Federal Register Vol. 80, No.169,

Federal Register Volume 80, Issue 169 (September 1, 2015)

Page Range52605-52933
FR Document

80_FR_169
Current View
Page and SubjectPDF
80 FR 52753 - Sunshine Act; Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 52793 - Government in the Sunshine Act Meeting NoticePDF
80 FR 52780 - Intent To Request Renewal From OMB of One Current Public Collection of Information: TSA Airspace Waiver ProgramPDF
80 FR 52778 - Intent To Request Renewal From OMB of One Current Public Collection of Information: Airport SecurityPDF
80 FR 52676 - Energy Conservation Program: Test Procedures for Small, Large, and Very Large Air-Cooled Commercial Package Air Conditioning and Heating EquipmentPDF
80 FR 52622 - Security Zone, Seward, AKPDF
80 FR 52734 - Dakota Prairie Grasslands, North Dakota; Oil and Gas Development Supplemental Environmental Impact StatementPDF
80 FR 52625 - Safety Zone, Schuylkill River; Philadelphia, PAPDF
80 FR 52620 - Safety Zone; Unexploded Ordnance Removal, Vero Beach, FLPDF
80 FR 52811 - Sunshine Act MeetingPDF
80 FR 52810 - Governors; Sunshine Act MeetingPDF
80 FR 52737 - National Defense Stockpile Market Impact Committee Request for Public Comments on the Potential Market Impact of the Proposed Fiscal Year 2017 Annual Materials PlanPDF
80 FR 52633 - Suspension of Community EligibilityPDF
80 FR 52775 - Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands; Amendment No. 2 to Notice of a Major Disaster DeclarationPDF
80 FR 52737 - Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) 148-Knoxville, Tennessee; Authorization of Production Activity, CoLinx, LLC (Bearing Units), Crossville, TennesseePDF
80 FR 52748 - President's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific IslandersPDF
80 FR 52780 - 30-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Strong Cities Strong Communities National Resource NetworkPDF
80 FR 52783 - Additional Clarifying Guidance, Waivers, and Alternative Requirements for Grantees in Receipt of Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Funds Under the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013: CorrectionPDF
80 FR 52838 - Culturally Significant Objects Imported for Exhibition Determinations: “Rembrandt and Vermeer” ExhibitionsPDF
80 FR 52832 - Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls: Notifications to the Congress of Proposed Commercial Export LicensesPDF
80 FR 52838 - Culturally Significant Objects Imported for Exhibition Determinations: “Royal Taste: The Art of Princely Courts in Fifteenth-Century China”PDF
80 FR 52838 - Culturally Significant Objects Imported for Exhibition Determinations: “Sacred Caves of the Silk Road: Ways of Knowing and Re-Creating Dunhuang” ExhibitionPDF
80 FR 52733 - Codex Alimentarius Commission: Meeting of the Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary UsesPDF
80 FR 52741 - Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Order, Finding, or Suspended Investigation; Opportunity To Request Administrative ReviewPDF
80 FR 52714 - Extension of Time for Comments on Equipment AuthorizationPDF
80 FR 52743 - Initiation of Five-Year (“Sunset”) ReviewPDF
80 FR 52752 - Clean Air Act Operating Permit Program; Petition To Object to the Title V Permit for Schiller Station; New HampshirePDF
80 FR 52751 - Notice of a Re-Opening of the Public Comment Period on Select Sections of the Draft Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) NPDES General Permit-New HampshirePDF
80 FR 52740 - Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Order, Finding, or Suspended Investigation; Advance Notification of Sunset ReviewsPDF
80 FR 52739 - Meeting of the United States Manufacturing CouncilPDF
80 FR 52615 - Special Conditions: Bombardier Aerospace, Models BD-500-1A10 and BD-500-1A11 Series Airplanes; Installed Rechargeable Lithium Batteries and Battery SystemsPDF
80 FR 52754 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 52779 - Intent To Request Renewal From OMB of One Current Public Collection of Information: Federal Flight Deck Officer ProgramPDF
80 FR 52777 - Intent To Request Renewal From OMB of One Current Public Collection of Information: Aircraft Repair Station SecurityPDF
80 FR 52739 - Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competitiveness: Notice of Public MeetingsPDF
80 FR 52786 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Request for CommentsPDF
80 FR 52755 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 52785 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Request for CommentsPDF
80 FR 52753 - Notice of Agreements FiledPDF
80 FR 52846 - Notice of National Grain Car Council MeetingPDF
80 FR 52745 - Marine Mammals; File No. 18673PDF
80 FR 52846 - Agency Information Collection Activity; Notice of Request for Approval To Collect New Information: Confidential Close Call Reporting for Transit Rail SystemPDF
80 FR 52788 - Notice of Filing of Plats of Survey; North DakotaPDF
80 FR 52773 - West Virginia; Amendment No. 1 to Notice of a Major Disaster DeclarationPDF
80 FR 52798 - Comment Request for Information Collection for the Workforce Performance Accountability, Information, and Reporting System (OMB Control No. 1205-3NEW), New CollectionPDF
80 FR 52753 - Appraisal Subcommittee Notice of meetingPDF
80 FR 52774 - National Advisory Council; MeetingPDF
80 FR 52771 - Changes in Flood Hazard DeterminationsPDF
80 FR 52844 - Reports, Forms, and Record Keeping Requirements; Agency Information Collection Activity Under OMB ReviewPDF
80 FR 52776 - Proposed Flood Hazard DeterminationsPDF
80 FR 52775 - Proposed Flood Hazard DeterminationsPDF
80 FR 52788 - Notice of Filing of Plats of Survey; Colorado.PDF
80 FR 52753 - Maximum Per Diem Rates for the Continental United States (CONUS)PDF
80 FR 52645 - Migratory Bird Hunting; Early Seasons and Bag and Possession Limits for Certain Migratory Game Birds in the Contiguous United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin IslandsPDF
80 FR 52663 - Migratory Bird Hunting; Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations on Certain Federal Indian Reservations and Ceded Lands for the 2015-16 Early SeasonPDF
80 FR 52750 - Albany Engineering Corporation; Notice of Preliminary Permit Application Accepted for Filing and Soliciting Comments, Motions To Intervene, and Competing ApplicationsPDF
80 FR 52749 - North Eastern Wisconsin Hydro, LLC; Notice of Application for Temporary Amendment and Soliciting Comments, Motions To Intervene, and ProtestsPDF
80 FR 52750 - NST Express, LLC; Notice of Petition for Declaratory OrderPDF
80 FR 52749 - MidAmerican Energy Services, LLC; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 AuthorizationPDF
80 FR 52784 - Endangered and Threatened Species Permit ApplicationsPDF
80 FR 52746 - North Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public MeetingPDF
80 FR 52746 - New England Fishery Management Council; Public MeetingPDF
80 FR 52757 - Authorization of Emergency Use of an In Vitro Diagnostic Device for Detection of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus; AvailabilityPDF
80 FR 52642 - NASA Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement: Denied Access to NASA Facilities (2015-N002)PDF
80 FR 52766 - Two-Phased Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls Technical Sections; Guidance for Industry; AvailabilityPDF
80 FR 52756 - International Cooperation on Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Registration of Veterinary Medicinal Products; Electronic Exchange of Documents: Electronic File Format; Guidance for Industry; AvailabilityPDF
80 FR 52770 - Current List of HHS-Certified Laboratories and Instrumented Initial Testing Facilities Which Meet Minimum Standards To Engage in Urine Drug Testing for Federal AgenciesPDF
80 FR 52845 - BMW of North America, Inc., Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential NoncompliancePDF
80 FR 52839 - Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee; MeetingPDF
80 FR 52767 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to OMB for Review and Approval; Public Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 52791 - Certain Table Saws Incorporating Active Injury Mitigation Technology and Components Thereof; Institution of InvestigationPDF
80 FR 52809 - Submission for Review: Notice of Change in Student's Status, RI 25-15, 3206-0042PDF
80 FR 52738 - Export Trade Certificate of ReviewPDF
80 FR 52792 - Certain Laser Abraded Denim Garments; Commission Decision Not To Review an Initial Determination Granting a Motion To IntervenePDF
80 FR 52810 - New Postal ProductPDF
80 FR 52735 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 52796 - Offender Monitoring Analytics Market SurveyPDF
80 FR 52747 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; Grantee Reporting Form-RSA Annual Payback ReportPDF
80 FR 52824 - Order Making Fiscal Year 2016 Annual Adjustments to Registration Fee RatesPDF
80 FR 52787 - Renewal of Agency Information Collection for the Bureau of Indian Education Tribal Education Department Grant Program; Request for CommentsPDF
80 FR 52715 - Amendment of the Commission's Rules To Provide for the Preservation of One Vacant Channel in the UHF Television Band for Use by White Space Devices and Wireless MicrophonesPDF
80 FR 52733 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 52814 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 52811 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 52812 - Starwood Capital Group Management, LLC; Notice of ApplicationPDF
80 FR 52817 - Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 52817 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NASDAQ OMX PHLX LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Regarding NASDAQ Last Sale PlusPDF
80 FR 52815 - Notice of Filing and Request for Comment on Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc.'s Request To Withdraw From Registration as a Clearing AgencyPDF
80 FR 52815 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 52769 - Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services AdministrationPDF
80 FR 52796 - Notice of Lodging of Proposed Consent Decree Under the Clean Water ActPDF
80 FR 52710 - Revisions to the California State Implementation Plan, Imperial County Air Pollution Control DistrictPDF
80 FR 52839 - Proposed Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 52842 - Agency Request for Emergency Processing of Collection of Information by the Office of Management and BudgetPDF
80 FR 52673 - Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Exchange of Flatfish in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management AreaPDF
80 FR 52630 - Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Texas; Attainment Demonstration for the Dallas/Fort Worth 1997 8-Hour Ozone Nonattainment Area; Determination of Attainment of the 1997 Ozone StandardPDF
80 FR 52701 - Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Alabama: Nonattainment New Source ReviewPDF
80 FR 52627 - Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Georgia: Changes to Georgia Fuel Rule and Other Miscellaneous RulesPDF
80 FR 52768 - National Institute of Nursing Research; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
80 FR 52768 - Fogarty International Center; Amended Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 52768 - National Institute of Mental Health; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
80 FR 52843 - Petition for Waiver of CompliancePDF
80 FR 52841 - Petition for Waiver of CompliancePDF
80 FR 52622 - Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Lake Washington Ship Canal, Seattle, WAPDF
80 FR 52752 - Notice to All Interested Parties of the Termination of the Receivership of 10456 Waukegan Savings Bank; Waukegan, IllinoisPDF
80 FR 52783 - 30-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Application for FHA Insured Mortgages (Form HUD-92900-A)PDF
80 FR 52781 - 60-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection: FHA Lender Approval, Annual Renewal, Periodic Updates and Required Reports by FHA-Approved LendersPDF
80 FR 52619 - Housing Choice Voucher Program: Streamlining the Portability ProcessPDF
80 FR 52638 - Amendments to Regulations Governing Access to Commission Information and Records; Freedom of Information ActPDF
80 FR 52637 - Amendments to Regulations Governing Access to Commission Information and Records; Freedom of Information Act; WithdrawalPDF
80 FR 52617 - Investigations of Whether Injury to Domestic Industries Results From Imports Sold at Less Than Fair Value or From Subsidized Exports to the United StatesPDF
80 FR 52801 - Biweekly Notice; Applications and Amendments to Facility Operating Licenses and Combined Licenses Involving No Significant Hazards ConsiderationsPDF
80 FR 52678 - Minimum Value of Eligible Employer-Sponsored Health PlansPDF
80 FR 52717 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removal of Solidago albopilosa (White-haired Goldenrod) From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened PlantsPDF
80 FR 52680 - Anti-Money Laundering Program and Suspicious Activity Report Filing Requirements for Registered Investment AdvisersPDF
80 FR 52605 - Criminal Restitution OrdersPDF
80 FR 52800 - Request of the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator for Public Comments: Development of the Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property EnforcementPDF
80 FR 52793 - Potassium Permanganate From China; Institution of a Five-Year ReviewPDF
80 FR 52789 - Chlorinated Isocyanurates From China and Spain; Institution of Five-Year ReviewsPDF
80 FR 52745 - Notice of Availability of the Draft NOAA Commercial Space PolicyPDF
80 FR 52606 - Section 306D Water Systems for Rural and Native Villages in AlaskaPDF
80 FR 52641 - Reporting Requirements for U.S. Providers of International Telecommunications ServicesPDF
80 FR 52850 - Energy Conservation Program: Energy Conservation Standards for Battery ChargersPDF

Issue

80 169 Tuesday, September 1, 2015 Contents Agriculture Agriculture Department See

Food Safety and Inspection Service

See

Forest Service

See

Rural Utilities Service

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 52733 2015-21558
Census Bureau Census Bureau NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 52735-52737 2015-21566 Children Children and Families Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 52754-52756 2015-21619 2015-21625 Coast Guard Coast Guard RULES Drawbridge Operations: Lake Washington Ship Canal, Seattle, WA, 52622 2015-21519 Safety Zones: Schuylkill River; Philadelphia, PA, 52625-52627 2015-21687 Seward, AK, 52622-52625 2015-21690 Unexploded Ordnance Removal, Vero Beach, FL, 52620-52622 2015-21685 Commerce Commerce Department See

Census Bureau

See

Foreign-Trade Zones Board

See

Industry and Security Bureau

See

International Trade Administration

See

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Education Department Education Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Grantee Reporting Form - RSA Annual Payback Report, 52747 2015-21563 Meetings: President's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, 52748-52749 2015-21654 Employment and Training Employment and Training Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Workforce Performance Accountability, Information, and Reporting System, 52798-52800 2015-21607 Energy Department Energy Department See

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

PROPOSED RULES Energy Conservation Program: Standards for Battery Chargers, 52850-52933 2015-20218 Test Procedures for Small, Large, and Very Large Air-Cooled Commercial Package Air Conditioning and Heating Equipment, 52676-52678 2015-21691
Environmental Protection Environmental Protection Agency RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: Georgia; Changes to Fuel Rule and Other Miscellaneous Rules, 52627-52630 2015-21536 Texas; Attainment Demonstration for the Dallas/Fort Worth 1997 8-Hour Ozone Nonattainment Area; Determination of Attainment of the 1997 Ozone Standard, 52630-52633 2015-21539 PROPOSED RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: Alabama; Nonattainment New Source Review, 52701-52710 2015-21537 California; Imperial County Air Pollution Control District; Revisions, 52710-52714 2015-21543 NOTICES Clean Air Act Operating Permit Programs: Petition to Object to the Title V Permit for Schiller Station; New Hampshire, 52752 2015-21632 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System: Draft Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System General Permits, New Hampshire, 52751-52752 2015-21631 Federal Aviation Federal Aviation Administration RULES Special Conditions: Bombardier Aerospace, Models BD-500-1A10 and BD-500-1A11 Series Airplanes; Installed Rechargeable Lithium Batteries and Battery Systems, 52615-52617 2015-21626 NOTICES Meetings: Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee, 52839 2015-21579 Federal Communications Federal Communications Commission RULES Reporting Requirements for U.S. Providers of International Telecommunications Services, 52641-52642 2015-21091 PROPOSED RULES Equipment Authorizations, 52714-52715 2015-21634 Preservation of One Vacant Channel in the UHF Television Band for Use by White Space Devices and Wireless Microphones, 52715-52717 2015-21560 Federal Deposit Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation NOTICES Terminations of Receivership: Waukegan Savings Bank, Waukegan, IL, 52752 2015-21518 Federal Emergency Federal Emergency Management Agency RULES Suspensions of Community Eligibility, 52633-52637 2015-21657 NOTICES Flood Hazard Determinations, 52776-52777 2015-21602 Flood Hazard Determinations; Changes, 52771-52773 2015-21604 Flood Hazard Determinations; Correction, 52775-52776 2015-21601 Major Disaster Declarations: Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands; Amendment No. 2, 52775 2015-21656 West Virginia; Amendment No. 1, 52773-52774 2015-21609 Meetings: National Advisory Council, 52774 2015-21605 Federal Energy Federal Energy Regulatory Commission NOTICES Hydroelectric Applications: North Eastern Wisconsin Hydro, LLC, 52749-52750 2015-21593 Initial Market-Based Rate Filings Including Requests for Blanket Section 204 Authorizations: MidAmerican Energy Services, LLC, 52749 2015-21591 Permit Applications: Albany Engineering Corp., 52750-52751 2015-21594 Petitions for Declaratory Orders: NST Express, LLC, 52750 2015-21592 Federal Financial Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council NOTICES Meetings: Appraisal Subcommittee, 52753 2015-21606 Federal Maritime Federal Maritime Commission RULES Commission Information and Records; Freedom of Information Act, 52638-52641 2015-21453 Commission Information and Records; Freedom of Information Act; Withdrawal, 52637-52638 2015-21452 NOTICES Agreements Filed, 52753 2015-21616 Federal Railroad Federal Railroad Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 52839-52843 2015-21541 2015-21542 Petitions for Waivers of Compliance, 52841-52843 2015-21526 2015-21527 Federal Retirement Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board RULES Criminal Restitution Orders, 52605-52606 2015-21303 NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 52753 2015-21742 Financial Crimes Financial Crimes Enforcement Network PROPOSED RULES Anti-Money Laundering Program and Suspicious Activity Report Filing Requirements for Registered Investment Advisers, 52680-52701 2015-21318 Fish Fish and Wildlife Service RULES Migratory Bird Hunting: Early Seasons and Bag and Possession Limits for Certain Migratory Game Birds in the Contiguous U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, 52645-52663 2015-21596 Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations on Certain Federal Indian Reservations and Ceded Lands for the 2015-16 Early Season, 52663-52673 2015-21595 PROPOSED RULES Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: Solidago albopilosa (White-haired Goldenrod); Removal, 52717-52732 2015-21410 NOTICES Endangered and Threatened Species Permit Applications, 52784-52785 2015-21589 Food and Drug Food and Drug Administration NOTICES Authorization of Emergency Use of an In Vitro Diagnostic Device for Detection of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, 52757-52766 2015-21585 Guidance: International Cooperation on Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Registration of Veterinary Medicinal Products; Electronic Exchange of Documents, 52756-52757 2015-21582 Two-Phased Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls Technical Sections, 52766-52767 2015-21583 Food Safety Food Safety and Inspection Service NOTICES Meetings: Codex Alimentarius Commission Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses, 52733-52734 2015-21636 Foreign Trade Foreign-Trade Zones Board NOTICES Production Activity Authorizations: CoLinx, LLC, Foreign-Trade Zone 148, Knoxville, TN, 52737 2015-21655 Forest Forest Service NOTICES Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Dakota Prairie Grasslands, ND; Oil and Gas Development, 52734-52735 2015-21688 General Services General Services Administration NOTICES Maximum Per Diem Rates for the Continental U.S., 52753-52754 2015-21597 Geological Geological Survey NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 52785-52787 2015-21617 2015-21620 Health and Human Health and Human Services Department See

Children and Families Administration

See

Food and Drug Administration

See

National Institutes of Health

See

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 52767-52768 2015-21576
Homeland Homeland Security Department See

Coast Guard

See

Federal Emergency Management Agency

See

Transportation Security Administration

Housing Housing and Urban Development Department RULES Housing Choice Voucher Program: Streamlining the Portability Process; Corrections, 52619-52620 2015-21487 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Application for FHA Insured Mortgages, 52783 2015-21515 FHA Lender Approval, Annual Renewal, Periodic Updates and Required Reports by FHA-Approved Lenders, 52781-52782 2015-21514 Strong Cities Strong Communities National Resource Network, 52780-52781 2015-21652 Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Funds: Guidance, Waivers, and Alternative Requirements for Grantees Under the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013; Correction, 52783-52784 2015-21651 Indian Affairs Indian Affairs Bureau NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Bureau of Indian Education Tribal Education Department Grant Program, 52787-52788 2015-21561 Industry Industry and Security Bureau NOTICES National Defense Stockpile Market Impact Committee: Request for Public Comments on the Potential Market Impact of the Proposed Fiscal Year 2017 Annual Materials Plan, 52737-52738 2015-21658 Interior Interior Department See

Fish and Wildlife Service

See

Geological Survey

See

Indian Affairs Bureau

See

Land Management Bureau

Internal Revenue Internal Revenue Service PROPOSED RULES Minimum Value of Eligible Employer-Sponsored Health Plans, 52678-52680 2015-21427 International Trade Adm International Trade Administration NOTICES Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Advance Notification of Sunset Reviews, 52740-52741 2015-21630 Initiation of Five Year (Sunset) Review, 52743-52745 2015-21633 Opportunity to Request Administrative Review, 52741-52743 2015-21635 Export Trade Certificate of Review, 52738-52739 2015-21570 Meetings: Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competitiveness, 52739 2015-21622 United States Manufacturing Council, 52739-52740 2015-21629 International Trade Com International Trade Commission RULES Investigations of Whether Injury to Domestic Industries Results from Imports Sold at Less than Fair Value or from Subsidized Exports to the United States, 52617-52619 2015-21441 NOTICES Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Chlorinated Isocyanurates from China and Spain; Five-Year Reviews, 52789-52791 2015-21218 Potassium Permanganate from China; Five-Year Review, 52793-52796 2015-21219 Investigations; Determinations, Modifications, and Rulings, etc.: Certain Laser Abraded Denim Garments; Commission Decision Not to Review an Initial Determination Granting a Motion to Intervene, 52792-52793 2015-21569 Certain Table Saws Incorporating Active Injury Mitigation Technology and Components Thereof, 52791-52792 2015-21575 Meetings; Sunshine Act, 52793 2015-21715 Justice Department Justice Department See

Justice Programs Office

NOTICES Proposed Consent Decrees under the Clean Water Act, 52796 2015-21546
Justice Programs Justice Programs Office NOTICES Offender Monitoring Analytics Market Survey, 52796-52798 2015-21564 Labor Department Labor Department See

Employment and Training Administration

Land Land Management Bureau NOTICES Plats of Surveys: Colorado, 52788 2015-21600 North Dakota, 52788-52789 2015-21610 Management Management and Budget Office NOTICES Requests for Comments: U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, Development of the Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement, 52800-52801 2015-21289 NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration RULES Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement: Denied Access to NASA Facilities, 52642-52645 2015-21584 National Highway National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 52844-52845 2015-21603 Petitions for Decisions of Inconsequential Noncompliance: BMW of North America, Inc., 52845-52846 2015-21580 National Institute National Institutes of Health NOTICES Meetings: Fogarty International Center; Amendments, 52768 2015-21529 National Institute of Mental Health, 52768-52769 2015-21528 National Institute of Nursing Research, 52768 2015-21530 National Oceanic National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RULES Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska: Exchange of Flatfish in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area, 52673-52675 2015-21540 NOTICES Draft NOAA Commercial Space Policy; Availability, 52745-52746 2015-21148 Meetings: New England Fishery Management Council, 52746-52747 2015-21586 North Pacific Fishery Management Council, 52746 2015-21587 Permits: Marine Mammals; File No. 18673, 52745 2015-21612 Nuclear Regulatory Nuclear Regulatory Commission NOTICES Facility Operating and Combined Licenses: Applications and Amendments Involving Proposed No Significant Hazards Considerations, etc., 52801-52809 2015-21432 Personnel Personnel Management Office NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Change in Student's Status, 52809-52810 2015-21571 Postal Regulatory Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products, 52810 2015-21568 Postal Service Postal Service NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 52810 2015-21661 Rural Utilities Rural Utilities Service RULES Section 360D Water Systems for Rural and Native Villages in Alaska, 52606-52614 2015-21122 Securities Securities and Exchange Commission NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 52811-52815, 52817 2015-21550 2015-21553 2015-21555 2015-21556 Applications: Starwood Capital Group Management, LLC, 52812-52814 2015-21554 Meetings; Sunshine Act, 52811 2015-21664 Orders: Registration Fee Rates; Annual Adjustments, 52824-52832 2015-21562 Registrations as a Clearing Agency: Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc.; Requests to Withdraw, 52815-52817 2015-21551 Self-Regulatory Organizations; Proposed Rule Changes: NASDAQ OMX PHLX, LLC, 52817-52824 2015-21552 State Department State Department NOTICES Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls: Notifications to the Congress of Proposed Commercial Export Licenses, 52832-52838 2015-21646 Culturally Significant Objects Imported for Exhibition Determinations: Royal Taste: The Art of Princely Courts in Fifteenth-Century China Exhibition, 52838 2015-21644 Sacred Caves of the Silk Road: Ways of Knowing and Re-Creating Dunhuang Exhibition, 52838 2015-21643 Culturally Significant Objects Imported for Exhibition: Rembrandt and Vermeer Exhibitions, 52838-52839 2015-21650 Substance Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 52769-52770 2015-21547 Certified Laboratories and Instrumented Initial Testing Facilities: Facilities Meeting Minimum Standards to Engage in Urine Drug Testing for Federal Agencies, 52770-52771 2015-21581 Surface Transportation Surface Transportation Board NOTICES Meetings: National Grain Car Council, 52846 2015-21613 Transportation Department Transportation Department See

Federal Aviation Administration

See

Federal Railroad Administration

See

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

See

Surface Transportation Board

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Confidential Close Call Reporting for Transit Rail System, 52846-52847 2015-21611
Security Transportation Security Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 52777-52778 2015-21623 Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Airport Security, 52778-52779 2015-21694 Federal Flight Deck Officer Program, 52779-52780 2015-21624 TSA Airspace Waiver Program, 52780 2015-21697 Treasury Treasury Department See

Financial Crimes Enforcement Network

See

Internal Revenue Service

Separate Parts In This Issue Part II Energy Department, 52850-52933 2015-20218 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.

80 169 Tuesday, September 1, 2015 Rules and Regulations FEDERAL RETIREMENT THRIFT INVESTMENT BOARD 5 CFR Part 1653 Criminal Restitution Orders AGENCY:

Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

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

DATES:

This rule is effective September 1, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Laurissa Stokes at (202) 942-1645.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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

On July 13, 2015, the Agency published a proposed rule with request for comments in the Federal Register (80 FR 39975, July 13, 2015). The Agency received no comments and, therefore, is publishing the proposed rule as final without change.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

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

Paperwork Reduction Act

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

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

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

Submission to Congress and the General Accounting Office

Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 810(a)(1)(A), the Agency submitted 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 before publication of this rule in the Federal Register. The rule is not a major rule as defined in 5 U.S.C. 804(2).

List of Subjects in 5 CFR Part 1653

Claims, Government employees, Pensions, Retirement, Taxes.

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

For the reasons stated in the preamble, the Agency amends 5 CFR chapter VI as follows:

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

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

2. Amend § 1653.31, by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:
§ 1653.31 Definitions.

(b) As used in this subpart:

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

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

3. Amend § 1653.33 by: a. Revising paragraph (b)(2) and adding paragraph (b)(3), b. Adding the word “criminal” before “restitution order” in paragraphs (c)(1) and (2); and c. Revising paragraphs (c)(3), (c)(5), and (c)(6).

The revisions and addition read as follows:

§ 1653.33 Qualifying criminal restitution order.

(b) * * *

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

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

(c) * * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. Amend § 1653.36 by: a. Adding the word “tax” before the word “levy” in paragraph (a); b. Adding the word “criminal” before the words “restitution order” wherever they appear and by adding the word “tax” before “levy” wherever it appears in paragraph (c); c. Revising paragraph (d) introductory text; d. Adding the word “tax” before the word “levy” in paragraph (g); and e. Adding paragraph (h).

The revision and addition read as follows:

§ 1653.36 Payment.

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

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

[FR Doc. 2015-21303 Filed 8-31-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6760-01-P
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Rural Utilities Service 7 CFR Part 1784 RIN 0572-AC28 Section 306D Water Systems for Rural and Native Villages in Alaska AGENCY:

Rural Utilities Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an Agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), is modifying its existing regulations to establish a separate regulation for making grants to rural or Native Alaskan Villages under the Rural Alaska Village Grant (RAVG) Program. The existing RAVG regulation will be relocated to its own section and modified to conform with streamlined processes established through a Memorandum of Understanding among USDA, RUS; The United States Department of Health and Human Services, Indian Health Service (IHS); The State of Alaska, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC); and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC). The grants will be provided directly to a rural or Native Alaskan Village or jointly with either DEC or ANTHC for the development and construction of water and wastewater systems to improve the health and sanitation conditions in those Villages through removal of dire sanitation conditions.

DATES:

This rule is effective September 1, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Jacqueline M. Ponti-Lazaruk, Assistant Administrator, Water and Environmental Programs, Rural Utilities Service, Rural Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 1548, Room 5147, Washington, DC 20250-1590. Telephone number: (202) 690-2670, Facsimile: (202) 720-0718.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Executive Order 12866

This final rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866 and, therefore, has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget.

Executive Order 12988

This final rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. RUS has determined that this rule meets the applicable standards provided in section 3 of that Executive Order. In addition, all State and local laws and regulations that are in conflict with this rule will be preempted. No retroactive effect will be given to the rule and, in accordance with section 212(e) of the Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1994 (7 U.S.C. 6912(e)), administrative appeal procedures must be exhausted before an action against the Department or its agencies may be initiated.

Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification

Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(a) (2), this final rule related to grants is exempt from the rulemaking requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 551 et seq.), including the requirement to provide prior notice and an opportunity for public comment. Because this rule is not subject to a requirement to provide prior notice and an opportunity for public comment pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553, or any other law, the analytical requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) are inapplicable.

Information Collection and Recordkeeping Requirements

The information collection and recordkeeping requirements contained in this final rule are pending approval by OMB pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35) under control number 0572-AC28 . The paperwork contained in this rule will not be effective until approved by OMB.

E-Government Act Compliance

RUS is committed to the E-Government Act, which requires Government agencies in general to provide the public the option of submitting information or transacting business electronically to the maximum extent possible.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance

The program described by this final rule is listed in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Programs under number 10.760. This catalog is available electronically through the free CFDA Web site on the Internet at http://www.cfda.gov. The print edition may be purchased by calling the Superintendent of Documents at 202-512-1800 or toll free at 866-512-1800, or ordering it online at http://bookstore.thefederalregister.org.

Executive Order 12372

All projects funded under this part are subject to Executive Order 12372 (3 CFR, 1983 Comp., p. 197), which requires intergovernmental consultation with State and local officials. These requirements are set forth in U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations 2 CFR part 415, subpart C, and RD Instruction 1940 J. In the case of grants made to DEC and ANTHC, DEC and ANTHC will certify that the requirements listed in paragraphs a-e are included in their agreements with the rural or native villages.

Federally Recognized Tribes, however, are exempt from this process as set forth in the U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations 7 CFR 1940.453(c) and RD Instruction 1940.J which addresses applications from Indian tribes. Specifically, applications from federally recognized Indian tribes are not subject to the requirements of this subpart. However, Indian tribes may voluntarily participate in the review system explained in this Subpart and are encouraged to do so. When a federally recognized Tribal Government has established a mechanism for coordinating the activities of Tribal departments, divisions, enterprises or entities, Rural Development will, on request of such Tribal Government transmitted through OMB, require that applications for assistance be subject to review by the Tribal coordinating mechanism as though it were a part of the consultation process under this Subpart.

Unfunded Mandates

This final rule contains no Federal mandates (under the regulatory provision of Title II of the Unfunded Mandate Reform Act of 1995) for State, local, and tribal governments or the private sector. Thus, this final rule is not subject to the requirements of sections 202 and 205 of the Unfunded Mandate Reform Act of 1995.

National Environmental Policy Act Certification

RUS has determined that this final rule will not significantly affect the quality of the human environment as defined by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.). Therefore, this action does not require an environmental impact statement or assessment.

Executive Order 13132, Federalism

The policies contained in this final rule do not have any substantial direct effect on 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. Nor does this final rule impose substantial direct compliance costs on state and local governments. Therefore, consultation with the states is not required.

Executive Order 13175

Executive Order 13175 imposes requirements on RUS in the development of regulatory policies that have tribal implications or preempt tribal laws. RUS has determined that this final rule has a substantial direct effect on one or more Indian tribe(s) or on either the relationship or the distribution of powers and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes. Therefore, in anticipation of the publication of this final rule, RUS focused its quarterly Tribal Consultation webinar and teleconference process during the summer of 2013 on the Rural Alaska Village Grant program. A pre-consultation briefing was held on June 20, 2013 to provide a thorough briefing of the Rural Alaska Village Grant program and the regulatory changes under consideration. This was followed by a Tribal Consultation webinar and teleconference on July 17, 2013. Input received by RUS through the Tribal Consultation process was considered alongside comments to the proposed rule and utilized in drafting the final rule. If a Tribe has questions about the Tribal Consultation process please contact Rural Development's Native American Coordinator at (720) 544-2911 or [email protected]

Background

The Rural Utilities Service, a Rural Development agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (RUS), works to improve the quality of life in rural America by providing investment capital, in the form of loans, loan guarantees, grants and technical assistance for the deployment of rural telecommunications, broadband, electric, water and environmental infrastructure. RUS loans, loan guarantee and grant programs act as a catalyst for economic and community development. By financing improvements to rural electric, water and waste, and telecommunications and broadband infrastructure, RUS plays a significant role in improving other measures of quality of life in rural America, including public health and safety, environmental protection, conservation, and cultural and historic preservation.

Comments

RUS published a proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register on December 20, 2013 at 78 FR 77009 seeking comments on modification to an existing regulation and the establishment of a separate regulation for the RAVG program. The Agency received one comment from an outside Federal agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Alaska District Hydraulics Section, along with two public submissions from the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) and the State of Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) regarding the proposed rule. The commenters' responses are summarized below with the Agency's responses as follows:

Issue 1: ANTHC and DEC stated that the definition of dire sanitation conditions is problematic and suggested modifying the existing definition because it does not allow identified deficiencies to be addressed until they have already undermined public health and until the deficiency is far more difficult and expensive to correct.

Response: RUS agrees in part with the commenters and will modify parts 1 and 2 of the definition of dire sanitation conditions as presented by ANTHC in their comment submission. RUS is also adjusting part 3 of the definition so that it will allow an appropriate Federal agency (such as the Center for Disease Control) or a regulatory Agency of the State of Alaska to determine if the drinking water and/or sewer system does not meet regulatory requirements. RUS, however, disagrees with the proposed addition of a 4th part of the definition that would allow “a professional engineer to determine if existing water and/or wastewater system components have exceeded their design life and replacements or upgrades are required to extend the service life to prevent loss of service or ability to meet regulatory or safety standards.” The language as proposed would allow for any professional engineer, regardless of background, association, etc., to make a determination of need based on their personal assessment of a systems useful life. This approach would allow for inconsistencies in determinations and a potential for inaccurate prioritization of need. Allowing a professional engineer to determine whether a system has exceeded its useful life and is in need of repairs or replacement is not comparable to determining whether a dire sanitary need exists. Further, the commenters do not specify whether the professional engineer would be a private or public engineer. In the case of a private professional engineer, the Agency is concerned that there would be an incentive to prioritize the largest, most costly, projects to maximize revenues, rather than an unbiased prioritization of need. Section 306D of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to “make grants to the State of Alaska for the benefit of rural or Native villages in Alaska to provide for the development and construction of water and wastewater systems to improve the health and sanitation conditions in those villages, and to prioritize the allocation of grants based on health and sanitation conditions.” Given the limited grant funds available and the existing conditions in many native Alaskan villages, the Agency has determined that distinguishing between general lifecycle replacement need and dire sanitary need is necessary to ensure that funds are used for their highest purpose. As stated above, the Agency, upon consideration of the comments, will modify section three of the proposed definition of dire sanitary need to include language allowing appropriate Federal and State Agencies to assess the level of need. In doing so, the Agency expects that such qualified and appropriate agencies will make determinations based on standard evaluative processes. This approach will allow for more consistent determinations and meet the requirements of the statute.

Issue 2: § 1784.8(e) Eligibility—ANTHC and DEC request to delete some eligibility information as it relates to dire sanitation conditions.

Response: RUS disagrees with deleting the information in § 1784.8(e) as it would be a disservice to the communities that face the highest health and safety issues related to inadequate sanitation services. The purpose of the language is to clearly identify the level of documentation needed by the Agency to make a proper determination of eligibility for funding. RUS has placed an emphasis on health and dire sanitation needs to ensure that federal funds are used appropriately. In cases where there is scientific evidence or reports with substantiated evidence of associated health issues, documentation may be accepted from an appropriate federal agency such as the Center for Disease Control. The Agency is also adding language to address the concern that other situations may exist beyond the definition of dire sanitary condition in this regulation that have a negative impact on the health or safety of an eligible community, Specifically, the Agency is adding paragraph (f) to Section 1784.8 to allow applicants to request a special review and eligibility determination in individual cases where a proposed project does not meet the definition of “Dire sanitation condition” in § 1784.2, and where the applicant is able to satisfactorily demonstrate that a water or sewer system is deficient and negatively impacts the health or safety of the community. The decision to review an eligibility determination request and any determinations made subject to this paragraph will not be subject to administrative appeal.

Through planning efforts, RUS will continue to work with ANTHC, DEC, and rural Alaskan communities to help plan sanitation projects. In the event that the project does not meet the dire sanitation condition definition, the planning documents created through a Predevelopment and Planning Grant, which is another grant program offered by RUS, can be utilized by the community to secure other funding through Rural Development's water and waste program or elsewhere. The dire sanitation eligibility criteria will apply to design and construction projects.

Issue 3: § 1784.10—Eligible Grant Purposes: There are three issues related to eligible grant purposes in which both ANTHC and DEC provided suggestions, which are as follows:

Issue 3a. ANTHC suggests the proposed language for Reasonable Costs and Contingencies in § 1784.10(b)(1) is misplaced and should be modified to include a specific reference to “materials (including construction allowance) and freight.”

Response: RUS agrees that the proposed language is misplaced and will relocate the language to § 1784.10 (a). However, RUS disagrees with the modification of reasonable costs. The Agency is concerned that if reasonable costs including construction allowances were allowed, scarce grant funds may be used for excess parts and fewer grant funds would be available for actual construction of infrastructure in communities in great need. RUS will work with applicants as needed with regard to occasional breakage and/or defects of materials.

Issue 3b. ANTHC suggests the proposed language for Training and Technical Assistance is not consistent with the Agriculture Appropriations Act and other documents.

Response: RUS agrees that technical assistance funds may be provided to other entities as designated in the annual appropriations. RUS proposes to amend the language in § 1784.10(b)(1)(iii) to align with the language in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014.

Issue 3c. ANTHC and DEC suggest the proposed rule limits installation of water and sanitation services to residential homes only and does not include public facilities except for those necessary for the successful operation and maintenance of the water and sanitation system. It is suggested that the rule be revised to allow funding for water and sewer connections for facilities that provide health and social services and public facilities such as schools, school housing, public safety offices, health care facilities, government offices, etc.

Response: RUS disagrees with the proposed recommendations to modify the language in § 1784.10(c)(1). While the authorizing statute 306D does not restrict RAVG funds to residential homes, it also makes no mention of offering these services to public facilities. RUS's interpretation of the statute's purpose is to provide infrastructure for water and wastewater systems and Alaskan village residents directly connected to those systems. The suggested facilities addressed by the commenters are, however, eligible under the Rural Development Community Facilities program whose eligibility includes public facilities. Refer to Community Facilities regulation § 1942.17(d).

Issue 4: Grantee Accounting Methods, Management Reporting and Audits—ANTHC finds the proposed language confusing.

Response: RUS agrees that language in this section is confusing and will modify the language for simplicity.

Issue 5: Exception Authority—ANTHC recommends this section be expanded to allow the RUS Administrator flexibility to consider using funds on a case-by-case basis for additional installations that will promote access to public health services and sustainability of the system; and also recommends that RUS consider a delegation of exception authority to the Rural Development Alaska State Director.

Response: The request to broaden exception authority appears, from the comments filed, to be a vehicle to address concerns with what one or more commenters see as a too restrictive definition of dire sanitary need. As stated earlier, the definition of dire sanitary need will be modified in the final regulation to address comments filed and should allow sufficient room for professional assessment and determination of dire sanitary need. This will negate a need for expanded exception authority. RUS's Exception Authority has traditionally been reserved for the Administrator because such exceptions are rare and have great potential to more broadly impact programs. The Agency is not convinced by the commenters that codification of a specific delegation to a State Director is necessary.

Issue 6: Compliance and Application Processing—There are three issues related to the compliance and application process noted by ANTHC. They are as follows:

Issue 6a: Revise § 1784.18, § 1784.20, and § 1784.21—ANTHC requests that § 1784.18, § 1784.20, and § 1784.21 be revised to remove requirements that tribal applicants execute standard and other forms dealing with nondiscrimination requirements. It is also requested that § 1784.21 be revised to eliminate the statement that all Rural Alaska Village grants are subject to USDA's civil rights regulations, particularly 7 CFR part 15 and 7 CFR part 1901, subpart E.

Response: The forms required for RAVG applicants seek information that is required by the Agency for processing and/or by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for grant programs. The forms are utilized in all Agency water and waste disposal programs and are routinely completed by tribal applicants. The commenter has provided no compelling reason for a special exception for RAVG applicants.

Issue 6b: Procurement by Applicants—ANTHC recommends modifying language in § 1784.36 (a) to avoid confusion and to accommodate their current policies and procedures regarding contracting and procurement. In addition, ANTHC is concerned that language in this section might be applied to prevent consideration of other factors that contribute to system sustainability and costs at another level.

Response: RUS agrees with the first recommendation made by ANTHC to revise the language of the proposed regulation with regard to procurement requirements § 1784.36(a). The second sentence, “Procurement procedures shall not restrict or eliminate open and free competition” will be removed. This requirement is already inherent in the statement that the State of Alaska, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and ANTHC will base procurement procedures on OMB Uniform Administrative Requirements which specifically address open and free competition. We do not, however, concur in the addition of a separate requirement to consider system sustainability in selection of materials. Consideration of “all materials normally suitable for the project based on sound engineering practices and project requirements” is not intended to be exclusive and should not prevent consideration of other non-regulatory factors, such as sustainability as appropriate.

Issue 6c. Information Collection and Record Keeping Requirements—ANTHC is concerned that estimated burden hours are too low and should be significantly higher. Specifically, they estimate “it takes 32 hands on hours to complete the documents taking into account the time it takes to work with rural communities, to complete and execute documents that require information or a signature from them.” They also state that many of the forms are redundant.

Response: RUS disagrees and believes that ANTHC is misinterpreting burden estimates prepared by USDA in a separate information and collection package required under the Paperwork Reduction Act for this. ANTHC states in its comments that USDA's estimate of 2.5 hours is far too modest of an estimate for completion of required forms. The burden package developed for this regulation includes estimates for completion of each form or information requirement necessary to make application under the RAVG program. The aggregate burden is well above 2.5 hours.

Issue 7: Floodplains/Subpart C, § 1784.21(m) (Other Requirements)—Three commenters, ANTHC, DEC, and Ricky “Lance” Overstreet on behalf of US Army Corps of Engineers Alaska District Hydraulics Section, are concerned that specific language in this section will lead to narrow interpretations that could prevent the construction of water facilities, even where there is no undue threat of flooding.

Response: Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood insurance policy and guidance allows the use of information obtained through consultation with the community, or flooding sources (that) have been studied by other Federal, State, or local agencies. Some of these studies do not meet the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) standards for a Flood Insurance Study, but often contain valuable flood hazard information, which may be incorporated into the NFIP maps as approximate studies. Those types of studies typically cover developed or developing areas. They often contain flood elevation profiles that can be used as “best available data” for floodplain management purposes (FEMA NFIP training module, Unit 3 NFIP Flood Studies and Maps). RUS therefore concurs with the comment and will revise the rule text accordingly.

Issue 8: Lead Agency Environmental Review—One commenter, ANTHC, suggests § 1784.22 be clarified with regard to obligations under the National Historic Preservation Act and its regulations.

Response: RUS agrees that § 1784.22 needs to be clarified and corrected as it applies to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and the implementing regulation found in 36 CFR part 800. The Agency also acknowledges that there is not a “RAVG Section 106 process” as such, and reference to this will be deleted from the section text.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 1780

Agriculture, Community development, Community facilities, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Rural areas, Sewage disposal, Waste treatment and disposal, Water pollution control, Water supply, Watersheds.

Therefore, for the reasons discussed in the preamble, RUS amends chapter XVII of Title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations as follows:

PART 1780—WATER AND WASTE LOANS AND GRANTS 1. The authority citation for part 1780 continues to read as follows: Authority:

6 U.S.C. 301; 7 U.S.C. 1989; 16 U.S.C. 1005

§ 1780.49 [Removed and Reserved]
2. Remove and reserve § 1780.49.
3. Add part 1784 to read as follows:

September 1, 2015

PART 1784—RURAL ALASKAN VILLAGE GRANTS

Subpart A—General Provisions Sec. 1784.1 Purpose. 1784.2 Definitions. 1784.3 Objective. 1784.4-1784.7 [Reserved] Subpart B—Grant Requirements 1784.8 Eligibility. 1784.9 Grant amount. 1784.10 Eligible grant purposes. 1784.11 Restrictions. 1784.12-1784.15 [Reserved] Subpart C—Application Processing 1784.16 General. 1784.17 Application for Planning grants. 1784.18 Application for Pre-development grants. 1784.19 Application for Construction grants. 1784.20 Applications accepted from DEC or ANTHC. 1784.21 Other forms and certifications. 1784.22 Other requirements. 1784.23 Lead Agency Environmental Review. 1784.24-1784.25 [Reserved] Subpart D—Grant Processing 1784.26 Planning, development, and procurement. 1784.27 Grant closing and disbursement of funds. 1784.28 Grantee accounting methods, management reporting, and audits. 1784.29 Grant servicing and accountability. 1784.30 Subsequent grants. 1784.31 Exception authority. 1784.32-1784.34 [Reserved] Subpart E—Design, Procurement, Construction, and Inspection 1784.35 General. 1784.36 Procurement by applicants eligible under this part. 1784.37 Procurement of recovered materials. 1784.38-1784.99 [Reserved] Authority:

7 U.S.C. 1926d.

Subpart A—General Provisions
§ 1784.1 Purpose.

This part sets forth the policies and procedures that will apply when the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) makes grants under the Rural Alaska Village Grant (RAVG) program (7 U.S.C. 1926d) to rural or native villages in Alaska. The grants will be provided directly to a rural or native village or jointly with either The State of Alaska, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) or The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) for the benefit of rural or native villages in Alaska.

§ 1784.2 Definitions.

The following definitions apply to subparts A through E of this part.

ANTHC means the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium.

CONACT means the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act.

DEC means the State of Alaska, Department of Environmental Conservation.

Dire sanitation conditions means:

(1) Recurring instances of illness reasonably attributed to waterborne communicable disease have been documented or insufficient access to clean water creates a persistent threat of water-washed diseases; or

(2) No community-wide water and sewer system exists and individual residents must haul water to or human waste from their homes and/or use pit privies; or

(3) An appropriate federal agency (such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) or regulatory Agency of the State of Alaska determines that the drinking water and/or sewer system does not meet current regulatory requirements.

Grant recipient means an applicant that has been awarded a Rural Alaskan Village Grant under this part.

IHS means the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Indian Health Service.

Owner means Grant recipient.

RAVG means Rural Alaskan Village Grant, a grant awarded by RUS, DEC, and/or ANTHC to a grant recipient under this part.

Rural or Native Villages in Alaska means a rural community or Native village in Alaska which meets the definition of a village under State statutes and does not have a population in excess of 10,000 inhabitants, according to the U.S. Census American Community Survey.

RD means Rural Development, a federal agency mission area delivering the United States Department of Agriculture's programs to rural communities.

Recipient community means a community that has been awarded a grant under this part.

RUS means the Rural Utilities Service, a federal agency mission area delivering the United States Department of Agriculture's rural utilities programs.

Short-lived assets means repair and replacement items expended each year that are not included in the annual Operational and Maintenance expenses as annual repair and maintenance.

Statewide nonmetropolitan median household income (SNMHI) means the median household income of the State's nonmetropolitan counties and portions of metropolitan counties outside of cities, towns or places of 50,000 or more population.

USDA means the United States Department of Agriculture.

VSW means Village Safe Water Program authorized under the Village Safe Water Act, Alaska Statute Title 46, Chapter 7 (AS 46.07).

§ 1784.3 Objective.

The objective of the RAVG Program is to assist the residents of rural or native villages in Alaska to provide for the development and construction of water and wastewater systems to improve the health and sanitation conditions in those villages through removal of dire sanitation conditions.

§§ 1784.4-1784.7 [Reserved]
Subpart B—Grant Requirements
§ 1784.8 Eligibility.

(a) Grants may be made to the following eligible applicants:

(1) A rural or native village in Alaska; or

(2) DEC on behalf of one or more rural or native village in Alaska; or

(3) ANTHC on behalf of one or more rural or native village in Alaska.

(b) Grants made to DEC or ANTHC may be obligated through a master letter of conditions for more than one rural or native village in Alaska; however, DEC or ANTHC together with each individual rural or native village beneficiary shall execute a grant agreement on a project by project basis. Expenditures for projects will be based on specific scope and be requested on a project by project basis.

(c) For grants proposed to be administered directly by a community, the responsibility to meet the requirements outlined in this part will be met by the community. RUS will be the lead agency on direct administration projects.

(d) The median household income of the rural or native village cannot exceed 110 percent of the statewide nonmetropolitan household income (SNMHI), according to US Census American Community Survey. Alaska census communities considered to be high cost isolated areas or “off the road systems” (i.e. communities that cannot be accessed by roads) may utilize up to 150 percent of SNMHI.

(e) For design and construction projects: A dire sanitation condition as defined in § 1784.2 must exist in the village served by the proposed project. For those projects identified under paragraphs (1) and (3) of the dire sanitation definition in § 1784.2, a notice of violation, consent order or other regulatory action from the appropriate regulatory agency must be provided to document the dire sanitation condition. In cases where there is scientific evidence or reports with substantiated evidence of associated health issues, documentation may be accepted from an appropriate federal agency.

(f) In individual cases where a proposed project does not meet the definition of “Dire sanitation condition” in § 1784.2, an applicant may request a special review and eligibility determination from the RUS Administrator in cases where the applicant is able to satisfactorily demonstrate that a water or sewer system is deficient and negatively impacts the health or safety of the community. The decision to review an eligibility determination request and any determinations made subject to this paragraph are not subject to administrative appeal.

(g) In order for an eligible applicant to receive a grant under the Rural Alaska Village Grant program, the State of Alaska shall provide 25 percent in matching funds from non-Federal sources.

(h) In processing grants through DEC and ANTHC, a public meeting must be held to inform the general public regarding the development of any proposed project. Documentation of the public meeting must be received with construction applications.

(1) A notice of intent must be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the proposed area to be served.

(2) For projects where there are no newspapers of general circulation, a posting of the notice in a community building (post office, washeteria, clinic, etc.) frequented by village residents may be used to meet the requirement. This alternative form of notice has been authorized by the RUS Administrator.

§ 1784.9 Grant amount.

Grants will be made for up to 75 percent of the project development and/or construction costs, which does not include project administrative costs. Pursuant to 7 U.S.C. 1926d, the State of Alaska shall provide 25 percent in matching funds from non-Federal sources.

§ 1784.10 Eligible grant purposes.

Grant funds may be used for the following purposes:

(a) To pay reasonable costs associated with providing potable water or waste disposal services to residents of rural or native villages in Alaska. Reasonable costs include construction, planning, pre-development costs (including engineering, design, and rights-of-way establishment), and technical assistance as further defined below:

(1) Planning. Grants can be made specifically for planning report costs (including Master Plans, Feasibility Studies, and Detection or Source Studies) associated with the prioritization process.

(2) Pre-development. Grants can be made for pre-development costs such as preliminary engineering, environmental, application development, review and establishment of rights-of-way and easement, and full construction design for up to $1,000,000 for each eligible village. Prior to approving additional pre-development costs, a preliminary engineering report (PER) and/or approved PER like document, such as the Cooperative Project Agreement and supplemental documents from ANTHC and an environmental report shall be reviewed and concurred by RUS, DEC, ANTHC, and IHS.

(3) Training and technical assistance. Grant funding for technical assistance and training will be available in accordance with Section 306D of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (7 U.S.C. 1926d) and appropriations current at the time of application. Grants for this purpose will be processed in accordance with 7 CFR part 1775.

(b) To pay reasonable costs associated with the use of a recipient community's equipment during construction. (i.e. maintenance, minor repairs, and operational costs). A cost accounting system that is accurate to track expenses must be in place. Use of ANTHC or State of Alaska equipment fleet rental costs will also be eligible. RUS concurrence in the allocation method is required.

(c) Individual installations. (1) Individual service installation relates to residential homes only and does not include public facilities or commercial facilities. The only exception to serving a public facility is when the facility is necessary for the successful operation and maintenance of the water or sanitation system (i.e. the facility utilized for accepting utility payments and/or holding public meetings for the utility system).

(2) Individual home installations, including wells, septic system, flush tank and haul, in-house plumbing, etc., may be provided. The following guidelines must be followed for individual installations. A certification will be required with the application that provides documentation of the following:

(i) The residents are unable to afford to make the improvements on their own.

(ii) An agreement outlining the installation, operation, and maintenance of facilities must be in place.

(iii) An adequate method for denying service in the event of non-payment of user fees if such fees are required.

(iv) All residents of the community are treated equally.

(v) The improvements provided are reasonable and modest.

(vi) Legal authority (i.e. easements) is obtained to construct these improvements.

(vii) Documentation must be provided to RUS indicating the quantity and quality of the individual installations that may be developed; cost effectiveness of the individual facility compared with initial and long term user costs on a central system; health and pollution problems attributable to individual facilities; operational or management problems peculiar to individual installations; and permit of regulatory agency requirements.

§ 1784.11 Restrictions.

Grant funds may not be used to:

(a) Pay any annual recurring costs that are considered to be operational expenses of a facility.

(b) Pay basic/rental fee or depreciation for the use of the recipient community's equipment.

(c) Purchase existing systems.

(d) Pay for items not associated with Rural Utilities Service's approved scope of work. This includes projects developed from other funding sources.

(e) Except as provided in this part, finance any public or commercial facility.

§§ 1784.12-1784.15 [Reserved]
Subpart C—Application Processing
§ 1784.16 General.

(a) DEC and ANTHC utilize the National Indian Health Service, Sanitation Deficiency System (SDS) database as a comprehensive source of rural sanitation needs in Alaska. The database provides an inventory of the sanitation deficiencies including water, sewer, and solid waste facilities for existing homes. The sanitation deficiencies data are updated annually by DEC and ANTHC in consultation with the respective rural or native villages. The SDS system is utilized in the RAVG program to help prioritize applications under the Village Safe Water Program.

(b) A prioritized list of projects will be developed each year by RUS, DEC, and ANTHC applying prioritization criteria to the sanitation needs database. Prioritization criteria established by the RUS, DEC, ANTHC, and IHS will be based, at a minimum, on relative health impacts, drinking water and wastewater regulatory requirements, the sanitation conditions in each community and project readiness. The VSW Program process and associated prioritization criteria will be used to prioritize projects and place them on a priority list. The process will be reviewed and approved by RUS, DEC, ANTHC, and IHS. Projects will be funded from the priority list as they meet established planning, design, and construction requirements, subject to available funding.

§ 1784.17 Application for Planning grants.

(a) Entities identified in § 1784.8 of this part may submit a completed Standard Form 424 to apply for funding to establish a Planning report for a rural or Native village.

(b) Funding for planning grants will be allocated annually by RUS, DEC, and ANTHC according to the prioritization list described in § 1784.16(b) of this part.

§ 1784.18 Application for Pre-development grants.

(a) Entities identified in § 1784.8 of this part may submit a completed Standard Form 424, Standard Form 424A, and Standard Form 424B to apply for funding for pre-development costs. Pre-development costs are described in § 1784.10 (a)(1)(iii) of this part.

(b) Funding for pre-development grants will be allocated annually by RUS, DEC, and ANTHC according to the prioritization list described in § 1784.16(b) of this part.

(c) Projects submitted for design only under the pre-development grant, must have RUS approval of a planning or pre-development report prior to consideration for funding.

§ 1784.19 Application for Construction grants.

(a) An application for a construction grant shall include:

(1) Completed Standard Form 424, Standard Form 424C and Standard Form 424D. Current versions of these forms may be found at Grants.gov.

(2) Preliminary Engineering Report, Environmental Report, or approved PER like document, including ANTHC's Cooperative Project Agreement and associated supplemental attachments;

(3) Population and median household income of the area to be served;

(4) Description of the project; and

(5) Approved business plan, including resolution adopting the plan, for the recipient community. The business plan will outline the proposed operation and management costs, rate structures, short-lived asset schedule and associated materials.

(6) Projects submitted for construction must have RUS and ANTHC or DEC approval of a planning or pre-development report prior to consideration for funding.

(b) Funding for construction grants will be allocated annually by RUS, DEC, and ANTHC according to the prioritization list described in § 1784.16(b) of this part.

§ 1784.20 Applications accepted from DEC or ANTHC.

(a) In cases where applications are accepted from DEC or ANTHC, one master application may be submitted covering all rural or native villages to be funded, however, each individual project will be broken out and (for construction grants) each will require its own PER, or PER-like document and Environmental Report.

(b) Each project will be processed individually with individual grant agreements, as appropriate.

(c) Expenditures for projects will be based on specific scope and be requested on a project by project basis.

(d) Funding amounts, as indicated in each grant agreement and letter of conditions, will be for the approved scope of work.

§ 1784.21 Other forms and certifications.

(a) Referenced bulletins, instructions and forms are for use in administering grants made under this part and are available from any USDA/Rural Development office or the Rural Utilities Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC 20250-1500.

(b) Applicants will be required to submit the following items to the processing office, upon notification from the processing office to proceed with further development of the full application:

(1) Form RD 400-1, Equal Opportunity Agreement;

(2) Form RD 400-4, Assurance Agreement;

(3) Form AD 1047, Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension and other Responsibility Matters;

(4) Form AD 1048, Certification regarding Debarment, Suspension, Ineligibility and Voluntary Exclusion—Lower Tier Covered Transactions;

(5) Form AD 1049, Certification regarding Drug-Free Workplace Requirements (Grants) Alternative I for Grantees Other Than Individuals;

(6) RUS Form 266, Compliance Assurance form or written self-certification statement—Civil Rights Compliance;

(7) Standard Form LLL, Disclosure of Lobbying Activities;

(8) RD Instruction 1940-Q, Exhibit A-1, Certifications for Contracts, Grants, and Loans (Regarding Lobbying); and

(9) Certification regarding prohibited tying arrangements. Applicants that provide electric service must provide the Agency a certification that they will not require users of a water or waste facility financed under this part to accept electric service as a condition of receiving assistance.

(c) In the case of grants made to DEC and ANTHC, DEC and ANTHC will certify that the above requirements are included in their agreements with the Villages. The certification and forms listed above must be provided from DEC and ANTHC on an annual basis for utilization in proposed applications.

(d) When favorable action is not taken on an application, the applicant will be notified in writing by the Rural Development State Program Official of the reasons why the request was not favorably considered. Notification to the applicant will state that a review of this decision by the Agency may be requested by the applicant in accordance with 7 CFR part 11.

(e) When favorable action is taken on an application, the applicant will be notified by a letter which establishes conditions that must be understood and agreed to before further consideration may be given to the application. In cases where a master application is submitted by DEC or ANTHC, the letter of conditions will include all projects, and their funding amounts, included in the master application on which favorable action will be taken. The letter of conditions does not constitute loan and/or grant approval, nor does it ensure that funds are or will be available for the project. The grant will be considered approved on the date a signed copy of Form RD 1940-1, Request for Obligation of Funds, is mailed to the applicant.

§ 1784.22 Other requirements.

Other Federal statutes and regulations are applicable to grants awarded under this part. These include but are not limited to:

(a) 7 CFR part 1, subpart A—USDA implementation of Freedom of Information Act.

(b) 7 CFR part 3—USDA implementation of OMB Circular No. A-129 regarding debt collection.

(c) 7 CFR part 15, subpart A—USDA implementation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended.

(d) 7 CFR part 1794, RUS Implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act.

(e) 7 CFR part 1901, subpart E—Civil Rights Compliance Requirements.

(f) 2 CFR part 200—Uniform Guidance.

(g) 2 CFR part 215—General Program Administrative Requirements.

(h) 2 CFR part 418—New Restrictions on Lobbying, prohibiting the use of appropriated funds to influence Congress or a Federal agency in connection with the making of any Federal grant and other Federal contracting and financial transactions.

(i) 2 CFR parts 400 and 415—USDA implementation of Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and Other Nonprofit Organizations.

(j) 2 CFR part 180, as adopted by USDA through 2 CFR 417, Government-wide Debarment and Suspension (Non-procurement); 2 CFR part 182, as adopted by USDA through 2 CFR 421, Government-wide Requirements for Drug-Free Workplace (Federal Assistance), implementing Executive Order 12549 on debarment and suspension and the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 (41 U.S.C. 701).

(k) 2 CFR part 200, subpart F—USDA implementation of audit requirements for non-federal organizations.

(l) 29 U.S.C. 794, section 504—Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and 7 CFR part 15B (USDA implementation of statute), prohibiting discrimination based upon physical or mental handicap in federally assisted programs.

(m) Floodplains. The agencies follow the eight-step decision-making process referenced in Section 2(a) of Executive Order 11988, Floodplain Management, when undertaking actions located in floodplains. Pursuant to E. O. 11988, the IHS uses a Class Review process to exclude certain actions from further review under the eight-step process. For all actions that do not qualify for IHS Class Review, the eight-step process shall be completed. All practicable measures to minimize development in floodplains and reduce the risk to human safety, health, and welfare shall be followed, including elevating a new water or wastewater facility at least one foot above the base flood elevation as determined by the Army Corp of Engineers, other qualified survey, or best available data. Since they are considered “critical facilities” as defined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), water and wastewater facilities may be subject to more stringent standards such as relocation out of the floodplain, higher elevation, or other flood proofing measures. If an area has been designated a floodplain by FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) coverage, flood insurance shall be required for facilities located in flood plains. If an area has no FEMA FIRM coverage the requirement to obtain flood insurance does not apply. If a community is located within a mapped FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) 100-year floodplain, but is not a participating National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) community member, then RUS may not fund the project according to 7 CFR 1806 Subpart B.

(n) Project planning, including engineering and environmental reports, to the maximum extent feasible, must address all water and/or waste disposal needs for a community in a coordinated manner with other community development projects and take into consideration information presented in available community strategic and comprehensive plans. Any reports or designs completed with funds must be completed in accordance with sound engineering practices and USDA regulations, including RUS NEPA regulations at 7 CFR part 1794.

§ 1784.23 Lead Agency Environmental Review.

(a) The Agency designated as the lead agency for the purposes of this grant program, will fulfill and agree to be responsible for complying with lead agency requirements for:

(1) National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) as outlined in 40 CFR 1501.5, Lead agencies;

(2) National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) Section 106 review process as outlined in 36 CFR part 800.2(a)(2) Lead Federal agency; and

(3) Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act as outlined in 50 CFR 402.07, Designation of lead agency.

(b) All environmental findings and determinations made by the lead agency represent those of the cooperating agencies and will be completed in accordance with the procedures outlined in this section.

(c) RUS will, to the extent possible and in accordance with 40 CFR 1506.2 and 7 CFR 1794.14, or successor regulation, actively participate with DEC, IHS, and ANTHC to cooperatively or jointly prepare environmental documents so that one document will comply with all applicable laws.

(d) For projects administered by DEC and ANTHC, RUS agrees to participate as a cooperating agency in accordance with 40 CFR 1501.6 and 7 CFR 1794.14 and relies upon those agencies' procedures for implementing NEPA as further described below.

(e) The lead agency will indicate that RUS is a cooperating agency in all NEPA-related notices published for the proposed action.

(f) A construction grant may not be approved until all environmental findings and determinations have been made according to the following:

(1) Rural Development Lead Agency. If RUS is the lead agency the environmental review process, including all findings and determinations, will be completed in accordance with 7 CFR 1794.

(2) DEC Lead Agency. In the event DEC is the lead agency, the environmental review process, including all findings and determinations will be completed in accordance with the environmental review process outlined in Appendix A to the June 15, 2011 MOU.

(3) IHS Lead Agency. For projects administered by ANTHC, IHS will be the lead agency for the environmental review process, including all findings and determinations. The environmental review process, including all findings and determinations will be completed in accordance with the Department of Health and Human Services policies and procedures in General Administration Manual, Part 30, Council on Environmental Quality regulations at 40 CFR 1500-1508 and with procedures published by IHS in the Federal Register, Vol. 58, No.3, page 569, January 6, 1993. The ANTHC shall notify the funding agencies and the IHS if a change in the project or project scope occurs which could change any previously prepared environmental findings or determinations or could adversely impact the environment. In the event of an unanticipated discovery of a historic property or other environmental resource, the ANTHC shall stop construction activity in the area of the discovery and notify the appropriate authority and the IHS. Mitigation options resulting from unanticipated discoveries, including but not limited to changes in project scope or cancellation of the project will be evaluated by the funding agencies in collaboration with the ANTHC and IHS. If appropriate and necessary, mitigation plans will be negotiated and approved by all parties. When the funding agencies have approved a mitigation plan and IHS has reaffirmed its environmental review process, including all findings and determinations, the ANTHC will be authorized to initiate the agreed to mitigation plan. The IHS shall bear no mitigation costs as it is not a funding agency for projects under this part.

(g) RUS will have an opportunity to review the IHS or DEC environmental review documents, including all findings and determinations to ensure consistency with this part and agency procedures. Where an Environmental Assessment (EA) or Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is required by the lead agency's environmental policies and procedures, the lead agency will ensure that the scope and content of the EA or EIS satisfies the statutory and regulatory requirements applicable to RUS. Where an EA and EIS is not required under the applicable lead agency's procedures for implementing NEPA, the review by RUS will be limited to ensure that the applicable lead agency's procedures were followed.

(h) The National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 review requirements completed for ANTHC administered projects will be carried out in accordance with the process described in Appendix B of the June 15, 2011 MOU.

§§ 1784.24-1784.25 [Reserved]
Subpart D—Grant Processing
§ 1784.26 Planning, development, and procurement.

(a) If RUS is the lead agency and will provide oversight for the project, a certification should be obtained from the State agency, or the Environmental Protection Agency if the State does not have primacy, stating that the proposed improvements will be in compliance with requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act and/or Clean Water Act and the applicable requirements of 2 CFR part 200 and 2 CFR part 400.

(b) Applicants that will bid and construct a project in phases, must provide assurance that the full scope of each specific phase of the project will be functional. In the event that the actual cost is anticipated to exceed the funding originally allocated for the project, all potential options will be reviewed and considered, including but not limited to acquiring additional funds or a reduction in project scope. RUS, ANTHC, and VSW will ensure that all items that were funded and within the scope of the project, including all phases, are functional when all funds have been disbursed.

§ 1784.27 Grant closing and disbursement of Funds.

(a) The Water and Waste Grant Agreement for rural and native villages in Alaska, or other approved form(s) will be executed by all applicants. To view all forms and agreements, refer to the USDA RUS Water and Environmental Programs Web site.

(b) Grant funds will be distributed from the Treasury at the time they are actually needed by the applicant using multiple advances. Instructions regarding disbursement of funds can be found in the Letter of Conditions.

(c) If there is a significant reduction in project costs, the applicant's funding needs will be reassessed. Decreases in RUS funds will be based on revised project costs and current number of users. Other factors, including RUS regulations used at the time of grant approval, will continue to be used as published at the time of grant approval. Obligated grant funds not needed to complete the proposed project will be deobligated. In such cases applicable forms, the letter of conditions, and other items will be revised.

§ 1784.28 Grantee accounting methods, management reporting, and audits.

(a) All Agency grantees will follow the reporting requirements as outlined in 7 CFR 1782.

(b) Other reporting requirements are as follows:

(1) During the construction period, for the reporting of expenses incurred for projects under this part, the party responsible for the administration of the project will complete an audit report in accordance with § 1782.10 (which includes GAGAS and 2 CFR part 200 Subpart F “Audit Requirements”). RUS may request a copy of this report.

(2) After the construction period and for the life of the facility, the recipient community will be responsible to meet the requirements outlined in 2 CFR parts 200, 400, 415, 416, and 7 CFR part 1780.47 paragraphs a through d. These requirements must be outlined in funding documents from RUS, ANTHC, and VSW and in agreements with the recipient communities. RUS may request this information for the life of the facility.

(c) The requirements found in 2 CFR parts 200, 400, 415 and 416 shall apply to all grants made under the RAVG program and shall be set forth in the respective grant agreement where required.

§ 1784.29 Grant servicing and accountability.

(a) Grants will be serviced in accordance with 7 CFR part 1782.

(b) RUS reserves the right to request and review project files from grantees at any time.

(c) If at any time an application is determined ineligible, 7 CFR part 11 will be followed.

§ 1784.30 Subsequent grants.

Subsequent grants will be processed in accordance with the requirements set forth in this part. The initial and subsequent grants made to complete a previously approved project must comply with the maximum grant requirements set forth in§ 1784.8(f) of this part.

§ 1784.31 Exception authority.

The Administrator may, in individual cases, make an exception to any requirement or provision of this part which is not inconsistent with the authorizing statute or other applicable law and is determined to be in the Government's best interest.

§ 1784.32-1784.34 [Reserved]
Subpart E—Design, Procurement, Construction, and Inspection
§ 1784.35 General.

This subpart is specifically designed for use by owners including the professional or technical consultants or agents who provide assistance and services such as engineering, environmental, inspection, financial, legal or other services related to planning, designing, bidding, contracting, and constructing water and waste disposal facilities. The selection of engineers for a project design shall be done by a request for proposals by the applicant. These procedures do not relieve the owner of the contractual obligations that arise from the procurement of these services. For this subpart, an owner is defined as the grant recipient.

§ 1784.36 Procurement by applicants eligible under this part

(a) For applicants eligible under § 1784.8(a)(2) and (3), contracting and procurement activities will follow DEC or ANTHC policies, procedures and methods which are based on and shall follow Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (2 CFR part 200). In specifying materials, DEC and ANTHC will consider all materials normally suitable for the project based on sound engineering practices and project requirements.

(b) Contracts for procurement must contain applicable contract provisions listed at Appendix II to 2 CFR part 200.

(c) For grants proposed to be administered directly by applicants eligible under § 1784.8(a)(1), the requirements outlined in 7 CFR part 1780, subpart C will be met by those eligible applicants with the exception of the following requirements:

(1) Preliminary engineering reports and Environmental Reports (§ 1780.55). Refer to the requirements of this subpart and subpart C § 1784.22(n).

(2) Metering devices in § 1780.57(m).

(3) Utility Purchase Contracts in § 1780.62.

(4) Sewage treatment and bulk water sales contracts in § 1780.63.

§ 1784.37 Procurement of recovered materials.

When a grant is made to the DEC, the state and its contractors must comply with section 6002 of the Solid Waste Disposal Act, as amended by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The requirements of Section 6002 include procuring only items designated in guidelines of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at 40 CFR part 247 that contain the highest percentage of recovered materials practicable, consistent with maintaining a satisfactory level of competition, where the purchase price of the item exceeds $10,000 or the value of the quantity acquired during the preceding fiscal year exceeded $10,000; procuring solid waste management services in a manner that maximizes energy and resource recovery; and establishing an affirmative procurement program for procurement of recovered materials identified in the EPA guidelines.

§§ 1784.38—1784.99 [Reserved].
Dated: _July 28, 2015._ Brandon McBride, Administrator, Rural Utilities Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-21122 Filed 8-31-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 25 [Docket No. FAA-2015-3653; Special Conditions No. 25-591-SC] Special Conditions: Bombardier Aerospace, Models BD-500-1A10 and BD-500-1A11 Series Airplanes; Installed Rechargeable Lithium Batteries and Battery Systems AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final special conditions; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

These special conditions are issued for the Bombardier Aerospace Models BD-500-1A10 and BD-500-1A11 series airplanes. These airplanes will have a novel or unusual design feature when compared to the state of technology envisioned in the airworthiness standards for transport category airplanes. This design feature is rechargeable lithium batteries and battery systems that have certain failure, operational, and maintenance characteristics that differ significantly from those of the nickel-cadmium and lead-acid rechargeable batteries currently approved for installation on large transport category airplanes. The applicable airworthiness regulations do not contain adequate or appropriate safety standards for these design features. These special conditions contain the additional safety standards that the Administrator considers necessary to establish a level of safety equivalent to that established by the existing airworthiness standards.

DATES:

This action is effective on Bombardier Aerospace on September 1, 2015. We must receive your comments by October 1, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

Send comments identified by docket number FAA-2015-3653 using any of the following methods:

Federal eRegulations Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/ and follow the online instructions for sending your comments electronically.

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

Hand Delivery or Courier: Take comments to Docket Operations in Room W12-140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

Fax: Fax comments to Docket Operations at 202-493-2251.

Privacy: The FAA will post all comments it receives, without change, to http://www.regulations.gov/, including any personal information the commenter provides. Using the search function of the docket Web site, anyone can find and read the electronic form of all comments received into any FAA docket, including the name of the individual sending the comment (or signing the comment for an association, business, labor union, etc.). DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement can be found in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477-19478), as well as at http://DocketsInfo.dot.gov/. Docket: Background documents or comments received may be read at http://www.regulations.gov/ at any time. Follow the online instructions for accessing the docket or go to the Docket Operations in Room W12-140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Nazih Khaouly, FAA, Airplane and Flight Crew Interface Branch, ANM-111, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, Washington 98057-3356; telephone 425-227-2432; facsimile 425-227-1149.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The FAA has determined that notice of, and opportunity for prior public comment on, these special conditions is impracticable because these procedures would significantly delay issuance of the design approval and thus delivery of the affected airplanes. In addition, the substance of these special conditions has been subject to the public comment process in several prior instances with no substantive comments received. The FAA therefore finds that good cause exists for making these special conditions effective upon publication in the Federal Register.

Comments Invited

We invite interested people to take part in this rulemaking by sending written comments, data, or views. The most helpful comments reference a specific portion of the special conditions, explain the reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data.

We will consider all comments we receive by the closing date for comments. We may change these special conditions based on the comments we receive.

Background

On December 10, 2009, Bombardier Aerospace applied for a type certificate for their new Models BD-500-1A10 and BD-500-1A11 series airplanes (hereafter collectively referred to as “CSeries”). The CSeries airplanes are swept-wing monoplanes with an aluminum alloy fuselage, sized for 5-abreast seating. Passenger capacity is designated as 110 for the Model BD-500-1A10 and 125 for the Model BD-500-1A11. Maximum takeoff weight is 131,000 pounds for the Model BD-500-1A10 and 144,000 pounds for the Model BD-500-1A11. The CSeries airplanes will use rechargeable lithium batteries and battery systems for equipment and systems.

Type Certification Basis

Under the provisions of Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) 21.17, Bombardier Aerospace must show that the CSeries airplanes meet the applicable provisions of 14 CFR part 25 as amended by Amendments 25-1 through 25-129.

If the Administrator finds that the applicable airworthiness regulations (i.e., 14 CFR part 25) do not contain adequate or appropriate safety standards for the CSeries airplanes because of a novel or unusual design feature, special conditions are prescribed under the provisions of § 21.16.

Special conditions are initially applicable to the model for which they are issued. Should the type certificate for that model be amended later to include any other model that incorporates the same or similar novel or unusual design feature, the special conditions would also apply to the other model.

In addition to the applicable airworthiness regulations and special conditions, the CSeries airplanes must comply with the fuel vent and exhaust emission requirements of 14 CFR part 34 and the noise certification requirements of 14 CFR part 36, and the FAA must issue a finding of regulatory adequacy under § 611 of Public Law 92-574, the “Noise Control Act of 1972.”

The FAA issues special conditions, as defined in 14 CFR 11.19, in accordance with § 11.38, and they become part of the type-certification basis under § 21.17(a)(2).

Novel or Unusual Design Features

The CSeries will incorporate the following novel or unusual design feature: Installed rechargeable lithium batteries and battery systems that have certain failure, operational, and maintenance characteristics that differ significantly from those of the nickel-cadmium and lead-acid rechargeable batteries currently approved for installation on large transport-category airplanes.

The applicable airworthiness regulations do not contain adequate or appropriate safety standards for this design feature. These special conditions contain the additional safety standards that the Administrator considers necessary to establish a level of safety equivalent to that established by the existing airworthiness standards.

Discussion

The current regulations governing installation of batteries in large transport category airplanes were derived from Civil Air Regulations (CAR) part 4b.625(d) as part of the re-codification of CAR 4b that established 14 CFR part 25 in February 1965. The recodified battery requirements, § 25.1353(c)(1) through (c)(4), basically reworded the CAR requirements.

Increased use of nickel-cadmium batteries in small airplanes resulted in increased incidents of battery fires and failures that led to additional rulemaking affecting large, transport category airplanes as well as small airplanes. On September 1, 1977, and March 1, 1978, with Amendments 25-41 and 25-42 respectively, the FAA added paragraphs (c)(5) and (c)(6) to § 25.1353 governing nickel-cadmium battery installations on large, transport-category airplanes. On December 10, 2007, Amendment 25-123 moved the contents of paragraph (b) in § 25.1353 to the new subpart H, resulting in the relocation of the regulations governing the installation of batteries in § 25.1353 from paragraph (c) to paragraph (b).

The proposed use of rechargeable lithium batteries for equipment and systems prompted the FAA to review the adequacy of these existing regulations. Our review indicates that the existing regulations do not adequately address several failure, operational, and maintenance characteristics of lithium batteries that could affect the safety and reliability of the lithium battery installations.

At present, there is limited experience with the use of lithium batteries in applications involving commercial aviation. However, other users of this technology, ranging from wireless telephone manufacturers to the electric vehicle industry, have noted safety problems with rechargeable lithium batteries. These problems include overcharging, over-discharging, and flammability of cell components.

1. Overcharging

In general, lithium batteries are significantly more susceptible to internal failures that can result in self-sustaining increases in temperature and pressure (i.e., thermal runaway) than their nickel-cadmium or lead-acid counterparts. This condition is especially true for overcharging, which causes heating and destabilization of the components of the cell, leading to the formation (by plating) of highly unstable metallic lithium. The metallic lithium can ignite, resulting in a self-sustaining fire or explosion. Finally, the severity of thermal runaway due to overcharging increases with increasing battery capacity due to the higher amount of electrolyte in large batteries.

2. Over-Discharging

Discharge of some types of lithium battery cells beyond a certain voltage (typically 2.4 volts), can cause corrosion of the electrodes of the cell, resulting in loss of battery capacity that cannot be reversed by recharging. This loss of capacity may not be detected by the simple voltage measurements commonly available to flightcrews as a means of checking battery status—a problem shared with nickel-cadmium batteries.

3. Flammability of Cell Components

Unlike nickel-cadmium and lead-acid batteries, some types of lithium batteries use liquid electrolytes that are flammable. The electrolyte can serve as a source of fuel for an external fire, if there is a breach of the battery container.

These problems experienced by users of lithium batteries raise concern about the use of these batteries in commercial aviation. The intent of these special conditions is to establish appropriate airworthiness standards for lithium battery installations in the CSeries airplanes and to ensure, as required by §§ 25.601 and 25. 1309, that these battery installations are not hazardous or unreliable.

Applicability

As discussed above, these special conditions are applicable to the Models BD-500-1A10 and BD-500-1A11 series airplanes. Should Bombardier Aerospace apply at a later date for a change to the type certificate to include another model incorporating the same novel or unusual design feature, the special conditions would apply to that model as well.

Conclusion

This action affects only certain novel or unusual design features on two model series of airplanes. It is not a rule of general applicability.

The substance of these special conditions has been subjected to the notice and comment period in several prior instances and has been derived without substantive change from those previously issued. It is unlikely that prior public comment would result in a significant change from the substance contained herein. Therefore, the FAA has determined that prior public notice and comment are unnecessary and impracticable, and good cause exists for adopting these special conditions upon publication in the Federal Register. The FAA is requesting comments to allow interested persons to submit views that may not have been submitted in response to the prior opportunities for comment described above.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 25

Aircraft, Aviation safety, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

The authority citation for these special conditions is as follows: Authority:

49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701, 44702, 44704.

The Special Conditions Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the following special conditions are issued as part of the type certification basis for Bombardier BD-500-1A10 and BD-500-1A11 series airplanes.

In lieu of the requirements of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) 25.1353(b)(1) through (b)(4) at Amendment 25.129 for rechargeable lithium batteries and battery systems, all installations must be designed and installed as follows:

1. Safe cell temperatures and pressures must be maintained during any foreseeable charging or discharging condition and during any failure of the charging or battery monitoring system not shown to be extremely remote. The rechargeable lithium battery installation must preclude explosion in the event of those failures.

2. Design of the rechargeable lithium batteries must preclude the occurrence of self-sustaining, uncontrolled increases in temperature or pressure.

3. No explosive or toxic gases emitted by any rechargeable lithium battery in normal operation, or as the result of any failure of the battery charging system, monitoring system, or battery installation which is not shown to be extremely remote, may accumulate in hazardous quantities within the airplane.

