Federal Register Vol. 80, No.127,

Federal Register Volume 80, Issue 127 (July 2, 2015)

Page Range37921-38390
FR Document

80_FR_127
Current View
Page and SubjectPDF
80 FR 38050 - Amendments to Form ADV and Investment Advisers Act RulesPDF
80 FR 38199 - Farm Credit Administration Board; Sunshine Act; Regular MeetingPDF
80 FR 38183 - Sunshine Act Meeting NoticePDF
80 FR 37921 - Delegation of Authority Pursuant to Section 1035 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013PDF
80 FR 37974 - Temporary Modification of Category XI of the United States Munitions ListPDF
80 FR 38232 - Sunshine Act MeetingPDF
80 FR 38235 - Sunshine Act MeetingPDF
80 FR 38179 - Sunshine Act MeetingsPDF
80 FR 38198 - Receipt of Test Data Under the Toxic Substances Control ActPDF
80 FR 38264 - Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 37992 - Transboundary Shipments of Hazardous Wastes Between OECD Member Countries: Revisions to the List of OECD Member CountriesPDF
80 FR 37996 - Suspension of Community EligibilityPDF
80 FR 37970 - Extension of Effective Date for Temporary Pilot Program Setting the Time and Place for a Hearing Before an Administrative Law JudgePDF
80 FR 37994 - Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs): Revisions to Manifesting Regulations; Item NumberPDF
80 FR 37995 - Federal Travel Regulation (FTR); Removal of Privately Owned Vehicle Rates; Privately Owned Automobile Mileage Reimbursement When Government Furnished Automobiles Are Authorized; CorrectionPDF
80 FR 38265 - Medical Review Board (MRB) Meeting: Public MeetingPDF
80 FR 38284 - Approval of Alabama's Request To Relax the Federal Reid Vapor Pressure Gasoline Volatility Standard for Birmingham, AlabamaPDF
80 FR 38223 - Telecommunications Service Priority SystemPDF
80 FR 38283 - Approval of Alabama's Request To Relax the Federal Reid Vapor Pressure Gasoline Volatility Standard for Birmingham, AlabamaPDF
80 FR 38222 - 1670-0023 Technical Assistance Request and EvaluationPDF
80 FR 38221 - Approval of WFR Metering, Inc., as a Commercial GaugerPDF
80 FR 38019 - Reducing Regulatory BurdenPDF
80 FR 38221 - New Date for the October 2015 Customs Broker License ExaminationPDF
80 FR 38220 - National Cancer Institute; Amended Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 38015 - Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic; 2015 Recreational Accountability Measures and Closure for South Atlantic Snowy GrouperPDF
80 FR 38236 - President's Committee on the National Medal of Science; Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 38017 - Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Exchange of Flatfish in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management AreaPDF
80 FR 38174 - Polyester Staple Fiber From Taiwan: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2013-2014PDF
80 FR 38175 - Melamine From the People's Republic of China: Postponement of Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair ValuePDF
80 FR 38174 - Reorganization of Foreign-Trade Zone 42 Under Alternative Site Framework; Orlando, FloridaPDF
80 FR 38173 - Notification of Proposed Production Activity; Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, LLC; Subzone 222A (Motor Vehicles); Montgomery, AlabamaPDF
80 FR 38013 - Migratory Bird Permits; Update of Falconry Permitting Reporting AddressPDF
80 FR 38276 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations Report on Closure by U.S. Financial Institutions of Correspondent Accounts and Payable-Through AccountsPDF
80 FR 38236 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 38231 - Hydrofluorocarbon Blends and Components From China; Institution of Antidumping Duty Investigation and Scheduling of Preliminary Phase InvestigationPDF
80 FR 38145 - Removal of Review and Reclassification Procedures for Biological Products Licensed Prior to July 1, 1972PDF
80 FR 37971 - Revocation of General Safety Test Regulations That Are Duplicative of Requirements in Biologics License ApplicationsPDF
80 FR 38210 - New Methods To Predict the Immunogenicity of Therapeutic Coagulation Proteins; Public WorkshopPDF
80 FR 38181 - Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Rahway River Basin Flood Risk Management StudyPDF
80 FR 38238 - Standard Review Plan for Fuel Cycle Facilities License ApplicationsPDF
80 FR 38265 - Culturally Significant Objects Imported for Exhibition Determinations: “Holocaust Center for Humanity Exhibit”PDF
80 FR 38273 - Delaware and Hudson Railway Company, Inc.-Discontinuance of Trackage Rights Exemption-in Broome County, NY, Middlesex, Essex, Union, Somerset, Hunterdon, and Warren Counties, NJ, Cumberland, Chester, Luzerne, Perry, York, Lancaster, Northampton, Lehigh, Carbon, Berks, Montgomery, Northumberland, Dauphin, Lebanon, and Philadelphia Counties, PA, Cecil, Harford, Baltimore, Anne Arundel, and Prince George's Counties, and Baltimore City, MD, the District of Columbia, Arlington County, and the City of Alexandria, VAPDF
80 FR 38212 - Unapproved and Misbranded Otic Prescription Drug Products; Enforcement Action DatesPDF
80 FR 38216 - Prescription Drug User Fee Act Patient-Focused Drug Development; Announcement of Disease Areas for Meetings Conducted in Fiscal Years 2016-2017PDF
80 FR 38211 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for Office of Management and Budget Review; Comment Request; Guidance for Industry on Controlled Correspondence Related to Generic Drug DevelopmentPDF
80 FR 38264 - Culturally Significant Objects Imported for Exhibition Determinations: “Making Place: The Architecture of David Adjaye” ExhibitionPDF
80 FR 38016 - Gulf of Mexico Highly Migratory Species; Commercial Blacknose Sharks and Non-Blacknose Small Coastal Sharks in the Gulf of Mexico RegionPDF
80 FR 37978 - Safety Zone; Bay Village Independence Day Celebration Fireworks Display; Lake Erie, Bay Village, OHPDF
80 FR 37980 - Safety Zone; Erie Boom on the Bay Fireworks Display; Presque Isle Bay, Erie, PAPDF
80 FR 37982 - Safety Zone; Independence Day Celebration Fireworks Display; Lake Ontario, Oswego, NYPDF
80 FR 38219 - Notice of Diabetes Mellitus Interagency Coordinating Committee MeetingPDF
80 FR 38242 - New Postal ProductPDF
80 FR 38243 - New Postal ProductPDF
80 FR 38207 - Meeting of the National Advisory Council for Healthcare Research and QualityPDF
80 FR 38205 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 38184 - Proposed Subsequent ArrangementPDF
80 FR 37976 - Safety Zone; Alexandria Bay Chamber of Commerce Fireworks Display; Saint Lawrence River, Heart Island, Alexandria Bay, NYPDF
80 FR 38032 - Energy Conservation Program for Certain Industrial Equipment: Energy Conservation Standards for Dedicated-Purpose Pool PumpsPDF
80 FR 38147 - Proposed Establishment of the Champlain Valley of New York Viticultural AreaPDF
80 FR 37953 - Energy Conservation Program for Consumer Products and Certain Commercial and Industrial Equipment: Test Procedures for Residential and Commercial Water Heaters; CorrectionPDF
80 FR 38185 - Proposed Subsequent ArrangementPDF
80 FR 38274 - Unblocking of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons Pursuant to Executive Order 12978PDF
80 FR 37923 - Importation of Beef From a Region in BrazilPDF
80 FR 37935 - Importation of Beef From a Region in ArgentinaPDF
80 FR 38277 - Monitoring Availability and Affordability of Auto InsurancePDF
80 FR 38274 - Unblocking of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons Pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation ActPDF
80 FR 38233 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed eCollection; eComments Requested; Request for Recognition of a Non-Profit Religious, Charitable, Social Service, or Similar Organization (Form EOIR-31)PDF
80 FR 38041 - Safety Standard for Portable Hook-On ChairsPDF
80 FR 38199 - Environmental Impact Statements; Notice of AvailabilityPDF
80 FR 38275 - Sanctions Actions Pursuant to Executive Order 13224PDF
80 FR 38177 - Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC); Public MeetingPDF
80 FR 38176 - Caribbean Fishery Management Council; Public MeetingPDF
80 FR 38232 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed eCollection eComments Requested; Application for Suspension of Deportation (Form EOIR-40)PDF
80 FR 38233 - Comment Request for Information Collection for Unemployment Insurance Call Center Final Assessment Guide, New CollectionPDF
80 FR 38234 - Comment Request for Information Collection for the American Apprenticeship Initiative Grants, New CollectionPDF
80 FR 38228 - Draft Environmental Impact Statement for General Management Plan, City of Rocks National Reserve, Cassia County, IdahoPDF
80 FR 38180 - National Commission on the Future of the Army; Notice of Federal Advisory Committee MeetingPDF
80 FR 38182 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Comment Request; What Works Clearinghouse Formative FeedbackPDF
80 FR 38204 - Formations of, Acquisitions by, and Mergers of Bank Holding CompaniesPDF
80 FR 38201 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Announcement of Board Approval Under Delegated Authority and Submission to OMBPDF
80 FR 38173 - Trinity County Resource Advisory CommitteePDF
80 FR 38189 - Port Arthur LNG, LLC and Port Arthur Pipeline, LLC; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Planned Port Arthur Liquefaction Project and Port Arthur Pipeline Project, Request for Comments on Environmental Issues, and Notice of Public Scoping MeetingsPDF
80 FR 38186 - TransSource, LLC v. The PJM Interconnection, LLC; Notice of ComplaintPDF
80 FR 38193 - Freeport LNG Development, L.P., FLNG Liquefaction, LLC., FLNG Liquefaction 2, LLC. and FLNG Liquefaction 3, LLC.; Notice of Application To Amend Aurhtorization Under Section 3 of the Natural Gas ActPDF
80 FR 38188 - Combined Notice of FilingsPDF
80 FR 38187 - Combined Notice of Filings #2PDF
80 FR 38194 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
80 FR 38191 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
80 FR 38185 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
80 FR 38192 - BP America Inc., BP Corporation North America Inc., BP America Production Company, and BP Energy Company; Notice of Designation of Commission Staff as Non-DecisionalPDF
80 FR 38186 - Indeck Corinth Limited Partnership; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 AuthorizationPDF
80 FR 38196 - Roctop Investments, Inc.; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 AuthorizationPDF
80 FR 38192 - Gulf South Pipeline Company, LP; Notice of ApplicationPDF
80 FR 38178 - Procurement List; Additions and DeletionsPDF
80 FR 38179 - Procurement List; Proposed AdditionsPDF
80 FR 38220 - Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory CommitteePDF
80 FR 38172 - Trinity County Resource Advisory CommitteePDF
80 FR 38178 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; “Patent Reexaminations and Supplemental Examinations”PDF
80 FR 38226 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Sonoran Pronghorn Draft Recovery PlanPDF
80 FR 38172 - National Advisory Council on Maternal, Infant and Fetal Nutrition; Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 38228 - Notice of Filing of Plats of Survey; ColoradoPDF
80 FR 38265 - Request for Transit Advisory Committee for Safety (TRACS) NominationsPDF
80 FR 38176 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 38230 - Notice of Public Meeting for the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Work GroupPDF
80 FR 38209 - Proposed Information Collection Activity; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 38239 - Comprehensive Vibration Assessment Program for Reactor Internals During Preoperational and Startup TestingPDF
80 FR 38208 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 38241 - Privacy Act of 1974: New System of RecordsPDF
80 FR 38207 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 38245 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Modify Recent Changes to Rules 4751(h) and 4754(b)PDF
80 FR 38243 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; ISE Gemini, LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Extend the Penny Pilot ProgramPDF
80 FR 38261 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Chicago Board Options Exchange, Incorporated; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Amend the Fees SchedulePDF
80 FR 38247 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; BATS Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change Related to Fees for Use of BATS Exchange, Inc.PDF
80 FR 38251 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; International Securities Exchange, LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Extend the Penny Pilot ProgramPDF
80 FR 38253 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE Arca, Inc.; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change Relating to Listing and Trading of Shares of the Cambria Sovereign High Yield Bond ETF and the Cambria Value and Momentum ETF Under NYSE Arca Equities Rule 8.600PDF
80 FR 38200 - Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 38266 - Pipeline Safety: Risk Modeling Methodologies Public WorkshopPDF
80 FR 38241 - Submission for OMB Review; Comments RequestPDF
80 FR 38153 - Organization and Functions; Rules of Practice and Procedure; Attorney FeesPDF
80 FR 38021 - Pecans Grown in the States of Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas; Hearing on Proposed Marketing Agreement and Order No. 986PDF
80 FR 38217 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Public Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 38197 - Cross-Media Electronic Reporting: Authorized Program Revision Approval, State of WyomingPDF
80 FR 38196 - Cross-Media Electronic Reporting: Authorized Program Revision Approval, State of South DakotaPDF
80 FR 38202 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Announcement of Board Approval Under Delegated Authority and Submission to OMBPDF
80 FR 38272 - CSX Transportation, Inc.-Discontinuance of Service Exemption-in Raleigh County, W. Va.PDF
80 FR 38200 - Notice of Agreements FiledPDF
80 FR 38313 - Federal Acquisition Regulation; Federal Acquisition Circular 2005-83; Small Entity Compliance GuidePDF
80 FR 38312 - Federal Acquisition Regulation; Technical AmendmentsPDF
80 FR 38311 - Federal Acquisition Regulation; Permanent Authority for Use of Simplified Acquisition Procedures for Certain Commercial ItemsPDF
80 FR 38309 - Federal Acquisition Regulation; Prohibition on Contracting With Inverted Domestic CorporationsPDF
80 FR 38220 - National Cancer Institute Amended; Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 38218 - National Cancer Institute Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
80 FR 38218 - Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
80 FR 38219 - Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
80 FR 38308 - Federal Acquisition Regulation; Clarification on Justification for Urgent Noncompetitive Awards Exceeding One YearPDF
80 FR 38307 - Federal Acquisition Regulation: Update to Product and Service CodesPDF
80 FR 38306 - Federal Acquisition Regulation; Prohibition on Contracting With Inverted Domestic Corporations-Representation and NotificationPDF
80 FR 38293 - Federal Acquisition Regulation; Inflation Adjustment of Acquisition-Related ThresholdsPDF
80 FR 38291 - Federal Acquisition Regulation; Federal Acquisition Circular 2005-83; IntroductionPDF
80 FR 38197 - The National Drinking Water Advisory Council: Request for NominationsPDF
80 FR 38036 - Airworthiness Directives; Airbus AirplanesPDF
80 FR 38033 - Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company AirplanesPDF
80 FR 38038 - Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company AirplanesPDF
80 FR 37997 - Amendments to Regulations Governing Access to Commission Information and Records; Freedom of Information ActPDF
80 FR 37985 - Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Mississippi; Memphis, TN-MS-AR Emissions Inventory for the 2008 8-Hour Ozone StandardPDF
80 FR 38152 - Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Mississippi; Memphis, TN-AR-MS Emissions Inventory for the 2008 8-Hour Ozone StandardPDF
80 FR 38153 - Chemical Substances When Manufactured or Processed as Nanoscale Materials, TSCA Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements; Extension of Comment PeriodPDF
80 FR 38223 - Federal Property Suitable as Facilities To Assist the HomelessPDF
80 FR 37988 - Technical Amendments to the Hazardous and Solid Waste Management System; Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals From Electric Utilities-Correction of the Effective DatePDF
80 FR 38235 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Generic Clearance for the Collection of Qualitative Feedback on Agency Service DeliveryPDF
80 FR 37954 - Energy Conservation Program: Test Procedures for Conventional OvensPDF
80 FR 38271 - Hazardous Materials: Notice of Application for Special PermitsPDF
80 FR 38267 - Hazardous Materials: Notice of Application for Modification of Special PermitPDF
80 FR 38268 - Hazardous Materials: Actions on Special Permit ApplicationsPDF
80 FR 38001 - Concerning Effective Competition; Implementation of Section 111 of the STELA Reauthorization ActPDF
80 FR 38158 - Preserving Vacant Channels in the UHF Television Band for Unlicensed UsePDF
80 FR 38315 - WRC-12 Radiocommunication Conference (Geneva 2012)PDF

Issue

80 127 Thursday, July 2, 2015 Contents Agency Health Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 38205-38207 2015-16347 Meetings: National Advisory Council for Healthcare Research and Quality, 38207 2015-16348 Agricultural Marketing Agricultural Marketing Service PROPOSED RULES Marketing Agreements and Orders: Pecans Grown in the States of Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas, 38021-38032 2015-16259 Agriculture Agriculture Department See

Agricultural Marketing Service

See

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

See

Food and Nutrition Service

See

Forest Service

Alcohol Tobacco Tax Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau PROPOSED RULES Proposed Establishment of the Champlain Valley of New York Viticultural Area, 38147-38152 2015-16343 Animal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service RULES Importation of Beef From a Region in Argentina, 37935-37953 2015-16335 Importation of Beef From a Region in Brazil, 37923-37934 2015-16337 Centers Medicare Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 38207-38208 2015-16281 Children Children and Families Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 38208-38210 2015-16283 2015-16285 Coast Guard Coast Guard RULES Safety Zones: Alexandria Bay Chamber of Commerce Fireworks Display; Saint Lawrence River, Heart Island, Alexandria Bay, NY, 37976-37978 2015-16345 Bay Village Independence Day Celebration Fireworks Display; Lake Erie, Bay Village, OH, 37978-37980 2015-16354 Erie Boom on the Bay Fireworks Display; Presque Isle Bay, Erie, PA, 37980-37982 2015-16353 Independence Day Celebration Fireworks Display; Lake Ontario, Oswego, NY, 37982-37984 2015-16352 NOTICES Meetings: Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee, 38220-38221 2015-16297 Commerce Commerce Department See

Foreign-Trade Zones Board

See

International Trade Administration

See

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

See

Patent and Trademark Office

Committee for Purchase Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled NOTICES Procurement List; Additions and Deletions, 38178-38179 2015-16298 2015-16299 Commodity Futures Commodity Futures Trading Commission NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 38179 2015-16442 Consumer Product Consumer Product Safety Commission PROPOSED RULES Safety Standard for Portable Hook-On Chairs, 38041-38050 2015-16330 Defense Department Defense Department See

Engineers Corps

RULES Federal Acquisition Regulations: Clarification on Justification for Urgent Noncompetitive Awards Exceeding One Year, 38308-38309 2015-16210 Federal Acquisition Circular 2005-83; Small Entity Compliance Guide, 38313-38314 2015-16218 Federal Acquisition Circular 2005-83; Introduction, 38292-38293 2015-16205 Inflation Adjustment of Acquisition-Related Thresholds, 38293-38306 2015-16206 Permanent Authority for Use of Simplified Acquisition Procedures for Certain Commercial Items, 38311-38312 2015-16216 Prohibition on Contracting With Inverted Domestic Corporations—Representation and Notification, 38306-38307 2015-16208 Prohibition on Contracting With Inverted Domestic Corporations, 38309-38310 2015-16215 Technical Amendments, 38312 2015-16217 Update to Product and Service Codes, 38307-38308 2015-16209 NOTICES Meetings: National Commission on the Future of the Army, 38180-38181 2015-16317
Education Department Education Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: What Works Clearinghouse Formative Feedback, 38182-38183 2015-16316 Election Election Assistance Commission NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 38183-38184 2015-16505 Employment and Training Employment and Training Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: American Apprenticeship Initiative Grants, 38234-38235 2015-16320 Unemployment Insurance Call Center Final Assessment Guide, 38233-38234 2015-16321 Energy Department Energy Department See

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

RULES Energy Conservation Program for Consumer Products and Certain Commercial and Industrial Equipment: Test Procedures for Residential and Commercial Water Heaters; Correction, 37953-37954 2015-16342 Energy Conservation Programs: Test Procedures for Conventional Ovens, 37954-37970 2015-15886 PROPOSED RULES Energy Conservation Programs for Certain Industrial Equipment: Energy Conservation Standards for Dedicated-Purpose Pool Pumps, 38032-38033 2015-16344 Reducing Regulatory Burden, 38019-38021 2015-16383 NOTICES Proposed Subsequent Arrangement, 38184-38185 2015-16346 Proposed Subsequent Arrangements, 38184-38185 2015-16338 2015-16340 2015-16341
Engineers Engineers Corps NOTICES Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Rahway River Basin Flood Risk Management Study, 38181-38182 2015-16364 Environmental Protection Environmental Protection Agency RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: Mississippi; Memphis, TN-MS-AR Emissions Inventory for the 2008 8-Hour Ozone Standard, 37985-37988 2015-16080 Approval of Alabama's Request To Relax the Federal Reid Vapor Pressure Gasoline Volatility Standard for Birmingham, AL, 38284-38289 2015-16390 2015-16392 Hazardous and Solid Waste Management System: Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals From Electric Utilities; Correction of Effective Date, 37988-37992 2015-15913 Revisions to Manifesting Regulations; Item Number: Polychlorinated Biphenyls, 37994-37995 2015-16395 Transboundary Shipments of Hazardous Wastes Between Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Member Countries: Revisions to the List of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Member Countries, 37992-37994 2015-16400 PROPOSED RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: Mississippi; Memphis, TN-AR-MS Emissions Inventory for the 2008 8-Hour Ozone Standard, 38152-38153 2015-16078 Chemical Substances When Manufactured or Processed as Nanoscale Materials: TSCA Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements, 38153 2015-16051 NOTICES Cross-Media Electronic Reporting: South Dakota, Authorized Program Revision Approval, 38196-38197 2015-16253 Wyoming, Authorized Program Revision Approval, 38197 2015-16255 Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.; Weekly Receipts, 38199 2015-16329 Receipt of Test Data Under the Toxic Substances Control Act, 38198-38199 2015-16418 Requests for Nominations: National Drinking Water Advisory Council, 38197-38198 2015-16198 Farm Credit Farm Credit Administration NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 38199 2015-16535 Federal Aviation Federal Aviation Administration PROPOSED RULES Airworthiness Directives: Airbus Airplanes, 38036-38038 2015-16165 The Boeing Company Airplanes, 38033-38036, 38038-38041 2015-16154 2015-16155 Federal Communications Federal Communications Commission RULES Effective Competition: Implementation of Section 111 of the STELA Reauthorization Act, 38001-38013 2015-15806 PROPOSED RULES Preserving Vacant Channels in the UHF Television Band for Unlicensed Use, 38158-38171 2015-15758 World Radiocommunication Conference, 38316-38390 2015-15250 Federal Emergency Federal Emergency Management Agency RULES Suspensions of Community Eligibility, 37996-37997 2015-16399 Federal Energy Federal Energy Regulatory Commission NOTICES Applications: Freeport LNG Development, L.P., et al., 38193-38194 2015-16309 Gulf South Pipeline Co., LP, 38192-38193 2015-16300 Combined Filings, 38185-38189, 38191-38192, 38194-38196 2015-16304 2015-16305 2015-16306 2015-16307 2015-16308 Complaints: TransSource, LLC v. The PJM Interconnection, LLC, 38186-38187 2015-16310 Designations as Non-Decisional: BP America Inc., BP Corporation North America Inc., et al., 38192 2015-16303 Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Port Arthur Liquefaction Project and Port Arthur Pipeline Project; Port Arthur LNG, LLC and Port Arthur Pipeline, LLC, 38189-38191 2015-16311 Initial Market-Based Rate Filings Including Requests for Blanket Section 204 Authorizations: Indeck Corinth Limited Partnership, 38186 2015-16302 Roctop Investments, Inc., 38196 2015-16301 Federal Housing Finance Agency Federal Housing Finance Agency NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 38200 2015-16267 Federal Maritime Federal Maritime Commission RULES Access to Commission Information and Records; Freedom of Information Act, 37997-38001 2015-16101 PROPOSED RULES Organization and Functions; Rules of Practice and Procedure; Attorney Fees, 38153-38158 2015-16260 NOTICES Agreements Filed, 38200-38201 2015-16231 Federal Motor Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration NOTICES Meetings: Medical Review Board, 38265 2015-16393 Federal Reserve Federal Reserve System NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 38201-38204 2015-16247 2015-16313 Formations of, Acquisitions by, and Mergers of Bank Holding Companies, 38204 2015-16315 Federal Transit Federal Transit Administration NOTICES Requests for Nominations: Transit Advisory Committee for Safety, 38265-38266 2015-16288 Fish Fish and Wildlife Service RULES Migratory Bird Permits: Update of Falconry Permitting Reporting Address, 38013-38015 2015-16371 NOTICES Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: Sonoran Pronghorn Draft Recovery Plan, 38226-38228 2015-16292 Food and Drug Food and Drug Administration RULES Revocation of General Safety Test Regulations That Are Duplicative of Requirements in Biologics License Applications, 37971-37974 2015-16366 PROPOSED RULES Removal of Review and Reclassification Procedures for Biological Products Licensed Prior to July 1, 1972, 38145-38147 2015-16367 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Guidance for Industry on Controlled Correspondence Related to Generic Drug Development, 38211-38212 2015-16358 Meetings: New Methods To Predict the Immunogenicity of Therapeutic Coagulation Proteins; Public Workshop, 38210 2015-16365 Prescription Drug User Fee Act Patient-Focused Drug Development, 38216-38217 2015-16359 Unapproved and Misbranded Otic Prescription Drug Products; Enforcement Action Dates, 38212-38216 2015-16360 Food and Nutrition Food and Nutrition Service NOTICES Meetings: National Advisory Council on Maternal, Infant and Fetal Nutrition, 38172 2015-16291 Foreign Assets Foreign Assets Control Office NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations Report on Closure by U.S. Financial Institutions of Correspondent Accounts and Payable-Through Accounts, 38276-38277 2015-16370 Blocking or Unblocking of Persons and Properties, 38274-38276 2015-16328 2015-16332 2015-16339 Foreign Claims Foreign Claims Settlement Commission NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 38232 2015-16473 Foreign Trade Foreign-Trade Zones Board NOTICES Production Activity Authorizations: Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, LLC; Subzone 222A, Montgomery, AL, 38173 2015-16372 Reorganizations Under Alternative Site Framework: Foreign-Trade Zone 42, Orlando, FL, 38174 2015-16373 Forest Forest Service NOTICES Meetings: Trinity County Resource Advisory Committee, 38172-38173 2015-16295 2015-16312 General Services General Services Administration RULES Federal Acquisition Regulations: Clarification on Justification for Urgent Noncompetitive Awards Exceeding One Year, 38308-38309 2015-16210 Federal Acquisition Circular 2005-83; Small Entity Compliance Guide, 38313-38314 2015-16218 Federal Acquisition Circular 2005-83; Introduction, 38292-38293 2015-16205 Inflation Adjustment of Acquisition-Related Thresholds, 38293-38306 2015-16206 Permanent Authority for Use of Simplified Acquisition Procedures for Certain Commercial Items, 38311-38312 2015-16216 Prohibition on Contracting With Inverted Domestic Corporations—Representation and Notification, 38306-38307 2015-16208 Prohibition on Contracting With Inverted Domestic Corporations, 38309-38310 2015-16215 Technical Amendments, 38312 2015-16217 Update to Product and Service Codes, 38307-38308 2015-16209 Federal Travel Regulations: Removal of Privately Owned Vehicle Rates; Privately Owned Automobile Mileage Reimbursement When Government Furnished Automobiles Are Authorized; Correction, 37995-37996 2015-16394 Health and Human Health and Human Services Department See

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

See

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

See

Children and Families Administration

See

Food and Drug Administration

See

National Institutes of Health

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 38217-38218 2015-16256
Homeland Homeland Security Department See

Coast Guard

See

Federal Emergency Management Agency

See

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Technical Assistance Request and Evaluation, 38222 2015-16387 Telecommunications Service Priority System, 38223 2015-16391
Housing Housing and Urban Development Department NOTICES Federal Properties Suitable as Facilities To Assist the Homeless, 38223-38226 2015-16043 Interior Interior Department See

Fish and Wildlife Service

See

Land Management Bureau

See

National Park Service

See

Reclamation Bureau

International Trade Adm International Trade Administration NOTICES Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Polyester Staple Fiber From Taiwan, 38174-38175 2015-16376 Determinations of Sales at Less Than Fair Value: Melamine From the People's Republic of China, 38175-38176 2015-16375 International Trade Com International Trade Commission NOTICES Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Hydrofluorocarbon Blends and Components From China, 38231-38232 2015-16368 Justice Department Justice Department See

Foreign Claims Settlement Commission

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Application for Suspension of Deportation, 38232-38233 2015-16322 Request for Recognition of a Non-Profit Religious, Charitable, Social Service, or Similar Organization, 38233 2015-16331
Labor Department Labor Department See

Employment and Training Administration

Land Land Management Bureau NOTICES Filings of Plats of Surveys: Colorado, 38228 2015-16290 Legal Legal Services Corporation NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 38235 2015-16449 NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration RULES Federal Acquisition Regulations: Clarification on Justification for Urgent Noncompetitive Awards Exceeding One Year, 38308-38309 2015-16210 Federal Acquisition Circular 2005-83; Small Entity Compliance Guide, 38313-38314 2015-16218 Federal Acquisition Circular 2005-83; Introduction, 38292-38293 2015-16205 Inflation Adjustment of Acquisition-Related Thresholds, 38293-38306 2015-16206 Permanent Authority for Use of Simplified Acquisition Procedures for Certain Commercial Items, 38311-38312 2015-16216 Prohibition on Contracting With Inverted Domestic Corporations—Representation and Notification, 38306-38307 2015-16208 Prohibition on Contracting With Inverted Domestic Corporations, 38309-38310 2015-16215 Technical Amendments, 38312 2015-16217 Update to Product and Service Codes, 38307-38308 2015-16209 National Endowment for the Humanities National Endowment for the Humanities NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Generic Clearance for the Collection of Qualitative Feedback on Agency Service Delivery, 38235-38236 2015-15905 National Foundation National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities See

National Endowment for the Humanities

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80 127 Thursday, July 2, 2015 Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service 9 CFR Part 94 [Docket No. APHIS-2009-0017] RIN 0579-AD41 Importation of Beef From a Region in Brazil AGENCY:

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

We are amending the regulations governing the importation of certain animals, meat, and other animal products by allowing, under certain conditions, the importation of fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from a region in Brazil (the States of Bahia, Distrito Federal, Espírito Santo, Goiás, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Paraná, Rio Grande do Sul, Rio de Janeiro, Rondônia, São Paulo, Sergipe, and Tocantins). Based on the evidence in a recent risk assessment, we have determined that fresh (chilled or frozen) beef can be safely imported from those Brazilian States provided certain conditions are met. This action provides for the importation of beef from the designated region in Brazil into the United States while continuing to protect the United States against the introduction of foot-and-mouth disease.

DATES:

Effective August 31, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Dr. Silvia Kreindel, Senior Staff Veterinarian, Regional Evaluation Services Staff, National Center for Import and Export, VS, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 38, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 851-3313.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

The regulations in 9 CFR part 94 (referred to below as the regulations) prohibit or restrict the importation of certain animals and animal products into the United States to prevent the introduction of various animal diseases, including rinderpest, foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), African swine fever, classical swine fever, and swine vesicular disease. These are dangerous and destructive communicable diseases of ruminants and swine. Section 94.1 of the regulations contains criteria for recognition by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of foreign regions as free of rinderpest or free of both rinderpest and FMD. Section 94.11 restricts the importation of ruminants and swine and their meat and certain other products from regions that are declared free of rinderpest and FMD but that nonetheless present a disease risk because of the regions' proximity to or trading relationships with regions affected with rinderpest or FMD. Regions APHIS has declared free of FMD and/or rinderpest, and regions declared free of FMD and rinderpest that are subject to the restrictions in § 94.11, are listed on the APHIS Web site at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export/animals/animal_disease_status.shtml.

On December 23, 2013, we published in the Federal Register (78 FR 77370-77376, Docket No. APHIS-2009-0017) a proposal 1 to allow, under certain conditions, the importation of fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from a region in Brazil (the States of Bahia, Distrito Federal, Espírito Santo, Goiás, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Paraná, Rio Grande do Sul, Rio de Janeiro, Rondônia, São Paulo, Sergipe, and Tocantins).

1 To view the proposed rule, the supporting risk assessment, economic analysis, and the comments we received, go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2009-0017.

We solicited comments concerning our proposal for 60 days ending February 21, 2014. We reopened and extended the deadline for comments until April 22, 2014, in a document published in the Federal Register on February 27, 2014 (79 FR 10999, Docket No. APHIS-2009-0017). We received 870 comments by that date. They were from producers, trade associations, veterinarians, representatives of State and foreign governments, and individuals. They are discussed below by topic.

Note:

In our December 2013 proposed rule, we proposed to amend § 94.22 to allow the importation of fresh beef from Brazil subject to the conditions already laid out in that section for the importation of beef and ovine meat from Uruguay. Because that and other sections in part 94 have been redesignated since the publication of the proposed rule, in this final rule, we are amending § 94.29 instead.

General FMD Risk

Many commenters, citing the highly contagious nature of FMD, expressed the view that we should not allow fresh beef to be imported from any country where the disease is present because regionalization is not likely to mitigate the risks associated with imports effectively. Commenters noted that the FMD virus can travel up to 60 miles on the wind. Commenters also cited bird fecal matter and people traveling between affected and non-affected areas as additional vectors for transmission of the virus.

As noted in the risk assessment accompanying the December 2013 proposed rule, we considered the epidemiological characteristics of FMD. Based on our assessment, we concluded that beef from the exporting region of Brazil could safely be imported into the United States, provided that FMD has not been diagnosed in that region within the past 12 months, that there is no commingling of bovines or beef from that region with animals or beef from other regions prior to export, and that certain additional FMD-mitigation requirements, which include removal of bones and certain tissue and chilling of the carcasses until they reach a pH level of under 6.0, are met. We evaluated information submitted by Brazil's Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply (MAPA) and verified the accuracy of that information by conducting site visits. We concluded that Brazil has the legal framework, animal health infrastructure, movement and border controls, diagnostic capabilities, surveillance programs, and emergency response capacity to prevent FMD outbreaks within the boundaries of the Brazilian export region and, in the unlikely event that one should occur, to detect, control, and eradicate the disease. Brazil's active and passive surveillance system would allow for rapid detection. In the event of an outbreak, in the exporting region, Brazil would promptly report findings to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), and the United States would stop importing beef from Brazil. Our findings regarding Brazil's disease-control capabilities give us confidence that the mitigation methods required under this rulemaking will safely permit the importation of fresh beef from Brazil.

Some commenters cited FMD's 14-day incubation period as an additional risk factor. It was suggested that infected cattle may not exhibit clinical signs of FMD during the incubation period. According to those commenters, such cattle could be slaughtered and enter the food chain, with the FMD-infected beef derived from them potentially being exported to the United States. Commenters advised us to adopt what they stated was the recommendation of the OIE for a 3-week quarantine of animals from which beef for export is to be derived and for the complete segregation of animals in the export zone from animals in adjacent infected zones.

APHIS disagrees with the commenters. The OIE guidelines do not require the quarantine of cattle whose beef is destined for exportation from FMD-free regions with vaccination. Article 8.7.24 of the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code states that veterinary authorities of countries importing fresh meat from countries or regions recognized by the OIE as FMD-free with vaccination should require the presentation of an international veterinary certificate attesting that the entire consignment of meat comes from animals which (1) have either been kept in the free-with-vaccination region or country or otherwise meet OIE requirements for live animal imports under Chapter 8.7 and (2) have been slaughtered in an approved abattoir and have been subjected to ante- and post-mortem inspections for FMD with favorable results. Similarly, under this rulemaking we require that the animals from which the meat is derived must have been born and raised in the exporting region. Because the animals would have lived only in the exporting region, they would be unlikely to have been exposed to the FMD virus, and, if exposed, would have been immunized against the particular FMD strains that are prevalent in the region. APHIS does recognize the possibility, however remote, that because cattle that are in the early stages of the FMD incubation period may not show clinical signs of FMD, an ante-mortem inspection could fail to detect the disease, and FMD-infected cattle could be presented for slaughter, processing, and export of meat. In our view, however, the additional mitigation measures contained in this rulemaking, which include requiring the maturation of the beef in a chiller until the pH level in the longissimus dorsi is less than 6.0 and the removal of bovine parts, such as the head, feet, and internal organs, that are associated with a higher FMD risk than muscle tissue will ensure that beef may be safely imported into the United States from Brazil.

Some of the comments expressed reservations about the efficacy of the maturation requirements contained in the proposed rule, which included chilling of the carcass after slaughter for a minimum of 24 and a maximum of 48 hours to ensure that the pH in the loin muscle will be below 6.0. One commenter stated that chilling beef may be inadequate for eliminating the FMD virus, since that virus can remain active in blood clots. Another commenter stated that the reduction of pH is not included as one of the recognized procedures for the inactivation of FMD virus in meat in the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code. It was suggested that, in order to effectively reduce the risk of FMD virus presence in meat, freezing should occur after maturation. According to one commenter, however, if freezing occurs too early after slaughter, any FMD virus that is present in the meat may survive for months.

Based on the existing scientific literature, it is generally accepted that FMD virus is inactivated at pH 6.0 or below after maturation at a temperature of 4 °C. Acidification of skeletal muscle that takes place during carcass maturation is normally sufficient to inactivate FMD virus in this tissue, even when cattle are killed at the height of viremia. Because it is known that the required level of acidification cannot be guaranteed under all circumstances, measuring of the pH level of the carcass muscle can be used to ensure that it has occurred.

APHIS agrees that chilling alone may not be adequate to eliminate the virus. Other tissues, organs, etc., that may harbor FMD virus, such as blood clots, heads, feet, viscera, bones, and major lymph nodes, do not undergo acidification, allowing the virus to survive the maturation process and subsequent low-temperature storage. Under this rulemaking, however, as noted previously, these tissues and organs must be removed from the carcasses prior to export to the United States.

Some commenters, though, also questioned the efficacy of those mitigation measures. It was stated that their effectiveness had not been demonstrated conclusively by the scientific literature. It was claimed that there is no agreed safe threshold level in the literature for FMD virus contamination for deboned beef. It was also claimed that scientific information is lacking on the amount of residual blood clot, lymph node, and bone tissue remaining after deboning, which is a concern because, as noted above, FMD virus can survive maturation in the lymph nodes and bone marrow. Information was also said to be lacking on the survivability of the FMD virus in deboned beef from carcasses where the normal acidification of skeletal muscle had not occurred and on FMD survival in fat tissues.

APHIS recognizes that blood clots and lymph nodes do not undergo acidification. As explained above, however, under this rulemaking, these tissues and organs must be removed from the carcasses prior to export to the United States. Carcasses in which normal acidification has not occurred would not be eligible for export to the United States. The rule allows the importation of muscle tissue, but not fat, into the United States. The demonstrated efficacy of maturation in inactivating the FMD virus in carcasses has already been noted. Even where marbling occurs, the maturation process is sufficient to inactivate the FMD virus.

A number of commenters expressed reservations about the effectiveness of vaccinating animals as a means of mitigating the risk of exposing U.S. livestock to FMD via imported beef. It was stated that vaccinated animals may become FMD carriers; that vaccinations are not foolproof due to variations in disease strain (FMD has seven distinct serotypes), mutations, and differences in susceptibility of organisms; and that wildlife cannot be vaccinated. The Government of Nicaragua, in comments submitted, claimed that the efficacy of immunization via vaccination with strains of attenuated virus remains a subject of scientific debate. Commenters further stated that FMD may spread by means of contaminated vaccines or the escape of the virus from vaccine production facilities. It was suggested that APHIS should stick to its previous policy of allowing imports only from regions free of a disease without vaccination.

APHIS acknowledges that vaccination of livestock has certain limitations as a risk-mitigation measure and for that reason, does not recognize a country that vaccinates for FMD as free of the disease. Vaccination of cattle against FMD introduces risks related to the immunological response within the vaccinated herd. While a large percentage of individual animals in the herd may fully respond to FMD vaccination, some animals may have a limited response, resulting in partial or no immunity. Still, the scientific literature and decades of epidemiological, surveillance, and trade data indicate that the combination of vaccination and the mitigation measures we require under this rulemaking, (e.g., inspection, removal of certain tissue from the carcasses, and maturation), are adequate to appropriately minimize the risk of introduction of FMD into the United States via the importation of fresh beef from countries that vaccinate for FMD. In 2003, APHIS authorized the importation of fresh beef under the same conditions that are found in this rule from Uruguay, a region that, like the exporting region of Brazil covered under this rule, is free of FMD with vaccination. The importation of such Uruguayan beef has not been associated with an increased risk of FMD. Further, as we described in the risk assessment and will discuss in greater detail later in this document, Brazil has an effective vaccination program. Quality control measures are in place to ensure that the FMD virus will not be spread by contaminated vaccines or insufficient biosecurity measures at vaccine production facilities. FMD vaccine production in Brazil complies with international guidelines.

Some commenters expressed reservations about APHIS' ability to prevent the introduction of FMD into the United States via beef imports from Brazil and to respond to an outbreak should one occur. It was stated that APHIS has neither the physical and financial resources to adequately inspect Brazilian beef production and processing sites or to control an outbreak in the United States. Additionally, some commenters stated that production and distribution of appropriate vaccines could prove challenging in the event of an outbreak in the United States.

We disagree with some of these comments. In carrying out our safeguarding mission, APHIS works to ensure the continued health and welfare of our nation's livestock and poultry. One important aspect of this work is making sure we can readily detect foreign animal diseases, such as FMD, and respond efficiently and effectively when faced with an outbreak. APHIS partners with other Federal, State, and local government agencies and private cooperators to expand the pool of available resources we can draw on in an emergency. We recognize that, depending on the size and scope of an outbreak, the production and distribution of vaccines could prove challenging. While we do have a resource in the North American Foot-and-Mouth Disease Vaccine Bank, which stores many types of inactivated FMD virus antigens, this resource might be overwhelmed in the face of a large and expanding outbreak. APHIS continues to discuss this issue and engage our stakeholders in planning and preparation for any response.

As discussed later in this document and in the risk assessment, we consider the feeding of FMD-contaminated waste to susceptible animals, particularly swine, to be the most likely pathway for the transmission of the disease. A commenter representing the pork industry questioned whether budget cuts to APHIS and State animal health staffs have had a negative effect on the ability to carry out the regulatory activities outlined in the Swine Health Protection Act (SHPA), and if so, whether the resulting reduction in regulatory activities had decreased the number of inspections and searches for unlicensed garbage-feeding operations to a level lower than that we found in a pathway analysis we conducted in 1995 to estimate the likelihood of exposing swine to infected waste.

Budget cuts to APHIS have necessitated a reordering of priorities in relation to SHPA-related activities. We have deemphasized or passed on to State partners or other cooperators lower-yield activities, such as visiting restaurants to inquire about garbage-disposal methods, in favor of allowing inspectors to spend more time interacting with and educating swine producers and conducting inspections. The regular presence of APHIS inspectors in U.S. garbage feeding facilities provides opportunities to educate operators on disease signs and reporting requirements and to conduct direct observation of animals for signs of illness. APHIS believes, therefore, that the presence of animal products infected with FMD or other reportable conditions entering the United States would be detected more quickly in these types of premises than in other, unregulated premises.

Brazilian Disease Control Measures

Many commenters opposed the December 2013 proposed rule on the grounds that, contrary to the conclusions of our risk assessment, Brazil's existing disease-control measures are inadequate to prevent producers in that country from exporting FMD-contaminated beef to the United States. Commenters expressed concerns about, among other things, Brazil's vaccination program, testing and disease reporting protocols, slaughter plant procedures, veterinary infrastructure, international border and internal movement controls, and the possibility of wildlife infecting the Brazilian cattle herd with FMD.

We have already noted that some commenters questioned the efficacy of vaccination as a means of combatting the spread of FMD. A number of commenters also expressed reservations specific to Brazil's vaccination procedures. It was stated that Brazil's reported 77 to 99 percent vaccination rate is inadequate for preventing the spread of FMD, that not all Brazilian States vaccinate, and that the lowest vaccination rate in the exporting region is in Mato Grosso, which has the country's highest cattle population. It was suggested, as noted above, that FMD could spread in Brazil through contaminated vaccines or escapes of the virus from vaccine production facilities. In addition, one commenter expressed concern about the qualifications of some individuals administering vaccinations in Brazil, noting that farmers may vaccinate their own animals or hire professionals who do not have to be registered with or accredited by the Brazilian Government to do the job for them.

In Brazil, vaccination is used to prevent the transmission of the FMD virus in the event that the disease were to be introduced in the region. Vaccination of cattle and buffalo is required in the exporting region. The aim of the vaccination program is to immunize at least 80 percent of bovines in a region in order to provide the protection and herd immunity needed to stop the spread of disease. While our risk assessment indicated that there was 76 percent coverage of bovines under 12 months of age in Mato Grosso, the much higher vaccination rates for bovines over that age, which represent most of the bovine population in the State, means that the overall vaccination rate there well exceeds 80 percent. More recent data described in a peer reviewed Journal, indicates that the vaccination coverage in Brazil as a whole exceeded 95 percent during the 2007-2011 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2012.0381). All FMD vaccines produced or used in Brazil must follow OIE guidelines, including being tested for quality and safety by government officials. APHIS did not detect any evidence to suggest that unacceptable biologics or vaccines are being used in Brazil. Vaccination records are verified by local veterinary unit (LVU) personnel and may also be verified by field inspectors visiting individual premises. Despite the fact that Brazilian State or Federal personnel do not physically observe all vaccinations, records in LVU offices that were reviewed by APHIS indicated that vaccination coverage was quite complete, reaching almost 100 percent.

Many commenters expressed concern about Brazil's disease-testing and reporting standards, citing delays in reporting a 2010 case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and in conducting the required testing in the wake of the detection and sending the OIE lab samples. It was also noted that during the time between the discovery of the case and the reporting of it, Brazil continued shipping processed meat to the United States.

APHIS agrees that the delays in the testing and reporting of the atypical BSE case detected in Brazil were problematic. Representatives of APHIS and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) visited Brazil in February 2013 to evaluate the BSE laboratory infrastructure, emergency response capabilities, and BSE-related mitigations at the slaughter level. In addition, as a result of the delays in testing and reporting of this case, MAPA conducted audits of the laboratories to identify areas for change and improvement and subsequently implemented several new procedures to assure the timely testing of samples and reporting of results. These included the addition of a second laboratory to conduct immunohistochemistry tests, the expansion of testing capabilities, and the development of an inter-laboratory data management system to issue reports, record improper samples, and flag delays in sample receipt, completion, and notification of test results.

To evaluate Brazil's FMD-related laboratory capabilities, APHIS' risk assessment included site visits to various diagnostic laboratories in Rio Grande do Sul, Pará, Recife, and Pernambuco in 2002, 2008, and 2013. Based on those visits, APHIS concluded that Brazil has the diagnostic capability to adequately test samples for the presence of the FMD virus. Staffing was sufficient at the facilities, and staff members were well-trained and motivated. Laboratory equipment was adequate for diagnosing FMD, and quality control activities included routine monitoring and calibrating of the equipment. The tests used to investigate evidence of viral activity were consistent with OIE guidelines. The laboratories also had effective and efficient recordkeeping systems for storage and retrieval of data, and were able to turn samples around quickly.

Some commenters claimed that Brazil has failed to report detections of FMD within its cattle population and, therefore, could not be relied upon to report such detections in the future.

We disagree with the commenters. During the FMD outbreaks in 2005 and 2006, MAPA demonstrated that it has the capability to detect disease quickly, limit its spread, and report promptly. FMD cases were quickly identified, the disease was contained, and international authorities were notified in a timely manner. Further, as stated in our risk assessment, we did not detect any evidence to suggest that active outbreaks of FMD exist in the export region. Despite occasional outbreaks of FMD in Brazil and in neighboring countries of South America, APHIS considers the disease to be under control in the export region.

It was also noted that the protocols in place for reporting disease within Brazil depend on self-reporting by producers, which some commenters view as an unreliable method.

While passive disease surveillance in Brazil relies on self-reporting, producers, veterinarians, and others are required by law to report clinical signs of FMD to veterinary authorities. Failure to comply with FMD reporting requirements may result in penalties or fines.

Many commenters, noted that the exporting zone in Brazil borders FMD-affected regions, including the affected zone in Brazil, as well as Paraguay, Bolivia, and Argentina, and is not separated from all those regions by physical or geographic barriers. Commenters pointed out that there has been a history of FMD incursions in Brazil from neighboring countries and that as long as FMD remains endemic in South America, the possibility of reintroduction from those neighboring countries exists. Concerns were expressed about the adequacy of Brazil's border control measures. Commenters stated, among other things, that Brazil's border with Peru is not fixed and secure, that Brazil does not effectively control cattle coming in from Paraguay, and that there have been eyewitness accounts of unmanned Brazilian border inspection posts. A commenter stated that there was a discrepancy between our risk assessment and our environmental assessment in the way we characterized the physical barriers between the exporting region and affected regions and the possibility of virus transmission across those barriers. It was stated in the environmental assessment that some areas that APHIS regards as barriers could actually be wildlife disease reservoirs, but that the risk assessment contained no such statement.

In the risk assessment, we discussed the disease status of regions adjacent to the export region, the separation of those regions from the export region, and border controls. As noted in both that document and the environmental assessment, the exporting region has many natural barriers, such as large rivers, mountains, forests, and semiarid areas, along its international and internal borders. Even in relatively remote frontier areas, where there may be less surveillance and monitoring than in more populous ones, those geographic barriers restrict animal movement and human traffic, thereby preventing the spread of disease. In addition, Brazil collaborates with neighboring countries to harmonize FMD-related programs and restrictions. Mechanisms have been established to provide for immediate notification between these countries if an outbreak occurs. High-risk surveillance areas have been established on Brazil's borders with Argentina and Paraguay. Additionally, as discussed in greater detail below, research has determined that wildlife has not played a significant role in the maintenance and transmission of FMD in South America. We have added a statement to that effect to the environmental assessment, under the heading “Regulatory Control of FMD.”

One commenter suggested that we add to the final rule a requirement for a geographic buffer zone, i.e., a disease-free area, surrounding the export region. The commenter did not specify whether such a zone should apply to adjacent areas in Brazil or neighboring countries, or both.

Some of the same natural barriers, described above, that separate Brazil from neighboring countries also are present along the boundaries between the export region and other Brazilian States. Brazil's national FMD program provides for surveillance and reporting in the exporting area as well as in the adjacent Brazilian States. Buffer zones are already employed under Brazil's FMD program in areas where no natural barriers exist, along with enhanced border patrols. In addition, APHIS's site-visit team did not find any laboratory evidence that FMD currently exists anywhere in Brazil.

Some commenters stated that uncontrolled or inadequately controlled movement of wildlife in South America generally, and countries bordering Brazil in particular, may pose a risk of spreading FMD into the exporting zone of Brazil.

Although several South American wild animal species are susceptible to FMD, research into FMD in South America has determined that wildlife populations, including feral swine, do not play a significant role in the maintenance and transmission of FMD. During outbreak situations, wildlife may become affected by FMD; however, the likelihood that they would become carriers under field conditions is rare. Therefore, it is unlikely that FMD would be introduced into the exporting region through movement of infected wildlife. Further, Brazil's biosecurity measures, surveillance activities, and response capabilities, which we evaluated in our risk assessment, would mitigate the already low risk of the FMD virus spreading from wildlife to livestock in the exporting region of Brazil.

One commenter stated that Brazil is OIE certified as FMD free in just 2 of 26 States and relaxed its vaccination regimen almost 2 years ago.

The OIE currently recognizes the Brazilian State of Santa Catarina as FMD-free without vaccination. In addition, however, the OIE recognizes States and zones within Brazil as FMD-free with vaccination. The area so recognized by the OIE, which largely coincides with part of the APHIS exporting region, may be viewed on the OIE Web site at http://www.oie.int/animal-health-in-the-world/official-disease-status/fmd/list-of-fmd-free-members/.

A commenter stated that beef from Brazil may not meet Canada's import requirements and therefore could not be commingled with U.S. beef being shipped to Canada. The commenter expressed concern that U.S. beef exporters wishing to export beef to Canada could be negatively affected as a result of this rule.

The commenter's statement is correct but is not germane to the current rulemaking. Brazil does not export beef to Canada. U.S. exporters wishing to export beef to Canada have a legal obligation to meet that country's requirements by not commingling beef that is eligible for export to Canada, with beef that is not.

Some commenters questioned the efficacy of Brazil's internal animal movement controls. Noting that greater market opportunities and the resulting higher prices offered in the export region might foster illegal animal movements into that region from affected regions in Brazil, commenters questioned whether there were sufficiently stringent procedures in place in Brazil to restrict such movements. It was further stated that a European Commission (EC) audit found deficiencies in those controls. Some commenters also stated that Brazil does not require animal identification and that its voluntary traceability program and applies only to cattle whose meat is intended for countries that require traceability from birth, which the United States does not. That group of commenters included the Government of Nicaragua, which suggested that Brazil's “unreliable” traceability system could hinder its response to an outbreak of FMD, potentially allowing the disease to spread to other countries. One commenter expressed some doubt as to whether Brazil's traceability system, even if relatively effective, could aid in combatting an FMD outbreak, since traceability was not documented as effective in combatting FMD outbreaks in the United Kingdom.

We do not agree with these comments. Based on our review of the veterinary infrastructure in Brazil, we determined that MAPA, which oversees animal movement within the country, has the legal authority, technical capabilities, and personnel to implement the FMD program within Brazil. Movement controls in Brazil are stringent. As described in the risk assessment, MAPA requires that all cattle owners identify their animals with a unique brand. Sheep and swine are identified by a brand in the ear. Each LVU keeps a registry of brands and a complete registry of the cattle holdings in the region, with animal populations listed by age group and sex. The registry of holdings is updated at least twice per year, during the vaccination period, or when the animals are moved to another place. The LVU must issue an animal movement permit (GTA), which is required whenever animals are moved. The staff of the LVU is responsible for verifying that the vehicle transporting the animals has been cleaned and disinfected as required by law. A copy of the GTA is sent to the destination. Any inspection associated with animal movement involves checking the documents and verifying the animal information, as well as clinical observation of animal health. The EC Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) audits conducted in 2012 and 2013 found that post-mortem inspection were carried out in line with the EU requirements, that FMD related mitigation were conducted appropriately, and that Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points plans including traceability and maturation were implemented and verified by the veterinary authority were found to be satisfactory. In its most recent audit, conducted in October 2014, the EC FVO reported that that FMD-related requirements were met, and that Brazilian officials were able to demonstrate full traceability to farms of origin.

Other commenters expressed broader concerns about Brazil's disease-control activities, highlighting occasions when, the commenters suggested, Brazil may have failed to comply with safety standards. It was stated that, in the past, Brazil has failed to maintain equivalent safety standards for cooked products exported to the United States, causing FSIS to suspend imports of such products, that FSIS has not allowed imports from Santa Catarina, which we recognize as FMD-free, on the grounds that Brazil's microbiological and residue testing programs are deficient, and that repeated audits by FSIS and the EC have shown a failure on Brazil's part to promptly institute and maintain corrective action for deficiencies noted in previous audits. Commenters suggested that the results of those audits indicate that Brazil lacks either the willingness or the infrastructure to execute the consistent management controls needed to sufficiently mitigate the risk of the introduction of FMD into the United States through the importation of fresh beef. One commenter suggested that there was a dearth of veterinarians in Brazil who had the necessary training and expertise to manage a national FMD program.

As discussed in the risk assessment, APHIS evaluated the veterinary infrastructure of Brazil and concluded that MAPA has a system of official veterinarians and support staff in place for carrying out field programs and implementing import controls and animal quarantine. Additionally, MAPA has sufficient legal authority to carry out official control, eradication, and quarantine activities. We also determined that Brazil's technical infrastructure was adequate for rapid detection of FMD and for carrying out surveillance and eradication programs and that advanced technologies are utilized in conducting several animal health programs. Import controls are sufficient to protect international borders at principal crossing points.

A number of commenters expressed misgivings about Brazil's slaughter-plant procedures. It was suggested that Brazilian slaughter plants may be deficient on both sanitary and humane grounds. One commenter expressed doubt that, given Brazil's previous compliance issues, APHIS can be certain that beef imported from Brazil would have the lymph nodes removed in all cases, as required under this rulemaking. One commenter stated that if a pH meter at a Brazilian slaughter plant is faulty, infected beef may be exported to United States.

The commenters did not present specific evidence regarding deficiencies on sanitary or humane grounds at Brazilian slaughter plants. APHIS evaluated Brazil's ability to carry out slaughter-related mitigation measures, including ante-mortem and postmortem inspections and deboning and removal of lymph nodes from beef carcasses. We concluded that MAPA will be able to enforce compliance with our inspection and slaughter-plant processing procedures. Our assessment of Brazil's veterinary system included an evaluation of the likelihood of compliance with the pH requirement. Brazilian authorities monitoring slaughter plants calibrate the pH meters frequently. Beef that does not reach the required pH is not allowed to be exported to the United States and is diverted to the Brazilian domestic market.

A few commenters expressed BSE-related concerns about importing fresh beef from Brazil. One commenter stated that some countries have banned or restricted beef imports from Brazil due to concerns about safety, particularly regarding BSE. Another commenter questioned whether Brazil tests for E. coli and BSE.

These comments are beyond the scope of the present rulemaking, which contains FMD-related import restrictions. The risk assessment supporting the rulemaking specifically examined the potential risk of introducing FMD into the U.S. cattle population by allowing imports of fresh beef from Brazil under certain conditions. We would note, however, that the OIE currently recognizes Brazil as a negligible-risk country for BSE, a designation APHIS concurred with in a notice 2 published in the Federal Register on October 1, 2014 (79 FR 59207-59208, Docket No. APHIS-2013-0064). Should circumstances arise that would dictate a change in Brazil's BSE classification to a less favorable one, APHIS would require BSE mitigations for imports of beef as appropriate to the adjusted risk classification.

2 To view the notice and the comments we received, go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2013-0064.

Some commenters, citing what they characterized as Brazil's spotty record of compliance with safety standards, recommended that APHIS consider the development of an ongoing oversight protocol, beyond the usual port-of-entry testing, to monitor Brazil's compliance with our required risk mitigation measures. It was stated that APHIS has not adequately described how it will continue to provide oversight and/or monitor Brazil's animal health infrastructure indefinitely, to ensure that the country will maintain adequate controls to prevent the spread of FMD from other regions of Brazil or from neighboring countries to the exporting area.

The regulations in § 92.2 provide for such monitoring of regions after we recognize them for animal health status. We may require such a region to submit additional information pertaining to its animal health status and may also conduct additional site visits or other information collection activities in order to monitor the region's continued compliance with our requirements.

As discussed in greater detail below in the section pertaining to issues raised regarding our risk assessment, the findings from that assessment led us to conclude that the most likely pathway of exposure of domestic livestock to the FMD virus in beef was through feeding of contaminated food waste to swine. A commenter representing the pork industry questioned whether APHIS has current data regarding the level of biosecurity, security, veterinary care, routine health observations, and knowledge of disease reporting pathways in garbage-fed populations in Brazil. According to the commenter, such data are necessary to meet the goal of a foreign animal disease preparation and response plan. The commenter further enquired about the level of confidence APHIS has regarding the education provided to licensed garbage feeders and whether biosecurity and veterinary care protocols and disease reporting procedures are being followed in Brazil.

Licensed garbage feeders are generally provided with education by MAPA during routine inspections by Brazilian animal health regulatory staff on topics including the importance of proper cooking, signs of foreign animal diseases, appropriate biosecurity measures, etc. Mandatory inspections conducted by MAPA at least quarterly provide confidence in the ability of licensed garbage feeding operations to maintain biosecurity and reporting requirement protocols. Demonstration of adequate facilities and equipment is a requirement for obtaining and maintaining licensure.

One commenter cited the refusal of countries other than the United States whose producers are represented under the Five Nations Beef Alliance to accept Brazilian beef as a reason for not allowing it to be imported into the United States. The Five Nations Beef Alliance consists of the national beef cattle producers' organizations of Australia, Canada, Mexico, and New Zealand—our top livestock trading partners—as well as the United States. The commenter recommended that no Brazilian beef be imported into the United States until all the members of the Five Nations Beef Alliance decide that such imports are safe.

We do not agree with this comment. The Five Nations Beef Alliance is an industry association that lobbies on behalf of the beef industry in support of its economic interests. Our international trade agreements permit us to impose only those sanitary and phytosanitary measures necessary to protect human, animal, or plant life or health on the basis of scientific principles and evidence. We cannot take such actions for economic reasons alone or on the basis of the actions of industry associations.

Some commenters stated that any beef we import from Brazil should be labeled as such, thus enabling U.S. consumers to make informed decisions regarding their beef purchases.

Country of origin labeling is already required under the Agricultural Marketing Service regulations in 7 CFR part 65.

A commenter stated that there was a lack of information on disease serotypes and strains outside the export zone.

APHIS disagrees with the commenter. In our risk assessment, under Factor 3, “Disease Status of Adjacent Regions” (pp. 23 to 29), we describe FMD outbreaks that occurred in the countries and Brazilian States adjacent to the export area, including the serotypes involved in the outbreaks over the last 10 years.

Risk Assessment

A large number of commenters voiced reservations about both the methodology we used to conduct our risk assessment of the proposed exporting region of Brazil and the conclusions we reached in that document.

Some commenters noted that, in the past, APHIS has characterized other countries, (e.g., Argentina, Japan, and South Korea), as low-risk countries for FMD, and that, soon after we did so, outbreaks of the disease occurred in those countries.

Because disease situations are fluid and no country, not even the United States, can guarantee perpetual freedom from a disease, APHIS' risk analyses consider whether a country can quickly detect, respond, and report changes in disease situations. In our evaluation, conducted according to the factors identified in § 92.2, “Application for recognition of the animal health status of a region,” we concluded that the specified region of Brazil has the legal framework, animal health infrastructure, movement and border controls, diagnostic capabilities, surveillance programs, and emergency response systems necessary to detect, report, control, and manage FMD outbreaks.

As a member of OIE, Brazil is obligated to immediately notify the organization of any FMD outbreak or other important epidemiological event. The notification must include the reason for the notification, the name of the disease, the affected species, the geographical area affected, the control measures applied, and any laboratory tests carried out or in progress.

Upon notification of an FMD outbreak in the exporting region of Brazil, APHIS would implement critical prevention measures to respond to the outbreak, including alerting U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspectors at all ports of entry. Because § 94.29(b) requires that FMD must not have been diagnosed in the exporting region within the past 12 months, fresh beef from the region would no longer meet our requirements, and we would immediately stop importation.

Some commenters questioned the methodology we employed for the site visits to Brazil. It was claimed that there is no obvious evidence of any established protocol or methodology to allow for consistency and assurance in the quality of the APHIS site visit reviews and that documentation pertaining to the visits was lacking or unavailable for public review. According to one commenter, documents pertaining to the specific methodology and measurements used during the site visits to support the qualitative risk assessment should have been available for the public to review. It was stated that without sufficient documentation, there was no way to distinguish between data obtained from the site visits and data supplied by the Government of Brazil. It was recommended that APHIS develop a protocol, which it should make available to the public, to be used for site visits so that our assessments can be analyzed and summarized more objectively.

APHIS' site visits consist of an in-depth evaluation of the eight factors identified in § 92.2 (scope of the evaluation being requested, veterinary control and oversight, disease history and vaccination practices, livestock demographics and traceability, epidemiological separation from potential sources of infection, surveillance, diagnostic laboratory capabilities, and emergency preparedness and response) as factors to consider in assessing the risk of transmission of an animal disease to U.S. livestock via the importation of animals or animal products from a foreign region. Risk factors are identified from the information gathered on these topics, and applicable mitigations are discussed. The regulations in § 92.2 are publically available at: http://www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-07-27/html/2012-18324.htm. Further information on site visits is available in a guidance document regarding APHIS' approach to implementing its regionalization process and the way in which APHIS applies risk analysis to the decisionmaking process for regionalization. This document is available to the public at: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export/animals/downloads/regionalization_process.pdf.

Our five site visits to Brazil, conducted in 2002, 2003, 2006, 2008, and 2013, included visits to Federal, State, and local veterinary offices, farms, border control stations, and diagnostic laboratories. The findings from these visits are discussed thoroughly in the risk assessment document. As noted in that document, the scope of the 2002 site visit included verification of FMD outbreak controls, an overview of the surveillance program and laboratory capabilities, vaccination practices and eradication activities, and movement and border controls. The focus of the 2003 site visit was to collect data that APHIS used in its risk assessment. The focus of the 2006 site visit was to evaluate the FMD situation following the 2005-2006 outbreak in Paraná and Mato Grosso do Sul. The focus of the 2008 visit was to evaluate the Brazilian State of Santa Catarina for freedom from classical swine fever, FMD, African swine fever, and swine vesicular disease. Finally, the scope of the 2013 visit included the evaluation of the FMD diagnostic capabilities, FMD laboratories, and vesicular disease emergency response.

Another issue raised in regard to our site visits was that not all of the factors for animal health status were reviewed during each of the site visits by APHIS. It was stated that because each site visit had a different focus, some of the information our site-visit teams obtained may now be out of date. For example, one commenter claimed that some risk factors associated with the importation of beef from Brazil, such as movement and border controls, appeared not to have been verified through site visits since the 2002 visit.

Even though a site visit may have a particular focus, all factors are evaluated during each visit, with emphasis on changes implemented since the previous one. Any observed changes in risk are noted in the risk assessment. If no changes are noted, then no changes are made to that factor in the risk assessment, and the original date for which risk was described is maintained. In the example noted below, movement and border controls were verified in site visits subsequent to 2002. However, since no significant changes were noted in risk, the 2002 date was retained to indicate when the initial observation was made.

Some commenters viewed the documentation supporting our risk assessment as insufficient. It was further noted that some of those supporting documents were in Portuguese. As a result, according to the commenters, transparency was lacking regarding our research methodology and the manner in which we arrived at our conclusions. It was also claimed that the documents we did make available lacked consistency and evidence of verification of our findings.

All of the documents that were provided by the Government of Brazil have been shared with stakeholders who requested them. APHIS acknowledges that some of the documents used as references in the risk analysis were submitted to APHIS in Portuguese; however, APHIS personnel involved in the evaluation had sufficient language skills to read those documents without requiring that they be translated into English. In addition, in most instances, the same or related data were provided in other documents or verbally presented to APHIS during site visits. The information provided by Brazil and the conclusions reached are thoroughly described in the risk analysis that was made available for public review and comment.

Some commenters stated that APHIS should prepare a quantitative risk assessment for beef from Brazil and make it available for public review. Commenters took the position that the qualitative risk assessment methodology that we employed is too subjective because it fails to quantify objectively the probability of risk and adequately assess the magnitude of the consequences of a disease outbreak. Noting that APHIS prepared a quantitative risk assessment in 2002 in support of the rulemaking allowing the importation of fresh beef from Uruguay, commenters questioned why APHIS chose to prepare only a qualitative risk assessment for Brazil.

Most of APHIS' risk analyses for FMD have been, and continue to be, qualitative in nature. APHIS believes that, when coupled with site visit evaluations, qualitative risk analyses provide the necessary information to assess the risk of the introduction of FMD through importation of commodities such as fresh beef. Quantitative risk analysis models may not be the best tool to use to assess the risk of FMD posed by exports from a country, such as in cases where the types of data required by such models are either unavailable or suffer from a high level of parameter uncertainty. In these instances, APHIS' approach is to characterize the risk of outbreak qualitatively in order to determine what appropriate measures to implement in order to mitigate the risk posed to the United States in the event of an outbreak in the exporting country (e.g., maturation and pH of beef, no diagnosis of FMD in the previous 12 months).

Some commenters raised issues regarding the scope of our risk assessment. It was stated that the release assessment, exposure assessment, and consequence assessment appeared to be incomplete with regard to the necessary steps and requirements described in the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code.

We conducted the risk assessment guided by Chapter 2.1 of the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code, “Import Risk Analysis.” The Code recommends that risk assessments include four steps: An entry assessment, an exposure assessment, a consequence assessment, and an overall risk estimation based on the data compiled in the previous three steps. A description of each of those steps is included. In conducting our risk assessment of Brazil, we followed the steps listed in the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code. Where there are differences between APHIS' methodology and that described by the OIE, they have more to do with terminology than methodology. For example, we refer to what the OIE terms the entry assessment as a release assessment.

Some commenters did not view the eight factors listed § 92.2 as sufficiently comprehensive for conducting a risk assessment, suggesting that we should have relied on the OIE guidelines instead.

We did evaluate Brazil using the factors listed in § 92.2. These factors, however, are essentially the same as the factors listed in Chapter 1.6 of the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code. Both § 92.2 and the OIE Code provide for the evaluation of a region seeking recognition for a disease status on the basis of, among other things, the region's veterinary infrastructure, disease history, geographical separation from affected regions, diagnostic and surveillance capabilities, and emergency response planning. Both the OIE Code and § 92.2 require the requesting region to provide the same documentation.

In contrast to the comments discussed above, one commenter criticized our risk assessment methodology on the grounds that we granted too much deference to the OIE guidelines, thus violating our statutory mandate to protect U.S. livestock.

We do not agree with this comment. As noted above, the OIE evaluation criteria and those in § 92.2 essentially cover the same topics. In addition, the site visits we conduct as part of our risk assessment process enable us to verify the requesting country's disease status and its ability to maintain that status and to control outbreaks if they occur.

Commenters also took issue with the release assessment for suggesting that wildlife does not play a significant role in the transmission of FMD. It was claimed that the statement lacked support in the scientific literature.

The epidemiology of the disease in South America over time and the information provided in the surveillance section of the risk assessment clearly demonstrate that the role of wildlife in disease transmission in the area under consideration is insignificant. Many decades of experience with the disease have shown no consistent relationship between outbreaks in domestic animals and coexistence of susceptible wild animals in South America. In addition, results of repeated serological testing focusing on cattle as the most susceptible species do not reveal evidence of viral activity in domestic ruminants that are likely to contact wild animals. If wild animals were carriers or reservoirs of FMD, evidence of viral activity would be expected in domestic species coexisting in the same regions as infected wild animals.

Some commenters also claimed that the biological pathways for the release of pathogens were not described clearly in the release assessment.

We address biological pathways for the release of the FMD virus in the exposure assessment, which we discuss in greater detail below.

Commenters stated that our exposure assessment identified only a single exposure pathway: The feeding of FMD-contaminated beef to susceptible animals. It was stated that the exposure assessment included no discussion of any alternative exposure pathways for FMD, such as illegal imports and backyard pig feeding. It was further stated that the exposure assessment should have focused on the effects of plate waste or manufacturing waste processing for swine feeding on the survival of FMD virus.

There is a general scientific understanding on the main pathway of FMD exposure via the importation of fresh beef. This pathway is through the feeding of food waste to swine. The likelihood of exposure of FMD-susceptible species to FMD-infected beef was evaluated by reviewing previous studies we conducted. In 1995, we conducted a pathway analysis to estimate the likelihood of exposing swine to infected waste. With 95 percent confidence, we estimated that 0.023 percent or less of plate and manufacturing waste would be inadequately processed prior to feeding to swine. Based on this percentage, less than 1 part in 4,300 of imported beef fed to swine as plate or manufacturing waste is likely to be inadequately cooked. The findings of a 2001 APHIS survey, which showed a substantial reduction in waste-feeding operations, further indicated that the risk of FMD exposure via feeding of contaminated waste to swine was continuing to decline.

Some commenters stated that that the pork industry has undergone significant changes since we conducted the 1995 risk analysis and 2001 survey cited above. A commenter representing a national pork producers' association questioned the validity of our 1995 pathway analysis in particular, stating that the findings are outdated and incomplete. Other commenters also expressed skepticism that the 1995 analysis and the 2001 survey adequately reflect the current risk to the U.S. pork industry of the introduction of FMD into the United States through garbage feeding. It was suggested that APHIS needs to consider obtaining updated scientific data, independent of the 2001 APHIS waste-feeder survey, in order to better verify the exposure assessment for FMD presented in the risk analysis.

APHIS acknowledges that the pork industry in general has undergone significant changes since 1995; however, the garbage-feeding industry in particular, which we discuss in greater detail immediately below, has not. In that discussion, we elaborate on our reasons for our confidence that the 1995 risk analysis and 2001 survey adequately reflect the current risk to the U.S. pork industry from the feeding of contaminated food waste to swine.

One commenter stated that, according to APHIS reports to the U.S. Animal Health Association's Transmissible Diseases of Swine Committee, from 2009 to 2013, a number of unlicensed garbage feeders were found each year by State and Federal animal health authorities. The commenter asked if APHIS has any supporting information that estimates the number of unlicensed garbage-feeding facilities.

Procedures for the handling, processing, and feeding of food waste to swine in the United States are subject to our swine health protection regulations in 9 CFR part 166. Compliance with the regulations has improved in recent years, thereby reducing the probability of survival of FMD virus in the food waste. Searches for non-licensed garbage feeding facilities are regularly conducted using several different techniques as part of the duties of APHIS animal health staff, as well as State animal health and other State agency staff. When unlicensed garbage feeding facilities are identified, the unauthorized activity is documented, and the facility is brought into compliance. Depending on the State, all swine on such premises may be quarantined and tested for foreign animal diseases. Information on the number of inspections conducted to detect unlicensed garbage feeding facilities, the number of unlicensed facilities identified, and resolution of cases resulting from such identification are captured at the State level and evaluated by APHIS on a regular basis. Given the regular monitoring of these facilities and their relatively small number, we stand by the conclusions we reached in our 1995 risk analysis.

A commenter stated that our consequence assessment should have focused on the specific commodity to be imported, as outlined in the scope of the risk assessment.

The consequence assessment did examine at some length the possible economic consequences for the cattle industry, as well as other livestock industries, that could result from an outbreak of FMD in the United States.

Commenters took issue with the methodology we used for evaluating the efficacy of Brazil's movement and border controls. As noted in the risk assessment, APHIS assumes that, if the riskiest pathways are sufficiently mitigated, then the overall spectrum of risk issues should be acceptable. The commenters viewed that assumption as unwarranted.

We do not agree with this comment. APHIS tries to target the riskiest border crossings (and other areas) during site visits as examples of a type of “maximized risk scenario” in order to address similar, but theoretically lower, risks in the remainder of the export region. Using this assumption and visiting the areas of highest risk in the export region, APHIS concluded that movement control measures for live animals are effective at both domestic and international checkpoints. The commenters did not present any evidence to support their claim that this methodology is flawed.

A commenter objected to the terminology we used in characterizing the FMD risk associated with imports of beef from Brazil. It was stated that the characterization of the risk of FMD introduction as “low” was arbitrary and misleading. The commenter stated that the term “low” actually falls in the middle of the risk spectrum, meaning, in the view of the commenter, that the actual risk of FMD introduction from Brazil was unacceptably high. The same commenter also stated that there was a discrepancy between the risk assessment, which characterized the risk as “low” and the environmental assessment, which characterized the risk as “extremely unlikely.”

APHIS disagrees with the commenter. We employ the term “low” to characterize the risk associated with importing a particular commodity when we have determined, based on a risk assessment, that the commodity can be safely imported into the United States under certain conditions. We base such determinations on our assessment of the exporting region's disease-control capabilities, as evaluated in relation to the eight factors in § 92.2, and the known efficacy of the risk mitigation measures available to us. The statements in the risk assessment and the environmental assessment are not contradictory. The environmental assessment refers to the risk of introduction of FMD into the United States as extremely unlikely. The risk assessment characterizes the combined risks of introduction and dissemination of the disease as low.

Economic Analysis

Many commenters expressed concern about the potentially devastating economic effect an outbreak of FMD in the United States could have on U.S. cattle producers. It was stated that the potential economic risks greatly outweigh the benefits of this rulemaking, and that the economic analysis accompanying the December 2013 proposed rule failed to take into account those potential costs. Some commenters recommended that we revise the economic analysis to account for those potential costs. It was suggested that we should perform a comprehensive, up-to-date economic analysis to identify consequences for all U.S. commodity groups potentially affected by an FMD outbreak.

It is true that an outbreak of FMD in the United States, whatever its source, could have very serious effects on the U.S. cattle industry. In the economic analysis accompanying the December 2013 proposed rule, we analyzed expected benefits and costs of annual imports of fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from Brazil averaging 40,000 metric tons (MT), and found that the expected changes in U.S. beef production, consumption, and exports would not be significant. We did not report on potential impacts of an FMD outbreak for the U.S. economy in the economic analysis accompanying the December 2013 proposed rule because, in our view, the risk-mitigation measures required of Brazil, which include deboning, maturation for at least 24 hours, and pH measurements below 6.0 in the loin muscle, will provide for the safe importation of beef from Brazil. The revised economic analysis accompanying this final rule, however, does analyze those potential impacts. We would further note that in the consequence assessment section of our risk assessment, we examined the potential economic and other consequences of an FMD outbreak in the United States at some length.

Some commenters also pointed out that an FMD outbreak in the United States could result in the loss of export markets for U.S. beef. It was further claimed that our economic analysis understated the value of those export markets.

An FMD outbreak would likely result in the loss of U.S. beef export markets. However, APHIS is confident that the required sanitary safeguards will ensure the safe importation of beef from Brazil as a result of this rule. Regarding the value of U.S. beef export markets, it can be measured differently depending on the combination of bovine products and composite prices used. The value can also vary based on how shipping and other transactional expenses may be included in reported prices. Commenters may consider the reported value of U.S. beef exports to be understated because of differences in product and price definitions. Nevertheless, attributing a higher value to U.S. beef export markets would not change our conclusion that the rule's impact on beef exports, as well as other segments of the beef industry, will be minor.

A commenter stated that allowing imports of beef from Brazil may cause a loss of consumer confidence in beef, resulting in a loss of profits for U.S. producers.

This is a hypothetical statement for which the commenter presents no supporting evidence.

A commenter expressed the view that the rulemaking would depress markets for U.S. producers and affect export markets because allowing imports from Brazil would facilitate Brazil's access to other international markets.

The question of whether or not allowing Brazilian beef to be imported into the United States would facilitate Brazilian producers' access to other international markets is beyond the scope of our economic analysis. The commenter did not present data that would support the proposition that Brazil's beef exports are likely to increase so precipitously as a result of this rulemaking that U.S. exporters would experience negative effects.

A commenter expressed the concern that the rulemaking would have adverse effects not only on U.S. beef producers but on associated industries as well.

Based on how small the volume of beef we project will be exported from Brazil to the United States relative to U.S. beef production, we anticipate that both U.S. beef producers and associated industries will be affected little, if at all, by this rulemaking.

Commenters questioned our projections regarding the amount of beef likely to be imported from Brazil and also expressed doubts about our assumption that Brazilian beef imports will mainly displace other imports rather than increasing the total volume of beef imports. It was stated that because exporting beef to the United States may be profitable for Brazilian producers, they are likely to ship more than the 40,000 MT of beef to the United States that we estimated they would in an average year.

Our import projections are based on the data we obtain from industry and other sources and the use of published models. In the preamble to the December 2013 proposed rule, we noted that we did not have all of the data necessary for a comprehensive analysis of the effects of the proposed rule on small entities, and we solicited comments on the potential effects. Because the commenters did not supply information that contradicted the data upon which we relied, that called into question the model we used, or that supported in any way the suggestion that our projections were inaccurate, we did not have cause to revise our projections.

Another commenter, while agreeing with our projection that Brazilian beef imports would most likely displace imports from elsewhere, questioned why the rulemaking was necessary if those existing imports are not problematic and there is no increased demand for beef by U.S. consumers.

The United States and many other member countries are a part of the rules-based international trading system, which has benefitted Members through the maintenance of open international markets. Under our international trade agreements, we consider requests from countries and regions to import their animals and/or animal products. Before such requests are granted, we must first assess the risks to U.S. herds posed by imports by evaluating the requesting country or region's disease status and the efficacy of its risk-mitigation measures. The United States' and other WTO Members' international trade obligations ensure that decisions regarding market access are based on scientific principles and risk assessments. U.S. demand for these products is not a part of the consideration of such requests.

One commenter characterized the proposed rule as a misguided attempt to remedy short-term beef price increases. The commenter stated that the U.S. cattle herd needs to be rebuilt, but the rulemaking may discourage producers from restocking.

The commenter's statement is a hypothetical one and, as such, difficult to evaluate. We did not receive any data from this or other commenters that would suggest that the rulemaking would discourage U.S. cattle producers from restocking.

A commenter claimed that the rulemaking would result in a larger drop in steer prices than the 0.14 percent we projected in the economic analysis supporting the December 2013 proposed rule.

We arrived at that estimate using results from a published economic model.3 Had the commenter supplied a different set of substantiated data, we could have reevaluated our estimate.

3 Paarlberg, Philip L., Ann Hillberg Seitzinger, John G. Lee, and Kenneth H. Mathews, Jr. Economic Impacts of Foreign Animal Disease. Economic Research Report Number 57. USDA ERS, May 2008.

Some commenters suggested that in the event of an FMD outbreak in the United States, APHIS should indemnify or otherwise support U.S. cattle producers.

APHIS' ability to pay indemnities is dependent upon the availability of funds. In the past, APHIS has indemnified producers whose livestock had to be depopulated as part of disease-eradication efforts.

Some commenters objected to the proposed rule because of what they perceived as economic favoritism. Commenters claimed that the rulemaking favored meat packers and processors at the expense of farmers. It was also asserted that the proposed rule favored Brazilian producers at the expense of U.S. producers because U.S. producers would not be able to compete on price with their Brazilian counterparts, and that, therefore, the rule would have the unintended effect of shrinking the U.S. cattle herd and expanding Brazil's.

We undertook this rulemaking at the request of Brazil and in accordance with our international trade agreements. We based this rulemaking on the findings of our risk assessment that fresh beef could safely be imported into the United States from Brazil under certain conditions. We do not believe this rule favors one sector or country over another, and the commenters did not provide evidence to support their claims.

