32 CFR Appendix B to Part 989 - Categorical Exclusions
Although a proposed action may qualify for a categorical exclusion from the requirements for environmental impact analysis under NEPA, this exclusion does not relieve the EPF or the proponent of responsibility for complying with all other environmental requirements related to the proposal, including requirements for permits, and state regulatory agency review of plans.
Circumstances may arise in which usually categorically excluded actions may have a significant environmental impact and, therefore, may generate a requirement for further environmental analysis. Examples of situations where such unique circumstances may be present include:
A2.2.1. Actions of greater scope or size than generally experienced for a particular category of action.
A2.2.2. Potential for degradation (even though slight) of already marginal or poor environmental conditions.
A2.2.3. Initiating a degrading influence, activity, or effect in areas not already significantly modified from their natural condition.
A2.2.4. Use of unproved technology.
A2.2.5. Use of hazardous or toxic substances that may come in contact with the surrounding environment.
A2.2.6. Presence of threatened or endangered species, archaeological remains, historical sites, or other protected resources.
A2.2.7. Proposals adversely affecting areas of critical environmental concern, such as prime or unique agricultural lands, wetlands, coastal zones, wilderness areas, floodplains, or wild and scenic river areas.
A2.2.8. Proposals with disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects on minority populations or low-income populations.
Actions that are categorically excluded in the absence of unique circumstances are:
A2.3.1. Routine procurement of goods and services.
A2.3.2. Routine Commissary and Exchange operations.
A2.3.3. Routine recreational and welfare activities.
A2.3.4. Normal personnel, fiscal or budgeting, and administrative activities and decisions including those involving military and civilian personnel (for example, recruiting, processing, paying, and records keeping).
A2.3.5. Preparing, revising, or adopting regulations, instructions, directives, or guidance documents that do not, themselves, result in an action being taken.
A2.3.6. Preparing, revising, or adopting regulations, instructions, directives, or guidance documents that implement (without substantial change) the regulations, instructions, directives, or guidance documents from higher headquarters or other Federal agencies with superior subject matter jurisdiction.
A2.3.7. Continuation or resumption of pre-existing actions, where there is no substantial change in existing conditions or existing land uses and where the actions were originally evaluated in accordance with applicable law and regulations, and surrounding circumstances have not changed.
A2.3.8. Performing interior and exterior construction within the 5-foot line of a building without changing the land use of the existing building.
A2.3.9. Repairing and replacing real property installed equipment.
A2.3.10. Routine facility maintenance and repair that does not involve disturbing significant quantities of hazardous materials such as asbestos and lead-based paint.
A2.3.11. Actions similar to other actions which have been determined to have an insignificant impact in a similar setting as established in an EIS or an EA resulting in a FONSI. The EPF must document application of this CATEX on AF Form 813, specifically identifying the previous Air Force approved environmental document which provides the basis for this determination.
A2.3.12. Installing, operating, modifying, and routinely repairing and replacing utility and communications systems, data processing cable, and similar electronic equipment that use existing rights of way, easements, distribution systems, or facilities.
A2.3.13. Installing or modifying airfield operational equipment (such as runway visual range equipment, visual glide path systems, and remote transmitter or receiver facilities) on airfield property and usually accessible only to maintenance personnel.
A2.3.14. Installing on previously developed land, equipment that does not substantially alter land use (i.e., land use of more than one acre). This includes outgrants to private lessees for similar construction. The EPF must document application of this CATEX on AF Form 813.
A2.3.15. Laying-away or mothballing a production facility or adopting a reduced maintenance level at a closing installation when (1) agreement on any required historic preservation effort has been reached with the state historic preservation officer and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, and (2) no degradation in the environmental restoration program will occur.
A2.3.16. Acquiring land and ingrants (50 acres or less) for activities otherwise subject to CATEX. The EPF must document application of this CATEX on AF Form 813.
A2.3.17. Transferring land, facilities, and personal property for which the General Services Administration (GSA) is the action agency. Such transfers are excluded only if there is no change in land use and GSA complies with its NEPA requirements.
A2.3.18. Transferring administrative control of real property within the Air Force or to another military department or to another Federal agency, not including GSA, including returning public domain lands to the Department of the Interior.
