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e-CFR data is current as of October 22, 2020

Title 36Chapter IIPart 218 → Subpart B


Title 36: Parks, Forests, and Public Property
PART 218—PROJECT-LEVEL PREDECISIONAL ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW PROCESS


Subpart B—Provisions Specific to Project-Level Proposals Not Authorized Under Healthy Forests Restoration Act


Contents
§218.20   Applicability and scope.
§218.21   Emergency situations.
§218.22   Proposed projects and activities subject to legal notice and opportunity to comment.
§218.23   Proposed projects and activities not subject to legal notice and opportunity to comment.
§218.24   Notification of opportunity to comment on proposed projects and activities.
§218.25   Comments on proposed projects and activities.
§218.26   Objection time periods.

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§218.20   Applicability and scope.

This subpart includes provisions that are specific to proposed projects and activities implementing land and resource management plans and documented with a Record of Decision or Decision Notice, except those authorized under the Healthy Forests Restoration Act (HFRA). The sections of this subpart must be considered in combination with the general provisions of subpart A of this part for the full complement of regulatory direction pertaining to predecisional administrative review of the applicable projects and activities.

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§218.21   Emergency situations.

(a) Authority. The Chief and the Associate Chief of the Forest Service are authorized to make the determination that an emergency situation exists as defined in this section.

(b) Emergency situation definition. A situation on National Forest System (NFS) lands for which immediate implementation of a decision is necessary to achieve one or more of the following: Relief from hazards threatening human health and safety; mitigation of threats to natural resources on NFS or adjacent lands; avoiding a loss of commodity value sufficient to jeopardize the agency's ability to accomplish project objectives directly related to resource protection or restoration.

(c) Determination. The determination that an emergency situation exists shall be based on an examination of the relevant information. During the consideration by the Chief or Associate Chief, additional information may be requested from the responsible official. The determination that an emergency situation does or does not exist is not subject to administrative review under this part.

(d) Implementation. When it is determined that an emergency situation exists with respect to all or part of the proposed project or activity, the proposed action shall not be subject to the predecisional objection process and implementation may proceed as follows:

(1) Immediately after notification (see 36 CFR 220.7(d)) when the decision is documented in a Decision Notice (DN).

(2) Immediately after complying with the timeframes and publication requirements described in 40 CFR 1506.10(b)(2) when the decision is documented in a Record of Decision (ROD).

(e) Notification. The responsible official shall identify any emergency situation determination made for a project or activity in the notification of the decision (see 36 CFR 220.5(g) and 220.7(d)).

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§218.22   Proposed projects and activities subject to legal notice and opportunity to comment.

The legal notice and opportunity to comment procedures of this subpart apply only to:

(a) Proposed projects and activities implementing land management plans for which an environmental assessment (EA) is prepared;

(b) Proposed projects and activities implementing land management plans for which a draft or supplemental environmental impact statement (EIS) is prepared and notice and comment procedures are governed by 40 CFR parts 1500 through 1508;

(c) Proposed amendments to a land management plan that are included as part of a proposed project or activity covered in paragraphs (a) or (b) of this section which are applicable only to that proposed project or activity;

(d) A proposed project or activity for which a supplemental or revised EA or EIS is prepared based on consideration of new information or changed circumstances; and

(e) Proposed research activities to be conducted on National Forest System land for which an EA or EIS is prepared.

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§218.23   Proposed projects and activities not subject to legal notice and opportunity to comment.

The legal notice and opportunity to comment procedures of this subpart do not apply to:

(a) Any project or activity categorically excluded from documentation in an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement.

(b) Proposed land management plans, plan revisions, and plan amendments that are subject to the objection process set out in 36 CFR part 219, subpart B;

(c) Proposed plan amendments associated with a project or activity where the amendment applies not just to the particular project or activity but to all future projects and activities (see 36 CFR 219.59(b));

(d) Proposed projects and activities not subject to the provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act and the implementing regulations at 40 CFR parts 1500 through 1508 and 36 CFR part 220;

(e) Determinations by the responsible official, after consideration of new information or changed circumstances, that a correction, supplement, or revision of the EA or EIS is not required;

(f) Rules promulgated in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 551 et seq.) or policies and procedures issued in the Forest Service Manual and Handbooks (36 CFR part 216); and

(g) Proposed hazardous fuel reduction projects authorized under the Healthy Forests Restoration Act.

[78 FR 18497, Mar. 27, 2013, as amended at 79 FR 44293, July 31, 2014]

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§218.24   Notification of opportunity to comment on proposed projects and activities.

(a) Responsible official. The responsible official shall:

(1) Provide legal notice of the opportunity to comment on a proposed project or activity implementing a land management plan.

(2) Determine the most effective timing and then publish the legal notice of the opportunity to comment as provided for in paragraph (c)(2) of this section.

(3) Promptly provide notice about the proposed project or activity to any individual or entity who has requested it and to those who have participated in planning for that project.

(4) Accept all written comments on the proposed project or activity as provided for in §218.25(a)(4).

(b) Content of legal notice. All legal notices shall include the following:

(1) The title and brief description of the proposed project or activity.

(2) A general description of the proposed project or activity's location with sufficient information to allow the interested public to identify the location.

(3) When applicable, a statement that the responsible official is requesting an emergency situation determination or it has been determined that an emergency situation exists for the proposed project or activity as provided for in §218.21.

(4) For a proposed project or activity to be analyzed and documented in an environmental assessment (EA), a statement that the opportunity to comment ends 30 days following the date of publication of the legal notice in the newspaper of record (see §218.25(a)(2)); as newspaper publication dates may vary, legal notices shall not contain the specific date.

