[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 1 (Monday, January 3, 2011)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 213-249]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-32316]



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Part II





Department of Energy





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10 CFR Part 1021



National Environmental Policy Act Implementing Procedures; Proposed 
Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 76 , No. 1 / Monday, January 3, 2011 / 
Proposed Rules

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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

[Docket ID: DOE-HQ-2010-0002]

10 CFR Part 1021

RIN 1990-AA34


National Environmental Policy Act Implementing Procedures

AGENCY: Office of the General Counsel, U.S. Department of Energy.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking and public hearing.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE or the Department) proposes 
to amend its existing regulations governing compliance with the 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The majority of the changes 
are proposed for the categorical exclusions provisions contained in its 
NEPA Implementing Procedures, with a small number of related changes 
proposed for other provisions. These proposed changes are intended to 
better align the Department's regulations, particularly its categorical 
exclusions, with DOE's current activities and recent experiences, and 
to update the provisions with respect to current technologies and 
regulatory requirements. DOE proposes to establish 20 new categorical 
exclusions, and to remove two categorical exclusion categories, one 
environmental assessment (EA) category, and two environmental impact 
statement (EIS) categories. Other proposed changes modify and clarify 
DOE's existing provisions.

DATES: Comments should be received by (or, if mailed, postmarked by) 
February 17, 2011 to ensure consideration. Late comments may be 
considered to the extent practicable. DOE will hold a public hearing on 
February 4, 2011, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Washington, DC. Persons who 
wish to speak at the public hearing should register before 3 p.m. on 
February 1, 2011, as described in FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

ADDRESSES: Documents relevant to this rulemaking are posted at http://www.regulations.gov (Docket ID: DOE-HQ-2010-0002). Documents posted to 
this docket include: This notice of proposed rulemaking, DOE's 
``Technical Support Document'' that provides additional information 
regarding certain proposed changes, and a ``redline/strikeout'' 
(markup) file of affected sections of the DOE NEPA regulations 
indicating the changes proposed in this proposed rule.
    Submit comments, labeled ``DOE NEPA Implementing Procedures, RIN 
1990-AA34,'' by one of the following methods:
    1. Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow 
the online instructions for submitting comments electronically. This 
rulemaking is assigned Docket ID: DOE-HQ-2010-0002. Comments may be 
entered directly on the Web site. Electronic files may be submitted to 
this Web site.
    2. Mail: Mail comments to NEPA Rulemaking Comments, Office of NEPA 
Policy and Compliance (GC-54), U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 
Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20585. Because security 
screening may delay mail sent through the U.S. Postal Service, DOE 
encourages electronic submittal of comments.
    3. Public Hearing: A public hearing will be held at the U.S. 
Department of Energy, Forrestal Building, Room 1E-245, 1000 
Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20585. Oral and written 
comments will be accepted at the public hearing. See DATES, above, and 
Section III, Invitation to Comment, below, for procedures.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For general information about DOE's 
NEPA procedures, contact Ms. Carol Borgstrom, Director, Office of NEPA 
Policy and Compliance, at 202-586-4600 or leave a message at 800-472-
2756. To register to speak at the public hearing and for questions 
concerning how to comment on this proposed rule, contact Ms. Yardena 
Mansoor, Office of NEPA Policy and Compliance, at askNEPA@hq.doe.gov or 
202-586-9326. For detailed information on submitting comments and the 
public hearing, see Section III, Invitation to Comment, below.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Introduction and Background

What is NEPA?

    The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et 
seq.) requires Federal agencies to consider the potential environmental 
impacts of their ``proposed actions'' before taking action. (Please 
note the terms ``effects'' and ``impacts'' as used in this proposed 
rule are synonymous. See 40 CFR 1508.8.) Proposed actions include 
actions directly undertaken by a Federal agency, as well as certain 
actions undertaken by a State, local, or private entity with Federal 
involvement, e.g., certain projects that may receive Federal funding, 
permits, or other support.

What is environmental review under NEPA?

    The Council on Environmental Quality's (CEQ's) NEPA implementing 
regulations (40 CFR parts 1500-1508) establish three levels of review 
for proposed actions--EIS, EA, and categorical exclusion 
determinations--each involving different levels of information and 
analysis. An EIS is a detailed analysis of the potential environmental 
impacts of a proposed action (and alternatives) that may have a 
significant impact on the environment. See NEPA Section 102(2)(C), 42 
U.S.C. 4332(2)(C); 40 CFR 1508.11. An EA is a briefer analysis 
conducted to determine whether a proposed action may have a significant 
impact on the environment and thus whether an EIS is required. See 40 
CFR 1508.9. A categorical exclusion is a class of actions that a 
Federal agency has determined do not, absent extraordinary 
circumstances, individually or cumulatively have a significant impact 
on the human environment and for which, therefore, neither an EA nor an 
EIS is required. See 40 CFR 1508.4. A categorical exclusion 
determination is made when an agency finds that a proposed action fits 
within a categorical exclusion and meets other applicable requirements, 
such as the absence of extraordinary circumstances.

How does DOE establish categorical exclusions?

    DOE establishes categorical exclusions pursuant to a rulemaking, 
such as this one, for defined classes of actions that the Department 
determines are supported by a record showing that they normally will 
not have significant environmental impacts, individually or 
cumulatively. DOE establishes categorical exclusions based on its 
experience, the experience of other agencies, and information provided 
by the public.
    A complete list of DOE's current categorical exclusions can be 
found at 10 CFR part 1021, subpart D, appendices A and B. Appendix A 
lists categorical exclusions applicable to general agency actions (for 
example, routine administrative, financial, and personnel actions). 
Appendix B lists categorical exclusions that are applicable to specific 
agency actions.

How does DOE make a categorical exclusion determination?

    Under the regulations, before a proposed action may be 
categorically excluded, DOE must determine in accordance with 10 CFR 
1021.410(b) that: (1) The proposed action fits within

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a class of actions listed in appendix A or B to subpart D, (2) there 
are no extraordinary circumstances related to the proposal that may 
affect the significance of the environmental impacts of the proposed 
action, and (3) there are no connected or related actions with 
cumulatively significant impacts and, as appropriate, the proposed 
action is not precluded as an impermissible interim action (40 CFR 
1506.1 and 10 CFR 1021.211).
    In addition, to fit within a class of actions in appendix B, a 
proposed action must satisfy certain conditions known as ``integral 
elements'' (appendix B, paragraphs (1) through (4)). Briefly, these 
conditions ensure that an excluded action would not have the potential 
to cause significant environmental impacts due to, for example, a 
threatened violation of applicable environmental, safety, and health 
requirements, or by disturbing hazardous substances such that there 
would be uncontrolled or unpermitted releases.

What does DOE propose to change in its NEPA regulations?

    With this proposed rule, DOE proposes to update its NEPA 
regulations (10 CFR part 1021), primarily with changes to subpart D and 
with a few changes to subpart C. Most changes are to categorical 
exclusions (subpart D, appendices A and B, discussed in Sections IV.D 
and IV.E below, respectively), including establishing new categorical 
exclusions and modifying existing categorical exclusions. DOE also 
proposes to make changes to its classes of actions that normally 
require an EA (appendix C, discussed in Section IV.F) or EIS (appendix 
D, discussed in Section IV.G). In addition, DOE proposes to change 
several procedural provisions of the Department's regulations (Section 
IV.C) and modify wording for consistency and clarity (Section IV.B).

II. Purpose and Development of the Proposed Changes

Why does DOE propose to amend its NEPA implementing procedures?

    The Department last updated its categorical exclusions in 1996. 
Since that time, the range of activities in which DOE is involved has 
changed and expanded. For example, in recent years, DOE has received 
more applications for financial support from private applicants for 
actions that promote energy efficiency and energy independence. DOE has 
received thousands of applications under grant and loan programs 
established by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the Energy Independence 
and Security Act of 2007, and the American Recovery and Reinvestment 
Act of 2009. Another change since 1996 is the growth and development of 
new technologies in the private and public sectors, including energy 
efficient and renewable energy technologies, and DOE's experience with 
those technologies. Through this proposed rulemaking, DOE proposes to 
update its categorical exclusions to address the Department's current 
activities and its experience and bring the provisions up-to-date with 
current technology and regulatory requirements.

How did DOE seek input on the proposed changes?

    DOE has sought input from a number of different sources. First, DOE 
issued an internal memorandum on December 7, 2009, soliciting 
suggestions for new categorical exclusions or revisions from DOE 
Program and Field Offices, including DOE's network of NEPA Compliance 
Officers. Second, DOE Office of NEPA Policy and Compliance staff 
identified additional candidates for new or expanded categorical 
exclusions by reviewing the archive of DOE EAs that led to findings of 
no significant impact (FONSIs), researched the existing categorical 
exclusions established by approximately 50 Federal agencies, and 
reviewed existing DOE categorical exclusions to identify potential new 
categorical exclusions or revisions. Third, on December 29, 2009, DOE 
published a Request for Information in the Federal Register (74 FR 
68720) seeking suggestions from interested parties. Eleven entities 
responded to the Request for Information: Endicott Biofuels, LLC; 
Golder Associates, Inc.; INFORM (Information Network for Responsible 
Mining); Johnson Controls, Inc.; Nuclear Watch New Mexico; Presco 
Energy, LLC; Sierra Geothermal Power Corp.; Solar Energy Industries 
Association; State of Oregon's Department of Energy; U.S. Chamber of 
Commerce; and a contractor for DOE's Golden Field Office. The Request 
for Information and these comments are available at http://www.regulations.gov.
    The comments included proposals for new categorical exclusions and 
suggested revisions to limit or expand existing categorical exclusions 
or other related provisions. DOE addresses these comments in its 
discussion of specific classes of actions in Section IV. Comments of a 
more general nature that were not associated with a particular 
provision are addressed below in Section V.

How did DOE develop the proposed changes?

    As described above, DOE reviewed and evaluated each of the proposed 
revisions, reviewed past DOE NEPA analyses and other agencies' NEPA 
analyses and categorical exclusions, and drafted proposed categorical 
exclusions and revisions. DOE created a Technical Support Document that 
presents proposed changes and information that supplements the Preamble 
discussion of the supporting basis for the changes. (See http://www.regulations.gov, Docket ID: DOE-HQ-2010-0002.) The proposed changes 
were developed in consultation with CEQ (see 40 CFR 1507.3), and are 
now, through this notice of proposed rulemaking, published for public 
review and comment. Instructions for how to provide comments are 
provided in Section III. DOE is also scheduling a public hearing to 
accept comments on the proposed rule. Details regarding the public 
hearing are provided in the DATES and ADDRESSES section and in Section 
III.B below. DOE will review the comments received during the public 
comment period, including those presented at the public hearing, and 
revise its proposal as appropriate. The final rule with DOE responses 
to comments would then be published in the Federal Register.

What kinds of changes does DOE propose?

    DOE proposes to amend 10 CFR part 1021, subparts C and D. The 
majority of changes are proposed for the categorical exclusion 
provisions at 10 CFR part 1021, subpart D, appendices A and B, with a 
small number of related changes proposed for other provisions within 
subparts C and D.
    DOE proposes to add 20 new categorical exclusions. These 
categorical exclusions (in the order in which they appear in appendix 
B) address: Stormwater runoff control; lead-based paint removal; 
recycling stations; determinations of excess real property; small-scale 
educational facilities; small-scale indoor research and development 
projects using nanoscale materials; research activities in salt water 
and freshwater environments; experimental wells for injection of small 
quantities of carbon dioxide; combined heat and power or cogeneration 
systems; small-scale renewable energy research and development and 
pilot projects; solar photovoltaic systems; solar thermal systems; wind 
turbines; ground source heat pumps; biomass power plants; methane gas 
recovery and utilization systems; alternative fuel vehicle fueling 
stations; electric vehicle charging

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stations; drop-in hydroelectric systems; and small-scale renewable 
energy research and development and pilot projects in salt water and 
freshwater environments. DOE proposes to remove two categorical 
exclusion categories, one EA category, and two EIS categories.
    DOE also proposes to modify many of the existing categorical 
exclusions. These revisions include substantive changes, as well as 
changes to reflect current regulatory or statutory references and 
requirements, and punctuation and grammatical changes to improve 
readability, clarity, and internal consistency. (By ``substantive'' 
changes DOE means a change that is more than a clarifying or 
consistency change; this term includes changes that alter the scope or 
meaning of a provision or that result in the addition or deletion of a 
provision.)

What would result from DOE's proposed changes?

    The proposed changes would better align DOE's categorical 
exclusions with its current activities and its experience and bring the 
provisions up-to-date with current technology and regulatory 
requirements. The changes would also facilitate compliance with NEPA by 
providing for more efficient review of actions (helping the Department 
meet the goals set forth by Congress, for example, in the Energy Policy 
Act of 2005), and allowing the Department to focus its resources on 
proposed actions that have the potential for significant environmental 
impacts.

III. Invitation To Comment

    DOE invites interested persons to participate in this rulemaking by 
submitting comments on the proposed rule and on the supporting 
information for proposed changes set forth in the Preamble and the 
Technical Support Document. Comments would be particularly useful to 
DOE if those comments: (1) Provide information to support or oppose a 
proposed change (for example, describing experience with similar 
actions that did or did not have significant environmental impacts or 
providing references to such experience); (2) justify increased or 
lessened limitations on the application of a categorical exclusion; or 
(3) explain recommended changes in addition to those that DOE proposes 
and provide the rationale for such additional changes. As appropriate, 
comments should refer to the specific section of the proposed rule to 
which the comment applies, identify a comment as a general comment, or 
identify a comment as a new proposal.
    DOE will consider all timely comments received in response to this 
notice of proposed rulemaking, whether presented orally at the public 
hearing or written and submitted electronically or by mail.

A. Written Comments

    Comments may be submitted by one of the methods in the ADDRESSES 
section of this proposed rule. Comments received will be included in 
the administrative record and will be made available online at http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, 
unless the comment includes information specifically identified as 
Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose 
disclosure is restricted by statute. Information that you consider to 
be CBI or otherwise protected should be submitted by mail, not through 
http://www.regulations.gov. If you submit information that you believe 
to be exempt by law from public disclosure, you should mail one 
complete copy, as well as one copy from which the information claimed 
to be exempt by law from public disclosure has been redacted. Please 
include written justification as to why the redacted information is 
exempt from disclosure. DOE is responsible for the final determination 
with regard to disclosure or nondisclosure of the information and for 
treating it accordingly under the DOE Freedom of Information Act 
regulations at 10 CFR 1004.11.
    The http://www.regulations.gov Web site is an ``anonymous access'' 
system, which means DOE will not know your contact information unless 
you provide it. If you choose not to provide contact information and 
DOE cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties, DOE may not 
be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use 
of special characters and any form of encryption, and be free of any 
defects or viruses.

B. Public Hearing

Attendance
    The time, date, and location of the public hearing are listed in 
the DATES and ADDRESSES sections at the beginning of this proposed 
rule. Persons wishing to attend the public hearing must present 
government-issued identification and pass through security screening 
upon entering the building. Foreign nationals are subject to advance 
security screening procedures. Any foreign national wishing to 
participate or attend the public hearing should advise DOE promptly in 
order to initiate the necessary procedures as soon as possible; see FOR 
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT, above.
Registering To Speak
    Any person who has an interest in the topics addressed in this 
proposed rule may speak at the public hearing, either as an individual 
or as a representative of a group or organization of interested 
persons. Persons wishing to speak should register in advance, as 
described in FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. After registered speakers 
have made their presentations, other persons may speak to the extent 
that time allows.
Conduct of Public Hearing
    DOE will designate an official or facilitator to preside at the 
public hearing. The public hearing will be informal and not a judicial 
or evidentiary-type hearing. DOE reserves the right to schedule the 
order of speakers and to establish the procedures governing the conduct 
of the hearing. To ensure that all persons wishing to make a 
presentation can be heard, DOE may limit each presentation to 10 
minutes or less. The presiding official or facilitator will announce 
any further procedural rules needed for the proper conduct of the 
public hearing. After the public hearing, interested persons may submit 
further comments until the end of the comment period.
    A transcript of the hearing will be made and posted at http://www.regulations.gov.

C. Issues on Which DOE Seeks Comment

    DOE is particularly interested in receiving comments and views of 
interested parties on several topics. As discussed in more detail in 
Section IV.B below, DOE seeks comments on its use of the phrases 
``including, but not limited to,'' and ``such as'' to introduce lists 
of examples. Unless otherwise specified, DOE's lists of examples are 
not intended to be exhaustive of all possible actions that fit within a 
categorical exclusion. DOE also seeks comments on its use of the phrase 
``would not have the potential to cause significant impacts'' (or a 
similar construct) in lieu of the use of terms such as ``adverse'' or 
``substantial'' as modifiers for potential impacts. DOE believes that 
the proposed phrase more accurately reflects NEPA and the CEQ NEPA 
regulations.
    DOE is particularly interested in receiving comments and views of 
interested parties on the proposals relating to the following classes 
of actions:


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B3.7 New Terrestrial Infill Exploratory and Experimental Wells
B3.15 Small-Scale Indoor Research and Development Projects Using 
Nanoscale Materials
B3.16 Research Activities in Salt Water and Freshwater Environments
B4.1 Contracts, Policies, and Marketing and Allocation Plans for 
Electric Power
B4.11 Electric Power Substations and Interconnection Facilities
B4.12 Construction of Transmission Lines
B4.13 Upgrading and Rebuilding Existing Transmission Lines
B5.1(b) Actions To Conserve Energy or Water
B5.13 Experimental Wells for Injection of Small Quantities of Carbon 
Dioxide
B5.15 Small-Scale Renewable Energy Research and Development and 
Pilot Projects
B5.16 Solar Photovoltaic Systems
B5.17 Solar Thermal Systems
B5.18 Wind Turbines
B5.19 Ground Source Heat Pumps
B5.20 Biomass Power Plants
B5.24 Drop-in Hydroelectric Systems
B5.25 Small-Scale Renewable Energy Research and Development and 
Pilot Projects in Salt Water and Freshwater Environments
B6.1 Cleanup Actions
C7 Contracts, Policies, and Marketing and Allocation Plans for 
Electric Power
D5 [Removed and Reserved: Main Transmission System Additions]
D6 [Removed and Reserved: Integrating Transmission Facilities]
D7 Contracts, Policies, and Marketing and Allocation Plans for 
Electric Power

    DOE also welcomes comments on those categorical exclusions for 
classes of actions for which DOE has not proposed any revisions at this 
time.

IV. Description of Proposed Changes

A. Overview

    This section describes and explains the proposed amendments to the 
existing DOE NEPA regulations at 10 CFR part 1021, subparts C and D.
    In subpart C, Implementing Procedures, the proposed amendments are 
minor technical changes. Specifically, to correct internal references, 
DOE proposes changes to three sections in subpart C: (1) 10 CFR 
1021.311--Notice of intent and scoping; (2) 10 CFR 1021.322--Findings 
of no significant impact; and (3) 10 CFR 1021.331--Mitigation action 
plans. These proposed minor technical changes to subpart C are not 
discussed further below.
    In subpart D, DOE proposes extensive substantive and clarifying 
changes. Recurring proposals for subpart D are described in Section 
IV.B and then unique proposed changes to subpart D are described in 
Sections IV.C through IV.G. Support for the proposed revisions is 
summarized below, and more information regarding the supporting basis 
for certain provisions is provided in the Technical Support Document.
What is subpart D of the DOE NEPA regulations?
    DOE's NEPA regulations at 10 CFR part 1021 include subpart D, which 
lists classes of actions and the typical level of NEPA review required 
for those classes of actions. Subpart D appendices A and B describe 
DOE's categorical exclusions. Appendix C describes classes of actions 
that normally require preparation of an EA, but not necessarily an EIS, 
and appendix D describes classes of actions that normally require 
preparation of an EIS.
    Listing a class of actions in these appendices does not constitute 
a conclusive determination regarding the appropriate level of NEPA 
review for a proposed action. Rather, the listing creates an initial 
assumption that the defined level of review is appropriate for the 
listed actions. As indicated in the existing 10 CFR 1021.400(c) and 
(d), this assumption does not apply when there are extraordinary 
circumstances related to the proposed action that may affect the 
significance of the environmental effects of the action.
What types of changes does DOE propose to subpart D?
    DOE proposes to make several types of changes to its subpart D 
regulations: these revisions include substantive changes, as well as 
changes to reflect current regulatory or statutory references and 
requirements, and punctuation and grammatical changes to improve 
readability, clarity, and internal consistency. A proposed change does 
not imply that any previous application of these regulations was 
inappropriate. See 10 CFR 1021.400(b).
    DOE also proposes to delete the tables of contents for the classes 
of actions in subpart D, and instead to precede each section or 
paragraph with a short title. These short titles are included merely to 
guide the reader and do not have any regulatory effect.
    Some of the proposed changes apply multiple times throughout the 
provisions; others are made in the context of a specific provision. 
Section IV.B of this proposed rule contains an explanation of proposals 
that recur, that is, that affect more than one class of actions, 
instead of duplicating the explanation for multiple individual classes 
of actions. Descriptions of specific individual proposed changes and 
support for such changes begin with Section IV.C. With respect to 
certain proposed changes, a more detailed explanation of the supporting 
basis is provided in the Technical Support Document. (The Technical 
Support Document and the ``redline/strikeout'' markup of DOE's existing 
regulations that show the proposed changes are available at http://www.regulations.gov.)

B. Recurring Proposals, Technology Updates, and Minor Changes

    DOE proposes certain changes to its regulations that recur 
throughout subpart D. Seven recurring proposals are described below and 
are followed by a listing of the existing provisions where the 
recurring proposals occur. Discussion of these recurring proposals is 
not repeated in the discussion of classes of actions in Section IV 
below.
    DOE also proposes to modify certain technology-specific vocabulary 
to reflect current usage, updates to references, and minor changes to 
punctuation and grammar to improve internal consistency. For example, 
to update technology-specific vocabulary, DOE proposes to change 
``electric powerlines'' to ``electric transmission lines'' in several 
categorical exclusions. DOE also proposes to update references, as in 
categorical exclusion B3.12, which would reference the latest edition 
of a Centers for Disease Control manual. DOE is proposing to correct 
typographical errors (for example, changing ``with'' to ``within'' in 
categorical exclusion B1.13). Also, for certain classes of actions, DOE 
is proposing the addition of cross-references to related classes of 
actions. For example, DOE is proposing to add a cross-reference to the 
proposed new categorical exclusion B1.33 into the existing categorical 
exclusion B1.6.
B.1. Adjacent/Contiguous/Nearby
    To clarify use of terms reflecting proximity, and to promote 
consistency in its categorical exclusions, DOE is proposing to delete 
the word ``adjacent'' from its categorical exclusions and use 
``contiguous'' and ``nearby,'' as appropriate. DOE proposes to use the 
word ``contiguous,'' where the intended application is ``touching along 
a boundary or at a point'' or ``being in actual contact.'' In contrast, 
DOE is proposing to use the word ``nearby,'' where the intended 
application is ``not distant'' or ``in proximity, but not necessarily 
touching.'' In order to facilitate consistent understanding and 
application of this concept, DOE, therefore, proposes changes to the 
following provisions: B1.31, B2.1, B4.7, B5.8, B5.12.

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B.2. Including, But Not Limited to/Including/Such as
    DOE proposes to use the phrases ``including, but not limited to,'' 
``including,'' and ``such as'' to introduce lists of examples. DOE 
considers the phrases to be synonymous. Unless otherwise specified, 
DOE's lists of examples are not intended to be exhaustive of all 
possible actions that fit within a class of actions. DOE proposes 
generally to use ``including, but not limited to,'' the first time that 
examples are introduced in a provision and ``such as'' for any needed 
clarification of the examples. In order to facilitate consistent 
understanding and application of this concept, DOE, therefore, proposes 
changes to the following provisions: 1021.410(b)(2), A1, A6, A9, A12, 
B(4), B1.3, B1.5, B1.9, B1.10, B1.11, B1.12, B1.13, B1.15, B1.16, 
B1.17, B1.20, B1.21, B1.24, B1.27, B1.29, B1.31, B1.32, B2.4, B2.5, 
B3.1, B3.4, B3.6, B3.7, B3.8, B3.9, B3.10, B3.11, B3.12, B3.13, B4.4, 
B4.6, B4.7, B4.9, B4.10, B4.11, B5.1, B5.2, B5.3, B5.4, B5.5, B5.6, 
B5.12, B6.1, B6.2, B6.3, B6.4, B7.2, C8, C16.
B.3. In Accordance With Applicable Requirements
    DOE proposes to use the phrase ``in accordance with applicable 
requirements'' in several of its categorical exclusions for emphasis. 
DOE recognizes that all actions must be conducted in accordance with 
all applicable requirements. However, with certain categorical 
exclusions, DOE finds it appropriate to refer specifically to this 
requirement, and, further, in some cases also to provide one or more 
examples of applicable requirements. By referring to a specific 
requirement, DOE does not imply that the requirement is relevant to all 
actions to which the categorical exclusion may apply, or that the 
referenced requirement is the only one that applies to a proposed 
action. DOE's proposed wording is intended to allow for the evolution 
of the requirements over time. In order to facilitate consistent 
understanding and application of this concept, DOE, therefore, proposes 
changes to the following provisions: B1.2, B1.3, B1.9, B1.16, B1.17, 
B1.29, B2.5, B3.8, B3.12, B5.4, B5.6, B6.1, B7.2.
B.4. Would Not Have the Potential To Cause Significant Impacts
    Appendices A and B contain a number of provisions that contain the 
word ``adverse,'' or the use of ``any'' or ``no'' as descriptors of, or 
surrogates for, impacts. Through this proposed rulemaking, DOE proposes 
to replace these terms with ``would not have the potential to cause 
significant impacts'' or a similar construct (for example, describing a 
physical change that serves as a surrogate for impacts, such as in 
categorical exclusions B1.18, B3.4, B3.9, and B5.2). By the proposed 
changes, DOE's implementing regulations are now clearly aligned with 
the regulatory standard in NEPA. See 40 CFR 1508.4. Additionally, by 
this proposed change, DOE seeks to clarify the affected provisions and 
to facilitate consistent application. See also 40 CFR 1508.27 
(addressing the meaning of ``significantly'' as used in NEPA).
    DOE's review of the existing provisions demonstrated the need for 
clarification and consistency. For example, the existing categorical 
exclusion B3.8 requires that the action ``would not result in any 
permanent change to the ecosystem.'' A literal reading of this 
categorical exclusion would bar its use if there were any permanent 
change to the ecosystem, even a change that would not have the 
potential to cause significant impacts. DOE acknowledges that this is 
not what NEPA requires and thus DOE proposes to rephrase the 
categorical exclusion to incorporate the appropriate NEPA standard, 
phrased as ``would not have the potential to cause significant impacts 
on the ecosystem.'' In order to facilitate consistent understanding and 
application of this concept, DOE, therefore, proposes changes to the 
following provisions: B(4), B1.5, B1.11, B1.18, B1.24, B1.31, B2.3, 
B3.1, B3.3, B3.8, B3.9, B4.6, B5.1, B5.2, B5.12, C8.
B.5. On DOE Sites/Onsite/Employee
    In recent years, DOE's proposed actions have included more 
applicant proposals, including those for DOE loan guarantees, grants, 
cooperative agreements, and other forms of financial assistance, 
particularly for programs created under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, 
the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, and the American 
Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. In an applicant situation, DOE's 
proposed action normally would not be located on a DOE site, but rather 
on private property or land administered by other agencies (e.g., 
Bureau of Land Management). In recognition of DOE's recently expanded 
activities, DOE is proposing, where appropriate, to delete references 
to ``DOE site,'' ``onsite,'' or ``employee'' from its classes of 
actions. For example, DOE is proposing to amend existing categorical 
exclusion B1.13, Pathways, short access roads, and rail lines, by 
deleting ``onsite'' and instead inserting the condition that the 
construction, acquisition, and relocation of these linear features be 
``consistent with applicable right-of-way conditions and approved land 
use or transportation improvement plans.'' The significance of 
environmental impacts resulting from a class of actions does not depend 
on whether they occur at DOE sites.
    In order to facilitate consistent understanding and application of 
this concept, DOE, therefore, proposes changes to the following 
provisions: B1.13, B1.15, B1.29, B1.32, B3.1, B6.10, C7, D7.
B.6. Previously Disturbed or Developed Area
    In DOE's experience, the potential for certain types of actions to 
have significant impacts on the human environment is generally avoided 
when that action takes place within a previously disturbed or developed 
area, i.e., land that has been changed such that the former state of 
the area and its functioning ecological processes have been altered. 
Thus, DOE includes a requirement in several of its proposed provisions 
that actions be located within previously disturbed or developed areas. 
In other instances, the existing provision contains a similar 
requirement, and DOE proposes to replace the existing language with the 
phrase ``previously disturbed or developed area'' for purposes of 
internal consistency. In order to facilitate consistent understanding 
and application of this concept, DOE, therefore, proposes changes to 
the following provisions: B1.31, B2.1, B3.6, B3.10, B3.12, B4.6, B4.7, 
B4.8, B4.12, B5.1, B5.5, B5.8, B6.10, C4, C11.
B.7. Small/Small-Scale/Minor/Negligible/Short/Short-Term
    DOE uses adjectives (such as ``small,'' ``small-scale,'' ``minor,'' 
``negligible,'' ``short,'' and ``short-term'') as limitations in a 
variety of its existing and proposed provisions and recognizes that 
these descriptors are subjective. In general, DOE did not and does not 
propose to define these terms, and DOE would apply a reasonable 
interpretation to such terms within the context of individual 
proposals. The CEQ regulations state that ``significantly,'' as used in 
NEPA, requires consideration of context and intensity. See 40 CFR 
1508.27. Likewise, consideration of context and intensity is useful 
when interpreting descriptors such as small, small-scale, minor, short, 
and short-term, in making categorical exclusion determinations for 
proposals. (DOE proposes to discontinue the use of the word 
``negligible.'')
    For example, in considering whether the use of 5-10 acres of land 
is ``small''

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for a particular proposal, it is reasonable to conclude that 5-10 acres 
of land at a large DOE site would likely be considered ``small,'' but 
5-10 acres of land might not be considered ``small'' in an urban 
environment. In some instances, however, the Department has quantified 
these descriptors because the size is more directly linked to impacts. 
For example, DOE categorizes a ``small'' area for outdoor ecological 
and other environmental research as generally less than 5 acres in its 
existing categorical exclusion B3.8. Additionally, DOE defines 
``small'' water treatment facilities as those that have a total 
capacity of less than 250,000 gallons/day in existing categorical 
exclusion B1.26.
    In order to facilitate consistent understanding and application of 
this concept, DOE, therefore, proposes changes to the following 
provisions: B1.2, B1.13, B1.15, B3.6, B3.8, B4.13, B5.1, B5.4, B5.7, 
C8.

