Federal Register Vol. 80, No.134,

Federal Register Volume 80, Issue 134 (July 14, 2015)

Page Range40895-41408
FR Document

80_FR_134
Current View
Page and SubjectPDF
80 FR 41062 - Government in the Sunshine Act Meeting Notice; Change of Time to Government in the Sunshine MeetingPDF
80 FR 41095 - Sunshine Act MeetingPDF
80 FR 41006 - Certain Steel Nails From the Socialist Republic of Vietnam: Countervailing Duty OrderPDF
80 FR 41100 - Sunshine Act; Notice of Public MeetingPDF
80 FR 41044 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Guidance for Industry on Oversight of Clinical Investigations: A Risk-Based Approach To MonitoringPDF
80 FR 41141 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Form 8902PDF
80 FR 41141 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Form 990 and Related SchedulesPDF
80 FR 41062 - Odette L. Campbell, M.D.; Decision and OrderPDF
80 FR 41079 - Trenton F. Horst, D.O.; Decision and OrderPDF
80 FR 41032 - Sunshine Act Meeting NoticePDF
80 FR 41119 - Sunshine Act MeetingPDF
80 FR 41112 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Chicago Board Options Exchange, Incorporated; Order Granting Approval of Proposed Rule Change Relating to Trading Permit Holder QualificationsPDF
80 FR 41042 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 40968 - Federal Acquisition Regulation; Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces; Extension of Time for CommentsPDF
80 FR 41093 - Guidance for Executive Order 13673: “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces”PDF
80 FR 41095 - In the Matter of Duke Energy Progress, Inc., and North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency; Brunswick Steam Electric Plant, Units 1 and 2PDF
80 FR 41097 - In the Matter of Duke Energy Progress, Inc., and North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency; Shearon Harris Nuclear Power Plant, Unit 1PDF
80 FR 41097 - Memorandum of Understanding Among the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Transportation, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Concerning Cooperation on Radioactive Materials Transportation SecurityPDF
80 FR 41033 - Notice of Opportunity To Comment on an Analysis of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Attributable to Production and Transport of Cotton (Gossypium spp.) Seed Oil for Use in Biofuel ProductionPDF
80 FR 40952 - Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; South Dakota; Revisions to South Dakota Administrative CodePDF
80 FR 41040 - Receipt of Test Data Under the Toxic Substances Control ActPDF
80 FR 40938 - Appliance Standards and Rulemaking Federal Advisory Committee: Notice of Intent To Establish the Central Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps Working Group To Negotiate a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) for Energy Conservation StandardsPDF
80 FR 41046 - Submission of Premarket Notifications for Magnetic Resonance Diagnostic Devices; Draft Guidance for Industry and Food and Drug Administration Staff; AvailabilityPDF
80 FR 41053 - Notice of Intent To Grant an Exclusive LicensePDF
80 FR 40995 - Privacy Act of 1974, New System of RecordsPDF
80 FR 40997 - Privacy Act of 1974; Abolished System of RecordsPDF
80 FR 41099 - Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 41013 - Release of the Draft 2015 Edition of the U.S. Arctic Nautical Charting PlanPDF
80 FR 40896 - Organization and Functions; Field Office LocationsPDF
80 FR 41003 - Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or Not Assembled Into Modules, From the People's Republic of China: Final Results of Countervailing Duty Administrative Review; 2012PDF
80 FR 40998 - Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or Not Assembled Into Modules, From the People's Republic of China: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review and Final Determination of No Shipments; 2012-2013PDF
80 FR 41139 - Notice of Final Federal Agency Actions on Proposed Highway in CaliforniaPDF
80 FR 41094 - Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations; OMB Circular A-133 Compliance SupplementPDF
80 FR 40997 - Information Systems Technical Advisory Committee; Notice of Partially Closed MeetingPDF
80 FR 41060 - Official Trail Marker for the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic TrailPDF
80 FR 41054 - Notice of Realty Action; Recreation and Public Purposes Act Classification for Conveyance of Public Lands in Utah County, UtahPDF
80 FR 41059 - Renewal of Approved Information CollectionPDF
80 FR 41056 - Proposed Information Collection: Surveys and Focus Groups To Support Outcomes-Focused ManagementPDF
80 FR 41057 - Renewal of Approved Information Collection; OMB Control No. 1004-0185PDF
80 FR 41137 - Culturally Significant Objects Imported for Exhibition Determinations: “Made in the Americas: The New World Discovers Asia” ExhibitionPDF
80 FR 41137 - Advisory Committee on International Postal and Delivery Services August 2015 MeetingPDF
80 FR 40951 - Privacy Act; STATE-09, Records Maintained by the Office of Civil RightsPDF
80 FR 41137 - Privacy Act; System of Records: Records Maintained by the Office of Civil Rights, State-09PDF
80 FR 41031 - Erie Boulevard Hydropower, L.P.; Notice of Authorization for Continued Project OperationPDF
80 FR 41030 - Gresham Municipal Utilities; Notice Of Authorization for Continued Project OperationPDF
80 FR 41033 - Slate Creek Wind Project, LLC; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 AuthorizationPDF
80 FR 41031 - Breckinridge Wind Project, LLC; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 AuthorizationPDF
80 FR 41030 - Florida Gas Transmission Company, LLC; Notice of Request Under Blanket AuthorizationPDF
80 FR 41049 - National Institute of General Medical Sciences; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
80 FR 41017 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Comment Request; An Impact Evaluation of Training in Multi-Tiered Systems of Support for Behavior (MTSS-B)PDF
80 FR 41018 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-11 (ECLS-K:2011) Spring Fifth-Grade National Data CollectionPDF
80 FR 41012 - Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC); Public MeetingPDF
80 FR 41060 - Request for Nominations for the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail Advisory CouncilPDF
80 FR 40895 - Prevailing Rate Systems; Redefinition of the Jacksonville, FL; Savannah, GA; Hagerstown-Martinsburg-Chambersburg, MD; Richmond, VA; and Roanoke, VA, Appropriated Fund Federal Wage System Wage AreasPDF
80 FR 40991 - Designation for the Montgomery, AL; Essex, IL; and Savage, MN AreasPDF
80 FR 40991 - Opportunity for Designation in Specified Geographical Areas in TexasPDF
80 FR 41052 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Incidental Take Permit Application; Proposed Diversified Pacific Low-Effect Habitat Conservation Plan and Associated Documents, City of Redlands, San Bernardino County, CaliforniaPDF
80 FR 41061 - Notice of Intent To Prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Long-Term Plan To Protect Adult Salmon in the Lower Klamath River, Humboldt County, CaliforniaPDF
80 FR 41013 - Multistakeholder Process To Develop Best Practices for Privacy, Transparency, and Accountability Regarding Commercial and Private Use of Unmanned Aircraft SystemsPDF
80 FR 40949 - Airworthiness Directives; PILATUS AIRCRAFT LTD. AirplanesPDF
80 FR 41015 - 36(b)(1) Arms Sales NotificationPDF
80 FR 40942 - Airworthiness Directives; Airbus AirplanesPDF
80 FR 41042 - Change in Bank Control Notices; Acquisitions of Shares of a Bank or Bank Holding CompanyPDF
80 FR 41042 - Notice of Proposals To Engage in or To Acquire Companies Engaged in Permissible Nonbanking ActivitiesPDF
80 FR 41042 - Formations of, Acquisitions by, and Mergers of Bank Holding CompaniesPDF
80 FR 40995 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 41010 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Alaska Region Amendment 80 Permits and ReportsPDF
80 FR 40936 - Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Region; Framework AmendmentPDF
80 FR 40988 - Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Groundfish Fisheries in the Gulf of AlaskaPDF
80 FR 41198 - Medicare Program; Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement Payment Model for Acute Care Hospitals Furnishing Lower Extremity Joint Replacement ServicesPDF
80 FR 41095 - Committee Management RenewalPDF
80 FR 41041 - Information Collection Being Reviewed by the Federal Communications CommissionPDF
80 FR 40923 - Lifeline and Link Up Reform and Modernization, Telecommunications Carriers Eligible for Universal Service Support, Connect America FundPDF
80 FR 41137 - Notice of Surrender of License of Small Business Investment CompanyPDF
80 FR 41136 - New Canaan Funding Mezzanine V SBIC, L.P.; Notice Seeking Exemption Under Section 312 of the Small Business Investment Act, Conflicts of InterestPDF
80 FR 41051 - Extension of Agency Information Collection Activity Under OMB Review: Maryland Three Airports: Enhanced Security Procedures for Operations at Certain Airports in the Washington, DC, Metropolitan Area Flight Restricted ZonePDF
80 FR 41140 - Notice of Meeting of the Transit Advisory Committee for Safety (TRACS)PDF
80 FR 41125 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 41119 - Public Availability of the Securities and Exchange Commission's FY 2014 Service Contract InventoryPDF
80 FR 41142 - Health Services Research and Development Service, Scientific Merit Review Board; Notice of MeetingsPDF
80 FR 41123 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE MKT LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Amending Rule 995NY by Deleting the Prohibition on ATP Holders From Entering Customer Limit Orders To Buy and Sell the Same Option Series, for the Account or Accounts of the Same or Related Beneficial OwnerPDF
80 FR 41104 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; EDGX Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Amend the Market Data Section of Its Fee SchedulePDF
80 FR 41112 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; ICE Clear Credit LLC; Notice of Withdrawal of Proposed Rule Change to Provide for the Clearance of an Additional Standard Emerging Market Sovereign Single NamePDF
80 FR 41126 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; EDGA Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Amend the Market Data Section of Its Fee SchedulePDF
80 FR 41119 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc.; Notice of Filing of a Proposed Rule Change To Establish the Securities Trader and Securities Trader Principal Registration CategoriesPDF
80 FR 41131 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; EDGX Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change Related to Fees for Use of EDGX Exchange, Inc.PDF
80 FR 41114 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change by NASDAQ OMX BX, Inc. Relating to the Volume-Based and Multi-Trigger ThresholdPDF
80 FR 41100 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Relating to the Volume-Based and Multi-Trigger ThresholdsPDF
80 FR 41109 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; EDGA Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change Related to Fees for Use of EDGA Exchange, Inc.PDF
80 FR 41133 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change to the Designated Liquidity Provider Program Under Rule 7018(i)PDF
80 FR 41044 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 41047 - Scientific Advisory Committee on Alternative Toxicological Methods; Announcement of Meeting; Request for CommentsPDF
80 FR 41047 - National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
80 FR 41050 - Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health; Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 41049 - Center for Scientific Review Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
80 FR 41051 - National Eye Institute; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
80 FR 41048 - National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
80 FR 41050 - Center for Scientific Review Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
80 FR 41018 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Comment Request; U.S. Department of Education Pre-Authorized Debit Account Brochure and ApplicationPDF
80 FR 41011 - Notice of Intent To Conduct Public Scoping and Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for Five Early Winter Steelhead Hatchery Programs in Puget SoundPDF
80 FR 40903 - Safety Zone; POLAR PIONEER, Outer Continental Shelf Drill Unit, Chukchi Sea, AlaskaPDF
80 FR 40923 - Acquisition, Protection, and Disclosure of Quality Improvement Organization InformationPDF
80 FR 40923 - Conditions of Participation for HospitalsPDF
80 FR 41136 - OKLAHOMA Disaster Number OK-00092PDF
80 FR 41019 - Record of Decision; Electrical Interconnection of the Whistling Ridge Energy ProjectPDF
80 FR 41029 - Application to Export Electric Energy; Elan Energy Services, LLCPDF
80 FR 41007 - Multilayered Wood Flooring From the People's Republic of China: Final Results and Partial Rescission of Countervailing Duty Administrative Review; 2012PDF
80 FR 40992 - Notice of Public Meeting of the Indiana Advisory Committee for a Meeting To Discuss and Vote on Potential Project TopicsPDF
80 FR 40992 - Notice of Public Meeting of the Oklahoma Advisory Committee for a Meeting To Hear Testimony on Civil Rights Concerns School-to-Prison Pipeline in OklahomaPDF
80 FR 41318 - Coverage of Certain Preventive Services Under the Affordable Care ActPDF
80 FR 41093 - Proposed Collection, Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 40993 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Redistricting Data ProgramPDF
80 FR 41054 - Renewal of Agency Information Collection for Loan Guarantee, Insurance and Interest Subsidy ProgramPDF
80 FR 40909 - Revisions to the California SIP, Ventura & Eastern Kern Air Pollution Control Districts; Permit ExemptionsPDF
80 FR 40955 - Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Maryland; Low Emissions Vehicle Program RevisionsPDF
80 FR 40955 - Revisions to the California State Implementation Plan, South Coast Air Quality Management DistrictPDF
80 FR 40915 - Revisions to the California State Implementation Plan, South Coast Air Quality Management DistrictPDF
80 FR 40917 - Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Maryland; Low Emissions Vehicle Program RevisionsPDF
80 FR 40954 - Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; New Mexico; Revisions to the Particulate Matter Less Than 2.5 Micrometers (PM2.5PDF
80 FR 40913 - Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; New Mexico; Revisions to the Particulate Matter Less Than 2.5 Micrometers (PM2.5PDF
80 FR 40905 - Partial Approval and Partial Disapproval of Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Arizona; Infrastructure Requirements for Lead and OzonePDF
80 FR 40911 - Determinations of Attainment of the 1997 Annual Fine Particulate Matter Standard for the Libby, Montana Nonattainment AreaPDF
80 FR 40969 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Finding and Proposed Rule To List Three Angelshark Species as Endangered Under the Endangered Species ActPDF
80 FR 41140 - Open meeting of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel Taxpayer Communications Project CommitteePDF
80 FR 40947 - Airworthiness Directives; Airbus HelicoptersPDF
80 FR 40922 - Clean Air Act Title V Operating Permit Program Revision; PennsylvaniaPDF
80 FR 41350 - National Tunnel Inspection StandardsPDF
80 FR 40956 - Wireline Competition Bureau Further Extends Comment Deadlines in Special Access ProceedingPDF
80 FR 41376 - Margin Requirements for Uncleared Swaps for Swap Dealers and Major Swap Participants-Cross-Border Application of the Margin RequirementsPDF
80 FR 41144 - Listing Standards for Recovery of Erroneously Awarded CompensationPDF
80 FR 40897 - Airworthiness Directives; GE Aviation Czech s.r.o. Turboprop EnginesPDF
80 FR 40957 - Expanding the Economic and Innovation Opportunities of Spectrum Through Incentive Auctions; Channel Sharing by Full Power and Class A Stations Outside the Broadcast Television Spectrum Incentive Auction ContextPDF
80 FR 40899 - Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company AirplanesPDF

Issue

80 134 Tuesday, July 14, 2015 Contents Agriculture Agriculture Department See

Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration

Bonneville Bonneville Power Administration NOTICES Records of Decisions: Electrical Interconnection of the Whistling Ridge Energy Project, 41019-41029 2015-17087 Census Bureau Census Bureau NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Redistricting Data Program, 40993-40995 2015-17073 Centers Medicare Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services RULES Acquisition, Protection, and Disclosure of Quality Improvement Organization Information; CFR Correction, 40923 2015-17128 Conditions of Participation for Hospitals; CFR Correction, 40923 2015-17127 PROPOSED RULES Medicare Program: Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement Payment Model for Acute Care Hospitals Furnishing Lower Extremity Joint Replacement Services, 41198-41316 2015-17190 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 41042-41044 2015-17285 Children Children and Families Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Annual Report on Households Assisted by the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, 41044 2015-17166 Civil Rights Civil Rights Commission NOTICES Meetings: Indiana Advisory Committee, 40992-40993 2015-17078 Oklahoma Advisory Committee; Testimony on Civil Rights Concerns School-to-prison Pipeline in Oklahoma, 40992 2015-17077 Coast Guard Coast Guard RULES Safety Zones: POLAR PIONEER, Outer Continental Shelf Drill Unit, Chukchi Sea, AK, 40903-40905 2015-17129 Commerce Commerce Department See

Census Bureau

See

Industry and Security Bureau

See

International Trade Administration

See

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

See

National Telecommunications and Information Administration

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 40995 2015-17196 Privacy Act; Systems of Records, 40995-40997 2015-17245 2015-17246
Commodity Futures Commodity Futures Trading Commission PROPOSED RULES Margin Requirements for Uncleared Swaps for Swap Dealers and Major Swap Participants: Cross-Border Application of the Margin Requirements, 41376-41408 2015-16718 Defense Department Defense Department PROPOSED RULES Federal Acquisition Regulations: Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces; Extension of Comment Period, 40968-40969 2015-17282 NOTICES Arms Sales, 41015-41017 2015-17204 Drug Drug Enforcement Administration NOTICES Decisions and Orders: Odette L. Campbell, M.D., 41062-41079 2015-17310 Trenton F. Horst, D.O., 41079-41092 2015-17309 Education Department Education Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: An Impact Evaluation of Training in Multi-Tiered Systems of Support for Behavior, 41017 2015-17218 Department of Education Pre-Authorized Debit Account Brochure and Application, 41018-41019 2015-17157 Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-11, Spring Fifth-Grade National Data Collection, 41018 2015-17217 Employee Benefits Employee Benefits Security Administration RULES Coverage of Certain Preventive Services Under the Affordable Care Act, 41318-41347 2015-17076 Energy Department Energy Department See

Bonneville Power Administration

See

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

PROPOSED RULES Energy Conservation Standards: Intent to Establish the Central Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps Working Group; Meeting, Appliance Standards and Rulemaking Federal Advisory Committee, 40938-40942 2015-17252 NOTICES Applications to Export Electric Energy: Elan Energy Services, LLC, 41029-41030 2015-17082
Environmental Protection Environmental Protection Agency RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: Arizona, Infrastructure Requirements for Lead and Ozone, 40905-40909 2015-17057 California, South Coast Air Quality Management District, 40915-40917 2015-17061 California, Ventura and Eastern Kern Air Pollution Control Districts; Permit Exemptions, 40909-40910 2015-17064 Maryland, Low Emissions Vehicle Program Revisions, 40917-40922 2015-17060 Montana, Determinations of Attainment of the 1997 Annual Fine Particulate Matter Standard for the Libby Nonattainment Area, 40911-40912 2015-17054 New Mexico, Revisions to the Particulate Matter Less than 2.5 Micrometers Prevention of Significant Deterioration Permitting Program, 40913-40915 2015-17058 Clean Air Act Operating Permit Program: Pennsylvania; Revision, 40922-40923 2015-16924 PROPOSED RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: California, South Coast Air Quality Management District, 40955 2015-17062 Maryland, Low Emissions Vehicle Program Revisions, 40955-40956 2015-17063 New Mexico, Revisions to the Particulate Matter Less than 2.5 Micrometers Prevention of Significant Deterioration Permitting Program, 40954-40955 2015-17059 South Dakota; Revisions to South Dakota Administrative Code, 40952-40954 2015-17257 NOTICES Analysis of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Attributable to Production and Transport of Cotton (Gossypium spp.) Seed Oil for Use in Biofuel Production, 41033-41040 2015-17262 Receipt of Test Data under the Toxic Substances Control Act, 41040-41041 2015-17256 Farm Credit Farm Credit Administration RULES Organization and Functions: Field Office Locations, 40896-40897 2015-17242 Federal Aviation Federal Aviation Administration RULES Airworthiness Directives: GE Aviation Czech s.r.o. Turboprop Engines, 40897-40899 2015-16584 The Boeing Company Airplanes, 40899-40903 2015-15852 PROPOSED RULES Airworthiness Directives: Airbus Airplanes, 40942-40947 2015-17201 Airbus Helicopters, 40947-40949 2015-16940 PILATUS AIRCRAFT LTD. Airplanes, 40949-40951 2015-17205 Federal Communications Federal Communications Commission RULES Lifeline and Link Up Reform and Modernization, Telecommunications Carriers Eligible for Universal Service Support, Connect America Fund, 40923-40936 2015-17186 PROPOSED RULES Expanding the Economic and Innovation Opportunities of Spectrum Through Incentive Auctions: Channel Sharing by Full Power and Class A Stations Outside the Broadcast Television Spectrum Incentive Auction Context, 40957-40968 2015-16537 Wireline Competition Bureau Further Extends Comment Deadlines in Special Access Proceeding, 40956-40957 2015-16821 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 41041 2015-17187 Federal Energy Federal Energy Regulatory Commission NOTICES Authorizations for Continued Project Operations: Erie Boulevard Hydropower, LP, 41031 2015-17224 Gresham Municipal Utilities, 41030 2015-17223 Initial Market-Based Rate Filings Including Requests for Blanket Section 204 Authorizations: Breckinridge Wind Project, LLC, 41031-41032 2015-17221 Slate Creek Wind Project, LLC, 41033 2015-17222 Meetings; Sunshine Act, 41032-41033 2015-17305 Requests under Blanket Authorizations: Florida Gas Transmission Co., LLC, 41030-41031 2015-17220 Federal Highway Federal Highway Administration RULES National Tunnel Inspection Standards, 41350-41373 2015-16896 NOTICES Federal Agency Actions: Proposed Highway in California, 41139-41140 2015-17237 Federal Reserve Federal Reserve System NOTICES Changes in Bank Control: Acquisitions of Shares of a Bank or Bank Holding Company, 41042 2015-17199 Formations of, Acquisitions by, and Mergers of Bank Holding Companies, 41042 2015-17197 Proposals to Engage in or to Acquire Companies Engaged in Permissible Nonbanking Activities, 41042 2015-17198 Federal Transit Federal Transit Administration NOTICES Meetings: Transit Advisory Committee for Safety, 41140 2015-17182 Fish Fish and Wildlife Service NOTICES Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Incidental Take Permit Applications: Proposed Diversified Pacific Low-effect Habitat Conservation Plan, etc., Redlands, San Bernardino County, CA, 41052-41053 2015-17209 Food and Drug Food and Drug Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Guidance for Industry on Oversight of Clinical Investigations: A Risk-Based Approach to Monitoring, 41044-41046 2015-17318 Guidance: Submission of Premarket Notifications for Magnetic Resonance Diagnostic Devices, 41046-41047 2015-17250 General Services General Services Administration PROPOSED RULES Federal Acquisition Regulations: Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces; Extension of Comment Period, 40968-40969 2015-17282 Geological Geological Survey NOTICES Exclusive Licenses: Glosten Associates, 41053-41054 2015-17247 Grain Inspection Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration NOTICES Designations: Montgomery, AL; Essex, IL; and Savage, MN Areas, 40991-40992 2015-17211 Specified Geographical Areas in Texas, 40991 2015-17210 Health and Human Health and Human Services Department See

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

See

Children and Families Administration

See

Food and Drug Administration

See

National Institutes of Health

RULES Coverage of Certain Preventive Services Under the Affordable Care Act, 41318-41347 2015-17076
Homeland Homeland Security Department See

Coast Guard

See

Transportation Security Administration

Indian Affairs Indian Affairs Bureau NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Loan Guarantee, Insurance and Interest Subsidy Program, 41054 2015-17065 Industry Industry and Security Bureau NOTICES Meetings: Information Systems Technical Advisory Committee, 40997-40998 2015-17235 Interior Interior Department See

Fish and Wildlife Service

See

Geological Survey

See

Indian Affairs Bureau

See

Land Management Bureau

See

National Park Service

See

Reclamation Bureau

Internal Revenue Internal Revenue Service RULES Coverage of Certain Preventive Services Under the Affordable Care Act, 41318-41347 2015-17076 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 41141-41142 2015-17312 2015-17314 Meetings: Taxpayer Advocacy Panel Taxpayer Communications Project Committee, 41140-41141 2015-17002 International Trade Adm International Trade Administration NOTICES Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Certain Steel Nails From the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, 41006-41007 2015-17363 Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or Not Assembled into Modules, from the People's Republic of China, 40998-41006 2015-17238 2015-17241 Multilayered Wood Flooring from the People's Republic of China, 41007-41010 2015-17079 International Trade Com International Trade Commission NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 41062 2015-17378 Justice Department Justice Department See

Drug Enforcement Administration

Labor Department Labor Department See

Employee Benefits Security Administration

See

Labor Statistics Bureau

NOTICES Guidance: Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces, 41093 2015-17281
Labor Statistics Labor Statistics Bureau NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 41093-41094 2015-17074 Land Land Management Bureau NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 41057-41059 2015-17230 2015-17232 Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Surveys and Focus Groups to Support Outcomes-Focused Management, 41056-41057 2015-17231 Realty Actions: Recreation and Public Purposes Act Classification for Conveyance of Public Lands in Utah County, UT, 41054-41055 2015-17233 Management Management and Budget Office NOTICES Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations; Circular A-133 Compliance Supplement, 41094-41095 2015-17236 NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration PROPOSED RULES Federal Acquisition Regulations: Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces; Extension of Comment Period, 40968-40969 2015-17282 National Institute National Institutes of Health NOTICES Meetings: Center for Scientific Review, 41049-41050 2015-17158 2015-17159 2015-17162 National Eye Institute, 41051 2015-17161 National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, 41048 2015-17160 National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, 41047 2015-17164 National Institute of General Medical Sciences, 41049 2015-17219 Office of the Director, 41050 2015-17163 Scientific Advisory Committee on Alternative Toxicological Methods, 41047-41048 2015-17165 National Oceanic National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RULES Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic: Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Region; Framework Amendment, 40936-40937 2015-17192 PROPOSED RULES Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: 12-Month Finding and Proposal to List Three Angelshark Species as Endangered under the Endangered Species Act, 40969-40988 2015-17016 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska: Groundfish Fisheries in the Gulf of Alaska, 40988-40990 2015-17191 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Alaska Region Amendment 80 Permits and Reports, 41010-41011 2015-17194 Draft 2015 Edition of the U.S. Arctic Nautical Charting Plan, 41013 2015-17243 Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Five Early Winter Steelhead Hatchery Programs in Puget Sound, 41011-41012 2015-17156 Meetings: Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 41012-41013 2015-17216 National Park National Park Service NOTICES Designations: Official Trail Marker for the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail, 41060 2015-17234 Requests for Nominations: Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail Advisory Council, 41060-41061 2015-17215 National Science National Science Foundation NOTICES Committee Renewals: Proposal Review Panel for Integrative Activities, 41095 2015-17189 National Telecommunications National Telecommunications and Information Administration NOTICES Meetings: Multistakeholder Process to Develop Best Practices for Privacy, Transparency, and Accountability Regarding Commercial and Private Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems, 41013-41015 2015-17206 National Transportation National Transportation Safety Board NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 41095 2015-17377 Nuclear Regulatory Nuclear Regulatory Commission NOTICES Direct Transfers of Licenses: Duke Energy Progress, Inc., and North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency; Shearon Harris Nuclear Power Plant, Unit 1, 41097-41099 2015-17278 Duke Energy Progress, Inc., and North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency; Brunswick Steam Electric Plant, Units 1 and 2, 41095-41097 2015-17279 Memoranda of Understanding: Cooperation on Radioactive Materials Transportation Security; Department of Homeland Security, Department of Transportation, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 41097 2015-17274 Personnel Personnel Management Office RULES Prevailing Rate Systems: Redefinition of the Jacksonville, FL; Savannah, GA; Hagerstown-Martinsburg-Chambersburg, MD; Richmond, VA; and Roanoke, VA, Appropriated Fund Federal Wage System Wage Areas, 40895-40896 2015-17212 Railroad Retirement Railroad Retirement Board NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 41099-41100 2015-17244 Meetings; Sunshine Act, 41100 2015-17321 Reclamation Reclamation Bureau NOTICES Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Long-Term Plan to Protect Adult Salmon in the Lower Klamath River, Humboldt County, CA, 41061-41062 2015-17208 Securities Securities and Exchange Commission PROPOSED RULES Listing Standards for Recovery of Erroneously Awarded Compensation, 41144-41196 2015-16613 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 41125 2015-17181 Fiscal Year 2014 Service Contract Inventory, 41119 2015-17180 Meetings; Sunshine Act, 41119 2015-17293 Self-Regulatory Organizations; Proposed Rule Changes: Chicago Board Options Exchange, Inc., 41112-41114 2015-17290 EDGA Exchange, Inc., 41109-41111, 41126-41131 2015-17168 2015-17173 EDGX Exchange, Inc., 41104-41109, 41131-41133 2015-17171 2015-17175 Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc., 41119-41123 2015-17172 ICE Clear Credit LLC, 41112 2015-17174 NASDAQ OMX BX, Inc., 41114-41119 2015-17170 NASDAQ Stock Market LLC, 41100-41104, 41133-41136 2015-17167 2015-17169 NYSE MKT LLC, 41123-41125 2015-17176 Small Business Small Business Administration NOTICES Conflicts of Interest Exemptions under the Small Business Investment Act: New Canaan Funding Mezzanine V SBIC, LP, 41136-41137 2015-17184 Disaster Declarations: Oklahoma; Amendment 6, 41136 2015-17107 Surrender of License of Small Business Investment Companies: North Carolina Economic Opportunities Funds, LP, 41137 2015-17185 State Department State Department PROPOSED RULES Privacy Act: Records Maintained by the Office of Civil Rights, 40951-40952 2015-17227 NOTICES Culturally Significant Objects Imported for Exhibition: Made in the Americas: The New World Discovers Asia, 41137 2015-17229 Meetings: Advisory Committee on International Postal and Delivery Services, 41137 2015-17228 Privacy Act; Systems of Records, 41137-41139 2015-17226 Transportation Department Transportation Department See

Federal Aviation Administration

See

Federal Highway Administration

See

Federal Transit Administration

Security Transportation Security Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Maryland Three Airports: Enhanced Security Procedures for Operations at Certain Airports in the Washington, DC, Metropolitan Area Flight Restricted Zone, 41051 2015-17183 Treasury Treasury Department See

Internal Revenue Service

Veteran Affairs Veterans Affairs Department NOTICES Meetings: Health Services Research and Development Service Scientific Merit Review Board, 41142 2015-17178 Separate Parts In This Issue Part II Securities and Exchange Commission, 41144-41196 2015-16613 Part III Health and Human Services Department, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 41198-41316 2015-17190 Part IV Health and Human Services Department, 41318-41347 2015-17076 Labor Department, Employee Benefits Security Administration, 41318-41347 2015-17076 Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service, 41318-41347 2015-17076 Part V Transportation Department, Federal Highway Administration, 41350-41373 2015-16896 Part VI Commodity Futures Trading Commission, 41376-41408 2015-16718 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.

80 134 Tuesday, July 14, 2015 Rules and Regulations OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT 5 CFR Part 532 RIN 3206-AN15 Prevailing Rate Systems; Redefinition of the Jacksonville, FL; Savannah, GA; Hagerstown-Martinsburg-Chambersburg, MD; Richmond, VA; and Roanoke, VA, Appropriated Fund Federal Wage System Wage Areas AGENCY:

U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is issuing a final rule to redefine the geographic boundaries of the Jacksonville, FL; Savannah, GA; Hagerstown-Martinsburg-Chambersburg, MD; Richmond, VA; and Roanoke, VA, appropriated fund Federal Wage System (FWS) wage areas. The final rule redefines Brantley, Glynn, and Pierce Counties, GA, from the Jacksonville wage area to the Savannah wage area; Greene County, VA, from the Hagerstown-Martinsburg-Chambersburg wage area to the Richmond wage area; and Nelson County, VA, from the Roanoke wage area to the Richmond wage area. These changes are based on consensus recommendations of the Federal Prevailing Rate Advisory Committee (FPRAC) to best match the counties proposed for redefinition to a nearby FWS survey area.

DATES:

Effective date: This regulation is effective on July 14, 2015. Applicability date: This change applies on the first day of the first applicable pay period beginning on or after August 13, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Madeline Gonzalez, (202) 606-2838; email [email protected]; or FAX: (202) 606-4264.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

On February 2, 2015, OPM issued a proposed rule (80 FR 5487) to redefine Brantley, Glynn, and Pierce Counties, GA, from the Jacksonville, FL, wage area to the Savannah, GA, wage area; Greene County, VA, from the Hagerstown-Martinsburg-Chambersburg, MD, wage area to the Richmond, VA, wage area; and Nelson County, VA, from the Roanoke, VA, wage area to the Richmond wage area.

FPRAC, the national labor-management committee responsible for advising OPM on matters concerning the pay of FWS employees, reviewed and recommended these changes by consensus.

The proposed rule had a 30-day comment period, during which OPM received no comments.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

I certify that these regulations will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities because they will affect only Federal agencies and employees.

List of Subjects in 5 CFR Part 532

Administrative practice and procedure, Freedom of information, Government employees, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Wages.

U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Katherine Archuleta, Director.

Accordingly, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management amends 5 CFR part 532 as follows:

PART 532—PREVAILING RATE SYSTEMS 1. The authority citation for part 532 continues to read as follows: Authority:

5 U.S.C. 5343, 5346; § 532.707 also issued under 5 U.S.C. 552.

2. Appendix C to subpart B is amended by revising the wage area listings for the Jacksonville, FL; Savannah, GA; Hagerstown-Martinsburg-Chambersburg, MD; Richmond, VA; and Roanoke, VA, wage areas to read as follows: Appendix C to Subpart B of Part 532—Appropriated Fund Wage and Survey Areas FLORIDA Jacksonville Survey Area Florida: Alachua Baker Clay Duval Nassau St. Johns Area of Application. Survey area plus: Florida: Bradford Citrus Columbia Dixie Flagler Gilchrist Hamilton Lafayette Lake Levy Madison Marion Orange Osceola Putnam Seminole Sumter Suwannee Taylor Union Volusia Georgia: Camden Charlton GEORGIA Savannah Survey Area Georgia: Bryan Chatham Effingham Liberty Area of Application. Survey area plus: Georgia: Appling Bacon Brantley Bulloch Candler Evans Glynn Jeff Davis Long McIntosh Pierce Screven Tattnall Toombs Wayne South Carolina: Beaufort (the portion south of Broad River) Hampton Jasper MARYLAND Hagerstown-Martinsburg-Chambersburg Survey Area Maryland: Washington Pennsylvania: Franklin West Virginia: Berkeley Area of Application. Survey area plus: Maryland: Allegany Garrett Pennsylvania: Fulton Virginia (cities): Harrisonburg Winchester Virginia (counties): Frederick Madison Page Rockingham Shenandoah West Virginia: Hampshire Hardy Mineral Morgan VIRGINIA Richmond Survey Area Virginia (cities): Colonial Heights Hopewell Petersburg Richmond Virginia (counties): Charles City Chesterfield Dinwiddie Goochland Hanover Henrico New Kent Powhatan Prince George Area of Application. Survey area plus: Virginia (cities): Charlottesville Emporia Virginia (counties): Albemarle Amelia Brunswick Buckingham Caroline Charlotte Cumberland Essex Fluvanna Greene Greensville King and Queen King William Lancaster Louisa Lunenburg Mecklenburg Middlesex Nelson Northumberland Nottoway Orange Prince Edward Richmond Sussex Westmoreland Roanoke Survey Area Virginia (cities): Radford Roanoke Salem Virginia (counties): Botetourt Craig Montgomery Roanoke Area of Application. Survey area plus: Virginia (cities): Bedford Buena Vista Clifton Forge Covington Danville Galax Lexington Lynchburg Martinsville South Boston Staunton Waynesboro Virginia (counties): Alleghany Amherst Appomattox Augusta Bath Bedford Bland Campbell Carroll Floyd Franklin Giles Halifax Henry Highland Patrick Pittsylvania Pulaski Rockbridge Wythe
[FR Doc. 2015-17212 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6325-39-P
FARM CREDIT ADMINISTRATION 12 CFR Part 600 RIN 3052-AD07 Organization and Functions; Field Office Locations AGENCY:

Farm Credit Administration

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Farm Credit Administration (FCA, we, our or Agency) issues a final rule amending our regulation in order to change the address for a field office as a result of a recent office relocation.

DATES:

The regulation shall become effective no earlier than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register during which either or both Houses of Congress are in session. We will publish notice of the effective date in the Federal Register.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Michael T. Wilson, Policy Analyst, Office of Regulatory Policy, Farm Credit Administration, McLean, VA 22102-5090, (703) 883-4124, TTY (703) 883-4056, or Jane Virga, Senior Counsel, Office of General Counsel, Farm Credit Administration, McLean, VA 22102-5090, (703) 883-4071, TTY (703) 883-4056.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Objective

The objective of this final rule is to reflect the change of address for an FCA field office location. The Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552, requires, in part, that each Federal agency publish in the Federal Register for the guidance of the public a description and the location of its central and field organizations. As one of FCA's field offices recently changed location, this final rule amends our regulation to include the new address, in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act.

II. Certain Finding

We have determined that the amendment involves Agency management and personnel. Therefore, this amendment does not constitute a rulemaking under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. 551, 553(a)(2). Under the APA, the public may participate in the promulgation of rules that have a substantial impact on the public. This amendment to our regulation relates to Agency management and personnel only and has no direct impact on the public and, therefore, does not require public participation.

Even if this amendment was a rulemaking under 5 U.S.C. 551, 553(a)(2) of the APA, we have determined that notice and public comment are unnecessary and contrary to the public interest. Under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(A) and (B) of the APA, an agency may publish regulations in final form when they involve matters of agency organization or where the agency for good cause finds that notice and public comment are impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest. As discussed above, this amendment results from recent address changes due to the relocation of one field office. Because the amendment will provide accurate and current information on field office addresses to the public, it would be contrary to the public interest to delay amending the regulation.

III. Regulatory Flexibility Act

Pursuant to section 605(b) of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.), FCA hereby certifies that the final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Each of the banks in the Farm Credit System (System), considered together with its affiliated associations, has assets and annual income in excess of the amounts that would qualify them as small entities. Therefore, System institutions are not “small entities” as defined in the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

List of Subjects in 12 CFR Part 600

Organization and functions (Government agencies).

As stated in the preamble, part 600 of chapter VI, title 12, of the Code of Federal Regulations is amended as follows:

PART 600—ORGANIZATION AND FUNCTIONS 1. The authority citation for part 600 continues to read as follows: Authority:

Secs. 5.7, 5.8, 5.9, 5.10, 5.11, 5.17, 8.11 of the Farm Credit Act (12 U.S.C. 2241, 2242, 2243, 2244, 2245, 2252, 2279aa-11).

2. Amend § 600.2 by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:
§ 600.2 Farm Credit Administration.

(b) Locations. FCA's headquarters address is 1501 Farm Credit Drive, McLean, Virginia 22102-5090. The FCA has the following field offices:

1501 Farm Credit Drive, McLean, VA 22102-5090 7900 International Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, MN 55425-2563 500 East John Carpenter Freeway, Suite 400, Irving, TX 75602-3957 8101 East Prentice Avenue, Suite 1200, Greenwood Village, CO 80111-2939 2180 Harvard Street, Suite 300, Sacramento, CA 95815-3323.
Dated: July 8, 2015. Dale L. Aultman, Secretary, Farm Credit Administration.
[FR Doc. 2015-17242 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6705-01-P
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2015-0482; Directorate Identifier 2015-NE-06-AD; Amendment 39-18200; AD 2015-14-02] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; GE Aviation Czech s.r.o. Turboprop Engines AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain serial number GE Aviation Czech s.r.o. M601E-11, M601E-11A, and M601F turboprop engines. This AD requires inspection of the reduction gearbox and supporting cone. This AD was prompted by the determination that wear or cracking, and subsequent misalignment of the quill shaft of the engine and the power turbine (PT) shaft, may lead to rupture of the quill shaft, overspeed of the PT, and uncontained engine failure. We are issuing this AD to prevent misalignment and rupture of the quill shaft, which could lead to overspeed of the PT, uncontained engine failure, and damage to the airplane.

DATES:

This AD becomes effective August 18, 2015.

The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in this AD as of August 18, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

For service information identified in this AD, contact GE Aviation Czech s.r.o., Beranových 65, 199 02 Praha 9—Letňany, Czech Republic; phone: +420 222 538 111; fax: +420 222 538 222. It is also available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-0482. You may view this service information at the FAA, Engine & Propeller Directorate, 12 New England Executive Park, Burlington, MA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 781-238-7125.

Examining the AD Docket

You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-0482; 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 mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI), the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The address for the Docket Office (phone: 800-647-5527) is Document 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:

Philip Haberlen, Aerospace Engineer, Engine Certification Office, FAA, Engine & Propeller Directorate, 12 New England Executive Park, Burlington, MA 01803; phone: 781-238-7770; fax: 781-238-7199; email: [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Discussion

We issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to the specified products. The NPRM was published in the Federal Register on April 10, 2015 (80 FR 19244). The NPRM proposed to correct an unsafe condition for the specified products. The MCAI states:

It has been identified that misalignment between the quill shaft of the engine and the Power Turbine (PT) shaft may lead to a rupture of the quill shaft.

This condition, if not detected and corrected, could lead to overspeed of the PT and consequent uncontained engine failure, possibly resulting in damage to the aeroplane and injury to occupants and/or persons on the ground.

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

We reviewed GE Aviation Czech s.r.o. Alert Service Bulletins (ASBs) No. M601E-11/28, M601E-11A/15, and M601F/26, all Revision 2, all dated January 23, 2015. This service information describes procedures for inspecting the M601 reduction gearbox and supporting cone. This service information is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it through their normal course of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section of this AD.

Comments

We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing this AD. We received no comments on the NPRM (80 FR 19244, April 10, 2015).

Conclusion

We reviewed the available data and determined that air safety and the public interest require adopting this AD as proposed.

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this AD affects 16 engines installed on airplanes of U.S. registry. We also estimate that it would take about 112 hours per engine to comply with this AD. The average labor rate is $85 per hour. Required parts cost about $21,376 per engine. Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of this AD on U.S. operators to be $494,336. Our cost estimate is exclusive of possible warranty coverage.

Authority for This Rulemaking

Title 49 of the United States Code specifies the FAA's authority to issue rules on aviation safety. Subtitle I, section 106, describes the authority of the FAA Administrator. “Subtitle VII: Aviation Programs,” describes in more detail the scope of the Agency's authority.

We are issuing this rulemaking under the authority described in “Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart III, Section 44701: General requirements.” Under that section, Congress charges the FAA with promoting safe flight of civil aircraft in air commerce by prescribing regulations for practices, methods, and procedures the Administrator finds necessary for safety in air commerce. This regulation is within the scope of that authority because it addresses an unsafe condition that is likely to exist or develop on products identified in this rulemaking action.

Regulatory Findings

We determined that this 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 this AD:

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

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

(3) Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska 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.

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): 2015-14-02 GE Aviation Czech s.r.o. (Type Certificate previously held by WALTER Engines a.s., Walter a.s., and MOTORLET a.s.): Amendment 39-18200; Docket No. FAA-2015-0482; Directorate Identifier 2015-NE-06-AD. (a) Effective Date

This AD becomes effective August 18, 2015.

(b) Affected ADs

None.

(c) Applicability

This AD applies to GE Aviation Czech s.r.o. M601E-11, M601E-11A, and M601F turboprop engines with the following serial numbers (S/Ns):

(1) Model M601E-11: S/Ns 833244, 841289, 852239, 861007, 881217, 884021, 892046, 892219, 894018, 903028, 913038, and 912023.

(2) Model M601E-11A: S/Ns 902004 and 883046.

(3) Model M601F: S/Ns 912001 and 924002.

(d) Reason

This AD was prompted by the determination that wear or cracking, and subsequent misalignment of the quill shaft of the engine and the power turbine (PT) shaft, may lead to rupture of the quill shaft, overspeed of the PT, and uncontained engine failure. We are issuing this AD to prevent misalignment and rupture of the quill shaft, which could lead to overspeed of the PT, uncontained engine failure, and damage to the airplane.

(e) Actions and Compliance

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

(1) Within 300 flight hours, or six months after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs first, inspect the reduction gearbox and supporting cone. Use GE Aviation Czech s.r.o. Alert Service Bulletins (ASBs) No. M601E-11/28, M601E-11A/15, and M601F/26, all Revision 2, all dated January 23, 2015, including Appendix 2, paragraph 4., Inspection, (the issue date is not specified in the appendix), as applicable, to do the inspection.

(2) If any crack is detected on the quill shaft, PT shaft, or the supporting cone, or if the quill shaft or PT shaft involute spline wear exceeds 0.12 mm, then before further flight, replace each cracked or worn part with a part eligible for installation.

(f) Credit for Previous Actions

If you performed the actions required by paragraphs (e)(1) and (e)(2) of this AD before the effective date of this AD using GE Aviation Czech s.r.o. ASBs No. M601E-11/28, M601E-11A/15, or M601F/26, all Revision 1, all dated December 23, 2014, as applicable, or Initial Issues, all dated June 27, 2014, as applicable, you have met the requirements of this AD.

(g) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

The Manager, Engine Certification Office, FAA, may approve AMOCs for this AD. Use the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19 to make your request. You may email your request to: [email protected]

(h) Related Information

(1) For more information about this AD, contact Philip Haberlen, Aerospace Engineer, Engine Certification Office, FAA, Engine & Propeller Directorate, 12 New England Executive Park, Burlington, MA 01803; phone: 781-238-7770; fax: 781-238-7199; email: [email protected]

(2) Refer to MCAI European Aviation Safety Agency AD 2015-0014, dated January 30, 2015, for more information. You may examine the MCAI in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating it in Docket No. FAA-2015-0482.

(i) Material Incorporated by Reference

(1) The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference (IBR) of the service information listed in this paragraph under 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51.

(2) You must use this service information as applicable to do the actions required by this AD, unless the AD specifies otherwise.

(i) GE Aviation Czech s.r.o. Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) No. M601E-11/28, Revision 2, dated January 23, 2015, including Appendix 2, (the issue date is not specified in the appendix).

(ii) GE Aviation Czech s.r.o. ASB No. M601E-11A/15, Revision 2, dated January 23, 2015, including Appendix 2, (the issue date is not specified in the appendix).

(iii) GE Aviation Czech s.r.o. ASB No. M601F/26, Revision 2, dated January 23, 2015, including Appendix 2, (the issue date is not specified in the appendix).

Note 1 to paragraph (i)(2):

GE Aviation Czech s.r.o. ASBs No. M601E-11/28, M601E-11A/15, and M601F/26, all Revision 2, all dated January 23, 2015, including Appendix 2, are co-published as one document with ASBs No. M601D/44, M601D-1/29, M601D-11NZ/18, M601E/59, and M601E-21/26, which are not incorporated by reference.

(3) For GE Aviation Czech s.r.o. service information identified in this AD, contact GE Aviation Czech s.r.o., Beranových 65, 199 02 Praha 9—Letňany, Czech Republic; phone: +420 222 538 111; fax: +420 222 538 222.

(4) You may view this service information at FAA, Engine & Propeller Directorate, 12 New England Executive Park, Burlington, MA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 781-238-7125.

(5) You may view this service information at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call 202-741-6030, or go to: http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/cfr/ibr-locations.html.

Issued in Burlington, Massachusetts, on June 26, 2015. Ann C. Mollica, Acting Directorate Manager, Engine & Propeller Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-16584 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2014-0339; Directorate Identifier 2014-NM-025-AD; Amendment 39-18192; AD 2015-13-05] 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 certain The Boeing Company Model 737-100, -200, -200C, -300, -400, and -500 series airplanes. This AD was prompted by reports of fatigue cracks found in the upper corners of the forward entry door skin cutout. This AD requires repetitive inspections for cracking in the upper corners of the forward entry door skin cutout, and repair if necessary. Accomplishment of this repair or a preventive modification terminates the repetitive inspections. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct cracking in the doorway upper corners, which could result in cabin depressurization.

DATES:

This AD is effective August 18, 2015.

The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in this AD as of August 18, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

For service information identified in this AD, contact Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Attention: Data & Services Management, P.O. Box 3707, MC 2H-65, Seattle, WA 98124-2207; telephone 206-544-5000, extension 1; fax 206-766-5680; Internet https://www.myboeingfleet.com. You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221. It is also available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2014-0339.

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-2014-0339; 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:

Nenita Odesa, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Branch, ANM-120L, FAA, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, CA 90712-4137; telephone: 562-627-5234; fax: 562-627-5210; email: [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Discussion

We issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to certain The Boeing Company Model 737-100, -200, -200C, -300, -400, and -500 series airplanes. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on June 11, 2014 (79 FR 33484). The NPRM was prompted by reports of fatigue cracks found in the upper corners of the forward entry door skin cutout. The NPRM proposed to require repetitive inspections for cracking in the upper corners of the forward entry door skin cutout, and repair if necessary. Accomplishment of this repair or a preventive modification would terminate the repetitive inspections. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct cracking in the doorway upper corners, which could result in cabin depressurization.

Comments

We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing this AD. The following presents the comments received on the NPRM (79 FR 33484, June 11, 2014) and the FAA's response to each comment.

Support for the NPRM (79 FR 33484, June 11, 2014)

Boeing stated that it supports the NPRM (79 FR 33484, June 11, 2014).

Request To Clarify Terminating Action

Southwest Airlines (SWA) requested confirmation that paragraph 3.B.4. of the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1163, Revision 1, dated January 8, 2014, is an acceptable terminating action for the inspection requirements of paragraph (g)(1) of this NPRM (79 FR 33484, June 11, 2014) for the repaired door corners.

SWA stated that the repairs provided in Part 3 of the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Service Bulletin 737-53-1163, dated December 21, 1993, and in Part 3 of the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1163, Revision 1, dated January 8, 2014, contain instructions using the service information figures or using the structural repair manual. SWA stated that there are no provisions in the NPRM (79 FR 33484, June 11, 2014) for repairs installed using FAA Form 8100-9 prior to the issuance of the NPRM. SWA stated that paragraph 3.B.4. of the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1163, Revision 1, dated January 8, 2014, states that, “For door corners that have a repair provided by Boeing and approved via FAA Form 8100-9 installed, the inspection in this service bulletin is not required for the repaired door corner(s).”

We agree that paragraph 3.B.4. of the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1163, Revision 1, dated January 8, 2014, is an acceptable terminating action for the inspection requirements of paragraph (g)(1) of this AD. We have added a new paragraph (h)(3) to this AD accordingly.

Request To Change the Compliance Time

SWA requested that the compliance time for paragraph (i) in the proposed AD (79 FR 33484, June 11, 2014) be revised. SWA suggested that the proposed requirement of paragraph (i) of the proposed AD state that the compliance time in table 3 of paragraph 1.E., “Compliance” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1163, Revision 1, dated January 8, 2014, be implemented during the operator's repair assessment program (RAP), provided that the operator's RAP was developed using the “D6-38669, Repair Assessment Guidelines-Model 737-100 to -500,” and approved by the FAA principal maintenance inspector.

SWA stated that the 60,000-total-flight-cycle requirement may not coincide with the operator's implementation of the “D6-38669, Repair Assessment Guidelines-Model 737-100 to -500.” SWA stated that airplanes with existing preventive modifications and repairs that have already surpassed the compliance time in table 3 of 1.E., “Compliance” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1163, Revision 1, dated January 8, 2014, will immediately be rendered out of compliance by paragraph (i) of the proposed AD (79 FR 33484, June 11, 2014) if the table 3 requirement of 1.E., “Compliance” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1163, Revision 1, dated January 8, 2014, does not coincide with the operator's RAP.

We partially agree with the commenter's request. We disagree with the commenter's proposed compliance time because our examination of this issue shows that the compliance period for the RAP may be too long to address the unsafe condition. However, we agree that some airplanes would be rendered immediately out of compliance, and therefore, a compliance grace period should be added. We have added a grace period of “4,500 flight cycles after the effective date of this AD” to the compliance time in paragraph (i) of this AD.

Request To Provide Conditional Relief From Inspection Requirements

SWA requested that the NPRM (79 FR 33484, June 11, 2014) provide relief from the external detailed inspection in areas that are hidden by an existing non-corner Boeing repair approved using FAA form 8100-9. SWA stated that an external detailed inspection is still required in the area not hidden by the repair.

We agree with the commenter's request. As we stated previously, we have added a new paragraph (h)(3) to this AD for door corners that have an existing repair installed, as provided by Boeing and approved using FAA Form 8100-9. Under these conditions, the inspection in paragraph (g)(1) of this AD is not required for the repaired door corners.

Request to Revise the Requirements for Post-Modification and Post-Repair Inspections

SWA requested that the post-modification and post-repair inspections specified in table 3 of paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1163, Revision 1, dated January 8, 2014, not be required in paragraph (i) of the proposed AD (79 FR 33484, June 11, 2014). SWA stated that the post-modification and post-repair inspections are currently mandated under 14 CFR 129.109(b)(2)14 and CFR 121.1109(c)(2).

We partially agree with the commenter's request. As we stated previously, our examination of this issue shows that the compliance period for the RAP may be too long to address the unsafe condition. However, we agree that these inspections are required under 14 CFR 129.109(b)(2)14 and CFR 121.1109(c)(2). Operators who have already begun inspections of this area using the RAP should not be burdened with an additional and identical inspection requirement. Therefore, we have redesignated paragraph (i) of the proposed AD (79 FR 33484, June 11, 2014) as paragraph (i)(1) and added new paragraph (i)(2) to this final rule, which states that the inspection requirement in paragraph (i)(1) of this AD does not apply to operators who have added inspections of this area in accordance with 14 CFR 121.1109(c)(2) or § 129.109(b)(2) to their FAA-approved maintenance program. These inspections may be used in support of compliance with 14 CFR 121.1109(c)(2) or § 129.109(b)(2).

Effect of Winglets on AD

Aviation Partners Boeing stated that accomplishing the supplemental type certificate (STC) ST01219SE does not affect the actions specified in the NPRM (79 FR 33484, June 11, 2014).

We concur with the commenter. We have redesignated paragraph (c) of the NPRM (79 FR 33484, June 11, 2014) as (c)(1) and added new paragraph (c)(2) to this final rule to state that installation of STC ST01219SE (http://rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgstc.nsf/0/ebd1cec7b301293e86257cb30045557a/$FILE/ST01219SE.pdf http://rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgstc.nsf/0/ebd1cec7b301293e86257cb30045557a/%24FILE/ST01219SE.pdf)) does not affect the ability to accomplish the actions required by this final rule. Therefore, for airplanes on which STC ST01219SE is installed, a “change in product” alternative method of compliance (AMOC) approval request is not necessary to comply with the requirements of 14 CFR 39.17.

Conclusion

We reviewed the relevant data, considered the comments received, and determined that air safety and the public interest require adopting this AD with the change described previously, and minor editorial changes. We have determined that these minor changes:

• Are consistent with the intent that was proposed in the NPRM (79 FR 33484, June 11, 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 33484, June 11, 2014).

We also determined that these changes will not increase the economic burden on any operator or increase the scope of this AD.

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

We reviewed Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1163, dated December 21, 1993; and Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1163, Revision 1, dated January 8, 2014. The service information describes repetitive inspections for cracking in the upper corners of the forward entry door skin cutout, and repair if necessary. Accomplishment of this repair or a preventive modification terminates the repetitive inspections. This service information is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it through their normal course of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section of this AD.

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this AD affects 371 airplanes of U.S. registry.

We estimate the following costs to comply with this AD:

Estimated Costs—Required Actions Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per product Cost on U.S. operators Inspection 3 work-hours × $85 per hour = $255 $0 $255 $94,605 Estimated Costs—Optional Actions Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per product Cost on U.S. operators Preventive modification 44 work-hours × $85 per hour = $3,740 Up to $3,912 Up to $7,652.

We estimate the following costs to do any necessary repairs that would be required based on the results of the inspection. We have no way of determining the number of aircraft that might need these repairs:

On-Condition Costs Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per product Cost on U.S. operators Repair 60 work-hours × $85 per hour = $5,100 Up to $4,964 Up to $10,064.

We have received no definitive data that would enable us to provide a cost estimate for the post-repair or post-preventive modification inspections specified in this AD.

Authority for This Rulemaking

Title 49 of the United States Code specifies the FAA's authority to issue rules on aviation safety. Subtitle I, section 106, describes the authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII: Aviation Programs, describes in more detail the scope of the Agency's authority.

We are issuing this rulemaking under the authority described in Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart III, Section 44701: “General requirements.” Under that section, Congress charges the FAA with promoting safe flight of civil aircraft in air commerce by prescribing regulations for practices, methods, and procedures the Administrator finds necessary for safety in air commerce. This regulation is within the scope of that authority because it addresses an unsafe condition that is likely to exist or develop on products identified in this rulemaking action.

Regulatory Findings

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): 2015-13-05 The Boeing Company: Amendment 39-18192; Docket No. FAA-2014-0339; Directorate Identifier 2014-NM-025-AD. (a) Effective Date

This AD is effective August 18, 2015.

(b) Affected ADs

None.

(c) Applicability

(1) This AD applies to The Boeing Company Model 737-100, -200, -200C, -300, -400, and -500 series airplanes; certificated in any category; as identified in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1163, Revision 1, dated January 8, 2014.

(2) Installation of Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) ST01219SE (http://rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgstc.nsf/0/ebd1cec7b301293e86257cb30045557a/$FILE/ST01219SE.pdf http://rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgstc.nsf/0/ebd1cec7b301293e86257cb30045557a/%24FILE/ST01219SE.pdf) does not affect the ability to accomplish the actions required by this AD. Therefore, for airplanes on which STC ST01219SE is installed, a “change in product” alternative method of compliance (AMOC) approval request is not necessary to comply with the requirements of 14 CFR 39.17.

(d) Subject

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

(e) Unsafe Condition

This AD was prompted by reports of fatigue cracks found in the upper corners of the forward entry door skin cutout. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct cracking in the doorway upper corners, which could result in cabin depressurization.

(f) Compliance

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

(g) Inspection

(1) For airplanes identified in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1163, Revision 1, dated January 8, 2014, as Groups 1 and 2, Configuration 2, and Group 3: Before the accumulation of 27,000 total flight cycles, or within 4,500 flight cycles after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs later, do an external detailed inspection for cracking of the skin assembly, and a low frequency eddy current (LFEC) inspection for cracking of the skin assembly and bear strap, and all applicable corrective actions, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1163, Revision 1, dated January 8, 2014, except as required by paragraph (j) of this AD. Repeat the inspections thereafter at intervals not to exceed 4,500 flight cycles. Do all applicable corrective actions before further flight.

(2) For airplanes identified as Group 4 in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1163, Revision 1, dated January 8, 2014: Within 120 days after the effective date of this AD, do inspections of the skin assembly and bear strap and all applicable corrective actions using a method approved in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (m) of this AD.

(h) Terminating Actions

(1) Accomplishment of the preventive change specified in Part II of the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Service Bulletin 737-53-1163, dated December 21, 1993; or the preventive modification specified in Part 2 of the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1163, Revision 1, dated January 8, 2014; terminates the inspection requirements specified in paragraph (g)(1) of this AD.

(2) Accomplishment of the repair specified in Part III of the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Service Bulletin 737-53-1163, dated December 21, 1993; or Part 3 of the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1163, Revision 1, dated January 8, 2014; terminates the inspection requirements specified in paragraph (g)(1) of this AD.

(3) For door corners that have a repair installed, as provided by Boeing, which inhibits the inspections required by paragraph (g)(1) of this AD, and approved before the effective date of this AD using FAA Form 8100-9, the inspection in paragraph (g)(1) of this AD is not required. Refer to the repair approval for any supplemental inspection of the repair area.

(i) Post-Modification and Post-Repair Inspections

(1) For airplanes identified in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1163, Revision 1, dated January 8, 2014, as Groups 1 and 2, on which a repair or preventive modification has been installed in accordance with Boeing Service Bulletin 737-53-1163, dated December 21, 1993; or Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1163, Revision 1, dated January 8, 2014: At the applicable time specified in table 3 of paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1163, Revision 1, dated January 8, 2014, or within 4,500 flight cycles after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs later, inspect the fuselage skin assembly, bear strap, and frame and sill outer chords, as applicable, for cracking, in accordance with table 3 of paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1163, Revision 1, dated January 8, 2014. Repeat the inspection thereafter at the times specified in table 3 of paragraph 1.E., “Compliance” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1163, Revision 1, dated January 8, 2014. If any crack is found during any inspection required by this paragraph, repair before further flight using a method approved in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (m) of this AD.

(2) The inspection requirement in paragraph (i)(1) of this AD does not apply to operators who have added the inspection program for this area specified in table 3 of paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1163, Revision 1, dated January 8, 2014, in accordance with 14 CFR 121.1109(c)(2) or § 129.109(b)(2) to their FAA-approved maintenance program. These inspections may be used in support of compliance with 14 CFR 121.1109(c)(2) or § 129.109(b)(2).

(j) Exception to Service Information Specifications

If any cracking is found during any inspection required by this AD, and Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1163, Revision 1, dated January 8, 2014, specifies to contact Boeing for appropriate action: Before further flight, repair the crack using a method approved in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (m) of this AD.

(k) Explanation of Service Information and AD: Repair/Preventative Modification Required

The Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1163, Revision 1, dated January 8, 2014, state that Group 1 and 2, Configuration 1 airplanes on which the repair or preventive modification has been installed as specified in Boeing Service Bulletin 737-53-1163, dated December 21, 1993, are not required to be inspected. However, this AD requires inspections of Group 1 and 2 airplanes, as identified in and in accordance with paragraph (i) of this AD, which correspond with table 3 of paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1163, Revision 1, dated January 8, 2014.

(l) Credit for Previous Actions

This paragraph provides credit for the actions specified in paragraph (g) of this AD, if those actions were performed before the effective date of this AD using Boeing Service Bulletin 737-53-1163, dated December 21, 1993.

(m) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

(1) The Manager, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, send your request to your principal inspector or local Flight Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending information directly to the manager of the ACO, send it to the attention of the person identified in paragraph (n)(1) of this AD. Information may be emailed to: [email protected].

(2) Before using any approved AMOC, notify your appropriate principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager of the local flight standards district office/certificate holding district office.

(3) An AMOC that provides an acceptable level of safety may be used for any repair required by this AD if it is approved by the Boeing Commercial Airplanes Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) that has been authorized by the Manager, Los Angeles ACO, to make those findings. For a repair method to be approved, the repair must meet the certification basis of the airplane and the approval must specifically refer to this AD.

(n) Related Information

(1) For more information about this AD, contact Nenita Odesa, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Branch, ANM-120L, FAA, Los Angeles ACO, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, CA 90712-4137; telephone: 562-627-5234; fax: 562-627-5210; email: [email protected].

(2) Service information identified in this AD that is not incorporated by reference is available at the addresses specified in paragraphs (o)(3) and (o)(4) of this AD.

(o) Material Incorporated by Reference

(1) The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference (IBR) of the service information listed in this paragraph under 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51.

(2) You must use this service information as applicable to do the actions required by this AD, unless the AD specifies otherwise.

(i) Boeing Service Bulletin 737-53-1163, dated December 21, 1993.

(ii) Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1163, Revision 1, dated January 8, 2014.

(3) For Boeing service information identified in this AD, contact Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Attention: Data & Services Management, P.O. Box 3707, MC 2H-65, Seattle, WA 98124-2207; telephone 206-544-5000, extension 1; fax 206-766-5680; Internet https://www.myboeingfleet.com.

(4) You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221.

(5) You may view this service information that is incorporated by reference at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call 202-741-6030, or go to: http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/cfr/ibr-locations.html.

Issued in Renton, Washington, on June 19, 2015. Michael Kaszycki, Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-15852 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 147 [Docket No. USCG-2015-0247] RIN 1625-AA00 Safety Zone; POLAR PIONEER, Outer Continental Shelf Drill Unit, Chukchi Sea, Alaska AGENCY:

Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION:

Temporary final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Coast Guard is establishing a safety zone that extends 500 meters from the outer edge of the DRILL UNIT POLAR PIONEER. This safety zone will be in effect when the DRILL UNIT POLAR PIONEER is on location in order to drill exploratory wells at various prospects located in the Chukchi Sea Outer Continental Shelf, Alaska, from 12:01 a.m. on July 1, 2015 through 11:59 p.m. on October 31, 2015. The purpose of the temporary safety zone is to protect the drillship from vessels operating outside the normal shipping channels and fairways. Placing a safety zone around the drillship will significantly reduce the threat of allisions, which could result in oil spills and releases of natural gas, and thereby protects the safety of life, property, and the environment. Lawful demonstrations may be conducted outside of the safety zone.

DATES:

This rule is effective without actual notice from July 14, 2015 until October 31, 2015. For the purposes of enforcement, actual notice will be used from July 1, 2015, until July 14, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

Documents mentioned in this preamble are part of docket number USCG-2015-0247. 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 proposed rule, call or email LCDR Jason Boyle, Seventeenth Coast Guard District (dpi); telephone 907-463-2821, [email protected] If you have questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, call Cheryl F. Collins, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone 202-366-9826.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Table of Acronyms DHS Department of Homeland Security FR Federal Register NPRM Notice of Proposed Rulemaking A. Regulatory History and Information

The Coast Guard published an NPRM for this safety zone on May 1, 2015 (80 FR 24863). One comment from the public was received during the 30 day comment period. No public meeting on this NPRM was requested, and none was held.

Under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for making this rule effective less than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. Information regarding the size and location of this safety zone was not provided to the Coast Guard in sufficient detail for the Coast Guard to initiate this rulemaking activity at an earlier date. Delaying the implementation of this safety zone would increase the possibility of an allision in the Chukchi Sea.

B. Basis and Purpose

The request for the temporary safety zone was made by Shell Exploration & Production Company due to safety concerns for both the personnel aboard the DRILL UNIT POLAR PIONEER and the environment. Shell Exploration & Production Company indicated that it is highly likely that any allision or inability to identify, monitor or mitigate any risks or threats, including ice-related hazards that might be encountered, may result in a catastrophic event. Incursions into the area by unapproved vessels could degrade the ability to monitor and mitigate such risks. In evaluating this request, the Coast Guard explored relevant safety factors and considered several criteria, including but not limited to: (1) The level of shipping activity around the operation; (2) safety concerns for personnel aboard the vessel; (3) concerns for the environment given the sensitivity of the environmental and the importance of fishing and hunting to the indigenous population; (4) the lack of any established shipping fairways, and fueling and supply storage/operations which increase the likelihood that an allision would result in a catastrophic event; (5) the recent and potential future maritime traffic in the vicinity of the proposed areas; (6) the types of vessels navigating in the vicinity of the proposed area; (7) the structural configuration of the vessel; and (8) the need to allow for lawful demonstrations without endangering the safe operation of the vessel. For any group intending to conduct lawful demonstrations in the vicinity of the rig, these demonstrations must be conducted outside the safety zone.

Results from a thorough and comprehensive examination of the criteria, IMO guidelines, and existing regulations warrant the establishment of the temporary safety zone. The regulation significantly reduces the threat of allisions that could result in oil spills, and other releases. Furthermore, the regulation increases the safety of life, property, and the environment in the Chukchi Sea by prohibiting entry into the zone unless specifically authorized by the Commander, Seventeenth Coast Guard District, or a designated representative. Due to the remote location and the need to protect the environment, the Coast Guard may use criminal sanctions to enforce the safety zone as appropriate.

The temporary safety zone will be around the DRILL UNIT POLAR PIONEER while anchored or deploying and recovering moorings on location in order to drill exploratory wells in various locations in the Chukchi Sea Outer Continental Shelf, Alaska during the 2015 timeframe.

Shell Exploration & Production Company has proposed and received permits for drill sites within the Burger prospects, Chukchi Sea, Alaska.

During the 2015 timeframe, Shell Exploration & Production Company has proposed drilling exploration wells at various Chukchi Sea prospects depending on favorable ice conditions, weather, sea state, and any other pertinent factors. Each of these drill sites will be permitted for drilling in 2015 to allow for operational flexibility in the event sea ice conditions prevent access to one of the locations. The number of actual wells that will be drilled will depend on ice conditions and the length of time available for the 2015 drilling season. The predicted “average” drilling season, constrained by prevailing ice conditions and regulatory restrictions, is long enough for two to three typical exploration wells to be drilled.

The actual order of drilling activities will be controlled by an interplay between actual ice conditions immediately prior to a rig move, ice forecasts, any regulatory restrictions with respect to the dates of allowed operating windows, whether the planned drilling activity involves only drilling the shallow non-objective section or penetrating potential hydrocarbon zones, the availability of permitted sites having approved shallow hazards clearance, the anticipated duration of each contemplated drilling activity, the results of preceding wells and Marine Mammal Monitoring and Mitigation plan requirements.

All planned exploration drilling in the identified lease will be conducted with the DRILL UNIT POLAR PIONEER.

The DRILL UNIT POLAR PIONEER has a “persons on board” capacity of 110, and it is expected to be at capacity for most of its operating period. The DRILL UNIT POLAR PIONEER's personnel will include its crew, as well as Shell employees, third party contractors, Alaska Native Marine Mammal Observers and possibly Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) personnel.

While conducting exploration drilling operations, the DRILL UNIT POLAR PIONEER will be anchored using an anchoring system consisting of an 8-point anchored mooring spread attached to the onboard turret and could have a maximum anchor radius of 3,600 ft (1,100 m). The center point of the DRILL UNIT POLAR PIONEER will be positioned within the prospect location in the Chukchi Sea.

The DRILL UNIT POLAR PIONEER will move into the Chukchi Sea on or about July 1, 2015 and onto a prospect location when ice allows. Drilling will conclude on or before October 31, 2015. The drillship and support vessels will depart the Chukchi Sea at the conclusion of the 2015 drilling season.

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

One comment was received regarding the NPRM. One comment from the public was received during the 30 day comment period expressing concern that the safety zone was larger than necessary. Citing the need to conduct fishing activities, the comment instead suggested the safety zone prohibit getting within 50 meters of vessel, with a “no wake” restriction extending 250 meters. The Coast Guard disagrees with the commenter. We note that the safety zone is established for the protection of vessels entering the zone, not for the protection of the drilling vessels, and that considering the size of the drilling vessel and its operations, 500 meters is a reasonable distance. A “no-wake” restriction would not relate to the safety of a vessel getting so close to drilling operations. Furthermore, we note that the 500-meter restriction around the vessel will not significantly impact fishing operations, considering the size of the ocean.

The Coast Guard made one change to the proposed rule. The original proposed rule had called for safety zones at every point where the vessel's mooring spread intersected with the ocean's surface. After additional analysis, the Coast Guard determined that the mooring system utilized on this vessel is configured such that its lines will not break the ocean's surface beyond the vessel's outer edge. Therefore, the Coast Guard deleted reference to such additional safety zones and corresponding marking buoys from the final rule.

The temporary safety zone will encompass the area that extends 500 meters from the outer edge of the DRILL UNIT POLAR PIONEER. This safety zone will be in effect both when the DRILL UNIT POLAR PIONEER is anchored and when deploying and recovering moorings. No vessel would be allowed to enter or remain in this proposed safety zone except the following: An attending vessel or a vessel authorized by the Commander, Seventeenth Coast Guard District or a designated representative. They may be contacted on VHF-FM Channel 13 or 16 or by telephone at 907-463-2000.

D. Regulatory Analyses

The Coast Guard developed this final rule after considering numerous statutes and executive orders related to rulemaking. Below we summarize our analyses based on 14 of these statutes or 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 Section 1 of Executive Order 13563. The Office of Management and Budget has not reviewed it under that Order.

This rule is not a significant regulatory action due to the location of the DRILL UNIT POLAR PIONEER on the Outer Continental Shelf and its distance from both land and safety fairways. Vessels traversing waters near the safety zone will be able to safely travel around the zone without incurring additional costs.

2. Small Entities

Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (5 U.S.C. 601-612), the Coast Guard has considered whether this rule would have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 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 certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. This rule will affect the following entities, some of which might be small entities: The owners or operators of vessels intending to transit or anchor in the Burger Prospects of the Chukchi Sea.

This safety zone will not have a significant economic impact or a substantial number of small entities for the following reasons: This rule will enforce a safety zone around a drilling unit facility that is in areas of the Chukchi Sea not frequented by vessel traffic and is not in close proximity to a safety fairway. Further, vessel traffic can pass safely around the safety zone without incurring additional costs.

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), in the NPRM we offered to assist small entities in understanding the rule so that they could better evaluate its effects on them and participate in the rulemaking process.

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 calls for no 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 State or local governments and would either preempt State law or impose a substantial direct cost of compliance on them. We have analyzed this rule under that Order and have determined that it 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 $100,000,000.00 (adjusted for inflation) or more in any one year. Though this rule would not result in such 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

The Coast Guard has 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 would not create an environmental risk to health or risk to safety that might 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 would 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

The Coast Guard analyzed this rule 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 preliminary 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. An environmental analysis checklist supporting this determination is 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. This rule is categorically excluded from further review under paragraph 34(g) of Figure 2-1 of the Commandant's Instruction.

List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 147

Continental shelf, Marine safety, Navigation (water).

For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard amends 33 CFR part 147 as follows:

PART 147—SAFETY ZONES 1. The authority citation for part 147 continues to read as follows: Authority:

14 U.S.C. 85; 43 U.S.C. 1333; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1.

2. Add § 147.T17-0247 to read as follows:
§ 147.T17-0247 Safety Zone; DRILL UNIT POLAR PIONEER, Outer Continental Shelf Drillship, Chukchi Sea, Alaska.

(a) Description. The DRILL UNIT POLAR PIONEER will be engaged in exploratory drilling operations at various locations in the Chukchi Sea from July 1, 2015 through October 31, 2015. The area that extends 500 meters from the outer edge of the DRILL UNIT POLAR PIONEER is a safety zone. Lawful demonstrations may be conducted outside of the safety zone.

(b) Regulation. No vessel may enter or remain in this safety zone except the following:

(1) An attending vessel; or

(2) A vessel authorized by the Commander, Seventeenth Coast Guard District, or a designated representative.

Dated: June 17, 2015. Daniel B. Abel, Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Commander, Seventeenth Coast Guard District.
[FR Doc. 2015-17129 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R09-OAR-2015-0297; FRL-9930-28-Region 9 Partial Approval and Partial Disapproval of Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Arizona; Infrastructure Requirements for Lead and Ozone AGENCY:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is partially approving and partially disapproving State Implementation Plan (SIP) revisions submitted by the State of Arizona to address the requirements of section 110(a)(1) and (2) of the Clean Air Act (CAA) for the 2008 Lead (Pb) and 2008 ozone national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS). Section 110(a) of the CAA requires that each State adopt and submit a SIP for the implementation, maintenance, and enforcement of each NAAQS promulgated by EPA. We refer to such SIP revisions as “infrastructure” SIPs because they are intended to address basic structural SIP requirements for new or revised NAAQS including, but not limited to, legal authority, regulatory structure, resources, permit programs, monitoring, and modeling necessary to assure attainment and maintenance of the standards.

DATES:

This final rule is effective on August 13, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

EPA has established a docket for this action, identified by Docket ID Number EPA-R09-OAR-2015-0297. The index to the docket for this action is available electronically at http://www.regulations.gov and in hard copy at EPA Region IX, 75 Hawthorne, San Francisco, California. While all documents in the docket are listed in the index, some information may be publically available only at the hard copy location (e.g., copyrighted material) and some may not be publically 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 directly below.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Jeffrey Buss, Office of Air Planning, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9, (415) 947-4152, email: [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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

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

CAA section 110(a)(1) requires each state to submit to EPA, within three years after the promulgation of a primary or secondary NAAQS or any revision thereof, an infrastructure SIP revision that provides for the implementation, maintenance, and enforcement of such NAAQS. Section 110(a)(2) sets the content requirements of such a plan, which generally relate to the information and authorities, compliance assurances, procedural requirements, and control measures that constitute the “infrastructure” of a state's air quality management program. These infrastructure SIP elements required by section 110(a)(2) are as follows:

• Section 110(a)(2)(A): Emission limits and other control measures.

• Section 110(a)(2)(B): Ambient air quality monitoring/data system.

• Section 110(a)(2)(C): Program for enforcement of control measures and regulation of new and modified stationary sources.

• Section 110(a)(2)(D)(i): Interstate pollution transport.

• Section 110(a)(2)(D)(ii): Interstate and international pollution abatement.

• Section 110(a)(2)(E): Adequate resources and authority, conflict of interest, and oversight of local and regional government agencies.

• Section 110(a)(2)(F): Stationary source monitoring and reporting.

• Section 110(a)(2)(G): Emergency episodes.

• Section 110(a)(2)(H): SIP revisions.

• Section 110(a)(2)(J): Consultation with government officials, public notification, prevention of significant deterioration (PSD), and visibility protection.

• Section 110(a)(2)(K): Air quality modeling and submittal of modeling data.

• Section 110(a)(2)(L): Permitting fees.

• Section 110(a)(2)(M): Consultation/participation by affected local entities.

Two elements identified in section 110(a)(2) are not governed by the three-year submittal deadline of section 110(a)(1) and are therefore not addressed in this action. These two elements are: (i) Section 110(a)(2)(C) to the extent it refers to permit programs required under part D (nonattainment new source review (NSR)), and (ii) section 110(a)(2)(I), pertaining to the nonattainment planning requirements of part D. As a result, this action does not address infrastructure for the nonattainment NSR portion of section 110(a)(2)(C) or the whole of section 110(a)(2)(I).

On November 12, 2008, the EPA issued a revised NAAQS for Pb.1 This action triggered a requirement for states to submit an infrastructure SIP to address the applicable requirements of section 110(a)(2) within three years of issuance of the revised NAAQS. On October 14, 2011, EPA issued “Guidance on Section 110 Infrastructure SIPs for the 2008 Pb NAAQS”, referred to herein as EPA's 2011 Pb Guidance.2 Depending on the timing of a given submittal, some states relied on the earlier draft version of this guidance, referred to herein as EPA's 2011 Draft Pb Guidance.3 EPA issued additional guidance on infrastructure SIPs on September 13, 2013.4

1 73 FR 66964 (November 12, 2008). The 1978 Pb standard (1.5 µg/m3 as a quarterly average) was modified to a rolling 3 month average not to be exceeded of 0.15 µg/m3. EPA also revised the secondary NAAQS to 0.15 µg/m3 and made it identical to the revised primary standard. Id.

