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GLIN==> Coast Guard National distress system modernization

Given the interest in Michigan in recreational navigation and of
Great Lake navigation, I thought this might be of interest to the list...

[Federal Register: September 30, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 189)]
[Page 61372-61373]
 >From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]


Coast Guard

Proposed Modernization of the Coast Guard National Distress and
Response System

AGENCY: Coast Guard, DOT.
ACTION: Notice of aaailability of supplemental program environmental


SUMMARY: The U.S. Coast Guard announces the availability of the
Supplemental Program Environmental Assessment for the National Distress
and Response System Modernization Project (NDRSMP). The Supplemental
PEA provides an update to and supplements environmental information to
the Programmatic Environmental Assessment that was issued in July 1998.
The Coast Guard is requesting comments on the alternatives and the
potential environmental impacts as a result of NDRSMP.

DATES: Comments and related material must reach the Docket Management
Facility on or before October 28, 2002.

ADDRESSES: To make sure your comments and related material are not
entered more than once in the docket, please submit them by only one of
the following means:
     (1) By mail to the Docket Management Facility (USCG-1998-3584),
U.S. Department of Transportation, Room PL-401, 400 Seventh Street,
SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001.
     (2) By delivery to Room PL-401 on the Plaza level of the Nassif
Building, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington DC, between 9 a.m. and 5
p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone
number is 202-366-9329.
     (3) By fax to the Docket Management Facility at 202-493-2251.
     (4) Electronically through the Internet for the Docket Management
System at <A HREF="http://dms.dot.gov";>http://dms.dot.gov</A>.
     In choosing among these means, please give due regard to recent
difficulties and delays associated with delivery of mail through the
U.S. Postal Service to Federal facilities.
     The Docket Management Facility maintains the public docket for this
notice. Comments and material received from the public, as well as the
Supplemental Program Environmental Assessment, will become part of this
docket and will be available for inspection or copying at Room PL-401
on the Plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street, SW.,
Washington DC, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday,
except Federal holidays. You may also find this docket, including the
SPEA, on the Internet at http://www.dms.dot.gov</A>.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you have questions on this notice,
the proposed project, or the associated Environmental Assessment,
contact Ms. Donna M. Meyer, Environmental Program Manager, National
Distress and Response System Modernization Project, U.S. Coast Guard
Headquarters, 202-267-1496. For questions on viewing or submitting
material to the docket, contact Ms. Dorothy Beard, Chief, Dockets, DOT,
at 202-366-9329.


Request for Comments

     Comments and related material on the Supplemental Program
Environmental Assessment (SPEA) are encouraged. Please provide the name
and address of

[[Page 61373]]

the comment originator, identify the docket number for this notice
(USCG-1998-3584), and provide background support for each comment. You
may submit your comments and material by mail, hand delivery, fax, or
electronic means to the Docket Management Facility at the address under
ADDRESSES; but please submit your comments and material by only one
means. When submitting by mail or hand delivery, submit your comments
or material in an unbound format, no larger than 8\1/2\ by 11 inches,
suitable for copying and electronic filing. If you submit them by mail
and would like to know if the comments and/or material were received by
the facility, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard or
envelope. The Coast Guard will consider all comments and material
received during the comment period.