C. Proposed Changes to Subpart D (Other Than Appendices)

10 CFR 1021.410 Application of Categorical Exclusions (Classes of 
Actions That Normally Do Not Require EAs or EISs)
    DOE proposes to clarify four requirements in 10 CFR 1021.410. 
First, DOE proposes to remove the reference to Section 102(2)(E) of 
NEPA to clarify that DOE's consideration of unresolved conflicts 
concerning alternative uses of available resources is independent of 
the need to evaluate alternatives in an EA as indicated in Section 
102(2)(E) of NEPA.
    Second, in 10 CFR 1021.410(b)(3), DOE proposes to refer explicitly 
to the requirement that a categorically excludable project has not been 
segmented. DOE also proposes to change its references to the CEQ 
regulations to clarify consideration of potential cumulative impacts 
(40 CFR 1508.27(b)(7)), and to clarify that its references to 40 CFR 
1506.1 and 10 CFR 1021.211 concern limitations on actions during EIS 
preparation.
    Third, DOE proposes to add site preparation and purchase and 
installation of equipment to 10 CFR 1021.410(d) as examples of 
activities foreseeably necessary to implement proposals that are 
encompassed within the class of actions.
    Fourth, DOE proposes to codify its policy to document and post 
online appendix B categorical exclusion determinations at 10 CFR 
1021.410(e), consistent with the policy established by the Deputy 
Secretary of Energy's Memorandum to Departmental Elements on NEPA 
Process Transparency and Openness, October 2, 2009.

D. Proposed Changes to Appendix A--General Agency Actions

    For an explanation of recurring proposals applicable to the 
appendix A categorical exclusions, please see Section IV.B, Recurring 
Proposals, above, where these proposed revisions are discussed and 
where the particular provisions affected are listed. The short titles 
listed below for particular categorical exclusions reflect DOE's 
proposed titles.
A1 Routine DOE Business Actions
    DOE proposes to replace ``agency'' with ``DOE'' to clarify that 
this categorical exclusion applies only to DOE business actions. DOE 
also proposes to limit such actions to administrative, financial, and 
personnel actions.
A7 [Removed and Reserved: Transfer of Property, Use Unchanged]
    To increase transparency of DOE's NEPA processes, DOE proposes to 
delete this categorical exclusion and to incorporate its key components 
within B1.24, which also addresses property transfers, so that any 
categorically excluded property transfers are documented and made 
available to the public. (See proposed changes to 10 CFR 1021.410(e) 
concerning documentation and public availability of DOE's appendix B 
categorical exclusion determinations.)
    In response to DOE's December 2009 Request for Information, a 
commentor expressed concern that DOE, in making land transfer decisions 
under existing categorical exclusion A7, would be ``circumventing local 
authority'' and ``normal land use planning and zoning processes.'' See 
the discussion of categorical exclusion B1.24 for DOE's response.
A9 Information Gathering, Analysis, and Dissemination
    DOE proposes to clarify this categorical exclusion by providing 
site visits as an additional example of an action included within the 
category.
A13 Procedural Documents
    DOE proposes to clarify this categorical exclusion by providing 
additional examples of actions included within the class of actions 
(e.g., Policies and Manuals within the DOE Directives System).

E. Proposed Changes to Appendix B

    For an explanation of recurring proposals applicable to the 
appendix B categorical exclusions, please see Section IV.B, Recurring 
Proposals, above, where these proposed revisions are discussed and the 
particular categorical exclusions affected are listed. The short titles 
listed below for particular categorical exclusions reflect DOE's 
proposed titles.
Integral Elements of the Classes of Actions in Appendix B
    In appendix B(4), DOE proposes to clarify its use of 
``environmentally sensitive resource,'' defining it as ``typically a 
resource that has been identified as needing protection through 
Executive Order, statute, or regulation by Federal, State, or local 
government, or a Federally recognized Indian Tribe.'' This definition 
is not intended to, and does not, grant, expand, create, or diminish 
any legally enforceable rights, benefits, or responsibilities, 
substantive or procedural, not otherwise granted or created under 
existing law. Nor shall this language be construed to alter, amend, 
repeal, interpret, or modify Tribal sovereignty, any treaty rights of 
any Indian Tribes, or to preempt, modify, or limit the exercise of any 
such rights.
    In appendix B(4)(i), DOE proposes to add ``Federally recognized 
Indian Tribe'' to its list of entities that designate property as 
historically, archeologically, or architecturally significant. DOE also 
proposes to redefine other environmentally sensitive properties as 
``determined to be eligible'' for listing on the National Register of 
Historic Places (rather than the phrase ``eligible for listing,'' which 
is used in the existing provision, but is not the proper 
characterization of an official listing). In appendix B(4)(iii), DOE 
proposes to apply the same definition of floodplains and wetlands in 
its NEPA regulations as that used in DOE's floodplain and wetland 
environmental review regulations (10 CFR part 1022.4). In appendix 
B(4)(iv), DOE proposes to supplement the list of areas having special 
designation with additional examples (national monuments and scenic 
areas). In appendix B(4)(v), DOE proposes changes to the prime 
agricultural lands listing to conform to the terminology of the 
applicable regulation (7 CFR 658.2(a), ``Farmland Protection Policy 
Act: Definitions'').
    In response to the Department's December 2009 Request for 
Information, one commentor addressed DOE's list of ``environmentally 
sensitive resources'' in appendix B(4). First, the commentor indicated 
that DOE must recognize State and Tribal protected or candidate species 
and habitat as equal to Federally designated or considered species and

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habitats. Currently, appendix B(4)(ii) includes consideration of State-
listed endangered and threatened species and their habitats, and DOE is 
proposing to add Federally-protected marine mammals and Essential Fish 
Habitat to the list of environmentally sensitive resources. DOE is not 
proposing to include Tribal protected or candidate species and habitat 
because it is DOE's understanding that Tribes do not have the authority 
to designate species or habitat for protection outside of Tribal lands.
    Second, the commentor stated that ``groundwater and aquifers are 
State, not Federal resources'' and indicated that DOE's regulations 
must protect and preserve all aquifers, and not just sole-source 
aquifers. The commentor further stated that adverse impacts to rivers, 
lakes, and bays, among other bodies of water, should not be allowed 
``unless they are specifically covered by a State and/or Tribal 
discharge permit under appropriate authority.'' DOE is not proposing a 
change to the existing appendix B(4)(vi), which lists ``special sources 
of water (such as sole source aquifers, wellhead protection areas, and 
other water sources that are vital in a region)'' in its list of 
environmentally sensitive resources, because those resources are listed 
as examples and are not the only water sources to be considered in 
applying a categorical exclusion. Further, the existing appendix B(4) 
includes States and Federally recognized Tribes as entities with 
jurisdiction to identify water sources needing protection.

Categorical Exclusions Applicable to Facility Operation (B1)

B1.1 Changing Rates and Prices
    DOE proposes to change this categorical exclusion to encompass the 
setting of ``prices'' as well as ``rates'' (prices apply to products, 
and rates apply to services) and to consider price and rate changes 
instead of only increases. DOE proposes to change the measure of 
inflation specified in this categorical exclusion from the Gross 
National Product fixed weight price index, which the Department of 
Commerce no longer publishes, to the implicit price deflator for Gross 
Domestic Product. (See the Technical Support Document.)
B1.2 Training Exercises and Simulations
    DOE proposes to provide additional examples of training actions 
(namely, small-scale and short-duration force-on-force exercises, and 
decontamination and spill cleanup training), and has added the 
condition that all training exercises and simulations be conducted 
under appropriately controlled conditions and in accordance with 
applicable requirements. The term ``force-on-force'' as used in this 
categorical exclusion refers to activities such as assault and 
defensive team exercises conducted by security forces or military 
units, often on parcels of DOE property not in use. Exercises that test 
the ability of security forces to defend a facility are one common 
example of this type of training. DOE's experience with these types of 
security force and military training actions and emergency response 
training at its sites indicates that they fit within the class of 
actions. (See the Technical Support Document.)
B1.3 Routine Maintenance
    DOE proposes to clarify that routine maintenance actions may occur 
as a result of nonroutine events (e.g., severe weather, such as 
hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes, and wildfires) by adding a sentence 
to that effect in its description of routine maintenance. Normally, 
maintenance following a nonroutine event would qualify as routine 
maintenance; however, for a nonroutine event, the potential for 
extraordinary circumstances is higher (e.g., increased exposure to 
pesticides due to extreme runoff).
    DOE proposes to clarify the scope of the categorical exclusion by 
providing additional examples of activities. Specifically, DOE is 
proposing to clarify that replacement is included in the categorical 
exclusion's scope under items (a), (c), and (e), as well as the 
existing example of repair; to add ``lighting'' to those items that can 
be repaired or replaced (item (e)); to add ``scraping and grading of 
unpaved surfaces'' to the example of road and parking area resurfacing 
(item (j)); and to add the additional example of ``removal of debris'' 
under item (p). DOE's experience with these activities has demonstrated 
that they properly fit within this class of actions.
    In response to the Department's December 2009 Request for 
Information, one commentor stated that use of pesticides for outdoor or 
aquatic use should not be the subject of a categorical exclusion; 
instead an EA should be prepared. The commentor expressed a specific 
concern about the possibility for environmental impacts beyond the 
intended application. In existing categorical exclusion B1.3, DOE has 
described routine maintenance activities including localized vegetation 
and pest control. DOE now proposes to clarify that any routine 
maintenance activities would be conducted in a manner in accordance 
with applicable requirements. In the case of pesticides and other 
chemicals, for example, the proposed change would provide that the 
application would be in accordance with the registered and approved 
uses established by appropriate authorities to minimize the possibility 
of environmental impacts beyond the product's intended application.
B1.5 Existing Steam Plants and Cooling Water Systems
    DOE proposes to delete the words ``within an existing building or 
structure,'' so as to include modifications to ponds, which may be 
outdoor components of cooling water systems. This proposed expansion of 
the scope of this categorical exclusion would address the need for 
improvements to an entire cooling water system, rather than only those 
parts of a system associated with structures. Based on DOE experience, 
minor improvements would not have the potential to cause significant 
impacts, provided the three limitations placed on the scale and type of 
improvements listed in the categorical exclusion are met.
    DOE also proposes to add minor improvements of existing steam 
plants in the scope of the categorical exclusion. DOE's experience is 
that these actions, when subject to the three limitations placed on the 
scale and type of such improvements, fit appropriately within this 
class of actions and would not have the potential to cause significant 
impacts.
B1.7 Electronic Equipment
    DOE proposes to update the existing categorical exclusion by adding 
examples of current technology and equipment that improve operational 
efficiency and stability of the nation's power grid, commonly referred 
to as ``smart grid'' technologies. Based on DOE's experience, such 
technology and equipment (i.e., electricity transmission control and 
monitoring devices for grid demand and response) fit within the scope 
of this categorical exclusion.
B1.9 Airway Safety Markings and Painting
    DOE proposes to include repair and in-kind replacement of lighting 
within the scope of this categorical exclusion. Within the context of 
this categorical exclusion, in-kind replacement is defined as 
replacement that does not result in a significant change in the 
expected useful life, design capacity (for example, energy output in 
lumens), function, or shielding of existing

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lighting. The initial installation of such lighting would remain 
ineligible for categorical exclusion. In addition, DOE proposes to add 
wind turbines as structures similar to transmission lines and antenna 
structures to which the exclusion applies. DOE has determined that 
these proposed changes would not have the potential to cause 
significant impacts.
B1.11 Fencing
    DOE proposes to clarify that the limitation in this categorical 
exclusion applies to fencing that would have the potential to cause 
significant impacts to surface water flow or wildlife populations or 
migration, as opposed to individual animal movements. Fencing can and 
probably often does affect individual movements, but such impacts on 
individual animals would not be considered significant unless the 
context and intensity of the impacts would have the potential to cause 
significant impacts to wildlife populations or migration.
B1.12 Detonation or Burning of Explosives or Propellants After Testing
    DOE proposes to delete the restriction that explosives or 
propellants must have failed in outdoor tests and thus to expand the 
categorical exclusion to include explosives or propellants that failed 
in indoor tests. Whether the explosives or propellants were tested 
indoors or outdoors, the outdoor detonation or burning of those 
explosives or propellants would not have the potential to cause 
significant impacts. The phrase ``otherwise not consumed in testing'' 
refers to excess or residual explosive or propellant materials that 
remain after a test is completed. DOE also proposes to specify one type 
of permit under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act that could 
be applicable.
    In response to DOE's December 2009 Request for Information, one 
commentor requested that DOE specify the amount, types, and methods 
allowed for the activities included in this categorical exclusion. DOE 
has determined that the limits contained in this categorical exclusion 
do not require quantification and is not proposing any changes to the 
categorical exclusion in response to this comment.
B1.13 Pathways, Short Access Roads, and Rail Lines
    DOE proposes to expand the scope of the categorical exclusion to 
include more projects related to transportation, recreation, and 
fitness (e.g., pedestrian walkways and trails, bicycle paths, and small 
outdoor fitness areas). Other Federal agencies that have categorical 
exclusions for comparable projects are the Bureau of Indian Affairs, 
the Federal Highway Administration, and the Department of Homeland 
Security, and the experience of these agencies supports DOE's proposed 
expansion of this categorical exclusion.
    DOE also proposes to include a condition in the categorical 
exclusion that the actions be consistent with existing rights-of-way 
and approved land use or transportation improvement plans. In addition, 
DOE proposes to replace ``railroads'' with the term ``rail lines,'' 
adding branch or spur lines as examples. DOE's experience is that the 
construction of rail access to or within an existing site has generally 
occurred at a scale that is better characterized by these small-scale 
activities--branch line (a secondary rail line which may branch off a 
main line) and spur (a rail track on which cars are left for loading, 
unloading, or rail car storage).
    In response to the DOE's December 2009 Request for Information, a 
commentor stated that road construction or expansion should not be the 
subject of a categorical exclusion. Further, the commentor expressed a 
concern about the potential for damage to ``high quality, high priority 
habitat'' as a result of constructing and operating roads and that use 
of such a categorical exclusion would limit or circumvent consideration 
of appropriate mitigation for habitat disturbance or loss. As outlined 
above, DOE's proposed amendments to categorical exclusion B1.13 require 
the construction, acquisition, and relocation of short access roads and 
rail lines to be consistent with applicable right-of-way conditions and 
approved land use or transportation improvement plans. Furthermore, 
consideration of the integral elements in applying this categorical 
exclusion addresses the possibility of damage to ``high quality, high 
priority habitat'' because, among other things, one of the 
``environmentally sensitive resources'' to consider in those integral 
elements is habitat for Federally or State-listed species. (See the 
Technical Support Document.)
B1.15 Support Buildings
    DOE proposes to expand the list of examples of support buildings 
and support structures to include those for ``small-scale fabrication 
(such as machine shop activities and modular buildings), assembly, and 
testing of non-nuclear equipment or components.'' Such structures are 
comparable to, or smaller in scale than, other structures given as 
examples in the categorical exclusion, and DOE's experience at DOE 
sites is that siting, construction, and operation of these activities 
normally fit within the class of actions. Also, DOE proposes to further 
clarify the scope of the categorical exclusion by specifying that it 
excludes facilities for nuclear weapon activities.
B1.19 Microwave, Meteorological, and Radio Towers
    DOE proposes to add ``modification,'' ``abandonment,'' and 
``removal'' to the list of activities included in this class of actions 
in order to describe the complete life cycle of categorically excluded 
towers. In DOE's experience, modification, abandonment, and removal of 
these towers and associated facilities, when subject to the 
restrictions in this categorical exclusion, would have fewer impacts 
than construction and would not have the potential to cause significant 
impacts.
    DOE proposes to include meteorological towers as an additional 
example of applicable facilities within this categorical exclusion 
because DOE has determined that the environmental impacts resulting 
from siting, construction, modification, operation, abandonment, and 
removal of meteorological towers would be similar to the impacts from 
these activities relating to microwave and radio towers already 
contained in the scope of the existing categorical exclusion.
    DOE proposes to clarify the restriction in the existing categorical 
exclusion, by replacing ``great visual value'' with a more objective 
criteria of ``governmentally designated scenic area'' and cross-
referencing to the relevant integral element (appendix B(4)(iv)).
B1.20 Protection of Cultural Resources, Fish and Wildlife Habitat
    DOE proposes to add to the scope of this categorical exclusion by 
referencing activities taken to protect cultural resources and by 
including examples of those activities (fencing, labeling, or 
flagging). DOE's Power Marketing Administrations often engage in such 
activities for cultural and wildlife protection purposes, and these 
activities would not have the potential to cause significant impacts. 
DOE also proposes to include a condition in the categorical exclusion 
that the activities would be conducted in accordance with an existing 
natural or cultural resource plan, if any.
B1.23 Demolition and Disposal of Buildings
    In response to DOE's December 2009 Request for Information, one 
commentor questioned whether there should be a

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size limitation for the activities under this categorical exclusion. 
Further, the commentor asked how DOE takes into consideration possible 
contamination when applying this categorical exclusion. In response to 
these comments, DOE proposes to modify this categorical exclusion by 
adding a limitation that these activities could be categorically 
excluded only if there would be no potential for release of substances 
at a level, or in a form, that could pose a threat to public health or 
the environment.
    The application of this categorical exclusion is intended to be 
based on existing data and knowledge about historical uses of the area, 
including chemical and other processes employed. DOE has extensive 
experience (former Rocky Flats Site, Hanford Site, Idaho National 
Laboratory, and other sites) in determining the potential for release 
of harmful substances from activities through modeling and safety basis 
authorization documentation. Potential hazards are considered before 
taking action (for example, demolition actions), and monitoring is 
conducted, as appropriate, to verify that there are no harmful releases 
of radiological or hazardous materials. Potential for releases can 
reliably be determined through site inventories, the use of well-
established release models, and established best practices.
B1.24 Property Transfers
    As discussed under categorical exclusion A7 (above), DOE proposes 
to delete A7 and incorporate its key components, including transfers of 
personal property (equipment and materials), within B1.24. By doing 
this, DOE makes categorical exclusion determinations for property 
transfers subject to documentation and online posting. DOE proposes to 
remove the reference to ``uncontaminated'' as unnecessary given the 
incorporation of the substance of this limitation in the revised 
categorical exclusion.
    DOE proposes to delete the phrases ``there would not be any 
lessening in quality or increases in volumes, concentrations, or 
discharge rates, of wastes, air emissions, or water effluents'' and 
``environmental impacts would generally be similar to those before the 
transfer'' as potentially inconsistent. DOE proposes to replace these 
phrases with ``there would be no potential for release of substances at 
a level, or in a form, that could pose a threat to public health or the 
environment'' and ``would not have the potential to cause a significant 
change in impacts from the transfer.'' Such terminology will, in DOE's 
experience, ensure that any property transfers under this categorical 
exclusion would not have the potential to cause significant impacts.
    In response to DOE's December 2009 Request for Information, a 
commentor expressed concern that DOE, in making land transfer decisions 
under existing categorical exclusion A7, would be ``circumventing local 
authority'' and ``normal land use planning and zoning processes.'' The 
potential applicability of such authority and processes to a potential 
land transfer would be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
B1.25 Property Transfers for Cultural Resources Protection, Habitat 
Preservation, and Wildlife Management
    DOE proposes to include in B1.25 actions undertaken to protect 
cultural resources. DOE's Power Marketing Administrations often engage 
in property transfers for cultural protection purposes. Based on this 
experience, DOE finds property transfers intended for protecting 
cultural resources normally would not have the potential to cause 
significant impacts. Further, DOE proposes to remove the limitation 
that only associated buildings supporting certain purposes are to be 
transferred with property under this categorical exclusion, because the 
existing purpose of structures present on a property to be transferred 
for wildlife or cultural resource purposes is unrelated to 
environmental impacts associated with such transfer.
    Also, for the reasons discussed for categorical exclusion B1.24, 
above, DOE proposes to eliminate the references to ``uncontaminated,'' 
but include a limitation on actions subject to categorical exclusion 
B1.25, that there would be no potential for release of a substance at a 
level or in a form, that could pose a threat to public health or the 
environment.
B1.29 Disposal Facilities for Construction and Demolition Waste
    DOE proposes to add ``expansion'' and ``modification'' to the list 
of activities included in this categorical exclusion in order to 
include all aspects of the life cycle of the disposal facilities. In 
DOE's experience, expansion and modification actions, when subject to 
the limitations expressed in this categorical exclusion, would have 
fewer impacts than construction, and would not have the potential to 
cause significant impacts.
B1.30 Transfer Actions
    DOE proposes to modify this categorical exclusion (based on its 
experience transferring materials and equipment) to remove the 
condition that the amounts of materials, equipment, or waste being 
transferred must be ``small and incidental'' to the amount of such 
material at the receiving site. Instead, DOE proposes to add a 
condition that the receiving site has existing storage capacity and 
management capability for the material.
    In addition, DOE proposes to limit use of the categorical exclusion 
to, as appropriate, facilities and operations that are already 
permitted, licensed, and approved. That is, this proposed categorical 
exclusion would not apply to circumstances where the receiving site 
requires a permit or license amendment or variance from its existing 
approvals in order to receive or manage the materials, and it also 
would not apply to circumstances where the receiving facilities are not 
yet completed and operational.
    DOE has decades of experience transporting materials, including 
various types of radioactive materials and waste, and has completed 
NEPA reviews of such transportation under many different scenarios. DOE 
NEPA reviews of such transfers consistently show that these actions 
would not have the potential to cause significant impacts. 
Nevertheless, DOE will continue to analyze transportation impacts in 
EAs and EISs where the scope of the proposed action presents the 
potential for significant impacts or where the proposed action fails to 
meet the conditions contained in this categorical exclusion. (See the 
Technical Support Document.)
B1.31 Installation or Relocation of Machinery and Equipment
    DOE proposes several changes to this categorical exclusion. DOE 
proposes to add ``installation'' to the list of actions, which is now 
limited to the ``relocation'' of machinery and equipment; explicitly 
include ``operation'' of installed or relocated machinery and 
equipment; add ``manufacturing machinery'' in the list of examples of 
machinery and equipment; and clarify that the scope of the categorical 
exclusion includes modifications to an existing building, within or 
contiguous to a previously disturbed or developed area, provided that 
the modifications do not appreciably increase the footprint or height 
of the existing building or have the potential to cause significant 
changes to the type and magnitude of environmental impacts. DOE also 
proposes to delete the restriction that uses of the installed or 
relocated equipment be similar to their former uses, because it is 
duplicative of the limitation that the actions be consistent with the 
general missions of the receiving structure. DOE has determined

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that these proposed changes would not have the potential to cause 
significant impacts.
    In response to DOE's December 2009 Request for Information, one 
commentor suggested that DOE categorically exclude projects (e.g., 
residential, commercial, and industrial) that involve retrofitting or 
retooling of existing structures, provided that the projects do not 
include new construction, disturb previously undisturbed areas, or 
require new or significantly modified environmental permits. Further, 
the commentor explained that such a categorical exclusion would help 
facilitate alternative energy manufacturing projects (e.g., batteries, 
solar equipment, and wind turbines) that are proposed to be located in 
existing manufacturing/industrial facilities and complexes. As 
described above, DOE has proposed several changes to this categorical 
exclusion that address these comments.
B1.32 Traffic Flow Adjustments
    Because DOE proposes to broaden the scope of this categorical 
exclusion to include actions off DOE sites (see Recurring Proposals, 
Section IV.B), DOE proposes to require that the activities in this 
categorical exclusion occur within an existing right-of-way and be 
consistent with approved land use or transportation improvement plans. 
A ``traffic flow adjustment'' is a change to the flow of traffic on an 
existing street or road. Statewide and Metropolitan Transportation 
Planning processes are regulated by the U.S. Department of 
Transportation (23 CFR part 450, subparts B and C, respectively) and 
result in approved, legally-binding, multiyear plans that stipulate 
transportation actions that may be carried out in a given area and over 
a given length of time.
B1.33 Stormwater Runoff Control
    DOE proposes a new categorical exclusion for stormwater runoff 
control practices that reduce stormwater runoff and maintain natural 
hydrology. The actions included in the proposed categorical exclusion 
are found in Environmental Protection Agency's Guidance No. EPA 841-B-
09-001, Technical Guidance on Implementing the Stormwater Runoff 
Requirements for Federal Projects under Section 438 of the Energy 
Independence and Security Act (December 2009). Based on the experience 
of Federal agencies, the opinions of subject matter experts, and 
private sector experience developing and deploying stormwater runoff 
control and low impact development practices, the types of actions 
included in this categorical exclusion are, in most cases, mitigation 
or best management practices commonly employed to protect surface water 
quality and to reduce erosion associated with runoff. DOE has concluded 
that such activities would not have the potential to cause significant 
environmental impacts. (See the Technical Support Document.)
B1.34 Lead-Based Paint
    DOE proposes a new categorical exclusion for the containment, 
removal, and disposal of lead-based paint. This proposed categorical 
exclusion is based on laws and regulations governing such activities 
for buildings and other structures. Use of the proposed categorical 
exclusion would require adherence to applicable laws and regulations. 
Further, the creation of this categorical exclusion is supported by 
existing lead paint removal categorical exclusions from the 
Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Army. DOE has 
determined that such paint removal actions would not have the potential 
to cause significant impacts. (See the Technical Support Document.)
B1.35 Drop-Off, Collection and Transfer Facilities for Recyclable 
Materials
    DOE proposes a new categorical exclusion for the siting, 
construction, modification, and operation of a recycling or compostable 
material drop-off, collection, and transfer station on or contiguous to 
developed or previously disturbed land and in an area where such a 
facility would be consistent with existing zoning requirements. The 
Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Agriculture's 
Rural Utilities Service have existing categorical exclusions for 
similar facilities. Specifically, Homeland Security has a categorical 
exclusion for the recycling of non-hazardous materials from routine/
operational activities, and the Rural Utilities Service has a 
categorical exclusion for the construction of facilities for the 
transfer of waste that will be recycled or stored. DOE has determined 
that the limitations placed on recycling stations proposed in this new 
categorical exclusion would ensure that such actions would not have the 
potential to cause significant impacts. (See the Technical Support 
Document.)
B1.36 Determinations of Excess Real Property
    DOE proposes a new categorical exclusion for determinations that 
real property is excess to the needs of the Department. This proposed 
categorical exclusion includes associated reporting of such 
determinations to the General Services Administration and the Bureau of 
Land Management, as appropriate. DOE would allow the categorical 
exclusion of reporting of excess property, but the actual disposal of 
real property is not included in the scope of this proposed categorical 
exclusion.
    Other Federal agencies (e.g., Department of Homeland Security) have 
existing categorical exclusions for determinations of excess real 
property and, based on a review of these categorical exclusions, DOE 
has determined that it would be conducting the same or similar 
activities under similar circumstances. Accordingly, DOE has concluded 
that its activities under this proposed categorical exclusion would not 
have the potential to cause significant impacts. (See the Technical 
Support Document.)

