Regulation and Regulatory Review. NASA's Final Plan for Retrospective 
Analysis of Existing Regulations was published in August 2011 and has 
been posted on the NASA NEPA portal at http://www.nasa.gov/agency/nepa/regulatoryreview/.

Regulatory Analysis and Notices

A. Executive Order 12866--Regulatory Planning and Review

    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 final rule has been designated 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.

B. Review Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) requires an 
agency to prepare an initial regulatory flexibility analysis to be 
published at the time the proposed rule is published. This requirement 
does not apply if the agency ``certifies that the rule will not, if 
promulgated, have a significant economic impact on a substantial number 
of small entities'' (5 U.S.C. 603). This rule modifies existing 
policies and procedural requirements for NASA compliance with NEPA. The 
rule makes no substantive changes to requirements imposed on applicants 
for licenses, permits, financial assistance, and similar actions as 
related to NEPA compliance. Therefore, NASA certifies this final rule 
would not have a

[[Page 3103]]

``significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities.''

C. Review Under the Paperwork Reduction Act

    This final rule does not contain any information collection 
requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 
3501 et seq.).

D. Environmental Review Under the National Environmental Policy Act

    The Council on Environmental Quality regulations do not direct 
agencies to prepare a NEPA analysis or document before establishing 
Agency procedures (such as this regulation) that supplement the CEQ 
regulations for implementing NEPA. Agencies are required to adopt NEPA 
procedures that establish specific criteria for, and identify, three 
classes of actions: those that normally require preparation of an 
environmental impact statement; those that normally require preparation 
of an environmental assessment; and those that are categorically 
excluded from further NEPA review (40 CFR 1507.3 (b)). Categorical 
exclusions are an integral part of agency NEPA implementing procedures, 
and therefore establishing categorical exclusions does not require 
preparation of a NEPA analysis or document. Agency NEPA procedures are 
procedural guidance to assist agencies in the fulfillment of agency 
responsibilities under NEPA, but are not the agency's final 
determination of what level of NEPA analysis is required for a 
particular proposed action. The requirements for establishing agency 
NEPA procedures are set forth at 40 CFR 1505.1 and 1507.3. The 
determination that establishing NEPA implementing regulations does not 
require NEPA analysis and documentation has been upheld in Heartwood, 
Inc. v. U.S. Forest Service, 73 F. Supp. 2d 962, 972-73 (S.D. Ill 
1999), aff'd, 230 F.3d 947, 954-55 (7th Cir. 2000).

E. Review Under Executive Order of 13132

    Executive Order 13132, ``Federalism,'' 64 FR 43255 (August 10, 
1999) requires regulations be reviewed for Federalism effects on the 
institutional interest of states and local governments, and, if the 
effects are sufficiently substantial, preparation of the Federal 
assessment is required to assist senior policy makers. These amendments 
will affect NEPA compliance procedures, which are not subject to state 
regulation. The amendments will not have any substantial direct effects 
on state and local governments within the meaning of the Executive 
Order. Therefore, no Federalism assessment is required.

F. Review Under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    Under Section 205 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 
U.S.C. 1533), Federal agencies are required to prepared a budgetary 
impact statement to accompany any proposed or final rule that included 
a Federal mandate that may result in the expenditure by state, local 
and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of 
$100 million or more in any one year. Because the NASA NEPA regulations 
affect only NASA and do not creation obligations on the part of any 
other person or government agency, neither state, local or tribal 
governments nor the private sector will be affected by the amendments 
to these regulations. There NASA has determined that further review 
under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act is not required.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 1216

    Environmental impact statements.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, NASA amends Chapter V of 
Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations by revising subpart 1216.3 
of part 1216 as set forth below.

PART 1216--ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY

Subpart 1216.3 Procedures for Implementing the National Environmental 
Policy Act (NEPA)
Sec.
1216.300 Scope.
1216.301 Applicability.
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, EISs, and tiering.
1216.308 Supplemental EAs and EISs.
1216.309 Mitigation and monitoring.
1216.310 Classified actions.
1216.311 Emergency responses.

Appendix A to Subpart 1206.3--Acronyms and Definitions

    Authority:  The National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, as 
amended (51 U.S.C. 20101 et seq.); The National Environmental Policy 
Act of 1969, as amended (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).

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


Sec.  1216.300  Scope.

    (a) This subpart implements NEPA, setting forth NASA's policies and 
procedures for the early integration of environmental considerations 
into planning and decision making.
    (b) 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 subpart is to be used in 
conjunction with the CEQ regulations. Consistent with the CEQ 
regulations at 40 CFR part 1500.3, no trivial violation of this part 
shall give rise to any independent cause of action. This subpart and 
NASA's NEPA policy are available on NASA's Public Portal at http://www.nasa.gov/agency/nepa/(under NEPA Process).


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 EISs and other NEPA documentation prepared by other Federal 
agencies:
    (1) The NASA Headquarters/Environmental Management Division (HQ/
EMD) is 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. Interested persons can 
obtain information on the status of EISs and other elements of the NEPA 
process by contacting the NASA

[[Page 3104]]

NEPA Manager at HQ/EMD identified at http://www.nasa.gov/agency/nepa/NEPATeam.html.
    (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 subpart 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 will 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).
    (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 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.

[[Page 3105]]

    (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 (Record of Environmental Consideration (REC) 
required).
    (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 (REC 
required).
    (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 (REC required).
    (v) Acquisition of real property (including facilities) where the 
land use will not change substantially (REC required).
    (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 (REC 
required).
    (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 to this subpart) 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) [Reserved]
    (c) 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 to this subpart) is greater 
than 10)).
    (d) 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, and planetary moons), which 
would likely receive a Restricted Earth Return categorization (as 
defined in Appendix A to this subpart) from the NASA Planetary 
Protection Office or the NASA Planetary Protection Subcommittee.

[[Page 3106]]

    (e) 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.
    (f) 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 Sec. Sec.  1216.305 and 1216.307 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) [Reserved]
    (b) 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.
    (c) 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 1206.3--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
EMD Environmental Management Division
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
REC Record of Environmental Consideration
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. Record of Environmental Consideration--A brief document that is 
used to describe a proposed action, identify the applicable 
categorical exclusion, and explain why further environmental 
analysis is not required.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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: December 23, 2011.
Charles F. Bolden, Jr.,
Administrator, National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
[FR Doc. 2012-1272 Filed 1-20-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE P