Federal Register Vol. 80, No.206,

Federal Register Volume 80, Issue 206 (October 26, 2015)

Page Range65121-65603
FR Document

80_FR_206
Current View
Page and SubjectPDF
80 FR 65271 - Sunshine Act MeetingPDF
80 FR 65228 - Sunshine Act MeetingsPDF
80 FR 65228 - Sunshine Act MeetingPDF
80 FR 65282 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 65281 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 65285 - Docket No. FMCSA-2012-0081]PDF
80 FR 65169 - Energy Conservation Standards for Pool HeatersPDF
80 FR 65222 - Proposed Agency Information CollectionPDF
80 FR 65220 - Orders Granting Authority To Import and Export Natural Gas, To Import and Export Liquefied Natural Gas, To Vacate Authority, and Denying Request for Rehearing During September 2015PDF
80 FR 65255 - Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards; Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 65242 - Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Greater Crossbow Oil and Gas Project and Possible Amendments to the Casper Resource Management Plan, WyomingPDF
80 FR 65235 - South Carolina; Amendment No. 4 to Notice of a Major Disaster DeclarationPDF
80 FR 65234 - South Carolina; Amendment No. 5 to Notice of a Major Disaster DeclarationPDF
80 FR 65161 - Final Flood Elevation DeterminationsPDF
80 FR 65284 - Public Notice for Waiver of Aeronautical Land-Use Assurance; Airport Property at Palmer Municipal Airport, Palmer, AlaskaPDF
80 FR 65284 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Requests for Comments; Clearance of Renewed Approval of Information Collection: Aviation Medical Examiner ProgramPDF
80 FR 65159 - Approval and Promulgation of State Plans for Designated Facilities; New YorkPDF
80 FR 65217 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Notice of Intent To Renew Collection: Clearing Member Risk ManagementPDF
80 FR 65251 - Draft 2015 Report to Congress on the Benefits and Costs of Federal Regulations and Unfunded Mandates on State, Local, and Tribal EntitiesPDF
80 FR 65224 - Performance Partnership GrantsPDF
80 FR 65223 - Clean Air Act Operating Permit Program; Petition for Objection to State Operating Permits for Shell Chemical LP Deer Park Chemical Plant and Shell Oil Company Deer Park Refinery in TexasPDF
80 FR 65223 - Notification of a Public Teleconference of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee Secondary National Ambient Air Quality Standards Review Panel for Oxides of Nitrogen and SulfurPDF
80 FR 65198 - Wooden Bedroom Furniture From the People's Republic of China: Partial Rescission of Antidumping Duty Administrative ReviewPDF
80 FR 65200 - Multilayered Wood Flooring From the People's Republic of China: Initiation of Antidumping Duty New Shipper Review; 2013-2014PDF
80 FR 65219 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 65174 - Supplemental Comments Sought on Proposed 17/24 GHz Reverse Band BSS Ground Path OperationsPDF
80 FR 65281 - Delegation to Thomas A. Shannon of Authorities Normally Vested in the Under Secretary of State for Political AffairsPDF
80 FR 65280 - Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy; Notice of Open MeetingPDF
80 FR 65281 - Notice of Public MeetingPDF
80 FR 65238 - Draft Habitat Conservation Plan and Draft Environmental Assessment, Meier Group LLC, Thurston County, WashingtonPDF
80 FR 65183 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife; 12-Month Finding on a Petition To Identify and Delist a Saint John River Distinct Population Segment of Shortnose Sturgeon Under the Endangered Species ActPDF
80 FR 65175 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife; 90-Day Finding on a Petition To List the Thorny Skate as Threatened or Endangered Under the Endangered Species ActPDF
80 FR 65135 - Interpretive Bulletin Relating to the Fiduciary Standard Under ERISA in Considering Economically Targeted InvestmentsPDF
80 FR 65197 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 65240 - Information Collection Request Sent to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for Approval; National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation (FHWAR)PDF
80 FR 65248 - Notice of Intent To Award-Grant Awards for the Provision of Civil Legal Services to Eligible Low-Income Clients Beginning January 1, 2016PDF
80 FR 65195 - Notice of Intent To Request To Conduct a New Information CollectionPDF
80 FR 65226 - Information Collection Being Reviewed by the Federal Communications Commission Under Delegated AuthorityPDF
80 FR 65247 - Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee (WPAC)PDF
80 FR 65241 - Renewal of Agency Information Collection for the Tribal Reassumption of Jurisdiction Over Child Custody ProceedingsPDF
80 FR 65201 - New England Fishery Management Council; Public MeetingPDF
80 FR 65215 - Caribbean Fishery Management Council (CFMC); Public HearingsPDF
80 FR 65214 - Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC); Public MeetingPDF
80 FR 65137 - Drawbridge Operation Regulations; Tchefuncta River, Madisonville, LAPDF
80 FR 65138 - Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Houma Navigation Canal, Mile 36.0, at Houma, Terrebonne Parish, LAPDF
80 FR 65282 - Integrated Resource PlanPDF
80 FR 65243 - Eastern States: Filing of Plats of SurveyPDF
80 FR 65242 - Notice of Filing of Plats of Survey; ArizonaPDF
80 FR 65232 - National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
80 FR 65233 - National Human Genome Research Institute; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
80 FR 65232 - National Institute of Mental Health; Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 65286 - Pipeline Safety: National Pipeline Mapping System; Extension of Comment Period and Notice of Operator WorkshopPDF
80 FR 65244 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Acquisition and Sale of Trust Real Estate Investment Trust Shares by Individual Account Plans Sponsored by Trust Real Estate Investment TrustsPDF
80 FR 65252 - Notice of Centennial Challenges 2016 Sample Return Robot (SRR) ChallengePDF
80 FR 65201 - Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; St. George Reef Light Station Restoration and Maintenance at Northwest Seal Rock, Del Norte County, CaliforniaPDF
80 FR 65287 - Sanctions Actions Pursuant to Executive Orders 13224PDF
80 FR 65138 - Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, John F. Kennedy Space Center/NASA Parkway Bridge, Addison Point, FLPDF
80 FR 65218 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Baby Bouncers and Walker-JumpersPDF
80 FR 65197 - Notice of Public Meeting of the Oklahoma Advisory Committee To Discuss Findings and Recommendations Resulting From Its Inquiry Into the Civil Rights Impact of School Disciplinary Policies That May Contribute to High Rates of Juvenile Incarceration in OklahomaPDF