2 See Memorandum from Stephen D. Page, Director, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, to Regional Air Division Directors, Regions 1-10 (October 14, 2011).

3 “DRAFT Guidance on SIP Elements Required Under Sections 110(a)(1) and (2) for the 2008 Lead (Pb) National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS),” June 17, 2011 version.

4See Memorandum dated September 13, 2013 from Stephen D. Page, Director, EPA Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, to Regional Air Directors, EPA Regions 1-10, “Guidance on Infrastructure State Implementation Plan (SIP) Elements under Clean Air Act Sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2)” (referred to herein as “2013 Infrastructure SIP Guidance”).

On March 27, 2008, EPA issued a revised NAAQS for 8-hour Ozone.5 This action triggered a requirement for states to submit an infrastructure SIP to address the applicable requirements of section 110(a)(2) within three years of issuance of the revised NAAQS. EPA did not, however, prepare guidance at this time for states in submitting I-SIP revisions for the 2008 Ozone NAAQS.6 On September 13, 2013, EPA issued “Guidance of Infrastructure State Implementation Plan (SIP) Elements under Clean Air Act Sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2),” which provides advice on the development of infrastructure SIPs for the 2008 ozone NAAQS (among other pollutants) as well as infrastructure SIPs for new or revised NAAQS promulgated in the future.7

5 73 FR 16436 (March 27, 2008).

6 Preparation of guidance for the 2008 Ozone NAAQS was postponed given EPA's reconsideration of the standard. See 78 FR 34183 (June 6, 2013).

7 See Memorandum dated September 13, 2013 from Stephen D. Page, Director, EPA Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, to Regional Air Directors, EPA Regions 1-10, “Guidance on Infrastructure State Implementation Plan (SIP) Elements under Clean Air Act Sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2)” (referred to herein as “2013 Infrastructure SIP Guidance”).

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) has submitted infrastructure SIP revisions pursuant to EPA's promulgation of the NAAQS addressed by this rule, including the following:

• October 14, 2011—“Arizona State Implementation Plan Revision under Clean Air Act Section 110(a)(1) and (2); 2008 Lead NAAQS,” to address all of the CAA section 110(a)(2) requirements, except for section 110(a)(2)(G),8 for the 2008 Pb NAAQS (2011 Pb I-SIP Submittal).

8 In a separate rulemaking, EPA fully approved Arizona's SIP to address the requirements regarding air pollution emergency episodes in CAA section 110(a)(2)(G) for the 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS. 77 FR 62452 (October 15, 2012). Although ADEQ did not submit an analysis of Section 110(a)(2)(G) requirements, we discuss them in our technical support document (TSD), which is in the docket for this rulemaking.

• December 27, 2012—“Arizona State Implementation Plan Revision under Clean Air Act Section 110(a)(1) and (2); 2008 8-hour Ozone NAAQS,” to address all of the CAA section 110(a)(2) requirements for the 2008 8-hour Ozone NAAQS (2012 Ozone I-SIP Submittal).

On February 19, 2015 EPA approved elements of the above submittals with respect to the 2008 Pb and 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS infrastructure requirements in CAA sections 110(a)(2)(A), (B), (E), (F), (G), (H), (L) and (M).9 That action also explained that we would separately act on the permitting infrastructure SIP elements in CAA sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D), (J), and (K) in a subsequent rulemaking. These permit related elements are the subject of today's final rule.

9 “Approval and Promulgation of State Implementation Plans; Arizona; Infrastructure requirements for the 2008 Lead (Pb) and the 2008 8-Hour Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS)” was signed on February 19, 2015 but, as of June 29, 2015, has not yet published in the Federal Register. This action was proposed in the Federal Register on November 24, 2014 (79 FR 69796).

In addition to the above 2011 and 2012 infrastructure SIP submittals, ADEQ submitted “New Source Review State Implementation Plan Submission” on October 29, 2012, and “Supplemental Information to 2012 New Source Review State Implementation Plan Submission” on July 2, 2014 (NSR Submittals). In addition to addressing revisions to Arizona's NSR program, these submissions also relate to our analysis of infrastructure SIP elements in CAA sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D), (J), and (K).

II. Proposed Action

On May 12, 2015 (80 FR 27127), EPA proposed to partially approve and partially disapprove Arizona's 2011 Pb I-SIP Submittal and 2012 Ozone I-SIP Submittal with respect to the permitting infrastructure SIP elements in CAA sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D), (J), and (K). Our proposed action and associated technical support document (TSD) provide detailed discussion of Arizona's demonstration for each element. Generally, we proposed a partial approval because the submittals show that Arizona largely fulfills the relevant infrastructure requirements. But we proposed a simultaneous partial disapproval because of these deficiencies:

• With respect to § 110(a)(2)(C), EPA proposed to: (1) Disapprove the 2011 Pb and 2012 Ozone Infrastructure SIPs for ADEQ and Pinal County because the SIP-approved PSD programs lack certain “structural” PSD program elements as identified in our TSD; and (2) disapprove both Infrastructure SIPs for Maricopa and Pima counties, which do not have SIP approved PSD programs.

• With respect to the third prong of § 110(a)(D)(i), EPA proposed to disapprove both Infrastructure SIPs regarding “structural” PSD requirements under § 110(a)(2)(C).

• With respect to § 110(a)(2)(D)(ii), EPA proposed to disapprove both Infrastructure SIPs with respect to Maricopa County and Pima County, which do not have SIP approved PSD programs.

• With respect to § 110(a)(2)(J), we proposed to disapprove both Arizona Infrastructure SIPs for failure to fully satisfy the requirements of part C relating to PSD.

• With respect to § 110(a)(2)(K), we proposed to disapprove both Infrastructure SIPs because ADEQ, Pinal, Pima, and Maricopa counties have not submitted adequate provisions or a narrative that explain how existing state and county law satisfy the requirements of 110(a)(2)(K).

III. Public Comments and EPA Responses

The public comment period on EPA's proposed rule opened on May 12, 2015, the date of its publication in the Federal Register at 80 FR 27127, and closed on June 11, 2015. During this period, EPA did not receive any comments. Therefore, EPA is finalizing our action as proposed.

IV. Final Action

Under CAA section 110(k)(3) and based on the evaluation and rationale presented in the proposed rule, the TSD and this final rule, EPA is partially approving the 2011 Pb I-SIP Submittal and the 2012 Ozone I-SIP Submittal with respect to the following infrastructure SIP requirements:

• Section 110(a)(2)(C) (in part): Program of enforcement of control measures and regulation of new and modified stationary sources.

• Section 110(a)(2)(D)(i) (in part): Interstate pollution transport.

• Section 110(a)(2)(D)(ii) (in part): Interstate pollution abatement and international air pollution.

• Section 110(a)(2)(J) (in part): Consultation with government officials, public notification, PSD, and visibility protection.

• Section 110(a)(2)(K): Air quality modeling and submission of modeling data.

EPA is simultaneously partially disapproving the submittals because of deficiencies described in our proposed rule and TSD and summarized in the proposed rule section above. For all I-SIP elements that do not meet the CAA § 110(a)(2) requirements there are existing FIPs in place, with the exception of the modeling requirements under CAA § 110(a)(2)(K) for Pinal County and ADEQ. To the extent our proposed approval or proposed disapproval of an I-SIP element relied on our March 18, 2015 proposed action on ADEQ's NSR SIP submittal, our final action on the I-SIP elements identified in this notice relies on our final action on ADEQ's NSR SIP submittal, signed contemporaneously primarily in the form of a limited approval/limited disapproval.10 Furthermore, the partial disapprovals in this action do not result in sanctions under section 179 of the Act because infrastructure SIPs are not required under Title I, Part D of the Act.

10 EPA's action on ADEQ's NSR SIP submittal was largely finalized as proposed, with the exception of certain changes in response to public comments. These changes resulted in our finding fewer bases for disapproval as compared with our proposed action on ADEQ's NSR SIP submittal and do not affect today's final action on Arizona's I-SIP submittals.

V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews A. Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has exempted this regulatory action from Executive Order 12866, entitled “Regulatory Planning and Review.”

B. Paperwork Reduction Act

This action does not impose an information collection burden under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. Burden is defined at 5 CFR 1320.3(b).

C. Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) generally requires an agency to conduct a regulatory flexibility analysis of any rule subject to notice and comment rulemaking requirements unless the agency certifies that the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Small entities include small businesses, small not-for-profit enterprises, and small governmental jurisdictions.

This rule will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities because SIP partial approvals/partial disapprovals under section 110 and subchapter I, part D of the Clean Air Act do not create any new requirements but simply approve requirements that the State is already imposing. Therefore, because EPA's approval does not create any new requirements, I certify that this action will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

Moreover, due to the nature of the Federal-State relationship under the Clean Air Act, preparation of flexibility analysis would constitute Federal inquiry into the economic reasonableness of State action. The Clean Air Act forbids EPA to base its actions concerning SIPs on such grounds. Union Electric Co., v. U.S. EPA, 427 U.S. 246, 255-66 (1976); 42 U.S.C. 7410(a)(2).

D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

Under sections 202 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (“Unfunded Mandates Act”), signed into law on March 22, 1995, EPA must prepare a budgetary impact statement to accompany any proposed or final rule that includes a Federal mandate that may result in estimated costs to State, local, or tribal governments in the aggregate; or to the private sector, of $100 million or more. Under section 205, EPA must select the most cost-effective and least burdensome alternative that achieves the objectives of the rule and is consistent with statutory requirements. Section 203 requires EPA to establish a plan for informing and advising any small governments that may be significantly or uniquely impacted by the rule.

EPA has determined that the partial approval/partial disapproval action promulgated does not include a Federal mandate that may result in estimated costs of $100 million or more to either State, local, or tribal governments in the aggregate, or to the private sector. This Federal action approves pre-existing requirements under State or local law, and imposes no new requirements. Accordingly, no additional costs to State, local, or tribal governments, or to the private sector, result from this action.

E. Executive Order 13132, Federalism

Federalism (64 FR 43255, August 10, 1999) revokes and replaces Executive Orders 12612 (Federalism) and 12875 (Enhancing the Intergovernmental Partnership). Executive Order 13132 requires EPA to develop an accountable process to ensure “meaningful and timely input by State and local officials in the development of regulatory policies that have federalism implications.” “Policies that have federalism implications” is defined in the Executive Order to include regulations that 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.” Under Executive Order 13132, EPA may not issue a regulation that has federalism implications, that imposes substantial direct compliance costs, and that is not required by statute, unless the Federal government provides the funds necessary to pay the direct compliance costs incurred by State and local governments, or EPA consults with State and local officials early in the process of developing the proposed regulation. EPA also may not issue a regulation that has federalism implications and that preempts State law unless the Agency consults with State and local officials early in the process of developing the proposed regulation.

This rule 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, as specified in Executive Order 13132, because it merely approves a State rule implementing a Federal standard, and does not alter the relationship or the distribution of power and responsibilities established in the Clean Air Act. Thus, the requirements of section 6 of the Executive Order do not apply to this rule.

F. Executive Order 13175, Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments

Executive Order 13175, entitled “Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments” (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000), requires the EPA to develop an accountable process to ensure “meaningful and timely input by tribal officials in the development of regulatory policies that have tribal implications.” This final rule does not have tribal implications, as specified in Executive Order 13175. It will not have substantial direct effects on tribal governments, 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. 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. Thus, Executive Order 13175 does not apply to this rule.

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

EPA interprets Executive Order 13045 (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997) as applying only to those regulatory actions that concern health or safety risks, such that the analysis required under section 5-501 of the Executive Order has the potential to influence the regulation. This rule is not subject to Executive Order 13045, because it approves a State rule implementing a Federal standard.

H. Executive Order 13211, Actions That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use

This rule is not subject to Executive Order 13211, “Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use” (66 FR 28355, May 22, 2001) because it is not a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866.

I. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act

Section 12 of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) of 1995 requires Federal agencies to evaluate existing technical standards when developing a new regulation. To comply with NTTAA, EPA must consider and use “voluntary consensus standards” (VCS) if available and applicable when developing programs and policies unless doing so would be inconsistent with applicable law or otherwise impractical.

The EPA believes that VCS are inapplicable to this action. Today's action does not require the public to perform activities conducive to the use of VCS.

J. Executive Order 12898: Federal Actions To Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Population

Executive Order (E.O.) 12898 (59 FR 7629 (Feb. 16, 1994)) establishes federal executive policy on environmental justice. Its main provision directs federal agencies, to the greatest extent practicable and permitted by law, to make environmental justice part of their mission by identifying and addressing, as appropriate, disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of their programs, policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income populations in the United States.

EPA lacks the discretionary authority to address environmental justice in this rulemaking.

K. Congressional Review Act

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 rule 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). This rule will be effective August 13, 2015.

L. Petitions for Judicial Review

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 14, 2015. Filing a petition for reconsideration by the Administrator of this final rule does not affect the finality of this rule 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, Ozone, Lead, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

Dated: June 29, 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—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 D—Arizona 2. Section 52.123 is amended by adding paragraphs (o) and (p) to read as follows:
§ 52.123 Approval status.

(o) 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS: The SIPs submitted on October 14, 2011 and December 27, 2012 are fully or partially disapproved for Clean Air Act (CAA) elements 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(ii), (J) and (K) for all portions of the Arizona SIP.

(p) 2008 Lead (Pb) NAAQS: The SIPs submitted on October 14, 2011 and December 27, 2012 are fully or partially disapproved for Clean Air Act (CAA) elements 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(ii), (J) and (K) for all portions of the Arizona SIP.

[FR Doc. 2015-17057 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R09-OAR-2015-0082; FRL-9929-64-Region 9] Revisions to the California SIP, Ventura & Eastern Kern Air Pollution Control Districts; Permit Exemptions AGENCY:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking final action to approve revisions to the Ventura County Air Pollution Control District (VCAPCD) and Eastern Kern Air Pollution Control District (EKAPCD) portions of the California State Implementation Plan (SIP). These revisions clarify, update, and revise exemptions from New Source Review (NSR) permitting requirements, for various air pollution sources.

DATES:

This rule will be effective on August 13, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

EPA has established docket number EPA-R09-OAR-2015-0082 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:

Lawrence Maurin, EPA Region IX, (415) 972-3943, [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 (80 FR 19932), EPA proposed to approve the following rules into the California SIP. Table 1 lists the rules addressed by this proposal, including the dates they were revised by the local air agency and submitted by the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

Table 1—Submitted Rules Local agency Rule No. Rule title Revision
  • date
  • Submittal
  • date
  • VCAPCD 23 Exemptions from Permit 11/12/13 05/13/14 EKAPCD 202 Permit Exemptions 01/13/11 06/21/11

    We proposed to approve these rules because we determined that they complied with the relevant Clean Air Act (CAA) requirements. Our proposed action contains more information on the rules and our evaluation.

    II. Public Comments and EPA Responses

    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 these rules 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 Ventura County Air Pollution Control District and Eastern Kern Air Pollution Control District 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 (Public Law 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 14, 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, Intergovernmental relations, Incorporation by reference, Ozone, Particulate matter, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Volatile organic compounds.

    Dated: June 16, 2015. Alexis Strauss, Acting Regional Administrator, Region IX.

    Part 52—Chapter I, Title 40 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 F—California 2. Section 52.220 is amended by adding paragraph (c)(391) (i)(A)(2) and (c)(441)(i)(C)(3) to read as follows:
    § 52.220 Identification of plan.

    (c) * * *

    (391) * * *

    (i) * * *

    (A) * * *

    (2) Rule 202, “Permit Exemptions,” amended on January 13, 2011.

    (441) * * *

    (i) * * *

    (C) * * *

    (3) Rule 23, “Exemptions from Permit,” revised on November 12, 2013.

    [FR Doc. 2015-17064 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R08-OAR-2014-0254; FRL-9930-47-Region 8] Determinations of Attainment of the 1997 Annual Fine Particulate Matter Standard for the Libby, Montana Nonattainment Area AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is finalizing two separate and independent determinations regarding the Libby, Montana nonattainment area for the 1997 annual fine particulate matter (PM2.5) National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS). First, EPA is determining that the Libby nonattainment area attained the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS by the applicable attainment date, April 2010. This determination is based on quality-assured and certified ambient air quality data for the 2007-2009 monitoring period. Second, EPA is finalizing that the Libby nonattainment area has continued to attain the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS, based on quality-assured and certified ambient air quality data for the 2012-2014 monitoring period. Based on the second determination, EPA will suspend certain nonattainment area planning obligations. These determinations do not constitute a redesignation to attainment. The Libby nonattainment area will remain designated nonattainment for the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS until such time as EPA determines that the Libby nonattainment area meets the Clean Air Act (CAA) requirements for redesignation to attainment, which include an approved maintenance plan. These proposed actions are being taken under the CAA.

    DATES:

    This final rule is effective on August 13, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket ID No. EPA-R08-OAR-2014-0254. All documents in the docket are listed on the www.regulations.gov Web site. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, e.g., 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 at the Air Program, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region 8, 1595 Wynkoop Street, Denver, Colorado 80202-1129. EPA requests that if at all possible, you contact the individual listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section to view the hard copy of the docket. You may view the hard copy of the docket Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., excluding federal holidays.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Crystal Ostigaard, Air Program, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 8, Mailcode 8P-AR, 1595 Wynkoop Street, Denver, Colorado 80202-1129, (303) 312-6602, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

    The Libby nonattainment area is comprised of the City of Libby within Lincoln County. See 40 CFR 81.327. On April 14, 2015 (71 FR 19935), EPA published a proposed rulemaking for the Libby nonattainment area. In the April 14, 2015 rulemaking action, EPA proposed to make a determination that the Libby nonattainment area attained the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS by the area's attainment date, April 2010. EPA also proposed to make a determination that the Libby nonattainment area continues to attain the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS. No comments were received on the April 14, 2015 proposed rule.

    II. Summary of Rulemaking Actions

    These actions do not constitute a redesignation of the Libby nonattainment area to attainment for the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS under CAA section 107(d)(3). Neither determination of attainment involves approving a maintenance plan for the Libby nonattainment area, nor determines that the Libby nonattainment area has met all the requirements for redesignation under the CAA, including that the attainment be due to permanent and enforceable measures. Therefore, the designation status of the Libby nonattainment area will remain nonattainment for the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS until such time as EPA takes a final rulemaking action to determine that the Libby nonattainment area meets the CAA requirements for redesignation to attainment.

    A. Determination of Attainment by the Attainment Date

    Pursuant to section 188(b)(2) of the CAA, EPA is making a determination that the Libby nonattainment area has attained the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS by the area's attainment date, April 2010. This determination is based upon quality-assured and certified ambient air monitoring data for the 2007-2009 monitoring period that shows the area has monitored attainment to the 1997 PM2.5 annual NAAQS attainment date. The effect of this final determination of attainment to the 1997 PM2.5 annual NAAQS attainment date is to discharge EPA's obligation under CAA section 181(b)(2) to determine, based on the Libby nonattainment area's air quality whether the area attained the standard.

    B. “Clean Data” Determination of Attainment

    EPA is also making a determination that the Libby nonattainment area continues to attain the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS. This “clean data” determination is based upon quality assured and certified ambient air monitoring data that show the area has monitored attainment of the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS for the 2012-2014 monitoring period. As a result of this determination, the requirement for the Libby nonattainment area to submit an attainment demonstration, reasonably available control measures (RACM), reasonable further progress (RFP), and contingency measures related to attainment of the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS shall be suspended for so long as the area continues to attain the NAAQS.1

    1 Even though the requirements are suspended, EPA is not precluded from acting upon these elements at any time if submitted to EPA for review and approval. On March 17, 2011 (76 FR 14584), EPA took final action to approve the submitted SIP revision for the Libby PM2.5 nonattainment area, which included an attainment demonstration, RACM, RFP, and contingency measures.

    C. EPA's Analysis of the Relevant Air Quality Data

    Consistent with the requirements contained in 40 CFR part 50, EPA has reviewed the annual PM2.5 ambient air quality monitoring data for the 2007-2009 and 2012-2014 monitoring periods for the Libby nonattainment area, as recorded in EPA's Air Quality System (AQS) database. On the basis of that review, EPA has concluded that the Libby nonattainment area attained the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS, based on data for the 2007-2009 monitoring period. EPA has also concluded that the Libby nonattainment area continues to attain, based on data for the 2012-2014 monitoring period.

    III. Final Action

    EPA is making two separate and independent determinations regarding the Libby nonattainment area. First, pursuant to section 188(b)(2) of the CAA, EPA is making a determination that the Libby nonattainment area has attained the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS attainment date of April 2010. Second, EPA is making a determination that the Libby nonattainment area is attaining the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS, based on quality assured and certified ambient air monitoring data for the 2012-2014 monitoring period. This final determination suspends the requirements for the Libby nonattainment area to submit an attainment demonstration and associated RACM, RFP plan, contingency measures, and any other planning requirements related to attainment of the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS for so long as the area continues to attain the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS. These determinations do not constitute a redesignation to attainment. The Libby nonattainment area will remain designated nonattainment for the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS until such time as EPA determines that the Libby nonattainment area meets the CAA requirements for redesignation to attainment, including an approved maintenance plan.

    IV. Statutory and Executive Orders Review

    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 14, 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, Particulate matter, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Dated: June 25, 2015. Debra H. Thomas, Acting Regional Administrator, Region 8.

    40 CFR part 52 is amended to read 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.

    2. Section 52.1374 is amended by adding paragraph (c) to read as follows:
    § 52.1374 Control strategy: Particulate matter.

    (c) Determination of Attainment. EPA has determined, July 14, 2015, based on quality-assured air monitoring data for 2007-2009 and 2012-2014 ambient air quality data, that the Libby, MT fine particulate matter (PM2.5) nonattainment area attained the 1997 annual PM2.5 national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS). Therefore, EPA has met the requirement of CAA section 188(b)(2) to determine, based on the area's air quality as of the attainment date or as expeditiously as practicable, whether the area attained the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS. Additionally, this determination suspends the requirements for this area to submit an attainment demonstration, associated reasonably available control measures, a reasonable further progress plan, contingency measures, and other planning SIPs related to attainment of the standard for as long as this area continues to meet the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS. If EPA determines, after notice-and-comment rulemaking, that this area no longer meets the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS, the corresponding determination of attainment for that area shall be withdrawn.

    [FR Doc. 2015-17054 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R06-OAR-2014-0626; FRL-9930-27-Region 6] Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; New Mexico; Revisions to the Particulate Matter Less Than 2.5 Micrometers (PM2.5) Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) Permitting Program State Implementation Plan (SIP) AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Direct final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is approving portions of two revisions to the New Mexico SIP for the permitting of PM2.5 emissions submitted on May 23, 2011, and August 6, 2014. Together, these submittals revise the New Mexico PSD program to be consistent with the federal PSD regulations regarding the use of a significant impact level (SIL) or significant monitoring concentration (SMC) for PM2.5 emissions. We are approving these SIP revisions to regulate PM2.5 emissions in accordance with requirements of section 110 and part C of the Clean Air Act.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective on September 14, 2015 without further notice, unless the EPA receives adverse comment by August 13, 2015. If the EPA receives relevant adverse comment, we will publish a timely withdrawal in the Federal Register informing the public that the rule will not take effect.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R06-OAR-2014-0626, by one of the following methods:

    www.regulations.gov: Follow the on-line instructions.

    Email: Ms. Adina Wiley at [email protected]

    Mail: Ms. Adina Wiley, Air Planning Section (6PD-R), Environmental Protection Agency, 1445 Ross Avenue, Ste. 1200, Dallas, TX 75202-2733.

    Hand Delivery: Ms. Adina Wiley, Air Planning Section (6PD-R), Environmental Protection Agency, 1445 Ross Avenue, Ste. 700, Dallas, TX 75202-2733. Such deliveries are only accepted during the hours between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. weekdays, and not on legal holidays. Special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information.

    Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-R06-OAR-2014-0626. The EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available online at www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected through www.regulations.gov or email. The www.regulations.gov Web site is an “anonymous access” system, which means the EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an email comment directly to the EPA without going through www.regulations.gov, your email address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, the EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If the EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, the EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses. For additional information about the EPA's public docket visit the EPA Docket Center homepage at http://www.epa.gov/epahome/dockets.htm.

    Docket: The index to the docket for this action is available electronically at www.regulations.gov and in hard copy at EPA Region 6, 1445 Ross Avenue, Suite 700, Dallas, Texas. While all documents in the docket are listed in the index, some information may be publicly available only at the hard copy location (e.g., copyrighted material), and some may not be publicly available at either location (e.g., CBI).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Adina Wiley, 214-665-2115, [email protected] To inspect the hard copy materials, please schedule an appointment with Adina Wiley or Mr. Bill Deese at 214-665-7253.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Throughout this document, “we,” “us,” and “our” means the EPA.

    I. Background A. CAA and SIPs

    Section 110 of the CAA requires states to develop and submit to the EPA a SIP to ensure that state air quality meets National Ambient Air Quality Standards. These ambient standards currently address six criteria pollutants: Carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, lead, particulate matter, and sulfur dioxide. Each federally-approved SIP protects air quality primarily by addressing air pollution at its point of origin through air pollution regulations and control strategies. The EPA approved SIP regulations and control strategies are federally enforceable.

    B. Prior Federal Action

    Under Section 165 of the Clean Air Act, PSD permit applications must contain air quality monitoring data representing air quality in the area affected by the proposed source for the 1-year period preceding receipt of the application. In 2010, the EPA promulgated regulations for PSD PM2.5 permits which included two screening tools: SILs and SMCs. These tools were established to determine whether a PSD permit application may be exempted from the 1-year air monitoring requirement for PM2.5 based on the grounds that the increase of the pollutant is de minimis. In response to a request from the EPA and a petition, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (the Court) vacated and remanded to the EPA the portions of the 2010 PSD regulations establishing the PM2.5 SILs and SMC.

    In response to the Court's decision, the EPA amended its regulations to remove the PM2.5 SILs and SMC provisions. See 78 FR 73702, December 9, 2013. More detail about this action is available in our Technical Support Document, which is available in our rulemaking docket.

    C. New Mexico's Submittals

    On May 23, 2011, New Mexico submitted revisions to its air permitting regulations at 20.2.74 NMAC that reflected the PM2.5 SILs and SMC screening tools. On January 22, 2013, the EPA approved all of the May 23, 2011 submission except for the portion that relates to the screening tools. See 78 FR 4339. On August 6, 2014, in accordance with the EPA's changes to the federal regulations, New Mexico submitted revisions to 20.2.74 NMAC to remove the PM2.5 SILs and SMC which had previously been adopted and submitted as a SIP revision. More detail about these actions is available in our Technical Support Document, which is available in our rulemaking docket.

    II. The EPA's Evaluation A. Revisions to 20.2.74.303 NMAC, Submitted May 23, 2011, and August 6, 2014

    The May 23, 2011, submittal added language to paragraph A, implementing the ambient air impact analysis exemption for major sources or major modifications established by the EPA in the PM2.5 PSD Increment—Significant Impact Levels (SILs)—Significant Monitoring Concentration (SMC) Rule. The August 6, 2014, submittal removes the language pertaining to the PM2.5 SIL. The May 23, 2011, submittal also replaces the term “particulate matter” with “PM10” in paragraph A.

    The submitted regulations are approvable because they remove the PM2.5 SIL consistent with the EPA's December 9, 2013, revisions to 40 CFR 51.166(k) and were adopted and submitted in accordance with sections 110 and 165 of the Clean Air Act.

    B. Revisions to 20.2.74.503 NMAC, Submitted May 23, 2011, and August 6, 2014

    The May 23, 2011, submittal added a line to TABLE 3—SIGNIFICANT MONITORING CONCENTRATIONS, including the pollutant PM2.5, its Air Quality Concentration of 4 micrograms per cubic meter and an associated 24 hour Averaging Time. The August 6, 2014, submittal removes the PM2.5 SMC by changing the PM2.5 Air Quality Concentration from 4 micrograms per cubic meter to 0, and removes the “24 hours” from the PM2.5 Averaging Time column. The May 23, 2011, submittal also replaced the term “particulate matter” with “PM10.”

    The submitted regulations are approvable because they remove the PM2.5 SMC consistent with the EPA's December 9, 2013, revisions to 40 CFR 51.166(i)(5)(i) and were adopted and submitted in accordance with sections 110 and 165 of the Clean Air Act.

    III. Final Action

    We are approving revisions to the New Mexico SIP that pertain to changes to 20.2.74 NMAC submitted May 23, 2011, and August 6, 2014. Specifically, we are approving the revisions to 20.2.74.303 NMAC—Ambient Impact Requirements, paragraph A and 20.2.74.503 NMAC Table 3—Significant Monitoring Concentrations. The EPA has made the determination that the submitted regulations are approvable because the submitted rules were adopted and submitted in accordance with the CAA and are consistent with the EPA's regulations regarding PSD permitting for PM2.5 emissions.

    The EPA is publishing this rule without prior proposal because we view this as a non-controversial amendment and anticipate no adverse comments. However, in the proposed rules section of this Federal Register publication, we are publishing a separate document that will serve as the proposal to approve the SIP revision if relevant adverse comments are received. This rule will be effective on September 14, 2015 without further notice unless we receive relevant adverse comment by August 13, 2015. If we receive relevant adverse comments, we will publish a timely withdrawal in the Federal Register informing the public that the rule will not take effect. We will address all public comments in a subsequent final rule based on the proposed rule. We will not institute a second comment period on this action. Any parties interested in commenting must do so now. Please note that if we receive relevant adverse comment on an amendment, paragraph, or section of this rule and if that provision may be severed from the remainder of the rule, we may adopt as final those provisions of the rule that are not the subject of an adverse comment.

    IV. Incorporation by Reference

    In this rule, we are finalizing regulatory text that includes incorporation by reference. In accordance with the requirements of 40 CFR 51.5, we are finalizing the incorporation by reference of the revisions to the New Mexico regulations as described in the Final Action section above. We have made, and will continue to make, these documents generally available electronically through www.regulations.gov and/or in hard copy at the EPA Region 6 office.

    V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

    Under the CAA, the Administrator is required to approve a SIP submission that complies with the provisions of the Act and applicable Federal regulations. 42 U.S.C. 7410(k); 40 CFR 52.02(a). Thus, in reviewing SIP submissions, the EPA's role is to approve state choices, provided that they meet the criteria of the CAA. Accordingly, this action merely approves state law as meeting Federal requirements and does not impose additional requirements beyond those imposed by state law. For that reason, this action:

    • Is not a “significant regulatory action” subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget under Executive Orders 12866 (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993) and 13563 (76 FR 3821, January 21, 2011);

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

    • Is certified as not having a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.);

    • Does not contain any unfunded mandate or significantly or uniquely affect small governments, as described in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4);

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

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

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

    • Is not subject to requirements of section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (15 U.S.C. 272 note) because application of those requirements would be inconsistent with the CAA; and

    • Does not provide EPA with the discretionary authority to address, as appropriate, disproportionate human health or environmental effects, using practicable and legally permissible methods, under Executive Order 12898 (59 FR 7629, February 16, 1994).

    In addition, the SIP is not approved to apply on any Indian reservation land or in any other area where EPA or an Indian tribe has demonstrated that a tribe has jurisdiction. In those areas of Indian country, the rule does not have tribal implications 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 rule 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 14, 2015. Filing a petition for reconsideration by the Administrator of this final rule does not affect the finality of this rule 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, Particulate matter, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Dated: June 30, 2015. Ron Curry, Regional Administrator, Region 6.

    40 CFR part 52 is amended as follows:

    PART 52—APPROVAL AND PROMULGATION OF IMPLEMENTATION PLANS 1. The authority citation for Part 52 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Subpart GG—New Mexico 2. Section 52.1620 in paragraph (c), first table, is amended by revising the entry “Part 74, Permits—Prevention of Significant Deterioration” under “New Mexico Administrative Code (NMAC) Title 20—Environment Protection Chapter 2—Air Quality” to read as follows:
    § 52.1620 Identification of plan.

    (c) * * *

    EPA Approved New Mexico Regulations State citation Title/subject State approval/
  • effective date
  • EPA Approval date Comments
    New Mexico Administrative Code (NMAC) Title 20—Environment Protection Chapter 2—Air Quality *         *         *         *         *         *         * Part 74 Permits—Prevention of Significant Deterioration 7/11/2014 7/14/2015 [Insert Federal Register citation] Revisions to 20.2.74.7(AZ)(2)(a) NMAC submitted 1/8/2013, effective 2/6/2913, are NOT part of SIP.
  • 20.2.74.7(AZ)(2)(a) NMAC submitted 5/23/2011, effective 6/3/2011, remains SIP approved.
  • *         *         *         *         *         *         *
    [FR Doc. 2015-17058 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R09-OAR-2015-0345; FRL-9929-58-Region 9] Revisions to the California State Implementation Plan, South Coast Air Quality Management District AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Direct final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking direct final 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 graphic arts facilities. We are approving a local rule that regulates these emission sources under the Clean Air Act (CAA or the Act).

    DATES:

    This rule is effective on September 14, 2015 without further notice, unless EPA receives adverse comments by August 13, 2015. If we receive such comments, we will publish a timely withdrawal in the Federal Register to notify the public that this direct final rule will not take effect.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments, identified by docket number [EPA-R09-OAR-2015-0345, by one of the following methods:

    1. Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions.

    2. Email: [email protected]

    3. Mail or deliver: Andrew Steckel (Air-4), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region IX, 75 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco, CA 94105-3901.

    Instructions: All comments will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available online at www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Information that you consider CBI or otherwise protected should be clearly identified as such and should not be submitted through www.regulations.gov or email. www.regulations.gov is an “anonymous access” system, and EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send email directly to EPA, your email address will be automatically captured and included as part of the public comment. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses.

    Docket: Generally, documents in the docket for this action are available electronically at www.regulations.gov and in hard copy at EPA Region IX, 75 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco, California 94105-3901. While all documents in the docket are listed at www.regulations.gov, some information may be publicly available only at the hard copy location (e.g., copyrighted material, large maps), and some may not be publicly available in either location (e.g., 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:

    Vanessa Graham, EPA Region IX, (415) 947-4120 [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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

    Table of Contents I. The State's Submittal A. What rule did the State submit? B. Are there other versions of this rule? C. What is the purpose of the submitted rule? II. EPA's Evaluation and Action A. How is EPA evaluating the rule? B. Does the rule meet the evaluation criteria? C. EPA Recommendations To Further Improve the Rule D. Public Comment and Final Action III. Incorporation by Reference IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. The State's Submittal A. What rule did the State submit?

    Table 1 lists the rule addressed by this action with the date that it was adopted by SCAQMD and submitted by the California Air Resource Board (CARB).

    Table 1—Submitted Rule Local agency Rule No. Rule title Amended Submitted SCAQMD 1130 Graphic Arts 05/02/14 11/06/14

    On December 18, 2014, EPA determined that the submittal for SCAQMD Rule 1130 met the completeness criteria in 40 CFR part 51 Appendix V, which must be met before formal EPA review.

    We approved an earlier version of Rules 1130 into the SIP on September 13, 2000 (65 FR 55201).

    B. What is the purpose of the submitted rule?

    VOCs help produce ground-level ozone and smog and fine particulate matter (PM2.5), which harm human health and the environment. Section 110(a) of the CAA requires States to submit regulations that control VOC emissions. Rule 1130 limits VOC emissions from graphic arts processes, largely by establishing work practice requirements and limiting the amount of VOC in graphic arts coatings, inks and solvents. The amendments to Rule 1130 were submitted to satisfy Reasonably Available Control Technology (RACT) Requirements under CAA sections 172(c)(1) and 182(b).

    EPA's technical support document (TSD) has more information about this rule.

    II. EPA's Evaluation and Action. A. How is EPA evaluating the rule?

    SIP rules must be enforceable (see CAA section 110(a)(2)), must not interfere with applicable requirements concerning attainment and reasonable further progress or other CAA requirements (see CAA section 110(l)), and must not modify certain SIP control requirements in nonattainment areas without ensuring equivalent or greater emissions reductions (see CAA section 193).

    SCAQMD regulates an ozone nonattainment area classified as extreme under both the 1997 and 2008 ozone NAAQS and a PM2.5 nonattainment area classified as moderate under the 1997 and 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS. 40 CFR 81.305. CAA section 172(c)(1) requires nonattainment areas to implement all reasonably available control measures (RACM), including such reductions in emissions from existing sources in the area as may be obtained through the adoption, at a minimum, of RACT, as expeditiously as practicable. CAA section 189(a)(1)(C) also requires implementation of RACM in moderate PM2.5 nonattainment areas. Additional control measures for graphic arts processes may be required pursuant to CAA section 172(c)(1) if both: (1) Additional measures are reasonably available; and (2) these additional reasonably available measures will advance attainment of one or more ozone standards in the area or contribute to reasonable further progress (RFP) when considered collectively (see 80 FR 12264, 12282). In addition, SIP rules must require RACT for each category of sources covered by a CTG document as well as each VOC major source in ozone nonattainment areas classified as moderate or above (see CAA section 182(b)(2)). Since Rule 1130 regulates sources subject to a CTG in an extreme nonattainment area, it must implement RACT.

    Guidance and policy documents that we use to evaluate enforceability, revision/relaxation and rule stringency requirements for the applicable criteria pollutants include the following:

    1. “Issues Relating to VOC Regulation Cutpoints, Deficiencies, and Deviations” (“the Bluebook,” U.S. EPA, May 25, 1988; revised January 11, 1990). 2. “Guidance Document for Correcting Common VOC & Other Rule Deficiencies” (“the Little Bluebook”, EPA Region 9, August 21, 2001). 3. “Control Techniques Guidelines (CTG) for Offset Lithographic Printing and Letterpress Printing”, September 2006 (EPA 453/R-06-002). 4. “Control Techniques Guidelines (CTG) for Flexible Package Printing”, September 2006 (EPA 453/R-06-003). B. Does the rule meet the evaluation criteria?

    We believe this rule is consistent with the relevant policy and guidance regarding enforceability, RACT, and SIP relaxations. We will act separately on the State's RACM demonstrations for the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS and 2008 ozone NAAQS the based on an evaluation of the control measures submitted as a whole and their overall potential to advance the applicable attainment dates for ozone. The TSD has more information on our evaluation.

    C. EPA Recommendations To Further Improve the Rule

    The TSD describes additional rule revisions that we recommend for the next time the local agency modifies the rule, but are not currently the basis for rule disapproval.

    D. Public Comment and Final Action

    As authorized in section 110(k)(3) of the Act, EPA is fully approving the submitted rule because we believe it fulfills all relevant requirements. We do not think anyone will object to this approval, so we are finalizing it without proposing it in advance. However, in the Proposed Rules section of this Federal Register, we are simultaneously proposing approval of the same submitted rule. If we receive adverse comments by August 13, 2015, we will publish a timely withdrawal in the Federal Register to notify the public that the direct final approval will not take effect and we will address the comments in a subsequent final action based on the proposal. If we do not receive timely adverse comments, the direct final approval will be effective without further notice on September 14, 2015. This will incorporate the rule into the federally enforceable SIP.

    III. 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 rule 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).]

    IV. 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 14, 2015. Filing a petition for reconsideration by the Administrator of this final rule does not affect the finality of this action for the purposes of judicial review nor does it extend the time within which a petition for judicial review may be filed, and shall not postpone the effectiveness of such rule or action. Parties with objections to this direct final rule are encouraged to file a comment in response to the parallel notice of proposed rulemaking for this action published in the Proposed Rules section of today's Federal Register, rather than file an immediate petition for judicial review of this direct final rule, so that EPA can withdraw this direct final rule and address the comment in the proposed rulemaking. This action may not be challenged later in proceedings to enforce its requirements (see section 307(b)(2)).

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Incorporation by reference, Intergovernmental relations, 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—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 F—California 2. Section 52.220 is amended by adding paragraph (c)(457)(i)(E) to read as follows:
    § 52.220 Identification of plan.

    (c) * * *

    (457) * * *

    (i) * * *

    (E) South Coast Air Quality Management District.

    (1) Rule 1130, “Graphic Arts,” amended on May 2, 2014.

    [FR Doc. 2015-17061 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R03-OAR-2015-0241; FRL-9930-35-Region 3] Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Maryland; Low Emissions Vehicle Program Revisions AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Direct final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking direct final action to approve two revisions to the Maryland State Implementation Plan (SIP). The Clean Air Act (CAA) provides authority allowing California to adopt its own motor vehicle emissions standards for newly manufactured vehicles, in lieu of federal vehicle standards. The CAA also allows other states to adopt California's vehicle standards, as long as they are identical to California's standards. Maryland's recent SIP submittals serve to amend Maryland's Clean Car Program to incorporate updates that California has made to its Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) program rules. Maryland adopted California's emission standards applicable to newly manufactured light and medium-duty vehicles in 2007, and EPA approved Maryland's Clean Car Program in prior rulemakings. However, since then California revised its LEV program regulations on several occasions, and Maryland subsequently amended its own rules to be consistent with those of California. Since the Clean Car Program is part of the SIP, Maryland then submits these amendments as a SIP revision. Maryland submitted such SIP revision requests in July 2014 and again in April 2015 to update its SIP to be consistent with California's latest LEV program rules. EPA's action to approve Maryland's most recent Clean Car Program SIP revisions is being taken under the CAA.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective on September 14, 2015 without further notice, unless EPA receives adverse written comment by August 13, 2015. If EPA receives such comments, it will publish a timely withdrawal of the direct final rule in the Federal Register and inform the public that the rule will not take effect.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID Number EPA-R03-OAR-2015-0241 by one of the following methods:

    A. www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.

    B. Email: [email protected]

    C. Mail: EPA-R03-OAR-2015-0241, Cristina Fernandez, Associate Director, Office of Air Program Planning, Mailcode 3AP30, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region III, 1650 Arch Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103.

    D. Hand Delivery: At the previously-listed EPA Region III address. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Docket's normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information.

    Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-R03-OAR-2015-0241. EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change, and may be made available online at www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI, or otherwise protected, through www.regulations.gov or email. The www.regulations.gov Web site is an “anonymous access” system, which means EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an email comment directly to EPA without going through www.regulations.gov, your email address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses.

    Docket: All documents in the electronic docket are listed in the www.regulations.gov index. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, i.e., CBI or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is not placed on the Internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically in www.regulations.gov or in hard copy 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:

    Brian Rehn, (215) 814-2176, or by email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Maryland originally adopted a Low Emissions Vehicle Program in 2007 under Regulation .02 of COMAR 26.11.34 Low Emission Vehicles. Since then, Maryland updated its program rule on several occasions (in 2009 and 2011), to incorporate changes made by California to its own LEV program rule. Maryland originally submitted its Clean Car Program to EPA for inclusion in the SIP in December 2007 (Revision #07-16), with subsequent revisions in November 2010 (Revision #10-08) and again in June 2011 (Revision #11-05), to reflect Maryland regulatory updates made in 2009 and 2011. EPA approved Maryland's original Clean Car SIP submittal (and the November 2010 and June 2011 revisions) in a rulemaking action published in the Federal Register on June 11, 2013 (78 FR 34911). Maryland again submitted a revised SIP submittal in August 2013 (Revision #13-02), to incorporate regulatory changes made in 2012 to its Clean Car Program rule. EPA approved that SIP revision in a final rulemaking action published in the Federal Register on July 9, 2013 (79 FR 38787).

    On July 28, 2014, Maryland submitted a revision for the SIP (Revision #14-01) to again amend its Clean Car Program SIP to include regulatory updates made in 2014 to ensure consistency with California's LEV rules. Maryland later submitted another revision for the SIP (Revision #15-02) on April 13, 2015 to adopt additional regulatory amendments made in 2015. It is these two most recent SIP revisions that are the subject of this rulemaking.

    Table of Contents I. Background A. Maryland's Air Quality With Respect to the Federal National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for Ozone B. Federal Vehicle Emission Standards C. California's Low Emission Vehicle Standards D. Maryland's Low Emissions Vehicle Program II. Summary of SIP Revisions III. Final Action IV. Incorporation by Reference V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. Background A. Maryland's Air Quality With Respect to the Federal National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for Ozone

    The CAA, which was last amended in 1990, requires EPA to set NAAQS for pollutants considered harmful to public health and the environment. EPA establishes NAAQS for six principal pollutants, or “criteria” pollutants, which include: ozone, carbon monoxide (CO), lead, nitrogen dioxide, fine particulate matter (PM), and sulfur dioxide. The CAA establishes two types of NAAQS. Primary standards provide public health protection, including protecting the health of “sensitive” populations such as asthmatics, children, and the elderly. Secondary standards protect public welfare, including protection against decreased visibility and damage to animals, crops, vegetation, and buildings. The CAA also requires EPA to periodically review the standards to ensure that they provide adequate health and environmental protection, and to update those standards as necessary.

    Ozone is formed in the atmosphere by photochemical reactions between ozone precursor pollutants, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides (NOX) in the presence of sunlight. In order to reduce ozone concentrations in the ambient air, the CAA directs areas designated as nonattainment to apply controls on VOC and NOX emission sources to reduce the formation of ozone.

    Although EPA has revised the ozone NAAQS several times since the CAA was reauthorized in 1990, Maryland has historically had three areas designated as nonattainment under each successive ozone NAAQS. These include portions of the Baltimore metropolitan area, the Maryland portion of the Washington, DC metropolitan area, and the Maryland portion of the Philadelphia metropolitan area. Most recently, EPA revised the 8-hour ozone NAAQS from 0.08 parts per million (ppm) to 0.075 ppm on March 27, 2008 (73 FR 16436). On May 21, 2012 (77 FR 30088), EPA finalized designations for this 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS, including as nonattainment the same three Maryland areas.

    B. Federal Vehicle Emission Standards

    Vehicles sold in the United States are required by the CAA to be certified to meet either Federal motor vehicle emission standards or California emission standards. States other than California are forbidden from adopting their own standards, but may elect to adopt California emission standards for which EPA has granted a waiver of preemption. Specifically, section 209 of the CAA prohibits states from adopting or enforcing standards relating to the control of emissions from new motor vehicles (or new vehicle engines), however, EPA may waive that prohibition for any state that adopted its own standards prior to March 30, 1966. As California was the only state to do so, California has authority to adopt its own vehicle emissions standards. California must demonstrate to EPA that its newly adopted standards will be “. . . in the aggregate, at least as protective of public health and welfare as applicable Federal standards,” after which time EPA may then grant a waiver of preemption from Federal standards for California's standards.

    Section 177 of the CAA authorizes other states to adopt California's standards in lieu of Federal vehicle standards, provided the state does so with at least two model years lead time prior to the effective date of its program and EPA has issued a waiver of preemption to California for such standards.

    EPA has adopted several iterations, or “tiers,” of federal emissions standards since the CAA was reauthorized in 1990. When Maryland first adopted its Clean Car Program in 2007, the federal standards in effect were Tier 2 standards that were adopted by EPA on February 10, 2000 (65 FR 6698) and were implemented beginning with 2004 model year federally certified vehicles. These Federal Tier 2 standards set tailpipe emissions standards for passenger vehicles and light duty trucks and also limited gasoline sulfur levels. EPA later finalized Tier 3 Federal vehicle and fuel standards on April 28, 2014 (79 FR 23414). The Federal Tier 3 program set more stringent Federal vehicle emissions standards and further limited allowable sulfur content of gasoline for new cars, beginning in 2017. EPA attempted to closely harmonize the Tier 3 standards with California's most current Low Emissions Vehicle Program.

    On May 7, 2010 (75 FR 25324), EPA and the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) jointly established a national program consisting of new standards for light-duty motor vehicles to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions and to improve fuel economy. This program affected new passenger cars, light trucks, and medium-duty passenger vehicles sold in model years 2012 through 2016. On October 15, 2012 (77 FR 62624), EPA and NHTSA issued another joint rule to further tighten GHG emissions standards for model years 2017 through 2025. The Federal GHG standards were harmonized with similar GHG standards set by California, to ensure that automobile manufacturers would face a single set of national emissions standards to meet both Federal and California emissions requirements.

    C. California's Low Emission Vehicle Standards

    In 1990, California's Air Resources Board (CARB) adopted its first generation of LEV standards applicable to light and medium duty vehicles. California's LEV program standards were phased-in beginning in model year 1994 through model year 2003. In 1999, California adopted a second generation of LEV standards, known as LEV II, which were phased-in beginning model year 2004 through model year 2010. EPA granted a Federal preemption waiver for CA LEV II program on April 22, 2003 (68 FR 19811).

    California's LEV II program reduces emissions in a similar manner to the Federal Tier 2 program by use of declining fleet average non-methane organic gas (NMOG) emission standards, applicable to each vehicle manufacturer each year. Separate fleet average standards are not established for NOX, CO, PM, or formaldehyde as these emissions are controlled as a co-benefit of the NMOG fleet average (fleet average values for these pollutants are set by the certification standards for each set of California prescribed certification standards.) These allowable sets of standards range from LEV standards (the least stringent standard set) to Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) standards (the most stringent standard set). California's LEV II program establishes various other standards: The Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles (ULEV), Super-Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (SULEV), Partial Zero Emission Vehicles (PZEV), and Advanced Technology-Partial Zero Emission Vehicles (AT-PZEV). Each manufacturer may comply by selling a mix of vehicles meeting any of these standards, as long as their sales-weighted, overall average of the various standard sets meets the overall fleet average and ZEV requirements.

    In January 2012, California approved a new emissions-control program for model years 2017 through 2025, called the Advanced Clean Cars Program, or the LEV III program. The program combines the control of smog, soot, and GHG and requirements for greater numbers of ZEV vehicles into a single package of standards. The regulations apply to light duty vehicles, light duty trucks, and medium duty passenger vehicles. Under California's Advanced Clean Cars Program, manufacturers can certify vehicles to the standards before model year 2015. Beginning with model year 2020, all vehicles must be certified to LEV III standards. The ZEV amendments add flexibility to California's existing ZEV program for 2017 and earlier model years, and establish new sales and technology requirements starting with the 2018 model year. The LEV III amendments establish more stringent criteria and GHG emission standards starting with the 2015 and 2017 model years, respectively. The California GHG standards are almost identical in stringency and structure to the Federal GHG standards for model years from 2017 to 2025. Additionally, on December 2012, California adopted a “deemed to comply” regulation that enables manufacturers to show compliance with California GHG standards by demonstrating compliance with Federal GHG standards. On June 9, 2013 (78 FR 2112), EPA granted a Federal preemption waiver for California's Advanced Clean Cars Program. California's LEV III program rules are codified in Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations (CCR), under Division 3.

    D. Maryland's Low Emissions Vehicle Program

    Maryland's legislature adopted and the Governor signed into law the Maryland Clean Cars Act of 2007, establishing legal authority compelling Maryland to adopt California's LEV standards. Maryland adopted its “Low Emission Vehicle Program,” codified at COMAR 26.11.34 in 2007. Since then, Maryland has revised its program rules a number of times to ensure consistency with California's LEV program. As discussed in the Supplemental Information section, Maryland submitted revisions in 2009 and 2011, which EPA approved (along with the original 2007 Clean Car revision) on June 11, 2013 (78 FR 34911). Since then, Maryland amended its program in 2013 and submitted another SIP revision to EPA in August 2013, which EPA approved on July 9, 2014 (79 FR 38787).

    The Maryland Clean Car Program has two objectives. The first is to reduce emissions of NOX and VOCs, as precursors of ground level ozone, from new motor vehicles sold in Maryland. The second objective of the program is to reduce GHG emissions from motor vehicles. The program requires 2011 and newer model year passenger cars, light trucks, and medium-duty vehicles having a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 14,000 pounds or less that are sold as new cars or transferred in Maryland to meet the applicable California emissions standards. For purposes of the Clean Car Program, transfer means to sell, import, deliver, purchase, lease, rent, acquire, or receive a motor vehicle for titling or registration in Maryland.

    II. Summary of SIP Revisions

    On July 28, 2014, Maryland submitted a formal SIP Revision #14-01 containing Maryland's updated Clean Car regulations to reflect changes made to adopt California's LEV III Program. This SIP submittal consists of updates to make Maryland's Clean Car Program consistent with California's program. Specifically, California amended its LEV III program rule to allow as a compliance option the recent Federal GHG standards for model years 2017 to 2025. Since California's LEV III program addresses GHG pollutants, in addition to criteria pollutants that are precursors to ozone pollution, Maryland incorporated by reference this compliance alternative for California's LEV III program to its own Clean Car Program rule.

    On April 30, 2015, Maryland submitted another revision to its SIP to update the Clean Car Program rules. This latest change relates to the ZEV requirements of California's rules, including adjustments to optional compliance path (OCP) for manufacturers related to the elimination of certain credits in qualifying for the OCP and pooling of credits across model years. Another ZEV-related provision establishes a minimum amount of ZEV credits to be used each year, specifically a limit to use of non-ZEV credits to satisfy ZEV requirements. Further, California amended the definition for fast refueling for purposes of determining the ZEV type to limit credits to only technologies that have actually been demonstrated in practice. Maryland incorporated by reference in its Clean Car Program these latest changes to California's LEV III program.

    These two most recent Maryland SIP submittals are the subject of this rulemaking action. Maryland adopted California's updates to portions of CCR Title 13, Division 3 by amending COMAR 26.11.34.02, relating to incorporation by reference of California's LEV standards. The July 28, 2014 and April 13, 2015 SIP submittals include Maryland's adopted regulatory amendments to the Clean Car Program rule (with the exception of CCR, Title 13, Division 3, Article 5, Section 2030 “Liquefied Petroleum Gas or Natural Gas Retrofit Systems,” which Maryland requested EPA to exclude from the SIP). The April 13, 2015 SIP submittal will replace in its entirety the existing regulation COMAR 26.11.34.02 as approved in the SIP on July 9, 2014 with the revised version of COMAR 26.11.34.02 effective February 16, 2015. See 79 FR 38787. A list of California's regulations being incorporated by reference is included as part of Maryland's notice of proposed action dated December 1, 2014, which is included in the State submittal and available online at www.regulations.gov, Docket ID No. EPA-R03-OAR-2015-0241. These revisions to Maryland's Clean Car Program, as approved in the Maryland SIP, are important to ensure consistency with California's LEV program. This will ensure that Maryland's Clean Vehicle Program complies with the requirements for adoption of another state's vehicle standards in lieu of Federal vehicle standards, per section 177 of the CAA.

    III. Final Action

    EPA is approving Maryland's July 28, 2014 and April 13, 2015 SIP submittals. These revisions amend the prior approved Maryland Clean Vehicle Program, specifically with respect to Maryland's updated incorporation by reference (at COMAR 26.11.34.02) of California's LEV program rules (at Title 13, CCR, Division 3, with the exception of CCR, Title 13, Division 3, Article 5, Section 2030). Maryland's SIP revisions serve to ensure consistency of Maryland's Clean Vehicle Program with California's LEV III program, satisfying Federal requirements for state adoption of vehicle emission standards under section 177 of the CAA. EPA is publishing this rule without prior proposal because EPA views this as a noncontroversial amendment and anticipates no adverse comment. However, in the “Proposed Rules” section of this Federal Register, EPA is publishing a separate document that will serve as the proposal to approve the SIP revision if adverse comments are filed. This rule will be effective on September 14, 2015 without further notice unless EPA receives adverse comment by August 13, 2015. If EPA receives adverse comment, EPA will publish a timely withdrawal in the Federal Register informing the public that the rule will not take effect. EPA will address all public comments in a subsequent final rule based on the proposed rule. EPA will not institute a second comment period on this action. Any parties interested in commenting must do so at this time.

    IV. Incorporation by Reference

    In this rulemaking action, 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 Maryland's Clean Vehicle Program rules at COMAR 26.11.34.02, as adopted on January 20, 2015 and effective on February 16, 2015. EPA has made, and will continue to make, these documents generally 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 A. General Requirements

    Under the CAA, the Administrator is required to approve SIP submissions that comply 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 14, 2015. Filing a petition for reconsideration by the Administrator of this final rule does not affect the finality of this action for the purposes of judicial review nor does it extend the time within which a petition for judicial review may be filed, and shall not postpone the effectiveness of such rule or action. Parties with objections to this direct final rule are encouraged to file a comment in response to the parallel notice of proposed rulemaking for this action published in the proposed rules section of this Federal Register, rather than file an immediate petition for judicial review of this direct final rule, so that EPA can withdraw this direct final rule and address the comment in the proposed rulemaking action. This action approving revisions to the Maryland Clean Car 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, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Volatile organic compounds.

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

    40 CFR part 52 is amended as follows:

    PART 52—APPROVAL AND PROMULGATION OF IMPLEMENTATION PLANS 1. The authority citation for part 52 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Subpart V—Maryland
    2. In § 52.1070, the table in paragraph (c) is amended by revising the entry for COMAR 26.11.34.02 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
  • *         *         *         *         *         *         * 26.11.34 Low Emissions Vehicle Program *         *         *         *         *         *         * 26.11.34.02 (except .02B(20)) Incorporation by Reference 02/16/15 07/14/15 [Insert Federal Register citation] Update to incorporate by reference California's Advanced Clean Car Program rules, with the exception of Title 13, California Code of Regulations, Division 3, Chapter 2, Article 5, Section 2030. *         *         *         *         *         *         *
    [FR Doc. 2015-17060 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 70 [EPA-R03-OAR-2015-0119; FRL-9930-30-Region 3] Clean Air Act Title V Operating Permit Program Revision; Pennsylvania AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is approving a Title V Operating Permit Program revision submitted by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The revision amends the Title V fee program that funds the Pennsylvania Title V Operating Permit Program. EPA is approving these revisions to increase Pennsylvania's annual emission fees to $85 per ton of emissions for emissions from Title V sources of up to 4,000 tons of each regulated pollutant in accordance with the requirements of the Clean Air Act (CAA).

    DATES:

    This final rule is effective on August 13, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket ID Number EPA-R03-OAR-2015-0119. 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 Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Air Quality Control, P.O. Box 8468, 400 Market Street, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17105.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Gerallyn Duke (215) 814-2084, or by email at [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

    On March 18, 2015 (80 FR 14037), EPA published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPR) for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In the NPR, EPA proposed approval of the Pennsylvania Title V Operating Program revision to increase the annual Title V fees paid by the owners or operators of all Title V facilities throughout Pennsylvania, including Allegheny and Philadelphia Counties, from $57.50 per ton of regulated air pollutant to $85 per ton. The formal Title V Program revision was submitted by Pennsylvania on February 11, 2014.

    Under 40 CFR 70.9(a) and (b), an approved state Title V operating permits program must require that the owners or operators of part 70 sources pay annual fees, or the equivalent over some other period, that are sufficient to cover the permit program costs and ensure that any fee required under 40 CFR 70.9 is used solely for permit program costs. Under Pennsylvania's Title V permit emission fee rules at 25 PA Code 127.705, the annual emission fee for emissions occurring in calendar year 2012 was $57.50 per ton of regulated pollutant for emissions of up to 4,000 tons of each regulated pollutant. The fee structure has not been revised since 1994. As discussed further in our proposed approval of Pennsylvania's Title V fee revision on March 18, 2015, Pennsylvania has determined that Title V annual emission fee revenues collected are no longer sufficient to cover Title V program costs.

    II. Summary of Title V Operating Permit Program Revision

    In the February 11, 2014 program revision, Pennsylvania included revised 25 PA Code 127.705 which Pennsylvania has amended to increase Pennsylvania's annual emission fees. Fees are increased to $85 per ton of emissions for emissions from Title V sources of up to 4,000 tons of each regulated pollutant. The provisions for increasing the annual emissions fees in response to increases in the Consumer Price Index at 25 PA Code 127.705(d) remain unchanged. The revised fees are designed to cover all reasonable costs required to develop and administer the Title V program as required by 40 CFR 70.9(a) and (b).

    III. Final Action

    EPA is approving the Pennsylvania Title V Operating Program revision submitted on February 11, 2014 to increase the annual Title V fees paid by the owners or operators of all Title V facilities throughout Pennsylvania, including Allegheny and Philadelphia Counties, from $57.50 per ton of regulated air pollutant to $85 per ton. The revision meets requirements in 40 CFR 70.9.

    IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews A. General Requirements

    This action merely approves state law as meeting Federal requirements and imposes no 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 related to Pennsylvania Title V fees does not have tribal implications as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000), because the program 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 14, 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 related to Pennsylvania Title V fees may not be challenged later in proceedings to enforce its requirements. (See section 307(b)(2).)

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 70

    Administrative practice and procedure, 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.

    40 CFR part 70 is amended as follows:

    PART 70—STATE OPERATING PERMIT PROGRAMS 1. The authority citation for part 70 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    2. Appendix A to Part 70 is amended by adding paragraph (d) to the entry for Pennsylvania to read as follows: Appendix A to Part 70—Approval Status of State and Local Operating Permit Programs Pennsylvania

    (d) The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection submitted a program revision on February 11, 2014; approval effective on July 14, 2015.

    [FR Doc. 2015-16924 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services 42 CFR Part 480 Acquisition, Protection, and Disclosure of Quality Improvement Organization Information CFR Correction

    In Title 42 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 480 to 481, revised as of October 1, 2014, on page 614, in § 480.132, remove paragraphs (b)(1)(i) and (ii).

    [FR Doc. 2015-17128 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1505-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services 42 CFR Part 482 Conditions of Participation for Hospitals CFR Correction

    In Title 42 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 482 to End, revised as of October 1, 2014, on page 40, in the introductory text of § 482.92, remove the term “recipient” and add “beneficiary” in its place.

    [FR Doc. 2015-17127 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1505-01-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION 47 CFR Part 54 [WC Docket Nos. 11-42, 09-197, 10-90; FCC 15-71] Lifeline and Link Up Reform and Modernization, Telecommunications Carriers Eligible for Universal Service Support, Connect America Fund AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    In this document, the Federal Communications Commission (the Commission) seeks to rebuild the current framework of the Lifeline program and continue its efforts to modernize the Lifeline program so that all consumers can utilize advanced networks.

    DATES:

    This Order on Reconsideration and Second Report and Order is effective August 13, 2015. The amendments to these rules contain information collection requirements that are subject to Paperwork Reduction Act that have not yet been approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Upon OMB approval of the information collection requirements, the Commission will publish a document in the Federal Register announcing the effective date of the regulations.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jonathan Lechter, Wireline Competition Bureau, (202) 418-7400 or TTY: (202) 418-0484.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This is a summary of the Commission's Order on Reconsideration and Second Report and Order (Order on Recon and 2nd R&O) in WC Docket Nos. 11-42, 09-197, 10-90; FCC 15-71, adopted on June 18, 2015 and released on June 22, 2015. The full text of this document is available for public inspection during regular business hours in the FCC Reference Center, Room CY-A257, 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554 or at the following Internet address: https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-releases-lifeline-reform-and-modernization-item.

    I. Introduction

    1. For nearly 30 years, the Lifeline program has ensured that qualifying low-income Americans have the opportunities and security that voice service brings, including being able to find jobs, access health care, and connect with family. As the Commission explained at the program's inception, “[i]n many cases, particularly for the elderly, poor, and disabled, the telephone [has] truly [been] a lifeline to the outside world.” Thus, “[a]ccess to telephone service has [been] crucial to full participation in our society and economy which are increasingly dependent upon the rapid exchange of information.” In 1996, Congress recognized the importance and success of the program and enshrined its mission into the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (1996 Act). Over time, the Lifeline program has evolved from a wireline-only program, to one that supports both wireless and wireline voice communications. Consistent with the Commission's statutory mandate to provide consumers in all regions of the nation, including low-income consumers, with access to telecommunications and information services, the program must continue to evolve to reflect the realities of the 21st Century communications marketplace in a way that ensures both the beneficiaries of the program, as well as those who pay into the universal service fund (USF or Fund), are receiving good value for the dollars invested. The purpose of the Lifeline program is to provide a hand up, not a hand out, to those low-income consumers who truly need assistance connecting to and remaining connected to telecommunications and information services. The program's real success will be evident by the stories of Lifeline beneficiaries who move off of Lifeline because they have used the program as a stepping stone to improve their economic stability.

    2. Over the past few years, the Lifeline program has become more efficient and effective through the combined efforts of the Commission and the states. The Lifeline program is heavily dependent on effective oversight at both the Federal and the state level and the Commission has partnered successfully with the states through the Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service (Joint Board) to ensure that low-income Americans have affordable access to voice telephony service in every state and territory. In addition to working with the Commission on universal service policy initiatives on the Joint Board, many states administer their own low-income programs designed to ensure that their residents have affordable access to telephone service and connections. These activities provide the states the opportunity and flexibility to develop new and innovative ways to make the Lifeline program more effective and efficient, and ultimately bring recommendations to the Commission for the implementation of improvements on a national scale. As the Commission continues to modernize the Lifeline program, it deeply values the input of the states as it, among other reforms, seeks to streamline the Lifeline administrative process and enhance the program.

    3. The Commission's 2012 Lifeline Reform Order, 77 FR 12951, March 2, 2012, substantially strengthened protections against waste, fraud, and abuse; improved program administration and accountability; improved enrollment and consumer disclosures; and took some preliminary steps to modernize the program for the 21st Century. These reforms provided a much needed boost of confidence in the Lifeline program among the public and interested parties, increased accountability, and set the Lifeline program on an improved path to more effectively and efficiently provide vital services to the Nation's low-income consumers. In particular, the reforms have resulted in approximately $2.75 billion in savings from 2012 to 2014 against what would have been spent in the absence of reform. Moreover, in the time since the reforms were adopted, the size of the Lifeline program has declined steadily. In 2012, the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), the Administrator of the Fund, disbursed approximately $2.2 billion in Lifeline support payments compared to approximately $1.6 billion in Lifeline support payments in 2014. These reforms have been transformational in minimizing the opportunity for Lifeline funds to be used by anyone other than eligible low-income consumers. The Commission is pleased that its previous reforms have taken hold and sustained the integrity of the Fund. However, the Commission's work is not complete. In light of the realities of the 21st Century communications marketplace, the Commission must overhaul the Lifeline program to ensure that it advances the statutory directive for universal service. At the same time, the Commission must ensure that adequate controls are in place as while implementing any further changes to the Lifeline program to guard against waste, fraud, and abuse. Therefore the Commission, among other things, seek to revise our documentation retention requirements and establish minimum service standards for any provider that receives a Lifeline subsidy. The Commission also seeks to focus our efforts on targeting funding to those low-income consumers who really need it while at the same time shifting the burden of determining consumer eligibility for Lifeline support from the provider. The Commission further seek to leverage efficiencies from other existing federal programs and expand our outreach efforts. By rebuilding the existing Lifeline framework, the Commission hopes to more efficiently and effectively address the needs of low-income consumers. The Commission ultimately seeks to equip low-income consumers with the necessary tools and support system to realize the benefits of broadband independent of Lifeline support.

    4. Three years ago, the Commission took important steps to reform the Lifeline program. The reforms, adopted in the 2012 Lifeline Reform Order, focused on changes to eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse in the Lifeline program by, among other things: Setting a savings target; creating a National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) to prevent multiple carriers from receiving support for the same household; and confirming a one-per-household rule applicable to all consumers and Lifeline providers in the program. It also took preliminary steps to modernize the Lifeline program by, among other things: Adopting express goals for the program; establishing a Broadband Adoption Pilot Program; and allowing Lifeline support for bundled service plans combining voice and broadband or packages including optional calling features. Now, 30 years after the Lifeline program was founded, the Commission believes it is past time for a fundamental, comprehensive restructuring of the program.

    5. In the Order on Recon, the Commission grants in part a petition for reconsideration filed by TracFone of the Commission's 2012 Lifeline Reform Order and requires Lifeline providers to retain documentation demonstrating subscriber eligibility. In the 2nd R&O, the Commission takes further steps to adopt rules and procedures in response to proposals on which the Commission sought comment in the 2012 Lifeline FNPRM, and other outstanding issues regarding administration of the program to root out waste, fraud, and abuse. The Commission also takes further actions to put in place measures that increase accountability, efficiency, and transparency in the program. Specifically, the Commission:

    • Establishes a uniform “snapshot” date each month for Lifeline providers to calculate their number of subscribers for the purpose of reimbursement;

    • Eliminates the requirement that incumbent local exchange carriers (LECs) must resell retail Lifeline-discounted service, and limit reimbursement for Lifeline service to Lifeline providers directly serving Lifeline customers;

    • Interprets “former reservations in Oklahoma,” as provided in the Commission's rules, as the geographic boundaries reflected in the Historical Map of Oklahoma 1870-1890 (Oklahoma Historical Map); and

    • Waives, on the Commission's motion, the requirement to conduct desk audits on first-year ETCs for two Lifeline providers in order to maximize the use of audit program resources.

    II. Order on Reconsideration A. Retention of Eligibility Documentation

    6. In the Order on Recon, the Commission requires ETCs to retain documentation demonstrating subscriber eligibility for the Lifeline Program as well as documentation used in NLAD processes and revise §§ 54.404 and 54.410 of the rules. In doing so, the Commission grants in part a petition and supplement filed by TracFone, which requests reconsideration of the prohibition on retention of eligibility documentation. The Commission takes these actions as another important step to significantly reduce waste, fraud, and abuse in the Lifeline program.

    7. In the Lifeline Reform Order, the Commission adopted uniform eligibility criteria for the federal Lifeline program. Consumers must qualify based on either their income or their participation in at least one of a number of federal assistance programs. The Commission required eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) to examine certain documentation to verify a consumer's program or income based eligibility, but prohibited ETCs from retaining copies of the documentation. Instead, the Commission directed ETCs to review the documentation and keep accurate records detailing how the consumer demonstrated his or her eligibility. In support of its decision to prohibit the retention of eligibility documents, the Commission cited to comments that raised concerns such as the risk related to retaining sensitive subscriber eligibility documentation and the burden on ETCs.

    8. Subsequent to the Lifeline Reform Order, TracFone filed a petition for reconsideration and supplement. In its petition for reconsideration, TracFone argues that the Commission should not have required consumers to produce documentation to prove eligibility. In its late-filed supplement to its petition for reconsideration, TracFone argues that given that the Commission had not reconsidered the new rule requiring proof of eligibility, the Commission should require all ETCs to retain the program eligibility documentation for not less than three years, in accordance with the rules on record retention. Recently, in a petition for waiver, TracFone broadened its original request to allow ETCs to retain documentation related to both program and income-based eligibility.

    9. Procedural Issues. Section 1.429 of the Commission's rules states that late filed supplements to petitions for reconsideration are not considered, “except upon leave granted pursuant to a separate pleading stating the grounds for acceptance of the supplement.” TracFone filed a separate pleading requesting that the Commission accept and consider the late-filed supplement because the arguments raised in the supplement are a logical outgrowth of the issues raised in the 2011 Lifeline NPRM. TracFone notes that its proposal was subject to public comment and all but one of the commenters supported its position to permit retention of eligibility documentation. The Commission finds that TracFone has stated adequate grounds to justify consideration of its supplement. The Commission view the argument raised in TracFone's supplement as an alternative argument to Tracfone's petition for reconsideration. The Commission also notes that both the petition for reconsideration and the supplement were the subject of public comment, and that the issue of eligibility documentation retention was directly discussed in the Lifeline Reform Order. The Commission therefore accepts TracFone's supplement to its petition for reconsideration and discuss the substantive issues below.

    10. Substantive Issues. In its petitions, TracFone argues that retention of eligibility information is necessary to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse because the current rules do not provide the Commission or USAC with a way to verify through an audit or other mechanism whether an ETC has in fact reviewed the eligibility documentation provided by the Lifeline applicant. TracFone argues that by prohibiting ETCs from retaining documentation, the Commission created an opportunity for ETCs to fabricate records which indicate that they have reviewed valid documentation. In a related petition, TracFone argues that ETCs should retain documentation reviewed to verify the identity or information of a subscriber as part of the NLAD dispute resolution process for the NLAD. For these reasons, TracFone argues in its petitions that the Commission should change its rules to require ETCs to retain eligibility documentation in accordance with Commission retention rules.

    11. All but one of the commenters filed in support of the TracFone petitions, asserting among other things that retention of documentation is in the public interest, and that requiring the retention of eligibility documents will curb waste, fraud, and abuse in the Lifeline program. Commenters also agree that the current requirement is difficult to audit. They explain that there is uncertainty in the industry with respect to what an ETC's records must contain and what auditors would consider when finding that an ETC is or is not compliant with the rules. Commenters agree that ETCs have methods to securely maintain customer eligibility documentation in an encrypted, electronic format and to limit access to such documentation to only certain employees. Some commenters also note that the administrative costs associated with retaining the documentation are minimal and, in all events, justified by the protection afforded against waste, fraud, and abuse.

    12. Retention of Subscriber Eligibility Documentation. Based on the record, the Commission grants in part TracFone's request for reconsideration and require carriers to retain both program and income-based eligibility documentation. Under § 1.429 of the Commission's rules, petitions for reconsideration will only be granted when the petitioner shows that the facts or arguments relied on have changed since the last opportunity to present such matters, the facts or arguments were not known at the time of the last opportunity to present such matters, or the Commission determines that consideration of the facts or arguments relied on is required in the public interest. For the reasons set forth below, the Commission finds that TracFone has demonstrated that “consideration of the facts or arguments relied on is required in the public interest.”

    13. Based upon the record before us and for the reasons set forth below, the Commission finds that the overall benefits of requiring the retention of eligibility documentation outweigh the costs. The Commission thus revises § 54.410 of the rules to require retention of eligibility documentation. The Commission concludes that reversal of the eligibility documentation prohibition is in the public interest because it will improve the auditability and enforceability of our rules, significantly reduce falsified records, and provide certainty in the industry regarding the documents that need to be retained in the event of an audit or investigation.

    14. The Commission also finds that the concerns that led us to prohibit such retention in 2012, while still relevant, are largely overshadowed by the enormous benefits of requiring ETCs to retain eligibility documentation. For example, while the Commission is still concerned with the privacy and security of subscriber information, most ETCs themselves argue that there are IT and access security measures that can be taken to minimize the risks associated with maintaining sensitive subscriber eligibility documentation. In fact, in the General Accounting Office (GAO)'s recent report on the Lifeline Program, the ETCs interviewed reiterated their comments that subscriber information can be protected using multiple measures such as, but not limited to, firewalls and other boundary protections to prevent unauthorized access, authentication requirements for users, and usage restrictions for authorized users. Furthermore, while there still will be an additional burden on ETCs to retain eligibility documentation, the majority of ETCs contend that the burden is worth the benefits to the program and the Commission agrees. The Commission finds that the burdens of retention can be mitigated with electronic storage capabilities and the Commission concludes that the burden is outweighed by the benefits to the integrity of the program. While the Commission seeks comment on establishing a national verifier for the program, overall, the Commission finds that the Fund will be better protected, if at this time, ETCs are required to both retain and present the eligibility documentation to the Commission or USAC and that the revised rules will prevent significant waste, fraud, and abuse in the Lifeline program.

    15. Retention of Documentation Used in the NLAD Resolution Processes. For the reasons set forth above, the Commission revises § 54.404 of the rules and also require ETCs to retain documentation that was reviewed to verify subscriber information for the NLAD dispute resolution process. The NLAD dispute resolution process requires ETCs to review additional documentation to verify the identity or information of a subscriber who has failed the third-party identification verification, and address or age check for the NLAD. All but one of the comments received support TracFone's position that ETCs should be allowed to retain documents reviewed for NLAD processes. In addition to the record support for this action, the Commission also finds that there is overlap between the documents reviewed by ETCs for the NLAD dispute resolution process and the eligibility documents listed in § 54.410. Furthermore, the Commission's rules on record retention mandate that ETCs retain documents demonstrating compliance with federal Lifeline requirements.

    16. Therefore the Commission revises §§ 54.404 and 54.410 of the Commission's rules and requires that all ETCs retain documentation demonstrating subscriber income-based or program-based eligibility for participation in the Lifeline program for the purposes of production during audits or investigations or to the extent required by NLAD processes, including the dispute resolution processes that require verification of identity, address, or age of subscribers. The Commission reminds ETCs that pursuant to Section 222 of the Act, they have a duty to protect “the confidentiality of proprietary information” of customers. In this context, this includes all documentation submitted by a consumer or collected by an ETC to determine a consumer's eligibility for Lifeline service, as well as all personally identifiable information contained therein.

    17. The Act's requirement that such practices be “just and reasonable,” also imposes a duty on ETCs related to document retention security practices. Accordingly, the Commission expects ETCs to live up to the assurances made in their comments in this proceeding that they can take appropriate measures to protect this data. In particular, the Commission expects that, at a minimum, ETCs must employ the following practices to secure any subscriber information that is stored on a computer connected to a network: firewalls and boundary protections; protective naming conventions; user authentication requirements; and usage restrictions, to protect the confidentiality of consumers' proprietary personal information retained for this or other allowable purposes. However, if the facts warrant further investigation, the Commission will still evaluate the security measures employed by ETCs on a case by case basis.

    18. The Commission sought comment on extending to ten years the record retention requirement generally in the 2012 Lifeline FNPRM. The Commission does not take action on that proposal at this time. Therefore, Lifeline providers must retain documentation demonstrating compliance with the Commission's rules for three years. Documentation required by §§ 54.404(b)(11), 54.410(b), 54.410(c), 54.410(d) and (f) must be retained for as long as the subscriber receives Lifeline service from the ETC, but no less than three calendar years. Documents covered under §§ 54.404(b)(11), 54.410(b), and 54.410(c) are those documents in existence as of the effective date of this rule.