Categorical Exclusions Applicable to Safety and Health (B2)

B2.1 Workplace Enhancements
    DOE proposes to clarify that improvements to enhance workplace 
habitability may include installation of equipment necessary for the 
improvements by adding ``installation'' before its examples of 
improvements. DOE has determined that installation and subsequent 
operation of equipment necessary for improvements to workplace 
habitability would not have the potential for significant environmental 
impacts.
B2.2 Building and Equipment Instrumentation
    DOE proposes clarifying the scope of the existing categorical 
exclusion by providing additional examples of instrumentation (water 
consumption monitors and controls).
B2.4 Equipment Qualification
    DOE proposes to delete the reference to DOE Order 5480.6 (``Safety 
of DOE owned Nuclear Reactors'') because it has been cancelled. Actions 
previously encompassed by the Order are still performed by DOE and 
other organizations to qualify equipment for use and are still 
appropriate for a categorical exclusion, and DOE proposes to provide 
examples of such actions. Calibration of sensors and diagnostic 
equipment, crane and lift-gear certifications, and high efficiency 
particulate air (``HEPA'') filter testing and certifications, to name a 
few, are activities that DOE proposes to list as examples in the 
categorical exclusion. These types of actions have been performed 
routinely by DOE, other

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Federal agencies, and private entities. In DOE's experience, these 
activities would not have the potential to cause significant impacts.
B2.6 Recovery of Radioactive Sealed Sources
    DOE proposes changes to this categorical exclusion to better 
reflect the current scope of DOE's sealed source recovery activities. 
At the time the existing categorical exclusion was established, the 
focus of DOE's efforts was primarily the recovery of DOE-owned 
radioactive materials that had been loaned or leased, such as to 
universities for research, and a small number of sealed sources. DOE 
later established the Off-Site Source Recovery Project (OSRP) to 
reflect an increased emphasis on recovery of sealed sources from 
Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and Agreement State licensees in 
response to requests from the NRC and other Federal or State agencies. 
After 2001, DOE further expanded the scope of OSRP to focus on the 
recovery of sources with a wider variety of radioisotopes of concern 
from a public health, safety, or national security perspective. Due to 
their high activity and portability, many sealed sources could be used 
either individually or in aggregate in radiological dispersal devices 
commonly referred to as ``dirty bombs.'' DOE prioritizes the recovery 
of radioactive sealed sources based on threat reduction criteria 
developed in coordination with the NRC. DOE's experience with the 
recovery of more than 25,000 radioactive sealed sources since 1979 
demonstrates that these activities are routinely conducted and do not 
have the potential to cause significant environmental impact.
    DOE proposes to simplify the existing categorical exclusion to 
address the recovery of radioactive sealed sources and sealed source-
containing devices from domestic or foreign locations provided that (1) 
the recovered items are transported and stored in compliant containers, 
and (2) the receiving site has sufficient existing storage capacity and 
all required licenses, permits, and approvals.
    These proposed changes would reflect changes in DOE's source 
recovery activities since the existing categorical exclusion was 
formulated. First, recovery activities are no longer limited to 
requests from NRC or other Federal or State agencies. DOE also 
considers requests for source recovery from foreign governments and 
private parties, including private parties in foreign countries. Also, 
DOE provides financial and technical support to third parties 
(principally the Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors) for 
source recovery activities. Second, the scope of DOE activities is not 
limited to materials or licensees addressed in 10 CFR 51.22(14).
    The proposed changes also would remove the reference to certain 
items that are not sealed sources (such as uranium shielding material 
and packaged radioactive waste not exceeding 50 curies). DOE has 
determined that the packaging, transportation, and storage of these 
types of materials normally would fit within categorical exclusion 
B1.30, Transfer actions. (See the Technical Support Document.)

Categorical Exclusions Applicable to Site Characterization, Monitoring, 
and General Research (B3)

B3.1 Site Characterization and Environmental Monitoring
    DOE proposes several changes to categorical exclusion B3.1. DOE 
proposes to limit the scope of this categorical exclusion to 
terrestrial characterization and monitoring, as DOE is proposing a new 
categorical exclusion for such actions in salt water and freshwater 
environments (categorical exclusion B3.16 below). DOE also proposes to 
limit categorically excluded activities to those that would not have 
the potential to cause significant impacts from ground disturbance. 
Based on a project description for seismic surveying submitted by a 
commentor in response to DOE's December 2009 Request for Information, 
and after considering the potential scale of seismic surveying 
projects, DOE proposes to also limit the scope of the categorical 
exclusion so as not to include large-scale reflection or refraction 
testing with regard to seismic techniques.
    One commentor responding to DOE's Request for Information suggested 
that DOE's list of categorical exclusions match all the categorical 
exclusions currently being used by the Bureau of Land Management and 
the U.S. Forest Service, particularly for geophysical surveys for 
exploration of geothermal resources. Another commentor suggested that 
DOE include a categorical exclusion for terrestrial seismic survey 
activities. In response to both comments, DOE notes that item (a) of 
the existing B3.1 categorical exclusion lists geological, geophysical, 
and geochemical surveying and mapping, including seismic surveying, as 
examples of actions in the scope of the categorical exclusion. Thus DOE 
determined that it was not necessary to propose new categorical 
exclusions in response to these comments.
    DOE proposes to clarify the scope of the existing categorical 
exclusion, however, by providing additional examples of actions that 
DOE's experience has demonstrated properly fit within this class of 
actions. In response to the suggestion above and from another commentor 
concerning geothermal resources, DOE proposes to include temperature 
gradient surveying as an example of geophysical surveying activities 
encompassed within item (a). DOE also proposes to add underground 
reservoir response testing for item (d). The potential impacts of 
aquifer and reservoir response testing are well-known and normally 
insignificant; underground reservoir response testing could help 
determine, for example, whether further study of a reservoir for carbon 
sequestration purposes is warranted. DOE also proposes to add drilling 
using truck or mobile-scale equipment and modification, use, and 
plugging of boreholes as representative examples of small-scale 
drilling activities under item (f). DOE experience indicates that these 
changes would not have the potential to cause significant impacts. (See 
the Technical Support Document.)
B3.3 Research Related to Conservation of Fish, Wildlife, and Cultural 
Resources
    DOE proposes to modify this categorical exclusion to include 
actions undertaken to protect cultural resources. These types of 
actions (such as walking a site, visually surveying, and digging small, 
shallow test holes with hand tools) are similar to types of actions 
undertaken for wildlife protection and would not have the potential to 
cause significant impacts.
B3.6 Small-Scale Research and Development, Laboratory Operations, and 
Pilot Projects
    DOE proposes changes to this categorical exclusion for clarity. 
First, DOE proposes to delete the phrase ``indoor bench-scale 
research,'' which DOE views as encompassed within ``small-scale 
research and development,'' which is more easily understood. DOE also 
proposes to define ``demonstration actions'' in the context of this 
categorical exclusion and the related EA class of actions C12 as 
``actions that are undertaken at a scale to show whether a technology 
would be viable on a larger scale and suitable for commercial 
deployment. Demonstration actions frequently follow research and 
development and pilot projects that are directed at establishing proof 
of

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concept.'' This definition reflects DOE's understanding of the 
delineation between pilot projects and demonstration projects that 
would be relevant to the scope of this categorical exclusion.
B3.7 New Terrestrial Infill Exploratory and Experimental Wells
    DOE proposes to modify the scope of the categorical exclusion. DOE 
proposes to expand the categorical exclusion by providing additional 
examples of resources (brine, carbon dioxide, coalbed methane, gas 
hydrate) for which exploratory or experimental wells may be drilled. 
For carbon sequestration wells, DOE proposes to list examples of 
possible uses, including, but not limited to, the study of saline 
formations, enhanced oil recovery, and enhanced coalbed methane 
extraction. DOE also proposes to expand the locations where the infill 
wells may be drilled (now only in fields with operating wells) to 
fields with properly abandoned wells or unminable coal seams.
    DOE proposes to limit this categorical exclusion to the terrestrial 
environment and to require that characterization has verified a low 
potential for seismicity, subsidence, and contamination of freshwater 
aquifers.
    DOE experience with new infill exploratory and experimental (test) 
oil, gas, and geothermal wells continues to show that they would not 
have the potential to cause significant impacts. DOE experience also 
shows that the potential impacts of infill exploratory and test wells 
for substances such as brine, carbon dioxide, coalbed methane, and gas 
hydrate would be similar and would not have the potential to cause 
significant impacts under the limitations of this proposed categorical 
exclusion. Based on DOE's experience, the proposal to expand the scope 
of this categorical exclusion, subject to the proposed additional 
limitations, would not have the potential to cause significant impacts.
    DOE is particularly interested in receiving comments on the 
proposed revisions to this categorical exclusion.
B3.8 Outdoor Terrestrial Ecological and Environmental Research
    DOE is proposing two new categorical exclusions covering small-
scale research activities in salt water and freshwater environments, 
and those two categorical exclusions limit the types of activities and 
their location specifically to protect aquatic environments. (See B3.16 
for research activities in salt water and freshwater environments and 
B5.25 for small-scale renewable energy research and development and 
pilot projects in salt water and freshwater environments.) DOE is 
therefore proposing to clarify that the types of covered actions 
included in B3.8 are solely limited to terrestrial environments.
    DOE is also proposing to clarify that this categorical exclusion 
includes small-scale biomass and biofuels research. Given the current 
focus on the development of biomass and biofuel production and the need 
for proof of concept research in this area, DOE proposes to state 
explicitly that small test plots for energy-related biomass or biofuels 
research (including the use of genetically engineered plants) are 
within the scope of this categorical exclusion.
    Research using genetically engineered plants to be grown 
specifically for biomass production has reached the point where field 
tests are being performed outdoors for proof of concept purposes. At 
the same time, residues from biotechnology crops such as corn and 
soybeans are being tested as feedstocks for biofuel production. Such 
plants are currently regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture 
and these existing regulatory regimes have analyzed the environmental 
impacts resulting from the experimental and commercial growth of these 
crops, so there is no need for DOE to analyze separately these impacts 
to show their insignificance. DOE has determined that a categorical 
exclusion would be appropriate for small field tests, provided that the 
applicant already has all the necessary authorizations from the U.S. 
Department of Agriculture and received all necessary permissions to 
proceed with the trial. (See the Technical Support Document.)
B3.9 Projects To Reduce Emissions and Waste Generation
    This categorical exclusion was initially created for demonstration 
actions under DOE's Clean Coal Technology Demonstration Program. 
However, after many years of experience with projects that reduce 
emissions and waste generation at existing fossil fuel facilities and, 
more recently, at alternative energy facilities, DOE is proposing 
modifications to the categorical exclusion for these activities 
regardless of whether or not they are part of DOE's Clean Coal 
Technology Demonstration Program. Specifically, DOE is proposing to 
expand the scope of this categorical exclusion to include projects to 
reduce emissions and waste generation at alternative fuel (e.g., 
biomass) facilities, in addition to fossil fuel facilities. As a 
result, DOE is proposing conforming revisions throughout this 
categorical exclusion (e.g., replacing ``coal'' with ``fuel''). 
Further, DOE proposes to define fuel to include ``coal, oil, natural 
gas, hydrogen, syngas [synthesis gas], and biomass,'' and specifically 
to exclude nuclear fuels.
    Based on its experience with these activities, DOE has found that 
projects that demonstrate ways to reduce emissions and waste generation 
at existing fossil or alternative fuel combustion or utilization 
facilities would not have the potential to cause significant impacts. 
(See the Technical Support Document.) DOE also proposes to remove from 
categorical exclusion B3.9(a) the 20 percent limitation on test 
treatment of the throughput product (solid, liquid, or gas) generated 
at existing, fully operational fuel combustion or utilization 
facilities. Although test treatment on a fraction of the throughput 
product (sometimes referred to as ``slipstream testing'') may be 
helpful in evaluating new treatment technologies, DOE experience shows 
that test treatment of the entire throughput product stream may be 
needed to provide an adequate demonstration of the commercial viability 
of technologies that could reduce emissions from existing facilities. 
DOE analyses and experience show that such test treatment normally 
would not have the potential to cause significant impacts under the 
limitations of this categorical exclusion.
    Further, DOE proposes to remove from B3.9(c) the two-year 
limitation on the addition or replacement of equipment for reduction or 
control of sulfur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, or other regulated 
substances at existing facilities. In DOE's experience, the potential 
for significant impacts of such projects does not depend on the 
duration of the demonstration. Moreover, two years may be too short a 
period of time for an adequate demonstration of equipment whose 
continued use is likely to be beneficial.
    In addition to the provisions of B3.9(c), DOE proposes explicitly 
to include the addition or modification of equipment for capture and 
control of carbon dioxide or other regulated substances, provided that 
adequate infrastructure is in place to manage such substances. The use 
of such equipment offers the potential for environmental benefits by 
providing needed information on the costs, operability, and reliability 
of capture technologies that could enable their future deployment in 
existing conventional coal and other fuel utilization facilities. DOE's 
knowledge and experience with the physical or chemical unit processes

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that could capture carbon dioxide at existing facilities show such 
processes would not have the potential to cause significant impacts 
under the conditions specified in the proposed modification of this 
categorical exclusion.
B3.10 Particle Accelerators
    DOE proposes to modify this categorical exclusion by more clearly 
specifying the operating parameters for particle accelerators. This 
categorical exclusion currently has only one limiting parameter 
(primary beam energy less than approximately 100 million electron volts 
(MeV)). DOE's proposed modification would provide two additional 
limiting parameters (average beam power less than approximately 250 
kilowatts (kW) and average current of 2.5 milliamperes (mA)). The 
voltage would be allowed to increase, as long as the resulting average 
current was 2.5 mA. Such result could be accomplished by lowering the 
power (wattage). Alternately, the wattage could increase if voltage 
decreased to result in an average current of 2.5 mA. DOE has determined 
that the use of three parameters will provide flexibility in the 
application of the categorical exclusion, but the actions still would 
not have the potential to cause significant impacts. (See the Technical 
Support Document.)
B3.11 Outdoor Tests and Experiments on Materials and Equipment 
Components
    The existing categorical exclusion precludes DOE from categorically 
excluding outdoor burn, impact, drop, puncture, and similar tests 
involving radiological sources, whether or not they were encapsulated. 
Because encapsulated sources can be used safely in these types of 
tests, DOE proposes to expand the scope of the categorical exclusion to 
cover their use under certain conditions. Specifically, DOE is 
proposing that nondestructive actions such as detector/sensor 
development and testing and first responder field training, using 
encapsulated sources that contain source, special nuclear, or byproduct 
materials, be included in the scope of this categorical exclusion. DOE 
experience demonstrates that such activities can be done safely and 
would not have the potential to cause significant impacts.
B3.14 Small-Scale Educational Facilities
    DOE proposes a new categorical exclusion for the siting, 
construction or modification, operation, and decommissioning of small-
scale educational facilities, including, but not limited to, 
conventional teaching laboratories, libraries, classroom facilities, 
auditoriums, museums, visitors centers, exhibits, and associated 
offices within or contiguous to a previously disturbed or developed 
area (where active utilities and currently used roads are readily 
accessible). Based on DOE's experience, and supported by past NEPA 
analyses, such activities, under the limitations provided, would not 
have the potential to cause significant impacts. (See the Technical 
Support Document.)
B3.15 Small-Scale Indoor Research and Development Projects Using 
Nanoscale Materials
    DOE proposes a new categorical exclusion for the siting, 
construction, or modification, operation, and decommissioning of 
facilities for indoor small-scale research and development and small-
scale pilot projects using nanoscale materials, in accordance with 
applicable requirements necessary to ensure the containment of any 
biohazardous materials. Construction or modification would be within or 
contiguous to an already developed area (where active utilities and 
currently used roads are readily accessible). This proposed categorical 
exclusion includes activities that are already in the scope of B3.6 
(Small-scale research and development, laboratory operations, and pilot 
projects); however, as part of its rulemaking effort, DOE finds it 
appropriate to propose a categorical exclusion that specifically 
addresses nanoscale activities.
    DOE has extensive small-scale or laboratory-scale experience 
working with engineered (intentionally created, rather than natural or 
incidentally formed) nanoscale materials. For example, DOE is 
participating in interagency workgroups, such as the National 
Nanotechnology Initiative (http://www.nano.gov/html/about/home_about.html), that seek to promote responsible research and development 
of nanotechnology, ensure that the important benefits to environmental 
protection that nanotechnology may offer are realized, and better 
understand any potential risks from exposure to nanomaterials in the 
environment. DOE conducts basic research and development that supports 
the National Nanotechnology Initiative at its nanoscale research 
centers, in accordance with DOE Policy 456.1 (DOE P 456.1, Secretarial 
Policy Statement on Nanoscale Safety), and best management practices 
and policies that ensure protection of workers and the environment, 
such as DOE Nanoscale Science Research Centers: Approach to 
Nanomaterials ES&H, (Rev3a, May 2008) (``Approach to Nanomaterial 
ES&H'') (http://orise.orau.gov/ihos/Nanotechnology/nanotech_DOE_Nanoscale_SC.html). As explained in ``Approach to Nanomaterial ES&H,'' 
``laboratory-scale'' research excludes those activities whose function 
is to produce commercial quantities of materials, as defined in 29 CFR 
1910.1450(b)(2), ``Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in 
Laboratories, Definitions.''
    Laboratory-scale experimentation with nanoscale materials has been 
the subject of four DOE EAs, in which the Department has analyzed the 
construction and operation of nanomaterials facilities. DOE has 
determined that, with appropriate controls in place (as specified in 
the proposed categorical exclusion and described above), these 
activities would not have the potential to cause significant impacts. 
(See the Technical Support Document.)
    DOE is particularly interested in receiving comments on this 
proposed categorical exclusion.
B3.16 Research Activities in Salt Water and Freshwater Environments
    DOE proposes a new categorical exclusion for small-scale, temporary 
surveying, site characterization, and research actions to be performed 
in salt water and freshwater environments. DOE proposes limiting the 
actions covered by this categorical exclusion to the acquisition of 
rights-of-way, easements, and temporary use permits; data collection, 
environmental monitoring, and nondestructive research programs; 
resource evaluation activities; collection of various types of data and 
samples; installation of monitoring and recording devices; installation 
of equipment for flow testing of existing wells; and ecological and 
environmental research in a small area.
    DOE proposes specifically to exclude the construction or 
installation of permanent facilities or devices and to exclude the 
drilling of resource exploration or extraction wells. In addition, DOE 
has included several limits on the type, scope, and location of covered 
actions to protect the aquatic environment from potential significant 
impacts.
    DOE proposes to limit the covered actions in this categorical 
exclusion through the following conditions. Covered actions under this 
categorical exclusion would be conducted in accordance with, where 
applicable, an approved spill prevention, control, and response plan, 
and would incorporate appropriate control technologies and

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best management practices. Furthermore, none of the above activities 
would occur within the boundary of an established marine sanctuary or 
wildlife refuge, a governmentally proposed marine sanctuary or wildlife 
refuge, or a recognized area of high biological sensitivity, or outside 
those areas if the activities would have the potential to cause 
significant impacts within those areas. Additionally, no permanent 
facilities or devices would be constructed or installed. The 
categorical exclusion also lists other factors, specific to aquatic 
environments, to be considered by proponents of covered actions before 
applying this categorical exclusion to ensure that the activities would 
not have the potential to cause significant impacts.
    DOE has determined that, subject to the proposed limitations, the 
activities would not have the potential to cause significant impacts. 
DOE is particularly interested in receiving comments on this 
categorical exclusion due to heightened sensitivity to activities in 
the salt water environment in light of recent oil-related incidents. 
(See the Technical Support Document.)

Categorical Exclusions Applicable to Power Resources (B4)

    DOE proposes to make a number of recurring changes to the 
categorical exclusion provisions applicable to power resources. In 
reference to adding electric power resources (such as wind farms) into 
an electric power system, DOE proposes to use the term 
``interconnection'' rather than the term ``integration'' now used in 
its existing classes of actions. ``Interconnection'' is the current 
term used in the electric transmission field for such actions. DOE, 
therefore, proposes changes to the following provisions: B4.1, B4.11, 
B4.12, B4.13.
    DOE proposes to delete references to ``main transmission system'' 
in its existing classes of actions as unnecessary because DOE actions 
would only apply to its own transmission system. DOE, therefore, 
proposes changes to the following provisions: B4.11, B4.12.
    DOE proposes to add pipeline rights-of-way as locations where 
actions could occur that are now categorically excluded or proposed for 
categorical exclusion in previously developed or disturbed transmission 
line rights-of-way. The impacts from siting, constructing, operating, 
or decommissioning actions in these linear rights-of-way are 
essentially similar. DOE, therefore, proposes changes to the following 
provisions: B4.7, B4.12. (DOE also proposes a similar change to EA 
class of actions C4.)
B4.1 Contracts, Policies, and Marketing and Allocation Plans for 
Electric Power
    DOE proposes to simplify the description of the scope of this 
categorical exclusion, without changing the scope. The categorical 
exclusion would still apply to electric power contracts, policies, and 
plans that do not involve a new generation resource and do not involve 
changes in the normal operating limits of existing generation 
resources. DOE proposes to delete the existing reference to ``excess 
electric power'' as unnecessary as it simply applies to power that is 
available for transmission. DOE is proposing changes to its 
corresponding classes of actions for EAs (C7) and EISs (D7), as 
discussed below in Section IV.F and IV.G, respectively.
    DOE is particularly interested in receiving comments on the 
proposed revisions to this categorical exclusion.
B4.4 Power Marketing Services and Activities
    DOE proposes to clarify this categorical exclusion by adding 
``power management activities'' to its existing categorical exclusion 
for power marketing services to indicate that the activities that are 
appropriately categorically excluded do not necessarily need to be 
taken in the context of marketing power. The existing categorical 
exclusion was established based on the experience of DOE's power 
marketing administrations, but has been appropriately applied recently 
by other elements of the Department, for example, in evaluating actions 
under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The proposed change 
would provide transparency to DOE's application of this categorical 
exclusion, and DOE has determined that the covered actions would not 
have the potential to cause significant impacts.
B4.6 Additions and Modifications to Transmission Facilities
    DOE proposes to add ``load shaping projects (such as the 
installation and use of flywheels and battery arrays)'' to the list of 
example actions in this categorical exclusion. With the wider 
deployment and accompanying improvement in load shaping technologies, 
DOE's experience indicates that these actions fit within the scope of 
this categorical exclusion.
B4.7 Fiber Optic Cable
    DOE proposes that certain actions associated with adding fiber 
optic cable to transmission facilities (such as vaults and pulling and 
tensioning sites) be within the scope of this categorical exclusion 
with certain limitations. DOE has found that it is often necessary to 
place vaults and pulling and tensioning sites outside of rights-of-way. 
DOE has determined that, if vaults or such sites are in nearby 
previously disturbed or developed areas, they would not have the 
potential to cause significant environmental impact.
B4.9 Multiple Use of Transmission Line Rights-of-Way
    DOE proposes to add examples of crossing agreements affecting a 
transmission facility's rights-of-way that DOE has determined are in 
the scope of this categorical exclusion, namely natural gas pipelines, 
communications cables, and roads.
B4.10 Removal of Electric Transmission Lines and Substations
    DOE proposes to add ``abandonment'' and ``restoration'' of rights-
of-way to the list of activities in this categorical exclusion, because 
DOE has determined that these actions, which generally follow the 
removal of electric transmission lines and substations, would not have 
the potential to cause significant impacts.
B4.11 Electric Power Substations and Interconnection Facilities
    DOE proposes to add interconnection facilities to its categorical 
exclusion for construction or modification of electric power 
substations because the facilities have similar equipment and function. 
Substations switch, step down, or regulate voltage of electricity being 
transmitted, and may serve as controls and transfer points on a 
transmission system; interconnection facilities add electric power 
resources to transmission systems through similar functions.
    DOE proposes that actions under this categorical exclusion, instead 
of being limited to those that do not interconnect a new generation 
resource (under the existing categorical exclusion), be limited to 
interconnecting new generation resources that meet two conditions: The 
new generation resource (1) would be eligible for categorical exclusion 
under the DOE NEPA regulations (that is, under proposed categorical 
exclusions for combined heat and power or cogeneration systems (B5.14), 
solar energy (B5.16 and B5.17), wind energy (B5.18), biomass power 
plants (B5.20), methane gas recovery and utilization systems (B5.21) 
and drop-in hydroelectric systems (B5.24)), and (2) would be equal to 
or less than 50

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average megawatts (which is considered a major resource under the 
Northwest Power Act).
    DOE is also proposing to delete actions regarding construction, 
upgrading, or rebuilding transmission lines from this categorical 
exclusion because substation actions do not necessarily involve 
transmission line actions. Categorically excluded transmission line 
actions are addressed in proposed B4.12 and B4.13.
    DOE is proposing to delete the restriction that facilities under 
this categorical exclusion be limited to no more than 230 kilovolts 
because DOE has determined that voltage of a substation or 
interconnection facility is not a determinant of the potential for 
significant environmental impacts.
    In response to the Department's December 2009 Request for 
Information, one commentor suggested that DOE categorically exclude 
modifications and upgrades to existing substations to accommodate 
electricity generated from renewable energy sources, to the extent that 
an upgrade does not increase the overall capacity of the substation or 
the disturbed areas associated with the substation, noting that 
additional capacity is needed at substations throughout the electric 
grid. DOE notes that it is proposing to delete the restriction that 
facilities under this categorical exclusion be limited to no more than 
230 kilovolts.
    DOE is particularly interested in receiving comments on the 
proposed revisions to this categorical exclusion.
B4.12 Construction of Transmission Lines
    DOE proposes to incorporate within the scope of categorical 
exclusion B4.12 an action currently addressed in the existing 
categorical exclusion B4.11, that is ``relocation of existing electric 
transmission lines approximately 20 miles in length or less.'' By doing 
so, transmission line construction and rebuilding activities will be 
consolidated in categorical exclusions B4.12 and B4.13, rather than 
also included in categorical exclusion B4.11, which predominantly 
relates to substations and interconnection facilities. DOE's long-term 
experience with electric transmission line construction indicates that 
the approximately 10-mile limit for categorical exclusion of 
transmission line construction outside of a previously disturbed or 
developed right-of-way, and the approximately 20-mile limit for 
categorical exclusion of transmission line in a previously disturbed 
right-of-way, have been reliable guides to the appropriate level of 
NEPA review for the actions.
    DOE proposes that actions under this categorical exclusion, instead 
of being limited to those that do not interconnect a new generation 
resource (as under the existing categorical exclusion), be limited to 
interconnecting new generation resources that meet the two conditions 
discussed with respect to categorical exclusion B4.11.
    In response to the Department's December 2009 Request for 
Information, one commentor suggested that the addition of transmission 
lines to existing transmission line or pipeline rights-of-way be 
categorically excluded. The commentor noted that additional 
transmission capacity is required to move electricity generated by 
renewable resources to population centers and that adding that capacity 
in an existing right-of-way will have very little environmental impact. 
DOE agrees and does not restrict the addition of transmission lines to 
an existing transmission or pipeline right-of-way if the limitations 
specified in the categorical exclusion are met.
    DOE is particularly interested in receiving comments on the 
proposed revisions to this categorical exclusion.
B4.13 Upgrading and Rebuilding Existing Transmission Lines
    DOE proposes to continue to categorically exclude the upgrading and 
rebuilding of existing transmission lines of approximately 20 miles in 
length or less (including minor relocations of small segments of such 
lines), as under the existing categorical exclusion B4.13. DOE also 
proposes to categorically exclude the use of the upgraded or rebuilt 
lines for the interconnection of new generation resources that meet the 
two conditions discussed with respect to categorical exclusion B4.11. 
Further, DOE proposes to delete the purposes for which minor 
relocations of the existing line may occur.
    DOE is particularly interested in receiving comments on the 
proposed revisions to this categorical exclusion.