4. Installations of rechargeable lithium batteries must meet the requirements of § 25.863(a) through (d).

5. No corrosive fluids or gases that may escape from any rechargeable lithium battery may damage surrounding structure or any adjacent systems, equipment, or electrical wiring of the airplane in such a way as to cause a major or more severe failure condition, in accordance with § 25.1309 (b) and applicable regulatory guidance.

6. Each rechargeable lithium battery installation must have provisions to prevent any hazardous effect on structure or essential systems caused by the maximum amount of heat the battery can generate during a short circuit of the battery or of its individual cells.

7. Lithium battery installations must have a system to control the charging rate of the battery automatically, so as to prevent battery overheating or overcharging, and,

a. A battery temperature sensing and over-temperature warning system with a means for automatically disconnecting the battery from its charging source in the event of an over-temperature condition, or,

b. A battery failure sensing and warning system with a means for automatically disconnecting the battery from its charging source in the event of battery failure.

8. Any rechargeable lithium battery installation, the function of which is required for safe operation of the airplane, must incorporate a monitoring and warning feature that will provide an indication to the appropriate flight crewmembers whenever the state-of-charge of the batteries has fallen below levels considered acceptable for dispatch of the airplane.

9. The instructions for continued airworthiness required by § 25.1529 must contain maintenance requirements to assure that the battery is sufficiently charged at appropriate intervals specified by the battery manufacturer and the equipment manufacturer that contain the rechargeable lithium battery or rechargeable lithium battery system. This is required to ensure that lithium rechargeable batteries and lithium rechargeable battery systems will not degrade below specified ampere-hour levels sufficient to power the aircraft system, for intended applications. The instructions for continued airworthiness must also contain procedures for the maintenance of batteries in spares storage to prevent the replacement of batteries with batteries that have experienced degraded charge retention ability or other damage due to prolonged storage at a low state of charge. Replacement batteries must be of the same manufacturer and part number as approved by the FAA. Precautions should be included in the instructions for continued airworthiness maintenance instructions to prevent mishandling of the rechargeable lithium battery and rechargeable lithium battery systems which could result in short-circuit or other unintentional impact damage caused by dropping or other destructive means that could result in personal injury or property damage.

Note 1:

The term “sufficiently charged” means that the battery will retain enough of a charge, expressed in ampere-hours, to ensure that the battery cells will not be damaged. A battery cell may be damaged by lowering the charge below a point where there is a reduction in the ability to charge and retain a full charge. This reduction would be greater than the reduction that may result from normal operational degradation.

Note 2:

These special conditions are not intended to replace § 25.1353(b) at Amendment 25-129 in the certification basis of BD-500-1A10 and BD-500-1A11 series airplanes. These special conditions apply only to rechargeable lithium batteries and lithium battery systems and their installations. The requirements of § 25.1353(b) at Amendment 25-129 remain in effect for batteries and battery installations on BD-500-1A10 and BD-500-1A11 series airplanes that do not use lithium batteries.

Michael Kaszycki, Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-21626 Filed 8-31-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION 19 CFR Part 207 [Docket No. MISC-013] Investigations of Whether Injury to Domestic Industries Results From Imports Sold at Less Than Fair Value or From Subsidized Exports to the United States AGENCY:

International Trade Commission.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The United States International Trade Commission (“Commission”) is amending a provision of its Rules of Practice and Procedure concerning the conduct of antidumping and countervailing duty investigations and reviews. The amendment is designed to facilitate the collection of information and reduce the burden on petitioning parties by changing the information they need to provide in petitions.

DATES:

This regulation is effective October 1, 2015, and is applicable to all petitions filed with the Commission after October 1, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Lisa R. Barton, Secretary, telephone (202) 205-2000, or Michael Haldenstein, Attorney-Advisor, Office of the General Counsel, telephone (202) 205-3041, United States International Trade Commission. Hearing-impaired individuals are advised that information on this matter can be obtained by contacting the Commission's TDD terminal at (202) 205-1810. General information concerning the Commission may also be obtained by accessing its Internet server at http://www.usitc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

Section 335 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1335) authorizes the Commission to adopt reasonable procedures, rules, and regulations that it deems necessary to carry out its functions and duties. The Commission has determined to amend Part 207 of its rules covering investigations conducted under title VII of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (“title VII proceedings”). The amendment is to Commission Rule 207.11 (19 CFR 207.11), which governs the information required in antidumping and countervailing duty petitions filed with the Commission (as well as the Department of Commerce). The change to the rule is aimed at decreasing the burden on petitioning parties to provide detailed information concerning lost sales and lost revenue allegations in petitions filed with the Commission.

The Commission recently amended its Rules of Practice and Procedure, including Commission Rule 207.11. Prior to promulgating final rules, it published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) in the Federal Register. 78 FR 36446-449 (June 18, 2013). Among the provisions it proposed to amend was the provision in 19 CFR 207.11(b)(2)(v) concerning submission of lost sales and lost revenue allegations. Three law firms which regularly appear before the Commission in Title VII proceedings filed comments on the NOPR. On June 25, 2014, the Commission published revisions to its rules, including 19 CFR 207.11(b)(2)(v), that largely adopted the changes proposed in the NOPR. 79 FR 35920 (June 25, 2014).

In this notice, the Commission is adopting new rules regarding collection of information on lost sales and lost revenue allegations. The Commission considers this rule to be procedural and therefore excepted from notice-and-comment requirements under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(A). The Commission typically engages in a notice-and-comment rulemaking process, even when it is not required, so it can receive comments and suggestions from affected parties concerning contemplated changes to its Rules of Practice and Procedure. The Commission decided that such processes were not warranted in this particular circumstance and, for reasons stated more fully below, finds under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B) that good cause exists to waive prior notice and opportunity for public comment. In particular, the Commission conducted a rulemaking concerning the lost sales/lost revenue provision at 19 CFR 207.11(b)(2)(v) last year, received limited comments on the provision, and subsequently conducted an external survey process which yielded considerable commentary about procedures for collecting and investigating lost sales and lost revenue allegations. Consequently, the Commission has recently received and carefully considered extensive comments concerning the matters addressed in this notice.

Regulatory Analysis of Amendment to the Commission's Rules

The Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) is inapplicable to this rulemaking because it is not one for which a notice of final rulemaking is required under 5 U.S.C. 553(b) or any other statute. These regulations are “agency rules of procedure and practice,” and thus are exempt from the notice requirement imposed by 5 U.S.C. 553(b). Moreover, the rules are certified as not having a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.).

The rule does not impose an information collection burden under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

The rule does not contain any unfunded mandate or significantly or uniquely affect small governments, as described in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.).

The rule change does not constitute a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866 (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993).

The rule change does not have Federalism implications as specified in Executive Order 13132 (64 FR 43255, October 7, 1999).

The amendment is not to a major rule as defined by section 804 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (5 U.S.C. 801 et. seq.). Moreover, it is exempt from the reporting requirements of the Act because it concerns a rule of agency organization, procedure, or practice that does not substantially affect the rights or obligations of non-agency parties.

Explanation of the Rule Change

On June 25, 2014, the Commission amended 19 CFR 207.11(b)(2)(v) in two respects. First, the amendment required that petitioners provide the email address, street address, city, state, and 5-digit zip code for each purchaser/contact with respect to each lost sales or lost revenue allegation. Second, petitioners were required to file any lost sales or revenue allegation(s) identified in the petition via a separate electronic data entry process in a manner to be specified in the Commission's Handbook on Filing Procedures. The only comment on these changes asserted that the Commission's approach to investigating lost sales and lost revenue allegations was overly rigid and that the amendment would only further increase the number of lost sales or lost revenue allegations that go uninvestigated. When it adopted the rule changes, the Commission indicated that its staff was still in the process of examining possible methods for electronic entry of data pertaining to lost sales and lost revenue allegations. Some basic requirements were to be specified in the Commission's Handbook of Filing Procedures and the Commission indicated that these requirements may be further modified.

After the amendments of June 2014, the Commission staff conducted an external survey regarding the Commission's lost sales and lost revenue allegation process. It received 37 responses to the survey. Most survey respondents represented U.S. producers and they noted that they frequently submit lost sales and lost revenue allegations. Many survey respondents stated that it is difficult to provide the level of detail requested by the Commission regarding the allegations, particularly specific dates, quantities, and competing prices. They asserted that because of the level of detail and required research, compiling the information can be time consuming and costly for petitioners. Some survey respondents noted that collection of allegation information requires extensive document collection and review. Survey respondents also observed that the specificity of the details in the allegation makes it possible for purchasers to deny allegations based on minor differences in details.

After considering these comments, the Commission has determined to amend Commission Rule 207.11(b)(2)(v) to no longer require transaction-specific lost sales and lost revenue allegation information in the petition. Parties will no longer be required by the Rule to include in the petition “[a] listing of all sales or revenues lost by each petitioning firm by reason of the subject merchandise during the three years preceding filing of the petition.” Rather, the Commission's revised rule will state that the petition must include “[a] listing of the main purchasers from which each petitioning firm experienced lost sales or lost revenue by reason of the subject merchandise during a period covering the three most recently completed calendar years and that portion of the current calendar year for which information is reasonably available.” Petitioners will be required to provide the listing via a separate electronic data entry process in a manner to be specified in the Commission's Handbook on Filing Procedures. The Commission is also removing the requirement that petitioners supply physical addresses for purchasers. Instead, petitioners will be required to provide information identified in the template spreadsheet specified in the Commission's Handbook on Filing Procedures. The language of the rule also now clearly indicates that lost sales and revenue allegations should concern a period more closely reflecting the period of investigation the Commission typically uses rather than only the three years preceding the filing of the petition.

These changes in requirements for the petition should ease the burden on petitioners while not compromising the ability of Commission staff to investigate lost sales and revenue that occur during the period of investigation.

Accordingly, the ITC amends 19 CFR part 207 as follows:

PART 207—INVESTIGATIONS OF WHETHER INJURY TO DOMESTIC INDUSTRIES RESULTS FROM IMPORTS SOLD AT LESS THAN FAIR VALUE OR FROM SUBSIDIZED EXPORTS TO THE UNITED STATES 1. The authority citation for part 207 continues to read as follows: Authority:

19 U.S.C. 1336, 1671-1677n, 2482, 3513.

2. In § 207.11, revise paragraph (b)(2)(v) to read as follows:
§ 207.11 Contents of petition.

(b) * * *

(2) * * *

(v) A listing of the main purchasers from which each petitioning firm experienced lost sales or lost revenue by reason of the subject merchandise during a period covering the three most recently completed calendar years and that portion of the current calendar year for which information is reasonably available. For each named purchaser, petitioners must provide the email address of the specific contact person, 5-digit zip code, and the information identified in the template spreadsheet specified in the Commission's Handbook on Filing Procedures. Petitioners must certify that all lost sales or lost revenue allegations identified in the petition will also be submitted electronically in the manner specified in the Commission's Handbook on Filing Procedures.

By order of the Commission.

Issued: August 25, 2015. Lisa R. Barton, Secretary to the Commission.
[FR Doc. 2015-21441 Filed 8-31-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7020-02-P
DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT 24 CFR Part 982 [Docket No. FR-5453-C-03] RIN 2577-AC86 Housing Choice Voucher Program: Streamlining the Portability Process AGENCY:

Office of General Counsel, HUD.

ACTION:

Final rule, technical correction.

SUMMARY:

This document corrects an inadvertent omission of regulatory text in HUD's final rule on Housing Choice Voucher Program: Streamlining the Portability Process, published on August 20, 2015.

DATES:

Effective Date: September 21, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

For further information about this technical correction, contact Camille E. Acevedo, Associate General Counsel for Legislation and Regulations, Office of General Counsel, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street SW., Room 10282, Washington, DC 20410-0500, telephone number 202-708-1793 (this is not a toll-free number). Individuals with speech or hearing impairments may access this number through TTY by calling the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339 (this is a toll-free number).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

On August 20, 2015, at 80 FR 50564, HUD published a final rule to streamline the portability process. Portability is a feature of the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program that allows an eligible family with a housing choice voucher to use that voucher to lease a unit anywhere in the United States where there is a public housing agency (PHA) operating an HCV program. The purpose of the changes made to the portability regulations made by HUD's final rule published on August 10, 2015, is to enable PHAs to better serve families and expand housing opportunities by improving portability processes.

HUD received comments about the requirement and content of HCV family briefings. The majority of commenters, commenting on the briefings, expressed opposition to expanding the briefing requirements, stating that the existing briefing requirements are already complex and any expansion would increase administrative burden. In response to these comments, HUD stated that it determined that providing information about the factors the family should consider when determining where to lease a unit with voucher assistance will only be required as part of the briefing should HUD make such information available to PHAs for distribution. HUD stated that if required, PHAs are to provide such information as part of the oral briefing and the information packet provided to families selected to participate in the program, and that HUD would revised the regulation at § 982.301 accordingly. HUD further stated that an explanation of the benefits of living in low-poverty census tracts should be provided to all families, not just those families living in high-poverty census tracts. This explanation of benefits should also be included in the information packet provided to families selected to participate in the HCV program. (See 80 FR 50569, first column.) While HUD stated that it would amend § 982.301 accordingly, the corresponding amendments were inadvertently omitted from the regulatory text. Therefore, this document revises § 982.301 to include the missing regulatory text.

Correction

In the issue of August 20, 2015, at 80 FR 50564, FR Rule Doc. No. 2015-20551 is corrected as follows:

On page 50572, in the third column, amendatory instruction 4. and its amendatory text are corrected to read as follows:

4. In § 982.301, revise paragraphs (a)(1)(iii), (a)(2), (a)(3), (b)(1), (b)(4), (b)(9), (b)(11), and (b)(15) to read as follows:
§ 982.301 Information when family is selected.

(a) * * *

(1) * * *

(iii) Where the family may lease a unit, including renting a dwelling unit inside or outside the PHA jurisdiction, and any information on selecting a unit that HUD provides.

(2) An explanation of how portability works. The PHA may not discourage the family from choosing to live anywhere in the PHA jurisdiction, or outside the PHA jurisdiction under portability procedures, unless otherwise expressly authorized by statute, regulation, PIH Notice, or court order. The family must be informed of how portability may affect the family's assistance through screening, subsidy standards, payment standards, and any other elements of the portability process which may affect the family's assistance.

(3) The briefing must also explain the advantages of areas that do not have a high concentration of low-income families.

(b) * * *

(1) The term of the voucher, voucher suspensions, and PHA policy on any extensions of the term. If the PHA allows extensions, the packet must explain how the family can request an extension;

(4) Where the family may lease a unit and an explanation of how portability works, including information on how portability may affect the family's assistance through screening, subsidy standards, payment standards, and any other elements of the portability process which may affect the family's assistance.

(9) Materials (e.g., brochures) on how to select a unit and any additional information on selecting a unit that HUD provides.

(11) A list of landlords known to the PHA who may be willing to lease a unit to the family or other resources (e.g., newspapers, organizations, online search tools) known to the PHA that may assist the family in locating a unit. PHAs must ensure that the list of landlords or other resources covers areas outside of poverty or minority concentration.

(15) The advantages of areas that do not have a high concentration of low-income families.

Dated: August 25, 2015. Camille E. Acevedo, Associate General Counsel for Legislation and Regulations.
[FR Doc. 2015-21487 Filed 8-31-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4210-67-P
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 100 [Docket Number USCG-2015-0737] RIN 1625-AA00 Safety Zone; Unexploded Ordnance Removal, Vero Beach, FL AGENCY:

Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION:

Temporary final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Coast Guard is establishing a safety zone on the waters of the Atlantic Ocean for the removal of unexploded ordnance located east of Vero Beach. There will be a zone approximately 2.6 nautical mile wide along the beach extending due east for approximately 2.3 nautical miles, in Vero Beach, Florida. This safety zone will be in effect from August 10th through September 4, 2015. This safety zone will only be enforced while operations are being conducted. The safety zone is necessary to protect the public from hazards associated with removal of the unexploded ordnance. Persons and vessels are prohibited from entering, transiting through, anchoring in, or remaining within the safety zone during operations unless authorized by the Captain of the Port Miami or a designated representative.

DATES:

This rule is effective without actual notice from September 1, 2015 until September 4, 2015. For the purposes of enforcement, actual notice will be used from August 10, 2015 until September 1, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

To view documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov, type USCG-2015-0737 in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.” Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this rule. You may also visit the Docket Management Facility in Room W12-140 on the ground floor of the Department of Transportation West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

If you have questions on this rule, call or email Petty Officer Benjamin Colbert, U.S. Coast Guard; telephone 305-535-4317, email [email protected] If you have questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, call Ms. Cheryl Collins, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone 202-366-9826.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Table of Abbreviations CFR Code of Federal Regulations DHS Department of Homeland Security E.O. Executive order FR Federal Register NPRM Notice of proposed rulemaking Pub. L. Public Law §  Section U.S.C. United States Code II. Background Information and Regulatory History

The Coast Guard is issuing this final rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment pursuant to authority under section 4(a) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553(b)). This provision authorizes an agency to issue a rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment when the agency for good cause finds that those procedures are “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.” Under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for not publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) with respect to this rule because the Coast Guard did not receive notice of this event until late July and there is an immediate need to remove hazards presented by unexploded ordinance. Any delay in the effective date of this rule would be unnecessary and contrary to the public interest because immediate action is needed to minimize potential danger to the public from this operation.

We are issuing this final rule, and under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for making it effective less than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register for the same reasons described above.

III. Legal Authority and Need for Rule

The legal basis for the rule is the Coast Guard's authority to establish regulated navigation areas and other limited access areas: 33 U.S.C. 1231; 50 U.S.C. 191; 33 CFR 1.05-1, 6.04-1, 6.04-6, and 160.5; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1.

The purpose of the rule is to provide for the safety of life on navigable waters during the removal and disposition of unexploded ordnance.

IV. Discussion of the Final Rule

From August 10, 2015 to September 4, 2015, the Army Corp of Engineers will be removing and disposing unexploded ordnance off the coast of Vero Beach, Florida.

A safety zone will encompass certain waters of the Atlantic Ocean in Vero Beach, Florida. The safety zone will be effective beginning 12:01 a.m. on August 10, 2015 through 11:59 p.m. on September 4, 2015 unless cancelled sooner by the Captain of the Port. The safety zone will be enforced while operations associated with the removal and disposition of the unexploded ordnance are ongoing. Weather conditions may inhibit ordinance removal operations; as a result, exact enforcement times cannot be identified at this time. The USCG and other Law Enforcement agencies will have vessels on-scene to enforce this rule. The safety zone will encompass all waters of the Atlantic Ocean from Windward Way to Seaway Court extending east for 2.3 nautical miles, in Vero Beach, Florida. All persons and vessels are prohibited from entering, transiting through, anchoring in, or remaining within this regulated area.

Persons and vessels may request authorization to enter the safety zone by contacting the Captain of the Port Miami by telephone at 305-535-4472, or a designated representative via VHF radio on channel 16. If authorization to enter, transit through, anchor in, or remain within the safety zone is granted by the Captain of the Port Miami or a designated representative, all persons and vessels receiving such authorization must comply with the instructions of the Captain of the Port Miami or a designated representative. The Coast Guard will provide notice of the safety zone by Broadcast Notice to Mariners, and on-scene designated representatives.

V. Regulatory Analyses

We developed this rule after considering numerous statutes and executive orders (E.O.s) related to rulemaking. Below we summarize our analyses based on a number of these statutes and E.O.s, and we discuss First Amendment rights of protestors.

A. Regulatory Planning and Review

E.O.s 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess the costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits. E.O. 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility. This rule has not been designated a “significant regulatory action,” under E.O. 12866. Accordingly, it has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget.

The economic impact of this rule is not significant for the following reasons: (1) This safety zone will be enforced during operations related to the removal and disposition of the unexploded ordnance; (2) although persons and vessels will not be able to enter, transit through, anchor in, or remain within the safety zone without authorization from the Captain of the Port Miami or a designated representative, they may operate in the surrounding areas during the enforcement period; (3) persons and vessels may still enter, transit through, anchor in, or remain within the safety zone during the enforcement period if authorized by the Captain of the Port Miami or a designated representative; (4) the Coast Guard will provide advance notification of the safety zone to the local maritime community by Broadcast Notice to Mariners and on-scene representatives.

B. Impact on Small Entities

The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, 5 U.S.C. 601-612, as amended, requires Federal agencies to consider the potential impact of regulations on small entities during rulemaking. The term “small entities” comprises small businesses, not-for-profit organizations that are independently owned and operated and are not dominant in their fields, and governmental jurisdictions with populations of less than 50,000. The Coast Guard 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 may affect the following entities, some of which may be small entities: The owners or operators of vessels intending to enter, transit through, anchor in, or remain within the safety zone during the respective enforcement period. For the reasons discussed in the Regulatory Planning and Review Section above, this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

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

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.

C. Collection of Information

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

D. Federalism and Indian Tribal Governments

A rule has implications for federalism under E.O. 13132, Federalism, if it has a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. We have analyzed this rule under that Order and have determined that it is consistent with the fundamental federalism principles and preemption requirements described in E.O. 13132.

Also, this rule does not have tribal implications under E.O. 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, because it does not have a substantial direct effect on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes. If you believe this rule has implications for federalism or Indian tribes, please contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section above.

E. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

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

F. Environment

We have analyzed this rule under Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 023-01 and Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, which guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have determined that this action is one of a category of actions that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. This rule involves the creation of a safety zone. This rule is categorically excluded from further review under paragraph 34(g) of Figure 2-1 of the Commandant Instruction.

G. 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.

List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 165

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

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

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

33 U.S.C. 1231; 50 U.S.C. 191; 33 CFR 1.05-1, 6.04-1, 6.04-6, and 160.5; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1.

2. Add a temporary § 165.T07-0737 to read as follows:
§ 165.T07-0737 Safety Zone; Unexploded Ordnance Removal, Vero Beach, FL.

(a) Regulated area. The following regulated area is established as a safety zone: All waters starting at point 1 in position 27°37′00″ N. 80°20′40″ W.; thence east to point 2 in position 27°36′05″ N. 80°17′55″ W.; thence south to point 3 in position 27°34′51″ N. 80°17′55″ W.; thence west to point 4 in position 27°34′07″ N. 80°19′28″ W.; thence northwest back to origin.

(b) Definition. The term “designated representative” means Coast Guard Patrol Commanders, including Coast Guard coxswains, petty officers, and other officers operating Coast Guard vessels, and Federal, state, and local officers designated by or assisting the Captain of the Port Miami in the enforcement of the regulated area.

(c) Regulations. (1) All persons and vessels are prohibited from entering, transiting through, anchoring in, or remaining within the safety zone without authorization from the Captain of the Port Miami or a designated representative.

(2) Persons and vessels desiring to enter, transit through, anchor in, or remain within the safety zone may contact the Captain of the Port Miami by telephone at 305-535-4472, or a designated representative via VHF radio on channel 16. If authorization to enter, transit through, anchor in, or remain within a safety zone is granted by the Captain of the Port Miami or a designated representative, all persons and vessels receiving such authorization must comply with the instructions of the Captain of the Port Miami or a designated representative.

(3) The Coast Guard will provide notice of the safety zone by Broadcast Notice to Mariners and on-scene designated representatives.

(d) Effective date. This rule is effective from 12:01 a.m. on August 10, 2015 through 11:59 a.m. on September 4, 2015 unless cancelled sooner by the Captain of the Port. This rule will be enforced while operations associated with ordinance removal are in progress.

Dated: August 10, 2015. A. J. Gould, Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port Miami.
[FR Doc. 2015-21685 Filed 8-31-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 117 [Docket No. USCG-2015-0815] Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Lake Washington Ship Canal, Seattle, WA AGENCY:

Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION:

Notice of deviation from drawbridge regulation.

SUMMARY:

The Coast Guard has issued a temporary deviation from the operating schedule that governs the Montlake Bridge across the Lake Washington Ship Canal, mile 5.2, at Seattle, WA. The deviation is necessary to accommodate vehicular traffic attending football games at Husky Stadium at the University of Washington, Seattle, Washington. This deviation allows the bridge to remain in the closed-to-navigation position two and a half hours before and two and a half hours after each game. The game times for five of the seven games scheduled for Husky Stadium have not yet been determined due to NCAA television scheduling.

DATES:

This deviation is effective from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. on September 12, 2015; 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on September 19, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

The docket for this deviation, [USCG-2015-0815] is available at 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 deviation. 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 temporary deviation, call or email Steven M. Fischer, Thirteenth Coast Guard District Bridge Program Administrator, telephone 206-220-7282, email [email protected] If you have questions on viewing the docket, call Cheryl Collins, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone 202-366-9826.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Washington State Department of Transportation, on behalf of the University of Washington Police Department, has requested that the Montlake Bridge bascule span remain in the closed-to-navigation position, and need not open to vessel traffic to facilitate timely movement of pre-game and post game football traffic at Husky Stadium at the University of Washington, Seattle, WA. The Montlake Bridge crosses the Lake Washington Ship Canal at mile 5.2; and while in the closed-to-navigation position provides 30 feet of vertical clearance throughout the navigation channel and 46 feet of vertical clearance throughout the center 60-feet of the bridge. These vertical clearance measurements are made in reference to the Mean Water Level of Lake Washington. The normal operating schedule for Montlake Bridge operates in accordance with 33 CFR 117.1051(e), which requires the bridge to open on signal, except that the bridge need not open for vessels less than 1,000 gross tons between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The deviation period will cover the following dates. From 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., and from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. on September 12, 2015; from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on September 19, 2015. The times for the closures on September 26, 2015, October 17, 2015, October 31, 2015, November 7, 2015, and November 27, 2015 will be determined, and announced in the Coast Guard's Local Notice to Mariners and Broadcast Notice to Mariners as they become available. Due to NCAA television scheduling, the times for the games are not currently available. The bridge shall operate in accordance to 33 CFR 117.1051(e) at all other times. Waterway usage on the Lake Washington Ship Canal ranges from commercial tug and barge to small pleasure craft.

Vessels able to pass through the bridge in the closed-to-navigation position may do so at anytime. The bridge will be able to open for emergencies and there is no immediate alternate route for vessels to pass. The Coast Guard will also inform the users of the waterway through our Local and Broadcast Notices to Mariners of the change in operating schedule for the bridge so that vessels can arrange their transits to minimize any impact caused by the temporary deviation.

In accordance with 33 CFR 117.35(e), the drawbridges must return to its regular operating schedule immediately at the end of the designated time period. This deviation from the operating regulations is authorized under 33 CFR 117.35.

Dated: August 26, 2015. Steven M. Fischer, Bridge Administrator, Thirteenth Coast Guard District.
[FR Doc. 2015-21519 Filed 8-31-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 165 [Docket Number USCG-2015-0800] RIN 1625-AA87 Security Zone, Seward, AK AGENCY:

Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION:

Temporary final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Coast Guard is establishing a temporary moving security zone within 1000 yards of a designated vessel on the navigable waters of the U.S. in Resurrection Bay, Seward, Alaska during the visit of the President of the United States (POTUS) to the area. This action is necessary to provide security for the President and first family of the United States. Unauthorized vessels and persons will be prohibited from entering or remaining in the security zones unless specifically authorized by the Captain of the Port (COTP) or the COTP's designated representative. A U.S. Coast Guard Broadcast Notice to Mariners (BNM) will be conducted during this time to identify the vessel's name and location in which the security zone pertains.

DATES:

This rule is effective without actual notice from September 1, 2015 until 5 p.m. on September 2, 2015. For the purposes of enforcement, actual notice will be used from 8 a.m. on August 31, 2015 until September 1, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

Documents mentioned in this preamble are part of docket [USCG-2015-0800]. 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 temporary rule, call or email Lieutenant Eugene Chung, Coast Guard Sector Anchorage Waterways Management Division, U.S. Coast Guard; telephone (907) 428-4189 or email [email protected] If you have questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, call Cheryl 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 is issuing this temporary final rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment pursuant to authority under section 4(a) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553(b)). This provision authorizes an agency to issue a rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment when the agency for good cause finds that those procedures are “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.” Under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for not publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) with respect to this rule because of the sensitive security issues related to the POTUS. Providing a public notice and comment period is contrary to national security concerns and the public interest. 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. Any delay encountered in this temporary rule's effective date would be contrary to the public interest given the immediate need to ensure the safety and security of the POTUS and first family during their visit to Seward, Alaska from August 31, 2015 through September 02, 2015.

B. Basis and Purpose

The legal basis for this rule is 33 U.S.C. 1231; 46 U.S.C. Chapter 701, 3306, 3703; 50 U.S.C. 191, 195; 33 CFR 1.05-1, 6.04-1, 6.04-6, and 160.5; Public Law 107-295, 116 Stat. 2064; and Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1.

The POTUS and first family are scheduled to visit Seward, Alaska, from August 31, 2015 through September 02, 2015. It is expected that they will reside and/or participate in activities on properties that are adjacent to navigable waters within the Captain of the Port, Western Alaska zone. The U.S. Secret Service has requested that the Coast Guard provide 1000-yard moving security zone around the POTUS and the first family. This security zone is intended to provide security for the POTUS and first family by preventing vessels and persons from approaching the location of the POTUS and first family without prior authorization from the U.S. Secret Service.

C. Discussion of the Temporary Final Rule

This temporary rule establishes a temporary moving security zone within 1000 yards of a designated vessel on the navigable waters of the U.S. in Resurrection Bay, Seward, Alaska from August 31, 2015 through September 02, 2015, during the visit of the POTUS and first family to Alaska. This rule is effective from 8 a.m. on Monday, August 31, 2015 through 5 p.m. on Wednesday, September 2, 2015. This action is intended to prohibit unauthorized vessels or persons from entering or remaining in navigable waters located within 1000 yards of the POTUS and/or first family while they are in or near the navigable waters of the U.S. during their visit to Seward, Alaska. The Captain of the Port, Western Alaska, anticipates negligible negative impact on vessel traffic from this temporary security zone, as they will be in effect for no more than three days, and will only be enforced while the POTUS and/or first family are in the vicinity of the navigable waters of the U.S. at Seward, Alaska. It has been determined that the necessary security enhancements provided by this rule greatly outweigh any potential negative impacts.

D. Regulatory Analyses

We developed this rule after considering numerous statutes and executive orders related to rulemaking. Below we summarize our analyses based on these statutes 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 under section 1 of Executive Order 13536. The Office of Management and Budget has not reviewed it under those Orders. The rule is not a significant regulatory action because the security zone will be in place for a limited period, approximately three days and vessel traffic will be able to transit around the security zone. Maritime traffic may also request permission to transit through the zone from the Captain of the Port, Western Alaska or a designated representative.

2. Impact on Small Entities

The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA), 5 U.S.C. 601-612, as amended, requires federal agencies to consider potential impact on small entities during rulemaking. The term “small entities” comprises small businesses, not-for-profit organizations that are independently owned and operated and are not dominant in their fields, and governmental jurisdictions with populations of less than 50,000. The Coast Guard 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 may affect the following entities, some of which may be small entities: The owners and operators of vessels intending to transit navigable waters in the vicinity of Seward, Alaska from 8:00 a.m. on Monday, August 31, 2015 through 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 2, 2015. The security zone will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities for the following reasons: The security zone is temporary and will be enforced only when the POTUS and/or first family are in the vicinity of the navigable waters of the U.S. at Seward, Alaska. Thus, the temporary nature and limited effective period and anticipated enforcement periods of the zone, coupled with the ability of the maritime public to maneuver around the zone, will allow small entities to plan and conduct their business accordingly.

3. Assistance for Small Entities

Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-121), we offer to assist small entities in understanding the rule so that they could better evaluate its effects on them and participate in the rulemaking process. If you think your small business or organization would be affected by this rule and you have any questions concerning its provisions or options for compliance, please call Lieutenant Eugene Chung at (907) 428-4189. 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 (adjusted for inflation) or more in any one year. Though this rule will not result in such an expenditure, we do discuss the effects of this rule elsewhere in this preamble.

8. Taking of Private Property

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

9. Civil Justice Reform

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

10. Protection of Children

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

11. Indian Tribal Governments

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

12. Energy Effects

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

13. Technical Standards

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

14. Environment

We have analyzed this rule under Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 023-01 and Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, which guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have determined that this action is one of a category of actions which do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. This rule involves the establishment of a temporary moving security zone within 1000 yards of a designated vessel on the navigable waters of the U.S. in Resurrection Bay, Seward, Alaska. This rule is categorically excluded, from further review under paragraph (34)(g) of Figure 2-1 of the Commandant Instruction. We seek any comments or information that may lead to the discovery of a significant environmental impact from this rule.

List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 165

Harbors, Marine safety, Navigation (water), Reports and recordkeeping requirements, Security measures, and Waterways.

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

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

33 U.S.C. 1231; 50 U.S.C. 191; 33 CFR 1.05-1, 6.04-1, 6.04-6, and Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1.

2. Add § 165.T01-0800 to read as follows:
§ 165.T01-0800 Security Zone: Seward, Alaska.

(a) Location. The following areas are security zones: All navigable waters, from surface to bottom, within 1000 yards of the POTUS and/or first family while underway in, or on shore but within 1000 yards of, the navigable waters of the U.S. in the coastal areas of Seward, Alaska.

(b) Notification. Coast Guard Sector Anchorage will give actual notice to mariners for the purpose of enforcement of this temporary security zone.

(c) Effective period. This rule is effective for purposes of enforcement from 8:00 a.m. on Monday, August 31, 2015 through 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 02, 2015.

(d) Regulations. (1) The general regulations contained in 33 CFR 165.33 apply.

(2) In accordance with the general regulations in § 165.33 of this part, entry into or movement within this zone is prohibited unless authorized by the Captain of the Port or his designated representatives.

(3) The “designated representative” is any Coast Guard commissioned, warrant, or petty officer who has been designated by the Captain of the Port to act on his behalf. The on-scene representative may be on a Coast Guard vessel, or onboard a federal, state, or local agency vessel that is authorized to act in support of the Coast Guard.

(4) Upon being hailed by a U.S. Coast Guard vessel or a designated representative, by siren, radio, flashing light or other means, the operator of the vessel shall proceed as directed.

(5) Vessel operators desiring to enter or operate within this security zone shall contact the Captain of the Port or his designated representative via VHF channel 16 to obtain permission to do so.

Dated: August 24, 2015. Paul Albertson, Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port, Western Alaska.
[FR Doc. 2015-21690 Filed 8-31-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 165 [Docket Number USCG-2015-0094] RIN 1625-AA00 Safety Zone, Schuylkill River; Philadelphia, PA AGENCY:

Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Coast Guard is establishing a safety zone in the waters of the Schuylkill River around the Deloach dock near Point Breeze at Philadelphia Energy Solutions. The safety zone is necessary when a barge with a beam (width) up to 80 feet moors at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions' Deloach dock, reducing the horizontal clearance of the channel by as much as 30 feet when a barge is moored at the facility. This rule will allow the Coast Guard to restrict all vessel traffic through the safety zone when a barge having a beam of up to 80 feet is scheduled to moor at the facility.

DATES:

This rule is effective on October 1, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

Documents mentioned in this preamble are part of docket USCG-2013-0874. To view documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov, type the docket number in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.” Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this rulemaking. You may also visit the Docket Management Facility in Room W12-140 on the ground floor of the Department of Transportation West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

If you have questions on this rule, call or email If you have questions on this final rule, call or email Lieutenant Brennan Dougherty, U.S. Coast Guard, Sector Delaware Bay, Chief Waterways Management Division, Coast Guard; telephone (215) 271-4851, email [email protected] If you have questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, call Cheryl 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

On June 24, 2014 the Coast Guard published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) with a request for comments entitled, “Safety Zone, Schuylkill River; Philadelphia, PA” in the Federal Register (79 FR 35685). No comments were received on the NPRM. No public meeting was requested and none was held.

B. Basis and Purpose

The legal basis for this rule is 33 U.S.C. 1231; 33 CFR 1.05-1, 160.5; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1.

The purpose of this rulemaking is to ensure the safety of waterway users from hazards associated with a 30 foot reduction of horizontal clearance in the channel near Point Breeze when a barge with a beam (width) up to 80 feet is moored at the Deloach dock of Philadelphia Energy Solutions in the Schuylkill River. The remaining horizontal width of the channel in vicinity of Point Breeze is 270 feet.

C. Discussion of Comments, Changes and the Final Rule

The Coast Guard did not receive any comments to the proposed rule. Changes were made to the size of the safety zone described in the notice to proposed rule making. The decision was made to reduce the size of the zone to minimize the effect on waterway users in the area.

The following area is a safety zone: All waters of the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, PA, inside a boundary described as originating from 39°54′50″ N., 075°12′12″ W.; then West to 39°54′50″ N., 075°12′15″ W.; then Northeast to 39°55′10″ N., 075°12′05″ W.; the East to 39°55′10″ N., 075°12′04″ W.; then back to 39°54′50″ N., 075°12′12″ W.

D. Regulatory Analyses

We developed this rule after considering numerous statutes and executive orders related to rulemaking. Below we summarize our analyses based on a number 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 under section 1 of Executive Order 13563. The Office of Management and Budget has not reviewed it under those Orders. This rule is not a significant regulatory action because it merely reduces the horizontal width of the channel; vessel traffic can still proceed up and down the Schuylkill River.

2. Impact on Small Entities

The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA), 5 U.S.C. 601-612, as amended, requires federal agencies to consider the potential impact of regulations on small entities during rulemaking. The term “small entities” comprises small businesses, not-for-profit organizations that are independently owned and operated and are not dominant in their fields, and governmental jurisdictions with populations of less than 50,000. The Coast Guard received 0 comments from the Small Business Administration on this rule. The Coast Guard certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

This safety zone will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities for the following reasons. The navigable channel is 300 feet wide, providing a remaining 270 feet of horizontal channel clearance for the passage of vessel traffic in the Schuylkill River. Additionally, the only commercial vessel traffic utilizing the waterway upriver of the Passyunk Avenue Bridge is an occasional barge. All anticipated vessel traffic will be able to pass safely around an 80 foot wide barge moored at the Deloach dock at Philadelphia Energy Solutions near Point Breeze. Before the safety zone goes into effect, maritime advisories will be made widely available to users of the Schuylkill River navigable channel.

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

3. Assistance for Small Entities

Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-121), we want to assist small entities in understanding this rule. If the rule would affect your small business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction and you have questions concerning its provisions or options for compliance, please contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT, above. The Coast Guard will not retaliate against small entities that question or complain about this rule or any policy or action of the Coast Guard.

4. Collection of Information

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

5. Federalism

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

6. Protest Activities

The Coast Guard respects the First Amendment rights of protesters. Protesters are asked to contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section to coordinate protest activities so that your message can be received without jeopardizing the safety or security of people, places or vessels.

7. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

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

8. Taking of Private Property

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

9. Civil Justice Reform

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

10. Protection of Children From Environmental Health Risks

We have analyzed this rule under Executive Order 13045, Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks. This rule is not an economically significant rule and 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

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

13. Technical Standards

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

14. Environment

We have analyzed this rule under Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 023-01 and Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, which guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have made a 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. This rule involves implementation of a safety zone when a barge having beam (width) of up to 80 feet is moored at the Deloach dock at Philadelphia Energy Solutions near Point Breeze on the Schuylkill River. This rule is categorically excluded from further review under paragraph 34(g) of Figure 2-1 of the Commandant Instruction. A preliminary environmental analysis checklist supporting this determination and a Categorical Exclusion Determination are available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES. We seek any comments or information that may lead to the discovery of a significant environmental impact from this rule.

List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 165

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

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

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

33 U.S.C. 1231; 50 U.S.C. 191; 33 CFR 1.05-1, 6.04-1, 6.04-6, and 160.5; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1.

2. Add § 165.784 to read as follows:
§ 165.784 Safety Zone, Schuylkill River; Philadelphia, PA

(a) Location. The following area is a safety zone: All waters of the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, PA, inside a boundary described as originating from 39°54′50″ N., 075°12′12″ W.; then West to 39°54′50″ N., 075°12′15″ W.; then Northeast to 39°55′10″ N., 075°12′05″ W.; the East to 39°55′10″ N., 075°12′04″ W.; then back to 39°54′50″ N., 075°12′12″ W.

(b) Enforcement period. (1) This regulation is enforced during times when a barge having a beam (width) of up to 80 feet is moored at the Deloach dock of Philadelphia Energy Solutions near Point Breeze.

(2) Prior to commencing enforcement of this regulation, the COTP or designated on-scene patrol personnel will notify the public whenever the regulation is being enforced, to include dates and times. The means of notification may include, but are not limited to, Broadcast Notice to Mariners, Local Notice to Mariners, Marine Safety Information Bulletins, or other appropriate means.

(c) Regulations. (1) All persons are required to comply with the general regulations governing safety zones in 33 CFR 165.23.

(2) All persons and vessels transiting through the Safety Zone must be authorized by the Captain of the Port or his representative.

(3) All persons or vessels wishing to transit through the Safety Zone must request authorization to do so from the Captain of the Port or his representative 30 minutes prior to the intended time of transit.

(4) Vessels granted permission to transit must do so in accordance with the directions provided by the Captain of the Port or his representative to the vessel.

(5) To seek permission to transit the Safety Zone, the Captain of the Port or his representative can be contacted via Sector Delaware Bay Command Center (215) 271-4940.

(6) This section applies to all vessels wishing to transit through the Safety Zone except vessels that are engaged in the following operations:

(i) Enforcing laws;

(ii) Servicing aids to navigation; and

(iii) Emergency response vessels.

(7) No person or vessel may enter or remain in a safety zone without the permission of the Captain of the Port;

(8) Each person and vessel in a safety zone shall obey any direction or order of the Captain of the Port;

(9) No person may board, or take or place any article or thing on board, any vessel in a safety zone without the permission of the Captain of the Port; and

(10) No person may take or place any article or thing upon any waterfront facility in a safety zone without the permission of the Captain of the Port.

(d) Definitions. The Captain of the Port means the Commander of Sector Delaware Bay or any Coast Guard commissioned, warrant, or petty officer who has been authorized by the Captain of the Port to act on his behalf.

(e) Enforcement. The U.S. Coast Guard may be assisted in the patrol and enforcement of the Safety Zone by Federal, State, and local agencies.

Dated: July 31, 2015. B.A. Cooper, Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port Delaware Bay.
[FR Doc. 2015-21687 Filed 8-31-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R04-OAR-2015-0161; FRL-9933-32-Region 4] Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Georgia: Changes to Georgia Fuel Rule and Other Miscellaneous Rules AGENCY:

Environmental Protection Agency.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is approving the State of Georgia's February 5, 2015, State Implementation Plan (SIP) revision, submitted through the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA EPD), to modify the SIP by removing Georgia's Gasoline Marketing Rule and Consumer and Commercial Products Rule, revising the Nitrogen Oxide (NOX) Emissions from Stationary Gas Turbines and Stationary Engines Rule, and adding measures to offset the emissions increases expected from the changes to these rules. This modification to the SIP will affect, in varying ways, the 45 counties in and around the Atlanta, Georgia, metropolitan area covered by the Georgia Gasoline Marketing Rule (hereinafter referred to as the “Georgia Fuel Area”). Additionally, EPA is also approving structural changes to the NOX Emissions from Stationary Gas Turbines and Stationary Engines Rule included in a SIP revision submitted by GA EPD on September 26, 2006. EPA has determined that the portion of Georgia's September 26, 2006, SIP revision addressing changes to the NOX Emissions from Stationary Gas Turbines and Stationary Engines Rule and the February 5, 2015, SIP revision meet the applicable provisions of the Clean Air Act (CAA or Act).

DATES:

This rule is effective October 1, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket Identification No. EPA-R04-OAR-2015-0161. All documents in the docket are listed on the www.regulations.gov Web site. Although listed in the index, some information may not be publicly available, i.e., Confidential Business Information or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is not placed on the Internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically through www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the Air Regulatory Management Section (formerly the Regulatory Development Section), Air Planning and Implementation Branch (formerly the Air Planning Branch), Air, Pesticides and Toxics Management Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, 61 Forsyth Street SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960. EPA requests that if at all possible, you contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section to schedule your inspection. The Regional Office's official hours of business are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding Federal holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Richard Wong of the Air Regulatory Management Section, in the Air Planning and Implementation Branch, Air, Pesticides and Toxics Management Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, 61 Forsyth Street SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960. Mr. Wong may be reached by phone at (404) 562-8726 or via electronic mail at [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background for Final Action

On November 16, 1991, EPA designated and classified the following counties in Georgia, either in their entirety or portions thereof, as a serious ozone nonattainment area for the 1-hour ozone NAAQS (hereinafter referred to as the “Atlanta 1-Hour Ozone Area”): Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Paulding, and Rockdale. Among the requirements applicable to the nonattainment area for the 1-hour ozone NAAQS was the requirement to meet certain volatility standards (known as Reid Vapor Pressure or RVP) for gasoline sold commercially. See 55 FR 23658 (June 11, 1990). Subsequently, in order to comply with the 1-hour ozone NAAQS, Georgia opted to implement Georgia Rule 391-3-1-.02(2)(bbb), Gasoline Marketing (hereinafter referred to as the “Georgia Fuel Rule”), which requires the sale of low sulfur, 7.0 RVP gasoline in the 45-county Georgia Fuel Area during the high ozone season.1 EPA incorporated the Georgia Fuel Rule into the Georgia SIP on July 19, 2004. See 69 FR 33862 (June 17, 2004).

1 The Georgia Fuel Area consists of the following 45 counties: Banks, Barrow, Bartow, Butts, Carroll, Chattooga, Cherokee, Clarke, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, Dawson, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Floyd, Forsyth, Fulton, Gordon, Gwinnett, Hall, Haralson, Heard, Henry, Jackson, Jasper, Jones, Lamar, Lumpkin, Madison, Meriwether, Monroe, Morgan, Newton, Oconee, Paulding, Pickens, Pike, Polk, Putnam, Rockdale, Spalding, Troup, Walton and Upson. This Area encompasses the 20-county 8-hour Atlanta ozone maintenance area for the 1997 ozone NAAQS and the 15-county 8-hour Atlanta ozone nonattainment area for the 2008 ozone NAAQS. Georgia received a waiver under section 211(c)(4)(C) of the CAA to adopt a state fuel program that is more stringent than that which was federally required for the Atlanta 1-Hour Ozone Area. The Georgia Fuel Rule requires the sale of low sulfur, 7.0 psi RVP gasoline in the Georgia Fuel Area.

On February 5, 2015, GA EPD submitted a SIP revision to modify the SIP by removing Georgia Rule 391-3-1-.02(2)(aaa), Consumer and Commercial Products, 2 and Georgia Rule 391-3-1-.02(2)(bbb), Gasoline Marketing, and revising Georgia Rule 391-3-1-.02(2)(mmm), NOx Emissions from Stationary Gas Turbines and Stationary Engines used to Generate Electricity. 3 The SIP revision also includes measures to offset the emissions increases expected from the changes to these rules and a technical demonstration that these changes will not interfere with attainment or maintenance of any national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS or standard) or with any other applicable requirement of the CAA. Additionally, the State submitted a SIP revision on September 26, 2006, that contains structural changes to Georgia Rule 391-3-1-.02(2)(mmm).

2 The Consumer and Commercial Products Rule applies in the following 13 counties that make up the former Atlanta 1-hour ozone nonattainment area: Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Paulding, and Rockdale.

3 Georgia Rule 391-3-1-.02(2)(mmm) only applies in the Georgia Fuel Area.

Georgia Rule 391-3-1-.02(2)(mmm) reduces emissions from stationary, peak performing engines that tend to operate during high electricity demand days in the 45-county Georgia Fuel Area. The State's February 5, 2015, SIP revision modifies the rule to exempt stationary engines at data centers from the rule's NOX emission limits provided that the engines operate for less than 500 hours per year and only for routine testing and maintenance, when electric power from the local utility is not available, or during internal system failures. The rule change also limits routine testing and maintenance of these engines during the high ozone season to the hours of 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. to reduce the possibility of ozone formation due to these emissions. The September 26, 2006, SIP revision makes a structural change to the SIP-approved version of the regulation, pulling the emergency engine exemption into a new paragraph (Paragraph 7) and limits the exemption to the emission limits in Paragraph 1 of the rule.

The February 5, 2015, SIP revision includes two offset measures—school bus replacements and rail locomotive conversions—to obtain the necessary emissions reductions to offset the rule changes identified in that submittal. The State's school bus replacement program permanently replaced 60 older school buses in DeKalb, Fayette, Henry, and Madison Counties with the newer and cleaner 2015 model year buses by October 2014. The locomotive conversion program consists of two components: (1) The conversion of 28 locomotives from Norfolk Southern Railway Company and CSX Transportation to EPA Tier 3 switch duty, Tier 3 Line-Haul, and Tier 2 Switch emissions standards, and (2) the installation of an electric layover system at the Norfolk Southern Atlanta Terminal. The State demonstrated that the offset measures result in equivalent or greater emissions reductions that are permanent, enforceable, quantifiable, surplus, and contemporaneous.

In addition, Georgia's SIP revision includes a contingency offset measure in the event that the locomotive conversion program cannot be fully completed. The contingency measure would obtain NOX offsets from the permanent retirement of Unit 3 at Georgia Power's Eugene A. Yates Steam-Electric Generating Plant. Upon a determination that sufficient offsets will not be achieved within one year from the date of EPA's final action on Georgia's February 5, 2015, SIP submission, GA EPD will revise Georgia Rule 391-3-1-.02(12)(f), Clean Air Interstate Rule NOX Annual Trading Program, for the purposes of retiring or reducing the appropriate New Source Set Asides and submit that rule revision, along with the Title V permit condition that requires the shutdown of Unit 3, as a SIP revision. GA EPD will use the necessary substitute emissions reductions to replace any emissions shortfall in the event the locomotive conversions are not completed. EPA has determined that the State has successfully demonstrated that 660 tons of NOX offset is available through implementation of the contingency measure in the event the locomotive conversion program is not completed and that the measures will be permanent, enforceable, quantifiable, contemporaneous, surplus, and equivalent.

In a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPR) published on June 26, 2015, EPA proposed to approve the February 5, 2015, SIP revision and the portion of the September 26, 2006, submission that contains structural changes to Georgia Rule 391-3-1-.02(2)(mmm). See 80 FR 36750. The details of Georgia's submittals and the rationale for EPA's action is explained in the NPR.

EPA received one comment on the NPR. This comment, submitted by the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America and provided in the docket for today's final action, supports approval of the February 5, 2015, SIP revision but expresses concern about the timing of the action. A summary of the comment and EPA's response to the comment are provided below.

II. EPA's Response to Comment

The Commenter supports EPA's proposal to approve the State's February 5, 2015, SIP revision but notes that it is “very disturbed by rumors that EPA will approve and implement this change [during the week of July 27, 2015], which will be right in the middle of the summer fuel season.” The Commenter “requests that EPA approve and implement the Georgia SIP in a manner that will not damage the fuel marketing industry and ultimately penalize those who have complied with the Agency's environmental mandate.”

EPA does not view this comment as adverse, and the basis for the Commenter's concerns regarding the finalization of the rule during the week of July 27, 2015 is unclear. EPA has proposed and finalized this action under its standard rulemaking process, and it will be effective on October 1, 2015.

III. Incorporation by Reference

In this rule, EPA is finalizing regulatory text that includes incorporation by reference. In accordance with requirements of 1 CFR 51.5, EPA is finalizing the incorporate by reference of Georgia Rule 391-3-1-.02(2)(mmm), NO X Emissions from Stationary Gas Turbines and Stationary Engines used to Generate Electricity. EPA has made, and will continue to make, these documents generally available electronically through www.regulations.gov and/or in hard copy at the appropriate EPA office (see the ADDRESSES section of this preamble for more information).

IV. Final Action

EPA is taking final action to approve Georgia's February 5, 2015, SIP revision, including the section 110(l) demonstration that modifying the SIP to remove Georgia Rules 391-3-1-.02(2)(aaa) and 391-3-1-.02(2)(bbb) and revising Georgia Rule 391-3-1-.02(2)(mmm) will not interfere with attainment or maintenance of any NAAQS or with any other applicable requirement of the CAA. EPA is also taking final action to approve the portion of the State's September 26, 2006, SIP revision that contains structural changes to Georgia Rule 391-3-1-.02(2)(mmm).

V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

Under the CAA, the Administrator is required to approve a SIP submittal that complies with the provisions of the Act and applicable federal regulations. See 42 U.S.C. 7410(k); 40 CFR 52.02(a). Thus, in reviewing SIP submissions, EPA's role is to approve state choices, provided that they meet the criteria of the CAA. Accordingly, this action merely approves state law as meeting Federal requirements and does not propose to 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, October 7, 1999);

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

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

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

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

In addition, the SIP is not approved to apply on any Indian reservation land or in any other area where EPA or an Indian tribe has demonstrated that a tribe has jurisdiction. In those areas of Indian country, the rule does not have tribal implications as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000) nor will it impose substantial direct costs on tribal governments or preempt tribal law.

List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

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

Dated: August 19, 2015. Heather McTeer Toney, Regional Administrator, Region 4.

40 CFR part 52 is amended as follows:

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

42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

Subpart L—Georgia 2. Section 52.570 is amended: a. In paragraph (c): i. By removing the entries for “391-3-1-.02(2)(aaa)” and “391-3-1-.02(2)(bbb).”; and ii. By revising the entry for “391-3-1-.02(2)(mmm)”; and b. In paragraph (e) by adding an entry to the end of the table entitled “Offset measures associated with the repeal of Georgia Rules 391-3-1-.02(2)(aaa) and 391-3-1-.02(2)(bbb) and the revision to Georgia Rule 391-3-1-.02(2)(mmm)”.

The revisions and additions read as follows:

§ 52.570 Identification of plan.

(c) * * *

EPA-Approved Georgia Regulations State citation Title/Subject State effective date EPA Approval date Explanation *         *         *         *         *         *         * 391-3-1-.02(2)(mmm) NOX Emissions from Stationary Gas Turbines and Stationary Engines used to Generate Electricity May 4, 2014 September 1, 2015 [Insert Federal Register citation] *         *         *         *         *         *         *

(e) * * *

EPA-Approved Georgia Non-Regulatory Provisions Name of nonregulatory SIP provision Applicable geographic or nonattainment area State submittal date/Effective date EPA Approval date Explanation *         *         *         *         *         *         * Offset measures associated with the repeal of Georgia Rules 391-3-1-.02(2)(aaa) and 391-3-1-.02(2)(bbb) and the revision to Georgia Rule 391-3-1-.02(2)(mmm) Banks, Barrow, Bartow, Butts, Carroll, Chattooga, Cherokee, Clarke, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, Dawson, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Floyd, Forsyth, Fulton, Gordon, Gwinnett, Hall, Haralson, Heard, Henry, Jackson, Jasper, Jones, Lamar, Lumpkin, Madison, Meriwether, Monroe, Morgan, Newton, Oconee, Paulding, Pickens, Pike, Polk, Putnam, Rockdale, Spalding, Troup, Walton and Upson May 4, 2014 September 1, 2015 [Insert Federal Register citation] Includes the contingency offset measure in the event that the locomotive conversion program cannot be fully completed.
[FR Doc. 2015-21536 Filed 8-31-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R06-OAR-2012-0098; FRL-9931-78-Region 6] Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Texas; Attainment Demonstration for the Dallas/Fort Worth 1997 8-Hour Ozone Nonattainment Area; Determination of Attainment of the 1997 Ozone Standard AGENCY:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is disapproving revisions to the Texas State Implementation Plan (SIP) submitted to meet certain requirements under section 182(c) of the Clean Air Act (CAA) for the Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) nonattainment area under the 1997 8-hour ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS or standard). The revisions address the attainment demonstration submitted on January 17, 2012, by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) for the DFW Serious nonattainment area. The EPA has also determined that the DFW nonattainment area is currently attaining the 1997 ozone NAAQS. This determination is based upon complete, quality-assured and certified ambient air monitoring data that show the area has monitored attainment of the 1997 ozone NAAQS for the 2012-2014 monitoring period. Thus, the requirements to submit an attainment demonstration and other planning SIPs related to attainment of the 1997 ozone NAAQS, and the sanctions clock and the EPA's obligation to promulgate an attainment demonstration Federal Implementation Plan (FIP) for the DFW area are suspended for so long as the area continues to attain the 1997 ozone NAAQS.

DATES:

This final rule is effective on October 1, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

The EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket ID No. EPA-R06-OAR-2012-0098. All documents in the docket are listed on the http://www.regulations.gov Web site. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, e.g., Confidential Business Information or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is not placed on the Internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically through http://www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at EPA Region 6, 1445 Ross Avenue, Suite 700, Dallas, Texas 75202-2733.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Carrie Paige, (214) 665-6521, [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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

I. Background

The background for this action is discussed in detail in our April 28, 2015 Proposal (80 FR 23487). In that notice, we proposed to disapprove the TCEQ's 8-hour ozone attainment demonstration for the DFW Serious nonattainment area because the area failed to attain the 1997 ozone NAAQS by the June 15, 2013 attainment date.1 Our analysis and findings are discussed in the proposed rulemaking. We also proposed to determine that the DFW ozone nonattainment area is currently in attainment of the 1997 ozone standard based on the most recent 3 years of quality-assured air quality data. Certified ambient air monitoring data show that the area has monitored attainment of the 1997 ozone NAAQS for the 2012-2014 monitoring period and continues to monitor attainment of the NAAQS based on preliminary 2015 data.

1 The DFW Serious ozone nonattainment area under the 1997 ozone standard is comprised of Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall and Tarrant counties.

Our Proposal and the technical support document (TSD) that accompanied the proposed rule provide our rationale for this rulemaking. Please see the docket for these and other documents regarding our Proposal. The public comment period for our Proposal closed on May 28, 2015.

II. Response to Comments

We received one comment letter dated May 28, 2015, from the TCEQ (the Commenter) regarding our Proposal. A summary of the comments and our responses follow.

Comment: The Commenter agrees with our Proposal to determine that the DFW ozone nonattainment area is currently in attainment of the 1997 ozone standard based on the most recent 3 years of quality-assured air quality data.

Response: We concur with the Commenter.

Comment: The Commenter does not support our Proposal to disapprove the DFW Serious area attainment demonstration under the 1997 ozone standard, given that the EPA's final rule to implement SIP requirements under the 2008 ozone standard (the SIP requirements rule or SRR),2 among other things, revoked the 1997 ozone standard and relieved the EPA of its obligation to issue a finding of failure to attain by the attainment date or reclassification (i.e., “bump up”) for such standard. The Commenter also states that the disapproval is unnecessary and may result in future obligations for the revoked standard and expenditure of limited state and federal resources for no true air quality benefit.

2 See 80 FR 12264, March 6, 2015.

Response: The Commenter is correct that, as of April 6, 2015, the 1997 ozone standard is revoked, the EPA is no longer obligated to determine pursuant to CAA section 181(b)(2) or section 179(c) whether an area attained the 1997 ozone NAAQS by that area's attainment date for that NAAQS, and the EPA is also no longer obligated to reclassify an area to a higher classification for the 1997 ozone NAAQS based upon a determination that the area failed to attain the 1997 ozone NAAQS by the area's attainment date for that NAAQS.3 However, this rulemaking addresses the EPA's obligation to act on the attainment demonstration SIP submittal. Pursuant to section 110(k)(2) of the CAA, we have a mandatory duty to act on each SIP submittal before us and therefore, it is necessary for us to take action on the DFW submittal.4 Regardless of our revocation of the 1997 ozone standard, because we had yet to act on the attainment demonstration submittal and the DFW area did not attain the 1997 ozone standard by its June 15, 2013 attainment date, EPA is required to disapprove the State's attainment demonstration.

3 See 80 FR 12264, at 12297; 40 CFR 51.1105(d)(2). On February 17, 2015, we proposed to determine that the DFW area did not attain the 1997 ozone standard by the attainment date and to reclassify the area to Severe (see 80 FR 8274). The SRR was published and effective shortly thereafter and we have not finalized the proposal to reclassify the DFW area to Severe.

4 On October 17, 2014, the Sierra Club filed a lawsuit to compel the EPA to comply with the CAA's mandatory duty to act on this SIP submittal. Sierra Club v. McCarthy, Case No. 14-CV-00833-ESH (DC). The parties entered a consent decree on January 23, 2015, that requires EPA to finalize action on this submittal by August 31, 2015.

With regard to the Commenter's remark about future obligations that may be brought on by this final disapproval, on February 27, 2015, the TCEQ requested that we make a Clean Data Determination (CDD) for the DFW area with regard to the 1997 ozone standard and we are finalizing the CDD proposed on April 28, 2015 in this rulemaking.5 Finalizing the CDD suspends the requirements for the TCEQ to submit an attainment demonstration and other SIPs related to attainment of the 1997 ozone NAAQS in the DFW area for so long as the area is attaining the standard (40 CFR 51.1118), and the 18-month sanctions clock associated with EPA's disapproval as well as the EPA's obligation to promulgate an attainment demonstration FIP within two years of disapproval are also tolled for so long as this CDD remains in place. Thus, as long as the area is able to maintain air quality meeting the 1997 ozone standard, no obligations will accrue from this disapproval. In addition, the State is currently working to develop the DFW attainment demonstration for the more stringent 2008 ozone standard, and in doing so, the TCEQ necessarily must also demonstrate attainment of the 1997 ozone standard. The State may also submit a redesignation substitute request and upon final approval by the EPA, the clocks to impose sanctions and a FIP suspended by this CDD action would lift permanently.6 However, in the event that the DFW area falls out of attainment of the 1997 ozone standard prior to obtaining EPA approval of a redesignation substitute, even though the EPA has revoked that standard, the CAA requires EPA to continue to ensure that the State's plan meets the requirements of that standard for purposes of anti-backsliding, including the obligations associated with a disapproved attainment demonstration. CAA 110(l); see also, South Coast Air Quality Mgmt. Dist. v. EPA, 472 F.3d 882, 900 (D.C. Cir. 2006); 78 FR 34178, 34211-34225; 80 FR 12264, 12300. Further, the EPA does not agree that efforts to address the 1997 standard would expend resources for no air quality benefit; should air quality in the DFW area worsen to levels above the 1997 ozone standard prior to approval of a redesignation substitute, the subsequent obligations and actions required by the statute to reduce ozone levels in the DFW area would be beneficial to achieving both the 1997 and 2008 ozone standards.

5 The State's request is in the docket for this rulemaking.

6 In the SRR, among other things, we revoked the 1997 ozone standard and finalized a redesignation substitute procedure for a revoked standard. See 80 FR 12264 and 40 CFR 51.1105(b). Under this redesignation substitute procedure, the state must demonstrate that the area has attained that revoked NAAQS due to permanent and enforceable emission reductions and that the area will maintain that revoked NAAQS for 10 years from the date of the EPA's approval of this showing.

III. What is the effect of this action?

A disapproval of an attainment plan as being promulgated here would normally start a FIP and sanctions clock. However, in accordance with our Clean Data Policy as codified in 40 CFR 51.1118, a determination of attainment suspends the requirements for the TCEQ to submit an attainment demonstration and other SIPs related to attaining the 1997 ozone NAAQS in the DFW area for so long as the area continues to attain the standard. In addition, the sanctions clock and the EPA's obligation to promulgate an attainment demonstration FIP are tolled for so long as this CDD remains in place. However, should the area violate the 1997 ozone standard after the CDD is finalized, the EPA would rescind the CDD and the sanctions and FIP clocks would resume.

Because the revocation of the 1997 ozone standard in the SRR also revoked EPA's obligation to determine whether an area attained the 1997 ozone NAAQS by that area's attainment date and to reclassify an area to a higher classification for the 1997 ozone NAAQS based upon a determination that the area failed to attain that NAAQS by the area's attainment date,7 we do not intend to finalize our proposed finding of failure to attain and reclassification at 80 FR 8274.

7 80 FR 12264, at 12297; 40 CFR 51.1105(d)(2).

IV. Final Action

The EPA is disapproving certain elements of the attainment demonstration SIP submitted by the TCEQ for the DFW Serious ozone nonattainment area under the 1997 ozone NAAQS. Specifically, we are disapproving the attainment demonstration, the demonstration for reasonably available control measures, and the attainment demonstration motor vehicle emission budgets for 2012. The EPA is disapproving these SIP revisions because the area failed to attain the standard by its June 15, 2013 attainment date, and thus we have determined that the plan was insufficient to demonstrate attainment by the attainment date.

We also find that the DFW ozone nonattainment area has attained the 1997 ozone standard and continues to attain the standard. Thus, the requirements for submitting the attainment demonstration and other SIPs related to attainment of the 1997 ozone NAAQS are suspended for so long as the area is attaining the standard, and the sanctions and obligations accruing from EPA's disapproval of the attainment demonstration are also suspended during that period.

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 act on state law as meeting Federal requirements and does not impose additional requirements beyond those imposed by state law.

A. Executive Order 12866: Regulatory Planning and Review and Executive Order 13563: Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review

This final action is not a “significant regulatory action” under the terms of Executive Order 12866 (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993) and is therefore not subject to review under Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 (76 FR 3821, January 21, 2011).

B. Paperwork Reduction Act

This final action does not impose an information collection burden under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq., because this final SIP action under section 110 and subchapter I, part D of the CAA will not in-and-of itself create any new information collection burdens but simply disapproves certain State requirements for inclusion into the SIP. 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. For purposes of assessing the impacts of this rule on small entities, small entity is defined as: (1) A small business as defined by the Small Business Administration's (SBA) regulations at 13 CFR 121.201; (2) a small governmental jurisdiction that is a government of a city, county, town, school district or special district with a population of less than 50,000; and (3) a small organization that is any not-for-profit enterprise which is independently owned and operated and is not dominant in its field.

After considering the economic impacts of this final rule on small entities, I certify that this action will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. This rule does not impose any requirements or create impacts on small entities. This final SIP action under section 110 and subchapter I, part D of the CAA will not in-and-of itself create any new requirements but simply disapproves certain State requirements for inclusion into the SIP. Accordingly, it affords no opportunity for EPA to fashion for small entities less burdensome compliance or reporting requirements or timetables or exemptions from all or part of the rule. The fact that the CAA prescribes that various consequences (e.g., higher offset requirements) may or will flow from this disapproval does not mean that the EPA either can or must conduct a regulatory flexibility analysis for this action. Therefore, this action will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

This action contains no Federal mandates under the provisions of Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA), 2 U.S.C. 1531-1538 for State, local, or tribal governments or the private sector. The EPA has determined that the disapproval action 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 action disapproves 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

Executive Order 13132, entitled “Federalism” (64 FR 43255, August 10, 1999), requires the 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.”

This final action does not have federalism implications. It will not have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government, as specified in Executive Order 13132, because it merely disapproves certain State requirements for inclusion into the SIP and does not alter the relationship or the distribution of power and responsibilities established in the CAA. Thus, Executive Order 13132 does not apply to this action.

F. Executive Order 13175, Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments

The SIP is not approved to apply on any Indian reservation land or in any other area where the EPA or an Indian tribe has demonstrated that a tribe has jurisdiction. In those areas of Indian country, this final action 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).

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

The 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 proposed action is not subject to Executive Order 13045 because it because it is not an economically significant regulatory action based on health or safety risks subject to Executive Order 13045 (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997). This SIP action under section 110 and subchapter I, part D of the CAA will not in-and-of itself create any new regulations but simply disapproves certain State requirements from inclusion into the SIP.

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

This final action is not subject to Executive Order 13211 (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(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (“NTTAA”), Public Law 104-113, section 12(d) (15 U.S.C. 272 note) directs the EPA to use voluntary consensus standards in its regulatory activities unless to do so would be inconsistent with applicable law or otherwise impractical. Voluntary consensus standards are technical standards (e.g., materials specifications, test methods, sampling procedures, and business practices) that are developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies. NTTAA directs the EPA to provide Congress, through OMB, explanations when the Agency decides not to use available and applicable voluntary consensus standards.

The EPA believes that this final action is not subject to requirements of Section 12(d) of NTTAA because application of those requirements would be inconsistent with the CAA.

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

Executive Order 12898 (59 FR 7629, February 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.

The EPA lacks the discretionary authority to address environmental justice in this proposed action. In reviewing SIP submissions, the EPA's role is to approve or disapprove state choices, based on the criteria of the CAA. Accordingly, this action merely disapproves certain State requirements from inclusion into the SIP under section 110 and subchapter I, part D of the CAA and will not in-and-of itself create any new requirements. Accordingly, it does not provide the 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.

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. The EPA will submit a report containing this action and other required information to the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Comptroller General of the United States prior to publication of the rule in the Federal Register. A major rule cannot take effect until 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register. This action is not a “major rule” as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804(2).

Under section 307(b)(1) of the CAA, petitions for judicial review of this action must be filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the appropriate circuit by November 2, 2015. Filing a petition for reconsideration by the Administrator of this final rule does not affect the finality of this action for the purposed 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, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Volatile organic compounds.

Dated: August 21, 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 SS—Texas 2. Section 52.2273 is amended by adding paragraph (i) to read as follows:
§ 52.2273 Approval status.

(i) The attainment demonstration for the Dallas/Fort Worth Serious ozone nonattainment area under the 1997 ozone standard submitted January 17, 2012 is disapproved. The disapproval applies to the attainment demonstration, the determination for reasonably available control measures, and the attainment demonstration motor vehicle emission budgets for 2012.

3. Section 52.2275 is amended by adding paragraph (i) to read as follows:
§ 52.2275 Control strategy and regulations: Ozone.

(i) Determination of attainment. Effective October 1, 2015 the EPA has determined that the Dallas/Fort Worth 8-hour ozone nonattainment area has attained the 1997 ozone standard. Under the provisions of the EPA's Clean Data Policy, this determination suspends the requirements for this area to submit an attainment demonstration and other State Implementation Plans related to attainment of the 1997 ozone NAAQS for so long as the area continues to attain the 1997 ozone NAAQS.

[FR Doc. 2015-21539 Filed 8-31-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Federal Emergency Management Agency 44 CFR Part 64 [Docket ID FEMA-2015-0001; Internal Agency Docket No. FEMA-8397] Suspension of Community Eligibility AGENCY:

Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This rule identifies communities where the sale of flood insurance has been authorized under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that are scheduled for suspension on the effective dates listed within this rule because of noncompliance with the floodplain management requirements of the program. If the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) receives documentation that the community has adopted the required floodplain management measures prior to the effective suspension date given in this rule, the suspension will not occur and a notice of this will be provided by publication in the Federal Register on a subsequent date. Also, information identifying the current participation status of a community can be obtained from FEMA's Community Status Book (CSB). The CSB is available at http://www.fema.gov/fema/csb.shtm.

DATES:

The effective date of each community's scheduled suspension is the third date (“Susp.”) listed in the third column of the following tables.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

If you want to determine whether a particular community was suspended on the suspension date or for further information, contact Bret Gates, Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, Federal Emergency Management Agency, 500 C Street SW., Washington, DC 20472, (202) 646-4133.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The NFIP enables property owners to purchase Federal flood insurance that is not otherwise generally available from private insurers. In return, communities agree to adopt and administer local floodplain management measures aimed at protecting lives and new construction from future flooding. Section 1315 of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 4022, prohibits the sale of NFIP flood insurance unless an appropriate public body adopts adequate floodplain management measures with effective enforcement measures. The communities listed in this document no longer meet that statutory requirement for compliance with program regulations, 44 CFR part 59. Accordingly, the communities will be suspended on the effective date in the third column. As of that date, flood insurance will no longer be available in the community. We recognize that some of these communities may adopt and submit the required documentation of legally enforceable floodplain management measures after this rule is published but prior to the actual suspension date. These communities will not be suspended and will continue to be eligible for the sale of NFIP flood insurance. A notice withdrawing the suspension of such communities will be published in the Federal Register.

In addition, FEMA publishes a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) that identifies the Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs) in these communities. The date of the FIRM, if one has been published, is indicated in the fourth column of the table. No direct Federal financial assistance (except assistance pursuant to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act not in connection with a flood) may be provided for construction or acquisition of buildings in identified SFHAs for communities not participating in the NFIP and identified for more than a year on FEMA's initial FIRM for the community as having flood-prone areas (section 202(a) of the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973, 42 U.S.C. 4106(a), as amended). This prohibition against certain types of Federal assistance becomes effective for the communities listed on the date shown in the last column. The Administrator finds that notice and public comment procedures under 5 U.S.C. 553(b), are impracticable and unnecessary because communities listed in this final rule have been adequately notified.

Each community receives 6-month, 90-day, and 30-day notification letters addressed to the Chief Executive Officer stating that the community will be suspended unless the required floodplain management measures are met prior to the effective suspension date. Since these notifications were made, this final rule may take effect within less than 30 days.

National Environmental Policy Act. This rule is categorically excluded from the requirements of 44 CFR part 10, Environmental Considerations. No environmental impact assessment has been prepared.

Regulatory Flexibility Act. The Administrator has determined that this rule is exempt from the requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act because the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968, as amended, Section 1315, 42 U.S.C. 4022, prohibits flood insurance coverage unless an appropriate public body adopts adequate floodplain management measures with effective enforcement measures. The communities listed no longer comply with the statutory requirements, and after the effective date, flood insurance will no longer be available in the communities unless remedial action takes place.

Regulatory Classification. This final rule is not a significant regulatory action under the criteria of section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866 of September 30, 1993, Regulatory Planning and Review, 58 FR 51735.

Executive Order 13132, Federalism. This rule involves no policies that have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132.

Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. This rule meets the applicable standards of Executive Order 12988.

Paperwork Reduction Act. This rule does not involve any collection of information for purposes of the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.

List of Subjects in 44 CFR Part 64

Flood insurance, Floodplains.

Accordingly, 44 CFR part 64 is amended as follows:

PART 64—[AMENDED] 1. The authority citation for Part 64 continues to read as follows: Authority:

42 U.S.C. 4001 et seq.; Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1978, 3 CFR, 1978 Comp.; p. 329; E.O. 12127, 44 FR 19367, 3 CFR, 1979 Comp.; p. 376.

§ 64.6 [Amended]
2. The tables published under the authority of § 64.6 are amended as follows: State and location Community No. Effective date authorization/cancellation of sale of flood insurance in community Current effective map date Date certain Federal assistance no longer available in SFHAs Region I New Hampshire: Dover, City of, Strafford County 330145 November 19, 1973, Emerg; April 15, 1980, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. September 30, 2015 September 30, 2015 Durham, Town of, Strafford County 330146 October 1, 1975, Emerg; May 3, 1990, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Madbury, Town of, Strafford County 330219 N/A, Emerg; March 4, 2010, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Rollinsford, Town of, Strafford County 330190 August 18, 1978, Emerg; April 2, 1986, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Region III Pennsylvania: Allenport, Borough of, Washington County 420845 March 10, 1975, Emerg; July 16, 1981, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Amwell, Township of, Washington County 422615 January 17, 1975, Emerg; September 15, 1989, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Beallsville, Borough of, Washington County 422129 May 21, 1979, Emerg; September 24, 1984, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Bentleyville, Borough of, Washington County 420846 October 15, 1974, Emerg; June 17, 1986, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Blaine, Township of, Washington County 422141 April 25, 1979, Emerg; July 2, 1982, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Buffalo, Township of, Washington County 421200 April 7, 1975, Emerg; June 11, 1982, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Burgettstown, Borough of, Washington County 420847 February 18, 1976, Emerg; February 17, 1989, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. California, Borough of, Washington County 420848 July 5, 1974, Emerg; June 15, 1981, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Canonsburg, Borough of, Washington County 420849 December 10, 1974, Emerg; April 1, 1980, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Canton, Township of, Washington County 421201 May 20, 1975, Emerg; November 5, 1986, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Carroll, Township of, Washington County 422142 October 29, 1974, Emerg; March 18, 1980, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Cecil, Township of, Washington County 422143 November 8, 1974, Emerg; September 5, 1979, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Centerville, Borough of, Washington County 422552 March 22, 1976, Emerg; June 15, 1981, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Charleroi, Borough of, Washington County 420850 October 4, 1974, Emerg; July 16, 1981, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Chartiers, Township of, Washington County 422144 November 20, 1975, Emerg; February 1, 1980, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Coal Center, Borough of, Washington County 422131 April 17, 1975, Emerg; September 30, 1981, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Cross Creek, Township of, Washington County 422145 June 5, 1975, Emerg; February 1, 1987, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Deemston, Borough of, Washington County 422132 November 20, 1975, Emerg; May 1, 1985, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Donegal, Township of, Washington County 422146 March 23, 1977, Emerg; October 15, 1982, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Donora, Borough of, Washington County 420851 July 29, 1974, Emerg; June 10, 1980, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Dunlevy, Borough of, Washington County 422133 December 5, 1974, Emerg; July 16, 1981, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. East Bethlehem, Township of, Washington County 422140 March 18, 1975, Emerg; July 16, 1981, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. East Finley, Township of, Washington County 422147 March 1, 1977, Emerg; May 1, 1985, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Elco, Borough of, Washington County 420852 October 30, 1974, Emerg; July 16, 1981, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Ellsworth, Borough of, Washington County 422553 June 10, 1975, Emerg; September 10, 1984, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Fallowfield, Township of, Washington County 422148 October 15, 1975, Emerg; February 17, 1989, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Finleyville, Borough of, Washington County 422135 July 11, 1975, Emerg; September 1, 1986, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Hanover, Township of, Washington County 422555 December 3, 1975, Emerg; September 24, 1985, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Hopewell, Township of, Washington County 422556 June 12, 1975, Emerg; August 6, 1982, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Houston, Borough of, Washington County 422594 October 24, 1974, Emerg; December 18, 1979, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Independence, Township of, Washington County 421202 October 4, 1974, Emerg; February 1, 1987, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Jefferson, Township of, Washington County 422557 July 24, 1975, Emerg; June 30, 1976, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Long Branch, Borough of, Washington County 422136 August 6, 1975, Emerg; September 1, 1986, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Marianna, Borough of, Washington County 420854 January 21, 1975, Emerg; June 19, 1989, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Midway, Borough of, Washington County 422558 March 22, 1976, Emerg; August 15, 1989, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Monongahela, City of, Washington County 420856 May 14, 1971, Emerg; July 3, 1986, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Morris, Township of, Washington County 422559 October 29, 1975, Emerg; August 5, 1985, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. New Eagle, Borough of, Washington County 420857 December 5, 1974, Emerg; March 18, 1980, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. North Bethlehem, Township of, Washington County 422560 October 17, 1975, Emerg; October 15, 1985, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. North Charleroi, Borough of, Washington County 422137 December 13, 1974, Emerg; July 16, 1981, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. North Franklin, Township of, Washington County 422150 September 10, 1975, Emerg; July 4, 1989, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. North Strabane, Township of, Washington County 422151 December 10, 1974, Emerg; February 15, 1980, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Nottingham, Township of, Washington County 422561 June 5, 1975, Emerg; September 10, 1984, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Peters, Township of, Washington County 422152 July 29, 1975, Emerg; November 1, 1979, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Robinson, Township of, Washington County 422562 June 22, 1976, Emerg; February 25, 1983, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Roscoe, Borough of, Washington County 420858 March 20, 1975, Emerg; July 16, 1981, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Smith, Township of, Washington County 422153 May 2, 1975, Emerg; July 1, 1986, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Somerset, Township of, Washington County 422154 May 20, 1975, Emerg; July 1, 1986, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. South Franklin, Township of, Washington County 422563 September 11, 1975, Emerg; July 17, 1989, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. South Strabane, Township of, Washington County 422155 March 6, 1975, Emerg; April 15, 1980, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Speers, Borough of, Washington County 422138 November 29, 1974, Emerg; July 16, 1981, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Stockdale, Borough of, Washington County 420859 September 13, 1974, Emerg; July 16, 1981, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Twilight, Borough of, Washington County 422564 July 3, 1975, Emerg; September 28, 1979, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Washington, City of, Washington County 420861 October 23, 1974, Emerg; November 5, 1986, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. West Bethlehem, Township of, Washington County 422156 February 22, 1977, Emerg; September 1, 1986, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. West Brownsville, Borough of, Washington County 425391 December 3, 1971, Emerg; April 27, 1973, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. West Finley, Township of, Washington County 422565 March 28, 1980, Emerg; September 24, 1984, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. West Pike Run, Township of, Washington County 422157 October 25, 1974, Emerg; September 1, 1986, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Region V Illinois: Schuyler County, Unincorporated Areas 170605 April 19, 1979, Emerg; July 18, 1985, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Indiana: Beverly Shores, Town of, Porter County 185173 October 1, 1971, Emerg; March 23, 1973, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Burns Harbor, Town of, Porter County 180207 April 18, 1975, Emerg; August 4, 1988, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Chesterton, Town of, Porter County 180201 February 28, 1975, Emerg; February 1, 1980, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Dune Acres, Town of, Porter County 180205 June 6, 1975, Emerg; April 24, 1981, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Hebron, Town of, Porter County 180387 March 18, 1976, Emerg; October 9, 1981, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Kosciusko County, Unincorporated Areas 180121 July 30, 1975, Emerg; February 4, 1987, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Mentone, Town of, Kosciusko County 180459 N/A, Emerg; June 10, 2008, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Milford, Town of, Kosciusko County 180382 January 14, 1988, Emerg; January 14, 1988, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Nappanee, City of, Elkhart and Kosciusko Counties 180059 May 30, 1975, Emerg; August 15, 1983, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. North Webster, Town of, Kosciusko County 180465 N/A, Emerg; March 24, 1994, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Ogden Dunes, Town of, Porter County 180206 November 23, 1976, Emerg; August 5, 1986, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Pines, Town of, Porter County 180388 N/A, Emerg; August 9, 2011, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Portage, City of, Porter County 180202 August 8, 1975, Emerg; June 1, 1982, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Porter, Town of, Porter County 180208 October 16, 1973, Emerg; June 4, 1980, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Porter County, Unincorporated Areas 180425 September 5, 1975, Emerg; April 1, 1982, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Silver Lake, Town of, Kosciusko County 180311 N/A, Emerg; February 7, 2014, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Syracuse, Town of, Kosciusko County 180122 May 30, 1975, Emerg; February 4, 1987, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Valparaiso, City of, Porter County 180204 March 24, 1975, Emerg; March 2, 1979, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Warsaw, City of, Kosciusko County 180123 March 26, 1975, Emerg; February 4, 1987, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Winona Lake, Town of, Kosciusko County 180124 October 14, 1975, Emerg; September 4, 1985, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Minnesota: Ada, City of, Norman County 270323 April 30, 1974, Emerg; August 2, 1982, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Halstad, City of, Norman County 270324 February 5, 1975, Emerg; June 15, 1979, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Hendrum, City of, Norman County 270325 July 5, 1974, Emerg; December 18, 1979, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Kandiyohi County, Unincorporated Areas 270629 April 23, 1974, Emerg; July 17, 1986, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Lake Lillian, City of, Kandiyohi County 270219 March 10, 2014, Emerg; N/A, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. New London, City of, Kandiyohi County 270220 August 11, 1975, Emerg; November 15, 1985, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Norman County, Unincorporated Areas 270322 January 23, 1974, Emerg; September 2, 1981, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Perley, City of, Norman County 270326 April 26, 1974, Emerg; June 15, 1979, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Raymond, City of, Kandiyohi County 270222 March 5, 1975, Emerg; September 18, 1987, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Shelly, City of, Norman County 270327 August 16, 1974, Emerg; September 2, 1981, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. Region IX California: El Cerrito, City of, Contra Costa County 065027 March 5, 1971, Emerg; June 1, 1977, Reg; September 30, 2015, Susp. ......do   Do. *-do- =Ditto. Code for reading third column: Emerg. —Emergency; Reg. —Regular; Susp. —Suspension. Dated: August 20, 2015. Roy E. Wright, Deputy Associate Administrator, Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency.
[FR Doc. 2015-21657 Filed 8-31-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-12-P
FEDERAL MARITIME COMMISSION 46 CFR Part 503 [Docket No. 15-05] RIN 3072-AC60 Amendments to Regulations Governing Access to Commission Information and Records; Freedom of Information Act; Withdrawal AGENCY:

Federal Maritime Commission.