80 FR 65196 - Public Meeting of the Mississippi Advisory Committee; Advisory Memorandum Regarding Civil Rights Concerns Relating to Distribution of Federal Child Care Subsidies in MississippiPDF
80 FR 65229 - National Environmental Policy Act; Environmental Assessments for Tobacco Products; Categorical Exclusions-Small Entity Compliance Guide; Guidance for Industry; AvailabilityPDF
80 FR 65255 - Sizing of Large Lead-Acid Storage BatteriesPDF
80 FR 65288 - Agency Information Collection (Supplement to VA Forms 21P-4706b, 21P-4706c and 21-4718a) Activity Under OMB ReviewPDF
80 FR 65252 - Notice of Information CollectionPDF
80 FR 65225 - Information Collections Being Reviewed by the Federal Communications Commission Under Delegated AuthorityPDF
80 FR 65214 - Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Rehabilitation of the Jetty System at the Mouth of the Columbia River, Washington and OregonPDF
80 FR 65134 - Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) Filings for Electronic Entry/Entry Summary (Cargo Release and Related Entry); CorrectionPDF
80 FR 65236 - Notice of Public Meeting Regarding Standards for Information Sharing and Analysis OrganizationsPDF
80 FR 65235 - President's National Security Telecommunications Advisory CommitteePDF
80 FR 65244 - Certain Coaxial Cable Connectors and Components Thereof and Products Containing Same Commission Determination Not To Review an Initial Determination Terminating the Investigation in Its Entirety Based Upon Withdrawal of the ComplaintPDF
80 FR 65256 - Change in Postal RatesPDF
80 FR 65237 - Intent To Request Renewal From OMB of One Current Public Collection of Information: Office of Law Enforcement/Federal Air Marshal Service Mental Health CertificationPDF
80 FR 65195 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 65258 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Chicago Board Options Exchange, Incorporated; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change Relating to Disaster RecoveryPDF
80 FR 65228 - Notice to All Interested Parties of the Termination of the Receivership of 4556 Meritor Savings Bank Philadelphia, PennsylvaniaPDF
80 FR 65227 - Notice to All Interested Parties of the Termination of the Receivership of 10360, Cortez ommunity Bank Brooksville, FloridaPDF
80 FR 65228 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 65226 - Notice of Debarment; Federal Lifeline Universal Service Support MechanismPDF
80 FR 65287 - Intelligent Transportation Systems Program Advisory Committee; Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 65266 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE Arca, Inc.; Notice of Filing of Amendment No. 1 and Order Granting Accelerated Approval of a Proposed Rule Change, as Modified by Amendment No. 1, To List and Trade Shares of the First Trust Heitman Global Prime Real Estate ETF Under NYSE Arca Equities Rule 8.600PDF
80 FR 65277 - Self-Regulatory Organizations: Miami International Securities Exchange LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Amend Exchange Rule 404PDF
80 FR 65263 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; EDGX Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Amend Rule 19.3 To Allow the Listing of Certain Options Based on International IndexesPDF
80 FR 65271 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NASDAQ OMX BX, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Implement An Order Exposure Alert To Be Disseminated by the ExchangePDF
80 FR 65274 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE Arca, Inc.; Order Approving Proposed Rule Change, and Notice of Filing and Order Granting Accelerated Approval of Amendment No. 1 Thereto, Adopting New Equity Trading Rules Relating to Trading Halts, Short Sales, Limit Up-Limit Down, and Odd Lots and Mixed Lots To Reflect the Implementation of Pillar, the Exchange's New Trading Technology PlatformPDF
80 FR 65279 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; BATS Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Amend Rule 11.13, Order Execution and RoutingPDF
80 FR 65269 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; ICE Clear Europe Limited; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change Relating to Clearing Services for European Natural Gas Spot ContractsPDF
80 FR 65246 - The 1,3-Butadiene Standard; Extension of the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Approval of Information Collection (Paperwork) RequirementsPDF
80 FR 65254 - Information Collection: Physical Protection of Category 1 and Category 2 Quantities of Radioactive MaterialPDF
80 FR 65165 - Offshore Supply Vessels, Towing Vessel, and Barge Engine Rating WatchesPDF
80 FR 65231 - National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
80 FR 65233 - National Institute of General Medical Sciences; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
80 FR 65231 - National Institute of General Medical Sciences; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
80 FR 65233 - Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
80 FR 65253 - Advisory Committee for Mathematical and Physical Sciences; Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 65234 - Information Collection Request to Office of Management and Budget; OMB Control Number: 1625-0033PDF
80 FR 65130 - Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company AirplanesPDF
80 FR 65121 - Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company AirplanesPDF
80 FR 65128 - Airworthiness Directives; Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation HelicoptersPDF
80 FR 65149 - Domestic Competitive Products Pricing and Mailing Standards ChangesPDF
80 FR 65139 - International Product and Price ChangesPDF
80 FR 65216 - Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 65572 - General Provisions and Non-Federal Oil and Gas RightsPDF
80 FR 65288 - Debt Management Advisory Committee MeetingPDF
80 FR 65173 - Notice of Availability: CPSC Plan for Retrospective Review of Existing RulesPDF
80 FR 65174 - Petition Requesting Rulemaking on Products Containing Organohalogen Flame Retardants; Notice of Extension of Comment Period; Notice of Opportunity for Oral Presentation of CommentsPDF
80 FR 65280 - Senior Executive Service: Performance Review Board MembersPDF
80 FR 65126 - Airworthiness Directives; Fokker Services B.V. AirplanesPDF
80 FR 65292 - National Ambient Air Quality Standards for OzonePDF
80 FR 65470 - NESHAP for Brick and Structural Clay Products Manufacturing; and NESHAP for Clay Ceramics ManufacturingPDF

