Section 1. General Information
This section provides guidance and establishes policy and procedures to assist air traffic personnel in applying the requirements of FAA Order 1050.1, Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures, to proposed air traffic actions. The guidance in this chapter will assist air traffic personnel in determining the level of environmental study appropriate for a proposed action and in preparing the required environmental documentation.
The policies and procedures set forth in this chapter are intended to supplement the requirements of FAA Order 1050.1 and other Department of Transportation and FAA directives.
Further, this chapter outlines the approach for considering environmental issues and helps reduce the complexity of the review process, while ensuring that the environmental process associated with proposed air traffic actions is thoroughly and properly documented.
It is air traffic policy to use an interdisciplinary approach to ensure compliance with all environmental laws and regulations. This policy requires that all projects be reviewed as early as possible to determine if there is potential to impact the quality of the human environment as defined by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA). All units of Air Traffic Services and Mission Support Services must adhere to the requirements in FAA Order 1050.1.
Additionally, all units must comply with the guidelines and directions detailed in this chapter whenever reviewing regulatory and non-regulatory airspace actions.
- FAA Order 1050.1 establishes policies and procedures and assigns responsibility for ensuring FAA compliance with NEPA and its implementing regulations issued by the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) (40 CFR Parts 1500-1508), the Department of Transportation (DOT) Order 5610.1, FAA Order 1050.1, and other related statutes and directives.
- The complexity of environmental issues associated with some air traffic actions necessitates a systematic and uniform approach to the environmental review process. This process must assess all impacts, as well as provide sufficient data for preparing all required environmental impact analyses and supporting documentation.
- FAA Order 1050.1 provides the procedures and guidance for the FAA's environmental compliance and documentation responsibilities for all applicable FAA actions. It is the intent of this chapter to complement, and not repeat in its entirety, what is already contained in FAA Order 1050.1. However, there are issues addressed in FAA Order 1050.1 that require further detailed analyses for air traffic actions or additional impact review requirements to ensure they are properly analyzed and documented.
- The environmental review process for Instrument Flight Procedures (IFPs) and other air traffic actions requires completion of a pre-screening filter and, in certain cases, eliminates the need to complete the Air Traffic Initial Environmental Review (IER) form (see Appendix 5), the checklist in support of a Categorical Exclusion (CATEX) Determination, and the CATEX Memo. The re-engineered environmental review process is depicted in FIG 32-1-1.
- This chapter is designed to address these unique airspace actions (for example, special use airspace proposals) and provide additional detail necessary for air traffic to conduct a thorough and legally sufficient environmental review.
The Approving Official for Environmental Assessments (EAs), Findings of No Significant Impact (FONSIs) and Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) is the FAA official with signature authority for these documents. The FAA official with signature authority to approve a Record of Decision (ROD) is the decision-maker (see Order 1100.154A, Delegation of Authority).
- The air traffic facility manager has signature authority for memoranda related to administrative actions listed in FAA Order 1050.1, paragraph 2-1.2.d. and advisory actions discussed in FAA Order 1050.1, paragraph 2-1.2.b.
- The Service Center Directors have signature authority for CATEXs and, as delegated by the Vice President for Mission Support Services, for EA/FONSI and EIS/ROD documents which are exclusively within the scope of a single Service Center; and may delegate this authority to the Operations Support Group Manager within that Service Center. For Special Use Airspace (SUA) actions that require approval at the Headquarters level, the associated environmental document also requires approval and signature at the Headquarters level. See FAA Order 1050.1, paragraph 8-2 (Adoption of Other Agencies' National Environmental Policy Act Documents).
- The Vice President for Mission Support Services has signature authority for EAs, FONSIs, EISs, and RODs that are beyond the scope of authority of a single Service Center. This authority cannot be delegated.
- The Service Center Directors are responsible for air traffic environmental compliance for proposed actions within the jurisdiction of air traffic facilities within their respective service areas.
- The Mission Support, Rules and Regulations Group is responsible for coordinating environmental processes that cross service area boundaries.
