Federal Register Vol. 80, No.180,

Federal Register Volume 80, Issue 180 (September 17, 2015)

Page Range55715-56364
FR Document

80_FR_180
Current View
Page and SubjectPDF
80 FR 56361 - National Hispanic Heritage Month, 2015PDF
80 FR 55719 - National Grandparents Day, 2015PDF
80 FR 55717 - National Hispanic-Serving Institutions Week, 2015PDF
80 FR 55715 - Delegation of Authority To Transfer Certain Funds in Accordance With Section 610 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961PDF
80 FR 55721 - USAID Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal AwardsPDF
80 FR 55826 - Meeting: Board for International Food and Agricultural DevelopmentPDF
80 FR 55801 - Initiation of Review of Management Plan and Regulations of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary; Intent To Conduct Scoping and Prepare Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Management Plan; CorrectionPDF
80 FR 55797 - Energy Conservation Program: Test Procedures for Small, Large, and Very Large Air-Cooled Commercial Package Air Conditioning and Heating EquipmentPDF
80 FR 55828 - Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail Advisory CouncilPDF
80 FR 55869 - Proposed Renewal of Information Collection: The Alternatives Process in Hydropower LicensingPDF
80 FR 55840 - Meeting: National Board for Education SciencesPDF
80 FR 55834 - First Responder Network Authority Board MeetingsPDF
80 FR 55739 - Importation of Kiwi From Chile Into the United StatesPDF
80 FR 55826 - Oral Rabies Vaccine Trial; Availability of a Supplement to an Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant ImpactPDF
80 FR 55828 - Energy Answers Arecibo, LLC: Extension of Comment Period for a Draft Environmental Impact StatementPDF
80 FR 55842 - Environmental Management Site-Specific Advisory Board, Oak Ridge ReservationPDF
80 FR 55841 - Secretary of Energy Advisory Board Meeting; CorrectionPDF
80 FR 55841 - National Coal Council MeetingPDF
80 FR 55879 - Information Collection: Destinations of Released Patients Following Treatment with Iodine-131 and Estimation of Doses to Members of the Public at Locations Other Than Conventional Residences Receiving Such PatientsPDF
80 FR 55859 - Pediatric Oncology Subcommittee of the Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee; Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 55878 - Seismic Design Classification for Nuclear Power PlantsPDF
80 FR 55851 - Medicare Program; Approval of Request for an Exception to the Prohibition on Expansion of Facility Capacity Under the Hospital Ownership and Rural Provider Exceptions to the Physician Self-Referral ProhibitionPDF
80 FR 55866 - 60-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection; Legal Instructions Concerning Applications for Full Insurance Benefits-Assignment of Multifamily Mortgages to the Secretary; Correction of Web Site Address for FormPDF
80 FR 55742 - Multiemployer Plans; Electronic Filing RequirementsPDF
80 FR 55834 - Corrosion-Resistant Carbon Steel Flat Products From the Republic of Korea: Notice of Court Decision Not in Harmony With Final Results of Administrative Review and Notice of Amended Final Results of Administrative Review Pursuant to Court DecisionPDF
80 FR 55861 - Bridging the Word Gap Competition ChallengePDF
80 FR 55859 - Alliance for Innovation on Maternal and Child Health Cooperative AgreementPDF
80 FR 55860 - Centers of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health in Education, Science, and Practice ProgramPDF
80 FR 55900 - Requested Administrative Waiver of the Coastwise Trade Laws: Vessel ADRENALINE; Invitation for Public CommentsPDF
80 FR 55900 - Requested Administrative Waiver of the Coastwise Trade Laws: Vessel ALANA MCCREE; Invitation for Public CommentsPDF
80 FR 55853 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 55901 - Requested Administrative Waiver of the Coastwise Trade Laws: Vessel KING OF HEARTS; Invitation for Public CommentsPDF
80 FR 55902 - Requested Administrative Waiver of the Coastwise Trade Laws: Vessel THE LONG RUN; Invitation for Public CommentsPDF
80 FR 55901 - Requested Administrative Waiver of the Coastwise Trade Laws: Vessel WAVE DANCER; Invitation for Public CommentsPDF
80 FR 55851 - Notice to All Interested Parties of the Termination of the Receivership of 10303, Progress Bank of Florida, Tampa, FloridaPDF
80 FR 55726 - Federal Employees Health Benefits Program Self Plus One Enrollment TypePDF
80 FR 55821 - Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Greater Amberjack Management MeasuresPDF
80 FR 55839 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Comment Request; Borrower Defenses Against Loan RepaymentPDF
80 FR 55904 - Norfolk Southern Railway Company-Abandonment Exemption-in Nottoway County, VAPDF
80 FR 55763 - Drawbridge Operation Regulations; Delaware River, Burlington County, NJPDF
80 FR 55761 - Drawbridge Operation Regulations; New Jersey Intracoastal Waterway, Atlantic City, NJ and Delaware River, Delair, NJPDF
80 FR 55762 - Drawbridge Operation Regulations; Mantua Creek, Paulsboro, NJ and Raccoon Creek, Bridgeport, NJPDF
80 FR 55819 - Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Dolphin and Wahoo Fishery Off the Atlantic States and Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region; Amendments 7/33PDF
80 FR 55839 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; Middle Grades Longitudinal Study of 2017-2018 (MGLS:2017) Recruitment for 2017 Operational Field TestPDF
80 FR 55836 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Vessel Monitoring System Requirements Under the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries ConventionPDF
80 FR 55838 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Mail Survey To Collect Economic Data From Federal Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic For-Hire Permit HoldersPDF
80 FR 55837 - Pacific Island Fisheries; Public MeetingPDF
80 FR 55857 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Substances Generally Recognized as Safe: Notification ProcedurePDF
80 FR 55802 - User Fee Program To Provide for Accreditation of Third-Party Auditors/Certification Bodies To Conduct Food Safety Audits and To Issue Certifications; CorrectionPDF
80 FR 55855 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Guidance on Meetings With Industry and Investigators on the Research and Development of Tobacco ProductsPDF
80 FR 55854 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Medical Device User Fee Small Business Qualification and CertificationPDF
80 FR 55874 - Revision of a Currently Approved Collection; Respirable Coal Mine Dust SamplingPDF
80 FR 55872 - Certain Marine Sonar Imaging Systems, Products Containing the Same, and Components Thereof; Commission Determination to Review a Final Initial Determination Finding a Violation of Section 337; Schedule for Filing Written Submissions on the Issues Under Review and on Remedy, the Public Interest and BondingPDF
80 FR 55798 - Airworthiness Directives; Airbus AirplanesPDF
80 FR 55827 - National Advisory Committee for Implementation of the National Forest System Land Management Planning RulePDF
80 FR 55870 - National Register of Historic Places; Notification of Pending Nominations and Related ActionsPDF
80 FR 55872 - Cold-Rolled Steel Flat Products From Brazil, China, India, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Russia, and the United KingdomPDF
80 FR 55842 - Empire State Hydro 303, LLC; Notice of Preliminary Permit Application Accepted for Filing and Soliciting Comments, Motions To Intervene, and Competing ApplicationsPDF
80 FR 55844 - Little Elk Wind Project, LLC; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 AuthorizationPDF
80 FR 55845 - Notice of Proposed Restricted Service List for a Programmatic Agreement for Managing Properties Included in or Eligible for Inclusion in the National Register of Historic PlacesPDF
80 FR 55843 - Alcoa Power Generating, Inc.; Notice of Application Accepted for Filing, Soliciting Comments, Motions To Intervene, and ProtestsPDF
80 FR 55846 - Greenwood County, South Carolina; Notice of Application Accepted for Filing, Soliciting Comments, Motions To Intervene, and ProtestsPDF
80 FR 55845 - Robison Energy (Commercial) LLC; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 AuthorizationPDF
80 FR 55844 - Odell Wind Farm, LLC; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 AuthorizationPDF
80 FR 55871 - National Register of Historic Places; Notification of Pending Nominations and Related ActionsPDF
80 FR 55766 - Rules of Practice Before the Judicial OfficerPDF
80 FR 55775 - Assessment and Collection of Regulatory Fees for Fiscal Year 2015PDF
80 FR 55847 - Information Collections Being Submitted for Review and Approval to the Office of Management and BudgetPDF
80 FR 55850 - Information Collection Being Submitted for Review and Approval to the Office of Management and BudgetPDF
80 FR 55867 - Endangered Species; Marine Mammals; Issuance of PermitsPDF
80 FR 55868 - Endangered Species; Receipt of Applications for PermitPDF
80 FR 55751 - Offset of Tax Refund Payments To Collect Certain Debts Owed to StatesPDF
80 FR 55773 - Suspension of Community EligibilityPDF
80 FR 55829 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; CorrectionPDF
80 FR 55864 - Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
80 FR 55768 - Halosulfuron-methyl; Pesticide TolerancesPDF
80 FR 55836 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Generic Clearance for Usability Data CollectionsPDF
80 FR 55903 - Request for Comments on New Information CollectionPDF
80 FR 55899 - Agency Information Collection Activity Under OMB ReviewPDF
80 FR 55802 - Substantiation Requirement for Certain ContributionsPDF
80 FR 55880 - Independent Assessment of Nuclear Material Control and Accounting SystemsPDF
80 FR 55888 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NASDAQ OMX BX, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Amend Exchange Rule 7018PDF
80 FR 55885 - Pomona Investment Fund, et al.; Notice of ApplicationPDF
80 FR 55887 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; C2 Options Exchange, Incorporated; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Amend the Fees SchedulePDF
80 FR 55882 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; BATS Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change Related to Fees To Adopt a Tape B Volume TierPDF
80 FR 55892 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE Arca, Inc.; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change To List and Trade Shares of the Following Under NYSE Arca Equities Rule 8.600: First Trust Heitman Global Prime Real Estate ETFPDF
80 FR 55883 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; National Securities Clearing Corporation; Notice of Filing of Advance Notice To Enhance NSCC's Margining Methodology as Applied to Family-Issued Securities of Certain NSCC MembersPDF
80 FR 55763 - Loan Guaranty-Specially Adapted Housing Assistive Technology Grant ProgramPDF
80 FR 55805 - Approval and Promulgation of State Implementation Plans; Nevada; Regional Haze Progress ReportPDF
80 FR 55741 - Amendment of Class E Airspace; Tracy, CAPDF
80 FR 55752 - Background Checks on Individuals in DoD Child Care Services ProgramsPDF
80 FR 55838 - Record of Decision for the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for Guam and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Military RelocationPDF
80 FR 55831 - Privacy Act of 1974, Altered System of RecordsPDF
80 FR 55829 - Privacy Act of 1974; Amended System of RecordsPDF
80 FR 55746 - Pennsylvania Regulatory ProgramPDF
80 FR 55795 - Expanding the Economic and Innovation Opportunities of Spectrum Through Incentive AuctionsPDF
80 FR 56359 - Qualitative Risk Assessment of Risk of Activity/Animal Food Combinations for Activities (Outside the Farm Definition) Conducted in a Facility Co-Located on a Farm; AvailabilityPDF
80 FR 56357 - Qualitative Risk Assessment of Risk of Activity/Food Combinations for Activities (Outside the Farm Definition) Conducted in a Facility Co-Located on a Farm; AvailabilityPDF
80 FR 56169 - Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Food for AnimalsPDF
80 FR 55907 - Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human FoodPDF
80 FR 55742 - Discontinuation of Airport Advisory Service in the Contiguous United States, Puerto Rico, and HawaiiPDF

Issue

80 180 Thursday, September 17, 2015 Contents Agency Agency for International Development RULES USAID Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards, 55721-55726 2015-23419 NOTICES Meetings: Board for International Food and Agricultural Development, 55826 2015-23418 Agriculture Agriculture Department See

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

See

Forest Service

See

Rural Utilities Service

Animal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service RULES Importation of Kiwi from Chile into the United States, 55739-55741 2015-23383 NOTICES Environmental Assessments; Availability, etc.: Oral Rabies Vaccine Trial; Supplement, 55826-55827 2015-23381 Census Bureau Census Bureau NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals; Correction, 55829 2015-23300 Centers Medicare Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services NOTICES Approvals for Exception to Prohibition Against Expansion of Facility Capacity, 55851-55853 2015-23363 Children Children and Families Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 55853-55854 2015-23353 Coast Guard Coast Guard RULES Drawbridge Operations: Delaware River, Burlington County, NJ, 55763 2015-23343 Mantua Creek, Paulsboro, NJ and Raccoon Creek, Bridgeport, NJ, 55762 2015-23341 New Jersey Intracoastal Waterway, Atlantic City, NJ and Delaware River, Delair, NJ, 55761-55762 2015-23342 Commerce Commerce Department See

Census Bureau

See

First Responder Network Authority

See

International Trade Administration

See

National Institute of Standards and Technology

See

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

See

National Telecommunications and Information Administration

NOTICES Privacy Act; Systems of Records, 55829-55833 2015-23133 2015-23135
Defense Department Defense Department See

Navy Department

RULES Background Checks on Individuals in DoD Child Care Services Programs, 55752-55761 2015-23269
Education Department Education Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Borrower Defenses Against Loan Repayment, 55839 2015-23346 Middle Grades Longitudinal Study of 2017-2018 Recruitment for 2017 Operational Field Test, 55839-55840 2015-23338 Meetings: National Board for Education Sciences, 55840-55841 2015-23392 Energy Department Energy Department See

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

PROPOSED RULES Energy Conservation Program: Test Procedures for Small, Large, and Very Large Air-Cooled Commercial Package Air Conditioning and Heating Equipment, 55797-55798 2015-23416 NOTICES Meetings: Environmental Management Site-Specific Advisory Board, 55842 2015-23373 National Coal Council, 55841-55842 2015-23371 Secretary of Energy Advisory Board; Correction, 55841 2015-23372
Environmental Protection Environmental Protection Agency RULES Pesticide Tolerances: Halosulfuron-methyl, 55768-55773 2015-23298 PROPOSED RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: Nevada; Regional Haze Progress Report, 55805-55819 2015-23272 Federal Aviation Federal Aviation Administration RULES Class E Airspace; Amendments: Tracy, CA, 55741-55742 2015-23271 Discontinuation of Airport Advisory Service in the Contiguous U.S., Puerto Rico, and Hawaii, 55742 2015-21784 PROPOSED RULES Airworthiness Directives: Airbus Airplanes, 55798-55801 2015-23328 Federal Communications Federal Communications Commission RULES Assessment and Collection of Regulatory Fees for Fiscal Year 2015, 55775-55795 2015-23312 Expanding the Economic and Innovation Opportunities of Spectrum through Incentive Auctions, 55795-55796 2015-22595 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 55847-55851 2015-23308 2015-23309 Federal Deposit Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation NOTICES Terminations of Receivership: Progress Bank of Florida, Tampa, Fl, 55851 2015-23349 Federal Emergency Federal Emergency Management Agency RULES Suspensions of Community Eligibility, 55773-55775 2015-23303 Federal Energy Federal Energy Regulatory Commission NOTICES Applications: Alcoa Power Generating, Inc., 55843-55844 2015-23320 Greenwood County, SC, 55846-55847 2015-23319 Initial Market-Based Rate Filings Including Requests for Blanket Section 204 Authorizations: Little Elk Wind Project, LLC, 55844 2015-23322 Odell Wind Farm, LLC, 55844-55845 2015-23317 Robison Energy (Commercial), LLC, 55845 2015-23318 Preliminary Permit Applications: Empire State Hydro 303, LLC, 55842-55843 2015-23323 Proposed Restricted Service List for Programmatic Agreements for Managing Properties Included in or Eligible for Inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places: Beverly Lock and Dam Water Power Project No. 13404-002, et al., 55845-55846 2015-23321 Federal Transit Federal Transit Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 55899-55900 2015-23293 FIRSTNET First Responder Network Authority NOTICES Meetings: First Responder Network Authority Board, 55834 2015-23391 Fiscal Fiscal Service RULES Offset of Tax Refund Payments to Collect Certain Debts Owed to States, 55751-55752 2015-23305 Fish Fish and Wildlife Service NOTICES Permits: Endangered Species; Applications, 55868-55869 2015-23306 Endangered Species; Marine Mammals, 55867-55868 2015-23307 Food and Drug Food and Drug Administration RULES Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Food for Animals, 56170-56356 2015-21921 Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food, 55908-56168 2015-21920 Qualitative Risk Assessment of Risk of Activity/Animal Food Combinations for Activities (Outside the Farm Definition) Conducted in a Facility Co-Located on a Farm; Availability, 56360 2015-21923 Qualitative Risk Assessment of Risk of Activity/Food Combinations for Activities (Outside the Farm Definition) Conducted in a Facility Co-Located on a Farm; Availability, 56358 2015-21922 PROPOSED RULES User Fee Program to Provide for Accreditation of Third-Party Auditors/Certification Bodies to Conduct Food Safety Audits and to Issue Certifications; Correction, 55802 2015-23333 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Guidance on Meetings with Industry and Investigators on the Research and Development of Tobacco Products, 55855-55857 2015-23332 Medical Device User Fee Small Business Qualification and Certification, 55854-55855 2015-23331 Substances Generally Recognized as Safe, Notification Procedure, 55857-55859 2015-23334 Meetings: Pediatric Oncology Subcommittee of the Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee, 55859 2015-23366 Forest Forest Service NOTICES Meetings: National Advisory Committee for Implementation of the National Forest System Land Management Planning Rule, 55827-55828 2015-23327 Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail Advisory Council, 55828 2015-23410 Health and Human Health and Human Services Department See

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

See

Children and Families Administration

See

Food and Drug Administration

See

Health Resources and Services Administration

See

National Institutes of Health

Health Resources Health Resources and Services Administration NOTICES Funding Availability: Bridging the Word Gap Competition Challenge, 55861-55864 2015-23358 Single-Case Deviation from Competition Requirement for Program Expansion: Alliance for Innovation on Maternal and Child Health Cooperative Agreement, 55859-55860 2015-23357 Centers of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health in Education, Science, and Practice Program, 55860-55861 2015-23356 Homeland Homeland Security Department See

Coast Guard

See

Federal Emergency Management Agency

Housing Housing and Urban Development Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Legal Instructions Concerning Applications for Full Insurance Benefits Assignment of Multifamily Mortgages to the Secretary Correction of Website Address for Form, 55866-55867 2015-23362 Interior Interior Department See

Fish and Wildlife Service

See

National Park Service

See

Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement Office

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Alternatives in Hydropower Licensing, 55869-55870 2015-23393
Internal Revenue Internal Revenue Service PROPOSED RULES Substantiation Requirement for Certain Contributions, 55802-55805 2015-23291 International Trade Adm International Trade Administration NOTICES Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Corrosion-Resistant Carbon Steel Flat Products from the Republic of Korea, 55834-55836 2015-23360 International Trade Com International Trade Commission NOTICES Investigations; Determinations, Modifications, and Rulings, etc.: Cold-Rolled Steel Flat Products from Brazil, China, India, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Russia, and the United Kingdom, 55872 2015-23325 Marine Sonar Imaging Systems, Products Containing the Same, and Components Thereof, 55872-55874 2015-23329 Labor Department Labor Department See

Mine Safety and Health Administration

Maritime Maritime Administration NOTICES Requests for Administrative Waivers of the Coastwise Trade Laws: Vessel ADRENALINE, 55900 2015-23355 Vessel ALANA MCCREE, 55900-55901 2015-23354 Vessel KING OF HEARTS, 55901-55902 2015-23352 Vessel THE LONG RUN, 55902 2015-23351 Vessel WAVE DANCER, 55901 2015-23350 Mine Mine Safety and Health Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Respirable Coal Mine Dust Sampling, 55874-55878 2015-23330 National Highway National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 55903-55904 2015-23294 National Institute National Institute of Standards and Technology NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Generic Clearance for Usability Data Collections, 55836 2015-23295 National Institute National Institutes of Health NOTICES Meetings: Center for Scientific Review, 55864-55866 2015-23299 National Oceanic National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration PROPOSED RULES Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic: Dolphin and Wahoo Fishery Off the Atlantic States and Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region; Amendments 7/33, 55819-55821 2015-23339 Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Greater Amberjack Management Measures, 55821-55825 2015-23347 Initiation of Review of Management Plan and Regulations of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary: Scoping and Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Management Plan; Correction, 55801-55802 2015-23417 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Mail Survey to Collect Economic Data from Federal Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic For-Hire Permit Holders, 55838 2015-23336 Vessel Monitoring System Requirements under the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention, 55836-55837 2015-23337 Meetings: Pacific Island Fisheries, 55837-55838 2015-23335 National Park National Park Service NOTICES National Register of Historic Places: Pending Nominations and Related Actions, 55870-55872 2015-23316 2015-23326 National Telecommunications National Telecommunications and Information Administration NOTICES Meetings: First Responder Network Authority Board, 55834 2015-23391 Navy Navy Department NOTICES Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Guam and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Military Relocation, 55838-55839 2015-23244 Nuclear Regulatory Nuclear Regulatory Commission NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Destinations of Released Patients Following Treatment with Iodine-131 and Estimation of Doses to Members of the Public at Locations other than Conventional Residences Receiving Such Patients, 55879-55880 2015-23367 Guidance: Independent Assessment of Nuclear Material Control and Accounting Systems, 55880-55881 2015-23290 Seismic Design Classification for Nuclear Power Plants, 55878-55879 2015-23365 Pension Benefit Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation RULES Multiemployer Plans; Electronic Filing Requirements, 55742-55745 2015-23361 Personnel Personnel Management Office RULES Federal Employees Health Benefits Program Self Plus One Enrollment Type, 55726-55739 2015-23348 Postal Service Postal Service RULES Rules of Practice before the Judicial Officer, 55766-55768 2015-23314 Presidential Documents Presidential Documents PROCLAMATIONS Special Observances: National Grandparents Day (Proc. 9321), 55719-55720 2015-23496 National Hispanic Heritage Month (Proc. 9322), 56361-56364 2015-23563 National Hispanic-Serving Institutions Week (Proc. 9320), 55717-55718 2015-23492 ADMINISTRATIVE ORDERS Foreign Assistance Act of 1961; Delegation of Authority (Memorandum of August 28, 2015), 55715 2015-23489 Rural Utilities Rural Utilities Service NOTICES Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Energy Answers Arecibo, LLC, 55828-55829 2015-23377 Securities Securities and Exchange Commission NOTICES Applications: Pomona Investment Fund, et al., 55885-55887 2015-23288 Self-Regulatory Organizations; Proposed Rule Changes: BATS Exchange, Inc., 55882-55883 2015-23286 C2 Options Exchange, Inc., 55887-55888 2015-23287 NASDAQ OMX BX, Inc., 55888-55891 2015-23289 National Securities Clearing Corp., 55883-55885 2015-23283 NYSE Arca, Inc., 55892-55899 2015-23285 Surface Mining Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement Office RULES Pennsylvania Regulatory Program, 55746-55751 2015-23118 Surface Transportation Surface Transportation Board NOTICES Abandonment Exemptions: Norfolk Southern Railway Co., Nottoway County, VA, 55904-55905 2015-23345 Transportation Department Transportation Department See

Federal Aviation Administration

See

Federal Transit Administration

See

Maritime Administration

See

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

See

Surface Transportation Board

Treasury Treasury Department See

Fiscal Service

See

Internal Revenue Service

Veteran Affairs Veterans Affairs Department RULES Loan Guaranties: Specially Adapted Housing Assistive Technology Grant Program, 55763-55766 2015-23280 Separate Parts In This Issue Part II Health and Human Services Department, Food and Drug Administration, 55908-56168 2015-21920 Part III Health and Human Services Department, Food and Drug Administration, 56170-56356 2015-21921 Part IV Health and Human Services Department, Food and Drug Administration, 56358 2015-21922 Part V Health and Human Services Department, Food and Drug Administration, 56360 2015-21923 Part VI Presidential Documents, 56361-56364 2015-23563 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.

80 180 Thursday, September 17, 2015 Rules and Regulations AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT 2 CFR Part 700 RIN 0412-AA73 USAID Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards AGENCY:

Agency for International Development (USAID).

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

USAID is issuing a final rule adopting with amendments the “Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards,” issued by the Office of Management and Budget and published in Federal Register on December 26, 2013. Consistent with the OMB rule, USAID's rule supersedes USAID's “Administration of Assistance Awards to U.S. Non-Governmental Organizations.” Parts of this final rule apply to for-profit entities in limited circumstances and to foreign organizations as described in this guidance.

DATES:

This final rule is effective October 19, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Michael Gushue, Telephone: 202-567-4678, Email: [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

A. Background

The Agency for International Development issued an interim final rule with a request for comments adopting the Office of Management and Budget's “Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards, and published in the Federal Register in Vol. 78, No. 248 (Dec. 26, 2013). This OMB rule is codified at 2 CFR part 200 and superseded OMB Circulars A-21, A-87, A-110, A-122, A-89, A-102, and A-133, and the guidance in Circular A-50 on Single Audit Act follow-up. USAID's interim final rule and subsequent final rule replace 22 CFR part 226, “Administration of Assistance Awards to U.S. Nongovernmental Organizations.” Parts of this final rule also apply to for-profit entities in limited circumstances and to foreign organizations as described in this guidance.

Regulatory Authority: The authority for Part 700 reads as follows:

Authority:

Sec. 621, Public L. 87-195, 75 Stat 445, (22 U.S.C. 2381) as amended, E.O. 12163, Sept 29, 1979, 44 FR 56673; 2 CFR 1979 Comp., p. 435

B. Discussion of Comments

The public comment period on the proposed rule closed on March 6, 2015. USAID received comments and suggestions from two organizations on its interim final rule. The following responses address comments that were specific to USAID's implementation of OMB's rule. Comments regarding OMB's Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements at 2 CFR part 200 that did not affect USAID's implementation at 2 CFR part 700 were not considered.

Applicability of Subparts D and E to Foreign Organizations

Comment: Two commenters addressed USAID's application of 2 CFR part 200 and 2 CFR part 700 to foreign organizations. Agencies were given decision making authority on the applicability of 2 CFR part 200 to non-US entities, which has resulted in a lack of consistency in applicability to non-US entities across the various federal agencies. Because the goal of this new regulation was to increase uniformity and reduce administrative burden, Subparts A through E of 2 CFR part 200 should be made applicable to all non-US entities, which will simplify and streamline sub-recipient monitoring, as well as implementation. The U.S. Agency for International Development has applied Subpart E inconsistently. Non-US entities will face different administrative requirements when they receive federal awards directly from these agencies. Pass-through entities that subaward funds to local indigenous organizations in host countries as well as to U.S. based entities must craft differing subaward agreements for each class of subrecipients and monitor and enforce differing requirements. Those non-US based subrecipients who receive funds that originate from USAID and from other federal agencies are subject to policies that are not uniform. We encourage USAID to use references to 2 CFR part 200, subpart D in its policies affecting non-US entities and to use the provisions of 2 CFR 200.207 to differentiate on an individual basis whether differing special conditions are warranted rather than continue to differentiate as they have done.

Response: USAID has modified 2 CFR part 700 to clearly identify what parts of 2 CFR part 200 apply to different entities. USAID will continue its longstanding practice of not applying the uniform set of administrative requirements consolidated in the new Uniform Requirements to foreign organizations. The Uniform Requirements would have significant negative implications for USAID's ongoing operations and awards involving foreign organizations. Taken as a whole, adoption by USAID of the Uniform Requirements to foreign organizations would impose U.S. requirements on local organizations working in English as a second language and unfamiliar with the technical wording and systems logic of federal regulations primarily directed at U.S. recipients, including U.S. and international non-governmental organizations, universities, and research organizations. Application of these requirements would result in an across-the-board increase of administrative burden on local organizations and would seriously undermine USAID's development and sustainability goals that have been the subject of significant efforts to reduce such burdens and barriers to local organization partnerships with USAID.

More broadly, these changes would have a significant impact on the Agency's ongoing efforts to work directly with capable local organizations to fulfill our overall mandate to support sustainable development.

Applicability to Commercial Organizations

Comment: Two commenters addressed the application of cost principles to for-profit entities. Section 2 CFR 200.101 indicates that Federal agencies may apply the Cost Principles, found in Subpart E, to commercial entities. OMB's decision to permit Federal awarding agencies to decide whether to apply the provisions of the Uniform Guidance to commercial organizations and its discussion of the applicability of Subpart E of 2 CFR part 200 has created confusion as to the continuing role that the cost principles for commercial organizations contained in 48 CFR Subpart 31.2 have when the Federal award is made to a commercial organization.

In particular, the statement in 2 CFR 200.101(a) (i.e., “These requirements are applicable to all costs related to Federal awards.”), the chart that follows in 2 CFR 200.101(b), and particularly the statement contained in 2 CFR 200.101(c) lead to the conclusion that OMB's intent is for commercial organizations to follow Subpart E when administering grants and cooperative agreements. However, Subpart E only applies to non-commercial entities, while 48 CFR Subpart 31.2 applies to commercial entities. It is clear that when those organizations are administering a Federal contract, they would be directed to follow 48 CFR Subpart 31.2, leading to potential inconsistency of costing. The Department of State has addressed this subject by promulgating 2 CFR 600.101(b) to assure cost consistency shows that this clarification should be made on a government-wide basis.

Response: USAID has revised 2 CFR part 700 to clarify that Subpart E does not apply to for-profit entities.

Regulatory Findings

For the regulatory findings regarding this rulemaking, please refer to the analysis prepared by OIRA in the interim final rule, which is incorporated herein. 79 FR at 75876.

List of Subjects in 22 CFR Part 700

Accounting, Administrative practice and procedure, Audit requirements, Grant administration, Grant programs, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

Regulatory Text

For the reasons stated in the preamble, The Agency for International Development amends 2 CFR Chapter VII by revising part 700 to read as follows:

PART 700—UNIFORM ADMINISTRATIVE REQUIREMENTS, COST PRINCIPLES, AND AUDIT REQUIREMENTS FOR FEDERAL AWARDS Sec. Subpart A—Acronyms and Definitions 700.1 Definitions. Subpart B—General Provisions 700.2 Adoption of 2 CFR part 200. 700.3 Applicability. 700.4 Exceptions. 700.5 Supersession. Subpart C—Pre-Federal Award Requirements and Contents of Federal Awards 700.6 Metric system of measurement. 700.7 Advance payment. Subpart D—Post Federal Award Requirements 700.8 Payment. 700.9 Property standards. 700.10 Cost sharing or matching. 700.11 Contracting with small and minority businesses, women's business enterprises, and labor surplus area firms. 700.12 Contract provisions. 700.13 Additional provisions for awards to for-profit entities. Termination and Disputes 700.14 Termination. 700.15 Disputes. USAID—Specific Requirements 700.16 Marking. Authority:

Sec. 621, Public L. 87-195, 75 Stat 445, (22 U.S.C. 2381) as amended, E.O. 12163, Sept 29, 1979, 44 FR 56673; 2 CFR 1979 Comp., p. 435.

Subpart A—Acronyms and Definitions
§ 700.1 Definitions.

These are the definitions for terms used in this part. Different definitions may be found in Federal statutes or regulations that apply more specifically to particular programs or activities.

Activity means a set of actions through which inputs—such as commodities, technical assistance, training, or resource transfers—are mobilized to produce specific outputs, such as vaccinations given, schools built, microenterprise loans issued, or policies changed. Activities are undertaken to achieve objectives that have been formally approved and notified to Congress.

Agreement Officer means a person with the authority to enter into, administer, terminate and/or closeout assistance agreements subject to this part, and make related determinations and findings on behalf of USAID. An Agreement Officer can only act within the scope of a duly authorized warrant or other valid delegation of authority. The term “Agreement Officer” includes persons warranted as “Grant Officers.” It also includes certain authorized representatives of the Agreement Officer acting within the limits of their authority as delegated by the Agreement Officer.

Apparently successful applicant(s) means the applicant(s) for USAID funding recommended for an award after merit review, but who has not yet been awarded a grant, cooperative agreement or other assistance award by the Agreement Officer. Apparently successful applicant status confers no right and constitutes no USAID commitment to an award, which still must be executed by the Agreement Officer.

Award means financial assistance that provides support or stimulation to accomplish a public purpose. Awards include grants, cooperative agreements, and other agreements in the form of money or property in lieu of money, by the Federal Government to an eligible recipient. The term does not include: Technical assistance, which provides services instead of money; other assistance in the form of loans, loan guarantees, interest subsidies, or insurance; direct payments of any kind to individuals; contracts which are required to be entered into and administered under procurement laws and regulations.

Branding strategy means a strategy the apparently successful applicant submits at the specific request of an USAID Agreement Officer after merit review of an application for USAID funding, describing how the program, project, or activity is named and positioned, as well as how it is promoted and communicated to beneficiaries and cooperating country citizens. It identifies all donors and explains how they will be acknowledged. A Branding Strategy is required even if a Presumptive Exception is approved in the Marking Plan.

Commodities mean any material, article, supply, goods or equipment, excluding recipient offices, vehicles, and non-deliverable items for recipient's internal use in administration of the USAID-funded grant, cooperative agreement, or other agreement or subagreement.

Date of completion means the date on which all work under an award is completed or the date on the award document, or any supplement or amendment, on which USAID sponsorship ends.

Marking plan means a plan that the apparently successful applicant submits at the specific request of a USAID Agreement Officer after merit review of an application for USAID funding, detailing the public communications, commodities, and program materials and other items that will visibly bear the USAID Identity. Recipients may request approval of Presumptive Exceptions to marking requirements in the Marking Plan.

Principal officer means the most senior officer in an USAID Operating Unit in the field, e.g., USAID Mission Director or USAID Representative. For global programs managed from Washington but executed across many countries such as disaster relief and assistance to internally displaced persons, humanitarian emergencies or immediate post conflict and political crisis response, the cognizant Principal Officer may be an Office Director, for example, the Directors of USAID/W/Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance and Office of Transition Initiatives. For non-presence countries, the cognizant Principal Officer is the Senior USAID officer in a regional USAID Operating Unit responsible for the non-presence country, or in the absence of such a responsible operating unit, the Principle U.S Diplomatic Officer in the non-presence country exercising delegated authority from USAID.

Program means an organized set of activities and allocation of resources directed toward a common purpose, objective, or goal undertaken or proposed by an organization to carry out the responsibilities assigned to it. Projects include all the marginal costs of inputs (including the proposed investment) technically required to produce a discrete marketable output or a desired result (for example, services from a fully functional water/sewage treatment facility).

Public communications are documents and messages intended for distribution to audiences external to the recipient's organization. They include, but are not limited to, correspondence, publications, studies, reports, audio visual productions, and other informational products; applications, forms, press and promotional materials used in connection with USAID funded programs, projects or activities, including signage and plaques; Web sites/Internet activities; and events such as training courses, conferences, seminars, press conferences and the like.

Suspension means an action by USAID that temporarily withdraws Federal sponsorship under an award, pending corrective action by the recipient or pending a decision to terminate the award. Suspension of an award is a separate action from suspension under USAID regulations implementing E.O.'s 12549 and 12689, “Debarment and Suspension.” See 2 CFR part 780.

Unrecovered indirect cost means the difference between the amount awarded and the amount which could have been awarded under the recipient's approved negotiated indirect cost rate.

USAID means the United States Agency for International Development.

USAID Identity (Identity) means the official marking for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) comprised of the USAID logo or seal and new brandmark with the tagline that clearly communicates our assistance is “from the American people.” In exceptional circumstances, upon a written determination by the USAID Administrator, the definition of the USAID Identity may be amended to include additional or substitute use of a logo or seal and tagline representing a presidential initiative or other high level interagency Federal initiative that requires consistent and uniform branding and marking by all participating agencies. The USAID Identity (including any required presidential initiative or related identity) is available on the USAID Web site at http://www.usaid.gov/branding and is provided without royalty, license or other fee to recipients of USAID funded grants or cooperative agreements or other assistance awards.

Subpart B—General Provisions
§ 700.2 Adoption of 2 CFR Part 200.

Under the authority listed above the Agency for International Development adopts the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidance Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards to Non-Federal Entities (subparts A through F of 2 CFR part 200), as supplemented by this part, as the Agency for International Development (USAID) policies and procedures for financial assistance administration. This part satisfies the requirements of 2 CFR 200.110(a) and gives regulatory effect to the OMB guidance as supplemented by this part.

§ 700.3 Applicability.

(a) Subparts A through D of 2 CFR part 200 apply to for-profit entities. The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) at 48 CFR part 30, Cost Accounting Standards, and Part 31, Contract Cost Principles and Procedures, takes precedence over the cost principles in Subpart E for Federal awards to for-profit entities.

(b) Subpart E applies to foreign organizations and foreign public entities, except where the Federal awarding agency determines that the application of these subparts would be inconsistent with the international obligations of the United States or the statute or regulations of a foreign government.

§ 700.4 Exceptions.

Consistent with 2 CFR 200.102(b):

(a) Exceptions on a case-by-case basis for individual non-Federal entities may be authorized by USAID's Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Management, or designee as delegated in Agency policy, except where otherwise required by law or where OMB or other approval is expressly required by this Part. No case-by-case exceptions may be granted to the provisions of Subpart F—Audit Requirements of this Part.

(b) USAID's Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Management, or designee as delegated in Agency policy, is also authorized to approve exceptions, on a class or an individual case basis, to USAID program specific assistance regulations other than those which implement statutory and executive order requirements.

(c) The Federal awarding agency may apply more restrictive requirements to a class of Federal awards or non-Federal entities when approved by OMB, required by Federal statutes or regulations except for the requirements in Subpart F—Audit Requirements of this part. A Federal awarding agency may apply less restrictive requirements when making awards at or below the simplified acquisition threshold, or when making fixed amount awards as defined in Subpart A—Acronyms and Definitions of 2 CFR part 200, except for those requirements imposed by statute or in Subpart F—Audit Requirements of this part.

§ 700.5 Supersession.

Effective December 26, 2014, this part supersedes the following regulations under Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations: 22 CFR part 226, “Administration of Assistance Awards To U.S. Non-Governmental Organizations.”

Subpart C—Pre-Federal Award Requirements and Contents of Federal Awards
§ 700.6 Metric system of measurement.

(a) The Metric Conversion Act, as amended by the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act (15 U.S.C. 205) declares that the metric system is the preferred measurement system for U.S. trade and commerce.

(b) Wherever measurements are required or authorized, they must be made, computed, and recorded in metric system units of measurement, unless otherwise authorized by the Agreement Officer in writing when it has been found that such usage is impractical or is likely to cause U.S. firms to experience significant inefficiencies or the loss of markets. Where the metric system is not the predominant standard for a particular application, measurements may be expressed in both the metric and the traditional equivalent units, provided the metric units are listed first.

§ 700.7 Advance payment.

Advance payment mechanisms include, but are not limited to, Letter of Credit, Treasury check and electronic funds transfer and must comply with applicable guidance in 31 CFR part 205.

Subpart D—Post Federal Award Requirements
§ 700.8 Payment.

(a) Use of resources before requesting advance payments. To the extent available, the non-Federal entity must disburse funds available from program income (including repayments to a revolving fund), rebates, refunds, contract settlements, audit recoveries, and interest earned on such funds before requesting additional cash payments. This paragraph is not applicable to such earnings which are generated as foreign currencies.

(b) Standards governing the use of banks and other institutions as depositories of advance payments under Federal awards are as follows:

(1) Except for situations described in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, USAID does not require separate depository accounts for funds provided to a non-Federal entity or establish any eligibility requirements for depositories for funds provided to the non-Federal entity. However, the non-Federal entity must be able to account for receipt, obligation and expenditure of funds.

(2) Advance payments of Federal funds must be deposited and maintained in insured accounts whenever possible.

§ 700.9 Property standards.

(a) Real property. Unless the agreement provides otherwise, title to real property will vest in accordance with 2 CFR 200.311.

(b) Equipment. Unless the agreement provides otherwise, title to equipment will vest in accordance with 2 CFR 200.313.

§ 700.10 Cost sharing or matching.

Unrecovered indirect costs, including indirect costs on cost sharing or matching may be included as part of cost sharing or matching. Unrecovered indirect cost means the difference between the amount charged to the Federal award and the amount which would have been charged to the Federal award under the non-Federal entity's approved negotiated indirect cost rate.

§ 700.11 Contracting with small and minority businesses, women's business enterprises, and labor surplus area firms.

(a) Make information on forthcoming opportunities available and arrange time frames for purchases and contracts to encourage and facilitate participation by small businesses, minority-owned firms, and women's business enterprises. To permit USAID, in accordance with the small business provisions of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, to give United States small business firms an opportunity to participate in supplying commodities and services procured under the award, the recipient must to the maximum extent possible provide the following information to the Office of Small Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU), USAID, Washington, DC 20523, at least 45 days prior to placing any order or contract in excess of the simplified acquisition threshold:

(1) Brief general description and quantity of goods or services;

(2) Closing date for receiving quotations, proposals or bids; and

(3) Address where solicitations or specifications can be obtained.

(b) [Reserved]

§ 700.12 Contract provisions.

(a) The non-Federal entity's contracts must contain the applicable provisions described in Appendix II to Part 200—Contract Provisions for non-Federal Entity Contracts Under Federal Awards.

(b) All negotiated contracts (except those for less than the simplified acquisition threshold) awarded by the non-Federal entity must include a provision to the effect that the non-Federal Entity, USAID, the Comptroller General of the United States, or any of their duly authorized representatives, must have access to any books, documents, papers and records of the contractor which are directly pertinent to a specific program for the purpose of making audits, examinations, excerpts and transcriptions.

§ 700.13 Additional provisions for awards to for-profit entities.

(a) This paragraph contains additional provisions that apply to awards to for-profit entities. These provisions supplement and make exceptions for awards to for-profit entities from other provisions of this part.

(1) Prohibition against profit. No funds will be paid as profit to any for-profit entity receiving or administering Federal financial assistance as a recipient or subrecipient. Federal financial assistance does not include contracts as defined at 2 CFR 200.22, other contracts a Federal agency uses to buy goods or services from a contractor, or contracts to operate Federal government owned, contractor operated facilities (GOCOs). Profit is any amount in excess of allowable direct and indirect costs.

(2) Program income. As described in § 200.307(e)(2), program income earned by a for-profit entity may not be added to the Federal award.

(b) [Reserved]

Termination and Disputes
§ 700.14 Termination.

If at any time USAID determines that continuation of all or part of the funding for a program should be suspended or terminated because such assistance would not be in the national interest of the United States or would be in violation of an applicable law, then USAID may, following notice to the recipient, suspend or terminate the award in whole or in part and prohibit the recipient from incurring additional obligations chargeable to the award other than those costs specified in the notice of suspension. If a suspension is put into effect and the situation causing the suspension continues for 60 calendar days or more, then USAID may terminate the award in whole or in part on written notice to the recipient and cancel any portion of the award which has not been disbursed or irrevocably committed to third parties.

§ 700.15 Disputes.

(a) Any dispute under or relating to a grant or agreement will be decided by the USAID Agreement Officer. The Agreement Officer must furnish the recipient a written copy of the decision.

(b) Decisions of the USAID Agreement Officer will be final unless, within 30 calendar days of receipt of the decision, the recipient appeals the decision to USAID's Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Management, or designee as delegated in Agency policy. Appeals must be in writing with a copy concurrently furnished to the Agreement Officer.

(c) In order to facilitate review of the record by the USAID's Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Management, or designee as delegated in Agency policy, the recipient will be given an opportunity to submit written evidence in support of its appeal. No hearing will be provided.

(d) Decisions by the Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Management, or designee as delegated in Agency policy, will be final.

USAID—Specific Requirements
§ 700.16 Marking.

(a) USAID policy is that all programs, projects, activities, public communications, and commodities, specified further at paragraphs (c) through (f) of this section, partially or fully funded by a USAID grant or cooperative agreement or other assistance award or subaward must be marked appropriately overseas with the USAID Identity, of a size and prominence equivalent to or greater than the recipient's, other donor's or any other third party's identity or logo.

(1) USAID reserves the right to require the USAID Identity to be larger and more prominent if it is the majority donor, or to require that a cooperating country government's identity be larger and more prominent if circumstances warrant; any such requirement will be on a case-by-case basis depending on the audience, program goals and materials produced.

(2) USAID reserves the right to request pre-production review of USAID funded public communications and program materials for compliance with the approved Marking Plan.

(3) USAID reserves the right to require marking with the USAID Identity in the event the recipient does not choose to mark with its own identity or logo.

(4) To ensure that the marking requirements “flow down” to subrecipients of subawards, recipients of USAID funded grants and cooperative agreements or other assistance awards are required to include a USAID-approved marking provision in any USAID funded subaward, to read as follows:

As a condition of receipt of this subaward, marking with the USAID Identity of a size and prominence equivalent to or greater than the recipient's, subrecipient's, other donor's or third party's is required. In the event the recipient chooses not to require marking with its own identity or logo by the subrecipient, USAID may, at its discretion, require marking by the subrecipient with the USAID Identity.

(b) Subject to § 700.16(a), (h), and (j), program, project, or activity sites funded by USAID, including visible infrastructure projects (for example, roads, bridges, buildings) or other programs, projects, or activities that are physical in nature (for example, agriculture, forestry, water management), must be marked with the USAID Identity. Temporary signs or plaques should be erected early in the construction or implementation phase. When construction or implementation is complete, a permanent, durable sign, plaque or other marking must be installed.

(c) Subject to § 700.16(a), (h), and (j), technical assistance, studies, reports, papers, publications, audio-visual productions, public service announcements, Web sites/Internet activities and other promotional, informational, media, or communications products funded by USAID must be marked with the USAID Identity.

(1) Any “public communications” as defined in § 700.1, funded by USAID, in which the content has not been approved by USAID, must contain the following disclaimer:

This study/report/audio/visual/other information/media product (specify) is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of [insert recipient name] and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

(2) The recipient must provide the Agreement Officer's Representative (AOR) or other USAID personnel designated in the grant or cooperative agreement with at least two copies of all program and communications materials produced under the award. In addition, the recipient must submit one electronic and/or one hard copy of all final documents to USAID's Development Experience Clearinghouse.

(d) Subject to § 700.16(a), (h), and (j), events financed by USAID such as training courses, conferences, seminars, exhibitions, fairs, workshops, press conferences and other public activities, must be marked appropriately with the USAID Identity. Unless directly prohibited and as appropriate to the surroundings, recipients should display additional materials such as signs and banners with the USAID Identity. In circumstances in which the USAID Identity cannot be displayed visually, recipients are encouraged otherwise to acknowledge USAID and the American people's support.

(e) Subject to § 700.16(a), (h), and (j), all commodities financed by USAID, including commodities or equipment provided under humanitarian assistance or disaster relief programs, and all other equipment, supplies and other materials funded by USAID, and their export packaging, must be marked with the USAID Identity.

(f) After merit review of applications for USAID funding, USAID Agreement Officers will request apparently successful applicants to submit a Branding Strategy, defined in § 700.1. The proposed Branding Strategy will not be evaluated competitively. The Agreement Officer will review for adequacy the proposed Branding Strategy, and will negotiate, approve and include the Branding Strategy in the award. Failure to submit or negotiate a Branding Strategy within the time specified by the Agreement Officer will make the apparently successful applicant ineligible for award.

(g) After merit review of applications for USAID funding, USAID Agreement Officers will request apparently successful applicants to submit a Marking Plan, defined in § 700.1. The Marking Plan may include requests for approval of Presumptive Exceptions, paragraph (h) of this section. All estimated costs associated with branding and marking USAID programs, such as plaques, labels, banners, press events, promotional materials, and the like, must be included in the total cost estimate of the grant or cooperative agreement or other assistance award, and are subject to revision and negotiation with the Agreement Officer upon submission of the Marking Plan. The Marking Plan will not be evaluated competitively. The Agreement Officer will review for adequacy the proposed Marking Plan, and will negotiate, approve and include the Marking Plan in the award. Failure to submit or negotiate a Marking Plan within the time specified by the Agreement Officer will make the apparently successful applicant ineligible for award. Agreement Officers have the discretion to suspend the implementation requirements of the Marking Plan if circumstances warrant. Recipients of USAID funded grant or cooperative agreement or other assistance award or subaward should retain copies of any specific marking instructions or waivers in their project, program or activity files. Agreement Officer's Representatives will be assigned responsibility to monitor marking requirements on the basis of the approved Marking Plan.

(h) Presumptive exceptions:

(1) The above marking requirements in § 700.16(a) through (e) may not apply if marking would:

(i) Compromise the intrinsic independence or neutrality of a program or materials where independence or neutrality is an inherent aspect of the program and materials, such as election monitoring or ballots, and voter information literature; political party support or public policy advocacy or reform; independent media, such as television and radio broadcasts, newspaper articles and editorials; public service announcements or public opinion polls and surveys.

(ii) Diminish the credibility of audits, reports, analyses, studies, or policy recommendations whose data or findings must be seen as independent.

(iii) Undercut host-country government “ownership” of constitutions, laws, regulations, policies, studies, assessments, reports, publications, surveys or audits, public service announcements, or other communications better positioned as “by” or “from” a cooperating country ministry or government official.

(iv) Impair the functionality of an item, such as sterilized equipment or spare parts.

(v) Incur substantial costs or be impractical, such as items too small or other otherwise unsuited for individual marking, such as food in bulk.

(vi) Offend local cultural or social norms, or be considered inappropriate on such items as condoms, toilets, bed pans, or similar commodities.

(vii) Conflict with international law.

(2) These exceptions are presumptive, not automatic and must be approved by the Agreement Officer. Apparently successful applicants may request approval of one or more of the presumptive exceptions, depending on the circumstances, in their Marking Plan. The Agreement Officer will review requests for presumptive exceptions for adequacy, along with the rest of the Marking Plan. When reviewing a request for approval of a presumptive exception, the Agreement Officer may review how program materials will be marked (if at all) if the USAID identity is removed. Exceptions approved will apply to subrecipients unless otherwise provided by USAID.

(i) In cases where the Marking Plan has not been complied with, the Agreement Officer will initiate corrective action. Such action may involve informing the recipient of a USAID grant or cooperative agreement or other assistance award or subaward of instances of noncompliance and requesting that the recipient carry out its responsibilities as set forth in the Marking Plan and award. Major or repeated non-compliance with the Marking Plan will be governed by the uniform suspension and termination procedures set forth at 2 CFR 200.338 through 2 CFR 200.342, and 2 CFR 700.14.

(j)(1) Waivers. USAID Principal Officers, defined for purposes of this provision at § 700.1, may at any time after award waive in whole or in part the USAID approved Marking Plan, including USAID marking requirements for each USAID funded program, project, activity, public communication or commodity, or in exceptional circumstances may make a waiver by region or country, if the Principal Officer determines that otherwise USAID required marking would pose compelling political, safety, or security concerns, or marking would have an adverse impact in the cooperating country. USAID recipients may request waivers of the Marking Plan in whole or in part, through the AOR. No marking is required while a waiver determination is pending. The waiver determination on safety or security grounds must be made in consultation with U.S. Government security personnel if available, and must consider the same information that applies to determinations of the safety and security of U.S. Government employees in the cooperating country, as well as any information supplied by the AOR or the recipient for whom the waiver is sought. When reviewing a request for approval of a waiver, the Principal Officer may review how program materials will be marked (if at all) if the USAID Identity is removed. Approved waivers are not limited in duration but are subject to Principal Officer review at any time due to changed circumstances. Approved waivers “flow down” to recipients of subawards unless specified otherwise. Principal Officers may also authorize the removal of USAID markings already affixed if circumstances warrant. Principal Officers' determinations regarding waiver requests are subject to appeal to the Principal Officer's cognizant Assistant Administrator. Recipients may appeal by submitting a written request to reconsider the Principal Officer's waiver determination to the cognizant Assistant Administrator.

(2) Non-retroactivity. Marking requirements apply to any obligation of USAID funds for new awards as of January 2, 2006. Marking requirements also will apply to new obligations under existing awards, such as incremental funding actions, as of January 2, 2006, when the total estimated cost of the existing award has been increased by USAID or the scope of effort is changed to accommodate any costs associated with marking. In the event a waiver is rescinded, the marking requirements will apply from the date forward that the waiver is rescinded. In the event a waiver is rescinded after the period of performance as defined in 2 CFR 200.77 but before closeout as defined in 2 CFR 200.16., the USAID mission or operating unit with initial responsibility to administer the marking requirements must make a cost benefit analysis as to requiring USAID marking requirements after the date of completion of the affected programs, projects, activities, public communications or commodities.

(k) The USAID Identity and other guidance will be provided at no cost or fee to recipients of USAID grants, cooperative agreements or other assistance awards or subawards. Additional costs associated with marking requirements will be met by USAID if reasonable, allowable, and allocable under 2 CFR part 200, subpart E. The standard cost reimbursement provisions of the grant, cooperative agreement, other assistance award or subaward must be followed when applying for reimbursement of additional marking costs.

(End of award term)

Angelique M. Crumbly, Agency Regulatory Official, U.S. Agency for International Development.
[FR Doc. 2015-23419 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6116-01-P
OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT 5 CFR Parts 890 and 892 RIN 3206-AN08 Federal Employees Health Benefits Program Self Plus One Enrollment Type AGENCY:

Office of Personnel Management.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is issuing a final rule to amend the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program regulations to add an additional enrollment type called “self plus one” for premium rating and family member eligibility purposes.

DATES:

This rule is effective September 17, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Chelsea Ruediger at [email protected] or (202) 606-0004.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on December 2, 2014 to amend title 5 of the Code of Federal Regulations parts 890 and 892 to include a self plus one enrollment type to comply with the 2013 Bipartisan Budget Act. During the comment period on the proposed rule, OPM received 64 comments including 5 from Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program carriers, 2 from employee organizations or unions, 1 from a carrier organization, and 56 from individuals, many of them enrollees in the FEHB Program. These comments are addressed below.

General Comments Regarding Self Plus One

OPM received a variety of comments, mostly from FEHB enrollees, expressing excitement about the self plus one enrollment type. Commenters indicated that the enrollment type will benefit them personally and financially.

One commenter requested justification for the implementation of the self plus one enrollment type and expressed concern over the level of complexity that this additional statutorily required enrollment type introduces to consumer choice in the FEHB Program. The commenter noted that under the current two-tier system, “the typical enrollee . . . has a choice of about 20 plan options” and projected that options available for families may double and premiums might vary greatly.

OPM is updating 5 CFR parts 890 and 892 to comply with provisions of the 2013 Bipartisan Budget Act. This more closely aligns insurance offerings for Federal employees with those available in the commercial market and to more equitably spread costs among the enrollment types offered.

OPM is aware that creation of a new enrollment tier may create additional complexity. However, this complexity is limited because the rule only introduces a new enrollment type. Benefits design will not differ from other enrollment types offered within the same plan option, which minimizes the complexity introduced by the rule. To alleviate potential concerns about complexity during the introductory year, § 892.207(d) has been amended in this final rule to include a one-time limited enrollment period to be held in early 2016. Final dates for the Limited Enrollment Period will be announced by OPM following the publication of this rule. During this period, enrollees will be allowed to decrease enrollment from self and family to self plus one. Enrollment changes made in conjunction with the limited enrollment period will be effective on the first day of the first pay period following the one in which the appropriate request is received by the employing office. Because enrollees who do not participate in premium conversion (pre-tax deduction of premiums), including annuitants, may decrease their enrollment at any time, this limited enrollment period is intended only for premium conversion participants. No new enrollments, changes in plan or plan option, or increases in enrollment will be allowed in conjunction with the limited enrollment period.

In advance of Open Season each year, OPM, agencies and carriers inform employees and annuitants of their enrollment options and provide them with decision-making tools. Given the addition of the self plus one enrollment type, this communications strategy will be augmented for the 2015 Open Season. OPM communications will encourage enrollees to carefully review the options available to them for plan year 2016.

An FEHB carrier requested clarification that “enrollees will need to make a positive election through their agency or retirement office in order to switch from self only or self and family to self plus one.” This statement is correct. Just as is the case under the current two-tier system, enrollees must inform their agency, either through an electronic or paper copy of the Standard Form 2809, when they increase or decrease coverage. Agencies are responsible for submitting this information to carriers. This requirement will be no different for self plus one.

Comments on Effective Dates

Several commenters requested additional information about the timing of the implementation of the self plus one enrollment type. Others requested that OPM delay implementation by at least one year in order to conduct additional analysis. Another questioned the decision to implement the new self plus one enrollment option for plan year 2016, as this date was not required by law.

The effective date in this final rule has not been altered. The Bipartisan Budget Act was passed in 2013 and OPM has been working diligently to implement this statutory mandate within a reasonable timeframe. Enrollees who have been looking forward to this change will now be able to select a self plus one enrollment type during the 2015 Open Season for effective dates in January of 2016.

Comments on Family Member Eligibility

OPM received three comments about family member eligibility. Two commenters asked about the eligibility of domestic partners and cohabitating (unmarried) opposite sex couples. A third comment asked if a sibling could be covered.

Family member eligibility is defined in title 5 U.S. Code section 8901 and includes spouses and children up to age 26. As stated in the supplementary information of the proposed rule, family member eligibility guidelines remain the same as in place under the two tier system. Domestic partners, cohabitating (unmarried) couples, and siblings are not considered eligible family members under the law at this time.

Switching a Covered Family Member

The proposed rule outlined the circumstances in which an enrollee with a self plus one enrollment would be allowed to switch their covered family member. Some commenters expressed concerns that these provisions might lead to adverse selection. OPM believes that adequate protection against adverse selection is provided in the manner in which Qualifying Life Events (QLEs) allowing such a change have been limited. Further, the general rule applies that the change must be consistent with the QLE experienced. The following chart, which was published with the proposed rule, clarifies which QLE codes will allow an enrollee to switch a covered family member outside of Open Season (definitions for each of the event codes can be found on the SF2809 at http://www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/sf2809.pdf):

Change Permitted for the following event codes For Enrollees Participating in Premium Conversion Switch covered family member under a self plus one enrollment 1B, 1C, 1I, 1J, 1M, 1N, 1O, 1P, 1Q, 1R For Annuitants (decreases in enrollment type are allowed at any time) Switch covered family member under a self plus one enrollment 2A, 2B, 2F, 2G, 2H, 2I, 2J For Former Spouses Under the Spouse Equity Provision (decreases in enrollment type are allowed at any time) Switch covered family member under a self plus one enrollment 3B, 3C, 3F, 3G, 3H, 3I For Temporary Continuation of Coverage (TCC) for Eligible Former Employees, Former Spouses, and Children (decreases in enrollment type are allowed at any time) Switch covered family member under a self plus one enrollment 4B, 4C, 4D, 4F, 4G, 4H For Employees Not Participating in Premium Conversion (decreases in enrollment type are allowed at any time) Switch covered family member under a self plus one enrollment 5B, 5C, 5F, 5G, 5H, 5I, 5J, 5N

One carrier organization requested that OPM require a 30 day advance notice to carriers before allowing a switch in covered family member in order to prevent overpayments as well as verification of alternative health insurance for the family member being removed. OPM declines to make this change. It is expected that carriers will utilize current standard operating procedures to process the switching of a covered family member; generally changes are effective at the beginning of the next pay period after receipt by the agency.

A commenter urged OPM to treat the switch as a cancellation for the family member who is being removed from the self plus one enrollment, thereby rendering the individual ineligible for the 31 day extension of coverage. Just as is the case under the two tier system, under § 890.401(a)(1) eligibility for the 31 day extension of coverage is provided for covered family members whose coverage is terminated other than by cancellation of the enrollment or discontinuance of the plan, in whole or in part. For family members, terminations are typically based on a loss of eligibility such as, in the case of a child, turning age 26; or, in the case of a spouse, a divorce. Cancellation is typically a voluntary election to no longer be covered under an FEHB plan, for example when a family member becomes eligible for other group coverage. Switching a covered family member may occur as the result of either a termination or a cancellation. Therefore, OPM declines to make this change.

One commenter urged OPM to apply a blanket policy against discretionary retroactive switching of a covered family member. Section 892.207(b) has been updated in the final rule to include switching a covered family member in order to accommodate this suggestion. Enrollment changes made under § 892.207 are, in general, effective on the first day of the first pay period following the one in which the appropriate request is received by the employing office. In addition, paragraph (f)(2) has been added to § 890.302 in the final rule to specify that the effective date for switching a covered family member will be prospective. A definition of the term “switching a covered family member” has also been added to § 890.101.

One commenter requested that OPM clarify that “enrollees cannot switch the covered family member under the self plus one without a QLE to validate dependent eligibility.” As described in the proposed rule, and supported in the final rule, enrollees must experience a QLE in order to switch their covered family member.

One commenter requested additional information about how carriers will be notified of the designated covered family member under the self plus one enrollment. The Standard Form 2809 and electronic enrollment transmissions will be utilized just as they are currently to communicate enrollment information. Additionally, OPM is assessing other methods, including updating enrollment systems government-wide to allow for the transmittal of changes in the designated family member from agencies to carriers.

One commenter asked that OPM require the capture of a Social Security Number for dependents. As this is outside the scope of this rule, we decline to comment at this time.

Qualifying Life Events (QLE)

One commenter requested that OPM clarify whether or not enrollees must experience a QLE in order to decrease enrollment outside of Open Season. Under § 892.208, enrollees who participate in premium conversion must experience a QLE in order to decrease enrollment outside of Open Season. Under § 890.301(e), enrollees who do not participate in premium conversion may decrease enrollment at any time. This final rule has not altered these requirements.

Another commenter requested that OPM clarify that “retired federal employees/annuitants will have the option to change plans and/or enrollment types upon retirement, regardless of Medicare eligibility or age at the time of retirement.”

Retirement is not a QLE and therefore no changes may be made based solely on retirement. Retirement is a change from one payroll office to another. After an individual is retired, under the provisions in § 890.301(e), they may decrease enrollment or cancel coverage at any time. QLEs are still required for increasing coverage or changing plans outside of Open Season.

It was requested that OPM clarify the process for handling an annuitant who, upon experiencing the death of her spouse, forgets to decrease her enrollment to self only. As this question is beyond the scope of this regulation, OPM declines to comment at this time.

Additional guidance was requested regarding carrier responsibilities to notify enrollees and agencies when a family member has aged out of eligibility or passed away. OPM encourages carriers to contact their enrollees when a child ages out or if they learn of the death of a covered family member in order to inform the enrollee of their QLE opportunity at that time.

Alternative Enrollment Types

Four commenters suggested alternative enrollment types. One commenter suggested that OPM provide rates based on the number of family members enrolled. Another suggested an enrollment type available to only those enrolled in both FEHB and Medicare. A third commenter suggested that, instead of self plus one, OPM alter eligibility guidelines to allow spouses and dependents to enroll in their own right in self only enrollments. Finally, an FEHB carrier commented that OPM should implement a four-tier system: Self only, employee and spouse, employee and one non-spousal family member, and self and family. Commenters urged OPM to consider methods for encouraging or requiring Medicare enrollment. One suggested that OPM should consider reducing premiums for annuitants enrolled in Medicare as FEHB is the secondary payer. Another expressed concerns that the addition of the self plus one enrollment type would exacerbate an existing problem in which younger enrollees subsidize higher cost annuitants.

OPM is unable to implement these suggested changes. The FEHB statute only allows the following enrollment types: Self only, self plus one, and self and family. Any other enrollment types, including separate enrollment tiers for individuals enrolled in Medicare, would require legislative change.

Definition of Self Plus One

OPM received four comments indicating that the definition of self plus one in the proposed rule, which does not preclude an individual with only one eligible family member from enrolling in self and family, has potentially negative consequences. These commenters indicated the definition, coupled with concerns that self plus one premiums and/or enrollee shares may rise above self and family premiums and/or enrollee shares, could result in revenue shortfall for carriers. They predicted that some consumers with only one eligible family member will likely select a self and family enrollment if the enrollee share is lower, leading to a financial loss for plans with higher claims costs for self plus one enrollments.

Individual choice is, and always has been, one of the hallmarks of the FEHB Program. Before the addition of the self plus one enrollment type, individuals have been free to select a self only or self and family enrollment, regardless of whether or not they have eligible family members. In that tradition, the final rule adopts the proposed rule's provision, providing individuals the freedom to select among all three enrollment types available, regardless of the number of their eligible family members.

One commenter requested that OPM use this opportunity to expressly state that all eligible family members are covered under a self and family enrollment. Current regulatory language, which has not been altered in this rule, already adequately expresses this. Section 890.302(a)(1) states that an enrollment for self and family includes all family member who are eligible to be covered by the enrollment. Further, the definition of self and family, as added by this final rule states that self and family enrollment means an enrollment that covers the enrollee and all eligible family members.

Government Contribution Calculations

The government contribution to premium is calculated based on weighted average of the subscription charges described in 5 U.S. Code section 8906. One commenter points out that most carriers are unable to predict the government contribution for their plans because they do not cover an adequate portion of the total market to estimate actual FEHB enrollment to determine the weighted average. Thus, many plans propose total premiums to OPM without a complete understanding of what the government and enrollee contributions will be, putting them at a disadvantage in a competitive market. Given the additional uncertainty for plan year 2016, with the addition of the self plus one enrollment type, the commenter requested that OPM provide carriers more flexibility to adjust final premium rates during the negotiation process after the government contribution has been calculated. OPM will adhere to standard operating procedures for plan year 2016 final rate negotiations.

An FEHB carrier requested that OPM provide additional information to carriers concerning rate setting for plan year 2016. In addition, they cautioned OPM against applying the same government contribution for both self plus one and self and family enrollments for plan year 2016 as this method might lead to increased “unpredictability of which subscribers will choose which tier.” Many commenters requested additional information about the weighted averages that would be used to determine the government contribution for plan year 2016.

The 2013 Bipartisan Budget Act provides OPM with flexibility in the first year that self plus one is offered to “determine the weighted average of the subscription charges that will be in effect for the contract year for enrollments for self plus one under such chapter based on an actuarial analysis.” 1 The weighted average is used to calculate the Government contribution, according to a formula set in statute (5 U.S.C. 8906). OPM takes a count of enrollments with Government contributions in March of each year (referred to in the following paragraphs as the “March enrollment count”). This March enrollment count is used to determine the maximum Government contribution for the following plan year. For each enrollment type, OPM sums the product of the new premium and the March enrollment count for each option and divides the sum by the total number of individuals enrolled in that enrollment type.

1 Full text available at http://www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-113hjres59enr/pdf/BILLS-113hjres59enr.pdf.

Because we do not have self plus one data from our March 2015 enrollment count, OPM has determined that it will use the 2015 self and family March enrollment count to calculate the weighted average for both the 2016 self plus one and self and family enrollment types. The weighted average for self plus one will be based on the 2016 self plus one premiums and the 2015 self and family March enrollment count. OPM provides rate-setting guidance to carriers on an annual basis. For the 2016 plan year, OPM requested that carriers propose self plus one premiums that are no greater than self and family premiums.2 Although OPM does not expect this policy to change in the out years, the right to reevaluate is reserved.

2 United States Office of Personnel Management, Federal Employees Health Benefits Program Call Letter, Fiscal Year 2016, Issued March 13, 2015. https://www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/healthcare/carriers/2015/2015-02.pdf

Rate-Setting and the Cost of Self Plus One

Comments were received that indicated the addition of the self plus one enrollment type would translate into cost savings for enrollees with only one eligible family member. Commenters in this category praised OPM for implementing the new enrollment type. Other commenters expressed concerns about rate setting for the new self plus one enrollment type. In particular, a concern that self and family premiums would rise drastically in plan year 2016 in order to accommodate the new self plus one enrollment type. It was suggested that OPM impose a 10% cap on such growth in the final rule, especially for the first year of implementation. Others expressed concerns about the differential between the three enrollment tiers. OPM was asked to clarify whether or not the enrollee share of a self plus one enrollment would be less than or exactly equal to two self only enrollments. One carrier projected that, although self plus one premiums might not rise above self and family premiums, the differential between the two would be negligible, calling into question the cost-benefit of such a change given the high administrative burden of implementation.

Other commenters expressed concerns about actual claims costs. One highlighted the unique nature of the FEHB risk pool because the annuitant population is combined with the active employee population, indicating that many annuitants, who traditionally have higher claims costs, have only one eligible family member and therefore might make up the bulk of self plus one enrollees. Two commenters pointed out that HMO plans might be especially impacted. They expressed concerns that, if OPM were to require that self plus one total premiums remain below self and family total premiums, the end result would be an even more dramatic increase for self and family enrollees. The commenter projected that this change would render some regional HMOs non-competitive, forcing them out of the FEHB market.

The final rule does not set differentials between tiers, nor does it impose caps on premium growth. Under the three tier system, carriers will set rate differentials between tiers that are appropriate for the expected population, just as they do under the two tier system. An artificial cap is unwarranted because plans must set rates that reflect the costs of the population they will be covering. Further, enrollees have free choice to stay in their current plan or shop for a less expensive plan or option that meets their needs. Because the FEHB Program is market-based, artificial caps on premium are likely to cause adverse consequences such as inadequate rates for some products.

One commenter requested that rate information be provided earlier than normally scheduled to provide individuals adequate time to analyze their options. Given the rate negotiation process outlined in § 890.501, OPM cannot set the government contribution before September 1st for the following plan year.

Comments on the Regulatory Impact Analysis

Commenters who discussed OPM's Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) in the proposed rule asked that OPM provide a more robust analysis for public comment. Four commenters suggested that the RIA provided in the proposed rule was insufficient under requirements outlined in the Administrative Procedures Act, Executive Order 12866, Executive Order 13563, and the Congressional Review Act. They suggested a delay in implementation in order to conduct additional analysis, provide details to the public, and allow for an additional comment period. One commenter stated OPM had failed to properly justify the change and to explain the potential impacts on the FEHB Program. Multiple commenters disagreed with OPM's assertion that self plus one premiums would likely be lower than self and family. One commenter noted that the RIA failed to discuss the possibility of rate differentials between the enrollment types. The commenter suggested that all carriers should be required to maintain the same differentials between their plan tiers. The commenter requested an actuarial analysis of the method that will be utilized to determine the weighted average of all FEHB plans for plan year 2015.

OPM believes the analysis provided in the proposed rule fulfills legal requirements. As noted in the proposed and reiterated in the final rule, this change is being implemented to comply with the 2013 Bipartisan Budget Act. In addition, this change aligns insurance offerings with those available in the commercial market and more equitably spreads costs among the enrollment types offered.

Information Provided to Carriers

Four commenters requested that we clarify information for carriers. One commenter asked OPM to release details, including the final rule, by March 31, 2015 to allow carriers ample time to prepare. Another commenter asked for additional details on enrollment and eligibility under the new self plus one enrollment type; however, provided no specific questions.

One commenter asked that OPM clarify benefits structures including deductibles and out of pocket maximums. OPM addressed these issues through normal carrier communications including the annual call letter, carrier letters, and teleconferences. OPM utilizes several methods for communicating with carriers including, but not limited to carrier letters, brochure tools, and teleconferences. Some of the information requested during the public comment period either has already been released or is forthcoming via these alternative communication methods.

Systems Updates

OPM received three comments relative to the systems updates required to implement the new self plus one enrollment type. One commenter also asked that the brochure template language be available early. Two commenters suggested that OPM improve processes by which dependent information is communicated to carriers. An employee organization noted that the number of enrollment changes in Open Season 2015 is likely to far exceed the average Open Season and expressed concerns that the overall system would not be able to handle this increased number of enrollment changes.

OPM has carefully and deliberately been reviewing, modifying, and testing internal systems to ensure that enrollee information is accurately collected and disseminated to carriers. In addition, numerous communications have been distributed on the required systems changes with agencies, carriers, and enrollment systems. We are confident that, through all of these efforts, all necessary systems updates will be completed in time for a smooth implementation of the self plus one enrollment type in plan year 2016.

Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)

OPM has reviewed this final rule for PRA implications and has determined that it does not apply to this section.

Regulatory Impact Analysis

Executive Order 12866 and Executive Order 13563 directs 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). A regulatory impact analysis must be prepared for major rules that may have economically significant effects (i.e., effects of $100 million or more in at least one year). Given that there are approximately 8.2 million members participating in the FEHB Program, including approximately one million two-person self and family enrollments, and participation involves hundreds of dollars per member per month, we cannot rule out the possibility that this final rule's changes to the FEHB Program will have effects that meet the threshold for economic significance. We do expect the overall federal budget impact of this final rule to be net neutral, though this is subject to uncertainty.

The new enrollment tier will align FEHB Program offerings with the commercial market and serve to more equitably spread costs across different enrollment types; in other words, it will shift costs among program participants. For plan year 2016, OPM has required that that the self plus one enrollment type have total premiums no greater than self and family total premiums.

Current FEHB Enrollment Trends

In plan year 2015 there were over 4 million FEHB contracts. This includes 1.89 million self only contracts (47%) and 2.13 million self and family contracts (53%).

During a typical year, approximately 6% of FEHB enrollees change their enrollment by selecting a new plan option or a new enrollment type (approximately 8% of active employees and 4% of annuitants). However, as this is the first time the FEHB Program has experienced a large-scale programmatic change as the addition of a new enrollment type, it is expected that movement will be greater in the coming years as enrollees learn more about their options.

Predicting Enrollment Trends Under the Three Tier System

In order to estimate the impact of the addition of the self plus one enrollment type, OPM has conducted an analysis to predict the potential shift in enrollment that may occur.

OPM determined that the following movement patterns were possible:

• FEHB eligible individuals who are currently not enrolled may choose to enroll in FEHB after self plus one becomes available.

• Current self only enrollees may choose to increase enrollment to include coverage for an eligible family member who is not currently covered under an FEHB enrollment.

• Current self only enrollees may choose to cancel coverage in order to be covered under a spouse or parent's self plus one FEHB enrollment.

• Current self and family enrollees with only one eligible family member may choose to decrease to a self plus one enrollment.

• Current self and family enrollees with two or more eligible family members may choose to decrease to a self plus one enrollment to cover only one of their eligible family members.

• Some FEHB enrollees in either self only or self and family may choose to cancel their enrollments.

• Enrollees in either self only or self and family may choose to remain in their current enrollment type.

Based on available data and experience, OPM estimates that much of the movement that will occur will result in a shift from one enrollment type to another. There are a limited number of circumstances where the addition of the self plus one enrollment type may result in new FEHB enrollees or in enrollees leaving the program. It is difficult to estimate how many individuals may newly enroll in the program. Most employees who do not participate in the FEHB Program do so because they have access to other insurance options. This rule will not alter access to other insurance for FEHB eligible employees. Also, because OPM does not have government-wide eligible and covered family member data, it is not known exactly how many individuals are covered under self and family enrollments, nor is it known how many eligible family members exist but are not currently covered because the enrollee has chosen a self only enrollment.

In order to learn more about potential movement between enrollment types, OPM requested data on covered enrollees and family members from carriers with the 2014 rate proposals. Carriers reported that over one million self and family contracts had only one dependent listed. Of those enrollments, approximately 60% were annuitants and 40% were active employees. While this number does not capture the universe of enrollees who may choose a self plus one enrollment, it does provide a starting place for estimating the potential movement between tiers.

OPM also examined enrollment data for the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP). FEDVIP has offered self plus one as an enrollment option since its inception in 2007. There are currently approximately 2.7 million FEDVIP contracts. Of those, 41% are self only, 32% are self plus one, and 27% are self and family.

Comparing FEHB and FEDVIP enrollment patterns may be illustrative because the pool of eligible individuals is roughly the same. Most FEDVIP enrollees are also eligible for FEHB. However, there are some key differences between the programs. First, family member eligibility guidelines are slightly different. Eligible children are covered under FEDVIP enrollments until the age of 22 whereas eligible children are covered under FEHB until the age of 26. Second, FEDVIP has lower participation as it is an employee-pay-all program with no government contribution towards the premium. In addition, benefits offered in standalone dental and vision programs are limited, and therefore, enrollee behavior and motivation based on those benefits would be different.

Examining the types of movement that are possible and comparing FEHB enrollment trends with other programs provides only a limited view of the complex factors that affect enrollment decisions for enrollees. Enrollee choice and movement is an individualized decision based on the needs of the enrollee and their dependents. Self plus one uptake is dependent on a combination of factors including premiums, benefits structures, and the level of communication from agencies, carriers, and OPM about new enrollment options.

For most enrollees, the enrollee share for self plus one will be lower than for self and family; however, it is possible that, because of the statutory formula used to calculate the government contribution, some plans may have a higher enrollee share for self plus one than for self and family. This will make it even more important for enrollees to review their enrollment options before selecting a plan and an enrollment type that meets their needs. OPM is implementing a robust communications strategy to ensure that as many enrollees as possible are aware of the new self plus one enrollment type.

Plan design remains the same between enrollment types offered in the same plan option. Therefore, OPM expects that cognitive costs for enrollees would be relatively low. For those enrollees that do not typically reevaluate their enrollment every Open Season, the cognitive costs of a review of the plans, plan options, and enrollment types available may well be worth incurring, as they may discover better alternatives (though these improvements may represent transfers from other members of society, rather than benefits to society as whole). Ultimately, actual enrollment decisions cannot be predicted with precision. Further, it will likely take years for enrollment numbers to reach an equilibrium following this Program change.3

3 As discussed in more detail elsewhere in this analysis, plan switching—in which federal employees and annuitants with one eligible family member gravitate toward plans with relatively low self plus one premiums and federal employees and annuitants with multiple eligible family members gravitate toward plans with relatively low self and family premiums—would lead to further changes in premiums, and several iterations of switching activity and premium adjustments may occur before the new equilibrium is reached. Moreover, because health insurance decisions tend to be characterized by inertia, the behavioral changes discussed here and throughout this analysis may be relatively rare when this rule is first implemented and then become more widespread over time, as turnover occurs in the federal workforce and there is an accumulation of qualifying life events that cause FEHB participants to reconsider their health insurance choices.

Cost Analysis

OPM's Fiscal Year 2014 Congressional Budget Justification 4 included a projection that the addition of the self plus one enrollment would have a net neutral impact on the Federal budget. This projection, based on FEHB carriers' relative costs and population distributions, included the following assumptions:

4 United States Office of Personnel Management, Congressional Budget Justification Performance Budget, Fiscal Year 2014, Submitted April 2013, available at https://www.opm.gov/about-us/budget-performance/budgets/congressional-budget-justification-fy2014.pdf. See also Congressional Budget Office, Cost Estimate, Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013, dated December 11, 2013, available at http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/Bipartisan%20Budget%20Act% 20of%202013.pdf. In estimating potential premium changes, OPM used data on FEHB enrollees' medical expenditures, while CBO used data on medical expenditures for the general population. Because of the large number of annuitants in the FEHB enrolled population, two-person FEHB enrollments tend to have higher costs than two-person enrollments in the nation as a whole, thus explaining some of the difference between OPM's and CBO's estimates.

• The average premium for self plus one coverage will be approximately 94% of the cost of existing self and family coverage.

• The average premium for self and family coverage will be approximately 107% of the cost of existing self and family coverage.

• 33% of active employees with existing self and family will shift to self plus one coverage.

• Only 20% of annuitants with existing self and family coverage will retain that coverage (80% will shift to self plus one).

As discussed above, there are several ways in which enrollees may choose to change their enrollment based on the addition of the self plus one enrollment type. The magnitudes of these changes (and the effects experienced by the government that depend on FEHB participants' behavior) would be correlated with the amount that participant premium contributions change. If, as shown above, self plus one premiums are only slightly lower than baseline self and family premiums, then two-person families will have little incentive to transfer family members from other coverage to FEHB. Similarly, if self and family premiums increase only slightly as a result of this rule, then families larger than two people will have little incentive to switch some or all of their members from FEHB to other health insurance coverage. As a result, in this example, a change in the cost of the Program would be contingent, in part, upon the amount of switching into or out of FEHB from/to other health insurance.

Current enrollees with self and family coverage who only have one dependent and choose to decrease enrollment to self plus one, will likely benefit from lower premiums. Those with more than one dependent covered under a self and family enrollment will likely incur higher premiums. A large percentage of annuitants who currently have self and family coverage would likely benefit from the lower total premiums of a self plus one enrollment type, resulting in score-able savings to the government because the government share of annuitant premiums will decrease.

OPM estimated that, in total, savings for annuitants and the government would rise above $450 million in the first year of self plus one. Conversely, costs for non-Postal employees and the government would rise about $450 million for the same time frame. This converse relationship between costs associated with annuitants and employees continues into future year projections and results in the overall net-neutral projection.

Actual cost shifting cannot be measured until rate negotiations are finalized and enrollment changes take place. As enrollees shift from self only and self and family enrollments, OPM will closely monitor the effect on premiums. If premiums for active employees with two or more covered family members rise, there will be increasing costs to government agencies (assuming appropriation of necessary funds).5

5 United States Office of Personnel Management, Congressional Budget Justification Performance Budget, Fiscal Year 2014, Submitted April 2013, available at https://www.opm.gov/about-us/budget-performance/budgets/congressional-budget-justification-fy2014.pdf. See also Congressional Budget Office, Cost Estimate, Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013, dated December 11, 2013, available at http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/Bipartisan%20Budget%20Act% 20of%202013.pdf.

The impact of this final rule hinges upon the relative premiums for self plus one and self and family enrollment types. Because the self and family option includes coverage for a larger number of people, a natural assumption would be that premiums would be lower for a self plus one enrollment type than for a self and family enrollment type. For plan year 2016, OPM instructed carriers to propose total premiums for self plus one that were less than or equal to total premiums for self and family. In that case, several rule-induced outcomes are likely:

• Federal employees and annuitants who, in the absence of the rule, would choose self and family enrollment for themselves and either a spouse or a child would switch to a self plus one enrollment, resulting in lower total premium payments between employees, annuitants and the federal government.