A2.3.19. Granting easements, leases, licenses, rights of entry, and permits to use Air Force controlled property for activities that, if conducted by the Air Force, could be categorically excluded in accordance with this Appendix. The EPF must document application of this CATEX on AF Form 813.
A2.3.20. Converting in-house services to contract services.
A2.3.21. Routine personnel decreases and increases, including work force conversion to either on-base contractor operation or to military operation from contractor operation (excluding base closure and realignment actions which are subject to congressional reporting under 10 U.S.C. 2687).
A2.3.22. Routine, temporary movement of personnel, including deployments of personnel on a TDY basis where existing facilities are used.
A2.3.23. Personnel reductions resulting from workload adjustments, reduced personnel funding levels, skill imbalances, or other similar causes.
A2.3.24. Study efforts that involve no commitment of resources other than personnel and funding allocations.
A2.3.25. The analysis and assessment of the natural environment without altering it (inspections, audits, surveys, investigations). This CATEX includes the granting of any permits necessary for such surveys, provided that the technology or procedure involved is well understood and there are no adverse environmental impacts anticipated from it. The EPF must document application of this CATEX on AF Form 813.
A2.3.26. Undertaking specific investigatory activities to support remedial action activities for purposes of cleanup of Environmental Restoration Account (ERA) - Air Force and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) corrective action sites. These activities include soil borings and sampling, installation, and operation of test or monitoring wells. This CATEX applies to studies that assist in determining final cleanup actions when they are conducted in accordance with legal agreements, administrative orders, or work plans previously agreed to by EPA or state regulators.
A2.3.27. Normal or routine basic and applied scientific research confined to the laboratory and in compliance with all applicable safety, environmental, and natural resource conservation laws.
A2.3.28. Routine transporting of hazardous materials and wastes in accordance with applicable Federal, state, interstate, and local laws.
A2.3.29. Emergency handling and transporting of small quantities of chemical surety material or suspected chemical surety material, whether or not classified as hazardous or toxic waste, from a discovery site to a permitted storage, treatment, or disposal facility.
A2.3.30. Immediate responses to the release or discharge of oil or hazardous materials in accordance with an approved Spill Prevention and Response Plan or Spill Contingency Plan or that are otherwise consistent with the requirements of the National Contingency Plan.
A2.3.31. Relocating a small number of aircraft to an installation with similar aircraft that does not result in a significant increase of total flying hours or the total number of aircraft operations, a change in flight tracks, or an increase in permanent personnel or logistics support requirements at the receiving installation. Repetitive use of this CATEX at an installation requires further analysis to determine there are no cumulative impacts. The EPF must document application of this CATEX on AF Form 813.
A2.3.32. Temporary (for less than 30 days) increases in air operations up to 50 percent of the typical installation aircraft operation rate or increases of 50 operations a day, whichever is greater. Repetitive use of this CATEX at an installation requires further analysis to determine there are no cumulative impacts.
A2.3.33. Flying activities that comply with the Federal aviation regulations, that are dispersed over a wide area and that do not frequently (more than once a day) pass near the same ground points. This CATEX does not cover regular activity on established routes or within special use airspace.
A2.3.34. Supersonic flying operations over land and above 30,000 feet MSL, or over water and above 10,000 feet MSL and more than 15 nautical miles from land.
A2.3.35. Formal requests to the FAA, or host-nation equivalent agency, to establish or modify special use airspace (for example, restricted areas, warning areas, military operating areas) and military training routes for subsonic operations that have a base altitude of 3,000 feet above ground level or higher. The EPF must document application of this CATEX on AF Form 813, which must accompany the request to the FAA.
A2.3.36. Adopting airfield approach, departure, and en route procedures that are less than 3,000 feet above ground level, and that also do not route air traffic over noise-sensitive areas, including residential neighborhoods or cultural, historical, and outdoor recreational areas. The EPF may categorically exclude such air traffic patterns at or greater than 3,000 feet above ground level regardless of underlying land use.
A2.3.37. Participating in “air shows” and fly-overs by Air Force aircraft at non-Air Force public events after obtaining FAA coordination and approval.
A2.3.38. Conducting Air Force “open houses” and similar events, including air shows, golf tournaments, home shows, and the like, where crowds gather at an Air Force installation, so long as crowd and traffic control, etc., have not in the past presented significant safety or environmental impacts.
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