Miscellaneous Comments

In addition to the issues already discussed in this document, commenters raised a few others that did not fit neatly into any of the above categories.

One commenter recommended that we allow the importation of fetal bovine serum from Brazil.

That comment is beyond the scope of the present rulemaking, which concerns the FMD status of Brazil and the importation of Brazilian beef.

Other commenters suggested that the rulemaking may lead to deforestation and/or environmental degradation.

The commenters did not explain how the rulemaking would have those effects. USDA prepared an environmental assessment, but the focus of the environmental assessment is to evaluate the potential impacts of allowing for the importation of fresh, maturated, and deboned beef from a region in Brazil into the United States, and not on increased deforestation in Brazil.

One commenter stated that the rulemaking does not comply with our statutory obligation to develop rural America.

The commenter did not cite any particular statute to support the claim that we were not meeting our statutory obligations.

Commenters writing on behalf of an association representing Hispanic and Native American livestock producers claimed that the rulemaking violates the civil rights and fair trade rights of minority livestock producers.

As we noted in the economic analysis accompanying the December 2013 proposed rule, we do not anticipate that the rulemaking will have a significant economic effect on any livestock producers. In the absence of economic or competitive harm, we do not see this rule as violating the rights of any group.

Miscellaneous

We are making an editorial change to § 94.29(a) for the sake of clarity. In the December 2013 proposed rule, the paragraph read as follows: “The meat is beef or ovine meat from animals that have been born, raised, and slaughtered in the exporting region of Brazil or in Uruguay.” As written, that paragraph could be interpreted to indicate that not only beef but also ovine meat could be imported from the exporting region of Brazil. Since ovine meat may not be imported from Brazil under § 94.29, we have edited the paragraph in this final rule to read as follows: “The meat is: (1) Beef from Brazil derived from animals that have been born, raised, and slaughtered in the exporting region of Brazil; or (2) Beef or ovine meat from Uruguay derived from animals that have been born, raised, and slaughtered in Uruguay.”

Therefore, for the reasons given in the proposed rule and in this document, we are adopting the proposed rule as a final rule, with the change discussed in this document.

Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 and Regulatory Flexibility Act

This final rule has been determined to be economically significant for the purposes of Executive Order 12866 and, therefore, has been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget.

We have prepared an economic analysis for this rule. The economic analysis provides a cost-benefit analysis, as required by Executive Orders 12866 and 13563, which direct agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, and equity). Executive Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility. The economic analysis also provides a final regulatory flexibility analysis that examines the potential economic effects of this rule on small entities, as required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act. The economic analysis is summarized below. Copies of the full analysis are available on the Regulations.gov Web site (see footnote 1 in this document for a link to Regulations.gov) or by contacting the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

This analysis examines potential economic impacts of a final rule that will allow fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from a designated region in Brazil to be imported into the United States provided certain conditions are met. Economic effects of the rule for both U.S. producers and consumers are expected to be small. Welfare gains for consumers will outweigh producer losses, resulting in a net benefit to the U.S. economy. APHIS has concluded that the risk of exposing U.S. livestock to FMD via fresh beef imports from Brazil is sufficiently low so that such imports are safe.

The United States is the largest beef producer in the world, and yet still imports a significant quantity. Annual U.S. beef import volumes from 1999 to 2013 averaged 0.9 million MT, equivalent to 11 percent of U.S. production. Much of the beef imported by the United States is from grass-fed cattle, and is processed with trimmings from U.S. grain-fed cattle to make ground beef. Australia, Canada, and New Zealand are the main foreign suppliers of beef to the United States.

Effects of the final rule are estimated using a partial equilibrium model of the U.S. agricultural sector. Economic impacts are estimated based on intra-sectoral linkages among the grain, livestock, and livestock product sectors. Annual imports of fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from Brazil are expected to range between 20,000 and 65,000 MT, with volumes averaging 40,000 MT. Quantity, price, and welfare changes are estimated for three import scenarios. The results are presented as average annual effects for the 4-year period, 2015-2018.

A portion of the beef imported from Brazil will displace beef that would otherwise be imported from other countries. The model indicates that the net annual increase in U.S. fresh beef imports will be 15,894 MT (79 percent of 20,000 MT) under the 20,000 MT scenario; 32,000 MT (80 percent of 40,000 MT) under the 40,000 MT scenario; and 52,654 (81 percent of 65,000 MT) under the 65,000 MT scenario.

If the United States imports 40,000 MT of beef from Brazil, total U.S. beef imports will increase by 2.8 percent. Due to the supply increase, the wholesale price of beef, the retail price of beef, and the price of cattle (steer) are estimated to decline by 0.65, 0.26, and 0.70 percent, respectively. U.S beef production will decline by 0.03 percent while U.S. beef consumption and exports will increase by 0.2 and 0.7 percent, respectively. The 20,000 MT and 65,000 MT scenarios show similar quantity and price effects.

The fall in beef prices and the resulting decline in U.S. beef production will translate into reduced returns to capital and management in the livestock and beef sectors. Under the 40,000 MT import scenario, beef processors will experience a decline in surplus of $28.85 million or 0.85 percent, while consumers will benefit from the decrease in price by an increase in their surplus by $387.50 million or 1.14 percent. Cattle producers will experience decline in welfare of $216.01 million or 8 percent. The overall impact will be a net welfare gain of $358.36 million or 1 percent for producers and consumers in the beef processing sector. For the combined beef and cattle sectors, there will be a $142 million net welfare gain (0.36 percent net benefit).

The 20,000 MT and 65,000 MT scenarios show similar welfare impacts, with net benefits increasing broadly in proportion to the quantity of beef imported. The largest impact will be for the beef sector, but consumers of pork and poultry meat sectors will benefit negligibly. While most of the establishments that will be affected by this rule are small entities, based on the results of this analysis, APHIS does not expect the impacts on small entities to be significant.

Executive Order 12988

This final rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. This rule: (1) Preempts all State and local laws and regulations that are inconsistent with this rule; (2) has no retroactive effect; and (3) does not require administrative proceedings before parties may file suit in court challenging this rule.

National Environmental Policy Act

An environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact have been prepared for this final rule. The environmental assessment provides a basis for the conclusion that the importation of fresh beef from a region in Brazil under the conditions specified in this rule will not have a significant impact on the quality of the human environment. Based on the finding of no significant impact, the Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has determined that an environmental impact statement need not be prepared.

The environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact were prepared in accordance with: (1) The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), (2) regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality for implementing the procedural provisions of NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500-1508), (3) USDA regulations implementing NEPA (7 CFR part 1b), and (4) APHIS' NEPA Implementing Procedures (7 CFR part 372).

The environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact may be viewed on the Regulations.gov Web site.4 Copies of the environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact are also available for public inspection at USDA, Room 1141, South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. Persons wishing to inspect copies are requested to call ahead on (202) 799-7039 to facilitate entry into the reading room. In addition, copies may be obtained by writing to the individual listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

4 Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2009-0017. The environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact will appear in the resulting list of documents.

Paperwork Reduction Act

In accordance with section 3507(d) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), the information collection or recordkeeping requirements included in this final rule, which were filed under 0579-0414, have been submitted for approval to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). When OMB notifies us of its decision, if approval is denied, we will publish a document in the Federal Register providing notice of what action we plan to take.

E-Government Act Compliance

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is committed to compliance with the E-Government Act to promote the use of the Internet and other information technologies, to provide increased opportunities for citizen access to Government information and services, and for other purposes. For information pertinent to E-Government Act compliance related to this rule, please contact Ms. Kimberly Hardy, APHIS' Information Collection Coordinator, at (301) 851-2727.

List of Subjects in 9 CFR part 94

Animal diseases, Imports, Livestock, Meat and meat products, Milk, Poultry and poultry products, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

Accordingly, we are amending 9 CFR part 94 as follows:

PART 94—RINDERPEST, FOOT-AND-MOUTH DISEASE, NEWCASTLE DISEASE, HIGHLY PATHOGENIC AVIAN INFLUENZA, AFRICAN SWINE FEVER, CLASSICAL SWINE FEVER, SWINE VESICULAR DISEASE, AND BOVINE SPONGIFORM ENCEPHALOPATHY: PROHIBITED AND RESTRICTED IMPORTATIONS 1. The authority citation for part 94 continues to read as follows: Authority:

7 U.S.C. 450, 7701-7772, 7781-7786, and 8301-8317; 21 U.S.C. 136 and 136a; 31 U.S.C. 9701; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.4.

§ 94.1 [Amended]
2. In § 94.1, paragraphs (b)(4) and (d), introductory text, are amended by removing the words “from Uruguay”. 3. Section 94.29 is revised to read as follows:
§ 94.29 Restrictions on importation of fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from Brazil and fresh beef and ovine meat from Uruguay.

Notwithstanding any other provisions of this part, fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from a region in Brazil composed of the States of Bahia, Distrito Federal, Espírito Santo, Goiás, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Paraná, Rio Grande do Sul, Rio de Janeiro, Rondônia, São Paulo, Sergipe, and Tocantins, and fresh (chilled or frozen) beef and ovine meat from Uruguay may be exported to the United States under the following conditions:

(a) The meat is:

(1) Beef from Brazil derived from animals that have been born, raised, and slaughtered in the exporting region of Brazil, or

(2) Beef or ovine meat from Uruguay derived from animals that have been born, raised, and slaughtered in Uruguay.

(b) Foot-and-mouth disease has not been diagnosed in the exporting region of Brazil or in Uruguay within the previous 12 months.

(c) The meat comes from bovines or sheep that originated from premises where foot-and-mouth disease has not been present during the lifetime of any bovines and sheep slaughtered for the export of beef and ovine meat to the United States.

(d) The meat comes from bovines or sheep that were moved directly from the premises of origin to the slaughtering establishment without any contact with other animals.

(e) The meat comes from bovines or sheep that received ante-mortem and post-mortem veterinary inspections, paying particular attention to the head and feet, at the slaughtering establishment, with no evidence found of vesicular disease.

(f) The meat consists only of bovine parts or ovine parts that are, by standard practice, part of the animal's carcass that is placed in a chiller for maturation after slaughter. The bovine and ovine parts that may not be imported include all parts of the head, feet, hump, hooves, and internal organs.

(g) All bone and visually identifiable blood clots and lymphoid tissue have been removed from the meat.

(h) The meat has not been in contact with meat from regions other than those listed under § 94.1(a).

(i) The meat comes from carcasses that were allowed to maturate at 40 to 50 °F (4 to 10 °C) for a minimum of 24 hours after slaughter and that reached a pH below 6.0 in the loin muscle at the end of the maturation period. Measurements for pH must be taken at the middle of both longissimus dorsi muscles. Any carcass in which the pH does not reach less than 6.0 may be allowed to maturate an additional 24 hours and be retested, and, if the carcass still has not reached a pH of less than 6.0 after 48 hours, the meat from the carcass may not be exported to the United States.

(j) An authorized veterinary official of the government of the exporting region certifies on the foreign meat inspection certificate that the above conditions have been met.

(k) The establishment in which the bovines and sheep are slaughtered allows periodic on-site evaluation and subsequent inspection of its facilities, records, and operations by an APHIS representative.

(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control numbers 0579-0372 and 0579-0414)
Done in Washington, DC, this 26th day of June 2015. Gary Woodward, Deputy Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs.
[FR Doc. 2015-16337 Filed 7-1-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-34-P
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service 9 CFR Part 94 [Docket No. APHIS-2014-0032] RIN 0579-AD92 Importation of Beef From a Region in Argentina AGENCY:

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

We are amending the regulations governing the importation of certain animals, meat, and other animal products to allow, under certain conditions, the importation of fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from a region in Argentina located north of Patagonia South and Patagonia North B, referred to as Northern Argentina. Based on the evidence in a recent risk analysis, we have determined that fresh (chilled or frozen) beef can be safely imported from Northern Argentina, subject to certain conditions. This action provides for the importation of beef from Northern Argentina into the United States, while continuing to protect the United States against the introduction of foot-and-mouth disease.

DATES:

Effective September 1, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Dr. Silvia Kreindel, Senior Staff Veterinarian, Regional Evaluation Services Staff, National Import Export Services, VS, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 38, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 851-3313.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

The regulations in 9 CFR part 94 (referred to below as the regulations) prohibit or restrict the importation of certain animals and animal products into the United States to prevent the introduction of various animal diseases, including rinderpest, foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), African swine fever, classical swine fever, and swine vesicular disease. These are dangerous and destructive communicable diseases of ruminants and swine. Section 94.1 of the regulations contains criteria for recognition by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of foreign regions as free of rinderpest or free of both rinderpest and FMD. Section 94.11 restricts the importation of ruminants and swine and their meat and certain other products from regions that are declared free of rinderpest and FMD but that nonetheless present a disease risk because of the regions' proximity to or trading relationships with regions affected with rinderpest or FMD. Regions APHIS has declared free of FMD and/or rinderpest, and regions declared free of FMD and rinderpest that are subject to the restrictions in § 94.11, are listed on the APHIS Web site at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export/animals/animal_disease_status.shtml.

Because vaccination for FMD may not provide complete protection to livestock, and because it can be difficult to quickly detect FMD in animals vaccinated for FMD, APHIS does not recognize regions that vaccinate animals for FMD as free of the disease. Although there has not been a major outbreak of FMD in Argentina since 2001/2002, we do not consider Northern Argentina to be free of FMD because of Argentina's vaccination program in that region. With few exceptions, the regulations prohibit the importation of fresh (chilled or frozen) meat of ruminants or swine that originates in or transits a region where FMD is considered to exist. One such exception is beef and ovine meat 1 from Uruguay, which is allowed to be imported into the United States under certain conditions that mitigate the FMD risks associated with these products. The conditions are set out in § 94.29 of the regulations.

1 The provisions allowing the importation of ovine meat from Uruguay were added in a final rule published in the Federal Register (78 FR 68327-68331) on November 14, 2013, and effective on November 29, 2013.

In a proposed rule 2 published in the Federal Register (79 FR 51508-51514, Docket No. APHIS-2014-0032) on August 29, 2014, we proposed to also allow the importation of fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from Northern Argentina under those conditions found in § 94.29 of the regulations. The proposed conditions were as follows:

2 To view the proposed rule, the supporting risk analysis, economic analysis, and the comments we received, go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2014-0032.

• The beef is from animals born, raised, and slaughtered in Northern Argentina.

• FMD has not been diagnosed in Northern Argentina within the previous 12 months.

• The meat comes from bovines that originated from premises where FMD had not been present during the lifetime of any bovines slaughtered for the export of beef to the United States.

• The meat comes from bovines that were moved directly from the premises of origin to the slaughtering establishment without any contact with other animals.

• The meat comes from bovines that received ante-mortem and post-mortem veterinary inspections, paying particular attention to the head and feet, at the slaughtering establishment, with no evidence found of vesicular disease.

• The meat consists only of bovine parts that are, by standard practice, part of the animal's carcass that is placed in a chiller for maturation after slaughter. The bovine parts that may not be imported include all parts of the head, feet, hump, hooves, and internal organs.

• All bone and visually identifiable blood clots and lymphoid tissue have been removed from the meat.

• The meat has not been in contact with meat from regions other than those listed in the regulations as free of rinderpest and FMD.

• The meat comes from carcasses that were allowed to maturate at 40 to 50 °F (4 to 10 °C) for a minimum of 24 hours after slaughter and that reached a pH of below 6.0 in the loin muscle at the end of the maturation period. Measurements for pH must be taken at the middle of both longissimus dorsi muscles. Any carcass in which the pH does not reach less than 6.0 may be allowed to maturate an additional 24 hours and be retested, and, if the carcass still has not reached a pH of less than 6.0 after 48 hours, the meat from the carcass may not be exported to the United States.

• An authorized veterinary official of the Government of Argentina certifies on the foreign meat inspection certificate that the above conditions have been met.

• The establishment in which the bovines are slaughtered allows periodic on-site evaluation and subsequent inspection of its facilities, records, and operations by an APHIS representative.

We solicited comments concerning our proposal for 60 days ending October 28, 2014. We reopened and extended the deadline for comments until December 29, 2014, in a document published in the Federal Register on October 31, 2014 (79 FR 64687-64688, Docket No. APHIS-2014-0032). We received 295 comments by that date. They were from producers, trade associations, veterinarians, representatives of State and foreign governments, and individuals. Of those, 62 comments were non-substantive in nature, with 44 supportive of APHIS' proposal and 18 opposed. Two commenters requested an extension of the comment period, which was granted as detailed above. The remaining comments are discussed below by topic.

General Comments

In May 2007, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) recognized Northern Argentina as being an area free of FMD where vaccination is practiced. One commenter stated that OIE recognition of a certain status was not sufficient reason for U.S. recognition of that status.

As a member of the OIE, the United States recognizes OIE guidelines, including guidelines on regionalization. OIE's Terrestrial Animal Health Code provides internationally accepted guidelines to protect animal health by limiting the spread of animal diseases within and between countries without unnecessarily restricting international trade. APHIS evaluates all requests from countries or regions requesting recognition of disease freedom or to export a particular commodity consistent with OIE guidelines. In this particular case, the request was to export fresh (chilled or frozen) beef. APHIS' evaluation of this request was based on science and conducted according to the factors identified in 9 CFR 92.2. We did not automatically accept OIE recognition of Northern Argentina's disease status as the basis for changes to our regulations; rather, we conducted our own evaluation, which is detailed in the proposed rule and its accompanying risk analysis.

One commenter said that the definition of Northern Argentina as “North of Patagonia South and Patagonia North B” is vague. The commenter added that the proposed rule's subsequent claim that “Northern Argentina is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and shares land borders with Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, and the Province of Río Negro, Argentina” is confusing as Patagonia is not bordered by Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, or Uruguay. The commenter suggested that the definition of the proposed region be more clearly designated by the use of degrees of latitude.

Figure 12, which is located on page 52 of the risk analysis, is a map showing the various regions in Argentina, including Northern Argentina. The region under consideration is located north of the Patagonia Region; the Patagonia Region includes the region located south of the 42nd parallel known as Patagonia South, and the region immediately north of the 42nd parallel known as Patagonia North B.3 The limits of the Patagonia North B region are as follows: In the west along the Andes Mountains (international border with the Republic of Chile) in the Province of Neuquén; in the north along the Barrancas River at the border with the Province of Mendoza; in the east, the border with the Province of Río Negro; and in the south, the 42nd parallel and the southern border with the Province of Chubut. The region within the country of Argentina, north of Patagonia North B as described above is known as Northern Argentina.

3 In 2002, Argentina divided the country into four major parts: Patagonia South, Patagonia North A, Patagonia North B, and Northern Argentina. While the OIE recognized Patagonia North A as FMD free without vaccination in 2014, APHIS has made no similar determination. For export purposes, APHIS includes Patagonia North A in the Northern Argentina region and any fresh (chilled or frozen) beef exported from that area would be required to be treated in the same manner as beef exported from the smaller, OIE-recognized region of Northern Argentina. Northern Argentina as it is discussed in this document and the supporting documentation accompanying this final rule includes Patagonia North A.

It is true that Patagonia is not bordered by Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, or Uruguay, as Patagonia is located in the south of Argentina. Northern Argentina, however, shares land borders with those countries as well as being north of the Patagonia Region.

One commenter stated that the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) law should cover any imports of fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from Argentina.

Under COOL, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service, retailers, such as full-time grocery stores, supermarkets, and club warehouse stores, are required to notify their customers with information regarding the source of certain food, including muscle cut and ground meats. Any fresh (chilled or frozen) beef imported from Argentina would be subject to such requirements.

Another commenter said that the risks posed by possible unregulated beef potentially entering the country far outweigh any short-term solutions to consumer demand issues that would result from allowing any type fresh (chilled or frozen) beef to be imported from Argentina.

In accord with the Animal Health Protection Act (AHPA, 7 U.S.C. 8301 et seq.) and consistent with our international agreements, APHIS has analyzed the FMD risks associated with allowing for the importation of fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from Northern Argentina. APHIS is confident that the required sanitary safeguards will allow fresh (chilled or frozen) beef to be imported safely into the United States.

One commenter stated that APHIS must ensure that cattle from Northern Argentina are held to the same health standards as cattle from the United States.

We are confident in our assessment of the capabilities of the Argentine sanitary system in maintaining the health of herds in Northern Argentina to the standards set out in this rule. Argentina may be required either to provide or to allow APHIS to collect additional information in order to maintain its authorization to export fresh (chilled or frozen) beef if we have reason to believe that events in the region or in surrounding regions could affect the risk profile of the region under consideration. We also note that APHIS uses a wide variety of sources to conduct verification activities in Northern Argentina. These sources include the U.S. Embassy, multilateral relationships with trading partners, and the OIE.

We received a number of comments from Argentine beef trade organizations. One domestic commenter stated that comments from those organizations should not be given any consideration. The commenter further stated that American cattle associations should be given the power to approve or deny any trade agreements reached by the United States and other countries.

We disagree. Federal agencies must accept and respond to comments from all interested parties. The comment regarding international trade agreements falls outside the scope of this final rule, as APHIS is not entering into a trade agreement with Argentina.

One commenter said that the importation of fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from Northern Argentina was contrary to the recommendation put forward by the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee that Americans eat more plant-based foods.

The dietary guidelines released yearly by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and the USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion are irrelevant to APHIS' mission to protect the nation's animal and plant health and to APHIS' determination regarding whether fresh (chilled or frozen) beef may be safely imported from Northern Argentina. These guidelines are intended for individual use on a voluntary basis; they are not broad policy statements or trade directives.

Comments on the Impetus for Rulemaking

One commenter stated that they believe the motivation for the publication of the proposed rule and APHIS' ongoing privileging of Argentine interests is tied to Argentina's WTO complaint against the United States over our ban of Argentina's animal and meat exports. The commenter found it troubling APHIS would place trade considerations ahead of food safety and animal health. Another commenter postulated that the proposed action is intended to decrease the cost of beef for the American consumer at the risk of the United States livestock industry.

We undertook this rulemaking at the request of Argentina and in accordance with APHIS' regulations, the United States' obligations under its international trade agreements, and the findings of our risk analysis that fresh beef could safely be imported into the United States from Northern Argentina under certain conditions. Our decision was based on a scientific evaluation of the disease situation in Northern Argentina, which we conducted in accordance with § 92.2. We would not propose to allow for the importation of a commodity from any region unless our evaluation of the region's disease situation and sanitary capabilities supported it, consistent with our statutory responsibility under the AHPA.

Another commenter wanted to know if the importation of fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from Argentina would result in a benefit to another portion of the American economy via the export of products to Argentina.

We do not believe this rule favors one portion of the American economy over another and the commenter did not provide evidence suggesting that such an effect would occur.

Under the agreements reached in the GATT was a provision that, upon approval of the USDA, Argentina would be authorized to ship an additional 20,000 metric tons (MT) of fresh (chilled or frozen) beef to the United States under the U.S. import quota system. One commenter said that the quota reached during the Uruguay Round is insignificant when compared to the existing security and financial stability of the U.S. beef market as a whole and that security and stability should not be jeopardized via the importation of fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from Argentina.

The commenter's point regarding import quotas reached at the GATT is beyond the scope of the rulemaking. APHIS evaluates the sanitary or phytosanitary risk of importing a given commodity independent of considerations of existing import quotas.

One commenter cited Argentina's willingness to export meat to Russia as problematic since the United States and the European Union (EU) member nations currently have trade sanctions in place against that country. The commenter said that APHIS should not be allowing for trade with a country openly mitigating the effects of those food sanctions.

Another commenter postulated that the importation of fresh (chilled or frozen) beef represents a quid pro quo arrangement between the Democratic Party and its financial backers. The commenter stated that the rule would serve to benefit these parties monetarily and is not scientifically substantiated. The commenter concluded that scientific evidence contrary to the proposed action has been ignored by APHIS.

Under the AHPA and its predecessor statutes, APHIS' primary responsibility with regard to international import trade has always been to identify and manage the sanitary risks associated with importing commodities. When we determine that the risk associated with the importation of a commodity can be successfully mitigated, it is our obligation under the international trade agreements to which the United States is signatory to make provisions for the importation of that commodity. Under our international trade agreements, APHIS considers market access requests from countries and regions. Approval or denial of these requests, as mandated by the AHPA and consistent with our Nation's trade agreements, are not and cannot be made along political lines. They must be made as a result of sound science. A detailed discussion of the scientific basis for this rule may be found in the risk analysis and in this document. Additionally, the commenter provided no examples or evidence to support the claim that APHIS has ignored any contrary scientific findings regarding FMD in Northern Argentina.

Many commenters said that no trade is worth jeopardizing the safety of U.S. livestock and wildlife. The commenters pointed to the trade deficit as proof that the United States should not prioritize importation of commodities and concluded that APHIS should be investing in domestic rather than foreign agriculture.

As stated above, our principal task related to international trade is to identify and manage the risks associated with importing commodities. Moreover, under the international trade agreements to which the United States is signatory, APHIS' decisionmaking regarding the safe importation of commodities must be based on scientific sanitary considerations. APHIS has determined that the import of the commodity at issue does not jeopardize U.S. animal health.

Comments on U.S. Production

Several commenters questioned why the rulemaking was necessary if those existing imports are not problematic and there is no increased demand for beef by U.S. consumers. Another commenter stated that APHIS should focus on domestic agriculture, national animal identification, and labeling of all food products instead of international trade.

Consistent with our international obligations, APHIS considers market access requests from countries and regions. U.S. demand for these products is not a part of the consideration of such requests. Before such requests are granted, we must first assess the animal disease risks to U.S. herds posed by imports by evaluating the requesting country's or region's disease status and the efficacy of its risk mitigation measures. The United States and many other member countries are a part of the rules-based international trading system, which has benefitted all those countries through the maintenance of open international markets. Regarding the comment that APHIS focus on domestic activities, APHIS and other Federal agencies currently operate programs in the areas of focus specified by the second commenter, namely domestic agriculture, national animal identification, and food product labeling.

One commenter characterized the proposed rule as an attempt by APHIS to remedy short-term beef price increases. The commenter stated that the U.S. cattle herd needs to be rebuilt, but the rulemaking may discourage producers from restocking.

As noted in our previous responses, APHIS' consideration of Argentina's market access request is a scientific inquiry into whether fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from Northern Argentina can be safely imported. APHIS does not consider the impact on short-term beef prices. The commenter's second statement is a hypothetical one based on an unsupported presumption and, as such, difficult to evaluate. We did not receive any data from this or other commenters that would suggest that the rulemaking would discourage U.S. cattle producers from restocking.

Another commenter said that American cattle are not fed animal proteins, which are prohibited in ruminant feeds.

Although bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)-related concerns were not within the scope of the FMD risk-specific risk analysis completed regarding the importation of beef (chilled or frozen) from Northern Argentina, we do note that Argentina also bans the feeding of ruminant proteins to ruminants in line with OIE guidelines concerning BSE.

Comments on APHIS Oversight

One commenter said that APHIS does not appear to have a mitigation plan in place if FMD were to be introduced into the United States as a result of this proposal or otherwise. Two other commenters stated that there is no FMD vaccine currently available in the United States.

In carrying out our safeguarding mission, APHIS works to ensure the continued health and welfare of our Nation's livestock and poultry. One important aspect of this work is making sure we can readily detect foreign animal diseases, such as FMD, and respond efficiently and effectively when faced with an outbreak. APHIS partners with other Federal, State, and local government agencies and private cooperators to expand the pool of available resources we can draw on in an emergency. Specifics of our FMD response plan may be found in a document entitled “USDA APHIS Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) Response Plan: The Red Book” (September 2014), which is designed to provide strategic guidance on responding to an FMD outbreak. The plan gives direction to emergency responders at the local, State, Tribal, and Federal levels to facilitate FMD control and eradication efforts in domestic livestock in the United States and may be found on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/emergency_management/downloads/fmd_responseplan.pdf.

As to the commenters' point regarding availability of the FMD vaccine, we recognize that, depending on the size and scope of an FMD outbreak, the production and distribution of vaccines could prove challenging. While we do have a resource in the North American Foot-and-Mouth Disease Vaccine Bank (NAFMDVB), which stores many types of inactivated FMD virus antigens, this resource might be overwhelmed in the face of a large and expanding outbreak. APHIS continues to discuss this issue and engage our stakeholders in planning and preparation for any response. In the event that the United States experiences an FMD outbreak in which a specific strain is identified, the USDA will notify the NAFMDVB, which will request the manufacturing of finished vaccine from approved suppliers, based on the stockpiled antigens.

One commenter recommended that APHIS conduct annual audits of the Argentine system as we do domestically in order to continually verify split-state disease status and regional disease programs. Another commenter stated that the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) must determine Argentina's equivalency to U.S. food safety standards in order for specific processing facilities to be eligible to export fresh (chilled or frozen) beef to the United States; any imported beef must follow FSIS labeling regulations; and shipments of fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from Northern Argentina is subject to examination by U.S. inspectors before being allowed to enter the country.

Under the provisions of § 92.2(g), APHIS may require Argentina to submit additional information pertaining to animal health status or allow APHIS to conduct additional information collection activities in order to maintain its authorization to export to the United States. Specifically, we ask for additional information if they report suspect or known cases of disease to the OIE; if we receive public information about suspect or known cases of disease; if the region that was previously evaluated has been re-defined; if there are public reports stating changes in the veterinary authority, budgets, or controls in border areas; if we receive reports or evidence of smuggling from neighboring countries; if there are outbreaks or suspect cases in border regions; or if there are changes in any of the other factors we consider when preparing a risk analysis. We do not require submission of additional information on a regular schedule because we are concerned primarily with events that could potentially affect the risk status of the region under consideration.

FSIS makes determinations of equivalence by evaluating whether foreign food regulatory systems attain the appropriate level of protection provided by our domestic system. Thus, while foreign food regulatory systems need not be identical to the U.S. system, any imported meat is subject to the inspection, sanitary, quality, species identification, and residue standards applied to products produced domestically. FSIS evaluates foreign food regulatory systems for equivalence through document reviews and on-site audits. Imported meat is subject to reinspection at the port of first entry into the United States.

Comments on Argentine Oversight

One commenter stated that we did not adequately address the significance of the Argentine Government's failure to provide prompt notification of its widespread FMD outbreaks in 2000. The commenter suggested that Argentine officials were not subject to any type of sanctions that would prevent the recurrence of a similar failure to notify APHIS of any future FMD outbreaks. Another commenter, citing what they characterized as Argentina's spotty record of compliance with safety standards, recommended that APHIS consider the development of an ongoing oversight protocol, beyond the usual port-of-entry testing, to monitor Argentina's compliance with our required risk mitigation measures. Two commenters further stated that APHIS has not adequately described how it will continue to provide oversight and/or monitor Argentina's animal health infrastructure indefinitely, to ensure that the country will maintain adequate controls to prevent the spread of FMD from other regions of Argentina or from neighboring countries to the exporting area.

The regulations in § 92.2 provide for monitoring of regions after APHIS authorizes imports from such regions. If we determine that necessary measures have not been fully implemented or maintained, we will take appropriate remedial action to ensure that the importation of fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from Northern Argentina does not result in the importation of FMD into the United States. Contrary to the commenter's assertion, the consequence of Argentina's failure to notify APHIS of the FMD outbreak in 2000/2001 was a provisional suspension of the beef trade with Argentina. In the future, indications of noncompliance may result in similar actions. Incidents would be evaluated by APHIS on a case-by-case basis.

Many commenters stated that Argentina has shown a trend of decreasing compliance in audits conducted by FSIS between 2005 and 2009. The commenters stated that Argentina's history of compliance issues could influence its ability to consistently and successfully enforce control measures within Northern Argentina in order to successfully mitigate the risk from the possible entry of FMD into this region from the surrounding higher-risk areas. The commenters asked if APHIS consulted with FSIS as part of its evaluation, and if so, what was FSIS' feedback. Several commenters asked that the comment period on the proposed rule be extended until FSIS posted its most recent audit report for review by stakeholders.

The purpose of APHIS' evaluation was to assess the FMD situation in Northern Argentina and to evaluate Argentina's ability to prevent, detect, control, report, and manage FMD within its borders. Based on its site visits and other documentation and information, APHIS concluded that Argentina's legal framework, animal health infrastructure, movement and border controls, diagnostic capabilities, surveillance programs, and emergency response capacity are sufficient to detect, prevent, control, and eradicate FMD outbreaks within the boundaries of Northern Argentina. Moreover, with respect to Northern Argentina, APHIS concluded that the Argentine veterinary authority is capable of complying with our requirements. Nevertheless, based on the comments, APHIS has reviewed the last six FSIS audits conducted in Argentina at the slaughter level, including the most recent audit, which was finalized in July 2014. The FSIS audits concluded that ante-mortem inspection processes, which are relevant to the detection of FMD during the slaughter process, were conducted satisfactorily. We did not extend the comment period pursuant to the release of any future FSIS audit reports. As stated previously, the initial 60-day public comment period was extended by 60 days, providing stakeholders with a total of 120 days to share information relevant to the rule. In addition, given the contents of the last six reports, APHIS has no reason to believe that additional reports would be inconsistent.

One commenter said that little is known about the Argentine beef industry, including such factors as animal care standards, antimicrobial use, and environmental protection issues. The commenter said that we may be unintentionally supporting practices in these areas that have been determined to be harmful.

Contrary to the commenter's assertion, we thoroughly examined the infrastructure and efficacy of the Argentine bovine production and export system and detailed all aspects in our risk analysis. We subsequently determined that it is robust and capable of meeting the standards for exportation set forth by APHIS. Results of the environmental assessment we conducted to evaluate the possible environmental impacts of the rulemaking did not suggest that the rule would lead to adverse environmental impacts and the commenter provided no evidence to the contrary. FSIS's last six audits of the Argentine system at the slaughter level, which include a review of food safety practices, animal care standards, and antimicrobial use, concluded that the system is satisfactory.

Another commenter expressed concern about the financial stability of Argentina, which the commenter proposed could compromise the Servicio Nacional de Sanidad y Calidad Agroalimentario's (SENASA) ability to provide adequate sanitary surveillance and support a rigorous food safety inspection system. The commenter said that recent news reports speculating as to whether Argentina will default on its international loans suggest that the Argentine Government may not be able to adequately fund its own operations.

As described in the risk analysis, SENASA reported that its 2013 budget was 1.3 billion pesos (approximately $200.7 million). SENASA officials described the system as self-sufficient because user fees are required for almost every service SENASA provides, including slaughter surveillance, issuances of certificates, and laboratory tests. The budget for the laboratory is 60 million pesos (approximately $12 million). APHIS finds no reason to believe that the funding will change, as stable funding for the FMD control and eradication programs in Argentina has been in place for over a decade.

One commenter said that it is unrealistic to expect that Argentine beef will be uniformly processed and inspected under ideal circumstances as required by the standards set out in the proposed rule. The commenter viewed it as unrealistic to expect that the APHIS-approved criteria for sanitary safety to be foolproof. Another commenter said that Argentina has participated in a regional plan to eradicate FMD in all of South America since 1987 and APHIS should encourage Northern Argentina and neighboring countries to continue in their efforts and commitment to eradication of the disease so that vaccination is no longer necessary. The commenter said that, after this milestone is reached, Argentina's request to export fresh (chilled or frozen) beef to the United States could then be considered. The commenter concluded that if trade is permitted from a country or area of higher risk (e.g., FMD free with vaccination) to a country or area of lower risk (e.g., FMD free without vaccination), then there is little incentive for the vaccinating country or area to take the extra effort required to truly eradicate the disease, and global eradication is likely to be delayed.

We have determined that the Argentine production and export system is robust and capable of meeting the standards for exportation set forth by APHIS. APHIS does not adopt a zero tolerance for risk for international trade in meat products. Our risk analysis process is designed to determine whether a product may be imported safely into the United States. If, based on our risk analysis, we conclude that the production system in the country in question is insufficient to provide an appropriate level of protection, then we will not authorize the importation of the particular commodity. As described in the risk analysis, APHIS concluded that the surveillance, prevention, and control measures implemented by Argentina are sufficient to minimize the risk of introducing FMD into the United States for the purpose of beef imports. Since 2002, Argentina has taken a targeted approach to eradicating FMD one region at a time and harmonizing FMD-related regulations with neighboring countries. We therefore disagree with the commenter's conclusion that there is little incentive to eradicate the disease, as Argentina gives us no reason to believe that this targeted approach will not continue in the future. Any risk of FMD introduction into the exporting region is mitigated by this approach due to local regulations, standardized vaccination schedules, and other harmonization measures involved in regionalization. Consistency of approach allows for effective surveillance and monitoring.

One commenter suggested that APHIS conduct further surveillance of the Argentine program prior to any consideration of allowing for the importation of fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from Argentina. The commenter stated that three site visits made to the region in question are inadequate to fully understand the Argentine production system.

APHIS evaluated the information provided by Argentina since the application was first submitted in 2003, and conducted site visits as part of the verification process. We do not make our determinations based solely on site visits but rather on all the information gathered during the evaluation process, which, in the case of Argentina, lasted over 10 years. We are confident in our conclusion that the system in Northern Argentina is robust and that fresh (chilled or frozen) beef produced under the conditions stipulated may safely be imported into the United States.

Comments on General Disease Risk

One commenter claimed that it would be a poor decision to allow beef to be imported from Northern Argentina into the United States due to the risk associated with FMD, rinderpest, African swine fever, classical swine fever, and swine vesicular disease. The commenter observed that these diseases can be transferred from infected animals or meats from Argentina to animals in the United States.

The commenter's categorization of APHIS' proposed action is incorrect insofar as we only proposed to import fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from Northern Argentina and not any species of live animal. Further, no South American country has ever reported an outbreak of rinderpest except Brazil, which had an outbreak in 1921 that was limited in scope and quickly eradicated. Furthermore, the global distribution of rinderpest has diminished significantly in recent years as a result of the Food and Agriculture Organization Global Rinderpest Eradication Program. The last known cases of rinderpest worldwide occurred in the southern part of the “Somali pastoral ecosystem” consisting of southern Somalia, eastern Kenya, and southern Ethiopia. In May 2011, the OIE announced its recognition of global rinderpest freedom. Finally, African swine fever, classical swine fever, and swine vesicular disease are diseases only associated with pigs and not transmissible to cattle or other bovine species. A detailed discussion of FMD in Argentina may be found in the risk analysis and in this final rule under the subheading “Comments on FMD Risk.”

Another commenter stated that the United States would put all cloven hoofed animals in the United States, both domestic and wild, at risk for diseases not controlled in Northern Argentina.

APHIS disagrees with the commenter. Our evaluation shows that Argentina, as discussed in the risk analysis, has taken the necessary action to address FMD issues and the commenter provided no evidence or specifics concerning any other diseases.

Comments on FMD Risk

Many commenters, citing the highly contagious nature of FMD, expressed the view that we should not allow fresh beef to be imported from any country where the disease is present because regionalization is not likely to mitigate the risks associated with imports effectively.

One commenter noted that Argentina's last significant FMD outbreak, which caused the loss of its countrywide FMD free status in 2001, was linked specifically to the movement of cattle across its northern borders with Bolivia and Paraguay, which were not free of FMD. The commenter added that cattle from Bolivia and Paraguay were sold in Argentine markets at a discount due to their inability to be sold legally in Argentina and this practice allowed for the spread of FMD into the Argentine domestic cattle population. Another commenter said that the acknowledgement of a risk of reintroduction of FMD from exporting regions into the export area as mentioned in the risk analysis is cause for concern.

Our evaluation is centered on the safety of a particular commodity—fresh (chilled or frozen) beef, not live animals—in terms of potential introduction of FMD into the United States. However, most of the countries in South America have been recognized by the OIE as being FMD free with (Uruguay) or without vaccination (Chile and Guyana) or with free regions with vaccination (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, and Peru) or without vaccination (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, and Peru). No outbreaks have been reported in Brazil since 2006, Paraguay since 2012, or Bolivia since 2007. In that regard, the risk of introduction from neighboring countries is low. Any risk of introduction is mitigated by the coordinated regional approach to FMD eradication among those countries. In our risk analysis, we also detail the many enhancements enacted by SENASA in its border control activities along the northern borders with Bolivia, Paraguay, and Brazil.

As stated in the risk analysis accompanying the proposed rule, we considered the epidemiological characteristics of FMD that are relevant to the risk that may be associated with importing beef from the export region of Northern Argentina. Based on our assessment, we concluded that beef from Northern Argentina could safely be imported into the United States, subject to certain mitigation requirements, which include removal of bones and certain tissue as well as chilling of carcasses until they reach a pH level of under 6.0. We evaluated information submitted by SENASA and verified the accuracy of that information through site visits. As detailed in the risk analysis, SENASA underwent extensive reorganization in the wake of the FMD outbreak in 2001. The new structure was designed to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the existing system. Based on our assessment of this system, we concluded that Argentina has the legal framework, animal health infrastructure, movement and border controls, diagnostic capabilities, surveillance programs, and emergency response capacity to prevent FMD outbreaks within the boundaries of the export region and, in the unlikely event that one should occur, to detect, control, and eradicate the disease. Argentina's active and passive surveillance system would allow for rapid detection. In the event of an outbreak, in the exporting region, Argentina would promptly report findings to the OIE, and the United States would stop importing beef from Northern Argentina. Our findings regarding Argentina's disease-control capabilities give us confidence that the mitigation methods required under this rulemaking will be effective in preventing the introduction of FMD into the United States via the importation of fresh beef from Northern Argentina.

Another commenter stated that the risk analysis does not provide detailed information about the level and efficacy of the FMD vaccination programs in Northern Argentina.

The vaccination rates in Northern Argentina reached over 99 percent between 2008 and 2012. In addition, the region of Northern Argentina has several overlapping controls to ensure compliance with vaccination calendars through matching vaccination records to movement permits and census data and through field inspections. As detailed in the risk analysis, vaccination of cattle is mandatory in the area north of the 42nd parallel with the exception of Patagonia North B (the area adjacent to Patagonia South, a region without vaccination) and recently, Patagonia North A and the summer pastures (zona veranadas) of Calingasta Valleys in the Province of San Juan. The technical requirements for the vaccination program are established by SENASA and vaccination can only be performed by authorized personnel who are trained, registered, and accredited/audited by SENASA. Vaccination coverage rates have been over 97 percent in the region above the 42nd parallel (with the exception of Patagonia North B, and most recently Patagonia North A, in which vaccination is not conducted) since 2001. In the unlikely event that unvaccinated susceptible animals are exposed to the FMD virus, these animals will develop clinical signs that will be easily detected in the field and during ante-mortem and postmortem inspection. This will trigger a response that includes epidemiological investigation, movement restrictions, and submission of samples for laboratory analysis. If the laboratory reports the case as positive for FMD, Argentina will notify the international authorities and its trading partners, and trade will cease.

One commenter claimed that the regionalization process has eroded the sanitary safety of the United States with regard to FMD. The commenter stated that a blanket prohibition on the importation of meat from countries that have experienced outbreaks of FMD is by far the more effective option. The commenter concluded that the change from APHIS' previous policy involving such a prohibition to our current regionalization approach was motivated by trade pressures.

Regionalization recognizes that pest and disease conditions may vary across a country as a result of ecological, environmental, and quarantine differences, and adapts import requirements to the health conditions of the specific area or region where a commodity originates. This final rule is predicated on a risk analysis document that provides a scientific basis for potential importation of chilled (fresh or frozen) beef from Northern Argentina. Without this document, APHIS would not have proposed this action. Political and economic interests may stimulate consideration of the expansion of trade of agricultural commodities between countries, but all APHIS decisionmaking concerning sanitary restrictions on trade is based on sound science, not on trade pressures.

Many commenters stated that the last FMD outbreak in Argentina was detected in February 2006 in an area near the border with Paraguay and that this area of Paraguay continues to have active virus present that can serve as a source of new outbreaks in cattle. According to officials in Argentina, illegal movement of animals from neighboring countries, as well as mechanical transmission of the virus, introduced the FMD virus into Argentina during the 2000/2001, 2003, and 2006 outbreaks. These officials acknowledge that even where there are barriers or checkpoints, people, cars, and animal products can cross both domestic and international borders illegally. The commenters concluded that the potential for the FMD virus to cross the border, particularly by passenger car or foot traffic, remains. Another commenter said that the risk analysis did not adequately describe the degree to which the region is separated from high risk regions by physical and other barriers.

In the risk analysis, we discussed the disease status of regions adjacent to the export region, the separation of those regions from the export region, and border controls. As noted in both the risk analysis and the environmental assessment, Northern Argentina has many natural barriers, such as large rivers, mountains, forests, and semiarid areas, along its international and internal borders. Even in relatively remote frontier areas, where there may be less surveillance and monitoring than in more populous ones, those geographic barriers restrict animal movement and human traffic, thereby preventing the spread of disease. In addition, Argentina collaborates with neighboring countries to harmonize FMD-related programs and restrictions. Mechanisms have been established to provide for immediate notification between these countries if an outbreak occurs. High-risk surveillance areas have been established on Argentina's borders with Bolivia, Paraguay, and Brazil. Border control and security in Northern Argentina are discussed in detail in the risk analysis. APHIS examined these issues during all of its site visits. Based on those visits and other documents and information that APHIS has obtained and made available with the risk analysis, APHIS is confident that Argentina's border controls with respect to Northern Argentina are sufficient to prevent the introduction of FMD into the region.

Some commenters questioned the efficacy of the Argentine system in controlling illegal entry of livestock and wildlife interactions, specifically citing potential transmission via feral swine populations in the northern border regions with Bolivia and Paraguay. Several commenters stated that reviews of European Commission Food and Veterinary Office (EC FVO) audits identified points of concern in the areas of border control, particularly those along the border with Bolivia, animal identification, vaccination controls, and other concerns. Another commenter stated that Argentina has demonstrated non-compliance in the course of routine USDA and EC FVO audits in the past.

We do not agree that wildlife-livestock interactions in Argentina play a significant role in the transmission of FMD. Although several South American wild animal species are susceptible to FMD, research into FMD in South America has determined that wildlife populations, including feral swine, do not play a significant role in the maintenance and transmission of FMD. During outbreak situations, wildlife may become affected by FMD; however, as discussed in the environmental assessment and the risk analysis, the likelihood that they would become carriers under field conditions is rare. Therefore, it is unlikely that FMD would be introduced into Northern Argentina through movement of infected wildlife. Further, Argentina's biosecurity measures, surveillance activities, and response capabilities, which we evaluated in our risk analysis, would mitigate the already low risk of the FMD virus spreading from wildlife to livestock in the exporting region of Northern Argentina.

We have made additions to the risk analysis that address the commenters' point regarding the EC FVO audits.4 As described in the updated risk analysis, at the time the risk analysis that accompanied the proposed rule was finalized, no FMD outbreaks had been reported in South America for over 3 years. Based on the history of the disease in the continent, Argentina's veterinary infrastructure, and SENASA's prompt response to the FMD outbreaks that occurred in neighboring countries (Brazil 2006, Bolivia, 2007, and Paraguay 2011/12), APHIS concluded that it is unlikely that the disease could be reintroduced from adjacent areas into the export region. Our review of the most recent EC FVO report, from 2014, revealed that the EC FVO had concluded that the official FMD control system in place for Argentina is reliable and meets EU requirements. APHIS has also concluded that the veterinary infrastructure, surveillance, prevention, and control measures implemented by Argentina are sufficient to minimize the risk of introducing FMD into the United States for the purpose of beef imports. Further, the 2012 EC FVO report specifically states that, “the FMD vaccination programme covers more than 80% of the susceptible population.”

4 A full account of Argentina's response to the 2012 EC audit may be found on the Internet at http://ec.europa.eu/food/fvo/audit_reports/details.cfm?rep_id=3099.

In terms of the specifically mentioned Argentine border with Bolivia, local veterinarians in the Bolivian border region, as coordinated and supervised by the SENASA Coordinator of Animal Health, have instituted additional measures to strengthen sanitary controls in that area, including:

• Enhancing controls concerning transhumant animals (i.e., animals moved from one grazing ground to another, usually seasonally), which include periodic visits to areas with higher likelihood of transhumance and the application of sanitary measures (e.g., compulsory vaccinations, frequent visits with owners to discuss health-related issues).

• Revising and updating the registry of subsistence producers to improve the vaccination controls and animal movements in the region.

• Increasing the frequency of vaccinator audits, and implementing additional sanitary measures such as movement restrictions in irregular cases (e.g., an animal lacking paperwork or an animal whose ownership is unknown).

• Increasing animal movement controls on roads, which include both fixed and mobile checkpoints.

• Identifying risk areas related to the possible presence of swine in rubbish dumps and other places of exposure to sources of irregular feeding, and implementing responsive sanitary measures according to those findings.

• Continuing awareness campaigns and education for the community on FMD and animal health in general, in order to minimize the risk of introduction of the FMD virus in the region.

As stated previously, the regulations in § 92.2 provide for monitoring of regions after APHIS authorizes imports. If we determine, via audit or other means, that the required measures have not been fully implemented or maintained, or that SENASA is unable to certify that the specific certification requirements are met, we will take appropriate remedial action to ensure that the importation of fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from Northern Argentina does not result in the importation of FMD into the United States.

Several commenters said that APHIS had concluded in the risk analysis and the proposed rule that there is a risk of reintroduction of FMD from adjacent areas into the export region, as long as the disease is endemic in the overall region in South America. The commenters stated that even though the risk of introducing FMD to the United States is low, if all of the conditions are met as outlined in the proposed rule, the risk is still present and must be viewed in light of the devastation it would cause to the U.S. beef industry if an FMD outbreak were to occur.

We took this information into account in our risk analysis and determined that the Argentine production and export system is robust and capable of meeting the standards for exportation set forth by APHIS. APHIS does not adopt a zero tolerance for risk for international trade in meat products. Our risk analysis process is designed to determine whether a product can be imported safely into the United States. If, based on our risk analysis, we conclude that the production system in the country in question is insufficient to provide an appropriate level of protection, then we will not authorize the importation of the particular commodity. That is not the conclusion we reached regarding the importation of fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from Northern Argentina.

Several commenters questioned the efficacy of Argentina's internal animal movement controls. One commenter claimed that there is no required branding program or other animal identification program. The commenter further stated that non-symptomatic carriers of FMD exist in South America and therefore a qualified laboratory is required to identify these carriers. Another commenter stated that in a large, diverse nation such as Argentina, it is quite possible for FMD virus to have been circulating among various species in various regions undetected for long periods of time. A third commenter said that it is common practice in the beef industry to ship livestock from place to place and, as a result, the risk of cattle from outside the designated area being transshipped through the area then to the United States is tremendous. The commenter asserted that all imports cannot be inspected and tested. Another commenter stated that greater market opportunities and the resulting higher prices offered in the export region might foster illegal animal movements into that region from the surrounding countries.

We do not agree with these comments. Based on our review of the veterinary infrastructure in Argentina, we determined that SENASA, which oversees animal movement within the country, has the legal authority, technical capabilities, and personnel to implement the FMD program within Argentina. Movement controls in Argentina are stringent. We evaluated these controls and concluded that cattle movements follow particular requirements, which are described in detail in the risk analysis, and that cattle whose beef is destined to be exported to the United States are required to be accompanied by documentation at slaughter showing that they were born and raised in the Northern Argentina region. APHIS evaluated the system and concluded that SENASA has the ability to certify that this requirement has been met.

As described in the risk analysis, in 2007, Argentina instituted a compulsory cattle identification program, requiring that all calves born after September 2007 carry official tags (Resolution 754/2006). Resolution 563/2012 requires that bovines from the older age groups be individually identified. At the time of the 2013 site visit, SENASA reported that the entire Argentine herd was individually identified. Individual identification of bovines is unique and permanent. The number of tags needed is requested by the animal owner and is crosschecked at the local office to the inventory in the integrated management system for animal health (Sistema Integrado de Gestión en Sanidad Animal—SIGSA). The animals' owner is responsible for applying the tags and then notifying the local office as to which tags have been used. The color of tags issued to cattle holders is determined by the FMD status of the region in which the cattle reside. Green tags are used in regions that are FMD-free without vaccination, yellow for regions that are FMD-free with vaccination, red in buffer areas, and blue tags are used for tag replacement purposes only. SENASA requires that all premises with agricultural animal production register with SENASA and obtain a RENSPA (Registro National Sanitario de Productores Agropecuarios or National Sanitary Registry of Agricultural Producers) number. The local SENASA office must issue an animal movement permit (DT-e), which is required whenever animals are moved. The local SENASA office is responsible for verifying that the vehicle transporting the animals has been cleaned and disinfected as required by law. Any inspection associated with animal movement involves checking the documents and verifying the animal information, as well as clinical observation of animal health.

Argentina's surveillance system includes active surveillance (which involves ongoing laboratory-based testing). We are confident that the SENASA laboratory, which is responsible for the screening and confirmatory diagnosis of FMD, is fully capable of carrying out those responsibilities.

Any beef product that is imported into the United States from Argentina must be certified by SENASA as meeting all requirements set out in the regulations. This certification must accompany each shipment and is subject to review by the U.S. Customs Border and Protection (CBP) officials that cover each port of entry into the United States. Any shipments not meeting that requirement are refused entry and CBP reserves the right to question documentation or packaging at the port of entry based upon inspection. Imported meat products are then forwarded to an FSIS Inspection House for re-inspection. We are confident that these measures supply the necessary level of inspection required to minimize the risk of introducing FMD into the United States.

Some of the commenters did not believe the requirement for chilling the carcass after slaughter would be an effective mitigation against the FMD virus. One commenter stated that chilling beef may be inadequate for eliminating the virus, since that virus can remain active in blood clots. Two commenters said that research shows that the FMD virus can survive in frozen bone for up to 6 months.

APHIS agrees that chilling alone may not be adequate to eliminate the virus. Other tissues, organs, etc., that may harbor FMD virus, such as blood clots, heads, feet, viscera, bones, and major lymph nodes, do not undergo acidification, allowing the virus to survive the maturation process and subsequent low-temperature storage. Under this rulemaking, however, as noted previously, these tissues, bones, and organs must be removed from the carcasses prior to export to the United States. We have also added a more detailed discussion of viral inactivation to the risk analysis.

Two commenters noted that, in the past, APHIS has characterized other countries, e.g., Argentina, Japan, and South Korea, as low-risk countries for FMD, and that, soon after we did so, outbreaks of the disease occurred in those countries.

Because disease situations are fluid and no country, not even the United States, can guarantee perpetual freedom from a disease, APHIS' risk analyses consider whether a country can quickly detect, respond, and report changes in disease situations. In our evaluation, conducted according to the factors identified in § 92.2, “Application for recognition of the animal health status of a region,” we concluded that Argentina has the legal framework, animal health infrastructure, movement and border controls, diagnostic capabilities, surveillance programs, and emergency response systems necessary to detect, report, control, and manage FMD outbreaks.

As a member of OIE, Argentina is obligated to immediately notify the organization of any FMD outbreak or other important epidemiological event. The notification must include the reason for the notification, the name of the disease, the affected species, the geographical area affected, the control measures applied, and any laboratory tests carried out or in progress.

Upon notification of an FMD outbreak in the exporting region of Argentina, APHIS would implement critical prevention measures to respond to the outbreak, including alerting CBP inspectors at all ports of entry. Because § 94.29(b) of this final rule requires that FMD must not have been diagnosed in the exporting region within the past 12 months, fresh beef from the region would no longer meet our requirements, and we would immediately stop allowing it to be imported.

One commenter said that Argentina is surrounded by FMD positive countries and inquired about the disease status of southern Argentina. Another commenter stated that reliance on natural barriers to protect against FMD is an inadequate prevention tool for a region that shares multiple borders with countries known to have FMD or are FMD free with vaccination.

No FMD outbreaks have been reported in South America since 2012. Most South American countries have been recognized by the OIE as being FMD free with vaccination (Uruguay) or without vaccination (Chile and Guyana) or with free regions with vaccination (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Peru) or without vaccination (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Peru). No outbreaks have been reported in Brazil since 2006, in Paraguay since 2012, and in Bolivia since 2007. In that regard, the risk of introduction from neighboring countries is low. Any risk is of introduction is mitigated by following a regional approach to FMD eradication. APHIS acknowledges many enhancements in border control activities along the northern borders with Bolivia, Paraguay, and Brazil.

Further, Argentina does not solely rely on natural barriers to protect the export region from FMD; rather, it is one of many elements that contribute to Argentina's overall sanitary security. As long as FMD is considered endemic only in small areas of South America, there is a very low risk of reintroduction of FMD from those small, adjacent affected areas into the export region and therefore a low likelihood that beef destined for the United States could originate from or be commingled with animals or animal products from affected neighboring areas.

In the event FMD were to be introduced into the northwest of Argentina, the consequences would not be major (as demonstrated in the Tartagal outbreak, 2003) mainly due to the low animal density, low animal movements, and effective veterinary infrastructure in the area. The FMD outbreak that occurred in 2006 shows that SENASA is able to immediately notify and contain the disease, even before confirming diagnosis. APHIS acknowledges that SENASA has adopted several measures to prevent the introduction of the FMD virus from the south of Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay. Both Argentina and the OIE divide the areas south of Northern Argentina into three major parts: Patagonia North A, Patagonia North B, and Patagonia South. Patagonia North A was recognized by the OIE as FMD free without vaccination in 2014, however, as stated in footnote 3, APHIS has made no similar determination. For export purposes, APHIS includes Patagonia North A in the Northern Argentina region and any fresh (chilled or frozen) beef exported from that area would be required to be treated in the same manner as beef exported from the slightly smaller region known to Argentina and the OIE as Northern Argentina. On August 29, 2014, we published in the Federal Register (79 FR 51528-51535, Docket No. APHIS-2013-0105) 5 a notice that we were adding Patagonia North B and Patagonia South to the list of regions that APHIS considers free of FMD.

5 To view that notice and its supporting documentation, go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2013-0105.

One commenter specifically cited the feral swine population of Texas as a potential vector for the rapid spread of FMD if it were to enter into the United States via the importation of fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from Argentina.

FMD susceptible scavengers, such as feral swine, might ingest discarded FMD-contaminated meat, such as raw meat trimmings, and become infected. The frequency of scavenging incidents is similar to risk factors analyzed in connection with the waste feeding pathway (e.g., the amount of imported, contaminated, uncooked meat in household garbage). Therefore, we consider the risk of the scavenging pathway to be equivalent to or lower than that of the waste feeding pathway. We have updated the exposure assessment section of the risk analysis to include further discussion of the risk related to susceptible scavenger and waste feeding of swine.

Another commenter cited the practice of some cowboys in the Patagonia Region who capture and sell feral cattle stating, that cattle of this type are not tested and therefore could be carriers of FMD.

Feral cattle that are captured and enter the Argentine beef production system must come into compliance with the Argentine FMD program requirements, including compulsory vaccination and identification, as is necessary for cattle from any other source in Argentina. Vaccination campaigns take special consideration of the distribution and reach of feral populations.

Comments on the Risk Analysis Development Process

The risk analysis for Northern Argentina includes an in-depth evaluation of the 11 factors used by APHIS to evaluate the animal health status of a region prior to 2012. In August 2012, APHIS consolidated the 11 factors listed in § 92.2(b) into 8 factors. APHIS introduced this simplification in order to facilitate the application process; however, since the evaluation of the Northern Argentina started before 2012, and the topics addressed by the 11 factors are encapsulated in the 8, this analysis follows the 11 factor format. One commenter objected to our use of the 11 factor format. The commenter characterized the reason for the change as the fact that “the list of 11 factors can be confusing.” The commenter said that the use of the 11 factor analysis is arbitrary and contrary to APHIS' current regulations and should not be permitted.

We disagree. As stated in the proposed rule, the topics addressed by the 11 factors are encapsulated in the 8. Appendix II of the risk analysis describes the correspondence between the 8 and 11 factors. The commenter's assertion that APHIS amended its evaluation factors because they were confusing is an incomplete assessment of the situation at the time of the August 2012 rule. Specifically, we said that the 11 factor list could be confusing because the information requested in some of the factors overlapped with information requested in other factors. We therefore amended the list so as not to receive redundant information from requesting countries. Given that the development of our risk analysis took years and given that the 11 factors are included in the 8 factors, rewriting the analysis in the way the commenter suggests would involve a time-consuming, non-substantive consolidation process, which is not warranted under the circumstances.

Some commenters questioned the methodology we employed for the site visits to Argentina. It was claimed that there is no obvious evidence of any established protocol or methodology to allow for consistency and assurance in the quality of the APHIS site visit reviews and that documentation pertaining to the visits was lacking or unavailable for public review. According to one commenter, documents pertaining to the specific methodology and measurements used during the site visits to support the qualitative risk analysis should have been available for the public to review. It was stated that without sufficient documentation, there was no way to distinguish between data obtained from the site visits and data supplied by the Government of Argentina. It was recommended that APHIS develop a protocol, which it should make available to the public, to be used for site visits so that our assessments can be analyzed and summarized more objectively.

The purpose of the site visit is to verify and complement the information previously provided by the country. APHIS site visits consist of an in-depth evaluation of the risk factors identified by APHIS in § 92.2 to consider in assessing the risk of the relevant animal disease posed by a region. The animal disease risks identified in the risk analysis come from the information gathered pertaining to these factors during the site visits and APHIS' document review; and whenever mitigations are considered necessary, such mitigations are discussed in the risk analysis.

APHIS has also published guidance on our approach to implementing our regionalization process and the way in which we apply risk analysis to the decisionmaking process for regionalization. This document can be found on the APHIS Web site at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export/animals/downloads/regionalization_process.pdf. Site visit findings are thoroughly described throughout the risk analysis.

Two other commenters stated that a request for information had been made under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to APHIS related to the site visits to Argentina and documented reporting procedures and established methodology used to conduct those site visits. The commenters said that the rule should not be finalized until the commenters receive, review, and have the opportunity to make additional comments based on the information obtained through FOIA.

We disagree with the commenter's suggestion. As stated previously, the initial 60-day public comment period was extended by 60 days, providing stakeholders with a total of 120 days to share information relevant to each rule. FOIA requests are processed and fulfilled separately from the regulatory process.6

6 For more information on the APHIS FOIA process you may visit http://www.aphis.usda.gov/wps/portal/aphis/resources?1dmy&urile=wcm%3apath%3a/aphis_content_library/sa_resources/sa_laws_and_regulations/sa_foia/ct_foia.

Two commenters said that some citations in the risk analysis, such as references to APHIS internal publications or unpublished reports, did not seem credible because those sources were not readily available to stakeholders for review. The commenters added that each of the primary supporting documents included with the rule on Regulations.gov should have been explicitly referenced in the risk analysis.

We disagree. The information referenced and the conclusions reached are thoroughly described in the risk analysis. In addition, the final risk analysis includes further discussion and references regarding some of the issues about which other commenters had questions.

Two commenters raised issues regarding the scope of our risk analysis. It was stated that the release assessment, exposure assessment, and consequence assessment appeared to be incomplete with regard to the necessary steps and requirements described in the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code.

We conducted the risk analysis in accordance with chapter 2.1 of the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code, “Import Risk Analysis.” The Code recommends that risk analyses include four steps: An entry assessment, an exposure assessment, a consequence assessment, and an overall risk estimation based on the data compiled in the previous three steps. A description of each of those steps is included. In conducting our risk analysis of Northern Argentina, we followed the steps listed in the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code. Where there are differences, they have more to do with terminology than methodology. For example, we refer to what the OIE terms the entry assessment as a release assessment.

Comments on the U.S. Governmental Accountability Office Audit

Many commenters stated that the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has accepted a request submitted by several members of Congress to review the APHIS country review and verification process and the risk analysis used to formulate this proposed rule. The commenters said that no further action on the rule should be taken until the GAO review is completed. One commenter stated that a USDA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) review is also a possibility and that APHIS should wait for the reports from both bodies before proceeding with further action.

While an audit has been requested, that request has not been processed by the GAO. The GAO is an independent agency and, as such, its audit process exists independently of the APHIS regulatory process. If, in the future, the GAO conducts such an audit and releases findings and recommendations, APHIS will review them and adjust our process accordingly. As for the OIG audit referenced by the commenter, at this time such a request has not been submitted. If it is submitted in the future, the OIG will conduct the audit independently of APHIS, and we will take any findings into consideration at the time they are released.

Comments on the University of Minnesota Report

Several commenters made reference to a report released by a third-party scientific review team from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, Center for Animal Health and Food Safety, and the Center for Veterinary Population Medicine which evaluated the APHIS risk analysis. The commenters stated that the report found limited or lacking scientific methodological approaches in performing the risk analysis, poorly defined scope regarding the specific animal types and products for the risk analysis, lack of sufficient detail for geographical landmarks outlining the region, and maps lacking the necessary level of detail to be useful to determine the region.

We have not been made privy to this report and therefore cannot provide a detailed response to topics beyond those cited by the commenters. Both APHIS and the OIE support the use of a qualitative risk analysis model for the purpose of animal health status evaluation. In the OIE's “Handbook on Import Risk Analysis for Animal and Animal Products,” qualitative risk analyses, such as the one that informs our decision to allow for the importation of fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from Northern Argentina, are cited as both an appropriate and the most common type of assessment used to support import decisions. The risk factors evaluated by APHIS and described in detail in the risk analysis are almost identical to those evaluated by the OIE.7 Additionally, we disagree that the specific animal types and products are undefined. The sole product under consideration for importation in the risk analysis is fresh (chilled or frozen) beef that has been matured and deboned in accordance with the regulations. We also disagree with the claims regarding lack of geographical detail. As described previously, figure 12, which is located on page 52 of the risk analysis, is a map showing the various regions in Argentina, including Northern Argentina. The region under consideration is located north of the Patagonia Region, which includes the region located south of the 42nd parallel known as Patagonia South, and the region immediately north of the 42nd parallel known as Patagonia North B. The full description of the area is found earlier in this document. We have also added further description of the area to the risk analysis.

7 You may find a detailed list of the OIE factors on the Internet at http://www.oie.int/fileadmin/Home/eng/Health_standards/tahc/2010/en_chapitre_selfdeclaration.htm.

Comments on the Risk Analysis

Some commenters stated that APHIS should prepare a quantitative risk analysis for beef from Northern Argentina and make it available for public review. Commenters took the position that the qualitative risk analysis methodology that we employed is too subjective because it fails to quantify objectively the probability of risk and adequately assess the magnitude of the consequences of a disease outbreak. Noting that APHIS prepared a quantitative risk analysis in 2002 in support of the rulemaking allowing the importation of fresh beef from Uruguay, commenters questioned why APHIS chose to prepare only a qualitative risk analysis for Northern Argentina.

One commenter stated that although the commenter recognized that the analysis was qualitative, some categories that define what USDA considers “low” risk would be helpful and are necessary for a clear understanding of the risk associated with importation of a given commodity.

Most of APHIS' risk analyses for FMD have been, and continue to be, qualitative in nature. APHIS believes that, when coupled with site visit evaluations, qualitative risk analyses provide the necessary information to properly assess the risk of the introduction of FMD through importation of commodities such as fresh beef. Quantitative risk analysis models are not the best tool to use to assess the risk of FMD posed by exports from a country where the types of data required by such models are unavailable or inadequate. In these instances, APHIS characterizes the risk of potential outbreak qualitatively in order to determine what appropriate measures to implement in order to mitigate the risk posed to the United States in the event of an outbreak in the exporting country (e.g., maturation and pH of beef, no diagnosis of FMD in the previous 12 months).

Contrary to the assertion that a qualitative analysis should define an explicit level of risk or a range of risk, the relative flexibility afforded by a qualitative analysis allows us to evaluate commodity import programs in a holistic manner.

Some commenters viewed the documentation supporting our risk analysis as insufficient. It was further noted that some of those supporting documents were in Spanish. As a result, according to the commenters, transparency was lacking regarding our research methodology and the manner in which we arrived at our conclusions. It was also claimed that the documents we did make available lacked consistency and evidence of verification of our findings.

APHIS acknowledges that some of the documents used as references in the risk analysis were submitted to APHIS in Spanish; APHIS personnel were able to read and evaluate these documents without the necessity of translation into English. In most instances, the same or related data were provided in English in other documents or verbally presented to APHIS during site visits. However, the information provided by Argentina and the conclusions reached are thoroughly described in English in the risk analysis that was made available for public review and comment.

As stated in the proposed rule, although there has not been a major outbreak of FMD since 2001/2002, APHIS does not consider Northern Argentina to be free of FMD because of the vaccination program in that region. One commenter stated that the sanitary security of the United States would be more effectively protected by continuing only to allow for importation from countries that are certified as FMD free without vaccination.

We disagree with the commenter. Our conclusion regarding the decision to allow for the importation of fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from Northern Argentina was reached based upon our understanding of the disease situation in that region and the efficacy of mitigation measures for beef. It has been 9 years since the last FMD detection of any size in Northern Argentina; and the changes in SENASA's infrastructure following earlier outbreaks, as detailed in the risk analysis provide adequate protection against the importation of FMD into the United States via fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from Northern Argentina.

Another commenter observed that the source for APHIS' report that SENASA had officially inspected over 31 million cattle and sheep in 2009 was noted as being a discussion between APHIS and SENASA officials during APHIS' 2005 site visit. The commenter questioned the reliability of this source.

The date of the discussion regarding inspection that took place during the site visit was incorrect in the risk analysis that accompanied the proposed rule. We have corrected the reference in the updated risk analysis to indicate that the discussion occurred during APHIS' 2009 site visit.

Another commenter asked that APHIS address the impact of FMD on the economy and individuals, the duration of the disease, meat inspection procedures, and uncertainties about Argentine sanitary security.

These topics and more are covered by the risk analysis. Further, we would note that in 2003 APHIS authorized the importation of fresh (chilled or frozen) beef under the same conditions that are found in this rule from Uruguay, a region that, like Northern Argentina, is free of FMD with vaccination. Since that time, importation of Uruguayan beef has not been associated with an increased risk of FMD.

Some of the commenters expressed reservations about the efficacy of the maturation requirements contained in the proposed rule, which included chilling the carcass after slaughter for a minimum of 24, and a maximum of 48, hours to ensure that the pH in the loin muscle will be below 6.0. One commenter observed that the risk analysis and the environmental assessment that accompanied the proposed rule were inconsistent concerning whether the FMD virus is totally inactivated as stated in the risk analysis, or whether a small proportion of the virus particles that are relatively resistant to the effects of heat and pH in most populations would remain, as stated in the environmental assessment. The commenter concluded that, if the latter situation were true, the presence of even a small number of virus particles undermined APHIS' claim that the risk posed by the importation of chilled (fresh or frozen) beef from Northern Argentina is low since the virus would not be truly inactivated.

Based on the existing scientific literature, it is generally accepted that FMD virus is inactivated at pH 6.0 or below after maturation at a temperature of 4 °C. Acidification of skeletal muscle that takes place during carcass maturation is normally sufficient to inactivate FMD virus in this tissue, even when cattle are killed at the height of viremia. Because it is known that the required level of acidification cannot be guaranteed under all circumstances, measuring of the pH level of the carcass muscle can be used to ensure that it has occurred. This rule requires that measurements for pH be taken at the middle of both longissimus dorsi muscles; any carcass in which the pH does not reach less than 6.0 may be allowed to maturate an additional 24 hours, and if the carcass still has not reached a pH of less than 6.0 after 48 hours, the meat from the carcass may not be exported to the United States. We have updated the risk analysis and the environmental assessment based on this comment to include further references and explanation of the issue.

One commenter noted that both the rate of pH fall and the ultimate pH achieved in the muscle tissue are influenced by factors such as species, type of muscle in an animal, genetic variability between animals, administration of drugs which affect metabolism, environmental factors prior to slaughter such as feeding or stress, and post-mortem temperature. The commenter stated that therefore a precise protocol must be followed, and expressed doubt that Argentine producers would be capable of adhering to this protocol.

Contrary to the commenter's point regarding different muscle types reaching varying pH levels, we have specified that pH readings must be taken from the longissimus dorsi muscle. Additionally, transportation and carcass resting both influence the likelihood that the muscle tissue will reach the required pH level since, as stated previously, acidification of the skeletal muscles takes place during this time. Even if one or more of the various influencing factors were to affect the pH of the muscle tissue, any carcasses that do not reach the required pH level will not be allowed to be exported into the United States, regardless of how that level was reached. As stated previously, we have added more discussion on the maturation process and the effectiveness of the process in FMD virus inactivation to the final risk analysis.

Two commenters said that the proposed mitigations involving the maturation of the fresh beef and deboning appeared inconsistent with the OIE guidelines for FMD risk mitigation. The commenters stated that the proposed requirements established deboning and maturation as two separate and unrelated mitigations, but the OIE recommendations clearly state that deboning should occur after the meat has matured and reached a pH less than 6.0 at the middle of both longissimus dorsi muscles.

While it was always our intention—and is our practice concerning importation of fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from Uruguay—that deboning occur after the meat had matured and reached the required pH level, we have amended, for clarification purposes, the language in this final rule describing this process.

The same commenters pointed out that neither the proposed rule nor the risk analysis provided information regarding freezing procedures, even though the product proposed for import was chilled or frozen beef.

Both chilling and freezing of meat after maturation are standard industry practices, crucial for food safety and quality regardless of the final destination of the meat. The procedure is as follows: After slaughter, beef carcasses are kept in the chilling rooms at appropriate refrigeration temperatures (carcasses will begin chilling within 1 hour from bleed-out). As previously stated, bovine carcasses are then required to maturate at 40 to 50 °F (4 to 10 °C) for a minimum of 24 hours and must reach a pH below 6.0 in the loin muscle at the end of this period. Measurements for pH must be taken at the middle of both longissimus dorsi muscles. The maturation process critical for FMD virus inactivation via pH drop is temperature dependent, which is why we specified the required temperature range in the proposed rule.

The process of carcass fabrication begins immediately after a carcass leaves the chilling room and takes place in the deboning room where beef cuts are obtained and blood clots and lymph nodes are removed under environmental refrigeration temperatures. These temperatures vary but are generally less than 50 °F (10 °C). Carcass temperature (usually between 4 and 7 °C) and pH are controlled before the carcass enters the deboning room in order to ensure compliance with SENASA authorities and the specifications of importing countries. After the carcass is processed into cuts of meat, those cuts are packed and stored either in a chiller separate from the chiller used for carcass maturation, or in a freezer. A description of the inactivation process has been added to the final risk analysis.

Another commenter observed that, unlike the risk analysis APHIS completed concerning the importation of fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from Brazil, the risk analysis for Northern Argentina does not disclose the number of practicing veterinarians in Argentina, instead stating that SENASA employs 1,054 veterinarians. The commenter said that the absence of the total number of veterinarians in Argentina made a true picture of the veterinarian-to-livestock ratio in Argentina impossible. The commenter further stated that the SENASA-employed veterinarian-to-livestock population ratio of approximately 1 government-employed veterinarian for each 54,080 head of cattle suggests that Argentina lacks an adequate number of veterinarians to effectively monitor the health of Argentina's cattle herd. The commenter said that APHIS should explain the discrepancy in approach between the risk analyses for Brazil and Northern Argentina.

In conducting our evaluation of any animal health program, APHIS is mainly concerned with the veterinary authority of the responsible organization and its available resources for conducting emergency response, vaccination, enforcing movement restrictions, etc. We evaluate the veterinary infrastructure and authority in the context of detection and prevention of FMD, which includes the ability of the veterinary authority to certify that the required mitigations are met. That evaluation may or may not include number of veterinarians. Brazil provided that number with its application and Argentina did not. As in the United States, many veterinarians in Argentina operate mixed veterinary practices that encompass care of both large and small animals in varying proportion. Therefore, any information provided regarding total number of veterinary practices in Argentina would be misleading. Consequently, we do not consider the number to be a significant aspect of a country's sanitary infrastructure; however, we do provide such information in the risk analysis if it is included in the information provided to us.

The same commenter stated that, in the risk analysis accompanying APHIS' proposal to declare the State of Santa Catarina, Brazil, free of FMD, APHIS disclosed the type and quantity of high-risk imports that were known to enter Santa Catarina, the numbers and origins of FMD-susceptible animals that had entered Santa Catarina for breeding purposes, swine movement into and within the State of Santa Catarina, and imports of animals and products from FMD-susceptible animals into the State of Santa Catarina. The commenter said that these data enabled reviewers to evaluate the risk and formulate opinions regarding the specific import practices of the state that had requested to export FMD-susceptible animals and products to the United States and observed that APHIS provided no comparable data in the risk analysis accompanying the Argentine proposed rule.

The commenter specifically cited a statement from the risk analysis that “an area near the border with Paraguay [is] considered endemic for FMD [and] [t]his endemic area appears to have active virus present in restricted niches or patches, which could potentially lead to outbreaks in cattle populations with low FMD immunity,” and concluded that APHIS knows that it is likely, if not highly likely, that an active FMD virus is present in Northern Argentina.

As described in the two risk analyses, both the State of Santa Catarina, Brazil, and the region of Northern Argentina follow OIE guidelines for the importation of FMD-susceptible commodities. The particular imports as well as the guidelines followed are different since both regions have different status. Argentina is a net exporter of cattle, and the number of imported cattle is insignificant. According to SENASA, the last importation of cattle from Paraguay (which was for breeding purposes only) occurred in 2010 (11 head), no cattle imports have been reported from Brazil or Bolivia since 2010, and Argentina's imports from Uruguay are generally less than 200 head of cattle per year. The primary imports of beef into Argentina are from Uruguay under the same type of conditions that are currently in place for the importation of fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from Uruguay into the United States.

The risk analysis we performed pursuant to declaring the State of Santa Catarina free of FMD specifically evaluated the disease situation for four swine diseases, including FMD. The State of Santa Catarina is a major swine-producing state, and an assessment of swine movements was critical to our analysis. In the case of Northern Argentina, swine imports into the region are negligible as Argentina is not a major swine-producer. According to SENASA, 1,521 swine were imported into Argentina in 2014, all of which were from Brazil.

Further, the commenter has taken the statement about the Paraguay-Argentina border out of its original context in the risk analysis. The statement refers to the situation in Argentina in a particular area at the time of the most recent FMD outbreak in Argentina, which was 9 years ago. The current epidemiological situation and evidence supports APHIS' conclusion that either the disease does not exist in that region or that the vaccination coverage is high and the disease is under control. At the time the State of Santa Catarina, Brazil, risk analysis was finalized in August 2010, there were other regions of South America experiencing outbreaks. As a result, our consideration of risk for the State of Santa Catarina, Brazil, was based in part on the disease situation in the surrounding region, which differs here since there has been no outbreak of FMD reported in South America for the past 3 years.

One commenter stated that farmers who own property spanning the borders between Argentina and Paraguay and Argentina and Bolivia are of particular concern as this increases the potential for animal movements across the borders. The commenter added that nomadic people in the area would also be likely to move animals without proper documentation. Another commenter specifically cited the border with Paraguay as being of continuing concern given that the risk analysis identified illegal movement of livestock from Paraguay as a likely source of historical FMD introduction to Argentina.

Argentina collaborates with neighboring countries to harmonize FMD-related programs and restrictions. Mechanisms have been established to provide for immediate notification between these countries if an outbreak occurs. High-risk surveillance areas have been established on Argentina's borders with Brazil, Paraguay, and Bolivia. This program includes: Strengthening infrastructure of the veterinary services; harmonizing procedures for control, prevention, and eradication of FMD; harmonizing vaccination procedures in areas of geographic contiguity; and conducting vaccinations under APHIS supervision. That being said, in response to the comment we are adding a clarifying statement to both the risk analysis and the environmental assessment to emphasize that if FMD exists at all in South America, it likely does so only in very small regions as evidenced by the lack of reports of the disease over the past 3 years.

One commenter said that the nature of the border control and biosecurity measures in place between the Northern Argentina region and neighboring countries was not clearly described in the risk analysis. Another commenter stated that while APHIS described enhancements to the border control activities and infrastructure in the Provinces of Formosa, Salta, and Jujuy, we failed to explain what enhancements were made in the Provinces of Misiones, Chaco, and Corrientes.

As stated in the risk analysis, border control activities include, but are not limited to, vaccinations, surveillance, animal census, education, and animal identification. Contrary to the second commenter's assertion, enhancements made to border control activities, which include activities that occur in the Provinces of Misiones, Chaco, and Corrientes since they are located on the border of Argentina, are described in the risk analysis as follows: Following the recommendations of the OIE mission that visited Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay in December 2006, the heads of the veterinary services and the Pan American Foot-and-Mouth Disease Center defined an area of high-level surveillance within the border regions of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Bolivia. Initially the program was intended to last 2 years and be subjected to periodic reviews and evaluations. During the 2009 and 2013 site visits, SENASA reported that the program was still effectively operating, with a redefinition of the high surveillance area in 2013 to include the border regions of Argentina, Paraguay, and Bolivia. Most of the financing has been obtained from the World Bank and the Inter-American Development bank. Among others, the general actions include:

• Strengthening infrastructure of the veterinary services;

• Harmonizing procedures for control, prevention, and eradication of FMD;

• Harmonizing vaccination procedures in areas of geographic contiguity; and

• Conducting vaccinations under APHIS supervision.

The same commenter observed that APHIS included data on the buffalo population in our risk analyses for both the State of Santa Catarina, Brazil, and for the 14 additional Brazilian States that have requested to export fresh (chilled or frozen) beef to the United States, as buffalo are an FMD-susceptible species. The commenter noted that there is no mention of buffalo in the Northern Argentina risk analysis despite the existence of Internet advertisements for hunting water buffalo in Argentina. The commenter concluded that, for such advertisements to exist there must be a significant population of water buffalo in the region, which represent a risk of FMD transmission.

In 2014, the buffalo population in Argentina was less than 94,000 head 8 and vaccination and movement requirements for those buffalo are identical to those for cattle. We have added an explanation to this effect in the final risk analysis.