• Federal employees and annuitants choosing self and family enrollment for themselves and at least two family members would experience an increase in premiums and therefore, in some cases, may choose to switch from FEHB to an alternative health insurance option. If all such families continued with FEHB participation, the government would experience an increase in premium payments that would (in theory) exactly offset the decreases associated with two-person families switching from self and family to self plus one enrollment; however, any switching away from FEHB would mitigate the premium increases experienced by the federal government, instead potentially leading to payment increases by any contributors to the newly-chosen insurance options (an obvious example would be the employer of a federal employee's or annuitant's spouse if that employer sponsors the newly-chosen insurance).

• Federal employees and annuitants who, in the absence of the rule, would choose self only enrollment in spite of having a spouse who would be eligible for coverage under self and family enrollment may choose self plus one enrollment. This might occur if a self and family premium is greater than the combined premiums for a federal employee's self only enrollment and a spouse's self only enrollment in health insurance through his or her own non-federal employer, but the relevant FEHB self plus one premium is less than the combined premiums.6 In this type of scenario in which the federal employee's or annuitant's enrollment increases, the federal government would pay more in premiums (relative to a baseline in which this rule is not finalized) but the federal employee's or annuitant's family would pay less. Any contributors to the insurance in which the family member would be enrolled in the absence of the rule—such as the non-federal employer of the federal employee's spouse in the preceding example—would also pay less.

6 Similarly, federal employees and annuitants who, in the absence of the rule, would choose not to participate in the FEHB Program may choose a self plus one enrollment. For example, this outcome might occur if the self plus one option available in the FEHB Program is less expensive than either a family or plus-one enrollment available via a federal employee's spouse or the combined premiums for the federal employee's self only enrollment and the spouse's self only enrollment.

To the extent that new patterns of enrollment do not change how society uses its resources (i.e., amount or quality of medical services provided), then the effects described above would be transfers between members of society, rather than social costs or benefits.

It is possible that two-person families are, on average, less healthy than larger families; indeed, multiple comments to the docket provided evidence that some plans' expenditures for two-person enrollments are higher than for enrollments with three or more total family members. For the 2016 plan year, because OPM has requested that carriers propose self plus one premiums no greater than self and family premiums, plans with this medical expenditure pattern will presumably set equal premiums for self plus one and self and family enrollment types. In the event that OPM does not repeat this request for future years, plans with higher average expenditures for two-person than for larger families will presumably set premiums higher for self plus one enrollment than for self and family enrollment. If this pattern—in which self plus one premiums are greater than or equal to self and family premiums—held universally, the lack of premium decrease to give federal employees and annuitants an incentive to switch from self and family to self plus one enrollment would lead to the rule's enrollment impact being negligible.7 However, as indicated by docket submissions, relative expenditures on (and thus premiums for) two-person and larger enrollments differ across plans, and hence the effect of adding the self plus one option may be to increase switching between plans, as federal employees and annuitants with one eligible family member gravitate toward plans with relatively low self plus one premiums and federal employees and annuitants with multiple eligible family members gravitate toward plans with relatively low self and family premiums. Plan switching of this type would lead to further changes in premiums and several iterations of switching activity and premium adjustments may occur.

7 This negligible-impact outcome may not occur if the government contribution, as determined by statutory formula, was such that enrollee contributions were lower for self plus one enrollments than for self and family enrollments even in cases where total premiums for self plus one enrollments were greater than or equal to total premiums for self and family enrollments.

Additionally, the rule imposes implementation costs, such as the costs of systems updates, on FEHB-participating health insurance plans, federal agencies, and on OPM itself. These expenses are encompassed in existing workloads. OPM has no specific estimate for these costs, but expects them to be marginal.

Though regulatory alternatives to this rule are limited due to the statutory mandate, OPM did consider delaying implementation of the rule until the 2017 plan year. OPM rejected this option for two reasons. First, delaying implementation will not provide additional information. Because OPM contracts with a number of carriers, proposed rates are proprietary and cannot be released publically without compromising confidential negotiation processes. Until first year negotiations are completed and enrollment changes occur, OPM would not have a precise understanding of the impact of the self plus one enrollment type on premiums.

Second, implementation has already been delayed. After the passage of the 2013 Bipartisan Budget Act, the first year that implementation would have been possible was plan year 2015. OPM determined that this was not adequate time to implement the new enrollment type and chose to delay implementation until 2016. OPM, carriers, and Federal agencies are well into the implementation process. Rate negotiations between OPM and FEHB carriers have begun under the assumption that the 2016 plan year would include the self plus one enrollment type. Agencies and carriers are currently implementing the systems changes required to accommodate three tier enrollments. Delaying implementation would adversely impact the Federal benefits Open Season which is scheduled to begin in early November of this year.

Congressional Review Act

OPM has determined that this regulatory action is not subject to the Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 801-08, because it relates to agency management and personnel. The program is not statutorily for general application but rather governs employment fringe benefits for Federal employees, annuitants and their families. Moreover, OPM has been statutorily granted discretion in terms of deciding how its actions may affect non-agency parties, such as carriers, by its authority to regulate enrollment. See, 5 U.S.C. 8905(a), 8905(g)(2), and 8913(b).

Regulatory Flexibility Act

I certify that this regulation will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities because the regulation only adds a self plus one enrollment tier to the current self only and self and family enrollment tiers under FEHB.

Executive Orders 13563 and 12866, Regulatory Review

This rule has been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget in accordance with Executive Orders 13563 and 12866.

Federalism

We have examined this rule in accordance with Executive Order 13132, Federalism, and have determined that this rule will not have any negative impact on the rights, roles and responsibilities of State, local, or tribal governments.

List of Subjects 5 CFR Part 890

Administrative practice and procedure, Government employees, Health facilities, Health insurance, Health professions, Hostages, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Military personnel, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Retirement.

5 CFR Part 892

Administrative practice and procedure, Government employees, Health insurance, Taxes, Wages.

U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Beth F. Cobert, Acting Director.

Accordingly, OPM is amending title 5, Code of Federal Regulations as follows:

PART 890—FEDERAL EMPLOYEES HEALTH BENEFITS PROGRAM 1. The authority citation for part 890 continues to read as follows: Authority:

5 U.S.C. 8913; Sec. 890.301 also issued under sec. 311 of Pub. L. 111-03, 123 Stat. 64; Sec. 890.111 also issued under section 1622(b) of Pub. L. 104-106, 110 Stat. 521; Sec. 890.112 also issued under section 1 of Pub. L. 110-279, 122 Stat. 2604; 5 U.S.C. 8913; Sec. 890.803 also issued under 50 U.S.C. 403p, 22 U.S.C. 4069c and 4069c-1; subpart L also issued under sec. 599C of Pub. L. 101-513, 104 Stat. 2064, as amended; Sec. 890.102 also issued under sections 11202(f), 11232(e), 11246(b) and (c) of Pub. L. 105-33, 111 Stat. 251; and section 721 of Pub. L. 105-261, 112 Stat. 2061.

2. Amend § 890.101 as follows: a. By revising the definitions of “Change the enrollment” and “Covered family member.” b. By adding the definitions of “Decrease enrollment type,” “Increase enrollment type,” “Self and family enrollment,” “Self only enrollment,” “Self plus one enrollment,” and “Switch a covered family member” in alphabetical order.

The revisions and additions read as follows:

§ 890.101 Definitions; time computations.

Change the enrollment means to submit to the employing office an appropriate request electing a change of enrollment to a different plan or option, or to a different type of coverage (self only, self plus one, or self and family).

Covered family member means a member of the family of an enrollee with a self plus one or self and family enrollment who meets the requirements of §§ 890.302, 890.804, or 890.1106(a), as appropriate to the type of enrollee.

Decrease enrollment type means a change in enrollment from self and family to self plus one or to self only or a change from self plus one to self only.

Increase enrollment type means a change in enrollment from self only to self plus one or to self and family or a change from self plus one to self and family.

Self and family enrollment means an enrollment that covers the enrollee and all eligible family members.

Self only enrollment means an enrollment that covers only the enrollee.

Self plus one enrollment means an enrollment that covers the enrollee and one eligible family member.

Switch a covered family member means, under a self plus one enrollment, to terminate or cancel the enrollment of the designated covered family member and designate another eligible family member for coverage.

3. Amend § 890.201 by revising paragraph (a)(6) to read as follows:
§ 890.201 Minimum standards for health benefits plans.

(a) * * *

(6) Provide a standard rate structure that contains, for each option, one standard self only rate, one standard self plus one rate and one standard self and family rate.

4. Amend § 890.301 by revising paragraphs (e), (f)(3), (g)(1) and (3), (h) heading and introductory text, (i) introductory text, (i)(1), and (m) to read as follows:
§ 890.301 Opportunities for employees who are not participants in premium conversion to enroll or change enrollment; effective dates.

(e) Decreasing enrollment type. (1) Subject to two exceptions, an employee may decrease enrollment type at any time. Exceptions:

(i) An employee participating in health insurance premium conversion may decrease enrollment type during an open season or because of and consistent with a qualifying life event as defined in part 892 of this chapter.

(ii) An employee who is subject to a court or administrative order as discussed in paragraph (g)(3) of this section may not decrease enrollment type in a way that eliminates coverage of a child identified in the order as long as the court or administrative order is still in effect and the employee has at least one child identified in the order who is still eligible under the FEHB Program, unless the employee provides documentation to the agency that he or she has other coverage for the child(ren). The employee may not elect self only as long as he or she has one child identified as covered, but may elect self plus one.

(2) A decrease in enrollment type takes effect on the first day of the first pay period that begins after the date the employing office receives an appropriate request to change the enrollment, except that at the request of the enrollee and upon a showing satisfactory to the employing office that there was no family member eligible for coverage under the self plus one or self and family enrollment, or only one family member eligible for coverage under the self and family enrollment, as appropriate, the employing office may make the change effective on the first day of the pay period following the one in which there was, in the case of a self plus one enrollment, no family member or, in the case of a self and family enrollment, only one or no family member.

(f) * * *

(3) With one exception, during an open season, an eligible employee may enroll and an enrolled employee may decrease or increase enrollment type, may change from one plan or option to another, or may make any combination of these changes. Exception: An employee who is subject to a court or administrative order as discussed in paragraph (g)(3) of this section may not cancel his or her enrollment, decrease enrollment type, or change to a comprehensive medical plan that does not serve the area where his or her child or children live as long as the court or administrative order is still in effect, and the employee has at least one child identified in the order who is still eligible under the FEHB Program, unless the employee provides documentation to the agency that he or she has other coverage for the child(ren). The employee may not elect self only as long as he or she has one child identified as covered, but may elect self plus one.

(g) Change in family status. (1) An eligible employee may enroll and an enrolled employee may decrease or increase enrollment type, change from one plan or option to another, or make any combination of these changes when the employee's family status changes, including a change in marital status or any other change in family status. The employee must enroll or change the enrollment within the period beginning 31 days before the date of the change in family status, and ending 60 days after the date of the change in family status.

(3)(i) If an employing office receives a court or administrative order on or after October 30, 2000, requiring an employee to provide health benefits for his or her child or children, the employing office will determine if the employee has a self plus one or self and family enrollment, as appropriate, in a health benefits plan that provides full benefits in the area where the child or children live. If the employee does not have the required enrollment, the agency must notify him or her that it has received the court or administrative order and give the employee until the end of the following pay period to change his or her enrollment or provide documentation to the employing office that he or she has other coverage for the child or children. If the employee does not comply within these time frames, the employing office must enroll the employee involuntarily as stated in paragraph (g)(3)(ii) of this section.

(ii) If the employee is not enrolled or does not enroll, the agency must enroll him or her for self plus one or self and family coverage, as appropriate, in the option that provides the lower level of coverage in the Service Benefit Plan. If the employee is enrolled but does not increase the enrollment type in a way that is sufficient to cover the child or children, the employing office must change the enrollment to self plus one or self and family, as appropriate, in the same option and plan, as long as the plan provides full benefits in the area where the child or children live. If the employee is enrolled in a comprehensive medical plan that does not serve the area in which the child or children live, the employing office must change the enrollment to self plus one or self and family, as appropriate, in the option that provides the lower level of coverage in the Service Benefit Plan.

(h) Change in employment status. An eligible employee may enroll and an enrolled employee may decrease or increase enrollment type, change from one plan or option to another, or make any combination of these changes when the employee's employment status changes. Except as otherwise provided, an employee must enroll or change the enrollment within 60 days after the change in employment status. Employment status changes include, but are not limited to—

(i) Loss of coverage under this part or under another group insurance plan. An eligible employee may enroll and an enrolled employee may decrease or increase enrollment type, change from one plan or option to another, or make any combination of these changes when the employee or an eligible family member of the employee loses coverage under this part or another group health benefits plan. Except as otherwise provided, an employee must enroll or change the enrollment within the period beginning 31 days before the date of loss of coverage, and ending 60 days after the date of loss of coverage. Losses of coverage include, but are not limited to—

(1) Loss of coverage under another FEHB enrollment due to the termination, cancellation, or a change to self plus one or to self only, of the covering enrollment.

(m) An employee or eligible family member becomes eligible for premium assistance under Medicaid or a State Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). An eligible employee may enroll and an enrolled employee may decrease or increase enrollment type, change from one plan or option to another, or make any combination of these changes when the employee or an eligible family member of the employee becomes eligible for premium assistance under a Medicaid plan or CHIP. An employee must enroll or change his or her enrollment within 60 days after the date the employee or family member is determined to be eligible for assistance.

5. Amend § 890.302 by revising paragraphs (a)(1), (a)(2)(ii), and (c) introductory text and adding paragraph (f) to read as follows:
§ 890.302 Coverage of family members.

(a)(1) An enrollment for self plus one includes the enrollee and one eligible family member. An enrollment for self and family includes all family members who are eligible to be covered by the enrollment. Except as provided in paragraph (a)(2) of this section, no employee, former employee, annuitant, child, or former spouse may enroll or be covered as a family member if he or she is already covered under another person's self plus one or self and family enrollment in the FEHB Program.

(2) * * *

(ii) Exception. An individual described in paragraph (a)(2)(i) of this section may enroll if he or she or his or her eligible family members would otherwise not have access to coverage, in which case the individual may enroll in his or her own right for self only, self plus one, or self and family coverage, as appropriate. However, an eligible individual is entitled to receive benefits under only one enrollment regardless of whether he or she qualifies as a family member under a spouse's or parent's enrollment. To ensure that no person receives benefits under more than one enrollment, each enrollee must promptly notify the insurance carrier as to which person(s) will be covered under his or her enrollment. These individuals are not covered under the other enrollment. Examples include but are not limited to:

(A) To protect the interests of married or legally separated Federal employees, annuitants, and their children, an employee or annuitant may enroll in his or her own right in a self only, self plus one, or self and family enrollment, as appropriate, even though his or her spouse also has a self plus one or self and family enrollment if the employee, annuitant, or his or her children live apart from the spouse and would otherwise not have access to coverage due to a service area restriction and the spouse refuses to change health plans.

(B) When an employee who is under age 26 and covered under a parent's self plus one or self and family enrollment acquires an eligible family member, the employee may elect to enroll for self plus one or self and family coverage.

(c) Child incapable of self-support. When an individual's enrollment for self plus one or self and family includes a child who has become 26 years of age and is incapable of self-support, the employing office must require such enrollee to submit a physician's certificate verifying the child's disability. The certificate must—

(f) Switching a covered family member. (1) An enrollee with a self plus one enrollment may switch his or her covered family member during the annual Open Season, upon a change in family status, upon a change in coverage, or upon a change in eligibility, so long as switching a covered family member is consistent with the event that has taken place.

(2) Switching a covered family member under a self plus one enrollment will be effective on the first day of the first pay period that begins after the date the employing office receives an appropriate request to switch the covered family member.

6. Amend § 890.303 by revising paragraphs (c), (d)(2)(ii), and the heading of paragraph (d)(3) to read as follows:
§ 890.303 Continuation of enrollment.

(c) On death. The enrollment of a deceased employee or annuitant who is enrolled for self plus one or self and family (as opposed to self only) is transferred automatically to his or her eligible survivor annuitant(s) covered by the enrollment, as applicable. For self and family, the enrollment is considered to be that of:

(1) The survivor annuitant from whose annuity all or the greatest portion of the withholding for health benefits is made; or

(2) The surviving spouse entitled to a basic employee death benefit. The enrollment covers members of the family of the deceased employee or annuitant. In those instances in which the annuity is split among surviving family members, multiple enrollments are allowed. A remarried spouse is not a member of the family of the deceased employee or annuitant unless annuity under section 8341 or 8442 of title 5, United States Code, continues after remarriage.

(d) * * *

(2) * * *

(ii) If the surviving spouse of a deceased employee or annuitant is enrolled as an employee with a self plus one or self and family enrollment (or, if both the decedent and the surviving spouse were enrolled in a self only or self plus one enrollment) at the time the surviving spouse becomes a survivor annuitant and the surviving spouse is thereafter separated without entitlement to continued enrollment as a retiree, the surviving spouse is entitled to enroll as a survivor annuitant. The change from coverage as an employee to coverage as a survivor annuitant must be made within 30 days of separation from service.

(3) Insurable interest survivor annuity. * * *

7. Amend § 890.306 by revising paragraphs (e), (f)(1)(i), (g)(1), (l) introductory text, (l)(1), (n), and (r) to read as follows:
§ 890.306 When can annuitants or survivor annuitants change enrollment or reenroll and what are the effective dates?

(e) Decreasing enrollment type. (1) With one exception, an annuitant may decrease enrollment type at any time. Exception: An annuitant who, as an employee, was subject to a court or administrative order as discussed in § 890.301(g)(3) at the time he or she retired may not, after retirement, decrease enrollment type in a way that eliminates coverage of a child identified in the order as long as the court or administrative order is still in effect and the annuitant has at least one child identified in the order who is still eligible under the FEHB Program, unless the annuitant provides documentation to the retirement system that he or she has other coverage for the child or children. The annuitant may not elect self only as long as he or she has one child identified as covered, but may elect self plus one.

(2) A decrease in enrollment type takes effect on the first day of the first pay period that begins after the date the employing office receives an appropriate request to change the enrollment, except that at the request of the annuitant and upon a showing satisfactory to the employing office that there was no family member eligible for coverage under the self plus one or self and family enrollment, or only one family member eligible for coverage under the self and family enrollment, as appropriate, the employing office may make the change effective on the first day of the pay period following the one in which there was, in the case of a self plus one enrollment, no family member or, in the case of a self and family enrollment, only one or no family member.

(f) * * *

(1) * * *

(i) With one exception, an enrolled annuitant may decrease or increase enrollment type, may change from one plan or option to another, or may make any combination of these changes. Exception: An annuitant who, as an employee, was subject to a court or administrative order as discussed in § 890.301(g)(3) at the time he or she retired may not cancel or suspend his or her enrollment, decrease enrollment type in a way that eliminates coverage of a child identified in the order or change to a comprehensive medical plan that does not serve the area where his or her child or children live after retirement as long as the court or administrative order is still in effect and the annuitant has at least one child identified in the order who is still eligible under the FEHB Program, unless the annuitant provides documentation to the retirement system that he or she has other coverage for the child or children. The annuitant may not elect self only as long as he or she has one child identified as covered, but may elect self plus one.

(g) Change in family status. (1) An enrolled former employee in receipt of an annuity may decrease or increase enrollment type, change from one plan or option to another, or make any combination of these changes when the annuitant's family status changes, including a change in marital status or any other change in family status. In the case of an enrolled survivor annuitant, a change in family status based on additional family members occurs only if the additional family members are family members of the deceased employee or annuitant. The annuitant must change the enrollment within the period beginning 31 days before the date of the change in family status, and ending 60 days after the date of the change in family status.

(l) Loss of coverage under this part or under another group insurance plan. An annuitant who meets the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section, and who is not enrolled but is covered by another enrollment under this part may continue coverage by enrolling in his or her own name when the annuitant loses coverage under the other enrollment under this part. An enrolled annuitant may decrease or increase enrollment type, change from one plan or option to another, or make any combination of these changes when the annuitant or an eligible family member of the annuitant loses coverage under this part or under another group health benefits plan. Except as otherwise provided, an annuitant must enroll or change the enrollment within the period beginning 31 days before the date of loss of coverage and ending 60 days after the date of loss of coverage. Losses of coverage include, but are not limited to—

(1) Loss of coverage under another FEHB enrollment due to the termination, cancellation, or a change to self plus one or self only, of the covering enrollment;

(n) Overseas post of duty. An annuitant may decrease or increase enrollment type, change from one plan or option to another, or make any combination of these changes within 60 days after the retirement or death of the employee on whose service title to annuity is based, if the employee was stationed at a post of duty outside a State of the United States or the District of Columbia at the time of retirement or death.

(r) Sole survivor. When an employee or annuitant enrolled for self plus one or self and family dies, leaving a survivor annuitant who is entitled to continue the enrollment, and it is apparent from available records that the survivor annuitant is the sole survivor entitled to continue the enrollment, the office of the retirement system which is acting as employing office must decrease the enrollment to self only, effective on the commencing date of the survivor annuity. On request of the survivor annuitant made within 31 days after the first installment of annuity is paid, the office of the retirement system which is acting as employing office must rescind the action retroactive to the effective date of the change to self only, with corresponding adjustment in withholdings and contributions.

8. Amend § 890.401 by revising paragraph (a)(1) to read as follows:
§ 890.401 Temporary extension of coverage and conversion.

(a) Thirty-one day extension and conversion. (1) An enrollee whose enrollment is terminated other than by cancellation of the enrollment or discontinuance of the plan, in whole or part, and a covered family member whose coverage is terminated other than by cancellation of the enrollment or discontinuance of the plan, in whole or in part, is entitled to a 31-day extension of coverage for self only, self plus one, or self and family, as the case may be, without contributions by the enrollee or the Government, during which period he or she is entitled to exercise the right of conversion provided for by this part. The 31-day extension of coverage and the right of conversion for any person ends on the effective date of a new enrollment under this part covering the person.

9. Amend § 890.501 by revising paragraphs (b) introductory text, (b)(2)(i), and (b)(3) to read as follows:
§ 890.501 Government contributions.

(b) In accordance with the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 8906(a) which take effect with the contract year that begins in January 1999, OPM will determine the amounts representing the weighted average of subscription charges in effect for each contract year, for self only, self plus one, and self and family enrollments, as follows:

(2) * * *

(i) When a subscription charge for an upcoming contract year applies to a plan that is the result of a merger of two or more plans which contract separately with OPM during the determination year, or applies to a plan which will cease to offer two benefits options, OPM will combine the self only enrollments, the self plus one enrollments, and the self and family enrollments from the merging plans, or from a plan's benefits options, for purposes of weighting subscription charges in effect for the successor plan for the upcoming contract year.

(3) After OPM weights each subscription charge as provided in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, OPM will compute the total of subscription charges associated with self only enrollments, self plus one enrollments, and self and family enrollments, respectively. OPM will divide each subscription charge total by the total number of enrollments such amount represents to obtain the program-wide weighted average subscription charges for self only and for self plus one and self and family enrollments, respectively.

10. Amend § 890.804 by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows:
§ 890.804 Coverage.

(a) Type of enrollment. A former spouse who meets the requirements of § 890.803 may elect coverage for self only, self plus one, or self and family. A self and family enrollment covers only the former spouse and all eligible children of both the former spouse and the employee, former employee, or employee annuitant, provided such children are not otherwise covered by a health plan under this part. A self plus one enrollment covers only the former spouse and one eligible child of both the former spouse and the employee, former employee, or employee annuitant, provided the child is not otherwise covered by a health plan under this part. A child must be under age 26 or incapable of self-support because of a mental or physical disability existing before age 26. No person may be covered by two enrollments.

11. Amend § 890.806 by revising paragraphs (e), (f)(1)(i), (g)(1), (j) introductory text, and (j)(1) to read as follows:
§ 890.806 When can former spouses change enrollment or reenroll and what are the effective dates?

(e) Decreasing enrollment type. (1) A former spouse may decrease enrollment type at any time.

(2) A decrease in enrollment type takes effect on the first day of the first pay period that begins after the date the employing office receives an appropriate request to change the enrollment, except that at the request of the former spouse and upon a showing satisfactory to the employing office that there was no family member eligible for coverage under the self plus one or self and family enrollment, or only one family member eligible for coverage under the self and family enrollment, as appropriate, the employing office may make the change effective on the first day of the pay period following the one in which there was, in the case of a self plus one enrollment, no family member or, in the case of a self and family enrollment, only one or no family member.

(f) * * *

(1) * * *

(i) An enrolled former spouse may decrease enrollment type, increase enrollment type provided the family member(s) to be covered under the enrollment is eligible for coverage under § 890.804, change from one plan or option to another, or make any combination of these changes.

(g) Change in family status. (1) An enrolled former spouse may increase enrollment type, change from one plan or option to another, or make any combination of these changes within the period beginning 31 days before and ending 60 days after the birth or acquisition of a child who meets the eligibility requirements of § 890.804.

(j) Loss of coverage under this part or under another group insurance plan. An enrolled former spouse may decrease or increase enrollment type, change from one plan or option to another or make any combination of these changes when the former spouse or a child who meets the eligibility requirements under § 890.804 loses coverage under another enrollment under this part or under another group health benefits plan. Except as otherwise provided, the former spouse must change the enrollment within the period beginning 31 days before the date of loss of coverage and ending 60 days after the date of loss of coverage, provided he or she continues to meet the eligibility requirements under § 890.803. Losses of coverage include but are not limited to—

(1) Loss of coverage under another FEHB enrollment due to the termination, cancellation, or a change to self plus one or self only, of the covering enrollment;

12. Amend § 890.1103 by revising paragraphs (a)(2) and (3) to read as follows:
§ 890.1103 Eligibility.

(a) * * *

(2) Individuals whose coverage as children under the self plus one or self and family enrollment of an employee, former employee, or annuitant ends because they cease meeting the requirements for being considered covered family members. For the purpose of this section, children who are enrolled under this part as survivors of deceased employees or annuitants are considered to be children under a self plus one or self and family enrollment of an employee or annuitant at the time of the qualifying event.

(3) Former spouses of employees, of former employees having continued self plus one or self and family coverage under this subpart, or of annuitants, if the former spouse would be eligible for continued coverage under subpart H of this part except for failure to meet the requirement of § 890.803(a)(1) or (3) or the documentation requirements of § 890.806(a), including former spouses who lose eligibility under subpart H within 36 months after termination of the marriage because they ceased meeting the requirement of § 890.803(a)(1) or (3).

13. Amend § 890.1106 by revising paragraph (a) introductory text to read as follows:
§ 890.1106 Coverage.

(a) Type of enrollment. An individual who enrolls under this subpart may elect coverage for self only, self plus one, or self and family.

14. Amend § 890.1108 by revising paragraphs (d), (e)(1), (f)(1) and (2), (h) introductory text, and (h)(1) to read as follows:
§ 890.1108 Opportunities to change enrollment; effective dates.

(d) Decreasing enrollment type. (1) An enrollee may decrease enrollment type at any time.

(2) A decrease in enrollment type takes effect on the first day of the first pay period that begins after the date the employing office receives an appropriate request to change the enrollment, except that at the request of the enrollee and upon a showing satisfactory to the employing office that there was no family member eligible for coverage under the self plus one or self and family enrollment, or only one family member eligible for coverage under the self and family enrollment, as appropriate, the employing office may make the change effective on the first day of the pay period following the one in which there was, in the case of a self plus one enrollment, no family member or, in the case of a self and family enrollment, only one or no family member.

(e) Open season. (1) During an open season as provided by § 890.301(f), an enrollee (except for a former spouse who is eligible for continued coverage under § 890.1103(a)(3)) may decrease or increase enrollment type, change from one plan or option to another, or make any combination of these changes. A former spouse who is eligible for continued coverage under § 890.1103(a)(3) may change from one plan or option to another, but may not increase enrollment type unless the individual to be covered under the self plus one or self and family enrollment qualifies as a family member under § 890.1106(a)(2).

(f) Change in family status. (1) Except for a former spouse, an enrollee may decrease or increase enrollment type, change from one plan or option to another, or make any combination of these changes when the enrollee's family status changes, including a change in marital status or any other change in family status. The enrollee must change the enrollment within the period beginning 31 days before the date of the change in family status, and ending 60 days after the date of the change in family status.

(2) A former spouse who is covered under this section may increase enrollment type, change from one plan or option to another, or make any combination of these changes within the period beginning 31 days before and ending 60 days after the birth or acquisition of a child who qualifies as a covered family member under § 890.1106(a)(2).

(h) Loss of coverage under this part or under another group insurance plan. An enrollee may decrease or increase enrollment type, change from one plan or option to another, or make any combination of these changes when the enrollee loses coverage under this part or a qualified family member of the enrollee loses coverage under this part or under another group health benefits plan. Except as otherwise provided, an enrollee must change the enrollment within the period beginning 31 days before the date of loss of coverage and ending 60 days after the date of loss of coverage. Losses of coverage include, but are not limited to—

(1) Loss of coverage under another FEHB enrollment due to the termination, cancellation, or change to self plus one or to self only, of the covering enrollment.

15. Amend § 890.1202 by revising the definition of “Covered family members” to read as follows:
§ 890.1202 Definitions.

Covered family members as it applies to individuals covered under this subpart has the same meaning as set forth in § 890.101(a). For eligible survivors of individuals enrolled under this subpart, a self plus one enrollment covers only the survivor or former spouse and one eligible child of both the survivor or former spouse and hostage. A self and family enrollment covers only the survivor or former spouse and any eligible children of both the survivor or former spouse and hostage.

16. Amend § 890.1203 by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:
§ 890.1203 Coverage.

(b) An individual who is covered under this subpart is covered under the Standard Option of the Service Benefit Plan. The individual has a self and family enrollment unless the U.S. Department of State determines that the individual is married and has no eligible children, or is unmarried and has one eligible child, in which case the individual is covered under a self plus one enrollment, or unless the U.S. Department of State determines that the individual is unmarried and has no eligible children, in which case the individual has a self only enrollment.

17. Amend § 890.1205 by revising paragraphs (a) and (b) to read as follows:
§ 890.1205 Change in type of enrollment.

(a) Individuals covered under this subpart or eligible survivors enrolled under this subpart may increase enrollment type if they acquire an eligible family member. The change may be made at the written request of the enrollee at any time after the family member is acquired. An increase in enrollment type under this paragraph (a) becomes effective on the 1st day of the pay period after the pay period during which the request is received by the U.S. Department of State, except that a change based on the birth or addition of a child as a new family member is effective on the 1st day of the pay period during which the child is born or otherwise becomes a new family member.

(b) Individuals covered under this subpart or eligible survivors enrolled under this subpart may decrease enrollment type from a self and family enrollment when the last eligible family member (other than the enrollee) ceases to be a family member or only one family member remains; and may decrease enrollment type from a self plus one enrollment when no family member remains. The change may be made at the written request of the enrollee at any time after the last family member is lost and it becomes effective on the 1st day of the pay period after the pay period during which the request is received by the U.S. Department of State.

18. Amend § 890.1209 by revising paragraph (c) to read as follows:
§ 890.1209 Responsibilities of the U.S. Department of State.

(c) The U.S. Department of State must determine the number of eligible family members, if any, for the purpose of coverage under a self only, self plus one, or self and family enrollment as set forth in § 890.1203(b). If the number of eligible family members of the individual cannot be determined, the U.S. Department of State must enroll the individual for self and family coverage.

PART 892—FEDERAL FLEXIBLE BENEFITS PLAN: PRE-TAX PAYMENT OF HEALTH BENEFITS PREMIUMS 19. The authority citation for part 892 is revised to read as follows: Authority:

5 U.S.C. 8913; 5 U.S.C. 1103(a)(7); 26 U.S.C. 125.

20. In § 892.101, the definition of “Qualifying life event” is amended by revising the introductory text and paragraphs (9) and (13) to read as follows:
§ 892.101 Definitions.

Qualifying life event means an event that may permit changes to your FEHB enrollment as well as changes to your premium conversion election as described in Treasury regulations at 26 CFR 1.125-4. For purposes of determining whether a qualifying life event has occurred under this part, a stepchild who is the child of an employee's domestic partner as defined in part 890 of this chapter shall be treated as though the child were a dependent within the meaning of 26 CFR 1.125-4 even if the child does not so qualify under such Treasury regulations. Such events include the following:

(9) An employee becomes entitled to Medicare. (For change to self only, self plus one, cancellation, or change in premium conversion status see paragraph (11) of this definition.)

(13) An employee or eligible family member becomes eligible for premium assistance under Medicaid or a State Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). An eligible employee may enroll and an enrolled employee may decrease or increase enrollment type, change from one plan or option to another, or make any combination of these changes when the employee or an eligible family member of the employee becomes eligible for premium assistance under a Medicaid plan or a State Children's Health Insurance Program. An employee must enroll or change his or her enrollment within 60 days after the date the employee or family member is determined to be eligible for assistance.

21. Amend § 892.207 by revising paragraph (b) and adding paragraph (d) to read as follows:
§ 892.207 Can I make changes to my FEHB enrollment while I am participating in premium conversion?

(b) However, if you are participating in premium conversion there are two exceptions: You must have a qualifying life event to decrease enrollment type, switch a covered family member, or to cancel FEHB coverage entirely. (See §§ 892.209 and 892.210.) Your change in enrollment must be consistent with and correspond to your qualifying life event as described in § 892.101. These limitations apply only to changes you may wish to make outside open season.

(d) During the first plan year in which the self plus one enrollment type is available, OPM will administer a limited enrollment period for enrollees who participate in premium conversion. During this limited enrollment period, enrollees who participate in premium conversion will be allowed to decrease enrollment from self and family to self plus one during a time period determined by OPM. No other changes, including changes in plan or plan option or increases in enrollment, will be allowed. Enrollments will be effective on the first day of the first pay period following the one in which the appropriate request is received by the employing office.

22. Revise § 892.208 to read as follows:
§ 892.208 Can I decrease my enrollment type at any time?

If you are participating in premium conversion you may decrease your FEHB enrollment type under either of the following circumstances:

(a) During the annual open season. A decrease in enrollment type made during the annual open season takes effect on the 1st day of the first pay period that begins in the next year.

(b) Within 60 days after you have a qualifying life event. A decrease in enrollment type made because of a qualifying life event takes effect on the first day of the first pay period that begins after the date your employing office receives your appropriate request. Your change in enrollment must be consistent with and correspond to your qualifying life event. For example, if you get divorced and have no dependent children, changing to self only would be consistent with that qualifying life event. As another example, if both you and your spouse are Federal employees, and your youngest dependent turns age 26, changing from a self and family to a self plus one or two self only enrollments would be consistent and appropriate for that event.

(c) If you are subject to a court or administrative order as discussed in § 890.301(g)(3), you may not decrease enrollment type in a way that eliminates coverage of a child identified in the order as long as the court or administrative order is still in effect and you have at least one child identified in the order who is still eligible under the FEHB Program, unless you provide documentation to your agency that you have other coverage for your child or children. See also §§ 892.207 and 892.209. If you are subject to a court or administrative order as discussed in § 890.301(g)(3), you may not change your enrollment to self plus one as long as the court or administrative order is still in effect and you have more than one child identified in the order who is still eligible under the FEHB Program, unless you provide documentation to your agency that you have other coverage for your children. See also §§ 892.207 and 892.209.

[FR Doc. 2015-23348 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6325-63-P
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service 7 CFR Part 319 [Docket No. APHIS-2014-0002] RIN 0579-AD98 Importation of Kiwi From Chile Into the United States AGENCY:

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

We are amending the fruits and vegetables regulations to list kiwi (Actinidia deliciosa and Actinidia chinensis) from Chile as eligible for importation into the United States subject to a systems approach. Under this systems approach, the fruit will have to be grown in a place of production that is registered with the Government of Chile and certified as having a low prevalence of Brevipalpus chilensis. The fruit will have to undergo pre-harvest sampling at the registered production site. Following post-harvest processing, the fruit will have to be inspected in Chile at an approved inspection site. Each consignment of fruit will have to be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate with an additional declaration stating that the fruit had been found free of Brevipalpus chilensis based on field and packinghouse inspections. This rule allows for the safe importation of kiwi from Chile using mitigation measures other than fumigation with methyl bromide.

DATES:

Effective October 19, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Ms. Claudia Ferguson, Senior Regulatory Policy Specialist, Regulatory Coordination and Compliance, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 20737-1236; (301) 851-2352.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

Under the regulations in “Subpart-Fruits and Vegetables” (7 CFR 319.56-1 through 319.56-73, referred to below as the regulations), the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture prohibits or restricts the importation of fruits and vegetables into the United States from certain parts of the world to prevent plant pests from being introduced into and spread within the United States.

On October 16, 2014, we published in the Federal Register (79 FR 62055-62058, Docket No. APHIS-2014-0002) a proposal 1 to amend the regulations by listing kiwi (Actinidia deliciosa and Actinidia chinensis) from Chile as eligible for importation into the United States under the same systems approach as baby kiwi from Chile, which are eligible for importation under the conditions in § 319.56-53. We also prepared a commodity import evaluation document (CIED) titled “Importation of Fresh Fruits of Kiwi (Actinidia deliciosa and Actinidia chinensis) from Chile into the United States.” The CIED assesses the risks associated with the importation of kiwi from Chile into the United States under the listed phytosanitary measures.

1 To view the proposed rule, supporting documents, and the comments we received, go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2014-0002.

We solicited comments concerning our proposal for 60 days ending December 15, 2014. We received seven comments by that date. They were from private citizens, a fruit exporter, an industry group, and representatives of State and foreign governments. Four of the comments were supportive. Three commenters expressed concerns regarding aspects of the proposed rule. Those concerns are discussed below.

In the proposed rule, we proposed that a random sample of kiwi would have to be washed using a flushing method, placed in a 20-mesh sieve on top of a 200-mesh sieve, sprinkled with a liquid soap and water solution, washed with water at high pressure, and washed with water at low pressure. The washing process would then have to be repeated immediately after the first washing. The contents of the 200-mesh sieve would then be placed on a petri dish and analyzed for the presence of live Brevipalpus chilensis mites. This mite sampling method is identical to the method currently in use for baby kiwi production areas in Chile and has been found to be successful in identifying production areas within Chile with high and low populations of mites.

One commenter stated that the washing process should be expanded to include all fruit in a shipment.

The washing process is used as a way to sample for the presence of B. chilensis in order to confirm the low prevalence of B. chilensis in certified production areas within Chile. It is not intended as a phytosanitary measure.

Two commenters recommended that 270 mesh be used in place of 200 mesh for sampling at the port of entry because they stated that 200 mesh may not be fine enough to detect immature stages of B. chilensis.

Fruit has been imported from Chile since 1997 using a systems approach based on sampling for mites using a 200 mesh screen. Any eggs or nymphs found using a finer mesh sieve cannot be identified to species. This systems approach is based on low prevalence for adult mites, not pest freedom. If even one adult B. chilensis mite is found in a shipment, it is enough to disqualify a place of production from the export program. APHIS has successfully used this approach for 18 years for determining areas of low prevalence for a number of Chilean fruits.

Therefore, for the reasons given in the proposed rule and in this document, we are adopting the proposed rule as a final rule, without change.

Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act

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

In accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act, we have analyzed the potential economic effects of this action on small entities. Production, consumption, and trade of kiwi by the United States have been expanding and are expected to continue to increase, as shown in table 1. Over the 5 years from 2008 through 2012, U.S. kiwi production and imports expanded by about 29 percent and 24 percent, respectively, and U.S. exports by 48 percent. U.S. consumption of kiwi grew by about 23 percent over this same period.

The United States is dependent on imports for the major share of its kiwi supply. In 2012, nearly four of every five kiwis consumed were imported. Chile is the principal foreign source, supplying one-half of the kiwis imported by the United States in 2012, up from approximately one-third of U.S. kiwi imports in 2008. Chile is expected to continue to dominate the supply of kiwi to the United States in the near term. Under this rule, Chile's kiwi exporters will have the option of using the systems approach rather than relying on fumigation with methyl bromide to meet import requirements.

Although the United States is a net importer of kiwi, the percentage increase in U.S. kiwi exports between 2008 and 2012 was twice the percentage increase in U.S. kiwi imports; U.S. producers are actively expanding their sales to other countries. We also note that kiwi imports from Chile are largely counter-seasonal to kiwi sales by domestic producers. California produces 98 percent the kiwis grown in the United States, and the California season runs October through May.2 Kiwi from Chile is predominantly imported during the spring and summer months. Ninety-four percent of Chilean kiwi imported in 2012 arrived between April and September.3

2 California Kiwifruit Commission, http://www.kiwifruit.org/about/availability.aspx.

3 Based on U.S. Census data, as reported by Global Trade Information Services, Inc.

Table 1—U.S. Kiwi Production, Imports, Exports, and Consumption, and Kiwi Imports From Chile, 2008 and 2012, Metric Tons 2008 2012 1 Percentage
  • increase over 5 years
  • U.S. Production 20,865 26,853 28.7 U.S. Imports 50,322 62,372 23.9 U.S. Exports 6,883 10,204 48.2 U.S. Consumption 2 64,304 79,021 22.9 U.S. Imports from Chile 17,248 31,668 83.6 Chile's Share of Imports 34.3% 50.8% Imports from Chile as a Percentage of U.S. Consumption 26.8% 40.1% Sources: For U.S. production, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization; for U.S. imports and exports, the U.S. Census Bureau, as reported by Global Trade Information Services, Inc. 1 U.S. kiwi production data for 2012 are the most recently reported. 2 U.S. consumption calculated as production plus imports minus exports.

    Although kiwi production in the United States is expanding, it remains a relatively small agricultural industry, with fewer than 300 growers whose farms average about 13 acres. Nevertheless, it is a vibrant industry with an expanding export market. This fact, together with the counter-seasonality of kiwi imports from Chile, suggests that the economic impact of the rule for U.S. small entities will be minor.

    Under these circumstances, the Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has determined that this action will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    Executive Order 12988

    This final rule allows kiwi to be imported into the United States from Chile. State and local laws and regulations regarding kiwi imported under this rule will be preempted while the fruit is in foreign commerce. Fresh fruits are generally imported for immediate distribution and sale to the consuming public, and remain in foreign commerce until sold to the ultimate consumer. The question of when foreign commerce ceases in other cases must be addressed on a case-by-case basis. No retroactive effect will be given to this rule, and this rule will not require administrative proceedings before parties may file suit in court challenging this rule.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    This final rule contains no new information collection or recordkeeping requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

    Lists of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 319

    Coffee, Cotton, Fruits, Imports, Logs, Nursery stock, Plant diseases and pests, Quarantine, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Rice, Vegetables.

    Accordingly, we are amending 7 CFR part 319 as follows:

    PART 319—FOREIGN QUARANTINE NOTICES 1. The authority citation for part 319 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    7 U.S.C. 450, 7701-7772, and 7781-7786; 21 U.S.C. 136 and 136a; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.3.

    2. Section 319.56-53 is amended as follows: a. By revising the section heading; b. By revising the introductory paragraph; c. By redesignating paragraphs (a), (b), (c), (d), and (e) as paragraphs (b), (c), (d), (e), and (f), respectively, and adding a new paragraph (a); d. By revising the first and second sentences after the heading of newly designated paragraph (b); e. By revising the third sentence after the heading of newly designated paragraph (e), introductory text; and f. By revising newly designated paragraph (f).

    The revisions and addition read as follows:

    § 319.56-53 Fresh kiwi and baby kiwi from Chile.

    Fresh kiwi (Actinidia deliciosa and Actinidia chinensis) may be imported into the United States from Chile, and fresh baby kiwi (Actinidia arguta) may be imported into the continental United States from Chile under the following conditions:

    (a) The national plant protection organization (NPPO) of Chile must provide a workplan to APHIS that details the activities that the NPPO of Chile will, subject to APHIS' approval of the workplan, carry out to meet the requirements of this section.

    (b) * * * The production site where the fruit is grown must be registered with the NPPO of Chile. Harvested kiwi and baby kiwi must be placed in field cartons or containers that are marked to show the official registration number of the production site. * * *

    (e) * * * Kiwi in any consignment may be shipped to the United States, and baby kiwi in any consignment may be shipped to the continental United States, under the conditions of this section only if the consignment passes inspection as follows:

    (f) Phytosanitary certificate. Each consignment of fresh kiwi and fresh baby kiwi must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the NPPO of Chile that contains an additional declaration stating that the fruit in the consignment was inspected and found free of Brevipalpus chilensis and was grown, packed, and shipped in accordance with the requirements of 7 CFR 319.56-53.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 11th day of September 2015. Michael C. Gregoire, Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23383 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-34-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 71 [Docket No. FAA-2015-1623; Airspace Docket No. 15-AWP-10] Amendment of Class E Airspace; Tracy, CA AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Final rule, correction.

    SUMMARY:

    This action corrects an error in a final rule published in the Federal Register of August 31, 2015, by amending the geographic coordinates of Tracy Municipal Airport, Tracy, CA, in Class E airspace. This does not affect the boundaries or operating requirements of the airspace.

    DATES:

    Effective 0901 UTC, October 15, 2015. The Director of the Federal Register approves this incorporation by reference action under title 1, Code of Federal Regulations, part 51, subject to the annual revision of FAA Order 7400.9 and publication of conforming amendments.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Steve Haga, Federal Aviation Administration, Operations Support Group, Western Service Center, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA, 98057; Telephone: (425) 203-4563.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    History

    The FAA published a final rule, in the Federal Register, amending Class E airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface at Tracy Municipal Airport, Tracy, CA (80 FR 52392 August 31, 2015). Subsequent to publication the FAA identified an error in the longitudinal coordinate of the airport reference point for Tracy Municipal Airport. This action corrects the error.

    Correction to Final Rule

    Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me, in the Federal Register of August 31, 2015 (80 FR 52392) FR Doc. 2015-21414, the longitude coordinate in the regulatory text on page 52393, column 2, line 10, is corrected as follows:

    § 71.1 [Amended] AWP CA E5 Tracy, CA (Corrected)
    Remove “long. 121°26′31″ W.” and add in its place “long. 121°26′30″ W.”
    Issued in Seattle, Washington, on September 08, 2015. Christopher Ramirez, Manager, Operations Support Group, Western Service Center.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23271 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Chapter I [Docket No.: FAA-2015-1006] Discontinuation of Airport Advisory Service in the Contiguous United States, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Notice of policy.

    SUMMARY:

    This action discontinues the availability Airport Advisory services within the contiguous United States, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii. The FAA is taking this action because the frequency of Remote Airport Advisories service use at the 19 locations within the contiguous United States, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii, no longer justifies the continuation of the service due to the lack of productivity.

    DATES:

    Effective date October 1, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Alan Wilkes, Manager, Flight Service NAS Initiative Operations/Implementation, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591; telephone 202-267-7771; Fax (202) 267-6310; email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    History

    On June 30, 2015, the FAA published in the Federal Register (80 FR 37356-37358) a notice of proposed policy to inform the public regarding proposed revisions to the criteria set forth in FAA Order 7110.10, Flight Services, Chapter 4, Section 4; and FAA Order 7210.3, Facility Operation and Administration, paragraph 13-4-5, so that the policy would apply to the State of Alaska only. Interested parties were invited to participate in this policy change by submitting written comments of the proposal. No comments were received.

    Background

    The criteria for providing Airport Advisory (AA) services at Flight Service Stations (FSS) is provided in FAA Order 7210.3, and specifies the criteria for providing Airport Advisory (AA) services; specifically, paragraph 13-4-5, addresses Local Airport Advisory (LAA), Remote Airport Advisory (RAA) and Remote Airport Information Service (RAIS). Section (b) of that paragraph requires, in part, that Flight Service Stations provide RAA when the employee productivity factor is high enough to justify the cost of providing the service.1

    1 The facility's productivity factor is determined by dividing the annual RAA service count by 16,000. The productivity factor is compared to the number of employees used to provide the service and must be equal to or greater than the number of employees needed to provide the service. Normally about 2.5 employees are factored annually to provide 10 hours of service per day.

    Currently, Lockheed Martin provides RAA services at 19 locations. At 18 of the 19 locations, a sample of historical data reflects that pilots contact the RAA service an average of less than 1 time per day. At Millville Municipal Airport in Millville, NJ, pilots contact the RAA service an average of 14 times per day.2 The frequency of RAA service use no longer justifies the continuation of the service due to the lack of productivity.

    2 Lockheed Martin contact history daily averages, July 12-26 and October 1-15, 2014.

    The FAA will discontinue the requirement for FSSs to provide AA services in the contiguous United States, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii effective October 1, 2015, resulting in services no longer being available at the 19 locations. The AA services in the state of Alaska will not be affected by this change, and will remain due to the unique challenges presented by the remote mountainous terrain and weather conditions across the state.

    Applicability

    The FAA will revise the criteria set forth in FAA Order 7110.10, Chapter 4, Section 4; and FAA Order 7210.3, paragraph 13-4-5 to only be applicable to the State of Alaska, and AA services will be discontinued at locations within the CONUS, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii. Due to the policy change, RAA service would no longer be provided at the following airports:

    Altoona-Blair County Airport (AOO), Altoona, Pennsylvania; Columbia Regional Airport (COU), Columbia, Missouri; Elkins-Randolph Airport (EKN), Elkins, West Virginia; Huron Regional Airport (HON), Huron, South Dakota; Jackson-McKellar-Sipes Regional Airport (MKL), Jackson, Tennessee; Jonesboro Municipal Airport (JBR), Jonesboro, Arkansas; Macon-Middle Georgia Regional Airport (MCN), Macon, Georgia; Anderson Regional Airport (AND), Anderson, South Carolina; Anniston Metropolitan Airport (ANB), Anniston, Alabama; Casper-Natrona County International Airport (CPR), Casper, Wyoming; Gainesville Regional Airport (GNV), Gainesville, Florida; Grand Forks International Airport (GFK), Grand Forks, North Dakota; Greenwood-Leflore Airport (GWO), Greenwood, Mississippi; Louisville-Bowman Field Airport (LOU), Louisville, Kentucky; Millville Municipal Airport (MIV), Millville, New Jersey; Prescott-Ernest A. Love Field Airport (PRC), Prescott, Arizona; St. Louis-Spirit of St. Louis Airport (SUS), St. Louis, Missouri; St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport (PIE), St. Petersburg, Florida; and Miami-Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport (TMB), Miami, Florida. II. Additional Information A. Availability of Documents

    An electronic copy of rulemaking documents may be obtained from the Internet by—

    1. Searching the Federal eRulemaking Portal (http://www.regulations.gov);

    2. Visiting the FAA's Regulations and Policies Web page at http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies or

    3. Accessing the Government Printing Office's Web page at http://www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys/.

    Copies may also be obtained by sending a request to the Federal Aviation Administration, Office of Rulemaking, ARM-1, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591, or by calling (202) 267-9680. Commenters must identify the docket or amendment number of this notice.

    All documents the FAA considered in developing this notice, including economic analyses and technical reports, may be accessed from the Internet through the Federal eRulemaking Portal referenced in item (1) above.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on August 25, 2015. Jeanne Giering, Director of Flight Services.
    [FR Doc. 2015-21784 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    PENSION BENEFIT GUARANTY CORPORATION 29 CFR Parts 4000, 4041A, and 4281 RIN 1212-AB28 Multiemployer Plans; Electronic Filing Requirements AGENCY:

    Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This final rule amends Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation's (PBGC) regulations to require electronic filing of certain multiemployer notices. These changes make the provision of information to PBGC more efficient and effective.

    DATES:

    Effective October 19, 2015. See Applicability in SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Catherine B. Klion ([email protected]), Assistant General Counsel for Regulatory Affairs, or Donald McCabe ([email protected]), Attorney, Office of the General Counsel, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, 1200 K Street NW., Washington, DC 20005-4026; 202-326-4024. (TTY/TDD users may call the Federal relay service toll-free at 1-800-877-8339 and ask to be connected to 202-326-4024.)

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Executive Summary Purpose of the Regulatory Action

    This final rule is part of PBGC's ongoing implementation of the Government Paperwork Elimination Act and is consistent with the Office of Management and Budget's directive to remove regulatory impediments to electronic transactions. The rule builds in flexibility to allow PBGC to update the electronic filing process as technology advances.

    PBGC's legal authority for this regulatory action comes from section 4002(b)(3) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), which authorizes PBGC to issue regulations to carry out the purposes of title IV of ERISA; section 4041A(f)(2), which gives PBGC authority to prescribe reporting requirements for terminated plans; section 4245(e)(4), which authorizes PBGC to issue regulations on notices related to insolvency and resource benefit levels; and section 4281(d), which directs PBGC to prescribe by regulation the notice requirements to plan participants and beneficiaries in the event of a benefit suspension under an insolvent plan.

    Major Provisions of the Regulatory Action

    This final rule requires the following notices to be filed electronically with PBGC: Notices of termination under part 4041A, notices of insolvency and of insolvency benefit level under parts 4245 and 4281, and applications for financial assistance under part 4281.

    This final rule does not involve any conforming amendments reflecting the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 (MPRA).1 The rule affects only notices to PBGC (not notices to participants or other parties).

    1 Division O of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, Public Law 113-235, enacted December 16, 2014. On June 19, 2015, (at 80 FR 35220), PBGC published an interim final rule on Partitions of Eligible Multiemployer Plans under MPRA, http://www.pbgc.gov/documents/2015-14930.pdf. PBGC expects to publish further guidance under MPRA.

    Background

    The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) is a federal corporation created under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) to guarantee the payment of pension benefits earned by more than 41 million American workers and retirees in nearly 24,000 private-sector defined benefit pension plans. PBGC administers two insurance programs—one for single-employer defined benefit pension plans and a second for multiemployer defined benefit pension plans.

    The multiemployer plan program protects benefits of approximately 10 million workers and retirees in approximately 1,400 plans. A multiemployer plan is a collectively bargained pension arrangement involving two or more unrelated employers, usually in a common industry such as construction or trucking, where workers move from employer to employer on a regular basis. Under PBGC's multiemployer program, when a plan becomes insolvent, PBGC provides financial assistance directly to the insolvent plan sufficient to pay guaranteed benefits to participants and beneficiaries, and the reasonable and necessary administrative expenses of the insolvent plan.

    ERISA section 4041A provides for two types of multiemployer plan terminations: mass withdrawal and plan amendment. A mass withdrawal termination occurs when all employers withdraw or cease to be obligated to contribute to the plan. A plan amendment termination occurs when the plan adopts an amendment that provides that participants will receive no credit for service with any employer after a specified date, or an amendment that makes it no longer a covered plan. Unlike terminated single-employer plans, terminated multiemployer plans generally continue to pay all vested benefits out of existing plan assets and withdrawal liability payments.

    Multiemployer Plan Notices

    PBGC's regulation on Termination of Multiemployer Plans (29 CFR part 4041A) implements these provisions, among other things by requiring the plan sponsor of a terminated multiemployer plan to file with PBGC a notice of termination containing basic information necessary to alert PBGC to possible demands on the multiemployer insurance program.

    ERISA section 4245(e) requires two types of notices:

    • Notice of insolvency, which states a plan sponsor's determination that the plan is or may become insolvent.

    • Notice of insolvency benefit level, which states the level of benefits that will be paid during an insolvency year.

    Section 4245(e)(4) provides that these notices are to be given in accordance with rules promulgated by PBGC. PBGC's regulation on Notice of Insolvency, 29 CFR part 4245, establishes the procedure for complying with these notice requirements. The regulation allows a single notice of insolvency to cover more than one plan year, thereby generally permitting plan sponsors to file only a single notice (a notice of insolvency benefit level) for any future year. The regulation also prescribes, among other things, the manner in which the notices must be given. The recipients of these notices include PBGC, in addition to other parties.

    PBGC's regulation on Duties of Plan Sponsor Following Mass Withdrawal (29 CFR part 4281) implements the requirements of ERISA section 4281. The regulation prescribes rules under which plan sponsors must:

    • Provide notices to PBGC and to participants and beneficiaries that a plan is, or will be, insolvent (§§ 4281.43 and 4281.44).

    • Provide notices of insolvency benefit level to PBGC and to participants and beneficiaries who are in pay status or may reasonably be expected to enter pay status during the year (§§ 4281.45 and 4281.46).

    • Submit an application to PBGC for financial assistance if a plan is, or will be, unable to pay guaranteed benefits when due (§ 4281.47).

    Mandatory Electronic Filing; Current Requirements

    Section 4000.3 of PBGC's regulation on Filing, Issuance, Computation of Time, and Record Retention (29 CFR part 4000) requires electronic filing of premium declarations under part 4007 (Payment of Premiums) and information required under part 4010 (Annual Financial and Actuarial Information Reporting).

    Regulatory Review

    On January 18, 2011, the President issued Executive Order 13563 “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review,” to ensure that Federal regulations seek more affordable, less intrusive means to achieve policy goals, and that agencies give careful consideration to the benefits and costs of those regulations. PBGC's Plan for Regulatory Review,2 identifies several regulatory areas for review, including the multiemployer regulations referred to above. PBGC will continue to review its regulations with a view to developing more ideas for improvement.

    2http://www.pbgc.gov/documents/plan-for-regulatory-review.pdf.

    Proposed Rule

    On April 3, 2015 (at 80 FR 18172), PBGC published a proposed rule to amend parts 4000, 4041A, and 4281 to require electronic filing of certain multiemployer notices.3 PBGC received no comments on the proposed rule. The final regulation is unchanged from the proposed regulation.

    3http://www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-04-03/pdf/2015-07602.pdf.

    Regulatory Changes

    The final regulation requires electronic filing with PBGC of the following multiemployer plan filings:

    • Notices of termination under part 4041A.

    • Notices of insolvency and of insolvency benefit level under part 4245.

    • Notices of insolvency and of insolvency benefit level under part 4281 (following mass withdrawal).

    • Applications for financial assistance under part 4281 (following mass withdrawal).

    PBGC will grant case-by-case exemptions to the electronic filing requirement in appropriate circumstances for filers that demonstrate good cause for exemption. PBGC believes that requiring electronic filing for these notices will result in benefits for both the public and the government.

    Electronic filing will simplify the filing process for the public by building in all required and optional fields and including readily accessible guidance in the application. Electronic filing is expected to reduce the need to contact PBGC for assistance. PBGC estimates that the amendments in the rule will result in a total savings in administrative burdens for the public of 25 percent (about 22 hours and $99,000 annually).

    Electronic filing will also result in greater efficiencies for the government. Up to now, documents submitted by filers needed to be manually uploaded to electronic depositories. With electronic filing, those documents will be automatically uploaded. Electronic filing will also save the government time by reducing the need to provide assistance to filers. It will also improve the government's recordkeeping, records retrieval, and records archiving process by eliminating the possibility of missing or lost paper files due to human error.

    Moreover, the PBGC expects electronic filing will improve the government's ability to protect potential personally identifiable information (PII), or otherwise sensitive information, since only pre-approved personnel will have access to PBGC's electronic records systems, and limited access will be approved for officials of pension plans.

    PBGC did not propose to require electronic filing of notices of benefit reduction and of restoration of benefits under part 4281. PBGC may in the future require that other multiemployer filings also be made electronically.

    Applicability

    The amendments in this final rule will be applicable for filings made on or after January 1, 2016.

    Compliance With Rulemaking Requirements Executive Order 12866 “Regulatory Planning and Review” and Executive Order 13563 “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review”

    PBGC has determined that this final rule is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866. Executive Orders 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). Executive Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility.

    Under Section 3(f)(1) of Executive Order 12866, a regulatory action is economically significant if “it is likely to result in a rule that may . . . [h]ave an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or tribal governments or communities.” PBGC has determined that this final rule does not cross the $100 million threshold for economic significance and is not otherwise economically significant (see discussion above).

    Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act imposes certain requirements with respect to rules that are subject to the notice and comment requirements of section 553(b) of the Administrative Procedure Act and that are likely to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Unless an agency determines that a final rule is not likely to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, section 603 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act requires that the agency present a regulatory flexibility analysis at the time of the publication of the final rule describing the impact of the rule on small entities and seeking public comment on such impact. Small entities include small businesses, organizations and governmental jurisdictions.

    For purposes of the Regulatory Flexibility Act requirements with respect to this final rule, PBGC considers a small entity to be a plan with fewer than 100 participants. This is the same criterion PBGC uses in other aspects of its regulations involving small plans, and is consistent with certain requirements in Title I of ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code, as well as the definition of a small entity that the Department of Labor (DOL) has used for purposes of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

    Thus, PBGC believes that assessing the impact of the rule on small plans is an appropriate substitute for evaluating the effect on small entities. The definition of small entity considered appropriate for this purpose differs, however, from a definition of small business based on size standards promulgated by the Small Business Administration (13 CFR 121.201) pursuant to the Small Business Act. Therefore, in the proposed rule, PBGC requested comments on the appropriateness of the size standard used in evaluating the impact on small entities of the amendments to the benefit payments regulation. No comments were received on this point.

    On the basis of its definition of small entity, PBGC certifies under section 605(b) of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) that the amendments in this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Very few multiemployer plans are small.4 And, as discussed above, the amendments will not have a significant economic impact on entities of any size. Accordingly, as provided in section 605 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.), sections 603 and 604 will not apply.

    4 According to data from 2012 5500 filings, only 32 of 1,407 active plans have fewer than 100 participants. Further, PBGC is not aware of a multiemployer plan that was established and covered by ERISA that was not initially a large plan. Generally it is only after a plan terminates and employers withdraw from the plan that a plan might reduce in size to fewer than 100 participants.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    PBGC is submitting the information requirements under this final rule to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    The collection of information in part 4041A is approved under control number 1212-0020 (expires June 30, 2017). PBGC estimates that there will be 10 respondents each year and that the total annual burden of the collection of information will be about 17 hours and $3,850.00 (about 2 hours and $385 per respondent).

    The collection of information in part 4245 is approved under control number 1212-0033 (expires June 30, 2017). PBGC estimates that there will be one respondent each year and that the total annual burden of the collection of information will be about $1,550.

    The collection of information in part 4281 is approved under control number 1212-0032 (expires July 31, 2017). PBGC estimates that there will be 324 respondents each year and that the total annual burden of the collection of information will be about 61 hours and $309,000 (about $950 per respondent).

    List of Subjects 29 CFR Part 4000

    Pension insurance, Pensions, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    29 CFR Parts 4041A and 4281

    Employee benefit plans, Pension insurance, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    For the reasons given above, the PBGC is amending 29 CFR parts 4000, 4041A, and 4281 as follows.

    PART 4000—FILING, ISSUANCE, COMPUTATION OF TIME, AND RECORD RETENTION 1. The authority citation for part 4000 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    29 U.S.C. 1082(f), 1302(b)(3).

    2. In § 4000.3, revise paragraph (b)(3) to read as follows:
    § 4000.3 What methods of filing may I use?

    (b) * * *

    (3) When making filings to PBGC under parts 4041A, 4245, and 4281 of this chapter (except for notices of benefit reductions and notices of restoration of benefits under part 4281), you must submit the information required under these parts electronically in accordance with the instructions on the PBGC's Web site, except as otherwise provided by the PBGC.

    PART 4041A—TERMINATION OF MULTIEMPLOYER PLANS 3. The authority citation for part 4041A continues to read as follows: Authority:

    29 U.S.C. 1302(b)(3), 1341a, 1441.

    4. In § 4041A.11, add paragraph (d) to read as follows:
    § 4041A.11 Requirement of notice.

    (d) How and where to file. Filings to PBGC under this subpart must be submitted in accordance with the rules in subpart A of part 4000 of this chapter. See § 4000.4 of this chapter for information on where to file.

    § 4041A.25 [Amended]
    5. In § 4041A.25, amend paragraph (d) by removing the words “of the PBGC” and adding in their place “to the PBGC”.
    PART 4281—DUTIES OF PLAN SPONSOR FOLLOWING MASS WITHDRAWAL 6. The authority citation for part 4281 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    29 U.S.C. 1302(b)(3), 1341a, 1399(c)(1)(D), and 1441.

    7. In § 4281.3, revise paragraph (b) to read as follows:
    § 4281.3 Filing and issuance rules.

    (b) Method of issuance. For rules on method of issuance to interested parties, see § 4281.32(c) for notices of benefit reductions, § 4281.43(e) for notices of insolvency, and § 4281.45(c) for notices of insolvency benefit level.

    8. In § 4281.43, revise paragraph (a) to read as follows:
    § 4281.43 Notices of insolvency.

    (a) Requirement of notices of insolvency. A plan sponsor that determines that the plan is, or is expected to be, insolvent for a plan year shall file with the PBGC and issue to plan participants and beneficiaries notices of insolvency. Once notices of insolvency have been filed with the PBGC and issued to plan participants and beneficiaries, no notice of insolvency needs to be issued for subsequent insolvency years. Notices shall be delivered in the manner and within the time prescribed in this section and shall contain the information described in § 4281.44.

    9. In § 4281.47, revise paragraph (b) to read as follows:
    § 4281.47 Application for financial assistance.

    (b) When, how, and where to apply. When the plan sponsor determines a resource benefit level that is less than guaranteed benefits, it shall apply for financial assistance at the same time that it submits its notice of insolvency benefit level pursuant to § 4281.45. When the plan sponsor determines an inability to pay guaranteed benefits for any month, it shall apply for financial assistance within 15 days after making that determination. Application to the PBGC for financial assistance shall be made in accordance with the rules in subpart A of part 4000 of this chapter. See § 4000.4 of this chapter for information on where to apply.

    Issued in Washington, DC, this 14 day of September, 2015. Alice C. Maroni, Acting Director, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23361 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7709-02-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement 30 CFR Part 938 [SATS No. PA-159-FOR; Docket No. OSM-2010-0017; S1D1S SS08011000 SX064A000 156S180110; S2D2S SS08011000 SX064A000 15XS501520] Pennsylvania Regulatory Program AGENCY:

    Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) is removing a required amendment to the Pennsylvania regulatory program (the Pennsylvania program) under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA or the Act). OSMRE has determined that the information submitted by Pennsylvania satisfies a previously required amendment regarding bonding in Pennsylvania. Therefore, OSMRE is removing the previously required amendment from the Pennsylvania program as Pennsylvania has demonstrated that its program is being administered in a manner consistent with SMCRA and the corresponding Federal regulations.

    DATES:

    Effective September 17, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ben Owens, Chief, Pittsburgh Field Division; Telephone: (412) 937-2827, Email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background on the Pennsylvania Program II. Description of the Submission III. OSMRE's Findings IV. Summary and Disposition of Comments V. OSMRE's Decision VI. Procedural Determinations I. Background on the Pennsylvania Program

    Section 503(a) of the Act permits a State to assume primacy for the regulation of surface coal mining and reclamation operations on non-Federal and non-Indian lands within its borders by demonstrating that its program includes, among other things, “a State law which provides for the regulation of surface coal mining and reclamation operations in accordance with the requirements of this Act . . .; and rules and regulations consistent with regulations issued by the Secretary pursuant to this Act.” See 30 U.S.C. 1253(a)(1) and (7). On the basis of these criteria, the Secretary of the Interior conditionally approved the Pennsylvania program, effective July 31, 1982. You can find background information on the Pennsylvania program, including the Secretary's findings, the disposition of comments, and the conditions of approval of the Pennsylvania program in the July 30, 1982, Federal Register (47 FR 33050). You can also find later actions concerning the Pennsylvania program and program amendments at 30 CFR 938.11, 938.12, 938.13, 938.15, and 938.16.

    II. Description of the Submission

    OSMRE published a final rule in the August 10, 2010, Federal Register (75 FR 48526), herein referred to as the 2010 final rule, requiring Pennsylvania “to ensure that its program provides suitable, enforceable funding mechanisms that are sufficient to guarantee coverage of the full cost of land reclamation at all sites originally permitted and bonded under the [alternative bonding system (ABS)].” This was codified in the Federal regulations at 30 CFR 938.16(h). OSMRE approved several changes in the 2010 final rule. However, OSMRE concluded that two sites, originally permitted and bonded under the ABS, held insufficient bonds after the conversion to a full cost bonding system to guarantee that the land would be reclaimed in the event forfeiture occurred.

    The two sites at issue are anthracite operations that were permitted by Lehigh Coal & Navigation (LCN) and Coal Contractors Inc. (CCI). Before the 2010 final rule was published, Pennsylvania had indicated that these two sites were bonded in an amount that was less than the full cost needed to complete reclamation in the event that forfeiture occurred. Although Pennsylvania contended that these sites were not reclamation liabilities, as the bond deficiency at both sites was being addressed through other means, OSMRE determined that Pennsylvania's approach to resolving this issue did not provide the same level of financial assurance as that guaranteed by posting a full cost bond. As a result, OSMRE revised 30 CFR 938.16(h), and required that Pennsylvania demonstrate that sufficient funds existed to ensure the land reclamation would be completed at the LCN and CCI sites.

    In response to OSMRE's 2010 final rule, Pennsylvania submitted information which it believed demonstrated that it is able to guarantee sufficient funds to cover the full reclamation costs at the LCN and CCI sites. After providing three submissions, Pennsylvania requests the removal of the required amendment. Each submission is discussed below.

    Submission No. 1: By letter dated October 1, 2010 (Administrative Record No. PA 802.72), Pennsylvania sent us a response as required by 30 CFR 938.16(h). We announced receipt of this submission in the February 7, 2011, Federal Register (76 FR 6587). In the same document, we opened the public comment period and provided an opportunity for a public hearing or meeting on the adequacy of the submission. OSMRE received comments, but did not hold a public hearing or meeting because neither was requested. The public comment period ended on March 9, 2011.

    In the first submission, Pennsylvania provided information that it believed demonstrated that available funds were more than sufficient to guarantee coverage of the full cost of land reclamation at the two sites. The information submitted to support Pennsylvania's contention included a demonstration of available funding, the Coal Contractors 2009 Annual Bond Review, LCN's annual bond review, updated estimates for the ABS bond forfeiture discharge treatment sites, and updated land reclamation estimates. Based on this information, Pennsylvania requested the removal of the previously required amendment.

    At the time of this submission, the following conditions existed:

    LCN Land Reclamation Estimate: $11,230,429 Current Bonds Available: $7,759,000 Additional Reclamation Funding Needed: $3,471,429 CCI Land Reclamation Estimate: $2,863,982 Current Bonds Available: $804,625 Additional Reclamation Funding Needed: $2,059,357

    The submission indicated a balance of $19,496,955 in the Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Fund (SMCR Fund) that was available for ABS land and discharge treatment for ABS legacy sites. Projected expenses at the time for ABS land reclamation and discharge treatment (design and construction) was $12,877,636, leaving a balance of $6,619,319 available to address the reclamation funding needs of $5,530,786 for the LCN and CCI sites, if forfeited.

    Pennsylvania also stated that in the unlikely event that both of these sites would require expenditure of funds for land reclamation, then at least some of the cost for the design and construction of the ABS bond forfeiture discharge treatment facilities would be paid for using the Reclamation Fee Operation and Maintenance account (RFO&M account). There was approximately $1 million of immediately available funds in this account that could be used for this purpose exclusively. Pennsylvania believed that this demonstration of available funding warranted removal of the required amendment.

    Submission No. 2: On June 13, 2011 (Administrative Record No. PA 802.80), we received additional information from Pennsylvania regarding recent developments with the LCN site. The permit had been transferred to BET Associates IV, LLC (BET), resulting in the posting of a full cost bond in an amount to cover the land reclamation obligation. We announced this submission in the October 17, 2011, Federal Register (76 FR 64048). In the same document, we opened the public comment period and provided an opportunity for a public hearing or meeting on the adequacy of the submission. OSMRE received comments, but did not hold a public hearing or meeting because neither was requested. The public comment period ended on November 1, 2011.

    Included in the second submission was the mining permit, Part C (Authorization to Mine), and the calculation sheet documenting the bond amount. At the time of this submission, the following conditions existed:

    LCN Land Reclamation Estimate: $10,523,000 Current Bonds Available: $10,523,000 Additional Reclamation Funding Needed: $0

    Submission No. 3: On November 6, 2012, we received additional information from Pennsylvania regarding recent developments involving the CCI permit bonding status (Administrative Record No. PA 802.85). We announced receipt of this submission in the February 19, 2013, Federal Register (78 FR 11617). In the same document, we opened the public comment period and provided an opportunity for a public hearing or meeting on the adequacy of the submission. OSMRE received comments, but did not hold a public hearing or meeting because neither was requested. The public comment period ended on March 6, 2013.

    The third submission included a letter to the operator regarding the annual bond review, along with the supporting documentation supporting the review, which included the annual bond calculation summary.

    At the time of this submission, the following conditions existed:

    CCI Land Reclamation Estimate: $403,691 Current Bonds Available: $804,625 Additional Reclamation Funding Needed: $0

    After three submissions, Pennsylvania believed it had provided sufficient information as required by OSMRE to satisfy the 30 CFR 938.16(h) requirements. As a result, Pennsylvania requested that OSMRE remove the previously required amendment.

    III. OSMRE's Findings

    Discussed below are our findings concerning this request to remove a previously required amendment to the Pennsylvania program pursuant to SMCRA and the Federal regulations at 30 CFR 732.15 and 732.17. After reviewing the information submitted, OSMRE is removing the previously required amendment that was codified at 30 CFR 938.16(h).

    OSMRE finds that Pennsylvania demonstrated through its bonding calculations and reclamation estimates that sufficient funds are available to guarantee coverage of the reclamation needs at the LCN and CCI sites, in satisfaction of the previously required amendment. Therefore, we are approving this request to remove paragraph (h) of 30 CFR 938.16.

    IV. Summary and Disposition of Comments Public Comments

    We asked for public comments on each of the three submissions. No requests for public meetings were received. On March 5, 2013, we received comments from a group of citizen organizations collectively known as “the Federation,” which represents six organizations: (1) Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future (PennFUTURE), (2) Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs, Inc., (3) Sierra Club, (4) Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited, (5) Center for Coalfield Justice, and (6) Mountain Watershed Association.

    PennFUTURE serves as legal counsel for these organizations with respect to alleged inadequacies of Pennsylvania's bonding program and continues to serve in that capacity by responding to related matters, such as this program amendment. PennFUTURE provided comments on Pennsylvania's initial submission, which we responded to in the 2010 final rule (Administrative Record No. PA 802.43).

    In addition to the March 5, 2013, comments (Administrative Record No. PA 802.88) on the latest submission from Pennsylvania, PennFUTURE also submitted comments on March 9, 2011 (Administrative Record No. PA 802.79), regarding the initial October 1, 2010, submission and on November 1, 2011 (Administrative Record No. PA 802.83), regarding Pennsylvania's first supplemental submission dated June 13, 2011 (Administrative Record No. PA 802.80), concerning the LCN site.

    PennFUTURE originally contended that the program amendment submission was deficient for various reasons. As noted in our findings, however, subsequent events occurred after the original submission, which affected the financial solvency and prior bond deficiency at the two sites. Since the comments submitted by PennFUTURE have largely restated its earlier comments, OSMRE is addressing those comments still applicable. We are addressing the March 5, 2013, comments first and they are as follows:

    A. The CCI Site

    PennFUTURE submitted previous comments regarding the adequacy of this site. However, subsequent to the receipt of those comments, PennFUTURE now agrees that, as a result of the reclamation work performed at the CCI site since Submission No. 1, the site finally appears to have an enforceable, full cost reclamation guarantee in place considering the current bond amount and the estimated cost to complete reclamation of the site. Since the most recent bond calculation summary submitted (revised summary for 2011) was prepared, PennFUTURE recommends that OSMRE review CCI's annual bond calculation summary for 2012 to confirm that the site is adequately bonded.

    OSMRE's Response: On August 20, 2013, Pennsylvania advised OSMRE that the CCI site had been backfilled and graded, with five acres to be seeded in the fall of 2013. There has been no corresponding bond reduction. The amount remains $804,625, which is sufficient to complete reclamation (Administrative Record No. PA 802.65).

    B. The LCN Site/Perpetual Post-Mining Discharge and Land Reclamation Bond

    According to PennFUTURE, Pennsylvania has not demonstrated that an enforceable, full cost land reclamation guarantee exists for the LCN site because there is no fully funded guarantee of perpetual treatment for the LCN site's post-mining discharge. PennFUTURE asserts that the perpetual post-mining discharge from the LCN site puts the adequacy of the treatment trust for that discharge directly at issue in this program amendment proceeding. As a result, PennFUTURE contends that OSMRE must decide a number of issues concerning Pennsylvania's implementation of treatment trusts raised in PennFUTURE's February 27, 2009, comments on Pennsylvania's August 1, 2008, proposed ABS program amendment (Administrative Record No. PA 802.60).

    PennFUTURE states that $8,423,000 is needed for land reclamation only and does not apply to discharges. The perpetual post-mining discharge from the LCN site puts the adequacy of the treatment trust for that discharge directly at issue in this proceeding. In order to demonstrate that the surety reclamation bond for the LCN site fully guarantees all land reclamation at the site and will not be used to address mine drainage treatment liability, Pennsylvania must demonstrate that the treatment trust for the LCN site is both adequate in amount and fully funded, which it has failed to do as explained below.

    PennFUTURE states that its November 1, 2011, comments on Pennsylvania's first supplemental program amendment submission included the May 5, 2011, Post-Mining Treatment Trust Consent Order and Agreement between Pennsylvania and BET (BET Trust CO&A), which established a payment schedule for funding a perpetual treatment trust.

    PennFUTURE states that its comments showed that Pennsylvania had failed to demonstrate that the surety bond posted by BET fully guarantees all outstanding land reclamation at the LCN site because it had failed to demonstrate that an adequate and fully funded trust is in place that guarantees perpetual treatment of the post-mining discharge from the LCN site. PennFUTURE's earlier comment letter concluded:

    “Under Pennsylvania's approved regulatory program, surety bonds cover all varieties of potential reclamation liabilities at a permitted coal mine. Thus, until a fully funded treatment trust is in place that fully guarantees perpetual treatment of the post-mining discharge from the LCN site, the $8,423,000 surety bond posted by BET is stretched too thin, covering an estimated $8,423,000 in land reclamation liability plus perhaps an equivalent amount in mine drainage treatment liability. As a result, the surety bond currently does not provide fully, dollar-for-dollar coverage of the potential land reclamation liabilities at the LCN site. [Pennsylvania] therefore has not carried its burden of demonstrating that the combination of BET's surety bond and the transferred [Land Reclamation Financial Guarantees (LRFG)] `are sufficient to guarantee coverage of the full cost of land reclamation' at the LCN site.”

    PennFUTURE states that for any primacy mine with a post-mining discharge, like the LCN site, the conventional reclamation bond covers both the outstanding land reclamation obligation and the outstanding discharge treatment obligation, unless and until the mine operator posts a treatment trust or other financial guarantee that is both: (1) Adequate in amount to provide perpetual treatment and (2) fully funded. It follows that in order to find that the surety bond posted by BET for the LCN site is unencumbered by any potential mine drainage treatment liability, and therefore, is adequate to fully guarantee the outstanding land reclamation liability, OSMRE must find that the treatment trust for the LCN site is both (1) adequate in amount to provide perpetual treatment and (2) fully funded. PennFUTURE goes on to comment about the calculation and assumptions used to estimate the valuing of trust assets to derive a treatment trust amount that results in financial solvency. These issues were raised in detail in their 2009 comments on Pennsylvania's initial submission. PennFUTURE further asserts that the current program amendment presents, concretely for one specific mine, the issues OSMRE declined to address in the abstract, for a range of potential future scenarios, in ruling on the ABS program amendment in the 2010 final rule.

    PennFUTURE references several developments relevant to the adequacy and funding status of the LCN site treatment trust since the submission of their last comment letter on November 1, 2011. The developments include the LCN site's pollutant discharge limits and PennFUTURE's submission of comment letters detailing the reasons why the pollutant loads and effluent limitations Pennsylvania proposed for relocating discharge from the LCN site are excessive. PennFUTURE further states that correcting those errors and reducing the allowable pollutant loads and applicable effluent limitations will increase the estimated costs of treating the discharge from the LCN site and thus, the required amount of the treatment trust. Additionally, PennFUTURE also references the completion of a 2012 OSMRE report documenting a review of the Al Hamilton Treatment Trust Fund. While this report is not directly related to the LCN site, PennFUTURE provides it as an example of perceived trust inadequacies. This report documents that when the trust was established in 2003, roughly half of its assets were coal reserves that now appear to be valueless, leaving the primary portion of the trust at only a fraction of the value required to provide adequate and perpetual treatment of the dozens of mine discharges it covers. In reference to OSMRE's Al Hamilton Trust Fund Report attached in its letter dated March 5, 2013, PennFUTURE stated that the fractional funding of the trust has forced Pennsylvania “to triage and prioritize the systems needing attention, to spread out the expenditures to reduce the financial stress,” leaving some discharges wholly or partially untreated and others lacking adequate treatment.

    PennFUTURE states that the harsh lessons provided by this example are that something appearing to have great value today may, in fact, be worthless when needed in the future, and that for a financial mechanism that is required to provide a rock-solid, perpetual guarantee, only money in the bank qualifies as money in the bank. In light of this concern, no discharge treatment trust should be considered fully funded—that is, to provide the iron-clad reclamation guarantee required by law—unless the primary portion of the trust consists of cash or assets that are easily and immediately convertible to cash.

    PennFUTURE states that when Pennsylvania enters into a CO&A with a mine operator establishing a payment schedule for funding a treatment trust, it typically does not immediately consider the trust fully funded based on the operator's documented payment obligation. To the contrary, it is only when the mine operator makes the final payment and the trustee has the cash in hand that Pennsylvania changes the designation from “payment plan” to “fully funded”.

    According to PennFUTURE, the inability to market the Al Hamilton Treatment Trust's coal reserves shows that any trust asset that is not easily and immediately convertible to cash is something like a payment plan—it may or may not deliver the expected value when the time comes. Just as a payment plan trust is not considered fully funded until the last payment is delivered, PennFUTURE states that any trust containing an asset like coal reserves may not be considered fully funded until the asset actually delivers its estimated value by being converted to cash.

