[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 11 (Friday, January 16, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Page 2404]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-00601]


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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY


Engineered High Energy Crop Programs Draft Programmatic 
Environmental Impact Statement, Southeastern United States

AGENCY: Department of Energy.

ACTION: Notice of availability and public hearings.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Research Projects 
Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) announces the availability of the Engineered 
High Energy Crop (EHEC) Programs Draft Programmatic Environmental 
Impact Statement (or Draft PEIS) (DOE/EIS-0481). DOE also announces one 
in-person public hearing to be held in Washington, DC, and two Web-
based public hearings, to receive comments on the Draft PEIS. The Draft 
PEIS evaluates the potential environmental impacts associated with 
DOE's Proposed Action to implement one or more programs to catalyze the 
development and demonstration of crops specifically engineered for 
increased energy production. A main component of the proposed programs 
would be providing financial assistance to conduct field trials to test 
the effectiveness of EHECs in the Southeastern United States, 
specifically in Alabama, Florida (excluding the Everglades/Southern 
Florida coastal plain ecoregion), Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North 
Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.

DATES: Comments on the Draft PEIS Notice of Availability (NOA) will be 
accepted until March 17, 2015. During the public comment period, DOE 
will host one in-person public hearing and two Web-based public 
hearings to receive comments on the Draft PEIS. Comments submitted 
during this public comment period will be considered in preparation of 
a Final PEIS and used by DOE in its decision-making process for the 
Proposed Action. DOE will consider late comments to the extent 
practicable. DOE will conduct public hearings:
     February 17, 2015, from 5:00-7:00 p.m., at the Holiday Inn 
Washington Capitol, 550 C Street Southwest, Washington, DC 20024.
     February 24, 2015, from 2:00-4:00 p.m., Web-based.
     February 26, 2015, from 2:00-4:00 p.m., Web-based.
    Information on how to register for the Web-based public hearings 
will be available on the DOE EHEC PEIS project Web site (See ADDRESSES 
section).

ADDRESSES: Written comments on the Draft PEIS may be submitted by any 
of the following methods:
     EHEC Web site: http://engineeredhighenergycropsPEIS.com
     Email: [email protected]
     Mail: Dr. Jonathan Burbaum, Program Director, ARPA-E, U.S. 
Department of Energy, ATTN: EHEC PEIS, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., 
Mailstop-950-8043, Washington, DC 20585. Note: Comments submitted by 
U.S. Postal Service may be delayed by mail screening.
    This NOA, the EPA NOA, and the Draft PEIS will be posted on the DOE 
NEPA Web site at http://energy.gov/nepa. These documents, and 
additional materials relating to this Draft PEIS, will also be 
available on the EHEC PEIS project Web site at: http://engineeredhighenergycropsPEIS.com.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For more information on the PEIS, 
contact Dr. Jonathan Burbaum, Program Director, by one of the methods 
described in the ADDRESSES section, or by telephone at (202) 287-5453. 
For general information on the DOE NEPA process, contact Carol 
Borgstrom, Director, Office of NEPA Policy and Compliance (GC-54), U.S. 
Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 
20585, or telephone at (202) 586-4600, voicemail at (800) 472-2756, or 
email at [email protected]. Persons with disabilities who require 
alternative means for communication (Braille, large print, audio tape, 
etc.) should contact (800) 877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The EHEC PEIS (DOE/EIS-0481) is being 
prepared in accordance with NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) requirements, 
the Council on Environmental Quality's NEPA regulations (40 CFR parts 
1500-1508), and DOE's NEPA Implementing Procedures (10 CFR part 1021).
    The Draft PEIS evaluates the potential environmental impacts of the 
Proposed Action and alternatives to develop and implement one or more 
programs to catalyze the research, development, and demonstration of 
EHECs in the Southeastern United States. EHECs are agriculturally-
viable photosynthetic species containing genetic material that has been 
intentionally introduced through biotechnology, interspecific 
hybridization, or other engineering processes (excluding processes that 
occur in nature without human intervention), specifically engineered to 
increase the amount of energy produced per acre (e.g., improving the 
photosynthetic process), without increasing the amount of biomass. 
These approaches are referred to in this PEIS as approaches 
``independent of increasing the amount of biomass.'' A main component 
of the proposed EHEC Programs would be DOE or other Federal or state 
agencies providing financial assistance for confined field trials to 
evaluate the performance of EHECs that could facilitate the commercial 
development and deployment of biofuels. The field trials would 
demonstrate the EHEC's biological and economic viability and further 
DOE ARPA-E's mission. Confined field trials may range in size and could 
include development scale (up to 5 acres), pilot scale (up to 250 
acres), or demonstration scale (up to 15,000 acres). The Draft PEIS 
evaluates the potential environmental impacts of these scaled 
alternatives, which reflect the range of reasonable alternatives.

    Signed in Washington, DC, this 12th day of January, 2015.
Jonathan Burbaum,
Program Director, Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy.
[FR Doc. 2015-00601 Filed 1-15-15; 8:45 am]
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