8 SENASA, official communication with APHIS, January 23, 2015.

The same commenter stated that APHIS provides no discussion regarding the likelihood that wildlife in Argentina has developed a natural immunity to the FMD virus. The commenter posited that, with such immunity, wildlife could serve as asymptomatic carriers of the disease and because Argentina has been vaccinating cattle for FMD for a considerable period of time, the transmission of the FMD virus between wildlife and domestic livestock would not be expected to result in a symptomatic response.

Other commenters also took issue with the release assessment for suggesting that wildlife does not play a significant role in the transmission of FMD. It was claimed that the statement lacked support in the scientific literature. One commenter specifically cited the feral swine population in the Gran Chaco region and the endangered and protected Chacoan peccary that are allowed to move freely within the Gran Chaco as a potential source of wildlife transmission for FMD between Northern Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Brazil.

The first commenter provided no evidence to support the supposition that species of wildlife are likely to become asymptomatic carriers of the FMD virus in the particular region under consideration and there is no epidemiological data supporting such a claim. As stated previously, research into FMD in South America has determined that wildlife populations do not play a significant role in the maintenance and transmission of FMD. During outbreak situations, wildlife may become affected by FMD; however, the likelihood that they would become carriers under field conditions is rare. Therefore, it is unlikely that FMD would be introduced into Northern Argentina through movement of infected wildlife.

The epidemiology of the disease in South America over time and the information provided in the surveillance section of the risk analysis clearly demonstrate that the role of wildlife in disease transmission in the area under consideration is insignificant. Many decades of experience with the disease have shown no consistent relationship between outbreaks in domestic animals and coexistence of susceptible wild animals in South America. In addition, results of repeated serological testing focusing on cattle as the most susceptible species do not reveal evidence of viral activity in domestic ruminants that are likely to contact wild animals. If wild animals were carriers or reservoirs of FMD, evidence of viral activity would be expected in domestic species coexisting in the same regions as infected wild animals.

A commenter said that, while the APHIS risk analysis states that, as of 2006, there were 52 eligible plants in Argentina certified to export meat to the United States, the most recent FSIS audit of the Argentine meat industry states that there are only 14 such establishments. The commenter said that APHIS' assessment of risk associated was therefore wrongly assuming that the volume of potentially export-eligible beef per plant was lower; a situation which would allow for more careful oversight within those plants than is actually the case given the FSIS data.

All plants approved by SENASA are federally inspected. Prior to the finalization of this rule, only cooked or cured beef was eligible for export from Northern Argentina under the regulations in 9 CFR 94.4, due to that region's FMD status. In response to the comment we are deleting the number of plants since that number will be updated after FSIS conducts its equivalence determination. Moreover, the number of eligible plants is subject to relatively frequent change, most likely due to ongoing compliance cost assessments made by individual owners in Argentina. Regardless, we do not make assumptions regarding how much beef a plant will produce; rather we evaluate the likelihood that FMD could be introduced into the United States via the importation of beef. It is unlikely, given the expected low import volume, that beef will be imported from Argentina at levels that will overwhelm the existing processing infrastructure.

The same commenter pointed out that the endnote citation listed in the risk analysis as supporting an assertion regarding the rate of pH change in the longissimus dorsi muscle referred to an FSIS report on Argentine plants eligible to export meat to the United States and not to any scientific literature.

The commenter correctly pointed out that our reference number was mistaken and we have corrected it in the final risk analysis.

Comments on the Economic Analysis

One commenter said that the underlying assumption in APHIS' entire economic model is that U.S. cattle are grain fed and, therefore, of higher quality, while imports from Argentina will be beef from grass fed cattle. The commenter characterized these assumptions as false, citing the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service's (FAS's) September 2014 GAIN report, which states that most of the beef currently consumed in Argentina is grain fed. The commenter concluded that therefore beef from Argentina will be comparable to high-quality U.S. beef and, therefore, more competitive in the U.S. market.

We acknowledge the fact that a large percentage of beef cattle in Argentina now complete their feeding regimen in feedlots. It is true that the grain fed beef imported from Argentina will be more directly competitive with U.S. sourced beef, but the overall conclusion of our analysis remains the same: The relatively small quantity of Argentine beef expected to be imported will not significantly impact the U.S. market. In 2013, Argentina exported approximately 7 percent of its total production and consumed the remaining 93 percent. Given Argentina's production capacity and its promotion of domestic consumption of beef, it is unlikely that Argentina's beef will strongly compete in the U.S market. In terms of value, the EU continues to be the main destination for Argentina's beef exports, as it is able to enter the EU market under the Tariff Quota regulated by EC Regulation No. 936/97 of 27 May 1997. Argentina has been recently approved by the EU to access the quota for premium quality (Beef 481) with no fee. Other countries already authorized under this quota are the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Uruguay. This quota differs from the Tariff Quota regulated by EC Regulation No. 936/97 described earlier in this document in that it is not allotted by portions to each of the participant nations, but it is a general quota for which all the countries involved must compete. Argentina's beef exports will therefore most likely be intended for multiple locations, not only for the U.S. market.

The same commenter said that in 2012, the price for heavy fed steers in Argentina was $8.80 pesos per live kilo (approximately $0.47 U.S. dollars per pound) and the price for heavy fed steers in the United States in that year was approximately $1.23 U.S. dollars per pound. The commenter observed that Argentine cattle are priced at about one-third of the price of U.S. cattle and this price differential will create incentive for multinational corporations to source beef from Argentine cattle and therefore quickly increase supplies of beef comparable to U.S. beef in the U.S. market.

Argentina's proposed export quantity represents less than 1 percent of U.S. beef production and is unlikely to have a major impact on the U.S. domestic market. In addition, Argentine beef will be exported to the United States under a quota, and quantities over that quota will be assessed an import duty of 26.4 percent. The EU is the largest market for Argentina's beef. Given projected import levels, above-quota duties, and existing market patterns, the economic impact of Argentine beef imports is likely to be small.

The same commenter stated that the economic analysis likely ignores the extreme sensitivity of U.S. cattle prices to changes in supply. The commenter cited studies that show that farm level elasticity of demand for slaughter cattle is such that a 1 percent increase in supply can reduce prices by up to 2.5 percent. The commenter observed that domestic cattle prices jumped $26 per hundredweight after trade restrictions were imposed on imports of cattle and beef from Canada in 2003, thus demonstrating the sensitivity of the market.

The economic analysis uses a partial equilibrium model for which more details can be found in Paarlberg et al.9 In mapping interactions among the grain, livestock, and livestock product sectors, the model assumes price-taking economic decisionmakers who maximize well-defined objective functions. Utility maximization for consumers yields a set of per capita demand functions. Three sets of parameters drive the model: The livestock feed-balance calculator, the revenue shares for all industries, and elasticities used in the model solution. The livestock feed-balance calculators are critical because they relate the stocks and flows of animals for each quarter to the feed supplies available, forming the critical vertical linkage between the animal agriculture component and the crop component. Elasticities are critical parameters and are grouped into several sets. Most own- and cross-price elasticities of retail demand are based on estimates from econometric models. Cross-price elasticities are non-negative, implying that the commodities involved are substitutes. Substitution elasticities describe derived demand behaviors and affect supplies of the output commodities in the equation from which they are derived. Substitution elasticities are either obtained from the literature or generated consistent with commonly accepted supply elasticity values.

9 Paarlberg, Philip L., Ann Hillberg Seitzinger, John G. Lee, and Kenneth H. Mathews, Jr. Economic Impacts of Foreign Animal Disease. Economic Research Report Number 57. USDA ERS, May 2008.

The percentage change in cattle and beef prices in 2003, which was because of trade restrictions due to the discovery of BSE in Canada, were significantly greater than the percentage price changes expected as a result of the importation of fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from Argentina. Immediately following the discovery of BSE in Canada in May 2003, the United States closed its border to imports of Canadian feeder cattle, fed cattle, cull cows, and beef. Later in 2003, the United States reopened its border to imports of Canadian boneless beef obtained from animals less than 30 months of age. Prior to May 2003, almost half of the cattle sold in Canada were exported as either live animals or meat. In 2002, about 90 percent of Canadian beef exports went to the United States and accounted for 55 percent of U.S. beef imports.

In contrast to the relatively sudden loss of such a large traded volume of beef in 2003, expected annual imports from Argentina of 20,000 MT of fresh beef would be the equivalent of less than 2 percent of average annual U.S. beef imports and less than 0.2 percent of the U.S. beef supply, 2009-2013.

The commenter cites studies indicating that a 1 percent increase in the supply of beef can reduce slaughter cattle prices by up to 2.5 percent. Other studies, such as Marsh et al. (2005), find a coefficient closer to 1.5 (beef price flexibility coefficient at the slaughter-wholesale market level).10 When this coefficient is multiplied by the percentage increase in the U.S. beef supply expected with this rule (20,000 MT, when assuming no displacement of beef imports from other sources), the percentage impact on slaughter cattle prices, 0.25 percent, is found to be essentially the same as shown in the last row of table 3 of the economic analysis.11

10 Marsh, J.M., G.W. Brester, and V.H. Smith. “The Impacts on U.S. Cattle Prices of Re-Establishing Beef Trade Relations.” Agricultural Marketing Policy Center, Briefing No. 74, February 2005.

11 The average annual U.S. fresh beef supply (production minus exports plus imports), 2009-2013, was 11.85 million MT. Expected imports from Argentina in comparison to the U.S. fresh beef supply: 20,000 MT/11,850,000 = 0.17 percent. Effect on slaughter cattle prices of fresh beef imports from Argentina assuming a flexibility coefficient of 1.5: (0.17 percent)(1.5) = 0.25 percent.

A commenter expressed the view that the rulemaking would depress markets for U.S. producers.

The commenter did not present data that would support the proposition that Argentina's beef exports are likely to increase so precipitously as a result of this rulemaking that U.S. producers would experience negative effects.

One commenter stated that the rule did not represent any benefit to U.S. producers.

Using a partial equilibrium model and considering three scenarios of 16,000, 20,000 and 24,000 metric tons, there are net welfare gains in each scenario. Under the 20,000 MT import scenario, producers would experience a decline in surplus of $7.63 million or 0.42 percent, while consumers would benefit from the decrease in price by an increase in their surplus of $130.24 million or 0.30 percent. The overall impact would be a net welfare gain of $122.61 million or 0.27 percent for U.S. beef consumers. The net welfare gain for the beef sector would be $0.61 million or 0.002 percent.

In the initial regulatory flexibility analysis prepared in connection with the proposed rule regarding the economic effects of the rule on small entities, we stated that the primary entities affected by the rule would be cattle producers, feedlots, and slaughter facilities, the majority of which were considered to be small businesses. We also stated that there could be other categories of small entities affected and invited commenters to supply us with any information we might be lacking on the number and nature of those entities. Two commenters cited this as evidence that APHIS did not adequately prepare for the publication of this proposed rule by presenting a full list of potentially affected small entities.

The economic analysis for the proposed rule considered the entities that may be directly affected. Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act, agencies are required to consider impacts on small entities and request additional information if it is not readily available. We estimate that cattle (steer) prices and wholesale beef prices are likely to decline between about 0.2 and 0.3 percent due to beef imports from Argentina. These measures of price effects are industry-wide. How reductions in producer surplus because of these price declines may be distributed among livestock operations and other affected entities cannot be determined from the information available.

Many commenters expressed concern about the potentially devastating economic effect an outbreak of FMD in the United States could have on U.S. cattle producers. It was stated that the potential economic risks greatly outweigh the benefits of this rulemaking, and that the economic analysis accompanying the August 2014 proposed rule failed to take into account those potential costs. Some commenters recommended that we revise the economic analysis to account for those potential costs. It was suggested that we should perform a comprehensive, up-to-date economic analysis to identify consequences for all U.S. commodity groups potentially affected by an FMD outbreak.

It is true that an outbreak of FMD in the United States, whatever its source, could have very serious effects on the U.S. cattle industry. In the economic analysis accompanying the August 2014 proposed rule, we modeled expected benefits and costs of annual imports of fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from Northern Argentina for three scenarios: Importation averaging 16,000 MT, 20,000 MT, and 24,000 MT, and found that the expected changes in U.S. beef production, consumption, and exports would be inconsequential. We have added a discussion of the potential impacts of an FMD outbreak for the U.S. economy to the final economic analysis. We also note that we examined the potential economic and other consequences of an FMD outbreak in the United States at some length in the consequence assessment section of our risk analysis.

Several commenters cited the “Site-Specific Biosafety and Biosecurity Mitigation Risk Assessment” 12 conducted for the Department of Homeland Security's National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility and the economic impact models used to estimate the impact of an outbreak of FMD, suggesting that APHIS consult those models in our own analyses.

12 You may view this report on the Internet at http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/nbaf_ssra_final_report.pdf.

The report referenced by the commenters shows the cumulative impact on the entire industry for a worst case disease scenario. Given the risk mitigation measures in place, it is highly unlikely that FMD would be introduced into the United States via fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from Argentina.

Comments on Economic Effects

While specific comments on the initial regulatory flexibility analysis are addressed above, we also received a number of comments concerning the overall economic effect of the rule as it relates to potential costs to U.S. consumers.

Several commenters stated that an analysis of the long term costs to consumers and the livestock industry resulting from an outbreak of FMD in the United States was not included in the proposed rule.

While we agree with the commenters that the consequences of an FMD outbreak in the United States would be severe, the likelihood of such an outbreak occurring due to exposure of the domestic livestock population to chilled (fresh or frozen) beef imported from Northern Argentina is low. Therefore, the overall risk of FMD to U.S. animal health from imports of these commodities is also low.

A commenter stated that allowing imports of beef from Northern Argentina may cause a loss of consumer confidence in other types of meat in addition to beef, resulting in a loss of profits for U.S. producers.

This is a hypothetical statement for which the commenter presents no supporting evidence.

Comments on the Environmental Assessment

One commenter stated that the environmental assessment accompanying the proposed rule marginalized empirical evidence demonstrating FMD spread in domestic wildlife by relying upon cursory studies.

There has been no confirmed spread of FMD in wildlife in the United States. Due to the lack of epidemiological data on FMD in U.S. wildlife, FMD research has had to rely on experimental infections or mathematical modeling. While experimental data indicates that many U.S. wildlife species are susceptible to FMD, transmission by persistently infected livestock or wildlife to susceptible animals has not been proven despite decades of worldwide research.

The same commenter said that the environmental assessment cited an 11-year-old study to assert that “experts generally consider the transfer of FMD from wildlife to domestic animals to be unlikely,” while, according to FMD disease notifications submitted to the OIE, the Republic of South Africa attributed its 2009 outbreak of FMD to contact with wild species as did Botswana.

Apart from the African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) in sub-Saharan Africa, wildlife has not been demonstrated to play a significant role in the transmission of FMD. More often, wildlife are passively infected when outbreaks of FMD occur in domestic livestock, and, in some wild ungulates, infection results in severe disease. Efforts to control FMD in wildlife may not be successful when the disease is endemic in livestock and may cause more harm to wildlife, human livelihoods, and domestic animals. Currently in sub-Saharan Africa, the complete eradication of FMD on a subcontinental scale in the near term is not possible, given the presence of FMD-infected African buffalo and the existence of weak veterinary infrastructures in some FMD-endemic countries.

The same commenter reasoned that since the environmental assessment states that likely results of an outbreak of FMD in the United States would include loss of livestock, rare species, and habitat due to the culling process, and the pollution of the environment from mass carcass disposals, then APHIS must initiate a Section 7 Consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and/or the National Marine Fisheries Service (the Services) for a determination by the appropriate Service as to whether APHIS' proposed action is likely to adversely affect a listed species or its designated critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act.

APHIS is not required to consult with the Services if we determine that an action will not immediately affect listed species or critical habitat. As stated previously, in our risk analysis, APHIS concluded that Argentina's legal framework, animal health infrastructure, movement and border controls, diagnostic capabilities, surveillance programs and emergency response systems are adequate to detect and control any future FMD outbreaks within the national boundaries of the export region of consideration. Although consequences of an FMD outbreak in the United States are potentially substantial, the likelihood of an outbreak occurring via exposure of the domestic livestock population to fresh (chilled or frozen) beef imported from Northern Argentina under the required conditions is low. In addition, the environmental assessment also concluded that the potential for infection of wildlife from the proposed action is unlikely. The United States has retained an FMD-free status since 1929, and APHIS is very effective at assessing and implementing necessary mitigations to prevent FMD outbreaks in this country. In the unlikely event that FMD was discovered in the United States (most likely from an illegal importation of FMD-infected products or animals) and APHIS were to implement an eradication program, we would immediately enter into an emergency Section 7 consultation with the Services' offices to implement necessary protection measures for federally listed species and critical habitat in the eradication area.

One commenter objected to the environmental assessment's description of SENASA's sanitary enhancements as “adequate” and stated that the level of monitoring must be more than merely “adequate.”

By “adequate” monitoring, we mean that APHIS has determined that Argentina has established the necessary controls that would allow for rapid detection, restrictions, quarantine, and reporting to the international community. In the event of such an event, the United States could impose the necessary restrictions on potentially affected products in a timely manner.

One commenter asked about the impact of the proposed action on the environment in Argentina given that the number of cattle raised in Argentina will increase significantly upon finalization of the rule.

While Executive Order 12114, “Environmental Effects Abroad of Major Federal Actions” furthers the purpose of the National Environmental Policy Act with respect to the environment outside of the United States, APHIS' proposed action is importation of fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from Northern Argentina into the United States. Therefore, the focus of the environmental assessment is to evaluate the potential impacts of allowing for the importation of fresh, maturated, and deboned beef from Northern Argentina into the United States, and not on the sustainability of cattle ranching in Argentina. The commenter's presumption regarding increased production may not be correct, in that the export of beef from Argentina may result in changes to the destination of product rather than substantial increases in domestic production.

Comments on Bioterrorism

Two commenters stated that the importation of fresh (chilled or frozen) beef would allow terrorists to intentionally introduce a foreign animal disease into the United States.

Another commenter observed that U.S. Department of Homeland Security has classified FMD as a national security issue. The commenter said that a terrorist with the intention of crippling the U.S. economy might use FMD as a mechanism to do so if the materials were made available.

This is a hypothetical statement for which the commenters presented no supporting evidence. Importation of a veterinary select agent or toxin such as FMD, which is among those agents and toxins that have been determined to have the potential to pose a severe threat to animal health or animal products, is strictly regulated by APHIS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With respect to the possibility of obtaining FMD virus from imported beef from Northern Argentina, as we have detailed elsewhere, we are confident that the conditions Argentina will be required to meet in order to import fresh (chilled or frozen) beef into the United States will preclude the importation of FMD.

Therefore, for the reasons given in the proposed rule and in this document, we are adopting the proposed rule as a final rule, with the change discussed in this document.

Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 and Regulatory Flexibility Act

This final rule has been determined to be economically significant for the purposes of Executive Order 12866 and, therefore, has been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget.

We have prepared an economic analysis for this rule. The economic analysis provides a cost-benefit analysis, as required by Executive Orders 12866 and 13563, which direct agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, and equity). Executive Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility. The economic analysis also provides a final regulatory flexibility analysis that examines the potential economic effects of this rule on small entities, as required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act. The economic analysis is summarized below. Copies of the full analysis are available on the Regulations.gov Web site (see footnote 1 in this document for a link to Regulations.gov) or by contacting the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

This analysis examines potential economic impacts of a final rule that will allow fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from a region in Northern Argentina to be imported into the United States provided certain conditions are met. Economic effects of the rule for both U.S. producers and consumers are expected to be small. Producers' welfare will be negatively affected. Welfare gains for consumers will outweigh producer losses, however, resulting in a net benefit to the U.S. economy. APHIS has concluded that the risk of exposing U.S. livestock to FMD via fresh beef imports from Argentina is sufficiently low such that imports are safe.

The United States is the largest beef producer in the world, and yet still imports a significant quantity. Annual U.S. beef import volumes from 1999 to 2013 averaged 0.9 million MT or roughly 11 percent of U.S. production. Much of the beef imported by the United States is from grass-fed cattle, and is processed with trimmings from U.S. grain-fed cattle to make ground beef. Australia, Canada, and New Zealand are the main foreign suppliers of beef to the United States.

Effects of the final rule are estimated using a partial equilibrium model of the U.S. agricultural sector. Economic impacts are estimated based on intra-sectoral linkages among the grain, livestock, and livestock product sectors. Annual imports of fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from Argentina are expected to range between 16,000 and 24,000 MT, with volumes averaging 20,000 MT. Quantity, price, and welfare changes are estimated for these three import scenarios. The results are presented as average annual effects for the 4-year period, 2015-2018.

A portion of the beef imported from Argentina will displace beef that would otherwise be imported from other countries. The model indicates that the net annual increase in U.S. fresh beef imports will be 12,955 MT (81 percent of 16,000 MT) under the 16,000 MT scenario; 15,895 MT (79 percent of 20,000 MT) under the 20,000 MT scenario; and 19,458 MT (81 percent of 24,000 MT) under the 24,000 MT scenario.

If the United States imports 20,000 MT of beef from Argentina, total U.S. beef imports will increase by 1.3 percent. Due to the supply increase, the wholesale price of beef, the retail price of beef, and the price of cattle (steer) are estimated to decline by 0.32, 0.12, and 0.35 percent, respectively. U.S beef production will decline by 0.01 percent, while U.S. beef consumption and exports will increase by 0.1 and 0.4 percent, respectively. The 16,000 MT and 24,000 MT scenarios show similar quantity and price effects.

The fall in beef prices and the resulting decline in U.S. beef production will translate into reduced returns to capital and management in the livestock and beef sectors. Under the 20,000 MT import scenario, beef producers will experience a welfare decline of $13.86 million or 0.4 percent, while consumers will benefit from the decrease in price by a welfare gain of $190.97 million or 0.6 percent. Cattle producers will experience decline in welfare of $107.05 million or 4 percent. The overall impact will be a net welfare gain of $177.11 million or 0.5 percent for producers and consumers in the beef processing sector. For the combined beef and cattle sectors, there will be a $70.06 million net welfare gain (0.18 percent net benefit).

The 16,000 MT and 24,000 MT scenarios show similar welfare impacts, with net benefits increasing broadly in proportion to the quantity of beef imported. The largest impact will be for the beef sector; consumers of pork and poultry meat will benefit negligibly. While most of the establishments that will be affected by this rule are small entities, based on the results of this analysis, APHIS does not expect the impacts to be significant.

Executive Order 12988

This final rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. This rule: (1) Preempts all State and local laws and regulations that are inconsistent with this rule; (2) has no retroactive effect; and (3) does not require administrative proceedings before parties may file suit in court challenging this rule.

National Environmental Policy Act

An environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact have been prepared for this final rule. The environmental assessment provides a basis for the conclusion that the importation of fresh beef from Northern Argentina under the conditions specified in this rule will not have a significant impact on the quality of the human environment. Based on the finding of no significant impact, the Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has determined that an environmental impact statement need not be prepared.

The environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact were prepared in accordance with: (1) The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), (2) regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality for implementing the procedural provisions of NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500-1508), (3) USDA regulations implementing NEPA (7 CFR part 1b), and (4) APHIS' NEPA Implementing Procedures (7 CFR part 372).

The environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact may be viewed on the Regulations.gov Web site.13 Copies of the environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact are also available for public inspection at USDA, room 1141, South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. Persons wishing to inspect copies are requested to call ahead on (202) 799-7039 to facilitate entry into the reading room. In addition, copies may be obtained by writing to the individual listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

13 Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2014-0032. The environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact will appear in the resulting list of documents.

Paperwork Reduction Act

In accordance with section 3507(d) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), the information collection or recordkeeping requirements included in this final rule, which were filed under 0579-0428, have been submitted for approval to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). When OMB notifies us of its decision, if approval is denied, we will publish a document in the Federal Register providing notice of what action we plan to take.

E-Government Act Compliance

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is committed to compliance with the E-Government Act to promote the use of the Internet and other information technologies, to provide increased opportunities for citizen access to Government information and services, and for other purposes. For information pertinent to E-Government Act compliance related to this rule, please contact Ms. Kimberly Hardy, APHIS' Information Collection Coordinator, at (301) 851-2727.

List of Subjects in 9 CFR Part 94

Animal diseases, Imports, Livestock, Meat and meat products, Milk, Poultry and poultry products, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

Accordingly, we are amending 9 CFR part 94 as follows:

PART 94—RINDERPEST, FOOT-AND-MOUTH DISEASE, NEWCASTLE DISEASE, HIGHLY PATHOGENIC AVIAN INFLUENZA, AFRICAN SWINE FEVER, CLASSICAL SWINE FEVER, SWINE VESICULAR DISEASE, AND BOVINE SPONGIFORM ENCEPHALOPATHY: PROHIBITED AND RESTRICTED IMPORTATIONS 1. The authority citation for part 94 continues to read as follows: Authority:

7 U.S.C. 450, 7701-7772, 7781-7786, and 8301-8317; 21 U.S.C. 136 and 136a; 31 U.S.C. 9701; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.4.

2. Section 94.29 is revised to read as follows:
§ 94.29 Restrictions on importation of fresh (chilled or frozen) beef and ovine meat from specified regions.

Notwithstanding any other provisions of this part, fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from a region in Argentina located north of Patagonia South and Patagonia North B, referred to as Northern Argentina (the region sometimes referred to as Patagonia North A is included in Northern Argentina); fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from a region in Brazil composed of the States of Bahia, Distrito Federal, Espírito Santo, Goiás, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Paraná, Rio Grande do Sul, Rio de Janeiro, Rondônia, São Paulo, Sergipe, and Tocantins; and fresh (chilled or frozen) beef and ovine meat from Uruguay may be exported to the United States under the following conditions:

(a) The meat is:

(1) Beef from animals that have been born, raised, and slaughtered in the exporting regions of Argentina or Brazil; or

(2) Beef or ovine meat from Uruguay derived from animals that have been born, raised, and slaughtered in Uruguay.

(b) Foot-and-mouth disease has not been diagnosed in the exporting region of Argentina (for beef from Argentina), the exporting region of Brazil (for beef from Brazil), or in Uruguay (for beef or ovine meat from Uruguay) within the previous 12 months.

(c) The meat comes from bovines or sheep that originated from premises where foot-and-mouth disease has not been present during the lifetime of any bovines and sheep slaughtered for the export of beef and ovine meat to the United States.

(d) The meat comes from bovines or sheep that were moved directly from the premises of origin to the slaughtering establishment without any contact with other animals.

(e) The meat comes from bovines or sheep that received ante-mortem and post-mortem veterinary inspections, paying particular attention to the head and feet, at the slaughtering establishment, with no evidence found of vesicular disease.

(f) The meat consists only of bovine parts or ovine parts that are, by standard practice, part of the animal's carcass that is placed in a chiller for maturation after slaughter and before removal of any bone, blood clots, or lymphoid tissue. The bovine and ovine parts that may not be imported include all parts of the head, feet, hump, hooves, and internal organs.

(g) All bone and visually identifiable blood clots and lymphoid tissue have been removed from the meat.

(h) The meat has not been in contact with meat from regions other than those listed in § 94.1(a).

(i) The meat came from bovine carcasses that were allowed to maturate at 40 to 50 °F (4 to 10 °C) for a minimum of 24 hours after slaughter and that reached a pH below 6.0 in the loin muscle at the end of the maturation period. Measurements for pH must be taken at the middle of both longissimus dorsi muscles. Any carcass in which the pH does not reach less than 6.0 may be allowed to maturate an additional 24 hours and be retested, and, if the carcass still has not reached a pH of less than 6.0 after 48 hours, the meat from the carcass may not be exported to the United States.

(j) An authorized veterinary official of the government of the exporting region certifies on the foreign meat inspection certificate that the above conditions have been met.

(k) The establishment in which the bovines and sheep are slaughtered allows periodic on-site evaluation and subsequent inspection of its facilities, records, and operations by an APHIS representative.

(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control numbers 0579-0372, 0579-0414, and 0579-0428)

Done in Washington, DC, this 26th day of June 2015. Gary Woodward, Deputy Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs.
[FR Doc. 2015-16335 Filed 7-1-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-34-P
DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY 10 CFR Part 430 [Docket No. EERE-2011-BT-TP-0042] RIN 1904-AC53 Energy Conservation Program for Consumer Products and Certain Commercial and Industrial Equipment: Test Procedures for Residential and Commercial Water Heaters; Correction AGENCY:

Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Department of Energy.

ACTION:

Final rule; correction.

SUMMARY:

On July 11, 2014, the U.S. Department of Energy published a final rule amending the test procedures for consumer water heaters and certain commercial water heaters. This correction addresses an error in one of the amendatory instructions for the regulatory text. Neither the error nor the correction in this document affects the substance of the rulemaking or any of the conclusions reached in support of the final rule.

DATES:

Effective July 13, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Ms. Ashley Armstrong, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Building Technologies Program, Mailstop EE-5B, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585-0121. Telephone: (202) 586-6590. Email: [email protected]

Mr. Eric Stas, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of the General Counsel, GC-33, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585-0121. Telephone: (202) 586-9507. Email: [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) published a final rule in the Federal Register on July 11, 2014 (“the July 2014 final rule”), amending the test procedures for consumer and certain commercial water heaters. 79 FR 40542. In the rule, DOE incorporated by reference the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) D2156-09, “Standard Test Method for Smoke Density in Flue Gases from Burning Distillate Fuels,” at 10 CFR 430.3(h)(1) for use in 10 CFR part 430, subpart B, Appendix E. The effective date for this rule is July 13, 2015.

On January 6, 2015, DOE published a final rule in the Federal Register (“the January 2015 final rule”) amending the test procedures for direct heating equipment and pool heaters. 80 FR 792. The January 2015 final rule incorporated by reference the same industry standard, ASTM D2156-09, at 10 CFR 430.3(i)(1) for use in 10 CFR part 430, subpart B, Appendix O. The effective date for this rule was February 5, 2015.

The July 2014 final rule instruction to incorporate by reference ASTM D2156-09 at 10 CFR 430.3(h)(1) conflicts with the January 2015 final rule instruction to incorporate by reference ASTM D2156-09 at 10 CFR 430.3(i)(1). The instruction in the July 2014 final rule would be in error if implemented as written, because it would needlessly duplicate the incorporation by reference of ASTM D2156-09, which was already incorporated by reference by the January 2015 final rule.

Amendatory instruction 8 on page 40567 of the Federal Register in the July 2014 final rule at 79 FR 40542 is, therefore, corrected to modify 10 CFR 430.3 to incorporate by reference ASTM D2156-09 for use in both Appendix E and Appendix O to subpart B. DOE notes that ASTM D2156-09 has already been approved for incorporation by reference for Appendix E (79 FR 40542) and Appendix O (80 FR 792), and, therefore, no additional action is necessary. The effective date of the July 2014 final rule at 79 FR 40542 remains July 13, 2015.

Correction

In FR Doc. 2014-15656 appearing on page 40542 in the issue of Friday, July 11, 2014, the following correction is made:

§ 430.3 [Corrected]

On page 40567, second column, § 430.3, amendatory instruction 8, is corrected to read as follows (and the text for paragraph (h) is removed):

§ 430.3 [Amended]
8. In § 430.3, amend paragraph (i)(1) by removing the phrase “appendix O” and adding in its place the phrase “appendices E and O”. Issued in Washington, DC, on June 25, 2015. Kathleen B. Hogan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
[FR Doc. 2015-16342 Filed 7-1-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450-01-P
DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY 10 CFR Part 430 [Docket No. EERE-2012-BT-TP-0013] RIN 1904-AC71 Energy Conservation Program: Test Procedures for Conventional Ovens AGENCY:

Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Department of Energy.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

On December 3, 2014, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNOPR) to amend the test procedures for conventional cooking products. The oven-related procedures proposed in that rulemaking serve as the basis for this final rule. As part of the SNOPR, DOE proposed to incorporate methods for measuring conventional oven volume, clarified that the existing oven test block must be used to test all ovens regardless of input rate, and proposed a method to measure the energy consumption of conventional ovens equipped with an oven separator. Additionally, DOE proposed technical corrections to the units of measurement in certain calculations. This final rule amends the current procedure to include the proposed changes listed above, as well as clarifications to certain definitions, that will take effect 30 days after the final rule publication date. These changes will be mandatory for product testing to demonstrate compliance with any new or amended energy conservation standards when they take effect and for representations of the energy consumption of conventional ovens starting 180 days after publication.

DATES:

The effective date of this rule is August 3, 2015. The final rule changes will be mandatory for product testing starting December 29, 2015. The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in this rule was approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of August 3, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

The docket, which includes Federal Register notices, public meeting attendee lists and transcripts, comments, and other supporting documents/materials, is available for review at regulations.gov. All documents in the docket are listed in the regulations.gov index. However, some documents listed in the index, such as those containing information that is exempt from public disclosure, may not be publicly available.

A link to the docket Web page can be found at: http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=EERE-2012-BT-TP-0013 . This Web page will contain a link to the docket for this notice on the regulations.gov site. The regulations.gov Web page will contain simple instructions on how to access all documents, including public comments, in the docket.

For further information on how to review the docket, contact Ms. Brenda Edwards at (202) 586-2945 or by email: [email protected]

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Ms. Ashley Armstrong, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Building Technologies Office, EE-2J, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC, 20585-0121. Telephone: (202) 586-6590. Email: [email protected]

Ms. Celia Sher, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of the General Counsel, GC-33, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC, 20585-0121. Telephone: (202) 287-6122. Email: [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

This final rule incorporates by reference into part 430 the following industry standard:

AHAM OV-1-2011, (“AHAM OV-1”), Procedures for the Determination and Expression of the Volume of Household Microwave and Conventional Ovens, (2011).

Copies of AHAM standard can be purchased from the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, 1111 19th Street NW., Suite 402, Washington DC 20036, 202-872-5955, or www.aham.org.

This AHAM standard is discussed further in section III.D.

Table of Contents I. Authority and Background A. General Test Procedure Rulemaking Process B. Test Procedures for Cooking Products C. The January 2013 NOPR D. The December 2014 SNOPR E. Conventional Cooking Top Active Mode Test Procedures II. Summary of the Final Rule III. Discussion IV. Procedural Issues and Regulatory Review A. Review Under Executive Order 12866 B. Review Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act C. Review Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 D. Review Under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 E. Review Under Executive Order 13132 F. Review Under Executive Order 12988 G. Review Under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 H. Review Under the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 1999 I. Review Under Executive Order 12630 J. Review Under Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 2001 K. Review Under Executive Order 13211 L. Review Under Section 32 of the Federal Energy Administration Act of 1974 M. Congressional Notification N. Approval of the Office of the Secretary I. Authority and Background

Title III of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (42 U.S.C. 6291, et seq.; “EPCA” or, “the Act”) sets forth a variety of provisions designed to improve energy efficiency. (All references to EPCA refer to the statute as amended through the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015, Public Law 114-11 (Apr. 30, 2015). Part B of Title III, which for editorial reasons was redesignated as Part A upon incorporation into the U.S. Code (42 U.S.C. 6291-6309, as codified), establishes the “Energy Conservation Program for Consumer Products Other Than Automobiles.” These include cooking products,1 and specifically consumer conventional ovens, the subject of this document. (42 U.S.C. 6292(a)(10))

1 DOE's regulations define kitchen ranges and ovens, or “cooking products”, as one of the following classes: Conventional ranges, conventional cooking tops, conventional ovens, microwave ovens, microwave/conventional ranges and other cooking products. (10 CFR 430.2) Based on this definition, DOE interprets kitchen ranges and ovens to refer more generally to all types of cooking products including, for example, microwave ovens.

Under EPCA, the energy conservation program consists essentially of four parts: (1) Testing, (2) labeling, (3) Federal energy conservation standards, and (4) certification and enforcement procedures. The testing requirements consist of test procedures that manufacturers of covered products must use as the basis for (1) certifying to DOE that their products comply with the applicable energy conservation standards adopted under EPCA, and (2) making representations about the efficiency of those products. Similarly, DOE must use these test procedures to determine whether the products comply with any relevant standards promulgated under EPCA.

A. General Test Procedure Rulemaking Process

Under 42 U.S.C. 6293, EPCA sets forth the criteria and procedures DOE must follow when prescribing or amending test procedures for covered products. EPCA provides that any test procedures prescribed or amended under this section shall be reasonably designed to produce test results which measure energy efficiency, energy use or estimated annual operating cost of a covered product during a representative average use cycle or period of use and shall not be unduly burdensome to conduct. (42 U.S.C. 6293(b)(3))

In addition, if DOE determines that a test procedure amendment is warranted, it must publish proposed test procedures and offer the public an opportunity to present oral and written comments on them. (42 U.S.C. 6293(b)(2)) Finally, in any rulemaking to amend a test procedure, DOE must determine to what extent, if any, the proposed test procedure would alter the measured energy efficiency of any covered product as determined under the existing test procedure. (42 U.S.C. 6293(e)(1))

This final rule fulfills, in part, DOE's obligation to periodically review its test procedures under 42 U.S.C. 6293(b)(1)(A). DOE anticipates that its next evaluation of this test procedure for conventional ovens will occur in a manner consistent with the timeline set out in this provision.

B. Test Procedures for Cooking Products

DOE's test procedures for conventional ranges, conventional cooking tops, conventional ovens, and microwave ovens are codified at appendix I to subpart B of Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 430 (Appendix I).

DOE established the test procedures in a final rule published in the Federal Register on May 10, 1978. 43 FR 20108, 20120-20128. DOE revised its test procedures for cooking products to more accurately measure their efficiency and energy use, and published the revisions as a final rule in 1997. 62 FR 51976 (Oct. 3, 1997). These test procedure amendments included: (1) A reduction in the annual useful cooking energy; (2) a reduction in the number of self-cleaning oven cycles per year; and (3) incorporation of portions of International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Standard 705-1988, “Methods for measuring the performance of microwave ovens for household and similar purposes,” and Amendment 2-1993 for the testing of microwave ovens. Id. The test procedures for conventional cooking products establish provisions for determining estimated annual operating cost, cooking efficiency (defined as the ratio of cooking energy output to cooking energy input), and energy factor (defined as the ratio of annual useful cooking energy output to total annual energy input). 10 CFR 430.23(i); Appendix I. These provisions for conventional cooking products are not currently used for compliance with any energy conservation standards because the present standards are design requirements, and there is not an EnergyGuide 2 labeling program for cooking products.

2 For more information on the EnergyGuide labeling program, see: www.access.thefederalregister.org/nara/cfr/waisidx_00/16cfr305_00.html.

DOE subsequently conducted a rulemaking to address standby and off mode energy consumption, as well as certain active mode testing provisions, for dishwashers, dehumidifiers, and conventional cooking products. DOE published a final rule on October 31, 2012 (77 FR 65942, hereinafter referred to as the October 2012 Final Rule), adopting standby and off mode provisions that satisfy the EPCA requirement that DOE include measures of standby mode and off mode energy consumption in its test procedures for residential products, if technically feasible. (42 U.S.C.6295(gg)(2)(A))

C. The January 2013 NOPR

On January 30, 2013, DOE published a NOPR (78 FR 6232, hereinafter referred to as the January 2013 NOPR) proposing amendments to Appendix I that would allow for measuring the active mode energy consumption of induction cooking products; i.e., conventional cooking tops and ranges equipped with induction heating technology for one or more surface units 3 on the cooking top. DOE proposed to incorporate induction cooking tops by amending the definition of “conventional cooking top” to include induction heating technology. Furthermore, DOE proposed to require for all cooking tops the use of test equipment compatible with induction technology. Specifically, DOE proposed to replace the solid aluminum test blocks currently specified in the test procedure for cooking tops with hybrid test blocks comprising two separate pieces: An aluminum body and a stainless steel base. In the January 2013 NOPR, DOE also proposed amendments to include a clarification that the test block size be determined using the smallest dimension of the electric surface unit. 78 FR 6232 (Jan. 30, 2013).

3 The term surface unit refers to burners for gas cooking tops, electric resistance heating elements for electric cooking tops, and inductive heating elements for induction cooking tops.

D. The December 2014 SNOPR

On December 3, 2014, DOE published a supplemental NOPR (SNOPR) (79 FR 71894, hereinafter referred to as the December 2014 SNOPR), modifying its proposal from the January 2013 NOPR to more accurately measure the energy efficiency of induction cooking tops. DOE proposed to add a layer of thermal grease between the stainless steel base and aluminum body of the hybrid test block to facilitate heat transfer between the two pieces. DOE also proposed additional test equipment for electric surface units with large diameters (both induction and electric resistance) and gas cooking top burners with high input rates. 79 FR 71894 (Dec. 3, 2014). In addition, DOE proposed methods to test non-circular electric surface units, electric surface units with flexible concentric cooking zones, and full-surface induction cooking tops. Id. Furthermore, DOE proposed to incorporate methods for measuring conventional oven volume, clarify that the existing oven test block must be used to test all ovens regardless of input rate, and provide a method to measure the energy consumption and efficiency of conventional ovens equipped with an oven separator. Id.

E. Conventional Cooking Top Active Mode Test Procedures

DOE received a number of comments from interested parties on the cooking top active mode test procedure proposed in the December 2014 SNOPR. The majority of comments stated that additional analysis was necessary before establishing a test procedure for conventional cooking tops. AHAM requested an extension of the comment period for the December 2014 SNOPR, citing the difficulty its members had procuring the specified test equipment materials. Therefore, AHAM stated, many manufacturers were not able to properly assess the new specifications, testing variation, repeatability, and reproducibility of the proposed test procedure before the comment period closed. (AHAM, No. 14 at p. 1) 4 AHAM also expressed concern with DOE's choice to pursue an accelerated rulemaking schedule for cooking products, stating that the rulemaking schedule did not allow for a thorough technical examination. AHAM asked DOE to seek additional input from interested parties on the December 2014 SNOPR and commented that the proposed cooking top test procedure may result in technical problems. (AHAM, No. 18 at pp. 1-2)

4 A notation in the form “AHAM, No. 14 at p. 1” identifies a written comment (1) made by AHAM; (2) recorded in document number 14 that is filed in the docket of this cooking products test procedures rulemaking (Docket No. EERE-2012-BT-TP-0013) and maintained in the Resource Room of the Building Technologies Program; and (3) which appears on page 1 of document number 14.

BSH Home Appliances Corporation (BSH) and General Electric Appliances (GE) stated that delays associated with acquiring the hybrid test block materials necessitated additional time for them to evaluate DOE's proposal. (BSH, No. 16 at p. 2; GE, No. 17 at p. 1) BSH commented that the proposed hybrid test block method did not include certain specifications necessary for test procedure reproducibility, such as test load sizing and positioning, and recommended that DOE consider the specifications in International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Standard 60350-2 Edition 2, “Household electric appliances—Part 2: Hobs—Method for measuring performance” (IEC Standard 60350-2). (BSH, No. 16 at p. 1) Further, AHAM, BSH, and GE suggested that DOE specify additional test block diameters because these commenters asserted that the proposed test block sizes do not adequately reflect surface unit sizes currently available on the market. (BSH, No. 16 at p. 5; GE, No. 17 at p 2; AHAM, No. 18 at p. 2)

Interested parties also expressed a significant number of concerns with the use of thermal grease. GE noted that since receiving DOE's proposal, it has not been able to replicate the DOE test results using the methods described. (GE, No. 17 at p. 2) Specifically, GE observed during its testing that the aluminum body slid off the stainless steel base, the thermal grease dried out, and the amount of grease between the blocks changed from one test to another. (GE, No. 17 at p. 2) AHAM, BSH, and GE requested that DOE specify an operating temperature range for the thermal grease as well as an application thickness, but also noted that the thermal conductivity and viscosity of the grease may change over time or after repeated use at high temperatures. (BSH, No. 16 at p. 11; GE, No. 17 at p. 2; AHAM, No. 18 at p. 3) GE further commented that the variation introduced by the hybrid test block due to the inability to reliably maintain the specified flatness, thermal grease, and inadequate sizing, may be small individually, but collectively result in a test procedure that cannot reliably discern efficiency differences between similar products, alternate technology options, and product classes. Thus, GE believes the proposal for conventional cooking tops in the December 2014 SNOPR results in too much variability to serve as the basis for establishing a standard. (GE, No. 17 at p. 3)

The California IOUs also stated that they prefer an alternative to the hybrid test block and recommended that DOE require water-heating test methods to measure the cooking efficiency of conventional cooking tops. Specifically, the California IOUs requested that DOE align the residential cooking product test methods with existing industry test procedures, such as American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard F1521-12, Standard Test Methods for Performance of Range Tops, and IEC Standard 60350-2, Household electric cooking appliances—Part 2: Hobs—Methods for measuring performance. (California IOUs, No. 19 at p. 1) The California IOUs commented that they plan to conduct additional testing to better characterize the differences between the water-heating and hybrid test block test procedures, and will provide these results to DOE. According to the California IOUs, the differences in test procedure standard deviation between the hybrid test block and water-heating test method as presented in the December 2014 SNOPR did not sufficiently show that the hybrid test block method is more repeatable than a water-heating method. (California IOUs, No. 19 at p. 2) Additionally, the California IOUs believe cooking efficiencies derived using a water-heating test method are more representative of the actual cooking performance of cooking tops as opposed to a test procedure using hybrid test blocks, since many foods prepared on cooktops have relatively high liquid content. (California IOUs, No. 19 at p. 1)

In February and March of 2015, DOE conducted a series of interviews with manufacturers of conventional cooking products representing the majority of the U.S. market to discuss key issues with the proposed cooking top test procedure. Manufacturers agreed that the hybrid test block method, as proposed, presented many issues which had not yet been addressed, and which left the repeatability and reproducibility of the test procedure in question. These concerns were similar to those expressed in written comments but were received from a larger group of manufacturers and included:

• Difficulty obtaining the hybrid test block materials;

• Difficulty obtaining and applying the thermal grease without more detailed specifications (i.e., thermal conductivity alone was not sufficient to identify a grease that performed according to DOE's descriptions in the December 2014 SNOPR);

• Difficulty testing induction cooking tops that use different programming techniques to prevent overheating (some manufacturers observed that power to the heating elements cut off prematurely during testing with the hybrid test block even after adding thermal grease); and

• The need for larger test block sizes to test electric surface units having 12-inch and 13-inch diameters and gas surface units with high input rates.

Interviewed manufacturers that produce and sell products in Europe uniformly supported the use of a water-heating test method and harmonization with IEC Standard 60350-2 for measuring the energy consumption of electric cooking tops. These manufacturers cited the benefits of adopting a test method similar to the IEC water-heating method as including: (1) Compatibility with all electric cooking top types, (2) additional test vessel diameters to account for the variety of surface unit sizes on the market, and (3) the test load's ability to represent a real-world cooking top load.

After reviewing public comments and information received during manufacturer interviews, as well as performing additional analyses, DOE concluded that further study is required before a cooking top test procedure can be established that produces test results which measure energy use during a representative average use cycle, is repeatable and reproducible, and is not unduly burdensome to conduct. For these reasons, this final rule addresses test methods for conventional ovens only, including conventional ovens that are a part of conventional ranges. This final rule also addresses minor technical corrections to existing calculations and definitions in Appendix I for both conventional cooking tops and ovens.

DOE plans to address test procedures for cooking tops in a separate rulemaking in order to consider any additional data and information that will allow it to further conduct the analysis of cooking tops, particularly when using a water-heating method to evaluate energy consumption. As part of that rulemaking, DOE will carefully consider and address remaining cooking top-related comments on the December 2014 SNOPR.

II. Summary of the Final Rule

This final rule amends the current DOE test procedure for conventional ovens. These changes will primarily clarify the manner in which to test for compliance with potential energy conservation standards for conventional ovens. The final rule establishes that the existing oven test block should be used to test all ovens, including ovens having input rates greater than 22,500 British thermal units per hour (Btu/h). The final rule additionally amends the current DOE test procedure to include test methods for conventional ovens equipped with an oven separator. Conventional ovens equipped with an oven separator shall be tested in each possible oven configuration (i.e., full oven cavity, upper cavity, and lower cavity), with the results averaged.

Because Appendix I does not currently contain a measure of conventional oven volume, the final rule incorporates by reference in the DOE test procedure the relevant sections of AHAM Standard OV-1-2011 “Procedures for the Determination and Expression of the Volume of Household Microwave and Conventional Ovens” (AHAM-OV-1-2011) for determining conventional oven cavity volume. As part of its rulemaking that is considering amended standards for conventional ovens, DOE proposed standards as a function of oven cavity volume.

Additionally, this final rule is clarifying the current definitions for “freestanding” and “built-in” installation configurations. Because the manufacturer instructions of some conventional ovens state the oven can be used in either a freestanding or built-in configuration, this final rule is clarifying that ovens with this option be tested in the built-in configuration, as ovens designed to be used in a built-in configuration incorporate fan-only mode for thermal management, and the energy consumption of these products is likely higher than for comparable ovens designed for use only in a freestanding configuration. Furthermore, the final rule is clarifying the term “self-cleaning operation” when referring to an oven's self-cleaning process. The existing test procedure in Appendix I does not include an explicit definition, although section 3 of Appendix I, Test Methods and Measurements, requires measurement of self-cleaning operation.

Finally, the final rule includes technical corrections to the calculation of derived results from test measurements in section 4 of Appendix I. Section 4 contains a number of references to incorrect units of measurement and an incorrect value for the annual useful cooking energy output for gas cooking tops. The final rule also restores headings for sections 4.2 and 4.2.1 in Appendix I regarding the calculations for conventional cooking tops, which were inadvertently removed in the October 2012 Final Rule.

III. Discussion A. Products Covered by This Test Procedure Rulemaking

As discussed in section I of this final rule, section 6292(a)(10) of EPCA covers kitchen ranges and ovens, or “cooking products.” DOE's regulations define “cooking products” as consumer products that are used as the major household cooking appliances. They are designed to cook or heat different types of food by one or more of the following sources of heat: Gas, electricity, or microwave energy. Each model may consist of a horizontal cooking top containing one or more surface units 5 and/or one or more heating compartments. Cooking products include the following classes: Conventional ranges, conventional cooking tops, conventional ovens, microwave ovens, microwave/conventional ranges and other cooking products. (10 CFR 430.2) In this final rule, DOE is addressing test procedures for conventional ovens.

5 The term surface unit refers to burners for gas cooking tops, electric resistance heating elements for electric cooking tops, and inductive heating elements for induction cooking tops.

DOE notes that conventional ranges are defined in 10 CFR 430.2 as a class of kitchen ranges and ovens which is a household cooking appliance, consisting of a conventional cooking top and one or more conventional ovens. Because ranges consist of both a cooking top and at least one oven, any potential cooking top energy conservation standard or oven energy conservation standard would apply to each of these cooking systems individually. Thus, the test procedures presented in this final rule also apply to the oven portion of a conventional range.

As part of the previous energy conservation standards rulemaking for conventional cooking products, DOE decided not to analyze conventional gas cooking products with higher burner input rates, including products marketed as “commercial-style” or “professional-style,” in its consideration of energy conservation standards due to a lack of available data for determining the efficiency characteristics of those products. At the time, DOE considered commercial-style ovens to be gas ovens with burner input rates greater than 22,500 Btu/h. 74 FR 16040, 16054 (Apr. 8, 2009); 72 FR 64432, 64444-64445 (Nov. 15, 2007). In the December 2014 SNOPR, DOE noted that the current definitions for “conventional oven” and “conventional range” in 10 CFR 430.2 already cover conventional gas ovens with higher input rates (including commercial-style gas ovens), as these products are household cooking appliances with compartments intended for the cooking or heating of food by means of a gas flame.

Sub-Zero Group, Inc. (Sub-Zero) commented that DOE's findings based on manufacturer feedback in the previous energy conservation standards rulemaking are still relevant. Specifically, the small market size, the limited energy savings potential, and the lack of energy consumption data for ovens with high input rates are reasons to exclude these products from coverage. (Sub-Zero, No. 20 at pp. 2, 3) Sub-Zero further commented that “high performance” is a better descriptor of cooking products with high input rates rather than “commercial-style,” noting that the “high performance” segment appeals to consumers demanding restaurant-style cooking performance in their homes. (Sub-Zero, No. 20 at p. 2) Sub-Zero suggested that high performance (i.e., “commercial-style”) products be defined as cooking products that offer residential consumers restaurant-quality performance at a safety and convenience level that is acceptable for residential use. (Sub-Zero, No. 20 at p. 2)

DOE excluded “commercial-style” conventional gas ovens from its analysis in the previous energy conservation standards rulemaking due to a lack of available data for determining efficiency characteristics of those products. 74 FR 16040, 16054 (Apr. 8, 2009); 72 FR 64432, 64444-64445 (Nov. 15, 2007). As discussed in section III.C of this final rule, DOE conducted testing in support of the December 2014 SNOPR that demonstrated that the existing conventional oven test procedure is appropriate for ovens with high input rates. Additionally, DOE is not aware of any data or test procedures that establish whether a conventional oven with burner input rates greater than 22,500 Btu/h delivers “restaurant-quality performance” as compared to an oven with burner input rates lower than 22,500 Btu/h. Furthermore, through testing, reverse engineering analyses, and discussions with manufacturers conducted in support of the concurrent energy conservation standards rulemaking for cooking products, DOE determined that the primary differentiation between conventional gas ovens with lower burner input rates and those with higher input rates, including those marketed as commercial-style, was design and construction related to aesthetics rather than improved cooking performance. Some examples of design and construction related features include heavier gauge cavity walls, extra interior support structure for heavier gauge racks, and ball-bearing extension racks. These features add to the overall thermal mass that must be heated during the baking process but do not necessarily improve cooking performance.

For these reasons, DOE notes in this final rule that the current definitions for “conventional oven” and “conventional range” in 10 CFR 430.2 already cover conventional gas ovens with higher input rates (including commercial-style gas ovens), as these products are household cooking appliances with compartments intended for the cooking or heating of food by means of a gas flame.

B. Effective Date

The amended test procedure becomes effective 30 days after this test procedure final rule is published in the Federal Register. Pursuant to EPCA, manufacturers of covered products must use the applicable test procedure as the basis for determining that their products comply with the applicable energy conservation standards adopted pursuant to EPCA and for making representations about the efficiency of those products. (42 U.S.C. 6293(c); 42 U.S.C. 6295(s)) Beginning 180 days after publication of this test procedure final rule, representations related to the energy consumption of conventional ovens must be based upon results generated under the applicable provisions of the amended test procedure in Appendix I. (42 U.S.C. 6293(c)(2))

C. Gas Ovens With Input Rates Greater Than 22,500 Btu/h

Because DOE is considering in a separate rulemaking energy conservation standards for conventional ovens, including gas ovens with high input rates, DOE evaluated the appropriateness of the existing test methods in Appendix I for use with conventional gas ovens that have burner input rates greater than 22,500 Btu/h. In the December 2014 SNOPR, DOE proposed that the existing test methods in Appendix I should be used to test ovens with high input rates, including gas ovens marketed as commercial-style. 79 FR 71916 (December 3, 2014).

The current active mode test procedure for conventional ovens involves setting the temperature control for the normal baking cooking cycle such that the temperature inside the oven is 325 ± 5 degrees Fahrenheit (°F) higher than the room ambient air temperature (77 ± 9 °F). An 8.5-pound (6.25-inch diameter) cylindrical anodized aluminum test block is then heated in the oven from ambient room air temperature ± 4 °F until the test block temperature has increased 234 °F above its initial temperature. If an oven permits baking by either forced convection by using a fan, or without forced convection, the oven is tested using the procedure described above in each of those two cooking modes. After the baking test(s), if the oven is equipped with a self-cleaning function, the self-cleaning process is initiated in accordance with the manufacturer's instruction and allowed to run until completion. The measured energy consumption during these test cycles is used to calculate the oven's cooking efficiency and integrated annual energy consumption (IAEC).6

DOE's review of the gas oven cavity volumes currently available on the U.S. market indicated that there is significant overlap in oven cavity volume between products marketed as standard, residential-style ovens and those marketed as commercial-style ovens. The primary differentiating factor between the two oven types was burner input rate, which is greater than 22,500 Btu/h for most commercial-style gas ovens. In the December 2014 SNOPR, DOE investigated the effect of increasing oven test block size on oven cooking efficiency. DOE sought to determine whether a larger test block would provide a more representative measure of cooking efficiency at higher input rates. DOE also sought to determine whether the smaller block was inadequate to properly measure the efficiency of commercial-style ovens. In its testing, DOE found that while cooking efficiency increased with the larger test block, it scaled by approximately the same factor for all ovens tested regardless of a particular oven's input rate or cavity volume, or whether the oven was marketed as residential-style or commercial-style. The relative ranking of cooking efficiency for ovens with high input rates as compared to ovens with input rates lower than 22,500 Btu/h did not change with increased test block size. This suggested that thermal losses are large enough in comparison to the heat absorbed by either sized test block that they account for much of the additional oven energy input for ovens with high input rates. Thus, the thermal losses from the cavity are driven largely by input rate alone and do not change greatly with increased test block size. 79 FR 71915-71916 (December 3, 2014).

6 For ovens that can be operated with or without forced convection, the average of the energy consumption for these two modes is used. For self-clean mode, the test procedure in Appendix I assumes an average of 4 self-cleaning operations per year.

Sub-Zero stated that the proposed test procedure does not accurately measure the performance and efficiency of the larger, higher-output components. (Sub Zero, No. 20 at p. 2) Additionally, Sub-Zero commented that an analysis based largely on 30-inch wide gas or electric ranges cannot adequately evaluate the very different performance attributes offered by high-performance products which are essential to consumer utility. (Sub-Zero, No. 20 at p. 2) Thus, Sub-Zero believes that DOE's conclusion that the existing test procedure in Appendix I is appropriate for ovens with high input rates is incorrect. (Sub-Zero, No. 20 at p. 3) Sub-Zero requested that high performance products be exempted until adequate further analysis is conducted such that these products can be accurately and fairly evaluated. (Sub Zero, No. 20 at p. 3)

In support of the December 2014 SNOPR and in support of the parallel energy conservation standards rulemaking for conventional ovens, DOE tested eight conventional gas ovens that were selected to capture a range of design features that might impact performance, including infrared broilers, convection fans, and hidden bake elements. The basic design features and measured IAEC are shown in Table III-1. The test sample included 30-inch wide models as well as models with widths greater than 30 inches. DOE observed that many of the same features found in gas ovens marketed as commercial-style were also available in ovens marketed as residential-style. By comparing the design features and the measured energy consumption of the ovens in its test sample, DOE determined that the major differentiation between conventional gas ovens with lower burner input rates and those with higher input rates, including those marketed as commercial-style, was design and construction related to aesthetics rather than improved cooking performance. Available information also indicates that the high thermal mass of products marketed as commercial-style likely lead to a low oven cooking efficiency and require higher oven input rates to compensate for the heat lost to the cavity.

Table III-1—Gas Oven Features in DOE Test Sample Test unit No. Type Installation
  • configuration
  • Burner input rate
  • (Btu/h)
  • Unit width
  • (in.)
  • Cavity
  • volume
  • (ft3)
  • Ignition type Hidden bake element
  • (Y/N)
  • Convection (Y/N) Normalized IAEC †
  • (kBtu/yr)
  • 1 Standard Freestanding 18,000 30 4.8 Spark Y N 1234.2 2 Standard Freestanding 18,000 30 4.8 Glo-bar Y N 1396.5 3 Self-Clean Freestanding 18,000 30 5.0 Glo-bar Y Y 1269.0 4 Standard Freestanding 16,500 30 4.4 Glo-bar Y N 1495.2 5 Self-Clean Built-in 13,000 24 2.8 Glo-bar Y N 1492.9 6 * Standard Freestanding 28,000 36 5.3 Glo-bar Y Y 1864.5 7 * Standard Slide-in 27,000 30 4.4 Glo-bar Y Y 1916.5 8 * Standard Freestanding 30,000 36 5.4 Glo-bar Y Y 2079.3 * Models are marketed as commercial style. † Measured IAEC normalized to a fixed cavity volume of 4.3 ft3.

    DOE also investigated the time it took each oven in its sample to heat the test block to the required final temperature of 234 °F above its initial temperature. As shown in Table III-2, gas ovens with burner input rates greater than 22,500 Btu/h do not heat the test block significantly faster than the ovens with lower burner input rates, and two out of the three units with the higher burner input rates took longer than the average time to heat the test block.

    Table III-2—Gas Oven Test Times Unit Product class Burner input rate
  • (Btu/h)
  • Bake time for the test block to reach 234 °F above initial temp
  • (minutes (min))
  • Difference in time from avg.
  • (min)
  • 1 Standard 18,000 43.6 −3.8 2 Standard 18,000 43.6 −3.8 3 Self-Clean 18,000 47.2 −0.2 4 Standard 16,500 44.9 −2.5 5 Self-Clean 13,000 48.9 1.5 6 Standard * 28,000 48.9 1.5 7 Standard * 27,000 45.4 −2.0 8 Standard * 30,000 57.2 9.8 Average 47.4 * Test units 6, 7, and 8 are marketed as commercial-style ovens.

    Considering the testing results and analysis described above, and because interested parties did not provide data or information to support the assertion that the performance of conventional ovens with input rates greater than 22,500 Btu/h as compared to ovens with lower input rates cannot be accurately measured using the existing test procedure, DOE maintains in this final rule that the existing test block and existing conventional oven test method are appropriate to test conventional ovens with input rates greater than 22,500 Btu/h.

    D. Incorporating by Reference AHAM-OV-1-2011 for Determination of the Volume of Conventional Ovens

    As discussed in section I of this final rule, DOE has initiated a rulemaking to determine whether to amend the current energy conservation standards for conventional ovens. As part of that rulemaking, DOE has proposed standards as a function of oven cavity volume.

    In the December 2014 SNOPR, DOE proposed to amend section 3.1.1 of Appendix I to incorporate by reference the industry test standard AHAM-OV-1-2011, which includes a method for determining oven cavity volume. DOE proposed to incorporate section 3, “Definition,” section 5.1, “General Principles,” and section 5.2 “Overall Volume” of AHAM-OV-1-2011, as these sections provide a repeatable and reproducible method to measure cavity dimensions and calculate overall volume by including clear definitions of oven characteristics and tolerances for dimensional measurements. 79 FR 71916 (December 3, 2014). Section 5.1 of AHAM-OV-1-2011 specifies that if depressions or cutouts exist in the cavity wall, dimensions are taken from the plane representing the largest area of the surface. Section 5.1 of AHAM-OV-1-2011 also specifies that oven lights, racks, and other removable features shall be ignored in the overall volume calculation, and the volume of non-rectangular cavities is calculated by measuring the rectangular portion of the cavity and non-rectangular cavity separately and adding their volumes together.

    AHAM-OV-1-2011 also includes a measurement of the oven's usable space, which is the volume inside the oven cavity available for the placement of food, but DOE did not propose to incorporate this measurement in Appendix I. The usable space is oven-specific and determined by measuring either the size of the cavity door aperture or the distance between barriers, racks, and rack supports inside the cavity or on the cavity walls. The lesser of these dimensions is used to calculate the volume of the usable space.

    Although DOE did not receive any public comments on its proposal to incorporate the overall cavity volume measurement described in section 5.1 and 5.2 of AHAM-OV-1-2011, one manufacturer commented during interviews conducted in February and March of 2015 that DOE should instead consider incorporating the usable space measurement described in section 5.3 of AHAM-OV-1-2011. The manufacturer cited difficulty in determining the plane representing the largest area of the cavity wall surface, and also stated that the oven test procedure used by National Resources Canada (NRCan) bases its energy efficiency regulations on the volume of usable oven space and not overall cavity volume.

    DOE notes that during February and March 2105 manufacturer interviews conducted to discuss the December 2014 SNOPR, the majority of manufacturers confirmed that the cavity volume currently published in marketing materials and product literature typically represents overall cavity volume. DOE does not believe that requiring this measurement will place additional burden on manufacturers. Manufacturers already provide exterior dimensions in the installation instructions and may also be able to use the configuration and dimensions of indentions in the oven cavity walls provided in engineering drawings to determine the plane representing the largest area of the cavity wall surface. Incorporating a cavity measurement into Appendix I would, in most circumstances, add only the three additional measurements of cavity height, width, and depth. Furthermore, DOE believes the overall cavity volume measurement provides a more accurate representation of the relationship between cavity volume and cooking efficiency as measured by the DOE test procedure in Appendix I. Any mass in the overall cavity volume outside of the usable space is heated during the bake cycle, contributes to the thermal mass, and thus impacts the cooking efficiency of the oven.

    For the reasons discussed above, DOE amends in this final rule section 3.1.1 of Appendix I to incorporate by reference Sections 3, 5.1, and 5.2 of AHAM-OV-1-2011 for measuring the overall oven cavity volume.

    E. Conventional Oven Separator

    In the December 2014 SNOPR, DOE observed one conventional electric oven equipped with an oven separator on the U.S. market that allows for cooking using the entire oven cavity in the absence of the separator or, if the separator is installed, splitting the oven into two smaller cavities that may be operated individually with independent temperature controls. DOE proposed to test conventional ovens equipped with an oven separator in each possible oven configuration (i.e., full oven cavity, upper cavity, and lower cavity) with the cooking efficiency and total annual energy consumption averaged. DOE noted that while the current test procedure in Appendix I includes provisions for measuring the energy consumption and cooking efficiency of single ovens and multiple (separate) ovens,7 it does not include provisions for how to test a single oven that can be configured as a full oven or as two separate smaller cavities. 79 FR 71916-71917 (December 3, 2014).

    7 For multiple ovens, Appendix I specifies that the energy consumption and cooking efficiency be calculated as the average of each individual oven.

    During the subsequent manufacturer interviews, several manufacturers commented that without an easy or convenient way to store the separator, consumers would rarely use the feature. One manufacturer suggested that DOE consider applying a consumer usage factor to the oven separator when calculating annual energy consumption instead of using an equally-weighted average.

    DOE is not aware of any consumer usage data indicating how often consumers might use an oven separator in each configuration. Additionally, DOE notes that the annual energy consumption of conventional ovens having multiple, permanent cavities of different volumes are currently averaged with an equal weighting in the existing oven test procedure in Appendix I. Therefore, DOE has no basis to adopt a weighted average of cooking efficiency and annual energy consumption as part of the test procedure for ovens equipped with an oven separator. In this final rule, DOE amends the oven test procedure in Appendix I to require the test of conventional ovens equipped with an oven separator in each possible oven configuration and to calculate cooking efficiency and annual energy consumption as an equal average of the results measured in each configuration.

    F. Standby and Off Mode Test Procedure

    EPCA requires that DOE amend its test procedures for all covered consumer products, including conventional ovens, to include measures of standby mode and off mode energy consumption, if technically feasible. (42 U.S.C. 6295(gg)(2)(A)) Accordingly, DOE conducted a rulemaking for conventional cooking products, dishwashers, and dehumidifiers to address standby and off mode energy consumption.8 In the October 2012 Final Rule, DOE addressed standby mode and off mode energy consumption, as well as active mode fan-only operation, for conventional cooking products. 77 FR 65942 (Oct. 31, 2012).

    8 DOE pursued amendments to Appendix I addressing standby and off mode energy for microwave ovens as part of a separate rulemaking. The final rule for this microwave oven rulemaking published on January 18, 2013. 78 FR 4015.

    DOE noted in the December 2014 SNOPR that because conventional gas ovens with higher input rates are covered under the definition of “cooking products” in 10 CFR 430.2, these products are covered by the standby and off mode test procedures discussed above. During testing of conventional ovens with both standard and higher input rates in its test sample, DOE did not observe any standby mode or off mode operation or features unique to these products that would warrant any changes to the standby mode and off mode test methods. 79 FR 71917 (December 3, 2014). Because DOE received no comments objecting to these findings, this final rule does not amend the standby mode and off mode test methods currently specified in Appendix I section 3.1.

    G. Technical Corrections to the Calculation of Derived Results From Test Measurements

    DOE did not receive comments on its proposal to correct the units of measurement in section 4 of Appendix I nor did DOE receive comments on its correction of the integrated energy factor for conventional electric cooking tops, IRCT. In this final rule, DOE corrects the following sections of Appendix I to reference the appropriate units: 4.1.2.1.1, 4.1.2.2.1, 4.1.2.4.3, 4.1.2.5.3, 4.1.4.1, 4.1.4.2, 4.2.1.2, 4.2.2.2.1, and 4.2.2.2.2. DOE also corrects the value of the annual useful cooking energy output, OCT, used to calculate IRCT, to 173.1 kWh per year.

    H. Headings for Conventional Cooking Top Calculations

    DOE did not receive comments on its proposal in the December 2014 SNOPR to restore headings to section 4.2 “Conventional cooking top,” and section 4.2.1, “Surface unit cooking efficiency” in Appendix I to appropriately describe these sections. Therefore DOE has included these modifications in this final rule.

    I. Clarifying Definitions for Freestanding and Built-In Ovens

    Appendix I contains definitions for various cooking product installation conditions and specifies that the unit under test must be installed in an enclosure in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. The test procedure in Appendix I currently defines “freestanding” as an installation configuration where the product is not supported by surrounding cabinetry, walls, or other similar structures. A “built-in” installation condition means the product is supported by surrounding cabinetry, walls, or other similar structures. “Drop-in” means the product is supported by horizontal surface cabinetry. During interviews after publication of the December 2014 SNOPR, manufacturers commented that the current definitions for “freestanding,” “built-in,” and “drop-in” should be amended. Specifically, manufacturers noted that some conventional ovens and conventional ranges are designed to be used in both a freestanding or built-in configuration, and that it is currently unclear in which configuration the oven should be tested.

    During its testing, DOE observed that built-in ovens consume energy in fan-only mode, whereas freestanding ovens do not. The additional energy required to exhaust air from the oven cavity is necessary to meet safety-related temperature requirements for built-in installation configurations, in which the oven is enclosed in cabinetry. Because built-in ovens consume additional energy in fan-only mode, as part of DOE's ongoing energy conservation standards rulemaking for conventional ovens, DOE has proposed to establish separate product classes for built-in and freestanding ovens using the definitions provided in Appendix I. 80 FR 33030, 33045-46 (June 10, 2015). DOE also recognizes that the current definition of built-in configurations does not adequately describe the installation conditions that require built-in ovens to have a separate fan assembly and fan-only mode.

    In this final rule, DOE is clarifying that conventional ovens or ranges that may be used in either a freestanding or built-in configuration are to be tested in the built-in configuration to account for any additional energy-consumption related to fan-only mode in this configuration. DOE is also clarifying that the definition of built-in means the product is enclosed in surrounding cabinetry, walls, or other similar structures on at least three sides.

    J. Clarifying Definitions for Oven Self-Cleaning Operation

    The existing test procedure in Appendix I does not include a definition for the self-cleaning operation or self-cleaning process of conventional ovens, although it specifies the measurement energy consumption during self-cleaning operation in section 3 Test Methods and Measurements. The existing test procedure specifies setting the conventional oven's self-cleaning process in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions, and if the self-cleaning process is adjustable, using the average time recommended by the manufacturer for a moderately soiled oven. DOE is clarifying in the final rule that self-cleaning operation is an active mode not intended to heat or cook food that is user-selectable, separate from the normal baking mode, and dedicated to cleaning and removing cooking deposits from the oven cavity walls.

    K. Compliance With Other EPCA Requirements

    EPCA requires that any new or amended test procedures for consumer products must be reasonably designed to produce test results which measure energy efficiency, energy use, or estimated annual operating cost of a covered product during a representative average use cycle or period of use, and must not be unduly burdensome to conduct. (42 U.S.C. 6293(b)(3))

    As part of the December 2014 SNOPR, DOE tentatively concluded that the amended test procedures would produce test results that measure the energy consumption of conventional ovens during representative use, and that the test procedures would not be unduly burdensome to conduct. 79 FR 71917-71918 (Dec. 3, 2014).

    As discussed in section III.C of this document, the final rule amends the test procedure for gas ovens to require that the existing test block be used for all ovens, including ovens with high input rates. DOE does not expect any increase in testing burden compared to the existing test procedure, since these tests follow the same methodology, use the same test equipment, and can be conducted in the same facilities used for the current energy testing of conventional ovens. As discussed in section III.D of this document, the final rule also incorporates by reference AHAM-OV-1-2011 for measuring the overall oven cavity volume. DOE estimates that it would take on the order of one-half to one hour to conduct the cavity volume measurement for a single oven, and $50 to $100 per test for labor. Additionally, because manufacturers may already be using the AHAM procedure to measure oven cavity volume, DOE does not anticipate this measurement to be unduly burdensome to conduct. As discussed in section III.E of this document, the final rule amends the test procedure so that conventional ovens equipped with an oven separator are tested in each possible oven configuration. DOE notes, based on its testing, that this may add two oven tests for the additional cavity configurations, and add approximately $2,750 for labor. DOE does not believe this additional cost represents an excessive burden for test laboratories or manufacturers given the significant investments necessary to manufacture, test and market consumer appliances.

    IV. Procedural Issues and Regulatory Review A. Review Under Executive Order 12866

    The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has determined that test procedure rulemakings do not constitute “significant regulatory actions” under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, 58 FR 51735 (Oct. 4, 1993). Accordingly, this action was not subject to review under the Executive Order by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

    B. Review Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) requires preparation of an initial regulatory flexibility analysis (IFRA) for any rule that by law must be proposed for public comment and a final regulatory flexibility analysis for any such rule that an agency adopts as a final rule, unless the agency certifies that the rule, if promulgated, will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. As required by Executive Order 13272, “Proper Consideration of Small Entities in Agency Rulemaking,” 67 FR 53461 (August 16, 2002), DOE published procedures and policies on February 19, 2003 to ensure that the potential impacts of its rules on small entities are properly considered during the DOE rulemaking process. 68 FR 7990. DOE has made its procedures and policies available on the Office of the General Counsel's Web site: http://energy.gov/gc/office-general-counsel.

    DOE reviewed this final rule under the provisions of the Regulatory Flexibility Act and the procedures and policies published on February 19, 2003. The final rule clarifies that the existing test method for ovens is applicable to gas ovens with higher input rates. The final rule also includes a test method for conventional ovens with oven separators and incorporates by reference a test method to measure oven cavity volume.

    The Small Business Administration (SBA) considers a business entity to be a small business, if, together with its affiliates, it employs less than a threshold number of workers or earns less than the average annual receipts specified in 13 CFR part 121. The threshold values set forth in these regulations use size standards and codes established by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) that are available at: http://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/files/Size_Standards_Table.pdf. The threshold number for NAICS classification code 335221, titled “Household Cooking Appliance Manufacturing,” is 750 employees; this classification includes manufacturers of residential conventional ovens.

    Most of the manufacturers supplying conventional ovens are large multinational corporations. DOE surveyed the AHAM member directory to identify manufacturers of conventional ovens and conventional ranges. DOE then consulted publicly-available data, purchased company reports from vendors such as Dun and Bradstreet, and contacted manufacturers, where needed, to determine if they meet the SBA's definition of a “small business manufacturing facility” and have their manufacturing facilities located within the United States. Based on this analysis, DOE estimates that there are seven small businesses that manufacture conventional ovens and conventional ranges subject to the proposed test procedure amendments.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, DOE has concluded that the final rule would not have a significant impact on small manufacturers under the applicable provisions of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. The final rule clarifies that DOE's existing test procedures in Appendix I for conventional ovens are applicable to conventional ovens with higher input rates. These tests follow the same methodology, use the same test equipment, and can be conducted in the same facilities used for the current energy testing of conventional ovens, so there would be no additional facility costs required by the final rule. Additionally, the incorporation by reference of AHAM-OV-1-2011 to measure oven cavity volume and the addition of a test method to measure conventional ovens with an oven separator will not significantly impact small manufacturers under the applicable provisions of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. DOE estimates a cost of $4,500 for an average small manufacturer to measure the cavity volume of all of its product offerings which is only 0.03 percent of the average annual revenue of the seven identified small businesses. This estimate assumes $100 per test as described in section III.K of this notice, with up to 44 tests per manufacturer. Additionally, no small conventional oven manufacturer, as defined by the SBA, offers a product with an oven separator.

    For these reasons, DOE concludes and certifies that this final rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Accordingly, DOE has not prepared a regulatory flexibility analysis for this rulemaking. DOE has transmitted the certification and supporting statement of factual basis to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the SBA for review under 5 U.S.C. 605(b).

    C. Review Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    Manufacturers of conventional ovens must certify to DOE that their products comply with any applicable energy conservation standards. In certifying compliance, manufacturers must test their products according to the DOE test procedures for conventional ovens, including any amendments adopted for those test procedures. DOE has established regulations for the certification and recordkeeping requirements for all covered consumer products and commercial equipment, including conventional ovens. 76 FR 12422 (March 7, 2011). The collection-of-information requirement for the certification and recordkeeping is subject to review and approval by OMB under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). This requirement has been approved by OMB under OMB control number 1910-1400. In an application to renew the OMB information collection approval for DOE's certification and recordkeeping requirements, DOE included an estimated burden for manufacturers of conventional ovens. OMB has approved the revised information collection for DOE's certification and recordkeeping requirements through November 30, 2017. 80 FR 5099 (January 30, 2015). DOE estimated that it will take each respondent approximately 30 hours total per company per year to comply with the certification and recordkeeping requirements based on 20 hours of technician/technical work and 10 hours clerical work to submit the Compliance and Certification Management System templates. This rulemaking would include recordkeeping requirements on manufacturers that are associated with executing and maintaining the test data for this equipment. DOE recognizes that recordkeeping burden may vary substantially based on company preferences and practices.

    Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, no person is required to respond to, nor shall any person be subject to a penalty for failure to comply with, a collection of information subject to the requirements of the PRA, unless that collection of information displays a currently valid OMB Control Number.

    D. Review Under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969

    In this final rule, DOE amends its test procedure for conventional ovens. DOE has determined that this rule falls into a class of actions that are categorically excluded from review under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and DOE's implementing regulations at 10 CFR part 1021. Specifically, this rule amends an existing rule without affecting the amount, quality or distribution of energy usage, and, therefore, will not result in any environmental impacts. Thus, this rulemaking is covered by Categorical Exclusion A5 under 10 CFR part 1021, subpart D, which applies to any rulemaking that interprets or amends an existing rule without changing the environmental effect of that rule. Accordingly, neither an environmental assessment nor an environmental impact statement is required.

    E. Review Under Executive Order 13132

    Executive Order 13132, “Federalism,” 64 FR 43255 (August 4, 1999), imposes certain requirements on agencies formulating and implementing policies or regulations that preempt State law or that have Federalism implications. The Executive Order requires agencies to examine the constitutional and statutory authority supporting any action that would limit the policymaking discretion of the States and to carefully assess the necessity for such actions. The Executive Order also requires agencies to have an accountable process to ensure meaningful and timely input by State and local officials in the development of regulatory policies that have Federalism implications. On March 14, 2000, DOE published a statement of policy describing the intergovernmental consultation process it will follow in the development of such regulations. 65 FR 13735. DOE examined this final rule and determined that it will not have a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. EPCA governs and prescribes Federal preemption of State regulations as to energy conservation for the products that are the subject of this final rule. States can petition DOE for exemption from such preemption to the extent, and based on criteria, set forth in EPCA. (42 U.S.C. 6297(d)) No further action is required by Executive Order 13132.

    F. Review Under Executive Order 12988

    Regarding the review of existing regulations and the promulgation of new regulations, section 3(a) of Executive Order 12988, “Civil Justice Reform,” 61 FR 4729 (Feb. 7, 1996), imposes on Federal agencies the general duty to adhere to the following requirements: (1) Eliminate drafting errors and ambiguity; (2) write regulations to minimize litigation; (3) provide a clear legal standard for affected conduct rather than a general standard; and (4) promote simplification and burden reduction. Section 3(b) of Executive Order 12988 specifically requires that Executive agencies make every reasonable effort to ensure that the regulation: (1) Clearly specifies the preemptive effect, if any; (2) clearly specifies any effect on existing Federal law or regulation; (3) provides a clear legal standard for affected conduct while promoting simplification and burden reduction; (4) specifies the retroactive effect, if any; (5) adequately defines key terms; and (6) addresses other important issues affecting clarity and general draftsmanship under any guidelines issued by the Attorney General. Section 3(c) of Executive Order 12988 requires Executive agencies to review regulations in light of applicable standards in sections 3(a) and 3(b) to determine whether they are met or it is unreasonable to meet one or more of them. DOE has completed the required review and determined that, to the extent permitted by law, this final rule meets the relevant standards of Executive Order 12988.

    G. Review Under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA) requires each Federal agency to assess the effects of Federal regulatory actions on State, local, and Tribal governments and the private sector. Public Law 104-4, sec. 201 (codified at 2 U.S.C. 1531). For a regulatory action resulting in a rule that may cause the expenditure by State, local, and Tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector of $100 million or more in any one year (adjusted annually for inflation), section 202 of UMRA requires a Federal agency to publish a written statement that estimates the resulting costs, benefits, and other effects on the national economy. (2 U.S.C. 1532(a), (b)) The UMRA also requires a Federal agency to develop an effective process to permit timely input by elected officers of State, local, and Tribal governments on a proposed “significant intergovernmental mandate,” and requires an agency plan for giving notice and opportunity for timely input to potentially affected small governments before establishing any requirements that might significantly or uniquely affect small governments. On March 18, 1997, DOE published a statement of policy on its process for intergovernmental consultation under UMRA. 62 FR 12820; also available at http://energy.gov/gc/office-general-counsel. DOE examined this final rule according to UMRA and its statement of policy and determined that the rule contains neither an intergovernmental mandate, nor a mandate that may result in the expenditure of $100 million or more in any year, so these requirements do not apply.