    19. Finally, given the Commission's decision in the Second Report and Order to limit Lifeline support to ETCs directly serving Lifeline customers, the Commission also amends § 54.417 to require non-ETCs that have provided Lifeline service through resale to retain records establishing compliance with state and federal rules for at least three calendar years. Non-ETCs should also retain documentation required by §§ 54.404(b)(11), 54.410(b), 54.410(c), 54.410(d) and (f) for as long as the subscriber receives Lifeline service from the ETC, but no less than three calendar years. Such retention will allow the Commission to verify non-ETCs' past compliance with the Lifeline rules.

    III. Second Report and Order A. Establishing a Uniform Snapshot Date Going Forward

    20. In the 2011 Lifeline NPRM, the Commission proposed to codify a rule that would require all ETCs to report partial or pro-rata dollar amounts when claiming reimbursement for Lifeline subscribers who received service for less than a month. The Commission reasoned that since ETCs are able to bill customers on a partial month basis, they should also be able to tell if a customer was a Lifeline subscriber for the full month of requested support.

    21. The majority of comments received in response to the 2011 Lifeline NPRM opposed such a requirement and raised arguments regarding significant resources and cost involved if the Commission mandated pro-rata support reporting. For example, commenters explained that fundamental changes to systems, such as programming updates, additional storage requirements, and/or creating new internal IT systems may be necessary to comply with such a requirement. The commenters noted that the Commission should not assume that ETC billing systems could readily implement pro-rata support calculations. In contrast, commenters noted that the system of using a single snapshot date to calculate support amounts would alleviate the need for partial support requests. Some commenters noted that the creation of the database, which would track the number of days that subscribers received service and when they were activated and deactivated, could solve the issue permanently.

    22. After reviewing the comments received, the Commission declines to adopt our proposal to require ETCs to calculate partial month support amounts. As the current FCC Form 497 does not collect pro-rata support requests, our actions today do not affect ETCs' FCC Form 497 filings currently pending with USAC.

    23. Instead of requiring pro-rata support requests, at this time, the Commission revises § 54.407 of its rules to require ETCs to use a uniform snapshot date to request reimbursement from USAC for the provision of Lifeline support. As the commenters state, the Commission agrees that it is possible that subscribers who initiate service may offset those who terminate service mid-month. The Commission finds, therefore, that a uniform snapshot date will reduce waste in the program as effectively as partial support reporting would have done, but at much lower administrative and compliance cost to ETCs. The Commission also finds that a uniform snapshot date will be efficient for USAC to administer and will ultimately ease future changes to reimbursement processes if, for example, the Commission adopts proposals herein to reimburse based on the NLAD.

    24. Following the 2012 Lifeline Reform Order, USAC encouraged ETCs to select a single “snapshot date” during the month (e.g., the 15th of every month) to determine the number of eligible consumers for which it would seek reimbursement for that month. As a result, the snapshot dates vary from ETC to ETC. The Commission now decides that ETCs should all use the same snapshot date to determine the number of Lifeline subscribers served in a given month and report that month to USAC on the FCC Form 497. The Commission concludes that a snapshot date will produce substantial benefits. First, a uniform snapshot date will reduce the risk that two ETCs receive full support for providing service for the same subscriber in the same calendar month. Second, a uniform snapshot date will make it easier for USAC to adopt uniform audit procedures. Third, a uniform snapshot date will help ease the transition to a reimbursement process that calculates support based on the number of subscribers contained in the NLAD. Given the industry support and comment around the establishment of a snapshot date, compliance with the Commission's rules will be high and the administrative costs associated will be low. To promote efficiency and ease of administration, the Commission revises § 54.407 and directs ETCs to take a snapshot of their subscribers on the first day of the month.

    25. Therefore, within 180 days of the effective date of this 2nd R&O, ETCs should transition to using the first day of the month as the snapshot date. Such a transition period is appropriate to ensure that ETCs have sufficient time to make whatever changes are necessary to their billing systems to take a snapshot on the first day of the month. In the interim, ETCs should use the same snapshot date of their choice from month to month.

    B. Resale of Retail Lifeline Supported Services

    26. The Commissions next attacks a potential source of waste and abuse in the Lifeline program by addressing issues raised by the Commission in the 2012 Lifeline FNPRM pertaining to resold Lifeline services. The Commission now finds that only ETCs providing Lifeline service directly to the consumer may seek reimbursement from the Lifeline program for the service provided. The Commission revises §§ 54.201, 54.400, 54.401, and 54.407 to reflect this change. The Commission will no longer provide any Lifeline reimbursement to carriers for any wholesale services to resellers, and the Commission therefore forebear, to the extent discussed herein, from the incumbent LECs' obligation under section 251(c)(4) to offer their Lifeline services to resellers.

    27. By way of background, section 251(c)(4) of the Communications Act of 1934 as amended, states that incumbent LECs have the duty “to offer for resale at wholesale rates any telecommunications service that the carrier provides at retail to subscribers who are not telecommunications carriers.” In 1997, to encourage competition in the Lifeline market, the Commission concluded that resellers “could obtain Lifeline service at wholesale rates that include the Lifeline support amounts and could pass these discounts through to qualifying low-income consumers.” In its 2004 Lifeline Report and Order, the Commission required non-ETCs that provide Lifeline-discounted service to eligible consumers through resold retail service arrangements with the incumbent LECs to comply with all Lifeline/Link Up requirements, including certification and verification of subscribers. As of February 2014, there are approximately 46,281 lines offered to resellers for which incumbent LECs are seeking reimbursement.

    28. In the 2012 Lifeline Reform Order, the Commission expressed concerns that permitting ETCs and non-ETCs to offer Lifeline-discounted service through resale of retail Lifeline service posed risks to the Fund. In particular, the Commission was concerned with the possibility of over-recovery by both wholesalers and resellers seeking reimbursement from USAC for the same Lifeline subscriber and the lack of direct oversight of non-ETC resellers by state and federal regulators. In the case where both the wholesaler and the reseller are ETCs, there is currently no way for USAC to determine whether both the wholesaler and the reseller are seeking reimbursement for the same subscriber. Meanwhile, while non-ETC resellers do not pose the same risk of duplicate discounts, they may not be complying with federal and state Lifeline rules. Even though non-ETC resellers must retain records to demonstrate compliance with the Lifeline program rules, the Commission found it difficult to oversee compliance “where the entity with the retail relationship with the consumer is not interfacing directly” with regulators.

    29. In light of these concerns, the Commission sought comment in the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking section of the Lifeline Reform Order on a variety of proposals to reform or eliminate the resale of retail wireline Lifeline service. First, the Commission proposed to restrict reimbursement from the Fund to ETCs when they provide Lifeline-discounted service directly to retail customers. Under this proposal, if an ETC wholesaler provides retail telecommunications service to an ETC reseller for resale, only the ETC reseller can seek reimbursement from the Fund—the wholesaler ETC would not be permitted to take from the Fund on behalf of the reseller ETC. Second, the Commission proposed to eliminate incumbent LECs' obligation to resell retail Lifeline-discounted service. The Commission sought comment on whether it should eliminate this requirement by either reinterpreting the section 251(c)(4) resale obligation to exclude the resale of retail Lifeline-discounted service or by forbearing from the incumbent LECs' obligation to offer retail Lifeline service via section 251(c)(4) resale.

    30. Commenters overwhelmingly support eliminating the resale of retail Lifeline service. Parties agree that only ETCs that provide Lifeline-discounted service directly to subscribers should be eligible to receive Lifeline support from the Fund. Commenters also support the Commission's proposal to eliminate the incumbent LECs' obligation to resell retail Lifeline-discounted services. A few commenters suggest that if the Commission were to eliminate the resale of Lifeline retail service, it should provide a transitional period during which non-ETC providers could attempt to obtain ETC status.

    31. To promote transparency and to protect the Fund from potential waste and abuse, the Commission now decides that only ETCs that provide Lifeline service directly to subscribers will be eligible for reimbursement from the Fund. The Commission will no longer provide reimbursement to incumbent LECs who sell Lifeline-discounted service to resellers. Since the Commission will not provide reimbursement to incumbent LECs for this purpose, the Commission now forbears from requiring incumbent LECs to resell retail Lifeline-discounted service under section 251 of the Act. The Commission's revised rules will effectively eliminate non-ETC resellers. Therefore, the Commission establishes a 180-day transition period following the effective date of this order during which non-ETC resellers may either obtain ETC status or cease providing Lifeline-discounted service after complying with state and federal rules on discontinuance. Following the 180-day period described below, the Commission will no longer provide any reimbursement to carriers for any wholesale Lifeline services sold to resellers. In the transition period section below, the Commission discusses potential issues such as amendments to interconnection agreements that may need to be resolved during the transition period and potential solutions for ETCs who need more time.

    32. Reimbursement Restricted to ETCs Directly Serving Lifeline Subscribers. The Commission first determines that ETCs can only receive reimbursement from the Fund in instances where they provide Lifeline service directly to subscribers. Pursuant to the revised rules, only a single entity that is registered with USAC will provide Lifeline service, maintain the relationship with the subscriber, seek reimbursement from the Fund, and be subject to state and Commission oversight. The Commission's decision to only reimburse ETCs that directly serve subscribers is consistent with the Lifeline rules, the majority of which deal with the ETC-subscriber relationship.

    33. In addition, this restriction will further protect the Fund from the risk of two ETCs seeking funds for the same subscriber. There is currently no way for USAC to determine if a particular service for which an ETC wholesaler sought reimbursement is also being used as a basis for reimbursement by the reseller ETC. When an incumbent LEC provides Lifeline retail service for resale, it provides the retail service for the “wholesale rate” discount minus the Lifeline discount. The incumbent LEC then seeks reimbursement from the Fund for that line to make itself whole for the Lifeline discount passed-through to the ETC reseller. Regardless of any contractual agreements that the wholesaler and ETC reseller may have for the reseller to forgo reimbursement from the Fund for that same line, the reseller could seek reimbursement from the Fund. Currently, there is no way for USAC or the incumbent LEC wholesaler to determine if the reseller has in fact sought reimbursement for the same subscriber. The NLAD is not able or intended to detect duplicate reimbursement by the wholesaler and reseller because the incumbent LEC's wholesale “subscriber” in this instance is the reseller, not an end-user. The NLAD only shows the reseller and all its customers (i.e., end-users). For the foregoing reasons, the Commission amends §§ 54.201, 54.400, 54.401(a), and 54.407 of the rules to clarify that the ETC must have a direct service relationship with the qualifying low-income consumer to receive reimbursement from the Fund.

    34. Forbearance from the Obligation to Provide Lifeline at Resale. Since the Commission will no longer provide reimbursement to the incumbent LEC for reselling retail Lifeline services, consistent with Section 10 of the Act, the Commission forbears the incumbent LECs' obligation to provide Lifeline-discounted service at resale pursuant to Section 251(c)(4) of the Act.

    35. Under Section 10(a)(1) of the Act, the Commission must consider whether enforcement of the duty to offer Lifeline-discounted services at wholesale rates is necessary to ensure that the charges, practices, classifications, or regulations are just and reasonable and not unjustly or unreasonably discriminatory. Even if incumbent LECs are not allowed to offer for resale Lifeline-discounted services at wholesale rates, low-income consumers will still be able to receive Lifeline-supported services from both wireless and wireline providers. The percentage of resold lines by incumbent LECs in the Lifeline program is minimal, and wireline CETCs have a variety of methods to offer service without using resold Lifeline-discounted service, such as, but not limited to, the use of unbundled network elements (UNEs), wholesale telecommunications service provided at generally available commercial terms, as well as non-Lifeline section 251 resale. The Commission therefore concludes that applying the Section 251(c)(4) requirements in this context is not necessary to ensure that the charges, practices, classifications, and regulations for Lifeline service are just and reasonable.

    36. Section 10(a)(2) requires the Commission to consider whether requiring incumbent LECs to offer Lifeline-discounted services at wholesale under Section 251(c)(4) is necessary to protect consumers. Even absent that requirement, low-income consumers will continue to have access to Lifeline-supported services from numerous providers. Furthermore, the Commission notes that, unlike ETCs, non-ETC resellers are not scrutinized by federal and state regulators prior to market entry. Non-ETC resellers are not required to obtain approval from the Bureau of their compliance plan nor, by definition, are they required to obtain an ETC designation. Therefore, following forbearance, consumers will be better protected because all providers of Lifeline will be required to comply with state and Federal Lifeline rules and be subject to direct USAC oversight. Requiring incumbent LECs to offer Lifeline-discounted services at wholesale rates is therefore not necessary for the protection of consumers.

    37. Finally, Section 10(a)(3) requires that the Commission considers whether enforcement of section (c)(4) resale requirements for Lifeline-discounted service is in the public interest. The Commission has made clear its ongoing commitment to fight waste, fraud, and abuse in the Lifeline program. The Commission finds that it is in the public interest that Lifeline-discounted service be provided only by ETCs who have the federal or state designations. Furthermore, by limiting reimbursements to carriers that are directly subject to regulation as ETCs, the Commission will reduce the risk of waste, fraud, and abuse of the program, which is in the public interest. Section 10(b) requires that the analysis under Section 10(a)(3) include consideration of whether forbearance would promote competitive market conditions. Although the Commission does not believe that forbearance will necessarily increase competition in the market for Lifeline-discounted services, the Commission finds that the market for Lifeline services is already competitive and will remain so following forbearance. Incumbent LECs, wireline CETCs utilizing means other than Lifeline resale to serve their subscribers, and wireless ETCs offer Lifeline consumers significant competitive choice.

    38. Transition Period. To provide for an orderly transition period for ETCs, non-ETCs and their consumers to move away from Lifeline resale services, the changes in this order will go into effect 180 days after the effective date of this Order. The comments received noted that 180 days would be sufficient time for incumbent LEC wholesalers to make the necessary changes to tariffs, interconnection agreements, and other regulatory filings. Forbearance here may trigger change of law provisions in ILEC interconnection agreements. The Commission reminds ILECs and CETCs to negotiate in good faith to make appropriate amendments for such agreements. Therefore, starting 180 days after the effective date of this Order, incumbent LECs no longer have an obligation under Section 251(c)(4) of the Act to offer for resale their Lifeline-discounted retail offerings. Also, starting at that time, USAC will no longer reimburse incumbent LECs for their Section 251(c)(4) services. Thereafter, USAC should only reimburse ETCs who directly provide Lifeline service to qualified low-income consumers, in accordance with all of the Lifeline program rules. This transition time will allow affected ETCs an opportunity to utilize other means of providing Lifeline service (e.g., UNEs or non-Lifeline resale service). In order to participate in the Lifeline program, all ETCs and newly designated ETCs must be in compliance with all of our rules, including but not limited to, providing subscriber information into the NLAD, obtaining annual subscriber certifications, and de-enrolling subscribers in accordance with our rules.

    C. Defining the “Former Reservations in Oklahoma”

    39. Background. In this section, the Commission departs from the staff's prior informal guidance and interpret the “former reservations in Oklahoma” within § 54.400(e) of the Commission's rules as the geographic boundaries reflected in the Historical Map of Oklahoma 1870-1890 (Oklahoma Historical Map). The Commission is convinced that this map, provided to us by BIA, is illustrative of the “former reservations in Oklahoma.” To ensure all impacted parties have sufficient time to transition to the new map, the Commission provides a transition period of 180 days from the effective date of this Order. During this time, the Commission will actively engage in consultation with the Tribal Nations of Oklahoma on the operational functionality and use of the Oklahoma Historical Map at the local and individual Tribal Nation level.

    40. When the Commission first adopted Tribal Lifeline and Link Up support, it adopted a rule that stated consumers were eligible to receive enhanced support if they lived on “Tribal lands.” In further defining the term “Tribal lands,” the Commission stated in the 2000 Tribal Order that the term included “any federally recognized Tribe's reservation, Pueblo, or Colony, including former reservations in Oklahoma,” as well as “near reservation” areas. The Commission, however, has not formally defined the boundaries of the “former reservations in Oklahoma” for the purpose of the Lifeline rules, and there are inconsistencies between various maps at the state and Federal level that define the boundaries of the former reservations in Oklahoma. In practice, USAC has distributed Tribal support in Oklahoma based on a map displayed on the OCC's Web site, which was based upon informal guidance provided by FCC staff in 2004.

    41. There is a vast and complicated legal history of Tribal property in the United States which involves “the whole range of ownership forms known to our legal system.” A large part of Oklahoma was once Indian Territory, and as the Tribal Nations of Oklahoma experienced many changes to their land tenures, Tribal lands in Oklahoma are an excellent example of that intricate legal history. The Commission's actions comport with the complex legal history within Oklahoma and uphold our government-to-government responsibilities to the Oklahoma Tribal Nations, while also improving administration of the Lifeline program and distribution of enhanced Tribal support.

    42. Discussion. To provide efficiency, transparency, and clarity within the Lifeline program, and to ensure that universal service funds are distributed as intended, the Commission departs from the staff's prior informal guidance and interpret the “former reservations in Oklahoma” as the boundaries reflected in the Oklahoma Historical Map 180 days after the effective date of this Order. The Commission concludes that interpreting the “former reservations in Oklahoma” in § 54.400(e) of the Commission's rules based on the Oklahoma Historical Map will provide clarity to both Tribal consumers and ETCs, and will also be an accurate reflection of Tribal lands in Oklahoma.

    43. The Tribal lands of Oklahoma and “all land titles in Oklahoma stem from treaties with Indian tribes and acts of Congress vitalizing treaty provisions.” The U.S. Department of Interior, through the delegated authorities of its Bureau of Indian Affairs, is the lead federal agency with respect to delivering federal services based on provisions of those treaties with Tribal Nations, as well as the administration of the federal government's trust relationship and responsibilities to Tribal Nations and Indians with respect to land titles and management. For these and other purposes, BIA maintains two Regional Offices in Oklahoma—the Southern Plains Regional Office in Anadarko, OK, and the Eastern Oklahoma Regional Office in Muscogee, OK, both of which have Land, Titles, and Records Departments. In inter-agency coordination, the Commission's Office of Native Affairs and Policy (ONAP) and the Bureau received the Oklahoma Historical Map from the Land, Titles, and Records Department of the Southern Plains Regional Office. Therefore, to better address the difficult administrative and eligibility issues in Oklahoma law, and for the purpose of determining eligibility for enhanced Tribal Lifeline and Link Up support in the state of Oklahoma, the Commission identifies and relies upon the Oklahoma Historical Map to determine the boundaries of “former reservations in Oklahoma” for purposes of § 54.400(e) of the Commission's rules.

    44. The Commission recognizes that, given the Department of Interior's jurisdictional authority over many administrative trust responsibilities with respect to the Tribal lands in Oklahoma, adopting the Oklahoma Historical Map to identify the “former reservations in Oklahoma” is a more accurate representation of “former reservations in Oklahoma” than the map referenced on OCC's Web site. The Oklahoma Historical Map is a clear and historically accurate representation of “former reservations in Oklahoma” at a time prior to Oklahoma statehood in 1907. While the Commission concludes here that it was not unreasonable for USAC, the OCC, and ETCs to rely on the OCC Web site map for disbursing Tribal support consistent with prior informal staff guidance, going forward, the Commission believes the Oklahoma Historical Map provides more clarity to both Tribal consumers and Lifeline providers to ensure that funds are allocated for the intended purpose of assisting those living on Tribal lands, which typically have lower adoption rates for telecommunications services.

    45. In addition, the Oklahoma Historical Map represents actual former reservation boundaries prescribed by Acts of Congress—both laws and treaties—as opposed to areas identified for statistical purposes reflected in the Census Bureau's American Indians and Alaska Natives (AIAN) map of the Oklahoma Tribal Statistical Areas (OTSAs). Further, our inter-agency work with BIA reveals that the Oklahoma Historical Map is a more accurate representation of the individual former reservations of each Tribal Nation in Oklahoma. The Commission believes, therefore, that it is proper and accurate to adopt the Oklahoma Historical Map, and that the use of this map for purposes of the Lifeline program, which is a household based program that relies in large part on addresses for determining eligibility, will facilitate verification that consumers are in fact residing on Tribal lands. To further improve on these efforts, the Commission also seeks comment above on other ways for Lifeline providers to more accurately verify that consumers are residing on Tribal lands.

    46. This clarification will result in a reduction in the geographical scope of “former reservations in Oklahoma.” In basic terms, use of the Oklahoma Historical Map will now result in:

    • Exclusion from the “former reservations in Oklahoma” the region within central Oklahoma historically and commonly known as the “Unassigned Lands”—referred to in the Oklahoma Historical Map as “Oklahoma: Opened to settlement April 22, 1889”—which includes the majority of the area within the Oklahoma City municipal boundaries;

    • Exclusion of the “Cherokee Outlet;”

    • Continued exclusion from the “former reservations in Oklahoma” the “Panhandle,” also historically known as the “Cimarron Strip,” or “Neutral Strip,”—reflected in the Oklahoma Historical Map as the “Public Lands Strip”—which presently encompasses Cimarron, Texas, and Beaver counties; and

    • Continued exclusion of the southwest corner of the state lying within the western bank of the North Fork of the Red River—referred to in the map as “Greer County: Disputed Territory”—which presently encompasses Greer, Harmon, and Jackson counties and includes the portion of Beckham county south of the North Fork of the Red River.

    47. Transition Period. To ensure all impacted parties have sufficient time to transition to the Oklahoma Historical Map, the Commission provides a transition period of 180 days from the effective date of this Order. While the Commission believes that the Oklahoma Historical Map provides an accurate reflection of the “former reservations in Oklahoma” under the Commission's rules, it adopts this map and directs the Bureau, in coordination with the Office of Native Affairs and Policy to actively seek government-to-government consultation with Tribal Nations in Oklahoma on the efficacy and appropriateness of other maps and geospatial information assets developed both by federal agencies and individual Tribal Nations. The Commission recognizes that, as rightful governmental entities, Tribal Nations are an important source regarding the efficacy of the mapped boundaries of their lands. The Commission directs the Commission's Office of Native Affairs and Policy to coordinate with the Bureau, and other Commission Bureaus and Offices, as appropriate, to engage in government-to-government consultation with the Tribal Nations in Oklahoma for the specific purposes of ensuring the accuracy and operational effectiveness of the boundaries as presented in the Oklahoma Historical Map.

    48. If, based on these consultations, the Bureau finds that the Oklahoma Historical Map should be departed from in any way to better reflect the complex legal history of the “former reservations in Oklahoma” for purposes of interpreting § 54.400(e) of the rules, the Commission directs the Bureau, in coordination with ONAP, to recommend to the Commission an order based on that consultation that would—if adopted by the Commission—provide a further revised interpretation of the appropriate boundaries of the former reservations in Oklahoma. The Commission anticipates that any such recommended order would also provide impacted parties an appropriate additional transition period prior to the new interpretation of the boundaries being applied.

    49. The Commission also seeks the input of the OCC to ensure that the OCC and Tribal Nations in Oklahoma can work with ETCs to implement a seamless transition to the newly interpreted boundaries, which will impact those that receive enhanced Lifeline support under the boundaries that previously had been used in practice, but will no longer receive enhanced support under the Oklahoma Historical Map's boundaries. The Commission will work closely with Tribal Nations, the OCC, ETCs, and consumers to make this transition as seamless as possible. The Commission directs ETCs to work with the OCC to ensure Lifeline consumers have sufficient information regarding how the Oklahoma Historical Map's boundaries will affect them, so that consumers can adjust to any changes or alterations to the Lifeline service plans to which they currently subscribe.

    D. Conserving Audit Resources

    50. The Commission waives, on its own motion, the Commission's requirement in § 54.420(b) for two ETCs in order to maximize the use of audit program resources. The Commission has directed USAC to establish an audit program for all of the universal service programs, including Lifeline. As part of the audit program, in the 2012 Lifeline Reform Order, the Commission required USAC to conduct audits of new Lifeline carriers within the first year of their participation in the program, after the carrier completes its first annual recertification of its subscriber base. The Commission specifically declined to adopt a minimum dollar threshold for those audits and instead directed USAC to conduct a more limited audit of smaller newly established Lifeline providers.

    51. USAC has indicated that two first-year Lifeline providers that must be audited pursuant to the Commission's rule in the near future have one subscriber within the scope of the audit. The carriers are Glandorf Telephone Company in Ohio and NEP Cellcorp Inc. in Pennsylvania. The Commission finds that these carriers have so few subscribers that an audit is not warranted and, in fact, would not provide a sufficient sample size for the auditor to infer compliance with Commission rules. The Commission also finds that delaying the audits until they are more useful will avoid wasting the resources of the Commission, of USAC and of these two providers. As such, the Commission waives the requirement that the audits for Glandorf Telephone Company and NET Cellcorp be conducted within a year of their receiving Lifeline support for their customers. The Commission finds that a waiver of our rules is in the public interest in these cases to more effectively and efficiently implement the Commission's overall audit strategy. The Commission directs OMD to work with USAC to obtain the data necessary for OMD to determine when these carriers should undergo an audit to evaluate their compliance with Commission rules, and USAC should conduct the audit at that time. In particular, OMD's determination should consider, based on the totality of the circumstances, when a quality audit of the relevant Lifeline provider would be useful considering, at a minimum, whether the Lifeline provider has a sufficient scope of Lifeline operations to provide a sufficient sample size for the auditor to infer compliance with Commission rules.

    52. The Commission also delegates to OMD the authority to waive the deadline for audits under § 54.420(b) of the Commission's rules as necessary in the future for similarly situated Lifeline providers, that is, those Lifeline providers for which OMD determine, based on a totality of the circumstances, that the first year audit specified in current § 54.420(b) of the rules would not be useful. The Commission emphasizes that it did not intend these Lifeline providers to avoid being audited, but OMD should grant appropriate waivers to delay the audits until such time as it would be possible to conduct a quality and cost-effective audit, as discussed above. The Commission seeks comment on revising our rules accordingly.

    IV. Procedural Matters A. Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    53. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA), the Commission has prepared a Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA) relating to this Order on Reconsideration and Second Report and Order of the possible significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities by the policies and rules proposed in the 2012 Lifeline FNPRM in WC Docket Nos. 12-23, 11-42, 03-109, and CC Docket No. 96-45. The Commission sought written public comment on the proposals in the 2012 Lifeline FNPRM, including comment on the IRFA.

    B. Paperwork Reduction Act Analysis

    54. This Order on Reconsideration and Second Report and Order contains new information collection requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), Public Law 104-13. It will be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review under section 3507(d) of the PRA. OMB, the general public, and other Federal agencies are invited to comment on the revised information collection requirements contained in this proceeding. In addition, we note that pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107-198, the Commission previously sought specific comment on how it might further reduce the information collection burden on small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.

    C. Need for, and Objectives of, the Final Rule

    55. The Commission is required by section 254 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, to promulgate rules to implement the universal service provisions of section 254. The Lifeline program was implemented in 1985 in the wake of the 1984 divestiture of AT&T. On May 8, 1997, the Commission adopted rules to reform its system of universal service support mechanisms so that universal service is preserved and advanced as markets move toward competition. When the Commission overhauled the Lifeline program in its 2012 Lifeline Reform Order, it substantially strengthened protections against waste, fraud and abuse; improved program administration and accountability; improved enrollment and consumer disclosures; and took preliminary steps to modernize the Lifeline program for the 21st Century. In light of the realities of the 21st Century communications marketplace, the Commission must overhaul the Lifeline program to ensure it complies with the statutory directive to provide consumers in all regions of the nation, including low-income consumers, with access to telecommunications and information services. At the same time, the Commission must ensure that adequate controls are in place to implement any further changes to the Lifeline program to guard against waste, fraud and abuse. In this Order on Recon and 2nd R&O, the Commission thus seeks to rebuild the current framework of the Lifeline program and continue our effort to modernize the Lifeline program so that all consumers can utilize advanced networks. In doing so, the Commission adopts several rules that may potentially economically impact a substantial number of small entities. Specifically, the Commission: (1) Requires eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) to retain documentation demonstrating subscriber income-based or program-based eligibility and (2) limits reimbursement under the Lifeline program to ETCs for services provided directly to low-income consumers.

    56. Retention of Eligibility Documentation. In the 2012 Lifeline Reform Order, the Commission adopted uniform eligibility criteria for the federal Lifeline program. Consumers must qualify based on either their income or their participation in at least one of a number of federal assistance programs. The Commission required ETCs to examine certain documentation to verify a consumer's program or income based eligibility, but prohibited ETCs from retaining copies of the documentation. In this Order on Recon, the Commission requires that all Lifeline ETCs retain documentation demonstrating subscriber income-based or program-based eligibility, including the dispute resolution processes which require verification of identity, address, or age of subscribers. The Commission finds that the concerns that led us to prohibit such retention in 2012, while still relevant, are largely overshadowed by the enormous benefits of allowing ETCs to retain eligibility documentation. ETCs themselves contend that the burden on ETCs is worth the benefits to the program and that there are information technology and access security measures that can be taken to minimize the risks associated with maintaining sensitive subscriber eligibility documentation. Further, the new rules allowing retention will significantly reduce falsified records and will provide certainty in the industry regarding the documents that need to be retained in the event of an audit or investigation. The Commission also finds that the burdens of retention can be mitigated with electronic storage capabilities. Overall, the universal service fund will be better protected if ETCs are required to both retain and present the eligibility documentation to the Commission or the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), the Administrator of the Lifeline program, and the new rules will prevent significant waste, fraud and abuse in the Lifeline program.

    57. Resale of Retail Lifeline Supported Services. In the 2012 Lifeline Reform Order, the Commission expressed concerns that permitting ETCs and non-ETCs to offer Lifeline-discounted service through resale of retail Lifeline service posed risks to the Fund. In particular, the Commission was concerned with the possibility of over-recovery by both wholesalers and resellers seeking reimbursement from USAC for the same Lifeline subscriber and the lack of direct oversight of non-ETC resellers by state and federal regulators. In light of these concerns, the Commission sought comment in the 2012 Lifeline FNPRM on a variety of proposals to reform or eliminate the resale of retail wireline Lifeline service. In this Second Report and Order, in order to promote transparency and to protect the Fund from potential waste and abuse, the Commission now decides that only ETCs that provide Lifeline service directly to subscribers will be eligible for reimbursement from the Fund.

    D. Summary of Significant Issues Raised by Public Comments to the IRFA

    58. No comments specifically addressed the IRFA.

    E. Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to Which the Final Rules May Apply

    59. The RFA directs agencies to provide a description of and, where feasible, an estimate of the number of small entities that may be affected by the proposed rules, if adopted. The RFA generally defines the term “small entity” as having the same meaning as the terms “small business,” “small organization,” and “small governmental jurisdiction.” In addition, the term “small business” has the same meaning as the term “small business concern” under the Small Business Act. A small business concern is one that: (1) Is independently owned and operated; (2) is not dominant in its field of operation; and (3) satisfies any additional criteria established by the Small Business Administration (SBA). Nationwide, there are a total of approximately 28.2 million small businesses, according to the SBA. A “small organization” is generally “any not-for-profit enterprise which is independently owned and operated and is not dominant in its field.”

    60. Nationwide, as of 2007, there were approximately 1.6 million small organizations. The term “small governmental jurisdiction” is defined generally as “governments of cities, towns, townships, villages, school districts, or special districts, with a population of less than fifty thousand.” Census Bureau data for 2007 indicate that there were 87,476 local governmental jurisdictions in the United States. We estimate that, of this total, 84,506 entities were “small governmental jurisdictions.” Thus, we estimate that most governmental jurisdictions are small.

    61. Wireline Providers

    62. Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (Incumbent LECs). Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a small business size standard specifically for incumbent local exchange services. The appropriate size standard under SBA rules is for the category Wired Telecommunications Carriers. Under that size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. Census Bureau data for 2007 show that there were 3,188 firms in this category that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 3,144 had employment of 999 or fewer and 44 firms had employment of 1,000 or more. According to Commission data, 1,307 carriers reported that they were incumbent local exchange service providers. Of these 1,307 carriers, an estimated 1,006 have 1,500 or fewer employees and 301 have more than 1,500 employees. Thus under this category and the associated small business size standard, the majority of these incumbent local exchange service providers can be considered small.

    63. Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (Competitive LECs), Competitive Access Providers (CAPs), Shared-Tenant Service Providers, and Other Local Service Providers. Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a small business size standard specifically for these service providers. The appropriate category for this service is the category Wired Telecommunications Carriers. Under the category of Wired Telecommunications Carriers, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. Census Bureau data for 2007 show that there were 3,188 firms in this category that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 3,144 had employment of 999 or fewer and 44 firms had 1,000 employees or more. Thus under this category and the associated small business size standard, the majority of these Competitive LECs, CAPs, Shared-Tenant Service Providers, and Other Local Service Providers can be considered small entities. According to Commission data, 1,442 carriers reported that they were engaged in the provision of either competitive local exchange services or competitive access provider services. Of these 1,442 carriers, an estimated 1,256 have 1,500 or fewer employees and 186 have more than 1,500 employees. In addition, 17 carriers have reported that they are Shared-Tenant Service Providers, and all 17 are estimated to have 1,500 or fewer employees. In addition, 72 carriers have reported that they are Other Local Service Providers, seventy of which have 1,500 or fewer employees and two have more than 1,500 employees. Consequently, the Commission estimates that most providers of competitive local exchange service, competitive access providers, Shared-Tenant Service Providers, and Other Local Service Providers are small entities that may be affected by rules adopted pursuant to the Notice.

    64. Interexchange Carriers. Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a small business size standard specifically for providers of interexchange services. The appropriate category for Interexchange Carriers is the category Wired Telecommunications Carriers. Under that size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. Census Bureau data for 2007, which now supersede data from the 2002 Census, show that there were 3,188 firms in this category that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 3,144 had employment of 999 or fewer, and 44 firms had had employment of 1,000 employees or more. Thus under this category and the associated small business size standard, the majority of these Interexchange carriers can be considered small entities. According to Commission data, 359 companies reported that their primary telecommunications service activity was the provision of interexchange services. Of these 359 companies, an estimated 317 have 1,500 or fewer employees and 42 have more than 1,500 employees. Consequently, the Commission estimates that the majority of interexchange service providers are small entities that may be affected by rules adopted pursuant to the Notice.

    65. Operator Service Providers (OSPs). Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a small business size standard specifically for operator service providers. The appropriate category for Operator Service Providers is the category Wired Telecommunications Carriers. Under that size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. Under that size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. Census Bureau data for 2007 show that there were 3,188 firms in this category that operated for the entire year. Of the total, 3,144 had employment of 999 or fewer, and 44 firms had had employment of 1,000 employees or more. Thus under this category and the associated small business size standard, the majority of these interexchange carriers can be considered small entities. According to Commission data, 33 carriers have reported that they are engaged in the provision of operator services. Of these, an estimated 31 have 1,500 or fewer employees and 2 have more than 1,500 employees. Consequently, the Commission estimates that the majority of OSPs are small entities that may be affected by the Commission's proposed action.

    66. Local Resellers. The SBA has developed a small business size standard for the category of Telecommunications Resellers. Under that size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. Census data for 2007 show that 1,523 firms provided resale services during that year. Of that number, 1,522 operated with fewer than 1,000 employees and one operated with more than 1,000. Thus under this category and the associated small business size standard, the majority of these local resellers can be considered small entities. According to Commission data, 213 carriers have reported that they are engaged in the provision of local resale services. Of these, an estimated 211 have 1,500 or fewer employees and two have more than 1,500 employees. Consequently, the Commission estimates that the majority of local resellers are small entities that may be affected by rules adopted pursuant to the Notice.

    67. Toll Resellers. The SBA has developed a small business size standard for the category of Telecommunications Resellers. Under that size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. Census data for 2007 show that 1,523 firms provided resale services during that year. Of that number, 1,522 operated with fewer than 1,000 employees and one operated with more than 1,000. Thus under this category and the associated small business size standard, the majority of these resellers can be considered small entities. According to Commission data, 881 carriers have reported that they are engaged in the provision of toll resale services. Of these, an estimated 857 have 1,500 or fewer employees and 24 have more than 1,500 employees. Consequently, the Commission estimates that the majority of toll resellers are small entities that may be affected by the Commission's action.

    68. Pre-paid Calling Card Providers. Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a small business size standard specifically for pre-paid calling card providers. The appropriate size standard under SBA rules is for the category Telecommunications Resellers. Under that size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. Census data for 2007 show that 1,523 firms provided resale services during that year. Of that number, 1,522 operated with fewer than 1,000 employees and one operated with more than 1,000. Thus under this category and the associated small business size standard, the majority of these pre-paid calling card providers can be considered small entities. According to Commission data, 193 carriers have reported that they are engaged in the provision of pre-paid calling cards. Of these, an estimated all 193 have 1,500 or fewer employees and none have more than 1,500 employees. Consequently, the Commission estimates that the majority of pre-paid calling card providers are small entities that may be affected by rules adopted pursuant to the Notice.

    69. 800 and 800-Like Service Subscribers. Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a small business size standard specifically for 800 and 800-like service (“toll free”) subscribers. The appropriate category for these services is the category Telecommunications Resellers. Under that category and corresponding size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. Census data for 2007 show that 1,523 firms provided resale services during that year. Of that number, 1,522 operated with fewer than 1,000 employees and one operated with more than 1,000. Thus under this category and the associated small business size standard, the majority of resellers in this classification can be considered small entities. To focus specifically on the number of subscribers than on those firms which make subscription service available, the most reliable source of information regarding the number of these service subscribers appears to be data the Commission collects on the 800, 888, 877, and 866 numbers in use. According to the Commission's data, as of September 2009, the number of 800 numbers assigned was 7,860,000; the number of 888 numbers assigned was 5,888,687; the number of 877 numbers assigned was 4,721,866; and the number of 866 numbers assigned was 7,867,736. The Commission does not have data specifying the number of these subscribers that are not independently owned and operated or have more than 1,500 employees, and thus are unable at this time to estimate with greater precision the number of toll free subscribers that would qualify as small businesses under the SBA size standard. Consequently, the Commission estimates that there are 7,860,000 or fewer small entity 800 subscribers; 5,888,687 or fewer small entity 888 subscribers; 4,721,866 or fewer small entity 877 subscribers; and 7,867,736 or fewer small entity 866 subscribers. We do not believe 800 and 800-Like Service Subscribers will be affected by the Commission's proposed rules, however we choose to include this category and seek comment on whether there will be an effect on small entities within this category.

    70. Wireless Carriers and Service Providers

    71. Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellite). This industry comprises establishments engaged in operating and maintaining switching and transmission facilities to provide communications via the airwaves. Establishments in this industry have spectrum licenses and provide services using that spectrum, such as cellular phone services, paging services, wireless Internet access, and wireless video services. The appropriate size standard under SBA rules is for the category Wireless Telecommunications Carriers. The size standard for that category is that a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. For this category, census data for 2007 show that there were 11,163 establishments that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 10,791 establishments had employment of 999 or fewer employees and 372 had employment of 1000 employees or more. Thus under this category and the associated small business size standard, the Commission estimates that the majority of wireless telecommunications carriers (except satellite) are small entities that may be affected by the Commission's proposed action.

    72. Wireless Communications Services. This service can be used for fixed, mobile, radiolocation, and digital audio broadcasting satellite uses. The Commission defined “small business” for the wireless communications services auction as an entity with average gross revenues of $40 million for each of the three preceding years, and a “very small business” as an entity with average gross revenues of $15 million for each of the three preceding years. The SBA has approved these definitions. The Commission auctioned geographic area licenses in the WCS service. In the auction, which commenced on April 15, 1997 and closed on April 25, 1997, seven bidders won 31 licenses that qualified as very small business entities, and one bidder won one license that qualified as a small business entity.

    73. Satellite Telecommunications Providers. Two economic census categories address the satellite industry. The first category has a small business size standard of $32.5 million or less in average annual receipts, under SBA rules. The second has a size standard of $32.5 million or less in annual receipts.

    74. The category of Satellite Telecommunications “comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing telecommunications services to other establishments in the telecommunications and broadcasting industries by forwarding and receiving communications signals via a system of satellites or reselling satellite telecommunications.” Census Bureau data for 2007 show that 512 Satellite Telecommunications firms that operated for that entire year. Of this total, 464 firms had annual receipts of under $10 million, and 18 firms had receipts of $10 million to $24,999,999. Consequently, the Commission estimates that the majority of Satellite Telecommunications firms are small entities that might be affected by the Commission's action.

    75. The second category, i.e. “All Other Telecommunications” comprises “establishments primarily engaged in providing specialized telecommunications services, such as satellite tracking, communications telemetry, and radar station operation. This industry also includes establishments primarily engaged in providing satellite terminal stations and associated facilities connected with one or more terrestrial systems and capable of transmitting telecommunications to, and receiving telecommunications from, satellite systems. Establishments providing Internet services or voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) services via client-supplied telecommunications connections are also included in this industry.” The SBA has developed a small business size standard for All Other Telecommunications, which consists of all such firms with gross annual receipts of $32.5 million or less. For this category, Census Bureau data for 2007 show that there were a total of 2,383 firms that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 2,347 firms had annual receipts of under $25 million and 12 firms had annual receipts of $25 million to $49,999,999. Consequently, the Commission estimates that the majority of All Other Telecommunications firms are small entities that might be affected by the Commission's action.

    76. Common Carrier Paging. As noted, since 2007 the Census Bureau has placed paging providers within the broad economic census category of Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellite).

    77. In addition, in the Paging Second Report and Order, 64 FR 12169, March 11, 1999, the Commission adopted a size standard for “small businesses” for purposes of determining their eligibility for special provisions such as bidding credits and installment payments. A small business is an entity that, together with its affiliates and controlling principals, has average gross revenues not exceeding $15 million for the preceding three years. The SBA has approved this definition. An initial auction of Metropolitan Economic Area (“MEA”) licenses was conducted in the year 2000. Of the 2,499 licenses auctioned, 985 were sold. Fifty-seven companies claiming small business status won 440 licenses. A subsequent auction of MEA and Economic Area (“EA”) licenses was held in the year 2001. Of the 15,514 licenses auctioned, 5,323 were sold. One hundred thirty-two companies claiming small business status purchased 3,724 licenses. A third auction, consisting of 8,874 licenses in each of 175 EAs and 1,328 licenses in all but three of the 51 MEAs, was held in 2003. Seventy-seven bidders claiming small or very small business status won 2,093 licenses.

    78. Currently, there are approximately 74,000 Common Carrier Paging licenses. According to the most recent Trends in Telephone Service, 291 carriers reported that they were engaged in the provision of “paging and messaging” services. Of these, an estimated 289 have 1,500 or fewer employees and two have more than 1,500 employees. We estimate that the majority of common carrier paging providers would qualify as small entities under the SBA definition.

    79. Wireless Telephony. Wireless telephony includes cellular, personal communications services, and specialized mobile radio telephony carriers. As noted, the SBA has developed a small business size standard for Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellite). Under the SBA small business size standard, a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. According to the 2010 Trends Report, 413 carriers reported that they were engaged in wireless telephony. Of these, an estimated 261 have 1,500 or fewer employees and 152 have more than 1,500 employees. We have estimated that 261 of these are small under the SBA small business size standard.

    80. Internet Service Providers

    81. The 2007 Economic Census places these firms, whose services might include voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), in either of two categories, depending on whether the service is provided over the provider's own telecommunications facilities (e.g., cable and DSL ISPs), or over client-supplied telecommunications connections (e.g., dial-up ISPs). The former are within the category of Wired Telecommunications Carriers, which has an SBA small business size standard of 1,500 or fewer employees. The latter are within the category of All Other Telecommunications, which has a size standard of annual receipts of $32.5 million or less.

    F. Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other Compliance Requirements for Small Entities

    82. Several of the Commission's rule changes will result in additional recordkeeping requirements for small entities. For those several rule changes, the Commission has determined that the benefit the rule change will bring for the program outweighs the burden of the increased recordkeeping requirement. The rule changes are listed below.

    Retention of Eligibility Documentation. Requiring all Lifeline ETCs to retain documentation demonstrating subscriber income-based or program-based eligibility, including the dispute resolution processes which require verification of identity, address, or age of subscribers increases recordkeeping requirements and potential costs for ETCs. The Commission finds that any concerns related to the risk of retaining sensitive subscriber eligibility documentation and the burden on ETCs is outweighed by the enormous benefits of allowing ETCs to retain eligibility documentation, such as: Significantly reducing falsified records; providing certainty in the industry regarding the documents that need to be retained in the event of an audit or investigation; and further reducing waste, fraud and abuse in the Lifeline program.

    Resale of Retail Lifeline Supported Services. Limiting reimbursement for Lifeline service to ETCs directly serving customers may increase compliance requirements for ETCs by potentially requiring ETCs to revise their interconnections agreements and other regulatory filings in order to comply with our rules. For non-ETCs, it may increase compliance requirements by requiring them to become ETCs to receive Lifeline support necessitating the completion of additional paperwork for those non-ETCs seeking ETC designations. By ensuring that only ETCs that provide Lifeline service directly to subscribers are eligible for reimbursement from the Fund, the Commission can also better promote transparency. Ultimately, the Commission can more efficiently and effectively protect the USF and prevent significant waste, fraud and abuse in the Lifeline program.

    G. Steps Taken To Minimize the Significant Economic Impact on Small Entities, and Significant Alternatives Considered

    83. The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant, specifically small business, alternatives that it has considered in reaching its proposed approach, which may include the following four alternatives (among others): “(1) The establishment of differing compliance or reporting requirements or timetables that take into account the resources available to small entities; (2) the clarification, consolidation, or simplification of compliance and reporting requirements under the rule for such small entities; (3) the use of performance rather than design standards; and (4) an exemption from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for such small entities.”

    84. This rulemaking could impose minimal additional burdens on small entities. The Commission has considered alternatives to the rulemaking changes that increase recordkeeping and documentation requirements for small entities. The Commission finds that any minimal burdens on small entities are outweighed by the enormous benefits of the rule changes. Further, the Commission has encouraged ETCs to take advantage of electronic storage of documents to mitigate the additional expense of now having to retain documentation demonstrating subscriber income-based or program-based eligibility, including the dispute resolution processes.

    H. Congressional Review Act

    85. The Commission will include a copy of the Order on Reconsideration and Second Report and Order in a report to be sent to Congress and the Government Accountability Office pursuant to the Congressional Review Act. In addition, this document will be sent to Congress and the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the SBA pursuant to the SBREFA.

    V. Ordering Clauses

    86. ACCORDINGLY, IT IS ORDERED, that pursuant to the authority contained in Sections 1 through 4, 201 through 205, 254, 303(r), and 403 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 151-154, 201-205, 254, 303(r), and 403, and Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, 47 U.S.C. 1302, this Second Report and Order is effective August 13, 2015, except to the extent expressly addressed below.

    87. It is further ordered, that pursuant to the authority contained in Sections 1 through 4, 201 through 205, 254, 303(r), and 403 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 151-154, 201-205, 254, 303(r), and 403, and Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, 47 U.S.C. 1302, part 54 of the Commission's rules, 47 CFR part 54, is amended, as set forth below, subject to OMB approval of the subject information collection requirements, which will become effective upon announcement by the Commission in the Federal Register of OMB approval.

    88. It is further ordered that, pursuant to the authority contained in sections 1 through 5 and 254 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 151-155 and 254, and § 1.429 of the Commission's rules, 47 CFR 1.429, the Petition for Reconsideration and Clarification filed by TracFone Wireless, Inc. on April 2, 2012 and Supplement to its Petition for Reconsideration and Clarification filed on May 30, 2012 are granted in part to the extent provided herein, and otherwise remain pending.

    89. It is further ordered that the Commission shall send a copy of the Order on Reconsideration and Second Report and Order to Congress and to the Government Accountability Office pursuant to the Congressional Review Act, see 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A).

    90. It is further ordered that the Commission's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, shall send a copy of the Order on Reconsideration and Second Report and Order, including the Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration.

    List of Subjects in 47 CFR Part 54

    Communications common carriers, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Telecommunications, Telephone.

    Federal Communications Commission. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary. Final Rules

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal Communications Commission amends 47 CFR part 54 as follows:

    PART 54—UNIVERSAL SERVICE 1. The authority citation for part 54 is revised to read as follows: Authority:

    Sections 1, 4(i), 5, 201, 205, 214, 219, 220, 254, 303(r), and 403 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and section 706 of the Communications Act of 1996, as amended; 47 U.S.C. 151, 154(i), 155, 201, 205, 214, 219, 220, 254, 303(r), 403, and 1302 unless otherwise noted.

    2. Amend § 54.201 by revising paragraph (a)(1) to read as follows:
    § 54.201 Definition of eligible telecommunications carriers generally.

    (a) * * *

    (1) Only eligible telecommunications carriers designated under this subpart shall receive universal service support distributed pursuant to subparts D and E of this part. Eligible telecommunications carriers designated under this subpart for purposes of receiving support only under subpart E of this part must provide Lifeline service directly to qualifying low-income consumers.

    3. Amend § 54.400 by adding paragraph (k) to read as follows:
    § 54.400 Terms and definitions.

    (k) Direct service. As used in this subpart, direct service means the provision of service directly to the qualifying low-income consumer.

    4. Amend § 54.401 by revising paragraph (a) introductory text to read as follows:
    § 54.401 Lifeline defined.

    (a) As used in this subpart, Lifeline means a non-transferable retail service offering provided directly to qualifying low-income consumers:

    5. Amend § 54.404 by adding paragraph (b)(11) to read as follows:
    § 54.404 The National Lifeline Accountability Database.

    (b) * * *

    (11) All eligible telecommunications carriers must securely retain subscriber documentation that the ETC reviewed to verify subscriber eligibility, for the purposes of production during audits or investigations or to the extent required by NLAD processes, which require, inter alia, verification of eligibility, identity, address, and age.

    6. Amend § 54.407 by revising paragraphs (a) and (b) to read as follows:
    § 54.407 Reimbursement for offering Lifeline.

    (a) Universal service support for providing Lifeline shall be provided to an eligible telecommunications carrier, based on the number of actual qualifying low-income consumers it serves directly as of the first day of the month.

    (b) For each qualifying low-income consumer receiving Lifeline service, the reimbursement amount shall equal the federal support amount, including the support amounts described in § 54.403(a) and (c). The eligible telecommunications carrier's universal service support reimbursement shall not exceed the carrier's rate for that offering, or similar offerings, subscribed to by consumers who do not qualify for Lifeline.

    7. Amend § 54.410 by revising paragraph (b)(1)(ii), by removing paragraph (b)(1)(iii), by adding paragraph (b)(2)(iii), by revising paragraph (c)(1)(ii), by removing paragraph (c)(1)(iii), and by adding paragraph (c)(2)(iii).

    The revisions and additions read as follows:

    § 54.410 Subscriber eligibility determination and certification.

    (b) * * *

    (1) * * *

    (ii) Must securely retain copies of documentation demonstrating a prospective subscriber's income-based eligibility for Lifeline consistent with § 54.417.

    (2) * * *

    (iii) An eligible telecommunications carrier must securely retain all information and documentation provided by the state Lifeline administrator or other state agency consistent with § 54.417.

    (c) * * *

    (1) * * *

    (ii) Must securely retain copies of the documentation demonstrating a subscriber's program-based eligibility for Lifeline services, consistent with § 54.417.

    (2) * * *

    (iii) An eligible telecommunications carrier must securely retain all information and documentation provided by the state Lifeline administrator or other state agency consistent with § 54.417.

    8. Revise § 54.417 to read as follows:
    § 54.417 Recordkeeping requirements.

    (a) Eligible telecommunications carriers must maintain records to document compliance with all Commission and state requirements governing the Lifeline and Tribal Link Up program for the three full preceding calendar years and provide that documentation to the Commission or Administrator upon request. Eligible telecommunications carriers must maintain the documentation required in §§ 54.404 (b)(11), 54.410(b), 54.410 (c), 54.410(d), and 54.410(f) for as long as the subscriber receives Lifeline service from that eligible telecommunications carrier, but for no less than the three full preceding calendar years.

    (b) Prior to the effective date of the rules, if an eligible telecommunications carrier provides Lifeline discounted wholesale services to a reseller, it must obtain a certification from that reseller that it is complying with all Commission requirements governing the Lifeline and Tribal Link Up program. Beginning on the effective date of the rules, the eligible telecommunications carrier must retain the reseller certification for the three full preceding calendar years and provide that documentation to the Commission or Administrator upon request.

    (c) Non-eligible telecommunications carrier resellers that purchased Lifeline discounted wholesale services to offer discounted services to low-income consumers prior to the effective date of the rules, must maintain records to document compliance with all Commission requirements governing the Lifeline and Tribal Link Up program for the three full preceding calendar years and provide that documentation to the Commission or Administrator upon request.

    [FR Doc. 2015-17186 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 622 [Docket No. 140819687-5583-02] RIN 0648-BE40 Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Region; Framework Amendment AGENCY:

    National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    In this final rule, NMFS implements management measures described in Framework Amendment 2 to the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for the Coastal Migratory Pelagic (CMP) Resources in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Region (Framework Amendment 2), as prepared and submitted by the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Councils (Councils). This final rule removes the unlimited commercial trip limit for Spanish mackerel in Federal waters off the east coast of Florida that began on weekdays beginning December 1 of each year. The modifications to the commercial trip limit system better fit the current fishery conditions and catch limits for Atlantic migratory group Spanish mackerel in the southern zone, while increasing social and economic benefits of the CMP fishery.

    DATES:

    This final rule is effective August 13, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Framework Amendment 2 to the FMP, which includes an environmental assessment and a regulatory impact review, is available from www.regulations.gov or the Southeast Regional Office Web site at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Karla Gore, NMFS Southeast Regional Office, telephone: 727-824-5305, or email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The CMP fishery of the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) includes Spanish mackerel and is managed under the CMP FMP. The FMP was prepared by the Councils and implemented through regulations at 50 CFR part 622 under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act).

    On April 9, 2015, NMFS published a proposed rule for the framework action and requested public comment (80 FR 19056). The proposed rule and the framework action set forth additional rationale for the actions contained in this final rule. A summary of the actions implemented by this final rule is provided below.

    Management Measure Contained in This Final Rule

    This final rule modifies the commercial trip limit system for Atlantic migratory group Spanish mackerel. Changes in fishery conditions, such as an increase of the commercial annual catch limit (ACL), have necessitated modifications to some elements of the trip limit system.

    This final rule streamlines the commercial trip limit system for the Atlantic migratory group Spanish mackerel by eliminating the unlimited weekday Spanish mackerel trip limit in Federal waters off the eastern coast of Florida. The final rule retains the adjusted quota, which provides a buffer to help prevent the commercial sector from exceeding the commercial ACL.

    This final rule establishes a commercial trip limit of 3,500 lb (1,588 kg) for Spanish mackerel in Federal waters offshore of South Carolina, Georgia, and eastern Florida, which is the area established as the southern zone by the final rule implementing Amendment 20B to the FMP (80 FR 4216, January 27, 2015). When 75 percent of the adjusted southern zone quota (2,417,330 lb (1,096,482 kg)) is met or is projected to be met, the commercial trip limit will be reduced to 1,500 lb (680 kg). When 100 percent of the adjusted southern zone commercial quota is met or projected to be met, the commercial trip limit will be reduced to 500 lb (227 kg) until the end of the fishing year or until the southern zone commercial quota is met or is projected to be met, at which time the commercial sector in the southern zone would be closed to harvest of Spanish mackerel. The modified system of trip limits described above would control harvest more effectively.

    Comments and Responses

    NMFS received two comments on the proposed rule, one from a fishing organization that expressed support of the proposed action, and one from a Federal agency that stated it had no comment. NMFS did not receive any substantive comments on the proposed rule.

    Classification

    The Regional Administrator, Southeast Region, NMFS determined that this final rule is necessary for the conservation and management of Atlantic migratory group Spanish mackerel and is consistent with Framework Amendment 2, the FMP, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable laws.

    This final rule has been determined to not be significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866.

    The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration during the proposed rule stage that this rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The factual basis for this determination was published in the proposed rule and is not repeated here. NMFS received no comments regarding the certification and has not received any new information that would affect its determination. As a result, a final regulatory flexibility analysis was not required and none was prepared.

    List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 622

    Annual catch limit, Fisheries, Fishing, Gulf of Mexico, Quotas, South Atlantic, Spanish mackerel.

    Dated: July 8, 2015. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 622 is amended as follows:

    PART 622—FISHERIES OF THE CARIBBEAN, GULF OF MEXICO, AND SOUTH ATLANTIC 1. The authority citation for part 622 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    2. In § 622.385, paragraphs (b)(1) and (2) are revised to read as follows:
    § 622.385 Commercial trip limits.

    (b) * * *

    (1) Atlantic migratory group. The following trip limits apply to vessels for which commercial permits for Spanish mackerel have been issued, as required under § 622.370(a)(3).

    (i) Northern zone. Spanish mackerel in or from the EEZ may not be possessed on board or landed in a day from a vessel for which a permit for Spanish mackerel has been issued, as required under § 622.370(a)(3), in amounts exceeding 3,500 lb (1,588 kg).

    (ii) Southern zone. Spanish mackerel in or from the EEZ may not be possessed on board or landed in a day from a vessel for which a permit for Spanish mackerel has been issued, as required under § 622.370(a)(3)—

    (A) From March 1 until 75 percent of the adjusted quota for the southern zone has been reached or is projected to be reached, in amounts exceeding 3,500 lb (1,588 kg).

    (B) After 75 percent of the adjusted quota for the southern zone has been reached or is projected to be reached, in amounts exceeding 1,500 lb (680 kg).

    (C) After 100 percent of the adjusted quota for the southern zone has been reached or is projected to be reached, and until the end of the fishing year or the southern zone's quota has been reached or is projected to be reached, in amounts exceeding 500 lb (227 kg). See § 622.384(e) for limitations regarding Atlantic migratory group Spanish mackerel after the southern zone's quota is reached.

    (2) For the purpose of paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this section, the adjusted quota for the southern zone is 2,417,330 lb (1,096,482 kg). The adjusted quota for the southern zone is the quota for the Atlantic migratory group Spanish mackerel southern zone reduced by an amount calculated to allow continued harvest of Atlantic migratory group Spanish mackerel at the rate of 500 lb (227 kg) per vessel per day for the remainder of the fishing year after the adjusted quota is reached. Total commercial harvest in the southern zone is still subject to the southern zone quota and accountability measures. By filing a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, the Assistant Administrator will announce when 75 percent and 100 percent of the adjusted quota are reached or are projected to be reached.

    [FR Doc. 2015-17192 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    80 134 Tuesday, July 14, 2015 Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY 10 CFR Part 430 [Docket Number EERE-2014-BT-STD-0048] RIN 1904-AD37 Appliance Standards and Rulemaking Federal Advisory Committee: Notice of Intent To Establish the Central Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps Working Group To Negotiate a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) for Energy Conservation Standards AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice of intent and announcement of public meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE or the Department) is giving notice of a public meeting and that DOE intends to establish a negotiated rulemaking working group under the Appliance Standards and Rulemaking Federal Advisory Committee (ASRAC) in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) and the Negotiated Rulemaking Act (NRA) to negotiate proposed amended energy conservation standards for central air conditioners and heat pumps standards and to discuss certain aspects of the proposed Federal test procedure. The purpose of the working group will be to discuss and, if possible, reach consensus on a proposed rule for amended energy conservation standards for central air conditioners and heat pumps and provide recommendations to DOE regarding certain aspects of the proposed test procedure, as authorized by the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) of 1975, as amended. The working group will consist of representatives of parties having a defined stake in the outcome of the proposed standards and amended test procedure, and will consult as appropriate with a range of experts on technical issues. The working group is expected to make a concerted effort to negotiate a final term sheet by December 31, 2015 and no extensions will be considered.

    DATES:

    DOE will host a public meeting and webinar on Wednesday, August 26, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in Washington, DC.

    Written comments and applications (i.e., cover letter and resume) to be appointed as members of the working group are welcome and should be submitted by July 28, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    U.S. Department of Energy, Forrestal Building, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585, Room 8E-089. Individuals will also have the opportunity to participate by webinar. To register for the webinar and receive call-in information, please register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7200494210145268481.

    Interested person may submit comments and an application for membership (including a cover letter and resume), identified by docket number EERE-2014-BT-STD-0048 any of the following methods:

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

    2. Email: [email protected] Include docket number EERE-2014-BT-STD-0048 in the subject line of the message.

    3. Mail: Ms. Brenda Edwards, U.S. Department of Energy, Building Technologies Office, Mailstop EE-5B, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585-0121. If possible, please submit all items on a compact disc (CD), in which case it is not necessary to include printed copies.

    4. Hand Delivery/Courier: Ms. Brenda Edwards, U.S. Department of Energy, Building Technologies Program, 950 L'Enfant Plaza SW., Suite 600, Washington, DC 20024. Telephone: (202) 586-2945. If possible, please submit all items on a CD, in which case it is not necessary to include printed copies.

    No telefacsimilies (faxes) will be accepted.

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

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    John Cymbalsky, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Building Technologies (EE-2J), 950 L'Enfant Plaza SW., Washington, DC 20024. Phone: 202-287-1692. Email: [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Authority II. Background III. Proposed Negotiating Procedures IV. Comments Requested V. Public Participation VI. Approval of the Office of the Secretary I. Authority

    DOE is announcing its intent to negotiate proposed energy conservation standards and certain aspects of the test procedure for central air conditioners and heat pumps, under the authority of sections 563 and 564 of the NRA (5 U.S.C. 561-570, Pub. L. 104-320). The regulation of central air conditioners and heat pumps standards and test procedure amendments that DOE is proposing to develop under a negotiated rulemaking will be developed under the authority of EPCA, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 6311(1) and 42 U.S.C. 6291 et seq.

    II. Background

    As required by the NRA, DOE is giving notice that it is establishing a working group under ASRAC to discuss certain test procedure amendments and potentially develop proposed energy conservation standards for central air conditioners and heat pumps.

    A. Negotiated Rulemaking

    DOE has decided to use the negotiated rulemaking process to discuss certain test procedure amendments and develop proposed energy conservation standards for central air conditioners and heat pumps. The primary reason for using the negotiated rulemaking process for this product is that stakeholders strongly support a consensual rulemaking effort. DOE believes such a regulatory negotiation process will be less adversarial and better suited to resolving complex technical issues. An important virtue of negotiated rulemaking is that it allows expert dialog that is much better than traditional techniques at getting the facts and issues right and will result in a proposed rule that will effectively reflect Congressional intent.

    A regulatory negotiation will enable DOE to engage in direct and sustained dialog with informed, interested, and affected parties when drafting the regulation, rather than obtaining input during a public comment period after developing and publishing a proposed rule. Gaining this early understanding of all parties' perspectives allows DOE to address key issues at an earlier stage of the process, thereby allowing more time for an iterative process to resolve issues. A rule drafted by negotiation with informed and affected parties is expected to be potentially more pragmatic and more easily implemented than a rule arising from the traditional process. Such rulemaking improvement is likely to provide the public with the full benefits of the rule while minimizing the potential negative impact of a proposed regulation conceived or drafted without the full prior input of outside knowledgeable parties. Because a negotiating working group includes representatives from the major stakeholder groups affected by or interested in the rule, the number of public comments on the proposed rule may be decreased. DOE anticipates that there will be a need for fewer substantive changes to a proposed rule developed under a regulatory negotiation process prior to the publication of a final rule.

    B. The Concept of Negotiated Rulemaking

    Usually, DOE develops a proposed rulemaking using Department staff and consultant resources. Congress noted in the NRA, however, that regulatory development may “discourage the affected parties from meeting and communicating with each other, and may cause parties with different interests to assume conflicting and antagonistic positions * * *.” 5 U.S.C. 561(2)(2). Congress also stated that “adversarial rulemaking deprives the affected parties and the public of the benefits of face-to-face negotiations and cooperation in developing and reaching agreement on a rule. It also deprives them of the benefits of shared information, knowledge, expertise, and technical abilities possessed by the affected parties.” 5 U.S.C. 561(2)(3).

    Using negotiated rulemaking to develop a proposed rule differs fundamentally from the Department centered process. In negotiated rulemaking, a proposed rule is developed by an advisory committee or working group, chartered under FACA, 5 U.S.C. App. 2, composed of members chosen to represent the various interests that will be significantly affected by the rule. The goal of the advisory committee or working group is to reach consensus on the treatment of the major issues involved with the rule. The process starts with the Department's careful identification of all interests potentially affected by the rulemaking under consideration. To help with this identification, the Department publishes a notice of intent such as this one in the Federal Register, identifying a preliminary list of interested parties and requesting public comment on that list. Following receipt of comments, the Department establishes an advisory committee or working group representing the full range of stakeholders to negotiate a consensus on the terms of a proposed rule. Representation on the advisory committee or working group may be direct; that is, each member may represent a specific interest, or may be indirect, such as through trade associations and/or similarly-situated parties with common interests. The Department is a member of the advisory committee or working group and represents the Federal government's interests. The advisory committee or working group chair is assisted by a neutral mediator who facilitates the negotiation process. The role of the mediator, also called a facilitator, is to apply proven consensus-building techniques to the advisory committee or working group process.

    After an advisory committee or working group reaches consensus on the provisions of a proposed rule, the Department, consistent with its legal obligations, uses such consensus as the basis of its proposed rule, which then is published in the Federal Register. This publication provides the required public notice and provides for a public comment period. Other participants and other interested parties retain their rights to comment, participate in an informal hearing (if requested), and request judicial review. DOE anticipates, however, that the pre-proposal consensus agreed upon by the advisory committee or working group will narrow any issues in the subsequent rulemaking.

    C. Proposed Rulemaking for Energy Conservation Standards Regarding Central Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps

    The NRA enables DOE to establish an advisory committee or working group if it is determined that the use of the negotiated rulemaking process is in the public interest. DOE intends to develop Federal regulations that build on the depth of experience accrued in both the public and private sectors in implementing standards and programs.

    DOE has determined that the regulatory negotiation process will provide for obtaining a diverse array of in-depth input, as well as an opportunity for increased collaborative discussion from both private-sector stakeholders and government officials who are familiar with the test procedures and energy efficiency of central air conditioners and heat pumps.

    D. Department Commitment

    In initiating this regulatory negotiation process to develop amendments to the test procedure and energy conservation standards for central air conditioners and heat pumps, DOE is making a commitment to provide adequate resources to facilitate timely and successful completion of the process. This commitment includes making the process a priority activity for all representatives, components, officials, and personnel of the Department who need to be involved in the rulemaking, from the time of initiation until such time as a final rule is issued or the process is expressly terminated. DOE will provide administrative support for the process and will take steps to ensure that the advisory committee or working group has the dedicated resources it requires to complete its work in a timely fashion. Specifically, DOE will make available the following support services: Properly equipped space adequate for public meetings and caucuses; logistical support; word processing and distribution of background information; the service of a facilitator; and such additional research and other technical assistance as may be necessary.

    To the maximum extent possible consistent with the legal obligations of the Department, DOE will use the consensus of the advisory committee or working group as the basis for the rule the Department proposes for public notice and comment.

    E. Negotiating Consensus

    As discussed above, the negotiated rulemaking process differs fundamentally from the usual process for developing a proposed rule. Negotiation enables interested and affected parties to discuss various approaches to issues rather than asking them only to respond to a proposal developed by the Department. The negotiation process involves a mutual education of the various parties on the practical concerns about the impact of standards. Each advisory committee or working group member participates in resolving the interests and concerns of other members, rather than leaving it up to DOE to evaluate and incorporate different points of view.

    A key principle of negotiated rulemaking is that agreement is by consensus of all the interests. Thus, no one interest or group of interests is able to control the process. The NRA defines consensus as the unanimous concurrence among interests represented on a negotiated rulemaking committee or working group, unless the committee or working group itself unanimously agrees to use a different definition. 5 U.S.C. 562. In addition, experience has demonstrated that using a trained mediator to facilitate this process will assist all parties, including DOE, in identifying their real interests in the rule, and thus will enable parties to focus on and resolve the important issues.

    III. Proposed Negotiating Procedures A. Key Issues for Negotiation

    The following issues and concerns will underlie the work of the Negotiated Rulemaking Committee for Central Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps:

    • Certain aspects of the proposed test procedure, including key test procedure conditions, as applicable; and

    • Proposed energy conservation standards for central air conditioners and heat pumps, which may be nationally or regionally based.

    To examine the underlying issues outlined above, and others not yet articulated, all parties in the negotiation will need DOE to provide data and an analytic framework complete and accurate enough to support their deliberations. DOE's analyses must be adequate to inform a prospective negotiation—for example, a notice of data availability containing a preliminary Technical Support Document or equivalent must be available and timely.

    B. Formation of Working Group

    A working group will be formed and operated in full compliance with the requirements of FACA and in a manner consistent with the requirements of the NRA. DOE has determined that the working group not exceeds 25 members. The Department believes that more than 25 members would make it difficult to conduct effective negotiations. DOE is aware that there are many more potential participants than there are membership slots on the working group. The Department does not believe, nor does the NRA contemplate, that each potentially affected group must participate directly in the negotiations; nevertheless, each affected interest can be adequately represented. To have a successful negotiation, it is important for interested parties to identify and form coalitions that adequately represent significantly affected interests. To provide adequate representation, those coalitions must agree to support, both financially and technically, a member of the working group whom they choose to represent their interests.

    DOE recognizes that when it considers adding covered products and establishing energy efficiency standards for residential products and commercial equipment, various segments of society may be affected in different ways, in some cases producing unique “interests” in a proposed rule based on income, gender, or other factors. The Department will pay attention to providing that any unique interests that have been identified, and that may be significantly affected by the proposed rule, are represented.

    FACA also requires that members of the public have the opportunity to attend meetings of the full committee and speak or otherwise address the committee during the public comment period. In addition, any member of the public is permitted to file a written statement with the advisory committee. DOE plans to follow these same procedures in conducting meetings of the working group.

    C. Interests Involved/Working Group Membership

    DOE anticipates that the working group will comprise no more than 25 members who represent affected and interested stakeholder groups, at least one of whom must be a member of the ASRAC. As required by FACA, the Department will conduct the negotiated rulemaking with particular attention to ensuring full and balanced representation of those interests that may be significantly affected by the proposed rule governing rules of residential central air conditioners energy conservation standards. Section 562 of the NRA defines the term interest as “with respect to an issue or matter, multiple parties which have a similar point of view or which are likely to be affected in a similar manner.” Listed below are parties the Department to date has identified as being “significantly affected” by a proposed rule regarding the energy efficiency of residential central air conditioners.

    • The Department of Energy • Trade Associations representing manufacturers of central air conditioners and heat pumps • Manufacturers of central air conditioners and heat pumps and component manufacturers and related suppliers • Distributors or contractors selling or installing central air conditioners and heat pumps • Utilities • Energy efficiency/environmental advocacy groups • Consumers

    One purpose of this notice of intent is to determine whether Federal regulations regarding central air conditioners and heat pumps will significantly affect interests that are not listed above. DOE invites comment and suggestions on its initial list of significantly affected interests.

    Members may be individuals or organizations. If the effort is to be fruitful, participants on the working group should be able to fully and adequately represent the viewpoints of their respective interests. This document gives notice of DOE's process to other potential participants and affords them the opportunity to request representation in the negotiations. Those who wish to be appointed as members of the working group, should submit a request to DOE, in accordance with the public participation procedures outlined in the DATES and ADDRESSES sections of this notice of intent. Membership of the working group is likely to involve:

    • Attendance at approximately eight (8), one (1) to two (2) day meetings (with the potential for two (2) additional one (1) or two (2) day meetings);

    • Travel costs to those meetings; and

    • Preparation time for those meetings.

    Members serving on the working group will not receive compensation for their services. Interested parties who are not selected for membership on the working group may make valuable contributions to this negotiated rulemaking effort in any of the following ways:

    • The person may request to be placed on the working group mailing list and submit written comments as appropriate.

    • The person may attend working group meetings, which are open to the public; caucus with his or her interest's member on the working group; or even address the working group during the public comment portion of the working group meeting.

    • The person could assist the efforts of a workgroup that the working group might establish.

    A working group may establish informal workgroups, which usually are asked to facilitate committee deliberations by assisting with various technical matters (e.g., researching or preparing summaries of the technical literature or comments on specific matters such as economic issues). Workgroups also might assist in estimating costs or drafting regulatory text on issues associated with the analysis of the costs and benefits addressed, or formulating drafts of the various provisions and their justifications as previously developed by the working group. Given their support function, workgroups usually consist of participants who have expertise or particular interest in the technical matter(s) being studied. Because it recognizes the importance of this support work for the working group, DOE will provide appropriate technical expertise for such workgroups.

    D. Good Faith Negotiation

    Every working group member must be willing to negotiate in good faith and have the authority, granted by his or her constituency, to do so. The first step is to ensure that each member has good communications with his or her constituencies. An intra-interest network of communication should be established to bring information from the support organization to the member at the table, and to take information from the table back to the support organization. Second, each organization or coalition therefore should designate as its representative a person having the credibility and authority to ensure that needed information is provided and decisions are made in a timely fashion. Negotiated rulemaking can require the appointed members to give a significant sustained for as long as the duration of the negotiated rulemaking. Other qualities of members that can be helpful are negotiating experience and skills, and sufficient technical knowledge to participate in substantive negotiations.

    Certain concepts are central to negotiating in good faith. One is the willingness to bring all issues to the bargaining table in an attempt to reach a consensus, as opposed to keeping key issues in reserve. The second is a willingness to keep the issues at the table and not take them to other forums. Finally, good faith includes a willingness to move away from some of the positions often taken in a more traditional rulemaking process, and instead explore openly with other parties all ideas that may emerge from the working group's discussions.

    E. Facilitator

    The facilitator will act as a neutral in the substantive development of the proposed standard. Rather, the facilitator's role generally includes:

    • Impartially assisting the members of the working group in conducting discussions and negotiations; and

    • Impartially assisting in performing the duties of the Designated Federal Official under FACA.

    F. Department Representative

    The DOE representative will be a full and active participant in the consensus building negotiations. The Department's representative will meet regularly with senior Department officials, briefing them on the negotiations and receiving their suggestions and advice so that he or she can effectively represent the Department's views regarding the issues before the working group. DOE's representative also will ensure that the entire spectrum of governmental interests affected by the standards rulemaking, including the Office of Management and Budget, the Attorney General, and other Departmental offices, are kept informed of the negotiations and encouraged to make their concerns known in a timely fashion.

    G. Working Group and Schedule

    After evaluating the comments submitted in response to this notice of intent and the requests for nominations, DOE will either inform the members of the working group that they have been selected or determine that conducting a negotiated rulemaking is inappropriate.

    The working group is expected to make a concerted effort to negotiate a final term sheet by December 31, 2015 without further option for extensions.

    DOE will advise working group members of administrative matters related to the functions of the working group before beginning. DOE will establish a meeting schedule based on the settlement agreement and produce the necessary documents so as to adhere to that schedule. While the negotiated rulemaking process is underway, DOE is committed to performing much of the same analysis as it would during a normal standards rulemaking process and to providing information and technical support to the working group.

    IV. Comments Requested

    DOE requests comments on which parties should be included in a negotiated rulemaking to develop draft language pertaining to the energy efficiency of residential central air conditioners and suggestions of additional interests and/or stakeholders that should be represented on the working group. All who wish to participate as members of the working group should submit a request for nomination to DOE.

    V. Public Participation

    Members of the public are welcome to observe the business of the meeting and, if time allows, may make oral statements during the specified period for public comment. To attend the meeting and/or to make oral statements regarding any of the items on the agenda, email [email protected] In the email, please indicate your name, organization (if appropriate), citizenship, and contact information. Please note that foreign nationals participating in the public meeting are subject to advance security screening procedures which require advance notice prior to attendance at the public meeting. If a foreign national wishes to participate in the public meeting, please inform DOE as soon as possible by contacting Ms. Regina Washington at (202) 586-1214 or by email: [email protected] so that the necessary procedures can be completed. Anyone attending the meeting will be required to present a government photo identification, such as a passport, driver's license, or government identification. Due to the required security screening upon entry, individuals attending should arrive early to allow for the extra time needed.

    Due to the REAL ID Act implemented by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recent changes regarding ID requirements for individuals wishing to enter Federal buildings from specific states and U.S. territories. Driver's licenses from the following states or territory will not be accepted for building entry and one of the alternate forms of ID listed below will be required.

    DHS has determined that regular driver's licenses (and ID cards) from the following jurisdictions are not acceptable for entry into DOE facilities: Alaska, Louisiana, New York, American Samoa, Maine, Oklahoma, Arizona, Massachusetts, Washington, and Minnesota.

    Acceptable alternate forms of Photo-ID include: U.S. Passport or Passport Card; An Enhanced Driver's License or Enhanced ID-Card issued by the states of Minnesota, New York or Washington (Enhanced licenses issued by these states are clearly marked Enhanced or Enhanced Driver's License); A military ID or other Federal government issued Photo-ID card.

