Federal Register Vol. 80, No.133,

Federal Register Volume 80, Issue 133 (July 13, 2015)

Page Range39941-40894
FR Document

80_FR_133
Current View
Page and SubjectPDF
80 FR 40087 - Sunshine Act Meeting; National Science BoardPDF
80 FR 40088 - Sunshine Act Meeting NoticePDF
80 FR 40065 - Sunshine Act MeetingsPDF
80 FR 39994 - Certain Steel Nails From the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, the Sultanate of Oman, Taiwan, and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam: Antidumping Duty OrdersPDF
80 FR 39991 - Land Exchange Procedures and Procedures To Amend the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, 1920PDF
80 FR 39992 - Sunshine Act Meeting NoticePDF
80 FR 40085 - Sunshine Act MeetingPDF
80 FR 39960 - Safety Zones; Annual Events in the Captain of the Port Detroit ZonePDF
80 FR 39961 - Safety Zone; Annual Events Requiring Safety Zones in the Captain of the Port Lake Michigan Zone-Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club Evening on the Bay FireworksPDF
80 FR 39957 - Safety Zones; Misery Challenge, Manchester Bay, Manchester, MAPDF
80 FR 39992 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 40083 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Application To Preserve Residence for Naturalization, Form N-470; Revision of a Currently Approved CollectionPDF
80 FR 40082 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Request for Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings (Under Section 336 of the INA), Form N-336; Revision of a Currently Approved Collection; Extension.PDF
80 FR 39998 - Multilayered Wood Flooring From the People's Republic of China: Final Results of Changed Circumstances ReviewPDF
80 FR 40048 - Notice of Filing of Self-Certification of Coal Capability Under the Powerplant and Industrial Fuel Use ActPDF
80 FR 39997 - Polyethylene Retail Carrier Bags From Indonesia, Malaysia, the People's Republic of China, Taiwan, Thailand, and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam: Final Results of the Expedited Sunset Reviews of the Antidumping Duty OrdersPDF
80 FR 40049 - Application to Export Electric Energy; H.Q. Energy Services (U.S.) Inc.PDF
80 FR 40118 - Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) Meeting Notice; Closed MeetingPDF
80 FR 40037 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; “Post Patent Public Submissions”PDF
80 FR 39970 - Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans and Designation of Areas for Air Quality Planning Purposes; Tennessee; Redesignation of the Knoxville 2008 8-Hour Ozone Nonattainment Area to AttainmentPDF
80 FR 40056 - Northbrook Lyons Falls, LLC; Notice of Application Accepted for Filing, Soliciting Comments, Motions To Intervene, Protests, Recommendations, Terms and Conditions, and PrescriptionsPDF
80 FR 40050 - Billing Procedures for Annual Charges For the Costs of Other Federal Agencies for Administering Part I of the Federal Power Act; Notice Reporting Costs for Other Federal Agencies' Administrative Annual Charges for Fiscal Year 2014PDF
80 FR 40054 - City of Logan, Utah; Notice of Application Accepted for Filing, Ready for Environmental Analysis, Soliciting Comments, Motions to Intervene, Protests, Recommendations, Terms and Conditions, and Fishway PrescriptionsPDF
80 FR 40053 - Golden West Power Partners, LLC; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 AuthorizationPDF
80 FR 40064 - Southwest Gas Storage Company; Notice of Request Under Blanket AuthorizationPDF
80 FR 40040 - Applications for New Awards; Improved Reentry EducationPDF
80 FR 40084 - Renewal of Approved Information Collection; OMB Control No. 1004-0204PDF
80 FR 40084 - Notice of Realty Action; Segregation of Public Land Located in Lyon County and Mineral County, NevadaPDF
80 FR 40077 - Designation of an Enhanced Driver's License and Identity Document Issued by the State of Minnesota as a Travel Document Under the Western Hemisphere Travel InitiativePDF
80 FR 40064 - Notice of Receipt of Requests for Amendments To Terminate Uses in Certain Pesticide Registrations; CorrectionPDF
80 FR 40079 - National Customs Automation Program (NCAP) Concerning Remote Location Filing Entry Procedures in the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) and the Use of the Document Image System for the Submission of Invoices and the Use of eBonds for the Transmission of Single Transaction BondsPDF
80 FR 40119 - Notice of Public Workshops for the Draft Re-Evaluation of the O'Hare Modernization Environmental Impact StatementPDF
80 FR 40076 - Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative: Designation of an Approved Native American Tribal Card Issued by the Seneca Nation of Indians as an Acceptable Document To Denote Identity and Citizenship for Entry in the United States at Land and Sea Ports of EntryPDF
80 FR 40048 - Public Availability of Department of Energy FY 2014 Service Contract InventoryPDF
80 FR 40069 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 39994 - Notice of Petitions by Firms for Determination of Eligibility To Apply for Trade Adjustment AssistancePDF
80 FR 39977 - Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Race, Color, or National Origin in Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Financial AssistancePDF
80 FR 40075 - Great Lakes Pilotage Advisory Committee; MeetingPDF
80 FR 39943 - Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company AirplanesPDF
80 FR 40069 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 39993 - 2020 Census Tribal Consultation MeetingsPDF
80 FR 40119 - Notice of Final Federal Agency Actions on Proposed SR-126 (Memorial Boulevard) Improvement Project in TennesseePDF
80 FR 39992 - Notice of July 9 Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid MeetingPDF
80 FR 39988 - Special Regulations, Areas of the National Park System, Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, Horse ManagementPDF
80 FR 39985 - Special Regulations, Areas of the National Park System, Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, Solid Waste DisposalPDF
80 FR 40125 - Qualification of Drivers; Application for Exemptions; HearingPDF
80 FR 40127 - Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Epilepsy and Seizure DisordersPDF
80 FR 40122 - Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; VisionPDF
80 FR 40120 - Hours of Service of Drivers: R&R Transportation Group; Application for ExemptionPDF
80 FR 40088 - Regulatory Guide 8.11, Revision 1, Applications of Bioassay for UraniumPDF
80 FR 40067 - Proposed Data Collection Submitted for Public Comment and RecommendationsPDF
80 FR 40055 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
80 FR 40065 - Agency Forms Undergoing Paperwork Reduction Act ReviewPDF
80 FR 40073 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 40133 - Pricing for the 2015 American Liberty High Relief Gold CoinPDF
80 FR 40131 - Open meeting of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel Joint Committee.PDF
80 FR 40132 - Open Meeting of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel Taxpayer Assistance Center Improvements Project CommitteePDF
80 FR 40119 - Petition for Exemption; Summary of Petition Received; Matthew GerlitzkiPDF
80 FR 40131 - Open Meeting of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel Special Projects CommitteePDF
80 FR 40132 - Open meeting of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel Notices and Correspondence Project CommitteePDF
80 FR 40132 - Open Meeting of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel Toll-Free Phone Line Project CommitteePDF
80 FR 40131 - Open meeting of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel Tax Forms and Publications Project Committee.PDF
80 FR 40057 - Gulf LNG Liquefaction Company, LLC, Gulf LNG Energy, LLC, Gulf LNG Pipeline LLC; Notice of ApplicationPDF
80 FR 40058 - Millennium Pipeline Company, LLC; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Planned Valley Lateral Project, and Request for Comments on Environmental IssuesPDF
80 FR 40062 - Notice Of Staff Attendance at Southwest Power Pool Regional Entity Trustee, Regional State Committee, Members' and Board of Directors' MeetingsPDF
80 FR 40052 - Bloom Energy Corporation; Notice of Petition for Declaratory OrderPDF
80 FR 40063 - Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, L.L.C.; Notice of ApplicationPDF
80 FR 40060 - Texas Eastern Transmission, LP; Notice of Intent to Prepare An Environmental Assessment for the Proposed South Texas Expansion Project, And Request for Comments on Environmental IssuesPDF
80 FR 40049 - Cellu Tissue Corporation; Dunn Paper; Notice of Application for Transfer of License and Soliciting Comments, Motions to Intervene, and ProtestsPDF
80 FR 40051 - Illinois Industrial Energy Consumers v. Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.; Notice of ComplaintPDF
80 FR 40056 - Combined Notice Of FilingsPDF
80 FR 40060 - Combined Notice Of FilingsPDF
80 FR 40055 - Combined Notice of Filings #2PDF
80 FR 40052 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
80 FR 40111 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Chicago Board Options Exchange, Incorporated; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change to Extend a Pilot Program that Eliminates Position and Exercise Limits for Physically-Settled SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (“SPY”) OptionsPDF
80 FR 40116 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Chicago Board Options Exchange, Incorporated; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change to Delay Implementation of Tied to Stock Marking Requirement for Certain OrdersPDF
80 FR 40116 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The Depository Trust Company; Notice of Withdrawal of Proposed Rule Change Regarding the Acknowledgment of End-of-Day Net-Net Settlement Balances by Settling BanksPDF
80 FR 40092 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc.; Notice of Filing of a Proposed Rule Change to Amend FINRA Rule 2210 (Communications with the Public)PDF
80 FR 40113 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE Arca, Inc.; Order Granting Approval of Proposed Rule Change Relating to Listing and Trading Under NYSE Arca Equities Rule 5.2(j)(3), Commentary .02 of Shares of the Vanguard Tax-Exempt Bond Index FundPDF
80 FR 40098 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change to Amend the Definition of Designated Retail Order in Nasdaq Rule 7018PDF
80 FR 40100 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; BOX Options Exchange LLC; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change to Implement the Governance Provisions of an Equity Rights ProgramPDF
80 FR 40090 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Chicago Board Options Exchange, Incorporated; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change Relating to Rule 6.49APDF
80 FR 40107 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NASDAQ OMX PHLX LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Relating to the Volume-Based and Multi-Trigger ThresholdPDF
80 FR 40037 - Privacy Act of 1974; System of RecordsPDF
80 FR 40072 - Extension of Comment Period for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Public Access Plan to Federally Funded Research: Publications and DataPDF
80 FR 40074 - Port Access Route Study: In the Chukchi Sea, Bering Strait and Bering SeaPDF
80 FR 40016 - Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Marine Seismic Survey in the Beaufort Sea, AlaskaPDF
80 FR 39999 - Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Construction Activities at the Children's Pool Lifeguard Station at La Jolla, CaliforniaPDF
80 FR 40132 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 40039 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Comment Request; Professional Development Grants for Indian Children Application PackagePDF
80 FR 40073 - Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
80 FR 40073 - Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD); Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
80 FR 40070 - Science Board to the Food and Drug Administration; Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 40087 - Oversight of Counterfeit, Fraudulent, and Suspect Items in the Nuclear IndustryPDF
80 FR 40072 - Office of Direct Service and Contracting Tribes; National Indian Health Outreach and Education-Health Reform Cooperative Agreement; CorrectionPDF
80 FR 40071 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for Office of Management and Budget Review; Comment Request; Guidance for Industry and Food and Drug Administration Staff; Section 905(j) Reports: Demonstrating Substantial Equivalence for Tobacco Products and Demonstrating the Substantial Equivalence of a New Tobacco Product: Responses to Frequently Asked QuestionsPDF
80 FR 40134 - Proposed Information Collection (VHA Homeless Programs Project CHALENG (Community Homelessess Assessment, Local Education and Networking Groups) for Veterans)PDF
80 FR 40133 - Agency Information Collection (Veterans Transportation Service Data Collection) Activities: under OMB ReviewPDF
80 FR 40136 - Agency Information Collection: Preliminary Independent Living (IL) Assessment, VA Form 28-0791PDF
80 FR 40135 - Proposed Information Collection (VA Forms 21P-0847) Activity: Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 40135 - Agency Information Collection (Description of Materials) Activity under OMB ReviewPDF
80 FR 40136 - Proposed Information Collection (Notice of Lapse & Application for Reinstatement) Activity: WithdrawalPDF
80 FR 40129 - Petition for Waiver of CompliancePDF
80 FR 40130 - Notice of Application for Approval of Discontinuance or Modification of a Railroad Signal SystemPDF
80 FR 39941 - Airworthiness Directives; Kaman Aerospace Corporation (Kaman) HelicoptersPDF
80 FR 39966 - Revisions to the California State Implementation Plan, South Coast Air Quality Management DistrictPDF
80 FR 39961 - Findings of Failure To Submit a Section 110 State Implementation Plan for Interstate Transport for the 2008 National Ambient Air Quality Standards for OzonePDF
80 FR 39968 - Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Maryland; Preconstruction Requirements-Nonattainment New Source ReviewPDF
80 FR 39950 - Clarifications and Corrections to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR): Control of Spacecraft Systems and Related Items the President Determines No Longer Warrant Control Under the United States Munitions List (USML)PDF
80 FR 39975 - Criminal Restitution OrdersPDF
80 FR 39974 - Default Investment FundPDF
80 FR 40768 - Onshore Oil and Gas Operations; Federal and Indian Oil and Gas Leases; Site SecurityPDF
80 FR 40838 - AssessmentsPDF
80 FR 40138 - Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles-Phase 2PDF

Issue

80 133 Monday, July 13, 2015 Contents Agency Agency for International Development NOTICES Meetings: Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid, 39992 2015-17027 Agency Toxic Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 40065-40067 2015-17011 Agriculture Agriculture Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 39992 2015-17086 Census Bureau Census Bureau NOTICES Meetings: 2020 Census Tribal Consultation, 39993-39994 2015-17029 Centers Disease Centers for Disease Control and Prevention NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 40067-40069 2015-17017 Centers Medicare Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 40069 2015-17037 Children Children and Families Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 40069-40070 2015-17030 Civil Rights Civil Rights Commission NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 39992-39993 2015-17188 Coast Guard Coast Guard RULES Safety Zones: Annual Events in the Captain of the Port Detroit Zone, 39960-39961 2015-17126 Captain of the Port Lake Michigan Zone-Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club Evening on the Bay Fireworks, 39961 2015-17125 Misery Challenge, Manchester Bay, Manchester, MA, 39957-39959 2015-17108 NOTICES Meetings: Great Lakes Pilotage Advisory Committee, 40075-40076 2015-17033 Port Access Route Study: Chukchi Sea, Bering Strait and Bering Sea, 40074-40075 2015-16967 Commerce Commerce Department See

Census Bureau

See

Economic Development Administration

See

Industry and Security Bureau

See

International Trade Administration

See

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

See

Patent and Trademark Office

Defense Department Defense Department NOTICES Privacy Act; Systems of Records, 40037-40039 2015-16970 Economic Development Economic Development Administration NOTICES Trade Adjustment Assistance; Petitions, 39994 2015-17035 Education Department Education Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Professional Development Grants for Indian Children Application Package, 40039-40040 2015-16962 Applications for New Awards: Improved Reentry Education, 40040-40048 2015-17046 Energy Department Energy Department See

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

NOTICES Applications to Export Electric Energy: H.Q. Energy Services (U.S.), Inc., 40049 2015-17069 Filings: Self-Certification of Coal Capability under the Powerplant and Industrial Fuel Use Act, 40048 2015-17072 Fiscal Year 2014 Service Contract Inventory, 40048-40049 2015-17038
Environmental Protection Environmental Protection Agency RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: California; South Coast Air Quality Management District; Revisions, 39966-39968 2015-16925 Findings of Failure to Submit State Implementation Plans for Interstate Transport for the 2008 National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone, 39961-39966 2015-16922 Maryland; Preconstruction Requirements—Nonattainment New Source Review, 39968-39970 2015-16918 Tennessee; Redesignation of the Knoxville 2008 8-Hour Ozone Nonattainment Area to Attainment, 39970-39973 2015-17055 PROPOSED RULES Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles; Phase 2, 40138-40765 2015-15500 NOTICES Amendments to Terminate Uses in Certain Pesticide Registrations; Corrections, 40064-40065 2015-17042 Federal Aviation Federal Aviation Administration RULES Airworthiness Directives: Kaman Aerospace Corporation (Kaman) Helicopters, 39941-39943 2015-16939 The Boeing Company Airplanes, 39943-39950 2015-17031 NOTICES Meetings: Draft Re-Evaluation of the O'Hare Modernization Environmental Impact Statement; Public Workshops, 40119 2015-17040 Petition for Exemption; Summaries, 40119 2015-17006 Federal Deposit Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation PROPOSED RULES Assessments, 40838-40894 2015-16514 Federal Election Federal Election Commission NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 40065 2015-17275 Federal Energy Federal Energy Regulatory Commission NOTICES Applications: Gulf LNG Liquefaction Co., LLC; Gulf LNG Energy, LLC; Gulf LNG Pipeline LLC, 40057-40058 2015-16999 Logan, UT, 40054-40055 2015-17050 Northbrook Lyons Falls, LLC, 40056 2015-17053 Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co., LLC, 40063-40064 2015-16995 Combined Filings, 40052-40053, 40055-40057, 40060 2015-16987 2015-16988 2015-16989 2015-16990 2015-17013 Complaints: Illinois Industrial Energy Consumers v. Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc., 40051-40052 2015-16991 Environmental Assessments; Availability, etc.: Millennium Pipeline Co., LLC; Valley Lateral Project, 40058-40060 2015-16998 Texas Eastern Transmission, LP; South Texas Expansion Project, 40060-40062 2015-16994 Guidance: Billing Procedures for Annual Charges for the Costs of Other Federal Agencies for Administering the Federal Power Act, 40050-40051 2015-17052 Initial Market-Based Rate Filings Including Requests for Blanket Section 204 Authorizations: Golden West Power Partners, LLC, 40053-40054 2015-17049 License Transfer Applications: Cellu Tissue Corp.; Dunn Paper, 40049-40050 2015-16993 Meetings: Staff Attendances, 40062-40063 2015-16997 Petitions for Declaratory Orders: Bloom Energy Corp., 40052 2015-16996 Requests under Blanket Authorization: Southwest Gas Storage Co., 40064 2015-17048 Federal Highway Federal Highway Administration NOTICES Federal Agency Actions: Tennessee; Proposed SR-126 (Memorial Boulevard) Improvement Project, 40119-40120 2015-17028 Federal Motor Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration NOTICES Hours of Service of Drivers; Exemption Applications: R and R Transportation Group, 40120-40122 2015-17019 Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications: Epilepsy and Seizure Disorders, 40127-40129 2015-17022 Hearing, 40125-40127 2015-17024 Vision, 40122-40125 2015-17021 Federal Railroad Federal Railroad Administration NOTICES Applications for Approval of Discontinuance or Modification of a Railroad Signal System, 40130 2015-16944 Petitions for Waivers of Compliance, 40129-40130 2015-16945 Federal Retirement Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board PROPOSED RULES Criminal Restitution Orders, 39975-39977 2015-16868 Default Investment Fund, 39974-39975 2015-16867 Food and Drug Food and Drug Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Demonstrating Substantial Equivalence for Tobacco Products and Demonstrating the Substantial Equivalence of a New Tobacco Product: Responses to Frequently Asked Questions, 40071-40072 2015-16952 Meetings: Science Board, 40070-40071 2015-16957 Health and Human Health and Human Services Department See

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry

See

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

See

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

See

Children and Families Administration

See

Food and Drug Administration

See

Indian Health Service

See

National Institutes of Health

See

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

NOTICES Guidance: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Public Access Plan to Federally Funded Research—Publications and Data, 40072 2015-16969
Homeland Homeland Security Department See

Coast Guard

See

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

See

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Indian Health Indian Health Service NOTICES Office of Direct Service and Contracting Tribes; National Indian Health Outreach and Education—Health Reform Cooperative Agreement; Correction, 40072-40073 2015-16953 Industry Industry and Security Bureau RULES Export Administration Regulations: Control of Spacecraft Systems and Related Items the President Determines No Longer Warrant Control under the United States Munitions List; Clarifications and Corrections, 39950-39957 2015-16904 Interior Interior Department See

Land Management Bureau

See

National Park Service

PROPOSED RULES Land Exchange Procedures and Procedures to Amend the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, 39991 2015-17225
Internal Revenue Internal Revenue Service NOTICES Meetings: Taxpayer Advocacy Panel Joint Committee, 2015-17000 40131-40132 2015-17008 Taxpayer Advocacy Panel Notices and Correspondence Project Committee, 40132 2015-17004 Taxpayer Advocacy Panel Special Projects Committee, 40131 2015-17005 Taxpayer Advocacy Panel Tax Forms and Publications Project Committee, 40131 2015-17001 Taxpayer Advocacy Panel Taxpayer Assistance Center Improvements Project Committee, 40132 2015-17007 Taxpayer Advocacy Panel Toll-Free Phone Line Project Committee, 40132 2015-17003 International Trade Adm International Trade Administration NOTICES Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Certain Steel Nails From the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, the Sultanate of Oman, Taiwan, and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, 39994-39997 2015-17239 Multilayered Wood Flooring from the People's Republic of China, 39998-39999 2015-17081 Polyethylene Retail Carrier Bags from Indonesia, Malaysia, the People's Republic of China, Taiwan, Thailand, and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, 39997-39998 2015-17071 Land Land Management Bureau PROPOSED RULES Onshore Oil and Gas Operations: Federal and Indian Oil and Gas Leases; Site Security, 40768-40836 2015-16737 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 40084 2015-17045 Realty Actions: Segregation of Public Land Located in Lyon County and Mineral County, NV, 40084-40085 2015-17044 Legal Legal Services Corporation NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 40085-40087 2015-17177 National Highway National Highway Traffic Safety Administration PROPOSED RULES Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles; Phase 2, 40138-40765 2015-15500 National Institute National Institutes of Health NOTICES Meetings: Center for Scientific Review, 40073 2015-16960 Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 40073 2015-16959 National Oceanic National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOTICES Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities: Construction Activities at the Children's Pool Lifeguard Station at La Jolla, CA, 39999-40016 2015-16965 Marine Seismic Survey in the Beaufort Sea, AK, 40016-40037 2015-16966 National Park National Park Service PROPOSED RULES Special Regulations: Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, Horse Management, 39988-39990 2015-17026 Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, Solid Waste Disposal, 39985-39988 2015-17025 National Science National Science Foundation NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 40087 2015-17280 Nuclear Regulatory Nuclear Regulatory Commission NOTICES Guidance: Oversight of Counterfeit, Fraudulent, and Suspect Items in the Nuclear Industry, 40087-40088 2015-16954 Revision 1, Applications of Bioassay for Uranium, 40088-40090 2015-17018 Meetings; Sunshine Act, 40088 2015-17276 Patent Patent and Trademark Office NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Post Patent Public Submissions, 40037 2015-17056 Securities Securities and Exchange Commission NOTICES Self-Regulatory Organizations; Proposed Rule Changes: BOX Options Exchange, LLC, 40100-40107 2015-16975 Chicago Board Options Exchange, Inc., 40090-40092, 40111-40113, 40116-40118 2015-16974 2015-16980 2015-16981 Depository Trust Co., 40116 2015-16979 Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc., 40092-40098 2015-16978 NASDAQ OMX PHLX LLC, 40107-40111 2015-16973 NASDAQ Stock Market LLC, 40098-40100 2015-16976 NYSE Arca, Inc., 40113-40115 2015-16977 State Department State Department NOTICES Meetings: Overseas Security Advisory Council, 40118-40119 2015-17067 Substance Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 40073-40074 2015-17010 Transportation Department Transportation Department See

Federal Aviation Administration

See

Federal Highway Administration

See

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

See

Federal Railroad Administration

See

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Treasury Treasury Department See

Internal Revenue Service

See

United States Mint

PROPOSED RULES Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Race, Color, or National Origin in Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Financial Assistance, 39977-39985 2015-17034 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 40132-40133 2015-16963
U.S. Citizenship U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization; Revision, 40083 2015-17085 Request for Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings, 40082-40083 2015-17084 Customs U.S. Customs and Border Protection NOTICES National Customs Automation Program: Location Filing Entry Procedures in the Automated Commercial Environment, etc., 40079-40082 2015-17041 Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative: Approval of the Seneca Nation of Indians Tribal Card as Document to Prove Citizenship for Entry in the United States at Land and Sea Ports of Entry, 40076-40077 2015-17039 Designation of Minnesota Enhanced Driver's License and Identity Document as Travel Documents, 40077-40079 2015-17043 U.S. Mint United States Mint NOTICES Pricing for the 2015 American Liberty High Relief Gold Coin, 40133 2015-17009 Veteran Affairs Veterans Affairs Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 40135 2015-16948 Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Description of Materials, 40135-40136 2015-16947 Notice of Lapse and Application for Reinstatement; Withdrawal, 40136 2015-16946 Preliminary Independent Living Assessment, 40136 2015-16949 Veterans Transportation Service Data Collection, 40133-40134 2015-16950 VHA Homeless Programs Project Community Homelessess Assessment, Local Education and Networking Groups for Veterans, 40134-40135 2015-16951 Separate Parts In This Issue Part II Environmental Protection Agency, 40138-40765 2015-15500 Transportation Department, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 40138-40765 2015-15500 Part III Interior Department, Land Management Bureau, 40768-40836 2015-16737 Part IV Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, 40838-40894 2015-16514 Reader Aids

Consult the Reader Aids section at the end of this issue for phone numbers, online resources, finding aids, and notice of recently enacted public laws.

To subscribe to the Federal Register Table of Contents LISTSERV electronic mailing list, go to http://listserv.access.thefederalregister.org and select Online mailing list archives, FEDREGTOC-L, Join or leave the list (or change settings); then follow the instructions.

80 133 Monday, July 13, 2015 Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2014-0758; Directorate Identifier 2013-SW-062-AD; Amendment 39-18202; AD 2015-14-04] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Kaman Aerospace Corporation (Kaman) Helicopters AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for Kaman Model K-1200 helicopters with certain main rotor blades (MRB) installed. This AD requires inspecting each MRB for a crack or damage. This AD was prompted by a report that a crack was found on an MRB during a tear-down inspection. The actions are intended to detect a crack in the MRB, which could lead to failure of the MRB and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

DATES:

This AD is effective August 17, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

For service information identified in this AD, contact Kaman Aerospace Corporation, Old Windsor Rd., P.O. Box 2, Bloomfield, Connecticut 06002-0002; telephone (860) 242-4461; fax (860) 243-7047; or at http://www.kamanaero.com. You may review a copy of the referenced service information at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Room 663, Fort Worth, Texas 76137.

Examining the AD Docket

You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov or in person at the Docket Operations Office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this AD, the economic evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Operations Office (phone: 800-647-5527) is U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations Office, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Nicholas Faust, Aviation Safety Engineer, Boston Aircraft Certification Office, Engine & Propeller Directorate, 12 New England Executive Park, Burlington, Massachusetts 01803; telephone (781) 238-7763; email [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Discussion

On October 3, 2014, at 79 FR 59697, the Federal Register published our notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), which proposed to amend 14 CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to Kaman Model K-1200 helicopters with certain part-numbered MRBs installed. The NPRM proposed to require performing repetitive X-Ray and visual inspections of each wooden MRB for a crack, wood split, void, or delamination at intervals not exceeding 1,000 hours time-in-service (TIS). If there is a crack, wood split, void, or delamination, the NPRM proposed to require repairing or replacing the MRB before further flight. The NPRM also proposed accomplishing the required inspections and repairs by a method approved by the Manager of the Boston Aircraft Certification Office.

The NPRM was prompted by reports of cracks found in the MRB spar during X-ray and teardown inspections with the MRB removed from the helicopter. The proposed requirements were intended to detect a crack in the MRB, which could lead to failure of the MRB and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

Since we issued the NPRM, we discovered a typographical error in paragraph (a) of this AD, where we incorrectly stated the design approval holder's name as Kaman Aerospace Incorporated instead of Kaman Aerospace Corporation, as specified by the current FAA type certificate. We have corrected this error.

Comments

After our NPRM (79 FR 59697, October 3, 2014), was published, we received comments from one commenter.

Request

Kaman suggested, without explanation, clarifying the description of the cost to replace an MRB set in the Cost of Compliance section by adding the word “non-repairable” before “MRB set.”

We disagree. Operators may elect to replace a repairable MRB set instead of having the MRBs repaired. The ability to repair a MRB set does not change the cost of replacement.

Kaman also suggested, without explanation, changing the compliance time in paragraph (e)(1) of this AD to state, “When the MRB reaches 3,000 hours TIS and before it reaches 3,050 hours TIS . . .”

We disagree. This AD requires an initial inspection before 3,000 hours TIS but allows an additional 50 hours TIS for any MRBs that have already accumulated 3,000 hours TIS as of the effective date of this AD. The suggested language would change two requirements. First, it would allow the additional 50 hours TIS for all affected helicopters and is inconsistent with Kaman's service information. Second, it would prohibit blades to be inspected before they accumulate 3,000 hours.

FAA's Determination

We have reviewed the relevant information, considered the comments received, and determined that an unsafe condition exists and is likely to exist or develop on other products of these same type designs and that air safety and the public interest require adopting the AD requirements as proposed with minor editorial change described previously. This change is consistent with the intent of the proposals in the NPRM (79 FR 59697, October 3, 2014) and will not increase the economic burden on any operator nor increase the scope of the AD.

Related Service Information

We reviewed Kaman Maintenance Manual 04-00-00, Continued Airworthiness, Revision 31, dated August 1, 2013, which establishes the airworthiness limitations for the Model K-1200 helicopter. The airworthiness limitations establish an MRB life limit of 8,000 hours TIS and also establish a recurring 1,000 hour Rotor Blade Spar Inspection for each MRB with 3,000 or more hours TIS.

We also reviewed Kaman Maintenance Manual 05-20-06, 1,000 Hour Rotor Blade Spar Inspection, Revision 31, dated August 1, 2013, which specifies returning each MRB to Kaman every 1,000 hours for inspection after the MRB accumulates 3,000 hours TIS.

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this AD will affect 11 helicopters of U.S. Registry. We estimate that operators may incur the following costs in order to comply with this AD. At an average labor cost of $85 per work-hour, inspecting each matched pair of main rotor blades requires about 160 work-hours and required parts cost about $2,000, for a cost per MRB set of $15,600 and a cost per helicopter of $31,200 per inspection cycle. If required, repairing a cracked MRB requires about 335 work-hours and required parts cost about $15,000, for a cost per MRB of $43,475. Replacing an MRB set requires about 4 work-hours, and required parts cost about $495,000, for a cost per helicopter of $495,340.

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

This AD will not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132. This AD 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.

For the reasons discussed above, I certify that this AD:

(1) Is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866;

(2) Is not a “significant rule” under DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034, February 26, 1979);

(3) Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska to the extent that it justifies making a regulatory distinction; 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.

We prepared an economic evaluation of the estimated costs to comply with this AD and placed it in the AD docket.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

Air transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety, Incorporation by reference, Safety.

Adoption of the Amendment

Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the FAA amends 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): 2015-14-04 Kaman Aerospace Corporation: Amendment 39-18202; Docket No. FAA-2014-0758; Directorate Identifier 2013-SW-062-AD. (a) Applicability

This AD applies to Kaman Aerospace Corporation (Kaman) Model K-1200 helicopters with a main rotor blade (MRB) part number K911001-009, K911001-010, K911001-109, or K911001-110 installed, certificated in any category.

(b) Unsafe Condition

This AD defines the unsafe condition as a crack in an MRB, which could lead to failure of the MRB and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

(c) Effective Date

This AD becomes effective August 17, 2015.

(d) Compliance

You are responsible for performing each action required by this AD within the specified compliance time unless it has already been accomplished prior to that time.

(e) Required Actions

(1) Before the MRB reaches 3,000 hours time-in-service (TIS) or within 50 hours TIS, whichever occurs later, and thereafter at intervals not exceeding 1,000 hours TIS:

(i) X-Ray inspect each MRB between station (STA) 30 and 289 for a crack, a wood split, a void, and delamination.

(ii) Using a 10X or higher power magnifying glass, inspect each spar plank between STA 33 and STA 78 for a wood split or a crack, and inspect each spar plank to plank glueline for a void or delamination.

(2) If there is a crack, wood split, void, or delamination within maximum repair damage limits in an MRB, before further flight, repair the MRB. If there is a crack, wood split, void, or delamination exceeding maximum repair damage limits in an MRB, before further flight, replace the MRB with an airworthy MRB.

(3) Each inspection and repair procedure required for compliance with Paragraphs (e)(1) and (e)(2) of this AD must be accomplished by a method approved by the Manager, Boston Aircraft Certification Office (ACO). For a repair method to be approved by the Manager, Boston ACO, as required by this AD, the Manager's approval letter must specifically refer to this AD.

(f) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

(1) The Manager, Boston Aircraft Certification Office, FAA, may approve AMOCs for this AD. Send your proposal to: Nicholas Faust, Aviation Safety Engineer, Boston Aircraft Certification Office, Engine & Propeller Directorate, 12 New England Executive Park, Burlington, Massachusetts 01803; telephone (781) 238-7763; email [email protected]

(2) For operations conducted under a 14 CFR part 119 operating certificate or under 14 CFR part 91, subpart K, we suggest that you notify your principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager of the local flight standards district office or certificate holding district office before operating any aircraft complying with this AD through an AMOC.

(g) Additional Information

Kaman Aerospace Corporation Maintenance Manual 04-00-00, Continued Airworthiness, Revision 31, dated August 1, 2013, and Kaman Aerospace Corporation Maintenance Manual 05-20-06, 1,000 Hour Rotor Blade Spar Inspection, Revision 31, dated August 1, 2013, which are not incorporated by reference, contain additional information about the subject of this AD. For service information identified in this AD, contact Kaman Aerospace Corporation, Old Windsor Rd., P.O. Box 2, Bloomfield, Connecticut 06002-0002; telephone (860) 242-4461; fax (860) 243-7047; or at http://www.kamanaero.com. You may review a copy of this service information at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Room 663, Fort Worth, Texas 76137.

(h) Subject

Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 6210, Main Rotor MRB.

Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on June 29, 2015. Lance T. Gant, Acting Directorate Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-16939 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2014-0780; Directorate Identifier 2014-NM-168-AD; Amendment 39-18207; AD 2015-14-09] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company Airplanes AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for The Boeing Company Model 747 airplanes equipped with a main deck side cargo door (MDSCD). This AD was prompted by recent testing that indicates that intermodal containers, when loaded as cargo, under certain flight-load conditions, can shift and impact the adjacent fuselage frames. This AD requires revising the airplane flight manual (AFM) to incorporate limitations for carrying certain payloads. We are issuing this AD to prevent intermodal containers loaded in the offset method from shifting during flight gust loads and damaging fuselage frames, which could lead to the structural failure of the aft fuselage in flight and subsequent in-flight breakup of the airplane.

DATES:

This AD is effective August 17, 2015.

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-2014-0780; 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 AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The address for the Docket Office (phone: 800-647-5527) is Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Steven C. Fox, Senior Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Branch, ANM-120S, FAA, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; phone: 425-917-6425; fax: 425-917-6590; email: [email protected].gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Discussion

The FAA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to The Boeing Company Model 747 airplanes equipped with an MDSCD. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on December 1, 2014 (79 FR 71037). The NPRM was prompted by recent testing, which indicates that intermodal containers, when loaded as cargo, under certain flight-load conditions, can shift and impact the adjacent fuselage frames. The NPRM proposed to require revising the AFM to incorporate limitations for carrying certain payloads. We are issuing this AD to prevent intermodal containers loaded in the offset method from shifting during flight gust loads and damaging fuselage frames, which could lead to the structural failure of the aft fuselage in flight and subsequent in-flight breakup of the airplane.

Background

Intermodal containers are common in the cargo shipping industry and transported by ships, trains, and trucks. The focus of this final rule is an intermodal container that is nominally 20 feet long, 8 feet wide, and 8.5 feet tall. This nominally sized intermodal container includes the dimensions of an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) container ISO 668-1CC. Because the intermodal containers themselves do not meet the requirements of FAA Technical Standard Order TSO-C90D, “Cargo Pallets, Nets and Containers (Unit Load Devices),” the lower surface on these intermodal containers is incompatible with most airplane cargo-loading systems (CLSs). These intermodal containers, however, can be concentrically loaded on an FAA-approved TSO-C90D pallet with a certified net combination and loaded in the center of the airplane, restrained by the CLS or a series of straps connected to the aircraft structure in accordance with the airplane's FAA-approved Weight and Balance Manual (WBM) procedures for cargo that is not a Unit Load Device (ULD).

The WBM is part of the Operating Limitations section of the Airplane Flight Manual (AFM). In accordance with 14 CFR 21.41, the Operating Limitations are part of the airplane type certificate and, therefore, can be modified only by changing that certificate; that is, by obtaining an amended or supplemental type certificate. Revisions to the AFM are approved as AFM supplements, and the approval is based on a finding that, with the AFM revisions, the airplane continues to meet the applicable airworthiness standards. Operators are required to comply with the Operating Limitations by 14 CFR 91.9(a).

The FAA has become aware that some operators, both domestic and foreign, are not loading these containers in the center of the airplane, but rather in the standard left and right pallet positions. When loaded in this manner, the 8-foot, 6-inch, height of the intermodal container interferes with the fuselage, so some operators have been transporting these intermodal containers shifted inboard, off of the FAA-approved TSO pallets, and attached to the pallet only with a net and/or straps. This method of transport is referred to as the “offset method.” The practice of offsetting the intermodal containers results in the certified pallet-net combination having slack in the net by the amount of the offset. FAA observations have found the offset for intermodal containers is as much as 9 inches, with the corresponding 9 inches of slack in the TSO pallet net.

Although additional cargo straps have been used to restrain the intermodal containers to the pallets, the FAA determined that these straps are not effective, and the intermodal container can shift in flight. In 2013, a U.S. cargo operator requested permission from the FAA to carry intermodal containers on Boeing Model 747 airplanes using the offset method—similar to procedures used by other U.S. and non-U.S. air carriers. Based on the FAA's review of the offset method, it denied the operator's request.

Industry Testing of the Offset Method

In March 2014, some U.S. cargo operators and Boeing conducted a series of full-scale tests, witnessed by the FAA, to demonstrate that carrying intermodal containers by the offset method could be shown safe and compliant to the applicable regulations. The test procedures were developed by engineers from Boeing and some U.S. cargo operators, and were intended to show compliance for flight loads on Model 747 airplanes only. The results produced CLS failures and excessive deflections. The preliminary test results confirmed the FAA's safety concerns.

U.S. operators and Boeing conducted additional testing to demonstrate that carrying intermodal containers by the offset method could be shown to be safe and compliant with applicable regulations. This testing used methods from National Aerospace Standard (NAS) 3610, with maximum payloads that were reduced from those tested previously. The intent was for Boeing to use the test data to develop an appropriate loading method that could be incorporated into the Boeing Model 747 WBMs. The certified pallet net was not used because previous testing showed it ineffective in restraining the ISO container as the offset of the container on the pallet introduces slack in the net, with the container essentially free to move laterally in the airplane by the amount of the offset.

Significant engineering resources were applied, and a complex method of strapping installation and procedures and sequence for tightening the straps was developed to preclude the excessive deflections experienced during earlier tests. While a few load cases were successful, some had very small margins (precluding any reduction of the complexity of the nearly 100 straps required). The testing was halted after attempts to substantiate vertical loading repetitively overloaded the forward and aft CLS restraint locks, and the proposed cargo restraining method was deemed unviable.

FAA engineering from the Transport Airplane Directorate has been extensively involved in the testing of offset loading methods for intermodal containers with the objective to determine and document a safe and compliant methodology that could be the basis for a Boeing Model 747 Weight and Balance Supplement for airline use worldwide. Testing to date indicates this objective has not been met.

When positioned in accordance with the WBMs, an intermodal container is secured to the CLS pallet along its entire length by straps and netting. Offsetting the container has the effect of creating slack in the net and straps, except at the ends of the container. As a result, when gust loads are encountered, most of the loads are transferred to the locks at the ends of the container and are not shared with the locks in the middle. This uneven loading has the effect of exceeding the structural capability of the locks at the ends of the container. This phenomenon quickly failed the forward and aft CLS locks during vertical testing, as confirmed by both sets of industry testing.

At this time, there is no offset method for restraining intermodal containers that has been demonstrated to be safe and compliant.

Safety Issue

The current practice of carrying an intermodal container by the offset method is not currently permitted by the Boeing Model 747 WBMs. A series of tests has verified that an intermodal container, under certain flight-load conditions, can shift in both the outboard and vertical directions. This shift by the intermodal container can damage as many as ten fuselage frames per container position during flight, leading to the structural failure of the aft fuselage in flight, and subsequent in-flight breakup of the airplane.

Normally, the FAA does not issue ADs to address non-compliance with existing regulations. But because of the widespread nature of these practices, the FAA has determined that issuing an AD is the most effective means of addressing this unsafe condition.

This final rule, therefore, revises the Operating Limitations section of the FAA-approved AFM to incorporate limitations on carrying certain payloads. As revised, the AFM expressly states the pre-existing prohibition on carriage of either (1) intermodal containers nominally sized at 20 feet long, 8 feet wide, and 8.5 feet tall, or (2) ISO 668-1CC containers, if those containers are not concentrically loaded on a pallet and restrained to the aircraft in accordance with the FAA-approved WBMs or WBM supplement.

Explanation of Changes to the Final Rule

Since issuing the NPRM (79 FR 71037, December 1, 2014), the FAA has learned that some operators might regard changes that they make to the Boeing Weight and Balance Manual to be “FAA approved,” even though the operators have not sought FAA approval through the supplemental type certificate process, as described in the NPRM. To clarify that only changes made through the type certificate process are considered “FAA approved,” we have revised the language of the final rule to specifically reference the FAA-approved Boeing type certificate Weight and Balance Manual or a Supplemental Weight and Balance Manual approved through the supplemental type certificate process. Given the comments opposing the proposed AD discussed below, it is apparent that the commenters were not confused on this point. Nevertheless, this clarification will prevent confusion for any operator in the future.

Comments

We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing this AD. The following presents the comments received on the NPRM (79 FR 71037, December 1, 2014) and the FAA's response to each comment.

Support for the NPRM (79 FR 71037, December 1, 2014)

The Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), stated that they fully support the intent of the NPRM (79 FR 71037, December 1, 2014).

Request To Withdraw NPRM (79 FR 71037, December 1, 2014): Intermodal Containers Are Permitted by WBMs

The Cargo Airline Association, Atlas Air, International Air Transport Association (IATA), National Air Carrier Association (NACA), Kalitta Air, LLC (Kalitta), and the Michigan Senate requested that we withdraw the NPRM (79 FR 71037, December 1, 2014). The commenters asserted that offset intermodal containers are permitted by the Boeing Model 747 WBMs. The commenters also asserted that the Boeing Model 747 WBMs permit the restraint of an intermodal container and pallet assembly with cargo restraint straps only to the pallet (and not the airplane itself), whether or not the container is offset. The commenters concluded that the NPRM statement indicating that “the current practice of carrying an intermodal container by the offset method is not permitted by the Boeing Model 747 Weight and Balance Manual” is incorrect and completely at odds with Boeing's WBMs. The commenters limited their views to only those Model 747 WBMs created by Boeing.

We disagree with the request. Since the commenters did not address any supplemental WBMs produced by holders of supplemental type certificates (STCs), our response is limited to a discussion of the Boeing Model 747 WBMs. As explained below, contrary to the commenters' assertions, the Boeing Model 747 WBMs do not permit loading of either offset intermodal containers or intermodal containers strapped only to the pallet.

As discussed in the NPRM, in accordance with section 21.41 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR 21.41), the operating limitations are part of the airplane's type certificate (TC). The operating limitations specified in the Boeing Model 747 WBMs are established by the TC holder at the time of type certification as necessary to demonstrate that the airplane, when properly loaded, will comply with all applicable airworthiness requirements. One of these requirements is to demonstrate the capability of the airplane to continue safe operation when subjected to a range of structural loads that may be encountered during operations (14 CFR 25.1519). The Boeing Model 747 WBMs provide operators with detailed instructions, including restrictions, on how the airplane may be loaded such that after loading and during flight the airplane still is in compliance with the operating limitations.

The Boeing Model 747 cargo airplanes are equipped with a cargo loading system, which is part of the airplane's type design and consists of roller trays, guides, latches, and locks that restrain the cargo to the airplane for flight loads. A Unit Load Device (ULD) is a device for grouping and retaining cargo for transit. The Boeing Model 747 WBMs include, as part of the operating limitations, instructions that identify which ULDs may be loaded into the airplane's cargo loading system on the main cargo deck of the airplane without additional restraint to the airplane's structure.

Although the actual wording in these manuals varies slightly, all Boeing Model 747 WBMs require that, to be carried on the main deck without additional restraints, “certified” ULDs must conform to FAA Technical Standard Order (TSO) TSO-C90, “Cargo Pallets, Nets, and Containers,” or to National Aerospace Standard (NAS) 3610 (“Cargo Unit Load Devices—Specification For”), the document the TSO references as a requirement. NAS 3610 is an industry standard used to define the required configuration and certification testing for various ULDs.

The types of certified ULDs identified in the Boeing Model 747 WBMs are NAS 3610-compliant containers) and pallet-net combinations. Containers identified in NAS 3610 are attached directly to the airplane's cargo loading system. Intermodal containers, which are the subject of this AD, do not meet the standard for NAS 3610 containers. For the pallet-net combinations, the cargo is restrained to the pallet by a net that attaches to the pallet on all four sides and covers the cargo. Under the Boeing Model 747 WBMs, an intermodal container may be loaded into a certified pallet-net combination ULD as long as the intermodal container is located within the perimeter of the pallet. However, as explained in the NRPM, an intermodal container offset from its pallet introduces slack in the corresponding net and, therefore, does not meet the requirements of NAS 3610 and is not allowed as a certified ULD under the Boeing Model 747 WBMs.

The Boeing Model 747 WBMs require that all cargo other than the identified ULDs be restrained to the airplane by straps in accordance with instructions specified in the WBMs. The Boeing Model 747 WBMs provide detailed instructions that define the specific locations where straps must be attached to the airplane structure, as well as other information such as maximum weights to be restrained at each location. With one recently approved exception,1 nothing in the Boeing Model 747 WBMs or in NAS 3610 allows for the use of straps to restrain cargo to the ULD pallet itself.

1 The FAA recently approved a supplement to the Boeing Model 747 WBMs that allows strapping of cargo to a pallet under limited circumstances that are not relevant to this rulemaking.

Therefore, contrary to the commenters' assertions, the Boeing Model 747 WBMs do not permit loading of either offset intermodal containers or intermodal containers strapped only to the pallet. Furthermore, neither Boeing nor any of the commenters have shown that the airplane, when loaded with offset containers, complies with the applicable airworthiness standards of part 25. As discussed in the NPRM, any such showing would have to be done by a change to the type certificate in accordance with FAA Order 8110.4C.

We have not changed this final rule regarding this issue.

Opposition to NPRM (79 FR 71037, December 1, 2014): History of Safety

IATA, Kalitta, and the Michigan Senate opposed the NPRM (79 FR 71037, December 1, 2014), stating that it does not refer to any incident or accident. The commenters reported that for more than 40 years, intermodal containers loaded as offset cargo have been carried with no damage to frames.

We disagree with the commenters' conclusion. As discussed in the NRPM, industry and Boeing testing have shown that offset loading of intermodal containers can allow the cargo to shift, which would be unsafe under certain flight load conditions. (The AD docket contains a Boeing presentation summarizing these test results.) The purpose of this AD, and all ADs, is to correct an unsafe condition regardless of whether that condition has caused accidents in the past.

Furthermore, in general, the shifting of cargo in flight has resulted in numerous incidents and accidents. For example, on August 7, 1997, Fine Air Flight 101 crashed shortly after takeoff from Miami because cargo shifted. Similarly, all evidence indicates that on April 29, 2013, National Airlines Flight 102 crashed shortly after takeoff from Bagram, Afghanistan, because cargo shifted. We have not changed this final rule regarding this issue.

Request To Withdraw NPRM (79 FR 71037, December 1, 2014): Proposal Based on Unfounded Principles

Atlas Air, the Cargo Airline Association, Kalitta, NACA, and United Parcel Service (UPS) requested that we withdraw the NPRM (79 FR 71037, December 1, 2014) because it misstates an important principle. The commenters noted that the NPRM stated that “the Weight and Balance Manual is part of the Operating Limitations section of the Airplane Flight Manual (AFM).” The commenters asserted that a reader could infer from this that all content in an airplane manufacturer's WBMs is part of the Operating Limitations section of the AFM. The commenters contended that since Boeing's Model 747 WBMs contain operating procedures in addition to operating limitations, only portions of the WBMs are part of the Operating Limitations section of the AFM. The commenters also noted that Boeing frequently revises the WBMs, and when Boeing does so, Boeing does not amend the type certificate, which the commenters assert would be “a laborious process.”

We agree with the commenters' proposition that not all of a manufacturer's WBM is necessarily part of the AFM operating limitations, but we disagree with their assertion that FAA-approved loading instructions are not operating limitations. We also disagree with the commenters' request to change the rule as originally proposed. As provided in 14 CFR 25.1583(c), the WBM is referenced in the AFM and contains operating limitations approved under that section. Section 25.1583(c)(2) requires that the AFM include loading instructions that are necessary to ensure loading of the airplane within the weight and center of gravity limits, and to maintain the loading within these limits in flight. While the Boeing Model 747 WBMs may include information other than limitations, the loading instructions discussed previously are limitations, and the FAA approved the Boeing Model 747 WBMs based on a determination that, as operating limitations, these instructions were adequate to meet the requirements of 14 CFR 25.1583.

For many years the FAA has recognized that both the weight and balance information and the loading instructions are operating limitations. For example, in FAA Advisory Circular (AC) 25.1581-1, dated July 14, 1997 (http://rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgAdvisoryCircular.nsf/0/cb7efbdd420bd265862569b3005479d7/$FILE/AC25-1581-1.pdf), the FAA stated, in Section 2b(1), “Any limitations on airplane loading associated with the stated weight limitations must be included in the AFM or addressed in a separate weight and balance document.”

These loading instructions are the procedures that Boeing determined were necessary to load and restrain cargo for flight loads; these instructions are used to show compliance with the design requirements for the airplane, including the structural capabilities of the cargo loading system, airplane floors, and fuselage, and are therefore operating limitations. The types of ULDs and methods to restrain cargo are limitations provided in the Boeing Model 747 WBMs that ensure the airplane structure is not overloaded throughout the airplane's defined flight envelope. For this reason, additions to the approved list of ULDs or deviations to the structural tie-down locations that are not approved through the type certification process result in noncompliant and unknown conditions that could result in the structural overload to the airplane under certain flight loads.

Adopting the commenters' argument that these loading instructions are not limitations and, therefore, not mandatory would lead to the anomalous result that, while the weight and balance limitations are mandatory, the means to ensure they are complied with are not.

Regarding the commenter's statement that Boeing frequently changes the WBMs, those changes are in fact changes to the type certificate, which are approved by the FAA or its designees. We have not changed this final rule regarding this issue.

Opposition to NPRM (79 FR 71037, December 1, 2014): AD Approach Is Overly Broad and Burdensome

Kalitta asserted that the NPRM (79 FR 71037, December 1, 2014) appears to assume that the offset configuration is already forbidden because it is not explicitly provided for in the Boeing Model 747 WBMs—i.e., unless the loading of a specific ULD or type of cargo and configuration is specifically defined in the Boeing Model 747 WBMs, it is prohibited. The commenter asserted that this is a novel interpretation and is unduly restrictive, contrary to accepted and normal air carrier operations and contrary to the FAA's own guidance material, and will have a significant and far-reaching operational and economic impact on all U.S. air carriers in the future, no matter what kind of aircraft they operate. The commenter stated that the FAA should carefully consider the ramifications of adopting a policy of “what is not explicitly allowed is forbidden.” The commenter stated that this approach reaches well beyond the particular matter at hand, and can create a regulatory environment that stifles innovation, and requires a manufacturer or the FAA to think in advance of every kind of operation that may possibly arise, and provide for it in the regulatory documents. According to the commenter, this would create an impossible burden on government and industry both.

We disagree with the commenter's assertions. As discussed previously, the Boeing Model 747 WBMs define safe and compliant methods for loading the airplane. The Boeing Model 747 WBMs provide the instructions required by 14 CFR 25.1583, enabling the operators to load and restrain cargo in a manner that does not permit the shifting of cargo during flight, which could cause damage to the airplane or result in a configuration leading to the loss of control of the airplane. As discussed previously, these instructions are considered operating limitations. Operation of the airplane beyond those limits is not permitted by the Boeing Model 747 WBMs. Section 121.135(b)(21) requires operators to include in their manuals methods and procedures for maintaining the aircraft weight and center of gravity within approved limits. The unsafe condition addressed in this AD is a result of operators having adopted methods and procedures that are contrary to the WBM instructions and, as a result, not within the approved limits.

Innovations are acceptable provided they meet the limits specified in the WBMs. Innovations that exceed those limits must be approved as changes to the WBM, as required by subparts D and E of 14 CFR part 21, and as provided in FAA Order 8110.4C, dated March 28, 2007 (http://rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgOrders.nsf/0/d21193af2d37a8ba862570ab0054c104/$FILE/8110.4C_CHG5_Incorporated.pdf), which describes the process for obtaining FAA approval for changes to the airplane's type certificate. We have not changed this final rule regarding this issue.

Opposition to NPRM (79 FR 71037, December 1, 2014): Unrealistic Cost Estimate

Cargo Airline Association, Atlas Air, IATA, NACA, and Kalitta alleged that the FAA's determination of the estimated costs to comply with the NPRM (79 FR 71037, December 1, 2014) is fundamentally flawed because it is based on an unreasonably narrow view of the AD's costs and, as a result, the FAA's cost estimate is unrealistically low. The commenters concluded that the AD, if issued as proposed, would have significant, multi-million dollar cost consequences and competitiveness implications for all U.S. Model 747 freighter operators, with no appreciable countervailing safety benefits. In particular, the commenters stated that when intermodal containers are carried in the offset manner, additional cargo can be carried in the adjacent cargo pallet positions. The commenters further asserted that if the intermodal containers are required to be restrained to the airplane, the necessary restraint configuration would preclude the carriage of the adjacent positions and that revenue from the adjacent positions would be lost.

We do not agree with the commenters' allegations. As discussed previously and in the NPRM, carriage of offset containers is contrary to the limitations in the Boeing Model 747 WBMs and, therefore, contrary to 14 CFR 91.9(a). The intent of this AD is to require operators to revise their AFMs in a manner that eliminates this already-noncompliant practice, which we have determined creates an unsafe condition. Based on the FAA's determination that this conduct is noncompliant, the FAA has already directed individual operators not to carry intermodal containers using the offset method.2 Issuance of this AD fulfills the FAA's international obligations of informing foreign airworthiness authorities of the existence of this unsafe condition and of the appropriate means for addressing it, as well as reinforces the determination discussed previously.

2 For example, a letter dated May 2, 2014, directing Kalitta to discontinue this practice is included in the docket.

Moreover, the cost associated with ceasing noncompliant conduct is not attributable to this AD, regardless of how profitable that conduct may be. The cost information in AD actions describes only the direct costs of the specific action required by the AD—in this case, revising the AFM. We recognize that, in doing the actions required by an AD, operators might incur operational costs in addition to the direct costs. The cost analysis in AD rulemaking actions, however, typically does not include incidental or operational costs such as the time required for planning or other administrative actions. Our analysis also would not include possible revenue lost as a result of ending noncompliant operations. The FAA recognizes that the reason operators carry intermodal containers in violation of the Boeing Model 747 WBM limitations is that it is more profitable. The amount of revenue that could be generated when cargo is carried in a noncompliant manner is almost impossible to calculate.

We have not changed this final rule regarding this issue.

Opposition to NPRM (79 FR 71037, December 1, 2014): Economic Impact on Small Entities

Kalitta and the Michigan Senate stated that the NPRM (79 FR 71037, December 1, 2014) fails to account for impact on small entities because most airlines that would be affected by the NPRM have fewer than 1,500 employees. The commenters stated that this is a significant economic impact by loss of revenue.

As discussed previously, we have determined that there is no significant impact on air carriers in the United States because loading offset intermodal containers is contrary to the limitations of the Boeing Model 747 WBMs, and is therefore already prohibited. That is, whether or not this final rule is issued, the practice of carrying intermodal containers in the offset method is not permitted for U.S. air carriers as it is a noncompliant and unsafe practice.

Opposition to NPRM (79 FR 71037, December 1, 2014): Inadequate Testing

Cargo Airline Association, Atlas Air, NACA, IATA, Kalitta, and the Michigan Senate criticized the tests discussed in the NPRM (79 FR 71037, December 1, 2014) that confirmed the FAA's determination that loading containers in the offset position is an unsafe condition, arguing they were unrealistic or inconclusive. In general, the commenters claimed that the tests used configurations of intermodal containers and their restraints that are different from those used in service and applied pass-fail criteria that were unnecessarily stringent.

We do not agree that the tests were unrealistic or inadequate. A detailed discussion of the commenters' technical concerns regarding the tests is included in the AD docket.

In short, the tests of offset intermodal containers discussed in the NPRM included a range of configurations, including those that the participants, including Boeing and cargo operators, considered necessary to show compliance to the regulations, and even a scenario using empty containers. The tests demonstrated that offset intermodal containers would not be restrained securely for flight loads such as heavy turbulence. As discussed previously, loading offset intermodal containers is already contrary to the limitations of the Boeing Model 747 WBMs. If commenters believe that they can show compliance with the applicable part 25 airworthiness standards using offset containers, they may apply for supplemental type certificates (STCs). Any such STCs, if granted, would also be considered as a possible alternative method of compliance (AMOC) to this AD.

Request To Delay Issuance of AD Pending Acceptance of New Testing

Kalitta, NACA, and the Michigan Senate requested that we delay issuing a final AD because new testing by Kalitta shows that the offset configuration can be used without posing a threat to safety.

We disagree with the request. The test process and results have not been submitted to the FAA for approval. However, if the testing is completed and approved, it may serve as the basis for a new STC, which we would then consider as a possible AMOC to this AD. We have not changed this final rule regarding this issue.

Request To Withdraw NPRM (79 FR 71037, December 1, 2014): Unnecessary Based on New Operating Specifications

Cargo Airline Association, IATA, Kalitta, NACA, and the Michigan Senate requested that we withdraw the NPRM (79 FR 71037, December 1, 2014). IATA recently issued Operating Specification (OS) 6/13 (ULD: Operating Specifications). According to the commenters, IATA OS 6/13 provides guidance for safely handling multiple configurations of offset sea-land (intermodal) containers and ensuring the effectiveness and ultimate load strength of tie-down arrangements. The commenters asserted that offset methods for intermodal containers developed in the 1970s by some airlines had received Boeing support and approval.

We disagree with the request. The commenters did not submit data to show how IATA OS 6/13 complies with the applicable regulations. Further, IATA OS 6/13 documents procedures similar to those found to have failed early on in the testing described in the preamble to the NPRM. For example, these procedures include strapping the intermodal container to the pallet, and not directly to the airplane. In fact, the procedures described in IATA OS 6/13 are contrary to the Boeing Model 747 WBMs for the reasons discussed previously.

The commenters provided no evidence of Boeing support and approval regarding use of offset methods. Boeing's comments did not include any statement that offset carriage of intermodal containers without restraint directly to the airplane complies with the Boeing Model 747 WBMs. Neither the FAA nor Boeing has found any evidence that Boeing was involved in or aware of the carriage of intermodal containers in the 1970s.

We have not changed this final rule regarding this issue, although any operator may request approval of an AMOC for use of an STC WBM supplement. However, in this case, because IATA OS 6/13 is so similar to the documented tested failures, new test data would be required to show that the IATA method meets the applicable airworthiness requirements to support approval of an STC.

Request To Allow Offset Containers, If Strapped to Airplane

Atlas Air, Boeing, AirbridgeCargo Airlines LLC (AirbridgeCargo), NACA, and UPS requested that the intermodal containers be allowed to be loaded offset on the pallet, provided that the containers are restrained directly to the airplane by retention straps. A number of the commenters stated that this practice is already allowed by the WBMs and that they currently use this method.

We disagree with the request. None of the commenters provided any actual data demonstrating a compliant restraint method to the airplane for an offset intermodal container. Further, none have demonstrated that they currently use a method complying with the Boeing WBMS. The Boeing Model 747 WBMs describe how to restrain cargo, offset or not, as special cargo restrained to the airplane; however, when the cargo is restrained correctly to the airplane, so many straps would be attached to so many locations on the aircraft that no cargo could be carried adjacent to the offset intermodal container. Thus, the benefit of increased capacity gained by installing an offset container would be lost. Therefore, the FAA finds it unlikely that operators are actually using compliant methods to restrain offset intermodal containers.

We have not changed this final rule regarding this issue. However, under the provisions of paragraph (i) of this AD, we will consider requests for approval of an AMOC if sufficient data are submitted to substantiate that the alternative method would provide an acceptable level of safety. These data would need to include the compliant restraint methodology.

Request To Withdraw NPRM (79 FR 71037, December 1, 2014): Unlevel Playing Field With International Carriers

Kalitta and the Michigan Senate requested that we withdraw the NPRM (79 FR 71037, December 1, 2014). They asserted that by issuing this AD we provide their foreign competitors with a significant competitive advantage. Kalitta stated that while the FAA may believe that incorporation of these restrictions into an AD will solve the competition problem by “leveling the playing field,” as they will apply to all U.S. carriers, and will be adopted by many foreign governments, the agency needs to reconsider this position. The commenters added that foreign authorities may or may not adopt the AD as written, but they have wide latitude in what sort of AMOCs they will permit their carriers to use. The commenters also stated that foreign authorities will very likely look to the IATA standards to provide an acceptable AMOC, enabling their carriers to continue to operate in the very manner that will be foreclosed to U.S. air carriers.

Kalitta asserted that this “unexpected gift to foreign airlines” is not necessitated by safety of flight, and is contrary to the policy considerations mandated by Congress in the International Air Transportation Competition Act (49 U.S.C. 40101), which requires the Secretary of Transportation to strengthen the competitive position of air carriers to ensure at least equality with foreign air carriers, including the attainment of the opportunity for air carriers to maintain and increase their profitability in air foreign transportation. According to the commenters, this obviously does not mean that the FAA should ignore serious safety issues out of concern for U.S. carriers' competitive position, but that the agency must take account of U.S. carriers' financial health and competitive standing, and avoid adopting measures and policies that harm carriers unless they are absolutely necessary.

We disagree with the request. Section 44701 of 49 U.S.C. requires the FAA to promote the safe flight of civil aircraft by, among other things, prescribing regulations and minimum standards for aircraft. In addition, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Annex 8, Airworthiness of Aircraft (http://www.icao.int/safety/airnavigation/NationalityMarks/annexes_booklet_en.pdf) requires that civil aviation authorities of other countries take appropriate action in response to FAA ADs. Based on the FAA's determination of the unsafe condition addressed by this AD, we expect foreign authorities to adopt similar requirements. Regarding the potential for other civil aviation authorities to adopt IATA's procedures as an AMOC for their ADs, as discussed previously, the IATA procedures are similar to those that have been tested previously and that the FAA considers to be unsafe. We have no reason to believe other authorities would reach a different conclusion.

We have not changed this final rule regarding this issue.

Request To Withdraw NPRM (79 FR 71037, December 1, 2014) or Delay Issuance of AD Pending WBM Revision

NACA and AirbridgeCargo requested that we delay issuance of the AD until all new testing is completed. Based on its understanding of the current round of testing, NACA stated that there is a strong likelihood the Boeing Model 747 WBMs will be revised. AirbridgeCargo proposed that further research be done to establish a weight limit for intermodal containers. The commenters therefore preferred a revised WBM to an AD, which would also allow U.S. cargo carriers to fully compete with foreign carriers on a level playing field.

We disagree with the request. To date, all testing to support a revision to the Boeing Model 747 WBMs has been unsuccessful. Although there is a current plan for more testing by a U.S. air carrier to support an STC application, it is unclear if the testing will be successful and when it will be completed. If the testing resumes and provides a successful conclusion, and if sufficient data are submitted to substantiate that the products or alternative methods would provide an acceptable level of safety, the FAA could consider new methods or products as acceptable for compliance with the requirements of this AD. We have not changed this final rule regarding this issue.

Request To Change Requirement To Revise AFM

Boeing requested that we revise paragraph (g) of the proposed AD (79 FR 71037, December 1, 2014), which proposed to require revising the Operating Limitations section of the AFM. Boeing stated that airlines are not able to revise a Boeing AFM. Boeing requested that we change the requirement to “insert a copy of this AD into the Limitations section of the AFM.”

We disagree with the request. Paragraph (g) of the proposed AD (79 FR 71037, December 1, 2014) would allow operators to insert a copy of this AD into the Limitations section of the AFM. However, operators may also comply with this AD by revising the operating limitations. Operating limitations are a part of the type certificate for an airplane. For many years, we have imposed operating restrictions that are necessary to address identified unsafe conditions by requiring revisions to the Operating Limitations section of the AFM. For this reason, as stated in the NPRM (79 FR 71037, December 1, 2014), we must engage in rulemaking (i.e., issuance of an AD) in order to make the revisions mandatory for previously type-certificated airplanes. While the Boeing Model WBMs are contained in a “Boeing document” in the sense that Boeing originally produced it, the document, nevertheless, is a part of the airplane flight manual that operators must use to operate the airplane properly. Of course, those operators that have previously revised the required AFM limitations are given credit for having previously accomplished the requirements of this AD, as allowed by paragraph (f) of this AD. The legal effect is the same: The operator is required to comply with the limitations referenced in 14 CFR 91.9(a). We have not changed this final rule regarding this issue.

Request To Revise Description of Issue Prompting Rulemaking

Boeing requested that we revise the description of the issue that prompted the NPRM (79 FR 71037, December 1, 2014). The NPRM stated that recent testing indicates that intermodal containers, when loaded as cargo, can shift. While implicitly agreeing that loading offset containers is unsafe unless they are restrained directly to the airplane, Boeing requested that we change the wording to explain that the condition is limited to “cargo using a TSO-C90 certified ULD.”

We disagree with the requested change. The SUMMARY section of this final rule and paragraph (e) of this AD go on to explain that intermodal containers loaded in the offset method are the subject of this AD, and the type of ULD does not change the unsafe condition. Further, not all Boeing Model 747 WBMs refer to TSO-C90; several refer directly to the TSO-C90-required document NAS 3610. We have therefore not revised this final rule regarding this issue.

Request To Delete Reference to TSO Revision Level

Boeing and UPS stated that the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of the NPRM (79 FR 71037, December 1, 2014) referred to a “TSO-C90D” pallet. Revision D is the latest issue of TSO-C90, and per the WBMs applicable to Boeing Model 747 airplanes, approved ULDs for carriage may conform to the TSO-C90 revision to which they were certified. UPS recommends revising the Discussion section of the NPRM to remove the revision level when TSO-C90 is referenced.

We agree that the revision level of TSO-C90 does not matter; an intermodal container conforms to none of the revision levels. However, the Discussion section of the NPRM (79 FR 71037, December 1, 2014) is not repeated in this final rule. No change to this final rule is necessary.

Conclusion

We reviewed the relevant data, considered the comments received, and determined that air safety and the public interest require adopting this AD as proposed—except for minor editorial changes. We have determined that these minor changes:

• Are consistent with the intent that was proposed in the NPRM (79 FR 71037, December 1, 2014) for correcting the unsafe condition; and

• Do not add any additional burden upon the public than was already proposed in the NPRM (79 FR 71037, December 1, 2014).

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this AD affects 98 airplanes of U.S. registry. We estimate the following costs to comply with this AD:

Estimated Costs Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per
  • product
  • Cost on U.S. operators
    AFM revision 1 work-hour × $85 per hour = $85 $0 $85 $8,330
    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

    This AD will not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132. This AD 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.

    For the reasons discussed above, I certify that this AD:

    (1) Is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866,

    (2) Is not a “significant rule” under 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.

    Adoption of the Amendment

    Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the FAA amends 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): 2015-14-09 The Boeing Company: Amendment 39-18207; Docket No. FAA-2014-0780; Directorate Identifier 2014-NM-168-AD. (a) Effective Date

    This AD is effective August 17, 2015.

    (b) Affected ADs

    None.

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to The Boeing Company Model 747-100, 747-100B, 747-100B SUD, 747-200B, 747-200C, 747-200F, 747-300, 747-400, 747-400D, 747-400F, 747SR, 747SP, 747-8F, and 747-8 series airplanes, certificated in any category, equipped with a main deck side cargo door (MDSCD).

    (d) Subject

    Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 53, Fuselage.

    (e) Unsafe Condition

    This AD was prompted by recent testing that indicates that intermodal containers, when loaded as cargo, under certain flight-load conditions, can shift and impact the adjacent fuselage frames. We are issuing this AD to prevent intermodal containers loaded in the offset method from shifting during flight gust loads and damaging fuselage frames, which could lead to the structural failure of the aft fuselage in flight, and subsequent in-flight breakup of the airplane.

    (f) Compliance

    Comply with this AD within the compliance times specified, unless already done.

    (g) Revision of Airplane Flight Manual (AFM)

    Within 14 days after the effective date of this AD, revise the Operating Limitations section of the FAA-approved AFM to include the information in figure 1 to paragraph (g) of this AD. This may be accomplished by inserting a copy of this AD into the Limitations section of the AFM.

    Figure 1 to Paragraph (g) of This AD—AFM Revision Unless approved by the Manager of the Seattle Aircraft Certification Office, the carriage of the following payloads is prohibited: (1) Intermodal containers nominally sized at 20 feet long, 8 feet wide, and 8.5 feet tall that are not concentrically loaded on a pallet and restrained to the aircraft in accordance with the FAA-approved Boeing type certificate Weight and Balance Manual or a supplemental type certificate Weight and Balance Supplement. (2) ISO 668-1CC containers that are not concentrically loaded on a pallet and restrained to the aircraft in accordance with the FAA-approved Boeing type certificate Weight and Balance Manual or a supplemental type certificate Weight and Balance Supplement. Note: Both payloads 1 and 2 may be concentrically loaded on a pallet and netted in accordance with the FAA-approved Weight and Balance Manual and then loaded in the center of the airplane and restrained to the airplane by the approved center loaded cargo restraint system or restrained directly to the airplane, both as defined in the FAA-approved Weight and Balance Manual. (h) 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 if any intermodal container prohibited as specified in figure 1 to paragraph (g) of this AD is on board. For special flight permits, carriage of freight is not allowed.

    (i) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

    (1) The Manager, Seattle 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 (j) 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.

    (j) Related Information

    For more information about this AD, contact Steven C. Fox, Senior Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Branch, ANM-120S, FAA, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; phone: 425-917-6425; fax: 425-917-6590; email: [email protected]

    (k) Material Incorporated by Reference

    None.

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on July 7, 2015. Jeffrey E. Duven, Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17031 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Bureau of Industry and Security 15 CFR Parts 736, 740, 744, 748, and 774 [Docket No. 150325297-5297-01] RIN 0694-AG59 Clarifications and Corrections to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR): Control of Spacecraft Systems and Related Items the President Determines No Longer Warrant Control Under the United States Munitions List (USML) AGENCY:

    Bureau of Industry and Security, Department of Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This final rule makes additional clarifications and corrections to the interim final rule that was published on May 13, 2014. The May 13 rule added controls to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) for spacecraft and related items that the President has determined no longer warrant control under United States Munitions List (USML) Category XV—spacecraft and related items.

    The changes included in this final rule are limited to corrections and clarifications to what was included in the interim final rule. This is the second corrections and clarifications rule BIS has published for the May 13 rule. These corrections and clarifications were also informed by comments received in response to the May 13 rule that included a request for comments.

    The corrections and clarifications to the May 13 rule are also part of Commerce's retrospective regulatory review plan under Executive Order (EO) 13563 (see the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this rule for information on the availability of the plan).

    DATES:

    This rule is effective July 13, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For questions about the ECCNs included in this rule, contact Dennis Krepp, Office of National Security and Technology Transfer Controls, Bureau of Industry and Security, U.S. Department of Commerce, Telephone: 202-482-1309, email: [email protected] For general questions about the regulatory changes pertaining to satellites, spacecraft, and related items, contact the Regulatory Policy Division, Office of Exporter Services, Bureau of Industry and Security, at 202-482-2440 or email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    This final rule makes corrections and clarifications to the interim final rule, Revisions to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR): Control of Spacecraft Systems and Related Items the President Determines No Longer Warrant Control Under the United States Munitions List (USML), that was published on May 13, 2014 (79 FR 27417) (May 13 rule). The May 13 rule added controls to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) for spacecraft and related items that the President has determined no longer warrant control under United States Munitions List (USML) Category XV—spacecraft and related items. The vast majority of the changes included in the May 13 rule have been implemented as published in the interim final rule and are not republished in this final rule. A full description of those changes can be found in the Background section and the regulatory text of the May 13 rule. BIS also published corrections and clarifications to the May 13 rule in a final rule published on November 12, 2014 (79 FR 67055).

    The changes included in this final rule are limited to corrections and clarifications to what was included in the May 13 rule but are also informed by comments received in response to the May 13 rule. These corrections and clarifications to the May 13 rule are described below.

    In § 736.2 (General Prohibitions), this final rule revises the heading of paragraph (b)(3)(iii) (Additional country scope of prohibition for 9x515 or “600 series” items) to remove the term “additional.” The country scope of prohibition of paragraph (b)(3)(iii) for the 9x515 and “600 series” items is specified in this paragraph for purposes of General Prohibition Three. The country scope of prohibition of paragraph (b)(3)(iii) for the 9x515 items applies to destinations in Country Groups D:5 and E:1 (see Supplement No. 1 to part 740 of the EAR). However, because of the use of the term “additional” in the heading of paragraph (b)(3)(iii), BIS has received questions from the public whether the country scope of prohibition specified in paragraph (b)(3)(i) also needs to be considered for purposes of the 9x515 items. The country scope of paragraph (b)(3)(i) does not apply to 9x515 items, so this final rule revises the heading of paragraph (b)(3)(iii) to clarify this point by removing the term “additional.” This rule does not change the country scope of prohibition for the 9x515 or “600 series” items. Reexporters are reminded that the country scope of prohibition for the “600 series” items, which includes Country Groups D:1, D:3, D:4, D:5 or E:1, is broader than that for 9x515 items.

    In § 740.20 under paragraph (d) (Prior Consignee Statement), this final rule revises the introductory text of paragraph (d)(2) to remove two sentences that were intended to be removed in a December 29, 2014 (79 FR 77866) final rule, but were not removed as intended because of ambiguity in the amendatory instruction. This rule removes the two outdated sentences. This final rule sets out the full text of paragraph (d)(2) to ensure the text of this paragraph accurately reflects past revisions of the EAR.

    In addition, this final rule makes three minor clarifications to the text of paragraph (d)(2) to make the intent of the paragraph clearer. First, this rule removes the term “and” in the phrase “exporter, reexporter and transferor” and replaces it with “or” in two places in paragraph (d)(2). This clarification is made because the party making the export, reexport or transfer (in-country) authorized under License Exception STA is the person responsible for obtaining the prior consignee statement and maintaining a log or other record consistent with the requirements of paragraph (d)(2). The use of the term “and” may have given the misimpression that the exporter receiving the prior consignee statement would also need to obtain a prior consignee statement for subsequent transfers (in-country) or reexports authorized under License Exception STA, which is not required under paragraph (d)(2). Second, this final rule adds the parenthetical phrase “(such as documents created in the ordinary course of business)” to provide an example of an “other record” in paragraph (d)(2). Third, this final rule adds an “(S)” at the end of the terms “NAME” and “CONSIGNEE” in the bracketed text at the end of paragraph (d)(2). Making these two terms plural clarifies that multiple consignees may be included on the same prior consignee statement, provided all of the applicable requirements of paragraph (d)(2) are met. This is an existing BIS interpretation of paragraph (d)(2) that this edit clarifies.

    In § 744.21 (Restrictions on certain ‘military end uses’ in the People's Republic of China (PRC) or for a ‘military end use’ or ‘military end user’ in Russia or Venezuela), this final rule revises the general prohibition in paragraph (a)(2) in § 744.21 for the 9x515 and “600 series” ECCNs to clarify that the use in, with, or for the International Space Station (ISS) for exports, reexports, or transfers within Russia of these 9x515 and “600 series” items is not within the scope of the general prohibition, including launch to the ISS. Exports, reexports, and transfers (in-country) to China and Venezuela are not eligible for the ISS exclusion from the § 744.21 license requirements in paragraph (a)(2) because China and Venezuela are not ISS partner countries, unlike Russia, which is an ISS partner country.

    In Supplement No. 2 to part 748 (Unique application and submission requirements), this final rule revises the introductory text of paragraphs (y)(1) and (y)(2) to clarify that for purposes of the license applications for satellite exports, the requirements specified in paragraphs (y)(1)(i) and (ii) and (y)(2)(i) and (ii), respectively, can be met either at the time of application or prior to export or reexport.

    ECCN 3A611. This final rule makes a clarification to the Related Controls paragraph (6) in ECCN 3A611 by adding two references to the 9x515 ECCNs. These references added in this rule clarify that electronic items “specially designed” for military application that are not controlled in any USML category but are within the scope of a 9x515 ECCN are controlled by that 9x515 ECCN. This Related Controls paragraph (6) already established this relationship between 3A611 and other “600 series” ECCNs, but references to the 9x515 ECCNs also need to be added to clarify the relationship between 3A611 and the 9x515 ECCNs. This clarification will help exporters determine when they should review ECCN 3A611 or a 9x515 ECCN when classifying electronic items. Lastly, this final rule corrects the last sentence of the Related Controls paragraph (6) to replace ECCN 0A604 that is referenced at the end of the paragraph with the correct ECCN 9A604. This change corrects a mistake in the cross reference for the ECCN referenced in this Related Controls paragraph (6).

    ECCN 9A515. This final rule makes six corrections and clarifications to ECCN 9A515. Specifically, these corrections and clarifications are made to the MT Control in the License Requirement table, to the Related Definitions paragraph and to “items” paragraphs (d), (e), (x) and (y) in the List of Items Controlled section, as described below.

    ECCN 9A515—MT Control. This final rule revises the MT Control paragraph in the License Requirements section to add the phrase “microcircuits in” before the reference to 9A515.d and adds the new 9A515.e.2 to the MT controls. This final rule makes this change to add greater specificity regarding what parts of ECCN 9A515.d and 9A515.e.2 are controlled for MT reasons. This clarification also addresses questions BIS has received from the public and will align the ECCN's text more closely with the MTCR Annex.

    ECCN 9A515—Related Definitions. This final rule adds a definition of `microcircuit' to clarify how the term is understood in the context of ECCN 9A515. This rule clarifies that for purposes of ECCN 9A515 a ‘microcircuit’ means a device in which a number of passive or active elements are considered as indivisibly associated on or within a continuous structure to perform the function of a circuit. The addition of the Related Definition will make the intent of this ECCN clearer. This ECCN 9A515 specific definition of ‘microcircuit’ does not change the meaning or interpretation of microcircuit under the EAR. The definition of ‘microcircuit’ this final rule adds to ECCN 9A515 is the same definition as found in ECCN 3A001 and also as defined by the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) Annex. The ECCN 9A515 definition is limited to providing guidance on the application of the definition based on current BIS practice and past interpretive guidance BIS has provided, including how the term is defined in that ECCN on the CCL and by the MTCR.

    ECCN 9A515.d. This final rule also revises items paragraph (d) in the List of Items Controlled section of ECCN 9A515 to conform to the intended commodities classified under this paragraph. In the introductory text of paragraph (d), this final rule adds MOSFETS to the parenthetical phrase that provides examples for microelectronic circuits classified under paragraph (d). Importantly, such MOSFETS are already classified under 9A515.d. In response to the public's questions, however, this addition provides clarity without changing the scope of the ECCN. This final rule also adds the phrase “and discrete electronic components” to ECCN 9A515.d to help the public self-classify such items and avoid the need to submit classification requests. Lastly, this final rule removes the hyphen in the term “micro-circuits” in the introductory text of paragraph (d) in the List of Items Controlled section of ECCN 9A515 to conform to the other uses of “microcircuits” in 9A515, including the clarifications being made in this rule where the term “microcircuits” is used in 9A515.

    ECCN 9A515.e. This final rule also revises items paragraph (e) in the List of Items Controlled section of ECCN 9A515 to conform to the intended commodities classified under this paragraph. Because of an oversight in the control parameter added in the May 13 rule, certain commodities that were intended to be classified under this paragraph (e) were not classified under this ECCN 9A515. In order to address this oversight and provide additional clarity regarding the scope of this control parameter, this final rule makes the following changes to paragraph (e). In the introductory text of paragraph (e), this final rule adds MOSFETS to the parenthetical phrase that provides examples for microelectronic circuits classified under paragraph (e). Importantly, such MOSFETS are already classified under 9A515.e, so the impact of the addition of MOSFETS to the parenthetical phrase is limited to providing additional specificity to the phrase, in order to make it easier for the public to determine that such MOSFETS are classified under 9A515.e. BIS had received questions from the public on why BIS had not included MOSFETS in the illustrative parenthetical phrase and so, to assist the public and add greater specificity, BIS adds MOSFETS to the illustrative list. This final rule also adds the phrase “and discrete electronic components” to ECCN 9A515.e. Although BIS already classifies discrete electronic components under 9A515.e, the agency has received questions on this issue. The additional text will assist the public with self-classifying such items and avoid the submission of unneeded classification requests. This final rule also adds to ECCN 9A515 a definition of ‘microcircuit’ in the Related Definition as described above. Lastly, in the introductory text of paragraph (e), this final rule removes the term “all” before “characteristics” and adds in its place the phrase “meeting or exceeding the characteristics in either paragraph e.1 or e.2” to clarify that the control parameters specified in paragraph (e)(1) and (e)(2) are applied in the disjunctive. As a conforming change to the introductory text of paragraph (e), this final rule consolidates the control parameter of (e)(2) with paragraph (e)(1), removes the term “and” at the end of paragraph (e)(1) and adds in its place the term “or”. This final rule removes the “AND”, but because of the consolidation of the control parameters of (e)(2) with paragraph (e)(1) and the use of “or” between the two control parameters in the revised paragraph (e)(1), this aspect of the clarification does not substantively change what is classified under paragraph (e).