ACTION:

Direct final rule; withdrawal.

SUMMARY:

The Federal Maritime Commission is withdrawing a Direct Final Rule that would have amended its regulations governing access to Commission information and records and its regulations implementing the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

DATES:

As of September 1, 2015, the direct final rule published July 2, 2015, at 80 FR 37997, is withdrawn.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Karen V. Gregory, Secretary, Federal Maritime Commission, 800 North Capitol Street NW., Washington, DC 20573-0001. Phone: (202) 523-5725. Email: [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

On July 2, 2015, the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC or Commission) published a direct final rule (80 FR 37997) amending its regulations governing access to Commission information and records and its regulations implementing the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). In response to the rule, the Commission received two comments recommending that the Commission extend the administrative appeal deadline. Both commenters, America Rising Advanced Research, a non-profit organization, and the National Archives and Records Administration, Office of Government Information Services (OGIS), suggested that extending the administrative appeal deadline will align the Commission with general agency practices. The Commission agrees, and therefore, is withdrawing its Direct Final Rule published on July 2, 2015 (80 FR 37997), and will issue a new Direct Final Rule to extend the administrative appeal deadline from 10 working days to 30 calendar days.

By the Commission.

Karen V. Gregory, Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2015-21452 Filed 8-31-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6731-AA-P
FEDERAL MARITIME COMMISSION 46 CFR Part 503 [DOCKET NO. 15-05] RIN 3072-AC60 Amendments to Regulations Governing Access to Commission Information and Records; Freedom of Information Act AGENCY:

Federal Maritime Commission.

ACTION:

Direct final rule; and request for comments.

SUMMARY:

The Federal Maritime Commission amends its regulations governing access to Commission information and records and its regulations implementing the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The revisions update and consolidate the provisions identifying records available without the need for a FOIA request, including records available on the Commission's public Web site; revise response time procedures for processing FOIA requests; affirmatively indicate that the Commission uses a multitrack system for processing FOIA requests; modify the criteria for a FOIA request to qualify for expedited processing; and extend the administrative appeal deadline.

DATES:

This rule is effective without further action on November 2, 2015, unless significant adverse comment is received by October 1, 2015. If significant adverse comment is received, the Federal Maritime Commission will publish a timely withdrawal of the rule in the Federal Register.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments, identified by the docket number in the heading of this document, by any of the following methods:

Email: [email protected] Include in the subject line: “Docket No. 15-05, Comments on Amendments to Regulations Governing Access to Commission Information and Records; Freedom of Information Act.” Comments should be attached to the email as a Microsoft Word or text-searchable PDF document. Comments containing confidential information should not be submitted by email.

Mail: Karen V. Gregory, Secretary, Federal Maritime Commission, 800 North Capitol Street NW., Washington, DC 20573-0001.

Docket: To read background documents or comments received in this docket, go to: http://www.fmc.gov/15-05/.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Karen V. Gregory, Secretary, Federal Maritime Commission, 800 North Capitol Street NW., Washington, DC 20573-0001. Phone: (202) 523-5725. Email: [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Federal Maritime Commission amends its regulations governing access to Commission information and records and its regulations implementing the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552, found in part 503 of title 46 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The provisions in part 503 are designed to facilitate public availability of information; thereby furthering the spirit of FOIA in ensuring an informed citizenry.

On July 2, 2015, the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC or Commission) published a Direct Final Rule (80 FR 37997) amending its regulations governing access to Commission information and records and its regulations implementing the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). In response to the rule, the Commission received two comments recommending that the Commission extend the administrative appeal deadline. Both commenters, America Rising Advanced Research, a non-profit organization, and the National Archives and Records Administration, Office of Government Information Services (OGIS), suggested that extending the administrative appeal deadline will align the Commission with general agency practices.* The Commission agrees, and therefore, is withdrawing its Direct Final Rule published on July 2, 2015 (80 FR 37997), and issuing this new Direct Final Rule to extend the administrative appeal deadline from 10 working days to 30 calendar days.

* The Commission appreciates the recommendations of OGIS. While the remaining recommendations are outside the scope of the revisions implemented in this Direct Final Rule, the Commission will address them in a subsequent rulemaking.

In addition, the Commission is incorporating the revisions issued in the July 2, 2015 Direct Final Rule (80 FR 37997) into this Direct Final Rule. The revisions update and consolidate the provisions identifying records available without the need for a FOIA request, including records available on the Commission's public Web site; revise response time procedures for processing FOIA requests; affirmatively indicate that the Commission uses a multitrack system for processing FOIA requests; modify the criteria for a FOIA request to qualify for expedited processing; and extend the administrative appeal deadline.

The Commission last revised part 503 in 1998 to reflect requirements of the Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 1996 (Pub. L. 04-231). On December 31, 2007, the OPEN Government Act of 2007 (Pub. L. 110-175) amended procedural aspects of FOIA and established new agency requirements for processing FOIA requests. On October 28, 2009, the OPEN FOIA Act of 2009 (Pub. L. 110-175) further amended FOIA.

The amendments to part 503 update the Commission's regulations to reflect its practices and provisions of the OPEN Government Act of 2007 and the OPEN FOIA Act of 2009.

The Commission is making the following revisions to the subparts of part 503: revise Subpart A—General, Statement of Policy to repurpose this subpart to state the purpose and scope of the rules contained in part 503; update Subpart B—Publication in the Federal Register to recognize that in addition to publishing records in the Federal Register, the Commission also posts records listed in this Subpart on its Web site (www.fmc.gov); revise Subpart C—Records, Information and Materials Generally Available to the Public Without Resort to Freedom of Information Act Procedures to describe records available to the public without the need for a FOIA request, including records available on the Commission's public Web site; amend Subpart D—Requests for Records under the Freedom of Information Act to include procedures for tolling response times, processing FOIA requests under the multitracking system, and expedited processing of FOIA requests; and revise Subpart H—Public Observation of Federal Maritime Commission Meetings and Public Access to Information Pertaining to Commission Meetings to amend a subpart reference.

Subpart A—General

The Commission revises the heading and language in § 503.1 to describe the scope and purpose of the provisions contained in part 503. Specifically, the Commission changes the section heading from “Statement of Policy” to “Scope and Purpose.” The Commission also amends this section to include a list of the subparts contained in part 503.

Subpart B—Publication in the Federal Register

To promote greater access to information and records, the Commission amends and updates § 503.11 to inform the public that the Commission posts records listed in this subpart on its Web site (www.fmc.gov), in addition to publishing these records in the Federal Register.

Subpart C—Records, Information and Materials Generally Available to the Public Without Resort to Freedom of Information Act Procedures

Sections 503.21 to 503.24 describe records available to the public without the need for a FOIA request. The Commission last revised these sections in 1998 and further revises these sections to reflect the availability of information on the Commission's Web site, eliminate outdated information, and remove duplicative language.

Subpart D—Requests for Records Under the Freedom of Information Act

Section 503.31 provides information on the process for requesting records. The Commission is adding a new paragraph encouraging requesters to review the records on the Commission's public Web site prior to initiating a FOIA request. In addition, the Commission amends this section to include requirements for submitting FOIA requests electronically.

Administrative Appeal Deadline

In accordance with general Federal agency practices, the Commission amends § 503.32(a)(3)(i)(B) to extend the administrative appeal deadline from 10 working days to 30 calendar days.

Tolling

FOIA, as amended, allows an agency to make one reasonable request for information from the FOIA requester and stop, or toll, the 20-day clock for responding to a FOIA requester while the agency is waiting for the requested information from the FOIA requester. 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(A)(ii)(I). Agencies may also toll the 20-day response clock as many times as necessary in order to clarify any issues with fee assessment. 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(A)(ii)(II).

Section 503.32 sets forth procedures for responding to requests made under FOIA. This section does not currently include a provision for tolling the statutory 20-day FOIA response period should the Commission need to contact the FOIA requestor to clarify or narrow the scope of the FOIA request. The Commission is adding language that would allow for tolling of response times to implement the Commission's authority to stop the 20-day clock should the Commission need information from the requestor or to clarify issues with fee assessment.

The Commission is adding two new paragraphs, (b)(4) and (5) to § 503.32 to reflect Commission processes used to work with a requestor to clarify or narrow the scope of a FOIA request, and to confirm that the requestor understands and authorizes the assessment of fees. The new paragraphs require the Commission to submit its request to clarify the scope of records requested or fee assessments in writing to the requestor.

Multitrack Processing of Requests

FOIA expressly authorizes agencies to promulgate regulations providing for “multitrack processing” of FOIA requests and allows agencies to process requests on a first-in, first-out basis within each track. 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(D). During FY 2012, the Commission initiated a multitrack processing system for FOIA requests to better manage and more efficiently respond to FOIA requests. The Commission revises § 503.32(d) to reflect the Commission's current practices regarding multitrack processing of FOIA requests in which the Commission labels requests as either “simple” or “complex”. The rephrasing of the section clarifies the Commission's current practices and provides that a request may be considered “simple” if the type of records being requested are routinely requested and readily available. Initiating a simple track process has permitted the Commission to respond to relatively simple requests more quickly than requests involving complex and/or voluminous records.

Expedited Processing of Requests

Section 503.32(e) currently provides for expedited processing of a FOIA request when (1) the person requesting the records can demonstrate a compelling need; or (2) in other cases, in the Secretary's discretion. The Commission deletes paragraph (2) from § 503.32(e). This revision simplifies the Commission's criteria for determining which FOIA requests qualify for expedited processing and establish a practice consistent with other Federal agencies that only provide expedited processing when a “compelling need” can be demonstrated.

To ensure timely responses to requests for expedited processing, the Commission revises § 503.32(e)(4) to change “working days” to “calendar days” to coincide with FOIA.

Annual Report

The Commission must submit an annual report on its FOIA related activities to the Attorney General. The Commission revises § 502.23 to reference the activities cited in FOIA, 5 U.S.C. 552(e), rather than list out all activities reported upon.

Subpart I—Public Observation of Federal Maritime Commission Meetings and Public Access to Information Pertaining to Commission Meetings

A technical revision and update of § 503.87(b) accounts for a recent redesignation of subparts with the addition of new subpart E.

Regulatory Analysis and Notices Regulatory Flexibility Act

This direct final rule is not a “major rule” under 5 U.S.C. 804(2). No notice of proposed rulemaking is required; therefore, the provisions of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., do not apply.

The Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601-612, requires an agency to review regulations to assess their impact on small entities and prepare an initial regulatory flexibility analysis (IRFA), unless the agency determines that a rule is not expected to have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. This rulemaking will affect only persons who file FOIA requests, and therefore, the Chairman certifies that this rulemaking will not have a significant or negative economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

Paperwork Reduction Act

The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. 3501-3521, requires an agency to seek and receive approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) before making most requests for information if the agency is requesting information from more than ten persons. 44 U.S.C. 3507. The agency must submit collections of information in proposed rules to OMB in conjunction with the publication of the proposed rulemaking. 5 CFR 1320.11. The Commission is not proposing any collections of information, as defined by 44 U.S.C. 3502(3) and 5 CFR 1320.3(c), as part of this rule.

Regulation Identifier Number

The Commission assigns a regulation identifier number (RIN) to each regulatory action listed in the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions (Unified Agenda). The Regulatory Information Service Center publishes the Unified Agenda in April and October of each year. The RIN contained in the heading at the beginning of this document may be used to find this action in the Unified Agenda, available at http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/eAgendaMain.

Direct Final Rule Justification

The Commission expects the amendments to be noncontroversial. Therefore, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553, notice and comment are not required and this rule may become effective after publication in the Federal Register unless the Commission receives significant adverse comments within the specified period. The Commission recognizes that parties may have information that could impact the Commission's views and intentions with respect to the revised regulations, and the Commission intends to consider any comments filed. The Commission will withdraw the rule if it receives significant adverse comments. Filed comments that are not adverse may be considered for modifications to part 503 at a future date. If no significant adverse comment is received, the rule will become effective without additional action.

List of Subjects in 46 CFR Part 503

Administrative practices and procedures, Archives and records, Classified information, Confidential business information, Freedom of information, Information, Privacy, Records, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Sunshine Act.

For the reasons set forth in the preamble, the Federal Maritime Commission amends 46 CFR part 503 as follows:

PART 503—PUBLIC INFORMATION 1. The authority citation for part 503 is revised to read: Authority:

5 U.S.C. 552, 552a, 552b, 553; 31 U.S.C. 9701; E.O. 13526, 75 FR 707, 3 CFR, 2010 Comp., p. 298.

Subpart A—General 2. Revise § 503.1 to read as follows:
§ 503.1 Scope and purpose.

This part implements the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552, as amended, the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a, and the Government in the Sunshine Act (1976), 5 U.S.C. 552b; and sets forth the Commission's regulations governing:

(a) Public availability of Commission information and records at its Office of the Secretary, published in the Federal Register, or posted on the Commission's public Web site (www.fmc.gov);

(b) Procedures for requests for testimony by current or former FMC employees relating to official information and production of official Commission records in litigation;

(c) The type of services and amount of fees charged for certain Commission services; and

(d) The Commission's Information Security Program.

Subpart B—Publication in the Federal Register
3. Amend § 503.11 by revising the introductory text to read as follows:
§ 503.11 Materials to be published.

The Commission shall separately state and concurrently publish the following materials in the Federal Register or on its public Web site (www.fmc.gov) for the guidance of the public:

Subpart C—Records, Information and Materials Generally Available to the Public Without Resort to Freedom of Information Act Procedures
4. Amend § 503.21 by revising paragraphs (a) introductory text and (c) to read as follows:
§ 503.21 Mandatory public records.

(a) The Commission, as required by the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552, makes the following materials available for public inspection and copying in its Office of the Secretary, or on its Web site at www.fmc.gov:

(c) The Commission maintains and makes available for public inspection at the Office of the Secretary, Federal Maritime Commission, Washington, DC 20573, or on its public Web site at www.fmc.gov, a current log or index providing identifying information for the public as to any matter which is issued, adopted, or promulgated, and which is required by paragraph (a) of this section to be made available or published.

(1) No final order, opinion, statement of policy, interpretation, or staff manual or instruction that affects any member of the public will be relied upon, used, or cited as precedent by the Commission against any private party unless:

(i) It has been logged or indexed and either made available or published on its public Web site as provided by this subpart; or

(ii) That private party shall have actual and timely notice of the terms thereof.

(2) [Reserved]

5. Revise § 503.22 to read as follows:
§ 503.22 Records available through the Commission's Web site or at the Office of the Secretary.

The following records are also available without the requirement of a FOIA request on the Commission's Web site or by contacting the Office of the Secretary, Federal Maritime Commission, 800 North Capitol St. NW., Washington, DC 20573, [email protected] Access to requested records may be delayed if they have been sent to archives. Certain fees may be assessed for duplication of records made available by this section as prescribed in subpart F of this part.

(a) Proposed and final rules and regulations of the Commission including general substantive rules, statements of policy and interpretations, and rules of practice and procedure.

(b) Federal Maritime Commission reports.

(c) Official docket files in all formal proceedings including, but not limited to, orders, final decisions, notices, pertinent correspondence, transcripts, exhibits, and briefs, except for materials which are the subject of a protective order.

(d) News releases, consumer alerts, Commissioner statements, and speeches.

(e) Approved summary minutes of Commission actions showing final votes, except for minutes of closed Commission meetings which are not available until the Commission publicly announces the results of such deliberations.

(f) Annual reports of the Commission.

(g) Agreements filed or in effect pursuant to section 5 (46 U.S.C. 40301(d)-(e), 40302-40303, 40305) and section 6 (46 U.S.C. 40304, 40306, 41307(b)-(d)) of the Shipping Act of 1984.

(h) List of FMC-licensed and bonded ocean transportation intermediaries.

(i) Notification of ocean transportation intermediaries license applications, revocations, and suspensions.

(j) General descriptions of the functions, bureaus, and offices of the Commission, phone numbers and email addresses, as well as locations of Area Representatives.

(k) Information about how to file a complaint alleging violations of the Shipping Act, and how to seek mediation or alternative dispute resolution services.

(l) Commonly used forms.

(m) Final and pending proposed rules.

(n) Access to statements of policy and interpretations as published in part 545 of this chapter.

(o) Lists of the location of all common carrier and conference tariffs and publically available terminal schedules of marine terminal operators.

§§ 503.23 and 503.24 [Removed and Reserved]
6. Remove and reserve §§ 503.23 and 503.24. Subpart D—Requests for Records Under the Freedom of Information Act 7. Revise the subpart D heading to read as set forth above. 8. Amend § 503.31 by revising paragraphs (a) and (d) to read as follows:
§ 503.31 Records available upon written request under the Freedom of Information Act.

(a) Generally. Many documents are available on the Commission's public Web site and the Commission encourages requesters visit the Web site before making a request for records under FOIA.

(1) Electronic or written requests. A member of the public may request permission to inspect, copy or be provided with any Commission record not described in subpart C of this part or posted on the Commission's Web site at www.fmc.gov. Such a request must:

(i) Reasonably describe the record or records sought;

(ii) Be submitted electronically to [email protected] or in writing to the Secretary, Federal Maritime Commission, 800 North Capitol Street NW., Washington, DC 20573.

(iii) Be clearly marked on the subject line of an email or on the exterior of the envelope with the term “FOIA.”

(2) [Reserved]

(d) Certain fees may be assessed for processing requests under this subpart as prescribed in subpart F of this part.

9. Amend § 503.32 by revising paragraphs (a)(1), (a)(3)(i)(B), (a)(3)(ii), (d), and (e)(1) and (4) and adding paragraphs (b)(4) and (5) to read as follows:
§ 503.32 Procedures for responding to requests made under the Freedom of Information Act.

(a) * * *

(1) Such determination shall be made by the Secretary within twenty (20) business days after receipt of such request, except as provided in paragraphs (b) and (e)(4) of this section.

(3)(i) * * *

(B) Be filed not later than thirty (30) calendar days following receipt of notification of full or partial denial of records requested.

(ii) The Chairman or the Chairman's specific delegate, in his or her absence, shall make a determination with respect to that appeal within twenty (20) business days after receipt of such appeal, except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section.

(b) * * *

(4) The Secretary may make an initial written request to the requestor for information to clarify the request which will toll the 20-day processing period until such information has been received. The 20-day processing period will recommence after receipt of the requested information.

(5) The Secretary may also make written requests to clarify issues regarding fee assessments. Such written requests will toll the 20-day processing period until such information has been received from the requestor. The 20-day processing period will recommence after receipt of the requested information.

(d) Multitrack processing of requests. The Secretary uses multitrack processing of FOIA requests. Requests which seek and are granted expedited processing are put on the expedited track. All other requests are designated either simple or complex requests based on the amount of time and/or complexity needed to process the request. A request may be considered simple if it involves records that are routinely requested and readily available.

(e) Expedited processing of requests. (1) The Secretary will provide for expedited processing of requests for records when the person requesting the records can demonstrate a compelling need.

(4) The Secretary shall determine whether to provide expedited processing, and provide notice of the determination to the person making the request, within ten (10) calendar days after the receipt date of the request.

10. Amend § 503.34 by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows:
§ 503.34 Annual report of public information request activity.

(a) On or before February 1 of each year, the Commission must submit to the Attorney General of the United States, in the format required by the Attorney General, a report on FOIA activities which shall cover the preceding fiscal year pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552(e).

Subpart I—Public Observation of Federal Maritime Commission Meetings and Public Access to Information Pertaining to Commission Meetings
11. Amend § 503.87 by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:
§ 503.87 Effect of provisions of this subpart on other subparts.

(b) Nothing in this subpart shall permit the withholding from any individual to whom a record pertains any record required by this subpart to be maintained by the agency which record is otherwise available to such an individual under the provisions of subpart H of this part.

By the Commission.

Karen V. Gregory, Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2015-21453 Filed 8-31-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6731-AA-P
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION 47 CFR Part 43 [IB Docket No. 04-112 (Terminated); DA 15-711] Reporting Requirements for U.S. Providers of International Telecommunications Services AGENCY:

Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION:

Final rule; petition for reconsideration.

SUMMARY:

In this Order, the Federal Communications Commission (Commission) dismisses the petition for reconsideration (Petition) of the Second Report and Order filed by Voice on the Net Coalition (Petitioner), seeking reconsideration of the Commission's decision to extend international traffic and revenue reporting requirements to entities providing international calling service via Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) connected to the public switched telephone network (PSTN), and requiring submarine cable landing licensees to file reports identifying capacity they own or lease on each submarine cable. The Petition relies on facts and arguments that do not meet the requirements of the Commission's rules and the Petition plainly does not warrant consideration by the Commission.

DATES:

September 1, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

David Krech, Policy Division, International Bureau at 202-418-7443; or Veronica Garcia-Ulloa, Policy Division, International Bureau at 202-418-0481.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

This is a summary of the Commission's Order dismissing the petition for reconsideration, DA 15-711, adopted and released on June 17, 2015. Under the Commission's rules, petitions for reconsideration that rely on facts or arguments that have not previously been presented to the Commission will be considered only under certain limited circumstances and may be dismissed by the relevant bureau if they do not meet those circumstances. The Petition relies on facts and arguments that do not meet the requirements of § 1.429(b)(1) through (3) of the Commission's rules. Petitioner previously could have presented these facts and arguments to the Commission in response to the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in this proceeding, but did not present. Accordingly, pursuant to § 1.429(l) of the Commission's rules, the Petition plainly does not warrant consideration by the Commission. The Order on Reconsideration is available for inspection and copying during normal business hours in the FCC Reference Center, 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554. The document is also available for download over the Internet at http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2015/db0617/DA-15-711A1.pdf. The Commission will not send a copy of this Order pursuant to the Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A), because this Order does not have an impact on any rules of particular applicability.

Federal Communications Commission.

Nese Guendelsberger, Deputy Chief, International Bureau.
[FR Doc. 2015-21091 Filed 8-31-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION 48 CFR Parts 1842 and 1852 RIN 2700-AE14 NASA Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement: Denied Access to NASA Facilities (2015-N002) AGENCY:

National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

NASA is issuing a final rule amending the NASA Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (NFS) to delete the observance of legal holidays clause with its alternates and replace it with a new clause that prescribes conditions and procedures pertaining to the closure of NASA facilities.

DATES:

Effective: October 1, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Andrew O'Rourke, NASA Office of Procurement, Contract and Grant Policy Division, 202-358-4560, email: [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

A proposed rule was published on May 13, 2015 (80 FR 27278) to delete NASA FAR Supplement (NFS) clause 1852.242-72, Observance of Legal Holidays with its alternates and replace it with a new clause that prescribes conditions and procedures pertaining to the closure of NASA facilities. NFS clause 1852.242-72, Observance of Legal Holidays with its alternates, was included in Agency contracts where contractor performance was to be performed on a NASA facility. It was intended to identify dates that Government employees would not be available and provide notification to contractors of those dates considering that the absence of Government employees might impact contractor performance or contractor access to NASA facilities. Further, the same clause has two alternates, the first addresses contractors who are denied access to NASA workspaces within a NASA facility and the second addresses other instances, such as weather and safety emergencies, which could result in contractors being denied access to the entire NASA facility. Recent events, especially the Government shut-down during October 2013, have revealed a need for NASA to be more specific and to differentiate between these two conditions when contractor employees may be denied access to NASA workspaces or the entire NASA facility. The fact that Government employees may not be at a NASA facility is not an automatic reason for contractor personnel not to be required to be present at their required NASA workspace on a NASA facility. Unless a contractor is denied access to the NASA facility, contractors are expected to perform in accordance with their contractual requirements. This NFS change provides clarity and information beneficial to NASA contractors that are denied access to a NASA facility when a NASA facility is closed to all personnel. Specifically, the change deletes the prescription at NFS 1842.7001, Observance of Legal Holidays, in its entirety, and clause 1852.242-72, Observance of Legal Holidays, with alternates, and replaces it with the prescription at NFS 1842.7001 Denied Access to NASA Facilities and clause 1852.242-72, Denied Access to NASA Facilities, respectively. The clause would be included in solicitations and contracts where contractor personnel would be required to work onsite at a NASA facility.

II. Discussion and Analysis

NASA published a proposed rule in the Federal Register on May 13, 2015 (80 FR 27278). The sixty-day public comment period expired on July 13, 2015. NASA received comments from one respondent. NASA reviewed the respondent's comments in the formation of the final rule. No revisions to the proposed rule were made as a result of the public comments received. A discussion of the comments is provided as follows:

A. Retain Existing Language

Comment: The respondent submitted a comment indicating that it was in the best interest of both NASA and NASA contractors to retain the language of 48 CFR parts 1842 and 1852 as it currently exists.

Response: NASA disagrees with retaining the existing NFS clause. As stated in the proposed rule, there was a need for NASA to be more specific when contractor employees may be denied access to NASA workspaces or the entire NASA facility. This revision to the NFS provides this clarity with information that is beneficial to both the Government and NASA contractors who are denied access to a NASA facility when that facility is closed to all personnel.

B. Revised Language is Less Clear

Comment: The respondent submitted a comment stating that the revised language in the proposed rule is actually less clear than the current “Holidays” clause and may adversely impact consistency of application. The respondent stated that the revised language suggests that direction from the contracting officer may or may not be forthcoming; the contractor “minimize unnecessary contract costs and performance impact” by performing work off-site or having personnel perform other duties makes it wholly unclear what NASA's expectations of the contractor may be, and what potential financial losses may or may not be incurred, depending on various circumstances. The respondent stated the proposed revised language creates a significantly increased potential for inconsistent interpretation not only for contractors at different NASA installations, but for different contractors at the same NASA installation.

Response: NASA disagrees that the revised clause is less clear and may have inconsistent application. The revised clause indicates that the contractor shall exercise sound judgment to minimize unnecessary contract costs and provides examples of such actions. The examples are provided for the contractor to consider and not to limit the contractor. The revised clause will be included in NASA solicitations and contracts where contractor personnel would be required to work onsite at a NASA facility and NASA does not agree that there is potential for inconsistent interpretation or application.

C. Violations of the Anti-Deficiency Act

Comment: The respondent submitted a comment stating the proposed language may lead to unintentional, but consequential, violations of the Anti-Deficiency Act (31 U.S.C. 1341), to the financial detriment of contractor organizations. The respondent indicated that their issue is with the proposed revised clause 1852.242-72 paragraph (a)(3)(b), and the respondent's concern that implementation of this clause will set up inevitable competitive pressure (even if self-imposed) for contractors to compel their employees to continue NASA contract work off-site or through teleworking in the event of a NASA installation closure (regardless of the reason for the closure), even in the absence of approval that such work will be covered as an allowable cost. Should such costs then subsequently not be allowed, this could effectively place NASA as an agency in the role of accepting voluntary services from the contractor and its employees, and clearly imposes a financial risk for the Contractor that is not imposed by the current language of 1852.242-72.

Response: NASA disagrees that the revised clause may lead to violations of the Anti-Deficiency Act (31 U.S.C. 1341). The revised clause indicates that in all instances where contractor employees are denied access or required to vacate a NASA facility, in part or in whole, the contractor shall be responsible to ensure contractor personnel working under the contract comply and the contractor shall exercise sound judgment to minimize unnecessary contract costs and performance. The revised clause provides an example for contractors to consider e.g. performing required work off-site. The revised clause does not require contractors to compel their employees to continue NASA contract work off-site or through teleworking; the revised clause merely provides an example for contractors to consider in meeting the contract requirements in the event of a NASA facility closure. NASA does not agree that taking a prudent business decision in the event of a NASA facility closure will lead to violation of the Anti-Deficiency Act (31 U.S.C. 1341).

D. Increased Administrative Burden

Comment: The respondent stated that the proposed language may lead to increased, versus decreased, administrative burden for both NASA and on-site contractors, resulting in a decrease of value delivered to the Government. The respondent indicated that contractors will need to develop revised employee policies that cover all contingencies of the revised language of 1852.242-72. Contractors will need to vet the language of these policy changes with their employment attorneys, adding costs that will ultimately be included in indirect rates. The respondent indicated that the administrative burden to fully and fairly implement revised 1852.242-72 would be increased for both contractors and NASA.

Response: NASA does not agree that the revised clause may lead to increased administrative burden for both NASA and on-site contractors. Contractors performing work on a NASA facility should already have established company polices to cover events referenced in the revised clause such as policy related to Federal public holidays. Also, since the revised clause will be included in NASA solicitations a company interested in submitting a proposal would review applicable company polices as part of the proposal preparation and address changes, if any, at that time with little to no additional cost or administrative burden.

E. Institutionalize a “Two-Class” System

Comment: The respondent stated that the proposed revised clause 1852.242-72 would institutionalize a “two-class” system of treatment of Government employees versus contractor employees, to the detriment of effective teamwork and morale. The respondent indicated that that the proposed revised clause would create competitive pressure for contractors to require their employees to work off-site or telework during virtually all circumstances when NASA installations may be closed, when no such requirement will apply to Federal employees. The respondent stated that in reference to the proposed revised clause 1852.242-72 paragraph (e)(1), which states that “Moreover, the leave status of NASA employees shall not be conveyed or imputed to contractor personnel.” The respondent saw no compelling reason why a decision by an appropriately empowered federal official to grant Federal employees leave under appropriate circumstances should not be conveyed to contractor employees, along with appropriate guidance from the contractor as to whether or not contractor employees are to report to work. The responded noted that inconsistent treatment of contractor employees, as compared to their Federal colleagues under the same circumstances, would become institutionalized by the proposed revised clause and would be detrimental to teamwork and morale.

Response: NASA does not agree. While NASA federal and contractor employees are members of the same NASA team, different standards apply to the various members of the team. NASA acquires services from contractors utilizing nonpersonal services contracts. A nonpersonal services contract means a contract under which the personnel rendering the services are not subject, either by the contract's terms or by the manner of its administration, to the supervision and control usually prevailing in relationships between the Government and its employees (see FAR 37.101). A personal services contract is characterized by the employer-employee relationship it creates between the Government and the contractor's personnel. The Government is normally required to obtain its employees by direct hire under competitive appointment or other procedures required by the civil service laws. Obtaining personal services by contract, rather than by direct hire, circumvents those laws unless Congress has specifically authorized acquisition of the services by contract. Agencies are prohibited from awarding personal services contracts unless specifically authorized by statute to do so. An employer-employee relationship under a service contract occurs when, as a result of (i) the contract's terms or (ii) the manner of its administration during performance, contractor personnel are subject to the relatively continuous supervision and control of a Government officer or employee (see FAR 37.104). In addition, the leave administration for Federal employees is covered under title 5 of the United States Code and title 5 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The leave administration for a contractor is covered under the contractor's company policy. Therefore, the revised clause language is correct and the leave status of NASA Federal employees shall not be conveyed or imputed to contractor personnel.

III. Executive Orders 12866 and 13563

Executive Orders (E.O.s) 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). E.O. 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility. This rule is not a significant regulatory action under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866. This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804.

IV. Regulatory Flexibility Act

NASA certifies that this final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities within the meaning of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601, et seq., because it provides clarity and information beneficial to NASA contractors that are denied access to a NASA facility when a NASA facility is closed. The rule imposes no new reporting requirements. The rule does not duplicate, overlap, or conflict with any other Federal rules. No alternatives were identified that would meet the objectives of the rule. No comments from small entities were submitted in reference to the Regulatory Flexibility Act request in the proposed rule.

V. Paperwork Reduction Act

The Paperwork Reduction Act (Pub. L. 104-13) does not apply because this final rule contains no information collection requirements that require the approval of the Office of Management and Budget under 44 U.S.C. 3501, et seq.

List of Subjects in 48 CFR Parts 1842 and 1852

Government procurement.

Manuel Quinones, Federal Register Liaison.

Accordingly, 48 CFR parts 1842 and 1852 are amended as follows:

PART 1842—CONTRACT ADMINISTRATION AND AUDIT SERVICES 1. The authority citation for part 1842 is revised to read as follows: Authority:

51 U.S.C. 20113 and 48 CFR chapter 1.

2. Revise subpart 1842.70 to read as follows: Subpart 1842.70—Additional NASA Contract Clauses
1842.7001 Denied Access to NASA Facilities.

The contracting officer shall insert the clause at 1852.242-72, Denied Access to NASA Facilities, in solicitations and contracts where contractor personnel will be working onsite at a NASA facility such as: NASA Headquarters and NASA Centers, including Component Facilities and Technical and Service Support Centers. For a list of NASA facilities see NPD 1000.3 “The NASA Organization”. The contracting officer shall not insert the clause where contractor personnel will be working onsite at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory including the Deep Space Network Communication Facilities (Goldstone, CA; Canberra, Australia; and Madrid, Spain).

PART 1852—SOLICITATION PROVISIONS AND CONTRACT CLAUSES 3. The authority citation for part 1852 continues to read as follows: Authority:

51 U.S.C. 20113(a) and 48 CFR chapter 1.

4. Revise section 1852.242-72 to read as follows:

1852.242-72 Denied Access to NASA Facilities.

As prescribed in 1842.7001, insert the following clause:

Denied Access to NASA Facilities (OCT 2015)

(a)(1) The performance of this contract requires contractor employees of the prime contractor or any subcontractor, affiliate, partner, joint venture, or team member with which the contractor is associated, including consultants engaged by any of these entities, to have access to, physical entry into, and to the extent authorized, mobility within, a NASA facility.

(2) NASA may close and or deny contractor access to a NASA facility for a portion of a business day or longer due to any one of the following events:

(i) Federal public holidays for federal employees in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 6103.

(ii) Fires, floods, earthquakes, unusually severe weather to include snow storms, tornadoes and hurricanes.

(iii) Occupational safety or health hazards.

(iv) Non-appropriation of funds by Congress.

(v) Any other reason.

(3) In such events, the contractor employees may be denied access to a NASA facility, in part or in whole, to perform work required by the contract. Contractor personnel already present at a NASA facility during such events may be required to leave the facility.

(b) In all instances where contractor employees are denied access or required to vacate a NASA facility, in part or in whole, the contractor shall be responsible to ensure contractor personnel working under the contract comply. If the circumstances permit, the contracting officer will provide direction to the contractor, which could include continuing on-site performance during the NASA facility closure period. In the absence of such direction, the contractor shall exercise sound judgment to minimize unnecessary contract costs and performance impacts by, for example, performing required work off-site if possible or reassigning personnel to other activities if appropriate.

(c) The contractor shall be responsible for monitoring the local radio, television stations, NASA Web sites, other communications channels, for example contracting officer notification, that the NASA facility is accessible. Once accessible the contractor shall resume contract performance as required by the contract.

(d) For the period that NASA facilities were not accessible to contractor employees, the contracting officer may—

(1) Adjust the contract performance or delivery schedule for a period equivalent to the period the NASA facility was not accessible;

(2) Forego the work;

(3) Reschedule the work by mutual agreement of the parties; or

(4) Consider properly documented requests for equitable adjustment, claim, or any other remedy pursuant to the terms and conditions of the contract.

(e) Notification procedures of a NASA facility closure, including contractor denial of access, as follows:

(1) The contractor shall be responsible for monitoring the local radio, television stations, NASA Web sites, other communications channels, for example contracting officer notification, for announcement of a NASA facility closure to include denial of access to the NASA facility. The contractor shall be responsible for notification of its employees of the NASA facility closure to include denial of access to the NASA facility. The dismissal of NASA employees in accordance with statute and regulations providing for such dismissals shall not, in itself, equate to a NASA facility closure in which contractor employees are denied access. Moreover, the leave status of NASA employees shall not be conveyed or imputed to contractor personnel. Accordingly, unless a NASA facility is closed and the contractor is denied access to the facility, the contractor shall continue performance in accordance with the contract.

(2) NASA's Emergency Notification System (ENS). ENS is a NASA-wide Emergency Notification and Accountability System that provides NASA the ability to send messages, both Agency-related and/or Center-related, in the event of an emergency or emerging situation at a NASA facility. Notification is provided via multiple communication devices, e.g. Email, text, cellular, home/office numbers. The ENS provides the capability to respond to notifications and provide the safety status. Contractor employees may register for these notifications at the ENS Web site: http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/ops/nasaonly/ENSinformation.html.

(End of clause)
[FR Doc. 2015-21584 Filed 8-31-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7510-13-P
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Part 20 [Docket No. FWS-HQ-MB-2014-0064: FF09M21200-156-FXMB1231099BPP0] RIN 1018-BA67 Migratory Bird Hunting; Early Seasons and Bag and Possession Limits for Certain Migratory Game Birds in the Contiguous United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands AGENCY:

Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This rule prescribes the hunting seasons, hours, areas, and daily bag and possession limits of mourning, white-winged, and white-tipped doves; band-tailed pigeons; rails; moorhens and gallinules; woodcock; common snipe; sandhill cranes; sea ducks; early (September) waterfowl seasons; migratory game birds in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands; youth waterfowl day; and some extended falconry seasons. Taking of migratory birds is prohibited unless specifically provided for by annual regulations. This rule permits taking of designated species during the 2015-16 season.

DATES:

This rule is effective on September 1, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

You may inspect comments received on the migratory bird hunting regulations during normal business hours at the Service's office at 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, Virginia. You may obtain copies of referenced reports from the street address above, or from the Division of Migratory Bird Management's Web site at http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/, or at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-HQ-MB-2014-0064.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Ron W. Kokel, Division of Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, (703) 358-1714.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations Schedule for 2015

On April 13, 2015, we published in the Federal Register (80 FR 19852) a proposal to amend 50 CFR part 20. The proposal provided a background and overview of the migratory bird hunting regulations process, and addressed the establishment of seasons, limits, and other regulations for hunting migratory game birds under §§ 20.101 through 20.107, 20.109, and 20.110 of subpart K. Major steps in the 2015-16 regulatory cycle relating to open public meetings and Federal Register notifications were also identified in the April 13 proposed rule. Further, we explained that all sections of subsequent documents outlining hunting frameworks and guidelines were organized under numbered headings. Subsequent documents will refer only to numbered items requiring attention. Therefore, it is important to note that we omit those items requiring no attention, and remaining numbered items might be discontinuous or appear incomplete.

On June 11, 2015, we published in the Federal Register (80 FR 33223) a second document providing supplemental proposals for early- and late-season migratory bird hunting regulations. The June 11 supplement also provided detailed information on the 2015-16 regulatory schedule and announced the Service Regulations Committee (SRC) and Flyway Council meetings.

On June 24-25, 2015, we held open meetings with the Flyway Council Consultants at which participants reviewed information on the current status of migratory shore and upland game birds and developed 2015-16 migratory game bird regulations recommendations for these species plus regulations for migratory game birds in Alaska, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands; special September waterfowl seasons in designated States; special sea duck seasons in the Atlantic Flyway; and extended falconry seasons. In addition, we reviewed and discussed preliminary information on the status of waterfowl. We published the proposed frameworks for early-season regulations in a July 21, 2015, Federal Register (80 FR 43266) and final frameworks in an August 21, 2015, Federal Register (80 FR 51090).

On July 29-30, 2015, we held open meetings with the Flyway Council Consultants at which the participants reviewed the status of waterfowl and developed recommendations for the 2015-16 regulations for these species. Proposed hunting regulations were discussed for late seasons. We published the proposed frameworks for late-season regulations (primarily hunting seasons that start after October 1 and most waterfowl seasons) in an August 25, 2015, Federal Register (80 FR 51658).

The final rule described here is the sixth in the series of proposed, supplemental, and final rulemaking documents for migratory game bird hunting regulations and deals specifically with amending subpart K of 50 CFR part 20. It sets hunting seasons, hours, areas, and limits for mourning, white-winged, and white-tipped doves; band-tailed pigeons; rails; moorhens and gallinules; woodcock; common snipe; sandhill cranes; sea ducks; early (September) waterfowl seasons; migratory game birds in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands; youth waterfowl hunting day; and some extended falconry seasons. This final rule is the culmination of the rulemaking process for the migratory game bird early hunting seasons, which started with the April 13 proposed rule. As discussed elsewhere in this document, we supplemented that proposal on June 11 and July 21, and published final early-season frameworks in an August 21, 2015, Federal Register that provided the season selection criteria from which the States selected these seasons. This final rule sets the migratory game bird early hunting seasons based on that input from the States. We previously addressed all comments pertaining to early season issues in that August 21 Federal Register.

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

The programmatic document, “Second Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement: Issuance of Annual Regulations Permitting the Sport Hunting of Migratory Birds (EIS 20130139),” filed with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on May 24, 2013, addresses NEPA compliance by the Service for issuance of the annual framework regulations for hunting of migratory game bird species. We published a notice of availability in the Federal Register on May 31, 2013 (78 FR 32686), and our Record of Decision on July 26, 2013 (78 FR 45376). We also address NEPA compliance for waterfowl hunting frameworks through the annual preparation of separate environmental assessments, the most recent being “Duck Hunting Regulations for 2015-16,” with its corresponding August 2015 finding of no significant impact. In addition, an August 1985 environmental assessment entitled “Guidelines for Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations on Federal Indian Reservations and Ceded Lands” is available from the person indicated under the caption FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

Endangered Species Act Consideration

Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), provides that, “The Secretary shall review other programs administered by him and utilize such programs in furtherance of the purposes of this Act” (and) shall “insure that any action authorized, funded, or carried out * * * is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered species or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of [critical] habitat. * * *.” Consequently, we conducted formal consultations to ensure that actions resulting from these regulations would not likely jeopardize the continued existence of endangered or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of their critical habitat. Findings from these consultations are included in a biological opinion, which concluded that the regulations are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered or threatened species. Additionally, these findings may have caused modification of some regulatory measures previously proposed, and the final regulations reflect any such modifications. Our biological opinions resulting from this section 7 consultation are public documents available at the address indicated under ADDRESSES.

Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Orders 12866 and 13563)

Executive Order 12866 provides that the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) will review all significant rules. OIRA has reviewed this rule and has determined that this rule is significant because it would have an annual effect of $100 million or more on the economy. Executive Order 13563 reaffirms the principles of E.O. 12866 while calling for improvements in the nation's regulatory system to promote predictability, to reduce uncertainty, and to use the best, most innovative, and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory ends. The executive order directs agencies to consider regulatory approaches that reduce burdens and maintain flexibility and freedom of choice for the public where these approaches are relevant, feasible, and consistent with regulatory objectives. E.O. 13563 emphasizes further that regulations must be based on the best available science and that the rulemaking process must allow for public participation and an open exchange of ideas. We have developed this rule in a manner consistent with these requirements.

An updated economic analysis was prepared for the 2013-14 season. This analysis was based on data from the newly released 2011 National Hunting and Fishing Survey, the most recent year for which data are available (see discussion in Regulatory Flexibility Act section below). This analysis estimated consumer surplus for three alternatives for duck hunting (estimates for other species are not quantified due to lack of data). The alternatives were: (1) Issue restrictive regulations allowing fewer days than those issued during the 2012-13 season, (2) issue moderate regulations allowing more days than those in alternative 1, and (3) issue liberal regulations identical to the regulations in the 2012-13 season. For the 2013-14 season, we chose Alternative 3, with an estimated consumer surplus across all flyways of $317.8-$416.8 million. For the 2015-16 season, we have also chosen alternative 3. We also chose alternative 3 for the 2009-10, the 2010-11, the 2011-12, the 2012-13, and the 2014-15 seasons. The 2013-14 analysis is part of the record for this rule and is available at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-HQ-MB-2014-0064.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

The annual migratory bird hunting regulations have a significant economic impact on substantial numbers of small entities under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). We analyzed the economic impacts of the annual hunting regulations on small business entities in detail as part of the 1981 cost-benefit analysis. This analysis was revised annually from 1990-95. In 1995, the Service issued a Small Entity Flexibility Analysis (Analysis), which was subsequently updated in 1996, 1998, 2004, 2008, and 2013. The primary source of information about hunter expenditures for migratory game bird hunting is the National Hunting and Fishing Survey, which is conducted at 5-year intervals. The 2013 Analysis was based on the 2011 National Hunting and Fishing Survey and the U.S. Department of Commerce's County Business Patterns, from which it was estimated that migratory bird hunters would spend approximately $1.5 billion at small businesses in 2013. Copies of the Analysis are available at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-HQ-MB-2014-0064.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

This rule is a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. For the reasons outlined above, this rule will have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more. However, because this rule establishes hunting seasons, we are not deferring the effective date under the exemption contained in 5 U.S.C. 808(1).

Paperwork Reduction Act

This final rule does not contain any new information collection that requires approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). We may not conduct or sponsor and you are not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number. OMB has reviewed and approved the information collection requirements associated with migratory bird surveys and assigned the following OMB control numbers:

• 1018-0019—North American Woodcock Singing Ground Survey (expires 4/30/2015).

• 1018-0023—Migratory Bird Surveys (expires 6/30/2017). Includes Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program, Migratory Bird Hunter Surveys, Sandhill Crane Survey, and Parts Collection Survey.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

We have determined and certify, in compliance with the requirements of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act, 2 U.S.C. 1502 et seq., that this rulemaking will not impose a cost of $100 million or more in any given year on local or State government or private entities. Therefore, this rule is not a “significant regulatory action” under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.

Civil Justice Reform—Executive Order 12988

The Department, in promulgating this rule, has determined that this rule will not unduly burden the judicial system and that it meets the requirements of sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988.

Takings Implication Assessment

In accordance with Executive Order 12630, this rule, authorized by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (16 U.S.C. 703-711), does not have significant takings implications and does not affect any constitutionally protected property rights. This rule will not result in the physical occupancy of property, the physical invasion of property, or the regulatory taking of any property. In fact, this rule allows hunters to exercise otherwise unavailable privileges and, therefore, reduces restrictions on the use of private and public property.

Energy Effects—Executive Order 13211

Executive Order 13211 requires agencies to prepare Statements of Energy Effects when undertaking certain actions. While this rule is a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866, it is not expected to adversely affect energy supplies, distribution, or use. Thus, this action is not a significant energy action and no Statement of Energy Effects is required.

Government-to-Government Relationship With Tribes

In accordance with the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994, “Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal Governments” (59 FR 22951), Executive Order 13175, and 512 DM 2, we have evaluated possible effects on Federally-recognized Indian tribes and have determined that there are no effects on Indian trust resources. However, in the April 13 Federal Register, we solicited proposals for special migratory bird hunting regulations for certain Tribes on Federal Indian reservations, off-reservation trust lands, and ceded lands for the 2015-16 migratory bird hunting season. The resulting proposals were contained in a separate August 4, 2015, proposed rule (80 FR 46218). By virtue of these actions, we have consulted with Tribes.

Federalism Effects

Due to the migratory nature of certain species of birds, the Federal Government has been given responsibility over these species by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. We annually prescribe frameworks from which the States make selections regarding the hunting of migratory birds, and we employ guidelines to establish special regulations on Federal Indian reservations and ceded lands. This process preserves the ability of the States and tribes to determine which seasons meet their individual needs. Any State or Indian tribe may be more restrictive than the Federal frameworks at any time. The frameworks are developed in a cooperative process with the States and the Flyway Councils. This process allows States to participate in the development of frameworks from which they will make selections, thereby having an influence on their own regulations. These rules do not have a substantial direct effect on fiscal capacity, change the roles or responsibilities of Federal or State governments, or intrude on State policy or administration. Therefore, in accordance with Executive Order 13132, these regulations do not have significant federalism effects and do not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a federalism summary impact statement.

Review of Public Comments

The preliminary proposed rulemaking (April 13 Federal Register) opened the public comment period for 2015-16 migratory game bird hunting regulations. We previously addressed all comments pertaining to early season issues in the August 21, 2015, Federal Register.

Regulations Promulgation

The rulemaking process for migratory game bird hunting must, by its nature, operate under severe time constraints. However, we intend that the public be given the greatest possible opportunity to comment. Thus, when the preliminary proposed rulemaking was published, we established what we believed were the longest periods possible for public comment. In doing this, we recognized that, when the comment period closed, time would be of the essence. That is, if there were a delay in the effective date of these regulations after this final rulemaking, States would have insufficient time to select season dates and limits; to communicate those selections to us; and to establish and publicize the necessary regulations and procedures to implement their decisions. We find that “good cause” exists, within the terms of 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) of the Administrative Procedure Act, and therefore, under authority of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (July 3, 1918), as amended (16 U.S.C. 703-711), these regulations will take effect less than 30 days after publication. Accordingly, with each conservation agency having had an opportunity to participate in selecting the hunting seasons desired for its State or Territory on those species of migratory birds for which open seasons are now prescribed, and consideration having been given to all other relevant matters presented, certain sections of title 50, chapter I, subchapter B, part 20, subpart K, are hereby amended as set forth below.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 20

Exports, Hunting, Imports, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Transportation, Wildlife.

Dated: August 26, 2015. Karen Hyun, Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.

For the reasons set out in the preamble, title 50, chapter I, subchapter B, part 20, subpart K of the Code of Federal Regulations is amended as follows:

PART 20—[AMENDED] 1. The authority citation for part 20 continues to read as follows: Authority:

Migratory Bird Treaty Act, 40 Stat. 755, 16 U.S.C. 703-712; Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956, 16 U.S.C. 742 a-j; Public Law 106-108, 113 Stat. 1491, Note Following 16 U.S.C. 703.

Note:

The following annual hunting regulations provided for by §§ 20.101 through 20.106 and 20.109 of 50 CFR 20 will not appear in the Code of Federal Regulations because of their seasonal nature.

2. Section 20.101 is revised to read as follows:
§ 20.101 Seasons, limits, and shooting hours for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Subject to the applicable provisions of the preceding sections of this part, areas open to hunting, respective open seasons (dates inclusive), shooting and hawking hours, and daily bag and possession limits for the species designated in this section are prescribed as follows:

Shooting and hawking hours are one-half hour before sunrise until sunset.

CHECK COMMONWEALTH REGULATIONS FOR AREA DESCRIPTIONS AND ANY ADDITIONAL RESTRICTIONS.

(a) Puerto Rico.

Season dates Limits Bag Possession Doves and Pigeons: Zenaida, white-winged, and mourning doves (1) Sept. 5-Nov. 2 20 20 Scaly-naped pigeons Sept. 5-Nov. 2 5 5 Ducks Nov. 14-Dec. 21 & 6 12 Jan. 9-Jan. 25 6 12 Common Moorhens Nov. 14-Dec. 21 & 6 12 Jan. 9-Jan. 25 6 12 Common Snipe Nov. 14-Dec. 21 & 8 16 Jan. 9-Jan. 25 8 16 (1) Not more than 10 Zenaida and 3 mourning doves in the aggregate.

Restrictions: In Puerto Rico, the season is closed on the ruddy duck, white-cheeked pintail, West Indian whistling duck, fulvous whistling duck, masked duck, purple gallinule, American coot, Caribbean coot, white-crowned pigeon, and plain pigeon.

Closed Areas: Closed areas are described in the August 21, 2015, Federal Register (80 FR 51090).

(b) Virgin Islands.

Season dates Limits Bag Possession Zenaida doves Sept. 1-Sept. 30 10 10 Ducks CLOSED

Restrictions: In the Virgin Islands, the seasons are closed for ground or quail doves, pigeons, ruddy duck, white-cheeked pintail, West Indian whistling duck, fulvous whistling duck, masked duck, and purple gallinule.

Closed Areas: Ruth Cay, just south of St. Croix, is closed to the hunting of migratory game birds. All Offshore Cays under jurisdiction of the Virgin Islands Government are closed to the hunting of migratory game birds.

3. Section 20.102 is revised to read as follows:
§ 20.102 Seasons, limits, and shooting hours for Alaska.

Subject to the applicable provisions of the preceding sections of this part, areas open to hunting, respective open seasons (dates inclusive), shooting and hawking hours, and daily bag and possession limits for the species designated in this section are prescribed as follows:

Shooting and hawking hours are one-half hour before sunrise until sunset. Area descriptions were published in the August 21, 2015, Federal Register (80 FR 51090).

CHECK STATE REGULATIONS FOR AREA DESCRIPTIONS AND ANY ADDITIONAL RESTRICTIONS.

Area seasons Dates North Zone Sept. 1-Dec. 16. Gulf Coast Zone Sept. 1-Dec. 16. Southeast Zone Sept. 16-Dec. 31. Pribilof & Aleutian Islands Zone Oct. 8-Jan. 22. Kodiak Zone Oct. 8-Jan. 22. Area Daily bag and possession limits Ducks
  • (1)
  • Canada
  • Geese
  • (2)(3)
  • White
  • Fronted
  • Geese
  • (4)(5)
  • Light
  • Geese
  • (6)
  • Brant Emperor
  • Geese
  • Snipe Sandhill
  • Cranes
  • (7)
  • North Zone 10-30 4-12 4-12 4-12 2-6 Closed 8-24 3-9 Gulf Coast Zone 8-24 4-12 4-12 4-12 2-6 Closed 8-24 2-6 Southeast Zone 7-21 4-12 4-12 4-12 2-6 Closed 8-24 2-6 Pribilof and Aleutian Islands Zone 7-21 4-12 4-12 4-12 2-6 Closed 8-24 2-6 Kodiak Zone 7-21 4-12 4-12 4-12 2-6 Closed 8-24 2-6 (1) The basic duck bag limits may include no more than 1 canvasback daily, and may not include sea ducks. In addition to the basic duck limits, sea duck limits of 10 daily, singly or in the aggregate, including no more than 6 each of either harlequin or long-tailed ducks, are allowed. Sea ducks include scoters, common and king eiders, harlequin ducks, long-tailed ducks, and common and red-breasted mergansers. The season for Steller's and spectacled eiders is closed. (2) In Units 5 and 6, the taking of Canada geese is only permitted from September 28 through December 16. In the Middleton Island portion of Unit 6, the taking of Canada geese is by special permit only. The maximum number of Canada goose permits is 10 for the season. A mandatory goose identification class is required. Hunters must check in and out. The daily bag and possession limit is 1. The season will close if incidental harvest includes 5 dusky Canada geese. A dusky Canada goose is any dark-breasted Canada goose (Munsell 10 YR color value five or less) with a bill length between 40 and 50 millimeters. (3) In Units 9, 10, 17, and 18, for Canada geese, the daily bag limit is 6 and the possession limit is 18. (4) In Units 9, 10, and 17, for white-fronted geese, the daily bag limit is 6 and the possession limit is 18. (5) In Unit 18, for white-fronted geese, the daily bag limit is 10 and the possession limit is 30. (6) Light geese include snow geese and Ross' geese. (7) In Unit 17 of the North Zone, for sandhill cranes, the daily bag limit is 2 and the possession limit is 6.

    Falconry: The total combined bag and possession limit for migratory game birds taken with the use of a falcon under a falconry permit is 3 per day, 9 in possession, and may not exceed a more restrictive limit for any species listed in this subsection.

    Special Tundra Swan Season: In Units 17, 18, 22, and 23, there will be a tundra swan season from September 1 through October 31 with a season limit of 3 tundra swans per hunter. This season is by State registration permit only; hunters will be issued 1 permit allowing the take of up to 3 tundra swans. Hunters will be required to file a harvest report with the State after the season is completed. Up to 500 permits may be issued in Unit 18; 300 permits each in Units 22 and 23; and 200 permits in Unit 17.

    4. Section 20.103 is revised to read as follows:
    § 20.103 Seasons, limits, and shooting hours for doves and pigeons.

    Subject to the applicable provisions of the preceding sections of this part, areas open to hunting, respective open seasons (dates inclusive), shooting and hawking hours, and daily bag and possession limits for the species designated in this section are prescribed as follows:

    Shooting and hawking hours are one-half hour before sunrise until sunset except as otherwise noted. Area descriptions were published in the August 21, 2015, Federal Register (80 FR 51090).

    CHECK STATE REGULATIONS FOR AREA DESCRIPTIONS AND ANY ADDITIONAL RESTRICTIONS.

    (a) Doves.

    Note: Unless otherwise noted, the seasons listed below are for mourning and white-winged doves. Daily bag and possession limits are in the aggregate for the two species.

    Season dates Limits Bag Poss. EASTERN MANAGEMENT UNIT Alabama North Zone 12 noon to sunset Sept. 12 only 15 15 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset Sept. 13-Nov. 15 & Dec. 5-Dec. 29 15
  • 15
  • 45
  • 45
  • South Zone 12 noon to sunset
  • 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset
  • Sept. 19 only
  • Sept. 20-Sept. 27 & Oct. 10-Oct. 27 & Nov. 12-Jan. 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 45
  • 45
  • 45
  • Delaware Sept. 1-Sept. 26 & Oct. 20-Oct. 31 & Nov. 23-Jan. 13 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 45
  • 45
  • 45
  • Florida 12 noon to sunset
  • 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset
  • Sept. 26-Oct. 26
  • Nov. 14-Dec. 7 & Dec. 12-Jan. 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 45
  • 45
  • 45
  • Georgia 12 noon to sunset
  • 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset
  • Sept. 5 only
  • Sept. 6-Sept. 20 & Oct. 10-Nov. 1 & Nov. 26-Jan. 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 45
  • 45
  • 45
  • Illinois (1) Sept. 1-Nov. 14 & Dec. 26-Jan. 9 15
  • 15
  • 45
  • 45
  • Indiana Sept. 1-Oct. 18 & Nov. 1-Nov. 8 & Dec. 12-Jan. 10 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 45
  • 45
  • 45
  • Kentucky 11 a.m. to sunset
  • 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset
  • Sept. 1 only
  • Sept. 2-Oct. 26 & Nov. 26-Dec. 6 & Dec. 19-Jan. 10
  • 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 45
  • 45
  • 45
  • Louisiana North Zone 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset Sept. 5-Sept. 27 & Oct. 10-Nov. 8 & Dec. 10-Jan. 15 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 45
  • 45
  • 45
  • South Zone 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset Sept. 5-Sept. 13 & Oct. 10-Dec. 1 & Dec. 19-Jan. 15 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 45
  • 45
  • 45
  • Maryland 12 noon to sunset
  • 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset
  • Sept. 1-Oct. 10
  • Oct. 31-Nov. 27 & Dec. 25-Jan. 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 45
  • 45
  • 45
  • Mississippi North Zone Sept. 4-Oct. 7 & Oct. 10-Oct. 31 & Dec. 13-Jan. 15 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 45
  • 45
  • 45
  • South Zone Sept. 4-Sept. 13 & Oct. 10-Nov. 15 & Dec. 4-Jan. 15 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 45
  • 45
  • 45
  • North Carolina Sept. 5-Oct. 10 & Nov. 23-Jan. 15 15
  • 15
  • 45
  • 45
  • Ohio Sept. 1-Nov. 8 & Dec. 12-Jan. 1 15
  • 15
  • 45
  • 45
  • Pennsylvania 12 noon to sunset
  • 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset
  • Sept. 1-Sept. 25
  • Sept. 26-Oct. 10 & Oct. 17-Nov. 28 & Dec. 26-Jan. 1
  • 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 45
  • 45
  • 45
  • 45
  • Rhode Island 12 noon to sunset
  • 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset
  • Sept. 12-Oct. 11
  • Oct. 17-Nov. 29 & Dec. 12-Dec. 27
  • 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 45
  • 45
  • 45
  • South Carolina 12 noon to sunset
  • 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset
  • Sept. 5-Sept. 7
  • Sept. 8-Oct. 17 & Nov. 14-Nov. 28 & Dec. 15-Jan. 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 45
  • 45
  • 45
  • 45
  • Tennessee 12 noon to sunset
  • 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset
  • Sept. 1 only
  • Sept. 2-Sept. 28 & Oct. 10-Nov. 1 & Nov. 28-Jan. 5
  • 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 45
  • 45
  • 45
  • Virginia 12 noon to sunset
  • 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset
  • Sept. 5-Sept. 11
  • Sept. 12-Nov. 1 & Nov. 21-Nov. 29 & Dec. 24-Jan. 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 45
  • 45
  • 45
  • 45
  • West Virginia 12 noon to sunset
  • 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset
  • Sept. 1 only
  • Sept. 2-Oct. 17 & Nov. 2-Nov. 21 & Dec. 21-Jan. 12
  • 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 45
  • 45
  • 45
  • Wisconsin Sept. 1-Nov. 29 15 45 CENTRAL MANAGEMENT UNIT Arkansas Sept. 5-Oct. 24 & Dec. 19-Jan. 7 15
  • 15
  • 45
  • 45
  • Colorado Sept. 1-Nov. 9 15 45 Iowa Sept. 1-Nov. 9 15 45 Kansas Sept. 1-Oct. 31 & Nov. 7-Nov. 15 15
  • 15
  • 45
  • 45
  • Minnesota Sept. 1-Nov. 9 15 45 Missouri Sept. 1-Nov 9 15 45 Montana Sept. 1-Oct. 30 15 45 Nebraska Sept. 1-Oct. 30 15 45 New Mexico North Zone Sept. 1-Nov. 9 15 45 South Zone Sept. 1-Oct. 13 & Dec. 5-Dec. 31 15
  • 15
  • 45
  • 45
  • North Dakota Sept. 1-Nov. 9 15 45 Oklahoma Sept. 1-Oct. 31 & Dec. 19-Dec. 27 15
  • 15
  • 45
  • 45
  • South Dakota Sept. 1-Nov. 9 15 45 Texas (2) North Zone Sept. 1-Oct. 25 & Dec. 18-Jan. 1 15
  • 15
  • 45
  • 45
  • Central Zone Sept. 1-Oct. 25 & Dec. 18-Jan. 1 15
  • 15
  • 45
  • 45
  • South Zone Special Area Sept. 18-Oct. 21 & Dec. 18-Jan. 18 15
  • 15
  • 45
  • 45
  • (Special Season)
  • 12 noon to sunset
  • Sept. 5-Sept. 6 & Sept. 12-Sept. 13 15
  • 15
  • 45
  • 45
  • Remainder of the South Zone Sept. 18-Oct. 21 & Dec. 18-Jan. 22 15
  • 15
  • 45
  • 45
  • Wyoming Sept. 1-Nov. 9 15 45 WESTERN MANAGEMENT UNIT Arizona (3) Sept. 1-Sept. 15 & Nov. 26-Jan. 9 15
  • 15
  • 45
  • 45
  • California (4) Sept. 1-Sept. 15 & Nov. 14-Dec. 28 15
  • 15
  • 45
  • 45
  • Idaho Sept. 1-Oct. 30 15 45 Nevada Sept. 1-Oct. 30 15 45 Oregon Sept. 1-Oct. 30 15 45 Utah Sept. 1-Oct. 30 15 45 Washington Sept. 1-Sept. 30 10 30 OTHER POPULATIONS Hawaii (5) Nov. 7-Nov. 29 & Dec. 5-Dec. 27 & Jan. 1-Jan. 18 10
  • 10
  • 10
  • 30
  • 30
  • 30
  • (1) In Illinois, shooting hours are sunrise to sunset. (2) In Texas, the daily bag limit is either 15 mourning, white-winged, and white-tipped doves in the aggregate, of which no more than 2 may be white-tipped doves with a maximum 70-day season. Possession limits are three times the daily bag limit. During the special season in the Special White-winged Dove Area of the South Zone, the daily bag limit is 15 mourning, white-winged, and white-tipped doves in the aggregate, of which no more than 2 may be mourning doves and 2 may be white-tipped doves. Possession limits are three times the daily bag limit. (3) In Arizona, during September 1 through 15, the daily bag limit is 15 mourning and white-winged doves in the aggregate, of which no more than 10 may be white-wing doves. During November 26 through January 9, the daily bag limit is 15 mourning doves. (4) In California, the daily bag limit is 15 mourning and white-winged doves in the aggregate, of which no more than 10 may be white-wing doves. (5) In Hawaii, the season is only open on the island of Hawaii. The daily bag limits are 10 mourning doves, spotted doves and chestnut-bellied sandgrouse in the aggregate. Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise through one-half hour after sunset. Hunting is permitted only on weekends and State holidays.

    (b) Band-tailed Pigeons.

    Season Dates Limits Bag Possession Arizona Sept. 4-Sept. 17 2 6 California: North Zone Sept. 19-Sept. 27 2 6 South Zone Dec. 19-Dec. 27 2 6 Colorado Sept. 1-Sept. 14 2 6 New Mexico: North Zone Sept. 1-Sept. 14 2 6 South Zone Oct. 1-Oct. 14 2 6 Oregon Sept. 15-Sept. 23 2 6 Utah (1) Sept. 1-Sept. 14 2 6 Washington Sept. 15-Sept. 23 2 6 (1) In Utah, each band-tailed pigeon hunter must have a band-tailed pigeon hunting permit issued by the State.
    5. Section 20.104 is revised to read as follows:
    § 20.104 Seasons, limits, and shooting hours for rails, woodcock, and snipe.

    Subject to the applicable provisions of the preceding sections of this part, areas open to hunting, respective open seasons (dates inclusive), shooting and hawking hours, and daily bag and possession limits for the species designated in this section are prescribed as follows:

    Shooting and hawking hours are one-half hour before sunrise until sunset except as otherwise noted. Area descriptions were published in the August 21, 2015, Federal Register (80 FR 51090).

    CHECK STATE REGULATIONS FOR AREA DESCRIPTIONS AND ANY ADDITIONAL RESTRICTIONS.

    Note: States with deferred seasons will select those seasons at the same time they select waterfowl seasons in August. Consult late-season regulations for further information.

    Sora and Virginia rails Clapper and King rails Woodcock Snipe Daily bag limit 25 (1) 15 (2) 3 8 Possession limit 75 (1) 45 (2) 9 24 ATLANTIC FLYWAY Connecticut (3) Sept. 1-Nov. 7 Sept. 1-Nov. 7 Oct. 23-Nov. 21 &
  • Nov. 23-Dec. 7
  • Oct. 23-Nov. 21 &
  • Nov. 23-Dec. 7
  • Delaware Sept. 1-Nov. 9 Sept. 1-Nov. 9 Nov. 23-Dec. 5 &
  • Dec. 12-Jan. 12
  • Sept. 22-Dec. 5 &
  • Dec. 12-Jan. 12
  • Florida Sept. 1-Nov. 9 Sept. 1-Nov. 9 Dec. 18-Jan. 31 Nov. 1-Feb. 15 Georgia Sept. 25-Nov. 15 & Sept. 25-Nov. 15 & Dec. 5-Jan. 18 Nov. 15-Feb. 28 Nov. 21-Dec. 8 Nov. 21-Dec. 8 Maine (4) Sept. 1-Nov. 9 Closed Oct. 1-Nov. 14 Sept. 1-Dec. 16 Maryland (5) Sept. 1-Nov. 9 Sept. 1-Nov. 9 Oct. 30-Nov. 27 &
  • Jan. 15-Jan. 30
  • Sept. 30-Nov. 27 &
  • Dec. 14-Jan. 30
  • Massachusetts (6) Sept. 1-Nov. 7 Closed Deferred Sept. 1-Dec. 16 New Hampshire Closed Closed Oct. 1-Nov. 14 Sept. 15-Nov. 14 New Jersey (7): North Zone Sept. 1-Nov. 7 Sept. 1-Nov. 7 Oct. 17-Nov. 21 Sept. 18-Jan. 2 South Zone Sept. 1-Nov. 7 Sept. 1-Nov. 7 Nov. 7-Nov. 28 &
  • Dec. 19-Jan. 1
  • Sept. 18-Jan. 2
    New York (8) Sept. 1-Nov. 9 Closed Oct. 1-Nov. 14 Sept. 1-Nov. 9 North Carolina Sept. 1-Oct. 3 & Sept. 1-Oct. 3 & Dec. 17-Jan. 30 Nov. 13-Feb. 27 Oct. 23-Nov. 28 Oct. 23-Nov. 28 Pennsylvania (9) Sept. 1-Nov. 9 Closed Oct. 17-Nov. 28 Oct. 17-Nov. 28 Rhode Island (10) Sept. 1-Nov. 9 Sept. 1-Nov. 9 Oct. 17-Nov. 30 Sept. 1-Nov. 9 South Carolina Sept. 26-Oct. 1 & Sept. 26-Oct. 1 & Dec. 18-Jan. 31 Nov. 14-Feb. 28 Oct. 25-Dec. 27 Oct. 25-Dec. 27 Vermont Closed Closed Oct. 1-Nov. 14 Oct. 1-Nov. 14 Virginia Sept. 8-Nov. 16 Sept. 8-Nov. 16 Nov. 23-Dec. 5 &
  • Dec. 15-Jan. 15
  • Oct. 9-Oct. 12 &
  • Oct. 21-Jan. 31
  • West Virginia (11) Sept. 1-Nov. 9 Closed Oct. 17-Nov. 30 Sept. 1-Dec. 16 MISSISSIPPI FLYWAY Alabama (12) Sept. 5-Sept. 20 & Sept. 5-Sept. 20 & Dec. 18-Jan. 31 Nov. 14-Feb. 28 Nov. 28-Jan. 20 Nov. 28-Jan. 20. Arkansas Sept. 12-Nov. 20 Closed Nov. 7-Dec. 21 Nov. 1-Feb. 15 Illinois (13) Sept. 5-Nov. 13 Closed Oct. 17-Nov. 30 Sept. 5-Dec. 20 Indiana (14) Sept. 1-Nov. 9 Closed Oct. 15-Nov. 28 Sept. 1-Dec. 16 Iowa (15) Sept. 5-Nov. 13 Closed Oct. 3-Nov. 16 Sept. 5-Nov. 30 Kentucky Sept. 1-Nov. 9 Closed Nov. 1-Dec. 15 Sept. 16-Oct. 25 &
  • Nov. 26-Jan. 31
  • Louisiana (16) Sept. 12-Sept. 27 Sept. 12-Sept. 27 Dec. 18-Jan. 31 Deferred Michigan Sept. 1-Nov. 9 Closed Sept. 19-Nov. 2 Sept. 1-Nov. 9 Minnesota Sept. 1-Nov. 2 Closed Sept. 19-Nov. 2 Sept. 1-Nov. 2 Mississippi Sept. 12-Nov. 20 Sept. 12-Nov. 20 Dec. 18-Jan. 31 Nov. 14-Feb. 28 Missouri Sept. 1-Nov. 9 Closed Oct. 15-Nov. 28 Sept. 1-Dec. 16 Ohio Sept. 1-Nov. 9 Closed Oct. 10-Nov. 23 Sept. 1-Nov. 29 &
  • Dec. 19-Jan. 4
  • Tennessee Deferred Closed Oct. 31-Dec. 14 Nov. 15-Feb. 29 Wisconsin Deferred Closed Sept. 19-Nov. 2 Deferred CENTRAL FLYWAY Colorado Sept. 1-Nov. 9 Closed Closed Sept. 1-Dec. 16 Kansas Sept. 1-Nov. 9 Closed Oct. 17-Nov. 30 Sept. 1-Dec. 16 Montana Closed Closed Closed Sept. 1-Dec. 16 Nebraska (17) Sept. 1-Nov. 9 Closed Sept. 19-Nov. 2 Sept. 1-Dec. 16 New Mexico (18) Sept. 12-Nov. 20 Closed Closed Oct. 24-Feb. 7 North Dakota Closed Closed Sept. 26-Nov. 9 Sept. 19-Dec. 6 Oklahoma Sept. 1-Nov. 9 Closed Nov. 1-Dec. 15 Oct. 1-Jan. 15 South Dakota (19) Closed Closed Closed Sept. 1-Oct. 31 Texas Sept. 12-Sept. 27 & Sept. 12-Sept. 27 & Dec. 18-Jan. 31 Oct. 31-Feb. 14 Oct. 31-Dec. 23 Oct. 31-Dec. 23 Wyoming Sept. 1-Nov. 9 Closed Closed Sept. 1-Dec. 16 PACIFIC FLYWAY Arizona Closed Closed Closed Deferred California Closed Closed Closed Oct. 24-Feb. 7 Colorado Sept. 1-Nov. 9 Closed Closed Sept. 1-Dec. 16 Idaho Closed Closed Closed Deferred Montana Closed Closed Closed Sept. 1-Dec. 16 Nevada Closed Closed Closed Deferred New Mexico Sept. 12-Nov. 20 Closed Closed Oct. 24-Feb. 7 Oregon: Zone 1 Closed Closed Closed Nov. 7-Feb. 21 Zone 2 Closed Closed Closed Oct. 10-Dec. 6 &
  • Dec. 9-Jan. 24
  • Utah Closed Closed Closed Deferred Washington Closed Closed Closed Deferred Wyoming Sept. 1-Nov. 9 Closed Closed Sept. 1-Dec. 16 (1) The daily bag and possession limits for sora and Virginia rails apply singly or in the aggregate of the two species. (2) All daily bag and possession limits for clapper and king rails apply singly or in the aggregate of the two species and, unless otherwise specified, the limits are in addition to the limits on sora and Virginia rails in all States. In Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, and New Jersey, the limits for clapper and king rails are 10 daily and 30 in possession. (3) In Connecticut, the daily bag and possession limits may not contain more than 1 king rail. (4) In Maine, the daily bag and possession limit for sora and Virginia rails is 25. (5) In Maryland, no more than 1 king rail may be taken per day. (6) In Massachusetts, the sora rail limits are 5 daily and 15 in possession; the Virginia rail limits are 10 daily and 30 in possession. (7) In New Jersey, the season for king rail is closed by State regulation. (8) In New York, the rail daily bag and possession limits are 8 and 24, respectively. Seasons for sora and Virginia rails and snipe are closed on Long Island. (9) In Pennsylvania, the daily bag and possession limits for sora and Virginia rails, singly or in the aggregate, are 3 and 9, respectively. (10) In Rhode Island, the sora and Virginia rails limits are 3 daily and 9 in possession, singly or in the aggregate; the clapper and king rail limits are 1 daily and 3 in possession, singly or in the aggregate; the snipe limits are 5 daily and 15 in possession. (11) In West Virginia, the daily bag and possession limit for sora and Virginia rails is 25; the possession limit for snipe is 16. (12) In Alabama, the daily bag and possession limit for all rails, singly or in the aggregate, is 15. (13) In Illinois, shooting hours are from sunrise to sunset. (14) In Indiana, the season on Virginia rails is closed. (15) In Iowa, the limits for sora and Virginia rails are 12 daily and 24 in possession. (16) Additional days occurring after September 30 will be published with the late season selections. (17) In Nebraska, the rail limits are 10 daily and 30 in possession. (18) In New Mexico, in the Central Flyway portion of the State, the rail limits are 10 daily and 20 in possession. (19) In South Dakota, the snipe limits are 5 daily and 15 in possession.
    6. Section 20.105 is revised to read as follows:
    § 20.105 Seasons, limits, and shooting hours for waterfowl, coots, and gallinules.

    Subject to the applicable provisions of the preceding sections of this part, areas open to hunting, respective open seasons (dates inclusive), shooting and hawking hours, and daily bag and possession limits for the species designated in this section are prescribed as follows:

    Shooting and hawking hours are one-half hour before sunrise until sunset, except as otherwise noted. Area descriptions were published in the August 21, 2015, Federal Register (80 FR 51090).

    CHECK STATE REGULATIONS FOR AREA DESCRIPTIONS AND ANY ADDITIONAL RESTRICTIONS.

    Note: States with deferred seasons may select those seasons at the same time they select waterfowl seasons in August. Consult late-seasons regulations for further information.

    (a) Common Moorhens and Purple Gallinules.

    Season dates Limits Bag Possession ATLANTIC FLYWAY Delaware Sept. 1-Nov. 9 15 45 Florida (1) Sept. 1-Nov.9 15 45 Georgia Deferred New Jersey Sept. 1-Nov. 7 10 30 New York: Long Island Closed Remainder of State Sept. 1-Nov. 9 8 24 North Carolina Sept. 1-Oct. 3 & 15 45 Oct. 23-Nov. 28 15 45 Pennsylvania Sept. 1-Nov. 9 3 9 South Carolina Sept. 26-Oct. 1 & 15 45 Oct. 25-Dec. 27 15 45 Virginia Sept. 8-Nov. 16 15 45 West Virginia Deferred MISSISSIPPI FLYWAY Alabama Sept. 5-Sept. 20 & 15 45 Nov. 28-Jan. 20 15 45 Arkansas Sept. 1-Nov. 9 15 45 Kentucky Sept. 1-Nov. 9 3 9 Louisiana (2) Sept. 12-Sept. 27 15 45 Michigan Sept. 1-Nov. 9 1 3 Minnesota Deferred Mississippi Sept. 12-Nov. 20 15 45 Ohio Sept. 1-Nov. 9 15 45 Tennessee Deferred Wisconsin Deferred CENTRAL FLYWAY New Mexico: Zone 1 Sept. 26-Dec. 4 1 3 Zone 2 Sept. 26-Dec. 4 1 3 Oklahoma Sept. 1-Nov. 9 15 45 Texas Sept. 12-Sept. 27 & 15 45 Oct. 31-Dec. 23 15 45 PACIFIC FLYWAY All States Deferred (1) The season applies to common moorhens only. (2) Additional days occurring after September 30 will be published with the late season selections.

    (b) Sea Ducks (scoter, eider, and long-tailed ducks in Atlantic Flyway).

    Within the special sea duck areas, the daily bag limit is 7 scoter, eider, and long-tailed ducks, singly or in the aggregate, of which no more than 4 may be scoters. Possession limits are three times the daily bag limit. These limits may be in addition to regular duck bag limits only during the regular duck season in the special sea duck hunting areas.

    Season dates Limits Bag Possession Connecticut (1) Sept. 22-Jan. 20 5 15 Delaware Sept. 29-Jan. 30 7 21 Georgia Deferred Maine (2) Oct. 1-Jan. 30 7 21 Maryland Deferred Massachusetts Deferred New Hampshire (3) Oct. 1-Jan. 15 7 21 New Jersey Sept. 29-Jan. 30 7 21 New York Deferred North Carolina Deferred Rhode Island Oct. 10-Jan. 24 5 15 South Carolina Deferred Virginia Deferred Note: Notwithstanding the provisions of this Part 20, the shooting of crippled waterfowl from a motorboat under power will be permitted in Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Virginia in those areas described, delineated, and designated in their respective hunting regulations as special sea duck hunting areas. (1) In Connecticut, the daily bag limit may include no more than 4 long-tailed ducks. (2) In Maine, the daily bag limit for eiders is 4, and the possession limit is 12. (3) In New Hampshire, the daily bag limit may include no more than 4 eiders or 4 long-tailed ducks.

    (c) Early (September) Duck Seasons.

    Note: Unless otherwise specified, the seasons listed below are for teal only.

