U.S Department of the Interior, National Park Service
GMP Dynamic Sourcebook, version 2.1, March 2008, Appendix A: WASO Consultation and Coordination Procedures GMP Home Map Image
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A.2 Guidance for Federal Register Notices
An example of a Federal Register notice is included in Appendix C.2, and an example of a briefing statement is included in
Appendix L.6.)

NOTE: Standard language is required in the NPS Federal Register notice regarding the release of personal identifying information for those who provide comments. This text is included in Appendix D.8.

A.2.a Summary of Procedures for NPS Federal Register Notices

  1. Originating office sends hard copies of notice, cover memo, disk, etc. to Administrative Services Program (WASO APC),
    Jerry Buckbinder, 1201 Eye Street, Washington D.C. 20005.
  2. Concurrently, originating office sends the notice and a detailed briefing statement by email or fax to the DOI-NPS authorized liaison, currently Jennifer Lee (fax: 202-565-1022). A cover sheet, with the name of the document, a descriptive paragraph of the purpose/role of the document, and the names of the senior reviewers (typically the superintendent and regional director), also needs to be included in the package. Note: WASO APC will send a hard copy to Jennifer, but there may be a time a time lag of several days.
  3. The DOI-NPS liaison reviews the notice and enters it into the tracking process.
  4. The DOI-NPS liaison surnames the notice and then provides the notice to the NPS deputy director of operations for surname. The deputy director may decide to have others look at a particular notice, or ask for additional information.
  5. Once the notice has been surnamed by the deputy director for operations, it is given to the assistant secretary for fish,
    wildlife and parks for review. The assistant secretary may decide to have others look at a particular notice, or ask for additional information.
  6. The next step depends on which of the following categories the notices fall into:
    1. meeting notices
    2. National Register of Historic Places nominations
    3. Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) notices
    4. information collection notices
    5. concession contract notices
    6. planning / environmental / policy-related notices
6a. Notices that fall into categories (a) – (d) are complete after the assistant secretary surnames the notice. The DOI-NPS liaison sends WASO APC an email stating that the notice has been approved for publication. The liaison also sends an email to a mailing list of regional and other interested contacts. If the notice or briefing statement mentions specific contact people, they will also receive an email notifying them of the notice clearance.
6b. Notices that fall into categories (e) and (f) go to the solicitor’s office (SOL) and the DOI executive secretariat (Exec Sec) for surname. After the SOL has surnamed the notice, Exec Sec staff will review the notice and brief the secretary’s chief of staff to obtain approval for publication in the Federal Register. After the Exec Sec surnames the notice, the DOI-NPS liaison sends WASO APC an email with a list of those from categories (e) and (f), stating that it has been approved for publication. The liaison also sends an email to a mailing list of regional and other interested contacts. If the notice or briefing statement mentions specific contact people, they will also receive an email notifying them of the notice clearance.

Roles and Responsibilities

The following section generally outlines the roles and responsibilities of the park, regional, and NPS WASO office in drafting, processing, and approving Federal Register notices.

The NPS field office will submit the notice and associated documents to several offices, as indicated below. The DOI-NPS liaison will coordinate the Federal Register process and work with the WASO APC to finalize the notice.

The associate director, Park Planning, Facilities, and Lands (PPFL), and the deputy director will be contacted by the DOI-NPS liaison to approve the notice. The Division of Park Planning and Special Studies (PPSS) will not be directly involved in the Federal Register process, but will support PPFL and the deputy with information about the project.

Park/Region Staff:
Responsibilities include the following:
  1. Draft the Federal Register notice of intent or availability related to the planning / environmental process or products and obtain the regional director’s signature. The Federal Register Document Drafting Handbook (National Archives and Records Administration 1998) provides guidance and 3.13 is a checklist; 3.10 presents an example (please include date
    above signature).
  2. Submit a copy of the signed Federal Register notice and the specified documents to the following offices:
    1. WASO APC, administrative services program center (202-354-1905) — submit only the signed Federal Register notice.
    2. DOI NPS liaison — submit the signed Federal Register notice and briefing statement.
  3. Input into IDEAS the cost of the Federal Register notice.

WASO APC Staff:
Responsibilities include the following:

  1. Provide a billing code.
  2. Hold the Federal Register notice until department clearance is given and any hold date is expired.
  3. Work with park/regional staff on editorial changes.
The DOI-NPS Liaison:
Responsibilities include the following:

  1. Forward the signed Federal Register notice and the accompanied briefing statement through the following offices within the department for clearance to publish the notice:
    Associate Director, PPFL
    Deputy Director
    Associate Secretary, Fish, Wildlife and Parks
    Solicitor’s Office
    Executive secretariat
  2. Receive the Federal Register notice with department clearances and forward it to WASO administrative services program center to initiate the printing process

Potential Pitfalls in the Federal Register Notice Process:

  1. The one-page cover sheet is missing.
  2. Associated document or briefing statement does not clearly identify revisions, or how WASO comments/concerns
    were addressed.
  3. Briefing statement does not adequately describe issues.
  4. Upper level management/policy direction not incorporated into documents/process.
  5. Federal Register notice is not prepared properly (please reference Federal Register Document Drafting Handbook checklist).

A.2.b Filing EIS Notices of Availability for Federal Register Notices with the EPA

As stated in The DO-12 Handbook (sec. 4.8.C), the National Park Service requires that draft EISs be available for public review for a minimum of 60 calendar days from the day the EPA Notice of Availability (NOA) is published in the Federal Register (1506.10). The Council on Environmental Quality regulations (1506.9) also requires that the National Park Service file draft (and final) EISs with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

After the draft or final EIS is filed, EPA publishes a notice of availability in the Federal Register to inform the public that a draft or final EIS is ready for public review. In addition, the National Park Service is required to file an NOA with the Federal Register and send five hard copies of the EIS to EPA. The publication of the EPA NOA in the Federal Register (and not the NPS notice) serves as the beginning of the 60-day public review period on the draft (and a 30-day waiting period before the record of decision is signed on
the final).

The draft or final EIS must have been transmitted to all appropriate agencies, it must be available to the general public, and the NPS NOA must have been filed with the Federal Register before copies of the EIS are filed with the EPA.

Planning teams should check with the appropriate regional environmental coordinator for the specific procedures to follow in filing the EPA notice, because the regions’ procedures vary. Planning teams should be aware that before a notice can be filed with the EPA a control number for the EIS must be obtained from the Department of the Interior’s Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance (OEPC) — EPA will not accept an EIS for filing until a control number is assigned to the document. Other offices, including the Department of the Interior Natural Resource Library, the NPS WASO Environmental Quality Division, and Office of Environmental Compliance and Policy, are also usually copied notices of the EPA filing notice.

A.2.c Internet Links

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