7 CFR § 1970.54 - CEs involving small-scale development with an environmental report.

§ 1970.54 CEs involving small-scale development with an environmental report.

The CEs in this section are for proposals for financial assistance that require an applicant to submit an ER with their application to facilitate Agency determination of extraordinary circumstances. At a minimum, the ER will include a complete description of all components of the applicant's proposal and any connected actions, including its specific location on detailed site plans as well as location maps equivalent to a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) quadrangle map; and information from authoritative sources acceptable to the Agency confirming the presence or absence of sensitive environmental resources in the area that could be affected by the applicant's proposal. The ER submitted must be accurate, complete, and capable of verification. The Agency may request additional information as needed to make an environmental determination. Failure to submit the required environmental report will postpone further consideration of the applicant's proposal until the ER is submitted, or the Agency may deny the request for financial assistance. The Agency will review the ER and determine if extraordinary circumstances exist. The Agency's review may determine that classification as an EA or an EIS is more appropriate than a CE classification.

(a) Small-scale site-specific development. The following CEs apply to proposals where site development activities (including construction, expansion, repair, rehabilitation, or other improvements) for rural development purposes would impact not more than 10 acres of real property and would not cause a substantial increase in traffic. These CEs are identified in paragraphs (a)(1) through (a)(9) of this section. This paragraph does not apply to new industrial proposals (such as ethanol and biodiesel production facilities) or those classes of action listed in §§ 1970.53, 1970.101, or 1970.151.

(1) Multi-family housing and Rural Housing Site Loans.

(2) Business development.

(3) Community facilities such as municipal buildings, libraries, security services, fire protection, schools, and health and recreation facilities.

(4) Infrastructure to support utility systems such as water or wastewater facilities; headquarters, maintenance, equipment storage, or microwave facilities; and energy management systems. This does not include proposals that either create a new or relocate an existing discharge to or a withdrawal from surface or ground waters, or cause substantial increase in a withdrawal or discharge at an existing site.

(5) Installation of new, commercial-scale water supply wells and associated pipelines or water storage facilities that are required by a regulatory authority or standard engineering practice as a backup to existing production well(s) or as reserve for fire protection.

(6) Construction of telecommunications towers and associated facilities, if the towers and associated facilities are 450 feet or less in height and would not be in or visible from an area of documented scenic value.

(7) Repair, rehabilitation, or restoration of water control, flood control, or water impoundment facilities, such as dams, dikes, levees, detention reservoirs, and drainage ditches, with minimal change in use, size, capacity, purpose, operation, location, or design from the original facility.

(8) Installation or enlargement of irrigation facilities on an applicant's land, including storage reservoirs, diversion dams, wells, pumping plants, canals, pipelines, and sprinklers designed to irrigate less than 80 acres.

(9) Replacement or restoration of irrigation facilities, including storage reservoirs, diversion dams, wells, pumping plants, canals, pipelines, and sprinklers, with no or minimal change in use, size, capacity, or location from the original facility(s).

(10) Vegetative biomass harvesting operations of no more than 15 acres, provided any amount of land involved in harvesting is to be conducted managed on a sustainable basis and according to a Federal, state, or other governmental unit approved management plan.

(b) Small-scale corridor development. The following CEs apply to financial assistance for:

(1) Construction or repair of roads, streets, and sidewalks, including related structures such as curbs, gutters, storm drains, and bridges, in an existing right-of-way with minimal change in use, size, capacity, purpose, or location from the original infrastructure;

(2) Improvement and expansion of existing water, waste water, and gas utility systems:

(i) Within one mile of currently served areas irrespective of the percent of increase in new capacity, or

(ii) Increasing capacity not more than 30 percent of the existing user population;

(3) Replacement of utility lines where road reconstruction undertaken by non-Agency applicants requires the relocation of lines either within or immediately adjacent to the new road easement or right-of-way; and

(4) Installation of new linear telecommunications facilities and related equipment and infrastructure.

(c) Small-scale energy proposals. The following CEs apply to financial assistance for:

(1) Construction of electric power substations (including switching stations and support facilities) or modification of existing substations, switchyards, and support facilities;

(2) Construction of electric power lines and associated facilities designed for or capable of operation at a nominal voltage of either:

(i) Less than 69 kilovolts (kV);

(ii) Less than 230 kV if no more than 25 miles of line are involved; or

(iii) 230 kV or greater involving no more than three miles of line, but not for the integration of major new generation resources into a bulk transmission system;

(3) Reconstruction (upgrading or rebuilding) or minor relocation of existing electric transmission lines (230 kV or less) 25 miles in length or less to enhance environmental and land use values or to improve reliability or access. Such actions include relocations to avoid right-of-way encroachments, resolve conflict with property development, accommodate road/highway construction, allow for the construction of facilities such as canals and pipelines, or reduce existing impacts to environmentally sensitive areas;

(4) Repowering or uprating modifications or expansion of an existing unit(s) up to a rating of 50 average MW at electric generating facilities in order to maintain or improve the efficiency, capacity, or energy output of the facility. Any air emissions from such activities must be within the limits of an existing air permit;

(5) Installation of new generating units or replacement of existing generating units at an existing hydroelectric facility or dam which results in no change in the normal maximum surface area or normal maximum surface elevation of the existing impoundment. All supporting facilities and new related electric transmission lines 10 miles in length or less are included;

(6) Installation of a heat recovery steam generator and steam turbine with a rating of 200 average MW or less on an existing electric generation site for the purpose of combined cycle operations. All supporting facilities and new related electric transmission lines 10 miles in length or less are included;

(7) Construction of small electric generating facilities (except geothermal and solar electric projects), including those fueled with wind or biomass, with a rating of 10 average MW or less. All supporting facilities and new related electric transmission lines 10 miles in length or less are included;

(8) Siting, construction, and operation of small biomass projects (except small electric generating facilities projects fueled with biomass) producing not more than 3 million gallons of liquid fuel or 300,000 million british thermal units annually, developed on up 10 acres of land;

(9) Geothermal electric power projects or geothermal heating or cooling projects developed on up to 10 acres of land and including installation of one geothermal well for the production of geothermal fluids for direct use application (such as space or water heating/cooling) or for power generation. All supporting facilities and new related electric transmission lines 10 miles in length or less are included;

(10) Solar electric projects or solar thermal projects developed on up to 10 acres of land including all supporting facilities and new related electric transmission lines 10 miles in length or less;

(11) Distributed resources of any capacity located at or adjacent to an existing landfill site or wastewater treatment facility that is powered by refuse-derived fuel. All supporting facilities and new related electric transmission lines 10 miles in length or less are included;

(12) Small conduit hydroelectric facilities having a total installed capacity of not more than 5 average MW using an existing conduit such as an irrigation ditch or a pipe into which a turbine would be placed for the purpose of electric generation. All supporting facilities and new related electric transmission lines 10 miles in length or less are included; and

(13) Modifications or enhancements to existing facilities or structures that would not substantially change the footprint or function of the facility or structure and that are undertaken for the purpose of improving energy efficiency (including heat rate efficiency), promoting pollution prevention or control, safety, reliability, or security. This includes, but is not limited to, retrofitting existing facilities to produce biofuels and replacing fossil fuels used to produce heat or power in biorefineries with renewable biomass. This also includes installation of fuel blender pumps and associated changes within an existing fuel facility.

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