    Season dates Limits Bag Possession ATLANTIC FLYWAY Delaware (1) Sept. 11-Sept. 29 6 18 Florida (2) Sept. 19-Sept. 27 6 18 Georgia Sept. 12-Sept. 27 6 18 Maryland (1) Sept. 16-Sept. 30 6 18 North Carolina (1) Sept. 12-Sept. 30 6 18 South Carolina (3) Sept. 11-Sept. 26 6 18 Virginia (1) Sept. 17-Sept. 30 6 18 MISSISSIPPI FLYWAY Alabama Sept. 12-Sept. 27 6 18 Arkansas (3) Sept. 12-Sept. 27 6 18 Illinois (3) Sept. 5-Sept. 20 6 18 Indiana (3) Sept. 5-Sept. 20 6 18 Iowa (3) Sept. 5-Sept. 20 6 18 Kentucky (2) Sept. 19-Sept. 27 6 18 Louisiana Sept. 12-Sept. 27 6 18 Michigan Sept. 1-Sept. 7 6 18 Mississippi Sept. 12-Sept. 27 6 18 Missouri (3) Sept. 12-Sept. 27 6 18 Ohio (3) Sept. 5-Sept. 20 6 18 Tennessee (2) Sept. 12-Sept. 20 6 18 Wisconsin Sept.1-Sept. 7 6 18 CENTRAL FLYWAY Colorado (1) Sept. 12-Sept. 20 6 18 Kansas: Low Plains Sept. 12-Sept. 27 6 18 High Plains Sept. 19-Sept. 27 6 18 Nebraska: (1) Low Plains Sept. 5-Sept. 20 6 18 High Plains Sept. 12-Sept. 20 6 18 New Mexico Sept. 12-Sept. 19 6 18 Oklahoma Sept. 12-Sept. 27 6 18 Texas: High Plains Sept. 12-Sept. 27 6 18 Rest of State Sept. 12-Sept. 27 6 18 (1) Area restrictions. See State regulations. (2) In Florida, Kentucky, and Tennessee, the daily bag limit for the first 5 days of the season is 6 wood ducks and teal in the aggregate, of which no more than 2 may be wood ducks. During the last 4 days of the season, the daily bag limit is 6 teal only. The possession limit is twice the daily bag limit. (3) Shooting hours are from sunrise to sunset.

    (d) Special Early Canada Goose Seasons.

    Season dates Limits Bag Possession ATLANTIC FLYWAY Connecticut (1): North Zone Sept. 1-Sept. 4 & 15 45 Sept. 8-Sept. 30 15 45 South Zone Sept. 15-Sept. 30 15 45 Delaware Sept. 1-Sept. 25 15 45 Florida Sept. 5-Sept. 27 5 15 Georgia Sept. 5-Sept. 27 5 15 Maine: Northern Zone Sept. 1-Sept. 25 6 18 Southern Zone Sept. 1-Sept. 25 10 30 Coastal Zone Sept. 1-Sept. 25 10 30 Maryland (1) (2): Eastern Unit Sept. 1-Sept. 15 8 24 Western Unit Sept. 1-Sept. 25 8 24 Massachusetts: Central Zone Sept. 8-Sept. 25 7 21 Coastal Zone Sept. 8-Sept. 25 7 21 Western Zone Sept. 8-Sept. 25 7 21 New Hampshire: Sept. 1-Sept. 25 5 15 New Jersey (1) (2) (3): Sept. 1-Sept. 30 15 45 New York (4): Lake Champlain Zone Sept. 1-Sept. 25 8 24 Northeastern Zone Sept. 1-Sept. 25 15 45 East Central Zone Sept. 1-Sept. 25 15 45 Hudson Valley Zone Sept. 1-Sept. 25 15 45 West Central Zone Sept. 1-Sept. 25 15 45 South Zone Sept. 1-Sept. 25 15 45 Western Long Island Zone Closed Central Long Island Zone Sept. 8-Sept. 30 15 45 Eastern Long Island Zone Sept. 8-Sept. 30 15 45 North Carolina (5) (6): Sept. 1-Sept. 30 15 45 Pennsylvania (7): SJBP Zone (8) Sept. 1-Sept. 25 3 9 Rest of State (9) Sept. 1-Sept. 25 8 24 Rhode Island (1): Sept. 1-Sept. 30 15 45 South Carolina: Early-Season Hunt Unit Sept. 1-Sept. 30 15 45 Vermont: Lake Champlain Zone Sept. 1-Sept. 25 8 24 Interior Vermont Zone Sept. 1-Sept. 25 8 24 Connecticut River Zone (10) Sept. 1-Sept. 25 5 15 Virginia (11) Sept. 1-Sept. 25 10 30 West Virginia Sept. 1-Sept. 12 5 15 MISSISSIPPI FLYWAY Alabama Sept. 1-Sept. 15 5 15 Arkansas: Northwest Zone Sept. 1-Sept. 15 5 15 Rest of State Sept. 1-Sept. 15 5 15 Illinois: North Zone Sept. 1-Sept. 15 5 15 Central Zone Sept. 1-Sept. 15 5 15 South Central Zone Sept. 1-Sept. 15 2 6 South Zone Sept. 1-Sept. 15 2 6 Indiana Sept. 1-Sept. 15 5 15 Iowa: South Goose Zone: Des Moines Goose Zone Sept. 5-Sept. 13 5 15 Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Goose Zone Sept. 5-Sept. 13 5 15 Remainder of South Zone Closed North Goose Zone: Cedar Falls/Waterloo Zone Sept. 5-Sept. 13 5 15 Remainder of North Zone Closed. Kentucky (12) Sept. 1-Sept. 15 5 15 Michigan: North Zone Sept. 1-Sept. 10 5 15 Middle Zone Sept. 1-Sept. 15 5 15 South Zone: Huron, Saginaw, and Tuscola Counties Sept. 1-Sept. 10 5 15 Rest of South Zone Sept. 1-Sept. 15 5 15 Minnesota: Northwest Zone Sept. 5-Sept. 22 5 15 Intensive Harvest Zone Sept. 5-Sept. 22 10 30 Remainder of State Sept. 5-Sept. 22 5 15 Mississippi Sept. 1-Sept. 15 5 15 Ohio Sept. 1-Sept. 15 5 15 Tennessee Sept. 1-Sept. 15 5 15 Wisconsin Sept. 1-Sept. 15 5 15 CENTRAL FLYWAY North Dakota: Missouri River Zone Sept. 1-Sept. 7 15 45 Remainder of State Sept. 1-Sept. 15 15 45 Oklahoma Sept. 12-Sept. 21 8 24 South Dakota (12) Sept. 1-Sept. 30 15 45 Texas: East Zone Sept. 12-Sept. 27 5 15 PACIFIC FLYWAY Colorado Sept. 1-Sept. 9 4 12 Idaho: Zone 4 Sept. 1-Sept. 15 5 15 Oregon: Northwest Permit Zone Sept. 12-Sept. 20 5 15 Southwest Zone Sept. 12-Sept. 15 5 15 Eastern Zone Sept. 12-Sept. 15 5 15 Klamath County Zone Sept. 12-Sept. 15 5 15 Harney and Lake County Zone Sept. 12-Sept. 15 5 15 Malheur County Zone Sept. 12-Sept. 15 5 15 Washington: Management Area 2B Sept. 1-Sept. 15 15 45 Management Areas 1 & 3 Sept. 10-Sept. 15 5 15 Management Area 4 & 5 Sept. 13-Sept. 14 3 9 Management Area 2A Sept. 10-Sept. 15 3 9 Wyoming: Teton County Zone Sept. 1-Sept. 8 3 9 Balance of State Zone Sept. 1-Sept. 8 2 6 (1) Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. (2) The use of shotguns capable of holding more than 3 shotshells is allowed. (3) The use of electronic calls is allowed. (4) In New York, in all areas except the Northeastern and Southeastern Goose Hunting Area, shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset, the use of shotguns capable of holding more than 3 shotshells is allowed, and the use of electronic calls is allowed. In the Northeastern and Southeastern Goose Hunting Areas, shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset, shotguns capable of holding more than 3 shotshells are allowed, and electronic calls are allowed only from September 1 to September 18 and September 21 to September 25. On September 19 and September 20, shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset, shotguns must be capable of holding no more than 3 shotshells, and electronic calls are not allowed. (5) In North Carolina, the use of unplugged guns and electronic calls is allowed in that area west of U.S. Highway 17 only. (6) In North Carolina, shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset in that area west of U.S. Highway 17 only. (7) In Pennsylvania, shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset from September 1 to September 18, September 20 to September 25. On September 19, shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. (8) In Pennsylvania, in the area south of SR 198 from the Ohio State line to intersection of SR 18, SR 18 south to SR 618, SR 618 south to U.S. Route 6, U.S. Route 6 east to U.S. Route 322/SR 18, U.S. Route 322/SR 18 west to intersection of SR 3013, SR 3013 south to the Crawford/Mercer County line, not including the Pymatuning State Park Reservoir and an area to extend 100 yards inland from the shoreline of the reservoir, excluding the area east of SR 3011 (Hartstown Road), the daily bag limit is one goose with a possession limit of 3 geese. The season is closed on State Game Lands 214. However, during the youth waterfowl hunting day on September 19, regular season regulations apply. (9) In Pennsylvania, in the area of Lancaster and Lebanon Counties north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, east of SR 501 to SR 419, south of SR 419 to the Lebanon-Berks County line, west of the Lebanon-Berks County line and the Lancaster-Berks County line to SR 1053, west of SR 1053 to the Pennsylvania Turnpike I-76, the daily bag limit is 1 goose with a possession limit of 3 geese. On State Game Lands No. 46 (Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area), the season is closed. However, during the youth waterfowl hunting day on September 19, regular season regulations apply. (10) In Vermont, the season in the Connecticut River Zone is the same as the New Hampshire Inland Zone season, set by New Hampshire. (11) In Virginia, shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset from September 1 to September 16, and one-half hour before sunrise to sunset from September 17 to September 25 in the area east of I-95 where the September teal season is open. Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset from September 1 to September 20, and one-half hour before sunrise to sunset from September 21 to September 25 in the area west of I-95. (12) See State regulations for additional information and restrictions.

    (e) Regular Goose Seasons.

    Note: Bag and possession limits will conform to those set for the regular season. Additional season dates occurring after September 30 will be published with the late season selections.

    Season dates Limits Bag Possession MISSISSIPPI FLYWAY Michigan: Canada Geese: North Zone Sept. 11-Dec. 11 2 6 Middle Zone Sept. 19-Dec. 19 2 6 South Zone: Muskegon GMU Deferred Allegan Co. GMU Deferred Saginaw Co. GMU Sept. 19-Sept. 27 2 6 Tuscola/Huron Co. GMU Sept. 19-Sept. 27 2 6 Remainder of Zone Sept. 19-Sept. 27 2 6 White-fronted Geese: North Zone Sept. 11-Sept. 26 1 3 Middle Zone Sept. 19-Sept. 26 1 3 South Zone: Muskegon GMU Deferred Allegan Co. GMU Deferred Saginaw Co. GMU Sept. 19-Sept. 27 1 3 Tuscola/Huron Co. GMU Sept. 19-Sept. 27 1 3 Remainder of Zone Sept. 19-Sept. 27 1 3 Light Geese: North Zone Sept. 11-Dec. 11 20 60 Middle Zone Sept. 19-Dec. 19 20 60 South Zone: Muskegon GMU Deferred Allegan Co. GMU Deferred Saginaw Co. GMU Sept. 19-Sept. 27 20 60 Tuscola/Huron Co. GMU Sept. 19-Sept. 27 20 60 Remainder of Zone Deferred Brant: North Zone Same as for Light Geese 1 3 Middle Zone Same as for Light Geese 1 3 South Zone Same as for Light Geese 1 3 Wisconsin: Canada Geese: North Zone Sept. 16-Sept. 30 2 6 South Zone Sept. 16-Sept. 30 2 6 Mississippi River Zone Deferred Horicon Zone Sept. 16-Sept. 30 Tag System White-fronted Geese: North Zone Sept. 16-Sept. 30 1 3 South Zone Sept. 16-Sept. 30 1 3 Mississippi River Zone Deferred Horicon Zone Sept. 16-Sept. 30 1 3 Light Geese Same as for Canada Geese 20 Brant Same as for Canada Geese 1 3

    (f) Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days.

    The following seasons are open only to youth hunters. Youth hunters must be accompanied into the field by an adult at least 18 years of age. This adult cannot duck hunt but may participate in other open seasons.

    Definitions

    Youth Hunters: Includes youths 15 years of age or younger.

    The Atlantic Flyway: Includes Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia.

    The Mississippi Flyway: Includes Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

    The Central Flyway: Includes Colorado (east of the Continental Divide), Kansas, Montana (Blaine, Carbon, Fergus, Judith Basin, Stillwater, Sweetgrass, Wheatland, and all Counties east thereof), Nebraska, New Mexico (east of the Continental Divide except that the Jicarilla Apache Indian Reservation is in the Pacific Flyway), North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming (east of the Continental Divide).

    The Pacific Flyway: Includes Arizona, California, Colorado (west of the Continental Divide), Idaho, Montana (including and to the west of Hill, Chouteau, Cascade, Meagher, and Park Counties), Nevada, New Mexico (the Jicarilla Apache Indian Reservation and west of the Continental Divide), Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming (west of the Continental Divide including the Great Divide Basin).

    Note: In States where zones are not identified, seasons are statewide. Bag and possession limits will conform to those set for the regular season unless there is a special season already open (e.g., September Canada goose season), in which case, that season's daily bag limit will prevail.

    Season dates ATLANTIC FLYWAY Connecticut Deferred. Delaware: Ducks, geese, brant, mergansers, and coots Oct. 17 & Feb. 6. Florida Deferred. Georgia: Ducks, geese, mergansers, coots, moorhens, and gallinules Nov. 14 & 15. Maine: Ducks, geese, mergansers, and coots: North Zone Sept. 19 & Dec. 12. South Zone Sept. 26 & Oct. 24. Coastal Zone Sept. 26 & Nov. 7. Maryland (1) Deferred. Massachusetts Deferred. New Hampshire: Ducks, geese, mergansers, and coots: Sept. 26 & 27. New Jersey Deferred. New York (2): Ducks, mergansers, coots, brant, and Canada geese: Long Island Zone Nov. 14 & 15. Lake Champlain Zone Sept. 26 & 27. Northeastern Zone Sept. 19 & 20. Southeastern Zone Sept. 19 & 20. Western Zone Oct. 3 & 4. North Carolina Deferred. Pennsylvania: Ducks, mergansers, Canada geese, coots, and moorhens Sept. 19. Rhode Island: Ducks, mergansers, geese, and coots Oct. 24 & 25. South Carolina Deferred. Vermont: Ducks, geese, mergansers and coots Sept. 26 & 27. Virginia Deferred. West Virginia (3): Ducks, geese, mergansers, coots, and gallinules Sept. 19 & Nov. 7. MISSISSIPPI FLYWAY Alabama: Ducks, mergansers, coots, geese, moorhens, and gallinules Nov. 21 & Feb. 6. Arkansas Deferred. Illinois Deferred. Indiana Deferred. Iowa Deferred. Kentucky: Ducks, geese, mergansers, coots, moorhens, and gallinules: West Zone Feb. 6 & 7. East Zone Nov. 7 & 8. Louisiana Deferred. Michigan: Ducks, geese, mergansers, coots, moorhens, and gallinules Sept. 12 & 13. Minnesota: Ducks, geese, mergansers, coots, moorhens, and gallinules Sept. 12. Mississippi Deferred. Missouri Deferred. Ohio Deferred. Tennessee Deferred. Wisconsin: Ducks, geese, mergansers, coots, moorhens, and gallinules Sept. 19 & 20. CENTRAL FLYWAY Colorado: Ducks, dark geese, mergansers, and coots: Mountain/Foothills Zone Sept. 26 & 27. Northeast Zone Oct. 3 & 4. Southeast Zone Oct. 17 & 18. Kansas (4) Deferred. Montana: Ducks, geese, mergansers, and coots Sept. 26 & 27. Nebraska (5): Ducks, geese, mergansers, and coots Deferred. New Mexico: Ducks, mergansers, coots, and moorhens: North Zone Sept. 26 & 27. South Zone Oct. 10 & 11. North Dakota: Ducks, geese, mergansers, and coots Sept. 19 & 20. Oklahoma Deferred. South Dakota: Ducks, Canada geese, mergansers, and coots Sept. 19 & 20. Texas Deferred. Wyoming: Ducks, geese, mergansers, and coots: Zone C1 Sept. 26 & 27. Zone C2 Sept. 19 & 20. Zone C3 Sept. 19 & 20. PACIFIC FLYWAY Arizona Deferred. California: Ducks, geese, brant, mergansers, coots, and moorhens: Northeastern Zone Sept. 26 & 27. Colorado River Zone Jan. 30 & 31. Southern Zone Feb. 6 & 7. Southern San Joaquin Valley Zone Feb. 6 & 7. Balance of State Zone Feb. 6 & 7. Colorado: Ducks, geese, mergansers, and coots Oct. 17 & 18. Idaho: Ducks, geese, mergansers, and coots Zone 1 Sept. 26 & 27. Zones 2 & 3 Deferred. Montana: Ducks, geese, mergansers, and coots. Sept. 26 & 27. Nevada: Ducks, geese, mergansers, coots, and moorhens: Northeast Zone Sept. 12 & 13. South Zone Deferred. New Mexico: Ducks, mergansers, coots, and moorhens Oct. 3 & 4. Oregon: Ducks, geese, mergansers, and coots Sept. 26 & 27. Utah: Ducks, dark geese, mergansers, and coots Sept. 19. Washington (6): Ducks, Canada geese, mergansers, and coots Sept. 19 & 20. Wyoming: Ducks, dark geese, mergansers, and coots Sept. 19 & 20. (1) In Maryland, the accompanying adult must be at least 21 years of age and possess a valid Maryland hunting license (or be exempt from the license requirement). This accompanying adult may not shoot or possess a firearm. (2) In New York, the daily bag limit for Canada geese is 3. (3) In West Virginia, the accompanying adult must be at least 18 years of age. (4) In Kansas, the adult accompanying the youth must possess any licenses and/or stamps required by law for that individual to hunt waterfowl. (5) In Nebraska, see State regulations for additional information on the daily bag limit. (6) In Washington, the Canada goose season is closed in Goose Areas 2A and 2B.
    7. Section 20.106 is revised to read as follows:
    § 20.106 Seasons, limits, and shooting hours for sandhill cranes.

    Subject to the applicable provisions of the preceding sections of this part, areas open to hunting, respective open seasons (dates inclusive), shooting and hawking hours, and daily bag and possession limits on the species designated in this section are as follows:

    Shooting and hawking hours are one-half hour before sunrise until sunset, except as otherwise noted. Area descriptions were published in the August 21, 2015, Federal Register (80 FR 51090).

    Federally authorized, State-issued permits are issued to individuals, and only the individual whose name and address appears on the permit at the time of issuance is authorized to take sandhill cranes at the level allowed by the permit, in accordance with provisions of both Federal and State regulations governing the hunting season. The permit must be carried by the permittee when exercising its provisions and must be presented to any law enforcement officer upon request. The permit is not transferable or assignable to another individual, and may not be sold, bartered, traded, or otherwise provided to another person. If the permit is altered or defaced in any way, the permit becomes invalid.

    CHECK STATE REGULATIONS FOR AREA DESCRIPTIONS AND ANY ADDITIONAL RESTRICTIONS.

    Note: States with deferred seasons may select those seasons at the same time they select waterfowl seasons in August. Consult late-season regulations for further information.

    Season Dates Limits Bag Possession MISSISSIPPI FLYWAY Kentucky (1) Dec. 12-Jan. 10 2 2 Minnesota: (1) NW Goose Zone Sept. 12-Oct. 18 1 3 Tennessee (1) Deferred CENTRAL FLYWAY Colorado (1) Oct. 3-Nov. 29 3 9 Kansas (1)(2)(3) Nov. 11-Jan. 7 3 9 Montana: Regular Season Area (1) Oct. 3-Nov. 29 3 9 per season Special Season Area (4) Sept. 12-Oct. 4 2 per season New Mexico: Regular Season Area (1) Oct. 31-Jan. 31 3 6 Middle Rio Grande Valley Area (4)(5) Oct. 24-Oct. 25 & Nov. 14-Nov. 15 & 2 per season Nov. 7 & 2 per season Nov. 28-Nov. 29 & 2 per season Jan. 9-Jan. 10 2 per season Southwest Area (4) Oct. 24-Nov. 1 & 2 per season Jan. 2-Jan. 3 2 per season Estancia Valley (4) Oct. 24-Nov. 1 3 6 North Dakota: (1) Area 1 Sept. 19-Nov. 15 3 9 Area 2 Sept. 19-Nov. 15 2 6 Oklahoma (1) Deferred South Dakota (1) Sept. 26-Nov. 22 3 9 Texas (1) Deferred Wyoming: Regular Season (Area 7) (1) Sept. 19-Nov. 15 3 9 Riverton-Boysen Unit (Area 4) (4) Sept. 19-Oct. 11 1 per season Big Horn, Hot Springs, Park, and Washakie Counties (Area 6) (4) Sept. 19-Oct. 11 1 per season PACIFIC FLYWAY Arizona: (4) Special Season Area Nov. 13-Nov. 15 & 3 per season Nov. 17-Nov. 19 & 3 per season Nov. 21-Nov. 23 & 3 per season Nov. 25-Nov. 27 & 3 per season Nov. 29-Dec. 1 & 3 per season Dec. 4-Dec. 6 3 per season Idaho: (4) Areas 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5 Sept. 1-Sept. 15 2 per season Montana: (4)(6) Zone 1 Sept. 12-Oct. 4 1 1 Zone 2 Sept. 12-Oct. 4 2 2 Zone 3 Sept. 12-Oct. 4 2 2 Zone 4 Sept. 12-Oct. 4 1 1 Utah: (4) Rich County Sept. 5-Sept. 13 1 per season Cache County Sept. 5-Sept. 13 1 per season East Box Elder County Sept. 5-Sept. 13 1 per season Uintah County Sept. 19-Oct. 18 1 per season Wyoming: (4) Area 1 Sept. 1-Sept. 8 1 per season Area 2 Sept. 1-Sept. 8 1 per season Area 3 Sept. 1-Sept. 8 1 per season Area 5 Sept. 1-Sept. 8 1 per season (1) Each person participating in the regular sandhill crane seasons must have a valid sandhill crane hunting permit and/or a State-issued Harvest Information Survey Program (HIP) certification for game bird hunting in their possession while hunting. (2) In Kansas, shooting hours are from sunrise until sunset. (3) In Kansas, each person desiring to hunt sandhill cranes is required to pass an annual, online sandhill crane identification examination. (4) Hunting is by State permit only. See State regulations for further information. (5) In New Mexico, in the Middle Rio Grande Valley Area (Bernardo WMA and Casa Colorado WMA), the season is only open for youth hunters on November 7. See State regulations for further details. (6) In Montana, the possession limit is 2 per season.
    8. Section 20.109 is revised to read as follows:
    § 20.109 Extended seasons, limits, and hours for taking migratory game birds by falconry.

    Subject to the applicable provisions of the preceding sections of this part, areas open to hunting, respective open seasons (dates inclusive), hawking hours, and daily bag and possession limits for the species designated in this section are prescribed as follows:

    Hawking hours are one-half hour before sunrise until sunset except as otherwise noted. Area descriptions were published in the August 21, 2015, Federal Register (80 FR 51090). For those extended seasons for ducks, mergansers, and coots, area descriptions were published in an August 25, 2015, Federal Register (80 FR 51658) and will be published again in a late-September 2015, Federal Register.

    CHECK STATE REGULATIONS FOR AREA DESCRIPTIONS AND ANY ADDITIONAL RESTRICTIONS.

    Daily bag limit 3 migratory birds, singly or in the aggregate. Possession limit 9 migratory birds, singly or in the aggregate.

    These limits apply to falconry during both regular hunting seasons and extended falconry seasons—unless further restricted by State regulations. The falconry bag and possession limits are not in addition to regular season limits. Unless otherwise specified, extended falconry for ducks does not include sea ducks within the special sea duck areas. Only extended falconry seasons are shown below. Many States permit falconry during the gun seasons. Please consult State regulations for details.

    For ducks, mergansers, coots, geese, and some moorhen seasons; additional season days occurring after September 30 will be published with the late-season selections. Some States have deferred selections. Consult late-season regulations for further information.

    Extended falconry dates ATLANTIC FLYWAY Delaware: Doves Jan. 14-Jan. 30. Rails Nov. 10-Dec. 16. Woodcock Oct. 21-Oct. 24 & Jan. 13-Mar. 10. Florida: Doves Jan. 16-Feb. 1. Rails Nov. 10-Dec. 16. Woodcock Nov. 24-Dec. 17 & Feb. 1-Mar. 9. Common moorhens Nov. 10-Dec. 14. Georgia: Ducks, geese, mergansers, coots, moorhens, gallinules, and sea ducks Nov. 30-Dec. 7. Maryland: Doves Jan. 16-Feb. 1. Rails Nov. 10-Dec. 16. Woodcock Oct. 1-Oct. 29 & Feb. 7-Mar. 10. North Carolina: Doves Oct. 15-Oct. 31. Rails, moorhens, and gallinules Dec. 5-Jan. 9. Woodcock Nov. 7-Dec. 5 & Feb. 1-Feb. 27. Pennsylvania: Doves Oct. 12-Oct. 16 & Nov. 30-Dec. 11. Rails Nov. 10-Dec. 16. Woodcock and snipe Sept. 1-Oct. 16 & Nov. 30-Dec. 17. Moorhens and gallinules Nov. 10-Dec. 16. Virginia: Doves Dec. 23 & Jan. 16-Jan. 31. Woodcock Oct. 17-Nov. 22 & Dec. 6-Dec. 14 & Jan. 16-Jan. 31. Rails, moorhens, and gallinules Nov. 17-Dec. 23. MISSISSIPPI FLYWAY Illinois: Doves Nov. 15-Dec. 1. Rails Sept. 1-Sept. 4 & Nov. 14-Dec. 16. Woodcock Sept. 1-Oct. 16 & Dec. 1-Dec. 16. Ducks, mergansers, and coots Feb. 10-Mar. 10. Indiana: Doves Oct. 19-Oct. 31 & Jan. 11-Jan. 17. Woodcock Sept. 20-Oct. 14 & Nov. 29-Jan. 4. Ducks, mergansers, and coots (1) North Zone Sept. 27-Sept. 30. Louisiana: Doves Sept. 13-Sept. 29. Woodcock Oct. 28-Dec. 17 & Feb. 1-Feb. 11. Minnesota: Woodcock Sept. 1-Sept. 18 & Nov. 3-Dec. 16. Rails and snipe Nov. 3-Dec. 16. Doves Nov. 10-Dec. 16. Missouri: Doves Nov. 10-Dec. 16. Ducks, mergansers, and coots Sept. 12-Sept. 27. Tennessee: Doves Sept. 29-Oct. 9 & Nov. 2-Nov. 7. Ducks (1) Sept. 15-Oct. 20. Wisconsin: Rails, snipe, moorhens, and gallinules (1) Sept. 1-Sept. 25. Woodcock Sept. 1-Sept. 18. Ducks, mergansers, and coots Sept. 19-Sept. 20. CENTRAL FLYWAY Montana: (2) Ducks, mergansers, and coots (1) Sept. 23-Sept. 30. Nebraska: Ducks, mergansers, and coots: Zone 1 Sept. 5-Sept. 20. Zone 2: Low Plains Sept.-Sept. 20. High Plains Sept. 12-Sept. 20. Zone 3: Low Plains Sept. 5-Sept. 20. High Plains Sept. 12-Sept. 20. Zone 4 Sept. 5-Sept. 20. New Mexico: Doves: North Zone Nov. 10-Nov. 12 & Nov. 28-Dec. 31. South Zone Oct. 14-Nov. 12 & Nov. 28-Dec. 4. Ducks and coots Sept. 12-Sept. 19. Sandhill cranes: Regular Season Area Oct. 17-Oct. 30. Estancia Valley Area (3) Nov. 2-Dec. 22. Common moorhens Dec. 5-Jan. 10. Sora and Virginia rails Nov. 21-Dec. 27. North Dakota: Ducks, mergansers, coots, and snipe Sept. 7-Sept. 11 & Sept. 14-Sept. 18. South Dakota: Ducks, mergansers, and coots (1) High Plains Oct. 2-Oct. 9. Low Plains: North Zone Sept. 1-Sept. 25. Middle Zone Sept. 1-Sept. 25. South Zone Sept. 15-Oct. 9. Texas: Doves Nov. 7-Dec. 13. Rails, gallinules, and woodcock Feb. 1-Feb. 14. Wyoming: Rails Nov. 10-Dec. 16. Ducks, mergansers, and coots Zone C1 Sept. 26-Sept. 27 & Oct. 22-Oct. 29. Zone C2 & C3 Sept. 19-Sept. 25 & Dec. 7-Dec. 9. PACIFIC FLYWAY Arizona: Doves Sept. 16-Nov. 1. New Mexico: Doves: North Zone Nov. 10-Nov. 12 & Nov. 28-Dec. 31. South Zone Oct. 14-Nov. 12 & Nov. 28-Dec. 4. Oregon: Doves: Oct. 31-Dec. 16. Band-tailed pigeons (4) Sept. 1-Sept. 14 & Sept. 24-Dec. 16. Utah: Doves Nov. 1-Dec. 16. Band-tailed pigeons Oct. 1-Dec. 16. Washington: Doves Oct. 31-Dec. 16. Wyoming: Sora and Virginia rails Nov. 10-Dec. 16. Ducks, mergansers, and coots (1) Sept. 19-Sept. 20. (1) Additional days occurring after September 30 will be published with the late-season selections. (2) In Montana, the bag limit is 2 and the possession limit is 6. (3) In New Mexico, the bag limit for sandhill cranes in the Estancia Valley Area is 2 per day and the possession limit is 2 per season. (4) In Oregon, no more than 1 pigeon daily in bag or possession.
    [FR Doc. 2015-21596 Filed 8-31-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310-55-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Part 20 [Docket No. FWS-HQ-MB-2014-0064; FF09M21200-156-FXMB1231099BPP0] RIN 1018-BA67 Migratory Bird Hunting; Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations on Certain Federal Indian Reservations and Ceded Lands for the 2015-16 Early Season AGENCY:

    Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This rule prescribes special early-season migratory bird hunting regulations for certain Tribes on Federal Indian reservations, off-reservation trust lands, and ceded lands. This rule responds to Tribal requests for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (hereinafter Service or we) recognition of Tribal authority to regulate hunting under established guidelines. This rule allows the establishment of season bag limits and, thus, harvest, at levels compatible with populations and habitat conditions.

    DATES:

    This rule takes effect on September 1, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may inspect comments received on the special hunting regulations and Tribal proposals during normal business hours U.S. Fish and Wildlife Headquarters, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803, or at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-HQ-MB-2014-0064.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ron W. Kokel, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior, MS: MB, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803; (703) 358-1967.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) of July 3, 1918 (40 Stat. 755; 16 U.S.C. 703 et seq.), authorizes and directs the Secretary of the Department of the Interior, having due regard for the zones of temperature and for the distribution, abundance, economic value, breeding habits, and times and lines of flight of migratory game birds, to determine when, to what extent, and by what means such birds or any part, nest, or egg thereof may be taken, hunted, captured, killed, possessed, sold, purchased, shipped, carried, exported, or transported.

    In the August 4, 2015, Federal Register (80 FR 46218), we proposed special migratory bird hunting regulations for the 2015-16 hunting season for certain Indian Tribes, under the guidelines described in the June 4, 1985, Federal Register (50 FR 23467). The guidelines respond to Tribal requests for Service recognition of their reserved hunting rights, and for some Tribes, recognition of their authority to regulate hunting by both tribal members and nonmembers on their reservations. The guidelines include possibilities for:

    (1) On-reservation hunting by both tribal members and nonmembers, with hunting by nontribal members on some reservations to take place within Federal frameworks but on dates different from those selected by the surrounding State(s);

    (2) On-reservation hunting by tribal members only, outside of usual Federal frameworks for season dates and length, and for daily bag and possession limits; and

    (3) Off-reservation hunting by tribal members on ceded lands, outside of usual framework dates and season length, with some added flexibility in daily bag and possession limits.

    In all cases, the regulations established under the guidelines must be consistent with the March 10-September 1 closed season mandated by the 1916 Migratory Bird Treaty with Canada. We have successfully used the guidelines since the 1985-86 hunting season. We finalized the guidelines beginning with the 1988-89 hunting season (August 18, 1988, Federal Register [53 FR 31612]). In the April 13, 2015, Federal Register (80 FR 19852), we requested that Tribes desiring special hunting regulations in the 2015-16 hunting season submit a proposal for our review.

    No action is required if a Tribe wishes to observe the hunting regulations established by the State(s) in which an Indian reservation is located. On August 4, 2015, we published a proposed rule (80 FR 46218) that included special migratory bird hunting regulations for 31 Indian Tribes, based on the input we received in response to the April 13, 2015, proposed rule and previous rules. All the regulations contained in this final rule were either submitted by the Tribes or approved by the Tribes and follow our proposals in the August 4 proposed rule.

    Although the August 4 proposed rule included generalized regulations for both early- and late-season hunting, this rulemaking addresses only the early-season proposals. Therefore, it includes information for only 23 Tribes. The letter designations for the paragraphs pertaining to each Tribe in this rule are discontinuous because they follow the letter designations for the 31 Tribes discussed in the August 4 proposed rule, which set forth paragraphs (a) through (ee). Late-season hunting will be addressed in late September. As a general rule, early seasons begin during September each year and have a primary emphasis on such species as mourning and white-winged doves. Late seasons begin about October 1 or later each year and have a primary emphasis on waterfowl.

    Population Status and Harvest

    Information on the status of waterfowl and information on the status and harvest of migratory shore and upland game birds, including detailed information on methodologies and results, is available at the address indicated under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT or from our Web site at http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/NewsPublicationsReports.html.

    Comments and Issues Concerning Tribal Proposals

    For the 2015-16 migratory bird hunting season, we proposed regulations for 31 Tribes and/or Indian groups that followed the 1985 guidelines. Some of the tribal proposals had both early- and late-season elements. However, as noted earlier, only those with early-season proposals are included in this final rulemaking; 23 Tribes have proposals with early seasons. The comment period for the proposed rule, published on August 4, 2015, closed on August 14, 2015. Because of the necessary brief comment period, we will respond to any comments on the proposed rule and/or these regulations postmarked by August 21, but not received prior to final action by us, in the September late-season final rule. At this time, we have received four comments.

    Written Comments: A commenter protested the entire migratory bird hunting regulations process, the killing of all migratory birds, and status and habitat data on which the migratory bird hunting regulations are based. Several commenters supported the tribal regulations process.

    Service Response: Our long-term objectives continue to include providing opportunities to harvest portions of certain migratory game bird populations and to limit harvests to levels compatible with each population's ability to maintain healthy, viable numbers. Having taken into account the zones of temperature and the distribution, abundance, economic value, breeding habits, and times and lines of flight of migratory birds, we believe that the hunting seasons provided for herein are compatible with the current status of migratory bird populations and long-term population goals. Additionally, we are obligated to, and do, give serious consideration to all information received as public comment. We believe that the Flyway-Council system of migratory bird management has been a longstanding, successful example of State-Federal cooperative management since its establishment in 1952. However, as always, we continue to seek new ways to improve the process.

    Written Comments: We received one comment on Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission's (GLIFWC's) initial proposal from the Mississippi Flyway Council. The Mississippi Flyway Council recommended approving GLIFWC's mourning dove hunting season extension from the previous 70-day season to a 90-day season and denying their waterfowl hunting season request regarding the use of electronic calls.

    Service Response: The GLIFWC 2015 proposal has two changes from regulations approved last season: In the 1837 and 1842 Treaty Areas, the GLIFWC proposal would extend the mourning dove season from 70 days to 90 days and would allow the use of electronic calls.

    GLIFWC states that the regulatory changes are intended to provide tribal members a harvest opportunity within the scope of rights reserved in their various treaties and increase tribal subsistence harvest opportunities, while protecting migratory bird populations. Under the GLIFWC's proposed regulations, GLIFWC expects total ceded territory harvest to be approximately 1,650 ducks, 375 geese, 20 sandhill cranes, and 20 swans, which is roughly similar to anticipated levels in previous years for those species for which seasons were established. GLIFWC further anticipates that tribal harvest will remain low given the small number of tribal hunters and the limited opportunity to harvest more than a small number of birds on most hunting trips.

    Recent GLIFWC harvest surveys (1996-98, 2001, 2004, 2007-08, 2011, and 2012) indicate that tribal off-reservation waterfowl harvest has averaged fewer than 1,100 ducks and 250 geese annually. In the latest survey year for which we have specific results (2012), an estimated 86 hunters took an estimated 1,090 trips and harvested 1,799 ducks (1.7 ducks per trip) and 822 geese. Analysis of hunter survey data over 1996-2012 indicates a general downward trend in both harvest and hunter participation. While we acknowledge that tribal harvest and participation has declined in recent years, we do not believe that allowing the use of electronic calls for migratory game bird hunting in GLIFWC's 2015-16 proposal for tribal waterfowl seasons on ceded lands in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota is in the best interest of the conservation of migratory birds. However, we are in favor of allowing a longer mourning dove season. More specific discussion follows below.

    Allowing Electronic Calls

    As we have stated the last 4 years (76 FR 54676, September 1, 2011; 77 FR 54451, September 5, 2012; 78 FR 53218, August 28, 2013; 79 FR 52226, September 3, 2014), the issue of allowing electronic calls and other electronic devices for migratory game bird hunting has been highly debated and highly controversial over the last 40 years, similar to other prohibited hunting methods such as baiting. Electronic calls, i.e., the use or aid of recorded or electronic amplified bird calls or sounds, or recorded or electrically amplified imitations of bird calls or sounds to lure or attract migratory game birds to hunters, was Federally prohibited in 1957, because of their effectiveness in attracting and aiding the harvest of ducks and geese and are generally not considered a legitimate component of hunting. In 1999, after much debate, the migratory bird regulations were revised to allow the use of electronic calls for the take of light geese (lesser snow geese and Ross geese) during a light-goose-only season when all other waterfowl and crane hunting seasons, excluding falconry, were closed (64 FR 7507, February 16, 1999; 64 FR 71236, December 20, 1999; 73 FR 65926, November 5, 2008). The regulations were also changed in 2006, to allow the use of electronic calls for the take of resident Canada geese during Canada-goose-only September seasons when all other waterfowl and crane seasons, excluding falconry, were closed (71 FR 45964, August 10, 2006). In both instances, these changes were made in order to significantly increase the take of these species due to serious population overabundance, depredation issues, or public health and safety issues, or a combination of these.

    In our previous responses on this issue, we have also provided discussion on available information from the use of electronic calls during the special light-goose seasons and our belief to its applicability to most waterfowl species. Given available evidence on the effectiveness of electronic calls, we continue to be concerned about the large biological uncertainty surrounding any widespread use of electronic calls. Additionally, given the fact that tribal waterfowl hunting covered by GLIFWC's proposal would occur on ceded lands that are not in the ownership of the Tribes, we remain very concerned that the use of electronic calls to take waterfowl would lead to confusion on the part of the public, wildlife-management agencies, and law enforcement officials in implementing the requirements of 50 CFR part 20. Further, similar to the impacts of baiting, uncertainties concerning the zone of influence attributed to the use of electronic calls could potentially increase harvest from nontribal hunters operating within areas electronic calls are being used during the dates of the general hunt.

    Notwithstanding our concerns, we understand GLIFWC's position on this issue, their desire to increase tribal hunter opportunity, harvest, and participation, and the importance that GLIFWC has ascribed to these issues. In our recent discussions with them this summer, they have expressed a willingness to work with us to further discuss these issues, all the uncertainties and difficulties surrounding them, and the overall Federal-Tribal process for addressing these and other such issues. However, we have only recently begun such discussions. As such, we are not yet at a point that would allow our approval of this proposal, or any such proposal. Further, we believe it would be premature at his time to approve such a measure, or any such measure, until we finalize the Federal-Tribal process, roles, and responsibilities for addressing this and other such issues. It is our hope that over the next year, we can continue these discussions. We remain hopeful that we can reach a mutually agreeable resolution.

    Thus, at this time, removal of the electronic call prohibition, even with the GLIFWC's proposed limited and experimental design, would be inconsistent with our long-standing concerns, and we do not support allowing the use of electronic calls in the 1837 and 1842 Treaty Areas for any open season.

    National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

    The programmatic document, “Second Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement: Issuance of Annual Regulations Permitting the Sport Hunting of Migratory Birds (EIS 20130139),” filed with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on May 24, 2013, addresses NEPA compliance by the Service for issuance of the annual framework regulations for hunting of migratory game bird species. We published a notice of availability in the Federal Register on May 31, 2013 (78 FR 32686), and our Record of Decision on July 26, 2013 (78 FR 45376). We also address NEPA compliance for waterfowl hunting frameworks through the annual preparation of separate environmental assessments, the most recent being “Duck Hunting Regulations for 2015-16,” with its corresponding August 2015 finding of no significant impact. In addition, an August 1985 environmental assessment entitled “Guidelines for Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations on Federal Indian Reservations and Ceded Lands” is available from the person indicated under the caption FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

    Endangered Species Act Consideration

    Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), provides that, “The Secretary shall review other programs administered by him and utilize such programs in furtherance of the purposes of this Act” (and) shall “insure that any action authorized, funded, or carried out . . . is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered species or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of [critical] habitat . . . .” Conse­quently, we conducted formal consultations to ensure that actions resulting from these regulations would not likely jeopardize the continued existence of endangered or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of their critical habitat. Findings from these consultations are included in a biological opinion, which concluded that the regulations are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered or threatened species. Additionally, these findings may have caused modification of some regulatory measures previously proposed, and the final rule reflects any such modifications. Our biological opinions resulting from this section 7 consultation are public documents available for public inspection at the address indicated under ADDRESSES.

    Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Orders 12866 and 13563)

    Executive Order 12866 provides that the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) will review all significant rules. OIRA has reviewed this rule and has determined that this rule is significant because it would have an annual effect of $100 million or more on the economy.

    Executive Order 13563 reaffirms the principles of E.O. 12866 while calling for improvements in the nation's regulatory system to promote predictability, to reduce uncertainty, and to use the best, most innovative, and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory ends. The executive order directs agencies to consider regulatory approaches that reduce burdens and maintain flexibility and freedom of choice for the public where these approaches are relevant, feasible, and consistent with regulatory objectives. E.O. 13563 emphasizes further that regulations must be based on the best available science and that the rulemaking process must allow for public participation and an open exchange of ideas. We have developed this rule in a manner consistent with these requirements.

    An updated economic analysis was prepared for the 2013-14 season. This analysis was based on data from the newly released 2011 National Hunting and Fishing Survey, the most recent year for which data are available (see discussion in Regulatory Flexibility Act section below). This analysis estimated consumer surplus for three alternatives for duck hunting (estimates for other species are not quantified due to lack of data). The alternatives were: (1) Issue restrictive regulations allowing fewer days than those issued during the 2012-13 season, (2) issue moderate regulations allowing more days than those in alternative 1, and (3) issue liberal regulations identical to the regulations in the 2012-13 season. For the 2013-14 season, we chose Alternative 3, with an estimated consumer surplus across all flyways of $317.8-$416.8 million. For the 2015-16 season, we have also chosen alternative 3. We also chose alternative 3 for the 2009-10, the 2010-11, the 2011-12, the 2012-13, and the 2014-15 seasons. The 2013-14 analysis is part of the record for this rule and is available at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-HQ-MB-2014-0064.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The annual migratory bird hunting regulations have a significant economic impact on substantial numbers of small entities under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). We analyzed the economic impacts of the annual hunting regulations on small business entities in detail as part of the 1981 cost-benefit analysis. This analysis was revised annually from 1990-95. In 1995, the Service issued a Small Entity Flexibility Analysis (Analysis), which was subsequently updated in 1996, 1998, 2004, 2008, and 2013. The primary source of information about hunter expenditures for migratory game bird hunting is the National Hunting and Fishing Survey, which is conducted at 5-year intervals. The 2013 Analysis was based on the 2011 National Hunting and Fishing Survey and the U.S. Department of Commerce's County Business Patterns, from which it was estimated that migratory bird hunters would spend approximately $1.5 billion at small businesses in 2013. Copies of the Analysis are available upon request from the Division of Migratory Bird Management (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT) or from our Web site at http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/NewReportsPublications/SpecialTopics/SpecialTopics.html#HuntingRegs or at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-HQ-MB-2014-0064.

    Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

    This rule is a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. For the reasons outlined above, this rule will have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more. However, because this rule establishes hunting seasons, we are not deferring the effective date under the exemption contained in 5 U.S.C. 808(1).

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    This final rule does not contain any new information collection that requires approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). We may not conduct or sponsor and you are not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number. OMB has reviewed and approved the information collection requirements associated with migratory bird surveys and assigned the following OMB control numbers:

    • 1018-0019—North American Woodcock Singing Ground Survey (expires 5/31/2018).

    • 1018-0023—Migratory Bird Surveys (expires 6/30/2017). Includes Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program, Migratory Bird Hunter Surveys, Sandhill Crane Survey, and Parts Collection Survey.

    Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    We have determined and certify, in compliance with the requirements of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act, 2 U.S.C. 1502 et seq., that this rulemaking will not impose a cost of $100 million or more in any given year on local or State government or private entities. Therefore, this rule is not a “significant regulatory action” under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.

    Civil Justice Reform—Executive Order 12988

    The Department, in promulgating this rule, has determined that this rule will not unduly burden the judicial system and that it meets the requirements of sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988.

    Takings Implication Assessment

    In accordance with Executive Order 12630, this rule, authorized by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (16 U.S.C. 703-711), does not have significant takings implications and does not affect any constitutionally protected property rights. This rule will not result in the physical occupancy of property, the physical invasion of property, or the regulatory taking of any property. In fact, this rule allows hunters to exercise otherwise unavailable privileges and, therefore, reduces restrictions on the use of private and public property.

    Energy Effects—Executive Order 13211

    Executive Order 13211 requires agencies to prepare Statements of Energy Effects when undertaking certain actions. While this rule is a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866, it is not expected to adversely affect energy supplies, distribution, or use. Therefore, this action is not a significant energy action and no Statement of Energy Effects is required.

    Government-to-Government Relationship With Tribes

    In accordance with the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994, “Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal Governments” (59 FR 22951), Executive Order 13175, and 512 DM 2, we have evaluated possible effects on Federally recognized Indian tribes and have determined that there are no effects on Indian trust resources. However, in the April 13, 2015, Federal Register, we solicited proposals for special migratory bird hunting regulations for certain Tribes on Federal Indian reservations, off-reservation trust lands, and ceded lands for the 2015-16 migratory bird hunting season. The resulting proposals were contained in a separate August 4, 2015, proposed rule (80 FR 46218). By virtue of these actions, we have consulted with affected Tribes.

    Federalism Effects

    Due to the migratory nature of certain species of birds, the Federal Government has been given responsibility over these species by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. We annually prescribe frameworks from which the States make selections regarding the hunting of migratory birds, and we employ guidelines to establish special regulations on Federal Indian reservations and ceded lands. This process preserves the ability of the States and tribes to determine which seasons meet their individual needs. Any State or Indian tribe may be more restrictive than the Federal frameworks at any time. The frameworks are developed in a cooperative process with the States and the Flyway Councils. This process allows States to participate in the development of frameworks from which they will make selections, thereby having an influence on their own regulations. These rules do not have a substantial direct effect on fiscal capacity, change the roles or responsibilities of Federal or State governments, or intrude on State policy or administration. Therefore, in accordance with Executive Order 13132, these regulations do not have significant federalism effects and do not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a federalism summary impact statement.

    Regulations Promulgation

    The rulemaking process for migratory game bird hunting must, by its nature, operate under severe time constraints. However, we intend that the public be given the greatest possible opportunity to comment. Thus, when the preliminary proposed rulemaking was published, we established what we believed were the longest periods possible for public comment. In doing this, we recognized that when the comment period closed, time would be of the essence. That is, if there were a delay in the effective date of these regulations after this final rulemaking, Tribes would have insufficient time to publicize the necessary regulations and procedures to their hunters. We therefore find that “good cause” exists, within the terms of 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) of the Administrative Procedure Act, and this rule will, therefore, take effect immediately upon publication.

    Accordingly, with each participating Tribe having had an opportunity to participate in selecting the hunting seasons desired for its reservation or ceded territory on those species of migratory birds for which open seasons are now prescribed, and consideration having been given to all other relevant matters presented, certain sections of title 50, chapter I, subchapter B, part 20, subpart K, are hereby amended as set forth below.

    List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 20

    Exports, Hunting, Imports, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Transportation, Wildlife.

    Accordingly, part 20, subchapter B, chapter I of title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations is amended as follows:

    PART 20—[AMENDED] 1. The authority citation for part 20 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    Migratory Bird Treaty Act, 40 Stat. 755, 16 U.S.C. 703-712; Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956, 16 U.S.C. 742a-j; Pub. L. 106-108, 113 Stat. 1491, Note Following 16 U.S.C. 703.

    (Note: The following hunting regulations provided for by 50 CFR 20.110 will not appear in the Code of Federal Regulations because of their seasonal nature.)
    2. Section 20.110 is revised to read as follows:
    § 20.110 Seasons, limits, and other regulations for certain Federal Indian reservations, Indian Territory, and ceded lands.

    Unless specifically provided for below, all of the regulations contained in 50 CFR part 20 apply to the seasons listed herein.

    (a) Colorado River Indian Tribes, Colorado River Indian Reservation, Parker, Arizona (Tribal Members and Nontribal Hunters).

    Doves

    Season Dates: Open September 1 through 15, 2015; then open November 7 through December 20, 2015.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: For the early season, daily bag limit is 10 mourning or white-winged doves, singly, or in the aggregate. For the late season, the daily bag limit is 15 mourning doves. Possession limits are twice the daily bag limits after the first day of the season.

    General Conditions: All persons 14 years and older must be in possession of a valid Colorado River Indian Reservation hunting permit before taking any wildlife on tribal lands. Any person transporting game birds off the Colorado River Indian Reservation must have a valid transport declaration form. Other tribal regulations apply, and may be obtained at the Fish and Game Office in Parker, Arizona. The early season will be open from one-half hour before sunrise until noon. For the late season, shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset.

    (b) Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Flathead Indian Reservation, Pablo, Montana (Tribal Hunters).

    Tribal Members Only Ducks (Including Mergansers)

    Season Dates: Open September 1, 2015, through March 9, 2016.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: The Tribe does not have specific bag and possession restrictions for Tribal members. The season on harlequin duck is closed.

    Coots

    Season Dates: Same as ducks.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: Same as ducks.

    Geese

    Season Dates: Same as ducks.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: Same as ducks.

    General Conditions: Tribal and nontribal hunters must comply with all basic Federal migratory bird hunting regulations contained in 50 CFR part 20 regarding manner of taking. In addition, shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset, and each waterfowl hunter 16 years of age or older must carry on his/her person a valid Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (Duck Stamp) signed in ink across the stamp face. Special regulations established by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes also apply on the reservation.

    (c) Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, Cloquet, Minnesota (Tribal Members Only).

    Ducks 1854 and 1837 Ceded Territories

    Season Dates: Begin September 12 and end November 30, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: 18 ducks, including no more than 12 mallards (only 3 of which may be hens), 9 black ducks, 9 scaup, 9 wood ducks, 9 redheads, 9 pintails, and 9 canvasbacks.

    Reservation

    Season Dates: Begin September 1 and end November 30, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: 12 ducks, including no more than 8 mallards (only 2 of which may be hens), 6 black ducks, 6 scaup, 6 redheads, 6 pintails, 6 wood ducks, and 6 canvasbacks.

    Mergansers 1854 and 1837 Ceded Territories

    Season Dates: Begin September 12 and end November 30, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: 15 mergansers, including no more than 6 hooded mergansers.

    Reservation

    Season Dates: Begin September 1 and end November 30, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: 10 mergansers, including no more than 4 hooded mergansers.

    Canada Geese 1854 and 1837 Ceded Territories

    Season Dates: Begin September 1 and end November 30, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: 20 geese.

    Reservation

    Season Dates: Begin September 1 and end November 30, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: 20 geese.

    Coots and Common Moorhens (Common Gallinules)

    1854 and 1837 Ceded Territories

    Season Dates: Begin September 12 and end November 30, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: 20 coots and common moorhens, singly or in the aggregate.

    Reservation

    Season Dates: Begin September 1 and end November 30, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: 20 coots and common moorhens, singly or in the aggregate.

    Sandhill Cranes: 1854 and 1837 Ceded Territories

    Season Dates: Begin September 1 and end November 30, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: One sandhill crane. Crane carcass tags are required prior to hunting.

    Sora and Virginia Rails 1854 and 1837 Ceded Territories

    Season Dates: Begin September 1 and end November 30, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: 25 sora and Virginia rails, singly or in the aggregate.

    Reservation

    Season Dates: Begin September 1 and end November 30, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: 25 sora and Virginia rails, singly or in the aggregate.

    Common Snipe 1854 and 1837 Ceded Territories

    Season Dates: Begin September 1 and end November 30, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: Eight common snipe.

    Reservation

    Season Dates: Begin September 1 and end November 30, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: Eight common snipe.

    Woodcock 1854 and 1837 Ceded Territories

    Season Dates: Begin September 1 and end November 30, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: Three woodcock.

    Reservation

    Season Dates: Begin September 1 and end November 30, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: Three woodcock.

    Mourning Doves 1854 and 1837 Ceded Territories

    Season Dates: Begin September 1 and end November 30, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: 30 mourning doves.

    Reservation

    Season Dates: Begin September 1 and end November 30, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: 30 mourning doves.

    General Conditions

    1. While hunting waterfowl, a tribal member must carry on his/her person a valid tribal waterfowl hunting permit.

    2. Except as otherwise noted, tribal members will be required to comply with tribal codes that will be no less restrictive than the provisions of Chapter 10 of the Model Off-Reservation Code. These regulations parallel Federal requirements in 50 CFR part 20 as to hunting methods, transportation, sale, exportation, and other conditions generally applicable to migratory bird hunting.

    3. Band members in each zone will comply with State regulations providing for closed and restricted waterfowl hunting areas.

    4. There are no possession limits on any species, unless otherwise noted above. For purposes of enforcing bag and possession limits, all migratory birds in the possession or custody of band members on ceded lands will be considered to have been taken on those lands unless tagged by a tribal or State conservation warden as having been taken on-reservation. All migratory birds that fall on reservation lands will not count as part of any off-reservation bag or possession limit.

    5. Shooting hours for migratory birds are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.

    (d) Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Suttons Bay, Michigan (Tribal Members Only).

    Ducks

    Season Dates: Open September 1, 2015, through January 15, 2016.

    Daily Bag Limit: 25 ducks, which may include no more than 6 pintail, 4 canvasback, 6 black ducks, 1 hooded merganser, 6 wood ducks, 5 redheads, and 12 mallards (only 6 of which may be hens).

    Canada and Snow Geese

    Season Dates: Open September 1, 2015, through January 31, 2016.

    Daily Bag Limit: 10 geese.

    Other Geese (White-Fronted Geese and Brant)

    Season Dates: Open September 20 through December 30, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: Five geese.

    Sora Rails, Common Snipe, and Woodcock

    Season Dates: Open September 1 through November 14, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: 10 rails, 10 snipe, and 5 woodcock.

    Mourning Doves

    Season Dates: Open September 1 through November 14, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: 10 mourning doves.

    Sandhill Crane

    Season Dates: Open September 1 through November 14, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: Two sandhill crane, with a season limit of six.

    General Conditions: A valid Grand Traverse Band Tribal license is required and must be in possession before taking any wildlife. Shooting hours for migratory birds are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. All other basic regulations contained in 50 CFR part 20 are valid. Other tribal regulations apply, and may be obtained at the tribal office in Suttons Bay, Michigan.

    (e) Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, Odanah, Wisconsin (Tribal Members Only).

    The 2015-16 waterfowl hunting season regulations apply to all treaty areas (except where noted):

    Ducks

    Season Dates: Begin September 1 and end December 31, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: 1837 and 1842 Ceded Territories: 50 ducks.

    1836 Ceded Territory: 30 ducks.

    Mergansers

    Season Dates: Begin September 1 and end December 31, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: 10 mergansers.

    Geese

    Season Dates: Begin September 1 and end December 31, 2015. In addition, any portion of the ceded territory that is open to State-licensed hunters for goose hunting after December 31 will also be open concurrently for tribal members.

    Daily Bag Limit: 20 geese in aggregate.

    Other Migratory Birds

    Coots and Common Moorhens (Common Gallinules):

    Season Dates: Begin September 1 and end December 31, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: 20 coots and common moorhens (common gallinules), singly or in the aggregate.

    Sora and Virginia Rails

    Season Dates: Begin September 1 and end December 31, 2015.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: 20 sora and Virginia rails, singly or in the aggregate, 25.

    Common Snipe

    Season Dates: Begin September 1 and end December 31, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: 16 common snipe.

    Woodcock

    Season Dates: Begin September 2 and end December 31, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: 10 woodcock.

    Mourning Doves: 1837 and 1842 Ceded Territories Only

    Season Dates: Begin September 1 and end November 29, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: 15 doves.

    Sandhill Cranes: 1837 and 1842 Ceded Territories Only

    Season Dates: Begin September 1 and end December 31, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: Two cranes.

    Swans: 1837 and 1842 Ceded Territories Only

    Season Dates: Begin November 1 and end December 31, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: Two swans.

    Additional Restrictions: All harvested swans must be registered by presenting the fully-feathered carcass to a tribal registration station or GLIFWC warden. If the total number of trumpeter swans harvested reaches 10, the swan season will close by emergency tribal rule.

    General Conditions

    A. All tribal members are required to obtain a valid tribal waterfowl hunting permit.

    B. Except as otherwise noted, tribal members are required to comply with tribal codes that are no less restrictive than the model ceded territory conservation codes approved by Federal courts in the Lac Courte Oreilles v. State of Wisconsin (Voigt) and Mille Lacs Band v. State of Minnesota cases. Chapter 10 in each of these model codes regulates ceded territory migratory bird hunting. Both versions of Chapter 10 parallel Federal requirements as to hunting methods, transportation, sale, exportation, and other conditions generally applicable to migratory bird hunting. They also automatically incorporate by reference the Federal migratory bird regulations.

    C. Particular regulations of note include:

    1. Nontoxic shot is required for all waterfowl hunting by tribal members.

    2. Tribal members in each zone must comply with tribal regulations providing for closed and restricted waterfowl hunting areas. These regulations generally incorporate the same restrictions contained in parallel State regulations.

    3. There are no possession limits, with the exception of 2 swans (in the aggregate) and 25 rails (in the aggregate). For purposes of enforcing bag limits, all migratory birds in the possession and custody of tribal members on ceded lands are considered to have been taken on those lands unless tagged by a tribal or State conservation warden as taken on reservation lands. All migratory birds that fall on reservation lands do not count as part of any off-reservation bag or possession limit.

    4. The baiting restrictions included in the respective section 10.05(2)(h) of the model ceded territory conservation codes will be amended to include language which parallels that in place for nontribal members as published at 64 FR 29799, June 3, 1999.

    5. There are no shell limit restrictions.

    6. Hunting hours are from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.

    (f) [Reserved]

    (g) Kalispel Tribe, Kalispel Reservation, Usk, Washington (Tribal Members and Nontribal Hunters)

    Nontribal Hunters on Reservation Geese

    Season Dates: Open September 5 through September 13, 2015, for the early season, and open October 3, 2015, through January 17, 2016, for the late season. During this period, days to be hunted are specified by the Kalispel Tribe. Nontribal hunters should contact the Tribe for more detail on hunting days.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: Five Canada geese for the early season, and three light geese and four dark geese for the late season. The daily bag limit is two brant (when the State's season is open) and is in addition to dark goose limits for the late season. The possession limit is twice the daily bag limit.

    Ducks

    Season Dates: Open September 18 through September 20, 2015, and open September 25 through September 27, 2015, for the early season; and open October 3, 2015, through January 17, 2016, for the late season.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: Seven ducks, including no more than two female mallards, two pintail, one canvasback, three scaup, and two redheads. The possession limit is twice the daily bag limit.

    Tribal Hunters Within Kalispel Ceded Lands Ducks

    Season Dates: Open October 3, 2015, through January 31, 2016.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: Seven ducks, including no more than two female mallards, two pintail, one canvasback, three scaup, and two redheads. The possession limit is twice the daily bag limit.

    Geese

    Season Dates: Open September 5, 2015, through January 31, 2016.

    Daily Bag Limit: Six light geese and four dark geese. The daily bag limit is two brant and is in addition to dark goose limits.

    General: Tribal members must possess a validated Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp and a tribal ceded lands permit.

    (h) [Reserved]

    (i) Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Cass Lake, Minnesota (Tribal Members Only).

    Ducks

    Season Dates: Open September 15 through December 31, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limits: 10 ducks, including no more than 5 pintail, 5 canvasback, and 5 black ducks.

    Geese

    Season Dates: Open September 1 through December 31, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limits: 10 geese.

    General: Possession limits are twice the daily bag limits. Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. Nontoxic shot is required. Use of live decoys, bait, and commercial use of migratory birds are prohibited. Waterfowl may not be pursued or taken while using motorized craft.

    (j) Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Manistee, Michigan (Tribal Members Only).

    1836 Ceded Territory and Tribal Reservation:

    Ducks

    Season Dates: Open September 12, 2015, through January 25, 2016.

    Daily Bag Limits: 12 ducks, including no more than 6 mallards (2 of which may be hens), 3 black ducks, 3 redheads, 3 wood ducks, 2 pintail, 1 hooded merganser, and 2 canvasback.

    Canada Geese

    Season Dates: Open September 1, 2015, through February 8, 2016.

    Daily Bag Limit: Five.

    White-Fronted Geese, Brant, and Snow Geese

    Season Dates: Open September 20 through November 30, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: Five.

    Woodcock, Mourning Doves, Snipe, and Sora and Virginia Rails

    Season Dates: Open September 1 through November 14, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: 5 woodcock and 10 each of the other species.

    General: Possession limits are twice the daily bag limits.

    (k) The Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Petoskey, Michigan (Tribal Members Only).

    Ducks

    Season Dates: Open September 1, 2015, through January 31, 2016.

    Daily Bag Limits: 20 ducks, including no more than 5 hen mallards, 5 black ducks, 5 redheads, 5 wood ducks, 5 pintail, 5 scaup, and 5 canvasback.

    Mergansers

    Season Dates: Open September 1, 2015, through January 31, 2016.

    Daily Bag Limits: 10 mergansers, including no more than 5 hooded mergansers.

    Coots and Gallinules

    Season Dates: Open September 15 through December 31, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: 20.

    Canada Geese

    Season Dates: Open September 1, 2015, through February 8, 2016.

    Daily Bag Limit: 20 in the aggregate.

    Sora and Virginia Rails

    Season Dates: Open September 1 through December 31, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: 20.

    Snipe

    Season Dates: Open September 1 through December 31, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: 16.

    Mourning Doves

    Season Dates: Open September 1 through November 14, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: 15.

    Woodcock

    Season Dates: Open September 1 through December 1, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: 10.

    Sandhill Cranes

    Season Dates: Open September 1 through December 1, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: One.

    General: Possession limits are twice the daily bag limits.

    (l) Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, Lower Brule Reservation, Lower Brule, South Dakota (Tribal Members and Nontribal Hunters).

    Tribal Members Ducks, Mergansers, and Coots

    Season Dates: Open September 1, 2015, through March 10, 2016.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: Six ducks, including no more five mallards (only two of which may be hens), three scaup, one mottled duck, two redheads, three wood ducks, two canvasback, and two pintail. Coot daily bag limit is 15. Merganser daily bag limit is five, including no more than two hooded mergansers. The possession limit is three times the daily bag limit.

    Canada Geese

    Season Dates: Open September 1, 2015, through March 10, 2016.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: 6 and 18, respectively.

    White-Fronted Geese

    Season Dates: Open September 1, 2015, through March 10, 2016.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: Two and six, respectively.

    Light Geese

    Season Dates: Open September 1, 2015, through March 10, 2016.

    Daily Bag Limit: 20.

    General Conditions: All hunters must comply with the basic Federal migratory bird hunting regulations in 50 CFR part 20, including the use of steel shot. Nontribal hunters must possess a validated Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp. The Lower Brule Sioux Tribe has an official Conservation Code that hunters must adhere to when hunting in areas subject to control by the Tribe.

    (m) [Reserved]

    (n) Makah Indian Tribe, Neah Bay, Washington (Tribal Members).

    Band-Tailed Pigeons

    Season Dates: Open September 12 through October 25, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: Two band-tailed pigeons.

    Ducks and Coots

    Season Dates: Open September 26, 2015, through January 31, 2016.

    Daily Bag Limit: Seven ducks including no more than five mallards (only two of which can be a hen), one redhead, one pintail, three scaup, and one canvasback. The seasons on wood duck and harlequin are closed. The coot daily bag limit is 25.

    Geese

    Season Dates: Open September 26, 2015, through January 31, 2016.

    Daily Bag Limit: Four, including no more than one brant. The seasons on Aleutian and dusky Canada geese are closed.

    General

    All other Federal regulations contained in 50 CFR part 20 apply. The following restrictions also apply:

    1. As per Makah Ordinance 44, only shotguns may be used to hunt any species of waterfowl. Additionally, shotguns must not be discharged within 0.25 miles of an occupied area.

    2. Hunters must be eligible, enrolled Makah tribal members and must carry their Indian Treaty Fishing and Hunting Identification Card while hunting. No tags or permits are required to hunt waterfowl.

    3. The Cape Flattery area is open to waterfowl hunting, except in designated wilderness areas, or within 1 mile of Cape Flattery Trail, or in any area that is closed to hunting by another ordinance or regulation.

    4. The use of live decoys and/or baiting to pursue any species of waterfowl is prohibited.

    5. Steel or bismuth shot only for waterfowl is allowed; the use of lead shot is prohibited.

    6. The use of dogs is permitted to hunt waterfowl.

    7. Shooting hours for all species of waterfowl are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset.

    8. Open hunting areas are: GMUs 601 (Hoko), a portion of the 602 (Dickey) encompassing the area north of a line between Norwegian Memorial and east to Highway 101, and 603 (Pysht).

    (o) Navajo Nation, Navajo Indian Reservation, Window Rock, Arizona (Tribal Members and Nontribal Hunters).

    Band-Tailed Pigeons

    Season Dates: Open September 1 through 30, 2015.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: 5 and 10 pigeons, respectively.

    Mourning Doves

    Season Dates: Open September 1 through 30, 2015.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: 10 and 20 doves, respectively.

    General Conditions: Tribal and nontribal hunters will comply with all basic Federal migratory bird hunting regulations in 50 CFR part 20, regarding shooting hours and manner of taking. In addition, each waterfowl hunter 16 years of age or over must carry on his/her person a valid Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (Duck Stamp) signed in ink across the face. Special regulations established by the Navajo Nation also apply on the reservation.

    (p) Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin, Oneida, Wisconsin (Tribal Members Only).

    Ducks (including mergansers)

    Season Dates: Open September 19 through November 20, 2015, and open November 30 through December 6, 2015.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: Six, including no more than six mallards (three hen mallards), six wood ducks, one redhead, two pintail, and one hooded merganser. The possession limit is twice the daily bag limit.

    Geese

    Season Dates: Open September 1 through November 20, 2015, and open November 30 through December 31, 2015.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: 5 and 10 Canada geese, respectively, from September 1 through November 20, 2015, and November 30 through 31, 2015. Hunters will be issued five tribal tags for geese in order to monitor goose harvest. An additional five tags will be issued each time birds are registered. A seasonal quota of 500 birds is adopted. If the quota is reached before the season concludes, the season will be closed at that time.

    Woodcock

    Season Dates: Open September 5 through November 1, 2015.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: Two and four woodcock, respectively.

    Doves

    Season Dates: Open September 5 through November 1, 2015.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: 10 and 20 doves, respectively.

    General Conditions: Tribal member shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. Nontribal members hunting on the Reservation or on lands under the jurisdiction of the Tribe must comply with all State of Wisconsin regulations, including season dates, shooting hours, and bag limits, which differ from tribal member seasons. Tribal members and nontribal members hunting on the Reservation or on lands under the jurisdiction of the Tribe will observe all basic Federal migratory bird hunting regulations found in 50 CFR part 20, with the following exceptions: Tribal members are exempt from the purchase of the Migratory Waterfowl Hunting and Conservation Stamp (Duck Stamp); and shotgun capacity is not limited to three shells.

    (q) Point No Point Treaty Council, Kingston, Washington (Tribal Members Only).

    Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe Ducks

    Season Dates: Open September 1, 2015, through March 10, 2016.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: Seven ducks, including no more than two hen mallards, one pintail, one canvasback, four scoters, and two redheads. Possession limit is twice the daily bag limit. Bag and possession limits for harlequin ducks is one per season.

    Geese

    Season Dates: Open September 9, 2015, through March 10, 2016.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: Four geese, and may include no more than three light geese. The season on dusky Canada geese is closed. Possession limit is twice the daily bag limit.

    Brant

    Season Dates: Open January 10 through January 25, 2016.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: Two and four, respectively.

    Coots

    Season Dates: Open September 13, 2015, through February 1, 2016.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: 7 and 14 coots, respectively.

    Mourning Doves

    Season Dates: Open September 13, 2015, through January 18, 2016.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: 10 and 20 doves, respectively.

    Snipe

    Season Dates: Open September 13, 2015, through March 10, 2016.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: 8 and 16 snipe, respectively.

    Band-Tailed Pigeons

    Season Dates: Open September 13, 2015, through January 18, 2016.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: Two and four pigeons, respectively.

    Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe Ducks

    Season Dates: Open September 1, 2015, through March 10, 2016.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: Seven ducks, including no more than two hen mallards, one pintail, one canvasback, four scoters, and two redheads. Possession limit is twice the daily bag limit. Bag and possession limits for harlequin ducks is one per season.

    Geese

    Season Dates: Open September 1, 2015, through March 10, 2016.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: Four geese, and may include no more than three light geese. The season on dusky Canada geese is closed. Possession limit is twice the daily bag limit.

    Brant

    Season Dates: Open November 9, 2015, through January 31, 2016.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: Two and four, respectively.

    Coots

    Season Dates: Open September 1, 2015, through March 10, 2016.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: 7 and 14 coots, respectively.

    Mourning Doves

    Season Dates: Open September 1, 2015, through January 31, 2016.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: 10 and 20 doves, respectively.

    Snipe

    Season Dates: Open September 1, 2015, through March 10, 2016.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: 8 and 16 snipe, respectively.

    Band-tailed Pigeons

    Season Dates: Open September 1, 2015, through March 10, 2016.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: Two and four pigeons, respectively.

    General: Tribal members must possess a tribal hunting permit from the Point No Point Tribal Council pursuant to tribal law. Hunting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. Hunters must observe all other basic Federal migratory bird hunting regulations in 50 CFR part 20.

    (r) The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan, Isabella Reservation, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan (Tribal Members Only)

    Mourning Doves

    Season Dates: Open September 1, 2015, through January 31, 2016.

    Daily Bag Limit: 25 doves.

    Ducks

    Season Dates: Open September 1, 2015, through January 31, 2016.

    Daily Bag Limits: 20, including no more than 5 hen mallard, 5 wood duck, 5 black duck, 5 pintail, 5 redhead, 5 scaup, and 5 canvasback.

    Mergansers

    Season Dates: Open September 1, 2015, through January 31, 2016.

    Daily Bag Limit: 10, including no more than 5 hooded mergansers.

    Canada Geese

    Season Dates: Open September 1, 2015, through January 31, 2016.

    Daily Bag Limit: 20 in the aggregate.

    Coots and Gallinule

    Season Dates: Open September 1, 2015, through January 31, 2016.

    Daily Bag Limit: 20 in the aggregate.

    Woodcock

    Season Dates: Open September 1, 2015, through January 31, 2016.

    Daily Bag Limits: 10.

    Common Snipe

    Season Dates: Open September 1, 2015, through January 31, 2016.

    Daily Bag Limits: 16.

    Sora and Virginia Rails

    Season Dates: Open September 1, 2015, through January 31, 2016.

    Daily Bag Limits: 20 in the aggregate.

    Sandhill Crane

    Season Dates: Open September 1, 2015, through January 31, 2016.

    Daily Bag Limits: One.

    General: Possession limits are twice the daily bag limits except for rails, of which the possession limit equals the daily bag limit (20). Tribal members must possess a tribal hunting permit from the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe pursuant to tribal law. Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until one-half hour after sunset. Hunters must observe all other basic Federal migratory bird hunting regulations in 50 CFR part 20.

    (s) Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan (Tribal Members Only).

    Mourning Doves

    Season Dates: Open September 1 through November 14, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: 10 doves.

    Teal

    Season Dates: Open September 1 through December 31, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limits: 20 in the aggregate.

    Ducks

    Season Dates: Open September 15 through December 31, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limits: 20, including no more than 10 mallards (only 5 of which may be hens), 5 canvasback, 5 black duck, and 5 wood duck.

    Mergansers

    Season Dates: Open September 15 through December 31, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: 10 in the aggregate.

    Geese

    Season Dates: Open September 1 through December 31, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: 20 in the aggregate.

    Coots and Gallinule

    Season Dates: Open September 1 through December 31, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: 20 in the aggregate.

    Woodcock

    Season Dates: Open September 2 through December 1, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limits: 10.

    Common Snipe

    Season Dates: Open September 15 through December 31, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limits: 16.

    Sora and Virginia Rails

    Season Dates: Open September 1 through December 31, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limits: 20 in the aggregate.

    General: Possession limits are twice the daily bag limits except for rails, of which the possession limit equals the daily bag limit (20). Tribal members must possess a tribal hunting permit from the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe pursuant to tribal law. Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until one-half hour after sunset. Hunters must observe all other basic Federal migratory bird hunting regulations in 50 CFR part 20.

    (t) [Reserved]

    (u) Skokomish Tribe, Shelton, Washington (Tribal Members Only).

    Ducks

    Season Dates: Open September 16, 2015, through February 28, 2016.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: Seven ducks, including no more than two hen mallards, one pintail, one canvasback, one harlequin per season, and two redheads. Possession limit is twice the daily bag limit (except for harlequin).

    Geese

    Season Dates: Open September 16, 2015, through February 28, 2016.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: Four geese, and may include no more than three light geese. The season on Aleutian Canada geese is closed. Possession limit is twice the daily bag limit.

    Brant

    Season Dates: Open November 1, 2015, through February 15, 2016.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: Two and four brant, respectively.

    Coots

    Season Dates: Open September 16, 2015, through February 28, 2016.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: 25 and 50 coots, respectively.

    Mourning Doves

    Season Dates: Open September 16, 2015, through February 28, 2016.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: 10 and 20 doves, respectively.

    Snipe

    Season Dates: Open September 16, 2015, through February 28, 2016.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: 8 and 16 snipe, respectively.

    Band-Tailed Pigeons

    Season Dates: Open September 16, 2015, through February 28, 2016.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: Two and four pigeons, respectively.

    General Conditions: All hunters authorized to hunt migratory birds on the reservation must obtain a tribal hunting permit from the respective Tribe. Hunters are also required to adhere to a number of special regulations available at the tribal office. Hunters must observe all other basic Federal migratory bird hunting regulations in 50 CFR part 20.

    (v) Spokane Tribe of Indians, Spokane Indian Reservation and Ceded Lands, Wellpinit, Washington (Tribal Members Only).

    Ducks

    Season Dates: Open September 2, 2015, through January 31, 2016.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: Seven ducks, including no more than two hen mallards, two pintail, two canvasback, three scaup, and two redheads. Possession limit is twice the daily bag limit.

    Geese

    Season Dates: Open September 2, 2015, through January 31, 2016.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: Four dark geese and six light geese. Possession limit is twice the daily bag limit.

    General Conditions: All tribal hunters must have a valid Tribal identification card on his or her person while hunting. Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset, and steel shot is required for all migratory bird hunting. Hunters must observe all other basic Federal migratory bird hunting regulations in 50 CFR part 20.

    (w) Squaxin Island Tribe, Squaxin Island Reservation, Shelton, Washington (Tribal Members Only)

    Ducks

    Season Dates: Open September 1, 2015, through January 15, 2016.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: Five ducks, which may include only one canvasback. The season on harlequin ducks is closed. Possession limit is twice the daily bag limit.

    Geese

    Season Dates: Open September 15, 2015, through January 15, 2016.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: Four geese, and may include no more than two snow geese. The season on Aleutian and cackling Canada geese is closed. Possession limit is twice the daily bag limit.

    Brant

    Season Dates: Open September 1 through December 31, 2015.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: Two and four brant, respectively.

    Coots

    Season Dates: Open September 1, 2015, through January 15, 2016.

    Daily Bag Limits: 25 coots.

    Snipe

    Season Dates: Open September 15, 2015, and through January 15, 2016.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: 8 and 16 snipe, respectively.

    Band-Tailed Pigeons

    Season Dates: Open September 1 through December 31, 2015.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: 5 and 10 pigeons, respectively.

    General Conditions: All tribal hunters must obtain a Tribal Hunting Tag and Permit from the Tribe's Natural Resources Department and must have the permit, along with the member's treaty enrollment card, on his or her person while hunting. Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset, and steel shot is required for all migratory bird hunting. Other special regulations are available at the tribal office in Shelton, Washington. Hunters must observe all other basic Federal migratory bird hunting regulations in 50 CFR part 20.

    (x) [Reserved]

    (y) [Reserved]

    (z) The Tulalip Tribes of Washington, Tulalip Indian Reservation, Marysville, Washington (Tribal Members Only).

    Ducks and Mergansers

    Season Dates: Open September 2, 2015, through February 29, 2016.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: Seven ducks, including no more than two hen mallards, two pintail, two canvasback, three scaup, and two redheads. Possession limit is twice the daily bag limit.

    Geese

    Season Dates: Open September 2, 2015, through February 29, 2016.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: Seven geese, including no more than four cackling and dusky Canada geese. Possession limit is twice the daily bag limit.

    Brant

    Season Dates: Open September 2, 2015, through February 29, 2016.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: Two and four brant, respectively.

    Coots

    Season Dates: Open September 2, 2015, through February 29, 2016.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: 25 and 25 coots, respectively.

    Snipe

    Season Dates: Open September 2, 2015, through February 29, 2016.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: 8 and 16 snipe, respectively.

    General Conditions: All tribal hunters must have a valid Tribal identification card on his or her person while hunting. All nontribal hunters must obtain and possess while hunting a valid Tulalip Tribe hunting permit and be accompanied by a Tulalip Tribal member. Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset, and steel shot is required for all migratory bird hunting. Hunters must observe all other basic Federal migratory bird hunting regulations in 50 CFR part 20.

    (aa) Upper Skagit Indian Tribe, Sedro Woolley, Washington (Tribal Members Only).

    Mourning Doves

    Season Dates: Open September 1 through December 31, 2015.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: 12 and 15 mourning doves, respectively.

    Tribal members must have the tribal identification and harvest report card on their person to hunt. Tribal members hunting on the Reservation will observe all basic Federal migratory bird hunting regulations found in 50 CFR part 20, except shooting hours would be fifteen minutes before official sunrise to 15 minutes after official sunset.

    (bb) [Reserved]

    (cc) White Earth Band of Ojibwe, White Earth, Minnesota (Tribal Members Only).

    Ducks

    Season Dates: Open September 12 through December 15, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit for Ducks: 10 ducks, including no more than 2 female mallards, 1 pintail, and 1 canvasback.

    Mergansers

    Season Dates: Open September 12 through December 15, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit for Mergansers: Five mergansers, including no more than two hooded mergansers.

    Geese

    Season Dates: Open September 1 through December 15, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: 12 geese through September 25, and 5 thereafter.

    Coots

    Season Dates: Open September 1 through November 30, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: 20 coots.

    Snipe

    Season Dates: Open September 1 through November 30, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: 10 snipe.

    Mourning Dove

    Season Dates: Open September 1 through November 30, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: 25 mourning dove.

    Woodcock

    Season Dates: Open September 1 through November 30, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: 10 woodcock.

    Rail

    Season Dates: Open September 1 through November 30, 2015.

    Daily Bag Limit: 25 rail.

    General Conditions: Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. Nontoxic shot is required. All other basic Federal migratory bird hunting regulations contained in 50 CFR part 20 will be observed.

    (dd) White Mountain Apache Tribe, Fort Apache Indian Reservation, Whiteriver, Arizona (Tribal Members and Nontribal Hunters).

    Band-Tailed Pigeons (Wildlife Management Unit 10 and areas south of Y-70 and Y-10 in Wildlife Management Unit 7, Only)

    Season Dates: Open September 1 through 15, 2015.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: Three and six pigeons, respectively.

    Mourning Doves (Wildlife Management Unit 10 and areas south of Y-70 and Y-10 in Wildlife Management Unit 7, Only)

    Season Dates: Open September 1 through 15, 2015.