    OSMRE's Response: Pennsylvania's regulations require adjustment of the reclamation fee, which is deposited into the RFO&M account, to cover any increased costs of water treatment for all ABS forfeited sites in any given year. Pennsylvania's annual adjustments to the reclamation fee amount will be evaluated by OSMRE through its oversight authority. In short, the regulations create the mandate to fully fund discharge treatment costs for all existing and potential ABS legacy sites in perpetuity. Therefore, should the LCN site-specific bond be forfeited, the entire amount of that bond will be used for land reclamation and treatment costs and will be covered by the treatment trust and supplemented, if necessary, by the adjustable reclamation fee. As noted above, sufficient funds exist in the site-specific bond to cover land reclamation costs. In an email dated June 18, 2013, Pennsylvania, at our request, provided the 2012 annual bond calculation, which indicated a reclamation obligation of $10,448,389 as well as a surplus of $74,611 at the LCN site (Administrative Record No. PA 802.89). Pennsylvania has demonstrated that its program provides suitable, enforceable funding mechanisms sufficient to guarantee the full cost of land reclamation at all sites originally permitted and bonded under the ABS, in accordance with 30 CFR 938.16(h). Therefore, the previously required amendment can be removed.

    C. The LCN Site's Trust Fund Adequacy

    PennFUTURE asserts that OSMRE cannot find that the land reclamation at the LCN site is fully guaranteed unless it also finds that perpetual treatment of the mine drainage discharge from the LCN site is fully guaranteed.

    PennFUTURE states that in addition to being fully funded, a treatment trust must be adequate in amount to provide the firm guarantee of perpetual treatment required by law. Thus, in order to find that the treatment of the discharge from the LCN site is fully guaranteed (which, as explained above, is a prerequisite to finding that the reclamation of the land at the LCN site is fully guaranteed), OSMRE must determine whether Pennsylvania, in calculating the amount of the BET/LCN site trust, applied assumptions and methods that yield a dollar figure that is sufficient to provide the required firm guarantee of perpetual treatment.

    PennFUTURE claims that the first complication is that Pennsylvania cannot, at this point, accurately project the treatment costs because it has yet to set the effluent limit targets that such treatment will be required to meet, much less to approve the installation of the new treatment system(s) that will be designed to meet them. PennFUTURE additionally asserts that the BET Trust CO&A estimated the present discounted value for perpetual operation and maintenance of the Mine's “New Treatment System(s)” at $13.8 million a year before Pennsylvania produced a draft of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit revision that would govern the new system's discharge. However, according to PennFUTURE, the effluent limitations in the final revision of the NPDES permit must be more stringent than those proposed in Pennsylvania's draft of the permit.

    The second complication, according to PennFUTURE, is that the requirement that the amount of the trust be sufficient to provide a firm guarantee of perpetual treatment forces OSMRE to address all of the issues concerning the inadequacy of Pennsylvania treatment trusts raised in our coalition's February 27, 2009, comments on the 2008 ABS program amendment. PennFUTURE claims that OSMRE declined to address those issues in the abstract across a multitude of potential scenarios in its 2010 final rule on the ABS program amendment. 75 FR 48526. Now, however, the abstract has been made concrete and the programmatic concern has been reduced to a single, specific case. In short, PennFUTURE believes that the issues are squarely and concretely presented and OSMRE must decide them in order to rule on the adequacy of the reclamation guarantee for the LCN site.

    PennFUTURE incorporates by reference all earlier comments concerning the deficiencies of Pennsylvania's trust fund calculations, along with the many exhibits supporting those comments. Issues addressed in those earlier comments included trust fund volatility, trust investment portfolio composition, treatment trust portfolio rates of return, and the 75-year recapitalization cost calculation.

    OSMRE's Response: As we addressed in our response above, Pennsylvania's regulations require adjustment of the reclamation fee to fully fund discharge treatment costs for all ABS forfeited sites. In the event that the LCN site-specific bond is forfeited, the entire bond amount will be used for land reclamation and treatment costs will be covered by the treatment trust and supplemented by the adjustable reclamation fee, if necessary. In an email dated June 18, 2013, Pennsylvania, at our request, indicated that the 2012 bond calculation amount for the LCN site is $10,448,389. Further, documentation was provided that indicated a surplus of $74,611 at the site (Administrative Record No. PA 802.89). Thus, Pennsylvania has demonstrated that its program provides suitable, enforceable funding mechanisms sufficient to guarantee the full cost of land reclamation at all sites originally permitted and bonded under the ABS, in accordance with 30 CFR 938.16(h). Therefore, the previously required amendment can be removed.

    As we addressed in our findings above, Pennsylvania's submissions satisfy the requirements set forth in the previously required amendment and demonstrate the existence of sufficient funds to guarantee coverage of the full cost of land reclamation at both the LCN and CCI sites. Therefore, OSMRE is removing the previously required amendment, at subsection (h) of 30 CFR 938.16.

    Federal Agency Comments

    On October 5, 2010, under the Federal regulations at 30 CFR 732.17(h)(11)(i) and section 503(b) of SMCRA, we requested comments on the amendment from various Federal agencies with an actual or potential interest in the Pennsylvania program (Administrative Record No. PA 802.73). We received a response of no comment from the Mine Safety and Health Administration on October 18, 2010 (Administrative Record No. PA 802.74). No other comments were received, with the exception noted below.

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Concurrence and Comments

    Under 30 CFR 732.17(h)(11)(ii), we are required to obtain a written concurrence from EPA for those provisions of the program amendment that relate to air or water quality standards issued under the authority of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.) or the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.). None of the revisions that Pennsylvania proposed to make in this amendment pertain to air or water quality standards. Therefore, we did not ask EPA to concur on the amendment. However, we received comments from EPA on November 12, 2010, regarding the submission (Administrative Record No. PA 802.76). EPA concluded that the submission was limited to land reclamation. EPA, however, mentioned that well-funded bonding programs are necessary to provide for post-mining treatment, prevent perpetual post-mining drainage problems, as well as protect the hydrologic balance and ensure compliance with water quality standards. In response to EPA's comments, OSMRE agrees that an adequately funded bonding program is crucial to prevent post-mining pollutional discharges.

    V. OSMRE's Decision

    Based on the above findings, we are removing the previously required amendment at 30 CFR 938.16(h). To implement this decision, we are amending the Federal regulations, at 30 CFR part 938, that codify decisions concerning the Pennsylvania program. We find that good cause exists under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to make this final rule effective immediately. Section 503(a) of SMCRA requires that the State's program demonstrate that the State has the capability of carrying out the provisions of the Act and meeting its purposes. Making this rule effective immediately will expedite that process. SMCRA requires consistency of State and Federal standards.

    VI. Procedural Determinations Executive Order 12630—Takings

    This rule does not have takings implications. This determination is based on the analysis performed for the counterpart Federal regulation.

    Executive Order 12866—Regulatory Planning and Review

    This rule is exempted from review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under Executive Order 12866.

    Executive Order 12988—Civil Justice Reform

    The Department of the Interior has conducted the reviews required by section 3 of Executive Order 12988 and has determined that this rule meets the applicable standards of subsections (a) and (b) of that section. However, these standards are not applicable to the actual language of State regulatory programs and program amendments because each program is drafted and promulgated by a specific State, not by OSMRE. Under sections 503 and 505 of SMCRA (30 U.S.C. 1253 and 1255) and the Federal regulations at 30 CFR 730.11, 732.15, and 732.17(h)(10), decisions on proposed State regulatory programs and program amendments submitted by the States must be based solely on a determination of whether the submittal is consistent with SMCRA and its implementing Federal regulations and whether the other requirements of 30 CFR parts 730, 731, and 732 have been met.

    Executive Order 13132—Federalism

    This rule does not have Federalism implications. SMCRA delineates the roles of the Federal and State governments with regard to the regulation of surface coal mining and reclamation operations. One of the purposes of SMCRA is to “establish a nationwide program to protect society and the environment from the adverse effects of surface coal mining operations.” Section 503(a)(1) of SMCRA requires that State laws regulating surface coal mining and reclamation operations be “in accordance with” the requirements of SMCRA, and section 503(a)(7) requires that State programs contain rules and regulations “consistent with” regulations issued by the Secretary pursuant to SMCRA.

    Executive Order 13175—Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments

    In accordance with Executive Order 13175, we have evaluated the potential effects of this rule on federally recognized Indian tribes and have determined that the rule does not have substantial direct effects 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. The basis for this determination is that our decision is on a State regulatory program and does not involve Federal regulations involving Indian lands.

    Executive Order 13211—Regulations That Significantly Affect the Supply, Distribution, or Use of Energy

    On May 18, 2001, the President issued Executive Order 13211 which requires agencies to prepare a Statement of Energy Effects for a rule that is (1) considered significant under Executive Order 12866, and (2) likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy. Because this rule is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866 and is not expected to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy, a Statement of Energy Effects is not required.

    National Environmental Policy Act

    This rule does not require an environmental impact statement because section 702(d) of SMCRA (30 U.S.C. 1292(d)) provides that agency decisions on proposed State regulatory program provisions do not constitute major Federal actions within the meaning of section 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4332(2)(C)).

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    This rule does not contain information collection requirements that require approval by OMB under the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3507 et seq.).

    Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Department of the Interior certifies that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). The State submittal, which is the subject of this rule, is based upon counterpart Federal regulations for which an economic analysis was prepared and certification made that such regulations would not have a significant economic effect upon a substantial number of small entities. In making the determination as to whether this rule would have a significant economic impact, the Department relied upon the data and assumptions for the counterpart Federal regulations.

    Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

    This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. This rule: (a) Does not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million; (b) Will not cause a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, Federal, State, or local government agencies, or geographic regions; and (c) Does not have significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises. This determination is based upon the fact that the State submittal, which is the subject of this rule, is based upon counterpart Federal regulations for which an analysis was prepared and a determination made that the Federal regulation was not considered a major rule.

    Unfunded Mandates

    This rule will not impose an unfunded mandate on State, local, or tribal governments or the private sector of $100 million or more in any given year. This determination is based upon the fact that the State submittal, which is the subject of this rule, is based upon counterpart Federal regulations for which an analysis was prepared and a determination made that the Federal regulation did not impose an unfunded mandate.

    List of Subjects in 30 CFR Part 938

    Intergovernmental relations, Surface mining, Underground mining.

    Dated: May 22, 2015. Thomas D. Shope, Regional Director, Appalachian Region.

    Editorial Note: This document was received for publication by the Office of Federal Register on September 10, 2015.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 30 CFR part 938 is amended as follows:

    PART 938—PENNSYLVANIA 1. The authority citation for Part 938 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    30 U.S.C. 1201 et seq.

    § 938.16 [Amended]
    2. Section 938.16 is amended by removing and reserving paragraph (h).
    [FR Doc. 2015-23118 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310-05-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Fiscal Service 31 CFR Part 285 RIN 1530-AA02 Offset of Tax Refund Payments To Collect Certain Debts Owed to States AGENCY:

    Bureau of the Fiscal Service, Fiscal Service, Treasury.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This final rule adopts the interim rule, published in the Federal Register on January 28, 2011, concerning the collection of delinquent State unemployment compensation debts through the offset of overpayments of Federal taxes.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective September 17, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    In accordance with the U.S. government's eRulemaking Initiative, the Bureau of the Fiscal Service publishes rulemaking information on http://www.regulations.gov.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Thomas Kobielus, Manager, Treasury Offset Program Debt Policy Branch, Treasury Offset Program Division, Debt Collection Program Management Directorate, Debt Management Services, Bureau of the Fiscal Service, at (202) 874-6810, or Michelle M. Cordeiro, Attorney, Office of Chief Counsel, Bureau of the Fiscal Service, at (202) 874-6680.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

    This rule implements the authority added by the SSI Extension for Elderly and Disabled Refugees Act of 2008 (“2008 Act”), as amended by the Claims Resolution Act of 2010 (“2010 Act”), to offset overpayments of Federal taxes (referred to as “tax refund offset”) to collect delinquent state unemployment compensation debts. The Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”) has incorporated the procedures necessary to collect state unemployment compensation debts as part of the Treasury Offset Program, a centralized offset program operated by Treasury's Bureau of the Fiscal Service (“Fiscal Service”).

    On January 28, 2011, Fiscal Service (then, the Financial Management Service) published an interim rule with request for comments at 76 FR 5070, implementing this new authority. Specifically, this rule amended Fiscal Service regulations to include unemployment compensation debts among the types of state debts that may be collected by tax refund offset.

    II. Summary of Comments Received and Treasury's Responses

    Treasury sought comments on all aspects of the proposed rule. Treasury received comments from one private company that provides worldwide tax services. The following is a discussion of the substantive issues raised in the comments.

    1. Notice

    The commenter suggested that the rule provide guidelines to the states regarding how to notify debtor populations who may be affected by this rule. While this comment is outside the scope of this rule, Fiscal Service notes that this rule requires debtor-specific pre-offset notification (see 31 CFR 285.8(c)(3)(i)). The commenter also suggested that Fiscal Service mandate that states provide a pre-offset notice by certified mail, return receipt requested. In the 2010 Act, Congress explicitly removed this requirement in the case of unemployment compensation debt. Fiscal Service is unaware of any evidence that certified mail is more likely to reach the debtor than is regular first class mail, and notes that the cost of sending a notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, is high relative to sending a notice by regular first class mail. Therefore, Fiscal Service has not adopted this suggestion. As required by statute, however, notice must be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested prior to pursuing Federal tax refund offset to collect delinquent state income tax obligations.

    The commenter also suggested that Fiscal Service mandate that the notice to the debtor include certain details about the debt. Fiscal Service notes that, prior to submitting a debt to the Treasury Offset Program for tax refund offset purposes, a state is required to certify to Fiscal Service that it has provided the debtor with sufficient due process, including identification of the debt the state seeks to collect by offset. The information that must be provided may differ with the specific circumstances, and states may provide notice beyond what is specifically required by statute and regulation. Because identification of the debt is already required, Fiscal Service has not incorporated this suggestion.

    2. Reasonable Efforts

    The commenter suggested that this rule provide specific actions that states should take and state what documentation they should retain to demonstrate that they have made reasonable efforts to collect a debt prior to pursuing Federal tax refund offset. The rule provides detail on what a reasonable effort includes—namely, making written demand on the debtor for payment and following state law and procedure. In addition, the rule was designed to provide flexibility because what constitutes a reasonable effort may differ based on the specific circumstances. Therefore, Fiscal Service believes that providing specific actions that states should take is unnecessary and not practicable and has not adopted this suggestion.

    3. Central Repository for Information

    The commenter suggested that debtors be able to obtain information through a centralized location within the Treasury Offset Program Web site and through an automated telephone system on why their payment was offset and on state appeals processes. While this suggestion is outside the scope of this rule, Fiscal Service notes that debtors currently may access certain offset information through an automated telephone system. Fiscal Service further notes that it is exploring other self-service options that would permit debtors to obtain information about their own debts.

    4. Other Concerns

    The commenter suggested that the description of the required appeal process contain more detail. Fiscal Service is not aware of any additional detail that needs to be included and, therefore, has not made any changes to the rule based on this suggestion.

    The commenter also suggested that Fiscal Service consider extending the period of dispute to 90 days because debtors are unlikely to have retained records for long periods of time. Fiscal Service notes that several other delinquent debt collection tools provide a due process period of 60 days or fewer, including the offset of Federal nontax payments to collect Federal nontax debts (31 CFR 285.5(d)(6)(ii)(A)); the offset of Federal nontax payments to collect state debts (31 CFR 285.6(e)(2)); the offset of Federal tax payments to collect Federal nontax debts (31 CFR 285.2(d)(1)(ii)(B)); and the administrative garnishment of wages to collect Federal nontax debts (31 U.S.C. 3720D(b)(2)). Moreover, Fiscal Service believes that an additional 30 days is not likely to help debtors locate and produce such records, and is not aware of any evidence that 60 days is insufficient. Given the time period for other debt collection tools, Fiscal Service believes it would be best to leave the interim rule unchanged.

    The commenter also expressed concern that lifting the 10-year time limitation will create burdens for Treasury's Internal Revenue Service, due to an increase in injured spouse claims. Fiscal Service is unaware of any evidence to support this concern. Fiscal Service further notes that the 10-year limitation was removed by statute.

    Procedural Matters

    This rule is not a significant regulatory action as defined in Executive Order 12866. Because no notice of proposed rulemaking was required for this rule, the provisions of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) do not apply.

    Federalism

    This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 13132, federalism. This rule will not have substantial direct effects on states, on the relationship between the national government and the states, or on distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. Participation in the program governed by this rule is voluntary for the states; this rule only sets forth the general procedures for state participation. States already participate in offset of tax refunds to collect delinquent state income tax obligations pursuant to 31 CFR 285.8. This rule merely updates the regulations to reflect the statutory change authorizing states to submit additional debts to Treasury Offset Program for collection by tax refund offset. Therefore, in accordance with Executive Order 13132, it is determined that this rule does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a federalism summary impact statement.

    For the reasons stated above, the interim rule amending 31 CFR 285.8, published at 76 FR 5070, January 28, 2011, is adopted as final without change.

    David A. Lebryk, Fiscal Assistant Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23305 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4810-AS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary 32 CFR Part 86 [Docket ID: DOD-2014-OS-0009] RIN 0790-AJ19 Background Checks on Individuals in DoD Child Care Services Programs AGENCY:

    Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, DoD.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This rule establishes and updates policy, assigns responsibilities, and provides procedures to conduct criminal history checks on individuals involved in the provision of child care services for children under the age of 18 in DoD programs. The Crime Control Act of 1990 (Act) requires all individuals involved with the provision of child care services to children under the age of 18 undergo a criminal background check. “Child care services” include, but are not limited to, social services, health and mental health care, child (day) care, education (whether or not directly involved in teaching), and rehabilitative programs. Any conviction for a sex crime, an offense involving a child victim, or a drug felony, may be grounds for denying employment or for dismissal of an employee providing any of the services discussed above.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective October 19, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Karen Morgan, 571-372-0859.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Executive Summary

    The purpose of this regulatory action is to describe requirements for criminal history background checks, including reinvestigation, and self-reporting, for individuals involved with the provision of child care services.

    The legal authorities for this rule include: 5 U.S.C. 2105, 10 U.S.C. chapter 47, 42 U.S.C. 13041.

    The major provisions of this regulatory action include providing procedures for requirements for criminal history background checks listing the types of background checks, and descriptions of reinvestigation and self-reporting.

    This rule is intended to support the workforce mission of the DoD and implement current law that covers individuals expected to have regular contact with children in the performance of child care services on a DoD installation or DoD-sanctioned program. The estimated costs of the rule are $10 million annually. This cost includes administration costs; required FBI fingerprint Investigations Child Care National Agency Check and Inquiries checks ($125/NACI); State Criminal History Repository checks ($25/each state the individual resided in); and periodic reinvestigations. We do not believe that this rule will impose substantial direct costs on state and local governments.

    This rule is part of DoD's retrospective plan, completed in August 2011, under Executive Order 13563, “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review.” DoD's full plan and updates can be accessed at: http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;dct=FR+PR+N+O+SR;rpp=10;po=0;D=DOD-2011-OS-0036.

    Public Comments

    The Department of Defense published a proposed rule in the Federal Register on October 1, 2014 (79 FR 59168-59173) for a 60-day public comment period. We received 22 comments. Five comments expressed support for the rule and no response is required. One comment was withdrawn. The remaining comments are listed below.

    Comment ID DOD-2014-OS-0009-0003:

    • The law still states that any conviction for a sex crime, an offense involving a child victim, or a drug felony, may be grounds for denying employment or for dismissal of an employee. Public Law 101-647. The word may give too much flexibility in the decision making process to hiring agents in determining what to do with results of the background check. The review board may either bar employment based on the offenses listed out in the statute or excuse the background check results. Agency processes should spell out more specifically which offenses are bars and which are not.

    Response: The commenter has referenced the summary paragraph at the beginning of the rule, which is not the rule itself. Please see § 86.6(c) for specific criteria for automatic and presumptive disqualifiers, which does not use the term, “may.”

    • It is imperative that a thorough review, investigation and study of different systems for background checks is completed on each organization interacting with children.

    Response: This rule/policy was developed in collaboration with the Military Services, which are responsible for providing detailed procedures that meet the overall DoD requirements in this rule to ensure the rule/policy is implemented correctly.

    Comment ID DOD-2014-OS-0009-0004:

    • This rule includes all current employees, contractors and specific volunteers, in addition to future applicants, which is bound to create a backlog for which no solution is presented, at least in the current rule.

    Response: This rule does not create a new system. It updates existing policy for background checks.

    • This rule addresses foreign nationals in a way that could be ambiguous in its application. The definition describes a foreign national as not a citizen of the United States. This encompasses a fair amount of specific volunteers, especially in the religious ministries at overseas DoD facilities. These volunteers, innocent of any criminal wrong doing, may not fall under host country agreements and therefore be unable to continue their work. This would be an unfair outcome for those individuals and the organizations that rely on an already limited pool of volunteers. A similar outcome is possible for those foreign nationals who are military members or spouses who are not yet U.S. citizens that reside in the U.S. and work on DoD facilities.

    Response: There are policies and procedures in place to ensure foreign nationals receive appropriate background checks or work under line-of-sight supervision (LOSS) in order to continue their work.

    • The rule seems to exclude subcontractors from its application. This may be due to the potential increased burden on first line contractors to ensure all its subs are in compliance. This is frankly unacceptable as a lot of what occurs on DoD facilities, especially overseas, is accomplished by subcontractors.

    Response: The exclusion of subcontractors has been deleted from the definition of contractors.

    Comment ID DOD-2014-OS-0009-0005: I'm confused by the language in § 86.6(b), which references “(a)(6)(i)” and “(a)(6)(ix)” as being “in this section.” I can't find the quoted section. This may be my error, or perhaps it is a clerical oversight.

    Response: The reference should be (a)(5)(i) and (a)(5)(ix). Section 86.6(b) has been updated with the accurate reference.

    Comment ID DOD-2014-OS-0009-0006: Why limit the background checks to individuals with “regular contact with children?” The definition of “regular contact with children” excludes those with access to children. The narrow reach of the proposed rule seems to leave out serious threats. Limited resources could be to blame.

    Response: It is beyond the scope of DoD to conduct a background check on any individual who has access to children. This rule/policy is intended to ensure appropriate checks of those who work in DoD-sanctioned child care services programs.

    Comment ID DOD-2014-OS-0009-0007: Absent documented statistical research to the contrary, the Department of Defense has not established that individuals who are convicted drug felons are any more likely to threaten a child's safety than any other citizen of the United States. Please modify the proposed rule to omit the class “persons with a drug felony” from the screening process for federal jobs within the Department of Defense that serve children under the age of 18.

    Response: Inclusion of a “felony conviction of a drug offense” as an automatic disqualifier was based on careful and objective analysis regarding how to protect children in DoD child care services programs. A felony conviction of a drug offense could adversely impact the integrity of the position and the safety and well-being of children in DoD care.

    Comment ID DOD-2014-OS-0009-0008:

    • Costs: $10 million annually is a large amount of money. How crucial are each of the checks and investigations and how necessary is it for reinvestigations to take place every 5 years if the surfacing of derogatory information will trigger a reinvestigation anyways? I like Executive Orders 13563, and it seems to address these questions, however it states that it is not economically significant, which makes me wonder whether alternatives ways to regulate and minimize costs are properly being explored and examined. The price of each component, for example video surveillances or conspicuous marking, should be strictly scrutinized. What other programs is the use of this money being indirectly taken away from? Additionally, what process will determine that the state and local governments will not be substantially affected financially and what does substantial mean? It is great that employers and a substantial number of small entities will not be significantly impacted under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and the Regulatory Flexibility Act, but how far do the costs extend to government contracts and employees within the state?

    Response: The requirements for the initial checks and regular 5 year reinvestigations are crucial to ensuring protection of children in DoD child care services programs. As background check systems are updated to report derogatory information more immediately, this rule/policy may be updated to revise the every 5 year requirement. The costs of the investigations are borne by the DoD, and not by the individual or his or her employer or the State. This policy update does not and cannot mandate that State, local, and tribal governments adopt new, unfunded regulatory obligations.

    • Privacy and Relevancy: Those in charge of the background checks are about to look at any other available information that is relevant (listed under Adjudication). I fear that some may abuse this and unfairly use information that is not so relevant against an applicant.

    Response: Adjudicators are trained to appropriately assess information received as part of a background checks in accordance with law and policy. Individuals who abuse their access to information are not operating in accordance with laws, regulations and policies.

    • Categorizing Care Provider, Providers, and Personnel performing duties in athletic programs: The definitions for these types of jobs can easily be stretched to many things (for example, could babysitting under certain circumstances count?). Child care or youth activities could mean so many things that do not necessarily require these extensive checks. My obvious hesitancy expressed in these comments and questions comes from my concern for costs for this rule as well as unfair burdens placed on individuals that may have a poor history, but a history that is unrelated to the wrongdoings that their guilt from these tests would be impliedly accusing them of, or a history that is simply in the past and different from their present state (for example a minor criminal record or drug use that has been overcome). It is honorable to aim to protect our children, but it is also important to protect our citizens and employees who are trying to live happy lives and contribute to the economy in the best ways that they can.

    Response: The categories of individuals who require a criminal history background check, which includes all individuals who have regular contact with children under 18 years of age in DoD-sanctioned child care services programs, was established in accordance with Public Law 101-647 in order to protect the health and well-being of children in such programs. The costs of the specific investigations required pursuant to this rule have been budgeted and are borne by the Department of Defense and not by the individual or his or her employer or the state.

    • Lastly, it concerns me that the DoD Components will evaluate the disqualifications AND ALSO oversee procedures for the appeal of unfavorable determinations. This system has the potential to be unjust.

    Response: There is an appeals process that individuals can pursue should they feel they have been treated unjustly. The DoD Components will establish and oversee procedures for the appeal of unfavorable determinations for all categories of individuals. The procedures for civilian personnel are subject to Volume 731 of DoDI 1400.25, DoD Civilian Personnel Management System.

    Comment ID DOD-2014-OS-0009-0009: Under § 86.4(c), not only individuals who have current DoD affiliation but also individuals who have prior DoD affiliation must undergo an IRC. I am curious why this would be necessary. If a person no longer has an affiliation with the DoD and is not going to have contact with the DoD child care service, why go through the trouble of checking all those individuals with prior affiliation?

    Response: Section 86.4(a) has been modified to include this requirement so that it is clear the IRC is only conducted if the individual (who has a prior DoD affiliation) is undergoing a background check because he/she will have regular contact with children in DoD child care services programs.

    Comment ID DOD-2014-OS-0009-0010:

    • Section 86.4 Policy does not contain any actual policy as to why these rules are being proposed. It would be helpful if the section included something pertaining to the importance of the protection of children from known child abusers, drug users etc. A specific policy will help when looking at what is important in conducting a background check (in example, a person with a forma addiction who has undergone rehabilitation who has had no adverse contact with children.) Also, the policy will help the DoD in defending any appeals from potential employees who were denied employment.

    Response: Section 86.4 has been updated with additional language indicating why the rule is being promulgated.

    • A required amount of employment for a LOSS supervisor as an extra safeguard will also help promote the policy of the proposed rules.

    Response: The role of the LOSS supervisor is to ensure that an individual who does not yet have a completed background check remains in the line of sight of another individual who does have a completed background check. The LOSS supervisor is not necessarily supervising the performance of the other individual; the LOSS supervisor is only ensuring that individual is not left alone with children.

    Comment ID DOD-2014-OS-0009-0011: It seems as though we should require the caregivers themselves to pay for the background checks. It is not uncommon for employers to require employees to pay the costs associated with licensing or certifications.

    Response: Background checks should not be compared to elective licenses and certifications. The costs of the specific investigations required pursuant to this Rule have been budgeted and are borne by the Department of Defense and not by the individual or his or her employer or the state. By law, background checks are required for federal agencies that hire or contract for hire in the provision of care to children under the age of 18. Per this Rule, Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is the only authorized Investigative Service Provider (ISP) that the Military Service Components may use for background investigations. Contracted support must meet the intent of this Rule, DoD policy and the law.

    Comment ID DOD-2014-OS-0009-0012:

    • Video surveillance violates a person's “expectation of privacy.” It should be re-written to comply with the 5th Amendment. The procedure may be ruled unconstitutional as it currently stands.

    Response: Signage and monitors are placed in highly visible entryways and foyers and inform individuals that video surveillance is being conducted. Video surveillance events occurring in public space for which individuals do not have reasonable expectations of privacy. Video surveillance does not intrude upon an individual's sphere of privacy; the use of video surveillance equipment (in designated programs) supports the law's intent for Line of Sight Supervision (LOSS) for individuals whose background checks have been initiated but not completed. Surveillance equipment is also used by staff trainers and managers as a training aid for staff observations and coaching.

    • Procedures: Requirements for Criminal background checks. Foreign government background checks for employees working overseas has a 5th Amendment issue. How is an overseas employee challenge the validity of a foreign background check? There may be procedural and language barriers that prevent a fair opportunity to exonerate oneself.

    Response: The current rule provides basic guidance regarding background checks for foreign nationals as they relate to DoD child care services programs. See DoD Instruction 5200.46 for more detailed guidance on procedures for foreign nationals.

    Comment ID DOD-2014-OS-0009-00015: Of course children of any parentage should be protected from criminals and potential harm via their caretakers; however this cost will most likely be substantial. Please consider you taxpayers when making these choices that can seem frivolous at times.

    Response: The costs of the investigations are borne by the DoD, and not by the individual or his or her employer or the State. When contracting for services, the contract must ensure it meets the intent of this Rule and the Crime Control Act of 1990. This Rule is a top priority for DoD to ensure the safety and well-being of all children in DoD child care services programs. By law, background checks are required for federal agencies that hire, contract for hire or use volunteers for the provision of care to children under the age of 18.

    Comment ID DOD-2014-OS-0009-00016: The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act states there will be no additional financial expenditures required from the individual or employer while the regulatory act acknowledges potential indirect costs to small entities. If this proposed rule is passed, it would be beneficial to clearly outline what constitutes a small entity, what course of action, if any, can they take to avoid costs, and what kind of notice will they have if they are affected by this rule. When it comes to implementing the rule, if passed, there needs to be guidelines for how businesses that may incur costs can go about managing the financial change comfortably. As a DoD organization, can these small entities expect to qualify for additional funds to offset these costs (costs unspecified at this moment)? If this rule is passed, it should clearly state what the dollar figure will be, and a definite yes or no about eligibility of offsetting the expenses via government funds. If the proposed rule is passed, how immediate will the new procedures effect these small entities? The rule should be altered to include the time frame for implementing the policy and allow organizations to communicate if they need additional accommodations to be effective in its implementation.

    Response: DoD has certified that this rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities because the costs for the investigation conducted pursuant to this rule are borne by the DoD, and not by the individual or his or her employer. Furthermore, any indirect costs incurred by small businesses as a result of this rule would be minimal.

    Comment ID DOD-2014-OS-0009-00017: Not all agencies within individual states make their records available to commercial databases, nor does the FBI make its federal or state criminal records available to commercial services. In addition, the information in commercial databases may only be updated occasionally. Some states have databases that have not been updated to determine if the individual has any arrest history, therefore when a background check is being completed on a federal level, the record may not be current, and in turn, invalid information will be received on that individual. Most states allow criminals who have paid their dues, to erase their criminal records. Currently, 12 states expunge first-time criminal offenses after ex-convicts demonstrate a law-abiding lifestyle for 10 years.

    Response: The rule requires multiple levels of investigation in order to ensure the most accurate information possible is captured during the investigation process. The DoD uses various data sources from federal, state and local authorities to obtain information on background investigations, credentialing, suitability determination and security clearances. The primary investigations include the Child Care National Agency Check and Inquiries; the FBI Identification Records check; the State Criminal History Repository Check; the state sex offender registry; the child abuse registry and an Installations Records Check (IRC Derogatory information is identified through this multi-tier investigative process). The Department remains committed in its efforts to ensure those who work with children meet the highest standards of conduct.

    Comment ID DOD-2014-OS-0009-00018:

    • Will background checks be conducted on the current staff on hand first? Will there be a set time frame to complete the background check? For example, each person attempting to gain employment has a 4-6 month waiting period, prior to a hire date? I know firsthand that some background checks can take a very long time ranging from 4 months to 12 months depending on the individual and their circumstances.

    Response: This rule does not create a new system. It updates existing policy for background checks. The provision to work under LOSS allows DoD to employ individuals while the background checks are being completed.

    • Has the DoD considered how criminal histories are not always current or may have mistakes? A person may have committed a crime, even serious in nature, but the individual may take a plea, and with 12 months good behavior it may be expunged from their record. Are there any plans or a step to assist with this process? Has the DoD considered using public Web site searches to assist with this process such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, etc. to gain more information on that particular individual? Using open source information may quickly display a person behaviors, likes, dislikes, etc., is a cheaper option, and may take only ten minutes depending on what the DoD discovers.

    Response: DoD requirements outlined in this rule make use of available legal sources of investigative information to make determinations about individuals' suitability for employment in DoD child care services programs.

    Comment ID DOD-2014-OS-0009-00022: I am in support of this proposed rule, but to accomplish greater safeguarding of children as intended, subcontractors should not be excluded as stated. DoD contracts are typically performed by subcontractors who actually perform work around the children, not the prime contractors.

    Response: The exclusion of subcontractors has been deleted from the definition of contractors.

    Comment ID DOD-2014-OS-0009-00024: The comment urges the DoD to update requirements for criminal background checks on individuals in DoD child care services programs in § 86.5, Responsibilities to align with the provisions recently enacted by the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014.

    Response: We have carefully reviewed the requirements of the proposed rule and the requirements set forth in Public Law 113-186, the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014. This rule meets or exceeds the requirements of the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014. We have determined that, while the language of the rule differs slightly from the language of Public Law 113-186, the databases searched yield the same information.

    Regulatory Analysis

    Executive Order 12866, “Regulatory Planning and Review” and Executive Order 13563, “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review” 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). Executive Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, reducing costs, harmonizing rules, and promoting flexibility. This rule has been determined to be a significant regulatory action, although not economically significant, under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866. Accordingly, the rule has been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

    Sec. 202, Public Law 104-4, “Unfunded Mandates Reform Act”

    DoD has reviewed the rule in accordance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, and compliance with the rule would require no additional expenditures by either public or private employers. In sum, the final rule does not mandate that State, local, and tribal governments adopt new, unfunded regulatory obligations. The costs of the investigations conducted pursuant to this rule are borne by the DoD, and not by the individual or his or her employer.

    Public Law 96-354, “Regulatory Flexibility Act” (5 U.S.C. 601)

    We certify this rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities because the costs for the investigation conducted pursuant to this rule are borne by the DoD, and not by the individual or his or her employer. Furthermore, any indirect costs incurred by small businesses as a result of this rule would be minimal. Accordingly, a regulatory flexibility analysis as provided in the Regulatory Flexibility Act, as amended, is not required.

    Public Law 96-511, “Paperwork Reduction Act” (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35)

    This rule imposes reporting and record keeping requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. These requirements have been approved by the Office of Management and Budget and assigned OMB Control Number 3206-0005, “Questionnaires for National Security Positions, Standard Form 86 (SF 86),” OMB Control Number 3206-0261, “SF 85 Questionnaire for Non-Sensitive Positions,” OMB Control Number 3206-0191, “SF 85P Questionnaire for Public Trust Positions,” and OMB Control Number 0704-0516, “Child Care Development Program (CDP) Criminal History.”

    Executive Order 13132, “Federalism”

    This rulemaking was analyzed in accordance with the principles and criteria contained in Executive Order 13132 (“Federalism”). It has been determined that it does not have sufficient Federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a Federalism summary impact statement. This rulemaking has no substantial effect on the States, or on the current Federal-State relationship, or on the current distribution of power and responsibilities among the various local officials. Nothing in this document preempts any State law or regulation. Therefore, DoD did not consult with State and local officials because it was not necessary.

    List of Subjects in 32 CFR Part 86

    Government contracts, Government employees, Infants and children, Investigations.

    Accordingly, 32 CFR part 86 is revised to read as follows:

    PART 86—BACKGROUND CHECKS ON INDIVIDUALS IN DOD CHILD CARE SERVICES PROGRAMS Secs. 86.1 Purpose. 86.2 Applicability. 86.3 Definitions. 86.4 Policy. 86.5 Responsibilities. 86.6 Procedures. Authority:

    5 U.S.C. 2105, 10 U.S.C. chapter 47, and 42 U.S.C. 13041.

    § 86.1 Purpose.

    This part establishes policy, assigns responsibilities, and provides procedures to conduct criminal history checks on individuals involved in the provision of child care services for children under the age of 18 in DoD programs.

    § 86.2 Applicability.

    This part applies to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Military Departments, the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Joint Staff, the Combatant Commands, the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Defense, the Defense Agencies, the DoD Field Activities, and all other organizational entities within the DoD (referred to collectively in this part as the “DoD Components”).

    § 86.3 Definitions.

    Unless otherwise noted, these terms and their definitions are for the purposes of this part.

    Adjudication. The evaluation of pertinent data in a background investigation, as well as any other available information that is relevant and reliable, to determine whether an individual is suitable for work.

    Adult. An individual 18 years of age or older regarded in the eyes of the law as being able to manage his or her own affairs.

    Applicant. A person upon whom a criminal history background check is, will be, or has been conducted, including individuals who have been selected or are being considered for a position subject to a criminal history background check, and individuals undergoing a recurring criminal history background check. Includes current employees.

    Child. A person under 18 years of age.

    Care provider. Current or prospective individuals hired with appropriated funds (APF) and nonappropriated funds (NAFs) for education, treatment or healthcare, child care or youth activities; individuals employed under contract who work with children; and those who are certified for care. Individuals working within programs that include: Child Development Programs, DoD dependents schools, DoD-operated or -sponsored activities, foster care, private organizations on DoD installations, and youth programs.

    Child care services. Care or services provided to children under the age of 18 in settings including child protective services (including the investigation of child abuse and neglect reports), social services, health and mental health care, child (day) care, education (whether or not directly involved in teaching), foster care, residential care, recreational or rehabilitative programs, and detention, correctional, or treatment services, as defined in 42 U.S.C. 13041.

    Class. With regard to the designation of positions, a categorical descriptor identifying employee, contractor, provider, or volunteer positions by group rather than by individual position or title (e.g., “doctors” or “individuals supervising children in a school”).

    Contractor. Any individual, firm, corporation, partnership, association, or other legal non-Federal entity that enters into a contract directly with DoD or a DoD Component to furnish supplies, services, or both including construction. Foreign governments or representatives of foreign governments that are engaged in selling to DoD or a DoD Component are defense contractors when acting in that context. A subcontractor is any supplier, distributor, vendor, or firm that furnishes supplies or services to or for a prime contractor or another subcontractor.

    Covered position. Defined in volume 731 of DoD Instruction 1400.25, “DoD Civilian Personnel Management System” (available at http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/140025v731.pdf).

    Criminal history background checks. A review of records, investigative reports, and other investigative elements to generate criminal history background findings to be used to make fitness or suitability determinations.

    Derogatory information. Information that may reasonably justify an unfavorable personnel suitability or fitness determination because of the nexus between the issue or conduct and the core duties of the position.

    DoD affiliation. A prior or current association, relationship, or involvement with the DoD or any elements of DoD, including the Military Departments.

    DoD-sanctioned programs. Any program, facility, or service funded, or operated by the DoD, a Military Department or Service, or any agency, unit, or subdivision thereof. Examples include, but are not limited to, chapel programs, child development centers, family child care (FCC) programs, medical treatment facilities, Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools, recreation and youth programs. These do not include programs operated by other State or Federal government agencies or private organizations without the official sanction of a DoD entity.

    Duties. Those activities performed as an employee, contractor, provider, or volunteer that involve interaction with children, including any work performed in a child development program or DoDEA school.

    Employee. An individual, paid from funds appropriated by the Congress of the United States, or an individual employed by a NAF instrumentality in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 2105(c). Includes foreign nationals in accordance with Volume 1231 of DoD Instruction 1400.25, “DoD Civilian Personnel Management System” (available at http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/1400.25-V1231.pdf), Military Service members working during their off-duty hours, and non-status, non-continuing temporary positions with specified employment periods not to exceed 1 year such as summer hires, student interns, and seasonal hires.

    FAP. Defined in DoD Directive 6400.1, “Family Advocacy Program (FAP)” (available at http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/640001p.pdf).

    FAP records check. A review of FAP records maintained on an individual, including records maintained by the installation office and records in the Service Child and Spouse Abuse Central Registry in accordance with DoD Directive 6400.1. If the individual is the spouse or dependent of a Service member, this may entail review of records maintained on the sponsoring Service member. Installation and Service Central Registry checks are limited to identifying pending and met criteria incidents of maltreatment and do not include information related to incidents that did not meet criteria or any information contained in the clinical case record that is protected by section 1320d-6 or 5 U.S.C. 552a.

    Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) criminal history background check. An FBI identification record—often referred to as a criminal history record or a “rapsheet”—is a listing of certain information taken from fingerprint submissions retained by the FBI in connection with arrests and, in some instances, federal employment, naturalization, or military service. The process of responding to an identification record request is generally known as a criminal history background check.

    FCC. Defined in DoD Instruction 6060.2, “Child Development Programs (CDPs)” (available at http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/606002p.pdf).

    FCC provider. Defined in DoD Instruction 6060.2.

    FCC adult family members. Any adult, 18 years of age or older, who resides in the home of an FCC provider for 30 or more consecutive days.

    Fitness. The reference to a person's level of character and conduct determined necessary for an individual to perform work for, or on behalf of, a Federal Agency as an employee in the excepted service (other than in a position subject to suitability) or as a contractor employee.

    Fitness determination. A decision, based on review of criminal history background check findings, that an individual is fit to perform duties in a position subject to criminal history background check. Fitness determinations will be “favorable,” meaning that the individual is fit to perform the duties, or “unfavorable,” meaning that the individual is not.

    Foreign nationals. Individuals who are not citizens of the United States.

    Foster care providers. A voluntary or court-mandated program that provides 24-hour care and supportive services in a family home or group facility, within government-owned or -leased quarters, for children and youth who cannot be properly cared for by their own family.

    Healthcare personnel. Military, civilian, or contract staff involved in the delivery of healthcare services.

    Host-government check. A criminal history background check conducted on foreign nationals in accordance with U.S. and host country treaties or agreements.

    Interim suitability or fitness determination. Part of the pre-screening process in the identification and resolution of suitability or fitness issues, which occurs prior to the initiation of the required investigation. It involves the review of applications and other employment related documents. A favorable interim suitability or fitness determination is a status granted on a temporary basis, which permits individuals to work under line-of-sight supervision (LOSS) after the return of the advance FBI fingerprint check, pending completion of full investigative requirements and a final suitability determination.

    Investigative elements. The records, reports, or other individual elements that comprise the whole of information collected during a criminal history background check and used to make a fitness or suitability determination.

    Installations records check (IRC). A query of records maintained on an individual by programs and entities at the military installation where the individual lives, is assigned, or works, including military law enforcement and installation security records, drug and alcohol records, and FAP records for a minimum of 2 years before the date of the application.

    Investigative service provider (ISP). The company or agency authorized to perform background investigations on personnel on behalf of the agency.

    Line of Sight Supervision (LOSS). Continuous visual observation and supervision of an individual whose background check has not yet cleared, and has a favorable interim suitability or fitness determination, while engaged in child interactive duties, or in the presence of children in a DoD-sanctioned program or activity. The person providing supervision must have undergone a background check and received a final favorable suitability or fitness determination and be current on all periodic reinvestigations as required by this part.

    Met criteria. Reported incident of alleged maltreatment found to meet DoD incident determination criteria for child abuse or domestic abuse and entry into the Service FAP central registry of child abuse and domestic abuse reports.

    Position. An employee, contractor, provider, or volunteer role or function.

    Preliminary investigations. Those investigative elements of a criminal history background check, including those specified in § 86.6(f), which must be favorably completed and reviewed before an individual may be permitted to perform duties under LOSS.

    Providers. Individuals involved in child care services who have regular contact with children or may be alone with children in the performance of their duties. Includes FCC providers and individuals with overall management responsibility for child and youth programs.

    Regular contact with children. Recurring and more than incidental contact with or access to children in the performance of their duties on a DoD installation, program, or as part of a DoD-sanctioned activity.

    Reinvestigation. A criminal history background check conducted after the period of time prescribed by this part to ensure the individual remains eligible to provide child care services. Reinvestigation includes the same checks conducted for the initial investigation as outlined in § 86.6(b).

    Respite care providers. Individuals who provide short-term care and supportive services in a family home or group facility within government-owned or -leased quarters.

    State criminal history repository (SCHR). A repository of criminal information that lists past state convictions, current offender information, and criminal identification information (fingerprints, photographs, and other information or descriptions) that identify a person as having been the subject of a criminal arrest or prosecution. Checks of the SCHR may include the State child abuse and neglect repository and the State sex offender registry.

    Suitability determination. A decision that a person is or is not suitable for a covered position within the DoD.

    Supervisor. The person supervising individuals who are permitted to perform duties only under LOSS, who is not necessarily the same as an employee's supervisor for employment purposes (e.g., ratings, assignment of duties).

    Volunteer. There are two types of volunteers:

    (1) Specified volunteers. Individuals who could have extensive or frequent contact with children over a period of time. They include, but are not limited to, positions involving extensive interaction alone, extended travel, or overnight activities with children or youth. Coaches and long-term instructors are among those who fall in this category. Specified volunteers are designated by the DoD Component head. Background checks are required in accordance with § 86.6(b)(4).

    (2) Non-specified volunteers. Individuals who provide services that are shorter in duration than is required to perform a criminal history background check (e.g., one-day class trip, class party). Because non-specified volunteers do not receive the same level of background checks as specified volunteers, non-specified volunteers must always be in line of sight of a staff member with a complete background check.

    Youth program. Defined in DoD Instruction 6060.4, “Department of Defense (DoD) Youth Programs (YPs)” (available at http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/606004p.pdf).

    § 86.4 Policy.

    It is DoD policy that:

    (a) Individuals who have regular contact with children under 18 years of age in DoD-sanctioned child care services programs will undergo a criminal history background check in order to protect the health, safety and well-being of children in such programs.

    (b) All individuals who have regular contact with children under 18 years of age in DoD-sanctioned child care services programs and who also have a current or prior DoD affiliation must also undergo an IRC.

    (c) DoD Component heads are delegated the authority to make suitability determinations and take subsequent actions in cases involving applicants and appointees to covered positions as defined by 5 CFR 731.101, subject to the conditions in 5 CFR 731.103. This authority may be further delegated to authorized management officials, in writing, in accordance with volume 731 of DoD Instruction 1400.25.

    (1) The DoD Consolidated Adjudications Facility is responsible for making favorable suitability determinations for civilian personnel in accordance with Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Civilian Personnel and Policy Memorandum, “Responsibilities Under the Department of Defense Suitability and Fitness Adjudications for Civilians Employees Programs,” August 26, 2013.

    (2) Military members are not subject to suitability adjudication under Volume 731 of DoD Instruction 1400.25, “DoD Civilian Personnel Management System” (available at http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/140025v731.pdf). Military members are subject to the background check requirements of DoD Instruction 5200.02, “Personnel Security Program” (available at http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/520002_2014.pdf) and § 86.6.

    (d) Suitability and fitness determinations for individuals subject to this part will follow the guidance of Volume 731 of DoD Instruction 1400.25 for APF employees and Subchapter 1403 of DoD Instruction 1400.25 for NAF employees. Suitability and fitness are to be applied for the child care worker population in accordance with Volume 731 of DoD Instruction 1400.25 for appropriated fund employees in covered positions as defined by 5 CFR part 731.

    (e) Individuals who have received a favorable interim suitability or fitness determination based on the FBI criminal history background check are permitted to work under LOSS pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 13041(b)(3).

    § 86.5 Responsibilities.

    (a) Under the authority, direction, and control of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness (USD(P&R)), the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness and Force Management (ASD(R&FM)):

    (1) Ensures the conduct of criminal history background checks complies with DoD policy and the Criminal Justice Information Services Division of the FBI's operational and security policies and procedures.

    (2) Monitors DoD Component compliance with this part, applicable laws, and subsequent guidance issued by the applicable ISP.

    (b) Under the authority, direction, and control of the ASD(R&FM), the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Civilian Personnel Policy (DASD(CPP)) oversees development of DoD Component policies and procedures for the background check initiation, completion, adjudication, and suitability or fitness determination process for civilian employees in accordance with this part.

    (c) Under the authority, direction, and control of the ASD(R&FM), the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy (DASD(MC&FP)) oversees development of DoD Component policies and procedures related to the background check initiation, completion, adjudication, and fitness determination process for specified volunteers, FCC providers and adults residing in their home, and others as identified in accordance with this part.

    (d) Under the authority, direction, and control of the ASD(R&FM), the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Personnel Policy (DASD(MPP)):

    (1) Implements this part for military personnel in accordance with DoD Instruction 5200.02.

    (2) Institutes effective quality assurance and quality control systems for chaplains, support staff, specified volunteers, and contractors who provide support to religious programs and activities identified in § 86.6(a)(5)(v) and in accordance with this part.

    (e) Under the authority, direction, and control of the Deputy Chief Management Officer (DCMO) of the Department of Defense, the Director of Administration ensures that the adjudication of background investigations of individuals who have regular contact with children under 18 years of age in DoD-sanctioned programs considers the criteria for presumptive and automatic disqualification as specified in this part.

    (f) The Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (USD(AT&L)) establishes policies and procedures for the background check initiation, completion, adjudication, and fitness determination process for contractors in accordance with the requirements of this part.

    (g) The DoD Component heads:

    (1) Ensure Component compliance with the requirements of this part, applicable laws, and guidance for civilian employees.

    (2) Ensure compliance with suitability and fitness determination policies, requirements, and procedures for individuals in child care services in DoD programs as defined in 42 U.S.C. 13041 and DoD Instruction 1400.25.

    (3) Ensure compliance with policies, requirements, and procedures for LOSS of individuals with a favorable interim suitability determination.

    (4) Provide support and resources as required to implement this part and any Component-specific policies, requirements, and procedures, and ensure implementation.

    § 86.6 Procedures.

    (a) Requirements for criminal history background checks. (1) All criminal history background checks required by this part must be initiated, tracked, and overseen by properly trained and vetted individuals who have been determined to be responsible for personnel security pursuant to DoD Instruction 5200.02 or human resource functions pursuant to Volume 731 of DoD Instruction 1400.25. Program managers, supervisors, and others not routinely performing personnel security and human resource functions are prohibited from managing the criminal history checks.

    (2) All employment applications completed by individuals subject to this part must comply with the requirements of 42 U.S.C. 13041(d).

    (3) The DoD Component will ensure that only authorized ISPs are used.

    (4) When permitted by the host government, foreign government checks of individuals serving on DoD installations overseas must be requested directly by the employing Military Service or agency in accordance with Volume 1231 of DoD Instruction 1400.25. As an alternative, DoD Components may request that overseas Military Service investigative elements obtain appropriate host-government checks and accept such checks if they are comparable to those required by 42 U.S.C. 13041. Where it is not possible to obtain criminal history checks comparable to those required by 42 U.S.C. 13041, foreign nationals will not be eligible for employment in child care services.

    (5) Individuals subject to criminal history background checks are:

    (i) All personnel employed or performing duties in DoD Child and Youth or other sanctioned child care services programs.

    (ii) Individuals providing in-home FCC.

    (iii) Personnel employed or performing duties in child and youth recreational and athletic programs (e.g., Morale, Welfare, and Recreation), including instructors and, when working in a facility when children and youth are present, custodial personnel.

    (iv) Individuals employed or performing duties in a DoDEA school (whether or not directly involved with teaching), including but not limited to teachers, administrators, other professional staff, aides, bus drivers, janitors, cafeteria workers, nurses, and attendants.

    (v) Chaplains, chaplains' assistants, religious program specialists, and other individuals employed or performing child care services duties for children under 18 years of age on a DoD installation or as part of a military-sanctioned program.

    (vi) Foster and respite child care providers on a DoD installation, program, or as part of a military-sanctioned activity.

    (vii) Health and mental health care personnel, employed or performing child care services duties on a DoD installation, in a DoD sanctioned program, or as part of a military-sanctioned activity, including but not limited to physicians, dentists, nurse practitioners, clinical social workers, physical therapists, speech-language pathologists, clinical support staff (including residents), registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, nursing assistants, play therapists, and technicians.

    (viii) Individuals employed or performing child care duties in social services, residential care, rehabilitation programs, detention, and correctional services on a DoD installation, program, or as part of a military-sanctioned activity.

    (ix) Any other individuals reasonably expected to have regular contact with children on a DoD installation, in a DoD sanctioned program, or as part of a military-sanctioned activity, including specified volunteers and any person 18 years of age or older residing in an FCC, foster, or respite care home. Healthcare providers participating in TRICARE shall be governed by TRICARE policy.

    (6) The DoD Components will also determine any other classes of positions subject to criminal history background checks, taking care to ensure that all individuals who have regular contact with children when providing child care services are investigated and the requirement must pertain to the class as a whole.

    (7) Individuals designated in non-specified volunteer positions must always be under direct LOSS in accordance with paragraph (g) of this section.

    (b) Types of background checks. Procedures for conducting a background check on individuals in paragraphs (a)(5)(i) through (ix) of this section differ based on the employment status of the individual. Military members are subject to the background check requirements of DoD Instruction 5200.02 and this section. The FBI criminal history background checks for all categories of individuals must be fingerprint-based and fingerprints must be captured using an FBI-approved system. SCHR checks may require hardcopy fingerprint submissions. State checks must include the state child abuse and neglect repository and the state sex offender registry. The Component must request a check of the state child abuse and neglect repository and the State sex offender registry if they are not automatically checked as part of the standard SCHR check.

    (1) Criminal history background checks for DoD civilian and military personnel who are investigated at the NACI or a higher level pursuant to DoD's personnel security program. (i) DoD civilian and military personnel required by DoD Instruction 5200.02 to be investigated according to the requirements of the National Agency Check and Inquiries (NACI) or a higher level investigation and who have regular contact with children under 18 years of age in DoD-sanctioned programs will be investigated and adjudicated in accordance with the provisions of DoD Instruction 5200.02.

    (ii) These personnel will also be subject to the additional requirements of the Child Care National Agency Check and Inquiries (CNACI) and the criteria for presumptive and automatic disqualification as specified in paragraph (c) of this section.

    (2) Criminal history background checks for civilian employees (APF and NAF). (i) In accordance with 42 U.S.C. 13041 and Volume 731 and Subchapter 1403 of DoD Instruction 1400.25, complete a CNACI, which includes an FBI criminal history background check conducted through the Criminal Justice Information Services Division of the FBI and SCHR checks through State repositories of all States that an employee or prospective employee lists as current and former residences on an employment application. Results of an advanced FBI fingerprint check must be provided before completion of the full CNACI to determine employment under LOSS.

    (ii) Individuals with a prior DoD affiliation must also complete an IRC, which includes an installation law enforcement check, drug and alcohol records check, and a check of the Family Advocacy Program (FAP) records for a minimum of 2 years before the date of the application.

    (3) Criminal history background checks for FCC providers and contractors. (i) In accordance with 42 U.S.C. 13041, complete a CNACI, which includes an FBI criminal history background check conducted through the Criminal Justice Identification Services Division of the FBI and SCHR checks through State repositories of all States that a provider or contractor or prospective provider or contractor lists as current and former residences in an employment application. Results of an advanced FBI fingerprint check must be provided before completion of the full CNACI. Results for contractors may be used to determine employment under LOSS.

    (ii) Individuals with a prior DoD affiliation must also complete an IRC, including an installation law enforcement check, drug and alcohol records check, and a check of the FAP records for a minimum of 2 years before the date of the application.

    (4) Criminal history background checks for others. (i) In accordance with 42 U.S.C. 13041, only an FBI advanced fingerprint check is required for criminal history background checks for volunteers and persons 18 years of age or older residing in an FCC, foster, or respite care home.

    (ii) Individuals with a prior DoD affiliation must also complete an IRC to include: an installation law enforcement check, drug and alcohol records check, and a check of the FAP records for a minimum of 2 years before the date of the application.

    (5) Timely completion. To ensure timely completion, the DoD Components will establish procedures to initiate or request criminal history background check results, follow up to ensure checks have been completed, and address situations where there is a delay in receiving results. In no event will an individual subject to this part be presumed to have a favorable background check merely because there has been a delay in receiving the results of the requisite background check. If no response from the state(s) is received within 60 days, determinations based upon the CNACI report may be made.

    (c) Criteria for disqualification based on results on criminal history background checks. The ultimate decision to determine how to use information obtained from the criminal history background checks in selection for positions involving the care, treatment, supervision, or education of children must incorporate a common sense decision based upon all known facts. Adverse information is evaluated by the DoD Component who is qualified at the appropriate level of command in interpreting criminal history background checks. All information of record both favorable and unfavorable will be assessed in terms of its relevance, recentness, and seriousness. Likewise, positive mitigating factors should be considered. Final suitability decisions shall be made by that commander or designee. Criteria that will result in disqualification of an applicant require careful screening of the data. A disqualifying event may be the basis for a non-selection, withdrawal of a tentative offer of employment, ineligibility for facility access, removal from a contract, a suitability action under 5 CFR part 731, a probationary termination, an adverse action, or other appropriate action.

    (1) Criteria for automatic disqualification. No person, regardless of circumstances, will be approved to provide child care services pursuant to this part if the background check discloses:

    (i) That the individual has been convicted in either a civilian or military court (to include any general, special or summary court-martial conviction) or received non-judicial punishment (under Article 15 or chapter 47 of Title 10, U.S.C., also known and referred to in this part as “the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ)”) for any of the following:

    (A) A sexual offense.

    (B) Any criminal offense involving a child victim.

    (C) A felony drug offense.

    (ii) That the individual has been held to be negligent in a civil adjudication or administrative proceeding concerning the death or serious injury to a child or dependent person entrusted to the individual's care.

    (2) [Reserved]

    (d) Suitability and fitness determinations for individuals involved with the provision of child care services. Suitability and fitness determinations for individuals subject to this part will be made in accordance with Volume 731, Volume 1231, and Subchapter 1403 of DoD Instruction 1400.25, and part 1201 of 5 U.S.C., as appropriate. The following may be the basis for non-selection, withdrawal of a tentative offer of employment, ineligibility for facility access, removal from a contract, a suitability action under DoD Instruction 1400.25, a probationary termination, an adverse action, or other appropriate action.

    (1) Criteria for presumptive disqualification. Officials charged with making determinations pursuant to this part must include in the record a written justification for any favorable determination made where background check findings include any of the following presumptively disqualifying information:

    (i) A FAP record indicating that the individual met criteria for child abuse or neglect or civil adjudication that the individual committed child abuse or neglect.

    (ii) Evidence of an act or acts by the individual that tend to indicate poor judgment, unreliability, or untrustworthiness in providing child care services.

    (iii) Evidence or documentation of the individual's past or present dependency on or addiction to any controlled or psychoactive substances, narcotics, cannabis, or other dangerous drug without evidence of rehabilitation.

    (iv) A conviction, including any general, special, or summary court-martial conviction, or non-judicial punishment under Article 15 of the UCMJ for:

    (A) A crime of violence committed against an adult.

    (B) Illegal or improper use, possession, or addiction to any controlled or psychoactive substances, narcotics, cannabis, or other dangerous drug.

    (v) A civil adjudication that terminated the individual's parental rights to his or her child, except in cases where the birth parent places his or her child for adoption.

    (2) Evaluation of presumptively disqualifying information. The DoD Components will establish and oversee procedures for the evaluation of presumptively disqualifying information for all categories of individuals in paragraph (b) of this section. Evaluation of presumptively disqualifying information for APF and NAF personnel must be in accordance with Volume 731 and Subchapter 1403 of DoD Instruction 1400.25, respectively.

    (3) Criteria for disqualification under LOSS. If an investigation of an individual who is currently working under LOSS subsequently results in an unfavorable determination, the DoD Components will take action to protect children by reassigning or removing the individual from employment, contract, or volunteer status.

    (4) Disputes and appeals. The DoD Components will establish and oversee procedures for the communication of determinations and the appeal of unfavorable determinations for all categories of individuals in paragraph (b) of this section. The procedures for civilian personnel are subject to Volume 731 of DoD Instruction 1400.25 for APF employees and Subchapter 1403 of DoD Instruction 1400.25 for NAF employees.

    (e) Reinvestigation. (1) All DoD civilian employees (both APF and NAF), contractors, military personnel, and any other individuals reasonably expected to have regular contact with children on a DoD installation, program, or as part of a military-sanctioned activity, including specified volunteers and any person 18 years of age or older residing in an FCC, foster, or respite care home, who continue to perform duties in the position for which their initial background check was conducted, must undergo a reinvestigation every 5 years. The reinvestigation must consist of the same check conducted for the initial investigation as outlined in paragraph (b) of this section.

    (2) All FCC providers and adults residing in an FCC home must undergo an annual reinvestigation utilizing the Special Agreement Check (SAC) for childcare providers. The SAC reinvestigation consists of an update to the initial investigation as outlined in paragraph (b) of this section.

    (3) If the reinvestigation results in an unfavorable determination, the DoD Components will take action to protect children by reassigning or removing the individual from employment, contract, or volunteer status.

    (4) If derogatory information surfaces within the 5 years before the reinvestigation, the DoD Component will take action to protect children by reassigning or suspending from having contact with children, any individual, contractor or volunteer until the case is resolved.

    (f) Self-reporting. (1) Individuals who have regular contact with children under 18 years of age in DoD-sanctioned programs who have a completed background check are required to immediately report subsequent automatic disqualification criteria under paragraph (c)(1) of this section and presumptive disqualification criteria under paragraphs (c)(2)(i), (iv), and (v) of this section.

    (2) The DoD Components will establish procedures for:

    (i) Informing individuals of the requirement to immediately report any incident or conviction that may invalidate their prior background check and make them ineligible to work or have contact with children.

    (ii) Responding to and evaluating reports made by such individuals, and taking appropriate action until the case has been resolved or closed.

    (g) Eligibility to perform duties under LOSS. The DoD Components will establish Component-specific procedures, policies, and requirements, subject to the requirements of this paragraph, to permit applicants for whom a criminal history background check has been initiated but not yet completed, to perform duties under LOSS upon favorable findings of preliminary investigations.

    (1) No presumption of right. No individual will be permitted to perform duties under LOSS in a position subject to criminal history background check without authorizing policy or other written permission from a DoD Component head.

    (2) Preliminary investigations required. No individual will be permitted to perform duties under LOSS in a position subject to criminal history background check unless the following investigative elements have been reviewed and determined favorably:

    (i) An IRC, including installation law enforcement records check, drug and alcohol records, and FAP records check for a minimum of 2 years before the date of the application if the individual has a preexisting DoD affiliation.

    (ii) Initial results from the advanced FBI fingerprint criminal history background check (not the full check).

    (3) Exception for non-specified volunteers. Due to the controlled, limited duration of an activity for these individuals, an advanced FBI fingerprint criminal history background check is not required. Non-specified volunteers will be permitted to perform duties and services under LOSS for the duration of the activity.

    (4) Supervisor requirements. The supervisor must be a person who:

    (i) Has undergone and successfully completed the required background check.

    (ii) Has complied, as required, with the periodic reinvestigation requirement for a recurring criminal history background check.

    (iii) Has not previously exhibited reckless disregard for an obligation to supervise an employee, contractor, or volunteer.

    (5) Video surveillance. The use of video surveillance equipment to provide temporary oversight for individuals whose required background checks have been initiated but not completed is acceptable provided it is continuously monitored by an individual who has undergone and successfully completed all required background checks. This provision shall meet the intent of a flexible and reasonable alternative for “direct sight supervision.”

    (6) Conspicuous identification of individuals subject to LOSS. Individuals permitted to perform duties solely under LOSS must be conspicuously marked by means of distinctive clothing, badges, wristbands, or other visible and apparent markings. The purpose of such markings must be communicated to staff, customers, parents, and guardians by conspicuous posting or printed information.

    (7) Permissible performance of duties without supervision. Individuals otherwise required to perform duties only under LOSS may perform duties without supervision if:

    (i) Interaction with a child occurs in the presence of the child's parent or guardian;

    (ii) Interaction with children is in a medical facility, subject to supervisory policies of the facility, and in the presence of a mandated reporter of child abuse; or

    (iii) Interaction is necessary to prevent death or serious harm to the child, and supervision is impractical or unfeasible (e.g., response to a medical emergency, emergency evacuation of a child from a hazardous location).

    Dated: September 11, 2015. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23269 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 117 [Docket No. USCG-2015-0849] Drawbridge Operation Regulations; New Jersey Intracoastal Waterway, Atlantic City, NJ and Delaware River, Delair, NJ AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of deviation from drawbridge regulations.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard has issued a temporary deviation from the operating schedules that govern the AMTRAK Bridge over Beach Thorofare, New Jersey Intracoastal Waterway, mile 68.9, at Atlantic City, NJ, and the AMTRAK Bridge over Delaware River, mile 104.6, at Delair, NJ. This deviation allows the bridges to remain in the closed-to-navigation position to facilitate the 2015 Papal Visit to Philadelphia, PA.

    DATES:

    This deviation is effective from 5 a.m. on September 26, 2015, to 3 a.m. on September 28, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    The docket for this deviation, [USCG-2015-0849], 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 Mr. Hal R. Pitts, Bridge Administration Branch Fifth District, Coast Guard; telephone (757) 398-6222, 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 New Jersey Transit, who owns and operates the AMTRAK Bridge over Beach Thorofare and AMTRAK Bridge over Delaware River, has requested a temporary deviation from the current operating regulations set out in 33 CFR 117.733(d) and 117.716, respectively, to facilitate movement of trains during the 2015 Papal Visit to Philadelphia, PA.

    Under the normal operating schedule for the AMTRAK Bridge over Beach Thorofare, New Jersey Intracoastal Waterway, mile 68.9, at Atlantic City, NJ; the bridge shall open on signal from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.; from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., open on signal from 20 minutes to 30 minutes after each hour and remain open for all waiting vessels; opening of the draw may be delayed for ten minutes except as provide in 33 CFR 117.31(b); However, if a train is moving toward the bridge and has crossed the home signal for the bridge before the signal requesting the opening of the bridge is given, that train may continue across the bridge and must clear the bridge interlocks before stopping. Under the normal operating schedule for the AMTRAK Bridge over Delaware River, mile 104.6, at Delair, NJ, the bridgeneed not open when there is a train in the bridge block approaching the bridge with the intention of crossing, or within five minutes of the known time of the passage of a scheduled passenger train; the opening of a bridge may not be delayed for more than 10 minutes, after the signal to open is given. The vertical clearances in the closed-to-navigation position of the AMTRAK Bridge over Beach Thorofare and AMTRAK Bridge over Delaware River are 5 feet and 49 feet, respectively, above mean high water.

    Under this temporary deviation, the bridges will not be required to open on signal or within ten minutes of a signal from 5 a.m. on September 26, 2015, to 3 a.m. on September 28, 2015. Mariners requesting an opening shall provide at least one hour notice and may be required to adjust their voyage plan to transit through the bridge at a specified time. Beach Thorofare, New Jersey Intracoastal Waterway is used by a variety of vessels including small commercial fishing vessels, recreational vessels and tug and barge traffic. The Delaware River is used by a variety of vessels including deep draft ocean-going vessels, small commercial fishing vessels, recreational vessels and tug and barge traffic. The Coast Guard has carefully coordinated the restrictions with commercial and recreational waterway users.

    Vessels able to pass through the bridges in the closed position may do so at anytime. The bridges will be able to open for emergencies and there is no alternate route for vessels unable to pass through the bridges in the closed position. The Coast Guard will also inform the users of the waterways through our Local and Broadcast Notice to Mariners of the change in operating schedules for these bridges so that vessels can arrange their transits to minimize any impacts caused by this temporary deviation.

    In accordance with 33 CFR 117.35(e), the drawbridges must return to their regular operating schedules immediately at the end of the effective period of this temporary deviation. This deviation from the operating regulations is authorized under 33 CFR 117.35.

    Dated: September 10, 2015. Hal R. Pitts, Bridge Program Manager, Fifth Coast Guard District.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23342 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 117 [Docket No. USCG-2015-0848] Drawbridge Operation Regulations; Mantua Creek, Paulsboro, NJ and Raccoon Creek, Bridgeport, NJ AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of deviation from drawbridge regulations.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard has issued a temporary deviation from the operating schedules that govern the S.R. 44 Bridge over Mantua Creek, mile 1.7, at Paulsboro, NJ and Route 130 Bridge over Raccoon Creek, mile 1.8, at Bridgeport, NJ. This deviation allows the bridges to remain in the closed-to-navigation position to facilitate the 2015 Papal Visit to Philadelphia, PA.

    DATES:

    This deviation is effective from 7 a.m. on September 26, 2015, to 11 p.m. on September 28, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    The docket for this deviation, [USCG-2015-0848], 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 Mr. Hal R. Pitts, Bridge Administration Branch Fifth District, Coast Guard; telephone (757) 398-6222, 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 New Jersey Department of Transportation, who owns and operates the S.R. 44 Bridge and Route 130 Bridge, has requested a temporary deviation from the current operating regulations set out in 33 CFR 117.729 and 117.741, respectively, to facilitate movement of vehicles during the 2015 Papal Visit to Philadelphia, PA.

    Under the normal operating schedule for the S.R. 44 Bridge over Mantua Creek, mile 1.7, at Paulsboro, NJ and Route 130 Bridge over Raccoon Creek, mile 1.8, at Bridgeport, NJ; the bridges shall open on signal from May 1 through October 31, from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and all other times, if at least four hours notice is given. The vertical clearances in the closed-to-navigation position of the S.R. 44 Bridge and Route 130 Bridge are 25 feet and 4 feet, respectively, above mean high water.

    Under this temporary deviation, the bridges will be closed to navigation from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. each day starting September 26 through September 28, 2015, except for scheduled daily openings at 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. The bridges will operate per the normal operating schedules between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. Mantua Creek and Raccoon Creek are used by a variety of vessels including small commercial fishing vessels and recreational vessels. The Coast Guard has carefully coordinated the restrictions with commercial and recreational waterway users.

    Vessels able to pass through the bridges in the closed position may do so at anytime. The bridges will be able to open for emergencies and there is no alternate route for vessels unable to pass through the bridges in the closed position. The Coast Guard will also inform the users of the waterways through our Local and Broadcast Notice to Mariners of the change in operating schedules for these bridges so that vessels can arrange their transits to minimize any impacts caused by this temporary deviation.

    In accordance with 33 CFR 117.35(e), the drawbridges must return to their regular operating schedules immediately at the end of the effective period of this temporary deviation. This deviation from the operating regulations is authorized under 33 CFR 117.35.

    Dated: September 10, 2015. Hal R. Pitts, Bridge Program Manager, Fifth Coast Guard District.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23341 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P.
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 117 [Docket No. USCG-2015-0850] Drawbridge Operation Regulations; Delaware River, Burlington County, NJ AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of deviation from drawbridge regulations.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard has issued a temporary deviation from the operating schedules that govern the Tacony-Palmyra (Route 73) Bridge over Delaware River, mile 107.2, between Tacony, PA and Palmyra, NJ and Burlington-Bristol (Route 413) Bridge over Delaware River, mile 117.8, between Burlington, NJ and Bristol, PA. This deviation allows the bridges to remain in the closed-to-navigation position to facilitate the 2015 Papal Visit to Philadelphia, PA.

    DATES:

    This deviation is effective from 6 a.m. on September 26, 2015, to 9 p.m. on September 27, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    The docket for this deviation, [USCG-2015-0850], 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 Mr. Hal R. Pitts, Bridge Administration Branch Fifth District, Coast Guard; telephone (757) 398-6222, 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 Burlington County Bridge Commission, who owns and operates the Tacony-Palmyra (Route 73) Bridge over Delaware River and Burlington-Bristol (Route 413) Bridge over Delaware River, has requested a temporary deviation from the current operating regulations set out in 33 CFR 117.716 to facilitate movement of vehicles during the 2015 Papal Visit to Philadelphia, PA.

    Under the normal operating schedule for Tacony-Palmyra (Route 73) Bridge over Delaware River, mile 107.2, between Tacony, PA and Palmyra, NJ and Burlington-Bristol (Route 413) Bridge over Delaware River, mile 117.8, between Burlington, NJ and Bristol, PA; opening of the bridge may not be delayed more than five minutes after the signal to open is given. The vertical clearances in the closed-to-navigation position of the Tacony-Palmyra (Route 73) Bridge over Delaware River and Burlington-Bristol (Route 413) Bridge over Delaware River are 53 feet and 62 feet, respectively, above mean high water.

    Under this temporary deviation, the bridges will remain in the closed-to-navigation position from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on September 26 and September 27, 2015, except for scheduled daily openings at 12 noon and 6 p.m. Vessels signaling an intention to transit through both bridges during a scheduled opening will receive openings at both bridges. The bridges will operate as required per 33 CFR 117.716 from 9 p.m. on September 26 to 6 a.m. on September 27, 2015. The Delaware River is used by a variety of vessels including deep draft ocean-going vessels, small commercial fishing vessels, recreational vessels and tug and barge traffic. The Coast Guard has carefully coordinated the restrictions with commercial and recreational waterway users.

    Vessels able to pass through the bridges in the closed position may do so at anytime. The bridges will be able to open for emergencies and there is no alternate route for vessels unable to pass through the bridges in the closed position. The Coast Guard will also inform the users of the waterways through our Local and Broadcast Notice to Mariners of the change in operating schedules for these bridges so that vessels can arrange their transits to minimize any impacts caused by this temporary deviation.

    In accordance with 33 CFR 117.35(e), the drawbridges must return to their regular operating schedules immediately at the end of the effective period of this temporary deviation. This deviation from the operating regulations is authorized under 33 CFR 117.35.

    Dated: September 10, 2015. Hal R. Pitts, Bridge Program Manager, Fifth Coast Guard District.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23343 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS 38 CFR Part 36 RIN 2900-AO70 Loan Guaranty—Specially Adapted Housing Assistive Technology Grant Program AGENCY:

    Department of Veterans Affairs.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This rule adopts as final, without change, a proposed rule of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to amend its regulations to provide grants for the development of new assistive technologies for use in specially adapted housing for eligible veterans or servicemembers. The Veterans' Benefits Act of 2010 authorizes VA to provide grants of up to $200,000 per fiscal year to persons or entities to encourage the development of specially adapted housing assistive technologies. This final rule implements changes to VA regulations to clarify the process, the criteria, and the priorities relating to the award of these research and development grants.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: This rule is effective October 19, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    John Bell III, Assistant Director for Loan Policy and Valuation (262), Veterans Benefits Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20420, (202) 632-8786. (This is not a toll-free number.)

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The September 8, 2014 Proposed Rule

    On September 8, 2014, VA published a proposed rule in the Federal Register at 79 FR 53146, implementing VA's statutory authority to provide grants for the development of new assistive technologies for use in specially adapted housing for eligible veterans or servicemembers. Section 203 of the Veterans' Benefits Act of 2010 (the Act) amended chapter 21, title 38, United States Code, to establish the Specially Adapted Housing Assistive Technology Grant Program. Veterans' Benefits Act of 2010, Public Law 111-275, section 203, 124 Stat. 2874 (2010). The Act authorizes VA to provide grants of up to $200,000 per fiscal year, through September 30, 2016, to a “person or entity” for the development of specially adapted housing assistive technologies and limits to $1 million the aggregate amount of such grants VA may award in any fiscal year. Id.

    The public comment period for the proposed rule closed on November 7, 2014. VA received one comment. The comment received on the proposed rule is discussed below. VA adopts without substantive change the proposed rule that implements the grant program to encourage the development of specially adapted housing assistive technologies. As explained below, however, VA is making one administrative correction to the proposed delegation of authority.

    VA received one public comment on the proposed rule from an individual. The commenter expressed support for the proposed rule, but believed the application scoring criteria should be revised. The commenter explained that the prioritization of the criteria outlined in the proposed rule should be changed to reflect “those characteristics that make the project most likely to produce a successful and impactful result.” The commenter recommended changing the maximum point values that may be awarded for certain scoring criteria, with a feasible implementation plan being eligible for the highest number of maximum possible points and innovation and minority or economic status being eligible for the lowest number of maximum possible points. Additionally, the commenter proposed that “empirical research” should be added as a distinct scoring criterion utilized in the review process.

    VA is publishing the scoring criteria set forth in proposed 38 CFR 36.4412(f) without change because VA believes that the criteria as proposed effectively carry out Congress's intent for the Grant program and satisfy the commenter's interest in successful and impactful results. Specifically, in regard to the legislative history of the Act, the preamble to the proposed rule explained that “House Report 111-109 also explained that there are many emerging technologies that could improve home adaptions or otherwise enhance a veteran or servicemember's ability to live independently, such as voice-recognition and voice-command operations, living environment controls, and adaptive feeding equipment.” 79 FR 53147. In its scoring criteria, VA provided that a new advancement's innovation and ability to meet an unmet need may be awarded the maximum possible points because it understood a central goal of the law to be the development of original, potentially groundbreaking technologies. VA also prioritized a new advancement's promotion of independent living in the scoring criteria based on Congress's statement that emerging technologies (as supported through this Grant program) could enhance the ability for veterans or servicemembers to live independently. See 79 FR 53148. Additionally, to ensure that these advancements may be feasibly developed and effectively utilized by eligible individuals, VA's proposed scoring criteria also include a description of the new assistive technology's concept, size, and scope and an implementation plan for bringing the technology to the marketplace. See id. Accordingly, VA is maintaining its scoring criteria as set forth in the proposed rule because this prioritization effectively carries out congressional intent while addressing the commenter's stated interest in successful and impactful results.

    Additionally, VA is publishing the scoring criteria set forth in proposed 38 CFR 36.4412(f) without change because the criteria provide VA flexibility to ensure that grant awards are made based on the identified priorities and/or needs of veterans and VA at the time the Notice of Funds Availability (NoFA) is published. See 79 FR 53147, 53148. Specifically, in setting out the scoring criteria and maximum points that may be awarded for each criterion, VA explained that “the scoring framework would allow the Secretary to make awards based on priorities of veterans and VA, while also ensuring that taxpayer funds are used responsibly.” 79 FR 53148. As explained in the preamble to the proposed rule, while the regulation text sets forth the maximum number of points that may be awarded based on any one criterion, each NoFA would explain the specific scoring priorities for that grant application cycle. Id. This change in priorities would not introduce new scoring criteria, but would instead help technology grant applicants understand how the scores will be weighted and provide them an opportunity to tailor their responses accordingly. Id.

    The preamble to the proposed rule also provides an example to illustrate VA's flexibility to emphasize certain criterion in each NoFA. It explains that VA might emphasize in one grant cycle the need for innovation, and as a result, explain in the NoFA that innovation will be a top priority. A technology grant applicant would then know to concentrate on how innovative its product would be. In reviewing the application, the Secretary might award all 50 allowable points to the technology grant applicant who best satisfies that criterion. In the next grant cycle, the Secretary might determine that a particular need has gone unmet among eligible individuals who are adapting their homes. The Secretary might choose to place more emphasis on meeting that need than on general innovation. As a result, the published NoFA for that grant cycle would explain the Secretary's new priorities. A technology grant applicant would then know that its application would have more success if it were to focus on how the product would meet the need. When reviewing applications, the Secretary could choose to award all 50 points for that criterion, while only scoring the most innovative product 30 points. Id. Accordingly, VA believes this flexibility to weigh criteria based on the identified needs and priorities of veterans and VA at the time a NoFA is published will ensure grant awards successfully carry out program goals and positively impact eligible individuals.

    Finally, the commenter suggested adding “empirical research” as a criterion to be evaluated when scoring grant applications. VA understands empirical research to be defined as “originating in or based on observation or experience” (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/empirical). VA's scoring criteria anticipate VA's consideration of empirical research in evaluating applications and determining points awarded for each criterion. For example, an application for a new assistive technology may utilize empirical research surrounding currently-available technologies on the market to demonstrate the advancement's level of innovation. Or, a successful description of how the new advancement is specifically designed to promote the ability of eligible individuals to live independently may utilize empirical research to explain, for example, the most common disabilities among eligible individuals, the critical factors that affect an eligible individual's ability to live independently, and how the new assistive technology may enable individuals to overcome barriers to independent living. VA will consider the presence of empirical research in its review of applications and determination of points to be awarded. As empirical research may be utilized to support applications and impact application scoring under the existing criteria, it does not need to be added as a stand-alone factor for evaluation.

    Administrative Correction

    The proposed rule included a delegation of authority to various officials in the Department. The title of the Deputy Under Secretary for Economic Opportunity was incorrectly listed as the Deputy Under Secretary for Economic Development. This rule corrects the error. The change is only for administrative accuracy and has no substantive effect on the rule.

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess the costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, when regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, and other advantages; distributive impacts; and equity). Executive Order 13563 (Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review) emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, reducing costs, harmonizing rules, and promoting flexibility. Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review) defines a “significant regulatory action” requiring review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), unless OMB waives such review, as any regulatory action that is likely to result in a rule that may: (1) Have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or tribal governments or communities; (2) Create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by another agency; (3) Materially alter the budgetary impact of entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients thereof; or (4) Raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates, the President's priorities, or the principles set forth in this Executive Order.