    Lastly, for the changes to paragraph (e), this final rule adds a new paragraph (e)(2) to clarify that microelectronic circuits and discrete components that meet the scope of the introductory text of paragraph (e), have a total dose ≥ 5 × 10 5 Rads (Si) (5 × 10 3 Gy (Si)), and are not described in 9A515.d are also within the scope of ECCN 9A515.e. This is a correction to the control parameter of paragraph (e) that addresses questions BIS has received from the public regarding the classification of the commodities described under this revised paragraph (e)(2). Specifically, the commodities that meet the new control parameter under paragraph (e)(2) that this final rule adds to ECCN 9A515 are commodities that would have been classified under the United States Munitions List (USML) prior to the effective date of the May 13 rule. The Summary of the May 13 rule states that “New Export Control Classification Numbers (ECCNs) 9A515, 9B515, 9D515, and 9E515 created by this rule and existing ECCNs on the Commerce Control List (CCL) will control such items.” In other words, any item that was formerly classified under USML Category XV that was moved to the CCL would be classified under a 9x515 ECCN or in another ECCN on the CCL (such as one of the ECCNs that use space qualified). However, because of a mistake in the control parameter under paragraph (e) of ECCN 9A515, certain commodities that were intended to be classified in this ECCN inadvertently dropped to an EAR99 designation, which was contrary to the May 13 rule's description of where the commodities formerly classified under USML Category XV would be classified on the CCL. As noted above, BIS has received inquiries from the public questioning the odd result and asking for clarification whether such commodities are intended to be EAR99, or if, as specified in the May 13 rule, the intent is for such items to be classified in 9A515.e. The questioners are correct that the intent was for such commodities to be classified under 9A515, and this final rule adds a control parameter to 9A515.e.2 to ensure consistency with the stated intent of the May 13 rule.

    ECCN 9A515.x. This final rule revises paragraph (x) in the List of Items Controlled section. This final rule revises the existing exclusions under paragraphs (1), (2) and (4) to clarify what commodities are not within the scope of paragraph (x). Specifically, under paragraph (1) this final rule adds a reference to ECCN 9A004 to clarify that commodities enumerated or controlled in 9A004 are not within the scope of 9A515.x. This final rule revises the existing exclusion under paragraph (2) by adding the phrase “discrete electronic components” to clarify that, in addition to microelectronic circuits, discrete electronic components are not within the scope of ECCN 9A515.x, a change that also conforms with the clarification being made to 9A515.e.2 described above. This final rule revises the existing exclusion under paragraph (4) to add ECCN 7A003.d.2 to the list of ECCNs containing “space-qualified” as a control criterion that are not within the scope of 9A515.x and deletes 3A002.a.3 because it is no longer needed. This final rule also revises the list of items excluded from paragraph (x) by adding paragraphs (5), (6), and (7). These additional exclusions clarify that the following commodities are also not within the scope of 9A515.x: microwave solid state amplifiers and microwave assemblies (refer to ECCN 3A001.b.4 for controls on these items); traveling wave tube amplifiers (refer to ECCN 3A001.b.8 for controls on these items); and commodities elsewhere specified in ECCN 9A515.y. These clarifications to the exclusions from paragraph (x) will address questions BIS has received from the public that asked whether certain commodities that were excluded from USML Category XV (on the basis of the former Note to USML Category XV) were classified in ECCN 9A515.x. General Order No. 5 in Supplement No. 1 to part 736 of the EAR under paragraph (e)(3) (Prior commodity jurisdiction determinations) already provides guidance that such commodities would not be classified under a 9A515 entry, but this final rule makes this reading explicit in the context of 9A515.x. This clarification makes no change to the scope of items classified under 9A515.x and merely provides additional guidance to assist the public in understanding the scope of 9A515, in particular as it relates to commodities that previously were determined to not be subject to the ITAR on the basis of the former Note to USML Category XV(e).

    ECCN 9A515.y. This final rule adds a paragraph 9A515.y.1 as the first commodity specified under paragraph (y) in this ECCN. As noted in the introductory text of paragraph (y), the U.S. Government through the section 748.3(e) process will identify the items that warrant being classified under 9x515.y items, such as the commodities being specified under 9A515.y.1 in this final rule. Specifically, discrete electronic “components” not specified in 9A515.e have been identified in an interagency-cleared commodity classification (CCATS) pursuant to § 748.3(e) as warranting control in 9A515.y.1. This final rule also reserves paragraph (y.2) to conform to Federal Register drafting requirements.

    The addition described above for ECCN 9A515.y.1 is the first approved population of a .y control being added to 9A515. As stated in the May 13 rule, BIS (along with State and Defense) will continue to populate the 9A515.y with additional entries as additional classification determinations are made in response to requests from the public under § 748.3(e).

    ECCN 9D001. This final rule revises the NS Controls paragraph in the License Requirements section of ECCN 9D001 to add 9A004. ECCN 9A004 is included in the heading of 9D001, but is not included in the range of ECCNs identified in the NS Controls paragraph. ECCN 9A004 should have been added to the NS Controls paragraph in 9D001 to conform to the changes made to 9A004 in the May 13 rule. This final rule corrects this by adding ECCN 9A004 to the NS Controls paragraph for 9D001. In addition, for the purposes of clarification, this final rule revises the heading of ECCN 9D001 to remove the parenthetical phrase that follows 9A004 and revises the Related Controls paragraph of ECCN 9D001 to remove the reference to 9A004. These clarifications are made because there are no longer commodities that are subject to the ITAR in ECCN 9A004, so there is no need for the parenthetical phrase when referencing 9A004 in the heading of 9D001 and there is no need to reference 9A004 in the Related Controls paragraph of 9D001. Lastly, this final rule removes the parenthetical phrase “(see 22 CFR parts 120 through 130)” after the defined term “Subject to the ITAR” in the Related Controls paragraph of ECCN 9D002 because the text is redundant. The citation information is already included in the definition of “subject to the ITAR” in § 772.1 of the EAR and therefore does not need to be restated on the CCL.

    ECCN 9D002. This final rule revises the NS Controls paragraph in the License Requirements section of ECCN 9D002 to add 9A004. ECCN 9A004 is included in the heading of 9D002, but is not included in the range of ECCNs identified in the NS Controls paragraph. ECCN 9A004 should have been added to the NS Controls paragraph in 9D002 to conform to the changes made to 9A004 in the interim final rule. In addition, for the purposes of clarification, this final rule revises the heading of ECCN 9D002 to remove the parenthetical phrase that follows 9A004 and revises the Related Controls paragraph of ECCN 9D002 to remove the reference to 9A004. These clarifications are made because there are no longer commodities that are subject to the ITAR in ECCN 9A004, so there is no need for the parenthetical phrase when referencing 9A004 in the heading of 9D002 and there is no need to reference 9A004 in the Related Controls paragraph of 9D002. Lastly, this final rule removes the parenthetical phrase “(see 22 CFR parts 120 through 130)” after the defined term “Subject to the ITAR” in the Related Controls paragraph of ECCN 9D002 because the text is redundant as already noted above.

    ECCN 9D515. This final rule reserves the “items” paragraphs (f) through (x) in the List of Items Controlled section and adds a new “items” paragraph (y) in ECCN 9D515. This change is made to conform to the changes made to 9A515.y. In addition, this final rule revises the NS and RS Controls paragraph in the License Requirements section to exclude software classified under 9D515.y from these controls. Similar to the “600 series” ECCNs, the (y) software and technology entries for the 9x515 items will be controlled at the same level as the related (y) commodities.

    ECCN 9E001. This final rule revises the NS Controls paragraph in the License Requirements section of ECCN 9E001 to add 9A004. ECCN 9A004 is included in the heading of 9E001, but is not included in the range of ECCNs identified in the NS controls paragraph. ECCN 9A004 should have been added to the NS Controls paragraph in 9E001 to conform to the changes made to 9A004 in the interim final rule. This final rule corrects this by adding ECCN 9A004 to the NS Controls paragraph for 9E001. In addition, for the purposes of clarification, this final rule revises the heading of ECCN 9E001 to remove the parenthetical phrase that follows 9A004 and revises Related Controls paragraph (2) to remove the reference to 9A004. These clarifications are made because there are no longer commodities that are subject to the ITAR in ECCN 9A004, so there is no need for the parenthetical phrase when referencing 9A004 in the heading of 9E001 and there is no need to reference 9A004 in the Related Controls paragraph of 9E001. Lastly, this final rule removes the parenthetical phrase “(see 22 CFR parts 120 through 130)” after the defined term “Subject to the ITAR” in the Related Controls paragraph of ECCN 9E001 because the text is redundant as already noted above.

    ECCN 9E002. Similar to the changes described above for ECCN 9E001, this final rule for clarification revises the heading of 9E002 to remove the parenthetical phrase that follows 9A004. In addition, for the purposes of clarification revises Related Controls paragraph (3) to remove the reference to 9A004. These clarifications are made because there are no longer commodities that are subject to the ITAR in ECCN 9A004, so there is no need for the parenthetical phrase when referencing 9A004 in the heading of 9E002 and there is no need to reference 9A004 in the Related Controls paragraph of 9E002. Lastly, this final rule removes the parenthetical phrase “(see 22 CFR parts 120 through 130)” after the defined term “Subject to the ITAR” in the Related Controls paragraph of ECCN 9E002 because the text is redundant as already noted above.

    ECCN 9E515. This final rule reserves “items” paragraphs (f) through (x) in the List of Items Controlled section and adds a new “items” paragraph (y) to ECCN 9E515. This change is made to conform to the changes made to 9A515.y. In addition, this final rule revises the NS and RS Controls paragraph in the License Requirements section to exclude technology classified under 9E515.y from the controls in ECCN 9E515. Similar to the “600 series” ECCNs, the (y) software and technology entries for the 9x515 items will be controlled at the same level as the related (y) commodities. Lastly, this final rule revises the MT Control paragraph in the License Requirements section to add 9A515.e.2 to the MT controls. This final rule makes this change to conform to the changes described above for the MT controls in ECCN 9A515.e.2 and to conform to the MTCR Annex. The rule specifies that the control applies to technology for items in 9A515.d and 9A515.e.2 controlled for MT reasons.

    Addressing Public Comments Received

    The May 13 rule requested public comment by November 10, 2014. BIS is still in the process of reviewing the comments received at that time and will address them through a subsequent rulemaking.

    As required by Executive Order (EO) 13563, BIS intends to review this rule's impact on the licensing burden on exporters. Commerce's full plan is available at: http://open.commerce.gov/news/2011/08/23/commerce-plan-retrospective-analysis-existing-rules. Data are routinely collected on an ongoing basis, including through the comments to be submitted and as a result of new information and results from AES data. These results and data have been, and will continue to form, the basis for ongoing reviews of the rule and assessments of various aspects of the rule. As part of its plan for retrospective analysis under EO 13563, BIS intends to conduct periodic reviews of this rule and to modify, or repeal, aspects of this rule, as appropriate, and after public notice and comment. With regard to a number of aspects of this rule, assessments and refinements will be made on an ongoing basis. This is particularly the case with regard to possible modifications that will be considered based on public comments described above.

    Export Administration Act

    Although the Export Administration Act expired on August 20, 2001, the President, through Executive Order 13222 of August 17, 2001, 3 CFR, 2001 Comp., p. 783 (2002), as amended by Executive Order 13637 of March 8, 2013, 78 FR 16129 (March 13, 2013) and as extended by the Notice of August 7, 2014, 79 FR 46959 (August 11, 2014), has continued the Export Administration Regulations in effect under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. BIS continues to carry out the provisions of the Export Administration Act, as appropriate and to the extent permitted by law, pursuant to Executive Order 13222 as amended by Executive Order 13637.

    Rulemaking Requirements

    1. Executive Orders 13563 and 12866 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, distribute impacts, and equity). Executive Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility. This final rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866.

    2. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person is required to respond to, nor is subject to a penalty for failure to comply with, a collection of information, subject to the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) (PRA), unless that collection of information displays a currently valid OMB control number. This regulation involves collections previously approved by the OMB under control numbers 0694-0088, “Multi-Purpose Application,” which carries a burden hour estimate of 43.8 minutes for a manual or electronic submission. This rule does not alter any information collection requirements; therefore, total burden hours associated with the PRA and OMB control number 0694-0088 are not expected to increase as a result of this rule. You may send comments regarding the collection of information associated with this rule, including suggestions for reducing the burden, to Jasmeet K. Seehra, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), by email to [email protected], or by fax to (202) 395-7285.

    3. This rule does not contain policies with Federalism implications as that term is defined under E.O. 13132.

    4. The Department finds that there is good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to waive the provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) requiring prior notice and the opportunity for public comment because they are either unnecessary or contrary to the public interest. The following revisions are non-substantive or are limited to ensure consistency with the intent of the May 13, 2014 interim final rule, and thus prior notice and the opportunity for public comment is unnecessary. Sections 736.2 and 740.20 and ECCNs 9D001, 9D002, 9E001, 9E002 were revised to make corrections to the EAR that resulted from mistakes or other ambiguity in amendatory instructions in past rulemakings. In addition to the revisions above, BIS revises § 744.21, ECCNs 3A611, 9A515, 9D515 and 9E515 to provide guidance on existing interpretations of current EAR provisions and necessary conforming changes, and thus prior notice and the opportunity for public comment is contrary to the public interest. Finally, as contemplated in the May 13 rule, BIS has added an entry to the .y paragraph of ECCN 9A515, which was added as a result of the § 748.3(e) process. For purposes of the APA, there is good cause and it is in the public interest to incorporate this change so the public can benefit from understanding the classification of the item. These revisions are important to get in place as soon as possible so the public will be aware of the correct text and meaning of current EAR provisions.

    BIS finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). As mentioned previously, the revisions made by this rule consist of both technical corrections and clarifications that need to be in place as soon as possible to avoid confusion by the public regarding the intent and meaning of changes to the EAR.

    Because a notice of proposed rulemaking and an opportunity for public comment are not required to be given for these amendments by 5 U.S.C. 553, or by any other law, the analytical requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., are not applicable.

    List of Subjects 15 CFR Part 736

    Exports.

    15 CFR Parts 740 and 748

    Administrative practice and procedure, Exports, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    15 CFR Part 744

    Exports, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Terrorism.

    15 CFR Part 774

    Exports, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Accordingly, the Export Administration Regulations (15 CFR parts 730-774) are amended as follows:

    PART 736—[AMENDED] 1. The authority citation for 15 CFR part 736 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    50 U.S.C. app. 2401 et seq.; 50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.; 22 U.S.C. 2151 note; E.O. 12938, 59 FR 59099, 3 CFR, 1994 Comp., p. 950; E.O. 13020, 61 FR 54079, 3 CFR, 1996 Comp., p. 219; E.O. 13026, 61 FR 58767, 3 CFR, 1996 Comp., p. 228; E.O. 13222, 66 FR 44025, 3 CFR, 2001 Comp., p. 783; E.O. 13338, 69 FR 26751, 3 CFR, 2004 Comp., p. 168; Notice of August 7, 2014, 79 FR 46959 (August 11, 2014); Notice of November 7, 2014, 79 FR 67035 (November 12, 2014); Notice of May 6, 2015, 80 FR 26815 (May 8, 2015).

    2. Section 736.2 is amended by revising the heading of paragraph (b)(3)(iii) to read as follows:
    § 736.2 General prohibitions and determination of applicability.

    (b) * * *

    (3) * * *

    (iii) Country scope of prohibition for 9x515 or “600 series” items. * * *

    PART 740—[AMENDED] 3. The authority citation for 15 CFR part 740 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    50 U.S.C. app. 2401 et seq.; 50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.; 22 U.S.C. 7201 et seq.; E.O. 13026, 61 FR 58767, 3 CFR, 1996 Comp., p. 228; E.O. 13222, 66 FR 44025, 3 CFR, 2001 Comp., p. 783; Notice of August 7, 2014, 79 FR 46959 (August 11, 2014).

    4. Section 740.20 is amended by revising the introductory text of paragraph (d)(2) and the bracketed text at the end of the introductory text of paragraph (d)(2) to read as follows:
    § 740.20 License Exception Strategic Trade Authorization (STA).

    (d) * * *

    (2) Prior Consignee Statement. The requirements in this paragraph (d)(2) apply to each party using License Exception STA to export, reexport or transfer (in-country), including reexporters and transferors of items previously received under License Exception STA. The exporter, reexporter, or transferor must obtain the following statement in writing from its consignee prior to shipping the item and must retain the statement in accordance with part 762 of the EAR. One statement may be used for multiple shipments of the same items between the same parties so long as the party names, the description(s) of the item(s) and the ECCNs are correct. The exporter, reexporter, or transferor must maintain a log or other record (such as documents created in the ordinary course of business) that identifies each shipment made pursuant to this section and the specific consignee statement that is associated with each shipment. Paragraphs (d)(2)(i) through (vi) of this section are required for all transactions. In addition, paragraph (d)(2)(vii) is required for all transactions in “600 series” items and paragraph (viii) of this section is required for transactions in “600 series” items if the consignee is not the government of a country listed in Country Group A:5 (See Supplement No. 1 to part 740 of the EAR). Paragraph (d)(2)(viii) is also required for transactions including 9x515 items.

    [INSERT NAME(S) OF CONSIGNEE(S)]:

    PART 744—[AMENDED] 5. The authority citation for 15 CFR part 744 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    50 U.S.C. app. 2401 et seq.; 50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.; 22 U.S.C. 3201 et seq.; 42 U.S.C. 2139a; 22 U.S.C. 7201 et seq.; 22 U.S.C. 7210; E.O. 12058, 43 FR 20947, 3 CFR, 1978 Comp., p. 179; E.O. 12851, 58 FR 33181, 3 CFR, 1993 Comp., p. 608; E.O. 12938, 59 FR 59099, 3 CFR, 1994 Comp., p. 950; E.O. 12947, 60 FR 5079, 3 CFR, 1995 Comp., p. 356; E.O. 13026, 61 FR 58767, 3 CFR, 1996 Comp., p. 228; E.O. 13099, 63 FR 45167, 3 CFR, 1998 Comp., p. 208; E.O. 13222, 66 FR 44025, 3 CFR, 2001 Comp., p. 783; E.O. 13224, 66 FR 49079, 3 CFR, 2001 Comp., p. 786; Notice of August 7, 2014, 79 FR 46959 (August 11, 2014); Notice of September 17, 2014, 79 FR 56475 (September 19, 2014); Notice of November 7, 2014, 79 FR 67035 (November 12, 2014); Notice of January 21, 2015, 80 FR 3461 (January 22, 2015).

    6. Section 744.21 is amended by revising paragraph (a)(2) to read as follows:
    § 744.21 Restrictions on certain ‘Military end uses’ in the People's Republic of China (PRC) or for a ‘Military end use’ or ‘Military end user’ in Russia or Venezuela.

    (a) * * *

    (2) General prohibition. In addition to the license requirements for 9x515 and “600 series” items specified on the Commerce Control List (CCL), you may not export, reexport, or transfer (in-country) any 9x515 or “600 series” item, including items described in a .y paragraph of a 9x515 or “600 series” ECCN, to the PRC, Russia or Venezuela without a license. The use in, with, or for the International Space Station (ISS) for exports, reexports or transfers within Russia is not within the scope of this paragraph's general prohibition, including launch to the ISS. (See § 740.11(e)(1) of the EAR for a definition of the ISS).

    PART 748—[AMENDED] 7. The authority citation for 15 CFR part 748 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    50 U.S.C. app. 2401 et seq.; 50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.; E.O. 13026, 61 FR 58767, 3 CFR, 1996 Comp., p. 228; E.O. 13222, 66 FR 44025, 3 CFR, 2001 Comp., p. 783; Notice of August 7, 2014, 79 FR 46959 (August 11, 2014).

    8. Supplement No. 2 to part 748 (Unique Application and Submission Requirements) is amended by revising the introductory text of paragraph (y)(1) and the introductory text of paragraph (y)(2) to read as follows: Supplement No. 2 to Part 748—Unique Application and Submission Requirements

    (y) * * *

    (1) A license application to export a satellite controlled by ECCN 9A515.a for launch in or by a country that is not a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) or a major non-NATO ally of the United States (as defined in 22 CFR 120.31 and 120.32), must include a statement affirming that at the time of application or prior to export or reexport the following will be in place:

    (2) A license application to export a satellite controlled by ECCN 9A515.a for launch in or by a country that is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) or that is a major non-NATO ally of the United States (as defined in 22 CFR 120.31 and 120.32), must include a statement affirming that at the time of application or prior to export or reexport the following will be in place:

    PART 774—[AMENDED] 9. The authority citation for 15 CFR part 774 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    50 U.S.C. app. 2401 et seq.; 50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.; 10 U.S.C. 7420; 10 U.S.C. 7430(e); 22 U.S.C. 287c, 22 U.S.C. 3201 et seq.; 22 U.S.C. 6004; 30 U.S.C. 185(s), 185(u); 42 U.S.C. 2139a; 42 U.S.C. 6212; 43 U.S.C. 1354; 15 U.S.C. 1824a; 50 U.S.C. app. 5; 22 U.S.C. 7201 et seq.; 22 U.S.C. 7210; E.O. 13026, 61 FR 58767, 3 CFR, 1996 Comp., p. 228; E.O. 13222, 66 FR 44025, 3 CFR, 2001 Comp., p. 783; Notice of August 7, 2014, 79 FR 46959 (August 11, 2014).

    10. In Supplement No. 1 to Part 774, Category 3—Electronics, Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) 3A611 is amended by revising Related Controls paragraph (6) in the List of Items Controlled section to read as follows: Supplement No. 1 to Part 774—The Commerce Control List 3A611 Military electronics, as follows (see List of Items Controlled). List of Items Controlled Related Controls: * * * (6) Electronic items “specially designed” for military application that are not controlled in any USML category but are within the scope of another “600 series” ECCN or a 9x515 ECCN are controlled by that “600 series” ECCN or 9x515 ECCN. For example, electronic components not enumerated on the USML or a “600 series” other than 3A611 that are “specially designed” for a military aircraft controlled by USML Category VIII or ECCN 9A610 are controlled by the catch-all control in ECCN 9A610.x. Electronic components not enumerated on the USML or another “600 series” entry that are “specially designed” for a military vehicle controlled by USML Category VII or ECCN 0A606 are controlled by ECCN 0A606.x. Electronic components not enumerated on the USML that are “specially designed” for a missile controlled by USML Category IV are controlled by ECCN 9A604. * * * 11. In Supplement No. 1 to Part 774, Category 9—Aerospace and Propulsion, Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) 9A515 is amended: a. By revising the fourth entry in the License Requirements table; b. By revising the Related Definitions paragraph in the List of Items Controlled section; c. By revising the introductory text of paragraph d. in the Items section; d. By revising paragraphs e. introductory text, e.1, and e.2 in the Items section; and e. By revising paragraphs x. and y. in the Items section to read as follows. 9A515 “Spacecraft” and related commodities, as follows (see List of Items Controlled). License Requirements Control(s) Country Chart (see Supp. No. 1 to part 738) *    *    *    *    * MT applies to microcircuits in 9A515.d and 9A515.e.2 when “usable in” “missiles” for protecting “missiles” against nuclear effects (e.g. Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP), X-rays, combined blast and thermal effects) MT Column 1 *    *    *    *    * List of Items Controlled Related Definitions: ‘Microcircuit’ means a device in which a number of passive or active elements are considered as indivisibly associated on or within a continuous structure to perform the function of a circuit. Items:

    d. Microelectronic circuits (e.g., integrated circuits, microcircuits, MOSFETs) and discrete electronic components rated, certified, or otherwise specified or described as meeting or exceeding all the following characteristics and that are “specially designed” for defense articles, “600 series” items, or items controlled by 9A515:

    e. Microelectronic circuits (e.g., integrated circuits, microcircuits, MOSFETs) and discrete electronic components that are rated, certified, or otherwise specified or described as meeting or exceeding the characteristics in either paragraph e.1 or e.2, AND “specially designed” for defense articles controlled by USML Category XV or items controlled by 9A515:

    e.1. A total dose ≥1 × 105 Rads (Si) (1 × 103 Gy(Si)) and <5 × 105 Rads (Si) (5 × 103 Gy(Si)); and a single event effect (SEE) (i.e., single event latchup (SEL), single event burnout (SEB), or single event gate rupture (SEGR)) immunity to a linear energy transfer (LET) ≥80 MeV-cm2/mg; or

    e.2. A total dose ≥ 5 × 105 Rads (Si) (5 × 103 Gy (Si)) and not described in 9A515.d.

    x. “Parts,” “components,” “accessories” and “attachments” that are “specially designed” for defense articles controlled by USML Category XV or items controlled by 9A515, and that are NOT:

    1. Enumerated or controlled in the USML or elsewhere within ECCNs 9A515 or 9A004;

    2. Microelectronic circuits and discrete electronic components;

    3. Described in ECCNs 7A004 or 7A104;

    4. Described in an ECCN containing “space-qualified” as a control criterion (i.e., 3A001.b.1, 3A001.e.4, 3A002.g.1, 3A991.o, 3A992.b.3, 6A002.a.1, 6A002.b.2, 6A002.d.1, 6A004.c and .d, 6A008.j.1, 6A998.b, or 7A003.d.2);

    5. Microwave solid state amplifiers and microwave assemblies (refer to ECCN 3A001.b.4 for controls on these items);

    6. Travelling wave tube amplifiers (refer to ECCN 3A001.b.8 for controls on these items); or

    7. Elsewhere specified in ECCN 9A515.y.

    Note to 9A515.x:

    “Parts,” “components,” “accessories,” and “attachments” specified in USML subcategory XV(e) or enumerated in other USML categories are subject to the controls of that paragraph or category.

    y. Items that would otherwise be within the scope of ECCN 9A515.x but that have been identified in an interagency-cleared commodity classification (CCATS) pursuant to § 748.3(e) as warranting control in 9A515.y.

    y.1. Discrete electronic components not specified in 9A515.e; and

    y.2. [RESERVED]

    12. In Supplement No. 1 to Part 774, Category 9—Aerospace and Propulsion, Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) 9D001 is amended: a. By revising the heading; b. By revising the first entry in the License Requirements table; and b. By revising the Related Controls paragraph in the List of Items Controlled section to read as follows: 9D001 “Software” “specially designed” or modified for the “development” of equipment or “technology” controlled by ECCN 9A001 to 9A004, 9A012, 9A101 (except for items in 9A101.b that are “subject to the ITAR,” see 22 CFR part 121), 9A106.d. or .e, 9A110, or 9A120, 9B (except for ECCNs 9B604, 9B610, 9B619, 9B990, and 9B991), or ECCN 9E003. License Requirements Control(s) Country Chart (see Supp. No. 1 to part 738) NS applies to “software” for equipment controlled by 9A001 to 9A004, 9A012, 9B001 to 9B010, and technology controlled by 9E003. NS Column 1 *    *    *    *    * List of Items Controlled Related Controls: “Software” that is “required” for the “development” of items specified in ECCNs 9A005 to 9A011, 9A101.b (except for items that are subject to the EAR), 9A103 to 9A105, 9A106.a, .b, and .c, 9A107 to 9A109, 9A110 (for items that are “specially designed” for use in missile systems and subsystems), and 9A111 to 9A119 is “subject to the ITAR.” 13. In Supplement No. 1 to Part 774, Category 9—Aerospace and Propulsion, Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) 9D002 is amended: a. By revising the heading; b. By revising the first entry in the License Requirements table; and c. By revising the Related Controls paragraph in the List of Items Controlled section to read as follows: 9D002 “Software” “specially designed” or modified for the “production” of equipment controlled by ECCN 9A001 to 9A004, 9A012, 9A101 (except for items in 9A101.b that are “subject to the ITAR,” see 22 CFR part 121), 9A106.d or .e, 9A110, or 9A120, 9B (except for ECCNs 9B604, 9B610, 9B619, 9B990, and 9B991). License Requirements Control(s) Country Chart (see Supp. No. 1 to part 738) NS applies to “software” for equipment controlled by 9A001 to 9A004, 9A012, 9B001 to 9B010 NS Column 1 *    *    *    *    * List of Items Controlled Related Controls: “Software” that is “required” for the “production” of items specified in ECCNs 9A005 to 9A011, 9A101.b (except for items that are subject to the EAR), 9A103 to 9A105, 9A106.a, .b, and .c, 9A107 to 9A109, 9A110 (for items that are “specially designed” for use in missile systems and subsystems), and 9A111 to 9A119 is “subject to the ITAR.” 14. In Supplement No. 1 to Part 774, Category 9—Aerospace and Propulsion, Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) 9D515 is amended: a. By revising the License Requirements table; b. By adding and reserving items paragraphs f. through x. in the Items section; and c. By adding paragraph y. in the Items section to read as follows: 9D515 “Software” “specially designed” for the “development,” “production,” operation, installation, maintenance, repair, overhaul, or refurbishing of “spacecraft” and related commodities, as follows (see List of Items Controlled) License Requirements Control(s) Country Chart (see Supp. No. 1 to part 738). NS applies to entire entry except 9D515.y NS Column 1 RS applies to entire entry except 9D515.y RS Column 1 AT applies to entire entry AT Column 1 List of Items Controlled Items:

    f. through x. [RESERVED]

    y. Specific “software” “specially designed” for the “development,” “production,” operation, or maintenance of commodities enumerated in ECCN 9A515.y.

    15. In Supplement No. 1 to Part 774, Category 9—Aerospace and Propulsion, Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) 9E001 is amended: a. By revising the heading; b. By revising the first entry in the License Requirements table; c. By revising Related Controls paragraph (2) in the List of Items Controlled section to read as follows: 9E001 “Technology” according to the General Technology Note for the “development” of equipment or “software”, controlled by 9A001.b, 9A004, 9A012, 9B (except for ECCNs 9B604, 9B610, 9B619, 9B990 and 9B991), or ECCN 9D001 to 9D004, 9D101, or 9D104. License Requirements Control(s) Country Chart (see Supp. No. 1 to part 738). NS applies to “technology” for items controlled by 9A001.b, 9A004, 9A012, 9B001 to 9B010, 9D001 to 9D004 for NS reasons NS Column 1 *    *    *    *    * List of Items Controlled Related Controls: * * * * * (2) “Technology” required for the “development” of equipment described in ECCNs 9A005 to 9A011 or “software” described in ECCNs 9D103 and 9D105 is “subject to the ITAR.” 16. In Supplement No. 1 to Part 774, Category 9—Aerospace and Propulsion, Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) 9E002 is amended: a. By revising the heading; and b. By revising Related Controls paragraph (3) in the List of Items Controlled section to read as follows: 9E002 “Technology” according to the General Technology Note for the “production” of “equipment” controlled by ECCN 9A001.b, 9A004 or 9B (except for ECCNs 9B117, 9B604, 9B610, 9B619, 9B990, and 9B991). List of Items Controlled Related Controls: * * * * * (3) “Technology” that is required for the “production” of equipment described in ECCNs 9A005 to 9A011 is “subject to the ITAR.” 17. In Supplement No. 1 to Part 774, Category 9—Aerospace and Propulsion, Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) 9E515 is amended: a. By revising the License Requirements table; b. By adding and reserving paragraphs f. through x. in the Items section; and c. By adding paragraph y. in the items paragraph in the Items section to read as follows: 9E515 “Technology” “required” for the “development,” “production,” operation, installation, repair, overhaul, or refurbishing of “spacecraft” and related commodities, as follows (see List of Items Controlled). License Requirements Control(s) Country Chart (see Supp. No. 1 to part 738) NS applies to entire entry except 9E515.y NS Column 1 MT applies to technology for items in 9A515.d and 9A515.e.2 controlled for MT reasons MT Column 1 RS applies to entire entry except 9E515.y RS Column 1 AT applies to entire entry AT Column 1

    f. through x. [RESERVED]

    y. Specific “technology” “required” for the “production,” “development,” operation, installation, maintenance, repair, overhaul, or refurbishing of commodities or software enumerated in ECCN 9A515.y or 9D515.y.

    Dated: July 2, 2015. Kevin J. Wolf, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2015-16904 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-33-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 165 [Docket Number USCG-2015-0188] RIN 1625-AA00 Safety Zones; Misery Challenge, Manchester Bay, Manchester, MA AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Temporary final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard is establishing a temporary safety zone in Manchester Bay to be enforced during the Misery Challenge marine event, which will involve swimmers, kayakers, and stand-up paddlers. This safety zone will ensure the protection of the event participants, support vessels, and maritime public from the hazards associated with the event. Vessels will be prohibited from entering into, transiting through, mooring, or anchoring within this safety zone during periods of enforcement unless authorized by the Coast Guard Sector Boston Captain of the Port (COTP) or the COTP's designated representative.

    DATES:

    This temporary final rule is effective from 7:30 a.m. on August 1, 2015 to 11:30 a.m. on August 1, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Documents mentioned in this preamble are part of docket [USCG-2015-0188]. 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, contact Mr. Mark Cutter, Coast Guard Sector Boston Waterways Management Division, telephone (617) 223-4000, email [email protected] If you have questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, call Ms. Cheryl Collins, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone (202) 366-9826.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Table of Acronyms DHS Department of Homeland Security CFR Code of Federal Regulation FR Federal Register NPRM Notice of Proposed Rulemaking NAD 83  North American Datum of 1983 A. Regulatory History and Information

    On May 8, 2015 we published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) entitled Safety Zones; Misery Challenge, Manchester Bay, Manchester, MA in the Federal Register (80 FR 26514). We received no comments on the proposed rule. No public meeting was requested, and none was held.

    B. Basis and Purpose

    The legal basis for the proposed rule is 33 U.S.C. 1231; 50 U.S.C. 191; 33 CFR 1.05-1, 6.04-1, 6.04-6, and 160.5; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1, which collectively authorize the Coast Guard to establish regulatory safety zones.

    By establishing a temporary safety zone, the Coast Guard will ensure the protection of the event participants, support vessels, and maritime public from the hazards associated with the event.

    C. Discussion of Comments, Changes and the Temporary Final Rule

    The Coast Guard provided a comment period of 30 days and no comments were received. There are no changes to the regulatory text.

    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 expect the economic impact of this rule to be minimal. This regulation may have some impact on the public, but that potential impact will likely be minimal for several reasons. First, this safety zone will be in effect for only 4 hours in the morning when vessel traffic is expected to be light. Second, vessels may enter or pass through the safety zone during an enforcement period with the permission of the COTP or the designated representative. Finally, the Coast Guard will provide notification to the public through Broadcast Notice to Mariners well in advance of the event.

    2. Impact on Small Entities

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA), 5 U.S.C. 601-612, as amended, requires federal agencies to consider the potential impact of regulations on small entities during rulemaking. The term “small entities” comprises small businesses, not-for-profit organizations that are independently owned and operated and are not dominant in their fields, and governmental jurisdictions with populations of less than 50,000. The Coast Guard received no comments from the Small Business Administration on this rule. 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.

    For all of the reasons discussed in the Regulatory Planning and Review section, the Coast Guard certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    If you think that your business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction qualifies as a small entity and that this rule would have a significant economic impact on it, please submit a comment (see ADDRESSES) explaining why you think it qualifies and how and to what degree this rule would economically affect it.

    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, 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 From Environmental Health Risks

    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 made a determination 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 temporary safety zone. This rule is categorically excluded from further review under paragraph 34(g) of Figure 2-1 of the Commandant Instruction. A written environmental analysis (EA) checklist and categorical exclusion determination (CED) 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 recordkeeping requirements, Security measures, Waterways.

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard amends 33 CFR part 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; 50 U.S.C. 191; 33 CFR 1.05-1, 6.04-1, 6.04-6, and 160.5; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1.

    2. Add a new § 165.T01-0188 to read as follows:
    § 165.T01-0188 Safety Zone—Misery Challenge—Manchester Bay, Manchester, Massachusetts.

    (a) General. Establish a temporary safety zone:

    (1) Location. The following area is a safety zone: All navigable waters, from surface to bottom, within one hundred (100) yards from the participants and vessels in support of events in Manchester Bay, Manchester, MA, and enclosed by a line connecting the following points (NAD 83):

    Latitude Longitude 42°34′03″ N. 70°46′42″ W.; thence to. 42°33′58″ N. 70°46′33″ W.; thence to 42°32′32″ N. 70°47′45″ W.; thence to 42°32′58″ N. 70°48′40″ W.; thence to point of origin.

    (2) Effective and enforcement period. This rule will be effective on August 1, 2015, from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

    (b) Regulations. While this safety zone is being enforced, the following regulations, along with those contained in 33 CFR 165.23, apply:

    (1) No person or vessel may enter or remain in this safety zone without the permission of the Captain of the Port (COTP), Coast Guard Sector Boston or the COTP's representative. However, any vessel that is granted permission by the COTP or the COTP's representative must proceed through the area with caution and operate at a speed no faster than that speed necessary to maintain a safe course, unless otherwise required by the Navigation Rules.

    (2) Any person or vessel permitted to enter the safety zone shall comply with the directions and orders of the COTP or the COTP's representative. Upon being hailed by a U.S. Coast Guard vessel by siren, radio, flashing lights, or other means, the operator of a vessel within the zone shall proceed as directed. Any person or vessel within the safety zone shall exit the

    (3) To obtain permissions required by this regulation, individuals may reach the COTP or a COTP representative via VHF channel 16 or 617-223-5757 (Sector Boston Command Center).

    (c) Penalties. Those who violate this section are subject to the penalties set forth in 33 U.S.C. 1232 and 50 U.S.C. 1226.

    (d) Notification. Coast Guard Sector Boston will give notice through the Local Notice to Mariners, Broadcast Notice to Mariners, and to mariners for the purpose of enforcement of this temporary safety zone. Also, Sector Boston will notify the public to the greatest extent possible of any period in which the Coast Guard will suspend enforcement of this safety zone.

    (e) COTP representative. The COTP's representative may be any Coast Guard commissioned, warrant, or petty officer or any Federal, state, or local law enforcement officer who has been designated by the COTP to act on the COTP's behalf. The COTP's representative may be on a Coast Guard vessel, a Coast Guard Auxiliary vessel, a state or local law enforcement vessel, or a location on shore.

    Dated: June 25, 2015. C.C. Gelzer, Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port Boston.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17108 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 165 [Docket No. USCG-2015-0616] Safety Zones; Annual Events in the Captain of the Port Detroit Zone AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of enforcement of regulation.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard will enforce various safety zones for annual marine events in the Captain of the Port Detroit zone from 8 p.m. on July 2, 2015, through 11 p.m. on August 1, 2015. Enforcement of these zones is necessary and intended to ensure safety of life on the navigable waters immediately prior to, during, and immediately after these fireworks events. During the aforementioned period, the Coast Guard will enforce restrictions upon, and control movement of, vessels in a specified area immediately prior to, during, and immediately after fireworks events. During each enforcement period, no person or vessel may enter the respective safety zone without permission of the Captain of the Port.

    DATES:

    The regulations in 33 CFR 165.941 will be enforced at various dates and times between 8 p.m. on July 2, 2015, through 11 p.m. on August 1, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions on this document, call or email PO1 Todd Manow, Prevention, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Detroit, 110 Mount Elliot Ave., Detroit MI, 48207; telephone (313)568-9580; email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Coast Guard will enforce the safety zones listed in 33 CFR 165.941, Safety Zones; Annual Events in the Captain of the Port Detroit Zone, at the following dates and times for the following events, which are listed in chronological order by date and time of the event:

    (1) Bay City Fireworks Festival, Bay City, MI. The safety zone listed in 33 CFR 165.941(a)(53), all waters of the Saginaw River near Bay City, MI, from the Veteran's Memorial Bridge south approximately 1000-yds to the River Walk Pier, will be enforced from 8 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on July 2, 3, and 4, 2015. In the case of inclement weather on any scheduled day, this safety zone will be enforced from 8 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on July 5, 2015.

    (2) Caseville Fireworks, Caseville, MI.

    The safety zone listed in 33 CFR 165.941(a)(36), all waters of Saginaw Bay, within a 300-yard radius of the fireworks launch site located at position 43°56.9′ N, 083°17.2′ W (NAD 83), located off the Caseville break wall, will be enforced from 9:45 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. on July 3, 2015. In the case of inclement weather on July 3, 2015, this safety zone will be enforced from 9:45 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. on July 5, 2015.

    (3) Algonac Pickerel Tournament Fireworks, Algonac, MI. The safety zone listed in 33 CFR 165.941(a)(37), all waters of the St. Clair River, within a 300-yd radius of the fireworks barge located at position 42°37′ N, 082°32′ W, North of Russell Island, will be enforced from 10 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on July 3, 2015. In the case of inclement weather on July 3, 2015, this safety zone will be enforced from 10 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on July 4, 2015.

    (4) Lexington Independence Festival Fireworks, Lexington, MI. The safety zone listed in 33 CFR 165.941(a)(42), all waters of Lake Huron within a 300-yd radius of the fireworks barge located 300 yards east of the Lexington break wall, will be enforced from 10 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on July 3, 2015. In the case of inclement weather on July 3, 2015, this safety zone will be enforced from 10 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on July 5, 2015.

    (5) Grosse Ile Yacht Club Fireworks, Grosse Ile, MI. The safety zone listed in 33 CFR 165.941(a)(44), all waters of the Detroit River within a 300-yd radius of the fireworks launch site located at the Grosse Ile Yacht Club at position 42°06′ N, 083°09′ W (NAD 83), will be enforced from 9:45 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on July 4, 2015.

    (6) Roostertail Fireworks, Detroit, MI. The safety zone listed in 33 CFR 165.941(a)(1), all waters of the Detroit River within a 300-ft radius of the fireworks launch site between Detroit and Belle Isle near the Roostertail Restaurant, will be enforced from 10 p.m. to 10:10 p.m. on July 4, 2015.

    (7) Harrisville Fireworks, Harrisville, MI. The safety zone listed in 33 CFR 165.941(a)(7), a 450-ft radius of the fireworks launch site located at the end of the break wall at the Harrisville harbor, will be enforced from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. on July 5, 2014.

    (8) City of St. Clair Fireworks, St. Clair, MI. The safety zone listed in 33 CFR 165.941(a)(31) will be enforced from 10 p.m. to 10:45 p.m. on July 4, 2015. In the case of inclement weather on July 4, 2015, this safety zone will be enforced from 10 p.m. to 10:45 p.m. on July 5, 2015. A regulated area is established to include all waters off the St. Clair River near St. Clair City Park, within a 300-yard radius of the fireworks launch site located at position 42°49′ N, 082°29′ W (NAD 83).

    (9) Oscoda Township Fireworks, Oscoda, MI. The safety zone listed in 33 CFR 165.941(a)(32) will be enforced from 10 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on July 4, 2015. In the case of inclement weather on July 4, 2015, this safety zone will be enforced from 10 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on July 5, 2015. A regulated area is established to include all waters of Lake Huron, off the DNR Boat Launch near the mouth of the Au Sable River within a 300-yard radius of the fireworks launch site located at position 44°25′ N, 083°19′ W (NAD 83).

    (10) Port Austin Fireworks, Port Austin, MI. The safety zone listed in 33 CFR 165.941(a)(33), all waters of Lake Huron within a 300-yd radius of the fireworks launch site, at position 42°03′ N, 082°59′ W, off of the Port Austin break wall, will be enforced from 10 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on July 4, 2015. In the case of inclement weather on July 4, 2015, this safety zone will be enforced from 10 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on July 5, 2015.

    (11) Grosse Pointe Farms Fireworks, Grosse Pointe Farms, MI. The safety zone listed in 33 CFR 165.941(a)(35), all waters of Lake St. Clair, within a 300-yd radius of the fireworks launch site at position 42°23.85 N, 082°53.25 W, at a private park at Harbor Hill and Lake Shore Rd, will be enforced from 10 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on July 4, 2015.

    (12) Grosse Pointe Yacht Club 4th of July Fireworks, Grosse Pointe Shores, MI. The safety zone listed in 33 CFR 165.941(a)(41), all U.S. waters of the Lake St. Clair, within a 300 yard radius of position 42°26′ N, 082°52′ W, approximately 500 ft east of the Grosse Point Yacht Club, will be enforced from 10 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on July 4, 2015. In the case of inclement weather on July 4, 2015, this safety zone will be enforced from 10 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on July 5, 2015.

    (13) Trenton Fireworks, Trenton, MI. The safety zone listed in 33 CFR 165.941(a)(45), all U.S. waters of the Detroit River, Trenton Channel, within a 300 yard radius of position 42°09′ N, 083°10′ W, will be enforced from 10 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on July 4, 2015. In the case of inclement weather on July 4, 2015, this safety zone will be enforced from 10 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on July 5, 2015.

    (14) Belle Maer Harbor 4th of July Fireworks, Harrison Township, MI. The safety zone listed in 33 CFR 165.941(a)(46), all U.S. waters of Lake St. Clair, within a 400 yard radius of position 42°36′ 30″ N, 082°47′40″ W, will be enforced from 10 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on July 4, 2015. In the case of inclement weather on July 4, 2015, this safety zone will be enforced from 10 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on July 5, 2015.

    (15) Tawas City 4th of July Fireworks, Tawas City, MI. The safety zone listed in 33 CFR 165.941(a)(47), all U.S. waters of Lake Huron, within a 300 yard radius of position 44°16′ N, 083°30′ W, 2000 feet west of the State Dock in East Tawas, will be enforced from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. on July 4, 2015. In the case of inclement weather on July 4 2015, this safety zone will be enforced from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. on July 5, 2015.

    (16) Marine City Maritime Festival Fireworks, Marine City, MI. The safety zone listed in 33 CFR 165.941(a)(13), all waters of the St. Clair River within a 500 foot radius of the fireworks launch site located at position 42°43.15 N, 082°29.2 W, approximately 500 feet offshore from the intersection of Pearl St. and N. Water St, will be enforced from 10 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on July 31, 2015. In the case of inclement weather on July 31, 2015, this safety zone will be enforced from 10 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on August 1, 2015.

    Under the provisions of 33 CFR 165.23, entry into, transiting, or anchoring within these safety zones during the enforcement period is prohibited unless authorized by the Captain of the Port Detroit or his designated representative. Vessels that wish to transit through the safety zones may request permission from the Captain of the Port Detroit or his designated representative. Requests must be made in advance and approved by the Captain of Port before transits will be authorized. Approvals will be granted on a case by case basis. The Captain of the Port may be contacted via U.S. Coast Guard Sector Detroit on channel 16, VHF-FM. The Coast Guard will give notice to the public via Local Notice to Mariners and VHF radio broadcasts that the regulation is being enforced.

    This document is issued under authority of 33 CFR 165.941 and 5 U.S.C. 552 (a). If the Captain of the Port determines that any of these safety zones need not be enforced for the full duration stated in this document, he may suspend such enforcement and notify the public of the suspension via a Broadcast Notice to Mariners.

    Dated: June 29, 2015. Scott B. Lemasters, Captain, U. S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port Detroit.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17126 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 165 [Docket No. USCG-2015-0530] RIN 1625-AA00 Safety Zone; Annual Events Requiring Safety Zones in the Captain of the Port Lake Michigan Zone-Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club Evening on the Bay Fireworks AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of enforcement of regulation.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard will enforce the safety zone on the waters of Sturgeon Bay in Sturgeon Bay, WI for the Evening on the Bay Fireworks. This zone will be enforced from 8:30 p.m. until 10:30 p.m. on August 8, 2015. This action is necessary and intended to ensure safety of life on navigable waters immediately prior to, during, and immediately after the fireworks display. During the aforementioned period, the Coast Guard will enforce restrictions upon, and control movement of, vessels in the safety zone. No person or vessel may enter the safety zone while it is being enforced without permission of the Captain of the Port Lake Michigan or a designated representative.

    DATES:

    The regulations in 33 CFR 165.929 will be enforced for safety zone (f)(5), Table 165.929, from 8:30 p.m. until 10:30 p.m. on August 8, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions on this document, call or email MST1 Joseph McCollum, Prevention Department, Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan, Milwaukee, WI at (414) 747-7148, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Coast Guard will enforce the Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club Evening on the Bay Fireworks safety zone listed as item (f)(5) in Table 165.929 of 33 CFR 165.929. Section 165.929 lists many annual events requiring safety zones in the Captain of the Port Lake Michigan zone. This safety zone will encompass all waters of Sturgeon Bay within the arc of a circle with a 280-foot radius from the fireworks launch site located on a barge in approximate position 44°49.310′ N., 087°21.370′ W. (NAD 83). This zone will be enforced from 8:30 p.m. until 10:30 p.m. on August 8, 2015.

    All vessels must obtain permission from the Captain of the Port Lake Michigan or the on-scene representative to enter, move within, or exit the safety zone. Requests must be made in advance and approved by the Captain of the Port before transits will be authorized. Approvals will be granted on a case by case basis. Vessels and persons granted permission to enter the safety zone must obey all lawful orders or directions of the Captain of the Port Lake Michigan or a designated representative.

    This document is issued under authority of 33 CFR 165.929, Safety Zones; Annual events requiring safety zones in the Captain of the Port Lake Michigan zone, and 5 U.S.C. 552(a). In addition to this publication in the Federal Register, the Coast Guard will provide the maritime community with advance notification for the enforcement of this zone via Broadcast Notice to Mariners or Local Notice to Mariners. The Captain of the Port Lake Michigan or an on-scene representative may be contacted via Channel 16, VHF-FM.

    Dated: June 16, 2015. A.B. Cocanour, Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port Lake Michigan.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17125 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-HQ-OAR-2012-0943, FRL-9930-25-OAR] Findings of Failure To Submit a Section 110 State Implementation Plan for Interstate Transport for the 2008 National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking final action finding that 24 states have failed to submit infrastructure State Implementation Plans (SIPs) to satisfy certain interstate transport requirements of the Clean Air Act (CAA) with respect to the 2008 8-hour ozone national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS). Specifically, these requirements pertain to significant contribution to nonattainment, or interference with maintenance, of the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS in other states. These findings of failure to submit establish a 2-year deadline for the EPA to promulgate a Federal Implementation Plan (FIP) to address the interstate transport SIP requirements pertaining to significant contribution to nonattainment and interference with maintenance unless, prior to the EPA promulgating a FIP, the state submits, and the EPA approves, a SIP that meets these requirements.

    DATES:

    Effective date of this action is August 12, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    General questions concerning this document should be addressed to Mrs. Gobeail McKinley, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, Air Quality Policy Division, Mail Code C539-04, 109 TW Alexander Drive, Research Triangle Park, NC 27711; telephone (919) 541-5246; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. General Information A. Notice and Comment Under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA)

    Section 553 of the 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 rule without providing notice and an opportunity for public comment. The EPA has determined that there is good cause for making this rule final without prior proposal and opportunity for comment because no significant EPA judgment is involved in making a finding of failure to submit SIPs, or elements of SIPs, required by the CAA, where states have made no submissions or incomplete submissions, to meet the requirement. Thus, notice and public procedure are unnecessary. The EPA finds that this constitutes good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B).

    B. How can I get copies of this document and other related information?

    The EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2012-0943. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically through https://www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the EPA Docket Center, EPA/DC, William Jefferson Clinton West Building, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Avenue 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 Office of Air and Radiation Docket and Information Center is (202) 566-1742.

    C. How is the preamble organized? Table of Contents I. General Information A. Notice and Comment Under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) B. How can I get copies of this document and other related information? C. How is the preamble organized? D. Where do I go if I have specific state questions? II. Background and Overview A. Interstate Transport SIPs B. Background on 2008 Ozone NAAQS and Related Rulemakings C. Mandatory Duty Suit for the EPA's Failure to Make Findings of Failure to Submit for States that Did Not Submit SIPs D. Further Background Specific to North Carolina SIP Status III. Findings of Failure to Submit for States That Failed to Make a Good Neighbor SIP Submission for the 2008 Ozone NAAQS IV. Environmental Justice Considerations V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews A. Executive Order 12866: Regulatory Planning and Review and Executive Order 13563: Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review B. Paperwork Reduction Act C. Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA) E. Executive Order 13132: Federalism F. Executive Order 13175: Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments G. Executive Order 13045: Protection of Children from Environmental Health and Safety Risks H. Executive Order 13211: Actions That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution or Use I. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act J. Executive Order 12898: Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority and Low Income Populations K. Congressional Review Act L. Judicial Review D. Where do I go if I have specific state questions?

    The table below lists the states that failed to make an interstate transport SIP submittal addressing CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) requirements for the 2008 ozone NAAQS. For questions related to specific states mentioned in this document, please contact the appropriate EPA Regional Office:

    Regional offices States EPA Region 1: Anne Arnold, Manager, Air Quality Planning Unit (OEP05-02), EPA Region I, 5 Post Office Square, Suite 100, Boston, MA 02109-3912. (617) 918-1047 Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont EPA Region 3: Cristina Fernandez, Associate Director, Office of Air Program Planning (3AP30), Air Protection Division, EPA Region III, 1650 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-2187. (215) 814-2178 Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia EPA Region 4: R. Scott Davis, Chief, Air Planning & Implementation Branch, EPA Region IV, Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center, 61 Forsyth Street SW, 12th Floor, Atlanta, GA 30303. (404) 562-9127 Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee EPA Region 5: John Mooney, Air Program Branch Manager, Air Programs Branch, EPA Region 5, 77 West Jackson Street, Chicago, IL 60604-3590. (312) 886-6043 Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota EPA Region 6: Guy Donaldson, Chief, Air Planning Section, EPA Region VI, 1445 Ross Avenue, Dallas, TX 75202-2733. (214) 665-7242 Arkansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma EPA Region 7: Joshua A. Tapp, Branch Chief, Air Planning and Development Branch, EPA Region VII, 11201 Renner Blvd., Lenexa, KS 66219. (913) 551-7606 Iowa, Kansas, Missouri EPA Region 9: Matt Lakin, Air Program Manager, Air Planning Office, EPA Region 9, 75 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco, CA 94105. (415) 972-3851 California II. Background and Overview A. Interstate Transport SIPs

    The CAA section 110(a) imposes an obligation upon states to submit SIPs that provide for the implementation, maintenance and enforcement of a new or revised NAAQS within 3 years following the promulgation of that NAAQS. Section 110(a)(2) lists specific requirements that states must meet in these SIP submissions, as applicable. The EPA refers to this type of SIP submission as the “infrastructure” SIP because it ensures that states can implement, maintain and enforce the air standards. Within these requirements, section 110(a)(2)(D)(i) contains requirements to address interstate transport of NAAQS pollutants. A SIP revision submitted for this sub-section is referred to as an “interstate transport SIP.” In turn, section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) requires that such a plan contain adequate provisions to prohibit emissions from the state that will contribute significantly to nonattainment of the NAAQS in any other state (“prong 1”) or interfere with maintenance of the NAAQS in any other state (“prong 2”). Interstate transport prongs 1 and 2, also called the “good neighbor” provisions, are the requirements relevant to this findings document.

    Pursuant to CAA section 110(k)(1)(B), the EPA must determine no later than 6 months after the date by which a state is required to submit a SIP whether a state has made a submission that meets the minimum completeness criteria established per section 110(k)(1)(A). The EPA refers to the determination that a state has not submitted a SIP submission that meets the minimum completeness criteria as a “finding of failure to submit.” If the EPA finds a state has failed to submit a SIP to meet its statutory obligation to address 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I), pursuant to section 110(c)(1) the EPA has not only the authority, but the obligation, to promulgate a FIP within 2 years to address the CAA requirement. This finding therefore starts a 2-year clock for promulgation by the EPA of a FIP, in accordance with CAA section 110(c)(1), unless prior to such promulgation the state submits, and the EPA approves, a submittal from the state to meet the requirements of CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. The EPA will work with states subject to these findings of failure to submit and provide assistance as necessary to help them develop approvable submittals in a timely manner. The EPA notes this action does not start a mandatory sanctions clock pursuant to CAA section 179 because this finding of failure to submit does not pertain to a part D plan for nonattainment areas required under CAA section 110(a)(2)(I) or a SIP call pursuant to CAA section 110(k)(5).

    B. Background on 2008 Ozone NAAQS and Related Rulemakings

    On March 12, 2008, the EPA strengthened the NAAQS for ozone.1 The EPA revised the previous 8-hour primary ozone standard of 0.08 parts per millions (ppm) to 0.075 ppm. The EPA also revised the secondary 8-hour standard to the level of 0.075 ppm making it identical to the revised primary standard. Infrastructure SIPs addressing the revised standard were due March 12, 2011. In September 2009, the EPA announced it would reconsider the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS.2 To reduce the workload for states during the interim period of reconsideration, the EPA also announced its intention to propose staying implementation of the 2008 ozone NAAQS for a number of the requirements. Then, on January 6, 2010, as part of its voluntary rulemaking on reconsideration, the EPA proposed to revise the 2008 NAAQS for ozone from 75 ppb to a level within the range of 60 to 70 ppb. See 75 FR 2938 (January 19, 2010). The EPA indicated its intent to issue final standards, based upon the reconsideration, by summer 2011.

    1See 73 FR 16436 (March 27, 2008) (National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone, Final Rule).

    2 The EPA's Fact Sheet, EPA to reconsider Ozone Pollution Standards, is available at http://www.epa.gov/groundlevelozone/pdfs/O3_Reconsideration_FACT%20SHEET_091609.pdf.

    On July 6, 2011, the EPA finalized the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), 76 FR 48208, in response to the remand by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (DC Circuit) of the EPA's earlier rule, the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR).3 See North Carolina v. EPA, 531 F.3d 896 (D.C. Cir. 2008), modified by 550 F.3d 1176 (remanding CAIR). CSAPR addresses ozone transport with respect to the 1997 ozone NAAQS, but does not address the 2008 ozone standard, because the 2008 ozone NAAQS was under reconsideration by the EPA during the analytical work for CSAPR.

    3See 70 FR 25162 (May 12, 2005) (Rule To Reduce Interstate Transport of Fine Particulate Matter and Ozone (Clean Air Interstate Rule); Revisions to the Acid Rain Program; Revisions to the NOX SIP Call, Final Rule).

    On September 2, 2011, consistent with the direction of the President, the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of the Office of Management and Budget returned the draft final 2008 ozone NAAQS rule to the EPA for further consideration.4 In view of this direction and the timing of the EPA's ongoing periodic review of the ozone NAAQS required under CAA section 109 (as announced on September 29, 2008), the EPA decided to coordinate further proceedings on its voluntary rulemaking on reconsideration of the 2008 ozone NAAQS with that ongoing periodic review, by deferring the completion of its voluntary rulemaking on reconsideration until it completed its statutorily-required periodic review.5 During this time period for renewed implementation of the 2008 ozone standard, however, a number of legal developments pertaining to the EPA's promulgation of CSAPR created uncertainty over the EPA's statutory interpretation and implementation of the “good neighbor” requirement as to that standard.

    4See Policy Assessment for the Review of the Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards, August 2014, pages 1-9. The Policy assessment is available at http://www.epa.gov/ttn/naaqs/standards/ozone/data/20140829pa.pdf.

    5Id.

    On August 21, 2012, the DC Circuit issued a decision in EME Homer City Generation, L.P. v. EPA addressing several legal challenges to CSAPR and holding, among other things, that states had no obligation to submit good neighbor SIPs until the EPA had first quantified each state's good neighbor obligation.6 Accordingly, under that decision the submission deadline for good neighbor SIPs under the CAA would not necessarily be tied to the promulgation of a new or revised NAAQS. While the EPA disagreed with this interpretation of the statute and sought review first with the DC Circuit en banc and then with the United States Supreme Court, the EPA complied with the DC Circuit's ruling during the pendency of its appeal. In particular, the EPA indicated that consistent with the DC Circuit's opinion, it would not at that time issue findings that states had failed to submit SIPs addressing the good neighbor requirements in CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I).7 Moreover, when the EPA made findings that states had failed to submit infrastructure SIPs addressing the 2008 ozone NAAQS, the EPA explained that it was not issuing findings as to the good neighbor requirements in accordance with the court's holding in EME Homer City Generation. 78 FR 2882, 2884 (January 15, 2013) (Findings of Failure To Submit a Complete State Implementation Plan for Section 110(a) Pertaining to the 2008 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard).

    6EME Homer City Generation, L.P. v. EPA, 696 F.3d 7, 31 (D.C. Cir. 2012).

    7See, e.g., Memorandum from the Office of Air and Radiation former Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy to the EPA Regions, “Next Steps for Pending Redesignation Requests and State Implementation Plan Actions Affected by the Recent Court Decision Vacating the 2011 Cross-State Air Pollution Rule,” November 19, 2012; 78 FR 65559 (November 1, 2013) (final action on Florida infrastructure SIP submission for 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS); and 78 FR 14450 (March 6, 2013) (final action on Tennessee infrastructure SIP submissions for 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS).

    While the DC Circuit declined to consider the EPA's appeal en banc, 8 on January 23, 2013, the Supreme Court granted the EPA's petition for certiorari.9 During 2013 and early 2014, as the EPA awaited a decision from the Supreme Court, the EPA initiated efforts and technical analyses aimed at identifying and quantifying state good neighbor obligations for the 2008 ozone NAAQS. As part of this effort, the EPA solicited stakeholder input and also provided states with, and requested input on, emissions inventories for 2011 and emissions inventory projections for 2018.

    8EME Homer City Generation, L.P. v. EPA, No. 11-1302 (D.C. Cir. January 24, 2013), ECF No. 1417012 (denying the EPA's motion for rehearing en banc).

    9EPA v. EME Homer City Generation, L.P., 133 S. Ct. 2857 (2013) (granting the EPA's and other parties' petitions for certiorari).

    On April 29, 2014, the Supreme Court issued a decision reversing the DC Circuit's EME Homer City opinion on CSAPR and held, among other things, that under the plain language of the CAA, states must submit SIPs addressing the good neighbor requirement in CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) within 3 years of promulgation of a new or revised NAAQS, regardless of whether the EPA first provides guidance, technical data or rulemaking to quantify the state's obligation. Thus, the Supreme Court affirmed that states have an obligation in the first instance to address the good neighbor provision after promulgation of a new or revised NAAQS, a holding that also applies to states' obligation to address interstate transport for CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) for the 2008 ozone NAAQS.

    C. Mandatory Duty Suit for the EPA's Failure to Make Findings of Failure To Submit for States That Did Not Submit SIPs

    On March 15, 2013, several states and the District of Columbia filed a complaint challenging the EPA's assertion in the January 15, 2013 findings of failure to submit for the 2008 ozone NAAQS infrastructure SIPs that it did not have the authority to issue findings as to the good neighbor provision.10 After the Supreme Court issued its decision reversing the DC Circuit's vacatur of CSAPR, the EPA requested partial vacatur and remand of the January 15, 2013 portion of the findings that pertained to the good neighbor provision. On August 1, 2014, the court granted the EPA's request, vacating the EPA's decision not to make findings of failure to submit with respect to the good neighbor provision and remanding the findings to the EPA for further consideration.

    10Maryland v. EPA, Case No. 13-1070 (D.C. Cir., filed March 15, 2013).

    Shortly thereafter, Sierra Club and WildEarth Guardians filed two separate cases alleging that the EPA had not fulfilled its mandatory duty to make findings of failure to submit good neighbor SIPs addressing interstate transport in CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) with respect to the 2008 ozone NAAQS. In the first case, Sierra Club filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (Northern District of California) on July 15, 2014, seeking an order to compel the EPA to make findings of failure to submit with respect to the 2008 ozone NAAQS good neighbor SIP for the state of Tennessee.11 On November 18, 2014, Sierra Club and WildEarth Guardians filed another complaint in the same court seeking an order to compel the EPA to make findings of failure to submit with respect to the 2008 ozone NAAQS good neighbor SIPs for the following states: Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.12 On January 15, 2015, the plaintiffs amended their complaint in the second case to add Alabama, Florida, North Carolina and Mississippi. On May 15, 2015, the court entered judgment ordering the EPA to, by June 30, 2015, sign a notice issuing its findings of failure to submit with respect to the 2008 ozone NAAQS interstate transport SIPs for the 26 states addressed in both cases.13

    11 Complaint, Sierra Club vs. McCarthy, Case 4:14-cv-3198-JSW (N.D. Cal. July 15, 2014). The complaint also included a separate claim regarding the EPA's alleged failure to take final action to approve or disapprove infrastructure SIPs as to a number of states.

    12 Complaint, Sierra Club vs. McCarthy, Case 4:14-cv-05091-YGR (N.D. Cal. November. 18, 2014).

    13See Judgment, Sierra Club v. McCarthy, Case 4:14-cv-05091-YGR (N.D. Cal. May 15, 2015).

    The EPA recognizes the practical and legal uncertainty that has surrounded the 2008 ozone NAAQS and the proper interpretation of the good neighbor provision. States were given the impression that if the NAAQS were revised as a result of the reconsideration, the 3-year SIP deadline would reset. The EPA also recognizes that this uncertainty may have influenced states' efforts to develop SIPs to address CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) requirements for the 2008 ozone NAAQS. Given that the NAAQS have not been revised and the United States Supreme Court overturned the DC Circuit opinion on CSAPR, March 12, 2011, remains the legally applicable deadline for good neighbor SIPs for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS.

    In response to the orders from the DC Circuit and the Northern District of California, the EPA is taking this action for all states that have failed to submit complete SIPs addressing CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) for the 2008 ozone NAAQS. To date, 26 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have submitted complete SIPs addressing CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) for the 2008 ozone NAAQS. Three states specifically identified in the Northern District of California's order have made complete submissions as of the date of this document. Therefore, the EPA is issuing national findings of failure to submit good neighbor SIPs addressing the requirements of CAA sections 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) as to the 2008 ozone NAAQS, addressing all states that have not made complete submissions as to the date of this document.

    D. Further Background Specific to North Carolina SIP Status

    On November 12, 2012, the state of North Carolina submitted a SIP revision to the EPA addressing, among other things, the good neighbor provision of CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) for the 2008 ozone NAAQS. The submission was determined to be complete by a letter dated November 15, 2012. On July 15, 2014, Sierra Club filed a complaint in the Northern District of California alleging that the EPA had failed to take final action on the North Carolina SIP submission, including the interstate transport provisions, by the statutory deadline and asked the court to order the EPA to take such final action by a date certain.14 Subsequently, on September 3, 2014, the state of North Carolina submitted a letter withdrawing the good neighbor provision of the November 12, 2012, infrastructure SIP submission addressing CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I).15 In reliance on the withdrawal, Sierra Club filed an amended complaint on December 12, 2014, that revised its claim to remove the allegation that the EPA had failed to act the good neighbor provision of North Carolina's SIP.16 The parties to the litigation subsequently entered into a consent decree that settled the remaining claim as to North Carolina.17 In further reliance on the withdrawal, Sierra Club and WildEarth Guardians also filed an amended complaint in case number 4:14-cv-05091, discussed above, alleging that the EPA had failed to make a finding of failure to submit as to North Carolina's good neighbor SIP for the 2008 ozone NAAQS.18

    14 Complaint, Sierra Club v. McCarthy, Case 4:14-cv-03198-JSW, (N.D. Cal. July 15, 2014).

    15See, Letter from Sheila Holman, Director, Division of Air Quality, NCDENR, to Heather McTeer Toney, Regional Administrator, USEPA Region 4, “Withdrawal of Section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) from North Carolina's 2008 Ozone Infrastructure State Implementation Plan Submittal” (September 3, 2014).

    16 First Amended Complaint, Sierra Club v. McCarthy, Case 4:14-cv-03198-JSW, (N.D. Cal. December 12, 2014).

    17See Judgment, Sierra Club v. McCarthy, Case 4:14-cv-03198-JSW, (N.D. Cal. May 15, 2015).

    18See Amended Complaint, Sierra Club v. McCarthy, Case No. 4:14-cv-05091 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 15, 2015).

    On June 26, 2015, North Carolina submitted a letter indicating that it wished to “rescind” its September 3, 2014 withdrawal of its good neighbor SIP to address the 2008 ozone NAAQS.19 The letter explained that the November 12, 2012 submittal did not include modeling and that preliminary air quality modeling released by the EPA on January 22, 2015, supported its interstate transport SIP. The letter also explained that, based on this modeling, the state concluded “it has met its obligations under CAA section 110(a)(1) and (2)(D) related to interstate transport . . . and therefore, does not expect” to be subject to this document finding certain states' failure to submit interstate transport SIPs for the 2008 ozone NAAQS.

    19See Letter from Sheila C. Holman, NCDENR, to Heather McTeer Toney, USEPA Region 4, “Recession [sic] of North Carolina's September 3, 2014, Withdrawal of 2008 Ozone Infrastructure State Implementation Plan Certification Pertaining to Interstate Transport (Section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I))” (June 26, 2015).

    On June 30, 2015, the EPA responded to North Carolina's June 26, 2015 letter.20 Because the EPA determined that it was not appropriate to rescind North Carolina's prior withdrawal of its November 12, 2012 SIP submission, and because the June 25, 2015, letter relies on new information and analysis to support the state's conclusion regarding its statutory interstate transport obligations that was not contained in its November 12, 2012, SIP submission (i.e., the preliminary air quality modeling released by the EPA on January 22, 2015), the EPA views the June 26, 2015 letter as a new SIP submission. Accordingly, the EPA has evaluated the June 26, 2015 letter for completeness as a SIP revision pursuant to the criteria in 40 CFR part 51, appendix V, and concluded that the June 26, 2015, letter is an incomplete SIP submission. The incompleteness letter notes that North Carolina's June 26, 2015, letter contains new information and analysis upon which North Carolina now relies to support its conclusions regarding the state's statutory obligations to address interstate transport, in particular the EPA's air quality modeling, and that neither the new information nor North Carolina's conclusions relying upon that information were subject to public notice and comment per criteria 2.1(f)-(h) of appendix V. Accordingly, the EPA is finding in this document that North Carolina has failed to submit a complete SIP revision addressing CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) as to the 2008 ozone NAAQS.

    20See Letter from Beverly H. Banister, USEPA Region 4, to Sheila Holman, NCDENR, “Response to North Carolina's June 26, 2015 Letter Seeking to Rescind the September 3, 2014 Withdrawal of the 2008 Ozone Infrastructure State Implementation Plan Certification Regarding Interstate Transport” (June 30, 2015).

    III. Findings of Failure To Submit for States That Failed To Make a Good Neighbor SIP Submission for the 2008 Ozone NAAQS

    Three states (i.e., Connecticut, Rhode Island and Washington) addressed by the Northern District of California's order have made complete SIP submittals addressing the good neighbor provision for the 2008 ozone NAAQS. Hawaii was not addressed by the Northern District of California's order and the state has submitted a complete SIP submittal addressing the good neighbor provision for the 2008 ozone NAAQS. The EPA is making findings of failure to submit for 24 states. The EPA is finding that the following states have not made a complete good neighbor SIP submittal to meet the requirements of CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I): Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont,21 Virginia and West Virginia.

    21 We are making a finding for the state of Vermont even though the state was not addressed by the Northern District of California's order. In fairness and to fulfill its statutory obligations, the EPA is addressing all states that have not made a submittal in this findings document.

    IV. Environmental Justice Considerations

    This document is making a procedural finding that certain states have failed to submit a SIP to address CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) for the 2008 ozone NAAQS. The EPA did not conduct an environmental analysis for this rule because this rule would not directly affect the air emissions of particular sources. Because this rule will not directly affect the air emissions of particular sources, it does not affect the level of protection provided to human health or the environment. Therefore, this action will not have potential disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects on minority, low-income or indigenous populations.

    V. 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 does not impose an information collection burden under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. This final rule does not establish any new information collection requirement apart from what is already required by law.

    C. Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA)

    This action is not subject to the RFA. The RFA applies only to rules subject to notice and comment rulemaking requirements under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. 553, or any other statute. This rule is not subject to notice and comment requirements because the agency has invoked the APA “good cause” exemption under 5 U.S.C. 553(b).

    D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (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. The action implements mandates specifically and explicitly set forth in the CAA under section 110(a) 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 rule responds to the requirement in the CAA for states to submit SIPs under section 110(a) to address CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) for the 2008 ozone NAAQS. No tribe is subject to the requirement to submit an implementation plan under section 110(a) within 3 years of promulgation of a new or revised NAAQS. Thus, Executive Order 13175 does not apply to this action.

    G. Executive Order 13045: Protection of Children From Environmental Health and Safety Risks

    The EPA interprets Executive Order 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 it does not concern an environmental health risk or safety risk.

    H. Executive Order 13211: Actions 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

    The EPA believes the human health or environmental risk addressed by this action will not have potential disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects on minority, low-income or indigenous populations because it does not affect the level of protection provided to human health or the environment. The EPA's evaluation of environmental justice considerations is contained in section IV of this document.

    K. Congressional Review Act (CRA)

    This action is subject to the CRA, and the EPA will submit a rule report to each House of the Congress and to the Comptroller General of the United States. This action is not a “major rule” as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804(2).

    L. Judicial Review

    Section 307(b)(l) of the CAA indicates which federal Courts of Appeal have venue for petitions of review of final agency actions by the EPA under the CAA. This section provides, in part, that petitions for review must be filed in the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (i) when the agency action consists of “nationally applicable regulations promulgated, or final actions taken, by the Administrator,” or (ii) when such action is locally or regionally applicable, if “such action is based on a determination of nationwide scope or effect and if in taking such action the Administrator finds and publishes that such action is based on such a determination.”

    The EPA has determined that this final rule consisting of findings of failure to submit certain of the required good neighbor SIP provisions is “nationally applicable” within the meaning of section 307(b)(1). This rule affects 24 states across the country that are located in seven of the ten EPA Regions, 10 different federal circuits, and multiple time zones.

    This determination is appropriate because, in the 1977 CAA Amendments that revised CAA section 307(b)(l), Congress noted that the Administrator's determination that an action is of “nationwide scope or effect” would be appropriate for any action that has “scope or effect beyond a single judicial circuit.” H.R. Rep. No. 95-294 at 323-324, reprinted in 1977 U.S.C.C.A.N. 1402-03. Here, the scope and effect of this action extends to the 10 judicial circuits that include the states across the country affected by this action. In these circumstances, section 307(b)(1) and its legislative history authorize the Administrator to find the rule to be of “nationwide scope or effect” and thus to indicate that venue for challenges lies in the DC Circuit. Accordingly, the EPA is determining that this is a rule of nationwide scope or effect. 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 District of Columbia within 60 days from the date this final action is published in the Federal Register. Filing a petition for review by the Administrator of this final action does not affect the finality of the action for the purposes of judicial review nor does it extend the time within which a petition for judicial review must be filed, and shall not postpone the effectiveness of such rule or action.

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Incorporation by reference, Intergovernmental relations, Ozone, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Dated: June 30, 2015. Janet G. McCabe, Acting Assistant Administrator.
    [FR Doc. 2015-16922 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R09-OAR-2014-0841; FRL-9929-60-Region 9] Revisions to the California State Implementation Plan, South Coast Air Quality Management District AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking action to approve a revision to the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) portion of the California State Implementation Plan (SIP). This revision concerns volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from Large Confined Animal Facilities. We are approving a local rule to regulate these emission sources under the Clean Air Act (CAA or the Act).

    DATES:

    This rule will be effective on August 12, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    The EPA has established docket number EPA-R09-OAR-2014-0841 for this action. Generally, documents in the docket for this action are available electronically at http://www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at EPA Region IX, 75 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco, California 94105-3901. While all documents in the docket are listed at http://www.regulations.gov, some information may be publicly available only at the hard copy location (e.g., copyrighted material, large maps, multi-volume reports), and some may not be available in either location (e.g., confidential business information (CBI)). To inspect the hard copy materials, please schedule an appointment during normal business hours with the contact listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Nancy Levin, EPA Region IX, (415) 972-3848, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Throughout this document, “we,” “us,” and “our” refer to EPA.

    Table of Contents I. Proposed Action II. Public Comments and EPA Responses III. EPA Action IV. Incorporation by Reference V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. Proposed Action

    On April 14, 2015, in 80 FR 19931, the EPA proposed approval of the following rule that was submitted for incorporation into the California SIP.

    Table 1—Submitted Rule Local agency Rule No. Rule title Adopted Submitted SCAQMD 223 Emission Reduction Permits for Large Confined Animal Facilities 06/02/06 03/17/09

    Our proposed action contains more information on the basis for this rulemaking and on our evaluation of the submittal.

    II. Public Comments and EPA Responses

    The EPA's proposed action provided a 30-day public comment period. During this period, we received no comments.

    III. EPA Action

    No comments were submitted. Therefore, as authorized in section 110(k)(3) of the Act, EPA is fully approving this rule into the California SIP.

    IV. Incorporation by Reference

    In this rule, the EPA is finalizing regulatory text that includes incorporation by reference. In accordance with requirements of 1 CFR 51.5, the EPA is finalizing the incorporation by reference of the SCAQMD rules described in the amendments to 40 CFR part 52 set forth below. The EPA has made, and will continue to make, these documents available electronically through www.regulations.gov and in hard copy at the appropriate EPA office (see the ADDRESSES section of this preamble for more information).

    V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

    Under the Clean Air Act, the Administrator is required to approve a SIP submission that complies with the provisions of the Act and applicable Federal regulations. 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 Clean Air Act. 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 Clean Air Act; 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 and will not impose substantial direct costs on tribal governments or preempt tribal law as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000).

    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 Clean Air Act, petitions for judicial review of this action must be filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the appropriate circuit by September 11, 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. 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, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Volatile organic compounds.

    Dated: June 9, 2015. Jared Blumenfeld, Regional Administrator, Region IX.

    Part 52, chapter I, title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations is amended as follows:

    PART 52 [AMENDED] 1. The authority citation for part 52 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Subpart F—California 2. Section 52.220 is amended by adding paragraph (c)(363)(i)(F) to read as follows:
    § 52.220 Identification of plan.

    (c) * * *

    (363) * * *

    (i) * * *

    (F) South Coast Air Quality Management District.

    (1) Rule 223, “Emission Reduction Permits for Large Confined Animal Facilities,” adopted on June 2, 2006.

    [FR Doc. 2015-16925 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R03-OAR-2014-0833; FRL-9930-31-Region 3] Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Maryland; Preconstruction Requirements—Nonattainment New Source Review AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is approving a State Implementation Plan (SIP) revision submitted on August 22, 2013 by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) on behalf of the State of Maryland. This revision pertains to Maryland's major nonattainment New Source Review (NSR) program, notably preconstruction permitting requirements for sources of fine particulate matter (PM2.5). This action is being taken under the Clean Air Act (CAA).

    DATES:

    This final rule is effective on August 12, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket ID Number EPA-R03-OAR-2014-0833. All documents in the docket are listed in the www.regulations.gov Web site. Although listed in the electronic docket, some information is not publicly available, i.e., 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 through www.regulations.gov or in hard copy for public inspection during normal business hours at the Air Protection Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region III, 1650 Arch Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103. Copies of the State submittal are available at the Maryland Department of the Environment, 1800 Washington Boulevard, Suite 705, Baltimore, Maryland 21230.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    David Talley, (215) 814-2117, or by email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

    On March 25, 2015 (80 FR 15713), EPA published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPR) for the State of Maryland. In the NPR, EPA proposed approval of revisions to Maryland's major nonattainment NSR program, notably preconstruction permitting requirements for sources of fine particulate matter (PM2.5). The formal SIP revision (#13-06) was submitted by MDE on August 22, 2013.

    Generally, the revisions incorporate provisions related to the 2008 “Implementation of the New Source Review (NSR) Program for Particulate Matter Less than 2.5 Micrometers (PM2.5)” (2008 NSR PM2.5 Rule). 73 FR 28321 (May 16, 2008). As discussed in the NPR, the 2008 NSR PM2.5 Rule (as well as the 2007 “Final Clean Air Fine Particle Implementation Rule” (2007 PM2.5 Implementation Rule) 1 ), was the subject of litigation before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit) in Natural Resources Defense Council v. EPA (hereafter, NRDC v. EPA).2 On January 4, 2013, the D.C. Circuit remanded to EPA both the 2007 PM2.5 Implementation Rule and the 2008 NSR PM2.5 Rule. The court found that in both rules EPA erred in implementing the 1997 PM2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) solely pursuant to the general implementation provisions of subpart 1 of part D of title I of the CAA (subpart 1), rather than pursuant to the additional implementation provisions specific to particulate matter in subpart 4 of part D of title I (subpart 4).3 However, as was also discussed in the NPR, EPA's final actions redesignating all of the areas in Maryland which were nonattainment for the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS to attainment obviated the need for MDE to submit a nonattainment NSR SIP addressing PM2.5 requirements, including those under subpart 4. See 80 FR 15714. EPA, therefore, did not evaluate MDE's August 22, 2013 SIP revision submittal for compliance with subpart 4. To the extent that any area in Maryland is designated as nonattainment for PM2.5 in the future, MDE will have to make a submittal under CAA section 189 addressing how its nonattainment NSR permitting program satisfies all of the statutory requirements pertaining to PM2.5, including subpart 4.