Issue

80 206 Monday, October 26, 2015 Contents Agriculture Agriculture Department See

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

See

National Agricultural Statistics Service

Animal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 65195 2015-27093 Centers Medicare Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 65228-65229 2015-27077 Civil Rights Civil Rights Commission NOTICES Meetings: Mississippi Advisory Committee, 65196-65197 2015-27112 Oklahoma Advisory Committee, 65197 2015-27113 Coast Guard Coast Guard RULES Drawbridge Operations: Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, John F. Kennedy Space Center/NASA Parkway Bridge, Addison Point, FL, 65138 2015-27115 Houma Navigation Canal, Mile 36.0, at Houma, Terrebonne Parish, LA, 65138-65139 2015-27130 Tchefuncta River, Madisonville, LA, 65137-65138 2015-27131 Offshore Supply Vessels, Towing Vessel, and Barge Engine Rating Watches, 65165-65168 2015-27062 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 65234 2015-27021 Commerce Commerce Department See

International Trade Administration

See

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 65197-65198 2015-27144
Commission Fine Commission of Fine Arts NOTICES Meetings, 65216-65217 2015-26859 Commodity Futures Commodity Futures Trading Commission NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Clearing Member Risk Management, 65217-65218 2015-27164 Consumer Product Consumer Product Safety Commission PROPOSED RULES Petitions for Rulemaking: Products Containing Organohalogen Flame Retardants, 65174 2015-26694 Plan for Retrospective Review of Existing Rules, 65173-65174 2015-26695 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Baby Bouncers and Walker-Jumpers, 65218-65219 2015-27114 Corporation Corporation for National and Community Service NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 65219-65220 2015-27155 Employee Benefits Employee Benefits Security Administration RULES Interpretive Bulletin Relating to the Fiduciary Standard under ERISA in Considering Economically Targeted Investments, 65135-65137 2015-27146 Energy Department Energy Department See

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office

PROPOSED RULES Energy Conservation Standards for Pool Heaters, 65169-65173 2015-27203 NOTICES Authority to Import and Export Natural Gas: Koch Energy Services, LLC; Talisman Energy USA Inc.; EDF Trading North America, LLC, et al., 65220-65222 2015-27193
Energy Efficiency Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 65222-65223 2015-27202 Environmental Protection Environmental Protection Agency RULES Approvals and Promulgations of State Plans for Designated Facilities: New York, 65159-65161 2015-27166 National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone, 65292-65468 2015-26594 NESHAP for Brick and Structural Clay Products Manufacturing; and NESHAP for Clay Ceramics Manufacturing, 65470-65570 2015-25724 NOTICES Clean Air Act Operating Permit Program: Petition for Objection to State Operating Permits for Shell Chemical LP Deer Park Chemical Plant and Shell Oil Company Deer Park Refinery, Texas, 65223 2015-27161 Meetings: Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee Secondary National Ambient Air Quality Standards Review Panel for Oxides of Nitrogen and Sulfur, 65223-65224 2015-27160 Performance Partnership Grants, 65224-65225 2015-27162 Federal Aviation Federal Aviation Administration RULES Airworthiness Directives: Fokker Services B.V. Airplanes, 65126-65128 2015-26612 Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation Helicopters, 65128-65130 2015-26949 The Boeing Company Airplanes, 65121-65126, 65130-65134 2015-26983 2015-26992 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Aviation Medical Examiner Program, 65284-65285 2015-27171 Waiver of Aeronautical Land-Use Assurance: Airport Property at Palmer Municipal Airport, Palmer, AK, 65284 2015-27185 Federal Communications Federal Communications Commission PROPOSED RULES Supplemental Comments Sought on Proposed 17/24 GHz Reverse Band BSS Ground Path Operations, 65174-65175 2015-27154 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 65225-65226 2015-27105 2015-27138 Debarments: Federal Lifeline Universal Service Support Mechanism, 65226-65227 2015-27076 Federal Deposit Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 65228 2015-27295 Termination of Receiverships: Cortez Community Bank, Brooksville, FL, 65227-65228 2015-27084 Meritor Savings Bank, Philadelphia, PA, 65228 2015-27085 Federal Election Federal Election Commission NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 65228 2015-27336 Federal Emergency Federal Emergency Management Agency RULES Final Flood Elevation Determinations, 65161-65164 2015-27186 NOTICES Major Disaster Declarations: South Carolina; Amendment No. 4, 65235 2015-27189 South Carolina; Amendment No. 5, 65234-65235 2015-27188 Federal Motor Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration NOTICES Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications: Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators, 65285-65286 2015-27210 Fish Fish and Wildlife Service NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, 65240-65241 2015-27141 Environmental Assessments; Availability, etc.: Meier Group LLC, Thurston County, WA; Draft Habitat Conservation Plan, 65238-65240 2015-27149 Food and Drug Food and Drug Administration NOTICES Guidance: National Environmental Policy Act; Environmental Assessments for Tobacco Products; Categorical Exclusions--Small Entity Compliance Guide, 65229-65231 2015-27111 Foreign Assets Foreign Assets Control Office NOTICES Blocking or Unblocking of Persons and Properties, 65287-65288 2015-27116 Health and Human Health and Human Services Department See