    The economic, interagency, budgetary, legal, and policy implications of this regulatory action have been examined, and it has been determined to be a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866 because it is likely to result in a rule that may raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates, the President's priorities, or the principles set forth in Executive Orders 12866 or 13563. VA's impact analysis can be found as a supporting document at http://www.regulations.gov, usually within 48 hours after the rulemaking document is published. Additionally, a copy of the rulemaking and its impact analysis are available on VA's Web site at http://www.va.gov/orpm/, by following the link for “VA Regulations Published from FY 2004 Through Fiscal Year to Date.”

    Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Secretary hereby certifies that this final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities as they are defined in the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601-612. There will be no significant economic impact on any small entities because grant applicants are not required to provide matching funds to receive the maximum grant amount of $200,000. The assistive technology grant program will not impact a substantial number of small entities because VA may only award a maximum of $1 million in aggregate grant funds per fiscal year, and VA's authority to award these grants expires September 30, 2016. On this basis, the Secretary certifies that the final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities as they are defined in the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601-612. Therefore, under 5 U.S.C. 605(b), this rulemaking is exempt from the initial and final regulatory flexibility analysis requirements of sections 603 and 604.

    Unfunded Mandates

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 requires, at 2 U.S.C. 1532, that agencies prepare an assessment of anticipated costs and benefits before issuing any rule that may result in the expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more (adjusted annually for inflation) in any one year. This final rule will have no such effect on State, local, and tribal governments, or on the private sector.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3507(d)) requires that VA consider the impact of paperwork and other information collection burdens imposed on the public. Under 44 U.S.C. 3507(a), an agency may not collect or sponsor the collection of information, nor may it impose an information collection requirement unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. 5 CFR 1320.8(b)(1) and (3)(vi).

    This final rule will impose the following new information collection requirements. Section 36.4412(d) of title 38 CFR will require applicants for an SAH Assistive Technology grant to submit VA Form 26-0967, “Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, Ineligibility and Voluntary Exclusion,” and to provide statements addressing the scoring criteria for grant awards. The information provided under this collection of information is necessary for a complete SAH Assistive Technology grant application. The information will be used by VA in deciding whether an applicant meets the requirements and satisfies the scoring criteria for award of an SAH Assistive Technology grant under 38 U.S.C. 2108. As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (at 44 U.S.C. 3507(d)), VA has submitted these information collections to OMB for its review. OMB approved these new information collection requirements associated with the final rule and assigned OMB control number 2900-0821.

    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance

    The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance program numbers and titles for the programs affected by this document are 64.106, Specially Adapted Housing for Disabled Veterans and 64.118, Veterans Housing—Direct Loans for Certain Disabled Veterans.

    Signing Authority

    The Secretary of Veterans Affairs, or designee, approved this document and authorized the undersigned to sign and submit the document to the Office of the Federal Register for publication electronically as an official document of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Robert L. Nabors II, Chief of Staff, Department of Veterans Affairs, approved this document on September 11, 2015, for publication.

    List of Subjects in 38 CFR Part 36

    Condominiums, Housing, Indians, Individuals with disabilities, Loan programs—housing and community development, Loan programs—Indians, Loan programs—veterans, Manufactured homes, Mortgage insurance, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Veterans.

    Dated: September 11, 2015. Michael P. Shores, Chief Impact Analyst, Office of Regulation Policy & Management, Office of the General Counsel, Department of Veterans Affairs.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, VA amends 38 CFR part 36, subpart C to read as follows:

    PART 36—LOAN GUARANTY 1. The authority citation for part 36 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    38 U.S.C. 501 and as otherwise noted.

    2. Add § 36.4412 to read as follows:
    § 36.4412 Specially Adapted Housing Assistive Technology Grant Program.

    (a) General. (1) The Secretary will make grants for the development of new assistive technologies for specially adapted housing.

    (2) A person or entity may apply for, and receive, a grant pursuant to this section.

    (3)(i) All technology grant recipients, including individuals and entities formed as for-profit entities, will be subject to the rules on Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements With Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and Other Non-Profit Organizations, as found at 2 CFR part 200.

    (ii) Where the Secretary determines that 2 CFR part 200 is not applicable or where the Secretary determines that additional requirements are necessary due to the uniqueness of a situation, the Secretary will apply the same standard applicable to exceptions under 2 CFR 200.102.

    (b) Definitions. To supplement the definitions contained in § 36.4401, the following terms are herein defined for purposes of this section:

    (1) A technology grant applicant is a person or entity that applies for a grant pursuant to 38 U.S.C. 2108 and this section to develop new assistive technology or technologies for specially adapted housing.

    (2) A new assistive technology is an advancement that the Secretary determines could aid or enhance the ability of an eligible individual, as defined in 38 CFR 36.4401, to live in an adapted home.

    (c) Grant application solicitation. As funds are available for the program, VA will publish in the Federal Register a Notice of Funds Availability (NoFA), soliciting applications for the grant program and providing information on applications.

    (d) Application process and requirements. Upon publication of the NoFA, a technology grant applicant must submit an application to the Secretary via www.Grants.gov. Applications must consist of the following:

    (1) Standard Form 424 (Application for Federal Assistance) with the box labeled “application” marked;

    (2) VA Form 26-0967 (Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, Ineligibility and Voluntary Exclusion) to ensure that the technology grant applicant has not been debarred or suspended and is eligible to participate in the VA grant process and receive Federal funds;

    (3) Statements addressing the scoring criteria in paragraph (f) of this section; and

    (4) Any additional information as deemed appropriate by VA.

    (e) Threshold requirements. The NoFA will set out the full and specific procedural requirements for technology grant applicants.

    (f) Scoring criteria. (1) The Secretary will score technology grant applications based on the scoring criteria in paragraph (f)(2) of this section. Although there is not a cap on the maximum aggregate score possible, a technology grant application must receive a minimum aggregate score of 70 points to be considered for a technology grant.

    (2) The scoring criteria and maximum points are as follows:

    (i) A description of how the new assistive technology is innovative (up to 50 points);

    (ii) An explanation of how the new assistive technology will meet a specific, unmet need among eligible individuals (up to 50 points);

    (iii) An explanation of how the new assistive technology is specifically designed to promote the ability of eligible individuals to live more independently (up to 30 points);

    (iv) A description of the new assistive technology's concept, size, and scope (up to 30 points);

    (v) An implementation plan with major milestones for bringing the new assistive technology into production and to the market. Such milestones must be meaningful and achievable within a specific timeframe (up to 30 points); and

    (vi) An explanation of what uniquely positions the technology grant applicant in the marketplace. This can include a focus on characteristics such as the economic reliability of the technology grant applicant, the technology grant applicant's status as a minority or veteran-owned business, or other characteristics that the technology grant applicant wants to include to show how it will help protect the interests of, or further the mission of, VA and the program (up to 20 points).

    (g) Application deadlines. Deadlines for technology grant applications will be established in the NoFA.

    (h) Awards process. Decisions for awarding technology grants under this section will be made in accordance with guidelines (covering such issues as timing and method of notification) described in the NoFA. The Secretary will provide written approvals, denials, or requests for additional information. The Secretary will conduct periodic audits of all approved grants under this program to ensure that the actual project size and scope are consistent with those outlined in the proposal and that established milestones are achieved.

    (i) Delegation of authority. (1) Each VA employee appointed to or lawfully fulfilling any of the following positions is hereby delegated authority, within the limitations and conditions prescribed by law, to exercise the powers and functions of the Secretary with respect to the grant program authorized by 38 U.S.C. 2108:

    (i) Under Secretary for Benefits.

    (ii) Deputy Under Secretary for Economic Opportunity.

    (iii) Director, Loan Guaranty Service.

    (iv) Deputy Director, Loan Guaranty Service.

    (2) [Reserved]

    (j) Miscellaneous. (1) The grant offered by this chapter is not a veterans' benefit. As such, the decisions of the Secretary are final and not subject to the same appeal rights as decisions related to veterans' benefits.

    (2) The Secretary does not have a duty to assist technology grant applicants in obtaining a grant.

    (Authority: 38 U.S.C. 2108) (The Office of Management and Budget has approved the information collection requirements in this section under control numbers 4040-0004 and 2900-0821.)
    [FR Doc. 2015-23280 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8320-01-P
    POSTAL SERVICE 39 CFR Part 957 Rules of Practice Before the Judicial Officer AGENCY:

    Postal Service.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This document contains the final revisions to the rules of practice before the Judicial Officer in proceedings relative to debarment from contracting.

    DATES:

    Effective: September 17, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Written inquiries may be directed to: Postal Service Judicial Officer Department, 2101 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 600, Arlington, VA 22201-3078.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Associate Judicial Officer Gary E. Shapiro, (703) 812-1910.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: A. Executive Summary

    On July 1, 2015, the Judicial Officer Department published for comment proposed revisions to the rules of practice before the Judicial Officer for proceedings relative to debarment from contracting (80 FR 37565-7). The period for comments closed on July 31, 2015, and no comments were received. The Judicial Officer has made no further revisions to the original proposed rules, which are adopted as final. The new rules completely replace the former rules of 39 CFR part 957.

    B. Background

    The rules of practice in proceedings relative to debarment from contracting are set forth in 39 CFR part 957. This authority is delegated by the Postmaster General. The rules are being changed to effectuate the Postal Service's present debarment procedures, at 39 CFR part 601, and the Judicial Officer's role in those procedures.

    In 2007, the Postal Service changed its procurement regulations regarding suspension and debarment from contracting. See 72 FR 58252 (October 15, 2007). Whereas prior to that change, the Judicial Officer conducted hearings and rendered final agency decisions regarding suspension and debarment from contracting, the revised procurement regulations at 39 CFR 601.113 eliminated any role of the Judicial Officer from suspensions, and reserved final agency action regarding debarments to the Vice President, Supply Management. The remaining role of the Judicial Officer relative to debarment from contracting is set forth in paragraphs (g)(2) and (h)(2) of § 601.113. Those paragraphs provide that the Vice President, Supply Management, may request the Judicial Officer to conduct fact-finding hearings to resolve questions of material facts involving a debarment, and will consider those findings when deciding the matter. Under paragraph (h)(2) of § 601.113, fact-finding hearings will be governed by rules of procedure promulgated by the Judicial Officer. These new rules of procedure satisfy that requirement.

    List of Subjects in 39 CFR Part 957

    Administrative practice and procedure, Government contracts.

    Accordingly, for the reasons stated, the Postal Service revises 39 CFR part 957 to read as follows:

    PART 957—RULES OF PRACTICE IN PROCEEDINGS RELATIVE TO DEBARMENT FROM CONTRACTING Sec. 957.1 Authority for rules. 957.2 Scope of rules. 957.3 Definitions. 957.4 Authority of the Hearing Officer. 957.5 Case initiation. 957.6 Filing documents for the record. 957.7 Failure to appear at the hearing. 957.8 Hearings. 957.9 Appearances. 957.10 Conduct of the hearing. 957.11 Witness fees. 957.12 Transcript. 957.13 Proposed findings of fact. 957.14 Findings of fact. 957.15 Computation of time. 957.16 Official record. 957.17 Public information. 957.18 Ex parte communications. Authority:

    39 U.S.C. 204, 401.

    § 957.1 Authority for rules.

    The rules in this part are issued by the Judicial Officer of the Postal Service pursuant to authority delegated by the Postmaster General (39 U.S.C. 204, 401).

    § 957.2 Scope of rules.

    The rules in this part apply to proceedings initiated pursuant to paragraphs (g)(2) or (h)(2) of § 601.113 of this subchapter.

    § 957.3 Definitions.

    (a) Vice President means the Vice President, Supply Management, or the Vice President's representative for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of § 601.113 of this subchapter.

    (b) General Counsel includes the Postal Service's General Counsel and any designated representative within the Office of the General Counsel.

    (c) Judicial Officer includes the Postal Service's Judicial Officer, Associate Judicial Officer, and Acting Judicial Officer.

    (d) Debarment has the meaning given by paragraph (b)(2) of § 601.113 of this subchapter.

    (e) Respondent means any individual, firm or other entity which has been served a written notice of proposed debarment pursuant to § 601.113(h), or which previously has been debarred, as provided in § 601.113(g)(2) of this subchapter.

    (f) Hearing Officer means the judge assigned to the case by the Judicial Officer. The Hearing Officer may be the Judicial Officer, Associate Judicial Officer, Administrative Law Judge or an Administrative Judge who is a member of the Postal Service Board of Contract Appeals.

    (g) Recorder means the Recorder of the Judicial Officer Department of the United States Postal Service, 2101 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 600, Arlington, VA 22201-3078. The Recorder's telephone number is (703) 812-1900, fax number is (703) 812-1901, and the Judicial Officer's Web site is http://www.about.usps.com/who-we-are/judicial/welcome.htm.

    § 957.4 Authority of the Hearing Officer.

    The Hearing Officer's authority includes, but is not limited to, the following:

    (a) Ruling on all motions or requests by the parties.

    (b) Issuing notices, orders, or memoranda to the parties concerning the hearing proceedings.

    (c) Conducting conferences with the parties. The Hearing Officer will prepare a Memorandum of Conference, which will be transmitted to both parties and which serves as the official record of that conference.

    (d) Determining whether an oral hearing will be conducted, and setting the place, date, and time for such a hearing.

    (e) Administering oaths or affirmations to witnesses.

    (f) Conducting the proceedings and the hearing in a manner to maintain discipline and decorum while ensuring that relevant, reliable and probative evidence is elicited, but irrelevant, immaterial or repetitious evidence is excluded. The Hearing Officer in his or her discretion may examine witnesses to ensure that a satisfactory record is developed.

    (g) Establishing the record. The weight to be attached to evidence will rest within the discretion of the Hearing Officer. Except as the Hearing Officer may otherwise order, no proof shall be received in evidence after completion of a hearing. The Hearing Officer may require either party, with appropriate notice to the other party, to submit additional evidence on any relevant matter.

    (h) Granting reasonable time extensions or other relief for good cause shown, in the Hearing Officer's sole discretion.

    (i) Issuing findings of fact. The Hearing Officer will issue findings of fact to the Vice President within 30 days from the close of the record, to the extent practicable.

    § 957.5 Case initiation.

    (a) Upon receipt of a request or referral from the Vice President, the Recorder will docket a case under this Part. Following docketing, the Judicial Officer will assign a Hearing Officer. The Hearing Officer will establish the schedule for the proceeding, perform all judicial duties under this Part and render Findings of Fact. Whenever practicable, a hearing should be conducted within 30 days of the date of docketing.

    (b) The request or referral from the Vice President shall include the notice of proposed debarment and the information or argument submitted by the Respondent pursuant to paragraphs (g) or (h) of § 601.113 of this subchapter.

    § 957.6 Filing documents for the record.

    The parties shall file documents, permitted by the rules in this part or required by the Hearing Officer, in the Judicial Officer Department's electronic filing system. The Web site for electronic filing is https://uspsjoe.justware.com/justiceweb. Documents submitted using that system are considered filed as of the date and time (Eastern Time) reflected in the system. Orders issued by the Hearing Officer shall be considered received by the parties on the date posted to the electronic filing system.

    § 957.7 Failure to appear at the hearing.

    If a party fails to appear at the hearing, the Hearing Officer may proceed with the hearing, receive evidence and issue findings of fact without requirement of further notice to the absent party.

    § 957.8 Hearings.

    Hearings ordinarily will be conducted in the Judicial Officer Department courtroom at 2101 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 600, Arlington, VA 22201-3078. However, the Hearing Officer, in his or her discretion, may order the hearing to be conducted at another location, or by another means such as by video.

    § 957.9 Appearances.

    (a) An individual Respondent may appear in his or her own behalf, a corporation may appear by an officer thereof, a partnership or joint venture may appear by a member thereof, or any of these may appear by a licensed attorney.

    (b) After a request for a hearing has been filed pursuant to the rules in this part, the General Counsel shall designate a licensed attorney as counsel assigned to handle the case.

    (c) All counsel, or a self-represented Respondent, shall register in the electronic filing system, and request to be added to the case. Counsel also promptly shall file notices of appearance.

    (d) An attorney for any party who has filed a notice of appearance and who wishes to withdraw must file a motion requesting withdrawal, explaining the reasons supporting the motion, and identifying the name, email address, mailing address, telephone number, and fax number of the person who will assume responsibility for representation of the party in question.

    § 957.10 Conduct of the hearing.

    The Hearing Officer may approve or disapprove witnesses in his or her discretion. All testimony will be taken under oath or affirmation, and subject to cross-examination. The Hearing Officer may exclude evidence to avoid unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, undue delay, waste of time, or presentation of irrelevant, immaterial, or cumulative evidence. Although the Hearing Officer will consider the Federal Rules of Evidence for guidance regarding admissibility of evidence and other evidentiary issues, he or she is not bound by those rules. The weight to be attached to evidence presented in any particular form will be within the discretion of the Hearing Officer, taking into consideration all the circumstances of the particular case. Stipulations of fact agreed upon by the parties may be accepted as evidence at the hearing. The parties may stipulate the testimony that would be given by a witness if the witness were present. The Hearing Officer may in any case require evidence in addition to that offered by the parties. A party requiring the use of a foreign language interpreter allowing testimony to be taken in English for itself or witnesses it proffers is responsible for making all necessary arrangements and paying all costs and expenses associated with the use of an interpreter.

    § 957.11 Witness fees.

    Each party is responsible for the fees and costs for its own witnesses.

    § 957.12 Transcript.

    Testimony and argument at hearings shall be reported verbatim, unless the Hearing Officer otherwise orders. Transcripts of the proceedings will be made available or provided to the parties.

    § 957.13 Proposed findings of fact.

    (a) The Hearing Officer may direct the parties to submit proposed findings of fact and supporting explanations within 15 days after the delivery of the official transcript to the Recorder who shall notify both parties of the date of its receipt. The filing date for proposed findings shall be the same for both parties.

    (b) Proposed findings of fact shall be set forth in numbered paragraphs and shall state with particularity all evidentiary facts in the record with appropriate citations to the transcript or exhibits supporting the proposed findings.

    § 957.14 Findings of fact.

    The Hearing Officer shall issue written findings of fact, and transmit them to the Vice President. Copies will be sent to the parties.

    § 957.15 Computation of time.

    A designated period of time under the rules in this part excludes the day the period begins, and includes the last day of the period unless the last day is a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, in which event the period runs until the close of business on the next business day.

    § 957.16 Official record.

    The transcript of testimony together with all pleadings, orders, exhibits, briefs, and other documents filed in the proceeding shall constitute the official record of the proceeding.

    § 957.17 Public information.

    The Postal Service shall maintain for public inspection copies of all findings of fact issued under this Part, and make them available through the Postal Service Web site. The Recorder maintains the complete official record of every proceeding.

    § 957.18 Ex parte communications.

    The provisions of 5 U.S.C. 551(14), 556(d), and 557(d) prohibiting ex parte communications are made applicable to proceedings under these rules of practice.

    Stanley F. Mires, Attorney, Federal Compliance.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23314 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7710-12-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 180 [EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0574; FRL-9933-00] Halosulfuron-methyl; Pesticide Tolerances AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This regulation establishes a tolerance for residues of halosulfuron-methyl in or on the pome fruit group 11-10 and a tolerance with regional registration for residues of halosulfuron-methyl in or on the small vine climbing fruit, except fuzzy kiwifruit, subgroup 13-07F. Interregional Research Project Number 4 (IR-4) requested these tolerances under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA).

    DATES:

    This regulation is effective September 17, 2015. Objections and requests for hearings must be received on or before November 16, 2015, and must be filed in accordance with the instructions provided in 40 CFR part 178 (see also Unit I.C. of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION).

    ADDRESSES:

    The docket for this action, identified by docket identification (ID) number EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0574, is available at http://www.regulations.gov or at the Office of Pesticide Programs Regulatory Public Docket (OPP Docket) in the Environmental Protection Agency Docket Center (EPA/DC), West William Jefferson Clinton Bldg., Rm. 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001. The Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the Public Reading Room is (202) 566-1744, and the telephone number for the OPP Docket is (703) 305-5805. Please review the visitor instructions and additional information about the docket available at http://www.epa.gov/dockets.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Susan Lewis, Registration Division (7505P), Office of Pesticide Programs, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001; main telephone number: (703) 305-7090; email address: [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. General Information A. Does this action apply to me?

    You may be potentially affected by this action if you are an agricultural producer, food manufacturer, or pesticide manufacturer. The following list of North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) codes is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather provides a guide to help readers determine whether this document applies to them. Potentially affected entities may include:

    • Crop production (NAICS code 111).

    • Animal production (NAICS code 112).

    • Food manufacturing (NAICS code 311).

    • Pesticide manufacturing (NAICS code 32532).

    B. How can I get electronic access to other related information?

    You may access a frequently updated electronic version of EPA's tolerance regulations at 40 CFR part 180 through the Government Printing Office's e-CFR site at http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?&c=ecfr&tpl=/ecfrbrowse/Title40/40tab_02.tpl.

    C. How can I file an objection or hearing request?

    Under FFDCA section 408(g), 21 U.S.C. 346a, any person may file an objection to any aspect of this regulation and may also request a hearing on those objections. You must file your objection or request a hearing on this regulation in accordance with the instructions provided in 40 CFR part 178. To ensure proper receipt by EPA, you must identify docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0574 in the subject line on the first page of your submission. All objections and requests for a hearing must be in writing, and must be received by the Hearing Clerk on or before November 16, 2015. Addresses for mail and hand delivery of objections and hearing requests are provided in 40 CFR 178.25(b).

    In addition to filing an objection or hearing request with the Hearing Clerk as described in 40 CFR part 178, please submit a copy of the filing (excluding any Confidential Business Information (CBI)) for inclusion in the public docket. Information not marked confidential pursuant to 40 CFR part 2 may be disclosed publicly by EPA without prior notice. Submit the non-CBI copy of your objection or hearing request, identified by docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0574, by one of the following methods:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be CBI or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute.

    Mail: OPP Docket, Environmental Protection Agency Docket Center (EPA/DC), (28221T), 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001.

    Hand Delivery: To make special arrangements for hand delivery or delivery of boxed information, please follow the instructions at http://www.epa.gov/dockets/contacts.html. Additional instructions on commenting or visiting the docket, along with more information about dockets generally, is available at http://www.epa.gov/dockets.

    II. Summary of Petitioned-For Tolerance

    In the Federal Register of February 11, 2015 (80 FR 7559) (FRL-9921-94), EPA issued a document pursuant to FFDCA section 408(d)(3), 21 U.S.C. 346a(d)(3), announcing the filing of a pesticide petition (PP 4E8297) by IR-4, IR-4 Project Headquarters, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Suite 201 W, 500 College Road East, Princeton, NJ 08540. The petition requested that 40 CFR 180.479 be amended by establishing tolerances for residues of the herbicide halosulfuron-methyl, methyl 5-[(4,6-dimethoxy-2-pyrimidiny)amino] carbonylaminosulfonyl]-3-chloro-1-methyl-1H-pyrazole-4-carboxylate, including its metabolites and degradates, in or on the raw agricultural commodities: Fruit, pome, group 11-10 at 0.05 parts per million (ppm), and fruit, small vine climbing, except fuzzy kiwifruit, subgroup 13-07F at 0.05 ppm (associated with a regional registration). That document referenced a summary of the petition prepared by the Canyon Group, c/o Gowan Company, the registrant, which is available in the docket, http://www.regulations.gov. No comments were received on the notice of filing.

    Based upon available data, EPA is establishing tolerances as requested.

    III. Aggregate Risk Assessment and Determination of Safety

    Section 408(b)(2)(A)(i) of FFDCA allows EPA to establish a tolerance (the legal limit for a pesticide chemical residue in or on a food) only if EPA determines that the tolerance is “safe.” Section 408(b)(2)(A)(ii) of FFDCA defines “safe” to mean that “there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result from aggregate exposure to the pesticide chemical residue, including all anticipated dietary exposures and all other exposures for which there is reliable information.” This includes exposure through drinking water and in residential settings, but does not include occupational exposure. Section 408(b)(2)(C) of FFDCA requires EPA to give special consideration to exposure of infants and children to the pesticide chemical residue in establishing a tolerance and to “ensure that there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result to infants and children from aggregate exposure to the pesticide chemical residue. . . .”

    Consistent with FFDCA section 408(b)(2)(D), and the factors specified in FFDCA section 408(b)(2)(D), EPA has reviewed the available scientific data and other relevant information in support of this action. EPA has sufficient data to assess the hazards of and to make a determination on aggregate exposure for halosulfuron-methyl including exposure resulting from the tolerances established by this action. EPA's assessment of exposures and risks associated with halosulfuron-methyl follows.

    A. Toxicological Profile

    EPA has evaluated the available toxicity data and considered its validity, completeness, and reliability as well as the relationship of the results of the studies to human risk. EPA has also considered available information concerning the variability of the sensitivities of major identifiable subgroups of consumers, including infants and children.

    With repeated dosing, the available data on halosulfuron-methyl did not demonstrate a target organ or tissue in any of the test animals. Reduction in body weight was seen in the 90-day and 1-year oral toxicity studies in dogs. Reduced body weights were also seen in rat studies at higher dose levels than those seen in dogs. An effect on the hematological parameters was detected in the dog studies, but the magnitude of changes was slight and the effect was considered to be marginal. Thus, the slight hematological changes were not considered to be adverse.

    In the prenatal developmental toxicity study in rats, increases in resorptions, soft tissue (dilation of the lateral ventricles) and skeletal variations, and decreases in body weights were seen in the fetuses compared to clinical signs and decreases in body weights and food consumption in the maternal animals at a similar dose level. In the rabbit developmental toxicity study, increases in resorptions and post-implantation losses and decreases in mean litter size were observed in the presence of decreases in body weight and food consumption in maternal animals. The fetal effects seen in developmental toxicity studies in rats and rabbits represented a qualitative increase in susceptibility. However, a clear no-observed-adverse-effect-level (NOAEL) for these effects was established in both rat and rabbit developmental toxicity studies. No quantitative susceptibility was found in studies following pre-and/or post-natal exposures. Halosulfuron-methyl did not produce any effects on reproductive parameters in the 2-generation reproduction study in rats. No neurotoxic effects were observed in the acute or subchronic neurotoxicity studies up to 2,000 mg/kg or 760 mg/kg/day, respectively. In addition, no adverse effect was found in a 21-day dermal toxicity study at doses up to the limit dose (1,000 mg/kg/day).

    Halosulfuron-methyl is negative for mutagenicity in a battery of genotoxicity studies and is classified as “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans” based on lack of evidence for carcinogenicity in mice and rats following long-term dietary administration.

    Specific information on the studies received and the nature of the adverse effects caused by halosulfuron-methyl as well as the NOAEL and the lowest-observed-adverse-effect-level (LOAEL) from the toxicity studies can be found at http://www.regulations.gov in document “Halosulfuron-Methyl. Human Health Risk Assessment for a Proposed Use on Pome Fruit Crop Group 11-10 and Small Fruit Vine Climbing Subgroup, Except Fuzzy Kiwifruit, Subgroup 13-07F” at page 28 in docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0574.

    B. Toxicological Points of Departure/Levels of Concern

    Once a pesticide's toxicological profile is determined, EPA identifies toxicological points of departure (POD) and levels of concern to use in evaluating the risk posed by human exposure to the pesticide. For hazards that have a threshold below which there is no appreciable risk, the toxicological POD is used as the basis for derivation of reference values for risk assessment. PODs are developed based on a careful analysis of the doses in each toxicological study to determine the dose at which no adverse effects are observed (the NOAEL) and the lowest dose at which adverse effects of concern are identified (the LOAEL). Uncertainty/safety factors are used in conjunction with the POD to calculate a safe exposure level—generally referred to as a population-adjusted dose (PAD) or a reference dose (RfD)—and a safe margin of exposure (MOE). For non-threshold risks, the Agency assumes that any amount of exposure will lead to some degree of risk. Thus, the Agency estimates risk in terms of the probability of an occurrence of the adverse effect expected in a lifetime. For more information on the general principles EPA uses in risk characterization and a complete description of the risk assessment process, see http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/factsheets/riskassess.htm.

    A summary of the toxicological endpoints for halosulfuron used for human risk assessment is discussed in Unit III. B. of the final rule published in the Federal Register of December 3, 2012 (77 FR 71555) (FRL-9370-6). However, there is one change to the prior toxicity endpoint and point of departure selections for halosulfuron-methyl discussed in the 2012 document. The previous toxicity endpoint for dermal exposure assessments was based on the results of a 21-day dermal toxicity study, where the no observed effect level (NOEL) and lowest observed effect level (LOEL) were established at 100 and 1,000 mg/kg/day, respectively. The LOEL was based on “total body weight gains in males.” However, following a reevaluation of this study according to the current evaluation standard, there was only 4% reduction in absolute body weight in the affected 1,000 mg/kg/day males. This reduction was not considered to be adverse and no other adverse effect was reported in this study. No LOAEL could be established, and the NOAEL was 1,000 mg/kg/day. Based on this re-evaluation, halosulfuron-methyl did not cause adverse effects at the limit dose (1,000 mg/kg/day), and no toxicity endpoint could be established for the dermal exposure scenario. In addition, no quantitative susceptibility was found in studies following pre-and/or post-natal exposures. Hence, no dermal exposure assessment was necessary.

    C. Exposure Assessment

    1. Dietary exposure from food and feed uses. In evaluating dietary exposure to halosulfuron-methyl, EPA considered exposure under the petitioned-for tolerances as well as all existing halosulfuron-methyl tolerances in 40 CFR 180.479. EPA assessed dietary exposures from halosulfuron-methyl in food as follows:

    i. Acute exposure. Quantitative acute dietary exposure and risk assessments are performed for a food-use pesticide, if a toxicological study has indicated the possibility of an effect of concern occurring as a result of a 1-day or single exposure.

    Such effects were identified for halosulfuron-methyl. Exposure and risk assessments were conducted using the Dietary Exposure Evaluation Model software with the Food Commodity Intake Database (DEEM-FCID). This software uses 2003-2008 food consumption data from the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, What We Eat in America (NHANES/WWEIA). As to residue levels in food, EPA assumed tolerance-level residues and 100 percent crop treated (PCT) for all commodities.

    ii. Chronic exposure. In conducting the chronic dietary exposure assessment EPA used the food consumption data from the USDA NHANES/WWEIA. As to residue levels in food, EPA assumed tolerance-level residues and 100 PCT for all commodities.

    iii. Cancer. Based on the data summarized in Unit III.A., EPA has concluded that halosulfuron-methyl does not pose a cancer risk to humans. Therefore, a dietary exposure assessment for the purpose of assessing cancer risk is unnecessary.

    iv. Anticipated residue and PCT information. EPA did not use anticipated residue or PCT information in the dietary assessment for halosulfuron-methyl. Tolerance-level residues and 100 PCT were assumed for all food commodities.

    2. Dietary exposure from drinking water. The Agency used screening level water exposure models in the dietary exposure analysis and risk assessment for halosulfuron-methyl in drinking water. These simulation models take into account data on the physical, chemical, and fate/transport characteristics of halosulfuron-methyl. Further information regarding EPA drinking water models used in pesticide exposure assessment can be found at http://www.epa.gov/oppefed1/models/water/index.htm.

    Based on the First Index Reservoir Screening Tool (FIRST) and Screening Concentration in Ground Water (SCI-GROW) models, the estimated drinking water concentrations (EDWCs) of halosulfuron-methyl for acute exposures are estimated to be 59.2 parts per billion (ppb) for surface water and 0.065 ppb for ground water and for chronic exposures are estimated to be 59.2 ppb for surface water and 0.065 ppb for ground water.

    Modeled estimates of drinking water concentrations were directly entered into the dietary exposure model. For acute dietary risk assessment, the water concentration value of 59.2 ppb was used to assess the contribution to drinking water. For chronic dietary risk assessment, the water concentration of value 59.2 ppb was used to assess the contribution to drinking water.

    3. From non-dietary exposure. The term “residential exposure” is used in this document to refer to non-occupational, non-dietary exposure (e.g., for lawn and garden pest control, indoor pest control, termiticides, and flea and tick control on pets).

    Halosulfuron-methyl is currently registered for use by residential handlers on residential turf. EPA re-assessed residential exposure for aggregate risk assessment reflecting the removal of the dermal POD. EPA assessed short-term (1-30 days) exposure to halosulfuron-methyl for residential handlers (inhalation exposure) and children 1 to < 2 years old (post-application incidental oral exposures).

    The residential exposure scenario used in the adult aggregate assessment reflects inhalation exposure from mixing/loading/applying halosulfuron-methyl via backpack sprayer or manually pressurized handwand to turf.

    The residential exposure scenario used in the children 1 to <2 years old aggregate assessment reflects hand-to-mouth incidental oral exposures from post-application exposure to treated turf.

    Intermediate-term exposures are not likely because of the intermittent nature of applications by homeowners.

    Further information regarding EPA standard assumptions and generic inputs for residential exposures may be found at http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/trac/science/trac6a05.pdf.

    4. Cumulative effects from substances with a common mechanism of toxicity. Section 408(b)(2)(D)(v) of FFDCA requires that, when considering whether to establish, modify, or revoke a tolerance, the Agency consider “available information” concerning the cumulative effects of a particular pesticide's residues and “other substances that have a common mechanism of toxicity.”

    EPA has not found halosulfuron-methyl to share a common mechanism of toxicity with any other substances, and halosulfuron-methyl does not appear to produce a toxic metabolite produced by other substances. For the purposes of this tolerance action, therefore, EPA has assumed that halosulfuron-methyl does not have a common mechanism of toxicity with other substances. For information regarding EPA's efforts to determine which chemicals have a common mechanism of toxicity and to evaluate the cumulative effects of such chemicals, see EPA's Web site at http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/cumulative.

    D. Safety Factor for Infants and Children

    1. In general. Section 408(b)(2)(C) of FFDCA provides that EPA shall apply an additional tenfold (10X) margin of safety for infants and children in the case of threshold effects to account for prenatal and postnatal toxicity and the completeness of the database on toxicity and exposure unless EPA determines based on reliable data that a different margin of safety will be safe for infants and children. This additional margin of safety is commonly referred to as the FQPA Safety Factor (SF). In applying this provision, EPA either retains the default value of 10X, or uses a different additional safety factor when reliable data available to EPA support the choice of a different factor.

    2. Prenatal and postnatal sensitivity. There was no quantitative evidence of increased susceptibility following pre- and/or post-natal exposure to halosulfuron-methyl. Qualitative susceptibility was seen in the prenatal developmental toxicity study in rats and in rabbits; however, this qualitative susceptibility was of low concern because (1) in both studies, there were clear NOAELs/LOAELs for developmental and maternal toxicities; (2) the developmental effects were seen in the presence of maternal toxicity; and (3) the effects were only seen at the high dose levels. In rats, the developmental effects were seen at a dose (750 mg/kg/day) which was approaching the limit-dose (1,000 mg/kg/day). Furthermore, the PODs for risk assessment are protective of the effects which occur at high doses.

    3. Conclusion. EPA has determined that reliable data show the safety of infants and children would be adequately protected if the FQPA SF were reduced to 1x. That decision is based on the following findings:

    i. The toxicity database for halosulfuron-methyl is considered complete.

    ii. There is no indication that halosulfuron-methyl is a neurotoxic chemical and there is no need for a developmental neurotoxicity study or additional UFs to account for neurotoxicity.

    iii. There was no quantitative evidence of increased susceptibility following pre- and/or post-natal exposure and the qualitative susceptibility observed in the developmental toxicity studies in rats and rabbits was of low concern for the reasons outlined in section III.D.2.

    iv. There are no residual uncertainties identified in the exposure databases. The dietary food exposure assessments were performed based on 100 PCT and tolerance-level residues. EPA made conservative (protective) assumptions in the ground and surface water modeling used to assess exposure to halosulfuron-methyl in drinking water. EPA used similarly conservative assumptions to assess post-application exposure of children as well as incidental oral exposure of toddlers. These assessments will not underestimate the exposure and risks posed by halosulfuron-methyl.

    E. Aggregate Risks and Determination of Safety

    EPA determines whether acute and chronic dietary pesticide exposures are safe by comparing aggregate exposure estimates to the acute PAD (aPAD) and chronic PAD (cPAD). For linear cancer risks, EPA calculates the lifetime probability of acquiring cancer given the estimated aggregate exposure. Short-, intermediate-, and chronic-term risks are evaluated by comparing the estimated aggregate food, water, and residential exposure to the appropriate PODs to ensure that an adequate MOE exists.

    1. Acute risk. Using the exposure assumptions discussed in this unit for acute exposure, the acute dietary exposure from food and water to halosulfuron-methyl will occupy <1% of the aPAD for females 13-49 years old, the only population group of concern.

    2. Chronic risk. Using the exposure assumptions described in this unit for chronic exposure, EPA has concluded that chronic exposure to halosulfuron-methyl from food and water will utilize 5.7% of the cPAD for children 1-2 years old, the population subgroup receiving the greatest exposure. Based on the explanation in Unit III.C.3., regarding residential use patterns, chronic residential exposure to residues of halosulfuron-methyl is not expected.

    3. Short-term risk. Short-term aggregate exposure takes into account short-term residential exposure plus chronic exposure to food and water (considered to be a background exposure level).

    Halosulfuron-methyl is currently registered for uses that could result in short-term residential exposure, and the Agency has determined that it is appropriate to aggregate chronic exposure through food and water with short-term residential exposures to halosulfuron-methyl.

    Using the exposure assumptions described in this unit for short-term exposures, EPA has concluded the combined short-term food, water, and residential exposures result in aggregate MOEs of 25,000 for adults and 1,800 for children 1 to < 2 years old. Because EPA's level of concern for halosulfuron-methyl is a MOE of 100 or below, these MOEs are not of concern.

    4. Intermediate-term risk. Intermediate-term aggregate exposure takes into account intermediate-term residential exposure plus chronic exposure to food and water (considered to be a background exposure level).

    An intermediate-term adverse effect was identified; however, halosulfuron-methyl is not registered for any use patterns that would result in intermediate-term residential exposure. Intermediate-term risk is assessed based on intermediate-term residential exposure plus chronic dietary exposure. Because there is no intermediate-term residential exposure and chronic dietary exposure has already been assessed under the appropriately protective cPAD (which is at least as protective as the POD used to assess intermediate-term risk), no further assessment of intermediate-term risk is necessary, and EPA relies on the chronic dietary risk assessment for evaluating intermediate-term risk for halosulfuron-methyl.

    5. Aggregate cancer risk for U.S. population. Based on the lack of evidence of carcinogenicity in two adequate rodent carcinogenicity studies, halosulfuron-methyl is not expected to pose a cancer risk to humans.

    6. Determination of safety. Based on these risk assessments, EPA concludes that there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result to the general population, or to infants and children from aggregate exposure to halosulfuron-methyl residues.

    IV. Other Considerations A. Analytical Enforcement Methodology

    Adequate enforcement methodology (gas chromatography (GC) thermionic-specific detection (TSD, nitrogen specific)) is available to enforce the tolerance expression.

    The method may be requested from: Chief, Analytical Chemistry Branch, Environmental Science Center, 701 Mapes Rd., Ft. Meade, MD 20755-5350; telephone number: (410) 305-2905; email address: [email protected]

    B. International Residue Limits

    In making its tolerance decisions, EPA seeks to harmonize U.S. tolerances with international standards whenever possible, consistent with U.S. food safety standards and agricultural practices. EPA considers the international maximum residue limits (MRLs) established by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex), as required by FFDCA section 408(b)(4). The Codex Alimentarius is a joint United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization food standards program, and it is recognized as an international food safety standards-setting organization in trade agreements to which the United States is a party. EPA may establish a tolerance that is different from a Codex MRL; however, FFDCA section 408(b)(4) requires that EPA explain the reasons for departing from the Codex level.

    The Codex has not established a MRL for halosulfuron-methyl for any of the crops covered by this Final Rule.

    V. Conclusion

    Therefore, a tolerance is established for residues of halosulfuron-methyl, methyl 5-[(4,6-dimethoxy-2-pyrimidiny)amino] carbonylaminosulfonyl]-3-chloro-1-methyl-1H-pyrazole-4-carboxylate, including its metabolites and degradates, in or on the fruit, pome, group 11-10 at 0.05 ppm, and a tolerance with regional registration is established for fruit, small vine climbing, except fuzzy kiwifruit, subgroup 13-07F at 0.05 ppm. In addition, the existing tolerance for the commodity “Apple” in paragraph (a)(2) of § 180.479 is removed since it is covered by the newly established fruit, pome, group 11-10 tolerance.

    VI. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

    This action establishes tolerances under FFDCA section 408(d) in response to a petition submitted to the Agency. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has exempted these types of actions from review under Executive Order 12866, entitled “Regulatory Planning and Review” (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993). Because this action has been exempted from review under Executive Order 12866, this action is not subject to Executive Order 13211, entitled “Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use” (66 FR 28355, May 22, 2001) or Executive Order 13045, entitled “Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks” (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997). This action does not contain any information collections subject to OMB approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), nor does it require any special considerations under Executive Order 12898, entitled “Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations” (59 FR 7629, February 16, 1994).

    Since tolerances and exemptions that are established on the basis of a petition under FFDCA section 408(d), such as the tolerance in this final rule, do not require the issuance of a proposed rule, the requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.), do not apply.

    This action directly regulates growers, food processors, food handlers, and food retailers, not States or tribes, nor does this action alter the relationships or distribution of power and responsibilities established by Congress in the preemption provisions of FFDCA section 408(n)(4). As such, the Agency has determined that this action will not have a substantial direct effect on States or tribal governments, on the relationship between the national government and the States or tribal governments, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government or between the Federal Government and Indian tribes. Thus, the Agency has determined that Executive Order 13132, entitled “Federalism” (64 FR 43255, August 10, 1999) and Executive Order 13175, entitled “Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments” (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000) do not apply to this action. In addition, this action does not impose any enforceable duty or contain any unfunded mandate as described under Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) (2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.).

    This action does not involve any technical standards that would require Agency consideration of voluntary consensus standards pursuant to section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) (15 U.S.C. 272 note).

    VII. Congressional Review Act

    Pursuant to the Congressional Review Act (5 U.S.C. 801 et seq.), EPA will submit a report containing this rule and other required information to the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Comptroller General of the United States prior to publication of the rule in the Federal Register. This action is not a “major rule” as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804(2).

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 180

    Environmental protection, Administrative practice and procedure, Agricultural commodities, Pesticides and pests, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Dated: September 4, 2015. Susan Lewis, Director, Registration Division, Office of Pesticide Programs.

    Therefore, 40 CFR chapter I is amended as follows:

    PART 180—[AMENDED] 1. The authority citation for part 180 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    21 U.S.C. 321(q), 346a and 371.

    2. In § 180.479: a. Remove the entry for “Apple” from the table in paragraph (a)(2); b. Add alphabetically the entry for “Fruit, pome, group 11-10” to the table in paragraph (a)(2), and c. Revise paragraph (c).

    The additions and revision read as follows:

    § 180.479 Halosulfuron-methyl; tolerances for residues.

    (a) * * *

    (2) * * *

    Commodity Parts per million *    *    *    *    * Fruit, pome, group 11-10 0.05 *    *    *    *    *

    (c) Tolerances with regional registrations. Tolerances with regional registrations are established for residues of the herbicide halosulfuron-methyl, methyl 5-[(4,6-dimethoxy-2-pyrimidiny)amino]carbonylaminosulfonyl]-3-chloro-1-methyl-1H-pyrazole-4-carboxylate, including its metabolites and degradates, in or on the commodities in the following table. Compliance with the tolerance levels specified in the following table is to be determined by measuring only halosulfuron-methyl.

    Commodity Parts per million Fruit, small vine climbing, except fuzzy kiwifruit, subgroup 13-07F 0.05
    [FR Doc. 2015-23298 Filed 9-16-15; 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-8399] 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).

    DATES:

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

    ADDRESSES:

    The CSB is available at http://www.fema.gov/fema/csb.shtm.

    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 Rhode Island: Central Falls, City of, Providence County 445394 November 6, 1970, Emerg; May 28, 1971, Reg; October 2, 2015, Susp October 2, 2015 October 2, 2015 Coventry, Town of, Kent County 440004 November 21, 1973, Emerg; September 1, 1978, Reg; October 2, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Cranston, City of, Providence County 445396 September 11, 1970, Emerg; August 27, 1971, Reg; October 2, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Cumberland, Town of, Providence County 440016 July 15, 1975, Emerg; December 16, 1980, Reg; October 2, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. East Greenwich, Town of, Kent County 445397 July 16, 1971, Emerg; February 9, 1973, Reg; October 2, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. East Providence, City of, Providence County 445398 June 5, 1970, Emerg; May 18, 1973, Reg; October 2, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Johnston, Town of, Providence County 440018 August 1, 1975, Emerg; September 1, 1978, Reg; October 2, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Lincoln, Town of, Providence County 445400 May 5, 1972, Emerg; November 30, 1973, Reg; October 2, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. North Providence, Town of, Providence County 440020 October 6, 1972, Emerg; December 15, 1977, Reg; October 2, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. North Smithfield, Town of, Providence County 440021 May 6, 1975, Emerg; August 1, 1978, Reg; October 2, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Pawtucket, City of, Providence County 440022 January 15, 1971, Emerg; July 16, 1971, Reg; October 2, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Providence, City of, Providence County 445406 September 11, 1970, Emerg; December 11, 1970, Reg; October 2, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Scituate, Town of, Providence County 440024 January 13, 1975, Emerg; January 2, 1981, Reg; October 2, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Smithfield, Town of, Providence County 440025 December 17, 1971, Emerg; March 1, 1977, Reg; October 2, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Warwick, City of, Kent County 445409 June 19, 1970, Emerg; April 6, 1973, Reg; October 2, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. West Greenwich, Town of, Kent County 440037 October 10, 1975, Emerg; January 3, 1986, Reg; October 2, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. West Warwick, Town of, Kent County 440007 September 1, 1972, Emerg; February 1, 1978, Reg; October 2, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Region III Maryland: Carroll County Unincorporated Areas 240015 December 22, 1972, Emerg; August 1, 1978, Reg; October 2, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Hampstead, Town of, Carroll County 240090 November 27, 1973, Emerg; January 7, 1983, Reg; October 2, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Manchester, Town of, Carroll County 240107 July 27, 2006, Emerg; N/A, Reg; October 2, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Mount Airy, Town of, Carroll and Frederick Counties 240200 N/A, Emerg; May 27, 2014, Reg; October 2, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. New Windsor, Town of, Carroll County 240149 August 5, 1975, Emerg; February 16, 1979, Reg; October 2, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Sykesville, Town of, Carroll County 240016 May 1, 1973, Emerg; September 30, 1977, Reg; October 2, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Union Bridge, Town of, Carroll County 240017 April 16, 1973, Emerg; August 1, 1977, Reg; October 2, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Westminster, City of, Carroll County 240018 June 25, 1973, Emerg; December 1, 1977, Reg; October 2, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Region V Wisconsin: Prairie du Sac, Village of, Sauk County 550401 September 29, 2000, Emerg; March 7, 2001, Reg; October 2, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Reedsburg, City of, Sauk County 550402 May 21, 1975, Emerg; March 4, 1985, Reg; October 2, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Sauk City, Village of, Sauk County 550404 May 7, 1975, Emerg; March 7, 2001, Reg; October 2, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Sauk County Unincorporated Areas 550391 September 7, 1973, Emerg; September 17, 1980, Reg; October 2, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Region VII Nebraska: Bloomfield, City of, Knox County 310351 N/A, Emerg; June 18, 2007, Reg; October 2, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Crofton, City of, Knox County 310361 July 9, 1976, Emerg; September 1, 1986, Reg; October 2, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Knox County Unincorporated Areas 310451 N/A, Emerg; November 14, 2005, Reg; October 2, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. *-do- = Ditto. Code for reading third column: Emerg.—Emergency; Reg.—Regular; Susp—Suspnsion.
    Dated: August 31, 2015. Roy E. Wright, Deputy Associate Administrator, Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23303 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-12-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION 47 CFR Part 1 [MD Docket No. 15-121; FCC 15-108] Assessment and Collection of Regulatory Fees for Fiscal Year 2015 AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    In this document the Commission revises its Schedule of Regulatory Fees to recover an amount of $339,844,000 that Congress has required the Commission to collect for fiscal year 2015. Section 9 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, provides for the annual assessment and collection of regulatory fees under sections 9(b)(2) and 9(b)(3), respectively, for annual “Mandatory Adjustments” and “Permitted Amendments” to the Schedule of Regulatory Fees.

    DATES:

    Effective September 17, 2015. To avoid penalties and interest, regulatory fees should be paid by the due date of September 24, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Roland Helvajian, Office of Managing Director at (202) 418-0444.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This is a summary of the Commission's Report and Order (R&O), FCC 15-108, MD Docket No. 15-121, adopted on September 1, 2015 and released on September 2, 2015.

    I. Administrative Matters A. Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    1. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA),1 the Commission has prepared a Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA) relating to this Report and Order. The FRFA is contained towards the end of this document.

    1See 5 U.S.C. 603. The RFA, see 5 U.S.C. 601-612, has been amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA), Public Law 104-121, Title II, 110 Stat. 847 (1996). The SBREFA was enacted as Title II of the Contract with America Advancement Act of 1996 (CWAAA).

    B. Final Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 Analysis

    2. This document does not contain new or modified information collection requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), Public Law 104-13. In addition, therefore, it does not contain any new or modified information collection burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees, pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107-198, see 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(4).

    C. Congressional Review Act

    3. The Commission will send a copy of this Report and Order to Congress and the Government Accountability Office pursuant to the Congressional Review Act. 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A).

    II. Introduction and Executive Summary

    4. This Report and Order adopts a schedule of regulatory fees to assess and collect $339,844,000 in regulatory fees for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015, pursuant to Section 9 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (the Act or Communications Act) and the Commission's FY 2015 Appropriation.2 The schedule of regulatory fees for FY 2015 adopted here is attached in Table C. These regulatory fees are due in September 2015.

    2 Section 9 regulatory fees are mandated by Congress and collected to recover the regulatory costs associated with the Commission's enforcement, policy and rulemaking, user information, and international activities. 47 U.S.C. 159(a). Public Law 113-235, Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriation Act of 2015 (FY 2015 Appropriation) (“Provided further, That $339,844,000 of offsetting collections shall be assessed and collected pursuant to section 9 of title I of the Communications Act of 1934, shall be retained and used for necessary expenses and shall remain available until expended.”).

    5. The FY 2015 regulatory fees are based on the proposals in the FY 2015 NPRM, 3 considered in light of the comments received and Commission analysis. The FY 2015 regulatory fee schedule includes the following noteworthy changes from prior years: (1) A reduction in regulatory fees for the submarine cable/terrestrial and satellite bearer circuit (IBC) category relative to other fee categories in the International Bureau; (2) the first fee rate for Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) as a subcategory of the cable television and Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) regulatory fee category; (3) the first fee rate for toll free numbers; and (4) the elimination of the regulatory fee component of two fee categories: amateur radio Vanity Call Signs and General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS).4 In addition, for FY 2015, in calculating the fee schedule, the Commission also reallocated four International Bureau full time employees (FTEs) 5 from direct to indirect.

    3Assessment and Collection of Regulatory Fees for Fiscal Year 2015, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Report and Order, and Order, 30 FCC Rcd 5354 (2015) (FY 2015 NPRM, FY 2015 Fee Reform Report and Order).

    4See FY 2015 Fee Reform Report and Order, 30 FCC Rcd at 5361-62, paras. 19-22. As required by section 9(b)(4)(B) of the Act, “permitted amendment” letters were mailed June 4, 2015 and these amendments will take effect 90 days after congressional notification, i.e., September 3, 2015.

    5 One FTE, a “Full Time Equivalent” or “Full Time Employee,” is a unit of measure equal to the work performed annually by a full time person (working a 40 hour workweek for a full year) assigned to the particular job, and subject to agency personnel staffing limitations established by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

    III. Background

    6. Congress adopted a regulatory fee schedule in 1993 6 and authorized the Commission to assess and collect annual regulatory fees pursuant to the schedule, as amended by the Commission.7 As a result, the Commission annually reviews the regulatory fee schedule, proposes changes to the schedule to reflect changes in the amount of its appropriation, and proposes increases or decrease to the schedule of regulatory fees.8 The Commission makes changes to the regulatory fee schedule “if the Commission determines that the schedule requires amendment to comply with the requirements” 9 of section 9(b)(1)(A) of the Act.10 The Commission may also add, delete, or reclassify services in the fee schedule to reflect additions, deletions, or changes in the nature of its services “as a consequence of Commission rulemaking proceedings or changes in law.” Thus, for each fiscal year, the proposed fee schedule in the annual Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) will reflect changes in the amount appropriated for the performance of the FCC's regulatory activities, changes in the industries represented by the regulatory fee payers, changes in Commission FTE levels, and any other issues of relevance to the proposed fee schedule.11 After receipt and review of comments, the Commission issues a Report and Order adopting the fee schedule for the fiscal year and sets out the procedures for payment of fees.

    6 47 U.S.C. 159 (g) (showing original fee schedule prior to Commission amendment).

    7 47 U.S.C. 159.

    8 47 U.S.C. 159(b)(1)(B).

    9 47 U.S.C. 159(b)(2).

    10 47 U.S.C. 159(b)(1)(A).

    11 Section 9(b)(2) discusses mandatory amendments to the fee schedule and Section 9(b)(3) discusses permissive amendments to the fee schedule. Both mandatory and permissive amendments are not subject to judicial review. 47 U.S.C. 159(b)(2) and (3).

    7. The Commission calculates the fees by first determining the FTE number of employees performing the regulatory activities specified in section 9(a), “adjusted to take into account factors that are reasonably related to the benefits provided to the payor of the fee by the Commission's activities . . . .” 12 FTEs are categorized as “direct” if they are performing regulatory activities in one of the “core” bureaus, i.e., the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, Media Bureau, Wireline Competition Bureau, and part of the International Bureau. All other FTEs are considered “indirect.” 13 The total FTEs for each fee category is calculated by counting the number of direct FTEs in the core bureau that regulates that category, plus a proportional allocation of indirect FTEs. Next, the Commission allocates the total amount to be collected among the various regulatory fee categories. This allocation is based on the number of FTEs assigned to work in each regulatory fee category. Each regulatee within a fee category pays its proportionate share based on an objective measure, e.g., revenues, number of subscribers, or licenses.14

    12 47 U.S.C. 159(b)(1)(A). When section 9 was adopted, the total FTEs were to be calculated based on the number of FTEs in the Private Radio Bureau, Mass Media Bureau, and Common Carrier Bureau. (The names of these bureaus were subsequently changed.) Satellites and submarine cable were regulated through the Common Carrier Bureau before the International Bureau was created.

    13 The indirect FTEs are the employees from the International Bureau (in part), Enforcement Bureau, Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau, Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau, Chairman and Commissioners' offices, Office of the Managing Director, Office of General Counsel, Office of the Inspector General, Office of Communications Business Opportunities, Office of Engineering and Technology, Office of Legislative Affairs, Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis, Office of Workplace Diversity, Office of Media Relations, and Office of Administrative Law Judges, totaling 1,041 indirect FTEs.

    14See Assessment and Collection of Regulatory Fees, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 27 FCC Rcd 8458, 8461-62, paras. 8-11 (2012) (FY 2012 NPRM).

    8. As part of its annual review, the Commission regularly seeks to improve its regulatory fee analysis.15 For example, in the FY 2013 Report and Order, the Commission adopted updated FTE allocations to more accurately reflect the number of FTEs working on regulation and oversight of the regulatees in the various fee categories,16 combined the UHF and VHF television stations into one regulatory fee category,17 and created a fee category to include IPTV.18 Subsequently, in the FY 2014 Report and Order and FNPRM, the Commission adopted a new fee category for toll free numbers,19 increased the de minimis threshold,20 and eliminated several categories from the regulatory fee schedule.21 Earlier this year, in our FY 2015 Fee Reform Report and Order, we added a subcategory for DBS providers in the cable television and IPTV regulatory fee category.22

    15See Assessment and Collection of Regulatory Fees for Fiscal Year 2008, MD Docket No. 08-65, Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 24 FCC Rcd 6388 (2008) (FY 2008 Further Notice).

    16Assessment and Collection of Regulatory Fees for Fiscal Year 2013, MD Docket No. 08-65, Report and Order, 28 FCC Rcd 12351, 12354-58, paras. 10-20 (2013) (FY 2013 Report and Order).

    17FY 2013 Report and Order, 28 FCC Rcd at 12361-62, paras. 29-31.

    18Id., 28 FCC Rcd at 12362-63, paras. 32-33.

    19Assessment and Collection of Regulatory Fees for Fiscal Year 2014, Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 29 FCC Rcd 10767, 10777-79, paras. 25-28 (2014) (FY 2014 Report and Order and FNPRM).

    20FY 2014 Report and Order and FNPRM, 29 FCC Rcd at 10774-76, paras. 18-21.

    21Id., 29 FCC Rcd at 10776-77, paras. 22-24.

    22FY 2015 Fee Reform Report and Order, 30 FCC Rcd at 5364-5373, paras. 28-41. We also eliminated two additional fee categories. See id., 30 FCC Rcd at 5361-62, paras. 19-22.

    9. In our FY 2015 NPRM, we proposed to collect $339,844,000 in regulatory fees and included a detailed, proposed fee schedule. We also sought comment on (1) a proposal revising the apportionment between the submarine cable/terrestrial and satellite bearer circuits fee category and the space station/earth station fee category; (2) revising an apportionment of regulatory fees among broadcasters; (3) a request for relief from regulatory fee assessments for radio stations in Puerto Rico filed by the Puerto Rico Broadcasters Association (PRBA); 23 (4) raising earth station regulatory fees relative to space station fees; 24 (5) a new regulatory fee for toll free numbers; (6) a new regulatory fee for DBS (as a subcategory in the cable television and IPTV regulatory fee category); and (7) whether certain FTEs should be allocated as direct instead of indirect.25 We received 13 comments and eight reply comments. The list of commenters is attached in Table A.

    23See Letter from Messrs. Francisco Montero, Esq. and Jonathan R. Markman, Esq., Counsel for the Puerto Rico Broadcasters Association, filed in Docket No. 14-92, to Marlene Dortch, Secretary, Federal Communications Commission (Dec. 10, 2014) (PRBA Letter).

    24 Earth station fees were previously increased by 7.5 percent. See FY 2014 Report and Order, 29 FCC Rcd at 10772-73, para. 12.

    25 This issue was raised previously. See, e.g ., FY 2014 NPRM, 29 FCC Rcd at 6425-27, paras. 22-27.

    IV. Report And Order A. Discussion 1. FY 2015 Regulatory Fees

    10. In this Report and Order, we adopt a regulatory fee schedule for FY 2015, pursuant to Section 9 of the Communications Act and our FY 2015 appropriation statute in order to collect $339,844,000 in regulatory fees.26 Of this amount, we project approximately $18.56 million (5.45 percent of the total FTE allocation) in fees from the International Bureau regulatees; 27 $69.07 million (20.28 percent of the total FTE allocation) in fees from the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau regulatees; 28 $132.81 million (38.99 percent of the total FTE allocation) from Wireline Competition Bureau regulatees; 29 and $120.15 million (35.28 percent of the total FTE allocation) from the Media Bureau regulatees.30 These regulatory fees are due in September 2015. The schedule of regulatory fees for FY 2015 adopted here is attached as Table C.

    26 Section 9 regulatory fees are mandated by Congress and collected to recover the regulatory costs associated with the Commission's enforcement, policy and rulemaking, user information, and international activities. 47 U.S.C. 159(a).

    27 Includes satellites, earth stations, and international bearer circuits (submarine cable systems and satellite and terrestrial bearer circuits).

    28 Includes Commercial Mobile Radio Service (CMRS), CMRS messaging, Broadband Radio Service/Local Multipoint Distribution Service (BRS/LMDS), and multi-year wireless licensees.

    29 Includes Interstate Telecommunications Service Providers (ITSP) and toll free numbers.

    30Includes AM radio, FM radio, television, low power/FM, cable and IPTV, DBS, and Cable Television Relay Service (CARS) licenses.

    2. Toll Free Numbers

    11. In the FY 2014 Report and Order and FNPRM,31 we adopted a regulatory fee category for each toll free number managed by a RespOrg.32 In the FY 2015 NPRM, we sought comment on a regulatory fee of 12 cents per toll free number.33 In this Report and Order, we adopt the proposed fee of 12 cents per toll free number.

    31FY 2014 Report and Order and FNPRM, 29 FCC Rcd at 10777-79, paras. 25-28. We adopted this category for working, assigned, and reserved toll free numbers and for toll free numbers that are in the “transit” status, or any other status as defined in section 52.103 of the Commission's rules. The regulatory fee, assessed on RespOrgs, for toll free numbers is limited to toll free numbers that are accessible within the United States.

    32 A Responsible Organization or RespOrg is a company that manages toll free telephone numbers for subscribers. They use the SMS/800 data base to verify the availability of specific numbers and to reserve the numbers for subscribers. See 47 CFR 52.101(b). ITTA contends that “it makes no sense to collect this fee from entities that already pay regulatory fees as ITSPs.” ITTA Comments at 7-8. In the FY 2014 Report and Order and FNPRM, 29 FCC Rcd 10767, 10777-79, paras. 25-28, we explained the issue in some detail. In particular, we noted that there may be many toll free numbers controlled or managed by entities, Responsible Organizations or RespOrgs, that in some cases are not carriers. As a result, the Commission adopted a regulatory fee on Resp Orgs, for each toll free number, because there appears to be many toll free numbers controlled or managed by Resp Orgs that are not carriers, and therefore, have not been paying regulatory fees. Commission FTEs in the Wireline Competition Bureau and the Enforcement Bureau work on toll free numbering issues and other related activities. Because Commission FTEs work on toll free number regulation, we adopted a regulatory fee category for toll free numbers to recover the associated costs. It is also important to note that the amount assessed for toll free numbers reduces the total regulatory fee assessment for ITSPs. In the FY 2014 Report and Order and FNPRM, we stated that: “Based on evaluation, the FTEs involved in toll free issues are primarily from the Wireline Competition Bureau. . . . Accordingly, a regulatory fee assessed on toll free numbers reduces the ITSP regulatory fee total.” FY 2014 Report and Order and FNPRM, 29 FCC Rcd at 10778, para. 27 (footnote omitted).

    33FY 2015 NPRM, 30 FCC Rcd at 5358, para. 10.

    3. Submarine Cable

    12. In the FY 2014 Report and Order and FNPRM, we concluded that the regulatory fee assessment for the submarine cable/terrestrial and satellite bearer circuits fee category did not fairly take into account the Commission's minimal oversight and regulation of the international bearer circuit (IBC) industry. Accordingly, we reduced the total regulatory fee apportionment for submarine cable/terrestrial and satellite bearer circuits by five percent and stated that we would revisit the issue to determine if additional adjustment is warranted.34 Subsequently, in the FY 2015 NPRM, we sought comment on further reducing the regulatory fee allocation for the submarine cable/terrestrial and satellite bearer circuit fee category.35 In particular, we observed that after the initial licensing process, the regulatory activity concerning submarine cable/terrestrial and satellite bearer circuit systems is primarily limited to reviewing the Circuit Capacity Reports 36 and quarterly reports filed by licensees.37 Based on our tentative conclusion that the fee remained excessive relative to the minimal Commission oversight and regulation of this industry, we proposed another five percent decrease in fees.38

    34See FY 2014 Report and Order and FNPRM, 29 FCC Rcd at 10772, para. 11.

    35See FY 2014 Report and Order and FNPRM, 29 FCC Rcd at 10772, para. 11.

    36See 47 CFR 43.62(a)(2); Reporting Requirements for U.S. Providers of International Telecommunications Services; Amendment of Part 43 of the Commission's Rules, IB Docket No. 04-112, Second Report and Order, 28 FCC Rcd 575, 601-08, paras. 89-108 (2013) (Second Report and Order); id. at 604, para. 98 (noting that submarine cable capacity holders will report circuit capacity, rather than circuit status, going forward), recon. dismissed, Order, DA 15-711 (Int'l Bur. rel. June 17, 2015).

    37See 47 CFR 1.767(l).

    38FY 2015 NPRM, 30 FCC Rcd at 5358-59, para. 12.

    13. NASCA, representing submarine cable operators,39 argues that the proposed fee remains excessive because the industry would be responsible for 27.6 percent of all International Bureau regulatory fees.40 Commenters also contend that the apportionment of regulatory fees for submarine cable operators and terrestrial and satellite bearer circuits remains too high due to the small number of FTEs working on those services.41 Some commenters observe as well that the high regulatory fees imposed on the submarine cable operators can place the United States at a competitive disadvantage because Canada and Mexico have much lower fees and the submarine cable industry may choose to land new cables in those countries instead.42 Commenters suggest that this could pose national security issues if the submarine cable operators choose to build out in Canada and Mexico, because those facilities would not be subject to the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, commonly known as CALEA.43 EchoStar contends that we have not supported our proposal to reduce the IBC fees with sufficient facts.44

    39 NASCA Comments at 2-3. (NASCA represents operators with 30 of the 42 active systems landing in the United States.)

    40 NASCA Comments at 9.

    41 NASCA Comments at 11-13; Coalition Comments at 4-7 & Reply Comments at 3. (The Coalition consists of Cedar Cable Ltd., Columbus Networks USA, Inc., GlobeNet Cabos Submarinos America, Inc., and GU Holdings Inc.).

    42 Coalition Comments at 8.

    43 Coalition Comments at 8.

    44 EchoStar Comments at 5.

    14. In 2009, the Commission adopted a new regulatory fee methodology for submarine cable based on a proposal by a large group of submarine cable operators.45 Under this methodology, after we apportion the IBC revenue requirement between the terrestrial and satellite facilities and submarine cable, we assess the submarine cable systems on a per cable landing license basis, with higher fees for larger systems and lower fees for smaller systems (the regulatory fees for terrestrial and satellite facilities are still assessed on a per bearer circuit basis).46 The regulatory fees that are now paid by the submarine cable operators cover the services provided to common carriers using the submarine cable circuits in addition to the services that the International Bureau provides to submarine cable operators. The International Bureau's regulatory activity concerning submarine cable includes licensing,47 reviewing the Circuit Capacity Reports 48 and filed quarterly reports.49 In addition, all International Bureau services provided to common carriers using the submarine cable circuits, such as benchmarks enforcement,50 protection from anticompetitive actions by foreign carriers, foreign ownership rulings (Petitions for Declaratory Rulings, or PDRs), section 214 authorizations, and bilateral and multilateral negotiations and representation of U.S. interests at international organizations, are all provided by the International Bureau on behalf of the common carriers using submarine cable circuits. Upon this further analysis, we conclude that our previous estimate of two FTEs working on IBC issues discussed in FY 2014 Report and Order, did not take these issues into account.51 Nevertheless, as we have discussed previously in the FY 2013 NPRM, FY 2014 NPRM, and the FY 2015 NPRM, 52 the oversight and regulation of the IBC industry may warrant additional adjustment to the fee allocation. For the reasons discussed above, we reduce the regulatory fee apportionment for submarine cable/terrestrial and satellite bearer circuits by 7.5 percent to more accurately reflect the regulation and oversight for the industry.53 This analysis reflects both the direct work on submarine cable/terrestrial and satellite bearer circuit issues and other common carrier issues by International Bureau FTEs and the indirect FTEs that devote their time to International Bureau regulatees as a whole. We find that this decrease in the regulatory fees paid by IBCs more accurately reflects the level of regulation and oversight for this industry. Also, we reject the speculation that failure to reduce regulatory fees as much as the submarine cable operators might prefer could lead to a change in the cable landing locations. We also reject EchoStar's statement that our proposal lacked factual support. As noted above, the regulatory oversight of this fee category has been explained in detail in this, and prior proceedings,54 and has been the subject of comments by submarine cable operators for a number of years.

    45Assessment and Collection of Regulatory Fees for Fiscal Year 2008, Second Report and Order, 24 FCC Rcd 4208 (2009) (Submarine Cable Order).

    46Submarine Cable Order, 24 FCC Rcd at 4214-17, paras. 13-22.

    47 The International Bureau reviews, processes, analyzes, and grants applications for submarine cable landing license applications, transfers, assignments, and modifications. The bureau also coordinates processing of submarine cable landing license applications with the relevant Executive Branch agencies.

    48See Second Report and Order, 28 FCC Rcd at 601-08, paras. 89-108.

    49See 47 CFR 1.767(l). The International Bureau reviews Part 43 submarine cable circuit capacity and traffic and revenue filings, and compiles and publishes annual industry analysis reports based on that data.

    50See, e.g., International Settlement Rates, IB Docket No. 96-261, Report and Order, FCC 97-280, 12 FCC Rcd 19806 (1997) (Benchmarks Order); Report and Order on Reconsideration and Order Lifting Stay, 14 FCC Rcd 9256 (1999) (Benchmarks Reconsideration Order); aff'd sub nom. Cable & Wireless, 166 F.3d 1224.

    51FY 2014 Report and Order, 29 FCC Rcd at 10772, para. 11.

    52FY 2013 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 7800-7803, paras. 24-29; FY 2014 NPRM, 29 FCC Rcd at 6427-28, para. 28; FY 2015 NPRM, 30 FCC Rcd at 5358-59, para. 12.

    53 The actual decrease is higher than 7.5 percent due to the reallocation of four direct FTEs, discussed in paragraph 25, because the submarine cable percentage of International Bureau regulatory fees was 31.36 percent in FY 2014 and will be 24.85 percent in 2015, a reduction of more than 20 percent.

    54See FY 2013 NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 7800-7803, paras. 24-29; FY 2014 NPRM, 29 FCC Rcd at 6427-28, para. 28; FY 2015 NPRM, 30 FCC Rcd at 5358-59, para. 12.

    4. Earth Stations

    15. In the FY 2014 NPRM, the Commission recognized that the International Bureau's oversight and regulation of the satellite industry involves FTEs working on legal, technical, and policy issues pertaining to both space station and earth station operations and is therefore interdependent to some degree.55 For that reason, we sought comment on whether we should increase the earth station regulatory fee allocation in order to reflect more appropriately the number of FTEs devoted to the regulation and oversight of the earth station portion of the satellite industry.56 In the FY 2014 regulatory fee proceeding, we increased the regulatory fees paid by earth station licensees by approximately 7.5 percent based on our analysis and review of the record.57

    55FY 2014 NPRM, 29 FCC Rcd at 6428, para. 29.

    56Id., 29 FCC Rcd at 6428, para. 29.

    57See FY 2014 Report and Order, 29 FCC Rcd at 10772-73, para. 12.

    16. In the FY 2015 NPRM, we sought comment on whether to raise the earth station regulatory fees again.58 We find, however, that this issue requires further analysis. In particular, due to comments suggesting that we adopt different regulatory fees for different types of earth stations and an ongoing proceeding concerning Part 25 (Satellite Communications) of the Commission's rules which may affect the distribution of FTE work, we plan to further examine and consider this issue for FY 2016.59 In doing so, we intend to seek comment on EchoStar's proposal to assess different levels of regulatory fees on different types of earth station licenses.60

    58FY 2015 NPRM, 30 FCC Rcd at 5360, para. 14.

    59See EchoStar July 20, 2015 ex parte.

    60See EchoStar July 20, 2015 ex parte.

    5. FTE Reallocations

    17. As explained above in paragraph five, we calculate regulatory fees by classifying FTEs either as direct or indirect. FTEs classified as direct are further associated with one of the core bureaus. The Commission now updates FTE allocations on an annual basis to more accurately reflect the number of FTEs working on regulation and oversight of the regulatees in the various fee categories.61 The Commission has also previously determined that some of the International Bureau FTEs should be considered indirect instead of direct.62 We find that apart from the unique nature of the International Bureau FTEs, the work of all the FTEs in a core bureau contributes to the cost of regulating and overseeing the licensees of that bureau. Therefore, we may reasonably expect that the work of the FTEs in the core bureaus would remain focused on the industry segment regulated by each of those bureaus. The work of the FTEs in the remaining (i.e., indirect) bureaus and offices benefits the Commission and the telecommunications industry and is not specifically focused on the licensees of a particular core bureau. Given the significant implications of reassignment of FTEs in our fee calculation, we make changes to FTE classifications only after performing considerable analysis and finding the clearest case for reassignment.63

    61FY 2013 Report and Order, 28 FCC Rcd at 12355-56, para. 14.

    62FY 2013 Report and Order, 28 FCC Rcd at 12356, para. 14.

    63FY 2013 Report and Order, 28 FCC Rcd at 12357, para. 19. The Commission observed that the International Bureau was a “singular case” because the work of those FTEs “primarily benefits licensees regulated by other bureaus.” Id., 28 FCC Rcd at 12355, para. 14.

    a. Request To Characterize Indirect FTEs as Direct FTEs

    18. SIA and EchoStar propose that we consider FTEs working in certain divisions of the Enforcement Bureau and the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau and the Office of Engineering & Technology (i.e., indirect FTEs) as direct FTEs, associated with a core bureau for purposes of regulatory fee calculation.64 SIA contends that the work in the Market Disputes Resolution Division “is limited to complaints against common carriers and pole attachment disputes” 65 and the “Telecommunications Consumers Division focuses on protecting consumers from fraudulent, misleading, and other harmful practices involving telecommunications, such as slamming.” 66 SIA's description of these two Enforcement Bureau divisions underestimates the range of issues that they investigate.67 EchoStar argues that the Office of Engineering & Technology's regulatory work suggests that “no more than 7 percent of the applicable FTEs for the OET should be allocated to space-related IB licensees.” 68 This proposal raised by SIA and EchoStar involves more than an analysis of two divisions and one office but rather would require an assessment of how all work done by FTEs in a bureau or office not classified as a core bureau could be associated with the work of a core bureau, such that additional FTEs could be allocated to the core bureau. However, FTEs are assigned as indirect in our regulatory fee calculation where the FTEs work on a variety of issues that cannot be attributed to one particular type of industry or regulatee at this time.

    64 SIA Comments at 8-11; EchoStar Comments at 3-4. CTIA observes that excluding one type of licensee, such as satellite providers, from contributing to indirect costs would threaten the administrability of the regulatory fee program. CTIA Reply Comments at 5. We interpret this proposal as asking us to determine how many indirect FTEs work on issues pertaining to all core bureau licensees.

    65 SIA Comments at 8.

    66 SIA Comments at 8.

    67 For a brief description of the Enforcement Bureau divisions, see https://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/enforcement-bureau-organization.

    68 EchoStar Comments at 4. We note that currently International Bureau licensees are 5.43% of the direct FTEs and therefore 5.43% of the indirect FTEs are assigned to the International Bureau licensees, which is lower than the 7% EchoStar is proposing.

    19. The Enforcement Bureau and Consumer & Governmental Affairs FTEs and other indirect FTEs, such as those in the Office of Engineering & Technology, work on a wide range of matters, not all directly assignable to a particular core bureau. We recognize that before the Enforcement Bureau was created, the core bureaus each had an enforcement division and those FTEs would have been assigned to those core bureaus. Currently, however, most enforcement activity is consolidated into the Enforcement Bureau, therefore the FTEs may work on a range of issues and many of their investigations cannot be assigned to a specific core bureau, e.g., investigations that involve more than one service. While SIA suggests that we might track informal complaints filed in the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau and associate them with a core licensing bureau based on the number of informal complaints in each category over a certain time period,69 we find that this would not be feasible at this time because the types of informal complaints can vary considerably and often cover areas that are not specifically correlated with one core bureau, e.g., billing issues for bundled services. For these reasons, we conclude that reallocating indirect FTEs as direct as suggested by EchoStar and SIA is not feasible at this time. However, we will continue to analyze this issue in future regulatory fee proceedings.

    69 SIA Comments at 10.

    b. Request To Associate Direct FTEs With a Different Core Bureau

    20. NAB notes that the FTEs in the Media Bureau who work on issues pertaining to the upcoming spectrum incentive auction to repurpose broadcast television spectrum to wireless use should be reallocated to the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau for regulatory fee purposes.70 SIA asks us to “re-evaluate whether it is appropriate to exclude auction FTEs in assessing direct costs.” 71 FTE time devoted to developing and implementing the upcoming spectrum incentive auction-direct and indirect costs-is not included in the calculation of fees and is not offset by the collection of regulatory fees. Instead, time devoted to developing and implementing the incentive auction is tracked separately from other work performed by Media Bureau and other FTEs and is offset by the auction proceeds that the Commission is permitted to retain pursuant to section 309(j)(8) of the Communications Act and the Commission's annual appropriation statute.72 Thus, the Commission is unable, as a legal matter, to implement these proposals.

    71 SIA Comments at 12.

    72See, e.g. the FCC's FY 2015 appropriation statute, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, Public Law 113-235, 128 Stat. 2130 (2014).

    6. DBS Rate Issues

    21. In the FY 2015 NPRM, we sought comment on setting the initial rate for DBS regulatory fees, as a subset of the cable television and IPTV category, at 12 cents per year, or one cent per month.73 Several commenters contend that we should require DBS operators to pay the same rate as cable television and IPTV.74 DBS commenters contend that paying the same rate as cable television/IPTV would cause “rate shock” and if we adopt a fee it should be 12 cents as proposed.75

    73FY 2015 NPRM, 30 FCC Rcd at 5358, para. 9.

    74 NCTA & ACA Comments at 2-6 & Reply Comments at 4-6; ITTA Comments at 5-7.

    75 DIRECTV Comments at 3-5 & Reply Comments at 3-4 (arguing that if we adopt a fee it should be the 12 cents proposed); DISH Reply Comments at 4-5.

    22. When adopting the new regulatory fee subcategory for DBS within the cable and IPTV category, we determined a variety of regulatory developments have increased the amount of regulatory activity by the Media Bureau FTEs involving regulation and oversight of MVPDs, including DBS providers.76 For example, DBS providers (and cable television operators) are permitted to file program access complaints77 and complaints seeking relief under the retransmission consent good faith rules.78 In addition, DBS providers are subject to MVPD requirements such as those pertaining to program carriage 79 and the requirement to negotiate retransmission consent in good faith.80 More recently, the Commission adopted a host of requirements that apply to all MVPDs and thus equally apply to DBS providers as part of its implementation of the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act (CALM Act),81 the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA),82 as well as the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA) Reauthorization Act of 2014 (STELAR).83 Moreover, we recognize that FY 2015 would be the first time the Commission would be applying this regulatory fee subcategory for DBS. Thus, for the above reasons, we find that for FY 2015 the proposed rate of 12 cents per subscriber per year is a sensible fee supported by data and analysis.84 In the FY 2016 regulatory fee proceeding, we will update this rate for future years, based on relevant information, as necessary for ensuring an appropriate level of regulatory parity and considering the resources dedicated to this new regulatory fee subcategory.85

    76See FY 2015 Fee Reform Report and Order, 30 FCC Rcd at 5367-68, para. 31.

    77 47 U.S.C. 548; 47 CFR 76.1000-1004.

    78 47 U.S.C. 325(b)(1), (3)(C)(ii); 47 CFR 76.65(b).

    79 47 U.S.C. 536; 47 CFR 76.1300-1302.

    80 47 U.S.C. 325(b)(3)(C)(iii); 47 CFR 76.65(a)-(b).

    81See Implementation of the Commercial Advertisement, Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act, Report and Order, 26 FCC Rcd 17222 (2011) (CALM Act Report and Order).

    82 Public Law 111-260, 124 Stat. 2751 (2010). See also Amendment of Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, Public Law 111-265, 124 Stat. 2795 (2010) (making corrections to the CVAA); 47 CFR part 79.

    83 The STELA Reauthorization Act of 2014 (STELAR), 102, Public Law 113-200, 128 Stat. 2059, 2060-62 (2014) (codified at 47 U.S.C. 338(1)). The STELAR was enacted on Dec. 4, 2014 (H.R. 5728, 113th Cong.). Implementation of Section 102 of the STELA Reauthorization Act of 2014, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, MB Docket No. 15-71, FCC 15-34 (released Mar. 26, 2015) proposes satellite television “market modification” rules to implement section 102 of STELAR.

    84See FY 2015 Fee Reform Report and Order, 30 FCC Rcd at 5367-5373, paras. 31 to 41. The agency is not required to calculate its costs with “scientific precision.” Central & Southern Motor Freight Tariff Ass'n v. United States, 777 F.2d 722, 736 (D.C. Cir. 1985). Reasonable approximations will suffice. Id.; Mississippi Power & Light, 601 F.2d at 232; National Cable Television Ass'n v. FCC, 554 F.2d 1094, 1105 (D.C. Cir. 1976); 36 Comp. Gen. 75 (1956).

    85See FY 2015 Fee Reform Report and Order, 30 FCC Rcd at 5371-72, para. 38

    7. Other Rate Issues

    23. Aviation Ground Licenses. In the FY 2015 NPRM, we proposed an increase in regulatory fees for aviation ground licenses. Commenters contend that we have proposed an unjustified and disproportionate fee increase for aviation ground licensees.86 The Aviation Joint Commenters disagree with our contention that the payment units should be adjusted and they observe that we failed to explain why the revenue requirement was increased.87 These commenters observe that despite no increase in regulation of this industry, the Commission has significantly increased the regulatory fees in FY 2014 and FY 2015.88 We agree with the Aviation Joint Commenters and, after reviewing additional information, have adjusted the payment units and rate accordingly based on current fiscal year renewals.