    VI. Approval of the Office of the Secretary

    The Secretary of Energy has approved publication of today's notice of intent.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on June 30, 2015. Kathleen B. Hogan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17252 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2015-2461; Directorate Identifier 2013-NM-202-AD] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Airplanes AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

    SUMMARY:

    We propose to supersede Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2009-18-15 for all Airbus Model A300, A310, and A300 B4-600, B4-600R, and F4-600R series airplanes, and Model A300 C4-605R Variant F airplanes (collectively called Model A300-600 series airplanes). AD 2009-18-15 currently requires revising the Airworthiness Limitations section (ALS) of the Instructions for Continued Airworthiness (ICA) to require additional life limits and/or replacements for certain main landing gear and nose landing gear components. Since we issued AD 2009-18-15, we have determined that existing maintenance requirements and airworthiness limitations are inadequate to ensure the structural integrity of the airplane. This proposed AD would require revising the maintenance or inspection program to incorporate new maintenance requirements and airworthiness limitations. We are proposing this AD to prevent failure of certain system components, which could result in reduced structural integrity of the airplane.

    DATES:

    We must receive comments on this proposed AD by August 28, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may send comments by any of the following methods:

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

    Fax: (202) 493-2251.

    Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

    Hand Delivery: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    For service information identified in this proposed AD, contact Airbus SAS, Airworthiness Office—EAW, 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 Blagnac Cedex, France; telephone +33 5 61 93 36 96; fax +33 5 61 93 44 51; email [email protected]; Internet http://www.airbus.com.

    You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221.

    Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-2461; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this proposed AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Operations office (telephone (800) 647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dan Rodina, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; telephone 425-227-2125; fax 425-227-1149.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Comments Invited

    We invite you to send any written relevant data, views, or arguments about this proposed AD. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include “Docket No. FAA-2015-2461; Directorate Identifier 2013-NM-202-AD” at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this proposed AD. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this proposed AD based on those comments.

    We will post all comments we receive, without change, to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information you provide. We will also post a report summarizing each substantive verbal contact we receive about this proposed AD.

    Discussion

    On August 24, 2009, we issued AD 2009-18-15, Amendment 39-16011 (74 FR 48143, September 22, 2009). AD 2009-18-15 requires actions intended to address an unsafe condition for all Airbus Model A300, A310, and A300 B4-600, B4-600R, and F4-600R series airplanes, and Model A300 C4-605R Variant F airplanes (collectively called Model A300-600 series airplanes).

    Since we issued AD 2009-18-15, Amendment 39-16011 (74 FR 48143, September 22, 2009), we have determined that more restrictive maintenance requirements and airworthiness limitations are necessary.

    The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA Airworthiness Directive 2013-0248, dated October 14, 2013 (referred to after this as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for all Model A300, A310, and A300-600 series airplanes. The MCAI states:

    The airworthiness limitations for Airbus aeroplanes are currently published in Airworthiness Limitations Section (ALS) documents.

    The mandatory instructions and airworthiness limitations applicable to the Aging Systems Maintenance (ASM) are specified in Airbus A310 or A300-600 ALS Part 4 documents, which are approved by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). EASA AD 2007-0092 [http://ad.easa.europa.eu/blob/easa_ad_2007_0092.pdf/AD_2007-0092] [which corresponds to FAA AD 2009-06-06, Amendment 39-15842 (74 FR 12228, March 24, 2009)] was issued to require compliance to the requirements as specified in these documents.

    The revision 02 of Airbus A310 and Airbus A300-600 ALS Part 4 documents introduces more restrictive maintenance requirements and/or airworthiness limitations. Failure to comply with the instructions of ALS Part 4 could result in an unsafe condition [reduced structural integrity of the airplane.]

    For the reasons described above, this new [EASA] AD retains the requirements of EASA AD 2007-0092, which is superseded, and requires the implementation of the new or more restrictive maintenance requirements and/or airworthiness limitations as specified in Airbus A310 ALS Part 4, Revision 02, or Airbus A300-600 ALS Part 4, Revision 02, as applicable to aeroplane type/model.

    You may examine the MCAI in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-2461. Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    Airbus has issued the following service information, which describes procedures for revising the maintenance or inspection program to incorporate new maintenance requirements and airworthiness limitations.

    • For Model A300 series airplanes: “Sub-part 1-2: Life Limits,” and “Sub-part 1-3: Demonstrated fatigue lives” of Part 1, “Safe Life Airworthiness Limitation Items,” Revision 01, dated September 5, 2013, of the Airbus Model A300 Airworthiness Limitations Section.

    • For Model A300 B4-600, B4-600R, and F4-600R series airplanes, and Model A300 C4-605R Variant F airplanes (collectively called Model A300-600 series airplanes): “Sub-part 1-2: Life Limits,” and “Sub-part 1-3: Demonstrated fatigue lives” of Part 1, “Safe Life Airworthiness Limitation Items,” Revision 01, dated September 5, 2013, of the Airbus Model A300-600 Airworthiness Limitations Section.

    • For Model A310 series airplanes: “Sub-part 1-2: Life Limits,” and “Sub-part 1-3: Demonstrated fatigue lives” of Part 1, “Safe Life Airworthiness Limitation Items,” Revision 01, dated September 5, 2013, of the Airbus Model A310 Airworthiness Limitations Section.

    This service information is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it through their normal course of business, or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section of this NPRM.

    FAA's Determination and Requirements of This Proposed AD

    This product has been approved by the aviation authority of another country, and is approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant to our bilateral agreement with the State of Design Authority, we have been notified of the unsafe condition described in the MCAI and service information referenced above. We are proposing this AD because we evaluated all pertinent information and determined an unsafe condition exists and is likely to exist or develop on other products of the same type design.

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this proposed AD affects 177 airplanes of U.S. registry.

    The ALS revision required by AD 2009-18-15, Amendment 39-16011 (74 FR 48143, September 22, 2009), takes about 1 work-hour per product, at an average labor rate of $85 per work-hour. Based on these figures, the estimated cost of the actions that were required by AD 2009-18-15 is $85 per product.

    We also estimate that it would take about 1 work-hour per product to comply with the new ALS revision of this proposed AD. The average labor rate is $85 per work-hour. Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of this proposed AD on U.S. operators to be $15,045, or $85 per product.

    Authority for This Rulemaking

    Title 49 of the United States Code specifies the FAA's authority to issue rules on aviation safety. Subtitle I, section 106, describes the authority of the FAA Administrator. “Subtitle VII: Aviation Programs,” describes in more detail the scope of the Agency's authority.

    We are issuing this rulemaking under the authority described in “Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart III, Section 44701: General requirements.” Under that section, Congress charges the FAA with promoting safe flight of civil aircraft in air commerce by prescribing regulations for practices, methods, and procedures the Administrator finds necessary for safety in air commerce. This regulation is within the scope of that authority because it addresses an unsafe condition that is likely to exist or develop on products identified in this rulemaking action.

    Regulatory Findings

    We determined that this proposed AD would not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132. This proposed AD would not have a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.

    For the reasons discussed above, I certify this proposed regulation:

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

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

    3. Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska; and

    4. Will not have a significant economic impact, positive or negative, on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    The Proposed Amendment

    Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the FAA proposes to amend 14 CFR part 39 as follows:

    PART 39—AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES 1. The authority citation for part 39 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701.

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by removing Airworthiness Directive AD 2009-18-15, Amendment 39-16011 (74 FR 48143, September 22, 2009), and adding the following new AD: Airbus: Docket No. FAA-2015-2461; Directorate Identifier 2013-NM-202-AD. (a) Comments Due Date

    We must receive comments by August 28, 2015.

    (b) Affected ADs

    This AD replaces AD 2009-18-15, Amendment 39-16011 (74 FR 48143, September 22, 2009).

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to Airbus Model A300 B2-1A, B2-1C, B2K-3C, B2-203, B4-2C, B4-103, and B4-203 airplanes; Model A300 B4-601, B4-603, B4-620, and B4-622 airplanes; Model A300 B4-605R and B4-622R airplanes; Model A300 F4-605R and F4-622R, and A300 C4-605R Variant F airplanes; and Model A310-203, -204, -221, -222, -304, -322, -324, and -325 airplanes; certificated in any category, all manufacturer serial numbers.

    (d) Subject

    Air Transport Association (ATA) of America 32, Landing Gear.

    (e) Reason

    This AD was prompted by a determination that existing maintenance requirements and airworthiness limitations are inadequate to ensure the structural integrity of the airplane. We are issuing this AD to prevent failure of certain system components, which could result in reduced structural integrity of the airplane.

    (f) Compliance

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

    (g) Retained Revision of Airworthiness Limitation Section (ALS)

    This paragraph restates the requirements of paragraph (h) of AD 2009-18-15, Amendment 39-16011 (74 FR 48143, September 22, 2009). For Model A300, A310, and A300-600 series airplanes: Within 3 months after October 27, 2009 (the effective date of AD 2009-18-15), revise the ALS of the instructions for continued airworthiness (ICA) to incorporate the applicable document listed in paragraph (g)(1), (g)(2), or (g)(3) of this AD. Accomplishing the actions specified in the applicable document satisfies the requirements of paragraph A. of AD 84-02-04, Amendment 39-4795.

    (1) For Model A300 series airplanes: Incorporate the applicable document listed in paragraph (g)(1)(i) or (g)(1)(ii) of this AD.

    (i) Section 05-10-00, Revision 28, dated February 27, 1998, of Chapter 05, “Service Life Limits and Maintenance Checks,” of the Airbus A300 Aircraft Maintenance Manual, except that the parts listed in table 1 to paragraph (g) of this AD are subject to the life limits defined in the document listed in paragraph (g)(1)(ii) of this AD.

    (ii) “Sub-part 1-2: Life Limits,” and “Sub-part 1-3: Demonstrated Fatigue Lives” of Part 1, “Safe Life Airworthiness Limitation Items,” dated September 6, 2007, of the Airbus A300 ALS.

    Table 1 to Paragraph (g) of This AD—Parts Subject to the Life Limits Specified in the Document Identified in Paragraph (g)(1)(ii) of This AD Part No.
  • (P/N)
  • Part name
    P/N C61643-2, P/N C61643-4, P/N C61643-5 Main landing gear (MLG) shock absorber end fitting. P/N A32210001205xx Nose landing gear (NLG) pintle pin. P/N C62037-1 NLG shock absorber bottom. P/N 196-0328-501 Cross beam (Pratt & Whitney forward engine mount).

    (2) For Model A310 series airplanes: Incorporate “Sub-part 1-2: Life Limits,” and “Sub-part 1-3: Demonstrated Fatigue Lives” of Part 1, “Safe Life Airworthiness Limitation Items,” dated December 21, 2006, of the Airbus A310 ALS.

    (3) For Model A300 B4-600, B4-600R, and F4-600R series airplanes, and Model A300 C4-605R Variant F airplanes (collectively called Model A300-600 series airplanes): Incorporate “Sub-part 1-2: Life Limits,” and “Sub-part 1-3: Demonstrated Fatigue Lives” of Part 1, “Safe Life Airworthiness Limitation Items,” dated December 21, 2006, of the Airbus A300-600 ALS.

    (h) Retained Initial Compliance Times and Repetitive Inspections

    This paragraph restates the requirements of paragraph (i) of AD 2009-18-15, Amendment 39-16011 (74 FR 48143, September 22, 2009). Do the replacement at the applicable time specified in paragraph (h)(1) or (h)(2) of this AD, except as provided by paragraph (i) of this AD. The replacement must be done thereafter within the interval specified in the applicable document identified in paragraph (g)(1), (g)(2), or (g)(3) of this AD.

    (1) For any life limitation/task that has been complied with before October 27, 2009 (the effective date of AD 2009-18-15, Amendment 39-16011), in accordance with the applicable document listed in paragraph (g)(1), (g)(2), or (g)(3) of this AD, or in accordance with paragraph (g) of AD 2009-18-15, use the last accomplishment of each limitation/task as a starting point for accomplishing each corresponding limitation/task required by this AD.

    (2) For any life limitation/task that has not been complied with before October 27, 2009 (the effective date of AD 2009-18-15, Amendment 39-16011), in accordance with the applicable document listed in paragraphs (g)(1), (g)(2), and (g)(3) of this AD, or in accordance with paragraph (g) of AD 2009-18-15, the initial compliance time starts from the date of initial entry into service as defined in the applicable document.

    (i) Retained Special Compliance Times

    This paragraph restates the requirements of paragraph (j) of AD 2009-18-15, Amendment 39-16011 (74 FR 48143, September 22, 2009). For any airplane on which the history of accumulated landings is partial or unknown, or where the history of application details (airplane type, model, weight variant, etc.) is partial or unknown, with or without using the information in Airbus Service Information Letter 32-118, Revision 02, dated October 24, 2007: Parts listed in figure 1 to paragraph (i) of this AD must be replaced at the associated compliance time. The replacement must be done thereafter at the interval specified in the applicable document(s) specified in paragraphs (g)(1), (g)(2), and (g)(3) of this AD.

    Note 1 to paragraph (i) of this AD: Airbus Service Information Letter 32-118, Revision 02, dated October 24, 2007, provides operators with guidance on the means to assign a conservative calculated life to parts whose history of accumulated landings is partial or unknown; and to select the limitations applicable to parts whose history of application details (aircraft type, aircraft model, weight variant, etc.) is partial or unknown.

    Figure 1 to Paragraph (i) of This AD—Special Compliance Times Designation Aircraft type applicability A300 X A310 X A300-600 X P/N Start date Compliance time
  • (whichever occurs first after the “start date”)
  • Landings Calendar time
    MAIN LANDING GEAR A32140032200xx X December 13, 2007 13,500 9 years. A32140056200xx X December 13, 2007 13,500 9 years. A32140056202xx X December 13, 2007 13,500 9 years. Aft pintle pin A32140057200xx X December 13, 2007 13,500 9 years. A32140057202xx X X December 13, 2007 13,500 9 years. A32140062000xx X December 13, 2007 13,500 9 years. A32140063000xx X X December 13, 2007 13,500 9 years. A32140036200xx X December 13, 2007 13,500 9 years. A32140036202xx X December 13, 2007 13,500 9 years. A32140036204xx X December 13, 2007 13,500 9 years. A32140036206xx X December 13, 2007 13,500 9 years. Half ball housing (Fwd pintle bearing) A32140042200xx X X December 13, 2007 13,500 9 years. A32140042202xx X X December 13, 2007 13,500 9 years. A32140068002xx X December 13, 2007 13,500 9 years. A32140068004xx X December 13, 2007 13,500 9 years. A32140069002xx X X December 13, 2007 13,500 9 years. A32140069004xx X X December 13, 2007 13,500 9 years. Ball (Fwd pintle pin) A32140012202xx X December 13, 2007 13,500 9 years. A32140043202xx X X December 13, 2007 13,500 9 years. Pin (Multiple link/Frame 50) A53833451200xx X December 13, 2007 13,500 9 years.. A53833451206xx X December 13, 2007 13,500 9 years. A53834451200xx X December 13, 2007 13,500 9 years. A53834451202xx X X April 25, 2007 13,500 9 years. Pin (Drop link/Frame 50) A53811122200xx X April 25, 2007 18,000 9 years. MLG Barrel Assembly Upper torque link pin nut 00-200-402 X December 13, 2007 N/A 30 months. SL40089 X December 13, 2007 N/A 30 months. SL40089P X December 13, 2007 N/A 30 months. SL40123 X December 13, 2007 N/A 30 months. SL40123P X X X April 25, 2007 N/A 30 months. Torque link medium pin nut 00-200-358 X December 13, 2007 N/A 30 months. SL40114P X X April 25, 2007 N/A 30 months. SL40132 X December 13, 2007 N/A 30 months. SL40132P X X April 25, 2007 N/A 30 months. Attaching fitting pin C62311-1 X December 13, 2007 13,500 9 years. C62311-20 X X April 25, 2007 13,500 9 years. Pin (Connecting rod/Upper rod) C65815 X December 13, 2007 13,500 9 years. C65815-1 X December 13, 2007 13,500 9 years. C65815-20 X December 13, 2007 13,500 9 years. C66472 X December 13, 2007 13,500 9 years. C66472-1 X December 13, 2007 13,500 9 years. C66472-20 X X April 25, 2007 13,500 9 years. D52751 X April 25, 2007 18,000 9 years. MLG Shock Absorber Assembly Lower torque link pin nut 00-200-402 X December 13, 2007 N/A 30 months. SL40089 X December 13, 2007 N/A 30 months. SL40089P X December 13, 2007 N/A 30 months. SL40123 X December 13, 2007 N/A 30 months. SL40123P X X X April 25, 2007 N/A 30 months. Bogie beam pivot pin nut SL40054 X December 13, 2007 at next removal/installation.1 2 SL40054P X X April 25, 2007 at next removal/installation.1 2 SL40413P X April 25, 2007 at next removal/installation.1 2 MLG Lock Link Assembly Lock link medium pin C61485-1 X December 13, 2007 N/A 30 months. C61485-20 X X April 25, 2007 N/A 30 months. NOSE LANDING GEAR Pintle pin A32210079200xx X X X April 25, 2007 13,500 9 years. NLG Telescopic Strut Assembly Nut (Cylinder/Locking cylinder) C61375 X X April 25, 2007 13,500 9 years. D55955 X X X April 25, 2007 13,500 9 years. Locking sleeve C61389 X X December 13, 2007 13,200 9 years. C61389-1 X X X April 25, 2007 13,500 9 years. NLG Barrel Assembly Pin (Clevis/Telescopic strut) C62231-1 X December 13, 2007 13,200 9 years. C62231-2 X December 13, 2007 13,200 9 years. C62231-20 X X X April 25, 2007 13,500 9 years. D56530 X X X April 25, 2007 13,500 9 years. Lower pin (Link/Clevis) C62268-1 X December 13, 2007 13,200 9 years. C62268-2 X December 13, 2007 13,200 9 years. C62268-20 X X X April 25, 2007 13,500 9 years. Link (Clevis/Barrel) C62230-1 X X X April 25, 2007 13,500 9 years. D56526 X X X April 25, 2007 13,500 9 years. Upper pin (Link/Barrel) C62267-1 X December 13, 2007 13,200 9 years. C62267-2 X December 13, 2007 13,200 9 years. C62267-20 X X X April 25, 2007 13,500 9 years. End fitting pin nut D68062 X X X December 13, 2007 at next removal/installation.2 MS17825-6 X X X December 13, 2007 at next removal/installation.2 End fitting pin AN6-17 X X X December 13, 2007 at next removal/installation.2 D61183 X X X December 13, 2007 at next removal/installation.2 D68063 X X X December 13, 2007 at next removal/installation.2 NAS1306-22D X X X December 13, 2007 at next removal/installation.2 End fitting C62032 X X X April 25, 2007 13,500 9 years. C62032-1 X X X April 25, 2007 13,500 9 years. Rack C61453 X December 13, 2007 13,200 9 years. C61453-1 X X X April 25, 2007 13,500 9 years. C61453-20 X X X April 25, 2007 13,500 9 years. C61453-40 X X X April 25, 2007 13,500 9 years. C61453-41 X X X April 25, 2007 13,500 9 years. Torque link pin (Upper & Lower) C62223-1 X December 13, 2007 13,200 9 years. C62223-20 X X X April 25, 2007 13,500 9 years. Torque link medium pin nut SL40110P X X X April 25, 2007 N/A 30 months. NLG Shock Absorber Assembly Wheel axle nut C62879 X X X April 25, 2007 4,000 24 months. Upper cam dowel C62270 X X X December 13, 2007 at next removal/installation. Upper cam C62034-1 X X X April 25, 2007 13,500 9 years. Lower cam C62035 X X X April 25, 2007 13,500 9 years. Restrictor C62036 X December 13, 2007 13,200 9 years. C62036-1 X December 13, 2007 13,200 9 years. C62036-2 X December 13, 2007 13,200 9 years. C67863 X December 13, 2007 13,200 9 years. C67863-1 X X X April 25, 2007 13,500 9 years. C67863-2 X X X April 25, 2007 13,500 9 years. C67863-3 X December 13, 2007 13,500 9 years. C67863-4 X X X April 25, 2007 13,500 9 years. Lower cam dowel C62866 X X X December 13, 2007 at next removal/installation.2 Nut (S/A/Barrel) C64040 X December 13, 2007 at next removal/installation.1 2 C64040-1 X X X December 13, 2007 at next removal/installation.1 2 1 When the nut is temporarily removed and reinstalled for the purpose of performing maintenance outside a workshop, no replacement is required provided the nut's removal and reinstallation are performed on the same assembly and neither the assembly nor the nut accumulates time in service during the period between the removal and reinstallation. 2 If the removal/installation was done after the start date, but before the effective date of this AD, the compliance time is within 3 months. after October 27, 2009 (the effective date of AD 2009-18-15, Amendment 39-16011 (74 FR 48143, September 22, 2009)).
    (j) New Requirements of This AD: Maintenance Program Revision

    Within 3 months after the effective date of this AD: Revise the maintenance or inspection program, as applicable, to incorporate the applicable limitation, replacement, or inspection specified in paragraph (j)(1), (j)(2), or (j)(3) of this AD, as applicable. Doing any task required by this paragraph terminates the corresponding task required by paragraph (g), (h), and (i) of this AD.

    (1) For Model A300 series airplanes: Incorporate “Sub-part 1-2: Life Limits,” and “Sub-part 1-3: Demonstrated Fatigue Lives” of Part 1, “Safe Life Airworthiness Limitation Items,” Revision 01, dated September 5, 2013, of the Airbus A300 ALS.

    (2) For Model A300 B4-600, B4-600R, and F4-600R series airplanes, and Model A300 C4 605R Variant F airplanes (collectively called Model A300-600 series airplanes): Incorporate “Sub-part 1-2: Life Limits,” and “Sub-part 1-3: Demonstrated Fatigue Lives” of Part 1, “Safe Life Airworthiness Limitation Items,” Revision 01, dated September 5, 2013, of the Airbus A300-600 ALS.

    (3) For Model A310 series airplanes: Incorporate “Sub-part 1-2: Life Limits,” and “Sub-part 1-3: Demonstrated Fatigue Lives” of Part 1, “Safe Life Airworthiness Limitation Items,” dated Revision 01, September 5, 2013, of the Airbus A310 ALS.

    (k) New Limitation: No Alternative Actions or Intervals

    After accomplishment of the revision required by paragraph (j) of this AD, no alternative actions (e.g., inspections) or intervals may be used unless the actions or intervals are approved as an alternative method of compliance (AMOC) in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (l) of this AD.

    (l) Other FAA AD Provisions

    The following provisions also apply to this AD:

    (1) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, send your request to your principal inspector or local Flight Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending information directly to the International Branch, send it to ATTN: Dan Rodina, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; telephone 425-227-2125; fax 425-227-1149. Information may be emailed to: [email protected] Before using any approved AMOC, notify your appropriate principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager of the local flight standards district office/certificate holding district office. The AMOC approval letter must specifically reference this AD.

    (2) Contacting the Manufacturer: As of the effective date of this AD, for any requirement in this AD to obtain corrective actions from a manufacturer, the action must be accomplished using a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA; or the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA); or Airbus's EASA Design Organization Approval (DOA). If approved by the DOA, the approval must include the DOA-authorized signature.

    (m) Related Information

    (1) Refer to Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information (MCAI) EASA Airworthiness Directive 2013-0248, dated October 14, 2013, for related information. This MCAI may be found in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-2461.

    (2) For service information identified in this AD, contact Airbus SAS, Airworthiness Office—EAL, 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 Blagnac Cedex, France; telephone +33 5 61 93 36 96; fax +33 5 61 93 45 80; email [email protected]; Internet http://www.airbus.com. You may view this service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221.

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on June 25, 2015. Jeffrey E. Duven, Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17201 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2015-2714; Directorate Identifier 2014-SW-052-AD] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

    SUMMARY:

    We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for Airbus Helicopters Model AS332C1, AS332L1, AS332L2, EC225LP, AS-365N2, AS 365 N3, EC 155B, and EC155B1 helicopters with an energy absorbing seat (seat). This proposed AD would require inspecting for the presence of labels that prohibit stowing anything under the seat. If a label is missing or not clearly visible to each occupant, installing a label would be required. This proposed AD is prompted by the discovery that required labels had not been systematically installed. The proposed actions are intended to prevent objects from being stowed under the seat as these objects could reduce the energy-absorbing function of the seat, resulting in injury to the seat occupants during an accident.

    DATES:

    We must receive comments on this proposed AD by September 14, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may send comments by any of the following methods:

    Federal eRulemaking Docket: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for sending your comments electronically.

    Fax: 202-493-2251.

    Mail: Send comments to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.

    Hand Delivery: Deliver to the “Mail” address between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    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 proposed AD, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, the economic evaluation, and other information. The street address for the Docket Operations Office (telephone 800-647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

    For service information identified in this proposed AD, contact Airbus Helicopters, Inc., 2701 N. Forum Drive, Grand Prairie, TX 75052; telephone (972) 641-0000 or (800) 232-0323; fax (972) 641-3775; or at http://www.airbushelicopters.com/techpub. You may review the referenced service information at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Room 663, Fort Worth, Texas 76137.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Robert Grant, Aviation Safety Engineer, Safety Management Group, FAA, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas 76137; telephone (817) 222-5110; email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Comments Invited

    We invite you to participate in this rulemaking by submitting written comments, data, or views. We also invite comments relating to the economic, environmental, energy, or federalism impacts that might result from adopting the proposals in this document. The most helpful comments reference a specific portion of the proposal, explain the reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data. To ensure the docket does not contain duplicate comments, commenters should send only one copy of written comments, or if comments are filed electronically, commenters should submit only one time.

    We will file in the docket all comments that we receive, as well as a report summarizing each substantive public contact with FAA personnel concerning this proposed rulemaking. Before acting on this proposal, we will consider all comments we receive on or before the closing date for comments. We will consider comments filed after the comment period has closed if it is possible to do so without incurring expense or delay. We may change this proposal in light of the comments we receive.

    Discussion

    EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, issued EASA AD No. 2014-0204, dated September 11, 2014, followed by a correction dated September 12, 2014, to correct an unsafe condition for Airbus Helicopters Model AS332C1, AS332L1, AS332L2, EC225LP, AS-365N2, AS 365 N3, EC 155B, and EC155B1 helicopters. EASA advises that during certification of an energy absorbing seat with a new part number, it was observed that the label that requires keeping the space under the seat free of any object was not systematically installed in a helicopter. EASA states that this condition, if not corrected, could prompt occupants to stow objects under an energy absorbing seat, which would reduce the effectiveness of the seat and the occupants' chance of surviving an accident. The EASA AD consequently requires a one-time inspection for the presence of labels and, if they are missing or unreadable, making and installing labels prohibiting the placing of an object under an energy absorbing seat.

    FAA's Determination

    These helicopters have been approved by the aviation authority of France and are approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant to our bilateral agreement with France, EASA, its technical representative, has notified us of the unsafe condition described in its AD. We are proposing this AD because we evaluated all known relevant information and determined that an unsafe condition is likely to exist or develop on other products of the same type design.

    Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    Airbus Helicopters issued Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) No. AS332-01.00.85 for Model AS332C1, AS332L1, AS332L2 helicopters; ASB No. AS365-01.00.66 for Model AS-365N2 and AS 365 N3 helicopters; ASB No. EC155-04A013 for EC 155B and EC155B1 helicopters; and ASB No. EC225-04A012 for Model EC225LP helicopters. All ASBs are Revision 0 and dated August 26, 2014. The ASBs state that during certification of an energy absorbing seat with a new part number, it was observed that the label, which indicates that the space under the seats must remain free of objects, was not systematically installed. Objects stowed under these seats reduce the energy absorbing function and thus jeopardize the occupant's survival in the event of a crash, the ASBs state. Pending a definitive solution, Airbus Helicopters calls for affixing a label that states that nothing can be stored under the seats.

    This service information is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it through their normal course of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section of this proposed AD.

    Proposed AD Requirements

    Within 110 hours time in service this proposed AD would require:

    • For Model AS332C1, AS332L1, AS332L2, and EC225LP helicopters: Inspecting the cabin and cockpit for labels, placards, or markings that prohibit stowing anything under the seats. If a label, placard, or marking is not located in every required location or is not visible and legible to every occupant, before further flight, installing a placard.

    • For Model AS-365N2, AS 365 N3, EC 155B, and EC155B1 helicopters: Inspecting each seat leg in the cabin and cockpit for labels, placards, or markings that prohibit stowing anything under the seats. If a label, placard, or marking does not exist on one leg of each seat or is not visible and legible, before further flight, installing a placard.

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this proposed AD would affect 52 helicopters of U.S. Registry and that labor costs average $85 a work-hour. Based on these estimates, we expect that the inspection for the presence of a label would take a quarter work hour for a labor cost of about $21. The cost of parts and time for installing a label would be minimal, for a total cost of $21 per helicopter and $1,092 for the U.S. fleet.

    Authority for This Rulemaking

    Title 49 of the United States Code specifies the FAA's authority to issue rules on aviation safety. Subtitle I, section 106, describes the authority of the FAA Administrator. “Subtitle VII: Aviation Programs,” describes in more detail the scope of the Agency's authority.

    We are issuing this rulemaking under the authority described in “Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart III, Section 44701: General requirements.” Under that section, Congress charges the FAA with promoting safe flight of civil aircraft in air commerce by prescribing regulations for practices, methods, and procedures the Administrator finds necessary for safety in air commerce. This regulation is within the scope of that authority because it addresses an unsafe condition that is likely to exist or develop on products identified in this rulemaking action.

    Regulatory Findings

    We determined that this proposed AD would not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132. This proposed AD would not have a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.

    For the reasons discussed, I certify this proposed regulation:

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

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

    3. Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska 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 proposed 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.

    The Proposed Amendment

    Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the FAA proposes to amend 14 CFR part 39 as follows:

    PART 39—AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES 1. The authority citation for part 39 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701.

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD): Airbus Helicopters: Docket No. FAA-2015-2714; Directorate Identifier 2014-SW-052-AD. (a) Applicability

    This AD applies to Airbus Helicopters Model AS332C1, AS332L1, AS332L2, EC225LP, AS-365N2, AS 365 N3, EC 155B, and EC155B1 helicopters with an energy absorbing seat (seat) listed in Figure 1 to paragraph (a) of this AD, certificated in any category.

    Figure 1 to Paragraph (a) Seat manufacturer Seat type Generic part number Fischer + Entwicklungen H110 9606-( )-( )-( ) H140 0520-( )-( )-( ) H160 0718-( )-( )-( )-( ) 185/410 9507-( )-( )-( ) 236/406 9608-( )-( )-( ) SICMA Aero Seat or Zodiac Seats France Sicma 192 192xx-xx-xx Sicma 159 1591718-xx
  • 159110
  • Socea Sogerma ST102 2510102-xx-xx ST107 2010107-xx-xx ST120 2520120-xx
    Note 1 to Figure 1 to paragraph (a) of this AD:

    “xx” can be any two alphanumeric characters and “( )” can be any number of alphanumeric characters.

    (b) Unsafe Condition

    This AD defines the unsafe condition as an object stowed under an energy-absorbing seat. This condition could reduce the efficiency of the energy-absorbing function of the seat, resulting in injury to the seat occupants during an accident.

    (c) Comments Due Date

    We must receive comments by September 14, 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

    Within 110 hours time in service:

    (1) For Model AS332C1, AS332L1, AS332L2, and EC225LP helicopters:

    (i) Inspect the cabin and cockpit for labels, placards, or markings that prohibit stowing anything under the seats in the locations shown in the figure in the Appendix of Airbus Helicopters Alert Service Bulletin No. AS332-01.00.85 (ASB AS332-01.00.85) or No. EC225-04A012 (ASB EC225-04A012), both Revision 0 and dated August 26, 2014, as applicable for your model helicopter.

    (ii) If a label, placard, or marking is not located in every location depicted in the figure in the Appendix or is not visible and legible to every occupant, before further flight, install a placard in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions, paragraph 3.B., of ASB AS332-01.00.85 or ASB EC225-04A012, as applicable for your model helicopter.

    (2) For Model AS-365N2, AS 365 N3, EC 155B, and EC155B1 helicopters:

    (i) Inspect each seat leg in the cabin and cockpit for labels, placards, or markings that prohibit stowing anything under the seats.

    (ii) If a label, placard, or marking does not exist on one leg of each seat or is not visible and legible, before further flight, install a placard in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions, paragraph 3.B., and the Appendix of Airbus Helicopters Alert Service Bulletin No. AS365-01.00.66 or No. EC155-04A013, both Revision 0 and dated August 26, 2014, as applicable for your model helicopter.

    (f) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

    (1) The Manager, Safety Management Group, FAA, may approve AMOCs for this AD. Send your proposal to: Robert Grant, Aviation Safety Engineer, Safety Management Group, FAA, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas 76137; telephone (817) 222-5110; 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

    The subject of this AD is addressed in European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD No. 2014-0204, dated September 11, 2014, and corrected September 12, 2014. You may view the EASA AD on the Internet athttp://www.regulations.gov in Docket No. FAA-2015-2714.

    (h) Subject

    Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 1100, Placards and Markings.

    Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on July 2, 2015. Lance T. Gant, Acting Directorate Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-16940 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2015-2775; Directorate Identifier 2015-CE-021-AD] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; PILATUS AIRCRAFT LTD. Airplanes AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of Transportation (DOT).

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

    SUMMARY:

    We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for PILATUS AIRCRAFT LTD. Model PC-12, PC-12/45, and PC-12/47E airplanes. This proposed AD results from mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) originated by an aviation authority of another country to identify and correct an unsafe condition on an aviation product. The MCAI describes the unsafe condition as a malfunction of the universal joint. We are issuing this proposed AD to require actions to address the unsafe condition on these products.

    DATES:

    We must receive comments on this proposed AD by August 28, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may send comments by any of the following methods:

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

    Fax: (202) 493-2251.

    Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

    Hand Delivery: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    For service information identified in this proposed AD, contact PILATUS AIRCRAFT LTD, Customer Support Manager, CH-6371 STANS, Switzerland; phone: +41 (0)41 619 33 33; fax: +41 (0)41 619 73 11; email: [email protected]; internet: http://www.pilatus-aircraft.com. You may review this referenced service information at the FAA, Small Airplane Directorate, 901 Locust, Kansas City, Missouri 64106. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call (816) 329-4148.

    Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-2775; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this proposed AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Office (telephone (800) 647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Doug Rudolph, Aerospace Engineer, FAA, Small Airplane Directorate, 901 Locust, Room 301, Kansas City, Missouri 64106; telephone: (816) 329-4059; fax: (816) 329-4090; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Comments Invited

    We invite you to send any written relevant data, views, or arguments about this proposed AD. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include “Docket No. FAA-2015-2775; Directorate Identifier 2015-CE-021-AD” at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this proposed AD. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this proposed AD because of those comments.

    We will post all comments we receive, without change, to http://regulations.gov, including any personal information you provide. We will also post a report summarizing each substantive verbal contact we receive about this proposed AD.

    Discussion

    The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Community, has issued AD No.: 2015-0111, dated June 16, 2015 (referred to after this as “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for the specified products. The MCAI states:

    A case of malfunctioning was reported of a universal joint installed between the control tube assembly and the control column on a PC-12/47E aeroplane.

    Investigation determined that the malfunction was caused by an incorrectly manufactured universal joint. Universal joints from the same manufacturing batch were provided to operators between 01 March 2014 and 28 February 2015, and are thus potentially affected.

    This condition, if not corrected, could lead to other cases of malfunctioning of a universal joint, possibly resulting in reduced control of the aeroplane.

    To address this potential unsafe condition, Pilatus Aircraft Ltd. issued Service Bulletin (SB) No. 27-022 to provide instructions for replacement of the universal joints in the flight controls.

    For the reason described above, this AD requires removal from service of the potentially incorrectly manufactured universal joints.

    You may examine the MCAI on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-2775. Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    Pilatus Aircraft Limited has issued PILATUS PC-12 Service Bulletin No: 27-022, dated March 17, 2015. The PILATUS PC-12 Service Bulletin No: 27-022, dated March 17, 2015, describes procedures for replacement of the universal joint on the aileron control system. This service information is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it through their normal course of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section of this NPRM.

    FAA's Determination and Requirements of the Proposed AD

    This product has been approved by the aviation authority of another country, and is approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant to our bilateral agreement with this State of Design Authority, they have notified us of the unsafe condition described in the MCAI and service information referenced above. We are proposing this AD because we evaluated all information and determined the unsafe condition exists and is likely to exist or develop on other products of the same type design.

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this proposed AD will affect 55 products of U.S. registry. We also estimate that it would take about 3 work-hours per product to comply with the basic requirements of this proposed AD. The average labor rate is $85 per work-hour. Required parts would cost about $1,000 per product.

    Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of the proposed AD on U.S. operators to be $69,025 or $1,255 per product.

    According to the manufacturer, all of the costs of this proposed AD may be covered under warranty, thereby reducing the cost impact on affected individuals. We do not control warranty coverage for affected individuals. As a result, we have included all costs in our cost estimate.

    Authority for This Rulemaking

    Title 49 of the United States Code specifies the FAA's authority to issue rules on aviation safety. Subtitle I, section 106, describes the authority of the FAA Administrator. “Subtitle VII: Aviation Programs,” describes in more detail the scope of the Agency's authority.

    We are issuing this rulemaking under the authority described in “Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart III, Section 44701: General requirements.” Under that section, Congress charges the FAA with promoting safe flight of civil aircraft in air commerce by prescribing regulations for practices, methods, and procedures the Administrator finds necessary for safety in air commerce. This regulation is within the scope of that authority because it addresses an unsafe condition that is likely to exist or develop on products identified in this rulemaking action.

    Regulatory Findings

    We determined that this proposed AD would not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132. This proposed AD would not have a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.

    For the reasons discussed above, I certify this proposed regulation:

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

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

    (3) Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska, and

    (4) Will not have a significant economic impact, positive or negative, on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    The Proposed Amendment

    Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the FAA proposes to amend 14 CFR part 39 as follows:

    PART 39—AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES 1. The authority citation for part 39 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701.

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new AD: PILATUS AIRCRAFT LTD.: Docket No. FAA-2015-2775; Directorate Identifier 2015-CE-021-AD. (a) Comments Due Date

    We must receive comments by August 28, 2015.

    (b) Affected ADs

    None.

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to PILATUS AIRCRAFT LTD. Models PC-12, PC-12/45, and PC-12/47E airplanes, manufacturer serial numbers 244, 307, 409, 646, 1447 through 1450, 1461, 1462, 1466 through 1514, 1516 through 1520, and 1523, certificated in any category.

    (d) Subject

    Air Transport Association of America (ATA) Code 27: Flight Controls.

    (e) Reason

    This proposed AD results from mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) originated by an aviation authority of another country to identify and correct an unsafe condition on an aviation product. The MCAI describes the unsafe condition as a malfunction of the universal joint. We are issuing this proposed AD to replace defective aileron control system universal joints.

    (f) Actions and Compliance

    Unless already done, do the following actions in paragraphs (f)(1) through (f)(2) of this AD:

    (1) For airplanes equipped with aileron control system universal joints part number (P/N) 944.61.73.012 or P/N 527.10.12.195, purchased between March 1, 2014, and February 28, 2015; or universal joints installed in service through an aileron control system inspection kit P/N 500.50.12.314, purchased between March 1, 2014, and February 28, 2015, do one of the following actions as applicable:

    (i) For airplanes with less than 200 flight cycles since first flight of the airplane or less than 200 flight cycles since installation of an affected universal joint or inspection kit, whichever applies: Within 10 flight cycles after the effective date of this AD or 3 months after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs first, replace with a new universal joint P/N 527.10.12.195 purchased after March 1, 2015, and marked with a placard “RT iO” following the Accomplishment Instructions in PILATUS PC-12 Service Bulletin No: 27-022, dated March 17, 2015.

    (ii) For airplanes with 200 flight cycles or more since first flight of the airplane or 200 flight cycles or more since installation of an affected universal joint or inspection kit, whichever applies: Within 12 months after the effective date of this AD, replace with a new universal joint P/N 527.10.12.195 purchased after March 1, 2015, and marked with a placard “RT iO” following the Accomplishment Instructions in PILATUS PC-12 Service Bulletin No: 27-022, dated March 17, 2015.

    (iii) For all airplanes where total flight cycles are not tracked: The conversion formula is one flight cycle equals one flight hour.

    (2) For all airplanes: After the effective date of this AD, do not install the following parts on any airplane after the modification of the airplane as required in paragraphs (f)(1)(i) and (f)(1)(ii) of this AD or any airplane that does not have an affected part installed:

    (i) A universal joint P/N 944.61.73.012 or P/N 527.10.12.195 (except for a P/N 527.10.12.195 marked with a placard “RT iO”).

    (ii) Inspection kit P/N 500.50.12.314 purchased between March 1, 2014, and February 28, 2015.

    (g) Other FAA AD Provisions

    The following provisions also apply to this AD:

    (1) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, Standards Office, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. Send information to ATTN: Doug Rudolph, Aerospace Engineer, FAA, Small Airplane Directorate, 901 Locust, Room 301, Kansas City, Missouri 64106; telephone: (816) 329-4059; fax: (816) 329-4090; email: [email protected] Before using any approved AMOC on any airplane to which the AMOC applies, notify your appropriate principal inspector (PI) in the FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), or lacking a PI, your local FSDO.

    (2) Airworthy Product: For any requirement in this AD to obtain corrective actions from a manufacturer or other source, use these actions if they are FAA-approved. Corrective actions are considered FAA-approved if they are approved by the State of Design Authority (or their delegated agent). You are required to assure the product is airworthy before it is returned to service.

    (3) Reporting Requirements: For any reporting requirement in this AD, a federal agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, nor shall a person be subject to a penalty for failure to comply with a collection of information subject to the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act unless that collection of information displays a current valid OMB Control Number. The OMB Control Number for this information collection is 2120-0056. Public reporting for this collection of information is estimated to be approximately 5 minutes per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, completing and reviewing the collection of information. All responses to this collection of information are mandatory. Comments concerning the accuracy of this burden and suggestions for reducing the burden should be directed to the FAA at: 800 Independence Ave. SW., Washington, DC 20591, Attn: Information Collection Clearance Officer, AES-200.

    (h) Related Information

    Refer to MCAI European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD No.: 2015-0111, dated June 16, 2015. You may examine the MCAI on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-2775. For service information related to this AD, contact PILATUS AIRCRAFT LTD, Customer Support Manager, CH-6371 STANS, Switzerland; phone: +41 (0)41 619 33 33; fax: +41 (0)41 619 73 11; email: [email protected]; internet: http://www.pilatus-aircraft.com. You may review this referenced service information at the FAA, Small Airplane Directorate, 901 Locust, Kansas City, Missouri 64106. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call (816) 329-4148.

    Issued in Kansas City, Missouri, on July 7, 2015. Earl Lawrence, Manager, Small Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17205 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF STATE 22 CFR Part 171 [Public Notice: 9187] RIN 1400-AD86 Privacy Act; STATE-09, Records Maintained by the Office of Civil Rights AGENCY:

    Department of State.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of State is giving concurrent notice of a publication for a system of records pursuant to the Privacy Act of 1974 for the Records Maintained by the Office of Civil Rights, STATE-09; and this proposed rulemaking, which proposes to exempt portions of this system of records from one or more provisions of the Privacy Act of 1974.

    DATES:

    Comments on this proposed rule are due by August 24, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    John Hackett, Acting Director; Office of Information Programs and Services, A/GIS/IPS; Department of State, SA-2; 515 22nd Street NW., Washington, DC 20522-8001, or at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Department of State maintains the Records Maintained by the Office of Civil Rights system of records. The primary purpose of this system of records is for the investigation, processing, and resolution of informal and formal complaints of discrimination filed against the Department of State in accordance with 29 CFR part 1614 and the Department's internal procedures for addressing Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaints; and for the investigation, processing and resolution of complaints of discrimination under 42 U.S.C. 2000d and complaints under 20 U.S.C. 1681, 29 U.S.C. 794 and 794d, 42 U.S.C. 6101, 29 U.S.C. 621, and 36 CFR chapter XI.

    The Department of State is issuing this document as a proposal to amend 22 CFR part 171 to exempt portions of the Records Maintained by the Office of Civil Rights system of records from the Privacy Act subsections (c)(3);(d); (e)(1); (e)(4)(G), (H), and (I); and (f) of the Privacy Act pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(5) to the extent that the system contains investigatory material compiled for law enforcement purposes, and (k)(6) to the extent that it contains testing or examination material used solely to determine individual qualifications for appointment or promotion in the Federal service.

    List of Subjects in 22 CFR Part 171

    Privacy.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, 22 CFR part 171 is proposed to be amended as follows:

    PART 171—AVAILABILITY OF INFORMATION AND RECORDS TO THE PUBLIC 1. The authority citation for part 171 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    5 U.S.C. 552, 552a; 22 U.S.C. 2651a; Pub. L. 95-521, 92 Stat. 1824, as amended; E.O. 13526, 75 FR 707; E.O. 12600, 52 FR 23781, 3 CFR, 1987 Comp., p. 235.

    § 171.36 [Amended]
    2. Section 171.36 is amended by adding an entry, in alphabetical order, for “Records Maintained by the Office of Civil Rights, State-09” to the lists in paragraphs (b)(5) and (6). Joyce A. Barr, Assistant Secretary for Administration, U.S. Department of State.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17227 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4710-10-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R08-OAR-2014-0916; FRL-9930-46-Region-8] Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; South Dakota; Revisions to South Dakota Administrative Code AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve State Implementation Plan (SIP) revisions submitted by the State of South Dakota on July 29, 2013. This SIP submission revises the Administrative Rules of South Dakota (ARSD) Article 74:36—Air Pollution Control Program. These revisions include grammatical changes, renumbering, revisions to the date of incorporation by reference of the federal regulations referenced throughout ARSD Article 74:36, and removal of obsolete language regarding variance provisions and clean units. A cross-walk table, which details each individual rule revision in Article 74:36, and the actions EPA is proposing on those revisions, is included in the docket for this rulemaking. EPA is also proposing to clarify a final rule issued on January 29, 2015 pertaining to South Dakota's infrastructure SIP. This action is being taken in accordance with section 110 of the Clean Air Act (CAA).

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before August 13, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    The EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket Identification Number EPA-R08-OAR-2014-0916. All documents in the docket are listed on the http://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 the disclosure of which is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is not placed on the Internet and will be publicly available only in the hard copy form. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically through http://www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at EPA Region 8, Office of Partnership and Regulatory Assistance, Air Program, 1595 Wynkoop Street, Denver, Colorado, 80202-1129. The EPA requests that you contact the individual listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section to view the hard copy of the docket. The Regional Office's official hours of business are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., excluding federal holidays. An electronic copy of the state's SIP compilation is also available at http://www.epa.gov/region8/air/sip.html.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Adam Clark, Air Program, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 8, Mailcode 8P-AR, 1595 Wynkoop, Denver, Colorado 80202-1129, (303) 312-7104, [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. General Information What should I consider as I prepare my comments for EPA?

    1. Submitting Confidential Business Information (CBI). Do not submit CBI to EPA through www.regulations.gov or email. Clearly mark the part or all of the information that you claim to be CBI. For CBI information in a disk or CD ROM that you mail to EPA, mark the outside of the disk or CD ROM as CBI and then identify electronically within the disk or CD ROM the specific information that is claimed as CBI. In addition to one complete version of the comment that includes information claimed as CBI, a copy of the comment that does not contain the information claimed as CBI must be submitted for inclusion in the public docket. Information so marked will not be disclosed except in accordance with procedures set forth in 40 CFR part 2.

    2. Tips for Preparing Your Comments. When submitting comments, remember to:

    • Identify the rulemaking by docket number and other identifying information (subject heading, Federal Register date and page number).

    • Follow directions—The agency may ask you to respond to specific questions or organize comments by referencing a Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part or section number.

    • Explain why you agree or disagree; suggest alternatives and substitute language for your requested changes.

    • Describe any assumptions and provide any technical information and/or data that you used.

    • If you estimate potential costs or burdens, explain how you arrived at your estimate in sufficient detail to allow for it to be reproduced.

    • Provide specific examples to illustrate your concerns and suggest alternatives.

    • Explain your views as clearly as possible, avoiding the use of profanity or personal threats.

    • Make sure to submit your comments by the comment period deadline identified.

    II. Background

    South Dakota's June 29, 2013, submittal covers the following rule changes: (1) Removal of obsolete language regarding variance provisions and clean units, and renumbering to reflect the deletions; and (2) Revisions to the date of federal regulations referenced throughout ARSD Article 74:36 to July 1, 2012. A cross-walk table, which identifies the proposed rule revisions in Article 74:36 specifically, and the action EPA is proposing to take on those revisions, is included in the docket for this rulemaking.

    South Dakota's June 29, 2013 submittal also requests EPA approval of rule revisions for provisions that are not required to be included in SIPs under section 110 of the Clean Air Act (CAA), most notably additions to the State's New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) and National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPs). These revisions, which EPA is not proposing action on, are outlined in the cross-walk table located in the docket for this rulemaking.

    III. What action is EPA taking?

    EPA is proposing to approve most revisions of South Dakota's July 29, 2013 submittal as outlined in Section II. of this rulemaking that were not acted on previously. An overview of EPA's proposed approval of each section is described below. The excepted revisions, on which EPA will not take action, are also described below.

    74:36:01:01 (Definitions)

    EPA is proposing to approve all changes in this section as outlined in the crosswalk table (see docket). These changes specifically remove the term “variance” previously included in the definitions of “existing source” and “new source,” and removes the definition of “variance.” The removal of the variance will strengthen the environmental protection provided by the SIP, and therefore EPA proposes to approve these changes. EPA is also proposing to approve all remaining changes in this section, which update the date of incorporation by reference of the federal regulations to July 1, 2012.

    74:36:02 (Ambient Air Quality)

    EPA is proposing to approve all changes in this section, which update the date of incorporation by reference of the federal regulations to July 1, 2012.

    74:36:04 (Operating Permits for Minor Sources)

    EPA is proposing to approve all changes in this section, which remove citations to repealed provisions of South Dakota's legal code regarding variances from the General Authorities and Implemented Laws provided. It also updates the date of incorporation by reference of the federal regulations to July 1, 2012.

    74:36:05 (Operating Permits for Part 70 Sources)

    EPA is proposing to approve the changes in this section, which update the date of incorporation by reference of the federal regulations to July 1, 2012 and remove citations to repealed provisions of South Dakota's legal code regarding variances from the General Authorities and Implemented Laws provided.

    74:36:07 (New Source Performance Standards)

    EPA is not taking action on this section because NSPS are not required to be included in a SIP per section 110 of the CAA.

    74:36:08 (National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants)

    EPA is not taking action on this section because NESHAPs are not required to be included in a SIP per section 110 of the CAA.

    74:36:09 (Prevention of Significant Deterioration)

    EPA is not taking action on this section of South Dakota's July 29, 2013 submittal because it was acted upon by EPA in a final rulemaking dated January 29, 2015. (80 FR 4799)

    74:36:10 (New Source Review)

    EPA is proposing to approve all changes in this section that were not acted upon in an EPA final rule issued on June 27, 2014, with one exception. The provisions that EPA is proposing to act upon in this rulemaking are 74:36:10:09 and 74:36:10:10. These provisions remove obsolete language regarding clean units. EPA is not taking action on 74:36:10:06, which proposes to add PM2.5 to the “Pollutant and Significant Levels” table and to renumber other pollutants in the table. On January 22, 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia vacated and remanded portions of EPA's 2010 PM2.5 Increment Rule (75 FR 64864) addressing the Significant Impact Levels (SILs) for PM2.5. On December 9, 2013, EPA amended its regulations to remove the PM2.5 SILs (78 FR 73698). Therefore, South Dakota's incorporation of the PM2.5 SILs into its SIP no longer reflects the current regulations.

    74:36:11 (Performance Testing)

    EPA is proposing to approve changes in this section, which update the date of incorporation by reference of the federal regulations to July 1, 2012.

    74:36:12 (Control of Visible Emissions)

    EPA is proposing to approve the changes to 74:36:12:01 and 74:36:12:03 in the submittal, which update the date of incorporation by reference of the federal regulations to July 1, 2012 and update the General Authorities and Laws Implemented. EPA is not taking action on the language change in 74:36:12:02(3). On February 22, 2013, EPA (among other things) made a finding of substantial inadequacy and issued a SIP call for certain provisions related to start-up, shutdown, and malfunction in current SIPs for specific states. For South Dakota the affected provision is 74:36:12:02(3). EPA is not taking action on this provision, because it will be addressed in the proposed SIP call.

    74:36:13 (Continuous Emissions Monitoring)

    EPA is proposing to approve changes in this section, which update the date of incorporation by reference of the federal regulations to July 1, 2012.

    74:36:16 (Acid Rain Program)

    EPA is not taking action on this section because the Acid Rain Program is not required to be included in a SIP per section 110 of the CAA.

    74:36:18 (Regulations for State Facilities in the Rapid City Area)

    EPA is proposing to approve changes in this section, which update the date of incorporation by reference of the federal regulations for the visible emission test method to EPA Method 9 in 40 CFR part 60, Appendix A to July 1, 2012 and delete references to repealed provisions of the South Dakota Legal Code regarding variances.

    74:36:20 (Construction Permits for New Sources or Modifications)

    EPA is proposing to approve the changes in this section, which update the date of incorporation by reference of the federal regulations to July 1, 2012 and delete references to repealed provisions of the South Dakota Legal Code regarding variances. It also includes a change to 74:36:20:05 to ensure air pollution dispersion modeling used to determine compliance with that requirement is performed in accordance with 40 CFR part 51, Appendix W to July 1, 2012.

    74:36:21 (Regional Haze Program)

    EPA is proposing to approve changes in this section, which update the date of incorporation by reference of the federal regulations to July 1, 2012.

    IV. Proposed Clarification of January 29, 2015 Final Action

    Under CAA sections 110(a)(1) and (2), states are required to submit infrastructure SIPs to ensure their SIPs provide for implementation, maintenance, and enforcement of the NAAQS. As noted, on January 29, 2015, EPA took final action on the infrastructure submittals which addressed several different NAAQS from the State of South Dakota. (80 FR 4799). As part of the January 29, 2015 action, EPA approved South Dakota's 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS interstate transport infrastructure sub-element (CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II)). However, EPA had already approved this sub-element in a final rulemaking on May 8, 2008. (73 FR 26019, effective July 7, 2008). Therefore, in this action EPA is proposing to clarify that no action was required on this sub-element for this NAAQS in the January 29, 2015 approval of CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II) for the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS and the effective date of approval remains July 7, 2008.

    V. Summary of Proposed Action

    In this proposed rulemaking, we are proposing approval of most remaining portions of South Dakota's July 29, 2013 submittal as outlined in section III. above and in the crosswalk table located in the docket. We are proposing not to take action on certain portions of this submittal as described in section III. Finally, we are proposing to clarify our January 29, 2015 final action (80 FR 4799) regarding the effective date of approval for South Dakota's SIP regarding CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II) for the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS.

    VI. Incorporation by Reference

    In this rule, the EPA is proposing to include in a final EPA rule regulatory text that includes incorporation by reference. In accordance with the requirements of 1 CFR 51.5, the EPA is proposing to incorporate by reference the rules in ARSD 74:36 submitted by South Dakota for action which are identified within this notice of proposed rulemaking. 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 rule's preamble for more information).

    VII. 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 actions, provided that they meet the criteria of the Clean Air Act. Accordingly, this proposed action merely approves state law provisions as meeting federal requirements and does not propose 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 proposed 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 proposed 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).

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Carbon monoxide, Incorporation by reference, Intergovernmental relations, Lead, Nitrogen dioxide, Ozone, Particulate matter, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Sulfur oxides, Volatile organic compounds.

    Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Dated: June 25, 2015. Debra H. Thomas, Acting Regional Administrator, Region 8.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17257 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R06-OAR-2014-0626; FRL-9930-26-Region 6] Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; New Mexico; Revisions to the Particulate Matter Less Than 2.5 Micrometers (PM2.5) Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) Permitting Program State Implementation Plan (SIP) AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve portions of two revisions to the New Mexico SIP for the permitting of PM2.5 emissions submitted on May 23, 2011, and August 6, 2014. Together, these submittals revise the New Mexico PSD program to be consistent with the federal PSD regulations regarding the use of a significant impact level (SIL) or significant monitoring concentration (SMC) for PM2.5 emissions. We are proposing to approve these SIP revisions to regulate PM2.5 emissions in accordance with requirements of section 110 and part C of the Clean Air Act.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be received on or before August 13, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments may be mailed to Ms. Adina Wiley, Air Planning Section (6PD-R), Environmental Protection Agency, 1445 Ross Avenue, Ste. 1200, Dallas, TX 75202-2733. Comments may also be submitted electronically or through hand delivery/courier by following the detailed instructions in the ADDRESSES section of the direct final rule located in the rules section of this Federal Register.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Adina Wiley, 214-665-2115, [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    In the final rules section of this Federal Register, EPA is approving the State's SIP submittals as a direct rule without prior proposal because the Agency views this as noncontroversial submittal and anticipates no adverse comments. A detailed rationale for the approval is set forth in the direct final rule. If no relevant adverse comments are received in response to this action no further activity is contemplated. If EPA receives relevant adverse comments, the direct final rule will be withdrawn and all public comments received will be addressed in a subsequent final rule based on this proposed rule. EPA will not institute a second comment period. Any parties interested in commenting on this action should do so at this time.

    For additional information, see the direct final rule which is located in the rules section of this Federal Register.

    Dated: June 30, 2015. Ron Curry, Regional Administrator, Region 6.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17059 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R09-OAR-2015-0345; FRL-9929-59-Region 9] Revisions to the California State Implementation Plan, South Coast Air Quality Management District AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing 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 graphic arts facilities. The EPA is proposing to approve a local rule to regulate these emission sources under the Clean Air Act (CAA or the Act).

    DATES:

    Any comments on this proposal must arrive by August 13, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments, identified by docket number [EPA-R09-OAR-2015-345, by one of the following methods:

    1. Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions.

    2. Email: [email protected]

    3. Mail or deliver: Andrew Steckel (Air-4), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region IX, 75 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco, CA 94105-3901.

    Instructions: All comments will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available online at www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Information that you consider CBI or otherwise protected should be clearly identified as such and should not be submitted through www.regulations.gov or email. www.regulations.gov is an “anonymous access” system, and the EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send email directly to the EPA, your email address will be automatically captured and included as part of the public comment. If the EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, the EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses.

    Docket: Generally, documents in the docket for this action are available electronically at www.regulations.gov and in hard copy at EPA Region IX, 75 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco, California 94105-3901. While all documents in the docket are listed at www.regulations.gov, some information may be publicly available only at the hard copy location (e.g., copyrighted material, large maps), and some may not be publicly available in either location (e.g., 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:

    Vanessa Graham, EPA Region IX, (415) 947-4120, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This proposal addresses the following local rule: SCAQMD 1130, Graphic Arts. In the Rules and Regulations section of this Federal Register, the EPA is approving this local rule in a direct final action without prior proposal because the EPA believes this SIP revision is not controversial. If the EPA receives adverse comments, however, the EPA will publish a timely withdrawal of the direct final rule and address the comments in subsequent action based on this proposed rule.

    The EPA does not plan to open a second comment period, so anyone interested in commenting should do so at this time. If the EPA does not receive adverse comments, no further activity is planned. For further information, please see the direct final action.

    Dated: June 9, 2015. Jared Blumenfeld, Regional Administrator, Region IX.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17062 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R03-OAR-2015-0241; FRL-9930-34-Region 3] Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Maryland; Low Emissions Vehicle Program Revisions AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposes to approve two State Implementation Plan (SIP) revisions submitted by the State of Maryland for the purpose of amending Maryland's prior approved Low Emission Vehicles (LEV), or Clean Car Program. Maryland adopted California's emission standards applicable to newly manufactured light and medium-duty motor vehicles in 2007, effective beginning with 2011 and newer vehicles sold in Maryland. EPA approved Maryland's Clean Car Program in prior SIP approval rulemakings. However, since then California revised its LEV program regulations on several occasions, and Maryland subsequently amended its own rules to be consistent with those of California. Maryland then submitted these regulatory amendments to EPA as a revision to its SIP. Maryland submitted two such Clean Car Program SIP revisions in July 2014 and April 2015.

    In the Final Rules section of this Federal Register, EPA is approving the State's SIP submittal as a direct final rule without prior proposal because the Agency views this as a noncontroversial submittal and anticipates no adverse comments. A detailed rationale for the approval is set forth in the direct final rule. If no adverse comments are received in response to this action, no further activity is contemplated. If EPA receives adverse comments, the direct final rule will be withdrawn and all public comments received will be addressed in a subsequent final rule based on this proposed rule. EPA will not institute a second comment period. Any parties interested in commenting on this action should do so at this time.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received in writing by August 13, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID Number EPA-R03-OAR-2015-0241 by one of the following methods:

    A. www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.

    B. Email: [email protected]

    C. Mail: EPA-R03-OAR-2015-0241, Cristina Fernandez, Associate Director, Office of Air Program Planning, Mailcode 3AP30, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region III, 1650 Arch Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103.

    D. Hand Delivery: At the previously-listed EPA Region III address. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Docket's normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information.

    Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-R03-OAR-2015-0241. EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change, and may be made available online at www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected through www.regulations.gov or email. The www.regulations.gov Web site is an “anonymous access” system, which means EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an email comment directly to EPA without going through www.regulations.gov, your email address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses.

    Docket: All documents in the electronic docket are listed in the www.regulations.gov index. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, i.e., CBI or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is not placed on the Internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically in www.regulations.gov or in hard copy 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:

    Brian Rehn, (215) 814-2176, or by email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    For further information, please see the information provided in the direct final action to approve Maryland's amended Clean Car Program, with the same title, which is located in the “Rules and Regulations” section of this Federal Register publication.

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

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

    Dated: June 26, 2015. William C. Early, Acting Regional Administrator, Region III.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17063 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION 47 CFR Part 69 [WC Docket No. 05-25, RM-10593; DA 15-737] Wireline Competition Bureau Further Extends Comment Deadlines in Special Access Proceeding AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule; extension of comment and reply deadlines.

    SUMMARY:

    In this document, the Federal Communications Commission's (Commission's) Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) further extends deadlines for interested parties to submit comments and reply comments in response to Section IV.B of the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Special Access FNPRM), 78 FR 2600, January 11, 2013, in the special access proceeding.

    DATES:

    The comment period for the proposed rule published January 11, 2013 (78 FR 2600), has been further extended. Comments are due on or before September 25, 2015; reply comments are due on or before October 16, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments on the Special Access FNPRM, 78 FR 2600, January 11, 2013, identified by WC Docket No. 05-25, RM-10593, by any of the following methods:

    Electronic Filers: Federal Communication Commission's Electronic Comments Filing System (ECFS): http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    Paper Filers: All hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings for the Commission's Secretary must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 445 12th Street SW., Room TW-A325, Washington, DC 20554. The filing hours are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET). All hand deliveries must be held together with rubber bands or fasteners. Any envelopes and boxes must be disposed of before entering the building. Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service Express Mail and Priority Mail) must be sent to 9300 East Hampton Drive, Capitol Heights, MD 20743. U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority mail must be addressed to 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554.

    People with Disabilities: To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic files, or audio format), send an email to [email protected] or call the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (TTY).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Christopher Koves, Pricing Policy Division, Wireline Competition Bureau, (202) 418-8209 or [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This is a summary of the Commission's document, WC Docket No. 05-25, RM-10593; DA 15-737, released June 24, 2015. This document does not contain information collection(s) subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), Public Law 104-13. In addition, therefore, it does not contain any new or modified “information collection burden[s] for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees,” pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002. The complete text of this document is available for public inspection and copying from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET Monday through Thursday or from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET on Fridays in the FCC Reference Information Center, 445 12th Street SW., Room CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554. The complete text is also available on the Commission's Web site at http://wireless.fcc.gov, or by using the search function on the ECFS Web page at http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs/.

    Background

    On June 24, 2015, the Commission released a public notice extending the deadlines for filing comments and reply comments in response to Section IV.B of the Special Access FNPRM (78 FR 2600, January 11, 2013) in the Commission's special access rulemaking proceeding until September 25, 2015 and October 16, 2015, respectively. Previous comment period extensions have been published in the Federal Register. The latest comment period extension was published in the Federal Register on April 27, 2015 (80 FR 23248), to extend the comment and reply comment deadlines to July 1 and July 22, 2015, respectively. On December 11, 2012, the Commission adopted an order requiring providers and purchasers of special access service and certain entities providing “best efforts” service to submit data and information for a comprehensive evaluation of the special access market. In Section IV.B of the Special Access FNPRM accompanying that order, the Commission sought comment on potential changes to its rules governing the special access services provided by incumbent local exchange carriers in price cap areas. The Bureau is in the process of allowing access to the data collected for interested parties to review pursuant to restrictions found in the previously issued protective order, but has yet to make the data available. As a result, interested parties will not have adequate time to access and review the information collected prior to the current July 1 and July 22, 2015 comment and reply comment deadlines.

    Accordingly, the Bureau hereby further extends the deadline for filing comments to September 25, 2015, and for filing reply comments to October 16, 2015.

    Federal Communications Commission. Pamela Arluk, Chief, Pricing Policy Division, Wireline Competition Bureau.
    [FR Doc. 2015-16821 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION 47 CFR Part 73 [GN Docket No. 12-268; MB Docket No. 15-137; FCC 15-67] Expanding the Economic and Innovation Opportunities of Spectrum Through Incentive Auctions; Channel Sharing by Full Power and Class A Stations Outside the Broadcast Television Spectrum Incentive Auction Context AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    In this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), the Commission tentatively concludes that we should authorize channel sharing by full power and Class A stations outside the incentive auction context, including “second generation” agreements in which one or both entities were parties to an auction-related CSA whose term has expired or that has otherwise been terminated. By providing greater flexibility and certainty regarding CSAs, our objective is to encourage voluntary participation by broadcasters in the incentive auction.

    DATES:

    Comments may be filed on or before August 13, 2015, and reply comments may be filed August 28, 2015. Written comments on the proposed information collection requirements, subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995, Public Law 104-13, should be submitted on or before September 14, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by MB Docket No. 15-137, by any of the following methods:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. • Federal Communications Commission's Web site: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    Mail: Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial overnight courier, or by first-class or overnight U.S. Postal Service mail. All filings must be addressed to the Commission's Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.

    People with Disabilities: Contact the FCC to request reasonable accommodations (accessible format documents, sign language interpreters, CART, etc.) by email: [email protected] or phone: (202) 418-0530 or TTY: (202) 418-0432.

    In addition to filing comments with the Secretary, a copy of any comments on the Paperwork Reduction Act proposed information collection requirements contained herein should be submitted to the Federal Communications Commission via email to [email protected] and to [email protected] and also to Nicholas A. Fraser, Office of Management and Budget, via email to [email protected]. For detailed instructions for submitting comments and additional information on the rulemaking process, see the supplementary information section of this document.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Kim Matthews, Media Bureau, Policy Division, 202-418-2154, or email at [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This is a summary of the Commission's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, FCC 15-67, adopted on June 11, 2015 and released on June 12, 2015. The full text of this document is available for public inspection and copying during regular business hours in the FCC Reference Center, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street SW., Room CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554. The complete text may be purchased from the Commission's copy contractor, 445 12th Street SW., Room CY-B402, Washington, DC 20554. This document will also be available via ECFS at http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/. Documents will be available electronically in ASCII, Microsoft Word, and/or Adobe Acrobat. Alternative formats are available for people with disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format) by sending an email to [email protected] or calling the Commission's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0530 (voice), (202) 418-0432 (TTY).

    Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 Analysis

    The NPRM contains proposed new and modified information collection requirements. The Commission, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, invites the general public and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to comment on the information collection requirements contained in this document, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13. Comments should address: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the Commission's burden estimates; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and (e) ways to further reduce the information collection burden on small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees. In addition, pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107-198, see 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(4), the Commission seeks specific comment on how it might further reduce the information collection burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.

    To view a copy of this information collection request (ICR) submitted to OMB: (1) Go to the web page http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain, (2) look for the section of the Web page called “Currently Under Review,” (3) click on the downward-pointing arrow in the “Select Agency” box below the “Currently Under Review” heading, (4) select “Federal Communications Commission” from the list of agencies presented in the “Select Agency” box, (5) click the “Submit” button to the right of the “Select Agency” box, (6) when the list of FCC ICRs currently under review appears, look for the Title of this ICR and then click on the ICR Reference Number. A copy of the FCC submission to OMB will be displayed.

    The information collections are as follows:

    OMB Control Number: 3060-0027.

    Title: Application for Construction Permit for Commercial Broadcast Station, FCC Form 301; FCC Form 2100, Application for Media Bureau Audio and Video Service Authorization, Schedule A.

    Form Number: FCC Form 301; FCC Form 2100, Schedule A.

    Type of Review: Revision of a currently approved collection.

    Respondents: Business or other for-profit entities; Not-for-profit institutions; State, local or Tribal governments.

    Number of Respondents and Responses: 3,825respondents; 7,361 responses.

    Estimated Time per Response: 1-8 hours.

    Frequency of Response: On occasion and one-time reporting requirements; Third party disclosure requirement.

    Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. The statutory authority for the information collection requirements is contained in Sections 154(i), 303 and 308 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended and the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (“Spectrum Act”).

    Total Annual Burden: 18,022 hours.

    Total Annual Cost: $69,634,713.

    Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: There is no need for confidentiality with this information collection.

    Privacy Impact Assessment: No impact(s).

    Needs and Uses: On June 12, 2015, the Commission released a First Order on Reconsideration and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, In the Matter of Expanding the Economic and Innovation Opportunities of Spectrum Through Incentive Auctions, GN Docket No. 12-268 and MB Docket No. 15-137, FCC 15-67. This document contains proposed rules for channel sharing by and between full power and Class A television stations outside the context of the incentive auction. The proposed rules would allow full power stations to share a single channel with other full power or Class A stations. Full power stations will use FCC Form 2100, Schedule A to apply for a construction permit for the technical facilities it proposes to share with another station. The application for a construction permit to channel share must include a copy of the channel sharing agreement (“CSA”) between the stations Each CSA must include provisions governing certain key aspects of the stations' operations including: access to facilities; allocation of bandwidth within the shared channel; operation maintenance, repair, and modification of facilities; and termination or transfer/assignment of rights to the shared license. We propose to treat applications to channel share outside the auction context as minor change applications—that is, they would not be subject to local public notice requirements or a 30-day petition to deny filing window.

    The Commission's proposed rules would also require stations participating in CSAs to provide notice to MVPDs that: (1) No longer will be required to carry the station because of the relocation of the station; (2) currently carry and will continue to be obligated to carry a station that will change channels; or (3) will become obligated to carry the station due to a channel sharing relocation. We propose that the notice contain the following information: (1) Date and time of any channel changes; (2) the channel occupied by the station before and after implementation of the CSA; (3) modification, if any, to antenna position, location, or power levels; (4) stream identification information; and (5) engineering staff contact information. We propose that stations be able to elect whether to provide notice via a letter notification or provide notice electronically, if pre-arranged with the relevant MVPD. We also propose to require that sharee stations provide notice at least 30 days prior to terminating operations on the sharee's channel and that both sharer and sharee stations provide notice at least 30 days prior to initiation of operations on the sharer channel. Should the anticipated date to either cease operations or commence channel sharing operations change, we propose to require that the station(s) send a further notice to affected MVPDs informing them of the new anticipated date(s).

    No changes to FCC Form 2100, Schedule A are required for it to be used to file applications for channel sharing outside the auction context; this collection is being changed to reflect the proposed use of the form for a new purpose—to propose channel sharing outside the context of the incentive auction. This collection is also being changed to reflect the burden associated with preparing a CSA in connection with channel sharing as well as the burden associated with providing the required notification to MVPDs.

    OMB Control Number: 3060-0932.

    Title: FCC Form 2100, Application for Media Bureau Audio and Video Service Authorization, Schedule E (Former FCC Form 301-CA); 47 CFR 74.793(d).

    Form Number: FCC Form 2100, Schedule E.

    Type of Review: Revision of a currently approved collection.

    Respondents: Business or other for-profit entities; Not-for-profit institutions; State, local or Tribal governments.

    Number of Respondents and Responses: 450 respondents; 500 responses.

    Estimated Time per Response: 1-8 hours.

    Frequency of Response: On occasion reporting requirement, One time reporting requirement and third party disclosure requirement.

    Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. The statutory authority for the information collection requirements is contained in Sections 154(i), 307, 308, 309, and 319 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, the Community Broadcasters Protection Act of 1999, and the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (“Spectrum Act”).

    Total Annual Burden: 4,050 hours.

    Total Annual Cost: $2,879,200.

    Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: There is no need for confidentiality for this collection of information.

    Privacy Impact Assessment: No impact(s).

    Needs and Uses: On June 12, 2015, the Commission released a First Order on Reconsideration and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, In the Matter of Expanding the Economic and Innovation Opportunities of Spectrum Through Incentive Auctions, GN Docket No. 12-268 and MB Docket No. 15-137, FCC 15-67. This document contains proposed rules for channel sharing by and between full power and Class A television stations outside the context of the incentive auction. The proposed rules would allow Class A television stations to share a single channel with other full power or Class A stations. Class A stations will use FCC Form 2100, Schedule E (formerly FCC Form 301-CA) to apply for a construction permit for the technical facilities it proposes to share with another station.

    The application for a construction permit to channel share must include a copy of the channel sharing agreement (“CSA”) between the stations Each CSA must include provisions governing certain key aspects of the stations' operations including: access to facilities; allocation of bandwidth within the shared channel; operation maintenance, repair, and modification of facilities; and termination or transfer/assignment of rights to the shared license. We propose to treat applications to channel share outside the auction context as minor change applications—that is, they would not be subject to local public notice requirements or a 30-day petition to deny filing window.

    The Commission's proposed rules would also require stations participating in CSAs to provide notice to multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) that: (1) No longer will be required to carry the station because of the relocation of the station; (2) currently carry and will continue to be obligated to carry a station that will change channels; or (3) will become obligated to carry the station due to a channel sharing relocation. We propose that the notice contain the following information: (1) Date and time of any channel changes; (2) the channel occupied by the station before and after implementation of the CSA; (3) modification, if any, to antenna position, location, or power levels; (4) stream identification information; and (5) engineering staff contact information. We propose that stations be able to elect whether to provide notice via a letter notification or provide notice electronically, if pre-arranged with the relevant MVPD. We also propose to require that sharee stations provide notice at least 30 days prior to terminating operations on the sharee's channel and that both sharer and sharee stations provide notice at least 30 days prior to initiation of operations on the sharer channel. Should the anticipated date to either cease operations or commence channel sharing operations change, we propose to require that the station(s) send a further notice to affected MVPDs I nforming them of the new anticipated date(s).

    No changes to FCC Form 2100, Schedule E are required for it to be used to file applications for channel sharing outside the auction context; this collection is being changed to reflect the proposed use of the form for a new purpose—to propose channel sharing outside the context of the incentive auction. This collection is also being changed to reflect the burden associated with preparing a CSA in connection with channel sharing as well as the burden associated with providing the required notification to MVPDs.

    OMB Control Number: 3060-0837.

    Title: FCC Form 2100, Application for Media Bureau Audio and Video Service Authorization, Schedule B (Former FCC Form 302-DTV).

    Form Number: FCC Form 2100, Schedule B

    Type of Review: Revision of a currently approved collection.

    Respondents: Business or other for-profit entities; Not-for-profit institutions.

    Number of Respondents and Responses: 350 respondents; 400 responses.

    Estimated Time per Response: 0.5-2 hours.

    Frequency of Response: On occasion reporting requirement.

    Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. The statutory authority for the information collection requirements is contained in Sections 154(i), 303 and 308 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (Spectrum Act).

    Total Annual Burden: 725 hours.

    Total Annual Cost: $160,375.

    Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: There is no need for confidentiality for this collection of information.

    Privacy Impact Assessment: No impact(s).

    Needs and Uses: On June 12, 2015, the Commission released a First Order on Reconsideration and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, In the Matter of Expanding the Economic and Innovation Opportunities of Spectrum Through Incentive Auctions, GN Docket No. 12-268 and MB Docket No. 15-137, FCC 15-67. This document contains proposed rules for channel sharing by and between full power and Class A television stations outside the context of the incentive auction. The proposed rules would allow full power stations to share a single channel with other full power or Class A stations. After sharing stations have obtained the necessary construction permits, implemented their shared facility, and initiated shared operations, full power sharing stations will use FCC Form 2100, Schedule B (formerly FCC Form 302-DTV) to apply for a license.

    In addition, after sharing stations have obtained the necessary construction permits, implemented their shared facility, and initiated shared operations, a station relinquishing its channel would notify the Commission that it has terminated operation on that channel at the same time that the sharing stations file applications for license.

    No changes to FCC Form 2100, Schedule B are required for it to be used to file applications for license for channel sharing outside the auction context; this collection is being changed to reflect the proposed use of the form for a new purpose—to apply for a license to channel share outside the context of the incentive auction. This collection is also being changed to reflect the burden associated notifying the Commission that a station relinquishing its channel has terminated operation on that channel.

    OMB Control Number: 3060-0928.

    Title: FCC Form 2100, Application for Media Bureau Audio and Video Service Authorization, Schedule F (Formerly FCC 302-CA); 47 CFR 73.3572(h) and 47 CFR 73.3700.

    Form Number: FCC Form 2100, Schedule F .

    Type of Review: Revision of a currently approved collection.

    Respondents: Business or other for-profit entities; Not-for-profit institutions; State, local or Tribal governments.

    Number of Respondents and Responses: 571 respondents; 621 responses.

    Estimated Time per Response: 0.50-2 hours.

    Frequency of Response: On occasion reporting requirement and one time reporting requirement.

    Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. The statutory authority for the information collection requirements is contained in Sections 154(i), 307, 308, 309, and 319 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, the Community Broadcasters Protection Act of 1999, and the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (“Spectrum Act”).

    Total Annual Burden: 1,167 hours.

    Total Annual Cost: $162,735.

    Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: There is no need for confidentiality for this collection of information.

    Privacy Impact Assessment: No impact(s).

    Needs and Uses: On June 12, 2015, the Commission released a First Order on Reconsideration and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, In the Matter of Expanding the Economic and Innovation Opportunities of Spectrum Through Incentive Auctions, GN Docket No. 12-268 and MB Docket No. 15-137, FCC 15-67. This document contains proposed rules for channel sharing by and between full power and Class A television stations outside the context of the incentive auction. The proposed rules would allow Class A stations to share a single channel with other full power or Class A stations. After sharing stations have obtained the necessary construction permits, implemented their shared facility, and initiated shared operations, Class A sharing stations will use FCC Form 2100, Schedule F (formerly FCC Form 302-CA) to apply for a license.

    In addition, after sharing stations have obtained the necessary construction permits, implemented their shared facility, and initiated shared operations, a station relinquishing its channel would notify the Commission that it has terminated operation on that channel at the same time that the sharing stations file applications for license.

    No changes to FCC Form 2100, Schedule F are required for it to be used to file applications for license for channel sharing outside the auction context; this collection is being changed to reflect the proposed use of the form for a new purpose—to apply for a license to channel share outside the context of the incentive auction. This collection is also being changed to reflect the burden associated notifying the Commission that a station relinquishing its channel has terminated operation on that channel.

    Discussion of Notice of Proposed Rulemaking I. Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

    1. In this NPRM, we propose to adopt rules to permit channel sharing by and between full power and Class A television stations outside the context of the incentive auction, including by one or both parties to auction-related CSAs with other entities after those auction-related agreements terminate. Below we propose a regulatory framework for these agreements. We do not propose to distinguish between the “second generation” CSAs that EOBC requested, and which would succeed a CSA executed in connection with the auction, and new CSAs between stations that did not channel share in connection with the auction. Accordingly, there is no need to determine whether “second generation” CSAs would fall under the Spectrum Act's carriage rights protection because the sharee station “`voluntarily relinquishe[d] spectrum usage rights' under the Spectrum Act `in order to share a television channel.'” Instead, we propose to authorize non-auction-related CSAs without regard to their relationship to incentive auction-related CSAs. As discussed below, we believe that the carriage rights of parties to such CSAs would be protected under the Communications Act. In the companion First Order on Reconsideration, the Commission refines the rules it adopted in the Incentive Auction Report and Order and the preceding Channel Sharing Report and Order to provide greater flexibility and certainty regarding channel sharing agreements (“CSAs”).

    A. Public Interest and Legal Authority

    2. While the Commission declined in the Channel Sharing R&O, 77 FR 30423 (May 23, 2012), to address channel sharing outside the auction context, we now believe it is appropriate to do so. We tentatively conclude that authorizing channel sharing outside the auction context will encourage auction participation by giving prospective channel sharing bidders the knowledge that they can pursue future CSAs when their auction-related agreements expire. But the public interest benefits of channel sharing by full power and Class A stations are likely to extend beyond the auction. When it adopted a general framework for channel sharing by full power and Class A stations in the context of the incentive auction, the Commission concluded that channel sharing will help broadcasters, including existing small, minority-owned, and niche stations, to reduce operating costs and provide broadcasters with additional net income to strengthen operations and improve programming services. We also believe that authorizing channel sharing by full power and Class A stations outside the context of the incentive auction will promote spectral efficiency. We seek comment on our tentative conclusion that authorizing channel sharing by full power and Class A stations outside the context of the action will serve the public interest.

    3. We tentatively conclude that the authority conferred on the Commission by Title III of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, permits us to adopt channel sharing rules for full power and Class A television stations, and seek comment on this tentative conclusion.

    B. Carriage Rights

    4. We tentatively conclude that the Communications Act provides stations that elect to channel share outside the aegis of the Spectrum Act the same satellite and cable carriage rights on their new shared channels that the stations would have at the shared location if they were not channel sharing. We seek comment on this tentative conclusion. We note that this is consistent with the approach to channel sharing must-carry rights established by Congress in the Spectrum Act.

    5. The Communications Act establishes slightly different thresholds for carriage, depending on whether the station is full power or low-power, or commercial or noncommercial, and also depending on whether carriage is sought on a cable or DBS system. The must-carry rights of full-power commercial stations on cable systems are set forth in Section 614 of the Act. Pursuant to Section 614(a), “[e]ach cable operator shall carry, on the cable system of that operator, the signals of local commercial television stations . . . as provided by this section.” The term “local commercial television station” means “any full power television broadcast station, other than a qualified noncommercial educational television station . . . licensed and operating on a channel regularly assigned to its community by the Commission that, with respect to a particular cable system, is within the same television market as the cable system.” “Television market” is defined by Commission's rules as a Designated Market Area (“DMA”).

    6. The must-carry rights of full power noncommercial stations on cable systems are set forth in Section 615 of the Act. Section 615(a) provides that “each cable operator of a cable system shall carry the signals of qualified noncommercial educational television stations in accordance with the provisions of this section.” A qualified noncommercial educational station can be considered “local,” and thus eligible for mandatory carriage on a cable system, in one of two ways. It may either be licensed to a principal community within 50 miles of the system's headend, or place a “Grade B” signal over the headend.

    7. The must-carry rights of low power stations, including Class A stations, on cable systems are set forth in Section 614(c) of the Act. Under very narrow circumstances, such stations can become “qualified” and eligible for must carry. Among the several requirements for reaching “qualified” status with respect to a particular cable operator, the station must be “located no more than 35 miles from the cable system's headend.”

    8. The must-carry rights of full power stations (both commercial and noncommercial) on DBS providers are set forth in Section 338 of the Act. A full power “television broadcast station” is entitled to request carriage by a DBS provider any time that provider relies on the statutory copyright license to retransmit the signal of any other “local” station (i.e., one located in the same DMA). A “television broadcast station” is defined as “an over-the-air commercial or noncommercial television broadcast station licensed by the Commission.” Low-power stations, including Class A stations do not have DBS carriage rights.

    9. Under the foregoing Communications Act provisions, carriage rights are accorded to licensees without regard to whether they occupy a full six megahertz channel or share a channel with another licensee. Nothing in the Communications Act requires a station to occupy an entire six megahertz channel in order to be eligible for must carry rights; rather, the station must simply be a licensee eligible for carriage under the applicable provision of the Communications Act. Thus, the carriage rights conferred by Sections 614, 615, and 338 of the Act apply to channel sharees as they do to any other licensee.

    10. Based on these provisions, we tentatively conclude that a sharee station participating in a CSA that moves to a different frequency (that of the “sharer” station) remains entitled to must carry rights, but at the sharer's location. For example, in the case of a full power commercial station asserting mandatory cable carriage rights, both before and after the CSA, the station will be a “full power television broadcast station . . . licensed and operating on a channel regularly assigned to its community by the Commission that, with respect to a particular cable system, is within the same television market as the cable system.” The same analysis applies with respect to broadcasters qualifying for cable must-carry rights as “qualified local noncommercial educational television stations,” and “qualified low power stations,” and to broadcasters qualifying for DBS must-carry rights as “television broadcast stations.”

    11. We tentatively conclude that, under the statutory definitions outlined above, the sharee station's carriage rights would be determined at the new shared location. Carriage rights in this situation would be determined under Sections 338, 614, and 615 of the Communications Act in the same manner as they would outside the context of channel sharing, such as where stations change transmitter location, community of license, or DMA. We seek comment on this interpretation.

    12. We tentatively conclude that each broadcaster participating in a CSA will continue to be entitled to must-carry rights for a single, primary video stream. Section 614(b)(3) of the Communications Act provides that “[a] cable operator shall carry in its entirety, on the cable system of that operator, the primary video . . . of each of the local commercial television stations carried on the cable system. . . .” Although digital technology enables broadcasters to transmit multiple program streams simultaneously on each six MHz channel, the Commission has determined that the must-carry provisions require only that a cable operator carry a single programming stream. We tentatively conclude that a sharee station's transmission of its signal on a different channel following implementation of a CSA does not alter the station's must-carry right to carriage of a single “primary video” programming stream.

    13. Section 1452(a)(4) provides that sharee stations resulting from the incentive auction have the same carriage rights on the shared channel that each station would have on that channel and from that location if it were not sharing, but this provision by its terms addresses only auction-related CSAs. For this reason, as noted above, we conclude that the carriage rights of sharees outside the context of the incentive auction are determined not by the Spectrum Act but by the carriage provisions of the Communications Act.

    14. Notably, however, Section 1452(a)(4) does not simply affirm carriage rights under the Communications Act, it also limits the carriage rights of sharee stations in connection with the incentive auction to those that possessed such rights on November 30, 2010. The date of November 30, 2010 refers to the Commission's issuance of the 2010 Channel Sharing NPRM, 76 FR 5521 (February 1, 2011), proposing to allow television stations to channel share. In the 2010 Channel Sharing NPRM, the Commission proposed to “limit channel sharing to television stations with existing applications, construction permits or licenses as of [November 30, 2010].” In response, MVPDs expressed concern that allowing new stations that have not yet built facilities to become sharee stations would be a shortcut to obtaining MVPD carriage and thereby artificially increase the number of stations MVPDs are required to carry under the must carry regime. In the Spectrum Act, Congress adopted a different approach than the one proposed in the 2010 Channel Sharing NPRM by requiring a sharee station resulting from the incentive auction to have “possessed carriage rights” on November 30, 2010 in order have carriage rights at its shared location. Consistent with the concerns expressed by MVPDs, this approach precluded stations that were not licensed as of November 30, 2010 from the entitlement to carriage under Section 1452(a)(4) because they did not “possess[ ] carriage rights” on that date.

    15. Consistent with Section 1452(a)'s objective of avoiding artificially creating new stations that can demand MVPD carriage, we propose that a full power or Class A station will be eligible to become a sharee station outside of the auction context only if it possessed carriage rights under sections 338, 614, or 615 of the Communications Act through an auction-related channel sharing agreement, pursuant to Section 1452(a)(4), or because it was operating on its own non-shared channel immediately prior to entering into a channel sharing agreement. We also seek comment on any alternative approaches that would address Congress's concern that channel sharing not be used as a means to artificially increase the number of stations that MVPDs are required to carry, including the adoption of November 30, 2010, or some later date certain for the possession of carriage rights as a condition precedent to becoming a sharee. Another approach would be to extend eligibility of a sharee station for carriage rights outside of the auction context only to a station that has constructed and licensed facilities without relying on sharing with another station, regardless of when that station possessed carriage rights. How would this approach apply to a station that entered into an auction-related sharing agreement for a limited term and subsequently seeks to enter into a new sharing agreement outside the auction context with the same or different sharer? Are there any other alternative approaches that we should consider?

    16. We do not propose, however, to restrict full power and Class A stations from becoming sharer stations outside of the auction context, regardless of when or whether such stations have obtained carriage rights. We believe this approach is consistent with Section 1452(a)(4), which pertains to the carriage rights of only sharee stations, not sharer stations. Because a sharer station necessarily would have already constructed and licensed its facilities, there is no apparent concern that such stations could use sharing as a shortcut to obtaining MVPD carriage. Moreover, we believe the ability of such stations to serve as sharers would benefit other stations, including those participating in the incentive auction, by increasing the number of potential sharers. We seek comment on this approach.

    C. Voluntary and Flexible Channel Sharing

    17. We propose to adopt rules and procedures for channel sharing for full power and Class A stations outside the auction context that are generally similar to those we adopted in connection with the incentive auction, as modified in the companion First Order on Reconsideration. We propose that channel sharing be voluntary and flexible, that stations be permitted to choose their channel sharing partners, that channel sharing agreements be required to outline stations' rights with respect to certain matters, and that stations be permitted to assign or transfer their rights under a CSA. We do not intend to be involved in the process of matching licensees interested in channel sharing with potential partners. Instead, full power and Class A stations would decide for themselves whether and with whom to enter into a CSA.

    18. In addition, consistent with our approach toward channel sharing in the auction context, we propose to require all stations involved in channel sharing to retain spectrum usage rights sufficient to ensure at least enough capacity to operate one standard definition (“SD”) programming stream at all times. This requirement will ensure that each station has sufficient channel capacity to meet our requirement to “transmit at least one over-the-air video broadcast signal provided at no direct charge to viewers. . . .” We propose, however, to allow stations flexibility beyond this “minimum capacity” requirement to tailor their agreements and allow a variety of different types of spectrum sharing to meet the individualized programming and economic needs of the parties involved. We do not propose to prescribe a fixed split of the capacity of the six megahertz channel between the stations from a technological or licensing perspective. We propose that all channel sharing stations be licensed for the entire capacity of the six megahertz channel and that the stations be allowed to determine the manner in which that capacity will be divided among themselves subject only to the minimum capacity requirement.

    19. In the companion First Order on Reconsideration, we determined that CSAs need not be permanent in nature and modified our rules to permit broadcasters to choose the length of their CSAs. Similarly, we propose to permit term-limited CSAs outside the auction context. We also invite comment on whether we should establish a minimum term for CSAs that are unrelated to the auction. Our goal in permitting term-limited CSAs is to provide flexibility for broadcasters that choose to end the channel sharing relationship while maintaining the opportunity to continue to operate. We are concerned, however, about the potential disruption to viewers that could occur if channel sharing stations enter into short-term CSAs or terminate CSAs early, resulting in frequent channel moves. In addition, we note that MVPDs could experience carriage-related disruptions should there be a multitude of short-term CSAs. Given this, should we establish a minimum term for CSAs, or would this unduly constrain channel sharing partners who may prefer a short-term agreement or want to terminate a CSA early? If we were to establish a minimum term for CSAs, what minimum term would be appropriate (e.g., three years)?

    D. Licensing Procedures

    20. We also propose to extend to non-auction-related sharing agreements our existing policy framework for the licensing and operation of channel sharing stations. Under this policy, despite sharing a single channel and transmission facility, each full power and Class A station would continue to be licensed separately. Each station would have its own call sign, and each licensee would separately be subject to all of the Commission's obligations, rules, and policies. We seek comment on these proposals.

    21. We propose to adopt a two-step process for implementing non-auction-related channel sharing by and between full power and Class A stations outside the auction context. If no technical changes are necessary for sharing, a channel sharing station relinquishing its channel first would file an application for digital construction permit for the same technical facilities as the sharer station. That application would include a copy of the CSA as an exhibit and cross reference the other sharing station(s). The sharer station would not need to take action at this time unless the CSA required technical changes to the sharer station's facilities. If changes to the sharer station facilities were required, each sharing station would file an application for construction permit for identical technical facilities proposing to share the channel, along with the CSA. As a second step, after the sharing stations have obtained the necessary construction permits, implemented their shared facility, and initiated shared operations, a station relinquishing its channel would notify the Commission that it has terminated operation on that channel. At the same time, sharing stations would file applications for license to complete the licensing process. We seek comment on these proposed procedures.

    22. We propose to treat applications for a construction permit in order to channel share as minor change applications, similar to the approach we adopted for auction-related channel sharing. We believe that the use of minor change applications is appropriate to facilitate CSAs, particularly if we prohibit sharee stations from relocating outside their community of license in order to channel share, as discussed below. We seek comment on this approach.

    23. We also seek comment on an appropriate length of time for channel sharing full power and Class A stations to implement their agreements. In the Incentive Auction Report & Order, 79 FR 48442 (August 15, 2014) (IA R&O), we required that CSAs be implemented within three months after the relinquishing station receives its reverse auction proceeds. In the companion First Order on Reconsideration, we modify our rules to permit post-auction CSAs, and to permit a successful license relinquishment bidder who in its application expresses a present intent to enter a post-auction CSA up to three months from the receipt of auction proceeds to execute and implement a sharing agreement. The exigencies of the auction process do not apply in setting a deadline for stations to implement their CSAs outside the auction context. In the LPTV Channel Sharing NPRM, 79 FR 70824 (November 28, 2014), we sought comment on whether to allow channel sharing stations the standard three-year construction period under the rules to implement their sharing deals. Should we also give full power and Class A stations the standard three-year construction period in which to implement CSAs? Is there another timeframe that would be more appropriate?

    24. We also seek comment on the degree of flexibility we should provide to potential sharee stations seeking to relocate to take advantage of channel sharing. In the IA R&O, we stated that we would permit a sharee to change its community of license only in situations where the sharee cannot meet community of license signal requirements operating from the sharer's transmission site and provided that the sharee chooses a new community of license that, at a minimum, meets the same allotment priorities as its current community. In addition, the Commission stated that it would not allow a bidder to propose a community of license change that would change its DMA. The Commission adopted this restriction on changes in community of license in the auction context in order to promote the goals underlying Section 307(b) of the Communications Act while at the same time avoiding any detrimental impact on the speed and certainty of the auction, as well as on broadcaster participation, that would result from application of the Commission's usual analysis of community of license changes. Outside the auction context, we propose to preclude sharee stations from changing their community of license, and to limit these stations to CSAs with a sharer from whose transmitter site the sharee will continue to meet the community of license signal requirement over its current community of license. Precluding relocation that would require a community of license change would advance our interest in ensuring the provision of service to local communities, avoid viewer disruption, and avoid any potential impact on MVPDs that might result from community of license changes.

    25. In the event that we permit sharee stations to propose a change in community of license in order to channel share, we invite comment on how we should evaluate such requests. Should we use our traditional television allotment rules and policies, pursuant to which a proposed full power television sharee would have to file a petition for rulemaking and demonstrate that the requested change in community would result in a preferential arrangement of television allotments under Section 307(b) and the Commission's allotment priorities? Alternatively, should we adopt a more streamlined approach that would dispense with a rulemaking? Outside the auction context, the concerns we expressed in the IA R&O about the potential impact on the auction of our usual analysis of community of license changes are not relevant. We seek comment on these possible approaches to community of license changes.

    E. Channel Sharing Operating Rules

    26. We propose to adopt channel sharing operating rules similar to those adopted for full power and Class A television stations in the IA R&O, as modified by the First Order on Reconsideration. In the IA R&O, we determined that CSAs for full power and Class A stations must include provisions governing certain key aspects of their operations: (1) Access to facilities, including whether each licensee will have unrestrained access to the shared transmission facilities; (2) allocation of bandwidth within the shared channel; (3) operation, maintenance, repair, and modification of facilities, including a list of all relevant equipment, a description of each party's financial obligations, and any relevant notice provisions; and (4) termination or transfer/assignment of rights to the shared licenses, including the ability of a new licensee to assume the existing CSA. We propose to require full power and Class A CSAs outside the auction context to contain the same key information. We also propose to reserve the right to review CSA provisions and require modification of any that do not comply with these requirements or the Commission's rules. We seek comment on these proposals.

    27. Termination, Assignment/Transfer, and Relinquishment of Channel Sharing Licenses. We propose to apply to full power and Class A CSAs entered into outside the auction context the same rules regarding termination, assignment/transfer, and voluntary relinquishment of channel sharing rights that we adopted in the IA R&O, as modified by the First Order on Reconsideration. Under this proposed approach we would allow rights under a CSA to be assigned or transferred, subject to the requirements of Section 310 of the Communications Act, our rules, and the requirement that the assignee or transferee undertake to comply with the applicable CSA. In the event a channel sharing party's license is terminated due to voluntary relinquishment, revocation, or failure to renew, consistent with the approach we adopt in the First Order on Reconsideration we propose that the relinquished spectrum usage rights in the shared channel revert to the other sharing parties. Further, where only one sharing partner remains on a channel after its partner relinquishes its license, it may request that its channel return to non-shared status. We seek comment on this approach.

    F. Channel Sharing Between Full Power and Class A Stations

    28. In the IA R&O, we allowed channel sharing between full power and Class A television stations despite the fact that each operate with different technical rules. We concluded that the Class A television station sharing a full power television station's channel after the incentive auction would be permitted to operate under the part 73 rules governing power levels and interference. Similarly, we concluded that a full power station sharing a Class A station's channel after the incentive auction would be permitted to operate under the Part 74 power level and interference rules. We propose herein to permit channel sharing between full power and Class A stations outside the auction context and to apply to such agreements the same rules we adopted in the IA R&O. We seek comment on this approach.

    G. Reimbursement

    29. With respect to CSAs entered into outside the auction context, we do not propose to adopt rules regarding reimbursement of costs imposed on MVPDs as a result of CSAs. We note that our current rules do not require reimbursement of MVPD costs in connection with channel changes or other changes that modify carriage obligations outside the auction context. Further, the reimbursement provisions of the Spectrum Act apply only to CSAs made in connection with the incentive auction. Thus, by the plain language of Section 1452, reimbursement under the Spectrum Act applies only to costs associated with channel sharing bids; reimbursement does not extend to CSAs unrelated to the auction.

    30. Accordingly, costs associated with channel sharing outside the auction context will be borne by broadcasters and MVPDs in the same manner as these parties are traditionally responsible for costs associated with television station channel moves. For example, to obtain carriage, a local commercial television station must be capable of delivering a good quality signal to a cable system headend or bear responsibility for the cost of delivering such a good quality signal. A television station that cannot deliver a good quality signal to a cable system headend it previously could reach with its over-the-air signal may bear costs associated with use of alternative means, such as fiber or microwave, to deliver a good quality signal to the headend. In addition, a television station that relocates may gain carriage on a different cable or satellite system(s), which may incur costs for new equipment or other changes associated with adding the channel.

    H. Notice to MVPDs

    31. Similar to the requirement we adopted in the IA R&O, we propose to require stations participating in CSAs to provide notice to those MVPDs that: (1) No longer will be required to carry the station because of the relocation of the station; (2) currently carry and will continue to be obligated to carry a station that will change channels; or (3) will become obligated to carry the station due to a channel sharing relocation. We propose that the notice contain the following information: (1) Date and time of any channel changes; (2) the channel occupied by the station before and after implementation of the CSA; (3) modification, if any, to antenna position, location, or power levels; (4) stream identification information; and (5) engineering staff contact information. We propose that stations be able to elect whether to provide notice via a letter notification or provide notice electronically, if pre-arranged with the relevant MVPD. We also propose to require that sharee stations provide notice at least 30 days prior to terminating operations on the sharee's channel and that both sharer and sharee stations provide notice at least 30 days prior to initiation of operations on the sharer channel. Should the anticipated date to either cease operations or commence channel sharing operations change, we propose to require that the station(s) send a further notice to affected MVPDs informing them of the new anticipated date(s). We seek comment on these proposals.

    II. Procedural Matters A. Initial Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis

    1. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended (“RFA”), the Commission has prepared this Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (“IRFA”) concerning the possible significant economic impact on small entities of the policies and rules proposed in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”). Written public comments are requested on this IRFA. Comments must be identified as responses to the IRFA and must be filed by the deadlines for comments provided on the first page of the NPRM. The Commission will send a copy of the NPRM, including this IRFA, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration (“SBA”). In addition, the NPRM and IRFA (or summaries thereof) will be published in the Federal Register.

    2. The NPRM proposes to adopt rules to permit channel sharing by and between full power and Class A television stations outside the context of the incentive auction, including by one or both parties to auction-related CSAs with other entities after those auction-related agreements terminate. Our goal is to provide clarification regarding the scope of channel sharing outside the context of the incentive auction in order to encourage auction participation. In addition, our goal is to extend the public interest benefits of channel sharing to full power and Class A stations that are not participating in the auction. The Commission has previously concluded that channel sharing can help broadcasters, including existing small, minority-owned, and niche stations, to reduce operating costs and provide broadcasters with additional net income to strengthen operations and improve programming services. Thus, extending channel sharing to full power and Class A stations outside the auction context would permit these stations to take advantage of the potential benefits of channel sharing.

    3. The proposed action is authorized pursuant to Sections 1, 4, 301, 303, 307, 308, 309, 310, 316, 319, 338, 403, 614, and 615 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 151, 154, 301, 303, 307, 308, 309, 310, 316, 319, 338, 403, 614 and 615.

    4. The RFA directs agencies to provide a description of, and where feasible, an estimate of the number of small entities that may be affected by the proposed rules, if adopted. The RFA generally defines the term “small entity” as having the same meaning as the terms “small business,” “small organization,” and “small governmental jurisdiction.” In addition, the term “small business” has the same meaning as the term “small business concern” under the Small Business Act. A small business concern is one which: (1) Is independently owned and operated; (2) is not dominant in its field of operation; and (3) satisfies any additional criteria established by the SBA. Below, we provide a description of such small entities, as well as an estimate of the number of such small entities, where feasible.

    5. Wired Telecommunications Carriers. The North American Industry Classification System (“NAICS”) defines “Wired Telecommunications Carriers” as follows: “This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in operating and/or providing access to transmission facilities and infrastructure that they own and/or lease for the transmission of voice, data, text, sound, and video using wired telecommunications networks. Transmission facilities may be based on a single technology or a combination of technologies. Establishments in this industry use the wired telecommunications network facilities that they operate to provide a variety of services, such as wired telephony services, including VoIP services; wired (cable) audio and video programming distribution; and wired broadband Internet services. By exception, establishments providing satellite television distribution services using facilities and infrastructure that they operate are included in this industry.” The SBA has developed a small business size standard for wireline firms for the broad economic census category of “Wired Telecommunications Carriers.” Under this category, a wireline business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. Census data for 2007 shows that there were 3,188 firms that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 3,144 firms had fewer than 1,000 employees, and 44 firms had 1,000 or more employees. Therefore, under this size standard, we estimate that the majority of businesses can be considered small entities.

    6. Cable Television Distribution Services. Since 2007, these services have been defined within the broad economic census category of Wired Telecommunications Carriers, which category is defined above. The SBA has developed a small business size standard for this category, which is: All such businesses having 1,500 or fewer employees. Census data for 2007 shows that there were 3,188 firms that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 3,144 firms had fewer than 1,000 employees, and 44 firms had 1,000 or more employees. Therefore, under this size standard, we estimate that the majority of businesses can be considered small entities.

    7. Cable Companies and Systems. The Commission has developed its own small business size standards for the purpose of cable rate regulation. Under the Commission's rules, a “small cable company” is one serving 400,000 or fewer subscribers nationwide. Industry data shows that there are currently 660 cable operators. Of this total, all but ten cable operators nationwide are small under this size standard. In addition, under the Commission's rate regulation rules, a “small system” is a cable system serving 15,000 or fewer subscribers. Current Commission records show 4,629 cable systems nationwide. Of this total, 4,057 cable systems have less than 20,000 subscribers, and 572 systems have 20,000 or more subscribers, based on the same records. Thus, under this standard, we estimate that most cable systems are small entities.

    8. Cable System Operators (Telecom Act Standard). The Communications Act of 1934, as amended, also contains a size standard for small cable system operators, which is “a cable operator that, directly or through an affiliate, serves in the aggregate fewer than 1 percent of all subscribers in the United States and is not affiliated with any entity or entities whose gross annual revenues in the aggregate exceed $250,000,000.” There are approximately 54 million cable video subscribers in the United States today. Accordingly, an operator serving fewer than 540,000 subscribers shall be deemed a small operator if its annual revenues, when combined with the total annual revenues of all its affiliates, do not exceed $250 million in the aggregate. Based on available data, we find that all but ten incumbent cable operators are small entities under this size standard. We note that the Commission neither requests nor collects information on whether cable system operators are affiliated with entities whose gross annual revenues exceed $250 million. Although it seems certain that some of these cable system operators are affiliated with entities whose gross annual revenues exceed $250,000,000, we are unable at this time to estimate with greater precision the number of cable system operators that would qualify as small cable operators under the definition in the Communications Act.

    9. Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) Service. DBS service is a nationally distributed subscription service that delivers video and audio programming via satellite to a small parabolic “dish” antenna at the subscriber's location. DBS, by exception, is now included in the SBA's broad economic census category, Wired Telecommunications Carriers, which was developed for small wireline businesses. Under this category, the SBA deems a wireline business to be small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. Census data for 2007 shows that there were 3,188 firms that operated for that entire year. Of this total, 2,940 firms had fewer than 100 employees, and 248 firms had 100 or more employees. Therefore, under this size standard, the majority of such businesses can be considered small entities. However, the data we have available as a basis for estimating the number of such small entities were gathered under a superseded SBA small business size standard formerly titled “Cable and Other Program Distribution.” As of 2002, the SBA defined a small Cable and Other Program Distribution provider as one with $12.5 million or less in annual receipts. Currently, only two entities provide DBS service, which requires a great investment of capital for operation: DIRECTV and DISH Network. Each currently offers subscription services. DIRECTV and DISH Network each report annual revenues that are in excess of the threshold for a small business. Because DBS service requires significant capital, we believe it is unlikely that a small entity as defined under the superseded SBA size standard would have the financial wherewithal to become a DBS service provider.

    10. Television Broadcasting. This economic census category “comprises establishments primarily engaged in broadcasting images together with sound.” The SBA has created the following small business size standard for such businesses: Those having $38.5 million or less in annual receipts. The 2007 U.S. Census indicates that 808 firms in this category operated in that year. Of that number, 709 had annual receipts of $25,000,000 or less, and 99 had annual receipts of more than $25,000,000. Because the Census has no additional classifications that could serve as a basis for determining the number of stations whose receipts exceeded $38.5 million in that year, we conclude that the majority of television broadcast stations were small under the applicable SBA size standard.

    11. Apart from the U.S. Census, the Commission has estimated the number of licensed commercial television stations to be 1,390 stations. Of this total, 1,221 stations (or about 88 percent) had revenues of $38.5 million or less, according to Commission staff review of the BIA Kelsey Inc. Media Access Pro Television Database (BIA) on July 2, 2014. In addition, the Commission has estimated the number of licensed noncommercial educational (NCE) television stations to be 395. NCE stations are non-profit, and therefore considered to be small entities. Therefore, we estimate that the majority of television broadcast stations are small entities.

    12. We note, however, that in assessing whether a business concern qualifies as small under the above definition, business (control) affiliations must be included. Our estimate, therefore, likely overstates the number of small entities that might be affected by our action because the revenue figure on which it is based does not include or aggregate revenues from affiliated companies. In addition, an element of the definition of “small business” is that the entity not be dominant in its field of operation. We are unable at this time to define or quantify the criteria that would establish whether a specific television station is dominant in its field of operation. Accordingly, the estimate of small businesses to which rules may apply does not exclude any television station from the definition of a small business on this basis and is therefore possibly over-inclusive to that extent.

    13. Class A TV Stations. The same SBA definition that applies to television broadcast stations would apply to licensees of Class A television stations. As noted above, the SBA has created the following small business size standard for this category: Those having $38.5 million or less in annual receipts. The Commission has estimated the number of licensed Class A television stations to be 405. Given the nature of these services, we will presume that these licensees qualify as small entities under the SBA definition.

    14. The NPRM proposes several regulatory requirements that will require either new information collections or revisions to existing collections. The NPRM proposes to require full power and Class A stations seeking to channel share outside the auction context to follow a two-step licensing process—first filing an application for construction permit and then an application for license. These existing collections will need to be revised to reflect these new channel-sharing related filings and the associated burden estimates. In addition, the NPRM proposes that channel sharing stations submit their channel sharing agreements (CSAs) with the Commission and be required to include certain provisions in their CSAs. The existing collection concerning the execution and filing of CSAs will need to be revised. Finally, the NPRM proposes to require channel sharing stations to notify affected MVPDs.

    15. The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant alternatives that it has considered in reaching its proposed approach, which may include the following four alternatives (among others): (1) The establishment of differing compliance or reporting requirements or timetables that take into account the resources available to small entities; (2) the clarification, consolidation, or simplification of compliance or reporting requirements under the rule for small entities; (3) the use of performance, rather than design, standard; and (4) an exemption from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for small entities.

    16. The NPRM proposes to permit channel sharing by and between full power and Class A television stations outside the context of the incentive auction and seeks comment on that proposal as well as a proposed regulatory framework for such agreements. The Commission has previously concluded that channel sharing can help broadcasters, including existing small, minority-owned, and niche stations, to reduce operating costs and provide broadcasters with additional net income to strengthen operations and improve programming services. Thus, the proposals in the NPRM may help smaller broadcasters conserve resources. In addition, the NPRM proposes licensing and operating rules for channel sharing by and between full power and Class A stations that are designed to minimize impact on small entities. The rules provide a streamlined method for reviewing and licensing channel sharing for these stations and seek comment on whether to adopt a streamlined approach for reviewing proposals for a change in community of license of sharee stations. The Commission will consider all comments submitted in connection with the NPRM, including any suggested alternative approaches to channel sharing by full power and Class A stations that would reduce the burden and costs on smaller entities.

    Federal Rules That May Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict With the Proposed Rule

    17. None.

    B. Paperwork Reduction Act Analysis

    18. This NPRM contains proposed new or modified information collection requirements. The Commission, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, invites the general public and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to comment on the information collection requirements contained in this document, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), Public Law 104-13, see 44 U.S.C. 3507. In addition, pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107-198, see 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(4), we seek specific comment on how we might further reduce the information collection burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.

    C. Ex Parte Presentations

    19. The proceeding this NPRM initiates shall be treated as a “permit-but-disclose” proceeding in accordance with the Commission's ex parte rules.1 Persons making ex parte presentations must file a copy of any written presentation or a memorandum summarizing any oral presentation within two business days after the presentation (unless a different deadline applicable to the Sunshine period applies). Persons making oral ex parte presentations are reminded that memoranda summarizing the presentation must (1) list all persons attending or otherwise participating in the meeting at which the ex parte presentation was made, and (2) summarize all data presented and arguments made during the presentation. If the presentation consisted in whole or in part of the presentation of data or arguments already reflected in the presenter's written comments, memoranda or other filings in the proceeding, the presenter may provide citations to such data or arguments in his or her prior comments, memoranda, or other filings (specifying the relevant page and/or paragraph numbers where such data or arguments can be found) in lieu of summarizing them in the memorandum. Documents shown or given to Commission staff during ex parte meetings are deemed to be written ex parte presentations and must be filed consistent with rule 1.1206(b). In proceedings governed by rule 1.49(f) or for which the Commission has made available a method of electronic filing, written ex parte presentations and memoranda summarizing oral ex parte presentations, and all attachments thereto, must be filed through the electronic comment filing system available for that proceeding, and must be filed in their native format (e.g., .doc, .xml, .ppt, searchable.pdf). Participants in this proceeding should familiarize themselves with the Commission's ex parte rules.

    1 47 CFR 1.1200.

    D. Comment Filing Procedures

    20. Pursuant to sections 1.415 and 1.419 of the Commission's rules, 47 CFR 1.415, 1.419, interested parties may file comments and reply comments on or before the dates indicated on the first page of this document. Comments may be filed using the Commission's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS). See Electronic Filing of Documents in Rulemaking Proceedings, 63 FR 24121 (1998).

    Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically using the Internet by accessing the ECFS: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/.

    Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must file an original and one copy of each filing. If more than one docket or rulemaking number appears in the caption of this proceeding, filers must submit two additional copies for each additional docket or rulemaking number.

    Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial overnight courier, or by first-class or overnight U.S. Postal Service mail. All filings must be addressed to the Commission's Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.

    All hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings for the Commission's Secretary must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 445 12th St. SW., Room TW-A325, Washington, DC 20554. The filing hours are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. All hand deliveries must be held together with rubber bands or fasteners. Any envelopes and boxes must be disposed of before entering the building.

    Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service Express Mail and Priority Mail) must be sent to 9300 East Hampton Drive, Capitol Heights, MD 20743.

    U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority mail must be addressed to 445 12th Street SW., Washington DC 20554.

    People with Disabilities: To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an e-mail to [email protected] or call the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (tty).

    21. Additional Information: For additional information on this NPRM, please contact Kim Matthews of the Media Bureau, Policy Division, [email protected], (202) 418-2154.

    III. Ordering Clauses

    22. IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to the authority contained in Sections 1, 4, 301, 303, 307, 308, 309, 310, 316, 319, 338, 403, 614, and 615 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 151, 154, 301, 303, 307, 308, 309, 310, 316, 319, 338, 403, 614 and 615, this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking IS ADOPTED.

    23. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Commission's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, SHALL SEND a copy of this NPRM, including the Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration.

    List of Subjects in 47 CFR Part 73

    Broadcast radio.

    Federal Communications Commission. Gloria J. Miles, Federal Register Liaison Officer. Proposed Rules

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal Communications Commission proposes to amend 47 CFR part 73 as follows:

    PART 73—RADIO BROADCAST SERVICES 1. The authority citation for part 73 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    47 U.S.C. 154, 303, 334, 336 and 339.

    2. Add § 73.3800 to read as follows:
    § 73.3800 Full power television channel sharing outside the auction context.

    (a) Channel sharing generally. (1) Subject to the provisions of this section, full power television stations may voluntarily seek Commission approval to share a single six megahertz channel with other full power television and Class A television stations.

    (2) Each station sharing a single channel pursuant to this section shall continue to be licensed and operated separately, have its own call sign, and be separately subject to all applicable Commission obligations, rules, and policies.

    (b) Licensing of channel sharing stations. A full power television channel sharing station relinquishing its channel must file an application for the initial channel sharing construction permit (FCC Form 2100), include a copy of the channel sharing agreement as an exhibit, and cross reference the other sharing station(s). Any engineering changes necessitated by the channel sharing agreement may be included in the station's application. Upon initiation of shared operations, the station relinquishing its channel must notify the Commission that it has terminated operation pursuant to § 73.1750 and each sharing station must file an application for license (FCC Form 2100).

    (c) Deadline for implementing channel sharing agreements. Channel sharing agreements submitted pursuant to this section must be implemented within three years of the grant of the initial channel sharing construction permit.

    (d) Channel sharing agreements (CSAs). (1) Channel sharing agreements submitted under this section must contain provisions outlining each licensee's rights and responsibilities regarding:

    (i) Access to facilities, including whether each licensee will have unrestrained access to the shared transmission facilities;

    (ii) Operation, maintenance, repair, and modification of facilities, including a list of all relevant equipment, a description of each party's financial obligations, and any relevant notice provisions; and

    (iii) Transfer/assignment of a shared license, including the ability of a new licensee to assume the existing CSA; and

    (iv) Termination of the license of a party to the CSA, including reversion of spectrum usage rights to the remaining parties to the CSA.

    (2) Channel sharing agreements submitted under this section must include a provision affirming compliance with the channel sharing requirements in this section including a provision requiring that each channel sharing licensee shall retain spectrum usage rights adequate to ensure a sufficient amount of the shared channel capacity to allow it to provide at least one Standard Definition (SD) program stream at all times.

    (e) Termination and assignment/transfer of shared channel. Upon termination of the license of a party to a CSA, the spectrum usage rights covered by that license may revert to the remaining parties to the CSA. Such reversion shall be governed by the terms of the CSA in accordance with paragraph (d)(1)(iv) of this section. If upon termination of the license of a party to a CSA only one party to the CSA remains, the remaining licensee may file an application to change its license to non-shared status using FCC Form 2100, Schedule B (for a full power licensee) or F (for a Class A licensee).

    (f) Notice to MVPDs. (1) Stations participating in channel sharing agreements must provide notice to MVPDs that:

    (i) No longer will be required to carry the station because of the relocation of the station;

    (ii) Currently carry and will continue to be obligated to carry a station that will change channels; or

    (iii) Will become obligated to carry the station due to a channel sharing relocation.

    (2) The notice required by this section must contain the following information:

    (i) Date and time of any channel changes;

    (ii) The channel occupied by the station before and after implementation of the CSA;

    (iii) Modification, if any, to antenna position, location, or power levels;

    (iv) Stream identification information; and

    (v) Engineering staff contact information.

    (3) Sharee stations (those relinquishing a channel in order to share) must provide notice as required by this section at least 30 days prior to terminating operations on the sharee's channel. Sharer stations (those hosting a sharee as part of a channel sharing agreement) and sharee stations must provide notice as required by this section at least 30 days prior to initiation of operations on the sharer channel. Should the anticipated date to either cease operations or commence channel sharing operations change, the stations must send a further notice to affected MVPDs informing them of the new anticipated date(s).

    (4) Notifications provided to cable systems pursuant to this section must be either mailed to the system's official address of record provided in the cable system's most recent filing in the FCC's Cable Operations and Licensing System (COALS) Form 322, or emailed to the system if the system has provided an email address. For all other MVPDs, the letter must be addressed to the official corporate address registered with their State of incorporation.

    3. Add § 73.6028 to read as follows:
    § 73.6028 Class A Television channel sharing outside the auction context.

    (a) Channel sharing generally. (1) Subject to the provisions of this section, Class A television stations may voluntarily seek Commission approval to share a single six megahertz channel with other Class A and full power television stations.

    (2) Each station sharing a single channel pursuant to this section shall continue to be licensed and operated separately, have its own call sign, and be separately subject to all of the Commission's obligations, rules, and policies.

    (b) Licensing of channel sharing stations. A full power television channel sharing station relinquishing its channel must file an application for the initial channel sharing construction permit (FCC Form 2100), include a copy of the channel sharing agreement as an exhibit, and cross reference the other sharing station(s). Any engineering changes necessitated by the channel sharing agreement may be included in the station's application. Upon initiation of shared operations, the station relinquishing its channel must notify the Commission that it has terminated operation pursuant to § 73.1750 and each sharing station must file an application for license (FCC Form 2100).

    (c) Deadline for implementing channel sharing agreements. Channel sharing agreements submitted pursuant to this section must be implemented within three years of the grant of the initial channel sharing construction permit.

    (d) Channel sharing agreements (CSAs). (1) Channel sharing agreements submitted under this section must contain provisions outlining each licensee's rights and responsibilities regarding:

    (i) Access to facilities, including whether each licensee will have unrestrained access to the shared transmission facilities;

    (ii) Operation, maintenance, repair, and modification of facilities, including a list of all relevant equipment, a description of each party's financial obligations, and any relevant notice provisions; and

    (iii) Termination or transfer/assignment of rights to the shared licenses, including the ability of a new licensee to assume the existing CSA.

    (2) Channel sharing agreements submitted under this section must include a provision affirming compliance with the channel sharing requirements in this section including a provision requiring that each channel sharing licensee shall retain spectrum usage rights adequate to ensure a sufficient amount of the shared channel capacity to allow it to provide at least one Standard Definition (SD) program stream at all times.

    (e) Termination and assignment/transfer of shared channel. Upon termination of the license of a party to a CSA, the spectrum usage rights covered by that license may revert to the remaining parties to the CSA. Such reversion shall be governed by the terms of the CSA in accordance with paragraph (d)(1)(iv) of this section. If upon termination of the license of a party to a CSA only one party to the CSA remains, the remaining licensee may file an application to change its license to non-shared status using FCC Form 2100, Schedule B (for a full power licensee) or F (for a Class A licensee).

    (f) Notice to MVPDs. (1) Stations participating in channel sharing agreements must provide notice to MVPDs that:

    (i) No longer will be required to carry the station because of the relocation of the station;

    (ii) Currently carry and will continue to be obligated to carry a station that will change channels; or

    (iii) Will become obligated to carry the station due to a channel sharing relocation.

    (2) The notice required by this section must contain the following information:

    (i) Date and time of any channel changes;

    (ii) The channel occupied by the station before and after implementation of the CSA;

    (iii) Modification, if any, to antenna position, location, or power levels;

    (iv) Stream identification information; and

    (v) Engineering staff contact information.

    (3) Sharee stations (those relinquishing a channel in order to share) must provide notice as required by this section at least 30 days prior to terminating operations on the sharee's channel. Sharer stations (those hosting a sharee as part of a channel sharing agreement) and sharee stations must provide notice as required by this section at least 30 days prior to initiation of operations on the sharer channel. Should the anticipated date to either cease operations or commence channel sharing operations change, the station(s) must send a further notice to affected MVPDs informing them of the new anticipated date(s).

    (4) Notifications provided to cable systems pursuant to this section must be either mailed to the system's official address of record provided in the cable system's most recent filing in the FCC's Cable Operations and Licensing System (COALS) Form 322, or emailed to the system if the system has provided an email address. For all other MVPDs, the letter must be addressed to the official corporate address registered with their State of incorporation.

    [FR Doc. 2015-16537 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION 48 CFR Parts 1, 4, 9, 17, 22, and 52 [FAR Case 2014-025; Docket No. 2014-0025; Sequence No. 1] RIN 9000-AM81 Federal Acquisition Regulation; Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces; Extension of Time for Comments AGENCY:

    Department of Defense (DoD), General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule; extension of comment period.

    SUMMARY:

    DoD, GSA, and NASA issued a proposed rule (FAR Case 2014-025) on May 28, 2015, amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to implement Executive Order (E.O.) 13673, “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces,” which is designed to improve contractor compliance with labor laws and increase efficiency and cost savings in Federal contracting. The deadline for submitting comments is being extended from July 27, 2015, to August 11, 2015, to provide additional time for interested parties to provide comments on the FAR case. The due date for comments on DOL's Guidance for Executive Order 13673, “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces”, which also implements the E.O., is being extended to August 11, 2015 as well.

    DATES:

    The comment period for the proposed rule published on May 28, 2015 (80 FR 30548), is extended. Submit comments by August 11, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments in response to FAR Case 2014-025 by any of the following methods:

    Regulations.gov: http://www.regulations.gov. Submit comments via the Federal eRulemaking portal by searching for “FAR Case 2014-025”. Select the link “Comment Now” that corresponds with “FAR Case 2014-025.” Follow the instructions provided at the “Comment Now” screen. Please include your name, company name (if any), and “FAR Case 2014-025” on your attached document.

    Mail: General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat (MVCB), ATTN: Ms. Flowers, 1800 F Street NW., 2nd Floor, Washington, DC 20405.

    Instructions: Please submit comments only and cite FAR Case 2014-025, in all correspondence related to this case. All comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal and/or business confidential information provided.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. Edward Loeb, Procurement Analyst, at 202-501-0650, for clarification of content. For information pertaining to status or publication schedules, contact the Regulatory Secretariat at 202-501-4755. Please cite FAR Case 2014-025.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    DoD, GSA, NASA published a proposed rule in the Federal Register at 80 FR 30548, May 28, 2015. The comment period is extended to provide additional time for interested parties to submit comments on the FAR case until August 11, 2015.

    List of Subjects in 48 CFR Parts 1, 4, 9, 17, 22, and 52

    Government procurement.

    Dated: July 9, 2015. Edward Loeb, Acting Director, Office of Government-wide Acquisition Policy, Office of Acquisition Policy, Office of Government-wide Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17282 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6820-EP-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 224 [Docket No. 150506424-5424-01] RIN 0648-XD940 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Finding and Proposed Rule To List Three Angelshark Species as Endangered Under the Endangered Species Act AGENCY:

    National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule; 12-month petition finding; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    We, NMFS, have completed a comprehensive status review under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for three foreign marine angelshark species in response to a petition to list those species. These three species are the sawback angelshark (Squatina aculeata), smoothback angelshark (Squatina oculata), and common angelshark (Squatina squatina). Based on the best scientific and commercial information available, including the status review report (Miller 2015), and after taking into account efforts being made to protect these species, we have determined that these three angelshark species warrant listing as endangered under the ESA. We are not proposing to designate critical habitat because the geographical areas occupied by these species are entirely outside U.S. jurisdiction, and we have not identified any unoccupied areas that are currently essential to the conservation of any of these species. We are soliciting comments on our proposal to list these three angelshark species.

    DATES:

    Comments on this proposed rule must be received by September 14, 2015. Public hearing requests must be made by August 28, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2015-0084, by either of the following methods:

    Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2015-0084. Click the “Comment Now” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.

    Mail: Submit written comments to Maggie Miller, NMFS Office of Protected Resources (F/PR3), 1315 East West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910, USA.

    Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter “N/A” in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous).

    You can find the petition, status review report, Federal Register notices, and the list of references electronically on our Web site at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/petition81.htm.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Maggie Miller, NMFS, Office of Protected Resources (OPR), (301) 427-8403.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    On July 15, 2013, we received a petition from WildEarth Guardians to list 81 marine species or subpopulations as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This petition included species from many different taxonomic groups, and we prepared our 90-day findings in batches by taxonomic group. We found that the petitioned actions may be warranted for 24 of the species and 3 of the subpopulations and announced the initiation of status reviews for each of the 24 species and 3 subpopulations (78 FR 63941, October 25, 2013; 78 FR 66675, November 6, 2013; 78 FR 69376, November 19, 2013; 79 FR 9880, February 21, 2014; and 79 FR 10104, February 24, 2014). This document addresses the findings for 3 of those 24 species: the sawback angelshark (Squatina aculeata), smoothback angelshark (Squatina oculata), and the common angelshark (Squatina squatina). The status of the findings and relevant Federal Register notices for the other 21 species and 3 subpopulations can be found on our Web site athttp://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/petition81.htm.

    We are responsible for determining whether species are threatened or endangered under the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). To make this determination, we consider first whether a group of organisms constitutes a “species” under the ESA, then whether the status of the species qualifies it for listing as either threatened or endangered. Section 3 of the ESA defines a “species” to include “any subspecies of fish or wildlife or plants, and any distinct population segment of any species of vertebrate fish or wildlife which interbreeds when mature.” On February 7, 1996, NMFS and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS; together, the Services) adopted a policy describing what constitutes a distinct population segment (DPS) of a taxonomic species (the DPS Policy; 61 FR 4722). The DPS Policy identified two elements that must be considered when identifying a DPS: (1) The discreteness of the population segment in relation to the remainder of the species (or subspecies) to which it belongs; and (2) the significance of the population segment to the remainder of the species (or subspecies) to which it belongs. As stated in the DPS Policy, Congress expressed its expectation that the Services would exercise authority with regard to DPSs sparingly and only when the biological evidence indicates such action is warranted. Based on the scientific information available, we determined that the sawback angelshark (Squatina aculeata), smoothback angelshark (Squatina oculata), and common angelshark (Squatina squatina) are “species” under the ESA. There is nothing in the scientific literature indicating that any of these species should be further divided into subspecies or DPSs.

    Section 3 of the ESA defines an endangered species as “any species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range” and a threatened species as one “which is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.” We interpret an “endangered species” to be one that is presently in danger of extinction. A “threatened species,” on the other hand, is not presently in danger of extinction, but is likely to become so in the foreseeable future (that is, at a later time). In other words, the primary statutory difference between a threatened and endangered species is the timing of when a species may be in danger of extinction, either presently (endangered) or in the foreseeable future (threatened).

    When we consider whether a species might qualify as threatened under the ESA, we must consider the meaning of the term “foreseeable future.” It is appropriate to interpret “foreseeable future” as the horizon over which predictions about the conservation status of the species can be reasonably relied upon. The foreseeable future considers the life history of the species, habitat characteristics, availability of data, particular threats, ability to predict threats, and the reliability to forecast the effects of these threats and future events on the status of the species under consideration. Because a species may be susceptible to a variety of threats for which different data are available, or which operate across different time scales, the foreseeable future is not necessarily reducible to a particular number of years.

    Section 4(a)(1) of the ESA requires us to determine whether any species is endangered or threatened due to any one or a combination of the following five threat factors: the present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range; overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes; disease or predation; the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence. We are also required to make listing determinations based solely on the best scientific and commercial data available, after conducting a review of the species' status and after taking into account efforts being made by any state or foreign nation to protect the species.

    Status Review

    The status review for the three angelshark species addressed in this finding was conducted by a NMFS biologist in the Office of Protected Resources (Miller 2015). In order to complete the status review, information was compiled on each species' biology, ecology, life history, threats, and conservation status from information contained in the petition, our files, a comprehensive literature search, and consultation with experts. We also considered information submitted by the public in response to our petition finding. In assessing extinction risk of these three species, we considered the demographic viability factors developed by McElhany et al. (2000). The approach of considering demographic risk factors to help frame the consideration of extinction risk has been used in many of our status reviews, including for Pacific salmonids, Pacific hake, walleye pollock, Pacific cod, Puget Sound rockfishes, Pacific herring, scalloped and great hammerhead sharks, and black abalone (see http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/ for links to these reviews). In this approach, the collective condition of individual populations is considered at the species level according to four demographic viability factors: abundance, growth rate/productivity, spatial structure/connectivity, and diversity. These viability factors reflect concepts that are well-founded in conservation biology and that individually and collectively provide strong indicators of extinction risk.

    The draft status review report (Miller 2015) was submitted to independent peer reviewers; comments and information received from peer reviewers were addressed and incorporated as appropriate before finalizing the draft report. The status review report is available on our Web site (see ADDRESSES section) and the peer review report is available athttp://www.cio.noaa.gov/services_programs/prplans/PRsummaries.html. Below we summarize information from the report and our analysis of the status of the three angelshark species. Further details can be found in Miller (2015).

    Species Descriptions

    Angelsharks belong to the family Squatinidae (Order: Squatiniformes) and are recognized by their batoid shape. Species identification of angelsharks is mainly conducted through the examination of external characteristics (such as dorsal spines, nasal barbels, color, etc.), but the taxonomy is often considered to be problematic since several species are morphologically similar, with overlapping characteristics (Vaz and de Carvalho 2013). In 1984, Compagno (1984) identified and described 12 Squatina species. Since 1984, 11 additional Squatina species have been recognized (Froese and Pauly 2014), bringing the present total to 23 identified Squatina species. Recent research suggests there are currently undescribed species, indicating that the taxonomy of the angelsharks may still be unresolved (Stelbrink et al. 2010; Vaz and de Carvalho 2013).

    Angelsharks can be found worldwide in temperate and tropical waters. The three species proposed for listing are found in coastal and outer continental shelf sediment habitats in the Mediterranean Sea and eastern Atlantic. These species are bottom dwellers and prefer to spend most of their time buried in the sand or mud (Compagno 1984). To feed, they generally lie in wait for prey to approach before attacking (ambush predators), and, based on their diet, they are considered to be high trophic level predators (trophic level = 4.0; Cortés 1999). In terms of reproduction, all three angelshark species are ovoviviparous, meaning embryos develop inside eggs that hatch within the female's body, with young born live. However, according to Sunye and Vooren (1997), Squatina species also have a uterine-cloacal chamber (the chamber where embryos complete their final development stage) that is open to the external environmental through a cloacal vent. This anatomical configuration is thought to be the reason why Squatina species are observed easily aborting embryos during capture or handling (Sunye and Vooren 1997; Capapé et al. 2005). Additional species-specific descriptions are provided below.

    Squatina aculeata (Cuvier, 1829), the sawback angelshark, is distinguished from other angelsharks by its row of dorsal spines (sword-like bony structure) down the middle of its body, with spines also located on the snout and above the eyes. The sawback angelshark also has fringed nasal barbels and anterior nasal flaps on its body (Compagno 1984). It can be found on the continental shelf and upper slope in depths of 30 m to 500 m, and feeds on small sharks, jacks, and benthic invertebrates, including cephalopods and crustaceans (Compagno 1984; Corsini and Zava 2007). Gestation for the species likely lasts around a year, with litter sizes ranging from 8 to 12 pups and size at birth estimated to be around 30 cm-35 cm total length (TL) (Capapé et al. 2005). Squatina aculeata displays sexual dimorphism, with males maturing at around 120 cm-124 cm TL and reaching maximum sizes of around 152 cm TL, and females maturing at larger sizes, around 137 cm-143 cm TL, and attaining larger maximum sizes (175 cm-180 cm TL) (Capapé et al. 2005; Serena 2005).

    Squatina oculata (Bonaparte, 1840), the smoothback angelshark, is distinguished from other angelsharks by its big thorns (sharp, tooth-like structures on the skin) that are present on the snout and above the eyes, a first dorsal fin that originates well behind the pelvic rear tips, and noticeable white spots in symmetrical patterns on the pectoral fins and body (Compagno 1984). The species occurs in depths of 20 m to 560 m on the continental shelf and upper slopes, but is more commonly found in depths between 50 and 100 m (Compagno 1984; Serena 2005). Squatina oculata generally feeds on small fishes, including goatfishes, and reaches sizes of at least 145 cm TL (males) and 160 cm TL (females) (Compagno 1984). Gestation likely lasts, at a minimum, around a year, with litter sizes ranging from 5 to 8 pups and size at birth around 23 cm-27 cm TL (Capapé et al. 1990, 2002). Maturity is attained at around 71 cm TL for males and around 90 cm TL for females (Compagno 1984; Capapé et al. 1990, 2002).

    Squatina squatina (Linnaeus, 1758), the common angelshark, is distinguished from other angelsharks by its simple and conical nasal barbels, high and wide pectoral fins, small spines that are present on snout and above eyes and may also be present down middle of back, and lateral trunk denticles that are very narrow with sharp-cusped crowns (Compagno 1984). Unlike the other two angelshark species, S. squatina is generally found in shallower water, from inshore areas out to the continental shelf in depths of 5 m to 150 m (OSPAR Commission 2010). It may also be observed in estuaries and brackish waters (OSPAR Commission 2010). Squatina squatina has a diet that consists mostly of bony fishes, especially flatfishes, and other demersal animals (skates, crustaceans, molluscs), with the occasional eelgrass and seabird (Day 1880; Compagno 1984; Ellis et al. 1996; Agri-Food & Biosciences Institute 2009; Narváez 2012). Gestation for S. squatina in the Canary Islands is estimated to be ±6 months with a 3-year reproductive cycle (Osaer 2009). Elsewhere in its range, gestation period is unknown but possibly lasts from 8 to 12 months, with potentially a 2-year reproductive cycle (Tonachella 2010; ICES 2014). Litter sizes range from 7 to 25 pups, with size at birth from 24 cm-30 cm TL (Osaer 2009; Tonachella 2010). Males mature between 80 cm and 132 cm TL, with maximum sizes attained at 183 cm TL, and females mature between 126 cm and 169 cm TL and attain maximum sizes of up to 244 cm TL (Compagno 1984; Capapé et al. 1990; Quigley 2006; Tonachella 2010). In the Canary Islands, Osaer (2009) found length at first maturity (Lm50) for males to be 100.9 cm TL and for females to be 102.1 cm TL, which is a bit smaller than the values estimated elsewhere. Weight of S. squatina has been recorded up to 80 kg (Quigley 2006).

    Historical and Current Distribution and Population Abundance Squatina aculeata

    The sawback angelshark was historically found in central and western Mediterranean waters and in the eastern Atlantic, from Morocco to Angola. According to Capapé et al. (2005), it has never been recorded in Atlantic waters north of the Strait of Gibraltar. It was previously assumed to be very rare or absent from the eastern Mediterranean (Capapé et al. 2005; Psomadakis et al. 2009); however, a number of recent studies have documented its presence in this region, suggesting possible misidentification of the species in historical records. For example, in 2007, Corsini and Zava (2007) reported the first record of the species in Hellenic waters of the Southeast Aegean Sea (around Rhodes and the Dodecanese Islands). Catch of S. aculeata has also been reported from the Çanakkale Strait off Turkey (Ünal et al. 2010) and from Gökova Bay in the southern Aegean Sea (Filiz et al. 2005). The species was also listed as occurring in the Levantine Sea by Golani (1996) (as reported in Capapé et al. (2005)), with the first actual description of a specimen caught in this area from Iskenderun Bay in 1997 (Basusta 2002); however, by 2004, Golani (personal communication cited in Capapé et al. (2005)) noted that the species was no longer reported in the area. In their updated checklist of marine fishes of Turkey, Bilecenoğlu et al. (2014) recorded S. aculeata as occurring in the Aegean Sea and Levantine Sea, and between 2001 and 2004, Saad et al. (2005) captured the species along the Syrian coast.

    The species is currently reported as “doubtful” or rare in many areas in the central and western Mediterranean Sea, such as off the Spanish and French coasts, within Italian waters, and off Algeria (Barrull et al. 1999; Capapé et al. 2005). In the central Mediterranean, specifically the Gulf of Gabès (Tunisia), the species was noted as being abundant in 1978 (Quignard and Ben Othman 1978) and “regularly observed” in 2006 (Bradai et al. 2006); however, more recent studies suggest the species has significantly declined in this region and is now a rare occurrence in Mediterranean Tunisian waters (Scacco et al. 2002; Capapé et al. 2005; Ragonese et al. 2013). Although the species had been previously included in inventories of sharks and ray species from the Maltese Islands (based on unconfirmed records; Schembri et al. 2003), recent surveys conducted in these waters (Scacco et al. 2002; Ragonese et al. 2013) cannot confirm its presence.

    Squatina aculeata has also seen significant declines in neighboring Mediterranean waters, such as in the Tyrrhenian Sea and Adriatic Sea. Based on historical commercial landings data and recent survey data, Ferretti et al. (2005) concluded that the species has been extirpated from the northern Tyrrhenian Sea since the early 1970s. Similarly, Capapé et al. (2005) noted past records of S. aculeata in the Adriatic Sea (dated to 1975); however, more recent and extensive bottom trawl surveys conducted from 1994-2005 throughout the Adriatic Sea have failed to locate the species (Jukic-Peladic et al. 2001; Ferretti et al. 2013). In contrast, in waters off Libya, the species was described as relatively common by the United National Environment Programme (UNEP) in 2005 (UNEP-Mediterranean Action Plan Regional Activity Centre For Specially Protected Areas (UNEP-MAP RAC/SPA) 2005); however, the data on which this statement was based, and present abundance, are unknown.

    In the western Mediterranean, the only information concerning the distribution and abundance of S. aculeata is the mention of a few specimens held in Spanish and French museums (The Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) 2013) and a discussion of the Balearic Islands (Spain) population in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assessment of the species by Morey et al. (2007a). Specifically, Morey et al. (2007a) suggest that Squatina species (presumably S. aculeata or S. oculata based on fishing depths) were commonly caught in the Balearic Islands until the 1970s, after which captures became more sporadic. By the mid-1990s, the species was no longer observed or recorded from the area (Morey et al. 2007a).

    In the eastern Atlantic, observed population declines appear to have occurred within the past 40 years, particularly in waters off West Africa. According to a personal communication in the Morey et al. (2007a) assessment (from F. Litvinov in 2006), S. aculeata was commonly reported in Russian surveys off the coast of West Africa during the 1970s and 1980s. Similarly, in their 1973 checklist of marine fishes, Hureau and Monod (1973) also referred to the species as common in these waters. By the early 1980s, however, there were signs of decline based on observations of the species. In fact, by 1985, Muñoz-Chapuli (1985) considered the species to be rare in the eastern Atlantic. This characterization was based on data from 181 commercial trawls conducted in 0 m-550 m depths from 1980-1982 along the northwestern African coast (27° N-37° N) and Alboran Sea. Only 28 S. aculeata sharks were captured, with 25 of them caught off the coast of Morocco (between 31° N and 34° N). In waters farther south, Morey et al. (2007a) indicate that the species was frequently caught by artisanal Senegalese fishermen 30 years ago (mid-1970s), with catches now very rare according to artisanal fishermen and observers of the industrial demersal trawl fleets (Morey et al. (2007a) citing a personal communication from M. Ducrocq). Similarly, Capapé et al. (2005) noted that the species was relatively abundant off the coast of Senegal and was landed throughout the year; but, in recent years, Senegalese fishermen have reported fewer observations of all squatinid species (Dr. Christian Capapé, Professor at Université Montpellier 2, personal communication 2015). In Sierra Leone, Morey et al. (2007a), citing a personal communication from M. Seisay, state that the species was “periodically caught by demersal trawlers in the 1980s, but are now caught very infrequently.” These observations tend to support the available survey data, although data are only available through the year 2002. From 1962 to 2002, species recorded from 246 surveys conducted along the west coast of Africa were reported in two databases: Trawlbase and Statbase, as part of the Système d'Information et d'Analyse des Pêches (SIAP) project (Mika Diop, Program Officer at Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission, personal communication 2015). Based on the information from these databases, S. aculeata was recorded rather sporadically and in low abundance in the surveys since the 1970s, the exception being a 1997 survey conducted off Senegal, which recorded 24 individuals. However, in the surveys that followed (conducted from 1999-2002; with surveys off Senegal conducted in 1999 and 2000), no S. aculeata individuals were caught, with the last record of the species from the database dating back to 1998.

    Squatina Oculata

    The smoothback angelshark was historically found throughout the Mediterranean Sea and in the eastern Atlantic from Morocco to Angola. The current distribution and abundance of the species is not well known. In the western Mediterranean, it is possible that the species has been extirpated from the Balearic Islands (see discussion for S. aculeata above). Similarly, in the central Mediterranean, Ferretti et al. (2005) noted the disappearance of the entire Squatina genus from the northern Tyrrhenian Sea in the early 1970s. Between the Maltese Islands and Tunisia, Ragonese et al. (2013) noted S. oculata's sporadic occurrence based on shelf and slope trawl data from 1997, 1998, and 2006, whereas Bradai et al. (2006) “regularly observed” the species in the Gulf of Gabès. Prior to these surveys, Capapé et al. (1990) had suggested that the Gulf of Tunis (Tunisia) was likely a nursery area for S. oculata based on trawl catch data. In 2005, UNEP reported the species as being relatively common in Libyan waters but provided no corresponding citation or data to support this statement or further information regarding abundance in the Mediterranean Sea (UNEP-MAP RAC/SPA 2005). The species has also been reported in the Adriatic Sea (Arapi et al. 2006; Soldo 2006), although, extensive bottom trawl surveys conducted from 1994-2005 throughout the Adriatic Sea failed to locate the species in these waters (Jukic-Peladic et al. 2001; Ferretti et al. 2013).

    In the eastern Mediterranean, its present distribution appears to be patchy, with few observations of the species. In 2004, one female S. oculata individual was caught by a trawl net in depths of 60 m-70 m in Trianda Gulf off the northwest coast of Rhodes, Greece. This marked the first record of the species in Hellenic waters of the Southeastern Aegean Sea (Corsini and Zava 2007). The species also appears to be rare in the central Aegean Sea as Damalas and Vassilopolou (2011) recorded only one individual during their analysis of 335 records of bottom trawl hauls conducted between 1995 and 2006. On the other hand, the species is characterized as “prevalent” by Golani (2006) along the Mediterranean coast of Israel, although the data upon which this characterization was based and the present abundance are unknown. S. oculata is also reported as occurring in the Sea of Marmara (Bilecenoğlu et al. 2014) and off the Mediterranean Syrian coast (based on survey data from 2001-2004; Saad et al. 2006). In 2015, an individual was landed near Akyaka (Turkey) by local fishermen (Joanna Barker, UK & Europe Project Manager of Conservation Programmes at Zoological Society of London, personal communication 2015).

    There is very little available information on the abundance of this species in the eastern Atlantic. The IUCN Red List assessment of the species by Morey et al. (2007b) also cites to the same personal communication from M. Ducrocq and F. Litvinov, found in the assessment of S. aculeata (Morey et al. 2007a), that indicates the species was frequently caught by artisanal Senegalese fishermen as well as commonly reported in Russian surveys off the coast of West Africa 30 years ago. Hureau and Monod (1973) also referred to the species as “rather common” in the eastern Atlantic, from Morocco to Angola. During 1981-1982, a Norwegian research vessel conducted trawl surveys off West Africa, from Aghadir to Ghana, to examine the composition and biomass of fish resources in this region. Squatina oculata was the only Squatina species caught during these surveys, with catch rates of 45.6 kg/hour off the coast of Gambia, 13.4 kg/hour off Sierra Leone, and 12.4 kg/hour off Liberia (Strømme 1984). In 2001, S. oculata was also reported as occurring off the coast of Ghana, with individuals usually caught between November and December but rarely landed (Edwards et al. 2001). No other data on abundance or frequency of occurrence were provided. Based on personal communication, Morey et al. (2007b) report that catches of the species in this region are now very rare, and Senegalese fishermen have noted a decrease in observations of all squatinid species in recent years (C. Capapé, pers. comm. 2015). Based on the information from the SIAP databases, S. oculata was recorded rather sporadically in the surveys, with a few years reporting >20 individuals, primarily from surveys conducted off the coast of Senegal. The last record of the species from the data dates back to 2002.

    Squatina Squatina

    The common angelshark is the most northerly distributed of the three angelshark species discussed in this finding. Its historical range extended along the eastern Atlantic, from Scandinavia to Mauritania, including the Canary Islands, and the Mediterranean and Black Seas. Throughout most of the northeastern Atlantic, S. squatina was historically frequently encountered. As Day (1880) reported, the species was common within the North Sea and English Channel, especially along the southern coasts of Kent, Sussex, and Hampshire. It was also regularly observed in the Firth of Clyde after gales (Day 1880). Hureau and Monod (1973) noted its occurrence from the western and southern North Sea, and in Scandinavian waters in the Skagerrak and Kattegat. The authors characterized the species as common over 40 years ago, except in the most northern and eastern parts of its range. Pethon (1979) also documented the presence of the species in waters off Norway (first record in 1929; second record in 1979), describing the species as rare in Scandinavian waters but regularly observed in the southern part of the North Sea and around the British Isles. However, comparisons of historical and current catch and survey data on S. squatina suggest significant declines in abundance of the species throughout its range in the northeastern Atlantic, with possible extirpations of the species from the western English Channel (near Plymouth), North Sea, and Baltic Sea (although adult S. squatina were always considered to be rare in these waters; HELCOM 2013) (Morey et al. 2006; OSPAR Commission 2010; McHugh et al. 2011; ICES 2014).

    In Irish waters, historical records (dating back to 1772) suggest the species was regularly observed off the southern and western coasts of Ireland (Dr. Declan Quigley, Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, personal communication 2015). In fact, in the1960s, S. squatina were caught in large numbers off the west coast of Ireland, in Tralee Bay (County Kerry), by recreational anglers competing in fishing tournaments. Data from a marine sport fish tagging program in Ireland also suggests the species was rather common in these waters, with 320 angelsharks caught, tagged, and released in Tralee and Clew Bays (Ireland) from 1987-1991. However, by the late 1990s, data from angler catches and the tagging program indicate that abundance started to decline. Specifically, annual numbers of S. squatina (weighing >22.68 kg) caught by rod and line gear significantly decreased when compared to the previous 50 years, and from 1997-2001, only 16 angelsharks were caught by the tagging program, despite no change in tagging effort (Quigley 2006; ICES 2014). Since 2006, only one individual has been caught and tagged (ICES 2014). The species is now extremely rare off the west coast of Ireland, with no reported recaptures of tagged sharks since 2004. However, in October 2013, an angler reported catching (and releasing) an angelshark in Tralee Bay, confirming that the species still exists in these waters.

    Similarly, in other areas of the northeastern Atlantic, survey data on S. squatina suggest very low present abundance. For example, Ellis et al. (1996) analyzed data from 550 bottom trawls conducted throughout the northeastern Atlantic (with survey focus in the Irish Sea) between 1981 and 1983 and found only 19 S. squatina sharks, comprising 0.6 percent of the total elasmobranch catch. Analysis of more extensive bottom-trawl survey datasets, covering the period of 1967-2002 and with sampling in the North Sea (1967-1990; 2001-2002), Celtic Sea (1982-2002), Eastern English Channel (1989-2002), Irish Sea (1988-2001), and Western English Channel (1990-2001), failed to record any S. squatina individuals (Ellis et al. 2004). However, in 2009, one S. squatina shark was captured in Cardigan Bay, four sharks were collected off Pembrokeshire (Wales) near the entrance to St. George's Channel (two in 2007 and two in 2010), and recent (2015) reports on social media networks of S. squatina catches provide some evidence of the contemporary presence of the species in the Irish Sea and nearby waters (ICES 2013; ICES 2014; J. Barker, pers. comm. 2015).

    Similar to the trend in the northeastern Atlantic, S. squatina populations have declined throughout the Mediterranean Sea, with possible local extirpations in the Black Sea, Adriatic Sea, and northern Tyrrhenian Sea (Jukic-Peladic et al. 2001; Ferretti et al. 2005; Morey et al. 2006; OSPAR Commission 2010; Ferretti et al. 2013). In the central Mediterranean, S. squatina was commonly recorded in historical faunistic lists (Giusto and Ragonese 2014). The species was reported in the Gulf of Naples in historical records dating back to 1871 through at least 1956 (Tortonese 1956; Psomadakis et al. 2009) and in the Adriatic Sea (Tortonese 1956). However, Ferretti et al. (2005) noted the disappearance of the entire Squatina genus from the northern Tyrrhenian Sea in the early 1970s. In 2005, UNEP reported the species as being relatively common in Libyan waters; however, the data on which this statement was based are unknown. Bradai et al. (2006) also reported that the species was “regularly observed” in the Gulf of Gabès; however, the only available data from this region comes from surveys conducted off the southern coasts of Sicily and northern coasts of Tunisia and Libya. In contrast to the Bradai et al. (2006) characterization of the abundance of the species, trawl surveys conducted from 1995-1999 in the Strait of Sicily recorded S. squatina near Cape Bon, Tunisia with a biomass that comprised only 1 percent of the total elasmobranch catch (Scacco et al. 2002). Ragonese et al. (2013) confirmed the rarity of this species, reporting only one captured individual from their analysis of extensive survey data collected between the southern coasts of Sicily and northern coasts of Africa (Tunisia and Libya) from 1994 to 2009. The fish was caught at a depth of 128 m in 2005, close to the Maltese Islands. More recently, in 2011, an artisanal fishing vessel caught an S. squatina shark in a trammel net off the coast of Mazara del Vallo (southwestern Sicily), marking the first documented occurrence of S. squatina in over 30 years off the coast of southern Sicily (Giusto and Ragonese 2014).

    In the eastern Mediterranean, S. squatina is rare but present. In 2008, three S. squatina individuals were recorded in Egypt from commercial landings in western Alexandrian waters (Moftah 2011). Within Turkish Seas, Kabasakal and Kabasakal (2014) report that S. squatina comprised 1.1 percent of the total number of elasmobranchs (n = 4632) caught between 1995 and 1999, and 0.46 percent of the total shark catches (n = 1068) between 1995 and 2004 in the northern Aegean Sea. In their updated checklist of marine fishes of Turkey, Bilecenoğlu et al. (2014) record S. squatina as occurring in the Black Sea (although the reference dates back to 1999), Sea of Marmara, Aegean Sea, and Levantine Sea. Kabasakal and Kabasakal (2014) also confirmed the presence of S. squatina in the Sea of Marmara but remarked on its rarity in these waters. In the Levantine Sea, Bulguroğlu et al. (2014) reported the capture of an S. squatina individual in 2013 by a commercial trawl vessel from a depth of 50 m in Antalya Bay (southern Turkey), Hadjichristophorou (2006) characterized the species as occasionally occurring in Cyprus fishery records, and Saad et al. (2006) captured the species along the Syrian coast during surveys conducted from 2001-2004. Additionally, Soldo (2006) notes the presence of the species in the Adriatic Sea but the information used to support this assertion is unclear, as the species has not been reported in survey data from these waters since 1958 (Ferretti et al. 2013).

    Presently, the only part of its range where S. squatina is confirmed as still relatively common is off the Canary Islands (Muñoz-Chapuli 1985; OSPAR Commission 2010). Much of the information on S. squatina presence and abundance from this area is derived from diver observational data. In 2013, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC) and Zoological Research Museum Alexander König (ZFMK) created the “Angel Shark Project” (ASP), which has gathered public sighting data of angelsharks through the creation of a citizen science sighting scheme called Poseidon (www.programaposeidon.eu) (Joanna Barker, UK & Europe Coordinator Conservation Programmes, ZSL, personal communication 2014). Since the launch of the Poseidon portal in April 2014, there have been 624 validated records (sightings of angelsharks), covering areas with no previous records such as El Hierro and La Palma (Meyers et al. 2014; Meyers, pers. comm. 2015; also see reported sightings on the ASP Web site, available at http://angelsharkproject.com/). Currently, 22 dive centers are actively reporting angelsharks (J. Barker, pers. comm. 2014); however, a few dive centers have been collecting observational data even prior to the creation of the Poseidon portal. For example, the “Davy Jones Diving” dive center, in Gran Canaria, has collected data on angelshark sightings in the “El Cabron” or Arinaga Marine Reserve since 2006. Narváez et al. (2008) analyzed these dive data for the period of May 2006 through August 2008 and found that 271 angelsharks were sighted over the course of 1,709 dives. Sightings included both females and males (with a sex ratio of 1:1.6) as well as juveniles (9 percent of the sightings) and adults.

    The Davy Jones Diving dive center continues to log sightings of angelsharks and other species on its Web site. Analysis of the log data from January 1, 2011 through December 29, 2014 shows that angelsharks are still frequently observed in the Arinaga Marine Reserve, with sightings recorded on 35 percent of the dive trips off Gran Canaria over the past 3 years (n = 1,253 total trips) (Miller 2015).

    Summary of Factors Affecting the Three Angelshark Species

    Available information regarding historical, current, and potential threats to these three angelshark species was thoroughly reviewed (Miller 2015). We find that the main threat to these species is overutilization for commercial and recreational purposes. We consider the severity of this threat to be exacerbated by the species' natural biological vulnerability to overexploitation, which has led to declines in abundance and subsequent extirpations and range curtailment. We find current regulatory measures inadequate to protect these species from further overutilization. Hence, we identify these factors as additional threats contributing to the species' risk of extinction. We summarize information regarding these threats and their interactions below, with species-specific information where available, and according to the factors specified in section 4(a)(1) of the ESA. Available information does not indicate that disease, predation or other natural or manmade factors are operative threats on these species; therefore, we do not discuss these factors further in this finding. See Miller (2015) for a full discussion of all ESA Section 4(a)(1) threat categories.