    H. Review Under the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 1999

    Section 654 of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 1999 (Pub. L. 105-277) requires Federal agencies to issue a Family Policymaking Assessment for any rule that may affect family well-being. This final rule will not have any impact on the autonomy or integrity of the family as an institution. Accordingly, DOE has concluded that it is not necessary to prepare a Family Policymaking Assessment.

    I. Review Under Executive Order 12630

    DOE has determined, under Executive Order 12630, “Governmental Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected Property Rights” 53 FR 8859 (March 18, 1988), that this regulation will not result in any takings that might require compensation under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

    J. Review Under Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 2001

    Section 515 of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 2001 (44 U.S.C. 3516 note) provides for agencies to review most disseminations of information to the public under guidelines established by each agency pursuant to general guidelines issued by OMB. OMB's guidelines were published at 67 FR 8452 (Feb. 22, 2002), and DOE's guidelines were published at 67 FR 62446 (Oct. 7, 2002). DOE has reviewed this final rule under the OMB and DOE guidelines and has concluded that it is consistent with applicable policies in those guidelines.

    K. Review Under Executive Order 13211

    Executive Order 13211, “Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use,” 66 FR 28355 (May 22, 2001), requires Federal agencies to prepare and submit to OMB, a Statement of Energy Effects for any significant energy action. A “significant energy action” is defined as any action by an agency that promulgated or is expected to lead to promulgation of a final rule, and that: (1) Is a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866, or any successor order; and (2) is likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy; or (3) is designated by the Administrator of OIRA as a significant energy action. For any significant energy action, the agency must give a detailed statement of any adverse effects on energy supply, distribution, or use if the regulation is implemented, and of reasonable alternatives to the action and their expected benefits on energy supply, distribution, and use.

    This regulatory action is not a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866. Moreover, it would not have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy, nor has it been designated as a significant energy action by the Administrator of OIRA. Therefore, it is not a significant energy action, and, accordingly, DOE has not prepared a Statement of Energy Effects.

    L. Review Under Section 32 of the Federal Energy Administration Act of 1974

    Under section 301 of the Department of Energy Organization Act (Pub. L. 95-91; 42 U.S.C. 7101), DOE must comply with section 32 of the Federal Energy Administration Act of 1974, as amended by the Federal Energy Administration Authorization Act of 1977. (15 U.S.C. 788; FEAA) Section 32 essentially provides in relevant part that, where a proposed rule authorizes or requires use of commercial standards, the notice of proposed rulemaking must inform the public of the use and background of such standards. In addition, section 32(c) requires DOE to consult with the Attorney General and the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) concerning the impact of the commercial or industry standards on competition.

    The proposed modifications to the test procedures addressed by this action incorporate testing methods contained in the AHAM OV-1-2011 standard, “Procedures for the Determination and Expression of the Volume of Household Microwave and Conventional Ovens.” DOE has evaluated this standard and is unable to conclude whether this industry standard fully complies with the requirements of section 32(b) of the FEAA, (i.e., that it was developed in a manner that fully provides for public participation, comment, and review). DOE has consulted with both the Attorney General and the Chairman of the FTC about the impact on competition of using the methods contained in these standards and has received no comments objecting to their use.

    M. Congressional Notification

    As required by 5 U.S.C. 801, DOE will report to Congress on the promulgation of this rule before its effective date. The report will state that it has been determined that the rule is not a “major rule” as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804(2).

    N. Approval of the Office of the Secretary

    The Secretary of Energy has approved publication of this final rule.

    List of Subjects in 10 CFR Part 430

    Administrative practice and procedure, Confidential business information, Energy conservation, Household appliances, Imports, Incorporation by reference, Intergovernmental relations, Small businesses.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on June 18, 2015. Kathleen B. Hogan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, DOE amends part 430 of Chapter II of Title 10, Code of Federal Regulations as set forth below:

    PART 430—ENERGY CONSERVATION PROGRAM FOR CONSUMER PRODUCTS 1. The authority citation for part 430 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 6291-6309; 28 U.S.C. 2461 note.

    2. Section 430.3 is amended by redesignating paragraph (h)(7) as (h)(8) and adding new paragraph (h)(7) to read as follows:
    § 430.3 Materials incorporated by reference.

    (h) * * *

    (7) AHAM OV-1-2011, (“AHAM OV-1”), Procedures for the Determination and Expression of the Volume of Household Microwave and Conventional Ovens, (2011), IBR approved for appendix I to subpart B.

    Appendix I to Subpart B—[Amended]
    3. Appendix I to subpart B of part 430 is amended: a. By revising the Note; b. In section 1. Definitions, by: i. Redesignating sections 1.2 through 1.19 as sections 1.3 through 1.20, respectively; and ii. Adding new section 1.2; iii. Revising newly redesignated section 1.3; c. In section 2. Test Conditions, by revising sections 2.1 and 2.6; d. By revising section 3. Test Methods and Measurements; e. In section 4. Calculation of Derived Results From Test Measurements, by: i. Revising sections 4.1.2.1.1, 4.1.2.2.1, 4.1.2.4.3, 4.1.2.5, 4.1.2.5.1, 4.1.2.5.2, 4.1.2.5.3. 4.1.3.2, 4.1.4.1, 4.1.4.2, 4.2.1.2, 4.2.2.2.1, 4.2.2.2.2, and 4.2.3.2; and ii. Adding sections 4.2 and 4.2.1.

    The revisions and additions read as follows:

    Appendix I to Subpart B of Part 430—Uniform Test Method for Measuring the Energy Consumption of Conventional Ranges, Conventional Cooking Tops, Conventional Ovens, and Microwave Ovens Note:

    Any representation related to active mode energy consumption of conventional ranges, conventional cooking tops, and conventional ovens made after December 29, 2015 must be based upon results generated under this test procedure. Any representation related to standby mode and off mode energy consumption of conventional ranges, conventional cooking tops, conventional ovens, and microwave ovens must be based upon results generated under this test procedure.

    Upon the compliance date(s) of any energy conservation standard(s) for conventional ranges, conventional cooking tops, conventional ovens, and microwave ovens, use of the applicable provisions of this test procedure to demonstrate compliance with the energy conservation standard(s) will also be required.

    1. Definitions

    1.2 AHAM-OV-1 means the test standard published by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers titled, “Procedures for the Determination and Expression of the Volume of Household Microwave and Conventional Ovens,” AHAM OV-1-2011 (incorporated by reference; see § 430.3).

    1.3 Built-in means the product is enclosed in surrounding cabinetry, walls, or other similar structures on at least three sides.

    2. Test Conditions

    2.1 Installation A freestanding conventional range or oven shall be installed with the back directly against, or as near as possible to, a vertical wall which extends at least 1 foot above and on either side of the appliance. There shall be no side walls. A drop-in, built-in, or wall-mounted appliance shall be installed in an enclosure in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. If the manufacturer's instructions specify that the appliance may be used in multiple installation conditions, the appliance shall be installed according to the built-in configuration. Regardless of the installation condition, conventional cooking products are to be completely assembled with all handles, knobs, guards, etc. mounted in place. Any electric resistance heaters, gas burners, baking racks, and baffles shall be in place in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions; however, broiler pans are to be removed from the oven's baking compartment.

    2.6 Normal nonoperating temperature. All areas of the appliance to be tested shall attain the normal nonoperating temperature, as defined in section 1.13 of this appendix, before any testing begins. The equipment for measuring the applicable normal nonoperating temperature shall be as described in sections 2.9.3.1, 2.9.3.2, 2.9.3.3, and 2.9.3.4 of this appendix, as applicable.

    3. Test Methods and Measurements

    3.1 Test methods.

    3.1.1 Conventional oven. Perform a test by establishing the testing conditions set forth in section 2, Test Conditions, of this appendix and turn off the gas flow to the conventional cooking top, if so equipped. Before beginning the test, the conventional oven shall be at its normal non-operating temperature as defined in section 1.13 and described in section 2.6 of this appendix. Set the conventional oven test block W1 approximately in the center of the usable baking space. If there is a selector switch for selecting the mode of operation of the oven, set it for normal baking. If an oven permits baking by either forced convection by using a fan, or without forced convection, the oven is to be tested in each of those two modes. The oven shall remain on for one complete thermostat “cut-off/cut-on” of the electrical resistance heaters or gas burners after the test block temperature has increased 234 °F (130 °C) above its initial temperature.

    3.1.1.1 Self-cleaning operation of a conventional oven. If the conventional oven is capable of operating in a user-selectable self-cleaning mode, separate from the normal baking mode and dedicated to cleaning and removing cooking deposits from the oven cavity walls, establish the test conditions set forth in section 2, Test Conditions, of this appendix. Turn off the gas flow to the conventional cooking top. The temperature of the conventional oven shall be its normal non-operating temperature as defined in section 1.13 and described in section 2.6 of this appendix. Then set and start the conventional oven's self-cleaning process in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. If the self-cleaning process is adjustable, use the average time recommended by the manufacturer for a moderately soiled oven.

    3.1.1.2 Conventional oven standby mode and off mode power. Establish the standby mode and off mode testing conditions set forth in section 2, Test Conditions, of this appendix. For conventional ovens that take some time to enter a stable state from a higher power state as discussed in Section 5, Paragraph 5.1, Note 1 of IEC 62301 (Second Edition) (incorporated by reference; see § 430.3), allow sufficient time for the conventional oven to reach the lower power state before proceeding with the test measurement. Follow the test procedure as specified in Section 5, Paragraph 5.3.2 of IEC 62301 (Second Edition) for testing in each possible mode as described in 3.1.1.2.1 and 3.1.1.2.2 of this appendix. For units in which power varies as a function of displayed time in standby mode, set the clock time to 3:23 at the end of the stabilization period specified in Section 5, Paragraph 5.3 of IEC 62301 (First Edition), and use the average power approach described in Section 5, Paragraph 5.3.2(a) of IEC 62301 (First Edition), but with a single test period of 10 minutes +0/−2 sec after an additional stabilization period until the clock time reaches 3:33.

    3.1.1.2.1 If the conventional oven has an inactive mode, as defined in section 1.12 of this appendix, measure and record the average inactive mode power of the conventional oven, PIA, in watts.

    3.1.1.2.2 If the conventional oven has an off mode, as defined in section 1.14 of this appendix, measure and record the average off mode power of the conventional oven, POM, in watts.

    3.1.1.3 Conventional oven cavity volume. Measure the oven cavity volume according to the test procedure specified in Sections 3, 5.1 and 5.2 of AHAM-OV-1 (incorporated by reference; see § 430.3).

    3.1.2 Conventional cooking top. Establish the test conditions set forth in section 2, Test Conditions, of this appendix. Turn off the gas flow to the conventional oven(s), if so equipped. The temperature of the conventional cooking top shall be its normal nonoperating temperature as defined in section 1.13 and described in section 2.6 of this appendix. Set the test block in the center of the surface unit under test. The small test block, W2, shall be used on electric surface units of 7 inches (178 mm) or less in diameter. The large test block, W3, shall be used on electric surface units over 7 inches (178 mm) in diameter and on all gas surface units.

    Turn on the surface unit under test and set its energy input rate to the maximum setting. When the test block reaches 144 °F (80 °C) above its initial test block temperature, immediately reduce the energy input rate to 25±5 percent of the maximum energy input rate. After 15±0.1 minutes at the reduced energy setting, turn off the surface unit under test.

    3.1.2.1 Conventional cooking top standby mode and off mode power. Establish the standby mode and off mode testing conditions set forth in section 2, Test Conditions, of this appendix. For conventional cooktops that take some time to enter a stable state from a higher power state as discussed in Section 5, Paragraph 5.1, Note 1 of IEC 62301 (Second Edition) (incorporated by reference; see § 430.3), allow sufficient time for the conventional cooking top to reach the lower power state before proceeding with the test measurement. Follow the test procedure as specified in Section 5, Paragraph 5.3.2 of IEC 62301 (Second Edition) for testing in each possible mode as described in sections 3.1.2.1.1 and 3.1.2.1.2 of this appendix. For units in which power varies as a function of displayed time in standby mode, set the clock time to 3:23 at the end of the stabilization period specified in Section 5, Paragraph 5.3 of IEC 62301 (First Edition), and use the average power approach described in Section 5, Paragraph 5.3.2(a) of IEC 62301 (First Edition), but with a single test period of 10 minutes +0/−2 sec after an additional stabilization period until the clock time reaches 3:33.

    3.1.2.1.1 If the conventional cooking top has an inactive mode, as defined in section 1.12 of this appendix, measure and record the average inactive mode power of the conventional cooking top, PIA, in watts.

    3.1.2.1.2 If the conventional cooking top has an off mode, as defined in section 1.14 of this appendix, measure and record the average off mode power of the conventional cooking top, POM, in watts.

    3.1.3 Conventional range standby mode and off mode power. Establish the standby mode and off mode testing conditions set forth in section 2, Test Conditions, of this appendix. For conventional ranges that take some time to enter a stable state from a higher power state as discussed in Section 5, Paragraph 5.1, Note 1 of IEC 62301 (Second Edition) (incorporated by reference; see § 430.3), allow sufficient time for the conventional range to reach the lower power state before proceeding with the test measurement. Follow the test procedure as specified in Section 5, Paragraph 5.3.2 of IEC 62301 (Second Edition) for testing in each possible mode as described in sections 3.1.3.1 and 3.1.3.2 of this appendix. For units in which power varies as a function of displayed time in standby mode, set the clock time to 3:23 at the end of the stabilization period specified in Section 5, Paragraph 5.3 of IEC 62301 (First Edition), and use the average power approach described in Section 5, Paragraph 5.3.2(a) of IEC 62301 (First Edition), but with a single test period of 10 minutes +0/−2 sec after an additional stabilization period until the clock time reaches 3:33.

    3.1.3.1 If the conventional range has an inactive mode, as defined in section 1.12 of this appendix, measure and record the average inactive mode power of the conventional range, PIA, in watts.

    3.1.3.2 If the conventional range has an off mode, as defined in section 1.14 of this appendix, measure and record the average off mode power of the conventional range, POM, in watts.

    3.1.4 Microwave oven.

    3.1.4.1 Microwave oven test standby mode and off mode power. Establish the testing conditions set forth in section 2, Test Conditions, of this appendix. For microwave ovens that drop from a higher power state to a lower power state as discussed in Section 5, Paragraph 5.1, Note 1 of IEC 62301 (Second Edition) (incorporated by reference; see § 430.3), allow sufficient time for the microwave oven to reach the lower power state before proceeding with the test measurement. Follow the test procedure as specified in Section 5, Paragraph 5.3.2 of IEC 62301 (Second Edition). For units in which power varies as a function of displayed time in standby mode, set the clock time to 3:23 and use the average power approach described in Section 5, Paragraph 5.3.2(a) of IEC 62301 (First Edition), but with a single test period of 10 minutes +0/−2 sec after an additional stabilization period until the clock time reaches 3:33. If a microwave oven is capable of operation in either standby mode or off mode, as defined in sections 1.18 and 1.14 of this appendix, respectively, or both, test the microwave oven in each mode in which it can operate.

    3.2 Test measurements.

    3.2.1 Conventional oven test energy consumption. If the oven thermostat controls the oven temperature without cycling on and off, measure the energy consumed, EO, when the temperature of the block reaches TO (TO is 234 °F (130 °C) above the initial block temperature, TI). If the oven thermostat operates by cycling on and off, make the following series of measurements: Measure the block temperature, TA, and the energy consumed, EA, or volume of gas consumed, VA, at the end of the last “ON” period of the conventional oven before the block reaches TO. Measure the block temperature, TB, and the energy consumed, EB, or volume of gas consumed, VB, at the beginning of the next “ON” period. Measure the block temperature, TC, and the energy consumed, EC, or volume of gas consumed, VC, at the end of that “ON” period. Measure the block temperature, TD, and the energy consumed, ED, or volume of gas consumed, VD, at the beginning of the following “ON” period. Energy measurements for EO, EA, EB, EC, and ED should be expressed in watt-hours (kJ) for conventional electric ovens, and volume measurements for VA, VB, VC, and VD should be expressed in standard cubic feet (L) of gas for conventional gas ovens. For a gas oven, measure in watt-hours (kJ) any electrical energy, EIO, consumed by an ignition device or other electrical components required for the operation of a conventional gas oven while heating the test block to TO.

    3.2.1.1 Conventional oven average test energy consumption. If the conventional oven permits baking by either forced convection or without forced convection and the oven thermostat does not cycle on and off, measure the energy consumed with the forced convection mode, (EO)1, and without the forced convection mode, (EO)2, when the temperature of the block reaches TO (TO is 234 °F (130 °C) above the initial block temperature, TI). If the conventional oven permits baking by either forced convection or without forced convection and the oven thermostat operates by cycling on and off, make the following series of measurements with and without the forced convection mode: Measure the block temperature, TA, and the energy consumed, EA, or volume of gas consumed, VA, at the end of the last “ON” period of the conventional oven before the block reaches TO. Measure the block temperature, TB, and the energy consumed, EB, or volume of gas consumed, VB, at the beginning of the next “ON” period. Measure the block temperature, TC, and the energy consumed, EC, or volume of gas consumed, VC, at the end of that “ON” period. Measure the block temperature, TD, and the energy consumed, ED, or volume of gas consumed, VD, at the beginning of the following “ON” period. Energy measurements for EO, EA, EB, EC, and ED should be expressed in watt-hours (kJ) for conventional electric ovens, and volume measurements for VA, VB, VC, and VD should be expressed in standard cubic feet (L) of gas for conventional gas ovens. For a gas oven that can be operated with or without forced convection, measure in watt-hours (kJ) any electrical energy consumed by an ignition device or other electrical components required for the operation of a conventional gas oven while heating the test block to TO using the forced convection mode, (EIO)1, and without using the forced convection mode, (EIO)2.

    3.2.1.2 Conventional oven fan-only mode energy consumption. If the conventional oven is capable of operation in fan-only mode, measure the fan-only mode energy consumption, EOF, expressed in kilowatt-hours (kJ) of electricity consumed by the conventional oven for the duration of fan-only mode, using a watt-hour meter as specified in section 2.9.1.1 of this appendix. Alternatively, if the duration of fan-only mode is known, the watt-hours consumed may be measured for a period of 10 minutes in fan-only mode, using a watt-hour meter as specified in section 2.9.1.1 of this appendix. Multiply this value by the time in minutes that the conventional oven remains in fan-only mode, tOF, and divide by 10,000 to obtain EOF. The alternative approach may be used only if the resulting EOF is representative of energy use during the entire fan-only mode.

    3.2.1.3 Energy consumption of self-cleaning operation. Measure the energy consumption, ES, in watt-hours (kJ) of electricity or the volume of gas consumption, VS, in standard cubic feet (L) during the self-cleaning test set forth in section 3.1.1.1 of this appendix. For a gas oven, also measure in watt-hours (kJ) any electrical energy, EIS, consumed by ignition devices or other electrical components required during the self-cleaning test.

    3.2.1.4 Standby mode and off mode energy consumption. Make measurements as specified in section 3.1.1.2 of this appendix. If the conventional oven is capable of operating in inactive mode, as defined in section 1.12 of this appendix, measure the average inactive mode power of the conventional oven, PIA, in watts as specified in section 3.1.1.2.1 of this appendix. If the conventional oven is capable of operating in off mode, as defined in section 1.14 of this appendix, measure the average off mode power of the conventional oven, POM, in watts as specified in section 3.1.1.2.2 of this appendix.

    3.2.1.5 Conventional oven cavity volume. Measure the oven cavity volume, CVO, in cubic feet (L), as specified in section 3.1.1.3 of this appendix.

    3.2.2 Conventional surface unit test energy consumption.

    3.2.2.1 Conventional surface unit average test energy consumption. For the surface unit under test, measure the energy consumption, ECT, in watt-hours (kJ) of electricity or the volume of gas consumption, VCT, in standard cubic feet (L) of gas and the test block temperature, TCT, at the end of the 15 minute (reduced input setting) test interval for the test specified in section 3.1.2 of this appendix and the total time, tCT, in hours, that the unit is under test. Measure any electrical energy, EIC, consumed by an ignition device of a gas heating element or other electrical components required for the operation of the conventional gas cooking top in watt-hours (kJ).

    3.2.2.2 Conventional surface unit standby mode and off mode energy consumption. Make measurements as specified in section 3.1.2.1 of this appendix. If the conventional surface unit is capable of operating in inactive mode, as defined in section 1.12 of this appendix, measure the average inactive mode power of the conventional surface unit, PIA, in watts as specified in section 3.1.2.1.1 of this appendix. If the conventional surface unit is capable of operating in off mode, as defined in section 1.14 of this appendix, measure the average off mode power of the conventional surface unit, POM, in watts as specified in section 3.1.2.1.2 of this appendix.

    3.2.3 Conventional range standby mode and off mode energy consumption. Make measurements as specified in section 3.1.3 of this appendix. If the conventional range is capable of operating in inactive mode, as defined in section 1.13 of this appendix, measure the average inactive mode power of the conventional range, PIA, in watts as specified in section 3.1.3.1 of this appendix. If the conventional range is capable of operating in off mode, as defined in section 1.14 of this appendix, measure the average off mode power of the conventional range, POM, in watts as specified in section 3.1.3.2 of this appendix.

    3.2.4 Microwave oven test standby mode and off mode power. Make measurements as specified in Section 5, Paragraph 5.3 of IEC 62301 (Second Edition) (incorporated by reference; see § 430.3). If the microwave oven is capable of operating in standby mode, as defined in section 1.18 of this appendix, measure the average standby mode power of the microwave oven, PSB, in watts as specified in section 3.1.4.1 of this appendix. If the microwave oven is capable of operating in off mode, as defined in section 1.14 of this appendix, measure the average off mode power of the microwave oven, POM, as specified in section 3.1.4.1.

    3.3 Recorded values.

    3.3.1 Record the test room temperature, TR, at the start and end of each range, oven or cooktop test, as determined in section 2.5 of this appendix.

    3.3.2 Record the measured test block, test block body, and test block base weights W1, W2, and W3 in pounds (kg).

    3.3.3 Record the initial temperature, T1, of the test block under test.

    3.3.4 For a conventional oven with a thermostat which operates by cycling on and off, record the conventional oven test measurements TA, EA, TB, EB, TC, EC, TD, and ED for conventional electric ovens or TA, VA, TB, VB, TC, VC, TD, and VD for conventional gas ovens. If the thermostat controls the oven temperature without cycling on and off, record EO. For a gas oven which also uses electrical energy for the ignition or operation of the oven, also record EIO.

    3.3.5 For a conventional oven that can be operated with or without forced convection and the oven thermostat controls the oven temperature without cycling on and off, measure the energy consumed with the forced convection mode, (EO)1, and without the forced convection mode, (EO)2. If the conventional oven operates with or without forced convection and the thermostat controls the oven temperature by cycling on and off, record the conventional oven test measurements TA, EA, TB, EB, TC, EC, TD, and ED for conventional electric ovens or TA, VA, TB, VB, TC, VC, TD, and VD for conventional gas ovens. For a gas oven that can be operated with or without forced convection, measure any electrical energy consumed by an ignition device or other electrical components used during the forced convection mode, (EIO)1, and without using the forced convection mode, (EIO)2.

    3.3.6 Record the measured energy consumption, ES, or gas consumption, VS, and for a gas oven, any electrical energy, EIS, for the test of the self-cleaning operation of a conventional oven.

    3.3.7 For conventional ovens, record the conventional oven standby mode and off mode test measurements PIA and POM, if applicable. For conventional cooktops, record the conventional cooking top standby mode and off mode test measurements PIA and POM, if applicable. For conventional ranges, record the conventional range standby mode and off mode test measurements PIA and POM, if applicable.

    3.3.8 For conventional ovens, record the measured oven cavity volume, CVO, in cubic feet (L), rounded to the nearest tenth of a cubic foot (nearest L).

    3.3.9 For the surface unit under test, record the electric energy consumption, ECT, or the gas volume consumption, VCT, the final test block temperature, TCT, and the total test time, tCT. For a gas cooking top which uses electrical energy for ignition of the burners, also record EIC.

    3.3.10 Record the heating value, Hn, as determined in section 2.2.2.2 of this appendix for the natural gas supply.

    3.3.11 Record the heating value, Hp, as determined in section 2.2.2.3 of this appendix for the propane supply.

    3.3.12 Record the average standby mode power, PSB, for the microwave oven standby mode, as determined in section 3.2.4 of this appendix for a microwave oven capable of operating in standby mode. Record the average off mode power, POM, for the microwave oven off mode power test, as determined in section 3.2.4 of this appendix for a microwave oven capable of operating in off mode.

    4. Calculation of Derived Results From Test Measurements

    4.1.2.1.1 Annual primary energy consumption. Calculate the annual primary energy consumption for cooking, ECO, expressed in kilowatt-hours (kJ) per year for electric ovens and in kBtus (kJ) per year for gas ovens, and defined as:

    ER02JY15.158 for electric ovens, Where: EO = test energy consumption as measured in section 3.2.1 or as calculated in section 4.1.1 or section 4.1.1.1 of this appendix. Ke = 3.412 Btu/Wh (3.6 kJ/Wh,) conversion factor of watt-hours to Btus. OO = 29.3 kWh (105,480 kJ) per year, annual useful cooking energy output of conventional electric oven. W1 = measured weight of test block in pounds (kg). Cp = 0.23 Btu/lb-°F (0.96 kJ/kg ÷ °C), specific heat of test block. TS = 234 °F (130 °C), temperature rise of test block. ER02JY15.159 for gas ovens, Where: EO = test energy consumption as measured in section 3.2.1 or as calculated in section 4.1.1 or section 4.1.1.1 of this appendix. OO = 88.8 kBtu (93,684 kJ) per year, annual useful cooking energy output of conventional gas oven. W1, Cp and TS are the same as defined above.

    4.1.2.2.1 Annual primary energy consumption. Calculate the annual primary energy consumption for conventional oven self-cleaning operations, ESC, expressed in kilowatt-hours (kJ) per year for electric ovens and in kBtus (kJ) for gas ovens, and defined as:

    E SC = E S × S e × K, for electric ovens, Where: ES = energy consumption in watt-hours, as measured in section 3.2.1.3 of this appendix. Se = 4, average number of times a self-cleaning operation of a conventional electric oven is used per year. K = 0.001 kWh/Wh conversion factor for watt-hours to kilowatt-hours. or ESC VS × H × Sg × K, for gas ovens, Where: VS = gas consumption in standard cubic feet (L), as measured in section 3.2.1.3 of this appendix. H = Hn or Hp, the heating value of the gas used in the test as specified in sections 2.2.2.2 and 2.2.2.3 of this appendix in Btus per standard cubic foot (kJ/L). Sg = 4, average number of times a self-cleaning operation of a conventional gas oven is used per year. K = 0.001 kBtu/Btu conversion factor for Btus to kBtus

    4.1.2.4.3 Conventional gas oven energy consumption. Calculate the total annual gas energy consumption of a conventional gas oven, EAOG, expressed in kBtus (kJ) per year and defined as:

    EAOG = E CO + E SC, Where: ECO = annual primary cooking energy consumption as determined in section 4.1.2.1.1 of this appendix. ESC = annual primary self-cleaning energy consumption as determined in section 4.1.2.2.1 of this appendix.

    If the conventional gas oven uses electrical energy, calculate the total annual electrical energy consumption, EAOE, expressed in kilowatt-hours (kJ) per year and defined as:

    EAOE =ESO +ESS, Where: ESO = annual secondary cooking energy consumption as determined in section 4.1.2.1.2 of this appendix. ESS = annual secondary self-cleaning energy consumption as determined in section 4.1.2.2.2 of this appendix.

    If the conventional gas oven uses electrical energy, also calculate the total integrated annual electrical energy consumption, IEAOE, expressed in kilowatt-hours (kJ) per year and defined as:

    IE AOE = E SO + E SS + E OTLP + (E OF × N OG), Where: ESO = annual secondary cooking energy consumption as determined in section 4.1.2.1.2 of this appendix. ESS = annual secondary self-cleaning energy consumption as determined in section 4.1.2.2.2 of this appendix. EOTLP = annual combined low-power mode energy consumption as determined in section 4.1.2.3 of this appendix. EOF = fan-only mode energy consumption as measured in section 3.2.1.2 of this appendix. NOG = representative number of annual conventional gas oven cooking cycles per year, which is equal to 183 cycles for a conventional gas oven without self-clean capability and 197 cycles for a conventional gas oven with self-clean capability.

    4.1.2.5 Total annual energy consumption of multiple conventional ovens and conventional ovens with an oven separator. If the cooking appliance includes more than one conventional oven or consists of a conventional oven equipped with an oven separator that allows for cooking using the entire oven cavity or, if the separator is installed, splitting the oven into two smaller cavities, calculate the total annual energy consumption of the conventional oven(s) using the following equations:

    4.1.2.5.1 Conventional electric oven energy consumption. Calculate the total annual energy consumption, ETO, in kilowatt-hours (kJ) per year and defined as:

    E TO = E ACO + E ASC Where: ER02JY15.160 is the average annual primary energy consumption for cooking, and where: n = number of conventional ovens in the basic model or, if the cooking appliance is equipped with an oven separator, the number of oven cavity configurations. ECO = annual primary energy consumption for cooking as determined in section 4.1.2.1.1 of this appendix. ER02JY15.161 is the average annual self-cleaning energy consumption, Where: n = number of self-cleaning conventional ovens in the basic model. ESC = annual primary self-cleaning energy consumption as determined according to section 4.1.2.2.1 of this appendix.

    4.1.2.5.2 Conventional electric oven integrated energy consumption. Calculate the total integrated annual energy consumption, IETO, in kilowatt-hours (kJ) per year and defined as:

    IE TO = E ACO + E ASC + E OTLP + (E OF × N OE) Where ER02JY15.162 is the average annual primary energy consumption for cooking, and where: n = number of conventional ovens in the cooking appliance or, if the cooking appliance is equipped with an oven separator, the number of oven cavity configurations. ECO = annual primary energy consumption for cooking as determined in section 4.1.2.1.1 of this appendix. ER02JY15.163 is the average annual self-cleaning energy consumption, Where: n = number of self-cleaning conventional ovens in the basic model. ESC = annual primary self-cleaning energy consumption as determined according to section 4.1.2.2.1 of this appendix. EOTLP = annual combined low-power mode energy consumption for the cooking appliance as determined in section 4.1.2.3 of this appendix. EOF = fan-only mode energy consumption as measured in section 3.2.1.2 of this appendix. NOE = representative number of annual conventional electric oven cooking cycles per year, which is equal to 219 cycles for a conventional electric oven without self-clean capability and 204 cycles for a conventional electric oven with self-clean capability. 4.1.2.5.3 Conventional gas oven energy consumption. Calculate the total annual gas energy consumption, ETOG, in kBtus (kJ) per year and defined as: E TOG = E ACO + E ASC Where: EACO = average annual primary energy consumption for cooking in kBtus (kJ) per year and is calculated as: ER02JY15.164 Where: n = number of conventional ovens in the cooking appliance or, if the cooking appliance is equipped with an oven separator, the number of oven cavity configurations. ECO = annual primary energy consumption for cooking as determined in section 4.1.2.1.1 of this appendix. and, EASC = average annual self-cleaning energy consumption in kBtus (kJ) per year and is calculated as: ER02JY15.165 Where: n = number of self-cleaning conventional ovens in the basic model. ESC = annual primary self-cleaning energy consumption as determined according to section 4.1.2.2.1 of this appendix.

    If the oven also uses electrical energy, calculate the total annual electrical energy consumption, ETOE, in kilowatt-hours (kJ) per year and defined as:

    E TOE = E ASO + E AAS Where: ER02JY15.166 is the average annual secondary energy consumption for cooking, Where: n = number of conventional ovens in the basic model or, if the cooking appliance is equipped with an oven separator, the number of oven cavity configurations. ESO = annual secondary energy consumption for cooking of gas ovens as determined in section 4.1.2.1.2 of this appendix. ER02JY15.167 is the average annual secondary self-cleaning energy consumption, Where: n = number of self-cleaning ovens in the basic model. ESS = annual secondary self-cleaning energy consumption of gas ovens as determined in section 4.1.2.2.2 of this appendix. If the oven also uses electrical energy, also calculate the total integrated annual electrical energy consumption, IETOE, in kilowatt-hours (kJ) per year and defined as: IE TOE = E ASO + E AAS + E OTLP + (E OF × N OG) Where: ER02JY15.168 is the average annual secondary energy consumption for cooking, Where: n = number of conventional ovens in the basic model or, if the cooking appliance is equipped with an oven separator, the number of oven cavity configurations. ESO = annual secondary energy consumption for cooking of gas ovens as determined in section 4.1.2.1.2 of this appendix. ER02JY15.169 is the average annual secondary self-cleaning energy consumption, Where: n = number of self-cleaning ovens in the basic model. ESS = annual secondary self-cleaning energy consumption of gas ovens as determined in section 4.1.2.2.2 of this appendix. EOTLP = annual combined low-power mode energy consumption as determined in section 4.1.2.3 of this appendix. EOF = fan-only mode energy consumption as measured in section 3.2.1.2 of this appendix. NOG = representative number of annual conventional gas oven cooking cycles per year, which is equal to 183 cycles for a conventional gas oven without self-clean capability and 197 cycles for a conventional gas oven with self-clean capability.

    4.1.3.2 Multiple conventional ovens and conventional ovens with an oven separator. If the cooking appliance includes more than one conventional oven or consists of a conventional oven equipped with an oven separator that allows for cooking using the entire oven cavity or, if the separator is installed, splitting the oven into two smaller cavities, calculate the cooking efficiency of the conventional oven(s), EffTO, using the following equation:

    ER02JY15.170 Where: n = number of conventional ovens in the cooking appliance or, if the cooking appliance is equipped with an oven separator, the number of oven cavity configurations. EffAO = cooking efficiency of each oven determined according to section 4.1.3.1 of this appendix.

    4.1.4.1 Conventional oven energy factor. Calculate the energy factor, or the ratio of useful cooking energy output to the total energy input, RO, using the following equations:

    ER02JY15.171 For electric ovens, Where: OO = 29.3 kWh (105,480 kJ) per year, annual useful cooking energy output. EAO = total annual energy consumption for electric ovens as determined in section 4.1.2.4.1 of this appendix. For gas ovens: ER02JY15.172 Where: OO = 88.8 kBtu (93,684 kJ) per year, annual useful cooking energy output. EAOG = total annual gas energy consumption for conventional gas ovens as determined in section 4.1.2.4.3 of this appendix. EAOE = total annual electrical energy consumption for conventional gas ovens as determined in section 4.1.2.4.3 of this appendix. Ke = 3.412 kBtu/kWh (3,600 kJ/kWh), conversion factor for kilowatt-hours to kBtus.

    4.1.4.2 Conventional oven integrated energy factor. Calculate the integrated energy factor, or the ratio of useful cooking energy output to the total integrated energy input, IRO, using the following equations:

    ER02JY15.173 For electric ovens, Where: OO = 29.3 kWh (105,480 kJ) per year, annual useful cooking energy output. IEAO = total integrated annual energy consumption for electric ovens as determined in section 4.1.2.4.2 of this appendix.

    For gas ovens:

    ER02JY15.174 Where: OO = 88.8 kBtu (93,684 kJ) per year, annual useful cooking energy output. EAOG = total annual gas energy consumption for conventional gas ovens as determined in section 4.1.2.4.3 of this appendix. IEAOE = total integrated annual electrical energy consumption for conventional gas ovens as determined in section 4.1.2.4.3 of this appendix. Ke = 3.412 kBtu/kWh (3,600 kJ/kWh), conversion factor for kilowatt-hours to kBtus.

    4.2  Conventional cooking top.

    4.2.1 Surface unit cooking efficiency.

    4.2.1.2 Gas surface unit cooking efficiency. Calculate the cooking efficiency, EffSU, of the gas surface unit under test, defined as:

    ER02JY15.175 Where: W3 = measured weight of test block as measured in section 3.3.2 of this appendix, expressed in pounds (kg). Cp, and TSU are the same as defined in section 4.2.1.1 of this appendix.

    and,

    E = (VCT × H) + (EIC × Ke), Where: VCT = total gas consumption in standard cubic feet (L) for the gas surface unit test as measured in section 3.2.2.1 of this appendix. EIC = electrical energy consumed in watt-hours (kJ) by an ignition device of a gas surface unit as measured in section 3.2.2.1 of this appendix. Ke = 3.412 Btu/Wh (3.6 kJ/Wh), conversion factor of watt-hours to Btus. H = either Hn or Hp, the heating value of the gas used in the test as specified in sections 2.2.2.2 and 2.2.2.3 of this appendix, expressed in Btus per standard cubic foot (kJ/L) of gas.

    4.2.2.2.1 Annual cooking energy consumption. Calculate the annual energy consumption for cooking, ECC, in kBtus (kJ) per year for a gas cooking top, defined as:

    ER02JY15.176 Where: OCT = 527.6 kBtu (556,618 kJ) per year, annual useful cooking energy output. EffCT = the gas cooking top efficiency as defined in section 4.2.1.3 of this appendix.

    4.2.2.2.2 Total integrated annual energy consumption of a conventional gas cooking top. Calculate the total integrated annual energy consumption of a conventional gas cooking top, IECA, in kBtus (kJ) per year, defined as:

    IE CA= E CC + (E CTSO × K e) Where: ECC = energy consumption for cooking as determined in section 4.2.2.2.1 of this appendix. ECTSO = conventional cooking top combined low-power mode energy consumption = [(PIA × SIA) + (POM × SOM)] × K, Where: PIA = conventional cooking top inactive mode power, in watts, as measured in section 3.1.2.1.1 of this appendix. POM = conventional cooking top off mode power, in watts, as measured in section 3.1.2.1.2 of this appendix. If the conventional cooking top has both inactive mode and off mode annual hours, SIA and SOM both equal 4273.4; If the conventional cooking top has an inactive mode but no off mode, the inactive mode annual hours, SIA, is equal to 8546.9, and the off mode annual hours, SOM, is equal to 0; If the conventional cooking top has an off mode but no inactive mode, SIA is equal to 0, and SOM is equal to 8546.9; K = 0.001 kWh/Wh conversion factor for watt-hours to kilowatt-hours. Ke = 3.412 kBtu/kWh (3,600 kJ/kWh), conversion factor for kilowatt-hours to kBtus.

    4.2.3.2 Conventional cooking top integrated energy factor. Calculate the integrated energy factor or ratio of useful cooking energy output for cooking to the total integrated energy input, IRCT, as follows:

    For electric cooking tops, ER02JY15.177 Where: OCT = 173.1 kWh (623,160 kJ) per year, annual useful cooking energy output of cooking top. IECA = total annual integrated energy consumption of cooking top determined according to section 4.2.2.1.2 of this appendix.

    For gas cooking tops,

    ER02JY15.178 Where: OCT = 527.6 kBtu (556,618 kJ) per year, annual useful cooking energy output of cooking top. IECA = total integrated annual energy consumption of cooking top determined according to section 4.2.2.2.2 of this appendix.
    [FR Doc. 2015-15886 Filed 7-1-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450-01-P
    SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION 20 CFR Parts 404 and 416 [Docket No. SSA-2015-0010] RIN 0960-AH75 Extension of Effective Date for Temporary Pilot Program Setting the Time and Place for a Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge AGENCY:

    Social Security Administration.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    We are extending for one year our pilot program that authorizes the agency to set the time and place for a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). Extending of the pilot program continues our commitment to improve the efficiency of our hearing process and to maintain a hearing process that results in accurate, high-quality decisions for claimants. The current pilot program will expire on August 10, 2015. In this final rule, we are extending the effective date to August 12, 2016. We are making no other substantive changes.

    DATES:

    This final rule is effective July 2, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Rainbow Lloyd, Social Security Administration, 5107 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3260, 703-605-7100 for information about this final rule. For information on eligibility for filing for benefits, call our national toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213 or TTY 1-800-325-0778, or visit our Internet site, Social Security Online, at http://www.socialsecurity.gov.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    Over the past several years, one of our highest priorities has been to improve the efficiency of our hearing process for the Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) programs under title II of the Social Security Act (Act) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program under title XVI of the Act. We began a pilot program in July 2010 (75 FR 39154), under which the agency, rather than the ALJ, may set the time and place of the hearing under certain circumstances. Because we expect to continue to face significant challenges in dealing with the historically large number of hearing requests, we must maintain programs and policies that can provide us with the flexibility we need to improve the efficiency of our hearing process.

    When we published a final rule on July 8, 2010 authorizing the agency to set the time and place for a hearing before an ALJ, we explained that we would implement our authority as a temporary pilot program. (75 FR 39154). Therefore, we included in sections 404.936(h) and 416.1436(h) of the final rule a provision that the pilot program would end on August 9, 2013, unless we decided to either terminate the program earlier, or extend it beyond that date by publication of a final rule in the Federal Register. Most recently, on July 18, 2014, we extended the deadline until August 10, 2015. (79 FR 41881).

    Explanation of Extension

    During the pilot program, we tracked ALJ productivity closely, working with ALJs to addresss any concerns about our hearing process. We are continuing to work with ALJs who do not promptly schedule their hearings, and we are using a variety of authorties available to correct these situations. To date, our efforts have been largely successful. We are retaining this authority in our regulations to provide us with the flexibility we need to manage the hearing process appropriately.

    During this extension of the pilot program, we will continue to monitor the productivity of ALJs and to work with our ALJs to address any concerns regarding our hearing process. Accordingly, we are extending our authority to set the time and place for a hearing before an ALJ for another year, until August 12, 2016. As before, we reserve the authority to end the program earlier, or to extend it by publishing a final rule in the Federal Register.

    Regulatory Procedures Justification for Issuing Final Rule Without Notice and Comment

    We follow the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) rulemaking procedures specified in 5 U.S.C. 553 when developing regulations. Section 702(a)(5) of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. 902(a)(5). Generally, the APA requires that an agency provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment before issuing a final rule. The APA provides exceptions to its notice and public comment procedures when an agency finds there is good cause for dispensing with such procedures because they are impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest. We have determined that good cause exists for dispensing with the notice and public comment procedures for this rule. 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B). This final rule only extends the date on which the pilot program will no longer be effective. It makes no substantive changes to our rules. Our current regulations expressly provide that we may extend the expiration date of the pilot program by notice of a final rule in the Federal Register. Therefore, we have determined that opportunity for prior comment is unnecessary, and we are issuing this rule as a final rule.

    In addition, for the reasons cited above, we find good cause for dispensing with the 30-day delay in the effective date of this final rule. 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). We are not making any substantive changes in our rules. Without an extension of the expiration date for the pilot program, we will not have the flexibility we need to ensure the efficiency of our hearing process. Therefore, we find it is in the public interest to make this final rule effective on the publication date.

    Executive Order 12866 as Supplemented by Executive Order 13563

    We consulted with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and determined that this final rule does not meet the criteria for a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866, as supplemented by Executive Order 13563. Therefore, OMB did not review the final rule.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act

    We certify that this final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities because it affects individuals only. Therefore, the Regulatory Flexibility Act, as amended, does not require us to prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    This final rule does not create any new or affect any existing collections and, therefore, does not require OMB approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act.

    (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 96.001, Social Security—Disability Insurance; 96.002, Social Security—Retirement Insurance; 96.004, Social Security—Survivors Insurance; 96.006, Supplemental Security Income.) List of Subjects 20 CFR Part 404

    Administrative practice and procedure, Blind, Disability benefits, Old-age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Social Security.

    20 CFR Part 416

    Administrative practice and procedure, Aged, Blind, Disability benefits, Public assistance programs, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

    Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, we are amending subpart J of part 404 and subpart N of part 416 of title 20 of the Code of Federal Regulations as set forth below:

    PART 404—FEDERAL OLD-AGE, SURVIVORS AND DISABILITY INSURANCE

    (1950- )

    Subpart J—[Amended]
    1. The authority citation for subpart J of part 404 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    Secs. 201(j), 204(f), 205(a)-(b), (d)-(h), and (j), 221, 223(i), 225, and 702(a)(5) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 401(j), 404(f), 405(a)-(b), (d)-(h), and (j), 421, 423(i), 425, and 902(a)(5)); sec. 5, Pub. L. 97-455, 96 Stat. 2500 (42 U.S.C. 405 note); secs. 5, 6(c)-(e), and 15, Pub. L. 98-460, 98 Stat. 1802 (42 U.S.C. 421 note); sec. 202, Pub. L. 108-203, 118 Stat. 509 (42 U.S.C. 902 note).

    2. In § 404.936, revise the second sentence in paragraph (i) to read as follows:
    § 404.936 Time and place for a hearing before an administrative law judge.

    (i) Pilot program. * * * These provisions will no longer be effective on August 12, 2016, unless we terminate them earlier or extend them beyond that date by notice of a final rule in the Federal Register.

    PART 416—SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME FOR THE AGED, BLIND, AND DISABLED Subpart N—[Amended] 3. The authority citation for subpart N of part 416 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    Secs. 702(a)(5), 1631, and 1633 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 902(a)(5), 1383, and 1383b); sec. 202, Pub. L. 108-203, 118 Stat. 509 (42 U.S.C. 902 note).

    4. In § 416.1436, revise the second sentence in paragraph (i) to read as follows:
    § 416.1436 Time and place for a hearing before an administrative law judge.

    (i) Pilot program. * * * These provisions will no longer be effective on August 12, 2016, unless we terminate them earlier or extend them beyond that date by notice of a final rule in the Federal Register.

    [FR Doc. 2015-16397 Filed 7-1-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4191-02-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration 21 CFR Parts 601, 610, and 680 [Docket No. FDA-2014-N-1110] Revocation of General Safety Test Regulations That Are Duplicative of Requirements in Biologics License Applications AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is amending the biologics regulations by removing the general safety test (GST) requirements for biological products. FDA is finalizing this action because the existing codified GST regulations are duplicative of requirements that are also specified in biologics license applications (BLAs), or are no longer necessary or appropriate to help ensure the safety, purity, and potency of licensed biological products. FDA is taking this action as part of its retrospective review of its regulations to promote improvement and innovation, in response to the Executive order.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective August 3, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Lori J. Churchyard, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 71, Rm. 7301, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, 240-402-7911.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Executive Summary Purpose and Coverage of the Final Rule

    The final rule removes the codified GST 1 regulations for biological products which will update outdated requirements and accommodate new and evolving technology and testing capabilities without diminishing public health protections. FDA is finalizing this action because the existing codified GST regulations are duplicative of requirements that are also specified in BLAs, or are no longer necessary or appropriate to help ensure the safety, purity, and potency of licensed biological products. FDA is taking this action as part of its retrospective review of its regulations to promote improvement and innovation, in response to Executive Order (E.O.) 13563 of January 18, 2011.

    1 For purposes of this final rule, the terms “general safety test” or “GST” refer to the requirements found under Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), subchapter F, parts 600 through 680 (21 CFR parts 600 through 680), specifically 21 CFR 610.11, 610.11a, and 680.3(b).

    Summary of the Major Provisions of the Final Rule

    The final rule removes the requirements contained in §§ 610.11, 610.11a, and 680.3(b) (21 CFR 610.11, 610.11a, and 680.3(b)) from the regulations. Section 610.11 requires a GST for the detection of extraneous toxic contaminants in certain biological products intended for administration to humans. Section 610.11a concerns the GST requirements for inactivated influenza vaccine. Section 680.3(b) concerns GST requirements for allergenic products. Removal of these regulations, however, would not remove GST requirements specified in individual BLAs. A biological product manufacturer would continue to be required to follow the GST requirements specified in its BLA unless the manufacturer advised FDA of its elimination or modification of the test by a submission filed in accordance with § 601.12 (21 CFR 601.12). FDA would review proposed changes to a manufacturer's approved biologics license on a case-by-case basis so that FDA can ensure that any such action is appropriate.

    Costs and Benefits

    FDA is finalizing this action because the existing codified GST regulations are duplicative of requirements that are also specified in BLAs, or are no longer necessary or appropriate to help ensure the safety, purity, and potency of licensed biological products. Because this final rule would impose no additional regulatory burdens, this rule is not anticipated to result in any compliance costs and the economic impact is expected to be minimal.

    I. Background

    As part of FDA's retrospective review of its regulations to promote improvement and innovation under Executive Order 13563, FDA is removing the codified GST requirements as specified in this rule. We believe this action is appropriate because in many instances, the GST regulations duplicate requirements that are also specified in the BLA requirements for biological products intended for human use under section 351 of the Public Health Service Act (PHS Act) (42 U.S.C. 262), or they are outmoded or otherwise unnecessary to help ensure the continued safety, purity, and potency of biological products. FDA published the proposed rule “Revocation of General Safety Test Regulations That Are Duplicative of Requirements in Biological License Applications” in the Federal Register of August 22, 2014 (79 FR 49727). FDA corrected the title of that proposed rule to “Revocation of General Safety Test Regulations That Are Duplicative of Requirements in Biologics License Applications” in the Federal Register of September 10, 2014 (79 FR 53670).

    For a number of years, FDA has not codified specific test methods as standards for licensed biological products, in part because codifying specific test methods as standards can diminish the ability of the Agency and industry to respond to technological developments. Instead the Agency has required manufacturers to provide a full description of manufacturing methods, including test methods, in manufacturers' BLAs (§ 601.2(a) (21 CFR 601.2(a))). Since FDA issued the March 2003 final rule “Revision to the General Safety Requirements for Biological Products” in the Federal Register of March 4, 2003 (68 FR 10157), it has become increasingly clear that the codified GST regulations are too restrictive for certain biological products because alternatives may be available which provide the same or greater level of assurance of safety as the GST. Thus, the Agency believes that the GST regulations may not always reflect the scientific community's assessment of the best current testing procedures, although in certain circumstances the GST may still be appropriate. The Agency believes that a more efficient way of prescribing testing requirements for particular products would be to allow such requirements to be specified in the BLA, which will enhance flexibility to make appropriate changes to testing methods.

    II. Summary of the Final Rule

    FDA is adopting as final, without material change, the proposed revocation of general safety test requirements that are duplicative of requirements in BLAs.

    • The final rule is removing §§ 610.11, 610.11a, and 680.3(b), the regulations that require that manufacturers of biological products perform a specified test for general safety of biological products. FDA is taking this action because the existing codified GST regulations are duplicative, outmoded, or are otherwise unnecessary to help ensure the continued safety, purity, and potency of licensed biological products.

    • As set forth in an approved BLA or BLA supplement, for products that present specific safety concerns, manufacturers will be required to perform appropriate safety test(s) to address those concerns. For example, the BLA may require testing for a specific toxicity.

    • The appropriate tests will be specified in the manufacturer's BLA or BLA supplement rather than codified as regulations.

    • Elimination of the codified GST regulations would encourage the implementation of the principles of the “3Rs,” to reduce, refine, and replace animal use in testing. This addresses the need to minimize the use of animals in such testing and promotes more humane, appropriate and specific test methods for assuring the safety of biological products.2

    2 Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM) Authorization Act of 2000 (42 U.S.C. 285l-3). Additional information on the Federal Government's implementation of the principles of the 3Rs may be found at the ICCVAM Web site at http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/go/iccvam.

    • The finalization of this rule does not automatically revise a manufacturer's BLA or BLA supplement.

    • Manufacturers would continue to be required to perform the GST unless the manufacturer's BLA were revised through a supplement to eliminate or modify the test in accordance with § 601.12.

    • The requirements for a licensed biological product manufacturer to report changes in its product, product labeling, production process, quality controls, equipment, facilities or responsible personnel, as established in its approved BLA, are detailed in § 601.12.

    • Under § 601.12, manufacturers must report each change to the Agency in one of several different types of submissions. The applicable submission category depends on the potential for the change(s) at issue to have an adverse effect on the identity, strength, quality, purity, or potency of the particular biological product as it may relate to the safety or effectiveness of the product.

    • FDA anticipates that changes involving the discontinuance of the GST or the reliance on a test other than the GST would have a moderate potential to have an adverse effect on the identity, strength, quality, purity, or potency of the product as it may relate to the safety or effectiveness of the product. Such changes must be identified in a supplement submitted under § 601.12(c) (changes requiring supplement submission at least 30 days prior to distribution of the product made using the change).

    III. Legal Authority

    FDA is issuing this regulation under the biological products and communicable disease provisions of the PHS Act (42 U.S.C. 262 and 264), and the provisions of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the FD&C Act) (21 U.S.C. 321 et seq.) applicable to drugs. Under these provisions of the PHS Act and the FD&C Act, we have the authority to issue and enforce regulations designed to ensure, among other things, that biological products are safe, pure, and potent and manufactured in accordance with current Good Manufacturing Practice, and to prevent the introduction, transmission, or spread of communicable disease.

    IV. Comments on the Proposed Rule and FDA Response

    The Agency received two letters of comments on the proposed rule. Comments were received from a trade association, and an animal welfare organization.

    To make it easier to identify the comments and our responses, the word “Comment” and a comment number appear in parentheses before each comment's description, and the word “Response” in parentheses precedes each response. We have also numbered each comment to help distinguish between different comments. The number assigned to each comment is purely for organizational purposes and does not signify the comment's value or importance or the order in which it was received. Certain comments were grouped together because the subject matter of the comments was similar.

    A. General Comments

    (Comment 1) Both letters of comments support the proposed rule.

    (Response) FDA acknowledges and appreciates that the comments we received agree with the need for this rulemaking. As stated previously, the rule removes the requirements contained in §§ 610.11, 610.11a, and 680.3(b) from the regulations because the existing codified GST regulations are duplicative of requirements that are also specified in BLAs, or are no longer necessary or appropriate to help ensure the safety, purity, and potency of licensed biological products. Removal of these regulations provides a more efficient way of prescribing testing requirements and enhances flexibility to make appropriate changes to testing methods.

    B. Comments on Specific Topics

    (Comment 2) One comment requests that FDA encourage manufacturers who have a GST described in their BLAs for their licensed products to submit supplements to their BLAs to eliminate or modify the test and that FDA take additional steps to ensure that the final rule will have the intended effect of eliminating the use of animals in safety testing.

    (Response) As stated in the preamble of the proposed rule (79 FR 49727 at 49729), we anticipate that the elimination of the codified GST regulations will encourage the implementation of the principles of the “3Rs,” to reduce, refine, and replace animal use in testing. Moreover, on our own initiative, as discussed elsewhere in this document, we have determined that the effective date of the final rule will be 30 days after the date of its publication in the Federal Register to give manufacturers the flexibility to submit supplements to their BLAs for their licensed products as soon as possible.

    (Comment 3) One comment requests that we add language to § 601.2 or other relevant biologics regulation to clarify our intent to encourage the implementation of the principles of the 3Rs.

    (Response) FDA declines to adopt this recommended change because the request to add language to § 601.2 or other relevant biologics regulations is outside the scope of this rulemaking.

    (Comment 4) One comment requests that FDA establish user fees with respect to the continued use of the GST after the effective date of this final rule, or that FDA establish other clear policies that will provide economic incentives to discontinue the use of the GST. Further, the comment refers to Executive Order 13563, which encourages Federal Agencies to “. . . assess available alternatives to direct regulation, including providing economic incentives to encourage the desired behavior, such as user fees . . . .”

    (Response) We decline to adopt these suggested changes because they are beyond the scope of this rule. The proposed rule did not address user fees or economic incentives. This rule allows, but does not require, current BLA holders to submit to FDA supplements to their BLAs to eliminate or modify the GST.

    (Comment 5) One comment states that a manufacturer who submits a supplement to eliminate or modify a GST in its BLA will not be able to stop conducting the GST until FDA determines that the manufacturer has appropriately reported this change.

    (Response) We disagree in part. As stated in the preamble to the proposed rule (79 FR 49727 at 49730), a manufacturer who desires to discontinue the GST in its approved BLA or utilize an alternative method other than the GST approved in its BLA must submit a BLA supplement reporting the change in accordance with § 601.12. Should a manufacturer wish to discontinue the GST described in the approved BLA, or to utilize an alternative method other than the GST approved in its BLA, FDA anticipates that the change would have a moderate potential to have an adverse effect on the identity, strength, quality, purity, or potency of the product as it may relate to the safety or effectiveness of the product. Accordingly, a manufacturer who desires to make such a change must submit a BLA supplement reporting the change in accordance with § 601.12(c). Within 30 days of the date FDA receives the submission, FDA will determine if the change has been reported in the proper category and if any of the required information is missing, and will inform the applicant accordingly. If FDA does not so notify the applicant, distribution of the product made using the change may begin not less than 30 days after receipt of the supplement by FDA.

    V. Conforming Amendments

    As part of this final rule, we need to make conforming changes when the removed provisions are referenced elsewhere in the CFR. The final rule removes “§ 610.11” from § 601.2(c)(1) and 21 CFR 601.22.

    VI. Effective Date

    We are making this rule effective 30 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register. We are making this change in the interest of reducing unnecessary regulatory burden to give manufacturers the flexibility to submit supplements right away, should they wish to do so.

    VII. Economic Analysis of Impacts

    FDA has examined the impacts of the final rule under Executive Order 12866, Executive Order 13563, the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), and the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4). Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct Agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, when regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety, and other advantages; distributive impacts; and equity). The Agency believes that this final rule is not a significant regulatory action as defined under Executive Order 12866.

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires Agencies to analyze regulatory options that would minimize any significant impact of a rule on small entities. Because this final rule generally increases flexibility for safety testing and would result in the reduction of certain regulatory burdens and does not add any new regulatory responsibilities, the Agency certifies that the final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    Section 202(a) of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 requires that Agencies prepare a written statement, which includes an assessment of anticipated costs and benefits, before proposing “any rule that includes any Federal mandate that may result in the expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100,000,000 or more (adjusted annually for inflation) in any one year.” The current threshold after adjustment for inflation is $144 million, using the most current (2014) Implicit Price Deflator for the Gross Domestic Product. FDA does not expect this final rule to result in any 1-year expenditure that would meet or exceed this amount.

    This final rule amends the biologics regulations by removing the GST requirements for biological products found in §§ 610.11, 610.11a and 680.3(b). FDA is finalizing this action because the current codified GST regulations are duplicative of requirements that are also specified in biologics licenses, or are no longer necessary or appropriate to help ensure the safety, purity, and potency of licensed biological products. The removal of the GST regulations for biological products, however, would not remove GST requirements specified in individual BLAs. All manufacturers that currently conduct a GST are already required, as part of the standards specified in their BLAs, to perform the GST and would thus continue to be required to perform the GST unless the BLA were revised to eliminate or modify the test through a supplement in accordance with § 601.12. Because this rule would impose no additional regulatory burdens, this regulation is not anticipated to result in any compliance costs and the economic impact is expected to be minimal.

    VIII. The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    This final rule refers to previously approved collections of information that are subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520). The collections of information in § 601.12 have been approved under OMB control number 0910-0338. Therefore, FDA tentatively concludes that the requirements in this document are not subject to review by OMB because they do not constitute a “new collection of information” under the PRA.

    IX. Environmental Impact

    The Agency has determined under 21 CFR 25.30(h) that this action is of a type that does not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. Therefore, neither an environmental assessment nor an environmental impact statement is required.

    X. Federalism

    FDA has analyzed this final rule in accordance with the principles set forth in Executive Order 13132. FDA has determined that the rule does not contain policies that would have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the National Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. Accordingly, the Agency has concluded that the rule does not contain policies that have federalism implications as defined in the Executive order and, consequently, a federalism summary impact statement is not required.

    List of Subjects 21 CFR Part 601

    Administrative practice and procedure, Biologics, Confidential business information.

    21 CFR Part 610

    Biologics, Labeling, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    21 CFR Part 680

    Biologics, Blood, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Therefore under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, the Public Health Service Act, and under authority delegated to the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, 21 CFR parts 601, 610, and 680 are amended as follows:

    PART 601—LICENSING 1. The authority citation for 21 CFR part 601 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    15 U.S.C. 1451-1561; 21 U.S.C. 321, 351, 352, 353, 355, 356b, 360, 360c-360f, 360h-360j, 371, 374, 379e, 381; 42 U.S.C. 216, 241, 262, 263, 264; sec 122, Pub. L. 105-115, 111 Stat. 2322 (21 U.S.C. 355 note).

    § 601.2 [Amended]
    2. Section 601.2 is amended in paragraph (c)(1) by removing “610.11,”.
    § 601.22 [Amended]
    3. Section 601.22 is amended in the third sentence by removing “610.11,”. PART 610—GENERAL BIOLOGICAL PRODUCTS STANDARDS 4. The authority citation for 21 CFR part 610 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    21 U.S.C. 321, 331, 351, 352, 353, 355, 360, 360c, 360d, 360h, 360i, 371, 372, 374, 381; 42 U.S.C. 216, 262, 263, 263a, 264.

    § 610.11 [Removed and Reserved]
    5. Remove and reserve § 610.11.
    § 610.11a [Removed and Reserved]
    6. Remove and reserve § 610.11a. PART 680—ADDITIONAL STANDARDS FOR MISCELLANEOUS PRODUCTS 7. The authority citation for 21 CFR part 680 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    21 U.S.C. 321, 351, 352, 353, 355, 360, 371; 42 U.S.C. 216, 262, 263, 263a, 264.

    § 680.3 [Amended]
    8. In § 680.3, remove and reserve paragraph (b).
    Dated: June 26, 2015. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-16366 Filed 7-1-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF STATE 22 CFR Part 121 [Public Notice: 8996] RIN 1400-AD74 Temporary Modification of Category XI of the United States Munitions List AGENCY:

    Department of State.

    ACTION:

    Final rule; notice of temporary modification.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of State, pursuant to its regulations and in the interest of the security of the United States, temporarily modifies Category XI of the United States Munitions List (USML).

    DATES:

    Amendatory instructions 1 and 2 are effective July 2, 2015. Amendatory instruction No. 3 is effective December 29, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. C. Edward Peartree, Director, Office of Defense Trade Controls Policy, Department of State, telephone (202) 663-2792; email [email protected] ATTN: Temporary Modification of Category XI.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On July 1, 2014, the Department published a final rule revising Category XI of the USML, 79 FR 37535, effective December 30, 2014. This final rule, consistent with the two prior proposed rules for USML Category XI (78 FR 45017, July 25, 2013 and 77 FR 70958, November 28, 2012), revised paragraph (b) of Category XI to clarify the extent of the control and maintain the existing scope of control on items described in paragraph (b) and the directly related software described in paragraph (d). The Department has determined that exporters may read the revised control language to exclude certain intelligence analytics software that has been and remains controlled on the USML. Therefore, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Defense Trade Controls determined that it is in the interest of the security of the United States to temporarily revise USML Category XI paragraph (b), pursuant to the provisions of 22 CFR 126.2, while a long term solution is developed. The Department will publish any permanent revision to USML Category XI paragraph (b) addressing this issue as a proposed rule for public comment.

    This temporary revision clarifies that the scope of control in existence prior to December 30, 2014 for USML paragraph (b) and directly related software in paragraph (d) remains the same. This clarification is achieved by reinserting the words “analyze and produce information from” and by adding software to the description of items controlled. In effect, this rule modifies USML Category XI paragraph (b) until December 29, 2015.

    Regulatory Findings Administrative Procedure Act

    The Department is publishing this rule as a final rule based upon good cause, and its determination that delaying the effect of this rule during a period of public comment would be impractical, unnecessary and contrary to public interest. 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B). In addition, the Department is of the opinion that controlling the import and export of defense articles and services is a foreign affairs function of the United States Government and that rules implementing this function are exempt from sections 553 (rulemaking) and 554 (adjudications) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

    Regulatory Flexibility Act

    Since the Department is of the opinion that this rule is exempt from the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 553, there is no requirement for an analysis under the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

    Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    This rulemaking does not involve a mandate that will result in the expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more in any year and it will not significantly or uniquely affect small governments. Therefore, no actions were deemed necessary under the provisions of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995.

    Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996

    The Department does not believe this rulemaking is a major rule under the criteria of 5 U.S.C. 804.

    Executive Orders 12372 and 13132

    This rulemaking does not have sufficient federalism implications to require consultations or warrant the preparation of a federalism summary impact statement. The regulations implementing Executive Order 12372 regarding intergovernmental consultation on Federal programs and activities do not apply to this rulemaking.

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563

    The Department believes that benefits of the rulemaking outweigh any costs, which are estimated to be insignificant. It is the Department's position that this rulemaking is not a significant rule under the criteria of Executive Order 12866, and is consistent with the provisions of Executive Order 13563.

    Executive Order 12988

    The Department of State has reviewed this rulemaking in light of sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988 to eliminate ambiguity, minimize litigation, establish clear legal standards, and reduce burden.

    Executive Order 13175

    The Department of State has determined that this rulemaking will not have tribal implications, will not impose substantial direct compliance costs on Indian tribal governments, and will not preempt tribal law. Accordingly, the requirements of Executive Order 13175 do not apply to this rulemaking.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    This rulemaking does not impose or revise any information collections subject to 44 U.S.C. Chapter 35.

    List of Subjects in 22 CFR Part 121

    Arms and munitions, Classified information, Exports.

    For reasons stated in the preamble, the State Department amends 22 CFR part 121 as follows:

    PART 121—THE UNITED STATES MUNITIONS LIST 1. The authority citation for part 121 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    Secs. 2, 38, and 71, Pub. L. 90-629, 90 Stat. 744 (22 U.S.C. 2752, 2778, 2797); 22 U.S.C. 2651a; Pub. L. 105-261, 112 Stat. 1920; Section 1261, Pub. L. 112-239; E.O. 13637, 78 FR 16129.

    2. In § 121.1, under Category XI, revise paragraph (b), effective July 2, 2015 to read as follows:
    § 121.1 The United States Munitions List. Category XI—Military Electronics

    *(b) Electronic systems, equipment or software, not elsewhere enumerated in this sub-chapter, specially designed for intelligence purposes that collect, survey, monitor, or exploit, or analyze and produce information from, the electromagnetic spectrum (regardless of transmission medium), or for counteracting such activities.

    3. In § 121.1, under Category XI, revise paragraph (b), effective December 29, 2015, to read as follows:
    § 121.1 The United States Munitions List. Category XI—Military Electronics

    *(b) Electronic systems or equipment, not elsewhere enumerated in this sub-chapter, specially designed for intelligence purposes that collect, survey, monitor, or exploit the electromagnetic spectrum (regardless of transmission medium), or for counteracting such activities.

    Kenneth B. Handelman, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Defense Trade Controls, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, U.S. Department of State.
    [FR Doc. 2015-16489 Filed 7-1-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4710-25-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 165 [Docket Number USCG-2015-0504] RIN 1625-AA00 Safety Zone; Alexandria Bay Chamber of Commerce Fireworks Display; Saint Lawrence River, Heart Island, Alexandria Bay, NY AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Temporary final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard is establishing a temporary safety zone on the Saint Lawrence River, Heart Island, Alexandria Bay, NY. This safety zone is intended to restrict vessels from a portion of the Saint Lawrence River during the Alexandria Bay Chamber of Commerce fireworks display. This temporary safety zone is necessary to protect mariners and vessels from the navigational hazards associated with a fireworks display.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective on July 5, 2015 from 9:15 p.m. until 10 p.m.

    ADDRESSES:

    Documents mentioned in this preamble are part of docket [USCG-2015-0504]. To view documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov, type the docket number in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.” Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this rulemaking. You may also visit the Docket Management Facility in Room W12-140 on the ground floor of the Department of Transportation West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions on this rule, call or email LTJG Amanda Garcia, Chief of Waterways Management, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Buffalo; telephone 716-843-9343, email [email protected] If you have questions on viewing the docket, call Ms. Cheryl Collins, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone 202-366-9826 or 1-800-647-5527.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Table of Acronyms DHS Department of Homeland Security FR Federal Register NPRM Notice of Proposed Rulemaking TFR Temporary Final Rule A. Regulatory History and Information

    The Coast Guard is issuing this temporary final rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment pursuant to authority under section 4(a) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553(b)). This provision authorizes an agency to issue a rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment when the agency for good cause finds that those procedures are “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.” Under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for not publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) with respect to this rule because doing so would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest. The final details for this event were not known to the Coast Guard until there was insufficient time remaining before the event to publish an NPRM. Thus, delaying the effective date of this rule to wait for a comment period to run would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest because it would inhibit the Coast Guard's ability to protect spectators and vessels from the hazards associated with a maritime fireworks display. Therefore, under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for making this temporary rule effective less than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. For the same reasons discussed above, waiting for a 30 day notice period to run would be impracticable.

    B. Basis and Purpose

    The legal basis and authorities for this rule are found in 33 U.S.C. 1231, 46 U.S.C. Chapter 701, 3306, 3703; 50 U.S.C. 191, 195; 33 CFR 1.05-1, 6.04-1, 6.04-6, and 160.5; Public Law 107-295, 116 Stat. 2064; and Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1, which collectively authorize the Coast Guard to establish and define regulatory safety zones.

    Between 9:15 p.m. and 10 p.m. on July 5, 2015, a fireworks display will be held on the shoreline of the Saint Lawrence River on Heart Island in Alexandria Bay, NY. It is anticipated that numerous vessels will be in the immediate vicinity of the launch point. The Captain of the Port Buffalo has determined that such a launch proximate to a gathering of watercraft pose a significant risk to public safety and property. Such hazards include premature and accidental detonations, dangerous projectiles, and falling or burning debris.

    C. Discussion of the Final Rule

    With the aforementioned hazards in mind, the Captain of the Port Buffalo has determined that this temporary safety zone is necessary to ensure the safety of spectators and vessels during the Alexandria Bay Chamber of Commerce fireworks display. This zone will be enforced from 9:15 p.m. until 10 p.m. on July 5, 2015. This zone will encompass all waters of the Saint Lawrence River, Heart Island, Alexandria Bay, NY within an 800-foot radius of position 44°20′38.5″ N and 075°55′19.1″ W (NAD 83).

    Entry into, transiting, or anchoring within the safety zone is prohibited unless authorized by the Captain of the Port Buffalo or his designated on-scene representative. The Captain of the Port or his designated on-scene representative may be contacted via VHF Channel 16.

    D. Regulatory Analyses

    We developed this rule after considering numerous statutes and executive orders related to rulemaking. Below we summarize our analyses based on these statutes and executive orders.

    1. Regulatory Planning and Review

    This rule is not a significant regulatory action under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, as supplemented by Executive Order 13563, Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review, and does not require an assessment of potential costs and benefits under section 6(a)(3) of Executive Order 12866 or under section 1 of Executive Order 13563. The Office of Management and Budget has not reviewed it under those Orders.

    We conclude that this rule is not a significant regulatory action because we anticipate that it will have minimal impact on the economy, will not interfere with other agencies, will not adversely alter the budget of any grant or loan recipients, and will not raise any novel legal or policy issues. The safety zone created by this rule will be relatively small and enforced for a relatively short time. Also, the safety zone is designed to minimize its impact on navigable waters. Furthermore, the safety zone has been designed to allow vessels to transit around it. Thus, restrictions on vessel movement within that particular area are expected to be minimal. Under certain conditions, moreover, vessels may still transit through the safety zone when permitted by the Captain of the Port.

    2. Impact on Small Entities

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), we have considered the impact of this rule on small entities. The Coast Guard certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The Coast Guard certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. This rule will affect the following entities, some of which might be small entities: the owners or operators of vessels intending to transit or anchor in a portion of the Saint Lawrence River on the evening of July 5, 2015.

    This safety zone will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities for the following reasons: this safety zone would be effective, and thus subject to enforcement, for only 45 minutes late in the day. Traffic may be allowed to pass through the zone with the permission of the Captain of the Port. The Captain of the Port can be reached via VHF channel 16. Before the enforcement of the zone, we would issue local Broadcast Notice to Mariners.

    3. Assistance for Small Entities

    Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-121), we want to assist small entities in understanding this rule. If the rule would affect your small business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction and you have questions concerning its provisions or options for compliance, please contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section above.

    Small businesses may send comments on the actions of Federal employees who enforce, or otherwise determine compliance with, Federal regulations to the Small Business and Agriculture Regulatory Enforcement Ombudsman and the Regional Small Business Regulatory Fairness Boards. The Ombudsman evaluates these actions annually and rates each agency's responsiveness to small business. If you wish to comment on actions by employees of the Coast Guard, call 1-888-REG-FAIR (1-888-734-3247). The Coast Guard will not retaliate against small entities that question or complain about this rule or any policy or action of the Coast Guard.

    4. Collection of Information

    This rule will not call for a new collection of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520).

    5. Federalism

    A rule has implications for federalism under Executive Order 13132, Federalism, if it has a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. We have analyzed this rule under that Order and determined that this rule does not have implications for federalism.

    6. Protest Activities

    The Coast Guard respects the First Amendment rights of protesters. Protesters are asked to contact the person listed in the “For Further Information Contact” section to coordinate protest activities so that your message can be received without jeopardizing the safety or security of people, places, or vessels.

    7. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1531-1538) requires Federal agencies to assess the effects of their discretionary regulatory actions. In particular, the Act addresses actions that may result in the expenditure by a State, local, or tribal government, in the aggregate, or by the private sector of $100,000,000 (adjusted for inflation) or more in any one year. Though this rule will not result in such an expenditure, we do discuss the effects of this rule elsewhere in this preamble.

    8. Taking of Private Property

    This rule will not cause a taking of private property or otherwise have taking implications under Executive Order 12630, Governmental Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected Property Rights.

    9. Civil Justice Reform

    This rule meets applicable standards in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform, to minimize litigation, eliminate ambiguity, and reduce burden.

    10. Protection of Children

    We have analyzed this rule under Executive Order 13045, Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks. This rule is not an economically significant rule and does not create an environmental risk to health or risk to safety that may disproportionately affect children.

    11. Indian Tribal Governments

    This rule does not have tribal implications under Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, because it does not have a substantial direct effect on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes.

    12. Energy Effects

    This action is not a “significant energy action” under Executive Order 13211, Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use.

    13. Technical Standards

    This rule does not use technical standards. Therefore, we did not consider the use of voluntary consensus standards.

    14. Environment

    We have analyzed this rule under Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 023-01 and Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, which guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA)(42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have determined that this action is one of a category of actions that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. This rule involves the establishment of a safety zone and, therefore it is categorically excluded from further review under paragraph 34(g) of Figure 2-1 of the Commandant Instruction. An environmental analysis checklist supporting this determination and a Categorical Exclusion Determination are available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES. We seek any comments or information that may lead to the discovery of a significant environmental impact from this rule.

    List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 165

    Harbors, Marine safety, Navigation (water), Reporting and record keeping requirements, Security measures, Waterways.

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard amends 33 CFR parts 165 as follows:

    PART 165—REGULATED NAVIGATION AREAS AND LIMITED ACCESS AREAS 1. The authority citation for part 165 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    33 U.S.C. 1231; 46 U.S.C. Chapters 701, 3306, 3703; 50 U.S.C. 191, 195; 33 CFR 1.05-1, 6.04-1, 6.04-6, and 160.5; Pub. L. 107-295, 116 Stat. 2064; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1.

    2. § 165.T09-0504 Safety Zone; Alexandria Bay Chamber of Commerce Fireworks Display; Saint Lawrence River, Heart Island, Alexandria Bay, NY.

    (a) Location. This zone will encompass all waters of the Saint Lawrence River, Heart Island, Alexandria Bay, NY within an 800-foot radius of position 44°20′38.5″ N and 075°55′19.1″ W (NAD 83).

    (b) Enforcement period. This regulation will be enforced on July 5, 2015 from 9:15 p.m. until 10 p.m.

    (c) Regulations. (1) In accordance with the general regulations in § 165.23 of this part, entry into, transiting, or anchoring within this safety zone is prohibited unless authorized by the Captain of the Port Buffalo or his designated on-scene representative.

    (2) This safety zone is closed to all vessel traffic, except as may be permitted by the Captain of the Port Buffalo or his designated on-scene representative.

    (3) The “on-scene representative” of the Captain of the Port Buffalo is any Coast Guard commissioned, warrant or petty officer who has been designated by the Captain of the Port Buffalo to act on his behalf.

    (4) Vessel operators desiring to enter or operate within the safety zone must contact the Captain of the Port Buffalo or his on-scene representative to obtain permission to do so. The Captain of the Port Buffalo or his on-scene representative may be contacted via VHF Channel 16. Vessel operators given permission to enter or operate in the safety zone must comply with all directions given to them by the Captain of the Port Buffalo, or his on-scene representative.

    Dated: June 15, 2015. B. W. Roche, Captain, U. S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port Buffalo.
    [FR Doc. 2015-16345 Filed 7-1-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 165 [Docket Number USCG-2015-0500] RIN 1625-AA00 Safety Zone; Bay Village Independence Day Celebration Fireworks Display; Lake Erie, Bay Village, OH AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Temporary final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard is establishing a temporary safety zone on Lake Erie, Bay Village, OH. This safety zone is intended to restrict vessels from a portion of Lake Erie during the Bay Village Independence Day Celebration fireworks display. This temporary safety zone is necessary to protect mariners and vessels from the navigational hazards associated with a fireworks display.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective from 9:45 p.m. until 10:35 p.m. on July 4, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Documents mentioned in this preamble are part of docket [USCG-2015-0500]. To view documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov, type the docket number in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.” Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this rulemaking. You may also visit the Docket Management Facility in Room W12-140 on the ground floor of the Department of Transportation West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions on this rule, call LT Stephanie Pitts, Chief of Waterways Management, U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Cleveland; telephone 216-937-0128. If you have questions on viewing the docket, call Ms. Cheryl Collins, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone 202-366-9826 or 1-800-647-5527.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Table of Acronyms DHS Department of Homeland Security FR Federal Register NPRM Notice of Proposed Rulemaking TFR Temporary Final Rule A. Regulatory History and Information

    The Coast Guard is issuing this temporary final rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment pursuant to authority under section 4(a) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553(b)). This provision authorizes an agency to issue a rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment when the agency for good cause finds that those procedures are “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.” Under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for not publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) with respect to this rule because doing so would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest. The final details for this event were not known to the Coast Guard until there was insufficient time remaining before the event to publish an NPRM. Thus, delaying the effective date of this rule to wait for a comment period to run would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest because it would inhibit the Coast Guard's ability to protect spectators and vessels from the hazards associated with a maritime fireworks display.

    Under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for making this temporary rule effective less than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. For the same reasons discussed in the preceding paragraph, waiting for a 30 day notice period to run would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest.

    B. Basis and Purpose

    The legal basis and authorities for this rule are found in 33 U.S.C. 1231, 46 U.S.C. Chapter 701, 3306, 3703; 50 U.S.C. 191, 195; 33 CFR 1.05-1, 6.04-1, 6.04-6, and 160.5; Public Law 107-295, 116 Stat. 2064; and Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1, which collectively authorize the Coast Guard to establish and define regulatory safety zones.

    Between 9:45 p.m. and 10:35 p.m. on July 4, 2015, a fireworks display will be held on the shoreline of Lake Erie, Bay Village, OH. It is anticipated that numerous vessels will be in the immediate vicinity of the launch point. The Captain of the Port Buffalo has determined that such a launch proximate to a gathering of watercraft pose a significant risk to public safety and property. Such hazards include premature and accidental detonations, dangerous projectiles, and falling or burning debris.

    C. Discussion of the Final Rule

    With the aforementioned hazards in mind, the Captain of the Port Buffalo has determined that this temporary safety zone is necessary to ensure the safety of spectators and vessels during the Bay Village Independence Day Celebration fireworks display. This zone will be enforced from 9:45 p.m. until 10:35 p.m. on July 4, 2015. This zone will encompass all waters of Lake Erie; Bay Village, OH within a 560-foot radius of position 41°29′23.9″ N. and 081°55′44.5″ W. (NAD 83).

    Entry into, transiting, or anchoring within the safety zone is prohibited unless authorized by the Captain of the Port Buffalo or his designated on-scene representative. The Captain of the Port or his designated on-scene representative may be contacted via VHF Channel 16.

    D. Regulatory Analyses

    We developed this rule after considering numerous statutes and executive orders related to rulemaking. Below we summarize our analyses based on these statutes and executive orders.

    1. Regulatory Planning and Review

    This rule is not a significant regulatory action under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, as supplemented by Executive Order 13563, Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review, and does not require an assessment of potential costs and benefits under section 6(a)(3) of Executive Order 12866 or under section 1 of Executive Order 13563. The Office of Management and Budget has not reviewed it under those Orders.

    We conclude that this rule is not a significant regulatory action because we anticipate that it will have minimal impact on the economy, will not interfere with other agencies, will not adversely alter the budget of any grant or loan recipients, and will not raise any novel legal or policy issues. The safety zone created by this rule will be relatively small and enforced for a relatively short time. Also, the safety zone is designed to minimize its impact on navigable waters. Furthermore, the safety zone has been designed to allow vessels to transit around it. Thus, restrictions on vessel movement within that particular area are expected to be minimal. Under certain conditions, moreover, vessels may still transit through the safety zone when permitted by the Captain of the Port.

    2. Impact on Small Entities

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), we have considered the impact of this rule on small entities. The Coast Guard certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The Coast Guard certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. This rule will affect the following entities, some of which might be small entities: The owners or operators of vessels intending to transit or anchor in a portion of Lake Erie on the evening of July 4, 2015.

    This safety zone will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities for the following reasons: This safety zone would be effective, and thus subject to enforcement, for only 50 minutes late in the day. Traffic may be allowed to pass through the zone with the permission of the Captain of the Port. The Captain of the Port can be reached via VHF channel 16. Before the enforcement of the zone, we would issue local Broadcast Notice to Mariners.

    3. Assistance for Small Entities

    Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-121), we want to assist small entities in understanding this rule. If the rule would affect your small business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction and you have questions concerning its provisions or options for compliance, please contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section above.

