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1 Environmental Considerations by Aimee L. Kratovil, Esq. Environmental Protection Specialist San Francisco Airports District Office Western Pacific Region.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Environmental Considerations by Aimee L. Kratovil, Esq. Environmental Protection Specialist San Francisco Airports District Office Western Pacific Region."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Environmental Considerations by Aimee L. Kratovil, Esq. Environmental Protection Specialist San Francisco Airports District Office Western Pacific Region Federal Aviation Administration

2 2 Environmental Considerations Pre-NEPA Master Plan Airport Layout Plan Introduction to NEPA What is it? What triggers it? Where is the guidance? What level of NEPA Document? NEPA versus CEQA Difference in legal thresholds Satisfying NEPA and CEQA Segmentation Considerations NEPA Considerations for Land Transactions Categorical Exclusion Form Update

3 3 Pre-NEPA Planning Document Status Master Plan Project definition Purpose and need Alternatives Forecasts FAA Approved Airport Layout Plan Conditional approval Proposed projects included FAA will not program environmental grants or full design grants until the planning process is complete Issuance of a full design grant prior to a NEPA determination is considered a predetermination of the NEPA process and is contrary to law FAA may only issue grants for preliminary design as part of the planning grant prior to a NEPA determination Preliminary design may not exceed 20% of the total planning grant Language to this effect will be found in FAA Order B when it is enacted

4 4 Introduction to NEPA What is it? National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 Basic national charter for protection of the environment Directs federal agencies to act according to the letter and spirit of the Act What triggers it? The NEPA process addresses impacts of federal actions on the human environment What are federal actions? All airport improvement program grants All plans submitted to FAA that require FAA approval Where is the guidance? FAA Order E, Environmental Impacts: Policies & Procedures Effective June 2004 FAA Order A, Airports Environmental Handbook Being updated Draft B was released December 2004 for comments

5 5 Introduction to NEPA What level of NEPA Document is required? Categorical Exclusion (CatEx) FAA Order E, chapter 3 Extraordinary circumstances also found in chapter 3 Environmental Assessment (EA) FAA Order E, chapter 4 Coordinate with FAA EPS early Scope of work complete Preliminary document sections » Purpose and Need » Alternatives Regulatory Agency Coordination Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) FAA Order E, chapter 5 Consult with FAA EPS prior to proceeding

6 6 NEPA versus CEQA NEPA legal thresholds NEPA = National Environmental Policy Act Requires a statement of purpose and need Requires the determination of impact significance to be based upon a comparison of the No Action Alternative with the proposed development alternatives in the same future year CEQA legal thresholds CEQA = California Environmental Quality Act Requires a statement of project objectives to define the boundaries of the project and the types of alternatives to be considered Requires the determination of impact significance to be made against the environmental setting at the time the Notice of Preparation is published

7 7 Satisfying NEPA and CEQA Write clear and separate definitions of The project objectives for the airport sponsor The purpose and need for the FAA Identify and evaluate alternatives against both the project objectives and purpose and need For each environmental category addressed in the EA/EIR or EIS/EIR Clearly separate and delineate the applicable federal and state criteria Separately present the federal and state evaluation of the potential impacts of the project alternatives in light of those criteria The Master Plan Example – Timing is Everything A Master Plan is a project that triggers CEQA A Master Plan does not require a federal action that triggers NEPA Federal action would be triggered by approval of the ALP that depicts Master Plan projects and/or federal funding for proposed projects NEPA is concerned only with projects proposed to go forward in the near term (i.e. 5 year window) The purpose and need must be adequately defined and justified Therefore, there is a distinct difference in the proposed action under NEPA and CEQA from the start

8 8 Segmentation Considerations Requirements of NEPA may not be avoided by segmentation of projects The United States Supreme Court has established three criteria to prove segmentation The project was originally perceived as unified and interdependent The segments do not have independent utility The segments are not reasonable when considered alone Any one of these criteria may be sufficient to prove segmentation

9 9 NEPA Requirements for Sale or Disposal of Airport Land A NEPA determination must be made by FAA prior to any FAA release of grant obligations for sale or disposal of dedicated airport property A release of grant obligations is a federal action that triggers NEPA FAA Order A, Airport Compliance Requirements, chapter 7 FAA Order E, Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures Typically a land release is categorically excluded under FAA Order E, paragraph 307b unless an extraordinary circumstance as described in paragraph 304 is triggered

10 10 NEPA Requirements for Land Acquisitions A NEPA determination must be made by FAA prior to any airport land acquisition The airport sponsor must update the ALP and Exhibit A property map per 49 USC (a)(16) and the grant contract when land is acquired for the airport even if federal funds are not used FAA approval of the ALP or federal funding are federal actions that trigger NEPA FAA Order E, Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures, paragraphs 310b and 310r Land acquisition over 3 acres requires an Environmental Assessment unless it is clearly associated with a categorically excluded action

11 11 NEPA Requirements for Land Acquisitions If the airport sponsor acquires land for the airport without prior FAA approval, the action could prejudice or preclude favorable decision by the FAA on proposed changes in the ALP or development which would use the land acquired or on requests for reimbursement for the property Prior to approval of future FAA action involving the property, the FAA will carefully consider the manner in which the particular property was acquired and whether it was acquired consistent with pertinent environmental policy FAA Order A, Airport Environmental Handbook, paragraph 33

12 12 Categorical Exclusion Form Update FAA Western Pacific Region has decided to adopt and utilize an Environmental Evaluation Form for Categorical Exclusions by March 1, 2006 The new CatEx Form will focus on analyzing extraordinary circumstances as defined in FAA Orders E and A. Impact categories to be analyzed include: Air Quality Coastal Resources Department of Transportation Section 303 Lands Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Hazardous Materials, Pollution Prevention, and Solid Waste Historic, Architectural, Archeological, and Cultural Resources Noise Secondary (Induced) Impacts Socioeconomic Impacts, Environmental Justice, and Childrens Environmental Health and Safety Risks Water Quality Wetlands Other Considerations Cumulative Impacts

13 13 Contact List If and when in doubt call an EPS: The San Francisco Airports District Office Camille Garibaldi (650) , extension 613 Barry Franklin (650) , extension 614 Aimee Kratovil (650) , extension 612 The Western Pacific Region Michelle Simmons (310) Pete Ciesla (310) Dave Kessler (310) Jennifer Mendelsohn (310)

14 The End Questions?


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