Categorical Exclusions Applicable to Conservation, Fossil, and 
Renewable Energy Activities (B5)

B5.1 Actions To Conserve Energy or Water
    In B5.1, DOE proposes four types of changes to the existing 
categorical exclusion: (1) Adding examples to better represent the type 
of energy conservation actions, including those for which DOE provides 
financial assistance, that fall within the scope of this categorical 
exclusion, (2) adding actions to conserve water, (3) deleting reference 
to renewable energy research and development because DOE is proposing 
separate categorical exclusions for those actions (under B5.15 and 
B5.25 below), and (4) including new B5.1(b).
    In B5.1(a), DOE proposes to clarify the scope of the categorical 
exclusion by providing additional examples of conservation actions 
similar in nature to the existing examples, such as weatherization, 
energy efficiency for vehicles and transportation (such as fleet change 
out), power storage (such as flywheels and batteries, generally less 
than 10 MW), and transportation management systems (such as traffic 
signal control systems). DOE's experience with these proposed covered 
actions demonstrate that they fit within the scope of the categorical 
exclusion. In addition, to ensure that the categorical exclusion would 
not encompass actions with potentially significant impacts on the human 
environment, DOE proposes to clarify that the actions include building 
renovations or new structures, provided that they occur in a previously 
disturbed or developed area. Also, DOE proposes to clarify that the 
categorical exclusion could also involve actions in the academic or 
institutional sectors.
    In B5.1(b), DOE proposes to include rulemakings that establish 
energy conservation standards in the scope of this categorical 
exclusion. DOE has prepared numerous EAs and FONSIs for rulemakings 
that establish energy conservation standards for consumer products and 
industrial equipment and has determined that, within the limitations on 
the scope of actions that could be taken under the proposed categorical 
exclusion, establishment of such standards would not have the potential 
to cause significant impacts. The limitations on scope of actions 
concern changes in manufacturing infrastructure, uses of available 
resources, disposal, and energy consumption. (See the Technical Support 
Document.)
    DOE is particularly interested in receiving comments on B5.1(b) of 
this categorical exclusion.
B5.2 Modifications to Pumps and Piping
    DOE proposes to broaden the scope of this categorical exclusion by 
not limiting it to oil, gas, and geothermal facilities, but by 
providing examples of materials that could be conveyed by pump and 
piping configurations (that is, by adding as examples, air, brine, 
carbon dioxide, produced water, steam, and water to the currently 
listed materials). DOE also proposes to clarify

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that the existing reference to ``gas'' includes natural gas, hydrogen 
gas, and nitrogen gas. DOE has determined that the environmental 
impacts resulting from modifications to pump and piping configurations 
on systems conveying such materials would be similar to impacts from 
modifications to the pump and piping configurations on systems carrying 
the existing categorically excluded materials. DOE's experience with 
these materials has demonstrated that modifying such pump and piping 
configurations would not have the potential to cause significant 
impacts.
B5.3 Modification or Abandonment of Wells
    DOE proposes to broaden the scope of this categorical exclusion for 
storage and injection wells by not limiting the wells to those for oil, 
brine, geothermal, and gas wells, but by adding these wells as 
examples: Carbon dioxide, coalbed methane, and gas hydrate wells. DOE's 
experience has demonstrated that actions associated with the 
modification and abandonment (including plugging) of carbon dioxide and 
similar wells normally do not have the potential to cause significant 
impacts. DOE is proposing to limit use of the categorical exclusion to 
situations where there is low potential for seismicity, subsidence, and 
contamination of freshwater aquifers and where the actions are 
otherwise consistent with best practices and DOE protocols, including 
those that protect against uncontrolled releases of harmful materials. 
DOE is also proposing to clarify that ``gas'' in the existing 
categorical exclusion refers to natural gas.
B5.4 Repair or Replacement of Pipelines
    DOE proposes to broaden the scope of this categorical exclusion by 
not limiting it to actions including oil, produced water, brine, and 
geothermal pipelines, but also to exclude repair and replacement 
actions on pipelines carrying materials similar in nature (such as air, 
carbon dioxide, hydrogen gas, natural gas, nitrogen gas, steam, and 
water). In DOE's experience, the conveyance of the proposed additional 
materials similar to those currently categorically excluded normally 
does not pose a potential to cause significant impacts. DOE also 
proposes to clarify that upgrading, rebuilding, and minor relocation 
may be involved in repair or replacement of pipelines. Further, DOE 
proposes to list Army Corps of Engineer permits as one type of 
requirement that may apply to these actions, while also acknowledging 
that there may be others.
B5.5 Short Pipeline Segments
    DOE proposes to broaden the scope of this categorical exclusion by 
not limiting it to oil, steam, geothermal or natural gas resources, but 
by providing additional examples (air, brine, carbon dioxide, hydrogen 
gas, nitrogen gas, produced water, and water) of materials potentially 
conveyed by pipeline segments under this categorical exclusion. The 
potential impacts resulting from pipelines conveying the additional 
materials would be similar to those from the existing categorically 
excluded materials. DOE's experience conveying these materials has 
demonstrated that they would not have the potential to cause 
significant impacts.
    DOE further proposes to remove the limitation that pipelines must 
be within a single industrial complex. DOE proposes to remove that 
limitation because potential impacts do not depend on whether the 
action is conducted within an arbitrary boundary. DOE is therefore 
proposing to replace the reference to ``DOE facilities'' with 
references to ``existing source facilities'' and ``existing receiving 
facilities.'' Categorically excluded actions are limited to short 
pipelines, which DOE proposes be generally less than 20 miles in length 
in previously developed or disturbed areas.
B5.6 Oil Spill Cleanup
    DOE is proposing to clarify that the National Oil and Hazardous 
Substances Pollution Contingency Plan is not necessarily the only 
applicable requirement for oil spill cleanup by making this an example 
of an applicable requirement.
B5.7 Import or Export Natural Gas, With Operational Changes
    DOE proposes to add disapprovals to the current scope (approvals) 
for consistency with existing classes of actions C13, D8, and D9.
B5.8 Import or Export Natural Gas, With New Cogeneration Powerplant
    DOE proposes to add disapprovals to the current scope (approvals) 
for consistency with existing classes of actions C13, D8, and D9. DOE 
proposes to include in the scope of this categorical exclusion 
pipelines generally less than 20 miles in length in previously 
disturbed or developed rights-of-way.
B5.10 Certain Permanent Exemptions for Existing Electric Powerplants
    DOE proposes to delete two references to provisions of the 
Powerplant and Industrial Fuel Use Act as those provisions have been 
deleted from the Act.
B5.12 Workover of Existing Wells
    DOE proposes to broaden the scope of this categorical exclusion by 
not limiting it to oil, gas, and geothermal wells, but by providing 
additional examples (brine, carbon dioxide, coalbed methane and gas 
hydrate) of wells that could be restored to functionality. DOE's 
experience with these materials has demonstrated that the potential 
impacts would be similar in nature to the impacts of wells using 
materials named in the existing categorical exclusion and that workover 
of such wells would not have the potential to cause significant 
impacts. In addition, DOE is proposing to limit use of the categorical 
exclusion to situations where there is low potential for seismicity, 
subsidence, and contamination of freshwater aquifers, and where the 
actions are otherwise consistent with best practices and DOE protocols, 
including those that protect against uncontrolled releases of harmful 
materials. DOE is also proposing to clarify that ``gas'' in the 
existing categorical exclusion refers to ``natural gas.''
B5.13 Experimental Wells for the Injection of Small Quantities of 
Carbon Dioxide
    DOE proposes a new categorical exclusion for experimental wells for 
the injection of small quantities of carbon dioxide in locally 
characterized geologically secure storage formations at or near 
existing carbon dioxide sources. The activities encompassed in the new 
proposed categorical exclusion are intended to help determine the 
suitability of geological formations for large-scale sequestration, as 
information from small-scale projects can be used to ensure that 
commercial-scale projects can be conducted safely and in an 
environmentally sound manner.
    The proposed categorical exclusion is supported by DOE's National 
Energy Technology Laboratory's experience with carbon sequestration 
wells, through DOE-directed research projects and collaboration with 
the nationwide network of regional carbon sequestration partnerships 
tasked with determining the best technologies for carbon capture, 
storage, and sequestration. Through this work, DOE has gained 
substantial experience with small-scale carbon sequestration, showing 
that these projects can be managed safely and would not have the 
potential to cause significant impacts. In addition, the proposed 
categorical exclusion is supported by FONSIs for

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three DOE EAs for projects with scales ranging up to one million tons 
of carbon dioxide over the lifetime of the project (typically one to 
four years).
    Based on experience with small-scale projects, DOE proposes that 
the injection of carbon dioxide under this categorical exclusion be 
limited to, in aggregate, less than 500,000 tons over the duration of a 
project. In addition, DOE also proposes a number of conditions that the 
project must meet in order for the activity to be categorically 
excluded. For example, the proposed categorical exclusion would require 
that characterization has verified a low potential for seismicity, 
subsidence, and contamination of freshwater aquifers. DOE's proposed 
limitations will ensure that injection of carbon dioxide at this scale 
would not have significant impacts. (See the Technical Support 
Document.)
    DOE is particularly interested in receiving comments on this 
categorical exclusion, including the limit of 500,000 tons of carbon 
dioxide over the duration of the project.
B5.14 Combined Heat and Power or Cogeneration Systems
    DOE proposes a new categorical exclusion for the conversion to, and 
replacement or modification of, combined heat and power or cogeneration 
systems at existing facilities provided that the action would not have 
the potential to cause a significant increase in the quantity or rate 
of air emissions and would not have the potential to cause significant 
impacts to water resources.
    DOE has determined that combined heat and power or cogeneration 
system activities under this categorical exclusion, when subject to the 
proposed limitations, would not have the potential to cause significant 
impacts because (1) these systems would be modifications to existing 
systems, and thus generally would not involve more than minor changes 
to facility footprints and do not involve major new construction, and 
(2) these systems would improve operating efficiency (such as making 
use of otherwise waste heat) and thus would be designed to lessen 
potential impacts.
B5.15 Small-Scale Renewable Energy Research and Development and Pilot 
Projects
    As part of DOE's proposal to clarify and focus existing categorical 
exclusion B5.1 on energy efficiency and conservation actions (including 
research and development-related actions), DOE proposes a separate 
categorical exclusion for small-scale renewable energy research and 
development and pilot projects. In doing so, DOE proposes to limit the 
covered actions to those in previously disturbed and developed areas 
and to emphasize that such actions would be in accordance with 
applicable requirements and incorporate appropriate controls and 
practices. See also B5.25 for small-scale renewable energy research and 
development and pilot projects in salt water and freshwater 
environments.
    In addition, this proposal is responsive to a commentor's 
suggestion to have a categorical exclusion for small-scale pilot 
projects for renewable energy generation, modeled on DOE's existing 
categorical exclusion B6.2 for pilot-scale waste collection and 
treatment facilities.
    DOE is particularly interested in receiving comments on this 
categorical exclusion.
B5.16-B5.24
    As part of DOE's proposal to clarify and focus existing categorical 
exclusion B5.1 on energy efficiency and conservation actions, and in 
response to commentors' suggestions to include more explicitly 
renewable energy technologies, DOE is proposing several new categorical 
exclusions. DOE proposes eight new categorical exclusion classes of 
actions involving renewable energy technologies, as described below. 
The proposed categorical exclusions apply to the installation, 
modification, operation, and removal of small-scale, commercially 
available renewable energy technologies. DOE proposes to specify 
conditions by technology (e.g., wind) to ensure appropriate 
limitations, but does not generally set limits on energy output because 
DOE experience and data review suggest that the potential for 
significant impacts is more closely related to the site selected for a 
renewable energy project and the interaction of resources at a selected 
site with the renewable technology. DOE has proposed specific 
limitations for these categorical exclusions to ensure that any 
renewable energy technology project that would have the potential to 
cause significant impacts to particular resources would be identified 
as outside the scope of the categorical exclusion. Further, DOE 
proposes one new class of actions involving electric vehicle charging 
stations.
    The proposed categorical exclusions in B5.16-B5.24 identify many of 
the types of projects for which DOE has made categorical exclusion 
determinations based on existing categorical exclusion B5.1. The 
actions listed in these proposed categorical exclusions are also 
consistent with categorical exclusions promulgated by other Federal 
agencies, EAs and FONSIs prepared by DOE and other Federal agencies, 
the opinions of subject matter experts, and private sector experience 
developing and deploying renewable energy technologies. DOE has 
determined that the activities under these categorical exclusions, when 
subject to the proposed limitations, would not have the potential to 
cause significant impacts because the categorical exclusions apply 
specifically to systems that are: (1) Located on or adjacent to 
existing structures, or on previously developed or disturbed land, (2) 
sited in accordance with local land use and zoning requirements, and 
(3) designed to incorporate appropriate control technologies and best 
management practices to lessen potential impacts.
    The proposed categorical exclusions are responsive to the numerous 
suggestions that DOE received, both from within DOE and in response to 
its December 2009 Request for Information, to include explicitly 
renewable energy technologies and associated equipment in its 
categorical exclusions. Several commentors also suggested that DOE 
categorically exclude actions intended to ``co-locate renewables'' or 
to support ``distributed generation projects.'' These suggestions 
describe similar actions that: (1) Support the operation of an existing 
facility by providing a renewable energy source on-site, (2) would be 
compatible with existing land use, and (3) would require minimal to no 
expansion of the footprint of an existing facility. As a result, DOE's 
review of available data led it to propose to exclude select small-
scale, renewable energy technology projects, under specified proposed 
conditions, for the purpose of providing a renewable energy generation 
capability to existing facilities (specifically, B5.16-B5.21).
B5.16 Solar Photovoltaic Systems
    The actions listed in categorical exclusion B5.16 apply to the 
installation, modification, operation, and removal of commercially 
available solar photovoltaic systems located on a building or other 
existing structure (e.g., covered parking facility), or on land 
generally comprising less than 10 acres. The actions listed are 
consistent with DOE and other Federal agency experience with ``co-
located'' solar photovoltaic energy projects generally comprising less 
than 10 acres within a previously disturbed or developed area, 
categorical exclusion determinations DOE has made based on existing 
regulations, categorical exclusions

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promulgated by other Federal agencies, EAs and FONSIs prepared by DOE 
and other Federal agencies, and the opinions of subject matter experts. 
(See the Technical Support Document.)
    DOE has determined that the solar photovoltaic system activities 
under this categorical exclusion, when subject to proposed limitations, 
would not have the potential to cause significant impacts because (1) 
these are systems located on or adjacent to existing structures, or on 
previously developed or disturbed land, and thus generally involve no 
more than minor changes to facility footprints and do not involve major 
new construction, and (2) these systems generally would support the 
operation of an existing facility (e.g., providing an on-site, 
renewable electricity generation source). Such activities also may 
serve to lessen potential air emissions impacts when compared to 
electricity generated by fossil fuel (e.g., coal) sources.
    DOE is particularly interested in receiving comments on this 
categorical exclusion.
B5.17 Solar Thermal Systems
    DOE proposes a new categorical exclusion for the installation, 
modification, operation, and removal of commercially available small-
scale solar thermal systems (e.g., solar hot water systems) at an 
existing facility or on land generally comprising less than 10 acres 
within a previously disturbed or developed area. These actions are 
consistent with categorical exclusion determinations DOE has made based 
on existing regulations and EAs and FONSIs prepared by DOE. (See the 
Technical Support Document.)
    DOE has determined that the solar thermal system activities under 
this categorical exclusion, when subject to proposed limitations, would 
not have the potential to cause significant impacts because (1) these 
are small-scale systems located on or contiguous to an existing 
building, or in a previously developed or disturbed area, and thus 
generally involve no more than minor changes to facility footprints and 
do not involve major new construction, and (2) these systems generally 
would support the operation of an existing building (e.g., providing an 
on-site, renewable source of energy for heat). Such activities also may 
serve to lessen potential air emissions impacts when compared to 
electricity generated by fossil fuel (e.g., coal) sources.
    DOE is particularly interested in receiving comments on this 
categorical exclusion.
B5.18 Wind Turbines
    DOE proposes a new categorical exclusion for the installation, 
modification, operation, and removal of small (i.e., generally 200 feet 
in height or less when measured from ground to maximum vertical blade 
rotation), commercially available wind turbines. Such turbines must be 
located within previously disturbed or developed areas; more than 10 
miles from an airport or aviation navigation aid; and more than 1.5 
nautical miles from National Weather Service or Federal Aviation 
Administration Doppler weather radar. Also such turbines must not have 
the potential to cause significant impacts to bird or bat species and 
must be appropriately designed and located so as to not cause 
significant impacts to persons (e.g., noise or shadow flicker). These 
actions are consistent with categorical exclusion determinations DOE 
has made based on existing regulations, EAs and FONSIs prepared by DOE 
and other Federal agencies, and the opinions of subject matter experts. 
(See the Technical Support Document.)
    DOE has determined that the activities under this categorical 
exclusion, when subject to proposed limitations, would not have the 
potential to cause significant impacts because (1) these are small-
scale wind turbines located within a previously developed or disturbed 
area, and thus generally involve no more than minor changes to an 
existing footprint and do not involve major new construction, and (2) 
these systems generally would support improved operation of an existing 
facility (e.g., providing an on-site, renewable source of energy for 
electricity). Such activities also may serve to lessen potential air 
emissions impacts when compared to electricity generated by fossil fuel 
(e.g., coal) sources.
    DOE is particularly interested in receiving comments on this 
categorical exclusion.
B5.19 Ground Source Heat Pumps
    DOE proposes a new categorical exclusion for commercially 
available, small-scale ground source heat pumps, designed to include 
appropriate leakage and contaminant control measures (e.g., grouting) 
to support the operation of single facilities (e.g., a school) or 
contiguous facilities (e.g., an office complex), and sited only in 
previously disturbed and developed areas where associated activities 
(e.g., drilling or geothermal water discharge) are regulated by a 
local, regional, or State authority. The actions listed in this 
proposed categorical exclusion are consistent with categorical 
exclusion determinations DOE has made based on existing regulations, 
categorical exclusions promulgated by other Federal agencies, and EAs 
and FONSIs prepared by DOE. (See the Technical Support Document.)
    DOE has determined that the ground source heat pump system 
activities under this categorical exclusion, when subject to the 
proposed limitations, would not have the potential to cause significant 
impacts because (1) these are systems located within or adjacent to 
existing structures, or on previously developed or disturbed land, and 
thus generally involve no more than minor changes to facility 
footprints and do not involve major new construction, and (2) these 
systems generally would support the operation of an existing facility 
(e.g., providing an on-site, renewable heating or cooling source) that 
would serve to lessen potential air emissions impacts when compared to 
energy provided by traditional fossil fuel (e.g., coal) sources. DOE 
has proposed limitations for this categorical exclusion to ensure that 
any project that may result in a significant change in subsurface 
temperature would be outside the scope of the categorical exclusion.
    DOE is particularly interested in receiving comments on this 
categorical exclusion.
B5.20 Biomass Power Plants
    DOE proposes a new categorical exclusion for small-scale biomass 
power plants, designed using commercially available technologies for an 
average energy output of 10 megawatts, to support the operation of 
single facilities (e.g., a school) or contiguous facilities (e.g., an 
office complex), and sited within previously disturbed and developed 
areas. The actions listed in this proposed categorical exclusion are 
consistent with EAs and FONSIs prepared by DOE. (See the Technical 
Support Document.)
    DOE has determined that the activities covered by this categorical 
exclusion, when subject to the proposed limitations, would not have the 
potential to cause significant impacts because (1) these are systems 
located within or adjacent to existing structures, or within previously 
developed or disturbed areas, and thus generally involve no more than 
minor changes to facility footprints or land use, and (2) these systems 
generally would support the operation of an existing building or 
contiguous facilities (e.g., providing an on-site, renewable 
electricity generation source). Such activities also may serve to 
lessen potential air emissions impacts

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when compared to electricity generated by fossil fuel (e.g., coal) 
sources. DOE has proposed limitations for this categorical exclusion to 
ensure that any project that may result in a significant increase in 
the quantity or rate of air emissions or have the potential to cause 
significant impacts to water resources would be outside the scope of 
the categorical exclusion.
    DOE is particularly interested in receiving comments on this 
categorical exclusion.
B5.21 Methane Gas Recovery and Utilization Systems
    DOE proposes a new categorical exclusion for the installation, 
modification, operation, and removal of commercially available methane 
gas recovery and utilization systems on or contiguous to an existing 
landfill or wastewater treatment plant, or within a previously 
disturbed and developed area. The actions listed in this proposed 
categorical exclusion are consistent with categorical exclusion 
determinations for methane gas recovery and utilization technologies 
that DOE has made based on existing regulations.
    DOE has determined that the methane recovery and utilization system 
activities under this categorical exclusion, when subject to the 
proposed limitations, would not have the potential to cause significant 
impacts because (1) these are modifications to existing waste disposal 
or treatment facilities, and thus generally involve no more than minor 
changes to facility footprints and do not involve major new 
construction, and (2) these modifications generally would improve 
operating efficiency (e.g., making use of otherwise waste gas for 
energy production at existing facilities) and thus would be designed to 
lessen potential impacts. Such activities also may serve to lessen 
potential air emissions impacts when compared to electricity generated 
by fossil fuel (e.g., coal) sources. DOE has proposed limitations for 
this categorical exclusion to ensure that any project that may result 
in a significant increase in quantity or rate of air emissions would be 
outside the scope of the categorical exclusion.
B5.22 Alternative Fuel Vehicle Fueling Stations
    DOE proposes a new categorical exclusion for the installation, 
modification, operation, and removal of fueling stations for compressed 
natural gas, hydrogen, ethanol or other commercially available biofuels 
that are located on the site of a current or former fueling station, or 
in a previously disturbed or developed area controlled by the owner of 
the existing facility and vehicle fleet the station is meant to 
service. The actions listed in this proposed categorical exclusion are 
consistent with categorical exclusion determinations DOE has made based 
on existing regulations for alternative fuel vehicle fueling 
technologies and an EA and FONSI prepared by DOE. (See the Technical 
Support Document.)
    DOE has determined that the alternative vehicle fueling system 
activities under this categorical exclusion, when subject to proposed 
limitations, would not have the potential to cause significant impacts 
because these are systems located at existing stations, or on 
previously developed or disturbed land, and thus generally involve no 
more than minor changes to facility footprints and do not involve major 
new construction. These systems would support the operation and use of 
alternative fuel vehicles (e.g., providing the fueling infrastructure 
necessary to support the use of vehicles run on alternative fuels). 
Such activities also may serve to lessen potential air emissions 
impacts when compared to traditional fossil fuel combustion engine 
vehicles.
B5.23 Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
    DOE proposes a new categorical exclusion for the installation, 
modification, operation, and removal of electric vehicle stations 
within a previously disturbed or developed area. The actions listed in 
this proposed categorical exclusion are consistent with categorical 
exclusion determinations DOE has made based on existing regulations.
    DOE has determined that the electric vehicle charging station 
activities under this categorical exclusion, when subject to proposed 
limitations, would not have the potential to cause significant impacts 
because these are systems located on previously developed or disturbed 
land, and thus generally do not involve major new construction. These 
systems would support the use of electric vehicles (e.g., providing 
infrastructure necessary to support current and future use of electric 
vehicles). Such activities also may serve to lessen potential air 
emissions impacts when compared to traditional fossil fuel combustion 
engine vehicles.
B5.24 Drop-in Hydroelectric Systems
    DOE proposes a new categorical exclusion for the installation, 
modification, operation, and removal of commercially available small-
scale, drop-in, run-of-the-river hydroelectric systems where there 
would not be the potential for significant impacts to threatened and 
endangered species or significant impacts on water quality, 
temperature, flow, or volume.
    The term ``run-of-the-river'' as used in this categorical exclusion 
refers to hydroelectric systems that would be fully dependent on the 
natural flow of the river or stream at the point of system 
installation; would have no water storage, such as in an impoundment; 
and would involve no water diversion from the stream or river. The term 
``drop-in'' refers to prefabricated systems that are placed in a river 
or stream, not systems that are constructed in a river or stream such 
as a dam. Under this categorical exclusion, DOE envisions small 
turbines placed in a stream or river for small operations, where all 
energy would likely be consumed on-site (e.g., for a home, ranch, or 
other small commercial operation) and unlikely to be put on the 
commercial grid. Hydroelectric systems capable of producing electricity 
for the commercial grid would likely be secured in a channel (requiring 
the use of heavy equipment), may require channel modification, and may 
have a potential to significantly affect fish, wildlife, habitat, and 
water flow and quality; these systems would be excluded from the scope 
of this categorical exclusion. The actions listed in this proposed 
categorical exclusion are consistent with the opinions of subject 
matter experts, including fish biologists with regulatory and fisheries 
management experience. (See the Technical Support Document.)
    DOE has determined that the activities under this categorical 
exclusion would not have the potential to cause significant impacts 
when subject to the proposed limitations: involve no water storage or 
water diversion; be located only in areas upstream of a natural 
anadromous fish barrier (such as a waterfall that has historically 
prevented anadromous fish passage); and involve no major construction, 
modification of stream or river channels, or the use of heavy 
equipment. Projects in the scope of this categorical exclusion 
generally support adjacent uses with a renewable source of direct 
electricity production. Such activities also may serve to lessen 
potential air emissions impacts when compared to traditional systems 
where electrical energy is generated by fossil fuel sources.
    DOE is particularly interested in receiving comments on this 
categorical exclusion.