    Small businesses may send comments on the actions of Federal employees who enforce, or otherwise determine compliance with, Federal regulations to the Small Business and Agriculture Regulatory Enforcement Ombudsman and the Regional Small Business Regulatory Fairness Boards. The Ombudsman evaluates these actions annually and rates each agency's responsiveness to small business. If you wish to comment on actions by employees of the Coast Guard, call 1-888-REG-FAIR (1-888-734-3247). The Coast Guard will not retaliate against small entities that question or complain about this rule or any policy or action of the Coast Guard.

    4. Collection of Information

    This rule will not call for a new collection of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520).

    5. Federalism

    A rule has implications for federalism under Executive Order 13132, Federalism, if it has a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. We have analyzed this rule under that Order and determined that this rule does not have implications for federalism.

    6. Protest Activities

    The Coast Guard respects the First Amendment rights of protesters. Protesters are asked to contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section to coordinate protest activities so that your message can be received without jeopardizing the safety or security of people, places, or vessels.

    7. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1531-1538) requires Federal agencies to assess the effects of their discretionary regulatory actions. In particular, the Act addresses actions that may result in the expenditure by a State, local, or tribal government, in the aggregate, or by the private sector of $100,000,000 (adjusted for inflation) or more in any one year. Though this rule will not result in such an expenditure, we do discuss the effects of this rule elsewhere in this preamble.

    8. Taking of Private Property

    This rule will not cause a taking of private property or otherwise have taking implications under Executive Order 12630, Governmental Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected Property Rights.

    9. Civil Justice Reform

    This rule meets applicable standards in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform, to minimize litigation, eliminate ambiguity, and reduce burden.

    10. Protection of Children

    We have analyzed this rule under Executive Order 13045, Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks. This rule is not an economically significant rule and does not create an environmental risk to health or risk to safety that may disproportionately affect children.

    11. Indian Tribal Governments

    This rule does not have tribal implications under Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, because it does not have a substantial direct effect on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes.

    12. Energy Effects

    This action is not a “significant energy action” under Executive Order 13211, Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use.

    13. Technical Standards

    This rule does not use technical standards. Therefore, we did not consider the use of voluntary consensus standards.

    14. Environment

    We have analyzed this rule under Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 023-01 and Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, which guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA)(42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have determined that this action is one of a category of actions that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. This rule involves the establishment of a safety zone and, therefore it is categorically excluded from further review under paragraph 34(g) of Figure 2-1 of the Commandant Instruction. An environmental analysis checklist supporting this determination and a Categorical Exclusion Determination are available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES. We seek any comments or information that may lead to the discovery of a significant environmental impact from this rule.

    List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 165

    Harbors, Marine safety, Navigation (water), Reporting and record keeping requirements, Security measures, Waterways.

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard amends 33 CFR parts 165 as follows:

    PART 165—REGULATED NAVIGATION AREAS AND LIMITED ACCESS AREAS 1. The authority citation for part 165 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    33 U.S.C. 1231; 46 U.S.C. Chapters 701, 3306, 3703; 50 U.S.C. 191, 195; 33 CFR 1.05-1, 6.04-1, 6.04-6, and 160.5; Pub. L. 107-295, 116 Stat. 2064; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1.

    § 165.T09-0500 Safety Zone; Bay Village Independence Day Celebration Fireworks Display; Lake Erie, Bay Village, OH.

    (a) Location. This zone will encompass all waters of Lake Erie; Bay Village, OH within a 560-foot radius of position 41°29′23.9″ N. and 081°55′44.5″ W. (NAD 83).

    (b) Enforcement period. This regulation will be enforced on July 4, 2015 from 9:45 p.m. until 10:35 p.m.

    (c) Regulations. (1) In accordance with the general regulations in § 165.23 of this part, entry into, transiting, or anchoring within this safety zone is prohibited unless authorized by the Captain of the Port Buffalo or his designated on-scene representative.

    (2) This safety zone is closed to all vessel traffic, except as may be permitted by the Captain of the Port Buffalo or his designated on-scene representative.

    (3) The “on-scene representative” of the Captain of the Port Buffalo is any Coast Guard commissioned, warrant or petty officer who has been designated by the Captain of the Port Buffalo to act on his behalf.

    (4) Vessel operators desiring to enter or operate within the safety zone must contact the Captain of the Port Buffalo or his on-scene representative to obtain permission to do so. The Captain of the Port Buffalo or his on-scene representative may be contacted via VHF Channel 16. Vessel operators given permission to enter or operate in the safety zone must comply with all directions given to them by the Captain of the Port Buffalo, or his on-scene representative.

    Dated: June 15, 2015. B.W. Roche, Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port Buffalo.
    [FR Doc. 2015-16354 Filed 7-1-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 165 [Docket Number USCG-2015-0506] RIN 1625-AA00 Safety Zone; Erie Boom on the Bay Fireworks Display; Presque Isle Bay, Erie, PA AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Temporary final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard is establishing a temporary safety zone on Lake Erie, Presque Isle Bay, Erie, PA. This safety zone is intended to restrict vessels from a portion of Presque Isle Bay during the Erie Boom on the Bay fireworks display. This temporary safety zone is necessary to protect mariners and vessels from the navigational hazards associated with a fireworks display.

    DATES:

    This rule will be effective from 9:30 p.m. until 10:30 p.m. on July 4, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Documents mentioned in this preamble are part of docket [USCG-2015-0506]. To view documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov, type the docket number in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.” Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this rulemaking. You may also visit the Docket Management Facility in Room W12-140 on the ground floor of the Department of Transportation West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions on this rule, call or email LTJG Amanda Garcia, Chief of Waterways Management, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Buffalo; telephone 716-843-9343, email [email protected] If you have questions on viewing the docket, call Ms. Cheryl Collins, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone 202-366-9826 or 1-800-647-5527.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Table of Acronyms DHS Department of Homeland Security FR Federal Register NPRM Notice of Proposed Rulemaking TFR Temporary Final Rule A. Regulatory History and Information

    The Coast Guard is issuing this temporary final rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment pursuant to authority under section 4(a) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553(b)). This provision authorizes an agency to issue a rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment when the agency for good cause finds that those procedures are “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.” Under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for not publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) with respect to this rule because doing so would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest. The final details for this event were not known to the Coast Guard until there was insufficient time remaining before the event to publish an NPRM. Thus, delaying the effective date of this rule to wait for a comment period to run would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest because it would inhibit the Coast Guard's ability to protect spectators and vessels from the hazards associated with a maritime fireworks display. Therefore, under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for making this temporary rule effective less than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. For the same reasons discussed above, waiting for a 30 day notice period to run would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest.

    B. Basis and Purpose

    The legal basis and authorities for this rule are found in 33 U.S.C. 1231, 46 U.S.C. Chapter 701, 3306, 3703; 50 U.S.C. 191, 195; 33 CFR 1.05-1, 6.04-1, 6.04-6, and 160.5; Public Law 107-295, 116 Stat. 2064; and Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1, which collectively authorize the Coast Guard to establish and define regulatory safety zones.

    Between 9:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. on July 4, 2015, a fireworks display will be held on the shoreline of Lake Erie, Presque Isle Bay in Erie, PA. It is anticipated that numerous vessels will be in the immediate vicinity of the launch point. The Captain of the Port Buffalo has determined that such a launch proximate to a gathering of watercraft pose a significant risk to public safety and property. Such hazards include premature and accidental detonations, dangerous projectiles, and falling or burning debris.

    C. Discussion of the Final Rule

    With the aforementioned hazards in mind, the Captain of the Port Buffalo has determined that this temporary safety zone is necessary to ensure the safety of spectators and vessels during the Erie Boom on the Bay fireworks display. This zone will be enforced from 9:30 p.m. until 10:30 p.m. on July 4, 2015. This zone will encompass all waters of Lake Erie; Presque Isle Bay, Erie, PA within a 400-foot radius of position 42°8′20″ N. and 080°5′29″ W. (NAD 83).

    Entry into, transiting, or anchoring within the safety zone is prohibited unless authorized by the Captain of the Port Buffalo or his designated on-scene representative. The Captain of the Port or his designated on-scene representative may be contacted via VHF Channel 16.

    D. Regulatory Analyses

    We developed this rule after considering numerous statutes and executive orders related to rulemaking. Below we summarize our analyses based on these statutes and executive orders.

    1. Regulatory Planning and Review

    This rule is not a significant regulatory action under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, as supplemented by Executive Order 13563, Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review, and does not require an assessment of potential costs and benefits under section 6(a)(3) of Executive Order 12866 or under section 1 of Executive Order 13563. The Office of Management and Budget has not reviewed it under those Orders.

    We conclude that this rule is not a significant regulatory action because we anticipate that it will have minimal impact on the economy, will not interfere with other agencies, will not adversely alter the budget of any grant or loan recipients, and will not raise any novel legal or policy issues. The safety zone created by this rule will be relatively small and enforced for a relatively short time. Also, the safety zone is designed to minimize its impact on navigable waters. Furthermore, the safety zone has been designed to allow vessels to transit around it. Thus, restrictions on vessel movement within that particular area are expected to be minimal. Under certain conditions, moreover, vessels may still transit through the safety zone when permitted by the Captain of the Port.

    2. Impact on Small Entities

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), we have considered the impact of this rule on small entities. The Coast Guard certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The Coast Guard certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. This rule will affect the following entities, some of which might be small entities: The owners or operators of vessels intending to transit or anchor in a portion of Presque Isle Bay on the evening of July 4, 2015.

    This safety zone will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities for the following reasons: This safety zone would be effective, and thus subject to enforcement, for only 60 minutes late in the day. Traffic may be allowed to pass through the zone with the permission of the Captain of the Port. The Captain of the Port can be reached via VHF channel 16. Before the enforcement of the zone, we would issue local Broadcast Notice to Mariners.

    3. Assistance for Small Entities

    Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-121), we want to assist small entities in understanding this rule. If the rule would affect your small business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction and you have questions concerning its provisions or options for compliance, please contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section above.

    Small businesses may send comments on the actions of Federal employees who enforce, or otherwise determine compliance with, Federal regulations to the Small Business and Agriculture Regulatory Enforcement Ombudsman and the Regional Small Business Regulatory Fairness Boards. The Ombudsman evaluates these actions annually and rates each agency's responsiveness to small business. If you wish to comment on actions by employees of the Coast Guard, call 1-888-REG-FAIR (1-888-734-3247). The Coast Guard will not retaliate against small entities that question or complain about this rule or any policy or action of the Coast Guard.

    4. Collection of Information

    This rule will not call for a new collection of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520).

    5. Federalism

    A rule has implications for federalism under Executive Order 13132, Federalism, if it has a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. We have analyzed this rule under that Order and determined that this rule does not have implications for federalism.

    6. Protest Activities

    The Coast Guard respects the First Amendment rights of protesters. Protesters are asked to contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section to coordinate protest activities so that your message can be received without jeopardizing the safety or security of people, places, or vessels.

    7. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1531-1538) requires Federal agencies to assess the effects of their discretionary regulatory actions. In particular, the Act addresses actions that may result in the expenditure by a State, local, or tribal government, in the aggregate, or by the private sector of $100,000,000 (adjusted for inflation) or more in any one year. Though this rule will not result in such an expenditure, we do discuss the effects of this rule elsewhere in this preamble.

    8. Taking of Private Property

    This rule will not cause a taking of private property or otherwise have taking implications under Executive Order 12630, Governmental Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected Property Rights.

    9. Civil Justice Reform

    This rule meets applicable standards in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform, to minimize litigation, eliminate ambiguity, and reduce burden.

    10. Protection of Children

    We have analyzed this rule under Executive Order 13045, Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks. This rule is not an economically significant rule and does not create an environmental risk to health or risk to safety that may disproportionately affect children.

    11. Indian Tribal Governments

    This rule does not have tribal implications under Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, because it does not have a substantial direct effect on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes.

    12. Energy Effects

    This action is not a “significant energy action” under Executive Order 13211, Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use.

    13. Technical Standards

    This rule does not use technical standards. Therefore, we did not consider the use of voluntary consensus standards.

    14. Environment

    We have analyzed this rule under Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 023-01 and Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, which guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have determined that this action is one of a category of actions that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. This rule involves the establishment of a safety zone and, therefore it is categorically excluded from further review under paragraph 34(g) of Figure 2-1 of the Commandant Instruction. An environmental analysis checklist supporting this determination and a Categorical Exclusion Determination are available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES. We seek any comments or information that may lead to the discovery of a significant environmental impact from this rule.

    List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 165

    Harbors, Marine safety, Navigation (water), Reporting and record keeping requirements, Security measures, Waterways.

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard amends 33 CFR parts 165 as follows:

    PART 165—REGULATED NAVIGATION AREAS AND LIMITED ACCESS AREAS 1. The authority citation for part 165 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    33 U.S.C. 1231; 46 U.S.C. Chapters 701, 3306, 3703; 50 U.S.C. 191, 195; 33 CFR 1.05-1, 6.04-1, 6.04-6, and 160.5; Pub. L. 107-295, 116 Stat. 2064; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1.

    § 165.T09-0506 Safety Zone; Erie Boom on the Bay Fireworks Display; Presque Isle Bay, Erie, PA.

    (a) Location. This zone will encompass all waters of Lake Erie, Presque Isle Bay; Erie, PA within a 400-footradius of position 42°8′20″ N. and 080°5′29″ W. (NAD 83).

    (b) Enforcement period. This regulation will be enforced on July 4, 2015 from 9:30 p.m. until 10:30 p.m.

    (c) Regulations. (1) In accordance with the general regulations in § 165.23 of this part, entry into, transiting, or anchoring within this safety zone is prohibited unless authorized by the Captain of the Port Buffalo or his designated on-scene representative.

    (2) This safety zone is closed to all vessel traffic, except as may be permitted by the Captain of the Port Buffalo or his designated on-scene representative.

    (3) The “on-scene representative” of the Captain of the Port Buffalo is any Coast Guard commissioned, warrant or petty officer who has been designated by the Captain of the Port Buffalo to act on his behalf.

    (4) Vessel operators desiring to enter or operate within the safety zone must contact the Captain of the Port Buffalo or his on-scene representative to obtain permission to do so. The Captain of the Port Buffalo or his on-scene representative may be contacted via VHF Channel 16. Vessel operators given permission to enter or operate in the safety zone must comply with all directions given to them by the Captain of the Port Buffalo, or his on-scene representative.

    Dated: June 15, 2015. B.W. Roche, Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port Buffalo.
    [FR Doc. 2015-16353 Filed 7-1-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 165 [Docket Number USCG-2015-0503] RIN 1625-AA00 Safety Zone; Independence Day Celebration Fireworks Display; Lake Ontario, Oswego, NY AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Temporary final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard is establishing a temporary safety zone on Lake Ontario, Oswego, NY. This safety zone is intended to restrict vessels from a portion of Lake Ontario during the Independence Day Celebration fireworks display. This temporary safety zone is necessary to protect mariners and vessels from the navigational hazards associated with a fireworks display.

    DATES:

    This rule will be effective on July 5, 2015 from 9:30 p.m. until 10:30 p.m.

    ADDRESSES:

    Documents mentioned in this preamble are part of docket [USCG-2015-0503]. To view documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov, type the docket number in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.” Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this rulemaking. You may also visit the Docket Management Facility in Room W12-140 on the ground floor of the Department of Transportation West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions on this rule, call or email LTJG Amanda Garcia, Chief of Waterways Management, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Buffalo; telephone 716-843-9343, email [email protected] If you have questions on viewing the docket, call Ms. Cheryl Collins, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone 202-366-9826 or 1-800-647-5527.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Table of Acronyms DHS Department of Homeland Security FR Federal Register NPRM Notice of Proposed Rulemaking TFR Temporary Final Rule A. Regulatory History and Information

    The Coast Guard is issuing this temporary final rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment pursuant to authority under section 4(a) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553(b)). This provision authorizes an agency to issue a rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment when the agency for good cause finds that those procedures are “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.” Under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for not publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) with respect to this rule because doing so would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest. The final details for this event were not known to the Coast Guard until there was insufficient time remaining before the event to publish an NPRM. Thus, delaying the effective date of this rule to wait for a comment period to run would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest because it would inhibit the Coast Guard's ability to protect spectators and vessels from the hazards associated with a maritime fireworks display. Therefore, under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for making this temporary rule effective less than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. For the same reasons discussed above, waiting for a 30 day notice period to run would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest.

    B. Basis and Purpose

    The legal basis and authorities for this rule are found in 33 U.S.C. 1231, 46 U.S.C. Chapter 701, 3306, 3703; 50 U.S.C. 191, 195; 33 CFR 1.05-1, 6.04-1, 6.04-6, and 160.5; Pub. L. 107-295, 116 Stat. 2064; and Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1, which collectively authorize the Coast Guard to establish and define regulatory safety zones.

    Between 9:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. on July 5, 2015, a fireworks display will be held on the shoreline of Lake Ontario in Oswego, NY. It is anticipated that numerous vessels will be in the immediate vicinity of the launch point. The Captain of the Port Buffalo has determined that such a launch proximate to a gathering of watercraft pose a significant risk to public safety and property. Such hazards include premature and accidental detonations, dangerous projectiles, and falling or burning debris.

    C. Discussion of the Final Rule

    With the aforementioned hazards in mind, the Captain of the Port Buffalo has determined that this temporary safety zone is necessary to ensure the safety of spectators and vessels during the Independence Day Celebration fireworks display. This zone will be enforced from 9:30 p.m. until 10:30 p.m. on July 5, 2015. This zone will encompass all waters of Lake Ontario, Oswego, NY within a 420-foot radius of position 43°27′56.88″ N. and 076°30′43.96″ W. (NAD 83).

    Entry into, transiting, or anchoring within the safety zone is prohibited unless authorized by the Captain of the Port Buffalo or his designated on-scene representative. The Captain of the Port or his designated on-scene representative may be contacted via VHF Channel 16.

    D. Regulatory Analyses

    We developed this rule after considering numerous statutes and executive orders related to rulemaking. Below we summarize our analyses based on these statutes and executive orders.

    1. Regulatory Planning and Review

    This rule is not a significant regulatory action under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, as supplemented by Executive Order 13563, Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review, and does not require an assessment of potential costs and benefits under section 6(a)(3) of Executive Order 12866 or under section 1 of Executive Order 13563. The Office of Management and Budget has not reviewed it under those Orders.

    We conclude that this rule is not a significant regulatory action because we anticipate that it will have minimal impact on the economy, will not interfere with other agencies, will not adversely alter the budget of any grant or loan recipients, and will not raise any novel legal or policy issues. The safety zone created by this rule will be relatively small and enforced for a relatively short time. Also, the safety zone is designed to minimize its impact on navigable waters. Furthermore, the safety zone has been designed to allow vessels to transit around it. Thus, restrictions on vessel movement within that particular area are expected to be minimal. Under certain conditions, moreover, vessels may still transit through the safety zone when permitted by the Captain of the Port.

    2. Impact on Small Entities

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), we have considered the impact of this rule on small entities. The Coast Guard certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The Coast Guard certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. This rule will affect the following entities, some of which might be small entities: The owners or operators of vessels intending to transit or anchor in a portion of Lake Ontario on the evening of July 5, 2015.

    This safety zone will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities for the following reasons: This safety zone would be effective, and thus subject to enforcement, for only 60 minutes late in the day. Traffic may be allowed to pass through the zone with the permission of the Captain of the Port. The Captain of the Port can be reached via VHF channel 16. Before the enforcement of the zone, we would issue local Broadcast Notice to Mariners.

    3. Assistance for Small Entities

    Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-121), we want to assist small entities in understanding this rule. If the rule would affect your small business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction and you have questions concerning its provisions or options for compliance, please contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section above.

    Small businesses may send comments on the actions of Federal employees who enforce, or otherwise determine compliance with, Federal regulations to the Small Business and Agriculture Regulatory Enforcement Ombudsman and the Regional Small Business Regulatory Fairness Boards. The Ombudsman evaluates these actions annually and rates each agency's responsiveness to small business. If you wish to comment on actions by employees of the Coast Guard, call 1-888-REG-FAIR (1-888-734-3247). The Coast Guard will not retaliate against small entities that question or complain about this rule or any policy or action of the Coast Guard.

    4. Collection of Information

    This rule will not call for a new collection of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520).

    5. Federalism

    A rule has implications for federalism under Executive Order 13132, Federalism, if it has a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. We have analyzed this rule under that Order and determined that this rule does not have implications for federalism.

    6. Protest Activities

    The Coast Guard respects the First Amendment rights of protesters. Protesters are asked to contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section to coordinate protest activities so that your message can be received without jeopardizing the safety or security of people, places, or vessels.

    7. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1531-1538) requires Federal agencies to assess the effects of their discretionary regulatory actions. In particular, the Act addresses actions that may result in the expenditure by a State, local, or tribal government, in the aggregate, or by the private sector of $100,000,000 (adjusted for inflation) or more in any one year. Though this rule will not result in such an expenditure, we do discuss the effects of this rule elsewhere in this preamble.

    8. Taking of Private Property

    This rule will not cause a taking of private property or otherwise have taking implications under Executive Order 12630, Governmental Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected Property Rights.

    9. Civil Justice Reform

    This rule meets applicable standards in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform, to minimize litigation, eliminate ambiguity, and reduce burden.

    10. Protection of Children

    We have analyzed this rule under Executive Order 13045, Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks. This rule is not an economically significant rule and does not create an environmental risk to health or risk to safety that may disproportionately affect children.

    11. Indian Tribal Governments

    This rule does not have tribal implications under Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, because it does not have a substantial direct effect on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes.

    12. Energy Effects

    This action is not a “significant energy action” under Executive Order 13211, Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use.

    13. Technical Standards

    This rule does not use technical standards. Therefore, we did not consider the use of voluntary consensus standards.

    14. Environment

    We have analyzed this rule under Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 023-01 and Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, which guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have determined that this action is one of a category of actions that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. This rule involves the establishment of a safety zone and, therefore it is categorically excluded from further review under paragraph 34(g) of Figure 2-1 of the Commandant Instruction. An environmental analysis checklist supporting this determination and a Categorical Exclusion Determination are available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES. We seek any comments or information that may lead to the discovery of a significant environmental impact from this rule.

    List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 165

    Harbors, Marine safety, Navigation (water), Reporting and record keeping requirements, Security measures, Waterways.

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard amends 33 CFR parts 165 as follows:

    PART 165—REGULATED NAVIGATION AREAS AND LIMITED ACCESS AREAS 1. The authority citation for part 165 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    33 U.S.C. 1231; 46 U.S.C. Chapters 701, 3306, 3703; 50 U.S.C. 191, 195; 33 CFR 1.05-1, 6.04-1, 6.04-6, and 160.5; Pub. L. 107-295, 116 Stat. 2064; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1.

    § 165.T09-0503 Safety Zone; Independence Day Celebration Fireworks Display; Lake Ontario, Oswego, NY.

    (a) Location. This zone will encompass all waters of Lake Ontario, Oswego, NY within a 420-foot radius of position 43°27′56.88″ N. and 076°30′43.96″ W. (NAD 83).

    (b) Enforcement Period. This regulation will be enforced on July 5, 2015 from 9:30 p.m. until 10:30 p.m.

    (c) Regulations.

    (1) In accordance with the general regulations in § 165.23 of this part, entry into, transiting, or anchoring within this safety zone is prohibited unless authorized by the Captain of the Port Buffalo or his designated on-scene representative.

    (2) This safety zone is closed to all vessel traffic, except as may be permitted by the Captain of the Port Buffalo or his designated on-scene representative.

    (3) The “on-scene representative” of the Captain of the Port Buffalo is any Coast Guard commissioned, warrant or petty officer who has been designated by the Captain of the Port Buffalo to act on his behalf.

    (4) Vessel operators desiring to enter or operate within the safety zone must contact the Captain of the Port Buffalo or his on-scene representative to obtain permission to do so. The Captain of the Port Buffalo or his on-scene representative may be contacted via VHF Channel 16. Vessel operators given permission to enter or operate in the safety zone must comply with all directions given to them by the Captain of the Port Buffalo, or his on-scene representative.

    Dated: June 15, 2015. B.W. Roche, Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port Buffalo.
    [FR Doc. 2015-16352 Filed 7-1-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R04-OAR-2015-0247; FRL-9929-84-Region 4] Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Mississippi; Memphis, TN-MS-AR Emissions Inventory for the 2008 8-Hour Ozone Standard AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency.

    ACTION:

    Direct final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking direct final action to approve the portion of the state implementation plan (SIP) revision submitted by the State of Mississippi, through the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) on January 14, 2015, that addresses the base year emissions inventory requirements for the State's portion of the Memphis, Tennessee-Mississippi-Arkansas (Memphis, TN-MS-AR) 2008 8-hour ozone national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) nonattainment area (hereafter referred to as the “Memphis, TN-MS-AR Area” or “Area”). A base year emissions inventory is required for all ozone nonattainment areas. The Area is comprised of Shelby County in Tennessee, Crittenden County in Arkansas, and a portion of DeSoto County in Mississippi. EPA will take action on the emissions inventories for the Tennessee and Arkansas portions of the Area in separate actions.

    DATES:

    This direct final rule is effective August 31, 2015 without further notice, unless EPA receives adverse comment by August 3, 2015. If EPA receives such comments, it will publish a timely withdrawal of the direct final rule in the Federal Register informing the public that this rule will not take effect.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R04-OAR-2015-0247, by one of the following methods:

    1. www.regulations.gov: Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.

    2. Email: [email protected]

    3. Fax: (404) 562-9019.

    4. Mail: “EPA-R04-OAR-2015-0247,” Air Regulatory Management Section, (formerly the Regulatory Development Section), Air Planning and Implementation Branch (formerly the Air Planning Branch), Air, Pesticides and Toxics Management Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, 61 Forsyth Street SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960.

    5. Hand Delivery or Courier: Lynorae Benjamin, Chief, Air Regulatory Management Section, Air Planning and Implementation Branch, Air, Pesticides and Toxics Management Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, 61 Forsyth Street SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Regional Office's normal hours of operation. The Regional Office's official hours of business are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding Federal holidays.

    Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-R04-OAR-2015-0247. EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available online at www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit through www.regulations.gov or email, information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected. The www.regulations.gov Web site is an “anonymous access” system, which means EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an email comment directly to EPA without going through www.regulations.gov, your email address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses. For additional information about EPA's public docket visit the EPA Docket Center homepage at http://www.epa.gov/epahome/dockets.htm.

    Docket: All documents in the electronic docket are listed in the www.regulations.gov index. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, i.e., CBI or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is not placed on the Internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically in www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the Air Regulatory Management Section, Air Planning and Implementation Branch, Air, Pesticides and Toxics Management Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, 61 Forsyth Street SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960. EPA requests that if at all possible, you contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section to schedule your inspection. The Regional Office's official hours of business are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding Federal holidays.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Tiereny Bell, Air Regulatory Management Section, Air Planning and Implementation Branch, Air, Pesticides and Toxics Management Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, 61 Forsyth Street SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960. Ms. Bell can be reached at (404) 562-9088 and via electronic mail at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

    On March 12, 2008, EPA promulgated a revised 8-hour ozone NAAQS of 0.075 parts per million (ppm). See 73 FR 16436. Under EPA's regulations at 40 CFR part 50, the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS is attained when the 3-year average of the annual fourth-highest daily maximum 8-hour average ambient air quality ozone concentrations is less than or equal to 0.075 ppm. See 40 CFR 50.15. Ambient air quality monitoring data for the 3-year period must meet a data completeness requirement. The ambient air quality monitoring data completeness requirement is met when the average percent of days with valid ambient monitoring data is greater than 90 percent, and no single year has less than 75 percent data completeness as determined in appendix I of part 50.

    Upon promulgation of a new or revised NAAQS, the Clean Air Act (CAA or Act) requires EPA to designate as nonattainment any area that is violating the NAAQS, based on the three most recent years of ambient air quality data at the conclusion of the designation process. The Memphis, TN-MS-AR Area was designated nonattainment for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS on May 21, 2012 (effective July 20, 2012), using 2008-2010 ambient air quality data. See 77 FR 30088. At the time of designation, the Memphis, TN-MS-AR Area was classified as a marginal nonattainment area for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. On March 6, 2015, EPA finalized a rule entitled “Implementation of the 2008 National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone: State Implementation Plan Requirements” (SIP Requirements Rule) that establishes the requirements that state, tribal, and local air quality management agencies must meet as they develop implementation plans for areas where air quality exceeds the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS.1 See 80 FR 12264. This rule establishes nonattainment area attainment dates based on Table 1 of section 181(a) of the CAA, including an attainment date three years after the July 20, 2012, effective date, for areas classified as marginal for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. Therefore, the attainment date for the Memphis, TN-MS-AR Area is July 20, 2015.

    1 The SIP Requirements Rule addresses a range of nonattainment area SIP requirements for the 2008 ozone NAAQS, including requirements pertaining to attainment demonstrations, reasonable further progress (RFP), reasonably available control technology, reasonably available control measures, major new source review, emission inventories, and the timing of SIP submissions and of compliance with emission control measures in the SIP. The rule also revokes the 1997 ozone NAAQS and establishes anti-backsliding requirements.

    Based on the nonattainment designation, Mississippi was required to develop a nonattainment SIP revision addressing certain CAA requirements. Specifically, pursuant to CAA section 182(a)(1), Mississippi was required to submit a SIP revision addressing emissions inventory requirements.

    Ground level ozone is not emitted directly into the air, but is created by chemical reactions between oxides of nitrogen (NOX) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) in the presence of sunlight. Emissions from industrial facilities and electric utilities, motor vehicle exhaust, gasoline vapors, and chemical solvents are some of the major sources of NOX and VOC. Section 182(a)(1) of the CAA requires states with areas designated nonattainment for the ozone NAAQS to submit a SIP revision providing a comprehensive, accurate, and current inventory of actual emissions from all sources of the relevant pollutant or pollutants in such area. NOX and VOCs are the relevant pollutants because they are the precursors of ozone.

    On January 14, 2015, Mississippi submitted a SIP revision containing a base year emissions inventory for its portion of the Memphis, TN-MS-AR Area. EPA is now taking action to approve the portion of the SIP revision addressing the emissions inventory as meeting the requirements of sections 110 and 182(a)(1) of the CAA. More information on EPA's analysis of Mississippi's emissions inventory is provided below.

    II. Analysis of the State's Base Year Emissions Inventory

    As discussed above, section 182(a)(1) of the CAA requires states to submit a comprehensive, accurate, and current inventory of actual emissions from all sources of the relevant pollutant or pollutants in each ozone non-attainment area. The section 182(a)(1) base year inventory is defined in the SIP Requirements Rule as “a comprehensive, accurate, current inventory of actual emissions from sources of VOC and NOX emitted within the boundaries of the nonattainment area as required by CAA section 182(a)(1).” See 40 CFR 51.1100(bb). The inventory year must be selected consistent with the baseline year for the RFP plan as required by 40 CFR 51.1110(b),2 and the inventory must include actual ozone season day emissions as defined in 40 CFR 51.1100(cc) 3 and contain data elements consistent with the detail required by 40 CFR part 51, subpart A. See 40 CFR 51.1115(a), (c), (e). In addition, the point source emissions included in the inventory must be reported according to the point source emissions thresholds of the Air Emissions Reporting Requirements (AERR) in 40 CFR part 51, subpart A. 40 CFR 51.1115(d).

    2 40 CFR 51.1110(b) states that at the time of designation for the 2008 ozone NAAQS the baseline emissions inventory shall be the emissions inventory for the most recent calendar year for which a complete triennial inventory is required to be submitted to EPA under the provisions of subpart A of the part. States may use an alternative baseline emissions inventory provided the state demonstrates why it is appropriate to use the alternative baseline year, and provided that the year selected is between the years 2008 to 2012.

    3 “Ozone season day emissions” is defined as an average day's emissions for a typical ozone season work weekday. The state shall select, subject to EPA approval, the particular month(s) in the ozone season and the day(s) in the work week to be represented, considering the conditions assumed in the development of RFP plans and/or emissions budgets for transportation conformity. See 40 CFR 51.1100(cc).

    Mississippi selected 2011 as the base year for the emissions inventory which is the year corresponding with the first triennial inventory under 40 CFR part 51, subpart A. This base year is one of the three years of ambient data used to designate the Area as a nonattainment area and therefore represents emissions associated with nonattainment conditions. The emissions inventory is based on data developed and submitted by MDEQ to EPA's 2011 National Emissions Inventory (NEI), and it contains data elements consistent with the detail required by 40 CFR part 51, subpart A.4

    4 Data downloaded from the EPA EIS from the 2011 NEI was subjected to quality assurance procedures described under quality assurance details under 2011 NEI Version 1 Documentation located at http://www.epa.gov/ttn/chief/net/2011inventory.html#inventorydoc. The quality assurance and quality control procedures and measures associated with this data are outlined in the State's EPA-approved Emission Inventory Quality Assurance Project Plan.

    Mississippi's emissions inventory for its portion of the Area provides 2011 emissions data for NOX and VOCs for the following general source categories: point, nonpoint (excluding biogenic sources), nonroad mobile, and onroad mobile. A detailed discussion of the inventory development is located in Appendix V to Mississippi's January 14, 2015, submittal which is provided in the docket for this action. The table below provides a summary of the emissions inventory.

    Table 1—2011 Point, Nonpoint, Nonroad Mobile, and Onroad Mobile Emissions for the Mississippi Portion of the Memphis, TN-MS-AR Area [Tons per summer day] County Point NOX VOC Nonpoint (excluding biogenic sources) NOX VOC Non-road mobile NOX VOC On-road mobile NOX VOC Total NOX VOC DeSoto * 1.533 0.817 1.267 7.062 2.054 1.658 8.969 5.178 13.847 14.734 * Emissions reported for the nonattainment portion of the county.

    The emissions reported for DeSoto County reflect the emissions for only the nonattainment portion of the county. The inventory contains point source emissions data for facilities located within the Mississippi portion of the Area based on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping. For the remaining emissions categories, emissions for the Mississippi portion of the Area were determined based on the population of the nonattainment portion of DeSoto County. More details on the emissions inventory for individual source categories is provided below and in Appendix V to Mississippi's SIP submittal.

    Point sources are large, stationary, identifiable sources of emissions that release pollutants into the atmosphere. The point source emissions inventory for Mississippi's portion of the Memphis, TN-MS-AR Area was reported from the 2011 NEI data. These sources are required to submit inventory data according to the AERR. The point source emissions data meets the point source emissions thresholds of 40 CFR part 51, subpart A.

    Nonpoint sources are small emission stationary sources which, due to their large number, collectively have significant emissions (e.g., dry cleaners, service stations). Emissions for these sources were calculated using established factors provided by EPA. These emissions were estimated at the county-level. Mississippi calculated average summer day nonpoint source emissions by summing the nonpoint emissions during the total five summer months (May, June, July, August and September) in 2011 and dividing by the total by the number of 2011 summer days.

    On-road mobile sources include vehicles used on roads for transportation of passengers or freight. For on-road mobile sources, Mississippi used the 2011 emissions inventory developed by the Memphis Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization with input from MDEQ and others as part of the 2040 DeSoto County Nonattainment Area Moves Air Quality Conformity Demonstration. The inventory was created using EPA's Motor Vehicle Emissions Simulator (MOVES)-2010(b) mobile model to estimate emissions.5 County level on-road modeling was conducted using county-specific vehicle population, and other local data. Mississippi developed its on-road emissions inventory using the State's MOVES2010b modeling results for each ozone nonattainment county. Mississippi developed its inventory according to the current EPA emissions inventory guidance for on-road mobile sources.6

    5 Mississippi used EPA's Motor Vehicle Emissions Simulator (MOVES) version 2010b. According to the Emissions Inventory Guidance for Ozone [& PM] NAAQS Implementation and Regional Haze Regulations, all states but California, for on-road mobile emissions should be estimated with the latest EPA on-road mobile model, MOVES, following the latest guidance available at http://www.epa.gov/otaq/models/moves/index.htm#sip.

    6 This guidance includes: Emissions Inventory Guidance for Implementation of Ozone and Particulate Matter National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) and Regional Haze Regulations, EPA-454/R-05-001 (August 2005, updated November 2005); Policy Guidance on the Use of MOVES2010 for State Implementation Plan Development, Transportation Conformity, and Other Purposes, EPA-420-B-09-046 (December 2009); and Technical Guidance on the Use of MOVES2010 for Emission Inventory Preparation in State Implementation Plans and Transportation Conformity, EPA-420-B-10-023 (April 2010).

    Non-road mobile sources include vehicles, engines, and equipment used for construction, agriculture, recreation, and other purposes that do not use roadways (e.g., lawn mowers, construction equipment, railroad locomotives, and aircraft). The emissions from non-road mobile sources other than rail yards and airports were derived from 2011 NEI. EPA estimated non-road emissions for the 2011 NEI using the NONROAD model. Mississippi developed its inventory according to the current EPA emissions inventory guidance for non-road mobile sources.7 For the reasons discussed above, EPA has determined that Mississippi's emissions inventory meets the requirements under CAA section 182(a)(1) and the SIP Requirements Rule for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS.

    7 This guidance includes: Procedures for Emission Inventory Preparation, Volume IV: Mobile Sources, EPA-450/4-81-026d (July 1991).

    III. Final Action

    EPA is approving the portion of the SIP revision submitted by Mississippi on January 14, 2015, that addresses the base year emissions inventory for the Memphis, TN-MS-AR Area. EPA has concluded that this portion of the State's submission meets the requirements of sections 110 and 182 of the CAA. EPA is publishing this rule without prior proposal because the Agency views this as a noncontroversial submittal and anticipates no adverse comments. However, in the proposed rules section of this Federal Register publication, EPA is publishing a separate document that will serve as the proposal to approve the SIP revision should adverse comments be filed. This rule will be effective August 31, 2015 without further notice unless the Agency receives adverse comments by August 3, 2015.

    If EPA receives such comments, then EPA will publish a document withdrawing the final rule and informing the public that the rule will not take effect. All adverse comments received will then be addressed in a subsequent final rule based on the proposed rule. EPA will not institute a second comment period. Parties interested in commenting should do so at this time. If no such comments are received, the public is advised that this rule will be effective on August 31, 2015 and no further action will be taken on the proposed rule.

    Please note that if EPA receives adverse comment on an amendment, paragraph, or section of this rule and if that provision may be severed from the remainder of the rule, the Agency may adopt as final those provisions of the rule that are not the subject of an adverse comment.

    IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

    Under the CAA, the Administrator is required to approve a SIP submission that complies with the provisions of the Act and applicable federal regulations. See 42 U.S.C. 7410(k); 40 CFR 52.02(a). Thus, in reviewing SIP submissions, EPA's role is to approve state choices, provided that they meet the criteria of the CAA. Accordingly, this action merely approves state law as meeting federal requirements and does not impose additional requirements beyond those imposed by state law. For that reason, this action:

    • Is not a significant regulatory action subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget under Executive Orders 12866 (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993) and 13563 (76 FR 3821, January 21, 2011);

    • Does not impose an information collection burden under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.);

    • Is certified as not having a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.);

    • Does not contain any unfunded mandate or significantly or uniquely affect small governments, as described in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4);

    • Does not have Federalism implications as specified in Executive Order 13132 (64 FR 43255, August 10, 1999);

    • Is not an economically significant regulatory action based on health or safety risks subject to Executive Order 13045 (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997);

    • Is not a significant regulatory action subject to Executive Order 13211 (66 FR 28355, May 22, 2001);

    • Is not subject to requirements of Section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (15 U.S.C. 272 note) because application of those requirements would be inconsistent with the CAA; and

    • Does not provide EPA with the discretionary authority to address, as appropriate, disproportionate human health or environmental effects, using practicable and legally permissible methods, under Executive Order 12898 (59 FR 7629, February 16, 1994).

    In addition, the SIP is not approved to apply on any Indian reservation land or in any other area where EPA or an Indian tribe has demonstrated that a tribe has jurisdiction. In those areas of Indian country, the rule does not have tribal implications as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000), nor will it impose substantial direct costs on tribal governments or preempt tribal law.

    The Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 801 et seq., as added by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, generally provides that before a rule may take effect, the agency promulgating the rule must submit a rule report, which includes a copy of the rule, to each House of the Congress and to the Comptroller General of the United States. EPA will submit a report containing this action and other required information to the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Comptroller General of the United States prior to publication of the rule in the Federal Register. A major rule cannot take effect until 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register. This action is not a “major rule” as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804(2).

    Under section 307(b)(1) of the CAA, petitions for judicial review of this action must be filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the appropriate circuit by August 31, 2015. Filing a petition for reconsideration by the Administrator of this final rule does not affect the finality of this action for the purposes of judicial review nor does it extend the time within which a petition for judicial review may be filed, and shall not postpone the effectiveness of such rule or action. Parties with objections to this direct final rule are encouraged to file a comment in response to the parallel notice of proposed rulemaking for this action published in the proposed rules section of this Federal Register, rather than file an immediate petition for judicial review of this direct final rule, so that EPA can withdraw this direct final rule and address the comment in the proposed rulemaking. This action may not be challenged later in proceedings to enforce its requirements. See section 307(b)(2).

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Incorporation by reference, Intergovernmental relations, Nitrogen dioxide, Ozone, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Volatile organic compounds.

    Dated: June 18, 2015. Heather McTeer Toney, Regional Administrator, Region 4.

    40 CFR part 52 is amended as follows:

    PART 52—APPROVAL AND PROMULGATION OF IMPLEMENTATION PLANS 1. The authority citation for part 52 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Subpart Z—Mississippi
    2. Section 52.1270(e) is amended by adding a new entry for “2011 Base Year Emissions Inventory for the Mississippi portion of the Memphis, TN-MS-AR 2008 Ozone NAAQS Nonattainment Area” at the end of the table to read as follows:
    § 52.1270 Identification of plan.

    (e) * * *

    EPA-Approved Mississippi Non-Regulatory Provisions Name of non-regulatory SIP provision Applicable geographic or nonattainment area State submittal date/effective date EPA Approval date Explanation *         *         *         *         *         *         * 2011 Base Year Emissions Inventory for the Mississippi portion of the Memphis, TN-MS-AR 2008 Ozone NAAQS Nonattainment Area DeSoto County portion of Memphis, TN-AR-MS 2008 8-hour Ozone Nonattainment Area 1/14/2015 7/02/2015 [Insert citation of publication]
    [FR Doc. 2015-16080 Filed 7-1-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 257 [EPA-HQ-RCRA-2015-0331; FRL-9928-44-OSWER] RIN-2050-AE81 Technical Amendments to the Hazardous and Solid Waste Management System; Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals From Electric Utilities—Correction of the Effective Date AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or the Agency) is taking action to amend the final rule regulating the disposal of coal combustion residuals (CCR) as solid waste under subtitle D of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). After publication in the Federal Register, inconsistencies resulting from typographical errors established two different effective dates in the regulatory text for the final CCR rule. This action corrects these inconsistencies and revises the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) so that it accurately reflects the statutory effective date of six months from the publication date of the rule, coinciding with a date of October 19, 2015. Consistent with Federal requirements, the EPA is also correcting dates for certain provisions that fall on January 18, 2016, which is a Federal holiday, to the next succeeding Federal business day, which is January 19, 2016.

    DATES:

    This final rule is effective on October 19, 2015. Effective July 2, 2015, the effective date of the final CCR rule published on April 17, 2015 at 80 FR 21302 is corrected from October 14, 2015 to October 19, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    The EPA has established a docket for this regulatory action under Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-RCRA-2015-0331. All documents in this docket are available at http://www.regulations.gov. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, e.g., Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is not placed on the Internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically in http://www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the OSWER Docket, EPA/DC, WJC West Building, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460. The Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the Public Reading Room is (202) 566-1744, and the telephone number for the OSWER Docket is 202-566-0276.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For more information on this rulemaking, contact Steve Souders, Materials Recovery and Waste Management Division, Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery (MC 5304 P), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, telephone number: (703) 308-8431; fax number: (703) 605-0595; email address: [email protected]

    For more information on this rulemaking please visit: http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/nonhaz/industrial/special/fossil/index.htm.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Contents of This Preamble Are Listed in the Following Outline I. General Information II. Statutory Authority III. Corrections Made to the Regulatory Text Regarding the Effective Date IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. General Information A. Does this action apply to me?

    This rule applies to all coal combustion residuals (CCR) generated by electric utilities and independent power producers that fall within the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code 221112 and may affect the following entities: Electric utility facilities and independent power producers that fall under the NAICS code 221112. The industry sector(s) identified above may not be exhaustive; other types of entities not listed could also be affected. The Agency's aim is to provide a guide for readers regarding those entities that potentially could be affected by this action. If you have any questions regarding the applicability of this action to a particular entity, consult the person listed in the preceding FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section.

    B. Why are these amendments being issued as a final rule?

    Section 553 of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B), provides that, when an Agency for good cause finds that notice and public procedures are impracticable, unnecessary or contrary to the public interest, the Agency may issue a final rule without providing notice and an opportunity for public comment. Similarly, section 553(d) authorizes an Agency to establish an effective date for a rule that is sooner than 30 days from its publication, “as otherwise provided by the agency for good cause found and published with the rule.”

    This final rule only revises the CFR to be consistent with the requirements in RCRA section 4004(c) and the Office of the Federal Register (OFR) regulation at 1 U.S.C. 18.17(b). The EPA is issuing this rule solely to ensure that the CFR accurately reflects the date by which, under current law, the provisions of the rule become effective. Consequently, the EPA has determined that there is good cause for making the technical amendments in this final rule without prior proposal and opportunity for comment, because notice and public comment would be unnecessary. For the same reasons, the EPA has concluded that good cause exists for making the corrections in this final rule effective July 2, 2015.

    1. Different Effective Dates

    After publication in the Federal Register, inconsistencies resulting from typographical errors established two different effective dates for the final CCR rule, one that accurately reflects the statutory effective date, and a second, inaccurate date (80 FR 21302, April 17, 2015). This action corrects these inconsistencies in the CFR, so that it accurately reflects the effective date under RCRA section 4004(c) of six months from the publication date of the rule, i.e., October 19, 2015.

    Section 4004 (c) of RCRA generally establishes a six month effective date for rules issued under subtitle D, providing that “the prohibition contained in subsection (b) shall take effect on the date six months after the date of promulgation of regulations under subsection (a).” 42 U.S.C. 6944(c). In other words, RCRA requires that six months after promulgation of a rule under section 4004(a), solid waste can only be managed in a manner that complies with the requirements of the rule.

    Under RCRA, promulgation of a rule occurs upon signature and publication in the Federal Register. Horsehead Resource Development Co, Inc., v. EPA, 130 F.3d 1090, 1094-1095 (D.C. Cir. 1997) (“We hold . . . at least in the absence of a contrary agency regulation, “promulgation” as used in section [7006(a)(1) of RCRA] means the date of Federal Register publication.”). Thus by operation of law, the requirements in the final CCR rule go into effect six months from the date of its publication in the Federal Register, or October 19, 2015. Based on the rule published in the Federal Register (80 FR 21302, April 17, 2015), the CFR inaccurately reflects the current date by which facilities must be in compliance with certain requirements. This action merely corrects the CFR to accurately reflect these existing legal obligations; it does not alter or affect them in any way, but merely ensures that the public will not be confused by inaccuracies. The EPA has therefore determined that further public comment on this action is unnecessary and that good cause exists for making the corrections in this final rule without prior publication or public comment.

    2. Inconsistency With Other Federal Regulations

    The EPA is also correcting dates for certain provisions that fall on January 18, 2016, which is a Federal holiday. According to 1 CFR 18.07(b), “where the final count would fall on a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, the date certain will be the next succeeding Federal business day.” To be consistent with 1 CFR 18.07(b), that date needs to be revised to the next Federal business day, or January 19, 2016. Based on the final CCR rule published in Federal Register (80 FR 21302), the CFR inaccurately reflects the current date by which facilities must be in compliance with these requirements. This action merely corrects the CFR to ensure that the public will not be confused. The EPA has therefore determined that further public comment on this action is unnecessary and that good cause exists for making the corrections in this final rule without prior publication or public comment.

    II. Statutory Authority

    This regulation is established under the authority of sections 1008(a), 2002(a), 3001, 4004, and 4005(a) of the Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1970, as amended by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976, as amended by the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments of 1984 (HSWA), 42 U.S.C. 6906(b), 6907(a), 6912(a), 6944 and 6945(a).

    III. Corrections Made to the Regulatory Text Regarding the Effective Date

    In drafting the final CCR rule, the Agency used the following two bracketed “instructions” when referring to the effective date of the CCR rule: (1) [INSERT DATE 180 DAYS AFTER THE DATE OF PUBLICATION IN THE Federal Register]; and (2) [INSERT DATE SIX MONTHS AFTER THE DATE OF PUBLICATION IN THE Federal Register]. These “instructions” provided direction to the OFR for computing and inserting a specified date, in this case, the effective date of the rule.

    On April 17, 2015, the CCR rule was published in the Federal Register (80 FR 21302). After publication, the EPA discovered that the two “instructions” used to calculate the effective date had resulted in the computing and inserting of two different effective dates, rather than single effective date established under RCRA 4004(c). The first “instruction” used in the CCR rule for the effective date exactly mirrored the statutory language, i.e., [INSERT DATE 6 MONTHS AFTER DATE OF PUBLICATION IN THE Federal Register], which resulted in a date of October 19, 2015. By contrast, the second “instruction,” paraphrased the statute, i.e., [INSERT DATE 180 DAYS AFTER THE DATE OF PUBLICATION IN THE Federal Register], which resulted in a date of October 14, 2015. In order to correct this error, the EPA is issuing this final rule to revise the CFR so that it accurately reflects the existing effective date for the CCR rule established by RCRA section 4004 (c), i.e., October 19, 2015, which is consistent with the “instruction” of: [INSERT DATE SIX MONTHS AFTER THE DATE OF PUBLICATION IN THE Federal Register].

    In addition at § 257.83(b)(3) and § 257.84(b)(3)(i) (Inspection requirements for CCR surface impoundments and CCR landfills respectively) the instructions for calculating and inserting dates in these two sections of the CCR rule were: [INSERT DATE NINE MONTHS AFTER THE DATE OF PUBLICATION IN THE Federal Register]. After publication, the EPA discovered that the computed and inserted date for these provisions was January 18, 2016, which is a Federal holiday. According to 1 CFR 18.07(b) “where the final count would fall on a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, the date certain will be the next succeeding Federal business day when a date falls on a weekend or a Federal holiday, the [Office of Federal Register] uses the next Federal business day.” To be consistent with 1 CFR 18.07(b), that date needs to be revised to the next Federal business day, or January 19, 2016. Based on the rule published in the Federal Register, the CFR inaccurately reflects the current date by which facilities must be in compliance with these requirements.

    In order to aid the public, the following table identifies those sections of the rule which contained particular dates that the EPA is correcting in this action, as well as those sections where no correction is needed. The first column of the following table identifies those sections of the CCR rule where the date of October 14, 2015 was inserted. These sections of the rule are being corrected in this final rule to establish the correct date of October 19, 2015. The second column of the table identifies those rule provisions where the date of January 18, 2016, a Federal holiday, was inserted. These sections of the rule are being corrected to establish the correct date of January 19, 2016. The third column of the table identifies those sections of the regulatory text where the correct effective date of October 19, 2015 was inserted. These sections will not be changed.

    Rule provisions with an October 14, 2015 effective date that will be changed to October 19, 2015 Regulatory cite Rule provisions with a date of January 18, 2016 that will be changed to January 19, 2016 Regulatory cite Rule provisions with the correct October 19, 2015 effective date Regulatory cite § 257.53 (Definitions) “active facility” or “active electric utilities or independent power producers” “existing CCR landfill” “existing CCR surface impoundment” “inactive CCR surface impoundment” “lateral expansion” “new CCR landfill” “new CCR surface impoundment” § 257.83(b)(3) (Inspection requirements for CCR surface impoundments) § 257.50(d) and (e) (Scope and purpose). § 257.84(b)(3)(i) (Inspection requirements for CCR landfills) § 257.51 (Effective date of this subpart). § 257.80(b)(5) (Air criteria). § 257.83(a)(2) (Inspection requirements for CCR surface impoundments). § 257.84(a)(2) (Inspection requirements for CCR landfills). § 257.91(d)(2) (Multiunit groundwater monitoring systems). § 257.101(a)(1) (Closure of unlined impoundments).

    In addition to the inconsistencies in the regulatory text, the preamble to the final CCR rule also contained several incorrect effective dates: (1) 80 FR 21302: The DATES section in the preamble states that the effective date of the rule is October 14, 2015 (180 days from the publication date) instead of the correct date of October 19, 2015; and (2) 80 FR 21467: EPA included a sentence in the Congressional Review Act Executive Order stating that the CCR rule “will be effective 180 days after publication in the Federal Register” which equates to October 14, 2015, instead of stating that the CCR rule “will be effective six months after publication in the Federal Register” which equates to October 19, 2015. While the Agency is not correcting the CCR rule preamble language, it is presenting these additional inconsistencies to provide the reader with a complete accounting of the error.

    IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews A. Executive Order 12866: Regulatory Planning and Review and Executive Order 13563: Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review

    This action is not a significant regulatory action and was therefore not submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review.

    B. Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)

    This action is not a significant regulatory action and does not impose an information collection burden under the PRA. The changes made to the regulations as a result of this action impose no new or different reporting requirements on regulated parties.

    C. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This action does not modify existing legal requirements applicable to any entity. As such, I certify that this action will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the RFA. In making this determination, the impact of concern is any significant adverse economic impact on small entities. An agency may certify that a rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities if the rule relieves regulatory burden, has no net burden or otherwise has a positive economic effect on the small entities subject to the rule. This action corrects a typographical error that resulted in the calculation of an incorrect effective date in some sections of the regulation. This action merely corrects that error so that the CFR will reflect the existing effective date for the CCR rule of October 19, 2015, established by section 4004 (c) of RCRA. This action also corrects the dates in two provisions of the CCR rule, which, as published, fall on a Federal holiday. This action corrects the error and revises the CFR to reflect that, consistent with 1 CFR 18.07(b), the correct the date for these two provisions is the next Federal business day after the holiday or January 19, 2016. The impacts on small businesses were already addressed in the rule promulgated on April 17, 2015 (80 FR 21302); and this rule will not impose any requirements on small entities beyond those that have previously been analyzed. We have therefore concluded that this action will have no net regulatory burden for small entities.

    D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA)

    This action does not contain any unfunded mandate as described in UMRA, 2 U.S.C. 1531-1538, and does not significantly or uniquely affect small governments. This action implements mandates specifically and explicitly set forth in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act without the exercise of any policy discretion by the EPA.

    E. Executive Order 13132: Federalism

    This action does not have federalism implications. It will not have substantial direct effects on the states, on the relationship between the national government and the states, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.

    F. Executive Order 13175: Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments

    This action does not have tribal implications, as specified in Executive Order 13175. This action merely corrects typographical errors that resulted in the calculation of an incorrect effective date in some sections of the CCR rule. Thus Executive Order 13175 does not apply to this action.

    G. Executive Order 13045: Protection of Children From Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks

    The EPA interprets E.O. 13045 as applying only to those regulatory actions that concern environmental health or safety risks that the EPA has reason to believe may disproportionately affect children, per the definition of “covered regulatory action” in section 2-202 of the Executive Order. This action is not subject to Executive Order 13045 because does not establish an environmental standard intended to mitigate health or safety risks. This action merely corrects typographical errors that resulted in the calculation of incorrect effective dates in some sections of the CFR.

    H. Executive Order 13211: Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use

    This action is not subject to Executive Order 13211 because it is not a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866.

    I. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act

    This rulemaking does not involve technical standards.

    J. Executive Order 12898: Federal Actions To Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations

    This rule merely corrects errors in dates and does not concern an environmental health or safety risk. Therefore, Executive Order 12898 does not apply.

    K. Congressional Review Act

    This action is subject to the CRA, and the EPA will submit a rule report to each House of Congress and to the Comptroller General of the United States. This action is not a “major rule” as defined by U.S.C. 804(2).

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 257

    Environmental protection, Beneficial use, Coal combustion products, Coal combustion residuals, Coal combustion waste, Disposal, Hazardous waste, Landfill, Surface impoundment.

    Dated: June 16, 2015. Mathy Stanislaus, Assistant Administrator, Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, title 40, chapter I, of the Code of Federal Regulations is amended as follows:

    PART 257—CRITERIA FOR CLASSIFICATION OF SOLID WASTE DISPOSAL FACILITIES AND PRACTICES 1. The authority citation for part 257 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 6907(a)(3), 6912(a)(1), 6944(a); 33 U.S.C. 1345(d) and (e).

    2. Section 257.53 is amended by revising the definitions of “Active facility or active electric utilities or independent power producers”, “Existing CCR landfill”, “Existing CCR surface impoundment”, “Inactive CCR surface impoundment”, “Lateral expansion”, “New CCR landfill”, and “New CCR surface impoundment” to read as follows:
    § 257.53 Definitions.

    Active facility or active electric utilities or independent power producers means any facility subject to the requirements of this subpart that is in operation on October 19, 2015. An electric utility or independent power producer is in operation if it is generating electricity that is provided to electric power transmission systems or to electric power distribution systems on or after October 19, 2015. An off-site disposal facility is in operation if it is accepting or managing CCR on or after October 19, 2015.

    Existing CCR landfill means a CCR landfill that receives CCR both before and after October 19, 2015, or for which construction commenced prior to October 19, 2015 and receives CCR on or after October 19, 2015. A CCR landfill has commenced construction if the owner or operator has obtained the federal, state, and local approvals or permits necessary to begin physical construction and a continuous on-site, physical construction program had begun prior to October 19, 2015.

    Existing CCR surface impoundment means a CCR surface impoundment that receives CCR both before and after October 19, 2015, or for which construction commenced prior to October 19, 2015 and receives CCR on or after October 19, 2015. A CCR surface impoundment has commenced construction if the owner or operator has obtained the federal, state, and local approvals or permits necessary to begin physical construction and a continuous on-site, physical construction program had begun prior to October 19, 2015.

    Inactive CCR surface impoundment means a CCR surface impoundment that no longer receives CCR on or after October 19, 2015 and still contains both CCR and liquids on or after October 19, 2015.

    Lateral expansion means a horizontal expansion of the waste boundaries of an existing CCR landfill or existing CCR surface impoundment made after October 19, 2015.

    New CCR landfill means a CCR landfill or lateral expansion of a CCR landfill that first receives CCR or commences construction after October 19, 2015. A new CCR landfill has commenced construction if the owner or operator has obtained the federal, state, and local approvals or permits necessary to begin physical construction and a continuous on-site, physical construction program had begun after October 19, 2015. Overfills are also considered new CCR landfills.

    New CCR surface impoundment means a CCR surface impoundment or lateral expansion of an existing or new CCR surface impoundment that first receives CCR or commences construction after October 19, 2015. A new CCR surface impoundment has commenced construction if the owner or operator has obtained the federal, state, and local approvals or permits necessary to begin physical construction and a continuous on-site, physical construction program had begun after October 19, 2015.

    3. Section 257.83 is amended by revising paragraph (b)(3)(i) to read as follows:
    § 257.83 Inspection requirements for CCR surface impoundments.

    (b) * * *

    (3) * * * (i) Existing CCR surface impoundments. The owner or operator of the CCR unit must complete the initial inspection required by paragraphs (b)(1) and (2) of this section no later than January 19, 2016.

    4. Section 257.84 is amended by revising paragraph (b)(3)(i) to read as follows:
    § 257.84 Inspection requirements for CCR landfills.

    (b) * * *

    (3) * * * (i) Existing CCR landfills. The owner or operator of the CCR unit must complete the initial inspection required by paragraphs (b)(1) and (2) of this section no later than January 19, 2016.

    [FR Doc. 2015-15913 Filed 7-1-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 262 [EPA-HQ-RCRA-2005-0018; FRL-9929-93-OSWER] Transboundary Shipments of Hazardous Wastes Between OECD Member Countries: Revisions to the List of OECD Member Countries AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or the Agency) is amending certain existing regulations that apply to the transboundary movement of hazardous waste among the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Member countries as promulgated under the hazardous waste provisions of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Specifically, EPA is updating the list of OECD member countries to add Estonia, Israel, and Slovenia. This amendment is necessary to accurately reflect the change in OECD Member countries that have implemented OECD Decision C(2001)107 and can trade hazardous wastes for recovery operations with other OECD countries under the procedure set forth in that Decision.

    DATES:

    This final rule is effective on July 2, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-RCRA-2005-0018. All documents in the docket are listed on the www.regulations.gov Web site. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, e.g., CBI or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is not placed on the Internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically through www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the EPA Docket Center, EPA/DC, WJC West Building, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC. The Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the Public Reading Room is (202) 566-1744, and the telephone number for the RCRA Docket is (202) 566-0270.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Karen Swetland, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery, (MC: 5304P), 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC, 20460, Phone: 703-308-8421; or by email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. General Information A. Does this action apply to me?

    This action applies to all persons who export or import hazardous waste, export or import universal waste, or export spent lead-acid batteries destined for recovery operations in OECD Member countries, except for Mexico and Canada. Any transboundary movement of hazardous wastes between the United States and either Mexico or Canada will continue to be governed (or addressed) by their respective bilateral agreements and applicable regulations. Potentially affected entities may include, but are not limited to:

    Industry sector NAICS Code Utilities 221100 Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing 324 Chemical Manufacturing 325100 Primary Metal Manufacturing 331 Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing 332 Machinery Manufacturing 333 Computer and Electronic Product Manufacturing 334110 Electrical Equipment, Appliance, and Component Manufacturing 335 Transportation Equipment Manufacturing 336 Miscellaneous Manufacturing 339900 Scrap and Waste Materials 423930 Material Recovery Facilities 562920

    This list is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather provides a guide for readers regarding entities likely to be affected by this action. Other types of entities not listed in this section could also be affected. The North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) codes have been provided to assist you and others in determining whether this action might apply to certain entities. If you have any questions regarding the applicability of this action to a particular entity, consult the person listed under the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document.

    B. How can I get copies of this document and other related information?

    The current information is as follows:

    • Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-RCRA-2005-0018.

    • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.

    II. What does this amendment do?

    This amendment updates the list of OECD member countries that have implemented OECD Decision C(2001)107 and can trade hazardous wastes for recovery operations with other OECD countries under the procedure set forth in that Decision. On January 8, 2010, EPA published a final rule in the Federal Register (75 FR 1236), revising Agency regulations including provisions on the transboundary movement of hazardous waste for recovery operations among OECD Member countries. In that final rule, EPA identified thirty OECD Member countries (including Canada and Mexico). That document was accurate and current at the time of publication; however, Estonia, Israel, and Slovenia have since joined the OECD and implemented OECD Decision C(2001)107. As an OECD Member country, the United States, is legally obligated to implement OECD Decisions with respect to all OECD Member countries. Therefore, EPA is adding Estonia, Israel, and Slovenia to update the list of countries in 40 CFR part 262.58(a)(1).

    III. Why is this amendment issued as a final rule?

    Section 553 of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B), provides that, when an Agency for good cause finds that notice and public procedure are impracticable, unnecessary or contrary to the public interest, the Agency may issue a final rule without providing notice and an opportunity for public comment. EPA believes notice and an opportunity for comment on this amendment to § 262.58(a)(1) to reflect updates to the list of OECD Member countries would be unnecessary, because the United States, as an OECD Member country, is legally obligated to implement OECD Decision C(2001)107 with respect to all OECD Member countries, which now include the addition of Estonia, Israel and Slovenia. Thus, EPA must amend its OECD regulations to add these three countries, and any public comment would be unnecessary for these particular amendments because EPA does not have any discretion as to which OECD countries its regulations must include. EPA finds that this situation constitutes good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B).

    IV. Do any of the statutory and executive order reviews apply to this action?

    Under Executive Order 12866 (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993) and Executive Order 13563 (76 FR 3821, January 21, 2011), this action is not a “significant regulatory action” and is therefore not subject to OMB review. Because this action is not subject to notice and comment requirements under the Administrative Procedure Act or any other statute, it is not subject to the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) or Sections 202 and 205 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1999 (UMRA) (Pub. L. 104-4). In addition, this action does not significantly or uniquely affect small governments. This action does not create new binding legal requirements that substantially and directly affect Tribes under Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000). This action does not have significant Federalism implications under Executive Order 13132 (64 FR 43255, August 10, 1999). Because this final rule has been exempted from review under Executive Order 12866, this final rule is not subject to Executive Order 13211, entitled Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use (66 FR 28355, May 22, 2001) or Executive Order 13045, entitled Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997). This final rule does not contain any information collections subject to OMB approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq., nor does it require any special considerations under Executive Order 12898, entitled Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations (59 FR 7629, February 16, 1994). This action does not involve technical standards; thus, the requirements of Section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (15 U.S.C. 272 note) do not apply.

    A. Congressional Review Act

    This action is subject to the Congressional Review Act (CRA), and the EPA will submit a rule report to each House of Congress and to the Comptroller General of the United States. The CRA allows the issuing agency to make a rule effective sooner than otherwise provided by the CRA if the agency makes a good cause finding that notice and comment rulemaking procedures are impracticable, unnecessary or contrary to the public interest (5 U.S.C. 808(2)). The EPA has made a good cause finding for this rule as discussed in Section III of the preamble, including the basis for that finding.

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 262

    Environmental protection, Exports, Hazardous materials transportation, Hazardous waste, Imports, Labeling, Packaging and containers, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Dated: June 22, 2015. Mathy Stanislaus, Assistant Administrator, Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, title 40, chapter I of the Code of Federal Regulations is amended as follows:

    PART 262—STANDARDS APPLICABLE TO GENERATORS OF HAZARDOUS WASTE 1. The authority citation for Part 262 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 6906, 6912, 6922-6925, 6937, and 6938.

    2. Amend § 262.58 by revising paragraph (a)(1) to read as follows:
    § 262.58 International agreements.

    (a) * * *

    (1) For the purposes of subpart H, the designated OECD Member countries consist of Australia, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Republic of Korea, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

    [FR Doc. 2015-16400 Filed 7-1-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 761 [EPA-HQ-RCRA-2011-0524; FRL_9929-92-OSWER] Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs): Revisions to Manifesting Regulations; Item Number AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Final rule; technical amendment.

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or the Agency) is issuing a technical amendment to correct references in the regulations to the item number for the Special Handling Instructions Box on the manifest form (EPA Form 8700-22). This document is being issued to amend the regulations by correcting these references.

    DATES:

    This final rule is effective on July 2, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-RCRA-2011-0524. All documents in the docket are listed on the www.regulations.gov Web site. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, e.g., CBI or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is not placed on the Internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically through www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the EPA Docket Center, EPA/DC, WJC West Building, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC. The Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the Public Reading Room is (202) 566-1744, and the telephone number for the RCRA Docket is (202) 566-0270.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Karen Swetland, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery, (MC: 5304P), 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC, 20460, Phone: 703-308-8421; or by email: [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. General Information A. Does this action apply to me?

    This action applies to generators, transporters, and designated facilities (off-site disposal and commercial storage facilities) managing PCB wastes. Potentially affected categories and entities include, but are not necessarily limited to:

    NAICS Description NAICS Code Examples of potentially affected entities Electric Power Distribution 221122 Generators of PCB waste. Transportation and Warehousing 48-49 Transportation of PCB waste. Waste Management and Remediation Services 562 Facilities that manage PCB waste.

    This listing is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather provides a guide for readers regarding entities likely to be affected by this action. Other types of entities not listed in this section could also be affected. The North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) codes have been provided to assist you and others in determining whether this action might apply to certain entities. To determine whether you or your business may be affected by this action, you should carefully examine the applicability provisions in 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 761. If you have any questions regarding the applicability of this action to a particular entity, consult the person listed under the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document.

    B. How can I get copies of this document and other related information?

    The current information is as follows:

    • Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-RCRA-2011-0524.

    • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.

    II. What does this correction do?

    This technical amendment is being issued to correct the item number reference for the Special Handling Instructions Box in 40 CFR part 761.207(a)(1), (2), and (3). EPA published a document in the Federal Register on September 6, 2012 (77 FR 54818), revising Agency regulations. That document incorrectly referenced Item 15 to identify the Special Handling Instructions box on EPA Form 8700-22. This technical amendment is being issued to amend the final rule by revising § 761.207(a)(1), (2), and (3) to correctly identify the item number as 14.

    III. Why is this correction issued as a final rule?

    Section 553 of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B), provides that, when an agency for good cause finds that notice and public procedure are impracticable, unnecessary or contrary to the public interest, the agency may issue a final rule without providing notice and an opportunity for public comment. EPA has determined that there is good cause for making this technical amendment final without prior proposal and opportunity for comment, because EPA is merely correcting information that was referenced incorrectly in the previously published final rule. EPA finds that this constitutes good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B).

    IV. Do any of the statutory and executive order reviews apply to this action?

    Under Executive Order 12866 (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993) and Executive Order 13563 (76 FR 3821, January 21, 2011), this action is not a “significant regulatory action” and is therefore not subject to OMB review. Because this action is not subject to notice and comment requirements under the Administrative Procedure Act or any other statute, it is not subject to the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) or Sections 202 and 205 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1531-1538). In addition, this action does not significantly or uniquely affect small governments. This action does not create new binding legal requirements that substantially and directly affect Tribes under Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000). This action does not have significant Federalism implications under Executive Order 13132 (64 FR 43255, August 10, 1999). Because this final rule has been exempted from review under Executive Order 12866, this final rule is not subject to Executive Order 13211, entitled Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use (66 FR 28355, May 22, 2001) or Executive Order 13045, entitled Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997). This final rule does not contain any information collections subject to OMB approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq., nor does it require any special considerations under Executive Order 12898, entitled Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations (59 FR 7629, February 16, 1994). This action does not involve technical standards; thus, the requirements of Section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (15 U.S.C. 272 note) do not apply.

    The Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 801 et seq., generally provides that before certain actions may take effect, the agency promulgating the action must submit a report, which includes a copy of the action, to each House of the Congress and to the Comptroller General of the United States. Because this final action does not contain legally binding requirements, it is not subject to the Congressional Review Act

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 761

    Environmental protection, Manifest, Polychlorinated biphenyls.

    Dated: June 22, 2015. Mathy Stanislaus, Assistant Administrator, Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, title 40, chapter I of the Code of Federal Regulations is amended as follows:

    PART 761—POLYCHLORINATED BIPHENYLS (PCBs) MANUFACTURING, PROCESSING, DISTRIBUTION IN COMMERCE, AND USE PROHIBITIONS 1. The authority citation for part 761 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    15 U.S.C. 2605, 2607, 2611, 2614, and 2616.

    2. Amend § 761.207 by revising paragraphs (a)(1), (a)(2) and (a)(3) to read as follows:
    § 761.207 The manifest—general requirements.

    (a) * * *

    (1) For each bulk load of PCBs, the identity of the PCB waste, the earliest date of removal from service for disposal, and the weight in kilograms of the PCB waste. (Item 14—Special Handling Instructions box)

    (2) For each PCB Article Container or PCB Container, the unique identifying number, type of PCB waste (e.g., soil, debris, small capacitors), earliest date of removal from service for disposal, and weight in kilograms of the PCB waste contained. (Item 14—Special Handling Instructions box)

    (3) For each PCB Article not in a PCB Container or PCB Article Container, the serial number if available, or other identification if there is no serial number, the date of removal from service for disposal, and weight in kilograms of the PCB waste in each PCB Article. (Item 14—Special Handling Instructions box)

    [FR Doc. 2015-16395 Filed 7-1-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION 41 CFR Part 301-10 [FTR 2015-04; FTR Case 2010-307; Docket No. 2010-0020, Sequence No. 1] Federal Travel Regulation (FTR); Removal of Privately Owned Vehicle Rates; Privately Owned Automobile Mileage Reimbursement When Government Furnished Automobiles Are Authorized; Correction AGENCY:

    Office of Government-wide Policy (OGP), General Services Administration (GSA).

    ACTION:

    Correcting amendment.

    SUMMARY:

    This document makes an amendment to the Federal Travel Regulation (FTR) in order to make an editorial change.

    DATES:

    Effective: July 2, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. Cy Greenidge, Program Analyst, Office of Government-wide Policy, at 202-219-2349 or email at [email protected] for clarification of content. For information pertaining to status or publication schedules, contact the Regulatory Secretariat at 202-501-4755. Please cite FTR Amendment 2015-04; FTR case 2010-307; Correction.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    GSA published a final rule in the Federal Register at 75 FR 72965 on November 29, 2010, to update the FTR by removing the Privately Owned Vehicle (POV) rates from the text of the FTR and instead directing travelers to a Web site (at http://www.gsa.gov/ftr) with these rates. Inadvertently, the URL was not for the correct Web page. Therefore, GSA is issuing this amendment correction to the final rule to further amend the FTR by inserting the correct URL.

    List of Subjects in 41 CFR Part 301-10

    Administrative practices and procedures, Government employees, Travel and transportation expenses.

    Dated: June 24, 2015. Giancarlo Brizzi, Acting Associate Administrator.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 5701-5707, GSA amends 41 CFR part 301-10 as set forth below:

    PART 301-10—TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES 1. The authority citation for 41 CFR part 301-10 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    5 U.S.C. 5707; 40 U.S.C. 121(c); 49 U.S.C. 40118; OMB Circular No. A-126, revised May 22, 1992.

    2. Amend § 301-10.310 by removing “http://www.gsa.gov/ftr” and adding “http://www.gsa.gov/ftrbulletins” in its place.
    [FR Doc. 2015-16394 Filed 7-1-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6820-14-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Federal Emergency Management Agency 44 CFR Part 64 [Docket ID FEMA-2015-0001; Internal Agency Docket No. FEMA-8389] Suspension of Community Eligibility AGENCY:

    Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This rule identifies communities where the sale of flood insurance has been authorized under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that are scheduled for suspension on the effective dates listed within this rule because of noncompliance with the floodplain management requirements of the program. If the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) receives documentation that the community has adopted the required floodplain management measures prior to the effective suspension date given in this rule, the suspension will not occur and a notice of this will be provided by publication in the Federal Register on a subsequent date. Also, information identifying the current participation status of a community can be obtained from FEMA's Community Status Book (CSB). The CSB is available at http://www.fema.gov/fema/csb.shtm.

    DATES:

    The effective date of each community's scheduled suspension is the third date (“Susp.”) listed in the third column of the following tables.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you want to determine whether a particular community was suspended on the suspension date or for further information, contact Bret Gates, Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, Federal Emergency Management Agency, 500 C Street SW., Washington, DC 20472, (202) 646-4133.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The NFIP enables property owners to purchase Federal flood insurance that is not otherwise generally available from private insurers. In return, communities agree to adopt and administer local floodplain management measures aimed at protecting lives and new construction from future flooding. Section 1315 of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 4022, prohibits the sale of NFIP flood insurance unless an appropriate public body adopts adequate floodplain management measures with effective enforcement measures. The communities listed in this document no longer meet that statutory requirement for compliance with program regulations, 44 CFR part 59. Accordingly, the communities will be suspended on the effective date in the third column. As of that date, flood insurance will no longer be available in the community. We recognize that some of these communities may adopt and submit the required documentation of legally enforceable floodplain management measures after this rule is published but prior to the actual suspension date. These communities will not be suspended and will continue to be eligible for the sale of NFIP flood insurance. A notice withdrawing the suspension of such communities will be published in the Federal Register.

    In addition, FEMA publishes a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) that identifies the Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs) in these communities. The date of the FIRM, if one has been published, is indicated in the fourth column of the table. No direct Federal financial assistance (except assistance pursuant to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act not in connection with a flood) may be provided for construction or acquisition of buildings in identified SFHAs for communities not participating in the NFIP and identified for more than a year on FEMA's initial FIRM for the community as having flood-prone areas (section 202(a) of the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973, 42 U.S.C. 4106(a), as amended). This prohibition against certain types of Federal assistance becomes effective for the communities listed on the date shown in the last column. The Administrator finds that notice and public comment procedures under 5 U.S.C. 553(b), are impracticable and unnecessary because communities listed in this final rule have been adequately notified.

    Each community receives 6-month, 90-day, and 30-day notification letters addressed to the Chief Executive Officer stating that the community will be suspended unless the required floodplain management measures are met prior to the effective suspension date. Since these notifications were made, this final rule may take effect within less than 30 days.

    National Environmental Policy Act. This rule is categorically excluded from the requirements of 44 CFR part 10, Environmental Considerations. No environmental impact assessment has been prepared.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act. The Administrator has determined that this rule is exempt from the requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act because the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968, as amended, Section 1315, 42 U.S.C. 4022, prohibits flood insurance coverage unless an appropriate public body adopts adequate floodplain management measures with effective enforcement measures. The communities listed no longer comply with the statutory requirements, and after the effective date, flood insurance will no longer be available in the communities unless remedial action takes place.

    Regulatory Classification. This final rule is not a significant regulatory action under the criteria of section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866 of September 30, 1993, Regulatory Planning and Review, 58 FR 51735.

    Executive Order 13132, Federalism. This rule involves no policies that have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132.

    Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. This rule meets the applicable standards of Executive Order 12988.

    Paperwork Reduction Act. This rule does not involve any collection of information for purposes of the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.

    List of Subjects in 44 CFR Part 64

    Flood insurance, Floodplains.

    Accordingly, 44 CFR part 64 is amended as follows:

    PART 64—[AMENDED] 1. The authority citation for Part 64 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 4001 et seq.; Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1978, 3 CFR, 1978 Comp.; p. 329; E.O. 12127, 44 FR 19367, 3 CFR, 1979 Comp.; p. 376.

    § 64.6 [Amended]
    2. The tables published under the authority of § 64.6 are amended as follows: State and location Community No. Effective date authorization/cancellation of sale of flood insurance in community Current effective map date Date certain Federal assistance no longer available in SFHAs Region III Virginia: Augusta County, Unincorporated Areas 510013 July 24, 1974, Emerg; May 17, 1990, Reg; August 3, 2015, Susp August 3, 2015 August 3, 2015. Dumfries, Town of, Prince William County 510120 August 15, 1973, Emerg; May 15, 1980, Reg; August 3, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. New Kent County, Unincorporated Areas 510306 August 19, 1975, Emerg; December 5, 1990, Reg; August 3, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Portsmouth, City of, Independent City 515529 May 15, 1970, Emerg; July 2, 1971, Reg; August 3, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Prince William County, Unincorporated Areas 510119 December 15, 1972, Emerg; December 1, 1981, Reg; August 3, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Quantico, Town of, Prince William County 510232 March 19, 1975, Emerg; August 15, 1978, Reg; August 3, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Suffolk, City of, Independent City 510156 January 22, 1975, Emerg; November 16, 1990, Reg; August 3, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Waynesboro, City of, Independent City 515532 June 19, 1970, Emerg; July 2, 1971, Reg; August 3, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Region VII Missouri: Avondale, City of, Clay County 290087 September 29, 1972, Emerg; October 26, 1976, Reg; August 3, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Clay County, Unincorporated Areas 290086 September 6, 1974, Emerg; March 18, 1980, Reg; August 3, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Claycomo, Village of, Clay County 290089 September 6, 1974, Emerg; August 1, 1977, Reg; August 3, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Excelsior Springs, City of, Clay and Ray Counties 290090 November 12, 1971, Emerg; March 15, 1977, Reg; August 3, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Gladstone, City of, Clay County 290091 February 9, 1973, Emerg; January 5, 1978, Reg; August 3, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Glenaire, City of, Clay County 290092 September 12, 1975, Emerg; September 15, 1977, Reg; August 3, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Holt, City of, Clay and Clinton County 290093 April 17, 1980, Emerg; April 17, 1980, Reg; August 3, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Lawson, City of, Clay County 290705 October 19, 1989, Emerg; December 5, 1996, Reg; August 3, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Liberty, City of, Clay County 290096 May 29, 1973, Emerg; March 15, 1978, Reg; August 3, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Missouri City, City of, Clay County 290097 January 13, 1976, Emerg; August 15, 1979, Reg; August 3, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. North Kansas City, City of, Clay County 290099 October 29, 1971, Emerg; March 5, 1976, Reg; August 3, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Pleasant Valley, City of, Clay County 290100 September 9, 1974, Emerg; July 18, 1977, Reg; August 3, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Prathersville, Village of, Clay County 290101 June 6, 1978, Emerg; November 15, 1978, Reg; August 3, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Randolph, Village of, Clay County 290102 March 17, 1976, Emerg; July 18, 1977, Reg; August 3, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Smithville, City of, Clay County 295271 June 5, 1970, Emerg; May 21, 1971, Reg; August 3, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. ......do = Ditto. Code for reading third column: Emerg. —Emergency; Reg. —Regular; Susp. —Suspension.
    Dated: June 22, 2015. Roy E. Wright, Deputy Associate Administrator, Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency.
    [FR Doc. 2015-16399 Filed 7-1-15; 8:45 pm] BILLING CODE 9110-12-P
    FEDERAL MARITIME COMMISSION 46 CFR Part 503 [Docket No. 15-05] [RIN 3072-AC60] Amendments to Regulations Governing Access to Commission Information and Records; Freedom of Information Act AGENCY:

    Federal Maritime Commission.

    ACTION:

    Direct final rule; and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The Federal Maritime Commission amends its regulations governing access to Commission information and records and its regulations implementing the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The revisions update and consolidate the provisions identifying records available without the need for a FOIA request, including records available on the Commission's public Web site; revise response time procedures for processing FOIA requests; affirmatively indicate that the Commission uses a multitrack system for processing FOIA requests; and modify the criteria for a FOIA request to qualify for expedited processing.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective without further action on September 1, 2015, unless significant adverse comment is received by August 3, 2015. If significant adverse comment is received, the Federal Maritime Commission will publish a timely withdrawal of the rule in the Federal Register.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by the docket number in the heading of this document, by any of the following methods:

    Email: [email protected] Include in the subject line: “Docket No. 15-05, Comments on Amendments to Regulations Governing Access to Commission Information and Records; Freedom of Information Act.” Comments should be attached to the email as a Microsoft Word or text-searchable PDF document. Comments containing confidential information should not be submitted by email.

