Reclamation's Biweekly Newsletter
Novemeber 2, 2018
Title Transfer Categorical Exclusion
Reclamation is proposing to establish a new categorical exclusion to facilitate the transfer of title for a limited set of projects and/or project facilities. Establishing this new categorical exclusion will allow Reclamation to streamline environmental reviews for simple, non-controversial or uncomplicated title transfers, while verifying the title transfer action would not result in significant environmental impacts.
Recently, the Department of the Interior published a Federal Register notice seeking public comment on this proposed categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act.
Title transfer is a voluntary conveyance of ownership for water project facilities, including dams, canals, laterals and other water-related infrastructure, to the beneficiaries of those facilities. It divests Reclamation of responsibility for the operation, maintenance, management, regulation of, and liability for the project, lands and facilities to be transferred.
The benefitting non-federal entity is also provided with greater autonomy and flexibility to manage the facilities to meet their needs in compliance with federal, state, and local laws and in conformance with contractual obligations. Public comments on this proposed action are due to Reclamation by November 16, 2018.
A transfer of title is a federal action under the National Environmental Policy Act. NEPA requires analyses to describe the environmental impacts associated with the action. In past title transfers, Reclamation has prepared environmental assessments and findings of no significant impact for title transfer actions. “Categorical exclusions” are for agency actions that would not normally have a significant effect on the human environment and may be excluded from further NEPA review.
You can learn more about title transfers at the Bureau of Reclamation at www.usbr.gov/title.