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B5.25 Small-Scale Renewable Energy Research and Development and Pilot 
Projects in Salt Water and Freshwater Environments
    DOE proposes to create a new categorical exclusion for small-scale 
renewable energy research and development and pilot projects in salt 
water and freshwater environments. Research with respect to wave or 
tidal energy or the growth and harvest of algae as biomass for proof of 
concept purposes would be appropriate projects in this class of 
actions. However, as with B3.16, DOE proposes to impose similar limits 
on the scope and location of the activities to ensure that renewable 
energy research is conducted in a manner that would not have the 
potential to cause significant impacts. These actions are consistent 
with categorical exclusion determinations DOE has made based on 
existing regulations, EAs and FONSIs prepared by other Federal 
agencies, and the opinions of subject matter experts. (See the 
Technical Support Document.)
    DOE proposes specifically to exclude the construction or 
installation of permanent facilities or devices and to exclude the 
drilling of wells for resource exploration or extraction. In addition, 
DOE has included several limits on the type, scope, and location of 
covered actions to protect the aquatic environment from potential 
significant impacts.
    DOE proposes to limit the covered actions in this categorical 
exclusion through the following conditions. Covered actions under this 
categorical exclusion would be conducted in accordance with, where 
applicable, an approved spill prevention, control, and response plan, 
and would incorporate appropriate control technologies and best 
management practices. Furthermore, none of the above activities would 
occur (1) within areas of hazardous natural bottom conditions, or (2) 
within the boundary of an established marine sanctuary or wildlife 
refuge, a governmentally proposed marine sanctuary or wildlife refuge, 
or a recognized area of high biological sensitivity, or outside those 
areas if the activities would have the potential to cause significant 
impacts within those areas. Additionally, no permanent facilities or 
devices would be constructed or installed. The categorical exclusion 
also lists other factors, specific to aquatic environments, to be 
considered by proponents of covered actions before applying this 
categorical exclusion to ensure that the activities would not have the 
potential to have significant impacts.
    DOE is particularly interested in receiving comments on this 
categorical exclusion.

Categorical Exclusions Applicable to Environmental Restoration and 
Waste Management Activities (B6)

B6.1 Cleanup Actions
    DOE proposes to remove the specified limit of 5 years duration for 
categorically excluded short-term, small-scale cleanup actions because 
in DOE's experience that duration has not been representative of the 
potential for significant environmental impacts. DOE proposes to retain 
a specified limit to cost, but to raise the limit from approximately $5 
million to approximately $10 million, in light of the fact that this 
cost limitation has not been revised since 1996. DOE also proposes to 
add encapsulation, physical or chemical separation, and compaction to 
the examples of treatment methods. DOE proposes to change the text of 
the categorical exclusion from ``would not affect future groundwater 
remediation'' to ``would not unduly limit future groundwater 
remediation'' because a literal reading of the existing categorical 
exclusion would bar its use if there were any affect on future 
groundwater remediation.
    DOE is particularly interested in receiving comments on the 
proposed revisions to this categorical exclusion.
B6.7 [Removed and Reserved: Granting/Denying Petitions for Allocation 
of Commercial Disposal Capacity]
    Existing B6.7 refers to a DOE regulation that was repealed in 1995. 
That regulation implemented a provision of the Low-Level Radioactive 
Waste Policy Amendments Act of 1985, which is no longer in effect. 
Therefore, DOE proposes deleting this categorical exclusion, marking 
B6.7 as ``removed and reserved'' in the regulations.
B6.10 Upgraded or Replacement Waste Storage Facilities
    DOE proposes to identify ``expansion'' as within the scope of this 
categorical exclusion, which limits total facility size to 50,000 
square feet.

F. Proposed Changes to Appendix C

    For an explanation of recurring proposals applicable to the 
appendix C classes of actions, please see Section IV.B, Recurring 
Proposals, above, where they are discussed and the particular classes 
of actions affected are listed. The short titles listed below for 
particular classes of actions reflect DOE's proposed titles.
C2 [Removed and Reserved: Rate Increases More Than Inflation, Not Power 
Marketing]
    DOE proposes to delete EA class of actions C2 because DOE has not 
prepared an EA and FONSI under C2.
C4 Upgrading, Rebuilding, or Construction of Electric Transmission 
Lines
    DOE proposes changes to this class of actions to conform to the 
changes DOE is proposing for categorical exclusions B4.12 and B4.13. 
Proposed changes to C4 would address electric transmission lines of 
lengths greater than those to which categorical exclusions might apply.
C7 Contracts, Policies, and Marketing and Allocation Plans for Electric 
Power
    DOE proposes changes to this class of actions to conform to the 
changes DOE has proposed for categorical exclusion B4.1. This provision 
addresses the establishment and implementation of contracts, policies, 
and marketing and allocation plans related to electric power 
acquisition or transmission that involve (1) the interconnection of, or 
acquisition of power from, new generation resources that are equal to 
or less than 50 average megawatts and that would not be eligible for 
categorical exclusion under 10 CFR part 1021; (2) changes in the normal 
operating limits of generation resources equal to or less than 50 
average megawatts; or (3) service to discrete new loads of less than 10 
average megawatts over a 12-month period. DOE also proposes to delete 
the description that implies that this class of actions applies only to 
DOE power marketing operations and facilities at DOE sites.
    DOE is particularly interested in receiving comments on the 
proposed revisions to this provision.
C8 Protection of Cultural Resources and Fish and Wildlife Habitat
    DOE proposes changes to this class of actions to conform to the 
changes DOE is proposing for categorical exclusion B1.20. Proposed 
changes to C8 would address large-scale activities undertaken to 
protect cultural resources.
C11 Particle Acceleration Facilities
    DOE proposes to change the parameters for when an EA would normally 
be required to conform to the changes DOE is proposing for categorical 
exclusion B3.10. Whether an EA would normally be required would depend 
upon the energy associated with the particle acceleration facility.

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C12 Energy System Demonstration Actions
    DOE proposes changes to this class of actions to conform to the 
changes DOE is proposing for categorical exclusion B3.6. Proposed 
changes to C12 would address ``demonstration actions,'' which are 
outside the scope of B3.6.
C13 Import or Export Natural Gas Involving Minor New Construction
    DOE proposes changes for consistency with categorical exclusions 
B5.7 and B5.8.

G. Proposed Changes to Appendix D

    For an explanation of recurring proposals applicable to the 
appendix D classes of actions, please see Section IV.B, Recurring 
Proposals, above, where they are discussed and the particular classes 
of actions affected are listed. The short titles listed below for 
particular classes of actions reflect DOE's proposed titles.
D5 [Removed and Reserved: Main Transmission System Additions]
D6 [Removed and Reserved: Integrating Transmission Facilities]
    DOE proposes deleting D5, Main transmission system additions, and 
D6, Integrating transmission facilities, because there is redundancy 
and ambiguity between D5 and D6 that makes them of limited utility. 
Furthermore, there is overlap between D5 (addition of new lines) and C4 
(construction of new lines) in the current regulations, which makes it 
difficult to discern which category is appropriate for a specific 
project. DOE also proposes not to have EIS categories that correspond 
to the categorical exclusions and the EA class of actions that address 
the level of NEPA review for electric transmission facilities and lines 
(B4.11, B4.12, B4.13, and C4). Based on DOE experience, the level of 
NEPA review for transmission facilities and lines that are not 
categorically excluded is at least at an EA level, but does not 
necessarily warrant an EIS level. DOE has found that the determination 
whether an EA or an EIS is appropriate is project-specific (e.g., type 
and size of facility) and site-specific (e.g., site conditions, other 
facilities and lines in the area, or the proximity of residences). 
Working with its stakeholders, DOE has often successfully mitigated 
potentially significant impacts so that an EA level of review is often 
adequate. In those cases where an EA is not applicable, DOE completes 
an EIS, and the lack of an EIS category in this proposed rulemaking 
does not preclude such action in the future. (See the Technical Support 
Document.)
    DOE is particularly interested in receiving comments on these 
provisions.
D7 Contracts, Policies, and Marketing and Allocation Plans for Electric 
Power
    DOE proposes changes to this class of actions to conform to changes 
that DOE is proposing for both categorical exclusion B4.1 and the EA 
class of actions C7. This provision addresses establishment and 
implementation of contracts, policies, and marketing and allocation 
plans related to electric power acquisition or transmission that 
involve (1) the interconnection of, or acquisition of power from, new 
generation resources greater than 50 average megawatts; (2) changes in 
the normal operating limits of generation resources greater than 50 
average megawatts; or (3) service to discrete new loads of 10 average 
megawatts or more over a 12-month period. DOE also proposes to delete 
the description that implies that this class of actions applies only to 
its power marketing operations and facilities at its sites.
    DOE is particularly interested in receiving comments on the 
proposed revisions to this provision.
D8 Import or Export of Natural Gas Involving Major New Facilities
    DOE proposes changes for consistency with categories B5.7, B5.8, 
and C13.
D9 Import or Export of Natural Gas Involving Major Operational Change
    DOE proposes changes for consistency with categories B5.7, B5.8, 
and C13.

V. General Comments Received in Response to the December 2009 Request 
for Information

    DOE reviewed and evaluated each of the suggestions provided by the 
11 respondents to its December 2009 Request for Information, as 
discussed above in Section II. Many of the comments included proposals 
for new categorical exclusions and revisions to limit or expand 
existing categorical exclusions, or were related to other existing 
provisions in subpart D of the DOE NEPA regulations. In addition to 
comments related to specific provisions, which are discussed above in 
Section IV.C through IV.G, DOE received comments of a more general 
nature, not associated with a particular provision. These comments and 
DOE's responses are presented below.
    Categorical exclusions, generally. In its Request for Information, 
DOE described categorical exclusions as categories of actions that 
normally do not have the potential, individually or cumulatively, to 
have a significant effect on the ``human environment.'' One commentor 
expressed a concern that DOE focused too narrowly on the human 
environment and ``seems to miss the true purpose of the NEPA process.'' 
In addition, a commentor stated that the DOE categorical exclusion 
process should ``explicitly include recognition of the Department's 
trust and trustee duties and responsibilities that ensure actions 
evaluated for categorical exclusion do not adversely impact the 
environment or violate these responsibilities.'' DOE's characterization 
of a categorical exclusion in its Request for Information is consistent 
with the definition of categorical exclusion in the CEQ NEPA 
regulations (40 CFR 1508.4), and DOE applies the comprehensive 
interpretation of ``human environment'' as defined in the CEQ NEPA 
regulations (40 CFR 1508.14) ``to include the natural and physical 
environment and the relationship of people with that environment.''
    Land transfers. A commentor stated that DOE should not use a 
categorical exclusion when land transfers have the potential to impact 
Tribal Nations' rights, uses, or historical, religious or cultural 
assets, or DOE should ensure that those rights are preserved and that 
there is adequate government-to-government consultation.
    DOE conducts its government-to-government consultations with Tribal 
Nations in accordance with its American Indian Tribal Government 
Policy, as outlined in DOE Order 1230.2. With respect to Federally 
recognized Indian Tribe interests, also see Section IV.E for a 
discussion of appendix B(4) conditions that are integral elements of 
appendix B categorical exclusions.
    Land and water contaminated with radioactive and/or hazardous 
materials. A commentor noted that many of DOE's facilities, and the 
land and water beneath these facilities, are contaminated with 
radioactive and/or hazardous materials. The commentor stated that DOE 
should not allow for the transfer or lease of contaminated facilities 
and land through a categorical exclusion. DOE is proposing changes to 
DOE's land transfer-related categorical exclusions. Proposed 
categorical exclusions B1.24 and B1.25 pertain to the transfer, lease, 
disposition, or acquisition of interests (personal property and real 
property). Both proposed B1.24 and B1.25 contain limitations such that 
they may not be applied if there is a ``potential for release of 
substances at a level, or in a form, that could pose a threat to public 
health

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and the environment.'' For further information, see the detailed 
discussion of proposed changes to A7, B1.24, and B1.25 in Section IV.D 
and IV.E, above.
    Construction and operation of facilities. A commentor stated that 
``most construction of facilities (even temporary)'' should not be 
performed under a categorical exclusion. Construction and operation 
under the Department's existing and proposed categorical exclusions are 
limited to certain types of small-scale facilities that DOE has 
determined would not have potential to cause significant impacts when 
the conditions specified in the categorical exclusion and the integral 
elements in appendix B(4) are considered. Under DOE's existing NEPA 
regulations these include, for example, support buildings (such as 
cafeterias), small-scale wastewater and surface water treatment 
facilities, and microwave and communications towers. DOE is now 
proposing to add recycling drop-off stations and small-scale 
educational facilities to that list. DOE has determined that, absent 
extraordinary circumstances, these types of actions are appropriately 
categorically excluded.
    Mitigation actions. A commentor stated that mitigation actions, 
such as reseeding and revegetation, should not conflict with existing 
mitigation, restoration, and preservation activities or exacerbate 
environmental contamination, and that DOE's procedures for categorical 
exclusion determinations should include a checklist to ensure that the 
potential for such conflicts is considered in applying a categorical 
exclusion. DOE's existing and proposed categorical exclusion 
regulations require determinations that there are no extraordinary 
circumstances related to the proposal that may affect the significance 
of the proposal's environmental effects. The regulations also require 
that the proposal not be connected to other actions with significant 
impacts or related to other actions with cumulatively significant 
impacts. DOE believes that these existing procedures adequately address 
this concern.
    Rulemaking process. A commentor stated that DOE should distribute 
draft categorical exclusion determinations and supporting documents to 
those who have specific interests or oversight responsibilities for DOE 
sites, providing a 30-day comment period. DOE respectfully disagrees 
with this proposal. Such a process would be counter to the purpose of a 
categorical exclusion, which is to expedite the environmental review 
process for proposed actions that normally do not require more resource 
intensive EAs or EISs. Before an agency can establish a categorical 
exclusion, however, an agency is required to provide an opportunity for 
public review of those actions that it intends to exclude. Through the 
publication of this notice of proposed rulemaking, DOE is providing its 
proposed changes to the public and providing an opportunity for public 
review and comment. Additionally, DOE is required to consult with CEQ 
on conformity of the proposed categorical exclusions with NEPA and the 
CEQ NEPA implementing procedures.
    A commentor requested that DOE's December 2009 Request For 
Information ``not be used to remove types of projects that are 
currently required to perform an EA or EIS.'' As discussed further in 
Section IV.G, DOE is proposing to remove two classes of actions that 
are now listed as normally requiring an EIS, D5, Main transmission 
system additions, and D6, Integrating transmission facilities. DOE has 
found that, for the most part, it has been able to mitigate impacts 
such that those impacts are not significant. DOE is proposing to remove 
one EA class of actions (C2, Rate increases more than inflation, not 
power marketing). DOE has not been able to identify any proposed action 
that has been included in that class of actions.
    New technologies. A commentor requested that ``if the effects of 
new technologies in the private and public sectors are going to 
influence'' the proposed categorical exclusions, the technologies and 
their impacts must be fully explained. DOE has based its proposed 
categorical exclusions on its previous NEPA reviews, expert advice, 
categorical exclusions of other Federal agencies, and private sector 
experience, and it has explained the basis for its proposed decisions 
both here and in the Technical Support Document.
    Geothermal. A commentor requested that no further regulations be 
promulgated that would make it more difficult to obtain permitting for 
the installation of geothermal wells. The commentor also emphasized the 
``tremendous energy savings'' provided by geothermal heat pumps for 
heating and cooling buildings.
    DOE currently has an existing categorical exclusion, B3.7, for the 
siting, construction, and operation of new infill exploratory and 
experimental (test) wells, including geothermal wells, drilled in a 
geological formation that has existing operating wells. Although DOE is 
proposing to add certain restrictions, DOE does not believe these 
changes would make the permitting process for geothermal wells more 
difficult. In addition, DOE is proposing a new categorical exclusion, 
B5.19, for the installation, modification, operation, and removal of 
commercially available small-scale ground source heat pumps to support 
operations in single facilities or contiguous facilities. (See 
discussion of B3.7 and B5.19 in Section IV.E, above.)
    Renewable energy projects. A commentor suggested that DOE adopt a 
``fast-track'' review process for renewable energy projects, similar to 
a process that the Bureau of Land Management, an agency within the 
Department of the Interior, has adopted. DOE is a cooperating agency 
with the Bureau of Land Management on several of its EISs for renewable 
energy proposals (for example, for proposals for which an application 
for a loan guarantee has been submitted to DOE), and is familiar with 
the Bureau's process. In other cases, DOE's Program Offices (for 
example, the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, the 
Loan Program Office, and Bonneville Power Administration) work as 
expeditiously as possible on NEPA and other necessary reviews (such as 
electric system reliability review and financial review) needed before 
project approval. Part of DOE's aim in proposing updates to its 
categorical exclusions is to expedite the environmental review process 
for proposals that normally do not require more resource intensive EAs 
or EISs. DOE's proposed new categorical exclusions include (1) eight 
specifically for installation, modification, operation, and removal of 
commercially available renewable energy technologies (as listed in the 
proposed categorical exclusions B5.16 to B5.22, inclusive, and B5.24) 
and (2) small-scale renewable energy research and development and pilot 
projects (B5.15 and B5.25). DOE expects that the use of these 
categorical exclusions will allow for more expeditious NEPA review for 
projects that fit within the classes of actions.
    Biofuels production projects. A commentor suggested that DOE 
categorically exclude new biofuels production projects, ``provided that 
certain conditions are met with respect to air and water emissions, 
water consumption and other high-level considerations.'' At this time, 
DOE is not proposing a categorical exclusion for commercial-scale 
biofuels production projects. First, the Department conducted a survey 
of Federal agencies' NEPA regulations and did not identify existing (or 
proposed) categorical exclusions for new commercial biofuels projects 
that could guide DOE in proposing an appropriate scope for such

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a category. Second, a Notice of Funds Availability published by the 
U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Business Cooperative Service 
regarding new construction and retrofitting of advanced biofuels 
facilities (non-corn ethanol) concluded that such facilities would not 
meet the classification of a categorical exclusion (75 FR 25076; May 6, 
2010). DOE, nevertheless, is requesting input from the public as to 
whether a categorical exclusion for commercial-scale biofuel production 
projects would be appropriate, and, if so, what limits might be 
applicable (for example, throughput and operation parameters).
    Consistency among Federal and State categorical exclusions. A 
commentor suggested that DOE should work with States to create 
consistency among Federal and State categorical exclusions because 
there is a disconnect between what the Federal government categorically 
excludes under NEPA and what States exclude under their environmental 
review provisions. DOE develops its categorical exclusions based on 
classes of actions it has identified that do not individually or 
cumulatively have a significant effect on the environment based on 
actions it has considered nationwide. DOE does not have any involvement 
in how a State assigns particular classes of actions to a particular 
level of environmental review. However, States have the opportunity to 
comment on an agency's proposed categorical exclusions and associated 
administrative records and also to consider whether to change their own 
categorical exclusions or other implementing procedures based on a 
Federal agency's exclusions. DOE welcomes comments from States on DOE's 
categorical exclusions and, in particular, as to a State's experience 
with similar exclusions.
    Evaluation of greenhouse gases. A commentor noted that CEQ had 
stated that it sees no basis for excluding greenhouse gases from NEPA 
jurisdiction. The commentor suggested that DOE have additional 
categorical exclusions ``to protect against abuse of this expansive new 
jurisdiction by entities seeking to stop or stall projects.'' In 
proposing 20 new categorical exclusions and modifying others to promote 
efficiency in the NEPA process while ensuring protection of the 
environment, DOE has considered the potential for significant 
environmental impacts, including potential impacts from greenhouse gas 
emissions. DOE's approach in this regard is consistent with draft 
guidance issued in February 2010 by CEQ, Consideration of the Effects 
of Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Emissions (http://ceq.hss.doe.gov/nepa/regs/Consideration_of_Effects_of_GHG_Draft_NEPA_Guidance_FINAL_02182010.pdf). The draft guidance states, ``In many cases, the 
[greenhouse gas] emissions of the proposed action may be so small as to 
be a negligible consideration. Agency NEPA procedures may identify 
actions for which [greenhouse gas] emissions and other environmental 
effects are neither individually or cumulatively significant. 40 CFR 
1507.3.'' The draft guidance further states that, in proposing that the 
NEPA process incorporate consideration of both the impact of an agency 
action on the environment through the mechanism of greenhouse gas 
emissions and the impact of changing climate on that agency action, 
``This is not intended as a `new' component of NEPA analysis, but 
rather as a potentially important factor to be considered within the 
existing NEPA framework.''
    Level of involvement necessary to require a NEPA review (or 
``Federal handle''). A commentor requested that DOE provide guidance on 
the level of Federal involvement necessary to categorize a project as 
``Federal,'' thereby triggering an environmental review under NEPA. 
Specifically, the commentor suggested that DOE consider setting a 
minimum threshold of 10% of the overall project budget as a funding 
level that would trigger NEPA, and further, that only Federal funds 
actually allocated to the project should be counted (that is, budgeted 
or anticipated funds should be excluded in determining the level of 
Federal financing). The commentor requested that factors be specified 
to help determine what level of Federal control or involvement is 
needed for NEPA to be triggered.
    In determining whether an action constitutes a major Federal action 
for purposes of NEPA, DOE considers the degree of Federal control over 
or involvement in a project. As part of this consideration, DOE 
examines the total amount and percentage of Federal funding among other 
factors. In many cases, the fact that Federal government funding is in 
the range of 10 percent (or less) of total project costs will make the 
percentage of Federal funding an important factor in finding that an 
action is not a major Federal action. These are essentially the same 
factors suggested by the commentor. DOE also may consider other factors 
specific to the proposed action at issue. DOE finds this case-by-case 
approach workable and consistent with applicable precedent and does not 
propose to establish specific criteria through this proposed rulemaking 
for determining whether a proposed action constitutes a major Federal 
action.
    Uranium mineral activities. A commentor, noting interest in uranium 
mineral exploration, development, and reclamation activities on DOE 
uranium leases in Western Colorado, stated that ``activities related to 
mining and mineral exploration on Department of Energy mineral leases 
should remain barred from categorical exclusion.'' DOE's proposed 
revisions to the Department's NEPA regulations would not allow 
categorical exclusion of uranium mineral development. However, under 
certain conditions, some exploration and reclamation actions could be 
categorically excluded under DOE's existing and proposed categorical 
exclusions, such as, categorical exclusion B3.1, Site characterization 
and environmental monitoring, and categorical exclusion B6.1, Cleanup 
actions.
    Cost parameters for environmental review under NEPA. A commentor 
suggested that the estimated cost of a project be factored into the 
categorical exclusion process. Specifically, the commentor suggested 
that DOE establish an upper limit of $25 million (estimated cost) for a 
proposed action that can be categorically excluded and a lower limit of 
$100 million (estimated cost) over which a proposed action requires an 
EIS. DOE has determined that cost is generally not a reliable indicator 
of environmental impacts and is not proposing to establish general cost 
parameters to dictate the level of NEPA review in its regulations. One 
exception is categorical exclusion B6.1, which contains a cost limit 
for small-scale, short-term cleanup actions. See discussion of B6.1 in 
Section IV.E above.

VI. Procedural Requirements

A. Review Under Executive Order 12866

    Today's proposed rule has been determined to be a significant 
regulatory action under Executive Order 12866, ``Regulatory Planning 
and Review,'' 58 FR 51735 (October 4, 1993). Accordingly, this action 
was subject to review under that Executive Order by the Office of 
Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) of the Office of Management 
and Budget (OMB).

B. Review Under National Environmental Policy Act

    In this proposed rule, DOE proposes amendments that establish, 
modify, and clarify procedures for considering the environmental 
effects of DOE actions within DOE's decisionmaking process,

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thereby enhancing compliance with the letter and spirit of NEPA. DOE 
has determined that this proposed rule qualifies for categorical 
exclusion under 10 CFR part 1021, subpart D, appendix A6, because it is 
a strictly procedural rulemaking and no extraordinary circumstances 
exist that require further environmental analysis. Therefore, DOE has 
determined that promulgation of these amendments is not a major Federal 
action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment 
within the meaning of NEPA, and does not require an EA or an EIS.

C. Review Under Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) requires 
preparation of an initial regulatory flexibility analysis for any rule 
that by law must be proposed for public comment, unless the agency 
certifies that the rule, if promulgated, will not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. As required 
by Executive Order 13272, ``Proper Consideration of Small Entities in 
Agency Rulemaking,'' 67 FR 53461 (August 16, 2002), DOE published 
procedures and policies on February 19, 2003, to ensure that the 
potential impacts of its rules on small entities are properly 
considered during the rulemaking process (68 FR 7990). DOE has made its 
procedures and policies available on the Office of General Counsel's 
Web site: http://gc.doe.gov.
    DOE has reviewed today's proposed rule under the provisions of the 
Regulatory Flexibility Act and the procedures and policies published on 
February 19, 2003. The proposed revisions to 10 CFR part 1021 
streamline the environmental review for proposed actions, resulting in 
a decrease in burdens associated with carrying out such reviews. For 
example, the proposed revisions are expected to reduce in aggregate the 
number of EAs that DOE is required to prepare, thus reducing the burden 
on applicants to prepare an EA for DOE's consideration, pay for the 
preparation of an EA, and/or provide environmental information for 
DOE's use in preparing an EA. During the past 10 years, DOE has 
completed approximately 30 EAs per year. The number of EAs completed 
each year has not varied significantly. However, in 2010, DOE expects 
to complete more than 75 EAs which reflect an increase in the number of 
proposed projects as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment 
Act. DOE expects the number of EAs it prepares after 2010 will be 
closer to historical norms. The cost per EA has ranged from $3,000 to 
$630,000; the average and median cost has been $100,000 and $65,000, 
respectively. DOE expects that although the number of EAs it prepares 
annually could increase in response to recent emphasis on certain 
program areas, such as renewable energy technologies, proposed new 
categorical exclusions in these areas would reduce the number of EAs 
that might otherwise be required. In addition, the costs of making a 
categorical exclusion determination are less than those to prepare an 
EA. DOE estimates that DOE's administrative costs for research, staff 
time, and Web-posting for a categorical exclusion determination would 
most likely be less than $2,000 on average. Applicants may sometimes 
incur costs in providing environmental information DOE requires when 
making a categorical exclusion determination. While DOE does not have 
data on such applicant costs, DOE estimates that such costs would be 
similar to DOE's costs for a categorical exclusion determination, and 
much less than the cost of a typical EA. Although the number of EAs 
that would be avoided and the associated costs saved by applicants is 
uncertain, the proposed revisions are expected to result in a net 
decrease in environmental review costs and thus, are expected to have a 
beneficial cost impact. DOE estimates that approximately 15 percent of 
the EAs prepared in the last 10 years were funded by applicants, while 
the other 85 percent were funded by DOE. Although DOE does not have 
data on what percentage of those applicants qualified as small 
entities, a beneficial cost impact is expected to be felt by entities 
of all sizes.
    On the basis of the foregoing, DOE tentatively certifies that this 
proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities. Accordingly, DOE has not prepared 
a regulatory flexibility analysis for this proposed rulemaking. DOE's 
certification and supporting statement of factual basis will be 
provided to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 605(b).

