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Notice of Intent To Prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Statement in Cooperation With the North Carolina Department of Transportation for Improvements to the US 70 Corridor Between the Town of LaGrange, Lenoir County and the Town of Dover, Jones County, NC, the Proposed Project Would Ultimately Serve as a Bypass to the Town of Kinston, NC

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American Government

Notice of Intent To Prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Statement in Cooperation With the North Carolina Department of Transportation for Improvements to the US 70 Corridor Between the Town of LaGrange, Lenoir County and the Town of Dover, Jones County, NC, the Proposed Project Would Ultimately Serve as a Bypass to the Town of Kinston, NC

Henry M. Wicker, Jr.
Department of Defense
September 11, 2014


[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 176 (Thursday, September 11, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 54270-54271]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-21664]


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DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Department of the Army; Corps of Engineers


Notice of Intent To Prepare a Draft Environmental Impact 
Statement in Cooperation With the North Carolina Department of 
Transportation for Improvements to the US 70 Corridor Between the Town 
of LaGrange, Lenoir County and the Town of Dover, Jones County, NC, the 
Proposed Project Would Ultimately Serve as a Bypass to the Town of 
Kinston, NC

AGENCY: Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DoD.

ACTION: Notice of Intent.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE), Wilmington District, 
Wilmington Regulatory Division is issuing this notice to advise the 
public that a State of North Carolina funded Draft Environmental Impact 
Statement (DEIS) will be prepared for improvements to the 
transportation system starting near the intersection of US 70 and NC 
903 near the Town of LaGrange, Lenoir County, heading east near the 
intersection of US 70 and Old US 70 (NCSR-1005) near the Town of Dover, 
Jones County, NC.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Questions about the proposed action 
and DEIS can be directed to Mr. Tom Steffens, Regulatory Project 
Manager, Washington Regulatory Field Office, 2407 West 5th Street, 
Washington, NC 27889; telephone: (910) 251-4615 or Mr. Bob Deaton, 
Project Development Engineer, North Carolina Department of 
Transportation, 1548 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1548, 
Telephone: (919) 707-6017.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The COE in cooperation with the North 
Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) will prepare an 
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on a proposal to make 
transportation improvements to the US 70 corridor between the Town of 
LaGrange, Lenoir County and the Town of Dover, Jones County, NC. The 
North Carolina Department of Transportation Improvement Program (TIP R-
2553 US 70 Kinston Bypass) project will serve as a Geographic 
Information System (GIS) pilot project to test and evaluate 
streamlining the project development process by utilizing GIS data for 
alternative development, alternative analysis, and selection of the 
Least Environmentally Damaging Practicable Alternative (LEDPA).
    The purpose of the US 70 Kinston Bypass project is to improve 
regional mobility, connectivity and capacity deficiencies on US 70 
between LaGrange and Dover. The project study area is roughly bounded 
on the west by NC-903 and US 70 near LaGrange, on the north by the 
Lenoir/Greene County line, to the east near Dover and to the south at 
the Duplin/Lenoir County line.
    This project is being reviewed through the Merger 01 process 
designed to streamline the project development and permitting 
processes, agreed to by the COE, North Carolina Department of 
Environment and Natural Resources (Division of Water Resources, 
Division of Coastal Management), Federal Highway Administration (for 
this project not applicable), North Carolina Department of 
Transportation and supported by other stakeholder agencies and local 
units of government. The other partnering agencies include: U.S. 
Environmental Protection Agency; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; N.C. 
Wildlife Resources Commission; N.C. Department of Cultural Resources; 
and the Eastern Carolina Rural Planning Organization. The Merger 
process provides a forum for appropriate agency representatives to 
discuss and reach consensus on ways to facilitate meeting the 
regulatory requirements of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act during 
the NEPA/SEPA decision-making phase of transportation projects.
    In June 2010 the project was presented to Federal and State 
Resource and Regulatory Agencies to gain concurrence on the purpose and 
need for the project. The aforementioned purpose and need of the 
project was agreed upon by participating agencies in October of 2010. 
In November 2011, the project was again presented to participating 
agencies regarding the preliminary corridor screening process in an 
attempt to decide which alternatives would be carried forward for 
detailed analysis. Multiple meetings throughout 2012 and 2013 revised 
the initial number of alternatives carried

