[Federal Register: April 14, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 73)]
[Page 20195]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Draft Revised Fish and Wildlife Service National Environmental 
Policy Act Guidance; Fish and Wildlife Manual, Part 550, Chapter 1 and 

AGENCY: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service or We) is issuing 
this notice to invite public comments on draft revised National 
Environmental Policy Act guidelines in the Service's Fish and Wildlife 
Manual, Part 550, Chapters 1 and 2. The revised draft guidelines can be 
obtained by accessing http://www.fws.gov/r9esnepa/draft550.htm, or by 
calling or writing the contacts listed in ADDRESSES below.

DATES: Written comments on the draft revised guidelines should be 
submitted on or before May 31, 2000, to the addresses below.

ADDRESSES: Written comments on the notice can be sent to Dr. Benjamin 
N. Tuggle, Chief, Division of Habitat Conservation, 1849 C Street, NW., 
400 Arlington Square Building, Washington, DC 20240; or they can be 
electronically transmitted to don__peterson@fws.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Don Peterson, Washington Office 
Environmental Coordinator, at (703) 358-2183, or don__peterson@fws.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The draft revised NEPA guidance is 
procedural in nature and provides revised guidance for our personnel on 
the technical aspects of how to prepare environmental impact statements 
and environmental assessments for actions proposed by the Service. Part 
550, Chapter 1, updates our organizational responsibilities for 
complying with NEPA. Part 550, Chapter 2, provides revised updated 
guidance on scoping, encourages greater participation in cooperative 
agency agreements, clarifies the differences in content and scope of 
EAs and EISs, clarifies and encourages the NEPA document adoption 
process, and promotes NEPA streamlining techniques. The notice of 
availability of the draft revised guidance is published in the Federal 
Register in accordance with 40 CFR 1507.3. The draft revised guidance 
does not address our requirements for when to prepare an EIS or EA, or 
when a categorical exclusion from NEPA documentation is applicable for 
a proposed Service action. That guidance remains unchanged and is found 
in the Department of the Interior Manual in 516 DM 6, Appendix 1.
    When finalized, the guidance will be included with previous 
revisions made to our NEPA guidance on documenting and implementing 
decisions in Part 550, Chapter 3 (published in the Fish and Wildlife 
Service's Manual on March 29, 1996), and to our NEPA procedures in the 
Department of the Interior Manual in Part 516 DM Chapter 6, Appendix 1 
(62 FR 2380, January 16, 1997) on when to prepare an EA or an EIS, and 
when a categorical exclusion from NEPA documentation applies. The draft 
revised guidance updates and supersedes Service NEPA guidance for 
internal compliance in Part 30 AM Chapter 2 and 3, dated September 23, 
    The draft revised guidance streamlines and simplifies the current 
guidance (published in 1983) by relocating cited regulations, 
procedures, guidance, executive orders, and other documents to the 
Service's NEPA Reference Handbook, and by making the guidance more 
readable and concise. The Service NEPA Reference Handbook can be 
accessed at http://www.fws.gov/r9esnepa.

    Dated: March 27, 2000.
Jamie Rappaport Clark,
Director, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 00-9282 Filed 4-13-00; 8:45 am]