    1 72 FR 20586 (April 25, 2007).

    2 706 F.3d 428 (D.C. Cir. 2013).

    3 The court's opinion did not specifically address the point that implementation under subpart 4 requirements would still require consideration of subpart 1 requirements, to the extent that subpart 4 did not override subpart 1. EPA assumes that the court presumed that EPA would address this issue of potential overlap between subpart 1 and subpart 4 requirements in subsequent actions.

    II. Summary of SIP Revision

    The 2008 NSR PM2.5 Rule: (1) Required NSR permits to address directly emitted PM2.5 and precursor pollutants; (2) established significant emission rates for direct PM2.5 and precursor pollutants (including sulfur dioxide (SO2) and oxides of nitrogen (NOX)); (3) established PM2.5 emission offsets; and (4) required states to account for gases that condense to form particles (condensables) in PM2.5 emission limits.

    To implement these provisions, Maryland amended Regulation .01 under COMAR 26.11.01 (General Administrative Provisions) and Regulations .01 and .02 under COMAR 26.11.17 (Nonattainment Provisions for Major New Sources and Major Modifications). The general definitions at COMAR 26.11.01.01 were amended to add definitions of “PM2.5” and “PM2.5 emissions.” COMAR 26.11.17 contains the preconstruction requirements for new major stationary sources and major modifications locating in nonattainment areas. The definitions of “regulated NSR pollutant” and “significant” under COMAR 26.11.17.01 were amended. The amended definitions require that sources account for the condensable fraction of PM10 and PM2.5, require that NOX and SO2 be regulated as precursors to PM10 and PM2.5, and establish significant emission rates (SERs) for PM2.5 and its precursors. COMAR 26.11.17.02 was revised to specify that all of the major nonattainment NSR preconstruction requirements of the chapter are applicable to new major stationary sources and major modifications that are major for PM2.5 or its precursors. COMAR 26.11.17.02 was also revised to clarify that in addition to the requirements of that chapter, the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) requirements of COMAR 26.11.04.16 may also apply to sources locating in nonattainment areas.

    Other specific requirements of MDE's August 22, 2013 SIP revision submittal and the rationale for EPA's proposed action are explained in the NPR and will not be restated here. No public comments were received on the NPR.

    III. Final Action

    EPA is approving MDE's August 22, 2013 submittal as a revision to the Maryland SIP.

    IV. Incorporation by Reference

    In this rulemaking action, the EPA is finalizing regulatory text that includes incorporation by reference. In accordance with requirements of 1 CFR 51.5, the EPA is finalizing the incorporation by reference of the MDE rules regarding definitions and permitting requirements discussed in section II of this preamble. The EPA has made, and will continue to make, these documents generally available electronically through www.regulations.gov and/or in hard copy at the appropriate EPA office (see the ADDRESSES section of this preamble for more information).

    V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews A. General Requirements

    Under the CAA, the Administrator is required to approve a SIP submission that complies with the provisions of the CAA and applicable Federal regulations. 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 Order 12866 (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993);

    • 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, this rule does not have tribal implications as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000), because the SIP is not approved to apply in Indian country located in the state, and EPA notes that it will not impose substantial direct costs on tribal governments or preempt tribal law.

    B. Submission to Congress and the Comptroller General

    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).

    C. Petitions for Judicial Review

    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 September 11, 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. This action pertaining to Maryland's nonattainment NSR program 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, Carbon monoxide, Incorporation by reference, Intergovernmental relations, Nitrogen dioxide, Ozone, Particulate matter, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Sulfur oxides, Volatile organic compounds.

    Dated: June 26, 2015. William C. Early, Acting Regional Administrator, Region III.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, title 40, chapter I, of the Code of Federal Regulations 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 V—Maryland 2. In § 52.1070, the table in paragraph (c) is amended by revising the entries for COMAR 26.11.01.01, 26.11.17.01, and 26.11.17.02 to read as follows:
    § 52.1070 Identification of plan.

    (c) * * *

    EPA-Approved Regulations, Technical Memoranda, and Statutes in the Maryland SIP Code of Maryland
  • Administrative
  • Regulations (COMAR) citation
  • Title/subject State effective date EPA approval
  • date
  • Additional explanation/
  • citation at 40 CFR 52.1100
  • 26.11.01 General Administrative Provisions 26.11.01.01 Definitions 7/8/13 7/13/15 [Insert Federal Register citation] *         *         *         *         *         *         * 26.11.17 Requirements for Major New Sources and Modifications 26.11.17.01 Definitions 7/8/13 7/13/15 [Insert Federal Register citation] 26.11.17.02 Applicability 7/8/13 7/13/15 [Insert Federal Register citation] *         *         *         *         *         *         *
    [FR Doc. 2015-16918 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Parts 52 and 81 [EPA-R04-OAR-2014-0870; FRL-9930-49-Region 4] Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans and Designation of Areas for Air Quality Planning Purposes; Tennessee; Redesignation of the Knoxville 2008 8-Hour Ozone Nonattainment Area to Attainment AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking four separate final actions related to a state implementation plan (SIP) revision submitted by the State of Tennessee, through the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), Division of Air Pollution Control, on November 14, 2014, for the Knoxville, Tennessee 8-hour ozone nonattainment area (hereinafter referred to as the “Knoxville Area” or “Area”). The Knoxville Area includes a portion of Anderson County as well as Blount and Knox Counties in their entireties. EPA is approving the base year emissions inventory for the 2008 8-hour ozone national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for the Knoxville Area; determining that the Knoxville Area is attaining the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS; approving into the SIP the State's plan for maintaining attainment of the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS in the Area, including the 2011 and 2026 motor vehicle emission budgets (MVEBs) for nitrogen oxides (NOX) and volatile organic compounds (VOC); and redesignating the Area to attainment for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. EPA is also finding the 2011 and 2026 MVEBs for NOX and VOC for the Knoxville Area adequate for the purposes of transportation conformity.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective August 12, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket Identification No. EPA-R04-OAR-2014-0870. All documents in the docket are listed on the www.regulations.gov Web site. Although listed in the index, some information may not be publicly available, i.e., Confidential Business Information 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 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. 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:

    Jane Spann or Tiereny Bell of the Air Regulatory Management Section, in the 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. Spann may be reached by phone at (404) 562-9029 or via electronic mail at [email protected] Ms. Bell may be reached by phone at (404) 562-9088 or via electronic mail at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Background for Final Actions

    On May 21, 2012, EPA designated areas as unclassifiable/attainment or nonattainment for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS that was promulgated on March 27, 2008. See 77 FR 30088. The Knoxville Area was designated as nonattainment for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS and classified as a marginal nonattainment area. On November 14, 2014, TDEC requested that EPA redesignate the Area to attainment for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS and submitted a SIP revision containing a base year emissions inventory for the Area to address the requirements of Clean Air Act (CAA or Act) section 182(a)(1) and the State's plan for maintaining attainment of the 2008 8-hour ozone standard in the Area, including the 2011 and 2026 MVEBs for NOX and VOC. In a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPR) published on May 21, 2015, EPA proposed to approve the base year emissions inventory for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS for the Knoxville Area; to determine that the Knoxville Area is attaining the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS; to approve into the SIP the State's plan for maintaining attainment of the 2008 8-hour ozone standard in the Area, including the 2011 and 2026 MVEBs for NOX and VOC; and to redesignate the Area to attainment for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. See 80 FR 29237. In that notice, EPA also notified the public of the status of the Agency's adequacy determination for the Knoxville Area NOX and VOC MVEBs.1 The details of Tennessee's submittal and the rationale for EPA's actions are explained in the NPR. EPA received one comment on the May 21, 2015, NPR. This comment is provided in the docket for today's final actions and supports those actions. EPA's response to the comment is provided below.

    1 Tennessee's November 14, 2015, SIP submission, including the Knoxville Area NOX and VOC MVEBs, was open for public comment on EPA's adequacy Web site on December 4, 2014, found at: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/stateresources/transconf/currsips.htm#knx-tn. The EPA public comment period on adequacy for the MVEBs for 2011 and 2026 for the Knoxville Area closed on January 5, 2015. No comments, adverse or otherwise, were received during EPA's adequacy process for the MVEBs associated with Tennessee's maintenance plan.

    II. EPA's Response to Comment

    The Commenter “support[s] this docket as written” and states that “it is clear the metro area [Knoxville] is in attainment of the 2008 8-hour ozone standard.” Although supportive of the actions, the Commenter is “somewhat suspicious of the large projected decreases in NOX from [on] road sources, given that vehicle traffic will almost certainly be increasing throughout the modeled time period.” The Commenter believes that it “seems likely that smaller. . .reductions in NOX from [on] road sources. . . will still result in continued attainment of the ozone standard given that current NOX emissions are resulting in ozone attainment.”

    EPA does not view this comment as adverse. Regarding the magnitude of the projected on-road mobile source NOX emissions reductions given increased vehicle traffic, EPA notes that Tennessee used the interagency consultation process required by 40 CFR part 93 (known as the Transportation Conformity Rule) which requires EPA, the United States Department of Transportation, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), state departments of transportation, and State and local air quality agencies to work together to develop applicable implementation plans. The planning assumptions used to develop on-road NOX emissions estimates for the Knoxville Area maintenance plan applied emissions factors developed from the latest EPA-approved mobile emissions model (known as the Motor Vehicle Emissions Simulator or MOVES2014) and did consider increased vehicle traffic by incorporating the increased vehicle miles travelled from the MPO's travel demand model. MOVES2014 is the state-of-the-science emissions model that incorporates the newest emissions control regulatory programs.

    III. What are the effects of these actions?

    Approval of Tennessee's redesignation request changes the legal designation of Blount and Knox Counties and the portion of Anderson County included in the Knoxville Area, found at 40 CFR 81.343, from nonattainment to attainment for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. Approval of Tennessee's associated SIP revision also incorporates a plan for maintaining the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS in the Knoxville Area through 2026 and a section 182(a)(1) base year emissions inventory into the Tennessee SIP. The maintenance plan establishes NOX and VOC MVEBs for 2011 and 2026 for the Knoxville Area and includes contingency measures to remedy any future violations of the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS and procedures for evaluation of potential violations. The NOX MVEBs for 2011 and 2026 are 41.62 tons per day (tpd) and 17.69 tpd, respectively. The VOC MVEBs for 2011 and 2026 are 19.71 tpd and 10.49 tpd, respectively. Additionally, EPA is finding the newly-established NOX and VOC MVEBs for the Knoxville Area adequate for the purpose of transportation conformity. Within 24 months from this final rule, the transportation partners will need to demonstrate conformity to the new NOX and VOC MVEBs pursuant to 40 CFR 93.104(e).

    IV. Final Actions

    EPA is taking four separate but related actions regarding the Knoxville Area's redesignation to attainment and maintenance of the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. First, EPA is approving Tennessee's section 182(a)(1) base year emissions inventory for the 2008 8-hour ozone standard for the Knoxville Area into the SIP. Approval of the base year inventory is a prerequisite for EPA to redesignate the Area from nonattainment to attainment.

    Second, EPA is determining that the Knoxville Area is attaining the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS based on complete, quality-assured and certified monitoring data for the 2011-2013 monitoring period. The 2012-2014 data in the Air Quality System indicates that the Area is continuing to attain the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS.

    Third, EPA is approving the maintenance plan for the Knoxville Area, including the NOX and VOC MVEBs for 2011 and 2026, into the Tennessee SIP (under CAA section 175A). The maintenance plan demonstrates that the Area will continue to maintain the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS, and the budgets meet all of the adequacy criteria contained in 40 CFR 93.118(e)(4) and (5).

    Fourth, EPA is determining that Tennessee has met the criteria under CAA section 107(d)(3)(E) for the Knoxville Area for redesignation from nonattainment to attainment for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. On this basis, EPA is approving Tennessee's redesignation request for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS for the Knoxville Area. As mentioned above, approval of the redesignation request changes the official designation of Blount and Knox Counties and the portion of Anderson County in the Knoxville Area for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS from nonattainment to attainment, as found at 40 CFR part 81.

    EPA is also finding the newly-established NOX and VOC MVEBs for the Knoxville Area adequate for the purpose of transportation conformity. Within 24 months from this final rule, the transportation partners will need to demonstrate conformity to the new NOX and VOC MVEBs pursuant to 40 CFR 93.104(e).

    V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

    Under the CAA, redesignation of an area to attainment and the accompanying approval of the maintenance plan under CAA section 107(d)(3)(E) are actions that affect the status of geographical area and do not impose any additional regulatory requirements on sources beyond those required by state law. A redesignation to attainment does not in and of itself impose any new requirements, but rather results in the application of requirements contained in the CAA for areas that have been redesignated to attainment. Moreover, 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, these actions merely approve state law as meeting Federal requirements and do not impose additional requirements beyond those imposed by state or federal law. For these reasons, these actions:

    • Are not a significant regulatory actions 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);

    • do not impose an information collection burden under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.);

    • are 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.);

    • do 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);

    • do not have Federalism implications as specified in Executive Order 13132 (64 FR 43255, August 10, 1999);

    • are not economically significant regulatory actions based on health or safety risks subject to Executive Order 13045 (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997);

    • are not a significant regulatory action subject to Executive Order 13211 (66 FR 28355, May 22, 2001);

    • are 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

    • do 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).

    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 September 11, 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. This action may not be challenged later in proceedings to enforce its requirements. See section 307(b)(2).

    List of Subjects 40 CFR Part 52

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Incorporation by reference, Intergovernmental relations, Nitrogen dioxide, Ozone, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Volatile organic compounds.

    40 CFR Part 81

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control.

    Dated: July 6, 2015. Heather McTeer Toney, Regional Administrator, Region 4.

    40 CFR parts 52 and 81 are 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 RR—Tennessee 2. Section 52.2220(e) is amended by adding two new entries for “2008 8-hour Ozone Maintenance Plan for the Knoxville Area” and “2008 8-hour Ozone Emissions Inventory for the Knoxville Area” at the end of the table to read as follows:
    § 52.2220 Identification of plan.

    (e) * * *

    EPA-Approved Tennessee Non-Regulatory Provisions Name of non-regulatory SIP provision Applicable geographic or nonattainment area State
  • effective date
  • EPA Approval date Explanation
    *         *         *         *         *         *         * 2008 8-hour Ozone Maintenance Plan for the Knoxville Area Blount County, Knox County, and a portion of Anderson County 11/14/14 7/13/15 [Insert citation of publication] 2008 8-hour Ozone Emissions Inventory for the Knoxville Area Blount County, Knox County, and a portion of Anderson County 11/14/14
    PART 81—DESIGNATION OF AREAS FOR AIR QUALITY PLANNING PURPOSES 3. The authority citation for part 81 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    4. In § 81.343, the table entitled “Tennessee-2008 8-Hour Ozone NAAQS (Primary and secondary)” is amended by revising the entries for “Knoxville, TN,” “Anderson County (part),” “Blount County,” and “Knox County” to read as follows:
    § 81.343 Tennessee. Tennessee-2008 8-Hour Ozone NAAQS [Primary and secondary] Designated area Designation Date 1 Type Category/Classification Date 1 Type Knoxville, TN 2 This action is effective 7/13/15 Attainment Anderson County (part): 2000 Census tracts: 202, 213.02 Blount County Knox County *         *         *         *         *         *         * 1 This date is July 20, 2012, unless otherwise noted. 2 Excludes Indian country located in each area, unless otherwise noted. 3 Includes any Indian country in each county or area, unless otherwise specified.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17055 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    80 133 Monday, July 13, 2015 Proposed Rules FEDERAL RETIREMENT THRIFT INVESTMENT BOARD 5 CFR Parts 1600, 1601, and 1651 Default Investment Fund AGENCY:

    Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule with request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (Agency) proposes to amend its regulations to change the default investment fund for certain participants in the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP).

    DATES:

    Submit comments on or before August 12, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments using one of the following methods:

    Federal Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov at Docket ID number FRTIB-2015-0002. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    Mail: Office of General Counsel, Attn: James Petrick, Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, 77 K Street NE., Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20002.

    Hand Delivery/Courier: The address for sending comments by hand delivery or courier is the same as that for submitting comments by mail.

    Facsimile: Comments may be submitted by facsimile at (202) 942-1676.

    The most helpful comments explain the reason for any recommended change and include data, information, and the authority that supports the recommended change.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Austen Townsend at (202) 864-8647.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Agency administers the TSP, which was established by the Federal Employees' Retirement System Act of 1986 (FERSA), Public Law 99-335, 100 Stat. 514. The TSP provisions of FERSA are codified, as amended, largely at 5 U.S.C. 8351 and 8401-79. The TSP is a tax-deferred retirement savings plan for Federal civilian employees, members of the uniformed services, and spouse beneficiaries. The TSP is similar to cash or deferred arrangements established for private-sector employees under section 401(k) of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 401(k)).

    On December 18, 2014, the President signed the Smart Savings Act (“the Act”), Public Law 113-255 (128 Stat. 2920). The Act directed the Agency to invest any sums available for investment in the TSP for which an election has not been made in an age-appropriate target date asset allocation investment fund. The Act excluded contributions made by members of the uniformed services for which an election has not been made. This proposed rule would conform the Agency's regulations to the requirements of the Act.

    New Default Investment Fund for Certain Participants

    This proposed regulation would change the TSP's default investment fund from the TSP's Government Securities Investment Fund (G Fund) to the age-appropriate TSP Lifecycle Fund (L Fund) for the following persons: (1) A civilian employee with a newly established TSP account; (2) a rehired civilian employee who has a zero account balance; and (3) the surviving spouse beneficiary of a deceased TSP participant for whom a beneficiary participant account is established. The default investment fund for uniformed services participants will remain the G Fund as required by the Act. In the case of a rehired civilian participant who has a positive account balance and a contribution allocation in effect, the participant's contribution allocation will remain in effect. In the case of a rehired participant who has a positive account balance and no contribution allocation in effect, the participant's new contribution will continue to be invested in the G Fund. Participants whose default investment fund is the age-appropriate L Fund will receive a notification concerning investment risk before enrollment or as soon as practicable thereafter.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act

    I certify that this proposed regulation will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. This proposed regulation will affect Federal civilian employees and spouse beneficiaries who participate in the Thrift Savings Plan, which is a Federal defined contribution retirement savings plan created under the Federal Employees' Retirement System Act of 1986 (FERSA), Public Law 99-335, 100 Stat. 514, and which is administered- by the Agency.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    I certify that these proposed regulations do not require additional reporting under the criteria of the Paperwork Reduction Act.

    Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    Pursuant to the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, 2 U.S.C. 602, 632, 653, 1501-1571, the effects of this proposed regulation on state, local, and tribal governments and the private sector have been assessed. This proposed regulation will not compel the expenditure in any one year of $100 million or more by state, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector. Therefore, a statement under section 1532 is not required.

    List of Subjects in 5 CFR Parts 1600, 1601, and 1651

    Government employees, Pensions, Retirement.

    Gregory T. Long, Executive Director, Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, the Agency proposes to amend 5 CFR chapter VI as follows:

    PART 1600—EMPLOYEE CONTRIBUTION ELECTIONS, CONTRIBUTION ALLOCATIONS, AND AUTOMATIC ENROLLMENT PROGRAM 1. The authority citation for part 1600 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    5 U.S.C. 8351, 8432(a), 8432(b), 8432(c), 8432(j), 8432d, 8474(b)(5) and (c)(1).

    2. Amend § 1600.37 by revising the heading, the introductory text, and paragraphs (c) and (d), and by adding paragraph (e) to read as follows:
    § 1600.37 Notice.

    The Board shall furnish all new employees and all rehired employees covered by the automatic enrollment program a notice that accurately describes:

    (c) The fund in which the default employee and agency contributions will be invested unless the employee makes a contribution allocation;

    (d) The employee's ability to request a refund of any default employee contributions (adjusted for allocable gains and losses) and the procedure to request such a refund; and

    (e) That an investment in any fund other than the G Fund is made at the employee's risk, that the employee is not protected by the United States Government or the Board against any loss on the investment, and that neither the United States Government nor the Board guarantees any return on the investment.

    PART 1601—PARTICIPANTS' CHOICES OF TSP FUNDS 3. The authority citation for part 1601 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    5 U.S.C. 8351, 8432d, 8438, 8474(b)(5) and (c)(1).

    4. Amend § 1601.13, by revising paragraphs (a)(3) and (4), redesignating paragraph (a)(5) as (a)(6) and revising it, and adding a new paragraph (a)(5) to read as follows:
    § 1601.13 Elections.

    (a) * * *

    (3) A uniformed services participant or a participant enrolled prior to [EFFECTIVE DATE OF FINAL REGULATION] who elects for the first time to invest in a TSP Fund other than the G Fund must execute an acknowledgement of risk in accordance with § 1601.33;

    (4) All deposits made on behalf of a participant enrolled prior to [EFFECTIVE DATE OF FINAL REGULATION] or a uniformed services participant who does not have a contribution allocation in effect will be invested in the G Fund. A participant who is enrolled prior to [EFFECTIVE DATE OF FINAL REGULATION] and subsequently rehired after [EFFECTIVE DATE OF FINAL REGULATION] and has a positive account balance will be considered enrolled prior to [EFFECTIVE DATE OF FINAL REGULATION] for purposes of this paragraph;

    (5) All deposits made on behalf of a participant first enrolled on or after [EFFECTIVE DATE OF FINAL REGULATION] who does not have a contribution allocation in effect will be invested in the age-appropriate TSP Lifecycle Fund; and

    (6) Once a contribution allocation becomes effective, it remains in effect until it is superseded by a subsequent contribution allocation or the participant's account balance is reduced to zero. If a rehired participant has a positive account balance and a contribution allocation in effect, then the participant's contribution allocation will remain in effect until a new allocation is made. If, however, the participant has a zero account balance, then the participant's contributions will be allocated to the age-appropriate TSP Lifecycle Fund until a new allocation is made.

    § 1601.22 [Amended]
    5. Amend § 1601.22 by removing paragraph (a)(3). 6. Amend § 1601.33 by revising the first sentence of paragraph (a), to read as follows:
    § 1601.33 Acknowledgement of risk.

    (a) A uniformed services participant or a participant enrolled prior to [EFFECTIVE DATE OF FINAL REGULATION] who wants to invest in a TSP Fund other than the G Fund must execute an acknowledgement of risk for that fund. * * *

    PART 1651—DEATH BENEFITS 7. The authority citation for part 1651 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    5 U.S.C. 8424(d), 8432d, 8432(j), 8433(e), 8435(c)(2), 8474(b)(5) and 8474(c)(1).

    8. Amend § 1651.2, by revising the last sentence of paragraph (d) to read as follows:
    § 1651.2 Entitlement to funds in a deceased participant's account.

    (d) * * * The account will accrue earnings at the G Fund rate in accordance with 5 CFR part 1645 until it is paid out or a beneficiary participant account is established under this part.

    3. Amend § 1651.19, by revising the first sentence of paragraph (a) to read as follows:
    § 1651.19 Beneficiary participant accounts.

    (a) * * * Regardless of the allocation of the deceased participant's account balance at the time of his or her death, each beneficiary participant account, once established, will be allocated 100 percent to the age-appropriate TSP Lifecycle Fund based on the beneficiary participant's date of birth. * * *

    [FR Doc. 2015-16867 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6760-01-P
    FEDERAL RETIREMENT THRIFT INVESTMENT BOARD 5 CFR Part 1653 Criminal Restitution Orders AGENCY:

    Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule with request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (Agency) proposes to amend its procedures for processing criminal restitution orders to: (1) Require an enforcement letter from the Department of Justice stating that restitution has been ordered under the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act; and (2) provide that the Agency will treat a judgment ordering restitution under the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act as a final judgment. The Agency also proposes to make two technical corrections.

    DATES:

    Submit comments on or before August 12, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments using one of the following methods:

    Federal Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov at Docket ID number FRTIB-2015-0001. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    Mail: Office of General Counsel, Attn: James Petrick, Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, 77 K Street NE., Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20002.

    Hand Delivery/Courier: The address for sending comments by hand delivery or courier is the same as that for submitting comments by mail.

    Facsimile: Comments may be submitted by facsimile at (202) 942-1676.

    The most helpful comments explain the reason for any recommended change and include data, information, and the authority that supports the recommended change.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Laurissa Stokes at (202) 942-1645.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Agency administers the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), which was established by the Federal Employees' Retirement System Act of 1986 (FERSA), Public Law 99-335, 100 Stat. 514. The TSP provisions of FERSA are codified, as amended, largely at 5 U.S.C. 8351 and 8401-79. The TSP is a tax-deferred retirement savings plan for Federal civilian employees and members of the uniformed services. The TSP is similar to cash or deferred arrangements established for private-sector employees under section 401(k) of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 401(k)).

    The Agency's governing statute includes an anti-alienation provision that generally protects TSP funds from execution, levy, attachment, garnishment, or other legal process. 5 U.S.C. 8437(c)(2). However, there are exceptions for certain court orders such as criminal restitution orders under the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act (MVRA) of 1996. The Department of Justice (DOJ) may request a payment from a participant's TSP account to enforce a judgment that orders restitution under the MVRA.

    On September 10, 2014, the Agency published regulations explaining the Agency's procedures for processing payments for the enforcement of criminal restitution orders. 79 FR 53603 (September 10, 2014).

    Requirement To Provide an Enforcement Letter

    Various statutes grant courts the authority to order, or compel them to order, convicted offenders to pay restitution to victims as part of their sentences. Only orders for restitution under 18 U.S.C. 3663A can be enforced against a TSP account.

    Judgments ordering restitution often do not reference the statutory authority or statutory mandate under which the court ordered restitution. This leaves the Agency to determine the authority or mandate under which the court ordered restitution. The Agency believes the DOJ is better positioned to determine the authority or mandate under which the court ordered restitution. Therefore, the Agency proposes to amend 5 CFR part 1653 to require an enforcement letter from the DOJ stating that the court ordered restitution under 18 U.S.C. 3663A. The Agency will rely on the DOJ's assertion that the court ordered restitution under 18 U.S.C. 3663A.

    Treatment of a Judgment Ordering Restitution Under 18 U.S.C. 3663A as a Final Judgment

    The Agency has received requests from several participants to stay payment from their TSP accounts pending the outcome of an appeal of a judgment ordering restitution under 18 U.S.C. 3663A or the underlying conviction. The Agency's policy is to deny such requests and treat the judgment as a final judgment. This policy is consistent with 18 U.S.C. 3664(o), which says that a sentence that imposes an order of restitution is a final judgment notwithstanding the fact that it may be corrected, amended, or appealed. The Agency proposes to amend 5 CFR part 1653 to codify this policy.

    Technical Corrections

    Paragraph (c)(5) of § 1653.33 provides that the TSP will not honor a criminal restitution order that requires a series of payments. The Agency proposes to amend paragraph (c)(5) to provide that the TSP will not honor a criminal restitution order that requires “the TSP to make” a series of payments. The Agency also proposes to replace certain references to a “restitution order” in 5 CFR part 1653, subpart D with the defined term “criminal restitution order” to avoid any ambiguity with respect to whether the regulations refer to the underlying judgment itself or the documents necessary to enforce the judgment against a TSP account. For consistency, the Agency also proposes to replace certain references to a “levy” with the defined term “tax levy.”

    Regulatory Flexibility Act

    I certify that this regulation will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. This regulation will affect Federal employees and members of the uniformed services who participate in the Thrift Savings Plan, which is a Federal defined contribution retirement savings plan created under the Federal Employees' Retirement System Act of 1986 (FERSA), Public Law 99-335, 100 Stat. 514, and which is administered by the Agency.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    I certify that these proposed regulations do not require additional reporting under the criteria of the Paperwork Reduction Act.

    Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    Pursuant to the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, 2 U.S.C. 602, 632, 653, 1501-1571, the effects of this regulation on state, local, and tribal governments and the private sector have been assessed. This proposed regulation will not compel the expenditure in any one year of $100 million or more by state, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector. Therefore, a statement under section 1532 is not required.

    List of Subjects in 5 CFR Part 1653

    Claims, Government employees, Pensions, Retirement, Taxes.

    Gregory T. Long, Executive Director, Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, the Agency proposes to amend 5 CFR chapter VI as follows:

    PART 1653—COURT ORDERS AND LEGAL PROCESSES AFFECTING THRIFT SAVINGS PLAN ACCOUNTS 1. The authority citation for part 1653 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    5 U.S.C. 8432d, 8435, 8436(b), 8437(e), 8439(a)(3), 8467, 8474(b)(5), and 8474(c)(1).

    2. Amend § 1653.31(b), by revising the definition for “criminal restitution order” and adding a definition for “enforcement letter” in alphabetical order to read as follows:
    § 1653.31 Definitions.

    (b) * * *

    Criminal restitution order means a complete copy of a judgment in a criminal case issued by a federal court ordering restitution for a crime under 18 U.S.C. 3663A.

    Enforcement letter means a letter received from the Department of Justice requesting a payment from a participant's TSP account to enforce a criminal restitution order.

    3. Amend § 1653.33 by: a. Revising paragraph (b)(2) and adding paragraph (b)(3), b. Replacing the words “restitution order” wherever they appear not preceded by the word “criminal” with the words “criminal restitution order” in paragraphs (c)(1) and (2); and c. Revising paragraphs (c)(3), (c)(5), and (c)(6).

    The revisions read as follows:

    § 1653.33 Qualifying criminal restitution order.

    (b) * * *

    (2) The criminal restitution order must require the participant to pay a stated dollar amount as restitution.

    (3) The criminal restitution order must be accompanied by an enforcement letter that states the restitution is ordered under 18 U.S.C. 3663A. The enforcement letter must expressly refer to the “Thrift Savings Plan” or describe the TSP in such a way that it cannot be confused with other Federal Government retirement benefits or non-Federal retirement benefits.

    (c) * * *

    (3) A criminal restitution order accompanied by an enforcement letter that requires the TSP to make a payment in the future;

    (5) A criminal restitution order accompanied by an enforcement letter that requires TSP to make a series of payments;

    (6) A criminal restitution order accompanied by an enforcement letter that designates the specific TSP Fund, source of contributions, or balance from which the payment or portions of the payment shall be made.

    4. Amend § 1653.34 by revising the last sentence of paragraph (b) introductory text to read as follows:
    § 1653.34 Processing Federal tax levies and criminal restitution orders.

    (b) * * * To be complete, a tax levy or criminal restitution order must meet all the requirements of § 1653.32 or § 1653.33; it must also provide (or be accompanied by a document or enforcement letter that provides):

    5. Amend § 1653.35, by revising the first sentence of the introductory text and revising paragraph (a) to read as follows:
    § 1653.35 Calculating entitlement.

    A tax levy or criminal restitution order can only require the payment of a stated dollar amount from the TSP. The payee's entitlement will be the lesser of:

    (a) The dollar amount stated in the tax levy or enforcement letter; or

    6. Amend § 1653.36 by: a. Replacing the word “levy” wherever it appears not preceded by the word “tax” with the words “tax levy” in paragraph (a); b. Replacing the words “restitution order” wherever they appear not preceded by the word “criminal” with the words “criminal restitution order” and by replacing the word “levy” wherever it appears not preceded by the word “tax” with the words “tax levy” in paragraph (c); c. Revising paragraph (d) introductory text; d. Replacing the word “levy” wherever it appears not preceded by the word “tax” with the words “tax levy” in paragraph (g); and e. Adding paragraph (h).

    The revisions and additions read as follows:

    § 1653.36 Payment.

    (d) If a participant has funds in more than one type of account, payment will be made from each account in the following order, until the amount required by the tax levy or stated in the enforcement letter is reached:

    (h) The TSP will not hold a payment pending appeal of a criminal restitution order or the underlying conviction. The TSP will treat the criminal restitution order as a final judgment pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 3664(o) and process payment as provided by this subpart.

    [FR Doc. 2015-16868 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6760-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY 31 CFR Part 22 RIN 1505-AC45 Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Race, Color, or National Origin in Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Financial Assistance AGENCY:

    Department of the Treasury.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking.

    SUMMARY:

    This proposed regulation provides for the enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (“Title VI”) to the end that no person in the United States shall on the grounds of race, color, or national origin be denied participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any program or activity that receives federal financial assistance from the Department of the Treasury. The promulgation of this proposed regulation will provide guidance to the Department's recipients of federal financial assistance in complying with the provisions of Title VI and will also promote consistent and appropriate enforcement of Title VI by the Department's components.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be received on or before September 11, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments regarding this notice of proposed rulemaking according to the instructions below. All submissions must refer to the document title. The Department encourages the early submission of comments.

    Electronic Submission of Comments: Interested persons may submit comments electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. Electronic submission of comments allows the commenter maximum time to prepare and submit a comment, ensures timely receipt, and enables the Department to make them available to the public. Comments submitted electronically through the http://www.regulations.gov Web site can be viewed by other commenters and interested members of the public. Commenters should follow the instructions provided on that site to submit comments electronically.

    Mail: Send comments to Mariam G. Harvey, Director, Office of Civil Rights and Diversity, 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20220; facsimile (202) 622-0367.

    Note:

    To receive consideration as public comments, comments must be submitted through a method specified.

    Public Inspection of Public Comments: All properly submitted comments will be available for inspection and downloading at http://www.regulations.gov.

    Additional Instructions: In general comments received, including attachments and other supporting materials, are part of the public record and are available to the public. Do not submit any information in your comment or supporting materials that you consider confidential or inappropriate for public disclosure.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mariam G. Harvey, Director, Office of Civil Rights and Diversity, Department of the Treasury, (202) 622-0316 (voice), and (202) 622-7104 (TTY). All responses to this notice should be submitted via http://www.regulations.gov or by mail to ensure consideration.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Background

    The purpose of this proposed rule is to provide for the enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (42 U.S.C. 2000d, et seq.), as it applies to programs or activities receiving assistance from the Department of the Treasury. Specifically, the statute states that “[n]o person in the United States shall, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin be denied participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any program or activity that receives federal financial assistance.” 42 U.S.C. 2000d. Each federal agency subject to Title VI is required to issue regulations implementing Title VI. 28 CFR 42.403. The Department of the Treasury will be issuing Title VI regulations for the first time. The Department proposes regulations as Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 2000d to 2000d-7 (“Title VI”), requires. Title VI prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in all programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance. Under Treasury's proposed Title VI implementing regulations, Treasury-funded programs are prohibited from taking acts, including permitting actions, that discriminate based on the statutorily protected classes. These proposed regulations further provide for Treasury procedures to ensure compliance, including a hearing procedure.

    II. Applicable Executive Orders and Regulatory Certifications Executive Order 12866

    Executive Orders 13563 and 12866 direct agencies to assess 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, distributive impacts, and equity). Executive Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility. This proposed rule has been designated a “significant regulatory action” although not economically significant, under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866. Accordingly, this proposed rule has been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget.

    Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    The Department certifies that no actions were deemed necessary under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995. Furthermore, these proposed regulations will not result in the expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100,000,000 or more in any one year, and they will not significantly or uniquely affect small governments.

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Department, in accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 605(b), has reviewed these Title VI regulations and by approving, certifies that these regulations will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities because all of the entities that are subject to these regulations are already subject to Title VI, and some entities already are subject to the Title VI regulations of other agencies.

    This proposed rule, if adopted, is not a “major rule,” nor will it have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, in large part because these regulations do not impose any new substantive obligations on federal funding recipients. All recipients of federal funding have been bound by Title VI's antidiscrimination provision since 1964. Individual participants in the recipients' programs have thus long had the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin. This rule merely ensures that the Department and its components have regulations implementing this statute.

    Executive Order 13132

    These Title VI regulations 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. These Title VI regulations do not subject recipients of federal funding to any new substantive obligations because all recipients of federal funding have been bound by Title VI's antidiscrimination provision since 1964. Moreover, these Title VI regulations are required by statute; Congress specifically directed federal agencies to adopt implementing regulations when Title VI was enacted. Therefore, in accordance with section 6 of Executive Order 13132, the Department has determined that this rule does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a federalism summary impact statement. No further action is required.

    Executive Order 12250

    The Attorney General has reviewed and approved this proposed rule pursuant to Executive Order 12250.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    Under the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. chapter 35), an agency may not conduct or sponsor and a person is not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a valid control number issued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The information collections contained in this proposed rule will be submitted and approved by OMB in connection with information collections for the applicable programs listed in appendix A to the regulations.

    The information collections contained in this proposed rule are found in §§ 22.5 (reporting), 22.6 (reporting and recordkeeping), 22.7 (reporting), and 22.10 (reporting).

    The OMB control numbers that will be revised include the following:

    Bureau/Office Program or activity OMB Control Nos. Departmental Offices, Office of Domestic Finance, Office of Financial Institutions Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund—Financial Component 1559-0021 Departmental Offices, Office of Domestic Finance, Office of Financial Institutions Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund—Technical Assistance Component 1559-0021 Departmental Offices, Office of Domestic Finance, Office of Financial Institutions Bank Enterprise Award Program 1559-0032, 1559-0005 Departmental Offices, Office of Domestic Finance, Office of Financial Institutions Native American Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Assistance Program, Financial Assistance (FA) Awards 1559-0021 Departmental Offices, Office of Domestic Finance, Office of Financial Institutions Native American Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Assistance (NACA) Program, Technical Assistance Grants 1559-0021 Departmental Offices, Office of Domestic Finance, Office of Financial Institutions Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, Capital Magnet Fund 1559-0043 Departmental Offices, Office of Domestic Finance, Office of Small Business, Community Development, and Housing Policy State Small Business Credit Initiative 1505-0227 Internal Revenue Service Tax Counseling for the Elderly Grant Program 1545-2222 Internal Revenue Service Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program 1545-2222 Internal Revenue Service Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Grant Program 1545-2222 Internal Revenue Service Low Income Taxpayer Clinic Grant Program 1545-1648 United States Mint U.S. Commemorative Coin Programs TBD Departmental Offices, Treasury Executive Office for Asset Forfeiture Equitable sharing program (transfer of forfeited property to state and local law enforcement agencies) 1505-0152 Departmental Offices, Office of the Fiscal Assistant Secretary Grants under the RESTORE Act's Direct Component and Centers of Excellence program 1505-0250

    Comments on the collection of information should be sent to the Office of Management and Budget, Attention: Desk Officer for the Department of Treasury, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Washington, DC 20503, or email to [email protected] with copies to the Department of Treasury at the addresses specified in the ADDRESSES section. Comments on the information collection should be submitted no later than September 11, 2015. Comments are specifically requested concerning:

    1. Whether the proposed information collection is necessary for the proper performance of agency functions, including whether the information will have practical utility;

    2. The accuracy of the estimated burden associated with the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used (see below);

    3. How to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information required to be maintained; and

    4. How to minimize the burden of complying with the proposed information collection, including the application of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    List of Subjects in 31 CFR Part 22

    Civil rights, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Department proposes to amend 31 CFR by adding part 22 to read as follows:

    PART 22—NONDISCRIMINATION ON THE BASIS OF RACE, COLOR, OR NATIONAL ORIGIN IN PROGRAMS OR ACTIVITIES RECEIVING FEDERAL FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Sec. 22.1 Purpose. 22.2 Application. 22.3 Definitions. 22.4 Discrimination prohibited. 22.5 Assurances required. 22.6 Compliance information. 22.7 Conduct of investigations. 22.8 Procedure for effecting compliance. 22.9 Hearings. 22.10 Decisions and notices. 22.11 Judicial review. 22.12 Effect on other regulations, forms, and instructions. Appendix A to Part 22—Activities to Which This Part Applies Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 2000d-2000d-7.

    § 22.1 Purpose.

    The purpose of this part is to effectuate the provisions of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI) to the end that no person in the United States shall, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance from the Department of the Treasury.

    § 22.2 Application.

    (a) This part applies to any program for which federal financial assistance is authorized under a law administered by the Department, including the types of federal financial assistance listed in Appendix A to this part. It also applies to money paid, property transferred, or other federal financial assistance extended after the effective date of this part pursuant to an application approved before that effective date. This part does not apply to:

    (1) Any federal financial assistance by way of insurance or guaranty contracts;

    (2) Any assistance to any individual who is the ultimate beneficiary; or

    (3) Any employment practice, under any such program, of any employer, employment agency, or labor organization, except to the extent described in § 22.4(c). The fact that a type of federal financial assistance is not listed in Appendix A to this part shall not mean, if Title VI is otherwise applicable, that a program is not covered. Other types of federal financial assistance under statutes now in force or hereinafter enacted may be added to appendix A to this part.

    (b) In any program receiving federal financial assistance in the form, or for the acquisition, of real property or an interest in real property, to the extent that rights to space on, over, or under any such property are included as part of the program receiving that assistance, the nondiscrimination requirement of this part shall extend to any facility located wholly or in part in that space.

    § 22.3 Definitions.

    As used in this part:

    Applicant means a person who submits an application, request, or plan required to be approved by an official of the Department of the Treasury, or designee thereof, or by a primary recipient, as a condition to eligibility for federal financial assistance, and application means such an application, request, or plan.

    Designated agency official means the Assistant Secretary for Management and his or her designee.

    Facility includes all or any part of structures, equipment, or other real or personal property or interests therein, and the provision of facilities includes the construction, expansion, renovation, remodeling, alteration, or acquisition of facilities.

    Federal financial assistance includes:

    (1) Grants and loans of federal funds; (2) The grant or donation of federal property and interests in property;

    (3) The detail of federal personnel;

    (4) The sale and lease of, and the permission to use (on other than a casual or transient basis), federal property or any interest in such property without consideration or at a nominal consideration, or at a consideration which is reduced for the purpose of assisting the recipient, or in recognition of the public interest to be served by such sale or lease to the recipient; and

    (5) Any federal agreement, arrangement, or other contract which has as one of its purposes the provision of assistance.

    Primary recipient means any recipient that is authorized or required to extend federal financial assistance to another recipient.

    Program or activity and program mean all of the operations of any entity described in the following paragraphs (1) through (4) of this definition, any part of which is extended federal financial assistance:

    (1)(i) A department, agency, special purpose district, or other instrumentality of a State or of a local government; or

    (ii) The entity of such state or local government that distributes such assistance and each such department or agency to which the assistance is extended, in the case of assistance to a State or local government;

    (2)(i) A college, university, or other postsecondary institution, or a public system of higher education; or

    (ii) A local educational agency (as defined in 20 U.S.C. 7801), system of vocational education, or other school system;

    (3)(i) An entire corporation, partnership, or other private organization, or an entire sole proprietorship—

    (A) If assistance is extended to such corporation, partnership, private organization, or sole proprietorship as a whole; or

    (B) Which is principally engaged in the business of providing education, health care, housing, social services, or parks and recreation; or

    (ii) The entire plant or other comparable, geographically separate facility to which federal financial assistance is extended, in the case of any other corporation, partnership, private organization or sole proprietorship; or

    (4) Any other entity which is established by two or more of the entities described in the preceding paragraphs (1), (2), or (3) of this definition.

    Recipient may mean any State, territory, possession, the District of Columbia, or Puerto Rico, or any political subdivision thereof, or instrumentality thereof, any public or private agency, institution, or organization, or other entity, or any individual, in any State, territory, possession, the District of Columbia, or Puerto Rico, to whom federal financial assistance is extended, directly or through another recipient, including any successor, assignee, or transferee thereof, but such term does not include any ultimate beneficiary.

    § 22.4 Discrimination prohibited.

    (a) General. No person in the United States shall, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under, any program to which this part applies.

    (b) Specific discriminatory actions prohibited. (1) A recipient to which this part applies may not, directly or through contractual or other arrangements, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin:

    (i) Deny a person any service, financial aid, or other benefit provided under the program;

    (ii) Provide any service, financial aid, or other benefit to a person which is different, or is provided in a different manner, from that provided to others under the program;

    (iii) Subject a person to segregation or separate treatment in any matter related to his receipt of any service, financial aid, or other benefit under the program;

    (iv) Restrict a person in any way in the enjoyment of any advantage or privilege enjoyed by others receiving any service, financial aid, or other benefit under the program;

    (v) Treat a person differently from others in determining whether he satisfies any admission, enrollment, quota, eligibility, membership, or other requirement or condition which persons must meet in order to be provided any service, financial aid, or other benefit provided under the program;

    (vi) Deny a person an opportunity to participate in the program through the provision of services or otherwise to afford him an opportunity to do so which is different from that afforded others under the program (including the opportunity to participate in the program as a volunteer or as an employee, but only to the extent set forth in paragraph (c) of this section); or

    (vii) Deny a person the opportunity to participate as a member of a planning, advisory, or similar body which is an integral part of the program.

    (2) A recipient, in determining the types of services, financial aid, or other benefits, or facilities which will be provided under any such program, or the class of persons to whom, or the situations in which, such services, financial aid, other benefits, or facilities will be provided under any such program, or the class of persons to be afforded an opportunity to participate in any such program, may not, directly or through contractual or other arrangements, use criteria or methods of administration which have the effect of subjecting persons to discrimination because of their race, color, or national origin or have the effect of defeating or substantially impairing accomplishment of the objectives of the program with respect to individuals of a particular race, color, or national origin.

    (3) In determining the site or location of facilities, a recipient or applicant may not make selections with the purpose or effect of excluding persons from, denying them the benefits of, or subjecting them to discrimination under any program to which this regulation applies, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin; or with the purpose or effect of defeating or substantially impairing the accomplishment of the objectives of Title VI or this part.

    (4) As used in this section the services, financial aid, or other benefits provided under a program receiving federal financial assistance include any service, financial aid, or other benefit provided in or through a facility provided with the aid of federal financial assistance.

    (5) The enumeration of specific forms of prohibited discrimination in this paragraph does not limit the generality of the prohibition in paragraph (a) of this section.

    (6) This part does not prohibit the consideration of race, color, or national origin if the purpose and effect are to remove or overcome the consequences of practices or impediments which have restricted the availability of, or participation in, the program or activity receiving federal financial assistance, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin. Where prior discriminatory practice or usage tends, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin to exclude individuals from participation in, to deny them the benefits of, or to subject them to discrimination under any program or activity to which this part applies, the applicant or recipient must take affirmative action to remove or overcome the effects of the prior discriminatory practice or usage. Even in the absence of prior discriminatory practice or usage, a recipient in administering a program or activity to which this part applies, may take affirmative action to assure that no person is excluded from participation in or denied the benefits of the program or activity on the grounds of race, color, or national origin.

    (c) Employment practices. (1) Where a primary objective of the federal financial assistance to a program to which this part applies is to provide employment, a recipient subject to this part shall not, directly or through contractual or other arrangements, subject a person to discrimination on the ground of race, color, or national origin in its employment practices under such program (including recruitment or recruitment advertising, hiring, firing, upgrading, promotion, demotion, transfer, layoff, termination, rates of pay or other forms of compensation or benefits, selection for training or apprenticeship, and use of facilities). Such recipient shall take affirmative action to insure that applicants are employed, and employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, color, or national origin. The requirements applicable to construction employment under any such program shall be those specified in or pursuant to Part III of Executive Order 11246 or any Executive Order which supersedes it.

    (2) Where a primary objective of the federal financial assistance is not to provide employment, but discrimination on the grounds of race, color, or national origin in the employment practices of the recipient or other persons subject to the regulation tends, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin, to exclude individuals from participation in, deny them the benefits of, or subject them to discrimination under any program to which this regulation applies, the provisions of paragraph (c)(1) of this section shall apply to the employment practices of the recipient or other persons subject to the regulation, to the extent necessary to assure equality of opportunity to, and nondiscriminatory treatment of, beneficiaries.

    § 22.5 Assurances required.

    (a) General. Either at the application stage or the award stage, federal agencies must ensure that applications for federal financial assistance or awards of federal financial assistance contain, be accompanied by, or be covered by a specifically identified assurance from the applicant or recipient, satisfactory to the designated agency official, that each program or activity operated by the applicant or recipient and to which these Title VI regulations apply will be operated in compliance with these Title VI regulations.

    (b) Duration of obligation. (1) In the case where the federal financial assistance is to provide or is in the form of personal property, or real property or interest therein or structures thereon, the assurance shall obligate the recipient, or, in the case of a subsequent transfer, the transferee, for the period during which the property is used for a purpose for which the federal financial assistance is extended or for another purpose involving the provision of similar services or benefits, or for as long as the recipient retains ownership or possession of the property, whichever is longer. In all other cases the assurance shall obligate the recipient for the period during which federal financial assistance is extended to the program.

    (2) In the case where federal financial assistance is provided in the form of a transfer of real property, structures, or improvements thereon, or interest therein, from the federal Government, the instrument effecting or recording the transfer shall contain a covenant running with the land assuring nondiscrimination for the period during which the real property is used for a purpose for which the federal financial assistance is extended or for another purpose involving the provision of similar services or benefits. Where no transfer of property or interest therein from the federal government is involved, but property is acquired or improved with federal financial assistance, the recipient shall agree to include such covenant in any subsequent transfer of such property. When the property is obtained from the federal government, such covenant may also include a condition coupled with a right to be reserved by the Department to revert title to the property in the event of a breach of the covenant where, in the discretion of the designated agency official, such a condition and right of reverter is appropriate to the statute under which the real property is obtained and to the nature of the grant and the grantee. In such event if a transferee of real property proposes to mortgage or otherwise encumber the real property as security for financing construction of new, or improvement of existing, facilities on such property for the purposes for which the property was transferred, the designated agency official may agree, upon request of the transferee and if necessary to accomplish such financing, and upon such conditions as the designated agency official deems appropriate, to subordinate such right of reversion to the lien of such mortgage or other encumbrance.

    (c) Continuing federal financial assistance. Every application by a State or a State agency for continuing federal financial assistance to which this part applies (including the types of federal financial assistance listed in appendix A to this part) shall as a condition to its approval and the extension of any federal financial assistance pursuant to the application:

    (1) Contain, be accompanied by, or be covered by a statement that the program is (or, in the case of a new program, will be) conducted in compliance with all requirements imposed by or pursuant to this part; and

    (2) Provide, be accompanied by, or be covered by provision for such methods of administration for the program as are found by the designated agency official to give reasonable guarantee that the applicant and all recipients of federal financial assistance under such program will comply with all requirements imposed by or pursuant to this part.

    (d) Assurance from institutions. (1) In the case of any application for federal financial assistance to an institution of higher education (including assistance for construction, for research, for special training projects, for student loans or for any other purpose), the assurance required by this section shall extend to admission practices and to all other practices relating to the treatment of students.

    (2) The assurance required with respect to an institution of higher education, hospital, or any other institution, insofar as the assurance relates to the institution's practices with respect to admission or other treatment of individuals as students, patients, or clients of the institution or to the opportunity to participate in the provision of services or other benefits to such individuals, shall be applicable to the entire institution.

    (e) Form. (1) The assurances required by paragraph (a) of this section, which may be included as part of a document that addresses other assurances or obligations, shall include that the applicant or recipient will comply with all applicable federal statutes relating to nondiscrimination. This includes but is not limited to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 2000d, et seq.

    (2) The designated agency official will specify the extent to which such assurances will be required of the applicant's or recipient's subgrantees, contractors, subcontractors, transferees, or successors in interest. Any such assurance shall include provisions which give the United States a right to seek its judicial enforcement.

    § 22.6 Compliance information.

    (a) Cooperation and assistance. The designated Agency official shall to the fullest extent practicable seek the cooperation of recipients in obtaining compliance with this part and shall provide assistance and guidance to recipients to help them comply voluntarily with this part.

    (b) Compliance reports. Each recipient shall keep such records and submit to the designated Agency official timely, complete, and accurate compliance reports at such times, and in such form and containing such information, as the designated Agency official may determine to be necessary to enable the designated Agency official to ascertain whether the recipient has complied or is complying with this part. In the case in which a primary recipient extends federal financial assistance to any other recipient, such other recipient shall also submit such compliance reports to the primary recipient as may be necessary to enable the primary recipient to carry out its obligations under this part. In general recipients should have available for the designated Agency official racial and ethnic data showing the extent to which members of minority groups are beneficiaries of programs receiving federal financial assistance.

    (c) Access to sources of information. Each recipient shall permit access by the designated Agency official during normal business hours to such of its books, records, accounts, and other sources of information, and its facilities as may be pertinent to ascertain compliance with this part. Where any information required of a recipient is in the exclusive possession of any other agency, institution, or person and this agency, institution, or person fails or refuses to furnish this information, the recipient shall so certify in its report and shall set forth what efforts it has made to obtain the information.

    (d) Information to beneficiaries and participants. Each recipient shall make available to participants, beneficiaries, and other interested persons such information regarding the provisions of this part and its applicability to the program for which the recipient receives federal financial assistance, and make such information available to them in such manner, as the designated Agency official finds necessary to apprise such persons of the protections against discrimination assured them by Title VI and this part.

    § 22.7 Conduct of investigations.

    (a) Periodic compliance reviews. The designated Agency official shall from time to time review the practices of recipients to determine whether they are complying with this part.

    (b) Complaints. Any person who believes that he or she, or any specific class of persons, has been subjected to discrimination prohibited by this part may by himself or herself, or by a representative, file with the designated Agency official a written complaint. A complaint must be filed not later than 180 days after the date of the alleged discrimination, unless the time for filing is extended by the designated Agency official.

    (c) Investigations. The designated Agency official will make a prompt investigation whenever a compliance review, report, complaint, or any other information indicates a possible failure to comply with this part. The investigation will include, where appropriate, a review of the pertinent practices and policies of the recipient, the circumstances under which the possible noncompliance with this part occurred, and other factors relevant to a determination as to whether the recipient has failed to comply with this part.

    (d) Resolution of matters. (1) If an investigation pursuant to paragraph (c) of this section indicates a failure to comply with this part, the designated Agency official will so inform the recipient and the matter will be resolved by informal means whenever possible. If it has been determined that the matter cannot be resolved by informal means, action will be taken as provided for in § 22.8.

    (2) If an investigation does not warrant action pursuant to paragraph (d)(1) of this section the designated Agency official will so inform the recipient and the complainant, if any, in writing.

    (e) Intimidatory or retaliatory acts prohibited. No recipient or other person shall intimidate, threaten, coerce, or discriminate against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by section 601 of Title VI or this part, or because the individual has made a complaint, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under this part. The identity of complainants shall be kept confidential except to the extent necessary to carry out the purposes of this part, including the conduct of any investigation, hearing, or judicial proceeding arising thereunder.

    § 22.8 Procedure for effecting compliance.

    (a) General. If there appears to be a failure or threatened failure to comply with this part, and if the noncompliance or threatened noncompliance cannot be corrected by informal means, compliance with this part may be effected by the suspension or termination of or refusal to grant or to continue federal financial assistance or by any other means authorized by law. Such other means may include, but are not limited to:

    (1) A referral to the Department of Justice with a recommendation that appropriate proceedings be brought to enforce any rights of the United States under any law of the United States (including other titles of the Civil Rights Act of 1964), or any assurance or other contractual undertaking; and

    (2) Any applicable proceeding under State or local law.

    (b) Noncompliance with § 22.5. If an applicant fails or refuses to furnish an assurance required under § 22.5 or otherwise fails or refuses to comply with a requirement imposed by or pursuant to that section, federal financial assistance may be suspended, terminated, or refused in accordance with the procedures of paragraph (c) of this section. The Agency shall not be required to provide assistance in such a case during the pendency of the administrative proceedings under such paragraph. However, subject to § 22.12, the Agency shall continue assistance during the pendency of such proceedings where such assistance is due and payable pursuant to an application approved prior to the effective date of this part.

    (c) Termination of or refusal to grant or to continue federal financial assistance. (1) No order suspending, terminating, or refusing to grant or continue federal financial assistance shall become effective until:

    (i) The designated Agency official has advised the applicant or recipient of the applicant's or recipient's failure to comply and has determined that compliance cannot be secured by voluntary means;

    (ii) There has been an express finding on the record, after opportunity for hearing, of a failure by the applicant or recipient to comply with a requirement imposed by or pursuant to this part;

    (iii) The action has been approved by the designated Agency official pursuant to § 22.10(e); and

    (iv) The expiration of 30 days after the designated Agency official has filed with the committee of the House and the committee of the Senate having legislative jurisdiction over the program involved, a full written report of the circumstances and the grounds for such action.

    (2) Any action to suspend or terminate or to refuse to grant or to continue federal financial assistance shall be limited to the particular political entity, or part thereof, or other applicant or recipient as to whom such a finding has been made and shall be limited in its effect to the particular program, or part thereof, in which such noncompliance has been so found.

    (d) Other means authorized by law. No action to effect compliance with Title VI by any other means authorized by law shall be taken by the Department of the Treasury until:

    (1) The designated Agency official has determined that compliance cannot be secured by voluntary means;

    (2) The recipient or other person has been notified of its failure to comply and of the action to be taken to effect compliance; and

    (3) The expiration of at least 10 days from the mailing of such notice to the recipient or other person. During this period of at least 10 days, additional efforts shall be made to persuade the recipient or other person to comply with the regulation and to take such corrective action as may be appropriate.

    § 22.9 Hearings.

    (a) Opportunity for hearing. Whenever an opportunity for a hearing is required by § 22.8(c), reasonable notice shall be given by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, to the affected applicant or recipient. This notice shall advise the applicant or recipient of the action proposed to be taken, the specific provision under which the proposed action against it is to be taken, and the matters of fact or law asserted as the basis for this action, and either:

    (1) Fix a date not less than 20 days after the date of such notice within which the applicant or recipient may request of the designated agency official that the matter be scheduled for hearing; or

    (2) Advise the applicant or recipient that the matter in question has been set for hearing at a stated place and time. The time and place so fixed shall be reasonable and shall be subject to change for cause. The complainant, if any, shall be advised of the time and place of the hearing. An applicant or recipient may waive a hearing and submit written information and argument for the record. The failure of an applicant or recipient to request a hearing under this paragraph or to appear at a hearing for which a date has been set shall be deemed to be a waiver of the right to a hearing under section 602 of Title VI and § 22.8(c) and consent to the making of a decision on the basis of such information as is available.

    (b) Time and place of hearing. Hearings shall be held at the offices of the Department of the Treasury component administering the program, at a time fixed by the designated Agency official unless the designated Agency official determines that the convenience of the applicant or recipient or of the Agency requires that another place be selected. Hearings shall be held before the designated Agency official, or at designated Agency official's discretion, before a hearing examiner appointed in accordance with section 3105 of title 5, United States Code, or detailed under section 3344 of title 5, United States Code.

    (c) Right to counsel. In all proceedings under this section, the applicant or recipient and the Agency shall have the right to be represented by counsel.

    (d) Procedures, evidence, and record. (1) The hearing, decision, and any administrative review thereof shall be conducted in conformity with sections 554 through 557 of title 5, United States Code, and in accordance with such rules of procedure as are proper (and not inconsistent with this section) relating to the conduct of the hearing, giving of notices subsequent to those provided for in paragraph (a) of this section, taking of testimony, exhibits, arguments and briefs, requests for findings, and other related matters. Both the designated Agency official and the applicant or recipient shall be entitled to introduce all relevant evidence on the issues as stated in the notice for hearing or as determined by the officer conducting the hearing at the outset of or during the hearing.

    (2) Technical rules of evidence do not apply to hearings conducted pursuant to this part, but rules or principles designed to assure production of the most credible evidence available and to subject testimony to test by cross-examination shall be applied where determined reasonably necessary by the officer conducting the hearing. The hearing officer may exclude irrelevant, immaterial, or unduly repetitious evidence. All documents and other evidence offered or taken for the record shall be open to examination by the parties and opportunity shall be given to refute facts and arguments advanced on either side of the issues. A transcript shall be made of the oral evidence except to the extent the substance thereof is stipulated for the record. All decisions shall be based upon the hearing record and written findings shall be made.

    (e) Consolidated or joint hearings. In cases in which the same or related facts are asserted to constitute noncompliance with this part with respect to two or more federal statutes, authorities, or other means by which federal financial assistance is extended and to which this part applies, or noncompliance with this part and the regulations of one or more other federal departments or agencies issued under Title VI, the designated Agency official may, by agreement with such other departments or agencies, where applicable, provide for the conduct of consolidated or joint hearings, and for the application to such hearings of rules or procedures not inconsistent with this part. Final decisions in such cases, insofar as this regulation is concerned, shall be made in accordance with § 22.10.

    § 22.10 Decisions and notices.

    (a) Procedure on decisions by hearing examiner. If the hearing is held by a hearing examiner, the hearing examiner shall either make an initial decision, if so authorized, or certify the entire record including his recommended findings and proposed decision to the designated agency official for a final decision, and a copy of such initial decision or certification shall be mailed to the applicant or recipient. Where the initial decision is made by the hearing examiner the applicant or recipient may, within 30 days after the mailing of such notice of initial decision, file with the designated Agency official the applicant's or recipient's exceptions to the initial decision, with the reasons therefor. In the absence of exceptions, the designated Agency official may, on his or her own motion, within 45 days after the initial decision, serve on the applicant or recipient a notice that the designated Agency official will review the decision. Upon the filing of such exceptions or of notice of review, the designated Agency official shall review the initial decision and issue his or her own decision thereon including the reasons therefor. In the absence of either exceptions or a notice of review the initial decision shall, subject to paragraph (e) of this section, constitute the final decision of the designated Agency official.

    (b) Decisions on record or review by the designated Agency official. Whenever a record is certified to the designated Agency official for decision or he or she reviews the decision of a hearing examiner pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section, or whenever the designated Agency official conducts the hearing, the applicant or recipient shall be given reasonable opportunity to file with the designated Agency official briefs or other written statements of its contentions, and a written copy of the final decision of the designated Agency official shall be sent to the applicant or recipient and to the complainant, if any.

    (c) Decisions on record where a hearing is waived. Whenever a hearing is waived pursuant to § 22.9, a decision shall be made by the designated Agency official on the record and a written copy of such decision shall be sent to the applicant or recipient, and to the complainant, if any.

    (d) Rulings required. Each decision of a hearing examiner or the designated Agency official shall set forth his or her ruling on each finding, conclusion, or exception presented, and shall identify the requirement or requirements imposed by or pursuant to this part with which it is found that the applicant or recipient has failed to comply.

    (e) Approval by designated Agency official. Any final decision by an official of the Agency, other than the designated Agency official personally, which provides for the suspension or termination of, or the refusal to grant or continue federal financial assistance, or the imposition of any other sanction available under this part or Title VI, shall promptly be transmitted to the designated Agency official personally, who may approve such decision, may vacate it, or remit or mitigate any sanction imposed.

    (f) Content of orders. The final decision may provide for suspension or termination of, or refusal to grant or continue federal financial assistance, in whole or in part, to which this regulation applies, and may contain such terms, conditions, and other provisions as are consistent with and will effectuate the purposes of Title VI and this part, including provisions designed to assure that no federal financial assistance to which this regulation applies will thereafter be extended to the applicant or recipient determined by such decision to be in default in its performance of an assurance given by it pursuant to this part, or to have otherwise failed to comply with this part, unless and until it corrects its noncompliance and satisfies the designated Agency official that it will fully comply with this part.

    (g) Post termination proceedings. (1) An applicant or recipient adversely affected by an order issued under paragraph (f) of this section shall be restored to full eligibility to receive federal financial assistance if it satisfies the terms and conditions of that order for such eligibility or if it brings itself into compliance with this part and provides reasonable assurance that it will fully comply with this part.

    (2) Any applicant or recipient adversely affected by an order entered pursuant to paragraph (f) of this section may at any time request the designated Agency official to restore fully its eligibility to receive federal financial assistance. Any such request shall be supported by information showing that the applicant or recipient has met the requirements of paragraph (g)(1) of this section. If the designated Agency official determines that those requirements have been satisfied, he or she shall restore such eligibility.

    (3) If the designated Agency official denies any such request, the applicant or recipient may submit a request for a hearing in writing, specifying why it believes such official to have been in error. It shall thereupon be given an expeditious hearing, with a decision on the record in accordance with rules or procedures issued by the designated Agency official. The applicant or recipient will be restored to such eligibility if it proves at such a hearing that it satisfied the requirements of paragraph (g)(1) of this section. While proceedings under this paragraph are pending, the sanctions imposed by the order issued under paragraph (f) of this section shall remain in effect.

    § 22.11 Judicial review.

    Action taken pursuant to section 602 of the Title VI is subject to judicial review as provided in section 603 of the Title VI.

    § 22.12 Effect on other regulations, forms, and instructions.

    (a) Effect on other regulations. All regulations, orders, or like directions issued before the effective date of this part by any officer of the Department of the Treasury which impose requirements designed to prohibit any discrimination against individuals on the grounds of race, color, or national origin under any program to which this part applies, and which authorize the suspension or termination of or refusal to grant or to continue federal financial assistance to any applicant for a recipient of such assistance for failure to comply with such requirements, are hereby superseded to the extent that such discrimination is prohibited by this part, except that nothing in this part may be considered to relieve any person of any obligation assumed or imposed under any such superseded regulation, order, instruction, or like direction before the effective date of this part. Nothing in this part, however, supersedes any of the following (including future amendments thereof):

    (1) Executive Order 11246 (3 CFR, 1965 Supp., p. 167) and regulations issued thereunder; or

    (2) Any other orders, regulations, or instructions, insofar as such orders, regulations, or instructions prohibit discrimination on the ground of race, color, or national origin in any program or situation to which this part is inapplicable, or prohibit discrimination on any other ground.

    (b) Forms and instructions. The designated Agency official shall issue and promptly make available to all interested persons forms and detailed instructions and procedures for effectuating this part as applied to programs to which this part applies and for which the designated Agency official is responsible.

    (c) Supervision and coordination. The designated Agency official may from time to time assign to officials of the Agency, or to officials of other departments or agencies of the Government with the consent of such departments or agencies, responsibilities in connection with the effectuation of the purposes of Title VI and this part (other than responsibility for final decision as provided in § 22.10), including the achievement of effective coordination and maximum uniformity within the Agency and within the Executive Branch of the Government in the application of Title VI and this part to similar programs and in similar situations. Any action taken, determination made or requirement imposed by an official of another department or agency acting pursuant to an assignment of responsibility under this paragraph shall have the same effect as though such action had been taken by the designated Agency official of the Department.

    Appendix A to Part 22—Activities to Which This Part Applies

    Note: Failure to list a type of federal assistance in this appendix A shall not mean, if Title VI is otherwise applicable, that a program is not covered.

    Component Program or activity Authority Departmental Offices, Office of Domestic Finance, Office of Financial Institutions Community Development Financial Institutions Fund—Financial Component Riegle Community Development and Regulatory Improvement Act of 1994, 12 U.S.C. 4701 et seq. Departmental Offices, Office of Domestic Finance, Office of Financial Institutions Community Development Financial Institutions Fund—Technical Assistance Component Riegle Community Development and Regulatory Improvement Act of 1994, 12 U.S.C. 4701 et seq. Departmental Offices, Office of Domestic Finance, Office of Financial Institutions Bank Enterprise Award Program Riegle Community Development and Regulatory Improvement Act of 1994 sec. 114, 12 U.S.C. 4713. Departmental Offices, Office of Domestic Finance, Office of Financial Institutions Native American Community Development Financial Institutions Assistance Program, Financial Assistance (FA) Awards Riegle Community Development Banking and Financial Institutions Act of 1994, 12 U.S.C. 4701 et seq. Departmental Offices, Office of Domestic Finance, Office of Financial Institutions Native American Community Development Financial Institutions Assistance (NACA) Program, Technical Assistance Grants Riegle Community Development Banking and Financial Institutions Act of 1994, 12 U.S.C. 4701 et seq. Departmental Offices, Office of Domestic Finance, Office of Financial Institutions Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, Capital Magnet Fund Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 sec. 1339, 12 U.S.C. 4569. Departmental Offices, Office of Domestic Finance, Office of Small Business, Community Development, and Housing Policy State Small Business Credit Initiative Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, 12 U.S.C. 5701 et seq. Internal Revenue Service Tax Counseling for the Elderly Grant Program Revenue Act of 1978 sec. 163, Pub. L. 95-600, 92 Stat 2763, 2810-2811. Internal Revenue Service Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program Tax Reform Act of 1969, Pub. L. 91-172, 83 Stat. 487. Internal Revenue Service Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Grant Program Consolidated Appropriations Act, Pub. L. 110-161, 121 Stat. 1844, 1975-76 (2007). Internal Revenue Service Low Income Taxpayer Clinic Grant Program Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 sec. 3601, 26 U.S.C. 7526. United States Mint U.S. Commemorative Coin Programs Specific acts of Congress that authorize United States commemorative coin and medal programs provide assistance. See, e.g., the Louis Braille Bicentennial—Braille Literacy Commemorative Coin Act, Pub. L. 109-247 (2006); the Boy Scouts of America Centennial Commemorative Coin Act, Pub. L. 110-363 (2008); the American Veterans Disabled for Life Commemorative Coin Act, Pub. L. 110-277 (2008); and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum Commemorative Medal Act of 2010, Pub. L. 111-221 (2010). Departmental Offices, Treasury Executive Office for Asset Forfeiture Equitable sharing program (transfer of forfeited property to state and local law enforcement agencies) 18 U.S.C. 981(e)(2); 21 U.S.C. 881(e)(1)(A); 31 U.S.C. 9703. Various Treasury Bureaus and Offices (including the Internal Revenue Service) Unreimbursed detail of Federal Employees through the Intergovernmental Personnel Act 5 U.S.C. 3371 through 3376. Departmental Offices, Office of the Fiscal Assistant Secretary Grants under the RESTORE Act's Direct Component and Centers of Excellence program and supplemental compliance responsibilities for its Comprehensive Plan and Spill Impact Components Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2012, Pub. L. 112-141. Brodi Fontenot, Assistant Secretary for Management.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17034 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4810-25-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR National Park Service 36 CFR Part 7 [NPS-LACH-18360; PPPWNOCAM3 PPMOMFO1Z.F00000] RIN 1024-AE09 Special Regulations, Areas of the National Park System, Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, Solid Waste Disposal AGENCY:

    National Park Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The National Park Service proposes to authorize a solid waste transfer station near Stehekin, Washington, within the boundary of Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, that does not meet all regulatory siting criteria and accepts solid waste generated within the boundary of the recreation area from non-NPS activities. The proposed rule would authorize this transfer station, notwithstanding certain restrictions found in the general regulations governing solid waste disposal sites in units of the National Park System.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received by 11:59 p.m. EST on October 13, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by Regulation Identifier Number (RIN) 1024-AE09, by any of the following methods:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    Mail or hand deliver to: National Park Service, North Cascades National Park Complex, 810 State Route 20, Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284, Attn: Kerri L. Cook, Facility Operations Specialist.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the words “National Park Service” or “NPS” and the docket number or RIN (1024-AE09) for this rulemaking. Comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. The NPS need not consider comments that it receives after the end of the comment period (see DATES) or comments delivered using a method that is not listed above (see ADDRESSES).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Kerri L. Cook, Facility Operations Specialist, National Park Service, North Cascades National Park Complex, 810 State Route 20, Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284; (360) 854-7280. Email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    On December 22, 1994, the National Park Service (NPS) adopted the regulations codified at 36 CFR part 6 to implement a statutory requirement of Public Law 98-506 (54 U.S.C. 100903) (Act), which was enacted in 1984. The Act prohibits the operation of a solid waste disposal site within the boundary of any unit of the National Park System except for those operating as of September 1, 1984, or those “used only for disposal of wastes generated within that unit of the park system so long as such site will not degrade any of the natural or cultural resources of such park unit.” The Act directed the Secretary of the Interior to promulgate regulations “to carry out the provisions of this subsection, including reasonable regulations to mitigate the adverse effects of solid waste disposal sites in operation as of September 1, 1984, upon property of the United States.”

    36 CFR part 6 regulates both existing and new solid waste disposal sites within the boundaries of any unit of the National Park System to ensure that operation of such sites will not degrade the natural or cultural resources of the park unit. Transfer stations are included in the definition of “solid waste disposal site” in § 6.3 and are therefore subject to 36 CFR part 6.

    Section 6.4(a) prohibits any person (including NPS) from operating a new solid waste disposal site within the boundaries of a park unit unless the criteria in § 6.4(a) are met. Section 6.4(a)(1) requires that the solid waste handled by the site is generated solely from “National Park Service activities,” defined in § 6.3 as “operations conducted by the National Park Service or a National Park Service contractor, concessionaire or commercial use licensee.” Section 6.4(a)(9) requires that “the site is not located within one mile of a National Park Service visitor center, campground, ranger station, entrance station, or similar public use facility, or a residential area.” Section 6.4(a)(10) requires that the site is not detectable by public sight, sound, or odor from a scenic vista, a public use facility, a designated or proposed wilderness area, a site listed on (or eligible for listing on) the National Register of Historic Places, or a public road. Section 6.8(a) prohibits the NPS from accepting waste at an NPS operated solid waste disposal site, except for waste generated by NPS activities.

    Proposed Rule

    The NPS proposes a park-specific regulation in 36 CFR 7.62 to authorize a limited exception to the part 6 requirements described above. The proposed rule would authorize an NPS transfer station on federal lands near Stehekin, Washington, within the boundary of Lake Chelan National Recreation Area (LACH or park), that does not satisfy all of the siting requirements in part 6 and that accepts non-NPS waste generated by the Stehekin community. The need for this proposed regulation is explained below.

    Stehekin is a remote community of approximately 75 year-round plus 80 seasonal residents, located on privately owned land within the statutory boundary of LACH. Stehekin is located at the head of 55-mile-long Lake Chelan and is accessible only by boat, float plane, or foot trail. Non-NPS services and facilities in Stehekin include seasonal lodging, food operations, and other small businesses that help support 35,000-45,000 park visitors annually. NPS operates the only facility in the Stehekin Valley for the management of solid waste. Waste consolidated at the NPS transfer station is shipped by barge 55 miles down the lake for ultimate disposal. Geographically isolated private residents and businesses in Stehekin have no feasible method of properly disposing solid waste other than the NPS transfer station. Consequently, NPS has for many years accepted Stehekin community waste in its transfer station to deter small dumps on private lands and illegal dumping on public lands. Although the Act does not prohibit NPS from receiving Stehekin waste, this waste does not qualify as waste generated from “National Park Service activities” under the existing regulations, so the current practice of accepting waste from Stehekin at the existing NPS transfer station conflicts with §§ 6.4(a)(1) and 6.8(a) of 36 CFR part 6.

    The existing NPS transfer station is located within the 100-year floodplain and is part of a larger maintenance facility that is being relocated outside of the Stehekin River floodplain due to frequent flooding.1 The NPS seeks to build a new transfer station at the site of the new maintenance facility in a more environmentally suitable location within LACH but outside the 100-year floodplain. The NPS has determined that there is no available or suitable nonfederal land, and a limited amount of buildable federal land, outside the floodplain in the lower Stehekin River valley.2 The NPS has also determined that, due to geographic constraints, there are no suitable locations for the new transfer station that comply with the site location requirements in § 6.4(a)(9) and (10). Specifically, like the existing maintenance facility and transfer station, the proposed site of the new transfer station: (i) Is located within one mile of a campground (Harlequin Campground) and residential housing; (ii) will likely be visible from scenic vistas and off-trail areas in designated wilderness areas; (iii) may be heard from a campground (Harlequin Campground); and (iv) may be detectable by sight, sound, or odor from a road open to public travel.

    1 For more information about flooding in the Stehekin River Channel Migration Zone and plans to move the existing maintenance facility, see the Stehekin River Corridor Implementation Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) which can be viewed at the park's planning Web site, http://www.nps.gov/noca/parkmgmt/planning.htm, then click on the link entitled “Stehekin River Corridor Implementation Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (2012).”

    2 See the Replacement of Administrative Facilities at Stehekin Environmental Assessment that tiers off the 2012 FEIS and specifically evaluates what facilities would be constructed and precisely where they would be located. This document can be viewed at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/SMFRP by clicking on “Document List.”

    The NPS has determined that in these unique circumstances, it would best protect park resources to allow the NPS transfer station, whether at the existing or proposed location, to accept waste generated by the community of Stehekin, notwithstanding the prohibition on accepting non-NPS waste in §§ 6.4(a)(1) and 6.8(a) and the siting criteria in § 6.4(a)(9) and (10). Due to its geographic isolation, the community of Stehekin has no environmentally responsible or practicable alternative for the disposal of its waste, much of which is generated by the provision of essential services to thousands of park visitors each year. Prohibiting this community from using the existing or proposed NPS transfer station could result in the illegal disposal of waste on park lands, or other disposal practices which would degrade the natural resources of LACH. In this exceptional situation, accepting non-NPS-generated waste for transfer and ultimate disposal outside the park boundary would pose significantly fewer environmental land use concerns than other alternatives. This determination is supported by the analysis contained in the November 2014 Replacement of Administrative Facilities at Stehekin Environmental Assessment (EA), which examined the environmental impacts of the continued operation of the existing NPS transfer station and the construction and operation of the new transfer station, which will employ contemporary environmental methods for handling waste.

    The NPS promulgates a special regulation to authorize an exception to a prohibition found in a general regulation only in limited circumstances. The only other exceptions to the part 6 requirements have been granted by special regulation for Alaskan parks under similar circumstances, where geographically isolated communities have no feasible alternative for solid waste disposal that complies with the part 6 requirements. The proposed rule would accommodate the exceptional circumstances of the Stehekin community, which is located in a remote area within the boundary of LACH and which has no other practicable options for environmentally responsible solid-waste disposal. It is designed only to authorize the operation of the existing transfer station and the proposed transfer station at the locations identified in the EA, which the NPS believes would best protect park resources based upon the analysis contained in the EA. All other requirements in part 6 would remain in effect and apply to the existing and new NPS transfer station, including the requirement in § 6.4(a)(3) that the site of the existing and new facility “will not degrade any of the natural or cultural resources” of LACH. The proposed rule is consistent with the Act, which does not prohibit solid waste disposal sites from handling waste generated by non-NPS activities provided the waste is generated within a park unit and will not degrade any of the park unit's natural or cultural resources. The proposed rule does not supersede or replace other requirements applicable to solid waste disposal sites, including the requirement (unless there is an approved waiver) in Director's Order #35B (Sale of National Park Service Produced Utilities) that NPS recover the cost of utilities (including the collection and disposal of solid waste) provided to non-NPS users.

    Under these circumstances, the NPS has determined that the exceptions to part 6 in the proposed rule are necessary and would protect park resources by authorizing the NPS to accept solid waste generated by the community of Stehekin in the existing and proposed transfer stations.

    Compliance With Other Laws, Executive Orders, and Departmental Policy Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Orders 12866 and 13563)

    Executive Order 12866 provides that the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in the Office of Management and Budget will review all significant rules. OIRA has determined that this proposed rule is not significant.

    Executive Order 13563 reaffirms the principles of Executive Order 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. It 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 proposed rule in a manner consistent with these requirements.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This rulemaking will not have a significant economic effect on a substantial number of small entities under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). This certification is based on the benefit-cost and regulatory flexibility analyses found in the report entitled “Benefit-Cost and Regulatory Flexibility Analyses: Solid Waste Management at Lake Chelan National Recreation Area” which can be viewed online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/SMFRP by clicking the link entitled “Document List.”

    Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA)

    This proposed rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the SBREFA. This proposed rule:

    a. Does not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more.

    b. Will not cause a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, Federal, State, or local government agencies, or geographic regions.

    c. Does 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

    This proposed rule does not impose an unfunded mandate on State, local, or tribal governments, or the private sector of more than $100 million per year. The proposed rule does not have a significant or unique effect on State, local, or tribal governments or the private sector. A statement containing the information required by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) is not required.

    Takings (Executive Order 12630)

    This proposed rule does not affect a taking of private property or otherwise have taking implications under Executive Order 12630. A takings implication assessment is not required.

    Federalism (Executive Order 13132)

    Under the criteria in section 1 of Executive Order 13132, this proposed rule does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a Federalism summary impact statement. A Federalism summary impact statement is not required.

    Civil Justice Reform (Executive Order 12988)

    This proposed rule complies with the requirements of Executive Order 12988. Specifically, this rule:

    a. Meets the criteria of section 3(a) requiring that all regulations be reviewed to eliminate errors and ambiguity and be written to minimize litigation; and

    b. Meets the criteria of section 3(b)(2) requiring that all regulations be written in clear language and contain clear legal standards.

    Consultation With Indian Tribes (E.O. 13175 and Department Policy)

    The Department of the Interior strives to strengthen its government-to-government relationship with Indian Tribes through a commitment to consultation with Indian Tribes and recognition of their right to self-governance and tribal sovereignty. We have evaluated this proposed rule under the criteria in Executive Order 13175 and under the Department's tribal consultation policy and have determined that tribal consultation is not required because the proposed rule will have no substantial direct effect on federally recognized Indian tribes.

    In May and July 2014, the NPS sent letters to the Tribal Historic Preservation Officers for the Colville Confederated Tribes and the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation inviting comment regarding the inventory, evaluation, and finding of no effect on cultural resources within the project area. This encompasses the relocation of all maintenance facilities, including the transfer station, as proposed in the preferred alternative (Alternative 2) in the EA. These tribes did not identify any significant concerns related to the project.

    Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.)

