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Department of Defense - Land Right-of-Way (3-FD-g)

Pursuant to 10 U.S.C. 2668, the United States Department of Defense, including the Department of the Air Force (“Air Force”), the Department of the Army (“Army”), and the Department of the Navy (“Navy”), may grant easements for rights-of-way. The Secretary of the implicated military department may grant an easement if it finds that it will not be against the public interest over, in, and upon public lands permanently withdrawn or reserved for the use of that department, and other lands under the Secretary’s control for transmission lines. 10 U.S.C. 2668(a).

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in conjunction with the United States Department of Defense has developed the Renewable Energy and Defense Geospatial Database (READ-Database) to provide Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data to assist developers in choosing an appropriate site for their renewable energy project. The READ-Database highlights possible project locations which are unlikely to interfere with military activities, and have the fewest environmental conflicts. To access the READ-Database, developers must submit a request to the NRDC on their website.

Department of Defense - Land Right-of-Way Process

3-FD-g.1 - Submit Request for Right-of-Way

The developer must submit a formal request for an easement for right-of-way to the office of the Secretary of the military department implicated.

3-FD-g.2 – Review Request Materials for Completeness

DOD will review the request materials to ensure that they have enough information to determine whether granting the right-of-way will be consistent with the public interest, and the current military use of the land. 10 U.S.C. 2668(a).

3-FD-g.3 to 3-FD-g.4 – Does DOD Require Further Project Information?

DOD may ask the developer for additional information about the project to ensure an effective review of the proposed right-of-way.

3-FD-g.5 – Technical Review of Right-of-Way Request

DOD will review the right-of-way request to ensure that it will be consistent with current military operations and use of the land in question. The Secretary of the military department concerned may grant a right-of-way under any terms they deem advisable under the circumstances.

3-FD-g.6 – Does DOD Determine the Right-of-Way is Within the Public Interest?

The Secretary of the military department concerned must review the proposed right-of-way to determine whether granting it is within the public interest. 10 U.S.C. 2668(a).

3-FD-g.7 – Easement for Right-of-Way

DOD may grant an easement on their land, but such easement may not include more land than is necessary for the project. 10 U.S.C. 2668(b). The Secretary of the military department concerned may grant an easement for substations for electrical power transmission lines or poles and lines for the transmission and distribution of electrical power. 10 U.S.C. 2668(a).

Consideration for the easement is not required, but the Secretary of the military department concerned may require consideration if they deem it necessary. 10 U.S.C. 2668(e).

3-FD-g.8 - Complete Environmental Process

When DOD grants an ROW, the NEPA process must be completed. If an ROW is granted for a transmission line associated with a FERC licensed hydropower project but outside the project area, then the DOD will be a cooperating agency for purposes of completing NEPA review.

Environmental Overview: 9

3-FD-g.9 – Provide Notice of Easement to Department of Interior

DoD is required to provide notice of any easement to the Department of Interior. 10 U.S.C. 2668(d).

3-FD-g.10 – Continue with Project Under Easement Terms

The Secretary of the military department concerned may terminate all or part of any easement for:

  • Failure to comply with the terms of the grant;
  • Nonuse for a two year period; or
  • Abandonment.

10 U.S.C. 2668(c).

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