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

See

Food and Drug Administration

See

National Institutes of Health

Homeland Homeland Security Department See

Coast Guard

See

Federal Emergency Management Agency

See

Transportation Security Administration

See

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

NOTICES Meetings: President's National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee, 65235-65236 2015-27101 Standards for Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations, 65236-65237 2015-27102
Indian Affairs Indian Affairs Bureau NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Tribal Reassumption of Jurisdiction Over Child Custody Proceedings, 65241-65242 2015-27135 Interior Interior Department See

Fish and Wildlife Service

See

Indian Affairs Bureau

See

Land Management Bureau

See

National Park Service

International Trade Adm International Trade Administration NOTICES Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Multilayered Wood Flooring from the People's Republic of China, 65200-65201 2015-27156 Wooden Bedroom Furniture from the People's Republic of China, 65198-65199 2015-27157 International Trade Com International Trade Commission NOTICES Investigations; Determinations, Modifications, and Rulings, etc.: Certain Coaxial Cable Connectors and Components Thereof and Products Containing Same, 65244 2015-27100 Labor Department Labor Department See

Employee Benefits Security Administration

See

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Acquisition and Sale of Trust Real Estate Investment Trust Shares by Individual Account Plans Sponsored by Trust Real Estate Investment Trusts, 65244-65245 2015-27119
Land Land Management Bureau NOTICES Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Greater Crossbow Oil and Gas Project and Possible Amendments to the Casper Resource Management Plan, Wyoming, 65242-65243 2015-27191 Plats of Survey: Arizona, 65242 2015-27125 Eastern States, 65243-65244 2015-27126 Legal Legal Services Corporation NOTICES Grant Awards: Provision of Civil Legal Services to Eligible Low-Income Clients, 65248-65251 2015-27140 Management Management and Budget Office NOTICES Draft 2015 Reports to Congress: Benefits and Costs of Federal Regulations and Unfunded Mandates on State, Local, and Tribal Entities, 65251-65252 2015-27163 NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 65252-65253 2015-27108 Centennial Challenges 2016 Sample Return Robot Challenge, 65252 2015-27118 National Agricultural National Agricultural Statistics Service NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 65195-65196 2015-27139 National Institute National Institutes of Health NOTICES Meetings: Center for Scientific Review, 65233 2015-27058 National Human Genome Research Institute, 65233-65234 2015-27123 National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, 65232-65233 2015-27124 National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 65231 2015-27061 National Institute of General Medical Sciences, 65231, 65233 2015-27059 2015-27060 National Institute of Mental Health, 65232 2015-27122 National Oceanic National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration PROPOSED RULES Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: Saint John River Distinct Population Segment of Shortnose Sturgeon; Finding on Petition to Identify and Delist, 65183-65194 2015-27148 Thorny Skate; Finding on Petition to List as Threatened or Endangered, 65175-65183 2015-27147 NOTICES Meetings: Caribbean Fishery Management Council, 65215-65216 2015-27133 Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 65214 2015-27132 New England Fishery Management Council, 65201 2015-27134 Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities: Rehabilitation of the Jetty System at the Mouth of the Columbia River, Washington and Oregon, 65214-65215 2015-27104 St. George Reef Light Station Restoration and Maintenance at Northwest Seal Rock, Del Norte County, CA, 65201-65214 2015-27117 National Park National Park Service PROPOSED RULES General Provisions and Non-federal Oil and Gas Rights, 65572-65603 2015-26812 National Science National Science Foundation NOTICES Meetings: Advisory Committee for Mathematical and Physical Sciences, 65253-65254 2015-27057 Nuclear Regulatory Nuclear Regulatory Commission NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Physical Protection of Category 1 and Category 2 Quantities of Radioactive Material, 65254-65255 2015-27063 Guidance: Sizing of Large Lead-Acid Storage Batteries, 65255 2015-27110 Meetings: Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards, 65255-65256 2015-27192 Occupational Safety Health Adm Occupational Safety and Health Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: The 1,3-Butadiene Standard, 65246-65247 2015-27065 Meetings: Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee, 65247-65248 2015-27136 Pipeline Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration NOTICES Pipeline Safety: National Pipeline Mapping System; Operator Workshop, 65286-65287 2015-27120 Postal Regulatory Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES Change in Postal Rates, 65256-65258 2015-27096 Postal Service Postal Service RULES Domestic Competitive Products Pricing and Mailing Standards Changes, 65149-65159 2015-26920 International Product and Price Changes, 65139-65149 2015-26918 Securities Securities and Exchange Commission NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 65271 2015-27357 Self-Regulatory Organizations; Proposed Rule Changes: BATS Exchange, Inc., 65279-65280 2015-27068 Chicago Board Options Exchange, Inc., 65258-65263 2015-27086 EDGX Exchange, Inc., 65263-65266 2015-27071 ICE Clear Europe Limited, 65269-65271 2015-27067 Miami International Securities Exchange LLC, 65277-65279 2015-27072 NASDAQ OMX BX, Inc., 65271-65274 2015-27070 NYSE Arca, Inc., 65266-65269, 65274-65277 2015-27069 2015-27073 Small Business Small Business Administration NOTICES Senior Executive Service; Performance Review Board Members, 65280 2015-26665 State Department State Department NOTICES Delegations of Authority, 65281 2015-27152 Meetings: Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy, 65280-65281 2015-27151 Advisory Panel to the U.S. Section of the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission, 65281 2015-27150 Tennessee Tennessee Valley Authority NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 65281-65282 2015-27213 2015-27226 Record of Decisions: Integrated Resource Plan, 65282-65284 2015-27129 Transportation Department Transportation Department See

Federal Aviation Administration

See

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

See

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

NOTICES Meetings: Intelligent Transportation Systems Program Advisory Committee, 65287 2015-27075
Security Transportation Security Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Office of Law Enforcement/Federal Air Marshal Service Mental Health Certification, 65237-65238 2015-27094 Treasury Treasury Department See

Foreign Assets Control Office

NOTICES Meetings: Debt Management Advisory Committee, 65288 2015-26801
Customs U.S. Customs and Border Protection RULES Automated Commercial Environment Filings for Electronic Entry/Entry Summary, Cargo Release and Related Entry; Correction, 65134-65135 2015-27103 Veteran Affairs Veterans Affairs Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Supplement to VA Forms, 65288-65289 2015-27109 Separate Parts In This Issue Part II Environmental Protection Agency, 65292-65468 2015-26594 Part III Environmental Protection Agency, 65470-65570 2015-25724 Part IV Interior Department, National Park Service, 65572-65603 2015-26812 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.