[[Page 54271]]

forward for detailed analysis down to a reasonable range. In January of 
2014, the final alternatives to carry forward were decided. Since 2011, 
the Corps has been working closely with NCDOT and its representatives 
to identify jurisdictional resources within the alternatives carried 
forward. This effort should be complete sometime in summer of 2014.
    Three citizen informational workshops were held in Kinston for the 
US 70 Kinston Bypass project between 2010 and 2012. The February 23 and 
25, 2010 meeting presented the overall project, the project team and 
project decision process. A total of 291 participants signed in, with 
67 written comments received via general question survey. The September 
20 and 21, 2011 meeting presented the potential route options to the 
public. A total of 172 participants signed in and 48 comments were 
received via general question survey. The May 15 and 17, 2012 meeting 
presented the alternatives selected for detailed study to the public. A 
total of 185 participants signed in and 54 comments were received via 
general question survey. There was no clear support or opposition to 
the project noted as a result of the surveys.
    Environmental consequences: CEQ regulations (40 CFR 1502.16) state 
the EIS will include the environmental impacts of the alternatives 
including the proposed action, any adverse environmental effects which 
cannot be avoided should the proposal be implemented, the relationship 
between short-term uses of man's environment and the maintenance and 
enhancement of long-term productivity, and any irreversible or 
irretrievable commitments of resources which would be involved in the 
proposal should it be implemented. The EIS will assess a reasonable 
number of alternatives and identify and disclose the direct impacts of 
the proposed project on the following: Topography, geology, soils, 
climate, biotic communities, wetlands, fish and wildlife resources, 
endangered and threatened species, hydrology, water resources and water 
quality, floodplains, hazardous materials, air quality, noise, 
aesthetics, recreational resources, historical and cultural resources, 
socioeconomics, land use, public health and safety, energy requirements 
and conservation, natural or non-renewable resources, drinking waters, 
and environmental justice.
    Secondary and cumulative environmental impacts: Cumulative impacts 
result from the incremental impact of the proposed action when added to 
past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future actions, regardless of 
what agency or person undertakes the action. Geographic Information 
System (GIS) data and mapping will be used to evaluate and quantify 
secondary and cumulative impacts of the proposed Project with 
particular emphasis given to wetlands and surface/groundwater 
resources.
    Mitigation: CEQ regulations (40 CFR 1502.14, 1502.16, and 1508.20) 
require the EIS to include appropriate mitigation measures. The USACE 
has adopted, through the CEQ, a mitigation policy which embraces the 
concepts of ``no net loss of wetlands'' and project sequencing. The 
purpose of this policy is to restore and maintain the chemical, 
biological, and physical integrity of ``Waters of the United States,'' 
specifically wetlands. Mitigation of wetland impacts has been defined 
by the CEQ to include: avoidance of impacts (to wetlands), minimizing 
impacts, rectifying impacts, reducing impacts over time, and 
compensating for impacts (40 CFR 1508.20). Each of these aspects 
(avoidance, minimization, and compensatory mitigation) must be 
considered in sequential order. As part of the EIS, the applicant will 
develop a compensatory mitigation plan detailing the methodology and 
approach to compensate for unavoidable impacts to waters of the U.S. 
including streams and wetlands.
    NEPA/SEPA Preparation and Permitting: Because the proposed project 
requires approvals from federal and state agencies under both the 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the State Environmental 
Policy Act (SEPA), a joint Federal and State Environmental Impact 
Statement (EIS) will be prepared. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will 
serve as the lead agency for the process. The EIS will serve as the 
NEPA document for the Corps of Engineers (404 permit) and as the SEPA 
document for the State of North Carolina (401 permit).
    Based on the size, complexity, and potential impacts of the 
proposed project, the Applicant has been advised by the U.S. Army Corps 
of Engineers to identify and disclose the environmental impacts of the 
proposed project in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Within the 
EIS, the Applicant will conduct a thorough environmental review, 
including an evaluation of a reasonable number of alternatives. After 
distribution and review of the Draft EIS and Final EIS, the Applicant 
understands that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in coordination with 
the North Carolina Department of Transportation will issue a Record of 
Decision (ROD) for the project. The ROD will document the completion of 
the EIS process and will serve as a basis for permitting decisions by 
federal and state agencies.
    To ensure that the full range of issues related to this proposed 
action are addressed and all significant issues identified, comments 
and suggestions are invited from all interested parties. Comments or 
questions concerning this proposed action and the EIS should be 
directed to the US Army Corps of Engineers at the address provided 
above. The Wilmington District will periodically issue Public Notices 
soliciting public and agency comment on the proposed action and 
alternatives to the proposed action as they are developed.

Henry M. Wicker, Jr.,
Deputy Chief, Regulatory Division.
[FR Doc. 2014-21664 Filed 9-10-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3720-58-P



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