    Mail: Karen V. Gregory, Secretary, Federal Maritime Commission, 800 North Capitol Street NW., Washington, DC 20573-0001.

    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to: http://www.fmc.gov/15-05/.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Karen V. Gregory, Secretary, Federal Maritime Commission, 800 North Capitol Street NW., Washington, DC 20573-0001. Phone: (202) 523-5725. Email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Federal Maritime Commission amends its regulations governing access to Commission information and records and its regulations implementing the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552, found in part 503 of title 46 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The provisions in part 503 are designed to facilitate public availability of information; thereby furthering the spirit of FOIA in ensuring an informed citizenry. The Commission last revised part 503 in 1998 to reflect requirements of the Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 1996 (Pub. L. 04-231). On December 31, 2007, the OPEN Government Act of 2007 (Pub. L. 110-175) amended procedural aspects of FOIA and established new agency requirements for processing FOIA requests. On October 28, 2009, the OPEN FOIA Act of 2009 (Pub. L. 110-175) further amended FOIA.

    The amendments to part 503 update the Commission's regulations to reflect its practices and provisions of the OPEN Government Act of 2007 and the OPEN FOIA Act of 2009.

    The Commission is making the following revisions to the subparts of part 503: revise Subpart A—General, Statement of Policy to repurpose this subpart to state the purpose and scope of the rules contained in part 503; update Subpart B—Publication in the Federal Register to recognize that in addition to publishing records in the Federal Register, the Commission also posts records listed in this Subpart on its Web site (www.fmc.gov); revise Subpart C—Records, Information and Materials Generally Available to the Public Without Resort to Freedom of Information Act Procedures to describe records available to the public without the need for a FOIA request, including records available on the Commission's public Web site; amend Subpart D—Requests for Records under the Freedom of Information Act to include procedures for tolling response times, processing FOIA requests under the multitracking system, and expedited processing of FOIA requests; and revise Subpart H—Public Observation of Federal Maritime Commission Meetings and Public Access to Information Pertaining to Commission Meetings to amend a subpart reference.

    Subpart A—General

    The Commission revises the heading and language in § 503.1 to use this section to describe the scope and purpose of the provisions contained in part 503. Specifically, the Commission changes the section heading from “Statement of Policy” to “Scope and Purpose.” The Commission also amends this section to include a list of the subparts contained in part 503.

    Subpart B—Publication in the Federal Register

    To promote greater access to information and records, the Commission amends and updates § 503.11 to inform the public that the Commission posts records listed in this subpart on its Web site (www.fmc.gov), in addition to publishing these records in the Federal Register.

    Subpart C—Records, Information and Materials Generally Available to the Public Without Resort to Freedom of Information Act Procedures

    Sections 503.21 to 503.24 describe records available to the public without the need for a FOIA request. The Commission last revised these sections in 1998 and further revises these sections to reflect the availability of information on the Commission's Web site, eliminate outdated information, and remove duplicative language.

    Subpart D—Requests for Records Under the Freedom of Information Act

    Section 503.31 provides information on the process for requesting records. The Commission is adding a new paragraph encouraging requesters to review the records on the Commission's public Web site prior to initiating a FOIA request. In addition, the Commission amends this section to include requirements for submitting FOIA requests electronically.

    Tolling

    FOIA, as amended, allows an agency to make one reasonable request for information from the FOIA requester and stop, or toll, the 20-day clock for responding to a FOIA requester while the agency is waiting for the requested information from the FOIA requester. 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(A)(ii)(I). Agencies may also toll the 20-day response clock as many times as necessary in order to clarify any issues with fee assessment. 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(A)(ii)(II).

    Section 503.32 sets forth procedures for responding to requests made under FOIA. This section does not currently include a provision for tolling the statutory 20-day FOIA response period should the Commission need to contact the FOIA requestor to clarify or narrow the scope of the FOIA request. The Commission is adding language that would allow for tolling of response times to implement the Commission's authority to stop the 20-day clock should the Commission need information from the requestor or to clarify issues with fee assessment.

    The Commission is adding two new paragraphs, (b)(4) and (5) to § 503.32 to reflect Commission processes used to work with a requestor to clarify or narrow the scope of a FOIA request, and to confirm that the requestor understands and authorizes the assessment of fees. The new paragraphs require the Commission to submit its request to clarify the scope of records requested or fee assessments in writing to the requestor.

    Multitrack Processing of Requests

    FOIA expressly authorizes agencies to promulgate regulations providing for “multitrack processing” of FOIA requests and allows agencies to process requests on a first-in, first-out basis within each track. 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(D). During FY 2012, the Commission initiated a multitrack processing system for FOIA requests to better manage and more efficiently respond to FOIA requests. The Commission revises § 503.32(d) to reflect the Commission's current practices regarding multitrack processing of FOIA requests in which the Commission labels requests as either “simple” or “complex”. The rephrasing of the section clarifies the Commission's current practices and provides that a request may be considered “simple” if the type of records being requested are routinely requested and readily available. Initiating a simple track process has permitted the Commission to respond to relatively simple requests more quickly than requests involving complex and/or voluminous records.

    Expedited Processing of Requests

    Section 503.32(e) currently provides for expedited processing of a FOIA request when (1) the person requesting the records can demonstrate a compelling need; or (2) in other cases, in the Secretary's discretion. The Commission deletes paragraph (2) from § 503.32(e). This revision simplifies the Commission's criteria for determining which FOIA requests qualify for expedited processing and establish a practice consistent with other Federal agencies that only provide expedited processing when a “compelling need” can be demonstrated.

    To ensure timely responses to requests for expedited processing, the Commission revises § 503.32(e)(4) to change “working days” to “calendar days” to coincide with FOIA.

    Annual Report

    The Commission must submit an annual report on its FOIA related activities to the Attorney General. The Commission revises § 502.23 to reference the activities cited in FOIA, 5 U.S.C. 552(e), rather than list out all activities reported upon.

    Subpart I—Public Observation of Federal Maritime Commission Meetings and Public Access to Information Pertaining to Commission Meetings

    A technical revision and update of § 503.87(b) accounts for a recent redesignation of subparts with the addition of new subpart E.

    Regulatory Analysis and Notices Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This direct final rule is not a “major rule” under 5 U.S.C. 804(2). No notice of proposed rulemaking is required; therefore, the provisions of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., do not apply.

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601-612, requires an agency to review regulations to assess their impact on small entities and prepare an initial regulatory flexibility analysis (IRFA), unless the agency determines that a rule is not expected to have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. This rulemaking will affect only persons who file FOIA requests, and therefore, the Chairman certifies that this rulemaking will not have a significant or negative economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. 3501-3521, requires an agency to seek and receive approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) before making most requests for information if the agency is requesting information from more than ten persons. 44 U.S.C. 3507. The agency must submit collections of information in rules to OMB in conjunction with the publication of the rulemaking. 5 CFR 1320.11. The Commission is not proposing any collections of information, as defined by 44 U.S.C. 3502(3) and 5 CFR 1320.3(c), as part of this rule.

    Regulation Identifier Number

    The Commission assigns a regulation identifier number (RIN) to each regulatory action listed in the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions (Unified Agenda). The Regulatory Information Service Center publishes the Unified Agenda in April and October of each year. You may use the RIN contained in the heading at the beginning of this document to find this action in the Unified Agenda, available at: http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/eAgendaMain.

    Direct Final Rule Justification

    The Commission expects the amendments to be noncontroversial. Therefore, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553, notice and comment are not required and this rule may become effective after publication in the Federal Register unless the Commission receives significant adverse comments within the specified period. The Commission recognizes that parties may have information that could impact the Commission's views and intentions with respect to the revised regulations, and the Commission intends to consider any comments filed. The Commission will withdraw the rule if it receives significant adverse comments. Filed comments that are not adverse may be considered for modifications to part 503 at a future date. If no significant adverse comment is received, the rule will become effective without additional action.

    List of Subjects in 46 CFR Part 503

    Administrative practices and procedures, Archives and records, Classified information, Confidential business information, Freedom of information, Information, Privacy, Records, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Sunshine Act.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, the Federal Maritime Commission amends 46 CFR part 503 as follows:

    PART 503—PUBLIC INFORMATION 1. The authority citation for part 503 is revised to read: Authority:

    5 U.S.C. 552, 552a, 552b, 553; 31 U.S.C. 9701; E.O. 13526, 75 FR 707, 3 CFR, 2009 Comp., p. 298.

    Subpart A—General 2. Revise § 503.1 to read as follows:
    § 503.1 Scope and purpose.

    This part implements the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552, as amended, the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a, and the Government in the Sunshine Act (1976), 5 U.S.C. 552b; and sets forth the Commission's regulations governing:

    (a) Public availability of Commission information and records at its Office of the Secretary, published in the Federal Register, or posted on the Commission's public Web site (www.fmc.gov);

    (b) Procedures for requests for testimony by current or former FMC employees relating to official information and production of official Commission records in litigation;

    (c) The type of services and amount of fees charged for certain Commission services; and

    (d) The Commission's Information Security Program.

    Subpart B—Publication in the Federal Register 3. Amend § 503.11 by revising the introductory text to read as follows:
    § 503.11 Materials to be published.

    The Commission shall separately state and concurrently publish the following materials in the Federal Register or on its public Web site (www.fmc.gov) for the guidance of the public:

    Subpart C—Records, Information and Materials Generally Available to the Public Without Resort to Freedom of Information Act Procedures 4. Amend § 503.21 by revising paragraphs (a) introductory text and (c) to read as follows:
    § 503.21 Mandatory public records.

    (a) The Commission, as required by the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552, makes the following materials available for public inspection and copying in its Office of the Secretary, or on its Web site at www.fmc.gov:

    (c) The Commission maintains and makes available for public inspection at the Office of the Secretary, Federal Maritime Commission, Washington, DC 20573, or on its public Web site at www.fmc.gov, a current log or index providing identifying information for the public as to any matter which is issued, adopted, or promulgated, and which is required by paragraph (a) of this section to be made available or published.

    (1) No final order, opinion, statement of policy, interpretation, or staff manual or instruction that affects any member of the public will be relied upon, used, or cited as precedent by the Commission against any private party unless:

    (i) It has been logged or indexed and either made available or published on its public Web site as provided by this subpart; or

    (ii) That private party shall have actual and timely notice of the terms thereof.

    (2) [Reserved]

    5. Revise § 503.22 to read as follows:
    § 503.22 Records available through the Commission's Web site or at the Office of the Secretary.

    The following records are also available without the requirement of a FOIA request on the Commission's Web site or by contacting the Office of the Secretary, Federal Maritime Commission, 800 North Capitol St., NW., Washington, DC 20573, [email protected] Access to requested records may be delayed if they have been sent to archives. Certain fees may be assessed for duplication of records made available by this section as prescribed in subpart F of this part.

    (a) Proposed and final rules and regulations of the Commission including general substantive rules, statements of policy and interpretations, and rules of practice and procedure.

    (b) Federal Maritime Commission reports.

    (c) Official docket files in all formal proceedings including, but not limited to, orders, final decisions, notices, pertinent correspondence, transcripts, exhibits, and briefs, except for materials which are the subject of a protective order.

    (d) News releases, consumer alerts, Commissioner statements, and speeches.

    (e) Approved summary minutes of Commission actions showing final votes, except for minutes of closed Commission meetings which are not available until the Commission publicly announces the results of such deliberations.

    (f) Annual reports of the Commission.

    (g) Agreements filed or in effect pursuant to section 5 (46 U.S.C. 40301(d)-(e), 40302-40303, 40305) and section 6 (46 U.S.C. 40304, 40306, 41307(b)-(d)) of the Shipping Act of 1984.

    (h) List of FMC-licensed and bonded ocean transportation intermediaries.

    (i) Notification of ocean transportation intermediaries license applications, revocations, and suspensions.

    (j) General descriptions of the functions, bureaus, and offices of the Commission, phone numbers and email addresses, as well as locations of Area Representatives.

    (k) Information about how to file a complaint alleging violations of the Shipping Act, and how to seek mediation or alternative dispute resolution services.

    (l) Commonly used forms.

    (m) Final and pending proposed rules.

    (n) Access to statements of policy and interpretations as published in part 545 of this chapter.

    (o) Lists of the location of all common carrier and conference tariffs and publically available terminal schedules of marine terminal operators.

    §§ 503.23 and 503.24 [Removed and Reserved]
    6. Remove and reserve §§ 503.23 and 503.24. 7. Revise subpart D heading to read as follows: Subpart D—Requests for Records Under the Freedom of Information Act
    8. Amend § 503.31 by revising paragraphs (a) and (d) to read as follows:
    § 503.31 Records available upon written request under the Freedom of Information Act.

    (a) Generally. Many documents are available on the Commission's public Web site and the Commission encourages requesters visit the Web site before making a request for records under FOIA.

    (1) Electronic or written requests. A member of the public may request permission to inspect, copy or be provided with any Commission record not described in subpart C of this part or posted on the Commission's Web site at www.fmc.gov. Such a request must:

    (i) Reasonably describe the record or records sought;

    (ii) Be submitted electronically to [email protected] or in writing to the Secretary, Federal Maritime Commission, 800 North Capitol Street, NW., Washington, DC 20573.

    (iii) Be clearly marked on the subject line of an email or on the exterior of the envelope with the term “FOIA.”

    (2) [Reserved]

    (d) Certain fees may be assessed for processing requests under this subpart as prescribed in subpart F of this part.

    9. Amend § 503.32 by revising paragraphs (a)(1), (a)(3)(i)(B), (a)(3)(ii), (d), and (e)(1) and (4) and adding paragraphs (b)(4) and (5) to read as follows:
    § 503.32 Procedures for responding to requests made under the Freedom of Information Act.

    (a) * * *

    (1) Such determination shall be made by the Secretary within twenty (20) business days after receipt of such request, except as provided in paragraphs (b) and (e)(4) of this section.

    (3)(i) * * *

    (B) Be filed not later than ten (10) business days following receipt of notification of full or partial denial of records requested.

    (ii) The Chairman or the Chairman's specific delegate, in his or her absence, shall make a determination with respect to that appeal within twenty (20) business days after receipt of such appeal, except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section.

    (b) * * *

    (4) The Secretary may make an initial written request to the requestor for information to clarify the request which will toll the 20-day processing period until such information has been received. The 20-day processing period will recommence after receipt of the requested information.

    (5) The Secretary may also make written requests to clarify issues regarding fee assessments. Such written requests will toll the 20-day processing period until such information has been received from the requestor. The 20-day processing period will recommence after receipt of the requested information.

    (d) Multitrack processing of requests. The Secretary uses multitrack processing of FOIA requests. Requests which seek and are granted expedited processing are put on the expedited track. All other requests are designated either simple or complex requests based on the amount of time and/or complexity needed to process the request. A request may be considered simple if it involves records that are routinely requested and readily available.

    (e) Expedited processing of requests. (1) The Secretary will provide for expedited processing of requests for records when the person requesting the records can demonstrate a compelling need.

    (4) The Secretary shall determine whether to provide expedited processing, and provide notice of the determination to the person making the request, within ten (10) calendar days after the receipt date of the request.

    10. Amend § 503.34 by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows:
    § 503.34 Annual report of public information request activity.

    (a) On or before February 1 of each year, the Commission must submit to the Attorney General of the United States, in the format required by the Attorney General, a report on FOIA activities which shall cover the preceding fiscal year pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552(e).

    Subpart I—Public Observation of Federal Maritime Commission Meetings and Public Access to Information Pertaining to Commission Meetings
    11. Amend § 503.87 by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:
    § 503.87 Effect of provisions of this subpart on other subparts.

    (b) Nothing in this subpart shall permit the withholding from any individual to whom a record pertains any record required by this subpart to be maintained by the agency which record is otherwise available to such an individual under the provisions of subpart H of this part.

    By the Commission.

    Karen V. Gregory, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-16101 Filed 7-1-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6731-AA-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION 47 CFR Part 76 [MB Docket No. 15-53; FCC 15-62] Concerning Effective Competition; Implementation of Section 111 of the STELA Reauthorization Act AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    In this document, the Commission improves and expedites the Effective Competition process by adopting a rebuttable presumption that cable operators are subject to Competing Provider Effective Competition. This action implements section 111 of the STELA Reauthorization Act of 2014, which directs the Commission to adopt a streamlined Effective Competition process for small cable operators.

    DATES:

    The FCC will publish a document in the Federal Register announcing the effective date of this final rule after OMB approval.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For additional information on this proceeding, contact Diana Sokolow, [email protected], of the Policy Division, Media Bureau, (202) 418-2120.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This is a summary of the Commission's Effective Competition Order, FCC 15-62, adopted on June 2, 2015 and released on June 3, 2015. The full text of this document is available for public inspection and copying during regular business hours in the FCC Reference Center, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street SW., Room CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554. This document will also be available via ECFS at http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/. Documents will be available electronically in ASCII, Microsoft Word, and/or Adobe Acrobat. Copies of the materials can be obtained from the FCC's Reference Information Center at (202) 418-0270. Alternative formats are available for people with disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), by sending an email to [email protected] or calling the Commission's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0530 (voice), (202) 418-0432 (TTY).

    Summary of the Order I. Introduction

    1. In this Report and Order (“Order”), we improve and expedite the effective competition process by adopting a rebuttable presumption that cable operators are subject to “Effective Competition.” 1 Specifically, we presume that cable operators are subject to what is commonly referred to as “Competing Provider Effective Competition.” As a result, each franchising authority 2 will be prohibited from regulating basic cable rates unless it successfully demonstrates that the cable system is not subject to Competing Provider Effective Competition. This change is justified by the fact that Direct Broadcast Satellite (“DBS”) service is ubiquitous today and that DBS providers have captured almost 34 percent of multichannel video programming distributor (“MVPD”) subscribers. This Order also implements section 111 of the STELA Reauthorization Act of 2014 (“STELAR”), which directs the Commission to adopt a streamlined Effective Competition process for small cable operators.3 By adopting a rebuttable presumption of Competing Provider Effective Competition, we update our Effective Competition rules, for the first time in over 20 years, to reflect the current MVPD marketplace, reduce the regulatory burdens on all cable operators, especially small operators,4 and more efficiently allocate the Commission's resources.

    1 Effective Competition is a term of art that the statute defines by application of specific tests.

    2 A “franchising authority” is “any governmental entity empowered by Federal, State, or local law to grant a franchise.” See 47 U.S.C. 522(10).

    3See Public Law 113-200, section 111, 128 Stat. 2059 (2014); 47 U.S.C. 543(o)(1) (“Not later than 180 days after December 4, 2014, the Commission shall complete a rulemaking to establish a streamlined process for filing of an effective competition petition pursuant to this section for small cable operators, particularly those who serve primarily rural areas.”). Accordingly, this rulemaking must be completed by June 2, 2015.

    4 Congress applied the definition of “small cable operator” as set forth in section 623(m)(2) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (the “Act”), which is “a cable operator that, directly or through an affiliate, serves in the aggregate fewer than 1 percent of all subscribers in the United States and is not affiliated with any entity or entities whose gross annual revenues in the aggregate exceed $250,000,000.” See 47 U.S.C. 543(m)(2), (o)(3).

    II. Background

    2. In the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992 (“1992 Cable Act”), Congress adopted a “preference for competition,” pursuant to which a franchising authority may regulate basic cable service tier rates and equipment only if the Commission finds that the cable system is not subject to Effective Competition.5 Section 623(l)(1) of the Act defines the four types of Effective Competition, as follows:

    5 Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992, Public Law 102-385, 106 Stat. 1460 (1992); 47 U.S.C. 543(a)(2)(A). This Order contains references to the Commission's role in the franchising authority certification process. Although our rules refer to the Commission as having these responsibilities, the Media Bureau has delegated authority to act on certification matters pursuant to the rules established by the Commission, and in practice the Media Bureau evaluates certifications and related pleadings on behalf of the Commission. See 47 CFR 0.61.

    • Low Penetration Effective Competition, which is present if fewer than 30 percent of the households in the franchise area subscribe to the cable service of a cable system;

    • Competing Provider Effective Competition, which is present if the franchise area is (i) served by at least two unaffiliated MVPDs each of which offers comparable video programming to at least 50 percent of the households in the franchise area; and (ii) the number of households subscribing to programming services offered by MVPDs other than the largest MVPD exceeds 15 percent of the households in the franchise area;

    • Municipal Provider Effective Competition, which is present if an MVPD operated by the franchising authority for that franchise area offers video programming to at least 50 percent of the households in that franchise area; and

    • Local Exchange Carrier (LEC) Effective Competition, which is present if a local exchange carrier or its affiliate (or any MVPD using the facilities of such carrier or its affiliate) offers video programming services directly to subscribers by any means (other than direct-to-home satellite services) in the franchise area of an unaffiliated cable operator which is providing cable service in that franchise area, but only if the video programming services so offered in that area are comparable to the video programming services provided by the unaffiliated cable operator in that area.

    Section 623 of the Act does not permit franchising authorities to regulate any cable service rates other than the basic service tier rate and equipment used to receive the signal.

    3. In 1993, when the Commission implemented the statute's Effective Competition provisions, the existence of Effective Competition was the exception rather than the rule. Incumbent cable operators had captured approximately 95 percent of MVPD subscribers. In the vast majority of franchise areas only a single cable operator provided service and those operators had “substantial market power at the local distribution level.” 6 DBS service had not yet entered the market, and local exchange carriers (“LECs”), such as Verizon and AT&T, had not yet entered the MVPD business in any significant way. Against this backdrop, the Commission adopted a presumption that cable systems are not subject to Effective Competition, and it provided that a franchising authority that wanted to regulate a cable operator's basic service tier rates must be certified by filing FCC Form 328 with the Commission. A cable operator that wishes to challenge the franchising authority's right to regulate its basic service tier rate bears the burden of rebutting the presumption and demonstrating that it is in fact subject to Effective Competition.

    6Implementation of section 19 of the Cable Television Consumer Protection & Competition Act of 1992, First Report, 9 FCC Rcd 7442, 7449, paragraph 13 (1994).

    4. As described in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) in this proceeding, the MVPD marketplace has changed in ways that substantially impact the test for Competing Provider Effective Competition. After the NPRM was released, the Commission adopted its most recent video competition report containing many of the same statistics cited in the NPRM. Specifically, the video competition report reached the following conclusions, among others:

    • Slight increase in DBS subscribership. The number of DBS subscribers increased from year-end 2012 (34.1 million, or 33.8 percent of MVPD subscribers) to year-end 2013 (34.2 million, or 33.9 percent of MVPD subscribers).

    • Significant increase in telephone MVPD subscribership. The number of telephone MVPD subscribers increased from year-end 2012 (9.9 million, or 9.8 percent of MVPD subscribers) to year-end 2013 (11.3 million, or 11.2 percent of MVPD subscribers).

    • Widespread availability of DBS video service. DIRECTV provides local broadcast channels to 197 markets representing over 99 percent of U.S. homes, and DISH Network provides local broadcast channels to all 210 markets.

    • Consumer access to multiple MVPDs. Approximately 99.7 percent of homes in the U.S. have access to at least three MVPDs, and nearly 35 percent have access to at least four MVPDs.

    As described in the NPRM, the Commission has found Effective Competition in more than 99.5 percent of the communities evaluated since the start of 2013. As stated in the NPRM, the Commission has issued affirmative findings of Effective Competition in the country's largest cities, in its suburban areas, and in its rural areas where subscription to DBS is particularly high.

    5. The Commission released the NPRM in this proceeding seeking comment on adopting a presumption of Competing Provider Effective Competition. The Commission sought to establish a streamlined Effective Competition process for small cable operators and to adopt policies that would reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens on the industry as a whole while ensuring the most efficient use of Commission resources.

    III. Discussion A. Rebuttable Presumption That Cable Systems are Subject to Effective Competition

    6. We adopt a rebuttable presumption that cable operators are subject to Competing Provider Effective Competition, finding that such an approach is warranted by market changes since the Commission adopted the presumption of no Effective Competition over 20 years ago. When the Commission adopted the presumption of no Effective Competition, incumbent cable operators had approximately a 95 percent market share of MVPD subscribers and only a single cable operator served the local franchise area in the vast majority of franchise areas, which is very different from today's marketplace. As explained above, the two-pronged test for a finding of Competing Provider Effective Competition requires that (1) the franchise area is “served by at least two unaffiliated [MVPDs] each of which offers comparable video programming to at least 50 percent of the households in the franchise area;” and (2) “the number of households subscribing to programming services offered by [MVPDs] other than the largest [MVPD] exceeds 15 percent of the households in the franchise area.” 7 Below we explain how the current state of competition in the MVPD marketplace, particularly with regard to DBS, supports a rebuttable presumption that the two-part test is met.

    7 47 U.S.C. 543(l)(1)(B). The statute establishes the applicable test for each type of Effective Competition, and we thus cannot modify the tests, as some commenters request, nor can we base an Effective Competition decision on vague allegations of large cable operators' dominance. In addition, while some commenters state that the basic service tier rate increases more rapidly in communities with a finding of Effective Competition than in those without such a finding, we emphasize that the average rate for basic service is actually lower in communities with a finding of Effective Competition than in those without a finding, demonstrating that basic service tier rates remain reasonable where there is a Commission finding of Effective Competition. See Implementation of Section 3 of the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992: Statistical Report on Average Rates for Basic Service, Cable Programming Service, and Equipment, Report on Cable Industry Prices, 29 FCC Rcd 14895, 14902, paragraph 15 (2014). In addition, contrary to NAB's assertion, there is no evidence in the record that a finding of Effective Competition causes cable operators to increase their other fees or equipment rental charges. We also clarify that while commenters characterize their statistics as a comparison between communities with Effective Competition and communities without Effective Competition, the statistics in fact involve communities where the Commission has made a finding of Effective Competition and communities where the Commission has yet to make such a finding even though Effective Competition may be present.

    7. At the outset, we note that out of the 1,440 Community Unit Identification Numbers (“CUIDs”) 8 for which the Commission has made an Effective Competition determination since the start of 2013, it found that 1,433 CUIDs (or more than 99.5 percent of the CUIDs evaluated) have satisfied one of the statutory Effective Competition tests.9 For the vast majority of the CUIDs evaluated (1,150, or approximately 80 percent), this decision was based on Competing Provider Effective Competition.10 Franchising authorities filed oppositions to only 18 (or less than 8 percent) of the total of 228 Effective Competition petitions considered during this timeframe.11 Some commenters object to an analysis of data based on filed Effective Competition petitions, asserting that cable operators do not file petitions where they know the filings would be denied based on a lack of Effective Competition. However, given data that indicates a ubiquitous DBS presence nationwide, we have no reason to believe that the number of Effective Competition petitions granted in recent years is not representative of the marketplace on the whole. Marketplace realities cause us to believe that in nearly all communities where cable operators have declined to file Effective Competition petitions, Effective Competition is present but the cable operator has not found it worthwhile to undertake the expense of filing an Effective Competition petition, perhaps because the vast majority of franchising authorities have chosen not to regulate rates despite the existing presumption of no Effective Competition.

    8 A CUID is a unique identification code that the Commission assigns a single cable operator within a community to represent an area that the cable operator services. A CUID often includes a single franchise area, but it sometimes includes a larger or smaller area. CUID data is the available data that most closely approximates franchise areas.

    9 The IAC's suggestion that the Commission has made incorrect Effective Competition findings is unsubstantiated. Intergovernmental Advisory Committee to the FCC, Advisory Recommendation No. 2015-7, at 2-3 (filed May 15, 2015) (“IAC Recommendation”). We clarify that any Commission grant of an Effective Competition petition, including an unopposed petition, is based on satisfaction of the statutory Effective Competition tests. Id. at 3.

    10 Of the total number of CUIDs in which the Commission granted a request for a finding of Effective Competition during this timeframe, 229 (nearly 16 percent) were granted due to Low Penetration Effective Competition, and 54 (nearly 4 percent) were granted due to LEC Effective Competition. None of the requests granted during this timeframe was based on Municipal Provider Effective Competition. Where a finding of Effective Competition was based on one of the other types of Effective Competition besides Competing Provider Effective Competition, it does not necessarily mean that Competing Provider Effective Competition was not present. Rather, it means that the pleadings raised one of the other types of Effective Competition, and the Commission thus evaluated Effective Competition in that context. In fact, cable operators often file Effective Competition petitions arguing that they are subject to more than one type of Effective Competition within a single franchise area. In such cases, if the Bureau finds that a cable operator has met its burden under one of the statutory tests, it forgoes making a finding under the alternate tests for Effective Competition.

    11 The IAC argues that a franchising authority may not oppose an Effective Competition petition for various reasons, including administrative delays. We emphasize, however, that the exceedingly small number of opposed petitions is just one of many factors that support a rebuttable presumption of Competing Provider Effective Competition, as detailed above.

    8. With regard to the first prong of the Competing Provider Effective Competition test as related to the new presumption, we find that the ubiquitous nationwide presence of DBS providers, DIRECTV and DISH Network, presumptively satisfies the requirement that the franchise area be served by two unaffiliated MVPDs each of which offers comparable programming to at least 50 percent of the households in the franchise area. Neither DIRECTV nor DISH Network is affiliated with each other.12 To offer comparable programming, the Commission's rules provide that a competing MVPD must offer at least 12 channels of video programming, including at least one channel of non-broadcast service programming.13 The programming lineups of DIRECTV and DISH Network satisfy this requirement. In addition, the widespread presence of DIRECTV and DISH Network justifies a rebuttable presumption that they each offer MVPD service to at least 50 percent of households in all franchise areas. As stated above, DIRECTV provides local broadcast channels to 197 markets representing over 99 percent of U.S. homes, and DISH Network provides local broadcast channels to all 210 markets.14 In the most recent video competition report, the Commission assumed that DBS MVPDs are available to all homes in the U.S., while recognizing that this slightly overstates the actual availability of DBS. Further, the Commission has held in hundreds of Competing Provider Effective Competition decisions that the presence of DIRECTV and DISH Network satisfies the first prong of the test. Notably, the Commission has never determined that the presence of DIRECTV and DISH Network failed to satisfy the first prong of the competing provider test.

    12 We recognize that DIRECTV and AT&T Inc. have filed applications for consent to assign or transfer control of licenses and authorizations. See MB Docket No. 14-90. That proceeding remains pending. Even if the DIRECTV and AT&T applications are granted, DIRECTV and DISH Network still will not be affiliated with each other and both of them may be considered as competing providers for purposes of the Competing Provider Effective Competition test.

    13 The NPRM did not seek comment on revisiting the meaning of “comparable” programming in this context, and thus we reject commenters' requests that we do so here.

    14 Even in the 13 markets where DIRECTV does not provide local broadcast channels, its channel lineup still satisfies the comparable programming requirement because its channel lineup contains substantially more than 12 channels including at least one channel of non-broadcast service programming.

    9. With regard to the second prong of the test, we will presume that more than 15 percent of the households in a franchise area subscribe to programming services offered by MVPDs other than the largest MVPD. Based on the data presented above, on a nationwide basis competitors to incumbent cable operators have captured approximately 34 percent of U.S. households, or more than double the percentage needed to satisfy the second prong of the competing provider test.15 Nationally, DBS service alone has close to twice the necessary subscribership.16 Further, NCTA has found that competing MVPDs have a penetration rate of more than 15 percent in each of the 210 Designated Market Areas (“DMAs”) in the United States, and most DMAs have a DBS penetration rate above 20 percent. NAB argues that a presumption based on national market share data lacks a rational nexus to the question of whether more than 15 percent of the households in a specific franchise area actually subscribe to programming services offered by MVPDs other than the largest MVPD. We disagree, finding instead that, as NCTA states, “an average figure is not conclusive evidence of the specific penetration in every community” but “it undeniably supports the Commission's proposed rebuttable presumption” and “is a strong predictor that competitors have garnered far in excess of the market share Congress deemed necessary to free cable operators from the vestiges of rate regulation.” The level of competing MVPD penetration in all of the DMAs, along with their ubiquitous service availability, justifies placing the burden on franchising authorities to show a lack of Effective Competition. Under the rebuttable presumption adopted in this Order, local franchising authorities will be able to attempt to demonstrate that the Competing Provider Effective Competition test is not met in a given area. Thus, we will not be basing our finding on the nationwide statistics alone.

    15 At year-end 2013 there were 34.2 million DBS subscribers and 11.3 million telephone MVPD subscribers, which yields a total of 45.5 million subscribers to competitors to incumbent cable operators. SNL Kagan estimates that there were 133.8 million households in this country in 2013. See http://www.snl.com/interactivex/MultichannelIndustryBenchmarks.aspx?startYear=2012&endYear=2013 (visited Mar. 31, 2014). If we divide 45.5 million by 133.8 million, the data shows that competitors to incumbent cable operators have captured approximately 34 percent of U.S. households.

    16 If we divide 34.2 million by 133.8 million, the data shows that DBS operators have captured approximately 25.6 percent of U.S. households.

    10. For all of the above reasons, we conclude that adopting a rebuttable presumption of Competing Provider Effective Competition is consistent with the current state of the video marketplace. We do not, however, find that market changes since the adoption of the original presumption would support a presumption that any of the other Effective Competition tests (low penetration, municipal provider, or LEC) is met. Although some commenters have asked that we also establish a rebuttable presumption of LEC Effective Competition in any franchise area where an LEC MVPD offers video service, we decline to do so at this time. The record lacks evidence to support a presumption that the service area of an LEC MVPD substantially overlaps that of the incumbent cable operator in a sufficient number of franchise areas where an LEC MVPD offers video service to make such a presumption supportable. Accordingly, our presumption of Effective Competition is limited to Competing Provider Effective Competition. Absent a demonstration to the contrary, we will continue to presume that cable systems are not subject to Low Penetration, Municipal Provider, or LEC Effective Competition.

    11. Adoption of the presumption of Competing Provider Effective Competition is consistent with section 623 of the Act, which prohibits a franchising authority from regulating basic cable rates “[i]f the Commission finds that a cable system is subject to effective competition.” Contrary to the suggestion of some commenters, we see no statutory bar to applying a nationwide rebuttable presumption of Competing Provider Effective Competition in making this finding. In fact, the NPRM in the proceeding implementing section 623 of the Act initially proposed to require franchising authorities to demonstrate that Effective Competition was not present in the franchise area, explaining that such an approach would be reasonable because the Act “makes the absence of effective competition a prerequisite to regulators' legal authority over basic rates.” Specifically, the statute provides that “[i]f the Commission finds that a cable system is not subject to effective competition, the rates for the provision of basic cable service shall be subject to regulation by a franchising authority, or by the Commission . . . .” Although the Commission ultimately took a different course, that decision was based on what was most efficient given the state of the marketplace at the time the presumption was adopted and it was not mandated by statute. Given the state of the video marketplace today, we find that it is appropriate to presume the presence of Competing Provider Effective Competition on a nationwide basis, provided that franchising authorities have an opportunity to rebut that presumption and demonstrate that the Competing Provider Effective Competition test is not met in a specific area. The franchising authority's ability to file a revised Form 328 pursuant to the procedures discussed below will ensure that the Commission will continue to receive evidence regarding a specific franchise area where the franchising authority deems it relevant. The fact that Effective Competition decisions apply to specific franchise areas does not preclude the Commission from adopting a rebuttable presumption of Competing Provider Effective Competition today based on the pervasive competition to cable from other MVPDs, just as it did not prevent the Commission from adopting a rebuttable presumption of no Effective Competition based on cable's national 95 percent share of the MVPD marketplace in 1993. In the NPRM, we sought comment on whether there were certain geographic areas in which we should not adopt a presumption of Competing Provider Effective Competition. No commenter addressed this issue, and thus we will not adopt different rules for any specific geographic areas.

    12. We are not persuaded by commenters who argue that we should not adopt a rebuttable presumption of Competing Provider Effective Competition because of the potential impact of findings of Effective Competition on the basic service tier requirement found in section 623 of the Act. Several commenters argue that our action would enable cable operators to move broadcast stations that elect retransmission consent and public, educational, and governmental access (“PEG”) channels to a higher tier, leading to higher consumer prices. If a finding of Effective Competition results in elimination of the basic service tier requirement—a statutory interpretation issue that we do not address here—that conclusion would apply not only in communities where the new presumption of Effective Competition is not successfully rebutted but also in the thousands of communities in which we have already issued findings of Effective Competition. Despite these widespread findings of Effective Competition, commenters have not pointed to a single instance in which cable operators have even attempted to move broadcast stations or PEG channels off the basic service tier.17 NAB argues that cable operators may not have moved broadcast stations or PEG channels to a higher tier in communities with a finding of Effective Competition at least in part because they do not wish to do so on a fragmented “patchwork” basis but they have provided no support for this assertion. Moreover, a patchwork of communities with and without Effective Competition will continue to exist after the adoption of this Order if any franchising authorities are able to rebut the new presumption and remain certified. We thus find that the concerns expressed by commenters in this regard are unpersuasive. Moreover, they do not speak to the key issue in this proceeding: whether maintaining a presumption of no Effective Competition is consistent with the current state of the MVPD marketplace. Accordingly, we do not believe that they provide a sound basis to retain rules that are no longer justified by marketplace realities and that place unwarranted burdens on cable operators and the Commission.

    17 Similarly, while the IAC contends that consumers will be harmed because the uniform pricing provision and the tier buy-through provision do not apply following a finding of Effective Competition, they have not pointed to any instances of cable operators in the thousands of communities with Effective Competition findings using this flexibility to the detriment of subscribers in these communities. The IAC also claims that “use of public rights of ways by [Satellite Master Antenna Television (“SMATV”)] operators serving individual properties may be allowed if there is a finding of effective competition.” IAC Recommendation at 3; 47 CFR 76.501. IAC has failed to explain the significance of this or why such a possibility would be a reason to refrain from updating our processes to reflect market realities. Further, a SMATV issue has not manifested itself in the thousands of communities that the Commission has already determined are subject to Effective Competition. We also emphasize that both the prohibition against negative option billing and cable customer service standards, as a general matter, survive a finding of Effective Competition, per Time Warner Entertainment Co., L.P., v. FCC, 56 F.3d 151, 192-196 (D.C. Cir. 1995). See IAC Recommendation at 3; 47 CFR 76.981, 76.309.

    B. Implementation of Section 111 of STELAR

    13. For the reasons stated above, section 623 of the Act provides the Commission with ample authority to adopt a rebuttable presumption of Competing Provider Effective Competition for both large and small cable operators. However, additional support for our decision today is found in STELAR. Specifically, we conclude that adopting a rebuttable presumption of Competing Provider Effective Competition fully effectuates the Commission's responsibilities under section 111 of STELAR. Section 111 directs the Commission “to establish a streamlined process for filing of an effective competition petition pursuant to this section for small cable operators, particularly those who serve primarily rural areas.” The new presumption of Competing Provider Effective Competition will establish a streamlined process for all cable operators, including small operators, by reallocating the burden of providing evidence of Effective Competition in a manner that better comports with the current state of the marketplace. The existing presumption of no Effective Competition requires cable operators to produce information about competing providers' service areas and numbers of subscribers, and to petition the Commission for an affirmative finding of the requisite competition in particular franchise areas. Changing the presumption—which is merely a procedural device—will streamline the process by shifting the burden of producing evidence with respect to Effective Competition. Under our modified rule, franchising authorities remain free to rebut the presumption by presenting community-specific evidence, which the cable operator would then have the burden to overcome based on its own evidence. The new process is streamlined for cable operators because they will be required to file only in response to a showing by a franchising authority that an operator does not face Competing Provider Effective Competition in the franchise area. The burden would then shift to the cable operator to prove Effective Competition. As ACA states:

    Despite widespread and obvious competition, many cable operators, particularly small operators, have not availed themselves of effective competition relief because of the burdens of overcoming the current presumption against effective competition. These burdens include the costs of purchasing the required zip code and competing provider penetration information, preparing a formal legal filing for submission to the Commission, paying a filing fee, and then waiting an uncertain amount of time for a decision. Congress recognized these burdens when it enacted Section 111 of STELAR and adoption of the Commission's proposal is the most effective and rational way to reduce these burdens and ensure that cable operators of all sizes that face effective competition obtain the relief to which they are entitled.

    14. We agree with commenters that there is no statutory restriction on extending the same revised rebuttable presumption of Competing Provider Effective Competition to all cable systems. Section 111 of STELAR directs the Commission to establish streamlined measures for small cable operators within a certain deadline, but it “neither expands nor restricts the scope of the Commission's authority to administer the effective competition process.” 18 As commenters observe, “reducing regulatory burdens on all cable operators, large and small,” will ensure that Commission procedures “reflect marketplace realities and allow for a more efficient allocation of Commission and industry resources.” 19

    18See NCTA Reply at 8.

    19See ITTA Comments at 7.

    15. We recognize that STELAR provides that “[n]othing in this subsection shall be construed to have any effect on the duty of a small cable operator to prove the existence of effective competition under this section.” NAB argues that this provision ratifies the Commission's placement of the burden of proving Effective Competition on the cable operators, and prevents the Commission from shifting the burden. We do not read this language as limiting the Commission's authority to eliminate or modify the presumption for cable operators, large or small. The Commission adopted the presumption of no Effective Competition as a procedural mechanism, based in large part on the premise that “the vast majority of cable systems” in 1993 were “not subject to effective competition.” 20 The presumption was never mandated by Congress, and there is nothing in STELAR's provisions that suggests that Congress intended to withdraw the Commission's general rulemaking power to revisit its rules and modify or repeal them if it finds such action is warranted. In the clause that NAB relies on, Congress merely disavows any intent to alter or interfere with the Commission rule requiring proof of the existence of Effective Competition, as applied to small cable operators. It does not require the Commission to maintain the presumption of no Effective Competition. Rather, Congress only requires the Commission to streamline the process for “small cable operators.” Thus, Congress did not “ratify” or lock in place the current presumption. Indeed, if this provision were read to restrict the Commission from changing the presumption for small operators, as NAB urges, it would have the perverse effect of permitting the Commission to reduce burdens on larger operators but not on smaller ones, contrary to the clear intent and narrow focus of section 111. Thus, we find unpersuasive NAB's argument that section 111 of STELAR prohibits the rule modifications adopted in this Order.

    20See Implementation of Sections of the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992: Rate Regulation, Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 8 FCC Rcd 5631, 5670, paragraph 43 (1993) (“1993 Rate Order”). See also id. at 5640, paragraph 10 (“We anticipate that the regulations we adopt today will change over time. In accordance with the statute, we will review and monitor the effect of our initial rate regulations on the cable industry and consumers, and refine and improve our rules as necessary.”).

    16. In the NPRM, the Commission sought comment on alternate streamlined procedures that it could adopt for small cable operators pursuant to section 111. Some commenters proposed that we could implement section 111 through small cable operator Effective Competition reforms other than reversing the presumption, for example, by eliminating filing fees, automatically granting certain petitions, adopting a time limit for Commission review, or otherwise streamlining existing Effective Competition procedures. We have evaluated all of the alternate proposals set forth in the record and we conclude that, while some are already implemented, others would not have a sufficient impact on the costs that burden cable operators, particularly small cable operators, under the existing Effective Competition regime, including the costs of purchasing data indicating what zip codes make up the local franchising area, using the resulting list of zip codes to purchase penetration data, and preparing a formal legal filing. Accordingly, we have concluded that adopting a rebuttable presumption of Competing Provider Effective Competition is the best approach to streamline the process for small cable operators.

    C. Procedures To Implement the New Presumption

    17. In this section, we adopt new procedures to implement the rebuttable presumption of Competing Provider Effective Competition. With certain exceptions discussed below, we adopt procedures largely comparable to those discussed in the NPRM. In short, a franchising authority will obtain certification to regulate a cable operator's basic service tier and associated equipment by filing a revised Form 328, which will include a demonstration rebutting the presumption of Competing Provider Effective Competition. A cable operator may continue to oppose a Form 328 by filing a petition for reconsideration of the form.

    18. Specifically, as under our existing procedures, a franchising authority that seeks certification to regulate a cable operator's basic service tier and associated equipment will file Form 328. We will revise Question 6 of that form to include a new Question 6a, which will state the new presumption of Competing Provider Effective Competition. Question 6a will ask a franchising authority to provide an attachment containing evidence adequate to satisfy its burden of rebutting the presumption with specific evidence. A franchising authority may continue to rely on the current presumption that Low Penetration, Municipal Provider, and LEC Effective Competition are not present unless it has actual knowledge to the contrary. Hence, a franchising authority need not submit evidence regarding a lack of Effective Competition under those three tests; it need only submit evidence regarding the lack of Competing Provider Effective Competition. Question 6b of the revised form will state the presumption that cable systems are not subject to any other type of Effective Competition excluding Competing Provider Effective Competition, and it will retain the question in the current form asking the franchising authority to indicate whether it has reason to believe that this presumption is correct. We will revise the instructions for completing Form 328 to reflect the changes to Question 6. In addition, we note that instruction number 2 to the form was not previously updated to reference LEC Effective Competition, even though the form itself contains such an update. For accuracy and completeness, we will revise instruction number 2 to reference LEC Effective Competition.

    19. Except as otherwise discussed, we will retain the existing provisions in section 76.910 of our rules governing franchising authority certifications. As stated in current section 76.910, the certification will become effective 30 days after the franchising authority files Form 328 unless the Commission notifies the franchising authority otherwise.21 We find that this approach is consistent with a presumption of Competing Provider Effective Competition, because the franchising authority is required to submit a rebuttal of that presumption with Form 328. This approach also is consistent with the statutory requirement that in general, a franchising authority's certification must become effective 30 days after the date filed.22 Once a franchising authority files revised Form 328, the Commission may deny a certification based on failure to meet the applicable burden, consistent with the Commission's authority to dismiss a pleading that fails on its face to satisfy applicable requirements. Accordingly, if a franchising authority files a revised Form 328 that fails to meet the required standards to regulate rates, we will promptly deny the filing and it thus will not become effective 30 days after filing. We see no need to require a franchising authority to wait one year before filing a new Form 328 after one is denied, as ACA requests; we believe that franchising authorities should remain able to file a new Form 328 at any time if circumstances change such that they can submit new data rebutting the presumption of Competing Provider Effective Competition.

    21See 47 CFR 76.910(e). The franchising authority may not, however, regulate a cable system's rates unless it meets certain procedural requirements. See id. (“Unless the Commission notifies the franchising authority otherwise, the certification will become effective 30 days after the date filed, provided, however, That the franchising authority may not regulate the rates of a cable system unless it: (1) Adopts regulations: (i) Consistent with the Commission's regulations governing the basic tier; and (ii) Providing a reasonable opportunity for consideration of the views of interested parties, within 120 days of the effective date of certification; and (2) Notifies the cable operator that the authority has been certified and has adopted the regulations required by paragraph (e)(1) of this section.”). See also 47 U.S.C. 543(a)(4).

    22See id. Given this statutory provision, we cannot grant ACA's request that we provide cable operators with 30 days to oppose a revised Form 328 and franchising authorities with 15 days to respond, or that we automatically deny a Form 328 not acted on within 180 days.

    20. We also find that deeming a certification effective 30 days after it is filed is consistent with STELAR's requirement that we streamline the Effective Competition process for small cable operators. We expect that few franchising authorities will file the revised Form 328 because they will be unable to produce the necessary evidence to rebut the presumption of Competing Provider Effective Competition in most franchise areas, due to the ubiquity of DBS service. Cable operators thus will likely need to address only a small number of filed Form 328s. In fact, if the Commission finds that the attachment accompanying a franchising authority's Form 328 fails to show the evidence required to rebut the presumption, and the Commission thus dismisses the form based on failure to meet the applicable burden, then the cable operator will not need to take any affirmative action. The new approach adopted herein thus will streamline the Effective Competition process for all cable operators, including small ones. The NPRM sought comment on whether a cable operator should have an opportunity before the 30-day period expires to respond to a franchising authority's showing. Commenters did not address this issue and we find it unnecessary to do so, given that a cable operator may file a petition for reconsideration that would automatically stay the imposition of rate regulation, as discussed below.

    21. As discussed in the NPRM, under our current rules a cable operator may oppose a certification by filing a petition for reconsideration pursuant to section 76.911 of our rules, demonstrating that it satisfies any of the four tests for Effective Competition.23 Similarly, under the new rules, the cable operator may file a petition for reconsideration in which it either (a) disagrees with a franchising authority's rebuttal of the presumption of Competing Provider Effective Competition, or (b) attempts to demonstrate the presence of one of the other types of Effective Competition (low penetration, municipal provider, or LEC). We see no need to make any revisions to existing section 76.911. The procedures set forth in section 1.106 of our rules for the filing of petitions for reconsideration will continue to govern petitions for reconsideration of Form 328 and responsive pleadings.24 In addition, a cable operator's filing of a petition for reconsideration alleging that Effective Competition exists will continue to automatically stay the imposition of rate regulation pending the outcome of the reconsideration proceeding. Although the NPRM sought comment on whether we should deem a petition for reconsideration granted if the Commission does not act on it within six months, we find that such an approach is unnecessary given the automatic rate regulation stay.

    23 We see no benefit to eliminating the distinctions between petitions for reconsideration, petitions for revocation, petitions for recertification, and petitions for a determination of Effective Competition, as ACA advocates.

    24 47 CFR 1.106(f), 76.911(a). Accordingly, the 30-day period for a cable operator to file its petition for reconsideration begins to run from the 30th day after the Form 328 is filed with the Commission. 1993 Rate Order, 8 FCC Rcd at 5693, paragraph 88. See also 47 CFR 1.106(f).

    22. Our rules currently permit cable operators to request information from a competitor about the competitor's reach and number of subscribers, if the evidence necessary to establish Effective Competition is not otherwise available. We will retain that provision, while adding a similar provision to benefit franchising authorities now that they will bear the burden of demonstrating the lack of Competing Provider Effective Competition. Specifically, we will amend our rules to provide that, if a franchising authority filing Form 328 wishes to demonstrate a lack of Competing Provider Effective Competition and necessary evidence is not otherwise available, the franchising authority may request directly from an MVPD information regarding the MVPD's reach and number of subscribers in a particular franchise area. As currently required for such requests by cable operators, we will require the MVPD to respond to such a request within 15 days, and we will permit such responses to be limited to numerical totals related to subscribership and reach. Third-party MVPDs must timely respond to these requests, and the Commission may use its enforcement power to ensure compliance. We understand that currently, third-party MVPDs or their agents sometimes charge cable operators for access to this data. We will revisit the issue of the cost of the data if we receive complaints that the cost of such data makes the filing of Form 328 cost-prohibitive to franchising authorities.

    23. Even under the new approach to Effective Competition adopted herein, we expect that cable operators still on occasion may wish to file petitions for a determination of Effective Competition pursuant to section 76.907 of our rules. In particular, if a franchising authority is certified under the new rules and procedures, a cable operator may at a later date wish to file a petition demonstrating that circumstances have changed and one of the four types of Effective Competition exists. Accordingly, we will retain existing section 76.907, but we will revise section 76.907(b) to reflect the new presumption. Once a franchising authority is certified under the new rules adopted herein, after having demonstrated a lack of Competing Provider Effective Competition, we agree with ACA that it would not make sense for a cable operator filing a decertification petition to benefit from the presumption of Effective Competition; rather, in this instance the cable operator must demonstrate that circumstances have changed and Effective Competition is now present in the franchise area.25 We will clarify in revised section 76.907(b) that the new presumption of Competing Provider Effective Competition does not apply in this instance.

    25 Thus, it would be inappropriate to automatically grant cable operator petitions for decertification that are not acted on within a certain timeframe, as ACA suggests, given that the franchising authority would have previously put forth evidence of a lack of Competing Provider Effective Competition in order to become certified in the first place.

    24. All of the new rules and procedures for Effective Competition will go into effect once the Commission announces approval by the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) of the rules that require such approval and of revised Form 328. Although some of the rules, such as the new rebuttable presumption of Competing Provider Effective Competition itself, do not require OMB approval, we conclude that none of the rules should go into effect until the OMB approval is obtained. Although some commenters have argued that cable operators generally should benefit from the new presumption as soon as it is adopted, we find that tying the effective date to the OMB approval is appropriate where, as here, all of the rules are so closely tied to the submission of a revised form that requires OMB approval.

    25. Overall, we find that the new rules and procedures discussed above will create an Effective Competition process that is more efficient for cable operators, especially small cable operators, than the current approach. Cable operators will not be required to file petitions for a determination of Effective Competition in the first instance; instead, franchising authorities will have to rebut the presumption of Competing Provider Effective Competition in those limited locations in which the statutory test is not met. The record demonstrates that filing Effective Competition petitions has forced cable operators to incur significant costs, such as the cost of purchasing zip code and competing provider penetration data and preparing formal legal filings, merely to confirm what the marketplace data already suggests about the likely application of the statutory Effective Competition tests in almost all communities. According to ACA, only one cable operator with fewer than 1,000,000 total subscribers has filed an Effective Competition petition since December 30, 2011, even though such operators are likely subject to Effective Competition to the same degree as other, larger operators. Given the ubiquitous nationwide presence and penetration levels of DBS, we find that it no longer makes sense to burden cable operators with the costs of filing an Effective Competition petition in the first instance. It is far more efficient to require franchising authorities to rebut the presumption in those relatively rare instances where there may not be Effective Competition. Contrary to NAB's suggestion, the burdens imposed on cable operators under the current presumption, which is no longer supportable by marketplace data, justify adoption of the new presumption as the most efficient approach. The fact that cable operators benefit from a finding of Effective Competition does not alter this analysis. We expect that the volume of new Form 328s filed by franchising authorities will be far less than the volume of cable operator Effective Competition petitions currently filed, which will conserve resources of cable operators as well as the Commission. Contrary to the suggestion of some commenters, we do not expect franchising authorities in thousands of communities to file new Form 328s. Rather, we anticipate that few franchising authorities will be able to present data to rebut the presumption of Competing Provider Effective Competition, given the ubiquity and penetration of DBS. In this regard, we agree with NCTA that, “[g]iven competitive conditions throughout the country and the relatively few [franchising authorities] that currently rate regulate, shifting the presumption is extraordinarily unlikely to unleash an avalanche of [franchising authority] filings.”

    26. We recognize that franchising authorities, including small franchising authorities, will face additional burdens in preparing revised Form 328 with an attachment rebutting the presumption of Competing Provider Effective Competition, and we also recognize that some franchising authorities have limited resources. We conclude that any such burdens are justified by the efficiency gained by conforming the presumption to marketplace realities. In 1993, the Commission stated that it was “mindful of franchising authorities' concern that they do not have access to the information or the resources necessary to show the absence of effective competition as a threshold matter of jurisdiction.” 26 Today, in contrast, Effective Competition exists in the vast majority of franchise areas and we anticipate few franchising authorities will have a basis for filing a revised Form 328 demonstrating a lack of Competing Provider Effective Competition. In addition, we have ensured that franchising authorities will have access to the information needed to demonstrate a lack of Competing Provider Effective Competition by implementing procedures pursuant to which a franchising authority may request directly from an MVPD information regarding the MVPD's reach and number of subscribers in a particular franchise area. With regard to the burden on the franchising authorities, ACA explains that unlike cable operators, governmental entities can receive zip code data from the post office free of charge, and governmental entities likely know all of the zip codes within their jurisdiction in any event. Overall, the costs to franchising authorities will be outweighed by the significant cost-saving benefits of a presumption that is consistent with market data showing that the vast majority of communities would satisfy the Competing Provider Effective Competition standard. We will monitor the marketplace to determine whether the burdens of filing a revised Form 328 are dissuading franchising authorities from filing, and if so, we will reconsider whether changes should be made to reduce their costs.

    261993 Rate Order, 8 FCC Rcd at 5668, paragraph 41.

    D. Current Certifications and Pending Effective Competition Proceedings

    27. Many franchising authorities were certified over 20 years ago to regulate the basic service tier rates and equipment based on the existing presumption of no Effective Competition. Based on the changes in the marketplace that have occurred in the last 20 years, discussed above, we believe that the factual foundation for those findings is no longer valid in most cases. Therefore, all franchising authorities with existing certifications that wish to remain certified must file revised Form 328, including the attachment rebutting the presumption of Competing Provider Effective Competition, within 90 days of the effective date of the new rules.27 If a franchising authority with an existing certification does not file a new certification (Form 328) during the 90-day timeframe, its existing certification will expire at the end of that timeframe as long as there is not pending for the franchise area an opposed Effective Competition petition or an opposed or unopposed petition for reconsideration of certification, petition for reconsideration of an Effective Competition decision, or application for review of an Effective Competition decision.28 The Media Bureau will issue a public notice at the conclusion of the 90-day timeframe identifying all franchising authorities that filed a revised Form 328 as well as those franchising authorities that are party to one of the above-listed pending proceedings, and stating its finding of Competing Provider Effective Competition applicable to all other currently certified franchising authorities. This public notice will address commenters' concerns that the Act requires the Commission to make a franchise area-specific finding of Effective Competition before revoking existing certifications. The Media Bureau's finding of Competing Provider Effective Competition will be based on the new presumption coupled with the franchising authority's failure to attempt to retain its certification by resubmitting Form 328 accompanied by the requisite showing of no Competing Provider Effective Competition. We thus find that the approach adopted herein, which the NPRM sought comment on in the alternative, is preferable to administratively revoking all existing certifications since it will afford franchising authorities an opportunity to rebut the new presumption while their existing certification is still in effect and requires a Commission finding of Effective Competition for each franchise area.

    27 ACA and NCTA support a comparable procedure. ACA claims that with regard to small cable operators the procedure should only apply to “active” franchising authorities, meaning those that have adopted a rate order in the previous 12 months. We find that such a limitation would be difficult for the Commission to administer and would not provide an offsetting benefit to small cable operators. We find further that the approach adopted here is preferable to the approach advocated by some commenters, in which all previously adjudicated Effective Competition decisions would remain valid until either the franchising authority or the cable operator affirmatively demonstrates a change. The approach adopted here will enable us to ensure more promptly that franchising authority certifications correspond to the current marketplace.

    28 We recognize that, while the franchising authority remains certified, it is possible that the Commission's rate regulation rules may require a rate filing in the normal course of business. Unless the franchising authority and cable operator reach an agreement to the contrary, the cable operator should continue to make any such required filing.

    28. Where currently certified franchising authorities file revised Form 328, their certifications will remain valid unless and until the Media Bureau issues a decision denying the new certification request.29 We will not automatically deny a Form 328 that we do not act on within a certain timeframe, finding that doing so would be inconsistent with the statutory requirement that franchising authority certifications become effective 30 days after the date filed and with the procedures adopted above. If a currently certified franchising authority files revised Form 328 and there is a pending cable operator Effective Competition petition, petition for reconsideration of certification, petition for reconsideration of an Effective Competition decision, or application for review of an Effective Competition decision applicable to the franchise area, the Media Bureau will consider the record from that filing along with the new certification in making its determination regarding whether the franchising authority has overcome the presumption of Competing Provider Effective Competition.30 If a currently certified franchising authority files revised Form 328 but there is no applicable pending proceeding, the Media Bureau may consider the form itself as well as other relevant data available to the Bureau in making its determination.

    29 Accordingly, a currently certified franchising authority that wishes to remain certified and to make use of its basic service tier rate regulation authority may do so pursuant to these procedures. The franchising authority's ability to regulate rates, however, would be automatically stayed if the filing of revised Form 328 impels the cable operator to file a petition for reconsideration of certification alleging the presence of Effective Competition. The Media Bureau will promptly dismiss cable operator petitions for reconsideration that do not rebut a franchising authority's demonstration that Competing Provider Effective Competition is not present in the franchise area.

    30 Prior to the effective date of the rules adopted herein, we note that the Media Bureau has authority to continue processing pending petitions for a determination of Effective Competition, petitions for reconsideration of certification, and petitions for reconsideration of an Effective Competition decision in the normal course of business pursuant to existing rules.

    29. Where existing franchising authority certifications expire pursuant to the procedures discussed above, the Commission itself will not regulate rates. Section 76.913(a) of the Commission's rules, which generally directs the Commission to regulate rates upon revocation of a franchising authority's certification, will not apply upon the expiration of existing certifications discussed above. The Act precludes a franchising authority or the Commission from regulating rates where Effective Competition is present, and the expirations will be based on just such a finding. Section 623(a)(6) of the Act does not apply to this situation because it requires the Commission to “exercise the franchising authority's regulatory jurisdiction” over cable basic service tier rates if the Commission either (1) “disapproves a franchising authority” due to specified legal or procedural infirmities, or (2) revokes the franchising authority's jurisdiction to regulate rates following petition by a cable operator or other interested party based upon a finding “that the State and local laws and regulations are not in conformance with” the Commission's basic service tier rate regulations. The expiration of existing franchising authority certifications based on a rebuttable presumption of Competing Provider Effective Competition combined with the franchising authority's subsequent failure to attempt to retain its certification is distinguishable from a Commission finding of legal or procedural infirmities following an initial certification submission. Contrary to NAB's suggestions, the expiration of existing franchising authority certifications is justified for the reasons discussed above, and it does not matter that the expirations will be unrelated to a petition by a cable operator or other interested party.

    30. There are currently 58 pending cable operator petitions seeking a finding of Effective Competition, and a total of 17 pending petitions for reconsideration of certification, petitions for reconsideration of an Effective Competition decision, and applications for review of an Effective Competition decision. As explained above, if one of these pending proceedings involves a currently certified franchising authority that files revised Form 328, the record from the pending proceeding will be considered along with the revised Form 328 submission when the Media Bureau makes its certification determination. If, however, the pending proceeding involves a franchising authority that does not file revised Form 328 during the 90-day timeframe but either (i) the proceeding is an opposed cable operator Effective Competition petition, or (ii) the proceeding is a petition for reconsideration of certification, petition for reconsideration of an Effective Competition decision, or application for review of an Effective Competition decision, then the Media Bureau or the Commission will adjudicate the pending proceeding based on the record before it. With regard to pending unopposed cable operator Effective Competition petitions where the franchising authority does not file revised Form 328, the Media Bureau will grant such petitions based on a finding that the new presumption of Competing Provider Effective Competition applies and the franchising authority has not attempted to rebut it. The Media Bureau will issue a public notice at the conclusion of the 90-day timeframe for filing revised Form 328, granting all pending unopposed cable operator Effective Competition petitions where the franchising authority has not filed revised Form 328, with the grant based on a finding of Competing Provider Effective Competition. That finding will be premised on the new presumption of Competing Provider Effective Competition, as well as the franchising authority's failure to oppose the cable operator Effective Competition petition in the first instance.

    IV. Procedural Matters A. Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    31. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended (“RFA”), an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (“IRFA”) was incorporated in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in this proceeding. The Federal Communications Commission (“Commission”) sought written public comment on the proposals in the NPRM, including comment on the IRFA. The Commission received no comments on the IRFA, although some commenters discussed the effect of the proposals on smaller entities, as discussed below. This present Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (“FRFA”) conforms to the RFA.

    1. Need for, and Objectives of, the Report and Order

    32. In the Report and Order (“Order”), the Commission improves and expedites the effective competition process by adopting a rebuttable presumption that cable operators are subject to “Effective Competition.” 31 Specifically, we presume that cable operators are subject to what is commonly referred to as “Competing Provider Effective Competition.” As a result, each franchising authority 32 will be prohibited from regulating basic cable rates unless it successfully demonstrates that the cable system is not subject to Competing Provider Effective Competition. This change is justified by the fact that Direct Broadcast Satellite (“DBS”) service is ubiquitous today and that DBS providers have captured almost 34 percent of multichannel video programming distributor (“MVPD”) subscribers. The Order also implements section 111 of the STELA Reauthorization Act of 2014 (“STELAR”), which directs the Commission to adopt a streamlined Effective Competition process for small cable operators.33 By adopting a rebuttable presumption of Competing Provider Effective Competition, we update our Effective Competition rules, for the first time in over 20 years, to reflect the current MVPD marketplace, reduce the regulatory burdens on all cable operators, especially small operators,34 and more efficiently allocate the Commission's resources.

    31 Effective Competition is a term of art that the statute defines by application of specific tests.

    32 A “franchising authority” is “any governmental entity empowered by Federal, State, or local law to grant a franchise.” See 47 U.S.C. 522(10).

    33See Public Law 113-200, section 111, 128 Stat. 2059 (2014); 47 U.S.C. 543(o)(1) (“Not later than 180 days after December 4, 2014, the Commission shall complete a rulemaking to establish a streamlined process for filing of an effective competition petition pursuant to this section for small cable operators, particularly those who serve primarily rural areas.”). Accordingly, this rulemaking must be completed by June 2, 2015.

    34 Congress applied the definition of “small cable operator” as set forth in section 623(m)(2) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (the “Act”), which is “a cable operator that, directly or through an affiliate, serves in the aggregate fewer than 1 percent of all subscribers in the United States and is not affiliated with any entity or entities whose gross annual revenues in the aggregate exceed $250,000,000.” See 47 U.S.C. 543(m)(2), (o)(3).

    2. Summary of Significant Issues Raised By Public Comments in Response to the IRFA

    33. No comments were filed in response to the IRFA. In response to the NPRM, some commenters discussed the effect of the proposals on smaller entities. Specifically, while some commenters advocated the benefits that a presumption of Competing Provider Effective Competition would have on cable operators, including small cable operators, other commenters expressed concern about the burdens that would be imposed on franchising authorities, including small franchising authorities. In addition, as explained above, section 111 of STELAR directs the Commission to adopt a streamlined Effective Competition process for small cable operators. While some commenters expressed their view that adopting a presumption of Competing Provider Effective Competition would best fulfill section 111, others advocated alternate ways to reform the Effective Competition process for small cable operators.

    3. Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to Which the Rules Will Apply

    34. The RFA directs the Commission to provide a description of, and where feasible, an estimate of the number of small entities that may be affected by the rules adopted in the Order. The RFA generally defines the term “small entity” as having the same meaning as the terms “small business,” “small organization,” and “small governmental jurisdiction.” In addition, the term “small business” has the same meaning as the term “small business concern” under the Small Business Act. A small business concern is one which: (1) is independently owned and operated; (2) is not dominant in its field of operation; and (3) satisfies any additional criteria established by the SBA. Below, we provide a description of such small entities, as well as an estimate of the number of such small entities, where feasible.

    35. Small Governmental Jurisdictions. The term “small governmental jurisdiction” is defined generally as “governments of cities, counties, towns, townships, villages, school districts, or special districts, with a population of less than fifty thousand.” Census Bureau data for 2011 indicate that there were 89,476 local governmental jurisdictions in the United States. We estimate that, of this total, a substantial majority may qualify as “small governmental jurisdictions.” Thus, we estimate that most governmental jurisdictions are small.

    36. Wired Telecommunications Carriers. The 2007 North American Industry Classification System (“NAICS”) defines “Wired Telecommunications Carriers” as follows: “This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in operating and/or providing access to transmission facilities and infrastructure that they own and/or lease for the transmission of voice, data, text, sound, and video using wired telecommunications networks. Transmission facilities may be based on a single technology or a combination of technologies. Establishments in this industry use the wired telecommunications network facilities that they operate to provide a variety of services, such as wired telephony services, including VoIP services; wired (cable) audio and video programming distribution; and wired broadband Internet services. By exception, establishments providing satellite television distribution services using facilities and infrastructure that they operate are included in this industry.” The SBA has developed a small business size standard for wireline firms within the broad economic census category, “Wired Telecommunications Carriers.” Under this category, the SBA deems a wireline business to be small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. Census data for 2007 shows that there were 3,188 firms that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 2,940 firms had fewer than 100 employees, and 248 firms had 100 or more employees. Therefore, under this size standard, we estimate that the majority of businesses can be considered small entities.

    37. Cable Companies and Systems. The Commission has developed its own small business size standards, for the purpose of cable rate regulation. Under the Commission's rate regulation rules, a “small cable company” is one serving 400,000 or fewer subscribers, nationwide. According to SNL Kagan, there are 1,258 cable operators. Of this total, all but 10 incumbent cable companies are small under this size standard. In addition, under the Commission's rules, a “small system” is a cable system serving 15,000 or fewer subscribers. Current Commission records show 4,584 cable systems nationwide. Of this total, 4,012 cable systems have fewer than 20,000 subscribers, and 572 systems have 20,000 subscribers or more, based on the same records. Thus, under this standard, we estimate that most cable systems are small.

    38. Direct Broadcast Satellite (“DBS”) Service. DBS service is a nationally distributed subscription service that delivers video and audio programming via satellite to a small parabolic “dish” antenna at the subscriber's location. DBS, by exception, is now included in the SBA's broad economic census category, “Wired Telecommunications Carriers,” which was developed for small wireline firms. Under this category, the SBA deems a wireline business to be small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. Census data for 2007 shows that there were 3,188 firms that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 2,940 firms had fewer than 100 employees, and 248 firms had 100 or more employees. Therefore, under this size standard, the majority of such businesses can be considered small. However, the data we have available as a basis for estimating the number of such small entities were gathered under a superseded SBA small business size standard formerly titled “Cable and Other Program Distribution.” The 2002 definition of Cable and Other Program Distribution provided that a small entity is one with $12.5 million or less in annual receipts. Currently, only two entities provide DBS service, which requires a great investment of capital for operation: DIRECTV and DISH Network. Each currently offers subscription services. DIRECTV and DISH Network each report annual revenues that are in excess of the threshold for a small business. Because DBS service requires significant capital, we believe it is unlikely that a small entity as defined by the SBA would have the financial wherewithal to become a DBS service provider.

    39. Open Video Systems. The open video system (“OVS”) framework was established in 1996, and is one of four statutorily recognized options for the provision of video programming services by local exchange carriers. The OVS framework provides opportunities for the distribution of video programming other than through cable systems. Because OVS operators provide subscription services, OVS falls within the SBA small business size standard covering cable services, which is “Wired Telecommunications Carriers.” The SBA has developed a small business size standard for this category, which is: all such firms having 1,500 or fewer employees. Census data for 2007 shows that there were 3,188 firms that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 2,940 firms had fewer than 100 employees, and 248 firms had 100 or more employees. Therefore, under this size standard, the majority of such businesses can be considered small. In addition, we note that the Commission has certified some OVS operators, with some now providing service. Broadband service providers (“BSPs”) are currently the only significant holders of OVS certifications or local OVS franchises. The Commission does not have financial or employment information regarding the entities authorized to provide OVS, some of which may not yet be operational. Thus, at least some of the OVS operators may qualify as small entities.

    40. Small Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers. We have included small incumbent local exchange carriers in this present RFA analysis. A “small business” under the RFA is one that, inter alia, meets the pertinent small business size standard (e.g., a telephone communications business having 1,500 or fewer employees), and “is not dominant in its field of operation.” The SBA's Office of Advocacy contends that, for RFA purposes, small incumbent local exchange carriers are not dominant in their field of operation because any such dominance is not “national” in scope. We have therefore included small incumbent local exchange carriers in this RFA analysis, although we emphasize that this RFA action has no effect on Commission analyses and determinations in other, non-RFA contexts.

    41. Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (“ILECs”). Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a small business size standard specifically for incumbent local exchange services. The appropriate size standard under SBA rules is for the category Wired Telecommunications Carriers. Under that size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. Census data for 2007 shows that there were 3,188 firms that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 2,940 firms had fewer than 100 employees, and 248 firms had 100 or more employees. Therefore, under this size standard, the majority of such businesses can be considered small entities.

    4. Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other Compliance Requirements

    42. Certain rule changes adopted in the Order will affect reporting, recordkeeping, or other compliance requirements. Pursuant to the rules and policies adopted in the Order, the Commission will presume that cable operators are subject to Competing Provider Effective Competition, with the burden of rebutting this presumption falling on the franchising authority. A franchising authority seeking certification to regulate a cable operator's basic service tier and associated equipment will file revised FCC Form 328, including an attachment containing evidence adequate to satisfy its burden of rebutting the presumption with specific evidence. Franchising authorities are already required to file Form 328 to obtain certification to regulate a cable system's basic service tier, but the attachment rebutting the presumption of Competing Provider Effective Competition will be a new requirement. Cable operators, including small cable operators, will retain the burden of demonstrating the presence of any other type of Effective Competition, which a cable operator may seek to demonstrate if a franchising authority rebuts the presumption of Competing Provider Effective Competition. A cable operator opposing a certification will be permitted to file a petition for reconsideration pursuant to section 76.911 of our rules, as is currently the case, demonstrating that it satisfies any of the four tests for Effective Competition. The procedures set forth in section 1.106 of our rules for the filing of petitions for reconsideration will continue to govern petitions for reconsideration of Form 328 and responsive pleadings. While a certification will become effective 30 days after the date filed unless the Commission notifies the franchising authority otherwise, the filing of a petition for reconsideration based on the presence of Effective Competition will automatically stay the imposition of rate regulation pending the outcome of the reconsideration proceeding. All of the new rules and procedures will go into effect once the Commission announces approval by the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) of the rules that require such approval and of revised Form 328.

    43. All franchising authorities with existing certifications that wish to remain certified must file revised Form 328, including the attachment rebutting the presumption of Competing Provider Effective Competition, within 90 days of the effective date of the new rules. At the conclusion of the 90-day timeframe, the Media Bureau will issue a public notice identifying all franchising authorities that filed a revised Form 328 as well as those franchising authorities that are party to a pending opposed Effective Competition petition or a pending opposed or unopposed petition for reconsideration of certification, petition for reconsideration of an Effective Competition decision, or application for review of an Effective Competition decision. The public notice will state the Media Bureau's finding of Competing Provider Effective Competition applicable to all other currently certified franchising authorities. Where currently certified franchising authorities file revised Form 328, their certifications will remain valid unless and until the Media Bureau issues a decision denying the new certification request. If a currently certified franchising authority files revised Form 328 and there is a pending cable operator Effective Competition petition, petition for reconsideration of certification, petition for reconsideration of an Effective Competition decision, or application for review of an Effective Competition decision applicable to the franchise area, the Media Bureau will consider the record from that filing along with the new certification in making its determination regarding whether the franchising authority has overcome the presumption of Competing Provider Effective Competition.35 If a pending proceeding involves a franchising authority that does not file revised Form 328 during the 90-day timeframe but either (i) the proceeding is an opposed cable operator Effective Competition petition, or (ii) the proceeding is a petition for reconsideration of certification, petition for reconsideration of an Effective Competition decision, or application for review of an Effective Competition decision, then the Media Bureau or the Commission will adjudicate the pending proceeding based on the record before it. With regard to pending unopposed cable operator Effective Competition petitions where the franchising authority does not file revised Form 328, the Media Bureau will issue a public notice granting the petitions based on a finding of Competing Provider Effective Competition.

    35 Prior to the effective date of the rules adopted in the Order, we note that the Media Bureau has authority to continue processing pending petitions for a determination of Effective Competition, petitions for reconsideration of certification, and petitions for reconsideration of an Effective Competition decision in the normal course of business pursuant to existing rules.

    5. Steps Taken To Minimize Significant Economic Impact on Small Entities and Significant Alternatives Considered

    44. The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant alternatives that it has considered in reaching its proposed approach, which may include the following four alternatives (among others): “(1) the establishment of differing compliance or reporting requirements or timetables that take into account the resources available to small entities; (2) the clarification, consolidation, or simplification of compliance and reporting requirements under the rule for such small entities; (3) the use of performance, rather than design standards; and (4) an exemption from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for small entities.” The NPRM invited comment on the benefits and burdens of the approach we adopt herein on all entities, including small entities.

    45. Overall, we expect that the approach the Commission adopts today will lessen the number of Effective Competition determinations addressed by the Commission and thus will reduce regulatory burdens on cable operators, and will more efficiently allocate the Commission's resources. In paragraph 25 of the Order, the Commission finds that the new rules and procedures will create an Effective Competition process that is more efficient for cable operators, especially small cable operators, since they will not be required to file petitions for a determination of Effective Competition in the first instance. The Commission explains the significant costs imposed on cable operators by the current Effective Competition process, and it explains how the new presumption will alleviate those costs.

    46. In paragraph 26 of the Order, the Commission discusses the impact of the new rules and procedures on franchising authorities, including small franchising authorities. The Commission concludes that the burdens of filing revised Form 328 are justified by the efficiency gained by conforming the presumption to marketplace realities. The Commission also anticipates that few franchising authorities will have a basis for filing a revised Form 328 demonstrating a lack of Competing Provider Effective Competition as a result of the presence of Effective Competition in the vast majority of franchise areas. In addition, the Commission states that it has ensured that franchising authorities will have access to the information needed to demonstrate a lack of Competing Provider Effective Competition.36 Overall, the costs to franchising authorities will be outweighed by the significant cost-saving benefits of a presumption that is consistent with market data showing that the vast majority of communities would satisfy the Competing Provider Effective Competition standard. The Commission states that it will monitor the marketplace to determine whether the burdens of filing a revised Form 328 are dissuading franchising authorities from filing, and if so, it will reconsider whether changes should be made to reduce their costs.

    36 In addition, in paragraph 22 of the Order, the Commission explains that third-party MVPDs or their agents sometimes charge cable operators for access to subscribership and reach data. The Commission states that it will revisit the issue of the cost of the data if it receives complaints that the cost of such data makes the filing of Form 328 cost-prohibitive to franchising authorities.

    47. Finally, we note that the Commission considered alternate means to implement section 111 of STELAR. After evaluating all of the alternate proposals set forth in the record, in paragraph 16 the Commission concludes that while some proposals are already implemented, others would not have a sufficient impact on the costs that burden cable operators, particularly small cable operators, under the existing Effective Competition regime. Accordingly, the Commission has concluded that adopting a rebuttable presumption of Competing Provider Effective Competition is the best approach to streamline the process for small cable operators.

    6. Federal Rules That May Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict With the Proposed Rule

    48. None.

    7. Report to Congress

    49. The Commission will send a copy of the Order, including this FRFA, in a report to be sent to Congress pursuant to the Congressional Review Act.37 In addition, the Commission will send a copy of the Order, including this FRFA, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the SBA. The Order and FRFA (or summaries thereof) will also be published in the Federal Register.38

    37See 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A).

    38See id. 604(b).

    B. Final Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 Analysis

    50. We analyzed this Order with respect to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (“PRA”),39 and it contains modified information collection requirements.40 It will be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) for review under section 3507(d) of the PRA.41 The Commission, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, will invite OMB, the general public, and other interested parties to comment on the information collection requirements contained in this document in a separate published Federal Register notice. In addition, we note that pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002,42 we previously sought specific comment on how the Commission might “further reduce the information collection burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.”

    39 The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (“PRA”), Public Law 104-13, 109 Stat. 163 (1995) (codified in Chapter 35 of title 44 U.S.C.).

    40 Relevant information collections include those pertaining to Form 328 and the franchising authority certification (OMB Control No. 3060-0550), and to petitions for reconsideration of certifications (OMB Control No. 3060-0560).

    41 44 U.S.C. 3507(d).

    42 The Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002 (“SBPRA”), Public Law 107-198, 116 Stat. 729 (2002) (codified in Chapter 35 of title 44 U.S.C.); see 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(4).

    C. Congressional Review Act

    51. The Commission will send a copy of this Order in a report to be sent to Congress and the Government Accountability Office pursuant to the Congressional Review Act, see 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A).

    D. Additional Information

    52. For additional information on this proceeding, contact Diana Sokolow, [email protected], of the Policy Division, Media Bureau, (202) 418-2120.

    V. Ordering Clauses

    53. Accordingly, it is ordered that, pursuant to the authority found in sections 4(i), 4(j), 303(r), and 623 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i), 154(j), 303(r), and 543, and section 111 of the STELA Reauthorization Act of 2014, Public Law 113-200, section 111, this Order is adopted, effective upon announcement in the Federal Register of OMB approval and the effective date of the rules.

    54. It is ordered that, pursuant to the authority found in sections 4(i), 4(j), 303(r), and 623 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i), 154(j), 303(r), and 543, and section 111 of the STELA Reauthorization Act of 2014, Public Law 113-200, section 111, the Commission's rules are hereby amended as set forth in Appendix A.

    55. It is further ordered that the Commission's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, shall send a copy of this Order, including the Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration.

    56. It is further ordered that the Commission shall send a copy of this Order in a report to be sent to Congress and the Government Accountability Office pursuant to the Congressional Review Act, see 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A).

    List of Subjects in 47 CFR Part 76

    Administrative practice and procedure, Cable television, Reporting ad recordkeeping requirements.

    Federal Communications Commission.

    Gloria J. Miles, Federal Register Liaison Officer.
    Final Rules

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal Communications Commission amends 47 CFR part 76 as follows:

    PART 76—MULTICHANNEL VIDEO AND CABLE TELEVISION SERVICE 1. The authority citation for part 76 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    47 U.S.C. 151, 152, 153, 154, 301, 302, 302a, 303, 303a, 307, 308, 309, 312, 315, 317, 325, 338, 339, 340, 341, 503, 521, 522, 531, 532, 534, 535, 536, 537, 543, 544, 544a, 545, 548, 549, 552, 554, 556, 558, 560, 561, 571, 572, 573.

    2. Revise § 76.906 to read as follows:
    § 76.906 Presumption of effective competition.

    In the absence of a demonstration to the contrary cable systems are presumed: (a) To be subject to effective competition pursuant to section 76.905(b)(2); and (b) Not to be subject to effective competition pursuant to section 76.905(b)(1), (3) or (4).

    3. Amend § 76.907 by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:
    § 76.907 Petition for a determination of effective competition.