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80 206 Monday, October 26, 2015 Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2015-4209; Directorate Identifier 2015-NM-156-AD; Amendment 39-18302; AD 2015-21-09] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company Airplanes AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

We are superseding Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2015-19-02 for all The Boeing Company Model 767 airplanes. AD 2015-19-02 required revising the maintenance or inspection program to include new airworthiness limitations. This AD continues to require a maintenance or inspection program revision, but with revised language. This AD was prompted by a determination that certain language in the airworthiness limitation was not accurate in AD 2015-19-02. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct latent failures of the fuel shutoff valve to the engine and auxiliary power unit (APU), which could result in the inability to shut off fuel to the engine and APU and, in case of certain fires, an uncontrollable fire that could lead to structural failure.

DATES:

This AD is effective October 28, 2015.

We must receive any comments on this AD by December 10, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

You may send comments, using the procedures found in 14 CFR 11.43 and 11.45, by any of the following methods:

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

Fax: 202-493-2251.

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

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

Examining the AD Docket

You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-4209; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Office (phone: 800-647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Rebel Nichols, Aerospace Engineer, Propulsion Branch, ANM-140S, FAA, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; phone: 425-917-6509; fax: 425-917-6590; email: [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Discussion

On September 7, 2015, we issued AD 2015-19-02, Amendment 39-18265 (80 FR 55512, September 16, 2015), for all The Boeing Company Model 767 airplanes. AD 2015-19-02 required revising the maintenance or inspection program to include new airworthiness limitations. AD 2015-19-02 resulted from reports of latently failed fuel shutoff valves discovered during fuel filter replacement. We issued AD 2015-19-02 to detect and correct latent failures of the fuel shutoff valve to the engine and APU, which could result in the inability to shut off fuel to the engine and APU and, in case of certain fires, an uncontrollable fire that could lead to structural failure.

Actions Since AD 2015-19-02, Amendment 39-18265 (80 FR 55512, September 16, 2015), Was Issued

Since we issued AD 2015-19-02, Amendment 39-18265 (80 FR 55512, September 16, 2015), we have determined that extraneous language was included in two locations of the text of the airworthiness limitations specified in AD 2015-19-02. In paragraph C.7.a. of the “Description” column of figure 1 to paragraph (g) of AD 2015-19-02, the text “or the APU selector switch on the overhead panel is in the ON position” is not relevant to the actions specified in that paragraph. In paragraph A.5. of the “Description” column of figure 3 to paragraph (g) of AD 2015-19-02, the text “the FUEL CONTROL switch is in the RUN position or” is not relevant to the actions specified in that paragraph.

We have determined that the language must be corrected to avoid any confusion in the paragraphs of the airworthiness limitation. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct latent failures of the fuel shutoff valve to the engine and APU, which could result in the inability to shut off fuel to the engine and APU and, in case of certain fires, an uncontrollable fire that could lead to structural failure.

FAA's Determination

We are issuing this AD because we evaluated all the relevant information and determined the unsafe condition described previously is likely to exist or develop in other products of the same type design.

AD Requirements

This AD requires revising the maintenance or inspection program to include new airworthiness limitations.

Interim Action

We consider this AD interim action. The manufacturer is currently developing a modification that will address the unsafe condition identified in this AD. Once this modification is developed, approved, and available, we might consider additional rulemaking.

FAA's Justification and Determination of the Effective Date

We are superseding AD 2015-19-02, Amendment 39-18265 (80 FR 55512, September 16, 2015), to correct inaccurate terminology in the “Description” column of figure 1 to paragraph (g) of AD 2015-19-02 and figure 3 to paragraph (g) of AD 2015-19-02. We have made no other changes to the requirements published in AD 2015-19-02. We have determined that the changes impose no additional burden on any operator. Therefore, we find that notice and opportunity for prior public comment are unnecessary and that good cause exists for making this amendment effective in less than 30 days.

Comments Invited

This AD is a final rule that involves requirements affecting flight safety, and we did not provide you with notice and an opportunity to provide your comments before it becomes effective. However, we invite you to send any written data, views, or arguments about this AD. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include the Docket Number FAA-2015-4209 and Directorate Identifier 2015-NM-156-AD at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this AD. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this AD because of those comments.

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

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this AD affects 450 airplanes of U.S. registry.

We estimate the following costs to comply with this AD:

Estimated Costs Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per
  • product
  • Cost on U.S. operators
    Incorporating Airworthiness Limitation 1 work-hour × $85 per hour = $85 $0 $85 $38,250
    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

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

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

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

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

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

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    Adoption of the Amendment

    Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the FAA amends part 39 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (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) 2015-19-02, Amendment 39-18265 (80 FR 55512, September 16, 2015), and adding the following new AD: 2015-21-09 The Boeing Company: Amendment 39-18302; Docket No. FAA-2015-4209; Directorate Identifier 2015-NM-156-AD. (a) Effective Date

    This AD is effective October 28, 2015.

    (b) Affected ADs

    This AD replaces AD 2015-19-02, Amendment 39-18265 (80 FR 55512, September 16, 2015).

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to all The Boeing Company Model 767-200, -300, -300F, and -400ER series airplanes, certificated in any category.

    (d) Subject

    Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 28, Fuel.

    (e) Unsafe Condition

    This AD was prompted by reports of latently failed fuel shutoff valves discovered during fuel filter replacement. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct latent failures of the fuel shutoff valve to the engine and auxiliary power unit (APU), which could result in the inability to shut off fuel to the engine and APU and, in case of certain fires, an uncontrollable fire that could lead to structural failure.

