Clearinghouse Mission Compatibility Evaluation (13-FD-f)
Generally, construction or alteration projects that include objects 200 feet above ground level (or higher) require developers to submit notice of the project to the Secretary of Transportation. Formal DOD review of projects is triggered after a developer submits notice to the Secretary of Transportation. The DOD encourages developers to voluntarily request informal project screening via the Clearinghouse prior to filing notice of the project with the Secretary of Transportation. The Clearinghouse may streamline the DOD’s assessment of risk to military operation and identify potential problems at an early stage of project development. Ike Skelton Defense Authorization Act of 2011, Pub. L. No. 111-383, 124 Stat. 4137 § 358(e); 49 U.S.C. § 44718.
Clearinghouse Mission Compatibility Evaluation Process
13-FD-f.1 – Submit Request for Informal Review
The developer must submit a written request to the DOD Siting Clearinghouse for review of the project. The request for informal review must include the following:
- Contact information;
- The geographic location of the project—including latitude and longitude;
- The nature of the project (i.e., solar, geothermal, etc.) and the number of structures;
- Bureau of Land Management ID, National Environmental Policy Act number, or any Federal/State/Local identifiers, if applicable; and
- Any additional information associated with project that may facilitate review.
The following project-specific information must be included:
- Solar tower or panel height;
- Solar layout; and
- Solar array acreage (with map).
Transmission, Utility, and Power Lines:
- Height and type of structure(s);
- Substation(s) tie-in, if known;
- kV of line(s);
- Map of route.
Geothermal: Geothermal layout/acreage (with map). 32 C.F.R. § 211.7.
13-FD-f.2 – Transfer Information to Implicated DOD Components
The Clearinghouse must convey the information received to any DOD Components they believe may be implicated by the project within 5 days of receipt of the information from the developer. 32 C.F.R. § 211.7(b).
The term ‘DOD Components’ includes the following:
- Office of the Secretary of Defense,
- Military Departments,
- Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Joint Staff,
- Combatant Commands,
- Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Defense,
- Defense Agencies,
- DOD Field Activities, and
- All other organizational entities in the Department of Defense. 32 C.F.R. § 211.2(a).
13-FD-f.3 – Submit Comments and Recommendations on the Request
The DOD Components that receive the request must provide written comments and recommendations on the request to the Clearinghouse no later than 30 days after receiving the request. 32 C.F.R. § 211.7(b).
13-FD-f.4 – Evaluate all Comments and Recommendations
The Clearinghouse must evaluate all comments and recommendations within 50 days after receiving the request for informal review.
13-FD-f.5 to 13-FD-f.6 – Will the Project have Adverse Impacts on Military Operations?
If the Clearinghouse determines that the project may have an adverse impact on military operations and readiness, they will notify the developer of such determination. The Clearinghouse will also notify the developer that the informal review does not constitute an action under 49 U.S.C. § 44718; 32 C.F.R. § 211.7(b)(2)(i).
If the Clearinghouse determines that the project may have an adverse impact on military operations and readiness, then the developer may be required to mitigate such impacts. However, the Clearinghouse may determine that the impacts involved are sufficiently attenuated that no mitigation is required. 32 C.F.R. § 211.7(b)(2)(ii).
13-FD-f.7 to 13-FD-f.8 – Will the Project Require Mitigation?
If mitigation of adverse impacts is necessary, then the Clearinghouse must immediately notify the developer of the need for mitigation and the reasons for their determination. The Clearinghouse must also advise the developer that DOD will need to discuss possible mitigation measures. 32 C.F.R. § 211.7(b)(2)(iii)(A)(1).
13-FD-f.9 – Negotiate Mitigation of Adverse Impacts
The developer must negotiate mitigation measures with the DOD Components implicated by the project. In negotiating mitigation measures, the DOD Components will consider the following types of DOD mitigation:
- Modifications of military operations;
- Modifications to radars or other items of military equipment;
- Modifications to military test and evaluation activities, military training routes, or military training procedures;
- Providing upgrades or modifications to existing systems or procedures; and
- The acquisition of new systems by the DOD and other departments and agencies of the federal government. 32 C.F.R. § 211.9(a).
In discussing mitigation to avoid an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States, the developer should consider the following possible actions:
- Modification of the proposed structure, operating characteristics, or the equipment in the proposed project;
- Changing the location of the proposed project;
- Limiting daily operating hours or the number of days the equipment in the proposed structure is in use in order to avoid interference with military activities;
- Providing a voluntary contribution of funds to offset the cost of measures undertaken by the Secretary of Defense to mitigate adverse impacts of the project on military operations and readiness. 32 C.F.R. § 211.9(b).
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