    86 Aviation Joint Comments at 4-12.

    87 Aviation Joint Comments at 5-6.

    88 Aviation Joint Comments at 6-9.

    24. Satellite. Several commenters have raised issues pertaining to the proposed space station fees. SIA and EchoStar object to the proposed increase in fees, contending that we should cap any increases at 7.5 percent.89 These commenters argue that we should adopt the same cap we adopted for FY 2013. In FY 2013, the 7.5% cap was instituted to address the initial changes in the FTE allocations (not fee rate changes resulting from changes in the unit counts) as a result of GAO recommendations.90 Such FTE allocation changes could have caused some regulatory fee rates to increase dramatically. To address this issue, the Commission capped the fee rate increase to 7.5% from the prior year. In the current proceeding, some satellite commenters requested that the Commission adopt a 7.5% cap on FY 2015 regulatory fee increases as the Commission did in FY 2013 with respect to the Non-Geostationary Space Station fee category. Although the circumstances in which we instituted the cap in FY 2013 are different than now, any discussion of imposing a cap at this time is not necessary because the satellite fee rate in the FY 2015 Report and Order is nearly the same or slightly lower than in FY 2014. We therefore decline to adopt a cap in this instance.

    89 SIA Comments at 6-7; EchoStar Comments at 6-8.

    90 General Accountability Office, “Federal Communications Commission, Regulatory Fee Process Needs to be Updated”, GAO 12-686, August 2012, p. 1, 8-11.

    25. Intelsat asks that we take satellite application fees 91 into consideration in calculating our regulatory fees.92 We are required to assess and collect $339,844,000 in regulatory fees for FY 2015, pursuant to Section 9 of the Communications Act and the Commission's FY 2015 Appropriation.93 Thus, we are not able to collect less than mandated by Congress in order to take into account section 8 application fees, as Intelsat requests.

    91 Application fees are assessed under Section 8 of the Communications Act. 47 U.S.C. 158 and are paid directly into the general fund of the U.S. Treasury. 47 U.S.C. 158(e). The Commission is not authorized to retain receipts from application fees for its own use or to use application fees to offset its appropriation.

    92 Intelsat Comments at 1-2.

    93 Section 9 regulatory fees are mandated by Congress and collected to recover the regulatory costs associated with the Commission's enforcement, policy and rulemaking, user information, and international activities. 47 U.S.C. 159(a).

    26. In addition, Intelsat argues that U.S.-licensed satellite operators should not have to subsidize the non-U.S.-licensed satellite operators' ability to serve the U.S. market.94 We have sought comment previously on this issue because the number of International Bureau FTEs working on non-U.S.-licensed space stations increases the regulatory fees for the International Bureau regulatees.95 We also note that non-U.S.-licensed space stations that have been granted access to the U.S. market will eventually communicate with earth stations in the United States, and therefore aspects of the interrelated communications system are apportioned to earth station licensees when accounting for FTE time spent processing requests to access the non-U.S. licensed space station. We conclude that due to: (i) The time spent by International Bureau FTEs in working on these issues; and (ii) the significant number of requests to access the U.S. market by non-U.S.-licensed space stations, the FTEs working on petitions or other matters involving non-U.S.-licensed space stations should be removed from the regulatory fee assessments for U.S.-licensed space stations and considered indirect for regulatory fee purposes. Non-U.S.-licensed space stations granted access to the market in the United States provide a variety of services. Attributing such FTE work as indirect appropriately attributes the regulatory fee burden to the wider telecommunications industry that benefits from such grants of market access. We have reviewed the number of FTEs working on the non-U.S.-licensed space stations and have determined that approximately four FTEs are devoted to this work at this time, therefore, we are reallocating four International Bureau FTEs as indirect FTEs for regulatory fee purposes.96

    94 Intelsat Comments at 3-4.

    95See FY 2014 NPRM, 29 FCC Rcd at 6434, para. 50.

    96 The number of market access requests can vary; however, four FTEs is appropriate at this point.

    8. Puerto Rico Broadcasters Association Petition

    27. In the FY 2015 NPRM, we sought comment on the petition filed by the Puerto Rico Broadcaster's Association (PRBA) seeking regulatory fee relief.97 We recognize the challenging circumstances described in the PRBA petition. Due to the complexities of this proposal and time constraints imposed by the annual regulatory fee process, additional time is needed to further consider this petition. We intend to address the PRBA petition in a separate proceeding outside of the regulatory fee rulemaking process. We understand that PRBA is contending that the costs associated with preparing and filing a waiver request would be overly burdensome.98 We do not agree that PRBA's assertion, that requesting a waiver is a burden, eliminates that option. Our waiver process,99 is available to PRBA members and any aggrieved party seeking a waiver of our rules.100

    97FY 2015 NPRM, 30 FCC Rcd at 5360-61, paras. 15-18. One commenter addressed the issues in the PRBA petition and suggests that we adopt our second proposal and create a separate fee category for Puerto Rico at a lower rate. ARSO Comments at 6-8.

    98 PRBA Comments at 2.

    99 47 U.S.C. 159(d); 47 CFR 1.1166.

    100 See the Commission's regulatory fee waiver fact sheet, available at https://www.fcc.gov/document/fy-2014-regulatory-fees-waiver-fact-sheet.

    9. Effective Date of Elimination of the Vanity Call Sign and General Mobile Radio Service Regulatory Fee

    28. In the Commission's FY 2015 Fee Reform Report and Order, 101 the Commission eliminated the regulatory fee component of two fee categories: amateur radio Vanity Call Signs 102 and General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS).103 The elimination of regulatory fee categories constitutes a “permitted amendment” as defined in section 9(b)(3) of the Act. As required by section 9(b)(4)(B) of the Act, “permitted amendment” letters dated June 4, 2015 were mailed to congressional officials informing them of the elimination of these two fee categories and adoption of the new DBS fee category. Consistent with section 9(b)(4)(B) of the Act, these amendments will take effect 90 days after congressional notification of the permitted amendment letter, dated June 4, 2015. Thus, effective September 3, 2015, the Vanity Call Sign and GMRS regulatory fee categories will be eliminated and licensees will not be required to pay additional regulatory fees for these licenses.104 Regulatees are still responsible for the payment of all application fees associated with these licenses.

    101FY 2015 Fee Reform Report and Order, 30 FCC Rcd at 5361-62, paras. 19-22.

    102 Call signs assigned to newly licensed stations, i.e., a sequential call sign, are assigned based on the licensee's mailing address and class of operator license. 47 CFR 97.17(d). The licensee can request a specific unassigned but assignable call sign, known as a vanity call sign. 47 CFR 97.19. There is no fee for the sequential call sign.

    103 GMRS (formerly Class A of the Citizens Radio Service) is a personal radio service available for the conduct of an individual's personal and family communications. See 47 CFR 95.1.

    104 The letter dated June 4, 2015 also includes the establishment of a DBS regulatory fee which will also be effective September 3, 2015.

    V. Procedural Matters A. Payment of Regulatory Fees 1. Payments by Check Will Not Be Accepted for Payment of Annual Regulatory Fees

    29. Pursuant to an Office of Management and Budget (OMB) directive,105 the Commission is moving towards a paperless environment, extending to disbursement and collection of select federal government payments and receipts.106 The initiative to reduce paper and curtail check payments for regulatory fees is expected to produce cost savings, reduce errors, and improve efficiencies across government. Accordingly, the Commission will no longer accept checks (including cashier's checks and money orders) and the accompanying hardcopy forms (e.g., Forms 159, 159-B, 159-E, 159-W) for the payment of regulatory fees. This new paperless procedure will require that all payments be made by online ACH payment, online credit card, or wire transfer. Any other form of payment (e.g., checks, cashier's checks, or money orders) will be rejected. For payments by wire, a Form 159-E should still be transmitted via fax so that the Commission can associate the wire payment with the correct regulatory fee information. This change will affect all payments of regulatory fees.107

    105 Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Memorandum M-10-06, Open Government Directive, Dec. 8, 2009; see also http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/06/13/executive-order-13576-delivering-efficient-effective-and-accountable-gov.

    106See U.S. Department of the Treasury, Open Government Plan 2.1, Sept. 2012.

    107 Payors should note that this change will mean that to the extent certain entities have to date paid both regulatory fees and application fees at the same time via paper check, they will no longer be able to do so as the regulatory fees payment via paper check will no longer be accepted.

    2. Revised Credit Card Transaction Levels

    30. In accordance with U.S. Treasury Announcement No. A-2014-04 (July 2014), the amount that can be charged on a credit card for transactions with federal agencies has been reduced to $24,999.99.108 Previously, the credit card limit was $49,999.99. This lower transaction amount is effective June 1, 2015. Transactions greater than $24,999.99 will be rejected. This limit applies to single payments or bundled payments of more than one bill. Multiple transactions to a single agency in one day may be aggregated and treated as a single transaction subject to the $24,999.99 limit. Customers who wish to pay an amount greater than $24,999.99 should consider available electronic alternatives such as Visa or MasterCard debit cards, Automated Clearing House (ACH) debits from a bank account, and wire transfers. Each of these payment options is available after filing regulatory fee information in Fee Filer. Further details will be provided regarding payment methods and procedures at the time of FY 2015 regulatory fee collection in Fact Sheets, available at https://www.fcc.gov/regfees.

    108 Customers who owe an amount on a bill, debt, or other obligation due to the federal government are prohibited from splitting the total amount due into multiple payments. Splitting an amount owed into several payment transactions violates the credit card network and Fiscal Service rules. An amount owed that exceeds the Fiscal Service maximum dollar amount, $24,999.99, may not be split into two or more payment transactions in the same day by using one or multiple cards. Also, an amount owed that exceeds the Fiscal Service maximum dollar amount may not be split into two or more transactions over multiple days by using one or more cards.

    3. Lock Box Bank

    31. During the fee season for collecting FY 2015 regulatory fees, regulatees can pay their fees by credit card through Pay.gov,109 ACH, debit card,110 or by wire transfer. Additional payment instructions are posted at http://transition.fcc.gov/fees/regfees.html.

    109 In accordance with U.S. Treasury Financial Manual Announcement No. A-2014-04 (July 2014), the amount that may be charged on a credit card for transactions with federal agencies has been reduced to $24,999.99.

    110 In accordance with U.S. Treasury Financial Manual Announcement No. A-2012-02, the maximum dollar-value limit for debit card transactions is eliminated. It should also be noted that only Visa and MasterCard branded debit cards are accepted by Pay.gov.

    4. Receiving Bank for Wire Payments

    32. The receiving bank for all wire payments is the Federal Reserve Bank, New York, New York (TREAS NYC). When making a wire transfer, regulatees must fax a copy of their Fee Filer generated Form 159-E to the Federal Communications Commission at (202) 418-2843 at least one hour before initiating the wire transfer (but on the same business day) so as not to delay crediting their account. Regulatees should discuss arrangements (including bank closing schedules) with their bankers several days before they plan to make the wire transfer to allow sufficient time for the transfer to be initiated and completed before the deadline. Complete instructions for making wire payments are posted at http://transition.fcc.gov/fees/wiretran.html.

    5. De Minimis Regulatory Fees

    33. Regulatees whose total FY 2015 annual regulatory fee liability, including all categories of fees for which payment is due, is $500 or less are exempt from payment of FY 2015 regulatory fees. The de minimis threshold applies only to filers of annual regulatory fees (not regulatory fees paid through multi-year filings), and it is not a permanent exemption. Rather, each regulate will need to reevaluate their total fee liability each fiscal year to determine whether they meet the de minimis exemption.

    6. Standard Fee Calculations and Payment Dates

    34. The Commission will accept fee payments made in advance of the window for the payment of regulatory fees. The responsibility for payment of fees by service category is as follows:

    Media Services: Regulatory fees must be paid for initial construction permits that were granted on or before October 1, 2014 for AM/FM radio stations, VHF/UHF full service television stations, and satellite television stations. Regulatory fees must be paid for all broadcast facility licenses granted on or before October 1, 2014. For providers of Direct Broadcast Service (DBS) service, regulatory fees should be paid based on a subscriber count on or about December 31, 2014. In instances where a permit or license is transferred or assigned after October 1, 2014, responsibility for payment rests with the holder of the permit or license as of the fee due date.

    Wireline (Common Carrier) Services: Regulatory fees must be paid for authorizations that were granted on or before October 1, 2014. In instances where a permit or license is transferred or assigned after October 1, 2014, responsibility for payment rests with the holder of the permit or license as of the fee due date. Audio bridging service providers are included in this category.111 For Responsible Organizations (RespOrgs) that manage Toll Free Numbers (TFN), regulatory fees should be paid on all working, assigned, and reserved toll free numbers, including those toll free numbers that are in transit status, or any other status as defined in section 52.103 of the Commission's rules. The unit count should be based on toll free numbers managed by RespOrgs on or about December 31, 2014.

    111 Audio bridging services are toll teleconferencing services.

    Wireless Services: CMRS cellular, mobile, and messaging services (fees based on number of subscribers or telephone number count): Regulatory fees must be paid for authorizations that were granted on or before October 1, 2014. The number of subscribers, units, or telephone numbers on December 31, 2014 will be used as the basis from which to calculate the fee payment. In instances where a permit or license is transferred or assigned after October 1, 2014, responsibility for payment rests with the holder of the permit or license as of the fee due date.

    Wireless Services, Multi-year fees: The first eight regulatory fee categories in our Schedule of Regulatory Fees pay “small multi-year wireless regulatory fees.” Entities pay these regulatory fees in advance for the entire amount period covered by the five-year or ten-year terms of their initial licenses, and pay regulatory fees again only when the license is renewed or a new license is obtained. We include these fee categories in our rulemaking (see Table B) to publicize our estimates of the number of “small multi-year wireless” licenses that will be renewed or newly obtained in FY 2015.

    Multichannel Video Programming Distributor Services (cable television operators and CARS licensees): Regulatory fees must be paid for the number of basic cable television subscribers as of December 31, 2014.112 Regulatory fees also must be paid for CARS licenses that were granted on or before October 1, 2014. In instances where a permit or license is transferred or assigned after October 1, 2014, responsibility for payment rests with the holder of the permit or license as of the fee due date.

    112 Cable television system operators should compute their number of basic subscribers as follows: Number of single family dwellings + number of individual households in multiple dwelling unit (apartments, condominiums, mobile home parks, etc.) paying at the basic subscriber rate + bulk rate customers + courtesy and free service. Note: Bulk-Rate Customers = Total annual bulk-rate charge divided by basic annual subscription rate for individual households. Operators may base their count on “a typical day in the last full week” of December 2014, rather than on a count as of December 31, 2014.

    International Services: Regulatory fees must be paid for (1) earth stations and (2) geostationary orbit space stations and non-geostationary orbit satellite systems that were licensed and operational on or before October 1, 2014. In instances where a permit or license is transferred or assigned after October 1, 2014, responsibility for payment rests with the holder of the permit or license as of the fee due date.

    International Services: (Submarine Cable Systems): Regulatory fees for submarine cable systems are to be paid on a per cable landing license basis based on circuit capacity as of December 31, 2014. In instances where a license is transferred or assigned after October 1, 2014, responsibility for payment rests with the holder of the license as of the fee due date. For regulatory fee purposes, the allocation in FY 2015 will remain at 87.6 percent for submarine cable and 12.4 percent for satellite/terrestrial facilities.

    International Services: (Terrestrial and Satellite Services): Regulatory fees for Terrestrial and Satellite International Bearer Circuits are to be paid by facilities-based common carriers that have active (used or leased) international bearer circuits as of December 31, 2014 in any terrestrial or satellite transmission facility for the provision of service to an end user or resale carrier. When calculating the number of such active circuits, the facilities-based common carriers must include circuits used by themselves or their affiliates. In addition, non-common carrier satellite operators must pay a fee for each circuit they and their affiliates hold and each circuit sold or leased to any customer, other than an international common carrier authorized by the Commission to provide U.S. international common carrier services. For these purposes, “active circuits” include backup and redundant circuits as of December 31, 2014. Whether circuits are used specifically for voice or data is not relevant for purposes of determining that they are active circuits.113 In instances where a permit or license is transferred or assigned after October 1, 2014, responsibility for payment rests with the holder of the permit or license as of the fee due date. For regulatory fee purposes, the allocation in FY 2015 will remain at 87.6 percent for submarine cable and 12.4 percent for satellite/terrestrial facilities.114

    113 We encourage terrestrial and satellite service providers to seek guidance from the International Bureau's Policy Division to verify their IBC reporting processes to ensure that their calculation methods comply with our rules.

    114 We remind facilities-based common carriers to review their reporting processes to ensure that they accurately calculate and report IBCs. As we recently have done with submarine cable capacity holders, we will review the processes for reporting IBCs in the near future to ensure that all carriers are reporting IBCs in the same manner, consistent with our rules.

    B. Commercial Mobile Radio Service (CMRS) Cellular and Mobile Services Assessments

    35. The Commission will compile data from the Numbering Resource Utilization Forecast (NRUF) report that is based on “assigned” telephone number (subscriber) counts that have been adjusted for porting to net Type 0 ports (“in” and “out”).115 This information of telephone numbers (subscriber count) will be posted on the Commission's electronic filing and payment system (Fee Filer) along with the carrier's Operating Company Numbers (OCNs).

    115See FY 2005 Report and Order, 20 FCC Rcd at 12264, paras. 38-44.

    36. A carrier wishing to revise its telephone number (subscriber) count can do so by accessing Fee Filer and follow the prompts to revise their telephone number counts. Any revisions to the telephone number counts should be accompanied by an explanation or supporting documentation.116 The Commission will then review the revised count and supporting documentation and either approve or disapprove the submission in Fee Filer. If the submission is disapproved, the Commission will contact the provider to afford the provider an opportunity to discuss its revised subscriber count and/or provide additional supporting documentation. If we receive no response from the provider, or we do not reverse our initial disapproval of the provider's revised count submission, the fee payment must be based on the number of subscribers listed initially in Fee Filer. Once the timeframe for revision has passed, the telephone number counts are final and are the basis upon which CMRS regulatory fees are to be paid. Providers can view their final telephone counts online in Fee Filer. A final CMRS assessment letter will not be mailed out.

    116 In the supporting documentation, the provider will need to state a reason for the change, such as a purchase or sale of a subsidiary, the date of the transaction, and any other pertinent information that will help to justify a reason for the change.

    37. Because some carriers do not file the NRUF report, they may not see their telephone number counts in Fee Filer. In these instances, the carriers should compute their fee payment using the standard methodology that is currently in place for CMRS Wireless services (i.e., compute their telephone number counts as of December 31, 2014), and submit their fee payment accordingly. Whether a carrier reviews its telephone number counts in Fee Filer or not, the Commission reserves the right to audit the number of telephone numbers for which regulatory fees are paid. In the event that the Commission determines that the number of telephone numbers that are paid is inaccurate, the Commission will bill the carrier for the difference between what was paid and what should have been paid.

    C. Enforcement

    38. To be considered timely, regulatory fee payments must be made electronically by the payment due date for regulatory fees. Section 9(c) of the Act requires us to impose a late payment penalty of 25 percent of the unpaid amount to be assessed on the first day following the deadline for filing these fees.117 Failure to pay regulatory fees and/or any late penalty will subject regulatees to sanctions, including those set forth in section 1.1910 of the Commission's rules,118 which generally requires the Commission to withhold action on “applications, including on a petition for reconsideration or any application for review of a fee determination, or requests for authorization by any entity found to be delinquent in its debt to the Commission” and in the DCIA.119 We also assess administrative processing charges on delinquent debts to recover additional costs incurred in processing and handling the debt pursuant to the DCIA and section 1.1940(d) of the Commission's rules.120 These administrative processing charges will be assessed on any delinquent regulatory fee, in addition to the 25 percent late charge penalty. In the case of partial payments (underpayments) of regulatory fees, the payor will be given credit for the amount paid, but if it is later determined that the fee paid is incorrect or not timely paid, then the 25 percent late charge penalty (and other charges and/or sanctions, as appropriate) will be assessed on the portion that is not paid in a timely manner.

    117 47 U.S.C. 159(c).

    118See 47 CFR 1.1910.

    119 Delinquent debt owed to the Commission triggers the “red light rule,” which places a hold on the processing of pending applications, fee offsets, and pending disbursement payments. 47 CFR 1.1910, 1.1911, 1.1912. In 2004, the Commission adopted rules implementing the requirements of the DCIA. See Amendment of Parts 0 and 1 of the Commission's Rules, MD Docket No. 02-339, Report and Order, 19 FCC Rcd 6540 (2004); 47 CFR part 1, subpart O, Collection of Claims Owed the United States.

    120 47 CFR 1.1940(d).

    39. Pursuant to the “red light rule,” we will withhold action on any applications or other requests for benefits filed by anyone who is delinquent in any non-tax debts owed to the Commission (including regulatory fees) and will ultimately dismiss those applications or other requests if payment of the delinquent debt or other satisfactory arrangement for payment is not made.121 Failure to pay regulatory fees can also result in the initiation of a proceeding to revoke any and all authorizations held by the entity responsible for paying the delinquent fee(s).122 Pursuant to a pilot program, we have initiated procedures to transfer debt to the Centralized Receivables Service at the U.S. Treasury, as described below.

    121See 47 CFR 1.1161(c), 1.1164(f)(5), and 1.1910.

    122 47 U.S.C. 159.

    D. Transfers of Unpaid Debt to Centralized Receivables Service, U.S. Treasury

    40. Under section 9 of the Act, Commission's rules, and federal debt collection laws, a licensee's regulatory fee is due on the first day of the fiscal year and payable at a date established in the Commission's annual regulatory fee Report and Order. Beginning on or after October 1, 2015, under revised procedures, the Commission will begin transferring unpaid regulatory fee receivables directly to the CRS at the U.S. Treasury instead of working to collect the debt and then transferring the remaining unpaid debts to Treasury. The Commission can transfer delinquent debt to Treasury for further collection action within 120 days after the date of delinquency.123 We anticipate that the transfer of FY 2015 debts to Treasury will occur much sooner than our current process. Regulatees, however, will not likely see any substantial change in the current procedures of how past due debts are to be paid, except that the debts will be handled by CRS (U.S. Treasury) rather than by the Commission.

    123See 31 U.S.C. 3711(g); 31 CFR 285.12; 47 CFR 1.1917.

    E. Effective Date

    41. Providing a 30 day period after Federal Register publication before this Report and Order becomes effective as required by 5 U.S.C. 553(d) will not allow sufficient time for the Commission to collect the FY 2015 fees before FY 2015 ends on September 30, 2015. For this reason, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the Commission finds there is good cause to waive the requirements of section 553(d), and this Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking will become effective upon publication in the Federal Register. Because payments of the regulatory fees will not actually be due until the middle of September, persons affected by this Report and Order will still have a reasonable period in which to make their payments and thereby comply with the rules established herein.

    VI. Additional Tables Table A Commenter Abbreviation List of Commenters—Initial Comments ARSO Radio Corporation ARSO. Aviation Spectrum Resources, Inc., Airlines for America, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Delta Airlines, Harris Corporation, Rockwell-Collins Information Management Services, Southwest Airlines Co., The Boeing Company, and SITA OnAir Aviation Joint Commenters. DIRECTV, LLC DIRECTV. DISH Network, L.L.C. DISH. EchoStar Satellite Operating Corporation and Hughes Network Systems, LLC EchoStar. Intelsat Licensee, LLC Intelsat. ITTA—The Voice of Mid-Size Communications Companies ITTA. National Association of Broadcasters NAB. National Cable & Telecommunications Association and the American Cable Association NCTA & ACA. North American Submarine Cable Association NASCA. Puerto Rico Broadcasters Association, International Broadcasting Corporation, Eastern Television Corporation, America-CV Stations Group, Inc., R & F Broadcasting, Inc. PRBA. Satellite Industry Association SIA. Submarine Cable Coalition Coalition. List of Commenters—Reply Comments CTIA—The Wireless Association® CTIA. DIRECTV, LLC DIRECTV. DISH Network, L.L.C DISH. EchoStar Satellite Operating Corporation and Hughes Network Systems, LLC EchoStar. National Cable & Telecommunications Association and the American Cable Association NCTA & ACA. North American Submarine Cable Association NASCA. SES Americom, Inc., Inmarsat, Inc., Telesat Canada Satellite Parties. Submarine Cable Coalition Coalition. Table B—Calculation of FY 2015 Revenue Requirements and Pro-Rata Fees [The first seven regulatory fees listed below are collected by the Commission in advance to cover the term of the license and are submitted at the time the application is filed.] Fee category FY 2015 payment units Years FY 2014
  • revenue
  • estimate
  • Pro-rated FY 2015 revenue requirement Computed FY 2015 regulatory fee Rounded
  • FY 2015
  • regulatory fee
  • Expected
  • FY 2015
  • revenue
  • PLMRS (Exclusive Use) 1,820 10 595,000 589,899 32 30 546,000 PLMRS (Shared use) 31,000 10 3,000,000 2,822,788 9 10 3,100,000 Microwave 12,600 10 2,550,000 2,780,552 22 20 2,520,000 Marine (Ship) 6,300 10 780,000 927,085 15 15 945,000 Aviation (Aircraft) 4,200 10 420,000 420,954 10 10 420,000 Marine (Coast) 490 10 165,000 168,241 34 35 171,500 Aviation (Ground) 900 10 153,000 168,241 19 20 180,000 AM Class A 4 65 1 274,700 280,935 4,322 4,325 281,125 AM Class B 4 1,505 1 3,410,900 3,483,012 2,314 2,325 3,499,125 AM Class C 4 889 1 1,212,750 1,245,750 1,401 1,400 1,244,600 AM Class D 4 1,492 1 4,033,300 4,120,475 2,762 2,750 4,103,000 FM Classes A, B1 & C3 4 3,132 1 8,466,575 8,641,905 2,759 2,700 8,613,000 FM Classes B, C, C0, C1 & C2 4 3,143 1 10,437,175 10,595,484 3,371 3,375 10,607,625 AM Construction Permits 1 29 1 17,700 17,110 590 590 17,110 FM Construction Permits 1 182 1 138,750 136,500 750 750 136,500 Satellite TV 127 1 196,850 199,675 1,572 1,575 200,025 Digital TV Markets 1-10 134 1 6,161,700 6,274,824 46,827 46,825 6,274,550 Digital TV Markets 11-25 137 1 5,809,800 5,918,646 43,202 43,200 5,918,400 Digital TV Markets 26-50 181 1 4,909,450 5,001,220 27,631 27,625 5,00,125 Digital TV Markets 51-100 283 1 4,524,000 4,608,775 16,285 16,275 4,605,825 Digital TV Remaining Markets 379 1 1,805,000 1,834,853 4,841 4,850 1,838,150 Digital TV Construction Permits 1 2 1 23,750 9,700 4,850 4,850 9,700 LPTV/Translators/Boosters/Class A TV 3,640 1 1,570,300 1,592,900 438 440 1,601,600 CARS Stations 300 1 196,625 197,876 660 660 198,000 Cable TV Systems, including IPTV 64,500,000 1 64,746,000 61,618,439 .955532 .96 61,920,000 Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) 34,000,000 1 4,115,811 .1211 .12 4,080,000 Interstate Telecommunication Service Providers $38,800,000,000 1 131,369,000 128,607,682 0.0033146 0.00331 128,428,000 Toll Free Numbers 36,500,000 1 4,419,018 0.12069 0.12 4,380,000 CMRS Mobile Services (Cellular/Public Mobile) 354,000,000 1 60,300,000 60,506,881 0.1737 0.17 60,180,000 CMRS Messag. Services 2,600,000 1 232,000 208,000 0.0800 0.080 208,000 BRS 2 890 1 643,500 564,064 634 635 565,150 LMDS 375 1 135,850 237,667 634 635 238,125 Per 64 kbps Int'l Bearer Circuits 21,900,000 1 941,640 658,593 .0301 .03 657,000 Terrestrial (Common) & Satellite (Common & Non-Common) 5 Submarine Cable Providers (see chart in Appendix C) 3 5 40.563 1 6,586,731 4,652,639 114,702 114,700 4,652,576 Earth Stations 5 3,300 1 1,003,000 1,022,890 310 310 1,023,000 Space Stations (Geostationary) 5 96 1 11,505,600 11,437,435 119,140 119,150 11,438,400 Space Stations (Non-Geostationary) 5 6 1 797,100 792,693 132,116 132,125 792,750 ****** Total Estimated Revenue to be Collected 339,847,246 341,879,214 340,593,961 ****** Total Revenue Requirement 339,844,000 339,844,000 339,844,000 Difference 3,246 2,035,214 749,961 Notes on Table B 1 The AM and FM Construction Permit revenues and the Digital (VHF/UHF) Construction Permit revenues were adjusted, respectively, to set the regulatory fee to an amount no higher than the lowest licensed fee for that class of service. Reductions in the Digital (VHF/UHF) Construction Permit revenues were also offset by increases in the revenue totals for various Digital television stations by market size, respectively. 2 MDS/MMDS category was renamed Broadband Radio Service (BRS). See Amendment of Parts 1, 21, 73, 74 and 101 of the Commission's Rules to Facilitate the Provision of Fixed and Mobile Broadband Access, Educational and Other Advanced Services in the 2150-2162 and 2500-2690 MHz Bands, Report & Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 19 FCC Rcd 14165, 14169, para. 6 (2004). 3 The chart at the end of Table C lists the submarine cable bearer circuit regulatory fees (common and non-common carrier basis) that resulted from the adoption of the FY 2008 Further Notice, 24 FCC Rcd 6388 and the Submarine Cable Order, 24 FCC Rcd 4208. 4 The fee amounts listed in the column entitled “Rounded New FY 2015 Regulatory Fee” constitute a weighted average media regulatory fee by class of service. The actual FY 2015 regulatory fees for AM/FM radio station are listed on a grid located at the end of Table C. 5 As a continuation of our regulatory fee reform for the submarine cable and bearer circuit fee categories, the allocation percentage for these two categories, in relation to the satellite (GSO and NGSO) and earth station fee categories, was reduced by approximately 7.5 per cent proportionally between the submarine cable and bearer circuit fee categories. This allocation reduction of 7.5 per cent resulted in an increase in the allocation for the satellite and earth station fee categories. In addition, four (4) International Bureau FTEs were changed from “direct” to “indirect”, thereby reducing the International Bureau's overall FTE allocation percentage.
    Table C—FY 2015 Schedule of Regulatory Fees [The first eight regulatory fees listed below are collected by the Commission in advance to cover the term of the license and are submitted at the time the application is filed.] Fee category Annual
  • regulatory fee
  • (U.S. $'s)
  • PLMRS (per license) (Exclusive Use) (47 CFR part 90) 30 Microwave (per license) (47 CFR part 101) 20 Marine (Ship) (per station) (47 CFR part 80) 15 Marine (Coast) (per license) (47 CFR part 80) 35 Rural Radio (47 CFR part 22) (previously listed under the Land Mobile category) 10 PLMRS (Shared Use) (per license) (47 CFR part 90) 10 Aviation (Aircraft) (per station) (47 CFR part 87) 10 Aviation (Ground) (per license) (47 CFR part 87) 20 CMRS Mobile/Cellular Services (per unit) (47 CFR parts 20, 22, 24, 27, 80 and 90) .17 CMRS Messaging Services (per unit) (47 CFR parts 20, 22, 24 and 90) .08 Broadband Radio Service (formerly MMDS/MDS) (per license) (47 CFR part 27) 635 Local Multipoint Distribution Service (per call sign) (47 CFR, part 101) 635 AM Radio Construction Permits 590 FM Radio Construction Permits 750 Digital TV (47 CFR part 73) VHF and UHF Commercial: Markets 1-10 46,825 Markets 11-25 43,200 Markets 26-50 27,625 Markets 51-100 16,275 Remaining Markets 4,850 Construction Permits 4,850 Satellite Television Stations (All Markets) 1,575 Low Power TV, Class A TV, TV/FM Translators & Boosters (47 CFR part 74) 440 CARS (47 CFR part 78) 660 Cable Television Systems (per subscriber) (47 CFR part 76), Including IPTV .96 Direct Broadcast Service (DBS) (per subscriber) (as defined by section 602(13) of the Act) .12 Interstate Telecommunication Service Providers (per revenue dollar) .00331 Toll Free (per toll free subscriber) (47 C.F.R. section 52.101 (f) of the rules) .12 Earth Stations (47 CFR part 25) 310 Space Stations (per operational station in geostationary orbit) (47 CFR part 25) also includes DBS Service (per operational station) (47 CFR part 100) 119,150 Space Stations (per operational system in non-geostationary orbit) (47 CFR part 25) 132,125 International Bearer Circuits—Terrestrial/Satellites (per 64KB circuit) .03 Submarine Cable Landing Licenses Fee (per cable system) See Table Below
    FY 2015 Schedule of Regulatory Fees: [Continued] FY 2015 RADIO STATION REGULATORY FEES Population served AM Class A AM Class B AM Class C AM Class D FM Classes
  • A, B1 & C3
  • FM Classes
  • B, C, C0, C1 & C2
  • <=25,000 $775 $645 $590 $670 $750 $925 25,001-75,000 1,550 1,300 900 1,000 1,500 1,625 75,001-150,000 2,325 1,625 1,200 1,675 2,050 3,000 150,001-500,000 3,475 2,750 1,800 2,025 3,175 3,925 500,001-1,200,000 5,025 4,225 3,000 3,375 5,050 5,775 1,200,001-3,000,00 7,750 6,500 4,500 5,400 8,250 9,250 >3,000,000 9,300 7,800 5,700 6,750 10,500 12,025
    FY 2015 Schedule of Regulatory Fees [International Bearer Circuits—Submarine Cable.] Submarine Cable Systems
  • (capacity as of December 31, 2014)
  • Fee
  • amount
  • <2.5 Gbps $7,175 2.5 Gbps or greater, but less than 5 Gbps 14,350 5 Gbps or greater, but less than 10 Gbps 28,675 10 Gbps or greater, but less than 20 Gbps 57,350 20 Gbps or greater 114,700
    Table D—Sources of Payment Unit Estimates for FY 2015

    In order to calculate individual service fees for FY 2015, we adjusted FY 2014 payment units for each service to more accurately reflect expected FY 2015 payment liabilities. We obtained our updated estimates through a variety of means. For example, we used Commission licensee data bases, actual prior year payment records and industry and trade association projections when available. The databases we consulted include our Universal Licensing System (ULS), International Bureau Filing System (IBFS), Consolidated Database System (CDBS) and Cable Operations and Licensing System (COALS), as well as reports generated within the Commission such as the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau's Numbering Resource Utilization Forecast report.

    We sought verification for these estimates from multiple sources and, in all cases, we compared FY 2015 estimates with actual FY 2014 payment units to ensure that our revised estimates were reasonable. Where appropriate, we adjusted and/or rounded our final estimates to take into consideration the fact that certain variables that impact on the number of payment units cannot yet be estimated with sufficient accuracy. These include an unknown number of waivers and/or exemptions that may occur in FY 2015 and the fact that, in many services, the number of actual licensees or station operators fluctuates from time to time due to economic, technical, or other reasons. When we note, for example, that our estimated FY 2015 payment units are based on FY 2014 actual payment units, it does not necessarily mean that our FY 2015 projection is exactly the same number as in FY 2014. We have either rounded the FY 2015 number or adjusted it slightly to account for these variables.

    Fee category Sources of payment unit estimates Land Mobile (All), Microwave, Marine (Ship & Coast), Aviation (Aircraft & Ground), Domestic Public Fixed Based on Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) projections of new applications and renewals taking into consideration existing Commission licensee data bases. Aviation (Aircraft) and Marine (Ship) estimates have been adjusted to take into consideration the licensing of portions of these services on a voluntary basis. CMRS Cellular/Mobile Services Based on WTB projection reports, and FY 14 payment data. CMRS Messaging Services Based on WTB reports, and FY 14 payment data. AM/FM Radio Stations Based on CDBS data, adjusted for exemptions, and actual FY 2014 payment units. Digital TV Stations (Combined VHF/UHF units) Based on CDBS data, adjusted for exemptions, and actual FY 2014 payment units. AM/FM/TV Construction Permits Based on CDBS data, adjusted for exemptions, and actual FY 2014 payment units. LPTV, Translators and Boosters, Class A Television Based on CDBS data, adjusted for exemptions, and actual FY 2014 payment units. BRS (formerly MDS/MMDS) Based on WTB reports and actual FY 2014 payment units. LMDS Based on WTB reports and actual FY 2014 payment units. Cable Television Relay Service (“CARS”) Stations Based on data from Media Bureau's COALS database and actual FY 2013 payment units. Cable Television System Subscribers, Including IPTV Subscribers Based on publicly available data sources for estimated subscriber counts and actual FY 2014 payment units. Interstate Telecommunication Service Providers Based on FCC Form 499-Q data for the four quarters of calendar year 2014, the Wireline Competition Bureau projected the amount of calendar year 2014 revenue that will be reported on 2015 FCC Form 499-A worksheets in April, 2015. Earth Stations Based on International Bureau (“IB”) licensing data and actual FY 2014 payment units. Space Stations (GSOs & NGSOs) Based on IB data reports and actual FY 2014 payment units. International Bearer Circuits Based on IB reports and submissions by licensees, adjusted as necessary. Submarine Cable Licenses Based on IB license information. Table E—Factors, Measurements, and Calculations That Determines Station Signal Contours and Associated Population Coverages AM Stations

    For stations with nondirectional daytime antennas, the theoretical radiation was used at all azimuths. For stations with directional daytime antennas, specific information on each day tower, including field ratio, phase, spacing, and orientation was retrieved, as well as the theoretical pattern root-mean-square of the radiation in all directions in the horizontal plane (RMS) figure (milliVolt per meter (mVm) @1 km) for the antenna system. The standard, or augmented standard if pertinent, horizontal plane radiation pattern was calculated using techniques and methods specified in sections 73.150 and 73.152 of the Commission's rules. Radiation values were calculated for each of 360 radials around the transmitter site. Next, estimated soil conductivity data was retrieved from a database representing the information in FCC Figure R3. Using the calculated horizontal radiation values, and the retrieved soil conductivity data, the distance to the principal community (5 mVm) contour was predicted for each of the 360 radials. The resulting distance to principal community contours were used to form a geographical polygon. Population counting was accomplished by determining which 2010 block centroids were contained in the polygon. (A block centroid is the center point of a small area containing population as computed by the U.S. Census Bureau.) The sum of the population figures for all enclosed blocks represents the total population for the predicted principal community coverage area.

    FM Stations

    The greater of the horizontal or vertical effective radiated power (ERP) (kW) and respective height above average terrain (HAAT) (m) combination was used. Where the antenna height above mean sea level (HAMSL) was available, it was used in lieu of the average HAAT figure to calculate specific HAAT figures for each of 360 radials under study. Any available directional pattern information was applied as well, to produce a radial-specific ERP figure. The HAAT and ERP figures were used in conjunction with the Field Strength (50-50) propagation curves specified in 47 CFR 73.313 of the Commission's rules to predict the distance to the principal community (70 dBu (decibel above 1 microVolt per meter) or 3.17 mVm) contour for each of the 360 radials. The resulting distance to principal community contours were used to form a geographical polygon. Population counting was accomplished by determining which 2010 block centroids were contained in the polygon. The sum of the population figures for all enclosed blocks represents the total population for the predicted principal community coverage area.

    Table F—FY 2014 Schedule of Regulatory Fees [The first eleven regulatory fees listed below are collected by the Commission in advance to cover the term of the license and are submitted at the time the application is filed] Fee category Annual
  • regulatory fee
  • (U.S. $'s)
  • PLMRS (per license) (Exclusive Use) (47 CFR part 90) 35 Microwave (per license) (47 CFR part 101) 15 218-219 MHz (Formerly Interactive Video Data Service) (per license) (47 CFR part 95) 80 Marine (Ship) (per station) (47 CFR part 80) 15 Marine (Coast) (per license) (47 CFR part 80) 55 General Mobile Radio Service (per license) (47 CFR part 95) 5 Rural Radio (47 CFR part 22) (previously listed under the Land Mobile category) 10 PLMRS (Shared Use) (per license) (47 CFR part 90) 10 Aviation (Aircraft) (per station) (47 CFR part 87) 10 Aviation (Ground) (per license) (47 CFR part 87) 30 Amateur Vanity Call Signs (per call sign) (47 CFR part 97) 2.14 CMRS Mobile/Cellular Services (per unit) (47 CFR parts 20, 22, 24, 27, 80 and 90) .18 CMRS Messaging Services (per unit) (47 CFR parts 20, 22, 24 and 90) .08 Broadband Radio Service (formerly MMDS/MDS) (per license) (47 CFR part 27) 715 Local Multipoint Distribution Service (per call sign) (47 CFR, part 101) 715 AM Radio Construction Permits 590 FM Radio Construction Permits 750 Digital TV (47 CFR part 73) VHF and UHF Commercial: Markets 1-10 44,650 Markets 11-25 42,100 Markets 26-50 26,975 Markets 51-100 15,600 Remaining Markets 4,750 Construction Permits 4,750 Satellite Television Stations (All Markets) 1,550 Construction Permits—Satellite Television Stations 1,300 Low Power TV, Class A TV, TV/FM Translators & Boosters (47 CFR part 74) 410 Broadcast Auxiliaries (47 CFR part 74) 10 CARS (47 CFR part 78) 605 Cable Television Systems (per subscriber) (47 CFR part 76), Including IPTV .99 Interstate Telecommunication Service Providers (per revenue dollar) .00343 Earth Stations (47 CFR part 25) 295 Space Stations (per operational station in geostationary orbit) (47 CFR part 25) also includes DBS Service (per operational station) (47 CFR part 100) 122,400 Space Stations (per operational system in non-geostationary orbit) (47 CFR part 25) 132,850 International Bearer Circuits—Terrestrial/Satellites (per 64KB circuit) .21 International Bearer Circuits—Submarine Cable See Table Below
    FY 2014 Schedule of Regulatory Fees: Maintain Allocation FY 2014 Radio Station Regulatory Fees Population served AM Class A AM Class B AM Class C AM Class D FM Classes
  • A, B1 & C3
  • FM Classes
  • B, C, C0,
  • C1 & C2
  • <=25,000 $775 $645 $590 $670 $750 $925 25,001-75,000 1,550 1,300 900 1,000 1,500 1,625 75,001-150,000 2,325 1,625 1,200 1,675 2,050 3,000 150,001-500,000 3,475 2,750 1,800 2,025 3,175 3,925 500,001-1,200,000 5,025 4,225 3,000 3,375 5,050 5,775 1,200,001-3,000,000 7,750 6,500 4,500 5,400 8,250 9,250 >3,000,000 9,300 7,800 5,700 6,750 10,500 12,025
    FY 2014 Schedule of Regulatory Fees [International Bearer Circuits—Submarine Cable] Submarine cable systems
  • (capacity as of December 31, 2013)
  • Fee
  • amount
  • <2.5 Gbps $10,250 2.5 Gbps or greater, but less than 5 Gbps 20,500 5 Gbps or greater, but less than 10 Gbps 40,975 10 Gbps or greater, but less than 20 Gbps 81,950 20 Gbps or greater 163,900
    VII. Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    1. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended (RFA),124 an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) was included in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. 125 The Commission sought written public comment on these proposals including comment on the IRFA. This Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA) conforms to the IRFA.126

    124 5 U.S.C. 603. The RFA, 5 U.S.C. 601-612 has been amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA), Public Law 104-121, Title II, 110 Stat. 847 (1996).

    125Assessment and Collection of Regulatory Fees for Fiscal Year 2015, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Report and Order, and Order, MD Docket No. 15-121, 30 FCC Rcd 5354 (2015) (FY 2015 NPRM).

    126 5 U.S.C. 604.

    A. Need for, and Objectives of, the Report and Order

    2. In this Report and Order, we conclude the Assessment and Collection of Regulatory Fees for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 proceeding to collect $339,844,000 in regulatory fees for FY 2015, pursuant to section 9 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.127 These regulatory fees will be due in September 2015. Under section 9 of the Communications Act, regulatory fees are mandated by Congress and collected to recover the regulatory costs associated with the Commission's enforcement, policy and rulemaking, user information, and international activities in an amount that can be reasonably expected to equal the amount of the Commission's annual appropriation.128

    127 47 U.S.C. 159.

    128 47 U.S.C. 159(a).

    3. This FY 2015 Report and Order adopts a regulatory fee schedule that includes the following noteworthy changes from prior years: (1) A reduction in regulatory fees for the submarine cable/terrestrial and satellite bearer circuit category relative to other fee categories in the International Bureau; (2) the first fee rate for Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) as a subcategory of the cable television and Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) regulatory fee category; (3) the first fee rate for toll free numbers; and (4) the elimination of the regulatory fee component of two fee categories: Amateur Radio Vanity Call Signs and General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS). In addition, in calculating the FY 2015 fee schedule, the Commission also reallocated four International Bureau full time employees (FTEs) as indirect.

    4. With respect to the submarine cable/terrestrial and satellite bearer circuit fee category, after additional review, the Commission concluded that the fee assessed on the submarine cable/terrestrial and satellite bearer circuit fee category was excessive relative to the Commission's oversight and regulation of this industry. As a result, the Commission reduced the percentage of total fees paid by this fee category by 7.5 percent. With respect to the DBS fee category, the Commission instituted the DBS fee after realizing that Media Bureau resources were being used to address DBS and MVPD issues, but these costs were not being recovered from DBS providers. Therefore, the DBS fee is instituted to recover the cost of Media Bureau resources that is spent on MVPD and DBS issues. Similarly, a toll free number regulatory fee is instituted to recover the cost of resources expended by the Wireline Bureau on issues relating to toll free numbers. With respect to Amateur Radio Vanity Call Signs and General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS), the Commission concluded that the administrative costs of processing, reviewing, and enforcing the thousands of Vanity Call Sign and GMRS licenses far exceeds the $21.40 and $25 per license regulatory fee rate that is collected, respectively. Many of the Amateur Vanity Call Signs and GMRS licensees are small businesses and/or individuals. Finally, in calculating the FY 2015 fee schedule, the Commission reallocated four International Bureau full time employees (FTEs) as indirect to reflect work performed by International Bureau staff on non-U.S.-licensed space stations, who are not required to pay regulatory fees.

    B. Summary of the Significant Issues Raised by the Public Comments in Response to the IRFA

    5. None.

    C. Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to Which the Rules Will Apply

    6. The RFA directs agencies to provide a description of, and where feasible, an estimate of the number of small entities that may be affected by the proposed rules and policies, if adopted.129 The RFA generally defines the term “small entity” as having the same meaning as the terms “small business,” “small organization,” and “small governmental jurisdiction.” 130 In addition, the term “small business” has the same meaning as the term “small business concern” under the Small Business Act.131 A “small business concern” is one which: (1) Is independently owned and operated; (2) is not dominant in its field of operation; and (3) satisfies any additional criteria established by the SBA.132 Nationwide, there are a total of approximately 27.9 million small businesses, according to the SBA.133

    129 5 U.S.C. 603(b)(3).

    130 5 U.S.C. 601(6).

    131 5 U.S.C. 601(3) (incorporating by reference the definition of “small-business concern” in the Small Business Act, 15 U.S.C. 632). Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 601(3), the statutory definition of a small business applies “unless an agency, after consultation with the Office of Advocacy of the Small Business Administration and after opportunity for public comment, establishes one or more definitions of such term which are appropriate to the activities of the agency and publishes such definition(s) in the Federal Register.”

    132 15 U.S.C. 632.

    133 See SBA, Office of Advocacy, “Frequently Asked Questions,” http://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/FAQ_Sept_2012.pdf.

    1. Wired Telecommunications Carriers. The U.S. Census Bureau defines this industry as “establishments primarily engaged in operating and/or providing access to transmission facilities and infrastructure that they own and/or lease for the transmission of voice, data, text, sound, and video using wired communications networks. Transmission facilities may be based on a single technology or a combination of technologies. Establishments in this industry use the wired telecommunications network facilities that they operate to provide a variety of services, such as wired telephony services, including VoIP services, wired (cable) audio and video programming distribution, and wired broadband internet services. By exception, establishments providing satellite television distribution services using facilities and infrastructure that they operate are included in this industry.” 134 The SBA has developed a small business size standard for Wired Telecommunications Carriers, which consists of all such companies having 1,500 or fewer employees.135 Census data for 2007 shows that there were 3,188 firms that operated that year. Of this total, 3,144 operated with less than 1,000 employees.136 Thus, under this size standard, the majority of firms in this industry can be considered small.

    134http://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/sssd/naics/naicsrch.

    135See 13 CFR 120.201, NAICS Code 517110.

    136http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2007_US_51SSSZ5&prodType=table.

    2. Local Exchange Carriers (LECs). Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a size standard for small businesses specifically applicable to local exchange services. The closest applicable NAICS Code category is Wired Telecommunications Carriers as defined in paragraph 6 of this FRFA. Under the applicable SBA size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees.137 According to Commission data, census data for 2007 shows that there were 3,188 firms that operated that year. Of this total, 3,144 operated with fewer than 1,000 employees.138 The Commission therefore estimates that most providers of local exchange carrier service are small entities that may be affected by the rules adopted.

    137 13 CFR 121.201, NAICS code 517110.

    138http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2007_US_51SSSZ5&prodType=table.

    3. Incumbent LECs. Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a small business size standard specifically for incumbent local exchange services. The closest applicable NAICS Code category is Wired Telecommunications Carriers as defined in paragraph 6 of this FRFA. Under that size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees.139 According to Commission data, 3,188 firms operated in that year. Of this total, 3,144 operated with fewer than 1,000 employees.140 Consequently, the Commission estimates that most providers of incumbent local exchange service are small businesses that may be affected by the rules and policies adopted. Three hundred and seven (307) Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers reported that they were incumbent local exchange service providers.141 Of this total, an estimated 1,006 have 1,500 or fewer employees.142

    139 13 CFR 121.201, NAICS code 517110.

    140http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2007_US_51SSSZ5&prodType=table.

    141See Trends in Telephone Service, Federal Communications Commission, Wireline Competition Bureau, Industry Analysis and Technology Division at Table 5.3 (Sept. 2010) (Trends in Telephone Service).

    142 Id.

    4. Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (Competitive LECs), Competitive Access Providers (CAPs), Shared-Tenant Service Providers, and Other Local Service Providers. Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a small business size standard specifically for these service providers. The appropriate NAICS Code category is Wired Telecommunications Carriers, as defined in paragraph 6 of this FRFA. Under that size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees.143 U.S. Census data for 2007 indicate that 3,188 firms operated during that year. Of that number, 3,144 operated with fewer than 1,000 employees.144 Based on this data, the Commission concludes that the majority of Competitive LECS, CAPs, Shared-Tenant Service Providers, and Other Local Service Providers, are small entities. According to Commission data, 1,442 carriers reported that they were engaged in the provision of either competitive local exchange services or competitive access provider services.145 Of these 1,442 carriers, an estimated 1,256 have 1,500 or fewer employees.146 In addition, 17 carriers have reported that they are Shared-Tenant Service Providers, and all 17 are estimated to have 1,500 or fewer employees.147 Also, 72 carriers have reported that they are Other Local Service Providers.148 Of this total, 70 have 1,500 or fewer employees.149 Consequently, based on internally researched FCC data, the Commission estimates that most providers of competitive local exchange service, competitive access providers, Shared-Tenant Service Providers, and Other Local Service Providers are small entities that may be affected by the rules adopted.

    143 13 CFR 121.201, NAICS code 517110.

    144http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2007_US_51SSSZ5&prodType=table.

    145See Trends in Telephone Service, at Table 5.3.

    146Id.

    147Id.

    148Id.

    149Id.

    5. Interexchange Carriers (IXCs). Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a definition for Interexchange Carriers. The closest NAICS Code category is Wired Telecommunications Carriers as defined in paragraph 6 of this FRFA. The applicable size standard under SBA rules is that such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees.150 U.S. Census data for 2007 indicates that 3,188 firms operated during that year. Of that number, 3,144 operated with fewer than 1,000 employees.151 According to internally developed Commission data, 359 companies reported that their primary telecommunications service activity was the provision of interexchange services.152 Of this total, an estimated 317 have 1,500 or fewer employees.153 Consequently, the Commission estimates that the majority of interexchange service providers are small entities that may be affected by the rules adopted.

    150 13 CFR 121.201, NAICS code 517110.

    151http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2007_US_51SSSZ5&prodType=table.

    152See Trends in Telephone Service, at Table 5.3.

    153Id.

    6. Prepaid Calling Card Providers. Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a small business size standard specifically for prepaid calling card providers. The appropriate NAICS Code category for prepaid calling card providers is Telecommunications Resellers. This industry comprises establishments engaged in purchasing access and network capacity from owners and operators of telecommunications networks and reselling wired and wireless telecommunications services (except satellite) to businesses and households. Mobile virtual networks operators (MVNOs) are included in this industry.154 Under the applicable SBA size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees.155 U.S. Census data for 2007 show that 1,523 firms provided resale services during that year. Of that number, 1,522 operated with fewer than 1,000 employees.156 Thus, under this category and the associated small business size standard, the majority of these prepaid calling card providers can be considered small entities. According to Commission data, 193 carriers have reported that they are engaged in the provision of prepaid calling cards.157 All 193 carriers have 1,500 or fewer employees.158 Consequently, the Commission estimates that the majority of prepaid calling card providers are small entities that may be affected by the rules adopted.

    154http://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/ssd/naics/naicsrch.

    155 13 CFR 121.201, NAICS code 517911.

    156http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2007_US_51SSSZ5&prodType=table.

    157See Trends in Telephone Service, at Table 5.3.

    158Id.

    7. Local Resellers. The SBA has developed a small business size standard for the category of Telecommunications Resellers. Under that size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees.159 Census data for 2007 show that 1,523 firms provided resale services during that year. Of that number, 1,522 operated with fewer than 1,000 employees.160 Under this category and the associated small business size standard, the majority of these local resellers can be considered small entities. According to Commission data, 213 carriers have reported that they are engaged in the provision of local resale services.161 Of this total, an estimated 211 have 1,500 or fewer employees.162 Consequently, the Commission estimates that the majority of local resellers are small entities that may be affected by the rules adopted.

    159 13 CFR 121.201, NAICS code 517911.

    160http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2007_US_51SSSZ5&prodType=table.

    161See Trends in Telephone Service, at Table 5.3.

    162Id.

    8. Toll Resellers. The Commission has not developed a definition for Toll Resellers. The closest NAICS Code Category is Telecommunications Resellers, and the SBA has developed a small business size standard for the category of Telecommunications Resellers. Under that size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees.163 Census data for 2007 show that 1,523 firms provided resale services during that year. Of that number, 1,522 operated with fewer than 1,000 employees.164 Thus, under this category and the associated small business size standard, the majority of these resellers can be considered small entities. According to Commission data, 881 carriers have reported that they are engaged in the provision of toll resale services.165 Of this total, an estimated 857 have 1,500 or fewer employees.166 Consequently, the Commission estimates that the majority of toll resellers are small entities that may be affected by the rules adopted.

    163http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2007_US_51SSSZ5&prodType=table.

    164Id.

    165Trends in Telephone Service, at Table 5.3.

    166Id.

    9. Other Toll Carriers. Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a definition for small businesses specifically applicable to Other Toll Carriers. This category includes toll carriers that do not fall within the categories of interexchange carriers, operator service providers, prepaid calling card providers, satellite service carriers, or toll resellers. The closest applicable NAICS Code category is for Wired Telecommunications Carriers as defined in paragraph 6 of this FRFA. Under the applicable SBA size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees.167 Census data for 2007 shows that there were 3,188 firms that operated that year. Of this total, 3,144 operated with fewer than 1,000 employees.168 Thus, under this category and the associated small business size standard, the majority of Other Toll Carriers can be considered small. According to internally developed Commission data, 284 companies reported that their primary telecommunications service activity was the provision of other toll carriage.169 Of these, an estimated 279 have 1,500 or fewer employees.170 Consequently, the Commission estimates that most Other Toll Carriers are small entities that may be affected by the rules and policies adopted.

    167 13 CFR 121.201, NAICS code 517110.

    168http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2007_US_51SSSZ5&prodType=table.

    169Trends in Telephone Service, at Table 5.3.

    170Id.

    10. Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellite). This industry comprises establishments engaged in operating and maintaining switching and transmission facilities to provide communications via the airwaves, such as cellular services, paging services, wireless internet access, and wireless video services.171 The appropriate size standard under SBA rules is that such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. For this industry, Census data for 2007 show that there were 1,383 firms that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 1,368 firms had fewer than 1,000 employees. Thus under this category and the associated size standard, the Commission estimates that the majority of wireless telecommunications carriers (except satellite) are small entities. Similarly, according to internally developed Commission data, 413 carriers reported that they were engaged in the provision of wireless telephony, including cellular service, Personal Communications Service (PCS), and Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR) services.172 Of this total, an estimated 261 have 1,500 or fewer employees.173 Consequently, the Commission estimates that approximately half of these firms can be considered small. Thus, using available data, we estimate that the majority of wireless firms can be considered small.

    171 NAICS Code 517210. See http://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/ssd/naics/naiscsrch.

    172Trends in Telephone Service, at Table 5.3

    173Id.

    11. Cable Television and Other Subscription Programming.174 Since 2007, these services have been defined within the broad economic census category of Wired Telecommunications Carriers. That category is defined as follows: “This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in operating andor providing access to transmission facilities and infrastructure that they own andor lease for the transmission of voice, data, text, sound, and video using wired telecommunications networks. Transmission facilities may be based on a single technology or a combination of technologies.” 175 The SBA has developed a small business size standard for this category, which is: All such firms having 1,500 or fewer employees.176 Census data for 2007 shows that there were 3,188 firms that operated that year. Of this total, 3,144 had fewer than 1,000 employees.177 Thus under this size standard, the majority of firms offering cable and other program distribution services can be considered small and may be affected by rules adopted.

    174 In 2014, “Cable and Other Subscription Programming,” NAICS Code 515210, replaced a prior category, now obsolete, which was called “Cable and Other Program Distribution.” Cable and Other Program Distribution, prior to 2014, was placed under NAICS Code 517110, Wired Telecommunications Carriers. Wired Telecommunications Carriers is still a current and valid NAICS Code Category. Because of the similarity between “Cable and Other Subscription Programming” and “Cable and other Program Distribution,” we will, in this proceeding, continue to use Wired Telecommunications Carrier data based on the U.S. Census. The alternative of using data gathered under Cable and Other Subscription Programming (NAICS Code 515210) is unavailable to us for two reasons. First, the size standard established by the SBA for Cable and Other Subscription Programming is annual receipts of $38.5 million or less. Thus to use the annual receipts size standard would require the Commission either to switch from existing employee based size standard of 1,500 employees or less for Wired Telecommunications Carriers, or else would require the use of two size standards. No official approval of either option has been granted by the Commission as of the time of the release of the FY 2015 NPRM. Second, the data available under the size standard of $38.5 million dollars or less is not applicable at this time, because the only currently available U.S. Census data for annual receipts of all businesses operating in the NAICS Code category of 515210 (Cable and other Subscription Programming) consists only of total receipts for all businesses operating in this category in 2007 and of total annual receipts for all businesses operating in this category in 2012. The data do not provide any basis for determining, for either year, how many businesses were small because they had annual receipts of $38.5 million or less. See http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2012_US_51I2&prodType=table.

    175 U.S. Census Bureau, 2007 NAICS Definitions, “517110 Wired Telecommunications Carriers” (partial definition), (Full definition stated in paragraph 6 of this IRFA) available at http://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/sssd/naics/naicsrch.

    176 13 CFR 121.201, NAICS code 517110.

    177http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2007_US-51SSSZ5&prodType=Table.

    12. Cable Companies and Systems. The Commission has developed its own small business size standards for the purpose of cable rate regulation. Under the Commission's rules, a “small cable company” is one serving 400,000 or fewer subscribers nationwide.178 Industry data indicate that there are currently 4,600 active cable systems in the United States.179 Of this total, all but ten cable operators nationwide are small under the 400,000-subscriber size standard.180 In addition, under the Commission's rate regulation rules, a “small system” is a cable system serving 15,000 or fewer subscribers.181 Current Commission records show 4,600 cable systems nationwide.182 Of this total, 3,900 cable systems have less than 15,000 subscribers, and 700 systems have 15,000 or more subscribers, based on the same records.183 Thus, under this standard as well, we estimate that most cable systems are small entities.

    178 47 CFR 76.901(e).

    179 August 15, 2015 Report from the Media Bureau based on data contained in the Commission's Cable Operations And Licensing System (COALS). See www/fcc.gov/coals.

    180See SNL KAGAN at Https://snl.cominteractiveX_top_cable_MSOs_aspx?period2015Q1&sortcol=subscribersbasic&sortorder=desc.

    181 47 CFR 76.901(c)

    182See footnote 2, supra.

    183 August 5, 2015 report from the Media Bureau based on its research in COALS. See www.fcc.gov/coals.

    13. Cable System Operators (Telecom Act Standard). The Communications Act of 1934, as amended, also contains a size standard for small cable system operators, which is “a cable operator that, directly or through an affiliate, serves in the aggregate fewer than 1 percent of all subscribers in the United States and is not affiliated with any entity or entities whose gross annual revenues in the aggregate exceed $250,000,000.” 184 There are approximately 52,403,705 cable video subscribers in the United States today.185 Accordingly, an operator serving fewer than 524,037 subscribers shall be deemed a small operator if its annual revenues, when combined with the total annual revenues of all its affiliates, do not exceed $250 million in the aggregate.186 Based on available data, we find that all but nine incumbent cable operators are small entities under this size standard.187 We note that the Commission neither requests nor collects information on whether cable system operators are affiliated with entities whose gross annual revenues exceed $250 million.188 Although it seems certain that some of these cable system operators are affiliated with entities whose gross annual revenues exceed $250,000,000, we are unable at this time to estimate with greater precision the number of cable system operators that would qualify as small cable operators under the definition in the Communications Act.

    184 47 CFR 901 (f) and notes ff. 1, 2, and 3.

    185See SNL KAGAN at htpps://www.snl.com/interactivex/MultichannelIndustryBenchmarks.aspx.

    186 47.901(f) and notes ff. 1, 2, and 3.

    187See SNL KAGAN at www.snl.com/Interactivex/TopCable MSOs.aspx

    188 The Commission does receive such information on a case-by-case basis if a cable operator appeals a local franchise authority's finding that the operator does not qualify as a small cable operator pursuant to 76.901(f) of the Commission's rules. See 47 CFR 76.901(f).

    14. All Other Telecommunications. “All Other Telecommunications” is defined as follows: This U.S. industry is comprised of establishments that are primarily engaged in providing specialized telecommunications services, such as satellite tracking, communications telemetry, and radar station operation. This industry also includes establishments primarily engaged in providing satellite terminal stations and associated facilities connected with one or more terrestrial systems and capable of transmitting telecommunications to, and receiving telecommunications from, satellite systems. Establishments providing Internet services or voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) services via client-supplied telecommunications connections are also included in this industry.189 The SBA has developed a small business size standard for “All Other Telecommunications,” which consists of all such firms with gross annual receipts of $32.5 million or less.190 For this category, census data for 2007 show that there were 2,383 firms that operated for the entire year. Of these firms, a total of 2,346 had gross annual receipts of less than $25 million.191 Thus, a majority of “All Other Telecommunications” firms potentially affected by the rules adopted can be considered small.

    189http://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/ssssd/naics/naicsrch.

    190 13 CFR 121.201; NAICS Code 517919.

    191http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2007_US_51SSSZ5&prodType=table.

    D. Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping and Other Compliance Requirements

    15. This Report and Order does not adopt any new reporting, recordkeeping, or other compliance requirements.

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

    16. The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant alternatives that it has considered in reaching its approach, which may include the following four alternatives, among others: (1) The establishment of differing compliance or reporting requirements or timetables that take into account the resources available to small entities; (2) the clarification, consolidation, or simplification of compliance or reporting requirements under the rule for small entities; (3) the use of performance, rather than design, standards; and (4) an exemption from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for small entities.192

    192 5 U.S.C. 603(c)(1) through (c)(4).

    17. This Report and Order does not adopt any new reporting requirements. Therefore no adverse economic impact on small entities will be sustained based on reporting requirements. There will be a regulatory fee instituted on DBS providers due to the adoption of a new fee category, but we anticipate that the two primary DBS companies required to pay these fees are not small entities. Similarly, a new regulatory fee for Responsible Organizations (Resp. Org) has also been instituted in FY 2015 for the toll free number fee category that was previously adopted—the fee rate adopted is 12 cents per year. This is not a new reporting requirement, and should not have any adverse economic impact on small Resp. Org. entities because they are able to recover these assessed fees from their customers.

    18. In keeping with the requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, we have considered certain alternative means of mitigating the effects of fee increases to a particular industry segment. For example, beginning in FY 2015 the Commission has increased the de minimis threshold from under $10 to $500 (the total of all regulatory fees), which will impact many small entities that pay regulatory fees for ITSP, paging, cellular, cable, and Low Power Television/FM Translators. Historically, many of these small entities have been late in making their fee payments to the Commission by the due date. This increase in the de minimis threshold to $500 will relieve regulatees both financially and administratively. Finally, regulatees may also seek waivers or other relief on the basis of financial hardship. See 47 CFR 1.1166.

    F. Federal Rules That May Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict

    19. None.

    VIII. Ordering Clauses

    20. Accordingly, it is ordered that, pursuant to sections 4(i) and (j), 9, and 303(r) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i), 154(j), 159, and 303(r), this Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is hereby adopted.

    21. It is further ordered that, as provided in paragraph 41, this Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking shall be effective September 17, 2015.

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

    Federal Communications Commission. Marlene H. Dortch. Secretary. List of Subjects in 47 CFR Part 1

    Administrative practice and procedure. Lawyers, Metric system, Penalties, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Telecommunications.

    Rule Changes

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal Communications Commission amends 47 CFR, part 1 as follows:

    PART 1—PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE 1. The authority citation for part 1 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    15 U.S.C. 79, et seq.; 47 U.S.C. 151, 154(i), 154(j), 155, 157, 160, 201, 225, 227, 303, 309, 332, 1403, 1404, 1451, 1452, and 1455.

    2. Section 1.1152 is revised to read as follows:
    § 1.1152 Schedule of annual regulatory fees for wireless radio services. Exclusive use services (per license) Fee amount 1 1. Land Mobile (Above 470 MHz and 220 MHz Local, Base Station & SMRS) (47 CFR part 90): (a) New, Renew/Mod (FCC 601 & 159) $30.00 (b) New, Renew/Mod (Electronic Filing) (FCC 601 & 159) 30.00 (c) Renewal Only (FCC 601 & 159) 30.00 (d) Renewal Only (Electronic Filing) (FCC 601 & 159) 30.00 220 MHz Nationwide: (a) New, Renew/Mod (FCC 601 & 159) 30.00 (b) New, Renew/Mod (Electronic Filing) (FCC 601 & 159) 30.00 (c) Renewal Only (FCC 601 & 159) 30.00 (d) Renewal Only (Electronic Filing) (FCC 601 & 159) 30.00 2. Microwave (47 CFR part 101) (Private): (a) New, Renew/Mod (FCC 601 & 159) 20.00 (b) New, Renew/Mod (Electronic Filing) (FCC 601 & 159) 20.00 (c) Renewal Only (FCC 601 & 159) 20.00 (d) Renewal Only (Electronic Filing) (FCC 601 & 159) 20.00 3. Shared Use Services: Land Mobile (Frequencies Below 470 MHz—except 220 MHz): (a) New, Renew/Mod (FCC 601 & 159) 10.00 (b) New, Renew/Mod (Electronic Filing) (FCC 601 & 159) 10.00 (c) Renewal Only (FCC 601 & 159) 10.00 (d) Renewal Only (Electronic Filing) (FCC 601 & 159) 10.00 Rural Radio (Part 22): (a) New, Additional Facility, Major Renew/Mod (Electronic Filing) (FCC 601 & 159) 10.00 (b) Renewal, Minor Renew/Mod (Electronic Filing) (FCC 601 & 159) 10.00 Marine Coast: (a) New Renewal/Mod (FCC 601 & 159) 35.00 (b) New, Renewal/Mod (Electronic Filing) (FCC 601 & 159) 35.00 (c) Renewal Only (FCC 601 & 159) 35.00 (d) Renewal Only (Electronic Filing) (FCC 601 & 159) 35.00 Aviation Ground: (a) New, Renewal/Mod (FCC 601 & 159) 20.00 (b) New, Renewal/Mod (Electronic Filing) (FCC 601 & 159) 20.00 (c) Renewal Only (FCC 601 & 159) 20.00 (d) Renewal Only (Electronic Only) (FCC 601 & 159) 20.00 Marine Ship: (a) New, Renewal/Mod (FCC 605 & 159) 15.00 (b) New, Renewal/Mod (Electronic Filing) (FCC 605 & 159) 15.00 (c) Renewal Only (FCC 605 & 159) 15.00 (d) Renewal Only (Electronic Filing) (FCC 605 & 159) 15.00 Aviation Aircraft: (a) New, Renew/Mod (FCC 605 & 159) 10.00 (b) New, Renew/Mod (Electronic Filing) (FCC 605 & 159) 10.00 (c) Renewal Only (FCC 605 & 159) 10.00 (d) Renewal Only (Electronic Filing) (FCC 605 & 159) 10.00 4. CMRS Cellular/Mobile Services (per unit) (FCC 159) 2 .17 5. CMRS Messaging Services (per unit) (FCC 159) 3 .08 6. Broadband Radio Service (formerly MMDS and MDS) 635 7. Local Multipoint Distribution Service 635
    3. Section 1.1153 is revised to read as follows:

    1 Note that “small fees” are collected in advance for the entire license term. Therefore, the annual fee amount shown in this table that is a small fee (categories 1 through 5) must be multiplied by the 5- or 10-year license term, as appropriate, to arrive at the total amount of regulatory fees owed. Also, application fees may apply as detailed in § 1.1102. of this chapter.

    2 These are standard fees that are to be paid in accordance with § 1.1157(b) of this chapter.

    3 These are standard fees that are to be paid in accordance with 1.1157(b) of this chapter.

    § 1.1153 Schedule of annual regulatory fees and filing locations for mass media services. Fee amount Radio [AM and FM] (47 CFR part 73): 1. AM Class A: <=25,000 population $775 25,001-75,000 population 1,550 75,001-150,000 population 2,325 150,001-500,000 population 3,475 500,001-1,200,000 population 5,025 1,200,001-3,000,000 population 7,750 >3,000,000 population 9,300 2. AM Class B: <=25,000 population 645 25,001-75,000 population 1,300 75,001-150,000 population 1,625 150,001-500,000 population 2,750 500,001-1,200,000 population 4,225 1,200,001-3,000,000 population 6,500 >3,000,000 population 7,800 3. AM Class C: <=25,000 population 590 25,001-75,000 population 900 75,001-150,000 population 1,200 150,001-500,000 population 1,800 500,001-1,200,000 population 3,000 1,200,001-3,000,000 population 4,500 >3,000,000 population 5,700 4. AM Class D: <=25,000 population 670 25,001-75,000 population 1,000 75,001-150,000 population 1,675 150,001-500,000 population 2,025 500,001-1,200,000 population 3,375 1,200,001-3,000,000 population 5,400 >3,000,000 population 6,750 5. AM Construction Permit 590 6. FM Classes A, B1 and C3: <=25,000 population 750 25,001-75,000 population 1,500 75,001-150,000 population 2,050 150,001-500,000 population 3,175 500,001-1,200,000 population 5,050 1,200,001-3,000,000 population 8,250 >3,000,000 population 10,500 7. FM Classes B, C, C0, C1 and C2: <=25,000 population 925 25,001-75,000 population 1,625 75,001-150,000 population 3,000 150,001-500,000 population 3,925 500,001-1,200,000 population 5,775 1,200,001-3,000,000 population 9,250 >3,000,000 population 12,025 8. FM Construction Permits 750 TV (47 CFR part 73) Digital TV (UHF and VHF Commercial Stations): 1. Markets 1 thru 10 46,825 2. Markets 11 thru 25 43,200 3. Markets 26 thru 50 27,625 4. Markets 51 thru 100 16,275 5. Remaining Markets 4,850 6. Construction Permits 4,850 Satellite UHF/VHF Commercial: 1. All Markets 1,575 Low Power TV, Class A TV, TV/FM Translator, & TV/FM Booster (47 CFR part 74) 440
    4. Section 1.1154 is revised to read as follows:
    § 1.1154 Schedule of annual regulatory charges for common carrier services. Fee amount Radio Facilities: 1. Microwave (Domestic Public Fixed) (Electronic Filing) (FCC Form 601 & 159) $20.00. Carriers: 1. Interstate Telephone Service Providers (per interstate and international end-user revenues (see FCC Form 499-A) $.00331. 2. Toll Free Number Fee .12 per Toll Free Number.
    5. Section 1.1155 is revised to read as follows:
    § 1.1155 Schedule of regulatory fees for cable television services. Fee amount 1. Cable Television Relay Service $660. 2. Cable TV System, Including IPTV (per subscriber) 0.96. 3. Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) $.12 per subscriber.
    6. Section 1.1156 is revised to read as follows:
    § 1.1156 Schedule of regulatory fees for international services.

    (a) The following schedule applies for the listed services:

    Fee category Fee amount Space Stations (Geostationary Orbit) $119,150 Space Stations (Non-Geostationary Orbit) 132,125 Earth Stations: Transmit/Receive & Transmit only (per authorization or registration) 310

    (b) International Terrestrial and Satellite. Regulatory fees for International Bearer Circuits are to be paid by facilities-based common carriers that have active (used or leased) international bearer circuits as of December 31 of the prior year in any terrestrial or satellite transmission facility for the provision of service to an end user or resale carrier, which includes active circuits to themselves or to their affiliates. In addition, non-common carrier satellite operators must pay a fee for each circuit sold or leased to any customer, including themselves or their affiliates, other than an international common carrier authorized by the Commission to provide U.S. international common carrier services. “Active circuits” for these purposes include backup and redundant circuits. In addition, whether circuits are used specifically for voice or data is not relevant in determining that they are active circuits.

    The fee amount, per active 64 KB circuit or equivalent will be determined for each fiscal year.

    International terrestrial and satellite (capacity as of December 31, 2014) Fee amount Terrestrial Common Carrier Satellite Common Carrier Satellite Non-Common Carrier $0.03 per 64 KB Circuit.

    (c) Submarine cable: Regulatory fees for submarine cable systems will be paid annually, per cable landing license, for all submarine cable systems operating as of December 31 of the prior year. The fee amount will be determined by the Commission for each fiscal year.

    Submarine cable systems
  • (capacity as of December 31, 2014)
  • Fee amount
    <2.5 Gbps $7,175 2.5 Gbps or greater, but less than 5 Gbps 14,350 5 Gbps or greater, but less than 10 Gbps 28,675 10 Gbps or greater, but less than 20 Gbps 57,350 20 Gbps or greater 114,700
    [FR Doc. 2015-23312 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION 47 CFR Parts 27 and 74 [GN Docket No. 12-268; FCC 14-50] Expanding the Economic and Innovation Opportunities of Spectrum Through Incentive Auctions AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Final rule; announcement of effective date.

    SUMMARY:

    In this document, the Federal Communications Commission (Commission) announces that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has approved, for a period of three years, certain information collection requirements associated with the Commission's Expanding the Economic and Innovation Opportunities of Spectrum Through Incentive Auctions Report and Order (Incentive Auction Report and Order), FCC 14-50. This document is consistent with the Incentive Auction Report and Order, which stated that the Commission would publish a document in the Federal Register announcing OMB approval and the effective date of to the new information collection requirements.

    DATES:

    The amendments to 47 CFR 27.14(k), 27.14(t)(6), 27.17(c), 27.19(b), 27.19(c), 74.602(h)(5)(ii), and 74.602(h)(5)(iii), published at 79 FR 48442, August 15, 2014, are effective on September 17, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Cathy Williams by email at [email protected] and telephone at (202) 418-2918.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This document announces that, on August 27, 2015, OMB approved certain information collection requirements contained in the Commission's Incentive Auction Report and Order, FCC 14-50, published at 79 FR 48442, August 15, 2014. The OMB Control Number is 3060-1180. The Commission publishes this document as an announcement of the effective date of these information collection requirements.

    Synopsis

    As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3507), the FCC is notifying the public that it received OMB approval on August 27, 2015, for the new information collection requirements contained in the Commission's rules at 47 CFR 27.14(k), 27.14(t)(6), 27.17(c), 27.19(b), 27.19(c), 74.602(h)(5)(ii), 74.602(h)(5)(iii). Under 5 CFR part 1320, an agency may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless it displays a current, valid OMB Control Number. No person shall be subject to any penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act that does not display a current, valid OMB Control Number. The OMB Control Number is 3060-1180.

    The foregoing notice is required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13, October 1, 1995, and 44 U.S.C. 3507.

    The total annual reporting burdens and costs for the respondents are as follows:

    OMB Control Number: 3060-1180.

    OMB Approval Date: August 27, 2015.

    OMB Expiration Date: August 31, 2018.

    Title: Expanding the Economic and Innovation Opportunities of Spectrum Through Incentive Auctions.

    Form Number: N/A.

    Respondents: Business or other for-profit entities, state, local, or tribal government and not for profit institutions.

    Number of Respondents and Responses: 378 respondents and 378 responses.

    Estimated Time per Response: .5 hours-2 hours.

    Frequency of Response: One-time and on occasion reporting requirements, twice within 12 years reporting requirement, 6, 10 and 12-years reporting requirements and third party disclosure requirement.

    Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. Statutory authority for these collections are contained in 47 U.S.C. 151, 154, 301, 303, 307, 308, 309, 310, 316, 319, 325(b), 332, 336(f), 338, 339, 340, 399b, 403, 534, 535, 1404, 1452, and 1454 of the Communications Act of 1934.

    Total Annual Burden: 581 hours.

    Total Annual Cost: No cost.

    Privacy Impact Assessment: No impact(s).

    Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: There is no need for confidentiality with this collection of information.

    Needs and Uses: The FCC adopted the Expanding the Economic and Innovation Opportunities of Spectrum Through Incentive Auctions Report and Order, FCC 14-50, on May 15, 2014, published at 79 FR 48442 (Aug. 15, 2014). The Commission sought approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for some of the information collection requirements contained in FCC 14-50. The Commission will use the information to ensure compliance with required filings of notifications, certifications, license renewals, license cancelations, and license modifications. Also, such information will be used to minimize interference and to determine compliance with Commission's rules.

    The following is a description of the information collection requirements for which the Commission sought OMB approval:

    Section 27.14(k) requires 600 MHz licensees to demonstrate compliance with performance requirements by filing a construction notification with the Commission, within 15 days of the applicable benchmark.

    Section 27.14(t)(6) requires 600 MHz licensees to make a renewal showing as a condition of each renewal. The showing must include a detailed description of the applicant's provision of service during the entire license period and address: (i) The level and quality of service provided by the applicant (including the population served, the area served, the number of subscribers, the services offered); (ii) the date service commenced, whether service was ever interrupted, and the duration of any interruption or outage; (iii) the extent to which service is provided to rural areas; (iv) the extent to which service is provided to qualifying tribal land as defined in 47 CFR 1.2110(f)(3)(i); and (v) any other factors associated with the level of service to the public.

    Section 27.17(c) requires 600 MHz licensees to notify the Commission within 10 days of discontinuance if they permanently discontinue service by filing FCC Form 601 or 605 and requesting license cancellation.

    Section 27.19(b) requires 600 MHz licensees with base and fixed stations in the 600 MHz downlink band within 25 kilometers of Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) observatories to coordinate with the National Science Foundation (NSF) prior to commencing operations.

    Section 27.19(c) requires 600 MHz licensees that intend to operate base and fixed stations in the 600 MHz downlink band in locations near the Radio Astronomy Observatory site located in Green Bank, Pocahontas County, West Virginia, or near the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, to comply with the provisions in 47 CFR 1.924.

    Section 74.602(h)(5)(ii) requires 600 MHz licensees to notify the licensee of a studio-transmitter link (TV STL), TV relay station, or TV translator relay station of their intent to commence wireless operations and the likelihood of harmful interference from the TV STL, TV relay station, or TV translator relay station to those operations within the wireless licensee's licensed geographic service area. The notification is to be in the form of a letter, via certified mail, return receipt requested and must be sent not less than 30 days in advance of approximate date of commencement of operations.

    Section 74.602(h)(5)(iii) requires all TV STL, TV relay station and TV translator relay station licensees to modify or cancel their authorizations and vacate the 600 MHz band no later than the end of the post-auction transition period as defined in 47 CFR 27.4.

    These rules which contain information collection requirements are designed to provide for flexible use of this spectrum by allowing licensees to choose their type of service offerings, to encourage innovation and investment in mobile broadband use in this spectrum, and to provide a stable regulatory environment in which broadband deployment would be able to develop through the application of standard terrestrial wireless rules. Without this information, the Commission would not be able to carry out its statutory responsibilities.

    Federal Communications Commission. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-22595 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    80 180 Thursday, September 17, 2015 Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY [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:

    Proposed rule; reopening of public comment period.

    SUMMARY:

    On August 6, 2015, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) in the Federal Register regarding proposed amendments to the test procedures for small, large, and very large air-cooled commercial package air conditioning and heating equipment. DOE also held a related public meeting on September 4, 2015. The comment period for the NOPR was scheduled to end September 8, 2015. After receiving a request for an additional two weeks to comment, DOE has decided to reopen the comment period for submitting comments and data in response to the NOPR regarding test procedures for small, large, and very large air-cooled commercial package air conditioning and heating equipment. The comment period is extended.

    DATES:

    The comment period for the NOPR regarding test procedures for small, large, and very large air-cooled commercial package air conditioning and heating equipment published on August 6, 2015 (80 FR 46870) is reopened. DOE will accept comments, data, and information in response to the NOPR received no later than October 2, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    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 regulatory information number (RIN) number 1904-AD54. Interested persons may submit comments 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 EERE-2015-BT-TP-0015 and/or RIN 1904-AD54 in the subject line of the message.