    (f) Compliance

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

    (g) Revision of Maintenance or Inspection Program

    Within 30 days after the effective date of this AD, revise the maintenance or inspection program, as applicable, to add airworthiness limitation numbers 28-AWL-ENG, 28-AWL-MOV, and 28-AWL-APU, by incorporating the information specified in figure 1, figure 2, and figure 3 to paragraph (g) of this AD into the Airworthiness Limitations Section of the Instructions for Continued Airworthiness. The initial compliance time for accomplishing the actions specified in figure 1, figure 2, and figure 3 to paragraph (g) of this AD is within 10 days after accomplishing the maintenance or inspection program revision required by this paragraph.

    Figure 1 to Paragraph (g) of This AD: Engine Fuel Shutoff Valve (Fuel Spar Valve) Position Indication Operational Check AWL No. Task Interval Applicability Description 28-AWL-ENG ALI DAILY 767-200, -300, and -300F airplanes Engine Fuel Shutoff Valve (Fuel Spar Valve) Position Indication Operational Check. INTERVAL NOTE: The operational check is not required on days when the airplane is not used in revenue service
  • The check must be done before further flight once the airplane is returned to revenue service
  • APPLICABILITY NOTE: Applies to airplanes with an actuator installed at the engine fuel spar valve position having part number (P/N) MA20A2027 (S343T003-56) or P/N MA30A1001 (S343T003-66) Concern: The fuel spar valve actuator design can result in airplanes operating with a failed fuel spar valve actuator that is not reported. A latently failed fuel spar valve actuator could prevent fuel shutoff to an engine. In the event of certain engine fires, the potential exists for an engine fire to be uncontrollable.
  • Perform one of the following checks/inspection of the fuel spar valve position (unless checked by the flightcrew in a manner approved by the principal operations inspector):
  • A. Operational Check during engine shutdown.
  • 1. Do an operational check of the left engine fuel spar valve actuator.
  • a. As the L FUEL CONTROL switch on the quadrant control stand is moved to the CUTOFF position, verify the left SPAR VALVE disagreement light on the quadrant control stand illuminates and then goes off. b. If the test fails (light fails to illuminate), before further flight, repair faults as required (refer to Boeing airplane maintenance manual (AMM) 28-22-11). 2. Do an operational check of the right engine fuel spar valve actuator. a. As the R FUEL CONTROL switch on the quadrant control stand is moved to the CUTOFF position, verify the right SPAR VALVE disagreement light on the quadrant control stand illuminates and then goes off. b. If the test fails (light fails to illuminate), before further flight, repair faults as required (refer to Boeing AMM 28-22-11). B. Operational check during engine start. 1. Do an operational check of the left engine fuel spar valve actuator. a. As the L FUEL CONTROL switch on the quadrant control stand is moved to the RUN (or RICH) position, verify the left SPAR VALVE disagreement light on the quadrant control stand illuminates and then goes off. b. If the test fails (light fails to illuminate), before further flight, repair faults as required (refer to Boeing AMM 28-22-11). 2. Do an operational check of the right engine fuel spar valve actuator. a. As the R FUEL CONTROL switch on the quadrant control stand is moved to the RUN (or RICH) position, verify the right SPAR VALVE disagreement light on the quadrant control stand illuminates and then goes off. b. If the test fails (light fails to illuminate), before further flight, repair faults as required (refer to Boeing AMM 28-22-11). C. Operational check without engine operation. 1. Supply electrical power to the airplane using standard practices. 2. Make sure all fuel pump switches on the Overhead Panel are in the OFF position. 3. If the auxiliary power unit (APU) is running, open and collar the L FWD FUEL BOOST PUMP (C00372) circuit breaker on the Main Power Distribution Panel. 4. Make sure LEFT and RIGHT ENG FIRE switches on the Aft Aisle Stand are in the NORMAL (IN) position. 5. Make sure L and R ENG START Selector Switches on the Overhead Panel, are in the OFF position. 6. Do an operational check of the left engine fuel spar valve actuator. a. Move L FUEL CONTROL switch on the quadrant control stand to the RUN position and wait approximately 10 seconds. NOTE: It is normal under this test condition for the ENG VALVE disagreement light on the quadrant control stand to stay illuminated. b. Move L FUEL CONTROL switch on the quadrant control stand to the CUTOFF position. c. Verify the left SPAR VALVE disagreement light on the quadrant control stand illuminates and then goes off. d. If the test fails (light fails to illuminate), before further flight, repair faults as required (refer to Boeing AMM 28-22-11). 7. Do an operational check of the right engine fuel spar valve actuator. a. Move R FUEL CONTROL switch on the quadrant control stand to the RUN position and wait approximately 10 seconds once the FUEL CONTROL switch is in the RUN position. NOTE: It is normal under this test condition for the ENG VALVE disagreement light on the quadrant control stand to stay illuminated. b. Move R FUEL CONTROL switch on the quadrant control stand to the CUTOFF position. c. Verify the right SPAR VALVE disagreement light on the quadrant control stand illuminates and then goes off. d. If the test fails (light fails to illuminate), before further flight, repair faults as required (refer to Boeing AMM 28-22-11). 