    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: 10 and 20 doves, respectively.

    General Conditions: All nontribal hunters hunting band-tailed pigeons and mourning doves on Reservation lands shall have in their possession a valid White Mountain Apache Daily or Yearly Small Game Permit. In addition to a small game permit, all nontribal hunters hunting band-tailed pigeons must have in their possession a White Mountain Special Band-tailed Pigeon Permit. Other special regulations established by the White Mountain Apache Tribe apply on the reservation. Tribal and nontribal hunters will comply with all basic Federal migratory bird hunting regulations in 50 CFR part 20 regarding shooting hours and manner of taking.

    (ee) [Reserved]

    Dated: August 26, 2015. Karen Hyun, Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
    [FR Doc. 2015-21595 Filed 8-31-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310-55-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 141021887-5172-02] RIN 0648-XE152 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Exchange of Flatfish in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Temporary rule; reallocation.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS is exchanging unused Community Development Quota (CDQ) for CDQ acceptable biological catch (ABC) reserves. This action is necessary to allow the 2015 total allowable catch of flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area to be harvested.

    DATES:

    Effective September 1, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Steve Whitney, 907-586-7228.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI) according to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP) prepared by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council under authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Regulations governing fishing by U.S. vessels in accordance with the FMP appear at subpart H of 50 CFR part 600 and 50 CFR part 679.

    The 2015 flathead sole, rock sole and yellowfin sole CDQ reserves specified in the BSAI are 2,545 metric tons (mt), 7,710 mt, and 15,693 mt as established by the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (80 FR 11919, March 5, 2015) and following revisions (80 FR 38017, July 2, 2015). The 2015 flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole CDQ ABC reserves are 4,531 mt, 11,732 mt, and 10,929 mt as established by the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (80 FR 11919, March 5, 2015) and following revisions (80 FR 38017, July 2, 2015).

    The Coastal Villages Regional Fund has requested that NMFS exchange 125 mt of flathead sole and 175 mt of rock sole CDQ reserves for 300 mt of yellowfin sole CDQ ABC reserves under § 679.31(d). Therefore, in accordance with § 679.31(d), NMFS exchanges 125 mt of flathead sole and 175 mt of rock sole CDQ reserves for 300 mt of yellowfin sole CDQ ABC reserves in the BSAI. This action also decreases and increases the TACs and CDQ ABC reserves by the corresponding amounts. Tables 11 and 13 of the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (80 FR 11919, March 5, 2015) and following revisions (80 FR 38017, July 2, 2015) are further revised as follows:

    Table 11—Final 2015 Community Development Quota (CDQ) Reserves, Incidental Catch Amounts (ICAS), and Amendment 80 Allocations of the Aleutian Islands Pacific Ocean Perch, and BSAI Flathead Sole, Rock Sole, and Yellowfin Sole TACS [Amounts are in metric tons] Sector Pacific ocean perch Eastern
  • Aleutian
  • district
  • Central
  • Aleutian
  • district
  • Western
  • Aleutian
  • district
  • Flathead sole BSAI Rock sole BSAI Yellowfin sole BSAI
    TAC 8,000 7,000 9,000 24,075 69,375 149,050 CDQ 856 749 963 2,420 7,535 15,993 ICA 100 75 10 5,000 8,000 5,000 BSAI trawl limited access 704 618 161 0 0 16,165 Amendment 80 6,340 5,558 7,866 16,655 53,840 111,892 Alaska Groundfish Cooperative 3,362 2,947 4,171 1,708 13,318 44,455 Alaska Seafood Cooperative 2,978 2,611 3,695 14,947 40,522 67,437 Note: Sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.
    Table 13—Final 2015 and 2016 ABC Surplus, Community Development Quota (CDQ) ABC Reserves, and Amendment 80 ABC Reserves in the BSAI for Flathead Sole, Rock Sole, and Yellowfin Sole [Amounts are in metric tons] Sector 2015 Flathead sole 2015 Rock sole 2015 Yellowfin sole 2016 Flathead sole 2016 Rock sole 2016 Yellowfin sole ABC 66,130 181,700 248,800 63,711 164,800 245,500 TAC 24,075 69,375 149,050 24,250 69,250 149,000 ABC surplus 42,055 112,325 99,750 39,461 95,550 96,500 ABC reserve 42,055 112,325 99,750 39,461 95,550 96,500 CDQ ABC reserve 4,656 11,907 10,629 4,222 10,224 10,326 Amendment 80 ABC reserve 37,399 100,418 89,121 35,239 85,326 86,175 Alaska Groundfish Cooperative for 20151 3,836 24,840 35,408 n/a n/a n/a Alaska Seafood Cooperative for 20151 33,563 75,578 53,713 n/a n/a n/a 1 The 2016 allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2015. Classification

    This action responds to the best available information recently obtained from the fishery. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds good cause to waive the requirement to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment pursuant to the authority set forth at 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) as such requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest. This requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest as it would prevent NMFS from responding to the most recent fisheries data in a timely fashion and would delay the flatfish exchange by the Coastal Villages Regional Fund in the BSAI. Since these fisheries are currently open, it is important to immediately inform the industry as to the revised allocations. Immediate notification is necessary to allow for the orderly conduct and efficient operation of this fishery, to allow the industry to plan for the fishing season, and to avoid potential disruption to the fishing fleet as well as processors. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of August 21, 2015.

    The AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in the effective date of this action under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). This finding is based upon the reasons provided above for waiver of prior notice and opportunity for public comment.

    This action is required by § 679.20 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: August 26, 2015. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-21540 Filed 8-31-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    80 169 Tuesday, September 1, 2015 Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY 10 CFR Parts 429 and 431 [Docket No. EERE-2015-BT-TP-0015] RIN 1904-AD54 Energy Conservation Program: Test Procedures for Small, Large, and Very Large Air-Cooled Commercial Package Air Conditioning and Heating Equipment AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice of public meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    On August 6, 2015, the U.S. Department of Energy proposed to reaffirm that the currently prescribed test procedure must be used when measuring the energy efficiency ratio, integrated energy efficiency ratio, and coefficient of performance for small, large, and very large air-cooled commercial unitary air conditioners (CUAC) and commercial unitary heat pumps (CUHP). DOE noted that it would hold a public meeting to discuss the proposal at the request of interested parties. DOE has since received such a request and is holding a public meeting on September 4, 2015.

    DATES:

    DOE will hold a public meeting on September 4, 2015, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time in Washington, DC.

    DOE will continue to accept comments, data, and information on the August 6, 2015 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) (80 FR 46870) before and after the public meeting, but no later than September 8, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    The public meeting will be held at the U.S. Department of Energy, Forrestal Building, Room 8E-089, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585-0121. The public meeting can also be attended via webinar. For details regarding attendance at the meeting or webinar, see the Public Participation section of this notice.

    Any comments submitted must identify the NOPR for Test Procedures for Small, Large, and Very Large Air-Cooled Commercial Package Air Conditioning and Heating Equipment, and provide docket number EERE-2015-BT-TP-0015 and/or regulation identifier number (RIN) 1904-AD54. Comments may be submitted using any of the following methods:

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

    2. Email: [email protected] Include the docket number and/or RIN in the subject line of the message.

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

    For detailed instructions on submitting comments and additional information on the rulemaking process, see the Public Participation section of this notice.

    Docket: The docket, which includes Federal Register notices, public meeting attendee lists and transcripts, comments, and other supporting documents/materials, is available for review at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=EERE-2015-BT-TP-0015. All documents in the docket are listed in the regulations.gov index. However, some documents listed in the index, such as those containing information that is exempt from public disclosure, may not be publicly available.

    For further information on how to submit a comment, review other public comments and the docket, or participate in the public meeting, contact Ms. Brenda Edwards at (202) 586-2945 or by email: [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Direct requests for additional information may be sent to Ashley Armstrong, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Building Technologies Program, EE-5B, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585-0121. Telephone: (202) 586-6590. Email: [email protected]

    For legal issues, please contact Michael Kido, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of the General Counsel, GC-71, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585-0121. Telephone: (202) 586-8145. Email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Public Participation A. Attendance at Public Meeting

    If you plan to attend the public meeting, please notify Ms. Brenda Edwards at (202) 586-2945 or [email protected] As explained in the ADDRESSES section, foreign nationals visiting DOE Headquarters are subject to advance security screening procedures.

    Due to the REAL ID Act implemented by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), there have been 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, American Samoa, Arizona, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Oklahoma, and Washington. 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.

    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 of this fact as soon as possible by contacting Ms. Brenda Edwards at (202) 586-2945 so that the necessary procedures can be completed. DOE requires visitors to have laptops and other devices, such as tablets, checked upon entry into the building. Please report to the visitor's desk to have devices checked before proceeding through security.

    In addition, you can attend the public meeting via webinar. Webinar registration information, participant instructions, and information about the capabilities available to webinar participants will be published on DOE's commercial package air conditioners and heat pumps Web site—https://www1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/appliance_standards/rulemaking.aspx?ruleid=121. Participants are responsible for ensuring their systems are compatible with the webinar software.

    B. Procedure for Submitting Prepared General Statements for Distribution

    Any person who has plans to present a prepared general statement may request that copies of his or her statement be made available at the public meeting. Such persons may submit requests, along with an advance electronic copy of their statement in PDF (preferred), Microsoft Word or Excel, WordPerfect, or text (ASCII) file format, to the appropriate address shown in the ADDRESSES section at the beginning of this notice. The request and advance copy of statements must be received at least one week before the public meeting and may be emailed, hand-delivered, or sent by mail. DOE prefers to receive requests and advance copies via email. Please include a telephone number to enable DOE staff to make a follow-up contact, if needed.

    C. Conduct of Public Meeting

    DOE will designate a DOE official to preside at the public meeting and may also use a professional facilitator to aid discussion. The meeting will not be a judicial or evidentiary-type public hearing, but DOE will conduct it in accordance with section 336 of EPCA (42 U.S.C. 6306). A court reporter will be present to record the proceedings and prepare a transcript. DOE reserves the right to schedule the order of presentations and to establish the procedures governing the conduct of the public meeting. Interested parties may submit comments on the proceedings and any aspect of the rulemaking at any point until the end of the comment period.

    The public meeting will be conducted in an informal, conference style. DOE will present summaries of comments received before the public meeting, allow time for prepared general statements by participants, and encourage all interested parties to share their views on issues affecting this rulemaking. Each participant will be allowed to make a general statement (within time limits determined by DOE), before the discussion of specific topics. DOE will permit, as time permits, other participants to comment briefly on any general statements.

    At the end of all prepared statements on a topic, DOE will permit participants to clarify their statements briefly and comment on statements made by others. Participants should be prepared to answer questions by DOE and by other participants concerning these issues. DOE representatives may also ask questions of participants concerning other matters relevant to this rulemaking. The official conducting the public meeting will accept additional comments or questions from those attending, as time permits. The presiding official will announce any further procedural rules or modification of the above procedures that may be needed for the proper conduct of the public meeting.

    A transcript of the public meeting will be included in the docket, which can be viewed as described in the Docket section at the beginning of this notice. In addition, any person may buy a copy of the transcript from the transcribing reporter.

    D. Submission of Comments

    DOE will continue to accept comments, data, and information regarding the August 6, 2015 NOPR (80 FR 46870) before or after the public meeting, but no later than September 8, 2015. Interested parties may submit comments using any of the methods described in the ADDRESSES section at the beginning of this notice.

    Submitting comments via regulations.gov. The regulations.gov Web page will require you to provide your name and contact information. Your contact information will be viewable to DOE Building Technologies staff only. Your contact information will not be publicly viewable except for your first and last names, organization name (if any), and submitter representative name (if any). If your comment is not processed properly because of technical difficulties, DOE will use this information to contact you. If DOE cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, DOE may not be able to consider your comment.

    However, your contact information will be publicly viewable if you include it in the comment or in any documents attached to your comment. Any information that you do not want to be publicly viewable should not be included in your comment, nor in any document attached to your comment. Persons viewing comments will see only first and last names, organization names, correspondence containing comments, and any documents submitted with the comments.

    Do not submit to regulations.gov information for which disclosure is restricted by statute, such as trade secrets and commercial or financial information (hereinafter referred to as Confidential Business Information (CBI)). Comments submitted through regulations.gov cannot be claimed as CBI. Comments received through the Web site will waive any CBI claims for the information submitted. For information on submitting CBI, see the Confidential Business Information section.

    DOE processes submissions made through regulations.gov before posting. Normally, comments will be posted within a few days of being submitted. However, if large volumes of comments are being processed simultaneously, your comment may not be viewable for up to several weeks. Please keep the comment tracking number that regulations.gov provides after you have successfully uploaded your comment.

    Submitting comments via email, hand delivery, or mail. Comments and documents submitted via email, hand delivery, or mail also will be posted to regulations.gov. If you do not want your personal contact information to be publicly viewable, do not include it in your comment or any accompanying documents. Instead, provide your contact information on a cover letter. Include your first and last names, email address, telephone number, and optional mailing address. The cover letter will not be publicly viewable as long as it does not include any comments

    Include contact information each time you submit comments, data, documents, and other information to DOE. If you submit via mail or hand delivery, please provide all items on a CD, if feasible. It is not necessary to submit printed copies. No facsimiles (faxes) will be accepted.

    Comments, data, and other information submitted to DOE electronically should be provided in PDF (preferred), Microsoft Word or Excel, WordPerfect, or text (ASCII) file format. Provide documents that are not secured, written in English and free of any defects or viruses. Documents should not contain special characters or any form of encryption and, if possible, they should carry the electronic signature of the author.

    Campaign form letters. Please submit campaign form letters by the originating organization in batches of between 50 to 500 form letters per PDF or as one form letter with a list of supporters' names compiled into one or more PDFs. This reduces comment processing and posting time.

    Confidential Business Information. According to 10 CFR 1004.11, any person submitting information that he or she believes to be confidential and exempt by law from public disclosure should submit via email, postal mail, or hand delivery two well-marked copies: One copy of the document marked confidential including all the information believed to be confidential, and one copy of the document marked non-confidential with the information believed to be confidential deleted. Submit these documents via email or on a CD, if feasible. DOE will make its own determination about the confidential status of the information and treat it according to its determination.

    Factors of interest to DOE when evaluating requests to treat submitted information as confidential include: (1) A description of the items; (2) whether and why such items are customarily treated as confidential within the industry; (3) whether the information is generally known by or available from other sources; (4) whether the information has previously been made available to others without obligation concerning its confidentiality; (5) an explanation of the competitive injury to the submitting person which would result from public disclosure; (6) when such information might lose its confidential character due to the passage of time; and (7) why disclosure of the information would be contrary to the public interest.

    It is DOE's policy that all comments may be included in the public docket, without change and as received, including any personal information provided in the comments (except information deemed to be exempt from public disclosure).

    Issued in Washington, DC, on August 26, 2015. Kathleen B. Hogan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-21691 Filed 8-31-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Internal Revenue Service 26 CFR Part 1 [REG-143800-14] RIN 1545-BM85 Minimum Value of Eligible Employer-Sponsored Health Plans AGENCY:

    Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Treasury.

    ACTION:

    Supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking.

    SUMMARY:

    This document withdraws, in part, a notice of proposed rulemaking published on May 3, 2013, relating to the health insurance premium tax credit enacted by the Affordable Care Act (including guidance on determining whether health coverage under an eligible employer-sponsored plan provides minimum value) and replaces the withdrawn portion with new proposed regulations providing guidance on determining whether health coverage under an eligible employer-sponsored plan provides minimum value. The proposed regulations affect participants in eligible employer-sponsored health plans and employers that sponsor these plans.

    DATES:

    Written (including electronic) comments and requests for a public hearing must be received by November 2, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send submissions to: CC:PA:LPD:PR (REG-143800-14), Room 5203, Internal Revenue Service, P.O. Box 7604, Ben Franklin Station, Washington, DC 20044. Submissions may be hand-delivered Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. to CC:PA:LPD:PR (REG-143800-14), Courier's Desk, Internal Revenue Service, 1111 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC, or sent electronically via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov (IRS REG-143800-14).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Concerning the proposed regulations, Andrew S. Braden, (202) 317-4725; concerning the submission of comments and/or requests for a public hearing, Oluwafunmilayo Taylor, (202) 317-5179 (not toll-free calls).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    This document withdraws, in part, a notice of proposed rulemaking (REG-125398-12), which was published in the Federal Register on May 3, 2013 (78 FR 25909) and replaces the portion withdrawn with new proposed regulations. The 2013 proposed regulations added § 1.36B-6 of the Income Tax Regulations, providing rules for determining the minimum value of eligible employer-sponsored plans for purposes of the premium tax credit under section 36B of the Internal Revenue Code (Code). Notice 2014-69 (2014-48 IRB 903) advised taxpayers that the Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) and the Treasury Department and the IRS intended to propose regulations providing that plans that fail to provide substantial coverage for inpatient hospitalization or physician services do not provide minimum value. Accordingly, the proposed regulations under § 1.36B-6(a) and (g) are withdrawn.

    Beginning in 2014, under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Public Law 111-148 (124 Stat. 119 (2010)), and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, Public Law 111-152 (124 Stat. 1029 (2010)) (collectively, the Affordable Care Act), eligible individuals who enroll in, or whose family member enrolls in, coverage under a qualified health plan through an Affordable Insurance Exchange (Exchange), also known as a Health Insurance Marketplace, may receive a premium tax credit under section 36B of the Code.

    Premium Tax Credit

    Section 36B allows a refundable premium tax credit, which subsidizes the cost of health insurance coverage enrolled in through an Exchange. A taxpayer may claim the premium tax credit on the taxpayer's tax return only if the taxpayer or a member of the taxpayer's tax family (the persons for whom the taxpayer claims a personal exemption deduction on the taxpayer's tax return, generally the taxpayer, spouse, and dependents) has a coverage month. An individual has a coverage month only if the individual enrolls in a qualified health plan through an Exchange, is not eligible for minimum essential coverage other than coverage in the individual market, and premiums for the qualified health plan are paid. Section 36B(b) and (c)(2)(B). Minimum essential coverage includes coverage under an eligible employer-sponsored plan. See section 5000A(f)(1)(B). However, for purposes of the premium tax credit, an individual is not eligible for coverage under an eligible employer-sponsored plan unless the coverage is affordable and provides minimum value or unless the individual enrolls in the plan. Section 36B(c)(2)(C). Final regulations under section 36B (TD 9590) were published on May 23, 2012 (77 FR 30377).

    Employer Shared Responsibility Provision

    Section 4980H(b) imposes an assessable payment on applicable large employers (as defined in section 4980H(c)(2)) that offer minimum essential coverage under an eligible employer-sponsored plan that is not affordable or does not provide minimum value for one or more full-time employees who receive a premium tax credit subsidy. Final regulations under section 4980H (TD 9655) were published on February 12, 2014 (79 FR 8544).

    Minimum Value

    Under section 36B(c)(2)(C)(ii), an eligible employer-sponsored plan provides minimum value only if the plan's share of the total allowed costs of benefits provided under the plan is at least 60 percent. Section 1302(d)(2)(C) of the Affordable Care Act provides that, in determining the percentage of the total allowed costs of benefits provided under a group health plan, the regulations promulgated by HHS under section 1302(d)(2), dealing with actuarial value, apply.

    HHS published final regulations under section 1302(d)(2) on February 25, 2013 (78 FR 12834). HHS regulations at 45 CFR 156.20, which apply to the actuarial value of plans required to provide coverage of all essential health benefits, define the percentage of the total allowed costs of benefits provided under a group health plan as (1) the anticipated covered medical spending for essential health benefits coverage (as defined in 45 CFR 156.110(a)) paid by a health plan for a standard population, computed in accordance with the plan's cost-sharing, divided by (2) the total anticipated allowed charges for essential health benefit coverage provided to a standard population.

    Under section 1302(b) of the Affordable Care Act, only individual market and insured small group market health plans are required to cover the essential health benefits. Minimum value, however, applies to all eligible employer-sponsored plans, including self-insured plans and insured plans in the large group market. Accordingly, HHS regulations at 45 CFR 156.145(b)(2) and (c) apply the actuarial value definition in the context of minimum value by (1) defining the standard population as the population covered by typical self-insured group health plans, and (2) taking into account the benefits a plan provides that are included in any one benchmark plan a state uses to specify the benefits included in essential health benefits.

    Notice 2014-69, advising taxpayers of the intent to propose regulations providing that plans that fail to provide substantial coverage for inpatient hospitalization or physician services do not provide minimum value, was released on November 4, 2014. Notice 2014-69 also advised that it was anticipated that, for purposes of section 4980H liability, the final regulations would not apply to certain plans (as described later in this preamble) before the end of a plan year beginning no later than March 1, 2015. However, an offer of coverage under these plans to an employee does not preclude the employee from obtaining a premium tax credit, if otherwise eligible.

    As announced by Notice 2014-69, HHS published proposed regulations on November 26, 2014 (79 FR 70674, 70757), and final regulations on February 27, 2015 (80 FR 10872), amending 45 CFR 156.145(a). The HHS regulations provide that an eligible employer-sponsored plan provides minimum value only if, in addition to covering at least 60 percent of the total allowed costs of benefits provided under the plan, the plan benefits include substantial coverage of inpatient hospitalization and physician services. Consistent with Notice 2014-69, the HHS regulations indicate that the changes to the minimum value regulations do not apply before the end of the plan year beginning no later than March 1, 2015 to a plan that fails to provide substantial coverage for inpatient hospitalization services or for physician services (or both), provided that the employer had entered into a binding written commitment to adopt, or had begun enrolling employees in, the plan before November 4, 2014. For this purpose, the plan year is the plan year in effect under the terms of the plan on November 3, 2014. Also for this purpose, a binding written commitment exists when an employer is contractually required to pay for an arrangement, and a plan begins enrolling employees when it begins accepting employee elections to participate in the plan. See 80 FR 10828.

    Explanation of Provisions

    The preamble to the HHS regulations acknowledges that self-insured and large group market group health plans are not required to cover the essential health benefits, but notes that a health plan that does not provide substantial coverage for inpatient hospitalization and physician services does not meet a universally accepted minimum standard of value expected from and inherent in any arrangement that can reasonably be called a health plan and that is intended to provide the primary health coverage for employees. The preamble concludes that it is evident in the structure of and policy underlying the Affordable Care Act that the minimum value standard may be interpreted to require that employer-sponsored plans cover critical benefits. See 80 FR 10827-10828.

    As the preamble notes, allowing plans that fail to provide substantial coverage of inpatient hospital or physician services to be treated as providing minimum value would adversely affect employees (particularly those with significant health risks) who may find this coverage insufficient, by denying them access to a premium tax credit for individual coverage purchased through an Exchange, while at the same time avoiding the employer shared responsibility payment under section 4980H. Plans that omit critical benefits used disproportionately by individuals in poor health would likely enroll far fewer of these individuals, effectively driving down employer costs at the expense of those who, because of their individual health status, are discouraged from enrolling. See 80 FR 10827-10829.

    Accordingly, these proposed regulations incorporate the substance of the rule in the HHS regulations. They provide that an eligible employer-sponsored plan provides minimum value only if the plan's share of the total allowed costs of benefits provided to an employee is at least 60 percent and the plan provides substantial coverage of inpatient hospital and physician services. Comments are requested on rules for determining whether a plan provides “substantial coverage” of inpatient hospital and physician services.

    Effective/Applicability Date and Transition Relief

    These regulations are proposed to apply for plan years beginning after November 3, 2014. However, for purposes of section 4980H(b), the changes to the minimum value regulations (in § 1.36B-6(a)(2) of these proposed regulations) do not apply before the end of the plan year beginning no later than March 1, 2015 to a plan that fails to provide substantial coverage for in-patient hospitalization services or for physician services (or both), provided that the employer had entered into a binding written commitment to adopt the noncompliant plan terms, or had begun enrolling employees in the plan with noncompliant plan terms, before November 4, 2014. For this purpose, the plan year is the plan year in effect under the terms of the plan on November 3, 2014. Also for this purpose, a binding written commitment exists when an employer is contractually required to pay for an arrangement, and a plan begins enrolling employees when it begins accepting employee elections to participate in the plan. The relief provided in this section does not apply to an applicable large employer that would have been liable for a payment under section 4980H without regard to § 1.36B-6(a)(2) of these proposed regulations.

    An offer of coverage under an eligible employer-sponsored plan that does not comply with § 1.36B-6(a)(2) of these proposed regulations does not preclude an employee from obtaining a premium tax credit under section 36B, if otherwise eligible.

    Special Analyses

    Certain IRS regulations, including this one, are exempt from the requirements of Executive Order 12866, as supplemented and reaffirmed by Executive Order 13563. Therefore, a regulatory impact assessment is not required. It has been determined that section 553(b) of the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. chapter 5) does not apply to these regulations and, because the regulations do not impose a collection of information on small entities, the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. chapter 6) does not apply. Pursuant to section 7805(f) of the Code, this notice of proposed rulemaking has been submitted to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration for comment on its impact on small business.

    Comments and Requests for Public Hearing

    Before these proposed regulations are adopted as final regulations, consideration will be given to any comments that are submitted timely to the IRS as prescribed in this preamble under the ADDRESSES heading. The Treasury Department and the IRS request comments on all aspects of the proposed rules. All comments will be available at www.regulations.gov or upon request. A public hearing will be scheduled if requested in writing by any person who timely submits written comments. If a public hearing is scheduled, notice of the date, time, and place for the hearing will be published in the Federal Register.

    Drafting Information

    The principal author of these regulations is Andrew Braden of the Office of the Associate Chief Counsel (Income Tax and Accounting). However, other personnel from the Treasury Department and the IRS participated in their development.

    List of Subjects in 26 CFR Part 1

    Income taxes, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Proposed Amendments

    Accordingly, 26 CFR part 1 as proposed to be amended on May 3, 2013 (78 FR 25909), is proposed to be further amended as follows:

    PART 1—INCOME TAXES Paragraph 1. The authority citation for part 1 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    26 U.S.C. 7805 * * *

    Par. 2. Section 1.36B-6, as proposed to be added May 3, 2013 (78 FR 25909), is amended by revising paragraphs (a) and (g) to read as follows:
    § 1.36B-6 Minimum value.

    (a) In general. An eligible employer-sponsored plan provides minimum value (MV) only if—

    (1) The plan's share of the total allowed costs of benefits provided to an employee (the MV percentage) is at least 60 percent; and

    (2) The plan provides substantial coverage of inpatient hospital services and physician services.

    (g) Effective/applicability date—(1) In general. Except as provided in paragraph (g)(2) of this section, this section applies for taxable years ending after December 31, 2013.

    (2) Exception. Paragraph (a)(2) of this section applies for plan years beginning after November 3, 2014.

    John Dalrymple, Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement.
    [FR Doc. 2015-21427 Filed 8-31-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4830-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Financial Crimes Enforcement Network 31 CFR Chapter X RIN 1506-AB10 Anti-Money Laundering Program and Suspicious Activity Report Filing Requirements for Registered Investment Advisers AGENCY:

    Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, Treasury.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking.

    SUMMARY:

    Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”), a bureau of the Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”), is issuing this notice of proposed rulemaking to prescribe minimum standards for anti-money laundering programs (“AML”) to be established by certain investment advisers and to require such investment advisers to report suspicious activity to FinCEN pursuant to the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”). FinCEN is taking this action to regulate investment advisers that may be at risk for attempts by money launderers or terrorist financers seeking access to the U.S. financial system through a financial institution type not required to maintain AML programs or file suspicious activity reports (“SARs”). The investment advisers FinCEN proposes to cover by these rules are those registered or required to be registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). FinCEN is also proposing to include investment advisers in the general definition of “financial institution” in rules implementing the BSA. Doing so would subject investment advisers to the BSA requirements generally applicable to financial institutions, including, for example, the requirements to file Currency Transaction Reports (“CTRs”) and to keep records relating to the transmittal of funds. Finally, FinCEN is proposing to delegate its authority to examine investment advisers for compliance with these requirements to the SEC.

    DATES:

    Written comments on this notice of proposed rulemaking (“NPRM”) must be submitted on or before November 2, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by Regulatory Identification Number (RIN) 1506-AB10, by any of the following methods:

    Federal E-rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. Include 1506-AB10 in the submission. Refer to Docket Number FINCEN-2014-0003.

    Mail: FinCEN, P.O. Box 39, Vienna, VA 22183. Include 1506-AB10 in the body of the text. Please submit comments by one method only. All comments submitted in response to this NPRM will become a matter of public record. Therefore, you should submit only information that you wish to make publicly available.

    Inspection of comments: The public dockets for FinCEN can be found at Regulations.gov. Federal Register proposed and final rules published by FinCEN are searchable by docket number, RIN, or document title, among other things, and the docket number, RIN, and title may be found at the beginning of the notice. FinCEN uses the electronic, Internet-accessible dockets at Regulations.gov as their complete, official-record docket; all hard copies of materials that should be in the docket, including public comments, are electronically scanned and placed in the docket. In general, FinCEN will make all comments publicly available by posting them on http://www.regulations.gov.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    The FinCEN Resource Center at (800) 767-2825 or email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background A. General Statutory Provisions

    FinCEN exercises regulatory functions primarily under the Currency and Financial Transactions Reporting Act of 1970, as amended by the USA PATRIOT Act and other legislation. This legislative framework is commonly referred to as the “Bank Secrecy Act” (“BSA”).1 The Secretary of the Treasury (“Secretary”) has delegated to the Director of FinCEN the authority to implement, administer, and enforce compliance with the BSA and associated regulations.2 Pursuant to this authority, FinCEN may issue regulations requiring financial institutions to keep records and file reports that “have a high degree of usefulness in criminal, tax, or regulatory investigations or proceedings, or in the conduct of intelligence or counterintelligence activities, including analysis, to protect against international terrorism.” 1 Additionally, FinCEN is authorized to impose AML program and suspicious activity reporting requirements for financial institutions.2

    1 The BSA is codified at 12 U.S.C. 1829b, 12 U.S.C. 1951-1959, 31 U.S.C. 5311-5314 and 5316-5332 and notes thereto, with implementing regulations at 31 CFR chapter X. See 31 CFR 1010.100(e).

    2 Treasury Order 180-01 (Sept. 26, 2002).

    1 31 U.S.C. 5311.

    2 31 U.S.C. 5318(g) and (h).

    In this rulemaking, FinCEN is not proposing a customer identification program requirement or including within the AML program requirements provisions recently proposed with respect to AML program requirements for other financial institutions.3 FinCEN anticipates addressing both of these issues with respect to investment advisers, as well as other issues, such as the potential application of regulatory requirements consistent with Sections 311, 312, 313 and 319(b) of the USA PATRIOT Act,4 in subsequent rulemakings, with the issue of customer identification program requirements anticipated to be addressed via a joint rulemaking effort with the SEC.

    3 Customer Due Diligence Requirements for Financial Institutions, 79 FR 45151 (Aug. 4, 2014).

    4 Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (“USA PATRIOT Act”) (Pub. L. 107-56).

    B. Previous Rulemaking Efforts

    On May 5, 2003, FinCEN published a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register proposing to require certain investment advisers to establish AML programs (“First Proposed Investment Adviser Rule”).5 This followed FinCEN's published notice of proposed rulemaking issued on September 26, 2002, proposing that unregistered investment companies establish AML programs (“Proposed Unregistered Investment Companies Rule”).6 In June 2007, FinCEN announced that it would be taking a fresh look at how its regulatory framework was being implemented to ensure that it was being applied effectively and efficiently across the industries that the statute covers. In conjunction with this initiative, and given the amount of time that had elapsed since initial publication of the proposals, FinCEN determined that it would not proceed with BSA requirements for these entities without undertaking further public notice and comment process, and therefore withdrew the First Proposed Investment Adviser Rule and the Proposed Unregistered Investment Companies Rule (collectively, the “previous proposals” or “proposed but now-withdrawn rules”) on November 4, 2008.7 Since the previous proposals have been withdrawn, there have been significant changes in the regulatory framework for investment advisers with the passage of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank Act”).8

    5See Anti-Money Laundering Programs for Investment Advisers, 68 FR 23646 (May 5, 2003). The SEC regulates investment advisers under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (“Advisers Act”) and the rules adopted under that Act. See 15 U.S.C. 80b et seq. and 17 CFR part 275.

    6See Anti-Money Laundering Programs for Unregistered Investment Companies, 67 FR 60617 (Sept. 26, 2002).

    7See Withdrawal of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking; Anti-Money Laundering Programs for Unregistered Investment Companies, 73 FR 65569 (Nov. 4, 2008); and Withdrawal of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking; Anti-Money Laundering Programs for Investment Advisers, 73 FR 65568 (Nov. 4, 2008).

    8See Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Public Law 111-203, 124 Stat. 1376 (2010).

    II. Money Laundering Risks and Investment Advisers

    As of June 2, 2014, there were 11,235 investment advisers registered with the SEC, reporting approximately $61.9 trillion in assets for their clients.9 Investment advisers provide advisory services to many different types of clients, including individuals, institutions, pension plans, corporations, trusts, foundations, mutual funds, private funds, and other pooled investment vehicles.10 Some of the advisory services that investment advisers provide include portfolio management, financial planning, and pension consulting. Advisory services can be provided on a discretionary or non-discretionary basis.11 Investment advisers often work closely with their clients to formulate and implement their clients' investment decisions and strategies. Investment advisers may be organized in a variety of legal forms, including corporations, sole proprietorships, partnerships, or limited liability companies.12

    9See Frequently Requested FOIA Document: Information About Registered Investment Advisers and Exempt Reporting Advisers, available at http://www.sec.gov/foia/docs/invafoia.htm.

    10See Part 1A, Item 5 of Form ADV for a list of examples of different types of advisory clients. Form ADV is the uniform form used by investment advisers to register with both the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and state securities authorities; it is available at http://www.sec.gov/divisions/investment/iard/iastuff.shtml.

    11 An adviser has discretionary authority or manages assets on a discretionary basis if it has the authority to decide which securities to purchase and sell for the client. An adviser also has discretionary authority if it has the authority to decide which investment advisers to retain on behalf of the client. See Glossary to Form ADV.

    12See Part 1A, Item 3.A of Form ADV.

    As long as investment advisers are not subject to AML program and suspicious activity reporting requirements, money launderers may see them as a low-risk way to enter the U.S. financial system. It is true that advisers work with financial institutions that are already subject to BSA requirements, such as when executing trades through broker-dealers to purchase or sell client securities, or when directing custodial banks to transfer assets. But such broker-dealers and banks may not have sufficient information to assess suspicious activity or money laundering risk. When an adviser orders a broker-dealer to execute a trade on behalf of an adviser's client, the broker-dealer may not know the identity of the client. When a custodial bank holds assets for a private fund managed by an adviser, the custodial bank may not know the identities of the investors in the fund. Such gaps in knowledge make it possible for money launderers to evade scrutiny more effectively by operating through investment advisers rather than through broker-dealers or banks directly.

    Money laundering is the processing of criminal proceeds through the financial system to disguise their illegal origin or the ownership or control of the assets, or promoting an illegal activity with illicit or legal source funds. Generally, money laundering involves three stages, known as placement,13 layering,14 and integration,15 and an investment adviser's operations are vulnerable at each stage. Money laundering is defined in part with respect to the proceeds of certain predicate crimes referred to as “specified unlawful activities.” 16 Securities fraud is a specified unlawful activity. Both securities fraud and the act of laundering the proceeds of securities fraud are destructive to investors, individual businesses, and the financial system as a whole. The crime of money laundering also encompasses the movement of funds to finance terrorism, individual terrorists, or terrorist organizations. These funds may be from illegitimate or legitimate sources.17

    13 At the “placement” stage, proceeds from illegal activity or funds intended to promote illegal activity are first introduced into the financial system. For example, this could occur in the investment advisory business when a money launderer tries to fund an investment advisory account with cash or cash equivalents derived from illegal activity. Money launderers also may approach investment advisers seeking to obtain the adviser's assistance as an intermediary in placing funds into custodial accounts.

    14 The “layering” stage involves the distancing of illegal proceeds from their criminal source through a series of financial transactions to obfuscate and complicate their traceability. A money launderer could place assets under management with an investment adviser as one of many transactions in an ongoing layering scheme. Layering may involve establishing an advisory account in the name of a fictitious corporation or an entity designed to break the link between the assets and the true owner. A money launderer also may place assets under management with an adviser and then shortly thereafter arrange for their removal.

    15 “Integration” occurs when illegal proceeds previously placed into the financial system are made to appear to have been derived from a legitimate source. For example, once illicit funds have been invested with an investment advisor, the proceeds from those investments may appear legitimate to any financial institution thereafter receiving such proceeds.

    16See 18 U.S.C. 1956(c)(7).

    17See 18 U.S.C. 1956, 2339A, and 2339B.

    In addition to offering services that could provide money launderers, terrorist financers, and other illicit actors the opportunity to access the financial system, investment advisers may be uniquely situated to appreciate a broader understanding of their clients' movement of funds through the financial system because of the types of advisory activities in which they engage. If a client's advisory funds include the proceeds of money laundering, terrorist financing, and other illicit activities, or are intended to further such activities, an investment adviser's AML program and suspicious activity reporting may assist in detecting such activities. Accordingly, investment advisers have an important role to play in safeguarding the financial system against fraud, money laundering, terrorist financing, and other financial crime.

    III. The Proposed and Withdrawn Rules for Investment Advisers and Unregistered Investment Companies

    In 2003, FinCEN published the First Proposed Investment Adviser Rule, which would have imposed on certain investment advisers a requirement to establish and implement AML programs. Prior to that, in 2002, FinCEN issued the Proposed Unregistered Investment Companies Rule. We mention the Proposed Unregistered Investment Companies Rule in the context of this rulemaking because it is FinCEN's belief that most of the issuers captured in that proposed-but-now-withdrawn rule would be included in the AML programs of investment advisers covered by this proposed rule. The previous proposals were limited to proposing AML program requirements only; they did not include additional proposed requirements to report suspicious activities to FinCEN.

    FinCEN received 26 comment letters in response to the First Proposed Investment Adviser Rule. Comments were received on all aspects of the proposed rulemaking, with a particular focus on the proposed definition of “investment adviser,” the scope of an adviser's AML program, and the ability of an adviser to outsource compliance to a third party. FinCEN received 34 comment letters in response to the Proposed Unregistered Investment Companies Rule, and, again, there was a particular focus on the proposed definition of “unregistered investment company,” the scope of an issuer's AML program, and the ability of an issuer to outsource compliance obligations to third parties. In developing this current proposal, FinCEN re-reviewed all previously submitted comments to the previous proposals and has taken them into consideration.

    IV. Section-by-Section Analysis

    As discussed above, FinCEN previously proposed two complementary rules to address money laundering risks in the asset management industry. At the time the First Proposed Investment Adviser Rule and the Proposed Unregistered Investment Companies Rule were published by FinCEN, the regulatory landscape for investment advisers was significantly different than it is today. At the time of those proposals, asset management services provided by investment advisers were generally divided into two categories for regulatory purposes: (i) Registered advisers that managed assets for a variety of clients including mutual funds, individuals, pension plans, etc.; and (ii) unregistered private fund advisers that managed private funds and other pooled investment vehicles, like hedge and private equity funds. As a result of the Dodd-Frank Act amendments to the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (“Advisers Act”), formerly unregistered advisers to hedge, private equity, and other private funds are now required to register with the SEC. Accordingly, FinCEN believes the two-pronged approach of the prior proposals is no longer necessary to address the money laundering and terrorist financing risks presented by SEC-registered investment adviser clients and the unregistered investment companies that are managed by such advisers.18 FinCEN, therefore, is proposing a single rule for SEC-registered investment advisers that will result in coverage substantially similar to what would have existed if the two previously proposed but now-withdrawn rules for investment advisers and unregistered investment companies had been adopted under the Investment Act before Dodd-Frank.

    18 The Proposed Unregistered Investment Companies Rule included in the proposed definition of “unregistered investment company” certain commodity pools. See Anti-Money Laundering Programs for Unregistered Investment Companies at 60618. For the purposes of the rules being proposed today, FinCEN is deferring on a discussion of such commodity pools.

    A. Definitions

    The BSA does not expressly enumerate “investment adviser” among the entities defined as a financial institution under sections 5312(a)(2) and (c)(1) of title 31 of the United States Code. In addition to those institutions listed, however, section 5312(a)(2)(Y) authorizes the Secretary to include additional types of businesses within the BSA definition of financial institution if the Secretary determines that they engage in any activity similar to, related to, or a substitute for, any of the listed businesses. Investment advisers work closely with, and provide services that are similar or related to services provided by, other businesses defined as financial institutions under the BSA (“BSA-defined financial institutions”).

    Investment services offered by advisers may be similar or related to those offered by broker-dealers in securities, banks, or insurance companies, each of which are BSA-defined financial institutions, and similar or related securities or other financial products are used to implement those services. For instance, many investment advisers sponsor and provide advisory services to mutual funds and advise clients on the purchase or sale of mutual fund shares. Banks and broker-dealers also may provide recommendations on mutual fund shares and may sell them to their own clients or clients of investment advisers. Investment advisers may provide advice with respect to products such as annuities that are offered by insurance companies and broker-dealers in securities.19 Some investment advisers may offer asset management services that are similar to, and that may even compete directly with, the asset management services offered by certain banks through their trust departments. Advisers often have relationships with broker-dealers to direct the purchase or sale of client securities that are held at bank or broker-dealer custodians for their clients. The close interrelationship between investment advisers and other BSA-defined financial institutions is further demonstrated by the fact that they are often dually registered as a broker-dealer in securities or affiliated with each other.20 Accordingly, FinCEN considers investment advisers to engage in activities that are “similar to, related to, or a substitute for” financial services that are provided by other BSA-defined financial institutions and, therefore, should be subject to the requirements of the BSA.

    19See Securities and Exchange Commission, Annuities (Apr. 6, 2011) available at http://www.sec.gov/answers/annuity.htm. Insurance companies that issue securities are regulated by the SEC, State securities commissioners, and State insurance commissioners.

    20See Securities and Exchange Commission, Study on Investment Advisers and Broker Dealers as Required by Section 913 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Jan. 2011) at page 8 available at http://www.sec.gov/news/studies/2011/913studyfinal.pdf.

    Based on this consideration and the money laundering risks described above, FinCEN is proposing three regulatory changes: (1) Including investment advisers within the general definition of “financial institution” in the regulations implementing the BSA and adding a definition of investment adviser; (2) requiring investment advisers to establish AML programs; and (3) requiring investment advisers to report suspicious activity. These proposals are discussed in greater detail below.

    1. Adding the Term “Investment Adviser” to General Definitions

    FinCEN is proposing to add a definition of “investment adviser” to section 1010.100(nnn). The proposed definition is “[a]ny person who is registered or required to register with the SEC under section 203 of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (15 U.S.C. 80b-3(a).” The proposed definition relies on terms and definitions used in the Advisers Act and in the SEC's regulations implementing the Advisers Act to define investment advisers that would be subject to the proposed AML program, SAR, and general recordkeeping requirements of the BSA. The proposed definition would permit investment advisers to determine easily whether they are subject to the proposed rules. The proposed definition would include both primary advisers and subadvisers.21 While FinCEN is limiting today's proposed definition to investment advisers registered or required to be registered with the SEC, future rulemakings may include other types of investment advisers, such as state-regulated investment advisers or investment advisers that are exempt from SEC registration, that are found to present risks to the U.S. financial system of money laundering, terrorist financing, and other types of financial crimes.

    21 In the investment advisory industry, an adviser may act as the “primary adviser” or a “subadviser.” The Advisers Act does not distinguish between advisers and subadvisers; all are “investment advisers.” See Exemptions for Advisers to Venture Capital Funds, Private Fund Advisers With Less Than $150 Million in Assets Under Management, and Foreign Private Advisers at note 504 and accompanying text. Generally, the primary adviser contracts directly with the client and a subadviser has contractual privity with the primary adviser. With respect to such a shared client, an advisory contract may grant the primary adviser the discretionary authority to retain and dismiss a subadviser. Other advisory contracts may only permit the primary adviser to recommend a subadviser to such a client—the client retains the authority to hire or dismiss a subadviser.

    2. Scope of an Investment Adviser Definition

    Generally, an investment adviser's assets under management determine whether an investment adviser is required to register or is prohibited from registering with the SEC.22 In implementing the Dodd-Frank Act amendments to the Advisers Act, the SEC amended the instructions to Part 1A of Form ADV to further implement a uniform method for an investment adviser to calculate its assets under management in order to determine whether it is required to register or is prohibited from registering with the SEC.23 Generally, an investment adviser falls into one of three categories based on its regulatory assets under management, i.e., a large, mid-sized, or small adviser. The application of the proposed definition under 31 CFR 1010.100(nnn) to these three categories of adviser is discussed in the following section. In view of the comment letters submitted in response to the First Proposed Investment Adviser Rule, this section also discusses the application of the proposed investment adviser definition to certain specific types of advisers and other related entities.24

    22See Rules Implementing Amendments to the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 at 42955.

    23See Instructions for Part 1A, Item 5.F of Form ADV. See also id.

    24 FinCEN notes that this discussion is not exhaustive and that there may be other types of investment advisers or entities that meet the definition being proposed today and, therefore, would be subject to today's proposed rule.

    (a) Application of the Definition to Large, Mid-Sized, and Small Investment Advisers

    Generally, a large adviser has $100 million or more in regulatory assets under management, and is required to register with the SEC (and therefore included in the proposed definition) unless an exemption from SEC registration is available.25 FinCEN notes that large advisers would comprise the bulk of investment advisers that are included in the definition of investment adviser for purposes of the rules being proposed today.

    25 17 CFR 275.203A-1(a)(1).

    Generally, a mid-sized adviser has $25 million or more but less than $100 million, and a small adviser has less than $25 million in regulatory assets under management and is regulated or required to be regulated as an investment adviser in the State where it maintains its principal office and place of business.26 Mid-sized and small advisers are generally prohibited from registering with the SEC and therefore are excluded from the proposed definition, unless an exemption from the prohibition on SEC registration is available.27 Mid-sized and small advisers prohibited from registering with the SEC are generally subject to regulation by the States.

    26See 15 U.S.C. 80b-3A(a)(1). Currently, only the State of Wyoming does not regulate investment advisers. A small adviser located in the State of Wyoming, therefore, is required to register with the SEC.

    27See 15 U.S.C. 80b-3A(a)(2). A mid-sized adviser with its principal office and place of business in Wyoming is neither required to register with the State, nor “subject to examination” by the State securities authority and is, therefore, required to register with the SEC. Also, mid-sized advisers with their principal offices and places of business in New York would be required to register with the SEC because the State securities authority has not represented to the SEC that registered advisers are “subject to examination” in the State; therefore, such advisers must register with the SEC. A mid-sized adviser that is required to register in any other State is subject to examination by the State and thus would be prohibited from registering with the SEC. See 15 U.S.C. 80b-3A(a)(2). See also Securities and Exchange Commission—Division of Investment Management, Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Mid-Sized Advisers (Jun. 28, 2011) available at http://www.sec.gov/divisions/investment/midsizedadviserinfo.htm.

    In the rules being proposed today, FinCEN is limiting the scope of the investment adviser definition to those advisers that are registered or required to be registered with the SEC. Limiting the definition of investment adviser to SEC-registered advisers will align FinCEN's regulatory framework with Federal functional regulation and allow FinCEN to work with the SEC to develop consistent application and examination of the BSA to such advisers. FinCEN notes that Congress has decided that, as a threshold matter, the type of investment adviser that should be subject to Federal regulation is, generally, an adviser that has $100 million or more in assets under management.28

    28 17 CFR 275.203A-1(a)(1).

    FinCEN recognizes that investment advisers that are at risk for abuse by money launderers, terrorist financers, and other illicit actors may not be limited to advisers that are registered, or required to be registered, with the SEC. FinCEN, therefore, may consider future rulemakings to expand the application of the BSA to include investment advisers that are not registered or required to be registered with the SEC.

    (b) Application of the Investment Adviser Definition to Certain Specific Types of Advisers and Other Related Entities

    Investment advisers provide many types of advisory services and may be organized in a wide variety of legal forms. The proposed definition applies to persons registered or required to register with the SEC and therefore may include, among others, the following types of advisers:

    • Dually-registered investment advisers, and advisers that are affiliated with or subsidiaries of entities required to establish AML programs;

    • certain foreign investment advisers;

    • investment advisers to registered investment companies;

    • financial planners;

    • pension consultants; and

    • entities that provide only securities newsletters and/or research reports.

    FinCEN recognizes that the different types of investment advisers included within today's proposed definition may present varying degrees of money laundering and terrorist financing risks. FinCEN, therefore, anticipates that the burden of establishing an AML program would also correspondingly be reduced due to the risk-based nature of the program and the types of advisory services these entities provide.

    B. Delegation of Examination Authority to the Securities and Exchange Commission

    FinCEN has overall authority for enforcement of compliance with its regulations, including coordination and direction of procedures and activities of all other agencies exercising delegated authority. FinCEN is proposing to amend section 1010.810 to include investment advisers within the list of financial institutions the SEC has the authority to examine for compliance with FinCEN's rules. Persons and entities meeting the definition of investment adviser being proposed today under 31 CFR 1010.100(nnn) would fall under this provision. The SEC has expertise in the regulation of investment advisers. The SEC is the Federal functional regulator for certain investment advisers and, therefore, is responsible for examining investment advisers for compliance with the Advisers Act and the SEC rules promulgated under that Act. Moreover, FinCEN has delegated to the SEC examination authority for broker-dealers in securities and certain investment companies, which are BSA-defined financial institutions subject to FinCEN's regulations and for which the SEC is the Federal functional regulator.29 Accordingly, the SEC is in the best position to act as the designated examiner of investment advisers for compliance with the rules FinCEN is proposing today.

    29See 31 CFR 1010.810(b)(6).

    C. Investment Advisers Defined as Financial Institutions

    FinCEN is proposing to include investment advisers registered or required to be registered with the SEC within the general definition of “financial institution” in the regulations implementing the BSA.30 The application of general BSA reporting and recordkeeping requirements to an entity depends upon whether the entity is included in the general definition of “financial institution.” 31 To date, investment advisers have not been required to comply with Currency Transaction Report (CTR) filing requirements,32 and the recordkeeping, transmittal of records, and retention requirements for the transmittal of funds under the Recordkeeping and Travel Rules and other related recordkeeping requirements.33 Defining investment advisers as a financial institution under 31 CFR 1010.100(t) would require investment advisers to comply with all BSA regulatory requirements generally applicable to financial institutions, including these requirements and to comply with information sharing requests pursuant to section 314(a) of the USA PATRIOT Act.34

    30See 31 CFR 1010.100(t).

    31 The general definition of “financial institution” at 31 CFR 1010.100(t) is less inclusive than the definition in the BSA itself. See 31 U.S.C. 5312(a)(2). The general definition determines the scope of rules that require the filing of CTRs and the creation, retention, and transmittal of records or information on transmittals of funds and other specified transactions. See 31 CFR 1010.310; 31 CFR 1010.311; 31 CFR 1010.312; 31 CFR 1010.313; 31 CFR 1010.314; 31 CFR 1010.315; 31 CFR 1010.410; 31 CFR 1010.415; and 31 CFR 1010.430. Defining a business as a financial institution also could make the business ineligible for exemption from the requirement to file CTRs. See, e.g., 31 CFR 1020.315(e)(8).

    32See infra Section IV.C.1.

    33See 31 CFR 1010.410 and 1010.430. The recordkeeping, transmittal of records, and retention requirements for the transmittal of funds for non-bank financial institutions under 31 CFR 1010.410 are often referred to as the “Recordkeeping and Travel Rules.” See infra Section IV.C.2.

    34See 1010.520.

    1. Investment Advisers' Obligation To File CTRs Replaces Obligation To File Form 8300

    Under FinCEN's regulations that apply to a broad range of commercial activity, investment advisers are currently required to file reports on Form 8300 for the receipt of more than $10,000 in cash and negotiable instruments.35 The rules being proposed today would replace this requirement with a requirement that investment advisers file CTRs pursuant to 31 CFR 1010.311.36 An investment adviser would file a CTR for a transaction involving a transfer of more than $10,000 in currency by, through or to the investment adviser.37 The threshold in 31 CFR 1010.311 applies to transactions conducted during a single business day.38 A financial institution must treat multiple transactions as a single transaction if the financial institution has knowledge that the transactions are conducted by or on behalf of the same person.39

    35 31 CFR 1010.330(a)(1)(i). “Cash” and “negotiable instruments” include cashier's checks, bank drafts, traveler's checks, and money orders in face amounts of $10,000 or less, if the instrument is received in a “designated reporting transaction.” 31 CFR 1010.330(c)(1)(ii)(A). A “designated reporting transaction” is defined as the retail sale of a consumer durable, collectible, or travel or entertainment activity. 31 CFR 1010.330(c)(2). In addition, an investment adviser would need to treat the instruments as currency if the adviser knows that a customer is using the instruments to avoid the reporting of a transaction on Form 8300. 31 CFR 1010.330(c)(1)(ii)(B).

    36See 31 CFR 1010.330(a) (stating that section 1010.330 [the BSA provision requiring the filing of the Form 8300] “does not apply to amounts received in a transaction reported under 31 U.S.C. 5313 and 31 CFR 1010.311.”) To the extent an investment adviser conducts transactions other than in currency (as defined in section 1010.100(m) for purposes of the CTR requirement), it would be exempt from reporting such transactions because the Form 8300 requirement does not apply.

    37See 31 CFR 1010.311 and 31 CFR 1010.100(m) (currency is defined as the coin and paper of the United States or of any other country that is designated as legal tender and that circulates and is customarily used as a medium of exchange in a foreign country).

    38See 31 CFR 1010.313(b). Financial institutions must file a CTR for a transaction or related transactions for each deposit, withdrawal, exchange of currency or other payment or transfer, by, through or to such financial institution which involves a transaction in currency of more than $10,000 during any one business day. Compare to the threshold requirement for the Form 8300 defining any transactions conducted between a payer (or its agent) and the recipient in a 24-hour period as related transactions. Transactions are considered related even if they occur over a period of more than 24 hours if the recipient knows, or has reason to know, that each transaction is one of a series of connected transactions. See 31 CFR 1010.330(b)(3).

    39 31 CFR 1010.313(b).

    Because investment advisers would no longer be required to file Form 8300s, investment advisers would be freed from having to report applicable transactions involving certain negotiable instruments reportable on Form 8300 but not the CTR when the investment adviser suspects that the monetary instruments are being used to avoid the Form 8300 being filed.40 Although FinCEN recognizes that there may be some potential for criminals to use negotiable instruments such as money orders to move illicit cash through the investment adviser, the volume of Form 8300s currently filed by investment advisers is relatively low when compared to the overall volume of transactions involving investment advisers.41 Because investment advisers rarely receive from or disburse to clients significant amounts of currency, FinCEN believes they are less likely to be used during the initial “placement” stage of the money laundering process than other financial institutions. Moreover, since an investment adviser would be required to report suspicious transactions under the SAR rule being proposed today, the ability to report suspicious transactions on Form 8300 would be redundant.42

    40 In determining whether to file a Form 8300, an investment adviser currently may need to treat instruments as currency if the adviser knows that a customer is using the instruments to avoid the reporting of a transaction on Form 8300. See 1010.330(c)(1)(ii)(B).

    41 A review of BSA data revealed that approximately 3,047 Form 8300s were filed by all investment advisers, whether registered or unregistered, over the seven years beginning in 2008, which is a fraction of the millions of transactions investment advisers conduct yearly on behalf of their clients.

    42 Currently an investment adviser can report a suspicious transaction voluntarily by checking box 1(b) in the Form 8300. In addition to the requirement that an investment adviser report on a CTR, under the proposed rule, an investment adviser would also be required to file a SAR if a transaction exceeds the threshold amount.

    2. The Recordkeeping and Travel Rules and Other Related Recordkeeping Requirements

    Including investment advisers in the general definition of financial institution would subject an investment adviser to the requirements of the Recordkeeping and Travel Rules and other related recordkeeping requirements. Under the Recordkeeping and Travel Rules, financial institutions must create and retain records for transmittals of funds, and ensure that certain information pertaining to the transmittal of funds “travel” with the transmittal to the next financial institution in the payment chain.43 Accordingly, the rules being proposed today would require compliance with 31 CFR 1031.410 (cross referencing 31 CFR 1010.410) and 31 CFR 1031.430 (cross referencing 31 CFR 1010.430).

    43See 31 CFR 1020.410(a) and 1010.410(f). Financial institutions are also required to retain records for five years. See 31 CFR 1010.430(d).

    The Recordkeeping and Travel Rules apply to transmittals of funds that equal or exceed $3,000. A “transmittal of funds” includes funds transfers processed by banks, as well as similar payments where one or more of the financial institutions processing the payment (e.g., the transmittor's financial institution, an intermediary financial institution, or the recipient's financial institution) is not a bank.44 When a financial institution accepts and processes a payment sent by or to its customer, then the financial institution would be the “transmittor's financial institution” or the “recipient's financial institution,” respectively. The Recordkeeping and Travel Rules require the transmittor's financial institution to obtain and retain the name, address, and other information about the transmittor and the transaction.45 The Recordkeeping and Travel Rules also require the recipient's financial institution (and in certain instances, the transmittor's financial institution) to obtain or retain identifying information on the recipient.46 The Recordkeeping and Travel Rules require that certain information obtained or retained “travel” with the transmittal order through the payment chain.47

    44See 31 CFR 1010.100(f), (g), (w), (z), (aa), (ii), (jj), (pp), (qq), (ddd), (eee), (fff), and (ggg) for various definitions pertaining to a “transmittal of funds and persons and institutions involved in the payment chain of a transmittal of funds.”

    45See 31 CFR 1010.410(e)(1)(i) and (e)(2).

    46See 31 CFR 1010.410(e)(3) (information that the recipient's financial institution must obtain or retain).

    47See 31 CFR 1010.410(f) (information that must “travel” with the transmittal order); 31 CFR 1010.100(eee) (defining “transmittal order”).

    Under the proposed rule, investment advisers would fall within an existing exception that is designed to exclude from these requirements' coverage funds transfers or transmittals of funds in which certain categories of financial institutions are the transmittor, originator, recipient, or beneficiary.48 The proposed application of the exception to investment advisers is intended to provide advisers with treatment similar to that of banks, brokers or dealers in securities, futures commission merchants, introducing brokers in commodities, and mutual funds. Finally, the proposed amendment would subject investment advisers to requirements to create and retain records for extensions of credit and cross-border transfers of currency, monetary instruments, checks, investment securities, and credit.49 These requirements apply to transactions in amounts exceeding $10,000.50

    48 31 CFR 1020.410(a)(6) and 31 CFR 1010.410(e)(6).

    49See 31 CFR 1010.410(a) through (c). Financial institutions must retain these records for a period of five years. 31 CFR 1010.430(d).

    50See 31 CFR 1010.410(a) through (c).

    D. Anti-Money Laundering Programs

    The provisions of 31 U.S.C. 5318(h), added to the BSA in 1992 by section 1517 of the Annunzio-Wylie Anti-Money Laundering Act (“Annunzio-Wylie Act”), authorize the Secretary “[i]n order to guard against money laundering through financial institutions . . . [to] require financial institutions to carry out anti-money laundering programs.” 51 Those programs must include, at a minimum, “the development of internal policies, procedures, and controls;” “the designation of a compliance officer;” “an ongoing employee training program;” and “an independent audit function to test programs.” 52 Title III of the USA PATRIOT Act amended 31 U.S.C. 5318(h) to make the establishment of anti-money laundering programs mandatory for financial institutions.53

    51 31 U.S.C. 5318(h)(1); Annunzio-Wylie Act, Title XV of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1992, Public Law 102-550.

    52 31 U.S.C. 5318(h)(1)(A)-(D).

    53 Section 352(a) of the Act, which became effective on April 24, 2002, amended section 5318(h) of the BSA.

    Registered investment advisers are currently subject to Federal securities laws governing the securities industry, which require the establishment of a variety of policies, procedures, and controls. The Advisers Act requires a registered investment adviser to maintain certain books and records, as prescribed by the SEC.54 Under 17 CFR 275.204-2, an SEC-registered investment adviser is required to keep certain books and records that relate to its investment advisory business.55 Under 17 CFR 275.203-1, investment advisers are also required to complete and submit Form ADV to the SEC. The Advisers Act also prohibits an investment adviser from engaging in fraudulent, deceptive, and manipulative conduct.56 SEC rules require investment advisers to adopt and implement written policies and procedures reasonably designed to prevent violation of the Advisers Act and the rules that the SEC has adopted under that Act.57 Advisers must conduct annual reviews to ensure the adequacy and effectiveness of their policies and procedures and must designate a chief compliance officer responsible for administering the policies and procedures.58 Accordingly, FinCEN contemplates that investment advisers would be able to adapt existing policies, procedures, and internal controls in order to comply with the rules FinCEN is proposing today. Moreover, some investment advisers have already implemented AML programs either voluntarily or in conjunction with an SEC No-Action letter permitting broker-dealers in securities to rely on registered investment advisers to perform some or all aspects of broker-dealers' customer identification program (“CIP”) obligations.59

    54See 15 U.S.C. 80b-4(a) (requiring investment advisers to make and retain records as defined in section 3(a)(37) of the Exchange Act and to make and disseminate reports as prescribed by the SEC).

    55See 17 CFR 275.204-2 (Books and records to be maintained by investment advisers).

    56See, e.g., 15 U.S.C. 80b-6(1), (2) and (4) (Advisers Act prohibiting registered and unregistered investment advisers from engaging in any activity that would defraud a client or prospective client). See also 17 CFR 275.206(4)-8 (SEC rule prohibiting registered and unregistered investment advisers from making false or misleading statements to, or otherwise defrauding, investors or prospective investors to pooled investment vehicles).

    57 17 CFR 275.206(4)-7(a).

    58 17 CFR 275.206(4)-7(b) and (c).

    59 Under the SEC No-Action letter re-issued in consultation with FinCEN on January 9, 2015, a broker-dealer in securities is permitted to rely on a registered investment adviser to perform all or part of its CIP obligations with regard to shared clients as if the investment adviser were subject already to an AML program rule, provided the other provisions of CIP reliance are met. Securities and Exchange Commission, Division of Trading and Markets, Request for No-Action Relief Under Broker-Dealer Customer Identification Rule (31 CFR 1023.220) (Jan. 9, 2015) available at http://www.sec.gov/divisions/marketreg/mr-noaction/2015/sifma-010915-17a8.pdf. See also 31 CFR 1023.220(a)(6) (CIP rule permitting a financial institution to rely on another financial institution to perform all or part of its obligations to verify the identity of its customers as required by 31 U.S.C. 5318(h)).

    1. Overview of AML Program Requirement

    Section 1031.210(a)(1) of the proposed rule would require each investment adviser to develop and implement a written AML program reasonably designed to prevent the investment adviser from being used to facilitate money laundering or the financing of terrorist activities and to achieve and monitor compliance with the applicable provisions of the BSA and FinCEN's implementing regulations. Section 1031.210(a)(2) would require each investment adviser's AML program to be approved in writing by its board of directors or trustees, or if the investment adviser does not have a board, by its sole proprietor, general partner, trustee, or other persons that have functions similar to a board of directors. Each investment adviser would also be required to make its AML program available to FinCEN or the SEC upon request.

    The four minimum requirements for the AML program are set forth in section 1031.210(b) and are discussed in greater detail below. The AML program requirement is not a one-size-fits-all requirement but rather is risk-based. The risk-based approach of the proposed rule is intended to give investment advisers the flexibility to design their programs to meet the specific risks of the advisory services they provide and the clients they advise.60 For example, large firms should adopt policies, procedures, and internal controls addressing the responsibilities of the individuals and departments carrying out each aspect of the AML program, while smaller firms will likely adopt procedures that are consistent with their (often) simpler, more centralized organizational structures.61 This flexibility is designed to ensure that all firms subject to FinCEN's AML program requirements, from the smallest to the largest, and the simplest to the most complex, have in place policies, procedures, and internal controls appropriate to their advisory business to prevent the investment adviser from being used to facilitate money laundering or the financing of terrorist activities and to achieve and monitor compliance with the applicable provisions of the BSA and FinCEN's implementing regulations.

    60 The legislative history of the BSA reflects that Congress intended that each financial institution should have the flexibility to tailor its program to fit its business, taking into account factors such as size, location, activities, and risks or vulnerabilities to money laundering, so long as the program meets the four minimum statutory requirements. This flexibility is designed to ensure that all firms, from the largest to the smallest, have in place policies and procedures appropriate to monitor for money laundering. See USA PATRIOT Act of 2001: Consideration of H.R. 3162 Before the Senate, 147 Cong. Rec. S10990-02 (Oct. 25, 2001) (statement of Sen. Sarbanes); Financial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2001: Consideration Under Suspension of Rules of H.R. 3004 Before the House of Representatives, 147 Cong. Rec. H6938-39 (Oct. 17, 2001) (statement of Rep. Kelly) (provisions of the Financial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2001 were incorporated as Title III in the Act).

    61 According to the 2014 Evolution Revolution Report, which is based on Part 1 of the Form ADVs filed by SEC-registered investment advisers, as of April 7, 2014, there were 10,895 investment advisers registered with the SEC managing $61.7 trillion in regulatory assets under management (RAUM). Many advisers have relatively few employees. 6,216 advisers (57.1%) reported having 10 or fewer full-time and part-time non-clerical employees and 9,581 (87.9%) reported having 50 or fewer such employees. However, a relatively small number of very large advisers manage a high percentage of the reported RAUM. One hundred and twelve (1%) of the largest registered advisers (those reporting $100 billion or more in RAUM) collectively accounted for 52.6% of all reported RAUM. Advisers with less than $1 billion RAUM, which account for 71.5% of all registered advisers, collectively managed 3.5% of all reported RAUM. See 2014 Evolution Revolution; A Profile of the Investment Adviser Profession at page 5, available at (https://www.investmentadviser.org/eweb/).

    2. Scope

    Generally, an investment adviser's program must cover all of its advisory activity, whether the adviser is acting as the primary adviser or a subadviser. The discussion below focuses on FinCEN's expectations with respect to the coverage of the following specific types of services: (a) Advisory services that do not include the management of client assets; (b) subadvisory services; and (c) advisory services provided to real estate funds.

    (a) Provision of Other Advisory Services

    An investment adviser may provide clients with advisory services, such as pension consulting, securities news letters, research reports, or financial planning that do not include the management of client assets. Additionally, an investment adviser may provide other clients with advisory services that are a combination of asset management and the advisory services discussed above. FinCEN would expect an investment adviser to address in its AML program all of its advisory activity, including activity that does not entail the management of client assets.

    (b) Subadvisory Services

    Today's rule, as proposed, would require an investment adviser providing subadvisory services to a client to address these services in its AML program and to monitor such services for potentially suspicious activity. FinCEN acknowledges that requiring an investment adviser to address in its AML program the subadvisory services it provides certain types of clients may result in some duplication of effort, such as when the primary adviser is subject to today's proposed rule. However, there may be some instances in which an investment adviser provides subadvisory services to a client that has a primary adviser not subject to the AML program and SAR requirements proposed today, e.g., certain mid-sized advisers that do not meet the criteria for SEC registration. Under this circumstance, the application of the investment adviser's AML and SAR programs to the subadvisory activity will mitigate the potential risk that the subadviser could be used for money laundering, terrorist financing, or other illicit activity.

    (c) Real Estate Funds

    Today's proposed rule would require an investment adviser to include in its AML program the advisory activity it provides to any publicly or privately offered real estate fund. The proposed rule does not require a real estate fund to establish and implement its own AML program, but instead requires a person that meets today's proposed definition of investment adviser, and that provides advisory services to such a fund, to include this advisory activity in its own AML program. The proposed rule does not provide for any explicit limitations or exceptions for the advisory activity provided to a real estate fund.

    3. Addressing Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Risks

    In developing its program, an investment adviser would need to analyze the money laundering and terrorist financing risks posed by a particular client that maintains an account with the adviser by using a risk-based evaluation of relevant factors. This type of review could build upon the investment adviser's efforts to comply with the Federal securities laws applicable to investment advisers. If the client is an individual, the source of the client's funds and the jurisdiction in which the client is located, among other things, would be significant factors. If a client is an entity, an investment adviser may consider the type of entity, the jurisdiction in which it is located, and the statutory and regulatory regime of that jurisdiction, if relevant.62 The investment adviser's historical experience with the individual or entity and the references of other financial institutions may also be relevant factors. The investment adviser's risk assessment should also include any other relevant factors that may be particular to the adviser's business and the client. An investment adviser should monitor the advisory activity it provides to its clients for potentially suspicious activity. Based on the investment adviser's risk assessment, as the risks posed by a client increase, the adviser's policies, procedures, and internal controls will need to be reasonably designed to prevent the adviser from being used by the client for money laundering or terrorist financing. FinCEN recognizes that some types of clients and/or client activities will pose greater risks for money laundering or terrorist financing than others.

    62 If an entity is organized or registered in a foreign jurisdiction, an investment adviser should ascertain whether the jurisdiction has been identified by the Financial Action Task Force (“FATF”) as a jurisdiction subject to a FATF call for counter-measures or a jurisdiction with strategic AML/CFT deficiencies. See generally FATF Web site, available at http://www.fatf-gafi.org/. FinCEN has issued several advisories informing financial institutions of the AML/CFT deficiencies of such jurisdictions. See generally FinCEN Web site, available at http://www.fincen.gov/news_room/advisory/.

    In view of the comment letters submitted in response to the First Proposed Investment Adviser Rule, the discussion below focuses on FinCEN's expectations regarding how an investment adviser's AML program may address the money laundering or terrorist financing risks that may be presented by certain specific types of advisory clients, as well as how an adviser's program may address the risks presented by certain specific advisory services provided to those clients. The following types of clients will be discussed: (a) Non-pooled investment vehicle clients (e.g., individuals and institutions); (b) registered open-end fund clients; (c) registered closed-end fund clients; and (d) private fund clients/unregistered pooled investment vehicle clients. In addition, this section describes FinCEN's expectations under a risk-based approach regarding advisory services to wrap fee programs.

    (a) Non-Pooled Investment Vehicle Clients

    Advisers are vulnerable to money laundering or terrorist financing risks when managing the assets of non-pooled investment vehicle clients (e.g., individuals and institutions).63 Accordingly, an investment adviser's assessment of the risks presented by the different types of advisory services it provides to such clients should take into account the types of accounts offered (e.g., managed accounts), the types of clients opening such accounts, and how the accounts are funded.

    63See also Anti-Money Laundering Programs for Investment Advisers at 23649 (discussing an adviser's higher vulnerability to risk of being used for money laundering when clients place their assets under management with the adviser and possible indicia of money laundering activities that should be included in an investment adviser's AML program procedures).

    (b) Registered Open-End Fund Clients (Mutual Funds)

    Generally, FinCEN acknowledges that the advisory services provided to registered open-end fund clients, specifically mutual funds, may present lower money laundering and terrorist financing risks to the investment adviser than the advisory activities provided to other types of pooled investment vehicles, such as private funds and other unregistered pooled investment vehicles, because registered open-end investment companies are subject to the full panoply of FinCEN's rules implementing the BSA. Registered open-end investment companies already are required to, among other things, establish AML and customer identification programs and report suspicious activity. The BSA requirements to which mutual funds are subject may mitigate the money laundering risks that a mutual fund client and the mutual fund's underlying client base or investors present to an investment adviser.

    (c) Registered Closed-End Fund Clients

    FinCEN recognizes that the advisory activity provided to a closed-end fund may present a lower risk for money laundering, terrorist financing, and other illicit activity than other types of advisory activity.64 Purchases and sales of closed-end fund shares are executed through broker-dealers or banks, and these entities are already required to establish and implement AML programs under the BSA. Consequently, given the risk-based approach required in the AML programs for financial institutions generally, including investment advisers, FinCEN would expect an investment adviser to risk-rate the advisory services it provides to a closed-end fund to reflect a lower risk for money laundering or terrorist financing than other types of advisory activity, such as that provided to a private fund or other unregistered pooled investment vehicle.

    64See A Report to Congress in Accordance with 356(c) of the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing the Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (USA PATRIOT Act) at pages 15-7.

    (d) Private Fund Clients/Unregistered Pooled Investment Vehicles

    An investment adviser that is the primary adviser to a private fund or other unregistered pooled investment vehicle is required to make a risk-based assessment of the money laundering and terrorist financing risks presented by the investors in such investment vehicles by considering the same types of relevant factors, as appropriate, as the adviser would consider for clients for whom the adviser manages assets directly, as discussed above.65 Generally, when an investment adviser is the primary adviser for a private fund or other unregistered pooled investment vehicle, the adviser should have access to information about the identities and transactions of the underlying or individual investors. FinCEN notes, however, that there may be a lack of transparency regarding the entities that invest in private funds and other unregistered pooled investment vehicles.66 The lack of transparency regarding the investors may put these types of investment vehicles at risk for money laundering, terrorist financing, fraud, and other illicit activity. Under certain circumstances, FinCEN further recognizes that an investment adviser may be required to assess the money laundering and terrorist financing risks associated with the underlying investors of a client that is a private fund or other unregistered pooled investment vehicle using a risk-based approach.

    65See generally discussions supra “Scope” and “Non-Pooled Investment Vehicle Clients.” See also Anti-Money Laundering Programs for Investment Advisers at 23650 (proposing a similar approach for an adviser that creates or administers a pooled investment vehicle not subject to BSA requirements).

    66See Anti-Money Laundering Programs for Unregistered Investment Companies at 60621 (investors in unregistered investment companies may include individuals and institutional investors [such as pension funds and corporations], as well as other registered and unregistered investment companies [i.e., “funds of hedge funds”]; the diversity and complexity of the structures of these pooled investment vehicles, particularly those with offshore operations, may result in a lack of transparency regarding the entities that invest in the unregistered investment company).

    FinCEN recognizes that certain private funds and other unregistered pooled investment vehicles may present lower risks for money laundering or terrorist financing than others. Consequently, FinCEN would not expect an investment adviser to risk-rate the advisory services it provides to a pooled investment vehicle that presents a lower risk the same as it might rate the advisory services it provides to other types of pooled investment vehicles that may present higher risks for attracting money launderers, terrorist financers, or other illicit actors.

    If any of the investors in the private fund or other unregistered pooled investment vehicle for which the investment adviser is acting as the primary adviser are themselves private funds or some other type of unregistered pooled investment vehicles (an “investing pooled entity”), the investment adviser will need to assess the money laundering or terrorist financing risks associated with these investing pooled entities using a risk-based approach.

    Investment advisers acting as primary advisers may provide advisory services to a private fund or other unregistered pooled investment vehicle that operates offshore.67 That is, investment advisers may advise a private fund or other unregistered pooled investment vehicle that may be organized in the United States or in a foreign jurisdiction, and interests in these pools may be offered to U.S. and/or foreign investors. In the rule FinCEN is proposing today, regardless of offshore formation or offering, an investment adviser should apply the same policies and the procedures as discussed above to any private fund or other unregistered pooled investment vehicle for which the investment adviser provides advisory services.

    67See General Instructions for Part 2 of Form ADV, Item 10.C.2 available at http://www.sec.gov/about/forms/formadv-part2.pdf (requiring SEC-registered investment advisers to include in their narrative brochure to clients any relationship or arrangement that the adviser has with an offshore fund that is material to its advisory business or to its clients). See also Anti-Money Laundering Programs for Unregistered Investment Companies at note 31.

    (e) Wrap Fee Programs

    In some instances, the sponsoring securities broker-dealer of a wrap fee program may be dually registered as an investment adviser.68 As discussed above, FinCEN would expect such an investment adviser to address the money laundering or terrorist financing risks of the underlying clients in the program.

    68 A “wrap fee program” for purposes of the rules being proposed today is a program under which investment advisory and brokerage execution services are provided for a single “wrapped” fee that is not based on the number of transactions executed in a client's account. An investment advisory program under which all clients pay traditional, transaction-based commissions is not a wrap fee program. Similarly, a program under which client assets are allocated among mutual funds is not a wrap fee program, because normally there is no payment for brokerage execution. See Securities and Exchange Commission—Division of Investment Management, General Regulation of Investment Advisers at http://www.sec.gov/divisions/investment/iaregulation/memoia.htm.

    In other instances, an investment adviser may provide advisory services to a wrap fee program that is sponsored by an unaffiliated broker-dealer. Although under such circumstances the investment adviser may have more limited access to investor information and transactions, such an adviser may still have access to information that would enable the adviser to identify money laundering, terrorist financing, or other illicit activity.

    4. Dually Registered Investment Advisers and Advisers Affiliated With or Subsidiaries of Entities Required To Establish Anti-Money Laundering Programs

    Some investment advisers are dually registered with the SEC as investment advisers and broker-dealers in securities. Other investment advisers may be affiliated with, or subsidiaries of, entities that are either defined as a financial institution under the BSA in other capacities, or are otherwise required to establish AML programs. With respect to an investment adviser that is dually registered as a broker-dealer, FinCEN is not proposing to require such an adviser to establish multiple or separate AML programs so long as a comprehensive AML program covers all of the entity's advisory and broker-dealer activities and businesses. The program must be designed to address the different money laundering risks posed by the different aspects of the dually registered entity's businesses and satisfy each of the risk-based AML program requirements to which it is subject in its capacity as an investment adviser and broker-dealer in securities.69 Similarly, an investment adviser affiliated with, or a subsidiary of, an entity required to establish an AML program in another capacity does not have to implement multiple or separate programs as long as the program covers all of the entity's activities and businesses that are subject to the BSA. The program must be designed to address the different money laundering risks posed by the different aspects of the entity's business and satisfy each of the risk-based AML program and any other BSA requirements to which it is subject in all of its regulated capacities, as for example an investment adviser and a bank or insurance company.70

    69 FinCEN notes that while broker-dealers in securities are subject to the full panoply of FinCEN's regulations implementing the BSA, investment advisers would not be subject to certain of those BSA requirements, e.g., the customer identification rule. FinCEN expects that an entity dually registered as a broker-dealer in securities and an investment adviser will design an enterprise-wide AML compliance program under which its broker dealer activities would be subject to BSA requirements appropriate to broker dealers, and its investment advisory activities would be subject to the BSA requirements required by this proposed rule.

    70 FinCEN notes that although certain insurance companies are required to establish and implement AML programs and report suspicious activity, the term “insurance company” is not included within the general definition of financial institution under FinCEN's regulations and, therefore, such insurance companies are not required to file CTRs with FinCEN or comply with the Recordkeeping and Travel Rules and other related recordkeeping requirements. Accordingly, FinCEN would not expect an insurance company that is affiliated with or owns an investment adviser to design an enterprise-wide AML compliance program that would subject the insurance company to BSA requirements not required by FinCEN's regulations. Conversely, FinCEN would not expect a bank, which is subject to the full panoply of FinCEN's regulations implementing the BSA that is affiliated with or owns an investment adviser to design an enterprise-wide AML compliance program that would subject the investment adviser to BSA requirements that would not be required by the rules FinCEN is proposing today.

    FinCEN recognizes the importance of enterprise-wide compliance and, therefore, believes it would be beneficial and cost-effective for these types of entities to implement one comprehensive AML program that includes all activities covered by FinCEN's regulations. However, these entities are not required to establish one comprehensive AML program; they may instead establish multiple programs to satisfy their AML obligations.

    5. Delegation of Duties

    As indicated by the discussion of various client relationships and services above, an investment adviser's advisory services may involve other financial institutions, such as broker-dealers, banks, mutual funds, or other investment advisers that have separate AML program requirements. In addition, an investment adviser may conduct some of its operations through agents or third-party service providers, such as broker-dealers in securities (including prime brokers), custodians, and transfer agents. Some elements of the compliance program may best be performed by personnel of these entities, in which case it is permissible for an investment adviser to delegate contractually the implementation and operation of those aspects of its AML program to such an entity.71 Any investment adviser that delegates the implementation and operation of aspects of its AML program to another financial institution, agent, third-party service provider, or other entity, however, will remain fully responsible for the effectiveness of the program, as well as for ensuring that FinCEN and the SEC are able to obtain information and records relating to the AML program.

    71See e.g., Anti-Money Laundering Programs for Investment Advisers at 23650.

    6. AML Program Approval

    Section 1031.210(a)(2) of the proposed rule would require that each investment adviser's AML program be approved in writing by its board of directors or trustees, or if it does not have a board, by its sole proprietor, general partner, trustee, or other persons that have functions similar to a board of directors. This provision of the proposed rule would assure that the requirement to have an AML program receives the appropriate level of attention and is sufficiently flexible to permit an investment adviser to comply with this requirement based on its particular organizational structure. An investment adviser's written program would have to be made available to FinCEN or the SEC upon request.