    This proposed rule does not contain information collection requirements, and a submission to the Office of Management and Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act is not required. We may not conduct or sponsor and you are not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA)

    We have prepared an environmental assessment to determine whether this rulemaking will have a significant impact on the quality of the human environment under NEPA. This proposed rule would implement part of the preferred alternative (Alternative 2) in the EA that is referenced above and available online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/SMFRP by clicking on “Document List.”

    Effects on the Energy Supply (Executive Order 13211)

    This proposed rule is not a significant energy action under the definition in Executive Order 13211. A Statement of Energy Effects is not required.

    Clarity of This Regulation

    The NPS is required by Executive Orders 12866 (section 1(b)(12)), 12988 (section 3(b)(1)(B)), and 13563 (section 1(a)), and by the Presidential Memorandum of June 1, 1998, to write all rules in plain language. This means that each rule we publish must:

    a. Be logically organized;

    b. Use the active voice to address readers directly;

    c. Use common, everyday words and clear language rather than jargon;

    d. Be divided into short sections and sentences; and

    e. Use lists and tables wherever possible.

    If you feel that we have not met these requirements, send us comments by one of the methods listed in ADDRESSES section above. To better help us revise this proposed rule, your comments should be as specific as possible. For example, you should tell us the numbers of the sections or paragraphs that you find unclear, which sections or sentences are too long, the sections where you feel lists or tables would be useful, etc.

    Drafting Information

    The primary author of this proposed regulation is Jay Calhoun, Regulations Program Specialist, Division of Regulations, Jurisdiction, and Special Park Uses, National Park Service, 1849 C Street NW., Washington, DC 20240.

    Public Participation

    It is the policy of the Department of the Interior, whenever practicable, to afford the public an opportunity to participate in the rulemaking process. Accordingly, interested persons may submit written comments regarding this proposed rule by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section above.

    Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

    List of Subjects in 36 CFR Part 7

    National parks, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    In consideration of the foregoing, NPS proposes to amend 36 CFR part 7 as follows:

    PART 7—SPECIAL REGULATIONS, AREAS OF THE NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM 1. The authority citation for part 7 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    54 U.S.C. 100101, 100751, 320102; Sec. 7.96 also issued under DC Code 10-137 and DC Code 50-2201.07.

    2. In § 7.62, add paragraph (d) as follows:
    § 7.62 Lake Chelan National Recreation Area.

    (d) Solid waste disposal. A solid waste transfer station located near Stehekin within the boundary of Lake Chelan National Recreation Area must comply with all provisions in 36 CFR part 6, except it may:

    (1) Accept solid waste generated within the boundary of the park unit that was not generated by National Park Service activities;

    (2) Be located within one mile of a campground or a residential area;

    (3) Be visible by the public from scenic vistas or off-trail areas in designated wilderness areas;

    (4) Be detectable by the public by sound from a campground; and

    (5) Be detectable by the public by sight, sound, or odor from a road open to public travel.

    Dated: July 1, 2015. Michael Bean, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17025 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310-EJ-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR National Park Service 36 CFR Part 13 [NPS-KLGO-18480; PPAKKLGOL0, PPMPRLE1Z.L00000] RIN 1024-AE27 Special Regulations, Areas of the National Park System, Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, Horse Management AGENCY:

    National Park Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The National Park Service proposes to revise the special regulations for Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park to close the core Dyea Historic Townsite to the use of horses except by special use permit issued by the superintendent.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received by 11:59 p.m. EST on September 11, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by Regulation Identifier Number (RIN) 1024-AE27, by either of the following methods:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    Mail or hand deliver to: National Park Service, Regional Director, Alaska Regional Office, 240 West 5th Ave., Anchorage, AK 99501.

    Mail or hand deliver to: National Park Service, Superintendent, Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, P.O. Box 517, Skagway, AK 99840. Comments can be hand-delivered to the NPS office on 2nd and Broadway in Skagway.

    Instructions: Comments will not be accepted by fax, email, or in any way other than those specified above. All submissions received must include the words “National Park Service” or “NPS” and must include the docket number or RIN (1024-AE27) for this rulemaking. Comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided.

    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to http://www.regulations.gov.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Andee Sears, Regional Law Enforcement Specialist, Alaska Regional Office, 240 West 5th Ave., Anchorage, AK 99501. Phone (907) 644-3410. Email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background and Significance of Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Site

    Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Site (KLGO or park) was established in 1980. The park includes 13,191 acres and is the only NPS area authorized and established solely to commemorate an American gold rush. The purpose of the park is to preserve for the benefit and inspiration of the people of the United States, the historic structures, trails, artifacts and landscapes and stories associated with the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898.

    Part of the park is the Dyea Historic Townsite, which served as the gateway community to the Chilkoot Trail. At the time of the Gold Rush, approximately 10,000 people lived in Dyea. Dyea is rich in surface artifacts and other remnants from the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898. Horses were a very important and visible component of the 1898 Klondike Gold Rush and the Dyea Historic Townsite from 1897 and for several decades afterward. Thousands of unique and irreplaceable cultural landscape features and artifacts remain within and above the top layers of soil, and as such are highly susceptible to damage from ground disturbance, including disturbance caused by unregulated horseback traffic.

    Authority To Promulgate Regulations

    The National Park Service (NPS) manages KLGO under a statute commonly known as the NPS Organic Act of 1916 (Organic Act) (54 U.S.C. 100101 et seq.), which gives the NPS broad authority to regulate the use of the park areas under its jurisdiction. The Organic Act authorizes the Secretary of the Interior, acting through NPS, to “prescribe such regulations as the Secretary considers necessary or proper for the use and management of [National Park] System units.” 54 U.S.C. 100751(a).

    Management of the park is also governed by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA). Horses at KLGO are a form of non-motorized surface transportation for traditional activities which is subject to Section 1110(a) of ANILCA. Under this section of ANILCA and implementing regulations at 43 CFR 36.11(h), such use is subject to reasonable regulations to protect the natural and other values of KLGO and the NPS may close an area to this form of transportation by regulation upon a finding by the NPS that the activity would be detrimental to the resources or values of the area. The NPS believes, based upon the analysis in the Dyea Area Plan and Environmental Assessment (EA) and the associated Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), that unregulated horse traffic in the Dyea Historic Townsite would be detrimental to the thousands of unique and irreplaceable cultural landscape features and artifacts that remain within and above the top layers of soil in the area.

    Dyea Area Plan and Environmental Assessment and Proposed Rule

    In January 2014, the NPS completed the EA after providing an opportunity for public comment. The proposed action in the EA calls for eliminating horse traffic from the Dyea Historic Townsite except for limited and infrequent use on an established route by private, non-commercial parties pursuant to a special use permit issued by the superintendent. In March 2014, the NPS held a public hearing in Skagway, AK for the proposed restrictions on horse use in the Dyea Historic Townsite in compliance with regulations at 43 CFR 36.11(h)(3). In September 2014, the Regional Director for the Alaska Region signed the FONSI identifying the proposed action in the EA as the selected action. The proposed rule would implement the selected action by closing the Dyea Historic Townsite to the use of horses except under a special use permit issued by the superintendent. If, after observation, the superintendent determines that the desired condition, as defined in the EA, has deteriorated, the superintendent may include permit conditions to protect natural and cultural resources and, if necessary, the NPS may cease issuing permits until impacts from prior uses of horses are mitigated. The NPS may also adopt permit conditions to limit impacts from the use of horses on other user experiences.

    The closure area is a small 80 acre parcel encompassing the core Dyea Historic Townsite. Alternate routes have already been designated for commercial horse use outside the core Dyea Historic Townsite and noncommercial horse use will continue to be unrestricted outside the Historic Townsite.

    Compliance With Other Laws, Executive Orders, and Department Policy Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Order 12866)

    Executive Order 12866 provides that the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in the Office of Management and Budget will review all significant rules. OIRA has determined that this proposed rule is not significant.

    Executive Order 13563 reaffirms the principles of Executive Order 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. Executive Order 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 proposed rule in a manner consistent with these requirements.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This proposed rule will not have a significant economic effect on a substantial number of small entities under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). This certification is based on the cost-benefit and regulatory flexibility analyses found in the reports entitled “Regulatory Flexibility Threshold Analysis: Special Regulations for Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park” and “Preliminary Cost/Benefit Analysis: Special Regulations for Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park in Alaska” which can be viewed online at http://www.nps.gov/klgo/learn/management/documents.htm.

    Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

    This proposed rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. This rule:

    a. Does not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more.

    b. Will not cause a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, federal, state, or local government agencies, or geographic regions

    c. Does 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

    This proposed rule does not impose an unfunded mandate on State, local, or tribal governments or the private sector of more than $100 million per year. The proposed rule does not have a significant or unique effect on State, local or tribal governments or the private sector. A statement containing the information required by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) is therefore not required.

    Takings (Executive Order 12630)

    This proposed rule does not affect a taking of private property or otherwise have taking implications under Executive Order 12630. A takings implication assessment is not required.

    Federalism (Executive Order 13132)

    Under the criteria in section 1 of Executive Order 13132, this proposed rule does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a Federalism summary impact statement. The proposed rule is limited in effect to federal lands managed by the NPS in Alaska and would not have a substantial direct effect on state and local government in Alaska. A federalism summary impact statement is not required.

    Civil Justice Reform (Executive Order 12988)

    This proposed rule complies with the requirements of Executive Order 12988. Specifically, this proposed rule:

    1. Meets the criteria of section 3(a) requiring that all regulations be reviewed to eliminate errors and ambiguity and be written to minimize litigation; and

    2. Meets the criteria of section 3(b)(2) requiring that all regulations be written in clear language and contain clear legal standards.

    Consultation With Indian Tribes (E.O. 13175 and Department Policy) and ANCSA Corporations

    The Department of the Interior strives to strengthen its government-to-government relationship with Indian Tribes through a commitment to consultation with Indian tribes and recognition of their right to self-governance and tribal sovereignty. We have evaluated this rule under the criteria in Executive Order 13175 and under the Department's tribal consultation policy and Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) Native Corporation policies and have determined that tribal consultation is not required because the rulemaking will have no substantial direct effect on federally recognized Indian tribes or ANCSA Native Corporation lands, water areas, or resources. Although the NPS has made this determination, the NPS sent copies of the draft plan and letters requesting government-to-government consultation to four affected Native tribal governments, one of whom is the Carcross/Tagish First Nations tribe in Carcross, Canada. Several meetings were held between 2012 and 2013 with tribal governments in Skagway and Haines to discuss key components of the Dyea Area Plan and EA that were of interest to the local federally recognized tribes.

    Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.)

    This proposed rule does not contain any new collections of information that require approval by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act. OMB has approved the information collection requirements associated with NPS Special Park Use Permits and has assigned OMB Control Number 1024-0026 (expires 08/31/16). An 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

    This proposed rule does not constitute a major Federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. A detailed statement under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 is not required because we reached a Finding of No Significant Impact. The EA and FONSI are available online at http://www.nps.gov/klgo/learn/management/documents.htm.

    Effects on the Energy Supply (Executive Order 13211)

    This proposed rule is not a significant energy action under the definition in Executive Order 13211. A Statement of Energy Effects is not required.

    Clarity of This Regulation

    We are required by Executive Orders 12866 (section 1(b)(12)), 12988 (section 3(b)(1)(B)), and 13563 (section 1(a)), and by the Presidential Memorandum of June 1, 1998, to write all rules in plain language. This means that each rule we publish must:

    1. Be logically organized;

    2. Use the active voice to address readers directly;

    3. Use common, everyday words and clear language rather than jargon;

    4. Be divided into short sections and sentences; and

    5. Use lists and tables wherever possible.

    If you feel that we have not met these requirements, send us comments by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section above. To better help us revise the proposed rule, your comments should be as specific as possible. For example, you should tell us the numbers of the sections or paragraphs that you find unclear, which sections or sentences are too long, the sections where you feel lists or tables would be useful, etc.

    Drafting Information

    The primary authors of this proposed regulation are Jay Calhoun, Regulations Program Specialist, National Park Service, Jenna Giddens of Kenai Fjords National Park, Andee Sears of the Alaska Regional Office, National Park Service, and Tim Steidel of Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park.

    Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

    List of Subjects in 36 CFR Part 13

    Alaska, National parks, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    In consideration of the foregoing, the National Park Service proposes to amend 36 CFR part 13 as set forth below:

    PART 13—NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM UNITS IN ALASKA 1. The authority citation for part 13 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 3124; 54 U.S.C. 100101, 100751, 320102; Sec. 13.1204 also issued under Sec. 1035, Pub. L. 104-333, 110 Stat. 4240.

    2. Add § 13.1408 to subpart Q to read as follows:
    § 13.1408 Dyea.

    The Dyea Historic Townsite is closed to the use of horses by members of the public except by special use permit issued by the Superintendent. A map showing the boundaries of the Dyea Historic Townsite is available on the park Web site and at the park visitor center.

    Dated: July 1, 2015. Michael Bean, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17026 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310-EJ-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Office of the Secretary 43 CFR Parts 47 and 48 RIN 1090-AA98 Land Exchange Procedures and Procedures To Amend the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, 1920 AGENCY:

    Office of the Secretary, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule; extension of comment period.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of the Interior (Department) is extending the comment period for the proposed rule governing land exchanges involving Hawaiian home lands and amendments to the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act proposed by the State of Hawaii until August 12, 2015. The proposed rule would clarify under current Federal law what Departmental procedures would apply.

    DATES:

    The comment period for the proposed rule published on May 12, 2015 (80 FR 27134) is extended. Comments must be received by August 12, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments on the rulemaking by either of the methods listed below. Please use Regulation Identifier Number 1090-AA98 in your message.

    1. Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions on the Web site for submitting comments.

    2. U.S. mail, courier, or hand delivery: Office of Native Hawaiian Relations, Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street NW., Washington, DC 20240.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ka`i`ini Kimo Kaloi, Director, Office of Native Hawaiian Relations, telephone (202) 208-7462.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On May 12, 2015, we published a proposed rule to clarify how under current law the Department of the Interior shall review proposed land exchanges involving Hawaiian home lands and amendments to the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act proposed by the State of Hawaii. See 80 FR 27134. Today we are publishing an extension of the comment period, establishing a new comment deadline of August 12, 2015, to allow additional time for the State of Hawaii, Native Hawaiian Community, beneficiaries, and public comment. We will accept all comments received between May 12, 2015, and August 12, 2015. The proposed rule, frequently asked questions, and other information are online at: http://www.doi.gov/ohr.

    Dated: July 8, 2015. Kristen J. Sarri, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17225 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310-93-P
    80 133 Monday, July 13, 2015 Notices AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT Notice of July 9 Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid Meeting AGENCY:

    United States Agency for International Development.

    ACTION:

    Notice of meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    Pursuant to the Federal Advisory Committee Act, notice is hereby given of a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid (ACVFA).

    Date: Thursday, July 9, 2015

    Time: 2:00-4:00 p.m.

    Location: Horizon Ballroom, The Ronald Reagan Building, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave, NW., Washington, DC 20004.

    Purpose

    The Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid (ACVFA) brings together USAID and private voluntary organization officials, representatives from universities, international nongovernment organizations, U.S. businesses, and government, multilateral, and private organizations to foster understanding, communication, and cooperation in the area of foreign aid.

    Agenda

    USAID Acting Administrator Ambassador Alfonso E. Lenhardt will make opening remarks, followed by panel discussions among ACVFA members and USAID leadership on USAID Forward and Local Solutions. The full meeting agenda will be forthcoming on the ACVFA Web site athttp://www.usaid.gov/who-we-are/organization/advisory-committee.

    Stakeholders

    The meeting is free and open to the public. Registration information will be forthcoming on the ACVFA Web site at http://www.usaid.gov/who-we-are/organization/advisory-committee.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jayne Thomisee, [email protected].

    Dated: June 8, 2015. Jayne Thomisee, Executive Director & Policy Advisor, U.S. Agency for International Development.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17027 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request July 8, 2015.

    The Department of Agriculture has submitted the following information collection requirement(s) to OMB for review and clearance under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Pub. L. 104-13. Comments regarding (a) whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of burden including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected; (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology should be addressed to: Desk Officer for Agriculture, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), [email protected] or fax (202) 395-5806 and to Departmental Clearance Office, USDA, OCIO, Mail Stop 7602, Washington, DC 20250-7602. Comments regarding these information collections are best assured of having their full effect if received within 30 days of this notification. Copies of the submission(s) may be obtained by calling (202) 720-8958.

    An agency may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless the collection of information displays a currently valid OMB control number and the agency informs potential persons who are to respond to the collection of information that such persons are not required to respond to the collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    Food Safety and Inspection Service

    Title: Animal Disease Reporting System.

    OMB Control Number: 0583-0139.

    Summary of Collection: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has been delegated the authority to exercise the functions of the Secretary as provided in the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) (21 U.S.C. 601 et seq.), the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA) (21 U.S.C. 451 et seq.). These statutes mandate that FSIS protect the public by ensuring that meat and poultry products are safe, wholesome, unadulterated, and properly labeled and packaged. In accordance with 9 CFR 320.6, 381.180, 352.15, and 354.91, establishments that slaughter meat, poultry, exotic animals, and rabbits are required to maintain certain records regarding their business operations and to report this information to the Agency as required.

    Need and Use of the Information: FSIS will collect information from establishments using FSIS Form 6510-7, Poultry Lot Information. FSIS uses this information to plan inspection activities, to develop sampling plans, to target establishments for testing, to develop Agency budget, and to develop reports to Congress.

    Description of Respondents: Business or other for-profit.

    Number of Respondents: 1,159.

    Frequency of Responses: Reporting: Other (daily).

    Total Burden Hours: 23.180.

    Ruth Brown, Departmental Information Collection Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17086 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-DM-P
    COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS Sunshine Act Meeting Notice AGENCY:

    United States Commission on Civil Rights.

    ACTION:

    Notice of Commission Business Meeting.

    DATES:

    Date and Time: Friday, July 17, 2015; 10:00 a.m. EST.

    ADDRESSES:

    Place: 1331 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Suite 1150, Washington, DC.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Lenore Ostrowsky, Acting Chief, Public Affairs Unit (202) 376-8591.

    Hearing-impaired persons who will attend the briefing and require the services of a sign language interpreter should contact Pamela Dunston at (202) 376-8105 or at [email protected] at least seven business days before the scheduled date of the meeting.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Meeting Agenda

    This meeting is open to the public.

    I. Approval of Agenda II. Program Planning • Update on OCRE Staffing requirements to complete outstanding reports • Discussion on the topic for Statutory Enforcement Report for FY 2016 • Discussion on number of briefing topics and reports for FY 2016 projects • Discussion and vote on Part A of Peaceful Coexistence report • Discussion on proposals for forwarding the NY State Advisory Committee report on juvenile solitary confinement III. Management and Operations • Staff Director Report IV. State Advisory Committee (SAC) Appointments • Oregon • South Carolina • Wisconsin V. Adjourn Meeting Dated: July 8, 2015. David Mussatt, Chief of Regional Programs Unit, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17188 Filed 7-9-15; 11:15 am] BILLING CODE 6335-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Bureau of the Census [Docket Number: 150630568-5568-01] 2020 Census Tribal Consultation Meetings AGENCY:

    Bureau of the Census, Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice of 2020 Census tribal consultation meetings.

    SUMMARY:

    Pursuant to Executive Order 13175, the Bureau of the Census (Census Bureau) plans to conduct eight tribal consultation meetings and one national webinar with federally recognized tribes across the country between October 2015 and April 2016. These meetings will provide a forum for tribes to share insights, make recommendations and discuss concerns related to the 2020 Census. The Census Bureau's procedures for outreach, notice and consultation will ensure involvement of tribes, to the extent practicable and permitted by law, before making decisions or implementing policies, rules or programs that affect federally recognized tribal governments. The Census Bureau requests that interested members of the public comment with any questions or topics they would like to see considered in these meetings. For a list of dates, locations and times please check http://webdev.ssd.census.gov/aian/census_2020/. These meetings are open to members of federally recognized tribes by invitation.

    DATES:

    Any questions or topics to be considered in the tribal consultation meetings must be received in writing by September 30, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Please direct all comments on this notice to Angel L. Petty, Program Assistant, 2020 Partnership and Outreach Staff, Decennial Communications and Budget Office (DCBO), U.S. Census Bureau Washington, DC 20233; telephone (301) 763-2231 or fax (301) 763-2231 or by email [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Angel L. Petty, Program Assistant, 2020 Partnership and Outreach Staff, Decennial Communications and Budget Office, U.S. Census Bureau, at the above listed address and telephone number.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    The Census Bureau's Decennial Directorate and the Intergovernmental Affairs Office is responsible for the development and implementation of outreach and promotion activities to assist in obtaining a complete and accurate census count in 2020 among all residents including the American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) populations. This program is one part of the overall outreach and promotion efforts directed at building awareness about the importance of the census and motivating response to the census in communities all across the country.

    In accordance with Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, issued November 6, 2000, the Census Bureau will be adhering to its tribal consultation policy by seeking the input of tribal governments in the planning and implementation of the 2020 Census with the goal of ensuring the most accurate counts and data for the American Indian and Alaska Native population. In that regard, we are seeking comments with regard to the following operational topics:

    Enumeration—Enumeration is the process of collecting data, and is the central focus of the decennial census operation. Most successful enumeration occurs at the respondent's domicile either through self-response, or through some method of non-response follow-up. The Census Bureau is exploring ways to increase its self-response rates, and is developing tools to ease the burden of responding by leveraging technology, and exploring new modalities to promote Internet response.

    Demographic Statistics—Demographic statistics provide information that is used to develop an understanding of the age, sex, and racial composition of a population and how it has changed over time through the basic demographic processes of birth, death, and migration.

    Geography—Geography is a determinative part of the decennial census operation because it provides meaning and context to decennial census counts. Geographic planning provides the framework for census design, data collection, tabulation, and data dissemination. The Census Bureau seeks to use the latest and best geographic methodologies available to support the decennial census.

    2020 Census Field Partnerships and Recruitment—Partnership efforts focus on maximizing public engagement in the decennial census process in an effort to keep the public informed, encourage self-response, and assist with recruiting the workforce necessary to complete the decennial census. Partnership efforts are directed at individuals from all walks of life, as well as the widest variety of public, private and governmental organizations.

    2020 Census Communications and Planning—Communications planning seeks to motivate the entire population of the 50 states and its territories, to participate in the decennial census and its partnership activities. Communications planning will culminate in a communications campaign that will focus on, increasing participation in self-response options, improving accuracy, reducing the differential undercount and improving cooperation with enumerators and field operations.

    For additional information on the tribal consultation sessions please visit: http://webdev.ssd.census.gov/aian/census_2020/.

    Dated: July 7, 2015. John H. Thompson, Director, Bureau of the Census.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17029 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-07-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Economic Development Administration Notice of Petitions by Firms for Determination of Eligibility To Apply for Trade Adjustment Assistance AGENCY:

    Economic Development Administration, Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice and opportunity for public comment.

    Pursuant to Section 251 of the Trade Act 1974, as amended (19 U.S.C. 2341 et seq.), the Economic Development Administration (EDA) has received petitions for certification of eligibility to apply for Trade Adjustment Assistance from the firms listed below. Accordingly, EDA has initiated investigations to determine whether increased imports into the United States of articles like or directly competitive with those produced by each of these firms contributed importantly to the total or partial separation of the firm's workers, or threat thereof, and to a decrease in sales or production of each petitioning firm.

    List of Petitions Received by EDA for Certification Eligibility To Apply for Trade Adjustment Assistance [7/3/2015 Through 7/7/2015] Firm name Firm address Date accepted for investigation Product(s) NicVape, Inc. 107 Corporate Drive, Spartanburg, SC 29303 7/6/2015 The firm manufactures liquids and concentrates for the electronic cigarette industry. Alpha Products, Inc. 5570 West 70th Place, Chicago, IL 60638 7/6/2015 The firm manufactures stamped and fabricated metal parts including steel and aluminum railcar parts, speaker baskets, cluster mailboxes, and high capacity magazines. Modular Sound Systems, Inc. d/b/a Bag End Loudspeakers 1201 Armstrong Street, Algonquin, IL 60102 7/6/2015 The firm manufactures loudspeakers and electronic components. Diversified Plastics Corporation 120 West Mount Vernon Street, Nixa, MO 65714 7/7/2015 The firm manufactures plastics including expandable polypropylene & polystyrene for packaging, injection molding, beaded press molding, concrete foam blocks and automotive components. Georgia Chair Company, Inc. 456 Industrial Boulevard, Gainesville, GA 30501 7/7/2015 The firm manufactures chairs, tables, desks, and bookcases; the manufacturing material is red oak wood.

    Any party having a substantial interest in these proceedings may request a public hearing on the matter. A written request for a hearing must be submitted to the Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms Division, Room 71030, Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, DC 20230, no later than ten (10) calendar days following publication of this notice.

    Please follow the requirements set forth in EDA's regulations at 13 CFR 315.9 for procedures to request a public hearing. The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance official number and title for the program under which these petitions are submitted is 11.313, Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms.

    Dated: July 7, 2015. Michael S. DeVillo, Eligibility Examiner.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17035 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-WH-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-580-874, A-557-816, A-523-808, A-583-854, A-552-818] Certain Steel Nails From the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, the Sultanate of Oman, Taiwan, and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam: Antidumping Duty Orders AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    Based on affirmative final determinations by the Department of Commerce (“the Department”) and the International Trade Commission (“ITC”), the Department is issuing antidumping duty orders on certain steel nails (“steel nails”) from the Republic of Korea (“Korea”), Malaysia, the Sultanate of Oman (“Oman”), Taiwan, and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (“Vietnam”).

    DATES:

    Effective Date: July 13, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Krisha Hill (Korea), Edythe Artman (Malaysia and Vietnam), Lilit Astvatsatrian (Oman), or Victoria Cho (Taiwan) AD/CVD Operations, Office IV, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-4037, (202) 482-3931, (202) 482-6412, or (202) 482-5075, respectively.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    In accordance with sections 735(d) and 777(i)(1) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act), and 19 CFR 351.210(c), on May 20 and 22, 2015, the Department published its affirmative final determinations of sales in the less-than-fair-value investigations of steel nails from Korea, Malaysia, Oman, Taiwan, and Vietnam, respectively. 1 Pursuant to 735(e) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.224(f), the Department published its amended final determination of sales in the less-than-fair-value investigation of steel nails from Malaysia on June 16, 2015.2 On July 6, 2015, the ITC notified the Department of its affirmative determinations that an industry in the United States is materially injured within the meaning of section 735(b)(1)(A)(i) of the Act, by reason of the less-than-fair-value imports of steel nails from Korea, Malaysia, Oman, Taiwan, and Vietnam.3

    1See Certain Steel Nails from the Republic of Korea: Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value, 80 FR 28955 (May 20, 2015) (“Final Determination of Steel Nails from Korea”); Certain Steel Nails From Malaysia; Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value, 80 FR 28969 (May 20, 2015); Certain Steel Nails From the Sultanate of Oman: Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value, 80 FR 28972 (May 20, 2015); Certain Steel Nails From Taiwan: Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value, 80 FR 28959 (May 20, 2015) (“Final Determination of Steel Nails from Taiwan”); and Certain Steel Nails From the Socialist Republic of Vietnam: Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value, 80 FR 29622 (May 22, 2015) (“Final Determination for Vietnam”).

    2See Certain Steel Nails From Malaysia: Amended Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value, 80 FR 34370 (June 16, 2015).

    3See Certain Steel Nails from Korea, Malaysia, Oman, Taiwan, and Vietnam, USITC Investigation Nos. 701-TA-521 and 731-TA-1252-1255 (Final), USITC Publication 4541 (July 2015).

    Scope of the Orders

    The merchandise covered by these orders is certain steel nails having a nominal shaft length not exceeding 12 inches.4 Certain steel nails include, but are not limited to, nails made from round wire and nails that are cut from flat-rolled steel. Certain steel nails may be of one piece construction or constructed of two or more pieces. Certain steel nails may be produced from any type of steel, and may have any type of surface finish, head type, shank, point type and shaft diameter. Finishes include, but are not limited to, coating in vinyl, zinc (galvanized, including but not limited to electroplating or hot dipping one or more times), phosphate, cement, and paint. Certain steel nails may have one or more surface finishes. Head styles include, but are not limited to, flat, projection, cupped, oval, brad, headless, double, countersunk, and sinker. Shank styles include, but are not limited to, smooth, barbed, screw threaded, ring shank and fluted. Screw-threaded nails subject to this proceeding are driven using direct force and not by turning the nail using a tool that engages with the head. Point styles include, but are not limited to, diamond, needle, chisel and blunt or no point. Certain steel nails may be sold in bulk, or they may be collated in any manner using any material.

    4 The shaft length of certain steel nails with flat heads or parallel shoulders under the head shall be measured from under the head or shoulder to the tip of the point. The shaft length of all other certain steel nails shall be measured overall.

    Excluded from the scope of these orders are certain steel nails packaged in combination with one or more non-subject articles, if the total number of nails of all types, in aggregate regardless of size, is less than 25. If packaged in combination with one or more non-subject articles, certain steel nails remain subject merchandise if the total number of nails of all types, in aggregate regardless of size, is equal to or greater than 25, unless otherwise excluded based on the other exclusions below.

    Also excluded from the scope are certain steel nails with a nominal shaft length of one inch or less that are (a) a component of an unassembled article, (b) the total number of nails is sixty (60) or less, and (c) the imported unassembled article falls into one of the following eight groupings: (1) Builders' joinery and carpentry of wood that are classifiable as windows, French-windows and their frames; (2) builders' joinery and carpentry of wood that are classifiable as doors and their frames and thresholds; (3) swivel seats with variable height adjustment; (4) seats that are convertible into beds (with the exception of those classifiable as garden seats or camping equipment); (5) seats of cane, osier, bamboo or similar materials; (6) other seats with wooden frames (with the exception of seats of a kind used for aircraft or motor vehicles); (7) furniture (other than seats) of wood (with the exception of (i) medical, surgical, dental or veterinary furniture; and (ii) barbers' chairs and similar chairs, having rotating as well as both reclining and elevating movements); or (8) furniture (other than seats) of materials other than wood, metal, or plastics (e.g., furniture of cane, osier, bamboo or similar materials). The aforementioned imported unassembled articles are currently classified under the following Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) subheadings: 4418.10, 4418.20, 9401.30, 9401.40, 9401.51, 9401.59, 9401.61, 9401.69, 9403.30, 9403.40, 9403.50, 9403.60, 9403.81 or 9403.89.

    Also excluded from the scope of these orders are steel nails that meet the specifications of Type I, Style 20 nails as identified in Tables 29 through 33 of ASTM Standard F1667 (2013 revision).

    Also excluded from the scope of these orders are nails suitable for use in powder-actuated hand tools, whether or not threaded, which are currently classified under HTSUS subheadings 7317.00.20.00 and 7317.00.30.00.

    Also excluded from the scope of these orders are nails having a case hardness greater than or equal to 50 on the Rockwell Hardness C scale (HRC), a carbon content greater than or equal to 0.5 percent, a round head, a secondary reduced-diameter raised head section, a centered shank, and a smooth symmetrical point, suitable for use in gas-actuated hand tools.

    Also excluded from the scope of these orders are corrugated nails. A corrugated nail is made up of a small strip of corrugated steel with sharp points on one side.

    Also excluded from the scope of these orders are thumb tacks, which are currently classified under HTSUS subheading 7317.00.10.00.

    Certain steel nails subject to these orders are currently classified under HTSUS subheadings 7317.00.55.02, 7317.00.55.03, 7317.00.55.05, 7317.00.55.07, 7317.00.55.08, 7317.00.55.11, 7317.00.55.18, 7317.00.55.19, 7317.00.55.20, 7317.00.55.30, 7317.00.55.40, 7317.00.55.50, 7317.00.55.60, 7317.00.55.70, 7317.00.55.80, 7317.00.55.90, 7317.00.65.30, 7317.00.65.60 and 7317.00.75.00. Certain steel nails subject to these orders also may be classified under HTSUS subheadings 7907.00.60.00, 8206.00.00.00 or other HTSUS subheadings.

    While the HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written description of the scope of these orders is dispositive.

    Antidumping Duty Orders

    As stated above, on July 6, 2015, in accordance with section 735(d) of the Act, the ITC notified the Department of its final determinations in these investigations, in which it found material injury with respect to steel nails from Korea, Malaysia, Oman, Taiwan, and Vietnam.5 Because the ITC determined that imports of steel nails from Korea, Malaysia, Oman, Taiwan, and Vietnam are materially injuring a U.S. industry, unliquidated entries of such merchandise from Korea, Malaysia, Oman, Taiwan, and Vietnam, entered or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption are subject to the assessment of antidumping duties.

    5Id.

    Therefore, in accordance with section 736(a)(1) of the Act, the Department will direct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to assess, upon further instruction by the Department, antidumping duties equal to the amount by which the normal value of the merchandise exceeds the export price (or constructed export price) of the merchandise, for all relevant entries of steel nails from Korea, Malaysia, Oman, Taiwan, and Vietnam. Antidumping duties will be assessed on unliquidated entries of steel nails from Malaysia, Oman, and Vietnam entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after December 29, 2014, the date of publication of the preliminary determinations,6 but will not include entries occurring after the expiration of the provisional measures period and before publication of the ITC's final injury determination as further described below.

    6See Certain Steel Nails From Malaysia: Preliminary Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value and Postponement of Final Determination and Extension of Provisional Measures, 79 FR 78055 (December 29, 2014); Certain Steel Nails From the Sultanate of Oman: Affirmative Preliminary Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value and Postponement of Final Determination, 79 FR 78034 (December 29, 2014); Certain Steel Nails From the Socialist Republic of Vietnam: Preliminary Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value and Postponement of Final Determination and Extension of Provisional Measures, 79 FR 78058 (December 29, 2014).

    Antidumping duties will be assessed on relevant unliquidated entries of steel nails from Korea entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after December 29, 2014, the date of publication of the preliminary determinations.7 Antidumping duties will not include entries occurring after the expiration of the provisional measures period and before publication of the ITC's final injury determination as further described below. Because the preliminary determination in the less-than-fair-value investigation involving Taiwan was negative, antidumping duties will be assessed on relevant unliquidated entries of steel nails from Taiwan, entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after May 20, 2015, the date of publication of the final determination.8

    7See Certain Steel Nails From the Republic of Korea: Affirmative Preliminary Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value and Postponement of Final Determination, 79 FR 78051 (December 29, 2014). For the single entity consisting of Jinheung Steel, Duo-Fast Korea Co., Ltd., and Jinsco International Corporation (“Jinheung Steel Single Entity”), because this entity's estimated weighted-average final dumping margin is zero, we directed CBP to terminate suspension of liquidation of entries of certain steel nails produced and exported by this entity and have not imposed any cash deposit requirement on those entries. See Final Determination of Steel Nails from Korea, 80 FR at 28957.

    8See Final Determination of Steel Nails from Taiwan. No suspension of liquidation has been required for entries exported by Quick Advance, Inc. and produced by Ko Nails, Inc. because its estimated weighted-average final dumping margin is zero. The Department calculated its dumping margin during its investigation based on sales of Quick Advance, Inc. that were produced by Ko Nails, Inc. Therefore, Quick Advance Inc.'s exclusion from antidumping duty liability and any cash deposit requirement pertains only to the channel(s) of sales that were examined by the Department in the investigation. See the Memorandum to the File, entitled, “Clarification of Quick Advance, Inc.'s Sales Channels,” dated concurrently with this notice.

    Suspension of Liquidation

    In accordance with section 735(c)(1)(B) of the Act, we will instruct CBP to continue to suspend liquidation on all relevant entries of steel nails from Korea,9 Malaysia, Oman, and Vietnam. We will also instruct CBP to begin suspension of liquidation on all relevant entries of steel nails from Taiwan.10 These instructions suspending liquidation will remain in effect until further notice.

    9 Except for those entries produced and exported by the Jinheung Steel Single Entity, as stated above.

    10 Except for those entries produced by Ko Nails, Inc. and exported by the Quick Advance Inc., as stated above.

    We will also instruct CBP to require cash deposits equal to the amounts as indicated below. Accordingly, effective on the date of publication of the ITC's final affirmative injury determinations, CBP will require, at the same time as importers would normally deposit estimated duties on this subject merchandise, a cash deposit equal to the estimated weighted-average antidumping duty margins listed below.11 The relevant all-others rate (for Korea, Malaysia, Oman, and Taiwan) or the rate for the Vietnam-wide entity (for Vietnam), as applicable, apply to all producers or exporters not specifically listed. For the purpose of determining cash deposit rates, the estimated weighted-average dumping margins for imports of subject merchandise from Vietnam will be adjusted, as appropriate, for export subsidies found in the final determination of the companion countervailing duty investigation of this merchandise imported from Vietnam.12

    11See section 736(a)(3) of the Act.

    12See Final Determination for Vietnam, 80 at 29623. See also Certain Steel Nails From the Socialist Republic of Vietnam: Final Affirmative Countervailing Duty Determination, 80 FR 28962 (May 20, 2015), and accompanying Issues and Decision Memorandum at 12-22.

    Provisional Measures

    Section 733(d) of the Act states that instructions issued pursuant to an affirmative preliminary determination may not remain in effect for more than four months except where exporters representing a significant proportion of exports of the subject merchandise, request the Department to extend that four-month period to no more than six months. At the request of exporters that account for a significant proportion of steel nails from Korea, Malaysia, Oman, and Vietnam, we extended the four-month period by additional 42 days in each case.13 In the underlying investigations, the Department published the preliminary determinations on December 29, 2014. Therefore, the extended period, beginning on the date of publication of the preliminary determinations, ended on June 26, 2015. Furthermore, section 737(b) of the Act states that definitive duties are to begin on the date of publication of the ITC's final injury determination.

    13See Certain Steel Nails From the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, the Sultanate of Oman, Taiwan, and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam: Postponement of Preliminary Determination of Antidumping Duty Investigations, 79 FR 63082 (October 22, 2014). Provisional measures were not effect for entries of subject merchandise from Taiwan because the Department's preliminary determination was negative. See Certain Steel Nails From Taiwan: Negative Preliminary Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value and Postponement of Final Determination, 79 FR 78053, 78054 (December 29, 2014) (Preliminary Determination).

    Therefore, in accordance with section 733(d) of the Act and our practice, we will instruct CBP to terminate the suspension of liquidation and to liquidate, without regard to antidumping duties, unliquidated entries of steel nails from Korea, Malaysia, Oman, and Vietnam entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption after June 26, 2015, the date on which the provisional measures expired, until and through the day preceding the date of publication of the ITC's final injury determinations in the Federal Register. Suspension of liquidation will resume on the date of publication of the ITC's final determination in the Federal Register.

    The weighted-average dumping margins are as follows:

    14 No suspension of liquidation will be required for entries of these firms because their estimated weighted-average dumping margin is zero. See Final Determination of Steel Nails from Korea.

    Exporter/producer Dumping margins
  • (%)
  • Korea: Daejin Steel 11.80 Jinheung Steel Corporation, Jinsco International Corporation, and Duo-Fast Korea Co., Ltd.14 0.00 All Others 11.80 Malaysia: Inmax Sdn. Bhd. 39.35 Region International Co. Ltd. and Region System Sdn. Bhd. 2.66 Tag Fasteners Sdn. Bhd. 39.35 All Others 2.66 Oman: Oman Fasteners, LLC 9.10 All Others 9.10 Taiwan: PT Enterprises 2.24 Quick Advance Inc.15 0.00 All Others 2.24 Vietnam 16: Kosteel Vina Limited Company 323.99 Vietnam-Wide Entity * 323.99% * The Vietnam-wide entity includes the following exporters/producers: Region Industries Co., Ltd., United Nail Products Co., Ltd., Cong Ty Tnhh Cong Nghe Nhua A Chau, Kim Tin Group, Megastar Co., Ltd. and Simone Accessories Collection.

    This notice constitutes the antidumping duty orders with respect to steel nails from Korea, Malaysia, Oman, Taiwan, and Vietnam pursuant to section 736(a) of the Act. Interested parties can find a list of antidumping duty orders currently in effect at http://enforcement.trade.gov/stats/iastats1.html.

    15 As stated above, no suspension of liquidation will be required for entries exported by Quick Advance Inc., which were produced by Ko Nails, Inc. because its estimated weighted-average dumping margin is zero. See Final Determination of Steel Nails from Taiwan.

    16 As explained in the Final Determination for Vietnam, 80 at 29623, the estimated weighted-average dumping margins for the separate-rate company and the Vietnam-wide entity will be adjusted for export subsidies. As a result of these adjustments, the cash deposit rate for both the separate-rate company and the Vietnam-wide entity will be 290.40 percent.

    These orders are published in accordance with section 736(a) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.211.

    Dated: July 7, 2015. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17239 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-560-822, A-557-813, A-570-886, A-583-843, A-549-821, A-552-806] Polyethylene Retail Carrier Bags From Indonesia, Malaysia, the People's Republic of China, Taiwan, Thailand, and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam: Final Results of the Expedited Sunset Reviews of the Antidumping Duty Orders AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce (the Department) finds that revocation of the antidumping duty orders on polyethylene retail carrier bags from Indonesia, Malaysia, the People's Republic of China, Taiwan, Thailand, and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam would be likely to lead to continuation or recurrence of dumping as indicated in the “Final Results of Sunset Review” section of this notice.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: July 13, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Thomas Schauer or Minoo Hatten, AD/CVD Operations, Office I, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-0410 or (202) 482-1690, respectively.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    On April 1, 2015, the Department published the notice of initiation of the sunset reviews of the antidumping duty orders on polyethylene retail carrier bags (PRCBs) from Indonesia, Malaysia, the People's Republic of China (PRC), Taiwan, Thailand, and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (Vietnam) pursuant to section 751(c) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act).1

    1See Initiation of Five-year (“Sunset”) Review, 80 FR 17388 (April 1, 2015) (Initiation Notice).

    In accordance with 19 CFR 351.218(d)(1)(i), the Department received notices of intent to participate in these sunset reviews from the Polyethylene Retail Carrier Bag Committee (the domestic interested party) within 15 days after the date of publication of the Initiation Notice and the effective date of the initiation of this sunset review.2 The domestic interested party claimed interested party status under section 771(9)(C) of the Act.

    2See Letters to the Secretary from Polyethylene Retail Carrier Bag Committee: 1) “Second Five-Year (`Sunset') Review Of Antidumping Duty Order On Polyethylene Retail Carrier Bags From Indonesia: Notice Of Intent To Participate In Sunset Review” (April 16, 2015); 2) “Second Five-Year (`Sunset') Review Of Antidumping Duty Order On Polyethylene Retail Carrier Bags From Malaysia: Notice Of Intent To Participate In Sunset Review” (April 16, 2015); 3) “Second Five-Year (`Sunset') Review Of Antidumping Duty Order On Polyethylene Retail Carrier Bags From The People's Republic Of China: Notice Of Intent To Participate In Sunset Review” (April 16, 2015); 4) “Second Five-Year (`Sunset') Review Of Antidumping Duty Order On Polyethylene Retail Carrier Bags From Taiwan: Notice Of Intent To Participate In Sunset Review” (April 16, 2015); 5) “Second Five-Year (`Sunset') Review Of Antidumping Duty Order On Polyethylene Retail Carrier Bags From Thailand: Notice Of Intent To Participate In Sunset Review” (April 16, 2015); and 6) “Second Five-Year (`Sunset') Review Of Antidumping Duty Order On Polyethylene Retail Carrier Bags From The Socialist Republic Of Vietnam: Notice Of Intent To Participate In Sunset Review” (April 16, 2015). The Polyethylene Retail Carrier Bag Committee is comprised of five domestic producers of PRCBs: Hilex Poly Co., LLC, Superbag Corporation, Unistar Plastics, LLC, Command Packaging, and Roplast Industries, Inc. Id.

    The Department received complete substantive responses to the Initiation Notice from the domestic interested party within the 30-day period specified in 19 CFR 351.218(d)(3)(i).3 The Department received no substantive responses from any respondent interested party. In accordance with section 751(c)(3)(B) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.218(e)(1)(ii)(C)(2), the Department conducted expedited (120-day) sunset reviews of the antidumping duty orders on PRCBs from Indonesia, Malaysia, the PRC, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

    3See letters from domestic interested party: “Five-Year (`Sunset') Review Of Antidumping Duty Order On Polyethylene Retail Carrier Bags From Indonesia: Domestic Industry's Substantive Response” (May 1, 2015) (Indonesia Substantive Response); 2) “Second Five-Year (`Sunset') Review Of Antidumping Duty Order On Polyethylene Retail Carrier Bags From Malaysia: Domestic Industry's Substantive Response” (May 1, 2015) (Malaysia Substantive Response); 3) “Second Five-Year (`Sunset') Review Of Antidumping Duty Order On Polyethylene Retail Carrier Bags From The People's Republic Of China: Domestic Industry's Substantive Response” (May 1, 2015) (PRC Substantive Response); 4) “Five-Year (`Sunset') Review Of Antidumping Duty Order On Polyethylene Retail Carrier Bags From Taiwan: Domestic Industry's Substantive Response” (May 1, 2015) (Taiwan Substantive Response); 5) “Second Five-Year (`Sunset') Review Of Antidumping Duty Order On Polyethylene Retail Carrier Bags From Thailand: Domestic Industry's Substantive Response” (May 1, 2015) (Thailand Substantive Response); and 6) “Five-Year (`Sunset') Review Of Antidumping Duty Order On Polyethylene Retail Carrier Bags From The Socialist Republic Of Vietnam: Domestic Industry's Substantive Response” (May 1, 2015) (Vietnam Substantive Response).

    Scope of the Orders

    The merchandise subject to the antidumping duty orders is PRCBs which are currently classified under subheading 3923.21.0085 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). The HTSUS number is provided for convenience and customs purposes. A full description of the scope of the order is contained in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum.4 The written description is dispositive.

    4See Memorandum from Christian Marsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, to Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance, entitled, “Issues and Decision Memorandum for the Expedited Sunset Reviews of the Antidumping Duty Orders on Polyethylene Retail Carrier Bags from Indonesia, Malaysia, the People's Republic of China, Taiwan, Thailand, and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam” dated concurrently with this notice (Issues and Decision Memorandum).

    Analysis of Comments Received

    A complete discussion of all issues raised in these reviews are addressed in the accompanying Issues and DecisionMemorandum, which is hereby adopted by this notice, including the likelihood of continuation or recurrence of dumping in the event of revocation and the magnitude of dumping margins likely to prevail if the orders were revoked.5 The Issues and Decision Memorandum is a public document and is on file electronically via Enforcement and Compliance's Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Centralized Electronic Service System (ACCESS). ACCESS is available to registered users at http://access.trade.gov and to all parties in the Central Records Unit in Room B8024 of the main Department of Commerce building. In addition, a complete version of the Issues and Decision Memorandum can be accessed directly on the Internet at http://enforcement.trade.gov/frn/index.html.

    5See Issues and Decision Memorandum.

    Final Results of Reviews

    Pursuant to sections 751(c)(1) and 752(c) of the Act, we determine that revocation of the antidumping duty orders on PRCBs from Indonesia, Malaysia, the PRC, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam would be likely to lead to continuation or recurrence of dumping up to the following weighted-average margin percentages:

    Country Weighted-
  • Average
  • Margin
  • (Percent)
  • Indonesia 85.17 Malaysia 101.74 PRC 77.57 Taiwan 95.81 Thailand 122.88 Vietnam 76.11
    Notification to Interested Parties

    This notice serves as the only reminder to parties subject to administrative protective orders (APO) of their responsibility concerning the disposition of proprietary information disclosed under APO in accordance with 19 CFR 351.305(a). Timely written notification of the destruction of APO materials or conversion to judicial protective order is hereby requested. Failure to comply with the regulations and terms of an APO is a violation which is subject to sanction.

    The Department is issuing and publishing these final results and notice in accordance with sections 751(c), 752(c), and 777(i)(1) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.218.

    Dated: July 6, 2015. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17071 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-570-970] Multilayered Wood Flooring From the People's Republic of China: Final Results of Changed Circumstances Review AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    On February 12, 2015, the Department of Commerce (the “Department”) published its initiation and preliminary results of a changed circumstances review 1 of the antidumping duty (“AD”) order on multilayered wood flooring (“MLWF”) from the People's Republic of China (“PRC”).2 The Department preliminarily determined that Zhejiang Fuma Warm Technology Co., Ltd. (“Zhejiang Fuma”) is the successor-in-interest to Huzhou Fuma Wood Bus. Co., Ltd. (“Huzhou Fuma”) for purposes of the AD order on MLWF from the PRC and, as such, is entitled to Huzhou Fuma's cash deposit rate with respect to entries of subject merchandise. We invited interested parties to comment on the Preliminary Results. As no parties submitted comments, and there is no other information or evidence on the record calling into question our Preliminary Results, the Department is making no changes to the Preliminary Results.

    1See Initiation and Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Changed Circumstances Review: Multilayered Wood Flooring From the People's Republic of China, 80 FR 7842 (February 12, 2015) (“Preliminary Results”), and accompanying Preliminary Decision Memorandum.

    2See Multilayered Wood Flooring From the People's Republic of China: Amended Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value and Antidumping Duty Order, 76 FR 76690 (December 8, 2011).

    DATES:

    Effective Date: July 13, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Krisha Hill, AD/CVD Operations, Office IV, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-4037.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    On February 12, 2015, the Department initiated a changed circumstances review and made a preliminary finding that Zhejiang Fuma is the successor-in-interest to Huzhou Fuma, and is entitled to Huzhou Fuma's cash deposit rate with respect to entries of merchandise subject to the AD order on MLWF from the PRC.3 We also provided interested parties 14 days from the date of publication of the Preliminary Results to submit case briefs in accordance with 19 CFR 351.309(c)(1)(ii). No interested parties submitted case briefs or requested a hearing. On June 24, 2015, the Department issued to interested parties draft customs instructions and solicited comment. None were received.

    3See Preliminary Results, 80 FR at 7842-43.

    Scope of the Order

    Multilayered wood flooring is composed of an assembly of two or more layers or plies of wood veneer(s) in combination with a core. Imports of the subject merchandise are provided for under the following subheadings of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”): 4412.31.0520; 4412.31.0540; 4412.31.0560; 4412.31.2510; 4412.31.2520; 4412.31.4040; 4412.31.4050; 4412.31.4060; 4412.31.4070; 4412.31.5125; 4412.31.5135; 4412.31.5155; 4412.31.5165; 4412.31.3175; 4412.31.6000; 4412.31.9100; 4412.32.0520; 4412.32.0540; 4412.32.0560; 4412.32.2510; 4412.32.2520; 4412.32.3125; 4412.32.3135; 4412.32.3155; 4412.32.3165; 4412.32.3175; 4412.32.3185; 4412.32.5600; 4412.39.1000; 4412.39.3000; 4412.39.4011; 4412.39.4012; 4412.39.4019; 4412.39.4031; 4412.39.4032; 4412.39.4039; 4412.39.4051; 4412.39.4052; 4412.39.4059; 4412.39.4061; 4412.39.4062; 4412.39.4069; 4412.39.5010; 4412.39.5030; 4412.39.5050; 4412.94.1030; 4412.94.1050; 4412.94.3105; 4412.94.3111; 4412.94.3121; 4412.94.3131; 4412.94.3141; 4412.94.3160; 4412.94.3171; 4412.94.4100; 4412.94.5100; 4412.94.6000; 4412.94.7000; 4412.94.8000; 4412.94.9000; 4412.94.9500; 4412.99.0600; 4412.99.1020; 4412.99.1030; 4412.99.1040; 4412.99.3110; 4412.99.3120; 4412.99.3130; 4412.99.3140; 4412.99.3150; 4412.99.3160; 4412.99.3170; 4412.99.4100; 4412.99.5100; 4412.99.5710; 4412.99.6000; 4412.99.7000; 4412.99.8000; 4412.99.9000; 4412.99.9500; 4418.71.2000; 4418.71.9000; 4418.72.2000; 4418.72.9500; and 9801.00.2500.4 While HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written description of the subject merchandise is dispositive.

    4 For a complete description of the Scope of the Order, see Preliminary Decision Memorandum at 2-3.

    Final Results of Changed Circumstances Review

    Because no party submitted a case brief in response to the Department's Preliminary Results, and because the record contains no other information or evidence that calls into question the Preliminary Results, the Department continues to find that Zhejiang Fuma is the successor-in-interest to Huzhou Fuma, and is entitled to Huzhou Fuma's cash deposit rate with respect to entries of merchandise subject to the AD order on MLWF from the PRC.5

    5 For a complete discussion of the Department's findings, which remain unchanged in these final results and which are herein incorporated by reference and adopted by this notice, see generally the Preliminary Decision Memorandum accompanying the Preliminary Results.

    Instructions to U.S. Customs and Border Protection

    Based on these final results, we will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect estimated ADs for all shipments of subject merchandise exported by Zhejiang Fuma and entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the publication date of this notice in the Federal Register at the current AD cash deposit rate for Huzhou Fuma (i.e., 58.84 percent). This cash deposit requirement shall remain in effect until further notice.

    Notification to Interested Parties

    This notice serves as a final reminder to parties subject to administrative protective order (“APO”) of their responsibility concerning the disposition of proprietary information disclosed under APO in accordance with 19 CFR 351.305(a)(3). Timely written notification of the return/destruction of APO materials or conversion to judicial protective order is hereby requested. Failure to comply with the regulations and terms of an APO is a sanctionable violation.

    We are issuing and publishing this final results notice in accordance with sections 751(b) and 777(i) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, and 19 CFR 351.216.

    Dated: July 7, 2015. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17081 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XD807 Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Construction Activities at the Children's Pool Lifeguard Station at La Jolla, California AGENCY:

    National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice; issuance of an Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA).

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), notification is hereby given that NMFS has issued an IHA to the City of San Diego for an IHA to take small numbers of marine mammals, by Level B harassment, incidental to construction activities at the Children's Pool Lifeguard Station in La Jolla, California.

    DATES:

    Effective June 28, 2015 to June 27, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    A copy of the IHA and the IHA application are available by writing to Jolie Harrison, Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910 or by telephone to the contacts listed below (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

    An electronic copy of the IHA application containing a list of the references used in this document may be obtained by writing to the address specified above, telephoning the contact listed below (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT), or visiting the Internet at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental/construction.htm. Documents cited in this notice, including the IHA application, may also be viewed, by appointment, during regular business hours, at the aforementioned address.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Howard Goldstein or Jolie Harrison, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 301-427-8401.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    Sections 101(a)(5)(A) and (D) of the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) direct the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) to allow, upon request, the incidental, but not intentional, taking of small numbers of marine mammals by United States citizens who engage in a specified activity (other than commercial fishing) within a specified geographical region if certain findings are made and either regulations are issued or, if the taking is limited to harassment, a notice of a proposed authorization is provided to the public for review.

    An authorization for the incidental takings shall be granted if NMFS finds that the taking will have a negligible impact on the species or stock(s), will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of the species or stock(s) for subsistence uses (where relevant), and if the permissible methods of taking and requirements pertaining to the mitigation, monitoring, and reporting of such takings are set forth. NMFS has defined “negligible impact” in 50 CFR 216.103 as “. . . an impact resulting from the specified activity that cannot be reasonably expected to, and is not reasonably likely to, adversely affect the species or stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival.”

    Section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA established an expedited process by which citizens of the United States can apply for an authorization to incidentally take small numbers of marine mammals by harassment. Section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA establishes a 45-day time limit for NMFS's review of an application followed by a 30-day public notice and comment period on any proposed authorizations for the incidental harassment of small numbers of marine mammals. Within 45 days of the close of the public comment period, NMFS must either issue or deny the authorization.

    Except with respect to certain activities not pertinent here, the MMPA defines “harassment” as: Any act of pursuit, torment, or annoyance which (i) has the potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild [Level A harassment]; or (ii) has the potential to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering [Level B harassment].

    Summary of Request

    On February 25, 2015, NMFS received an application from the City of San Diego, Engineering and Capital Projects Department, requesting an IHA for the taking of marine mammals incidental to construction activities. NMFS determined that the IHA application was adequate and complete on April 9, 2015. NMFS published a notice making preliminary determinations and proposing to issue an IHA on May 19, 2015 (80 FR 28588). The notice initiated a 30-day public comment period.

    The City of San Diego will undertake the construction activities between June 2015 and June 2016 at the Children's Pool Lifeguard Station in La Jolla, California. In-air noise generated from equipment used during the construction activities is likely to result in the take of marine mammals. The requested IHA will authorize the take, by Level B (behavioral) harassment, of small numbers of Pacific harbor seals (Phoca vitulina richardii), California sea lions (Zalophus californianus), and northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) incidental to construction activities of the Children's Pool Lifeguard Station at La Jolla, CA. Because the construction activities were subject to delays and cannot be completed by June 27, 2015, the City of San Diego has requested a renewal of the 2014 to 2015 IHA for an additional year. The construction activities are planned to take place during June 2015 to June 2016 in La Jolla, CA. Regarding the previous IHA, NMFS published a notice in the Federal Register (79 FR 8160) on February 11, 2014, making preliminary determinations and proposing to issue an IHA. The notice initiated a 30-day public comment period. On June 6, 2014, NMFS published a notice in the Federal Register (79 FR 32699) announcing the issuance of an IHA. Additional information on the construction activities at the Children's Pool Lifeguard Station is contained in the IHA application, which is available upon request (see ADDRESSES).

    Also, NMFS issued the City of San Diego an IHA in 2013 (78 FR 40705, July 8, 2013) for demolition and construction activities at the Children's Pool Lifeguard Station that were scheduled to be completed in 2013. Because the construction activities were subject to delays (e.g., nesting migratory birds, unexpected drainage pipes, unexpected demolition and construction planning, etc.) and could not be completed by December 15, 2013, the City of San Diego requested a renewal of the 2013 IHA for an additional year. Additional information on the construction activities at the Children's Pool Lifeguard Station is contained in the IHA application, which is available upon request (see ADDRESSES).

    Description of the Specified Activity Overview

    The City of San Diego plans to conduct construction activities at the Children's Pool Lifeguard Station in La Jolla, CA in order to meet the needs of the lifeguards at Children's Pool and the demand for lifeguard services. The overall project includes the demolition of the existing lifeguard station and construction of a new, three-story, lifeguard station on the same site. Demolition of the existing lifeguard station was completed in 2013 to 2014 and construction of the new lifeguard station is expected to be completed in 2015 to 2016. Because the previously existing lifeguard station was demolished and closed to entry, a temporary lifeguard tower was moved onto the bluff near the previous lifeguard station.

    Dates and Duration

    The City of San Diego is planning to begin/resume the project at the Children's Pool in La Jolla, CA on June 1, 2015, (see page 30 to 31 of the Negative Declaration in the IHA application) with completion of the new lifeguard station to be completed by December 15, 2015. The City of San Diego and NMFS are requiring a moratorium on all construction activities during harbor seal pupping and weaning (i.e., December 15th to May 30th; see page 5 of the Mitigated Negative Declaration in the IHA application). Therefore, work on this project can only be performed between June 1st and December 14th of any year.

    Planned construction activities will generally occur Monday through Friday (no work will occur on holidays) during daylight hours only, as stipulated in the “Mitigated Negative Declaration” included in the IHA application and local ordinances. As a modification to the original IHA, the City of San Diego has requested that planned construction activities be allowed on weekends (i.e., Saturday and Sunday to ensure completion of the project during 2015. The exact dates of the planned activities depend on logistics and scheduling. The IHA is valid through June 2016 to allow for construction delays.

    Specific Geographic Region

    The La Jolla Children's Pool Lifeguard Station is located at 827 1/2 Coast Boulevard, La Jolla, CA 92037 (32° 50′ 50.02″ North, 117° 16′ 42.8″ West). The locations and distances (in ft) from the construction site to the Children's Pool haul-out area, breakwater ledge/rocks haul-out area, reef haul-out area, and Casa Beach haul-out area can be found in the City of San Diego's IHA application.

    Detailed Description of the Specified Activities

    The Children's Pool was created in 1931 by building a breakwater wall which created a protected pool for swimming. Although partially filled with sand, the Children's Pool still has open water for swimming and a beach for sunbathing and beachcombing. The Children's Pool and nearby shore areas (i.e., shoreline, beaches, and reefs of La Jolla) are used by swimmers, sunbathers, SCUBA divers and snorkelers, shore/surf fishermen, school classes, tide pool explorers, kayakers, surfers, boogie and skim boarders, seal, sea lion, bird and nature watchers, and for other activities by the general public. Over the last three years (2010 through 2012), an average of 1,556,184 people have visited the Children's Pool annually, and lifeguards have taken an average of 8,147 preventive actions and 86 water rescues annually (CASA, 2010; 2011; 2012).

    The previous lifeguard facility at Children's Pool, built in 1967, was old, deteriorating from saltwater intrusion, and no longer served the needs of the lifeguard staff or the beach-going public. The structure was condemned on February 22, 2008 due to its deteriorated condition and lack of structural integrity. Because the existing building was no longer viable, a temporary lifeguard tower was moved in. However, a new lifeguard station is required to meet the needs of the lifeguards and the demand for lifeguard services.

    The overall project includes the demolition of the existing lifeguard station and construction of a new, three-story, lifeguard station on the same site. Demolition and removal of the existing lifeguard station was completed in 2013 to 2014 and construction of the new lifeguard station is expected to be completed in 2015 to 2016. The building contractor utilized excavators, backhoes, concrete saws, and jackhammers for demolishing the previous structure and has hauled the waste materials to an offsite landfill where it was separated into recycled content and waste. During the second year of construction (2014 to 2015) and in the same footprint as the old lifeguard station, the new lifeguard station is being constructed within and adjacent to the previous facility. Rough plumbing and electrical have been laid; the foundation has been poured and some of the steel structure has been erected. The new lifeguard facility is in an optimal location to provide lifeguard service to the community. The new, three-story, building will contain a lower level with beach access level public restrooms and showers, lifeguard lockers, and sewage pump room; a second level with two work stations, ready/observation room, kitchenette, restroom, and first aid station; and a third “observation” level (with a 270° view of the beach and nearby reef areas) with a single occupancy observation space, radio storage closet, and exterior catwalk. Interior stairs will link the floors. The existing below grade retaining walls will remain in place and new retaining walls will be constructed for a ramp from street level to the lower level for emergency vehicle beach access and pedestrian access to the lower level restrooms and showers. A 5.6 m (18. 5 ft) wall will be located along the north end of the lower level. The walls will be designed for a minimum design life of 50 years and will not be undermined from ongoing coastal erosion. The walls will not be readily viewed from Coast Boulevard, the public sidewalks or the surrounding community. Enhanced paving, seating and viewing space, drinking fountains, adapted landscaping, and water efficient irrigation will also be included.

    The City of San Diego has divided the demolition and construction activities are divided into phases:

    (1.) Mobilization and temporary facilities;

    (2.) Demolition and site clearing;

    (3.) Site preparation and utilities;

    (4.) Building foundation;

    (5.) Building shell;

    (6.) Building exterior;

    (7.) Building interior;

    (8.) Site improvements; and

    (9.) Final inspection and demobilization.

    Demolition and construction of the new lifeguard station was initially estimated to take approximately 7 months (148 actual demolition and construction days) and be completed by December 15, 2013; however, demolition and construction did not start until later than previously planned in June 2013 and June 2014 due to the presence of nesting migratory birds (i.e., Western seagulls [Larus occidentalis] and eggs/chicks). There were additional unexpected delays in the demolition due to unforeseen underground structures at the site making it impossible to finish the project by December 15, 2013 or 2014. The City of San Diego completed phases 1 to 4 during 2013 and 2014. During the 2013 to 2014 construction window, the temporary on-site tower was removed and two temporary towers were installed nearby (one about 500 m [1,640.4 ft] south of the construction site and another about 1,000 m [3,280.8 ft] east of the construction site to serve citizens utilizing the beaches and ocean waters nearby. Construction of phases 5 to 9 will commence in June 2015, thereby necessitating a renewal of the previous IHA.

    The notice of the final IHA for the City of San Diego's demolition and construction activities that was published in the Federal Register on July 8, 2013 (78 FR 40705) provides a detailed summary on phases 1 to 4 (i.e., mobilization and temporary facilities, demolition and site clearing, site preparation and utilities, and building foundation). Phases 5 to 9 include (phases overlap in time):

    (5.) Building shell:

    Pre-cast concrete panel walls, panel walls, rough carpentry and roof framing, wall board, cable railing, metal flashing, and roofing.

    Equipment—crane, truck, fork lift, and hand/power tools.

    Timeframe—Approximately 35 days.

    This phase will be completed in 2015 and has a maximum source level of 100 dB.

    (6.) Building exterior:

    Doors and windows, siding paint, light fixtures, and plumbing fixtures.

    Equipment—truck, hand/power tools, and chop saw.

    Timeframe—Approximately 4 weeks.

    This phase will be completed in 2015 and has a maximum source level of 100 dB.

    (7.) Building interiors:

    Walls, sewage lift station, rough and finish mechanical electrical plumbing structural (MEPS), wall board, door frames, doors and paint.

    Equipment—truck, hand/power tools, and chop saw.

    Timeframe—Approximately 37 days.

    This phase will be completed in 2015 and has a maximum source level of 100 dB.

    (8.) Site improvements:

    Modify storm drain, concrete seat walls, curbs, and planters, fine grade, irrigation, hardscape, landscape, hand rails, plaques, and benches.

    Equipment—backhoe, truck, hand/power tools, concrete pump/truck, and fork lift.

    Timeframe—Approximately 37 days.

    This phase will be completed in 2015 and has a maximum source level of 110 dB.

    (9.) Final inspection and demobilization:

    System testing, remove construction equipment, inspection, and corrections.

    Equipment—truck, and hand/power tools.

    Timeframe—Approximately 41 days.

    This phase will be completed in 2015 and has a maximum source level of 100 dB.

    The exact dates of the planned activities depend on logistics and scheduling.

    Sound levels during all phases of the project will not exceed 110 dB re 20 μPa at five feet from the sound sources. The 110 dB estimate is based on equipment manufacturers' estimates obtained by the construction contractor. The City of San Diego utilized published or manufacturers' measurement data based on the planned equipment (i.e., a backhoe, dump truck, cement pump, air compressor, electric screw guns, jackhammers, concrete saw, chop saw, and hand tools) to be utilized on the project site. Operation of the equipment is the primary activity within the range of construction activities that is likely to affect marine mammals by potentially exposing them to in-air (i.e., airborne or sub-aerial) noise. During the working day, the City of San Diego estimates there will be sound source levels above 90 dB re 20 μPa, including 65 days of 100 to 110 dB re 20 μPa at the construction site.

    On average, pinnipeds will be about 30.5 meters (m) (100 feet [ft]) or more from the construction site with a potential minimum of about 15.2 m (50 ft). During 2013 and 2014, measured sound levels from the demolition equipment reaching the pinnipeds did not exceed approximately 90 dB re 20 μPa at the haul-out area closest to the demolition and construction and a peak of about 83 dB re 20 μPa at the mean hauling-out distance (30.5 m). The City of San Diego used the formula and online calculator on the Web site: http://sengpielaudio.com/calculator-distance.htm and measured distances from the sound source to determine the area of potential impacts from in-air sound. Table 1 of the City of San Diego's monitoring report provides mean sound and mean distance from sound sources by the type of equipment and monitoring location. The City of San Diego intends to continue to measure in-air background noise levels in the days immediately prior to, during, and after the construction activities.

    Additional details regarding the construction activities of the Children's Pool Lifeguard Station can be found in the City of San Diego's IHA application. The IHA application can also be found online at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental/construction.htm.

    Comments and Responses

    A notice of preliminary determinations and proposed IHA for the City of San Diego's construction activities as published in the Federal Register on May 19, 2015 (80 FR 28588). During the 30-day public comment period, NMFS received comments from the Marine Mammal Commission (Commission) and one private citizen. The comments are posted online at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental/construction.htm. Following are the substantive comments and NMFS's responses:

    Comment 1: The Commission concurs with NMFS's preliminary findings and recommends that NMFS issue the requested IHA, subject to inclusion of the proposed mitigation, monitoring, and reporting measures.

    Response: NMFS concurs with the Commission's recommendation and has issued the IHA to the City of San Diego.

    Comment 2: One private citizen did not oppose the issuance of an IHA by NMFS and the conduct of the construction activities at the Children's Pool Lifeguard Station at La Jolla, CA. The commenter provided many descriptions and photographs of the public viewing and interacting with Pacific harbor seals on the beach and in the water at the Children's Pool. Also, the commenter provided behavioral descriptions of harbor seals and how they may be acclimated to human presence and noise at this site. Many of the commenter's statements were not germane to the proposed IHA or have not identified or provided scientific publications supporting their statement which limits our ability to respond to commenter's statements.

    Response: As described in detail in the notice of the proposed IHA (80 FR 28588, May 19, 2015), as well as in this document, NMFS does not believe the City of San Diego's construction activities will cause injury, serious injury, or mortality to marine mammals, and no take by injury, serious injury, or mortality is authorized. The required monitoring and mitigation measures that the City of San Diego will implement during the construction activities will further reduce the potential impacts on marine mammals to the lowest level practicable. NMFS anticipates only behavioral disturbance to occur during the conduct of the construction activities at the Children's Pool Lifeguard Station in La Jolla, CA.

    Description of Marine Mammals in the Specified Geographic Area of the Specified Activity

    Three species of pinnipeds are known to or could occur in the Children's Pool planned action area and off the Pacific coastline (see Table 1 below). Pacific harbor seals, California sea lions, and northern elephant seals are the three species of marine mammals that occur and are likely to be found within the immediate vicinity of the activity area. Therefore, these three species are likely to be exposed to effects of the specified activities. A variety of other marine mammals have on occasion been reported in the coastal waters off southern California. These include gray whales, killer whales, bottlenose dolphins, Steller sea lions, northern fur seals, and Guadalupe fur seals. However, none of these species have been reported to occur in the immediate action area of the Children's Pool beach. Therefore, NMFS does not expect, and is not authorizing, incidental take of other marine mammal species from the specified activities. Table 1 below identifies the cetacean and pinnipeds species, their habitat, occurrence, range, abundance, and conservation status in the nearshore area of the general region of the project area.

    Table 1—The Habitat, Occurrence, Range, Abundance, and Conservation Status of Marine Mammals Inhabiting the General Region of the Action Area in the Pacific Ocean off the Southern Coast of California Species Habitat Occurrence Range Best population
  • estimate
  • (minimum) 1
  • ESA 2 MMPA 3
    Mysticetes: Gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus) Coastal and shelf Transient during season migrations North Pacific Ocean, Gulf of California to Arctic—Eastern North Pacific stock 20,990 (20,125) DL—Eastern Pacific stock
  • EN—Western Pacific stock
  • NC—Eastern North Pacific stock
  • D—Western North Pacific stock.
  • Odontocetes: Killer whale (Orcinus orca) Widely distributed Varies on inter-annual basis Cosmopolitan 354 (354)—West Coast Transient stock NL
  • EN—Southern resident population
  • NC
  • D—Southern Resident and AT1 Transient populations.
  • Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) Offshore, inshore, coastal, estuaries Limited, small population within 1 km of shore Tropical and temperate waters between 45° North and South 323 (290)—California Coastal stock NL NC. Long-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus capensis) Inshore Common, more inshore distribution, year-round presence Nearshore and tropical waters 107,016 (76,224)—California stock NL NC. Pinnipeds: Pacific harbor seal (Phoca vitulina richardii) Coastal Common Coastal temperate to polar regions in Northern Hemisphere 30,968 (27,348)—California stock NL NC. Northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris) Coastal, pelagic when not migrating Common Eastern and Central North Pacific—Alaska to Mexico 179,000 (81,368)—California breeding stock NL NC. California sea lion (Zalophus californianus) Coastal, shelf Common Eastern North Pacific Ocean—Alaska to Mexico 296,750 (153,337)—U.S. stock NL NC. Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) Coastal, shelf Rare North Pacific Ocean—Central California to Korea 72,223 (52,847)—Eastern U.S. stock DL—Eastern U.S. stock
  • EN—Western U.S. stock
  • D.
    Northern fur seal (Callorhinus ursinus) Pelagic, offshore Rare North Pacific Ocean—Mexico to Japan 12,844 (6,722)—California stock NL NC—California stock. Guadalupe fur seal (Arctocephalus townsendi) Coastal, shelf Rare California to Baja California, Mexico 7,408 (3,028)—Mexico to California T D. NA = Not available or not assessed. 1 NMFS Marine Mammal Stock Assessment Reports. 2 U.S. Endangered Species Act: EN = Endangered, T = Threatened, DL = Delisted, and NL = Not listed. 3 U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act: D = Depleted, S = Strategic, and NC = Not classified.

    The rocks and beaches at or near the Children's Pool in La Jolla, CA, are almost exclusively Pacific harbor seal hauling-out sites. On infrequent occasions, one or two California sea lions or a single juvenile northern elephant seal have been observed on the sand or rocks at or near the Children's Pool (i.e., breakwater ledge/rocks haul-out area, reef haul-out area, and Casa Beach haul-out area). These sites are not usual haul-out locations for California sea lions and/or northern elephant seals. The City of San Diego commissioned two studies of harbor seal abundance trends at the Children's Pool. Both studies reported that appearances of California sea lions and northern elephant seals are infrequent, but not rare at Children's Pool (Yochem and Stewart, 1998; Hanan, 2004; Hanan & Associates, 2011). During 2013, the City of San Diego observed one juvenile and three adult California sea lions and two juvenile northern elephant seals at the Children's Pool. During 2014, the City of San Diego observed 22 California sea lions (during 19 days) and 30 juvenile elephant seals (during 29 days) at the Children's Pool. Adult sea lions were also observed hauling out on rocks and cliffs near the Children's Pool.

    Pacific Harbor Seal

    Harbor seals are widely distributed in the North Atlantic and North Pacific. Two subspecies exist in the Pacific Ocean: P. v. stejnegeri in the western North Pacific near Japan, and P. v. richardii in the eastern North Pacific. The subspecies in the eastern North Pacific Ocean inhabits near-shore coastal and estuarine areas from Baja California, Mexico, to the Pribilof Islands in Alaska. These seals do not make extensive pelagic migrations, but do travel 300 to 500 kilometers (km) (162 to 270 nautical miles [nmi]) on occasion to find food or suitable breeding areas (Herder, 1986; Harvey and Goley, 2011). Previous assessments of the status of harbor seals have recognized three stocks along the west coast of the continental U.S.: (1) California, (2) Oregon and Washington outer coast waters, and (3) inland waters of Washington. An unknown number of harbor seals also occur along the west coast of Baja California, at least as far south as Isla Asuncion, which is about 100 miles south of Punta Eugenia. Animals along Baja California are not considered to be a part of the California stock because it is not known if there is any demographically significant movement of harbor seals between California and Mexico and there is no international agreement for joint management of harbor seals. Harbor seal presence at haul-out sites is seasonal with peaks in abundance during their pupping and molting periods. Pupping and molting periods are first observed to the south and progress northward up the coast with time (e.g., January to May near San Diego, April to June in Oregon and Washington) (Jeffries, 1984; Jeffries, 1985; Huber et al., 2001; Hanan, 2004; Hanan & Associates, 2011).

    In California, approximately 400 to 600 harbor seal haul-out sites are distributed along the mainland coast and on offshore islands, including intertidal sandbars and ledges, rocky shores and islets, and beaches (Harvey et al., 1995; Hanan, 1996; Lowry et al., 2008). Preferred haul-out sites are those that are protected from the wind and waves, and allow access to deep water for foraging (Perrin et al., 2008). Of the known haul-out sites, 14 locations are rookeries (2 locations have multiple sites, for a total of 17 sites) on or near the mainland of California. The population of harbor seals has grown off the U.S. west coast and has led to new haul-out sites being used in California (Hanan, 1996). Harbor seals are one of the most common and frequently observed marine mammals along the coastal environment.

    Harbor seals have been observed hauling-out and documented giving birth at the Children's Pool since the 1990's (Yochem and Stewart, 1998; Hanan & Associates, 2004). Pacific harbor seals haul-out year-round on beaches and rocks (i.e., breakwater ledge/rocks haul-out area, reef haul-out area, and Casa Beach haul-out area) below the lifeguard tower at Children's Pool. According to Yochem (2005), the Children's Pool beach site is used by harbor seals at all hours of the day and at all tides with the exception of occasional high tide/high swell events in which the entire beach is awash. It is one of the three known haul-out sites for this species in San Diego County. These animals have been observed in this area moving to/from the Children's Pool, exchanging with the rocky reef directly west of and adjacent to the breakwater and with Seal Rock, which is about 150 m (492 ft) west of the Children's Pool. Harbor seals have also been reported on the sandy beach just southwest of the Children's Pool. At low tide, additional space for hauling-out is available on the rocky reef areas outside the retaining wall and on beaches immediately southward. Haul-out times vary by time of year, from less than an hour to many hours. There have been no foraging studies at this site, but harbor seals have been observed in nearshore waters and kelp beds nearby, including La Jolla Cove.

    The Children's Pool area is the only rookery in San Diego County and the only mainland rookery on the U.S. west coast between the border of Mexico and Point Mugu in Ventura County, CA (321.9 km [200 miles]). The number of harbor seals in this area has increased since 1979, and seals are documented to give birth on these beaches during December through May (Hanan, 2004; Hanan & Associates, 2011). The official start to pupping season is December 15. Females in an advanced stage of pregnancy begin to show up on the Children's Pool beach by late October to early November. Several studies have identified harbor seal behavior and estimated harbor seal numbers including patterns of daily and seasonal area use (Yochem and Stewart, 1998; Hanan & Associates, 2011; Linder, 2011). Males, females, and pups (in season) of all ages and stages of development are observed at the Children's Pool and adjacent areas.

    In southern California, a considerable amount of information is known about the movements and ecology of harbor seals, but population structure in the region is not as well known (Stewart and Yochem, 1994, 2000; Keper et al., 2005; Hanan & Associates, 2011). Linder (2011) suggests that this population moves along the California coast and the beach at Children's Pool is part of a “regional network of interconnected” haul-out and pupping sites. Harbor seals often haul-out in protected bays, inlets, and beaches (Reeves et al., 1992). At and near the Children's Pool, harbor seals haul-out on the sand, rocks, and breakwater base in numbers of 0 to 15 harbor seals to a maximum of about 150 to 250 harbor seals depending on the time of day, season, and weather conditions (Hanan, 2004, Hanan & Associates, 2011; Linder, 2011). Because space is limited behind the breakwater at the Children's Pool, Linder (2011) predicted that it is unlikely that numbers will exceed 250 harbor seals. Based on monitoring from a camera, Western Alliance for Nature (WAN) reported that during the month of May 2013 up to 302 harbor seals were documented resting on the Children's Pool beach at any given time, with additional harbor seals on the rocks and in the water (Wan, personal communication). Almost every day, except for weekends, over 250 individual harbor seals were present on the beach. During the months of September 2012 to January 2013, the average number of harbor seals on the beach varied from 83 to 120 animals before people entered the beach or when people were behind the rope. During this same period, when people were on the beach and/or across the rope, the average number of harbor seals varied from 7 to 27. The City of San Diego observed 12 counts totaling more than 200 and a maximum of 238 animals during the 2014 to 2015 construction window. The weather (i.e., wind and/or rain) and the proximity of humans to the beach likely affect the presence of harbor seals on the beach.

    Radio-tagging and photographic studies have revealed that only a portion of seals utilizing a hauling-out site are present at any specific moment or day (Hanan, 1996, 2005; Gilbert et al., 2005; Harvey and Goley, 2011; and Linder, 2011). These radio-tagging studies indicate that harbor seals in Santa Barbara County haul-out about 70 to 90% of the days annually (Hanan, 1996). The City of San Diego expects harbor seals to behave similarly at the Children's Pool. Tagged and branded harbor seals from other haul-out sites have been observed by Dr. Hanan at the Children's Pool. For example, harbor seals with red-stained heads and coats, which are typical of some harbor seals in San Francisco Bay have been observed at Children's Pool, indicating that seals tagged at other locations and haul-out sites visit the site. A few seals have been tagged at the Children's Pool and there are no reports of these tagged animals at other sites (probably because of very low re-sighting efforts and a small sample size [10 individuals radio-tagged]), which may indicate a degree of site-fidelity (Yochem and Stewart, 1998). These studies further indicate that seals are constantly moving along the coast including to/from the offshore islands and that there may be as many as 600 individual harbor seals using Children's Pool during a year, but certainly not all at one time.

    The City of San Diego has fitted a polynomial curve to the number of expected harbor seals hauling-out at the Children's Pool by month (see Figure 1 of the IHA application and Figure 2 below) based on counts at the Children's Pool by Hanan (2004), Hanan & Associates (2011), Yochem and Stewart (1998), and the Children's Pool docents (Hanan, 2004). A three percent annual growth rate of the population was applied to Yochem and Stewart (1998) counts to normalize them to Hanan & Associates and docent counts in 2003 to 2004. Based on monitoring during 2013 to 2014, Dr. Hanan estimates that similar numbers of harbor seals hauling-out at Children's Pool during 2011 and will expect similar numbers in 2015 to 2016.

