30 June 2006


[Federal Register: June 30, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 126)]
[Page 37594-37596]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Coast Guard


Nationwide Automatic Identification System, Draft Programmatic 
Environmental Impact Statement

AGENCY: U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Homeland Security.

ACTION: Notice of availability; notice of public meeting; request for 
public comments.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) announces the availability of the 
draft programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) addressing the 
proposed implementation of the Nationwide Automatic Identification 
System (NAIS) project. The proposed implementation of the NAIS project 
would involve installing receivers, transmitters, transceivers, 
repeaters, and other equipment on towers or other structures at up to 
450 sites at locations along 95,000 miles of coastline and inland 
waterways, as well as the use of selected remote platforms. The USCG 
requests public comments on the draft PEIS.

DATES: One public meeting concerning the draft PEIS is planned. The 
public meeting will be held on Wednesday, August 9,2006 in Washington, 
DC. The public meeting will begin at 9 a.m. and is scheduled to end at 
11 a.m. The public meeting may end earlier or later than the stated 
time, depending on the number of persons wishing to speak. Comments and 
related material submitted in response to the request for public 
comments must reach the Docket Management Facility on or before August 
14, 2006.

ADDRESSES: The public meeting will be held at the USCG Headquarters 
building (Transpoint Building), 2100 Second Street, SW., Washington, DC 
    You may submit comments identified by Coast Guard docket number 
USCG-2005-22837 to the Docket Management Facility at the U.S. 
Department of Transportation (DOT). To avoid duplication, please use 
only one of the following methods to submit comments or other 
    (1) Web site: http://dms.dot.gov.

    (2) Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001.
    (3) Fax: 202-493-2251.
    (4) Delivery: Room PL-401 on the Plaza level of the Nassif 
Building, 400 Seventh Street SW., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m and 5 
p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. The telephone number is 
    (5) Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you have questions on this notice, 
please call or e-mail Anita Allen, Ph.D., NAIS Environmental Manager, 
at 202-474-3292 or aallen@comdt.uscg.mil. If you have questions on 
viewing the docket, call Ms. Andrea M. Jenkins,

[[Page 37595]]

Program Manager, Docket Operations at 202-366-0271.
    The draft PEIS is available for viewing online at the DOT's docket 
management Web site: http://dms.dot.gov under docket number 22837. A 

copy of the draft PEIS can also be obtained on the NAIS project Web 
site: http://www.uscg.mil/hq/g-a/AIS/ or by contacting Dr. Allen.


Public Meeting

    We invite you to comment at the public meeting on the proposed 
action and the evaluation presented in the draft PEIS.
    Please notify the USCG prior to the public meeting if you wish to 
speak at the public meeting (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). In 
order to allow everyone a chance to speak, the USCG may limit speaker 
time, or extend the meeting hours, or both. You must identify yourself, 
and any organization you represent, by name. Your remarks will be 
recorded or transcribed for inclusion in the public docket. You may 
submit written material at the public meeting, either in place of or in 
addition to speaking. Written material must include your name and 
    Verbal and written input will be included in the public docket. 
Public docket materials will be made available to the public on the 
Docket Management Facility's Docket Management System (DMS). See 
``Request for Comments'' for information about DMS and your rights 
under the Privacy Act.
    If you plan to attend the public meeting, and need special 
assistance such as sign language interpretation or other reasonable 
accommodation, please notify the USCG (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT) at least 3 business days in advance. Include your contact 
information, as well as information about your specific needs.

Request for Comments

    As a part of the process to prepare the PEIS, the USCG requests 
public comments or other relevant information on the draft PEIS. The 
public meeting is not the only opportunity you have to comment on the 
draft PEIS. In addition to, or in place of attending the meeting, 
persons or organizations can submit material to the Docket Management 
Facility during the public comment period (see DATES). The USCG will 
consider all comments submitted during the public comment period, and 
subsequently will prepare the final PEIS. The USCG will announce the 
availability of the final PEIS and once again give interested parties 
an opportunity to review the document. (If you want the notice for the 
final PEIS to be sent to you, please contact the personnel identified 
    All comments received will be posted, without change, to http://dms.dot.gov
 and will include any personal information you have 

provided. We have an agreement with the Department of Transportation 
(DOT) to use the Docket Management Facility. Please see DOT's ``Privacy 
Act'' paragraph below.
    Submitting comments: If you submit a comment, please include your 
name and address, identify the docket number for this notice (USCG-
2005-22837) and give the reason for each comment. You may submit your 
comments by electronic means, mail, fax, or delivery to the Docket 
Management Facility at the address under ADDRESSES; but please submit 
your comments by only one means. If you submit them by mail or 
delivery, submit them in an unbound format, no larger than 8\1/2\ by 11 
inches, suitable for copying and electronic filing. If you submit them 
by mail and would like to know that they reached the Facility, please 
enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard or envelope. We will 
consider all comments received during the comment period.
    Viewing comments and documents: To view comments, go to http://dms.dot.gov
 at any time, click on ``Simple Search,'' enter the last 

five digits of the docket number for this rulemaking, and click on 
``Search.'' You may also visit the Docket Management Facility in room 
PL-401 on the Plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street, 
SW., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays.
    Privacy Act: Anyone can search the electronic form of all comments 
received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual 
submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf 
of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review the 
Department of Transportation's Privacy Act Statement in the Federal 
Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477), or you may visit 