    (b) If the cable operator seeks to demonstrate that effective competition as defined in § 76.905(b)(1), (3), or (4) exists in the franchise area, it bears the burden of demonstrating the presence of such effective competition. Effective competition as defined in § 76.905(b)(2) is governed by the presumption in § 76.906, except that where a franchising authority has rebutted the presumption of competing provider effective competition as defined in § 76.905(b)(2) and is certified, the cable operator must demonstrate that circumstances have changed and effective competition is present in the franchise area.

    Note to paragraph (b): The criteria for determining effective competition pursuant to § 76.905(b)(4) are described in Implementation of Cable Act Reform Provisions of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Report and Order in CS Docket No. 96-85, FCC 99-57 (released March 29, 1999).

    4. Amend § 76.910 by revising paragraph (b)(4) to read as follows:
    § 76.910 Franchising authority certification.

    (b) * * *

    (4) The cable system in question is not subject to effective competition. The franchising authority must submit specific evidence demonstrating its rebuttal of the presumption in § 76.906 that the cable operator is subject to effective competition pursuant to section 76.905(b)(2). Unless a franchising authority has actual knowledge to the contrary, the franchising authority may rely on the presumption in § 76.906 that the cable operator is not subject to effective competition pursuant to section 76.905(b)(1), (3), or (4). The franchising authority bears the burden of submitting evidence rebutting the presumption that competing provider effective competition, as defined in § 76.905(b)(2), exists in the franchise area. If the evidence establishing the lack of effective competition is not otherwise available, franchising authorities may request from a multichannel video programming distributor information regarding the multichannel video programming distributor's reach and number of subscribers. A multichannel video programming distributor must respond to such request within 15 days. Such responses may be limited to numerical totals.

    [FR Doc. 2015-15806 Filed 7-1-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Part 21 [Docket No. FWS-HQ-MB-2015-0032; FF09M21200-156-FXMB1231099BPP0] RIN 1018-BA90 Migratory Bird Permits; Update of Falconry Permitting Reporting Address AGENCY:

    Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The State of California has implemented an online permitting and reporting system compatible with the system that we, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), use for reporting take of raptors from the wild for falconry. We change the Web address for falconers in California to report takes, acquisitions, transfers, and losses of falconry birds.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective January 1, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ron Kokel at 703-358-1967.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    We published a final rule in the Federal Register on October 8, 2008 (73 FR 59448), to revise our regulations governing falconry in the United States, found in title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at § 21.29. In 2013, we added the State of California to the list of States to which we delegate permitting for falconry to the State, as provided under the regulations (78 FR 72830, December 4, 2013).

    This Rule

    In the falconry regulations at 50 CFR 21.29, we offer two methods to submit required reports or other information: (1) Electronically, by entering the required information in our electronic database at http://permits.fws.gov/186A; and (2) by hard copy, by submitting a paper form 3-186A to the falconer's State, tribal, or territorial agency that governs falconry. The State of California has developed and implemented an online permitting and reporting system that is compatible with the system we use for reporting take of raptors from the wild for falconry (our electronic database at http://permits.fws.gov/186A). Allowing California residents to use that State's reporting system should result in a small savings of resources for both the State and the Service. Therefore, with this rule, we change the web address for falconers in California to report takes, acquisitions, transfers, and losses of falconry birds.

    Administrative Procedure

    This action is administrative in nature. We are providing regulated entities and the general public with an accurate web address to report take, loss, or transfers of raptors by falconers in California. We delegated the State of California permitting authority for falconry under the regulations at 50 CFR 21.29 (see 78 FR 72830, December 4, 2013). This rule facilitates that State's permitting and reporting requirements, and will enable reporting with our system for reporting take, acquisition, loss, or transfer of any bird for falconry. The change should slightly reduce administration costs for both the State and the Service. The delegation of permitting authority to the State of California has already been subject to public notice-and-comment procedures, and this change simply adds an Internet address to the regulations at 50 CFR 21.29 to allow full use of California's permitting and reporting system. Under 5 U.S.C. 553(b), rules of agency organization, procedure, or practice may be made final without previous notice to the public. This is a final rule.

    Required Determinations Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Orders 12866 and 13563)

    Executive Order 12866 provides that the Office of Management and Budget's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) will review all significant rules. OIRA has determined that this rule is not significant.

    Executive Order (E.O.) 13563 reaffirms the principles of E.O. 12866 while calling for improvements in the nation's regulatory system to promote predictability, to reduce uncertainty, and to use the best, most innovative, and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory ends. The executive order directs agencies to consider regulatory approaches that reduce burdens and maintain flexibility and freedom of choice for the public where these approaches are relevant, feasible, and consistent with regulatory objectives.

    E.O. 13563 emphasizes further that regulations must be based on the best available science and that the rulemaking process must allow for public participation and an open exchange of ideas. We have developed this rule in a manner consistent with these requirements.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.)

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., as amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-121), whenever an agency is required to publish a notice of rulemaking for any proposed or final rule, it must prepare and make available for public comment a regulatory flexibility analysis that describes the effect of the rule on small entities (that is, small businesses, small organizations, and small government jurisdictions). However, no regulatory flexibility analysis is required if the head of an agency certifies the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    SBREFA amended the Regulatory Flexibility Act to require Federal agencies to provide the statement of the factual basis for certifying that a rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    We have examined this rule's potential effects on small entities as required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act, and have determined that this action will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. This rule simplifies reporting required by 50 CFR 21.29 for residents of California. This rule does not change falconers' costs for practicing their sport, nor does it affect businesses that provide equipment or supplies for falconry. This rule may result in a small savings of time and other resources by the State of California and by the Service, but neither of these is a small entity. Consequently, we certify that, because this rule will not have a significant economic effect on a substantial number of small entities, a regulatory flexibility analysis is not required.

    This rule is not a major rule under the SBREFA (5 U.S.C. 804(2)). It will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    a. This rule does not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more. There are no costs to permittees or any other part of the economy associated with this change to the regulations.

    b. This rule will not cause a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, Federal, State, or local government agencies, or geographic regions. This rule simplifies reporting required by 50 CFR 21.29 for residents of California.

    c. This rule will not have significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises.

    Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    In accordance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.), we have determined the following:

    a. This rule will not “significantly or uniquely” affect small governments in a negative way. A small government agency plan is not required. The State of California requested that we make this change to the regulations to simply falconry reporting for that State's residents.

    b. This rule will not produce a Federal mandate of $100 million or greater in any year. It is not a “significant regulatory action” under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.

    Takings

    In accordance with E.O. 12630, the rule does not have significant takings implications. A takings implication assessment is not required. This rule does not contain a provision for taking of private property.

    Federalism

    This rule does not have sufficient Federalism effects to warrant preparation of a federalism summary impact statement under E.O. 13132. The State of California requested that we make this change to the regulations to simplify falconry reporting for that State's residents.

    Civil Justice Reform

    In accordance with E.O. 12988, the Office of the Solicitor has determined that the rule does not unduly burden the judicial system and meets the requirements of sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of the Order.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    We examined this rule under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), and it does not contain any new collections of information that require Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval. OMB has approved the information collection requirements of the Migratory Bird Permits Program and assigned OMB control number 1018-0022, which expires May 31, 2017. Information from the collection is used to document take of raptors from the wild for use in falconry and to document transfers of raptors held for falconry between permittees. A Federal agency may not conduct or sponsor and a person is not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    National Environmental Policy Act

    We evaluated the environmental impacts of the changes to the regulations, and determined that this rule does not have any environmental impacts.

    Government-to-Government Relationship With Tribes

    In accordance with the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994, “Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal Governments” (59 FR 22951), Executive Order 13175, and 512 DM 2, we have evaluated potential effects on Federally recognized Indian Tribes and have determined that this rule will not interfere with Tribes' ability to manage themselves or their funds or to regulate falconry on Tribal lands.

    Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use

    E.O. 13211 requires agencies to prepare Statements of Energy Effects when undertaking certain actions. This rule is not a significant regulatory action under E.O. 12866, and will not significantly affect energy supplies, distribution, or use. Therefore, this action is not a significant energy action and no Statement of Energy Effects is required.

    Environmental Consequences of the Action

    Socioeconomic. This action will not have discernible socioeconomic impacts.

    Raptor populations. This rule will not change the effects of falconry on raptor populations. We are simply adding to our regulations at 50 CFR 21.29 a falconry reporting method for residents of California.

    Endangered and threatened species. This rule does not change protections for endangered and threatened species.

    Compliance With Endangered Species Act Requirements

    Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), requires that “The Secretary [of the Interior] shall review other programs administered by him and utilize such programs in furtherance of the purposes of this chapter” (16 U.S.C. 1536(a)(1)). It further states that the Secretary must “insure that any action authorized, funded, or carried out . . . is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered species or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of [critical] habitat” (16 U.S.C. 1536(a)(2)). This rule will not affect threatened or endangered species or their habitats in the United States.

    List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 21

    Exports, Hunting, Imports, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Transportation, Wildlife.

    Regulation Promulgation

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, we amend subpart C of part 21, subchapter B of chapter I, title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as follows:

    PART 21—MIGRATORY BIRD PERMITS 1. The authority citation for part 21 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 703-12.

    2. Amend § 21.29 by: a. Revising paragraph (b)(2); b. Revising the fifth sentence of paragraph (c)(6)(i); c. Revising the third sentence of paragraph (c)(6)(ii); d. Revising the second sentence of paragraph (c)(6)(iii)(A); e. Revising paragraph (c)(6)(iii)(B); f. Revising the first sentence of paragraph (e)(2)(iv); g. Revising the second sentence of paragraph (e)(5)(i); h. Revising paragraph (e)(6)(i); i. Revising paragraph (e)(7)(i); j. Revising the third sentence of paragraph (e)(9)(ii); k. Revising the second sentence of paragraph (e)(9)(iii); and l. Revising the second sentence after the heading of paragraph (f)(6).

    The revisions read as follows:

    § 21.29 Falconry standards and falconry permitting.

    (b) * * *

    (2) Reporting. (i) The State, tribe, or territory must work with us to ensure that the electronic 3-186A reporting system (http://permits.fws.gov/186A) for reporting take, transfers, and loss of falconry birds is fully operational for residents of that jurisdiction.

    (ii) If you are required to submit a report or other information under this section, you must either enter the required information in the electronic database at http://permits.fws.gov/186A, or at http://www.wildlife.ca.gov/FalconryReporting if you are a resident of California, or submit a paper form 3-186A to your State, tribal, or territorial agency that governs falconry.

    (c) * * *

    (6) * * *

    (i) * * * Within 10 days from the day on which you take the raptor from the wild, you must report take of the bird by submitting the required information (including the band number) using one of the methods listed in paragraph (b)(2)(ii) of this section. * * *

    (ii) * * * You must submit the required information using one of the methods listed in paragraph (b)(2)(ii) of this section. * * *

    (iii) * * *

    (A) * * * You must submit the required information within 10 days of rebanding the raptor using one of the methods listed in paragraph (b)(2)(ii) of this section.

    (B) Purchase and implant an ISO-compliant (134.2 kHz) microchip in the bird and report the microchip information using one of the methods listed in paragraph (b)(2)(ii) of this section.

    (e) * * *

    (2) * * *

    (iv) If you are responsible for reporting take of a raptor from the wild, use one of the methods listed in paragraph (b)(2)(ii) of this section. * * *

    (5) * * *

    (i) * * * You must report take of the bird using one of the methods listed in paragraph (b)(2)(ii) of this section at your first opportunity to do so, but no more than 10 days after capture of the bird. * * *

    (6) * * *

    (i) If you acquire a raptor; transfer, reband, or microchip a raptor; if a raptor you possess is stolen; if you lose a raptor to the wild and you do not recover it within 30 days; or if a bird you possess for falconry dies; you must report the change within 10 days using one of the methods listed in paragraph (b)(2)(ii) of this section.

    (7) * * *

    (i) If you acquire a bird from a rehabilitator, within 10 days of the transaction you must report it using one of the methods listed in paragraph (b)(2)(ii) of this section.

    (9) * * *

    (ii) * * * You must remove its falconry band (if it has one) and report release of the bird by submitting the required information using one of the methods listed in paragraph (b)(2)(ii) of this section.

    (iii) * * * You must remove its falconry band and report release of the bird by submitting the required information using one of the methods listed in paragraph (b)(2)(ii) of this section.

    (f) * * *

    (6) * * * Within 10 days, you must report the transfer by submitting the required information using one of the methods listed in paragraph (b)(2)(ii) of this section.

    Dated: June 15, 2015. Michael J. Bean, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
    [FR Doc. 2015-16371 Filed 7-1-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310-55-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 622 [Docket No. 0907271173-0629-03] RIN 0648-XE014 Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic; 2015 Recreational Accountability Measures and Closure for South Atlantic Snowy Grouper AGENCY:

    National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Temporary rule; closure.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS implements accountability measures (AMs) for the recreational sector for snowy grouper in the South Atlantic for the 2015 fishing year through this temporary rule. Average recreational landings from 2012-2014 exceeded the recreational annual catch limit (ACL) for snowy grouper. To account for this overage, this rule reduces the length of the 2015 recreational fishing season. Therefore, NMFS closes the recreational sector for snowy grouper in the South Atlantic exclusive economic zone (EEZ) on July 6, 2015. This closure is necessary to protect the snowy grouper resource.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective 12:01 a.m., local time, July 6, 2015, until 12:01 a.m., local time, January 1, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Catherine Hayslip, NMFS Southeast Regional Office, telephone: 727-824-5305, email: [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The snapper-grouper fishery of the South Atlantic, which includes snowy grouper, is managed under the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (FMP). The FMP was prepared by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council and is implemented by NMFS under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) by regulations at 50 CFR part 622.

    The recreational ACL for snowy grouper is 523 fish. In accordance with regulations at 50 CFR 622.193(b)(2), if the recreational ACL is exceeded, the Assistant Administrator, NOAA (AA), will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register to reduce the length of the following fishing season by the amount necessary to ensure landings do not exceed the recreational ACL in the following fishing year. NMFS evaluates annual recreational landings with the recreational ACL for snowy grouper based on a 3-year running average of landings. For the 2015 fishing year, the most recent 3-year running average of recreational landings is the average of 2012-2014. Average landings from 2012-2014 exceeded the 2014 recreational ACL by 1,253 fish. Therefore, this temporary rule implements the post-season AM to reduce the fishing season for the recreational snowy grouper component of the snapper-grouper fishery by the amount necessary to ensure recreational landings do not exceed the recreational ACL in 2015. As a result, the recreational sector for snowy grouper will be closed effective 12:01 a.m., local time, July 6, 2015.

    During the closure, the bag and possession limits for snowy grouper in or from the South Atlantic EEZ are zero. These limits apply in the South Atlantic for a person on board a vessel for which a valid Federal commercial or charter vessel/headboat permit for the South Atlantic snapper-grouper fishery has been issued regardless of whether the fish are harvested in state or Federal waters, as specified in 50 CFR 622.193(b)(2). The recreational sector for snowy grouper will reopen on January 1, 2016, the beginning of the 2016 recreational fishing season.

    Classification

    The Regional Administrator, Southeast Region, NMFS, has determined this temporary rule is necessary for the conservation and management of snowy grouper and the South Atlantic snapper-grouper fishery and is consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable laws.

    This action is taken under 50 CFR 622.193(b)(2) and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

    These measures are exempt from the procedures of the Regulatory Flexibility Act because the temporary rule is issued without opportunity for prior notice and comment.

    This action responds to the best scientific information available. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds that the need to immediately implement this action to close the recreational sector for snowy grouper constitutes good cause to waive the requirements to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment on this temporary rule pursuant to the authority set forth in 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), as such procedures would be unnecessary and contrary to the public interest. Such procedures are unnecessary because the rule implementing the AMs established by Amendment 17B to the FMP (75 FR 82280, December 30, 2010) and located at 50 CFR 622.193(b)(2) has already been subject to notice and comment, and all that remains is to notify the public of the closure. Such procedures are contrary to the public interest because of the need to immediately implement this action to protect the snowy grouper resource, since time for notice and public comment will allow for continued recreational harvest and exceedance of the recreational ACL. Additionally, there is a need to immediately notify the public of the reduced recreational fishing season for snowy grouper for the 2015 fishing year. Prior notice and opportunity for public comment would be contrary to the public interest because many of those affected by the length of the recreational fishing season, particularly charter vessel and headboat operations, book trips for clients in advance and, therefore, need as much time as possible to adjust business plans to account for the reduced recreational fishing season.

    For the aforementioned reasons, the AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in the effectiveness of this action under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3).

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: June 29, 2015. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-16379 Filed 6-29-15; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 635 [Docket No. 140429387-4971-02] RIN 0648-XD954 Gulf of Mexico Highly Migratory Species; Commercial Blacknose Sharks and Non-Blacknose Small Coastal Sharks in the Gulf of Mexico Region AGENCY:

    National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Temporary rule; closure.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS is closing the fisheries for commercial non-blacknose small coastal sharks (SCS) and blacknose sharks in the Gulf of Mexico region. This action is necessary because the commercial landings of Gulf of Mexico non-blacknose SCS for the 2015 fishing season have exceeded 80 percent of the available commercial quota as of June 26, 2015, and the blacknose shark and non-blacknose SCS fisheries are quota-linked under current regulations.

    DATES:

    The commercial fisheries for blacknose sharks and non-blacknose SCS in the Gulf of Mexico region are closed effective 11:30 p.m. local time July 4, 2015, until the end of the 2015 fishing season on December 31, 2015, or until and if NMFS announces via notification in the Federal Register that additional quota is available and the season is reopened.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Guy DuBeck or Karyl Brewster-Geisz 301-427-8503; fax 301-713-1917.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Gulf of Mexico shark fisheries are managed under the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Fishery Management Plan (FMP), its amendments, and its implementing regulations (50 CFR part 635) issued under authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.).

    Under § 635.5(b)(1), dealers must electronically submit reports on sharks that are first received from a vessel on a weekly basis through a NMFS-approved electronic reporting system. Reports must be received by no later than midnight, local time, of the first Tuesday following the end of the reporting week unless the dealer is otherwise notified by NMFS. Under § 635.28(b)(2), the quotas of certain species and/or management groups are linked. The quotas for non-blacknose SCS and the blacknose shark management group in the Gulf of Mexico region are linked (§ 635.28(b)(3)(iv)). Under § 635.28(b)(2), when NMFS calculates that the landings for any species and/or management group of a linked group has reached or is projected to reach 80 percent of the available quota, NMFS will file for publication with the Office of the Federal Register a notice of closure for all of the species and/or management groups in a linked group that will be effective no fewer than 5 days from date of filing. From the effective date and time of the closure until and if NMFS announces, via notification in the Federal Register, that additional quota is available and the season is reopened, the fisheries for all linked species and/or management groups are closed, even across fishing years.

    On December 2, 2014 (79 FR 71331), NMFS announced that the 2015 commercial Gulf of Mexico non-blacknose SCS quota is 45.5 metric tons (mt) dressed weight (dw) (100,317 lb dw) and the blacknose shark quota is 1.8 mt dw (4,076 lb dw).

    Dealer reports recently received through June 26, 2015, indicated that 36.9 mt dw or 81 percent of the available Gulf of Mexico non-blacknose SCS quota had been landed and 1.0 mt dw or 52 percent of the available Gulf of Mexico blacknose shark quota had been landed. Based on these dealer reports, landings of non-blacknose SCS have exceeded 80 percent of the quota by June 26, 2015. Accordingly, NMFS is closing both the commercial blacknose shark fishery and non-blacknose SCS management group in the Gulf of Mexico region as of 11:30 p.m. local time July 4, 2015. The only shark species or management groups that remain open in the Gulf of Mexico region are the research large coastal sharks, sandbar sharks within the shark research fishery, the blue shark, and pelagic sharks other than porbeagle or blue shark management groups.

    At § 635.27(b)(1), the boundary between the Gulf of Mexico region and the Atlantic region is defined as a line beginning on the East Coast of Florida at the mainland at 25°20.4′ N. lat, proceeding due east. Any water and land to the south and west of that boundary is considered, for the purposes of monitoring and setting quotas, to be within the Gulf of Mexico region.

    During the closure, retention of blacknose sharks and non-blacknose SCS in the Gulf of Mexico region is prohibited for persons fishing aboard vessels issued a commercial shark limited access permit (LAP) under § 635.4. However, persons aboard a commercially permitted vessel that is also properly permitted to operate as a charter vessel or headboat for HMS and is engaged in a for-hire trip could fish under the recreational retention limits for sharks and “no sale” provisions (§ 635.22(a) and (c)).

    During this closure, a shark dealer issued a permit pursuant to § 635.4 may not purchase or receive blacknose sharks or non-blacknose SCS in the Gulf of Mexico region from a vessel issued a shark LAP, except that a permitted shark dealer or processor may possess blacknose sharks and/or non-blacknose SCS in the Gulf of Mexico region that were harvested, off-loaded, and sold, traded, or bartered prior to the effective date of the closure and were held in storage consistent with § 635.28(b)(5). Similarly, a shark dealer issued a permit pursuant to § 635.4 may, in accordance with relevant state regulations, purchase or receive blacknose sharks and/or non-blacknose SCS in the Gulf of Mexico region if the sharks were harvested, off-loaded, and sold, traded, or bartered from a vessel that fishes only in state waters and that has not been issued a shark LAP, HMS Angling permit, or HMS Charter/Headboat permit pursuant to § 635.4.

    Classification

    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds that providing prior notice and public comment for this action is impracticable and contrary to the public interest because the fisheries are currently underway and any delay in this action would result in overharvest of the Gulf of Mexico non-blacknose SCS quota and be inconsistent with management requirements and objectives. Similarly, affording prior notice and opportunity for public comment on this action is contrary to the public interest because if the quota is exceeded, the stock may be negatively affected and fishermen ultimately could experience reductions in the available quota and a lack of fishing opportunities in future seasons. For these reasons, the AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in effective date pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). This action is required under § 635.28(b)(2) and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: June 29, 2015. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-16355 Filed 6-29-15; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 141021887-5172-02] RIN 0648-XE023 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Exchange of Flatfish in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area AGENCY:

    National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Temporary rule; reallocation.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS is exchanging unused Community Development Quota (CDQ) for CDQ acceptable biological catch (ABC) reserves. This action is necessary to allow the 2015 total allowable catch of flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area to be harvested.

    DATES:

    Effective July 2, 2015 through 2400 hours, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), December 31, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Steve Whitney, 907-586-7228.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI) according to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP) prepared by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council under authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Regulations governing fishing by U.S. vessels in accordance with the FMP appear at subpart H of 50 CFR part 600 and 50 CFR part 679.

    The 2015 flathead sole, rock sole and yellowfin sole CDQ reserves specified in the BSAI are 2,595, 7,410, and 15,943 metric tons (mt) as established by the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (80 FR 11919, March 5, 2015). The 2015 flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole CDQ ABC reserves are 4,481, 12,032, and 10,679 mt as established by the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (80 FR 11919, March 5, 2015).

    The Yukon Delta Fisheries Development Association has requested that NMFS exchange 50 mt of flathead sole and 250 mt of yellowfin sole CDQ reserves for 300 mt of rock sole CDQ ABC reserves under § 679.31(d). Therefore, in accordance with § 679.31(d), NMFS exchanges 50 mt of flathead sole and 250 mt of yellowfin sole CDQ reserves for 300 mt of rock sole CDQ ABC reserves in the BSAI. This action also decreases and increases the TACs and CDQ ABC reserves by the corresponding amounts. Tables 11 and 13 of the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (80 FR 11919, March 5, 2015) are revised as follows:

    Table 11—Final 2015 Community Development Quota (CDQ) Reserves, Incidental Catch Amounts (ICAS), and Amendment 80 Allocations of the Aleutian Islands Pacific Ocean Perch, and BSAI Flathead Sole, Rock Sole, and Yellowfin Sole TACS [Amounts are in metric tons] Sector Pacific ocean perch Eastern Aleutian district Central Aleutian district Western Aleutian district Flathead sole BSAI Rock sole BSAI Yellowfin sole BSAI TAC 8,000 7,000 9,000 24,200 69,550 148,750 CDQ 856 749 963 2,545 7,710 15,693 ICA 100 75 10 5,000 8,000 5,000 BSAI trawl limited access 704 618 161 0 0 16,165 Amendment 80 6,340 5,558 7,866 16,655 53,840 111,892 Alaska Groundfish Cooperative 3,362 2,947 4,171 1,708 13,318 44,455 Alaska Seafood Cooperative 2,978 2,611 3,695 14,947 40,522 67,437 Note: Sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. Table 13—Final 2015 and 2016 ABC Surplus, Community Development Quota (CDQ) ABC Reserves, and Amendment 80 ABC Reserves in the BSAI for Flathead Sole, Rock Sole, and Yellowfin Sole [Amounts are in metric tons] Sector 2015
  • Flathead sole
  • 2015
  • Rock sole
  • 2015
  • Yellowfin sole
  • 2016
  • Flathead sole
  • 2016
  • Rock sole
  • 2016
  • Yellowfin sole
  • ABC 66,130 181,700 248,800 63,711 164,800 245,500 TAC 24,200 69,550 148,750 24,250 69,250 149,000 ABC surplus 41,930 112,150 100,050 39,461 95,550 96,500 ABC reserve 41,930 112,150 100,050 39,461 95,550 96,500 CDQ ABC reserve 4,531 11,732 10,929 4,222 10,224 10,326 Amendment 80 ABC reserve 37,399 100,418 89,121 35,239 85,326 86,175 Alaska Groundfish Cooperative for 2015 1 3,836 24,840 35,408 n/a n/a n/a Alaska Seafood Cooperative for 2015 1 33,563 75,578 53,713 n/a n/a n/a 1 The 2016 allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2015.
    Classification

    This action responds to the best available information recently obtained from the fishery. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds good cause to waive the requirement to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment pursuant to the authority set forth at 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) as such requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest. This requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest as it would prevent NMFS from responding to the most recent fisheries data in a timely fashion and would delay the flatfish exchange by the Yukon Delta Fisheries Development Association in the BSAI. Since these fisheries are currently open, it is important to immediately inform the industry as to the revised allocations. Immediate notification is necessary to allow for the orderly conduct and efficient operation of this fishery, to allow the industry to plan for the fishing season, and to avoid potential disruption to the fishing fleet as well as processors. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of June 23, 2015.

    The AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in the effective date of this action under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). This finding is based upon the reasons provided above for waiver of prior notice and opportunity for public comment.

    This action is required by § 679.20 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: June 29, 2015. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-16377 Filed 6-29-15; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    80 127 Thursday, July 2, 2015 Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY 5 CFR Chapter XXII 10 CFR Chapters II, III, and X Reducing Regulatory Burden AGENCY:

    Office of the General Counsel, Department of Energy.

    ACTION:

    Request for information (RFI).

    SUMMARY:

    As part of its implementation of Executive Order 13563, “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review,” issued by the President on January 18, 2011, the Department of Energy (Department or DOE) is seeking comments and information from interested parties to assist DOE in reviewing its existing regulations to determine whether any such regulations should be modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed. The purpose of DOE's review is to make the agency's regulatory program more effective and less burdensome in achieving its regulatory objectives. In this request for information, DOE also highlights its regulatory review and reform efforts conducted to date in light of comments from interested parties.

    DATES:

    Written comments and information are requested on or before July 17, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Interested persons are encouraged to submit comments, identified by “Regulatory Burden RFI,” by any of the following methods:

    White House Web site: http://www.whitehouse.gov/advise

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    Email: [email protected] Include “Regulatory Burden RFI” in the subject line of the message.

    Mail: U.S. Department of Energy, Office of the General Counsel, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Room 6A245, Washington, DC 20585.

    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents, or comments received, go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov.

    That Department's plan for retrospective review of its regulations and its subsequent update reports can be accessed at http://energy.gov/gc/services/open-government/restrospective-regulatory-review.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Aaron Stevenson, Office of the Assistant General Counsel for Legislation, Regulation, and Energy Efficiency, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of the General Counsel, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585, 202-586-5000. Email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On January 18, 2011, the President issued Executive Order 13563, “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review,” to ensure that Federal regulations seek more affordable, less intrusive means to achieve policy goals, and that agencies give careful consideration to the benefits and costs of those regulations. To that end, the Executive Order requires, among other things, that:

    • Agencies propose or adopt a regulation only upon a reasoned determination that its benefits justify its costs; and that agencies tailor regulations to impose the least burden on society, consistent with obtaining the regulatory objectives, taking into account, among other things, and to the extent practicable, the costs of cumulative regulations; and that, consistent with applicable law, agencies select, in choosing among alternative regulatory approaches, those approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety, and other advantages; distributive impacts; and equity).

    • The regulatory process encourages public participation and an open exchange of views, with an opportunity for the public to comment.

    • Agencies coordinate, simplify, and harmonize regulations to reduce costs and promote certainty for businesses and the public.

    • Agencies consider low-cost approaches that reduce burdens and maintain flexibility.

    • Regulations be guided by objective scientific evidence.

    Additionally, the Executive Order directs agencies to consider how best to promote retrospective analyses of existing rules. Specifically, agencies were required to develop a plan under which the agency will periodically review existing regulations to determine which should be maintained, modified, strengthened, or repealed to increase the effectiveness and decrease the burdens of the agency's regulatory program. DOE's plan and its subsequent update reports can be accessed at http://energy.gov/gc/services/open-government/restrospective-regulatory-review.

    The Department is committed to maintaining a consistent culture of retrospective review and analysis. DOE will continually engage in review of its rules to determine whether there are burdens on the public that can be avoided by amending or rescinding existing requirements. To that end, DOE is publishing this RFI to again explicitly solicit public input. In addition, DOE is always open to receiving information about the impact of its regulations. To facilitate both this RFI and the ongoing submission of comments, interested parties can identify regulations that may be in need of review at the following recently established White House Web site: http://www.whitehouse.gov/advise. DOE has also created a link on the Web page of DOE's Office of the General Counsel to an email in-box for the submission of comments, [email protected]

    While the Department promulgates rules in accordance with the law and to the best of its analytic capability, it is difficult to be certain of the consequences of a rule, including its costs and benefits, until it has been tested. Because knowledge about the full effects of a rule is widely dispersed in society, members of the public are likely to have useful information and perspectives on the benefits and burdens of existing requirements and how regulatory obligations may be updated, streamlined, revised, or repealed to better achieve regulatory objectives, while minimizing regulatory burdens. Interested parties may also be well-positioned to identify those rules that are most in need of review and, thus, assist the Department in prioritizing and properly tailoring its retrospective review process. In short, engaging the public in an open, transparent process is a crucial step in DOE's review of its existing regulations.

    The Department's dedication to involve the public in the regulatory process has manifested itself in the development of a draft public engagement plan. As part of this plan, the Department will continue already successful public engagement efforts. The ongoing efforts will include seeking public input on the retrospective review process, posting comments on our Web page to encourage the public to share their thoughts on the comments of others, and the existence of a dedicated retrospective review email address. These efforts encourage public engagement in the retrospective review process, and provide the ability for the public to comment and engage in a dialog on the improvement of DOE regulations.

    The draft public engagement plan also contains new, innovative ways of engaging the public in the regulatory review process. In particular, the Department has tasked the Appliance Standards and Rulemaking Federal Advisory Committee (ASRAC) to assist DOE in the retrospective review process. ASRAC was created as an advisory committee to provide advice and recommendations on the development of standards and test procedures for residential appliances and commercial equipment, certification and enforcement of standards, and product labeling. ASRAC is comprised of representatives from industry, utilities, energy efficiency/environmental advocacy groups, and consumer groups. As a part of the retrospective regulatory review process, the Department has tasked ASRAC to identify particular rules for which revision would have the most positive impact and potential improvement to the regulatory process. ASRAC meetings are also open to the public and notice of ASRAC meetings are published in the Federal Register. ASRAC has also been tasked with writing a report that details their recommendations for the regulatory review process. The Department will review this report and, as appropriate, incorporate the recommendations as a part of its retrospective regulatory review process. ASRAC has already held two meetings at which retrospective regulatory review was on the agenda. Involving ASRAC in the regulatory review process will provide the public with another means to help the Department determine the regulations that could benefit the most from retrospective review.

    Department of Energy Retrospective Review Successes

    The Department highlights the examples below as retrospective review successes resulting from public engagement in the regulatory process. For further details and additional examples, the public is invited to review DOE's February 2015 update report, available at http://www.energy.gov/gc/services/open-government/restrospective-regulatory-review.

    (1) DOE waived the R-Value Door Requirement for Walk-in Cooler/Freezer(s) (WICF) for a small business manufacturer. Due to an existing statutory standard, a small business was not going to be able to manufacturer the product that was subject to the DOE energy conservation standard. The Department used a flexible approach that facilitated innovation and prevented substantial hardship from falling on the company while preserving the Department's goal of increasing energy efficiency. As a result of the waiver, the company was able to retain over 100 employees.

    (2) DOE promulgated a rule to extend the test procedure compliance date for walk-in coolers and freezers and metal halide lamp fixtures. The Department published the final rule to clarify the compliance date by which manufacturers must use portions of the test procedure that was published in the past and to adopt an extension to the compliance date for which the manufacturers need to certify compliance to the Department of metal halide lamp ballasts and fixtures. The Department was responding to concerns raised by manufacturers in the promulgation of the rule and the extension of compliance dates. Moving forward, the Department will continue to consider feedback in determining whether the testing procedures are warranted. In working with interested parties to develop the rule and the extension of the compliance dates the manufacturers were benefitted with extra guidance on the rule and additional time in the certification process.

    (3) The Department also worked with the public to avoid further economic hardship resulting from its certification and enforcement regulations. The Department received feedback from manufacturers who voiced their concerns that the testing requirements under the rule would take several years to complete and the compliance date associated with this program could undermine their research and development efforts. As a result of this, the Department published an extension of compliance dates for a number of other types of commercial equipment subject to the final energy efficiency certification and enforcement rule. The Department will continue to work with the public and interested parties in determining whether future adjustments to its certification and enforcement procedures are warranted.The Department also updated the Federal Building Standards Rule as part of its retrospective review process. The Energy Conservation and Production Act requires DOE to update the baseline federal energy efficiency performance standards for the construction of new federal buildings. These federal buildings include commercial and multi-family high-rise residential buildings. When developing the rule, the Department considered comments and information received from interested parties. The result of this process is a rule intended to establish baseline energy standards while providing flexibility in how these requirements are achieved.

    (4) DOE has also made it easier for companies to report information by analyzing the Procurement Reporting and Record-keeping Burdens. The Department initiated the use of asset management software to ease the reporting of property inventories that is required by the Department of Energy Acquisition Regulation Act. This software streamlines the requirements for submitting information to the Department, and the Department will continues, as part of its retrospective review efforts to consider any additional feedback received regarding paperwork collection. This initiative is estimated to reduce the reporting burden by 225,166 hours for the Department's property management and operating contractors.

    List of Questions for Commenters

    The following list of questions is intended to assist in the formulation of comments and not to restrict the issues that may be addressed. In addressing these questions or others, DOE requests that commenters identify with specificity the regulation or reporting requirement at issue, providing legal citation where available. The Department also requests that the submitter provide, in as much detail as possible, an explanation why a regulation or reporting requirement should be modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed, as well as specific suggestions of ways the Department can better achieve its regulatory objectives.

    (1) How can the Department best promote meaningful periodic reviews of its existing rules and how can it best identify those rules that might be modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed?

    (2) What factors should the agency consider in selecting and prioritizing rules and reporting requirements for review?

    (3) Are there regulations that are or have become unnecessary, ineffective, or ill advised and, if so, what are they? Are there rules that can simply be repealed without impairing the Department's regulatory programs and, if so, what are they?

    (4) Are there rules or reporting requirements that have become outdated and, if so, how can they be modernized to accomplish their regulatory objectives better?

    (5) Are there rules that are still necessary, but have not operated as well as expected such that a modified, stronger, or slightly different approach is justified?

    (6) Does the Department currently collect information that it does not need or use effectively to achieve regulatory objectives?

    (7) Are there regulations, reporting requirements, or regulatory processes that are unnecessarily complicated or could be streamlined to achieve regulatory objectives in more efficient ways?

    (8) Are there rules or reporting requirements that have been overtaken by technological developments? Can new technologies be leveraged to modify, streamline, or do away with existing regulatory or reporting requirements?

    (9) How can the Department best obtain and consider accurate, objective information and data about the costs, burdens, and benefits of existing regulations? Are there existing sources of data the Department can use to evaluate the post-promulgation effects of regulations over time? We invite interested parties to provide data that may be in their possession that documents the costs, burdens, and benefits of existing requirements.

    (10) Are there regulations that are working well that can be expanded or used as a model to fill gaps in other DOE regulatory programs?

    The Department notes that this RFI is issued solely for information and program-planning purposes. Responses to this RFI do not bind DOE to any further actions related to the response. All submissions will be made publically available on. http://www.regulations.gov.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on June 24, 2015. Steven P. Croley, General Counsel.
    [FR Doc. 2015-16383 Filed 7-1-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service 7 CFR Part 986 [Docket No. AMS-FV-15-0023; FV15-986-1] Pecans Grown in the States of Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas; Hearing on Proposed Marketing Agreement and Order No. 986 AGENCY:

    Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice of public hearing on proposed marketing agreement and order.

    SUMMARY:

    Notice is hereby given of a public hearing to consider a proposed marketing agreement and order under the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 to cover pecans grown in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas. The proposal was submitted on behalf of the pecan industry by the American Pecan Board, the proponent group which is comprised of pecan growers and handlers from across the proposed production area. The proposed order would provide authority to collect industry data and to conduct research and promotion activities. In addition, the order would provide authority for the industry to recommend grade, quality and size regulation, as well as pack and container regulation, subject to approval by the Department of Agriculture (USDA). The program would be financed by assessments on pecan handlers and would be locally administered, under USDA oversight, by a council of seventeen growers and shellers (handlers) nominated by the industry and appointed by USDA.

    DATES:

    The hearing dates are:

    1. July 20 through July 21, 2015, Las Cruces, New Mexico. If an additional hearing session is necessary at this location, the hearing will continue on July 22.

    2. July 23 through July 24, 2015, Dallas, Texas. If an additional hearing session is necessary at this location, the hearing will continue on July 25.

    3. July 27 through July 29, 2015, Tifton, Georgia. If an additional hearing session is necessary at this location, the hearing will continue on July 30, 2015.

    All hearing sessions are scheduled to begin at 8:00 a.m. and will conclude at 5:00 p.m., or any other time as determined by the presiding administrative law judge with the exception of the hearing session potentially held on July 22 and 25, which will conclude at noon. ADDRESSES: The hearing locations are: 1. New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, Rio Hondo Room and Auditorium, 4100 Dripping Springs Road, Las Cruces, New Mexico, 88011.

    2. Hilton Double Tree, Azalea Room, 1981 North Central Expressway, Richardson, Texas 75080.

    3. Hilton Garden Inn, Magnolia Room, 201 Boo Drive, Tifton, Georgia, 31793.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Melissa Schmaedick, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Rulemaking Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Program, Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), USDA, Post Office Box 1035, Moab, UT 84532, telephone: (202) 557-4783, fax: (435) 259-1502; or Michelle P. Sharrow, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Rulemaking Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Stop 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237; telephone: (202) 720-2491, fax: (202) 720-8938. Small businesses may request information on this proceeding by contacting Jeff Smutny, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Fruit and Vegetable Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Stop 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237; telephone: (202) 720-2491, fax: (202) 720-8938.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This administrative action is instituted pursuant to the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, as amended (7 U.S.C. 601-674), hereinafter referred to as the “Act.” The proposed marketing order is authorized under section 8(c) of the Act. This action is governed by the provisions of sections 556 and 557 of title 5 of the United States Code and, therefore, is excluded from the requirements of Executive Order 12866.

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) seeks to ensure that within the statutory authority of a program, the regulatory and informational requirements are tailored to the size and nature of small businesses. Interested persons are invited to present evidence at the hearing on the possible regulatory and informational impacts of the proposal on small businesses.

    The marketing agreement and order proposed herein have been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. They are not intended to have retroactive effect.

    The Act provides that administrative proceedings must be exhausted before parties may file suit in court. Under section 608c(15)(A) of the Act, any handler subject to an order may file with the Secretary a petition stating that the order, any provision of the order, or any obligation imposed in connection with the order is not in accordance with law and request a modification of the order or to be exempted therefrom. A handler is afforded the opportunity for a hearing on the petition. The Act provides that the district court of the United States in any district in which the handler is an inhabitant, or has his or her principal place of business, has jurisdiction to review the Secretary's ruling on the petition, provided an action is filed not later than 20 days after the date of the entry of the ruling.

    Background

    The hearing is called pursuant to the provisions of the Act and the applicable rules of practice and procedure governing the formulation of marketing agreements and orders (7 CFR part 900).

    A request for public hearing on the proposed program was submitted to USDA on May 22, 2015, by the American Pecan Board (Board), a proponent group established in 2013 to represent the interests of growers and handlers throughout the proposed fifteen-state production area. A subsequent, modified draft of the proposed regulatory text was submitted June 10, 2015.

    The Board was established as a result of industry interest in establishing a Federal program to assist the industry in addressing a number of challenges, namely: A lack of organized representation of industry-wide interests in a single organization; a lack of accurate data to assist the industry in its analysis of production, demand and prices; a lack of coordinated domestic promotion or research; and a forecasted increase in production as a result of new plantings. The Board believes that these factors combined have resulted in the under-performance of the pecan industry vis a vis other nut industries.

    According to the Board, pecans are grown for-profit in fifteen states. A 2012 Census of Agriculture by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service indicates a total of 543,486 pecan acres in the U.S. While accurate data for the pecan industry is limited, the Board believes that the majority of these represent commercial production within the proposed production area. Industry grower organizations estimate that there are approximately 2,500 commercial growers, where “commercial” is defined by a minimum number of acres or product harvested for the business to be commercially viable. Therefore, the estimate of commercial growers does not include backyard production or “hobby farmers.”

    The number of handlers is estimated to be 250. Shellers, a sub-category of handlers, handle the majority of product sold into the domestic market. There are an estimated 50 commercial shellers currently operating, with 36 meeting the Small Business Administration's definition of small business entity. According to USDA, U.S. pecan production accounts for 80 percent of worldwide production. Pecans rank third in tree-nut consumption in the United States.

    Proposed Marketing Order

    The proposed marketing order would authorize data collection, research and promotion activities, and grade, size, quality, pack and container regulation. According to the request, the proposed program would increase demand, stabilize grower prices, create sustainable handler margins, and provide a consistent supply of quality pecans for consumers.

    If implemented, an administrative council of 17 grower and handler industry representatives, including designated representation for small businesses, would be established. The program would be financed with assessments collected from handlers handling pecans grown within the proposed production area.

    Presently, there is no single organization that represents both pecan grower and handler interests industry-wide. There are two state pecan commissions (Georgia and Texas), ten state producer organizations, one national grower association, and one national shellers' association. Promotion and research activities are currently conducted as funding is available by the independent organizations mentioned above, with little coordination among projects. U.S. grade standards are currently in effect on a voluntary basis. These include, “United States Standards for Grades of Pecans in the Shell” (1976) and “United States Standards for Grades of Shelled Pecans” (1969).

    The proposal for an order has been widely discussed within the fifteen-state pecan production area for roughly two years. Since May of 2013, the Board has undertaken extensive outreach efforts to build industry support for the proposed program. According to the Board, 38 presentations have been given at grower and sheller conferences and board meetings, state conventions, and industry field days. In addition, the Board has participated in local pecan meetings throughout the rural areas of the proposed production area to increase awareness, seek input and gather support for the program. Five regional information sessions were held in 2014 with pecan stakeholders including the Southeastern Pecan Growers Association, National Pecan Shellers Association, Western Pecan Growers Association, Georgia Pecan Growers Association, and Texas Pecan Growers Association.

    None of the recommendations or proposals discussed herein have received approval by the Secretary of Agriculture.

    Testimony is invited at the hearing on the proposed marketing agreement and order (hereinafter referred to as the order) and all of its provisions, as well as any appropriate modifications or alternatives. USDA will make such changes as may be necessary to ensure that all provisions of any potential marketing agreement and marketing order that may result from this hearing conform with each other.

    The public hearing is held for the purpose of:

    (a) Receiving evidence about the economic and marketing conditions that relate to the proposed order and to appropriate modifications thereof;

    (b) Determining whether the handling of pecans produced in the production area is in the current of interstate commerce or directly burdens, obstructs, or affects interstate commerce and foreign commerce;

    (c) Determining whether there is a need for a marketing agreement and order for pecans;

    (d) Determining the economic impact of the proposed order on the industry in the proposed production area and on the public affected by such program; and

    (e) Determining whether the proposed order or any appropriate modification thereof would tend to effectuate the declared policy of the Act.

    All persons wishing to submit written material as evidence at the hearing should be prepared to submit four copies of such material at the hearing. Four copies of prepared testimony for presentation at the hearing should also be made available. To the extent practicable, eight additional copies of evidentiary exhibits and testimony prepared as an exhibit should be made available to USDA representatives on the day of appearance at the hearing. Any requests for preparation of USDA data for this rulemaking hearing should be made at least 10 days prior to the beginning of the hearing.

    From the time the notice of hearing is issued and until the issuance of a Secretary's decision in this proceeding, USDA employees involved in the decisional process are prohibited from discussing the merits of the hearing issues on an ex-parte basis with any person having an interest in the proceeding. The prohibition applies to employees in the following organizational units: Office of the Secretary of Agriculture; Office of the Administrator, AMS; Office of the General Counsel; and the Fruit and Vegetable Program, AMS.

    Procedural Matters Are Not Subject to the Above Prohibition and May Be Discussed at Any Time

    Provisions of the proposed marketing agreement and order follow. Those sections identified with an asterisk (*) apply only to the proposed marketing agreement and are proposed by the USDA.

    List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 986

    Marketing agreements, Pecans, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    The marketing agreement and order proposed by the American Pecan Board for a Federal Marketing Order for Pecans Grown in Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas would add a new part 986 to read as follows:

    PART 986—PECANS GROWN IN THE STATES OF ALABAMA, ARKANSAS, ARIZONA, CALIFORNIA, FLORIDA, GEORGIA, KANSAS, LOUISIANA, MISSOURI, MISSISSIPPI, NORTH CAROLINA, NEW MEXICO, OKLAHOMA, SOUTH CAROLINA, AND TEXAS Subpart A—Order Regulating Handling of Pecans Definitions Sec. 986.1 Accumulator. 986.2 Act. 986.3 Affiliation. 986.4 Blowouts. 986.5 To certify. 986.6 Confidential data or information. 986.7 Container. 986.8 Council. 986.9 Crack or cracks. 986.10 Custom harvester. 986.11 Department or USDA. 986.12 Disappearance. 986.13 Farm Service Agency. 986.14 Fiscal year. 986.15 Grade and size. 986.16 Grower. 986.17 Grower-cleaned production. 986.18 Handler. 986.19 To handle. 986.20 Handler inventory. 986.21 Handler-cleaned production. 986.22 Hican. 986.23 Inshell pecans. 986.24 Inspection service. 986.25 Inter-handler transfer. 986.26 Merchantable pecans. 986.27 Pack. 986.28 Pecans. 986.29 Person. 986.30 Production area. 986.31 Proprietary capacity. 986.32 Regions. 986.33 Representative period. 986.34 Secretary. 986.35 Sheller. 986.36 Shelled pecans. 986.37 Stick-tights. 986.38 Trade supply. 986.39 Unassessed inventory. 986.40 Varieties. 986.41 Warehousing. 986.42 Weight. Administrative Body 986.45 American Pecan Council. 986.46 Council nominations and voting. 986.47 Alternate members. 986.48 Eligibility. 986.49 Acceptance. 986.50 Term of office. 986.51 Vacancy. 986.52 Council expenses. 986.53 Powers. 986.54 Duties. 986.55 Procedure. 986.56 Right of the Secretary. 986.57 Funds and other property. 986.58 Reapportionment and redistricting. Expenses, Assessments and Marketing Policy 986.60 Budget. 986.61 Assessments. 986.62 Inter-handler transfers. 986.63 Contributions. 986.64 Accounting. 986.65 Marketing policy. Authorities Relating to Research, Promotion, Data Gathering, Packaging, Grading, Compliance and Reporting 986.67 Recommendations for regulations. 986.68 Authority for research and promotion activities. 986.69 Authorities regulating handling. 986.70 Handling for special purposes. 986.71 Safeguards. 986.72 Notification of regulation. Reports, Books and Other Records 986.75 Reports of handler inventory. 986.76 Reports of merchantable pecans handled. 986.77 Reports of pecans received by handlers. 986.78 Other handler reports. 986.79 Verification of reports. 986.80 Certification of reports. 986.81 Confidential information. 986.82 Books and other records. Administrative Provisions 986.86 Exemptions. 986.87 Compliance. 986.88 Duration of immunities. 986.89 Separability. 986.90 Derogation. 986.91 Liability. 986.92 Agents. 986.93 Effective time. 986.94 Termination. 986.95 Proceedings after termination. 986.96 Amendments. *986.97 Counterparts. *986.98 Additional participants. *986.99 Order with marketing agreement. Subpart B—[Reserved] Authority:

    7 U.S.C. 601-674

    Subpart A—Order Regulating Handling of Pecans Definitions
    § 986.1 Accumulator.

    Accumulator means a person who compiles inshell pecans from other persons for the purpose of resale or transfer.

    § 986.2 Act.

    Act means Public Act No. 10, 73d Congress, as amended and as reenacted and amended by the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, as amended (7 U.S.C. 601 et seq.).

    § 986.3 Affiliation.

    Affiliation. This term normally appears as “affiliate of”, or “affiliated with,” and means a person such as a grower or sheller who is: A grower or handler that directly, or indirectly through one or more intermediaries, owns or controls, or is controlled by, or is under common control with the grower or handler specified; or a grower or handler that directly, or indirectly through one or more intermediaries, is connected in a proprietary capacity, or shares the ownership or control of the specified grower or handler with one or more other growers or handlers. As used in this part, the term “control” (including the terms “controlling,” “controlled by,” and “under the common control with”) means the possession, direct or indirect, of the power to direct or cause the direction of the management and policies of a handler or a grower, whether through voting securities, membership in a cooperative, by contract or otherwise.

    § 986.4 Blowouts.

    Blowouts mean lightweight or underdeveloped inshell pecan nuts that are considered of lesser quality and market value.

    § 986.5 To certify.

    To certify means the issuance of a certification of inspection of pecans by the inspection service.

    § 986.6 Confidential data or information.

    Confidential data or information submitted to the Council consists of data or information constituting a trade secret or disclosure of the trade position, financial condition, or business operations of a particular entity or its customers.

    § 986.7 Container.

    Container means a box, bag, crate, carton, package (including retail packaging), or any other type of receptacle used in the packaging or handling of pecans.

    § 986.8 Council.

    Council means the American Pecan Council established pursuant to § 986.45, American Pecan Council.

    § 986.9 Crack or cracks.

    Crack means to break, crack, or otherwise compromise the outer shell of a pecan so as to expose the kernel inside to air outside the shell. Cracks refer to an accumulated group or container of pecans that have been cracked in harvesting or handling.

    § 986.10 Custom harvester.

    Custom harvester means a person who harvests inshell pecans for a fee.

    § 986.11 Department or USDA.

    Department or USDA means the United States Department of Agriculture.

    § 986.12 Disappearance.

    Disappearance means the difference between the sum of grower-cleaned production and handler-cleaned production (whether from improved orchards or native and seedling groves) and the sum of available supply of merchantable pecans and merchantable equivalent of shelled pecans.

    § 986.13 Farm Service Agency.

    The Farm Service Agency or FSA means that agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    § 986.14 Fiscal year.

    Fiscal year means the twelve months from October 1st to September 30th, both inclusive, or any other such period deemed appropriate by the Council and approved by the Secretary.

    § 986.15 Grade and size.

    Grade and size means any of the officially established grades of pecans and any of the officially established sizes of pecans as set forth in the United States standards for inshell and shelled pecans or amendments thereto, or modifications thereof, or other variations of grade and size based thereon recommended by the Council and approved by the Secretary.

    § 986.16 Grower.

    Grower is synonymous with producer and means any person engaged within the production area in a proprietary capacity in the production of pecans if such person: Owns an orchard and harvests its pecans for sale (even if a custom harvester is used); or is a lessee of a pecan orchard and has the right to sell the harvest (even if the lessee must remit a percentage of the crop or rent to a lessor); Provided, That the term grower shall only include those who produce a minimum of 50,000 pounds of inshell pecans during a representative period (average of four years) or who own a minimum of 30 pecan acres according to the FSA, including acres calculated by the FSA based on pecan tree density. In the absence of any FSA delineation of pecan acreage, the regular definition of an acre will apply. The Council may recommend changes to this definition subject to the approval of the Secretary.

    § 986.17 Grower-cleaned production.

    Grower-cleaned production means production harvested and processed through a cleaning plant to determine volumes of improved pecans, native and seedling pecans, and substandard pecans to transfer to a handler for sale.

    § 986.18 Handler.

    Handler means any person who handles inshell or shelled pecans in any manner described in § 986.19.

    § 986.19 To handle.

    To handle means to receive, shell, crack, accumulate, warehouse, roast, pack, sell, consign, transport, export, or ship (except as a common or contract carrier of pecans owned by another person), or in any other way to put inshell or shelled pecans into any and all markets in the stream of commerce either within the area of production or from such area to any point outside thereof. The term “to handle” shall not include: Sales and deliveries within the area of production by growers to handlers; grower warehousing; custom handling (except for selling, consigning or exporting) or other similar activities paid for on a fee-for-service basis by a grower who retains the ownership of the pecans; or transfers between handlers.

    § 986.20 Handler inventory.

    Handler inventory means all pecans, shelled or inshell, as of any date and wherever located within the production area, then held by a handler for their account.

    § 986.21 Handler-cleaned production.

    Handler-cleaned production is production that is received, purchased or consigned from the grower by a handler prior to processing through a cleaning plant, and then subsequently processed through a cleaning plant so as to determine volumes of improved pecans, native and seedling pecans, and substandard pecans.

    § 986.22 Hican.

    Hican means a tree resulting from a cross between a pecan and some other type of hickory (members of the genus Carya) or the nut from such a hybrid tree.

    § 986.23 Inshell pecans.

    Inshell pecans are nuts whose kernel is maintained inside the shell.

    § 986.24 Inspection service.

    Inspection service means the Federal-State Inspection Service or any other inspection service authorized by the Secretary.

    § 986.25 Inter-handler transfer.

    Inter-handler transfer means the movement of inshell pecans from one handler to another inside the production area for the purposes of additional handling. Any assessments or requirements under this part with respect to inshell pecans so transferred may be assumed by the receiving handler.

    § 986.26 Merchantable pecans.

    (a) Inshell. Merchantable inshell pecans mean all inshell pecans meeting the minimum grade regulations that may be effective pursuant to § 986.69, Authorities regulating handling.

    (b) Shelled. Merchantable shelled pecans means all shelled pecans meeting the minimum grade regulations that may be effective pursuant to § 986.69, Authorities regulating handling.

    § 986.27 Pack.

    Pack means to clean, grade, or otherwise prepare pecans for market as inshell or shelled pecans.

    § 986.28 Pecans.

    (a) Pecans means and includes any and all varieties or subvarieties of Genus: Carya, Species: illinoensis, expressed also as Carya illinoinensis (syn. C. illinoenses) including all varieties thereof, excluding hicans, that are produced in the production area and are classified as:

    (1) Native or seedling pecans harvested from non-grafted or naturally propagated tree varieties;

    (2) Improved pecans harvested from grafted tree varieties bred or selected for superior traits of nut size, ease of shelling, production characteristics, and resistance to certain insects and diseases, including but not limited to: Desirable, Elliot, Forkert, Sumner, Creek, Excel, Gloria Grande, Kiowa, Moreland, Sioux, Mahan, Mandan, Moneymaker, Morrill, Cunard, Zinner, Byrd, McMillan, Stuart, Pawnee, Eastern and Western Schley, Wichita, Success, Cape Fear, Choctaw, Cheyenne, Lakota, Kanza, Caddo, and Oconee; and

    (3) Substandard pecans that are blowouts, cracks, stick-tights, and other inferior quality pecans, whether native or improved, that, with further handling, can be cleaned and eventually sold into the stream of commerce.

    (b) The Council, with the approval of the Secretary, may recognize new or delete obsolete varieties or sub-varieties for each category.

    § 986.29 Person.

    Person means an individual, partnership, corporation, association, or any other business unit.

    § 986.30 Production area.

    Production area means the following fifteen pecan-producing states within the United States: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas.

    § 986.31 Proprietary capacity.

    Proprietary capacity means the capacity or interest of a grower or handler that, either directly or through one or more intermediaries or affiliates, is a property owner together with all the appurtenant rights of an owner including the right to vote the interest in that capacity as an individual, a shareholder, member of a cooperative, partner, trustee or in any other capacity with respect to any other business unit.

    § 986.32 Regions.

    (a) Regions within the production area shall consist of the following:

    (1) Eastern Region, consisting of: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina

    (2) Central Region, consisting of: Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas

    (3) Western Region, consisting of: Arizona, California, New Mexico

    (b) With the approval of the Secretary, the boundaries of any district may be changed pursuant to § 986.58, Reapportionment and redistricting.

    § 986.33 Representative period.

    Representative period is the previous four fiscal years for which a grower's annual average production is calculated, or any other period recommended by the Council and approved by the Secretary.

    § 986.34 Secretary.

    Secretary means the Secretary of Agriculture of the United States, or any other officer or employee of the United States Department of Agriculture who is, or who may be, authorized to perform the duties of the Secretary of Agriculture of the United States.

    § 986.35 Sheller.

    Sheller refers to any person who converts inshell pecans to shelled pecans and sells the output in any and all markets in the stream of commerce, both within and outside of the production area; Provided, That the term sheller shall only include those who shell more than 1 million pounds of inshell pecans in a fiscal year. The Council may recommend changes to this definition subject to the approval of the Secretary.

    § 986.36 Shelled pecans.

    Shelled pecans are pecans whose shells have been removed leaving only edible kernels, kernel pieces or pecan meal. Shelled pecans are synonymous with pecan meats.

    § 986.37 Stick-tights.

    Stick-tights means pecans whose outer shuck has adhered to the shell causing their value to decrease or be discounted.

    § 986.38 Trade supply.

    Trade supply means the quantity of merchantable inshell or shelled pecans that growers will supply to handlers during a fiscal year for sale in the United States and abroad.

    § 986.39 Unassessed inventory.

    Unassessed inventory means inshell pecans held by growers or handlers for which no assessment has been paid to the Council.

    § 986.40 Varieties.

    Varieties mean and include all cultivars, classifications, or subdivisions of pecans.

    § 986.41 Warehousing.

    Warehousing means to hold unassessed inventory.

    § 986.42 Weight.

    Weight means pounds of inshell pecans, received by handler within each fiscal year; Provided, That for shelled pecans the actual weight shall be multiplied by two to obtain an inshell weight.

    Administrative Body
    § 986.45 American Pecan Council.

    The American Pecan Council is hereby established consisting of 17 members selected by the Secretary, each of whom shall have an alternate member nominated and selected in the same way and with the same qualifications as the member. The 17 members shall include nine (9) grower seats, six (6) sheller seats, and two (2) at-large seats allocated to one accumulator and one public member. The grower and sheller nominees and their alternates shall be growers and shellers at the time of their nomination and for the duration of their tenure. Grower and sheller members and their alternates shall be selected by the Secretary from nominees submitted by the Council. The two at-large seats shall be nominated by the Council and appointed by the Secretary.

    (a) Each region shall be allocated the following member seats:

    (1) Eastern Region: three (3) growers and two (2) shellers

    (2) Central Region: three (3) growers and two (2) shellers

    (3) Western Region: three (3) growers and two (2) shellers

    (b) Within each region, the grower and sheller seats shall be defined as follows:

    (1) Grower seats: Each region shall have a grower Seat 1 and Seat 2 allocated to growers whose acreage is equal to or exceeds 176 pecan acres. Each region shall also have a grower Seat 3 allocated to a grower whose acreage does not exceed 175 pecan acres.

    (2) Sheller seats: Each region shall have a sheller Seat 1 allocated to a sheller who handles more than 12.5 million pounds of inshell pecans in the fiscal year preceding nomination, and a sheller Seat 2 allocated to a sheller who handles less than or equal to 12.5 million pounds of inshell pecans in the fiscal year preceding nomination.

    (c) The Council may recommend, subject to the approval of the Secretary, revisions to the above requirements for grower and sheller seats to accommodate changes within the industry.

    § 986.46 Council nominations and voting.

    Nomination of Council members and alternate members shall follow the procedure set forth in this section, or as may be changed as recommended by the Council and approved by the Secretary. All nominees must meet the requirements set forth in §§ 986.45, American Pecan Council, and 986.48, Eligibility, or as otherwise identified by the Secretary, to serve on the Council.

    (a) Initial members. Nominations for initial Council members and alternate members shall be conducted by the Secretary by either holding meetings of shellers and growers, by mail, or by email, and shall be submitted on approved nomination forms. Eligibility to cast nomination ballots, accounting of nomination ballot results, and identification of member and alternate nominees shall follow the procedures set forth in this section, or by any other criteria deemed necessary by the Secretary. The Secretary shall select and appoint the initial members and alternate members of the Council.

    (b) Successor members. Subsequent nominations of Council members and alternate members shall be conducted as follows:

    (1) Call for nominations. (i) Nominations for the grower member seats for each region shall be received from growers in that region on approved forms containing the information stipulated in this section.

    (ii) If a grower is engaged in producing pecans in more than one region, such grower shall nominate in the region in which they grow the largest volume of their production.

    (iii) Nominations for the sheller member seats for each region shall be received from shellers in that region on approved forms containing the information stipulated in this section.

    (iv) If a sheller is engaged in handling in more than one region, such sheller shall nominate in the region in which they shelled the largest volume in the preceding fiscal year.

    (2) Voting for nominees. (i) Only growers, through duly authorized officers or employees of growers, if applicable, may participate in the nomination of grower member nominees and their alternates. Each grower shall be entitled to cast only one nomination ballot for each of the three grower seats in their region.

    (ii) If a grower is engaged in producing pecans in more than one region, such grower shall cast their nomination ballot in the region in which they grow the largest volume of their production. Notwithstanding this stipulation, such grower may vote their volume produced in any or all of the three regions.

    (iii) Only shellers, through duly authorized officers or employees of shellers, if applicable, may participate in the nomination of the sheller member nominees and their alternates. Each sheller shall be entitled to cast only one nomination ballot for each of the two sheller seats in their region.

    (iv) If a sheller is engaged in handling in more than one region, such sheller shall cast their nomination ballot in the region in which they shelled the largest volume in the preceding fiscal year. Notwithstanding this stipulation, such sheller may vote their volume handled in all three regions.

    (v) If a person is both a grower and a sheller of pecans, such person may not participate in both grower and sheller nominations. Such person must elect to participate either as a grower or a sheller.

    (3) Nomination procedure for grower seats. (i) The Council shall mail to all growers who are on record with the Council within the respective regions a grower nomination ballot indicating the nominees for each of the three grower member seats, along with voting instructions. Growers may cast ballots on the proper ballot form either at meetings of growers, by mail, or by email as designated by the Council. For ballots to be considered, they must be submitted on the proper forms with all required information, including signatures.

    (ii) On the ballot, growers shall indicate their nomination for the grower seats and also indicate their average annual volume of inshell pecan production for the preceding four fiscal years.

    (iii) Seat 1 (growers with equal to or more than 176 acres of pecans). The nominee for this seat in each region shall be the grower receiving the highest volume of production votes from the respective region, and the grower receiving the second highest volume of production votes shall be the alternate member nominee for this seat. In case of a tie vote, the nominee shall be selected by a drawing.

    (iv) Seat 2 (growers with equal to or more than 176 acres of pecans). The nominee for this seat in each region shall be the grower receiving the highest number of votes from their respective region, and the grower receiving the second highest number of votes shall be the alternate member nominee for this seat. In case of a tie vote, the nominee shall be selected by a drawing.

    (v) Seat 3 (grower with 175 or fewer acres of pecans). The nominee for this seat in each region shall be the grower receiving the highest number of votes from the respective region, and the grower receiving the second highest number of votes shall be the alternate member nominee for this seat. In case of a tie vote, the nominee shall be selected by a drawing.

    (4) Nomination procedure for sheller seats. (i) The Council shall mail to all shellers who are on record with the Council within the respective regions the sheller ballot indicating the nominees for each of the two sheller member seats in their respective regions, along with voting instructions. Shellers may cast ballots on approved ballot forms either at meetings of shellers, by mail, or by email as designated by the Council. For ballots to be considered, they must be submitted on the approved forms with all required information, including signatures.

    (ii) Seat 1 (shellers handling more than 12.5 million lbs. of inshell pecans in the preceding fiscal year). The nominee for this seat in each region shall be assigned to the sheller receiving the highest number of votes from the respective region, and the sheller receiving the second highest number of votes shall be the alternate member nominee for this seat. In case of a tie vote, the nominee shall be selected by a drawing.

    (iii) Seat 2 (shellers handling equal to or less than 12.5 million lbs. of inshell pecans in the preceding fiscal year). The nominee for this seat in each region shall be assigned to the sheller receiving the highest number of votes from the respective region, and the sheller receiving the second highest number of votes shall be the alternate member nominee for this seat. In case of a tie vote, the nominee shall be selected by a drawing.

    (5) Reports to the Secretary. Nominations in the foregoing manner received by the Council shall be reported to the Secretary on or before 15 of each July of any year in which nominations are held, together with a certified summary of the results of the nominations and other information deemed by the Council to be pertinent or requested by the Secretary. From those nominations, the Secretary shall select the fifteen grower and sheller members of the Council and an alternate for each member. If the Council fails to report nominations to the Secretary in the manner herein specified, the Secretary may select the members without nomination. If nominations for the public and accumulator at-large members are not submitted by September 15th of any year in which their nomination is due, the Secretary may select such members without nomination.

    (6) At-large members. The grower and sheller members of the Council shall select one public member and one accumulator member and respective alternates for consideration, selection and appointment by the Secretary. The public member and alternate public member may not have any financial interest, individually or corporately, or affiliation with persons vested in the pecan industry. The accumulator member and alternate accumulator member must meet the criteria set forth in § 986.1, Accumulator, and may reside or maintain a place of business in any region.

    (7) Nomination forms. The Council may distribute nomination forms at meetings, by mail, by email, or by any other form of distribution recommended by the Council and approved by the Secretary.

    (i) Grower nomination forms. Each nomination form submitted by a grower shall include the following information:

    (A) The name of the nominated grower

    (B) The name and signature of the nominating grower

    (C) Two additional names and respective signatures of growers in support of the nomination

    (D) Any other such information recommended by the Council and approved by the Secretary

    (ii) Sheller nomination forms. Each nomination form submitted by a sheller shall include the following:

    (A) The name of the nominated sheller

    (B) The name and signature of the nominating sheller

    (C) One additional name and signature of a sheller in support of the nomination

    (D) Any other such information recommended by the Council and approved by the Secretary

    (8) Changes to the nomination and voting procedures. The Council may recommend, subject to the approval of the Secretary, a change to these procedures should the Council determine that a revision is necessary.

    § 986.47 Alternate members.

    (a) Each member of the Council shall have an alternate member to be nominated in the same manner as the member.

    (b) An alternate for a member of the Council shall act in the place and stead of such member in their absence or in the event of their death, removal, resignation, or disqualification, until the next nomination and elections take place for the Council or the vacancy has been filled pursuant to § 986.48, Eligibility.

    (c) In the event any member of the Council and their alternate are both unable to attend a meeting of the Council, any alternate for any other member representing the same group as the absent member may serve in the place of the absent member.

    § 986.48 Eligibility.

    (a) Each grower member and alternate shall be, at the time of selection and during the term of office, a grower or an officer, or employee, of a grower in the region and in the classification for which nominated.

    (b) Each sheller member and alternate shall be, at the time of selection and during the term of office, a sheller or an officer or employee of a sheller in the region and in the classification for which nominated.

    (c) A grower can be a nominee for only one grower member seat. If a grower is nominated for two grower member seats, he or she shall select the seat in which he or she desires to run, and the grower ballot shall reflect that selection.

    (d) Any member or alternate member who at the time of selection was employed by or affiliated with the person who is nominated shall, upon termination of that relationship, become disqualified to serve further as a member and that position shall be deemed vacant.

    (e) No person nominated to serve as a public member or alternate public member shall have a financial interest in any pecan grower or handling operation.

    § 986.49 Acceptance.

    Each person to be selected by the Secretary as a member or as an alternate member of the Council shall, prior to such selection, qualify by advising the Secretary that if selected, such person agrees to serve in the position for which that nomination has been made.

    § 986.50 Term of office.

    (a) Selected members and alternate members of the Council shall serve for terms of four years: Provided, That at the end of the first four (4) year term and in the nomination and selection of the second Council only, four of grower member and alternate seats and three of the sheller member and alternate seats shall be seated for terms of two years so that approximately half of the memberships' and alternates' terms expire every two years thereafter. Member and alternate seats assigned two-year terms for the seating of the second Council only shall be as follows:

    (1) Grower member Seat 2 in all regions shall be assigned a two-year term;

    (2) Grower member Seat 3 in all regions shall, by drawing, identify one member seat to be assigned a two-year term; and,

    (3) Sheller Seat 2 in all regions shall be assigned a two-year term.

    (b) Council members and alternates may serve up to two consecutive, four-year terms of office. Subject to paragraph (c) of this section, in no event shall any member or alternate serve more than eight consecutive years on the Council as either a member or an alternate. However, if selected, an alternate having served up to two consecutive terms may immediately serve as a member for two consecutive terms without any interruption in service. The same is true for a member who, after serving for up to two consecutive terms, may serve as an alternate if nominated without any interruption in service. A person having served the maximum number of terms as set forth above may not serve again as a member or an alternate for at least twelve consecutive months. For purposes of determining when a member or alternate has served two consecutive terms, the accrual of terms shall begin following any period of at least twelve consecutive months out of office.

    (c) Each member and alternate member shall continue to serve until a successor is selected and has qualified.

    (d) A term of office shall begin as set forth in the by-laws or as directed by the Secretary each year for all members.

    (e) The Council may recommend, subject to approval of the Secretary, revisions to the start day for the term of office, the number of years in a term, and the number of terms a member or an alternate can serve.

    § 986.51 Vacancy.

    Any vacancy on the Council occurring by the failure of any person selected to the Council to qualify as a member or alternate member due to a change in status making the member ineligible to serve, or due to death, removal, or resignation, shall be filled, by a majority vote of the Council for the unexpired portion of the term. However, that person shall fulfill all the qualifications set forth in this part as required for the member whose office that person is to fill. The qualifications of any person to fill a vacancy on the Council shall be certified in writing to the Secretary. The Secretary shall notify the Council if the Secretary determines that any such person is not qualified.

    § 986.52 Council expenses.

    The members and their alternates of the Council shall serve without compensation, but shall be reimbursed for the reasonable and necessary expenses incurred by them in the performance of their duties under this part.

    § 986.53 Powers.

    The Council shall have the following powers:

    (a) To administer the provisions of this part in accordance with its terms;

    (b) To make bylaws, rules and regulations to effectuate the terms and provisions of this part;

    (c) To receive, investigate, and report to the Secretary complaints of violations of this part; and

    (d) To recommend to the Secretary amendments to this part.

    § 986.54 Duties.

    The duties of the Council shall be as follows:

    (a) To act as intermediary between the Secretary and any handler or grower;

    (b) To keep minute books and records which will clearly reflect all of its acts and transactions, and such minute books and records shall at any time be subject to the examination of the Secretary;

    (c) To furnish to the Secretary a complete report of all meetings and such other available information as he or she may request;

    (d) To appoint such employees as it may deem necessary and to determine the salaries, define the duties, and fix the bonds of such employees;

    (e) To cause the books of the Council to be audited by one or more competent public accountants at least once for each fiscal year and at such other times as the Council deems necessary or as the Secretary may request, and to file with the Secretary three copies of all audit reports made;

    (f) To investigate the growing, shipping and marketing conditions with respect to pecans and to assemble data in connection therewith;

    (g) To investigate compliance with the provisions of this part; and,

    (h) To recommend by-laws, rules and regulations for the purpose of administering this part.

    § 986.55 Procedure.

    (a) The members of the Council shall select a chairman from their membership, and shall select such other officers and adopt such rules for the conduct of Council business as they deem advisable.

    (b) The Council may provide for meetings by telephone, or other means of communication, and any vote cast at such a meeting shall be confirmed promptly in writing. The Council shall give the Secretary the same notice of its meetings as is given to members of the Council.

    (c) Quorum. A quorum of the Council shall be any twelve voting Council members. The vote of a majority of members present at a meeting at which there is a quorum shall constitute the act of the Council; Provided, That:

    (1) Actions of the Council with respect to the following issues shall require a two-thirds (12 members) concurring vote of the Council members and must be approved at an in-person meeting:

    (i) Establishment of or changes to by-laws;

    (ii) Appointment or administrative issues relating to the program's manager or chief executive officer;

    (iii) Budget;

    (iv) Assessments;

    (v) Compliance and audits;

    (vi) Redistricting of region and reapportionment or reallocation of Council membership;

    (vii) Modifying definitions of grower and sheller.

    (viii) Research or promotion activities under § 986.68;

    (ix) Grade, quality and size regulation under §§ 986.69(a)(1) and (2);

    (x) Pack and container regulation under § 986.69(a)(3); and,

    (2) Actions of the Council with respect to the securing of commercial bank loans for the purpose of financing start-up costs of the Council and its activities or securing financial assistance in emergency situations shall require a unanimous vote of all members present at an in-person meeting; Provided, That in the event of an emergency that warrants immediate attention sooner than a face-to-face meeting is possible, a vote for financing may be taken. In such event, the Council's first preference is a videoconference and second preference is phone conference, both followed by written confirmation of the members attending the meeting.

    § 986.56 Right of the Secretary.

    The members and alternates for members and any agent or employee appointed or employed by the Council shall be subject to removal or suspension by the Secretary at any time. Each and every regulation, decision, determination, or other act shall be subject to the continuing right of the Secretary to disapprove of the same at any time, and, upon such disapproval, shall be deemed null and void, except as to acts done in reliance thereon or in compliance therewith prior to such disapproval by the Secretary.

    § 986.57 Funds and other property.

    (a) All funds received pursuant to any of the provisions of this part shall be used solely for the purposes specified in this part, and the Secretary may require the Council and its members to account for all receipts and disbursements.

    (b) Upon the death, resignation, removal, disqualification, or expiration of the term of office of any member or employee, all books, records, funds, and other property in their possession belonging to the Council shall be delivered to their successor in office or to the Council, and such assignments and other instruments shall be executed as may be necessary to vest in such successor or in the Council full title to all the books, records, funds, and other property in the possession or under the control of such member or employee pursuant to this subpart.

    § 986.58 Reapportionment and redistricting.

    The Council may recommend, subject to approval of the Secretary, reestablishment of regions, reapportionment of members among regions, and may revise the groups eligible for representation on the Council. In recommending any such changes, the following shall be considered:

    (a) Shifts in acreage within regions and within the production area during recent years;

    (b) The importance of new production in its relation to existing regions;

    (c) The equitable relationship between Council apportionment and regions;

    (d) Changes in industry structure and/or the percentage of crop represented by various industry entities; and,

    (e) Other relevant factors.

    Expenses, Assessments and Marketing Policy
    § 986.60 Budget.

    As soon as practicable before the beginning of each fiscal year, and as may be necessary thereafter, the Council shall prepare a budget of income and expenditures necessary for the administration of this part. The Council may recommend a rate of assessment calculated to provide adequate funds to defray its proposed expenditures. The Council shall present such budget to the Secretary with an accompanying report showing the basis for its calculations.

    § 986.61 Assessments.

    (a) Each handler who first handles inshell pecans shall pay assessments to the Council. Assessments collected each fiscal year shall defray expenses which the Secretary finds reasonable and likely to be incurred by the Council during that fiscal year. Each handler's share of assessments paid to the Council shall be equal to the ratio between the total quantity of inshell pecans handled by them as the first handler thereof during the applicable fiscal year, and the total quantity of inshell pecans handled by all regulated handlers in the production area during the same fiscal year. The payment of assessments for the maintenance and functioning of the Council may be required under this part throughout the period it is in effect irrespective of whether particular provisions thereof are suspended or become inoperative. Handlers may avail themselves of an inter-handler transfer, as provided for in § 986.62, Inter-handler transfers.

    (b) Based upon a recommendation of the Council or other available data, the Secretary shall fix three base rates of assessment for inshell pecans handled during each fiscal year. Such base rates shall include one rate of assessment for any or all varieties of pecans classified as native and seedling; one rate of assessment for any or all varieties of pecans classified as improved; and one rate of assessment for any pecans classified as substandard.

    (c) Upon implementation of this part and subject to the approval of the Secretary, initial assessment rates per classification shall be set within the following prescribed ranges: Native and seedling classified pecans shall be assessed at one-cent to two-cents per pound; improved classified pecans shall be assessed at two-cents to three-cents per pound; and, substandard classified pecans shall be assessed at one-cent to two-cents per pound. These assessment ranges shall be in effect for the initial four years of the order.

    (d) Subsequent assessment rates shall not exceed two percent of the aggregate of all prices in each classification across the production area based on Council data, or the average of USDA reported average price received by growers for each classification, in the preceding fiscal year as recommended by the Council and approved by the Secretary. After four years from the implementation of this part, the Council may recommend, subject to the approval of the Secretary, revisions to this calculation or assessment ranges.

    (e) The Council, with the approval of the Secretary, may revise the assessment rates if it determines, based on information including crop size and value, that the action is necessary, and if the revision does not exceed the assessment limitation specified in this section and is made prior to the final billing of the assessment.

    (f) In order to provide funds for the administration of the provisions of this part during the first part of a fiscal year, before sufficient operating income is available from assessments, the Council may accept the payment of assessments in advance and may also borrow money for such purposes; Provided, That no loan may amount to more than 50% of projected assessment revenue projected for the year in which the loan is secured and the loan must be repaid within five years.

    (g) If a handler does not pay assessments within the time prescribed by the Council, the assessment may be increased by a late payment charge and/or an interest rate charge at amounts prescribed by the Council with approval of the Secretary.

    (h) On August 31st of each year, every handler warehousing inshell pecans shall be identified as the first handler of those pecans and shall be required to pay the assessed rate on the category of pecans in their possession on that date. The terms of this paragraph may be revised subject to the recommendation of the Council and approval by the Secretary.

    (i) On August 31st of each year, all inventories warehoused by growers from the current fiscal year shall cease to be eligible for inter-handler transfer treatment. Instead, such inventory will require the first handler that handles such inventory to pay the assessment thereon in accordance with the prevailing assessment rates at the time of transfer from the grower to the said handler. The terms of this paragraph may be revised subject to the recommendation of the Council and approval by the Secretary.

    § 986.62 Inter-handler transfers.

    Any handler inside the production area, except as provided for in § 986.61(i), Assessments, may transfer inshell pecans to another handler inside the production area for additional handling, and any assessments or other marketing order requirements with respect to pecans so transferred may be assumed by the receiving handler. The Council, with the approval of the Secretary, may establish methods and procedures, including necessary reports, to maintain accurate records for such transfers. All inter-handler transfers will be documented by forms or electronic transfer receipts approved by the Council, and all forms or electronic transfer receipts used for inter-handler transfers shall require that copies be sent to the selling party, the receiving party, and the Council. Such forms must state which handler has the assessment responsibilities.

    § 986.63 Contributions.

    The Council may accept voluntary contributions. Such contributions may only be accepted if they are free from any encumbrances or restrictions on their use and the Council shall retain complete control of their use. The Council may receive contributions from both within and outside of the production area.

    § 986.64 Accounting.

    (a) Assessments collected in excess of expenses incurred shall be accounted for in accordance with one of the following:

    (1) Excess funds not retained in a reserve, as provided in paragraph (a)(2) of this section shall be refunded proportionately to the persons from whom they were collected; or

    (2) The Council, with the approval of the Secretary, may carry over excess funds into subsequent fiscal periods as reserves: Provided, That funds already in reserves do not equal approximately three fiscal years' expenses. Such reserve funds may be used:

    (i) To defray expenses during any fiscal period prior to the time assessment income is sufficient to cover such expenses;

    (ii) To cover deficits incurred during any fiscal period when assessment income is less than expenses;

    (iii) To defray expenses incurred during any period when any or all provisions of this part are suspended or are inoperative; and,

    (iv) To cover necessary expenses of liquidation in the event of termination of this part.

    (b) Upon such termination, any funds not required to defray the necessary expenses of liquidation shall be disposed of in such manner as the Secretary may determine to be appropriate. To the extent practical, such funds shall be returned pro rata to the persons from whom such funds were collected.

    (c) All funds received by the Council pursuant to the provisions of this part shall be used solely for the purposes specified in this part and shall be accounted for in the manner provided for in this part. The Secretary may at any time require the Council and its members to account for all receipts and disbursements.

    (d) Upon the removal or expiration of the term of office of any member of the Council, such member shall account for all receipts and disbursements and deliver all property and funds in their possession to the Council, and shall execute such assignments and other instruments as may be necessary or appropriate to vest in the Council full title to all of the property, funds, and claims vested in such member pursuant to this part.

    (e) The Council may make recommendations to the Secretary for one or more of the members thereof, or any other person, to act as a trustee for holding records, funds, or any other Council property during periods of suspension of this subpart, or during any period or periods when regulations are not in effect and if the Secretary determines such action appropriate, he or she may direct that such person or persons shall act as trustee or trustees for the Council.