8. If the L FWD FUEL BOOST PUMP circuit breaker was collared in step 3, remove collar and close. D. Perform an inspection of the fuel spar valve actuator position. NOTE: This inspection may be most useful whenever the SPAR VALVE light does not function properly. 1. Make sure the L FUEL CONTROL switch on the quadrant control stand is in the CUTOFF position. NOTE: It is not necessary to cycle the FUEL CONTROL switch to do this inspection. 2. Inspect the left engine fuel spar valve actuator located in the left rear spar. NOTE: The Fuel Spar Valve actuators are located behind main gear doors on the rear spar. a. Verify the manual override handle on the engine fuel spar valve actuator is in the CLOSED position. b. Repair or replace any fuel spar valve actuator that is not in the CLOSED position (refer to Boeing AMM 28-22-11). 3. Make sure the R FUEL CONTROL switch on the quadrant control stand is in the CUTOFF position. NOTE: It is not necessary to cycle the FUEL CONTROL switch to do this inspection. 4. Inspect the right engine fuel spar valve actuator located in the right rear spar. NOTE: The Fuel Spar Valve actuators are located behind main gear doors on the rear spar. a. Verify the manual override handle on the engine fuel spar valve actuator is in the CLOSED position. b. Repair or replace any fuel spar valve actuator that is not in the CLOSED position (refer to Boeing AMM 28-22-11).
    Figure 2 to Paragraph (g) of This AD: Engine Fuel Shutoff Valve (Fuel Spar Valve) Actuator Inspection AWL No. Task Interval Applicability Description 28-AWL-MOV ALI 10 DAYS 767-400ER series airplanes Engine Fuel Shutoff Valve (Fuel Spar Valve) Actuator Inspection. INTERVAL NOTE: The inspection is not required on days when the airplane is not used in revenue service
  • The inspection must be done before further flight if it has been 10 or more calendar days since last inspection
  • APPLICABILITY NOTE: Applies to airplanes with an actuator installed at the engine fuel spar valve position having part number (P/N) MA20A2027 (S343T003-56) or P/N MA30A1001 (S343T003-66) Concern: The fuel spar valve actuator design can result in airplanes operating with a failed fuel spar valve actuator that is not reported. A latently failed fuel spar valve actuator would prevent fuel shutoff to an engine. In the event of certain engine fires, the potential exists for an engine fire to be uncontrollable.
  • Perform an inspection of the fuel spar valve actuator position.
  • NOTE: The fuel spar valve actuators are located behind main gear doors on the rear spar.
  • 1. Make sure the L FUEL CONTROL switch on the quadrant control stand is in the CUTOFF position.
  • NOTE: It is not necessary to cycle the FUEL CONTROL switch to do this inspection.
  • 2. Inspect the left engine fuel spar valve actuator located in the left rear spar.
  • a. Verify the manual override handle on the engine fuel spar valve actuator is in the CLOSED position. b. Repair or replace any fuel spar valve actuator that is not in the CLOSED position (refer to Boeing AMM 28-22-11). 3. Make sure the R FUEL CONTROL switch on the quadrant control stand is in the CUTOFF position. NOTE: It is not necessary to cycle the FUEL CONTROL switch to do this inspection. 4. Inspect the right engine fuel spar valve actuator located in the right rear spar. a. Verify the manual override handle on the engine fuel spar valve actuator is in the CLOSED position. b. Repair or replace any fuel spar valve actuator that is not in the CLOSED position (refer to Boeing AMM 28-22-11).
    Figure 3 to Paragraph (g) of This AD: Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) Fuel Shutoff Valve Position Indication Operational Check AWL No. Task Interval Applicability Description 28-AWL-APU ALI 10 DAYS ALL APU Fuel Shutoff Valve Position Indication Operational Check. INTERVAL NOTE: The operational check is not required on days when the airplane is not used in revenue service. The operational check must be done before further flight with an operational APU if it has been 10 or more calendar days since last check APPLICABILITY NOTE: Applies to airplanes with an actuator installed at the APU fuel shutoff valve position having part number (P/N) MA20A2027 (S343T003-56) or MA30A1001 (S343T003-66) Concern: The APU fuel shutoff valve actuator design can result in airplanes operating with a failed APU fuel shutoff valve actuator that is not reported. A latently failed APU fuel shutoff valve actuator could prevent fuel shutoff to the APU. In the event of certain APU fires, the potential exists for an APU fire to be uncontrollable
  • Perform the operational check of the APU fuel shutoff valve position indication (unless checked by the flightcrew in a manner approved by the principal operations inspector).
  • A. Do an operational check of the APU fuel shutoff valve position indication.
  • 1. If the APU is running, unload and shut down the APU using standard practices.
  • 2. Supply electrical power to the airplane using standard practices.
  • 3. Make sure the APU FIRE switch on the Aft Aisle Stand is in the NORMAL (IN) position.
  • 4. Make sure there is at least 1,000 lbs (500 kgs) of fuel in the Left Main Tank. 5. Move APU Selector switch on the Overhead Panel to the ON position and wait approximately 10 seconds once the APU selector switch on the overhead panel is in the ON position. 6. Move the APU Selector switch on the Overhead Panel to the OFF position. 7. Verify the APU FAULT light on the Overhead Panel illuminates and then goes off. 8. If the test fails (light fails to illuminate), before further flight requiring APU availability, repair faults as required (refer to Boeing AMM 28-25-02). NOTE: Dispatch may be permitted per MMEL 28-25-02 if APU is not required for flight.
    (h) No Alternative Actions or Intervals