Proposed Action

    The USCG published a notice of intent to prepare a PEIS for the 
proposed implementation of the NAIS project in the Federal Register (70 
FR 70862, November 23, 2005). The proposed action requiring 
environmental review is a DHS Level I investment and USCG major systems 
acquisition that would involve installing receivers, transmitters, 
transceivers, repeaters, and other equipment on towers or other 
structures at up to 450 sites along 95,000 miles of coastline, other 
inland waterways, and remote platforms such as satellites, offshore oil 
and gas platforms and data buoys.
    The purpose of the proposed action evaluated in the draft PEIS is 
to establish a nationwide network of receivers and transmitters to 
capture, display, exchange, and analyze AIS-generated information. The 
proposed action would satisfy the USCG's need to enhance homeland 
security while carrying out its mission to ensure marine safety and 
security, preserve maritime mobility, protect the marine environment, 
enforce U.S. laws and international treaties, and perform search and 
rescue (SAR) operations.
    The AIS is an international standard for ship-to-ship, ship-to-
shore, and shore-to-ship communication of information, including vessel 
identity, position, speed, course, destination, and other data of 
critical interest for navigational safety and maritime security. The 
proposed implementation of the NAIS project would provide the USCG with 
the capability to receive and distribute information from shipboard AIS 
equipment and transmit information to AIS equipped vessels to enhance 
Maritime Domain Awareness. The proposed project would provide detection 
and identification of vessels carrying AIS equipment approaching or 
operating in the maritime domain where little or no vessel tracking 
currently exists.

Alternatives To the Proposed Action

    The technical and operational requirements for NAIS require the 
system to be operational in both inland navigable waters and the open 
ocean out to 2,000 nautical miles (NM) offshore. No single 
implementation alternative could meet the technical and operational 
requirements of this large and geographically variable area. As a 
result, the USCG believes that a combination of implementation 
alternatives would be needed to meet the technical and operational 
requirements. The proposed implementation of the NAIS project includes 
using a combination of the following coverage mechanisms:
    (1) NAIS Short-Range Coverage--Shore-Based Radio Frequency (RF) 
Sites. The establishment of shore-based RF sites was the only 
alternative found by the USCG to be viable for achieving short-range 
NAIS coverage. Short-range NAIS coverage includes inland navigable 
waters, and out to 50 nautical miles (NM) offshore. Shore-based RF 
sites would consist of AIS equipment

[[Page 37596]]

mounted on towers, buildings, bridges, or other structures. The USCG 
anticipates the majority of these sites would be tower-based. The USCG 
would be faced with the choice of installing AIS equipment at new sites 
(``new build''); installing AIS equipment adjacent to existing 
communications equipment (``collocation''); or, program wide, using a 
combination of the collocation and new build sites for shore-based RF 
    For the proposed implementation of the NAIS project, the USCG has 
chosen to bound or bracket the programmatic environmental analysis of 
the shore-based RF sites by evaluating three potential NAIS siting 
alternatives: All New Tower Builds, Combination of Collocations and New 
Tower Builds, and All Collocations.
    (2) NAIS Long-Range Coverage--Satellites. For long-range coverage, 
satellite services could be leased from commercial satellite providers 
or the government. The USCG is currently assessing technology 
development to support this capability. The analysis of this 
alternative assumes that the initial technology development would yield 
a deployable solution. The satellite system is envisioned to consist of 
a number of low earth orbit satellites to provide the needed long-range 
maritime tracking of vessels (i.e., coverage requirement to receive AIS 
signals with a minimum 4-hour reporting rate out to 2,000 NM offshore).
    (3) NAIS Long-Range Coverage--Offshore Platforms and Data Buoys. 
NAIS long-range coverage could be provided, in part, by using existing 
offshore platform and data buoy capabilities to provide additional 
coverage availability. The USCG is currently evaluating the 
effectiveness of deploying AIS base stations and AIS receivers on 
various offshore Gulf of Mexico oil and gas platforms and National 
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data buoys. Potential offshore 
platforms of interest include existing active U.S. Department of the 
Interior (DOI) Minerals Management Service (MMS)-regulated oil and gas 
infrastructures in the Gulf of Mexico, Pacific, and Alaska regions.

    Dated: June 22, 2006.
J.P. Currier,
Rear Admiral, United Stated Coast Guard, Assistant Commandant for 
[FR Doc. E6-10256 Filed 6-29-06; 8:45 am]