    A complete count of all harbor seals in California is impossible because some are always away from the haul-out sites. A complete pup count (as is done for other pinnipeds in California) is also not possible because harbor seals are precocial, with pups entering the water almost immediately after birth. Population size is estimated by counting the number of seals ashore during the peak haul-out period (May to July) and by multiplying this count by a correction factor equal to the inverse of the estimated fraction of seals on land. Based on the most recent harbor seal counts (2009) and including a revised correction factor, the estimated population of harbor seals in California is 30,196 individuals (NMFS, 2011), with an estimated minimum population of 26,667 for the California stock of harbor seals. Counts of harbor seals in California increased from 1981 to 2004. The harbor seal is not listed under the ESA and the California stock is not considered depleted or strategic under the MMPA (Carretta et al., 2010).

    California Sea Lion

    The California sea lion is a full species, separate from the Galapagos sea lion (Zalophus wollebaeki) and the extinct Japanese sea lion (Zalophus japonicus) (Brunner, 2003; Wolf et al., 2007; Schramm et al., 2009). This species of sea lion is found from southern Mexico to southwestern Canada. The breeding areas of the California sea lion are on islands located in southern California, western Baja California, and the Gulf of California. A genetic analysis of California sea lions identified five genetically distinct geographic populations: (1) Pacific Temperate, (2) Pacific Subtropical, (3) Southern Gulf of California, (4) Central Gulf of California, and (5) Northern Gulf of California (Schramm et al., 2009). In that study, the Pacific Temperate population included rookeries within U.S. waters and the Coronados Islands just south of U.S./Mexico border. Animals from the Pacific Temperate population range north into Canadian waters, and movement of animals between U.S. waters and Baja California waters has been documented, though the distance between the major U.S. and Baja California rookeries is at least 740.8 km (400 nmi). Males from western Baja California rookeries may spend most of the year in the United States.

    The entire California sea lion population cannot be counted because all age and sex classes are never ashore at the same time. In lieu of counting all sea lions, pups are counted during the breeding season (because this is the only age class that is ashore in its entirety), and the numbers of births is estimated from the pup count. The size of the population is then estimated from the number of births and the proportion of pups in the population. Censuses are conducted in July after all pups have been born. There are no rookeries at or near the Children's Pool, although in the past two years births have been reported at La Jolla Cove (about 0.75 km [0.47 miles] east of Children's Pool). Population estimates for the U.S. stock of California sea lions range from a minimum of 153,337 to an average estimate of 296,750 animals. They are considered to be at carrying capacity of the environment. The California sea lion is not listed under the ESA and the U.S. stock is not considered depleted or strategic under the MMPA.

    Northern Elephant Seal

    Northern elephant seals breed and give birth in California (U.S.) and Baja California (Mexico), primarily on offshore islands (Stewart et al., 1994) from December to March (Stewart and Huber, 1993). Spatial segregation in foraging areas between males and females is evident from satellite tag data (Le Beouf et al., 2000). Males migrate to the Gulf of Alaska and western Aleutian Islands along the continental shelf to feed on benthic prey, while females migrate to pelagic areas in the Gulf of Alaska and the central North Pacific to feed on pelagic prey (Le Beouf et al., 2000). Adults return to land between March and August to molt, with males returning later than females. Adults return to their feeding areas again between their spring/summer molting and their winter breeding seasons.

    Populations of northern elephant seals in the U.S. and Mexico have recovered after being nearly hunted to extinction (Stewart et al., 1994). Northern elephant seals underwent a severe population bottleneck and loss of genetic diversity when the population was reduced to an estimated 10 to 30 individuals (Hoelzel et al., 2002). However, movement and genetic exchange continues between rookeries when they start breeding (Huber et al., 1991). The California breeding population is now demographically isolated from the Baja California population. The California breeding population is considered in NMFS's stock assessment report to be a separate stock.

    A complete population count of elephant seals is not possible because all age classes are not ashore simultaneously. Elephant seal population size is typically estimated by counting the number of pups produced and multiplying by the inverse of the expected ratio of pups to total animals (McCann, 1985). Based on counts of elephant seals at U.S. rookeries in 2010, Lowry et al. (2014) reported that 40,684 pups were born. Lowry et al. (2014) applied a multiplier of 4.4 to extrapolate from total pup counts to a population estimate of approximately 179,000 elephant seals. This multiplier is derived from life tables based on published elephant seal fecundity and survival rates, and reflects a population with approximately 23% pups (Cooper and Stewart, 1983; Le Boeuf and Reiter, 1988; Hindell 1991; Huber et al., 1991; Reiter and Le Boeuf, 1991; Clinton and Le Boeuf, 1993; Le Boeuf et al., 1994; Pistorius and Bester, 2002; McMahon et al., 2003; Pistorius et al., 2004; Condit et al., 2014). The minimum population size for northern elephant seals in 2010 can be estimated very conservatively as 81,368, which is equal to twice the observed pup count (to account for the pups and their mothers). The population is reported to have grown at 3.8% annually since 1988 (Lowry et al., 2014). Northern elephant seals are not listed under the ESA and are not considered as depleted or a strategic stock under the MMPA.

    Further information on the biology and local distribution of these marine mammal species and others in the region can be found in the City of San Diego's IHA application, which is available upon request (see ADDRESSES), and the NMFS Marine Mammal Stock Assessment Reports, which are available online at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/sars/.

    Potential Effects of the Specified Activity on Marine Mammals

    This section includes a summary and discussion of the ways that the types of stressors associated with the planned specified activity (e.g., construction equipment and activities) have been observed to impact marine mammals. This discussion may also include reactions that we consider to rise to the level of a take and those that we do not consider to rise to the level of take (for example, with acoustics), we may include a discussion of studies that showed animals not reacting at all to sound or exhibiting barely measureable avoidance). This section is intended as a background of potential effects and does not consider either the specific manner in which this activity will be carried out or the mitigation that will be implemented, or how either of those will shape the anticipated impacts from this specific activity. The “Estimated Take by Incidental Harassment” section later in this document will include a quantitative analysis of the number of individuals that are expected to be taken by this activity. The “Negligible Impact Analysis” section will include the analysis of how this specific activity will impact marine mammals and will consider the content of this section, the “Estimated Take by Incidental Harassment” section, the “Mitigation” section, and the “Anticipated Effects on Marine Mammal Habitat” section to draw conclusions regarding the likely impacts of this activity on the reproductive success or survivorship of individuals and from that on the affected marine mammal populations or stocks.

    When considering the influence of various kinds of sound on the marine environment, it is necessary to understand that different kinds of marine life are sensitive to different frequencies of sound. Based on available behavioral data, audiograms have been derived using auditory evoked potentials, anatomical modeling, and other data, Southall et al. (2007) designate “functional hearing groups” for marine mammals and estimate the lower and upper frequencies of functional hearing of the groups. The functional groups and the associated frequencies are indicated below (though animals are less sensitive to sounds at the outer edge of their functional range and most sensitive to sounds of frequencies within a smaller range somewhere in the middle of their functional hearing range):

    • Low-frequency cetaceans (13 species of mysticetes): functional hearing is estimated to occur between approximately 7 Hz and 30 kHz;

    • Mid-frequency cetaceans (32 species of dolphins, six species of larger toothed whales, and 19 species of beaked and bottlenose whales): functional hearing is estimated to occur between approximately 150 Hz and 160 kHz;

    • High-frequency cetaceans (eight species of true porpoises, six species of river dolphins, Kogia spp., the franciscana (Pontoporia blainvillei), and four species of cephalorhynchids): functional hearing is estimated to occur between approximately 200 Hz and 180 kHz; and

    • Phocid pinnipeds in water: functional hearing is estimated to occur between approximately 75 Hz and 100 kHz;

    • Otariid pinnipeds in water: functional hearing is estimated to occur between approximately 100 Hz and 40 kHz.

    As mentioned previously in this document, 3 marine mammal species (0 cetacean and 3 pinniped species) are likely to occur in the planned action area. Of the 3 pinniped species likely to occur in the City of San Diego's planned action area, 2 are classified as phocid pinnipeds (i.e., Pacific harbor seal and northern elephant seal) and, 1 is classified as an otariid pinniped (i.e., California sea lion) (Southall et al., 2007). The City of San Diego requests authorization for Level B harassment of these 3 species of marine mammals (i.e., Pacific harbor seals, California sea lions, and northern elephant seals) incidental to the use of equipment and its propagation of in-air noise from various acoustic mechanisms associated with the construction activities of the Children's Pool Lifeguard Station at La Jolla, CA discussed above. NMFS considers a species' functional hearing group when we analyze the effects of exposure to sound on marine mammals.

    The notice of the proposed IHA (79 FR 8160, February 11, 2014) included a discussion of the effects of in-air sounds from construction activities on pinnipeds, which included tolerance, behavioral disturbance, and hearing impairment. NMFS refers readers to the City of San Diego's IHA application and NMFS's EA for additional information on the behavioral reactions (or lack thereof) by all types of marine mammals to high levels of in-air sounds.

    The potential effects to marine mammals described in this section of the document generally do not take into consideration the monitoring and mitigation measures described later in this document (see the “Mitigation” and “Monitoring and Reporting” sections), which are designed to effect the least practicable impact on affected marine mammal species or stocks.

    Anticipated Effects on Marine Mammal Habitat

    The rocks and beaches at or near the Children's Pool in La Jolla, CA, are almost exclusively Pacific harbor seal hauling-out sites. Harbor seals have been observed hauling-out and documented giving birth at the Children's Pool since the 1990's (Yochem and Stewart, 1998; Hanan & Associates, 2004). It is one of the three known haul-out sites for this species in San Diego County and is the only rookery in San Diego County and the only mainland rookery on the U.S. west coast between the border of Mexico and Point Mugu in Ventura County, CA. More information on this population of Pacific harbor seals can be found in the “Description of Marine Mammals in the Specified Geographic Area of the Specified Activity.”

    The primary anticipated adverse impacts upon habitat consist of temporary changes to the in-air acoustic environment, as detailed in the notice of the proposed IHA (79 FR 8160, February 11, 2014). These changes are minor, temporary, and limited in duration to the period of the construction activities. The temporary impacts on the acoustic environment are not expected to have any permanent effects on the species or stock populations of marine mammals occurring at the Children's Pool.

    All construction activities are beyond or outside the habitat areas where harbor seals and other pinnipeds are found. Visual barriers will be erected to shield construction activities from the visual perception and potentially dampen acoustic effects on pinnipeds. Because the public occasionally harasses the harbor seals with various activities, the NMFS-qualified PSO monitoring the site will make observations and attempt to distinguish and attribute any observed harassment to the public or to the construction activities and give all details in the observation report. If any short-term, temporary impacts to habitat due to sounds or visual presence of equipment and workers did occur, the City of San Diego will expect pinniped behavior to return to pre-construction conditions soon after the activities are completed, which is anticipated to occur before the next pupping season (Hanan & Associates, 2011).

    The area of habitat affected is small and the effects are localized and temporary; thus there is no reason to expect any significant reduction in habitat available for foraging and other habitat uses. No aspect of the project is anticipated to have any permanent effect on the location or use of pinniped haul-outs or related habitat features in the area (Hanan & Associates, 2011). Further, the site is already very disturbed by member of the public who come to the area during the day and night to view the pinnipeds. The City of San Diego and NMFS do not project any loss or modification of physical habitat for these species. Any potential temporary loss or modification of habitat due to in-air noise or visual presence of equipment and workers during the construction activities is expected by the City of San Diego and NMFS to be quickly restored after construction activities end and all equipment and barriers are removed.

    For these reasons, NMFS anticipates that the action will result in no impacts to marine mammal habitat beyond rendering the areas immediately around the Children's Pool less desirable during construction activities.

    Mitigation

    In order to issue an Incidental Take Authorization (ITA) under section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA, NMFS must prescribe, where applicable, the permissible methods of taking pursuant to such activity, and other means of effecting the least practicable impact on such species or stock and its habitat, paying particular attention to rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar significance, and on the availability of such species or stock for taking for certain subsistence uses (where relevant).

    The City of San Diego has established the Children's Pool as a shared beach for pinnipeds and people (except during pupping season when the beach has been closed to the public). In the past, during the pupping season, a rope was placed along the upper part of the beach with signage to inform and designate how close people can come to the haul-out area and the pinnipeds. The timeframe for the rope has been extended so that it is now present year-round. The construction activities are planned to occur outside the harbor seal pupping and weaning periods.

    The City of San Diego will implement the following mitigation measures to help ensure the least practicable impact on marine mammals:

    (1) Prohibition of construction during pupping season;

    (2) Daily construction timing;

    (3) Construction of visual and acoustic barriers;

    (4) Use of Protected Species Observers;

    (5) Establishment of buffer zones; and

    (6) Potential abandonment survey.

    Visual and acoustic barriers were constructed in 2013 to mitigate the effects of the construction activities. The visual and acoustic barriers were constructed of plywood, 1.2 to 2.4 m (4 to 8 ft) tall stood on end and held up by wood posts. The sheets of plywood were stood upright and held up with two wooden two by fours hinged to the top of the frame, so they could be collapsed and moved depending on the location and need for access by demolition and construction equipment. The barriers were placed at the site with input from NMFS Southwest Regional Office (SWRO) personnel so that they will hide as advantageously as possible the construction activities that may be seen by pinnipeds. The barriers appear to dampen the acoustic sound sources, but do not prevent sound from permeating the environment. The barriers also appear to hide and reduce visual cues that may stimulate behavioral reactions from the pinnipeds on the beach below. As the site is a beach with construction along the cliff and on flat areas above the cliff, a complete barrier cannot be constructed to hide all construction activities for the project. Once the walls of the lifeguard station's building are in place, much of the construction activities will take place above the Children's Pool beach (i.e., out of sight) as well as inside the building (i.e., a visual and partial sound barrier). There will be no activities in the ocean or closer to the water's edge and since harbor seals mate underwater in the ocean, there will be no impacts on mating activities. California sea lions and northern elephant seals are such infrequent users of this area and their rookeries are so far away (at least 104.6 km [65 miles] at offshore islands) that there will be no adverse impact on these species.

    As part of the public comment process for the issuance of the previous 2013 IHA, NMFS modified several of the monitoring and mitigation measures included in the proposed IHA (78 FR 25958, May 3, 2013) for practicability reasons, and also included several additional measures in the final IHA (78 FR 40705, July 8, 2013). These included changing the pupping season from December 15th to May 15th and prohibiting construction activities during this time; extending construction activities from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. to help assure that more work will be completed during the 2013 construction window; continuing monitoring for 60 days following the end of construction activities; and triggering a shut-down of construction activities in the unexpected event of abandonment of the Children's Pool site. The mitigation measure on scheduling the heaviest construction activities (with the highest sound levels) during the annual period of lowest haul-out occurrence (October to November) was originally included in the City of San Diego's Mitigated Negative Declaration when it was anticipated that the City of San Diego would obtain an IHA in the summer of 2012 and begin demolition and construction activities in the fall of 2012. This requirement has been removed because it is no longer practicable due to logistics, scheduling and to allow the planned activities to be completed before the next pupping season.

    The activities planned by the applicant includes a variety of measures calculated to minimize potential impacts on marine mammals, including:

    Prohibition of Construction During Pupping Season

    Construction shall be prohibited during the Pacific harbor seal pupping season (December 15th to May 15th) and for an additional two weeks thereafter to accommodate lactation and weaning of late season pups. Thus, construction shall be prohibited from December 15th to June 1st.

    Daily Construction Timing

    Construction activities shall be scheduled, to the maximum extent practicable, during the daily period of lowest haul-out occurrence, from approximately 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. However, construction activities may be extended from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to help assure that the project can be completed during the 2015 construction window. Harbor seals typically have the highest daily or hourly haul-out period during the afternoon from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

    Construction of Visual and Acoustic Barriers

    A visual and acoustic barrier will be erected and maintained for the duration of the project to shield construction activities from beach view. The temporary barrier shall consist of 1/2 to 3/4 inch (1.3 to 1.9 centimeters [cm]) plywood constructed 1.8 to 2.4 m (6 to 8 ft) high depending on the location. The City of San Diego does not believe that a complete barrier can be constructed to hide all of the construction activities. Once the walls of the lifeguard station building are in place, much of the construction activities will take place on the bluff above the beach (thus out of sight) and inside the building, which will provide a visual and partial sound barrier.

    Protected Species Observers

    Trained PSOs will be used to detect, document, and minimize impacts (i.e., possible shut-down of noise-generating operations [turning off the equipment so that in-air sounds associated with construction no longer exceed levels that are potentially harmful to marine mammals]) to marine mammals. More information about this measure is contained in the “Monitoring” section (below).

    Establishment of Buffer Zones

    The City of San Diego shall establish buffer zones (i.e., where sound pressure levels are at or above 90 dB re 20 µPa for harbor seals and/or at or above 100 dB re 20 µPa for all pinniped species except harbor seals [for in-air noise]) around the construction activities so that in-air sounds associated with the construction activities no longer exceed levels that are potentially harmful to marine mammals.

    Timing Constraints for In-Air Noise

    To minimize in-air noise impacts on marine mammals, construction activities shall be limited to the period when the species of concern will be least likely to be in the project area. The construction window for construction activities shall be from June 1 to December 15, 2015. The IHA may extend to June 1 through June 27, 2016 to finish the construction activities if needed. Avoiding periods when the highest number of marine mammal individuals are in the action area is another mitigation measure to protect marine mammals from the construction activities.

    Potential Abandonment Survey

    After the first two months of monitoring during construction activities, the City of San Diego will take the mean number of observed harbor seals at the Children's Pool in a 24-hour period across that two months and compare it to the mean of the lower 95 percent confidence interval in Figure 1 (see below). If the observed mean is lower, the City of San Diego will shut-down construction activities and work with NMFS and other harbor seal experts (e.g., Mark Lowry, Dr. Sarah Allen, Dr. Pamela Yochem, and/or Dr. Brent Stewart) to develop and implement a revised mitigation plan to further reduce the number of takes and potential impacts. Once a week every week thereafter, the City of San Diego will take the same mean of observed harbor seals across the previous three tide cycles (a tide cycle is approximately 2 weeks) and compare it to the 95% lower confidence interval in Figure 1 for the same time period. If the observed mean is lower, the City of San Diego will shut-down and take the action described above. If abandonment of the site is likely, monitoring will be expanded away from the Children's Pool to determine if animals have been temporarily displaced to known haul-out sites in the southern California area (e.g., north end of Torrey Pines, cave on the exposed ocean side of Point Loma, etc.). For the purpose of this action, NMFS will consider the Children's Pool site to possibly be abandoned if zero harbor seals are present each day during the daytime and nighttime hours for at least three tide cycles (a tide cycle is approximately 2 weeks), but this cannot be confirmed until observations continue to be zero during a full pupping and molting season.

    Figure 1. Estimated total harbor seals by month based on counts at the site by Hanan & Associates, Yochem and Stewart, and Children's Pool docents. The polynomial curve fits to counts by months, which includes the projected mean as well as the upper 95% and lower 95% confidence intervals, was used to estimate harbor seals expected to be hauled-out by day.

    EN13JY15.170

    More information regarding the City of San Diego's monitoring and mitigation measures for the planned construction activities at the Children's Pool Lifeguard Station can be found in the IHA application.

    Mitigation Conclusions

    NMFS has carefully evaluated the applicant's mitigation measures and considered a range of other measures in the context of ensuring that NMFS prescribes the means of effecting the least practicable impact on the affected marine mammal species and stocks and their habitat. NMFS's evaluation of potential measures included consideration of the following factors in relation to one another:

    • The manner in which, and the degree to which, the successful implementation of the measure is expected to minimize adverse impacts to marine mammals;

    • The proven or likely efficacy of the specific measure to minimize adverse impacts as planned; and

    • The practicability of the measure for applicant implementation, including consideration of personnel safety, practicality of implementation, and impact on the effectiveness of the activity.

    Any mitigation measure(s) prescribed by NMFS should be able to accomplish, have a reasonable likelihood of accomplishing (based on current science), or contribute to the accomplishment of one or more of the general goals listed below:

    (1) Avoidance or minimization of injury or death of marine mammals wherever possible (goals 2, 3, and 4 may contribute to this goal).

    (2) A reduction in the numbers of marine mammals (total number or number at biologically important time or location) exposed to received levels from construction equipment, or other activities expected to result in the take of marine mammals (this goal may contribute to 1, above, or to reducing harassment takes only).

    (3) A reduction in the number of times (total number or number at biologically important time or location) individuals would be exposed to received levels from construction equipment, or other activities expected to result in the take of marine mammals (this goal may contribute to 1, above, or to reducing harassment takes only).

    (4) A reduction in the intensity of exposures (either total number or number at biologically important time or location) to received levels from construction equipment, or other activities expected to result in the take of marine mammals (this goal may contribute to a, above, or to reducing the severity of harassment takes only).

    (5) Avoidance of minimization of adverse effects to marine mammal habitat, paying special attention to the food base, activities that block or limit passage to or from biologically important areas, permanent destruction of habitat, or temporary destruction/disturbance of habitat during a biologically important time.

    (6) For monitoring directly related to mitigation—an increase in the probability of detecting marine mammals, thus allowing for more effective implementation of the mitigation.

    Based on NMFS's evaluation of the applicant's measures, as well as other measures considered by NMFS or recommended by the public, NMFS has determined that the mitigation measures provide the means of effecting the least practicable impact on marine mammal species or stocks and their habitat, paying particular attention to rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar significance.

    Monitoring and Reporting

    In order to issue an ITA for an activity, section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA states that NMFS must, where applicable, set forth “requirements pertaining to the monitoring and reporting of such taking.” The MMPA implementing regulations at 50 CFR 216.104 (a)(13) require that requests for ITAs include the suggested means of accomplishing the necessary monitoring and reporting that will result in increased knowledge of the species and of the level of taking or impacts on populations of marine mammals that are expected to be present in the action area.

    Monitoring measures prescribed by NMFS should accomplish one or more of the following general goals:

    (1) An increase in the probability of detecting marine mammals, both within the mitigation zone (thus allowing for more effective implementation of the mitigation) and in general to generate more data to contribute to the analyses mentioned below;

    (2) An increase in our understanding of how many marine mammals are likely to be exposed to levels from construction equipment that we associate with specific adverse effects, such as behavioral harassment, TTS or PTS;

    (3) An increase in our understanding of how marine mammals respond to stimuli expected to result in take and how anticipated adverse effects on individuals (in different ways and to varying degrees) may impact the population, species, or stock (specifically through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival) through any of the following methods:

    • Behavioral observations in the presence of stimuli compared to observations in the absence of stimuli (need to be able to accurately predict received level, distance from source, and other pertinent information);

    • Physiological measurements in the presence of stimuli compared to observations in the absence of stimuli (need to be able to accurately predict receive level, distance from the source, and other pertinent information);

    • Distribution and/or abundance comparisons in times or areas with concentrated stimuli versus times or areas without stimuli;

    (4) An increased knowledge of the affected species; and

    (5) An increase in our understanding of the effectiveness of certain mitigation and monitoring measures.

    Monitoring

    The City of San Diego has developed a monitoring plan (see Appendix I, Mitigated Negative Declaration in the IHA application) based on discussions between the project biologist, Dr. Doyle Hanan, and NMFS biologists. The plan has been vetted by City of San Diego planners and reviewers. The plan has been formally presented to the public for review and comment. The City of San Diego has responded in writing and in public testimony (see City of San Diego Council Hearing, December 14, 2011) to all public concerns.

    The monitoring plan involves surveying prior to construction activities, monitoring during construction activities by NMFS-approved PSOs with high-resolution binoculars and handheld digital sound level meters (measuring devices in the 30 to 130 dB re 20 µPa range), and post-construction monitoring. The City of San Diego would include sound measurements at and near the construction site in their initial survey prior to the activities as a background and baseline for the project. While no specific acoustic study is planned, the City of San Diego's Mitigated Negative Declaration states that marine mammal monitoring shall be conducted for three to five days prior to construction and shall include hourly systematic counts of pinnipeds using the beach, Seal Rock, and associated reef areas. Monitoring three to five days prior to construction will provide baseline data regarding recent haul-out behavior and patterns as well as background noise levels near the time of the construction activities.

    During the construction activities, monitoring shall assess behavior and potential behavioral responses to construction noise and activities. PSOs would observe the construction activities from a station along the breakwater wall and from the base of the cliff below the construction area. PSOs would be on site approximately 30 minutes before the start of construction activities and would remain on site until 30 minutes after activities have ceased. Visual digital recordings and photographs shall be used to document individuals and behavioral responses to construction. The City of San Diego (i.e., PSOs) plans to make hourly counts of the number of pinnipeds present and record sound or visual events that result in behavioral responses and changes, whether during construction or from public stimuli. During these events, pictures and video will also be taken when possible. The “Mitigated Negative Declaration” states “monitoring shall assess behavior and potential behavioral responses to construction noise and activities. Visual digital recordings and photographs shall be used to document individuals and behavioral responses to construction.”

    Monitors will have authority to stop construction as necessary depending on sound levels, pinniped presence, and distance from sound sources. Daily monitoring reports would be maintained for periodic summary reports to the City of San Diego and to NMFS. Observations would be entered into and maintained on Hanan & Associates computers. The City of San Diego plans to follow the reporting requirements in the Mitigated Negative Declaration, which states that “the biologist shall document field activity via the Consultant Site Visit Record. The Consultant Site Visit Record shall be either emailed or faxed to the City of San Diego's Mitigation Monitoring Coordination process (MMC) on the 1st day of monitoring, the 1st week of each month, the last day of monitoring, and immediately in the case of any undocumented discovery. The project biologist shall submit a final construction monitoring report to MMC within 30 days of construction completion.” The MMC “coordinates the monitoring of development projects and requires that changes are approved and implemented to be in conformance with the permit requirements and to minimize any damage to the environment.” These documents will also be sent to NMFS. Finally, the City of San Diego has modified its monitoring program to include 60 days of monitoring post-construction activities. Following construction, the City of San Diego would have a program of onsite PSOs that would randomly select a day per week to monitor.

    NMFS notes that the WAN's La Jolla Harbor Seal Webcam was attached to the old (now demolished) lifeguard station and is no longer available online (http://www.wanconservancy.org/la_jolla_harbor_seal_earthcam.htm). The City of San Diego has stated that there is no suitable place to mount the camera at the construction site. Therefore, the City of San Diego cannot do periodic checks using the webcam for monitoring purposes as required by the 2013 IHA. However, the camera was not expected to replace NMFS-qualified PSOs at the site making accurate counts, measuring sound levels and observing the public and the construction, as well as the harbor seals. In the old camera view, a person may have been able to see visual evidence of Level B harassment but probably would not have been able to distinguish between harassment from construction activities and harassment from the public since the camera had a limited scope and only showed the Children's Pool beach and pinnipeds (usually a specific portion of the beach, but not the reef nor nearby beaches).

    Consistent with NMFS procedures, the following marine mammal monitoring and reporting shall be performed for the action:

    (1) The PSO shall be approved by NMFS prior to construction activities.

    (2) The NMFS-approved PSO shall attend the project site prior to, during, and after construction activities cease each day throughout the construction window.

    (3) The PSO shall search for marine mammals within the Children's Pool area.

    (4) The PSO shall be present during construction activities to observe for the presence of marine mammals in the vicinity of the specified activity. All such activity would occur during daylight hours (i.e., 30 minutes after sunrise and 30 minutes before sunset). If inclement weather limits visibility within the area of effect, the PSO would perform visual scans to the extent conditions allow.

    (5) If marine mammals are sighted by the PSO within the acoustic threshold areas, the PSO shall record the number of marine mammals within the area of effect and the duration of their presence while the noise-generating activity is occurring. The PSO would also note whether the marine mammals appeared to respond to the noise and, if so, the nature of that response. The PSO shall record the following information: date and time of initial sighting, tidal stage, weather conditions, Beaufort sea state, species, behavior (activity, group cohesiveness, direction and speed of travel, etc.), number, group composition, distance to sound source, number of animals impacted, construction activities occurring at time of sighting, and monitoring and mitigation measures implemented (or not implemented). The observations would be reported to NMFS.

    (6) A final report will be submitted summarizing all in-air acoustic effects from construction activities and marine mammal monitoring during the time of the authorization, and any long term impacts from the project.

    A written log of dates and times of monitoring activity will be kept. The log shall report the following information:

    • Time of observer arrival on site;

    • Time of the commencement of in-air noise generating activities, and description of the activities;

    • Distances to all marine mammals relative to the sound source;

    • Distances from the sound meter to each sound-producing activity when conducting sound measurements;

    • For harbor seal observations, notes on seal behavior during noise-generating activity, as described above, and on the number and distribution of seals observed in the project vicinity;

    • For observations of all marine mammals other than harbor seals, the time and duration of each animal's presence in the project vicinity; the number of animals observed; the behavior of each animal, including any response to noise-generating activities;

    • Time of the cessation of in-air noise generating activities; and

    • Time of observer departure from site.

    All monitoring data collected during construction would be included in the biological monitoring notes to be submitted. A final report summarizing the construction monitoring and any general trends observed will also be submitted to NMFS within 90 days after monitoring has ended during the period of the lifeguard station construction.

    Reporting

    The City of San Diego will notify NMFS Headquarters and the NMFS Southwest Regional Office prior to initiation of the construction activities. A draft final report must be submitted to NMFS within 90 days after the conclusion of the construction activities of the Children's Pool Lifeguard Station. The report would include a summary of the information gathered pursuant to the monitoring requirements set forth in the IHA, including dates and times of operations and all marine mammal sightings (dates, times, locations, species, behavioral observations [activity, group cohesiveness, direction and speed of travel, etc.], tidal stage, weather conditions, Beaufort sea state and wind force, associated construction activities). A final report must be submitted to the Regional Administrator within 30 days after receiving comments from NMFS on the draft final report. If no comments are received from NMFS, the draft final report would be considered to be the final report.

    While the IHA does not authorize injury (i.e., Level A harassment), serious injury, or mortality, should the applicant, contractor, monitor or any other individual associated with the construction project observe an injured or dead marine mammal, the incident (regardless of cause) will be reported to NMFS as soon as practicable. The report should include species or description of animal, condition of animal, location, time first found, observed behaviors (if alive) and photo or video, if available.

    In the unanticipated event that the City of San Diego discovers a live stranded marine mammal (sick and/or injured) at Children's Pool, they shall immediately contact Sea World's stranded animal hotline at 1-800-541-7235. Sea World shall also be notified if a dead stranded pinniped is found so that a necropsy can be performed. In all cases, NMFS shall be notified as well, but for immediate response purposes, Sea World shall be contacted first.

    Reporting Prohibited Take—In the unanticipated event that the specified activity clearly causes the take of a marine mammal in a manner prohibited by this IHA, such as an injury (Level A harassment), serious injury, or mortality, the City of San Diego shall immediately cease the specified activities and immediately report the incident to the Chief of the Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, at 301-427-8401 and/or by email to [email protected], [email protected], and the West Coast Regional Stranding Coordinator (562-980-3230). The report must include the following information:

    • Time, date, and location (latitude/longitude) of the incident;

    • The type of activity involved;

    • Description of the circumstances during and leading up to the incident;

    • Status of all sound source use in the 24 hours preceding the incident; water depth; environmental conditions (e.g., wind speed and direction, Beaufort sea state, cloud cover, and visibility);

    • Description of marine mammal observations in the 24 hours preceding the incident; species identification or description of the animal(s) involved;

    • The fate of the animal(s); and photographs or video footage of the animal (if equipment is available).

    Activities shall not resume until NMFS is able to review the circumstances of the prohibited take. NMFS shall work with the City of San Diego to determine the action necessary to minimize the likelihood of further prohibited take and ensure MMPA compliance. The City of San Diego may not resume its activities until notified by NMFS via letter, email, or telephone.

    Reporting an Injured or Dead Marine Mammal With an Unknown Cause of Death—In the event that the City of San Diego discovers an injured or dead marine mammal, and the lead PSO determines that the cause of the injury or death is unknown and the death is relatively recent (i.e., in less than a moderate state of decomposition as described in the next paragraph), the City of San Diego will immediately report the incident to the Chief of the Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, at 301-427-8401, and/or by email to [email protected], [email protected], and the NMFS West Coast Regional Office (1-866-767-6114), and/or to the West Coast Regional Stranding Coordinator (562-980-3230). The report must include the same information identified above. Activities may continue while NMFS reviews the circumstances of the incident. NMFS will work with the City of San Diego to determine whether modification of the activities is appropriate.

    Reporting an Injured or Dead Marine Mammal Not Related to the Activities—In the event that the City of San Diego discovers an injured or dead marine mammal, and the lead PSO determines that the injury or death is not associated with or related to the activities authorized (e.g., previously wounded animal, carcass with moderate to advanced decomposition, or scavenger damage), the City of San Diego shall report the incident to the Chief of the Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, at 301-427-8401, and/or by email to [email protected], [email protected], and the NMFS West Coast Regional Office (1-866-767-6114) and/or to the West Coast Regional Stranding Coordinator (562-980-3230) within 24 hours of the discovery. The City of San Diego shall provide photographs or video footage (if available) or other documentation of the stranded animal sighting to NMFS and the Marine Mammal Stranding Network. Activities may continue while NMFS reviews the circumstances of the incident.

    Monitoring Results From Previously Authorized Activities 2013 to 2014

    Hanan & Associates, Inc., on behalf of the City of San Diego, conducted marine mammal and in-air sound monitoring at six locations during demolition and construction activities at the Children's Pool Lifeguard Station in La Jolla, California from June 3, 2013 to February 12, 2014. Demolition and construction activities began on July 10, 2013 and were halted for the Pacific harbor seal pupping season (December 15, 2013 to June 1, 2014). During 115 days of visual and acoustic observations, Hanan & Associates counted a total of 61,631 Pacific harbor seals and 26,037 people. During the 2013 demolition and construction activities, Hanan & Associates observed a total of 15,673 takes by Level B harassment (i.e., alerts, movements, and flushes) that could be attributed to demolition and construction activities (5,095 takes), the general public (8,639 takes), and other sources (1,939 takes). As of April 15, 2014, at least 60 harbor seal pups (including 2 still births) have been born at the Children's Pool and there has been no indication of abandonment. In addition to the Pacific harbor seal sightings, PSOs recorded 11 sightings of cetaceans (gray whales and bottlenose dolphins), 4 sightings of California sea lions (1 juvenile, 3 adult), and 2 northern elephant seals (both juveniles) at the Children's Pool.

    Hanan & Associates recorded mean in-air sound levels of 69.2 dB re 20 µPa (range of 55.6 to 93.7 dB re 20 µPa) during non-demolition and construction activities and 70.3 dB re 20 µPa (range of 50.7 to 103.1 dB re 20 µPa) during demolition and construction activities. During 2013, measured sound levels from the demolition equipment reaching the pinnipeds did not exceed approximately 90 dB re 20 µPa at the haul-out area closest to the demolition and construction activities, nor did they exceed a peak of about 83 dB re 20 µPa at the mean hauling-out distance (30.5 m).

    2014 to 2015

    Hanan & Associates, Inc., on behalf of the City of San Diego, conducted marine mammal and in-air sound monitoring at seven locations during demolition and construction activities at the Children's Pool Lifeguard Station in La Jolla, California from August 6, 2014 to March 15, 2015. Construction activities began on August 6, 2014 and were halted for the Pacific harbor seal pupping season (December 15, 2014 to June 1, 2015). During 127 days of visual and acoustic observations, Hanan & Associates counted a total of 63,598 Pacific harbor seals and 27,844 people. During the 2014 demolition and construction activities, Hanan & Associates observed a total of 20,259 takes by Level B harassment (i.e., alerts, movements, and flushes) that could be attributed to demolition and construction activities (7,424 takes), the general public (10,000 takes), and other sources (2,835 takes). As of March 13, 2015, at least 60 harbor seal pups (including 6 still or premature births) have been born at the Children's Pool and there has been no indication of abandonment. In addition to the Pacific harbor seal sightings, PSOs recorded 24 sightings of cetaceans (gray whales, common and bottlenose dolphins), 366 sightings of California sea lions (at Seal Rock, Children's Pool beach, South Casa Beach, and on the reef), and 1 northern elephant seals (1 juvenile on Children's Pool beach) at the Children's Pool. One dead adult and one dead juvenile California sea lion were sighted on the Children's Pool beach after the start of the beach closure and after the construction activities stopped for the pupping season. These strandings were reported to NMFS.

    Hanan & Associates recorded mean in-air sound levels of 68.9 dB re 20 µPa (range of 51.5 to 97.2 dB re 20 µPa) during non-construction activities and 71.3 dB re 20 µPa (range of 49.4 to 102.7 dB re 20 µPa) during construction activities. During 2014, measured sound levels from the construction equipment reaching the pinnipeds did not exceed approximately 90 dB re 20 µPa at the haul-out area closest to the construction activities.

    More information on the monitoring results from the City of San Diego's previous demolition and construction activities at the La Jolla Children's Pool Lifeguard Station can be found in the final monitoring reports. The 2013 to 2014 and 2014 to 2015 monitoring reports can be found online at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental/construction.htm#childrenspool.

    Figure 2. Daily peak counts and long-term trends with a 95% confidence interval of Pacific harbor seals at Children's Pool from June 2014 to February 2015 based on monitoring at the site by Hanan & Associates.

    EN13JY15.171 Estimated Take by Incidental Harassment

    Except with respect to certain activities not pertinent here, the MMPA defines “harassment” as: any act of pursuit, torment, or annoyance which (i) has the potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild [Level A harassment]; or (ii) has the potential to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering [Level B harassment].

    Table 2—NMFS's Current Underwater and In-Air Acoustic Exposure Criteria Criterion Criterion definition Threshold Underwater Impulsive (Non-Explosive) Sound Level A harassment (injury) Permanent threshold shift (PTS) (Any level above that which is known to cause TTS) 180 dB re 1 µPa-m (root means square [rms]) (cetaceans)
  • 190 dB re 1 µPa-m (rms) (pinnipeds).
  • Level B harassment Behavioral disruption (for impulsive noise) 160 dB re 1 µPa-m (rms). Level B harassment Behavioral disruption (for continuous noise) 120 dB re 1 µPa-m (rms). In-Air Sound Level A harassment NA NA Level B harassment Behavioral disruption 90 dB re 20 µPa (harbor seals)
  • 100 dB re 20 µPa (all other pinniped species)
  • NA (cetaceans).
  • NA = Not available or not assessed.

    The City of San Diego and NMFS anticipate takes of Pacific harbor seals, California sea lions, and northern elephant seals by Level B (behavioral) harassment only incidental to the construction project at the Children's Pool. No takes by injury (Level A harassment), serious injury, or mortality are expected. NMFS will consider pinnipeds behaviorally reacting to the construction activities by flushing into the water, moving more than 1 m (3.3 ft), but not into the water; becoming alert and moving, but not moving more than 1 m; and changing direction of current movements by individuals as behavioral criteria for take by Level B harassment.

    With planned construction activities scheduled to begin in June 2015, the City of San Diego expects a range of 0 to 190 harbor seals to be present daily during June and a seasonal decline through November to about 0 to 50 harbor seals present daily. If all of the estimated harbor seals present are taken by incidental harassment each day, there could be a maximum of 10,000 takes (i.e., approximately 2,947 adult males and 2,211 juvenile males, 2,842 adult females and 2,000 juvenile females based on age and sex ratios presented in Harkonen et al., 1999) over the entire duration of the activities. An unknown portion of the incidental takes will be from repeated exposures as harbor seals leave and return to the Children's Pool area. A polynomial curve fit to counts by month was used by the City of San Diego to estimate the number of harbor seals expected to be hauled-out by day (see below and Figure 2 of the IHA application).

    Figure 3. Estimated total harbor seals by month based on counts at the site by Hanan & Associates, Yochem and Stewart, and Children's Pool docents. The polynomial curve fits to counts by months was used to estimate harbor seals expected to be hauled-out by day.

    EN13JY15.172

    Assuming the total seals predicted to haul-out daily at the Children's Pool are exposed to sound levels that are considered Level B harassment during days where sound is predicted to exceed 90 dB at the construction site (65 days), there could be a maximum of approximately 10,000 incidental takes (i.e., exposures) of approximately up to 600 individual Pacific harbor seals over the duration of the activities. The estimated 600 individual Pacific harbor seals will be taken by Level B harassment multiple times during the construction activities.

    Very few California sea lions and/or northern elephant seals are ever observed at the Children's Pool (i.e., one or two individuals). The City of San Diego requests the authority to incidentally take (i.e., exposures) 10,000 Pacific harbor seals, 100 California sea lions, and 25 northern elephant seals, which will equate to 600, 2, and 1 individuals, respectively, being exposed multiple times. More information on the number of takes authorized, and the approximate percentage of the stock for the three species in the action area can be found in Table 3.

    Table 3—Summary of the Authorized Incidental Take by Level B Harassment of Pinnipeds for the City of San Diego's Construction Activities Generating In-Air Noise at the Children's Pool Lifeguard Station in La Jolla, CA Species Take authorization
  • (number of exposures)
  • Estimated number of individuals taken Abundance Approximate percentage of estimated stock (individuals) Population trend
    Pacific harbor seal 10,000 600 30,968—California stock 1.93 Increased in California 1981 to 2004 California sea lion 100 2 296,750—U.S. stock <0.01 Increasing Northern elephant seal 25 1 179,000—California breeding stock <0.01 Increasing 3.8% annually since 1988
    Encouraging and Coordinating Research

    Each construction phase and potential harassment activity will be evaluated as to observed sound levels and any pinniped reaction by type of sound source. Flushing would be documented by sex and age class. These data will provide information for IHA permitting in future projects. Potential additional mitigation (other than what is already required) will be discussed and suggested in the final report. NMFS has encouraged the City of San Diego to review and analyze any available data to determine baseline information as well as evaluate the impacts from the construction activities on the pinnipeds at the Children's Pool.

    Impact on Availability of Affected Species or Stock for Taking for Subsistence Uses

    Section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA requires NMFS to determine that the authorization will not have an unmitigable adverse effect on the availability of marine mammal species or stocks for subsistence use. There are not relevant subsistence uses of marine mammals implicated by this action. Therefore, NMFS has determined that the total taking of affected species or stocks will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of such species or stocks for subsistence purposes.

    Analysis and Determinations Negligible Impact

    Negligible impact is “an impact resulting from the specified activity that cannot be reasonably expected to, and is not reasonably likely to, adversely affect the species or stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival” (50 CFR 216.103). A negligible impact finding is based on the lack of likely adverse effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival (i.e., population-level effects). An estimate of the number of Level B harassment takes, alone, is not enough information on which to base an impact determination. In addition to considering estimates of the number of marine mammals that might be “taken” through behavioral harassment, NMFS must consider other factors, such as the likely nature of any responses (their intensity, duration, etc.), the context of any responses (critical reproductive time or location, migration, etc.), as well as the number and nature of estimated Level A harassment takes, the number of estimated mortalities, effects on habitat, and the status of the species.

    In making a negligible impact determination, NMFS evaluated factors such as:

    (1) The number of anticipated serious injuries or mortalities;

    (2) The number and nature of anticipated injuries;

    (3) The number, nature, intensity, and duration of Level B harassment; and

    (4) The context in which the takes occur (i.e., impacts to areas of significance, impacts to local populations, and cumulative impacts when taking into account successive/contemporaneous actions when added to baseline data);

    (5) The status of the stock or species of marine mammals (e.g., depleted, ESA-listed, decreasing, increasing, stable, impact relative to the size of the population);

    (6) Impacts on habitat affecting rates of recruitment/survival; and

    (7) The effectiveness of monitoring and mitigation measures.

    To avoid repetition, the discussion of NMFS's analyses applies to all the species or stocks for which take is being authorized (listed in Table 3), given that the anticipated effects of these construction activities on marine mammals are expected to be relatively similar in nature in this case. Additionally, there is no information about the nature or severity of the impacts, or the size, status, or structure of any species or stock that would lead to a different analysis for this activity, else species-specific factors would be identified and analyzed. NMFS had determined that the specified activities associated with the construction activities are not likely to cause long-term behavioral disturbance, PTS, or other (non-auditory) injury, serious injury, or death, based on the analysis contained in the notice of the proposed IHA (80 FR 28588, May 19, 2015). NMFS also considered the following factors:

    No injuries (Level A harassment), serious injuries, or mortalities are anticipated to occur as a result of the City of San Diego's construction activities, and none are authorized by NMFS. The planned activities are not expected to result in the alteration of reproductive behaviors, and the potentially affected species would be subjected to only temporary and minor behavioral impacts.

    Behavioral disturbance may potentially occur incidental to the visual presence of humans and construction activities; however, pinnipeds at this site have likely adapted or become acclimated to human presence at this site. These “urbanized” harbor seals do not exhibit sensitivity at a level similar to that noted in harbor seals in some other regions affected by human disturbance (Allen et al., 1984; Suryan and Harvey, 1999; Henry and Hammil, 2001; Johnson and Acevedo-Gutierrez, 2007; Jansen et al., 2006; Hanan & Associates, 2011). Therefore, there is a high likelihood that many of the harbor seals present during the construction activities would not be flushed off of the beach or rocks, as pinnipeds at this site are conditioned to human presence and loud noises (Hanan, 2004; Hanan & Associates, 2011) (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IRUYVTULsg).

    As discussed in detail above, the project scheduling avoids sensitive life stages for Pacific harbor seals. Construction activities producing in-air noise will commence in June and end by December 15. The commencement date occurs after the end of the pupping season, affords additional time to accommodate lactation and weaning of season pups, and takes into account periods of lowest haul-out occurrence. The end date falls approximately two weeks prior to January 1, the time after which most births occur, providing protection for pregnant and nursing harbor seals that may give birth before January 1.

    Table 3 of this document outlines the number of Level B harassment takes that are anticipated as a result of these activities. Due to the nature, degree, and context of Level B (behavioral) harassment anticipated and described (see “Potential Effects on Marine Mammals” section above) in this notice, this activity is not expected to impact rates of annual recruitment or survival for the affected species or stock (i.e., California stock of Pacific harbor seals, U.S. stock of California sea lions, and California breeding stock of northern elephant seals), particularly given the required mitigation, monitoring, and reporting measures that would be implemented to minimize impacts to marine mammals.

    The Children's Pool is one of the three known haul-out sites for Pacific harbor seal in San Diego County and the only rookery in San Diego County and the only mainland rookery on the U.S. west coast for this species between the border of Mexico and Point Mugu in Ventura County, CA. For the other marine mammal species that may occur within the action area (i.e., California sea lions and northern elephant seals), there are no known designated or important feeding and/or reproductive areas. Many animals perform vital functions, such as feeding, resting, traveling, and socializing, on a diel cycle (i.e., 24 hour cycle). Behavioral reactions to noise exposure (such as disruption of critical life functions, displacement, or avoidance of important habitat) are more likely to be significant if they last more than one diel cycle or recur on subsequent days (Southall et al., 2007). However, Pacific harbor seals have been hauling-out at Children's Pool during the year for many years (including during pupping season and while females are pregnant) while being exposed to anthropogenic sound sources such as vehicle traffic, human voices, etc. and other stimuli from human presence. While studies have shown the types of sound sources used during the construction activities have the potential to displace marine mammals from breeding areas for a prolonged period (e.g., Lusseau and Bejder, 2007; Weilgart, 2007), based on the best available information, this does not seem to be the case for the Pacific harbor seals at the Children's Pool. The Pacific harbor seals have repeatedly hauled-out to pup over many years and the NMFS Stock Assessment Reports (NMFS, 2011) for this stock have shown that the population is increasing and is considered stable. Additionally, the construction activities would increase sound levels in the environment in a relatively small area surrounding the lifeguard station (compared to the range of the animals), and some animals may only be exposed to and harassed by sound for less than a day.

    NMFS's practice has been to apply the 90 dB re 20 µPa and 100 dB re 20 µPa received level threshold for in-air sound levels to determine whether take by Level B harassment occurs. Southall et al. (2007) provide a severity scale for ranking observed behavioral responses of both free-ranging marine mammals and laboratory subjects to various types of anthropogenic sound (see Table 4 in Southall et al. [2007]). NMFS has not established a threshold for Level A harassment (injury) for marine mammals exposed to in-air noise, however, Southall et al. (2007) recommends 149 dB re 20 µPa (peak flat) as the potential threshold for injury from in-air noise for all pinnipeds. No in-air sounds from construction activities would exceed 110 dB at the source and no measured sounds approached that sound level in 2013.

    Of the 3 marine mammal species under NMFS jurisdiction that may or are known to likely occur in the action area, none are listed as threatened or endangered under the ESA. No incidental take has been requested to be authorized for ESA-listed species as none are expected to be within the action area. To protect these animals (and other marine mammals in the action area), the City of San Diego shall schedule construction activities with highest sound levels during the daily period of lowest haul-out occurrence; limit activities to the hours of daylight; erect a temporary visual and acoustic barrier; use PSOs and prohibit construction activities during harbor seal pupping season. No injury, serious injury, or mortality is expected to occur and due to the nature, degree, and context of the Level B harassment anticipated, the activity is not expected to impact rates of recruitment or survival.

    Although behavioral modifications, including temporarily vacating the area during the construction activities, may be made by these species to avoid the resultant acoustic disturbance, the availability of alternate areas within these areas for species and the short and sporadic duration of the activities, have led NMFS to determine that the taking by Level B harassment from the specified activity would have a negligible impact on the affected species in the specified geographic region. NMFS believes that the time period of the construction activities, the requirement to implement mitigation measures (e.g., prohibiting construction activities during pupping season, scheduling operations to periods of the lowest haul-out occurrence, visual and acoustic barriers, and the addition of a new measure that helps protect against unexpected abandonment of the site), and the inclusion of the monitoring and reporting measures, will reduce the amount and severity of the potential impacts from the activity to the degree that will have a negligible impact on the species or stocks in the action area.

    Based on the analysis contained herein of the likely effects of the specified activity on marine mammals and their habitat, and taking into consideration the implementation of the monitoring and mitigation measures, NMFS finds that the total marine mammal take from the City of San Diego's activities will have a negligible impact on the affected marine mammal species or stocks.

    Small Numbers

    As mentioned previously, NMFS estimates that 3 species of marine mammals under its jurisdiction could be potentially affected by Level B harassment over the course of the IHA. NMFS makes its small numbers determination based on the numbers or proportion of marine mammals that will be taken relative to the populations of the affected species or stocks. It is estimated that up to 600 individual Pacific harbor seals, 2 individual California sea lions, and 1 northern elephant seal would be taken (multiple times) by Level B harassment, which would be approximately 1.93, less than 0.01, and less than 0.01% of the respective California, U.S., and California breeding stocks. The population estimates for the marine mammal species that may be taken by Level B harassment were provided in Table 2 of this document.

    NMFS has determined, provided that the aforementioned mitigation and monitoring measures are implemented, that the impact of the construction activities at the Children's Pool Lifeguard Station in La Jolla, CA, June 2015 to June 2016, may result, at worst, in a temporary modification in behavior and/or low-level physiological effects (Level B harassment) of small numbers of certain species of marine mammals. Based on the analysis contained herein of the likely effects of the specified activity on marine mammals and their habitat, and taking into consideration the implementation of the mitigation and monitoring measures, NMFS finds that small numbers of marine mammals will be taken relative to the populations of the affected species or stocks. See Table 2 for the authorized take numbers of marine mammals.

    Endangered Species Act

    NMFS (Permits and Conservation Division) has determined that an ESA section 7 consultation for the issuance of an IHA under section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA for this activity is not necessary for any ESA-listed marine mammal species under its jurisdiction, as the planned action will not affect ESA-listed species.

    National Environmental Policy Act

    To meet NMFS's National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) requirements for the issuance of an IHA to the City of San Diego, NMFS prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) in 2013 for a similar activity titled Environmental Assessment on the Issuance of an Incidental Harassment Authorization to the City of San Diego to Take Marine Mammals by Harassment Incidental to Demolition and Construction Activities at the Children's Pool Lifeguard Station in La Jolla, California to comply with the Council of Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations and NOAA Administrative Order (NAO) 216-6. NMFS prepared and signed a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) determining that preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement was not required. The FONSI was signed on June 28, 2013 prior to the issuance of the IHA for the City of San Diego's construction activities from June 2013 to June 2014. The currently planned construction activities that will be covered by the IHA from June 2015 to June 2016 are similar to the demolition and construction activities described in the 2013 EA. NMFS has reviewed CEQ's regulations and has determined that it is not necessary to supplement the 2013 EA because the effects of this IHA fall within the scope of those documents and do not require further supplementation. Based on the public comments received in response to the publication in the Federal Register notice and proposed IHA, NMFS has reaffirmed its FONSI.

    Authorization

    NMFS has issued an IHA to the City of San Diego for construction activities at the Children's Pool Lifeguard Station at La Jolla, CA, incorporating the previously mentioned mitigation, monitoring, and reporting requirements.

    Dated: June 30, 2015. Perry F. Gayaldo, Deputy Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-16965 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XD782 Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Marine Seismic Survey in the Beaufort Sea, Alaska AGENCY:

    National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice; issuance of an incidental take authorization.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) regulations, notification is hereby given that NMFS has issued an Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) to SAExploration, Inc. (SAE) to take, by harassment, small numbers of marine mammals incidental to a marine 3-dimensional (3D) ocean bottom node (OBN) seismic survey program in the Beaufort Sea, Alaska, during the 2015 Arctic open-water season.

    DATES:

    Effective July 1, 2015, through October 15, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Inquiry for information on the incidental take authorization should be addressed to Jolie Harrison, Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910. A copy of the application containing a list of the references used in this document, NMFS' Environmental Assessment (EA) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), and the IHA may be obtained by writing to the address specified above, telephoning the contact listed below (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT), or visiting the Internet at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental.htm#applications.

    Documents cited in this notice may be viewed, by appointment, during regular business hours, at the aforementioned address.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Shane Guan, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, (301) 427-8401.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    Sections 101(a)(5)(A) and (D) of the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) direct the Secretary of Commerce to allow, upon request, the incidental, but not intentional, taking of small numbers of marine mammals by U.S. citizens who engage in a specified activity (other than commercial fishing) within a specified geographical region if certain findings are made and either regulations are issued or, if the taking is limited to harassment, a notice of a proposed authorization is provided to the public for review.

    An authorization for incidental takings shall be granted if NMFS finds that the taking will have a negligible impact on the species or stock(s), will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of the species or stock(s) for subsistence uses (where relevant), and if the permissible methods of taking and requirements pertaining to the mitigation, monitoring and reporting of such takings are set forth. NMFS has defined “negligible impact” in 50 CFR 216.103 as “an impact resulting from the specified activity that cannot be reasonably expected to, and is not reasonably likely to, adversely affect the species or stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival.”

    Except with respect to certain activities not pertinent here, the MMPA defines “harassment” as: Any act of pursuit, torment, or annoyance which (i) has the potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild [Level A harassment]; or (ii) has the potential to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering [Level B harassment].

    Summary of Request

    On December 2, 2014, NMFS received an application from SAE for the taking of marine mammals incidental to a 3D ocean bottom node (OBN) seismic survey program in the Beaufort Sea. After receiving NMFS comments, SAE made revisions and updated its IHA application on December 5, 2014, January 21, 2015, January 29, 2015, and again on February 16, 2015. In addition, NMFS received the marine mammal mitigation and monitoring plan (4MP) from SAE on December 2, 2014, with an updated version on January 29, 2015. NMFS determined that the application and the 4MP were adequate and complete on February 17, 2015.

    SAE proposes to conduct 3D OBN seismic surveys in the state and federal waters of the U.S. Beaufort Sea during the 2015 Arctic open-water season. The proposed activity would occur between July 1 and October 15, 2015. The actual seismic survey is expected to take approximately 70 days, dependent on weather. The following specific aspects of the proposed activities are likely to result in the take of marine mammals: Seismic airgun operations and associated navigation sonar and vessel movements. Takes, by Level A and/or Level B Harassments, of individuals of six species of marine mammals are anticipated to result from the specified activity.

    SAE also conducted OBN seismic surveys in the Beaufort Sea in the 2014 Arctic open-water season (79 FR 51963; September 2, 2014).

    Detailed descriptions of SAE's 3D OBN seismic survey program are provided in the Federal Register notice for the proposed IHA (80 FR 20084; April 14, 2015). No change has been made in the action described in the Federal Register notice. Please refer to that document for detailed information about the activities involved in the seismic survey program.

    Comments and Responses

    A notice of NMFS' proposal to issue an IHA to SAE was published in the Federal Register on April 14, 2015 (80 FR 20084). That notice described in detail SAE's activity, the marine mammal species that may be affected by the activity, and the anticipated effects on marine mammals and the availability of marine mammals for subsistence uses. During the 30-day public comment period, NMFS received only one comment letter from the Marine Mammal Commission (Commission). All comments are addressed in this section of the Federal Register notice.

    Comment 1: The Commission points out that information regarding the specific areas that would be surveyed by SAE, or specific times of year for the survey, was not available as part of the proposed incidental harassment authorization. The Commission recommends that, prior to issuing the IHA, NMFS require SAE to determine what areas it will survey and when, in order to ensure that the proposed survey area and associated numbers of takes are consistent with what NMFS plans to authorize and, if they are not, amend the numbers of takes accordingly.

    Response: Although a specific survey area for SAE's proposed 3D OBN seismic survey has not been determined, and probably will be remain confidential until the beginning of the survey, the potential area is known and all scenarios of the proposed survey have been considered and evaluated for impact assessment. As described in the Federal Register notice (80 FR 20084; April 14, 2015) for the proposed IHA, the worst-case scenario related to location (with the highest animal density) is taken into consideration for the analysis of the marine mammal impacts.

    Comment 2: The Commission points out that the total survey area for the project, 777 km2, appears low since it equates to roughly four times the size of each recording patch (192 km2). The Commission further notes that SAE has indicated that each patch would take about four days to shoot, which means that if the proposed total survey are of 777 km2 is indeed accurate, SAE would be able to shoot that area within 16 days instead of 49 days.

    Response: The Commission has confused shot patch size (192 km2) and recording patch size (19.4 km2). The shot patches greatly overlap with one another, while the recorder patches do not. Considering the tremendous overlap in shot area between adjacent patches, no more than 777 km2 will be shot under this authorization, although many areas will be shot more than once. It actually would take much longer than 49 days if SAE wanted to completely survey the entire777 km2.

    Comment 3: The Commission states that it is concerned that the method used by SAE and NMFS to estimate numbers of takes is based on the total ensonified area rather than the area expected to be ensonified on a daily basis, as is standard for a moving sound source. The Commission recommends that NMFS use the method of area times density times the number of survey days to estimate the total number of Level A and B harassment takes for each of the marine mammal species expected to be in the project area.

    Response: Despite that in most cases monitoring reports from 3D seismic surveys showed that take numbers, based on observation with adjustment to count for animals missed, are usually under or closely reflect the take estimates using a simple method of multiplying the total ensonified area by animal density, NMFS recognizes that such method has its limitation of not considering animal movement into the area on different days. The Commission's recommended method of area times density times the number of survey days provides an appropriate estimated of the instances of take, but often overestimates the number of individuals taken, because in many circumstances individual animals would be repeatedly taken. Except in rare cases when animals are migrating through the ensonified area, the “instances” of take generated by this method are higher than the individuals taken, given that in many cases marine mammals are using local habitat for multiple days and will be taken multiple times—and therefore, additional work may be needed to identify the likely numbers individuals taken to compare to the population size. NMFS is exploring new methodologies to calculate take estimates by accounting for daily ensonified area, days of the project, as well as the averaged rates of animal moving in/out of the survey area, prior monitoring report data, and other applicable information, if available. In the case of SAE's 3D OBN seismic survey, NMFS recalculated take numbers using daily ensonified area multiplied by project days multiplied by animal density and then adjusted the turnover rates based on species movement patterns and home ranges. A detailed description of the take estimates and the methodology are provided in section “Estimated Take by Incidental Harassment” below.

    Comment 4: The Commission notes that NMFS is proposing to authorize the incidental taking of marine mammals by Level A harassment under section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA, instead of through regulations under section 101(a)(5)(A) of the MMPA. The Commission states that authorizing Level A harassment under section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA would be inconsistent with the intent of the MMPA. The Commission recommends that NMFS (1) develop criteria for determining when taking by Level A harassment should be authorized (i.e., types of sound sources, project locations, species, effectiveness of mitigation measures) and (2) authorize any such takes through regulation under 101(a)(5)(A) of the MMPA and a letter of authorization rather than through an incidental harassment authorization. The Commission further states that it would welcome an opportunity to discuss the development of such criteria with NMFS.

    Response: NMFS does not agree with the Commission's statement that Level A harassment cannot be authorized under section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA. The legal requirements and underlying analysis for the issuance of a take authorization (i.e., an IHA) in this particular case do not require the issuance of regulations and a letter of authorization. In order to issue an authorization pursuant to section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA, NMFS must determine that the taking by harassment (Level A and Level B) of small numbers of marine mammal species or stocks will have a negligible impact on affected species or stocks, and will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of affected species or stocks for taking for subsistence uses. Potential impact on marine mammals incidental to SAE's 3D seismic survey would be limited to harassments only. Therefore, the issuance of an IHA to SAE under section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA meets the legal requirements stated above. However, if there were a potential for serious injury or mortality, NMFS could not issue an IHA. Instead, any incidental take authorization would need to be processed under section 101(a)(5)(A) of the MMPA.

    As described here and in the Federal Register notice (80 FR 20084; April 14, 2015) for the proposed IHA, permanent hearing threshold shift (PTS) is considered to be injury (Level A Harassment), not serious injury or mortality. Therefore, it is appropriate to issue an incidental take authorization under 101(a)(5)(D), as we have made the necessary findings (described elsewhere in this document) under that section of the MMPA.

    NMFS agrees with the Commission that criteria for determining when taking by Level A harassment should be authorized (i.e., types of sound sources, project locations, species, effectiveness of mitigation measures) will enhance the analysis of marine mammal incidental takes under MMPA, and appreciates the Commission's willingness to be involved in such a process.

    Comment 5: The Commission notes that NMFS has proposed that SAE conduct in-situ sound source measurements for the 1,240-in3 airgun array to ensure accurate characterization of the Level A and B harassment zones for that sound source. The Commission recommends that NMFS verify that any adjustments to the size of the Level A and/or B harassment zones, based on in-situ measurements, are accurate before such adjustments are made.

    Response: SAE is required to conduct in-situ sound source measurements for the 1,240-in3 airgun array before the commencement of its 3D seismic surveys. The Commission did not specify a method for how the in-situ measurements should be verified. Nevertheless, NMFS will evaluate the empirically measured exclusion zone and zone of influence based on comparable measurements of similar airguns in similar environment before agreeing that SAE should adopt the measured zones for monitoring and mitigation measures.

    Comment 6: The Commission recommends that NMFS require that SAE refrain from initiating or cease seismic activities if an aggregation of bowhead or gray whales (i.e., 12 or more whales of any age/sex class that appear to be engaged in a non-migratory, significant biological behavior (e.g., feeding, socializing)) is observed within the Level B harassment Zone.

    Response: NMFS discussed the Commission's recommendation with SAE and SAE agrees to refrain from initiating or to cease seismic activities if an aggregation of bowhead or gray whales (i.e., 12 or more whales of any age/sex class that appear to be engaged in a non-migratory, significant biological behavior (e.g., feeding, socializing)) is observed within the Level B harassment Zone.

    Comment 7: The Commission recommends that NMFS encourage SAE to coordinate with other operators and researchers who may be conducting aerial surveys with the goal that information collected during those surveys will assist SAE in monitoring pinnipeds use of haul-out sites before, during, and after SAE's planned seismic survey.

    Response: NMFS discussed the Commission's recommendation with SAE and encouraged SAE to coordinate with other operations and researchers who may be conducting aerial surveys. SAE responded that they attempted to coordinate with other companies last year for spotted seal monitoring, but none agreed to cooperate. In addition, at this point it is unclear whether any other companies in the Beaufort Sea may be conducting pinnipeds haul-out aerial surveys in the 2015 open-water season. Nevertheless, NMFS encourages SAE again to seek cooperation with other companies who may be conducting aerial surveys with the goal that information collected during those surveys will assist SAE in monitoring pinnipeds use of haul-out sites before, during, and after SAE's planned seismic survey.

    Comment 8: The Commission recommends that NMFS incorporate the peer-review panel's recommendations into the final authorization and, if necessary, consult with personnel directly associated with implementing passive acoustic monitoring to ensure that the monitoring objectives are able to be met.

    Response: NMFS conducted a peer review process to evaluate SAE's monitoring plan in early March 2015 in Anchorage, AK. The peer review panel submitted its report to NMFS in early April and provided recommendations to SAE. NMFS worked with SAE extensively on these recommendations. As a result, NMFS requires and SAE agrees to implement the following recommendations from the peer-review panel: (1) Conducting sound source verification (SSV) if SAE plans to use the 1,240 in3 airgun array for seismic survey; (2) including an additional mitigation vessel for marine mammal monitoring if SAE plans to use the 1,240 in3 airgun array; (3) deploying more acoustic sensors than the 2014 season for passive acoustic monitoring; (4) testing a new mooring design with NMFS National Marine Mammal Laboratory for micro Marine Autonomous Recording System (microMARS) to be deployed in shallow water; (5) including sightability curves in the 90-day report; and (6) making monitoring data available for valid scientific reasons and request.

    In addition, though not solicited as part of the independent peer review of the monitoring, the peer-review panel also provided a number of mitigation measures which, upon discussion with SAE, the company agreed to limit the mitigation airgun shot interval to 1 shot per minute. However, SAE could not agree to the ramp up of 1 airgun per 5 minutes, as opposed to standard protocol of doubling the number of airguns every five minutes. SAE states that the recommended ramp up protocol is cost prohibitive.

    A detailed description of peer-review process, peer-review recommendations, and NMFS' discussion with SAE regarding implementation of the recommendations is provided in “Monitoring Plan Peer Review” section below.

    Description of Marine Mammals in the Area of the Specified Activity

    The Beaufort Sea supports a diverse assemblage of marine mammals. Table 1 lists the 12 marine mammal species under NMFS jurisdiction with confirmed or possible occurrence in the proposed project area.

    Table 1—Marine Mammal Species With Confirmed or Possible Occurrence in the Seismic Survey Area Common name Scientific name Status Occurrence Seasonality Range Abundance Odontocetes Beluga whale (Beaufort Sea stock) Delphinapterus leucas - Common Mostly spring and fall with some in summer Mostly Beaufort Sea 39,258 Beluga whale (eastern Chukchi Sea stock) - Common Mostly spring and fall with some in summer Mostly Chukchi Sea 3,710 Killer whale ** Orcinus orca - Occasional/Extralimital Mostly summer and early fall California to Alaska 552 Harbor porpoise ** Phocoena phocoena - Occasional/Extralimital Mostly summer and early fall California to Alaska 48,215 Narwhal ** Monodon monoceros - 45,358 Mysticetes Bowhead whale * Balaena mysticetus Endangered; Depleted Common Mostly spring and fall with some in summer Russia to Canada 19,534 Gray whale Eschrichtius robustus - Somewhat common Mostly summer Mexico to the U.S. Arctic Ocean 19,126 Minke whale ** Balaenoptera acutorostrata - 810-1,003 Humpback whale * ** (Central North Pacific stock) Megaptera novaeangliae Endangered; Depleted 21,063 Pinnipeds Bearded seal (Beringia distinct population segment) Erigathus barbatus Candidate Common Spring and summer Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort Seas 155,000 Ringed seal * (Arctic stock) Phoca hispida Threatened; Depleted Common Year round Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort Seas 300,000 Spotted seal Phoca largha - Common Summer Japan to U.S. Arctic Ocean 141,479 Ribbon seal ** Histriophoca fasciata Species of concern Occasional Summer Russia to U.S. Arctic Ocean 49,000 * Species or stocks listed under the Endangered Species Act. ** Species are so rarely sighted in the proposed project area that take is unlikely.

    Minke whales are relatively common in the Bering and southern Chukchi Seas and have recently also been sighted in the northeastern Chukchi Sea (Aerts et al., 2013; Clarke et al., 2013). Minke whales are rare in the Beaufort Sea. They have not been reported in the Beaufort Sea during the Bowhead Whale Aerial Survey Project/Aerial Surveys of Arctic Marine Mammals (BWASP/ASAMM) surveys (Clarke et al., 2011, 2012; 2013; Monnet and Treacy, 2005), and there was only one observation in 2007 during vessel-based surveys in the region (Funk et al., 2010). Humpback whales have not generally been found in the Arctic Ocean. However, subsistence hunters have spotted humpback whales in low numbers around Barrow, and there have been several confirmed sightings of humpback whales in the northeastern Chukchi Sea in recent years (Aerts et al., 2013; Clarke et al., 2013). The first confirmed sighting of a humpback whale in the Beaufort Sea was recorded in August 2007 (Hashagen et al., 2009), when a cow and calf were observed 54 mi east of Point Barrow. No additional sightings have been documented in the Beaufort Sea. Narwhal are common in the waters of northern Canada, west Greenland, and in the European Arctic, but rarely occur in the Beaufort Sea (COSEWIC, 2004). Only a handful of sightings have occurred in Alaskan waters (Allen and Angliss, 2013). These three species are not considered further in this proposed IHA notice. Both the walrus and the polar bear could occur in the U.S. Beaufort Sea; however, these species are managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and are not considered further in this Notice of Proposed IHA.

    The Beaufort Sea is a main corridor of the bowhead whale migration route. The main migration periods occur in spring from April to June and in fall from late August/early September through October to early November. During the fall migration, several locations in the U.S. Beaufort Sea serve as feeding grounds for bowhead whales. Small numbers of bowhead whales that remain in the U.S. Arctic Ocean during summer also feed in these areas. The U.S. Beaufort Sea is not a main feeding or calving area for any other cetacean species. Ringed seals breed and pup in the Beaufort Sea; however, this does not occur during the summer or early fall. Further information on the biology and local distribution of these species can be found in SAE's application (see ADDRESSES) and the NMFS Marine Mammal Stock Assessment Reports, which are available online at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/.

    Potential Effects of the Specified Activity on Marine Mammals

    Operating active acoustic sources such as airgun arrays, navigational sonars, and vessel activities have the potential for adverse effects on marine mammals. Potential effects from SAE's 3D OBN seismic surveys on marine mammals in the U.S. Beaufort Sea are discussed in the “Potential Effects of the Specified Activity on Marine Mammals” section of the Federal Register notice for the proposed IHA (80 FR 20084; April 14, 2015). No changes have been made to the discussion contained in this section of the Federal Register notice for the proposed IHA.

    Anticipated Effects on Habitat

    The primary potential impacts to marine mammal habitat are associated with elevated sound levels produced by airguns and vessels and their effects on marine mammal prey species. These potential effects from SAE's 3D OBN seismic survey are discussed in the “Anticipated Effects on Marine Mammal Habitat” section of the Federal Register notice for the proposed IHA (80 FR 20084; April 14, 2015). No changes have been made to the discussion contained in this section of the Federal Register notice for the proposed IHA.

    Mitigation Measures

    In order to issue an incidental take authorization under section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA, NMFS must set forth the permissible methods of taking pursuant to such activity, and other means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact on such species or stock and its habitat, paying particular attention to rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar significance, and on the availability of such species or stock for taking for certain subsistence uses.

    For the SAE open-water 3D OBN seismic surveys in the Beaufort Sea, NMFS is requiring SAE to implement the following mitigation measures to minimize the potential impacts to marine mammals in the project vicinity as a result of its survey activities. The primary purpose of these mitigation measures is to detect marine mammals within or about to enter designated exclusion zones and to initiate immediate shutdown or power down of the airgun(s).

    Besides the mitigation measures that were proposed in the Federal Register notice (80 FR 20084; March 14, 2015), NMFS included two additional measures that require SAE (1) refrain from initiating or cease seismic activities if an aggregation of bowhead or gray whales (i.e., 12 or more whales of any age/sex class that appear to be engaged in a non-migratory, significant biological behavior (e.g., feeding, socializing)) is observed within the Level B harassment zone; and (2) operate a mitigation airgun at a rate of 1 shot per minute. A detailed discussion of the mitigation measures are provided below.

    (1) Establishing Exclusion and Disturbance Zones

    Under current NMFS guidelines, the “exclusion zone” for marine mammal exposure to impulse sources is customarily defined as the area within which received sound levels are ≥180 dB (rms) re 1 μPa for cetaceans and ≥190 dB (rms) re 1 μPa for pinnipeds. These safety criteria are based on an assumption that SPL received at levels lower than these will not injure these animals or impair their hearing abilities, but at higher levels might have some such effects. Disturbance or behavioral effects to marine mammals from underwater sound may occur after exposure to sound at distances greater than the exclusion zones (Richardson et al. 1995). Currently, NMFS uses 160 dB (rms) re 1 μPa as the threshold for Level B behavioral harassment from impulse noise.

    In 2014, Heath et al. (2014) conducted a sound source verification (SSV) of the very same 620-in3 array SAE plans to use in 2015. The SSV was conducted in generally the same survey area of SAE's planned 2015 work. They empirically determined that the distances to the 190, 180, and 160 dB isopleths for sound pressure levels emanating from the 620-in3 array was 195, 635, and 1,820 m, respectively (Table 3). Heath et al. (2014) also measured sound pressure levels from an active 10-in3 gun during SAE's 2014 Beaufort operations and found noise levels exceeding 190 dB extended out 54 m, exceeding 180 dB out to 188 m, and exceeding 160 dB out to 1,050 m (Table 2).

    Sound source studies have not been done for the 1,240-in3 array; however, Austin and Warner (2013) conducted a sound source verification of a 1,200-in3 array operated by SAE in Cook Inlet found the radius to the 190 dB isopleth to be 250 m, to the 180 dB isopleth to be 910 m, and to the 160 dB isopleth to be 5,200 m. These are the distance values SAE intends to use before the SSV for the 1,240 in3 airgun arrays are obtained before the survey. If SAE plans to use the 1,240 in3 airgun arrays, SSV of these zones will be empirically measured before the 2015 open-water seismic survey for monitoring and mitigation measures.

    Table 2—Summary of Airgun Array Source Levels and Proposed Exclusion Zone and Zones of Influence Radii Array size (in3) Source level (dB) 190 dB radius (m) 180 dB radius (m) 160 dB radius (m) 10 195 54 188 1,050 620 218 195 635 1,820 1,240 * 224 250 910 5,200 * Denotes modelled source level that need to be empirically measured before the seismic survey. (2) Vessel Related Mitigation Measures

    These mitigation measures apply to all vessels that are part of SAE's Beaufort Sea seismic survey activities, including supporting vessels.

    • Avoid concentrations or groups of whales. Operators of vessels should, at all times, conduct their activities at the maximum distance possible from such concentrations or groups of whales.

    • If any vessel approaches within 1.6 km (1 mi) of observed whales, except when providing emergency assistance to whalers or in other emergency situations, the vessel operator will take reasonable precautions to avoid potential interaction with the whales by taking one or more of the following actions, as appropriate:

    ○ Reducing vessel speed to less than 5 knots within 300 yards (900 feet or 274 m) of the whale(s);

    ○ Steering around the whale(s) if possible;

    ○ Operating the vessel(s) in such a way as to avoid separating members of a group of whales from other members of the group;

    ○ Operating the vessel(s) to avoid causing a whale to make multiple changes in direction; and

    ○ Checking the waters immediately adjacent to the vessel(s) to ensure that no whales will be injured when the propellers are engaged.

    • Reduce vessel speed, not to exceed 5 knots, when weather conditions require, such as when visibility drops, to avoid the likelihood of injury to whales.

    (3) Mitigation Measures for Airgun Operations

    The primary requirements for airgun mitigation during the seismic surveys are to monitor marine mammals near the airgun array during all daylight airgun operations and during any nighttime start-up of the airguns and, if any marine mammals are observed, to adjust airgun operations, as necessary, according to the mitigation measures described below. During the seismic surveys, Protected Species Observers (PSOs) will monitor the pre-established exclusion zones for the presence of marine mammals. When marine mammals are observed within, or about to enter, designated safety zones, PSOs have the authority to call for immediate power down (or shutdown) of airgun operations, as required by the situation. A summary of the procedures associated with each mitigation measure is provided below.

    Ramp Up Procedure

    A ramp up of an airgun array provides a gradual increase in sound levels, and involves a step-wise increase in the number and total volume of airguns firing until the full volume is achieved. The purpose of a ramp up (or “soft start”) is to “warn” cetaceans and pinnipeds in the vicinity of the airguns and to provide time for them to leave the area and thus avoid any potential injury or impairment of their hearing abilities.

    During the open-water survey program, the seismic operator will ramp up the airgun arrays slowly. Full ramp ups (i.e., from a cold start after a shutdown, when no airguns have been firing) will begin by firing a single airgun in the array (i.e., the mitigation airgun). A full ramp up, after a shutdown, will not begin until there has been a minimum of 30 minutes of observation of the safety zone by PSOs to assure that no marine mammals are present. The entire exclusion zone must be visible during the 30-minute lead-in to a full ramp up. If the entire exclusion zone is not visible, then ramp up from a cold start cannot begin. If a marine mammal is sighted within the exclusion zone during the 30-minute watch prior to ramp up, ramp up will be delayed until the marine mammal is sighted outside of the exclusion zone or the animal is not sighted for at least 15 minutes, for small odontocetes (harbor porpoise) and pinnipeds, or 30 minutes, for baleen whales and large odontocetes (including beluga and killer whales and narwhal).

    Use of a Small-Volume Airgun During Turns and Transits

    Throughout the seismic survey, during turning movements and short transits, SAE will employ the use of the smallest-volume airgun (i.e., “mitigation airgun”) to deter marine mammals from being within the immediate area of the seismic operations. The mitigation airgun will be operated at approximately one shot per minute and will not be operated for longer than three hours in duration (turns may last two to three hours for the project).

    During turns or brief transits (i.e., less than three hours) between seismic tracklines, one mitigation airgun will continue operating. The ramp up procedures described above will be followed when increasing the source levels from the one mitigation airgun to the full airgun array. However, keeping one airgun firing during turns and brief transits will allow SAE to resume seismic surveys using the full array without having to ramp up from a “cold start,” which requires a 30-minute observation period of the full exclusion zone and is prohibited during darkness or other periods of poor visibility. PSOs will be on duty whenever the airguns are firing during daylight and during the 30-minute periods prior to ramp-ups from a “cold start.”

    Power Down and Shutdown Procedures

    A power down is the immediate reduction in the number of operating energy sources from all firing to some smaller number (e.g., a single mitigation airgun). A shutdown is the immediate cessation of firing of all energy sources. The array will be immediately powered down whenever a marine mammal is sighted approaching close to or within the applicable exclusion zone of the full array, but is outside the applicable exclusion zone of the single mitigation airgun. If a marine mammal is sighted within or about to enter the applicable exclusion zone of the single mitigation airgun, the entire array will be shut down (i.e., no sources firing). In addition, SAE will implement shutdown measures when aggregations of bowhead whales or gray whales that appear to be engaged in non-migratory significant biological behavior (e.g., feeding, socializing) are observed within the 160-dB harassment zone around the seismic operations.

    No Seismic Survey With Presence of Aggregation of Whales

    SAE shall refrain from initiating or cease seismic activities if an aggregation of bowhead or gray whales (i.e., 12 or more whales of any age/sex class that appear to be engaged in a non-migratory, significant biological behavior (e.g., feeding, socializing)) is observed within the Level B harassment Zone.

    Poor Visibility Conditions

    SAE plans to conduct 24-hour operations. PSOs will not be on duty during ongoing seismic operations during darkness, given the very limited effectiveness of visual observation at night (there will be no periods of darkness in the survey area until mid-August). The provisions associated with operations at night or in periods of poor visibility include the following:

    • If during foggy conditions, heavy snow or rain, or darkness (which may be encountered starting in late August), the full 180 dB exclusion zone is not visible, the airguns cannot commence a ramp-up procedure from a full shut-down.

    • If one or more airguns have been operational before nightfall or before the onset of poor visibility conditions, they can remain operational throughout the night or poor visibility conditions. In this case ramp-up procedures can be initiated, even though the exclusion zone may not be visible, on the assumption that marine mammals will be alerted by the sounds from the single airgun and have moved away.

    Mitigation Conclusions

    NMFS has carefully evaluated SAE's mitigation measures and considered a range of other measures in the context of ensuring that NMFS prescribes the means of effecting the least practicable impact on the affected marine mammal species and stocks and their habitat. Our evaluation of potential measures included consideration of the following factors in relation to one another:

    • The manner in which, and the degree to which, the successful implementation of the measures are expected to minimize adverse impacts to marine mammals;

    • The proven or likely efficacy of the specific measure to minimize adverse impacts as planned; and

    • The practicability of the measure for applicant implementation.

    Any mitigation measure(s) prescribed by NMFS should be able to accomplish, have a reasonable likelihood of accomplishing (based on current science), or contribute to the accomplishment of one or more of the general goals listed below:

    1. Avoidance or minimization of injury or death of marine mammals wherever possible (goals 2, 3, and 4 may contribute to this goal).

    2. A reduction in the numbers of marine mammals (total number or number at biologically important time or location) exposed to received levels of seismic airguns, or other activities expected to result in the take of marine mammals (this goal may contribute to 1, above, or to reducing harassment takes only).

    3. A reduction in the number of times (total number or number at biologically important time or location) individuals would be exposed to received levels of seismic airguns or other activities expected to result in the take of marine mammals (this goal may contribute to 1, above, or to reducing harassment takes only).

