12 December 2008
[Federal Register: December 12, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 240)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
Science and Technology Directorate; Notice of Availability of the
Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed National Bio and
AGENCY: Science and Technology Directorate (Office of National
Laboratories within the Office of Research), DHS; Department of
ACTION: Notice of availability.
SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announces the
availability of its National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility Final
Environmental Impact Statement (NBAF Final EIS). This announcement is
pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as
amended, and its implementing regulations at 40 CFR parts 1500-1508.
The Proposed Action to site, construct, and operate the National Bio
and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) would allow researchers to develop
tests to detect foreign animal diseases and zoonotic diseases
(transmitted from animals to humans) and develop vaccines (or other
countermeasures such as antiviral therapies) to protect agriculture and
food systems in the United States. The NBAF would enhance U.S.
biodefense capabilities with modern and integrated high-security
(biosafety levels 3 and 4) facilities that would ensure U.S.
vulnerabilities and risks from agro-terrorism are safely addressed. DHS
anticipates that the proposed NBAF would focus biosafety level 3
agricultural (BSL-3Ag) research on African swine fever, classical swine
fever, contagious bovine pleuropneumonia, foot and mouth disease,
Japanese encephalitis, and Rift Valley fever; BSL-4 research would
address Hendra and Nipah viruses.
DATES: DHS will consider comments on the NBAF Final EIS, received by
January 12, 2009, to determine whether they identify new information
relevant to environmental concerns bearing upon the Preferred
ADDRESSES: The NBAF Final EIS, which includes the Executive Summary and
the Comment Response Document, is available online at http://
www.dhs.gov/nbaf and in designated reading rooms (see SUPPLEMENTARY
INFORMATION). Compact disks and paper copies are available upon written
request via e-mail or U.S. mail. Submit written comments on the NBAF
Final EIS to email@example.com or via mail: NBAF Program
Manager; P.O. Box 2188; Germantown, MD 20875-2188. Individual names and
addresses (including e-mail addresses) received as part of comment
documents on the NBAF Final EIS will be part of the public record and
subject to disclosure. Any person wishing to have his/her name,
address, or other identifying information withheld from public release
must state this request in the comment document. DHS will consider all
comments received before the Record of Decision is signed.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Questions regarding the NBAF Final EIS
should be directed to James V. Johnson DHS; Science and Technology
Directorate; Mail Stop 2100; 245 Murray Lane, SW.; Building
410; Washington, DC 20528-0300 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: DHS is responsible for detecting,
preventing, protecting against, and responding to terrorist attacks
within the United States. These responsibilities, as applied to the
defense of animal agriculture, are shared with the U.S. Department of
Agriculture (USDA). In developing a coordinated strategy to adequately
protect the nation against biological threats to animal agriculture,
DHS and USDA identified a gap that must be filled by an integrated
research, development, test, and evaluation infrastructure for
combating threats to U.S. agriculture. To bridge this gap and comply
with Homeland Security Presidential Directive 9, Defense of United
States Agriculture and Food, DHS proposed to build the integrated
research, development, test, and evaluation facility called the
National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF).
In June 2008, DHS published the NBAF Draft EIS, which analyzed the
environmental impacts of the Proposed Action on six site alternatives,
as well as the No Action Alternative. The site alternatives include:
(1) South Milledge Avenue Site, Athens, Georgia; (2) Manhattan Campus
Site, Manhattan, Kansas; (3) Flora Industrial Park Site, Flora,
Mississippi; (4) Plum Island Site, Plum Island, New York; (5) Umstead
Research Farm Site, Butner, North Carolina; and (6) Texas Research Park
Site, San Antonio, Texas. Under the No Action Alternative, the NBAF
would not be constructed and DHS would continue to use the Plum Island
Animal Disease Center with necessary investments in facility upgrades,
replacements, and repairs so that it could continue to operate at its
current capability level.
The EPA published the Notice of Availability of the NBAF Draft EIS
on June 27, 2008 (73 FR 36540). During the 60-day public comment
period, which concluded on August 25, 2008, DHS held 13 public meetings
in the vicinity of the site alternatives and in Washington, DC to
facilitate information exchange and to solicit comments on the NBAF
DHS gave equal consideration to the approximately 5,400 identified
comments collected via e-mail, mail, public meetings, and toll-free fax
and telephone numbers during the public comment period. DHS's responses
to comments are presented in Appendix H of the Final EIS. The NBAF
Final EIS reflects changes based on the comments received, availability
of new data, and correction of errors and omissions.
DHS anticipates distributing approximately 2,600 copies of the NBAF
Final EIS and/or the Executive Summary to congressional members and
committees; federal, state, and local agency and governmental
representatives and elected officials; Native American representatives;
special interest groups and non-governmental organizations; and
The DHS Preferred Alternative identified in the NBAF Final EIS is
to build and operate the NBAF at the Manhattan Campus Site in Kansas.
The NBAF Final EIS analyzes the potential impacts of the Proposed
Action on the physical, biological, and human environments at each of
the six site alternatives, as well as the potential impacts of the No
Action Alternative. This Final EIS is not a decision document. DHS and
USDA, a consulting agency on this EIS, will also consider information
from associated support documentation including: Threat and Risk
Assessment, Site Cost Analysis, Site Characterization Study, Plum
Island Facility Closure and Transition Cost Study, as well as prior
analysis of the site alternatives against DHS's site selection
DHS will announce its decision on the Proposed Action in the Record
of Decision (ROD) that identifies the alternatives considered, the
decisions made, the environmentally preferable alternative, and the
factors balanced by the Department in making the decision. The NBAF ROD
will include: (1) The decision whether or not to build the NBAF; (2) if
the decision is made to build the NBAF, where it will be built; (3) the
site alternatives considered in the EIS; (4) whether all practicable
means to avoid or minimize environmental impacts from the alternative
selected have been adopted and, if not, why; (5) any monitoring and
enforcement that would be necessary to offset unavoidable environmental
impacts; and (6) relevant comments on the NBAF Final EIS. DHS will
issue a ROD on the proposed action no sooner than 30 days after the NOA
of the NBAF Final EIS is published in the Federal Register.
The NBAF Final EIS is available for review at the following reading
University of Georgia Main Library, 320 South Jackson Street, Athens,
Oconee County Library, 1080 Experiment Station Road, Watkinsville, GA
Manhattan Public Library, 629 Poytnz Avenue, Manhattan, KS 66502;
Hale Library, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506.
City of Flora Library, 144 Clark Street, Flora, MS 39071.
New York Site
Acton Public Library, 60 Old Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook, CT 06475;
Southold Free Library, 53705 Main Road, Southold, NY 11971.
Richard H. Thornton Library, 210 Main Street, Oxford, NC 27565-0339;
South Branch Library, 1547 South Campus Drive, Creedmoor, NC 27522.
Central Library, 600 Soledad, San Antonio, TX 78205.
Authority: 42 U.S.C. 4321-4347 (National Environmental Policy
Dated: December 3, 2008.
Under Secretary, Marketing and Regulatory Programs, USDA.
Jay M. Cohen,
Under Secretary, Science & Technology, DHS.
[FR Doc. E8-29142 Filed 12-11-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4410-10-P