DESCRIPTION OF PROPOSED ACTION
The U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons
proposes to lift a Stop-Work Order of a contract award to Cornell Corrections,
Inc. (CCI) to house approximately 1,000 inmates in a contractor-owned/operated
facility to be located near Philipsburg in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania. CCI
will be responsible for housing approximately 1,000 inmates, consisting of
sentenced felons, previously within the jurisdiction of the District of Columbia
Department of Corrections (DCDC) including 350 minimum-security males, 350 male
offenders incarcerated under the D.C. Youth Rehabilitation Amendment Act of 1985
(YRA), and 300 females of various security levels. The private
contractor-owned/operated facility would include support and auxiliary
facilities, administrative spaces, recreational facilities, and an inmate
industrial program. A staff of approximately 350 employees would provide 24-hour
supervision. The action is mandated by the National Capital Revitalization and
Self Government Improvement Act of 1997 (Revitalization Act), which requires
that "The Bureau of Prisons shall house, in private contract facilities, at
least 2,000 District of Columbia sentenced felons by December 31, 1999."
The proposed action is based on the Congressional mandate.
PURPOSE AND NEED FOR THE PROPOSED ACTION
The Federal Bureau of Prisons has been given the
responsibility for accommodating within the federal prison system sentenced
felons currently housed by the District of Columbia Department of Corrections.
In doing so, the Bureau has been mandated by Congress in the Revitalization Act,
to seek contractors to accommodate in private contract facilities at least 2,000
DCDC sentenced felons by December 31, 1999 and at least 50 percent of all DCDC
sentenced felons by September 30, 2003. The Bureau is working diligently to
comply with this mandate. Lifting the Stop-Work Order of a contract to CCI to
house approximately 1,000 inmates in a contractor-owned/operated facility would
represent a significant contribution to fulfilling the Bureau's obligation to
comply with the Congressional mandate./p>
The following are measures to be implemented to mitigate
potential adverse impacts associated with the proposed project:
Topographic impacts will be mitigated by proper planning
and design to establish building footprints, access roadways, utility
corridors, and drainage facilities compatible with existing topography and
Potential impacts to soils will be minimized or avoided
by implementing soil erosion and sediment control measures including use of
silt fences, sedimentation basins, and similar measures during and following
A stormwater management system will be utilized to
collect stormwater flows and direct such flows away from buildings, parking
areas and other developed areas of the site. The system employs four
sedimentation basins to gather and hold stormwater flows and the sediments
carried by such flows, thereby minimizing potential direct and indirect
impacts to downstream properties.
Efforts will be made to minimize disturbance to existing
vegetation to the extent possible with removal of vegetation restricted
largely to areas proposed for development. The establishment of properly
designed and maintained sedimentation basins at the onset of construction
will also minimize potential adverse (indirect) impacts to wetlands.
Any wastes found on site will be removed for disposal
along with any construction debris prior to completion of construction.
Wastes generated during facility operation would be handled, stored and
disposed of in accordance with applicable state and federal regulations.
Measures to mitigate potential visual impacts consist of
sensitive architectural design and planning that minimize aesthetic
consequences while providing the maximum feasible harmony between the
proposed facility and surrounding lands.
Measures to mitigate potential land use impacts include
implementing thoughtful site design to provide the maximum feasible harmony
between the proposed facility and surrounding lands and providing open space
and a buffer between the facility and neighboring properties.
Temporary impacts associated with utility extensions and
improvements, including construction noise, dust and traffic disruptions
will be minimized by ensuring such periods are kept to the shortest duration
possible, employing appropriate soil erosion and sediment control measures,
and carefully coordinating construction activities with applicable local and
Measures to minimize air emission impacts include
employing properly maintained construction equipment, using tarp covers on
trucks transporting materials to and from the construction site, wetting
unpaved surfaces, and prohibiting open burning of construction wastes.
Efforts will be made to employ energy-efficient equipment and materials in
the design and construction of the facility, when appropriate while
encouraging the use of carpools and vanpools to reduce the reliance on
private automobiles, reduce traffic and minimize air emissions.
Measures to minimize noise impacts include confining
construction activities to normal working hours when possible while
employing noise-controlled construction equipment.
In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
of 1969, as amended and its implementing regulations (40 CFR 1500-1508), and
based upon the Final Environmental Assessment (EA) dated March 2000, I find that
lifting of the Stop-Work Order does not significantly affect the quality of the
human environment and does not warrant the preparation of an Environmental
BASIS FOR FINDING
The impacts of the proposed action on the environment were
considered in a Draft EA and Final EA prepared pursuant to NEPA. Review of the
Draft and Final EAs leads to a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) as that
phrase is defined pursuant to NEPA. The proposed action will result in
negligible impacts to the local community. There will be no significant adverse
impacts to surrounding land uses, utility systems, traffic patterns or other
community considerations. No significant adverse on-site impacts as defined
pursuant to NEPA are anticipated as a result of the proposed action.
The Bureau published a Draft EA in October 1999 and a Final
EA in March 2000. After review of the comments received from interested agencies
and local citizens, the Bureau today issues this FONSI and EA (attached).
Scott P. Stermer
Federal Bureau of