    7. The Required Elements of an Anti-Money Laundering Program (a) Establish and Implement Policies, Procedures, and Internal Controls

    Section 1031.210(b)(1) requires an investment adviser's written AML program to establish and implement policies, procedures, and internal controls based upon the investment adviser's assessment of the money laundering or terrorist financing risks associated with its business. The policies, procedures, and internal controls should be reasonably designed to prevent the investment adviser from being used for money laundering or the financing of terrorist activities, and to achieve and monitor compliance with the applicable provisions of the BSA and FinCEN's implementing regulations. Generally, an investment adviser must review, among other things, the types of advisory services it provides and the nature of the clients it advises to identify its vulnerabilities to money laundering and terrorist financing activities, and the adviser's policies, procedures, and internal controls must be developed based on this review. An investment adviser's AML program may encompass many types of advisory clients, including individuals, institutions, registered investment companies, and other pooled vehicles, including private funds and other unregistered pools, regardless of whether the investment adviser is acting as the primary adviser or a subadviser.

    (b) Provide for Independent Testing for Compliance To Be Conducted by Company Personnel or by a Qualified Outside Party

    Section 1031.210(b)(2) requires that an investment adviser provide for independent testing of the program on a periodic basis to ensure that it complies with the requirements of the rule and that the program functions as designed. Employees of either the investment adviser, its affiliates, or unaffiliated service providers may conduct the independent testing, so long as those same employees are not involved in the operation and oversight of the program. The employees should be knowledgeable regarding BSA requirements. The frequency of the independent testing will depend upon the investment adviser's assessment of the risks posed. Any recommendations resulting from such testing should be promptly implemented or submitted to senior management for consideration.

    (c) Designate a Person or Persons Responsible for Implementing and Monitoring the Operations and Internal Controls of the Program

    Section 1031.210(b)(3) requires that an investment adviser designate a person or persons to be responsible for implementing and monitoring the operations and internal controls of the AML program. An investment adviser may designate a single person or committee to be responsible for compliance. The person or persons should be knowledgeable and competent regarding FinCEN's regulatory requirements and the adviser's money laundering risks, and should have full responsibility and authority to develop and enforce appropriate policies and procedures to address those risks. Whether the compliance officer is dedicated full time to BSA compliance would depend on the size and type of advisory services the adviser provides and the clients it serves. A person designated as a compliance officer should be an officer of the investment adviser. FinCEN notes that in order to comply with this requirement of the AML program, investment advisers should be able to adapt existing policies and procedures.72

    72See discussion supra Section IV.D (“Anti-Money Laundering Programs”) for a discussion of existing Advisers Act recordkeeping and reporting obligations that would enable investment advisers to adapt existing policies, procedures, and internal controls in order to comply with the AML program requirement to designate a compliance officer.

    (d) Provide Ongoing Training for Appropriate Persons

    Section 1031.210(b)(4) requires that an investment adviser provide for training of appropriate persons. Employee training is an integral part of any AML program. In order to carry out their responsibilities effectively, employees of an investment adviser (and of any agent or third-party service provider) must be trained in BSA requirements relevant to their functions and in recognizing possible signs of money laundering that could arise in the course of their duties. Such training may be conducted by outside or in-house seminars, and may include computer-based training. The nature, scope, and frequency of the investment adviser's training program would be determined by the responsibilities of the employees and the extent to which their functions bring them in contact with BSA requirements or possible money laundering activity. Consequently, the training program should provide a general awareness of overall BSA requirements and money laundering issues, as well as more job-specific guidance regarding particular employees' roles and functions in the AML program. For those employees whose duties bring them in contact with BSA requirements or possible money laundering activity, the requisite training should occur when the employee assumes those duties. Moreover, these employees should receive periodic updates and refreshers regarding the AML program.

    E. Applicability Date

    Section 1031.210(c) states the effective date by which an investment adviser must comply with this section. FinCEN is proposing that an investment adviser must develop and implement an AML program that complies with the requirements of this section on or before six months from the effective date of the regulation.

    F. Reports of Suspicious Transactions

    In 1992, the Annunzio-Wylie Act authorized the Secretary to require financial institutions to report suspicious transactions.73 FinCEN has issued rules under this authority requiring banks, casinos, money services businesses, broker-dealers in securities, mutual funds, insurance companies, futures commission merchants, and introducing brokers in commodities, among others, to report suspicious activity.74 Suspicious activity reporting by these and other types of financial institutions provides information highly useful in law enforcement and regulatory investigations and proceedings, as well as in the conduct of intelligence activities to protect against international terrorism.75 Requiring investment advisers to report suspicious activity is similarly expected to provide useful information for investigations and proceedings involving domestic and international money laundering, terrorist financing, fraud, and other financial crimes. Requiring investment advisers to report suspicious activity also narrows the regulatory gap that may be exploited by money launderers seeking access to the U.S. financial system through financial institutions not required to report suspicious transactions.

    73 31 U.S.C. 5318(g) was added to the BSA by section 1517 of the Annunzio-Wylie Anti-Money Laundering Act, Title XV of Public Law 102-550 (October 28,1992); it was expanded by section 403 of the Money Laundering Suppression Act of 1994 (the Money Laundering Suppression Act), Title IV of the Riegle Community Development and Regulatory Improvement Act of 1994, Public Law 103-325, to require designation of a single government recipient for reports of suspicious transactions. As amended by the USA PATRIOT Act, subsection (g)(1) states generally that “the Secretary may require any financial institution, and any director, officer, employee, or agent of any financial institution, to report any suspicious transaction relevant to a possible violation of law or regulation.”

    74See 31 CFR 1020.320, 1021.320, 1022.320, 1023.320, 1024.320, 1025.320, and 1026.320, 1029.320 and 1030.320.

    75See 31 U.S.C. 5311 (Declaration of Purpose of the Bank Secrecy Act).

    The rule, as proposed, does not permit investment advisers to share SARs within their corporate organizational structures in the absence of further guidance. In 2010, in close consultation with the Federal banking agencies, the SEC, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, FinCEN finalized proposed amendments to the SAR rules that, among other things, clarified the scope of the statutory prohibition against the disclosure by a financial institution of a SAR.76 At the same time, FinCEN finalized two pieces of interpretive guidance clarifying that banks, broker-dealers in securities, mutual funds, futures commission merchants, and introducing brokers in commodities could share SARs, subject to certain limitations, within their corporate organizational structures.77 Although the guidance was limited to these industries, the final rule noted that the regulatory framework being finalized would facilitate the potential expansion of this authority to other industries in the future. FinCEN understands that investment advisers may find it necessary to share SARs within their organizational structures to fulfill reporting obligations under the BSA, and to facilitate more effective enterprise-wide BSA compliance. FinCEN is interested in hearing from investment advisers on this specific issue (see the Request for Comment section) and is mindful that guidance on this topic may need to be issued in a timely manner following the issuance of any final rule.

    76See generally Confidentiality of Suspicious Activity Reports, 75 FR 75593 (Dec. 3, 2010).

    77See generally Sharing Suspicious Activity Reports by Securities Broker-Dealers, Mutual Funds, Futures Commission Merchants, and Introducing Brokers in Commodities with Certain U.S. Affiliates, FIN-2010-G005 (Nov. 23, 2010) and Sharing Suspicious Activity Reports by Depository Institutions with Certain U.S. Affiliates, FIN-2010-G006 (Nov. 23, 2010).

    1. Reports by Registered Investment Advisers of Suspicious Transactions

    Proposed § 1031.320(a) sets forth the obligation of investment advisers to report suspicious transactions that are conducted or attempted by, at, or through an investment adviser and involve or aggregate at least $5,000 in funds or other assets. The $5,000 minimum amount in this proposed rule is consistent with the SAR filing requirements for most other financial institutions that are subject to a SAR reporting requirement under FinCEN's rules implementing the BSA.78 A transaction is reportable under this proposed rule regardless of whether the transaction involves currency.79 Filing a report of a suspicious transaction does not relieve an investment adviser from the responsibility of complying with the Advisers Act or any rule imposed by the SEC.

    78See 31 CFR 1024.320(a), 1023.320(a), 1020.320(a), 1021.320(a), 1026.320(a), and 1021.320(a) (requiring mutual funds, broker-dealers in securities, banks, futures commission merchants and introducing brokers in commodities, and casinos to report suspicious transactions if they involve in the aggregate at least $5,000).

    79See 31 U.S.C. 5318(g)(1).

    Section 1031.320(a)(1) contains the general statement of the obligation to file reports of suspicious transactions. The obligation extends to transactions conducted or attempted by, at, or through an investment adviser. To clarify that the proposed rule imposes a reporting requirement that is uniform with that for other financial institutions, § 1031.320(a)(1) incorporates language from the suspicious activity reporting rules applicable to other financial institutions, such as banks, broker-dealers in securities, mutual funds, casinos, and money services businesses. Furthermore, this section of the proposed rule contains a provision that permits an investment adviser to report voluntarily any transaction the investment adviser believes is relevant to the possible violation of any law or regulation but that is not otherwise required to be reported by this proposed rule. Thus, the rule encourages the voluntary reporting of suspicious transactions in cases in which the rule does not explicitly require reporting, such as in the case of a transaction that is below the $5,000 threshold of the proposed rule in § 1031.320(a)(2). Such voluntary reporting is subject to the same protection from liability as mandatory reporting pursuant to 31 U.S.C. 5318(g)(3). Section 1031.320(a)(2) requires the reporting of suspicious activity that involves or aggregates at least $5,000 in funds or other assets. Sections 1031.320(a)(2)(i) through (iv) specifies that an investment adviser is required to report a transaction if it knows, suspects, or has reason to suspect that the transaction (or a pattern of transactions of which the transaction is a part): (i) Involves funds derived from illegal activity or is intended or conducted to hide or disguise funds or assets derived from illegal activity; (ii) is designed, whether through structuring or other means, to evade the requirements of the BSA; (iii) has no business or apparent lawful purpose, and the investment adviser knows of no reasonable explanation for the transaction after examining the available facts; or (iv) involves the use of the investment adviser to facilitate criminal activity.80

    80 The fourth category of reportable transactions has been added to the suspicious activity reporting rules promulgated since the passage of the USA PATRIOT Act to make it clear that the requirement to report suspicious activity encompasses the reporting of transactions involving fraud and those in which legally derived funds are used for criminal activity, such as the financing of terrorism.

    A determination as to whether a SAR must be filed should be based on all the facts and circumstances relating to the transaction and the client in question. Different types of clients and transactions will require different judgments. One commenter to the First Proposed Investment Adviser Rule included in its comments examples of money laundering red flags likely to be observed by an investment adviser. The red flags submitted included the following: (1) A client exhibits an unusual concern regarding the adviser's compliance with government reporting requirements or is reluctant or refuses to reveal any information concerning business activities, or furnishes unusual or suspicious identification or business documents; (2) a client appears to be acting as the agent for another entity but declines, evades, or is reluctant to provide any information in response to questions about that entity; (3) a client's account has a pattern of inexplicable and unusual withdrawals, contrary to the client's stated investment objectives; (4) a client requests that a transaction be processed in such a manner as to avoid the adviser's normal documentation requirements; or (5) a client exhibits a total lack of concern regarding performance returns or risk.81 FinCEN believes that these are all examples of circumstances that may be indicative of suspicious activity and warrant further consideration by the investment adviser. FinCEN notes, however, that the techniques of money laundering or terrorist financing are continually evolving, and there is no way to provide a definitive list of suspicious transactions.

    81 The Proposed Unregistered Investment Companies Rule also provided examples of suspicious transactions that could indicate potential money laundering in an unregistered investment company. See Anti-Money Laundering Programs for Unregistered Investment Companies at 60620.

    The proposed rule would require that an investment adviser evaluate client activity and relationships for money laundering risks and design a suspicious transaction monitoring program that is appropriate for the particular investment adviser in light of such risks. Some of the types of suspicious activity an investment adviser may see could include structuring and fraudulent activity. Suspicious activity observed in the subscription of private fund interests may include the use of money orders or travelers checks in structured amounts to avoid currency reporting requirements. A money launderer also could engage in structuring by funding a managed account or subscribing to a private fund by using multiple wire transfers from different accounts maintained at different financial institutions. Suspicious activity could include other unusual wire activity that does not correlate with a client's stated investment objectives. As discussed above, investment advisers should be able to build upon existing policies, procedures, and internal controls they currently have in place to comply with the Federal securities laws to which they are subject in order to report suspicious activity.

    Section 1031.320(a)(3) provides that the obligation to identify and report a suspicious transaction rests with the investment adviser involved in the transaction. However, where more than one investment adviser, or another financial institution with a separate suspicious activity reporting obligation, is involved in the same transaction, only one report is required to be filed. FinCEN recognizes that other financial institutions, such as broker-dealers in securities, mutual funds, and banks have separate reporting obligations that may involve the same suspicious activity.82 Furthermore, as discussed above, many investment advisers may be dually registered or affiliated with another financial institution. Therefore, in those instances, when an investment adviser and another financial institution are involved in the same transaction, only one report is required to be filed. It is permissible for either the investment adviser or the other financial institution to file a single joint report provided it contains all relevant facts and that each institution maintains a copy of the report and any supporting documentation.

    82See 31 CFR 1023.320 and 1024.320.

    2. Filing and Notification Procedures

    Proposed § 1031.320(b)(1) through (4) sets forth the filing and notification procedures to be followed by investment advisers making reports of suspicious transactions. Within 30 days after an investment adviser becomes aware of a suspicious transaction, the adviser must report the transaction by completing and filing a SAR with FinCEN in accordance with all form instructions and applicable guidance. Supporting documentation relating to each SAR is to be collected and maintained separately by the investment adviser and made available upon request to FinCEN; any Federal, State, or local law enforcement agency; or any Federal regulatory authority, in particular the SEC, which examines the investment adviser for compliance with the BSA. Because supporting documentation is deemed to have been filed with the SAR, these authorities and agencies are consistent with those authorities or agencies to whom a SAR may be disclosed pursuant to proposed rules of construction, as discussed further below. For situations requiring immediate attention, such as suspected terrorist financing or ongoing money laundering schemes, investment advisers are required to notify immediately by telephone the appropriate law enforcement authority in addition to filing a timely SAR. Any investment adviser reporting suspicious transactions that may relate to terrorist activity may call FinCEN's Resource Center (FRC) at 1-800-767-2825 in addition to filing timely a SAR if required by this section.

    3. Retention of Records

    Proposed § 1031.320(c) provides that investment advisers must maintain copies of filed SARs and the underlying related documentation for a period of five years from the date of filing. As indicated above, supporting documentation is to be made available to FinCEN and the prescribed law enforcement and regulatory authorities, upon request.

    4. Confidentiality of SARs

    Proposed § 1031.320(d) provides that a SAR and any information that would reveal the existence of a SAR are confidential and shall not be disclosed except as authorized in § 1031.320(d)(1)(ii). Section 1031.320(d)(1)(i) generally provides that no investment adviser, and no current or former director, officer, employee, or agent of any investment adviser, shall disclose a SAR or any information that would reveal the existence of a SAR. This provision of the proposed rule further provides that any investment adviser and any director, officer, employee, or agent of any investment adviser that is subpoenaed or otherwise requested to disclose a SAR or any information that would reveal the existence of a SAR, must decline to produce the SAR or such information and must notify FinCEN of such a request and any response thereto. In addition to reports of suspicious activity required by the proposed rule, investment advisers would be prohibited from disclosing voluntary reports of suspicious activity.83

    83 To encourage the reporting of possible violations of law or regulation and the filing of SARs, the BSA contains a safe harbor provision that shields financial institutions making such reports from civil liability. In 2001, the USA PATRIOT Act clarified that the safe harbor also covers voluntary disclosure of possible violations of law and regulations to a government agency and expanded the scope of the limit on liability to cover any civil liability which may exist under any contract or other legally enforceable agreement (including any arbitration agreement). See USA PATRIOT Act, section 351(a). Public Law 107-56, Title III, 351, 115 Stat. 272, 321(2001); 31 U.S.C. 5318(g)(3).

    Section 1031.320(d)(1)(ii) provides three rules of construction that clarify the scope of the prohibition against the disclosure of a SAR by an investment adviser and closely parallel the rules of construction in the suspicious activity reporting rules for other financial institutions. As discussed above, the proposed rules of construction primarily describe situations that are not covered by the prohibition against the disclosure of a SAR or information that would reveal the existence of a SAR contained in § 1031.320(d)(1). Section 1031.320(d)(1)(ii), however, makes clear that the rules of construction proposed today are each qualified by, and subordinate to, the statutory mandate that no person involved in any reported suspicious transaction can be notified that the transaction has been reported.

    The first rule of construction, in § 1031.320(d)(1)(ii)(A)(1), does not prohibit an investment adviser, or any director, officer, employee or agent of an investment adviser from disclosing a SAR, or any information that would reveal the existence of a SAR, to FinCEN, or any Federal, State or local law enforcement agencies, or a Federal regulatory authority that examines the investment adviser for compliance with the BSA provided that no person involved in the reported transaction is notified that the transaction has been reported. As discussed above, FinCEN is proposing to delegate its examination authority for compliance with FinCEN's rules implementing the BSA to the SEC.

    The second rule of construction, in § 1031.320(d)(1)(ii)(A)(2), provides that the phrase “a SAR or information that would reveal the existence of a SAR” does not include “the underlying facts, transactions, and documents upon which a SAR is based.” An investment adviser, or any director, officer, employee, or agent of an investment adviser, therefore, is not prohibited from disclosing the underlying facts, transactions, and documents upon which a SAR is based, including but not limited to, disclosures of such information to another financial institution or any director, officer, employee, or agent of a financial institution, for the preparation of a joint SAR, provided that no person involved in the reported transaction is notified that the transaction has been reported.

    The third rule of construction, in § 1031.320(d)(1)(ii)(B), recognizes that investment advisers may find it necessary to share within their corporate organizational structures a SAR or information that would reveal the existence of a SAR for purposes consistent with Title II of the BSA. The proposed rule would not authorize sharing within an investment adviser's corporate organizational structure in the absence of further guidance or rulemaking by FinCEN as to circumstances under which such sharing would be consistent with Title II of the BSA.

    Section 1031.320(d)(2) incorporates the statutory prohibition against disclosure of SAR information by government users of SAR data other than in fulfillment of their official duties consistent with the BSA. The paragraph clarifies that official duties do not include the disclosure of SAR information in response to a request by a non-governmental entity for non-public information 84 or for use in a private legal proceeding, including a request under 31 CFR 1.11.85

    84 For purposes of this rulemaking, “non-public information” refers to information that is exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.

    85 31 CFR 1.11 is the Department of the Treasury's information disclosure regulation. Generally, these regulations are known as “Touhy regulations,” after the Supreme Court's decision in United States ex rel. Touhy v. Ragen, 340 U.S. 462 (1951). In that case, the Supreme Court held that an agency employee could not be held in contempt for refusing to disclose agency records or information when following the instructions of his or her supervisor regarding the disclosure. As such, an agency's Touhy regulations are the instructions agency employees must follow when those employees receive requests or demands to testify or otherwise disclose agency records or information.

    5. Limitation of Liability

    Proposed § 1031.320(e) provides protection from liability for making either required or voluntary reports of suspicious transactions, and for failures to disclose the fact of such reporting to the full extent provided by 31 U.S.C. 5318(g)(3).

    6. Compliance

    Proposed § 1031.320(f) notes that compliance with the obligation to report suspicious transactions will be examined by FinCEN or its delegates and provides that failure to comply with the rule may constitute a violation of the BSA and FinCEN's regulations. As discussed above, pursuant to 31 CFR 1010.810(a), FinCEN has overall authority for enforcement and compliance with its regulations, including coordination and direction of procedures and activities of all other agencies exercising delegated authority. Further, pursuant to § 1010.810(d), FinCEN has the authority to impose civil penalties for violations of the BSA and its regulations.

    7. Compliance Date

    Proposed section 1031.320(g) provides that the new suspicious activity reporting requirement applies to transactions initiated after the implementation of an AML program required by § 1031.210 of this part. However, investment advisers may and will be encouraged to begin filing SARs as soon as practicable on a voluntary basis upon the issuance of the final rule.

    Investment advisers may conduct some of their operations through agents or third-party service providers, which may or may not be affiliated with the investment adviser, such as broker-dealers in securities, custodians, administrators, or transfer agents. Just as investment advisers are permitted to delegate the implementation and operation aspects of their AML programs to such service providers, an investment adviser is permitted to delegate its suspicious activity reporting requirements. However, if an investment adviser delegates such responsibility to an agent or a third-party service provider, the adviser remains responsible for its compliance with the requirement to report suspicious activity, including the requirement to maintain SAR confidentiality.

    G. Special Information Sharing Procedures To Deter Money Laundering and Terrorist Activity

    Section 1031.500 proposes to subject investment advisers to FinCEN's rules implementing the special information sharing procedures to detect money laundering or terrorist activity requirements of sections 314(a) and 314(b) of the USA PATRIOT Act.86 Section 314(a) provides for the sharing of information between the government and financial institutions and allows FinCEN to require financial institutions to search their records to determine whether they have maintained an account or conducted a transaction with a person that law enforcement has certified is suspected of engaging in terrorist activity or money laundering. Section 314(b) provides financial institutions with the ability to share information with one another, under a safe harbor that offers protections from liability, in order to identify better and report potential money laundering or terrorist activities. Sections 1010.520 and 1010.540 implement sections 314(a) and 314(b) of the USA PATRIOT Act, respectively, and generally apply to any financial institution that is listed in 31 U.S.C. 5312(a)(2) and is subject to an AML program requirement. Section 1031.500 would state generally that investment advisers are subject to the special information sharing procedures to detect money laundering or terrorist activity requirements set forth and cross referenced in §§ 1031.520 (cross-referencing to 31 CFR 1010.520) and 1031.540 (cross-referencing to 31 CFR 1010.540). Because FinCEN is proposing to include investment advisers within the definition of financial institution under section 5312(a)(2)(Y) and to require investment advisers to establish AML programs, investment advisers would also be subject to FinCEN's rules implementing section 314. The rules being proposed today, therefore, add subpart E to part 1031 to make clear that FinCEN's rules implementing section 314 would apply to investment advisers.

    86See 31 U.S.C. 1010.520 and 1010.540.

    V. Request for Comment

    FinCEN seeks comment on today's proposed rules and whether the rules are appropriate in light of the nature of investment adviser activities and the recent amendments to the Advisers Act under the Dodd-Frank Act. In particular, FinCEN seeks comment on the following aspects of the proposed rule.

    Proposed Definition of Investment Adviser

    FinCEN requests comment on all aspects of the definition of “investment adviser” as proposed in section 1010.100(nnn). In particular:

    • Does the exclusion from the definition of investment adviser of those large advisers that qualify for and use an exemption from the requirement to register with the SEC place this class of investment adviser at risk for abuse by money launderers, terrorist financers, or other illicit actors? If so, should FinCEN include these advisers in its definition of investment adviser? What would be the disadvantage of doing so?

    • Are there classes of investment advisers included in the definition of investment adviser that are not at risk, or present a very low risk for money laundering, terrorist financing, or other illicit activity such that they could appropriately be excluded from the definition? If so, why would it be appropriate to exclude such advisers from the definition as opposed to adopting an AML program that is appropriate to their level of risk?

    • Should foreign advisers that are registered or required to register with the SEC, but that have no place of business in the United States, be included in the definition of investment adviser?

    • To what extent are mid-sized, small, State-registered, and foreign private investment advisers that do not meet the definition of investment adviser proposed today at risk for being used for money laundering, terrorist financing, or other illicit activity?

    • Are there other types of investment advisers that may not meet the definition as proposed today, such as exempt reporting advisers (“ERAs”) (whether the adviser is a U.S. or non-U.S. person), family offices, and financial planners, that are at risk for abuse by money launderers, terrorist financers, or other illicit actors?

    • With regard to ERAs, are there differences in the risks associated with an adviser that qualifies for and elects to use the 203(l) exemption from an adviser that qualifies for and elects to use the 203(m) exemption that would warrant different treatment under the BSA?

    • Are there certain types of financial planners that are not included in the proposed definition that, based on the activities in which they engage, are at risk for being used for money laundering, terrorist financing, or other illicit activity?

    A. Proposed Requirement To Include Investment Advisers in the General Definition of Financial Institution and To Require Advisers To File CTRs and Comply With the Recordkeeping and Travel Rules

    FinCEN requests comment on the inclusion of investment advisers in the general definition of financial institution at 31 CFR 1010.100(t). In particular:

    • With regard to requiring investment advisers to comply with the Recordkeeping and Travel Rules and other related recordkeeping requirements and the anticipated impact of subjecting advisers to these requirements, what are the anticipated time and monetary savings that could result from replacing the requirement to file reports on Form 8300 with a requirement to file CTRs?

    • Is there any information that law enforcement, tax, regulatory, and counter-terrorism investigations may possibly lose because investment advisers would be filing CTRs as opposed to filing Form 8300s?

    B. Proposed AML Program Requirement

    FinCEN requests comment on all aspects of the proposed AML program requirement for investment advisers. In particular:

    • Is the proposed rule's approach of requiring an investment adviser to include in its AML program requirement all of the advisory services it provides, whether acting as the primary adviser or a subadviser, an appropriate approach?

    • Is the risk-based nature of the proposed AML program requirement sufficiently flexible to permit an investment adviser to develop and implement an AML program without providing specific exclusions for certain advisory activity?

    C. Proposed Minimum Requirements of the AML Program

    FinCEN seeks comment on the minimum requirements an investment adviser would be required to include in its AML program as proposed in § 1031.210(b). In particular:

    • Is it appropriate to allow an adviser to delegate some elements of its compliance program to an entity with which the client, and not the adviser, has the contractual relationship?

    • Is it appropriate for FinCEN to expect an investment adviser to include in its AML program all advisory services that an adviser may provide to non-pooled investment vehicle clients (e.g., individuals and institutions), registered open-end fund clients, registered closed-end fund clients, private fund/other unregistered pooled investment vehicle clients, and wrap fee programs?

    • To what extent would a subadviser's AML program overlap with the primary adviser's AML program and how could any possible duplication of effort be mitigated?

    • Is there an increased risk for such a subadviser to be used for money laundering, terrorist financing, or other illicit activity when providing advisory services to a client that has a primary adviser that is not an investment adviser?

    • Should the primary adviser be required to apply the same approach when the investing pooled entity is a registered investment company, such as a mutual fund or closed-end fund?

    • Should a subadviser to a private fund or other unregistered pooled investment vehicle, which has a primary adviser that is not an investment adviser, be required to establish the same policies and procedures as when the primary adviser is an investment adviser?

    • If an underlying investor in the private fund or other unregistered pooled investment vehicle is an investing pooled entity, should a subadviser be required to identify risks and incorporate policies and procedures within its AML program to mitigate the risks of the investing pooled entity's underlying investors, sponsoring entity, and/or intermediaries when there is an increased risk of money laundering, terrorist financing, or other illicit activity?

    • Is an express exclusion for advisory activity provided to an open-end or closed-end fund appropriate to reduce potential overlap or redundancy?

    • With respect to a mutual fund's omnibus accounts, are the money laundering or terrorist financing risks mitigated because the fund is required to assess the risks posed by its own particular omnibus accounts?

    • Should an adviser to a wrap fee program be required to obtain additional information about the investors in the program and/or coordinate its review with the sponsoring broker-dealer when the adviser sees an increased risk for money laundering, terrorist financing, or other illicit activity?

    FinCEN seeks comment on the money laundering program requirements as proposed in § 1031.210(b)(2) through (4).

    D. Proposed Suspicious Activity Reporting Rule

    FinCEN seeks comment on all aspects of today's suspicious activity reporting rule as proposed in § 1031.320. In particular:

    • Should investment advisers be permitted to share SARs within their corporate organizational structure in the same way that banks, broker-dealers in securities, futures commission merchants, mutual funds, and introducing brokers in commodities are permitted to share? How would such sharing be consistent with the purposes of the BSA and how would investment advisers be able to maintain the confidentiality of shared SARs?

    E. Future Consideration of Additional BSA Requirements for Investment Advisers

    • Should investment advisers be required to comply with other FinCEN rules implementing the BSA, including the rules requiring customer identification and verification procedures pursuant to section 326 of the USA PATRIOT Act and the correspondent account rules of section 311 and 312 of the USA PATRIOT Act?

    • Should investment advisers be required to comply with FinCEN rules implementing section 313 and 319(b) of the USA PATRIOT Act?

    The regulations implementing section 326 require certain financial institutions to implement reasonable customer identification procedures for: (1) Verifying the identity of any person seeking to open an account, to the extent reasonable and practicable; and (2) maintaining records of the information used to verify the person's identity, including name, address, and other identifying information.87 The regulations implementing section 311 require U.S. financial institutions to take certain “special measures” against foreign jurisdictions, institutions, classes of transactions, or types of accounts the Treasury designates as a “primary money laundering concern.” 88 The regulations implementing section 312 require a U.S. financial institution to perform due diligence and, in some cases, enhanced due diligence, with regard to correspondent accounts established or maintained for foreign financial institutions and private banking accounts established or maintained for non-U.S. persons.89

    87See, e.g., 31 CFR 1020.220, 1023.220, 1024.220, and 1026.220.

    88See, e.g., 31 CFR 1010.653.

    89See, e.g., 31 CFR 1020.610-620, 1023.610-620, 1024.610-620, and 1026.610-620.

    The regulations implementing section 313 prohibit certain financial institutions from providing correspondent accounts to foreign shell banks, and require such financial institutions to take reasonable steps to ensure that correspondent accounts provided to foreign banks are not used to indirectly provide banking services to foreign shell banks.90 The regulations implementing section 319(b) require these financial institutions that provide correspondent accounts to foreign banks to maintain records of the ownership of such foreign banks and their agents in the United States designated for legal service of process for records regarding these correspondent accounts, and require the termination of correspondent accounts of foreign banks that fail to comply with or fail to contest a lawful request of the Secretary of the Treasury or the Attorney General of the United States.

    90See, e.g., 31 CFR 1020.630, 1023.630, 1024.630, and 1026.630.

    VI. Regulatory Analysis A. Executive Orders 13563 and 12866

    Executive Orders 13563 and 12866 direct agencies to assess costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). Executive Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility. It has been determined that this proposed rule is designated a “significant regulatory action” although not economically significant, under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866. Accordingly, this proposed rule will be reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”).

    B. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    When an agency issues a rulemaking proposal, the Regulatory Flexibility Act (“RFA”) requires the agency to “prepare and make available for public comment” an “initial regulatory flexibility analysis” (“IRFA”) which will “describe the impact of the proposed rule on small entities.” 5 U.S.C. 603(a). Section 605 of the RFA allows an agency to certify a rule, in lieu of preparing an analysis, if the proposed rulemaking is not expected to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    After consultation with the Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy, FinCEN is proposing to define the term small entity in accordance with definitions obtained from SEC rules implementing the Advisers Act and information obtained from the Investment Adviser Registration Depository (“IARD”),91 in lieu of using the Small Business Administration's definition.92 FinCEN requests comment on the appropriateness of using the SEC's definition of small entity.

    91See 17 CFR 275.0-7 (small entities defined under the Investment Advisers Act for purposes of the RFA).

    92 13 CFR 121.201.

    Relying on the SEC's definition has the benefit of ensuring consistency in the categorization of small entities for SEC examiners,93 as well as providing the advisory industry with a uniform standard. In addition, FinCEN's proposed use of the SEC's definition of small entity will have no material impact upon the application of these proposed rules to the advisory industry.

    93 FinCEN is proposing to amend section 1010.810 to include investment advisers within the list of financial institutions that the SEC would examine for compliance with the BSA's implementing regulations. Supra section IV.B.

    The SEC defines an entity as a small adviser if it: (1) Has assets under management having a total value of less than $25 million; (2) did not have total assets of $5 million or more on the last day of its most recent fiscal year; and (3) does not control, is not controlled by, and is not under common control with another investment adviser that has assets under management of $25 million or more, or any person (other than a natural person) that had total assets of $5 million or more on the last day of its most recent fiscal year.94 The proposed rules would define investment adviser as any person who is registered or required to register with the SEC under section 203 of the Advisers Act.95 Generally speaking, only large advisers, having $100 million or more in regulatory assets under management, are required to registers with the SEC,96 and only those that do will fall within the ambit of these proposals. The Small Business Administration, on the other hand, defines a provider of “investment advice” to be a small entity as having “annual receipts” of $38.5 million,97 which is still significantly below the $100 million threshold for registration.

    94 Rule 0-7(a) [17 CFR 275.0-7(a)].

    95 15 U.S.C. 80b et seq.

    96 17 CFR 275.203A-1(a)(1).

    97 13 CFR 121.201.

    Based on IARD data, the SEC estimates that as of June 2, 2014, approximately 11,235 investment advisers were registered with the SEC.98 To determine how many of the 11,235 advisers are small entities for purposes of the RFA, FinCEN is adopting the SEC's definition of a small adviser. The SEC estimates that there are about 464 investment advisers registered that would be considered small entities. The SEC also estimates that the total number of small investment advisers is about 18,035.99 Therefore, FinCEN estimates that the proposed rule will affect 4% of registered small investment advisers. FinCEN has determined that the proposed rule will not affect a substantial number of small entities.

    98See infra note 100.

    99 The SEC's estimates of the number of investment advisers that would be considered small entities and the number of small investment advisers is based on IARD data as of June 2, 2014.

    Investment advisers' services can be a substitute for investment services and products offered by other financial institutions designated as financial institutions under the BSA, such as mutual funds, broker-dealers in securities, banks, or insurance companies. Moreover, investment advisers managing client assets work closely with other BSA-defined financial institutions. The rules being proposed today address vulnerabilities in the U.S. financial system. If investment advisers are not required to establish AML or suspicious activity reporting programs, they are at risk of attracting money launderers attempting to seek access to the United States financial system through an institution that offers financial services that is not required to maintain such programs. Requiring investment advisers to file CTRs and comply with the Recordkeeping and Travel Rules and the other recordkeeping requirements of FinCEN's rules implementing the BSA will also deter money launderers from using investment advisers. Lastly, by requiring investment advisers to establish AML programs and file reports of suspicious activity and comply with the other rules being proposed today, investment advisers and other financial institutions subject to FinCEN's regulations would be operating under similar regulatory burdens.

    The proposed rule would require investment advisers to develop and implement a written risk-based AML program. FinCEN believes that the flexibility incorporated into the proposed AML program rule would permit each investment adviser to tailor its AML program to fit its particular size and risk exposure. For example, having recognized that the size of a financial institution does not correlate with its risks for money laundering and terrorist financing, FinCEN has established its AML program rules as risk-based rules rather than “one-size-fits-all” rules. Thus, this proposed rule is inherently flexible. Investment advisers are required to develop AML programs that address the money laundering and terrorist financing risks of their particular advisory business. Accordingly, smaller advisers that provide advisory services to clients that may present lower risks for money laundering or terrorist financing are not required to develop complex, time-consuming, or cost-intensive compliance programs. As discussed above, some investment advisers have already implemented AML programs pursuant to an SEC No-Action letter permitting broker-dealers in securities to rely on registered investment advisers to perform some or all aspects of broker-dealers' obligations to verify the identity of their customers.100

    100See discussion supra Section IV.D (“Anti-Money Laundering Programs”).

    Investment advisers are already subject to comprehensive regulation, which should ease the cost and burden of complying with today's proposed rule. Investment advisers may build on their existing risk management procedures and prudential business practices to ensure compliance with the proposed rule. Notably, SEC-registered investment advisers are subject to the Advisers Act and the SEC rules implementing the Advisers Act. The Advisers Act prohibits advisers from engaging in a wide range of fraudulent, deceptive, and manipulative conduct. In addition to the anti-fraud provisions of the Advisers Act, advisers are subject to the anti-fraud and manipulation provisions of the Federal securities laws. For example, under Advisers Act Rule 204-2, advisers are required to maintain certain books and records, such as a record of client holdings, custody records (if applicable), a list of all discretionary accounts, all written agreements (or copies) that the adviser has entered into with any client, and all written communications between the adviser and its clients.101 Further, under Advisers Act Rule 206(4)-7, advisers are required to adopt and implement written policies and procedures reasonably designed to prevent violation of the Advisers Act and the rules that the SEC has adopted under that Act.102 Advisers must conduct annual reviews to ensure the adequacy and effectiveness of their policies and procedures and must designate a chief compliance officer responsible for administering the policies and procedures.103 Form ADV requires registered investment advisers to report to the SEC detailed information regarding their advisory activities. Accordingly, FinCEN estimates that the burden of the AML program requirement on investment advisers, particularly in light of the above mentioned existing compliance requirements under the Advisers Act, would not have a significant impact on small entities.

    101See 17 CFR 275.204-2.

    102See 17 CFR 275.206(4)-7.

    103Id.

    The proposed rule would require investment advisers to report suspicious transactions. The proposed rule, however, would not impose a significant burden on small advisers. Investment advisers are already subject to the anti-fraud and manipulation provisions of the Advisers Act and other Federal securities laws. Investment advisers, therefore, should already have in place policies and procedures to prevent and detect fraud. Such internal controls should help investment advisers identify and report suspicious activity. Additionally, investment advisers, as part of their client on-boarding procedures may already be gathering some of the information required to complete certain parts of the SAR form. A review of current SAR filings indicates that the securities industry, with a population of approximately 10,000 entities, files 19,000+ SARs per year.104 Acknowledging that the majority of reports are filed by larger entities, FinCEN estimates that the number of SARs filed by all small investment advisers will be fewer than ten per adviser. Therefore, FinCEN estimates that the burden of the SAR filing requirement on investment advisers would not have a significant impact.

    104See FinCEN, SAR Stats, Section 5 (Jan. 2015).

    The proposed rule would require investment advisers to file CTRs. This requirement in the proposed rule, however, would not impose a significant burden on small advisers. Investment advisers are currently required to file Form 8300s. As discussed above, investment advisers would no longer be required to report transactions involving certain negotiable instruments reportable on the Form 8300 but not on the CTR. Moreover, FinCEN believes that investment advisers rarely receive cash from or provide significant amounts of currency to their clients. The proposed rule, therefore, would not impose any additional burden on investment advisers but would, in fact, reduce their burden to report such transactions.

    The proposed rule would require investment advisers to create and retain records for transmittals of funds, and to transmit information on these transactions to other financial institutions in the payment chain. This requirement in the proposed rule, however, would not impose a significant economic impact on small advisers. Any new recordkeeping obligations, if not already being performed by investment advisers in accordance with other law or as a matter of prudent business practice, are likely to be commensurate with the size of the adviser.

    The additional burdens imposed by the proposed rules would be the requirements to develop and implement a written AML program, file reports on suspicious transactions, file CTRs, and comply with the requirements of the Recordkeeping and Travel Rules. As discussed above, FinCEN estimates that these requirements would not impact a substantial number of small entities. Accordingly, FinCEN certifies that the proposed rules would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    Questions for Comment

    FinCEN seeks comment on whether the proposed rules would have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities:

    1. Please provide comment on any or all of the provisions in the proposed rule with regard to (a) the impact of provision(s) (including any benefits and costs), if any, in carrying out the requirements of the proposed rule(s) on investment advisers; and (b) alternative requirements, if any, FinCEN should consider.

    2. Please provide comment regarding whether the AML program and suspicious activity reporting requirements proposed in these rulemakings would require small entities to gather any information that is not already being gathered as part of other regulatory requirements, due diligence, or prudential business practices and provide specific example of such information.

    C. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The collections of information contained in this proposed rule are being submitted to OMB for review in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (“PRA”).105 Comments on the collection of information should be sent to Desk Officer for the Department of the Treasury, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, Paperwork Reduction Project (1506), Washington, DC 20503, fax (202-395-6974), or by the Internet to [email protected], with a copy to FinCEN by mail or email at the addresses previously specified. Comments on the collection of information should be received by November 2, 2015.

    105 44 U.S.C. 3507(d).

    In accordance with the requirements of the PRA, and its implementing regulations, 5 CFR part 1320, the following information concerning the collection of information is presented to assist those persons wishing to comment on the proposed information collection. The information collections in this proposal are contained in 31 CFR 1010.100(t)(11), 1031.210, 1031.320, 1031.311, 1010.410, and 1031.410; the collection of this information pursuant to these sections is mandatory.

    AML programs for investment advisers:

    31 CFR 1031.210 (AML programs for investment advisers). Information about an investment adviser's AML program would be required to be retained pursuant to 31 U.S.C. 5318(h) and proposed 31 CFR 1031.210. The information collected would be pursuant to § 1031.210 and would be used by FinCEN and the proposed designated examiner, the SEC, to determine whether investment advisers comply with the BSA requirement to implement AML programs. The collection of information would be mandatory.

    Description of Recordkeepers: Investment advisers as defined in 31 CFR 1010.100(nnn).

    Estimated Number of Recordkeepers: 11,235.106

    106 The proposed rules apply to investment advisers registered or required to register with the SEC. Based on IARD data the SEC estimates that as of June 2, 2014 there were approximately 11,235 investment advisers registered with the SEC.

    Estimated Average Annual Burden Hours per Recordkeeper: The estimated average annual burden associated with the recordkeeping requirement proposed under proposed 31 CFR 1031.210 is 3 hours.

    Estimated Total Annual Recordkeeping Burden: FinCEN estimates that the annual recordkeeping burden would be 33,705 hours.

    The burden would be included in (added to) the existing burden under OMB Control Number 1506-0020 currently titled “Anti-Money Laundering Programs for Money Services Businesses, Mutual Funds, and Operators of Credit Card Systems.” The new title for this control number would be “Anti-Money Laundering Programs for Investment Advisers, Money Services Businesses, Mutual Funds, and Operators of Credit Card Systems.” The new total number of recordkeepers for this OMB control number would be 266,341 and the new total burden would be 374,922 hours. Records required to be retained under the BSA and FinCEN's implementing regulations must be retained for five years. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information subject to the PRA unless it displays a valid control number assigned by the OMB.

    Reports by investment advisers of suspicious transactions:

    31 CFR 1031.320 (SARs for investment advisers). Information about suspicious transactions would be required to be provided pursuant to 31 U.S.C. 5318(g) and proposed 31 CFR 1031.320. This information would be used by FinCEN and law enforcement and regulatory agencies in criminal and regulatory investigations or proceedings. The collection of information would be mandatory.

    Description of Recordkeepers: Investment advisers as defined in 31 CFR 1010.100(nnn).

    Estimated Number of Recordkeepers: 11,235.

    Estimated Average Annual Burden Hours per Recordkeeper: The estimated average annual burden associated with the recordkeeping proposed under 31 CFR 1031.320 is 1 hour for the maintenance of the rule. This would be a new requirement that requires a new OMB control number 1506-0069.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden: The proposal estimates the annual burden would be 22,470 hours, consisting of 1 hour for report completion and 1 hour for recordkeeping for a total of 2 hours. This burden will be included in (added to) the existing burden under OMB control number 1506-0065 currently titled “Bank Secrecy Act Suspicious Activity Reports.”

    Generally, a financial institution that is required to file SARs under FinCEN's rules implementing the BSA must report any suspicious transaction conducted or attempted by, at, or through the financial institution that involves, or aggregates, funds or assets of at least $5,000.107 The requirement to file SARs at the $5,000 threshold (“SAR threshold”) was determined when the SAR rules for banks and other depository institutions were promulgated and has been adopted for most other financial institutions that have been subsequently required to file SARs.108 The SAR threshold balances the interests of law enforcement and analysts with the reporting burden placed on financial institutions. Even though the $5,000 threshold for mandatory SAR filing has not changed, the reduction in the real value of the threshold adjusted for inflation has been offset by the increased ability of financial institutions to monitor for, report, and even preemptively stop suspicious transactions in real time with their automated systems. A uniform reporting threshold for mandatory SAR filing applicable to most financial institutions subject to a SAR rule furthers the consistent application of FinCEN's rules by (1) allowing SAR data to be analyzed consistently across different financial institutions; and (2) subjecting transactions that may be conducted through more than one financial institution type, such as an investment adviser that executes transactions through a broker-dealer in securities, to be subject to the same reporting requirements. Lastly, the SAR rules also encourage a financial institution to report voluntarily transactions that, alone or in the aggregate, fall below the $5,000 threshold that the financial institution believes is relevant to the possible violation of any law or regulation.109 Because the rule permits the filing of a voluntary SAR that does not prescribe a threshold balance, the SAR rule is flexible.

    107See 31 CFR 1020.320(a), 1021.320(a), 1023.320(a), 1024.320(a), 1025(a), and 1026.320(a) (requiring banks, casinos, broker-dealers in securities, mutual funds, insurance companies, and futures commission merchants and introducing brokers in commodities to report a suspicious transaction if it involves in the aggregate of at least $5,000). See also 31 CFR 1022.320(a)(2) (requiring money services businesses (“MSBs”) as described in 31 CFR 1010.100(ff)(1) and (3) through (7) to report a suspicious transaction if it involves in the aggregate of at least $2,000) and 31 CFR 1022.320(a)(3) (an issuer of money orders or travelers checks is required to report a transaction or pattern of transactions only if the transactions involve or aggregate funds or other assets of $5,000 or more when the transactions required to be reported are derived from a review of clearance records or other similar records of money orders or travelers checks the MSB has sold or processed). A lower threshold for required SAR reporting was established for MSBs because of the nature of the MSB business and the generally lower dollar amounts associated with the transactions in which they engage. FinCEN has asked for and received comment in proposed rules issued in the past as to whether a change in the threshold dollar amount for SARs filed by MSBs is warranted. After consideration of comments received, FinCEN has determined that the $2,000 threshold for MSBs as prescribed in 31 CFR 1022.320(a)(2) remains appropriate.

    108See Amendment to the Bank Secrecy Act; Requirement To Report Suspicious Transactions, 61 FR 4326, 4328 (Feb. 5, 1996); Minimum Security Devices and Procedures, Reports of Suspicious Activities, and Bank Secrecy Act Compliance Program, 61 FR 4332, 4333 (Feb. 5, 1996); Membership of State Banking Institutions in the Federal Reserve System; International Banking Operations; Bank Holding Companies and Change in Control; Reports of Suspicious Activities Under Bank Secrecy Act, 61 FR 4338, 4341 (Feb. 5 1996); Amendment to the Bank Secrecy Act; Requirement To Report Suspicious Transactions, 61 FR 6096, 6098 (Feb. 16, 1996); Suspicious Activity Reports, 61 FR 6095, 6097 (Feb. 16, 1996); and Operations-Suspicious Activity Reports and Other Reports and Statements, 61 FR 6100, 6101 (Feb. 16, 1996). FinCEN's rule requiring banks and other depository institutions to report suspicious activity was issued in coordination with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”), the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Office of Thrift Supervision (“OTS”), and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. As of July 21, 2011, the OTS is part of the OCC.

    109See 31 CFR 1020.320(a), 1021.320(a), 1022.320(a), 1023.320(a), 1024.320(a), 1025(a), and 1026.320(a).

    An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information subject to the PRA unless it displays a valid control number assigned by the OMB. The title for this control number will be “Suspicious Activity Reports by Investment Advisers, (31 CFR 1031.320).” The administrative burden for the new OMB number will be 1 hour. The burden for the recordkeeping and reporting requirement is added to existing OMB control number 1506-0065 (Bank Secrecy Act Suspicious Activity Report (BSAR)). The new total number of responses for OMB control number 1506-0065 would be 1,653,395. The new total burden for OMB control number 1506-0065 would be 3,306,790 hours. Records required to be retained under FinCEN's regulations implementing the BSA must be retained for five years.

    CTR Filing Requirements for Investment Advisers

    31 CFR 1031.311 (Filing obligations for reports of transactions in currency). This information would be required to be retained pursuant to 31 U.S.C. 5313, 31 CFR 1010.311, and proposed 31 CFR 1031.311. This information would be used by FinCEN and law enforcement and regulatory agencies in criminal and regulatory investigations or proceedings. The collection of information would be mandatory.

    Description of Recordkeepers: Investment advisers as defined in 31 CFR 1010.100(t)(11).

    Estimated Number of Recordkeepers: 11,235.

    Estimated Average Annual Burden Hours per Recordkeeper: The estimated average annual burden associated with the collection of information proposed under 31 CFR 1031.311 would be 1 hour.110

    110 The single assigned hour is established to maintain the requirement. The reporting, recordkeeping, and record retention is accounted for under OMB control number 1506-0064 (BCTR).

    Estimated Total Annual Burden: FinCEN estimates that the total annual recordkeeping and reporting burden would be 11,235 hours.111

    111 While it is not industry practice for investment advisers to accept cash, there is no regulation that prohibits investment advisers from accepting cash. Therefore, for purposes of estimating the annual burden the filing of CTRs will have on covered investment advisers, FinCEN estimates that each covered investment adviser will file one CTR per year.

    This burden will be included in (added to) the existing burden under OMB Control Number 1506-0064 currently titled “Bank Secrecy Act Currency Transaction Reports (BCTR).” The new total number of responses for OMB Control Number 1506-0064 would be 14,114,305. The new total burden for OMB Control Number 1506-0064 would be 9,409,536 hours. Records required to be retained under FinCEN's regulations implementing the BSA must be retained for five years.

    Generally, a financial institution required to file CTRs under FinCEN's rules implementing the BSA must report any currency transaction for over $10,000 that is conducted by, through, or to the financial institution, as well as treat as a single transaction, multiple currency transactions that the financial institution knows are on behalf of one person that, in the aggregate total over $10,000 during any one business day.112 The reporting by financial institutions of transactions in currency in excess of $10,000 is a major component of FinCEN's regulations implementing the BSA. The reporting requirement is issued under the broad authority granted to the Secretary under 31 U.S.C. 5313(a) to require reports of domestic coins and currency transactions. The CTR tracks the movement of currency into and out of financial institutions.113 The $10,000 threshold balances the interests of law enforcement and analysts with the reporting burden placed on financial institutions. The threshold has remained unchanged because the reduction in the real value of the $10,000 threshold adjusted for inflation has been offset by the reduction in the use of currency as a medium of exchange due to the increased usage of electronic payment mechanisms, such as credit, debit, prepaid, and ACH transactions. In 2008, the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) conducted a study that looked at, in part, the CTR thresholds. Based on its study, the GAO recommended keeping the CTR threshold at $10,000 for the reasons discussed above and on the recommendation of various Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies. The $10,000 threshold applies across all financial institutions that are required to file CTRs. Moreover, a uniform CTR threshold is appropriate because the money laundering risks presented by these types of transactions, and which the CTR is designed to capture, are not differentiated by financial institution type, but rather are inherent to the transactions themselves because of the large amounts of currency involved with such transactions. A uniform reporting threshold for CTR filing requirements furthers the consistent application of FinCEN's rules by (1) allowing CTR data to be analyzed consistently across different financial institutions and non-financial trades and businesses (“NFTBs”); and (2) subjecting reportable transactions that are conducted through more than one financial institution type, such as an investment adviser that executes transactions through a broker-dealer in securities, to be subject to the same reporting requirements. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information subject to the PRA unless it displays a valid control number assigned by the OMB.

    112See discussion supra Section IV.C.1 (“Investment Advisers' Obligation to File Currency Transactions Reports Replaces Obligation to File Form 8300”).

    113 The $10,000 threshold of the CTR requirement mirrors the reporting thresholds of other requirements under FinCEN's rules implementing the BSA, such as: (1) The requirement that all persons who receive currency in excess of $10,000 in the course of a trade or business report such transactions (“non-financial trades and businesses” or “NFTBs”); and (2) the requirement that all persons report the international transportation of monetary instruments in excess of $10,000, referred to as the “Form 8300” and “CMIR” respectively. See 31 CFR 1010.330 and 1010.340. The Form 8300 requires the reporting of large amounts of currency within the United States; the CMIR requires the reporting of large amounts of currency into and out of the United States. Similar to the SAR and CTR requirements, the thresholds for Form 8300 and the CMIR were determined when the rules for these reporting requirements were promulgated.

    Questions for Comment

    1. We seek comment on FinCEN's three-hour estimate for the establishment of an AML program per investment adviser. Is the estimate of three hours per year accurate and if not, what is a recordkeeping estimate that more accurately reflects the time an investment adviser would need to establish an AML program. We also seek comment regarding the estimated costs associated with establishing an AML program, specifically with regard to systems and labor costs.

    2. We seek comment on FinCEN's annual three-hour estimate for the SAR recordkeeping and reporting requirement per investment adviser. Is the estimate of three hours per year accurate, and if not, what is a recordkeeping and reporting requirement estimate that more accurately reflects the time an investment adviser would need to fulfill the SAR recordkeeping and reporting requirement. We also seek comment regarding the estimated start-up costs and costs of operation to maintain SARs.

    3. We seek comment on FinCEN's average annual estimate of one hour of recordkeeping and reporting per CTR per investment adviser. Is FinCEN's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information accurate? FinCEN seeks comment on whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the mission of FinCEN, including whether the information will have practical utility. Are there ways to minimize the burden of the required collection of information, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology? Finally, FinCEN seeks comment regarding the estimated start-up costs and costs of operation, maintenance, and purchase of services to maintain the collected information.

    D. Unfunded Federal Mandates Act

    Section 202 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (“Unfunded Mandates Act”), Public Law 104-4 (March 22, 1995), requires that an agency prepare a budgetary impact statement before promulgating a rule that may result in expenditure by the State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more in any one year. If a budgetary impact statement is required, section 202 of the Unfunded Mandates Act also requires an agency to identify and consider a reasonable number of regulatory alternatives before promulgating a rule. Taking into account the factors noted above and using conservative estimates of average labor costs in evaluating the cost of the burden imposed by the proposed regulation, FinCEN has determined that it is not required to prepare a written statement under section 202.

    List of Subjects in 31 CFR Parts 1010 and 1031

    Administrative practice and procedure, Anti-money laundering, Banks, Banking, Brokers, Brokerage, Investment advisers, Money laundering, Mutual funds, Report and recordkeeping requirements, Securities, Suspicious transactions, Terrorism, Terrorist financing.

    Authority and Issuance

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, chapter X of title 31 of the Code of Federal Regulations is proposed to be amended as follows:

    PART 1010—GENERAL PROVISIONS 1. The authority citation for part 1010 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    12 U.S.C. 1829b and 1951-1959; 31 U.S.C. 5311-5314 and 5316-5332; title III, sec. 314, Pub. L. 107-56, 115 Stat. 307.

    2. Amend § 1010.100 by: a. Removing the word “or” at the end of paragraph (t)(9); b. Removing the period at the end of paragraph (t)(10), and in its place adding the words “; or”; and c. Adding paragraphs (t)(11) and (nnn).

    The additions read as follows:

    § 1010.100 General definitions.

    (t)(11) An investment adviser.

    (nnn) Investment adviser. Any person who is registered or required to register with the SEC under section 203 of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (15 U.S.C. 80b-3(a)).

    3. Amend § 1010.410 by: a. Removing the word “or” at the end of paragraphs (e)(6)(i)(H) and (I); b. Removing the word “and” at the end of paragraph (e)(6)(i)(J) and in its place adding the words “; or”; and c. Adding paragraph (e)(6)(i)(K).

    The additions read as follows:

    § 1010.410 Records to be made and retained by financial institutions.

    (e) * * *

    (6) * * *

    (i) * * *

    (K) An investment adviser; and

    4. Amend § 1010.810 by revising paragraph (b)(6) to read as follows:
    § 1010.810 Enforcement.

    (b) * * *

    (6) To the Securities and Exchange Commission with respect to brokers and dealers in securities, investment advisers, and investment companies as that term is defined in the Investment Company Act of 1940 (15 U.S.C. 80a-1 et seq.);

    5. Add part 1031 to read as follows: PART 1031—RULES FOR INVESTMENT ADVISERS Subpart A—Definitions Sec. 1031.100 Definitions. Subpart B—Programs 1031.200 General. 1031.210 Anti-money laundering programs for investment advisers. 1031.220 [Reserved] Subpart C—Reports Required To Be Made by Investment Advisers 1031.300 General. 1031.310 Reports of transactions in currency. 1031.311 Filing obligations. 1031.312 Identification required. 1031.313 Aggregation. 1031.314 Structured transactions. 1031.315 Exemptions. 1031.320 Reports by investment advisers of suspicious transactions. Subpart D—Records Required To Be Maintained by Investment Advisers 1031.400 General. 1031.410 Recordkeeping. Subpart E—Special Information Sharing Procedures To Deter Money Laundering and Terrorist Activity 1031.500 General. 1031.520 Special information sharing procedures to deter money laundering and terrorist activity for investment advisers. 1031.530 [Reserved] 1031.540 Voluntary information sharing among financial institutions. Subpart F—Special Standards of Diligence; Prohibitions, and Special Measures for Investment Advisers 1031.600 [Reserved] 1031.610 [Reserved] 1031.620 [Reserved] 1031.630 [Reserved] 1031.640 [Reserved] 1031.670 [Reserved] Authority:

    12 U.S.C. 1829b and 1951-1959; 31 U.S.C. 5311-5314 and 5316-5332; title III, sec. 314, Pub. L. 107-56, 115 Stat. 307.

    Subpart A—Definitions
    § 1031.100 Definitions.

    Refer to § 1010.100 of this chapter for general definitions not noted herein.

    Subpart B—Programs
    § 1031.200 General.

    Investment advisers are subject to the program requirements set forth and cross referenced in this subpart. Investment advisers should also refer to subpart B of part 1010 of this chapter for program requirements contained in that subpart that apply to investment advisers.

    § 1031.210 Anti-money laundering programs for investment advisers.

    (a)(1) Each investment adviser shall develop and implement a written anti-money laundering program reasonably designed to prevent the investment adviser from being used for money laundering or the financing of terrorist activities and to achieve and monitor compliance with the applicable provisions of the Bank Secrecy Act (31 U.S.C. 5311 et seq.) and the implementing regulations thereunder.

    (2) Each investment adviser's anti-money laundering program must be approved in writing by its board of directors or trustees, or if it does not have one, by its sole proprietor, general partner, trustee, or other persons that have functions similar to a board of directors. An investment adviser shall make its anti-money laundering program available for inspection by FinCEN or the SEC upon request.

    (b) Minimum requirements. The anti-money laundering program shall at a minimum:

    (1) Establish and implement policies, procedures, and internal controls reasonably designed to prevent the investment adviser from being used for money laundering or the financing of terrorist activities and to achieve and monitor compliance with the applicable provisions of the Bank Secrecy Act and the implementing regulations thereunder;

    (2) Provide for independent testing for compliance to be conducted by the investment adviser's personnel or by a qualified outside party;

    (3) Designate a person or persons responsible for implementing and monitoring the operations and internal controls of the program; and

    (4) Provide ongoing training for appropriate persons.

    (c) Effective date. An investment adviser must develop and implement an anti-money laundering program that complies with the requirements of this section on or before [DATE SIX MONTHS FROM THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE FINAL RULE].

    § 1031.220 [Reserved]
    Subpart C—Reports Required To Be Made by Investment Advisers
    § 1031.300 General.

    Investment advisers are subject to the program requirements set forth and cross referenced in this subpart. Investment advisers should also refer to subpart C of part 1010 of this chapter for program requirements contained in that subpart that apply to investment advisers.

    § 1031.310 Reports of transactions in currency.

    The reports of transactions in currency requirements for investment advisers are located in subpart C of part 1010 of this chapter.

    § 1031.311 Filing obligations.

    Refer to § 1010.311 of this chapter for reports of transactions in currency filing obligations for investment advisers.

    § 1031.312 Identification required.

    Refer to § 1010.312 of this chapter for identification requirements for reports of transactions in currency filed by investment advisers.

    § 1031.313 Aggregation.

    Refer to § 1010.313 of this chapter for reports of transactions in currency aggregation requirements for investment advisers.

    § 1031.314 Structured transactions.

    Refer to § 1010.314 of this chapter for rules regarding structured transactions for investment advisers.

    § 1031.315 Exemptions.

    Refer to § 1010.315 of this chapter for exemptions from the obligation to file reports of transactions for investment advisers.

    § 1031.320 Reports by investment advisers of suspicious transactions.

    (a) General. (1) Every investment adviser shall file with FinCEN, to the extent and in the manner required by this section, a report of any suspicious transaction relevant to a possible violation of law or regulation. An investment adviser may also file with FinCEN a report of any suspicious transaction that it believes is relevant to the possible violation of any law or regulation, but whose reporting is not required by this section. Filing a report of a suspicious transaction does not relieve an investment adviser from the responsibility of complying with the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (15 U.S.C. 80b-1 et seq.) or any regulation imposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

    (2) A transaction requires reporting under this section if it is conducted or attempted by, at, or through an investment adviser; it involves or aggregates funds or other assets of at least $5,000; and the investment adviser knows, suspects, or has reason to suspect that the transaction (or a pattern of transactions of which the transaction is a part):

    (i) Involves funds derived from illegal activity or is intended or conducted in order to hide or disguise funds or assets derived from illegal activity (including, without limitation, the ownership, nature, source, location, or control of such funds or assets) as part of a plan to violate or evade any Federal law or regulation or to avoid any transaction reporting requirement under Federal law or regulation;

    (ii) Is designed, whether through structuring or other means, to evade any requirements of this part or any other regulations promulgated under the Bank Secrecy Act;

    (iii) Has no business or apparent lawful purpose or is not the sort in which the particular customer would normally be expected to engage, and the investment adviser knows of no reasonable explanation for the transaction after examining the available facts, including the background and possible purpose of the transaction; or

    (iv) Involves use of the investment adviser to facilitate criminal activity.

    (3) More than one investment adviser may have an obligation to report the same transaction under this section, and other financial institutions may have separate obligations to report suspicious activity with respect to the same transaction pursuant to other provisions of this part. In those instances, no more than one report is required to be filed by the investment adviser(s) and other financial institution(s) involved in the transaction, provided that the report filed contains all relevant facts, including the name of each financial institution and the words “joint filing” in the narrative section, and each institution maintains a copy of the report filed, along with any supporting documentation.

    (b) Filing and notification procedures—(1) What to file. A suspicious transaction shall be reported by completing a Suspicious Activity Report (“SAR”), and collecting and maintaining supporting documentation as required by paragraph (c) of this section.

    (2) Where to file. The SAR shall be filed with FinCEN in accordance with the instructions to the SAR.

    (3) When to file. A SAR shall be filed no later than 30 calendar days after the date of the initial detection by the reporting investment adviser that may constitute a basis for filing a SAR under this section. If no suspect is identified on the date of such initial detection, an investment adviser may delay filing a SAR for an additional 30 calendar days to identify a suspect, but in no case shall reporting be delayed more than 60 calendar days after the date of such initial detection.

    (4) Mandatory notification to law enforcement. In situations involving violations that require immediate attention, such as suspected terrorist financing or ongoing money laundering schemes, an investment adviser shall immediately notify by telephone an appropriate law enforcement authority in addition to filing timely a SAR.

    (5) Voluntary notification to FinCEN. Any investment adviser wishing voluntarily to report suspicious transactions that may relate to terrorist activity may call FinCEN's Resource Center (FRC) in addition to filing timely a SAR if required by this section.

    (c) Retention of records. An investment adviser shall maintain a copy of any SAR filed by the investment adviser or on its behalf (including joint reports), and the original (or business record equivalent) of any supporting documentation concerning any SAR that it files (or is filed on its behalf) for a period of five years from the date of filing the SAR. Supporting documentation shall be identified as such and maintained by the investment adviser, and shall be deemed to have been filed with the SAR. The investment adviser shall make all supporting documentation available upon request to FinCEN, or Federal, State, or local law enforcement agency, or any Federal regulatory authority that examines the investment adviser for compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act.

    (d) Confidentiality of SARs. A SAR, and any information that would reveal the existence of a SAR, are confidential and shall not be disclosed except as authorized in this paragraph (d). For purposes of this paragraph (d) only, a SAR shall include any suspicious activity report filed with FinCEN pursuant to any regulation in this part.

    (1) Prohibition on disclosures by investment advisers—(i) General rule. No investment adviser, and no director, officer, employee, or agent of any investment adviser, shall disclose a SAR or any information that would reveal the existence of a SAR. Any investment adviser, and any director, officer, employee, or agent of any investment adviser that is subpoenaed or otherwise requested to disclose a SAR or any information that would reveal the existence of a SAR, shall decline to produce the SAR or such information, citing this section and 31 U.S.C. 5318(g)(2)(A)(i), and shall notify FinCEN of any such request and the response thereto.

    (ii) Rules of construction. Provided that no person involved in any reported suspicious transaction is notified that the transaction has been reported, paragraph (d)(1) shall not be construed as prohibiting:

    (A) The disclosure by an investment adviser, or any director, officer, employee, or agent of an investment adviser of:

    (1) A SAR, or any information that would reveal the existence of a SAR, to FinCEN or any Federal, State, or local law enforcement agency, or any Federal regulatory authority that examines the investment adviser for compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act; or

    (2) The underlying facts, transactions, and documents upon which a SAR is based, including but not limited to disclosures to another financial institution, or any director, officer, employee, or agent of a financial institution, for the preparation of a joint SAR; or

    (B) The sharing by an investment adviser, or any director, officer, employee, or agent of the investment adviser, of a SAR, or any information that would reveal the existence of a SAR, within the investment adviser's corporate organizational structure for purposes consistent with Title II of the Bank Secrecy Act as determined by regulation or in guidance.

    (2) Prohibition on disclosures by government authorities. A Federal, State, local, territorial, or tribal government authority, or any director, officer, employee, or agent of any of the foregoing, shall not disclose a SAR, or any information that would reveal the existence of a SAR, except as necessary to fulfill official duties consistent with Title II of the Bank Secrecy Act. For purposes of this section, official duties shall not include the disclosure of a SAR, or any information that would reveal the existence of a SAR, to a non-governmental entity in response to a request for disclosure of non-public information or a request for use in a private legal proceeding, including a request pursuant to 31 CFR 1.11.

    (e) Limitation on liability. An investment adviser, and any director, officer, employee, or agent of any investment adviser, that makes a voluntary disclosure of any possible violation of law or regulation to a government agency or makes a disclosure pursuant to this section or any other authority, including a disclosure made jointly with another institution, shall be protected from liability for any such disclosure, or for failure to provide notice of such disclosure to any person identified in the disclosure, or both, to the full extent provided by 31 U.S.C. 5318(g)(3).

    (f) Compliance. Investment advisers shall be examined by FinCEN or its delegates under the terms of the Bank Secrecy Act, for compliance with this section. Failure to satisfy the requirements of this section may be a violation of the Bank Secrecy Act and of this part.

    (g) Applicability date. This section applies to transactions occurring after full implementation of an anti-money laundering program required by § 1031.210.

    Subpart D—Records Required To Be Maintained by Investment Advisers
    § 1031.400 General.

    Investment advisers are subject to the recordkeeping requirements set forth and cross referenced in this subpart. Investment advisers should also refer to subpart D of part 1010 of this chapter for recordkeeping requirements contained in that subpart which apply to investment advisers.

    § 1031.410 Recordkeeping.

    Refer to § 1010.410 of this chapter.

    Subpart E—Special Information Sharing Procedures To Deter Money Laundering and Terrorist Activity
    § 1031.500 General.

    Investment advisers are subject to the special information sharing procedures to deter money laundering and terrorist activity requirements set forth and cross referenced in this subpart. Investment advisers should also refer to subpart E of part 1010 of this chapter for special information sharing procedures to deter money laundering and terrorist activity contained in that subpart which apply to investment advisers.

    § 1031.520 Special information sharing procedures to deter money laundering and terrorist activity for investment advisers.

    (a) Refer to § 1010.520 of this chapter.

    (b) [Reserved]

    § 1031.530 [Reserved]
    § 1031.540 Voluntary information sharing among financial institutions.

    (a) Refer to § 1010.540 of this chapter.

    (b) [Reserved]

    Subpart F—Special Standards of Diligence; Prohibitions; and Special Measures for Investment Advisers
    § 1031.600 [Reserved]
    § 1031.610 [Reserved]
    § 1031.620 [Reserved]
    § 1031.630 [Reserved]
    § 1031.640 [Reserved]
    § 1031.670 [Reserved]
    Dated: August 24, 2015. Jennifer Shasky Calvery Director, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.
    [FR Doc. 2015-21318 Filed 8-31-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4810-02-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R04-OAR-2012-0079; FRL-9933-31-Region 4] Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Alabama: Nonattainment New Source Review AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve portions of a revision to the Alabama State Implementation Plan (SIP) submitted by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) to EPA on May 2, 2011. The proposed SIP revision modifies Alabama's nonattainment new source review (NNSR) regulations in their entirety to be consistent with the federal new source review (NSR) regulations for the implementation of the criteria pollutant national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS). EPA is proposing approval of portions of the NNSR rule changes in Alabama's May 2, 2011, SIP revision because the Agency has preliminarily determined that the changes are consistent with the Clean Air Act (CAA or Act) and federal regulations regarding NNSR permitting.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before October 1, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R04-OAR-2012-0079, by one of the following methods:

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

    2. Email: [email protected]

    3. Fax: (404) 562-9019.

    4. Mail: “EPA-R04-OAR-2012-0079,” Air Regulatory Management Section (formerly Regulatory Development Section), Air Planning and Implementation Branch, Air, Pesticides and Toxics Management Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, 61 Forsyth Street SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960.

    5. Hand Delivery or Courier: Lynorae Benjamin, Chief, Air Regulatory Management Section, Air Planning and Implementation Branch, Air, Pesticides and Toxics Management Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, 61 Forsyth Street SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Regional Office's normal hours of operation. The Regional Office's official hours of business are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding Federal holidays.

    Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-R04-OAR-2012-0079. EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available online at www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit through www.regulations.gov or email, information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected. The www.regulations.gov Web site is an “anonymous access” system, which means EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an email comment directly to EPA without going through www.regulations.gov, your email address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses. For additional information about EPA's public docket visit the EPA Docket Center homepage at http://www.epa.gov/epahome/dockets.htm.

    Docket: All documents in the electronic docket are listed in the www.regulations.gov index. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, i.e., CBI or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is not placed on the Internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically in www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the Air Regulatory Management Section, Air Planning and Implementation Branch, Air, Pesticides and Toxics Management Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, 61 Forsyth Street SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960. EPA requests that if at all possible, you contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section to schedule your inspection. The Regional Office's official hours of business are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding Federal holidays.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For further information regarding the Alabama SIP, contact Mr. D. Brad Akers, Air Regulatory Management Section, Air Planning and Implementation Branch, Air, Pesticides and Toxics Management Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, 61 Forsyth Street SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960. Mr. Akers can be reached by phone at (404) 562-9089 or via electronic mail at [email protected] For information regarding NSR, contact Ms. Yolanda Adams, Air Permits Section, at the same address above. Telephone number: (404) 562-9214; email address: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. What is EPA's proposed action for changes to Alabama's NNSR rules?

    On May 2, 2011, ADEM submitted a SIP revision to EPA for approval that involves changes to Alabama's regulations needed to make them consistent with federal requirements for general and transportation conformity and NSR permitting.1 In this action, EPA is proposing to approve the portion of Alabama's May 2, 2011 submission that makes changes to Alabama's NNSR program, set forth at ADEM Administrative Code, Division 3, Chapter 14, Subchapter .05 (ADEM Rule 335-3-14-.05), which applies to the construction and modification of any major stationary source in or near a nonattainment area (NAA) as required by part D of title I of the CAA. Alabama's NNSR regulations at ADEM Rule 335-3-14-.05 were originally approved into the SIP on November 26, 1979 (See 44 FR 67375), with periodic revisions approved through December 8, 2000 (See 65 FR 76938). Subsequent revisions to Alabama's NNSR regulations have not yet been incorporated into Alabama's SIP. Alabama's May 2, 2011, SIP revision replaces the State's NNSR regulations in their entirety with a new version that reflects changes to the federal NNSR regulations at 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 51.165,2 including provisions promulgated in the following federal rules: (1) “Requirements for Preparation, Adoption and Submittal of Implementation Plans; Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Standards of Performance for New Stationary Sources,” Final Rule, 57 FR 32314 (July 21, 1992) (hereafter referred to as the Wisconsin Electric Power Company (WEPCO) Rule); (2) “Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Nonattainment New Source Review (NSR): Baseline Emissions Determination, Actual-to-Future-Actual Methodology, Plantwide Applicability Limitations, Clean Units, Pollution Control Projects,” Final Rule, 67 FR 80186 (December 31, 2002) (hereafter referred to as the NSR Reform Rule); (3) “Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Non-Attainment New Source Review (NSR): Reconsideration,” Final Rule, 68 FR 63021 (November 7, 2003) (hereafter referred to as the Reconsideration Rule); (4) “Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Non-Attainment New Source Review (NSR): Removal of Vacated Elements,” Final Rule, 72 FR 32526 (June 13, 2007) (hereafter referred to as the Vacated Elements Rule); (4) “Prevention of Significant Deterioration and Nonattainment New Source Review: Reasonable Possibility in Recordkeeping,” Final Rule, 72 FR 72607 (December 21, 2007), (hereafter referred to as the Reasonable Possibility Rule); (5) “Final Rule To Implement the 8-Hour Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard—Phase 2; Final Rule To Implement Certain Aspects of the 1990 Amendments Relating to New Source Review and Prevention of Significant Deterioration as They Apply in Carbon Monoxide, Particulate Matter and Ozone NAAQS; Final Rule for Reformulated Gasoline,” Final Rule, 70 FR 71612 (November 29, 2005) (hereafter referred to as the Phase 2 Rule); (6) “Implementation of the New Source Review (NSR) Program for Particulate Matter Less Than 2.5 Micrometers (PM2.5),3 ” Final Rule, 73 FR 28321 (May 16, 2008) (hereafter referred to as the NSR PM2.5 Rule); (7) “Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) for Particulate Matter Less Than 2.5 Micrometers (PM2.5)—Increments, Significant Impact Levels (SILs) and Significant Monitoring Concentration (SMC),” Final Rule, 75 FR 64864 (October 20, 2010) (hereafter referred to as the PM2.5 PSD Increments-SILs-SMC Rule 4 ); and (8) “Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Nonattainment New Source Review (NSR): Reconsideration of Inclusion of Fugitive Emissions; Interim Rule; Stay and Revisions”, Interim Rule, 76 FR 17548 (March 30, 2011) (hereafter referred to as the Fugitive Emissions Interim Rule).

    1 The original submittal, found at Docket ID No. EPA-R04-OAR-2012-0079, proposed changes to Alabama regulations pertaining to NSR and general and transportation conformity found at ADEM Administrative Code Chapter 335-3-14—Permits (including general permits, prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) and NNSR) and Chapter 335-3-17 Conformity of Federal Actions to State Implementation Plans, respectively. The first two portions of the submittal regarding conformity and PSD were acted on by EPA on September 26, 2012 (See 77 FR 59100).

    2 EPA's regulations governing the implementation of NSR permitting programs are contained in 40 CFR 51.160-.166; 52.21, .24; and part 51, appendix S. The CAA NSR program is composed of three separate programs: PSD, NNSR, and Minor NSR. PSD is established in part C of title I of the CAA and applies in areas that meet the NAAQS—“attainment areas”—as well as areas where there is insufficient information to determine if the area meets the NAAQS—“unclassifiable areas.” The NNSR program is established in part D of title I of the CAA and applies in areas that are not in attainment of the NAAQS—“nonattainment areas.” The Minor NSR program addresses construction or modification activities that do not qualify as “major” and applies regardless of the designation of the area in which a source is located. Together, these programs are referred to as the NSR programs.

    3 Airborne particulate matter (PM) with a nominal aerodynamic diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less (a micrometer is one-millionth of a meter, and 2.5 micrometers is less than one-seventh the average width of a human hair) are considered to be “fine particles” and are also known as PM2.5. Fine particles in the atmosphere are made up of a complex mixture of components including sulfate; nitrate; ammonium; elemental carbon; a great variety of organic compounds; and inorganic material (including metals, dust, sea salt, and other trace elements) generally referred to as “crustal” material, although it may contain material from other sources. The health effects associated with exposure to PM2.5 include potential aggravation of respiratory and cardiovascular disease (i.e., lung disease, decreased lung function, asthma attacks and certain cardiovascular issues). On July 18, 1997, EPA revised the NAAQS for PM to add new standards for fine particles, using PM2.5 as the indicator. Previously, EPA used PM10 (inhalable particles smaller than or equal to 10 micrometers in diameter) as the indicator for the PM NAAQS. EPA established health-based (primary) annual and 24-hour standards for PM2.5, setting an annual standard at a level of 15.0 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) and a 24-hour standard at a level of 65 µg/m3. See 62 FR 38652. At the time the 1997 primary standards were established, EPA also established welfare-based (secondary) standards identical to the primary standards. The secondary standards are designed to protect against major environmental effects of PM2.5, such as visibility impairment, soiling, and materials damage. On October 17, 2006, EPA revised the primary and secondary 24-hour NAAQS for PM2.5 to 35 µg/m3 and retained the existing annual PM2.5 NAAQS of 15.0 µg/m3. See 71 FR 61236. On January 15, 2013, EPA published a final rule revising the annual PM2.5 NAAQS to 12 µg/m3. See 78 FR 3086.

    4 The D.C. Circuit vacated the portions of the PM2.5 PSD Increment-SILs-SMC Rule addressing the SMC and SILs (and remanded the SILs portion to EPA for further consideration) for PSD, but left the PM2.5 SILs in place for the NNSR program in the table in section 51.165(b)(2). See Sierra Club v. EPA, 705 F.3d 458 (D.C. Cir. 2013).

    EPA is not, however, proposing to approve into the Alabama SIP ADEM Rule 335-3-14-.05(1)(k), which Alabama promulgated pursuant to the federal rule entitled “Prevention of Significant Deterioration, Nonattainment New Source Review, and Title V: Treatment of Certain Ethanol Production Facilities Under the `Major Emitting Facility' Definition”, Final Rule, 72 FR 24060 (May 1, 2007) (or the Ethanol Rule).5 EPA is also not acting on the provision at Rule 335-3-14-.05(2)(c)3 that excludes fugitive emissions from the determinion of creditable emission increases and decreases. (See Sections II.F. and III.F. of this notice for details). Finally, EPA is not proposing to approve ADEM's rules regarding the PM2.5 significant impact levels (SILs) for PSD at Rule 335-3-14-.04(8)(h)1., the NNSR interpollutant offset ratios at ADEM Rule 335-3-14-.05(3)(g), or the “actual-to-potential” NNSR applicability test at ADEM Rule 335-3-14-.05(1)(h), all of which ADEM withdrew from EPA's consideration subsequent to the May 2, 2011 submittal.

    5 Alabama's changes to its NNSR regulations (at 335-3-14-.05(1)(k)) exclude “chemical process plants” that produce ethanol through a natural fermentation process from the NSR major source permitting requirement as promulgated in the Ethanol Rule (as amended at 40 CFR 51.165). See 72 FR 24060 (May 1, 2007). However, due to a petition by Natural Resources Defense Council to reconsider the rule, EPA is not proposing to take action to approve this provision into the Alabama SIP at this time. Pending final resolution, EPA will make a final determination on action regarding this portion of Alabama's SIP revision.

    II. What is the background for EPA's proposed action?

    This proposed action to revise the NNSR regulations in Alabama's SIP relates to EPA's WEPCO Rule, 2002 NSR Reform Rule (and associated Reconsideration Rule and Vacated Elements Rule), Reasonable Possibility Rule, Phase 2 Rule, NSR PM2.5 Rule, PM2.5 PSD Increments-SILs-SMC Rule, and Fugitive Emissions Interim Rule. Together these rules address the NSR permitting requirements needed to implement the NAAQS in NAAs. The State's May 2, 2011, revision adopts into the Alabama SIP the NNSR requirements promulgated in these rules to be consistent with federal regulations. A brief summary of the abovementioned rules as well as details of Alabama's May 2, 2011, SIP submission is discussed below.

    Originally, Alabama included PM2.5 SILs and NNSR interpollutant offset ratios in the May 2, 2011, SIP submission, consistent with the PM2.5 PSD Increments-SILs-SMC Rule. However, EPA cannot act on SIL provisions for PSD due to the January 22, 2013, decision by the D.C. Circuit vacating and remanding to EPA the SILs portion of the PM2.5 PSD Increments-SILs-SMC Rule for further consideration.6 See Sierra Club v. EPA, 705 F.3d 458 (D.C. Cir. 2013). Nor can EPA approve the interpollutant offset ratios for PM2.5 and selected precursors included in the May 2, 2011 submission, which adopted the EPA presumptive ratios from the May 16, 2008, preamble to the NSR PM2.5 Implementation Rule. After publication, these ratios were the subject of a petition for reconsideration, which the Administrator granted, and are no longer presumptively approvable. Accordingly, ADEM has since submitted a letter to EPA dated October 9, 2014, requesting that the PM2.5 SILs provisions for PSD and the interpollutant trading ratios for NNSR be withdrawn from the May 2, 2011, submission; therefore these provisions are no longer before EPA for consideration. ADEM still intends to adopt the NNSR interpollutant trading policy itself, however, and therefore the letter only requested the withdrawal of the presumptive ratios. The letter can be found in Docket ID: EPA-R04-OAR-2012-0079.

    6 On January 22, 2013, D.C. Circuit granted a request from EPA to vacate and remand to the Agency the portions of the October 20, 2010 rule addressing the SILs for PM2.5, except for the parts codifying the PM2.5 SILs in the NNSR rule at 40 CFR 51.165(b)(2), so that the EPA could voluntarily correct an error in the provisions. See Sierra Club v. EPA, 705 F.3d 458 at 463-66 (D.C. Cir. 2013). The Court also vacated parts of the PM2.5 PSD Increment-SILs-SMC Rule establishing the PM2.5 SMC, finding that the Agency had exceeded its statutory authority with respect to these provisions. Id at 469. On December 9, 2013, EPA issued a final rulemaking to remove the vacated and remanded PM2.5 SILs and the vacated PM2.5 SMC provisions from the Federal regulations at 40 CFR 51.166 and 52.21. See 78 FR 73698.