- The Service Center Operations Support Group (OSG) Flight Procedures Team (FPT) must assist the Service Center Environmental Specialist in preparing CATEXs based on the results of the re-engineered environmental review process for IFPs unless it is routed to an OSG Environmental Specialist, at which time it is subject to the authority and responsibilities described above in this Order.
The order of delegated authority for air traffic environmental processes is as follows:
Mission Support, Policy, Rules and Regulations Group. The Rules and Regulations Group has been delegated authority to direct and implement environmental policy and procedures for air traffic actions. It must design and initiate training programs to educate air traffic personnel in Headquarters, in the Service Centers, Air Traffic Services Service Areas, and in air traffic field facilities on environmental laws, regulations, policies, and processes related to the implementation or revision of air traffic airspace and procedures.
The Rules and Regulations Group must direct and implement training for air traffic Environmental Specialists in the use of environmental screening and modeling tools (see Subparagraph 32-1-5.b, Service Center Directors). Additionally, the Rules and Regulations Group must serve as the air traffic focal point for the Headquarters Environmental Network chaired by the Office of Environment and Energy (AEE).
- Service Center Directors.
- The Service Center Directors have the final responsibility for ensuring that all appropriate environmental documentation within their area of jurisdiction is prepared accurately and completely.
- The Service Center Directors are responsible for designating at least one person to serve as the Environmental Specialist within his/her service center to address air traffic environmental issues. Funding for training associated with the duties of the Environmental Specialist must also be the responsibility of the Service Center Director (or his/her designee).
- The Service Center Director (or his/her designee) must appoint a representative to serve as the focal point for his/her service center on Regional Environmental Networks within his/her service center. The representative must coordinate any environmental compliance and documentation activities in his/her service center with the Rules and Regulations Group, as appropriate.
- The Service Center Directors must ensure that the Environmental Specialist attends the following training or equivalent, as soon as practical after his/her appointment to the position:
- FAA Academy Course #50019, Airspace and Procedures.
- Electronic Learning Management System (eLMS) Course #60000076, Mission Support Services' National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) & Air Traffic Applications.
- Electronic Learning Management System (eLMS) course NEPA for Airspace Actions.
- Environmental Review Process for IFPs and the Environmental Pre-Screening Filter.
- Environmental screening tools (pre-screening filter, noise screening guidance document, and/or TARGETS Environmental Plug-in, or other FAA-approved modeling tool).
- Environmental Modeling Tools (Aviation Environmental Design Tool (AEDT) or other FAA-approved modeling tool).
Recurrent training to supplement these minimums should be provided, as appropriate. Additionally, when members of the FPT or other specialists have duties that include the use of the Pre-Screening Filter, they must complete training on the Filter, NEPA for Airspace Actions.
The OSG manager must act as the FAA environmental point of contact when another Federal agency (for example, Department of Defense (DoD)) requests FAA participation as a Cooperating Agency on air traffic or airspace actions.
When a request for Cooperating Agency status is received from the DoD related to Special Use Airspace (SUA), a copy of Appendix 2 and Appendix 3, (flow charts for SUA environmental and aeronautical non-rulemaking and rulemaking actions, respectively) along with a copy of Appendix 4 (a summary of FAA procedures for processing DoD SUA actions), will be attached to the response. A copy of the response, which will also identify the Service Center Environmental Specialist, will be provided to the appropriate Service Center.
- Service Center Environmental Specialist.
Center, TRACON, and ATCT facility managers are responsible for participating in the development of all appropriate environmental documentation for proposed air traffic actions within their jurisdiction, and assisting the Service Center Environmental Specialist in ensuring that such documentation is prepared accurately and completely.
The facility managers must designate at least one facility staff specialist within their scope of operations to coordinate with the Service Center Environmental Specialist when addressing environmental issues and concerns. The facility specialist may be required to perform his/her environmental duties on a full-time or collateral basis. The decision about the need for a full-time Environmental Specialist at a field facility must be made by the facility manager.