(5) For a proposed project or activity that is analyzed and documented in a draft environmental impact statement (EIS), a statement that the opportunity to comment ends 45 days following the date of publication of the notice of availability (NOA) in the Federal Register (see §218.25(a)(2)). The legal notice must be published after the NOA and contain the NOA publication date.

(6) A statement that only those who submit timely and specific written comments regarding the proposed project or activity during a public comment period established by the responsible official are eligible to file an objection.

(7) The responsible official's name, title, telephone number, and addresses (street, postal, facsimile, and email) to whom comments are to be submitted and the responsible official's office business hours for those submitting hand-delivered comments (see §218.25(a)(4)(ii)).

(8) A statement indicating that for objection eligibility each individual or representative from each entity submitting timely and specific written comments regarding the proposed project or activity must either sign the comments or verify identity upon request.

(9) The acceptable format(s) for electronic comments.

(10) Instructions on how to obtain additional information on the proposed project or activity.

(c) Publication. (1) Through notice published annually in the Federal Register, each Regional Forester shall advise the public of the newspaper(s) of record used for publishing legal notices required by this part.

(2) Legal notice of the opportunity to comment on a proposed project or activity shall be published in the applicable newspaper of record identified in paragraph (c)(1) of this section for each National Forest System unit. When the Chief is the responsible official, notice shall also be published in the Federal Register. The publication date of the legal notice in the newspaper of record is the exclusive means for calculating the time to submit written comments on a proposed project or activity to be analyzed and documented in an EA. The publication date of the NOA in the Federal Register is the exclusive means for calculating the time to submit written comments on a proposed project or activity that is analyzed and documented in a draft EIS.

(3) Within 4 calendar days of the date of publication of the legal notice in the newspaper of record or, when applicable, the Federal Register, a digital image of the legal notice or Federal Register publication, or the exact text of the notice, must be made available on the Web. Such postings must clearly indicate the date the notice was published in the newspaper of record or Federal Register, and the name of the publication.

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§218.25   Comments on proposed projects and activities.

(a) Opportunity to comment. (1) Time period for submission of comments

(i) Comments on a proposed project or activity to be documented in an environmental assessment shall be accepted for 30 days beginning on the first day after the date of publication of the legal notice.

(ii) Comments on a proposed project or activity to be documented in an environmental impact statement shall be accepted for a minimum of 45 days beginning on the first day after the date of publication in the Federal Register of the notice of availability of the draft EIS.

(iii) Comments. It is the responsibility of all individuals and organizations to ensure that their comments are received in a timely manner as provided for in paragraph (a)(4) of this section.

(iv) Extension. The time period for the opportunity to comment on a proposed project or activity to be documented with an environmental assessment shall not be extended.

(2) Computation of the comment period. The time period is computed using calendar days, including Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays. However, when the time period expires on a Saturday, Sunday, or Federal holiday, comments shall be accepted until the end of the next Federal working day (11:59 p.m. in the time zone of the receiving office for comments filed by electronic means such as email or facsimile).

(3) Requirements. To be eligible to submit an objection, individuals and entities must have provided the following during the comment period:

(i) Name and postal address. Email address in addition is recommended but not required.

(ii) Title of the proposed project or activity.

(iii) Specific written comments as defined in §218.2 regarding the proposed project or activity, along with supporting reasons.

(iv) Signature or other verification of identity upon request and identification of the individual or entity who authored the comment(s). For comments listing multiple entities or multiple individuals, a signature or other means of verification must be provided for the individual authorized to represent each entity and for each individual in the case of multiple names. A scanned signature or other means of verifying the identity of the individual or entity representative may be used for electronically submitted comments.

(v) Individual members of an entity must submit their own comments to establish personal eligibility; comments received on behalf of an entity are considered as those of the entity only.

(4) Evidence of timely submission. When there is a question about timely submission of comments, timeliness shall be determined as follows:

(i) Written comments must be postmarked by the Postal Service, emailed, faxed, or otherwise submitted (for example, express delivery service) by 11:59 p.m. in the time zone of the receiving office on the 30th calendar day following publication of the legal notice for proposed projects or activities to be analyzed and documented in an EA or the 45th calendar day following publication of the NOA in the Federal Register for a draft EIS.

(ii) Hand-delivered comments must be time and date imprinted at the correct responsible official's office by the close of business on the 30th calendar day following publication of the legal notice for proposed projects or activities to be analyzed and documented in an EA or the 45th calendar day following publication of the NOA in the Federal Register for a draft EIS.

(iii) For emailed comments, the sender should normally receive an automated electronic acknowledgment from the agency as confirmation of receipt. If the sender does not receive an automated acknowledgment of the receipt of the comments, it is the sender's responsibility to ensure timely receipt by other means.

(b) Consideration of comments. (1) The responsible official shall consider all written comments submitted in compliance with paragraph (a) of this section.

(2) All written comments received by the responsible official shall be placed in the project file and shall become a matter of public record.

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§218.26   Objection time periods.

(a) Time to file an objection. Written objections, including any attachments, must be filed with the reviewing officer within 45 days following the publication date of the legal notice of the EA or final EIS in the newspaper of record or the publication date of the notice in the Federal Register when the Chief is the responsible official (see §218.7(c)). It is the responsibility of objectors to ensure that their objection is received in a timely manner.

(b) Time for responding to an objection. The reviewing officer must issue a written response to the objector(s) concerning their objection(s) within 45 days following the end of the objection filing period. The reviewing officer has the discretion to extend the time for up to 30 days when he or she determines that additional time is necessary to provide adequate response to objections or to participate in resolution discussions with the objector(s).

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