    The Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment of Its Habitat or Range

    Based on the evidence of S. squatina extirpations in many parts of its range (see discussion in Historical and Current Distribution and Population Abundance), there has been a significant curtailment of the species' historical range, most notably in the northeastern Atlantic. In 2008, the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) acknowledged that S. squatina was extirpated in the North Sea (although stated it may still occur in parts of the English Channel) and from parts of the Celtic Seas (ICES 2014), defining the term “extirpated” as “loss of the species from part of the main geographical range or habitat, and therefore . . . distinguished from a contraction in the range of a species, where it has been lost from the fringes of its distribution or suboptimal habitat.” The species is also believed to be extirpated from the Baltic Sea and western English Channel in the northeastern Atlantic, from the Adriatic, Ligurian and Tyrrhenian Seas in the Mediterranean, and from the Black Sea (Rogers and Ellis 2000; Jukic-Peladic et al. 2001; Dulvy et al. 2003; Ferretti et al. 2005; OSPAR Commission 2010; EVOMED 2011).

    In the northern parts of its range, S. squatina is thought to undertake seasonal migrations, sometimes of large distances, moving inshore for the summer and out to deeper water in the winter (Day 1880; OSPAR Commission 2010; ICES 2014). However, for the most part, results from tagging studies conducted in the northeastern Atlantic indicate these sharks remain in waters close to their initial tagging location (Quigley 2006). Similarly, in Mediterranean waters, S. squatina do not appear to stray far from a core area, with tagged fish recaptured 10-44 km from their release site (Quignard and Capapé 1971; Capapé et al. 1990). This available tagging information suggests that S. squatina exhibit potentially high site fidelity, which increases their susceptibility to local extirpations and has likely led to the observed loss of populations throughout large portions of its range. At this time, there is no genetic information available that could provide insight into natural rates of dispersal and genetic exchange among populations. However, based on information that S. squatina are ovoviviparous (lacking a dispersive larval phase) and likely exist as potentially isolated populations in a highly fragmented landscape, re-colonization of the extirpated areas mentioned above may not be possible. This curtailment of historical range ultimately translates to a significant loss of suitable habitat for the species and greatly increases the species' risk of extinction.

    A curtailment of historical range is much less evident for the other two species, where data are severely limited. The IUCN Red List reviews of S. aculeata and S. oculata suggest these two species are now rare or even absent from most of the northern Mediterranean coastline (Morey et al. 2007a, b). Many historical records simply document the presence of these species in certain locations, with no corresponding information on abundance or distribution. Only a few references provide subjective descriptions of historical abundance, and only from select areas (i.e., Balearic Islands, Gulf of Gabès, Libya, Israel, and Senegal; see Historical and Current Distribution and Population Abundance section). However, based on the absence of the species in relatively recent and repeated surveys in areas where they were once historically documented, it is possible that both species may have experienced a curtailment of their historical range. For S. aculeata, the available information suggests it may no longer be found in the Adriatic Sea (Jukic-Peladic et al. 2001; Ferretti et al. 2013) or central Aegean Sea (where the species was likely historically rare; Damalas and Vassilopolou 2011), and is also missing from the Ligurian and Tyrrhenian Seas (where it was caught by local fishermen and also part of commercial landings in the 1970s; Ferretti et al. 2005; EVOMED 2011), and off the Balearic Islands (where angelsharks were historically common; Morey et al. 2007a). For S. oculata, the species may no longer be found in the Aegean Sea (Damalas and Vassilopolou 2011), Ligurian and Tyrrhenian Seas (Ferretti et al. 2005; EVOMED 2011), and off the Balearic Islands (Morey et al. 2007a), where its historical abundance in these areas mirrors that of S. aculeata. Similar to the case with S. squatina, these local extirpations and population declines have likely resulted in patchy distributions of both S. aculeata and S. oculata populations with low connectivity and loss of suitable habitat, increasing the species' risks of further extirpations and possibly leading to complete extinction.

    We investigated additional habitat-specific threats to the three angelshark species, including the impacts of demersal trawling on habitat modification, deep-water oil exploration projects, and climate change; however, we found no information to indicate these are operative threats that are increasing the species' risks of extinction. Although significant demersal trawling occurred and continues to occur throughout the range of the Squatina species (Sacchi 2008; FAO 2013), and has likely altered seafloor morphology (Puig et al. 2012), there is no information that this habitat modification has had a direct effect on the abundance of these three species, or is specifically responsible for the curtailment of range of any of the Squatina species. The species' broad diets of benthic invertebrates and fishes from soft-sediment habitats means they are likely relatively resistant and resilient to changes in their habitats.

    In 2012, there was concern regarding potential oil spill impacts on the S. squatina habitat around the Canary Islands because the Spanish government had approved a deep-water oil exploration project off the coasts of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote (Navío 2013). However, based on the 2014 exploratory drilling in the region, Repsol (the Spanish oil company in charge of the project) determined that the area “lacked the necessary volume and quality [of methane and hexane gases] to consider future extraction” and abandoned drilling off the Canary Islands in January 2015 (Bjork 2015).

    Predicted impacts to angelshark habitats from climate change were also evaluated. The effects of climate change are a growing concern for fisheries management, as the distributions of many marine organisms are shifting in response to their changing environment. Factors having the most potential to affect marine species are changes in water temperature, salinity, ocean acidification, ocean circulation, and sea level rise. However, based on a study published by Jones et al. (2013), it appears that angelsharks, at least in United Kingdom (UK) waters, may not be especially vulnerable to these impacts. According to the authors' climate model projections, any negative impacts from a range shift due to climate change would likely be offset by an increase in availability of protected habitat areas for the common angelshark. In addition, the range shift would also shrink the angelshark's overlap with other commercially-targeted species, thus potentially decreasing their occurrence as bycatch during commercial fishery operations. We found no other information regarding the response of Squatina species to the impacts of climate change. Therefore, at this time, the best available information does not suggest that habitat modification or destruction by demersal trawling activities, deep-water oil exploration projects, or climate change contributes significantly to the extinction risk of these species.

    Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or Educational Purposes

    Based on catch records and anecdotal reports, the Squatina species were historically regularly observed and landed in many areas of their respective ranges. For example, S. squatina (which was historically called “monkfish” before anglerfish entered the market) was commonly recorded on the southern and eastern English coasts, western and southern coasts of Ireland, within the North Sea, on the Dogger Bank, in the Bristol Channel, in the Firth of Clyde, and in the Mediterranean Sea during the 19th and early 20th centuries (Day 1880; Ferretti et al. 2005; Morey et al. 2006; D. Quigley, pers. comm. 2015). In UK waters in the late 19th century, Day (1880) noted that the species was taken off the coasts of Kent, Sussex, Hampshire, and Swansea, frequent in Cornwall, and common “at all times” along the southern coast of Devon, documenting a personal observation of finding 26 common angelsharks that had been pulled in by seine net from Start Bay and left to die on shore. In Italy, historical fishing gear called “squaenara” or “squadrara” were purposely built to catch angelsharks (EVOMED 2011), suggesting a level of abundance that would warrant specialized gear and targeting of the species. Similarly, in French waters, angelsharks were so common that Arcachon fishermen would also use a special net designed specifically for catching them. These fishermen, who fished on the continental shelf in Arcachon Bay and the Bay of Biscay, would rope the tails of the species with a string attached to a type of wooden buoy and would bring the live shark back to shore. By the mid-19th century, annual catches of S. squatina totaled around 25,000 kg per year (Laporte 1853 cited by Quéro and Cendrero 1996 and Quéro 1998). The angelshark was historically marketed for its flesh (which was consumed or used for a variety of purposes, including: Medicine, bait, polish for wood and ivory, cover for hilts of swords, and sheaths for knives), liver for oil, and carcass for fishmeal (Day 1880; Edwards et al. 2001; Saad et al. 2006; Shark Trust 2010; ICES 2014; D. Quigley, pers. comm. 2015 citing Rutty (1772)). This exploitation continued for much of the 19th and early 20th centuries, during the time when demersal trawl fisheries saw significant expansion in the northeast Atlantic and Mediterranean. Because angelsharks are sedentary, bottom-dwelling species, they are highly susceptible to being caught in trawl fisheries. Consequently, as demersal trawling activities expanded with the use of steam-powered trawlers in the 1890s, angelshark populations began to experience significant declines.

    For S. squatina, the comparison of historical and current catch and survey data provide evidence of this clear decline from overutilization. In Arcachon Bay and the Bay of Biscay, for example, where S. squatina was once commonly caught in the mid-19th century, annual landings have decreased by over 95 percent compared to historical landings data, with only 291 kg of the species recorded caught in 1996 (Quéro 1998). Similarly, in the western English Channel, where Day (1880) noted the species was frequently captured by trawls and taken in trammel and seine nets in the late 19th century, S. squatina has since seemingly disappeared. Based on data from multiple research trawl surveys, conducted from 1989-1997 and 2008-2009 and in waters where historical surveys previously recorded the species, S. squatina was notably absent (Rogers and Ellis 2000; McHugh et al. 2011). Numerous other surveys provide similar evidence of declines and disappearances (see Historical and Current Distribution and Population Abundance section), indicating that S. squatina has essentially declined to the point where it is now extirpated in a number of areas of its historical range where it was previously common, and is rarely observed or caught throughout the rest of its range (Barrull et al. 1999; Ferretti et al. 2005; Morey et al. 2006; Psomadakis et al. 2009; McHugh et al. 2011; Dell'Apa et al. 2012).

    It is likely that S. aculeata and S. oculata were also negatively impacted by these demersal trawlers, given their similar behavior and overlapping ranges; however, information regarding their relative historical abundance and/or frequency throughout their respective ranges, which could provide insight into population trends and impacts of this utilization, is less certain. Instead, much of the information, at least from Mediterranean waters, is primarily in the form of presence/absence on shark inventory lists for different countries or general characterizations of the species (with the most recent characterizations dated almost 10 years ago), with no corresponding data or information on abundance, the rationale behind the characterization, or recent updates on the status or presence of these species from those areas. However, with this information, we at least have evidence of the presence of these species in certain areas in the past and can rely on survey data for indications as to the present status of these species. Examining the extent of coverage of recent surveys and evaluating the potential impact of historical fishing effort can allow for reasonable conclusions to be drawn regarding utilization of these species. For example, Ferretti et al. (2005) concluded that the Squatina species have been extirpated from off the Tuscan coast since the early 1970s. This conclusion was based on the fact that the Squatina species (specifically S. aculeata and S. squatina) were formerly present in commercial landings data (although of unknown magnitude) and all three species were absent in recent trawl surveys. The trawl surveys were extensive, covering the continental shelf and upper slope of the Tuscan coast, from 0 to 800 meters depth, with 88 tows conducted from 1972-1974 and 1,614 tows between 1985 and 2004 (Ferretti et al. 2005). In terms of historical fishing effort, the Tuscan fishery had been active for many years prior to the 20th century; however, it was not until the beginning of the 20th century when fishermen began focusing on exploiting demersal resources (Ferretti et al. 2005). As technology advanced in the 1930s, the fishery improved, and by 1960, Ferretti et al. (2005) estimated that the fleet was exploiting approximately 90 percent of the Tuscan Archipelago (~ 13,000 km2), with the majority of trawl effort concentrated in depths less than 400 m. Although the historical abundance of the Squatina species in this region is unknown (which could provide insight into the likelihood of the species in landings and survey data), given the history of the fishery, area of operation of the Tuscan fleets, and coverage of the recent trawl surveys, it is likely that historical overutilization of the angelshark species has occurred as a result of the expansion of the trawl fisheries. This overutilization has ultimately led to the observed extirpation of the Squatina species from the region. The decline and subsequent extirpation is further corroborated by interviews with fishermen who used to trawl in the Ligurian and Tyrrhenian Seas. According to their personal observations, the Squatina spp. were already reduced in numbers by the 1960s and 1970s (during the surge in fishing effort and capacity), with the last catches of the species from these seas remembered as occurring in the early 1980s (EVOMED 2011). Fishermen that trawled off the Sardinian coast also noted the progressive decline in abundance of the Squatina spp. during these years of fishery expansion, with the disappearance of the species from Sardinian waters occurring in the mid-1980s (EVOMED 2011).

    Similar conclusions can be made regarding the present status of the Squatina species off the Balearic Islands by comparing historical characterizations of these species and fishing effort to recent fishery-independent survey data. Historically, Morey et al. (2007a) suggested that Squatina species (presumably S. aculeata or S. oculata based on fishing depths) were commonly caught in the Balearic Islands, pointing to evidence of a special type of fishing net that was used for catching angelsharks in this area. These species were frequently caught in the coastal artisanal fisheries and also by the trawl and bottom longline fisheries until the 1970s, after which captures became more sporadic (Morey et al. 2007a). Morey et al. (2007a) also reference records from a lobster gillnet fishery operating in the Balearic Islands that showed it was common to catch angelsharks on a daily basis until the mid-1980s. The timing of the observed depletion in the Squatina populations coincides with the fast growth in bottom trawling fishing effort in the Balearic Islands, where growth (estimated in terms of vessel engine power (HP)) exponentially increased from around 5,000 HP in the mid-1960s to over 20,000 HP by the early 1980s (Coll et al. 2014). The depths at which these trawlers fished also got progressively deeper over this time period due to increases in ship technology and gear. From 1940-1959, around 85 percent were trawling in shallow grounds of 40-150 m depths, and 15 percent in 40-800 m depths (EVOMED 2011). Between 1960-1979, more fishermen were exploiting deeper waters, with 44 percent strictly fishing in the shallow grounds, 30 percent fishing in depths of 40-800 m, and 17 percent in 200-800 m depths (EVOMED 2011). Although S. aculeata and S. oculata could have potentially used deeper waters as a refuge from fishing mortality during the 1940s and 1950s (as their depth distribution extends from 20-30 m to over 500 m), by the 1960s and 1970s, these deeper waters were no longer safe from exploitation. Squatina squatina likely experienced the highest level of fishing mortality as this species is found in much shallower depths, from 5—150 m, and therefore was accessible to the trawl fishermen during this entire time period. Since the mid-1990s, these species have not been recorded in fishery records (Morey et al. 2007a; EVOMED 2011). In addition, the Squatina species are notably absent in recent data from multiple fishery-independent studies that aimed to characterize the demersal elasmobranch assemblage off the Balearic Islands. These studies analyzed bottom trawl survey data collected from the continental shelf and slope of the Balearic Islands in depths of 41 m down to 1713 m, and covering the years of 1996, 1998, and 2001 (Massutí and Moranta 2003; Massutí and Reñones 2005). No Squatina species were recorded from the trawl hauls despite the overlap of the surveyed area with the observed depth range of the species. Therefore, given the historical fishing effort in this area, the timing of the observed declines in the angelshark populations, and the recent absence of the Squatina species from both fishery records and fishery-independent survey data, it seems reasonable to conclude that historical overutilization of these angelshark species has led to the observed extirpation of these species from this area.

    Larger surveys, covering vast regions of the Mediterranean, have also provided valuable insight regarding the impacts of historical utilization on the Squatina species. For example, from 1985 to 1998, scientific trawl surveys (as part of the Italian Gruppo Nazionale Risorse Demersali (GRUND) project) were conducted in all Italian seas using typical Italian commercial trawl gear. However, S. aculeata and S. oculata were notably absent from the survey data (9,281 hauls over 22 surveys; Morey et al. (2007a,b) citing Relini et al. 2001). More expansive surveys, covering waters from Alboran to the Aegean, were conducted as part of the Mediterranean International Trawl Survey (MEDITS) program. This program aimed to provide information on the status of demersal resources within the Mediterranean region (Bertrand et al. 1997). Numerous surveys were conducted along the Mediterranean coastline, in 10 m to 800 m depths, but also failed to find S. oculata and had very few observances of the other Squatina species (Baino et al. 2001). Out of the 6,336 tows conducted from 1995-1999, S. aculeata appeared in only one tow (from the Aegean Sea) and S. squatina appeared in two (from western Mediterranean: Defined as coasts of Morocco, Spain and France) (Baino et al. 2001). Similarly, the Mediterranean Large Elasmobranchs Monitoring (MEDLAM) program, which was designed to monitor the captures and sightings of large cartilaginous fishes occurring in the Mediterranean Sea, also has very few records of the Squatina species in its database. Since its inception in 1985, the program has collected around 1,866 records of more than 2,000 specimens from 20 participating countries. Out of the 2,048 elasmobranchs documented in the database through 2012, there are records identifying only 6 individuals of S. oculata, 4 of S. squatina, and 1 of S. aculeata. Given that fishing effort by the Mediterranean trawl fleet is estimated to have peaked in the mid-1980s (based on trends data from areas in the Catalan, Ligurian, Tyrrhenian, western Adriatic, Ionian, and Aegean Seas; EVOMED 2011), the rarity and absence of the Squatina species in survey data following this period suggests that the historical level of fishing effort likely resulted in substantial declines and significant overutilization of the species.

    Many of these surveyed areas have also seen a shift in species composition and richness since the expansion of the trawl fisheries. Historically abundant larger elasmobranch species, including angelsharks, have seemingly been replaced by smaller, more opportunistic species, a strong indicator of overutilization of these larger elasmobranchs by commercial fisheries (Rogers and Ellis 2000; Damalas and Vassilopoulou 2011; McHugh et al. 2011). For instance, in the central Aegean Sea, a major fishing ground for the Greek bottom trawl fishery fleet, Damalas and Vassilopoulou (2011) noted a significant decrease in chondrichthyan species richness along with a decline in their abundance from 1995 to 2006. Specifically, the authors analyzed data collected from 335 commercial bottom trawl hauls conducted in depths between 50 m and 339 m from 1995 to 2006 (2001-2002 was excluded). A total of 217 species (141 bony fishes, 24 mollusks, 22 crustaceans, and 30 chondrichthyan species, including S. aculeata (n = 3) and S. oculata (n = 1)) were recorded from these hauls. However, in the last 4 years of the study (2003-2006), S. aculeata and S. oculata were absent from trawl catches, along with 9 other chondrichthyan species (over a third of the total). The authors estimated that species richness declined by an average of 0.66 species per year during the study period (with a more rapid decline exhibited from 1995-2000 compared to 2003-2006). They attributed the decline in part to the intense fishing pressure by the Greek bottom trawl fishery and the vulnerability of certain species, such as angelsharks, to exploitation (Damalas and Vassilopoulou 2011).

    In the Adriatic Sea, a number of fishery-independent trawl surveys covering the entire basin have been conducted since 1948, allowing for an examination of the impact of historical exploitation on the Adriatic Sea demersal fish assemblage (Ungaro et al. 1998; Jukic-Peladic et al. 2001; Feretti et al. 2013). Comparing trawl catch from surveys conducted in 1948 and 1998, Jukic-Peladic et al. (2001) found a decrease in overall elasmobranch diversity and occurrence. Larger shark and ray species that were present in 1948, including S. squatina, were rare or, in the case of S. squatina, completely absent in 1998 (Jukic-Peladic et al. 2001). The authors attribute the extirpation of many species, including S. squatina, and the displacement of the larger elasmobranchs by smaller sized species to the overutilization of the Adriatic Sea demersal resources (Jukic-Peladic et al. 2001). A comparison of more recent bottom trawl survey data to the 1948-1949 survey data indicate that the abundance of sharks in the Adriatic Sea has declined by 95.6 percent over the past 57 years (Ferretti et al. 2013). Squatina squatina was still notably absent, with the last survey record of the species from these waters dated to 1958 (Ferretti et al. 2013).

    In addition to these fishery-independent survey data, analyses of commercial landings data also indicate that historical overutilization throughout the northeast Atlantic and Mediterranean has led to a general decline in the abundance of demersal shark and ray species. For example, in an analysis of Italian landings data, Dell'Apa et al. (2001) noted that elasmobranch landings were fairly steady until the 1970s, at which point they began to increase, reaching peaks in 1985 and 1994 and then sharply declining, which the authors attribute to overharvesting. Between 1983 and 1994, mean annual elasmobranch landings were 10,583 ± 2,599 t compared to 2,014 ± 1681 t between 1996 and 2004, a time period that also showed a consistent annual decrease in catch per unit effort. Similarly, in the English Channel, landings of elasmobranchs have declined steadily since the 1950s, with an overall decrease in high trophic level species (such as gadoid fishes and elasmobranchs) and an increase in low trophic level species (such as invertebrates), indicative of unsustainable fisheries that are “fishing down marine food webs” (Molfese et al. 2014). For areas where landings of Squatina species have been recorded (down to species level), the data show a similar trend. For example, in the Celtic Sea, French landings of S. squatina appear to have declined after peaking in the 1970s (when annual landings >25 t), falling to less than 1 t per year by the late 1990s (ICES 2013). Similarly, aggregated landings data of the genus Squatina from Portuguese fisheries statistics also show a decreasing trend over the last 20 years (personal communication from R. Coelho to Morey et al. (2006)); however, no information is known regarding the corresponding effort or other factors such as changes in retention/discarding practices (R. Coehlo, personal communication, 2014).

    Off the west coast of Ireland, recreational fishermen observed a decline in rod-caught S. squatina beginning in the late 1990s. In fact, since 2006, only two individuals have been caught in these waters. The decline in this S. squatina population, to the point where the species is now extremely rare, has been attributed to both the historical recreational angling of the species as well as the operations of commercial trammel net fishermen in this area (D. Quigley, pers. comm. 2015). In the1960s, S. squatina were regularly caught in Tralee Bay by recreational anglers competing in fishing tournaments. Pictures from some of these competitions, found online in the Kennelly Archive (http://www.kennellyarchive.com/), depict the extensive catch of S. squatina during these tournaments and highlight the especially large individuals that were caught (with all fish brought ashore). For example, pictures from a June 1964 sea angling competition show a “record catch,” when 37 S. squatina were caught in less than 3 hours off the coast of Fenit Pier (Ireland). Another record catch was documented in June 1965 during a boat-angling competition in Tralee Bay, where four trophy S. squatina individuals, weighing 60, 59, 50, and 30 lbs (27.2, 26.8, 22.7, 13.6 kgs), respectively, were caught in addition to numerous smaller individuals. Given the life history characteristics of the species, this level of essentially unregulated utilization and removal of larger and, hence, probably mature individuals, likely contributed to the observed decline in the S. squatina population from this area.

    Although catch-and-release became increasingly more common practice in Ireland over the years (Fahy and Carroll 2009), decreasing the threat of overutilization by recreational anglers, a new threat emerged in the 1970s in the form of trammel net usage by commercial fishermen. Trammel nets, which are a type of gill net consisting of three layers of netting tied together on a common floatline and leadline, were introduced off the coast of Kerry (Ireland) in the early 1970s (Quigley and MacGabhann 2014). They were primarily used to catch crawfish (Palinurus elephas), but given the non-specificity of the fishing gear, these nets also by-caught spider crab (Maja brachydactyla), another commercially important species in the area, as well as many other elasmobranchs and non-target species (Quigley and MacGabhann 2014). The prevalent use of these nets led to significant decreases in crawfish landings (from 300 t in 1971 to 34 t in 2006) as well as startling declines in the bycatch species, with Fahy and Carroll (2009) characterizing the angelsharks as having been fished “almost to elimination” by the use of these trammel nets.

    Farther south, in waters off West Africa, S. oculata and S. aculeata were commonly observed in the 1970s and 1980s. However, it was also during this time period that shark fishing in the region really started to expand and intensify (Diop and Dossa 2011). In a review of shark fishing in the Sub Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC) member countries: Cape-Verde, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Senegal, and Sierra Leone, Diop and Dossa (2011) state that the shark fisheries and trade spread throughout this region in the 1980s and 1990s with the development of a market and increasing worldwide demand for shark fins. The number of boats and people entering the fishery, as well as improvements to fishing gear, steadily increased from 1994 to 2005, especially in the artisanal fishing sector where catches rose substantially. For example, before 1989, artisanal catch was less than 4,000 mt. However, from 1990 to 2005, fishing effort and catch increased dramatically, with catch estimates of over 26,000 mt by 2005 (Diop and Dossa 2011). Including bycatch estimates from the industrial fishing fleet increases this number to over 30,000 mt in 2005 (note that discards of shark carcasses at sea were not included in bycatch estimates, suggesting bycatch may be underestimated) (Diop and Dossa 2011). By 2008, shark landings had dropped by more than 50 percent to 12,000 mt (Diop and Dossa 2011). Although landings were not identified to the species level, it is likely that this intense and relatively unregulated fishing pressure on sharks significantly contributed to the observed decline of the Squatina species in this region, to the point where these sharks are now only rarely observed.

    Overutilization of these angelshark species is still a threat, as the shark, trawl, and other demersal fisheries that historically contributed to the Squatina species' declines remain active throughout their respective ranges. In fact, in the Mediterranean Sea, trawling still provides one of the highest economic returns in the fishery sector operating in these waters (Sacchi 2008; STECF 2013). In 2008, Sacchi (2008) reported a Mediterranean fleet of approximately 84,000 fishing entities, with around 10 percent using trawl gear and contributing more than half of the catch. By 2012, the fleet size had decreased to around 76,023 vessels, but had a total fishing capacity of 1,578,015 gross tonnage and 5,807,827 kilowatt power (European Commission 2014). In April 2015, the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) identified 9,171 large fishing vessels (i.e., larger than 15 meters) as authorized to fish in the GFCM convention area (which includes Mediterranean waters and the Black Sea). Of these vessels, 46 percent identified as trawlers, although 28 percent did not report their class of fishing gear (GFCM 2015). These Mediterranean trawlers operate in depths of up to 800 m but normally conduct hauls in less than 300 m (Sacchi 2008), which overlaps with the depth range of the Squatina species. These trawlers also tend to participate in multi-species fisheries, meaning they are not just targeting one species but rather catching hundreds of different species during operations, posing a significant risk to non-targeted demersal species that are vulnerable to overexploitation, such as the Squatina species.

    In addition to the demersal trawling, many of the artisanal fisheries, and even some commercial fisheries, throughout the range of these Squatina species employ the use of trammel and gillnets during fishing operations, which are also rather unselective types of gear. In a review of artisanal fisheries in the western-central Mediterranean (covering Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Italy, France, and Spain), Coppola (2001) found that the most important gear used in artisanal fisheries were gillnets and entangling nets (comprising 53 percent of the total gear utilized). In Turkey, the majority of fishermen work in the small-scale fishery (comprising around 83 percent of the total fleet; Turkish Statistical Institute 2014). The small-scale fishery operations consist of daily trips, generally in the Aegean and Black Seas, to target fish species using gillnets, trammel nets, entangling nets, and demersal and pelagic longlines (Tokac et al. 2012). Additionally, off the west coast of Ireland, there is evidence that commercial fishermen continue to use trammel nets in the inshore fisheries (Fahy and Carroll 2009). Despite the prohibition on these trammel nets in certain areas off the Kerry and Galway (Ireland) coasts (due to their associated level of elasmobranch bycatch, which historically contributed to the decline and present rarity of the S. squatina population in this area), these trammel nets are still widely used and deployed year-round (Fahy and Carroll 2009). And, as mentioned previously, artisanal fishing effort is also significant off the west coast of Africa, with fishermen employing a variety of nets to capture species, with some nets that are even specially designed for catching shark species (Diop and Dossa 2011).

    Because of the low selectivity of the net and trawl gear and the intensity of fishing effort, a significant portion of the catch in these gears tends to be discarded at sea (Machias et al. 2001; Sacchi 2008; Damalas and Vassilopoulou 2010). Damalas and Vassilopoulou (2011) note that chondrichthyans, especially, tend to be discarded due to their low commercial value. Based on their observations of 335 commercial bottom trawl hauls in the Aegean Sea between 1995 and 2006, they calculated that over 90 percent of chondrichthyans (by number) were discarded. However, data are limited on the discard rates of Squatina species. In the Damalas and Vassilopoulou (2011) study, only 4 Squatina sharks were observed caught (3 S. aculeata and 1 S. oculata), with two individuals discarded. Machias et al. (2001) observed that both S. aculeata and S. oculata were always discarded by the commercial trawlers operating in the Aegean and western Ionian Sea. Observer data from the French discard observer program from 2003-2013 recorded two discarded S. squatina individuals (both in 2012) (ICES 2014). In general, the available information suggests that Squatina species are generally bycaught (Edwards et al. 2001; Morey et al. 2007a, b; OSPAR Commission 2010; ICES 2014) and would more likely than not be discarded with the other chondrichthyan species. This is especially true for S. squatina which is currently prohibited from being retained in European Union (EU) waters (see Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms section). In fact, ICES (2014) reports that S. squatina is now only landed as a “curio” for fish stalls.

    As such, the impact of the continued operation of these demersal trawl fleets as well as the net fisheries on the threat of overutilization really depends on the survival rate of these Squatina species upon capture and after discard. Unfortunately, at this time, the at-vessel mortality and discard survival rates of the Squatina species are unknown; however, based on mortality rates reported for two similar species, the African angelshark (S. africana) and the Australian angelshark (S. australis), discard survival may be low. For the African angelshark, Fennessy (1994) estimated an at-vessel mortality rate of 60 percent when caught by prawn trawlers and Shelmerdine and Cliff (2006) estimated a 67 percent mortality rate when the species was caught in protective shark gillnets. For the Australian angelshark, mortality rates of 25 and 34 percent have been estimated for capture in gillnets (Reid and Krogh 1992; Braccini et al. 2012), with a post-capture mortality rate (for those sharks discarded alive) of 40 percent (Braccini et al. 2012). Because these two angelsharks have similar life history traits to the Squatina species under review (see Miller (2015) for comparison of these species), we consider at-vessel mortality and discard survival rates for S. aculeata, S. oculata, and S. squatina to be comparable to those estimated for S. africana and S. australis.

    Although current fishing mortality rates are unknown, even low levels of mortality would likely contribute to further population declines given the extremely depleted status of these species, to the point where all three species are rarely observed and extirpated in many areas. Yet, the discussion above provides evidence of high levels of fishing effort by commercial and artisanal fishermen using trawl and net gear throughout the range of these Squatina species. Therefore, given the inferred discard mortality estimates (with a 60 percent at-vessel mortality rate in trawls and 25-67 percent mortality rate in nets) and high likelihood of incidental capture, we find that the continued operation of the demersal trawl fleets and net fisheries is posing a threat of overutilization that is likely contributing to further population declines and significantly increasing the extinction risks of these species at this time.

    In addition to the threat of overutilization from being bycaught, there is also evidence that these species are still being landed in certain parts of their ranges, contributing to the direct fishing mortality of the species. In Egypt, for example, which has the 2nd largest fishing fleet (of vessels >15 m) operating in the GFCM convention area, Moftah (2011) documented three S. squatina individuals for sale in a major fish market in western Alexandria. However, according to Bradai et al. (2012), the top elasmobranch fishing countries presently operating in the Mediterranean are Italy, Tunisia, and Turkey. From 1980 to 2008, these three countries were responsible for 76 percent of the total catch of elasmobranchs in the Mediterranean and Black Seas. Currently, Italy has the largest fishing fleet (of vessels >15 m) operating in the GFCM convention area, with 84 percent of its vessels (n = 1,421) identified as trawlers. Turkey has the third largest fishing fleet, with 54 percent identified as trawlers, and Tunisia has the fifth largest, with around 50 percent of its vessels considered to be trawlers. Although Italian vessels are currently prohibited from landing S. squatina in EU waters (see Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms section), Tunisia and Turkey do not have the same prohibitions for their respective waters. Additionally, there are no prohibitions from landing the other two species of angelsharks throughout their ranges.

    In waters off Tunisia, the present level of fishing effort by trawlers as well as artisanal fishermen is a concern for any remaining populations of the three angelshark species. Tunisia is centrally located in the Mediterranean Sea. The Gulf of Gabès and Gulf of Tunis, which historically supported populations of the Squatina species (Capapé et al. 1990; Quignard and Ben Othman 1978), are two of the most important fishing grounds off the Tunisian coast (Echwikhi et al. 2013; Cherif et al. 2008). In 2011, the Tunisian fishing fleet consisted of 11,393 units, which included 10,500 coastal boats (artisanal fishermen), 430 trawlers, 400 sardine seiners, 38 tuna seiners, and 25 coral-fisher boats (Haddad 2011). Elasmobranchs, in particular, constitute an important catch component in Tunisian fisheries, especially artisanal fisheries (Echwikihi et al. 2013), and since 1970, annual catches of elasmobranchs have steadily increased with recent catches (2005-2012) of elasmobranchs averaging around 2,000 mt per year. Similarly, S. squatina catches in Tunisian waters also appear to show an increase in recent years, with a peak of 86 mt in 2010 and 60 mt in 2012. In 1990, Capapé et al. (1990) observed that S. squatina was fished throughout the year in Tunisian waters and sold in the Tunis fish market. Based on the recent catch data, it appears that S. squatina is still being exploited by Tunisian fisheries. It is unknown if this exploitation is sustainable; however, based on the species' life history traits as well as the observed decline of the species and potential extirpations in areas where reported catches and landings have been of lesser magnitude (e.g., Bay of Biscay; Celtic Seas), this present level of exploitation is likely to cause declines in the S. squatina population from this area through the foreseeable future.

    The absence of data for the other two Squatina species is also telling, especially since in 1978, S. aculeata was noted as abundant, and as recently as 2006, both species were “regularly observed” in the Gulf of Gabès (Quignard and Ben Othman 1978; Bradai et al. 2006). Additionally, in 1990, the Gulf of Tunis was posited as a nursery ground for S. oculata based on young-of-the-year individuals captured during trawling operations (Capapé et al. 1990). However, in a recent analysis of extensive trawl survey data collected off the southern coasts of Sicily from 1994 to 2009, Ragonese et al. (2013) found only one report of a captured S. aculeata individual. This shark was caught during a shelf haul in 86 m depth close to the Gulf of Gabès in 2000. The fact that observations of these species are now rare, with the last record of the species in survey data from 15 years ago (Ragonese et al. 2013), and the most recent anecdotal characterizations of the species from almost a decade ago (Bradai et al. 2006), suggests that the remaining populations of S. aculeata and S. oculata are likely small and potentially isolated, placing them at risk from stochastic and demographic fluctuations. These risks will only increase in the future as more individuals are removed from the populations as a result of the continued fishing pressure by trawlers and artisanal fishermen within this region.

    In Turkey, at least one angelshark species, S. aculeata, was a recent target of recreational fishermen. Based on field survey data collected between January and September 2007, boat-based recreational fishermen operating in Çanakkale Strait caught an estimated 23,820 kg of S. aculeata (Ünal et al. 2010). The number of surveyed fishermen represented only 2.7 percent of the estimated recreational fishery population. In addition, the results from the surveys indicated that the marine recreational fishery in Turkey is essentially unmonitored and hence potentially unsustainable (Ünal et al. 2010). In fact, almost half of the recreational activity can be considered commercial activity as many of the recreational fishermen are selling their catches (even though marine recreationally caught fish are not legally allowed to be traded; Ünal et al. 2010). Given the high level of marine recreational harvest (around 30 percent of the commercial fishing harvest; Ünal et al. 2010), evidence of S. aculeata as a potentially targeted and traded species, and lack of monitoring or controls regarding fishing practices, this marine recreational fishery is considered a threat contributing to the direct overutilization of the species in this area. In 2015, one of the co-authors of the above study noted that the species is presently rare in Turkish waters, but mentioned the recent capture of an S. aculeata shark from Gökova Bay by a fisherman using a trammel net (V. Ünal, personal communication 2015). This individual (a female S. aculeata) is the largest specimen ever recorded from Turkish waters (V. Ünal, pers. comm. 2015).

    In addition to the marine recreational fisheries, the commercial fisheries of Turkey are also harvesting angelsharks; however, the information on catch is not species-specific. According to Turkey's “Fisheries Statistics” publication, catches of angelsharks have declined over the past 8 years after a peak of 51 tonnes was reported in 2006. In 2013, 17 tonnes of angelsharks were harvested, with 68 percent of the catch coming from the Aegean region, 26 percent from the Mediterranean region, and 6 percent from the Marmara region. Although there is no accompanying information on fishing effort, the bottom trawl fishery is highly active in Turkish waters. In 2015, the GFCM identified 554 Turkish trawl vessels (over 15 meters) as authorized to fish in the GFCM convention area, and according to Tokaç et al. (2012), the bottom trawl fishery is responsible for around 90 percent of the total demersal fish catch from the Aegean Sea. As such, the decline in angelshark catch may likely be a result of decreasing abundance of these sharks in the region as a result of the exploitation of the species by the demersal trawl fishery.

    In the northeastern Atlantic, Spanish and French fleets have reported landings of S. squatina to ICES since the species' retention prohibition by the EU in 2009 (see Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms section). In 2010, Spanish-reported landings amounted to 9 tonnes (live weight), increased to 10 tonnes in 2011, and significantly increased to 63 tonnes in 2012. All of these landings occurred off the coasts of Portugal and Spain (ICES 2014). The ICES (2014) notes that there are also nominal records of S. squatina in French national landings for 2012 and 2013 but does not report the figures due to the unreliability of the data. There was no corresponding information on fishing effort and it is also unclear why this EU-prohibited species is still being landed by EU vessels.

    Similarly, in the Canary Islands, where S. squatina retains its EU prohibited designation, there is evidence that individuals continue to be captured by local and sport fishermen. Although S. squatina is not a targeted species in the Canary Islands, nor is there large demand for the species, fishermen in the area do like to eat angelsharks and may illegally land the species (E. Meyers, pers. comm. 2014). This illegal fishing of the species by artisanal fishermen for personal consumption is a concern for the S. squatina population in these waters (E. Meyers, pers. comm. 2014). Artisanal Canarian fishermen tend to concentrate their fishing efforts on the narrow continental shelf around the islands (Popescu and Ortega-Gras 2013), which increases the likelihood of capture of S. squatina sharks. Although the artisanal fishery has experienced a significant reduction in the number of fishing vessels since 2004, there has also been an associated increase in engine power per small vessel (Popescu and Ortega-Gras 2013). In fact, between 1990 and 2003, these small vessels constituted only 12-18 percent of the total power of the Canarian fleet, but by 2013, this contribution had risen to 30.6 percent (Popescu and Ortega-Gras 2013). Additionally, despite the decrease in number of vessels, the artisanal sector remains the most important segment of the Canarian fishing fleet (both on a social and economic level), with small boats (less than 12 m) representing 86.7 percent of the total number of vessels in the Canarian fishing fleet (Popescu and Ortega-Gras 2013).

    Recreational fishing in the Canary Islands is also identified as a potential threat to the species, as many Canarian sport fishing Web sites display photos of hooked angelsharks despite their prohibited status. There is evidence that angelsharks caught by sportfishermen are returned to the water after a photo has been taken; however, the post-release survival rates are unknown (J. Barker, pers. comm. 2015). This has become a concern in recent years due to the increasing number of sport fishermen in the area. According to Barker et al. (2014), from 2005 to 2010 there has been a nearly 3-fold increase in the number of recreational angler licenses (from 40,000 to 116,000), with over 830 registered charter fishing boats in operation. As the number of recreational anglers increases, so does the risk of hooking (and potentially killing) one of these prohibited sharks. Although S. squatina are regularly observed around the Canary Islands, very little is known about this population or the associated risks of this level of utilization (by artisanal and sport fishermen) on the local population.

    In waters off West Africa, artisanal fishing pressure on sharks remains high and relatively unregulated. In 2010, the number of artisanal fishing vessels that landed elasmobranchs in the SRFC zone was estimated to be around 2,500 vessels, with 1,300 of those specializing in catching sharks (Diop and Dossa 2011). Morey et al. (2007a, b) note that although there are no directed fisheries for Squatina species, it is taken as bycatch in the international industrial demersal trawl fisheries and artisanal fisheries. In a personal communication to Morey et al. (2007b), M. Ducrocq states that S. oculata were common and frequently caught by artisanal Senegalese fishermen in line and gillnet gear around 30 years ago, and Capapé et al. (2005) noted that S. aculeata was relatively abundant off the coast of Senegal and landed throughout the year. However, since 2005, fishermen have reported fewer observations of all squatinid species (C. Capapé, pers. comm. 2015), with no observed landings in recent years in the artisanal fishery (Mathieu Ducrocq, Programme Arc d'Emeraude, Agence Nationale des Parcs Nationaux, personal communication 2014). Although not as common anymore, this information suggests that S. oculata and S. aculeata were and potentially still are susceptible to being caught in artisanal fishing gear. Taking into account this susceptibility, as well as the fact that fishing for sharks occurs year-round in this region, and fishery management plans are still in the early implementation phase for this region (Diop and Dossa 2011), the continued operations of the artisanal fisheries may prevent any potential re-establishment of these Squatina species to this area (if already extirpated) or lead to further declines in existing local populations in the foreseeable future.

    Illegal fishing in waters off West Africa is also a threat likely contributing to the observed declines of these species and contributing to their risk of extinction. Illegal fishing activities off West Africa are thought to account for around 37 percent of the region's catch, the highest regional estimate of illegal fishing worldwide (Agnew et al. 2009, EJF 2012). From January 2010 to July 2012, the UK-based non-governmental organization Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) conducted a surveillance project in southern Sierra Leone to determine the extent of illegal fishing in waters off West Africa (EJF, 2012). The EJF staff received 252 reports of illegal fishing by industrial vessels in inshore areas, 90 percent of which were bottom trawlers (EJF 2012). The EJF (2012) surveillance also found these pirate industrial fishing vessels operating inside exclusion zones, using prohibited fishing gear, refusing to stop for patrols, attacking local fishers and destroying their gear, and fleeing to neighboring countries to avoid sanctions. Due to a lack of resources, many West African countries are unable to provide effective or, for that matter, any enforcement, with some countries even lacking basic monitoring systems. In waters off Senegal, which may have historically supported larger populations of S. aculeata and S. oculata (see Historical and Current Distribution and Population Abundance section), fishery resources have been severely depleted due to both foreign and illegal fishing activities. In 2006, after Senegal cancelled its licensing agreement with the subsidized EU fleet, dozens of large (10,000-tonne factory ships) foreign trawling vessels were granted new licenses by the government and were reportedly catching hundreds of tonnes of fish a day (and up to 300,000 tonnes a year; Vidal 2012b) in Senegalese waters (Vidal 2012a). Although these trawlers are prohibited from trawling within 12-miles of the coast, due to the lack of monitoring and policing capabilities, many move closer inshore at night to fish (Vidal 2012b). Quoting the manager of the largest fishing port in Senegal, Vidal (2012b) reports that fish catches have decreased 75 percent compared to 10 years ago. Based on the level of fishing activity, reported landings and trends, fishing gear, and area of operation, it is likely that these foreign and illegal trawling activities have significantly contributed to the observed decline of the Squatina species within these areas. Although many of the foreign vessel licenses were cancelled in 2012 (see Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms section), due to the lack of enforcement resources, illegal trawling is still considered to be a threat contributing to the overutilization of the demersal resources, including the Squatina species.

    Overall, the available information on the past and present status of these species, including historical and present observations of the species from anecdotal, commercial, and fishery-independent survey data, in combination with trends in fishing effort and catch, suggests that the threat of overutilization alone is likely contributing significantly to the risk of extinction for all three Squatina species.

    Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    In the EU, there are some regulatory mechanisms in place to protect these three Squatina species. All three Squatina species are listed on Annex II of the Barcelona Convention, “which requires Mediterranean countries to undertake maximum, cooperative efforts for their protection and recovery, including controlling or prohibiting their capture and sale, prohibiting damage to their habitat, and adopting measures for their conservation and recovery.” In 2012, Spain published Order AAA/75/2012 which announced the inclusion of the Mediterranean populations of these three angelshark species (S. squatina, S. oculata, and S. acuelata) on Spain's List of Wild Species under Special Protection. Species on the list are protected from capture, injury, trade, import and export, and require periodic evaluations of their conservation status.

    Elsewhere in the EU, however, specific regulations prohibiting the capture or trade of these angelshark species, or other efforts to protect and recover these species, are missing or only apply to S. squatina and not the other two species. For example, in 2008, S. squatina was listed under Schedule 5, Section 9(1) of the UK Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981), which protects the species from being killed, injured or taken on land and up to 6 nautical miles from English coastal baselines. In 2011, these protections were extended out to 12 nautical miles and the species was also added under section 9(2) and 9(5), protecting it from being possessed or traded. In 2010 and 2012, ICES advised that S. squatina remain on its list of Prohibited Species and that any incidental bycatch be returned to the sea (ICES 2014). In 2009, S. squatina received full protection in EU waters from the European Council (Council Regulation (EC) 43/2009). European Union vessels are currently prohibited from fishing for, retaining on board, transhipping, or landing S. squatina in all EU waters (including EU waters within the Mediterranean Sea) (EC 23/2010, 57/2011, 43/2012, 39/2013, 43/2014). These retention prohibitions may decrease, to some extent, fisheries-related mortality of the species, especially in those parts of its range where the species was previously landed. However, even prior to these prohibitions, it appears that the species was normally discarded due to its low commercial value. Given the assumed low survival rate of the species when bycaught and discarded by the trawl and demersal line fisheries (see Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or Educational Purposes section), these existing regulatory mechanisms may only have a minor impact on decreasing current fisheries-related mortality and, ultimately, S. squatina's risk of extinction.

    In Ireland, in 2006, the Irish Specimen Fish Committee, which verifies and publicizes the capture of specimen (trophy) fish caught by anglers using rod and reel methods, removed S. squatina from its list of eligible “specimen status” species due to concern over its status. The committee reviewed the data on angler catches of angelsharks in 2009 and again in 2013, and after finding a decline in the number being caught and released, decided to keep the exclusion in place until the next review period in 2015. As long as this exclusion from the specimen status list is in place, it should provide some benefit to the local populations, as it will decrease potential fisheries-related mortality of the larger (and likely mature individuals) that may occur during handling and processing of the fish to meet the claim requirements. However, these benefits may be offset by the fact that claims for a new record (which is different from a specimen fish) are still considered, with the requirement that the fish be weighed on shore, photographed and returned alive. Therefore, there is some risk that especially large angelsharks (as the current angling record is a 33 kg S. squatina) may still be brought ashore with the potential for mortality during the processing of angling records. Removal of these larger and mature individuals from an already declining population will greatly decrease its productivity, making it more susceptible to overexploitation that may lead to potential extirpations.

    With respect to overutilization of the species by commercial fisheries in Ireland, a major threat identified for the angelsharks in Irish waters was the unsustainable level of bycatch of the species in trammel nets deployed by commercial fishermen. In 2002, a regulation (SI—Statutory Instrument) was implemented prohibiting the use of trammel nets to catch crawfish in specific areas off the coasts of Kerry and Galway (SI No. 179). This regulation was renewed in 2006 (SI No. 233); however the use of trammel nets to catch other species is still allowed (Fahy and Carroll 2009), decreasing the level of protection that this prohibition affords angelsharks. In addition, enforcement of inshore fishery regulations is lacking, and, as a consequence, Fahy and Carroll (2009) note that trammel nets are set year-round in Brandon and Tralee Bays (south-west Ireland—areas once known for large S. squatina populations) with the majority of landed crawfish caught by this method. Due to the deficiencies in the legislation (Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) 2012) and enforcement of the SI, commercial trammel net fishing in the inshore areas off western Ireland still poses a significant risk to any remaining S. squatina individuals, and, as such, this regulatory measure is inadequate in decreasing the threat of overutilization by commercial fisheries in this area.

    With respect to controlling general EU fishing effort in the Mediterranean, the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP; the fisheries policy of the EU) requires Member States to achieve a sustainable balance between fishing capacity and fishing opportunities. However, due to criticisms that the CFP has failed to control the problem of fleet overcapacity (European Commission 2009; 2010) and consequently prevent further declines in fish stocks (Khalilian et al. 2010), it was reformed in 2014. It is too soon to know if the new policies identified in the CFP, such as a complete “discard ban” and managing stocks according to maximum sustainable yield, will be adequate in controlling fishing effort by the European fishing fleet to the point where they no longer pose a threat to the remaining Squatina species populations.

    In non-EU countries, regulations to protect any of these Squatina species from overutilization are lacking. There are no species-specific management measures and current regulations are likely inadequate to prevent further declines in the three Squatina species. In Turkey, for example, there are very few landing quotas for species due to a lack of stock assessments, even though evidence suggests that many of the species found in Turkish seas are presently overexploited (OECD 2003; Tokaç et al. 2012; Ulman et al. 2013). The number of registered fishing boats continues to increase, with previous attempts to control the fishing effort deemed unsuccessful. Based on an analysis of catch data, Ulman et al. (2013) note that the optimal fleet capacity has been exceeded by over 350 percent for all of Turkey's seas, suggesting that fishing effort and stocks will continue to decline through the foreseeable future. Although there are some seasonal prohibitions to protect spawning stocks in certain areas, minimum size regulations, and gear restrictions, including a bottom trawl ban in the Sea of Marmara, there is little enforcement of existing regulations, with current management measures and prohibitions likely insufficient to protect fish resources from further declines (OECD 2003; Ulman et al. 2013).

    Off the coast of West Africa, fishing occurs year-round, including during shark breeding season (Diop and Dossa 2011). Many of the state-level management measures in this region lack standardization at the regional level (Diop and Dossa 2011), which weakens some of their effectiveness. For example, Sierra Leone and Guinea both require shark fishing licenses; however, these licenses are much cheaper in Sierra Leone, and, as a result, fishers from Guinea fish for sharks in Sierra Leone (Diop and Dossa 2011). Also, although many of these countries have recently adopted FAO recommended National Plans of Action—Sharks, their shark fishery management plans are still in the early implementation phase, and with few resources for monitoring and managing shark fisheries, the benefits to sharks, including Squatina species, from these regulatory mechanisms have yet to be realized (Diop and Dossa 2011). Additionally, many of these countries also lack the resources and capabilities to effectively enforce presently implemented fishing regulations, making this region a hotbed for illegal fishing activities (Agnew et al. 2009, EJF 2012). For example, although the Senegalese government took a significant step in controlling the exploitation of its fisheries when it cancelled the licenses of 29 foreign fishing trawlers in 2012, Senegal's director of Ministry of Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, Mr. Cheikh Sarr, recognizes that the country still lacks the enforcement resources and capabilities to combat illegal fishing activities. Mr. Sarr, quoted in Lazuta (2013), remarks: “Revoking these licenses has been helpful in the general sense . . . But the reality is, whether or not a boat is authorized to enter our waters, if they decide to engage in IUU [illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing], they will come . . . And often, we have very little power to stop them.” These licenses were cancelled in response to the growing anger of artisanal fishermen at the level of overfishing by these trawlers and the alleged corruption of the previous government's licensing system (Vidal 2012a). It is unclear if these licenses will remain cancelled in the future under different government regimes. As such, the present regulatory mechanisms in this region, as well as means to enforce these mechanisms, appear inadequate to control the exploitation by illegal fishing vessels and thus pose a threat to the Squatina populations that may still be found in these waters.

    Within the Canary Islands, the EU prohibited bottom trawling throughout the EEZ in 2005 ((EC) No 1568/2005) in an effort to protect deep-water coral reefs from fishing activities. As demersal trawling is identified as a significant threat to S. squatina, contributing to its past decline, this prohibition will provide needed protection to S. squatina in an area where the species is still commonly observed. In addition, there are also three designated marine reserves in the Canary Islands, which provide protection from fishing activities, but they are relatively small, covering only 0.15 percent of the Canarian EEZ. Given the uncertainty regarding the population distribution of S. squatina within the Canary Islands, it is unclear if these reserves are even effective in protecting S. squatina from fishery-related mortality. In fact, based on the present threats to the species in the Canary Islands, which include sport fishing practices and illegal fishing by artisanal fishermen for personal consumption, it does not appear that the current regulatory mechanisms in place are adequate to address these threats. For example, in August 2014, due to the concern over the sport fishing of prohibited shark species, the Canarian Government required anyone obtaining a sport fishing license to prominently display a poster of prohibited shark species (including S. squatina) on board their boat. Although this new requirement may help deter sport fishermen from keeping the sharks, it does not address the stress of capture and lethal handling techniques used by these fishermen (e.g., gaffing and long periods out of water; ZSL 2014). Additionally, those boats that had a sport fishing license prior to August 2014 are not required to have or display this poster (E. Meyers, pers. comm. 2015). Thus, the species may continue to suffer mortality in the sport fishery. Similarly, there is no information available to suggest that the current regulatory mechanisms will be adequate to curb the illegal fishing of the species by artisanal fishermen in the area. Although the species is protected in EU waters, the local Canarian government does not enforce this law, nor is there legal prosecution of violators (E. Meyers, pers. comm. 2015).

    Overall, existing regulatory mechanisms appear inadequate in decreasing the main threat of overutilization of these species. This is especially true for S. aculeata and S. oculata, which are still allowed to be legally exploited, with this exploitation essentially unregulated, throughout their respective ranges. Although S. squatina is afforded a higher level of protection through the EU prohibition of landing of the species, its range extends to areas where this prohibition does not apply. In addition, given the level of fishing effort by the Mediterranean trawl and demersal line fisheries and Canarian artisanal and sport fishermen, and associated discard mortality of the species, the existing regulatory measures may only have a minor impact on decreasing current fisheries-related mortality of S. squatina. As such, we conclude that the threat of the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms is likely contributing significantly to the risk of extinction for all three Squatina species.

    Extinction Risk

    Although accurate and precise data for many demographic characteristics of the Squatina shark species are lacking, the best available data provide multiple lines of evidence indicating that these species currently face a high risk of extinction. As defined by the status review (Miller 2015), a species is considered to be at a high risk of extinction when it is at or near a level of abundance, spatial structure and connectivity, and/or diversity that place its persistence in question. The demographics of the species may be strongly influenced by stochastic or depensatory processes. Similarly, a species may be at high risk of extinction if it faces clear and present threats (e.g., confinement to a small geographic area; imminent destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat; or disease epidemic) that are likely to create such imminent demographic risks. Below, the analysis of extinction risk is given for each species.

    Squatina aculeata

    The sawback angelshark presently faces demographic risks that significantly increase its risk of extinction. Although there are no quantitative historical or current abundance estimates, the best available information (including anecdotal accounts as well as survey data) suggest the species has likely undergone substantial declines throughout its range, with no evidence to suggest a reversal of these trends. Recent and spatially expansive trawl data indicate the species is currently rare, including in areas where it once was common (e.g., Tunisia, Balearic Islands), as well as notably absent throughout most of its historical Mediterranean range. The best available data indicate a decline in abundance that has subsequently led to possible extirpations of the species from the Adriatic Sea, central Aegean Sea, Ligurian and Tyrrhenian Seas, and off the Balearic Islands. In the northeast Atlantic, the species was characterized as common in waters off West Africa, from Mauritania to Sierra Leone, in the 1970s; however, it has since undergone declines to the point where individuals of the species are rarely observed or caught, with the last record of the species from survey records dating back to 1998. The rare occurrence and absence of the species in recent survey data, despite sampling effort in areas and depths where S. aculeata would potentially or previously be found, suggest current populations are likely small and fragmented, making them particularly susceptible to local extirpations from environmental and anthropogenic perturbations or catastrophic events. Additionally, the reproductive characteristics of the species: Late maturity, long gestation, and low fecundity (which may be further reduced as gravid Squatina spp. females easily abort embryos during capture and handling) suggest the species has relatively low productivity, similar to other elasmobranch species. These reproductive characteristics have likely hindered the species' ability to quickly rebound from threats that decrease its abundance (such as overutilization) and render it vulnerable to extinction. Although there is no genetic, morphological or behavioral information available that could provide insight into natural rates of dispersal and genetic exchange among populations, S. aculeata are ovoviviparous (lacking a dispersive larval phase) and the best available information suggests that they likely have a patchy distribution due to local extirpations, population declines, and limited migratory behavior. As such, connectivity of S. aculeata populations is likely low, and this limited inter-population exchange may increase the risk of local extirpations, possibly leading to complete extinction. The small, fragmented, and possibly isolated remaining populations suggest the species may be at an increased risk of random genetic drift and could experience the fixing of recessive detrimental alleles, reducing the overall fitness of the species.

    In conclusion, although there is significant uncertainty regarding the current abundance of the species, the best available information indicates that the species has suffered substantial declines in portions of its range where it once was common, and is considered to be rare throughout its entire range. The species likely consists of small, fragmented, isolated, and declining populations that are likely to be strongly influenced by stochastic or depensatory processes and have little rebound potential or resilience. This vulnerability is further exacerbated by the present threats of overutilization and inadequacy of existing regulatory measures that continue to contribute to the decline of the existing populations, compromising the species' long-term viability. The demersal fisheries that historically contributed to the decline in S. aculeata are still active throughout the species' range and primarily operate in depths where S. aculeata would occur. The available information suggests heavy exploitation of demersal resources by these fisheries, including high levels of chondrichthyan discards and associated mortality due to the low gear selectivity and intensity of fishing effort throughout the Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic. Given the depleted state of the S. aculeata populations and present demographic risks of the species, even low levels of mortality would pose a risk of extinction to the species. However, current regulatory measures appear inadequate to protect S. aculeata from further fishery-related mortality, especially in areas where recent fisheries data indicate the species may still be present. As such, the additional fishing mortality sustained by the species as a result of continued commercial, artisanal, recreational and illegal fishing activities is a threat that is significantly contributing to the species' risk of extinction throughout its range. In summary, based on the best available information and the above analysis, we conclude that S. aculeata is presently at a high risk of extinction throughout its range.

    Squatina oculata

    The smoothback angelshark presently faces demographic risks that significantly increase its risk of extinction. Although there are no quantitative historical or current abundance estimates, the best available information (including anecdotal accounts as well as survey data) suggest the species has likely undergone substantial declines throughout its range, with no evidence to suggest a reversal of these trends. Recent and spatially expansive trawl data indicate the species is currently rare, including in areas where it once was common (e.g., Iberian coast, Tunisia, Balearic Islands), and notably absent throughout most of its historical Mediterranean range. The best available data indicate a decline in abundance that has subsequently led to possible extirpations of the species from the central Aegean Sea, Ligurian and Tyrrhenian Seas, and off the Balearic Islands. Although some qualitative descriptions of the abundance of the species from the literature suggest the species may be more common in portions of the central Mediterranean (i.e., Libya) and the Levantine Sea (i.e., Israel, Syria), these characterizations are almost a decade old. The absence of updated or recent data or information on the species within these areas is worrisome, and, based on the present threats to the species and its demographic risks, it is likely that these populations are also in decline. In the northeast Atlantic, the species was characterized as common in waters off West Africa, from Mauritania to Liberia, in the 1970s and 1980s; however, it has since decreased in abundance to the point where individuals of the species are rarely observed or caught, with the last record of the species from the survey records dating back to 2002. Based on the best available information, remaining populations of S. oculata are likely small and fragmented, making them particularly susceptible to local extirpations from environmental and anthropogenic perturbations or catastrophic events. Additionally, the reproductive characteristics of the species: Late maturity, long gestation, and low fecundity (which may be further reduced as gravid Squatina spp. females easily abort embryos during capture and handling) suggest the species has relatively low productivity, similar to other elasmobranch species. These reproductive characteristics have likely hindered the species' ability to quickly rebound from threats that decrease its abundance (such as overutilization) and render it vulnerable to extinction. Although there is no genetic, morphological or behavioral information available that could provide insight into natural rates of dispersal and genetic exchange among populations, S. oculata are ovoviviparous (lacking a dispersive larval phase) and the best available information suggests that they likely have a patchy distribution due to local extirpations, population declines, and limited migratory behavior. As such, connectivity of S. oculata populations is likely low, and this limited inter-population exchange may increase the risk of local extirpations, possibly leading to complete extinction. The small, fragmented, and possibly isolated remaining populations suggest the species may be at an increased risk of random genetic drift and could experience the fixing of recessive detrimental alleles, reducing the overall fitness of the species.

    In conclusion, although there is significant uncertainty regarding the current abundance of the species, the best available information indicates that the species is presently rare throughout most of its range, likely consisting of small, fragmented, isolated, and declining populations that are likely to be strongly influenced by stochastic or depensatory processes and have little rebound potential or resilience. This vulnerability is further exacerbated by the present threats of overutilization and inadequacy of existing regulatory measures that continue to contribute to the decline of the existing populations, compromising the species' long-term viability. The demersal fisheries that historically contributed to the decline in S. oculata are still active throughout the species' range and primarily operate in depths where S. oculata would occur. The available information suggests heavy exploitation of demersal resources by these fisheries, including high levels of chondrichthyan discards and associated mortality due to the low gear selectivity and intensity of fishing effort throughout the Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic. Given the depleted state of the S. oculata populations and present demographic risks of the species, even low levels of mortality would pose a risk of extinction to the species. However, current regulatory measures appear inadequate to protect S. oculata from further fishery-related mortality. As such, the additional fishing mortality sustained by the species as a result of continued commercial, artisanal, and illegal fishing activities is a threat that is significantly contributing to the species' risk of extinction throughout its range. In summary, based on the best available information and the above analysis, we conclude that S. oculata is presently at a high risk of extinction throughout its range.

    Squatina squatina

    The common angelshark presently faces demographic risks that significantly increase its risk of extinction. Based on historical and current catches and survey data, S. squatina has undergone significant declines in abundance throughout most of its historical range, with no evidence to suggest a reversal of these trends. Once characterized as fairly common, the species is now considered to be extirpated from the western English Channel, North Sea, Baltic Sea, parts of the Celtic Seas, Adriatic Sea, Ligurian and Tyrrhenian Seas, and Black Sea, and rare throughout the rest of its range in the northeast Atlantic and Mediterranean, with one exception. The S. squatina population off the Canary Islands may be fairly stable (although there is no trend data to confirm this); however, this area only constitutes an extremely small portion of the species' range and its present abundance in this portion remains uncertain. Overall, the best available information suggests that S. squatina has undergone significant declines and is still in decline throughout most of its range. Current populations are likely small and fragmented, making them particularly susceptible to local extirpations from environmental and anthropogenic perturbations or catastrophic events. Additionally, the reproductive characteristics of the species: Late maturity, long gestation, and low fecundity (which may be further reduced as gravid Squatina spp. females easily abort embryos during capture and handling) suggest the species has relatively low productivity, similar to other elasmobranch species. These reproductive characteristics have likely hindered the species' ability to quickly rebound from threats that decrease its abundance (such as overutilization) and render it vulnerable to extinction. Although there is no genetic, morphological or behavioral information available that could provide insight into natural rates of dispersal and genetic exchange among populations, S. squatina are ovoviviparous (lacking a dispersive larval phase) and the best available information suggests that they likely have a patchy distribution due to local extirpations, population declines, and limited migratory behavior with evidence of possible high site fidelity. As such, connectivity of S. squatina populations is likely low, and this limited inter-population exchange may increase the risk of local extirpations, possibly leading to complete extinction. The small, fragmented, and possibly isolated remaining populations suggest the species may be at an increased risk of random genetic drift and could experience the fixing of recessive detrimental alleles, reducing the overall fitness of the species.

    In conclusion, although there is significant uncertainty regarding the current abundance of the species, the best available information indicates that the species has undergone a substantial decline in abundance. Once noted as common in historical records, the species is presently rare throughout most of its range (and considered extirpated in certain portions), with evidence suggesting it currently consists of small, fragmented, isolated, and declining populations that are likely to be strongly influenced by stochastic or depensatory processes. Based on tagging data, the Canary Island population, whose present abundance and population structure remains unknown, may be confined to this small geographic area. With limited inter-population exchange, its susceptibility to natural environmental and demographic fluctuations increases its risk of extirpation. The vulnerabilities of this species (small population sizes, declining trends, potential isolation) are further exacerbated by the present threats of curtailment of range, overutilization, and inadequacy of existing regulatory measures that will either contribute or continue to contribute to the decline of the existing populations, compromising the species' long-term viability. The demersal fisheries that historically contributed to the decline in S. squatina are still active throughout the species' range and primarily operate in depths where S. squatina would occur. Although the species is protected in EU waters, the available information suggests heavy exploitation of demersal resources by fisheries operating throughout the Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic, resulting in high levels of chondrichthyan discards and associated mortality. The species is still being landed, both legally and illegally, and, in some parts of its range, such as Tunisia, at levels that have historically led to population declines. In the Canary Islands, which are thought to be the last stronghold for the species, S. squatina is presently at risk of mortality at the hands of artisanal fishermen as well as a growing number of sport fishermen, despite the prohibition on capturing the species. Although trawling is banned within the Canary Islands, and a number of marine reserves have been established there, it is unclear to what extent these regulations will be effective in protecting important S. squatina habitat or decreasing fishing mortality rates. In summary, based on the best available information and the above analysis, we conclude that S. squatina is presently at a high risk of extinction throughout its range.

    Protective Efforts

    In response to the significant decline of S. squatina over the years, a number of conservation efforts are planned or in development with the goal of learning more about these sharks in order to understand how better to protect them. These efforts include projects to reduce sportfishing-related mortality and/or diver disturbance of the angelshark in the Canary Islands, data collection to inform conservation (including genetic and tagging research), and awareness-raising campaigns to promote the importance of the Canary Islands for angelshark conservation (ASP 2014; E. Meyers, pers. comm. 2015; J. Barker, pers. comm. 2015). While funding has been secured for some of these activities, including for a pilot angelshark tagging program, many of the other efforts described above are dependent on additional future funding (J. Barker, pers. comm. 2015). As such, the likelihood of implementation of these projects remains uncertain. There is also a collaborative effort sponsored by Deep Sea World (Scotland's National Aquarium) and Hastings Blue Reef Aquarium to breed angelsharks in captivity, and in 2011, they were successful. A female S. squatina successfully delivered 19 pups in captivity, marking the first time that an angelshark has successfully bred in captivity (Deep Sea World 2015), which may be an important first step in the conservation of the species.

    Although these efforts will help increase the scientific knowledge about S. squatina and promote public awareness of declines in the species, there is no indication that these efforts are currently effective in reducing the threats to the species, particularly those related to overutilization and the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms. Therefore, we cannot conclude that these existing conservation efforts have significantly altered the extinction risk for the common angelshark. We are not aware of any other planned or not-yet-implemented conservation measures that would protect this species or the other two Squatina species (S. aculeata and S. oculata). We seek additional information on other conservation efforts in our public comment process (see below).

    Proposed Determination

    Based on the best available scientific and commercial information, as summarized here and in Miller (2015), we find that all three Squatina species are in danger of extinction throughout their respective ranges. We assessed the ESA section 4(a)(1) factors and conclude that S. aculeata, S. oculata, and S. squatina all face ongoing threats of overutilization by fisheries and inadequate existing regulatory mechanisms throughout their ranges. Squatina squatina has also suffered a significant curtailment of its range. These species' natural biological vulnerability to overexploitation and present demographic risks (e.g., low and declining abundance, small and isolated populations, patchy distribution, and low productivity) are currently exacerbating the negative effects of these threats and placing these species in danger of extinction. We therefore propose to list all three species as endangered.

    Effects of Listing

    Conservation measures provided for species listed as endangered or threatened under the ESA include recovery actions (16 U.S.C. 1533(f)); concurrent designation of critical habitat, if prudent and determinable (16 U.S.C. 1533(a)(3)(A)); Federal agency requirements to consult with NMFS under section 7 of the ESA to ensure their actions do not jeopardize the species or result in adverse modification or destruction of critical habitat should it be designated (16 U.S.C. 1536); and prohibitions on taking (16 U.S.C. 1538). Recognition of the species' plight through listing promotes conservation actions by Federal and state agencies, foreign entities, private groups, and individuals. The main effects of the proposed endangered listings are prohibitions on take, including export and import.

    Identifying Section 7 Conference and Consultation Requirements

    Section 7(a)(2) (16 U.S.C. 1536(a)(2)) of the ESA and NMFS/USFWS regulations require Federal agencies to consult with us to ensure that activities they authorize, fund, or carry out are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of listed species or destroy or adversely modify critical habitat. Section 7(a)(4) (16 U.S.C. 1536(a)(4)) of the ESA and NMFS/USFWS regulations also require Federal agencies to confer with us on actions likely to jeopardize the continued existence of species proposed for listing, or that result in the destruction or adverse modification of proposed critical habitat of those species. It is unlikely that the listing of these species under the ESA will increase the number of section 7 consultations, because these species occur outside of the United States and are unlikely to be affected by Federal actions.

    Critical Habitat

    Critical habitat is defined in section 3 of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1532(5)) as: (1) The specific areas within the geographical area occupied by a species, at the time it is listed in accordance with the ESA, on which are found those physical or biological features (a) essential to the conservation of the species and (b) that may require special management considerations or protection; and (2) specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by a species at the time it is listed upon a determination that such areas are essential for the conservation of the species. “Conservation” means the use of all methods and procedures needed to bring the species to the point at which listing under the ESA is no longer necessary. Section 4(a)(3)(A) of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1533(a)(3)(A)) requires that, to the extent prudent and determinable, critical habitat be designated concurrently with the listing of a species. However, critical habitat shall not be designated in foreign countries or other areas outside U.S. jurisdiction (50 CFR 424.12(h)).

    The best available scientific and commercial data as discussed above identify the geographical areas occupied by Squatina aculeata, S. oculata, and S. squatina as being entirely outside U.S. jurisdiction, so we cannot designate critical habitat for these species.

    We can designate critical habitat in areas in the United States currently unoccupied by the species, if the area(s) are determined by the Secretary to be essential for the conservation of the species. Regulations at 50 CFR 424.12(e) specify that we shall designate as critical habitat areas outside the geographical range presently occupied by the species only when the designation limited to its present range would be inadequate to ensure the conservation of the species. The best available scientific and commercial information on these species does not indicate that U.S. waters provide any specific essential biological function for any of the Squatina species proposed for listing. Therefore, based on the available information, we do not intend to designate critical habitat for S. aculeata, S. oculata, or S. squatina.

    Identification of Those Activities That Would Constitute a Violation of Section 9 of the ESA

    On July 1, 1994, NMFS and FWS published a policy (59 FR 34272) that requires us to identify, to the maximum extent practicable at the time a species is listed, those activities that would or would not constitute a violation of section 9 of the ESA.

    Because we are proposing to list all three Squatina species as endangered, all of the prohibitions of section 9(a)(1) of the ESA will apply to these species. These include prohibitions against the import, export, use in foreign commerce, or “take” of the species. These prohibitions apply to all persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, including in the United States, its territorial sea, or on the high seas. Take is defined as “to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct.” The intent of this policy is to increase public awareness of the effects of this listing on proposed and ongoing activities within the species' range. Activities that we believe could result in a violation of section 9 prohibitions for these species include, but are not limited to, the following:

    (1) Delivering, receiving, carrying, transporting, or shipping in interstate or foreign commerce any individual or part, in the course of a commercial activity;

    (2) Selling or offering for sale in interstate commerce any part, except antique articles at least 100 years old; and

    (3) Importing or exporting these angelshark species or any part of these species.

    We emphasize that whether a violation results from a particular activity is entirely dependent upon the facts and circumstances of each incident. Further, an activity not listed may in fact result in a violation.

    Public Comments Solicited

    To ensure that any final action resulting from this proposed rule will be as accurate and effective as possible, we are soliciting comments and information from the public, other concerned governmental agencies, the scientific community, industry, and any other interested parties on information in the status review and proposed rule. Comments are encouraged on these proposals (See DATES and ADDRESSES). We must base our final determination on the best available scientific and commercial information when making listing determinations. We cannot, for example, consider the economic effects of a listing determination. Final promulgation of any regulation(s) on these species' listing proposals will take into consideration the comments and any additional information we receive, and such communications may lead to a final regulation that differs from this proposal or result in a withdrawal of this listing proposal. We particularly seek:

    (1) Information concerning the threats to any of the Squatina species proposed for listing;

    (2) Taxonomic information on any of these species;

    (3) Biological information (life history, genetics, population connectivity, etc.) on any of these species;

    (4) Efforts being made to protect any of these species throughout their current ranges;

    (5) Information on the commercial trade of any of these species;

    (6) Historical and current distribution and abundance and trends for any of these species; and

    (7) Current or planned activities within the range of these species and their possible impact on these species.

    We request that all information be accompanied by: 1) supporting documentation, such as maps, bibliographic references, or reprints of pertinent publications; and 2) the submitter's name, address, and any association, institution, or business that the person represents.

    Role of Peer Review

    In December 2004, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a Final Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review establishing a minimum peer review standard. Similarly, a joint NMFS/FWS policy (59 FR 34270; July 1, 1994) requires us to solicit independent expert review from qualified specialists, concurrent with the public comment period. The intent of the peer review policy is to ensure that listings are based on the best scientific and commercial data available. We solicited peer review comments on the status review report (Miller 2015) from four scientists familiar with the three angelshark species. We received and reviewed comments from these scientists, and their comments are incorporated into the draft status review report for the three Squatina species and this proposed rule. Their comments on the status review are summarized in the peer review report and available at http://www.cio.noaa.gov/services_programs/prplans/PRsummaries.html.

    References

    A complete list of the references used in this proposed rule is available upon request (see ADDRESSES).

    Classification National Environmental Policy Act

    The 1982 amendments to the ESA, in section 4(b)(1)(A), restrict the information that may be considered when assessing species for listing. Based on this limitation of criteria for a listing decision and the opinion in Pacific Legal Foundation v. Andrus, 675 F. 2d 825 (6th Cir. 1981), we have concluded that ESA listing actions are not subject to the environmental assessment requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (See NOAA Administrative Order 216-6).

    Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Flexibility Act, and Paperwork Reduction Act

    As noted in the Conference Report on the 1982 amendments to the ESA, economic impacts cannot be considered when assessing the status of a species. Therefore, the economic analysis requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act are not applicable to the listing process. In addition, this proposed rule is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. This proposed rule does not contain a collection-of-information requirement for the purposes of the Paperwork Reduction Act.

    Executive Order 13132, Federalism

    In accordance with E.O. 13132, we determined that this proposed rule does not have significant Federalism effects and that a Federalism assessment is not required. In keeping with the intent of the Administration and Congress to provide continuing and meaningful dialogue on issues of mutual state and Federal interest, this proposed rule will be given to the relevant governmental agencies in the countries in which the species occurs, and they will be invited to comment. We will confer with the U.S. Department of State to ensure appropriate notice is given to foreign nations within the range of all three species. As the process continues, we intend to continue engaging in informal and formal contacts with the U.S. State Department, giving careful consideration to all written and oral comments received.

    List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 224

    Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, Transportation.

    Dated: July 8, 2015. Samuel D. Rauch, III. Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 224 is proposed to be amended as follows:

    PART 224—ENDANGERED MARINE AND ANADROMOUS SPECIES 1. The authority citation for part 224 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1531-1543 and 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.

    2. In § 224.101, amend the table in paragraph (h) by adding new entries for three species in alphabetical order under the “Fishes” table subheading to read as follows:
    § 224.101 Enumeration of endangered marine and anadromous species.

    (h) The endangered species under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of Commerce are:

    Species 1 Common name Scientific name Description of listed entity Citation(s) for listing
  • determination(s)
  • Critical habitat ESA rules
    *         *         *         *         *         *         * Fishes *         *         *         *         *         *         * Shark, common angel- Squatina squatina Entire species [Insert Federal Register citation and date when published as a final rule] NA NA. Shark, sawback angel- Squatina aculeata Entire species [Insert Federal Register citation and date when published as a final rule] NA NA. Shark, smoothback angel- Squatina oculata Entire species [Insert Federal Register citation and date when published as a final rule] NA NA. *         *         *         *         *         *         *
    [FR Doc. 2015-17016 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 RIN 0648-XD649 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Groundfish Fisheries in the Gulf of Alaska AGENCY:

    National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice; intent to prepare an environmental impact statement; request for written comments.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS, in consultation with the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council), announces its intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on a new management program for trawl groundfish fisheries in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA), in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). The proposed action would create a new management program that would allocate allowable harvest to individuals, cooperatives, and other entities that participate in GOA trawl groundfish fisheries. The proposed action is intended to improve stock conservation by imposing accountability measures for utilizing target, incidental, and prohibited species catch, creating incentives to eliminate wasteful fishing practices, providing mechanisms for participants to control and reduce bycatch in the trawl groundfish fisheries, and to improve safety of life at sea and operational efficiencies. The EIS will analyze the impacts to the human environment resulting from the proposed trawl bycatch management program. NMFS will accept written comments from the public to identify the issues of concern and assist the Council in determining the appropriate range of management alternatives for the EIS.

    DATES:

    Written comments will be accepted through August 28, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2014-0150, by any of the following methods:

    Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2014-0150, click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.

    Mail: Submit written comments to Glenn Merrill, Assistant Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. Mail comments to P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802-1668.

    Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter “N/A” in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Rachel Baker, (907) 586-7228 or email [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), the United States has exclusive fishery management authority over all living marine resources found within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The management of these marine resources, with the exception of marine mammals and birds, is vested in the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary). The Council has the responsibility to prepare fishery management plans for the fishery resources that require conservation and management in the EEZ off Alaska. Management of the Federal groundfish fisheries in the GOA is carried out under the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (FMP). The FMP, its amendments, and implementing regulations (found at 50 CFR part 679) are developed in accordance with the requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable Federal laws and executive orders, notably the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

    The Council is considering the establishment of a new management program for the GOA trawl groundfish fisheries. The proposed action would allocate allowable harvest of selected target and bycatch species to individuals, cooperatives, and other entities. The purpose of the program is to improve management of all species caught in the GOA trawl groundfish fisheries by creating vessel-level and/or cooperative-level incentives to avoid and reduce bycatch, and to create accountability measures for participants when utilizing target and bycatch species. The Council also intends for the program to improve operational efficiencies, reduce incentives to fish during unsafe conditions, and support the continued participation of coastal communities that are dependent on the fisheries. NMFS and the Council have determined the preparation of an EIS may be required for this action because some important aspects of the bycatch management program on target and bycatch species and their users may be uncertain or unknown and may result in significant impacts on the human environment not previously analyzed. Thus, NMFS and the Council are initiating scoping for an EIS in the event an EIS is needed.