    The May 2, 2011, submittal also included an “actual-to-potential” NNSR applicability test for projects involving only existing emissions units at ADEM Rule 335-3-14-.05(1)(h). This test, which is not contained in the federal regulations, utilizes the definition of “actual emissions” at ADEM Rule 335-3-14-.05(2)(u) for determining whether a change to an existing emissions unit would result in a significant emissions increase that triggers NNSR applicability.7 To be consistent with the NNSR provisions at 40 CFR 51.165, ADEM submitted a letter to EPA on June 5, 2015, withdrawing the “actual-to-potential” applicability test at ADEM Rule 335-3-14-.05(1)(h) from the May 2, 2011, SIP revision. This letter is included in the docket for this proposed action (Docket ID: EPA-R04-OAR-2012-0079).

    7 The definition of “actual emissions” at ADEM Rule 335-3-14-.05(2)(u) is based on the definition of “actual emissions” in the federal NNSR regulations at 40 CFR 51.165(a)(1)(xii). However, the federal regulations expressly state that “this definition shall not apply for calculating whether a significant emissions increase has occurred.” 40 CFR 51.165(a)(1)(xii)(A).

    A. WEPCO Rule

    On July 21, 1992, EPA finalized the WEPCO Rule, which put forward regulations arising out of the decision in the WEPCO case. See Wisconsin Electric Power Co. v. Reilly, 893 F.2d 901 (7th Cir. 1990). The WEPCO Rule made changes to the NNSR and PSD regulations found at 40 CFR 51.165, 51.166 and 52.21. Relevant to this proposed rulemaking, EPA established definitions in the WEPCO Rule for electric utility steam generating unit (EGU), clean coal technology (CCT), CCT demonstration project, temporary CCT demonstration project, and repowering. In addition, the rule exempted CCT demonstration projects (that constitute repowering) from PSD or NNSR requirements (major modification), providing the projects do not cause an increase in potential to emit of a regulated NSR pollutant emitted by the unit.

    B. NSR Reform and Reasonable Possibility

    On December 31, 2002 (67 FR 80186), EPA published final rule changes to 40 CFR parts 51 and 52 regarding the CAA's PSD and NNSR programs. On November 7, 2003 (68 FR 63021), EPA published a notice of final action on the reconsideration of the December 31, 2002, final rule changes. The December 31, 2002, and the November 7, 2003, final actions are collectively referred to as the “2002 NSR Reform Rules.” The 2002 NSR Reform Rules made changes to five areas of the NSR programs. In summary, the 2002 NSR Reform Rules: (1) Provide a new method for determining baseline actual emissions; (2) adopt an actual-to-projected-actual methodology for determining whether a major modification has occurred; (3) allow major stationary sources to comply with plant-wide applicability limits (PALs) to avoid having a significant emissions increase that triggers the requirements of the major NSR program; (4) provide a new applicability provision for emissions units that are designated clean units; and (5) exclude pollution control projects (PCPs) from the definition of “physical change or change in the method of operation.” On November 7, 2003 (68 FR 63021), EPA published a notice of final action on its reconsideration of the 2002 NSR Reform Rules, which added a definition for “replacement unit” and clarified an issue regarding PALs. For additional information on the 2002 NSR Reform Rules, see 67 FR 80186 (December 31, 2002) and http://www.epa.gov/nsr/actions.html#2002.

    After the 2002 NSR Reform Rules were finalized and effective (March 3, 2003), industry, state, and environmental petitioners challenged numerous aspects of the 2002 NSR Reform Rules, along with portions of EPA's 1980 NSR Rules. See 45 FR 52676 (August 7, 1980). On June 24, 2005, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit) issued a decision on the challenges to the 2002 NSR Reform Rules: New York v. U.S. EPA, 413 F.3d 3 (D.C. Cir. 2005). In summary, the D.C. Circuit vacated portions of the rules pertaining to clean units and PCPs, remanded a portion of the rules regarding recordkeeping and the term “reasonable possibility” found in 40 CFR 52.21(r)(6) and 40 CFR 51.165(a)(6) and 51.166(r)(6), and either upheld or did not comment on the other provisions included as part of the 2002 NSR Reform Rules. On June 13, 2007 (72 FR 32526), EPA took final action to revise the 2002 NSR Reform Rules to remove from federal law all provisions pertaining to clean units and the PCP exemption that were vacated by the D.C. Circuit.

    With regard to the remanded portions of the 2002 NSR Reform Rules related to recordkeeping, the D.C. Circuit remanded these provisions to EPA either to provide an acceptable explanation for its “reasonable possibility” standard, or to devise an appropriate alternative. To satisfy the court, the EPA published the Reasonable Possibility Rule, thereby taking action to clarify that a “reasonable possibility” applies where source emissions equal or exceed 50 percent of the CAA NSR significance levels for any pollutant. See 72 FR 72607 (December 21, 2007). The Reasonable Possibility Rule identified, for sources and reviewing authorities, the circumstances under which a major stationary source undergoing a modification that does not trigger major NSR must keep records. EPA's December 21, 2007, final rule on the recordkeeping and reporting provisions also explained state obligations with regard to the reasonable possibility-related rule changes.

    C. Phase 2 Rule

    Part of Alabama's May 2, 2011, SIP submittal to revise its NNSR rules relates to EPA's 1997 8-Hour Ozone NAAQS Implementation Rule NSR Update or Phase 2 Rule. On November 29, 2005, EPA published the Phase 2 Rule, which addressed control and planning requirements as they applied to areas designated nonattainment for the 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS 8 such as reasonably available control technology, reasonably available control measures, reasonable further progress, modeling and attainment demonstrations, NSR, and the impact to reformulated gas for the 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS transition. See 70 FR 71612. The NSR permitting requirements established in the rule included the following provisions: (1) Recognized NOX as an ozone precursor for PSD purposes; (2) changes to the NNSR rules establishing major stationary thresholds (marginal, moderate, serious, severe, and extreme NAA classifications); and significant emission rates for the 8-hour ozone, PM10 and carbon monoxide NAAQS; and (3) revised the criteria for crediting emission reductions credits from operation shutdowns and curtailments as offsets, and changes to offset ratios for marginal, moderate, serious, severe, and extreme ozone NAA. For additional information on provisions in the Phase 2 Rule see the November 29, 2005, final rule (70 FR 71612).

    8 On July 18, 1997, EPA promulgated a revised 8-hour ozone NAAQS of 0.08 parts per million—also referred to as the 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS. On April 30, 2004, EPA designated areas as unclassifiable/attainment, nonattainment and unclassifiable for the 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS. In addition, on April 30, 2004, as part of the framework to implement the 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS, EPA promulgated an implementation rule in two phases (Phase I and II). The Phase I Rule (effective on June 15, 2004), provided the implementation requirements for designating areas under subpart 1 and subpart 2 of the CAA. See 69 FR 23951.

    D. NSR PM2.5 Rule

    On May 16, 2008, EPA finalized the NSR PM2.5 Rule to implement the PM2.5 NAAQS for the NSR permitting program. See 73 FR 28321. The NSR PM2.5 Rule revised the federal NSR program requirements to establish the framework for implementing preconstruction permit review for the PM2.5 NAAQS in both attainment and NAA. Specifically, the NSR PM2.5 Rule established the following NSR provisions to implement the PM2.5 NAAQS: (1) Required NSR permits to address directly-emitted PM2.5 and certain precursor pollutants; (2) established significant emission rates for direct PM2.5 and precursor pollutants (including sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOX)); (3) established NNSR PM2.5 emission offsets; (4) required states to account for gases that condense to form particles (condensables) in PM2.5 and PM10 applicability determinations and emission limits in PSD and NNSR permits; and (5) provided a grandfathering provision in the federal program for certain pending PM2.5 permit applications. Additionally, the NSR PM2.5 Rule authorized states to adopt provisions in their NNSR rules that would allow interpollutant offset trading. Alabama's May 2, 2011 SIP revision addresses the effective portions of the NNSR provisions established in EPA's May 16, 2008 NSR PM2.5 Rule. Two key issues described in greater detail below include the NSR PM2.5 litigation and interpollutant trading ratios for the NNSR program.

    1. PM2.5 Implementation Rule(s) Litigation

    On January 4, 2013, the D.C. Circuit issued a judgment 9 that remanded EPA's April 25, 2007 10 and May 16, 2008 PM2.5 implementation rules implementing the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS. See Natural Resources Defense Council v. EPA, 706 F.3d 428 (D.C. Cir. 2013). The Court found that because the statutory definition of PM10 (see section 302(t) of the CAA) included particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter less than or equal to 10 micrometers, it necessarily includes PM2.5. EPA had developed the 2007 and 2008 (or NSR PM2.5 Rule) Rules consistent with the general NAA requirements of subpart 1 of Part D, title I, of the CAA. Relative to subpart 1, subpart 4 of Part D, title I includes additional provisions that apply to PM10 NAA and is more specific about what states must do to bring areas into attainment. In particular, subpart 4 includes section 189(e) of the CAA, which requires the control of major stationary sources of PM10 precursors (and hence under the court decision, PM2.5 precursors) “except where the Administrator determines that such sources do not contribute significantly to PM10 levels which exceed the standard in the area.” The court ordered EPA to repromulgate the implementation rules pursuant to subpart 4.

    9 The Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, American Lung Association, and Medical Advocates for Healthy Air challenged before the D.C. Circuit EPA's April 25, 2007 Rule entitled “Clean Air Fine Particle Implementation Rule” (72 FR 20586), which established detailed implementation regulations to assist states with the development of SIPs to demonstrate attainment for the 1997 annual and 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS and the separate May 16, 2008 NSR PM2.5 Rule (which is considered in this proposed rulemaking). This proposed rulemaking only pertains to the impacts of the Court's decision on the May 16, 2008 NSR PM2.5 Rule and not the April 25, 2007 implementation rule as the State's May 2, 2011 SIP revision adopts the NSR permitting provisions established in the NSR PM2.5 Rule.

    10 This rule is entitled “Clean Air Fine Particle Implementation Rule,” Final Rule, 72 FR 20586 (hereafter referred to as the 2007 Rule).

    On June 2, 2014, EPA published a final rule 11 which, in part, set a December 31, 2014 deadline for states to make any remaining required attainment-related and NNSR SIP submissions, pursuant to and considering the application of subpart 4. See 79 FR 31566. Requirements under subpart 4 for a moderate NAA are generally comparable to subpart 1, including: (1) CAA section 189(a)(1)(A) (NNSR permit program); (2) section 189(a)(1)(B) (attainment demonstration or demonstration that attainment by the applicable attainment date is impracticable); (3) section 189(a)(1)(C) (reasonably available control measures and reasonably available control technology (RACT); and (4) section 189(c) (reasonable further progress and quantitative milestones). The additional requirements pursuant to subpart 4 as opposed to subpart 1 correspond to section 189(e) (precursor requirements for major stationary sources). Further additional SIP planning requirements are introduced by subpart 4 in the case that a moderate NAA is reclassified to a serious NAA, or in the event that the moderate NAA needs additional time to attain the NAAQS. The additional requirements under subpart 4 are not applicable for the purposes of CAA section 107(d)(3)(E) in any area that has submitted a complete redesignation request prior to the due date for those requirements; therefore, EPA is not required to consider subpart 4 requirements for moderate NAA that have submitted a redesignation request prior to December 31, 2014. See 79 FR at 31570.

    11 The rule is entitled “Identification of Nonattainment Classification and Deadlines for Submission of State Implementation Plan (SIP) Provisions for the 1997 Fine Particle (PM2.5) National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) and 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS”, Final Rule, 79 FR 31566 (June 2, 2014). This final rule also identifies the initial classification of current 1997 and 2006 PM2.5 nonattainment areas as moderate and the EPA guidance and relevant rulemakings that are currently available regarding implementation of subpart 4 requirements.

    Two areas were initially designated moderate nonattainment for the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS in Alabama: The Birmingham area and the Chattanooga multi-state area.12 On May 2, 2011, ADEM submitted a redesignation request for the Birmingham NAA for the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS. This request was granted, and the area was redesignated on January 22, 2013. See 78 FR 4341. On December 22, 2014, the Jackson County, Alabama portion of the Chattanooga NAA was successfully redesignated to attainment for the 1997 PM2.5 annual NAAQS based on an April 23, 2013 request for redesignation by ADEM.13 See 79 FR 76235. Because these counties in Alabama have been redesignated, Alabama has no other PM2.5 NAA for the annual 1997 NAAQS, the 24-hour 1997 NAAQS, nor the 24-hour 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS. Therefore, the additional NNSR SIP requirements pursuant to subpart 4 do not apply to the State.

    12 EPA designated the Birmingham multi-county area and Chattanooga TN-GA-AL area as nonattainment for the 1997 Annual PM2.5 NAAQS on January 5, 2005 (70 FR 944) as supplemented on April 14, 2005 (70 FR 19844).

    13 The Georgia portion of the Chattanooga TN-GA-AL nonattainment area for 1997 Annual PM2.5 NAAQS has been redesignated in the December 19, 2014 final rule (79 FR 75748). Tennessee submitted a redesignation request for the Tennessee portion of the Chattanooga TN-GA-AL NAA on November 11, 2014, but the redesignation has not yet been proposed.

    2. Interpollutant Trading Ratios

    The NSR PM2.5 Rule authorized states to adopt provisions in their NNSR rules that would allow major stationary sources and major modifications locating in areas designated nonattainment for PM2.5 to offset emissions increases of direct PM2.5 emissions or PM2.5 precursors with reductions of either direct PM2.5 emissions or PM2.5 precursors in accordance with offset ratios contained in the approved SIP for the applicable NAA. The inclusion, in whole or in part, of the interpollutant trading offset provisions for PM2.5 is discretionary on the part of the states. In the preamble to the NSR PM2.5 Rule, EPA included preferred offset ratios applicable to specific PM2.5 precursors that states may adopt in conjunction with the new interpollutant trading offset provisions for PM2.5, and for which the state could rely on the EPA's technical work to demonstrate the adequacy of the ratios for use in any PM2.5 NAA. Alternatively, the preamble indicated that states may adopt their own ratios, subject to the EPA's approval, that would have to be substantiated by modeling or other technical demonstrations of the net air quality benefit for ambient PM2.5 concentrations.

    The preferred ratios were subsequently the subject of a petition for reconsideration which the EPA Administrator granted in 2009. As a result of the reconsideration, on July 21, 2011, EPA issued a memorandum entitled “Revised Policy to Address Reconsideration of Interpollutant Trading Provisions for Fine Particles (PM2.5)” (hereafter referred to as the “Interpollutant Trading Memorandum”). The Interpollutant Trading Memorandum indicated that the existing preferred offset ratios are no longer considered presumptively approvable and that any precursor offset ratio submitted as part of the NSR SIP for a PM2.5 NAA must be accompanied by a technical demonstration showing the net air quality benefits of such ratio for the PM2.5 NAA in which it will be applied. Alabama's May 2, 2011, SIP revision adopts the interpollutant trading offset provisions, and originally adopted the preferred ratios included in the May 16, 2008, preamble. However, ADEM has since withdrawn these ratios in a letter dated October 9, 2014 (See Docket ID: EPA-R04-OAR-2012-0079). EPA's analysis of Alabama's May 2, 2011, SIP revision regarding interpollutant trading is provided below in Section III.

    E. PM2.5 PSD-Increment-SILs-SMC Rule

    The October 20, 2010, final rulemaking established the following: (1) PM2.5 increments pursuant to section 166(a) of the CAA to prevent significant deterioration of air quality in areas meeting the NAAQS; (2) PM2.5 SILs for PSD and NNSR; and (3) SMC for PSD purposes. See 75 FR 64864. EPA approved the provisions for PM2.5 PSD increments and SMC into the Alabama SIP on September 26, 2012 (77 FR 59100).14 Though ADEM had submitted PM2.5 SILs for PSD purposes, EPA did not take action on them in the September 26, 2012 rulemaking. Subsequently, in response to a challenge to the PM2.5 SILs and SMC provisions of the PM2.5 PSD-Increment-SILs-SMC Rule filed by the Sierra Club, the D.C. Circuit vacated and remanded to EPA for further consideration the portions of the rule addressing PM2.5 SILs, except for the PM2.5 SILs promulgated in EPA's NNSR rules at 40 CFR 51.165(b)(2). See Sierra Club v. EPA, 705 F.3d 458, 469 (D.C. Cir. 2013). The D.C. Circuit also vacated the parts of the rule establishing a PM2.5 SMC for PSD purposes. Id. EPA removed these vacated provisions in a December 9, 2013 final rule (78 FR 73693). In a letter dated October 9, 2014, ADEM withdrew the PM2.5 SILs set forth in Alabama's PSD regulations from EPA's consideration for incorporation into Alabama's SIP.

    14 Although the SMC provisions were approved into the Alabama SIP in a September 26, 2012, final rule (77 FR 59100), the January 22, 2013, D.C. Circuit decision vacated the SMCs on the basis that EPA did not have the authority to use SMCs to exempt permit applicants from the statutory requirement in section 165(e)(2) of the CAA that ambient monitoring data for PM2.5 be included in all PSD permit applications. EPA accordingly removed the PM2.5 SMC of 4 µg/m3 from federal PSD regulations on December 9, 2013 (See 78 FR 73693), and advised states to remove the PM2.5 provisions from their state PSD regulations and SIPs. For more information on states with approved SMC provisions in their SIPs, see the December 9, 2013, final rule.

    This action pertains only to the PM2.5 SILs promulgated in EPA's NNSR regulations at 40 CFR 51.165(b)(2), which were not vacated by the D.C. Circuit. Unlike the SILs promulgated in the PSD regulations (40 CFR 51.166, 52.21), the SILs promulgated in the NNSR regulations at 40 CFR 51.165(b)(2) do not serve to exempt a source from conducting a cumulative air quality analysis. Rather, the SILs promulgated at 40 CFR 51.165(b)(2) establish levels at which a proposed new major source or major modification locating in an area designated as attainment or unclassifiable for any NAAQS would be considered to cause or contribute to a violation of a NAAQS in any area. For this reason, the D.C. Circuit left the PM2.5 SILs at 40 CFR 51.165(b)(2) in place, and EPA can consider ADEM's request that these SILs be approved as part of Alabama's NNSR program.

    F. Fugitive Emissions Interim Rule

    On December 19, 2008, EPA issued a final rule revising the requirements of the NSR permitting program regarding the treatment of fugitive emissions. See “Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Nonattainment New Source Review (NSR): Reconsideration of Inclusion of Fugitive Emissions,” Final Rule, 73 FR 77882 (the “Fugitive Emissions Rule”). The final rule required fugitive emissions to be included in determining whether a physical or operational change results in a major modification only for sources in industries that have been designated through rulemaking under section 302(j) 15 of the CAA. As a result of EPA granting the Natural Resource Defense Council's petition for reconsideration on the Fugitive Emissions Rule 16 on March 31, 2010, EPA stayed the rule for 18 months to October 3, 2011. The stay allowed the Agency time to propose, take comment and issue a final action regarding the inclusion of fugitive emissions in NSR applicability determinations. On March 30, 2011 (76 FR 17548), EPA proposed an interim rule (the “Fugitive Emissions Interim Rule”) which superseded the March 31, 2010, stay and clarified and extended the stay of the Fugitive Emission Rule until EPA completes its reconsideration. The Fugitive Emissions Interim Rule simply reverts the CFR text back to the language that existed prior to the Fugitive Emissions Rule changes in the December 19, 2008, rulemaking. EPA plans to issue a final rule affirming the interim rule as final. The Fugitive Emissions Interim Rule will remain in effect until EPA completes its reconsideration.

    15 Pursuant to CAA section 302(j), examples of these industry sectors include oil refineries, Portland cement plants, and iron and steel mills.

    16 On April 24, 2009, EPA agreed to reconsider the approach to handling fugitive emissions and granted a 3-month administrative stay of the Fugitive Emissions Rule. The administrative stay of the Fugitive Emissions Rule became effective on September 30, 2009. EPA put an additional three-month stay in place from December 31, 2009, until March 31, 2010.

    III. What is EPA's analysis of ADEM's SIP revision?

    Alabama currently has a SIP-approved NSR program for new and modified stationary sources found in ADEM regulations at Chapter 335-3-14. ADEM's NNSR preconstruction regulations are found at Chapter 335-3-14-.05, and apply to major stationary sources or modifications constructed in or impacting upon a nonattainment area as required under part D of title I of the CAA with respect to the NAAQS. The revisions to Chapter 335-3-14-.05 that EPA is now proposing to approve into the SIP were provided to update the existing provisions to be consistent with the current federal NNSR rules, including the WEPCO Rule, 2002 NSR Reform Rule (and associated Reconsideration Rule and Vacated Elements Rule), Phase 2 Rule, NSR PM2.5 Rule, PM2.5 PSD-Increment-SILs-SMC Rule, and Fugitive Emissions Interim Rule. These changes to ADEM's regulations became state effective on May 23, 2011. EPA is proposing to approve the changes to Chapter 335-3-14-.05, with certain exceptions noted below, into Alabama's SIP to be consistent with federal NNSR regulations (at 40 CFR 51.165) and the CAA.

    A. WEPCO Rule

    As stated in Section II, the WEPCO Rule made several changes to NNSR regulations located at 40 CFR 51.165. The definitions established in the WEPCO Rule that persist through the most recent CFR, including those for EGU, CCT, CCT demonstration project, temporary CCT demonstration project, and repowering are all included in the May 2, 2011 ADEM SIP submittal at Chapter 335-3-14-.05. The SIP submittal also adopts exemptions for temporary CCT demonstration projects from NNSR requirements as promulgated in the WEPCO Rule. EPA has preliminarily determined that the May 2, 2011 submittal is consistent with the federal regulations for NNSR promulgated in the WEPCO Rule.

    B. NSR Reform

    Some of the changes to Alabama's NNSR rules that EPA is now proposing to approve into the Alabama SIP were established to update Alabama's existing NNSR program to meet the requirements of the 2002 NSR Reform Rule (and associated Reconsideration Rule and Vacated Elements Rule) and the 2007 Reasonable Possibility Rule (collectively, the “NSR Reform Rules”). On May 1, 2008, EPA approved Alabama's June 16, 2006, SIP submission to adopt PSD provisions consistent with the requirements of the NSR Reform Rules. See 73 FR 23957. Alabama's May 2, 2011, SIP revision adopts NNSR changes pursuant to the NSR Reform Rules regarding the following definitions, revisions and provisions at Chapter 335-3-14 .05: Regulated NSR pollutant; major modification; net emissions increase; credit for increases and decreases in actual emissions; emissions unit; actual emissions; lowest achievable emission rate; construction; pollution prevention; significant emissions increase; projected actual emissions; major NNSR program; continuous emissions monitoring system; predictive emissions monitoring system; continuous parameter monitoring system; continuous emissions rate monitoring system; baseline actual emissions; project; best available control technology; federal land manager; PSD permit; NNSR applicability procedures; actual-to-projected-actual applicability tests; and PAL and recordkeeping provisions.

    As noted above, the submittal originally included an “actual-to-potential” applicability test (ADEM Rule 335-3-14-.05(1)(h)) that was inconsistent with the federal rules at 40 CFR 51.165. However, on June 5, 2015, ADEM submitted a letter to EPA formally withdrawing the “actual-to-potential” applicability test from the May 2, 2011 SIP revision (See Docket No. EPA-R04-OAR-2012-0079). Therefore, this applicability test is no longer before EPA for consideration and will not be incorporated into Alabama's SIP.

    State agencies may meet the requirements of 40 CFR part 51, and the NSR Reform Rules, with different-but-equivalent regulations. More information on regulations developed by ADEM which are different-but-equivalent to federal rules are included in Section III.G below. EPA has preliminarily determined that the proposed SIP revisions to adopt the NSR Reform Rules, including those which differ from the federal rule, are consistent with program requirements for the preparation, adoption and submittal of implementation plans for NNSR set forth at 40 CFR 51.165, including the changes to the federal NNSR regulations promulgated in the NSR Reform Rules.

    C. Phase 2 Rule

    The Phase 2 Rule established the NSR requirements needed to implement the 8-hour ozone NAAQS and made changes to federal NNSR regulations. Pursuant to these requirements, states were required to submit SIP revisions adopting the relevant federal requirements of the Phase 2 Rule (at 40 CFR 51.165 and 51.166) into their SIP no later than June 15, 2007.17 Alabama's May 2, 2011, SIP revision adopts the following relevant NNSR provisions promulgated in the Phase 2 Rule (at 40 CFR 51.165) into the Alabama SIP at Chapter 335-3-14-.05 to be consistent with federal NNSR permitting regulations: (1) Thresholds to establish a major stationary source (as codified at 40 CFR 51.165(a)(1)(iv)(A)(1)-(3); (2) provisions establishing that significant net increases for NOX are considered significant for ozone, and that significant emissions of ozone precursors include NOX (as codified at 40 CFR 51.165(a)(1)(v)(E) and (a)(1)(x)); (3) provisions that provide offset credits for shutting down or curtailing operation of existing sources (as codified at 40 CFR 51.165(a)(3)(ii)(C)); (4) a provision establishing that the requirements applicable to major stationary sources and major modifications of VOC shall apply to NOX emissions from major stationary sources and major modifications of NOX in an ozone transport region or in any ozone nonattainment area (as codified at 40 CFR 51.165(a)(8)); and (5) a provision establishing that requirements applicable to major stationary sources and major modifications of PM10 shall apply to major stationary sources and major modifications of PM10 precursors (as codified at 40 CFR 51.165(a)(10)). EPA has preliminarily determined that the May 2, 2011 submittal is consistent with the federal NNSR regulations promulgated in the Phase 2 Rule.

    17 On June 21, 2006, Alabama submitted a SIP revision which adopted the PSD provisions established in the Phase 2 Rule (at 40 CFR 51.166) recognizing NOX as an ozone precursor. EPA took final action to approve this SIP revision on May 1, 2008 (73 FR 23957).

    D. NSR PM2.5 Rule

    ADEM's May 2, 2011, SIP revision establishes that the State's existing NSR permitting program requirements for NNSR apply to the PM2.5 NAAQS and certain precursors. Specifically, the SIP revision adopts the following NSR PM2.5 Rule NNSR provisions into the Alabama SIP: (1) The requirement for NNSR permits to address directly emitted PM2.5 and precursor pollutants (e.g., SO2 and NOX, as codified at 40 CFR 51.165(a)(1)(xxxvii)(C)); (2) the significant emission rates for direct PM2.5 and precursor pollutants (SO2 and NOX, as codified at 40 CFR 51.165(a)(1)(x)(A)); (3) clarification of the NNSR PM2.5 (and general criteria air pollutant) emission offsets (pursuant to 51.165(a)(9)); (4) the NNSR requirement that condensable PM10 and PM2.5 emissions be accounted for in applicability determinations and emission limits for permitting (as codified at 40 CFR 51.165(a)(1)(xxxvii)(D)); and (5) the basic interpollutant trading policy for PM2.5 precursors (as codified at 40 CFR 51.165(a)(11)). For the reasons discussed below, the EPA is proposing to approve these revisions into the Alabama SIP.

    ADEM's submission of revisions to its NNSR regulations at Chapter 335-3-14-.05 identify SO2 as a PM2.5 precursor and NOX as a presumed PM2.5 precursor while VOCs and ammonia are presumed not to be PM2.5 precursors for a PM2.5 NAA. These revisions are consistent with the 2008 NSR PM2.5 Rule as developed pursuant to subpart 1 of the Act.18

    18 See Section II for a discussion of why the additional requirements of subpart 4 of the Act do not apply to Alabama's May 2, 2011 SIP submittal for revisions to the NNSR program.

    Alabama's May 2, 2011, SIP revision originally adopted into the SIP at Chapter 335-3-14.05(3)(g) the elective interpollutant trading policy, set forth at 40 CFR 51.165(a)(11), and the preferred trading ratios, provided in the preamble to the NSR PM2.5 Rule, for the purpose of offsets under the PM2.5 NNSR program. As established in EPA's July 21, 2011, Interpollutant Trading Memorandum, the preferred precursor trading ratios and technical demonstration included in the NSR PM2.5 Rule are no longer considered presumptively approvable. Therefore any precursor trading ratios submitted to EPA for approval, as part of the NSR SIP for a PM2.5 NAA must be accompanied by a technical demonstration showing the suitability of the ratios for that particular NAA. Consequently, prior to approving a request by a major stationary source or source with a major modification in Alabama to obtain offsets through interpollutant trading, the State of Alabama would first be required, pursuant to 51.165(a)(11), to revise its SIP to adopt appropriate trading ratios. ADEM would need to submit to EPA a technical demonstration showing how either the preferred ratios established in the NSR PM2.5 Rule or the State's own ratios are appropriate for the state's particular PM2.5 nonattainment areas as well as a revision to the NSR program adopting the ratios into the SIP. EPA would then have to approve the demonstration and ratios into the Alabama SIP prior to any major stationary source or major modification obtaining offsets through the interpollutant trading policy.

    Alabama's May 2, 2011, SIP revision relied on EPA's technical demonstration in the NSR PM2.5 Rule for the preferred ratios, which, as explained above, the Agency has now deemed unapprovable. However, on October 9, 2014, ADEM submitted a letter to EPA formally withdrawing the offset ratios (or interpollutant trading ratios) from the May 2, 2011 SIP revision (See Docket No. EPA-R04-OAR-2012-0079). Therefore, these ratios are no longer before EPA for consideration, while the interpollutant trading provisions themselves remain before EPA. The Agency continues to support the basic policy that sources may offset increases in emissions of direct PM2.5 or of any PM2.5 precursor in a PM2.5 NAA with actual emissions reductions in direct PM2.5 or PM2.5 precursor, respectively, in accordance with offset ratios as approved in the SIP for the applicable NAA. Alabama's adoption of the interpollutant trading policy without trading ratios does not in any way allow a new major stationary source or major modification in the state to obtain offsets through interpollutant trading, nor does it affect the approvability of ADEM's May 2, 2011, SIP revision. EPA has preliminarily determined that the May 2, 2011 submittal is consistent with the federal regulations for NNSR promulgated in the NSR PM2.5 Rule.

    E. PM2.5 PSD-Increment-SILs-SMC Rule

    The only portion of the October 20, 2010, PM2.5 PSD-Increment-SILs-SMC Rule concerning NNSR considered for this proposed rulemaking is the table modified to include SILs for PM2.5, promulgated at 40 CFR 51.165(b)(2). See 75 FR 64864. As discussed above, these SILs are used to determine whether a new major stationary source or major modification that would be located in an area designated as in attainment or unclassifiable would cause or contribute to a NAAQS violation in any locality. These SILs were not affected by Sierra Club v. EPA, 705 F.3d at 458, which addressed PSD SILs that served to exempt a source from conducting a cumulative air quality analysis. Accordingly, Alabama's May 2, 2011 submittal revises the definition of “Significant Impact” at ADEM Rule 335-3-14.05(2)(aaa) to incorporate the PM2.5 SILs from 40 CFR 51.165(b)(2). An additional revision to ADEM Rule 335-3-14-.05(2)(aaa)—unrelated to the PM2.5 PSD-Increment-SILs-SMC Rule—eliminates the annual PM10 SIL of 1 µg/m3, which had previously been approved into the Alabama SIP. However, the annual PM10 SIL of 1 µg/m3 is separately included in ADEM Rule 335-3-14-.03(1)(g), “Standards for Granting Permits.” ADEM Rule 335-3-14-.03(1)(g) incorporates the requirements of 40 CFR 51.165(b) and has been approved by EPA as part of Alabama's SIP. 77 FR 59101, 59105 (Sept. 26, 2012) (identifying ADEM Rule 335-3-14-.03, State effective date May 23, 2011, as part of Alabama's SIP). Therefore, the removal of the annual PM10 SIL from ADEM Rule 335-3-14.05(2)(aaa) does not interfere with Alabama's compliance with 40 CFR 51.165(b). EPA proposes to approve the aforementioned revisions to the SILs in ADEM's May 2, 2011 SIP submittal.

    F. Fugitive Emissions Interim Rule

    Due to the March 30, 2011, Fugitive Emissions Interim Rule (See 76 FR 17548), the CFR has been converted back to the language that existed prior to the Fugitive Emissions Rule changes in the December 19, 2008, rulemaking. Many of the affected rules are entirely new to the ADEM NNSR Chapter. For example, the definition of fugitive emissions (40 CFR 51.165(a)(ix)) is added, not revised, at Chapter 335-3-14-.05(2)(t). Alabama's May 2, 2011, SIP submittal, having been submitted after the Fugitive Emissions Interim Rule, adopts revisions regarding fugitive emissions that are mostly consistent with the current CFR. One provision included in the May 2, 2011, submittal at ADEM Rule 335-3-14-.05(2)(c)3, regarding the exclusion of fugitive emissions from the determination of creditable emission increases and decreases in the definition of “net emissions increase,” was stayed indefinitely in the Fugitive Emissions Interim Rule. Therefore, EPA is proposing to approve Alabama's adoption of regulations affecting fugitive emissions at ADEM Rule 335-3-14-.05, except the provision at ADEM Rule 335-3-14-.05(2)(c)3. For more background on the Fugitive Emissions Interim Rule, see Section II above, or the March 30, 2011, rulemaking.

    G. Different-but-Equivalent Regulations

    Alabama currently has a SIP-approved nonattainment NSR program for new and modified stationary sources. EPA is now proposing to approve revisions to Alabama's existing NNSR program in the SIP. State agencies may meet the requirements of 40 CFR part 51, including the changes made by the NSR Reform Rules, with different-but-equivalent regulations. The May 2, 2011, submission to revise the Alabama SIP contains several rules that EPA has determined are different-but-equivalent regulations. The Agency's analysis for each of these items is included below.

    1. “Reasonable Possibility” Provisions

    The “reasonable possibility” standard identifies, for sources and reviewing authorities, the circumstances under which a major stationary source undergoing a physical or operational change that is not projected to result in an emissions increase above NSR applicability thresholds must keep post-change emissions records. EPA's December 2007 action clarified the meaning of the term “reasonable possibility” through changes to the federal rule language in 40 CFR parts 51 and 52. EPA's December 2007 rule also acknowledged that State and local authorities may adopt or maintain NSR program elements that have the effect of making their regulations more stringent than the federal rules and instructed those State and local authorities to submit notice to EPA to acknowledge that their regulations fulfill the requirements of the federal regulations. Unlike the federal rules, which only require those projects that have a reasonable possibility that the project may result in a significant emissions increase to keep records, ADEM's rules require all projects that use the actual-to-projected-actual applicability test to keep records. Therefore, all projects undergo agency review. If ADEM determines that there is a reasonable possibility that the project may result in a significant emissions increase, then the owner or operator must submit those records to the Director, must monitor and maintain a record of annual emissions for 5 years (or 10 years depending upon the specific circumstances), and must submit annual reports. These recordkeeping, monitoring, and reporting requirements apply to all facilities—EGUs and non-EGUs. Although the changes to the reasonable possibility provisions identified above are different than the federal rules, ADEM's approach is at least as stringent as the federal rules and is approvable.

    2. PAL Provisions

    Alabama's actuals PAL provisions in ADEM Rule 335-3-14-.05(23) differ from the federal regulations in several ways. First, at subparagraph (23)(a)2., ADEM omitted the provision which allows facilities utilizing a PAL to remove previously set emissions limitations that the major stationary source used to avoid NNSR program applicability. Similarly, at subparagraph (23)(i)5., ADEM added the provision that sources must comply with any State or federal applicable requirements that may have applied during the PAL effective period, including those emission limitations that the source used to avoid NNSR applicability. According to Alabama's submittal, it is ADEM's intent that previously set limits (e.g., BACT, RACT, NSPS, synthetic minor limit, etc.) remain intact during the PAL effective period and after its expiration. EPA concludes that ADEM's approach in these regulatory provisions is at least as stringent as the federal regulations and therefore is approvable.

    ADEM's method of setting a PAL at subparagraph (23)(f) also differs slightly from the federal rules. The federal rules state at 40 CFR 51.165(f)(6)(ii) that emissions from units on which actual construction began after the 24-month period chosen for setting the PAL “must be added to the PAL level in an amount equal to the potential to emit of the units.” ADEM's rule differs in that it limits inclusion of emissions based on a unit's potential to emit to only those units that began operation less than 24 months prior to the submittal of the PAL application. Under ADEM's rule, baseline actual emissions from units on which actual construction began after the beginning of the 24-month period and that commenced operation 24 months or more prior to the submittal of the PAL application must be added to the PAL based upon actual emissions during any 24-month period since the unit commenced operation. According to Alabama's SIP submittal, it is ADEM's intent that the PAL be based upon true actual emissions, and ADEM considers units that have been operating more than 24 months to be existing units that should be included in the PAL based on their actual emissions rather than their potential to emit. EPA concludes that ADEM's approach to this provision is at least as stringent as the federal regulations and is therefore approvable.

    At subparagraph (23)(n)1., ADEM has omitted the requirement in the federal regulations to submit a semi-annual report within 30 days of the end of the PAL reporting period. Because the facility's title V permit would require these reports to be submitted, its inclusion in the NNSR regulations is not necessary. EPA's concludes that ADEM's approach to PAL reporting requirements is at least as stringent as the federal rules and is approvable.

    Finally, Alabama's PAL rules differ from the federal rules in that they do not expressly state that a PAL permit must require that emissions calculations for PAL compliance purposes include “malfunction” emissions. Compare ADEM Rule 335-3-14-.05(23)(g)4 to 40 CFR 51.165(f)(7)(iv). However, EPA does not read Alabama's rules as authorizing sources to exclude malfunction emissions from PAL compliance calculations. Rather, consistent with 40 CFR 51.165(f)(7)(iv), EPA interprets Alabama's rules to mean that startup and shutdown emissions must be included in emission calculations for PAL compliance purposes in addition to emissions that occur during normal operations and malfunctions. EPA Region 4 and ADEM discussed this issue via conference call on January 27, 2015. ADEM agreed with this interpretation of ADEM Rule 335-3-14-.05(23)(g)4 during the call and confirmed that ADEM would require sources to include malfunction emissions in emission calculations for PAL compliance purposes, just as compliance is determined with respect to other enforceable limits. In a document attached to an email dated February 3, 2015, ADEM provided written clarification of several items as a follow-up to the January 27, 2015 conference call, including the treatment of malfunction emissions in nonattainment PALs. A memo summarizing the call and ADEM's February 3, 2015 email and attachment are in the Docket for this proposed rulemaking. Therefore, EPA concludes that while the wording of ADEM Rule 335-3-14-.05(23)(g)4 differs from the federal rule, ADEM's approach is at least as stringent as the federal rules and is approvable.

    3. Emissions Associated With Malfunctions

    One notable difference from the federal rules is that the Alabama rules do not contain provisions accounting for “malfunction” emissions in the calculation of “baseline actual emissions” and “projected actual emissions” (ADEM Rule 334-3-14-.05(2)(nn) and (uu)). Alabama states that it will rely only on quantifiable emissions that can be verified so as to provide a more accurate estimation of the emissions increases associated with a project. Because Alabama will be consistently applying this approach for both “projected actual emissions” and “baseline actual emissions” and because this approach will not prevent malfunctions from being considered as exceedances of applicable standards, EPA has determined that this difference does not make Alabama's NNSR program less stringent than the federal program.

    IV. Incorporation by Reference

    In this action, EPA is proposing to include in a final EPA rule regulatory text that includes incorporation by reference. In accordance with requirements of 1 CFR 51.5, EPA is proposing to incorporate by reference portions of ADEM Regulation Chapter 335-3-14-.05 entitled “Air Permits Authorizing Construction in or Near Non-Attainment Areas,” effective May 23, 2011, with revisions and additions to applicability, definitions, permitting requirements, offset rules, area classifications, air quality models, control technology review, air quality monitoring, source information, source obligation, innovative control technology, and actuals PALs, and with administrative changes throughout. EPA has made, and will continue to make, these documents generally available electronically through www.regulations.gov and/or in hard copy at the appropriate EPA office (see the ADDRESSES section of this preamble for more information).

    V. Proposed Action

    EPA is proposing to approve the portion of Alabama's May 2, 2011 submission that makes changes to Alabama's SIP-approved NNSR regulations set forth at ADEM Rule 335-3-14-.05, with the exceptions noted above. ADEM submitted the proposed changes to its NNSR SIP to be consistent with amendments to the federal regulations made by the WEPCO Rule, the 2002 NSR Reform Rule (and associated Reconsideration Rule and Vacated Elements Rule), Phase 2 Rule, NSR PM2.5 Rule, PM2.5 PSD Increment-SILs-SMC Rule, and the Fugitive Emissions Interim Rule. The Agency has made the preliminary determination that the proposed changes to Alabama's NNSR SIP are approvable because they are consistent with section 110 of the CAA and EPA regulations.

    VI. 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, EPA's role is to approve state choices, provided that they meet the criteria of the CAA. Accordingly, this proposed 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 proposed 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).

    The SIP is not approved to apply on any Indian reservation land or in any other area where EPA or an Indian tribe has demonstrated that a tribe has jurisdiction. In those areas of Indian country, the rule does not have tribal implications as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000), nor will it impose substantial direct costs on tribal governments or preempt tribal law.

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Carbon monoxide, Incorporation by reference, Ozone, Particulate matter, Nitrogen oxides, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Sulfur oxides, Volatile organic compounds.

    Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Dated: August 20, 2015. Heather McTeer Toney, Regional Administrator, Region 4.
    [FR Doc. 2015-21537 Filed 8-31-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R09-OAR-2015-0289; FRL 9933-19-Region 9] Revisions to the California State Implementation Plan, Imperial County Air Pollution Control District AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve a revision to the Imperial County Air Pollution Control District (ICAPCD or the District) portion of the California State Implementation Plan (SIP). We propose to approve the following SIP demonstration from ICAPCD: Final 2009 Reasonably Available Control Technology State Implementation Plan, July 13, 2010. This demonstration addresses the 1997 8-hour National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone. This submitted SIP revision contains ICAPCD's negative declarations for volatile organic compound (VOC) source categories. We propose to approve the submitted reasonably available control technology (RACT) SIP revision under the Clean Air Act (CAA or the Act). We are taking comments on this proposal and plan to follow with a final action.

    DATES:

    Any comments must arrive by October 1, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments, identified by docket number EPA-R09-OAR-2015-0289, 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:

    James Shears, EPA Region IX, (213) 244-1810, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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

    Table of Contents I. The State's Submittal A. What document did the State submit? B. Are there other versions of this document? C. What is the purpose of the RACT SIP submission? II. The EPA's Evaluation and Action A. How is the EPA evaluating the RACT SIP submission? B. Does the RACT SIP submission meet the evaluation criteria? C. EPA recommendations to further improve the RACT SIP D. Public comment and final action III. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. The State's Submittal A. What document did the State submit?

    Table 1 includes the document addressed by this action with the date that it was adopted by the local air agency and submitted by the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

    Table 1—Submitted Document Local agency Document Adopted Submitted ICAPCD Final 2009 Reasonably Available Control Technology State Implementation Plan (“2009 RACT SIP”) 7/13/10 12/21/10

    On June 21, 2011, the RACT SIP submittal for ICAPCD was deemed by operation of law to meet the completeness criteria in 40 CFR part 51, appendix V, which must be met before formal EPA review.

    B. Are there other versions of this document?

    There is no previous version of ICAPCD's 2009 RACT SIP.

    C. What is the purpose of the RACT SIP submission?

    VOCs and nitrogen oxides (NOX) help produce ground-level ozone and smog, which harm human health and the environment. Section 110(a) of the CAA requires States to submit regulations that control VOC and NOX emissions. Sections 182(b)(2) and (f) require that SIPs for ozone areas classified as moderate or above require implementation of RACT for any source covered by an EPA Control Technique Guideline (CTG) document and any major stationary source of VOCs or NOX. ICAPCD is subject to this requirement as the District is designated and classified as a moderate nonattainment area for the 1997 8-hour NAAQS for ozone (see 40 CFR 81.305). Therefore, ICAPCD must, at a minimum, adopt RACT-level controls for all sources covered by a CTG document and for all major non-CTG stationary sources of VOCs or NOX. The District adopted its 2009 RACT SIP revision on July 13, 2010. ICAPCD received no comments on its RACT SIP demonstration.

    II. The EPA's Evaluation and Action A. How is the EPA evaluating the RACT SIP submission?

    With the implementation of the 1997 8-hour NAAQS for ozone, ICAPCD was classified as a marginal nonattainment area (69 FR 23858, April 30, 2004). Subsequently, the EPA found that Imperial County did not meet attainment by the deadline of June 15, 2007, and reclassified it as a moderate nonattainment area with an attainment deadline of June 15, 2010 (see 73 FR 8209, February 13, 2008). On December 3, 2009, the EPA issued a final ruling (74 FR 63309) determining that Imperial County attained the 1997 8-hour NAAQS based on ambient air monitoring data for the years 2006 through 2008. Although the finding of attainment by the EPA suspended certain SIP related requirements, it did not suspend the RACT requirements for VOCs and NOX. Pursuant to 40 CFR 51.912(a)(1), the State (or local air district) must submit a SIP revision that meets the VOC and NOX RACT requirements in CAA section 182(b)(2) and (f) for each area subject to subpart 2 and classified moderate or higher. Therefore, ICAPCD must, at a minimum, adopt RACT-level controls for sources covered by a CTG document and for any major stationary source of VOCs or NOX.1 Any stationary source that emits or has a potential to emit at least 100 tons per year (tpy) of VOCs or NOX in a moderate nonattainment area is considered a major stationary source (see CAA sections 182(b)(2) and (f) and 302(j)). Where there are no existing sources covered by a particular CTG document or no major stationary sources of VOCs or NOX, states may, in lieu of adopting RACT requirements, adopt negative declarations certifying that there are no such sources in the relevant nonattainment area (see Memorandum from William T. Harnett to Regional Air Division Directors, (May 18, 2006), “RACT Qs & As—Reasonably Available Control Technology (RACT) Questions and Answers”, page 7).

    1 CAA section 182(b)(2) and (f).

    Guidance and policy documents that we use to evaluate CAA section 182 RACT SIPs for ICAPCD include the following:

    1. “Final Rule to Implement the 8-Hour Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard—Phase 2” (70 FR 71612; November 29, 2005).

    2. “Air Quality Designations and Classifications for the 8-Hour Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards; Early Action Compact Areas with Deferred Dates”—Final Rule (69 FR 23858; April 30, 2004).

    3. “State Implementation Plans, General Preamble for the Implementation of Title I of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990” (57 FR 13498; April 16, 1992).

    4. Issues Relating to VOC Regulation Cutpoints, Deficiencies, and Deviations: Clarification to Appendix D of November 24, 1987 Federal Register, May 25, 1988, Revised January 11, 1990, U.S. EPA, Air Quality Management Division, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards (“The Blue Book”).

    5. Guidance Document for Correcting Common VOC and Other Rule Deficiencies, August 21, 2001, U.S. EPA Region IX (the “Little Bluebook”).

    6. “State Implementation Plans; Nitrogen Oxides Supplement to the General Preamble for the Implementation of Title I of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990” (57 FR 55620, November 25, 1992) (“the NOX Supplement”).

    7. Memorandum from William T. Harnett to Regional Air Division Directors, (May 18, 2006), “RACT Qs & As—Reasonably Available Control Technology (RACT) Questions and Answers.”

    8. RACT SIPs, Letter dated March 9, 2006 from EPA Region IX (Andrew Steckel) to CARB (Kurt Karperos) describing Region IX's understanding of what constitutes a minimally acceptable RACT SIP.

    9. “Final Rule to Implement the 1997 8-Hour Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard: Classification of Areas That Were Initially Classified Under Subpart 1; Revision of the Anti-Backsliding Provisions To Address 1-Hour Contingency Measure Requirements; Deletion of Obsolete 1-Hour Standard Provision”—Final Rule (77 FR 28424; May 14, 2012).

    10. “Model Volatile Organic Compound Rules for Reasonably Available Control Technology”, EPA (June 1992).

    11. “Beyond VOC RACT Requirements”, EPA-453/R-95-010, (April 1995).

    12. The EPA's CTGs http://www.epa.gov/glo/SIPToolkit/ctgs.html.

    13. CARB's emissions inventory database http://www.arb.ca.gov/app/emsinv/facinfo/facinfo.php

    14. CARB and EPA Region IX databases of ICAPCD rules—CARB: http://www.arb.ca.gov/ridb.htm EPA: http://epa.gov/region09/air/sips/index.html

    15. “Implementation of the 2008 National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone: State Implementation Plan Requirements”—Final Rule (80 FR 12264; March 6, 2015).

    B. Does the RACT SIP submission meet the evaluation criteria?

    The 2009 RACT SIP includes three elements, as described further below:

    1. Evaluations of VOC and NOX rules for sources subject to a CTG.

    2. Negative declarations where there are no facilities subject to a CTG.

    3. Major Non-CTG sources of VOC or NOX.

    A summary of our evaluation of each element is provided below. For additional information concerning our evaluation, please refer to the Technical Support Document (TSD) for the 2009 RACT SIP which is available in the docket for this action.

    1. Evaluations of VOC and NOX Rules for Sources Subject to a CTG

    ICAPCD identified 11 CTGs which apply to sources within Imperial County and are addressed in the RACT SIP. The District also compared its rules for these sources to similar rules in other air districts, and concluded their rules meet RACT requirements. We have reviewed ICAPCD's analysis, including review of the referenced rules, and found no basis to disagree with ICAPCD's conclusion that it has implemented RACT for all relevant CTG categories with three clarifications. Rule 413, Organic Solvent Degreasing Operations, and Rule 417, Organic Solvents, are not required to satisfy RACT. Subsequent to its 2009 RACT submittal, the District found it had no sources of organic solvent cleaning within the District that would be subject to the 1977 Solvent Metal Cleaning CTG for Rule 413, nor any sources subject to the 2006 Industrial Cleaning Solvents CTG's nine unit operations for Rule 417.2 Therefore, ICAPCD should formally adopt and submit to EPA as a SIP revision a negative declaration for each of these CTGs. Rule 427, Automotive Refinishing Operations, is not subject to RACT since it is not a CTG category and ICAPCD does not have any automobile refinishing operations that are major sources of VOC.

    2 ICAPCD—Supplemental to 2009 RACT SIP—Analysis of Control Technologies Guidance (CTG) Documents, July 31, 2015.

    2. Negative Declarations Where There Are No Facilities Subject to a CTG

    Negative declarations are only required for CTG source categories for which the District has no sources covered by the CTG. A negative declaration is not required for non-CTG source categories. Table 2 below lists the CTG source categories for the 2009 RACT SIP. The District indicated it does not currently have, nor does it anticipate sources subject to the CTGs in these categories in the future. We searched CARB's emissions inventory database to verify there are no facilities in ICAPCD that might be subject to the CTGs listed below. We concur with the District's negative declarations.

    Table 2—ICAPCD Negative Declarations CTG Source category CTG Reference document Aerospace EPA-453/R-97-004, Aerospace CTG and MACT. Automobile and Light-duty Trucks, Surface Coating of EPA-450/2-77-008, Control of Volatile Organic Emissions from Existing Stationary Sources—Volume II: Surface Coating of Cans, Coils, Paper, Fabrics, Automobiles, and Light-Duty Trucks. EPA-453/R-08-006, Control Techniques Guidelines for Automobile and Light-Duty Truck Assembly Coatings. Cans and Coils, Surface Coating of EPA-450/2-77-008, Control of Volatile Organic Emissions from Existing Stationary Sources—Volume II: Surface Coating of Cans, Coils, Paper, Fabrics, Automobiles, and Light-Duty Trucks. Fiberglass Boat Manufacturing EPA-453/R-08-004, Controls Techniques Guidelines for Fiberglass Boat Manufacturing. Flat Wood Paneling, Surface Coating of EPA-450/2-78-032, Control of Volatile Organic Emissions from Existing Stationary Sources—Volume VII: Factory Surface Coating of Flat Wood Paneling. EPA-453/R-06-004, Control Techniques Guidelines for Flat Wood Paneling Coatings. Flexible Packing Printing EPA-453/R-06-003, Control Techniques Guidelines for Flexible Package Printing. Graphic Arts—Rotogravure and Flexography EPA-450/2-78-033, Control of Volatile Organic Emissions from Existing Stationary Sources, Volume III: Graphic Arts—Rotogravure and Flexography. Large Appliances, Surface Coating of EPA-450/2-77-034, Control of Volatile Organic Emissions from Existing Stationary Sources—Volume V: Surface Coating of Large Appliances. EPA-453/R-07-004, Control Techniques Guidelines for Large Appliance Coatings. Large Petroleum Dry Cleaners EPA-450/3-82-009, Control of Volatile Organic Compound Emissions from Large Petroleum Dry Cleaners. Offset Lithographic Printing and Letterpress Printing EPA-453/R-06-002, Control Techniques Guidelines for Offset Lithographic Printing and Letterpress Printing. Magnet Wire, Surface Coating for Insulation of EPA-450/2-77-033, Control of Volatile Organic Emissions from Existing Stationary Sources—Volume IV: Surface Coating of Insulation of Magnet Wire. Metal Furniture Coatings EPA-450/2-77-032, Control of Volatile Organic Emissions from Existing Stationary Sources—Volume III: Surface Coating of Metal Furniture. EPA-453/R-07-005, Control Techniques Guidelines for Metal Furniture Coatings. Miscellaneous Metal and Plastic Parts Coatings EPA-453/R-08-003, Control Techniques Guidelines for Miscellaneous Metal and Plastic Parts Coatings. Miscellaneous Metal Parts and Products, Surface Coating of EPA-450/2-78-015, Control of Volatile Organic Emissions from Existing Stationary Sources—Volume IV: Surface Coating of Miscellaneous Metal Parts and Products. Miscellaneous Industrial Adhesives EPA-453/R-08-005, Control Techniques Guidelines for Miscellaneous Industrial Adhesives. Natural Gas/Gasoline Processing Plants Equipment Leaks EPA-450/2-83-007, Control of Volatile Organic Compound Equipment Leaks from Natural Gas/Gasoline Processing Plants. Paper, Film and Foil Coatings EPA-453R-07-003, Control Techniques Guidelines for Paper, Film and Foil Coatings. Petroleum Refineries EPA-450/2-77-025, Control of Refinery Vacuum Producing Systems, Wastewater Separators, and Process Unit Turnarounds. EPA-450/2-78-036, Control of Volatile Organic Compound Leaks from Petroleum Refinery Equipment. Pharmaceutical Products EPA-450/2-78-029, Control of Volatile Organic Emissions from Manufacture of Synthesized Pharmaceutical Products. Pneumatic Rubber Tires, Manufacture of EPA-450/2-78-030, Control of Volatile Organic Emissions from Manufacture of Pneumatic Rubber Tires. Polyester Resin EPA-450/3-83-008, Control of Volatile Organic Compound Emissions from Manufacture of High-Density Polyethylene, Polypropylene, and Polystyrene Resins. EPA-450/3-83-006, Control of Volatile Organic Compound Leaks from Synthetic Organic Chemical Polymer and Resin Manufacturing Equipment. Shipbuilding/Repair EPA-453/R-94-032, Shipbuilding/Repair. Synthetic Organic Chemical EPA-450/3-84-015, Control of Volatile Organic Compound Emissions from Air Oxidation Processes in Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturing Industry. EPA-450/4-91-031, Control of Volatile Organic Compound Emissions from Reactor Processes and Distillation Operations in Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturing Industry. Wood Furniture EPA-453/R-96-007, Wood Furniture. 3. Major Non-CTG Sources of VOC or NOX

    CAA section 182(b)(2) and (f) require RACT for stationary source categories covered by CTG documents and all major stationary sources of VOCs or NOX. ICAPCD was initially classified as subpart 1 marginal nonattainment for ozone, but was subsequently reclassified as subpart 2 moderate.3 A major source in a moderate ozone nonattainment area is defined as a stationary source that emits, or has the potential to emit, at least 100 tons per year of VOCs or NOX.4

    3 See 69 FR 23858 (April 30, 2004), and 77 FR 28424 (May 14, 2012) (codified at 40 CFR 81.305 (California—2008 8-Hour Ozone NAAQS)).

    4 See CAA sections 182(b)(2) and (f) and 302(j).

    ICAPCD's 2009 RACT SIP, Table 3, lists nine facilities that were major sources of VOC or NOX at that time, along with the respective RACT rules for each facility. Three of the facilities listed did not have any VOC or NOX RACT rules listed as applicable. We found that one of the facilities, CalEnergy, is currently permitted with a total annual potential to emit of 1.8 tons per year of benzene (VOC).5 Another facility, ORMAT Nevada, Inc., had a regenerative thermal oxidizer added to the facility subsequent to the 2009 RACT SIP publication, and the potential to emit is now 19.6 tons per year of VOC.6 The third facility, GEM Resources (ORMESA, LLC), is subject to permit conditions which limits its potential to emit to 28.29 tons/year for VOCs and 9.94 tons/year for benzene.7 Therefore, all of these facilities are now well below the 100 tons/year threshold and are not major sources.

    5 Imperial County Air Pollution Control District, Authority to Construct and Permit to Operate Review, Permit #2000H-9 (March 4, 2015) Table 8.

    6 Imperial County Air Pollution Control District, Synthetic Minor Permit Review, Permit 1641B-3 (September 23, 2010) page 7.

    7 Imperial County Air Pollution Control District, Conditions for Authority to Construct and Permit to Operate #2002I-4 (April 7, 2014).

    ICAPCD adopted VOC and NOX rules which are applicable to the remaining six major source facilities. The EPA approved the following VOC rules into the California SIP: Rule 414, Storage of Reactive Organic Compounds, (73 FR 70883, November 24, 2008), and Rule 415, Transfer and Storage of Gasoline, (70 FR 8520, February 22, 2005). The following NOX rules were approved into the SIP by the EPA: Rule 400, Fuel Burning Equipment—Oxides of Nitrogen, (68 FR 14161, March 24, 2003), Rule 400.1, Stationary Gas Turbines, (77 FR 2469, January 18, 2012), and Rule 400.2, Boilers, Process Heaters and Steam Generators, (78 FR 896, January 7, 2013). Our previous approvals of Rules 400.1 and 400.2 found that they fulfilled RACT requirements. We are not aware of information suggesting that additional controls are needed to fulfill RACT since our approval of these rules. Our approval of Rule 400 did not include an evaluation of ozone RACT requirements. However, since each of the NOX sources subject to Rule 400 is also subject to at least one additional NOX rule that the EPA has found to fulfill RACT requirements, it is not necessary to determine whether Rule 400 fulfills RACT requirements at this time.

    Subsequent to the 2009 RACT SIP submittal, ICAPCD adopted Rule 400.4, Emissions of Oxides of Nitrogen from Wallboard Kilns, to address a major source of NOX emissions from one of their facilities (U.S. Gypsum). The EPA approved it into the California SIP (79 FR 60070, October 6, 2014) as satisfying RACT requirements.

    We also reviewed CARB's facilities inventory for the Imperial County, and are not aware of additional relevant major sources.

    4. Conclusion

    We find that ICAPCD's 2009 RACT SIP, including the negative declarations, adequately addresses RACT for the 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS. Our TSD has more information on our evaluation of the RACT SIP submission.

    C. EPA Recommendations To Further Improve the RACT SIP

    The TSD describes additional revisions to the rules that we recommend for the next time the local agency modifies the rules, 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, the EPA is proposing to fully approve the submitted SIP revision because we believe it fulfills all relevant requirements. We will accept comments from the public on this proposal until October 1, 2015. Unless we receive convincing new information during the comment period, we intend to publish a final approval action that will incorporate this RACT submission into the Federally enforceable SIP.

    III. 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, the EPA's role is to approve State choices, provided that they meet the criteria of the Clean Air Act. Accordingly, this proposed action merely proposes to approve State law as meeting Federal requirements and does not impose additional requirements beyond those imposed by State law. For that reason, this proposed 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 Clean Air Act; and

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

    In addition, this proposed action does not apply on any Indian reservation land or in any other area where the 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).

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

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

    Dated: August 11, 2015. Jared Blumenfeld, Regional Administrator, Region IX.
    [FR Doc. 2015-21543 Filed 8-31-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION 47 CFR Parts 0, 1, 2, 15, and 18 [ET Docket No. 15-170; RM-11673; DA 15-956] Extension of Time for Comments on Equipment Authorization AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule; extension of comment deadline.

    SUMMARY:

    In this document, the Federal Communications Commission's (Commission's) Office of Engineering and Technology Bureau (Bureau) extends the deadlines for interested parties to submit comments and reply comments in response to the Equipment Authorization and Electronic Labeling for Wireless Devices.

    DATES:

    The comment period for the proposed rules in FCC 15-92 published at 80 FR 46900, August 6, 2015, has been extended. Comments are due on or before October 9, 2015; reply comments are due on or before November 9, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments on the Equipment Authorization and Electronic Labeling for Wireless Devices, identified by ET Docket No. 15-170 by any of the following methods:

    Electronic Filers: Federal Communication Commission's Electronic Comments Filing System (ECFS): http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/. 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:

    Brian Butler, Policy and Rules Division, Office of Engineering and Technology Bureau at (202) 418-2702.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This is a summary of the Bureau's Order in ET Docket No. 15-170, RM-11673; DA 15-956, adopted and released August 25, 2015. 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 may be purchased from the Commission's duplicating contractor, Best Copy and Printing, Inc. (BCPI), telephone 202-488-5300, facsimile 202-488-5563, or by contacting BCPI on its Web site: http://www.BCPIWEB.com. The complete text is also available on the Commission's Web site athttp://wireless.fcc.gov, or by using the search function on the ECFS Web page at http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs/.

    Synopsis

    On July 17, 2015, the Commission adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) in the above captioned proceedings to update the rules that govern the evaluation and approval of RF devices. The NPRM established that comments in this proceeding are due on September 9, 2015 and reply comments are due on September 22, 2015.

    Recently, the Telecommunications Industry Association (“TIA”) and the Information Technology Industry Council (“ITI”) jointly requested a 30-day extension of time for filing initial comments and a 15-day extension of time for filing reply comments. Subsequently, the Consumer Electronics Association (“CEA”) requested a two-week extension of the time for filing comments and a three-week extension for filing reply comments. More recently, the American National Standards Institute Accredited Standards Committee C63 (“ANSI ASC63”) requested a 30-day extension of both the comment and reply comment deadlines. TIA and ITI state that the NPRM addressed a “wide range of equipment approval issues of a technical, legal, and practical nature, impacting a diverse set of stakeholders, each of whom will need to closely analyze and consider the potential effect of the rule changes being considered” and that the extension will allow the parties to submit more comprehensive responses. TIA and ITI also contend that the rule changes are closely related to the recent changes updating the Commission's Equipment Authorization program and the extension will ensure that they can consider issues they consider to be related. CEA states that this rulemaking concerns a complex and technical area and claims that the comment periods are insufficient for it to consult with its member companies within the timeframe provided. ANSI ASC63 expressed similar concerns.

    The Commission does not routinely grant extensions of time in rulemaking proceedings. However, we believe that a 30-day extension of the comment filing period followed by a 15-day extension to the reply comment filing period will provide parties with an opportunity to more fully analyze and respond to the complex technical issues raised in the NPRM thus allowing development of a more complete record in these proceedings.

    Accordingly, it is ordered, pursuant to the delegated authority contained in 47 CFR 0.31 and 0.241(a), that the deadlines for filing comments and reply comments in the above captioned proceedings are extended to October 9, 2015 and November 9, 2015.

    Federal Communications Commission. Julius P. Knapp, Chief, Office of Engineering and Technology.
    [FR Doc. 2015-21634 Filed 8-31-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION 47 CFR Parts 15, 73, 74 [MB Docket No. 15-146; GN Docket No. 12-268; FCC 15-78] Amendment of the Commission's Rules To Provide for the Preservation of One Vacant Channel in the UHF Television Band for Use by White Space Devices and Wireless Microphones AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    In this document, the Commission proposes to designate a second available vacant channel in the UHF television band for use by white space devices and wireless microphones in those areas where the duplex gap of the 600 MHz Band is subject to impairment by a television station.

    DATES:

    Comments may be filed on or before September 30, 2015, and reply comments may be filed on or before October 30, 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 October 30, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by MB Docket No. 15-146, GN Docket No. 12-268 and/or FCC 15-78, 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://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/. 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 (although we continue to experience delays in receiving 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.

    For detailed instructions for submitting comments and additional information on the rulemaking process, see the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.

    In addition to filing comments with the Secretary, a copy of any PRA comments on the proposed 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] or via fax at 202-395-5167.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Shaun Maher, [email protected] of the Media Bureau, Video Division, (202) 418-2324, and Paul Murray, [email protected] of the Office of Engineering and Technology, (202) 418-0688. For additional information concerning the PRA information collection requirements contained in this document, contact Cathy Williams, Federal Communications Commission, at (202) 418-2918, or via email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This is a summary of the Commission's document, FCC 15-78, released August 11, 2015 in GN Docket 12-268 and MB Docket No. 15-146. The full text of this document is available for inspection and copying during regular business hours in the FCC Reference Center, 445 12th Street SW., Room CY-A257, Portals II, Washington, DC 20554. This document is available in alternative formats (computer diskette, large print, audio record, and Braille). Persons with disabilities who need documents in these formats may contact the FCC by email: [email protected] or phone: 202-418-0530 or TTY: 202-418-0432.

    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://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/.

    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 a.m. to 7 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 email to [email protected] or call the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (tty).

    Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 Analysis

    The Public Notice 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, Public Law 104-13. 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.

    Synopsis

    To mitigate the potential impact on white space devices and wireless microphones in areas where the duplex gap is subject to impairment, we tentatively conclude that we will designate a second available television channel in the remaining television band in such areas for shared use by white space devices and wireless microphones, in addition to the one such channel we have tentatively concluded will be made available in each area of the United States for shared use by these devices and microphones. Consistent with the Vacant Channel Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), licensed as well as unlicensed wireless microphones would have access to the second available television channel. Recognizing the significant public benefits provided by white space devices and wireless microphones, the Commission in the Incentive Auction Report and Order stated that it was making the duplex gap available for use by these services, subject to appropriate technical rules. The Commission specifically noted that it was deferring a decision on whether to place television stations in the duplex gap. In the Vacant Channel NPRM, we tentatively concluded that preserving a vacant channel in the remaining television band in each area of the United States for shared use by these devices and microphones will help to ensure that the public continues to have access to the benefits they provide across the nation. White space devices and wireless microphone advocates maintain that lack of access to the duplex gap in areas where it is subject to impairment will limit the public's access to the benefits these services provide. We propose to address this concern by requiring demonstration of the availability of a second television channel in accordance with the procedures proposed in the Vacant Channel NPRM in geographic areas where the duplex gap is subject to impairment. More specifically, under this proposal such a demonstration would be required in geographic areas where the protected contour of a television station assigned to the 600 MHz Band impairs the duplex gap. We propose that applicants for new, displaced, or modified television station or Broadcast Auxiliary Station facilities use existing tools to determine whether the proposed facility overlaps with a geographic area where the duplex gap is impaired, and then use the white space databases to determine vacant channel availability in the overlap areas. We invite interested parties to comment on this tentative conclusion in MB Docket No. 15-146. We direct the Media Bureau to establish new comment and reply deadlines of September 30 and October 30, 2015, respectively, for the proposals in the Vacant Channel NPRM as well as the proposals above. We intend to address all of the proposals in the same order.

    Supplemental Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended (RFA), the Commission has prepared this present Supplemental Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (Supplemental IRFA) concerning the possible significant economic impact on small entities by the policies and rules proposed in this NPRM. Written public comments are requested on this Supplemental IRFA. Comments must be identified as responses to the Supplemental IRFA and must be filed by the deadlines for comments indicated in the DATES section. The Commission will send a copy of this Public Notice, including this Supplemental IRFA, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration (SBA).1 In addition, this Public Notice and Supplemental IRFA (or summaries thereof) will be published in the Federal Register.2

    1See 5 U.S.C. 603(a).

    2Id.

    In the Vacant Channel NPRM, the Commission tentatively concluded that preserving a vacant channel in the remaining television band in each area of the United States for shared use by white space devices and wireless microphones will help to ensure that the public continues to have access to the benefits they provide across the nation. As required by section 603 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 603, the Commission included as Appendix B of the Vacant Channel NPRM an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) of the possible significant economic impact on small entities of the proposals suggested in the Vacant Channel NPRM.

    In this document, the Commission decides that a limited number of broadcast television stations may be reassigned during the incentive auction and repacking process to channels within the “duplex gap” established as part of the 600 MHz Band Plan. The Commission notes that white space devices and wireless microphone advocates maintain that lack of access to the duplex gap in areas where it is subject to impairment will limit the public's access to the benefits these services provide. To address this concern, the Commission tentatively concludes that it will preserve a second available television channel in the remaining television band in such areas for shared use by white space devices and wireless microphones, in addition to the one such channel it has tentatively concluded will be made available in each area of the United States for shared use by these devices in the Vacant Channels NPRM. Under this proposal, demonstration of the availability of a second television channel would be required in accordance with the procedures proposed in the Vacant Channel NPRM in geographic areas where the duplex gap is subject to impairment.

    We hereby incorporate by reference the IRFA from the Vacant Channel NPRM. This Supplemental IRFA supplements paragraphs 4 and 19 of the IRFA as follows to reflect the second vacant channel preservation proposal. Consistent with the vacant channel proposal in the Vacant Channel NPRM, we believe the second vacant channel proposal in paragraph 32 of this document will not significantly burden small entities in terms of either the continued availability of channels in all areas or the administrative burdens of compliance. After the final channel assignments are made following the incentive auction, multiple vacant channels will exist in most areas as a result of the co- and adjacent channel separation requirements necessary to protect primary broadcast stations from interference from each other. While the effect of the second vacant channel preservation proposal would be to reduce by two the total number of vacant channels that would otherwise be available in an area, it applies only in those areas where the duplex gap is subject to impairment. Our analysis indicates the duplex gap will not be subject to any impairment in most markets even if the optimization procedure tool is not restricted in assigning impairing stations. Thus, the duplex gap will remain free from impairment across most of the country, except in a relatively small number of markets. Consequently, the impact on small entities, in terms of the availability of channels for future use, will be limited. Consistent with the IRFA, although small entities may experience an increased burden, the Commission believes that adoption of the second vacant channel preservation requirement will greatly benefit white space and wireless microphone users as well as the manufacturer of white space and wireless microphone equipment that are also small businesses by creating new uses and opportunity for this spectrum. The Commission also believes that this prioritization and protection of white space is critical if it is to realize the benefits that this spectrum will provide to small businesses and developers that will usher forth new and unthought-of uses.

    This Supplemental IRFA also supplements paragraph 17 of the IRFA discussing procedures to reflect that a broadcast applicant would determine if its contour overlaps the service contour of a television station assigned to a channel within the duplex gap.

    Federal Communications Commission. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-21560 Filed 8-31-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Part 17 [Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2014-0054; FXES11130900000C2-145-FF09E32000] RIN 1018-BA46 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removal of Solidago albopilosa (White-haired Goldenrod) From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Plants AGENCY:

    Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule; availability of draft post-delisting monitoring plan.

    SUMMARY:

    We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), propose to remove the plant Solidago albopilosa (white-haired goldenrod) from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Plants. This determination is based on a thorough review of the best available scientific and commercial information, which indicates that the threats to this species have been eliminated or reduced to the point that the species no longer meets the definition of an endangered species or a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). We seek information, data, and comments from the public regarding this proposal to delist S. albopilosa, and on the draft post-delisting monitoring plan.

    DATES:

    To allow us adequate time to consider your comments on this proposed rule, we must receive your comments on or before November 2, 2015. We must receive requests for public hearings in writing, at the address shown in FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT, by October 16, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments on this proposed rule and draft post-delisting monitoring plan by one of the following methods:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter the Docket Number for this proposed rule, which is FWS-R4-ES-2014-0054. You may submit a comment by clicking on “Comment now!” Please ensure that you have found the correct rulemaking before submitting your comment.

    By U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2014-0054; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, MS BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.

    We request that you send comments only by the methods described above. We will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any personal information you provide us (see the Information Requested section below for more information).

    Document availability: A copy of the draft post-delisting monitoring plan can be viewed at http://www.regulations.gov under Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2014-0054, or at the Kentucky Ecological Services Field Office's Web site at http://www.fws.gov/frankfort/.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Virgil Lee Andrews, Jr., Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Kentucky Ecological Services Field Office, 330 West Broadway, Suite 265, Frankfort, Kentucky 40601; telephone (502) 695-0468. Individuals who are hearing-impaired or speech-impaired may call the Federal Information Relay Service at (800) 877-8339 for TTY assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Executive Summary Purpose of Regulatory Action

    We propose to remove the white-haired goldenrod from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Plants based on its recovery. This proposed action is based on a thorough review of the best available scientific and commercial information. This document: (1) Proposes to delist this endangered plant species; and (2) announces the availability of a draft post-delisting monitoring plan.

    Basis for Action

    We may delist a species if the best scientific and commercial data indicate the species is neither a threatened species nor an endangered species for one or more of the following reasons: (1) The species is extinct; (2) the species has recovered and is no longer threatened or endangered; or (3) the original data used at the time the species was classified were in error. Here, we have determined that the species may be delisted based on recovery.

    • During the latest range-wide survey for this plant, our State partner, the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission (KSNPC) (2010, p. 6), documented a total of 116 extant occurrences with the following ranks: A-rank (11 occurrences), B (26), C (25), and D (54) (see Species Information for definitions of each specific rank; ranks were based on population size and perceived viability, habitat condition, and degree of threat). Of the 116 extant occurrences, only 6 were located on private land, with the remainder located on the Daniel Boone National Forest (DBNF). For all extant occurrences, 79 (68 percent) were considered to be stable, including ranks of A (10 occurrences), B (21), C (18), and D (30). For these stable occurrences, KSNPC reported an average monitoring period of 10.2 years and an average of 3.6 monitoring events for each occurrence (see Table 1).

    • From June to October 2013, KSNPC and the Service completed additional surveys at 30 widely separated occurrences. These surveys increased the number of extant occurrences from 116 to 117 and increased the number of stable occurrences from 79 to 81. One new occurrence was discovered, and revised status information was generated for two unknown occurrences. Occurrences were ranked as “unknown” if data from only one prior survey was available or prior surveys could not be compared to recent surveys due to discrepancies in survey methodology. Combining these results with those of previous surveys produces a total of 81 stable occurrences with the following categorical results: A (11 occurrences), B (22), C (18), and D (30) (see Table 2). The average monitoring period increased from 10.2 to 11.1 years, with an average of 3.7 monitoring events for each occurrence.

    • Of the 81 stable occurrences, we consider the A-, B-, and C-ranked occurrences (total of 51) to be self-sustaining as defined by the recovery plan. We consider these occurrences to be self-sustaining because there is evidence of successful reproduction and the number of individuals is stable or increasing. Under the recovery plan's delisting criteria, S. albopilosa will be considered for delisting when 40 geographically distinct, self-sustaining occurrences are adequately protected and have been maintained for 10 years. Of the 51 self-sustaining occurrences, 46 are adequately protected (occupy the DBNF) and have been maintained for more than 10 years. Therefore, the delisting recovery criteria have been met.

    • The total number of stems now stands at approximately 174,000, and the 46 secure, self-sustaining occurrences contain approximately 131,000 stems, or about 75 percent of the species' total number.

    Public Comments

    We intend that any final action resulting from this proposed rule will be as accurate and effective as possible. Therefore, we request data, comments, and new information from other concerned governmental agencies, the scientific community, industry, or other interested parties concerning this proposed rule. The comments that will be most useful and likely to influence our decisions are those that are supported by data or peer-reviewed studies and those that include citations to, and analyses of, applicable laws and regulations. Please make your comments as specific as possible and explain the basis for them. In addition, please include sufficient information with your comments to allow us to authenticate any scientific or commercial data you reference or provide. In particular, we seek comments concerning the following:

    (1) Biological data regarding S. albopilosa;

    (2) Relevant data concerning any threats (or lack thereof) to S. albopilosa particularly any data on the possible effects of climate change to this plant as it relates to its unique habitat types (including models and data presented in this rule), as well as the extent of Federal and State protection and management that would be provided to S. albopilosa as a delisted species;

    (3) Additional information concerning the range, distribution, population size, and trends of S. albopilosa, including the locations of any additional populations of this species;

    (4) Current or planned activities within the geographic range of S. albopilosa colonies that may impact or benefit the species; and

    (5) The draft post-delisting monitoring plan and the methods and approach detailed in it.

    Please note that submissions merely stating support for or opposition to the action under consideration without providing supporting information, although noted, will not be considered in making a determination, as section 4(b)(1)(A) of the Act directs that a determination as to whether any species is a threatened or endangered species must be made “solely on the basis of the best scientific and commercial data available.”

    In issuing a final determination on this proposed action, we will take into consideration all comments and any additional information we receive. Such information may lead to a final rule that differs from this proposal. All comments and recommendations, including names and addresses, will become part of the administrative record.

    You may submit your comments and materials concerning this proposed rule by one of the methods listed in ADDRESSES. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time.

    If you submit information via http://www.regulations.gov, your entire comment—including any personal identifying information—will be posted on the Web site. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Please note that comments posted to this Web site are not immediately viewable. When you submit a comment, the system receives it immediately. However, the comment will not be publically viewable until we post it, which might not occur until several days after submission.

    Similarly, if you mail or hand-deliver a hardcopy comment that includes personal identifying information, you may request at the top of your document that we withhold this information from public review, but we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. To ensure that the electronic docket for this rulemaking is complete and all comments we receive are publicly available, we will post all hardcopy submissions on http://www.regulations.gov.

    Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting documentation used in preparing this proposed rule will be available for public inspection in two ways:

    (1) You can view them on http://www.regulations.gov. In the Search Documents box, enter FWS-R4-ES-2014-0054, which is the docket number for this rulemaking. Then, in the Search panel on the left side of the screen, select the type of documents you want to view under the Document Type heading.

    (2) You can make an appointment, during normal business hours, to view the comments and materials in person at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Kentucky Field Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

    Public Hearing

    Section 4(b)(5)(E) of the Act provides for one or more public hearings on this proposal, if requested. We must receive requests for public hearings, in writing, at the address shown in FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT by the date shown in the DATES section of this document. We will schedule public hearings on this proposal, if any are requested, and announce the dates, times, and places of those hearings, as well as how to obtain reasonable accommodations, in the Federal Register at least 15 days before the first hearing.

    Previous Federal Actions

    On April 24, 1987, we published a proposed rule in the Federal Register (52 FR 13798) to list S. albopilosa as endangered under section 4 of the Act. On April 7, 1988, we published a final rule in the Federal Register (53 FR 11612) listing S. albopilosa as a threatened species. The final rule identified the following threats to S. albopilosa: Loss of habitat due to recreational activities (rock climbing, hiking, camping, rappelling, and artifact collection) and a proposed reservoir project; overutilization for recreational purposes; no State law protecting rare plants in Kentucky; and potential vegetational shifts in forests surrounding S. albopilosa habitats. On September 28, 1993, we published the White-haired Goldenrod Recovery Plan (Service 1993, 40 pp.). On July 26, 2005, we initiated a 5-year status review of this species (70 FR 43171). The 5-year status review was completed on March 3, 2009 (Service 2009, 15 pp). Although the review did not include a recommendation to reclassify or delist this plant, it did indicate that the species was showing substantial improvement. New occurrences have been located since completion of the recovery plan and a significant number of occurrences (51) appear to be stable. We shared in this analysis that we anticipated making additional progress with partners and we believed that delisting should be considered for this species in the near future.

    For additional details on previous Federal actions, see discussion under the Recovery section below. Also see http://www.fws.gov/endangered/species/us-species.html for the species profile for this flowering plant.

    Species Information

    Solidago albopilosa (Braun 1942) is an upright to slightly arching, herbaceous, perennial plant that attains a height of 30 to 100 centimeters (12 to 39 inches). The long, soft, white hairs that cover the leaves and stems are the species' most distinguishing characteristic (Andreasen and Eshbaugh 1973, p. 123). The alternate leaves of S. albopilosa are widest at their base and are prominently veined with a dark green upper surface and a pale underside. They vary in length from 6 to 10 centimeters (2.5 to 4.0 inches), with the larger leaves closer to the base of the stem. Hairs cover both surfaces of the leaves and are most dense along the veins. The stem is cylindrical and densely covered with fine white hairs. Axillary (positioned along the main axis of the plant) clusters of small, fragrant, yellow flowers begin blooming in late August. The flower heads are composed of three to five ray florets (small flowers in the marginal part of the flower head) and more than 15 disk florets (small flowers in the central part of the flower head). The ray florets are about 6 mm long (0.24 inch), and the disk flowers are about 3 mm long (0.12 inch). The pale brown, pubescent, oblong achenes (dry single-seed fruits) appear in October (Braun 1942, pp. 1-4; Andreasen and Eshbaugh 1973, p. 123; Service 1993, p. 1).

