§ 380.4Projects or actions categorically excluded.
(a)General rule. Except as stated in paragraph (b) of this section, neither an environmental assessment nor an environmental impact statement will be prepared for the following projects or actions:
(1) Procedural, ministerial, or internal administrative and management actions, programs, or decisions, including procurement, contracting, personnel actions, correction or clarification of filings or orders, and acceptance, rejection and dismissal of filings;
(i) Reports or recommendations on legislation not initiated by the Commission, and
(ii) Proposals for legislation and promulgation of rules that are clarifying, corrective, or procedural, or that do not substantially change the effect of legislation or regulations being amended;
(3) Compliance and review actions, including investigations (jurisdictional or otherwise), conferences, hearings, notices of probable violation, show cause orders, and adjustments under section 502(c) of the Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978 (NGPA);
(4) Review of grants or denials by the Department of Energy (DOE) of any adjustment request, and review of contested remedial orders issued by DOE;
(5) Information gathering, analysis, and dissemination;
(6) Conceptual or feasibility studies;
(7) Actions concerning the reservation and classification of United States lands as water power sites and other actions under section 24 of the Federal Power Act;
(8) Transfers of water power project licenses and transfers of exemptions under Part I of the Federal Power Act and Part 9 of this chapter;
(9) Issuance of preliminary permits for water power projects under Part I of the Federal Power Act and Part 4 of this chapter;
(10) Withdrawals of applications for certificates under the Natural Gas Act, or for water power project preliminary permits, exemptions, or licenses under Part I of the Federal Power Act and Part 4 of this chapter;
(11) Actions concerning annual charges or headwater benefits, charges for water power projects under Parts 11 and 13 of this chapter and establishment of fees to be paid by an applicant for a license or exemption required to meet the terms and conditions of section 30(c) of the Federal Power Act;
(12) Approval for water power projects under Part I of the Federal Power Act, of “as built” or revised drawings or exhibits that propose no changes to project works or operations or that reflect changes that have previously been approved or required by the Commission;
(13) Surrender and amendment of preliminary permits, and surrender of water power licenses and exemptions where no project works exist or ground disturbing activity has occurred and amendments to water power licenses and exemptions that do not require ground disturbing activity or changes to project works or operation;
(14) Exemptions for small conduit hydroelectric facilities as defined in § 4.30(b)(26) of this chapter under Part I of the Federal Power Act and Part 4 of this chapter;
(15) Electric rate filings submitted by public utilities under sections 205 and 206 of the Federal Power Act, the establishment of just and reasonable rates, and confirmation, approval, and disapproval of rate filings submitted by Federal power marketing agencies under the Pacific Northwest Electric Power Planning and Conservation Act, the Department of Energy Organization Act, and DOE Delegation Order No. 0204-108.
(16) Approval of actions under sections 4(b), 203, 204, 301, 304, and 305 of the Federal Power Act relating to issuance and purchase of securities, acquisition or disposition of property, merger, interlocking directorates, jurisdictional determinations and accounting orders;
(17) Approval of electrical interconnections and wheeling under sections 202(b), 210, 211, and 212 of the Federal Power Act, that would not entail:
(i) Construction of a new substation or expansion of the boundaries of an existing substation;
(ii) Construction of any transmission line that operates at more than 115 kilovolts (KV) and occupies more than ten miles of an existing right-of-way; or
(iii) Construction of any transmission line more than one mile long if located on a new right-of-way;
(18) Approval of changes in land rights for water power projects under Part I of the Federal Power Act and Part 4 of this chapter, if no construction or change in land use is either proposed or known by the Commission to be contemplated for the land affected;
(19) Approval of proposals under Part I of the Federal Power Act and Part 4 of this chapter to authorize use of water power project lands or waters for gas or electric utility distribution lines, radial (sub-transmission) lines, communications lines and cables, storm drains, sewer lines not discharging into project waters, water mains, piers, landings, boat docks, or similar structures and facilities, landscaping or embankments, bulkheads, retaining walls, or similar shoreline erosion control structures;
(20) Action on applications for exemption under section 1(c) of the Natural Gas Act;
(21) Approvals of blanket certificate applications and prior notice filings under § 157.204 and §§ 157.209 through 157.218 of this chapter;
(22) Approvals of blanket certificate applications under §§ 284.221 through 284.224 of this chapter;
(23) Producers' applications for the sale of gas filed under §§ 157.23 through 157.29 of this chapter;
(24) Approval under section 7 of the Natural Gas Act of taps, meters, and regulating facilities located completely within an existing natural gas pipeline right-of-way or compressor station if company records show the land use of the vicinity has not changed since the original facilities were installed, and no significant nonjurisdictional facilities would be constructed in association with construction of the interconnection facilities;
(25) Review of natural gas rate filings, including any curtailment plans other than those specified in § 380.5(b)(5), and establishment of rates for transportation and sale of natural gas under sections 4 and 5 of the Natural Gas Act and sections 311 and 401 through 404 of the Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978;
(27) Sale, exchange, and transportation of natural gas under sections 4, 5 and 7 of the Natural Gas Act that require no construction of facilities;
(28) Abandonment in place of a minor natural gas pipeline (short segments of buried pipe of 6-inch inside diameter or less), or abandonment by removal of minor surface facilities such as metering stations, valves, and taps under section 7 of the Natural Gas Act so long as appropriate erosion control and site restoration takes place;
(29) Abandonment of service under any gas supply contract pursuant to section 7 of the Natural Gas Act;
(30) Approval of filing made in compliance with the requirements of a certificate for a natural gas project under section 7 of the Natural Gas Act or a preliminary permit, exemption, license, or license amendment order for a water power project under Part I of the Federal Power Act;
(31) Abandonment of facilities by sale that involves only minor or no ground disturbance to disconnect the facilities from the system;
(32) Conversion of facilities from use under the NGPA to use under the NGA;
(33) Construction or abandonment of facilities constructed entirely in Federal offshore waters that has been approved by the Minerals Management Service and the Corps of Engineers, as necessary;
(34) Abandonment or construction of facilities on an existing offshore platform;
(35) Abandonment, construction or replacement of a facility (other than compression) solely within an existing building within a natural gas facility (other than LNG facilities), if it does not increase the noise or air emissions from the facility, as a whole; and
(36) Conversion of compression to standby use if the compressor is not moved, or abandonment of compression if the compressor station remains in operation.
(b)Exceptions to categorical exclusions.
(1) In accordance with 40 CFR 1508.4, the Commission and its staff will independently evaluate environmental information supplied in an application and in comments by the public. Where circumstances indicate that an action may be a major Federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment, the Commission:
(i) May require an environmental report or other additional environmental information, and
(ii) Will prepare an environmental assessment or an environmental impact statement.
(2) Such circumstances may exist when the action may have an effect on one of the following:
(i) Indian lands;
(ii) Wilderness areas;
(iii) Wild and scenic rivers;
(v) Units of the National Park System, National Refuges, or National Fish Hatcheries;
(vi) Anadromous fish or endangered species; or
(vii) Where the environmental effects are uncertain.
However, the existence of one or more of the above will not automatically require the submission of an environmental report or the preparation of an environmental assessment or an environmental impact statement.
[Order 486, 52 FR 47910, Dec. 17, 1987, as amended at 53 FR 8177, Mar. 14, 1988; Order 486-B, 53 FR 26437, July 13, 1988; 54 FR 48740, Nov. 27, 1989; Order 603, 64 FR 26611, May 14, 1999; Order 609, 64 FR 57392, Oct. 25, 1999; Order 756, 77 FR 4895, Feb. 1, 2012]
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