- The Service Center Environmental Specialist is responsible for the preparation of CATEXs, Environmental Assessments (EA), Environmental Impact Statements (EIS), Adoption NEPA documents, Written Reevaluations, Findings of no Significant Impact (FONSI), Records of Decision (ROD), and supporting documentation for air traffic actions unless it is a CATEX prepared based on the results of the IFP Environmental Pre-Screening Filter that does not require additional environmental review. In that case, the OSG FPT is responsible. (See paragraph 32-1-5e.) When the results of the Pre-Screening Filter indicate that additional environmental review is needed, the Service Center Environmental Specialist is responsible for additional review and preparation of the appropriate NEPA documentation. The Service Center Environmental Specialist is also responsible for posting these documents to the appropriate KSN site.
- The Service Center Environmental Specialist must provide guidance in the use of the IFP Environmental Pre-Screening Filter.
- The Service Center Environmental Specialist must provide guidance in and oversee the preparation of the Air Traffic Initial Environmental Reviews (IERs) (see Appendix 5).
- The Service Center Environmental Specialist is responsible for reviewing environmental studies and forwarding written concurrence to the air traffic facilities that originate the environmental documentation.
- The Service Center Environmental Specialist must review environmental compliance documentation initiated by Technical Operations in the Service Centers.
- The Service Center Environmental Specialist must coordinate with Airport District Offices or the Airports Division, within his/her jurisdiction, on the preparation of environmental compliance documents and 14 CFR, Part 150, Airport Noise Planning, Land Use Compatibility Guidelines (Part 150) studies undertaken by these offices. Review and comments by the Service Center Environmental Specialist must be directed to those matters affecting the operation of the air traffic program. Comments must be forwarded to the appropriate organization in the Office of Airports. The Service Center Environmental Specialist may also be requested to attend public meetings or hearings to provide support to the facility, regional office, service center, or other lines of business convening the meetings or hearings.
- The Service Center Environmental Specialist must review other agencies' environmental documentation when applicable (for example, when the FAA is considering adopting another agency's environmental documentation).
- In the case of SUA actions, the Service Center Environmental Specialist must review environmental studies in accordance with paragraph 32-2-3.
- The Service Center Environmental Specialists must coordinate with each other and with their counterparts in other agencies, as appropriate. Service Center Environmental Specialists are encouraged to engage in early coordination with AGC when working on a project that is complex, involves novel issues, or is expected to elicit public opposition.
- OSG Flight Procedures and Airspace Specialist (FPT/AT)
- The responsibility to coordinate and consult with the Service Centers' EPSs for environmental analysis and documentation rests with the following flight procedures and airspace specialists as applicable and defined in FAA Order 8260.19 and JO 7100.41.
- The OSG Flight Procedures Team is responsible for IFP establishment, change and cancellation requests to IFPs.
- The OSG Airspace Teams are responsible for the establishment, change or cancellation requests to airway routes (as applicable) and assisting with IERs.
- AJV-A is responsible for IFP establishment or change requests to AFS assigned special procedures and AJV-A initiated maintenance actions.
- AFS-400 is responsible for IFP Non-FAA Service Provider procedures (also referred to as “third-party developed flight procedures”).
- The respective flight procedure or airspace specialist must provide the Environmental Specialist information and data concerning the flight procedure being analyzed by the EPS for potential environmental impacts, and that will support the EPS’ preparation of a CATEX and other related environmental documentation as necessary. When the results of the Pre-Screening Filter indicate that additional environmental review is needed, the Service Center Environmental Specialist is responsible for completing that additional review and preparing the appropriate environmental compliance documentation. If additional information about the flight procedure is necessary to complete a sufficient environmental analysis, the EPS and flight procedure designer(s) are responsible to determine what additional information is necessary to complete the environmental document.
- Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC), Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON), and Airport Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) facility managers.