    § 986.65 Marketing policy.

    By the end of each fiscal year, the Council shall make a report and recommendation to the Secretary on the Council's proposed marketing policy for the next fiscal year. Each year such report and recommendation shall be adopted by the affirmative vote of at least two-thirds (2/3) of the members of the Council and shall include the following and, where applicable, on an inshell basis:

    (a) Estimate of the grower-cleaned production and handler-cleaned production in the area of production for the fiscal year;

    (b) Estimate of disappearance;

    (c) Estimate of the improved, native, and substandard pecans;

    (d) Estimate of the handler inventory on August 31, of inshell and shelled pecans;

    (e) Estimate of unassessed inventory;

    (f) Estimate of the trade supply, taking into consideration trade inventory, imports, and other factors;

    (g) Preferable handler inventory of inshell and shelled pecans on August 31 of the following year;

    (h) Projected prices in the new fiscal year;

    (i) Competing nut supplies; and,

    (j) Any other relevant factors.

    Authorities Relating to Research, Promotion, Data Gathering, Packaging, Grading, Compliance and Reporting
    § 986.67 Recommendations for regulations.

    Upon complying with § 986.65, Marketing Policy, the Council may propose regulations to the Secretary whenever it finds that such proposed regulations may assist in effectuating the declared policy of the Act.

    § 986.68 Authority for research and promotion activities.

    The Council, with the approval of the Secretary, may establish or provide for the establishment of production research, marketing research and development projects, and marketing promotion, including paid advertising, designed to assist, improve, or promote the marketing, distribution, and consumption or efficient production of pecans including product development, nutritional research, and container development. The expenses of such projects shall be paid from funds collected pursuant to this part.

    § 986.69 Authorities regulating handling.

    (a) The Council may recommend, subject to the approval of the Secretary, regulations that:

    (1) Establish handling requirements or minimum tolerances for particular grades, sizes, or qualities, or any combination thereof, of any or all varieties of pecans during any period;

    (2) Establish different handling requirements or minimum tolerances for particular grades, sizes, or qualities, or any combination thereof for different varieties, for different containers, for different portions of the production area, or any combination of the foregoing, during any period;

    (3) Fix the size, capacity, weight, dimensions, or pack of the container or containers, which may be used in the packaging, transportation, sale, preparation for market, shipment, or other handling of pecans; and

    (4) Establish inspection and certification requirements for the purposes of paragraphs (a)(1) through (a)(3) of this section.

    (b) Regulations issued hereunder may be amended, modified, suspended, or terminated whenever it is determined:

    (1) That such action is warranted upon recommendation of the Council or other available information; or,

    (2) That regulations issued hereunder no longer tend to effectuate the declared policy of the Act.

    (c) The authority to regulate as put forward in this section shall not in any way constitute authority for the Council to recommend volume regulation, such as reserve pools, producer allotments, or handler withholding requirements which limit the flow of product to market for the purpose of reducing market supply.

    (d) The Council may recommend, subject to the approval of the Secretary, rules and regulations to effectuate this subpart.

    § 986.70 Handling for special purposes.

    Regulations in effect pursuant to § 986.69, Authorities regulating handling, may be modified, suspended, or terminated to facilitate handling of pecans for:

    (a) Relief or charity;

    (b) Experimental purposes; and,

    (c) Other purposes which may be recommended by the Council and approved by the Secretary.

    § 986.71 Safeguards.

    The Council, with the approval of the Secretary, may establish through rules such requirements as may be necessary to establish that shipments made pursuant to § 986.70, Handling for special purposes, were handled and used for the purpose stated.

    § 986.72 Notification of regulation.

    The Secretary shall promptly notify the Council of regulations issued or of any modification, suspension, or termination thereof. The Council shall give reasonable notice thereof to industry participants.

    Reports, Books and Other Records
    § 986.75 Reports of handler inventory.

    Each handler shall submit to the Council in such form and on such dates as the Council may prescribe, reports showing their inventory of inshell and shelled pecans.

    § 986.76 Reports of merchantable pecans handled.

    Each handler who handles merchantable pecans at any time during a fiscal year shall submit to the Council in such form and at such intervals as the Council may prescribe, reports showing the quantity so handled and such other information pertinent thereto as the Council may specify.

    § 986.77 Reports of pecans received by handlers.

    Each handler shall file such reports of their pecan receipts from growers, handlers, or others in such form and at such times as may be required by the Council with the approval of the Secretary.

    § 986.78 Other handler reports.

    Upon request of the Council made with the approval of the Secretary each handler shall furnish such other reports and information as are needed to enable the Council to perform its duties and exercise its powers under this part.

    § 986.79 Verification of reports.

    For the purpose of verifying and checking reports filed by handlers on their operations, the Secretary and the Council, through their duly authorized representatives, shall have access to any premises where pecans and pecan records are held. Such access shall be available at any time during reasonable business hours. Authorized representatives of the Council or the Secretary shall be permitted to inspect any pecans held and any and all records of the handler with respect to matters within the purview of this part. Each handler shall maintain complete records on the receiving, holding, and disposition of all pecans. Each handler shall furnish all labor necessary to facilitate such inspections at no expense to the Council or the Secretary. Each handler shall store all pecans held by him in such manner as to facilitate inspection and shall maintain adequate storage records which will permit accurate identification with respect to inspection certificates of respective lots and of all such pecans held or disposed of theretofore. The Council, with the approval of the Secretary, may establish any methods and procedures needed to verify reports.

    § 986.80 Certification of reports.

    All reports submitted to the Council as required in this part shall be certified to the Secretary and the Council as to the completeness and correctness of the information contained therein.

    § 986.81 Confidential information.

    All reports and records submitted by handlers to the Council, which include data or information constituting a trade secret or disclosing the trade position, or financial condition or business operations of the handler shall be kept in the custody of one or more employees of the Council and shall be disclosed to no person except the Secretary.

    § 986.82 Books and other records.

    Each handler shall maintain such records of pecans received, held and disposed of by them as may be prescribed by the Council for the purpose of performing its duties under this part. Such books and records shall be retained and be available for examination by authorized representatives of the Council and the Secretary for the current fiscal year and the preceding three (3) fiscal years.

    Additional Provisions
    § 986.86 Exemptions.

    (a) Any handler may handle inshell pecans within the production area free of the requirements of this part if such pecans are handled in quantities not exceeding 1,000 inshell pounds during any fiscal year.

    (b) Any handler may handle shelled pecans within the production area free of the requirements of this part if such pecans are handled in quantities not exceeding 500 shelled pounds during any fiscal year.

    (c) Mail order sales are not exempt sales under this part.

    (d) The Council, with the approval of the Secretary, may establish such rules, regulations, and safeguards, and require such reports, certifications, and other conditions, as are necessary to ensure compliance with this part.

    § 986.87 Compliance.

    Except as provided in this subpart, no handler shall handle pecans, the handling of which has been prohibited by the Secretary in accordance with provisions of this part, or the rules and regulations thereunder.

    § 986.88 Duration of immunities.

    The benefits, privileges, and immunities conferred by virtue of this part shall cease upon termination hereof, except with respect to acts done under and during the existence of this part.

    § 986.89 Separability.

    If any provision of this part is declared invalid, or the applicability thereof to any person, circumstance, or thing is held invalid, the validity of the remaining provisions and the applicability thereof to any other person, circumstance, or thing shall not be affected thereby.

    § 986.90 Derogation.

    Nothing contained in this part is or shall be construed to be in derogation of, or in modification of, the rights of the Secretary or of the United States to exercise any powers granted by the Act or otherwise, or, in accordance with such powers, to act in the premises whenever such action is deemed advisable.

    § 986.91 Liability.

    No member or alternate of the Council nor any employee or agent thereof, shall be held personally responsible, either individually or jointly with others, in any way whatsoever, to any party under this part or to any other person for errors in judgment, mistakes, or other acts, either of commission or omission, as such member, alternate, agent or employee, except for acts of dishonesty, willful misconduct, or gross negligence. The Council may purchase liability insurance for its members and officers.

    § 986.92 Agents.

    The Secretary may name, by designation in writing, any person, including any officer or employee of the USDA or the United States to act as their agent or representative in connection with any of the provisions of this part.

    § 986.93 Effective time.

    The provisions of this part and of any amendment thereto shall become effective at such time as the Secretary may declare, and shall continue in force until terminated in one of the ways specified in § 986.94.

    § 986.94 Termination.

    (a) The Secretary may at any time terminate this part.

    (b) The Secretary shall terminate or suspend the operation of any or all of the provisions of this part whenever he or she finds that such operation obstructs or does not tend to effectuate the declared policy of the Act.

    (c) The Secretary shall terminate the provisions of this part applicable to pecans for market or pecans for handling at the end of any fiscal year whenever the Secretary finds, by referendum or otherwise, that such termination is favored by a majority of growers; Provided, That such majority of growers has produced more than 50 percent of the volume of pecans in the production area during such fiscal year. Such termination shall be effective only if announced on or before the last day of the then current fiscal year.

    (d) The Secretary shall conduct a referendum within every five-year period beginning from the implementation of this part, to ascertain whether continuance of the provisions of this part applicable to pecans are favored by two-thirds by number or volume of growers voting in the referendum. The Secretary may terminate the provisions of this part at the end of any fiscal year in which the Secretary has found that continuance of this part is not favored by growers who, during a representative period determined by the Secretary, have been engaged in the production of pecans in the production area: Provided, That termination of this part shall be effective only if announced on or before the last day of the then current fiscal year.

    (e) The provisions of this part shall, in any event, terminate whenever the provisions of the Act authorizing them cease to be in effect.

    § 986.95 Proceedings after termination.

    (a) Upon the termination of this part, the Council members serving shall continue as joint trustees for the purpose of liquidating all funds and property then in the possession or under the control of the Council, including claims for any funds unpaid or property not delivered at the time of such termination.

    (b) The joint trustees shall continue in such capacity until discharged by the Secretary; from time to time accounting for all receipts and disbursements; delivering all funds and property on hand, together with all books and records of the Council and of the joint trustees to such person as the Secretary shall direct; and, upon the request of the Secretary, executing such assignments or other instruments necessary and appropriate to vest in such person full title and right to all of the funds, property, or claims vested in the Council or in said joint trustees.

    (c) Any funds collected pursuant to this part and held by such joint trustees or such person over and above the amounts necessary to meet outstanding obligations and the expenses necessarily incurred by the joint trustees or such other person in the performance of their duties under this subpart, as soon as practicable after the termination hereof, shall be returned to the handlers pro rata in proportion to their contributions thereto.

    (d) Any person to whom funds, property, or claims have been transferred or delivered by the Council, upon direction of the Secretary, as provided in this part, shall be subject to the same obligations and duties with respect to said funds, property, or claims as are imposed upon said joint trustees.

    § 986.96 Amendments.

    Amendments to this part may be proposed from time to time by the Council or by the Secretary.

    *§ 986.97 Counterparts.

    Handlers may sign an agreement with the Secretary indicating their support for this marketing order. This agreement may be executed in multiple counterparts by each handler. If more than fifty percent of the handlers, weighted by the volume of pecans handled during a representative period, enter into such an agreement, then a marketing agreement shall exist for the pecans marketing order. This marketing agreement shall not alter the terms of this part. Upon the termination of this part, the marketing agreement has no further force or effect.

    *§ 986.98 Additional parties.

    After this part becomes effective, any handler may become a party to the marketing agreement if a counterpart is executed by the handler and delivered to the Secretary.

    *§ 986.99 Order with marketing agreement.

    Each signatory handler hereby requests the Secretary to issue, pursuant to the Act, an order for regulating the handling of pecans in the same manner as is provided for in this agreement.

    Subpart B—[Reserved] Dated: June 26, 2015. Rex Barnes, Associate Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-16259 Filed 7-1-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-02-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY 10 CFR Part 431 [Docket No. EERE-2015-BT-STD-0008] RIN 1904-AD52 Energy Conservation Program for Certain Industrial Equipment: Energy Conservation Standards for Dedicated-Purpose Pool Pumps AGENCY:

    Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Department of Energy.

    ACTION:

    Reopening of public comment period.

    SUMMARY:

    On May 8, 2015, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) published in the Federal Register (80 FR 26475) a Request for Information (RFI) that requests information regarding potential energy efficiency standards for pool pumps established under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act. DOE published the RFI to solicit information to help DOE determine the feasibility of developing energy conservation standards and an appropriate test procedure for this equipment. The RFI outlines the potential scope that could be involved in regulating dedicated-purpose pool pumps, possible industry-based testing methods that could be used to evaluate the efficiency of this equipment, and the types of information that would be needed in analyzing the potential for setting standards for this equipment. It also solicits the public for information to help inform DOE's efforts in evaluating the prospect of regulating this equipment. The comment period for the RFI pertaining to the subject dedicated-purpose pool pumps was scheduled to end June 22, 2015. After receiving a request for additional time to comment, DOE has decided to reopen the comment period for the RFI pertaining to the potential energy efficiency standards for pool pumps until August 17, 2015.

    DATES:

    DOE will accept comments, data, and information regarding the notice of proposed rulemaking no later than August 17, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Instructions: All comments submitted must identify the RFI for Energy Conservation Standards for Dedicated-Purpose Pool Pumps, and provide docket number EERE-2015-BT-STD-0008 and/or regulatory information number (RIN) number 1904-AD52. Comments may be submitted using any of the following methods:

    1. Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    2. Email: [email protected]. Include the docket number and/or RIN in the subject line of the message. Submit electronic comments in Word Perfect, Microsoft Word, PDF, or ASCII file format, and avoid the use of special characters or any form on encryption.

    3. Postal Mail: Ms. Brenda Edwards, U.S. Department of Energy, Building Technologies Office, Mailstop EE-5B, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585-0121. If possible, please submit all items on a compact disc (CD), in which case it is not necessary to include printed copies.

    4. Hand Delivery/Courier: Ms. Brenda Edwards, U.S. Department of Energy, Building Technologies Office, 950 L'Enfant Plaza SW., Suite 600, Washington, DC 20024. Telephone: (202) 586-2945. If possible, please submit all items on a CD, in which case it is not necessary to include printed copies.

    No telefacsimilies (faxes) will be accepted.

    Docket: The docket, which includes Federal Register notices, public meeting attendee lists and transcripts, comments, and other supporting documents/materials, is available for review at www.regulations.gov. All documents in the docket are listed in the www.regulations.gov index. However, not all documents listed in the index may be publically available, such as those containing information that is exempt from public disclosure.

    A link to the docket Web page can be found at: http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=EERE-2015-BT-STD-0008. This Web page contains a link to the docket for this notice on the www.regulations.gov site. The www.regulations.gov Web page contains simple instructions on how to access all documents, including public comments, in the docket.

    For further information on how to submit a comment or review other public comments and the docket, contact Ms. Brenda Edwards at (202) 586-2945 or by email: [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. John Cymbalsky, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Building Technologies Office, EE-5B, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585-0121. Telephone: (202) 287-1692. Email: [email protected].

    Mr. Michael Kido, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of the General Counsel, GC-33, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585-0121. Telephone: (202) 586-8145. Email: [email protected]

    For information on how to submit or review public comments and the docket, contact Ms. Brenda Edwards at (202) 586-2945 or by email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    DOE published an RFI in the Federal Register to solicit information to help DOE determine the feasibility of developing energy conservation standards and an appropriate test procedure for this equipment. The RFI also solicited the public for information to help inform DOE's efforts in evaluating the prospect of regulating this equipment. The comment deadline had been set for June 22, 2015.

    The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals requested a 90-day extension of the comment period to sufficiently prepare and submit comments. After careful consideration of the request, DOE has determined that reopening the comment period to allow additional time for interested parties to submit comments is appropriate based on the foregoing reason. Specifically, DOE believes that reopening the comment period by 45 days will provide the public with sufficient time to submit comments responding to DOE's RFI. Accordingly, DOE is reopening the comment period and will deem any comments received (or postmarked) to be timely submitted.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on June 25, 2015. Kathleen B. Hogan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-16344 Filed 7-1-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2015-1990; Directorate Identifier 2015-NM-027-AD] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company Airplanes AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

    SUMMARY:

    We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain The Boeing Company Model 737-400 series airplanes, as modified by a certain supplemental type certificate. This proposed AD was prompted by the discovery of a design drawing error regarding placards that identified incorrect squibs and pressure switches for certain fire extinguisher bottles. This proposed AD would require a detailed inspection of certain cargo placards to determine if they are the correct placards and in the correct location, a detailed inspection of the harnesses to verify that they are marked and installed correctly, and corrective action if necessary. We are proposing this AD to detect and correct incorrectly installed harnesses for the cargo fire suppression system bottles, which could result in an incorrect activation sequence of the bottles, the inability to suppress a cargo fire quickly, and a possible uncontrollable fire.

    DATES:

    We must receive comments on this proposed AD by August 17, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may send comments, using the procedures found in 14 CFR 11.43 and 11.45, by any of the following methods:

    • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    • Fax: 202-493-2251.

    • Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

    • Hand Delivery: Deliver to Mail address above between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    For service information identified in this proposed AD, contact Advanced Aircraft Extinguishers, 1052 SW Luttrell, Blue Springs, MO 64015; telephone: 816-228-3322; Internet www.aae-ltd.com. You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221.

    Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-1990; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this proposed AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Office (phone: 800-647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Paul DeVore, Aerospace Engineer, Systems and Propulsion Branch, ACE-116W, FAA, Wichita ACO, 1801 Airport Road, Room 100, Mid-Continent Airport, Wichita, KS 67209; phone: 316-946-4142; fax: 316-946-4107; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Comments Invited

    We invite you to send any written relevant data, views, or arguments about this proposal. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include “Docket No. FAA-2015-1990; Directorate Identifier 2015-NM-027-AD” at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this proposed AD. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this proposed AD because of those comments.

    We will post all comments we receive, without change, to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information you provide. We will also post a report summarizing each substantive verbal contact we receive about this proposed AD.

    Discussion

    We have received a report of a design drawing error regarding the placement of placards that identify the squibs and pressure switches for halon fire extinguisher bottles Number 1 and Number 2. Electrical harnesses for the cargo fire suppression system bottles may consequently be reversed, which would cause an incorrect activation sequence of the bottles, i.e., the initial high-rate “knockdown” agent discharge will not be released until after a 5-minute time delay rather than immediately as intended. This condition, if not corrected, could result in an incorrect activation sequence of the bottles, the inability to suppress a cargo fire quickly, and a possible uncontrollable fire.

    Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    We reviewed Advanced Aircraft Extinguishers Service Bulletin TFA10-26-0020, Revision IR, dated January 12, 2015. The service information describes procedures for a detailed inspection of Advanced Aircraft Extinguishers (AAE) cargo fire protection system (FPS) placards to determine if they are the correct placards and in the correct location, and a detailed inspection of the harnesses to verify that they are marked and installed correctly. The service information also describes corrective actions such as removing the existing AAE cargo FPS placards, destroying/discarding them, and installing AAE-provided cargo FPS placards on the mounting plate. This service information is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it through their normal course of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section of this NPRM.

    Clarification of Service Information Procedures

    Step C.(3) of the “SERVICE BULLETIN INSTRUCTIONS” of Advanced Aircraft Extinguishers Service Bulletin TFA10-26-0020, Revision IR, dated January 12, 2015, does not clearly state the corrective action for the inspection of the harnesses. Therefore, paragraph (h) of this proposed AD specifies the steps in the service information that would be required if any harness is not marked correctly or not installed correctly.

    FAA's Determination

    We are proposing this AD because we evaluated all the relevant information and determined the unsafe condition described previously is likely to exist or develop in other products of the same type design.

    Proposed AD Requirements

    This proposed AD would require accomplishing the actions specified in the service information described previously, except as discussed under “Differences Between this Proposed AD and the Service Information.”

    Differences Between This Proposed AD and the Service Information

    While Advanced Aircraft Extinguishers Service Bulletin TFA10-26-0020, Revision IR, dated January 12, 2015, specifies a compliance time of 30 days, this proposed AD would require a compliance time of 6 months. In developing an appropriate compliance time for this AD, we considered the degree of urgency associated with the subject unsafe condition, the average utilization of the affected fleet, and the time necessary to perform the inspection. In light of all of these factors, we find that 6 months represents an appropriate interval of time for affected airplanes to continue to operate without compromising safety. This difference has been coordinated with Boeing and AAE.

    The “EFFECTIVITY” section of Advanced Aircraft Extinguishers Service Bulletin TFA10-26-0020, Revision IR, dated January 12, 2015, lists serial number (S/N) 24132 in the “Purchased for Installation on Aircraft Serial Number” column. This is a typographical error in the service information. The Applicability section of this proposed AD correctly identifies S/N 24231.

    Explanation of “RC” Steps in Service Information

    The FAA worked in conjunction with industry, under the Airworthiness Directive Implementation Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC), to enhance the AD system. One enhancement was a new process for annotating which steps in the service information are required for compliance with an AD. Differentiating these steps from other tasks in the service information is expected to improve an owner's/operator's understanding of crucial AD requirements and help provide consistent judgment in AD compliance. The steps identified as RC (required for compliance) in any service information identified previously have a direct effect on detecting, preventing, resolving, or eliminating an identified unsafe condition.

    For service information that contains steps that are labeled as Required for Compliance (RC), the following provisions apply: (1) The steps labeled as RC, including substeps under an RC step and any figures identified in an RC step, must be done to comply with the AD, and an AMOC is required for any deviations to RC steps, including substeps and identified figures; and (2) steps not labeled as RC may be deviated from using accepted methods in accordance with the operator's maintenance or inspection program without obtaining approval of an AMOC, provided the RC steps, including substeps and identified figures, can still be done as specified, and the airplane can be put back in an airworthy condition.

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this proposed AD affects 3 airplanes of U.S. registry.

    We estimate the following costs to comply with this proposed AD:

    Estimated Costs Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per product Cost on U.S. operators Detailed inspection 2 work-hours × $85 per hour = $170 N/A $170 $510

    We estimate the following costs to do any necessary corrective actions that would be required based on the results of the proposed inspection. We have no way of determining the number of aircraft that might need these corrective actions:

    On-Condition Costs Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per product Corrective actions 2 work-hours × $85 per hour = $170 $900 $1,070

    According to the manufacturer, some of the costs of this proposed AD may be covered under warranty, thereby reducing the cost impact on affected individuals. We do not control warranty coverage for affected individuals. As a result, we have included all costs in our cost estimate.

    Authority for This Rulemaking

    Title 49 of the United States Code specifies the FAA's authority to issue rules on aviation safety. Subtitle I, section 106, describes the authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII: Aviation Programs, describes in more detail the scope of the Agency's authority.

    We are issuing this rulemaking under the authority described in Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart III, Section 44701: “General requirements.” Under that section, Congress charges the FAA with promoting safe flight of civil aircraft in air commerce by prescribing regulations for practices, methods, and procedures the Administrator finds necessary for safety in air commerce. This regulation is within the scope of that authority because it addresses an unsafe condition that is likely to exist or develop on products identified in this rulemaking action.

    Regulatory Findings

    We determined that this proposed AD would not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132. This proposed AD would not have a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.

    For the reasons discussed above, I certify this proposed regulation:

    (1) Is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866,

    (2) Is not a “significant rule” under the DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034, February 26, 1979),

    (3) Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska, and

    (4) Will not have a significant economic impact, positive or negative, on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

    Air transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety, Incorporation by reference, Safety.

    The Proposed Amendment

    Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the FAA proposes to amend 14 CFR part 39 as follows:

    PART 39—AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES 1. The authority citation for part 39 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701.

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD): The Boeing Company: Docket No. FAA-2015-1990; Directorate Identifier 2015-NM-027-AD. (a) Comments Due Date

    We must receive comments by August 17, 2015.

    (b) Affected ADs

    None.

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to The Boeing Company Model 737-400 series airplanes, certificated in any category, having serial numbers 23865, 24231, 24706, 24474, 25417, 27003, 27149, 25375, 26281, 28661, and 28881, as modified by Supplemental Type Certificate ST01114WI (http://rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgstc.nsf/0/f9490633c04cbc8286257301006ed621/$FILE/ST01114WI.pdf).

    (d) Subject

    Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 26, Fire Protection.

    (e) Unsafe Condition

    This AD was prompted by the discovery of a design drawing error regarding placards that identified incorrect squibs and pressure switches for certain fire extinguisher bottles. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct incorrectly installed harnesses for the cargo fire suppression system bottles, which could result in an incorrect activation sequence of the bottles, the inability to suppress a cargo fire quickly, and a possible uncontrollable fire.

    (f) Compliance

    Comply with this AD within the compliance times specified, unless already done.

    (g) Placard Inspection

    Within 6 months after effective date of this AD, do a detailed inspection of Advanced Aircraft Extinguishers cargo fire protection system (FPS) placards to determine if they are the correct placards and in the correct location, and do all applicable corrective actions, in accordance with the “SERVICE BULLETIN INSTRUCTIONS” of Advanced Aircraft Extinguishers Service Bulletin TFA10-26-0020, Revision IR, dated January 12, 2015. Do all applicable corrective actions before further flight.

    (h) Harness Inspection

    Within 6 months after the effective date of this AD, do a detailed inspection of the harnesses to verify that they are correctly marked and installed, in accordance with the “SERVICE BULLETIN INSTRUCTIONS” of Advanced Aircraft Extinguishers Service Bulletin TFA10-26-0020, Revision IR, dated January 12, 2015. If any harness is not marked or installed correctly, before further flight, do steps C.(5) through C.(11) specified in and in accordance with the “SERVICE BULLETIN INSTRUCTIONS” of Advanced Aircraft Extinguishers Service Bulletin TFA10-26-0020, Revision IR, dated January 12, 2015, except as required by paragraph (i) of this AD.

    (i) Exception to the Service Information Specification

    Where Advanced Aircraft Extinguishers Service Bulletin TFA10-26-0020, Revision IR, dated January 12, 2015, specifies contacting the manufacturer for appropriate action: Before further flight, repair in accordance with a method approved by the Manager, Wichita Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), FAA.

    (j) Special Flight Permit

    Special flight permits may be issued in accordance with sections 21.197 and 21.199 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR 21.197 and 21.199) to operate the airplane, provided the airplane does not carry cargo in the lower cargo bay.

    (k) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

    (1) The Manager, Wichita Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, send your request to your principal inspector or local Flight Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending information directly to the manager of the ACO, send it to the attention of the person identified in paragraph (l)(1) of this AD.

    (2) Before using any approved AMOC, notify your appropriate principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager of the local flight standards district office/certificate holding district office.

    (3) Except as required by paragraph (i) of this AD: For service information that contains steps that are labeled as Required for Compliance (RC), the provisions of paragraphs (k)(3)(i) and (k)(3)(ii) apply.

    (i) The steps labeled as RC, including substeps under an RC step and any figures identified in an RC step, must be done to comply with the AD. An AMOC is required for any deviations to RC steps, including substeps and identified figures.

    (ii) Steps not labeled as RC may be deviated from using accepted methods in accordance with the operator's maintenance or inspection program without obtaining approval of an AMOC, provided the RC steps, including substeps and identified figures, can still be done as specified, and the airplane can be put back in an airworthy condition.

    (l) Related Information

    (1) For more information about this AD, contact Paul C. DeVore, Aerospace Engineer, Systems and Propulsion Branch, ACE-116W, FAA, Wichita ACO, 1801 Airport Road, Room 100, Mid-Continent Airport, Wichita, KS 67209; phone: 316-946-4142; fax: 316-946-4107; email: [email protected]

    (2) For service information identified in this AD, contact Advanced Aircraft Extinguishers, 1052 SW Luttrell, Blue Springs, MO 64015; telephone: 816-228-3322; Internet www.aae-ltd.com. You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221.

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on June 24, 2015. Dionne Palermo, Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-16155 Filed 7-1-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2015-1991; Directorate Identifier 2014-NM-251-AD] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Airplanes AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

    SUMMARY:

    We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for all Airbus Model A318-111 and -112 airplanes; Model A319-111, -112, and -115 airplanes; Model A320-214 airplanes; and Model A321-111, -112, -211, -212, and -213 airplanes. This proposed AD was prompted by reports of cracked cadmium-plated lock nuts that attach the hinge to the fan cowl door. This proposed AD would require inspecting to determine the serial number of each engine fan cowl door, inspecting for cracking of the hinge lock nuts of any affected door, and replacing the lock nuts if necessary. We are proposing this AD to detect and correct cracking of the hinge lock nuts, which could result in separation of the hinge from the fan cowl door, in-flight loss of the door, and consequent damage to the airplane.

    DATES:

    We must receive comments on this proposed AD by August 17, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may send comments, using the procedures found in 14 CFR 11.43 and 11.45, by any of the following methods:

    • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    • Fax: 202-493-2251.

    • Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

    • Hand Delivery: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    For service information identified in this proposed AD, contact the following:

    For Airbus service information contact Airbus, Airworthiness Office—EIAS, 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 Blagnac Cedex, France; telephone: +33 5 61 93 36 96; fax: +33 5 61 93 44 51; email: [email protected]; Internet http://www.airbus.com.

    For Goodrich service information contact Goodrich Aerostructures, 850 Lagoon Drive, Chula Vista, California, 91910-2098; telephone: 619-691-2719; email: [email protected]; Internet: http://www.goodrich.com/TechPubs.

    You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221.

    Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-1991; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this proposed AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Operations office (telephone 800-647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Sanjay Ralhan, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; telephone: 425-227-1405; fax: 425-227-1149.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Comments Invited

    We invite you to send any written relevant data, views, or arguments about this proposed AD. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include “Docket No. FAA-2015-1991; Directorate Identifier 2014-NM-251-AD” at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this proposed AD. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this proposed AD based on those comments.

    We will post all comments we receive, without change, to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information you provide. We will also post a report summarizing each substantive verbal contact we receive about this proposed AD.

    Discussion

    The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA Airworthiness Directive 2014-0276, dated December 19, 2014 (referred to after this as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for all Airbus Model A318-111 and -112 airplanes; Model A319-111, -112, and -115 airplanes; Model A320-214 airplanes; and Model A321-111, -112, -211, -212, and -213 airplanes. The MCAI states:

    In-service findings have been reported of cracked cadmium plated lock nuts. This cracking occurs shortly after installation. Investigation results attribute the cause to an improper manufacturing procedure of the nuts. It was determined that the affected batch of lock nuts was used on the fan cowl to attach hinges to the cowl doors on CFM56-5B engines only.

    This condition, if not corrected, could lead to separation of the hinge from the fan cowl door, possibly resulting in in-flight loss of a fan cowl door, with consequent damage to the aeroplane and/or injury to persons on the ground.

    For the reasons describes above, this [EASA] AD required identification of the affected fan cowl doors, a one-time inspection of the fan cowl door hinge nuts and, depending on findings, replacement of the affected nuts.

    You may examine the MCAI in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-1991.

    Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    Airbus has issued Service Bulletin A320-71-1062, including Appendix 01, dated July 28, 2014. Goodrich Aerostructures has issued Service Bulletin RA32071-151, dated June 11, 2014. The service information describes procedures for inspection of the hinge nuts of the fan cowl door, and replacement if necessary. This service information is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it through their normal course of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section of this NPRM.

    FAA's Determination and Requirements of This Proposed AD

    This product has been approved by the aviation authority of another country, and is approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant to our bilateral agreement with the State of Design Authority, we have been notified of the unsafe condition described in the MCAI and service information referenced above. We are proposing this AD because we evaluated all pertinent information and determined an unsafe condition exists and is likely to exist or develop on other products of these same type designs.

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this proposed AD affects 437 airplanes of U.S. registry.

    We also estimate that it would take about 2 work-hours per product to comply with the basic requirements of this proposed AD. The average labor rate is $85 per work-hour. Required parts would cost about $0 per product. Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of this proposed AD on U.S. operators to be $74,290, or $170 per product.

    We have received no definitive data that would enable us to provide a cost estimate for the on-condition actions specified in this proposed AD.

    Authority for This Rulemaking

    Title 49 of the United States Code specifies the FAA's authority to issue rules on aviation safety. Subtitle I, section 106, describes the authority of the FAA Administrator. “Subtitle VII: Aviation Programs,” describes in more detail the scope of the Agency's authority.

    We are issuing this rulemaking under the authority described in “Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart III, Section 44701: General requirements.” Under that section, Congress charges the FAA with promoting safe flight of civil aircraft in air commerce by prescribing regulations for practices, methods, and procedures the Administrator finds necessary for safety in air commerce. This regulation is within the scope of that authority because it addresses an unsafe condition that is likely to exist or develop on products identified in this rulemaking action.

    Regulatory Findings

    We determined that this proposed AD would not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132. This proposed AD would not have a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.

    For the reasons discussed above, I certify this proposed regulation:

    1. Is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866;

    2. Is not a “significant rule” under the DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034, February 26, 1979);

    3. Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska; and

    4. Will not have a significant economic impact, positive or negative, on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

    Air transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety, Incorporation by reference, Safety.

    The Proposed Amendment

    Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the FAA proposes to amend 14 CFR part 39 as follows:

    PART 39—AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES 1. The authority citation for part 39 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701.

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD): Airbus: Docket No. FAA-2015-1991; Directorate Identifier 2014-NM-251-AD. (a) Comments Due Date

    We must receive comments by August 17, 2015.

    (b) Affected ADs

    None.

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to the airplanes identified in paragraphs (c)(1), (c)(2), (c)(3), and (c)(4) of this AD, certificated in any category, all manufacturer serial numbers.

    (1) Airbus Model A318-111 and -112 airplanes.

    (2) Airbus Model A319-111, -112, and -115 airplanes.

    (3) Airbus Model A320-214 airplanes.

    (4) Airbus Model A321-111, -112, -211, 212, and -213 airplanes.

    (d) Subject

    Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 71, Powerplant.

    (e) Reason

    This AD was prompted by reports of cracked cadmium-plated lock nuts that attach the hinge to the fan cowl door. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct cracking of the hinge lock nuts, which could result in separation of the hinge from the fan cowl door, the in-flight loss of the door, and consequent damage to the airplane.

    (f) Compliance

    Comply with this AD within the compliance times specified, unless already done.

    (g) Inspect To Determine Serial Number

    Within 24 months after the effective date of this AD: Inspect to determine if any fan cowl door has a serial number 10029001 through 11092003 inclusive, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A320-71-1062, dated July 28, 2014; or Goodrich Aerostructures Service Bulletin RA32071-151, dated June 11, 2014. A review of airplane maintenance records is acceptable in lieu of the inspection required by this paragraph, provided those records can be relied upon for that purpose and the serial number can be positively identified by that review.

    (h) Inspection and Replacement

    For any fan cowl door having any serial number identified in paragraph (g) of this AD: Within 24 months after the effective date of this AD, do a detailed inspection for cracking of the hinge lock nuts of the door, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A320-71-1062, dated July 28, 2014; or Goodrich Aerostructures Service Bulletin RA32071-151, dated June 11, 2014. If any crack is found, before further flight, replace each cracked hinge lock nut, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A320-71-1062, dated July 28, 2014; or Goodrich Aerostructures Service Bulletin RA32071-151, dated June 11, 2014.

    (i) Special Flight Permits

    Special flight permits, as described in Section 21.197 and Section 21.199 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR 21.197 and 21.199), are not allowed.

    (j) Other FAA AD Provisions

    The following provisions also apply to this AD:

    (1) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, send your request to your principal inspector or local Flight Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending information directly to the International Branch, send it to ATTN: Sanjay Ralhan, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; telephone: 425-227-1405; fax: 425-227-1149. Information may be emailed to: [email protected] Before using any approved AMOC, notify your appropriate principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager of the local flight standards district office/certificate holding district office. The AMOC approval letter must specifically reference this AD.

    (2) Contacting the Manufacturer: For any requirement in this AD to obtain corrective actions from a manufacturer, the action must be accomplished using a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA; or the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA); or Airbus's EASA Design Organization Approval (DOA). If approved by the DOA, the approval must include the DOA-authorized signature.

    (k) Related Information

    (1) Refer to Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information (MCAI) EASA Airworthiness Directive 2014-0276, dated December 19, 2014, for related information. This MCAI may be found in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-1991.

    (2) For Airbus service information contact Airbus, Airworthiness Office—EIAS, 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 Blagnac Cedex, France; telephone: +33 5 61 93 36 96; fax: +33 5 61 93 44 51; email: [email protected]; Internet http://www.airbus.com.

    (3) For Goodrich service information contact Goodrich Aerostructures, 850 Lagoon Drive, Chula Vista, California, 91910-2098; telephone: 619-691-2719; email: [email protected]; Internet: http://www.goodrich.com/TechPubs.

    (4) You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221.

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on June 24, 2015. Dionne Palermo, Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-16165 Filed 7-1-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2015-2455; Directorate Identifier 2014-NM-180-AD] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company Airplanes AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

    SUMMARY:

    We propose to supersede Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2008-26-07, which applies to all McDonnell Douglas Model DC-8-11, DC-8-12, DC-8-21, DC-8-31, DC-8-32, DC-8-33, DC-8-41, DC-8-42, and DC-8-43 airplanes; Model DC-8-50 series airplanes; Model DC-8F-54 and DC-8F-55 airplanes; Model DC-8-60 series airplanes; Model DC-8-60F series airplanes; Model DC-8-70 series airplanes; and Model DC-8-70F series airplanes. AD 2008-26-07 currently requires repetitive inspections of the lower skin and stringers at certain stations, and corrective actions if necessary. This proposed AD is intended to complete certain mandated programs intended to support the airplane reaching its limit of validity (LOV) of the engineering data that support the established structural maintenance program. This proposed AD would also require an eddy current high frequency (ETHF) inspection for cracks of the fastener open holes common to the lower skins, stringers, and splice fittings at a certain station; installation of external doublers and fasteners and repetitive eddy current low frequency (ETLF) inspections around the fasteners for any crack; and corrective actions if necessary. We are proposing this AD to detect and correct cracks in the lower skins, stringers, and fastener holes of the splice fittings, which could result in the loss of structural integrity of the airplane.

    DATES:

    We must receive comments on this proposed AD by August 17, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may send comments, using the procedures found in 14 CFR 11.43 and 11.45, by any of the following methods:

    • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    • Fax: 202-493-2251.

    • Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

    • Hand Delivery: Deliver to Mail address above between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    For service information identified in this proposed AD, contact Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Attention: Data & Services Management, 3855 Lakewood Boulevard, MC D800-0019, Long Beach, CA 90846-0001; telephone 206-544-5000, extension 2; fax 206-766-5683; Internet https://www.myboeingfleet.com. You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221. It is also available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-2455.

    Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-2455; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this proposed AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Office (phone: 800-647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Chandra Ramdoss, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Branch, ANM-120L, FAA, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, CA 90712-4137; telephone: 562-627-5239; fax: 562-627-5210; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Comments Invited

    We invite you to send any written relevant data, views, or arguments about this proposed AD. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include “Docket No. FAA-2015-2455; Directorate Identifier 2014-NM-180-AD” at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this proposed AD. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this proposed AD because of those comments.

    We will post all comments we receive, without change, to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information you provide. We will also post a report summarizing each substantive verbal contact we receive about this proposed AD.

    Discussion

    On December 12, 2008, we issued AD 2008-26-07, Amendment 39-15773 (73 FR 78946, December 24, 2008), for all McDonnell Douglas Model DC-8-11, DC-8-12, DC-8-21, DC-8-31, DC-8-32, DC-8-33, DC-8-41, DC-8-42, and DC-8-43 airplanes; Model DC-8-50 series airplanes; Model DC-8F-54 and DC-8F-55 airplanes; Model DC-8-60 series airplanes; Model DC-8-60F series airplanes; Model DC-8-70 series airplanes; and Model DC-8-70F series airplanes. AD 2008-26-07 requires repetitive inspections of the lower skin and stringers at stations Xw=408 and Xw=-408, and corrective actions if necessary. AD 2008-26-07 resulted from reports of cracks in the skins and stringers at the end fasteners common to the stringer end fittings at stations Xw=408 and Xw=-408 wing splice joints. We issued AD 2008-26-07 to detect and correct fatigue cracking in the skins and stringers at the end fasteners common to the stringer end fittings at certain station and wing splice joints, which could result in wing structure that might not sustain limit load, and consequent loss of structural integrity of the wing.

    Widespread Fatigue Damage

    As described in FAA Advisory Circular 120-104 (http://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Advisory_Circular/120-104.pdf), several programs have been developed to support initiatives that will ensure the continued airworthiness of aging airplane structure. The last element of those initiatives is the requirement to establish a limit of validity (LOV) of the engineering data that support the structural maintenance program under 14 CFR 26.21. This proposed AD is the result of an assessment of the previously established programs by Boeing during the process of establishing the LOV for The Boeing Company Model DC-8-11, DC-8-12, DC-8-21, DC-8-31, DC-8-32, DC-8-33, DC-8-41, DC-8-42, and DC-8-43 airplanes; Model DC-8-50 series airplanes; Model DC-8F-54 and DC-8F-55 airplanes; Model DC-8-60 series airplanes; Model DC-8-60F series airplanes; Model DC-8-70 series airplanes; and Model DC-8-70F series airplanes. The actions specified in this proposed AD are necessary to complete certain programs to ensure the continued airworthiness of aging airplane structure and to support an airplane reaching its LOV.

    We are proposing this AD to detect and correct cracks in the lower skins, stringers, and fastener holes of the splice fittings, which could result in the loss of structural integrity of the airplane.

    Actions Since AD 2008-26-07, Amendment 39-15773 (73 FR 78946, December 24, 2008) Was Issued

    Since we issued AD 2008-26-07, Amendment 39-15773 (73 FR 78946, December 24, 2008), we have received new service information to ensure the continued airworthiness of aging airplane structure and to support an airplane reaching its LOV. The new inspection and modification of the left and right lower wing skin, stringers, and splice fittings will support operation up to the DC-8 LOV.

    Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    We reviewed Boeing Service Bulletin DC8-57-104, dated August 18, 2014. The service information describes procedures for certain airplanes for an ETHF inspection for cracks of the fastener open holes common to the lower skins, stringers, and splice fittings at a certain station; installation of external doublers and fasteners and repetitive ETLF inspections around the fasteners for any crack; and corrective actions. This service information is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it through their normal course of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section of this NPRM.

    FAA's Determination

    We are proposing this AD because we evaluated all the relevant information and determined the unsafe condition described previously is likely to exist or develop in other products of the same type design.

    Proposed AD Requirements

    This proposed AD would retain all requirements of AD 2008-26-07, Amendment 39-15773 (73 FR 78946, December 24, 2008). This proposed AD would also require an ETHF inspection for cracks of the fastener open holes common to the lower skins, stringers, and splice fittings at a certain station; installation of external doublers and fasteners and repetitive ETLF inspections around the fasteners for any crack if necessary; and corrective actions.

    Clarification of Actions for Groups 1-3, Configuration 1 Airplanes

    Where the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Service Bulletin DC8-57-104, dated August 18, 2014, specifies repair, this AD also requires an inspection and possible other actions.

    Change to AD 2008-26-07, Amendment 39-15773 (73 FR 78946, December 24, 2008)

    Since AD 2008-26-07, Amendment 39-15773 (73 FR 78946, December 24, 2008), was issued, the AD format has been revised, and certain paragraphs have been rearranged with new title headers. As a result, the corresponding paragraph identifiers have been redesignated in this proposed AD, as listed in the following table:

    Revised Paragraph Identifiers Requirement in AD 2008-26-07 Corresponding requirement in this proposed AD paragraph (e) paragraph (f) paragraph (f) paragraph (g) paragraph (g) paragraph (h) paragraph (h) paragraph (i) Explanation of “RC” Steps in Service Information

    The FAA worked in conjunction with industry, under the Airworthiness Directive Implementation Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC), to enhance the AD system. One enhancement was a new process for annotating which steps in the service information are required for compliance with an AD. Differentiating these steps from other tasks in the service information is expected to improve an owner's/operator's understanding of crucial AD requirements and help provide consistent judgment in AD compliance. The steps identified as RC (required for compliance) in any service information identified previously have a direct effect on detecting, preventing, resolving, or eliminating an identified unsafe condition.

    For service information that contains steps that are labeled as Required for Compliance (RC), the following provisions apply: (1) the steps labeled as RC, including substeps under an RC step and any figures identified in an RC step, must be done to comply with the AD, and an AMOC is required for any deviations to RC steps, including substeps and identified figures; and (2) steps not labeled as RC may be deviated from using accepted methods in accordance with the operator's maintenance or inspection program without obtaining approval of an AMOC, provided the RC steps, including substeps and identified figures, can still be done as specified, and the airplane can be put back in an airworthy condition.

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this proposed AD affects 12 airplanes of U.S. registry.

    We estimate the following costs to comply with this proposed AD:

    Estimated Costs Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per product Cost on U.S. operators Inspection [retained actions from AD 2008-26-07, Amendment 39-15773 (73 FR 78946, December 24, 2008)] 6 work-hours × $85 per hour = $510 per inspection cycle $0 $510 $6,120 per inspection cycle ETHF Inspection [new proposed action] 8 work-hours × $85 per hour = $680 per inspection cycle $0 $680 $8,160 per inspection cycle

    We estimate the following costs to do any necessary certain follow-on actions that would be required based on the results of the proposed inspection. We have no way of determining the number of aircraft that might need these actions:

    On-Condition Costs Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per product Installation of External Doubler 5 work-hour × $85 per hour = $425 $20,000 $20,425 Repetitive ETLF inspection 8 work-hour × $85 per hour = $680 per inspection cycle $0 $680 per inspection cycle

    For all actions and repairs on Groups 1-3, Configuration 1 Airplanes, we have received no definitive data that would enable us to provide cost estimates for the on-condition actions specified in this proposed AD.

    Authority for This Rulemaking

    Title 49 of the United States Code specifies the FAA's authority to issue rules on aviation safety. Subtitle I, Section 106, describes the authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII, Aviation Programs, describes in more detail the scope of the Agency's authority.

    We are issuing this rulemaking under the authority described in Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart III, Section 44701, “General requirements.” Under that section, Congress charges the FAA with promoting safe flight of civil aircraft in air commerce by prescribing regulations for practices, methods, and procedures the Administrator finds necessary for safety in air commerce. This regulation is within the scope of that authority because it addresses an unsafe condition that is likely to exist or develop on products identified in this rulemaking action.

    Regulatory Findings

    We have determined that this proposed AD would not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132. This proposed AD would not have a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.

    For the reasons discussed above, I certify that the proposed regulation:

    (1) Is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866,

    (2) Is not a “significant rule” under the DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034, February 26, 1979),

    (3) Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska, and

    (4) Will not have a significant economic impact, positive or negative, on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

    Air transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety, Incorporation by reference, Safety.

    The Proposed Amendment

    Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the FAA proposes to amend 14 CFR part 39 as follows:

    PART 39—AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES 1. The authority citation for part 39 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701.

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by removing Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2008-26-07, Amendment 39-15773 (73 FR 78946, December 24, 2008), and adding the following new AD: The Boeing Company: Docket No. FAA-2015-2455; Directorate Identifier 2014-NM-180-AD. (a) Comments Due Date

    The FAA must receive comments on this AD action by August 17, 2015.

    (b) Affected ADs

    This AD replaces AD 2008-26-07, Amendment 39-15773 (73 FR 78946, December 24, 2008).

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to all The Boeing Company Model DC-8-11, DC-8-12, DC-8-21, DC-8-31, DC-8-32, DC-8-33, DC-8-41, DC-8-42, DC-8-43, DC-8-51, DC-8-52, DC-8-53, DC-8-55, DC-8F-54, DC-8F-55, DC-8-61, DC-8-62, DC-8-63, DC-8-61F, DC-8-62F, DC-8-63F, DC-8-71, DC-8-72, DC-8-73, DC-8-71F, DC-8-72F, and DC-8-73F airplanes; certificated in any category.

    (d) Subject

    Joint Aircraft System Component (JASC) 57, Wings.

    (e) Unsafe Condition

    This AD was prompted by certain mandated programs intended to support the airplane reaching its limit of validity of the engineering data that support the established structural maintenance program. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct cracks in the lower skins, stringers, and fastener holes of the splice fittings, which could result in the loss of structural integrity of the airplane.

    (f) Compliance

    Comply with this AD within the compliance times specified, unless already done.

    (g) Retained Repetitive Inspections

    This paragraph restates the requirements of paragraph (f) of AD 2008-26-07, Amendment 39-15773 (73 FR 78946, December 24, 2008). At the times specified in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin DC8-57A102, dated February 12, 2008, except as provided by paragraph (h) of this AD, do the applicable inspections for fatigue cracking of the lower skin and stringers at stations Xw=408 and Xw=−408, and do all applicable corrective actions, by accomplishing all applicable actions specified in the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin DC8-57A102, dated February 12, 2008. Do all corrective actions before further flight. Thereafter, repeat the inspections at the applicable intervals specified in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin DC8-57A102, dated February 12, 2008, until paragraph (j) of this AD is done.

    (h) Retained Exception for Compliance Time

    This paragraph restates the exception specified in paragraph (g) of AD 2008-26-07, Amendment 39-15773 (73 FR 78946, December 24, 2008). Where Boeing Alert Service Bulletin DC8-57A102, dated February 12, 2008, specifies a compliance time “after the date on this service bulletin,” this AD requires compliance within the specified compliance time after January 28, 2009 (the effective date of AD 2008-26-07).

    (i) Retained Exception for Corrective Action

    This paragraph restates the exception specified in paragraph (h) of AD 2008-26-07, Amendment 39-15773 (73 FR 78946, December 24, 2008): If any cracking is found during any inspection required by paragraph (g) of this AD, and Boeing Alert Service Bulletin DC8-57A102, dated February 12, 2008, specifies to contact Boeing for appropriate action: Before further flight, repair the cracking using a method approved in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (m) of this AD.

    (j) New Inspections and Corrective Action

    (1) For Groups 1-3, Configuration 1 Airplanes: At the applicable time specified in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Service Bulletin DC8-57-104, dated August 18, 2014, except as required in paragraph (l) of this AD, do an inspection for any cracking, and do all applicable corrective actions using a method approved in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (m) of this AD.

    (2) For Groups 1-3, Configuration 2 Airplanes: At the applicable time specified in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Service Bulletin DC8-57-104, dated August 18, 2014, except as required in paragraph (l) of this AD, do an eddy current high frequency (ETHF) inspection for any cracking of the fastener open holes common to the lower skins, stringers, and splice fittings at station Xw=408 and Xw=−408 from stringer 51 to stringer 65, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Service Bulletin DC8-57-104, dated August 18, 2014. If any cracking is found, before further flight, repair the crack using a method approved in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (m) of this AD.

    (k) New Doubler and Fastener Installation and Eddy Current Low Frequency (ETLF) Inspection of the External Doubler and Corrective Action

    If no crack is found during the inspection required by paragraph (j)(2) of this AD: At the applicable times specified in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Service Bulletin DC8-57-104, dated August 18, 2014, install external doublers and fasteners, and do an external doubler ETLF inspection around the fasteners for any cracking. Repeat the external ETLF inspection at the applicable intervals specified in 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Service Bulletin DC8-57-104, dated August 18, 2014. If any cracking is found during any ETLF inspection required by this paragraph, before further flight, repair the crack using a method approved in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (m) of this AD.

    (l) Exception to the Compliance Time

    Where Boeing Service Bulletin DC8-57-104, dated August 18, 2014, specifies a compliance time “after the original issue date of this service bulletin,” this AD requires compliance within the specified compliance time after the effective date of this AD.

    (m) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

    (1) The Manager, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, send your request to your principal inspector or local Flight Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending information directly to the manager of the ACO, send it to the attention of the person identified in paragraph (n)(1) of this AD. Information may be emailed to [email protected]

    (2) Before using any approved AMOC, notify your appropriate principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager of the local flight standards district office/certificate holding district office.

    (3) An AMOC that provides an acceptable level of safety may be used for any repair required by this AD if it is approved by the Boeing Commercial Airplanes Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) that has been authorized by the Manager, Los Angeles ACO, to make those findings. For a repair method to be approved, the repair must meet the certification basis of the airplane, and the approval must specifically refer to this AD.

    (4) AMOCs approved for AD 2008-26-07, Amendment 39-15773 (73 FR 78946, December 24, 2008), are approved as AMOCs for the corresponding provisions of this AD.

    (5) Except as required by paragraphs (j) and (k) of this AD: For service information that contains steps that are labeled as Required for Compliance (RC), the provisions of paragraphs (m)(5)(i) and (m)(5)(ii) apply.

    (i) The steps labeled as RC, including substeps under an RC step and any figures identified in an RC step, must be done to comply with the AD. An AMOC is required for any deviations to RC steps, including substeps and identified figures.

    (ii) Steps not labeled as RC may be deviated from using accepted methods in accordance with the operator's maintenance or inspection program without obtaining approval of an AMOC, provided the RC steps, including substeps and identified figures, can still be done as specified, and the airplane can be put back in an airworthy condition.

    (n) Related Information

    (1) For more information about this AD, contact Chandra Ramdoss, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Branch, ANM-120L, FAA, Los Angeles ACO, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, CA 90712-4137; telephone: 562-627-5239; fax: 562-627-5210; email: [email protected]

    (2) For service information identified in this AD, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Attention: Data & Services Management, 3855 Lakewood Boulevard, MC D800-0019, Long Beach, CA 90846-0001; telephone 206-544-5000, extension 2; fax 206-766-5683; Internet https://www.myboeingfleet.com. You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221.

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on June 24, 2015. Dionne Palermo, Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-16154 Filed 7-1-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION 16 CFR Parts 1112 and 1233 [Docket No. CPSC-2015-0016] Safety Standard for Portable Hook-On Chairs AGENCY:

    Consumer Product Safety Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking.

    SUMMARY:

    The Danny Keysar Child Product Safety Notification Act, section 104 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (“CPSIA”), requires the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (“Commission” or “CPSC”) to promulgate consumer product safety standards for durable infant or toddler products. These standards are to be “substantially the same as” applicable voluntary standards or more stringent than the voluntary standard if the Commission concludes that more stringent requirements would further reduce the risk of injury associated with the product. The Commission is proposing a safety standard for portable hook-on chairs (“hook-on chairs”) in response to the direction under section 104(b) of the CPSIA. In addition, the Commission is proposing an amendment to include an additional CFR part in the list of notice of requirements (“NORs”) issued by the Commission.

    DATES:

    Submit comments by September 15, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments related to the Paperwork Reduction Act aspects of the marking, labeling, and instructional literature requirements of the proposed mandatory standard for hook-on chairs should be directed to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, the Office of Management and Budget, Attn: CPSC Desk Officer, FAX: 202-395-6974, or emailed to [email protected]

    Other comments, identified by Docket No. CPSC-2015-0016, may be submitted electronically or in writing:

    Electronic Submissions: Submit electronic comments to the Federal eRulemaking Portal at: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. The Commission does not accept comments submitted by electronic mail (email), except through www.regulations.gov. The Commission encourages you to submit electronic comments by using the Federal eRulemaking Portal, as described above.

    Written Submissions: Submit written submissions by mail/hand delivery/courier to: Office of the Secretary, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Room 820, 4330 East West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814; telephone (301) 504-7923.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and docket number for this proposed rulemaking. All comments received may be posted without change, including any personal identifiers, contact information, or other personal information provided, to: http://www.regulations.gov. Do not submit confidential business information, trade secret information, or other sensitive or protected information that you do not want to be available to the public. If furnished at all, such information should be submitted in writing.

    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to: http://www.regulations.gov, and insert the docket number, CPSC-2015-0016, into the “Search” box, and follow the prompts.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Patricia L. Edwards, Project Manager, Directorate for Engineering Sciences, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 5 Research Place, Rockville, MD 20850; telephone: 301-987-2224; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Background and Statutory Authority

    The CPSIA was enacted on August 14, 2008. Section 104(b) of the CPSIA, part of the Danny Keysar Child Product Safety Notification Act, requires the Commission to: (1) Examine and assess the effectiveness of voluntary consumer product safety standards for durable infant or toddler products, in consultation with representatives of consumer groups, juvenile product manufacturers, and independent child product engineers and experts; and (2) promulgate consumer product safety standards for durable infant and toddler products. Standards issued under section 104 are to be “substantially the same as” the applicable voluntary standards or more stringent than the voluntary standard if the Commission concludes that more stringent requirements would further reduce the risk of injury associated with the product.

    The term “durable infant or toddler product” is defined in section 104(f)(1) of the CPSIA as “a durable product intended for use, or that may be reasonably expected to be used, by children under the age of 5 years.” Section 104(f)(2)(C) of the CPSIA specifically identifies “hook-on chairs” as a durable infant or toddler product.

    Pursuant to section 104(b)(1)(A) of the CPSIA, the Commission consulted with manufacturers, retailers, trade organizations, laboratories, consumer advocacy groups, consultants, and members of the public in the development of this notice of proposed rulemaking (“NPR”), largely through the ASTM process. The NPR is based on the most recent voluntary standard developed by ASTM International (formerly the American Society for Testing and Materials), ASTM F1235-15, Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Portable Hook-On Chairs (“ASTM F1235-15”), and contains no modifications to the ASTM standard.

    The testing and certification requirements of section 14(a) of the Consumer Product Safety Act (“CPSA”) apply to the standards promulgated under section 104 of the CPSIA. Section 14(a)(3) of the CPSA requires the Commission to publish an NOR for the accreditation of third party conformity assessment bodies (test laboratories) to assess conformity with a children's product safety rule to which a children's product is subject. The proposed rule for hook-on chairs, if issued as a final rule, would be a children's product safety rule that requires the issuance of an NOR. To meet the requirement that the Commission issue an NOR for the hook-on chairs standard, this NPR also proposes to amend 16 CFR part 1112 to include 16 CFR part 1233, the CFR section where the hook-on chair standard will be codified, if the standard becomes final.

    II. Product Description A. Definition of “Hook-On Chair”

    The scope section of ASTM F1235-15 defines a “portable hook-on chair” as “[u]sually a legless seat constructed to locate the occupant at a table in such a position and elevation so that the surface of the table can be used as the feeding surface for the occupant * * * [s]upported solely by the table on which it is mounted.” The ASTM standard specifies the appropriate ages and weights for children using portable hook-on chairs as “between the ages of six months and three years and who weigh no more than 37 lb (16.8 kg) (95th percentile male at three years).”

    Typical hook-on chairs consist of fabric over a lightweight frame, with a device to mount the seat to a support surface, such as a table or counter. Some hook-on chairs fold for easy storage or transport, and some include a removable tray that can be used in conjunction with a table.

    EP02JY15.157 B. Market Description

    CPSC staff has identified 10 firms supplying hook-on chairs to the U.S. market, typically priced at $40 to $80 each. These 10 firms specialize in the manufacture and/or distribution of durable nursery products and represent only a small segment of the juvenile products industry. Nine of the 10 known firms are domestic (including 3 manufacturers and 6 importers). The remaining firm is a foreign manufacturer. Hook-on chairs represent only a small proportion of each firm's overall product line; on average, each firm supplies one hook-on chair model to the U.S. market annually.

    III. Incident Data

    CPSC's Directorate for Epidemiology, Division of Hazard Analysis, is aware of a total of 89 portable hook-on chair-related incidents reported to the CPSC that occurred between January 1, 2000 and October 31, 2014. These reports include 50 incidents involving injury, 38 non-injury incidents, and one fatality. Thirty-one of the incident reports were received through the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (“NEISS”). Only one of the injured children (age 5 months) was outside the ASTM recommended user age range of 6 months to 3 years. One injured adult is included among the 50 nonfatal injuries.

    A. Fatalities

    The only known fatality occurred in 2002 when a 12-month-old child slid down in his portable hook-on chair so that his head and neck became wedged between the seat and the table edge, and the child was strangled. No restraints were attached to the chair at the time of the incident.

    B. Nonfatalities

    No hospitalizations occurred among the 50 reported nonfatal injuries. Thirty-five of the incidents were classified as “treated and released” from hospital emergency rooms, and the remaining 15 incidents involved no medical treatment. The reported injuries included skull fractures, concussions, broken or fractured bones, and fingertips.

    Five of the 50 nonfatal injuries involved head or neck entrapment. None of these entrapments resulted in death because in each instance the child was quickly released from the entrapment by the caregiver. Most of the injury cases involved some sort of fall, namely a hook-on chair falling from the counter or table to which it was attached, or a child falling from or slipping out of the hook-on chair.

    C. Hazard Pattern Identification

    CPSC staff reviewed all 89 reported incidents (1 fatality, 50 with injuries, and 38 without injuries) to identify hazard patterns associated with portable hook-on chairs. Subsequently, CPSC staff considered the hazard patterns when reviewing the adequacy of ASTM F1235.

    Because the level of detail in the analyzed NEISS data is sufficient only for macro-level hazard assessment, staff first grouped NEISS injury data and non-NEISS data separately. Within NEISS injury data, staff grouped the incidents into three broad categories:

    • Compromised attachment;

    • child fall or slip out of the hook-on chair; and

    • fall of unknown type.

    For non-NEISS incidents, staff grouped the incidents into six broad categories:

    • Compromised attachment;

    • restraint or containment issues;

    • unintended release of seat fabric fastenings;

    • seat fabric separation due to breaking or tearing components;

    • broken structural components; and

    • other.

    Staff then further classified the incidents within each category, as indicated in Table 1 below.

    In order of frequency of incident reports within NEISS injury data and non-NEISS data, the hazard patterns are described below and summarized in Table 1:

    1. NEISS Injury Incidents (31 Incidents)

    Compromised Attachment (45%): Fourteen of the 31 incidents involved a hook-on chair falling from the table or counter to which it was attached. In these incidents, the attachment to the counter or table became compromised in some manner.

    Child Fall or Slip from hook-on Chair (35%): Eleven of the 31 incidents involved a child falling or slipping out of the chair partially or completely. These incidents most likely involved issues with the restraints or other means of containment. However, given the limited information available, CPSC staff cannot be sure that the chairs remained securely attached to the table or that other product-related issues did not play a role. The only case in which the fall was determined to be partial rather than complete involved a child who was found hanging by his neck, caught in the chair.

    Fall of Unknown Type (19%): Six of the 31 incidents involved falls of an unknown type. Although each of these cases appears to be related to some kind of fall affecting the child, the descriptions are not sufficiently clear to allow staff to determine the type of fall that occurred.

    Table 1—Suspected NEISS Hazard Patterns Associated With Portable Hook-On Chairs [Date of Treatment: January 1, 2000-October 2014] Suspected
  • hazard pattern
  • NEISS injury cases Count Percentage
    Chair detached and fell with child 14 45 Child fell or slipped out of chair 11 35 Fall of unknown type 6 19 Total 31 100 Source: Consumer Product Safety Commission's NEISS epidemiological database. Note: The percentages have been rounded to the nearest integer and may not add up exactly to 100 percent.
    2. Non-NEISS Incidents (58 Incidents)

    Compromised Attachment (53%): Thirty-one of the incidents involved scenarios where the security of the hook-on chair's attachment to the table was compromised in some way. In a majority of these cases (17 out of 31), the chair did not completely separate from the table, either because the chair remained partially secured to the table, or because a parent took action before the chair fully detached. In some of the incidents in which the chair partially detached, the seat may have rotated, swung, pitched, or otherwise deviated from its intended position. Four injury incidents are included among the 17 incidents in which the chair did not detach completely. The two most severe of these injuries involved crushed or severed fingertips caught between a part of the chair and the clamp that was still engaged with the table. Five injuries are included among the 14 incidents in which the chair fell completely from the table, including one broken collarbone. In total, attachment issues resulted in 9 injuries (47% of the 19 nonfatal injuries reported by non-NEISS sources).

    Restraint or Containment Issues (19%): Eleven incidents involved chair restraints or other containment issues. These incidents include one fatality, five nonfatal injury incidents, and five non-injury incidents. The most common scenario among these incidents was children slipping and becoming entrapped by the neck in the leg well or between the table and the chair, as occurred in seven incidents (1 fatal, 3 injuries, and 3 non-injuries). In another incident, the child slipped partially, but was caught by the shoulder by waist straps. The remaining three incidents all involved the child getting up or out over the sides of the chair. In one such incident, the child was able to escape from his three-point harness and stand up in the chair before being removed entirely from the chair by his mother. In the other two incidents, the children got themselves up over the sides of the chair and fell out. Only one of the two was injured; a parent of the uninjured child was able to catch the child's legs, preventing impact with the floor.

    Unintended Release of Seat Fabric Fastenings (10%): Six incidents involved the chair seat fabric separating from the chair due to the unintended release of snaps or Velcro straps. These chairs, assembled by consumers, relied on snaps (1 incident) or Velcro straps (5 incidents) to hold the seat fabric onto the attachment arms or chair frame. Unintended release of these fastenings allowed the seat fabric to deviate from its intended position and therefore not support the child as intended. Impacts with the supporting table were the cause of two of the injuries. The third injury resulted when the child started to fall, but his neck became caught against the restraints.

    Seat Fabric Separation Due to Breaking or Tearing Components (5%): Three incidents involved issues with seat fabric separating from the chair, including one injury. The injury occurred when a child fell completely out of the chair after the fabric ripped at the seams.

    Breaking Structural Components (10%): Six incidents involved broken chair components affecting the structural integrity of the chair. Four of the incidents involved locking pins reported to have separated from the chair; one of these locking pin incidents involved injury, which resulted from an adult scratching her knee on the sharp protrusion of a locking pin. Two other incidents were associated with a broken release mechanism and a broken chair base, respectively, neither resulting in injuries.

    Other (2%): One incident involved a child creating enough motion to tip over a small pedestal table to which the parent had secured the chair.

    Table 2—Distribution of Non-NEISS Reported Portable Hook-On Chair Incidents By Product-Related Issues or Hazard Patterns [Date of Incident: January 1, 2000-October 2014] Product-related issues or hazard patterns Total reports Count Percentage Reported injuries Count Percentage Reported deaths Count Percentage Attachment to Table Compromised 31 53 9 47 (chair did not fall from table) (17) (4) (chair fell from table) (14) (5) Restraints or Containment 11 19 5 26 1 100 (child slipped down, entrapping neck) (7) (3) (1) (child slipped partially, but shoulder caught by waist straps) (1) (1) (child able to get up and possibly fall out of chair) (3) (1) Seat Fabric Separation Due to Unintended Release of Snaps or Straps 6 10 3 16 (child slipped forward and head struck table after metal snaps opened) (1) (1) (child slipped and neck became trapped after Velcro opened) (1) (1) (child fell entirely out of chair after Velcro opened) (2) (1) (child remained seated despite Velcro opening) (2) Seat Fabric Separation Due to Torn or Broken Components 3 5 1 5 (child fell entirely out of chair after fabric seam ripped) (1) (1) (child remained seated despite broken clip or fabric) (2) Miscellaneous Broken Components 6 10 1 5 (locking pin) (4) (1) (release mechanism) (1) (base of chair) (1) Other 1 2 0 0 (tip over of table hooked upon) (1) Total 58 100 19 100 1 100 Source: Consumer Product Safety Commission's epidemiological databases CPSRMS, IPII, INDP, and DTHS. Note: The percentages have been rounded to the nearest integer and shown for totals and subtotals only. Subtotals do not necessarily add to heading totals. D. Product Recalls

    Since January 1, 2000, two hook-on chair recalls occurred involving two different firms. The first recall was in June 2001, and involved Inglesina USA hook-on chairs. The product was recalled after one report of a child who fell from the chair because that model chair did not incorporate a seat belt. The recall involved 780 units.

    The second recall was in August 2011, and involved phil&teds USA, Inc., “metoo” clip-on chairs. This recall involved multiple hazards. The first hazard was related to missing or worn clamp pads that allowed the chairs to detach from a variety of different table surfaces, posing a fall hazard. A second hazard occurred when the chair detached; children's fingers were able to be caught between the bar and clamping mechanism, posing an amputation hazard. In addition, user instructions for the chairs were inadequate, increasing the likelihood of consumer misuse. CPSC is aware of 19 reports of the chairs falling from different table surfaces, including five reports of injuries. Two of the five reports of injuries involved children's fingers being severely pinched, lacerated, crushed or amputated. The three other reports of injury involved bruising after a chair detached suddenly and the child fell with the chair, striking the table or floor.

    IV. International Standards for Hook-On Chairs and the ASTM Voluntary Standard

    CPSC is aware of one international standard, EN1272-1998, Child Care Articles—Table Mounted Chairs—Safety Requirements and Test Methods, which addresses hook-on chairs in a fashion similar to ASTM F1235-15. CPSC staff compared ASTM F1235-15 requirements that address chair-to-table attachments and restraints and containment features to the equivalent EN1272-1998 provisions. The EN1272-1998 standard has requirements for:

    • Chemical and flammability material properties;

    • General construction, such as small parts, sharp edges and openings;

    • Structural integrity, including static and dynamic tests;

    • Restraints; and

    • Labeling.

    Although there are differences between the two standards, based on this comparison CPSC believes ASTM F1235-15 to be a more stringent standard, which will more completely address the hazard patterns seen in CPSC incident data. For example, ASTM F1235-15 contains a number of requirements that do not have an equivalent in the European standard, including the seat and seat back disengagement test, the passive crotch restraint requirement, and the scissoring, shearing, and pinching disengagement test. Additionally, in instances where there is an equivalent requirement in the European standard (e.g., static load test and chair pull/push test), ASTM requirements are as stringent as or more stringent than the comparable European standard requirement.

    V. Voluntary Standard—ASTM F1235 A. History of ASTM F1235

    The voluntary standard for hook-on chairs was first approved and published in 1989, as ASTM 1235-89, Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Portable Hook-On Chairs. ASTM has revised the voluntary standard seven times since then. The current version, ASTM F1235-15, was approved on May 1, 2015.

    B. Description of the Current Voluntary Standard—ASTM F1235-15

    ASTM F1235-15 was published in June 2015. Revisions include modified and new requirements developed by CPSC staff, in conjunction with stakeholders on the ASTM subcommittee task group, to address the hazards associated with hook-on chairs. ASTM F1235-15 includes the following key provisions: scope, terminology, general requirements, performance requirements, test methods, marking and labeling, and instructional literature.

    Scope. This section states the scope of the standard, detailing what constitutes a hook-on chair. As stated in section II.A. of this preamble, the Scope section defines a hook-on chair to be “[u]sually a legless seat constructed to locate the occupant at a table in such a position and elevation so that the surface of the table can be used as the feeding surface for the occupant . . . [s]upported solely by the table on which it is mounted.” The Scope section further specifies the appropriate ages and weights for children using portable hook-on chairs as “between the ages of six months and three years and who weigh no more than 37 lb (16.8 kg) (95th percentile male at three years).”

    Terminology. This section provides definitions of terms specific to this standard.

    General Requirements. This section addresses numerous hazards with several general requirements, most of which are also found in the other ASTM juvenile product standards. The following are the general requirements contained in this section:

    • Sharp points;

    • Small parts;

    • Lead in paint;

    • Wood parts;

    • Latching and locking mechanisms;

    • Scissoring, shearing, and pinching (including during detachment from table support surface);

    • Exposed coil springs;

    • Openings;

    • Labeling; and

    • Protective components.

    Performance Requirements and Test Methods. These sections contain performance requirements specific to hook-on chairs, as well as test methods that must be used to assess conformity with such requirements. Below is a discussion of each.

    • Chair Drop Test: The hook-on chair is dropped twice from a height of 36 inches on each of six different planes. The purpose of this performance requirement is to test that the hook-on chair does not exhibit any mechanical hazards (sharp points, sharp edges, or small parts) after a drop test has been performed.

    • Static Load Test: The hook-on chair must support a weight of 100 pounds on both the maximum and minimum thickness test surfaces. The purpose of this performance requirement is to test that the hook-on chair is strong enough to support approximately three times the weight of a child expected to be in the seat.

    • Seat and Seat Back Disengagement Test: The seat and seat back must remain fully attached to the frame of the chair when various forces are applied. The purpose of this performance requirement is to test that the seat and seat back are strong enough to withstand the forces they will be subject to during use.

    • Chair Bounce Test: The chair must remain attached to the standard test surface and allow no movement greater than 1 in (25 mm) when a force is applied to the seat back and a weight is dropped onto the seat 50 times. The purpose of this test is to simulate a child bouncing up and down in the hook-on chair.

    • Chair Pull/Push Test: A variety of forces and weights are used to verify that the hook-on chair does not detach from the test surface. The purpose of this test is to simulate a child's actions that might cause the chair to disengage from the table.

    • Restraint System Performance Requirements and Tests: The standard requires that an active restraint system, such as a belt, be provided to secure a child in the seated position in each of the manufacturer-recommended use positions. In addition, the restraint system must include both a waist and a crotch restraint designed to require the crotch restraint to be used when the active restraint system is used. The restraint system must be attached to the chair before shipment so the system does not release during normal use. The purpose of this performance requirement is to test that the restraint system and its closing means do not break, separate, or permit removal of the occupant when various forces are applied.

    • Openings and Passive Crotch Restraint System: This section requires the chair to be supplied with a passive crotch restraint. In addition, to prevent consumer mis-installation or non-installation, the standard requires the passive crotch restraint be installed on the product at the time of shipment. The leg openings must be tested, using a wedge block, to assess whether the passive crotch restraint is effective under the load. The hook-on chair is attached to a test surface and then the tapered end of the wedge block is inserted, and a 25 lb. (111 N) force is applied to the wedge block to push (or pull) the wedge block through the opening. The wedge block is modeled from the hip/torso dimensions of the youngest expected user. In addition to the leg openings, any side openings of the seat, and openings in front of the occupant (between the chair and the supporting table structure), are also tested in a similar manner. To comply with the requirement, the wedge block must not pass completely through any opening. The purpose of these provisions is to reduce the likelihood of children getting injured or dying as a result of sliding through or becoming entrapped in an opening.

    • Scissoring, Shearing, and Pinching Disengagement Test: This test is intended to reduce the likelihood of children becoming injured due to motion caused by the rotation of a hook-on chair when one side (clamp) detaches from the table. One recall was conducted in cooperation with the CPSC for this issue. The firm reported that two incidents resulted in a finger amputation of the occupant in the hook-on chair. In this test, the hook-on chair is partially attached to the minimum test surface with only one of the attachment-fastening devices firmly attached to the test surface; the other fastening device is left loose. A CAMI infant dummy is placed in the hook-on chair with the restraints fastened. A force is then applied to the chair/arm frame in line with the loose fastening device in a direction that results in the rotation of the product on a horizontal plane around the other (fully tightened) attachment point. When the loose attachment point is no longer supported by the test surface, the force is discontinued, and the product is allowed to rotate vertically downward from the test surface. Scissoring, shearing, or pinching that may result in injury is not permissible during the entire test, including when the chair is rotating downward.

    Marking and Labeling. This section contains various requirements relating to warnings, labeling, and required markings for hook-on chairs. This section prescribes various substance, format, and prominence requirements for such information.

    Instructional Literature. This sections requires that instructions be provided with hook-on chairs and be easy to read and understand. Additionally, the section contains requirements relating to instructional literature contents and format, as well as prominence of certain language.

    VI. Assessment of the Voluntary Standard ASTM F1235-15

    CPSC believes that the current voluntary standard, ASTM F1235-15, addresses the primary hazard patterns identified in the incident data. The following section discusses how each of the identified product-related issues or hazard patterns listed in section III.C. of this preamble is addressed by the current voluntary standard, ASTM F1235-15:

    A. Chair's Attachment

    CPSC is aware of 45 incidents in which the attachment of the hook-on chair to the table was compromised. ASTM F1235-15 contains two separate requirements with the intended purpose of reducing the likelihood of a hook-on chair becoming detached from its supporting surface: the chair bounce test and the chair pull/push test. Additionally, in response to CPSC staff's request, ASTM formed a task group to address hazards associated with partial detachment of a chair, which can result in scissoring or shearing hazards. CPSC staff worked with ASTM to develop performance requirements to address this hazard. Accordingly, the standard includes a requirement (first introduced in ASTM F1235-14a) to reduce injuries in the event that a hook-on chair partially detaches from the table support surface: the scissoring, shearing, and pinching test. CPSC believes these requirements adequately address this hazard pattern.

    B. Restraint or Containment

    CPSC is aware of 22 incidents involving or likely involving issues with the hook-on chair restraints or other means of containment. In these instances, children slipped and became entrapped by the neck, or children were able to stand up and fall out over the sides of the chair. The only known fatality in the incident data occurred when a child's head and neck became wedged between the seat and table edge. Similar non-fatal incidents were also reported. Additionally, CPSC received reports of children standing and then slipping and becoming trapped between the table and the hook-on chair.

    In response to reported incidents, CPSC staff worked with an ASTM task group to create a provision that hook-on chairs must contain a passive crotch restraint—a “component that separates the openings for the legs of the occupant into two separate bounded openings and requires no action on the part of the caregiver to use except to position one leg into each opening created by the component.” Before the 2014 version of the standard, ASTM F1235 did not contain a passive crotch restraint requirement.

    Additionally, CPSC's work with the ASTM task group led to a related leg openings performance requirement and test method. Consequently, the current standard contains an openings requirement and associated test methodologies that cover leg openings and side openings. This requirement also applies to completely bounded openings in front of the occupant, addressing entrapment between the leading edge of the chair and the supporting table surface.

    ASTM F1235-15 requires that all hook-on chairs contain a crotch and waist belt restraint system. In addition, the restraint system undergoes testing to check that the system restrains the child as intended. The leg openings, openings around the side and in front of the seat, and the area between the chair and the supporting table are all tested to check that an occupant cannot slide through or become entrapped in the openings. CPSC believes these recent additions to the standard adequately address this hazard pattern.

    C. Fabric- and Component-Related Incidents

    CPSC is aware of 15 incidents in which seat fabric, seat fabric fasteners, or other chair components failed. ASTM F1235-15 includes three different performance tests to help address this hazard pattern: the chair drop test, the static load test, and the seat/seat back disengagement test. Additionally, warning and instructional literature improvements included in the last revision of the standard will help prevent snaps or Velcro from unintentionally detaching due to foreseeable misuse and abuse. CPSC believes that ASTM F1235-15 adequately addresses this hazard pattern.

    D. Other

    ASTM F1235-15 includes revised requirements for marking and labeling and instructional literature. These improvements are intended to help reduce incidents of misuse, such as attaching a hook-on chair to a table for which it was not intended. CPSC believes that the standard contains adequate and clear warnings related to known hazards associated with hook-on chairs.

    VII. Proposed CPSC Standard for Hook-On Chairs

    As explained in the previous section of this preamble, the Commission concludes that ASTM F1235-15 adequately addresses the hazards associated with hook-on chairs. Thus, the Commission proposes to incorporate by reference ASTM F1235-15 without any modifications.

    VIII. Amendment to 16 CFR Part 1112 To Include NOR for Hook-On Chairs Standard

    The CPSA establishes certain requirements for product certification and testing. Products subject to a consumer product safety rule under the CPSA, or to a similar rule, ban, standard or regulation under any other act enforced by the Commission, must be certified as complying with all applicable CPSC-enforced requirements. 15 U.S.C. 2063(a). Certification of children's products subject to a children's product safety rule must be based on testing conducted by a CPSC-accepted third party conformity assessment body. Id. 2063(a)(2). The Commission must publish an NOR for the accreditation of third party conformity assessment bodies to assess conformity with a children's product safety rule to which a children's product is subject. Id. 2063(a)(3). Thus, the proposed rule for 16 CFR part 1233, Safety Standard for Portable Hook-On Chairs, if issued as a final rule, would be a children's product safety rule that requires the issuance of an NOR.

    The Commission published a final rule, Requirements Pertaining to Third Party Conformity Assessment Bodies, 78 FR 15836 (March 12, 2013), codified at 16 CFR part 1112 (“part 1112”) and effective on June 10, 2013, which establishes requirements for accreditation of third party conformity assessment bodies to test for conformity with a children's product safety rule in accordance with section 14(a)(2) of the CPSA. Part 1112 also codifies all of the NORs issued previously by the Commission.

    All new NORs for new children's product safety rules, such as the hook-on chair standard, require an amendment to part 1112. To meet the requirement that the Commission issue an NOR for the proposed hook-on chair standard, as part of this NPR, the Commission proposes to amend the existing rule that codifies the list of all NORs issued by the Commission to add hook-on chairs to the list of children's product safety rules for which the CPSC has issued an NOR.

    Test laboratories applying for acceptance as a CPSC-accepted third party conformity assessment body to test to the new standard for hook-on chairs would be required to meet the third party conformity assessment body accreditation requirements in part 1112. When a laboratory meets the requirements as a CPSC-accepted third party conformity assessment body, the laboratory can apply to the CPSC to have 16 CFR part 1233, Safety Standard for Portable Hook-On Chairs, included in the laboratory's scope of accreditation of CPSC safety rules listed for the laboratory on the CPSC Web site at: www.cpsc.gov/labsearch.

    IX. Incorporation by Reference

    Section 1233.2(a) of the proposed rule incorporates by reference ASTM F1235-15. The Office of the Federal Register (“OFR”) has regulations concerning incorporation by reference. 1 CFR part 51. The OFR recently revised these regulations to require that, for a proposed rule, agencies must discuss in the preamble of the NPR ways that the materials the agency proposes to incorporate by reference are reasonably available to interested persons or how the agency worked to make the materials reasonably available. In addition, the preamble of the proposed rule must summarize the material. 1 CFR 51.5(a).

    In accordance with the OFR's requirements, section V.B. of this preamble summarizes the provisions of ASTM F1235-15 that the Commission proposes to incorporate by reference. ASTM F1235-15 is copyrighted. By permission of ASTM, the standard can be viewed as a read-only document during the comment period on this NPR, at: http://www.astm.org/cpsc.htm.<