    NMFS and the Council are seeking information from the public through the EIS scoping process on the range of alternatives to be analyzed, and on the environmental, social, and economic issues to be considered in the analysis. Written comments generated during this scoping process will be provided to the Council and incorporated into the EIS for the proposed action.

    Management of the GOA Trawl Groundfish Fisheries

    The Council and NMFS annually establish biological thresholds and annual total allowable catch limits for groundfish species to sustainably manage the groundfish fisheries in the GOA. To achieve these objectives, NMFS requires vessel operators participating in GOA groundfish fisheries to comply with various restrictions, such as fishery closures, to maintain catch within specified total allowable catch limits. The GOA groundfish fishery restrictions also include measures that are intended to minimize catch of certain species, called prohibited species, which may not be retained for sale by the vessel harvesting groundfish. For example, current GOA groundfish fishery regulations require Pacific halibut prohibited species catch (PSC) to be discarded immediately after it is recorded, and Chinook salmon must be retained by the harvest vessel only until sampled by an observer. The GOA groundfish fishery restrictions also include PSC limits for Pacific halibut and Chinook salmon to constrain the amount of bycatch of these species in the groundfish fisheries. When harvest of prohibited species in a groundfish fishery reaches the specified PSC limit for that fishery, NMFS closes directed fishing for the target groundfish species, even if the total allowable catch limit for that species has not been harvested.

    The GOA PSC limits are established on an annual basis by management area and are further apportioned by season, fishery category, gear, and operation type (e.g., catcher vessel or catcher/processor). This apportionment process ensures that halibut and Chinook salmon PSC limit is available for use in groundfish fisheries earlier in the year, but limits that use so that PSC remains to support other groundfish fisheries that occur later in the year. The limits assigned to each season reflect halibut PSC likely to be taken during specific seasons by specific fisheries.

    For many years, the Council and NMFS have controlled the amount of fishing in the North Pacific Ocean by establishing scientifically-based harvest limits which ensure that fisheries are conservatively managed and do not exceed established biological thresholds. In addition to measures that control the amount of harvest, the Council and NMFS also implemented the license limitation program (LLP), which limits access to the groundfish, crab, and scallop fisheries in the GOA and the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands. The LLP limits entry into federally managed fisheries. The groundfish LLP requires each vessel in the GOA to have an LLP license on board the vessel at all times while directed fishing for license limitation groundfish, with limited exemptions. The preamble to the final rule implementing the groundfish LLP provides a more detailed explanation of the rationale for specific provisions in the LLP (October 1, 1998; 63 FR 52642).

    While the LLP limits the total number of vessels that can participate in the fishery, it does not limit harvest by individual vessels or assign exclusive harvest privileges to specific vessels or entities. This has led to a competitive derby fishery in the GOA groundfish fisheries with fishermen racing each other to harvest as much fish as they can before the annual catch limit or the PSC limit is reached and the fishery is closed for the season. A derby fishery relies on a fairly rigid management structure that is not adaptable to changes in weather, markets, or other operating considerations. Therefore, a derby fishery often results in shorter fishing seasons and unsafe fishing practices. It can also create a substantial disincentive for participants to take actions to reduce bycatch use and waste, particularly if those actions could reduce groundfish catch rates. In a derby fishery, participants who choose not to take actions to reduce bycatch and waste stand to gain additional groundfish catch by continuing to harvest at a higher bycatch rate, at the expense of any vessels engaged in bycatch avoidance.

    Allocation of allowable harvests in the form of exclusive harvest privileges is a management approach that replaces the rigid management structure of a derby fishery with a flexible program that provides accountability and removes disincentives to controlling and reducing bycatch and waste. Allocating exclusive harvest privileges to fishery participants can mitigate the potential negative impacts of a derby fishery on target and bycatch species, and on the operational and economic efficiency of the fisheries. In this type of management approach, a portion of the catch for a species is allocated to individual fishermen or groups. Each holder of a harvest privilege must stop fishing when his/her specific share of the quota is reached. This removes the incentives for each participant to maximize catch rates to capture a larger share of the available catch before the fishery is closed. As a result, participants can make operational choices to improve fishing practices. These choices could include fishing in a slower and more efficient fashion, using modified gear with a lower harvest rate but which reduces bycatch, coordinating with other vessel operators to avoid areas of high bycatch, and processing fish in ways that yield increased value but which are possible only by slowing the pace of the fishery. This management approach allows fishermen to plan their fishing effort around the weather, markets, or other business considerations and allows other fishery dependent businesses to plan more effectively.

    The Council has recommended, and NMFS has implemented, management programs in the EEZ off Alaska that allocate exclusive harvest privileges to fishery participants. Based on experience with these programs, the Council and NMFS have determined that allocating exclusive harvest privileges of target and bycatch species creates a structure for fishery participants to efficiently manage harvesting and processing activities that can result in reduced bycatch and improved utilization of groundfish fisheries. Additional information on these management programs is provided in the final rules implementing the American Fisheries Act in the Bering Sea (67 FR 79692, December 30, 2002), the Amendment 80 Program in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (72 FR 52668, September 14, 2007), and the Rockfish Program in the Central GOA (76 FR 81248, December 27, 2011).

    Over the past few years, the Council has recommended amendments to the FMP to reduce PSC in the GOA groundfish fisheries. Under Amendments 93 and 97 to the FMP, the Council recommended and NMFS implemented Chinook salmon PSC limits in the GOA trawl fisheries (77 FR 42629, July 20, 2012 and 79 FR 71350, December 2, 2014). Under Amendment 95 to the FMP, the Council recommended and NMFS implemented reductions to halibut PSC limits for GOA trawl and hook-and-line fisheries (79 FR 9625, February 20, 2014). This series of actions reflects the Council's commitment to reduce PSC in the GOA groundfish fisheries. The Council also recognizes that although the current management system of establishing and apportioning PSC limits places a cap on the amount of PSC that may be used in GOA groundfish fisheries, the derby fishery under the LLP creates a substantial disincentive for participants to take actions to avoid and reduce PSC usage.

    In October 2012, the Council unanimously adopted a purpose and need statement, and goals and objectives, to support the development of a new management program that would allocate allowable harvest to individual, cooperatives, or other entities. The Council determined that this kind of management program would mitigate the adverse effects of the current derby-style race for fish by removing disincentives to reduce bycatch and PSC, and providing a more flexible and efficient management system for participants to better manage and utilize groundfish species in the GOA trawl fisheries. This new management program is referred to as a bycatch management program in the following sections of this notice.

    Proposed Action

    The proposed action to be analyzed in the EIS is a bycatch management program for the GOA trawl groundfish fisheries that allocates allowable harvest to individuals, cooperatives, or other entities. The bycatch management program would replace the derby fishery with a program that provides tools to effectively manage bycatch and reduce PSC use, and that promotes increased utilization of groundfish harvested in the GOA. The proposed action would apply to participants in Federal groundfish fisheries prosecuted with trawl gear in the following areas: (1) The Western GOA Regulatory Area (Western GOA), (2) the Central GOA Regulatory Area (Central GOA), and (3) the West Yakutat District of the Eastern GOA Regulatory Area (West Yakutat District). These areas are defined at § 679.2 and shown in Figure 3 to 50 CFR part 679.

    Alternatives

    NMFS, in coordination with the Council, will evaluate a range of alternative bycatch management programs for the trawl groundfish fisheries in the Western GOA, Central GOA, and West Yakutat District. NMFS and the Council recognize that implementation of a GOA trawl bycatch management program allocating exclusive harvest privileges would result in substantial changes to many of the current management measures for the groundfish fisheries. The EIS will analyze these changes as well as alternative ways to manage target and bycatch species in the GOA groundfish fisheries. The potential alternatives already identified for the EIS include:

    Alternative 1

    The existing management program (no action).

    Alternative 2

    A bycatch management program that would allocate exclusive harvest privileges to participants in the Western GOA, Central GOA, and West Yakutat District trawl groundfish fisheries who voluntarily join a cooperative. Participants who do not choose to join a cooperative would have the opportunity to participate in the current limited access management system under the groundfish LLP.

    In Alternative 2, the Council is considering allocating exclusive harvest privileges to cooperatives. Alternative 2 contains several elements and options for determining eligible participants, groundfish and PSC species to be allocated, and methods for determining allocations to cooperatives and the limited access fishery. Alternative 2 also includes elements and options for cooperative formation and membership that are intended to provide incentives for participation by harvesters and processors to improve coordination and operational efficiencies. Alternative 2 also contains a number of elements that are intended to provide for fishery dependent community stability, such as harvest privilege consolidation limits and area- and port-specific delivery requirements.

    Alternative 3

    A bycatch management program that would allocate exclusive harvest privileges to fishery participants who voluntarily join a cooperative and either 1) a Community Fishing Association as defined in section 303A(c)(3) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act or 2) an Adaptive Management Program. Participants who do not choose to join a cooperative would have the opportunity to participate in the current limited access management system under the groundfish LLP.

    In Alternative 3, the Council is considering allocating exclusive harvest privileges to cooperatives and either a Community Fishing Association or to persons who meet the criteria established for an Adaptive Management Program. The allocation to a Community Fishing Association or Adaptive Management Program would meet objectives that include providing for sustained participation of fishing communities, promoting conservation measures, and assisting vessel owner-operators, captains, and crew who want to enter and participate in the GOA trawl groundfish fisheries.

    Public Involvement

    Scoping is an early and open process for determining the scope of issues to be addressed in an EIS and for identifying the significant issues related to the proposed action. A principal objective of the scoping and public involvement process is to identify a range of reasonable management alternatives that, with adequate analysis, will delineate critical issues and provide a clear basis for distinguishing among those alternatives and selecting a preferred alternative. Through this notice, NMFS is notifying the public that an EIS and decision-making process for this proposed action have been initiated so that interested or affected people may participate and contribute to the final decision.

    NMFS is seeking written public comments on the scope of issues, including potential impacts, and alternatives that should be considered for bycatch management programs for the trawl groundfish fisheries in the Western GOA, Central GOA, and West Yakutat District of the GOA. Written comments should be as specific as possible to be the most helpful. Written comments received during the scoping process, including the names and addresses of those submitting them, will be considered part of the public record of this proposal and will be available for public inspection. Written comments will be accepted at the address above (see ADDRESSES). Please visit the NMFS Alaska Region Web site at http://www.alaskafisheries.noaa.gov for more information on the GOA trawl bycatch management program EIS and for guidance on submitting effective written public comments.

    The public is invited to participate and provide input at Council meetings where the latest scientific information regarding the GOA groundfish fisheries is reviewed and alternative bycatch management programs are developed and evaluated. Notice of future Council meetings will be published in the Federal Register and on the Internet at http://www.npfmc.org/. Please visit this Web site for information and guidance on participating in Council meetings. Additional information on the Council's development of the GOA trawl bycatch management program is available at http://www.npfmc.org/goa-trawl-bycatch-management/.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: July 8, 2015. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17191 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    80 134 Tuesday, July 14, 2015 Notices DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration Opportunity for Designation in Specified Geographical Areas in Texas AGENCY:

    Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) is asking persons or governmental agencies interested in providing official services in Texas to submit an application for designation. Applicants must specify the geographical area(s) and include the county (or counties) for which you are applying.

    DATES:

    Applications must be received by August 13, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit applications concerning this Notice using any of the following methods:

    Applying for Designation on the Internet: Use FGISonline (https://fgis.gipsa.usda.gov/default_home_FGIS.aspx) and then click on the Delegations/Designations and Export Registrations (DDR) link. You will need to obtain an FGISonline customer number and USDA eAuthentication username and password prior to applying.

    Mail, Courier or Hand Delivery: Eric J. Jabs, Deputy Director, USDA, GIPSA, FGIS, QACD, 10383 North Ambassador Drive, Kansas City, MO 64153.

    Fax: Eric J. Jabs, 816-872-1257.

    Email: [email protected]

    Read Applications: All applications will be available for public inspection at the office above during regular business hours (7 CFR 1.27(c)).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Eric J. Jabs, 816-659-8408 or [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Section 79(f) of the United States Grain Standards Act (USGSA) authorizes the Secretary to designate a qualified applicant to provide official services in a specified area after determining that the applicant is better able than any other applicant to provide such official services (7 U.S.C. 79(f)). Under section 79(g) of the USGSA (7 U.S.C. 79(g)), designations of official agencies are effective for three years unless terminated by the Secretary, but may be renewed according to the criteria and procedures prescribed in section 79(f) of the USGSA.

    Areas Open for Designation

    Pursuant to Section 79(f)(2) of the United States Grain Standards Act, the following areas are available for designation.

    Texas

    Bounded on the North by the northern El Paso, Hudspeth, Culberson, Reeves, Loving, Winkler, Ector, Midland, Glasscock, Sterling, Coke, Runnels, Coleman, Brown, Eastland, Stephens, Young, Jack, Montague, Cooke, Grayson, Fannin, Lamar, Red River, Morris, and Marion county lines.

    Bounded on the East by the eastern Red River, Morris, Marion, Harrison, Panola, Shelby, Sabrine, Newton, Orange, Jefferson, Chambers, Harris, Galveston, Brazoria, Matagorda, Jackson, Calhoun, Refugio, Aransas, San Patricio, Nueces, Kleberg, Kennedy, Willacy, and Cameron County lines.

    Bounded on the South by the Texas State Line.

    Bounded on the West by the western Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, Zapata, Webb, Maverick, Kinney, Val Verde, Terrell, Brewster, Presidio, Jeff Davis, Hudspeth, and El Paso county lines.

    Excludes export port locations serviced by GIPSA's League City Field Office, Beaumont Sub-office, and Corpus Christi Duty Point.

    Opportunity for Designation

    Interested persons or governmental agencies may apply for designation to provide official services in any or all of the geographic area(s) specified above under the provisions of section 79(f) of the USGSA and 7 CFR 800.196. Applications must include the county (or counties) for which you are applying. Designation in the specified geographic area(s) is for a period of no more than three years. To apply for designation or for more information, contact Eric Jabs at the address listed above or visit GIPSA's Web site athttp://www.gipsa.usda.gov.

    Authority:

    7 U.S.C. 71-87k.

    Larry Mitchell, Administrator, Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17210 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-EN-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration Designation for the Montgomery, AL; Essex, IL; and Savage, MN Areas AGENCY:

    Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    GIPSA is announcing the designation of Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (Alabama); Kankakee Grain Inspection, Inc. (Kankakee); and State Grain Inspection, Inc. (State Grain) to provide official services under the United States Grain Standards Act (USGSA), as amended.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: January 1, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Eric J. Jabs, Deputy Director, USDA, GIPSA, FGIS, QACD, 10383 North Ambassador Drive, Kansas City, MO 64153.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Eric J. Jabs, 816-659-8408 or [email protected]

    Read Applications: All applications and comments will be available for public inspection at the office above during regular business hours (7 CFR 1.27(c)).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    In the August 26, 2014, Federal Register (79 FR 50886), GIPSA requested applications for designation to provide official services in the geographic areas presently serviced by Alabama, Gulf Country, Kankakee, and State Grain. Applications were due by September 25, 2014.

    Alabama, Gulf Country, Kankakee, and State Grain were the sole applicants for designation to provide official services in these areas. As a result, GIPSA did not ask for additional comments.

    GIPSA evaluated the designation criteria in section 79(f) of the USGSA (7 U.S.C. 79(f)) and determined that Alabama, Kankakee, and State Grain are qualified to provide official services in the geographic area specified in the Federal Register on August 26, 2014. This designation action to provide official services for the specified areas for Alabama, Kankakee, and State Grain is effective January 1, 2015, to December 31, 2017.

    GIPSA did not receive applications from any qualified applicants for the geographic area previously serviced by Gulf Country. GIPSA will be seeking additional applications under a separate notice in the Federal Register. In the interim, GIPSA will provide official services in the geographic area previously serviced by Gulf Country.

    Interested persons may obtain official services by contacting these agencies at the following telephone numbers:

    Official agency Headquarters location and telephone Designation start Designation end Alabama Montgomery, AL (251) 438-2549 1/1/2015 12/31/2017 Kankakee Essex, IL (815) 365-2268 1/1/2015 12/31/2017 State Grain Savage, MN (952) 808-8566 1/1/2015 12/31/2017

    Section 79(f) of the USGSA authorizes the Secretary to designate a qualified applicant to provide official services in a specified area after determining that the applicant is better able than any other applicant to provide such official services (7 U.S.C. 79(f)).

    Under section 79(g) of the USGSA (7 U.S.C. 79(g)), designations of official agencies are effective for no longer than three years unless terminated by the Secretary; however, designations may be renewed according to the criteria and procedures prescribed in section 79(f) of the USGSA.

    Authority:

    7 U.S.C. 71-87k.

    Larry Mitchell, Administrator, Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17211 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-KD-P
    COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS Notice of Public Meeting of the Oklahoma Advisory Committee for a Meeting To Hear Testimony on Civil Rights Concerns School-to-Prison Pipeline in Oklahoma AGENCY:

    U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

    ACTION:

    Announcement of meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    Notice is hereby given, pursuant to the provisions of the rules and regulations of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (Commission) and the Federal Advisory Committee Act that the Mississippi Advisory Committee (Committee) will hold a meeting on Friday, August 28, 2015, at 10:30 a.m. CDT for the purpose of hearing testimony on civil rights concerns relating to school-to-prison pipeline in Oklahoma on the basis of race or color. The testimony heard during this meeting will be used to prepare the Committee for its in person meeting on September 11, 2015, in Oklahoma City where it will hear from community members and other stakeholders on the same topic.

    Members of the public can listen to the discussion. This meeting is available to the public through the following toll-free call-in number: 888-337-8198, conference ID: 6979265. Any interested member of the public may call this number and listen to the meeting. The conference call operator will ask callers to identify themselves, the organization they are affiliated with (if any), and an email address prior to placing callers into the conference room. Callers can expect to incur charges for calls they initiate over wireless lines, and the Commission will not refund any incurred charges. Callers will incur no charge for calls they initiate over land-line connections to the toll-free telephone number. Persons with hearing impairments may also follow the proceedings by first calling the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-977-8339 and providing the Service with the conference call number and conference ID number.

    Member of the public are also invited and welcomed to make statements at the end of the conference call. In addition, members of the public may submit written comments; the comments must be received in the regional office by June 13, 2015. Written comments may be mailed to the Midwestern Regional Office, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 55 W. Monroe St., Suite 410, Chicago, IL 60615. They may also be faxed to the Commission at (312) 353-8324, or emailed to Administrative Assistant, Carolyn Allen at [email protected] Persons who desire additional information may contact the Midwestern Regional Office at (312) 353-8311.

    Records and documents discussed during the meeting will be available for public viewing prior to and after the meeting at http://facadatabase.gov/committee/meetings.aspx?cid=269 and clicking on the “Meeting Details” and “Documents” links. Records generated from this meeting may also be inspected and reproduced at the Regional Programs Unit, as they become available, both before and after the meeting. Persons interested in the work of this Committee are directed to the Commission's Web site, http://www.usccr.gov, or may contact the Midwestern Regional Office at the above email or street address.

    Agenda
    Welcome and Introductions 10:30 a.m. to 10:35 a.m. Vicki Limas, Chair Panel Presentations on School-to-Prison Pipeline in Oklahoma 10:35 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Question and Answer Session with OK Advisory Committee 11:30 a.m. to 11:50 a.m. Open Comment 11:50 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Adjournment 12:00 p.m. DATES:

    The meeting will be held on Friday, August 28, 2015, at 10:30 a.m. CDT.

    PUBLIC CALL INFORMATION: Dial:

    888-337-8198, Conference ID: 6979265.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Melissa Wojnaroski, DFO, at 312-353-8311 or [email protected]

    Dated July 8, 2015. David Mussatt, Chief, Regional Programs Unit.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17077 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6335-01-P
    COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS Notice of Public Meeting of the Indiana Advisory Committee for a Meeting To Discuss and Vote on Potential Project Topics AGENCY:

    U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

    ACTION:

    Announcement of meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    Notice is hereby given, pursuant to the provisions of the rules and regulations of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (Commission) and the Federal Advisory Committee Act that the Indiana Advisory Committee (Committee) will hold a meeting on Tuesday, July 30, 2015, at 12:00 p.m. EDT for the purpose of discussing the results of a straw poll taken at the Committees June 30th meeting. The Committee plans to vote on a future project of study at this meeting based upon the results of the poll.

    Members of the public can listen to the discussion. This meeting is available to the public through the following toll-free call-in number: 888-329-8877, conference ID: 6891670. Any interested member of the public may call this number and listen to the meeting. An open comment period will be provided to allow members of the public to make a statement as time allows. The conference call operator will ask callers to identify themselves, the organization they are affiliated with (if any), and an email address prior to placing callers into the conference room. Callers can expect to incur charges for calls they initiate over wireless lines, and the Commission will not refund any incurred charges. Callers will incur no charge for calls they initiate over land-line connections to the toll-free telephone number. Persons with hearing impairments may also follow the proceedings by first calling the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-977-8339 and providing the Service with the conference call number and conference ID number.

    Member of the public are also entitled to submit written comments; the comments must be received in the regional office by August 30, 2015. Written comments may be mailed to the Midwestern Regional Office, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 55 W. Monroe St., Suite 410, Chicago, IL 60615. They may also be faxed to the Commission at (312) 353-8324, or emailed to Administrative Assistant, Carolyn Allen at [email protected] Persons who desire additional information may contact the Midwestern Regional Office at (312) 353-8311.

    Records generated from this meeting may be inspected and reproduced at the Midwestern Regional Office, as they become available, both before and after the meeting. Records of the meeting will be available via www.facadatabase.gov under the Commission on Civil Rights, Indiana Advisory Committee link. Persons interested in the work of this Committee are directed to the Commission's Web site, http://www.usccr.gov, or may contact the Midwestern Regional Office at the above email or street address.

    Agenda Roll Call and Approval of Minutes Discussion of Straw Poll Results and Project Topic Discussion of Confirmed Project Plan and Next Steps Open Comment Adjournment
    DATES:

    The meeting will be held on Thursday, July 30, 2015, at 12:00 p.m. EST.

    Public Call Information:

    Dial: 888-329-8877 Conference ID: 6891670 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Carolyn Allen at [email protected] or 312-353-8311.

    Dated: July 8, 2015. David Mussatt, Chief, Regional Programs Unit.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17078 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6335-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Census Bureau Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Redistricting Data Program AGENCY:

    U.S. Census Bureau, Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, 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, Public Law 104-13 (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)).

    DATES:

    To ensure consideration, submit written comments, on or before September 14, 2015. The deadline for states to notify the Census Bureau that they wish to participate in Phase 1, the Block Boundary Suggestion Project (BBSP), is December 15, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Direct all written comments to Jennifer Jessup, Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer, Department of Commerce, Room 6616, 14th and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230 (or via the Internet at [email protected]).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Direct requests for additional information or copies of the information collection instrument(s) and instructions to James Whitehorne, U.S. Census Bureau, 4600 Silver Hill Road, Washington, DC 20233 (or via the Internet at [email protected]).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Abstract

    The mission of the Geography Division (GEO) within the Census Bureau is to plan, coordinate, and administer all geographic and cartographic activities needed to facilitate Census Bureau statistical programs throughout the United States and its territories. GEO manages programs that continuously update features, boundaries, addresses, and geographic entities in the Master Address File/Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing (MAF/TIGER) System. GEO, also, conducts research into geographic concepts, methods, and standards needed to facilitate Census Bureau data collection and dissemination programs.

    The Census Bureau is requesting a new collection to cover the five phases of the Redistricting Data Program (RDP) that was originally part of the Geographic Partnership Programs (GPPs) generic clearance. The Census Bureau requests a three-year clearance and a project specific Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Control Number for RDP. GEO, in coordination with OMB is creating a separate clearance for this critical program. A project specific clearance allows the Census Bureau to provide RDP specific materials, burden hours, and procedures. The need to only provide RDP materials ensures the program phases are uninterrupted by other program clearances unrelated to RDP. The RDP specific clearance provides flexibility in the timing, allowing the program to establish the schedule for RDP clearance needs and renewal.

    Under the provisions of Title 13, Section 141(c) of the United States Code (U.S.C.), the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) is required to provide the “officers or public bodies having initial responsibility for the legislative apportionment or districting of each state . . .” with the opportunity to specify geographic areas (e.g., voting districts) for which they wish to receive Decennial Census population counts for the purpose of reapportionment or redistricting.

    By April 1 of the year following the Decennial Census, the Secretary is required to furnish the state officials or their designees with population counts for American Indian areas (AIAs), counties, cities, census blocks, and state-specified congressional, legislative, and voting districts.

    The Census Bureau has issued an invitation to the officers or public bodies having initial responsibility for legislative reapportionment and redistricting, through the Census Redistricting Data Office (RDO), inviting states to identify a non-partisan liaison that will work directly with the Census Bureau on the 2020 Census RDP.

    Since the 1990 Census, participation in both the Census RDP Block Boundary Suggestion Project (BBSP) and Voting District Project (VTDP), 2020 Census RDP Phases 1 and 2 under Title 13, U.S.C., is voluntary on the part of each state. However, if states choose not to participate in Phase 1 and Phase 2, the Census Bureau cannot ensure that the 2020 Decennial Census tabulation geography will support the redistricting needs of their state.

    II. Method of Collection

    The RDP invites respondent participation in the following phases of the program:

    Phase 1: BBSP

    The purpose of the BBSP is to afford states the opportunity to identify non-standard features often used as electoral boundaries (such as a power line or stream, rather than a street centerline, which might divide voters into two districts) as Census block boundaries. The BBSP option affords the state liaison the opportunity to provide suggestions for 2020 Census tabulation block boundaries resulting in more meaningful block data for the state. Liaisons are able to work with local officials including county election officers and others to ensure local geography is represented in the 2020 Census tabulation block inventory. In addition, the liaison, on behalf of the state, will make suggestions for features not desirable as census tabulation blocks. By identifying undesirable features, the liaison may assist the Census Bureau in reducing the overall number of census tabulation blocks from the 2010 inventory. Beginning in late fall of 2015, states that choose to participate in Phase 1 will begin receiving guidelines and training for providing their suggestions for the 2020 Census tabulation blocks as well as their suggestions for exclusion of line segments for consideration in the final 2020 Census tabulation block inventory. For the first time, states will have the opportunity to review legal limits, such as county and incorporated place boundaries, as reported through the Boundary and Annexation Survey (BAS). The Census Bureau conducts the BAS annually to update information about the legal boundaries and names of all governmental units. The alignment of the BAS with the BBSP will facilitate the cooperation between state and local government. A verification phase will occur in early 2017.

    Phase 2: VTDP

    The VTDP will provide the state liaison, on behalf of the state, to submit the voting districts (a generic term used to represent areas that administer elections such as precincts, election districts, wards, etc.) to the Census Bureau for representation in the 2020 Census Public Law 94-171 products (data and geographic products). Beginning in late 2017, states that choose to participate in VTDP will receive on a flow basis, geographic products that allow them the opportunity to update the Voting Districts (VTDs) for inclusion in the 2020 Census tabulation geography. State liaisons will continue to align their effort with updates from state and local government officials participating in the BAS. The VTD/BAS update and alignment will continue through spring of 2018. A verification phase will occur in early 2019 for states that participated in VTDP.

    Phase 3: Delivery of the 2020 Decennial Census Redistricting Data

    By April 1, 2021, the Director of the Census Bureau will, in accordance with Title 13, U.S.C., furnish the Governor and state legislative leaders, both the majority and minority, with 2020 Census population counts for standard census tabulation areas (e.g., state, Congressional district, state legislative district, AIA, county, city, town, census tract, census block group, and census block) regardless of a state's participation in Phase 1 or 2. The Director of the Census Bureau will provide 2020 Census population counts for those states participating in Phase 2, for both the standard tabulation areas and for VTDs. For each state, this delivery will occur prior to general release and no later than April 1, 2021.

    Phase 4: Collection of Post-Census Redistricting Data Plans

    2010 Census:

    As begun in 2011, the Census Bureau will solicit from each state the newly drawn legislative and Congressional district plans and prepares appropriate data sets based on the new districts. This effort will occur every two years in advance of the 2020 Census in order to update these boundaries with new or changed plans. A verification phase will occur with each update.

    2020 Census:

    Beginning in 2021, the Census Bureau will solicit from each state the newly drawn legislative and Congressional district plans and prepares appropriate data sets based on the new districts. This effort will occur every two years in advance of the 2030 Census in order to update these boundaries with new or changed plans. A verification phase will occur with each update.

    Phase 5: Review of the 2020 Census RDP and Recommendations for the 2030 Census RDP

    As the final phase of the 2020 Census RDP, the Census Bureau will work with the states to conduct a thorough review of the RDP. The intent of this review, and the final report that results, is to provide guidance to the Secretary and the Census Bureau Director in planning the 2030 Census RDP.

    III. Data

    OMB Control Number: 0607-XXXX.

    Form Number: Not available at this time.

    Type of Review: Regular submission.

    Affected Public: All fifty states, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

    Maximum Number of Respondents for all Phases: 52.

    Estimated Time per Response Phase 1:

    BBSP Annotation: 124 hours.

    BBSP Verification: 62 hours.

    Estimated Time per Response Phase 2:

    VTDP Delineation: 248 hours.

    VTDP Verification: 124 hours.

    Estimated Time per Response Phase 4:

    115th Congressional Districts (CDs) & State Legislative Districts (SLDs) Collection: 2 hours.

    115th CDs & SLDs Verification: 2 hours.

    116th CDs & SLDs Collection: 2 hours.

    116th CDs & SLDs Verification: 2 hours.

    Estimated Burden Hours Phase 1:

    BBSP Annotation: 6,448 hours.

    BBSP Verification: 3,224 hours.

    Total Burden Hours: 9,672 hours.

    Estimated Burden Hours Phase 2:

    VTDP Delineation: 12,896 hours.

    VTDP Verification: 6,448 hours.

    Total Burden Hours: 19,344 hours.

    Estimated Burden Hours Phase 4:

    115th CDs & SLDs Collection: 104 hours.

    115th CDs & SLDs Verification: 104 hours.

    116th CDs & SLDs Collection: 104 hours.

    116th CDs & SLDs Verification: 104 hours.

    Total Burden Hours: 416 hours.

    Estimated Total Burden Hours: 29,432 hours.

    Estimated Total Annual Cost to Public: $0.

    Respondent's Obligation: Voluntary.

    Census Bureau Legal Authority: Title 13, U.S.C., Sections 16, 141, and 193.

    IV. Request for Comments

    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 (including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (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.

    Summarization of comments submitted in response to this notice will be included in the request for OMB approval of this information collection. Comments will also become a matter of public record.

    Sheleen Dumas, Department PRA Lead, Office of the Chief Information Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17073 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request

    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: Economic Development Administration.

    Title: Application Forms for EDA Investment Assistance.

    OMB Control Number: 0610-0094.

    Form Number(s): ED-900, ED-900A, ED-900B, ED-900C, ED-900D, ED-900E, ED-900F, ED-900P.

    Type of Request: Regular submission; Revision of a currently approved collection.

    Number of Respondents: 1672.

    Average Hours per Response: 13 hours, 28 minutes.

    Burden Hours: 22,512.

    Needs and Uses: The Application Forms for EDA Investment Assistance are required to apply for EDA investment assistance under its Public Works, Economic Adjustment, Technical Assistance, Research, and Planning Programs. This collection of information is required to ensure that the application meets the requirements for EDA assistance set out in EDA's regulations at 13 CFR Chapter III.

    Affected Public: Not-for-profit institutions; Federal government; State, local, or tribal government.

    Frequency: On occasion.

    Respondent's Obligation: Mandatory.

    This information collection request may be viewed at reginfo.gov. Follow the instructions to view Department of Commerce collections currently under review by OMB.

    Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent within 30 days of publication of this notice to [email protected] or fax to (202) 395-5806.

    Sheleen Dumas, Department PRA Lead, Office of the Chief Information Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17196 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-34-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE [Docket No. 150619535-5535-01] Privacy Act of 1974, New System of Records AGENCY:

    U.S. Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology.

    ACTION:

    Notice of Proposed New Privacy Act System of Records.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, Title 5 United States Code (U.S.C.) 552(e)(4) and (11); and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-130, Appendix 1, “Federal Agency Responsibilities for Maintaining Records About Individuals,” the Department of Commerce is issuing this notice of its intent to establish a new system of records entitled “COMMERCE/NIST-8, Child Care Subsidy Program Records.” This action is being taken to update the Privacy Act notice and Department of Commerce, Notice to Amend All Privacy Act System of Records. We invite the public to comment on the items noted in this publication. The purpose of this system of records is to verify NIST employees' eligibility for child care subsidies.

    DATES:

    To be considered, written comments must be submitted on or before August 13, 2015.

    Unless comments are received, the new system of records will become effective as proposed on the date of publication of a subsequent notice in the Federal Register.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit written comments by any of the following methods:

    Email: [email protected] Include “Privacy Act COMMERCE/NIST-8, Child Care Subsidy Program Records” in the subtext of the message.

    Fax: (301) 948-6107, marked to the attention of Essex W. Brown.

    Mail: Essex W. Brown, National Institute of Standards and Technology, 100 Bureau Drive, Gaithersburg, MD 20899, Building 101, Room A224, (301)-975-3801.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Kaitlyn Kemp, National Institute of Standards and Technology, 100 Bureau Drive, Gaithersburg, MD 20899, Building 101, Room A123, (301) 975-3319.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This notice announces the Department of Commerce's (Department) proposal for a new system of records under the Privacy Act of 1974 for Child Care Subsidy Program Records. The Child Care Subsidy Program Records is a new system established to verify NIST employees' eligibility for child care subsidies.

    COMMERCE/NIST-8 SECURITY CLASSIFICATION:

    None

    SYSTEM NAME:

    COMMERCE/NIST-8, Child Care Subsidy Program Records.

    SYSTEM LOCATION:

    National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Child Care Subsidy Program Manager, Office of Human Resources Management, 100 Bureau Drive, Room 1720, Gaithersburg, MD 20899.

    CATEGORIES OF INDIVIDUALS COVERED BY THE SYSTEM:

    Employees of NIST who voluntarily apply for child care subsidies.

    CATEGORIES OF RECORDS IN THE SYSTEM:

    Application forms for a child care subsidy may contain personal information, including employee's name, Social Security Number, grade, home phone number, home address, email address, total income, number of dependent children, and number of children on whose behalf the employee is applying for a subsidy, information on any tuition assistance received from State/County/local child care subsidy, and information on child care providers used, including their name, address, provider license number, and State where license issues, tuition cost, provider tax identification number, bank routing number, bank account number, and copies of Internal Revenue Form 1040 for verification purposes.

    AUTHORITY FOR MAINTENANCE OF THE SYSTEM:

    40 U.S.C. 490b-1; Sec. 630 of Pub. L. 107-67 November 12, 2001; and Executive Order 9397 as Amended by Executive Order 13478 (November 18, 2008).

    PURPOSE:

    To establish and verify NIST employees' eligibility for child care subsidies in order for NIST to provide monetary assistance to its employees.

    ROUTINE USES OF RECORDS MAINTAINED IN THE SYSTEM, INCLUDING CATEGORIES OF USERS AND THE PURPOSES OF SUCH USES:

    1. In the event that a system of records maintained by the Department to carry out its functions indicates a violation or potential violation of law or contract, whether civil, criminal or regulatory in nature, and whether arising by general statute or particular program statute or contract, or rule, regulation, or order issued pursuant thereto, or the necessity to protect an interest of the Department and Federal partners, the relevant records in the system of records may be referred to the appropriate agency, whether Federal, state, local or foreign, charged with the responsibility of investigating or prosecuting such violation or charged with enforcing or implementing the statute or contract, or rule or order issued pursuant thereto, or protecting the interest of the DOC.

    2. A record in this system of records may be disclosed to a Member of Congress submitting a request involving an individual when the individual has requested assistance from the Member with respect to the subject matter of the record.

    3. A record in this system of records may be disclosed to the Department of Justice in connection with determining whether disclosure thereof is required by the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552).

    4. A record in this system of records may be disclosed to a contractor of the Department having need for the information in the performance of the contract, but not operating a system of records within the meaning of 5 U.S.C. 552a(m).

    5. A record from this system of records may be disclosed to the Administrator, General Services Administration (GSA), or his/her designee, during an inspection of records conducted by GSA as part of that agency's responsibility to recommend improvements in records management practice and programs, under the authority of 44 U.S.C. 2904 and 2906. Such disclosure shall be made in accordance with the GSA regulations governing inspection of records for this purpose, and any other relevant (i.e. GSA or Commerce) directive. Such disclosure shall not be used to make determinations about individuals.

    6. A record from this system of records may be disclosed in the course of presenting evidence to a court, magistrate or administrative tribunal, including disclosures to opposing counsel in the course of settlement negotiations.

    7. A record in this system of records may be disclosed to appropriate agencies, entities and persons when (1) it is suspected or determined that the security or confidentiality of information in the system of records has been compromised; (2) the Department has determined that as a result of the suspected or confirmed compromise there is a risk of harm to economic or property interests, identity theft or fraud, or harm to the security or integrity of this system or whether systems or programs (whether maintained by the Department or another agency or entity) that rely upon the compromised information; and (3) the disclosure made to such agencies, entities, and persons is reasonably necessary to assist in connection with the Department's efforts to respond to the suspected or confirmed compromise and to prevent, minimize, or remedy such harm.

    8. A record from this system of records may be disclosed to a Federal, state, or local agency maintaining civil, criminal or other relevant enforcement information or other pertinent information, such as current licenses, if necessary to obtain information relevant to a Department decision concerning the assignment, hiring or retention of an individual, the issuance of a security clearance, the letting of a contract, or the issuance of a license, grant or other benefit.

    9. A record for this system of records may be disclosed to a Federal, state, local, or international agency, in response to the request, in connection with the assignment, hiring or retention of an individual, the issuance of a security clearance, the reporting of an investigation of an individual, the letting of a contract, or the issuance of a license, grant, or other benefit by the requesting agency, to the extent that the information is relevant and necessary to the requesting agency's decision on the matter.

    10. Disclosure may be made to the Office of Personnel Management or the Government Accountability Office when the information is required for evaluation of the subsidy program.

    DISCLOSURE TO CONSUMER REPORTING AGENCIES:

    Not applicable.

    POLICIES AND PRACTICES FOR STORING, RETRIEVING, RETAINING, AND DISPOSING OF RECORDS IN THE SYSTEM: STORAGE:

    Hard copy files may be maintained in paper form and on diskettes; additional electronic files may be kept in electronic digital media in encrypted format within a controlled environment, and accessed only by authorized personnel.

    RETRIEVABILITY:

    The records are retrieved by name and may also be cross-referenced to Social Security Number.

    SAFEGUARDS:

    Paper records and disks as stored in file cabinets on secured premises with access limited to personnel whose official duties require access. For electronic media, the system is password protected and is FIPS 199 (Federal Information Processing Standard Publication 199, “Standards for Security Categorization of Federal Information and Information Systems”) compliant. The electronic system adheres to a Moderate security rating.

    RETENTION AND DISPOSAL:

    Records are disposed of in accord with the appropriate records disposition schedule approved by the Archivist of the United States.

    SYSTEM MANAGER(S) AND ADDRESSE(S):

    National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Child Care Subsidy Program Manager, Office of Human Resources Management, 100 Bureau Drive, Room 1720, Gaithersburg, MD 20899.

    NOTIFICATION PROCEDURE:

    An individual requesting notification of existence of records on himself or herself should send a signed, written inquiry to the location listed below. The request letter should be clearly marked, “PRIVACY ACT REQUEST.” The written inquiry must be signed and notarized or submitted with certification of identity under penalty of perjury. Requesters should reasonably specify the record contents being sought.

    National Institute of Standards and Technology, Freedom of Information and Privacy Act Officer, Room 1710, 100 Bureau Drive, Gaithersburg, MD 20899.

    RECORD ACCESS PROCEDURE:

    An individual requesting access to records on himself or herself should send a signed, written inquiry to the same address as stated in the Notification Procedure section above. The request letter should be clearly marked, “PRIVACY ACT REQUEST.” The written inquiry must be signed and notarized or submitted with certification of identity under penalty of perjury. Requesters should reasonably specify the record contents being sought.

    CONTESTING RECORD PROCEDURE:

    An individual requesting corrections or contesting information contained in his or her records must send a signed, written request inquiry to the same address as stated in the Notification Procedure section above. Requesters should reasonably identify the records, specify the information they are contesting and state the corrective action sought and the reasons for the correction with supporting justification showing how the record is incomplete, untimely, inaccurate, or irrelevant.

    The Department's rules for access, for contesting contents, and for appealing initial determination by the individual concerned appear in 15 CFR part 4.

    RECORD SOURCE CATEGORIES:

    Information is provided by NIST employees who apply for child care subsidies.

    EXEMPTIONS CLAIMED FOR THE SYSTEM:

    None.

    Dated: July 8, 2015. Michael J. Toland, Acting Freedom of Information and Privacy Act Officer, Department of Commerce.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17246 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DT-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE [Docket No. 150619534-5534-01] Privacy Act of 1974; Abolished System of Records AGENCY:

    National Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S. Department of Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice to delete a Privacy Act System of Records: COMMERCE/NBS-2, “Inventors of Energy-Related Processes and Devices.”

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Privacy Act of (5 U.S.C. 552a(e)(4) and (11)); the Department of Commerce is issuing notice of its intent to delete the system of records entitled “Inventors of Energy-Related Processes and Devices.” The system of records is no longer collected or maintained by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). There are no records remaining in the system.

    DATES:

    To be considered, written comments must be submitted on or before August 13, 2015. Unless comments are received, the deletion of the system of records will become effective as proposed on the date of publication of a subsequent notice in the Federal Register.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit written comments by any of the following methods:

    Email: [email protected] Include “Privacy Act COMMERCE/NBS-2, Inventors of Energy-Related Processes and Devices” in the subtext of the message.

    Fax: (301) 973-5301, marked to the attention of Catherine S. Fletcher, Director, Management and Organization Office, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20899.

    Mail: Catherine Fletcher, National Institute of Standards and Technology Freedom of Information Act Office, 100 Bureau Drive, Mail Stop 1710, Gaithersburg, MD 20899-1710.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Director, Management and Organization Office, 100 Bureau Drive, Mail Stop 1710, Gaithersburg, MD 20899-1710, 301-975-4074.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This Privacy Act System of Records is being deleted because the records are no longer collected or maintained by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. There are no records remaining in the system.

    Dated: July 8, 2015. Michael J. Toland, Department of Commerce, Acting Freedom of Information and Privacy Act Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17245 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DT-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Bureau of Industry and Security Information Systems Technical Advisory Committee; Notice of Partially Closed Meeting

    The Information Systems Technical Advisory Committee (ISTAC) will meet on July 29 and 30, 2015, 9 a.m., in the Herbert C. Hoover Building, Room 3884, 14th Street between Constitution and Pennsylvania Avenues NW., Washington, DC. The Committee advises the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Export Administration on technical questions that affect the level of export controls applicable to information systems equipment and technology.

    Wednesday, July 29 Open Session 1. Welcome and Introductions 2. Working Group Reports 3. Old Business 4. Industry Presentation: Proposal on coherent optical communications technology 5. Industry Presentation: Penetration Testing and Implemention of Wassenaar 2013 Cyber-Related Provisions 6. New Business Thursday, July 30 Closed Session 7. Discussion of matters determined to be exempt from the provisions relating to public meetings found in 5 U.S.C. app. 2 sections 10(a)(1) and 10(a)(3).

    The open session will be accessible via teleconference to 20 participants on a first come, first serve basis. To join the conference, submit inquiries to Ms. Yvette Springer at [email protected], no later than July 22, 2015.

    A limited number of seats will be available for the public session. Reservations are not accepted. To the extent time permits, members of the public may present oral statements to the Committee. The public may submit written statements at any time before or after the meeting. However, to facilitate distribution of public presentation materials to Committee members, the Committee suggests that public presentation materials or comments be forwarded before the meeting to Ms. Springer.

    The Assistant Secretary for Administration, with the concurrence of the delegate of the General Counsel, formally determined on March 23, 2015, pursuant to Section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. app. 2 sec. (l0)(d))), that the portion of the meeting concerning trade secrets and commercial or financial information deemed privileged or confidential as described in 5 U.S.C. 552b(c)(4) and the portion of the meeting concerning matters the disclosure of which would be likely to frustrate significantly implementation of an agency action as described in 5 U.S.C. 552b(c)(9)(B) shall be exempt from the provisions relating to public meetings found in 5 U.S.C. app. 2 sections 10(a)(1) and l0(a)(3). The remaining portions of the meeting will be open to the public.

    For more information, call Yvette Springer at (202) 482-2813.

    Dated: July 9, 2015. Yvette Springer, Committee Liaison Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17235 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-JT-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-570-979] Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or Not Assembled Into Modules, From the People's Republic of China: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review and Final Determination of No Shipments; 2012-2013 AGENCY:

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

    SUMMARY:

    On January 8, 2015, the Department of Commerce (the “Department”) published its Preliminary Results in the 2012-2013 administrative review of the antidumping duty order on crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, whether or not assembled into modules (“solar cells”) from the People's Republic of China (“PRC”).1 The period of review (“POR”) is May 25, 2012, through November 30, 2013. This administrative review covers two mandatory respondents, Yingli Energy (China) Company Limited and Wuxi Suntech Power Co., Ltd. (“Wuxi Suntech”), which was found to be ineligible for a separate rate in the Preliminary Results. Based on our analysis of the comments received, we made certain changes to our margin calculations for Yingli Energy (China) Company Limited. Additionally, we now find that Wuxi Suntech is eligible for a separate rate, and have calculated a dumping margin for Wuxi Suntech. The final dumping margins for this review are listed in the “Final Results” section below.

    1See Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or Not Assembled Into Modules, From the People's Republic of China: Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review and Preliminary Determination of No Shipments; 2012-2013, 80 FR 1021 (January 8, 2015) (“Preliminary Results”), and Memorandum to Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance, from Gary Taverman, Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Operations, “Decision Memorandum for the Preliminary Results of the 2012-2013 Antidumping Duty Administrative Review of Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or Not Assembled into Modules, from the People's Republic of China” (“Preliminary Decision Memorandum”), dated December 31, 2014.

    DATES:

    Effective date: July 14, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Brandon Farlander or Drew Jackson 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) 482-0182 or (202) 482-4406, respectively.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    On January 8, 2015, the Department published its Preliminary Results in this review. On January 22, 2015, Petitioner 2 submitted comments regarding the preliminary margin calculation of the companies that are considered as the Yingli Single Entity in this final determination including Yingli Energy (China) Company Limited.3

    2 Petitioner in this proceeding is SolarWorld America, Inc.

    3See Letter to the Department from Petitioner, “Certain Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or Not Assembled into Modules, from the People's Republic of China: Comments on Ministerial Errors in the Preliminary Results,” dated January 22, 2015. The Department determined, pursuant to 19 CFR 351.401(f), that the following affiliated companies should be treated as a single entity: Yingli Energy (China) Company Limited ; Baoding Tianwei Yingli New Energy Resources Co., Ltd. (“Tianwei Yingli”); Tianjin Yingli New Energy Resources Co., Ltd. (“Tianjin Yingli”); Hengshui Yingli New Energy Resources Co., Ltd. (“Hengshui Yingli”); Lixian Yingli New Energy Resources Co., Ltd. (“Lixian Yingli”); Baoding Jiasheng Photovoltaic Technology Co., Ltd. (“Jiasheng”); Beijing Tianneng Yingli New Energy Resources Co., Ltd. (“Beijing Tianneng”); Hainan Yingli New Energy Resources Co., Ltd. (“Hainan Yingli”) (collectively, the “Yingli Single Entity”). See Memorandum to Abdelali Elouaradia, Director, AD/CVD Operations, Office IV, through Howard Smith, AD/CVD Operations, Office IV, “Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or Not Assembled Into Modules, from the People's Republic of China: Affiliation and Single Entity Status,” dated December 31, 2014.

    On January 9, 2015, Wuxi Suntech submitted a hearing request.4 On February 9, 2015 Shanghai JA Solar Technology Co., Ltd., JA Solar Technology Yangzhou Co., Ltd. and JingAo Solar Co., Ltd. submitted a request to participate in any hearing held by the Department in this review.5 Petitioner submitted an untimely hearing request on February 9, 2015, which was rejected by the Department in accordance with 19 CFR 351.302(d).6 On February 25, 2015, Petitioner submitted an untimely request for additional time to submit a hearing request.7 The Department did not grant Petitioner's request.8 On May 18, 2015, Wuxi Suntech withdrew its request for a hearing.9 On June 1, 2015, the Department notified interested parties that it would not hold a hearing in this administrative review.10

    4See Letter to the Department from Wuxi Suntech, “Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells from the People's Republic of China: Request for Hearing- Wuxi Suntech Power Co., Ltd.,” dated January 9, 2015.

    5See Letter to the Department from Shanghai JA Solar Technology Co., Ltd., JA Solar Technology Yangzhou Co., Ltd. and JingAo Solar Co., Ltd., “Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or Not Assembled into Modules, from the People's Republic of China: Hearing,” dated January 9, 2015.

    6See Letter to the File through Howard Smith, Program Manager, AD/CVD Operations, Office IV “Rejection and Removal from the Record of Untimely Filed Hearing Request,” dated March 3, 2015.

    7See Letter to the Department from Petitioner, “Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether Or Not Assembled Into Modules, from the People's Republic of China: Request for Opportunity to Submit Hearing Requests,” dated February 9, 2015.

    8See Letter to the Petitioner from the Department, “Antidumping Duty Administrative Review of Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or Not Assembled into Modules, from the People's Republic of China: Rejection and Removal from the Record of Untimely Filed Hearing Request,” dated March 3, 2015.

    9See Letter to the Department from Wuxi Suntech, “Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether Or Not Assembled into Modules, from the People's Republic of China: Withdraw of Request for Hearing—Wuxi Suntech Power Co., Ltd.,” dated May 18, 2015.

    10See Memorandum to All Interested Parties, through Howard Smith, AD/CVD Operations, Office IV, Administrative Review of the Antidumping Duty Order on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or Not Assembled Into Modules, from the People's Republic of China; Withdrawal of Hearing Request, dated June 1, 2015.

    Between January 2015 and March 2015, the Department issued supplemental questionnaires regarding separate rates to, and received timely responses from, the Wuxi Suntech Single Entity.11 In March 2015, the Department conducted verification of the Wuxi Suntech Single Entity's separate rates information.

    11 In the Preliminary Results, the Department preliminarily found that the Wuxi Suntech Single Entity included the following companies: Wuxi Suntech; Luoyang Suntech Power Co., Ltd. (“Luoyang Suntech”); Suntech Power Co., Ltd. (“Shanghai Suntech”); and Wuxi Sunshine Power Co. Ltd (“Wuxi Sunshine”). See Memorandum to Abdelali Elouaradia, Director, AD/CVD Operations, Office IV, through Howard Smith, Program Manager, AD/CVD Operations. Office IV, “Affiliation and Single Entity Status of Wuxi Suntech Power Co., Ltd.; Luoyang Suntech Power Co., Ltd.; Suntech Power Co., Ltd.; and Wuxi Sunshine Power Co., Ltd.,” dated December 31, 2014.

    On March 23, 2015, the following interested parties submitted case briefs: (1) Petitioner; (2) Yingli Energy (China) Company Limited;12 (3) Goal Zero, LLC; (4) LDK Solar Hi-Tech (Nanchang) Co. Ltd.; (5) Jiangsu Sunlink PV Technology Co., Ltd.; (6) Years Solar Co. Ltd.; (7) CSG PVTech Co., Ltd.; and (8) Shanghai JA Solar Technology Co. Ltd, JA Solar Technology Yangzhou Co., Ltd. and JingAo Solar Co., Ltd. On March 25, 2015, Yingli Energy (China) Company Limited alleged that Petitioner's March 23, 2015 case brief contained untimely filed new factual information,13 and on March 27, 2015, Petitioner rebutted these allegations.14 After considering Yingli Energy (China) Company Limited's allegation, the Department did not require Petitioner to redact its case brief. On March 30, 2015, the Department notified Yingli Energy (China) Company Limited that its March 23, 2015 case brief contained untimely filed new factual information. The Department subsequently rejected the case brief in accordance with 19 CFR 351.302(d)(1)(i) and 19 CFR 351.104(a)(2)(ii)(A) because it contained untimely filed new factual information but provided Yingli Energy (China) Company Limited the opportunity to resubmit its case brief with the new factual information redacted.15 On March 31, 2015, Yingli Energy (China) Company Limited submitted comments on the new factual information allegation, and resubmitted its rejected case brief.16 On March 30, 2015, the following interested parties submitted rebuttal briefs: (1) Petitioner; (2) Yingli Energy (China) Company Limited; and, (3) Wuxi Suntech. These case briefs and rebuttal briefs did not include comments regarding the separate-rate status of the Wuxi Suntech Single Entity, which was preliminarily found to include the following companies: (1) Wuxi Suntech, (2) Luoyang Suntech; (3) Shanghai Suntech; and (4) Wuxi Sunshine.17 Subsequently, on May 8, 2015, and May 11, 2015, Wuxi Suntech and Petitioner, respectively, submitted case briefs regarding the separate-rate status of the Wuxi Suntech Single Entity. On May 13, 2015, the following parties submitted rebuttal comments related to the separate-rate status of the Wuxi Suntech Single Entity: (1) Petitioner; (2) Wuxi Suntech; (3) Shanghai BYD Co., Ltd. and Shangluo BYD Industrial Co., Ltd.; and (4) Changzhou Trina Solar Energy Co., Ltd.

    12 Yingli Energy (China) Company Limited's case and rebuttal briefs were submitted on behalf of Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited and Yingli Green Energy Americas, Inc., and their affiliates, including Yingli Energy (China) Co., Ltd. and Baoding Tianwei Yingli New Energy Resources Co., Ltd.

    13See Letter to the Department from Yingli Energy (China) Company Limited, “Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or Not Assembled into Modules from the People's Republic of China: Request that the Department Reject SolarWorld's Case Brief,” dated May, 2015.

    14See Letter to the Department from Petitioner, “Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or Not Assembled into Modules, from the People's Republic of China: Response to Yingli's Request to Reject SolarWorld's Case Brief,” dated May 27, 2015.

    15See Memorandum to The File through Howard Smith, Program Manager, AD/CVD Operations, Office IV, “Rejection from the Record of Untimely Filed New Factual Information,” dated April 2, 2015.

    16See Letter from Yingli Energy (China) Company Limited to the Department, “Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or Not Assembled Into Modules from the People's Republic of China: Resubmission of Yingli's Case Brief,” dated March 31, 2015.

    17See Memorandum to The File through Jeffrey Pedersen, Acting Program Manager, AD/CVD Operations, Office IV, “Administrative Review of the Antidumping Duty Order on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or Not Assembled Into Modules, from the People's Republic of China; Briefing Schedule,” dated February 27, 2015 (establishing a deadline for case briefs and rebuttal briefs concerning all issues except the separate-rate status of the Wuxi Suntech Single Entity).

    On April 28, 2015, the Department extended the deadline for issuing these final results of review by 60 days, until July 7, 2015.18

    18See Memorandum to Edward Yang, Senior Director, AD/CVD Operations, Office VII, through Howard Smith, Acting Director, AD/CVD Operations, Office IV, “Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or Not Assembled into Modules, from the People's Republic of China: Extension of Deadline for Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review,” dated April 28, 2015.

    Scope of the Order

    The merchandise covered by the order is crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, and modules, laminates, and panels, consisting of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, whether or not partially or fully assembled into other products, including, but not limited to, modules, laminates, panels and building integrated materials.19 Merchandise covered by this review is classifiable under subheading 8501.61.0000, 8507.20.80, 8541.40.6020, 8541.40.6030, and 8501.31.8000 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”). Although the HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes, our written description of the scope of the order is dispositive.

    19 For a complete description of the scope of the order, see Memorandum from Edward Yang, Senior Director, AD/CVD Operations, Office VII, to Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance, “Decision Memorandum for the Final Results of the 2012-2013 Antidumping Duty Administrative Review of Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or Not Assembled into Modules, from the People's Republic of China,” (“Issues and Decision Memorandum”), dated concurrently with this notice.

    Analysis of Comments Received

    All issues raised in the case and rebuttal briefs filed by parties in this review are addressed in the Issues and Decision Memorandum,20 which is hereby adopted by this notice. A list of the issues that parties raised, and to which we responded in the Issues and Decision Memorandum, follows as an appendix to this notice. 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 in the Central Records Unit, 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/. The paper copy and electronic version of the Issues and Decision Memorandum are identical in content.

    20See Issues and Decision Memorandum.

    Changes Since the Preliminary Results Changes Specific to Wuxi Suntech

    • Found that Wuxi Suntech and Luoyang Suntech should be treated as a single entity (the “Wuxi Luoyang Single Entity.”

    • Found that the Wuxi Luoyang Single Entity has established its eligibility for a separate rate.

    • Calculated a dumping margin for the Wuxi Luoyang Single Entity.

    Changes Specific to Yingli Energy (China) Company Limited

    • Revised surrogate value calculations for certain direct materials, labor, financial ratios, and movement expenses.

    • Revised certain material offsets.

    • Revised the indirect selling expense ratio.

    • Corrected ministerial errors.

    • Revised the partial AFA calculation.

    Other Changes

    • Corrections to list of separate rate companies and no shipment companies.

    Final Determination of No Shipments

    In the Preliminary Results, we found that 23 companies subject to this administrative review did not have reviewable transactions during the POR.21 We did not receive any comments concerning our finding of no shipments by these 23 companies. For these final results, the Department continues to find that 23 companies that claimed no shipments during the POR did not have any reviewable transactions of subject merchandise during the POR.22

    21See Preliminary Results and accompanying Preliminary Decision Memorandum at 5-6. We also preliminarily treated two companies which reported making no shipments during the POR, Luoyang Suntech and Shanghai Suntech, as part of the Wuxi Suntech Single Entity.

    22 Those 23 companies with no shipments during the POR are: (1) DelSolar Co., Ltd.; (2) Dongfang Electric (Yixing) MAGI Solar Power Technology Co., Ltd.; (3) ET Solar Energy Limited; (4) Hengdian Group DMEGC Magnetics Co., Ltd.; (5) Himin Clean Energy Holdings Co., Ltd.; (6) Jiangsu Green Power PV Co., Ltd.; (7) Jiangsu Jiasheng Photovoltaic Technology Co., Ltd.; (8) JinkoSolar International Limited; (9) Konca Solar Cell Co., Ltd.; (10) Kuttler Automation Systems (Suzhou) Co., Ltd.; (11) Motech (Suzhou) Renewable Energy Co., Ltd.; (12) Ningbo Ulica Solar Science & Technology Co., Ltd.; (13) Perlight Solar Co., Ltd.; (14) Shenzhen Suntech Power Co., Ltd.; (15) ShunFeng PV; (16) Sumec Hardware & Tools Co., Ltd.; (17) Tianwei New Energy (Chengdu) PV Module Co., Ltd.; (18) Upsolar Group Co., Ltd.; (19) Wanxiang Import & Export Co., Ltd.; (20) Yangzhou Rietech Renewal Energy Co., Ltd.; (21) Yangzhou Suntech Power Co., Ltd.; (22) Zhejiang Jiutai New Energy Co., Ltd.; (23) Zhenjiang Rietech New Energy Science & Technology Co., Ltd. As noted above, the Department has treated Luoyang Suntech, which reported making no shipments during the POR, as part of the Wuxi Luoyang Single Entity.

    In the Preliminary Results, we found that two companies, CSG PVTech Co., Ltd. and Jiangsu Sunlink PV Technology Co., Ltd., that claimed no exports, sales or entries of subject merchandise during the POR did, in fact, sell subject merchandise to the United States during the POR.23 Interested parties commented on the Department's preliminary finding with respect to these two companies.24 After considering these comments, the Department continues to find that these companies sold or made entries of subject merchandise to the United States during the POR. Neither of these companies filed a separate rate application or certification and thus they have not established their entitlement to a separate rate in this review.

    23See Preliminary Results and accompanying Preliminary Decision Memorandum at 5-6.

    24See Issues and Decision Memorandum at comment entitled, “Treatment of Jiangsu Sunlink PV Technology Co., Ltd.” and comment entitled, “Treatment of CSG PVTech Co., Ltd.”

    Affiliation and Single Entity Determination

    For these final results of review, the Department finds, pursuant to 19 CFR 351.401(f), that Wuxi Suntech and Luoyang Suntech comprise a single entity (i.e., the Wuxi Luoyang Single Entity), which does not include Shanghai Suntech or Wuxi Sunshine.25

    25See Issues and Decision Memorandum at the comment entitled, “The Department's Separate Rates Practice,” and the comment entitled, “Separate Rate Status of the Wuxi Suntech Collapsed Entity.” See also Memorandum to Robert Bolling, Acting Director, AD/CVD Operations, Office IV, through Howard Smith, Program Manager, AD/CVD Operations, IV, “Affiliation and Single Entity Status of Wuxi Suntech Power Co., Ltd. and Luoyang Suntech Power Co., Ltd., Final Results of Review,” dated concurrently with this notice.

    Additionally, the Department continues to find, pursuant to 19 CFR 351.401(f), that the following affiliated companies should be treated as a single entity: (1) Yingli Energy (China) Company Limited; (2) Baoding Tianwei Yingli; (3) Tianjin Yingli; (4) Hengshui Yingli; (5) Lixian Yingli; (6) Jiasheng; (7) Beijing Tianneng; and (8) Hainan Yingli.26

    26See Memorandum to Abdelali Elouaradia, Director, AD/CVD Operations, Office IV, through Howard Smith, Program Manager, AD/CVD Operations, Office IV, “Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or Not Assembled Into Modules, from the People's Republic of China: Affiliation and Single Entity Status,” dated December 31, 2014.

    Verification

    As provided in section 782(i) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the “Act”), the Department verified separate rate information provided by the Wuxi Suntech Single Entity.27 The Department conducted the verification using standard verification procedures including the examination of relevant records and the selection and review of original documentation containing relevant information. The results of the verification are outlined in the public version of the verification reports. The verification reports are on file electronically via ACCESS.

    27 See Memorandum to the File through Howard Smith, Program Manager, AD/CVD Operations, Office IV, Verification of the Separate Rates Questionnaire Responses of Wuxi Suntech Power Co., Ltd., dated April 28, 2015; Memorandum to the File through Howard Smith, Program Manager, AD/CVD Operations, Office IV, Verification of the Separate Rates Questionnaire Responses of Suntech Power Co., Ltd., dated April 28, 2015; and Memorandum to the File through Howard Smith, Program Manager, AD/CVD Operations, Office IV, Verification of the Separate Rates Questionnaire Responses of Wuxi Sunshine Power Co., Ltd., dated April 28, 2015.

    Use of Partial Facts Available and Adverse Facts Available

    Section 776(a) of the Act provides that the Department shall apply facts available (“FA”) if (1) necessary information is not on the record, or (2) an interested party or any other person (A) withholds information that has been requested, (B) fails to provide information within the deadlines established, or in the form and manner requested by the Department, subject to subsections (c)(1) and (e) of section 782 of the Act, (C) significantly impedes a proceeding, or (D) provides information that cannot be verified as provided by section 782(i) of the Act.

    Section 776(b) of the Act further provides that the Department may use adverse facts available (“AFA”) when a party has failed to cooperate by not acting to the best of its ability to comply with a request for information.

    Pursuant to sections 776(a) and (b) of the Act, in the Preliminary Determination, the Department applied partial adverse facts available (“AFA”) to a portion of Yingli Energy (China) Company Limited's sales. After considering comments submitted by interested parties, the Department continues to find that the application of partial AFA is warranted, however, the Department has revised the methodology used to apply partial AFA to a portion of Yingli Energy (China) Company Limited's sales for these final results of review.28 Further, the Department continues to find that the application of FA to account for Yingli (China) Company Limited's unreported factors of production (“FOP”) data is warranted.29

    28 See Issues and Decision Memorandum at Comment 9.

    29See Preliminary Determination.

    Wuxi Suntech did not report certain FOP data from certain suppliers or tollers. Based on the specific facts on the record of this review and in accordance with section 776(a)(1) of the Act, the Department is applying FA with respect to these unreported FOP data.30 Due to the proprietary nature of the factual information concerning these FOP data, we explain the decision to use FA with respect to these FOP data in a separate business proprietary memorandum.31 As FA, we used FOP data that Wuxi Suntech was able to obtain from certain tollers or its own FOP information.

    30See Issues and Decision Memorandum at Comment 9.

    31See Memorandum through Howard Smith, Program Manager, AD/CVD Operations, Office IV, to Robert Bolling, Acting Director, AD/CVD Operations, Office IV, “Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or Not Assembled Into Modules, from the People's Republic of China: Unreported Factors of Production,” dated concurrently with this notice.

    Separate Rates

    In the Preliminary Results, the Department listed 20 companies not selected as mandatory respondents as having demonstrated their eligibility for separate rates.32 Since the Preliminary Results, the Department has not received any comments that would warrant a review of our preliminary results regarding 19 of these companies. Therefore we continue to find that these companies are eligible for a separate rate.33 Regarding LDK Solar Hi-tech (Nanchang) Co., Ltd., in the Preliminary Results, the Department inadvertently listed this company as a company that was granted a separate rate. Because the review of LDK Solar Hi-tech (Nanchang) Co., Ltd. was rescinded in July 2014, that company is not subject to this review and thus no determination was made in this review with respect to its separate rate status.34

    32See Preliminary Decision Memorandum at 13.

    33 The Department finds that the following 19 non-selected companies demonstrated their eligibility for separate rates: (1) Canadian Solar International Limited; (2) Canadian Solar Manufacturing (Changshu) Inc.; (3) Canadian Solar Manufacturing (Luoyang) Inc.; (4) Changzhou Trina Solar Energy Co., Ltd./Trina Solar (Changzhou) Science and Technology Co., Ltd.; (5) Chint Solar (Zhejiang) Co., Ltd.; (6) De-Tech Trading Limited HK; (7) Eoplly New Energy Technology Co., Ltd.; (8) Hangzhou Zhejiang University Sunny Energy Science and Technology Co., Ltd.; (9) Jinko Solar Import and Export Co., Ltd.; (10) Ningbo Qixin Solar Electrical Appliance Co., Ltd.; (11) Renesola Jiangsu Ltd.; (12) Shanghai BYD Co., Ltd.; (13) Shenzhen Topray Solar Co. Ltd.; (14) Sopray Energy Co., Ltd.; (15) Star Power International Limited; (16) Sun Earth Solar Power Co., Ltd.; (17) Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited; (18) Yingli Green Energy International Trading Company Limited; and (19) Zhejiang Sunflower Light Energy Science & Technology Limited Liability Company.

    34See Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or Not Assembled Into Modules From the People's Republic of China: Amended Partial Rescission of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review, 79 FR 43713, 43714 (July 28, 2014). For additional discussion, see Issues and Decision Memorandum at Comment 8.

    PRC-Wide Entity

    In the Preliminary Results, the Department preliminarily determined to treat 21 companies subject to this review as part of the PRC-wide entity because they did not establish their eligibility to receive a separate rate.35 Interested parties commented on the Department's preliminary decision to treat the Wuxi Suntech Single Entity, ERA Solar Co., Ltd., Jiangsu Sunlink PV Technology Co., Ltd., CSG PVTech Co., Ltd., and Leye Photovoltaic Co., Ltd. as part of the PRC-wide entity.36 In the Preliminary Results, the Department collapsed Wuxi Suntech, Luoyang Suntech, Shanghai Suntech, and Wuxi Sunshine into a single entity, the Wuxi Suntech Single Entity, and did not grant this single entity a separate rate. In these final results we are only collapsing Wuxi Suntech and Luoyang Suntech. Based on record information, we find the collapsed entity comprising Wuxi Suntech and Luoyang Suntech has established its entitlement to a separate rate because it is wholly foreign owned.37 With respect to the other two companies that we preliminarily collapsed, but are no longer collapsing, with Wuxi Suntech, Shanghai Suntech reported that it made no shipments during the POR,38 and the Department, based on its examination of record evidence, finds that this company did not have any reviewable transactions of subject merchandise during the POR.39 Because Shanghai Suntech did not have any reviewable transactions during the POR, it does not qualify to be granted separate rates status.40 Additionally, all parties withdrew their requests to review Wuxi Sunshine and thus it is not subject to this administrative review.41 The Department continues to find that the remaining companies preliminarily found not to have established their eligibility for a separate rate to be part of the PRC-wide entity.42 In addition, the Department finds that LDK Hi-Tech (Nanchang Co., Ltd., which did not provide the Department with information regarding its eligibility for separate rate status, is also a part of the PRC-wide entity.43 Further, the Department finds that Leye Photovoltaic Co., Ltd. is not subject to this administrative review, and, therefore, retains its combination rate, i.e., separate rate for merchandise produced and exported by Leye Photovoltaic Co., Ltd., which it received in the underlying investigation.44

    35See Preliminary Decision Memorandum at 15.

    36See Issues and Decision Memorandum.

    37Id.

    38See Shanghai Suntech's February 26, 2014 submission to the Department.

    39See Shanghai Suntech's October 21, 2014 submission to the Department.

    40 Shanghai Suntech received its separate rate as a company that belonged to the Wuxi Suntech Single Entity. Because we find that Shanghai Suntech is no longer part of the Wuxi Suntech Single Entity and is subject to review, we have considered whether it qualifies to be granted a separate-rate in this review.

    41 In the investigation, Wuxi Sunshine received its separate rate as a company that belonged to the Wuxi Suntech Single Entity. Because we find that Wuxi Sunshine is no longer part of the Wuxi Suntech Single Entity, Wuxi Sunshine is not entitled to the separate-rate rate status previously granted to that Single Entity. Accordingly, it is part of the PRC-Wide Entity for cash deposit purposes.

    42See infra n. 49 for a list of companies that the Department has determined should be treated as part of the PRC-wide entity.

    43See Issues and Decision Memorandum at Comment 8.

    44Id. at Comment 7.

    Rate for Separate-Rate Companies Not Selected as Mandatory Respondents

    The statute and the Department's regulations do not address the establishment of a rate to be applied to individual respondents not selected for examination when the Department limits its examination in an administrative review pursuant to section 777A(c)(2)(B) of the Act. Generally, the Department looks to section 735(c)(5) of the Act, which provides instructions for calculating the all-others rate in an investigation, for guidance when calculating the rate for respondents which we did not individually examine in an administrative review. Section 735(c)(5)(A) of the Act instructs the Department to avoid calculating an all-others rate using rates which are zero, de minimis or based entirely on facts available. Accordingly, the Department's usual practice has been to average the weighted-average dumping margins for the selected companies, excluding rates that are zero, de minimis, or based entirely on facts available.45 Accordingly, the Department assigned to the companies that it did not individually examine, but which demonstrated their eligibility for a separate rate, the weighted-average dumping margins calculated for the two mandatory respondents.46

    45See Ball Bearings and Parts Thereof From France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Reviews and Rescission of Reviews in Part, 73 FR 52823, 52824 (September 11, 2008), and accompanying Issues and Decision Memorandum at Comment 16.

    46See Memorandum to the File, through Howard Smith, Program Manager, AD/CVD Operations, Office IV, “Calculation of the Final Margin for Separate Rate Recipients,” dated concurrently with this notice.

    Final Results

    We determine that the following weighted-average dumping margins exist for the POR:

    Exporter Weighted-average dumping margin
  • (percent)
  • Yingli Single Entity: Yingli Energy (China) Company Limited/Baoding Tianwei Yingli New Energy Resources Co., Ltd./Tianjin Yingli New Energy Resources Co., Ltd./Hengshui Yingli New Energy Resources Co., Ltd./Lixian Yingli New Energy Resources Co., Ltd./Baoding Jiasheng Photovoltaic Technology Co., Ltd./Beijing Tianneng Yingli New Energy Resources Co., Ltd./Hainan Yingli New Energy Resources Co., Ltd.47 0.79 Wuxi Suntech Power Co., Ltd./Luoyang Suntech Power Co., Ltd 33.08 Canadian Solar International Limited 9.67 Canadian Solar Manufacturing (Changshu) Inc 9.67 Canadian Solar Manufacturing (Luoyang) Inc 9.67 Changzhou Trina Solar Energy Co., Ltd./Trina Solar (Changzhou) Science and Technology Co., Ltd.48 9.67 Chint Solar (Zhejiang) Co., Ltd 9.67 De-Tech Trading Limited HK 9.67 Eoplly New Energy Technology Co., Ltd 9.67 Hangzhou Zhejiang University Sunny Energy Science and Technology Co., Ltd 9.67 Jinko Solar Import and Export Co., Ltd 9.67 Ningbo Qixin Solar Electrical Appliance Co., Ltd 9.67 Renesola Jiangsu Ltd 9.67 Shanghai BYD Co., Ltd 9.67 Shenzhen Topray Solar Co. Ltd 9.67 Sopray Energy Co., Ltd 9.67 Star Power International Limited 9.67 Sun Earth Solar Power Co., Ltd 9.67 Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited 9.67 Yingli Green Energy International Trading Company Limited 9.67 Zhejiang Sunflower Light Energy Science & Technology Limited Liability Company 9.67 PRC-Wide Entity 49 50 238.95
    Assessment Rates

    47 As noted above these companies comprise the Yingli Single Entity.

    48 In the investigation in this proceeding, the Department treated Changzhou Trina Solar Energy Co., Ltd. and Trina Solar (Changzhou) Science & Technology Co., Ltd. as a single entity. See Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or Not Assembled into Modules, from the People's Republic of China: Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value, and Affirmative Final Determination of Critical Circumstances, in Part, 77 FR 63791 (October 17, 2012). Because no party has provided information on the record of the review contradicting this determination, the Department has continued to treat these companies as a single entity for purposes of this review.

    49 The PRC-wide entity includes the following companies: (1) Shanghai Suntech; (2) Wuxi Sunshine; (3) Changzhou NESL Solartech Co., Ltd.; (4) CSG PVTech Co., Ltd.; (5) Era Solar Co., Ltd.; (6) Innovosolar; (7) Jiangsu Sunlink PV Technology Co., Ltd.; (8) Jiawei Solarchina Co., Ltd.; (9) Jinko Solar Co., Ltd.; (10) LDK Solar Hi-tech (Suzhou) Co., Ltd.; (11) Leye Photovoltaic Science Tech.; (12) Magi Solar Technology; (13) Ningbo ETDZ Holdings, Ltd.; (14) ReneSola; (15) Shanghai Machinery Complete Equipment (Group) Corp., Ltd.; (16) Shenglong PV-Tech; (17) Solarbest Energy-Tech (Zhejiang) Co., Ltd.; (18) Suzhou Shenglong PV-TECH Co., Ltd.; (19) Zhejiang Shuqimeng Photovoltaic Technology Co., Ltd.; (20) Zhejiang Xinshun Guangfu Science and Technology Co., Ltd.; (21) Zhejiang ZG-Cells Co., Ltd.; (22) Zhiheng Solar Inc.; and (23) LDK Hi-Tech (Nanchang Co., Ltd. In addition, the PRC-wide entity includes the companies listed in Appendix II of the notice Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or Not Assembled Into Modules From the People's Republic of China: Amended Partial Rescission of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review, 79 FR 43713 (July 28, 2014).

    50 This PRC-wide entity rate equals the PRC-wide entity rate of 249.96% adjusted for export subsidies and estimated domestic subsidy pass-through.

    The Department will determine, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) shall assess, antidumping duties on all appropriate entries covered by this review. The Department intends to issue assessment instructions to CBP 15 days after the publication date of these final results of this review. In accordance with 19 CFR 351.212(b)(1), we are calculating importer- (or customer-) specific assessment rates for the merchandise subject to this review. For any individually examined respondent whose weighted-average dumping margin is above de minimis (i.e., 0.50 percent), the Department will calculate importer- (or customer)-specific assessment rates for merchandise subject to this review. Where the respondent reported reliable entered values, the Department calculated importer- (or customer)-specific ad valorem rates by aggregating the dumping margins calculated for all U.S. sales to the importer- (or customer) and dividing this amount by the total entered value of the sales to the importer- (or customer).51 Where the Department calculated an importer- (or customer)-specific weighted-average dumping margin by dividing the total amount of dumping for reviewed sales to the importer- (or customer) by the total sales quantity associated with those transactions, the Department will direct CBP to assess importer- (or customer)-specific assessment rates based on the resulting per-unit rates.52 Where an importer- (or customer)- specific ad valorem or per-unit rate is greater than de minimis, the Department will instruct CBP to collect the appropriate duties at the time of liquidation. Where either the respondent's weighted average dumping margin is zero or de minimis, or an importer (or customer-) specific ad valorem or per-unit rate is zero or de minimis, the Department will instruct CBP to liquidate appropriate entries without regard to antidumping duties.53

    51See 19 CFR 351.212(b)(1).

    52Id.

    53See Antidumping Proceedings: Calculation of the Weighted-Average Dumping Margin and Assessment Rate in Certain Antidumping Duty Proceedings; Final Modification, 77 FR 8101, 8103 (February 14, 2012).