Proposed Action

     The U.S. Coast Guard intends to modernize its National Distress and
Response System (NDRS). The NDRS forms the backbone of the Coast
Guard's Short Range Communication System (SRCS) that supports a wide
range of Coast Guard operations, including Activity, Group, Marine
Safety Office (MSO), Vessel Traffic Service (VTS), Air Station, Cutter
and Station operations. As part of the SRCS, the NDRS incorporates the
use of VHF-FM radios to provide two-way voice communications coverage
for the majority of Coast Guard missions in coastal areas and navigable
waterways where commercial and recreational traffic exists. The NDRS
consists of approximately 300 remotely-controlled VHF transceivers and
antenna sites, and was originally intended for monitoring the
international VHF-FM maritime distress frequency (Channel 16), and as
the primary command and control network to coordinate Coast Guard
search and rescue (SAR) response activities. The secondary function was
to provide command, control, and communications for the Coast Guard
missions of National Security, Maritime Safety, Law Enforcement, and
Marine Environmental Protection.
     In July 1998, the Coast Guard published a Programmatic
Environmental Assessment (PEA) that considered general concepts for a
new system to modernize the current obsolete and nonstandard National
Distress System (NDS). The alternatives considered by the Coast Guard
     Alternative A--Status Quo.
     Alternative B--Upgrade status quo by systematically upgrading the
existing network with modern analog transceivers. This alternative
replaces old equipment with new equipment and adds additional radio
capability. It is expected this alternative would require additional
antenna sites.
     Alternative C--Dual Mode VHF and/or UHF Network replaces existing
analog network with dual mode (digital and analog) transceivers. It is
expected this alternative would require additional antenna sites.
     Alternative D--Multi-mode: Satellite, Cellular, VHF and/or UHF
Network. This alternative replaces the existing network with multi-mode
equipment that uses satellite, cellular, and VHF/UHF communications. It
is expected that this alternative would require additional antenna
     Alternatives B, C, and D would all require approximately the same
number of additional antenna sites. Since 1998, new circumstances and
relevant information regarding the deployment of the system to an
existing antenna site, or leasing an antenna site, or constructing a
new antenna site as well as the Coast Guard's preference for
Alternative C called for preparation of a Supplemental Program
Environmental Assessment to consider any environmental impacts that
were previously not taken into account.

Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Assessment

     The Coast Guard has prepared a Supplemental Program Environmental
Assessment (SPEA). The SPEA identifies and examines those reasonable
alternatives to effectively deploy the modernized NDRS. The SPEA
analyzed the no action alternative and three action alternatives that
could fulfill the need and meet system requirements. The successful
deployment of the NDRS will utilize a combination of only the action
alternatives by using an existing antenna, leasing antenna space from a
service provider, or constructing a new antenna site. The SPEA is a
program document meant to provide a broad environmental review of a
Federal agency's (Coast Guard) national program. In this case, the SPEA
has provided a broad, general view of the environmental impacts that
can be anticipated by modernizing and deploying the NDRS nationwide.
The SPEA cannot foresee all possible site specific and cumulative
environmental impacts as a result of implementing any of the action
alternatives. However, once specific and individual sites have been
identified for deployment of the NDRS, those sites will undergo a more
narrow environmental review (tiering). This narrower environmental
review of individual and specific sites will result in the issuance of
either (1) Categorical Exclusion, (2) Finding of No Significant Impact
(FONSI), or (3) Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
     The purpose of this Notice of Availability is to inform the public,
local, State, and Federal government agencies that a Supplemental PEA
is available for review and comment. You are encouraged to submit your
comments, information, or other relevant observations concerning the
merits of the alternatives and potential environmental impacts relating
to the deployment and installation of the National Distress and
Response System Modernization Project. Coordination with appropriate
Federal, State and local agencies, and private organizations and
citizens who have expressed interest in this proposal has been
undertaken and will continue. All comments will be considered in either
the preparation of a FONSI or the development of an EIS (if necessary).

     Dated: September 13, 2002.
C.D. Wurster,
RADM, U.S. Coast Guard, Assistant Commandant for Acquisitions.
[FR Doc. 02-24729 Filed 9-27-02; 8:45 am]

Alex J. Sagady & Associates  http://my.voyager.net/ajs/sagady.pdf

Environmental Enforcement, Technical Review, Public Policy and
Communications on Air, Water and Waste/Community Environmental Protection

PO Box 39,  East Lansing, MI  48826-0039
(517) 332-6971; (517) 332-8987 (fax); ajs@sagady.com

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