U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION
P.O. Box 11563
Salt Lake City, Utah 84147
December 12, 1979
Mr. Brian Beard, President
Utah Chapter Sierra Club
93 East First South
Logan, Utah 84321
Dear Mr. Beard:
Reference is made to your letter of November 21, 1979, regarding the
proposed construction activities in Logan Canyon, Utah.
In accordance with Federal laws, the methods and procedures followed in
the development of highway projects from initial conception to the point
of advertising for construction are contained in the State's approved
Action Plan. The purpose of this plan is to define how the State intends
to comply with various legislative requirements such as the National
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). In addition, the plan also outlines
how the State will coordinate with other government entities and the
public in developing plans for highway projects. For a clearer understanding
of the process, a copy of the Action Plan may be obtained from
the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT).
The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations (40 Code of Federal
Regulations 500, et seq.), as provided in section 1506.12, were effective
July 30, 1979, for direct Federal projects; however, agencies administering
programs under section 102(2)D of NEPA are allowed an additional
4 months for State agencies to adopt implementing procedures. Consequently,
for the Federal-aid highway program, the effective date of the
CEQ regulations is November 30, 1979. .
As a result of the CEQ regulations, the UDOT's Action Plan is currently
being revised to incorporate the latest environmental changes. Although
the revisions are not completely documented in the Action Plan at this
time, all projects (including Logan Canyon) processed through the State
and this office after November 30, 1979, will be in full compliance with
the CEQ and all other appropriate environmental regulations. Since these
regulations have just gone into effect, it is considered somewhat premature
to imply that the UDOT is not in compliance with the CEQ regulations
or is in apparent violation of public law. There has not been, nor will
there be, any violations on environmental regulations with respect to our
actions on this or any other project.
After a recent meeting with the UDOT regarding the scope of the project
and in accordance with Federal Highway Administration policy, a review
of the project and category assignment was undertaken. The currently
proposed improvement is of the type normally considered a nonmajor action
(categorical exclusion). However, the continuing controversy regarding
this proposal has convinced us that it merits special consideration. We
have concluded that the project should not be processed as a nonmajor
action (categorical exclusion) and have withdrawn our concurrence in the
Category III assignment. The UDOT has been informed of this action.
We trust this response has addressed your concerns regarding this project.
Should you have any further questions concerning the project or its
future development, we suggest you contact the Utah Department of Transportation.
George W. Bohn
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