- ARTCC, TRACON, and ATCT facility managers are responsible for coordinating and consulting with the Service Center Environment Specialist to ensure that all appropriate environmental documentation for proposed air traffic actions within their jurisdiction is prepared accurately and completely. For procedures reviewed through the IFP Environmental Pre-Screening Filter, these managers must ensure that the results of the Filter are reviewed by appropriate FAA personnel, and with the Service Center Environmental Specialist, as appropriate and necessary.
- For actions that require additional environmental review, these managers are responsible for consulting with the Service Center Environmental Specialist who recommends the appropriate level of environmental review.
- For actions other than Advisory or Emergency Actions (as defined in FAA Order 1050.1), and actions that require additional environmental review beyond the IFP Environmental Pre-Screening Filter, the facility manager must ensure that, at a minimum, an Air Traffic Initial Environmental Review (IER) (see Appendix 5) is prepared and submitted, with supporting information, to the Service Center Environmental Specialist along with a description of the proposed action (see Paragraph 33-2-1a, Determination of Appropriate Environmental Documentation). Under some limited circumstances, the Service Center Environmental Specialist may waive the need for completion of the IER by substituting an appropriate level of documentation, such as a memorandum to the file.
- For IFP actions reviewed through the IFP Environmental Pre-Screening Filter, the OSG FPT must assist the Service Center Environmental Specialist in determining the appropriate level of environmental documentation after reviewing the results from the Filter. The Service Center Environmental Specialist must then prepare the Categorical Exclusion Declaration (if appropriate) for signature by the Service Center Director (or his/her designee). If preparation of an EA or EIS requires the use of contractor funds and staff, the field facility must forward that recommendation to the Service Center Director for approval and action.
- The ATCT facility manager should be involved early in the design phase of a proposed IFP action, and any other applicable air traffic action, to ensure that a full understanding of tower/airport operations is included in the alternatives development for the description of the proposed action. The facility manager is responsible for ensuring that information provided to the ARTCC and/or TRACON is complete and accurate.
- Facility managers are also responsible for designating at least one facility staff specialist within their scope of operations to address environmental issues, and for coordinating with the Service Center Environmental Specialist.
- The facility specialist may be required to perform his/her environmental duties on a full-time or collateral basis. The decision about the need for a full-time Environmental Specialist at a field facility must be made by the facility manager.
- Facility managers must ensure that the specialist who performs environmental duties on a full-time basis attends the training specified in paragraph 32-1-5b. above, as soon as practical.
- The environmental screening and modeling tools training is also recommended, but is not mandatory. Additionally, where other facilities have, or are authorized to have, an operations specialist (for example, Plans and Programs Specialist or Procedure Specialist) to conduct environmental activities as a collateral duty, it is recommended that these specialists attend the above-referenced training.
- Facility managers must ensure that their facility is represented at meetings of the Office of Airports and other lines of business, such as environmental compliance and Part 150 process meetings, where decisions rendered could affect air traffic operations in their area of responsibility.
- Facility managers are responsible for working with operating divisions, airport sponsors, and contract support personnel in the environmental review processes. Air traffic attendance at these meetings does not necessarily constitute air traffic endorsement or sanction of the proposed action.
- Environmental compliance and Part 150 studies must receive thorough review at the facility level. Review and comments on Office of Airports documents must be directed to those matters that affect the operation of the air traffic program. Facility comments must be forwarded to the Service Center Environmental Specialist, not more than 15 days after receipt of the document or study. (Requests for longer periods of review must be coordinated with the Service Center Environmental Specialist on an as needed basis.) Prior to a facility submitting comments directly to other operating divisions, or airport sponsors, the facility point of contact must discuss relevant and applicable airspace and/or air traffic issues with the Service Center Environmental Specialist.
- Facility managers (or their designees) must not make or recommend a proposed flight track, route, or air traffic flow as a preferred action for the sole purpose of noise abatement. They may, however, indicate if the proposed action is operationally feasible or safe (within the context of aircraft separation standards). The airport sponsor (operator) is solely responsible for the recommendation of noise abatement procedures.