Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
The need for adequate housing is critical on most Indian reservations. Several hundred actions associated with new home construction are processed each year and this is expected to continue at the same level. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) has typically conducted NEPA reviews of actions associated with single-family homes by preparing environmental assessments which resulted in Findings of No Significant Impact. The addition of a categorical exclusion to cover the actions associated with new home construction will allow for a more efficient NEPA review.
Because this categorical exclusion has important implications for actions occurring daily on Indian lands, the BIA initiated consultation and requested comments from all federally recognized tribes. This consultation period began on March 7, 2012, and concluded on May 14, 2012. Public comments were also solicited through a notice placed in the
The BIA received responses from 14 tribes and one tribal organization. No public responses were received. The responses were in the form of letters and email messages. All responses supported the proposed categorical exclusion; a few suggested minor changes in the language of the categorical exclusion.
The Department of the Interior and the BIA find that the action defined in the categorical exclusion presented at the end of this notice does not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. This finding is based on the analysis of similar categorical exclusions used by other Federal departments and agencies; the professional judgment of BIA environmental personnel who had conducted environmental reviews of similar actions, which resulted in Findings of No Significant Impact; and the post-construction monitoring of homesites by environmental personnel that verified no unforeseen effects had occurred.
The Department of the Interior will add the following categorical exclusion to the Departmental Manual at 516 DM 10.5:
Approvals of leases, easements or funds for single family homesites and associated improvements, including, but not limited to, construction of homes, outbuildings, access roads, and utility lines, which encompass five acres or less of contiguous lands, provided that such sites and associated