    4. A reduction in the intensity of exposures (either total number or number at biologically important time or location) to received levels of seismic airguns or other activities expected to result in the take of marine mammals (this goal may contribute to 1, above, or to reducing the severity of harassment takes only).

    5. Avoidance or minimization of adverse effects to marine mammal habitat, paying special attention to the food base, activities that block or limit passage to or from biologically important areas, permanent destruction of habitat, or temporary destruction/disturbance of habitat during a biologically important time.

    6. For monitoring directly related to mitigation—an increase in the probability of detecting marine mammals, thus allowing for more effective implementation of the mitigation.

    Based on our evaluation of these mitigation measures, NMFS has determined that the proposed mitigation measures provide the means of effecting the least practicable impact on marine mammals species or stocks and their habitat, paying particular attention to rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar significance. Mitigation measures to ensure availability of such species or stock for taking for certain subsistence uses are discussed later in this document (see “Impact on Availability of Affected Species or Stock for Taking for Subsistence Uses” section).

    Monitoring and Reporting

    In order to issue an ITA for an activity, section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA states that NMFS must set forth, “requirements pertaining to the monitoring and reporting of such taking.” The MMPA implementing regulations at 50 CFR 216.104(a)(13) indicate that requests for ITAs must include the suggested means of accomplishing the necessary monitoring and reporting that will result in increased knowledge of the species and of the level of taking or impacts on populations of marine mammals that are expected to be present in the action area. SAE submitted a marine mammal monitoring plan as part of the IHA application.

    Monitoring measures prescribed by NMFS should accomplish one or more of the following general goals:

    1. An increase in our understanding of the likely occurrence of marine mammal species in the vicinity of the action, i.e., presence, abundance, distribution, and/or density of species.

    2. An increase in our understanding of the nature, scope, or context of the likely exposure of marine mammal species to any of the potential stressor(s) associated with the action (e.g., sound or visual stimuli), through better understanding of one or more of the following: The action itself and its environment (e.g., sound source characterization, propagation, and ambient noise levels); the affected species (e.g., life history or dive pattern); the likely co-occurrence of marine mammal species with the action (in whole or part) associated with specific adverse effects; and/or the likely biological or behavioral context of exposure to the stressor for the marine mammal (e.g., age class of exposed animals or known pupping, calving or feeding areas).

    3. An increase in our understanding of how individual marine mammals respond (behaviorally or physiologically) to the specific stressors associated with the action (in specific contexts, where possible, e.g., at what distance or received level).

    4. An increase in our understanding of how anticipated individual responses, to individual stressors or anticipated combinations of stressors, may impact either: The long-term fitness and survival of an individual; or the population, species, or stock (e.g., through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival).

    5. An increase in our understanding of how the activity affects marine mammal habitat, such as through effects on prey sources or acoustic habitat (e.g., through characterization of longer-term contributions of multiple sound sources to rising ambient noise levels and assessment of the potential chronic effects on marine mammals).

    6. An increase in understanding of the impacts of the activity on marine mammals in combination with the impacts of other anthropogenic activities or natural factors occurring in the region.

    7. An increase in our understanding of the effectiveness of mitigation and monitoring measures.

    8. An increase in the probability of detecting marine mammals (through improved technology or methodology), both specifically within the safety zone (thus allowing for more effective implementation of the mitigation) and in general, to better achieve the above goals.

    Monitoring Measures

    Monitoring will provide information on the numbers of marine mammals potentially affected by the exploration operations and facilitate real-time mitigation to prevent injury of marine mammals by industrial sounds or activities. These goals will be accomplished in the Beaufort Sea during 2015 by conducting vessel-based monitoring and passive acoustic monitoring to document marine mammal presence and distribution in the vicinity of the survey area.

    Visual monitoring by PSOs during seismic survey operations, and periods when these surveys are not occurring, will provide information on the numbers of marine mammals potentially affected by these activities and facilitate real-time mitigation to prevent impacts to marine mammals by industrial sounds or operations. Vessel-based PSOs onboard the survey vessels and mitigation vessel will record the numbers and species of marine mammals observed in the area and any observable reaction of marine mammals to the survey activities in the Beaufort Sea.

    Besides the monitoring measures that were proposed in the Federal Register notice (80 FR 20084; March 14, 2015), NMFS included several additional measures based on the Commission and peer-review recommendations. These additional monitoring measures include: (1) NMFS evaluation of empirically measured exclusion zones and zone of influence before they are adopted; (2) conducting SSV if SAE plans to use the 1,240 in3 airgun array for seismic survey; (3) including an additional mitigation vessel for marine mammal monitoring if SAE plans to use the 1,240 in3 airgun array; (4) deploying more acoustic sensors than the 2014 season for passive acoustic monitoring; and (5) testing a new mooring design with NMFS National Marine Mammal Laboratory for microMARS to be deployed in shallow water.

    Details of the monitoring measures are described below.

    Visual-Based PSOs

    The visual-based marine mammal monitoring will be implemented by a team of experienced PSOs, including both biologists and Inupiat personnel. PSOs will be stationed aboard both survey vessels through the duration of the project. The vessel-based marine mammal monitoring will provide the basis for real-time mitigation measures as discussed in the Mitigation Measures section. In addition, monitoring results of the vessel-based monitoring program will include the estimation of the number of “takes” as stipulated in the IHA.

    (1) PSOs

    Vessel-based monitoring for marine mammals will be done by trained PSOs throughout the period of survey activities. The observers will monitor the occurrence of marine mammals near the survey vessel during all daylight periods during operation, and during most daylight periods when operations are not occurring. PSO duties will include watching for and identifying marine mammals; recording their numbers, distances, and reactions to the survey operations; and documenting “take by harassment.”

    A total of 2 PSOs will be required onboard each survey vessel to meet the following criteria:

    • 100% monitoring coverage during all periods of survey operations in daylight;

    • At least two PSOs conducting vessel-based visual monitoring from both vessels during all time;

    • Maximum of 4 consecutive hours on watch per PSO; and

    • Maximum of 12 hours of watch time per day per PSO.

    PSO teams will consist of Inupiat observers and experienced field biologists. Each vessel will have an experienced field crew leader to supervise the PSO team. The total number of PSOs may decrease later in the season as the duration of daylight decreases.

    (2) PSO Role and Responsibilities

    When onboard the seismic and support vessels, there are three major parts to the PSO position:

    • Observe and record sensitive wildlife species;

    • Ensure mitigation procedures are followed accordingly; and

    • Follow monitoring and data collection procedures.

    The main roles of the PSO and the monitoring program are to ensure compliance with requirements set in place by NMFS to ensure that disturbance of marine mammals is minimized, and potential effects on marine mammals are documented. The PSOs will implement the monitoring and mitigation measures specified in the IHA. The primary purposes of the PSOs on board of the vessels are:

    • Mitigation: Implement mitigation clearing and ramp up measures, observe for and detect marine mammals within, or about to enter the applicable safety zone and implement necessary shut down, power down and speed/course alteration mitigation procedures when applicable. Advise marine crew of mitigation procedures.

    • Monitoring: Observe for marine mammals and determine numbers of marine mammals exposed to sound pulses and their reactions (where applicable) and document those as required.

    (3) Observer Qualifications and Training

    Crew leaders and most PSOs will be individuals with experience as observers during recent seismic, site clearance and shallow hazards, and other monitoring projects in Alaska or other offshore areas in recent years. New or inexperienced PSOs will be paired with an experienced PSO or experienced field biologist so that the quality of marine mammal observations and data recording is kept consistent.

    Biologist-observers will have previous marine mammal observation experience, and field crew leaders will be highly experienced with previous vessel-based marine mammal monitoring and mitigation projects. Resumes for those individuals will be provided to NMFS for review and acceptance of their qualifications. Inupiat observers will be experienced in the region and familiar with the marine mammals of the area. All observers will complete a NMFS-approved observer training course designed to familiarize individuals with monitoring and data collection procedures.

    PSOs will complete a 2- or 3-day training and refresher session on marine mammal monitoring, to be conducted shortly before the anticipated start of the 2015 open-water season. Any exceptions will have or receive equivalent experience or training. The training session(s) will be conducted by qualified marine mammalogists with extensive crew-leader experience during previous vessel-based seismic monitoring programs.

    (4) Marine Mammal Observer Protocol

    Source vessels will employ PSOs to identify marine mammals during all hours of airgun operations. To better observe the exclusion zone, a lead PSO, one or two PSOs, and an Inupiaq communicator will be on the primary source vessel and two PSOs will be stationed aboard the secondary source vessel. (The total number of observers is limited by available berthing space aboard the vessels.) The three to four total observers aboard the primary source vessel will allow two observers simultaneously on watch during daylight hours.

    The PSOs will watch for marine mammals during all periods of source operations and for a minimum of 30 minutes prior to the planned start of airgun or pinger operations after an extended shutdown. Marine mammal monitoring shall continue throughout airgun operations and last for 30 minutes after the finish of airgun firing. SAE vessel crew and operations personnel will also watch for marine mammals, as practical, to assist and alert the PSOs for the airgun(s) to be shut down if marine mammals are observed in or about to enter the exclusion zone.

    The PSOs will watch for marine mammals from the best available vantage point on the survey vessels, typically the bridge. The PSOs will scan the area around the vessel systematically with reticle binoculars (e.g., 7 × 50 and 16-40 × 80) and with the naked eye. Laser range finders (Leica LRF 1200 laser rangefinder or equivalent) will be available to assist with distance estimation.

    The observers will give particular attention to the areas within the marine mammal exclusion zones around the source vessels. These zones are the maximum distances within which received levels may exceed 180 dB (rms) re 1 μPa (rms) for cetaceans, or 190 dB (rms) re 1 μPa for pinnipeds.

    When a marine mammal is seen approaching or within the exclusion zone applicable to that species, the seismic survey crew will be notified immediately so that mitigation measures called for in the applicable authorization(s) can be implemented.

    Night-vision equipment (Generation 3 binocular image intensifiers or equivalent units) will be available for use if and when needed. Past experience with night-vision devices (NVDs) in the Beaufort Sea and elsewhere has indicated that NVDs are not nearly as effective as visual observation during daylight hours (e.g., Harris et al. 1997, 1998; Moulton and Lawson 2002).

    (5) Dedicated Monitoring Vessel

    If SAE decides to use the 1,240 in3 airgun array, an additional dedicated visual monitoring vessel will be employed to assist marine mammal monitoring due to the larger exclusion zones and zone of influence from this larger airgun array. A minimum of 2 PSOs will be positioned on this dedicated monitoring vessel.

    (6) Field Data-Recording

    The PSOs will record field observation data and information about marine mammal sightings that include:

    • Species, group size, age/size/sex categories (if determinable);

    • Physical description of features that were observed or determined not to be present in the case of unknown or unidentified animals;

    • Behavior when first sighted and after initial sighting, heading (if consistent);

    • Bearing and distance from observer, apparent reaction to activities (e.g., none, avoidance, approach, paralleling, etc.), closest point of approach, and behavioral pace;

    • Time, location, speed, and activity of the source and mitigation vessels, sea state, ice cover, visibility, and sun glare; and

    • Positions of other vessel(s) in the vicinity.

    Acoustic Monitoring (1) Sound Source Measurements

    Since the same airgun array of 620 in3 and a single mitigation airgun of 10 in3 to be used were empirically measured in the generally same seismic survey vicinity in 2014 (Heath 2014), NMFS does not think additional SSV tests for this array and a single airgun are necessary for the 2015 seismic survey. However, if SAE decides to use the 1,240 in3 airgun arrays for deeper water, SSV on these arrays is required before the commencement of the surveys. Results of the acoustic characterization and SSV will be used to establish the 190 dB, 180 dB, 170 dB, and 160 dB isopleths for the 1,240 in3 airgun arrays.

    The results of the SSV will be submitted to NMFS within five days after completing the measurements, followed by a report to be submitted within 14 days after completion of the measurements. A more detailed report will be provided to NMFS as part of the required 90-day report following completion of the acoustic program.

    NMFS will evaluate the empirically measured exclusion zones and zone of influence from the 1,240 in3 before they are formally established for mitigation and monitoring measures.

    (2) Passive Acoustic Monitoring

    SAE will conduct Passive Acoustical Monitoring (PAM) using microMARS. These sensors will be deployed on the seabed and will record continuously at 64 kHz sample rate and 16-bit samples. The recorders will be calibrated and their mooring designs tested prior to deployment.

    PAM Deployment

    Passive acoustic monitoring package will be deployed at the four corners of SAE's survey site. Each PAM package will include two microMARS units coupled with an ARC-1 release device, a float and a retrievable mooring. Deploying two microMARS at each monitoring location will allow redundancy in the system to reduce the likelihood of failures and/or data loss.

    PAM will be deployed before the SAE's proposed 3D seismic survey and remain at the study site during the entire survey period.

    Data Analysis

    Acoustic data will be analyzed for two frequency bands, low (below 2 kHz for baleen whales and low-frequency noise) and high (2 kHz-32 kHz for beluga whales and high-frequency noise). This will allow sounds produced by different species and anthropogenic sources to be reviewed and analyzed in greater detail. Specialized acoustic review and analysis software, Trition will be used to create long-term spectral averages (LTSAs) for all acoustic files downloaded from the recorders.

    Once LTSAs of all the acoustic data have been created and preliminarily reviewed, experienced bioacoustic data analysts will perform a detailed review of the data. Analysts will log the time of occurrence of all biological sounds, seismic source events (if audible), and other relevant acoustic signals (e.g. ships, small boats, and other noise events). Combined event log data will then be organized into tables to provide summaries including (1) the number and type of acoustic events; (2) the number of days each event occurred at each site; and (3) event durations for each deployment and site. Graphs of daily event occurrence will be made for each identified marine mammal species that have sufficient data to plot. Graphs of the percentage of time for which signals from each species were detected with respect to total recording time at each site will be plotted by species.

    Noise analysis will be performed on all recorded acoustic data. Sound levels will be measured for full and octave frequency bands. This analysis will be conducted using automated algorithms that measure root-mean-square (RMS) sound pressure level (SPL) each octave bands. These results will be averaged both hourly and daily to provide a synoptic representation of the ambient noise levels present at each location for each of the different frequency bands measured.

    Monitoring Plan Peer Review

    The MMPA requires that monitoring plans be independently peer reviewed “where the proposed activity may affect the availability of a species or stock for taking for subsistence uses” (16 U.S.C. 1371(a)(5)(D)(ii)(III)). Regarding this requirement, NMFS' implementing regulations state, “Upon receipt of a complete monitoring plan, and at its discretion, [NMFS] will either submit the plan to members of a peer review panel for review or within 60 days of receipt of the proposed monitoring plan, schedule a workshop to review the plan” (50 CFR 216.108(d)).

    NMFS established an independent peer review panel to review SAE's 4MP for the proposed 3D seismic survey in the Beaufort Sea. The panel met in early March 2015, and provided comments and recommendations to NMFS in April 2015. The full panel report can be viewed on the Internet at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental.htm.

    NMFS provided the panel with SAE's IHA application and monitoring plan and asked the panel to answer the following questions:

    1. Will the applicant's stated objectives effectively further the understanding of the impacts of their activities on marine mammals and otherwise accomplish the goals stated above? If not, how should the objectives be modified to better accomplish the goals above?

    2. Can the applicant achieve the stated objectives based on the methods described in the plan?

    3. Are there technical modifications to the proposed monitoring techniques and methodologies proposed by the applicant that should be considered to better accomplish their stated objectives?

    4. Are there techniques not proposed by the applicant (i.e., additional monitoring techniques or methodologies) that should be considered for inclusion in the applicant's monitoring program to better accomplish their stated objectives?

    5. What is the best way for an applicant to present their data and results (formatting, metrics, graphics, etc.) in the required reports that are to be submitted to NMFS (i.e., 90-day report and comprehensive report)?

    The peer-review panel report contains recommendations that the panel members felt were applicable to the SAE' monitoring plans. The peer-review panel believed that the objectives for both vessel-based and passive acoustic monitoring were appropriate. The panel also agreed that the objectives of real-time mitigation of potential disturbance of marine mammals would be mostly met through visual monitoring. However, there are some limitations associated with PSOs' ability to monitor the entire safety radii at all times. Specific panel recommendations are provided below.

    (1) If SAE decides to use the larger airgun array (i.e., the 1,240 in3 array), SAE should conduct sound source verification;

    (2) SAE should have an additional observer on the secondary source vessel such that at least two observers are on watch during all daylight hours;

    (3) If SAE uses the 1,240 in3 airgun array and the measured safety radii (exclusion zones) in the Beaufort Sea are similar to the measurement done in Cook Inlet (250 m for 190 dB and 910 m for 180 dB), SAE should have a dedicated scout (monitoring) vessel with at least 2 PSOs to monitor the 180 dB exclusion zone (910 m);

    (4) If the seismic surveys are offshore, more acoustic sensors are needed at more locations than what is presented by SAE at the peer-review meeting (one sensor at each of the four corners);

    (5) microMARS used for PAM should be deployed well before the seismic surveys begin in order to collect baseline data before all the vessels are operative in the area and the airgun arrays begin operating;

    (6) SAE should develop a more compact mooring design for microMARS that are deployed in shallow waters, particularly because of the compact size of these recorders;

    (7) Additional testing to be conducted to verify PAM recorders' performance due to the limited or non-existent field experience in long term deployments and cold Arctic waters;

    (8) Improve the effectiveness of monitoring by using Unmanned Aerial Systems for monitoring of marine mammals in the Beaufort Sea;

    (9) Provide information in the reports about how the detections obtained by the microMARS are ground-truthed;

    (10) Acoustic characteristics of the identified noise sources be included in the reports to provide a better understanding of source levels and the robustness of SSV results, and other acoustic characteristics of the seismic survey equipment, such as spectral content, and received levels in different metrics such as RMS dB, cSEL 24h, dB peak to peak, and 1/3 octave bands;

    (11) Sightability curves be included in the reports as much as possible;

    (12) Coordinate and collaborate with other companies (such as Caelus and Repsol) for monitoring the aggregated effects of all their activities on spotted seals, especially animals that may be haulted out; and

    (13) Continue to make all environmental data (including PSO observations, acoustic monitoring, vessel track lines and timing of operations) available to the general public.

    In addition, though not solicited as part of the independent peer review of the monitoring, the peer review panel also recommended the following mitigation measures:

    (1) SAE should limit seismic operations at night or during periods of low visibility because PSOs' ability to detect marine mammals entering the safety zone is limited;

    (2) If a bowhead whale mother/calf pair or an aggregation of three or more bowhead whales are sighted within the Level B harassment zone prior to the onset of night or during that day, SAE could be more cautious during darkness based on the potential risk to marine mammals. If the risk is relatively high, it might be decided that airguns should be shut down for the night;

    (3) SAE should not use a mitigation gun for longer than one hour, which is the equivalent amount of time for surveying the safety radii plus ramp up; and

    (4) Mitigation gun should be shot only once every minute instead of every few seconds.

    NMFS discussed the peer review panel report and the list of recommendations with SAE. For the aforementioned monitoring measures, NMFS requires and SAE agrees to implement the following:

    (1) Conducting sound source verification if the 1,240 in3 airgun array is used in the proposed 3D seismic survey;

    (2) Mobilizing a dedicated scout (monitoring) vessel with at least 2 PSOs onboard to monitor the 180 dB exclusion zone (910 m) if the SSV test show that the 180 dB radius of the exclusion zone from the 1,240 in3 airgun array is 910 m or larger;

    (3) Deploying microMARS used for PAM at least three days before the seismic surveys till three days after the seismic survey in order to collect data for comparing the sound field before, during, and after the seismic survey;

    (4) Deploying two microMARS units at each of the four corners (total of 8 microMARS units);

    (5) Developing a more compact mooring design for microMARS that are deployed in shallow waters, particularly because of the compact size of these recorders;

    (6) Conducting tests and calibration to verify PAM recorders' performance prior to deployment;

    (7) Including sightability curves in the 90-day report;

    (8) Making all environmental data (including PSO observations, acoustic monitoring, vessel track lines and timing of operations) available for valid scientific research.

    In addition, NMFS worked with SAE on the following 5 of the panel recommendations and determined that these will also be required in the IHA issued to SAE with clarification and certain modifications to make them practicable for implementation. These measures are listed below:

    (1) Regarding the number of PSOs onboard the secondary source vessel, this is to clarify that SAE plans to have two PSOs on both source vessels, and they will be working on a shift described earlier in the “Monitoring Measure” section of this document. Therefore, at any given time, there will be 2 PSOs monitoring from both source vessels. NMFS notes that the number of PSOs is limited by the available berth on the seismic vessel. The source vessels SAE plan to use are small, and therefore, could only afford maximum of 2 PSOs onboard each vessel.

    (2) Regarding ground-truth information in the reports about microMARS detection, SAE states that it should be able to identify bowhead and beluga calls from acoustic recordings. However, SAE states that it will be difficult to identify pinniped calls for species identification at distances, especially at the locations where the microMARS are deployed there will be no PSOs on watch to verify the calling animals. Therefore, ground-truth of acoustic data to specific species calls would not be possible. Nevertheless, as stated earlier, SAE will make the acoustic data available to researchers who are interested in studies that will shed light on marine mammal call identification.

    (3) Regarding acoustic characteristics of the identified noise sources, and other acoustic characteristics of the seismic survey equipment, such as spectral content, and received levels in different metrics such as RMS dB, cSEL 24h, dB peak to peak, and 1/3 octave bands, SAE will work with its contractor to characterize the identified noise sources as much as possible within the limits of the microMARS. However, SAE states that some of the requested data analysis would require knowing not only the real-time distance of each noise sources, but the aspect (e.g., forward, endfire) of the array as well. SAE states that for cost reasons, SAE cannot afford extended acoustic analysis beyond identified source characterization. Nevertheless, SAE will make the acoustic data available to researchers who are interested in additional studies of the noise field from data collected by SAE. In the IHA issued to SAE, NMFS requires that SAE at least perform basic acoustic characteristics of the identified noise sources that include spectral content and received levels in different metrics such as RMS dB, cSEL 24h, dB peak to peak, and 1/3 octave bands.

    (4) Regarding coordinating and collaborating with other companies (such as Caelus and Repsol) for monitoring the aggregated effects of all their activities on spotted seals, especially animals that may be haulted out, SAE responded that they attempted to coordinate with other companies last year for spotted seal monitoring, but none agreed to cooperate. In addition, at this point it is unclear whether any other companies in the Beaufort Sea may be conducting pinnipeds haul-out aerial surveys in the 2015 open-water season. Nevertheless, NMFS encourages SAE again to seek cooperation with other companies who may be conducting aerial surveys with the goal that information collected during those surveys will assist SAE in monitoring pinnipeds use of haul-out sites before, during, and after SAE's planned seismic survey.

    The only recommendation from the peer-review panel SAE is not able to implement is the utilization of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) for monitoring of marine mammals in the Beaufort Sea for marine mammal monitoring. The major reason for this is that using UAS for marine mammal monitoring is still not a proven technology to provide an effective monitoring modality. The resolution from the UAS video camera does not have high resolution, especially for pinniped survey due to the small size of the animals. In addition, SAE states that the expense of flying a UAS is cost-prohibitive for the company. NMFS agrees with SAE's reasoning. Therefore, this recommendation is not included in the IHA issued to SAE.

    With regards to the panel's mitigation recommendations, NMFS agrees with the panel that mitigation airgun should be fired at a rate of 1 shot per minute instead of every few seconds. This condition is required in the IHA issued to SAE.

    Regarding the remaining three mitigation measures provided by the peer-review panel, SAE and NMFS discussed and decided that it is important to be consistent with existing mitigation practices for typical 3D seismic surveys unless new scientific information is available that warrant a change. These mitigation measures are described in the “Mitigation” section above. These three mitigation recommendations from the panel are addressed and clarified below:

    (1) Limiting seismic operations at night or during periods of low visibility: This recommendation is not consistent with existing mitigation practices for a typical marine seismic survey, which require no airgun ramping up when the entire exclusion zone cannot be cleared due to low visibility. However, if the entire exclusion zone can be visually cleared by PSOs, a ramp up can be commenced and, as long as no shutdown occurs during the course of the survey, airgun firing can continue into night or during periods of low visibility. By limiting seismic operations at night or during periods of low visibility, SAE would not be able to complete its 3D seismic survey during the project period and would have to come back the following year to continue their work. This can be cost-prohibitive for the company and will also extend the season when the marine environment is affected.

    (2) Be more cautious during darkness based on the potential risk to marine mammals if a bowhead whale mother/calf pair or an aggregation of three or more bowhead whales are sighted within the Level B harassment zone prior to the onset of night or during that day. If the risk is relatively high, airguns should be shut down for the night: The panel did not define what constitutes “the risk is relatively high”, and without a clear definition, NMFS considers that this recommendation cannot be made into a requirement. Additionally, as discussed in (1) above, ceasing seismic activities at night because bowhead whale mother/calf pair or an aggregation of three or more bowhead whales are sighted within the Level B harassment zone during the day would be cost-prohibitive, especially consider that the potential risk is not identified.

    (3) Mitigation gun not to be operated for more than one hour: NMFS does not allow extended use of “mitigation airgun” when the seismic survey is not ongoing, just so that the applicant can ramp up at night or without the 30-minute clearance before ramping up airgun arrays. However, NMFS allows a single airgun (so called “mitigation gun”) to be kept on for turning from one track to the next and for short transiting purposes. SAE, as well as other seismic surveyors (e.g., BP), state that for 3D seismic surveys, an approximately 3-hour time frame is needed to complete a turn or short transit, and NMFS has been requiring the applicants to use the smallest single airgun for a maximum of 3 hours for turning and short transiting purposes (e.g., IHA to SAE's 3D seismic survey in 2014 open-water season in Beaufort Sea). Further, the panel did not provide a justification for its recommendation of maximum of one-hour use of “mitigation airgun”. Therefore, to be consistent with the existing mitigation measures, NMFS again requires that SAE use the “mitigation airgun” for turning and short line transiting only, with a maximum operation time of 3 hours.

    Reporting Measures (1) Sound Source Verification Report

    As discussed earlier, if SAE plans to use the 1,240 in3 airgun arrays, SSV tests on these arrays will be required. A report on the preliminary results of the sound source verification measurements, including the measured 190, 180, 170, and 160 dB (rms) radii of the 1,240 in3 airgun array, would be submitted within 14 days after collection of those measurements at the start of the field season.

    (2) Weekly Reports

    SAE will submit weekly reports to NMFS no later than the close of business (Alaska Time) each Thursday during the weeks when seismic surveys take place. The field reports will summarize species detected, in-water activity occurring at the time of the sighting, behavioral reactions to in-water activities, and the number of marine mammals exposed to harassment level noise.

    (3) Monthly Reports

    SAE will submit monthly reports to NMFS for all months during which seismic surveys take place. The monthly reports will contain and summarize the following information:

    • Dates, times, locations, heading, speed, weather, sea conditions (including Beaufort Sea state and wind force), and associated activities during the seismic survey and marine mammal sightings.

    • Species, number, location, distance from the vessel, and behavior of any sighted marine mammals, as well as associated surveys (number of shutdowns), observed throughout all monitoring activities.

    • An estimate of the number (by species) of: (i) Pinnipeds that have been exposed to the seismic surveys (based on visual observation) at received levels greater than or equal to 160 dB re 1 µPa (rms) and/or 190 dB re 1 µPa (rms) with a discussion of any specific behaviors those individuals exhibited; and (ii) cetaceans that have been exposed to the geophysical activity (based on visual observation) at received levels greater than or equal to 160 dB re 1 µPa (rms) and/or 180 dB re 1 µPa (rms) with a discussion of any specific behaviors those individuals exhibited.

    (4) Technical Report

    The results of SAE's 2015 vessel-based monitoring, including estimates of “take” by harassment, will be presented first in a “90-day” draft Technical Report, to be submitted to NMFS within 90 days after the end of the seismic survey, and then in a final Technical Report, which will address any comments NMFS had on the draft. The Technical Report will include:

    (a) Summaries of monitoring effort (e.g., total hours, total distances, and marine mammal distribution through the study period, accounting for sea state and other factors affecting visibility and detectability of marine mammals);

    (b) Analyses of the effects of various factors influencing detectability of marine mammals (e.g., sea state, number of observers, and fog/glare);

    (c) Species composition, occurrence, and distribution of marine mammal sightings, including date, water depth, numbers, age/size/gender categories (if determinable), group sizes, and ice cover;

    (d) Data analysis separated into periods when a seismic airgun array (or a single mitigation airgun) is operating and when it is not, to better assess impacts to marine mammals—the final and comprehensive report to NMFS should summarize and plot:

    • Data for periods when a seismic array is active and when it is not; and

    • The respective predicted received sound conditions over fairly large areas (tens of km) around operations;

    (e) Sighting rates of marine mammals during periods with and without airgun activities (and other variables that could affect detectability), such as:

    • Initial sighting distances versus airgun activity state;

    • Closest point of approach versus airgun activity state;

    • Observed behaviors and types of movements versus airgun activity state;

    • Numbers of sightings/individuals seen versus airgun activity state;

    • Distribution around the survey vessel versus airgun activity state; and

    • Estimates of take by harassment;

    (f) Results from all hypothesis tests, including estimates of the associated statistical power, when practicable;

    (g) Estimates of uncertainty in all take estimates, with uncertainty expressed by the presentation of confidence limits, a minimum-maximum, posterior probability distribution, or another applicable method, with the exact approach to be selected based on the sampling method and data available;

    (h) A clear comparison of authorized takes and the level of actual estimated takes;

    (i) Acoustic characteristics of the identified noise sources. These should include the acoustic characteristics of the seismic survey equipment, such as spectral content, and received levels in different metrics such as RMS dB, cSEL 24h, dB peak to peak, and 1/3 octave bands; and

    (j) Provide sightability curves in the 90-day report.

    (5) Data Sharing and Research Collaboration

    (a) Make all environmental data (including PSO observation, acoustic monitoring, vessel track lines and timing of operations) available for valid scientific research purposes; and

    (b) Make a best effort to coordinate and collaborate with other companies for monitoring the aggregated effects of all their activities on spotted seals, especially animals that many be hauled out.

    (6) Notification of Injured or Dead Marine Mammals

    In the unanticipated event that the specified activity clearly causes the take of a marine mammal in a manner prohibited by the IHA, such as a serious injury, or mortality (e.g., ship-strike, gear interaction, and/or entanglement), SAE would immediately cease the specified activities and immediately report the incident to the Chief of the Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, and the Alaska Regional Stranding Coordinators. The report would include the following information:

    • Time, date, and location (latitude/longitude) of the incident;

    • Name and type of vessel involved;

    • Vessel's speed during and leading up to the incident;

    • Description of the incident;

    • Status of all sound source use in the 24 hours preceding the incident;

    • Water depth;

    • Environmental conditions (e.g., wind speed and direction, Beaufort sea state, cloud cover, and visibility);

    • Description of all marine mammal observations in the 24 hours preceding the incident;

    • Species identification or description of the animal(s) involved;

    • Fate of the animal(s); and

    • Photographs or video footage of the animal(s) (if equipment is available).

    Activities would not resume until NMFS is able to review the circumstances of the prohibited take. NMFS would work with SAE to determine what is necessary to minimize the likelihood of further prohibited take and ensure MMPA compliance. SAE would not be able to resume its activities until notified by NMFS via letter, email, or telephone.

    In the event that SAE discovers a dead marine mammal, and the lead PSO determines that the cause of the death is unknown and the death is relatively recent (i.e., in less than a moderate state of decomposition as described in the next paragraph), SAE would immediately report the incident to the Chief of the Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, and the NMFS Alaska Stranding Hotline and/or by email to the Alaska Regional Stranding Coordinators. The report would include the same information identified in the paragraph above. Activities would be able to continue while NMFS reviews the circumstances of the incident. NMFS would work with SAE to determine whether modifications in the activities are appropriate.

    In the event that SAE discovers a dead marine mammal, and the lead PSO determines that the death is not associated with or related to the activities authorized in the IHA (e.g., previously wounded animal, carcass with moderate to advanced decomposition, or scavenger damage), SAE would report the incident to the Chief of the Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, and the NMFS Alaska Stranding Hotline and/or by email to the Alaska Regional Stranding Coordinators, within 24 hours of the discovery. SAE would provide photographs or video footage (if available) or other documentation of the stranded animal sighting to NMFS and the Marine Mammal Stranding Network. SAE can continue its operations under such a case.

    Monitoring Results From Previously Authorized Activities

    SAE was issued an IHA for a 3D OBN seismic survey in the same area of the proposed 2015 seismic survey in the Beaufort Sea during the 2014 Arctic open-water season. SAE conducted the seismic survey between August 25 and September 30, 2014. The technical report (90-day report) submitted by SAE indicates that one beluga whale and 2 spotted seals were observed within the 180-dB exclusion zones during the survey that prompted immediate shutdown. Two additional spotted seals were detected within the zone of influence when the airgun arrays were firing. Post-activity analysis based on total sighting data concluded that up to approximately 5 beluga whales and 264 pinnipeds (likely all spotted seals due to their large numbers) could be exposed to received levels above 160-dB re 1 µPa. Some of these could be exposed to levels that may have Level A harassment which was not authorized under the previous IHA. Nevertheless, take of Level B harassment were under the take limits allowed by the IHA issued to SAE.

    Based on the monitoring results from SAE's 2014 seismic survey, NMFS is re-evaluating the potential effects on marine mammals and requested SAE to conduct analysis on potential Level A takes (see “Estimated Take by Incidental Harassment” section below).

    Estimated Take by Incidental Harassment

    Except with respect to certain activities not pertinent here, the MMPA defines “harassment” as: any act of pursuit, torment, or annoyance which (i) has the potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild [Level A harassment]; or (ii) has the potential to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering [Level B harassment].

    Takes by Level A and Level B harassments of some species are anticipated as a result of SAE's proposed 3D seismic survey. NMFS expects marine mammal takes could result from noise propagation from operation of seismic airguns. NMFS does not expect marine mammals would be taken by collision with seismic and support vessels, because the vessels will be moving at low speeds, and PSOs on the survey vessels and the mitigation vessel will be monitoring for marine mammals and will be able to alert the vessels to avoid any marine mammals in the area.

    For impulse sounds, such as those produced by the airguns proposed to be used in SAE's 3D OBN seismic surveys, NMFS uses the 180 and 190 dB (rms) re 1 μPa isopleth to indicate the onset of Level A harassment for cetaceans and pinnipeds, respectively; and the 160 dB (rms) re 1 μPa isopleth for Level B harassment of all marine mammals. SAE provided calculations of the 190-, 180-, and 160-dB isopleths expected to be produced by the proposed seismic surveys and then used those isopleths to estimate takes by harassment. NMFS used those calculations to make the necessary MMPA findings. SAE provided a full description of the methodology used to estimate takes by harassment in its IHA application, which is also provided in the following sections.

    Acoustic Footprint

    The acoustical footprint that could cause harassment (Levels A and B) was determined by placing a 160-dB isopleth buffer around the area that would be surveyed (shot) during the 2015 open water season (777 km2). SAE stated that for the majority of its proposed 2015 seismic survey, a 620 in3 airgun array would be used. However, to make conservative impact analysis, SAE uses the acoustic footprint of a large 1,240 in3 array for this analysis.

    There are no precise estimates for the 1,240-in3 array. The estimated distances to the 160 dB isopleth for the 1,240-in3 array are based on the sound source measurements from Austin and Warner (2012) for a 1,200-in3 array in Cook Inlet. The results showed a measured distance of 5.2 km to the 160 dB isopleths (Table 2). Placing a 5.2-km buffer around the 777 km2 maximum shot area results in an estimated annual ZOI of 1,463 km2 (565 mi2), which is the ZOI value used in the exposure estimate calculations.

    Because the exact location of the 2015 shoot area is currently unknown, the distribution of marine mammal habitat within the shoot area is unknown. However, within the 4,562 km2 potential survey box, 19% (860 km2) falls within the 0 to 1.5 m water depth range, 16% (753 km2) falls within the 1.5 to 5 m range, 36% (1,635 km2) within the 5 to 15 m range, and 29 percent% (1,348 km2) within waters greater than 15 m deep (bowhead migration corridor). Thus, not all the area that could be surveyed in 2015 constitutes bowhead summer (>5 m depth) or fall migrating (>15 m depth) habitat. Further, few of the lease areas that could be shot in 2015 extend into the deeper waters of the potential survey box. The distribution of these depth ranges is found in Figure 6-1 of SAE's IHA application.

    Marine Mammal Densities

    In the Federal Register notice (80 FR 20084; April 14, 2015) for the proposed IHA, NMFS used the aerial survey data (Ferguson and Clarke 2013) collected in the Beaufort Sea during the Aerial Surveys of Arctic Marine Mammals (ASAMM) program in 2012 and 2013 for bowhead whale density calculation. At the time of the proposed IHA stage, 2014 density data had not been vetted. Subsequently, the 2014 aerial survey data for bowhead whale became available, and NMFS was advised by the National Marine Mammal Laboratory (NMML) and NMFS Alaska Regional Office (AKRO) to use the 2008—2014 bowhead and beluga whale survey data and a g(0) of 0.8696 and f(0) of 0.07 for density estimates. Both g(0) and f(0) are factors used to correct the potential presence of animals not detected and potential missed sighting from the survey. The results showed much higher density for bowhead whale within the SAE's proposed 3D seismic survey area. The revised bowhead whale density, along with densities of other marine mammals that could be affected by SAE's 3D seismic survey, are provided in Table 3.

    Table 3. Marine mammal densities (#/km 2) in the Beaufort Sea Species Summer Fall Bowhead whale 0.1674 0.4828 Beluga whale 0.0020 0.0057 Ringed seal 0.3547 0.2510 Spotted seal 0.0177 0.0125 Bearded seal 0.0177 0.0125 Level B Exposure Calculations

    In the Federal Register notice (80 FR 20084; April 14, 2015) for the proposed IHA, NMFS performed marine mammal take estimates by multiplying animal density and the total ensonified area of the entire survey without incorporating a time vector. However, the Commission pointed out in its comment that such method does not take into account the potential of new animals moving into the ensonified area during the course of the survey. NMFS also realized that although such method provides take estimates that closely matched the actual estimated takes provided in the 90-day reports (with corrections to count for animals missed due to avoidance of seismic exposure and missed detection), the potential of not counting new animals moving into the area could underestimate the actual take. Therefore, in response to the Commission's response, NMFS is incorporating a time vector, survey days, into take estimates by multiplying animal density and daily ensonified area and the number of survey days. However, this method provides the number of instances of take without accounting for the fact that some individuals may be taken more than once during the survey. Since the same animal is very likely to be taken multiple times on different days, this method presents a serious issue when analyzing the number of unique animals from a given population that are harassed. To address this issue, NMFS applied a correction factor, the daily turnover rate, to provide take estimates that are more realistic.

    1. Daily Ensonified Area

    SAE states that regardless the size of the airgun array, the daily survey area is 18.75 mi2. However, the daily ensonified areas, which are the daily survey areas in additional to areas that would be ensonified to 160 dB re 1 µPa, would vary with the size of the airgun array used. The specific daily ensonified areas depend on the ensonified radii from different airgun arrays shown in Table 2. For the 620 in3 airgun array, the daily ensonified area out to the 160 dB re 1 µPa is 43.6 mi2, or 113 km2. For the 1,240 in3 airgun array, the daily ensonified area out the 160 dB re 1 µPa is 117 mi2, or 303 km2.

    Assuming that the survey areas of different bathymetry are proportionally represented by the bathymetry of the entire survey box, then 19% of the survey area will be less than 1.5 m deep, 16% survey area is 1.5-5 m deep, 36% survey area 5-15 m deep, and the remaining 29% survey area is deeper than 15 m. As stated earlier, waters below 5 m deep are not bowhead whale habitat, therefore, bowhead takes are excluded from these waters. In addition, waters below 15 m deep are not bowheads habitat during the fall, therefore, they are also excluded for take calculation for SAE's 3D survey in the fall.

    No adjustments were made for beluga whales, and ringed, spotted, and bearded seals, as they could appear in much shallower waters.

    2. Number of Survey Days

    As discussed in the Federal Register notice (80 FR 20084; April 14, 2015) and in this document, within the total of 107 days of this IHA (from July 1 to October 15, 2015), SAE states that survey is anticipated to last 70 days, of which approximately 70% of the time, or a total of 49 days, when the actual seismic survey using airgun arrays will be occurring, depending on weather and ice conditions. Though it cannot be predicted the exact days when incremental weather and ice conditions would present the surveys, for the purpose of this analysis, NMFS prorated survey days in summer (July 1 to August 31) and in fall (September 1 to October 15) with the total days in summer (62 days) and fall (45 days), which yielded 28 survey days in summer and 21 survey days in fall.

    3. Turnover Rate of Marine Mammals

    For bowhead whales, during the summer period into early fall (August to October), they are often observed feeding from Smith Bay to Point Barrow (Clarke & Ferguson, 2010a, 2010b; Clarke et al. 2011a, 2011b, 2012, 2013). In other areas of the western Beaufort Sea (including the SAE's proposed seismic survey area), bowhead whales may feed on the continental shelf, out to approximately the 50-m isobath, in September and October (Clarke et al. 2015). In the fall period (September and October), bowhead whales are observed migrating through the western Beaufort Sea primarily on the shelf (including the SAE's proposed seismic survey area), at depths less than 50 m, with some whales migrating across the outer shelf (Clarkes et al., 2015).

    It is difficult to determine an average turnover time for individual bowhead whales in a particular area of the Beaufort Sea. Reasons for this include differences in residency time between migratory and non-migratory periods, changes in distribution of food and other factors such as behavior that influence animal movement, variation among individuals, etc.

    Complete turnover of individual bowhead whales in the project area each 24-hour period is possible during distinct periods within the fall migration when bowheads are traveling through the area, however, bowheads often move in pulses with one to several days between major pulses of whales (Miller et al. 2002). Gaps between groups of traveling whales during fall migration result in days when no bowhead whales would be expected to be present in the activity area. The absence of bowhead whales during periods of the fall migration can likely be attributed to individuals stopping to feed opportunistically when food is encountered, which is known to occur annually in an area north of Barrow (Citta et al. 2014). The extent of feeding by bowhead whales during fall migration varies greatly from year to year based on the location and abundance of prey (Shelden and Mocklin 2013). For these reasons, NMFS believes a daily 100% turnover period for bowhead whales is unnecessarily conservative and has selected a daily turnover rate of 50% to account for both feeding (where animals stay relatively within an area) and migration (where animals are moving across an area) in both fall and winter.

    For beluga whales, two stocks are potentially present in the SAE 3D seismic survey areas: the East Chukchi Sea and Beaufort Sea stocks. Since they cannot be visually distinguished in the field, the proportion of take form each stock in the seismic survey area in Beaufort Sea cannot be determined (Allen and Angliss 2014). Thus it would be difficult to assess the turnover rate of beluga whales because each different stock has its own migratory pattern and time. Therefore, NMFS used the most conservative measure of assuming complete turnover of the animals every 24 hours, making a daily turnover rate of 100% for a more conservative take calculation.

    For ringed seals, satellite tagging data from tagging studies fromthe State of Alaska Department of Fish and Game's Marine Mammals Program, the Ice Seal Committee, and interested seal hunters from villages along the west and north coasts of Alaska were used to derive a turnover rate for this species. Data from these tagged animals showed that in addition to a long distance seasonal migration, there are many instances from July through September when individual ringed seals stayed in a relatively small area (compared to their migration route) up to multiple weeks, including on and around the offshore continental shelf leased blocks. In addition, Patterson et al. (2014) indicate a turnover period of a week or more for individual seals in the vicinity of the seismic survey in the Alaskan Arctic may be more appropriate, based on the 6-24 day area occupancy. These results suggest that assuming a 100% turnover of all individual seals around SAE's seismic survey box on a daily basis is unreasonable, and a period closer to a week may be more appropriate and yet still conservative for other individuals that remained in the area for longer periods. Therefore, for the purpose of this IHA, NMFS used a slightly higher turnover rate than the weekly rate, i.e., a 48-hour (or 50%) turnover rate, to be more conservative.

    Few data are available on the home range and movement patterns of the other two ice seals, the bearded seal and spotted seals. Therefore, we used the most conservative daily turnover rate for take estimates of these species.

    4. Use of Different Size of Airgun Arrays

    As discussed in the Federal Register notice (80 FR 20084; April 14, 2015) for the proposed IHA and early in this document, two types of airgun arrays will be used during SAE's 3D seismic survey in the Beaufort Sea: 620 in3 and 1,240 in3 airgun arrays. Upon inquiry from NMFS regarding the frequency of different airgun arrays being used, SAE expects that approximately 80% of the survey would be done using the 620 in3 array, with the remaining by the 1,240 in3 array. Therefore, the take number estimates reflect the combination of takes from each of these two airgun arrays in a 4:1 ration for the 620 in3 vs. 1,240 in3 arrays.

    Based on the above described take estimate calculation by multiplying ensonified area by animal density by survey days in specific marine mammal habitat and season, adjusted by turnover rates and different airgun usage, the estimated number of bowhead and beluga whales, and ringed, spotted, and bearded seals can be calculated. A summary of the calculation is provided in Table 4 below.

    Table 4—Summary of Calculation of Marine Mammal Exposed to Received Levels Higher Than 160 dB re 1 µPa for SAE's Proposed 3D Seismic Survey Species (habitat) Summer ZOI (km2) Days Density (km−1) Summer exposure Fall ZOI (km2) Days Density (km−1) Fall exposure All seasons Turn-over Airgun usage Total adjusted exposure Airgun array volume: 620 in3 Bowhead whale 113 344 113 332.2 50 80 271 (0.0-1.5m) 21.47 28 0 0 21.47 21 0 0 (1.5-5.0m) 18.08 28 0 0 18.08 21 0 0 (5.0-15.0m) 40.68 28 0.1674 190.6 40.68 21 0 0 (>15.0m) 32.77 28 0.1674 153.6 32.77 21 0.4828 332.2 Beluga whale 113 28 0.0020 6.3 113 21 0.0057 13.5 100 80 16 Ringed seal 113 28 0.3547 1122.3 113 21 0.2510 595.6 20 80 687 Spotted seal 113 28 0.0177 56 113 21 0.0125 29.7 100 80 69 Bearded seal 113 28 0.0177 56 113 21 0.0125 29.7 100 80 69 Airgun array volume: 1,240 in3 Bowhead whale 303 923 303 891 50 20 181 (0.0-1.5m) 57.57 28 0 0 57.57 21 0 0 (1.5-5.0m) 48.48 28 0 0 48.48 21 0 0 (5.0-15.0m) 109.1 28 0.1674 511.2 109.1 21 0 0 (>15.0m) 87.87 28 0.1674 411.8 87.87 21 0.4828 890.8 Beluga whale 303 28 0.0020 17 303 21 030057 36.3 100 20 11 Ringed seal 303 28 0.3547 3009.3 303 21 0.2510 1597.1 20 20 461 Spotted seal 303 28 0.0177 150.2 303 21 0.0125 79.5 100 20 46 Bearded seal 303 28 0.0177 150.2 303 21 0.0125 79.5 100 20 46

    The potential takes of spotted seals are adjusted based on observations during SAE's 2014 seismic operations immediately east of the Colville River Delta (Lomac-MacNair et al., 2014). The 90-day report (Lomac-MacNair et al., 2014) reported only 5 confirmed sightings of ringed seals, none of which were observed during active seismic activity. But a total of 40 spotted seals (4 during seismic surveys) and an additional 28 seals (could be either ringed or spotted seals, with 4 during seismic surveys) were observed. Given only 88 km2 were shot in 2014, this would extrapolate to about 353 spotted seals observed during the planned 777 km2 of operations planned in 2015. If 80% of the ringed/spotted seal sightings were actually spotted seals, then an additional 200 spotted seals would be observed during the seismic survey. Given the nearshore location of the planned seismic activities and proximity to Colville River Delta spotted seal haulout sites, and likelihood that a number of seals that were exposed to seismic noise exceeding 160 dB were not observed, NMFS corrected the spotted seal takes to 500.

    No density data for gray whale is available in the SAE's proposed survey area, because gray whale occurrence in the Beaufort Sea is not frequent, especially in nearshore water where SAE's survey area is. Based on sighting data, only a few gray where have been documented in the nearshore Beaufort Sea (Green and Negri, 2005, Green et al., 2007). Therefore, it is estimated up to 2 gray whales could be taken by Level B harassment as a result of SAE's 3D seismic survey during the 2015 open-water season in the Beaufort Sea.

    A summary of estimated number of marine mammal potentially exposed to received sound levels greater than 160 dB re 1 µPa is provided in Table 6.

    Level A Exposure Calculations

    As discussed earlier in this section, NMFS considers that exposures to pinnipeds at noise levels above 190 dB and cetaceans at noise levels above 180 dB constitute Level A takes under the MMPA. Although brief exposure of marine mammals at these levels are not likely to cause TTS or PTS (Southall et al. 2007), this consideration is a precaution NMFS takes for its effect analysis.

    The methods used in estimate Level A exposure is the same for Level B estimates, i.e., multiplying the total amount of area available to the species that could be seasonally ensonified by noise levels exceeding 190 and 180 dB by density of each species by the number of survey days in each season, then corrected by the animals turnover rates and different airgun array usage. The results of potential Level A exposure are shown in Table 5, assuming that animals will not avoid being exposed to received levels that could cause hearing threshold shifts or even injury, which is highly unlikely, and that no mitigation and monitoring measures would be implemented to avoid Level A takes.

    Table 5—Summary of Calculation of Cetaceans Exposed to Received Levels Higher Than 180 Db and Pinnipeds Exposure to Received Levels Higher Than 190 dB re 1 µPa, With No Consideration of Animals Avoiding Level A Exclusion Zone and No Monitoring and Mitigation Measures Are In Place To Avoid Such Exposures Species (habitat) Summer ZOI (km2) Days Density (km−1) Summer exposure Fall ZOI (km2) Days Density (km−1) Fall exposure All seasons Turn-over (%) Airgun usage (%) Total adjusted exposure Airgun array volume: 620 in3 Bowhead whale 67.8 206 67.8 199 50% 80% 162 (0.0—1.5m) 12.88 28 0 0 12.88 21 0 0 (1.5—5.0m) 10.85 28 0 0 10.85 21 0 0 (5.0—15.0m) 24.41 28 0.1674 114.4 24.41 21 0 0 (>15.0m) 19.66 28 0.1674 92.2 19.66 21 0.4828 199.4 Beluga whale 67.8 28 0.0020 3.8 67.8 21 0.0057 8.1 100 80 10 Ringed seal 54.2 28 0.3547 538 54.2 21 0.2510 285.5 20 80 329 Spotted seal 54.2 28 0.0177 26.8 54.2 21 0.0125 14.2 100 80 33 Bearded seal 54.2 28 0.0177 26.8 54.2 21 0.0125 14.2 100 80 33 Airgun array volume: 1,240 in3 Bowhead whale 78 237 78 229 50% 20% 47 (0.0—1.5m) 14.77 28 0 0 14.77 21 0 0 (1.5—5.0m) 12.44 28 0 0 12.44 21 0 0 (5.0—15.0m) 27.99 28 0.1674 131.1 27.99 21 0 0 (>15.0m) 22.54 28 0.1674 105.6 22.54 21 0.4828 228.6 Beluga whale 77.74 28 0.0020 4.4 77.74 21 030057 9.3 100 20 3 Ringed seal 55.84 28 0.3547 554.6 55.84 21 0.2510 294.3 20 20 85 Spotted seal 55.84 28 0.0177 27.7 55.84 21 0.0125 14.7 100 20 8 Bearded seal 55.84 28 0.0177 27.7 55.84 21 0.0125 14.7 100 20 8

    It is important to note that the numbers presented in Table 5 are not the Level A take numbers. These numbers represent an unlikely scenario of exposure incidences if an animal did not avoid the intense noise field that could cause hearing impairment or injury and no monitoring or mitigation measures were implemented to avoid such consequences. Literature (e.g., Richardson et al. 1995, 1999; Southall et al. 2007) shows that marine mammals often avoid areas with intense noises, especially bowhead whales, even when the received noise levels are way below the levels that could elicit Level B harassment. Although this avoidance of an area by the marine mammals does not preclude the animals being taken by Level B harassment, it lessens the likelihood that they will be exposed above 180 dB for cetaceans and 190 dB for pinnipeds and incur hearing impairment or injury.

    Most importantly, monitoring and mitigation measures prescribed in the IHA require SAE to shut down or power down airgun arrays when a marine mammal is detected approaching, therefore, potential Level A harassment can be further avoided. Especially for non-deep diving large cetaceans such as bowhead whales (and to some extent beluga whales), vessel-based visual monitoring is effective to detect the whales before they enter the exclusion zone, as shown in previous 90-day reports from SAE and other open-water seismic survey activities. Nevertheless, in the unlikely case if a marine mammal is not detected by the PSO and did not avoid the 180 or 190 dB established for cetaceans and pinnipeds, respectively, a Level A take could occur. To derive more realistic Level A take estimates and in discussion with the Commission, NMFS consulted with the ESA biologists at NMFS Alaska Region. In addition, NMFS reviewed the monitoring results from SAE's 90-day report of its 2014 3D seismic survey in the same area with similar airgun arrays and vessel types, and also reviewed monitoring results from other monitoring reports in nearby waters in Beaufort Sea using similar sizes of airgun arrays (e.g., BP's 2012 Simpson Lagoon 3D seismic survey and BP's 2014 North Prudhoe Bay 3D seismic survey). Based on the review of these monitoring plans (including consideration of missed detections), the likely effectiveness of the mitigation and the likely avoidance of high levels of sound, NMFS modified the authorized Level A take as follows: 1 bowhead whale, 4 beluga whale, 20 ringed seals, 20 spotted seals, and 10 bearded seals.

    A summary of authorized Level A and Level B harassments for SAE's 3D seismic surveys in the Colville Delta of the Beaufort Sea is provided in Table 6.

    Table 6—The Authorized Level A and Level B Harassments of Marine Mammals for SAE's 2015 Open-Water 3D Seismic Survey in the Beaufort Sea Species Stock
  • abundance
  • Authorized Level B
  • harassment
  • Authorized Level A
  • harassment
  • % of take by stock
    Bowhead whale 19,534 452 1 2.31 Beluga whale (Beaufort Sea stock) 39,258 27 4 0.07 Beluga whale (E. Chukchi Sea stock) 3,710 27 4 0.73 Gray whale 19,126 2 0 0.01 Ringed seal 300,000 1,148 20 0.39 Spotted seal 141,479 500 20 0.35 Bearded seal 155,000 115 10 0.07

    The estimated Level A and Level B takes as a percentage of the marine mammal stock are 2.31% or less in all cases (Table 6). The highest percent of population estimated to be taken is 0.005% for Level A and 2.31% for Level B harassments for bowhead whale. For beluga whales, since there are two stocks in the proposed action, the percentage of the takes represent the worst case scenario when all takes occur in Beaufort Sea stock (0.07%) or East Chukchi Sea stock (0.73%). However, most likely the percentage of takes for each stock would not be this worst case scenario.

    Analysis and Determinations Negligible Impact

    Negligible impact is “an impact resulting from the specified activity that cannot be reasonably expected to, and is not reasonably likely to, adversely affect the species or stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival” (50 CFR 216.103). A negligible impact finding is based on the lack of likely adverse effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival (i.e., population-level effects). An estimate of the number of Level B harassment takes, alone, is not enough information on which to base an impact determination. In addition to considering estimates of the number of marine mammals that might be “taken” through behavioral harassment, NMFS must consider other factors, such as the likely nature of any responses (their intensity, duration, etc.), the context of any responses (critical reproductive time or location, migration, etc.), as well as the number and nature of estimated Level A harassment takes, the number of estimated mortalities, effects on habitat, and the status of the species.

    To avoid repetition, this introductory discussion of our analyses applies to all the species listed in Table 6, given that the anticipated effects of SAE's 3D seismic survey project on marine mammals are expected to be relatively similar in nature. Where there are meaningful differences between species or stocks, or groups of species, in anticipated individual responses to activities, impact of expected take on the population due to differences in population status, or impacts on habitat, they are described independently in the analysis below.

    No serious injuries or mortalities are anticipated to occur as a result of SAE's proposed 3D seismic survey, and none are proposed to be authorized. The takes that are anticipated and authorized are expected to be limited to short-term Level B behavioral harassment, and Level A harassment in the form of permanent hearing threshold shifts. While the airguns are expected to be operated for approximately 49 days within a 70-day period, the project timeframe will occur when cetacean species are typically not found in the project area or are found only in low numbers. While pinnipeds are likely to be found in the proposed project area more frequently, their distribution is dispersed enough that they likely will not be in the Level A or Level B harassment zone continuously. As mentioned previously in this document, pinnipeds appear to be more tolerant of anthropogenic sound than mysticetes.

    Bowhead Whales

    The bowhead whale is listed as endangered species under the ESA and depleted under the MMPA. However, despite these designations, the Bering-Chukchi-Beaufort stock of bowheads has been increasing at a rate of 3.4% annually for nearly a decade (Allen and Angliss, 2011), even in the face of ongoing industrial activity. Additionally, during the 2001 census, 121 calves were counted, which was the highest yet recorded. The calf count provides corroborating evidence for a healthy and increasing population (Allen and Angliss, 2011).

    Most of the bowhead whales encountered will likely show overt disturbance (avoidance) only if they receive airgun sounds with levels ≥ 160 dB re 1 μPa. In addition, elevated background noise level from the seismic airgun reverberant field could cause acoustic masking to bowhead whales and reduce their communication space. However, even though the decay of the signal is extended, the fact that pulses are separated by approximately 8 to 10 seconds for each individual source vessel (or 4 to 5 seconds when taking into account the two separate source vessels stationed 300 to 335 m apart) means that overall received levels at distance are expected to be much lower, thus resulting in less acoustic masking.

    Bowhead whales are less likely to occur in the proposed project area in July and early August, as they are found mostly in the Canadian Beaufort Sea at this time. The animals are more likely to occur later in the season (late-August through October), as they head west towards Chukchi Sea.

    It is estimated that a maximum of 452 bowhead whales (2.31%) could be taken by Level B harassment. Potential impacts to bowhead whales from SAE's 3D seismic surveys would be limited to brief behavioral disturbances and temporary avoidance of the ensonified areas.

    In their westward migration route, bowhead whales have been observed to feed in the vicinity of the survey area in the Beaufort Sea. Most of the feedings are observed in the September to October period as more bowhead whales are moving through the migratory corridor in the Beaufort Sea. Therefore, the areas in offshore Beaufort Sea are considered as biologically important areas for bowhead whales in September and October (Clarke et al. 2015). However, their habitat is in relatively deeper water > 15 m, which accounts for only 29% of SAE's proposed seismic survey area.

    The proposed activity also partially overlaps with BIAs where bowhead whale mother/calf pairs are sighted in the summer and fall and BIAs of bowhead whale fall migration (Clarke et al., 2015). However, as discussed previously, the majority of the survey areas (71%) are in shallow waters < 15 m, and are not considered bowhead habitat in the fall. In the summer, bowhead whale habitat extends to much shallower area of < 5 m, which counts for about 65% of the proposed 3D seismic survey areas.

    Due to the relatively small airgun arrays to be used in the SAE's 3D seismic survey, noise exposure to bowhead whales is expected to be low and would in almost all cases cause Level B harassment in the form of mild and temporary behavioral modification and/or avoidance. Moreover, the majority of the ensonified areas (67%) would fall between 160 and 166 dB re 1 µPa for impulse noise, which at the low-end of the range for Level B behavioral harassment by noise exposure.

    It is estimated that up to 1 bowhead whale could be exposed to received noise levels above 180 dB re 1 μPa (rms) for durations long enough to cause PTS, if the animal does not avoid the area for some reason and is not detected in time to have mitigation measures implemented. Marine mammals that are taken by TTS (which is a form of Level B harassment) are expected to receive minor (in the order of several dBs) and brief (minutes to hours) temporary hearing impairment because (1) animals are not likely to remain for prolonged periods within high intensity sound fields, and (2) both the seismic vessel and the animals are constantly moving, and it is unlikely that the animal will be moving along with the vessel during the survey. Although repeated experience to TTS (Level B harassment) could result in PTS (Level A harassment), for the same reasons discussed above, even if marine mammals experience PTS, the degree of PTS is expected to be mild, resulting in a few dB elevation of hearing threshold, and are not expected to be biologically significant for the population or species.

    Beluga Whale

    Odontocete reactions to seismic airgun pulses are generally assumed to be limited to shorter distances from the airgun than are those of mysticetes (e.g., bowhead whales), in part because odontocete low-frequency hearing is assumed to be less sensitive than that of mysticetes. However, at least when in the Canadian Beaufort Sea in summer, belugas appear to be fairly responsive to seismic energy, with few being sighted within 6-12 mi (10-20 km) of seismic vessels during aerial surveys (Miller et al. 2005). Belugas will likely occur in small numbers in the Beaufort Sea during the survey period and few will likely be affected by the survey activity.

    Beluga whales are less likely to occur in the proposed project area in July and early August, as they are found mostly in the Canadian Beaufort Sea at this time. The animals are more likely to occur later in the season (late-August through October), as they head west towards Chukchi Sea. However, most beluga whales are expected to occur in much deeper water offshore in the Beaufort Sea during its migration. The beluga whale fall migration BIAs are approximately 75 km offshore from the SAE's proposed seismic survey area (Clarke et al., 2015). No other beluga whale BIAs overlap with SAE's proposed survey area.

    It is estimated that a maximum of 27 beluga whales (0.07% from the Beaufort Sea stock if all animals taken are from the Beaufort Sea stock, or 0.73% from the East Chukchi Sea stock if all animals taken are from the East Chukchi Sea stock) could be taken by Level B harassment. Potential impacts to beluga whales from SAE's 3D seismic survey activity include brief behavioral disturbances and temporary avoidance of the ensonified areas.

    It is estimated that up to 4 beluga whales could be exposed to received noise levels above 180 dB re 1 μPa (rms) for durations long enough to cause PTS, if the animals do not avoid are area for some reason and are not detected in time to have mitigation measures implemented. Marine mammals that are taken by TTS (which is a form of Level B harassment) are expected to receive minor (in the order of several dBs) and brief (minutes to hours) temporary hearing impairment because (1) animals are not likely to remain for prolonged periods within high intensity sound fields, and (2) both the seismic vessel and the animals are constantly moving, and it is unlikely that the animal will be moving along with the vessel during the survey. Although repeated experience to TTS (Level B harassment) could result in PTS (Level A harassment), for the same reasons discussed above, even if marine mammals experience PTS, the degree of PTS is expected to be mild, resulting in a few dB elevation of hearing threshold, and are not expected to be biologically significant for the population or species.

    Gray Whales

    Gray whales are not commonly encountered in the Beaufort Sea coast, though occasional sightings have occurred in the past. It is estimated that a maximum of 2 gray whales (0.01%) could be taken by Level B harassment. Potential impacts to gray whales from SAE's 3D seismic survey will be limited to brief behavioral disturbances and temporary avoidance of the ensonified areas. No Level A takes of gray whale is expected, and none is authorized.

    No BIA for gray whales overlaps with SAE's 3D seismic survey in the Beaufort Sea (the gray whale reproduction and feeding BIAs during the summer and fall are in the Chukchi Sea (Clarke et al. 2015)).

    Pinnipeds

    Ringed, spotted, and bearded are regularly encountered in the proposed SAE's seismic survey area, with the first two species being most common. Ringed seals were recently listed under the ESA as threatened species, and are considered depleted under the MMPA. On July 25, 2014, the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska vacated NMFS' rule listing the Beringia bearded seal DPS as threatened and remanded the rule to NMFS to correct the deficiencies identified in the opinion.

    As stated in the Federal Register notice (80 FR 20084; April 14, 2015) for the proposed IHA, they appear to be more tolerant of anthropogenic sound, especially at lower received levels, than other marine mammals, such as mysticetes. SAE's proposed activities would occur at a time of year when these seal species found in the region are not molting, breeding, or pupping. Therefore, these important life functions would not be impacted by SAE's proposed activities. The exposure of pinnipeds to sounds produced by SAE's proposed 3D seismic survey operations in the Beaufort Sea is not expected to result in more than Level B harassment of individuals from pinnipeds in most cases, with a few by Level A harassment in the form of TTS (Level B harassment) and PTS (Level A harassment).

    It is estimated that maxima of 459 ringed seals (0.15%), 500 spotted seals (0.35%), and 115 bearded seals (0.07%) could be taken by Level B harassment. Level B behavioral harassment to these species from SAE's 3D seismic survey activity include brief behavioral disturbances and temporary avoidance of the ensonified areas.

    In addition, it is estimated that up to 20 ringed and spotted seals and 10 bearded seals could be exposed to received noise levels above 190 dB re 1 μPa (rms) for durations long enough to cause TTS, if the animals do not avoid are area for some reason and are not detected in time to have mitigation measures implemented (or even PTS if such exposures occurred repeatedly). Marine mammals that are taken by TTS are expected to receive minor (in the order of several dBs) and brief (minutes to hours) temporary hearing impairment because (1) animals are not likely to remain for prolonged periods within high intensity sound fields, and (2) both the seismic vessel and the animals are constantly moving, and it is unlikely that the animal will be moving along with the vessel during the survey. Although repeated experience to TTS could result in PTS (Level A harassment), for the same reasons discussed above, even if marine mammals experience PTS, the degree of PTS is expected to be mild, resulting in a few dB elevation of hearing threshold. Therefore, even if a few marine mammals receive TTS or PTS, the degree of these effects are expected to be minor and, in the case of TTS, brief, and are not expected to be biologically significant for the population or species.

    No biologically important area exists for seals in the vicinity of SAE's 3D seismic survey activities.

    Taking into account the mitigation measures that are planned, effects on marine mammals are generally expected to be restricted to avoidance of a limited area around SAE's proposed open-water activities and short-term changes in behavior, falling within the MMPA definition of “Level B harassments.” The many reported cases of apparent tolerance by marine mammals to seismic exploration, vessel traffic, and some other human activities show that co-existence is possible. Mitigation measures, such as controlled vessel speed, dedicated marine mammal observers, non-pursuit, ramp up procedures, and shut downs or power downs when marine mammals are seen within defined ranges, will further reduce short-term reactions and minimize any effects on hearing sensitivity. In all cases, the effects are expected to be short-term, with no lasting biological consequence.

    Potential impacts to marine mammal habitat were discussed previously in the Federal Register notice (80 FR 20084; April 14, 2015) for the proposed IHA (see the “Anticipated Effects on Habitat” section of that document). Although some disturbance of food sources of marine mammals is possible, any impacts are anticipated to be minor enough as to not affect rates of recruitment or survival of marine mammals in the area. The marine survey activities would occur in a localized area, and given the vast area of the Arctic Ocean where feeding by marine mammals occurs, any missed feeding opportunities in the direct project area could be offset by feeding opportunities in other available feeding areas.

    In addition, no critical habitat of ESA-listed marine mammal species occurs in the Beaufort Sea.

    Based on the analysis contained herein of the likely effects of the specified activity on marine mammals and their habitat, and taking into consideration the implementation of the proposed monitoring and mitigation measures, NMFS finds that the total marine mammal take from SAE's proposed 3D seismic survey in the Beaufort Sea, Alaska, will have a negligible impact on the affected marine mammal species or stocks.

    Small Numbers

    The requested takes proposed to be authorized represent less than 2.31% for all populations or stocks potentially impacted (see Table 6 in this document). These take estimates represent the maximum percentage of each species or stock that could be taken by Level B behavioral harassment and Level A harassment if each animal is taken only once, and each take represents a different individual animal. However, it is likely that many, if not most, individual animals could be taken multiple times due to their short term movement patter and home range. Therefore, the percentages of takes of marine mammals among their populations are likely to be much lower. The numbers of marine mammals estimated to be taken are small proportions of the total populations of the affected species or stocks. In addition, the mitigation and monitoring measures (described previously in this document) prescribed in the IHA are expected to reduce even further any potential disturbance and injuries to marine mammals.

    Based on the analysis contained herein of the likely effects of the specified activity on marine mammals and their habitat, and taking into consideration the implementation of the mitigation and monitoring measures, NMFS finds that small numbers of marine mammals will be taken relative to the populations of the affected species or stocks.

    Impact on Availability of Affected Species or Stock for Taking for Subsistence Uses Relevant Subsistence Uses

    The proposed seismic activities will occur within the marine subsistence area used by the village of Nuiqsut. Nuiqsut was established in 1973 at a traditional location on the Colville River providing equal access to upland (e.g., caribou, Dall sheep) and marine (e.g., whales, seals, and eiders) resources (Brown 1979). Although Nuiqsut is located 40 km (25 mi) inland, bowhead whales are still a major fall subsistence resource. Although bowhead whales have been harvested in the past all along the barrier islands, Cross Island is the site currently used as the fall whaling base, as it includes cabins and equipment for butchering whales. However, whalers must travel about 160 km (100 mi) to annually reach the Cross Island whaling camp, which is located in a direct line over 110 km (70 mi) from Nuiqsut. Whaling activity usually begins in late August with the arrival whales migrating from the Canadian Beaufort Sea, and may occur as late as early October, depending on ice conditions and quota fulfillment. Most whaling occurs relatively near (<16 km or <10 mi) the island, largely to prevent meat spoilage that can occur with a longer tow back to Cross Island. Since 1993, Cross Island hunters have harvested one to four whales annually, averaging three.

    Cross Island is located 70 km (44 mi) east of the eastern boundary of the seismic survey box. (Point Barrow is over 180 km [110 mi] outside the potential survey box.) Seismic activities are unlikely to affect Barrow or Cross Island based whaling, especially if the seismic operations temporarily cease during the fall bowhead whale hunt.

    Although Nuiqsut whalers may incidentally harvest beluga whales while hunting bowheads, these whales are rarely seen and are not actively pursued. Any harvest that would occur would most likely be in association with Cross Island.

    The potential seismic survey area is also used by Nuiqsut villagers for hunting seals. All three seal species that are likely to be taken—ringed, spotted, and bearded—are hunted. Sealing begins in April and May when villagers hunt seals at breathing holes in Harrison Bay. In early June, hunting is concentrated at the mouth of the Colville River, where ice breakup flooding results in the ice thinning and seals becoming more visible.

    Once the ice is clear of the Delta (late June), hunters will hunt in open boats along the ice edge from Harrison Bay to Thetis Island in a route called “round the world.” Thetis Island is important as it provides a weather refuge and a base for hunting bearded seals. During July and August, ringed and spotted seals are hunted in the lower 65 km (40 mi) of the Colville River proper.

    In terms of pounds, approximately one-third of the village of Nuiqsut's annual subsistence harvest is marine mammals (fish and caribou dominate the rest), of which bowhead whales contribute by far the most (Fuller and George 1999). Seals contribute only 2 to 3% of annual subsistence harvest (Brower and Opie 1997, Brower and Hepa 1998, Fuller and George 1999). Fuller and George (1999) estimated that 46 seals were harvested in 1992. The more common ringed seals appear to dominate the harvest, although the larger and thicker-skinned bearded seals are probably preferred. Spotted seals occur in the Colville River Delta in small numbers, which is reflected in the harvest.

    Available harvest records suggest that most seal harvest occurs in the months preceding the proposed August start of the seismic survey, when waning ice conditions provide the best opportunity to approach and kill hauled out seals. Much of the late summer seal harvest occurs in the Colville River as the seals follow fish runs upstream. Still, open-water seal hunting could occur coincident with the seismic surveys, especially bearded seal hunts based from Thetis Island. In general, however, given the relatively low contribution of seals to the Nuiqsut subsistence, and the greater opportunity to hunt seals earlier in the season, any potential impact by the seismic survey on seal hunting is likely remote.

    Potential Impacts to Subsistence Uses

    NMFS has defined “unmitigable adverse impact” in 50 CFR 216.103 as: “an impact resulting from the specified activity: (1) That is likely to reduce the availability of the species to a level insufficient for a harvest to meet subsistence needs by: (i) Causing the marine mammals to abandon or avoid hunting areas; (ii) Directly displacing subsistence users; or (iii) Placing physical barriers between the marine mammals and the subsistence hunters; and (2) That cannot be sufficiently mitigated by other measures to increase the availability of marine mammals to allow subsistence needs to be met.

    Noise and general activity during SAE's proposed 3D OBN seismic survey have the potential to impact marine mammals hunted by Native Alaskans. In the case of cetaceans, the most common reaction to anthropogenic sounds (as noted previously) is avoidance of the ensonified area. In the case of bowhead whales, this often means that the animals divert from their normal migratory path by several kilometers. Additionally, general vessel presence in the vicinity of traditional hunting areas could negatively impact a hunt. Native knowledge indicates that bowhead whales become increasingly “skittish” in the presence of seismic noise. Whales are more wary around the hunters and tend to expose a much smaller portion of their back when surfacing, which makes harvesting more difficult. Additionally, natives report that bowheads exhibit angry behaviors, such as tail-slapping, in the presence of seismic activity, which translate to danger for nearby subsistence harvesters.

    Responses of seals to seismic airguns are expected to be negligible. Bain and Williams (2006) studied the responses of harbor seals, California sea lions, and Steller sea lions to seismic airguns and found that seals at exposure levels above 170 dB re 1 μPa (peak-peak) often showed avoidance behavior, including generally staying at the surface and keeping their heads out of the water, but that the responses were not overt, and there were no detectable responses at low exposure levels.

    Plan of Cooperation or Measures To Minimize Impacts to Subsistence Hunts

    Regulations at 50 CFR 216.104(a)(12) require IHA applicants for activities that take place in Arctic waters to provide a Plan of Cooperation (POC) or information that identifies what measures have been taken and/or will be taken to minimize adverse effects on the availability of marine mammals for subsistence purposes.

    SAE has prepared a POC, which was developed by identifying and evaluating any potential effects the proposed seismic survey might have on seasonal abundance that is relied upon for subsistence use. For the proposed project, SAE worked closely with the North Slope Borough (NSB) and its partner Kuukpik Corporation, to identify subsistence communities and activities that may take place within or near the project area.

    As a joint venture partner with Kuukpik, SAE is working closely with them and the communities on the North Slope to plan operations that will include measures that are environmentally suitable and that do not impact local subsistence use. In addition, SAE signed a Conflict Avoidance Agreement (CAA) with the AEWC and other subsistence whaling communities.

    SAE adopted a three-stage process to develop its POC:

    Stage 1: To open communications SAE attended and presented the program description to the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission (AEWC) during their mini-convention in December, 2014, in Anchorage. Collaboration meetings were held in March and April 2015 with Kuukpik Corporation leaders. Kuukpik Corporation is SAE's joint venture partners in the project and on the North Slope of Alaska.

    Prior to offshore activities, SAE met and consulted with nearby communities, the North Slope Borough (NSB) planning department and the Fish and Wildlife division. SAE has also presented its project during a community meeting in the village of Nuiqsut, to discuss the planned activities. The discussions included SAE's project description, the POC, resolution of potential conflicts, and proposed operational window. These meetings helped to identify any subsistence conflicts. The following meetings were conducted:

    • Nuiqsut: November, 2014 (Job Fair) • Nuiqsut: January, 2015 (Project Presentation) • AEWC: December, 2014 (2015 planned projects) • Barrow (NSB): March, 2015 (Pre Application Meeting) • Barrow: March, 2015 (Planning Commission Meeting) • AEWC: February, 2015 (Project Presentation)

    In addition, SAE scheduled the following meeting in the near future:

    • Nuqsut: July, 2015 (update Meeting) • KSOP: July 2015 (Presentation)

    Stage 2: SAE incorporated meaningful requests to mitigate concerns into operations, including signing a CAA and providing weekly updates to the Kuukpikmiut Subsistence Oversight Panel (KSOP). SAE plans to have a review of permit stipulations and a permit matrix developed for the crews. The means of communications and contacts list have been developed and implemented into operations. Communications will be handled within the CAA and directly with Nuiqsut Whalers. The use of scientific and Inupiat PSOs/Communicators on board the vessels will ensure that appropriate precautions are taken to avoid harassment of marine mammals, including whales, seals, walruses or polar bears. SAE will coordinate the timing and location of operations with the Com-Centers in Deadhorse and Kaktovik to minimize impact to the subsistence activities or the Nuiqsut/Kaktovik Bowhead Whale Hunt.

    Stage 3: If a conflict does occur with project activities and subsistence hunting, the SAs will immediately contact the project manager and the Com Center. If avoidance is not possible, the project manager will initiate communication with a representative from the impacted subsistence hunter group(s) to resolve the issue and to plan an alternative course of action (which may include ceasing operations during the whale hunt).

    In addition, the following mitigation measures will be imposed in order to effect the least practicable adverse impact on the availability of marine mammal species for subsistence uses:

    (i) Establishment and operations of Communication and Call Centers (Com-Center) Program

    • For the purposes of reducing or eliminating conflicts between subsistence whaling activities and SAE's survey program, SAE will participate with other operators in the Com-Center Program. Com-Centers will be operated to facilitate communication of information between SAE and subsistence whalers. The Com-Centers will be operated 24 hours/day during the 2015 fall subsistence bowhead whale hunt.

    • All vessels shall report to the appropriate Com-Center at least once every six hours, commencing each day with a call at approximately 06:00 hours.

    • The appropriate Com-Center shall be notified if there is any significant change in plans, such as an unannounced start-up of operations or significant deviations from announced course, and that Com-Center shall notify all whalers of such changes. The appropriate Com-Center also shall be called regarding any unsafe or unanticipated ice conditions.

    (ii) SAE shall monitor the positions of all of its vessels and exercise due care in avoiding any areas where subsistence activity is active.

    (iii) Routing barge and transit vessels:

    • Vessels transiting in the Beaufort Sea east of Bullen Point to the Canadian border shall remain at least 5 miles offshore during transit along the coast, provided ice and sea conditions allow. During transit in the Chukchi Sea, vessels shall remain as far offshore as weather and ice conditions allow, and at all times at least 5 miles offshore.

    • From August 31 to October 31, vessels in the Chukchi Sea or Beaufort Sea shall remain at least 20 miles offshore of the coast of Alaska from Icy Cape in the Chukchi Sea to Pitt Point on the east side of Smith Bay in the Beaufort Sea, unless ice conditions or an emergency that threatens the safety of the vessel or crew prevents compliance with this requirement. This condition shall not apply to vessels actively engaged in transit to or from a coastal community to conduct crew changes or logistical support operations.

    • Vessels shall be operated at speeds necessary to ensure no physical contact with whales occurs, and to make any other potential conflicts with bowheads or whalers unlikely. Vessel speeds shall be less than 10 knots in the proximity of feeding whales or whale aggregations.

    • If any vessel inadvertently approaches within 1.6 kilometers (1 mile) of observed bowhead whales, except when providing emergency assistance to whalers or in other emergency situations, the vessel operator will take reasonable precautions to avoid potential interaction with the bowhead whales by taking one or more of the following actions, as appropriate:

    ○ Reducing vessel speed to less than 5 knots within 900 feet of the whale(s);

    ○ Steering around the whale(s) if possible;

    ○ Operating the vessel(s) in such a way as to avoid separating members of a group of whales from other members of the group;

    ○ Operating the vessel(s) to avoid causing a whale to make multiple changes in direction; and

    ○ Checking the waters immediately adjacent to the vessel(s) to ensure that no whales will be injured when the propellers are engaged.

    (iv) Limitation on seismic surveys in the Beaufort Sea

    • Kaktovik: No seismic survey from the Canadian Border to the Canning River from around August 25 to close of the fall bowhead whale hunt in Kaktovik and Nuiqsut, based on the actual hunt dates. From around August 10 to August 25, based on the actual hunt dates, SAE will communicate and collaborate with the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission (AEWC) on any planned vessel movement in and around Kaktovik and Cross Island to avoid impacts to whale hunting.

    • Nuiqsut:

    ○Pt. Storkerson to Thetis Island: No seismic survey prior to July 25 inside the Barrier Islands. No seismic survey from around August 25 to close of fall bowhead whale hunting outside the Barrier Island in Nuiqsut, based on the actual hunt dates.

    ○ Canning River to Pt. Storkerson: No seismic survey from around August 25 to the close of bowhead whale subsistence hunting in Nuiqsut, based on the actual hunt dates.

    • Barrow: No seismic survey from Pitt Point on the east side of Smith Bay to a location about half way between Barrow and Peard Bay from September 15 to the close of the fall bowhead whale hunt in Barrow.

    (v) SAE shall complete operations in time to allow such vessels to complete transit through the Bering Strait to a point south of 59 degrees North latitude no later than November 15, 2015. Any vessel that encounters weather or ice that will prevent compliance with this date shall coordinate its transit through the Bering Strait to a point south of 59 degrees North latitude with the appropriate Com-Centers. SAE vessels shall, weather and ice permitting, transit east of St. Lawrence Island and no closer than 10 miles from the shore of St. Lawrence Island.

