Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Questionnaire To Support Review of Federal Assistance Applications

Summary:

The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

Table of Contents

Dates:

Written comments must be submitted on or before April 23, 2012.

Addresses:

Direct all written comments to Jennifer Jessup, Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer, Department of Commerce, Room 6616, 14th and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230 (or via the Internet at JJessup@doc.gov).

For further information contact:

Requests for additional information or copies of the information collection instrument and instructions should be directed to Cristi Reid, (301) 713-1622 x206 or Cristi.Reid@noaa.gov.

Supplementary information:

I. Abstract

This request is for extension of a currently approved information collection.

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321 through 4327) and the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) implementing regulations (40 CFR parts 1500 through 1508) require that an environmental analysis be completed for all major Federal actions significantly affecting the environment. NEPA applies only to the actions of Federal agencies. While those Federal actions may include a Federal agency's decision to fund non-Federal projects under grants and cooperative agreements, NEPA requires agencies to assess the environmental impacts of actions proposed to be taken by these recipients only when the Federal agency has sufficient discretion or control over the recipient's activities to deem those actions as Federal actions. To determine whether the activities of the recipient of a Federal financial assistance award (i.e., grant or cooperative agreement) involve sufficient Federal discretion or control, and to undertake the appropriate environmental analysis when NEPA is required, NOAA must assess information which can only be provided by the Federal financial assistance applicant. Thus, NOAA has developed an environmental information questionnaire to provide grantees and Federal grant managers with a simple tool to ensure that project and environmental information is obtained. The questionnaire applies only to those programs where actions are considered major Federal actions or to those where NOAA must determine if the action is a major Federal action. The questionnaire includes a list of questions that encompasses a broad range of subject areas. The applicants are not required to answer every question in the questionnaire. Each program draws from the comprehensive list of questions to create a relevant subset of questions for applicants to answer. The information provided in answers to the questionnaire is used by NOAA staff to determine compliance requirements for NEPA and conduct subsequent NEPA analysis as needed. The information provided in the questionnaire may also be used for other regulatory review requirements associated with the proposed project, such as issuance of permits.

II. Method of Collection

Methods of submittal include paper forms via the mail, Internet, and facsimile transmission.

III. Data

OMB Control Number:0648-0538.

Form Number: None.

Type of Review: Regular submission (extension of a currently approved collection).

Affected Public: Business or other for profit organizations; individuals or households; not-for-profit institutions; state, local, or tribal government; and Federal government.

Estimated Number of Respondents:1,000.

Estimated Time per Response:3 hours.

Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours:3,000.

Estimated Total Annual Cost to Public:$1,000 in reporting/recordkeeping costs.

IV. Request for Comments

Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden (including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for OMB approval of this information collection; they also will become a matter of public record.

Dated: February 15, 2012. Gwellnar Banks,

Management Analyst, Office of the Chief Information Officer.

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