[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 200 (Tuesday, October 16, 2012)]
[Pages 63312-63313]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-25420]




Notice of Intent: Designation of an Ocean Dredged Material 
Disposal Site (ODMDS) in Eastern Long Island Sound; Connecticut, New 
York, and Rhode Island

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Notice of Intent to prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact 
Statement (SEIS) to evaluate the potential designation of one or more 
Ocean Dredged Material Disposal Sites (ODMDS) to serve the eastern Long 
Island Sound region (Connecticut, New York, and Rhode Island).


SUMMARY: EPA is authorized to designate ODMDS under section 102(c) of 
the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA). EPA is 
preparing the SEIS in accordance with the Agency's Statement of Policy 
for Voluntary Preparation of National Environmental Policy Act 
documents for all ocean disposal site designations. The SEIS will 
update and build on the analyses that were conducted for the 2005 Long 
Island Sound Environmental Impact Statement that supported the 
designation of the Central and Western Long Island Sound disposal 
sites. The following federal and state agencies have expressed interest 
in serving as cooperating agencies: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 
(USACE), New England and New York Districts; National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service; 
Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection; 
Connecticut Department of Transportation; New York Department of State; 
Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management; and Rhode Island 
Coastal Resources Management Council.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The primary statutes governing the open-
water disposal of dredged material in the United States are the MPRSA 
and the Clean Water Act (CWA). The waters of Long Island Sound are 
landward of the baseline from which the territorial sea of the United 
States is measured. As with other waters lying landward of the 
baseline, all dredged material disposal activities in Long Island 
Sound, whether from federal or non-federal projects of any size, are 
subject to the requirements of section 404 of the CWA. The MPRSA 
generally only applies to dredged material disposal in waters seaward 
of the baseline and would not apply to Long Island Sound but for the 
1980 amendment that added section 106(f) to the statute. This provision 
requires that the disposal of dredged material in Long Island Sound 
from federal projects (projects carried out under the USACE civil works 
program or by other federal agencies) and non-federal projects 
generating more than 25,000 cubic yards of material must comply with 
the requirements of both CWA section 404 and the MPRSA. This applies to 
both the designation of specific disposal sites and the assessment of 
the suitability of specific dredged material for disposal. Disposal 
from non-federal projects involving 25,000 cubic yards or less of 
dredged material, however, is subject only to CWA section 404.
    Need for Action: Dredging is essential for maintaining safe 
navigation in ports and harbors in the eastern Long Island Sound 
region. Over the past approximately 30 years, dredged material from 
eastern Long Island Sound has been disposed of primarily at the New 
London and Cornfield Shoals disposal sites. These two sites, both of 
which were selected by the USACE for short-term use, expire on December 
16, 2016.
    Therefore, EPA has decided to prepare an SEIS to evaluate the two 
current sites used in eastern Long Island Sound as well as other sites 
for, and means of, disposal and management, including the no action 
alternative. The SEIS will support the EPA's final decision on whether 
one or more dredged material disposal sites will be designated under 
the MPRSA. The SEIS will include analysis applying the five general and 
eleven specific site selection criteria for designating ocean disposal 
sites presented in 40 CFR 228.5 and 228.6, respectively. Designation of 
a site does not by itself authorize or result in disposal of any 
particular material; it only serves to make the designated site a 
disposal option available for consideration in the alternatives 
analysis for each individual dredging project in the area.
    Alternatives: In evaluating the alternatives, the SEIS will 
identify and evaluate locations within the eastern Long Island Sound 
study area using the aforementioned criteria to determine the sites 
that are best suited to receive dredged material for open-water 
disposal. At a minimum, the SEIS will consider alternatives including:
     No-action (i.e., no designation of any sites);
     Designation of one or both of the currently active USACE-
selected sites;
     Designation of alternative open-water sites identified 
within the study area that may offer environmental advantages to the 
existing sites; and
     Identification of other disposal and/or management 
options, including beneficial uses.
    Scoping: EPA is requesting written comments from federal, state, 
and local governments, industry, non-governmental organizations, and 
the general public on the need for action, the range of alternatives 
considered, and the potential impacts of the alternatives. Scoping 
comments will be accepted for 45 days from the date of this notice. 
Public scoping meetings are scheduled at two locations on the following 
dates: November 14, 2012, 4-7 p.m. at the University of Connecticut, 
Avery Point auditorium in Groton, CT (http://www.averypoint.uconn.edu/about/directions.html) and November 15, 2012, 3-6 p.m. at the Port 
Jefferson Village Center in Port Jefferson, NY (http://www.portjeff.com/village-map/). Registration for both meetings will 
begin a half-hour before the meeting (3:30

[[Page 63313]]

p.m. on November 14 and 2:30 p.m. on November 15).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information and to be 
placed on the project information distribution list, please contact: 
Ms. Jean Brochi, U.S. EPA, Region 1, 5 Post Office Square, Suite 100, 
OEP06-1, Boston, MA 02109-3912, (617) 918-1536, [email protected]. Please 
contact Ms. Brochi should you have special needs (sign language 
interpreters, access needs) at the above address or our TDY, 
(617) 918-1189.
    Estimated Date of the Draft SEIS Release: September 30, 2014.

    Dated: October 4, 2012.
H. Curtis Spalding,
Regional Administrator, EPA New England.
[FR Doc. 2012-25420 Filed 10-15-12; 8:45 am]