Excluding title transfers for a limited set of simple, non-controversial or uncomplicated projects and/or project facilities will help streamline the process, saving the non-federal entities time and money
The U.S. Department of the Interior has published a Federal Register notice seeking public comment on a proposed categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act for certain transfers of title of projects and facilities from the Bureau of Reclamation to qualifying non-federal entities. Reclamation is proposing to establish a new categorical exclusion to facilitate the transfer of title for a limited set of simple, noncontroversial or uncomplicated projects and/or project facilities.
The federal register notice is available at https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2018-22630.
Title transfer is a voluntary conveyance of ownership for water projects including dams, canals, laterals and other water-related infrastructure to the beneficiaries of those facilities. It divests Reclamation of responsibility for the operation, maintenance, management, regulation of, and liability for the project, lands and facilities to be transferred.
The benefitting non-federal entity is also provided with greater autonomy and flexibility to manage the facilities to meet their needs in compliance with federal, state, and local laws and in conformance with contractual obligations. Public comments on this proposed action are due to Reclamation 30 days from the day it appears in the Federal Register, which is November 16, 2018.
A transfer of title is a federal action under NEPA. NEPA requires that when a major federal cation may have significant impacts on the quality of the human environment, a statement be prepared to describe the impacts and effects on the human environment associated with the federal action. If it is determined that a certain category of actions will not normally have a significant effect on the human environment, those actions may be excluded from further NEPA review.
You can learn more about title transfers at the Bureau of Reclamation at www.usbr.gov/title.
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