[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 206 (Thursday, October 24, 2013)]
[Pages 63463-63464]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-24869]



Department of the Army; Corps of Engineers

Intent To Prepare a Regional Environmental Impact Statement for 
Surface Coal and Lignite Mining in the State of Texas

AGENCY: Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DoD.

ACTION: Notice of intent.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is preparing a 
Regional Environmental Impact Statement (REIS) to analyze the direct, 
indirect, and cumulative effects associated with a decision to develop 
and assess data and information with waters of the United States and 
other relevant resources that may be potentially impacted by future 
surface coal and lignite mine expansions in the state of Texas within 
the Fort Worth District's area of responsibility. These coal and 
lignite mining activities may eventually require authorization from the 
USACE under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the 
Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, as well as other federal and state 
permits and approvals.

DATES: Public scoping meetings for the REIS will be held on:
    1. Tuesday, December 3, 2013, 4 p.m.-7 p.m., Uvalde, Texas.
    2. Wednesday, December 4, 2013, 4 p.m.-7 p.m., Temple, Texas.
    3. Thursday, December 5, 2013, 4 p.m.-7 p.m., Tyler, Texas.

ADDRESSES: The scoping meeting locations are:
    1. Tuesday, December 3, 2013, at the Uvalde County Fairplex-Event 
Center, 122 Veterans Lane, Uvalde, Texas 78801.
    2. Wednesday, December 4, 2013, at the Railroad and Heritage 
Museum, 315 W. Avenue B, Temple, Texas 76501.
    3. Thursday, December 5, 2013, at the Tyler Rose Garden Center, 420 
South Rose Park Drive, Tyler, Texas 75702.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Questions and comments regarding the 
proposed action and REIS should be addressed to Mr. Darvin Messer, 
Project Manager, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth District, 
P.O. Box 17300, 819 Taylor Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76102; or 
[email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The USACE will be conducting public scoping 
meetings at three locations (see DATES and ADDRESSES) to describe the 
Project, preliminary alternatives, the National Environmental Policy 
Act (NEPA) compliance process, and to solicit input on the issues and 
alternatives to be evaluated and other related matters. Written 
comments for scoping will be accepted until December 20, 2013. The 
USACE has prepared a scoping announcement to familiarize agencies, the 
public and interested organizations with the proposed Action and 
potential environmental issues that may be involved. The scoping 
announcement describes the target resources to be assessed, the 
proposed areas of assessment, and the mines that may utilize the 
information developed through this effort. Copies of the scoping 
announcement will be available at the public scoping meetings or can be 
requested by mail.
    Surface coal and lignite mining projects in the USACE Fort Worth's 
area of responsibility typically conduct work that results in impacts 
to waters of the U.S. Such work requires authorization under Section 
404 of the Clean Water Act, and for projects affecting navigable 
waters, authorization under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 
1899. These programs are administered by the USACE. The anticipated 
number of future permit applications requiring the USACE compliance 
with NEPA, along with agency resource constraints, could result in 
lengthy review times. Historic permit evaluations associated with mine 
expansions have required substantial time periods. These timeframes 
have been influenced in part by the need to develop resource 
information, undertake data gathering efforts, as well as coordination 
with various agencies and their permit review processes. The USACE also 
needs to ensure it can adapt and efficiently respond to multiple 
concurrent requests for permits that may occur in the future.
    The USACE is undertaking a REIS to streamline the NEPA aspect of 
the Section 404/10 permitting process, as well as to develop 
information, data, and analyses to be used in 404(b)(1) guidelines and 
public interest review analyses for future coal and lignite mine 
expansions in Texas subject to permitting by the USACE.
    The REIS is intended to provide an environmental evaluation 
focusing on the potential direct, indirect, and cumulative aquatic 
resource impacts, in addition to other relevant environmental and human 
resources, that could be affected by future surface coal and lignite 
mining within defined geographic regions in Texas. The REIS would 
facilitate future tiering or supplementation of the NEPA analysis in 
the REIS in the evaluation of future project-specific Section 404/10 
permit applications. It also is intended to provide a cohesive 
framework for stream mitigation, establishment of sound performance 
metrics, and enhance project monitoring efforts associated with these 
types of activities. The REIS is intended to avoid duplication and 
provide efficiency and effectiveness with future decisions.
    The REIS will be prepared according to the USACE's procedures for 
implementing the NEPA, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 4332(2)(c), and consistent 
with the USACE's policy to facilitate public understanding and review 
of agency proposals. As part of the REIS process, a full range of 
reasonable alternatives, including the proposed Action and no action, 
will be evaluated. The use of a third party contract

[[Page 63464]]

arrangement will be utilized to develop the REIS funded by the Texas 
Mining and Reclamation Association.
    The USACE has invited the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Surface Mining, Natural 
Resources Conservation Service, Railroad Commission of Texas, Texas 
Commission on Environmental Quality, Texas Parks and Wildlife 
Department, Texas Historical Commission and the Louisiana Department of 
Wildlife and Fisheries to be cooperating agencies in the formulation of 
the REIS.

Charles H. Klinge,
Colonel, U.S. Army, Commanding.
[FR Doc. 2013-24869 Filed 10-23-13; 8:45 am]