D. Review Under Paperwork Reduction Act

    This proposed rulemaking will impose no new information or record-
keeping requirements. Accordingly, OMB clearance is not required under 
the Paperwork Reduction Act. (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.)

E. Review Under Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4) generally 
requires Federal agencies to examine closely the impacts of regulatory 
actions on State, local, and Tribal governments. Subsection 101(5) of 
title I of that law defines a Federal intergovernmental mandate to 
include any regulation that would impose upon State, local, or Tribal 
governments an enforceable duty, except a condition of Federal 
assistance or a duty arising from participating in a voluntary Federal 
program. Title II of that law requires each Federal agency to assess 
the effects of Federal regulatory actions on State, local, and Tribal 
governments, in the aggregate, or to the private sector, other than to 
the extent such actions merely incorporate requirements specifically 
set forth in a statute. Section 202 of that title requires a Federal 
agency to perform a detailed assessment of the anticipated costs and 
benefits of any rule that includes a Federal mandate which may result 
in costs to State, local, or Tribal governments, or to the private 
sector, of $100 million or more in any one year (adjusted annually for 
inflation). 2 U.S.C. 1532(a) and (b). Section 204 of that title 
requires each agency that proposes a rule containing a significant 
Federal intergovernmental mandate to develop an effective process for 
obtaining meaningful and timely input from elected officers of State, 
local, and Tribal governments. 2 U.S.C. 1534.
    The proposed rule would amend DOE's existing regulations governing 
compliance with NEPA to better align DOE's regulations, particularly 
its categorical exclusions, with its current activities and recent 
experiences, and update the provisions with respect to current 
technologies and regulatory requirements. The proposed rule would not 
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. Accordingly, no assessment or analysis is required under the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995.

F. Review Under Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 
1999

    Section 654 of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations 
Act, 1999 (Pub. L. 105-277) requires Federal agencies to issue a Family 
Policymaking Assessment for any proposed rule that may affect family 
well being. The proposed rule would not have any impact on the autonomy 
or integrity of the family as an institution. Accordingly, DOE has

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concluded that it is not necessary to prepare a Family Policymaking 
Assessment.

G. Review Under Executive Order 13132

    Executive Order 13132, ``Federalism,'' 64 FR 43255 (August 4, 1999) 
imposes certain requirements on agencies formulating and implementing 
policies or regulations that preempt State law or that have federalism 
implications. Agencies are required to examine the constitutional and 
statutory authority supporting any action that would limit the 
policymaking discretion of the States and carefully assess the 
necessity for such actions. DOE has examined this proposed rule and has 
determined that it would not preempt State law and would not have a 
substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between 
the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power 
and responsibilities among the various levels of government. No further 
action is required by Executive Order 13132.

H. Review Under Executive Order 12988

    With respect to the review of existing regulations and the 
promulgation of new regulations, section 3(a) of Executive Order 12988, 
``Civil Justice Reform,'' 61 FR 4729 (February 7, 1996), imposes on 
Executive agencies the general duty to adhere to the following 
requirements: (1) Eliminate drafting errors and ambiguity; (2) write 
regulations to minimize litigation; and (3) provide a clear legal 
standard for affected conduct rather than a general standard and 
promote simplification and burden reduction. With regard to the review 
required by section 3(a), section 3(b) of Executive Order 12988 
specifically requires that Executive agencies make every reasonable 
effort to ensure that the regulation: (1) Clearly specifies the 
preemptive effect, if any; (2) clearly specifies any effect on existing 
Federal law or regulation; (3) provides a clear legal standard for 
affected conduct while promoting simplification and burden reduction; 
(4) specifies the retroactive effect, if any; (5) adequately defines 
key terms; and (6) addresses other important issues affecting clarity 
and general draftsmanship under any guidelines issued by the Attorney 
General. Section 3(c) of Executive Order 12988 requires Executive 
agencies to review regulations in light of applicable standards in 
section 3(a) and section 3(b) to determine whether they are met or it 
is unreasonable to meet one or more of them. DOE has completed the 
required review and determined that, to the extent permitted by law, 
the proposed rule meets the relevant standards of Executive Order 
12988.

I. Review Under Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 
2001

    The Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 2001 (44 
U.S.C. 3516 note) provides for agencies to review most disseminations 
of information to the public under guidelines established by each 
agency pursuant to general guidelines issued by OMB.
    OMB's guidelines were published at 67 FR 8452 (February 22, 2002), 
and DOE's guidelines were published at 67 FR 62446 (October 7, 2002). 
DOE has reviewed today's proposed rule under the OMB and DOE guidelines 
and has concluded that it is consistent with applicable policies in 
those guidelines.

J. Review Under Executive Order 13211

    Executive Order 13211, ``Actions Concerning Regulations That 
Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use,'' 66 FR 28355 
(May 22, 2001) requires Federal agencies to prepare and submit to OMB a 
Statement of Energy Effects for any proposed significant energy action. 
A ``significant energy action'' is defined as any action by an agency 
that promulgated or is expected to lead to promulgation of a final 
rule, and that: (1)(i) Is a significant regulatory action under 
Executive Order 12866, or any successor order, and (ii) is likely to 
have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use 
of energy; or (2) is designated by the Administrator of OIRA as a 
significant energy action. For any proposed significant energy action, 
the agency must give a detailed statement of any adverse effects on 
energy supply, distribution, or use should the proposal be implemented, 
and of reasonable alternatives to the action and their expected 
benefits on energy supply, distribution, and use. Today's regulatory 
action would not have a significant adverse effect on the supply, 
distribution, or use of energy, and is therefore not a significant 
energy action. Accordingly, DOE has not prepared a Statement of Energy 
Effects.

K. Review Under Executive Order 12630

    DOE has determined pursuant to Executive Order 12630, 
``Governmental Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected 
Property Rights,'' 53 FR 8859 (March 18, 1988), that this proposed rule 
would not result in any takings which might require compensation under 
the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Approval of the Office of the Secretary
    The Secretary of Energy has approved publication of this notice of 
proposed rulemaking.

List of Subjects in 10 CFR Part 1021

    Environmental impact statements.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on December 20, 2010.
Scott Blake Harris,
General Counsel.

    For the reasons stated in the Preamble, DOE proposes to amend part 
1021 of chapter X of title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations as set 
forth below:

PART 1021--NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY ACT IMPLEMENTING 
PROCEDURES

    1. The authority citation for part 1021 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority:  42 U.S.C. 7101 et seq.; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.; 50 
U.S.C. 2401 et seq.

    2. Section 1021.311 is amended by revising the first sentence in 
paragraph (d) and revising paragraph (f) to read as follows:


Sec.  1021.311  Notice of intent and scoping.

* * * * *
    (d) Except as provided in paragraph (f) of this section, DOE shall 
hold at least one public scoping meeting as part of the public scoping 
process for a DOE EIS. * * *
* * * * *
    (f) A public scoping process is optional for DOE supplemental EISs 
(40 CFR 1502.9(c)(4)). If DOE initiates a public scoping process for a 
supplemental EIS, the provisions of paragraphs (a) through (e) of this 
section shall apply.

    3. Section 1021.322 is amended by revising the last sentence of 
paragraph (f) to read as follows:


Sec.  1021.322  Findings of no significant impact.

* * * * *
    (f) * * * A revised FONSI is subject to all provisions of this 
section.

    4. Section 1021.331 is amended by revising paragraph (b) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  1021.331  Mitigation action plans.

* * * * *
    (b) In certain circumstances, as specified in Sec.  1021.322(b)(1), 
DOE shall also prepare a Mitigation Action Plan for commitments to 
mitigations that are essential to render the impacts of the proposed 
action not significant.
* * * * *
    5. Subpart D is revised to read as follows:

[[Page 239]]

Subpart D--Typical Classes of Actions

Sec.
1021.400 Level of NEPA review.
1021.410 Application of categorical exclusions (classes of actions 
that normally do not require EAs or EISs).
Appendix A to Subpart D of Part 1021--Categorical Exclusions 
Applicable to General Agency Actions
Appendix B to Subpart D of Part 1021--Categorical Exclusions 
Applicable to Specific Agency Actions
Appendix C to Subpart D of Part 1021--Classes of Actions That 
Normally Require EAs But Not Necessarily EISs
Appendix D to Subpart D of Part 1021--Classes of Actions That 
Normally Require EISs


Sec.  1021.400  Level of NEPA review.

    (a) This subpart identifies DOE actions that normally:
    (1) Do not require preparation of either an EIS or an EA (are 
categorically excluded from preparation of either document) (appendices 
A and B to this subpart D);
    (2) Require preparation of an EA, but not necessarily an EIS 
(appendix C to this subpart D); or
    (3) Require preparation of an EIS (appendix D to this subpart D).
    (b) Any completed, valid NEPA review does not have to be repeated, 
and no completed NEPA documents need to be redone by reasons of these 
regulations, except as provided in Sec.  1021.314.
    (c) If a DOE proposal is encompassed within a class of actions 
listed in the appendices to this subpart D, DOE shall proceed with the 
level of NEPA review indicated for that class of actions, unless there 
are extraordinary circumstances related to the specific proposal that 
may affect the significance of the environmental effects of the 
proposal.
    (d) If a DOE proposal is not encompassed within the classes of 
actions listed in the appendices to this subpart D, or if there are 
extraordinary circumstances related to the proposal that may affect the 
significance of the environmental effects of the proposal, DOE shall 
either:
    (1) Prepare an EA and, on the basis of that EA, determine whether 
to prepare an EIS or a FONSI; or
    (2) Prepare an EIS and ROD.


Sec.  1021.410  Application of categorical exclusions (classes of 
actions that normally do not require EAs or EISs).

    (a) The actions listed in appendices A and B to this subpart D are 
classes of actions that DOE has determined do not individually or 
cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment 
(categorical exclusions).
    (b) To find that a proposal is categorically excluded, DOE shall 
determine the following:
    (1) The proposal fits within a class of actions that is listed in 
appendix A or B to this subpart D;
    (2) There are no extraordinary circumstances related to the 
proposal that may affect the significance of the environmental effects 
of the proposal. Extraordinary circumstances are unique situations 
presented by specific proposals, including, but not limited to, 
scientific controversy about the environmental effects of the proposal; 
uncertain effects or effects involving unique or unknown risks; and 
unresolved conflicts concerning alternative uses of available 
resources; and
    (3) The proposal has not been segmented to meet the definition of a 
categorical exclusion. Segmentation can occur when a proposal is broken 
down into small parts in order to avoid the appearance of significance 
of the total action. The scope of a proposal must include the 
consideration of connected and cumulative actions, that is, the 
proposal is not connected to other actions with potentially significant 
impacts (40 CFR 1508.25(a)(1)), is not related to other actions with 
individually insignificant but cumulatively significant impacts (40 CFR 
1508.27(b)(7)), and is not precluded by 40 CFR 1506.1 or Sec.  1021.211 
of this part concerning limitations on actions during EIS preparation.
    (c) All categorical exclusions may be applied by any organizational 
element of DOE. The sectional divisions in appendix B to this subpart D 
are solely for purposes of organization of that appendix and are not 
intended to be limiting.
    (d) A class of actions includes activities foreseeably necessary to 
proposals encompassed within the class of actions (such as award of 
implementing grants and contracts, site preparation, purchase and 
installation of equipment, and associated transportation activities).
    (e) Categorical exclusion determinations for actions listed in 
appendix B shall be documented and made available to the public by 
posting online, generally within two weeks of the determination, unless 
additional time is needed in order to review and protect classified 
information, ``confidential business information,'' or other 
information that DOE would not disclose pursuant to the Freedom of 
Information Act (FOIA) (5 U.S.C. 552). Posted categorical exclusion 
determinations shall not disclose classified information, 
``confidential business information,'' or other information that DOE 
would not disclose pursuant to FOIA. (See also 10 CFR 1021.340.)

Appendix A to Subpart D of Part 1021--Categorical Exclusions Applicable 
to General Agency Actions

A1 Routine DOE Business Actions

    Routine actions necessary to support the normal conduct of DOE 
business limited to administrative, financial, and personnel 
actions.

A2 Clarifying or Administrative Contract Actions

    Contract interpretations, amendments, and modifications that are 
clarifying or administrative in nature.

A3 Certain Actions by Office of Hearings and Appeals

    Adjustments, exceptions, exemptions, appeals and stays, 
modifications, or rescissions of orders issued by the Office of 
Hearings and Appeals.

A4 Interpretations and Rulings for Existing Regulations

    Interpretations and rulings with respect to existing 
regulations, or modifications or rescissions of such interpretations 
and rulings.

A5 Interpretive Rulemakings With no Change in Environmental Effect

    Rulemakings interpreting or amending an existing rule or 
regulation that does not change the environmental effect of the rule 
or regulation being amended.

A6 Procedural Rulemakings

    Rulemakings that are strictly procedural, including, but not 
limited to, rulemaking (under 48 CFR chapter 9) establishing 
procedures for technical and pricing proposals and establishing 
contract clauses and contracting practices for the purchase of goods 
and services, and rulemaking (under 10 CFR part 600) establishing 
application and review procedures for, and administration, audit, 
and closeout of, grants and cooperative agreements.

A7 [Reserved]

A8 Awards of Certain Contracts

    Awards of contracts for technical support services, management 
and operation of a government-owned facility, and personal services.

A9 Information Gathering, Analysis, and Dissemination

    Information gathering (including, but not limited to, literature 
surveys, inventories, site visits, and audits), data analysis 
(including, but not limited to, computer modeling), document 
preparation (including, but not limited to, conceptual design, 
feasibility studies, and analytical energy supply and demand 
studies), and information dissemination (including, but not limited 
to, document publication and distribution, and classroom training 
and informational programs), but not including site

[[Page 240]]

characterization or environmental monitoring. (See also B3.1 of 
appendix B to this subpart.)

A10 Reports and Recommendations on non-DOE Legislation

    Reports and recommendations on legislation or rulemaking that 
are not proposed by DOE.

A11 Technical Advice and Assistance to Organizations

    Technical advice and planning assistance to international, 
national, State, and local organizations.

A12 Emergency Preparedness Planning

    Emergency preparedness planning activities, including, but not 
limited to, the designation of onsite evacuation routes.

A13 Procedural Documents

    Administrative, organizational, or procedural Policies, Orders, 
Notices, Manuals, and Guides.

A14 Approval of Technical Exchange Arrangements

    Approval of technical exchange arrangements for information, 
data, or personnel with other countries or international 
organizations (including, but not limited to, assistance in 
identifying and analyzing another country's energy resources, needs 
and options).

A15 International Agreements for Energy Research and Development

    Approval of DOE participation in international ``umbrella'' 
agreements for cooperation in energy research and development 
activities that would not commit the U.S. to any specific projects 
or activities.

Appendix B to Subpart D of Part 1021--Categorical Exclusions Applicable 
to Specific Agency Actions

B. Conditions That Are Integral Elements of the Classes of Actions in 
Appendix B

    The classes of actions listed below include the following 
conditions as integral elements of the classes of actions. To fit 
within the classes of actions listed below, a proposal must be one 
that would not:
    (1) Threaten a violation of applicable statutory, regulatory, or 
permit requirements for environment, safety, and health, or similar 
requirements of DOE or Executive Orders;
    (2) Require siting and construction or major expansion of waste 
storage, disposal, recovery, or treatment facilities (including 
incinerators), but the proposal may include categorically excluded 
waste storage, disposal, recovery, or treatment actions or 
facilities;
    (3) Disturb hazardous substances, pollutants, contaminants, or 
CERCLA-excluded petroleum and natural gas products that preexist in 
the environment such that there would be uncontrolled or unpermitted 
releases; or
    (4) Have the potential to cause significant impacts on 
environmentally sensitive resources. An environmentally sensitive 
resource is typically a resource that has been identified as needing 
protection through Executive Order, statute, or regulation by 
Federal, State, or local government, or a Federally recognized 
Indian Tribe. An action may be categorically excluded if, although 
sensitive resources are present, the action would not have the 
potential to cause significant impacts on those resources (such as 
construction of a building with its foundation well above a sole-
source aquifer or upland surface soil removal on a site that has 
wetlands). Environmentally sensitive resources include, but are not 
limited to:
    (i) Property (such as sites, buildings, structures, and objects) 
of historic, archeological, or architectural significance designated 
by Federal, State, or local governments, or a Federally recognized 
Indian Tribe, or property determined to be eligible for listing on 
the National Register of Historic Places;
    (ii) Federally-listed threatened or endangered species or their 
habitat (including critical habitat) or Federally-proposed or 
candidate species or their habitat (Endangered Species Act); State-
listed endangered or threatened species or their habitat; and 
Federally-protected marine mammals and Essential Fish Habitat 
(Marine Mammals Protection Act; Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act);
    (iii) Floodplains and wetlands (as defined in 10 CFR 1022.4, 
``Compliance with Floodplain and Wetland Environmental Review 
Requirements: Definitions,'' or its successor);
    (iv) Areas having a special designation such as Federally- and 
State-designated wilderness areas, national parks, national 
monuments, national natural landmarks, wild and scenic rivers, State 
and Federal wildlife refuges, scenic areas (such as National Scenic 
and Historic Trails or National Scenic Areas), and marine 
sanctuaries;
    (v) Prime or unique farmland, or other farmland of statewide or 
local importance, as defined at 7 CFR 658.2(a), ``Farmland 
Protection Policy Act: Definitions,'' or its successor;
    (vi) Special sources of water (such as sole-source aquifers, 
wellhead protection areas, and other water sources that are vital in 
a region); and
    (vii) Tundra, coral reefs, or rain forests.

B1. Categorical Exclusions Applicable to Facility Operation

B1.1 Changing Rates and Prices

    Changing rates for services or prices for products marketed by 
parts of DOE other than Power Marketing Administrations, and 
approval of rate or price changes for non-DOE entities, that are 
consistent with the change in the implicit price deflator for the 
Gross Domestic Product published by the Department of Commerce, 
during the period since the last rate or price change.

B1.2 Training Exercises and Simulations

    Training exercises and simulations (including, but not limited 
to, firing-range training, small-scale and short-duration force-on-
force exercises, emergency response training, fire fighter and 
rescue training, and decontamination and spill cleanup training) 
conducted under appropriately controlled conditions and in 
accordance with applicable requirements.

B1.3 Routine Maintenance

    Routine maintenance activities and custodial services for 
buildings, structures, rights-of-way, infrastructures (including, 
but not limited to, pathways, roads, and railroads), vehicles and 
equipment, and localized vegetation and pest control, during which 
operations may be suspended and resumed, provided that the 
activities would be conducted in a manner in accordance with 
applicable requirements. Custodial services are activities to 
preserve facility appearance, working conditions, and sanitation 
(such as cleaning, window washing, lawn mowing, trash collection, 
painting, and snow removal). Routine maintenance activities, 
corrective (that is, repair), preventive, and predictive, are 
required to maintain and preserve buildings, structures, 
infrastructures, and equipment in a condition suitable for a 
facility to be used for its designated purpose. Such maintenance may 
occur as a result of severe weather (such as hurricanes, floods, and 
tornados), wildfires, and other such events. Routine maintenance may 
result in replacement to the extent that replacement is in-kind and 
is not a substantial upgrade or improvement. In-kind replacement 
includes installation of new components to replace outmoded 
components, provided that the replacement does not result in a 
significant change in the expected useful life, design capacity, or 
function of the facility. Routine maintenance does not include 
replacement of a major component that significantly extends the 
originally intended useful life of a facility (for example, it does 
not include the replacement of a reactor vessel near the end of its 
useful life). Routine maintenance activities include, but are not 
limited to:
    (a) Repair or replacement of facility equipment, such as lathes, 
mills, pumps, and presses;
    (b) Door and window repair or replacement;
    (c) Wall, ceiling, or floor repair or replacement;
    (d) Reroofing;
    (e) Plumbing, electrical utility, lighting, and telephone 
service repair or replacement;
    (f) Routine replacement of high-efficiency particulate air 
filters;
    (g) Inspection and/or treatment of currently installed utility 
poles;
    (h) Repair of road embankments;
    (i) Repair or replacement of fire protection sprinkler systems;
    (j) Road and parking area resurfacing, including construction of 
temporary access to facilitate resurfacing, and scraping and grading 
of unpaved surfaces;
    (k) Erosion control and soil stabilization measures (such as 
reseeding and revegetation);
    (l) Surveillance and maintenance of surplus facilities in 
accordance with DOE Order 435.1, ``Radioactive Waste Management,'' 
or its successor;
    (m) Repair and maintenance of transmission facilities, such as 
replacement

[[Page 241]]

of conductors of the same nominal voltage, poles, circuit breakers, 
transformers, capacitors, crossarms, insulators, and downed 
transmission lines, in accordance, where appropriate, with 40 CFR 
part 761 (Polychlorinated Biphenyls Manufacturing, Processing, 
Distribution in Commerce, and Use Prohibitions) or its successor;
    (n) Routine testing and calibration of facility components, 
subsystems, or portable equipment (such as control valves, in-core 
monitoring devices, transformers, capacitors, monitoring wells, 
lysimeters, weather stations, and flumes);
    (o) Routine decontamination of the surfaces of equipment, rooms, 
hot cells, or other interior surfaces of buildings (by such 
activities as wiping with rags, using strippable latex, and minor 
vacuuming), and removal of contaminated intact equipment and other 
material (not including spent nuclear fuel or special nuclear 
material in nuclear reactors); and
    (p) Removal of debris.

B1.4 Air Conditioning Systems for Existing Equipment

    Installation or modification of air conditioning systems 
required for temperature control for operation of existing 
equipment.

B1.5 Existing Steam Plants and Cooling Water Systems

    Minor improvements to existing steam plants and cooling water 
systems (including, but not limited to, modifications of existing 
cooling towers and ponds), provided that the improvements would not: 
(1) Create new sources of water or involve new receiving waters; (2) 
have the potential to cause significant impacts on water withdrawals 
or the temperature of discharged water; or (3) increase 
introductions of, or involve new introductions of, hazardous 
substances, pollutants, contaminants, or CERCLA-excluded petroleum 
and natural gas products.

B1.6 Tanks and Equipment To Control Runoff and Spills

    Installation or modification of retention tanks or small 
(normally under one acre) basins and associated piping and pumps for 
existing operations to control runoff or spills (such as under 40 
CFR part 112). Modifications include, but are not limited to, 
installing liners or covers. (See also B1.33 of this appendix.)

B1.7 Electronic Equipment

    Acquisition, installation, operation, modification, and removal 
of electricity transmission control and monitoring devices for grid 
demand and response, communication systems, data processing 
equipment, and similar electronic equipment.

B1.8 Screened Water Intake and Outflow Structures

    Modifications to screened water intake and outflow structures 
such that intake velocities and volumes and water effluent quality 
and volumes are consistent with existing permit limits.

B1.9 Airway Safety Markings and Painting

    Placement of airway safety markings on, painting of, and repair 
and in-kind replacement of lighting on electrical transmission lines 
and antenna structures, wind turbines, and similar structures in 
accordance with applicable requirements (such as Federal Aviation 
Administration standards).

B1.10 Onsite Storage of Activated Material

    Routine, onsite storage at an existing facility of activated 
equipment and material (including, but not limited to, lead) used at 
that facility, to allow reuse after decay of radioisotopes with 
short half-lives.

B1.11 Fencing

    Installation of fencing, including, but not limited to border 
marking, that would not have the potential to cause significant 
impacts on wildlife populations or migration or surface water flow.

B1.12 Detonation or Burning of Explosives or Propellants After 
Testing

    Outdoor detonation or burning of explosives or propellants that 
failed (duds), were damaged (such as by fracturing), or were 
otherwise not consumed in testing. Outdoor detonation or burning 
would be in areas designated and routinely used for those purposes 
under existing applicable permits issued by Federal, State, and 
local authorities (such as a permit for a RCRA miscellaneous unit 
(40 CFR part 264, subpart X)).

B1.13 Pathways, Short Access Roads, and Rail Lines

    Construction, acquisition, and relocation, consistent with 
applicable right-of-way conditions and approved land use or 
transportation improvement plans, of pedestrian walkways and trails, 
bicycle paths, small outdoor fitness areas, and short access roads 
and rail lines (such as branch and spur lines).

B1.14 Refueling of Nuclear Reactors

    Refueling of operating nuclear reactors, during which operations 
may be suspended and then resumed.

B1.15 Support Buildings

    Siting, construction or modification, and operation of support 
buildings and support structures (including, but not limited to, 
trailers and prefabricated and modular buildings) within or 
contiguous to an already developed area (where active utilities and 
currently used roads are readily accessible). Covered support 
buildings and structures include, but are not limited to, those for 
office purposes; parking; cafeteria services; education and 
training; visitor reception; computer and data processing services; 
health services or recreation activities; routine maintenance 
activities; storage of supplies and equipment for administrative 
services and routine maintenance activities; security (such as 
security posts); fire protection; small-scale fabrication (such as 
machine shop activities), assembly, and testing of non-nuclear 
equipment or components; and similar support purposes, but exclude 
facilities for nuclear weapons activities and waste storage 
activities, such as activities covered in B1.10, B1.29, B1.35, B2.6, 
B6.2, B6.4, B6.5, B6.6, and B6.10 of this appendix.

B1.16 Asbestos Removal

    Removal of asbestos-containing materials from buildings in 
accordance with applicable requirements (such as 40 CFR part 61, 
``National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants''; 40 CFR 
part 763, ``Asbestos''; 29 CFR part 1910, subpart I, ``Personal 
Protective Equipment''; and 29 CFR part 1926, ``Safety and Health 
Regulations for Construction''; and appropriate State and local 
requirements, including certification of removal contractors and 
technicians).

B1.17 Polychlorinated Biphenyl Removal

    Removal of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)-containing items 
(including, but not limited to, transformers and capacitors), PCB-
containing oils flushed from transformers, PCB-flushing solutions, 
and PCB-containing spill materials from buildings or other 
aboveground locations in accordance with applicable requirements 
(such as 40 CFR part 761).

B1.18 Water Supply Wells

    Siting, construction, and operation of additional water supply 
wells (or replacement wells) within an existing well field, or 
modification of an existing water supply well to restore production, 
provided that there would be no drawdown other than in the immediate 
vicinity of the pumping well, and the covered actions would not have 
the potential to cause significant long-term decline of the water 
table, and would not have the potential to cause significant 
degradation of the aquifer from the new or replacement well.

B1.19 Microwave, Meteorological, and Radio Towers

    Siting, construction, modification, operation, abandonment, and 
removal of microwave, radio communication, and meteorological towers 
and associated facilities, provided that the towers and associated 
facilities would not be in a governmentally designated scenic area 
(see B(4)(iv) of this appendix) unless otherwise authorized by the 
appropriate governmental entity.

