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MSRA Environmental Review Requirement. Section 107 Requirements Revise and Update Procedures Consult with CEQ and Councils, involve public Sole environmental.

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Presentation on theme: "MSRA Environmental Review Requirement. Section 107 Requirements Revise and Update Procedures Consult with CEQ and Councils, involve public Sole environmental."— Presentation transcript:

1 MSRA Environmental Review Requirement

2 Section 107 Requirements Revise and Update Procedures Consult with CEQ and Councils, involve public Sole environmental impact assessment procedure for MSA actions

3 Implementation Process Meetings with CEQ The CCC Strawman  Council-based process for conducting NEPA analysis through 3 meeting schedule NOAA Fisheries Trigger Questions

4 Status Comment Period on NOAA Fisheries Outreach ended 4/20/07 Each council has conducted Listening Session on the Strawman Some Councils have provided comments on the Strawman and Trigger Questions

5 Timeline Ahead May , CCC Meeting July 11, publish proposal 90 day public comment period January 2008, publish final

6 Overview of Public Comments Over 1600 form letters opposing the CCC Strawman 8 Individualized Letters  2 Group Letters from Environmental Groups  Fisheries Survival Fund  Marine Conservation Alliance  Pacific Marine Conservation Council  Marine Fish Conservation Network  Alaska DF&G  New England Aquarium

7 Hot Topics Need/Authority for Change Roles of Councils and NOAA Fisheries Complying with NEPA through the Council Process Reasonable Alternatives Conducting Analysis of Appropriate Scale Eliminating EA/EIS Distinction 30 Day Comment Period on DEIS Scientific Research Emergency Actions Coordination with Other Applicable Laws

8 Need/Authority for Change Disagreement about: Legislative Intent to change process Whether there is a need for change: I.e., whether current procedures to comply with NEPA are adequate to meet management needs

9 Roles of Councils and NOAA Fisheries Opposing opinions about whether Councils or NOAA Fisheries should have the lead in developing the NEPA analysis and identifying alternatives MCFN approach: NOAA Fisheries prepare DEIS and delivers to council, Council votes, then 45 day comment period runs during preparation for transmittal.

10 Complying with NEPA through the Council Process Disagreement about appropriateness, public access, and conflicts of interest. Suggested improvements relative to using the Council process for NEPA compliance included: Add locations for more accessible meetings Allow submission of written comments, not just oral testimony Use electronic outreach Await public input before selecting alternatives Do not constrain public input Be clear in FR notice about scoping information

11 Reasonable Alternatives General Agreement that "reasonable alternatives" must achieve objectives Varied suggestions for new definitions of what a “reasonable alternative” is Several comments stated that "no action" should not mean "no fishing." A suggestion about what to do if a council selects an alternative not specifically analyzed

12 Analysis of Appropriate Scale General Agreement that different actions warrant different levels of analysis Some comments linked this to EA/EIS question Recommendation to use CEQ regulations as guidance Recommendation to sort based on type of action (FMP versus regulation, framework, etc.) Two commenters opposed standardized criteria -- preferred case-by-case

13 Eliminating EA/EIS Distinction Retain the EA/EIS distinction: 4 commenters support retaining - a "known quantity" for scaling New language could mean litigation and uncertainty Eliminate the Distinction Fisheries Survival Fund noted that this could stop litigation about whether the EA or EIS should have been prepared, but wanted to ensure there would be some form of scaling the analysis to appropriate level

14 30 Day Comment Period on DEIS Opposing view points about the need for shorter or longer comment periods on DEIS Suggestions: Retain 45 day minimum Set 45 days as the maximum Give agency flexibility to set at 15, 30, or 45 Align with public review of FMP and rule

15 Scientific Research Eliminate need for stand-alone NEPA analysis of scientific research permits Consider statutory amendments to exempt scientific research permits from NEPA analysis Alternatively, exempt these permits from NAO procedures

16 Emergency Actions Most commenters felt that the current process is adequate when an EA is sufficient Other suggestions re: EIS: Consult early with CEQ. Include environmental analysis "cognizant of time constraints." An EA should suffice due to limited timeframe and ability to prepare EIS for longer-term action. Treat ER as an "interim final rule," when APA is waived. Accept comments post-effectiveness and re-consider. NEPA should not apply when there is no discretion for alternatives

17 Coordination with Other Applicable Laws Recommendation to review Draft Operational Guidelines and RSP findings with the public Frontloading -- Some commenters noted that agency involvement too late in the process is not desirable Questions about how ESA analysis fits into new environmental review procedure

18 Timeline Ahead May , CCC Meeting July 11, publish proposal 90 day public comment period January 2008, publish final


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