    Unmitigable Adverse Impact Analysis and Preliminary Determination

    SAE has adopted a spatial and temporal strategy for its 3D OBN seismic survey that should minimize impacts to subsistence hunters and ensure the sufficient availability of species for hunters to meet subsistence needs. SAE will temporarily cease seismic activities during the fall bowhead whale hunt, which will allow the hunt to occur without any adverse impact from SAE's activities. Although some seal hunting co-occurs temporally with SAE's proposed seismic survey, the locations do not overlap, so SAE's activities will not impact the hunting areas and will not directly displace sealers or place physical barriers between the sealers and the seals. In addition, SAE is conducting the seismic surveys in a joint partnership agreement with Kuukpik Corporation, which allows SAE to work closely with the native communities on the North Slope to plan operations that include measures that are environmentally suitable and that do not impact local subsistence use, and to adjust the operations, if necessary, to minimize any potential impacts that might arise. Based on the description of the specified activity, the measures described to minimize adverse effects on the availability of marine mammals for subsistence purposes, and the proposed mitigation and monitoring measures, NMFS has determined that there will not be an unmitigable adverse impact on subsistence uses from SAE's proposed activities.

    Endangered Species Act (ESA)

    Within the project area, the bowhead whale is listed as endangered and the ringed seal is listed as threatened under the ESA. NMFS' Permits and Conservation Division initiated consultation with staff in NMFS' Alaska Region Protected Resources Division under section 7 of the ESA on the issuance of an IHA to SAE under section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA for this activity. In June 2015, NMFS issued a Biological Opinion, and concluded that the issuance of the IHA associated with SAE's 2015 3D seismic survey in the Beaufort Sea is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the endangered bowhead, humpback and the threatened Arctic sub-species of ringed seal. No critical habitat has been designated for these species, therefore none will be affected.

    National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

    NMFS prepared an EA that includes an analysis of potential environmental effects associated with NMFS' issuance of an IHA to SAE to take marine mammals incidental to conducting a 3D seismic survey in the Beaufort Sea, Alaska. NMFS has finalized the EA and prepared a Finding of No Significant Impact for this action. Therefore, preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement is not necessary. NMFS' draft EA was available to the public for a 30-day comment period before it was finalized.

    Authorization

    As a result of these determinations, NMFS has issued an IHA to SAE for the take of marine mammals, by Level B and Level A harassments, incidental to conducting a 3D OBN seismic survey in the Beaufort Sea during the 2015 open-water season, provided the previously mentioned mitigation, monitoring, and reporting requirements are incorporated.

    Dated: July 6, 2015. Perry Gayaldo, Deputy Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-16966 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Patent and Trademark Office Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; “Post Patent Public Submissions”

    The Department of Commerce will submit to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for clearance the following proposal for collection of information under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. chapter 35).

    Agency: United States Patent and Trademark Office, Commerce.

    Title: Post Patent Public Submissions.

    OMB Control Number: 0651-0067.

    Form Number(s):

    • PTO/SB/42.

    Type of Request: Regular.

    Number of Respondents: 240.

    Average Time per Response: 10 hours.

    Burden Hours: 2,400.

    Cost Burden: $57.50.

    Needs and Uses: The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is required by 35 U.S.C. 131 et seq. to examine an application for patent and, when appropriate, issue a patent. The provisions of 35 U.S.C. 301 and 37 CFR 1.501 govern the ability of a person to submit into the file of an issued patent (i) prior art consisting of patents or printed publications which the person making the submission believes to have a bearing on the patentability of any claim of the patent, and (ii) statements of the patent owner filed by the patent owner in a proceeding before a Federal court or the USPTO in which the patent owner took a position on the scope of any claim of the patent.

    Affected Public: Individuals and housholds; businesses or other for-profits; not-for-profit institutions.

    Frequency: On occasion.

    Respondent's Obligation: Required to obtain or retain benefits.

    OMB Desk Officer: Nicholas A. Fraser, email: [email protected]

    Once submitted, the request will be publicly available in electronic format through reginfo.gov. Follow the instructions to view Department of Commerce collections currently under review by OMB.

    Further information can be obtained by:

    • Email: [email protected] Include “0651-0067 copy request” in the subject line of the message.

    • Mail: Marcie Lovett, Records Management Division Director, Office of the Chief Information Officer, United States Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450.

    Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent on or before August 12, 2015 to Nicholas A. Fraser, OMB Desk Officer, via email to [email protected], or by fax to 202-395-5167, marked to the attention of Nicholas A. Fraser.

    Dated: July 1, 2015. Marcie Lovett, Records Management Division Director, USPTO, Office of the Chief Information Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17056 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-16-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary [Docket ID DoD-2015-OS-0068] Privacy Act of 1974; System of Records AGENCY:

    National Guard Bureau, DoD.

    ACTION:

    Notice to add a new System of Records.

    SUMMARY:

    The National Guard Bureau proposes to add a new system of records INGB 004, entitled “Joint Services Support System (JSS).” JSS will be a centralized, web-based portal that manages, for the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program (YRRP), the entire event life cycle—to include, planning, conducting and reporting, for events held nationwide, for Service members and their families. In addition to YRRP, JSS also aims to support program management activities/events for other currently participating programs, such as the Family Program, Employer Support Program, Financial Management Awareness Program, Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Program, Psychological Health Program and Warrior Support program, as well as future Guard and Reserve programs supporting the National Guard Bureau (NGB), Manpower and Personnel Directorate. JSS will also support the collection and storage of Civilian Employer Information (CE) from Service members to fulfill the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) mandate.

    DATES:

    Comments will be accepted on or before August 12, 2015. This proposed action will be effective the day following the end of the comment period unless comments are received which result in a contrary determination.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by docket number and title, by any of the following methods:

    * Federal Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    * Mail: Department of Defense, Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer, Directorate of Oversight and Compliance, Regulatory and Audit Matters Office, 9010 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-9010.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and docket number for this Federal Register document. The general policy for comments and other submissions from members of the public is to make these submissions available for public viewing on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov as they are received without change, including any personal identifiers or contact information.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Jennifer Nikolaisen, 111 South George Mason Drive, AH2, Arlington, VA 22204-1373 or telephone: (703) 601-6884.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The National Guard Bureau notices for systems of records subject to the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a), as amended, have been published in the Federal Register and are available from the address in FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT or from the Defense Privacy and Civil Liberties Division Web site at http://dpcld.defense.gov/.

    The proposed system report, as required by 5 U.S.C. 552a(r) of the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, was submitted on May 15, 2015, to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) pursuant to paragraph 4c of Appendix I to OMB Circular No. A-130, “Federal Agency Responsibilities for Maintaining Records About Individuals,” dated February 8, 1996 (February 20, 1996, 61 FR 6427).

    Dated: July 7, 2015. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense. INGB 004 System name:

    Joint Services Support System (JSS)

    System location:

    Datacenter located at 801 Industrial Boulevard, Suite #200, Grapevine, Texas 76051-8635.

    Categories of individuals covered by the system:

    Current and former members of the Federally Recognized Air and Army National Guards of the United States, current and former members of the United States Armed Forces, current and former members of the Reserve Components of the United States Armed Forces, family members of current and former members of the National Guard, Armed Forces, and Armed Forces Reserve, Department of Defense civilian employees and contractors, and volunteers.

    Categories of records in the system:

    Service affiliation, name, DoD ID Number, date of birth, personal and business phone number, business email address, entitlement and eligibility information, activation and mobilization dates, unit name and address, employment information (type of employment, dates of employment), employer information (past and current employer name address and phone number).

    Authority for maintenance of the system:

    10 U.S.C. 10502, Chief, National Guard Bureau; 38 U.S.C. 4301-4335, Employment and Reemployment Rights of Members of the Uniformed Services; 10 U.S.C. 10145, Ready Reserve: placement in; 10 U.S.C. 12302, Ready Reserve; Public Law 110-181, Section 582, Yellow Ribbon Integration; 20 CFR part 1002, Regulations Under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994; DoD Instruction 1342.28, DoD Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program (YRRP); DoD Manual 7730.54-M, Vol.2, Reserve Components Common Personnel Data System (RCCPDS): Personnel Reports, and DoD Manual 7730.54 Vol. 1, and Reserve Components Common Personnel Data System (RCCPDS): Reporting Procedures.

    Purpose(s):

    The National Guard Bureau is proposing to add a new system of records that will be a centralized, web-based portal that manages, for the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program (YRRP), the entire event life cycle—to include, planning, conducting and reporting, for events held nationwide, for Service members and their families. In addition to YRRP, JSS also aims to support program management activities/events for other currently participating programs, such as the Family Program, Employer Support Program, Financial Management Awareness Program, Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Program, Psychological Health Program and Warrior Support program, as well as future Guard and Reserve programs supporting the National Guard Bureau (NGB), Manpower and Personnel Directorate. JSS will also support the collection and storage of Civilian Employer Information (CE) from Service members to fulfill the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) mandate.

    Routine uses of records maintained in the system including categories of users and the purpose of such uses:

    In addition to those disclosures generally permitted under 5 U.S.C. 552a(b) of the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, the records contained therein may specifically be disclosed outside the DoD as a routine use pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(3) as follows:

    The DoD Blanket Routine Uses set forth at the beginning of the National Guard Bureau compilation of system of records notices may apply to this system. The complete list of DoD blanket routine uses can be found online at: http://dpcld.defense.gov/Privacy/SORNsIndex/BlanketRoutineUses.aspx.

    Policies and practices for storing, retrieving, accessing, retaining, and disposing of records in the system: Storage:

    Electronic storage media.

    Retrievability:

    By DoD ID Number, date of birth and last name, or by name only, depending on the category of individual.

    Safeguards:

    Data center access is limited to only data center technicians and the center uses biometric scanning for controlled data center access. The data center also has security camera monitoring and 24-hour onsite staff providing additional protection against unauthorized entry. All employees are trained on documented information security and privacy procedures. Access to confidential information is restricted to authorized personnel only according to documented processes.

    Systems access is logged and tracked for auditing purposes. Secure document-destruction policies are in place for all sensitive information and change-management procedures are fully documented. In addition, there is an independently audited disaster recovery and business continuity of operations plan in place.

    Retention and disposal:

    Disposition pending (until the National Archives and Records Administration approves retention and disposal schedule for the National Guard Bureau all records will be treated as permanent).

    System manager(s) and address:

    National Guard Bureau (NGB), Manpower and Personnel Directorate (J1), 111 South George Mason Drive, Arlington Hall 2, Arlington, VA 22204-1373.

    Notification procedure:

    Individuals who wish to inquire whether this system of records contains information about themselves should address written inquiries to National Guard Bureau (NGB), Manpower and Personnel Directorate (J1), Joint Support Personnel System; 111 South George Mason Drive, Arlington Hall 2, Arlington, VA 22204-1373.

    Written requests must include the individual's DoD ID number or their name and date of birth, and full mailing address to receive a response.

    In addition, the requester must provide a notarized statement or an unsworn declaration made in accordance with 28 U.S.C. 1746, in the following format:

    If executed outside the United States: `I declare (or certify, verify, or state) under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on (date). (Signature)'.

    If executed within the United States, its territories, possessions, or commonwealths: `I declare (or certify, verify, or state) under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on (date). (Signature)'.

    Record access procedures:

    Individuals seeking to access information about themselves in this system should address written inquiries to National Guard Bureau (NGB), Manpower and Personnel Directorate (J1), 111 South George Mason Drive, Arlington Hall 2, Arlington, VA 22204-1373

    Written requests must include the individual's DoD ID number or their name and date of birth, as well as full mailing address to receive a response.

    In addition, the requester must provide a notarized statement or an unsworn declaration made in accordance with 28 U.S.C. 1746, in the following format:

    If executed outside the United States: `I declare (or certify, verify, or state) under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on (date). (Signature)'.

    If executed within the United States, its territories, possessions, or commonwealths: `I declare (or certify, verify, or state) under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on (date). (Signature)'.

    Contesting records procedures:

    The National Guard Bureau rules for accessing records and for contesting contents and appealing initial agency determinations are published at 32 CFR part 329 or may be obtained from the system manager.

    Record source categories:

    Information is collected directly from the individual when registering as a user or registering to attend an event or reporting their civilian employer information. Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) also provides additional information about Service members (only), to validate the information collected directly from the Defense Eligibility and Enrollment Reporting System (DEERS) and provide eligibility information to the programs providing the services.

    Exemptions claimed for the system:

    None.

    [FR Doc. 2015-16970 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION [Docket No. ED-2015-ICCD-0086] Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Comment Request; Professional Development Grants for Indian Children Application Package AGENCY:

    Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE), Department of Education (ED).

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. chapter 3501 et seq.), ED is proposing an extension of an existing information collection.

    DATES:

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before August 12, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments submitted in response to this notice should be submitted electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov by selecting Docket ID number ED-2015-ICCD-0086 or via postal mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery. If the regulations.gov site is not available to the public for any reason, ED will temporarily accept comments at [email protected] Please note that comments submitted by fax or email and those submitted after the comment period will not be accepted; ED will ONLY accept comments during the comment period in this mailbox when the regulations.gov site is not available. Written requests for information or comments submitted by postal mail or delivery should be addressed to the Director of the Information Collection Clearance Division, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., LBJ, Mailstop L-OM-2-2E319, Room 2E115, Washington, DC 20202.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For specific questions related to collection activities, please contact John Cheek, 202-401-0274.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Department of Education (ED), in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)), provides the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed, revised, and continuing collections of information. This helps the Department assess the impact of its information collection requirements and minimize the public's reporting burden. It also helps the public understand the Department's information collection requirements and provide the requested data in the desired format. ED is soliciting comments on the proposed information collection request (ICR) that is described below. The Department of Education is especially interested in public comment addressing the following issues: (1) Is this collection necessary to the proper functions of the Department; (2) will this information be processed and used in a timely manner; (3) is the estimate of burden accurate; (4) how might the Department enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (5) how might the Department minimize the burden of this collection on the respondents, including through the use of information technology. Please note that written comments received in response to this notice will be considered public records.

    Title of Collection: Professional Development Grants for Indian Children Application Package.

    OMB Control Number: 1810-0580.

    Type of Review: An extension of an existing information collection.

    Respondents/Affected Public: State, Local and Tribal Governments.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 50.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 1,500.

    Abstract: The Office of Indian Education (OIE) of the Department of Education (ED) requests an extension of this previously approved information collection, for the Indian Education Discretionary Grant Applications authorized under Title VII, Part A, of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended. The Professional Development (PD) (CFDA 84.299B) program is a competitive discretionary grant program. The grant applications submitted for this program are evaluated on the basis of how well an applicant addresses the selection criteria, and are used to determine applicant eligibility and amount of award for projects selected for funding.

    The selection criteria used for the Professional Development Grant program are included in 34 CFR 263.6. Sections 263.7, 263.8, 263.9, and 263.10 also have information collection requirements addressed in this clearance request relating to statutory or regulatory requirements.

    Dated: July 7, 2015. Tomakie Washington, Acting Director, Information Collection Clearance Division, Office of the Chief Privacy Officer, Office of Management.
    [FR Doc. 2015-16962 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION Applications for New Awards; Improved Reentry Education AGENCY:

    Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, Department of Education.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    Overview Information

    Improved Reentry Education (IRE).

    Notice inviting applications for new awards for fiscal year (FY) 2015.

    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.191D.

    DATES:

    Applications Available: July 13, 2015.

    Date of Pre-Application Meeting: July 20, 2015.

    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: August 12, 2015.

    Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: September 11, 2015.

    Full Text of Announcement I. Funding Opportunity Description

    Purpose of Program: The purpose of the IRE program is to support demonstration projects in prisoner reentry education that develop evidence of reentry education's effectiveness. IRE seeks to demonstrate that high-quality, appropriately designed, integrated, and well-implemented educational and related services provided in institutional and community settings are critical in supporting educational attainment and reentry success for individuals who have been incarcerated.

    Background: The economic and civic importance of the programs authorized by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, 29 U.S.C. 3101 et. seq. (WIOA),1 including the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (Title II of WIOA) (AEFLA), is amplified by three recent policy documents that highlight the challenges faced by low-skilled adults: (1) “Time for the U.S. to Reskill? What the Survey of Adult Skills Says”,2 released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); (2) “Ready to Work: Job-Driven Training and American Opportunity”,3 published by the Office of the Vice President; and (3) “Making Skills Everyone's Business”,4 published by the Department.

    1 See www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-113publ128/pdf/PLAW-113publ128.pdf.

    2 OECD (2013), Time for the U.S. to Reskill?: What the Survey of Adult Skills Says, OECD Skills Studies, OECD Publishing. Accessed February 11, 2015, from www.oecd-ilibrary.org/education/time-for-the-u-s-to-reskill_9789264204904-en.

    3 Vice President's Office (2014), Ready to Work: Job-driven Training and American Opportunity, Washington, DC: Author. Accessed February 11, 2015, from www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/skills_report.pdf.

    4 U.S. Department of Education, (2015, February). Making Skills Everyone's Business: A Call to Transform Adult Learning in the United States. Washington, DC: Author. Accessed February 11, 2015, from www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ovae/pi/AdultEd/making-skills.pdf

    These reports focus on the large numbers of low-skilled adults in the U.S. and underscore the urgent need to improve services and learning outcomes for adults in federally-funded programs by implementing innovative approaches to teaching and learning.

    More than 700,000 incarcerated individuals leave Federal and State prisons each year.5 Too many of these individuals do not reintegrate successfully into society; within 3 years of release, 4 out of 10 prisoners will be reincarcerated.6

    5 Guerino, Paul, Paige M. Harrison, and William J. Sabol. 2011. Prisoners in 2010. NCJ 236096. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. Accessed January 15, 2015, from bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/p10.pdf.

    6 The Pew Center on the States. 2011. State of Recidivism: The Revolving Door of America's Prisons. Washington, DC: The Pew Charitable Trusts. Accessed March 11, 2015, from www.michigan.gov/documents/corrections/Pew_Report_State_of_Recidivism_350337_7.pdf.

    This cycle of recidivism contributes significantly to the overall expenditures for corrections, which costs States more than $50 billion annually.7 Moreover, the number of individuals cycling in and out of our Nation's prisons jeopardizes public safety and negatively affects those individuals' families and their communities. Approximately 2.7 million children have an incarcerated parent, and these children are more likely to be expelled or suspended from school than children without an incarcerated parent.8

    7 National Association of State Budget Officers. 2011. State Expenditure Report: Examining Fiscal 2009-2011 State Spending. Washington, DC: Author. Accessed January 15, 2015, from www.nasbo.org/sites/default/files/2010%20State%20Expenditure%20Report.pdf.

    8 Phillips, Susan D., Alaattin Erkanli, Gordon P. Keeler, E. Jane Costello, & Adrian Angold. 2006. “Disentangling the Risks: Parent Criminal Justice Involvement and Children's Exposure to Family Risks.” Criminology and Public Policy 5(4): 677-702.

    Among the male U.S. population aged 20 to 34 years without a high school credential, 1 in 3 black men, 1 in 8 white men, and 1 in 14 Hispanic men are incarcerated.9 Formerly incarcerated men earn significantly less per year than those who have never been incarcerated.10 Unfortunately, many offenders are ill-equipped to break this cycle of reincarceration because they lack the education and workforce skills they need to succeed in the labor market and the cognitive skills (e.g., the ability to solve problems) that are essential to successfully addressing the challenges of reentry.11 Approximately 41 percent of Federal and State prisoners lack a high school credential, compared to 18 percent of the general population. Fewer than 15 percent have attained a postsecondary credential.12

    9 The Pew Charitable Trusts. 2010. Collateral Costs: Incarceration's Effect on Economic Mobility. Washington, DC: Author. Accessed March 11, 2015, from www.pewtrusts.org/~/media/legacy/uploadedfiles/pcs_assets/2010/CollateralCosts1pdf.pdf.

    10 Gould, Eric D., Bruce A. Weinberg, and David B. Mustard. 2002. “Crime Rates and Local Labor Market Opportunities in the United States: 1979-1997.” Review of Economics and Statistics 84 (1): 45-61. Accessed March 11, 2015, from www.terry.uga.edu/~mustard/labor.pdf.

    11 MacKenzie, Doris Layton. 2012. “The Effectiveness of Corrections-Based Work and Academic and Vocational Education Programs.” In The Oxford Handbook of Sentencing and Corrections, edited by Joan Petersilia and Kevin R. Reitz, 492-520. New York: Oxford University Press.

    12 Harlow, Caroline Wolf. 2003. Education and Correctional Populations. NCJ 195670. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. Accessed March 11, 2015, from www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/ecp.pdf.

    Although most State and Federal prisons offer adult education and career and technical education programs, and some offer postsecondary education, participation in these programs has not kept pace with the growing prison population.13 Similarly, those under community supervision (parole or probation) often do not participate in education and training programs.14 Possible reasons for these low participation rates include lack of, or limited access to, programs, limited awareness of program opportunities, reductions in services because of State budget constraints, insufficient personal motivation, and competing demands (e.g., employment) that may take precedence over pursuing education.15 It is not surprising, therefore, that formerly incarcerated individuals cited education, job training, and employment as vital needs not generally met during incarceration or after release.16

    13 Western, Bruce, Vincent Schiraldi, and Jason Ziedenberg. 2003. Education & Incarceration. Washington, DC: Justice Policy Institute. Accessed March 11, 2015, from www.justicepolicy.org/images/upload/03-08_REP_EducationIncarceration_AC-BB.pdf.

    14 Phillips, Susan D., Alaattin Erkanli, Gordon P. Keeler, E. Jane Costello, & Adrian Angold. 2006. “Disentangling the Risks: Parent Criminal Justice Involvement and Children's Exposure to Family Risks.” Criminology and Public Policy 5(4): 677-702.

    15 Crayton, Anna, and Suzanne Rebecca Neusteter. 2008. The Current State of Correctional Education. Paper prepared for the Reentry Roundtable on Education. New York: John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Prisoner Reentry Institute. Accessed May 20, 2015, from www.prisonlegalnews.org/news/publications/pri-crayton-state-of-correctional-education/.

    16 Visher, Christy A., and Pamela K. Lattimore. 2007. “Major Study Examines Prisoners and Their Reentry Needs.” NIJ Journal 258: 30-33. Accessed March 11, 2015, from www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/219603g.pdf.

    Low-skilled individuals who move in and out of prison may not be able to access well-integrated and sequenced educational programs. Coordination and communication among educational programs and their partner-related service providers, both inside and outside of correctional institutions, are essential to facilitating educational participation and progress. A lack of coordination and communication can result in barriers such as differing standardized assessments and curricula and lack of articulation agreements, making student transfers from one program to another difficult. Other barriers to accessing well-integrated related services and educational programs in institutional and community settings include:

    • Misinterpretation of Federal and State privacy laws and insufficient links among data systems, making it difficult for programs to get a comprehensive picture of their students' backgrounds, avoid duplication of effort, and track outcomes.

    • A perception among correctional officials (e.g., wardens, parole and probation officers, and court officials) and policymakers that individuals in correctional institutions should not receive educational services; this, in turn, can make it difficult to begin or expand student participation and establish supportive education and reentry policies.

    • Inadequate staff training, resulting in ineffective educational services.

    • Limited funds, leading to long waiting lists for programs.

    Programs based in jails present additional challenges. Because individuals in jails are typically serving a sentence of a year or less, they may not have time to complete a program while incarcerated. The connection between the jail and community-based programs, therefore, is particularly important. On the other hand, individuals incarcerated in prisons may not be released to a nearby community. This can create challenges for prisons trying to develop an education continuum for students because they may need to develop partnerships with community-based providers across the State.17

    17 “Reentry Education Model Implementation Study, Promoting Reentry Success Through Continuity of Educational Opportunities,” U.S. Department of Education, 2015.

    The Department previously recognized the need for the development of a correctional education reentry model illustrating an education continuum to bridge the gap between prison and community-based education and training programs (Reentry Education Model).18 Through a grant competition in 2012, Promoting Reentry Success Through Continuity of Educational Opportunities (PRSCEO), the Department funded three grant projects specifically to assess the Reentry Education Model in existing correctional and reentry education settings. Recognizing the need for other models to address the reentry education challenge, the Secretary will, through this new competition, support the establishment and operation of projects through partnerships that will implement models for correctional and reentry education based on strong theory (as defined in this notice). Eligible applicants will apply on behalf of a partnership that includes required and optional partners as described in the Eligible Applicants section of this notice.

    18 “A Reentry Education Model, Supporting Education and Career Advancement for Low Skill Individuals in Corrections,” U.S. Department of Education, 2012.

    Note:

    Applicants are not required to include the Reentry Education Model in their applications and will not receive any competitive preference as a result of incorporating the Reentry Education Model in their applications.

    Priorities: This competition contains two absolute priorities. Absolute Priority 1 is from the notice of the Secretary's Final Supplemental Priorities and Definitions for Discretionary Grant Programs published in the Federal Register on December 10, 2014, (79 FR 73426) (Secretary's priorities). We are establishing Absolute Priority 2 for this grant competition only and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applicants from this competition, in accordance with section 437(d)(1) of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA), 20 U.S.C. 1232(d)(1).

    Absolute Priorities: For the FY 2015 grant competition and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applications from this competition, these priorities are absolute priorities. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(3), we consider only applications that meet both of these absolute priorities.

    Absolute Priority 1—Supporting High-Need Students.19

    19 See http://www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-12-10/pdf/2014-28911.pdf, 79 FR 73426, Priority 4. Also see the Definition section of this notice inviting applications for the definitions of “high-need students” and “low-skilled adults.”

    To meet this priority, an applicant must propose a project designed to improve academic outcomes or learning environments for low-skilled adults (as defined in this notice).

    Absolute Priority 2—Improving Supports and Correctional Education.

    To meet this priority, an applicant must propose a project that:

    (1) Improves the quality of education programs in adult correctional facilities and community settings, and

    (2) Links correctional education students to education or job training programs post-release.

    Requirements Application Requirements

    The project plan submitted within the application must include:

    (a) An approach that demonstrates strong theory (as defined in this notice), which includes a logic model (as defined in this notice) and supporting practice.

    (b) A description of how the applicant will implement, or already has implemented, specified and described elements of a system designed to coordinate education and related services provided in a correctional facility or facilities and in community settings. This description must include the following:

    (1) The elements of the proposed project, including:

    (i) A correctional institution student intake protocol that includes assessment, individual educational plan development, and the recording of information in a centralized, electronic data system;

    (ii) The process the applicant will use for developing individual education plans that address individual student needs;

    (iii) Educational services with appropriate alignment and content, including basic educational services for low-skilled adults, within correctional facilities and within community-based educational programs for reentering formerly incarcerated persons or other justice-involved individuals such as probationers;

    (iv) Strategies based on strong theory (as defined in this notice) for:

    (A) Improving student outcomes in the attainment of established measures for the AEFLA program,

    (B) Increasing the number of students completing their educational programs, and

    (C) Increasing the number of students attaining their educational goals;

    (v) Pre-release procedures and protocols to support the transition of students, including low-skilled adults, from correctional institution educational programs to community-based educational programs; and

    (vi) Intake processes and procedures for the community-based educational services that include—

    (A) Connecting incarcerated individuals with community-based services by supporting orientation to, and pre-enrollment in, those services prior to release from the correctional institution,

    (B) Timely transfer of student data and educational plans, which are updated as necessary and appropriate, and

    (C) A process of communication among all project partners and with the individual students, including a point person for tracking individual progress to the extent practicable and for tracking students transferring to other adult basic education or adult secondary education programs, postsecondary education, training programs, or occupational training programs.

    (2) Fundamental program elements, which must include:

    (i) A description of the non-Federal funds and in-kind contributions that would be used in the project, if applicable;

    (ii) A description of the partnership that will implement the proposed project, including required and optional partners as described under Eligible Applicants;

    (iii) Electronic data system;

    (iv) Staff training;

    (v) Reentry policies; and

    (vi) Evaluation processes.

    (3) Implementation components, including—

    (i) The methodology that the applicant used to select the partner(s);

    (ii) For each proposed partner, descriptions of—

    (A) The populations served by the partner; and

    (B) The expected contributions of the partner to the proposed project and the extent to which each partner has committed to the implementation and sustainability of the project.

    (iii) Strategies for identifying and allocating human resources among the partners as needed to implement the proposed project;

    (iv) The applicant's approach to initial and ongoing personnel development or training for personnel involved in implementing the proposed project; and

    (4) Sustainability components, including a plan for:

    (i) Assessing the responsibilities for project maintenance and support among the partners at the participating project sites by the end of the project period in order to continue services after the project period ends; and

    (ii) Continuing personnel training among the partners in order to build capacity to implement reentry education during the grant project period and to ensure that the project is sustained after the grant project period ends.

    (c) A detailed timeline for implementing the proposed project.

    (d) A plan for collecting data that will be submitted to the Department, which, at a minimum, must include:

    (1) The numbers of individuals who maintain educational participation while transitioning from and among correctional institutions, including to community correctional settings and other community-based educational programs; and

    (2) The numbers of adults who acquire basic skills (including English language acquisition), complete secondary education, and transition to further education, training, or to work as indicated by attainment of educational functioning levels, attainment of high school credentials, enrollment in postsecondary education or training programs, and attainment of employment.

    (e) A description of the project's strong theory (as defined in this notice), including the logic model and supporting practice and a plan to collect data on the following system outputs:

    (1) Changes to policies, procedures, or data collection systems, and

    (2) Changes related to student information or record sharing, referrals for services, educational services, assessments, and transition planning.

    (f) A proposed budget that includes estimates of the costs of:

    (1) Implementing the proposed project, including but not limited to—

    (i) Personnel, and

    (ii) The various components of the proposed project; and

    (2) Attendance of up to two attendees at a required one-and-one-half-day meeting in Washington, DC.

    (g) A description of the applicant's formative evaluation plan, consistent with the proposed project's strong theory (as defined in this notice), that:

    (1) Includes information on how the data described in paragraph (d) of these Application Requirements will be reviewed by the project staff prior to finalizing data collection plans and again prior to submitting those data to the Department (consistent with the timeline in paragraph (c) of these Application Requirements) and how they will be used during the course of the project to adjust the project or its implementation in order to enhance the project's outcomes, generalizability, and potential for sustainability; and

    (2) Includes, as appropriate, periodic collection of student and system data in addition to other data relating to fidelity of implementation, stakeholder acceptability, and the types of facilities in which the services are provided (e.g., correctional institution, community center, library).

    General Requirements

    To meet the general requirements of this competition, each applicant must propose to conduct the following activities:

    (a) Participate in program activities and collaborative efforts among grantees, Department staff, and the Department-identified technical assistance provider, if applicable, to disseminate information to entities such as adult education providers, correctional institutions, community-based organizations, community colleges, professional organizations, and other entities identified by the Department.

    (b) Communicate and collaborate on an ongoing basis with Department-funded or other Department-designated projects in order to share information on successful strategies and challenges for implementing reentry education across correctional and community settings.

    (c) Maintain ongoing telephone and email communication with the Department project officer and the administrators of other projects funded under this competition.

    (d) Submit data, when and as specified by the Department, in order to evaluate the applicant's success in implementing the project's objectives with reference to the reentry education challenge.

    Definitions

    The definition of “Adult education and literacy activities” is from section 203(2) of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014, 29 U.S.C. 3272(2) (WIOA). The definitions of “high-minority school,” “high need students,” and “low-skilled adult” are from the notice of the Secretary's Final Supplemental Priorities and Definitions for Discretionary Grant Programs published in the Federal Register on December 10, 2014, (79 FR 73426). The definitions of “logic model”, “relevant outcome”, and “strong theory” are from the Education Department General Administrative Regulations at 34 CFR 77.1(c).

    Adult education and literacy activities means programs, activities, and services that include adult education, literacy, workplace adult education and literacy activities, family literacy activities, English language acquisition activities, integrated English literacy and civics education, workforce preparation activities, or integrated education and training.

    Note:

    The programs, activities, and services listed in the definition of “adult education and literacy activities” are each defined in section 203 of WIOA, 29 U.S.C. 3272.

    High-minority school means a school as that term is defined by a local educational agency (LEA), which must define the term in a manner consistent with its State's Teacher Equity Plan, as required by section 1111(b)(8)(C) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA). The applicant must provide the definition(s) of High-minority schools used in its application.

    High-need students means students who are at risk of educational failure or otherwise in need of special assistance and support, such as students who are living in poverty, who attend high-minority schools (as defined in this notice), who are far below grade level, who have left school before receiving a regular high school diploma, who are at risk of not graduating with a diploma on time, who are homeless, who are in foster care, who have been incarcerated, who have disabilities, or who are English learners.

    Logic model (also referred to as theory of action) means a well-specified conceptual framework that identifies key components of the proposed process, product, strategy, or practice (i.e., the active “ingredients” that are hypothesized to be critical to achieving the relevant outcomes) and describes the relationships among the key components and outcomes, theoretically and operationally.

    Low-skilled adult means an adult with low literacy and numeracy skills.

    Relevant outcome means the student outcome(s) (or the ultimate outcome if not related to students) the proposed process, product, strategy, or practice is designed to improve; consistent with the specific goals of a program.

    Strong theory means a rationale for the proposed process, product, strategy, or practice that includes a logic model.

    Waiver of Proposed Rulemaking: Under the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553), the Department generally offers interested parties the opportunity to comment on proposed priorities and other requirements. Section 437(d)(1) of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA), however, allows the Secretary to exempt from rulemaking requirements regulations governing the first grant competition under a new or substantially revised program authority. This is the first grant competition for this program under AEFLA, Title II of WIOA, section 242, National Leadership Activities, 29 U.S.C. 3332, and therefore qualifies for this exemption. In order to ensure timely grant awards, the Secretary has decided to forgo public comment on the priorities and other requirements under section 437(d)(1) of GEPA. These priorities and other requirements will apply to the FY 2015 grant competition and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applicants from this competition.

    Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 3332.

    Applicable Regulations: (a) The Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR parts 75, 77, 79, 81, 82, 84, 86, 97, 98, and 99. (b) The OMB Guidelines to Agencies on Governmentwide Debarment and Suspension (Nonprocurement) in 2 CFR part 180, as adopted and amended as regulations of the Department in 2 CFR part 3485, and the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards in 2 CFR part 200, as adopted and amended in 2 CFR part 3474.

    Note:

    The regulations in 34 CFR part 79 apply to all applicants except federally-recognized Indian tribes.

    Note:

    The regulations in 34 CFR part 86 apply only to institutions of higher education.

    II. Award Information

    Type of Award: Discretionary grants.

    Estimated Available Funds: $2,700,000 for the first 12 months of this project period. Funding for program years two and three is subject to the availability of funds and to a grantee meeting the requirements of 34 CFR 75.253. Contingent upon the availability of funds and the quality of applications, we may make additional awards in FY 2016 and future years from the list of unfunded applications from this competition.

    Estimated Range of Awards: $200,000-$350,000.

    Estimated Average Size of Award: $300,000.

    Estimated Number of Awards: 9.

    Note:

    The Department is not bound by any estimates in this notice.

    Project Period: Up to 36 months. Applicants under this competition are required to provide detailed budget information for each of the three years of this project and for the total grant.

    III. Eligibility Information

    1. Eligible Applicants:

    (a) An application must be submitted by an eligible applicant, as described in paragraph (b) of this section, on behalf of a partnership that involves the required partners in subparagraph (c)(i) of this section, and any optional partners in subparagraph (c)(ii) of this section.

    (b) Eligible applicant means one of the following organizations that currently provide adult education and literacy activities:

    (i) correctional institutions;

    (ii) community correction facilities or organizations;

    (iii) intermediary prisoner reentry service providers;

    (iv) community-based educational service providers;

    (v) other community-based or faith-based organizations;

    (vi) volunteer literacy organizations;

    (vii) institutions of higher education, including community college or technical colleges;

    (viii) public or private nonprofit agencies;

    (ix) libraries;

    (x) occupational training providers;

    (xi) public housing authorities; or

    (xii) nonprofit institutions not described above that provide adult education and literacy activities in correctional institutions or community settings.

    (c) The partnership on whose behalf the application is submitted—

    (i) Must include—

    (A) The eligible applicant submitting the application, and

    (B) One or more correctional institutions, as identified in the list of eligible applicants in paragraph (b)(i) of this section, at least one of which must currently offer adult basic education services or English literacy programs; and

    (ii) May also include one or more of the other eligible applicants identified above in paragraph (b) of this section.

    2. Cost Sharing or Matching: This program does not require cost sharing or matching.

    IV. Application and Submission Information

    1. Address to Request Application Package: You can obtain an application package via the Internet or from the Education Publications Center (ED Pubs), or from the program office.

    To obtain a copy via the Internet, use the following address: www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/grantapps/index.html. To obtain a copy from ED Pubs, write, fax, or call the following: ED Pubs, U.S. Department of Education, P.O. Box 22207, Alexandria, VA 22304. Telephone, toll free: 1-877-433-7827. FAX: (703) 605-6794. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a text telephone (TTY), call, toll free: 1-877-576-7734.

    You can contact ED Pubs at its Web site, also: www.EDPubs.gov or at its email address: [email protected]

    If you request an application package from ED Pubs, be sure to identify this program or competition as follows: CFDA number 84.191D

    To obtain a copy from the program office, contact the persons listed under For Further Information Contact in section VII of this notice.

    Individuals with disabilities can obtain a copy of the application package in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) by contacting the person or team listed under Accessible Format in section VIII of this notice.

    2. a. Content and Form of Application Submission: Requirements concerning the content of an application, together with the forms you must submit, are in the application package for this competition.

    Page Limit: The application narrative (Part III of the application) is where you, the applicant, address the selection criteria that reviewers use to evaluate your application. You must limit the application narrative [Part III] to no more than 30 pages, using the following standards:

    • A “page” is 8.5″ x 11″, on one side only, with 1″ margins at the top, bottom, and both sides.

    • Double space (no more than three lines per vertical inch) all text in the application narrative, including titles, headings, footnotes, quotations, references, and captions, as well as all text in charts, tables, figures, and graphs.

    • Use a font that is either 12 point or larger or no smaller than 10 pitch (characters per inch).

    • Use one of the following fonts: Times New Roman, Courier, Courier New, or Arial. An application submitted in any other font (including Times Roman or Arial Narrow) will not be accepted.

    The page limit does not apply to Part I, the cover sheet; Part II, the budget section, including the narrative budget justification; Part IV, the assurances and certifications; or the one-page abstract, the resumes, the bibliography, or the letters of support. However, the page limit does apply to all of the application narrative section [Part III].

    Our reviewers will not read any pages of your application that exceed the page limit.

    2. b. Content and Form of Application Submission:

    Given the types of projects that may be proposed in applications for the IRE program, your application may include business information that the applicant considers proprietary. The Department's regulations define “business information” in 34 CFR 5.11.

    Because we plan to make successful applications available to the public upon request, you may wish to request confidentiality of business information. Consistent with Executive Order 12600, please designate in your application any information that you feel is exempt from disclosure under Exemption 4 of the Freedom of Information Act. In the appropriate Appendix section of your application, under “Other Attachments Form,” please list the page number or numbers on which we can find this information. For additional information please see 34 CFR 5.11(c).

    3. Submission Dates and Times:

    Applications Available: July 13, 2015.

    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: August 12, 2015.

    Applications for grants under this competition must be submitted electronically using the Grants.gov Apply site. For information (including dates and times) about how to submit your application electronically, or in paper format by mail or hand delivery if you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, please refer to section IV.7. Other Submission Requirements of this notice.

    We do not consider an application that does not comply with the deadline requirements.

    Individuals with disabilities who need an accommodation or auxiliary aid in connection with the application process should contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in section VII of this notice. If the Department provides an accommodation or auxiliary aid to an individual with a disability in connection with the application process, the individual's application remains subject to all other requirements and limitations in this notice.

    Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: September 11, 2015.

    4. Intergovernmental Review: This program is subject to Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. Information about Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs under Executive Order 12372 is in the application package for this program.

    5. Funding Restrictions: We reference regulations outlining funding restrictions in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.

    6. Data Universal Numbering System Number, Taxpayer Identification Number, and System for Award Management: To do business with the Department of Education, you must—

    a. Have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number and a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN);

    b. Register both your DUNS number and TIN with the System for Award Management (SAM) (formerly the Central Contractor Registry (CCR)), the Government's primary registrant database;

    c. Provide your DUNS number and TIN on your application; and

    d. Maintain an active SAM registration with current information while your application is under review by the Department and, if you are awarded a grant, during the project period.

    You can obtain a DUNS number from Dun and Bradstreet. A DUNS number can be created within one-to-two business days.

    If you are a corporate entity, agency, institution, or organization, you can obtain a TIN from the Internal Revenue Service. If you are an individual, you can obtain a TIN from the Internal Revenue Service or the Social Security Administration. If you need a new TIN, please allow 2-5 weeks for your TIN to become active.

    The SAM registration process can take approximately seven business days, but may take upwards of several weeks, depending on the completeness and accuracy of the data entered into the SAM database by an entity. Thus, if you think you might want to apply for Federal financial assistance under a program administered by the Department, please allow sufficient time to obtain and register your DUNS number and TIN. We strongly recommend that you register early.

    Note:

    Once your SAM registration is active, you will need to allow 24 to 48 hours for the information to be available in Grants.gov and before you can submit an application through Grants.gov.

    If you are currently registered with SAM, you may not need to make any changes. However, please make certain that the TIN associated with your DUNS number is correct. Also note that you will need to update your registration annually. This may take three or more business days.

    Information about SAM is available at www.SAM.gov. To further assist you with obtaining and registering your DUNS number and TIN in SAM or updating your existing SAM account, we have prepared a SAM.gov Tip Sheet, which you can find at: www2.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/sam-faqs.html.

    In addition, if you are submitting your application via Grants.gov, you must (1) be designated by your organization as an Authorized Organization Representative (AOR); and (2) register yourself with Grants.gov as an AOR. Details on these steps are outlined at the following Grants.gov Web page: www.grants.gov/web/grants/register.html.

    7. Other Submission Requirements: Applications for grants under this program must be submitted electronically unless you qualify for an exception to this requirement in accordance with the instructions in this section.

    a. Electronic Submission of Applications

    Applications for grants under this competition must be submitted electronically using the Governmentwide Grants.gov Apply site at www.Grants.gov. Through this site, you will be able to download a copy of the application package, complete it offline, and then upload and submit your application. You may not email an electronic copy of a grant application to us.

    We will reject your application if you submit it in paper format unless, as described elsewhere in this section, you qualify for one of the exceptions to the electronic submission requirement and submit, no later than two weeks before the application deadline date, a written statement to the Department that you qualify for one of these exceptions. Further information regarding calculation of the date that is two weeks before the application deadline date is provided later in this section under Exception to Electronic Submission Requirement.

    You may access the electronic grant application for IRE at www.Grants.gov. You must search for the downloadable application package for this program by the CFDA number. Do not include the CFDA number's alpha suffix in your search (e.g., search for 84.191, not 84.191D).

    Please note the following:

    • When you enter the Grants.gov site, you will find information about submitting an application electronically through the site, as well as the hours of operation.

    • Applications received by Grants.gov are date and time stamped. Your application must be fully uploaded and submitted and must be date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system no later than 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date.

    Except as otherwise noted in this section, we will not accept your application if it is received—that is, date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system—after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. We do not consider an application that does not comply with the deadline requirements. When we retrieve your application from Grants.gov, we will notify you if we are rejecting your application because it was date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date.

    • The amount of time it can take to upload an application will vary depending on a variety of factors, including the size of the application and the speed of your Internet connection. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you do not wait until the application deadline date to begin the submission process through Grants.gov.

    • You should review and follow the Education Submission Procedures for submitting an application through Grants.gov that are included in the application package for this competition to ensure that you submit your application in a timely manner to the Grants.gov system. You can also find the Education Submission Procedures pertaining to Grants.gov under News and Events on the Department's G5 system home page at www.G5.gov.

    • You will not receive additional point value because you submit your application in electronic format, nor will we penalize you if you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, as described elsewhere in this section, and submit your application in paper format.

    • You must submit all documents electronically, including all information you typically provide on the following forms: The Application for Federal Assistance (SF 424), the Department of Education Supplemental Information for SF 424, Budget Information—Non-Construction Programs (ED 524), and all necessary assurances and certifications.

    • You must upload any narrative sections and all other attachments to your application as files in a PDF (Portable Document) read-only, non-modifiable format. Do not upload an interactive or fillable PDF file. If you upload a file type other than a read-only, non-modifiable PDF or submit a password-protected file, we will not review that material.

    • Your electronic application must comply with any page-limit requirements described in this notice.

    • After you electronically submit your application, you will receive from Grants.gov an automatic notification of receipt that contains a Grants.gov tracking number. (This notification indicates receipt by Grants.gov only, not receipt by the Department.) The Department then will retrieve your application from Grants.gov and send a second notification to you by email. This second notification indicates that the Department has received your application and has assigned your application a PR/Award number (an ED specified identifying number unique to your application).

    • We may request that you provide us original signatures on forms at a later date.

    Application Deadline Date Extension in Case of Technical Issues with the Grants.gov System: If you are experiencing problems submitting your application through Grants.gov, please contact the Grants.gov Support Desk, toll free, at 1-800-518-4726. You must obtain a Grants.gov Support Desk Case Number and must keep a record of it.

    If you are prevented from electronically submitting your application on the application deadline date because of technical problems with the Grants.gov system, we will grant you an extension until 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, the following business day to enable you to transmit your application electronically or by hand delivery. You also may mail your application by following the mailing instructions described elsewhere in this notice.

    If you submit an application after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date, please contact the person listed under For Further Information Contact in section VII of this notice and provide an explanation of the technical problem you experienced with Grants.gov, along with the Grants.gov Support Desk Case Number. We will accept your application if we can confirm that a technical problem occurred with the Grants.gov system and that that problem affected your ability to submit your application by 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. The Department will contact you after a determination is made on whether your application will be accepted.

    Note:

    The extensions to which we refer in this section apply only to the unavailability of, or technical problems with, the Grants.gov system. We will not grant you an extension if you failed to fully register to submit your application to Grants.gov before the application deadline date and time or if the technical problem you experienced is unrelated to the Grants.gov system.

    Exception to Electronic Submission Requirement: You qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, and may submit your application in paper format, if you are unable to submit an application through the Grants.gov system because—

    • You do not have access to the Internet; or

    • You do not have the capacity to upload large documents to the Grants.gov system; and

    • No later than two weeks before the application deadline date (14 calendar days or, if the fourteenth calendar day before the application deadline date falls on a Federal holiday, the next business day following the Federal holiday), you mail or fax a written statement to the Department, explaining which of the two grounds for an exception prevent you from using the Internet to submit your application.

    If you mail your written statement to the Department, it must be postmarked no later than two weeks before the application deadline date. If you fax your written statement to the Department, we must receive the faxed statement no later than two weeks before the application deadline date. Address and mail or fax your statement to: Tammi Fergusson, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 11009, PCP, Washington, DC 20202-7240. FAX: (202) 245-7839.

    Your paper application must be submitted in accordance with the mail or hand delivery instructions described in this notice.

    b. Submission of Paper Applications by Mail

    If you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, you may mail (through the U.S. Postal Service or a commercial carrier) your application to the Department. You must mail the original and two copies of your application, on or before the application deadline date, to the Department at the following address: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: (CFDA Number 84.191D), LBJ Basement Level 1, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20202-4260.

    You must show proof of mailing consisting of one of the following:

    (1) A legibly dated U.S. Postal Service postmark.

    (2) A legible mail receipt with the date of mailing stamped by the U.S. Postal Service.

    (3) A dated shipping label, invoice, or receipt from a commercial carrier.

    (4) Any other proof of mailing acceptable to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education.

    If you mail your application through the U.S. Postal Service, we do not accept either of the following as proof of mailing:

    (1) A private metered postmark.

    (2) A mail receipt that is not dated by the U.S. Postal Service. If your application is postmarked after the application deadline date, we will not consider your application.

    Note:

    The U.S. Postal Service does not uniformly provide a dated postmark. Before relying on this method, you should check with your local post office.

    c. Submission of Paper Applications by Hand Delivery

    If you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, you (or a courier service) may deliver your paper application to the Department by hand. You must deliver the original and two copies of your application by hand, on or before the application deadline date, to the Department at the following address: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: (CFDA Number 84.191D), 550 12th Street SW., Room 7041, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-4260.

    The Application Control Center accepts hand deliveries daily between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, except Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays.

    Note for Mail or Hand Delivery of Paper Applications:

    If you mail or hand deliver your application to the Department:

    (1) You must indicate on the envelope and—if not provided by the Department—in Item 11 of the SF 424 the CFDA number, including suffix letter, if any, of the competition under which you are submitting your application; and

    (2) The Application Control Center will mail to you a notification of receipt of your grant application. If you do not receive this notification within 15 business days from the application deadline date, you should call the U.S. Department of Education Application Control Center at (202) 245-6288.

    V. Application Review Information

    1. Selection Criteria: The selection criteria for this program are from 34 CFR 75.210 of EDGAR and are listed in the following paragraphs. The maximum score for all the selection criteria is 100 points.

    In addressing each criterion, applicants are encouraged to make explicit connections to relevant aspects of responses to other selection criteria. The selection criteria are as follows:

    (1) Need for project (up to 10 points).

    (a) The Secretary considers the need for the proposed project.

    (b) In determining the need for the proposed project, the Secretary considers one or more of the following factors:

    (i) The magnitude of the need for the services to be provided or the activities to be carried out by the proposed project; and

    (ii) The extent to which specific gaps or weaknesses in services, infrastructure, or opportunities have been identified and will be addressed by the proposed project, including the nature and magnitude of those gaps or weaknesses.

    (2) Significance (up to 20 points).

    (a) The Secretary considers the significance of the proposed project.

    (b) In determining the significance of the proposed project, the Secretary considers—

    (i) The extent to which the proposed project is likely to build local capacity to provide, improve, or expand services that address the needs of the target population; and

    (ii) The importance or magnitude of the results or outcomes likely to be attained by the proposed project.

    (3) Quality of the project design (up to 30 points).

    (a) The Secretary considers the quality of the design of the proposed project.

    (b) In determining the quality of the design of the proposed project, the Secretary considers—

    (i) The extent to which the goals, objectives, and outcomes to be achieved by the proposed project are clearly specified and measurable;

    (ii) The extent to which there is a conceptual framework underlying the proposed research or demonstration activities and the quality of that framework;

    (iii) The extent to which the proposed project is designed to build capacity and yield results that will extend beyond the period of Federal financial assistance;

    (iv) The extent to which the proposed project will integrate with or build on similar or related efforts to improve relevant outcomes (as defined in 34 CFR 77.1(c)), using existing funding streams from other programs or policies supported by community, State, and Federal resources; and

    (v) The extent to which the proposed project is supported by strong theory (as defined in 34 CFR 77.1(c)).

    (4) Adequacy of resources (up to 15 points).

    (a) The Secretary considers the adequacy of resources for the proposed project.

    (b) In determining the adequacy of resources for the proposed project, the Secretary considers—

    (i) The relevance and demonstrated commitment of each partner in the proposed project to the implementation and success of the project;

    (ii) The extent to which the costs are reasonable in relation to the objectives, design, and potential significance of the proposed project; and

    (iii) The potential for continued support of the project after Federal funding ends, including, as appropriate, the demonstrated commitment of appropriate entities to such support.

    (5) Quality of the management plan (up to 10 points).

    (a) The Secretary considers the quality of the management plan for the proposed project.

    (b) In determining the quality of the management plan for the proposed project, the Secretary considers—

    (i) The adequacy of the management plan to achieve the objectives of the proposed project on time and within budget, including clearly defined responsibilities, timelines, and milestones for accomplishing project tasks;

    (ii) The extent to which the time commitments of the project director and principal investigator and other key project personnel are appropriate and adequate to meet the objectives of the proposed project.

    (6) Quality of the project evaluation (up to 15 points).

    (a) The Secretary considers the quality of the evaluation to be conducted of the proposed project.

    (b) In determining the quality of the evaluation, the Secretary considers—

    (i) The extent to which the methods of evaluation include the use of objective performance measures that are clearly related to the intended outcomes of the project and will produce quantitative and qualitative data to the extent possible; and

    (ii) The extent to which the methods of evaluation will, if well-implemented, produce strong evidence (as defined in 34 CFR 77.1(c)).

    (ii) The extent to which the methods of evaluation will provide valid and reliable performance data on relevant outcomes (as defined in this notice).

    2. Review and Selection Process: We remind potential applicants that in reviewing applications in any discretionary grant competition, the Secretary may consider, under 34 CFR 75.217(d)(3), the past performance of the applicant in carrying out a previous award, such as the applicant's use of funds, achievement of project objectives, and compliance with grant conditions. The Secretary may also consider whether the applicant failed to submit a timely performance report or submitted a report of unacceptable quality.

    In addition, in making a competitive grant award, the Secretary also requires various assurances including those applicable to Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department of Education (34 CFR 100.4, 104.5, 106.4, 108.8, and 110.23).

    3. Special Conditions: Under 2 CFR 3474.10, the Secretary may impose special conditions and, in appropriate circumstances, high-risk conditions on a grant if the applicant or grantee is not financially stable; has a history of unsatisfactory performance; has a financial or other management system that does not meet the standards in 2 CFR part 200, subpart D, as applicable; has not fulfilled the conditions of a prior grant; or is otherwise not responsible.

    VI. Award Administration Information

    1. Award Notices: If your application is successful, we notify your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators and send you a Grant Award Notification (GAN); or we may send you an email containing a link to access an electronic version of your GAN. We may notify you informally, also. If your application is not evaluated or not selected for funding, we notify you.

    2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements: We identify administrative and national policy requirements in the application package and reference these and other requirements in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.

    We reference the regulations outlining the terms and conditions of an award in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice and include these and other specific conditions in the GAN. The GAN also incorporates your approved application as part of your binding commitments under the grant.

    3. Reporting: (a) If you apply for a grant under this competition, you must ensure that you have in place the necessary processes and systems to comply with the reporting requirements in 2 CFR part 170 should you receive funding under the competition. This does not apply if you have an exception under 2 CFR 170.110(b).

    (b) At the end of your project period, you must submit a final performance report, including financial information, as directed by the Secretary. If you receive a multi-year award, you must submit an annual performance report that provides the most current performance and financial expenditure information as directed by the Secretary under 34 CFR 75.118. The Secretary may also require more frequent performance reports under 34 CFR 75.720(c). For specific requirements on reporting, please go to www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/appforms/appforms.html.

    4. Performance Measures: Under the Government Performance and Results Act, the Department has established goals and measures for the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act program.

    One of the established goals of AEFLA is to support adult education systems that result in increased adult achievement in order to prepare adults, including individuals in correctional settings, for family, work, citizenship, and future learning. The AEFLA program provides adults with opportunities to acquire basic foundation skills (including English language acquisition), complete secondary education, and transition to further education and training and to work. There are four established measures for the AEFLA program that are applicable for adults in the IRE program. These measures are—

    (1) The percentage of adults enrolled in English literacy programs served by the program who acquire the level of English language skills needed to complete the levels of instruction in which they enrolled.

    (2) The percentage of adults enrolled in adult basic education programs served by the program who acquire the level of basic skills needed to complete the level of instruction in which they enrolled.

    (3) The percentage of all enrolled adults in the applicable population served by the program who obtain certification of attaining passing scores on a State-recognized high school equivalency test or obtain a diploma or State-recognized equivalent, documenting satisfactory completion of secondary studies (high school or adult high school)20

    20 The applicable population consists of all enrolled learners who take all GED tests, are enrolled in adult high school at the high ASE level, or are enrolled in the assessment phase of the External Diploma Program who exit during the program years.

    (4) The percentage of adults in the applicable population served by the program that enter postsecondary education or a training program.21

    21 The applicable population consists of all adults who passed the state approved high school equivalency test or earned a secondary credential while enrolled in adult education, have a secondary credential at entry, or are enrolled in a class specifically designed for transitioning to postsecondary education who exit during the program year. Entry into postsecondary education or training can occur any time from the time of exit through the end of the following program year. A transition class is a class that has a specific purpose to prepare students for entry into postsecondary education, training, or an apprenticeship program.

    Under the Government Performance and Results Act, the Department has established goals and measures for the recidivism of individuals who have been in correctional institutions. The measure related to recidivism is—

    (5) The percentage of adults served by the program who, within one year of release, have criminal justice system involvement (arrest, re-conviction, violation of parole conditions, or return to incarceration).

    Grantees will be responsible for providing data to support evaluation of these objectives.

    5. Continuation Awards: In making a continuation award under 34 CFR 75.253, the Secretary considers, among other things: whether a grantee has made substantial progress in achieving the goals and objectives of the project; whether the grantee has expended funds in a manner that is consistent with its approved application and budget; and, if the Secretary has established performance measurement requirements, the performance targets in the grantee's approved application. In making a continuation grant, the Secretary also considers whether the grantee is operating in compliance with the assurances in its approved application, including those applicable to Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department (34 CFR 100.4, 104.5, 106.4, 108.8, and 110.23).

    VII. Agency Contact

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tammi Fergusson, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 11009, Potomac Center Plaza (PCP), Washington, DC 20202. Telephone: (202) 245-7706 or by email: [email protected]

    If you use a TDD or TTY, call the FRS, toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

    VIII. Other Information

    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document and a copy of the application package in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) on request to the program contact person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in section VII of this notice.

    Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations is available via the Federal Digital System at: www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys. At this site you can view this document, as well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the site. You may also access documents of the Department published in the Federal Register by using the article search feature at: www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published by the Department.

    Dated: July 7, 2015. Johan E. Uvin, Acting Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17046 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY [Certification Notice—236] Notice of Filing of Self-Certification of Coal Capability Under the Powerplant and Industrial Fuel Use Act AGENCY:

    Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, DOE.

    ACTION:

    Notice of filing.

    SUMMARY:

    On June 5, 2015, Panda Stonewall LLC, as owner and operator of a new base load electric powerplant, submitted a coal capability self-certification to the Department of Energy (DOE) pursuant to § 201(d) of the Powerplant and Industrial Fuel Use Act of 1978 (FUA), as amended, and DOE regulations in 10 CFR 501.60, 61. FUA and regulations thereunder require DOE to publish a notice of filing of self-certification in the Federal Register. 42 U.S.C. 8311(d) and 10 CFR 501.61(c).

    ADDRESSES:

    Copies of coal capability self-certification filings are available for public inspection, upon request, in the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, Mail Code OE-20, Room 8G-024, Forrestal Building, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Christopher Lawrence at (202) 586-5260.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title II of FUA, as amended (42 U.S.C. 8301 et seq.), provides that no new base load electric powerplant may be constructed or operated without the capability to use coal or another alternate fuel as a primary energy source. Pursuant to FUA in order to meet the requirement of coal capability, the owner or operator of such a facility proposing to use natural gas or petroleum as its primary energy source shall certify to the Secretary of Energy (Secretary) prior to construction, or prior to operation as a base load electric powerplant, that such powerplant has the capability to use coal or another alternate fuel. Such certification establishes compliance with FUA section 201(a) as of the date it is filed with the Secretary. 42 U.S.C. 8311.

    The following owner of a proposed new base load electric powerplant has filed a self-certification of coal-capability with DOE pursuant to FUA section 201(d) and in accordance with DOE regulations in 10 CFR 501.60, 61:

    Owner: Panda Stonewall LLC.

    Capacity: 778 megawatts (MW).

    Plant Location: 20260 Energy Park Drive, Leesburg, VA 20175.

    In-Service Date: May 2017.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on July 7, 2015. Christopher Lawrence, Electricity Policy Analyst, Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17072 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Public Availability of Department of Energy FY 2014 Service Contract Inventory AGENCY:

    Department of Energy.

    ACTION:

    Notice of public availability of FY 2014 Service Contract Inventories.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with Section 743 of Division C of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111-117), the Department of Energy (DOE) is publishing this notice to advise the public on the availability of the FY 2014 Service Contract inventory. This inventory provides information on service contract actions over $25,000 that DOE completed in FY 2014. The information is organized by function to show how contracted resources are distributed throughout the agency. The inventory has been developed in accordance with guidance issued on November 5, 2010, by the Office of Management and Budget's Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP). OFPP's guidance is available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/procurement/memo/service-contract-inventories-guidance-11052010.pdf. On December 19, 2011, OFPP issued additional guidance available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/procurement/memo/service-contract-inventory-guidance.pdf.

    Except for minor changes to reporting deadlines, the guidance for preparing and analyzing FY 2014 inventories is essentially unchanged from OFPP's November 5, 2010, guidance for preparing the FY 2010 inventory. DOE has posted its inventory and a summary of the inventory at: http://energy.gov/management/downloads/service-contract-inventory.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Questions regarding the service contract inventory should be directed to Jeff Davis in the Strategic Programs Division at 202-287-1877 or [email protected]

    Dated: July 6, 2015. Patrick M. Ferraro, Director, Office of Acquisition Management.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17038 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY [OE Docket No. EA-182-D] Application to Export Electric Energy; H.Q. Energy Services (U.S.) Inc. AGENCY:

    Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, DOE.

    ACTION:

    Notice of application.

    SUMMARY:

    H.Q. Energy Services (U.S.) Inc. (Applicant or HQUS)) has applied to renew its authority to transmit electric energy from the United States to Canada pursuant to section 202(e) of the Federal Power Act.

    DATES:

    Comments, protests, or motions to intervene must be submitted on or before August 12, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments, protests, motions to intervene, or requests for more information should be addressed to: Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, Mail Code: OE-20, U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585-0350. Because of delays in handling conventional mail, it is recommended that documents be transmitted by overnight mail, by electronic mail to [email protected], or by facsimile to 202-586-8008.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Exports of electricity from the United States to a foreign country are regulated by the Department of Energy (DOE) pursuant to sections 301(b) and 402(f) of the Department of Energy Organization Act (42 U.S.C. 7151(b), 7172(f)) and require authorization under section 202(e) of the Federal Power Act (16 U.S.C. 824a(e)).

    On July 19, 2010, DOE issued Order No. EA-182-C to HQUS, which authorized the Applicant to transmit electric energy from the United States to Canada as a power marketer for a five-year term using existing international transmission facilities. That authority expires on August 21, 2015. On June 10, 2015, HQUS filed an application with DOE for renewal of the export authority contained in Order No. EA-182 for an additional five-year term.

    In its application, HQUS states that it does not own or operate any electric generation or transmission facilities, and it does not have a franchised service area. The electric energy that HQUS proposes to export to Canada would be surplus energy purchased from third parties such as electric utilities and Federal power marketing agencies pursuant to voluntary agreements. The existing international transmission facilities to be utilized by HQUS have previously been authorized by Presidential permits issued pursuant to Executive Order 10485, as amended, and are appropriate for open access transmission by third parties.

    Procedural Matters: Any person desiring to be heard in this proceeding should file a comment or protest to the application at the address provided above. Protests should be filed in accordance with Rule 211 of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) Rules of Practice and Procedures (18 CFR 385.211). Any person desiring to become a party to these proceedings should file a motion to intervene at the above address in accordance with FERC Rule 214 (18 CFR 385.214). Five copies of such comments, protests, or motions to intervene should be sent to the address provided above on or before the date listed above.

    Comments and other filings concerning HQUS's application to export electric energy to Canada should be clearly marked with OE Docket No. EA-182-D. An additional copy is to be provided directly to Jerry L. Pfeffer, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, 1440 New York Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20005.

    A final decision will be made on this application after the environmental impacts have been evaluated pursuant to DOE's National Environmental Policy Act Implementing Procedures (10 CFR part 1021) and after a determination is made by DOE that the proposed action will not have an adverse impact on the sufficiency of supply or reliability of the U.S. electric power supply system.

    Copies of this application will be made available, upon request, for public inspection and copying at the address provided above, by accessing the program Web site at http://energy.gov/node/11845, or by emailing Angela Troy at [email protected]

    Issued in Washington, DC, on July 7, 2015. Christopher Lawrence, Electricity Policy Analyst, Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17069 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Project No. 2851-024] Cellu Tissue Corporation; Dunn Paper; Notice of Application for Transfer of License and Soliciting Comments, Motions to Intervene, and Protests

    On June 18, 2015, Cellu Tissue Corporation (transferor) and Dunn Paper (transferee) filed an application for transfer of license of the Natural Dam Hydroelectric Project, FERC No. 2851. The project is located on the Oswegatchie River in St. Lawrence County, New York.

    The applicants seek Commission approval to transfer the license for the Natural Dam Hydroelectric Project from the transferor to the transferee.

    Applicant Contact: For Transferor: Mr. Jeremy Bartholomew, Cellu Tissue Corporation, 4921 Route 58N, Gouverneur, NY 13642, telephone: 315-287-7177. For Transferee: Mr. Greg Howe, Dunn Paper, 4921 Route 58N, Gouverneur, NY 13642, telephone: 315-287-7177.

    FERC Contact: Patricia W. Gillis, (202) 502-8735.

    Deadline for filing comments, motions to intervene, and protests: 15 days from the date that the Commission issues this notice. The Commission strongly encourages electronic filing. Please file motions to intervene, comments, and protests using the Commission's eFiling system at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling.asp. Commenters can submit brief comments up to 6,000 characters, without prior registration, using the eComment system at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/ecomment.asp. You must include your name and contact information at the end of your comments. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at [email protected], (866) 208-3676 (toll free), or (202) 502-8659 (TTY). In lieu of electronic filing, please send a paper copy to: Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426. The first page of any filing should include docket number P-2851-024.

    Dated: July 1, 2015.. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-16993 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. AD15-2-000] Billing Procedures for Annual Charges For the Costs of Other Federal Agencies for Administering Part I of the Federal Power Act; Notice Reporting Costs for Other Federal Agencies' Administrative Annual Charges for Fiscal Year 2014

    1. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) is required to determine the reasonableness of costs incurred by other Federal agencies (OFAs) 1 in connection with their participation in the Commission's proceedings under the Federal Power Act (FPA) Part I 2 when those agencies seek to include such costs in the administrative charges licensees must pay to reimburse the United States for the cost of administering Part I.3 The Commission's Order on Remand and Acting on Appeals of Annual Charge Bills4 determined which costs are eligible to be included in the administrative annual charges and it established a process for Commission review of future OFA cost submittals. This order established a process whereby the Commission would annually request each OFA to submit cost data, using a form 5 specifically designed for this purpose. In addition, the order established requirements for detailed cost accounting reports and other documented analyses, which explain the cost assumptions contained in the OFAs' submissions.

    1 The OFAs include: The U.S. Department of the Interior (Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of the Solicitor, Office of Environmental Policy & Compliance, Office of Hearings and Appeals and Office of Policy Analysis); the U.S. Department of Agriculture (U.S. Forest Service); the U.S. Department of Commerce (National Marine Fisheries Service); and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

    2 16 U.S.C. 794-823d (2006).

    3See id. § 803(e)(1) and 42 U.S.C. 7178.

    4 107 FERC ¶ 61,277, order on reh'g, 109 FERC ¶ 61,040 (2004).

    5 Other Federal Agency Cost Submission Form, available at https://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/forms.asp#ofa.

    2. The Commission has completed its review of the forms and supporting documentation submitted by the U.S. Department of the Interior (Interior), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (Agriculture), and the U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce) for fiscal year 2014. This notice reports the costs the Commission included in its administrative annual charges for fiscal year 2015.

    Scope of Eligible Costs

    3. The basis for eligible costs that should be included in the OFAs' administrative annual charges is prescribed by the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Circular A-25—User Charges and the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board's Statement of Federal Financial Accounting Standards (SFFAS) Number 4—Managerial Cost Accounting Concepts and Standards for the Federal Government. Circular A-25 establishes Federal policy regarding fees assessed for government services and provides specific information on the scope and type of activities subject to user charges. SSFAS Number 4 provides a conceptual framework for federal agencies to determine the full costs of government goods and services.

    4. Circular A-25 provides for user charges to be assessed against recipients of special benefits derived from federal activities beyond those received by the general public.6 With regard to licensees, the special benefit derived from federal activities is the license to operate a hydropower project. The guidance provides for the assessment of sufficient user charges to recover the full costs of services associated with these special benefits.7 SFFAS Number 4 defines full costs as the costs of resources consumed by a specific governmental unit that contribute directly or indirectly to a provided service.8 Thus, pursuant to OMB requirements and authoritative accounting guidance, the Commission must base its OFA administrative annual charge on all direct and indirect costs incurred by agencies in administering Part I of the FPA. The special form the Commission designed for this purpose, the “Other Federal Agency Cost Submission Form,” captures the full range of costs recoverable under the FPA and the referenced accounting guidance.9

    6 OMB Circular A-25 § 6.

    7 OMB Circular A-25 § 6. a. 2.

    8 SFFAS Number 4 ¶ 7.

    9 To avoid the possibility of confusion that has occurred in prior years as to whether costs were being entered twice as “Other Direct Costs” and “Overhead,” the form excluded “Other Direct Costs.”

    Commission Review of OFA Cost Submittals

    5. The Commission received cost forms and other supporting documentation from the Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, and Commerce (OFAs). The Commission completed a review of each OFA's cost submission forms and supporting reports. In its examination of the OFAs' cost data, the Commission considered each agency's ability to demonstrate a system or process which effectively captured, isolated, and reported Part I costs as required by the “Other Federal Agency Cost Submission Form.”

    6. The Commission held a Technical Conference on March 26, 2015 to report its initial findings to licensees and OFAs. No OFA representatives attended the conference. Following the technical conference, licensees had the opportunity to submit comments 10 to the Commission regarding its initial review.

    10See Letter from Charles R. Sensiba, Van Ness Feldman, to the Honorable Kimberly D. Bose, FERC, Docket No. AD15-2-000 (filed May 11, 2015).

    7. Written comments were filed by Idaho Falls Group (Idaho Falls). Idaho Falls generally supported the Commission's analysis but raised questions regarding certain various individual cost submissions. The Commission will address the issues in the Appendix to this notice.

    8. After additional reviews, full consideration of the comments presented, and in accordance with the previously cited guidance, the Commission accepted as reasonable any costs reported via the cost submission forms that were clearly documented in the OFAs' accompanying reports and/or analyses. These documented costs will be included in the administrative annual charges for fiscal year 2015.

    Summary of Reported & Accepted Costs for Fiscal Year 2014 Municipal Reported Accepted Non-Municipal Reported Accepted Total Reported Accepted Department of Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs 143,046 143,046 216,666 216,666 359,713 359,713 Bureau of Land Management 98,020 96,140 1,494 2,212 99,514 98,352 Bureau of Reclamation 141 141 39,044 39,044 39,185 39,185 National Park Service 280,357 280,357 278,416 278,416 558,773 558,773 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 881,471 880,657 1,036,499 1,035,447 1,917,972 1,916,104 U.S. Geological Survey Office of the Solicitor 13,599 13,599 111,186 108,414 124,785 122,013 Office of Environmental Policy & Compliance 55,825 55,825 132,834 132,834 188,658 188,658 Office of Hearings and Appeals 489 489 1,840 1,840 2,329 2,329 Office of Policy Analysis 9,646 9,646 9,646 9,646 Department of Agriculture U.S. Forest Service 493,060 378,925 1,550,580 1,594,016 2,043,640 1,572,941 Department of Commerce National Marine Fisheries Service 1,563,763 1,132,389 551,280 400,071 2,115,043 1,532,460 Total 3,529,771 2,981,588 3,929,485 3,418,606 7,459,258 6,400,174 Figure 1

    9. Figure 1 summarizes the total reported costs incurred by Interior, Agriculture, and Commerce with respect to each OFA's participation in administering Part I of the FPA. Additionally, Figure 1 summarizes the reported costs that the Commission determined were clearly documented and accepted for inclusion in its FY 2015 administrative annual charges.

    Summary Findings of Commission's Costs Review

    10. As presented in the preceding table, the Commission determined that $6,400,174 of the $7,459,258 in total reported costs were determined to be reasonable and clearly documented in the OFAs' accompanying reports and/or analyses. Based on these findings, 14% of the total reported cost was determined to be unreasonable. The Commission noted the most significant issues with regard to the insufficiency of documentation provided by the OFAs was the lack of supporting documentation to substantiate costs reported on the “Other Federal Agency Cost Submission Form” as well as the inability to segregate Municipal and Non-Municipal costs.

    11. The cost reports that the Commission determined were clearly documented and supported could be traced to detailed cost-accounting reports, which reconciled to data provided from agency financial systems or other pertinent source documentation. A further breakdown of these costs is included in the Appendix to this notice, along with an explanation of how the Commission determined their reasonableness.

    Points of Contact

    12. If you have any questions regarding this notice, please contact Norman Richardson at (202) 502-6219 or Raven Rodriquez at (202) 502-6276.

    Dated: July 7, 2015. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17052 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. EL15-82-000] Illinois Industrial Energy Consumers v. Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.; Notice of Complaint

    Take notice that on June 30, 2015, pursuant to Rule 206 of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (Commission) Rules of Practice and Procedure, 18 CFR 385.206 and sections 206, 222, and 306 of the Federal Power Act (FPA), 16 U.S.C. 824(e), 824(v), and 825(e), Illinois Industrial Energy Consumers (Complainant) filed a formal complaint against Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (Respondent) asserting that Respondent's Open Access Transmission, Energy and Operating Reserves Market Tariff is unjust, unreasonable, and unduly discriminatory, in violation of the FPA, as more fully explained in the complaint.

    Any person desiring to intervene or to protest this filing must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211, 385.214). Protests will be considered by the Commission in determining the appropriate action to be taken, but will not serve to make protestants parties to the proceeding. Any person wishing to become a party must file a notice of intervention or motion to intervene, as appropriate. The Respondent's answer and all interventions, or protests must be filed on or before the comment date. The Respondent's answer, motions to intervene, and protests must be served on the Complainants.

    The Commission encourages electronic submission of protests and interventions in lieu of paper using the “eFiling” link at http://www.ferc.gov. Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and 5 copies of the protest or intervention to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20426.

    This filing is accessible on-line at http://www.ferc.gov, using the “eLibrary” link and is available for electronic review in the Commission's Public Reference Room in Washington, DC There is an “eSubscription” link on the Web site that enables subscribers to receive email notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please email [email protected], or call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Comment Date: 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on July 20, 2015.

    Dated: July 1, 2015. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-16991 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. EL15-81-000] Bloom Energy Corporation; Notice of Petition for Declaratory Order

    Take notice that on June 30, 2015, pursuant to rule 207(a) of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (Commission) Rules of Practice and Procedure and sections 366.3(d) and 366.4(b)(3) of the Commission's regulations, 18 CFR 385.207(a), 366.3(d), and 366.4(b)(3), Bloom Energy Corporation (Bloom), filed a petition for declaratory order seeking a ruling that Bloom and certain of its subsidiaries are exempt from Commission regulation under the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 2005 as a result of their generation and sales to non-captive customers of electric energy generated from fuel cells using natural gas or renewable energy biogas as a fuel, all as more fully explained in the petition.

    Any person desiring to intervene or to protest this filing must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211, 385.214). Protests will be considered by the Commission in determining the appropriate action to be taken, but will not serve to make protestants parties to the proceeding. Any person wishing to become a party must file a notice of intervention or motion to intervene, as appropriate. Such notices, motions, or protests must be filed on or before the comment date. Anyone filing a motion to intervene or protest must serve a copy of that document on the Petitioner.

    The Commission encourages electronic submission of protests and interventions in lieu of paper using the “eFiling” link at http://www.ferc.gov. Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and 5 copies of the protest or intervention to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426

    This filing is accessible on-line at http://www.ferc.gov, using the “eLibrary” link and is available for review in the Commission's Public Reference Room in Washington, DC. There is an “eSubscription” link on the Web site that enables subscribers to receive email notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please email [email protected], or call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Comment Date: 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on July 30, 2015.

    Dated: July 2, 2015. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-16996 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings #1

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric corporate filings:

    Docket Numbers: EC15-162-000.

    Applicants: ITC Midwest LLC.

    Description: Application for Approval of Acquisition of Assets under Section 203 of ITC Midwest LLC.

    Filed Date: 7/1/15.

    Accession Number: 20150701-5361.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/22/15.

    Docket Numbers: EC15-163-000.

    Applicants: SEP II, LLC.

    Description: Section 203 Application for Authorization of Intracorporate Transfer of Jurisdictional Assets and Request for Expedited Action of SEP II, LLC.

    Filed Date: 7/1/15.

    Accession Number: 20150701-5367.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/22/15.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric rate filings:

    Docket Numbers: ER10-1817-010; ER10-1819-011; ER10-1820-014; ER10-1818-009.

    Applicants: Southwestern Public Service Company, Northern States Power Company, a Minnesota corporation, Northern States Power Company, a Wisconsin corporation, Public Service Company of Colorado.

    Description: Triennial Market Power Analysis and Change in Status Report of Southwestern Public Service Company, et. al.

    Filed Date: 6/30/15.

    Accession Number: 20150630-5474.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 8/31/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER10-1936-005; ER10-2755-009; ER10-2739-011; ER10-2751-006.

    Applicants: Carville Energy LLC, Las Vegas Power Company, LLC, LS Power Marketing, LLC, Renaissance Power, L.L.C.

    Description: Updated Market Power Analysis for the Central Region of the LS Central MBR Sellers.

    Filed Date: 6/30/15.

    Accession Number: 20150630-5476.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 8/31/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER10-2074-005; ER10-2097-007.

    Applicants: Kansas City Power & Light Company, KCP&L Greater Missouri Operations Company.

    Description: Updated Market Power Analysis for Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Balancing Area Authority of Kansas City Power & Light Company, et. al.

    Filed Date: 6/30/15.

    Accession Number: 20150630-5471.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 8/31/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER10-2839-004.

    Applicants: Midland Cogeneration Venture Limited Partnership.

    Description: Updated Market Power Analysis of Midland Cogeneration Venture Limited Partnership.

    Filed Date: 6/30/15.

    Accession Number: 20150630-5469.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 8/31/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER10-2964-008.

    Applicants: Selkirk Cogen Partners, L.P.

    Description: Notice of Non-Material Change in Status of Selkirk Cogen Partners, L.P.

    Filed Date: 7/1/15.

    Accession Number: 20150701-5373.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/22/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER11-2489-006; ER12-726-005; ER12-2639-004; ER11-3620-008; ER11-2882-009; ER12-1431-006; ER12-1434-006; ER12-1432-006; ER12-1435-006; ER13-2102-004; ER14-1439-003; ER14-1656-005; ER15-1019-002; ER10-2628-003; ER11-3959-005.

    Applicants: Hatchet Ridge Wind, LLC, Spring Valley Wind LLC, Ocotillo Express LLC, Lyonsdale Biomass, LLC, ReEnergy Sterling CT Limited Partnership, ReEnergy Ashland LLC, ReEnergy Fort Fairfield LLC, ReEnergy Livermore Falls LLC, ReEnergy Stratton LLC, ReEnergy Black River LLC, TrailStone Power, LLC, CSOLAR IV West, LLC, Fowler Ridge IV Wind Farm LLC, Lost Creek Wind, LLC, Post Rock Wind Power Project, LLC.

    Description: Notification of change in status of the Riverstone MBR Entities.

    Filed Date: 7/1/15.

    Accession Number: 20150701-5374.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/22/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER14-1348-004; ER14-1349-004; ER10-3057-002; ER15-1687-002.

    Applicants: The Dow Chemical Company, Union Carbide Corporation, Dow Pipeline Company, Blue Cube Operations LLC.

    Description: Triennial Market Power Analysis for the Central Region of The Dow Chemical Company, et. al.

    Filed Date: 6/30/15.

    Accession Number: 20150630-5473.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 8/31/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1510-001.

    Applicants: FirstEnergy Solutions Corp.

    Description: Tariff Amendment: Deficiency Filing to be effective 4/16/2015.

    Filed Date: 7/2/15.

    Accession Number: 20150702-5010.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/23/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1919-001.

    Applicants: California Independent System Operator Corporation.

    Description: Tariff Amendment: 2015-07-01 Amendment to EIM Year One Tariff Record Effective Date to be effective 9/15/2015.

    Filed Date: 7/1/15.

    Accession Number: 20150701-5320.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/22/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-2090-000.

    Applicants: New York State Electric & Gas Corporation.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: NYSEG-NYPA Attachment C—O&M Annual Update to be effective 9/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 7/1/15.

    Accession Number: 20150701-5303.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/22/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-2091-000.

    Applicants: New York State Electric & Gas Corporation.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Rate Schedule FERC No. 87 Supplement to be effective 9/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 7/1/15.

    Accession Number: 20150701-5317.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/22/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-2092-000.

    Applicants: Southern California Edison Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Service Agreement with Ecos Energy Indian Canyon Solar Project GFID5524 to be effective 9/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 7/2/15.

    Accession Number: 20150702-5002.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/23/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-2093-000.

    Applicants: Southern California Edison Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Service Agmt Ecos Energy for Little Morongo Solar GFID5523 to be effective 9/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 7/2/15.

    Accession Number: 20150702-5003.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/23/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-2094-000.

    Applicants: Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: 2015-07-02_SA 2810 MDU-OTP-MDU Ellendale T-TIA to be effective 6/12/2015.

    Filed Date: 7/2/15.

    Accession Number: 20150702-5067.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/23/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-2095-000.

    Applicants: Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: 2015-07-02_SA 2811 MDU-OTP-OTP Big Stone South T-TIA to be effective 6/12/2015.

    Filed Date: 7/2/15.

    Accession Number: 20150702-5069.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/23/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-2096-000.

    Applicants: Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: 2015-07-02_SA 1976 MEC-ITC Midwest 2nd Rev. TIA to be effective 6/17/2015.