    Solidago albopilosa flowers from September through November and sets fruit in mid-October through December. The flowers are visited by bees, moths, and syrphid flies, which are likely attracted by the fragrant, yellow flowers (Braun 1942, pp. 1-4; Service 1993, p. 6). Viability of the species' pollen is reported to be high (Andreason and Eshbaugh 1973, pp. 129-130). Seeds are most likely dispersed by wind, but germination rates and the extent of vegetative reproduction are unknown (Service 1993, p. 6).

    Braun (1942, pp. 1-4) described S. albopilosa based on specimens discovered in the summer of 1940 in the Red River Gorge area of Menifee County, Kentucky. Solidago albopilosa is in the family Asteraceae, and there are no synonyms for the species. Andreasen and Eshbaugh (1973, pp. 126-128) studied variation among four separate occurrences (populations) of S. albopilosa in Menifee and Powell Counties. Their population analysis of characteristics such as plant height, leaf length and width, stem pubescence, and number of ray flowers per head showed that some morphological characteristics (e.g., plant height, leaf shape and size, stem pubescence) can vary widely between populations.

    Solidago albopilosa can be distinguished from its closest relative, S. flexicaulis (broad-leaf goldenrod), by its shorter height, smaller and thinner leaves, and generally downy (hairy) appearance (the leaves of S. flexicaulis have a slick, smooth appearance) (Medley 1980, p. 6). The two species also differ in habitat preference. Solidago albopilosa is restricted to sandstone rock shelters or ledges, while S. flexicaulis is a woodland species occurring on the forest floor. Esselman and Crawford (1997, pp. 245-256) used molecular and morphological analyses to examine the relationship between S. albopilosa and S. flexicaulis. They concluded that S. albopilosa is most closely related to S. flexicaulis; however, there was no evidence that either S. flexicaulis or S. caesia (wreath or blue-stemmed goldenrod) is a parent or has a recent close relationship with S. albopilosa as was previously speculated by Braun (1942, pp. 1-4). Esselman and Crawford (1997, pp. 245-256) also examined genetic diversity within S. albopilosa (using Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA (RAPD) and isozyme markers) and reported genetic variation both within and between populations (genetic diversity is widely spread among populations and populations are not very genetically homogenous). The highest level of genetic diversity was observed among rather than within populations. Consequently, Esselman and Crawford (1997, pp. 245-256) recommended that conservation efforts include the maintenance of as many populations as possible to capture the full genetic diversity of the species.

    Solidago albopilosa is restricted to outcroppings of Pottsville sandstone in a rugged, highly dissected area known as the Red River Gorge in Menifee, Powell, and Wolfe Counties, Kentucky (Service 1993, p. 2; White and Drozda 2006, p. 124). The Red River Gorge is well known for its scenic beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities, and much of the area is located within the DBNF, an approximate 2,860-km2 (706,000-acre) area in eastern Kentucky that is owned and managed by the U.S. Forest Service (White and Drozda 2006, p. 124). The Red River Gorge lies within the Northern Forested Plateau Escarpment of the Western Allegheny Plateau ecoregion (Woods et al. 2002, p. 1). The hills and ridges of this region are characterized as rugged and highly dissected, with erosion-resistant, Pennsylvanian quartzose sandstone (contains 90 percent quartz) capping the ridges and exposed layers of Mississippian limestone, shale, and siltstone on lower slopes and in the valleys.

    White-haired goldenrod typically occurs on the floors of sandstone rock shelters (natural, shallow, cave-like formations) and on sheltered cliffs (cliffs with overhanging ledges) at elevations of between 243 and 396 m (800 and 1,300 ft) (Andreasen and Eshbaugh 1973; Service 1993, p. 5). The species may also be found on ledges or cracks in the ceiling or vertical walls of these habitats, but, regardless of the specific location, white-haired goldenrod is restricted to areas of partial shade behind the dripline (53 FR 11612) and typically does not grow in the deepest part of rock shelters (Harker et al. 1981, p. 4). Campbell et al. (1989, p. 40) noted that this plant species is known from all possible moisture regimes and aspects in these habitats, but plants on northern exposures appeared to be smaller than average. Seven of nine occurrences examined by Nieves and Day (2014, pp. 8-9) were located in easterly or northerly facing shelters, which receive minimal direct sunlight. Nieves and Day examined only a small percentage of the species' 117 known occurrences (8 percent), so further study is required to determine the importance of solar aspect on the species' biology and distribution. Ten rock shelter habitats examined by Nieves and Day (2014, p. 7) were significantly cooler and more humid than the surrounding environment (areas outside and above the rock shelter), but the species' requirements with respect to air temperature and relative humidity are unknown.

    Typical herbaceous associates of white-haired goldenrod include roundleaf catchfly (Silene rotundifolia) and alumroot (Heuchera parviflora) and less commonly white baneberry (Actaea pacypoda), maidenhair fern (Adiantum pedatum), fourleaf yam (Dioscorea quaternata), intermediate woodfern (Dryopteris intermedia), Indian cucumber-root (Medeola virginiana), Japanese stilt grass (Microstegium vimineum), Christmas fern (Polystichum acrostichoides), rhododendron (Rhododendron maximum), and little mountain meadow-rue (Thalicturm mirabile) (Braun 1942, pp. 1-4; Andreason and Eshbaugh 1973, p. 128; Kral 1983, p. 1253; Campbell et al. 1989, p. 40; White and Drozda 2006, p. 124). Associated woody species of the mixed mesophytic forest adjacent to S. albopilosa occurrences include red maple (Acer rubrum), sugar maple (Acer saccharum), American beech (Fagus grandifolia), American holly (Ilex opaca), mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia), tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera), bigleaf magnolia (Magnolia macrophylla), umbrella magnolia (M. tripetala), black gum (Nyssa sylvatica), oaks (Quercus spp.), basswood (Tilia americana), and eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) (Andreason and Eshbaugh 1973, p. 128; Kral 1983, p. 1253; Campbell et al. 1989, p. 40).

    When the species' recovery plan was completed in 1993, 90 extant occurrences were known (Service 1993, p. 2), containing an estimated 45,000 stems (Service 1993, p. 2). All of these locations were situated within the proclamation boundary of the DBNF, and 69 occurrences (approximately 76 percent) were in Federal ownership. The remaining occurrences (21) were located on private property. Rather than try to determine what constituted a population, the recovery plan (Service 1993, p. 1) used “occurrence”, defining it as a “discrete group of plants beneath a single rock shelter or on a single rock ledge.” In making this definition, the Service (1993, p. 6) explained that pollinators (bees and syrphid flies) likely carried pollen between rock shelters and may even move between adjacent ravines. If there were sufficient gene flow between occurrences via pollinators, clusters of nearby rock shelters or adjacent ravines could comprise a population. However, without additional research, it was impossible to determine the species' actual population boundaries.

    The Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission (KSNPC) completed surveys in 1996, 1999, 2002, 2004, and 2005 (White and Drozda 2006, pp. 124-128; KSNPC 2010, p. 4), and these surveys raised the number of S. albopilosa occurrences from 90 to 141. Despite the increased number of occurrences, the total range of S. albopilosa did not increase significantly as it was still restricted to the same general area within the Red River Gorge. KSNPC (2010, pp. 4-8) completed the first range-wide survey during the 2008 and 2009 field seasons. During this 2-year period, KSNPC ranked each occurrence based on population size and viability, habitat condition, and degree of threat. KSNPC also evaluated the stability of each occurrence by comparing their 2008-2009 survey data with data collected in previous years. The following specifications were used to rank the occurrences (KSNPC 2010, p. 21):

    A (excellent estimated viability): 2,500 or more stems in habitat with low degree of recreational impact or a minimum of 4,000 stems where the degree of recreational impact is medium or high.

    B (good estimated viability): 1,000 to 2,499 stems and some areas of habitat with a low degree of recreational impact or higher numbers of stems (2,500 to 4,000) at sites where the degree of recreational impact is medium or high.

    C (fair estimated viability): 300 to 999 stems where recreational impacts are low or higher numbers of stems (1,000 to 2,000) at sites affected by a medium or high degree of recreational impact; may also include sites with little opportunity for habitat recovery or population expansion.

    D (poor estimated viability): Fewer than 300 stems in any habitat.

    H (historic): Taxon or natural community has not been reliably reported in Kentucky since 1990 but is not considered extinct or extirpated.

    X (extirpated): A taxon for which habitat loss has been pervasive and/or concerted efforts by knowledgeable biologists to collect or observe specimens within appropriate habitats have failed.

    F (failed to find): Occurrence not located in current survey; original mapping may be in wrong location.

    During their 2-year range wide survey, KSNPC (2010, p. 6) documented a total of 116 extant occurrences, producing ranks with the following categorical results: A-rank (11 occurrences), B (26), C (25), and D (54) (Table 1). The remaining 25 occurrences were considered to be historic, extirpated, or could not be relocated (failed to find). Of the 116 extant occurrences, only 6 were located on private land, with the remainder located on the DBNF. For all extant occurrences, 79 (68 percent) were considered to be stable, including ranks of A (10 occurrences), B (21), C (18), and D (30). Stability was estimated through comparisons of historical and recent survey data. Occurrences were considered “stable” if no change was detected in their general rank/status over the course of monitoring, stem numbers increased over the course of monitoring, and/or slight decreases in stem numbers could be attributed to natural climatic variation. Ranks were based on population size and perceived viability, habitat condition, and degree of threat. For all stable occurrences, KSNPC reported an average monitoring period of 10.2 years and an average of 3.6 monitoring events for each occurrence.

    Table 1—Summary of White-Haired Goldenrod Ranks and Status Based on Range-Wide Surveys Completed by the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission in 2008 and 2009 [KSNPC 2010] Status Ranks of extant occurrences A B C D Total Stable 10 21 18 30 79 Declining 0 5 4 22 31 Unknown 1 0 3 2 6 Total 11 26 25 54 116

    For the remaining extant occurrences, 31 were considered to be declining and 6 were of unknown status (see Table 1). For the declining occurrences, ranks included B (5 occurrences), C (4), and D (22). For the unknown occurrences, ranks included A (1 occurrence), C (3), and D (2). Occurrences were considered to be declining if a negative change was detected in the general rank/status over the course of monitoring and/or there was a greater than 30 percent decline in stem count. Unknown status meant surveys of that occurrence were not performed more than once or prior surveys could not be compared to recent surveys due to discrepancies in survey methodology.

    KSNPC and the Service completed additional surveys from June to October 2013 at 30 widely separated occurrences, resulting in the discovery of one new occurrence and revised status information for two unknown occurrences (Service 2014a, entire). Combining these results with occurrence totals reported by KSNPC (2010, 24 pp.), there are now 81 stable occurrences with the following categorical results: A (11 occurrences), B (22), C (18), and D (30) (Table 2). The average monitoring period increased from 10.2 to 11.1 years, with an average of 3.7 monitoring events for each occurrence. The total number of stems now stands at 174,357, compared to 45,000 when the recovery plan was completed.

    Table 2—Summary of Current White-Haired Goldenrod Ranks and Status (KSNPC 2010, 2014a) Showing an Increase in A and B Ranked Occurrences Status Ranks of extant occurrences A B C D Total Stable 11 22 18 30 81 Declining 0 5 4 23 32 Unknown 0 0 2 2 4 Total 11 27 24 55 117 Recovery

    Section 4(f) of the Act directs us to develop and implement recovery plans for the conservation and survival of threatened and endangered species unless we determine that such a plan will not promote the conservation of the species. Recovery plans are not regulatory documents and are instead intended to establish goals for long-term conservation of a listed species, define criteria that are designed to indicate when the threats facing a species have been removed or reduced to such an extent that the species may no longer need the protections of the Act, and provide guidance to our Federal, State, and other governmental and nongovernmental partners on methods to minimize threats to listed species. There are many paths to accomplishing recovery of a species, and recovery may be achieved without all criteria being fully met. For example, one or more criteria may have been exceeded while other criteria may not have been accomplished, yet the Service may judge that, overall, the threats have been minimized sufficiently, and the species is robust enough, to reclassify the species from endangered to threatened or perhaps delist the species. In other cases, recovery opportunities may have been recognized that were not known at the time the recovery plan was finalized. These opportunities may be used instead of methods identified in the recovery plan.

    Likewise, information on the species that was not known at the time the recovery plan was finalized may become available. The new information may change the extent that criteria need to be met for recognizing recovery of the species. Recovery of species is a dynamic process requiring adaptive management that may, or may not, fully follow the guidance provided in a recovery plan.

    The following discussion provides a brief review of recovery planning and implementation for the white-haired goldenrod, as well as an analysis of the recovery criteria and goals as they relate to evaluating the status of the taxon.

    The White-haired Goldenrod Recovery Plan was approved by the Service on September 28, 1993 (Service 1993, 40 pp.). The recovery plan includes recovery criteria intended to indicate when threats to the species have been adequately addressed, and prescribes actions necessary to achieve those criteria. We first discuss progress on completing the primary recovery actions, then discuss recovery criteria.

    Recovery Actions

    The recovery plan identifies five primary actions necessary for recovering S. albopilosa:

    (1) Protect existing occurrences;

    (2) Continue inventories;

    (3) Conduct studies on life history and ecological requirements;

    (4) Maintain plants and seeds ex situ; and

    (5) Provide the public with information.

    Three of five recovery actions (1, 2, and 5) have been accomplished (completion of the remaining actions (3 and 4) are discussed in greater detail below under each action). Action 4 is under way and will be included in the post delisting monitoring activities. The Service entered into a cooperative agreement with KSNPC in 1986, under section 6 of the Act, for the conservation of endangered and threatened plant species. This agreement has provided a mechanism for KSNPC to acquire Federal funds that have supported much of the work described here. The Commonwealth of Kentucky and other partners have also provided matching funds under this agreement.

    Recovery Action (1): Protect existing occurrences.

    The White-haired Goldenrod Recovery Plan states that an occurrence will be “adequately protected” when it is legally protected, has received adequate physical protection, and is assured of all required management (Service 1993, 40 pp.). Based on these criteria, we consider a total of 46 A-, B-, or C-ranked occurrences on the DBNF to be adequately protected. We base our conclusions regarding their level of protection on the location of these occurrences (all are in DNBF ownership and many are in remote locations not visited by the public); trends in occurrence data gathered by KSNPC, DBNF and the Service; observations about threats reported by KSNPC (2010, pp. 5-18); conservation actions described in DBNF's Land and Resource Management Plan (LRMP); and information in our files concerning specific DBNF conservation actions, such as trail closure, placement of signs, and fencing. We have chosen to exclude five, stable, self-sustaining occurrences from the list of “protected” occurrences because they are in private ownership, and no conservation agreement or plan is in place to ensure their long-term protection.

    The species' primary threat has been identified as ground disturbance and trampling associated with recreational activities (i.e., camping, hiking, and rock-climbing) within the Red River Gorge. To address these threats, the DBNF began to redirect trails and install fencing (chicken wire) around selected S. albopilosa rock shelters in February 2000. The DBNF focused on these occurrences because they were near DBNF user-defined trails and were suffering obvious recreational impacts—trampling and ground disturbance associated with camping, rock climbing, and hiking. The DBNF also placed informational signs at these shelters and at trailheads, alerting visitors to the presence of the species and warning them against potential damage to plants.

    Signs and/or fencing were placed and have been maintained at a total of 21 occurrences, and DBNF personnel continue to visit these sites annually, checking the condition of signs and fencing and making repairs as needed. To guard against future impacts, the DBNF and KSNPC have proposed the addition of new or expanded fencing at five occurrences. As stated below in this recovery section, this new and expanded fencing is included as a conservation action in the Service's proposed cooperative management agreement with DBNF and KSNPC.

    Monitoring results show that implementation of the LRMP, including specific conservation actions described above (fencing and sign placement), have had a positive effect on the species (KSNPC 2010, 24 pp.). Specifically, it has been demonstrated that disturbance from trampling, camping, and rock climbing is low at remote occurrences, and impacts have been reduced at more visited sites. The number of stems has remained stable or increased at 20 of 21 occurrences (95 percent) where fencing or informational signs have been added. For all extant occurrences on the DBNF, 75 (68 percent) of 111 extant occurrences are considered stable to increasing, and we consider 46 occurrences to be self-sustaining (A-,B-, or C-rank occurrences that are stable and reproducing). Based on all these factors, we consider this recovery action to be complete.

    Recovery Action (2): Continue inventories.

    There were 90 extant occurrences of S. albopilosa when the recovery plan was completed (Service 1993, p. 2). In subsequent years, KSNPC completed surveys within the Red River Gorge in 1996, 1999, 2002, 2004, and 2005 (White and Drozda 2006, pp. 124-128; KSNPC 2010, p. 2), raising the number of documented S. albopilosa occurrences from 90 to 141. Surveys in other areas of Kentucky and adjacent States with suitable habitat (e.g., sandstone rock shelters) did not show evidence of additional occurrences of the species (Campbell et al. 1989, pp. 29-43; Palmer-Ball et al. 1988, pp. 19-25; Walck et al. 1996, pp. 339-341; Norris and Harmon 2000, pp. 2-3). The first range-wide survey in the Red River Gorge was completed during the field seasons of 2008 and 2009 (KSNPC 2010, pp. 4-8), and KSNPC and the Service completed follow up surveys at 30 extant occurrences in 2013 (See the Species Information section above for detail on surveys). During these efforts, KSNPC and the Service documented a total of 117 extant occurrences and of these, we consider the A-, B-, and C-ranked occurrences (total of 46) to be secure and self-sustaining. Because systematic searches for new occurrences have been conducted since the completion of the recovery plan and led to the discovery of previously unknown occurrences, we consider this recovery action to be completed.

    Recovery Action (3): Conduct studies on life history and ecological requirements.

    This recovery action is incomplete (not all subactivities have been addressed completely) but significant progress has been made. Since publication of the recovery plan (Service 1993, entire), studies of the species' life history and ecological requirements have included Esselman (1995, pp. 5-10), Esselman and Crawford (1997, pp. 246-251), White and Drozda (2006, p. 125), KSNPC (2010, p. 5), and Nieves and Day 2014). Esselman (1995, pp. 5-10) and Esselman and Crawford (1997, pp. 246-251) studied the ancestry of S. albopilosa, examined gene flow and genetic diversity within and between populations, and investigated life-history traits (i.e., seed set, importance of pollinators, self-incompatibility (the inability of a plant to produce seeds when its flowers are pollinated from its own flowers or from flowers of plants that are genetically the same)). The ancestry of S. albopilosa was unclear, but it had the most morphological and genetic similarity with S. flexicaulis. Despite this, the two species were reported as genetically different and there was no evidence of recent gene flow. Esselman (1995, pp. 16-23) and Esselman and Crawford (1997, pp. 251-253) observed the highest levels of genetic diversity between populations rather than within populations. The levels of seed production appeared to be about equal to that of other goldenrods, but the amount of seed set varied between populations and appeared to increase with increasing occurrence size. Pollination experiments indicated that pollinators are necessary for seed set, and the species is self-incompatible.

    During field surveys between 1996 and 2009, KSNPC collected occurrence information throughout the species' range, recording such information as stem count, patch size, percent vegetative versus sexual reproduction, recreational disturbance (ranked from low to high), other perceived threats, and general habitat condition (White and Drozda 2006, p. 125; KSNPC 2010, p. 5). In its 2-year range wide study, KSNPC (2010, p. 5) used a two-page plant survey form to record more detailed biological information at each occurrence: population structure (percent individuals exhibiting vegetative versus reproductive growth), occurrence size (square meters), plant height, number of stems, number of rosettes, population density, plant vigor, and an evaluation of threats (e.g., trampling, camping, invasive plants, herbivory). KSNPC (2010, p. 5) also photographed each occurrence and made sketches that showed individual patch locations within each occurrence or rock shelter.

    Nieves and Day (2014, pp. 1-12) conducted a preliminary assessment of the microclimatic and pedological (soil) conditions of 10 rock shelters inhabited by the species. They documented significant differences between the inside of rock shelters and the surrounding environment with respect to temperature and relative humidity (habitats inside rock shelters were wetter and more humid) but no significant differences with respect to soil characteristics (macronutrients and acidity/alkalinity (pH)). Most of the rock shelters they investigated were easterly or northerly facing, but their small sample size prevents any significant conclusions with respect to the importance of sunlight and solar radiation.

    Under recovery action 3.0, two of seven subactivities remain to be completed—the use of quantitative, permanent plots (3.1) and determination of specific habitat requirements (3.3). Permanent plots have not been established, but the species' known occurrences have been visited and evaluated repeatedly (average of 3.6 times) since completion of the recovery plan. These visits have allowed us to evaluate the species' status and track the number of stems and flowers. The purpose of subactivity 3.1 was to evaluate demography and we believe the visits and work done in cooperation with KSNPC has provided enough population data on this plant to propose delisting without establishing permanent plots. The species' specific habitat requirements (e.g., light, moisture, soils) are not well understood, but preliminary investigations into the microclimate and soil conditions of rock shelters were completed by Nieves and Day (2014, pp. 1-12), and additional research is planned (Nieves and Day 2014, pp. 11-12). In partnership with DBNF and KSNPC, we have done extensive work together to reduce threats such as disturbance. The intent behind subactivity 3.3 was to learn about habitat requirements of this plant for the purposes of determining if reintroduction or artificial propagation that may be necessary to help recover this plant. White haired goldenrod occurrences have grown in number and size as recovery implementation actions have been implemented and threats have been removed or reduced. These successful actions have removed the necessity of having to reintroduce or augment plants. We will continue to learn more about the species' habitat requirements as we work with DBNF and KSNPC through post delisting monitoring. In the course of this work, if a new threat of any kind presents itself, we have identified in the PDM plan how we will evaluate it with respect to species status.

    The majority of subactivities have been addressed (3.2, 3.4-3.7); a considerable amount of information has been gained regarding the species' life history and ecological requirements; and the species' status has improved since publication of the recovery plan. We were able to obtain the intended information identified in subactivity 3.3 through implementation of other actions. Although the need to conduct subactivity 3.3 has been removed with positive progress in this plant's recovery program, we intend throughout PDM to continue to work closely with researchers as they learn more about this species and its habitat.

    Recovery Action (4): Maintain plants and seeds ex situ.

    Seeds and plants of S. albopilosa have not been maintained ex situ in any museum, botanical garden, or other seed storage facility; however, we are working with the Missouri Botanical Garden to develop a seed banking effort for S. albopilosa. A proposal for this work has been drafted and is being considered by the Garden and the Service. This effort will likely begin in late 2015 and will also be included as part of post-delisting monitoring activities. This will involve collection of S. albopilosa seed from across the range of the species with deposition of the material at the Missouri Botanical Garden.

    Recovery Action (5): Provide the public with information.

    The KSNPC and DBNF have prepared several species factsheets and signs that have been posted at gas stations, restaurants, kiosks, and trailheads throughout the Red River Gorge. These signs were intended to educate Red River Gorge visitors about the species and its threats. Signs have also been posted in five archaeologically sensitive rock shelters to prevent disturbance of historical artifacts as part of the strategy to continue to protect against looting and at the same time to protect this plant species. DBNF also displays photographs and provides information on S. albopilosa at its Gladie Cultural-Environmental Learning Center. KSNPC makes available on its Web site(http://naturepreserves.ky.gov) an S. albopilosa factsheet and several threatened and endangered species lists that include information on S. albopilosa. In June 2009, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources published 2,000 copies of a revised threatened and endangered species booklet (second edition), which contained a species account for S. albopilosa. Because of the numerous public information and education projects listed above, we consider this recovery action completed.

    Recovery Criteria

    Under the Recovery Plan, S. albopilosa will be considered for delisting when 40 geographically distinct, self-sustaining occurrences are adequately protected and have been maintained for 10 years. An occurrence will be considered as self-sustaining if there is evidence of successful reproduction and the number of individuals is stable or increasing. An occurrence will be adequately protected when it is legally protected, has received adequate physical protection, and is assured of all required management. The recovery plan also noted that the requirements for delisting were preliminary and could change as more information about the biology of the species was known. Based on our current understanding of the species' range, biology, and threats, we believe that the delisting criteria continue to be relevant. While the number of occurrences has increased since completion of the Recovery Plan, the species' overall range and the type of threats have not changed dramatically. Furthermore, our current knowledge of the species' biology indicates that multiple, distinct populations should be maintained in order to provide redundancy (protect against stochastic events) and preserve genetic diversity. We believe the recovery goal of 40 stable, self-sustaining, and protected occurrences is sufficient to address these needs. The species' current number of stable, self-sustaining, and protected occurrences (46) has exceeded this recovery goal (see discussion of Recovery Action 1 above). These occurrences are distributed across the species' range and contain more than 75 percent of the species' total number of stems.

    The criteria for delisting S. albopilosa have been met, as described below. Additionally, the level of protection currently afforded to the species and its habitat, as well as the current status of threats, are outlined below in the Summary of Factors Affecting the Species section.

    Currently, there are 117 extant occurrences. As described above, an occurrence is defined as a “discrete group of plants beneath a single rock shelter or on a single rock ledge,” and each occurrence is considered “geographically distinct” as described in the recovery criteria. We currently consider 81 (69 percent) of the 117 extant white-haired goldenrod occurrences to be stable, meaning no change has been detected (over average monitoring period of 11.1 years) in their general rank or status. Of these, we consider the A-, B-, and C-ranked occurrences (total of 46) to be adequately protected and self-sustaining as defined by the recovery plan. We consider these occurrences to be self-sustaining because (1) the number of plants at these occurrences has been stable or increasing over an average monitoring period of 11.1 years, (2) these natural occurrences contain a relatively high number of individual plants (range of 797-9,200), (3) the estimated viability of these occurrences ranges from fair to excellent; (4) the threat level at these occurrences is generally low (average recreational impact of 2.5 on a scale of 1 (low impact) to 5 (high)), and (5) the observed reproduction (flowering plants) at these occurrences has been relatively high, averaging 75-90 percent of plants in nearly all cases (KSNPC 2010, p. 10). We consider these occurrences to be adequately protected because of their location (all are located on DBNF); trends in occurrence data gathered by KSNPC, DBNF and the Service; observations about threats reported by KSNPC (2010, pp. 5-18); conservation actions described in DBNF's Land and Resource Management Plan (LRMP); and information in our files concerning specific DBNF conservation actions, such as trail closure, placement of signs, and fencing. We do not consider the stable, D-ranked occurrences (total of 30) to be self-sustaining, primarily due to their poor estimated viability and the low number of plants (fewer than 300 stems) observed at these sites. We, therefore, conclude that we have met and exceeded the criterion to have 40 geographically distinct, self-sustaining occurrences.

    While we consider only 46 out of the 117 total extant occurrences to currently be secure (adequately protected) and self-sustaining (approximately 39 percent of the total occurrences), these occurrences contain the majority of the total number of stems of the species. The total number of stems now stands at approximately 174,000, and the 46 secure, self-sustaining occurrences contain approximately 131,000 stems, or about 75 percent of the species' total number. If we consider the five additional self-sustaining occurrences located on private property, the total number of stems increases to 140,500, or about 81 percent of the species' total number. While the remaining 65 occurrences on DBNF are not currently considered self-sustaining, all of these occurrences will continue to receive protection and management under DBNF's LRMP and we expect, based on the past ten years of monitoring, their status will likely remain stable or continue to improve.

    With respect to protection, 111 of 117 extant occurrences (95 percent) occur on the DBNF and receive management and protection through DBNF's Land and Resource Management Plan (LRMP) (USFS 2004, pp. 1.1-1.10). As specified in the LRMP, S. albopilosa habitats receive protection and management consideration as part of the Cliffline Community Prescription (or management) Area (USFS 2004, pp. 3.5-3.8). The Cliffline Community is defined as the area between 100-feet slope-distance from the top of the cliff and 200-feet slope-distance from the dripline of the cliffline. A cliffline is defined as a naturally occurring, exposed, and nearly vertical rock structure at least 10 feet (3.05 meters (m)) tall and 100 feet (30.05 m) long. All known S. albopilosa occurrences occur within habitats fitting this description and, therefore, are included in this Prescription Area. For the Cliffline Community area, conservation goals in the LRMP include: (1) Maintenance of the unique physical and microclimatic conditions in these habitats, (2) the recovery of S. albopilosa, and (3) the protection of these habitats against anthropogenic disturbance (USFS 2004, p. 3.6). To meet these goals, the following activities or resource uses are prohibited within the cliffline zone: mineral, oil, or gas exploration and development (Forest Service Standard 1.C-MIN-1); road construction (1.C-ENG-1); recreational facilities (1.C-REC-1); recreational activities such as rock climbing and rappelling (C-REC-2); camping (1.C-REC-3); campfires (1.C-REC-4). Other activities such as wildlife management (1.C-WLF) and vegetation management (1.C-VEG) are limited and strictly controlled. This Prescription Area is classified as “Unsuitable for Timber Production” but timber harvests may occur on an unscheduled basis to attain a desired future condition. Harvest of wood products may occur only as an output in pursuing other resource objectives (USFS 2004, pp. 3.5-3.8). DBNF monitors cliffline habitats and protects them as needed through law enforcement activities, construction of fences, trail diversion, and placement of signs.

    Since the species was listed, we have worked closely with KSNPC and DBNF on the management and protection of S. albopilosa. Management activities have included trail diversion (away from S. albopilosa occurrences), installation of protective fencing, and placement of informational signs in rock shelters, along trails, and at trailheads. These activities and other management actions included in the DBNF's LRMP (USFS 2004, pp. 3.5-3.8) have assisted in recovery of the species, as reflected in the large number of stable occurrences (81), self-sustaining occurrences (51 occurrences with ranks of A, B, or C), and the long period (greater than 11 years) during which this trend has been maintained. We are currently in the process of finalizing a cooperative management agreement among the Service, DBNF, and KSNPC that will provide for the long-term protection of the species. The management agreement outlines a number of conservation actions that will benefit the species: (1) Maintenance of current fencing; (2) installation and maintenance of fencing at five new occurrences; (3) evaluation of trail diversion, rerouting, or closure at 39 occurrences identified by KSNPC (2010, entire); (4) placement of new informational signs at occurrences with high visitation; (5) monitoring of extant occurrences; (6) protection of extant occurrences through DBNF patrols; and (7) continuation of education and outreach efforts. We expect to have this agreement in place before this rule is finalized, and the cooperative management agreement will remain in place even if the species is delisted.

    In summary, most major recovery actions are complete, and significant progress has been made on the remaining actions (life history/ecological studies and ex situ seed conservation). Completion of these actions has contributed to achieving and exceeding the recovery criteria: 40 geographically distinct, self-sustaining occurrences are adequately protected and have been maintained for 10 years. The 46 secure, self-sustaining occurrences contain 75 percent of the species' total number of stems, and thus represent 75 percent of the species' total population. These secure, self-sustaining occurrences, as well as 93 percent of the species' remaining occurrences currently receive protection and management through implementation of DBNF's LRMP. We, therefore, conclude that the goals and criteria outlined in the recovery plan have been achieved.

    Summary of Factors Affecting the Species

    Section 4 of the Act and its implementing regulations (50 CFR part 424) set forth the procedures for listing, reclassifying, or removing species from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Species. “Species” is defined by the Act as including any species or subspecies of fish or wildlife or plants, and any distinct vertebrate population segment of fish or wildlife that interbreeds when mature (16 U.S.C. 1532(16)). Once the “species” is determined, we then evaluate whether that species may be an endangered species or a threatened species because of one or more of the five factors described in section 4(a)(1) of the Act. We must consider these same five factors in reclassifying or delisting a species. We may delist a species according to 50 CFR 424.11(d) if the best available scientific and commercial data indicate that the species is neither endangered nor threatened for the following reasons: (1) The species is extinct; (2) the species has recovered and is no longer endangered or threatened; and/or (3) the original scientific data used at the time the species was classified was in error.

    Under section 3 of the Act, a species is an “endangered species” if it is in danger of extinction throughout all or a “significant portion of its range” and is a “threatened species” if it is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout all or a “significant portion of its range.” The word “range” in the phrase “significant portion of its range” (SPR) phrase refers to the range in which the species currently exists, and the word “significant” refers to the value of that portion of the range being considered to the conservation of the species. The “foreseeable future” is the period of time over which events or effects reasonably can or should be anticipated or trends extrapolated. A recovered species is one that no longer meets the Act's definition of a threatened or endangered species. Determining whether or not a species is recovered requires consideration of the same five categories of threats specified in section 4(a)(1) of the Act. In other words, for species that are already listed as endangered or threatened, the analysis for a delisting due to recovery must include an evaluation of the threats that existed at the time of listing, the threats currently facing the species, and the threats that are reasonably likely to affect the species in the foreseeable future following the delisting or downlisting and the removal of the Act's protections.

    The following analysis examines all five factors that are currently affecting or are likely to affect S. albopilosa within the foreseeable future.

    Factor A. The Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment of Its Habitat or Range

    The final rule to list S. albopilosa as threatened (53 FR 11612, April 7, 1988) identified the following habitat threats: ground disturbance and trampling associated with unlawful archaeological activities and recreational activities such as camping, hiking, and rock climbing. The species occupies a scenic and unique geological area that is heavily visited by hikers, campers, rock-climbers, and other nature enthusiasts. The U.S. Forest Service estimates recreational use of the Red River Gorge at approximately 500,000 visitor days per year (Taylor pers. comm. 2013). Recreational activities such as camping, hiking, and rock climbing pose a threat to the species through inadvertent trampling and ground disturbance of S. albopilosa habitats. Evidence of trampling and ground disturbance within rock shelters has been observed repeatedly by KSNPC and DBNF personnel (KSNPC 2010, pp. 13-14).

    Habitat disturbance and trampling associated with recreational activities (camping, hiking, and rock climbing) and archaeological looting have posed a significant threat to the species. The Red River Gorge is a popular recreational area (Taylor pers. comm. 2013). Use of rock shelters and cliff lines by campers, hikers, and rock climbers has contributed to physical habitat disturbance and has led to trampling of plants in rock shelters (Service 1993, p. 7; White and Drozda 2006, pp. 124-125; KSNPC 2010, pp. 13-14). In addition to habitat disturbance caused by recreationists, the presence of Native American artifacts within the Red River Gorge has contributed to digging and archaeological looting in S. albopilosa habitats (rock shelters). Approximately 18 white-haired goldenrod occurrences have been extirpated due to human activities, and many heavily visited rock shelters have been modified to the point that these habitats are no longer suitable for the species (KSNPC 2010, pp. 6-7).

    According to the DBNF, impacts from archaeological looting are now infrequent, and these activities no longer pose a significant threat to S. albopilosa within the Red River Gorge (Taylor pers. comm. 2013). As for recreational impacts, many white-haired goldenrod occurrences are located in remote ravines of the Red River Gorge or grow along inaccessible cliff lines that are seldom visited or disturbed by campers, hikers, and rock climbers. Therefore, the threat magnitude at these sites is low.

    Occurrences located in areas with more frequent visitor use, typically areas near DBNF and user-defined trails, generally have suffered more severe habitat disturbance and trampling. Site protection and habitat management efforts by DBNF, working cooperatively with KSNPC and the Service, have helped to reduce the magnitude of threats at these sites. These occurrences have benefited from their location on the DBNF and management and protective actions provided under DBNF's LRMP (USFS 2004, pp. 1.1-1.10), which prevents general land disturbance and prohibits or limits logging and other DBNF activities near cliffline habitats. The LRMP also protects rock shelters from vandalism and forbids removal of threatened and endangered species from these areas.

    The DBNF monitors these sites and protects them as needed through law enforcement efforts, construction of fences, trail diversion, and placement of signs. To protect occurrences from trampling, fire-building, and digging, signs have been posted at all entry points to the Red River Gorge asking visitors not to remove or disturb historical resources and providing visitors with biological and status information on S. albopilosa. Similar signs were also placed inside at least five archaeologically significant rock shelters that contained S. albopilosa. Beginning in February 2000, DBNF began to redirect trails and install fencing (chicken wire) around selected rock shelters (those with greatest visitation) containing S. albopilosa. Signs were also placed at these shelters, alerting visitors to the presence of the species and warning them against potential damage to plants. Signs and/or fencing were placed and have been maintained at a total of 21 occurrences, and DBNF personnel continue to visit these sites annually, checking the condition of signs and fencing and making repairs as needed.

    Monitoring results show that implementation of DBNF's LRMP and the completion of additional conservation actions such as fencing and sign placement have had a positive effect on the species, the number of stems has increased, and the level of habitat disturbance and trampling associated with recreational activities has been reduced (KSNPC 2010, entire). Of the 21 occurrences on the DBNF where fencing and signs were added, 20 are considered to be stable, and the 1 declining occurrence will be protected through expanded fencing. Additional evidence that these conservation efforts have improved the status of S. albopilosa occurrences on the DBNF is the large number of stable occurrences (75) and the relatively high number of secure, self-sustaining occurrences (46) observed by DBNF, KSNPC, and the Service. The 46 secure, self-sustaining occurrences exceed the number identified in the recovery criteria to allow consideration of delisting.

    Additional evidence that conservation actions have had a positive effect on the species is the relatively low recreational impacts observed by KSNPC (2010, pp. 13-14) at the majority of DBNF occurrences. Recreational impacts have been assessed by KSNPC since the mid-1990s (White and Drozda 2006, pp. 124-125; KSNPC 2010, pp. 13-14). Their qualitative ranking scheme estimates the percent disturbance of available habitat and uses a scale of 1 (little or no impact) to 5 (high impact, greater than 50 percent of available habitat disturbed) to produce a disturbance rank. Based on recent evaluations by KSNPC (KSNPC 2010, entire; Service 2014a, entire), 70 occurrences (60 percent) are classified as low impact (rank of 1-2), 8 occurrences (7 percent) are classified as medium impact (rank of 3), and 39 occurrences (33 percent) are classified as high impact (rank of 4-5). Overall, 67 percent of DBNF's occurrences are considered to have low to medium recreational impacts. KSNPC (2010, p. 14) also noted that they did not observe many new recreational impacts during their surveys in 2008 and 2009. Most of the documented recreational impacts such as established trails, permanent structures within rock shelters (couches, chairs, fire pits), and camp sites had been in place since before S. albopilosa monitoring began in 1996 (KSNPC 2010, p. 14).

    The six occurrences on privately owned lands currently do not benefit from any formal protection or management and, therefore, could face higher magnitude threats (e.g., habitat disturbance) than those located on the DBNF. However, based on the most recent range-wide survey results by KSNPC, all six of these private occurrences have been ranked as “stable,” and five of the six are considered to be self-sustaining (A-,B-, or C-rank) (KSNPC 2010, p. 8). While these occurrences potentially could face a greater level of threats, they currently do not appear to be facing a greater level of impact, and they represent a small proportion (five percent) of the overall population of the species.

    Summary of Factor A: Impacts associated with archaeological looting and recreational activities have been well documented in the past, but current monitoring data suggest that the magnitude of these threats has sufficiently decreased. Implementation of the DBNF's LRMP and specific conservation actions such as fencing and sign placement have had a positive effect on the species and have reduced the threat associated with recreational disturbance. The recovery goal of 40 stable, self-sustaining, protected occurrences has been exceeded by 6, and these trends have held for more than 10 years. Because we expect that the lands containing the 46 secure and self-sustaining occurrences will remain permanently protected in Federal ownership and will be managed to maintain or improve current habitat conditions (see Service 2014b, entire), we find that the present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range is no longer a threat to the continued existence of S. albopilosa.

    Factor B. Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or Educational Purposes

    Both the final rule to list S. albopilosa as threatened (53 FR 11612, April 7, 1988) and the recovery plan (Service 1993, p. 7) identified overutilization for recreational purposes as a threat to the species. However, while the use of habitat for recreational purposes, as discussed under Factor A, has impacted the species in the past, there is no evidence that the plant itself is or was utilized for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes. We, therefore, discuss impacts from recreational use of habitat for S. albopilosa under Factor A above.

    Summary of Factor B: We conclude that overutilization is not a threat to S. albopilosa.

    Factor C. Disease or Predation

    The listing rule for S. albopilosa (53 FR 11612, April 7, 1988) did not identify disease or predation as a threat to the species. Plants are occasionally browsed by herbivores, such as white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), wood rats (Neotoma spp.), and caterpillars (Order Lepidoptera), but we have no information that grazing by these species represents a threat to the species. In addition, we have no current data indicating this plant is affected by diseases.

    Factor D. The Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    Populations of S. albopilosa on the DBNF are protected from damage and unauthorized taking by U.S. Forest Service regulations (36 CFR 261.9). This regulation will apply regardless of whether the species is listed because S. albopilosa would still be considered a sensitive, rare, or unique species on the DBNF under this Federal regulation. The final listing rule (53 FR 11612, April 7, 1988) identified inadequate regulatory mechanisms as a threat to S. albopilosa because limited manpower and the remoteness of many occurrences on the DBNF makes enforcement difficult. The DBNF has taken several steps to remedy this. As noted above, S. albopilosa receives management and protection through DBNF's Land and Resource Management Plan (LRMP) and its conservation goals for Cliffline Community Prescription Area. The National Forest Management Act (NFMA), regulations, and policies implementing the NFMA are the main regulatory mechanisms that guide land management on the DBNF, which contains 111 of the 117 extant occurrences of S. albopilosa. Since listing, the DBNF has included S. albopilosa and its habitat in its resource management plans. These plans are required by NFMA and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976. The NFMA requires revision of the Plans every 15 years; however, plans may be amended or revised as needed. Management plans are required to be in effect at all times (in other words, if the revision does not occur, the previous plan remains in effect) and to be in compliance with various Federal regulations. We expect continued implementation of the LRMP and expect that any future revisions will consider conservation of S. albopilosa and its Cliffline Community habitats.

    Specific actions that DBNF has taken under the LRMP include measures to reduce impacts of recreational activities to S. albopilosa and its habitat as discussed under Factor A. As discussed above, these and other protection and management actions taken by DBNF under their LRMP (USFS 2004, pp. 1.1-1.10) have been successful at improving the status of the species. Monitoring results from these occurrences show that these efforts have had a positive effect on the species. Specifically, disturbance from trampling, camping, and rock climbing has been reduced in these areas, and the number of stems has increased.

    The species is listed as endangered by the State of Kentucky (KSNPC 2005, entire), but this designation conveys no legal protection to occurrences located on private property. Consequently, occurrences on privately owned land could face higher magnitude threats (e.g., habitat disturbance) than those located on the DBNF. Based on recent survey results by KSNPC, however, only 6 of 117 extant S. albopilosa occurrences (5 percent) are located on private land, and 5 of these occurrences have been ranked as “stable” (A-, B-, or C-rank) by KSNPC (KSNPC 2010, p. 8). Therefore, based on this greater than 10-year data set, the majority of private occurrences are also stable.

    Summary of Factor D: Occurrences of S. albopilosa located on the DBNF receive protection due to their location on Federal property, and these occurrences are managed and protected under DBNF's LRMP (USFS 2004, pp. 1.1-1.10). This protected status and management actions included in the LRMP will continue to provide adequate regulatory protection for these occurrences. Monitoring results show that DBNF's management actions have had a positive effect on the species. Specifically, disturbance from trampling, camping, and rock climbing has been reduced and the number of stems has stabilized or increased. Based on the best available information for both private and public lands occurrences, and the fact that existing regulatory mechanisms and associated management practices will continue on public lands, we conclude that existing regulatory mechanisms are adequate. Therefore, we find that the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms is no longer a threat to S. albopilosa.

    Factor E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting Its Continued Existence

    Other natural or manmade factors were first identified as a threat to white-haired goldenrod due to the species' specialized habitats (sandstone rock shelters and cliff habitats of the Red River Gorge) and the perceived vulnerability of these habitats to any physical or climatic change (52 FR 13798, 53 FR 11612). In the species' final listing rule (53 FR 11612), published in 1988, the Service concluded that even minor changes in the surrounding forest (e.g., loss of canopy trees) could impact the species through drying, erosion, and competition with sun-tolerant species. At the time, these potential changes were not considered to be an imminent threat to white-haired goldenrod, but the final listing rule identified the need for management planning that would take into account the requirements of the species to ensure its continued existence.

    Recent surveys and status assessments of white-haired goldenrod have identified several threats under Factor E. These included competition from invasive plants, the loss of eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), low genetic diversity and small population size, and the effects of climate change (Service 2009a, p. 9; Service 2009b, p. 2; KSNPC 2010, pp. 13-14). KSNPC (2010, p. 14) reported several invasive plant species in habitats occupied by white-haired goldenrod, but the most common species included Japanese stilt grass (Microstegium vimineum), princess tree (Paulownia tomentosa), Japanese spiraea (Spiraea japonica), common chickweed (Stellaria media), and common mullein (Verbascum thapsus). Of the invasive plant species, Japanese stilt grass was the most common species. It was observed growing in direct competition with 23 S. albopilosa occurrences. However, invasive species were absent from the majority of extant occurrences (about 80 percent) of white-haired goldenrod and most stable occurrences (65 percent) (KSNPC 2010, p. 14; Service 2014a, pp. 1-6). For the 23 occurrences in direct competition with invasive plants, most (16 of 23 (70 percent)) were stable or increased over the 10-year monitoring period (KSNPC 2010, p. 14; Service 2014a, pp. 1-6). While we do not have data that specifically addresses the effects of climate change with regard to invasive species attributes like distribution or range and the relation to white haired goldenrod. There is some data showing that more common aggressive invasive species like kudzu (Pueraria lobata) may expand into greater ranges due to possible effects of climate change (Bradley et al. 2009). However, species like Japanese stilt grass are more recent invaders to this area of the Southeast and other than the data presented above, we do not have further information or data that indicates competition from invasive plants will change in significance as a threat to the species. Therefore, we do not believe that competition from invasive plants is a significant threat to the species now or in the foreseeable future.

    The hemlock woolly adelgid (Adeleges tsugae), an aphid-like insect that is native to Asia, represents a potential threat to white-haired goldenrod because it has the potential to severely damage stands of eastern hemlocks (Tsuga canadensis) that occur near rock shelters and cliffs occupied by the species (Service 2009b, p. 2; KSNPC 2010, p. 15). The hemlock woolly adelgid was introduced in the Pacific Northwest during the 1920s and has since spread throughout the eastern United States, reaching Kentucky by 2006. The species creates an extreme amount of damage to natural stands of hemlock, specifically eastern hemlock and Carolina hemlock (Tsuga caroliniana). The species' recovery action plan (Service 2009b, p. 2) concluded that the loss of eastern hemlock within the Red River Gorge could result in microclimatic changes (increased light, decreased moisture, increased leaf litter) in and near rock shelters that may negatively affect white-haired goldenrod. Despite this potential threat, KSNPC (2010, p. 15) demonstrated in their evaluation that eastern hemlock was actually a minor component of the canopy surrounding rock shelters inhabited by the species. Consequently, the eventual loss of eastern hemlocks would not represent a significant change to the canopy surrounding these rock shelters and would, therefore, not represent a significant threat to the species.

    Potential impacts that may be associated with low genetic variability, such as inbreeding depression, reduced fitness, or reduced adaptive capacity (ability to respond to and adapt to changing conditions) have been identified as a potential threat to other listed plant species, but we have no information suggesting that low genetic variability affects S. albopilosa (53 FR 11614; Service 2009a, entire; KSNPC 2010, 24 pp.). Esselman and Crawford (1997, pp. 245-257) reported that S. albopilosa exhibits genetic diversity both within and between populations (genetic diversity is widely spread among populations, and populations are not genetically homogenous). The highest level of genetic diversity was observed among (as opposed to between) populations. Consequently, we do not believe that the potential effects associated with low genetic variability threaten the continued existence of S. albopilosa now or in the foreseeable future.

    Some white-haired goldenrod occurrences may be more vulnerable to extirpation due to their small population size and poor estimated viability. The low number of stems (typically less than 300), poor estimated viability, and high recreational impacts associated with D-ranked occurrences make these occurrences more vulnerable to stochastic events. Currently, 62 of the species' 117 extant occurrences (53 percent) are D-ranked. Even though these occurrences may be more vulnerable to extirpation, the overall threat to the species is minimal because these occurrences contain less than 20 percent of the species' total number of stems. Additionally, a small population size in and of itself is not indicative of being in danger of extinction. Some white-haired goldenrod occurrences may have always had fewer plants in rock shelters with less favorable conditions (e.g., small size, drier conditions).

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that warming of the climate system is unequivocal (IPCC 2014, p. 3). Effects associated with changes in climate have been observed including changes in arctic temperatures and ice, widespread changes in precipitation amounts, ocean salinity, wind patterns and aspects of extreme weather including droughts, heavy precipitation, heat waves, and the intensity of tropical cyclones (IPCC 2014, p. 4). Species that are dependent on specialized habitat types, limited in distribution, or at the extreme periphery of their range may be most susceptible to the impacts of climate change (Byers and Norris 2011, p. 17; Anacker and Leidholm 2012, p. 2). However, while continued change is certain, the magnitude and rate of change is unknown in many cases. The magnitude and rate of change could be affected by many factors (e.g., circulation patterns), but we have no additional information or data regarding these factors. There is evidence that some terrestrial plant populations have been able to adapt and respond to changing climatic conditions (Franks et al. 2013, entire). Both plastic (phenotypic change such as leaf size or phenology) and evolutionary (shift in allelic frequencies) responses to changes in climate have been detected and both can occur rapidly and often simultaneously (Franks et al. 2013, p. 135). Relatively few studies are available, however, that (1) directly examine plant responses over time, (2) clearly demonstrate adaptation or the causal climatic driver of the responses, or (3) use quantitative methods to distinguish plastic versus evolutionary responses (Franks et al. 2013, p. 135).

    To generate future climate projections across the range of white-haired goldenrod, one tool we used was the National Climate Change Viewer (NCCV), a climate-visualization Web site tool developed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) that allows the user to visualize climate projections at the state, county, and watershed level (Adler and Hostetler 2013, entire;http://www.usgs.gov/climate_landuse/clu_rd/nccv.asp). Initially, the viewer was designed to provide information for states and counties on projected temperature and precipitation through the 21st century. The viewer was expanded in 2014 to provide information on associated projected changes in snowpack, soil moisture, runoff, and evaporative deficit for U.S. states and counties and for USGS Hydrologic Units or watersheds as simulated by a simple water-balance model. The model provides a way to simulate the response of the water balance to changes in temperature and precipitation in the climate models (30 separate models developed by the National Aeronautic and Space Administration). Combining the climate data with the water balance data provides further insights into the potential for climate-driven change in water resources. The viewer uses tools such as climographs (plots of monthly averages); histograms showing the distribution or spread of model simulations; monthly time series spanning 1950-2099; and tables that summarize changes (and extremes) in temperature and precipitation during these periods. The application also provides access to comprehensive, three-page summary reports for states, counties, and watersheds.

    Using the NCCV and assuming the more extreme Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP) greenhouse gas emission scenario (RCP8.5), in which greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise unchecked through the end of the century leading to an equivalent radiative forcing of 8.5 Watts per square meter, we calculated projected annual mean changes for maximum temperature (+3.6 degrees Celsius (°C) (+6.5 degrees Fahrenheit (°F)), precipitation (+0.02-0.03 cm/day (+0.008-0.012 in/day)), runoff (−0.25 cm/month (−0.1 in/month), snowfall (−0.5 cm (−0.2 in)), soil storage (−2.5 cm (−1.0 in)), and evaporative deficit (+0.75 cm/month (+0.3 in/month)) for the period 2050-2074 in Menifee, Powell, and Wolfe counties (Adler and Hostetler 2013, entire). Based on these results, all three counties within the range of white-haired goldenrod will be subjected to higher maximum temperatures (annual mean increase of 3.6 °C (6.5 °F)) and slightly higher precipitation (annual mean increase of 0.02-0.03 cm/day (+0.008-0.012 in/day)) relative to 1950-2005. Because the average annual increase in precipitation is predicted to be only slightly higher, the increased evaporative deficit and the loss in runoff, snowfall, and soil storage is primarily a result of higher maximum and minimum temperatures. The most dramatic shift is predicted for soil storage, which will decrease significantly between mid-May and late November relative to 1950-2005. Despite the slight increase in predicted precipitation, the coincident warming means that habitats are unlikely to maintain their current moisture status.

    To evaluate the vulnerability of white-haired goldenrod to the effects of climate change, we also utilized NatureServe's Climate Change Vulnerability Index (CCVI) (Young et al. 2015, entire), a climate change model that uses downscaled climate predictions from tools such as Climate Wizard (Givertz et al. 2009, entire) and combines these with readily available information about a species' natural history, distribution, and landscape circumstances to predict whether it will likely suffer a range contraction and/or population reductions due to the effects of climate change. The CCVI uses an Excel platform that allows users to enter numerical or categorical, weighted responses to a series of questions about risk factors related to species exposure and sensitivity to climate change. The CCVI separates vulnerability into its two primary components: a species' exposure to changes in climate within a particular assessment area and its inherent sensitivity to the effects of climate change. The tool gauges 20 scientifically documented factors and indicators of these components, as well as documented responses to climate change where they exist. While the Index calculates anticipated increases or declines in populations of individual species, it also accommodates inherent uncertainties about how species respond within their ecological contexts. The CCVI generated a vulnerability rating of “extremely vulnerable” to “highly vulnerable” for white-haired goldenrod, suggesting that the species' abundance and/or range extent could change substantially or possibly disappear by 2050 (Young et al. 2015, p. 44). Factors influencing the species' high vulnerability were its poor movement/dispersal ability, its connection with uncommon geologic features, and its unique hydrological niche (humid, shaded rock shelters). In West Virginia, top risk factors for plants included poor dispersal ability, natural and anthropogenic barriers to dispersal, dependence on wetland habitats, restriction to areas with unique geology, and genetic bottlenecks (Byers and Norris 2011, p. 16). Although the model suggested that white-haired goldenrod is greatly exposed and sensitive to climate change and could be adversely affected in future years, Anacker and Leidholm 2012 (pp. 16-17) note that there are also a number of weaknesses associated with the CCVI.

    The CCVI was used to assess the vulnerability of over 150 rare plant species in California (Anacker and Leidholm 2012, entire). However, several specific weaknesses were identified: (1) It is weighted too heavily towards direct exposure to climate change (projected changes to future temperature and precipitation conditions which have high levels of uncertainties), (2) some important plant attributes are missing (mating system and pollinator specificity), (3) it is very difficult to complete scoring for a given species because some information is simply lacking, and (4) some scoring guidelines are too simplistic (Anacker and Leidholm (2012, pp. 16-17). They considered topographic complexity to be a potential complementary factor in assessing vulnerability to climate change (Anacker and Leidholm 2012, pp. 12-16). Topographically complex areas, such as the Red River Gorge region, have been predicted to be less vulnerable to the effects of climate change (Anacker and Leidholm 2012, p. 15-16), so species such as white-haired goldenrod may also be less vulnerable to such effects as compared to plants that occur in areas with low topographic complexity.

    Additionally, Phillips (2010, entire) found that efforts to predict responses to climate change and to interpret both modern and paleoclimate indicators are influenced by several levels of potential amplifiers, which can either increase or exaggerate climate impacts, and/or filters, which reduce or mute impacts. He notes that climate forcings (factors that drive or “force” the climate system to change such as the energy output of the sun, volcanic eruptions, or changes in greenhouse gases) are partly mediated by ecological, hydrological, and other processes which may amplify or filter impacts on surface processes and landforms. For example, resistance or resilience of geomorphic systems may minimize the effects of changes. Thus a given geomorphic response to climate could represent amplification and/or filtering (Phillips 2010, p. 571). Due to white-haired goldenrod's habitat specificity in rock shelters and cliff overhangs, it is our judgment that the effects of climate change are likely muted or diminished due to this species' specific habitat conditions.

    Based on observations of climatic conditions over a period of 25 years (KSNPC (2010, p. 13), there is some biological and historical evidence to suggest that S. albopilosa is adapted to endure some of the potential effects of climate change, including more frequent droughts and an estimated 2.6-3.6 °C (4.7-6.5 °F) increase in average annual maximum temperature. Habitats within the Red River Gorge often experience multiyear droughts, and S. albopilosa occurrences can become stressed during these periods. For example, the Cumberland Plateau region of Kentucky experienced a several-year drought prior to KSNPC's 2008-2009 survey. These dry conditions continued during 2008, and KSNPC observed many drought-stressed occurrences. The following year (2009) was relatively wet, and several of these drought stressed occurrences quickly improved (KSNPC 2010, p. 13). Despite this most recent dry period and others in the past, the species has demonstrated a resiliency to prolonged periods of drought. Although downscaling models exist at the county level (Alder and Hostetler 2013), we do not have data at the proper scale (inside rock shelters or in cliff overhangs) to determine, for example, how the species is affected by decreased relative humidity during a drought year, but periodic drought may be a normal cyclical event needed to increase production. The shaded, cooler, and more humid environment of rock shelters (Nieves and Day 2014, p. 7) and the topographic complexity of the Red River Gorge region (Anacker and Leidholm 2012, p. 15-16) may offer some relief from drying and may contribute to the species' ability to survive these conditions.

    Although climate change is almost certain to affect terrestrial habitats in the Red River Gorge region of Kentucky (Adler and Hostetler 2013, entire), there is uncertainty about the specific effects of climate change on white-haired goldenrod. Currently, we have no evidence that climate change effects observed to date have had any adverse impact on S. albopilosa or its habitats, and we are uncertain about how predicted future changes in temperature, precipitation, and other factors will influence the species. However, we do not believe that climate change represents an imminent threat now or in the foreseeable future.

    Summary of Factor E: Other potential threats such as minor vegetational changes in the surrounding forest, competition with invasive species, low genetic variability, small population size, and the effects of climate change have been identified as potential threats to S. albopilosa. Invasive species have invaded only 23 of 117 extant occurrences, and most of these occurrences (16) have remained stable. We do not expect the loss of eastern hemlock to have a significant impact on the species because eastern hemlock is a minor component of the forest canopy surrounding S. albopilosa occurrences. The potential effects of low genetic diversity do not represent a threat as the species has relatively high genetic diversity. Small populations may be vulnerable to stochastic events, but these occurrences contain only a small proportion of the species' total number of stems. We do not consider climate change to be an imminent threat based on the species' current status, its demonstrated resiliency to periods of drought, and our uncertainty regarding the species' vulnerability to the effects of climate change. Based on all these factors, we find that other natural or manmade factors considered here are no longer a significant threat to S. albopilosa.

    Conclusion of the 5-Factor Analysis

    Under section 3 of the Act, a species is endangered if it is “in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range” and threatened if it is “likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.” We have carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial information available regarding the threats faced by S. albopilosa in developing this proposed rule. Based on the analysis above and given the reduction in threats and evidence that certain factors are not threats, we conclude that S. albopilosa does not currently meet the Act's definition of a threatened species (it is not likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range).

    Significant Portion of the Range

    Having determined that S. albopilosa is not in danger of extinction or likely to become so throughout all of its range, we next consider whether there are any significant portions of its range in which S. albopilosa is in danger of extinction or likely to become so. Under the Act and our implementing regulations, a species may warrant listing if it is in danger of extinction or likely to become so throughout all or a significant portion of its range. The Act defines “endangered species” as any species that is “in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range,” and “threatened species” as any species that is “likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.” The term “species” includes “any subspecies of fish or wildlife or plants, and any distinct population segment [DPS] of any species of vertebrate fish or wildlife which interbreeds when mature.”

    We published a final policy interpreting the phrase “Significant Portion of its Range” (SPR) (79 FR 37578; July 1, 2014). The final policy states that (1) if a species is found to be endangered or threatened throughout a significant portion of its range, the entire species is listed as endangered or threatened, respectively, and the Act's protections apply to all individuals of the species wherever found; (2) a portion of the range of a species is “significant” if the species is not currently endangered or threatened throughout all of its range, but the portion's contribution to the viability of the species is so important that, without the members in that portion, the species would be in danger of extinction, or likely to become so in the foreseeable future, throughout all of its range; (3) the range of a species is considered to be the general geographical area within which that species can be found at the time FWS makes any particular status determination; and (4) if a vertebrate species is endangered or threatened throughout an SPR, and the population in that significant portion is a valid DPS, we will list the DPS rather than the entire taxonomic species or subspecies.

    The SPR policy is applied to all status determinations, including analyses for the purposes of making listing, delisting, and reclassification determinations. The procedure for analyzing whether any portion is an SPR is similar, regardless of the type of status determination we are making. The first step in our analysis of the status of a species is to determine its status throughout all of its range. If we determine that the species is in danger of extinction, or likely to become so in the foreseeable future, throughout all of its range, we list the species as an endangered species (or threatened species) and no SPR analysis will be required. If the species is neither in danger of extinction nor likely to become so throughout all of its range, we next determine whether the species is in danger of extinction or likely to become so throughout a significant portion of its range. If it is, we list the species as an endangered species or threatened species, respectively; if it is not, we conclude that listing the species is not warranted.

    When we conduct an SPR analysis, we first identify any portions of the species' range that warrant further consideration. The range of a species can theoretically be divided into portions in an infinite number of ways. However, there is no purpose in analyzing portions of the range that are not reasonably likely to be both significant and endangered or threatened. To identify only those portions that warrant further consideration, we determine whether there is substantial information indicating that (1) the portions may be significant and (2) the species may be in danger of extinction in those portions or likely to become so within the foreseeable future. We emphasize that answering these questions in the affirmative is not a determination that the species is endangered or threatened throughout a significant portion of its range—rather, it is a step in determining whether a more detailed analysis of the issue is required. In practice, a key part of this analysis is whether the threats are geographically concentrated in some way. If the threats to the species are affecting it uniformly throughout its range, no portion is likely to have a greater risk of extinction, and thus would not warrant further consideration. Moreover, if any concentration of threats apply only to portions of the range that clearly do not meet the biologically based definition of “significant” (i.e., the loss of that portion clearly would not be expected to increase the vulnerability to extinction of the entire species), those portions will not warrant further consideration.

    If we identify any portions that may be both (1) significant and (2) in danger of extinction or likely to become so, we engage in a more detailed analysis to determine whether these standards are indeed met. As discussed above, to determine whether a portion of the range of a species is significant, we consider whether, under a hypothetical scenario, the portion's contribution to the viability of the species is so important that, without the members in that portion, the species would be in danger of extinction or likely to become so in the foreseeable future throughout all of its range. This analysis will consider the contribution of that portion to the viability of the species based on principles of conservation biology. The contribution is evaluated using the concepts of redundancy, resiliency, and representation. (These concepts can similarly be expressed in terms of abundance, spatial distribution, productivity, and diversity.) The identification of an SPR does not create a presumption, prejudgment, or other determination as to whether the species in that identified SPR is endangered or threatened. We must go through a separate analysis to determine whether the species is in danger of extinction or likely to become so in the SPR. To determine whether a species is endangered or threatened throughout an SPR, we will use the same standards and methodology that we use to determine if a species is endangered or threatened throughout its range.

    Depending on the biology of the species, its range, and the threats it faces, it may be more efficient to address the “significant” question first, or the status question first. Thus, if we determine that a portion of the range is not “significant,” we do not need to determine whether the species is endangered or threatened there; if we determine that the species is not endangered or threatened in a portion of its range, we do not need to determine if that portion is “significant.”

    Applying the process described above, in considering delisting S. albopilosa, we evaluated the range of this plant to determine if any areas could be considered a significant portion of its range. As mentioned above, one way to identify portions for further analyses is to identify any natural divisions within the range that might be of biological or conservation importance. While there is some variability in the habitats occupied by S. albopilosa across its range, the basic ecological components required for the species to complete its life cycle (e.g., adequate sunlight, shade, moisture, soils) are present throughout the habitats occupied by the species. No specific location within the current range of the species provides a unique or biologically significant function that is not found in other portions of the range. The currently occupied range of S. albopilosa encompasses approximately 114 square kilometer (km2) (44 square miles) in Menifee, Powell, and Wolfe Counties, Kentucky. Based on examination of information on the biology and life history of the species, we determined that there are no separate areas of the range that are significantly different from others or that are likely to be of greater biological or conservation importance than any other areas.

    We next examined whether any threats are geographically concentrated in some way that would indicate the species could be in danger of extinction, or likely to become so, in that area. Through our review of potential threats, we identified some areas where white-haired goldenrod may experience greater threats or a greater likelihood of extirpation and, therefore, may be in danger of extinction or likely to become so in those areas. These include occurrences on private lands and occurrences that are not currently considered self-sustaining. The majority (94.8 percent) of white-haired goldenrod occurrences are now located on DBNF and benefit from management and conservation actions implemented under the LRMP.

    Six of the 117 extant occurrences are located on private lands. As explained above, these occurrences currently do not benefit from any formal protection or management and, therefore, could face higher magnitude threats. While these occurrences do not receive any formal protection, five of the six occurrences are considered to be stable and self-sustaining, indicating a low level of current impacts to those occurrences. Although the occurrences on private lands could face greater threats in the future due to lack of formal protections, these occurrences represent only 5 percent of extant occurrences and a very small proportion of the range of the species. Additionally, even if future potential threats were to cause the loss of these occurrences, that loss would not appreciably reduce the long-term viability of the species, much less cause the species in the remainder of its range to be in danger of extinction or likely to become so.

    We also evaluated whether the occurrences that are not considered self-sustaining could be considered a significant portion of the species' range. We have determined that 46 secure and self-sustaining occurrences presently are distributed throughout the species' range, which accounted for more than 75 percent of the total stems estimated to exist in 2013. Of the remaining 71 extant occurrences, the 6 occurrences on private lands are not considered secure (but all 6 have been shown to be stable and 5 have been shown to be self-sustaining). These occurrences were discussed above.

    The remaining 65 occurrences are on DBNF, and thus protected, but currently are not considered self-sustaining. Some of these occurrences have a status of declining or their status is unknown, while others are considered not self-sustaining primarily due to poor estimated viability and low number of plants observed. These occurrences could be at greater risk of extinction due to vulnerability to demographic and environmental stochasticity because of their smaller population sizes. These 65 occurrences, along with the 6 occurrences on private lands, account for the remaining 25 percent of the total stems estimated to exist in 2013. The threats to these occurrences from recreational activities are being managed and are not different from the threats affecting the 46 secure, self-sustaining occurrences.

    Because these 46 occurrences exhibit stable or increasing trends, contain a relatively high number of individuals, have fair to excellent viability, and exhibit relatively high reproductive rates, we expect these populations to persist into the future. While most of the remaining occurrences also receive protections and are not at immediate risk of extirpation, their lower population sizes and poorer viability put them at a greater risk of extirpation. However, while these occurrences may have a greater potential to become extirpated due to demographic or environmental stochasticity, the loss of some or all of those occurrences would not cause the species in the remainder of its range to be in danger of extinction or likely to become so.

    In conclusion, we have determined that none of the existing or potential threats, either alone or in combination with others, are likely to cause S. albopilosa to be in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range, nor is it likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range. On the basis of this evaluation, we conclude S. albopilosa no longer requires the protection of the Act, and propose to remove S. albopilosa from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Plants (50 CFR 17.12 (h)).

    Effects of This Proposed Rule

    The Act and its implementing regulations set forth a series of general prohibitions and exceptions that apply to all endangered plants. The prohibitions under section 9(a)(2) of the Act make it illegal for any person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to import or export, transport in interstate or foreign commerce in the course of a commercial activity, sell or offer for sale in interstate or foreign commerce, remove and reduce S. albopilosa to possession from areas under Federal jurisdiction, or remove, cut, dig up, or damage or destroy S. albopilosa on any other area in knowing violation of any State law or regulation such as a trespass law. Section 7 of the Act requires that Federal agencies consult with us to ensure that any action authorized, funded, or carried out by them is not likely to jeopardize the species' continued existence. If this proposed rule is finalized, it would revise 50 CFR 17.12 to remove (delist) S. albopilosa from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Plants and these prohibitions would no longer apply.

    Post-Delisting Monitoring

    Section 4(g)(1) of the Act requires us to monitor for not less than 5 years the status of all species that are delisted due to recovery. Post-delisting monitoring refers to activities undertaken to verify that a species delisted due to recovery remains secure from the risk of extinction after the protections of the Act no longer apply. The primary goal of post-delisting monitoring is to monitor the species to ensure that its status does not deteriorate, and if a decline is detected, to take measures to halt the decline so that proposing it as threatened or endangered is not again needed. If at any time during the monitoring period, data indicate that protective status under the Act should be reinstated, we can initiate listing procedures, including, if appropriate, emergency listing. At the conclusion of the monitoring period, we will review all available information to determine if relisting, the continuation of monitoring, or the termination of monitoring is appropriate.

    Section 4(g) of the Act explicitly requires cooperation with the States in development and implementation of post-delisting monitoring programs, but we remain responsible for compliance with section 4(g) and, therefore, must remain actively engaged in all phases of post-delisting monitoring. We also seek active participation of other entities that are expected to assume responsibilities for the species' conservation after delisting. In August 2013, DBNF and KSNPC agreed to be cooperators in the post-delisting monitoring of S. albopilosa.

    We have prepared a Draft Post-Delisting Monitoring Plan for White-haired Goldenrod (Solidago albopilosa) (Plan) (Service 2014b, entire). The draft Plan:

    (1) Summarizes the species' status at the time of delisting;

    (2) Defines thresholds or triggers for potential monitoring outcomes and conclusions;

    (3) Lays out frequency and duration of monitoring;

    (4) Articulates monitoring methods including sampling considerations;

    (5) Outlines data compilation and reporting procedures and responsibilities; and

    (6) Proposes a post-delisting monitoring implementation schedule including timing and responsible parties.

    Concurrent with this proposed delisting rule, we announce the draft plan's availability for public review. The draft post-delisting monitoring plan can be viewed in its entirety at http://www.fws.gov/frankfort/ or at http://www.regulations.gov under Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2014-0054. Copies can also be obtained from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Kentucky Ecological Services Field Office, Frankfort, Kentucky (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). We seek information, data, and comments from the public regarding S. albopilosa and the post-delisting monitoring strategy. We are also seeking peer review of this draft plan concurrently with this comment period. We anticipate finalizing this plan, considering all public and peer review comments, prior to making a final determination on the proposed delisting rule.

    Peer Review

    In accordance with our policy published in the Federal Register on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34270), and the OMB's Final Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review, dated December 16, 2004, we will solicit the expert opinions of at least three appropriate and independent specialists regarding the science in this proposed rule and the draft post-delisting monitoring plan. The purpose of such review is to ensure that we base our decisions on scientifically sound data, assumptions, and analyses. We will send peer reviewers copies of this proposed rule and the draft post-delisting monitoring plan immediately following publication of the proposed rule in the Federal Register. We will invite peer reviewers to comment, during the public comment period, on the specific assumptions and conclusions regarding the proposed delisting and draft post-delisting monitoring plan. We will summarize the opinions of these reviewers in the final decision documents, and we will consider their input and any additional information we receive as part of our process of making a final decision on this proposal and the draft post-delisting monitoring plan. Such communication may lead to a final decision that differs from this proposal.

    Clarity of This Proposed Rule

    We are required by Executive Orders 12866 and 12988 and by the Presidential Memorandum of June 1, 1998, to write all rules in plain language. This means that each rule we publish must:

    (a) Be logically organized;

    (b) Use the active voice to address readers directly;

    (c) Use clear language rather than jargon;

    (d) Be divided into short sections and sentences; and

    (e) Use lists and tables wherever possible.

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

    Required Determinations Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    This proposed/final rule does not contain collections of information that require approval by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). We may not conduct or sponsor and you are not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    National Environmental Policy Act

    We have determined that we do not need to prepare an Environmental Assessment or Environmental Impact Statement, as defined in the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), in connection with regulations adopted pursuant to section 4(a) of the Endangered Species Act. We published a notice outlining our reasons for this determination in the Federal Register on October 25, 1983 (48 FR 49244).

    Government-to-Government Relationship With Tribes

    In accordance with the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994, “Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal Governments” (59 FR 22951), Executive Order 13175, and the Department of the Interior's manual at 512 DM 2, we readily acknowledge our responsibility to communicate meaningfully with recognized Federal Tribes on a government-to-government basis. We have determined that there are no tribal lands affected by this proposal.

    References Cited

    A complete list of references cited is available on http://www.regulations.gov under Docket Number FWS-R4-ES-2014-0054.

    Author

    The primary author of this document is Michael A. Floyd, Kentucky Field Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

    List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17

    Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, and Transportation.

    Proposed Regulation Promulgation

    Accordingly, we propose to amend part 17, subchapter B of chapter I, title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as set forth below:

    PART 17—[AMENDED] 1. The authority citation for part 17 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1361-1407; 1531-1544; 4201-4245; unless otherwise noted.

    § 17.12 [Amended]
    2. Amend § 17.12(h) by removing the entry “Solidago albopilosa” under “FLOWERING PLANTS” from the List of Endangered and Threatened Plants. Dated: June 30, 2015. Cynthia T. Martinez, Acting Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-21410 Filed 8-31-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310-55-P
    80 169 Tuesday, September 1, 2015 Notices DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request August 26, 2015.

    The Department of Agriculture has submitted the following information collection requirement(s) to OMB for review and clearance under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13. Comments regarding (a) whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of burden including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected; (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    Comments regarding this information collection received by October 1, 2015 will be considered. Written comments should be addressed to: Desk Officer for Agriculture, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), New Executive Office Building, 725—17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20503. Commenters are encouraged to submit their comments to OMB via email to: [email protected] or fax (202) 395-5806 and to Departmental Clearance Office, USDA, OCIO, Mail Stop 7602, Washington, DC 20250-7602. Copies of the submission(s) may be obtained by calling (202) 720-8681.

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

    National Agricultural Statistics Service

    Title: Organic Certifier Survey.

    OMB Control Number: 0535-NEW.

    Summary of Collection: Data will be collected under the authority of 7 U.S.C. 2204(a). Individually identifiable data collected under this authority are governed by Section 1770 of the Food Security Act of 1985, 7 U.S.C. 2276, which requires the Department of Agriculture to afford strict confidentiality to non-aggregated data provided by respondents. The sample size will consist of all organizations that certify farm and ranch operations that have met the Federal standards to be classified as organic producers. The data collection will be done in a two step process. The first step will involve a personal visit with the managers of the certifying organizations to discuss the data collection needs and collect some basic profile information. The second step will involve the compiling and reporting of the data.

    Need and Use of the Information: The survey will collect the number of operations that are certified organic for each State, along with the number of acres certified for the various crops, and the number of head of livestock and poultry certified as organic. These data are necessary on an annual basis for USDA to provide annual data and analysis of this growing industry. Farmers, consumers, shippers, packers, retailers, wholesalers, etc. all need these data to make informed decisions.

    Description of Respondents: Organic certifying organizations.

    Number of Respondents: 55.

    Frequency of Responses: Reporting: Annually.

    Total Burden Hours: 885.

    Charlene Parker, Departmental Information Collection Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-21558 Filed 8-31-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-20-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Food Safety and Inspection Service [Docket No. FSIS-2015-0031] Codex Alimentarius Commission: Meeting of the Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses AGENCY:

    Office of the Under Secretary for Food Safety, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice of public meeting and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The Office of the Under Secretary for Food Safety, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Office of Nutrition, Labeling, and Dietary Supplements are sponsoring a public meeting on October 27, 2015. The purpose of the public meeting is to provide information and receive public comments on agenda items and draft United States (U.S.) positions to be discussed at the 37th Session of the Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses (CCNFSDU) of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CODEX). The Session will be held in Bad Soden am Taunus, Germany November 23-27, 2015. The Under Secretary for Food Safety and the FDA recognize the importance of providing interested parties the opportunity to obtain background information on the 37th Session of the CCNFSDU and to address items on the agenda.

    DATES:

    The public meeting is scheduled for October 27, 2015 from 1:00-4:00 p.m.

    ADDRESSES:

    The public meeting will take place at the Harvey Wiley Building, United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), 5100 Paint Branch Parkway, Room 1A002, College Park, MD 20740.

    Documents related to the 37th Session of the CCNFSDU will be accessible via the Internet at the following address: http://www.codexalimentarius.org/meetings-reports/en/.

    Leila Beker, U.S. Delegate to the 37th Session of the CCNFSDU, invites U.S. interested parties to submit their comments electronically to the following email address: [email protected]

    Call-In Number

    If you wish to participate in the public meeting for the 37th Session of the CCNFSDU by conference call, please use call-in number and participant code listed below:

    Call-in Number: 1-866-650-8671

    Participant Code: 7571329

    Pre-Registration

    To pre-register for this meeting, please email the information listed below to the following email address: [email protected]

    Your name

    Organization

    Mailing address

    Phone number

    Email address

    For Further Information About the 37th Session of the CCNFSDU

    Contact: Dr. Leila Beker, Biologist, Office of Food Safety Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 5100 Paint Branch Parkway (HFS-850), College Park, MD 20740, Phone: +1 (240) 402-1851, Fax: +1 (301) 436-2636, Email: [email protected]

    For Further Information about the Public Meeting Contact: Doreen Chen-Moulec, U.S. Codex Office, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Room 4861, Washington, DC 20250 Phone: (202) 205-7760, Fax: (202) 720-3157, Email: [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    Codex was established in 1963 by two United Nations organizations, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization. Through adoption of food standards, codes of practice, and other guidelines developed by its committees, and by promoting their implementation by governments, Codex seeks to protect the health of consumers and ensure that fair practices are used in trade.

    The CCNFSDU is responsible for:

    (a) Studying specific nutritional problems assigned to it by the Commission and advising the Commission on general nutrition issues;

    (b) Drafting general provisions, as appropriate, concerning the nutritional aspects of all foods

    (c) Developing standards, guidelines, or related texts for foods for special dietary uses, in cooperation with other committees where necessary

    (d) Considering, amending if necessary, and endorsing provisions on nutritional aspects proposed for inclusion Codex standards, guidelines and related texts

    Issues To Be Discussed at the Public Meeting

    The following items on the Agenda for the 37th Session of the CCNFSDU will be discussed during the public meeting:

    • Proposed Draft Additional or Revised Nutrient Reference Values for Labeling Purposes in the Guidelines on Nutrition Labeling (Vitamin A, D, E, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Chromium, Copper, Chloride and Iron)

    • Review of the Standard for Follow-up Formula (Codex Stan 156-1987)

    • Proposed Draft Definition on Biofortification

    • Proposed Draft NRV-NCD for EPA and DHA long chain omega-3 fatty acids

    • Discussion Paper on Claim for “Free” of Trans Fatty Acids

    • Discussion paper on a standard for ready-to-use foods (RUF)

    Each issue listed will be fully described in documents distributed, or to be distributed, by the Secretariat prior to the Meeting. Members of the public may access or request copies of these documents (see ADDRESSES).

    Additional Public Notification

    Public awareness of all segments of rulemaking and policy development is important. Consequently, FSIS will announce this Federal Register publication on-line through the FSIS Web page located at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/federal-register.

    FSIS also will make copies of this publication available through the FSIS Constituent Update, which is used to provide information regarding FSIS policies, procedures, regulations, Federal Register notices, FSIS public meetings, and other types of information that could affect or would be of interest to our constituents and stakeholders. The Update is available on the FSIS Web page. Through the Web page, FSIS is able to provide information to a much broader, more diverse audience. In addition, FSIS offers an email subscription service which provides automatic and customized access to selected food safety news and information. This service is available at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/subscribe. Options range from recalls to export information, regulations, directives, and notices. Customers can add or delete subscriptions themselves, and have the option to password protect their accounts.

    USDA Non-Discrimination Statement

    No agency, officer, or employee of the USDA shall, on the grounds of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, or political beliefs, exclude from participation in, deny the benefits of, or subject to discrimination any person in the United States under any program or activity conducted by the USDA.

    How To File a Complaint of Discrimination

    To file a complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, which may be accessed online at http://www.ocio.usda.gov/sites/default/files/docs/2012/Complain_combined_6_8_12.pdf, or write a letter signed by you or your authorized representative.

    Send your completed complaint form or letter to USDA by mail, fax, or email:

    Mail

    U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250-9410, Fax: (202) 690-7442, Email: [email protected]

    Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.), should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).

    Done at Washington, DC, on: August 27, 2015. Mary Frances Lowe, U.S. Codex Manager.
    [FR Doc. 2015-21636 Filed 8-31-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-DM-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Dakota Prairie Grasslands, North Dakota; Oil and Gas Development Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement AGENCY:

    Forest Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Revised notice of intent to prepare a supplemental environmental impact statement.

    SUMMARY:

    In June of 2003, the Dakota Prairie Grasslands (DPG) Record of Decision (ROD) for Oil and Gas Leasing on the Little Missouri and Cedar River National Grasslands was signed by the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The ROD identified lands open for lease, including areas subject to leasing stipulations to protect Dakota Prairie Grassland resources and uses. The ROD was based upon the environmental review completed for the 2001 Northern Great Plains Management Plans Revision.

    In the 14 years since the previous analysis was completed there has been new information and changed circumstances that warrant environmental analysis to see what, if any, changes need to be made to the DPG's and BLM's decisions about oil and gas