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

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

    No telefacsimilies (faxes) will be accepted. For detailed instructions on submitting comments and additional information on the rulemaking process, see section V (Public Participation) of the August 6, 2015 NOPR for test procedures for small, large, and very large air-cooled commercial package air conditioning and heating equipment.

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

    A link to the docket Web page can be found at: [www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=EERE-2015-BT-TP-0015]. This Web page contains a link to the docket for this NOPR on the www.regulations.gov site. The www.regulations.gov Web page contains simple instructions on how to access all documents, including public comments, in the docket.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

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

    Mr. Michael Kido, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of the General Counsel, GC-33, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585-0121. Telephone: (202) 586-8145. Email: [email protected]

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

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (EPCA), as amended, requires DOE to conduct an evaluation of its test procedures at least once every seven years for each class of covered equipment (including the equipment that is the subject of this rulemaking) to determine if an amended test procedure would more accurately or fully comply with the requirement to be reasonably designed to produce test results that reflect the energy efficiency, energy use, and operating costs during a representative average use cycle. DOE must either prescribe amended test procedures or publish a notice in the Federal Register regarding its determination not to amend test procedures. (42 U.S.C. 6314(a)(1)-(2))

    On August 6, 2015, DOE published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) in the Federal Register regarding potential amendments to the test procedures for small, large, and very large air-cooled commercial package air conditioning and heating equipment (80 FR 46870). The notice provided for the submission of written comments by September 8, 2015, and oral comments were also accepted at a public meeting held on September 4, 2015.

    On September 4, 2015, DOE received a request from Goodman Manufacturing Co., seeking an additional two weeks to prepare and submit comments. On September 8, 2015, DOE received a request from Lennox International seeking an additional 30 days to review the technical aspects of the proposed test procedure. After careful consideration of this request, DOE has determined that extending the public comment period by reopening to allow additional time for interested parties to submit comments is appropriate based on the foregoing reasons. Accordingly, DOE has decided to grant the request and reopen the public comment period on the NOPR for test procedures for small, large, and very large air-cooled commercial package air conditioning and heating equipment for 15 days to allow for additional data and comments to be submitted, especially in light of the public meeting discussion on specific topics. Consequently, DOE will consider any comments in response to the NOPR received by midnight of October 2, 2015, and deems any comments received by that time to be timely submitted.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on September 11, 2015. Kathleen B. Hogan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23416 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2015-3632; Directorate Identifier 2015-NM-023-AD] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Airplanes AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

    SUMMARY:

    We propose to supersede Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2014-14-06 for all Airbus Model A318-111 and -112 airplanes; Model A319-111, -112, -113, -114, and -115 airplanes; Model A320-111, -211, -212, and -214 airplanes; and Model A321-111, -112, -211, -212, and -213 airplanes. AD 2014-14-06 currently requires inspecting the aft engine mount retainers for surface finish, cracks, and failure, and replacement if necessary. Since we issued AD 2014-14-06, inspection results have shown that the main cause of crack initiation remains the vibration dynamic effect that affects both retainers, either with “dull” or “bright” surface finishes. This proposed AD would require repetitive inspections for damage, cracks, broken, and missing aft engine mount retainers, and replacement if necessary. We are proposing this AD to detect and correct failure of retainer brackets of the aft engine mount and consequent loss of the locking feature of the nuts of the inner and outer pins; loss of the pins will result in the aft mount engine link no longer being secured to the aft engine mount.

    DATES:

    We must receive comments on this proposed AD by November 2, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may send comments by any of the following methods:

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

    Fax: 202-493-2251.

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

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

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

    For Goodrich Aerostructures service information identified in this proposed AD, contact Goodrich Aerostructures, 850 Lagoon Drive, Chula Vista, CA 91910-2098; telephone 619-691-2719; email [email protected]; Internet http://www.goodrich.com/TechPubs.

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

    Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-3632; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this proposed AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Operations office (telephone 800-647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Sanjay Ralhan, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; telephone 425-227-1405; fax 425-227-1149.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Comments Invited

    We invite you to send any written relevant data, views, or arguments about this proposed AD. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include “Docket No. FAA-2015-3632; Directorate Identifier 2015-NM-023-AD” at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this proposed AD. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this proposed AD based on those comments.

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

    Discussion

    On July 3, 2014, we issued AD 2014-14-06, Amendment 39-17901 (79 FR 42655, July 23, 2014). AD 2014-14-06 requires actions intended to address an unsafe condition on all Model A318-111 and -112 airplanes; Model A319-111, -112, -113, -114, and -115 airplanes; Model A320-111, -211, -212, and -214 airplanes; and Model A321-111, -112, -211, -212, and -213 airplanes.

    Since we issued AD 2014-14-06, Amendment 39-17901 (79 FR 42655, July 23, 2014), we have determined that additional inspections are necessary to address the identified unsafe condition. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA Airworthiness Directive 2015-0021, dated February 13, 2015 (referred to after this as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition. The MCAI states:

    During in-service inspections, several aft engine mount retainers, fitted on aeroplanes equipped with CFM56-5A/5B engines, have been found broken. The results of the initial investigations highlighted that two different types of surface finish had been applied (respectively bright and dull material finishes), and that dull finish affects the strength of the retainer with regard to fatigue properties of the part. The pins which attach the engine link to the aft mount are secured by two nuts, which do not have a self-locking feature; this function is provided by the retainer brackets. In case of failure of the retainer bracket, the locking feature of the nuts of the inner and outer pins is lost; as a result, these nuts could subsequently become loose.

    In case of full loss of the nuts, there is the potential to also lose the pins, in which case the aft mount link will no longer be secured to the aft engine mount. The same locking feature is used for the three link assemblies of the aft mount.

    This condition, if not detected and corrected, could lead to in-flight loss of an aft mount link, possibly resulting in damage to the aeroplane and injury to person on the ground.

    To address this potential unsafe condition, EASA issued AD 2013-0050 (http://ad.easa.europa.eu/blob/easa_ad_2013_0050_superseded.pdf/AD_2013-0050_1 [which corresponds to FAA AD 2014-14-06, Amendment 39-17901 (79 FR 42655, July 23, 2014)] to require detailed inspections (DET) of the aft engine mount retainers and the replacement of all retainers with dull finish with retainers having a bright finish.

    Since that [EASA] AD was issued, inspection results have shown that the main cause of crack initiation remains the vibration dynamic effect that affects both retainers, either with “dull” or “bright” surface finishes. The non-conforming “dull” surface's pitting is an aggravating factor.

    For the reasons described above, this [EASA] AD retains the requirements of EASA AD 2013-0050, which is superseded, and requires repetitive DET of all aft engine mount retainers and, depending on findings [damaged, cracked, broken, or missing retainers], their replacement.

    This [EASA] AD is considered to be an interim action, pending development and availability of a final solution.

    You may examine the MCAI in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-3632.

    Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    Airbus has issued Service Bulletin A320-71-1060, dated October 9, 2014. This service information describes procedures for inspection of the aft engine mount retainers for surface finish (dull or bright), for damaged, cracked, broken, or missing retainers, and replacement.

    Goodrich Aerostructures has issued Service Bulletin RA32071-160, dated September 18, 2014. This service information describes procedures for inspection of the aft engine mount inner retainers for cracks or failure, and replacement.

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

    FAA's Determination and Requirements of This Proposed AD

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

    Explanation of “RC” Procedures and Tests in Service Information

    The FAA worked in conjunction with industry, under the Airworthiness Directive Implementation Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC), to enhance the AD system. One enhancement was a new process for annotating which procedures and tests in the service information are required for compliance with an AD. Differentiating these procedures and tests from other tasks in the service information is expected to improve an owner's/operator's understanding of crucial AD requirements and help provide consistent judgment in AD compliance. The procedures and tests identified as Required for Compliance (RC) in any service information have a direct effect on detecting, preventing, resolving, or eliminating an identified unsafe condition.

    As specified in a NOTE under the Accomplishment Instructions of the specified Airbus service information, procedures and tests that are identified as RC in any service information must be done to comply with the proposed AD. However, procedures and tests that are not identified as RC are recommended. Those procedures and tests that are not identified as RC may be deviated from using accepted methods in accordance with the operator's maintenance or inspection program without obtaining approval of an alternative method of compliance (AMOC), provided the procedures and tests identified as RC can be done and the airplane can be put back in a serviceable condition. Any substitutions or changes to procedures or tests identified as RC will require approval of an AMOC.

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this proposed AD affects 922 airplanes of U.S. registry.

    The actions required by AD 2014-14-06, Amendment 39-17901 (79 FR 42655, July 23, 2014), and retained in this proposed AD take about 3 work-hours per product, at an average labor rate of $85 per work-hour. Based on these figures, the estimated cost of the actions that are required by AD 2014-14-06 is $255 per inspection cycle per product (for two engines).

    We also estimate that it would take about 10 work-hours per product to comply with the basic requirements of this proposed AD, and 1 work-hour per product to report inspection findings. The average labor rate is $85 per work-hour. Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of this proposed AD on U.S. operators to be $862,070, or $935 per product.

    In addition, we estimate that any necessary follow-on actions would take about 2 work-hours and require parts costing $10,000, for a cost of $10,170 per product. We have no way of determining the number of aircraft that might need these actions.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    A federal agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, nor shall a person be subject to penalty for failure to comply with a collection of information subject to the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act unless that collection of information displays a current valid OMB control number. The control number for the collection of information required by this AD is 2120-0056. The paperwork cost associated with this AD has been detailed in the Costs of Compliance section of this document and includes time for reviewing instructions, as well as completing and reviewing the collection of information. Therefore, all reporting associated with this AD is mandatory. Comments concerning the accuracy of this burden and suggestions for reducing the burden should be directed to the FAA at 800 Independence Ave. SW., Washington, DC 20591, ATTN: Information Collection Clearance Officer, AES-200.

    Authority for this Rulemaking

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

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

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

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

    3. Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska; and

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

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    The Proposed Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by removing Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2014-14-06, Amendment 39-17901 (79 FR 42655, July 23, 2014), and adding the following new AD: Airbus: Docket No. FAA-2015-3632; Directorate Identifier 2015-NM-023-AD. (a) Comments Due Date

    We must receive comments by November 2, 2015.

    (b) Affected ADs

    This AD replaces AD 2014-14-06, Amendment 39-17901 (79 FR 42655, July 23, 2014).

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to the Airbus airplanes identified in paragraphs (c)(1) through (c)(4) of this AD, certificated in any category, all manufacturer serial numbers.

    (1) Airbus Model A318-111 and -112 airplanes.

    (2) Airbus Model A319-111, -112, -113, -114, and -115 airplanes.

    (3) Airbus Model A320-211, -212, and -214 airplanes.

    (4) Airbus Model A321-111, -112, -211, -212, and -213 airplanes.

    (d) Subject

    Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 71, Powerplant.

    (e) Reason

    This AD was prompted by inspection results that have shown that the main cause of crack initiation in the aft engine mount retainers is the vibration dynamic effect that affects both retainers, either with “dull” or “bright” surface finishes. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct failure of retainer brackets of the aft engine mount and consequent loss of the locking feature of the nuts of the inner and outer pins; loss of the pins will result in the aft mount engine link no longer being secured to the aft engine mount.

    (f) Compliance

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

    (g) Retained Inspection, With No Changes

    This paragraph restates the requirements of paragraph (g) of AD 2014-14-06, Amendment 39-17901 (79 FR 42655, July 23, 2014), with no changes. Within 3 months after August 27, 2014 (the effective date of AD 2014-14-06): Do a detailed inspection of the aft engine mount retainers for surface finish (dull or bright), and for cracks and failure, in accordance with Section 4.2.2, “Inspection Requirements,” of Airbus Alert Operators Transmission (AOT) A71N001-12, Rev. 2, dated February 27, 2013, except as specified in paragraph (h) of this AD.

    (h) Retained Exception to Paragraph (g) of This AD, With No Changes

    This paragraph restates the requirements of paragraph (h) of AD 2014-14-06, Amendment 39-17901 (79 FR 42655, July 23, 2014), with no changes. The actions required by paragraph (g) of this AD are not required to be done on airplanes with manufacturer serial numbers 4942 and higher, provided a review of maintenance records verifies that no aft engine mount retainers have been replaced since first flight of the airplane.

    (i) Retained Repetitive Inspection and Retainer Replacement for Dull Finish Retainers, With No Changes

    This paragraph restates the requirements of paragraph (i) of AD 2014-14-06, Amendment 39-17901 (79 FR 42655, July 23, 2014), with no changes. If, during the detailed inspection required by paragraph (g) of this AD, any installed dull finish aft engine mount retainer is found without cracks and not failed: Do the actions specified in paragraphs (i)(1) and (i)(2) of this AD.

    (1) Within 25 flight cycles after doing the actions required by paragraph (g) of this AD: Repeat the detailed inspection specified in paragraph (g) of this AD.

    (2) Within 50 flight cycles after doing the first detailed inspection specified in paragraph (g) of this AD: Replace all dull finish retainers with new retainers, in accordance with Section 4.2.3.1, “Replacement Procedure,” of Airbus AOT A71N001-12, Rev. 2, dated February 27, 2013.

    (j) Retained Replacement of Cracked or Failed Retainers, With No Changes

    This paragraph restates the requirements of paragraph (j) of AD 2014-14-06, Amendment 39-17901 (79 FR 42655, July 23, 2014), with no changes. If, during any detailed inspection specified in paragraph (g) of this AD, any installed aft engine mount retainer is found cracked or failed: Before further flight, replace all affected aft engine mount retainers with new retainers, in accordance with Section 4.2.3, “Replacement Procedure,” of Airbus AOT A71N001-12, Rev. 2, dated February 27, 2013.

    (k) Retained Parts Prohibition, With No Changes

    This paragraph restates the requirements of paragraph (k) of AD 2014-14-06, Amendment 39-17901 (79 FR 42655, July 23, 2014), with no changes. As of August 27, 2014 (the effective date of AD 2014-14-06), no person may install any aft engine mount retainer with a dull finish on any airplane. The instructions of Airbus AOT A71N001-12, Rev. 2, dated February 27, 2013; or the Accomplishment Instructions of Goodrich Service Bulletin RA32071-146, Rev. 2, dated July 26, 2012; may be used to verify the correct finish of the part.

    (l) Retained Credit for Previous Actions, With No Changes

    This paragraph restates the provisions of paragraph (l) of AD 2014-14-06, Amendment 39-17901 (79 FR 42655, July 23, 2014), with no changes. This paragraph provides credit for actions required by paragraphs (g), (i), and (j) of this AD, if those actions were performed before August 27, 2014 (the effective date of AD 2014-14-06) using Airbus AOT A71N001-12, Rev. 1, dated August 9, 2012, which is not incorporated by reference in this AD.

    (m) New Requirement of This AD: Repetitive Inspections

    At the latest of the applicable times specified in paragraphs (m)(1), (m)(2), and (m)(3) of this AD: Do a detailed inspection for damaged, cracked, broken, or missing aft engine mount retainers, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A320-71-1060, dated October 9, 2014; or Goodrich Service Bulletin RA32071-160, dated September 18, 2014. Repeat the inspection of the aft engine mount retainers thereafter at intervals not to exceed 12 months.

    (1) Within 12 months since the date of issuance of the original airworthiness certificate or the date of issuance of the original export certificate of airworthiness.

    (2) Within 12 months after installation of new retainers.

    (3) Within 9 months after the effective date of this AD.

    (n) New Requirement of This AD: Replacement of Retainers With Findings

    If, during any detailed inspection specified in paragraph (m) of this AD, any installed aft engine mount retainer is found damaged, cracked, broken, or missing: Before further flight, replace all affected aft engine mount retainers with new retainers, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A320-71-1060, dated October 9, 2014.

    (o) New Requirement of This AD: No Terminating Action

    Replacement of retainers on an airplane, as required by paragraph (n) of this AD, does not constitute terminating action for the repetitive inspections required by paragraph (m) of this AD for that airplane.

    (p) New Requirement of This AD: Required Reporting

    Submit a report of positive findings of any inspection required by paragraph (m) of this AD to Airbus at the applicable time specified in paragraph (p)(1) or (p)(2) of this AD. The report must include the inspection results, a description of any discrepancies found, the airplane serial number, and the number of landings and flight hours on the airplane.

    (1) If the inspection was done on or after the effective date of this AD: Submit the report within 30 days after the inspection.

    (2) If the inspection was done before the effective date of this AD: Submit the report within 30 days after the effective date of this AD.

    (q) Other FAA AD Provisions

    The following provisions also apply to this AD:

    (1) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, send your request to your principal inspector or local Flight Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending information directly to the International Branch, send it to ATTN: Sanjay Ralhan, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; telephone 425-227-1405; fax 425-227-1149. Information may be emailed to: [email protected] Before using any approved AMOC, notify your appropriate principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager of the local flight standards district office/certificate holding district office. The AMOC approval letter must specifically reference this AD.

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

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

    (4) Required for Compliance (RC): If any Airbus service information contains procedures or tests that are identified as RC, those procedures and tests must be done to comply with this AD; any procedures or tests that are not identified as RC are recommended. Those procedures and tests that are not identified as RC may be deviated from using accepted methods in accordance with the operator's maintenance or inspection program without obtaining approval of an AMOC, provided the procedures and tests identified as RC can be done and the airplane can be put back in a serviceable condition. Any substitutions or changes to procedures or tests identified as RC require approval of an AMOC.

    (r) Special Flight Permits

    Special flight permits, as described in Section 21.197 and Section 21.199 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR 21.197 and 21.199), are not allowed.

    (s) Related Information

    (1) Refer to Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information (MCAI) European Aviation Safety Agency Airworthiness Directive 2015-0021, dated February 13, 2015, for related information. This MCAI may be found in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-3632.

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

    (3) For Goodrich Aerostructures service information identified in this AD, contact Goodrich Aerostructures, 850 Lagoon Drive, Chula Vista, CA 91910-2098; telephone 619-691-2719; email [email protected]; Internet http://www.goodrich.com/TechPubs.

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

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on September 9, 2015. Michael Kaszycki, Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23328 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 15 CFR Part 922 Initiation of Review of Management Plan and Regulations of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary; Intent To Conduct Scoping and Prepare Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Management Plan; Correction AGENCY:

    Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS), National Ocean Service (NOS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Department of Commerce (DOC).

    ACTION:

    Correction.

    SUMMARY:

    On August 27, 2015, NOAA published a notice of intent in the Federal Register (80 FR 51973) to initiate public scoping for the management plan review for Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS). This notice alerts the public of the addition of a public scoping meeting in Half Moon Bay on October 14, 2015. It also makes a correction to the docket number for submission of public comments on the online rulemaking portal at www.regulations.gov. The correct docket number is NOAA-NOS-2015-0099. The end of the scoping period remains October 30, 2015.

    DATES:

    NOAA will accept public comments on the notice of intent published at 80 FR 51973 (August 27, 2015) through October 30, 2015. Locations and dates for public scoping meetings remain the same as described in the notice of intent, with the addition of a meeting on October 14, 2015 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Half Moon Bay Yacht Club in Half Moon Bay, CA.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA-NOS-2015-0099, by any of the following methods:

    Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NOS-2015-0099, click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.

    Mail: 99 Pacific Street, Bldg. 455A, Monterey, California 93940, Attn: Paul Michel, Superintendent.

    Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NOAA. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NOAA will accept anonymous comments (enter “N/A” in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, or Adobe PDF file formats only.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dawn Hayes, 831.647.4256, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On August 27, 2015, NOAA published a notice of intent in the Federal Register (80 FR 51973) to initiate public scoping for the management plan review for Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS). In that notice, the docket number for submitting comments on the online rulemaking portal at www.regulations.gov was incorrect. The correct docket number is NOAA-NOS-2015-0099. This notice makes a correction to the docket number for the online submission of public comments.

    In addition, this notice alerts the public that NOAA will hold a fourth public scoping meeting in addition to the three meetings listed in the August 27, 2015 notice (80 FR 51973). The fourth meeting will be held at the Half Moon Bay Yacht Club in Half Moon Bay, CA on October 14, 2015 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1431 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 470.

    Dated: September 9, 2015. John Armor, Acting Director, Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23417 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-NK-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration 21 CFR Part 1 [Docket No. FDA-2011-N-0146] RIN 0910-AH23 User Fee Program To Provide for Accreditation of Third-Party Auditors/Certification Bodies To Conduct Food Safety Audits and To Issue Certifications; Correction AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule; correction.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or we) is correcting a document that appeared in the Federal Register of July 24, 2015, entitled “User Fee Program for Accreditation of Third-Party Auditors/Certification Bodies To Conduct Food Safety Audits and To Issue Certifications.” That document proposed amending the document, “Accreditation of Third-Party Auditors/Certification Bodies to Conduct Food Safety Audits and to Issue Certifications,” and proposed establishing a reimbursement (user fee) program to assess fees and require reimbursement for the work performed to establish and administer the system for the Accreditation of Third-Party Auditors under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The document was published with an incorrect RIN. This document corrects that error.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Charlotte Christin, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Food and Drug Administration, 5100 Paint Branch Pkwy., College Park, MD 20740, 240-402-3708.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    In FR Doc. 2015-18141, in the Federal Register of July 24, 2015 (80 FR 43987), appearing on page 43987, in the second column, the RIN number heading is corrected to read “RIN 0910-AH23.”

    Dated: September 11, 2015. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23333 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Internal Revenue Service 26 CFR Part 1 [REG-138344-13] RIN 1545-BL94 Substantiation Requirement for Certain Contributions AGENCY:

    Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Treasury.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking.

    SUMMARY:

    This document contains proposed regulations to implement the exception to the “contemporaneous written acknowledgement” requirement for substantiating charitable contribution deductions of $250 or more. These proposed regulations provide rules concerning the time and manner for donee organizations to file information returns that report the required information about contributions (donee reporting).

    DATES:

    Written or electronic comments must be received by December 16, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send submissions to CC:PA:LPD:PR (REG-138344-13), Room 5203, Internal Revenue Service, POB 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-138344-13), 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-138344-13).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Concerning the proposed regulations, Robert Basso at (202) 317-7011 (not a toll-free number); concerning comments or a request for a public hearing, Oluwafunmilayo Taylor at (202) 317-6901 (not a toll-free number).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Paperwork Reduction Act

    The collection of information contained in this notice of proposed rulemaking will be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3507(d)). Comments on the collection of information should be sent to the Office of Management and Budget, Attn: Desk Officer for the Department of the Treasury, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Washington, DC 20503, with copies to the Internal Revenue Service, Attn: IRS Reports Clearance Officer, SE:W:CAR:MP:T:T:SP, Washington, DC 20224. Comments on the collection of information should be received by November 16, 2015. Comments are specifically requested concerning:

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

    How the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected may be enhanced;

    How the burden of complying with the proposed collection of information may be minimized, including the application of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and

    Estimates of capital or start-up costs and costs of operation, maintenance, and purchase of services to provide information.

    The collection of information in these proposed regulations is in § 1.170A-13(f)(18) of the Income Tax Regulations. The collection of information is necessary to properly substantiate charitable contribution deductions under the exception to the general requirements for substantiating charitable contribution deductions of $250 or more. The collection of information is required to comply with the provisions of section 170(f)(8)(D) of the Internal Revenue Code (Code). The respondents are entities that receive charitable contributions and donors to such entities. The burden for the collection of information contained in proposed regulation § 1.170A-13(f)(18) will be reflected in the burden estimate for a form that the IRS intends to create to request the information specified in the proposed regulation. Once a draft form is available, comments will be invited via a notice in the Federal Register and on the IRS Web site.

    An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a valid control number assigned by the Office of Management and Budget.

    Background

    This document contains amendments to the Income Tax Regulations (26 CFR part 1) under Code section 170(f)(8) governing the substantiation of charitable contributions of $250 or more. Section 170(f)(8) was enacted by Section 13172(a) of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993, Public Law 103-66 (107 Stat. 312, 455 (1993)), effective for contributions made on or after January 1, 1994. Section 1.170A-13(f) provides rules on substantiation of charitable contributions of $250 or more. See TD 8690 (1997-1 CB 68).

    Section 170(f)(8)(A) requires a taxpayer who claims a charitable contribution deduction for any contribution of $250 or more to obtain substantiation in the form of a contemporaneous written acknowledgment (CWA) from the donee organization. Under section 170(f)(8)(B), while the CWA need not be in any particular form, it must contain the following information: (1) The amount of cash and a description of any property other than cash contributed; (2) whether any goods and services were provided by the donee organization in consideration for the contribution; and (3) a description and good faith estimate of the value of any goods and services provided by the donee organization or a statement that such goods and services consist solely of intangible religious benefits.

    The CWA must also be contemporaneous. Under sections 170(f)(8)(C) and 1.170A-13(f)(3), a CWA is contemporaneous if it is obtained by the taxpayer on or before the earlier of the date the taxpayer files an original return for the taxable year in which the contribution was made or the due date (including extensions) for filing the taxpayer's original return for that year. In the preamble to TD 8690, the Treasury Department and the IRS further emphasized this requirement, noting that “[a] written acknowledgment obtained after a taxpayer files the original return for the year of the contribution is not contemporaneous within the meaning of the statute.” TD 8690 (1997-1 CB 68).

    Section 170(f)(8)(D) provides an exception to the CWA requirement. Under the exception, a CWA is not required if the donee organization files a return, on such form and in accordance with such regulations as the Secretary may prescribe, that includes the information described in section 170(f)(8)(B). When issuing TD 8690 in 1997, the Treasury Department and the IRS specifically declined to issue regulations under section 170(f)(8)(D) to effectuate donee reporting. The present CWA system works effectively, with minimal burden on donors and donees, and the Treasury Department and the IRS have received few requests since the issuance of TD 8690 to implement a donee reporting system.

    In recent years, some taxpayers under examination for their claimed charitable contribution deductions have argued that a failure to comply with the CWA requirements of section 170(f)(8)(A) may be cured if the donee organization files an amended Form 990, “Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax,” that includes the information described in section 170(f)(8)(B) for the contribution at issue. These taxpayers argue that an amended Form 990 constitutes permissible donee reporting within the meaning of section 170(f)(8)(D), even if the amended Form 990 is submitted to the IRS many years after the purported charitable contribution was made. The IRS has consistently maintained that the section 170(f)(8)(D) exception is not available unless and until the Treasury Department and the IRS issue final regulations prescribing the method by which donee reporting may be accomplished. Moreover, the Treasury Department and the IRS have concluded that the Form 990 is unsuitable for donee reporting.

    Explanation of Provisions

    The framework established by these proposed regulations for donee reporting under the section 170(f)(8)(D) exception is intended to provide for timely reporting, while also minimizing reporting burdens on donees and protecting donor privacy.

    Manner of Donee Reporting

    The present CWA process requires that the acknowledgement provided to the donor contain information useful in preparing the donor's tax return for the year of the contribution. To effectively substitute for the CWA, any donee reporting process would require not only that an information return be filed with the IRS, but also that a copy be provided to the donor for use in preparing the donor's federal income tax return for the year of the contribution.

    In order to better protect donor privacy, the Treasury Department and the IRS have concluded that the Form 990 series should not be used for donee reporting. Instead, before finalization of these proposed regulations, the IRS intends to develop a specific-use information return for donee reporting. Donees are not required to adopt donee reporting. Donees who opt to use donee reporting will be required to provide a copy of the information return to the donor at the address the donor provides for this purpose, and the information return will contain only the information related to that donor. The proposed regulations are reserved on the particular form that will be prescribed for this purpose.

    Section 170(f)(8)(D) provides that a donee organization must include the information described in section 170(f)(8)(B) on its return for the donor to qualify for the donee reporting exception. Accordingly, the proposed regulations require that donees who opt to use donee reporting must report that information as well as the donor's name, address, and taxpayer identification number. The donor's taxpayer identification number is necessary in order to properly associate the donation information with the correct donor. Unlike a CWA, which is not sent to the IRS, the donee reporting information return will be sent to the IRS, which must have a means to store, maintain, and readily retrieve the return information for a specific taxpayer if and when substantiation is required in the course of an examination. The Treasury Department and the IRS request comments on the scope of the information necessary to verify substantiation of charitable contribution deductions under donee reporting.

    The Treasury Department and the IRS are concerned about the potential risk for identity theft involved with donee reporting given that donees will be collecting donors' taxpayer identification numbers and maintaining those numbers for some period of time. The Treasury Department and the IRS request comments on whether additional guidance is necessary regarding the procedures a donee should use in soliciting and maintaining a donor's taxpayer identification number and address to mitigate the risk.

    In order to minimize the burden on donees, the proposed regulations provide that donee reporting is not required, but may be done at the option of a donee organization. If a contribution is not reported using donee reporting, then the donor must obtain a CWA. The Treasury Department and the IRS request comments on these provisions and whether additional guidance is necessary to clarify the requirements for donors and donees if the donee chooses to use donee reporting for some or all of the contributions it receives. Also, because of the potential burden on donee organizations, the Treasury Department and the IRS request comments on how the donee reporting process might be better designed to minimize donee burden, and how it may interact with the requirement under section 6115 to provide donors information regarding quid pro quo contributions.

    Time of Donee Reporting

    Section 170(f)(8) is premised on donors receiving timely substantiation of their donations of $250 or more. The CWA assists a donor preparing a return (as well as the IRS examining the return) in determining whether, and in what amount, a donor may claim a charitable contribution deduction. H.R. Rept. No. 103-111, at 783, 785 (1993), 1993-3 CB 167, 359, 361; Viralam v. Commissioner, 136 T.C. 151, 171 (2011); Addis v. Commissioner, 118 T.C. 528, 536 (2002), aff'd, 374 F.3d 881 (9th Cir. 2004); DiDonato v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2011-153. It would be inconsistent with the purpose of section 170(f)(8) to allow an exception to the CWA requirement of section 170(f)(8)(A) based on information that might be reported by a donee on a return that is filed many years after the purported charitable contribution was made. Rather, any alternative method to using a CWA for substantiating charitable contributions through donee reporting must provide timely information to both the IRS and the donor in order to satisfy the purpose of section 170(f)(8).

    Accordingly, the proposed regulations provide that any information return under section 170(f)(8)(D) must be filed by the donee no later than February 28th of the year following the year in which the contribution is made, and the donee organization must provide a copy of the information return to the donor by the same date. An information return that is not filed timely with the IRS, with a copy provided to the donor, will not qualify under section 170(f)(8)(D).

    February 28th is the date when numerous other information returns concerning transactions with other persons must be filed. See, for example, § 1.6041-6 (information at source), § 1.6045-1(j) (returns of brokers), and § 1.6049-4(g) (returns regarding payment of interest). The requirement that a donee organization provide a copy of the information return to the donor no later than February 28th of the year following the year in which the contribution is made is intended to provide donors with timely information needed to claim appropriate charitable contribution deductions on their returns, as well as to ensure sound tax administration—objectives that will not be met if donee reporting is allowed to occur long after the contribution was made. In addition, for donors to be relieved of the obligation to obtain a CWA, the donee must file the donee reporting information return, and communicate that it has done so to the donor, before the due date for the donor's return. The Treasury Department and the IRS request comments on the use of February 28th as the due date for filing a return and furnishing a copy to a donor.

    Proposed Effective Date

    The regulations are proposed to apply to contributions made on or after the date of publication of a Treasury decision adopting these rules as final regulations in the Federal Register.

    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 also been determined that section 553(b) of the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. chapter 5) does not apply to these regulations.

    It is hereby certified that these regulations will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. This certification is based on the fact that, to the extent a donee reporting system is implemented under section 170(f)(8)(D), the statute itself specifies the bulk of the information that needs to be collected for purposes of these regulations. The proposed regulations require that, in order for a donor to be relieved of the current CWA requirement, a donee organization that uses donee reporting must file a return with the IRS reporting certain information and must furnish a copy of the return to the donor whose contribution is reported on such return. These regulations provide the content of the return under section 170(f)(8)(D), the time for filing the return, and the requirement to furnish a copy to the donor. Moreover, any burden associated with the collection of information under the proposed regulations is minimized by the fact that donee reporting under the proposed regulations is optional on the part of any donee, including small entities. Donees need not use this donee reporting process and donors can continue to use the current CWA process. Given the effectiveness and minimal burden of the CWA process, it is expected that donee reporting will be used in an extremely low percentage of cases.

    Based on these facts, a Regulatory Flexibility Analysis under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. chapter 6) is not required.

    Pursuant to section 7805(f) of the Code, this notice of proposed rulemaking will be submitted to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration for comment on its impact on small business.

    Comments and Requests for a Public Hearing

    Before these proposed regulations are adopted as final regulations, consideration will be given to any written 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 http://www.regulations.gov or upon request.

    A public hearing will be scheduled if requested in writing by any person who timely submits comments. If a public hearing is scheduled, notice of the date, time, and place for the public hearing will be published in the Federal Register.

    Drafting Information

    The principal authors of these regulations are Martin L. Osborne and Robert Basso 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 Amendment to the Regulations

    Accordingly, 26 CFR part 1 is proposed to be amended as follows:

    PART 1—INCOME TAXES Paragraph 1. The authority citation for part 1 continues to read in part as follows: Authority:

    26 U.S.C. 7805 * * *

    Par. 2. Section 170A-13 is amended by revising paragraph (f)(18) and adding paragraph (f)(19) to read as follows:
    § 1.170A-13. Recordkeeping and return requirements for deductions for charitable contributions.

    (f) * * *

    (18) Donee organization reporting—(i) Prescribed form. [Reserved]

    (ii) Content of return. A document will not qualify as a return for purposes of section 170(f)(8)(D) unless it contains all of the following information:

    (A) The name and address of the donee;

    (B) The name and address of the donor;

    (C) The taxpayer identification number of the donor;

    (D) The amount of cash and a description (but not necessarily the value) of any property other than cash contributed by the donor to the donee;

    (E) Whether any goods and services were provided by the donee organization in consideration, in whole or in part, for the contribution by the donor; and

    (F) A description and good faith estimate of the value of any goods and services provided by the donee organization or a statement that such goods and services consist solely of intangible religious benefits.

    (iii) Time for filing return. Every donee organization filing a return described in section 170(f)(8)(D) shall file such return on or before February 28 of the year following the calendar year in which the contribution was made. If the return is not filed timely, the return does not qualify under section 170(f)(8)(D), and section 170(f)(8)(A) through (C) applies to the contribution.

    (iv) Furnishing a copy to donor. Every donee organization filing a return described in section 170(f)(8)(D) shall furnish a copy of the return to the donor whose contribution is reported on such return on or before February 28 of the year following the calendar year in which the contribution was made. The copy of the return shall be provided to the donor at the address the donor provides for this purpose.

    (v) Donee organization reporting at option of donee. Donee organization reporting is not required. Donee reporting is available solely at the option of a donee organization, and, the requirements of section 170(f)(8)(A) through (C) apply to all contributions that are not reported using donee reporting.

    (19) Effective/applicability date. Paragraphs (f)(1) through (17) of this section apply to contributions made on or after December 16, 1996. However, taxpayers may rely on the rules of paragraphs (f)(1) through (17) for contributions made on or after January 1, 1994. Paragraph (f)(18) of this section applies to contributions made on or after the date of publication of a Treasury decision adopting these rules as final regulations in the Federal Register.

    John Dalrymple, Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23291 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4830-01-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R09-OAR-2015-0316; FRL-9933-82-Region 9] Approval and Promulgation of State Implementation Plans; Nevada; Regional Haze Progress Report AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposes to approve a revision to the Nevada Regional Haze State Implementation Plan (SIP) submitted by the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) to document that the existing plan is adequate to achieve established goals for visibility improvement and emissions reductions by 2018. The Nevada Regional Haze SIP revision addresses the Regional Haze Rule (RHR) requirements under the Clean Air Act (CAA) to submit a report describing progress in achieving reasonable progress goals (RPGs) to improve visibility in federally designated Class I areas in Nevada and in nearby states that may be affected by emissions from sources in Nevada. EPA is proposing to approve Nevada's determination that the existing Nevada Regional Haze Implementation Plan is adequate to meet the visibility goals, and requires no substantive revision at this time.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received by the designated contact at the address listed below on or before October 19, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R09-OAR-2015-0316, to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or withdrawn. EPA may publish any comment received to its public docket. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. If you need to include CBI as part of your comment, please visit http://www.epa.gov/dockets/comments.html for instructions. Multimedia submissions (audio, video, etc.) must be accompanied by a written comment. The written comment is considered the official comment and should include discussion of all points you wish to make.

    For additional submission methods, the full EPA public comment policy, and general guidance on making effective comments, please visit http://www.epa.gov/dockets/comments.html.

    The index to the docket (docket number EPA-R09-OAR-2015-0316) for this proposed rule is available electronically at http://www.regulations.gov. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, such as CBI or other information that is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is publicly available only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket materials are available electronically at http://www.regulations.gov or in hard copy during normal business hours at the Planning Office of the Air Division, AIR-2, EPA Region 9, 75 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco, CA 94105. To view hard copies of documents listed in the docket index, EPA requests that you contact the individual listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Vijay Limaye, U.S. EPA, Region 9, Planning Office, Air Division, AIR-2, 75 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco, CA 94105. Vijay Limaye may be reached at telephone number (415) 972-3086 and via electronic mail at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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

    Table of Contents I. Overview of Proposed Action II. Background A. Description of Regional Haze B. History of Regional Haze Rule C. Nevada's Regional Haze Plan III. Requirements for Regional Haze Progress Reports IV. Context for Understanding Nevada's Progress Report A. Framework for Measuring Progress B. Relevant Class I Areas C. Data Sources V. EPA's Evaluation of Nevada's Progress Report A. Status of Implementation of All Measures B. Summary of Emission Reductions Achieved C. Assessment of Visibility Conditions and Changes at Jarbidge D. Analysis of Changes in Emissions E. Assessment of Anthropogenic Emissions Impeding Progress F. Assessment of Plan Elements and Strategy G. Review of Visibility Monitoring Strategy H. Determination of Adequacy I. Consultation with Federal Land Managers J. Public Participation VI. EPA's Proposed Action VII. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. Overview of Proposed Action

    EPA is proposing to approve NDEP's determination that the existing Nevada Regional Haze Implementation Plan 1 is adequate to achieve the established RPGs (i.e., visibility goals) for Class I areas by 2018, and therefore requires no substantive revision at this time. The State's determination and EPA's proposed approval are based on the Nevada Regional Haze 5-Year Progress Report (“Progress Report” or “Report”) submitted by NDEP to EPA on November 18, 2014, that addresses 40 CFR 51.308(g), (h), and (i) of the RHR.2 Specifically, we propose to find that the Progress Report demonstrates that the emission control measures in the existing Nevada Regional Haze SIP are sufficient to enable Nevada, as well as other states with Class I areas affected by emissions from sources in Nevada, to meet all established RPGs for 2018 in accordance with § 51.308(g). As a result, we propose to approve NDEP's determination that the existing Implementation Plan is adequate, and requires no further substantive revision at this time to achieve the established goals for visibility improvement in accordance with § 51.308(h). In addition, we are proposing to find that NDEP fulfilled the requirements in § 51.308(i)(2), (3), and (4) regarding State coordination with Federal Land Managers (FLMs). This coordination includes providing FLMs with an opportunity for consultation on the Progress Report, describing how NDEP addressed any comments from the FLMs, and providing procedures for continuing consultation with the FLMs. Finally, we propose to find that NDEP has fulfilled the requirements of CAA 110(a) and (l) and 40 CFR 51.102 regarding reasonable notice and public hearings with regard to the Progress Report.

    1 The Nevada Regional Haze Implementation Plan consists of the Nevada Regional Haze SIP, submitted to EPA in November 2009 and partially approved and partially disapproved by EPA in several related actions in 2012, and the partial Regional Haze Federal Implementation Plan (FIP) promulgated in 2012 and revised in 2013, as described further below.

    2 The Progress Report was deemed complete by operation of law on May 18, 2015.

    II. Background A. Description of Regional Haze

    Regional haze is visibility impairment produced by many sources and activities located across a broad geographic area that emit fine particles that impair visibility by scattering and absorbing light, thereby reducing the clarity, color, and visible distance that one can see. These fine particles also can cause serious health effects and mortality in humans and contribute to environmental impacts, such as acid deposition and eutrophication of water bodies.

    The RHR uses the deciview as the principle metric for measuring visibility and for the RPGs that serve as interim visibility goals toward meeting the national goal of achieving natural visibility conditions by 2064. A deciview expresses uniform changes in haziness in terms of common increments across the entire range of visibility conditions, from pristine to extremely hazy conditions. Deciviews are determined by using air quality measurement to estimate light extinction, and then transforming the value of light extinction using a logarithmic function. A deciview is a more useful measure for tracking progress in improving visibility than light extinction because each deciview change is an equal incremental change in visibility perceived by the human eye. Most people can detect a change in visibility at one deciview.

    B. History of Regional Haze Rule

    In section 169A(a)(1) of the CAA Amendments of 1977, Congress created a program to protect visibility in designated national parks and wilderness areas, establishing as a national goal the “prevention of any future, and the remedying of any existing, impairment of visibility in mandatory Class I Federal areas which impairment results from manmade air pollution.” In accordance with section 169A of the CAA and after consulting with the Department of Interior, EPA promulgated a list of 156 mandatory Class I Federal areas where visibility is identified as an important value.3 In this notice, we refer to mandatory Class I Federal areas on this list as “Class I areas.” Nevada has one Class I area, Jarbidge Wilderness Area (“Jarbidge”), in the northeast corner of the State.

    3 44 FR 69122, November 30, 1979.

    With the CAA Amendments of 1990, Congress added section 169B to address regional haze issues. EPA promulgated a rule to address regional haze on July 1, 1999, known as the Regional Haze Rule.4 The RHR revised the existing visibility regulations in 40 CFR 51.308 to integrate provisions addressing regional haze impairment and to establish a comprehensive visibility protection program for Class I areas. As defined in the RHR, the RPGs must provide for an improvement in visibility for the most impaired days (“worst days”) over the period of the implementation plan and ensure no degradation in visibility for the least impaired days (“best days”) over the same period.5

    4See 64 FR 35713.

    5 40 CFR 51.308(d)(1).

    C. Nevada's Regional Haze Plan

    NDEP submitted its Regional Haze SIP to EPA on November 18, 2009, as required by 40 CFR 51.308 for the first regional haze planning period ending in 2018. EPA approved most of the Nevada Regional Haze SIP on March 26, 2012,6 with the exception of NDEP's determination of best available retrofit technology (BART) to control emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOX) at the Reid Gardner Generating Station (Reid Gardner). EPA published a new proposal on April 12, 2012, to approve in part and disapprove in part NDEP's BART determination for NOX at Reid Gardner.7 EPA published a final rule on August 23, 2012, approving NDEP's BART determination for NOX on Units 1 and 2, but disapproving NDEP's determination for Unit 3 and the averaging time for the emission limits at all three units.8 This final rule included a Federal Implementation Plan (FIP) for the disapproved elements. EPA subsequently agreed to reconsider the compliance date for Units 1, 2, and 3 at Reid Gardner in the FIP, which we extended by 18 months.9

    6 See 77 FR 17334.

    7 See 77 FR 21896.

    8 See 77 FR 50936.

    9 See proposed rule to grant extension, 78 FR 18280 (March 26, 2013), and final rule granting extension, 78 FR 53033 (August 28, 2013).

    III. Requirements for Regional Haze Progress Reports

    The RHR requires states to submit a report every five years in the form of a SIP revision to evaluate progress toward achieving the RPGs for each Class I area in the state and for those areas outside the state that may be affected by emissions from within the state.10 The first progress reports are due five years from the submittal date of each state's initial Regional Haze SIP. Progress reports must be in the form of SIP revisions that comply with the procedural requirements of 40 CFR 51.102 and 51.103. These reports must contain an evaluation of seven elements, at a minimum, and include a determination of the adequacy of the state's existing Regional Haze SIP. In summary,11 the seven elements are: (1) A description of the status of implementation of all measures included in the current Regional Haze SIP for achieving the RPGs in Class I areas within and outside the state; (2) a summary of the emission reductions achieved in the state through implementation of these measures; (3) an assessment of visibility conditions and changes on the most impaired and least impaired days for each Class I area in the state in terms of five-year averages of the annual values; (4) an analysis of changes in emissions over the past five years contributing to visibility impairment from all sources and activities within the state based on the most recently updated emissions inventory; (5) an assessment of any significant changes in anthropogenic emissions within or outside the state over the past five years that have limited or impeded progress in reducing pollutant emissions and improving visibility; (6) an assessment of whether the elements and strategies in the current Regional Haze SIP are sufficient to enable the state, or other states affected by its emissions, to achieve the established RPGs; and (7) a review of the state's visibility monitoring strategy and any necessary modifications.

    10 40 CFR 51.308(g).

    11 Please refer to 40 CFR 51.308(g) for the exact requirements.

    Based on an evaluation of the factors listed above as well as any other relevant information, a state is required to determine the adequacy of its existing Regional Haze SIP.12 The state must take one of four possible actions based on the analysis in its progress report. In summary, these actions are to (1) provide a negative declaration to EPA that no further substantive revisions to the state's existing Regional Haze SIP is needed to achieve the RPGs; (2) provide notification to EPA and to other states in its region that its Regional Haze SIP is or may be inadequate to ensure reasonable progress due to emissions from sources in other states, and collaborate with other states to develop additional strategies to address the deficiencies; (3) provide notification and available information to EPA that the state's Regional Haze SIP is or may be inadequate to ensure reasonable progress due to emissions from sources in another country; or (4) revise its Regional Haze SIP within one year to address the deficiencies if the state determines that its existing plan is or may be inadequate to ensure reasonable progress in one or more Class I areas due to emissions from sources within the state.13

    12 40 CFR 51.308(h).

    13 Id.

    A state also must document that it provided FLMs with an opportunity for consultation prior to holding a public hearing on a Regional Haze SIP or plan revision.14 A state must include a description of how it addressed any comments from the FLMs, and provide procedures for continuing consultation with the FLMs.15

    14 40 CFR 51.308(i)(2).

    15 40 CFR 51.308(i)(3) and (4).

    IV. Context for Understanding Nevada's Progress Report

    To facilitate a better understanding of the Progress Report as well as EPA's evaluation of the Report, this section provides background information on how the regional haze program applies to Nevada. This information describes the framework for measuring visibility progress, a profile of the relevant Class I areas, and the sources of data used in the Progress Report.

    A. Framework for Measuring Progress

    Visibility conditions at Class I areas are described by a “haze index” measured in deciviews and calculated using data collected from the Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments (IMPROVE) network monitors. Nevada has an IMPROVE monitor at Jarbidge that is designated “JARB1.” To measure progress in deciviews, current visibility conditions (2008-2012) are compared to baseline conditions (2000-2004), and to projected conditions at the end of the planning period (2018). A state establishes two RPGs for each of its Class I areas: One for the 20 percent best days and one for the 20 percent worst days. The RPGs must provide for an improvement in visibility on the 20 percent worst days and ensure no degradation in visibility on the 20 percent best days, compared to average visibility conditions during the baseline period. In establishing the RPG, a state must consider the uniform rate of improvement in visibility (from the baseline to natural conditions in 2064) and the emission reductions measures needed to achieve it. Nevada set the RPGs for Jarbidge using atmospheric air quality modeling based on projected emission reductions from control strategies in the Nevada Regional Haze SIP as well as emission reductions expected to result from other Federal, state and local air quality programs, among other factors. The purpose of a progress report is to assess whether a state's plan is adequate to achieve the established RPGs and emissions reductions goals for 2018, and if not, whether additional emission reduction strategies are needed.

    B. Relevant Class I Areas

    Nevada's one Class I area, the Jarbidge Wilderness Area, is located within the Humboldt National Forest in the northeastern corner of the State within the populated Snake River Basin and less than 10 miles from the Idaho border. The baseline visibility conditions (2000-2004) at Jarbidge are 12.07 deciviews (dv) on the worst days and 2.56 dv on the best days. The RPG for the worst days in 2018 at Jarbidge is 11.05 dv, which is slightly under, and therefore better than, the uniform rate of progress (URP) in 2018, which is 11.09 dv.16 While a subsequent correction for the worst days in 2018 resulted in projected visibility impairment of 11.8 dv on the worst days,17 NDEP has retained the RPG of 11.05 dv for Jarbidge. The RPG for the best days in 2018 at Jarbidge is 2.50 dv, which represents a slight improvement from baseline conditions. The Progress Report addresses whether Nevada's RH SIP is making adequate progress from the baseline toward these RPGs.

    16 The URP is a straight line from the baseline visibility condition (5-year annual average from 2000-2004) to the estimated natural background condition in 2064, as measured on the 20 percent best and worst days. The URP values for 2018 are the number of deciviews where the lines drawn to 2064 for best and worst days intersect 2018.

    17 See 76 FR 36464, June 22, 2011, footnote 18 (“In April 2011, the WRAP issued a draft report regarding an error in its visibility projections for about 15 Class I areas in the West, including Jarbidge. The draft report indicated that, as a result of the error, the projected visibility at Jarbidge in 2018 is 11.8 dv instead of 11.1 dv (rounded up from 11.05 dv).”).

    The Nevada Regional Haze SIP identified 24 other Class I areas located in five neighboring states that are potentially affected by emissions of sulfates and nitrates from sources in Nevada.18 Based on projections from air quality modeling for 2018, the highest contribution to sulfate extinction on the worst days from Nevada's emissions is 5.6 percent at Zion National Park in Utah, and on the best days is 7.2 percent at Sawtooth Wilderness Area in Idaho. For nitrate extinction in 2018, Nevada's highest contribution on the worst days is 20 percent at Desolation Wilderness in California, and on the best days is 12.4 percent at Joshua Tree National Park in California.19 The remaining 20 Class I areas outside Nevada are projected to have smaller fractions of haze attributable to Nevada's emissions.

    18 Nevada Regional Haze State Implementation Plan, Chapter 4.3.3, October 2009. Light extinction is based on a model known as Particulate Matter Source Attribution Tracking (PSAT).

    19 76 FR 36459, June 22, 2011.

    C. Data Sources

    Nevada's Progress Report is based on information available prior to March 2014. For the most part, NDEP relies on technical data and analysis in two reports from the Western Regional Air Partnership (WRAP), the regional planning organization that provides technical support to western states. The WRAP's reports are based on monitoring data from the IMPROVE network and emissions data from EPA's National Emissions Inventory (NEI). The first report is the “Western Regional Air Partnership Regional Haze Rule Reasonable Progress Summary Report,” dated June 28, 2013, which includes Section 6.8 Nevada (Appendix A of the Progress Report). This report is based on the time period 2005-2009 and relies on the NEI from 2008. The WRAP updated the inventory before completing a second report titled “West-Wide Jump-Start Air Quality Modeling Study—Final Report” dated September 30, 2013. NDEP also uses NEI data from 2011, State emission inventory data for 2012, acid rain data from EPA's Air Market Program Database, and IMPROVE monitoring data from 2008 to 2012 to provide more current information and additional analysis. NDEP further relies on the WRAP's Technical Support System and the Visibility Information Exchange Web System as analytic tools.

    V. EPA's Evaluation of Nevada's Progress Report

    This section describes Nevada's Progress Report and EPA's evaluation of the Report in relation to the seven elements listed in 40 CFR 51.308(g), the determination of adequacy in 40 CFR 51.308(h), the requirement for state and FLM coordination in 40 CFR 51.308(i) and the requirements for public participation in CAA section 110(a) and (l) and 40 CFR 51.102. While the Progress Report focuses on the elements of the Nevada Regional Haze SIP, the requirements in 40 CFR 51.308(g) and (h) apply to “implementation plans,” which are defined to include approved SIPs and FIPs.20 Accordingly, EPA has considered our regional haze BART FIP for Reid Gardner as well as the Nevada Regional Haze SIP in assessing the Progress Report. However, as described further below, all three of the BART-eligible units at Reid Gardner have been shut down. Therefore, the partial disapproval and partial FIP for Reid Gardner does not substantively influence our evaluation of the Progress Report.

    20 40 CFR 51.302.

    A. Status of Implementation of All Measures 1. NDEP's Analysis

    The Progress Report describes the status of state and federal measures in the Nevada Regional Haze SIP as well as new programs, rules, and legislation that will provide further emission reductions before the first phase of the regional haze program ends in 2018. Nevada's measures to control or otherwise reduce emissions that contribute to haze are organized into three broad categories: Review of BART Determinations, State Measures Other than BART, and Federal Programs.21 The status of measures in each of these categories is summarized below.

    21 Progress Report, Chapter Two, Status of Implementation of Control Measures, pages 2-1 thru 2-13.

    BART Implementation: NDEP describes BART implementation in Nevada and in neighboring states that contribute to visibility impairment at Jarbidge. The four BART facilities in Nevada are Reid Gardner, Tracy Generating Station (Tracy), Fort Churchill Generating Station (Fort Churchill), and Mohave Generating Station (Mohave). Mohave closed in 2005.22 The Nevada Regional Haze SIP requires the remaining three facilities to meet the emission limits associated with all BART control measures by January 1, 2015, with the exception of NOX at Reid Gardner, which has a compliance date of June 30, 2016, as shown in Table 1. As noted in the table, three units at Reid Gardner and two units at Tracy were scheduled to retire by the compliance date. Subsequent to NDEP's submittal of the Progress Report, all five of these units were shut down and are now in the process of being decommissioned and demolished.23 The retirement of these five units, and the switching of three other units at Tracy and Fort Churchill to natural gas, is largely in response to the passage of Senate Bill (SB) 123 by the Nevada legislature in 2013, which is described in more detail in the next section regarding other State measures.

    22 Even though Mohave's closure in 2005 predates the first phase of the RH program (2008-2018), NDEP addresses Mohave's emissions in its Progress Report because these emissions are included in the inventories and modeling that form the basis for the Nevada Regional Haze SIP. For example, the projected emission inventory for 2018 includes about 19,595 tpy of NOX and 8,701 tpy of SO2 from Mohave.

    23 See Reid Gardner Generating Station Fact Sheet from Nevada Energy (May 2015), Frank A. Tracy Generating Station Fact Sheet from Nevada Energy (June 2015).

    Table 1—Status of Bart Control Measures Facility Units BART Control measures Reid Gardner Generating Station 1, 2, 3 NV Energy retired these three units as of December 31, 2014, as approved by the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) Tracy Generating Station 1, 2 NV Energy retired these two units as of December 31, 2014, as approved by the PUCN and in response to SB 123. 3 NV Energy is relying on alternative control technology and burning only natural gas to comply with the BART emissions limits as of the December 31, 2014, compliance date. Fort Churchill Generating Station 1, 2 NV Energy is relying on alternative control technology and burning only natural gas to comply with the BART emissions limits as of the December 31, 2014, compliance date. Mohave Generating Station All This facility ceased operations in December 2005 and was subsequently fully decommissioned and demolished.

    NDEP explains in the Progress Report that BART implementation in neighboring states is expected to contribute to visibility improvement at Jarbidge, which is located very near the Idaho border and downwind from sources in Oregon. Since source apportionment modeling identified substantial contributions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) from point sources in Idaho and Oregon,24 NDEP provides updates on two facilities in Idaho (Amalgamated Sugar Company in Nampa and Monsanto/P4 Production in Soda Springs) and one facility in Oregon (Boardman Power Plant) that are subject to BART control measures. Each of these three facilities is reportedly in compliance with the required BART emission limits for SO2 and NOX. However, since some of the compliance dates are not yet effective, more emission reductions are expected by 2018.

    24 Nevada Regional Haze SIP, Section 4.3, November 2009.

    Other State Measures: Other State measures contributing to reasonable progress at Jarbidge and other Class I areas include cancellations of applications to build power plants, State legislation to reduce emissions from coal-fired power plants (i.e., SB 123), an expanded renewable energy portfolio, and implementation of control measures to attain the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) as listed in Table 2. Regarding cancellations, NDEP explains that these measures represent additional emission reductions because the emissions from these unbuilt sources were included in the baseline and projected emission inventories in the Nevada Regional Haze SIP. Of the five proposed power plants that NDEP assumed would be producing emissions, three withdrew applications (White Pine, Toquop, and Copper Mountain), and two were built (Newmont TS Power Plant near Dunphy in northern Nevada and Chuck Lenzie Generating Station near Las Vegas).25

    25 Newmont TS is a 220-megawatt power plant using coal-fired boilers with modern control technologies operating since 2008. Chuck Lenzie is 1,102-megawatt generating station using gas-fired steam engines operating since 2006.

    The Nevada Legislature in 2013 enacted SB 123 requiring the reduction of emissions from coal-fired power plants in Clark County, Nevada. SB 123 requires the retirement or elimination of not less than 800 megawatts of coal-fired electric generating capacity: 300 MW by December 2014, an additional 250 MW by December 2017, and an additional 250 MW by December 2019. This legislation also mandates the construction or acquisition of 350 MW from new renewable energy facilities. NV Energy must construct or acquire and own facilities with a total capacity of 550 MW to replace the coal-fired capacity eliminated between 2014 and 2019.26 NV Energy's decision to retire BART units at Reid Gardner and Tracy, and to convert other BART units to natural gas at Tracy and Fort Churchill, was in response to this legislation.

    26 Public Utilities Commission of Nevada, Docket No. 14-05003, May 1, 2014, (Appendix C).

    NDEP also reports that Nevada is one of the first states to adopt a renewable portfolio standard that establishes a schedule requiring electric utilities to generate, acquire, or save a percentage of electricity from renewable energy systems or efficiency measures. Not less than 20 percent must come from renewable energy or efficiency measures from 2015 to 2019. The Nevada legislature also has enacted the “Solar Energy Systems Incentive Program,” which requires the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada to set incentives and schedules to produce at least 250 MW of capacity from solar energy by 2021. At the time of the Progress Report, Nevada had installed 38 MW of capacity at a cost of $160 million. Another example of renewable energy is the “Solar Thermal Demonstrations Program” that promotes the installation of at least 3,000 solar thermal systems in homes, businesses, schools, and government buildings throughout the State. The Progress Report mentions several other programs to establish solar, wind, and waterpower energy systems along with a list of proposed generation plants that will rely on renewable energy.27

    27 Progress Report, Chapter 2, pages 2-8 thru2-9.

    Table 2—Status of Other State Measures State measure Effective date Three Power Plants included in Inventory for 2018 Never Built. Legislation to Retire Coal-Fired Plants (800 mw) 2014-2019. Legislation for New Renewable Energy (350 mw) 2014-2021. Renewable Energy Portfolio 2015-2025. NAAQS Attainment/Maintenance Regulations Ongoing.

    Federal Measures: The Progress Report provides a summary of existing federal measures, those that were included in the Nevada Regional Haze SIP, as well as new federal measures as listed in Table 3. NDEP describes in the Report how each of these federal programs, rules, and standards contribute further reductions in visibility impairing pollutants.28 All eight areas in Nevada that were designated non-attainment for one more NAAQS either have been redesignated to attainment and are operating under a maintenance plan or have a determination of attainment indicating that the area is attaining the NAAQS. The control measures for attainment that remain in place include fugitive dust regulations, oxygenated fuel programs, gasoline vapor recovery, transportation control measures, residential wood burning regulations, woodstove replacement programs, and alternative fuel vehicle program.

    28 Progress Report, Chapter 2, pages 2-3 thru2-6.

    Table 3—Status of Federal Measures Existing Federal Measures Heavy Duty Highway Rule (PM, NOX, SOX) Phased in 2006-2010. Tier 2 Vehicle and Gasoline Program (NOX, VOC) Effective in 2005. Non-Road Mobile Diesel Emissions Program (NOX, CO) Phased in 2004-2012. Maximum Achievable Control Technology Program Ongoing Applicability. New Federal Measures Mercury and Air Toxics Rule (Toxic Gases, SO2) Final Rule in 2011. Revised NAAQS for Sulfur Dioxide Final Rule in 2010. Revised NAAQS for Nitrogen Dioxide Final Rule in 2010. Revised NAAQS for Fine Particulate Matter Final Rule in 2012. North American Emission Control Areas (NOX, PM2.5, SO2) Effective in 2012; 2015. Tier 3 Vehicle Emission and Fuel Standards Program (SOX) Effective in 2017. PM = Particulate Matter. VOC = Volatile Organic Compounds. 2. EPA's Evaluation

    EPA proposes to find that NDEP adequately addresses the requirement in 40 CFR 51.308(g)(1) to describe the status of all measures included in the Nevada Regional Haze SIP. NDEP provides a detailed and comprehensive update of state and federal measures, including new measures that are expected to contribute further to visibility improvement. The Progress Report's description of BART implementation, legislation, programs, and rules provides a thorough summary of the regulatory requirements that underpin Nevada's regional haze program.

    B. Summary of Emission Reductions Achieved 1. NDEP's Analysis

    The Progress Report focuses on SO2 and NOX emissions, which are the primary pollutants of concern from anthropogenic sources. NDEP reports that SO2 and NOX emissions have decreased substantially in Nevada due to the implementation of control measures as well as other changes in State energy policy and source activity as described above in the status of measures. According to EPA's acid rain data,29 annual SO2 emissions from Electricity Generating Units (EGUs) in Nevada decreased by 44,107 tpy (82 percent) from 53,346 tpy in 2005 to 9,239 tpy in 2006. Similarly, NOX emissions from power plants decreased by 23,257 tpy (54 percent) from 43,242 tpy in 2005 to 19,985 tpy in 2006. NDEP points out that while these large decreases from 2005 to 2006 are mostly due to the closure of Mohave Generating Station, emissions continued to decrease steadily thereafter. From 2006 to 2013, power plant emissions of SO2 decreased by about 20 percent (9,239 to 7,427 tpy) and NOX emissions decreased by about 61 percent (19,985 to 7,796 tpy).30 The closure of units at Reid Gardner and Tracy, and the implementation of control measures on other units at Tracy and Fort Churchill, should contribute further emission reductions not reflected in the acid rain data for 2013.

    29 USEPA Clean Air Markets Division, Air Markets Program Data, Acid Rain Program.

    30 Progress Report, Chapter 3, Table 3-2, page3-5.

    The Progress Report also quantifies emission reductions resulting from the cancellation of plans to construct three power plants and lower actual emissions from the two plants that were built. NDEP includes this analysis because projected emissions from these five sources are included in the emission inventory for 2018 that provides the basis for the RPG at Jarbidge. The reductions due to permit cancellations are 5,814 tpy of SO2, 6,136 tpy of NOX, and 5,814 tpy of particulate matter (PM10). Moreover, the two new plants that were built (Newmont and Chuck Lenzie) have combined actual emissions in 2012 that are less than projected for the emission inventory in 2018.31 NDEP states that these unrealized emissions, in effect, would result in lower modeled visibility impairment in 2018, particularly at Class I areas near southern and eastern Nevada where the two built sources are located and the three cancelled sources had planned to locate.

    31 Progress Report, Chapter 3, Table 3-1, page3-4.

    2. EPA's Evaluation

    EPA proposes to find that NDEP adequately addresses the requirement in 40 CFR 51.308(g)(2) to provide a summary of the emission reductions from implementing the measures in the Nevada Regional Haze SIP. NDEP documents that SO2 and NOX emissions from Nevada's power plants have decreased substantially, especially due to the closure of Mohave. NDEP makes the case that emissions from the power sector should continue to decline as BART controls and SB 123 are implemented, further reducing emissions from Reid Gardner, Tracy, and Fort Churchill. While it is difficult to quantify emission reductions from other state and federal programs, we agree that other state and federal measures should contribute to declining emissions, particularly from mobile and stationary sources. While the cancellation of proposed facilities does not constitute emission reductions per se, we recognize that the inclusion of these projected emissions in the 2018 inventory likely inflated the projected emissions used as the basis of the RPGs for Jarbidge and Class I areas affected by Nevada's emissions. We also note that NDEP's summary of emission reductions is complemented by its analysis of recent changes in emissions from all sources in Section D of this proposal.

    C. Assessment of Visibility Conditions and Changes at Jarbidge 1. NDEP's Analysis

    Current Visibility Conditions: NDEP reports on current visibility conditions for the 20 percent worst days and 20 percent best days at Jarbidge for the five-years from 2008 to 2012 as displayed in Table 4.32 The five-year annual average haze index at Jarbidge for this current time period is 12.0 dv on worst days and 1.9 dv on best days. On worst days, the annual averages for visibility impairment are strongly influenced by light extinction due to particulate organic matter (POM), followed by coarse mass and sulfate. On the best days, visibility impairment is dominated by light extinction due to sulfate, followed by POM and coarse mass. The Progress Report notes that sources of POM are predominantly natural, while sources of fine soil and coarse mass are about equally split between natural and anthropogenic. The dominant source of sulfate is SO2 from anthropogenic sources.

    32 Progress Report, Chapter 4, Table 4-1, page4-3.

    Table 4—Current Annual and Five-Year Annual Average Visibility Conditions for Worst and Best Days at Jarbidge 33 Year Haze index
  • (dv)
  • Sulfate
  • (Mm 1)
  • Nitrate
  • (Mm 1)
  • POM
  • (Mm 1)
  • EC
  • (Mm 1)
  • Soil
  • (Mm 1)
  • Coarse mass
  • (Mm 1)
  • Sea salt
  • (Mm 1)
  • Worst Days 2008 12.5 3.72 1.12 12.06 1.48 2.61 4.84 0.04 2009 11.1 4.43 0.53 7.32 1.12 2.31 5.66 0.30 2010 10.0 3.30 1.04 4.33 0.77 2.49 5.66 0.06 2011 11.7 4.16 0.67 7.71 1.21 2.49 6.85 0.40 2012 14.9 3.87 1.18 23.97 3.11 2.63 5.17 0.21 Average 12.0 3.9 0.9 11.1 1.5 2.5 5.6 0.2 Best Days 2008 1.9 1.14 0.22 0.23 0.09 0.12 0.27 0.05 2009 1.8 0.95 0.16 0.31 0.11 0.12 0.28 0.03 2010 1.8 1.09 0.15 0.30 0.12 0.06 0.24 0.03 2011 2.1 1.21 0.19 0.39 0.13 0.10 0.26 0.07 2012 2.0 0.95 0.18 0.37 0.18 0.10 0.37 0.04 Average 1.9 1.1 0.2 0.3 0.1 0.1 0.3 0.0 EC = Elemental Carbon.

    Difference between Current and Baseline Visibility Conditions: NDEP presents the difference between the current five-year annual average (2008-2012) and the baseline five-year annual average (2000-2004) for Jarbidge, as displayed in Table 5, which also includes successive five-year annual averages for the intervening time periods (2005-2009, 2006-2010, and 2007-2011).34 The differences calculated in the table are between the baseline and the current visibility condition represented by the time period 2008-2012. A negative difference indicates a reduction in haze (i.e., improved visibility). Comparing baseline to current visibility conditions on worst days, the haze index declined slightly (12.1 to 12.0 dv) with corresponding decreases in light extinction for sulfate, nitrate, and elemental carbon, but a noticeable increase in POM. On the best days, the haze index decreases from the baseline to current visibility conditions (2.6 to 1.9 dv) with corresponding decreases in light extinction for sulfate, nitrate, POM, and elemental carbon, with the three other pollutants remaining the same.

    33 The data on visibility conditions is from the IMPROVE monitor at Jarbidge (JARB1) that measures light extinction in terms of inverse megameters (Mm 1) that are directly related to gaseous and aerosol concentrations. The haze index is measured in deciviews, which is a metric of haze proportional to the logarithm of the light extinction.

    34 See Progress Report, Chapter 4, Table 4-2, page 4-4.

    NDEP also analyzes the relative percentage contribution and rank of each pollutant to visibility impairment on the worst and best days for the five-year annual average baseline and successive five-year time periods, as displayed in Table 5.35 This analysis reveals that POM (ranging from 35.5 to 43.0 percent), coarse mass (21.9 to 26.1 percent), and sulfate (15.1 to 17.0 percent) rank first, second, and third, respectively, as the largest contributors to light extinction on worst days in each of the five-year periods from the baseline to current time period. On the worst days, POM dominates the contributions to visibility impairment for the baseline as well as all subsequent time periods. The data for sulfate and nitrate show small but continued improvement on worst days based on these five-year annual averages.

    35 Progress Report, Table 4-4, Percent Contribution to Aerosol Extinction by Species, page 4-10. These results excluded Rayleigh and are expressed as a percentage of Mm 1.

    On the best days for each five-year period of annual averages, sulfate (ranging from 4.10 to 50.5 percent), POM (15.1 to 26.1 percent), and coarse mass (12.4 to13.2 percent) rank first, second, and third except for the baseline period in which nitrate is third, contributing 9.8 percent. On average across all five-year periods, nitrate and elemental carbon each contribute about 10 percent to visibility impairment on best days. NDEP explains that the sulfate contribution is most likely high because best days represent times when there are fewer emissions from natural sources, resulting in relatively higher contribution to impairment from anthropogenic emissions. Although the ranking changes from worst days to best days, POM, coarse mass, and sulfate are the three largest contributors to visibility impairment at Jarbidge.

    Table 5—Baseline and Five-Year Annual Average Visibility Conditions for the Worst and Best Days at Jarbidge Time period Haze index
  • (dv)
  • Sulfate
  • (Mm 1)
  • Nitrate
  • (Mm 1)
  • POM
  • (Mm 1)
  • EC
  • (Mm 1)
  • Soil
  • (Mm 1)
  • Coarse mass
  • (Mm 1)
  • Sea salt
  • (Mm 1)
  • Worst Days Baseline 12.1 4.0 1.1 10.0 1.6 2.4 5.5 0.1 2005-2009 12.4 4.4 1.4 10.0 1.7 2.6 5.9 0.2 2006-2010 12.2 4.0 1.1 9.6 1.6 2.7 6.1 0.1 2007-2011 11.7 3.9 1.0 8.4 1.2 2.7 6.2 0.2 2008-2012 12.0 3.9 0.9 11.1 1.5 2.5 5.6 0.2 Difference −0.1 −0.1 −0.2 1.1 −0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 Best Days Baseline 2.6 1.2 0.3 0.8 0.3 0.1 0.3 0.0 2005-2009 2.2 1.1 0.2 0.5 0.2 0. 0.3 0.0 2006-2010 2.0 1.1 0.2 0.4 0.1 0.1 0.3 0.0 2007-2011 2.0 1.1 0.2 0.3 0.1 0.1 0.3 0.0 2008-2012 1.9 1.1 0.2 0.3 0.1 0.1 0.3 0.0 Difference −0.7 −0.1 −0.1 −0.5 −0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0

    To support its analysis of current conditions, NDEP presents a set of rolling five-year averages of the annual averages, and includes the current estimate of natural conditions, as shown in Table 6.36 The rolling five-year average of the annual averages reveals more clearly the trend in visibility conditions over time.

    36 Progress Report Table 4-3, page 4-6.

    Table 6—Five-Year Annual Average Haze Index for Baseline and Successive Time Periods Measured at JARB1 [In deciviews] Days measured
  • (20 Percent)
  • Baseline
  • conditions
  • 2000-2004 Interim five-year time periods 2005-2009 2007-2011 2007-2012 Current
  • conditions
  • 2008-2012 Natural
  • conditions
  • 2064
    Worst 12.1 12.4 12.2 11.7 12.0 7.9 Best 2.6 2.2 2.0 2.0 1.9 1.1

    NDEP also presents the change in visibility conditions between the baseline and current period for best and worst days in comparison to the RPG in 2018 using the 2008 to 2012 average as displayed in Table 7.37 While visibility on the best days shows improvement, only modest progress is shown for the worst days due to significant contribution of POM to light extinction at Jarbidge, particularly in 2012 as shown in Table 4.

    37 Progress Report Table 4-6, page 4-14. This table omits the RPG for the best days, which is 2.56 dv.

    Table 7—Reasonable Progress Goal Summary for Jarbidge [In deciviews] Best days Baseline
  • (2000-2004)
  • Current (2008-2012) Visibility
  • improvement
  • Worst days Baseline
  • (2000-2004)
  • Current
  • (2008-2012)
  • Visibility
  • improvement
  • 2018 RPG Progress in 2012 to 2018 RPG
    2.6 1.9 0.7 12.1 12.0 0.1 11.05 9.5%

    Changes in Visibility Impairment over Past Five Years: The distinguishing feature of annual visibility impairment on the worst days from 2008 to 2012 is the variability of light extinction due to POM and its corresponding effect on the haze index as shown in Table 4. While light extinction for other pollutants is relatively flat during this current five-year period, POM varies by almost 20 Mm 1, from a low of 4.33 Mm 1 in 2010 to a high of 23.97 Mm 1 in 2012. Levels of POM spiked in 2012, which NDEP attributes to emissions from wildfires. As the table shows, on the worst days POM has a strong influence on the year-to-year variability in visibility conditions, and can cause a corresponding increase in the 2008-2012 five-year annual average. Visibility impairment on worst days generally has not changed much over the five years except for the variations due to light extinction from POM. Visibility on best days, by contrast, generally is improving over the current time period with little variability from year to year. For the best days, there is a noticeable reduction in visibility impairment due to sulfate, nitrate, POM, and elemental carbon.

    NDEP presents a trend analysis for the period from 2000 to 2012, focusing on sulfates and nitrates, as an annual average and as a rolling five-year average during this 13-year time period based on IMPROVE data.38 Analyzing this longer time period demonstrates that on the worst and best days visibility impairment resulting from light extinction due to sulfate and nitrate is improving over time, both on an annual basis as well as five-year annual averages. NDEP also includes an analysis showing the effect of a large spike in nitrates in December 2005 (41 Mm 1) that increases the annual average as well as all the five-year averages that include data from 2005.

    38 Nevada RH Progress Report, Chapter 4, Figures 4-12 through 4-15, pages 4-15 thru 4-19.

    2. EPA's Evaluation

    EPA proposes to find that NDEP adequately addresses the requirement in 40 CFR 51.308(g)(3) to assess the visibility conditions and changes in each of the State's Class I areas for the least and most impaired days in terms of the current conditions, difference between current and baseline conditions, and over the past five years. The analysis indicates that visibility on the best days at Jarbidge is getting better, but that visibility on the worst days is flat or only minimally improving. However, NDEP offers compelling evidence that light extinction due to POM has dominated visibility conditions on the worst days, particularly in 2012 as shown in Table 4.

    D. Analysis of Changes in Emissions 1. NDEP's Analysis

    NDEP relies on the WRAP's analysis 39 to describe the changes in emissions from the baseline 40 in 2002 to the emissions inventory in 2008, the beginning of Nevada's current five-year time period. NDEP also uses NEI data from 2008 to 2011 to augment its analysis.41 As shown in Table 8, emissions of all visibility-impairing pollutants decreased from the baseline inventory to 2008, except for fine soil and coarse mass. Notably, actual emissions in 2008 are lower than the projected 2018 emissions for all pollutants, with the exception of fine soil and coarse mass. For example, point source emissions of SO2 decreased by 78 percent, while point source emissions of NOX decreased by over 50 percent from the baseline to 2008. These large reductions in the anthropogenic emissions of SO2 and NOX represent a successful strategy of reducing anthropogenic emissions within the State. NDEP notes that the increase in fine soil and coarse mass are likely due to updates in inventory development methods rather than actual increases, which is plausible given the small changes in soil and coarse mass observed at the Jarbridge monitor.

    39WRAP Regional Haze Rule Reasonable Progress Summary Report, June 28, 2013. West-Wide Jump-Start Air Quality Modeling Study—Final Report, September 30, 2013.

    40 WRAP refers to the baseline as 2002, the midyear of the baseline inventory period from 2000 to 2004.

    41 Data from the NEI are slightly different from the WestJump2008 inventory, which leverages more recent inventory development performed by the WRAP.

    42 The WRAP compared data between the baseline (2002) and emission inventory (2008) for nine source categories: Point sources, area sources, oil and gas, on-road mobile, off-road mobile, fugitive dust and road dust, windblown dust, biogenic, and fires.

    Table 8—Comparison of Emission Inventories in 2002, 2008, and 2018 for Nevada of All Visibility Impairing Pollutants 42 Pollutants 2002 Baseline
  • (tpy)
  • 2008 Inventory
  • (tpy)
  • 2018 Projection
  • (tpy)
  • 2008 Actuals as a percent of 2018 projections
    Sulfur Dioxide 67,743 17,058 46,224 37 Nitrogen Oxides 162,397 119,513 135,496 88 Ammonia 12,092 9,382 14,503 65 Volatile Organic Compounds 897,102 351,142 897,707 39 Primary Organic Aerosol 24,734 11,816 24,822 48 Elemental Carbon 6,409 4,425 5,638 78 Fine Soil 21,208 40,301 24,134 167 Coarse Mass 161,142 321,257 188,287 171

    NDEP analyzes the differences between the baseline and current emissions based on WRAP's WestJump2008 inventory for eight categories of emissions as summarized below. This analysis focuses on the percentage change in the emissions of each pollutant by source category in 2002 and 2008, and adds an analysis of changes in emissions from 2008 to 2011 where NEI data is available.

    Sulfur Dioxide: Total anthropogenic emissions of SO2 decreased by 75 percent from 65,543 tons in 2002 to 16,552 tons in 2008, representing a significant reduction in particular from point and area sources as shown in Table 9. Point source emissions alone decreased by 78 percent (50,720 to 11,067 tpy) during this period, and area source emissions decreased by 63 percent (12,953 to 4,863 tpy). As a percentage of total statewide emissions, anthropogenic and natural, point source emissions decreased from 75 percent of the total in the 2002 (50,720 of 67,743 tons) to 65 percent of the total in the 2008 (11,067 tons of a total 16,552 tons). Moreover, the NEI inventories show a further decrease in SO2 emissions from point sources of 44 percent from 10,409 tpy in 2008 to 5,863 tpy in 2011, primarily due to reductions in coal-fired emissions from power plants. On-road and off-road mobile emissions decreased by 34 percent (454 to 298 tpy) and 77 percent (1,403 to 322 tpy), respectively, from 2002 to 2008. Data from the NEI indicate further reductions in emissions from mobile sources from 2008 to 2011, a 47 percent decrease in on-road emissions (511 to 270 tpy) and a 87 percent decrease in off-road emissions (316 to 41 tpy).

    Table 9—Changes in Sulfur Dioxide Emissions by Category (TPY) Source category 2002
  • (Baseline)
  • 2008
  • (WestJump2008)
  • Difference
  • (percent change)
  • Anthropogenic Sources Point 50,720 11,067 −39,653 (−78%) Area 12,953 4,863 −8,090 (−62%) On-Road Mobile 454 298 −156 (−34%) Off-Road Mobile 1,403 322 −1,081 (−77%) Area Oil and Gas 0 0 0 Fugitive and Road Dust 0 0 0 Anthropogenic Fire 12 2 −10 (−83%) Total Anthropogenic 65,543 16,552 −48,991 (−75%) Natural Sources Natural Fire 2,200 506 −1,694 (−77%) Biogenic 0 0 0 Windblown Dust 0 0 0 Total Natural 2,200 506 −1,694 (−77%) All Sources Total Emissions 67,743 17,058 −50,685 (−75%)

    Nitrogen Oxides: The total statewide inventory of NOX emissions from all sources decreased by 26 percent from 162,397 tpy in 2002 to 118,766 tpy in 2008 as shown in Table 10. Over this time period, NOX emissions from anthropogenic sources decreased by 23 percent (139,353 tpy to 107,827 tpy), and natural emissions decreased by 53 percent (23,044 tpy to 10,939 tpy). Anthropogenic emissions of NOX in Nevada are primarily from point and on-road mobile sources, followed by off-road and area sources. From the 2002 to 2008 inventories, NOX emissions from point sources decreased by about 50 percent (59,864 to 29,344 tpy), on-road mobile increased by about 22 percent (41,089 to 50,068 tpy), off-road mobile decreased by about 48 percent (32,565 to 17,081 tpy), and area sources increased by 98 percent (5,725 to 11,321 tpy). Increases in on-road mobile and area source emission inventories were offset by larger decreases in emissions from point and off-road mobile sources. The NEI point source inventory shows a decrease of 57 percent in NOX emissions from 2008 to 2011. NDEP attributes the 22 percent increase in on-road mobile emissions to the use of different air quality models to estimate emissions in 2002 (MOBILE6) and in 2008 (MOVES2010), a growth in the number of vehicles, and the fact that federal vehicle emissions standards were not fully implemented. NEI data from 2008 and 2011 show a 36 percent increase in on-road mobile NOX emissions, possibly related to population growth. The NEI shows a continuing decrease in off-road mobile emissions of 12 percent from 2008 to 2012. NDEP states that the increase in emissions from area sources may be a result of a reclassification of some off-road mobile sources into area source category, which may have contributed to the decrease in emissions from off-road mobile sources. This is consistent with the reclassification of in-flight aircraft emissions and locomotive emissions outside of rail yards from the off-road mobile category to the area source category in the 2008 NEI.43

    43 See http://www.epa.gov/ttnchie1/net/2008inventory.html (“Description of NEI Data Categories”).

    Table 10—Changes in Nitrogen Oxide Emissions by Category (TPY) Source category 2002
  • (Baseline)
  • 2008
  • (WestJump2008)
  • Difference
  • (percent change)
  • Anthropogenic Sources Point 59,864 29,344 −30,520 Area 5,725 11,321 5,597 On-Road Mobile 41,089 50,068 8,979 Off-Road Mobile 32,565 17,081 −15,484 Area Oil and Gas 63 0 −63 Fugitive and Road Dust 0 0 0 Anthropogenic Fire 48 13 −35 Total Anthropogenic 139,353 107,827 −31,526 (−23%) Natural Sources Natural Fire 8,026 3,575 −4,451 Biogenic 15,018 7,364 −7,654 Windblown Dust 0 0 0 Total Natural 23,044 10,939 −12,105 (−53%) All Sources Total Emissions 162,397 118,766 −43,631 (−26%)

    Ammonia: Total statewide emissions of ammonia decreased by 22 percent (12,092 to 9,382 tpy) from 2002 to 2008. Of this total, anthropogenic emissions decreased by 34 percent (10,408 to 6,893 tpy) while natural emissions increased by 48 percent (1,684 to 2,490 tpy). The primary source of anthropogenic emissions of ammonia is area sources, and to a lesser extent on-road mobile sources, while fire is the dominant natural source.44 Area sources of ammonia emissions decreased by about 29 percent (8,009 to 5,717 tpy) from 2002 to 2008. On-road mobile sources, the next largest category of anthropogenic emissions, decreased by about 58 percent (2,030 to 849 tpy). Despite an increase of 48 percent in natural fire (1,684 to 2,490 tpy), there was a net decrease in statewide emissions. Ammonia is not a criteria pollutant and is not included in the NEI, so no data for 2011 were provided.

