10/19/16

 

8900.1 CHG 489

VOLUME 11  FLIGHT STANDARDS PROGRAMS

CHAPTER 6  ENVIRONMENTAL CONSIDERATIONS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

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Section 5  The Environmental Review Process for Actions That Require an Environmental Assessment (EA)

11-236    GENERAL. Once a Federal action outlined in Volume 11, Chapter 6, Section 3 is requested, and the principal inspector (PI) forwards the appropriate information to the General Aviation and Commercial Division (AFS-800) Environmental Specialist in AFS-830, the AFS-830 Environmental Specialist then follows the guidance provided below, in accordance with the current edition of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Order 1050.1, Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures, to provide the data ascertaining potential for significant environmental impact. The PI provides this information to the responsible Federal official, which may or may not be the AFS-800 Division Manager, to make a determination.

11-237    PROCESSING AN EVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT (EA) FOR A 14 CFR PARTS 121 AND 135 OPSPEC C070 OR 14 CFR PART 129 OPSPEC A001 AND A003, OR OPSPEC D085 AMENDMENT.

A.    Drafting of the EA. If the environmental review concludes that operation specification (OpSpec) C070 or the OpSpec D085 (14 CFR part 129 OpSpec A001 and A003) amendment proposal does not meet the criteria for a Categorical Exclusion (CATEX), or if the proposal represents significant change to environment and does not have any extraordinary circumstances, then an EA will need to be prepared. The AFS-830 Environmental Specialist will work closely with the consultant to ensure that the EA is in compliance with Order 1050.1. Furthermore, the AFS-830 Environmental Specialist will be the point of contact for all consultation with other Federal, State and local agencies (e.g., Fish and Wildlife Service, State Historic Preservation Office, etc.). The AFS-830 Environmental Specialist will coordinate the EA with Regional counsel, as per Order 1050.1, Section 10-2.

B.    Outcome of the EA.

1)    Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI). If the environmental review concludes that the Federal action would not significantly change the environmental impact of aircraft operations at an airport, a FONSI will be prepared and forwarded to the AFS-830 Environmental Specialist. The approval of the FONSI for parts 121 and 135, in accordance with Order 1050.1, Section 10-2, will occur at the Regional level. The approval of the FONSI for parts 129 or 91 operators based solely outside the United States will occur at the International Field Office (IFO) level except where the IFO requests AFS-54 approval.
2)    Significant Environmental Impact Determination. If there is a significant impact that cannot be mitigated or there is any uncertainty regarding environmental significance that would trigger an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), the AFS-830 Environmental Specialist shall consult with the Office of Environment and Energy (AEE) and Chief Counsel (AGC-1). If an EIS is required, the Flight Standards (AFS) division manager or a designee shall advise the operator.
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11-238    PROCESSING AN EA FOR AN AEROBATIC PRACTICE AREA (APA).

A.    Information required for preparing an EA for an APA. The AFS-830 Environmental Specialist will prepare these EAs based on information provided by the General Aviation Operations (GAOP) aviation safety inspector (ASI) from the applicant. The applicant may either fill out an Environmental Information Document (EID) available from their local Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) or online at: http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/avs/offices/afs/afs800/programs/media/aerobatic_environmental.doc, or the proponent may provide the following information:

1)    The name of the person who will be responsible for use of the APA and his contact information.
2)    Regulations to be waived.
3)    Start date and end for the requested waivers.
4)    A depiction of the location and lateral limits of the APA on an aerial photo (e.g., Google Earth), along with the vertical limits. In addition, provide the latitude/longitude coordinates for the corners of the APA. If the APA is a circle, please provide a radius from the center of the APA and the latitude/longitude coordinates for the center of the APA. In general, it is environmentally advisable to locate APAs over airports or away from any land where a quiet setting is an expected part of the landís utilization (e.g., residences, schools, and some parks).
5)    Expected days of the week and times during the day the APA will be used.
6)    How many times the APA will be activated per month.
7)    How long (minutes/hours) the APA will be in use each time it is activated.
8)    Total time (minutes/hours) the APA will be used each month.
9)    Percentage of time the APA will be used during each season (fall, winter, spring, and summer).
10)    List the average monthly evening (7 p.m.–10 p.m.) and nighttime (10 p.m.–7 a.m.) use of the APA.
11)    A list of each type of aircraft (make/model) that will use the APA, either the International Aerobatic Club (IAC) routine that will be flown or a description of the type of aerobatic activity for each aircraft listed, and an average number of routines/other aerobatic activity per month.
12)    A description of what the land within and surrounding the APA is used for (e.g., airport property, cattle grazing, hay fields, residences, industrial park, etc.).
13)    Identify if the waiver request is new or renewal. If a renewal, identify how long has it been in use. Also, specify is there is any changes being requested in this waiver request.
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14)    Whether the applicant is aware of any complaints raised regarding noise, air quality, wildlife, etc.
15)    Whether the applicant knows if the APA has ever been the center of any public forums (e.g., public hearings, city council meetings, etc.) (See Volume 3, Chapter 5, Section 1, Issue a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization for an APA or an Aerobatic Contest Box).

