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Categorical Exclusions
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NASA Is Updating their NEPA Regulations
Title 14 CFR 1216.3, Procedures for Implementing the National Environmental Policy Act
NASA's NEPA regulations were last updated in 1988. NASA first informed the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) of the need to update the agency NEPA regulations (14 CFR 1216.3) in September 2007. An internal cross-functional Work Group (see Preparers below) drafted the proposed revision. After extensive review and incorporating CEQ comments in the proposed regulations, NASA submitted the Proposed Revised NASA NEPA Regulations to the Office of Management and Business (OMB) for their review. OMB completed their interagency review process in January 2011. After addressing received from two agencies, a final Federal Register notice was prepared and signed by the NASA Administrator on July 14, 2011. The Federal Register Notice contains a detailed Preamble and the full text of the proposed rule. The Notice contained the Web site and mailing address for interested persons to submit comments. Comments received were incorporated into the Final Rule that was published in the Federal Register on January 23, 2012.

+ Federal Register Notice of NASA's Proposed NEPA Rule with Preamble
+ Preparers



Click on a Categorical Exclusion category below to see a table of examples from that category or click here to view the complete table of Categorical Exclusion examples.

  1. Administrative Activities
    1. Personnel actions, organizational changes, and procurement of routine goods and services.
    2. Issuance of procedural rules, manuals, directives, and requirements.
    3. Program budget proposals, disbursements, and transfer, or reprogramming of funds.
    4. Preparation of documents including design and feasibility studies, analytical supply and demand studies, reports and recommendations, master and strategic plans, and other advisory documents.
    5. Information-gathering exercises such as inventories, audits, studies, and field studies, including water sampling, cultural resources surveys, biological surveys, geologic surveys, modeling or simulations, and routine data collection and analysis activities.
    6. Preparation and dissemination of information, including document mailings, publications, classroom materials, conferences, speaking engagements, websites, and other educational/informational activities.
    7. Software development, data analysis, and/or testing, including computer modeling.
    8. Interpretations, amendments, and modifications to contracts, grants, or other awards.
  2. Operations and Management Activities
    1. Routine maintenance, minor construction or rehabilitation, minor demolition, minor modification, minor repair, and, continuing or altered operations at, or of, existing NASA or NASA-funded or approved facilities and equipment such as buildings, roads, grounds, utilities, communication systems, and ground support systems, such as space tracking and data systems.
    2. Installation or removal of equipment, including component parts, at existing government or private facilities.
    3. Contribution of equipment, software, technical advice, exchange of data and consultation to other agencies and public and private entities, where such assistance does not control a receiving entity's program, project or activity.
    4. NASA ceremonies, commemorative events, and memorial services.
    5. Routine packaging, labeling, storage, and transportation of hazardous materials and wastes in accordance with applicable Federal, Federally recognized Indian tribe, State, and/or local law or requirements.
  3. Research and Development Activities
    1. Research, development, and testing in compliance with all applicable Federal, Federally recognized Indian tribe, State, and/or local law or requirements and Executive Orders.
    2. Use of small quantities of radioactive materials in a laboratory or in the field. Uses include material for instrument detectors, calibration, and other purposes. Materials must be licensed, as required, and properly contained and shielded.
    3. Use of lasers for research and development, scientific instruments and measurements, and distance and ranging, where such use meets all applicable Federal, Federally recognized Indian tribe, State, and/or local law or requirements, and Executive Orders. This applies to lasers used in spacecraft, aircraft, laboratories, watercraft, or outdoor activities.
  4. Real and Personal Property Activities
    1. Acquisition, transfer, or disposal of any personal property, or personal property rights or interests.
    2. Granting or acceptance of easements, leases, licenses, rights-of-entry, and permits to use NASA-controlled property or any other real property for activities which, if conducted by NASA, would be categorically excluded in accordance with this section. This assumes NASA has included any terms and conditions necessary to ensure protection of the environment and any required notices in the transfer documentation, as applicable.
    3. Transfer or disposal of real property or real property rights or interests if the change in use is one which, if conducted by NASA, would be categorically excluded in accordance with this section.
    4. Transfer of real property administrative control to another Federal agency, including the return of public domain lands to the Department of the Interior (DOI) or other Federal agencies, and reporting of property as excess and surplus to the General Services Administration (GSA) for disposal.
    5. Acquisition of real property (including facilities) where the land use will not change substantially.
  5. Aircraft and Airfield Activities
    1. Periodic aircraft flight activities, including training and research and development, which are routine and comply with applicable Federal, Federally recognized Indian tribe, State, and/or local law or requirements, and Executive Orders.
    2. Relocation of similar aircraft not resulting in a substantial increase in total flying hours, number of aircraft operations, operational parameters (e.g., noise), or permanent personnel or logistics support requirements at the receiving installation.
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Page Last Updated: September 27th, 2013
Page Editor: NASA Administrator