    44 The WRAP has created an operational policy level definition of fire activity as discretely natural or anthropogenic. See the WRAP Regional Haze Rule Reasonable Progress Summary Report, section 3.2.1 and the WRAP's Policy for Categorizing Fire Emissions (November 15, 2001), available at http://www.wrapair.org/forums/fejf/documents/nbtt/FirePolicy.pdf.

    Volatile Organic Compounds: Data from the 2002 and 2008 inventories as well as from the NEI for the 2008 to 2011 time period show large reductions in volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions from natural sources with lesser reductions from anthropogenic sources. Biogenic emissions from natural sources dominate the Nevada VOC emissions inventory. Total statewide VOC emissions decreased by 61 percent from 897,102 tpy in 2002 to 351,142 tpy in 2008. This large reduction is mostly due to a decrease in biogenic emissions over this time period by 67 percent from 794,139 tpy to 262,912 tpy. NDEP notes that these changes may reflect enhancements to the inventory method, use of different meteorological years, and improved emission factors and data sources. There were also decreases in on-road mobile (36,257 to 21,302 tpy) and natural fire (17,606 to 4,204 tpy), and an increase in area sources (28,592 to 40,973 tpy), all of which are a very small part of the total inventory. VOC emissions in the NEI show a decrease in point source (17 percent), on-road mobile (20 percent), and off road mobile (18 percent) from 2008 to 2011.

    Primary Organic Aerosol: Wildfires are the dominant source of primary organic aerosol (POA) emissions, 90 percent of the total in 2002 (22,501 of a total 24,734 tpy) and 58 percent in 2008 (6,831 of a total 11,816 tpy). Anthropogenic sources, namely area and mobile, also are important contributors. Overall, total emissions of POA decreased by 52 percent from 2002 to 2008. Natural fire emissions of POA decreased 70 percent (22,501 to 6,831 tpy), reflecting the high variability of wildfires from year to year. Except for anthropogenic fire, all other categories of anthropogenic sources of POA (primarily area, mobile, and fugitive) increased during this time period with the total anthropogenic emissions increasing by 123 percent from 2,233 to 4,985 tpy.

    Elemental Carbon: Natural fire (i.e., wildfires) also dominate EC emissions at 73 percent of the 2002 inventory (4,674 of 6,409 tpy), but only 23 percent of the 2008 inventory (1,130 to 4,425 tpy), a reduction of 76 percent (4,674 to 1,130 tpy). Consequently, total emissions decreased by 31 percent (6,409 to 4,425 tpy) mostly due to the decrease in natural fire. Total anthropogenic emissions increased by 90 percent (1,735 to 3,295 tpy) due mostly to an increase in on-road mobile sources from 235 to 1,891 tpy over this time period. On-road mobile is the largest source of elemental carbon in the 2008 inventory at 43 percent, while the next largest category is natural fire emissions contributing 26 percent. Area and point sources, by contrast, contribute less than one percent each to the 2008 inventory.

    Fine Soil: Total emissions of fine soils increased by 90 percent (21,208 to 40,301 tpy) from the 2002 to the 2008 inventory. The largest increases were in fugitive dust (6,128 to 19,216 tpy) and windblown dust (10,438 to 17,051 tpy). NDEP reports that increases in these source categories were likely due to updates to inventory development methods rather than actual increases.

    Coarse Mass: Total emissions of coarse mass increased by about 99 percent (161,142 to 321,257 tpy), mostly due to large increases in anthropogenic fugitive and road dust (56,799 to 161,532 tpy) and in natural windblown dust (93,946 to 153,459 tpy). Fugitive dust includes sources such as agricultural operations, construction, and mining operations. Windblown dust is largely from vacant lands. NDEP attributes these increases in part to updates in the inventory development methods rather than actual increases. Nonetheless, increases in fugitive dust may be due to increases in population, while increases in road dust may be due to increases in vehicle miles traveled. Point source and natural fire emissions decreased.

    2. EPA's Evaluation

    We propose to find that NDEP adequately addresses the requirement in 40 CFR 51.308(g)(4) to analyze the change in emissions over the past five years of pollutants contributing to visibility impairment from all sources and activities within the state, using the most recently updated emission inventories. NDEP's analysis of emission data makes a strong case that the State is reducing emissions of SO2 and NOX from anthropogenic sources, especially point sources.

    E. Assessment of Anthropogenic Emissions Impeding Progress 1. NDEP's Analysis

    NDEP reports that progress toward achieving its visibility goal of 11.05 dv at Jarbidge by 2018 has not been impeded by any significant anthropogenic emission changes within or outside the State. NDEP reaches this conclusion by evaluating significant emission changes within Nevada, the effect of emissions from sources outside of Nevada on Jarbidge, and the effect of Nevada's emissions on nearby Class I areas.

    Emission Changes within Nevada and Visibility Conditions at Jarbidge: NDEP analyzes the baseline and rolling five-year annual averages of light extinction data from the JARB1 monitor for the best and worst days from 2005 through 2012. For the worst days, the data show a reduction in sulfate and nitrate extinction for the three most recent five-year periods (2006-2010, 2007-2011, and 2008-2012), but an increase in POM extinction, due to a spike in 2012 that NDEP attributes to wildfires.45 On the best days, visibility impairment is reduced from the baseline to the current period due to decreases in extinction from sulfate, nitrate, POM, and elemental carbon. Light extinction for soil, coarse mass, and sea salt remain fairly constant on best days.

    45 Progress Report, Chapter 6, pages 6-2 thru6-3.

    Actual emissions of SO2, NOX, PM10, and VOC from point sources in Nevada 46 have decreased significantly over a 10-year period (2002-2012) and over the last five years (2008-2012) as presented in Table 11.47 The years 2002, 2005, 2008, and 2011 are the most complete inventory years submitted to EPA for the NEI. The data for 2012 are actual emission values for major and minor point sources from Nevada's permitting database. As shown in the table, SO2 emissions from point sources dropped dramatically after the closure of Mohave in 2005, and decreased by another 50 percent from 2008 to 2012. Likewise, NOX emissions decreased by 30,000 tpy after 2005, and decreased another 62 percent from 2008 to 2012.

    46 SO2 emissions from point sources were 68 percent of the total anthropogenic emissions in Nevada in 2008 (WestJump2008). Area source emissions of SO2 were 29 percent of total anthropogenic emissions in 2008.

    47 Progress Report, Table 6-1, page 6-4.

    Table 11—Actual Emissions of Nevada Point Sources (TPY) Year SO2 NOX PM10 VOC 2002 50,619 55,876 6,868 2,132 2005 54,243 52,087 4,643 1,646 2008 10,497 21,680 3,465 1,600 2011 5,959 10,548 3,331 971 2012 5,278 8,324 2,629 986 PM10 = particulate matter less than 10 microns.

    Emissions from Outside Sources Effecting Jarbidge: NDEP's analysis focuses on three BART sources in Idaho and Oregon to determine whether these previously identified point sources are impeding progress on the worst days at Jarbidge. Comparing baseline emissions to the NEI in 2011, total SO2 emissions from these three sources decrease by about 40 percent (26,243 to 15,782 tpy) from 2002 to 2011. Total NOX emissions decrease by about 31 percent (11,010 to 7,611 tpy) over the same time period. Moreover, emissions from these sources will continue to decline over time given staggered compliance dates through 2018. With visibility impairment resulting from sulfate and nitrate trending downward at Jarbidge and the implementation of BART controls in Idaho and Oregon, NDEP concludes that there are no significant changes in anthropogenic emissions from outside the State that are impeding progress at Jarbidge.

    In assessing point source emissions from Idaho and Oregon, NDEP references source apportionment modeling of particulate sulfate and nitrate extinction for 2018 that was performed by the WRAP for the Nevada Regional Haze SIP.48 The purpose of the modeling is to determine source areas that contribute to visibility impairment on the worst days at Jarbidge. The area of greatest sulfate contribution is Outside Domain 49 (43.8 percent), followed by Idaho (10.3 percent), Oregon (7.2 percent), and Pacific Offshore (6.9 percent). The area of greatest nitrate contribution is Idaho (30.3 percent), followed by Outside Domain (27.5 percent), Nevada (13.1 percent), and Utah (10.6 percent). Based on these results, Idaho is the second largest contributor of modeled sulfate and the largest contributor of modeled nitrate concentrations. Oregon is the third largest contributor of modeled sulfate concentrations. While this analysis supports the focus on emissions from Idaho and Oregon, the fact that Outside Domain contributes 43.8 percent of the modeled sulfate and 27.5 percent of the modeled nitrate is another indication that Nevada has limited control over a large subset of the emissions impairing visibility at Jarbidge.

    48 Nevada Regional Haze SIP, Chapter 4, Table 4-5: Summary of 2018 Model Results for Jarbidge Wilderness Area, based on Particulate Matter Source Attribution Tracking, page 31.

    49 Outside Domain as a source category represents the background concentrations of pollutants from international sources that enter the modeling domain, in this case the western United States and portions of Canada and Mexico.

    Nevada's Emissions Effect on Nearby Class I Areas: NDEP also addresses the potential effect of Nevada's emissions on nearby Class I areas in other states using particulate source apportionment modeling conducted by the WRAP for the first round of regional haze SIPs. This modeling estimated Nevada's projected contributions to light extinction from sulfates and nitrates at Class I areas in adjacent states in 2018.50 In light of the 75 percent reduction in Nevada's SO2 emissions (see Table 9) and 26 percent reduction in NOX emissions (see Table 10) between 2002 and 2008, NDEP concludes that Nevada's emission reductions are not impeding progress in reducing visibility impairment at Class I areas in adjacent states.

    50 Nevada Regional Haze SIP, Chapter 4, Tables 4-3: Nevada's Sulfate Extinction Contribution to Class I Areas Outside of Nevada and Table 4-4: Nevada's Nitrate Extinction Contribution to Class I Areas Outside of Nevada, pages 14-17.

    2. EPA's Evaluation

    EPA proposes to find that NDEP adequately addresses the requirement in 40 CFR 51.308(g)(5) to assess any significant changes in anthropogenic emissions within or outside the state over the past five years that have limited or impeded progress in reducing emissions and improving visibility. NDEP provides a comprehensive analysis of emission changes within and outside the State, and examines the potential effect of these changes at Jarbidge and at other Class I areas. All indications are that the total statewide emissions of SO2 and NOX are decreasing (see Tables 9, 10, and 11), and most of the pollutants are already at levels below those in the projected emission inventory for 2018 (see Table 8). Based on NDEP's analysis, EPA proposes to concur with NDEP that there is no evidence that any recent changes in emissions from any specific sources or source categories are impeding progress.

    F. Assessment of Plan Elements and Strategy 1. NDEP's Analysis

    The Progress Report concludes that the existing elements and strategies in the Nevada Regional Haze Implementation Plan are sufficient to enable Nevada and other neighboring states to meet the RPGs by 2018 in terms of reducing emissions from anthropogenic sources. Nevada has already achieved significant emission reductions in the first phase of the regional haze program, with additional reductions expected by 2018. Actual emissions of visibility impairing pollutants in 2008, with the exception of fine soil and coarse mass, are already less than the projected emissions in 2018 (see Table 8). Notably actual SO2 emissions in 2008 are about 40 percent and actual NOX emissions are about 90 percent of the respective totals in the projected emission inventory for 2018. The NEI data for 2008 and 2011 also demonstrate further reductions in SO2 and NOX emissions from point sources in Nevada (see Table 11). Moreover, further reductions in anthropogenic emissions are expected from the power sector as a result of BART implementation, shutdowns, and conversions to natural gas or lower sulfur fuels. In the case of Jarbidge, NDEP notes that emissions from natural sources can dominate visibility impairment on the worst days, and much of the anthropogenic emissions are from out-of-state. NDEP states that given the current and expected SO2 and NOX emission reductions from power plants, further reductions from any other non-utility or industrial point sources are unnecessary at this time.

    Regarding visibility conditions, trend analysis of monitoring data at Jarbidge from 2000 to 2012 demonstrates improvement in visibility impairment from sulfate and nitrate on the worst and best days, both on an annual average basis as well as five-year annual averages.51 NDEP notes that, although the visibility benefit from anthropogenic emission reductions is overshadowed by contributions from natural sources, visibility is slowly improving at Jarbidge on the worst days and shows considerable improvement on the best days (see Tables 5, 6, and 7). Where it appears that visibility improvement on worst days is not keeping pace with emission reductions (e.g., the 14.9 dv annual average for 2012 in Table 4), NDEP asserts that this is due to large contributions from natural sources (e.g., light extinction from POM of 23.97 Mm−1 in 2012). In terms of anthropogenic sources, NDEP notes that sulfate contributes the most to visibility impairment on worst days at Jarbidge, but most of the sulfate is from out-of-state sources. Nitrate has only a small contribution to visibility impairment on the worst days.

    51 Progress Report, Chapter 4, Section 4.6: Visibility Trends, pages 4-15 thru 4-19.

    2. EPA's Evaluation

    EPA proposes to find that the Progress Report adequately addresses the requirement in 40 CFR 51.308(g)(6) to assess whether the current elements and strategies in the Regional Haze Implementation Plan are sufficient to enable Nevada, and other states affected by Nevada's emissions, to meet all established RPGs.

    In particular, the Report analyzes trends in statewide emissions and visibility conditions at Jarbidge, as well as the additional emission reductions expected through 2018. The Report indicates that anthropogenic emissions of SO2, NOX, ammonia and VOC are decreasing. In particular, the emission reductions reflect substantial decreases in total anthropogenic emissions of SO2 and NOX. However, anthropogenic emissions of POA, fine soil, elemental carbon and coarse mass are increasing. While these increases may be partially attributable to changes in inventory development methodologies, they highlight the need for greater attention to these pollutants in future planning periods.

    With regard to visibility trends, the Progress Report explains that Jarbidge is not on track to meet the 2018 RPG for the worst days due to the large contribution from POM, which NDEP attributes mostly to wildfires and windblown dust. EPA concurs that POM has a large impact on the worst days and that much of the POM is attributable to natural sources, particularly wildfires. Furthermore, we note that the trend of high POM extinction (with significant interannual variability) dominating the worst days at Jarbidge has continued during 2013 and 2014, for which the IMPROVE data are now available, as shown in Tables 12 and 13.

    Table 12—2013 and 2014 Average Visibility Conditions for Worst and Best Days at Jarbidge Year Haze
  • index
  • (dv)
  • Sulfate
  • (Mm−1)
  • Nitrate
  • (Mm−1)
  • POM
  • (Mm−1)
  • EC
  • (Mm−1)
  • Soil
  • (Mm−1)
  • Coarse
  • mass
  • (Mm−1)
  • Sea salt
  • (Mm−1)
  • Worst Days 2013 11.7 3.5 1.0 8.4 1.3 2.7 5.9 0.1 2014 12.2 3.1 0.6 14.5 2.3 2.2 4.5 0.2 Best Days 2013 1.5 0.9 0.1 0.2 0.0 0.1 0.2 0.0 2014 1.8 1.0 0.2 0.3 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.1
    Table 13—Five-Year Annual Average Visibility Conditions for Worst and Best Days at Jarbidge Year Haze
  • index
  • (dv)
  • Sulfate
  • (Mm−1)
  • Nitrate
  • (Mm−1)
  • POM
  • (Mm−1)
  • EC
  • (Mm−1)
  • Soil
  • (Mm−1)
  • Coarse
  • mass
  • (Mm−1)
  • Sea salt
  • (Mm−1)
  • Worst Days 2009-2013 12.0 3.8 0.9 10.7 1.5 2.5 5.9 0.2 2010-2014 12.2 3.6 0.9 12.1 1.8 2.5 5.6 0.2 Best Days 2009-2013 1.9 1.0 0.2 0.4 0.1 0.1 0.3 0.0 2010-2014 1.9 1.0 0.2 0.4 0.1 0.1 0.3 0.0

    However, we also note that not all POM is from natural sources. POA and VOC, the precursors to POM, are also emitted by anthropogenic sources, particularly area and mobile sources. Moreover, other pollutants, particularly coarse mass and sulfates, both of which have a significant anthropogenic component, also contribute to impairment on the worst days at Jarbidge. Accordingly, in developing its Regional Haze SIP for the next planning period, NDEP should consider implementing additional control measures to address anthropogenic emissions of POA, VOC, SO2, and coarse mass.

    Nonetheless, given the substantial reductions in anthropogenic emissions of SO2 and NOX, improvement in visibility conditions on the best days, and evidence that the worst days are slowly improving, we propose to find that the current plan is sufficient for meeting the RPGs.

    G. Review of Visibility Monitoring Strategy 1. NDEP's Analysis

    The primary monitoring network, nationally and in Nevada, for the measurement and characterization of pollutants contributing to regional haze is the IMPROVE network. NDEP intends to rely on the continued availability of quality assured data collected through the IMPROVE network to comply with the regional haze monitoring requirements in the RHR. NDEP finds that the IMPROVE site at Jarbidge, Nevada's only Class I area, is sufficiently representative to support a determination of reasonable progress. NDEP concludes that no modification to the State's visibility monitoring strategy is necessary at this time.

    2. EPA's Evaluation

    EPA proposes to find that NDEP adequately addresses the requirement in 40 CFR 51.308(g)(7) to review its visibility monitoring strategy and make any modifications as necessary. We are not aware of any evidence of a need to modify Nevada's monitoring strategy for measuring visibility at this time.

    H. Determination of Adequacy 1. NDEP's Determination

    NDEP has determined that no substantive revision of the Nevada Regional Haze Implementation Plan is warranted at this time in order to achieve the RPGs in 2018 for visibility improvement at Jarbidge and at other Class I areas affected by emissions from Nevada. NDEP concludes that no additional controls are necessary based on the evidence presented in the Progress Report regarding the first half of the first phase of the program. The Report documents a substantial reduction in anthropogenic emissions in Nevada as well as an improvement in visibility at Jarbidge even though BART controls and other state and federal measures are not yet fully implemented. Further changes in source activity that were not included in the State's plan further support the conclusion that progress is adequate.

    2. EPA's Evaluation

    EPA proposes to find that NDEP adequately addresses the requirements in 40 CFR 51.308(h) by determining that the existing Nevada Regional Haze Implementation Plan requires no substantive revisions at this time to achieve the established RPGs at Jarbidge and at other Class I areas affected by emissions from Nevada. We propose to concur with the State's negative declaration based on the analysis and documentation presented in the Progress Report.

    NDEP demonstrates that emissions from anthropogenic sources within the State are decreasing as are emissions from point sources in Idaho and Oregon that contribute to visibility impairment at Jarbidge. While the monitoring data indicates that best days at Jarbidge are getting better, we are concerned that visibility conditions on the worst days are relatively flat or only slightly improving. However, this lack of progress on the worst days is largely attributable to the impact of POM, which results primarily from natural sources. Therefore, we propose to approve NDEP's determination that the Nevada Regional Haze Implementation Plan requires no substantive revisions at this time.

    I. Consultation With Federal Land Managers 1. NDEP's Consultation

    NDEP provided FLMs with a draft Progress Report on June 14, 2014, for a 60-day review prior to the public comment period, received comments from the U.S. Department of Interior National Parks Service (NPS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service (USFS), and responded to those comments as documented in Appendix C of the Progress Report. The letter from NPS dated August 15, 2014, supported the Report's findings, and provided four short comments on how to improve specific aspects of the analyses. The letter from USFS dated August 29, 2014, acknowledged the opportunity to work with NDEP, but provided no specific comments. In the Progress Report, NDEP reaffirmed its commitment to continue participating in the WRAP and consulting with other states, FLMs, and tribes regarding SIP revisions and implementation of other programs that may contribute to visibility impairment.

    2. EPA's Evaluation

    EPA proposes to find that NDEP has addressed the requirements in 40 CFR 51.308(i)(2), (3), and (4) to provide FLMs with an opportunity for consultation in person and at least 60 days prior to a public hearing on the revised plan; include a description in the revised plan of how it addressed any comments from the FLMs; and provide procedures for continuing consultation between the State and FLMs. These procedural requirements for the Progress Report, a revision to the Regional Haze SIP in this case, are documented in Appendices C and D attached to the Report.

    J. Public Participation 1. NDEP's Public Process

    NDEP provided a 30-day public comment period on the draft Progress Report as well as an opportunity for a public hearing. The public hearing, scheduled for October 15, 2014, was cancelled because no request for a hearing was received. During the public comment period, NDEP received one set of comments from the Sierra Club and National Parks Conservation Association in a letter dated October 16, 2014.52 These organizations questioned whether NDEP's analysis supports its determination that progress in implementing the Nevada Regional Haze Implementation Plan is adequate to achieve the 2018 RPGs for Jarbidge and other Class I areas affected by Nevada's emissions. NDEP provided detailed responses to these comments in Appendix D of the Progress Report.

    52 The letter to Adele Malone, NDEP, is signed by David VonSeggern, Chair, Sierra Club Toiyabe Chapter; Gloria Smith, Managing Attorney, Sierra Club; and Lynn Davis, Senior Program Manager, Nevada Field Office, National Parks Conservation Association.

    2. EPA's Evaluation

    EPA proposes to find that NDEP has fulfilled the requirements of CAA 110(a) and (l) and 40 CFR 51.102 regarding reasonable notice and public hearings.

    VI. EPA's Proposed Action

    EPA is proposing to approve the Nevada Regional Haze Progress Report submitted to EPA on November 18, 2014, as meeting the applicable requirements of the CAA and RHR.

    VII. 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.53 Thus, in reviewing SIP submissions, EPA's role is to approve state decisions, provided that they meet the criteria of the CAA. Accordingly, this proposed action is 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:

    53 42 U.S.C. 7410(k); 40 CFR 52.02(a).

    • 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 it does not involve technical standards; and

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

    In addition, this proposed action does not apply on any Indian reservation land or in any other area where EPA or an Indian tribe has demonstrated that a tribe has jurisdiction. In those areas of Indian country, the rule does not have tribal implications and will not impose substantial direct costs on tribal governments or preempt tribal law as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000).

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Incorporation by reference, Intergovernmental relations, Nitrogen oxides, Organic carbon, Particulate matter, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Sulfur oxides, Visibility, Volatile organic compounds.

    Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Dated: September 1, 2015. Jared Blumenfeld, Regional Administrator, Region IX.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23272 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 622 RIN 0648-BD76 Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Dolphin and Wahoo Fishery Off the Atlantic States and Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region; Amendments 7/33 AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice of availability; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) has submitted Amendment 7 to the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for the Dolphin and Wahoo Fishery off the Atlantic States (Dolphin and Wahoo FMP) and Amendment 33 to the FMP for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (Snapper-Grouper FMP) (Amendments 7/33) for review, approval, and implementation by NMFS. Amendments 7/33 propose actions to revise the landing fish intact provisions for vessels that lawfully harvest dolphin, wahoo, or snapper-grouper in or from Bahamian waters and return to the U.S exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The U.S. EEZ as described in this document refers to the Atlantic EEZ for dolphin and wahoo and the South Atlantic EEZ for snapper-grouper. The purpose of Amendments 7/33 is to improve the consistency and enforceability of Federal regulations with regards to landing fish intact and to increase the social and economic benefits related to the recreational harvest of these species.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be received on or before November 16, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments on Amendments 7/33 identified by “NOAA-NMFS-2015-0047” by any of the following methods:

    Electronic submissions: Submit electronic comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2015-0047, click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.

    Mail: Submit written comments to Nikhil Mehta, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.

    Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter “N/A” in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous).

    Electronic copies of Amendments 7/33, which includes an environmental assessment, a Regulatory Flexibility Act analysis, and a regulatory impact review, may be obtained from the Southeast Regional Office Web site at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sustainable_fisheries/s_atl/generic/2015/dw7_sg33/index.html.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Nikhil Mehta, Southeast Regional Office, telephone: 727-824-5305, or email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The dolphin and wahoo fishery is managed under the Dolphin and Wahoo FMP and the snapper-grouper fishery is managed under the Snapper-Grouper FMP. The FMPs were prepared by the Council and are implemented through regulations at 50 CFR part 622 under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). The Magnuson-Stevens Act also requires that NMFS, upon receiving a plan or amendment, publish an announcement in the Federal Register notifying the public that the plan or amendment is available for review and comment.

    Background

    Current Federal regulations require that dolphin or wahoo or snapper-grouper species harvested in or from the U.S. EEZ must be maintained with the heads and fins intact and not be in fillet form. However, as implemented through Amendment 8 to the Snapper-Grouper FMP, an exception applies to snapper-grouper species that are lawfully harvested in Bahamian waters and are onboard a vessel returning to the U.S. through the EEZ (63 FR 38298, July 16, 1998). Amendment 8 to the Snapper-Grouper FMP allows that in the South Atlantic EEZ, snapper-grouper lawfully harvested in Bahamian waters are exempt from the requirement that they be maintained with head and fins intact, provided valid Bahamian fishing and cruising permits are on board the vessel and the vessel is in transit through the South Atlantic EEZ. A vessel is in transit through the South Atlantic EEZ when it is on a direct and continuous course through the South Atlantic EEZ and no one aboard the vessel fishes in the EEZ.

    The Bahamas does not allow for the commercial harvest of dolphin, wahoo, or snapper-grouper species by U.S. vessels in Bahamian waters. Therefore, the measures proposed in Amendments 7/33 only apply to the recreational harvest of these species in The Bahamas and on a vessel returning from Bahamian water to the U.S. EEZ.

    Actions Contained in Amendments 7/33

    Amendments 7/33 would revise the landing fish intact provisions for vessels that lawfully harvest dolphin, wahoo, and snapper-grouper in Bahamian waters and return to the U.S. EEZ. Amendments 7/33 would allow for dolphin and wahoo fillets to enter the U.S. EEZ after lawful harvest in Bahamian waters; specify the condition of any dolphin, wahoo, and snapper-grouper fillets; describe how the recreational bag limit would be determined for any fillets; explicitly prohibit the sale or purchase of any dolphin, wahoo, or snapper-grouper recreationally harvested in Bahamian waters; specify the required documentation to be onboard any vessels that have these fillets, and specify transit and stowage provisions for any vessels with these fillets.

    Landing Fish Intact

    Currently, all dolphin and wahoo in or from the Atlantic EEZ are required to be maintained with head and fins intact. These fish may be eviscerated, gilled, and scaled, but must otherwise be maintained in a whole condition. Amendments 7/33 would allow for dolphin and wahoo lawfully harvested in Bahamian waters to be exempt from this provision when returning to the Atlantic EEZ. Dolphin or wahoo lawfully harvested in or from Bahamian waters would be able to be stored on ice more effectively for transit through the U.S. EEZ in fillet form, given the coolers generally used on recreational vessels. Allowing fishers on these vessels to be exempt from the landing fish intact regulations would increase the social and economic benefits for recreational fishers returning to the U.S. EEZ from Bahamian waters. This proposed exemption would also allow for increased consistency between the dolphin and wahoo and snapper-grouper regulations. This proposed action would not be expected to substantially increase recreational fishing pressure or otherwise change recreational fishing behavior, because these species would not be exempt from U.S. recreational bag limits, fishing seasons, size limits, or other management measures in place in the U.S. EEZ, including prohibited species (e.g., goliath grouper and Nassau grouper). Therefore, the Council and NMFS anticipate that there are likely to be neither positive nor negative additional biological effects to these species.

    Snapper-grouper possessed in the South Atlantic EEZ are currently exempt from the landing fish intact requirement if the vessel lawfully harvests snapper-grouper in The Bahamas. This action would retain this exemption for snapper-grouper species and revise it to include additional requirements.

    Condition of Fillets

    To better allow for identification of the species of any fillets in the U.S. EEZ, Amendments 7/33 would require that the skin be left intact on the entire fillet of any dolphin, wahoo, or snapper-grouper carcass (fillet) transported from Bahamian waters through the U.S. EEZ. This requirement will assist law enforcement in identifying fillets to determine whether they are only of the species to be exempted by Amendments 7/33.

    Recreational Bag Limits

    Currently, all dolphin, wahoo, and snapper-grouper harvested or possessed in or from the EEZ must adhere to the U.S. bag and possession limits. Amendments 7/33 would not revise those bag and possession limits, but would specify how fillets are counted with respect to determining the number of fish onboard a vessel in transit from Bahamian waters through the U.S. EEZ and ensuring compliance with U.S. bag and possession limits. Amendments 7/33 would specify that for any dolphin, wahoo, or snapper-grouper species lawfully harvested in Bahamian waters and onboard a vessel in the U.S. EEZ in fillet form, two fillets of the respective species of fish, regardless of the length of each fillet, is equivalent to one fish. This measure is intended to assist law enforcement by helping ensure compliance with the relevant U.S. bag and possession limits.

    Sale and Purchase Restrictions of Recreationally Harvested Dolphin, Wahoo or Snapper-Grouper

    Amendments 7/33 would explicitly prohibit the sale or purchase of any dolphin, wahoo, and snapper-grouper recreationally harvested in The Bahamas and transported through the U.S. EEZ. The Council determined that establishing a specific prohibition to the sale or purchase of any of these species from The Bahamas was necessary to ensure consistency with the current Federal regulations that prohibit recreational bag limit sales of these species. The Council wanted to ensure that Amendments 7/33 and the accompanying rulemaking do not create an opportunity for these fish to be sold or purchased.

    Required Documentation

    Amendments 7/33 would revise the documentation requirements for snapper-grouper species and implement documentation requirements for dolphin and wahoo lawfully harvested in Bahamian waters and in transit through the U.S. EEZ. For snapper-grouper lawfully harvested under the exemption, the current requirement is that valid Bahamian fishing and cruising permits are on the vessel. Amendments 7/33 would retain the current requirement that valid Bahamian fishing and cruising permits are onboard and additionally require that all vessel passengers have stamped and dated government passports. These documentation requirements would apply to individuals onboard a vessel in transit through the U.S. EEZ from Bahamian waters with dolphin, wahoo, or snapper-grouper fillets. Requiring vessel passengers to have a valid government passport with current stamps and dates from The Bahamas will increase the likelihood that the vessel was lawfully fishing in The Bahamas and that any dolphin, wahoo, or snapper-grouper fillets on the vessel were harvested in Bahamian waters and not in the U.S. EEZ.

    Transit and Stowage Provisions

    Snapper-grouper vessels operating under the current exemption have specific transit requirements when in the South Atlantic EEZ as described in § 622.186(b). These vessels are required to be in transit when they enter the South Atlantic EEZ with Bahamian snapper-grouper onboard. A vessel is in transit through the South Atlantic EEZ when it is on “a direct and continuous course through the South Atlantic EEZ and no one aboard the vessel fishes in the EEZ.” Amendments 7/33 would revise the snapper-grouper transit provisions, also apply the transit provisions to vessels operating under the proposed exemption for dolphin and wahoo, and require fishing gear to be appropriately stowed on vessels transiting through the U.S. EEZ with fillets of these species. The proposed definition for “fishing gear appropriately stowed” would mean that “terminal gear (i.e., hook, leader, sinker, flasher, or bait) used with an automatic reel, bandit gear, buoy gear, handline, or rod and reel must be disconnected and stowed separately from such fishing gear. Sinkers must be disconnected from the down rigger and stowed separately.” The Council determined that specifying criteria for transit and fishing gear stowage for vessels returning from The Bahamas under the exemption would assist in the enforceability of the proposed regulations and increase consistency with the state of Florida's gear stowage regulations.

    A proposed rule that would implement measures outlined in Amendments 7/33 has been drafted. In accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Act, NMFS is evaluating Amendment 7/33 and the proposed rule to determine whether it is consistent with the FMP, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law. If the determination is affirmative, NMFS will publish the proposed rule in the Federal Register for public review and comment.

    Consideration of Public Comments

    The Council submitted Amendments 7/33 for Secretarial review, approval, and implementation on May 1, 2015.

    Comments received on or before November 16, 2015, will be considered by NMFS in the approval, partial approval, or disapproval decision regarding Amendments 7/33. Comments received after that date will not be considered by NMFS in this decision. All relevant comments received by NMFS on the amendment or the proposed rule during their respective comment periods will be addressed in the final rule.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: September 14, 2015. Alan D. Risenhoover, Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23339 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 622 [Docket No. 150817720-5720-01] RIN 0648-BF21 Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Greater Amberjack Management Measures AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS proposes to implement management measures described in a framework action to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (FMP), as prepared by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council). If implemented, this action would revise the commercial and recreational annual catch limits (ACLs) and annual catch targets (ACTs), the commercial trip limit, and the recreational minimum size limit for greater amberjack in the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) exclusive economic zone. Additionally, this rule would correct an error in the Gulf gray triggerfish recreational accountability measures (AMs). The purpose of this rule is to modify Gulf greater amberjack management measures to end overfishing and achieve optimal yield for the greater amberjack resource.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be received on or before October 19, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments on the proposed rule, identified by “NOAA-NMFS-2015-0094” by any of the following methods:

    Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2015-0094, click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.

    Mail: Submit written comments to Richard Malinowski, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.

    Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter “N/A” in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous).

    Electronic copies of the framework action, which includes an environmental assessment, a regulatory impact review, and a Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) analysis may be obtained from the Southeast Regional Office Web site at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sustainable_fisheries/gulf_fisheries/reef_fish/2015/greater_amberjack_framework/index.html.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Richard Malinowski, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, telephone: 727-824-5305, email: [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Gulf reef fish fishery is managed under the FMP. The FMP was prepared by the Council and is implemented through regulations at 50 CFR part 622 under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act).

    Background

    The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires NMFS and regional fishery management councils to achieve on a continuing basis the optimum yield from federally managed fish stocks. This mandate is intended to ensure that fishery resources are managed for the greatest overall benefit to the nation, particularly with respect to providing food production and recreational opportunities, while also protecting marine ecosystems.

    The greater amberjack resource in the Gulf was declared overfished by NMFS on February 9, 2001. Secretarial Amendment 2 established a greater amberjack rebuilding plan that started in 2003 and was scheduled to rebuild the stock in 2012 (68 FR 39898, July 3, 2003). In 2006, a Southeast Data, Assessment and Review (SEDAR) benchmark stock assessment (SEDAR 9) occurred and was subsequently updated in 2010 (SEDAR 9 Update). In response to new scientific information from SEDAR 9 and the SEDAR 9 Update, the rebuilding plan was revised in both Amendments 30A and 35 to the FMP (73 FR 38139, July 3, 2008, and 77 FR 67574, December 13, 2012). However, the rebuilding time period ended in 2012, without the stock being rebuilt.

    A 2014 stock assessment indicates the Gulf greater amberjack stock remains overfished and is undergoing overfishing. The Council's Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) reviewed this assessment at their June 2014 meeting and used the acceptable biological catch (ABC) control rule to recommend an ABC equivalent to 75 percent of the maximum fishing mortality threshold to end overfishing and rebuild the stock. The ABCs recommended by the Council's SSC in this framework action are: 1,720,000 lb (780,179 kg) for 2015; 2,230,000 lb (1,011,511 kg) for 2016; 2,490,000 lb (1,129,445 kg) for 2017; and 2,620,000 lb (1,188412 kg) for 2018.

    In August 2014, pursuant to section 304(e)(2) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, NMFS notified the Council of the 2014 stock assessment results that indicated that the greater amberjack stock continued to be overfished and undergoing overfishing. Following that notification, the Council was required under section 304(e)(3) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act to prepare a plan amendment or regulations within 2 years to end overfishing immediately and rebuild the greater amberjack stock.

    For this framework action, the Council chose to reduce the current stock ACL of 1,780,000 lb (807,394 kg) to the SSC's ABC recommendation for 2015 of 1,720,000 lb (780,179 kg). Furthermore, the Council decided to maintain the 2015 catch levels through 2018, which results in an ABC and stock ACL that will be 49 percent of the 2018 overfishing limit (OFL), and is expected to rebuild the stock by 2019. The Council also considered an alternative in the framework action that would have set the stock ACL at zero. However, this alternative, which is projected to rebuild the stock by 2017, would have the greatest negative socio-economic impacts on fishing communities for relatively little biological benefit.

    Although the Council did not explicitly discuss its obligations under section 304(e)(3) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the framework action and this proposed rule fulfill the Council's responsibility to “prepare and implement a fishery management plan, plan amendment, or proposed regulations for the fishery” under that provision. Consistent with the requirements of sections 304(e)(3) and (4), the framework action and proposed rule are projected to end overfishing immediately and rebuild the stock in as short as time possible, taking into account the needs of fishing communities. The specified time for rebuilding is 4 years, well below the maximum time of 10 years specified in section 304(4)(A)(ii) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and the harvest restrictions are fairly and equitably allocated between the commercial and recreational sectors by virtue of the established ACL allocation, the increased recreational size limit, and the decreased commercial trip limit.

    Management Measures Contained in This Proposed Rule

    This rule would revise the commercial and recreational ACLs and ACTs (which are expressed as quotas in the regulatory text), the commercial trip limit, and the recreational minimum size limit for greater amberjack in the Gulf.

    Commercial and Recreational ACLs and ACTs

    This rule would revise the commercial and recreational ACLs and ACTs for Gulf greater amberjack. All ACL and ACT weights are described in round weight. The final rule for Amendment 35 to the FMP set the current commercial ACL at 481,000 lb (218,178 kg) and the current commercial ACT at 409,000 lb (185,519 kg). That final rule also set the current recreational ACL at 1,299,000 lb (589,216 kg) and the current recreational ACT at 1,130,000 lb (512,559 kg).

    This proposed rule would reduce the commercial and recreational ACLs and ACTs. The current sector allocation of 27 percent for the commercial sector and 73 percent for the recreational sector would not change through this framework action. The commercial ACL would be set at 464,400 lb (210,648 kg) and the commercial ACT would be set at 394,740 lb (179,051 kg). The recreational ACL would be set at 1,255,600 lb (569,531 kg) and the recreational ACT would be set at 1,092,372 lb (495,492 kg).

    Commercial Trip Limit

    The current greater amberjack commercial trip limit was established in Amendment 35 to the FMP at 2,000 lb (907 kg), round weight, in an effort to reduce harvest rates, prevent commercial ACL overages, and provide a longer fishing season for the commercial sector (77 FR 67574, November 13, 2012). However, in 2013, the commercial ACL and ACT were still exceeded by approximately 12 percent, triggering the commercial AMs and closing the commercial sector in season. This rule would reduce the commercial trip limit to 1,500 lb (680 kg), gutted weight; 1,560 lb (708 kg), round weight. The Council determined that the proposed trip limit would further reduce the likelihood of exceeding the commercial ACL and ACT and could extend the length of the commercial fishing season.

    Recreational Size Limit

    This rule would revise the greater amberjack recreational minimum size limit. In 2008, Amendment 30A to the FMP set the greater amberjack recreational minimum size limit at 30 inches (76 cm), fork length (FL), (73 FR 38139, July 3, 2008).

    A greater amberjack with a 30-inch (76-cm), FL, is approximately 2 years old and the majority of the fish at that size have likely not yet reached sexual maturity. At the proposed recreational minimum size limit of 34 inches (86.4 cm), FL, it is estimated that 85 percent of females are reproductively mature. Additionally, based upon a review of greater amberjack recreational landings from 2012 through 2013, 34 inches (86.4 cm), FL, was the most frequently landed size of greater amberjack. The Council determined that increasing the recreational minimum size limit from 30 inches (76 cm), FL, to 34 inches (86.4 cm), FL, would provide an opportunity for a greater number of sexually mature greater amberjack to spawn, which could assist in Council efforts to end overfishing and rebuild the stock.

    Other Actions Contained in the Framework Action

    In addition to the measures being proposed in this rule, the framework action would revise the greater amberjack ABC and OFL based upon the results of SEDAR 33 and the Council's SSC recommendation. All ABC and OFL weights are described in round weight. The current greater amberjack ABC is 1,780,000 lb (807,394 kg) and the current OFL is 2,380,000 lb (1,079,550 kg), which were established in Amendment 35 to the FMP (77 FR 67574, November 13, 2012). This framework action would revise the ABC and OFL for 4 years, beginning in 2015. The ABC, which is equal to the stock ACL would be set at 1,720,000 lb (780,179 kg). The OFL would be set at 2,660,000 lb (1,206,556 kg) for 2015; 3,210,000 lb (1,456,032) kg) for 2016; 3,420,000 lb (1,551,286 kg) for 2017; and 3,510,000 lb (1,592,109 kg) for 2018, and subsequent years.

    The framework action also contained an action to modify the greater amberjack recreational closed season. However, the Council decided not to revise the recreational season at this time. Therefore, the current recreational closed season of June 1 through July 31 remains in effect.

    Additional Proposed Changes to Codified Text

    Amendment 30A to the FMP implemented ACLs and AMs for Gulf gray triggerfish (73 FR 38139, July 3, 2008). The recreational AM was a post-season AM that reduced the length of the following recreational fishing season by the amount necessary to ensure recreational landings did not exceed the recreational ACT the following fishing year. To determine a reduced season, recreational landings were evaluated relative to the recreational ACL based on a moving multi-year average of landings. In Amendment 37 to the FMP, this post-season AM was replaced with an in-season AM (which is based on a single season of landings data), so the recreational sector closes when the recreational ACT is reached or projected to be reached (78 FR 27084, May 9, 2013). However, during the implementation of Amendment 37, the last sentence in § 622.41(b)(2)(iii), which states that “Recreational landings will be evaluated relative to the ACL based on a moving multi-year average of landings, as described in the FMP,” was not removed. NMFS has only recently noticed this error. This rule corrects this error by removing this sentence. The recreational ACL and ACT for gray triggerfish implemented in Amendment 37 to the FMP remain unchanged.

    Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with the framework action, the FMP, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law, subject to further consideration after public comment.

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

    NMFS prepared an IRFA for this rule, as required by section 603 of the RFA, 5 U.S.C. 603. The IRFA describes the economic impact that this proposed rule, if implemented, would have on small entities. A description of the proposed rule, why it is being considered, and the objectives of, and legal basis for this proposed rule are contained at the beginning of this section in the preamble and in the SUMMARY section of the preamble. A copy of the full analysis is available from the NMFS (see ADDRESSES). A summary of the IRFA follows.

    The Magnuson-Stevens Act provides the statutory basis for this rule. No duplicative, overlapping, or conflicting Federal rules have been identified. In addition, no new reporting, record-keeping, or other compliance requirements are introduced by this proposed rule. Accordingly, this rule does not implicate the Paperwork Reduction Act.

    This proposed rule, if implemented, would be expected to directly affect all commercial vessels that harvest Gulf greater amberjack under the FMP. Changes to recreational ACLs, ACTs, and/or minimum size limits in this proposed rule would not directly apply to or regulate charter vessel and headboat (for-hire) businesses. Any impact to the profitability or competitiveness of for-hire fishing businesses would be the result of changes in for-hire angler demand and would therefore be indirect in nature. The RFA does not consider recreational anglers, who would be directly affected by this proposed rule, to be small entities, so they are outside the scope of this analysis and only the effects on commercial vessels were analyzed.

    As of March 25, 2015, there were 863 vessels with valid or renewable Gulf reef fish commercial vessel permits. On average (2009 through 2013), 211 vessels commercially landed greater amberjack each year from Gulf Federal waters. Their average annual vessel-level revenue for 2009 through 2013 was approximately $130,000 (2013 dollars), of which $2,400 was from greater amberjack.

    No other small entities that would be directly affected by this proposed rule have been identified.

    The Small Business Administration (SBA) has established size criteria for all major industry sectors in the U.S., including commercial finfish harvesters (NAICS code 114111). A business primarily involved in finfish harvesting is classified as a small business if it is independently owned and operated, is not dominant in its field of operation (including its affiliates), and has combined annual receipts not in excess of $20.5 million for all its affiliated operations worldwide. All of the vessels directly regulated by this rule are believed to be small entities based on the SBA size criteria.

    Because all entities expected to be affected by this proposed rule are small entities, NMFS has determined that this proposed rule would affect a substantial number of small entities. Moreover, the issue of disproportionate effects on small versus large entities does not arise in the present case.

    This proposed rule would reduce the current greater amberjack commercial ACT by 14,260 lb (6,468 kg), round weight, from 409,000 lb (185,519 kg) to 394,740 lb (179,051 kg), round weight, or 3.5 percent. Additionally, this proposed rule would reduce the greater amberjack commercial trip limit from 2,000 lb (907 kg), round weight, to 1,560 lb (708 kg), round weight; 1,500 lb (680 kg), gutted weight. On its own, the reduction in the commercial ACT would be expected to result in a shorter fishing season and fewer commercial trips that harvest greater amberjack. Conversely, the reduced commercial trip limit would be expected to increase the commercial fishing season length and the overall number of trips necessary to harvest the full commercial ACT. When the actions to reduce the commercial ACT and the trip limit are analyzed together, the expected recurring annual reduction in total ex-vessel revenue from this proposed rule is estimated to be $20,703 (2013 dollars), assuming there is no substitution of other species and no change in effort, harvest rates, or prices. In addition, the season is predicted to be 5 days longer under the preferred commercial ACT and trip limit alternatives than under the no action alternatives for these actions. Assuming the reduction in greater amberjack revenues is distributed evenly across the average number of vessels that commercially harvest greater amberjack per year (211 vessels), the annual per-vessel loss would be $98 (2013 dollars), or less than 1 percent of the average annual revenue earned by these vessels for all species harvested. Because this estimate is based on average performance, some vessels may be affected more or less than others, depending on their overall catch composition, landing capacity, and fishing behavior.

    Thirty vessels, on average per year (2009 through 2013), were identified that commercially landed greater amberjack in excess of 1,500 lb (680 kg), gutted weight, on a single trip (14 percent of the average number of vessels that harvested greater amberjack each year). In 2013, the total weight of greater amberjack harvested in excess of 1,500 lb (680 kg), gutted weight, per trip accounted for approximately 10 percent of total greater amberjack landings. Thus, for the 211 vessels that commercially harvest greater amberjack, the proposed reduction in the commercial trip limit, assuming effort remains constant, would be expected to reduce total commercial greater amberjack harvests by approximately 39,000 lb (17,690 kg), round weight, and $46,800 (2013 dollars) in total ex-vessel revenue annually. Averaged across the 30 vessels per year with trip harvests above 1,500 lb (680 kg), gutted weight, this reduction would equal approximately $1,560 (2013 dollars) per vessel, or approximately 1 percent of their average annual revenue. These losses would be reduced if increased landings of other species can be substituted for greater amberjack landings or if new trips harvesting greater amberjack were to occur. It is assumed that the full commercial ACT would be harvested under the preferred trip limit alternative. Therefore, if the trip limit change implemented by this proposed rule results in a decrease in greater amberjack landings and revenues for some vessels, it would result in an increase in greater amberjack landings and revenues for other vessels.

    The following discussion analyzes the alternatives that were not selected as preferred by the Council. Only the actions which contain alternatives that would have direct economic effects on small entities merit inclusion in the following discussion.

    Four alternatives were considered for the action to modify the commercial and recreational ACLs and ACTs for Gulf greater amberjack. The first alternative, the no action alternative, would not be expected to have any direct economic effects. This alternative was not selected because the stock ACL would exceed the ABC calculated by the most recent greater amberjack assessment and recommended by the SSC and would, therefore, be inconsistent with the NS 1 guidelines. The second alternative would set the stock ACL from 2015 through 2018 equal to the ABC values recommended by the SSC. This alternative included two sub-options. The first sub-option would use the Council's ACL/ACT control rule as established in the Generic ACL/AM Amendment (76 FR 82044, December 29, 2011), which would set the commercial ACT at a level reduced by 15 percent from the commercial ACL for greater amberjack and set the recreational ACT at a level reduced by 13 percent from the recreational ACL. The second sub-option would not use the ACL/ACT control rule and instead would apply a 20-percent buffer that would reduce both the recreational and commercial ACLs by 20 percent to establish the recreational and commercial ACTs. This alternative would increase the stock ACL each year from 2015 through 2018, which would be expected to result in greater economic benefits than the preferred alternative in the framework action. However, this alternative was not selected as preferred by the Council as a result of the following factors: the stock remains overfished and is undergoing overfishing, the 10-year rebuilding plan time period ended and the stock has not been rebuilt, and the stock biomass has been relatively stable (at overfished levels) since 2000, while experiencing harvest levels below what is currently projected to rebuild the stock in upcoming years. The third alternative is the preferred alternative, which would set a constant stock ACL equal to the 2015 ABC value recommended by the SSC. The same two sub-options for setting the ACT that were considered for the second alternative were also considered for the third alternative. The first sub-option, selected as preferred by the Council, would apply a 15-percent buffer to the commercial ACL to set the commercial ACT and apply a 13-percent buffer to the recreational ACL to set the recreational ACT. The second sub-option would not use the ACL/ACT control rule and instead would apply a 20-percent buffer that would reduce both the recreational and commercial ACLs by 20 percent to establish the recreational and commercial ACTs. The fourth alternative would set the stock ACL and stock ACT at zero. The fourth alternative would stop all directed harvest of greater amberjack and would be expected to result in greater economic losses than the preferred ACL/ACT alternative.

    Five alternatives were considered for the action to modify the greater amberjack commercial trip limit. The first alternative, the no action alternative, would maintain the current 2,000 lb (907 kg), round weight, trip limit and would not be expected to have any direct economic effects. The second alternative is the preferred alternative, which would establish a 1,500 lb (680 kg), gutted weight, trip limit for greater amberjack. The third, fourth, and fifth alternatives would have established 1,000 lb (454 kg), 750 lb (340 kg), and 500 lb (227 lb), gutted weight trip limits, respectively. Although these three alternatives would be expected to extend the season, they would increase the likelihood that trips are no longer profitable and decrease the likelihood that the full commercial ACT would be harvested during the fishing year. As such, these three alternatives would be expected to result in greater economic losses to affected small entities than the preferred trip limit alternative.

    An item contained in this proposed rule that is not part of the framework action is the removal of the last sentence in § 622.41(b)(2)(iii), “Recreational landings will be evaluated relative to the ACL based on a moving multi-year average of landings, as described in the FMP.” This sentence, which pertains to the evaluation of recreational landings of gray triggerfish relative to the ACL, was inadvertently not removed in the final rule implementing Amendment 37 to the FMP (78 FR 27084, May 9, 2013). The removal of this sentence will clarify the criteria used to trigger recreational AMs as written in the Federal regulations; however, it is not expected to have any effect on current management practices. This is because NMFS has managed gray triggerfish in accordance with the preferred alternatives specified in Amendment 37 since its implementation. Therefore, this is an administrative change only and is not expected to have any direct economic effects on small entities. As such, this component of the proposed rule is outside the scope of the RFA.

    List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 622

    Commercial, Fisheries, Fishing, Greater amberjack, Gulf, Recreational, Reef fish.

    Dated: September 11, 2015. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service.

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

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

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    2. In § 622.37, revise paragraph (c)(4) to read as follows:
    § 622.37 Size Limits.

    (c) * * *

    (4) Greater amberjack—34 inches (86.4 cm), fork length, for a fish taken by a person subject to the bag limit specified in § 622.38(b)(1) and 36 inches (91.4 cm), fork length, for a fish taken by a person not subject to the bag limit.

    3. In § 622.39, revise paragraphs (a)(1)(v) and (a)(2)(ii) to read as follows:
    § 622.39 Quotas.

    (a) * * *

    (1) * * *

    (v) Greater amberjack—394,740 lb (179,051 kg), round weight.

    (2) * * *

    (ii) Recreational quota for greater amberjack. The recreational quota for greater amberjack is 1,092,372 lb (495,492 kg), round weight.

    4. In § 622.41, revise paragraphs (a)(1)(iii), (a)(2)(iii), and (b)(2)(iii) to read as follows:
    § 622.41 Annual catch limits (ACLs), annual catch targets (ACTs), and accountability measures (AMs).

    (a) * * *

    (1) * * *

    (iii) The commercial ACL for greater amberjack is 464,400 lb (210,648 kg), round weight.

    (2) * * *

    (iii) The recreational ACL for greater amberjack is 1,255,600 lb (569,531 kg), round weight.

    (b) * * *

    (2) * * *

    (iii) The recreational ACL for gray triggerfish is 241,200 lb (109,406 kg), round weight. The recreational ACT for gray triggerfish is 217,100 lb (98,475 kg), round weight.

    5. In § 622.43, revise paragraph (a) to read as follows:
    § 622.43 Commercial trip limits.

    (a) Gulf greater amberjack. Until the quota specified in § 622.39(a)(1)(v) is reached, 1,500 lb (680 kg), gutted weight; 1,560 lb (708 kg), round weight. See § 622.39(b) for the limitations regarding greater amberjack after the quota is reached.

    [FR Doc. 2015-23347 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    80 180 Thursday, September 17, 2015 Notices AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT Meeting: Board for International Food and Agricultural Development

    Pursuant to the Federal Advisory Committee Act, notice is hereby given of the public meeting of the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD). The meeting will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, October 21, 2015 in the South Ballroom of the Memorial Union at Purdue University, 101 N Grant St, West Lafayette, Indiana. The meeting will be streamed live on the Internet. The link to the global live stream is on BIFAD's home page: http://www.usaid.gov/bifad.

    The central theme of this public meeting will be Crossroads: Science, Innovation, Markets, and Policy for Feeding the World. Dr. Brady Deaton, BIFAD Chair, will preside over the public business meeting, which will begin promptly at 8:30 a.m. EDT with opening remarks. At this meeting, the Board will address old and new business and hear updates from USAID, the university community, and other experts on climate-smart agriculture, plant sciences and the role of various constituents in feeding the world's population.

    Starting at 9 a.m., Dr. Waded Cruzado, BIFAD Board Member will present the BIFAD Award for Scientific Excellence which recognizes individual researchers and/or a team of researchers for significant achievements in work performed through USAID's Feed the Future Innovation Labs.

    Starting at 9:30 a.m., BIFAD will hear from the first panel hosted by Dr. Jeffrey Dukes, Director of the Purdue Climate Change Research Center and Professor of Forestry & Natural Resources and Biological Sciences. Dr. Thomas Hertel, Distinguished Professor of Agriculture will moderate the panel titled Climate-Smart Agriculture—Closing the Yield Gap in a Changing Climate. Presenters for this panel are Dr. Mitch Tuinstra, Professor of Plant Breeding and Genetics and Wickersham Chair; Dr. Linda Prokopy, Associate Professor, Natural Resource Science; and an additional panelist to be determined. The panel will conclude with a 15 minute comment period.

    Starting at 11:15 a.m., Dr. Karen Plaut, Senior Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Affairs, will moderate a panel on Plant Sciences Research and Education Pipeline. Presenters for this panel are Dr. Melba Crawford, Associate Dean of Engineering for Research; Dr. Katy Rainey, Assistant Professor of Agronomy; and Dr. Jian Kang Zhu, Distinguished Professor of Plant Biology. This panel will conclude with a 15 minute comment period.

    Starting at 2:15 p.m., Dr. Jay Akridge, Glen W. Sample Dean of Agriculture, will moderate a panel on US Ag Industry's Role in Feeding the World. Presenters for this panel are Ted McKinney, Director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture; and Jim Moseley, a local farmer.

    At 3:30 p.m., Chairman Deaton will moderate a half-hour public comment period. At 4 p.m. EDT Dr. Deaton, will make closing remarks and adjourn the public meeting. At 4 p.m., after the meeting has been adjourned, BIFAD and members of the public are invited to view the Purdue University poster display.

    Those wishing to attend the meeting or obtain additional information about BIFAD should contact Susan Owens, Executive Director and Designated Federal Officer for BIFAD in the Bureau for Food Security at USAID. Interested persons may write to her in care of the U.S. Agency for International Development, Ronald Reagan Building, Bureau for Food Security, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Room 2.09-067, Washington, DC, 20523-2110 or telephone her at (202) 712-0218.

    Susan Owens, Executive Director and USAID Designated Federal Officer for BIFAD, Bureau for Food Security, U.S. Agency for International Development.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23418 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service [Docket No. APHIS-2015-0047] Oral Rabies Vaccine Trial; Availability of a Supplement to an Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact AGENCY:

    Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    We are advising the public that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has prepared a supplement to an environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact relative to an oral rabies vaccination field trial in New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Vermont, and West Virginia. Based on its finding of no significant impact, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has determined that an environmental impact statement need not be prepared.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. Richard Chipman, Rabies Program Coordinator, Wildlife Services, APHIS, 59 Chennell Drive, Suite 7, Concord, NH 03301; (603) 223-9623. To obtain copies of the supplement to the environmental assessment and the finding of no significant impact, contact Ms. Beth Kabert, Environmental Coordinator, Wildlife Services, 140-C Locust Grove Road, Pittstown, NJ 08867; (908) 735-5654, fax (908) 735-0821, email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Wildlife Services (WS) program in the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) cooperates with Federal agencies, State and local governments, and private individuals to research and implement the best methods of managing conflicts between wildlife and human health and safety, agriculture, property, and natural resources. Wildlife-borne diseases that can affect domestic animals and humans are among the types of conflicts that APHIS-WS addresses. Wildlife is the dominant reservoir of rabies in the United States.

    On July 17, 2015, we published in the Federal Register (80 FR 42467-42469, Docket No. APHIS-2015-0047) a notice 1 in which we announced the availability, for public review and comment, of a supplement to an environmental assessment (EA) that examined the potential environmental impacts associated with the proposed field trial to test the safety and efficacy of an experimental oral rabies vaccine for wildlife in New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Vermont, and West Virginia. In addition, the supplement analyzed the geographic shift of the field trial zone in Ohio and an increase in bait distribution density in portions of West Virginia.

    1 To view the notice, the EA, and the FONSI, go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2015-0047.

    We solicited comments on the EA for 30 days ending August 17, 2015. We received one comment by that date, which supported the oral rabies vaccination program.

    In this document, we are advising the public of our finding of no significant impact (FONSI) regarding the implementation of a field trial to test the safety and efficacy of the ONRAB wildlife rabies vaccine in New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Vermont, and West Virginia, including portions of U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service National Forest System lands, but excluding Wilderness Areas. The finding, which is based on the EA, the 2013 supplement to the EA, and the 2015 supplement to the EA, reflects our determination that the distribution of this experimental wildlife rabies vaccine will not have a significant impact on the quality of the human environment.

    The 2015 supplement to the EA and the FONSI may be viewed on the APHIS Web site at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/wildlifedamage/nepa and on the Regulations.gov Web site (see footnote 1). Copies of the 2015 supplement to the EA and the FONSI are also available for public inspection at USDA, room 1141, South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. Persons wishing to inspect copies are requested to call ahead on (202) 799-7039 to facilitate entry into the reading room. In addition, copies may be obtained as described under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

    The 2015 supplement to the EA and the FONSI have been prepared in accordance with: (1) The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.); (2) regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality for implementing the procedural provisions of NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500-1508); (3) USDA regulations implementing NEPA (7 CFR part 1b); and (4) APHIS' NEPA Implementing Procedures (7 CFR part 372).

    Done in Washington, DC, this 14th day of September 2015. Kevin Shea, Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23381 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-34-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service National Advisory Committee for Implementation of the National Forest System Land Management Planning Rule AGENCY:

    Forest Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice of meetings.

    SUMMARY:

    The National Advisory Committee for Implementation of the National Forest System Land Management Planning Rule Committee (Committee) will meet in Tempe, Arizona. Attendees may also participate via webinar and conference call. The Committee operates in compliance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) (Pub. L. 92-463). Additional information relating to the Committee, including the meeting summary/minutes, can be found by visiting the Committee's Web site at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/planningrule/committee.

    DATES:

    The meetings will be held in-person and via webinar/conference call on the following dates and times:

    • Monday, October 5, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. MST

    • Tuesday, October 6, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. MST

    • Wednesday, October 7, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. MST

    • Thursday, October 8, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. MST.

    All meetings are subject to cancellation. For updated status of meetings prior to attendance, please contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will be held at the Sheraton Phoenix Airport Hotel Tempe, 1600 S. 52nd Street, Tempe, Arizona. For anyone who would like to attend via webinar and/or conference call, please visit the Web site listed above or contact the person listed in the section titled FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Written comments may be submitted as described under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. All comments, including names and addresses, when provided, are placed in the record and available for public inspection and copying. The public may inspect comments received at the USDA Forest Service Washington Office—Yates Building, 201 14th Street SW., Mail Stop 1104, Washington, DC, 20250-1104. Please call ahead to facilitate entry into the building.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Chalonda Jasper, Committee Coordinator, by phone at 202-260-9400, or by email at [email protected] Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The purpose of this meeting is to provide:

    1. Continued deliberations on formulating advice for the Secretary,

    2. Discussion of Committee work group findings,

    3. Dialogue with key Forest Service personel and stakeholders from Region 3, the Southwestern Region, regarding the land management plan revision processes currently underway in the region,

    4. Hearing public comments, and

    5. Administrative tasks.

    This meeting is open to the public. The agenda will include time for people to make oral comments of three minutes or less. Individuals wishing to make an oral comment should submit a request in writing by September 30, 2015, to be scheduled on the agenda. Anyone who would like to bring related matters to the attention of the Committee may file written statements with the Committee's staff before or after the meeting. Written comments and time requests for oral comments must be sent to Chalonda Jasper, USDA Forest Service, Ecosystem Management Coordination, 201 14th Street SW., Mail Stop 1104, Washington, DC, 20250-1104, or by email at [email protected] The agenda and summary of the meeting will be posted on the Committee's Web site within 21 days of the meeting.

    Meeting Accommodations: If you are a person requiring reasonable accommodation, please make requests in advance for sign language interpreting, assistive listening devices or other reasonable accommodation for access to the facility or proceedings by contacting the person listed in the section titled FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. All reasonable accommodation requests are managed on a case by case basis.

    Dated: September 10, 2015. Glenn Casamassa, Associate Deputy Chief, National Forest System.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23327 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3411-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail Advisory Council AGENCY:

    Forest Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice of meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail Advisory Council (Council) will meet in Sandpoint, Idaho. The Council is authorized under Section 5(d) of the National Trails System Act of 1968 (Act) and operates in compliance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). Additional information concerning the Council, including the meeting summary/minutes, can be found by visiting the Council's Web site at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/pnt/working-together/advisory-committees.

    DATES:

    The meeting will be held on the following dates and times:

    • Wednesday, October 14, 2015 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PDT

    • Thursday, October 15, 2015 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PDT

    All meetings are subject to cancellation. For updated status of meeting prior to attendance, please contact the person listed under For Further Information Contact.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will be held at the Best Western Edgewater Resort, 56 Bridge Street, Sandpoint, Idaho. Written comments may be submitted as described under Supplementary Information. All comments, including names and addresses, when provided, are placed in the record and available for public inspection and copying. The public may inspect comments received at the Pacific Northwest Regional Office of the United States Forest Service: 1220 SW 3rd Avenue, Portland, OR 97204. Please call ahead at 503-808-2468 to facilitate entry into the building.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Matt McGrath, Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail Program Manager, by phone at 425-583-9304, or by email at [email protected].

    Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The purpose of the meeting is to provide:

    1. Overview of legislation, policy, and interagency planning requirements for National Scenic Trails;

    2. Discussion of planning approach, process, and schedule for the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail comprehensive plan; and

    3. Recommendations regarding the work, priorities, and schedule for the Advisory Council.

    The meeting is open to the public. The agenda will include time for people to make oral statements of three minutes or less. Individuals wishing to make an oral statement should submit a request in writing by October 2, 2015, to be scheduled on the agenda. Anyone who would like to bring related matters to the attention of the Council may file written statements with the Council's staff before or after the meeting. Written comments and time requests for oral comments must be sent to Matt McGrath, Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail Program Manager, 2930 Wetmore Avenue, Suite 3A, Everett, Washington 98201, or by email to [email protected].

    Meeting Accommodations: If you are a person requiring reasonable accommodation, please make requests in advance for sign language interpreting, assistive listening devices or other reasonable accommodation for access to the facility or proceedings by contacting the person listed in the section titled For Further Information Contact. All reasonable accommodation requests are managed on a case by case basis.

    Dated: September 10, 2015. Dianne C. Guidry, Deputy Regional Forester.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23410 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3411-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Rural Utilities Service Energy Answers Arecibo, LLC: Extension of Comment Period for a Draft Environmental Impact Statement AGENCY:

    Rural Utilities Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Extension of comment period for a Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

    SUMMARY:

    The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), has issued a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Energy Answers Arecibo, LLC's (Energy Answers) proposed Waste to Energy Project (Project) in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. RUS published a notice of availability and public hearing on August 7, 2015, that provided a comment period ending on the date announced in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (USEPA) EIS receipt notice of September 28, 2015. RUS is extending the public comment period for the Draft EIS by an additional 45 days to November 12, 2015.

    DATES:

    With this notice, RUS extends the public comment period to November 12, 2015. Comments submitted to RUS regarding the Draft EIS prior to this announcement do not need to be resubmitted as a result of this extension to the comment period.

    ADDRESSES:

    Written comments on the Draft EIS and questions about the proposed project may be submitted to: Ms. Lauren McGee Rayburn at the contact information provided in this notice. The Draft EIS is available in both Spanish and English at the following Web site: http://www.rd.usda.gov/publications/environmental-studies/impact-statements/arecibo-waste-energy-generation-and-resource. Requests for CD or hardcopies may be directed to Ms. McGee Rayburn, Environmental Scientist, Rural Utilities Service, 84 Coxe Ave., Suite 1E, Ashville, North Carolina 28801, telephone: (202) 695-2540, fax: (202) 690-0649, or email: [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Lauren McGee Rayburn, Environmental Scientist, Rural Utilities Service, 84 Coxe Ave., Suite 1E, Ashville, North Carolina 28801, telephone: (202) 695-2540, fax: (202) 690-0649, or email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    RUS has issued a Draft EIS for Energy Answers' proposed Waste to Energy Project (Project) in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. RUS issued the Draft EIS to inform interested parties and the general public about the proposed Project and to invite the public to comment on the scope, proposed action, and other issues addressed in the Draft EIS. The Draft EIS addresses the construction, operation, and maintenance of Energy Answers' proposed Project, a waste-to-energy generation and resource recovery facility in the Cambalache Ward of Arecibo, Puerto Rico. RUS prepared the EIS in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), as amended, the Council on Environmental Quality's Regulation for Implementing the Procedural Provisions of the NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500-1508), and RUS's Environmental Policies and Procedures (7 CFR part 1794). RUS published a notice of availability and public hearing in the Federal Register at 80 FR 47452 on August 7, 2015, that provided a comment period ending on the date announced in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (USEPA) EIS receipt notice or September 28, 2015. RUS is extending the public comment period for the Draft EIS to November 12, 2015.

    The Draft EIS is available in both Spanish and English for review at the following Web site: http://www.rd.usda.gov/publications/environmental-studies/impact-statements/arecibo-waste-energy-generation-and-resource. The Draft EIS will be available for review and comment until November 12, 2015. Following this review period, RUS may prepare a Final EIS. After a 30-day review period of the Final EIS, RUS may publish a Record of Decision (ROD). Notices announcing the availability of the Final EIS and ROD will be published in the Federal Register and in local newspapers.

    Any final action by RUS related to the proposed Project will be subject to, and contingent upon, compliance with all relevant presidential executive orders and federal, state, and local environmental laws and regulations in addition to the completion of the environmental review requirements as prescribed in RUS's Environmental Policies and Procedures, 7 CFR part 1794, as amended.

    Dated: September 10, 2015. Christopher A. McLean, Assistant Administrator—Electric Programs, Rural Utilities Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23377 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Correction

    Agency: U.S. Census Bureau.

    Title: Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Survey.

    OMB Control Number: 0607-0354.

    In the Federal Register of September 11, 2015, Vol. 80, No. 176, Page 54766, the Legal Authority contained incorrect information. The correct information is:

    Legal Authority:

    Title 13, United States Code, Sections 8(b), 141, 182; and Title 29, United States Code, Sections 1-9.

    Dated: September 11, 2015. Glenna Mickelson, Management Analyst, Office of the Chief Information Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23300 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-07-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE [Docket No. 150817729-5729-01] Privacy Act of 1974; Amended System of Records AGENCY:

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice of Proposed Amendment to Privacy Act System of Records: COMMERCE/NOAA-14, Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, 5 U.S.C. 552a(e)(4) and (11), the Department of Commerce proposes to amend the system of records entitled “COMMERCE/NOAA-14, Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program” to update the routine uses to include (1) disclosure for breach notifications, (2) disclosure to the appropriate agency (whether Federal, state, local, or foreign) for law enforcement purposes, (3) disclosure to the medical advisor if disclosure to the individual could have an adverse effect upon the individual, (4) disclosure pursuant to an Office of Management and Budget (OMB) request in connection to private relief legislation as set forth in OMB Circular No. A-19, and (5) disclosure to a contractor of the Department having need for the information in performance of the contract; and to change the system name to “Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program; Office of Education, Educational Partnership Program (EPP); Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship Program and National Marine Fisheries Service Recruitment, Training, and Research Program.” We invite public comment on the amended information collection announced in this publication.

    DATES:

    To be considered, written comments must be submitted on or before October 19, 2015. Unless comments are received, the new system of records will become effective as proposed on the date of publication of a subsequent notice in the Federal Register.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments may be mailed to:

    Program Administrator, Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program, National Ocean Service, Office of the Assistant Administrator, 1305 East-West Highway, 13th Floor, Silver Spring, MD 20910-3281.

    Deputy Director of NOAA Education, Educational Partnership Program and Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship Program, Office of Education, 1315 East-West Highway, 10th Floor, Silver Spring, MD 20910-3281.

    Administrative Assistant, Mendy Willis, National Marine Fisheries Service Recruitment, Training, Research Program at the University of Florida, P.O. Box 110240, Gainesville, FL 32611.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Program Administrator, Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program, National Ocean Service, Office of the Assistant Administrator, 1305 East-West Highway, 13th Floor, Silver Spring, MD 20910-3281.

    Deputy Director of NOAA Education, Educational Partnership Program and Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship Program, Office of Education, 1315 East-West Highway, 10th Floor, Silver Spring, MD 20910-3281.

    Administrative Assistant, Mendy Willis, National Marine Fisheries Service Recruitment, Training, Research Program at the University of Florida, P.O. Box 110240, Gainesville, FL 32611.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The purpose of this amendment is to add information on the Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship Program; Educational Partnership Program's (EPP)—Undergraduate Scholarship Program, Graduate Sciences Program, Cooperative Science Centers, and Environmental Entrepreneurship Program and the (NMFS)—Recruiting, Training, and Research Program alumni form to this information collection. Recently, the Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program's alumni form, and this NMFS alumni form became part of the EPP's information collection under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) approved under OMB Control No. 0648-0568. Because these information collections are associated under the PRA, to the information collected should be maintained in the same system of records.

    Additionally, the purpose of this amendment is to update the routine uses for this system of records as follows: (a) Add routine uses that were not included in the original notice, published in the Federal Register on the October 17, 2002 (67 FR 64085-64086); and (b) add the breach notification routine use, published in the Federal Register on August 10, 2007 (72 FR 45009-45010), for all Department systems of records.

    Authority:

    National Marine Sanctuaries Amendments Act of 2000 (Pub. L. 106-513 sec. 318); Section 4002 of the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science (COMPETES) Act (Public Law 110-69). Under Appendix I to OMB Circular No. A-130, para. 3a(8), we are required to conduct biennial reviews of SORNs and update them as needed.

    COMMERCE/NOAA-14 SYSTEM NAME:

    COMMERCE/NOAA-14, Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program; Office of Education, Educational Partnership Program (EPP); Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship Program and National Marine Fisheries Service Recruitment, Training, and Research Program.

    SECURITY CLASSIFICATION:

    Moderate.

    SYSTEM LOCATION:

    a. The National Ocean Service, Office of the Assistant Administrator, 1305 East-West Highway, 13th Floor, Silver Spring, MD 20910-3281.

    b. NOAA Office of the Chief Information Officer, 1315 East-West Highway, 9th Floor, Silver Spring, MD 20910-3281.

    c. The National Marine Fisheries Service Recruitment, Training, and Research Program at the University of Florida, P.O. Box 110240, Gainesville, FL 32611 (database only, not associated with a system).

    CATEGORIES OF INDIVIDUALS COVERED BY THE SYSTEM:

    Scholarship applicants; recipients of scholarship awards; and alumni, who are scholarship recipients that have completed their studies under the Dr. Nancy Foster or EPP scholarship programs.

    CATAGORIES OF RECORDS IN THE SYSTEM:

    Application packages, including: General Information Sheet (name, citizenship, current school, grade point average, major field of study, year of study, current and permanent address, telephone number, and email address, extracurricular activities, school honors and awards, non-academic work and volunteer activities, essay on college education plan and career goals), Statement of Intent, Institute Certification, Transcripts, and Letters of Recommendation; Annual Progress Reports; Tuition Statements and Receipts.

    Student tracking information: Name, citizenship, funding, area of study, performance, activities, publications.

    Alumni information: Scholarship program name; general information (last name, first name, email address, program completion dates, last name if different from last name while in program, graduation date, optional—gender, race/ethnicity); post educational information (institution name, institution state, degree field of study and area of discipline); current employment information (occupation, field of work, area of work and industry sector).

    AUTHORITY FOR MAINTENANCE OF THE SYSTEM:

    National Marine Sanctuaries Amendments Act of 2000 (Pub. L. 106-513 sec. 318).The Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is authorized by Section 4002 of the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science (COMPETES) Act, Public Law 110-69, to establish and administer education programs such as the Educational Partnership Program (EPP) Graduate Sciences Program and EPP Undergraduate Scholarship Program to enhance the understanding of ocean, coastal, Great Lakes, and atmospheric science and stewardship to the general public and other coastal stakeholders, including groups underrepresented in the ocean and atmospheric sciences and in policy careers.

    PURPOSES:

    Records will be used to track scholarship recipients' academic progress, to make annual financial awards, and to track scholarship recipients' graduate studies and career progress.

    ROUTINE USES OF RECORDS MAINTAINED IN THE SYSTEM, INCLUDING CATEGORIES OF USERS AND PURPOSES OF SUCH USES:

    1. In the event that a system or records maintained by the Department to carry out its functions indicates a violation or potential violation of law or contract, whether civil, criminal or regulatory in nature, and whether arising by general statute or particular program statute or contract, or rule, regulation, or order issued pursuant thereto, or the necessity to protect an interest of the Department, the relevant records in the system of records may be referred, as a routine use, to the appropriate agency, whether Federal, state, local or foreign, charged with the responsibility of investigating or prosecuting such violation or charged with enforcing or implementing the statute or contract, or rule, regulation or order issued pursuant thereto, or protecting the interest of the Department.

    2. A record from this system of records may be disclosed to a Federal, state or local agency maintaining civil, criminal or other relevant enforcement information, or other pertinent information, such as current licenses, if necessary to obtain information relevant to a Department decision concerning the assignment, hiring or retention of an individual, the issuance of a security clearance, the letting of a contract, or the issuance of a license, grant, or other benefit.

    3. A record from this system of records may be disclosed to a Federal, state, local, or international agency, in response to its request, in connection with the assignment, hiring, or retention of an individual, the issuance of a security clearance, the reporting of an investigation of an individual, the letting of a contract, or the issuance of a license, grant, or other benefit by the requesting agency, to the extent that the information is relevant and necessary to the requesting agency's decision on the matter.

    4. A record from this system of records may be disclosed in the course of presenting evidence to a court, magistrate, or administrative tribunal, including disclosures to opposing counsel in the course of settlement negotiations.

    5. A record in this system of records may be disclosed to a Member of Congress submitting a request involving an individual when the individual has requested assistance from the Member with respect to the subject matter of the record.

    6. A record in this system of records which contains medical information may be disclosed, as a routine use, to the medical advisor of any individual submitting a request for access to the record under the Act and 15 CFR part 4b if, in the sole judgment of the Department, disclosure to the individual could have an adverse effect upon the individual, under the provision of 5 U.S.C. 552a(f)(3) and implementing regulations at 15 CFR 4b.6.

    7. A record in this system of records may be disclosed to the Department of Justice in connection with determining whether disclosure thereof is required by the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552).

    8. A record in this system may be transferred to the Office of Personnel Management or to the National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) or to an evaluation contractor for personnel research purposes, as a data source for management information; for the production of summary descriptive statistics and analytical studies in support of the function for which the records are collected and maintained; or for related manpower studies.

    9. A record from this system of records may be disclosed to the Administrator, General Services Administration (GSA), or his designee, during an inspection of records conducted by GSA as part of that agency's responsibility to recommend improvements in records management practices and programs, under authority of 44 U.S.C. 2904 and 2906. Such disclosure shall be made in accordance with the GSA regulations governing inspection of records for this purpose and any other relevant (i.e. GSA or Commerce) directive. Such disclosure shall not be used to make determinations about individuals.

    10. A record in this system of records may be disclosed, as a routine use, to the Office of Management and Budget in connection with the review of private relief legislation as set forth in OMB Circular No. A-19 at any stage of the legislative coordination and clearance process as set forth in that Circular.

    11. A record in this system of records may be disclosed, as a routine use, to a contractor of the Department having need for the information in the performance of the contract, but not operating a system of records within the meaning of 5 U.S.C. 552a(m).

    12. A record in this system of records may be disclosed to appropriate agencies, entities and persons when (1) it is suspected or determined that the security or confidentiality of information in the system of records has been compromised; (2) the Department has determined that as a result of the suspected or confirmed compromise there is a risk of harm to economic or property interests, identity theft or fraud, or harm to the security or integrity of this system or whether systems or programs (whether maintained by the Department or another agency or entity) that rely upon the compromised information; and (3) the disclosure made to such agencies, entities, and persons is reasonably necessary to assist in connection with the Department's efforts to respond to the suspected or confirmed compromise and to prevent, minimize, or remedy such harm.

    DISCLOSURE TO CONSUMER REPORTING AGENCIES:

    Not applicable.

    POLICIES AND PRACTICES FOR STORING, RETRIEVING, RETAINING, AND DISPOSING OF RECORDS IN THE SYSTEM: STORAGE:

    Electronic databases, with restricted access, and hard copy files, kept in a locked cabinet.

    RETRIEVABILITY:

    Scholarship recipient files will be alphabetized by recipient's last name, and the student databases can be searched by last name.

    SAFEGUARDS:

    Buildings employ security systems. Records are maintained in areas accessible only to authorized personnel who are properly screened and cleared.

    RETENTION AND DISPOSAL:

    Records retention and disposal is in accordance with the agency's records disposition schedule, the NOAA Records Schedule Chapter: http://www.corporateservices.noaa.gov/audit/records_management/schedules/chapter_400_finance.pdf

    SYSTEM MANAGER(S) AND ADDRESS:

    For records at location a.: Program Administrator, Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program, National Ocean Service, Office of the Assistant Administrator, 1305 East-West Highway, 13th Floor, Silver Spring, MD 20910-3281.

    For records at location b.: Deputy Director of NOAA Education, Educational Partnership Program and Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship Program, Office of Education, 1315 East-West Highway, 10th Floor, Silver Spring, MD, 20910-3281.

    For records at location c.: Administrative Assistant, Mendy Willis, National Marine Fisheries Service Recruitment, Training, Research Program at the University of Florida, P.O. Box 110240, Gainesville, FL 32611.

    NOTIFICATION PROCEDURE:

    Information may be obtained from:

    For records at location a.: Program Administrator, Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program, National Ocean Service, Office of the Assistant Administrator, 1305 East-West Highway, 13th Floor, Silver Spring, MD 20910-3281.

    For records at location b.: Deputy Director of NOAA Education, Educational Partnership Program and Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship Program, Office of Education, 1315 East-West Highway, 10th Floor, Silver Spring, MD 20910-3281.

    For records at location c: Administrative Assistant, Mendy Willis, National Marine Fisheries Service Recruitment, Training, Research Program at the University of Florida, P.O. Box 110240, Gainesville, FL 32611.

    RECORD ACCESS PROCEDURES:

    Requests from individuals should be addressed to:

    For records at location a.: Program Administrator, Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program, National Ocean Service, Office of the Assistant Administrator, 1305 East-West Highway, 13th Floor, Silver Spring, MD 20910-3281.

    For records at location b.: Deputy Director of NOAA Education, Educational Partnership Program and Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship Program, Office of Education, 1315 East-West Highway, 10th Floor, Silver Spring, MD 20910-3281.

    For records at location c.: Administrative Assistant, Mendy Willis, National Marine Fisheries Service Recruitment, Training, Research Program at the University of Florida, P.O .Box 110240, Gainesville, FL 32611.

    CONTESTING RECORD PROCEDURES:

    The Department's rules for access, for contesting contents, and for appealing initial determination by the individual concerned appear in 15 CFR part 4. Use addresses in the RECORDS ACCESS PROCEDURES section above for desired locations.

    RECORD SOURCE CATEGORIES:

    Scholarship and grant applicants and recipients.