B.    Preparing the EA. Order 1050.1, Section 6-2 and FAA Order 1050.1F Desk Reference, as amended, identifies the environmental analysis and outlines the procedures used in preparing an EA. Normally, aircraft noise, air quality impact, and any secondary effects on noise sensitive land uses, including threatened and endangered species habitat or historic properties, will be of primary interest to AFS. Order 1050.1 and Order 1050.1F Desk Reference also details the levels of consultation and coordination of EAs with other Federal and government agencies and the public. The AFS-830 Environmental Specialist will coordinate the draft EA with the Regional counsel, as per Order 1050.1, Section 6-2. The following is an outline of the recommendation procedures with respect to some of the pertinent environmental impact categories:

1)    Noise Analysis. AFS relies on the 2011 Volpe Center Aerobatic Aircraft Noise Study and the Analysis of Aerobatic Aircraft Noise Using the FAA’s Integrate Noise Model for recommendation of when an APA may have significant noise impacts. In addition to the study, AFS relies on two guidance documents: FAA Memorandum “Approval of APA Noise Equivalent Methodology” (October 7, 2012) and FAA Memorandum “Clarification of FAA Order 1050 CATEX for Aerobatic Actions.”
2)    Air Quality Impact Analysis. The activity within in the APA may be modeled as a series of takeoffs, touch-and-goes, and landings within the modeling requirements discussed in Order 1050.1F Desk Reference, Section 1.3.4. If the proposed aircraft is not provided within the database, a similar sized aircraft with a similar engine type, utilized for similar purposes, which conservatively provides the emission of the proposed aircraft, may be utilized. Note that the database only has models for the particulate matter (PM) emissions from aircraft engines with an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)-certified engine that has a thrust greater than 26.7 kilonewtons (kN). If the proposed aircraft does not fall in this criteria and the APA is located in an area in maintenance for in non-attainment for PM, a substitute aircraft which is as similar as possible to the proposed aircraft will need to be used to model the estimated PM emissions.
3)    Impacts to Threatened and Endangered Species. The AFS-830 Environmental Specialist consult with the local U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) office regarding potential impacts to any threatened or endangered species, or birds protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. If a nest of a species of concern (generally birds) is found near to the APA, then upon request of the USFWS, an extra provision may be added to the special provision of the waiver stating that if a bird strike is known to have been with the species of concern, notify the Fish and Wildlife Service as soon as practical via a specified contact.
4)    Other Environmental Resource Categories. The environmental specialist will evaluate all other resources in accordance with Order 1050.1.
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5)    Potential Impacts. The AFS-830 Environmental Specialist may speak with local officials regarding any proposed land use and any potential impacts on any Department of Transportation (DOT) Section 4(f) resources within the 0.25 miles bounding the APA.
6)    Controversy Notification. If the proposed APA represents the reapplication of an expired Certification of Waiver (CoW), then the local FSDO will be able to state if there is any controversy on environmental grounds.
7)    The Need for a Public Review Period. If the proposed APA represents the reapplication of an expired CoW, for which there is no indication of any environmental controversy, then no public review period of the Draft EA is necessary. If there is environmental controversy regarding the past use of the proposed APA, or the proposed APA is the first time that an APA has been established in the proposed location and environmental controversy is anticipated, then a public review period of the Draft EA is necessary.
8)    Remaining Categories. Refer to the Order 1050.1F Desk Reference regarding the remaining environmental impact categories in order to assess if the proposed APA will potentially cause a significant environmental impact.

C.    Outcome of the Environmental Review.

1)    Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) Determination. If the environmental review concludes that the Federal action would not result in any significant environmental impacts, a FONSI will be prepared. The approval of the FONSI, in accordance with Order 1050.1, Section 10-2, will be the responsibility of the designated FAA responsible person.
2)    Significant Environmental Impact Determination. If there is any significant impacts that cannot be mitigated or there is uncertainty regarding environmental significance that would trigger an EIS, the AFS-830 Environmental Specialist will consult with AEE-1 and AGC-1. If an EIS is required, the AFS-800 Division Manager or a designee shall advise the operator and obtain any additional information necessary to prepare a draft EIS. See Order 1050.1 for the EIS process.

RESERVED. Paragraphs 11-239 through 11-253.