RAILROAD / Federal Railroad Administration notice of updated procedures for considering environmental impacts under FRA jurisdiction by adding “categorical exclusions”.

January 14, 2013, Notice of Updated Procedures for Considering Environmental Impacts by Adding Categorical Exclusions.

7 new “categorical exclusions” to the Federal Railroad Administration’s “Environmental Procedures”: 

1. Alteration to facilities, locomotives, etc. “to make them accessible for the elderly and persons with disabilities”. 

2. Various infrastructure (bridges, docks, piers) (1) “predominantly within existing right-of-way”, (2) “that do not involve extensive in-water construction activities”.

3. Acquisition, rehabilitation or maintenance  of vehicles or equipment “within the existing right-of-way or other previously disturbed locations”.

4. Installation, etc. of “equipment and small structures designed to promote transportation safety, security, accessibility, communication or operational efficiency” if they “take place predominantly within the existing right-of-way and do not result in a major change in traffic density”.

5. Various “environmental restoration” actions.

6. Construction etc of facilities where (1) within current zoning, (2) “do not result in major change in traffic density”, and (3) “less than 10 acres of surface disturbance”.

7. “Track and track structure maintenance and improvements when carried out predominantly within the existing right-of-way that do not cause a substantial increase in rail traffic beyond existing or historic levels, such as stabilizing embankments, installing or reinstalling track, re-grading, replacing rail, ties, slabs and ballast, installing, maintaining, or restoring drainage ditches, cleaning ballast, constructing minor curve realignments, improving or replacing interlockings, and the installation or maintenance of ancillary equipment.”