    EXEMPTIONS CLAIMED FOR THE SYSTEM:

    None.

    Dated: September 9, 2015. Michael J. Toland, Department of Commerce, Acting Freedom of Information and Privacy Act Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23133 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE [Docket No. 150806684-5684-01] Privacy Act of 1974, Altered System of Records AGENCY:

    U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice of amendment, Privacy Act System of Records, COMMERCE/CENSUS-9, Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics System.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, 5 U.S.C. 552A(e)(4) and (11); and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-130, Appendix I, “Federal Agency Responsibilities for Maintaining Records About Individuals,” the Department of Commerce is issuing this notice to amend the system of records under, COMMERCE/CENSUS-9, Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics System, to update the categories of records, the authorities for maintenance of the system, the routine uses, the system manager(s) and address, and the policies and practices for storing, retaining, disposing, and safeguarding of the records, and to add three new sections to the system addressing the notification procedure, record access procedures, and contesting procedures. The purpose of Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics system of records is to enable the Census Bureau to undertake studies intended to improve the quality of its core demographic and economic censuses and surveys and to conduct policy-relevant research. By using administrative record data from other agencies, the Census Bureau will be able to improve the quality and usefulness of its data, while reducing costs and respondent burden. We invite public comment on the system amendment announced in this publication.

    DATES:

    To be considered, written comments on the proposed amendments must be submitted on or before October 19, 2015. Unless comments are received, the amended system of records will become effective as proposed on the date of publication of a subsequent notice in the Federal Register.

    ADDRESSES:

    Please address comments to: Byron Crenshaw, Privacy Compliance Branch, Room—8H021, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC 20233-3700.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Chief, Privacy Compliance Branch, Room—8H021, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC 20233-3700.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Department of Commerce proposes to amend the system of records under, COMMERCE/CENSUS-9, Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics System. The purpose of Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics system of records is to enable the Census Bureau to undertake studies intended to improve the quality of its core demographic and economic censuses and surveys and to conduct policy-relevant research. By using administrative record data from other agencies, the Census Bureau will be able to improve the quality and usefulness of its data, while reducing costs and respondent burden.

    This amendment makes the following seven changes to the information provided under the system. The first change updates the categories of records in the system to provide additional information and details surrounding the records including the use of administrative records. The second change updates the authorities for maintenance of the system by specifying which sections of Title 13 of the United States Code (U.S.C.) applies to this system of records. The third change updates the routine uses of records maintained by the system of records to indicate that the records in this system of records are solely for statistically purposes. The fourth change clarifies the storage of records including those obtained from source datasets. The fifth change updates the system manager and address to reflect that the system of records is being maintained in another program area. The sixth change updates the policies and practices for storing, retaining, disposing, and safeguarding of the records. The last change adds three new sections that address the notification procedure, record access procedures, and contesting procedures, to this system; these section were not included in the last publication of this notice in the Federal Register on May 10, 2002 (67 FR 31766). The entire resulting system of records, as amended, appears below.

    COMMERCE/CENSUS-9 SYSTEM NAME:

    COMMERCE/CENSUS-9, Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics System.

    SECURITY CLASSIFICATION:

    None.

    SYSTEM LOCATION:

    Bowie Computer Center, U.S. Census Bureau, 17101 Melford Boulevard, Bowie, MD 20715.

    CATEGORIES OF INDIVIDUALS COVERED BY THE SYSTEM:

    The population of the United States. In order to approximate coverage of the entire U.S. population, the U.S. Census Bureau (Census Bureau) will combine administrative record files from the Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration, selected Census Bureau economic and demographic censuses and surveys, and comparable data from selected state agencies.

    CATAGORIES OF RECORDS IN THE SYSTEM:

    Records in this system of records consist of working statistical files (i.e., those files being analyzed to produce survey results), survey data files (i.e., those files containing answers directly from the respondent), and/or data contact files (i.e., those files used for contacting respondents). Some records in this system of records may be obtained from datasets maintained by the COMMERCE/CENSUS-8, Statistical Administrative Records System where direct identifiers have been replaced with a unique nonidentifying code (called the Protected Identification Key (PIK)) prior to delivery to this system of records, and, therefore are not on the working statistical files. These categories of records are maintained on unique data sets that are extracted or combined on an as needed basis using the unique non-identifying codes but with the original identifiers removed. Additionally, some records from this system of records may be obtained from the Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration, selected Census Bureau economic and demographic censuses and surveys, and comparable data from selected state agencies. Records in this system of records may contain information such as: Demographic Information—e.g., gender, race, ethnicity, education, marital status, tribal affiliation, veterans status; Geographic Information—e.g., address; Economic Information—e.g., income, job information, total assets; Business information—e.g., business name, revenues, number of employees, and industry codes in support of economic statistical products; Respondent contact information—e.g., name, address, telephone number, age, and sex in support of survey and census data collection efforts; and Processing Information—e.g., processing codes and quality indicators. See the COMMERCE/CENSUS-8, Statistical Administrative Records System SORN for more information.

    AUTHORITY FOR MAINTENANCE OF THE SYSTEM:

    13 U.S.C. 6 and 9.

    PURPOSES:

    The purpose of Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics system of records is to enable the Census Bureau to undertake studies intended to improve the quality of its core demographic and economic censuses and surveys and to conduct policy-relevant research. By using administrative record data from other agencies, the Census Bureau will be able to improve the quality and usefulness of its data, while reducing costs and respondent burden.

    ROUTINE USES OF RECORDS MAINTAINED IN THE SYSTEM, INCLUDING CATEGORIES OF USERS AND PURPOSES OF SUCH USES:

    A record in this system of records may be disclosed to appropriate agencies, entities and persons when: (1) It is suspected or determined that the security or confidentiality of information in the system of records has been compromised; (2) the Department has determined that as a result of the suspected or confirmed compromise there is a risk of harm to economic or property interests, identity theft or fraud, or harm to the security or integrity of this system or whether systems or programs (whether maintained by the Department or another agency or entity) that rely upon the compromised information; and (3) the disclosure made to such agencies, entities, and persons is reasonably necessary to assist in connection with the Department's efforts to respond to the suspected or confirmed compromise and to prevent, minimize, or remedy such harm.

    DISCLOSURE TO CONSUMER REPORTING AGENCIES:

    None.

    POLICIES AND PRACTICES FOR STORING, RETRIEVING, ACCESSING, RETAINING, AND DISPOSING OF RECORDS IN THE SYSTEM: STORAGE:

    Records will be stored in a secure computerized system and on magnetic tape; output data will be either electronic or paper copy. Paper copies or magnetic media will be stored in a secure area within a locked drawer or cabinet. Source data sets containing personal identifiers will be maintained in a secure restricted-access environment.

    RETRIEVABILITY:

    Records are maintained within a secure, restricted access environment where direct identifiers have been deleted and replaced by unique serial identification numbers (PIK). The records can be retrieved by the PIK by only a limited number of persons sworn to uphold the confidentiality of Census Bureau data and who have a need to know. The purpose of these identifiers is not to facilitate retrieval of information concerning specific individuals, but only to develop matched data sets for subsequent statistical extracts.

    SAFEGUARDS:

    The Census Bureau is committed to respecting respondent privacy and protecting confidentiality. Through the Data Stewardship Program, we have implemented management, operational, and technical controls and practices to ensure high-level data protection to respondents of our census and surveys. (1) The Census Bureau unauthorized browsing policy protects respondent information from casual or inappropriate use by any person with access to data protected by Title 13 of the United States Code (U.S.C.). (2) All employees permitted to access the system are subject to the restrictions, penalties, and prohibitions of 13 U.S.C. 9 and 214 as modified by 18 U.S.C. 3551, et seq., the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(4)); 26 U.S.C. 7213, 7213A, and 7431; and 42 U.S.C. 1306, as well as any additional restrictions imposed by statutory authority of a sponsor. (3) All Census Bureau employees and persons with special sworn status will be regularly advised of regulations issued pursuant to Title 13 U.S.C. governing the confidentiality of the data, and will be required to complete an annual Title 13 awareness program; and those who have access to Federal Tax Information data will be regularly advised of regulations issued pursuant to Title 26 U.S.C. governing the confidentiality of the data, and will be required to complete an annual Title 26 awareness program. (4) All computer systems that maintain sensitive information are in compliance with the Federal Information Security Management Act, which includes auditing and controls over access to restricted data. (5) The use of unsecured telecommunications to transmit individually identifiable information is prohibited. (6) Paper copies that contain sensitive information are stored in secure facilities in a locked drawer or file cabinet behind a locked door. (7) Additional data files containing direct identifiers will be maintained solely for the purpose of data collection activities, such as respondent contact and preloading an instrument for a continued interview, and will not be transferred to, or maintained on, working statistical files. (8) While the original data are housed at the Census Bureau they are afforded the same protections as data held confidential under 13 U.S.C. 9.

    RETENTION AND DISPOSAL:

    Records are retained in accordance with the General Records Schedule and Census Bureau's records control schedules that are approved by the National Archives and Records Administration. Records are retained in accordance with agreements developed with sponsoring agencies or source entity. Federal tax information administrative record data will be retained and disposed of in accordance with Publication 1075, Tax Information Security Guidelines for Federal, State, and Local Agencies and Entities. The Census Bureau issues an Annual Safeguard Activity Report that includes information on the retention and disposal of federal administrative record source data. Due to IRS regulation, Title 26 data cannot be transferred to the National Archive and Records Administration (NARA). Permanent data will be archived at the Census Bureau. Generally, records are retained for less than 10 years, unless a longer period required by the survey sponsor is necessary for statistical purposes or for permanent archival retention.

    SYSTEM MANGER(S) AND ADDRESS:

    Associate Director for Research and Methodology, U.S. Census Bureau, 4600 Silver Hill Road, Washington, DC 20233.

    Custodian:

    Director, Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Program, Center for Economic Studies, Research and Methodology Directorate, U.S. Census Bureau, 4600 Silver Hill Road, Washington, DC 20233.

    NOTIFICATION PROCEDURE:

    None.

    RECORD ACCESS PROCEDURES:

    None.

    CONTESTNG RECORD PROCEDURES:

    None.

    RECORD SOURCE CATEGORIES:

    The Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration, selected Census Bureau economic and demographic censuses and surveys, and comparable data from selected State Employment Security Agencies.

    EXEMPTIONS CLAIMED FOR THE SYSTEM:

    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552 a(k)(4), this system of records is exempted from the notification, access, and contest requirements of the agency procedures (under 5 U.S.C. Section 552a(c)(3), (d), (e)(1), (e)(4)(G), (H), and (I), and (f)). This exemption is applicable as the data are maintained by the Census Bureau and required by Title 13 to be used solely as statistical records and are not used in whole or in part in making any determination about an identifiable individual or establishment. This exemption is made in accordance with the Department's rules, which appear in 15 CFR part 4 Subpart B, and in accordance with agency rules published in this Federal Register notice.

    Dated: September 9, 2015. Michael J. Toland, Department of Commerce, Acting Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23135 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-07-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Telecommunications and Information Administration First Responder Network Authority First Responder Network Authority Board Meetings AGENCY:

    First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice of public meetings.

    SUMMARY:

    The Board of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) will convene an open public meeting on October 2, 2015, preceded by open public meetings of the Board Committees on October 1, 2015.

    DATES:

    On October 1, 2015 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, there will be two open public meetings of FirstNet's four Board Committees. The first meeting is a joint meeting of the Governance and Personnel and Finance Committee and will be held between 8-11:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The second meeting is a joint meeting of the Technology and Consultation Committee and will be held between 1-4:30 p.m. The full FirstNet Board will hold an open public meeting on October 2, 2015 between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meetings on October 1 and October 2, 2015 will be held at John Wesley Powell Federal Building, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, M/S 243, Reston, VA 20192.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Uzoma Onyeije, Secretary, FirstNet, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, M/S 243, Reston, VA 20192; telephone: (703) 648-4165; email: [email protected] Please direct media inquiries to Ryan Oremland at (703) 648-4114.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This notice informs the public that the Board of FirstNet will convene an open public meeting on October 2, 2015, preceded by open public meetings of the Board Committees on October 1, 2015.

    Background: The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (Act), Public Law 112-96, 126 Stat. 156 (2012), established FirstNet as an independent authority within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration that is headed by a Board. The Act directs FirstNet to ensure the building, deployment, and operation of a nationwide, interoperable public safety broadband network. The FirstNet Board is responsible for making strategic decisions regarding FirstNet's operations. The FirstNet Board held its first public meeting on September 25, 2012.

    Matters to be Considered: FirstNet will post detailed agendas of each meeting on its Web site, http://www.firstnet.gov,prior to the meetings. The agenda topics are subject to change. Please note that the subjects that will be discussed by the Committees and the Board may involve commercial or financial information that is privileged or confidential, personnel matters, or other legal matters affecting FirstNet. As such, the Committee chairs and Board Chair may call for a vote to close the meetings only for the time necessary to preserve the confidentiality of such information, pursuant to 47 U.S.C. § 1424(e)(2).

    Times and Dates of Meetings: On October 1, 2015 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, there will be two open public meetings of FirstNet's four Board Committees. The first meeting is a joint meeting of the Governance and Personnel and Finance Committee and will be held between 8-11:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The second meeting is a joint meeting of the Technology and Consultation Committee and will be held between 1-4:30 p.m. The full FirstNet Board will hold an open public meeting on October 2, 2015 between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time.

    Place: The meetings on October 1 and October 2, 2015 will be held at John Wesley Powell Federal Building, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, M/S 243, Reston, VA 20192.

    Other Information: These meetings are open to the public and press on a first-come, first-served basis. Space is limited. In order to get an accurate headcount, all expected attendees are asked to provide notice of intent to attend by sending an email to [email protected] If the number of RSVPs indicates that expected attendance has reached capacity, FirstNet will respond to all subsequent notices indicating that capacity has been reached and that in-person viewing may no longer be available but that the meeting may still be viewed by webcast as detailed below. For access to the meetings, valid government issued photo identification may be requested for security reasons.

    The meetings are accessible to people with disabilities. Individuals requiring accommodations, such as sign language interpretation or other ancillary aids, are asked to notify Uzoma Onyeije, Secretary, FirstNet, at (703) 648-4165 or [email protected], at least five (5) business days before the applicable meeting(s).

    The meetings will also be webcast. Please refer to FirstNet's Web site at www.firstnet.gov for webcast instructions and other information. Viewers experiencing any issues with the live webcast may email [email protected] or call 202.684.3361 x9 for support. A variety of automated troubleshooting tests are also available via the “Troubleshooting Tips” button on the webcast player. The meetings will also be available to interested parties by phone. To be connected to the meetings in listen-only mode by telephone, please dial 888-997-9859 and passcode 3572169.

    Records: FirstNet maintains records of all Board proceedings. Minutes of the Board Meeting and the Committee meetings will be available at www.firstnet.gov.

    Dated: September 10, 2015. Eli Veenendaal, Attorney Advisor, First Responder Network Authority.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23391 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-TL-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-580-816] Corrosion-Resistant Carbon Steel Flat Products From the Republic of Korea: Notice of Court Decision Not in Harmony With Final Results of Administrative Review and Notice of Amended Final Results of Administrative Review Pursuant to Court Decision AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce

    SUMMARY:

    On August 31, 2015, the United States Court of International Trade (the Court) sustained the Department of Commerce's (Department) Final Remand Redetermination pertaining to the 19th administrative review of corrosion-resistant carbon steel flat products (CORE) from the Republic of Korea (Korea).1

    1See Dongbu Steel Co., Ltd. v. United States, CIT Consol. Court No. 14-00098, Slip Op. 15-99 (August 31, 2015); Final Results of Redetermination Pursuant to Court Remand, Court No. 14-00098, dated July 24, 2015 (Final Remand Redetermination); and Dongbu Steel Co. v. United States, 61 F. Supp. 3d 1377 (Ct. Int'l Trade 2015) (Remand Order).

    Consistent with the decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) in Timken, 2 as clarified by Diamond Sawblades, 3 the Department is notifying the public that the final judgment in this case is not in harmony with the Department's final results of the 19th administrative review of CORE from Korea, and that it is amending the final results with respect to Dongbu Steel Co., Ltd. (Dongbu) and Union Steel Manufacturing Co., Ltd. (Union Steel).4 The period of review (POR) is August 1, 2011, through February 14, 2012.5

    2See Timken Co. v. United States, 893 F.2d 337 (Fed. Cir. 1990) (Timken).

    3See Diamond Sawblades Mfrs. Coalition v. United States, 626 F.3d 1374 (Fed. Cir. 2010) (Diamond Sawblades).

    4See Corrosion-Resistant Carbon Steel Flat Products From the Republic of Korea: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2011-2012, 79 FR 17503 (March 28, 2014) (Final Results), and accompanying Issues and Decision Memorandum (I&D Memo).

    5 The period of review ends on February 14, 2012 because the antidumping duty order on CORE from Korea was revoked effective on this date. See Corrosion-Resistant Carbon Steel Flat Products from Germany and the Republic of Korea: Revocation of Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Orders, 78 FR 16832 (March 19, 2013) (CORE Revocation).

    DATES:

    Effective Date: September 10, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Stephanie Moore, AD/CVD Operations Office III, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC, 20230; telephone: (202) 482-3692.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    On September 26, 2012, the Department initiated an administrative review of the antidumping duty order on CORE from Korea for the period August 1, 2011, through July 31, 2012.6 On March 19, 2013, as a result of the International Trade Commission's determination in the third sunset review, the Department published a notice that the antidumping duty order on CORE from Korea would be revoked, but that it would complete any pending reviews of entries made prior to February 14, 2012, the effective date of revocation.7 For the Preliminary Results, published on September 9, 2013, the Department shortened the POR for the ongoing administrative review to reflect the effective date of revocation of the antidumping order.8 In its preliminary dumping calculations, the Department truncated the sales databases to conform to the shortened POR. However, in conducting the sales below cost and cost recovery tests to determine the pool of home market sales available for the calculation of normal value, the Department used the cost of production database submitted by Dongbu covering the original August 1, 2011, through July 31, 2012, review period. For the Final Results, the Department continued to use Dongbu's weighted-average cost data for the full-year POR in its antidumping calculations.9 The Department also used Dongbu's weighted-average dumping margin as the rate for non-examined respondent Union Steel, because it was the only rate that was not zero, de minimis, or based on total facts available.10

    6See Initiation of Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Administrative Reviews and Request for Revocation in Part, 77 FR 59168 (September 26, 2012).

    7See Corrosion-Resistant Carbon Steel Flat Products from Germany and the Republic of Korea: Revocation of Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Orders, 78 FR 16832 (March 19, 2013); Determinations: Corrosion-Resistant Carbon Steel Flat Products from Germany and Korea, 78 FR 15376 (March 11, 2013).

    8See Corrosion-Resistant Carbon Steel Flat Products from the Republic of Korea: Preliminary Results of Administrative Review, 78 FR 55057 (September 9, 2013), and accompanying Preliminary Decision Memorandum (Preliminary Results).

    9See Final Results, and accompanying I&D Memo at Comment 1.

    10See Final Results, 79 FR at 17504 & n.11.

    Before the Court, Dongbu and Union Steel challenged the Department's determination to use the 12-month cost of production data in both the cost recovery and sales below cost tests, arguing that the language of the cost recovery test in section 773(b)(2)(D) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act) requires that prices be measured for cost recovery against the weighted-average cost of production for the shortened POR, and that the Department accordingly should have requested new cost data for the revised POR and recalculated the weighted-average dumping margin.11 Dongbu and Union Steel further argued that the Department's use of costs outside the POR in the sales below cost test was unlawful because the statute requires that the cost of production “reasonably reflect the costs associated with the production and sale of the merchandise, during the period of review.” 12

    11See Remand Order, 61 F. Supp. 3d at 1381.

    12Id., at 1388.

    In its Remand Order, the Court held that the language of the statute “unambiguously prohibited the Department from using cost data for a period other than the POR to calculate the weighted average cost of production for purposes of the cost recovery test,” and that “{n}othing in the statutory framework contradicts the cost recovery test's plain language regarding the POR.” 13 The Court rejected the Department's remaining arguments regarding the cost recovery test provision.14

    13Id., at 1384.

    14Id., at 1385-88.

    In addition, the Court agreed that the Department has discretion to include costs outside of the POR in conducting the sales below cost test, but found the Department's explanation as to why it included post-review period cost data inadequate, and remanded to the Department to “explain its decision in this case that the costs incurred after the POR reasonably reflect the costs of the product under review.” 15

    15Id., at 1388-90.

    After reopening the record to obtain cost of production data reflecting the revised POR from Dongbu, issuing a draft remand redetermination, and soliciting comments, the Department issued the Final Remand Redetermination on July 24, 2015. In the Final Remand Redetermination, the Department modified its dumping calculations by comparing Dongbu's home market sales against cost data from the revised POR to determine whether such sales were made at prices that would provide for the recovery of costs.16 The Department relied on this same cost data in administering the sales below cost test for Dongbu.17 Finally, the Department assigned Dongbu's revised dumping margin to Union Steel.18

    16See Final Remand Redetermination at 5.

    17Id.

    18Id., at 6.

    Timken Notice

    In Timken, 893 F.2d at 341, as clarified by Diamond Sawblades, the CAFC held that, pursuant to section 516A(e) of the Act, the Department must publish a notice of a court decision that is not “in harmony” with a Department determination and must suspend liquidation of entries pending a “conclusive” court decision. The Court's judgment sustaining the Final Remand Redetermination constitutes a final decision of the Court that is not in harmony with the Department's Final Results. This notice is published in fulfillment of the publication requirement of Timken. Accordingly, the Department will continue the suspension of liquidation of the subject merchandise pending the expiration of the period of appeal or, if appealed, pending a final and conclusive court decision. In the event the Court's ruling is not appealed or, if appealed, upheld by the CAFC, the Department will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to assess antidumping duties on unliquidated entries of subject merchandise exported by the producers and/or exporters listed below at the rates listed below.

    Amended Final Results

    Because there is now a final court decision, the Department is amending the Final Results with respect to Dongbu and Union Steel, plaintiffs in this case. The revised weighted-average dumping margins for these producers/exporters during the period August 1, 2011, through February 14, 2012, are as follows:

    Weighted-Average Dumping Margins Producer/Exporter Weighted-average dumping margin
  • (percent)
  • Dongbu 5.38 Union Steel 5.38
    Cash Deposit Requirements

    The Department notified CBP to discontinue the collection of cash deposits on entries of the subject merchandise, entered or withdrawn from warehouse, on or after February 14, 2012.19 Therefore, no cash deposit requirements will be imposed in response to these amended final results.

    19See CORE Revocation, 78 FR at 16833.

    This notice is issued and published in accordance with sections 516A(e)(1), 751(a)(1), and 777(i)(1) of the Act.

    Dated: September 10, 2015. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23360 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Institute of Standards and Technology Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Generic Clearance for Usability Data Collections AGENCY:

    National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be submitted on or before November 16, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Direct all written comments to Jennifer Jessup, Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer, Department of Commerce, Room 6616, 14th and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230 (or via the Internet at [email protected]).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Requests for additional information or copies of the information collection instrument and instructions should be directed to Amy Egan, Management Analyst, NIST, 100 Bureau Drive, MS 1710, Gaithersburg, MD 20899-1710, telephone 301-975-2819, or via email to [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Abstract

    This is a request to renew or extend the expiration date of this currently approved information collection.

    In accordance with the Executive Order 12862, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a non-regulatory agency of the Department of Commerce, proposes to conduct a number of data collection efforts—both quantitative and qualitative. The data collections will be designed to determine requirements and evaluate the usability and utility of NIST research for measurement and standardization work. These data collections efforts may include, but may not be limited to electronic methodologies, empirical studies, video and audio collections, interviews, and questionnaires. For example, data collection efforts may include the password generation study and the user perceptions of online privacy and security study. NIST will limit its inquiries to data collections that solicit strictly voluntary opinions or responses and will not collect information that is required or regulated. The results of the data collected will be used to guide NIST research. Steps will be taken to ensure anonymity of respondents in each activity covered under this request.

    II. Method of Collection

    NIST will collect this information by electronic means when possible, as well as by mail, fax, telephone and person-to-person interviews.

    III. Data

    OMB Control Number: 0693-0043.

    Form Number: None.

    Type of Review: Regular submission (extension of a currently approved information collection.)

    Affected Public: Individuals or households, State, local or tribal government, Federal government.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 8,500.

    Estimated Time per Response: Varied, dependent upon the data collection method used. The possible response time to complete a questionnaire may be 15 minutes or 2 hours to participate in an empirical study.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 5,000.

    Estimated Total Annual Cost to Public: $0.

    IV. Request for Comments

    Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden (including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for OMB approval of this information collection; they also will become a matter of public record.

    Dated: September 11, 2015. Glenna Mickelson, Management Analyst, Office of the Chief Information Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23295 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Vessel Monitoring System Requirements Under the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention AGENCY:

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be submitted on or before November 16, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Direct all written comments to Jennifer Jessup, Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer, Department of Commerce, Room 6616, 14th and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230 (or via the Internet at [email protected]).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Requests for additional information or copies of the information collection instrument and instructions should be directed to Tom Graham, (808) 725-5032 or [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Abstract

    This request is for an extension of a currently approved information collection. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has issued regulations under authority of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act (WCPFCIA; 16 U.S.C. 6901 et seq.) to carry out the obligations of the United States under the Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (Convention), including implementing the decisions of the Commission for the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (Commission). The regulations include a requirement for the owners and operators of U.S. vessels that fish for highly migratory species on the high seas in the Convention Area to carry and operate near real-time satellite-based position-fixing transmitters (“VMS units”) at all times except when the vessel is in port. As part of this requirement, vessel owners and operators must transmit: (1) “on/off reports” to NMFS whenever the VMS unit is turned off while the vessel is in port, (2) “activation reports” to NMFS prior to the first use of a VMS unit, and (3) automatic “position reports” from the VMS unit to NOAA and the Commission as part of a vessel monitoring system (VMS) operated by the Commission (50 CFR 300.45). Under this information collection, it is expected that vessel owners and operators would also need to purchase, install, and occasionally maintain the VMS units.

    The information collected from the vessel position reports is used by NOAA and the Commission to help ensure compliance with domestic laws and the Commission's conservation and management measures, and are necessary in order to the United Stated to satisfy its obligations under the Convention.

    II. Method of Collection

    Respondents may submit on/off reports by facsimile or email, and they may submit activation reports by mail, facsimile or email. Position reports are transmitted electronically and automatically from the VMS unit.

    III. Data

    OMB Control Number: 0648-0596.

    Form Number(s): None.

    Type of Review: Regular submission (extension of a currently approved collection).

    Affected Public: Business or other for-profit organizations; individuals or households.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 78.

    Estimated Time per Response: VMS unit purchase and installation, 1 hr; activation reports, 5 min; on/off reports, 5 min; VMS unit maintenance, 1 hr.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 192 hours.

    Estimated Total Annual Cost to Public: $78,000 in capital costs and $58,111 in recordkeeping/reporting costs.

    IV. Request for Comments

    Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden (including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for OMB approval of this information collection; they also will become a matter of public record.

    Dated: September 14, 2015. Sarah Brabson, NOAA PRA Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23337 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XE185 Pacific Island Fisheries; Public Meeting AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice; public meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS announces that the Center for Independent Experts will meet to review methods for reviewing modified integrated assessments (based on catch-MSY model) for data-poor stocks.

    DATES:

    See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for meeting dates and times.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will be held in the Pelagic Suite Conference Room, Western Pacific Fishery Management Council, 1164 Bishop St., Suite 1400, Honolulu, HI 96813.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ben Richards, NMFS Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, (808) 725-5320 or [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The meeting schedule and agenda are as follows:

    1. Tuesday, October 13, 2015 (9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.)

    • Introduction

    • Background information—Objectives and Terms of Reference

    • Coral reef fisheries in the Pacific Islands Region

    • Data: Fishery-dependent data collection systems in the Pacific Islands, Coral Reef Ecosystem Division surveys, biological data, other data

    • Discussion

    2. Wednesday, October 14, 2015 (8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.)

    • Review of modified integrated Catch-MSY stock assessment

    • Discussion

    3. Thursday, October 15, 2015 (8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.)

    • Continue assessment review (1/2 day)

    • Discussion

    • Panel discussions (Closed)

    4. Friday, October 16, 2015 (8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.)

    • Panel discussions (1/2 day)

    • Present results (afternoon)

    • Adjourn

    The agenda order may change. The meetings will run as late as necessary to complete scheduled business. Although non-emergency issues not contained in this agenda may come up at the meeting for discussion, those issues may not be the subject of formal action during the meeting. Action will be restricted to those issues specifically listed in this notice and any issues arising after publication of this notice that require emergency action under section 305(c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, provided the public has been notified of the intent to take final action to address the emergency.

    Special Accommodations

    These meetings are physically accessible to people with disabilities. Direct requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids to Beth Lumsden, (808) 725-5330 or [email protected] at least 5 days prior to the meeting date.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: September 11, 2015. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23335 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Mail Survey To Collect Economic Data From Federal Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic For-Hire Permit Holders AGENCY:

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be submitted on or before November 16, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Direct all written comments to Jennifer Jessup, Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer, Department of Commerce, Room 6616, 14th and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230 (or via the Internet at [email protected]).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Requests for additional information or copies of the information collection instrument and instructions should be directed to Christopher Liese, Industry Economist, SEFSC, NMFS, 75 Virginia Beach Drive, Miami FL 33149, (305) 365-4109 or [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Abstract

    This request is for a new information collection.

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Fisheries, Southeast Fisheries Science Center, proposes to collect very basic socioeconomic data from federally-permitted for-hire operators in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic fisheries, using a mail sample survey. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) does not systematically collect information on for-hire trip prices and trip costs in the Southeast. The population consists of those for-hire operators who possess a federal for-hire permit for dolphin-wahoo, coastal migratory pelagics, snapper-grouper, or reef fish species in the South Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico. Each year we will sample approximately a third of the population. The two-page survey will be designed to collect basic data on trip revenues and trip costs as well as other related information. These data are needed to conduct socioeconomic analyses in support of management of the for-hire fishing industry and to satisfy legal requirements. The data will be used to assess how fishermen will be impacted by and respond to federal regulation likely to be considered by fishery managers.

    II. Method of Collection

    The information will be collected on paper using a mail survey.

    III. Data

    OMB Control Number: 0648-xxxx.

    Form Number(s): None.

    Type of Review: Regular (request for a new information collection).

    Affected Public: Business or other for-profit organizations; individuals or households.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 1000.

    Estimated Time per Response: 12 minutes.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 200 hours.

    Estimated Total Annual Cost to Public: $0 in recordkeeping/reporting costs.

    IV. Request for Comments

    Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden (including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for OMB approval of this information collection; they also will become a matter of public record.

    Dated: September 14, 2015. Sarah Brabson, NOAA PRA Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23336 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Navy Record of Decision for the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for Guam and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Military Relocation AGENCY:

    Department of the Navy, DoD.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of the Navy (DON), after carefully considering the environmental consequences of the proposed action, as well as strategic, operational, and training requirements, obligations under treaties and other international agreements, and cost, announces its decision to construct and operate a main base (cantonment area), a family housing area, a live-fire training range complex (LFTRC), and associated infrastructure on Guam to support the relocation of a substantially reduced number of Marines and dependents than previously analyzed in a 2010 Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) (Guam and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Military Relocation; Relocating Marines from Okinawa, Visiting Aircraft Carrier Berthing, and Army Air and Missile Defense Task Force).

    The proposed action will be accomplished as set out in Alternatives E and 5 as identified in the 2015 Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) as the preferred alternatives. Alternatives E and 5 consist of a cantonment at Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station Finegayan (Finegayan) and family housing at Andersen Air Force Base (AAFB), and a LFTRC at AAFB-Northwest Field (NWF). The LFTRC also includes a stand-alone hand grenade range at Andersen South. Under these selected alternatives, the DON will be able to meet current and future DON and Department of Defense (DoD) training and operational requirements.

    The Record of Decision (ROD) documents why the DoD has chosen to implement the preferred alternatives as described in the 2015 Final SEIS. The ROD includes descriptions and discussions of the anticipated environmental impacts of the proposed action. It also includes descriptions and discussions of all related actions and their anticipated impacts.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Director, Joint Guam Program Office Forward, P.O. Box 153246, Santa Rita, Guam 96915.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The complete text of the ROD is available for public viewing at www.guambuildupeis.us. Hard copies of the ROD will be available at the following locations: University of Guam Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Library, Government Documents Tan Siu Lin Building, UOG Station, Mangilao, GU 96923 and Nieves M. Flores Memorial Library, 254 Martyr Street, Hagåtña, GU 96910.

    Dated: September 9, 2015. N.A. Hagerty-Ford, Commander, Office of the Judge Advocate General, U.S. Navy, Administrative Law Division, Federal Register Liaison Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23244 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3810-FF-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION [Docket No. ED-2015-ICCD-0076] Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Comment Request; Borrower Defenses Against Loan Repayment AGENCY:

    Federal Student Aid (FSA), Department of Education (ED).

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. chapter 3501 et seq.), ED is proposing an extension of an existing information collection.

    DATES:

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before October 19, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    To access and review all the documents related to the information collection listed in this notice, please use http://wwww.regulations.gov by searching the Docket ID number ED-2015-ICCD-0076. Comments submitted in response to this notice should be submitted electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov by selecting the Docket ID number or via postal mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery. Please note that comments submitted by fax or email and those submitted after the comment period will not be accepted. Written requests for information or comments submitted by postal mail or delivery should be addressed to the Director of the Information Collection Clearance Division, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., LBJ, Room 2E103, Washington, DC 20202-4537.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For specific questions related to collection activities, please contact Beth Grebeldinger (202) 377-4018.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Department of Education (ED), in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)), provides the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed, revised, and continuing collections of information. This helps the Department assess the impact of its information collection requirements and minimize the public's reporting burden. It also helps the public understand the Department's information collection requirements and provide the requested data in the desired format. ED is soliciting comments on the proposed information collection request (ICR) that is described below. The Department of Education is especially interested in public comment addressing the following issues: (1) Is this collection necessary to the proper functions of the Department; (2) will this information be processed and used in a timely manner; (3) is the estimate of burden accurate; (4) how might the Department enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (5) how might the Department minimize the burden of this collection on the respondents, including through the use of information technology. Please note that written comments received in response to this notice will be considered public records.

    Title of Collection: Borrower Defenses Against Loan Repayment.

    OMB Control Number: 1845-0132.

    Type of Review: An extension of an existing information collection.

    Respondents/Affected Public: Individuals or Households.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 150,000.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 150,000.

    Abstract: This is a request to for an extension of the emergency clearance that was granted on this collection on June 5, 2015 to facilitate the continued collection of information from borrowers who believe they have cause to invoke the borrower defenses against repayment of a student loan as noted in regulation. The regulations for borrower defenses are specified in 34 CFR 685.206(c). The regulation states, in part, “(c)(1) [i]n any proceeding to collect on a Direct Loan, the borrower may assert as a defense against repayment, an act or omission of the school attended by the student that would give rise to a cause of action against the school under applicable State law.” Prior to 2015, the borrower defense identified above was rarely asserted by any borrowers and no specific methods of collecting information was defined or found necessary.

    These processes are being offered to aid in preserving borrowers rights and to meet the fiduciary responsibilities of the federal student loan programs. These collections will allow the Department of Education to inform borrowers and loan servicers of the information needed to review and adjudicate requests for relief under borrower defenses regulations.

    Dated: September 14, 2015. Kate Mullan, Acting Director, Information Collection Clearance Division, Office of the Chief Privacy Officer, Office of Management.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23346 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION [Docket No.: ED-2015-ICCD-0111] Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; Middle Grades Longitudinal Study of 2017-2018 (MGLS:2017) Recruitment for 2017 Operational Field Test AGENCY:

    National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Department of Education (ED).

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. chapter 3501 et seq.), ED is proposing a revision of an existing information collection.

    DATES:

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before November 16, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    To access and review all the documents related to the information collection listed in this notice, please use http://wwww.regulations.gov by searching the Docket ID number ED-2015-ICCD-0111. Comments submitted in response to this notice should be submitted electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov by selecting the Docket ID number or via postal mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery. Please note that comments submitted by fax or email and those submitted after the comment period will not be accepted. Written requests for information or comments submitted by postal mail or delivery should be addressed to the Director of the Information Collection Clearance Division, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., LBJ, Room 2E103, Washington, DC 20202-4537.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For specific questions related to collection activities, please contact Kashka Kubzdela, 202-502-7411 or by email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Department of Education (ED), in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)), provides the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed, revised, and continuing collections of information. This helps the Department assess the impact of its information collection requirements and minimize the public's reporting burden. It also helps the public understand the Department's information collection requirements and provide the requested data in the desired format. ED is soliciting comments on the proposed information collection request (ICR) that is described below. The Department of Education is especially interested in public comment addressing the following issues: (1) Is this collection necessary to the proper functions of the Department; (2) will this information be processed and used in a timely manner; (3) is the estimate of burden accurate; (4) how might the Department enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (5) how might the Department minimize the burden of this collection on the respondents, including through the use of information technology. Please note that written comments received in response to this notice will be considered public records.

    Title of Collection: Middle Grades Longitudinal Study of 2017-2018 (MGLS:2017) Recruitment for 2017 Operational Field Test.

    OMB Control Number: 1850-0911.

    Type of Review: A revision of an existing information collection.

    Respondents/Affected Public: Individuals.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 1,224.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 438.

    Abstract: The Middle Grades Longitudinal Study of 2017-2018 (MGLS:2017) is the first study sponsored by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), within the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the U.S. Department of Education (ED), to follow a nationally-representative sample of students as they enter and move through the middle grades (grades 6-8). The data collected through repeated measures of key constructs will provide a rich descriptive picture of the academic experiences and development of students during these critical years and will allow researchers to examine associations between contextual factors and student outcomes. The study will focus on student achievement in mathematics and literacy along with measures of student socioemotional wellbeing and other outcomes. The study will also include a special sample of students with different types of disabilities that will provide descriptive information on their outcomes, educational experiences, and special education services. Baseline data for the MGLS:2017 will be collected from a nationally-representative sample of 6th grade students beginning in January 2018, with annual follow-ups beginning in January 2019 and in January 2020 when most of the students in the sample will be in grades 7 and 8, respectively. This request is to contact and recruit public school districts and public and private schools, beginning in January 2016, to participate in the MGLS:2017 Operational Field Test (OFT) which will take place from January to June 2017. The primary purpose of the OFT is to obtain information on recruiting, particularly for the targeted disability groups; obtaining a tracking sample that can be used to study mobility patterns in subsequent years; and testing protocols and administrative procedures. The OFT will inform the materials and procedures for the main study base year and follow-up data collections. The base year data collection will begin in January 2018.

    Dated: September 14, 2015. Kate Mullan, Acting Director, Information Collection Clearance Division, Office of the Chief Privacy Officer, Office of Management.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23338 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION Meeting: National Board for Education Sciences AGENCY:

    Institute of Education Sciences, ED.

    ACTION:

    Announcement of an open meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice sets forth the schedule and proposed agenda of an upcoming meeting of the National Board for Education Sciences (NBES). The notice also describes the functions of the Committee. Notice of this meeting is required by Section 10(a) (2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act and is intended to notify the public of their opportunity to attend the meeting.

    DATES:

    The NBES meeting will be held on October 2, 2015, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

    ADDRESSES:

    80 F Street NW., Large Board Room, Washington, DC 20001.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ellie Pelaez, Designated Federal Official, NBES, U.S. Department of Education, 555 New Jersey Avenue NW., Room 600 E, Washington, DC 20208; phone: (202) 219-0644; fax: (202) 219-1402; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    NBES's Statutory Authority and Function: The National Board for Education Sciences is authorized by Section 116 of the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002 (ESRA), 20 U.S.C. 9516. The Board advises the Director of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) on, among other things, the establishment of activities to be supported by the Institute and the funding for applications for grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements for research after the completion of peer review. The Board also reviews and evaluates the work of the Institute.

    Meeting Agenda: On October 2, 2015, starting at 9 a.m., the Board meeting will commence and members will approve the agenda. From 9:05 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., the Board will hear presentations from the Commissioners of the IES Centers for Education Research, Special Education Research, Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, and Education Statistics. This session will be followed by a question and answer period for board members, regarding the Commissioners' reports. A break will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.

    The Board meeting will resume from 10:45 a.m. to 12 p.m. when the Board will discuss the IES Standards and Review Office. Anne Ricciuti, Deputy Director for Science, will provide opening remarks followed by a roundtable discussion with board members. The meeting will break for lunch from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

    From 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., the board will participate in a discussion on the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Peggy Carr, Acting Commissioner, National Center for Education Statistics, will provide opening remarks, followed by a panel discussion with the Associate Commissioners of the National Center for Education Statistics. Roundtable discussion by board members will take place after the panel discussion. A break will take place from 2:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.

    The meeting will resume at 2:45 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. when the Board will hold a panel discussion with National Center for Education Statistics stakeholders. Peggy Carr will provide opening remarks, followed by a panel discussion.

    Closing remarks will take place from 4:15 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., with adjournment scheduled for 4:30 p.m.

    Submission of comments regarding the Board's policy recommendations: There will not be an opportunity for public comment. However, members of the public are encouraged to submit written comments related to NBES to Ellie Pelaez (see contact information above) no later than September 23, 2015. A final agenda is available from Ellie Pelaez (see contact information above) and is posted on the Board Web site http://ies.ed.gov/director/board/agendas/index.asp.

    Access to Records of the Meeting: The Department will post the official report of the meeting on the NBES Web site no later than 90 days after the meeting. Pursuant to the FACA, the public may also inspect the materials at 555 New Jersey Avenue NW., 6th Floor, Washington, DC, by emailing [email protected] or by calling (202) 219-0644 to schedule an appointment.

    Reasonable Accommodations: The meeting site is accessible to individuals with disabilities. If you will need an auxiliary aid or service to participate in the meeting (e.g., interpreting service, assistive listening device, or materials in an alternate format), notify the contact person listed in this notice by or before September 23, 2015. Although we will attempt to meet a request received after September 23, 2015, we may not be able to make available the requested auxiliary aid or service because of insufficient time to arrange it.

    Electronic Access to this Document: The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations is available via the Federal Digital System at: www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys. At this site you can view this document, as well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). To use PDF, you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the site.

    You may also access documents of the Department published in the Federal Register by using the article search feature at: www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published by the Department.

    Authority:

    Section 116 of the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002 (ESRA), 20 U.S.C. 9516

    Ruth Neild, Deputy Director for Policy and Research, Delegated Duties of the Director, Institute of Education Sciences.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23392 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Secretary of Energy Advisory Board Meeting; Correction AGENCY:

    Department of Energy.

    ACTION:

    Notice of open meeting; Correction.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Energy (DOE), on September 10, 2015, published a notice of open meeting announcing an open meeting of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board. Due to the scheduled transportation delays and security issues near the meeting venue, the meeting is being rescheduled. The date is now October 15, 2015, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. As a result, the language is being corrected in this notice.

    Corrections

    In the Federal Register of September 10, 2015, in FR DOC. 2015-22809, on pages 54558-54559, please make the following corrections:

    In the DATES heading, third column, first and second lines, replace text with “Thursday, October 15, 2015, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (EDT)”.

    In the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION heading, Tentative Agenda: third column, twelfth line, please remove “September 25th” and replace with “October 15th.” And under Public Participation, twenty-fifth line, please remove “Monday, September 21, 2015”, and replace text with “Friday, October 9, 2015”.

    On page 54559, first column, twenty-first line, please remove “September 25th” and replace text with “October 15th”.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on September 11, 2015. LaTanya R. Butler, Deputy Committee Management Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23372 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY National Coal Council Meeting AGENCY:

    Department of Energy.

    ACTION:

    Notice of Open Meetings.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice announces a meeting of the National Coal Council (NCC). The Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92-463, 86 Stat. 770) requires that public notice of these meetings be announced in the Federal Register.

    DATES:

    Thursday, November 5, 2015, 8:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

    ADDRESSES:

    National Energy Technology Laboratory, 1501 Wallace Road, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15129.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dr. Robert J. Wright, U.S. Department of Energy, 4G-036/Forrestal Building, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585-0001; Telephone: 202-586-0429.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Purpose of the Council: The National Coal Council provides advice and recommendations to the Secretary of Energy, on general policy matters relating to coal and the coal industry.

    Purpose of Meeting: The 2015 Spring meeting of the National Coal Council.

    Tentative Agenda:

    1. Call to order and opening remarks by Jeff Wallace, Chair, National Coal Council 2. Remarks by Dr. Grace Bochenek, Director, National Energy Technology Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy 3. Presentation by Dr. Sean Plasynski, Director Strategic Center for Coal, National Energy Technology Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy 4. Presentation by Dr. Jared Moore, Independent Energy Researcher, Meridian Energy Policy on The Increasing Competitiveness of CCUS Generation Under Deep Decarbonization 5. Presentation by Dr. Robert Williams, Sr. Research Scientist & Associated Faculty, Princeton Environmental Institute, Princeton University on CO2 Capture Technology Cost Buydown in EOR Applications with Alternative Financing Mechanisms 6. Council Business: a. Finance report by Finance Committee Chair Greg Workman b. Coal Policy Committee report by Coal Policy Committee Chair Fred Palmer c. Communications Committee report by Communications Committee Chair Holly Krutka d. NCC Business Report by NCC Executive Vice President & COO Janet Gellici 7. Other business 8. Adjourn

    Visiting NETL requires compliance with site safety and security requirements. Please see http://www.netl.doe.gov/about/visiting-netl for full details. Due to security requirements, attendees are requested to register in advance for the meeting at: https://www.eiseverywhere.com/ereg/index.php?eventid=137597&.

    Transportation to NETL will be provided for meeting registrants from the Crowne Plaza Pittsburgh South hotel (164 Fort Couch Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15241). Bus departs hotel at 7:30 a.m. and 7:55 a.m. Return transportation will be provided at 1:15 p.m. following lunch and at 3:15 p.m. following a tour of NETL's facilities.

    Public Participation: The meeting is open to the public. If you would like to file a written statement with the Council, you may do so either before or after the meeting. If you would like to make oral statements regarding any item on the agenda, you should contact Dr. Robert J. Wright, 202-586-0429 or [email protected] (email). You must make your request for an oral statement at least 5 business days before the meeting. Reasonable provision will be made to include oral statements on the scheduled agenda. The Chairperson of the Council will lead the meeting in a manner that facilitates the orderly conduct of business. Oral statements are limited to 10-minutes per organization and per person.

    Minutes: A link to the transcript of the meeting will be posted on the NCC Web site at: http://www.nationalcoalcouncil.org/.

    Issued at Washington, DC, on September 11, 2015. LaTanya R. Butler, Deputy Committee Management Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23371 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Environmental Management Site-Specific Advisory Board, Oak Ridge Reservation AGENCY:

    Department of Energy.

    ACTION:

    Notice of open meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice announces a meeting of the Environmental Management Site-Specific Advisory Board (EM SSAB), Oak Ridge Reservation. The Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92-463, 86 Stat. 770) requires that public notice of this meeting be announced in the Federal Register.

    DATES:

    Wednesday, October 14, 2015, 6:00 p.m.

    ADDRESSES:

    Department of Energy Information Center, Office of Science and Technical Information, 1 Science.gov Way, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37830.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Melyssa P. Noe, Federal Coordinator, Department of Energy Oak Ridge Operations Office, P.O. Box 2001, EM-90, Oak Ridge, TN 37831. Phone (865) 241-3315; Fax (865) 576-0956 or email: [email protected] or check the Web site at http://energy.gov/orem/services/community-engagement/oak-ridge-site-specific-advisory-board.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Purpose of the Board: The purpose of the Board is to make recommendations to DOE-EM and site management in the areas of environmental restoration, waste management, and related activities.

    Tentative Agenda

    • Welcome and Announcements

    • Comments from the Deputy Designated Federal Officer

    • Comments from the DOE, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, and Environmental Protection Agency Liaisons

    • Public Comment Period

    • Presentation—Progress Made at East Tennessee Technology Park

    • Additions/Approval of Agenda

    • Motions/Approval of September 9, 2015 Meeting Minutes

    • Status of Recommendations with DOE

    • Committee Reports

    • Federal Coordinator Report

    • Adjourn

    Public Participation: The EM SSAB, Oak Ridge, welcomes the attendance of the public at its advisory committee meetings and will make every effort to accommodate persons with physical disabilities or special needs. If you require special accommodations due to a disability, please contact Melyssa P. Noe at least seven days in advance of the meeting at the phone number listed above. Written statements may be filed with the Board either before or after the meeting. Individuals who wish to make oral statements pertaining to the agenda item should contact Melyssa P. Noe at the address or telephone number listed above. Requests must be received five days prior to the meeting and reasonable provision will be made to include the presentation in the agenda. The Deputy Designated Federal Officer is empowered to conduct the meeting in a fashion that will facilitate the orderly conduct of business. Individuals wishing to make public comments will be provided a maximum of five minutes to present their comments.

    Minutes: Minutes will be available by writing or calling Melyssa P. Noe at the address and phone number listed above. Minutes will also be available at the following Web site: http://energy.gov/orem/services/community-engagement/oak-ridge-site-specific-advisory-board.

    Issued at Washington, DC, on September 11, 2015. LaTanya R. Butler, Deputy Committee Management Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23373 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Project No. 14706-000] Empire State Hydro 303, LLC; Notice of Preliminary Permit Application Accepted for Filing and Soliciting Comments, Motions To Intervene, and Competing Applications

    On August 26, 2015, Empire State Hydro 303, LLC, filed an application for a preliminary permit, pursuant to section 4(f) of the Federal Power Act (FPA), proposing to study the feasibility of the Rock Bottom Dam Hydroelectric Project (project) to be located on the Susquehanna River, near the city of Binghamton, Broome County, New York. The sole purpose of a preliminary permit, if issued, is to grant the permit holder priority to file a license application during the permit term. A preliminary permit does not authorize the permit holder to perform any land-disturbing activities or otherwise enter upon lands or waters owned by others without the owners' express permission.

    The proposed project would consist of the following: (1) An existing 9-foot-high, 460-foot-long gravity dam; (2) a proposed concrete powerhouse approximately 100 feet long by 40 feet wide housing eight low-head, horizontal bulb turbines having a total installed capacity of 1,992 kilowatts; (3) a proposed concrete tailrace wall extending approximately 100 feet downstream; (4) a proposed 500-foot-long, 12,700-volt transmission line interconnecting with the local utility; and (5) appurtenant facilities. The proposed project would have an average annual generation of about 10 megawatt-hours.

    Applicant Contact: Mr. Mark Boumansour, Gravity Renewables, Inc., 1401 Walnut Street, Suite 220, Boulder, CO 80302; phone: (303) 440-3378.

    FERC Contact: Timothy Looney; phone: (202) 502-6096.

    Deadline for filing comments, motions to intervene, competing applications (without notices of intent), or notices of intent to file competing applications: 60 days from the issuance of this notice. Competing applications and notices of intent must meet the requirements of 18 CFR 4.36.

    The Commission strongly encourages electronic filing. Please file comments, motions to intervene, notices of intent, and competing applications using the Commission's eFiling system at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling.asp. Commenters can submit brief comments up to 6,000 characters, without prior registration, using the eComment system at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/ecomment.asp. You must include your name and contact information at the end of your comments. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at [email protected], (866) 208-3676 (toll free), or (202) 502-8659 (TTY). In lieu of electronic filing, please send a paper copy to: Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426. The first page of any filing should include docket number P-14706-000.

    More information about this project, including a copy of the application, can be viewed or printed on the “eLibrary” link of the Commission's Web site at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/elibrary.asp. Enter the docket number (P-14706) in the docket number field to access the document. For assistance, contact FERC Online Support.

    Dated: September 10, 2015. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23323 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Project No. 2197-108] Alcoa Power Generating, Inc.; Notice of Application Accepted for Filing, Soliciting Comments, Motions To Intervene, and Protests

    Take notice that the following hydroelectric application has been filed with the Commission and is available for public inspection:

    a. Type of Application: Request for a Temporary Variance from Minimum Flow and Reservoir Level Requirements—Article 33.

    b. Project No.: 2197-108.

    c. Date Filed: September 4, 2015.

    d. Applicant: Alcoa Power Generating, Inc. (licensee).

    e. Name of Project: Yadkin Hydroelectric Project.

    f. Location: Davidson, Davie, Montgomery, Rowan, and Stanly counties, North Carolina.

    g. Filed Pursuant to: Federal Power Act, 16 U.S.C. 791(a)-825(r).

    h. Applicant Contact: Mark Gross, Vice President of Hydro Operations, (704) 422-5774, or [email protected]

    i. FERC Contact: Alicia Burtner, (202) 502-8038, or [email protected]

    j. Deadline for filing comments, motions to intervene, protests, and recommendations is 30 days from the issuance date of this notice by the Commission.

    All documents may be filed electronically via the Internet. See, 18 CFR 385.2001(a)(1)(iii) and the instructions on the Commission's Web site at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling.asp. If unable to be filed electronically, documents may be paper-filed. To paper-file, an original and seven copies should be mailed to: Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426. Commenters can submit brief comments up to 6,000 characters, without prior registration, using the eComment system at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/ecomment.asp. You must include your name and contact information at the end of your comments.

    Please include the project number (P-2197-108) on any comments, motions, or recommendations filed.

    k. Description of Request: The licensee requests a temporary variance from the requirements of license Article 33, which mandates the implementation of the Reservoir Operating Guides. The requirements, as amended in 1968, pertain to minimum flows and reservoir levels at the four project developments. The licensee is required to maintain a minimum 900 cubic feet per second (cfs) daily average flow and a 1,400 cfs weekly average minimum flow. Article 33 also stipulates a rule curve relating reservoir levels of the upstream High Rock reservoir to the downstream Badin (Narrows) reservoir level seasonally. The licensee indicates that, as a result of ongoing drought conditions throughout the watershed, it consulted with its Drought Management Team to determine alternative operating procedures to conserve water. The licensee requests that the weekly minimum flow requirement be reduced to a 1,200 cfs average, and it outlines additional modifications to daily and weekly minimum flows based on conditions, updated mid-month.

    l. Locations of the Application: A copy of the application is available for inspection and reproduction at the Commission's Public Reference Room, located at 888 First Street NE., Room 2A, Washington, DC 20426, or by calling (202) 502-8371. This filing may also be viewed on the Commission's Web site at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/elibrary.asp. Enter the docket number excluding the last three digits in the docket number field to access the document. You may also register online at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/esubscription.asp to be notified via email of new filings and issuances related to this or other pending projects. For assistance, call 1-866-208-3676 or email [email protected], for TTY, call (202) 502-8659. A copy is also available for inspection and reproduction at the address in item (h) above.

    m. Individuals desiring to be included on the Commission's mailing list should so indicate by writing to the Secretary of the Commission.

    n. Comments, Protests, or Motions to Intervene: Anyone may submit comments, a protest, or a motion to intervene in accordance with the requirements of Rules of Practice and Procedure, 18 CFR 385.210, .211, .214. In determining the appropriate action to take, the Commission will consider all protests or other comments filed, but only those who file a motion to intervene in accordance with the Commission's Rules may become a party to the proceeding. Any comments, protests, or motions to intervene must be received on or before the specified comment date for the particular application.

    o. Filing and Service of Responsive Documents: Any filing must (1) bear in all capital letters the title “COMMENTS”, “PROTEST”, or “MOTION TO INTERVENE” as applicable; (2) set forth in the heading the name of the applicant and the project number of the application to which the filing responds; (3) furnish the name, address, and telephone number of the person protesting or intervening; and (4) otherwise comply with the requirements of 18 CFR 385.2001 through 385.2005. All comments, motions to intervene, or protests must set forth their evidentiary basis and otherwise comply with the requirements of 18 CFR 4.34(b). All comments, motions to intervene, or protests should relate to minimum flows and/or impoundment levels at the Yadkin Hydroelectric Project, which are the subject of the variance. Agencies may obtain copies of the application directly from the applicant. A copy of any protest or motion to intervene must be served upon each representative of the applicant specified in the particular application. If an intervener files comments or documents with the Commission relating to the merits of an issue that may affect the responsibilities of a particular resource agency, they must also serve a copy of the document on that resource agency. A copy of all other filings in reference to this application must be accompanied by proof of service on all persons listed in the service list prepared by the Commission in this proceeding, in accordance with 18 CFR 4.34(b) and 385.2010.

    Dated: September 10, 2015. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23320 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. ER15-2620-000] Little Elk Wind Project, LLC; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 Authorization

    This is a supplemental notice in the above-referenced proceeding Little Elk Wind Project, LLC's application for market-based rate authority, with an accompanying rate tariff, noting that such application includes a request for blanket authorization, under 18 CFR part 34, of future issuances of securities and assumptions of liability.

    Any person desiring to intervene or to protest should file with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214). Anyone filing a motion to intervene or protest must serve a copy of that document on the Applicant.

    Notice is hereby given that the deadline for filing protests with regard to the applicant's request for blanket authorization, under 18 CFR part 34, of future issuances of securities and assumptions of liability, is September 30, 2015.

    The Commission encourages electronic submission of protests and interventions in lieu of paper, using the FERC Online links at http://www.ferc.gov. To facilitate electronic service, persons with Internet access who will eFile a document and/or be listed as a contact for an intervenor must create and validate an eRegistration account using the eRegistration link. Select the eFiling link to log on and submit the intervention or protests.

    Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and 5 copies of the intervention or protest to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    The filings in the above-referenced proceeding are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the appropriate link in the above list. They are also available for electronic review in the Commission's Public Reference Room in Washington, DC. There is an eSubscription link on the Web site that enables subscribers to receive email notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please email [email protected] or call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: September 10, 2015. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23322 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. ER15-2631-000] Odell Wind Farm, LLC; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 Authorization

    This is a supplemental notice in the above-referenced proceeding of Odell Wind Farm, LLC's application for market-based rate authority, with an accompanying rate tariff, noting that such application includes a request for blanket authorization, under 18 CFR part 34, of future issuances of securities and assumptions of liability.

    Any person desiring to intervene or to protest should file with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214). Anyone filing a motion to intervene or protest must serve a copy of that document on the Applicant.

    Notice is hereby given that the deadline for filing protests with regard to the applicant's request for blanket authorization, under 18 CFR part 34, of future issuances of securities and assumptions of liability, is September 30, 2015.

    The Commission encourages electronic submission of protests and interventions in lieu of paper, using the FERC Online links at http://www.ferc.gov. To facilitate electronic service, persons with Internet access who will eFile a document and/or be listed as a contact for an intervenor must create and validate an eRegistration account using the eRegistration link. Select the eFiling link to log on and submit the intervention or protests.

    Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and 5 copies of the intervention or protest to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    The filings in the above-referenced proceeding are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the appropriate link in the above list. They are also available for electronic review in the Commission's Public Reference Room in Washington, DC. There is an eSubscription link on the Web site that enables subscribers to receive email notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please email [email protected] or call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: September 10, 2015. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23317 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. ER15-2634-000] Robison Energy (Commercial) LLC; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 Authorization

    This is a supplemental notice in the above-referenced proceeding of Robison Energy (Commercial) LLC's application for market-based rate authority, with an accompanying rate tariff, noting that such application includes a request for blanket authorization, under 18 CFR part 34, of future issuances of securities and assumptions of liability.

    Any person desiring to intervene or to protest should file with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214). Anyone filing a motion to intervene or protest must serve a copy of that document on the Applicant.

    Notice is hereby given that the deadline for filing protests with regard to the applicant's request for blanket authorization, under 18 CFR part 34, of future issuances of securities and assumptions of liability, is September 30, 2015.

    The Commission encourages electronic submission of protests and interventions in lieu of paper, using the FERC Online links at http://www.ferc.gov. To facilitate electronic service, persons with Internet access who will eFile a document and/or be listed as a contact for an intervenor must create and validate an eRegistration account using the eRegistration link. Select the eFiling link to log on and submit the intervention or protests.

    Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and 5 copies of the intervention or protest to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    The filings in the above-referenced proceeding are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the appropriate link in the above list. They are also available for electronic review in the Commission's Public Reference Room in Washington, DC. There is an eSubscription link on the Web site that enables subscribers to receive email notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please email [email protected] or call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: September 10, 2015. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23318 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Beverly Lock and Dam Water Power, Project No. 13404-002—Devola Lock and Dam Water Power Project, Project No. 13405-002—Malta/McConnelsville Lock and Dam Water Power Project, Project No. 13406-002—Lowell Lock and Dam Water Power Project, Project No. 13407-002— Philo Lock and Dam Water Power Project, Project No. 13408-002—Rokeby Lock and Dam Water Power Project, Project No. 13411-002] Notice of Proposed Restricted Service List for a Programmatic Agreement for Managing Properties Included in or Eligible for Inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places

    Rule 2010 of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (Commission) Rules of Practice and Procedure 1 provides that, to eliminate unnecessary expense or improve administrative efficiency, the Secretary may establish a restricted service list for a particular phase or issue in a proceeding. The restricted service list should contain the names of persons on the service list who, in the judgment of the decisional authority establishing the list, are active participants with respect to the phase or issue in the proceeding for which the list is established.

    1 18 CFR 385.2010.

    The Commission staff is consulting with the Ohio Historical Society (Ohio SHPO) and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (Advisory Council) pursuant to the Advisory Council's regulations, 36 CFR part 800, implementing section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, as amended, (54 U.S.C. 306108), to prepare Programmatic Agreements for managing properties included in, or eligible for inclusion in, the National Register of Historic Places that could be affected by issuance of an original license for each of the following projects: (1) Beverly Lock & Dam Water Power Project No. 13404; (2) Devola Lock & Dam Water Power Project No. 13405; (3) Malta Lock & Dam Water Power Project No. 13406; (4) Lowell Lock & Dam Water Power Project No. 13407; (5) Philo Lock & Dam Water Power Project No. 13408; (6) and Rokeby Lock & Dam Water Power Project No. 13411.

    The Programmatic Agreements, when executed by the Commission and the Ohio SHPO, would satisfy the Commission's section 106 responsibilities for all individual undertakings carried out in accordance with the licenses until the licenses expire or are terminated (36 CFR 800.13[e]). The Commission's responsibilities pursuant to section 106 for the projects would be fulfilled through the Programmatic Agreements, which the Commission staff proposes to draft in consultation with certain parties listed below. The executed Programmatic Agreements would be incorporated into any Order issuing a license for each project.

    Clean River Power MR-3, LLC, Clean River Power MR-1, LLC, Clean River Power MR-5, LLC, Clean River Power MR-2, LLC, Clean River Power MR-7, LLC, and Clean River Power MR-6, LLC as applicants for the Beverly Lock and Dam Water Power Project, Devola Lock and Dam Water Power Project, Malta/McConnelsville Lock and Dam Water Power Project, Lowell Lock and Dam Water Power Project, Philo Lock and Dam Water Power Project, and Rokeby Lock and Dam Water Power Project, respectively, the Peoria Tribe Indians of Oklahoma, the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, and the Hannahville Indian Community have expressed an interest in these proceedings and are invited to participate in consultations to develop the Programmatic Agreements. For purposes of commenting on the Programmatic Agreements, we propose to restrict the service list for Projects Nos. 13404, 13405, 12406, 13407, 13408, and 13411 as follows:

    John Eddins or Representative, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, 401 F Street NW., Suite 803, Washington, DC 2001-2637. David Snyder or Representative, Ohio State Historic Preservation Office, Ohio History Connection, 800 E 17th Ave., Columbus, OH 43211. Ramya Swaminathan or Representative, Clean River Power MR-3, LLC et al., 745 Atlantic Avenue, 8th Floor, Boston, MA 02111. Dave Anthony or Representative, Business & Government Affairs, Manager, Hannahville Indian Community, N14911 Hannahville B1 Road, Wilson, MI 49896. Logan Pappenfort, Section 106 Representative, Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma, 118 S. Eight Tribes Trail, P.O. Box 1527, Miami, OK 74355. George J. Strack, THPO, Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, P.O. Box 1326, Miami, OK 74355.

    Any person on the official service list for the above-captioned proceeding may request inclusion on the restricted service list, or may request that a restricted service list not be established, by filing a motion to that effect within 15 days of this notice date. In a request for inclusion, please identify the reason(s) why there is an interest to be included. Also please identify any concerns about historic properties, including Traditional Cultural Properties. If historic properties are to be identified within the motion, please use a separate page, and label it NON-PUBLIC Information.

    The Commission strongly encourages electronic filing. Please file motions using the Commission's eFiling system at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling.asp. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at [email protected], (866) 208-3676 (toll free), or (202) 502-8659 (TTY). In lieu of electronic filing, please send a paper copy to: Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426. The first page of any filing should include docket number P-1256-031.

    If no such motions are filed, the restricted service list will be effective at the end of the 15 day period. Otherwise, a further notice will be issued ruling on any motion or motions within the 15-day period.

    Dated: September 10, 2015. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23321 Filed X-X-XX; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Project No. 1267-108] Greenwood County, South Carolina; Notice of Application Accepted for Filing, Soliciting Comments, Motions To Intervene, and Protests

    Take notice that the following hydroelectric application has been filed with the Commission and is available for public inspection:

    a. Type of Application: Request for a Temporary Variance from Reservoir Level Requirements—Article 407.

    b. Project No.: 1267-108.

    c. Date Filed: August 14, 2015.

    d. Applicant: Greenwood County, South Carolina (licensee).

    e. Name of Project: Buzzards Roost Hydroelectric Project.

    f. Location: Greenwood, Laurens, and Newberry counties, South Carolina.

    g. Filed Pursuant to: Federal Power Act, 16 U.S.C. 791(a)-825(r).

    h. Applicant Contact: Toby Chappell, County Manager, (864) 942-8596, or [email protected]

    i. FERC Contact: Joy Kurtz, (202) 502-6760, or [email protected]

    j. Deadline for filing comments, motions to intervene, protests, and recommendations is 30 days from the issuance date of this notice by the Commission.

    All documents may be filed electronically via the Internet. See, 18 CFR 385.2001(a)(1)(iii) and the instructions on the Commission's Web site at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling.asp. If unable to be filed electronically, documents may be paper-filed. To paper-file, an original and seven copies should be mailed to: Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426. Commenters can submit brief comments up to 6,000 characters, without prior registration, using the eComment system at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/ecomment.asp. You must include your name and contact information at the end of your comments.

    Please include the project number (P-1267-108) on any comments, motions, or recommendations filed.

    k. Description of Request: The licensee requests a temporary variance from the requirements of license Article 407, which requires the licensee to maintain water levels in Lake Greenwood (i.e. reservoir) in accordance with the 1994 rule curve. Specifically, Article 407, as amended in 2010, requires the licensee to maintain a reservoir elevation of 439 feet mean sea level (msl) between April 15 and November 1, and then gradually descend to 437 feet msl from November 1 to December 1, and then to 434.5 feet msl between December 1 and January 15, where it shall remain until January 31. Finally, between February 1 and April 15, the licensee must gradually increase the reservoir level from 434.5 to 439 feet msl. The licensee indicates that, as a result of ongoing drought conditions throughout the watershed, it cannot simultaneously maintain the reservoir level and release the minimum flows required by Article 408. Because priority must be given to provide the required minimum flow in order to protect aquatic resources downstream of the project, a temporary variance from Article 407 is needed until inflows into Lake Greenwood reach normal inflow rates, or until April 15, 2016, whichever occurs first.

    l. Locations of the Application: A copy of the application is available for inspection and reproduction at the Commission's Public Reference Room, located at 888 First Street NE., Room 2A, Washington, DC 20426, or by calling (202) 502-8371. This filing may also be viewed on the Commission's Web site at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/elibrary.asp. Enter the docket number excluding the last three digits in the docket number field to access the document. You may also register online at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/esubscription.asp to be notified via email of new filings and issuances related to this or other pending projects. For assistance, call 1-866-208-3676 or email [email protected], for TTY, call (202) 502-8659. A copy is also available for inspection and reproduction at the address in item (h) above.

    m. Individuals desiring to be included on the Commission's mailing list should so indicate by writing to the Secretary of the Commission.

    n. Comments, Protests, or Motions to Intervene: Anyone may submit comments, a protest, or a motion to intervene in accordance with the requirements of Rules of Practice and Procedure, 18 CFR 385.210, .211, .214. In determining the appropriate action to take, the Commission will consider all protests or other comments filed, but only those who file a motion to intervene in accordance with the Commission's Rules may become a party to the proceeding. Any comments, protests, or motions to intervene must be received on or before the specified comment date for the particular application.

    o. Filing and Service of Responsive Documents: Any filing must (1) bear in all capital letters the title “COMMENTS”, “PROTEST”, or “MOTION TO INTERVENE” as applicable; (2) set forth in the heading the name of the applicant and the project number of the application to which the filing responds; (3) furnish the name, address, and telephone number of the person protesting or intervening; and (4) otherwise comply with the requirements of 18 CFR 385.2001 through 385.2005. All comments, motions to intervene, or protests must set forth their evidentiary basis and otherwise comply with the requirements of 18 CFR 4.34(b). All comments, motions to intervene, or protests should relate to impoundment levels at the Buzzards Roost Hydroelectric Project, which is the subject of the variance. Agencies may obtain copies of the application directly from the applicant. A copy of any protest or motion to intervene must be served upon each representative of the applicant specified in the particular application. If an intervener files comments or documents with the Commission relating to the merits of an issue that may affect the responsibilities of a particular resource agency, they must also serve a copy of the document on that resource agency. A copy of all other filings in reference to this application must be accompanied by proof of service on all persons listed in the service list prepared by the Commission in this proceeding, in accordance with 18 CFR 4.34(b) and 385.2010.

    Dated: September 10, 2015. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-23319 Filed 9-16-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION [OMB 3060-xxxx, 3060-0214, 3060-0113, 3060-0922, 3060-1065] Information Collections Being Submitted for Review and Approval to the Office of Management and Budget AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    As part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, and as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on the following information collections. Comments are requested concerning: Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the information shall have practical utility; the accuracy of the Commission's burden estimate; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and ways to further reduce the information collection burden on small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees. The FCC may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number. No person shall be subject to any penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information subject to the PRA that does not display a valid OMB control number.

    DATES:

    Written comments should be submitted on or before October 19, 2015. If you anticipate that you will be submitting comments, but find it difficult to do so within the period of time allowed by this notice, you should advise the contacts below as soon as possible.

    ADDRESSES:

    Direct all PRA comments to Nicholas A. Fraser, OMB, via email [email protected]; and to Cathy Williams, FCC, via email [email protected] and to [email protected]. Include in the comments the OMB control number as shown in the “Supplementary Information” section below.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For additional information or copies of the information collection, contact Cathy Williams at (202) 418-2918. To view a copy of this information collection request (ICR) submitted to OMB: (1) Go to the Web page <http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain>, (2) look for the section of the Web page called “Currently Under Review,” (3) click on the downward-pointing arrow in the “Select Agency” box below the “Currently Under Review” heading, (4) select “Federal Communications Commission” from the list of agencies presented in the “Select Agency” box, (5) click the “Submit” button to the right of the “Select Agency” box, (6) when the list of FCC ICRs currently under review appears, look for the OMB control number of this ICR and then click on the ICR Reference Number. A copy of the FCC submission to OMB will be displayed.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    OMB Control Number: 3060-xxxx.

    Title: SDARS Political Broadcasting Requirements.

    Form Number: N/A.

    Type of Review: New collection.

    Respondents: Business or other for-profit entities.

    Number of Respondents and Responses: 1 respondent; 1 response.

    Estimated Time per Response: 10 hours.

    Frequency of Response: Recordkeeping requirement; on occasion reporting requirements; third party disclosure requirement.

    Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. The statutory authority which covers this information collection is contained in 47 U.S.C. 309(a) and 307(a) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.

    Total Annual Burden: 20 hours.

    Total Annual Cost: No cost.

    Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: Although the Commission does not believe that any confidential information will need to be disclosed in order to comply with the information collection requirements, applicants are free to request that materials or information submitted to the Commission be withheld from public inspection. (See 47 CFR 0.459 of the Commission's Rules.)

    Privacy Impact Assessment: No impact(s).

    Needs and Uses: In 1997, the Commission imposed political broadcasting requirements on Satellite Digital Audio Broadcasting Service (“SDARS”) licensees. See Establishment of Rules and Policies for the Digital Audio Radio Satellite Service in the 2310-2360 MHz Frequency Band, 12 FCC Rcd 5754, 5792, para. 92 (1997) (“1997 SDARS Order”), FCC 97-70. The Commission stated that SDARS licensees should comply with the same substantive political debate provisions as broadcasters: The federal candidate access provision (47 U.S.C. Section 312(a)(7)) and the equal opportunities provision (47 U.S.C. Section 315). The 1997 SDARS Order imposes the following requirements on SDARS licensees:

    Lowest unit charge: Similar to broadcasters, SDARS licensees must disclose any practices offered to commercial advertisers that enhance the value of advertising spots and different classes of time. SDARS licensees must also calculate the lowest unit charge and are required to review their advertising records throughout the election period to determine whether compliance with this rule section requires that candidates receive rebates or credits. See 47 CFR 73.1942.

    Political file: Similar to broadcasters, SDARS licensees must also keep and permit public inspection of a complete record (political file) of all requests for SDARS origination time made by or on behalf of candidates for public office, together with an appropriate notation showing the disposition made by the system of such requests, and the charges made, if any, if the request is granted. The disposition includes the schedule of time purchased, when the spots actually aired, the rates charged, and the classes of time purchased. Also, when free time is provided for use by or on behalf of candidates, a record of the free time provided is to be placed in the political file as soon as possible and maintained for a period of two years. See 47 CFR 73.1943.

    OMB Control Number: 3060-0214.

    Title: Sections 73.3526 and 73.3527, Local Public Inspection Files; Sections 76.1701 and 73.1943, Political Files.

    Form Number: N/A.

    Type of Review: Revision of a currently approved collection.

    Respondents: Business or other for-profit entities; not for profit institutions; individuals or households.

    Number of Respondents and Responses: 24,559 respondents; 63,235 responses.

    Estimated Time per Response: 1-104 hours.

    Frequency of Response: Recordkeeping requirement; on occasion reporting requirements; third party disclosure requirement.

    Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. The statutory authority which covers this information collection is contained in Sections 151, 152, 154(i), 303, 307 and 308 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.

    Total Annual Burden: 2,375,337 hours.

    Total Annual Cost: $882,631.

    Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: Most of the documents comprising the public file consist of materials that are not of a confidential nature. Respondents complying with the information collection requirements may request that the information they submit be withheld from disclosure. If confidentiality is requested, such requests will be processed in accordance with the Commission's rules, 47 CFR 0.459.

    Privacy Impact Assessment: Should respondents submit any PII as part of the information collection requirements, the FCC has an existing system of records, FCC/MB-1, “Ownership of Commercial Broadcast Stations,” that may partially cover this PII. In addition, the Commission has prepared a second system of records notice, FCC/MB-2, “Broadcast Station Public Inspection Files,” that will cover the PII contained in the broadcast station public inspection files to be located on the Commission's Web site. The Commission is also drafting a PIA for the records covered by this SORN.

    Needs and Uses: Satellite Radio (also referred to as “Satellite Digital Audio Radio Services” or “SDARS”) licensees are required to comply with the Commission's EEO broadcast rules and policies, including public file obligations and periodic submissions to the Commission. See Applications for Consent to the Transfer of Control of Licenses, XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc., Transferor, to Sirius Satellite Radio Inc., Transferee, 23 FCC Rcd 12348, 12426,) 174, and note 551 (2008) (“XM-Sirius Merger Order”). See also Establishment of Rules and Policies for the Digital Audio Radio Satellite Service in the 2310-2360 MHz Frequency Band, 12 FCC Rcd 5754, 5791-92,)) 91-92 (1997) (“SDARS Order”), FCC 97-70. This collection is being revised to reflect the burden associated with the EEO public file requirements.

    OMB Control Number: 3060-0113.

    Title: Broadcast EEO Program Report, FCC Form 396.

    Form Number: FCC Form 396.

    Type of Review: Revision of a currently approved collection.

    Respondents: Business or other for-profit entities; not for profit institutions.

    Number of Respondents and Responses: 2,001 respondents; 2,001 responses.

    Estimated Time per Response: 1.5 hours.

    Frequency of Response: On renewal reporting requirement.

    Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. The statutory authority which covers this information collection is contained in Section 154(i) and 303 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.

    Total Annual Burden: 3,002 hours.

    Total Annual Cost: $300,300.

    Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: There is no need for confidentiality with this collection of information.

    Privacy Impact Assessment: No impact(s).

    Needs and Uses: The Broadcast Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Program Report, FCC Form 396, is a device that is used to evaluate a broadcaster's EEO program to ensure that satisfactory efforts are being made to comply with FCC's EEO requirements. FCC Form 396 is required to be filed at the time of renewal of license by all AM, FM, TV, Low Power TV and International stations. Licensees in the Satellite Digital Audio Radio Service (“SDARS”) also must file FCC Form 396.

    The recordkeeping requirements for FCC Form 396 are covered under OMB control number 3060-0214.

    Revised Collection Requirement: In 1997, the Commission determined that SDARS licensees must comply with the Commission's EEO requirements. See Establishment of Rules and Policies for the Digital Audio Radio Satellite Service in the 2310-2360 MHz Frequency Band, 12 FCC Rcd 5754, 5791,) 91 (1997) (“1997 SDARS Order”), FCC 97-70. In 2008, the Commission clarified that SDARS licensees must comply with the Commission's EEO broadcast rules and policies, including the same recruitment, outreach, public file, Web site posting, record-keeping, reporting, and self-assessment obligations required of broadcast licensees, consistent with 47 CFR 73.2080, as well as any other Commission EEO policies. See Applications for Consent to the Transfer of Control of Licenses, SM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc., Transferor, to Sirius Satellite Radio Inc., Transferee, 23 FCC Rcd 12348, 12426,) 174, and note 551 (2008) (“XM-Sirius Merger Order”).

    The Commission is making this submission to the Office of Management and Budget for approval to add SDARS licensees to this information collection.

    OMB Control Number: 3060-0922.

    Title: Broadcast Mid-Term Report, FCC Form 397.

    Form Number: FCC Form 397.

    Type of Review: Revision of a currently approved collection.

    Respondents: Business or other for-profit entities; not-profit institutions.

    Number of Respondents and Responses: 1,181 respondents; 1,181 responses.

    Estimated Time per Response: 0.5 hours.

    Frequency of Response: Mid-point reporting requirement.

    Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. The statutory authority which covers this information collection is contained in Sections 154(i) and 303 of the Communications Act, as amended.

    Total Annual Burden: 591 hours.

    Total Annual Cost: No cost.

    Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: There is no need for confidentiality with this collection of information.

    Privacy Impact Assessment: No impact(s).

    Needs and Uses: The Broadcast Mid-Term Report (FCC Form 397) is required to be filed by each broadcast television station that is part of an employment unit with five or more full-time employees and each broadcast radio station that is part of an employment unit with more than ten full-time employees. It is a data collection device used to assess broadcast compliance with EEO outreach requirements in the middle of license terms that are eight years in duration. FCC Form 397 must also be filed by Satellite Digital Audio Radio Services (SDARS) licensees to assess compliance with EEO outreach requirements.

    Revised Information Collection Requirements Which Require Approval and Review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB): Satellite Radio (also referred to as “Satellite Digital Audio Radio Services” or “SDARS”) licensees are required to comply with the Commission's EEO broadcast rules and policies. They must engage in the same recruitment, outreach, public file, Web site posting, record-keeping, reporting, and self-assessment obligations required of broadcast licensees, consistent with 47 CFR 73.2080, and are subject to the same EEO policies. See Applications for Consent to the Transfer of Control of Licenses, XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc., Transferor, to Sirius Satellite Radio Inc., Transferee, 23 FCC Rcd 12348, 12426,) 174, and note 551 (2008) (“XM-Sirius Merger Order”).

    See also Establishment of Rules and Policies for the Digital Audio Radio Satellite Service in the 2310-2360 MHz Frequency Band, 12 FCC Rcd 5754, 5791-92,)) 91-92 (1997) (“SDARS Order”), FCC 97-70. This collection is being revised to reflect the burden associated with filing FCC Form 397 by SDARS licensees. Therefore, these respondents are being added as respondents to this collection. The form is not being revised.

    OMB Control Number: 3060-1065.

    Title: Section 25.701 of the Commission's Rules, Direct Broadcast Satellite Public Interest Obligations.

    Form Number: N/A.

    Type of Review: Reinstatement of a previously approved collection.

    Respondents: Business or other for-profit entities.

    Number of Respondents and Responses: 2 respondents; 2 responses.

    Estimated Time per Response: 1-10 hours.

    Frequency of Response: Recordkeeping requirement; on occasion reporting requirement; one time reporting requirement; annual reporting requirement; Third party disclosure requirement.

    Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. The statutory authority which covers this information collection is contained in Section 335 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.

    Total Annual Burden: 50 hours.

    Total Annual Cost: No cost.

    Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: Although the Commission does not believe that any confidential information will need to be disclosed in order to comply with the information collection requirements, applicants are free to request that materials or information submitted to the Commission be withheld from public inspection. (See 47 CFR 0.459 of the Commission's Rules).

    Privacy Impact Assessment: No impact(s).

    Needs and Uses: The Commission vacated an Order on Reconsideration, In the Matter of Implementation Of Section 25 Of The Cable Television Consumer Protection And Competition Act Of 1992, Direct Broadcast Satellite Public Interest Obligations, MM No. Docket 93-25 FCC 03-78, adopted April 9, 2003 and adopted in its place, in the same proceeding, a Second Order on Reconsideration of the First Report and Order, Sua Sponte Order on Reconsideration (“Second Order