B1.20 Protection of Cultural Resources, Fish and Wildlife Habitat

    Small-scale activities undertaken to protect cultural resources 
(such as fencing, labeling, and flagging) or to protect, restore, or 
improve fish and wildlife habitat, fish passage facilities (such as 
fish ladders and minor diversion channels), or fisheries. Such 
activities would be conducted in accordance with an existing natural 
or cultural resource plan, if any.

B1.21 Noise Abatement

    Noise abatement measures (including, but not limited to, 
construction of noise barriers and installation of noise control 
materials).

B1.22 Relocation of Buildings

    Relocation of buildings (including, but not limited to, trailers 
and prefabricated buildings) to an already developed area

[[Page 242]]

(where active utilities and currently used roads are readily 
accessible).

B1.23 Demolition and Disposal of Buildings

    Demolition and subsequent disposal of buildings, equipment, and 
support structures (including, but not limited to, smoke stacks and 
parking lot surfaces), provided that there would be no potential for 
release of substances at a level, or in a form, that could pose a 
threat to public health or the environment.

B1.24 Property Transfers

    Transfer, lease, disposition, or acquisition of interests in 
personal property (including, but not limited to, equipment and 
materials) or real property (including, but not limited to, 
permanent structures and land), provided that under reasonably 
foreseeable uses (1) there would be no potential for release of 
substances at a level, or in a form, that could pose a threat to 
public health or the environment and (2) the covered actions would 
not have the potential to cause a significant change in impacts from 
before the transfer, lease, disposition, or acquisition of 
interests.

B1.25 Property Transfers for Cultural Resources Protection, Habitat 
Preservation, and Wildlife Management

    Transfer, lease, disposition, or acquisition of interests in 
land and associated buildings for cultural resources protection, 
habitat preservation, or fish and wildlife management, provided that 
there would be no potential for release of substances at a level, or 
in a form, that could pose a threat to public health or the 
environment.

B1.26 Small Water Treatment Facilities

    Siting, construction, expansion, modification, replacement, 
operation, and decommissioning of small (total capacity less than 
approximately 250,000 gallons per day) wastewater and surface water 
treatment facilities whose liquid discharges are externally 
regulated, and small potable water and sewage treatment facilities.

B1.27 Disconnection of Utilities

    Activities that are required for the disconnection of utility 
services (including, but not limited to, water, steam, 
telecommunications, and electrical power) after it has been 
determined that the continued operation of these systems is not 
needed for safety.

B1.28 Placing a Facility in an Environmentally Safe Condition

    Minor activities that are required to place a facility in an 
environmentally safe condition where there is no proposed use for 
the facility. These activities would include, but are not limited 
to, reducing surface contamination, and removing materials, 
equipment or waste (such as final defueling of a reactor, where 
there are adequate existing facilities for the treatment, storage, 
or disposal of the materials, equipment or waste). These activities 
would not include conditioning, treatment, or processing of spent 
nuclear fuel, high-level waste, or special nuclear materials.

B1.29 Disposal Facilities for Construction and Demolition Waste

    Siting, construction, expansion, modification, operation, and 
decommissioning of small (less than approximately 10 acres) solid 
waste disposal facilities for construction and demolition waste, in 
accordance with applicable requirements (such as 40 CFR part 257, 
``Criteria for Classification of Solid Waste Disposal Facilities and 
Practices,'' and 40 CFR part 61, ``National Emission Standards for 
Hazardous Air Pollutants'') that would not release substances at a 
level, or in a form, that could pose a threat to public health or 
the environment.

B1.30 Transfer Actions

    Transfer actions, in which the predominant activity is 
transportation, provided that (1) the receipt and storage capacity 
and management capability for the amount and type of materials, 
equipment, or waste to be moved already exists at the receiving site 
and (2) all necessary facilities and operations at the receiving 
site are already permitted, licensed, or approved, as appropriate. 
Such transfers are not regularly scheduled as part of ongoing 
routine operations.

B1.31 Installation or Relocation of Machinery and Equipment

    Installation or relocation and operation of machinery and 
equipment (including, but not limited to, laboratory equipment, 
electronic hardware, manufacturing machinery, maintenance equipment, 
and health and safety equipment), provided that uses of the 
installed or relocated items are consistent with the general 
missions of the receiving structure. Covered actions include 
modifications to an existing building, within or contiguous to a 
previously disturbed or developed area, that are necessary for 
equipment installation and relocation. Such modifications would not 
appreciably increase the footprint or height of the existing 
building or have the potential to cause significant changes to the 
type and magnitude of environmental impacts.

B1.32 Traffic Flow Adjustments

    Traffic flow adjustments to existing roads (including, but not 
limited to, stop sign or traffic light installation, adjusting 
direction of traffic flow, and adding turning lanes), and road 
adjustments (including, but not limited to, widening and 
realignment) that are within an existing right-of-way and consistent 
with approved land use or transportation improvement plans.

B1.33 Stormwater Runoff Control

    Design, construction, and operation of control practices to 
reduce stormwater runoff and maintain natural hydrology. Activities 
include, but are not limited to, those that reduce impervious 
surfaces (such as vegetative practices and use of porous pavements), 
best management practices (such as silt fences, straw wattles, and 
fiber rolls), and use of green infrastructure or other low impact 
development practices (such as cisterns and green roofs).

B1.34 Lead-based Paint

    Containment, removal, and disposal of lead-based paint in 
accordance with applicable requirements (such as provisions relating 
to the certification of removal contractors and technicians at 40 
CFR part 745, ``Lead-Based Paint Poisoning Prevention In Certain 
Residential Structures'').

B1.35 Drop-off, Collection and Transfer Facilities for Recyclable 
Materials

    Siting, construction, modification, and operation of recycling 
or compostable material drop-off, collection, and transfer stations 
on or contiguous to a previously disturbed or developed area and in 
an area where such a facility would be consistent with existing 
zoning requirements. The stations would have appropriate facilities 
and procedures established in accordance with applicable 
requirements for the handling of recyclable or compostable materials 
and household hazardous waste (such as paint and pesticides). Except 
as specified above, the collection of hazardous waste for disposal 
and the processing of recyclable or compostable materials are not 
included in this class of actions.

B1.36 Determinations of Excess Real Property

    Determinations that real property is excess to the needs of DOE 
and, in the case of acquired real property, the subsequent reporting 
of such determinations to the General Services Administration or, in 
the case of lands withdrawn or otherwise reserved from the public 
domain, the subsequent filing of a notice of intent to relinquish 
with the Bureau of Land Management, Department of the Interior. 
Covered actions would not include disposal of real property.

B2. Categorical Exclusions Applicable to Safety and Health

B2.1 Workplace Enhancements

    Modifications within or contiguous to an existing structure, in 
a previously disturbed or developed area, to enhance workplace 
habitability (including, but not limited to, installation or 
improvements to lighting, radiation shielding, or heating/
ventilating/air conditioning and its instrumentation, and noise 
reduction).

B2.2 Building and Equipment Instrumentation

    Installation of, or improvements to, building and equipment 
instrumentation (including, but not limited to, remote control 
panels, remote monitoring capability, alarm and surveillance 
systems, control systems to provide automatic shutdown, fire 
detection and protection systems, water consumption monitors and 
flow control systems, announcement and emergency warning systems, 
criticality and radiation monitors and alarms, and safeguards and 
security equipment).

B2.3 Personnel Safety and Health Equipment

    Installation of, or improvements to, equipment for personnel 
safety and health (including, but not limited to, eye washes,

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safety showers, radiation monitoring devices, fumehoods, and 
associated collection and exhaust systems), provided that the 
covered actions would not have the potential to cause a significant 
increase in emissions.

B2.4 Equipment Qualification

    Activities undertaken to (1) qualify equipment for use or 
improve systems reliability or (2) augment information on safety-
related system components. These activities include, but are not 
limited to, transportation container qualification testing, crane 
and lift-gear certification or recertification testing, high 
efficiency particulate air filter testing and certification, stress 
tests (such as ``burn-in'' testing of electrical components and leak 
testing), and calibration of sensors or diagnostic equipment.

B2.5 Facility Safety and Environmental Improvements

    Safety and environmental improvements of a facility (including, 
but not limited to, replacement and upgrade of facility components) 
that do not result in a significant change in the expected useful 
life, design capacity, or function of the facility and during which 
operations may be suspended and then resumed. Improvements include, 
but are not limited to, replacement/upgrade of control valves, in-
core monitoring devices, facility air filtration systems, or 
substation transformers or capacitors; addition of structural 
bracing to meet earthquake standards and/or sustain high wind 
loading; and replacement of aboveground or belowground tanks and 
related piping, provided that there is no evidence of leakage, based 
on testing in accordance with applicable requirements (such as 40 
CFR part 265, ``Interim Status Standards for Owners and Operators of 
Hazardous Waste Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities'' and 40 
CFR part 280, ``Technical Standards and Corrective Action 
Requirements for Owners and Operators of Underground Storage 
Tanks''). These actions do not include rebuilding or modifying 
substantial portions of a facility (such as replacing a reactor 
vessel).

B2.6 Recovery of Radioactive Sealed Sources

    Recovery of radioactive sealed sources and sealed source-
containing devices from domestic or foreign locations provided that 
(1) the recovered items are transported and stored in compliant 
containers, and (2) the receiving site has sufficient existing 
storage capacity and all required licenses, permits, and approvals.

B3. Categorical Exclusions Applicable to Site Characterization, 
Monitoring, and General Research

B3.1 Site Characterization and Environmental Monitoring

    Site characterization and environmental monitoring (including, 
but not limited to, siting, construction, modification, operation, 
and dismantlement and abandonment of characterization and monitoring 
devices, and siting, construction, and associated operation of a 
small-scale laboratory building or renovation of a room in an 
existing building for sample analysis). Such activities would not 
have the potential to cause significant impacts from ground 
disturbance. Covered activities include, but are not limited to, 
site characterization and environmental monitoring under CERCLA and 
RCRA. (This class of actions excludes activities in salt water and 
freshwater. See B3.16 of this appendix for salt water and freshwater 
activities.) Specific activities include, but are not limited to:
    (a) Geological, geophysical (such as gravity, magnetic, 
electrical, seismic, radar, and temperature gradient), geochemical, 
and engineering surveys and mapping, and the establishment of survey 
marks. Seismic techniques would not include large-scale reflection 
or refraction testing;
    (b) Installation and operation of field instruments (such as 
stream-gauging stations or flow-measuring devices, telemetry 
systems, geochemical monitoring tools, and geophysical exploration 
tools);
    (c) Drilling of wells for sampling or monitoring of groundwater 
or the vadose (unsaturated) zone, well logging, and installation of 
water-level recording devices in wells;
    (d) Aquifer and underground reservoir response testing;
    (e) Installation and operation of ambient air monitoring 
equipment;
    (f) Sampling and characterization of water, soil, rock, or 
contaminants (such as drilling using truck- or mobile-scale 
equipment, and modification, use, and plugging of boreholes);
    (g) Sampling and characterization of water effluents, air 
emissions, or solid waste streams;
    (h) Installation and operation of meteorological towers and 
associated activities (such as assessment of potential wind energy 
resources);
    (i) Sampling of flora or fauna; and
    (j) Archeological, historic, and cultural resource 
identification in compliance with 36 CFR part 800 and 43 CFR part 7.

B3.2 Aviation Activities

    Aviation activities for survey, monitoring, or security purposes 
that comply with Federal Aviation Administration regulations.

B3.3 Research Related to Conservation of Fish, Wildlife, and 
Cultural Resources

    Field and laboratory research, inventory, and information 
collection activities that are directly related to the conservation 
of fish and wildlife resources or to the protection of cultural 
resources, provided that such activities would not have the 
potential to cause significant impacts on fish and wildlife habitat 
or populations or to cultural resources.

B3.4 Transport Packaging Tests for Radioactive or Hazardous 
Material

    Drop, puncture, water-immersion, thermal, and fire tests of 
transport packaging for radioactive or hazardous materials to 
certify that designs meet the applicable requirements (such as 49 
CFR 173.411 and 173.412 and 10 CFR 71.73).

B3.5 Tank Car Tests

    Tank car tests under 49 CFR part 179 (including, but not limited 
to, tests of safety relief devices, pressure regulators, and thermal 
protection systems).

B3.6 Small-Scale Research and Development, Laboratory Operations, 
and Pilot Projects

    Siting, construction, modification, operation, and 
decommissioning of facilities for small-scale research and 
development projects; conventional laboratory operations (such as 
preparation of chemical standards and sample analysis); and small-
scale pilot projects (generally less than 2 years) frequently 
conducted to verify a concept before demonstration actions, provided 
that construction or modification would be within or contiguous to a 
previously disturbed or developed area (where active utilities and 
currently used roads are readily accessible). For purposes of this 
category, ``demonstration actions'' means actions that are 
undertaken at a scale to show whether a technology would be viable 
on a larger scale and suitable for commercial deployment. 
Demonstration actions frequently follow research and development and 
pilot projects that are directed at establishing proof of concept.

B3.7 New Terrestrial Infill Exploratory and Experimental Wells

    Siting, construction, and operation of new terrestrial infill 
exploratory and experimental (test) wells in a locally characterized 
geological formation in a field that contains existing operating 
wells, properly abandoned wells, or unminable coal seams containing 
natural gas, provided that the site characterization has verified a 
low potential for seismicity, subsidence, and contamination of 
freshwater aquifers, and the actions are otherwise consistent with 
applicable best practices and DOE protocols, including those that 
protect against uncontrolled releases of harmful materials. Such 
wells may include those for brine, carbon dioxide, coalbed methane, 
gas hydrate, geothermal, natural gas, and oil. Uses for carbon 
sequestration wells include, but are not limited to, the study of 
saline formations, enhanced oil recovery, and enhanced coalbed 
methane extraction.

B3.8 Outdoor Terrestrial Ecological and Environmental Research

    Outdoor terrestrial ecological and environmental research in a 
small area (generally less than 5 acres), including, but not limited 
to, siting, construction, and operation of a small-scale laboratory 
building or renovation of a room in an existing building for 
associated analysis, provided that such activities would not have 
the potential to cause significant impacts on the ecosystem. These 
actions include, but are not limited to, small test plots for 
energy-related biomass or biofuels research. Such research may 
include the use of genetically engineered plants where the test plot 
of such plants and associated activities have been authorized by the 
U.S. Department of Agriculture, in accordance with applicable 
requirements (such as 7 CFR part 340),

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including the use of any required confinement measures and buffer 
zones.

B3.9 Projects To Reduce Emissions and Waste Generation

    Projects to reduce emissions and waste generation at existing 
fossil or alternative fuel combustion or utilization facilities, 
provided that these projects would not have the potential to cause a 
significant increase in the quantity or rate of air emissions. For 
this category of actions, ``fuel'' includes coal, oil, natural gas, 
hydrogen, syngas, and biomass. Neither ``fuel'' nor ``alternative 
fuel'' herein includes nuclear fuels. Covered actions include, but 
are not limited to:
    (a) Test treatment of the throughput product (solid, liquid, or 
gas) generated at an existing and fully operational fuel combustion 
or utilization facility;
    (b) Addition or replacement of equipment for reduction or 
control of sulfur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, or other regulated 
substances that requires only minor modification to the existing 
structures at an existing fuel combustion or utilization facility, 
for which the existing use remains essentially unchanged;
    (c) Addition or replacement of equipment for reduction or 
control of sulfur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, or other regulated 
substances that involves no permanent change in the quantity or 
quality of fuel burned or used and involves no permanent change in 
the capacity factor of the fuel combustion or utilization facility; 
and
    (d) Addition or modification of equipment for capture and 
control of carbon dioxide or other regulated substances, provided 
that adequate infrastructure is in place to manage such substances.

B3.10 Particle Accelerators

    Siting, construction, modification, operation, and 
decommissioning of particle accelerators, including electron beam 
accelerators, with primary beam energy less than approximately 100 
million electron volts (MeV) and average beam power less than 
approximately 250 kilowatts (kW), and associated beamlines, storage 
rings, colliders, and detectors, for research and medical purposes 
(such as proton therapy), and isotope production, within or 
contiguous to a previously disturbed or developed area (where active 
utilities and currently used roads are readily accessible), or 
internal modification of any accelerator facility regardless of 
energy, that does not increase primary beam energy or current. In 
cases where the beam energy exceeds 100 MeV, the average beam power 
must be less than 250 kW, so as not to exceed an average current of 
2.5 milliamperes (mA).

B3.11 Outdoor Tests and Experiments on Materials and Equipment 
Components

    Outdoor tests and experiments for the development, quality 
assurance, or reliability of materials and equipment (including, but 
not limited to, weapon system components) under controlled 
conditions. Covered actions include, but are not limited to, burn 
tests (such as tests of electric cable fire resistance or the 
combustion characteristics of fuels), impact tests (such as 
pneumatic ejector tests using earthen embankments or concrete slabs 
designated and routinely used for that purpose), or drop, puncture, 
water-immersion, or thermal tests. Covered actions would not involve 
source, special nuclear, or byproduct materials, except that 
encapsulated sources that contain source, special nuclear, or 
byproduct materials may be used for nondestructive actions such as 
detector/sensor development and testing and first responder field 
training.

B3.12 Microbiological and Biomedical Facilities

    Siting, construction, modification, operation, and 
decommissioning of microbiological and biomedical diagnostic, 
treatment and research facilities (excluding Biosafety Level-3 and 
Biosafety Level-4), in accordance with applicable requirements or 
best practices (such as Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical 
Laboratories, 5th Edition, Feb. 2007, U.S. Department of Health and 
Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the 
National Institutes of Health) including, but not limited to, 
laboratories, treatment areas, offices, and storage areas, within or 
contiguous to a previously disturbed or developed area (where active 
utilities and currently used roads are readily accessible). 
Operation may include the purchase, installation, and operation of 
biomedical equipment (such as commercially available cyclotrons that 
are used to generate radioisotopes and radiopharmaceuticals, and 
commercially available biomedical imaging and spectroscopy 
instrumentation).

B3.13 Magnetic Fusion Experiments

    Performing magnetic fusion experiments that do not use tritium 
as fuel, within existing facilities (including, but not limited to, 
necessary modifications).

B3.14 Small-Scale Educational Facilities

    Siting, construction, modification, operation, and 
decommissioning of small-scale educational facilities (including, 
but not limited to, conventional teaching laboratories, libraries, 
classroom facilities, auditoriums, museums, visitor centers, 
exhibits, and associated offices) within or contiguous to a 
previously disturbed or developed area (where active utilities and 
currently used roads are readily accessible). Operation may include, 
but is not limited to, purchase, installation, and operation of 
equipment (such as audio/visual and laboratory equipment) 
commensurate with the educational purpose of the facility.

B3.15 Small-Scale Indoor Research and Development Projects Using 
Nanoscale Materials

    Siting, construction, modification, operation, and 
decommissioning of facilities for indoor small-scale research and 
development projects and small-scale pilot projects using nanoscale 
materials in accordance with applicable requirements (such as 
engineering, worker safety, procedural, and administrative 
regulations) necessary to ensure the containment of any biohazardous 
materials. Construction and modification activities would be within 
or contiguous to a previously disturbed or developed area (where 
active utilities and currently used roads are readily accessible).

B3.16 Research Activities in Salt Water and Freshwater Environments

    Small-scale, temporary surveying, site characterization, and 
research activities in salt water and freshwater environments, 
limited to:
    (a) Acquisition of rights-of-way, easements, and temporary use 
permits;
    (b) Data collection, environmental monitoring, and 
nondestructive research programs;
    (c) Resource evaluation activities including surveying and 
mapping, but excluding seismic activities other than passive 
techniques;
    (d) Collection of geological, paleontological, mineralogical, 
geochemical, biological, and geotechnical data and samples, but 
excluding large-scale vibratory coring techniques;
    (e) Installation of monitoring and recording devices;
    (f) Installation of equipment for flow testing of existing wells 
including equipment for fluid analysis; and
    (g) Ecological and environmental research provided that such 
activities would not have the potential to cause significant impacts 
on the ecosystem.
    These activities would be conducted in accordance with, where 
applicable, an approved spill prevention, control, and response plan 
and would incorporate appropriate control technologies and best 
management practices. None of the above activities would occur 
within the boundary of an established marine sanctuary or wildlife 
refuge, a governmentally proposed marine sanctuary or wildlife 
refuge, or a governmentally recognized area of high biological 
sensitivity (such as protected areas and other areas of known 
ecological importance, whale and marine mammal mating and calving/
pupping areas, and fish and invertebrate spawning and nursery areas 
recognized as being limited or unique and vulnerable to 
perturbation; these areas can occur in bays, estuaries, near shore, 
and far offshore, and may vary seasonally), or outside those areas 
if the activities would have the potential to cause significant 
impacts within those areas. No permanent facilities or devices would 
be constructed or installed. Covered actions do not include drilling 
of resource exploration or extraction wells.

B4. Categorical Exclusions Applicable to Power Resources

B4.1 Contracts, Policies, and Marketing and Allocation Plans for 
Electric Power

    Establishment and implementation of contracts, policies, and 
marketing and allocation plans related to electric power acquisition 
or transmission that involve only the use of the existing 
transmission system and existing generation resources operating 
within their normal operating limits.

B4.2 Export of Electric Energy

    Export of electric energy as provided by Section 202(e) of the 
Federal Power Act over existing transmission systems or using

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transmission system changes that are themselves categorically 
excluded.

B4.3 Electric Power Marketing Rate Changes

    Rate changes for electric power, power transmission, and other 
products or services provided by a Power Marketing Administration 
that are based on a change in revenue requirements if the operations 
of generation projects would remain within normal operating limits.

B4.4 Power Marketing Services and Activities

    Power marketing services and power management activities 
(including, but not limited to, storage, load shaping, seasonal 
exchanges, and other similar activities), provided that the 
operations of generating projects would remain within normal 
operating limits.

B4.5 Temporary Adjustments to River Operations

    Temporary adjustments to river operations to accommodate day-to-
day river fluctuations, power demand changes, fish and wildlife 
conservation program requirements, and other external events, 
provided that the adjustments would occur within the existing 
operating constraints of the particular hydrosystem operation.

B4.6 Additions and Modifications to Transmission Facilities

    Additions or modifications to electric power transmission 
facilities that would not have the potential to cause significant 
impacts beyond the previously disturbed or developed facility area 
(including, but not limited to, switchyard rock grounding upgrades, 
secondary containment projects, paving projects, seismic upgrading, 
tower modifications, load shaping projects (such as the installation 
and use of flywheels and battery arrays), changing insulators, and 
replacement of poles, circuit breakers, conductors, transformers, 
and crossarms).

B4.7 Fiber Optic Cable

    Adding fiber optic cables to transmission facilities or burying 
fiber optic cable in existing transmission line or pipeline rights-
of-way. Covered actions may include associated vaults and pulling 
and tensioning sites outside of rights-of-way in nearby previously 
disturbed or developed areas.

B4.8 Electricity Transmission Agreements

    New electricity transmission agreements, and modifications to 
existing transmission arrangements, to use a transmission facility 
of one system to transfer power of and for another system, provided 
that no new generation projects would be involved and no physical 
changes in the transmission system would be made beyond the 
previously disturbed or developed facility area.

B4.9 Multiple Use of Transmission Line Rights-of-Way

    Granting or denying requests for multiple uses of a transmission 
facility's rights-of-way (including, but not limited to, grazing 
permits and crossing agreements for electric lines, water lines, 
natural gas pipelines, communications cables, roads, and drainage 
culverts).

B4.10 Removal of Electric Transmission Lines and Substations

    Deactivation, dismantling, and removal of electric transmission 
facilities (including, but not limited to, electric transmission 
lines, substations, and switching stations) and abandonment and 
restoration of rights-of-way (including, but not limited to, 
associated access roads).

B4.11 Electric Power Substations and Interconnection Facilities

    Construction or modification of electric power substations or 
interconnection facilities (including, but not limited to, switching 
stations and support facilities) that are not for the 
interconnection of a new generation resource into a Power Marketing 
Administration's transmission system, unless: (1) The new generation 
resource would be eligible for categorical exclusion under this part 
and (2) the new generation resource would be equal to or less than 
50 average megawatts.

B4.12 Construction of Transmission Lines

    Construction of electric transmission lines approximately 10 
miles in length or less inside or outside of previously disturbed or 
developed transmission line or pipeline rights-of-way, or 
approximately 20 miles in length or less inside of previously 
disturbed or developed transmission line or pipeline rights-of-way, 
that are not for the interconnection of a new generation resource 
into a Power Marketing Administration's transmission system, unless: 
(1) The new generation resource would be eligible for categorical 
exclusion under this part and (2) the new generation resource would 
be equal to or less than 50 average megawatts.

B4.13 Upgrading and Rebuilding Existing Transmission Lines

    Upgrading or rebuilding approximately 20 miles in length or less 
of existing electric transmission lines, which may involve minor 
relocations of small segments of the transmission lines, that is not 
for the interconnection of a new generation resource into a Power 
Marketing Administration's transmission system, unless: (1) The new 
generation resource would be eligible for categorical exclusion 
under this part and (2) the new generation resource would be equal 
to or less than 50 average megawatts.

B5. Categorical Exclusions Applicable to Conservation, Fossil, and 
Renewable Energy Activities

B5.1 Actions To Conserve Energy or Water

    (a) Actions to conserve energy or water, demonstrate potential 
energy or water conservation, and promote energy efficiency that 
would not have the potential to cause significant changes in the 
indoor or outdoor concentrations of potentially harmful substances. 
These actions may involve financial and technical assistance to 
individuals (such as builders, owners, consultants, manufacturers, 
and designers), organizations (such as utilities), and governments 
(such as State, local, and Tribal). Covered actions include, but are 
not limited to weatherization (such as insulation and replacing 
windows and doors); programmed lowering of thermostat settings; 
placement of timers on hot water heaters; installation or 
replacement of energy efficient lighting, low-flow plumbing fixtures 
(such as faucets, toilets, and showerheads), heating, ventilation, 
and air conditioning systems, and appliances; installation of drip-
irrigation systems; improvements in generator efficiency and 
appliance efficiency ratings; efficiency improvements for vehicles 
and transportation (such as fleet changeout); power storage (such as 
flywheels and batteries, generally less than 10 megawatt 
equivalent); transportation management systems (such as traffic 
signal control systems, car navigation, speed cameras, and automatic 
plate number recognition); development of energy-efficient 
manufacturing, industrial, or building practices; and small-scale 
energy efficiency and conservation research and development and 
small-scale pilot projects. Covered actions include building 
renovations or new structures, provided that they occur in a 
previously disturbed or developed area. Covered actions could 
involve commercial, residential, agricultural, academic, 
institutional, or industrial sectors. Covered actions do not include 
rulemakings, standard-settings, or proposed DOE legislation, except 
for those actions listed in B5.1(b) of this appendix.
    (b) Covered actions include rulemakings that establish energy 
conservation standards for consumer products and industrial 
equipment, provided that the actions would not: (1) Have the 
potential to cause a significant change in manufacturing 
infrastructure (such as construction of new manufacturing plants 
with considerable associated ground disturbance); (2) involve 
significant unresolved conflicts concerning alternative uses of 
available resources (such as rare or limited raw materials); (3) 
have the potential to result in a significant increase in the 
disposal of materials posing significant risks to human health and 
the environment (such as RCRA hazardous wastes); or (4) have the 
potential to cause a significant increase in energy consumption in a 
State or region.

B5.2 Modifications to Pumps and Piping

    Modifications to existing pump and piping configurations 
(including, but not limited to, manifolds, metering systems, and 
other instrumentation on such configurations conveying materials 
such as air, brine, carbon dioxide, geothermal system fluids, 
hydrogen gas, natural gas, nitrogen gas, oil, produced water, steam, 
and water). Covered modifications would not have the potential to 
cause significant changes to design process flow rates or permitted 
air emissions.