    Filed Date: 7/2/15.

    Accession Number: 20150702-5079.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/23/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-2097-000.

    Applicants: AEP Texas Central Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: TCC-La Paloma Energy Center IA Second Amend & Restated to be effective 6/9/2015.

    Filed Date: 7/2/15.

    Accession Number: 20150702-5085.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/23/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-2098-000.

    Applicants: AEP Texas North Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: TNC-Duke Energy Renewables Solar I Interconnection Agreement to be effective 6/9/2015.

    Filed Date: 7/2/15.

    Accession Number: 20150702-5094.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/23/15.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: July 2, 2015. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-16987 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. ER15-2101-000] Golden West Power Partners, LLC; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 Authorization

    This is a supplemental notice in the above-referenced proceeding of Golden West Power Partners, LLC's application for market-based rate authority, with an accompanying rate tariff, noting that such application includes a request for blanket authorization, under 18 CFR part 34, of future issuances of securities and assumptions of liability.

    Any person desiring to intervene or to protest should file with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street, NE., Washington, DC 20426, in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214). Anyone filing a motion to intervene or protest must serve a copy of that document on the Applicant.

    Notice is hereby given that the deadline for filing protests with regard to the applicant's request for blanket authorization, under 18 CFR part 34, of future issuances of securities and assumptions of liability, is July 27, 2015.

    The Commission encourages electronic submission of protests and interventions in lieu of paper, using the FERC Online links at http://www.ferc.gov. To facilitate electronic service, persons with Internet access who will eFile a document and/or be listed as a contact for an intervenor must create and validate an eRegistration account using the eRegistration link. Select the eFiling link to log on and submit the intervention or protests.

    Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and 5 copies of the intervention or protest to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    The filings in the above-referenced proceeding are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the appropriate link in the above list. They are also available for electronic review in the Commission's Public Reference Room in Washington, DC. There is an eSubscription link on the Web site that enables subscribers to receive email notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please email [email protected] or call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: July 7, 2015. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17049 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Project No. 4285-046] City of Logan, Utah; Notice of Application Accepted for Filing, Ready for Environmental Analysis, Soliciting Comments, Motions to Intervene, Protests, Recommendations, Terms and Conditions, and Fishway Prescriptions

    Take notice that the following hydroelectric application has been filed with the Commission and is available for public inspection:

    a. Type of Proceeding: Amendment of License.

    b. Project No.: 4285-046.

    c. Date Filed: May 8, 2015.

    d. Licensee: City of Logan, Utah.

    e. Name of Project: Logan No. 2 Hydroelectric Project.

    f. Location: The project is located on the Logan River, near the City of Logan, in Cache County, Utah. The project occupies federal lands administered by the Logan Ranger District, USDA Forest Service (USFS).

    g. Filed Pursuant to: Federal Power Act, 16 U.S.C. 791a-825r.

    h. Licensee Contact: City of Logan, Utah, Logan City Light and Power Department, 233 North Main Street, Logan, Utah 84321, Mark Montgomery at 435-716-9744 or Greg Clark at 208-906-7612.

    i. FERC Contact: Mr. M Joseph Fayyad, (202) 502-8759, [email protected]

    j. Deadline for filing comments, motions to intervene, protests, recommendations, terms and conditions, and prescriptions: 60 days from the issuance date of this notice; reply comments are due 105 days from the issuance date of this notice. The Commission strongly encourages electronic filing. Please file motions to intervene, protests and comments using the Commission's eFiling system at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling.asp. Commenters can submit brief comments up to 6,000 characters, without prior registration, using the eComment system at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/ecomment.asp. You must include your name and contact information at the end of your comments. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at [email protected], (866) 208-3676 (toll free), or (202) 502-8659 (TTY). In lieu of electronic filing, please send a paper copy to: Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426. The first page of any filing should include docket number P-4285-046.

    k. Description of Request: Based upon an inspection of the dam and intake structure, the licensee proposes to replace or rehabilitate several portions of these structures. The proposed work will include: (1) Replacement of spillway crest gates with Obermeyer weirs; (2) Replacement of spillway abutment walls; (3) Armoring the abutments of the dam, which may consist of a combination of riprap and/or roller compacted concrete. (4) Replacement of the penstock isolation gate (Radial Gate) with an Obermeyer weir gate; (5) Replacement of trash rack at intake structure; (6) Replacement of the low level sluice gatehouse; (7) Rehabilitating the upstream face of dam; (8) Dredging of about 100,000 cubic yards of sediment from the reservoir; (9) refurbishment of the electrical generating equipment, which includes replacement of the existing runners, wicket gates, and associated parts which are damaged; and (10) recoating the interior and exterior of the steel portion of the penstock to reduce corrosion potential.

    l. This filing may be viewed on the Commission's Web site at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/elibrary.asp. Enter the docket number excluding the last three digits in the docket number field to access the document. You may also register online at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/esubscription.asp to be notified via email of new filings and issuances related to this or other pending projects. For assistance, call 1-866-208-3676 or email [email protected], for TTY, call (202) 502-8659. A copy is also available for inspection and reproduction in the Commission's Public Reference Room located at 888 First Street NE., Room 2A, Washington, DC 20426, or by calling (202) 502-8371.

    m. Individuals desiring to be included on the Commission's mailing list should so indicate by writing to the Secretary of the Commission.

    n. Comments, Protests, or Motions to Intervene: Anyone may submit comments, a protest, or a motion to intervene in accordance with the requirements of Rules of Practice and Procedure, 18 CFR 385.210, .211, and .214. In determining the appropriate action to take, the Commission will consider all protests or other comments filed, but only those who file a motion to intervene in accordance with the Commission's Rules may become a party to the proceeding. Any comments, protests, or motions to intervene must be received on or before the specified comment date for the particular application.

    o. Filing and Service of Responsive Documents: Any filing must (1) bear in all capital letters the title “COMMENTS”, “PROTEST”, “MOTION TO INTERVENE”, “REPLY COMMENTS”, “RECOMMENDATIONS”, “TERMS AND CONDITIONS”, or “PRESCRIPTIONS”, as applicable; (2) set forth in the heading the name of the applicant and the project number of the application to which the filing responds; (3) furnish the name, address, and telephone number of the person protesting or intervening; and (4) otherwise comply with the requirements of 18 CFR 385.2001 through 385.2005. All comments, motions to intervene, recommendations, terms and conditions, or prescriptions must set forth their evidentiary basis and otherwise comply with the requirements of 18 CFR 4.34(b), and should relate to project works which are the subject of the license amendment. Agencies may obtain copies of the application directly from the applicant. A copy of any protest or motion to intervene must be served upon each representative of the applicant specified in the particular application. If an intervener files comments or documents with the Commission relating to the merits of an issue that may affect the responsibilities of a particular resource agency, they must also serve a copy of the document on that resource agency. A copy of all other filings in reference to this application must be accompanied by proof of service on all persons listed in the service list prepared by the Commission in this proceeding, in accordance with 18 CFR 4.34(b) and 385.2010.

    Dated: July 7, 2015. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17050 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings #2

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric rate filings:

    Docket Numbers: ER15-2099-000.

    Applicants: Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: City of Seneca NITSA Amendment SA No. 36 to be effective 7/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 7/2/15.

    Accession Number: 20150702-5147.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/23/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-2100-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Talen ISA Update to be effective 6/2/2015.

    Filed Date: 7/2/15.

    Accession Number: 20150702-5200.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/23/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-2101-000.

    Applicants: Golden West Power Partners, LLC.

    Description: Baseline eTariff Filing: Golden West Power Partners, LLC Market-Based Rate Application to be effective 9/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 7/2/15.

    Accession Number: 20150702-5217.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/23/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-2102-000.

    Applicants: New York Independent System Operator, Inc.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: NYISO 205 filing on behalf of NYPA: NYPA Revised Transmission Revenue Rqrmnt to be effective 9/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 7/2/15.

    Accession Number: 20150702-5219.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/23/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-2103-000.

    Applicants: Virginia Electric and Power Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Baseline Filing—Rate Schedule No. 114—NCEMPA to be effective 6/7/2015.

    Filed Date: 7/2/15.

    Accession Number: 20150702-5220.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/23/15.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: July 2, 2015. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-16988 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings #1

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric corporate filings:

    Docket Numbers: EC15-164-000.

    Applicants: Alta Windpower Development, LLC, Cameron Ridge, LLC, Chandler Wind Partners, LLC, Coso Geothermal Power Holdings, LLC, Foote Creek II, LLC, Foote Creek III, LLC, Foote Creek IV, LLC, Oak Creek Wind Power, LLC, ON Wind Energy LLC, Pacific Crest Power, LLC, Ridge Crest Wind Partners, LLC, Ridgetop Energy, LLC, Sagebrush, a California partnership, Terra-Gen Dixie Valley, LLC, Terra-Gen Energy Services, LLC, TGP Energy Management, LLC, Victory Garden Phase IV, LLC, San Gorgonio West Winds II, LLC.

    Description: Application for Authorization for Disposition of Jurisdictional Facilities and Request for Expedited Action of Alta Windpower Development, LLC, et. al.

    Filed Date: 7/7/15.

    Accession Number: 20150707-5118.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/28/15.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric rate filings:

    Docket Numbers: ER13-107-009.

    Applicants: South Carolina Electric & Gas Company.

    Description: Compliance filing: Order 1000 Regional Compliance filing 7-6-15 to be effective 4/19/2013.

    Filed Date: 7/6/15.

    Accession Number: 20150706-5188.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/27/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-2113-000.

    Applicants: Louisville Gas and Electric Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Att I Revision NITS Customers to be effective 7/8/2015.

    Filed Date: 7/7/15.

    Accession Number: 20150707-5075.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/28/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-2114-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C., Transource West Virginia, LLC.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Transource West Virginia submits Attachment H Formula Rate Template & Protocols to be effective 9/5/2015.

    Filed Date: 7/7/15.

    Accession Number: 20150707-5116.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/28/15.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric reliability filings:

    Docket Numbers: RR15-2-002.

    Applicants: North American Electric Reliability Corporation.

    Description: Compliance Filing of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation and Petition for Approval of Rules of Procedure Revisions.

    Filed Date: 7/6/15.

    Accession Number: 20150706-5277.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/27/15.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: July 7, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17013 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Project No. 2548-046] Northbrook Lyons Falls, LLC; Notice of Application Accepted for Filing, Soliciting Comments, Motions To Intervene, Protests, Recommendations, Terms and Conditions, and Prescriptions

    Take notice that the following hydroelectric application has been filed with the Commission and is available for public inspection:

    a. Type of Proceeding: Amendment of License.

    b. Project No.: 2548-046.

    c. Date Filed: May 15, 2015.

    d. Licensee: Northbrook Lyons Falls, LLC.

    e. Name of Project: Lyons Falls Project.

    f. Location: The 8.63-Megawatt (MW) Lyons Falls Project is located on the Moose and Black Rivers in Lewis County, New York.

    g. Filed Pursuant to: Federal Power Act, 16 U.S.C. 791a-825r.

    h. Licensee Contact: Mr. Dan Parker, Northbrook Lyons Falls, LLC, 37 Alfred A. Plourde Parkway, Suite 2, Lewiston, ME 04240, Telephone: (315) 261-2158, email: [email protected]

    i. FERC Contact: Mr. M. Joseph Fayyad, (202) 502-8759, [email protected]

    j. Deadline for filing comments, motions to intervene, protests, recommendations, terms and conditions, and prescriptions: 60 days from the issuance date of this notice; reply comments are due 105 days from the issuance date of this notice. The Commission strongly encourages electronic filing. Please file motions to intervene, protests and comments using the Commission's eFiling system at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling.asp. Commenters can submit brief comments up to 6,000 characters, without prior registration, using the eComment system at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/ecomment.asp. You must include your name and contact information at the end of your comments. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at [email protected], (866) 208-3676 (toll free), or (202) 502-8659 (TTY). In lieu of electronic filing, please send a paper copy to: Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426. The first page of any filing should include docket number P-2548-046.

    k. Description of Request: The licensee proposes to increase the installed capacity at one of the project's developments, the existing 5.6 megawatt (MW) Lyons Falls Mill Development. The proposed work would consist of: (1) Demolishing the existing four-unit primary powerhouse and mothball the secondary single-unit powerhouse; (2) constructing a new 60 feet long, 45 feet wide, and 40 feet high, combined intake and trashrack structure adjacent to the river left dam abutment; (3) constructing two 11.5-foot-diameter, 75- foot-long steel penstocks; (4) constructing a new concrete and masonry powerhouse located along river left, largely in the footprint of the existing primary powerhouse, with two generating units. The proposed work at the Lyons Falls development would increase its installed capacity from 5.6 MW to 11.2 MW and its hydraulic capacity from 1170 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 2684 cfs.

    The licensee provided documentation that on June 1, 2015, it has submitted a Joint Application for Permit to the New York State Department of Conservation (NYSDEC) in support of amending the Project's existing Section 401 Water Quality Certificate or issuing a new Water Quality Certificate for the Project.

    l. This filing may be viewed on the Commission's Web site at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/elibrary.asp. Enter the docket number excluding the last three digits in the docket number field to access the document. You may also register online at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/esubscription.asp to be notified via email of new filings and issuances related to this or other pending projects. For assistance, call 1-866-208-3676 or email [email protected], for TTY, call (202) 502-8659. A copy is also available for inspection and reproduction in the Commission's Public Reference Room located at 888 First Street NE., Room 2A, Washington, DC 20426, or by calling (202) 502-8371.

    m. Individuals desiring to be included on the Commission's mailing list should so indicate by writing to the Secretary of the Commission.

    n. Comments, Protests, or Motions to Intervene: Anyone may submit comments, a protest, or a motion to intervene in accordance with the requirements of Rules of Practice and Procedure, 18 CFR 385.210, .211, .212 and .214. In determining the appropriate action to take, the Commission will consider all protests or other comments filed, but only those who file a motion to intervene in accordance with the Commission's Rules may become a party to the proceeding. Any comments, protests, or motions to intervene must be received on or before the specified comment date for the particular application.

    o. Filing and Service of Responsive Documents: Any filing must (1) bear in all capital letters the title “COMMENTS”, “PROTEST”, “MOTION TO INTERVENE”, “REPLY COMMENTS”, “RECOMMENDATIONS”, “TERMS AND CONDITIONS”, or “PRESCRIPTIONS”, as applicable; (2) set forth in the heading the name of the applicant and the project number of the application to which the filing responds; (3) furnish the name, address, and telephone number of the person protesting or intervening; and (4) otherwise comply with the requirements of 18 CFR 385.2001 through 385.2005. All comments, motions to intervene, recommendations, terms and conditions, or prescriptions must set forth their evidentiary basis and otherwise comply with the requirements of 18 CFR 4.34(b), and should relate to project works which are the subject of the license amendment. Agencies may obtain copies of the application directly from the applicant. A copy of any protest or motion to intervene must be served upon each representative of the applicant specified in the particular application. If an intervener files comments or documents with the Commission relating to the merits of an issue that may affect the responsibilities of a particular resource agency, they must also serve a copy of the document on that resource agency. A copy of all other filings in reference to this application must be accompanied by proof of service on all persons listed in the service list prepared by the Commission in this proceeding, in accordance with 18 CFR 4.34(b) and 385.2010.

    Dated: July 7, 2015. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17053 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice Of Filings

    Take notice that the Commission has received the following Natural Gas Pipeline Rate and Refund Report filings:

    Docket Numbers: RP15-101-000.

    Applicants: Florida Gas Transmission Company, LLC.

    Description: eTariff filing per 154.311: RP15-101 Updated Test Period Statements to be effective N/A.

    Filed Date: 6/25/15.

    Accession Number: 20150625-5085.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/7/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-1082-000.

    Applicants: Gulf South Pipeline Company, LP.

    Description: § 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: Negotiated Rate Agmt (Texla 20167) to be effective 6/25/2015.

    Filed Date: 6/25/15.

    Accession Number: 20150625-5064.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/7/15.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and § 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    Filings In Existing Proceedings

    Docket Numbers: RP15-23-008.

    Applicants: Transwestern Pipeline Company, LLC.

    Description: Compliance filing per 154.203: RP15-23 Motion Interim Settlement Rates to be effective 7/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 6/25/15.

    Accession Number: 20150625-5087.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/7/15.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and § 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: June 26, 2015. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-16990 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket Nos. CP15-521-000; PF13-4-000] Gulf LNG Liquefaction Company, LLC, Gulf LNG Energy, LLC, Gulf LNG Pipeline LLC; Notice of Application

    Take notice that on June 19, 2015, Gulf LNG Liquefaction Company, LLC (Gulf Liquefaction), Gulf LNG Energy, LLC (Gulf Energy), and Gulf LNG Pipeline LLC (Gulf Pipeline) (collectively, Applicants) 569 Brookwood Village, Suite 749, Birmingham, Alabama 35209, filed an application pursuant to section 3(a) of the Natural Gas Act (NGA) and Part 153 of the Commission's Regulations, requesting authorization to construct and operate the Gulf LNG Liquefaction Project (Project) at Gulf Energy's liquefied natural gas terminal located near Pascagoula, Jackson County, Mississippi. The Project consists of new natural gas liquefaction and export facilities. Additionally, within the same application, Gulf Pipeline filed pursuant to section 7(c) of the NGA and Part 157 of the Commission's Regulations to make modifications to the terminal's sendout pipeline to allow for bi-directional flow. The filing may be viewed on the web at http://www.ferc.gov using the “eLibrary” link. Enter the docket number excluding the last three digits in the docket number field to access the document. For assistance, contact FERC at [email protected] or call toll-free (886) 208-3676 or TYY (202) 502-8659.

    Any questions regarding this application should be directed to Glenn A. Sheffield, Director of Rates and Regulatory Affairs, Gulf LNG Liquefaction Company, LLC, 569 Brookwood Village, Suite 749, Birmingham, Alabama 35209, telephone (205) 325-3813, or email [email protected]; or Tina S. Hardy, Manager IC-Regulatory, telephone (205) 325-3668, or email [email protected].

    Specifically, Gulf Liquefaction proposes under section 3 to construct two 5 million ton per annum liquefaction trains, pretreatment, ancillary and support facilities, two marine off loading facilities, and an extension of the storm surge protection facilities. These facilities will enable Gulf Liquefaction to liquefy and export up to 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. Gulf Energy proposes under section 3 to make modifications to their terminal to accommodate Gulf Liquefaction's operations and Gulf Pipeline proposes interconnect modifications under section 7 to allow bi-directional flow of natural gas to the terminal.

    On May 21, 2014, the Commission staff granted the Applicants' request to use the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Pre-Filing Process and assigned Docket No. PF13-4-000 to staff activities involving the proposed facilities. Now, as of the filing of this application on June 19, 2015, the NEPA Pre-Filing Process for this project has ended. From this time forward, this proceeding will be conducted in Docket No. CP15-521-000, as noted in the caption of this Notice.

    Pursuant to section 157.9 of the Commission's rules, 18 CFR 157.9, within 90 days of this Notice the Commission staff will either: complete its environmental assessment (EA) and place it into the Commission's public record (eLibrary) for this proceeding, or issue a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review. If a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review is issued, it will indicate, among other milestones, the anticipated date for the Commission staff's issuance of the final environmental impact statement (FEIS) or EA for this proposal. The filing of the EA in the Commission's public record for this proceeding or the issuance of a Notice of Schedule will serve to notify federal and state agencies of the timing for the completion of all necessary reviews, and the subsequent need to complete all federal authorizations within 90 days of the date of issuance of the Commission staff's FEIS or EA.

    There are two ways to become involved in the Commission's review of this project. First, any person wishing to obtain legal status by becoming a party to the proceedings for this project should, on or before the comment date stated below, file with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, a motion to intervene in accordance with the requirements of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.214 or 385.211) and the Regulations under the NGA (18 CFR 157.10). A person obtaining party status will be placed on the service list maintained by the Secretary of the Commission and will receive copies of all documents filed by the applicant and by all other parties. A party must submit 5 copies of filings made with the Commission and must mail a copy to the applicant and to every other party in the proceeding. Only parties to the proceeding can ask for court review of Commission orders in the proceeding.

    However, a person does not have to intervene in order to have comments considered. The second way to participate is by filing with the Secretary of the Commission, as soon as possible, an original and two copies of comments in support of or in opposition to this project. The Commission will consider these comments in determining the appropriate action to be taken, but the filing of a comment alone will not serve to make the filer a party to the proceeding. The Commission's rules require that persons filing comments in opposition to the project provide copies of their protests only to the party or parties directly involved in the protest.

    Persons who wish to comment only on the environmental review of this project should submit an original and two copies of their comments to the Secretary of the Commission. Environmental commenters will be placed on the Commission's environmental mailing list, will receive copies of the environmental documents, and will be notified of meetings associated with the Commission's environmental review process. Environmental commenters will not be required to serve copies of filed documents on all other parties. However, the non-party commenters will not receive copies of all documents filed by other parties or issued by the Commission (except for the mailing of environmental documents issued by the Commission) and will not have the right to seek court review of the Commission's final order.

    Motions to intervene, protests and comments may be filed electronically via the internet in lieu of paper; see, 18 CFR 385.2001(a) (1) (iii) and the instructions on the Commission's Web site under the “e-Filing” link. The Commission strongly encourages electronic filings.

    Comment Date: July 22, 2015.

    Dated: July 1, 2015. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-16999 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. PF15-23-000] Millennium Pipeline Company, LLC; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Planned Valley Lateral Project, and Request for Comments on Environmental Issues

    The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) will prepare an environmental assessment (EA) that will discuss the environmental impacts of the Valley Lateral Project involving construction and operation of facilities by Millennium Pipeline Company, LLC (Millennium) in Orange County, New York. The Commission will use this EA in its decision-making process to determine whether the project is in the public convenience and necessity.

    This notice announces the opening of the scoping process the Commission will use to gather input from the public and interested agencies on the project. You can make a difference by providing us with your specific comments or concerns about the project. Your comments should focus on the potential environmental effects, reasonable alternatives, and measures to avoid or lessen environmental impacts. Your input will help the Commission staff determine what issues they need to evaluate in the EA. To ensure that your comments are timely and properly recorded, please send your comments so that the Commission receives them in Washington, DC on or before August 5, 2015.

    If you sent comments on this project to the Commission before the opening of this docket on April 30, 2015, you will need to file those comments in Docket No. PF15-23-000 to ensure they are considered as part of this proceeding.

    This notice is being sent to the Commission's current environmental mailing list for this project. State and local government representatives should notify their constituents of this planned project and encourage them to comment on their areas of concern.

    If you are a landowner receiving this notice, a pipeline company representative may contact you about the acquisition of an easement to construct, operate, and maintain the planned facilities. The company would seek to negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement. However, if the Commission approves the project, that approval conveys with it the right of eminent domain. Therefore, if easement negotiations fail to produce an agreement, the pipeline company could initiate condemnation proceedings where compensation would be determined in accordance with state law.

    A fact sheet prepared by the FERC entitled “An Interstate Natural Gas Facility On My Land? What Do I Need To Know?” is available for viewing on the FERC Web site (www.ferc.gov). This fact sheet addresses a number of typically asked questions, including the use of eminent domain and how to participate in the Commission's proceedings.

    Public Participation

    For your convenience, there are three methods you can use to submit your comments to the Commission. The Commission encourages electronic filing of comments and has expert staff available to assist you at (202) 502-8258 or [email protected] Please carefully follow these instructions so that your comments are properly recorded.

    (1) You can file your comments electronically using the eComment feature on the Commission's Web site (www.ferc.gov) under the link to Documents and Filings. This is an easy method for submitting brief, text-only comments on a project;

    (2) You can file your comments electronically by using the eFiling feature on the Commission's Web site (www.ferc.gov) under the link to Documents and Filings. With eFiling, you can provide comments in a variety of formats by attaching them as a file with your submission. New eFiling users must first create an account by clicking on “eRegister.” If you are filing a comment on a particular project, please select “Comment on a Filing” as the filing type; or

    (3) You can file a paper copy of your comments by mailing them to the following address. Be sure to reference the project docket number (PF15-23-000) with your submission: Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426.

    Summary of the Planned Project

    Millennium plans to construct and operate approximately 7.8 miles of new pipeline lateral in Orange County, New York. The planned pipeline lateral would provide about 130 million cubic feet per day of natural gas per day to the Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) Valley Energy Center in the Town of Wawayanda, New York from Millennium's existing mainline pipeline. According to Millennium, the Valley Lateral Project would supply natural gas for generation of up to 650 megawatts of power at the CPV Valley Energy Center (in development).

    The planned Valley Lateral Project would consist of the following facilities:

    • 7.8 miles of pipeline lateral originating at Millennium's existing mainline that would deliver gas to the CPV Valley Energy Center;

    • a pig 1 launcher at the pipeline origin located wholly within the permanent pipeline right-of-way; and

    1 A “pig” is a tool that the pipeline company inserts into and pushes through the pipeline for cleaning the pipeline, conducting internal inspections, or other purposes.

    • a pig receiver and metering facilities at the pipeline terminus and located entirely within the area to be developed for the CPV Valley Energy Center.

    The general location of the project facilities is shown in appendix 1.2

    2 The appendices referenced in this notice will not appear in the Federal Register. Copies of the appendices were sent to all those receiving this notice in the mail and are available at www.ferc.gov using the link called “eLibrary” or from the Commission's Public Reference Room, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, or call (202) 502-8371. For instructions on connecting to eLibrary, refer to the last page of this notice.

    Land Requirements for Construction

    Construction of the planned pipeline lateral facilities would occur within a 75- to 135-foot right-of-way. Following construction, Millennium would maintain a 50-foot right-of-way for permanent operation of the project's facilities; the remaining acreage would be restored and revert to former uses. About 24 percent of the planned pipeline route parallels existing pipeline, utility, or road rights-of-way.

    The EA Process

    The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires the Commission to take into account the environmental impacts that could result from an action whenever it considers the issuance of a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. NEPA also requires us3 to discover and address concerns the public may have about proposals. This process is referred to as scoping. The main goal of the scoping process is to focus the analysis in the EA on the important environmental issues. By this notice, the Commission requests public comments on the scope of the issues to address in the EA. We will consider all filed comments during the preparation of the EA.

    3 “We,” “us,” and “our” refer to the environmental staff of the Commission's Office of Energy Projects.

    In the EA we will discuss impacts that could occur as a result of the construction and operation of the planned project under these general headings:

    • geology and soils;

    • land use;

    • water resources, fisheries, and wetlands;

    • cultural resources;

    • vegetation and wildlife;

    • air quality and noise;

    • endangered and threatened species;

    • public safety; and

    • cumulative impacts.

    We will also evaluate possible alternatives to the planned project or portions of the project, and make recommendations on how to lessen or avoid impacts on the various resource areas.

    Although no formal application has been filed, we have already initiated our NEPA review under the Commission's pre-filing process. The purpose of the pre-filing process is to encourage early involvement of interested stakeholders and to identify and resolve issues before the FERC receives an application. As part of our pre-filing review, we have begun to contact some federal and state agencies to discuss their involvement in the scoping process and the preparation of the EA.

    The EA will present our independent analysis of the issues. The EA will be available in the public record through eLibrary. We will also publish and distribute the EA to the public for an allotted comment period. We will consider all comments on the EA before we make our recommendations to the Commission. To ensure we have the opportunity to consider and address your comments, please carefully follow the instructions in the Public Participation section, beginning on page 2.

    With this notice, we are asking agencies with jurisdiction by law and/or special expertise with respect to the environmental issues related to this project to formally cooperate with us in the preparation of the EA.4 Agencies that would like to request cooperating agency status should follow the instructions for filing comments provided under the Public Participation section of this notice.

    4 The Council on Environmental Quality regulations addressing cooperating agency responsibilities are at Title 40, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 1501.6.

    Consultations Under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act

    In accordance with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation's implementing regulations for section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, we are using this notice to initiate consultation with the applicable State Historic Preservation Office, and to solicit their views and those of other government agencies, interested Indian tribes, and the public on the project's potential effects on historic properties.5 We will define the project-specific Area of Potential Effects (APE) in consultation with the SHPO as the project develops. On natural gas facility projects, the APE at a minimum encompasses all areas subject to ground disturbance (examples include construction right-of-way, contractor/pipe storage yards, compressor stations, and access roads). Our EA for this project will document our findings on the impacts on historic properties and summarize the status of consultations under section 106.

    5 The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation regulations are at Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 800. Those regulations define historic properties as any prehistoric or historic district, site, building, structure, or object included in or eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.

    Environmental Mailing List

    The environmental mailing list includes federal, state, and local government representatives and agencies; elected officials; environmental and public interest groups; Native American Tribes; other interested parties; and local libraries and newspapers. This list also includes all affected landowners (as defined in the Commission's regulations) who are potential right-of-way grantors, whose property may be used temporarily for project purposes, or who own homes within certain distances of aboveground facilities, and anyone who submits comments on the project. We will update the environmental mailing list as the analysis proceeds to ensure that we send the information related to this environmental review to all individuals, organizations, and government entities interested in and/or potentially affected by the planned project.

    Copies of the EA will be sent to the environmental mailing list for public review and comment. If you would prefer to receive a paper copy of the document instead of the CD version or would like to remove your name from the mailing list, please return the attached Information Request (appendix 2).

    Becoming an Intervenor

    Once Millennium files its application with the Commission, you may want to become an “intervenor” which is an official party to the Commission's proceeding. Intervenors play a more formal role in the process and are able to file briefs, appear at hearings, and be heard by the courts if they choose to appeal the Commission's final ruling. An intervenor formally participates in the proceeding by filing a request to intervene. Instructions for becoming an intervenor are in the User's Guide under the “e-filing” link on the Commission's Web site. Please note that the Commission will not accept requests for intervenor status at this time. You must wait until the Commission receives a formal application for the project.

    Additional Information

    Additional information about the project is available from the Commission's Office of External Affairs, at (866) 208-FERC, or on the FERC Web site (www.ferc.gov) using the eLibrary link. Click on the eLibrary link, click on “General Search” and enter the docket number, excluding the last three digits in the Docket Number field (i.e., PF15-23). Be sure you have selected an appropriate date range. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at [email protected] or toll free at (866) 208-3676, or for TTY, contact (202) 502-8659. The eLibrary link also provides access to the texts of formal documents issued by the Commission, such as orders, notices, and rulemakings.

    In addition, the Commission offers a free service called eSubscription which allows you to keep track of all formal issuances and submittals in specific dockets. This can reduce the amount of time you spend researching proceedings by automatically providing you with notification of these filings, document summaries, and direct links to the documents. Go to www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/esubscription.asp.

    Finally, public meetings or site visits will be posted on the Commission's calendar located at www.ferc.gov/EventCalendar/EventsList.aspx along with other related information.

    Dated: July 6, 2015. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-16998 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice Of Filings

    Take notice that the Commission has received the following Natural Gas Pipeline Rate and Refund Report filings:

    Docket Numbers: RP15-1077-000.

    Applicants: Texas Gas Transmission, LLC.

    Description: § 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: Remove References to Expired Operating Lease to be effective 4/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 6/24/15.

    Accession Number: 20150624-5059.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/6/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-1078-000.

    Applicants: Barclays Bank PLC.

    Description: Petition for Temporary Waiver of Commission Capacity Release Regulations and Related Tariff Provisions and Request for Expedited Action of Barclays Bank PLC under RP15-1078.

    Filed Date: 6/24/15.

    Accession Number: 20150624-5160.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/1/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-1079-000.

    Applicants: Algonquin Gas Transmission, LLC.

    Description: § 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: BBPC 2015-07-01 Releases to EDF Trading to be effective 7/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 6/25/15.

    Accession Number: 20150625-5022.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/7/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-1080-000.

    Applicants: Northern Natural Gas Company.

    Description: § 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: 20150625 Negotiated Rate to be effective 7/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 6/25/15.

    Accession Number: 20150625-5025.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/7/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-1081-000.

    Applicants: Kern River Gas Transmission Company.

    Description: § 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: 2015 Enserco to Twin Eagle to be effective 7/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 6/25/15.

    Accession Number: 20150625-5034.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/7/15.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and § 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: June 25, 2015. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-16989 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. CP15-499-000] Texas Eastern Transmission, LP; Notice of Intent to Prepare An Environmental Assessment for the Proposed South Texas Expansion Project, And Request for Comments on Environmental Issues

    The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) will prepare an environmental assessment (EA) that will discuss the environmental impacts of the South Texas Expansion Project (Project) involving construction and operation of facilities by Texas Eastern Transmission, LP (Texas Eastern) in Nueces, Matagorda, Brazoria, Chambers, and Orange Counties, Texas. The Commission will use this EA in its decision-making process to determine whether the project is in the public convenience and necessity.

    This notice announces the opening of the scoping process the Commission will use to gather input from the public and interested agencies on the Project. You can make a difference by providing us with your specific comments or concerns about the Project. Your comments should focus on the potential environmental effects, reasonable alternatives, and measures to avoid or lessen environmental impacts. Your input will help the Commission staff determine what issues they need to evaluate in the EA. To ensure that your comments are timely and properly recorded, please send your comments so that the Commission receives them in Washington, DC on or before July 30, 2015.

    If you sent comments on this project to the Commission before the opening of this docket on May 22, 2015, you will need to file those comments in Docket No. CP15-499-000 to ensure they are considered as part of this proceeding.

    This notice is being sent to the Commission's current environmental mailing list for this Project. State and local government representatives should notify their constituents of this proposed project and encourage them to comment on their areas of concern.

    If you are a landowner receiving this notice, a Texas Eastern representative may contact you about the acquisition of an easement to construct, operate, and maintain the proposed facilities. The company would seek to negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement. However, if the Commission approves the Project, that approval conveys with it the right of eminent domain. Therefore, if easement negotiations fail to produce an agreement, the pipeline company could initiate condemnation proceedings where compensation would be determined in accordance with state law.

    Texas Eastern provided landowners with a fact sheet prepared by the FERC entitled “An Interstate Natural Gas Facility On My Land? What Do I Need To Know?” This fact sheet addresses a number of typically asked questions, including the use of eminent domain and how to participate in the Commission's proceedings. It is also available for viewing on the FERC Web site (www.ferc.gov).

    Public Participation

    For your convenience, there are three methods you can use to submit your comments to the Commission. The Commission encourages electronic filing of comments and has expert staff available to assist you at (202) 502-8258 or [email protected] Please carefully follow these instructions so that your comments are properly recorded.

    (1) You can file your comments electronically using the eComment feature on the Commission's Web site (www.ferc.gov) under the link to Documents and Filings. This is an easy method for submitting brief, text-only comments on a project;

    (2) You can file your comments electronically by using the eFiling feature on the Commission's Web site (www.ferc.gov) under the link to Documents and Filings. With eFiling, you can provide comments in a variety of formats by attaching them as a file with your submission. New eFiling users must first create an account by clicking on “eRegister.” If you are filing a comment on a particular project, please select “Comment on a Filing” as the filing type; or

    (3) You can file a paper copy of your comments by mailing them to the following address. Be sure to reference the Project docket number (CP15-499-000) with your submission: Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426.

    Summary of the Proposed Project

    Texas Eastern proposes to construct and operate pipeline and compression facilities in Nueces, Matagorda, Brazoria, Chambers, and Orange Counties, Texas. The Project would provide about 400,000 dekatherms of natural gas per day. According to Texas Eastern, its Project would provide service to a customer by increasing flow in its system to South Texas.

    The Project would consist of the following facilities:

    • installation of an 8,400 horsepower (hp) compressor and a meter and regulating station at the existing Petronila Station in Nueces County, Texas;

    • installation of an 8,400 hp compressor unit and piping modifications at the existing Blessing Compressor Station in Matagorda County, Texas;

    • modification to piping and other compression facilities at the Mont Belvieu Compressor Station in Chambers County, Texas, Vidor Compressor Station in Orange County, Texas, and Angleton Compressor Station in Brazoria County, Texas; and

    • modification to piping at existing launcher and receiver sites along Texas Eastern's Line 16 in Brazoria, Chambers, and Orange Counties, Texas.

    The general location of the Project facilities is shown in appendix 1.1

    1 The appendices referenced in this notice will not appear in the Federal Register. Copies of appendices were sent to all those receiving this notice in the mail and are available at www.ferc.gov using the link called “eLibrary” or from the Commission's Public Reference Room, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, or call (202) 502-8371. For instructions on connecting to eLibrary, refer to the last page of this notice.

    Land Requirements for Construction

    Construction of the proposed facilities would disturb about 122 acres of land for the aboveground facilities and the pipeline. Following construction Texas Eastern would maintain 31 acres for permanent operation of the Project's facilities; the remaining acreage would be restored and revert to former uses. Changes to existing facilities would be accomplished within the existing facilities' fence lines.

    The EA Process

    The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires the Commission to take

    into account the environmental impacts that could result from an action whenever it considers the issuance of a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. The NEPA also requires us 2 to discover and address concerns the public may have about proposals. This process is referred to as “scoping.” The main goal of the scoping process is to focus the analysis in the EA on the important environmental issues. By this notice, the Commission requests public comments on the scope of the issues to address in the EA. We will consider all filed comments during the preparation of the EA.

    2 “We,” “us,” and “our” refer to the environmental staff of the Commission's Office of Energy Projects.

    In the EA we will discuss impacts that could occur as a result of the construction and operation of the proposed project under these general headings:

    • geology and soils;

    • land use;

    • water resources, fisheries, and wetlands;

    • cultural resources;

    • vegetation and wildlife;

    • air quality and noise;

    • endangered and threatened species;

    • public safety; and

    • cumulative impacts

    We will also evaluate reasonable alternatives to the proposed Project or portions of the Project, and make recommendations on how to lessen or avoid impacts on the various resource areas.

    The EA will present our independent analysis of the issues. The EA will be available in the public record through eLibrary. We will consider all comments on the EA before making our recommendations to the Commission. To ensure we have the opportunity to consider and address your comments, please carefully follow the instructions in the Public Participation section of this notice.

    With this notice, we are asking agencies with jurisdiction by law and/or special expertise with respect to the environmental issues of this project to formally cooperate

    with us in the preparation of the EA.3 Agencies that would like to request cooperating agency status should follow the instructions for filing comments provided under the Public Participation section of this notice.

    3 The Council on Environmental Quality regulations addressing cooperating agency responsibilities are at Title 40, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 1501.6.

    Consultations Under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act

    In accordance with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation's implementing regulations for section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, we are using this notice to initiate consultations with the Texas State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), and to solicit its views and those of other government agencies, interested Indian tribes, and the public on the Project's potential effects on historic properties.4 We will define the Project-specific Area of Potential Effects (APE) in consultation with the SHPO as the Project develops. On natural gas facility projects, the APE at a minimum encompasses all areas subject to ground disturbance (examples include construction right-of-way, contractor/pipe storage yards, compressor stations, and access roads). Our EA for this Project will document our findings on the impacts on historic properties and summarize the status of consultations under section 106.

    4 The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation's regulations are at Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 800. Those regulations define historic properties as any prehistoric or historic district, site, building, structure, or object included in or eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.

    Environmental Mailing List

    The environmental mailing list includes federal, state, and local government representatives and agencies; elected officials; environmental and public interest groups; Indian tribes; other interested parties; and local libraries and newspapers. This list also includes all affected landowners (as defined in the Commission's regulations) who are potential right-of-way grantors, whose property may be used temporarily for project purposes, or who own homes within certain distances of aboveground facilities, and anyone who submits comments on the project. We will update the environmental mailing list as the analysis proceeds to ensure that we send the information related to this environmental review to all individuals, organizations, and government entities interested in and/or potentially affected by the proposed Project.

    If we publish and distribute the EA, copies of the EA will be sent to the environmental mailing list for public review and comment. If you would prefer to receive a paper copy of the document instead of the CD version or would like to remove your name from the mailing list, please return the attached Information Request (appendix 2).

    Becoming an Intervenor

    In addition to involvement in the EA scoping process, you may want to become an “intervenor” which is an official party to the Commission's proceeding. Intervenors play a more formal role in the process and are able to file briefs, appear at hearings, and be heard by the courts if they choose to appeal the Commission's final ruling. An intervenor formally participates in the proceeding by filing a request to intervene. Instructions for becoming an intervenor are in the User's Guide under the “e-filing” link on the Commission's Web site.

    Additional Information

    Additional information about the project is available from the Commission's Office of External Affairs, at (866) 208-FERC, or on the FERC Web site at www.ferc.gov using the “Documents & Filings” link. Click on the eLibrary link, click on General Search and enter the docket number, excluding the last three digits in the Docket Number field (i.e., CP15-499). Be sure you have selected an appropriate date range. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at [email protected] or toll free at (866) 208-3676, or for TTY, contact (202) 502-8659. The eLibrary link also provides access to the texts of formal documents issued by the Commission, such as orders, notices, and rulemakings.

    In addition, the Commission offers a free service called eSubscription which allows you to keep track of all formal issuances and submittals in specific dockets. This can reduce the amount of time you spend researching proceedings by automatically providing you with notification of these filings, document summaries, and direct links to the documents. Go to www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/esubscription.asp.

    Finally, public meetings or site visits will be posted on the Commission's calendar located at www.ferc.gov/EventCalendar/EventsList.aspx along with other related information.

    Dated: July 1, 2015. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-16994 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Notice Of Staff Attendance at Southwest Power Pool Regional Entity Trustee, Regional State Committee, Members' and Board of Directors' Meetings

    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) hereby gives notice that members of its staff may attend the meetings of the Southwest Power Pool, Inc. (SPP) Regional Entity Trustee (RE), Regional State Committee (RSC), SPP Members Committee and Board of Directors, as noted below. Their attendance is part of the Commission's ongoing outreach efforts.

    All meetings will be held at the Hilton KCI, 8801 NW 112th Street, Kansas City, MO 64153.

    SPP RE July 27, 2015 (8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.) SPP RSC July 27, 2015 (1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.) SPP Members/Board of Directors July 28, 2015 (8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.)

    The discussions may address matters at issue in the following proceedings:

    Docket No. EL05-19, Southwestern Public Service Company Docket No. ER05-168, Southwestern Public Service Company Docket No. ER06-274, Southwestern Public Service Company Docket No. EL11-34, Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. Docket No. ER11-1844, Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. Docket No. EL12-28, Xcel Energy Services Inc., et al. Docket No. EL12-59, Golden Spread Electric Cooperative, Inc. Docket No. EL12-60, Southwest Power Pool, Inc., et al. Docket No. ER12-480, Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. Docket No. ER12-1179, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER12-1586, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER13-366, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER13-367, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER13-1864, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER13-1937, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER13-1939, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. EL14-21, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. EL14-30, Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. Docket No. EL14-93, Kansas Corporation Commission v. Westar Energy, Inc. Docket No. EL15-66, Southern Company Services, et al. v. Midcontinent Independent System Operator Docket No. EL15-77, Morgan Stanley Capital Group Inc. v. Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. Docket No. ER14-67, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER14-781, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER14-1174, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER14-1713, Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. Docket No. ER14-2022, Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. Docket No. ER14-2363, Southwestern Public Service Company Docket No. ER14-2445, Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. Docket No. ER14-2553, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER14-2570, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER14-2850, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER14-2851, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER15-21, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER15-279, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER15-964, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER15-1152, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER15-1163, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER15-1293, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER15-1499, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER15-1572, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER15-1737, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER15-1744, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER15-1750, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER15-1751, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER15-1752, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER15-1753, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER15-1775, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER15-1777, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER15-1785, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER15-1797, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER15-1827, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER15-1859, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER15-1891, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER15-1899, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER15-1902, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER15-1906, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER15-1910, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER15-1918, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER15-1924, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER15-1939, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER15-1943, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER15-1946, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER15-1965, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER15-2028, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. Docket No. ER15-2075, Southwest Power Pool, Inc.

    These meetings are open to the public.

    For more information, contact Patrick Clarey, Office of Energy Market Regulation, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission at (317) 249-5937 or [email protected].

    Dated: July 6, 2015. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-16997 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. CP15-520-000] Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, L.L.C.; Notice of Application

    Take notice that on June 19, 2015, Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, L.L.C. (“Tennessee”), filed an application pursuant to section 7(c) of the Natural Gas Act (NGA) and Part 157 of the Commission's Regulations, to construct, install, modify, operate, and maintain certain pipeline and compression facilities located in Pennsylvania. Tennessee's proposed Triad Expansion Project (Project) is designed to add an additional 180,000 Dth/d of new West to East transportation capacity on Tennessee's 300 Line in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. The Project would require the construction of approximately 7 miles of 36-inch-diameter pipeline loop (Line 300-3) immediately west of Compressor Station 321 as well as various piping modifications to tie the new Line 300-3 to existing Line 300 and a pig launcher/receiver at each end of the new loop. The estimated cost of the Triad Expansion Project is $87,420,002. The filing may be viewed on the web at http://www.ferc.gov using the “eLibrary” link. Enter the docket number excluding the last three digits in the docket number field to access the document. For assistance, contact FERC at [email protected] or call toll-free, (886) 208-3676 or TYY, (202) 502-8659.

    Any questions concerning this application should be directed to Jacquelyne M. Rocan, Assistant General Counsel, Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, L.L.C., 1001 Louisiana Street, Houston, Texas 77002, phone: (713) 420-4544, facsimile: (713) 420-1601, email: [email protected], or Shannon M. Miller, Regulatory Affairs, Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, L.L.C., 1001 Louisiana Street, Houston, Texas 77002, phone: (713) 420-4038, facsimile: (713) 420-1605, email: [email protected]

    Pursuant to section 157.9 of the Commission's rules, 18 CFR 157.9, within 90 days of this Notice the Commission staff will either: complete its environmental assessment (EA) and place it into the Commission's public record (eLibrary) for this proceeding, or issue a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review. If a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review is issued, it will indicate, among other milestones, the anticipated date for the Commission staff's issuance of the final environmental impact statement (FEIS) or EA for this proposal. The filing of the EA in the Commission's public record for this proceeding or the issuance of a Notice of Schedule will serve to notify federal and state agencies of the timing for the completion of all necessary reviews, and the subsequent need to complete all federal authorizations within 90 days of the date of issuance of the Commission staff's FEIS or EA.

    There are two ways to become involved in the Commission's review of this project. First, any person wishing to obtain legal status by becoming a party to the proceedings for this project should, on or before the comment date stated below, file with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street, NE., Washington, DC 20426, a motion to intervene in accordance with the requirements of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.214 or 385.211) and the Regulations under the NGA (18 CFR 157.10). A person obtaining party status will be placed on the service list maintained by the Secretary of the Commission and will receive copies of all documents filed by the applicant and by all other parties. A party must submit 5 copies of filings made with the Commission and must mail a copy to the applicant and to every other party in the proceeding. Only parties to the proceeding can ask for court review of Commission orders in the proceeding.

    However, a person does not have to intervene in order to have comments considered. The second way to participate is by filing with the Secretary of the Commission, as soon as possible, an original and two copies of comments in support of or in opposition to this project. The Commission will consider these comments in determining the appropriate action to be taken, but the filing of a comment alone will not serve to make the filer a party to the proceeding. The Commission's rules require that persons filing comments in opposition to the project provide copies of their protests only to the party or parties directly involved in the protest.

    Persons who wish to comment only on the environmental review of this project should submit an original and two copies of their comments to the Secretary of the Commission. Environmental commenters will be placed on the Commission's environmental mailing list, will receive copies of the environmental documents, and will be notified of meetings associated with the Commission's environmental review process. Environmental commenters will not be required to serve copies of filed documents on all other parties. However, the non-party commenters will not receive copies of all documents filed by other parties or issued by the Commission (except for the mailing of environmental documents issued by the Commission) and will not have the right to seek court review of the Commission's final order.

    Motions to intervene, protests and comments may be filed electronically via the internet in lieu of paper; see, 18 CFR 385.2001(a) (1) (iii) and the instructions on the Commission's Web site under the “e-Filing” link. The Commission strongly encourages electronic filings.

    Comment Date: July 27, 2015.

    Dated: July 6, 2015. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-16995 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. CP15-522-000] Southwest Gas Storage Company; Notice of Request Under Blanket Authorization

    Take notice that on June 26, 2015, Southwest Gas Storage Company (Southwest), filed in Docket No. CP15-522-000, a prior notice request pursuant to sections 157.205, 157.208, 157.213, and 157.216 of the Commission's regulations under the Natural Gas Act (NGA) and Southwest's blanket authorization issued in Docket No. CP99-230-000. Southwest seeks authorization to convert, modify, replace, and abandon certain natural gas storage facilities at its Howell Storage Field located in Livingston County, Michigan, all as more fully set forth in the application which is on file with the Commission and open for public inspection. Specifically, Southwest is converting 15 injection/withdrawal wells to observation wells as part of Southwest's multi-year Howell Storage Field Well Re-Entries and Integrity Work Project. The filing may also be viewed on the web at http://www.ferc.gov using the “eLibrary” link. Enter the docket number excluding the last three digits in the docket number field to access the document. For assistance, contact FERC at [email protected] or call toll-free, (866) 208-3676 or TTY, (202) 502-8659.

    Any questions concerning this application may be directed to: Stephen T. Veatch, Sr., Director, Certificates & Tariffs, Southwest Gas Storage Company, 1300 Main Street, P.O. Box 4967, Houston TX 77210-4967, by phone at (713) 989-2024, fax at (713) 989-1205 or email at [email protected]

    Any person may, within 60 days after the issuance of the instant notice by the Commission, file pursuant to Rule 214 of the Commission's Procedural Rules (18 CFR 385.214) a motion to intervene or notice of intervention. Any person filing to intervene or the Commission's staff may, pursuant to section 157.205 of the Commission's Regulations under the NGA (18 CFR 157.205) file a protest to the request. If no protest is filed within the time allowed therefore, the proposed activity shall be deemed to be authorized effective the day after the time allowed for protest. If a protest is filed and not withdrawn within 30 days after the time allowed for filing a protest, the instant request shall be treated as an application for authorization pursuant to section 7 of the NGA.

    Pursuant to section 157.9 of the Commission's rules, 18 CFR 157.9, within 90 days of this Notice the Commission staff will either: complete its environmental assessment (EA) and place it into the Commission's public record (eLibrary) for this proceeding; or issue a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review. If a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review is issued, it will indicate, among other milestones, the anticipated date for the Commission staff's issuance of the final environmental impact statement (FEIS) or EA for this proposal. The filing of the EA in the Commission's public record for this proceeding or the issuance of a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review will serve to notify federal and state agencies of the timing for the completion of all necessary reviews, and the subsequent need to complete all federal authorizations within 90 days of the date of issuance of the Commission staff's FEIS or EA.

    Persons who wish to comment only on the environmental review of this project should submit an original and two copies of their comments to the Secretary of the Commission. Environmental commenters will be placed on the Commission's environmental mailing list, will receive copies of the environmental documents, and will be notified of meetings associated with the Commission's environmental review process. Environmental commenters will not be required to serve copies of filed documents on all other parties. However, the non-party commenters will not receive copies of all documents filed by other parties or issued by the Commission (except for the mailing of environmental documents issued by the Commission) and will not have the right to seek court review of the Commission's final order.

    The Commission strongly encourages electronic filings of comments, protests, and interventions via the internet in lieu of paper. See 18 CFR 385.2001(a)(1)(iii) and the instructions on the Commission's Web site (www.ferc.gov) under the “e-Filing” link. Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and 5 copies of the protest or intervention to the Federal Energy regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    Dated: July 7, 2015. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17048 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [EPA-HQ-OPP-2015-0317; FRL-9930-03] Notice of Receipt of Requests for Amendments To Terminate Uses in Certain Pesticide Registrations; Correction AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Notice; correction.

    SUMMARY:

    EPA issued a notice in the Federal Register of June 10, 2015, concerning amendments to terminate uses in certain pesticide registrations. This document corrects errors in the sections titled “DATES” and “What action is the agency taking?”.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ricardo Jones, Pesticide Re-evaluation Division (7508P), Office of Pesticide Programs, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001; telephone number: (703) 347-0493; email address: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. General Information A. Does this action apply to me?

    The Agency included in the June 10, 2015, notice a list of those who may be potentially affected by this action.

    B. How can I get copies of this document and other related information?

    The docket for this action, identified by docket identification (ID) number EPA-HQ-OPP-2015-0317, is available at http://www.regulations.gov or at the Office of Pesticide Programs Regulatory Public Docket (OPP Docket) in the Environmental Protection Agency Docket Center (EPA/DC), West William Jefferson Clinton Bldg., Rm. 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001. 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 OPP Docket is (703) 305-5805. Please review the visitor instructions and additional information about the docket available at http://www.epa.gov/dockets.

    II. What does this correction do?

    The notice (FR Doc. 2015-14092) published in the Federal Register of June 10, 2015 (80 FR 32947) (FRL-9928-01) is corrected as follows:

    1. On page 32947, second column, under the heading “Dates”, correct paragraph one to add: “chloroxylenol” before the word “registrations” wherever it appears.

    2. On page 32947, second column, under the heading “Dates”, after paragraph one, correct to add a new paragraph that reads as follows: “Unless a request is withdrawn by January 6, 2016, for clothianidin registrations for which the registrant has not requested a waiver of the 180-day comment period, EPA expects to issue orders terminating these uses. The Agency will consider withdrawal requests postmarked no later than January 6, 2016. Comments must be received on or before January 6, 2016, for those clothianidin registrations where the 180-day comment period has not been waived.”

    3. On page 32948, first column, paragraph two of Unit II is corrected to read as follows:

    “Unless a request is withdrawn by the chloroxylenol registrant by July 10, 2015, EPA expects to issue orders terminating the uses described in Table 1 of the June 10, 2015, document for the active ingredient chloroxylenol. Users of these pesticides or anyone else desiring the retention of a use should contact the applicable registrant directly during this 30-day period. Unless a request is withdrawn by the clothianidin registrant by January 6, 2016, EPA expects to issue orders terminating the uses described in Table 1 of the June 10, 2015, document for the active ingredient clothianidin. Users of these pesticides or anyone else desiring the retention of a use should contact the applicable registrant directly during this 180-day period.”

    Authority:

    7 U.S.C. 136 et seq.

    Dated: July 6, 2015. Michael Goodis, Acting Director, Pesticide Re-Evaluation Division, Office of Pesticide Programs.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17042 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION Sunshine Act Meetings AGENCY:

    Federal Election Commission.

    DATE & TIME:

    Thursday, July 16, 2015 at 10:00 a.m.

    PLACE:

    999 E Street NW., Washington, DC (Ninth Floor).

    STATUS:

    This meeting will be open to the public.

    ITEMS TO BE DISCUSSED:

    Correction and Approval of Minutes for June 18, 2015 Draft Advisory Opinion 2015-02: Grand Trunk Western Railroad Company—Illinois Central Railroad Company PAC Draft Advisory Opinion 2015-03: Democracy Rules, Inc. Draft Advisory Opinion 2015-04: Collective Actions PAC Proposed Directive 74 on the Timely Resolution of Enforcement Matters Notice to Respondents of Information Sharing by the Commission Proposed Statement of Policy Regarding the Public Disclosure of Closed Enforcement Files Policy on Third-Party Appearances Before the Commission to Discuss Advisory Opinions Draft Notice of Disposition on REG 2014-06: Candidate Debates Draft Notice of Availability on REG 2015-03: Contributions from Corporations and Other Organizations to Political Committees Draft Notice of Availability on REG 2015-04: Independent Spending by Corporations, Labor Organizations, Foreign Nationals, and Certain Political Committees Revised Meeting Dates for September—December 2015 Management and Administrative Matters

    Individuals who plan to attend and require special assistance, such as sign language interpretation or other reasonable accommodations, should contact Shawn Woodhead Werth, Secretary and Clerk, at (202) 694-1040, at least 72 hours prior to the meeting date.

    PERSON TO CONTACT FOR INFORMATION:

    Judith Ingram, Press Officer, Telephone: (202) 694-1220.

    Shawn Woodhead Werth, Secretary and Clerk of the Commission.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17275 Filed 7-9-15; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 6715-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry [30Day-15-15TG] Agency Forms Undergoing Paperwork Reduction Act Review

    The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has submitted the following information collection request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. The notice for the proposed information collection is published to obtain comments from the public and affected agencies.

    Written comments and suggestions from the public and affected agencies concerning the proposed collection of information are encouraged. Your comments should address any of the following: (a) Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) Evaluate the accuracy of the agencies estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; (d) Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses; and (e) Assess information collection costs.

    To request additional information on the proposed project or to obtain a copy of the information collection plan and instruments, call (404) 639-7570 or send an email to [email protected] Written comments and/or suggestions regarding the items contained in this notice should be directed to the Attention: CDC Desk Officer, Office of Management and Budget, Washington, DC 20503 or by fax to (202) 395-5806. Written comments should be received within 30 days of this notice.

    Proposed Project

    Promotion of the National ALS Registry to Non-referral Centers—New—Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).

    Background and Brief Description

    ATSDR is requesting a two-year OMB approval for the information collection project entitled “Promotion of the National ALS Registry to Non-referral Centers”. ATSDR is authorized by the Public Health Law No: 110-373, ALS Registry Act to (1) develop a system to collect data on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other motor neuron disorders that can be confused with ALS, misdiagnosed as ALS, or progress to ALS; and (2) establish a national registry for the collection and storage of such data to develop a population-based registry of cases.

    ATSDR implemented the National ALS Registry (Registry) in 2009 using an algorithm applied to national administrative databases. A self-registration component was launched in October 2010.

    The primary goal of the Registry is to obtain more complete information on the likely prevalence of ALS and to better describe the demographic characteristics (age, race, sex, and geographic location) of those with ALS. The secondary goal of the registry is to collect additional information on potential risk factors for ALS including, but not limited to, family history of ALS, smoking history, and military service.

    The Registry's case ascertainment methodology required validation; therefore, ATSDR established State and Metropolitan ALS Surveillance Projects (Surveillance Projects). In order to avoid biasing results from the Surveillance Projects' evaluation of the Registry's completeness, staff were instructed to not promote the Registry during the surveillance period.

    The proposed project is a new component to be added to the existing Registry and ALS Surveillance Projects to increase self-enrollment rates of those with ALS. According to the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) published in 2014, the proportion of cases identified via self-registration was lower than those identified in the administrative data for the period October 2010-December 2011. On-going self-registration is critical because not all persons with ALS can be identified through the algorithm, and only self-registering persons with ALS can complete the risk-factor surveys. Therefore, efforts to increase Registry awareness among non-referral center neurology practices/neurologists is needed to increase self-enrollment of persons with ALS.

    This new information collection aims to evaluate educational and promotional outreach activities among select non-referral/non-specialty center neurology practices and is a result of the need to promote the Registry among neurologists who do not work at major ALS referral centers. The following objectives are set for this project:

    (1) To implement a pilot project to conduct educational and promotional outreach activities at non-referral center neurology practices in the U.S., to inform neurologists and their staff about the Registry;

    (2) To encourage neurologists to inform their patients about the Registry, and to increase persons with ALS self-enrollment in the Registry through the web portal via the use of existing Registry brochures, pamphlets, and factsheets; and

    (3) To examine the effectiveness of educational and promotional outreach activities by reviewing persons with ALS self-enrollment rates before, during, and after the project period.

    By increasing self-enrollment rates, ATSDR will be able to produce more accurate estimates of prevalence of ALS, and collect risk-factor survey data from a more representative sample of persons with ALS nationwide which will allow ATSDR to fulfill its congressional mandate under the ALS Registry Act.

    To achieve these objectives, a four group educational and promotional outreach project respondents has been designed.

    Data for the study will be gathered by means of initial eligibility phone calls and follow-up phone calls and mailings, for neurologists who do or would diagnose/care for patients with ALS. Train-the trainer sessions will be conducted to educate neurologists about the Registry and key informant interviews with neurologists will be done to better understand their knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about the Registry, and to gather additional information about the currently deployed Registry materials.

    Participation is voluntary. The total annual burden hours for the proposed project is 344. There is no cost to the respondents other than their time.

    Estimated Annualized Burden Hours Type of respondents Form name Number of respondents Number of responses per respondent Avg. burden per response
  • (in hrs.)
  • Neurologist Support Staff Initial Phone Call 1,900 1 6/60 Neurologist Support Staff Fax to Determine Provider Status 380 1 1/60 Neurologist Support Staff Follow-up Phone Call 1 (One-Week Post Mailing) 950 1 3/60 Neurologist Support Staff Follow-up Phone Call 2 (Three Months Post Mailing) 950 1 3/60 Neurologist Support Staff Fax to Determine if Mailing was Received 190 1 1/60 Neurologist/Neurologist Support Staff Train-the-trainer Invitation Phone Call 60 1 6/60 Neurologist/Neurologist Support Staff Key Informant Interview Invitation Phone Call 64 1 6/60 Neurologist/Neurologist Support Staff Train-the-trainer 21 1 1 Neurologist Key Informant Interview 16 1 1
    Leroy A. Richardson, Chief, Information Collection Review Office, Office of Scientific Integrity, Office of the Associate Director for Science, Office of the Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17011 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4163-18-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [60Day-15-0920-0573; Docket No. CDC-2015-0054] Proposed Data Collection Submitted for Public Comment and Recommendations AGENCY:

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

    ACTION:

    Notice with comment period.

    SUMMARY:

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as part of its continuing efforts to reduce public burden and maximize the utility of government information, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. This notice invites comment on a proposed revisions of the National HIV Surveillance System (NHSS) information collection. This data collection provides the primary population-based data used to describe the epidemiology of HIV in the United States.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be received on or before September 11, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by Docket No. CDC-2015-0054 by any of the following methods:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: Regulation.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    Mail: Leroy A. Richardson, Information Collection Review Office, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road NE., MS-D74, Atlanta, Georgia 30329.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and Docket Number. All relevant comments received will be posted without change to Regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to Regulations.gov.

    Please note:

    All public comment should be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking portal (Regulations.gov) or by U.S. mail to the address listed above.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    To request more information on the proposed project or to obtain a copy of the information collection plan and instruments, contact the Information Collection Review Office, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road NE., MS-D74, Atlanta, Georgia 30329; phone: 404-639-7570; Email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), Federal agencies must obtain approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for each collection of information they conduct or sponsor. In addition, the PRA also requires Federal agencies to provide a 60-day notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, including each new proposed collection, each proposed extension of existing collection of information, and each reinstatement of previously approved information collection before submitting the collection to OMB for approval. To comply with this requirement, we are publishing this notice of a proposed data collection as described below.

    Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and (e) estimates of capital or start-up costs and costs of operation, maintenance, and purchase of services to provide information. Burden means the total time, effort, or financial resources expended by persons to generate, maintain, retain, disclose or provide information to or for a Federal agency. This includes the time needed to review instructions; to develop, acquire, install and utilize technology and systems for the purpose of collecting, validating and verifying information, processing and maintaining information, and disclosing and providing information; to train personnel and to be able to respond to a collection of information, to search data sources, to complete and review the collection of information; and to transmit or otherwise disclose the information.

    Proposed Project

    National HIV Surveillance System (NHSS) (OMB Control No. 0920-0573, Expiration 02/29/2016)—Revision—National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    Background and Brief Description

    CDC is authorized under Sections 304 and 306 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 242b and 242k) to collect information on cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and indicators of HIV disease and HIV disease progression including AIDS. Data collected as part of the National HIV Surveillance System (NHSS) are the primary data used to monitor the extent and characteristics of the HIV burden in the United States. HIV surveillance data are used to describe trends in HIV incidence and prevalence and characteristics of infected persons. HIV surveillance data are used widely at the federal, state, and local levels for planning and evaluating prevention programs and health-care services, and allocate funding for prevention and care.

    As science, technology, and our understanding of HIV have evolved, the NHSS has been updated periodically. CDC, in collaboration with health departments in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. dependent areas, conducts national surveillance for cases of HIV infection that includes critical data across the spectrum of HIV disease from HIV diagnosis, to AIDS, the end-stage disease caused by infection with HIV, and death. In addition, this national system provides essential data to estimate HIV incidence and monitor patterns in HIV drug resistance and genetic diversity, as well as provide information on perinatal exposures in the United States.

    The CDC surveillance case definition has been modified periodically to accurately monitor disease in adults, adolescents and children and reflect use of new testing technologies and changes in HIV treatment. Information is then updated in the case report forms and reporting software as needed.

    In 2014, following extensive consultation and peer review, CDC and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) revised and combined the surveillance case definitions for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection into a single case definition for persons of all ages. Laboratory criteria for defining a confirmed case now accommodate new multitest algorithms, including criteria for differentiating between HIV-1 and HIV-2 infection and for recognizing early HIV infection. Clinical (nonlaboratory) criteria for defining a case for surveillance purposes have been made more practical by eliminating the requirement for information about laboratory tests. The surveillance case definition is intended primarily for monitoring the HIV infection burden and planning for prevention and care on a population level, not as a basis for clinical decisions for individual patients. CDC and CSTE recommend that all states and territories conduct case surveillance of HIV infection using this revised surveillance case definition.

    Modifications to data elements to accommodate the 2014 HIV Case Surveillance definition were approved in the last renewal of this information collection. The updates requested in this revision request include modifications to currently collected data elements and forms to accommodate new testing technologies as well as clinical practice guidelines. Specifically, the HIV Testing and Antiretroviral Use History section will be revised on the adult/adolescent and pediatric case report forms to include new laboratory tests, additional information on use of antiretrioviral (ARV) medications for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), prevention of mother-to-child-transmission among HIV infected women during pregnancy, and hepatitis B virus (HBV) treatment. Other changes include addition of dates to the address and patient identification fields to better track residence information and minor formatting changes to the form used for Perinatal HIV Exposure Reporting (PHER).

    CDC provides funding for 59 jurisdictions to provide adult and pediatric HIV case reports. Health department staff compile information from laboratories, physicians, hospitals, clinics and other health care providers to complete the HIV and pediatric case reports. CDC estimates that, annually, approximately 1,061 adult HIV case reports and 5 pediatric case reports are processed by each health department.

    These data are recorded using standard case report forms either on paper or electronically and entered into the electronic reporting system. Updates to case reports are also entered into the reporting system by health departments as additional information may be received from laboratories, vital statistics, or additional providers. Evaluations are also conducted by health departments on a subset of case reports (e.g. re-abstraction, validation, de-duplication). CDC estimates that on average approximately 107 evaluations of case reports, 1,576 updates to case reports and 6,303 updates of laboratory test data will be processed by each of the 59 health departments annually. Case report information compiled over time by health departments is then de-identified and forwarded to CDC on a monthly basis to become part of the national HIV surveillance database.

    Supplemental surveillance data are collected in a subset of areas to provide additional information necessary to estimate HIV incidence, the extent of HIV drug resistance and HIV genetic diversity among persons infected with HIV and to monitor and evaluate perinatal HIV prevention efforts. Health departments funded for these supplemental data collections obtain this information from laboratories, health providers, and medical records. CDC estimates that on average 2,288 reports containing incidence data elements will be processed annually by each of the 25 health departments funded to collect incidence data; 829 reports containing additional data elements on HIV nucleotide sequences from genotype test results will be processed on average by each of the 53 health departments conducting Molecular HIV Surveillance (MHS) and an estimated 114 reports containing perinatal exposure data elements will be processed on average annually by each of the 35 health departments reporting data collected as part of Perinatal HIV Exposure Reporting (PHER). These supplemental data are also reported monthly to CDC.

    The total estimated time burden is 52,204 hours. There is no cost to respondents other than their time.

    Estimated Annualized Burden Hours Type of respondent Form name Number of respondents Number of responses per respondent Average burden per response (in hours) Total annual burden hours) Health Departments Adult HIV Case Report 59 1,061 20/60 20,866 Health Departments Pediatric HIV Case Report 59 5 20/60 98 Health Departments Case Report Evaluations 59 107 20/60 2,104 Health Departments Case Report Updates 59 1,576 5/60 7,749 Health Departments Laboratory Updates 59 6,303 1/60 6,198 Health Departments HIV Incidence Surveillance 25 2,288 10/60 9,533 Health Departments Molecular HIV Surveillance (MHS) 53 829 5/60 3,661 Health Departments Perinatal HIV Exposure Reporting (PHER) 35 114 30/60 1,995 Total 52,204 Leroy A. Richardson, Chief, Information Collection Review Office, Office of Scientific Integrity, Office of the Associate Director for Science, Office of the Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17017 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4163-18-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [Document Identifier: CMS-10464] Agency Information Collection Activities: Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is announcing an opportunity for the public to comment on CMS' intention to collect information from the public. Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), federal agencies are required to publish notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, including each proposed extension or reinstatement of an existing collection of information, and to allow a second opportunity for public comment on the notice. Interested persons are invited to send comments regarding the burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including any of the following subjects: (1) The necessity and utility of the proposed information collection for the proper performance of the agency's functions; (2) the accuracy of the estimated burden; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology to minimize the information collection burden.

    DATES:

    Comments on the collection(s) of information must be received by the OMB desk officer by August 12, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    When commenting on the proposed information collections, please reference the document identifier or OMB control number. To be assured consideration, comments and recommendations must be received by the OMB desk officer via one of the following transmissions: OMB, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Attention: CMS Desk Officer, Fax Number: (202) 395-5806 or Email: [email protected].

    To obtain copies of a supporting statement and any related forms for the proposed collection(s) summarized in this notice, you may make your request using one of following:

    1. Access CMS' Web site address at http://www.cms.hhs.gov/PaperworkReductionActof1995.

    2. Email your request, including your address, phone number, OMB number, and CMS document identifier, to [email protected].

    3. Call the Reports Clearance Office at (410) 786-1326.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Reports Clearance Office at (410) 786-1326.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), federal agencies must obtain approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for each collection of information they conduct or sponsor. The term “collection of information” is defined in 44 U.S.C. 3502(3) and 5 CFR 1320.3(c) and includes agency requests or requirements that members of the public submit reports, keep records, or provide information to a third party. Section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)) requires federal agencies to publish a 30-day notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, including each proposed extension or reinstatement of an existing collection of information, before submitting the collection to OMB for approval. To comply with this requirement, CMS is publishing this notice that summarizes the following proposed collection(s) of information for public comment:

    1. Type of Information Collection Request: Revision of a currently approved information collection; Title of Information Collection: Agent/Broker Data Collection in Federally-Facilitated Health Insurance Exchanges; Use: The CMS collects personally identifiable information from agents/brokers to register them with the FFM and permit them to assist individuals and employers in enrolling in the FFM. We use this collection of information to ensure agents/brokers possess the basic knowledge required to enroll individuals and SHOP employers/employees through the Marketplaces. Agents/brokers will use CMS or third-party systems to enter identifying information and register with the FFM. As a component of registration, agents/brokers are required to complete online training courses through a CMS or third-party Learning Management System (LMS). Upon completion of their applications and training requirements, agents/brokers will be required to attest to their agreement to adhere to FFM standards and requirements through a CMS or third-party LMS. Form Number: CMS-10464 (OMB control number: 0938-1204); Frequency: Annually; Affected Public: Private sector (Business or other for-profits and Not-for-profit institutions); Number of Respondents: 19,474; Total Annual Responses: 32,929,239; Total Annual Hours: 2,786,198. (For policy questions regarding this collection contact Daniel Brown at 301-492-5146.)

    Dated: July 8, 2015. William N. Parham, III, Director, Paperwork Reduction Staff, Office of Strategic Operations and Regulatory Affairs.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17037 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4120-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Administration for Children and Families Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request

    Title: LIHEAP Quarterly Allocation Estimates, Form ACF-535.

    OMB No.: 0970-0037.

    Description: The LIHEAP Quarterly Allocation Estimates, ACF Form-535 is a one-page form that is sent to 50 State grantees and to the District of Columbia. It is also sent to Tribal Government grantees that receive over $1 million annually for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Grantees are asked to complete and submit the form in the 4th quarter of each year. The data collected on the form are grantees' estimates of obligations they expect to make each quarter for the upcoming fiscal year for the LIHEAP program. This is the only method used to request anticipated distributions of the grantees' LIHEAP funds. The information is used to develop apportionment requests to OMB and to make grant awards based on grantees' anticipated needs. Information collected on this form is not available through any other Federal source. Submission of the form is voluntary.

    Respondents: State Governments, and Tribal Governments that receive over $1 million annually, and the District of Columbia.

    Annual Burden Estimates Instrument Number of respondents Number of responses per respondent Average burden hours per response Total burden hours LIHEAP Quarterly Allocation Estimates, Form ACF-535 52 1 .25 13

    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 13.

    Additional Information:

    Copies of the proposed collection may be obtained by writing to the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 370 L'Enfant Promenade SW., Washington, DC 20447, Attn: ACF Reports Clearance Officer. All requests should be identified by the title of the information collection. Email address: [email protected]

    OMB Comment:

    OMB is required to make a decision concerning the collection of information between 30 and 60 days after publication of this document in the Federal Register. Therefore, a comment is best assured of having its full effect if OMB receives it within 30 days of publication. Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent directly to the following: Office of Management and Budget, Paperwork Reduction Project, Email: [email protected], Attn: Desk Officer for the Administration for Children and Families.

    Robert Sargis, Reports Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17030 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4184-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration [Docket No. FDA-2015-N-0001] Science Board to the Food and Drug Administration; Notice of Meeting AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    This notice announces a forthcoming meeting of a public advisory committee of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The meeting will be open to the public.

    Name of Committee: Science Board to the Food and Drug Administration (Science Board).

    General Function of the Committee: The Science Board provides advice to the Commissioner of Food and Drugs and other appropriate officials on specific, complex scientific and technical issues important to FDA and its mission, including emerging issues within the scientific community. Additionally, the Science Board provides advice to the Agency on keeping pace with technical and scientific developments including in regulatory science, input into the Agency's research agenda, and on upgrading its scientific and research facilities and training opportunities. It will also provide, where requested, expert review of Agency sponsored intramural and extramural scientific research programs.

    Date and Time: The meeting will be held on July 29, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    Location: FDA White Oak Campus, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 31 Conference Center, the Great Room (Rm. 1503 B and C), Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002. For those unable to attend in person, the meeting will also be Webcast. The link for the Webcast is available at: https://collaboration.fda.gov/scienceboard2015/. Answers to commonly asked questions including information regarding special accommodations due to a disability, visitor parking, and transportation may be accessed at: http://www.fda.gov/AdvisoryCommittees/AboutAdvisoryCommittees/ucm408555.htm.

    Contact Person: Rakesh Raghuwanshi, Office of the Chief Scientist, Food and Drug Administration, Bldg. 1, Rm. 3309, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20993, 301-796-4769, [email protected], or FDA Advisory Committee Information Line, 1-800-741-8138 (301-443-0572 in the Washington, DC area). A notice in the Federal Register about last minute modifications that impact a previously announced advisory committee meeting cannot always be published quickly enough to provide timely notice. Therefore, you should always check the Agency's Web site at http://www.fda.gov/AdvisoryCommittees/default.htm and scroll down to the appropriate advisory committee meeting link, or call the advisory committee information line to learn about possible modifications before coming to the meeting.

    Agenda: The Science Board will be provided with a report from the Commissioner's Fellowship Program Evaluation subcommittee and will be provided with a progress report from the Science Looking Forward subcommittee. The Board will hear an overview of two scientific activities from the Center for Veterinary Medicine and will be asked to provide input on strategies to implement targeted directives contained in the National Strategy for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria, designed to guide action by public health, health care, and veterinary partners in a common effort to address urgent and serious drug-resistant threats that affect people in the United States and around the world. A recipient of one of the Fiscal Year 2014 Scientific Achievement Awards (selected by the Board) will provide an overview of the activities for which the award was given. A status update on the 21st Century Cures Act will be presented, and the Deputy Commissioner for Medical Products and Tobacco will discuss his vision for the Office of Medical Products and Tobacco.

    FDA intends to make background material available to the public no later than 2 business days before the meeting. If FDA is unable to post the background material on its Web site prior to the meeting, the background material will be made publicly available at the location of the advisory committee meeting, and the background material will be posted on FDA's Web site after the meeting. Background material is available at http://www.fda.gov/AdvisoryCommittees/Calendar/default.htm. Scroll down to the appropriate advisory committee meeting link.

    Procedure: Interested persons may present data, information, or views, orally or in writing, on issues pending before the committee. Written submissions may be made to the contact person on or before July 22, 2015. Oral presentations from the public will be scheduled between approximately 2:45 and 3:45 p.m. Those individuals interested in making formal oral presentations should notify the contact person and submit a brief statement of the general nature of the evidence or arguments they wish to present, the names and addresses of proposed participants, and an indication of the approximate time requested to make their presentation on or before July 14, 2015. Time allotted for each presentation may be limited. If the number of registrants requesting to speak is greater than can be reasonably accommodated during the scheduled open public hearing session, FDA may conduct a lottery to determine the speakers for the scheduled open public hearing session. The contact person will notify interested persons regarding their request to speak by July 15, 2015.

    Persons attending FDA's advisory committee meetings are advised that the Agency is not responsible for providing access to electrical outlets.

    FDA welcomes the attendance of the public at its advisory committee meetings and will make every effort to accommodate persons with physical disabilities or special needs. If you require special accommodations due to a disability, please contact Mr. Rakesh Raghuwanshi at least 7 days in advance of the meeting.

    FDA is committed to the orderly conduct of its advisory committee meetings. Please visit our Web site at http://www.fda.gov/AdvisoryCommittees/AboutAdvisoryCommittees/ucm111462.htm for procedures on public conduct during advisory committee meetings.

    Notice of this meeting is given under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. app. 2).

    Dated: July 7, 2015. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-16957 Filed 7-10-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration [Docket No. FDA-2011-D-0147] Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for Office of Management and Budget Review; Comment Request; Guidance for Industry and Food and Drug Administration Staff; Section 905(j) Reports: Demonstrating Substantial Equivalence for Tobacco Products and Demonstrating the Substantial Equivalence of a New Tobacco Product: Responses to Frequently Asked Questions AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is announcing that a proposed collection of information has been submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and clearance under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

    DATES:

    Fax written comments on the collection of information by August 12, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    To ensure that comments on the information collection are received, OMB recommends that written comments be faxed to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, OMB, Attn: FDA Desk Officer, FAX: 202-395-7285, or emailed to [email protected] All comments should be identified with the OMB control number 0910-0673. Also include the FDA docket number found in brackets in the heading of this document.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    FDA PRA Staff, Office of Operations, Food and Drug Administration, 8455 Colesville Rd., COLE-14526, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    In compliance with 44 U.S.C. 3507, FDA has submitted the following proposed collection of information to OMB for review and clearance.

    Guidance for Industry and Food and Drug Administration Staff; Section 905(j) Reports: Demonstrating Substantial Equivalence for Tobacco Products OMB Control Number 0910-0673—Extension

    On June 22, 2009, the President signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (the Tobacco Control Act) (Pub. L. 111-31) into law. The Tobacco Control Act amended the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the FD&C Act) by adding a new chapter granting FDA authority to regulate the manufacture, marketing, and distribution of tobacco products to protect the public health generally and to reduce tobacco use by minors. Section 905(j) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. 387e(j)) authorizes FDA to establish the manner and form for the submission of information related to substantial equivalence (SE). In guidance documents issued under the Good Guidances Practices regulation (21 CFR 10.115), FDA provides recommendations intended to assist persons submitting reports under section 905(j) of the FD&C Act and explains, among other things, FDA's interpretation of the statutory sections related to substantial equivalence.

    In the Federal Register of March 5, 2015 (80 FR 11989), FDA published a 60-day notice requesting public comment on the proposed collection of information. FDA received one comment. The commenter expressed a concern that small manufacturers have the burden of conducting testing without a definitive guide on what will constitute substantial equivalence. FDA has carefully considered the burden associated with the submission of an SE report. The information needed to demonstrate substantial equivalence is dependent on the new product and the predicate product that the manufacturer identifies. Nevertheless, to assist manufacturers in preparing SE reports, FDA has issued guidance documents and participated in outreach such as webinars to provide manufacturers with information. Moreover, manufacturers seeking to demonstrate substantial equivalence may also contact FDA to seek the Agency's input on the specific types of information that the Agency believes will be necessary to support the manufacturer's section 905(j) report. The commenter also supported FDA's development of more streamlined SE Reports but challenged “new requirements on label changes,” and requested that FDA promulgate a rule on categorical exclusions (environmental assessments). Although these comments are outside of the scope of this PRA collection, FDA intends to consider them as part of the Agency's other regulatory efforts as appropriate.

    FDA estimates the burden of this collection of information as follows:

    Table 1—Estimated Annual Reporting Burden 1 Activity No. of respondents No. of responses per respondent Total annual responses Average burden per response Total hours Full SE 905(j)(1)(A)(i) and 910(a) 75 1 75 300 22,500 Product Quantity Change SE Report 125 1 125 87 10,875 Same Characteristics SE Report 100 1 100 47 4,700 Totals 38,075 1 There are no capital costs or operating and maintenance costs associated with this collection of information.

    FDA has based these estimates on information it now has available from interactions with the industry, information related to other regulated products, and FDA's expectations regarding the tobacco industry's use of the section 905(j) pathway to market their products. Table 1 describes the annual reporting burden as a result of the implementation of the SE requirements of sections 905(j) and 910(a) of the FDC Act (21 U.S.C. 387j(a)). Based on current information, FDA now estimates that it will receive 300 section 905