    On October 24, 2011, the Department announced a refinement to its assessment practice in NME antidumping duty cases.54 Pursuant to this refinement in practice, for merchandise that was not reported in the U.S. sales databases submitted by an exporter individually examined during this review, but that entered under the case number of that exporter (i.e., at the individually-examined exporter's cash deposit rate), the Department will instruct CBP to liquidate such entries at the PRC-wide rate, as adjusted for export subsidies and estimated domestic subsidy pass-through. Additionally, pursuant to this refinement, if the Department determines that an exporter under review had no shipments of the subject merchandise, any suspended entries that entered under that exporter's case number will be liquidated at the PRC-wide rate, as adjusted for export subsidies and estimated domestic subsidy pass-through.

    54See Non-Market Economy Antidumping Proceedings: Assessment of Antidumping Duties, 76 FR 65694 (October 24, 2011), for a full discussion of this practice.

    Cash Deposit Requirements

    The following cash deposit requirements will be effective upon publication of the final results of this administrative review for shipments of the subject merchandise from the PRC entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the publication date of this notice in the Federal Register, as provided by section 751(a)(2)(C) of the Act: (1) For the exporters listed above, the cash deposit rate will be the rate listed for each exporter in the table in the “Final Results” section of this notice; (2) for previously investigated PRC and non-PRC exporters that received a separate rate in a prior segment of this proceeding, the cash deposit rate will continue to be the existing exporter-specific rate; (3) for all PRC exporters of subject merchandise that have not been found to be entitled to a separate rate, the cash deposit rate will be the rate previously established for the PRC-wide entity; and (4) for all non-PRC exporters of subject merchandise which have not received their own rate, the cash deposit rate will be the rate applicable to the PRC exporter that supplied that non-PRC exporter. These deposit requirements, when imposed, shall remain in effect until further notice.

    Disclosure

    We intend to disclose the calculations performed for these final results of review within five days of the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register in accordance with 19 CFR 351.224(b).

    Notification to Importers Regarding the Reimbursement of Duties

    This notice also serves as a final reminder to importers of their responsibility under 19 CFR 351.402(f) to file a certificate regarding the reimbursement of antidumping duties prior to liquidation of the relevant entries during this POR. Failure to comply with this requirement could result in the Secretary's presumption that reimbursement of antidumping duties has occurred and the subsequent assessment of double antidumping duties.

    Administrative Protective Order (“APO”)

    This notice also serves as a reminder to parties subject to APO of their responsibility concerning the return or destruction of proprietary information disclosed under APO in accordance with 19 CFR 351.305, which continues to govern business proprietary information in this segment of the proceeding. Timely written notification of the return or 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.

    We are issuing these results of administrative review and publishing notice in accordance with sections 751(a)(1) and 777(i) of the Act.

    Dated: July 7, 2015. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance. Appendix—Issues and Decision Memorandum Summary Background Scope of the Order Treatment of Wuxi Suntech, Luoyang Suntech, Shanghai Suntech, and Wuxi Sunshine Adjustment Under Section 777A(f) of the Act for Wuxi Suntech Discussion of the Issues Comment 1. Rescission of the Reviews of JingAo Solar Co., Ltd. and Shanghai JA Solar PV Technology Co., Ltd. Comment 2. Treatment of ERA Solar Co., Ltd. Comment 3. PRC-Wide Entity Rate Comment 4. Assessment of Entries Made Prior to the International Trade Commission's Final Determination Comment 5. Treatment of Jiangsu Sunlink PV Technology Co., Ltd. Comment 6. Treatment of CSG PVTech Co., Ltd. Comment 7. Treatment of Leye Photovoltaic Science & Technology Co. Ltd. Comment 8. Rescission of Review of LDK Solar Hi-Tech (Nanchang) Co., Ltd. Comment 9. Whether to Apply Adverse Facts Available (“AFA”) to Two Unreported Yingli Sales Comment 10. Unreported FOPs by Suppliers and Tollers Comment 11. Surrogate Value for Cutting Wire Comment 12. Surrogate Value for Aluminum-Silver Paste Comment 13. Surrogate Value for Silver Paste Comment 14. Surrogate Value for Unclassified Stores Comment 15. Ocean Freight Comment 16. Brokerage and Handling Comment 17. Labor Calculation Comment 18. Surrogate Value for Natural Gas Comment 19. Surrogate Value for Nitric Acid Comment 20. Surrogate Value for Hydrofluoric Acid Comment 21. Application of Surrogate Marine Insurance Rate Comment 22. Conversion Factor for Natural Gas Comment 23. Movement Expenses for Yingli's EP Sale Comment 24. Surrogate Value for Backsheet Comment 25. Calculation of Surrogate Financial Profit Ratio Comment 26. Gross Unit Price Adjustments Comment 27. Surrogate Value for Wafers Comment 28. Export Subsidy Adjustment Comment 29. By-Product Offset for Broken Wafers Comment 30. Surrogate Value for Quartz Crucibles Comment 31. Surrogate Value for Junction Boxes Comment 32. Differential Pricing Comment 33. Surrogate Value for the Polysilicon Feedstock and Solar Cell Offsets Comment 34. Surrogate Value for Semi-finished Polysilicon Ingots and Blocks Comment 35. Surrogate Value for Aluminum Angle Keys Comment 36. Surrogate Value for Aluminum Frames Comment 37. Indirect Selling Expenses Comment 38. Application of a By-Product Recovery Cap on Recycled Paste Comment 39. Whether the Department Improperly Calculated the Partial AFA Rate Applied to Yingli Comment 40. Whether to Exclude Certain Reported CEP Sales Comment 41. Wuxi Suntech Separate Rate Status Comment 42. The Department's Separate Rates Practice in AD Proceedings Involving the PRC
    [FR Doc. 2015-17238 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [C-570-980] Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or Not Assembled Into Modules, From the People's Republic of China: Final Results of Countervailing Duty Administrative Review; 2012 AGENCY:

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

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce (the Department) has completed its administrative review of the countervailing duty (CVD) order on crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, whether or not assembled into modules (solar cells), from the People's Republic of China (the PRC) for the period of review (POR) covering March 26, 2012, through December 31, 2012. On January 8, 2015, we published the preliminary results of this review and the post-preliminary results were completed on April 21, 2015.1

    1See Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or Not Assembled Into Modules, From the People's Republic of China: Preliminary Results of Countervailing Duty Administrative Review; 2012; and Partial Rescission of Countervailing Duty Administrative Review, 80 FR 1019 (January 8, 2015) (Preliminary Results); see also Department Memorandum, “Post-Preliminary Analysis in the Countervailing Duty Administrative Review: Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or Not Assembled Into Modules, From the People's Republic of China,” (April 21, 2015) (Post-Preliminary Results).

    We provided interested parties with an opportunity to comment on the Preliminary Results and Post-Preliminary Results. Our analysis of the comments submitted resulted in a change to the net subsidy rates for Lightway Green New Energy Co., Ltd. (Lightway), and for Shanghai BYD Co., Ltd. (Shanghai BYD), Shangluo BYD Industrial Co., and BYD Company Ltd. (collectively, the BYD Group). The final net subsidy rates are listed below in the section entitled, “Final Results of the Review.”

    Withdrawals of certain requests for review were timely filed by SolarWorld Industries America Inc. (Petitioner) and the BYD Group. As a result, we rescinded this administrative review with respect to certain companies, pursuant to 19 CFR 351.213(d)(1), and proceeded with the review of Lightway and Shanghai BYD, and other companies not selected for individual review.2

    2See Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or Not Assembled Into Modules, from the People's Republic of China: Notice of Correction to Preliminary Results of Countervailing Duty Administrative Review; 2012 and Partial Rescission of Countervailing Duty Administrative Review, 80 FR 8597 (February 18, 2015) at Appendix II.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: July 14, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Gene Calvert, AD/CVD Operations, Office VII, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone (202) 482-3586.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    Following the Preliminary Results and Post-Preliminary Results, from March 11 through March 18, 2015, the Department conducted verification of the questionnaire responses submitted by the Government of the PRC (the GOC), Lightway, and the BYD Group. The verification reports were released between April 2 and April 6, 2015.3 We received case briefs from interested parties on April 30, 2015.4 On May 7, 2015, interested parties submitted their rebuttal briefs.5 No hearing was held in this case as the only timely hearing request was withdrawn.6

    3See Department Memoranda, “Verification of the Questionnaire Responses Submitted by Lightway Green New Energy Co., Ltd.,” (April 2, 2015); “Verification of the Questionnaire Responses Submitted by Shanghai BYD Co., Ltd.,” (April 3, 2015); “Verification of the Questionnaire Responses Submitted by the Government of the People's Republic of China,” (April 6, 2015).

    4See Letter to the Secretary from SolarWorld Americas, Inc. (Petitioner), “Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or Not Assembled into Modules, from the People's Republic of China: Case Brief,” (April 30, 2015); Letter from the GOC, “GOC Administrative Case Brief: First Administrative Review of the Countervailing Duty Order on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or not Assembled Into Modules from the People's Republic of China (C-570-980),” (April 30, 2015); Letter from the BYD Group, “Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether Or Not Assembled Into Modules, from the People's Republic of China—2012 Review: Case Brief,” (April 30, 2015); Letter from Lightway, “Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells from P.R. China: Case Brief,” (April 30, 2015).

    5See Letter to the Secretary from Petitioner, “Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or Not Assembled into Modules, from the People's Republic of China: Rebuttal Brief,” (May 7, 2015); Letter from the GOC, “GOC Rebuttal Brief: First Administrative Review of the Countervailing Duty Order on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or not Assembled into Modules from the People's Republic of China (C-570-980),” (May 7, 2015); Letter from Shanghai BYD, “Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or Not Assembled Into Modules, from the People's Republic of China—2012 Review: Rebuttal Brief,” (May 7, 2015); Letter from Lightway, “Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells from P.R. China: Rebuttal Case Brief,” (May 7, 2015); Letter from Goal Zero, LLC (a U.S. importer of subject merchandise), “Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether Or Not Assembled Into Modules from the People's Republic of China; Rebuttal Brief of Goal Zero, LLC,” (May 7, 2015).

    6See Letter to the Secretary from Shanghai BYD, “Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether Or Not Assembled Into Modules, From the People's Republic of China: Shanghai BYD Co., Ltd. Request for Hearing,” (February 9, 2015); see also Letter to the Secretary from Shanghai BYD, “Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether Or Not Assembled Into Modules, from the People's Republic of China—2012 Review: Withdrawal of Hearing Request,” (May 11, 2015).

    Scope of the Order

    The merchandise covered by this order is crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, and modules, laminates, and panels, consisting of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, whether or not partially or fully assembled into other products, including, but not limited to, modules, laminates, panels and building integrated materials. The product is currently classified under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) item numbers 8501.61.0000, 8507.20.80, 8541.40.6020, 8541.40.6030, and 8501.31.8000. These HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes; the written description of the scope of this order is dispositive.

    A full description of the scope of the order is contained in the memorandum from Christian Marsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, to Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance, “Issues and Decision Memorandum for the Final Results of the Countervailing Duty Administrative Review: Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or Not Assembled Into Modules, from the People's Republic of China,” (Final Decision Memorandum), dated concurrently with this notice, and hereby adopted by this notice.

    Analysis of Comments Received

    All issues in the case briefs are addressed in the Final Decision Memorandum. A list of the issues raised is attached to this notice as Appendix I. The Final 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 in the Central Records Unit, Room B8024 of the main Department of Commerce building. In addition, a complete version of the Final Decision Memorandum can be accessed directly on the internet at http://www.trade.gov/enforcement/. The signed Final Decision Memorandum and the electronic version of the Final Decision Memorandum are identical in content.

    Methodology

    The Department conducted this review in accordance with section 751(a)(1)(A) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act). For each of the subsidy programs found countervailable, we determine that there is a subsidy, i.e., a financial contribution from an “authority” that confers a benefit to the recipient, and that the subsidy is specific.7 For a full description of the methodology underlying our conclusions, see the Final Decision Memorandum.

    7See sections 771(5)(B) and (D) of the Act regarding financial contribution; section 771(5)(E) of the Act regarding benefit; and section 771(5)(A) of the Act regarding specificity.

    In making these findings, we relied, in part, on facts available and, because the GOC and Lightway did not act to the best of their ability in responding to the Department's requests for information, we drew an adverse inference in selecting from among the facts otherwise available.8 For further information, see the section, “Use of Facts Otherwise Available and Adverse Inferences,” in the Final Decision Memorandum.

    8See sections 776(a) and (b) of the Act.

    Final Results of the Review

    In accordance with 19 CFR 351.221(b)(5), we determine a net countervailable subsidy rate of 23.28 percent ad valorem for Lightway, and a net countervailable subsidy rate of 15.43 percent ad valorem for the BYD Group.

    For non-reviewed companies that are subject to this administrative review (see Appendix II), because the rates calculated for Lightway and the BYD Group were above de minimis and not based entirely on facts available, we applied a subsidy rate based on a weighted-average of the subsidy rates calculated for Lightway and Shanghai BYD using publicly-ranged sales data submitted by the company respondents so as to avoid disclosure of proprietary information. The subsidy rate for these non-reviewed companies is 20.94 percent.

    Assessment Rates

    The Department intends to issue appropriate assessment instructions directly to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) 15 days after the date of publication of these final results, to liquidate shipments of subject merchandise by Lightway and the BYD Group entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after March 26, 2012, through December 31, 2012.

    Cash Deposit Instructions

    The Department also intends to instruct CBP to collect cash deposits of estimated CVDs in the amount shown above for shipment of subject merchandise by Lightway and the BYD Group entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the date of publication of the final results of this review. For all non-reviewed companies that are subject to this administrative review, we will instruct CBP to collect cash deposits based on the weighted-average of Lightway's and the BYD Group's calculated subsidy rates using publicly ranged sales data submitted by the company respondents, pursuant to section 777A(e)(2)(A) of the Act. A list of the non-reviewed companies that are subject to this administrative review is attached as Appendix II to this notice.

    For non-reviewed firms that are not subject to this administrative review, we will instruct CBP to collect cash deposits of estimated CVDs at the most recent company-specific or all-others rate applicable to the company. Accordingly, the cash deposit requirements that will be applied to companies covered by this order, but not subject to this review, are those established in the investigation for each company. These cash deposit requirements, when imposed, shall remain in effect until further notice.

    Administrative Protective Order

    This notice serves as a 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 destruction of APO materials or conversion to judicial protective order is hereby requested. Failure to comply with the regulations and the terms of an APO is a sanctionable violation.

    We are issuing and publishing these results in accordance with sections 751(a)(1) and 777(i)(1) of the Act.

    Dated: July 7, 2015. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance. Appendix I List of Topics Discussed in the Final Decision Memorandum I. Summary II. Background III. Scope of the Order IV. Partial Rescission of the 2012 Administrative Review V. Companies Not Selected for Individual Review VI. Subsidies Valuation Information VII. Use of Facts Otherwise Available and Adverse Inferences VIII. Analysis of Programs IX. Analysis of Comments Comment 1: Whether the Ex-Im Bank Buyer's Credit Program is Countervailable Comment 2: Whether the Department Should Continue to Apply AFA in Determining Whether to Use an Internal or External Benchmark Comment 3: Whether the Provision of Aluminum Extrusions at LTAR is Specific Comment 4: Whether the Department Should Adjust the Polysilicon Benchmark for the Final Results Comment 5: Whether the Department Should Remove Certain Polysilicon Purchases Regarding the Polysilicon for LTAR Benefit Calculation with Respect to Lightway Comment 6: Whether the Department Should Find the BYD Group to be Uncreditworthy During 2008, 2011, and 2012 Comment 7: Whether the Department Should Revise the Benefit Calculation Regarding the BYD Group's Loans Comment 8: Whether the Department Should Find the Subsidies Discovered at Lightway's Verification to be Countervailable Comment 9: Whether the Department Should Revise Lightway's Benefit Calculation to Remove Certain Transactions Regarding the Preferential Policy Lending Program Comment 10: Whether the Department Should Revise the Principal Amounts with Respect to Certain Lightway Loans Comment 11: Whether the Department Should Revise the Rate for the Non-Selected Companies for these Final Results X. Recommendation Appendix II Companies Not Selected for Individual Review 1. Baoding Jiansheng Photovoltaic Technology Co., Ltd. 2. Boading Tianwei Yingli New Energy Resources Co., Ltd. 3. Beijing Tianneng Yingli New Energy Resources Co. Ltd. 4. Canadian Solar International Limited 5. Canadian Solar Manufacturing (Changshu) Inc. 6. Canadian Solar Manufacturing (Luoyang) Inc. 7. Changzhou NESL Solartech Co., Ltd. 8. Changzhou Trina Solar Energy Co., Ltd. 9. Chint Solar (Zhejiang) Co., Ltd. 10. CSG PVTech Co., Ltd. 11. DelSolar Co., Ltd. 12. De-Tech Trading Limited HK 13. Dongfang Electric (Yixing) MAGI Solar Power Technology Co., Ltd. 14. Eoplly New Energy Technology Co., Ltd. 15. Era Solar Co., Ltd. 16. ET Solar Energy Limited. 17. Hainan Yingli New Energy Resources Co., Ltd. 18. Hangzhou Zhejiang University Sunny Energy Science and Technology Co. Ltd. 19. Hendigan Group Dmegc Magnetics 20. Hengshui Yingli New Energy Resources Co., Ltd. 21. Himin Clean Energy Holdings Co., Ltd. 22. Innovosolar 23. Jiangsu Green Power PV Co., Ltd. 24. Jiangxi Sunlink PV Technology Ltd. 25. Jiangsu Jiasheng Photovoltaic Technology Co., Ltd. 26. Jiangsu Sunlink PV Technology Co., Ltd. 27. Jiawei Solarchina Co. Ltd. 28. Jinko Solar Co., Ltd. 29. Jinko Solar Import and Export Co., Ltd. 30. Jinko Solar International Limited 31. Konca Solar Cell Co., Ltd. 32. Kuttler Automation Systems (Suzhou) Co. Ltd. 33. LDK Solar Hi-tech (Suzhou) Co., Ltd. 34. LDK Solar Hi-tech (Nanchang) 35. Leye Photovoltaic Science & Technology Co., Ltd. 36. Lixian Yingli New Energy Resources Co., Ltd. 37. Luoyang Suntech Power Co., Ltd. 38. Magi Solar Technology 39. Motech (Suzhou) Renewable Energy Co., Ltd. 40. MS Solar Investments LLC 41. Ningbo Ulica Solar Science & Technology Co., Ltd. 42. Ningbo Qixin Solar Electrical Appliance Co. Ltd. 43. Ningbo ETDZ Holdings Ltd. 44. Perlight Solar Co., Ltd. 45. ReneSola 46. Renesola Jiangsu Ltd. 47. Shenzen Topray Solar Co., Ltd. 48. Shanghai Machinery Complete Equipment (Group) Corp., Ltd. 49. Shenglong PV Tech. 50. Shenzhen Suntech Power Co., Ltd. 51. ShunFeng PV 52. Solarbest Energy—Tech (Zhejiang) Co., Ltd. 53. Sopray Energy 54. Sumec Hardware & Tools Co., Ltd. 55. Sun Earth Solar Power Co., Ltd. 56. Suntech Power Co., Ltd. 57. Suzhou Shenglong PV-Tech Co., Ltd. 58. Tianwei New Energy (Chengdu) PV Module Co., Ltd. 59. Tianjin Yingli New Energy Resources Co, Ltd. 60. Trina Solar (Changzhou) Science & Technology Co, Ltd. 61. Topray 62. Upsolar Group, Co. Ltd. 63. Wanxiang Import & Export Co., Ltd. 64. Wuxi Sunshine Power 65. Wuxi Suntech Power Co., Ltd. 66. Yangzhou Rietech Renewal Energy Co., Ltd. 67. Yangzhou Suntech Power Co., Ltd. 68. Yingli Energy (China) Company Limited. 69. Yingli Green Energy International Trading Company Limited. 70. Zhejiang Jiutai New Energy Co. Ltd. 71. Zhejiang Shuqimeng Photovoltaic Technology Co., Ltd. 72. Zhejiang Xinshun Guangfu Science and Technology Co., Ltd. 73. Zhejiang ZG-Cells Co, Ltd. 74. Zhenjiang Rietech New Energy Science & Technology Co., Ltd. 75. Zhiheng Solar Inc. 76. Zhejiang Sunflower Light Energy Sciences & Technology Limited Liability Company
    [FR Doc. 2015-17241 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [C-552-819] Certain Steel Nails From the Socialist Republic of Vietnam: Countervailing Duty Order AGENCY:

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

    SUMMARY:

    Based on affirmative final determinations by the Department of Commerce (Department) and the International Trade Commission (ITC), the Department is issuing a countervailing duty order on certain steel nails (nails) from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (Vietnam).

    DATES:

    Effective July 14, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Thomas Schauer or Sergio Balbontin, AD/CVD Operations, Office 1, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-0410 and (202) 482-6478, respectively.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    On May 20, 2015, the Department published its final determination in the countervailing duty investigation of nails from the Vietnam.1 On July 6, 2015, the ITC notified the Department of its final determination pursuant to section 705(b)(1)(A)(i) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (Act), that an industry in the United States is materially injured by reason of subsidized imports of subject merchandise from Vietnam.2

    1See Certain Steel Nails From the Socialist Republic of Vietnam: Final Affirmative Countervailing Duty Determination, 80 FR 28962 (May 20, 2015).

    2See 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). Because the final CVD determinations with respect to Korea, Malaysia, Oman, and Taiwan were negative, the CVD investigations with respect to those countries were terminated.

    Scope of the Order

    The merchandise covered by this order is certain steel nails having a nominal shaft length not exceeding 12 inches.3 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.

    3 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 this order 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 this order 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 this order 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 this order 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 this order 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 this order are thumb tacks, which are currently classified under HTSUS subheading 7317.00.10.00.

    Certain steel nails subject to this order 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 this order 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 this order is dispositive.

    Countervailing Duty Order

    In accordance with sections 705(b)(1)(A)(i) and 705(d) of the Act, the ITC has notified the Department of its final determination that the industry in the United States producing nails is materially injured by reason of subsidized imports of nails from Vietnam. Therefore, in accordance with section 705(c)(2) of the Act, we are publishing this countervailing duty order.

    As a result of the ITC's final determination, in accordance with section 706(a) of the Act, the Department will direct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to assess, upon further instruction by the Department, countervailing duties on unliquidated entries of nails from Vietnam entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after November 3, 2014, the date on which the Department published its preliminary countervailing duty determination in the Federal Register,4 and before March 3, 2015, the date on which the Department instructed CBP to discontinue the suspension of liquidation in accordance with section 703(d) of the Act. Section 703(d) of the Act states that the suspension of liquidation pursuant to a preliminary determination may not remain in effect for more than four months. Therefore, entries of nails made on or after March 3, 2015, and prior to the date of publication of the ITC's final determination in the Federal Register are not liable for the assessment of countervailing duties due to the Department's discontinuation, effective March 3, 2015, of the suspension of liquidation.

    4See Certain Steel Nails From the Socialist Republic of Vietnam: Preliminary Affirmative Countervailing Duty Determination and Alignment of Final Countervailing Duty Determination With Final Antidumping Duty Determination, 79 FR 65184 (November 3, 2014).

    Suspension of Liquidation

    In accordance with section 706 of the Act, the Department will direct CBP to reinstitute the suspension of liquidation of nails from Vietnam, effective the date of publication of the ITC's notice of final determination in the Federal Register, and to assess, upon further instruction by the Department pursuant to section 706(a)(1) of the Act, countervailing duties for each entry of the subject merchandise in an amount based on the net countervailable subsidy rates for the subject merchandise. On or after the date of publication of the ITC's final injury determination in the Federal Register, CBP must require, at the same time as importers would normally deposit estimated duties on this merchandise, a cash deposit equal to the rates noted below:

    Company Subsidy rate
  • (percent)
  • Region Industries Co., Ltd 288.56 United Nail Products Co. Ltd 313.97 All Others 301.27

    This notice constitutes the countervailing duty order with respect to nails from Vietnam pursuant to section 706(a) of the Act. Interested parties may contact the Department's Central Records Unit, Room B8024 of the main Commerce Building, for copies of an updated list of countervailing duty orders currently in effect.

    This order is issued and published in accordance with section 706(a) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.211(b).

    Dated: July 8, 2015. Lynn M. Fischer Fox Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy & Negotiation.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17363 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [C-570-971] Multilayered Wood Flooring From the People's Republic of China: Final Results and Partial Rescission of Countervailing Duty Administrative Review; 2012 AGENCY:

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

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce (Department) has conducted an administrative review of the countervailing duty (CVD) order on multilayered wood flooring (wood flooring) from the People's Republic of China (PRC).1 On January 7, 2015, we published the Preliminary Results for this administrative review.2 The period of review (POR) is January 1, 2012, through December 31, 2012. We find that Fine Furniture (Shanghai) Limited (Fine Furniture) and The Lizhong Wood Industry Limited Company of Shanghai (Lizhong) (also known as Shanghai Lizhong Wood Products Co., Ltd.), the individually examined companies in this administrative review, received countervailable subsidies during the POR. The Department is also rescinding the review of Changzhou Hawd Flooring Co., Ltd. (Changzhou) because it had no shipments of subject merchandise to the United States during the POR.

    1See Multilayered Wood Flooring from the People's Republic of China: Countervailing Duty Order, 76 FR 76693 (December 8, 2011) (Order); see also Multilayered Wood Flooring from the People's Republic of China: Amended Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Orders, 77 FR 5484 (February 3, 2012) (Amended Order).

    2See Multilayered Wood Flooring From the People's Republic of China: Preliminary Results of Countervailing Duty Administrative Review and Intent To Rescind the Review in Part; 2012, 80 FR 859 (January 7, 2015) (Preliminary Results).

    DATES:

    Effective date July 14, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mary Kolberg or Dana Mermelstein, AD/CVD Operations, Office I, Enforcement and Compliance, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-1785 or (202) 482-1391, respectively.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    In the Preliminary Results, we deferred our analysis of certain programs to a post-preliminary analysis. On March 11, 2015, we issued a post-preliminary analysis memorandum.3 We invited interested parties to file case and rebuttal briefs following the release of the post-preliminary analysis memorandum. Only the Government of the PRC (the GOC) filed a case brief.4 No party filed a rebuttal brief. We also received letters from Fine Furniture 5 , Suzhou Dongda Wood Co., Ltd.6 , and Yixing Lion-King Timber Industry Co., Ltd.7

    3See Memorandum to Christian Marsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, “Post-Preliminary Analysis of Countervailing Duty Administrative Review: Multilayered Wood Flooring from the People's Republic of China” (March 11, 2015).

    4See Letter from the GOC to the Department, “Case Brief of the Government of the People's Republic of China: Multilayered Wood Flooring from The People's Republic of China” (March 19, 2015).

    5See Letter from Fine Furniture to the Department, “Administrative Review of the Countervailing Duty Order on Multilayered Wood Flooring from the People's Republic of China: Letter in Lieu of Case Brief” (March 19, 2015).

    6See Letter from Suzhou Dongda Wood Co., Ltd. and Yixing Lion-King Timber Industry Co., Ltd. to the Department, “Multilayered Wood Flooring from the People's Republic of China: Correction of Typographical Errors” (January 8, 2015).

    7Id.

    On May 5, 2015, the Department extended the time period for issuing the final results of this administrative review to July 6, 2015, as permitted by section 751(a)(3)(A) of the Tariff Act of 1930 (the Act) and 19 CFR 351.213(h)(2).8 On the same date, we issued a supplemental questionnaire to the GOC,9 and we received the GOC's response on May 22, 2015.10 On May 29, 2015, the Department provided parties with an opportunity to comment on the GOC's supplemental response.11 No comments were received.

    8See Memorandum to Christian Marsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, “Multilayered Wood Flooring from the People's Republic of China: Extension of Deadline for Final Results of Countervailing Duty Administrative Review; 2012” (May 5, 2015).

    9See Letter to the GOC, “Multilayered Wood Flooring from the People's Republic of China: 2012 Countervailing Duty Administrative Review” (May 5, 2015).

    10See Letter from the GOC to the Department, “Response of the Government of the People's Republic of China to the Department's Fourth Supplemental Questionnaire” (May 22, 2015).

    11See Memorandum to the File from Josh Morris, International Trade Compliance Analyst, Office I, “Multilayered Wood Flooring from the People's Republic of China: Countervailing Duty Administrative Review; 2012-Additional Comment Period” (May 29, 2015).

    Scope of the Order

    Multilayered wood flooring is composed of an assembly of two or more layers or plies of wood veneer(s) 12 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; 4412.31.6000; 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; and 4418.72.9500.

    12 A “veneer” is a thin slice of wood, rotary cut, sliced or sawed from a log, bolt or flitch. Veneer is referred to as a ply when assembled.

    While HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written product description remains dispositive. A full description of the scope of the order is contained in the Issues and Decision Memorandum.13

    13See memorandum from Christian Marsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, to Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance, “Issues and Decision Memorandum for Final Results of Countervailing Duty Administrative Review: Multilayered Wood Flooring from the People's Republic of China” (Issues and Decision Memorandum), dated concurrently with this notice.

    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 https://access.trade.gov and in the Central Records Unit, 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. The signed Issues and Decision Memorandum and the electronic version of the Issues and Decision Memorandum are identical in content.

    Partial Rescission of Administrative Review

    On April 4, 2014, we received a timely filed no-shipment certification from Changzhou. Because there is no evidence on the record to indicate that this company had sales of subject merchandise during the POR, and no party objected to our intent to rescind as stated in the Preliminary Results, pursuant to 19 CFR 351.213(d)(3), we are rescinding the review with respect to Changzhou.

    Methodology

    We have conducted this review in accordance with section 751(a)(1)(A) of the Act. A full description of the methodology underlying our conclusions is presented in the Issues and Decision Memorandum.

    Use of Facts Otherwise Available, Including Adverse Inferences

    For purposes of the Support for Developing a National Technology Standard program, the Department has concluded that, despite two requests, the GOC did not provide the Department with necessary information with respect to the length of time that the subsidy program has been in operation. Accordingly, the Department has determined that the GOC did not act to the best of its ability in responding to the Department's request for information and that the application of facts available with an adverse inference is warranted.14 Based upon the available facts and the GOC's failure to cooperate to the best of its ability in providing this information as requested, the Department has concluded that the Support for Developing a National Technology Standard program was in existence prior to the POR. For further information, see the section “Use of Facts Otherwise Available and Adverse Inferences,” in the Issues and Decision Memorandum.

    14See sections 776(a) and (b) of the Act.

    Final Results of the Review

    In accordance with 19 CFR 351.221(b)(5), we calculated individual subsidy rates for the mandatory respondents, Fine Furniture and Lizhong.

    For the non-selected respondents, we have followed the Department's practice, which is to base the subsidy rates on an average of the subsidy rates calculated for those companies selected for individual review, excluding de minimis rates or rates based entirely on adverse facts available.15 We have assigned to the non-selected respondents the simple average of the rates calculated for Fine Furniture and Lizhong. We have used a simple average rather than a weighted average due to inconsistent units of measure in the publicly ranged quantity and value data.

    15See, e.g., Certain Pasta From Italy: Preliminary Results of the 13th (2008) Countervailing Duty Administrative Review, 75 FR 18806, 18811 (April 13, 2010), unchanged in Certain Pasta from Italy: Final Results of the 13th (2008) Countervailing Duty Administrative Review, 75 FR 37386 (June 29, 2010).

    We find the net countervailable subsidy rate for the producers and/or exporters under review to be as follows: 16

    16See Memorandum to The File from Mary Kolberg, International Trade Analyst, “Multilayered Wood Flooring from the People's Republic of China; 2012” dated concurrently with this notice.

    Producer/exporter Net subsidy rate Shanghai Lizhong Wood Products Co., Ltd. (also known as The Lizhong Wood Industry Limited Company of Shanghai) 0.99 Fine Furniture (Shanghai) Limited 0.99 A&W (Shanghai) Woods Co., Ltd 0.99 Suzhou Dongda Wood Co., Ltd 0.99 Armstrong Wood Products (Kunshan) Co., Ltd 0.99 Baishan Huafeng Wood Product Co., Ltd 0.99 Baiying Furniture Manufacturer Co., Ltd 0.99 Baroque Timber Industries (Zhongshan) Co., Ltd 0.99 Cheng Hang Wood Co., Ltd 17 0.99 Changbai Mountain Development and Protection Zone Hongtu Wood Industrial Co., Ltd 0.99 Chinafloors Timber (China) Co., Ltd 0.99 Dalian Dajen Wood Co., Ltd 0.99 Dalian Huade Wood Product Co., Ltd 0.99 Dalian Huilong Wooden Products Co., Ltd 0.99 Dalian Jiuyuan Wood Industry Co., Ltd 0.99 Dalian Kemian Wood Industry Co., Ltd 0.99 Dalian Penghong Floor Products Co., Ltd 0.99 Dalian T-Boom Wood Products Co., Ltd 0.99 Dongtai Fuan Universal Dynamics, LLC 0.99 Dun Hua City Jisen Wood Industry Co., Ltd 0.99 Dunhua City Dexin Wood Industry Co., Ltd 0.99 Dunhua City Hongyuan Wood Industry Co., Ltd 0.99 Dunhua City Wanrong Wood Industry Co., Ltd 0.99 Dunhua Sentai Wood Co., Ltd 0.99 Dunhua Shengda Wood Industry Co., Ltd 0.99 Fu Lik Timber (HK) Co., Ltd 0.99 Fusong Jinlong Wooden Group Co., Ltd 0.99 Fusong Qianqiu Wooden Product Co., Ltd 0.99 GTP International Ltd 0.99 Guangdong Yihua Timber Industry Co., Ltd 0.99 Guangzhou Homebon Timber Manufacturing Co., Ltd 0.99 Guangzhou Panyu Kangda Board Co., Ltd 0.99 Guangzhou Panyu Southern Star Co., Ltd 0.99 HaiLin XinCheng Wooden Products, Ltd 0.99 Hangzhou Dazhuang Floor Co., Ltd (dba Dasso Industrial Group Co., Ltd.) 0.99 Hangzhou Hanje Tec Co., Ltd 0.99 Hangzhou Zhengtian Industrial Co., Ltd 0.99 Hunchun Forest Wolf Wooden Industry Co., Ltd 0.99 Hunchun Xingjia Wooden Flooring Inc 0.99 Huzhou Chenghang Wood Co., Ltd 0.99 Huzhou Fulinmen Imp. & Exp. Co., Ltd 0.99 Huzhou Fuma Wood Co., Ltd 0.99 Huzhou Jesonwood Co., Ltd 0.99 Huzhou Ruifeng Imp. & Exp. Co., Ltd 0.99 Huzhou Sunergy World Trade Co., Ltd 0.99 Jiafeng Wood (Suzhou) Co., Ltd 0.99 Jiangsu Senmao Bamboo and Wood Industry Co., Ltd 0.99 Jiangsu Simba Flooring Co., Ltd 0.99 Jiashan Hui Jia Le Decoration Material Co., Ltd 0.99 Jilin Forest Industry Jinqiao Flooring Group Co., Ltd 0.99 Jilin Xinyuan Wooden Industry Co., Ltd 0.99 Karly Wood Product Limited 0.99 Kemian Wood Industry (Kunshan) Co., Ltd 0.99 Linyi Anying Wood Co., Ltd 0.99 Linyi Bonn Flooring Manufacturing Co., Ltd 0.99 Mudanjiang Bosen Wood Industry Co., Ltd 0.99 Nakahiro Jyou Sei Furniture (Dalian) Co., Ltd 0.99 Nanjing Minglin Wooden Industry Co., Ltd 0.99 Power Dekor Group Co., Ltd 0.99 Riverside Plywood Corporation 0.99 Samling Elegant Living Trading (Labuan) Limited 0.99 Samling Riverside Co., Ltd 0.99 Shanghai Anxin (Weiguang) Timber Co., Ltd 0.99 Shanghai Eswell Timber Co., Ltd 0.99 Shanghai Lairunde Wood Co., Ltd 0.99 Shanghai New Sihe Wood Co., Ltd 0.99 Shanghai Shenlin Corporation 0.99 Shenyang Haobainian Wooden Co., Ltd 0.99 Shenzhenshi Huanwei Woods Co., Ltd 0.99 Vicwood Industry (Suzhou) Co. Ltd 0.99 Xiamen Yung De Ornament Co., Ltd 0.99 Xuzhou Shenghe Wood Co., Ltd 0.99 Yekalon Industry, Inc 0.99 Yingyi-Nature (Kunshan) Wood Industry Co., Ltd 0.99 Yixing Lion-King Timber Industry Co. Ltd 0.99 Zhejiang Anji Xinfeng Bamboo and Wood Co., Ltd 0.99 Zhejiang Biyork Wood Co., Ltd 0.99 Zhejiang Dadongwu Green Home Wood Co., Ltd 0.99 Zhejiang Desheng Wood Industry Co., Ltd 0.99 Zhejiang Fudeli Timber Industry Co., Ltd 0.99 Zhejiang Fuerjia Wooden Co., Ltd 0.99 Zhejiang Fuma Warm Technology Co., Ltd 0.99 Zhejiang Haoyun Wooden Co., Ltd 0.99 Zhejiang Longsen Lumbering Co., Ltd 0.99 Zhejiang Shiyou Timber Co., Ltd 0.99 Zhejiang Tianzhen Bamboo & Wood Development Co., Ltd 0.99 Assessment Rates

    Consistent with 19 CFR 351.212(b)(2), we intend to issue assessment instructions to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) fifteen days after the date of publication of these final results. We will instruct CBP to assess countervailing duties on POR entries in the amounts shown above.

    17See Memorandum To The File from Mary Kolberg, International Trade Analyst, “Addition of Cheng Hang Wood Co., Ltd. to Final Results” (June 29, 2015).

    Cash Deposit Requirements

    In accordance with section 751(a)(1) of the Act, we intend to instruct CBP to collect cash deposits of estimated countervailing duties in the amounts shown above on shipments of subject merchandise entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the date of publication of the final results of this review. For all non-reviewed companies (except Zhejiang Layo Wood Industry Co., Ltd., its affiliate Jiaxing Brilliant Import & Export Co., Ltd., and Zhejiang Yuhua Timber Co., Ltd., which are excluded from the Order),18 we will instruct CBP to continue to collect cash deposits at the most recent company-specific or all-others rate applicable to the company. Accordingly, the cash deposit rates that will be applied to companies covered by the Amended Order, but not examined in this review, are those established in the most recently completed segment of the proceeding for each company. These cash deposit requirements, when imposed, shall remain in effect until further notice.

    18See Order, 76 FR at 76694.

    Administrative Protective Order

    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 return or destruction of APO materials or conversion to judicial protective order is hereby requested. Failure to comply with the regulations and the terms of an APO is a sanctionable violation.

    We are issuing and publishing these results in accordance with sections 751(a)(1) and 777(i)(1) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.213.

    Dated: July 6, 2015. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance. Appendix—List of Topics Discussed in the Issues and Decision Memorandum 1. Summary 2. Background 3. Scope of the Order 4. Partial Rescission of Administrative Review 5. Use of Facts Otherwise Available and Adverse Inferences 6. Subsidy Valuation Information 7. Analysis of Programs 8. Analysis of Comments Comment 1: Specificity of the Support for Developing a National Technology Standard Program Comment 2: Names of Companies in U.S. Customs and Border Protection Instructions 9. Recommendation
    [FR Doc. 2015-17079 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Alaska Region Amendment 80 Permits and Reports AGENCY:

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, 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.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be submitted on or before September 14, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Direct all written comments to Jennifer Jessup, Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer, Department of Commerce, Room 6616, 14th and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230 (or via the Internet at [email protected]).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Requests for additional information or copies of the information collection instrument and instructions should be directed to NMFS Alaska Region, Patsy A. Bearden, at [email protected] or call (907) 586-7008.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Abstract

    This request is for extension of a currently approved information collection.

    Amendment 80 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area allocates several Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area non-pollock trawl groundfish fisheries among fishing sectors, established a limited access privilege program, and facilitated the formation of harvesting cooperatives in the non-American Fisheries Act (non-AFA) trawl catcher/processor sector. The Amendment 80 Fishery Management Plan applies retention standards on an aggregate basis to all activities of a cooperative, allowing participants within the cooperative to coordinate fishing and retention practices across the cooperative to meet the retention requirements.

    II. Method of Collection

    Information may be submitted online at http://www.alaskafisheries.noaa.gov or submitted as an attachment to email to [email protected] Applications are “fillable” on the computer screen at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/sustainablefisheries/amds/80/default.htm#apps, then downloaded, printed, faxed or mailed to NMFS.

    III. Data

    OMB Control Number: 0648-0565.

    Form Number(s): None.

    Type of Review: Regular submission (extension of a currently approved information collection).

    Affected Public: Individuals or households; business or other for-profit organizations.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 37.

    Estimated Time per Response: 2 hours each for Application for Amend 80 QS; Application for Amend 80 Cooperative and CQ Permit; Application for Amend 80 limited access fishery; Application to transfer Amend 80 QS; Application for Amendment 80 Vessel Replacement and Application for inter-cooperative transfer Amend 80 CQ; 25 hours for Amend 80 cooperative report; 4 hours for Amend 80 appeals letter; 30 minutes for Flatfish Exchange Application.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 204.

    Estimated Total Annual Cost to Public: $544 in recordkeeping/reporting costs.

    IV. Request for Comments

    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 (including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (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.

    Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for OMB approval of this information collection; they also will become a matter of public record.

    Dated: July 9, 2015. Sarah Brabson, NOAA PRA Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17194 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XE039 Notice of Intent To Conduct Public Scoping and Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for Five Early Winter Steelhead Hatchery Programs in Puget Sound AGENCY:

    National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement; request for comments; notice of public workshops.

    SUMMARY:

    Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), this notice announces that NMFS intends to obtain information necessary to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for five Hatchery and Genetic Management Plans (HGMPs) for early winter steelhead hatchery programs jointly submitted by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), with the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe, the Lummi Nation, the Nooksack Tribe, the Stillaguamish Tribes, and the Tulalip Tribes (referred to as the co-managers) for NMFS's evaluation and determination under Limit 6 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) 4(d) Rule for threatened salmon and steelhead. The HGMPs specify the propagation of early-returning (“early”) winter steelhead in the Dungeness, Nooksack, Stillaguamish, Skykomish, and Snoqualmie River watersheds in Washington State.

    NMFS provides this notice to advise other agencies and the public of its plans to analyze effects related to the action, and obtain suggestions and information that may be useful to the scope of issues and alternatives to include in the EIS. Two public workshops will be held in July 2015 for this action.

    DATES:

    Written or electronic scoping comments must be received at the appropriate address or email mailbox (see ADDRESSES) no later than 5 p.m. Pacific Time August 13, 2015. The public workshops will be held between July 20, 2015 and July 22, 2015 (see PUBLIC WORKSHOPS).

    ADDRESSES:

    Written comments may be sent by any of the following methods:

    • Email to the following address: [email protected] with the following identifier in the subject line: Early Winter Steelhead Hatcheries EIS.

    • Mail or hand-deliver to NMFS Sustainable Fisheries Division, 510 Desmond Drive SE., Suite 103, Lacey, WA 98503.

    • Fax to (360) 753-9517.

    Comments received will be available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the above address. All Personal Identifying Information (for example, name, address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit Confidential Business Information or otherwise sensitive or protected information.
    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Steve Leider, NMFS, by phone at (360) 753-4650, or email to [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    ESA-Listed Species Covered in This Notice

    Steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss): threatened, naturally and artificially produced in Puget Sound.

    Chinook salmon (O. tshawytscha): threatened, naturally and artificially produced in Puget Sound.

    Chum salmon (O. keta): threatened, naturally and artificially produced Hood Canal summer-run.

    Bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus): threatened Puget Sound/Washington Coast.

    Background

    On March 26, 2015 (80 FR 15985), NMFS announced the availability of a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) pursuant to NEPA (42 U.S.C. et seq.), for three HGMPs for early-returning (early winter) steelhead hatchery programs in the Dungeness, Nooksack, and Stillaguamish River basins, submitted to NMFS by the co-managers. A 30-day public comment period was extended to May 4, 2015 for a total comment period of 37 days (80 FR 22973, April 24, 2015). NMFS received and considered comments on the EA and, has subsequently decided to prepare an EIS to evaluate effects on the human environment of the three early winter steelhead hatchery programs in the Dungeness, Nooksack, and Stillaguamish River watersheds in Washington State. In the EIS, NMFS will also evaluate three additional early winter steelhead HGMPs for hatchery programs in the Skykomish and Snoqualmie Rivers in the Snohomish River watershed in Puget Sound. All of the programs would release early winter steelhead that are not included as part of the ESA-listed Puget Sound Steelhead Distinct Population Segment, and that are not native to the watersheds in which they would be released.

    NEPA requires Federal agencies to conduct environmental analyses of proposed actions to determine if the actions may affect the human environment. NMFS's action of evaluating the co-managers' HGMPs, pursuant to the limitation on take prohibitions for actions conducted under Limit 6 of the 4(d) Rule for salmon and steelhead promulgated under the ESA, is a major Federal action subject to environmental review under NEPA. Therefore, NMFS is seeking public input on the scope of the required NEPA analysis, including the range of reasonable alternatives, recommendations for relevant analysis methods, and information associated with impacts of the alternatives to the resources listed below or other relevant resources.

    NMFS will perform an environmental review of the HGMPs and prepare an EIS that will identify potentially significant direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts on the following resources identified to have a potential for effect from the proposed action:

    • Listed and Non-listed Species and their habitats • Water Quantity • Socioeconomics • Environmental Justice • Cumulative Impacts

    NMFS will rigorously explore and objectively evaluate a full range of reasonable alternatives in the EIS, including the proposed action (implementation of the co-managers' HGMPs) and a no-action alternative. Additional alternatives could include the following: (1) A decrease in artificial production of 50 percent, and (2) a change in program type from isolated (i.e., producing hatchery-origin fish that are intended to be reproductively segregated and different from the natural-origin population) to integrated (i.e., producing hatchery-origin fish that are intended to be similar to and part of the natural-origin population) programs that would use native steelhead for broodstock.

    For all potentially significant impacts, the EIS will identify measures to avoid, minimize, and mitigate the impacts, where feasible, to a level below significance.

    Request for Comments

    NMFS provides this notice to: (1) Advise other agencies and the public of its plans to analyze effects related to the action, and (2) obtain suggestions and information that may be useful to the scope of issues and the full range of alternatives to include in the EIS. In addition to considering comments received in response to this notice in developing an EIS, relevant comments received on the 2015 draft EA for three early winter steelhead hatchery programs (80 FR 15985, March 26, 2015), and on the 2014 draft EIS for Puget Sound salmon and steelhead hatcheries (80 FR 15986, March 26, 2015) will also be considered in developing the EIS.

    NMFS invites comment from all interested parties to ensure that the full range of issues related to the early winter steelhead HGMPs is identified. Comments should be as specific as possible.

    Written comments concerning the proposed action and the environmental review should be directed to NMFS as described above (see ADDRESSES). All comments and materials received, including names and addresses, will become part of the administrative record and may be released to the public.

    Public Workshops

    Two public workshops will be offered to assist in gathering information on development of the EIS. Those workshops will be held as follows; further information regarding the workshops may be found at http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/hatcheries/salmon_and_steelhead_hatcheries.html.

    Monday, July 20, 2015 6 to 8 p.m., Skagit Public Utilities District, Aqua Room, 1415 Freeway Drive, Mt Vernon, Washington Tuesday, July 21, 2015 6 to 8 p.m., Lynnwood Convention Center, 3711 196th St SW., Lynnwood, Washington Authority

    The environmental review of the early winter steelhead HGMPS will be conducted in accordance with requirements of the NEPA of 1969 as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), NEPA Regulations (40 CFR parts 1500-1508), other appropriate Federal laws and regulations, and policies and procedures of NMFS for compliance with those regulations. This notice is being furnished in accordance with 40 CFR 1501.7 to obtain suggestions and information from other agencies and the public on the scope of issues and alternatives to be addressed in the EIS.

    Dated: July 8, 2015. Angela Somma, Chief, Endangered Species Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17156 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [RIN 0648-XE046] Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC); Public Meeting AGENCY:

    National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice of public meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council's (Council) Atlantic Bluefish Advisory Panel will hold a public meeting.

    DATES:

    The meeting will be held on July 28, 2015, from 10 a.m. until noon.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will be held via webinar with a telephone-only connection option. Details on webinar registration and telephone-only connection details are available at: http://www.mafmc.org.

    Council address: Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 800 North State Street, Suite 201, Dover, DE 19901; telephone: (302) 674-2331.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Christopher M. Moore Ph.D., Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 800 N. State Street, Suite 201, Dover, DE 19901; telephone: (302) 526-5255.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council's (MAFMC) Atlantic Bluefish Advisory Panel (AP) will meet jointly with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's (ASMFC) Atlantic Bluefish AP. The purpose of this meeting is to review and comment on the reports of the MAFMC's Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) and the Bluefish Monitoring Committee meetings held in July 2015. The MAFMC and the ASMFC will consider the input from the Bluefish AP in August when setting fishery specifications (i.e. catch and landings limits and management measures) for 2016-2018.

    Special Accommodations

    These meetings are physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aid should be directed to M. Jan Saunders, (302) 526-5251, at least 5 days prior to the meeting date.

    Dated: July 9, 2015. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17216 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Release of the Draft 2015 Edition of the U.S. Arctic Nautical Charting Plan AGENCY:

    Office of Coast Survey, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Department of Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The NOAA Office of Coast Survey has released a draft of the 2015 edition of the U.S. Arctic Nautical Charting Plan. The plan provides information about three topics: NOAA electronic navigational chart (NOAA ENC®) coverage in U.S. Arctic waters, progress on publishing new Arctic charts, and specifications for eleven proposed new charts. The primary purpose of the plan is to propose new chart coverage in the U.S. Arctic and to encourage feedback from stakeholders on the extent, scale, and other aspects of the proposed new coverage. Coast Survey invites written comments about this latest edition which is available from http://nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/arcticplan.

    DATES:

    Comments are due by midnight, October 1, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Mail written comments to National Ocean Service, NOAA (N/CS2), Attention: U.S. Arctic Nautical Charting Plan, 1315 East-West Highway Silver Spring, MD 20910-3282. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for how to comment electronically.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Colby Harmon, telephone 301-713-2737, ext.187; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    You are invited to comment on the U.S. Arctic Nautical Charting Plan through NOAA's Nautical Discrepancy Report System at http://ocsdata.ncd.noaa.gov/idrs/discrepancy.aspx. In the “OTHER PRODUCTS” box, enter “U.S. Arctic Nautical Charting Plan.” Enter your comments, suggestions, or questions in the “DESCRIPTION OF DISCREPANCY” box.

    For the first time, the U.S. Arctic Nautical Charting Plan provides information about existing, recently added, and proposed new electronic navigational chart (ENC) coverage in U.S. Arctic waters. A series of graphics depicts the existing extent of different usage (or scale) bands of ENC coverage. Recently added and proposed new ENC coverage is based on existing or proposed raster (traditional paper) chart footprints, although the final extent and display scale of the ENCs may vary slightly from their corresponding raster chart counterparts. NOAA will soon close a significant gap in small-scale ENC coverage and is adding new large-scale Arctic ENC cells.

    Coast Survey released the first edition of the U.S. Arctic Nautical Charting Plan in 2011. Three of the raster charts identified in the original plan have now been published. Two of these have large-scale insets. The “Progress Report” section of the plan details these charts and provides links to an online viewer for these charts.

    Coast Survey's plan recommends making 11 new charts in the Arctic to complement existing chart coverage. Seven of the charts will fill gaps in medium-scale chart coverage from the Alaska Peninsula to Cape Lisburne at the edge of the North Slope. Other larger scale charts will provide for safer passage though the Etolin and Bering Straits and for entry into harbors such as Barrow, the northernmost town in the United States. The “Proposed New Raster Charts” section of the plan provides detailed specifications for each of the proposed new charts. The specifications include scale, geographic extent, an image of the chart footprint, and other information.

    Authority:

    33 U.S.C. Chapter 17, Coast and Geodetic Survey Act of 1947.

    Dated: June 22, 2015. Rear Admiral Gerd Glang, Director, Office of Coast Survey, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17243 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Telecommunications and Information Administration Multistakeholder Process To Develop Best Practices for Privacy, Transparency, and Accountability Regarding Commercial and Private Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems AGENCY:

    National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice of open meetings.

    SUMMARY:

    The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will convene meetings of a multistakeholder process concerning privacy, transparency, and accountability issues regarding commercial and private use of unmanned aircraft systems. This Notice announces the meetings to be held in August, September, October, and November 2015. The first meeting is scheduled for August 3, 2015.

    DATES:

    The meetings will be held on August 3, 2015; September 24, 2015; October 21, 2015; and November 20, 2015 from 1 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for details.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meetings will be held in the Boardroom at the American Institute of Architects, 1735 New York Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20006.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    John Verdi, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Room 4725, Washington, DC 20230; telephone (202) 482-8238; email [email protected]. Please direct media inquiries to NTIA's Office of Public Affairs, (202) 482-7002; email [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background: Congress recognized the potential wide-ranging benefits of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) operations within the United States in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (Pub. L. 112-95), which requires a plan to safely integrate civil UAS into the National Airspace System (NAS) by 2015. Compared to manned aircraft, UAS may provide lower-cost operation and augment existing capabilities while reducing risks to human life. Estimates suggest the positive economic impact to U.S. industry of the integration of UAS into the NAS could be substantial and likely will grow for the foreseeable future.1 UAS may be able to provide a variety of commercial services less expensively than manned aircraft, including aerial photography and farm management, while reducing or eliminating safety risks to aircraft operators. In addition, UAS may be able to provide some commercial services that would be impossible for manned aircraft. For example, improvements in technology may allow small UAS to deliver packages to homes and businesses where manned aircraft cannot land, and high-altitude UAS could provide Internet service to remote areas by remaining aloft for months at a time—far longer than manned aircraft.

    1 Presidential Memorandum, Promoting Economic Competitiveness While Safeguarding Privacy, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties in Domestic Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems, (Feb. 15, 2015), available at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/02/15/presidential-memorandum-promoting-economic-competitiveness-while-safegua.

    On February 15, 2015, President Obama issued the Presidential Memorandum “Promoting Economic Competitiveness While Safeguarding Privacy, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties in Domestic Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems.” The Presidential Memorandum states: “As UAS are integrated into the NAS, the Federal Government will take steps to ensure that the integration takes into account not only our economic competitiveness and public safety, but also the privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties concerns these systems may raise.” 2 The Presidential Memorandum establishes a “multi-stakeholder engagement process to develop and communicate best practices for privacy, accountability, and transparency issues regarding commercial and private UAS use in the NAS.” 3 The process will include stakeholders from industry, civil society, and academia, and will be initiated by the Department of Commerce, through NTIA, and in consultation with other interested agencies.

    2 Presidential Memorandum at 1.

    3 Presidential Memorandum at 4.

    On March 5, 2015, NTIA sought public comment on three broad questions: (1) What privacy, transparency, and accountability issues concerning UAS are the highest priorities for stakeholders to address; (2) how might best practices address those issues; and (3) how should stakeholders' work be structured as the group works openly and transparently toward consensus.4 More than fifty commenters filed responses.5 Individuals and entities in the commercial, academic, civil society, and government sectors filed comments. The comments highlight a range of issues that might be addressed through the multistakeholder process and suggest various ways in which the group's work might be structured.

    4 NTIA, Request for Public Comment, Privacy, Transparency, and Accountability Regarding Commercial and Private Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems, 80 FR 11978 (March 5, 2015), available at: http://www.ntia.doc.gov/federal-register-notice/2015/request-comments-privacy-transparency-and-accountability-regarding-comm.

    5 NTIA has posted the public comments received at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/federal-register-notice/2015/comments-privacy-transparency-and-accountability-regarding-commercial-a.

    NTIA will convene stakeholders in an open and transparent forum to develop consensus best practices for utilization by commercial and private UAS operators. For this process, commercial and private use includes the use of UAS for commercial purposes as civil aircraft, even if the use would qualify a UAS as a public aircraft under 49 U.S.C. 40102(a)(41) and 40125. The process will not focus on law enforcement or other noncommercial governmental use of UAS.

    NTIA is convening this process to address privacy concerns raised by commercial and private UAS. UAS can enable aerial data collection that is more sustained, pervasive, and invasive than manned flight; at the same time, UAS flights can reduce costs, provide novel services, and promote economic growth. These attributes create opportunities for innovation, but also pose privacy challenges regarding collection, use, retention, and dissemination of data collected by UAS. NTIA encourages stakeholders to work together within the NTIA process to identify safeguards that mitigate the privacy challenges posed by commercial and private UAS use, and to include appropriate safeguards in a stakeholder-drafted best practices document.

    The NTIA-convened process is intended to promote transparent UAS operation by companies and individuals. Transparent operation can include identifying the entities that operate particular UAS, the purposes of UAS flights, and the data practices associated with UAS operations. Transparent UAS operation can enhance privacy and bolster other values. Transparency can help property owners identify UAS if an aircraft erroneously operates or lands on private property. Transparency can also facilitate reports of UAS operations that cause nuisances or appear unsafe. NTIA encourages stakeholders to work together within the NTIA process to identify transparency mechanisms, such as standardized physical markings (in addition to the markings required by the FAA for purposes of registration) or electronic identifiers, which could promote transparent UAS operation, and to include appropriate mechanisms in a stakeholder-drafted best practices document.

    The NTIA-convened process is intended to promote accountable UAS operation by companies and individuals. UAS operators can employ accountability mechanisms to help ensure that privacy protections and transparency policies are enforced within an organization. Accountability mechanisms can include rules regarding oversight and privacy training for UAS pilots, as well as policies for how companies and individuals operate UAS and handle data collected by UAS. Accountability programs can also employ audits, assessments, and internal or external reports to verify UAS operators' compliance with their privacy and transparency commitments. Accountability mechanisms can be implemented by companies, model aircraft clubs, UAS training programs, or others. NTIA encourages stakeholders to work together within the NTIA process to identify mechanisms that can promote accountable UAS operation, and to include appropriate accountability mechanisms in a stakeholder-drafted best practices document.

    NTIA's role in the multistakeholder process is to provide a forum for discussion and consensus-building among stakeholders. When stakeholders disagree, NTIA's role is to help the parties reach clarity on what their positions are and whether there are options for compromise toward consensus, rather than substituting NTIA's own judgment.

    Matters To Be Considered: The August 3, 2015 meeting will be the first in a series of NTIA-convened multistakeholder discussions concerning privacy, transparency, and accountability issues regarding commercial and private use of UAS. Subsequent meetings will follow on September 24, 2015; October 21, 2015; and November 20, 2015. Additional meetings will be scheduled as needed. Stakeholders will engage in an open, transparent, consensus-driven process to develop best practices for privacy, accountability, and transparency issues regarding commercial and private UAS use in the NAS.

    The objectives of the August 3, 2015, meeting are to: (1) Briefly review the current regulatory environment for commercial UAS operation; (2) briefly discuss the range of commercial uses of UAS; (3) engage stakeholders in a discussion of high-priority substantive issues stakeholders believe should be addressed by best practices for privacy, transparency, and accountability for UAS operation; and (4) engage stakeholders in a discussion of logistical issues, including the potential establishment of working groups and identification of concrete goals and stakeholder work between the August and September meetings. This first meeting is intended to provide stakeholders with factual background regarding how UAS technology is currently used by businesses and individuals, how the technology might be employed in the near future, and what privacy, transparency, and accountability issues might be raised by the technology. NTIA will publish an agenda in advance of the August 3, 2015 meeting.

    The main objective of the September 24, 2015; October 21, 2015; and November 20, 2015 meetings is to encourage and facilitate continued discussion among stakeholders concerning a best practices document that sets forth privacy, transparency, and accountability practices for commercial and individual UAS operation. This discussion may include circulation of stakeholder-developed straw-man drafts and discussion of the appropriate scope of best practices. Stakeholders may also agree on procedural work plans for the group, including additional meetings or modified logistics for future meetings.

    NTIA suggests that stakeholders consider “freezing” the draft code of conduct after the November 20, 2015 meeting in order to facilitate external review of the draft. Stakeholders would then likely reconvene the group in December 2015 or January 2016 to take account of external feedback. More information about stakeholders' work will be available at: http://www.ntia.doc.gov/other-publication/2015/multistakeholder-process-unmanned-aircraft-systems.

    Time and Date: NTIA will convene meetings of the multistakeholder process regarding unmanned aircraft systems on August 3, 2015; September 24, 2015; October 21, 2015; and November 20, 2015, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time. The meeting dates and times are subject to change. The meetings are subject to cancelation if stakeholders complete their work developing a code of conduct. Please refer to NTIA's Web site, http://www.ntia.doc.gov/other-publication/2015/multistakeholder-process-unmanned-aircraft-systems, for the most current information.

    Place: The meeting will be held in the Boardroom at the American Institute of Architects, 1735 New York Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20006. The location of the meetings is subject to change. Please refer to NTIA's Web site, http://www.ntia.doc.gov/other-publication/2015/multistakeholder-process-unmanned-aircraft-systems, for the most current information.

    Other Information: The meetings are open to the public and the press. The meetings are physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to John Verdi at (202) 482-8238 or [email protected] at least seven (7) business days prior to each meeting. The meetings will also be webcast. Requests for real-time captioning of the webcast or other auxiliary aids should be directed to John Verdi at (202) 482-8238 or [email protected] at least seven (7) business days prior to each meeting. There will be an opportunity for stakeholders viewing the webcast to participate remotely in the meetings through a moderated conference bridge, including polling functionality. Access details for the meetings are subject to change. Please refer to NTIA's Web site, http://www.ntia.doc.gov/other-publication/2015/multistakeholder-process-unmanned-aircraft-systems, for the most current information.

    Dated: July 9, 2015. Milton Brown, Acting Chief Counsel, National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17206 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-60-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary [Transmittal No. 15-25] 36(b)(1) Arms Sales Notification AGENCY:

    Defense Security Cooperation Agency, DoD.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Defense is publishing the unclassified text of a section 36(b)(1) arms sales notification. This is published to fulfill the requirements of section 155 of Public Law 104-164 dated July 21, 1996.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Sarah A. Ragan or Heather N. Harwell, DSCA/LMO, (703) 604-1546/(703) 607-5339. The following is a copy of a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Transmittal 15-25 with attached Policy Justification.

    Dated: July 9, 2015. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense. BILLING CODE 5001-06-C EN14JY15.010 BILLING CODE 5001-06-P Transmittal No. 15-25 Notice of Proposed Issuance of Letter of Offer Pursuant to Section 36(b)(1) of the Arms Export Control Act, as amended

    (i) Prospective Purchaser: Egypt

    (ii) Total Estimated Value:

    Major Defense Equipment * $ 0 million Other $100 million TOTAL $100 million

    (iii) Description and Quantity of Articles or Services under Consideration for Purchase: procurement and construction of one (1) commercial off-the-shelf border security mobile surveillance sensor security system that will include the following sub-systems: mobile surveillance sensor towers, mobile command and control (C2) systems, a regional C2 system, voice/data communications equipment, spare parts, support equipment, personnel training, training equipment, publications and technical documentation, U.S. Government and contractor technical and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics and program support.

    (iv) Military Department: Air Force (DAB)

    (v) Prior Related Cases, if any: None

    (vi) Sales Commission, Fee, etc., Paid, Offered, or Agreed to be Paid: None

    (vii) Sensitivity of Technology Contained in the Defense Article or Defense Services Proposed to be Sold: None.

    (viii) Date Report Delivered to Congress: 07 JULY 2015

    * As defined in Section 47(6) of the Arms Export Control Act.

    POLICY JUSTIFICATION Egypt—Border Security Mobile Surveillance Sensor Security System

    The Government of Egypt has requested a possible sale for procurement and construction of one (1) commercial off-the-shelf border security mobile surveillance sensor security system that will include the following sub-systems: mobile surveillance sensor towers, mobile command and control (C2) systems, a regional C2 system, voice/data communications equipment, spare parts, support equipment, personnel training, training equipment, publications and technical documentation, U.S. Government and contractor technical and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics and program support. The estimated cost is $100 million.

    This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a friendly country that has been and continues to be an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East.

    This mobile surveillance sensor security system will provide Egypt with advanced capabilities intended to bolster its border surveillance capabilities along its border with Libya and elsewhere. This procurement is intended for Egyptian Border Guard Forces, which currently lack any remote detection capability along unpatrolled areas of Egypt's borders. This system would provide an early warning capability to allow for faster response times to mitigate threats to the border guards and the civilian population. Egypt should have no difficulty absorbing these systems into its armed forces.

    The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

    The principal contractor is undetermined at this time and will be determined during negotiations. There are no known offset arrangements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

    Implementation of this proposed sale will not require the assignment of any additional U.S. Government or contractor representatives to Egypt. However, the proposed sale will require periodic travel to Egypt by multiple U.S. Government and contractor representatives' for program and technical review meetings, testing, and training for a period of up to 5 years.

    There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.

    [FR Doc. 2015-17204 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION [Docket No.: ED-2015-ICCD-0056] Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Comment Request; An Impact Evaluation of Training in Multi-Tiered Systems of Support for Behavior (MTSS-B) AGENCY:

    Institute of Education Sciences/National Center for Education Evaluation (IES/NCEE), 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 a new information collection.

    DATES:

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before August 13, 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-0056 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 2E103, Washington, DC 20202.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For specific questions related to collection activities, please contact Lauren Angelo, 202-219-2180.

    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: An Impact Evaluation of Training in Multi-Tiered Systems of Support for Behavior (MTSS-B).

    OMB Control Number: 1850—NEW.

    Type of Review: A new information collection.

    Respondents/Affected Public: Individuals or Households.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 12,343.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 5,909.

    Abstract: This submission requests approval of data collection activities that will be used to support An Impact Evaluation of Training in Multi-Tiered Systems of Support for Behavior (MTSS-B). The evaluation will estimate the impact on school staff practices, school climate, and student outcomes of providing training and support in the MTSS-B framework plus universal (Tier I) positive behavior supports and targeted (Tier II) interventions.

    Dated: July 9, 2015. Stephanie Valentine, Acting Director, Information Collection Clearance Division, Office of the Chief Privacy Officer, Office of Management.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17218 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION [Docket No.: ED-2015-ICCD-0091] Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-11 (ECLS-K:2011) Spring Fifth-Grade National Data Collection AGENCY:

    Institute of Education Sciences/National Center For Education Statistics (NCES), 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 a revision of an existing information collection.

    DATES:

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before September 14, 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-0091 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 2E105, Washington, DC 20202.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For specific questions related to collection activities, please contact Kashka Kubzdela, 202-502-7411.

    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: Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-11 (ECLS-K:2011) Spring Fifth-Grade National Data Collection.

    OMB Control Number: 1850-0750.

    Type of Review: A revision of an existing information collection.

    Respondents/Affected Public: Individuals.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 99,576.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 36,108.

    Abstract: The Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-11 (ECLS-K:2011), conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) within the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the U.S. Department of Education (ED), is a survey that focuses on children's early school experiences beginning with kindergarten and continuing through the fifth grade. It includes the collection of data from parents, teachers, school administrators, and nonparental care providers, as well as direct child assessments. Like its sister study, the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-99 (ECLS-K), the ECLS-K:2011 is exceptionally broad in its scope and coverage of child development, early learning, and school progress, drawing together information from multiple sources to provide rich data about the population of children who were kindergartners in the 2010-11 school year. This submission requests OMB's clearance for the spring 2016 fifth-grade data collection, which will be the last data collection for the study.

    Dated: July 9, 2015. Stephanie Valentine, Acting Director, Information Collection Clearance Division, Office of the Chief Privacy Officer, Office of Management.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17217 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION [Docket No.: ED-2015-ICCD-0051] Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Comment Request; U.S. Department of Education Pre-Authorized Debit Account Brochure and Application AGENCY:

    Federal Student Aid (FSA), 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 13, 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-0051 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 2E105, Washington, DC 20202.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For specific questions related to collection activities, please contact Beth Grebeldinger 202-377-4018.

    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: U.S. Department of Education Pre-Authorized Debit Account Brochure and Application.

    OMB Control Number: 1845-0025.

    Type of Review: An extension of an existing information collection.

    Respondents/Affected Public: Individuals or Households.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 1,600.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 133.

    Abstract: The Preauthorized Debit Account Brochure and Application (PDA Application) serves as the means by which an individual with a defaulted federal education debt (student loan or grant overpayment) that is held by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) requests and authorizes the automatic debiting of payments toward satisfaction of the debt from the borrower's checking or savings account. The PDA Application explains the automatic debiting process and collects the individual's authorization for the automatic debiting and the bank account information needed by ED to debit the individual's account.

    Dated: July 8, 2015. Stephanie Valentine, Acting Director, Information Collection Clearance Division, Office of the Chief Privacy Officer, Office of Management.
    [FR Doc. 2015-17157 Filed 7-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Bonneville Power Administration Record of Decision; Electrical Interconnection of the Whistling Ridge Energy Project AGENCY:

    Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), Department of Energy (DOE).

    ACTION:

    Record of Decision (ROD).

    SUMMARY:

    The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) has decided to implement its part of the Proposed Action identified in the Whistling Ridge Energy Project Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) (DOE/EIS-0419, August 2011). Under the Proposed Action, BPA will offer Whistling Ridge Energy LLC (WRE) contract terms for interconnection of WRE's planned Whistling Ridge Energy Project (Wind Project) with the FCRTS. WRE's Wind Project will be an up to 75-megawatt (MW) wind energy facility located in Skamania County, Washington. WRE has received approval to construct and operate the Wind Project from the Governor of the State of Washington, based on the recommendation of the Washington Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC), which is the siting authority for the Wind Project.

    To allow the interconnection of WRE's Wind Project to the FCRTS, BPA will construct and operate a new 230-kilovolt (kV) substation and associated facilities that will connect the Wind Project to BPA's existing North Bonneville-Midway 230-kV transmission line, which passes through the southern portion of the Wind Project site.1 These interconnection facilities will be located entirely within the boundaries of the Wind Project site. BPA also will execute a Large Generation Interconnection Agreement (LGIA) with WRE to provide interconnection services for the Wind Project.

    1 This Record of Decision generally uses the term “Wind Project” to refer to all aspects of WRE's proposal except for the BPA interconnection facilities, and uses the term “Project” in referring to both the Wind Project and the BPA interconnection facilities. In this Record of Decision, “Interconnection facilities” may include any network upgrades or transmission provider interconnection facilities that are necessary to support the interconnection of the Wind Project.

    ADDRESSES:

    This Record of Decision will be available to all interested parties and affected persons and agencies and is being sent to all stakeholders who requested a copy. Copies of the Whistling Ridge Energy Project Draft and Final EISs, the Supplement Analysis that has been prepared, and additional copies of this document can be obtained from BPA's Public Information Center, P.O. Box 3621, Portland, Oregon, 97208-3621. Copies of these documents may also be obtained by calling BPA's nationwide toll-free request line at 1-800-622-4520, or by accessing BPA's Project Web site at www.bpa.gov/go/whistling.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Amy Gardner, Transmission Project Manager, Bonneville Power Administration—TEP-TPP-1, P.O. Box 61409, Vancouver, WA 98666-1409; toll-free telephone number 1-800-622-4519; or email [email protected] or Katey Grange, Environmental Protection Specialist, Bonneville Power Administration—KEC-4, P.O. Box 3621, Portland, Oregon, 97208-3621; toll-free telephone number 1-800-622-4519; or email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background BPA and FCRTS Interconnection Requests

    BPA is a federal agency that owns and operates the majority of the high-voltage electric transmission system in the Pacific Northwest. This system is known as the FCRTS. BPA has adopted an Open Access Transmission Tariff (tariff) for transmission and interconnection services on the FCRTS, generally consistent with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) pro forma open access tariff.2

    2 Although BPA is not subject to FERC's jurisdiction, BPA follows the open access tariff as a matter of national policy. This course of action ensures that BPA will receive reciprocal and non-discriminatory access to the transmission systems of utilities that are subject to FERC's jurisdiction.

    BPA's tariff establishes processes for accepting requests to interconnect to the FCRTS, conducting interconnection studies and environmental reviews for these requests, and offering LGIAs on a first-come, first served basis in response to the requests. For all requests for interconnection of generating facilities that exceed 20 MW, BPA has adopted processes that are generally consistent with FERC's Order No. 2003, Standardization of Large Generator Interconnection Agreement and Procedures, and Order No. 661, Interconnection for Wind Energy. Orders No. 2003 and 661 provide a uniform process and agreement for studying and offering interconnection to wind generating facilities exceeding 20 MW. In its Order No. 2003 compliance filing, BPA included provisions in its Large Generator Interconnection Procedures (LGIP) that reflect BPA's obligation to complete environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of a proposed large generation interconnection before deciding whether to offer a LGIA to the party requesting interconnection.

    Although BPA accepts requests for interconnection of proposed and existing generating facilities to the FCRTS, BPA does not have siting authority or regulatory jurisdiction over these facilities. That is the purview of appropriate state and local entities, and BPA acknowledges and respects the authority and jurisdiction of these entities on generation facility siting matters.

    WRE's Application and EIS Process

    In 2009, WRE 3 submitted an Application for Site Certification to Washington EFSEC to construct and operate the Whistling Ridge Energy Project in Skamania County, Washington. EFSEC is a Washington state agency that was created to provide a “one-stop” state licensing agency for certain energy facilities in Washington. As such, EFSEC has siting authority over these energy facilities, and parties proposing to construct and operate any such facility must apply to EFSEC for siting review. In addition, energy facilities that exclusively use alternative energy resources (such as wind, solar, geothermal, landfill gas, wave or tidal action, or biomass energy) can “opt-in” to the EFSEC review and certification process. In the case of the Wind Project, WRE elected to opt in to the EFSEC process through submittal of its application.4 WRE's application identified a proposed wind energy facility consisting of up to 50 wind turbines that could each range in size from 1.2 to 2.5 MW, with a total installed capacity of up to approximately 75 MW. The proposal also included an Operations and Maintenance (O&M) facility, an electrical collector substation, underground collector lines and systems, and other ancillary facilities.

    3 WRE is a limited liability company created by SDS Lumber Company.

    4 More information about Washington EFSEC's siting review process for the Whistling Ridge Energy Project is available at the EFSEC Web site at: http://www.efsec.wa.gov/whistling%20ridge.shtml.

    In addition to applying to EFSEC for siting of its Wind Project, WRE submitted a request to BPA to interconnect the Wind Project to the FCRTS. BPA processed the request under its LGIP, including conducting interconnection studies and environmental review of the proposed interconnection.

    To meet respective obligations under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) and NEPA, Washington EFSEC and BPA decided to conduct a joint environmental review and prepare a joint EIS under SEPA and NEPA for the Wind Project and proposed interconnection. BPA formally initiated the NEPA EIS process by publishing a Notice of Intent to prepare an EIS in the Federal Register (74 FR 18213) in April 2009. The Notice of Intent described the proposal and the respective roles of Washington EFSEC and BPA, and explained the environmental process and how to submit scoping comments for the Draft EIS. At the same time, BPA also sent a letter that also provided this information to approximately 250 individuals. During the EIS scoping period, BPA and EFSEC jointly conducted two public informational and EIS scoping meetings in Stevenson, Washington, and Underwood, Washington. BPA also established a Web site (www.bpa.gov/go/whistling) with information about the project and the EIS process. Comments received during scoping are described in more detail in Chapter 1 of the Final EIS and in the EIS Scoping Report (August 2009) prepared by EFSEC in consultation with BPA.5

    5 The EIS Scoping Report is available at the Washington EFSEC Web site at: http://www.efsec.wa.gov/Whistling%20Ridge/SEPA/WR%20Environmental.shtml.

    In May 2010, BPA and EFSEC issued the Draft EIS for public review and comment. In addition to distributing the Draft EIS to individuals, organizations, and agencies who had previously requested it, BPA posted the Draft EIS at the BPA project Web site and sent letters announcing its availability to potentially interested parties. A Notice of Availability of the Draft EIS also was published in the Federal Register (75 FR 30023) on May 28, 2010. BPA and EFSEC initially established a 45-day review and comment period for the Draft EIS, but later extended the comment period for an additional 39 days (for a total 84-day Draft EIS comment period) based on public requests. During the Draft EIS comment period, BPA and EFSEC held two public meetings in Stevenson and Underwood, Washington to help explain the Draft EIS and to accept public comments.

    BPA and EFSEC received a total of 608 comment letters on the Draft EIS. From these letters and the two Draft EIS public meetings, BPA and EFSEC identified approximately 2,100 individual comments. After careful consideration of all of these comments, BPA and EFSEC issued the Final EIS for the Project in August 2011. The Final EIS responded to all comments received on the Draft EIS and made necessary corrections and revisions to the EIS text. As with the Draft EIS, BPA distributed the Final EIS to individuals, organizations, and agencies who had previously requested it, posted it at the BPA project Web site, and sent out letters announcing its availability to potentially interested parties. A Notice of Availability of the Final EIS also was published in the Federal Register (76 FR 54767) on September 2, 2011.

    EFSEC's Adjudicative Proceeding

    Concurrent with preparation of the EIS for the Project, EFSEC also held an adjudicative proceeding for WRE's application under Chapter 34.05 of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) as part of its siting review process for the Wind Project. EFSEC's adjudicatory proceedings are a formal hearing process similar to a courtroom proceeding, in which the applicant and opponents are allowed the opportunity to