B5.3 Modification or Abandonment of Wells

    Modification (but not expansion) or plugging and abandonment of 
wells, provided that site characterization has verified a low 
potential for seismicity, subsidence, and contamination of 
freshwater aquifers, and the actions are otherwise consistent with 
best practices and DOE

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protocols, including those that protect against uncontrolled 
releases of harmful materials. Such wells may include, but are not 
limited to, storage and injection wells for brine, carbon dioxide, 
coalbed methane, gas hydrate, geothermal, natural gas, and oil. 
Covered modifications would not be part of site closure.

B5.4 Repair or Replacement of Pipelines

    Repair, replacement, upgrading, rebuilding, or minor relocation 
of pipelines within existing rights-of-way, provided that the 
actions are in accordance with applicable requirements (such as Army 
Corps of Engineers permits under section 404 of the Clean Water 
Act). Pipelines may convey materials including, but not limited to, 
air, brine, carbon dioxide, geothermal system fluids, hydrogen gas, 
natural gas, nitrogen gas, oil, produced water, steam, and water.

B5.5 Short Pipeline Segments

    Construction and subsequent operation of short (generally less 
than 20 miles in length) pipeline segments conveying materials (such 
as air, brine, carbon dioxide, geothermal system fluids, hydrogen 
gas, natural gas, nitrogen gas, oil, produced water, steam, and 
water) between existing source facilities and existing receiving 
facilities (such as facilities for use, reuse, transportation, 
storage, and refining), provided that the pipeline segments are 
within previously disturbed or developed rights-of-way.

B5.6 Oil Spill Cleanup

    Removal of oil and contaminated materials recovered in oil spill 
cleanup operations and disposal of these materials in accordance 
with applicable requirements (such as the National Oil and Hazardous 
Substances Pollution Contingency Plan).

B5.7 Import or Export Natural Gas, With Operational Changes

    Approvals or disapprovals of new authorizations or amendments of 
existing authorizations to import or export natural gas under 
section 3 of the Natural Gas Act that involve minor operational 
changes (such as changes in natural gas throughput, transportation, 
and storage operations) but not new construction.

B5.8 Import or Export Natural Gas, With New Cogeneration Powerplant

    Approvals or disapprovals of new authorizations or amendments of 
existing authorizations to import or export natural gas under 
section 3 of the Natural Gas Act that involve new cogeneration 
powerplants (as defined in the Powerplant and Industrial Fuel Use 
Act of 1978, as amended) within or contiguous to an existing 
industrial complex and requiring generally less than 10 miles of new 
natural gas pipeline or 20 miles within previously disturbed or 
developed rights-of-way.

B5.9 Temporary Exemptions For Electric Powerplants

    Grants or denials of temporary exemptions under the Powerplant 
and Industrial Fuel Use Act of 1978, as amended, for electric 
powerplants.

B5.10 Certain Permanent Exemptions For Existing Electric 
Powerplants

    For existing electric powerplants, grants or denials of 
permanent exemptions under the Powerplant and Industrial Fuel Use 
Act of 1978, as amended, other than exemptions under section 312(c) 
relating to cogeneration and section 312(b) relating to certain 
State or local requirements.

B5.11 Permanent Exemptions Allowing Mixed Natural Gas and Petroleum

    For new electric powerplants, grants or denials of permanent 
exemptions from the prohibitions of Title II of the Powerplant and 
Industrial Fuel Use Act of 1978, as amended, to permit the use of 
certain fuel mixtures containing natural gas or petroleum.

B5.12 Workover of Existing Wells

    Workover (operations to restore production, such as deepening, 
plugging back, pulling and resetting lines, and squeeze cementing) 
of existing wells (including, but not limited to, activities 
associated with brine, carbon dioxide, coalbed methane, gas hydrate, 
geothermal, natural gas, and oil) to restore functionality, provided 
that workover operations are restricted to the existing wellpad and 
do not involve any new site preparation or earthwork that would have 
the potential to cause significant impacts on nearby habitat; that 
site characterization has verified a low potential for seismicity, 
subsidence, and contamination of freshwater aquifers; and the 
actions are otherwise consistent with best practices and DOE 
protocols, including those that protect against uncontrolled 
releases of harmful materials.

B5.13 Experimental Wells for Injection of Small Quantities of 
Carbon Dioxide

    Siting, construction, operation, plugging, and abandonment of 
experimental wells for the injection of small quantities of carbon 
dioxide (and other incidentally co-captured gases) in locally 
characterized, geologically secure storage formations at or near 
existing carbon dioxide sources to determine the suitability of the 
formations for large-scale sequestration, provided that (1) the 
characterization has verified a low potential for seismicity, 
subsidence, and contamination of freshwater aquifers; (2) the wells 
are otherwise in accordance with applicable requirements, best 
practices, and DOE protocols, including those that protect against 
uncontrolled releases of harmful materials; and (3) the wells and 
associated drilling activities are sufficiently remote so that they 
would not have the potential to cause significant impacts related to 
noise and other vibrations. Wells may be used for enhanced oil or 
natural gas recovery or for secure storage of carbon dioxide in 
saline formations or other secure formations. Over the duration of a 
project, the wells would be used to inject, in aggregate, less than 
500,000 tons of carbon dioxide into the geologic formation. Covered 
actions exclude activities in salt water and freshwater 
environments. (See B3.16 of this appendix for activities in salt 
water and freshwater environments.)

B5.14 Combined Heat and Power or Cogeneration Systems

    Conversion to, replacement of, or modification of combined heat 
and power or cogeneration systems (the sequential or simultaneous 
production of multiple forms of energy, such as thermal and 
electrical energy, in a single integrated system) at existing 
facilities, provided that the conversion, replacement, or 
modification would not have the potential to cause a significant 
increase in the quantity or rate of air emissions and would not have 
the potential to cause significant impacts to water resources.

B5.15 Small-Scale Renewable Energy Research and Development and 
Pilot Projects

    Small-scale renewable energy research and development projects 
and small-scale pilot projects located within a previously disturbed 
or developed area. Covered actions would be in accordance with 
applicable requirements (such as local land use and zoning 
requirements) in the proposed project area and would incorporate 
appropriate control technologies and best management practices.

B5.16 Solar Photovoltaic Systems

    The installation, modification, operation, and removal of 
commercially available solar photovoltaic systems located on a 
building or other structure (such as rooftop, parking lot or 
facility, and mounted to signage, lighting, gates, or fences), or if 
located on land, generally comprising less than 10 acres within a 
previously disturbed or developed area. Covered actions would be in 
accordance with applicable requirements (such as local land use and 
zoning requirements) in the proposed project area and would 
incorporate appropriate control technologies and best management 
practices.

B5.17 Solar Thermal Systems

    The installation, modification, operation, and removal of 
commercially available small-scale solar thermal systems (including, 
but not limited to, solar hot water systems) located on or 
contiguous to a building, and if located on land, generally 
comprising less than 10 acres within a previously disturbed or 
developed area. Covered actions would be in accordance with 
applicable requirements (such as local land use and zoning 
requirements) in the proposed project area and would incorporate 
appropriate control technologies and best management practices.

B5.18 Wind Turbines

    The installation, modification, operation, and removal of 
commercially available small wind turbines, with a total height 
generally less than 200 feet (measured from the ground to the 
maximum height of blade rotation) that (1) are located within a 
previously disturbed or developed area; (2) are located more than 10 
nautical miles from an airport or aviation navigation aid; (3) are 
located more than 1.5 nautical miles from National Weather Service 
or Federal Aviation Administration Doppler weather radar; (4) would 
not have the potential to cause significant impacts on bird or bat 
species; and (5) are sited or designed such that the project would 
not have the potential to cause significant impacts to

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persons (such as shadow flicker and other visual impacts, and 
noise). Covered actions would be in accordance with applicable 
requirements (such as local land use and zoning requirements) in the 
proposed project area and would incorporate appropriate control 
technologies and best management practices.

B5.19 Ground Source Heat Pumps

    The installation, modification, operation, and removal of 
commercially available small-scale ground source heat pumps to 
support operations in single facilities (such as a school and 
community center) or contiguous facilities (such as an office 
complex) (1) only where major associated activities (such as 
drilling and discharge) are regulated, and appropriate leakage and 
contaminant control measures would be in place; (2) that would not 
have the potential to cause significant changes in subsurface 
temperature; and (3) would be located within a previously disturbed 
or developed area. Covered actions would be in accordance with 
applicable requirements (such as local land use and zoning 
requirements) in the proposed project area and would incorporate 
appropriate control technologies and best management practices.

B5.20 Biomass Power Plants

    The installation, modification, operation, and removal of small-
scale biomass power plants (generally less than 10 megawatts), using 
commercially available technology (1) intended primarily to support 
operations in single facilities (such as a school and community 
center) or contiguous facilities (such as an office complex); (2) 
that would not affect the air quality attainment status of the area 
and would not have the potential to cause a significant increase in 
the quantity or rate of air emissions and would not have the 
potential to cause significant impacts to water resources; and (3) 
would be located within a previously disturbed or developed area. 
Covered actions would be in accordance with applicable requirements 
(such as local land use and zoning requirements) in the proposed 
project area and would incorporate appropriate control technologies 
and best management practices.

B5.21 Methane Gas Recovery and Utilization Systems

    The installation, modification, operation, and removal of 
commercially available methane gas recovery and utilization systems 
installed within a previously disturbed or developed area on or 
contiguous to an existing landfill or wastewater treatment plant 
that would not have the potential to cause a significant increase in 
the quantity or rate of air emissions. Covered actions would be in 
accordance with applicable requirements (such as local land use and 
zoning requirements) in the proposed project area and would 
incorporate appropriate control technologies and best management 
practices.

B5.22 Alternative Fuel Vehicle Fueling Stations

    The installation, modification, operation, and removal of 
alternative fuel vehicle fueling stations (such as for compressed 
natural gas, hydrogen, ethanol and other commercially available 
biofuels) on the site of a current or former fueling station, or 
within a previously disturbed or developed area within the 
boundaries of a facility managed by the owners of a vehicle fleet. 
Covered actions would be in accordance with applicable requirements 
(such as local land use and zoning requirements) in the proposed 
project area and would incorporate appropriate control technologies 
and best management practices.

B5.23 Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

    The installation, modification, operation, and removal of 
electric vehicle charging stations, using commercially available 
technology, within a previously disturbed or developed area. Covered 
actions are limited to areas where access and parking are in 
accordance with applicable requirements (such as local land use and 
zoning requirements) in the proposed project area and would 
incorporate appropriate control technologies and best management 
practices.

B5.24 Drop-In Hydroelectric Systems

    The installation, modification, operation, and removal of 
commercially available small-scale, drop-in, run-of-the-river 
hydroelectric systems that would (1) involve no water storage or 
water diversion from the stream or river channel where the system is 
installed and (2) not have the potential to cause significant 
impacts on water quality, temperature, flow, or volume. Covered 
systems would be located up-gradient of a natural anadromous fish 
barrier and where there would not be the potential for significant 
impacts to threatened or endangered species. Covered actions would 
involve no major construction or modification of stream or river 
channels, and the hydroelectric systems would be placed and secured 
in the channel without the use of heavy equipment. Covered actions 
would be in accordance with applicable requirements (such as local 
land use and zoning requirements) in the proposed project area and 
would incorporate appropriate control technologies and best 
management practices.

B5.25 Small-Scale Renewable Energy Research and Development and 
Pilot Projects in Salt Water and Freshwater Environments

    Small-scale renewable energy research and development projects 
and small-scale pilot projects located in salt water and freshwater 
environments. Activities would be in accordance with, where 
applicable, an approved spill prevention, control, and response 
plan, and would incorporate appropriate control technologies and 
best management practices. Covered actions would not occur (1) 
within areas of hazardous natural bottom conditions or (2) within 
the boundary of an established marine sanctuary or wildlife refuge, 
a governmentally proposed marine sanctuary or wildlife refuge, or a 
governmentally recognized area of high biological sensitivity (such 
as protected areas and other areas of known ecological importance, 
whale and marine mammal mating and calving/pupping areas, and fish 
and invertebrate spawning and nursery areas recognized as being 
limited or unique and vulnerable to perturbation; these areas can 
occur in bays, estuaries, near shore, and far offshore, and may vary 
seasonally), or outside those areas if the activities would have the 
potential to cause significant impacts within those areas. No 
permanent facilities or devices would be constructed or installed. 
Covered actions do not include drilling of resource exploration or 
extraction wells, use of large-scale vibratory coring techniques, or 
seismic activities other than passive techniques.

B6. Categorical Exclusions Applicable to Environmental Restoration and 
Waste Management Activities

B6.1 Cleanup Actions

    Small-scale, short-term cleanup actions, under RCRA, Atomic 
Energy Act, or other authorities, less than approximately 10 million 
dollars in cost, to reduce risk to human health or the environment 
from the release or threat of release of a hazardous substance other 
than high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel, including 
treatment (such as incineration, encapsulation, physical or chemical 
separation, and compaction), recovery, storage, or disposal of 
wastes at existing facilities currently handling the type of waste 
involved in the action. These actions include, but are not limited 
to:
    (a) Excavation or consolidation of contaminated soils or 
materials from drainage channels, retention basins, ponds, and spill 
areas that are not receiving contaminated surface water or 
wastewater, if surface water or groundwater would not collect and if 
such actions would reduce the spread of, or direct contact with, the 
contamination;
    (b) Removal of bulk containers (such as drums and barrels) that 
contain or may contain hazardous substances, pollutants, 
contaminants, CERCLA-excluded petroleum or natural gas products, or 
hazardous wastes (designated in 40 CFR part 261 or applicable State 
requirements), if such actions would reduce the likelihood of 
spillage, leakage, fire, explosion, or exposure to humans, animals, 
or the food chain;
    (c) Removal of an underground storage tank including its 
associated piping and underlying containment systems in accordance 
with applicable requirements (such as RCRA, subtitle I; 40 CFR part 
265, subpart J; and 40 CFR part 280, subparts F and G) if such 
action would reduce the likelihood of spillage, leakage, or the 
spread of, or direct contact with, contamination;
    (d) Repair or replacement of leaking containers;
    (e) Capping or other containment of contaminated soils or 
sludges if the capping or containment would not unduly limit future 
groundwater remediation and if needed to reduce migration of 
hazardous substances, pollutants, contaminants, or CERCLA-excluded 
petroleum and natural gas products into soil, groundwater, surface 
water, or air;
    (f) Drainage or closing of man-made surface impoundments if 
needed to maintain the integrity of the structures;
    (g) Confinement or perimeter protection using dikes, trenches, 
ditches, or diversions,

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or installing underground barriers, if needed to reduce the spread 
of, or direct contact with, the contamination;
    (h) Stabilization, but not expansion, of berms, dikes, 
impoundments, or caps if needed to maintain integrity of the 
structures;
    (i) Drainage controls (such as run-off or run-on diversion) if 
needed to reduce offsite migration of hazardous substances, 
pollutants, contaminants, or CERCLA-excluded petroleum or natural 
gas products or to prevent precipitation or run-off from other 
sources from entering the release area from other areas;
    (j) Segregation of wastes that may react with one another or 
form a mixture that could result in adverse environmental impacts;
    (k) Use of chemicals and other materials to neutralize the pH of 
wastes;
    (l) Use of chemicals and other materials to retard the spread of 
the release or to mitigate its effects if the use of such chemicals 
would reduce the spread of, or direct contact with, the 
contamination;
    (m) Installation and operation of gas ventilation systems in 
soil to remove methane or petroleum vapors without any toxic or 
radioactive co-contaminants if appropriate filtration or gas 
treatment is in place;
    (n) Installation of fences, warning signs, or other security or 
site control precautions if humans or animals have access to the 
release; and
    (o) Provision of an alternative water supply that would not 
create new water sources if necessary immediately to reduce exposure 
to contaminated household or industrial use water and continuing 
until such time as local authorities can satisfy the need for a 
permanent remedy.

B6.2 Waste Collection, Treatment, Stabilization, and Containment 
Facilities

    The siting, construction, and operation of temporary (generally 
less than 2 years) pilot-scale waste collection and treatment 
facilities, and pilot-scale (generally less than 1 acre) waste 
stabilization and containment facilities (including siting, 
construction, and operation of a small-scale laboratory building or 
renovation of a room in an existing building for sample analysis), 
provided that the action (1) supports remedial investigations/
feasibility studies under CERCLA, or similar studies under RCRA 
(such as RCRA facility investigations/corrective measure studies) or 
other authorities and (2) would not unduly limit the choice of 
reasonable remedial alternatives (such as by permanently altering 
substantial site area or by committing large amounts of funds 
relative to the scope of the remedial alternatives).

B6.3 Improvements to Environmental Control Systems

    Improvements to environmental monitoring and control systems of 
an existing building or structure (such as changes to scrubbers in 
air quality control systems or ion-exchange devices and other 
filtration processes in water treatment systems), provided that 
during subsequent operations (1) any substance collected by the 
environmental control systems would be recycled, released, or 
disposed of within existing permitted facilities and (2) there are 
applicable statutory or regulatory requirements or permit conditions 
for disposal, release, or recycling of any hazardous substance or 
CERCLA-excluded petroleum or natural gas products that are collected 
or released in increased quantity or that were not previously 
collected or released.

B6.4 Facilities for Storing Packaged Hazardous Waste for 90 Days or 
Less

    Siting, construction, modification, expansion, operation, and 
decommissioning of an onsite facility for storing packaged hazardous 
waste (as designated in 40 CFR part 261) for 90 days or less or for 
longer periods as provided in 40 CFR 262.34(d), (e), or (f) (such as 
accumulation or satellite areas).

B6.5 Facilities for Characterizing and Sorting Packaged Waste and 
Overpacking Waste

    Siting, construction, modification, expansion, operation, and 
decommissioning of an onsite facility for characterizing and sorting 
previously packaged waste or for overpacking waste, other than high-
level radioactive waste, provided that operations do not involve 
unpacking waste. These actions do not include waste storage (covered 
under B6.4, B6.6, B6.10 of this appendix, and C16 of appendix C) or 
the handling of spent nuclear fuel.

B6.6 Modification of Facilities for Storing, Packaging, and 
Repacking Waste

    Modification (excluding increases in capacity) of an existing 
structure used for storing, packaging, or repacking waste other than 
high-level radioactive waste or spent nuclear fuel, to handle the 
same class of waste as currently handled at that structure.

B6.7 [Reserved]

B6.8 Modifications for Waste Minimization and Reuse of Materials

    Minor operational changes at an existing facility to minimize 
waste generation and for reuse of materials. These changes include, 
but are not limited to, adding filtration and recycle piping to 
allow reuse of machining oil, setting up a sorting area to improve 
process efficiency, and segregating two waste streams previously 
mingled and assigning new identification codes to the two resulting 
wastes.

B6.9 Measures To Reduce Migration of Contaminated Groundwater

    Small-scale temporary measures to reduce migration of 
contaminated groundwater, including the siting, construction, 
operation, and decommissioning of necessary facilities. These 
measures include, but are not limited to, pumping, treating, 
storing, and reinjecting water, by mobile units or facilities that 
are built and then removed at the end of the action.

B6.10 Upgraded or Replacement Waste Storage Facilities

    Siting, construction, modification, expansion, operation, and 
decommissioning of a small upgraded or replacement facility (less 
than approximately 50,000 square feet in area) within or contiguous 
to a previously disturbed or developed area (where active utilities 
and currently used roads are readily accessible) for storage of 
waste that is already at the site at the time the storage capacity 
is to be provided. These actions do not include the storage of high-
level radioactive waste, spent nuclear fuel or any waste that 
requires special precautions to prevent nuclear criticality. (See 
also B6.4, B6.5, B6.6 of this appendix, and C16 of appendix C.)

B7. Categorical Exclusions Applicable to International Activities

B7.1 Emergency Measures Under the International Energy Program

    Planning and implementation of emergency measures pursuant to 
the International Energy Program.

B7.2 Import and Export of Special Nuclear or Isotopic Materials

    Approval of import or export of small quantities of special 
nuclear materials or isotopic materials in accordance with 
applicable requirements (such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act 
of 1978 and the ``Procedures Established Pursuant to the Nuclear 
Non-Proliferation Act of 1978'' (43 FR 25326, June 9, 1978)).

Appendix C to Subpart D of Part 1021--Classes of Actions That Normally 
Require EAs But Not Necessarily EISs

C1 [Reserved]

C2 [Reserved]

C3 Electric Power Marketing Rate Changes, Not Within Normal Operating 
Limits

    Rate changes for electric power, power transmission, and other 
products or services provided by Power Marketing Administrations 
that are based on changes in revenue requirements if the operations 
of generation projects would not remain within normal operating 
limits.

C4 Upgrading, Rebuilding, or Construction of Electric Transmission 
Lines

    Upgrading or rebuilding more than approximately 20 miles in 
length of existing electric transmission lines; or construction of 
electric transmission lines (1) more than approximately 10 miles in 
length outside previously disturbed or developed transmission line 
or pipeline rights-of-way or (2) more than approximately 20 miles in 
length within previously disturbed or developed transmission line or 
pipeline rights-of-way.

C5 Vegetation Management Program

    Implementation of a Power Marketing Administration system-wide 
vegetation management program.

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C6 Erosion Control Program

    Implementation of a Power Marketing Administration system-wide 
erosion control program.

C7 Contracts, Policies, and Marketing and Allocation Plans for Electric 
Power

    Establishment and implementation of contracts, policies, and 
marketing and allocation plans related to electric power acquisition 
or transmission that involve (1) the interconnection of, or 
acquisition of power from, new generation resources that are equal 
to or less than 50 average megawatts and that would not be eligible 
for categorical exclusion under this part; (2) changes in the normal 
operating limits of generation resources equal to or less than 50 
average megawatts; or (3) service to discrete new loads of less 
than10 average megawatts over a 12-month period.

C8 Protection of Cultural Resources and Fish and Wildlife Habitat

    Large-scale activities undertaken to protect cultural resources 
(such as fencing, labeling, and flagging) or to protect, restore, or 
improve fish and wildlife habitat, fish passage facilities (such as 
fish ladders and minor diversion channels), or fisheries.

C9 Wetlands Demonstration Projects

    Field demonstration projects for wetlands mitigation, creation, 
and restoration.

C10 [Reserved]

C11 Particle Acceleration Facilities

    Siting, construction or modification, operation, and 
decommissioning of low- or medium-energy (when the primary beam 
energy exceeds approximately 100 million electron volts and the 
average beam power exceeds approximately 250 kilowatts or where the 
average current exceeds 2.5 milliamperes) particle acceleration 
facilities, including electron beam acceleration facilities, and 
associated beamlines, storage rings, colliders, and detectors for 
research and medical purposes, within or contiguous to a previously 
disturbed or developed area (where active utilities and currently 
used roads are readily accessible).

C12 Energy System Demonstration Actions

    Siting, construction, and operation of energy system 
demonstration actions (including, but not limited to, wind resource, 
hydropower, geothermal, fossil fuel, biomass, and solar energy, but 
excluding nuclear). For purposes of this category, ``demonstration 
actions'' means actions that are undertaken at a scale to show 
whether a technology would be viable on a larger scale and suitable 
for commercial deployment. Demonstration actions frequently follow 
research and development and pilot projects that are directed at 
establishing proof of concept.

C13 Import or Export Natural Gas Involving Minor New Construction

    Approvals or disapprovals of authorizations to import or export 
natural gas under section 3 of the Natural Gas Act involving minor 
new construction (such as adding new connections, looping, or 
compression to an existing natural gas or liquefied natural gas 
pipeline, or converting an existing oil pipeline to a natural gas 
pipeline using the same right-of-way).

C14 Water Treatment Facilities

    Siting, construction (or expansion), operation, and 
decommissioning of wastewater, surface water, potable water, and 
sewage treatment facilities with a total capacity greater than 
approximately 250,000 gallons per day, and of lower capacity 
wastewater and surface water treatment facilities whose liquid 
discharges are not subject to external regulation.

C15 Research and Development Incinerators and Nonhazardous Waste 
Incinerators

    Siting, construction (or expansion), and operation of research 
and development incinerators for any type of waste and of any other 
incinerators that would treat nonhazardous solid waste (as 
designated in 40 CFR 261.4(b)).

C16 Large Waste Packaging and Storage Facilities

    Siting, construction, modification to increase capacity, 
operation, and decommissioning of packaging and unpacking facilities 
(such as characterization operations) and large storage facilities 
(greater than approximately 50,000 square feet in area) for waste, 
except high-level radioactive waste, generated onsite or resulting 
from activities connected to site operations. These actions do not 
include storage, packaging, or unpacking of spent nuclear fuel. (See 
also B6.4, B6.5, B6.6, and B6.10 of appendix B.)

Appendix D to Subpart D of Part 1021--Classes of Actions That Normally 
Require EISs

D1 Strategic Systems

    Strategic Systems, as defined in DOE Order 430.1, ``Life-Cycle 
Asset Management,'' or its successor, and designated by the 
Secretary.

D2 Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing Facilities

    Siting, construction, operation, and decommissioning of nuclear 
fuel reprocessing facilities.

D3 Uranium Enrichment Facilities

    Siting, construction, operation, and decommissioning of uranium 
enrichment facilities.

D4 Reactors

    Siting, construction, operation, and decommissioning of power 
reactors, nuclear material production reactors, and test and 
research reactors.

D5 [Reserved]

D6 [Reserved]

D7 Contracts, Policies, and Marketing and Allocation Plans for Electric 
Power

    Establishment and implementation of contracts, policies, and 
marketing and allocation plans related to electric power acquisition 
or transmission that involve (1) the interconnection of, or 
acquisition of power from, new generation resources greater than 50 
average megawatts; (2) changes in the normal operating limits of 
generation resources greater than 50 average megawatts; or (3) 
service to discrete new loads of 10 average megawatts or more over a 
12-month period.

D8 Import or Export of Natural Gas Involving Major New Facilities

    Approvals or disapprovals of authorizations to import or export 
natural gas under section 3 of the Natural Gas Act involving 
construction of major new natural gas pipelines or related 
facilities (such as liquefied natural gas terminals and 
regasification or storage facilities) or significant expansions and 
modifications of existing pipelines or related facilities).

D9 Import or Export of Natural Gas Involving Major Operational Change

    Approvals or disapprovals of authorizations to import or export 
natural gas under section 3 of the Natural Gas Act involving major 
operational changes (such as a major increase in the quantity of 
liquefied natural gas imported or exported).

D10 Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities for High-Level Waste 
and Spent Nuclear Fuel

    Siting, construction, operation, and decommissioning of major 
treatment, storage, and disposal facilities for high-level waste and 
spent nuclear fuel, including geologic repositories, but not 
including onsite replacement or upgrades of storage facilities for 
spent nuclear fuel at DOE sites where such replacement or upgrade 
would not result in increased storage capacity.

D11 Waste Disposal Facilities for Transuranic Waste

    Siting, construction or expansion, and operation of disposal 
facilities for transuranic (TRU) waste and TRU mixed waste (TRU 
waste also containing hazardous waste as designated in 40 CFR part 
261).

D12 Incinerators

    Siting, construction, and operation of incinerators, other than 
research and development incinerators or incinerators for 
nonhazardous solid waste (as designated in 40 CFR 261.4(b)).

[FR Doc. 2010-32316 Filed 12-30-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6450-01-P