    After accomplishment of the maintenance or inspection program revision required by paragraph (g) of this AD, no alternative actions (e.g., inspections) or intervals may be used unless the actions or intervals are approved as an alternative method of compliance (AMOC) in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (i)(1) of this AD.

    (i) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

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

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

    (j) Related Information

    For more information about this AD, contact Rebel Nichols, Aerospace Engineer, Propulsion Branch, ANM-140S, FAA, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; phone: 425-917-6509; fax: 425-917-6590; email: [email protected]

    (k) Material Incorporated by Reference

    None.

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on October 16, 2015. Jeffrey E. Duven, Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-26983 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2015-0933; Directorate Identifier 2014-NM-098-AD; Amendment 39-18297; AD 2015-21-05] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Fokker Services B.V. Airplanes AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for all Fokker Services B.V. Model F.27 Mark 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, and 700 airplanes. This AD was prompted by a design review, which revealed that no controlled bonding provisions are present on a number of critical locations inside the fuel tank or connected to the fuel tank wall; and no anti-spray cover is installed on the fuel shut-off valve (FSOV) in both wings. This AD requires installing additional bonding provisions in the fuel tank, installing an anti-spray cover on the FSOV, and revising the airplane maintenance program by incorporating fuel airworthiness limitation items and critical design configuration control limitations. We are issuing this AD to prevent an ignition source in the fuel tank vapor space, which could result in a fuel tank explosion and consequent loss of the airplane.

    DATES:

    This AD becomes effective November 30, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=FAA-2015-0933 or in person at the Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Tom Rodriguez, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; telephone 425-227-1137; fax 425-227-1149.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Discussion

    We issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to all Fokker Services B.V. Model F.27 Mark 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, and 700 airplanes. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on May 4, 2015 (80 FR 25247).

    The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA Airworthiness Directive 2014-0099, dated April 30, 2014 (referred to after this as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for all Fokker Services B.V. Model F.27 Mark 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, and 700 airplanes. The MCAI states:

    Prompted by an accident * * *, the FAA published Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) 88 [(66 FR 23086, May 7, 2001)], and the Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) published Interim Policy INT/POL/25/12.

    The review conducted by Fokker Services on the Fokker 27 design in response to these regulations revealed that no controlled bonding provisions are present on a number of critical locations, inside the fuel tank or connected to the fuel tank wall, and no anti-spray cover is installed on the Fueling Shut-Off Valve (FSOV) in both wings.

    This condition, if not corrected, could create an ignition source in the fuel tank vapour space, possibly resulting in a fuel tank explosion and consequent loss of the aeroplane.

    To address this potential unsafe condition, Fokker Services developed a set of bonding modifications and anti-spray covers, [and] introduced with Service Bulletin (SB) SBF27-28-071 Revision 1 (R1), that require opening of the fuel tank access panels. More information on this subject can be found in Fokker Services All Operators Message AOF27.043#03.

    For the reasons described above, this [EASA] AD requires installation of additional bonding provisions, and of anti-spray covers on the FSOV, that require opening of the fuel tank access panels.

    Required actions also include revising the airplane maintenance program by incorporating fuel airworthiness limitation items and critical design configuration control limitations. 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-2015-0933. Comments

    We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing this AD. We received no comments on the NPRM (80 FR 25247, May 4, 2015) or on the determination of the cost to the public.

    Conclusion

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

    • Are consistent with the intent that was proposed in the NPRM (80 FR 25247, May 4, 2015) for correcting the unsafe condition; and

    • Do not add any additional burden upon the public than was already proposed in the NPRM (80 FR 25247, May 4, 2015).

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this AD affects 15 airplanes of U.S. registry.

    We estimate the following costs to comply with this AD:

    Estimated Costs Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per
  • product
  • Cost on U.S.
  • operators
  • Installation of bonding provisions, anti-spray cover, and maintenance program revision 70 work-hours × $85 per hour = $5,950 $0 $5,950 $89,250
    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

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

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

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

    3. Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska; 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.

    Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=FAA-2015-0933; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Operations office (telephone 800-647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section.

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    Adoption of the Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD): 2015-21-05 Fokker Services B.V.: Amendment 39-18297; Docket No. FAA-2015-0933; Directorate Identifier 2014-NM-098-AD. (a) Effective Date

    This AD becomes effective November 30, 2015.

    (b) Affected ADs

    None.

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to Fokker Services B.V. Model F.27 Mark 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, and 700 airplanes, certificated in any category, all serial numbers.

    (d) Subject

    Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 28, Fuel.

    (e) Reason

    This AD was prompted by a design review, which revealed that no controlled bonding provisions are present on a number of critical locations inside the fuel tank or connected to the fuel tank wall; and no anti-spray cover is installed on the fuel shut-off valve (FSOV) in both wings. We are issuing this AD to prevent an ignition source in the fuel tank vapor space, which could result in a fuel tank explosion and consequent loss of the airplane.

    (f) Compliance

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

    (g) Installation of Bonding Provisions and Anti-spray Cover

    At the next scheduled opening of the fuel tanks after the effective date of this AD, but no later than 84 months after the effective date of this AD: Install additional bonding provisions at the applicable locations, and install an anti-spray cover on the FSOV in both wings, using a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA.

    (h) Revision of Maintenance or Inspection Program

    Within 30 days after installing the bonding provisions and anti-spray cover specified in paragraph (g) of this AD: Revise the airplane maintenance or inspection program, as applicable, by incorporating fuel airworthiness limitation items and Critical Design Configuration Control Limitations (CDCCLs), using a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA.

    (i) No Alternative Actions, Intervals, and/or CDCCLs

    After accomplishing the revision required by paragraph (h) of this AD, no alternative actions (e.g., inspections), intervals, or CDCCLs may be used unless the actions, intervals, or CDCCLs are approved as an alternative method of compliance (AMOC) in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (j)(1) of this AD.

    (j) Other FAA AD Provisions

    The following provisions also apply to this AD:

    (1) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, send your request to your principal inspector or local Flight Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending information directly to the International Branch, send it to ATTN: Tom Rodriguez, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch; ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; telephone 425-227-1137; fax 425-227-1137. Information may be emailed to: [email protected] Before using any approved AMOC, notify your appropriate principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager of the local flight standards district office/certificate holding district office. The AMOC approval letter must specifically reference this AD.

    (2) Contacting the Manufacturer: For any requirement in this AD to obtain corrective actions from a manufacturer, the action must be accomplished using a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA; or the EASA; or Fokker Services B.V.'s EASA Design Organization Approval (DOA). If approved by the DOA, the approval must include the DOA-authorized signature.

    (k) Related Information

    Refer to Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information (MCAI) EASA Airworthiness Directive 2014-0099, dated April 30, 2014, for related information. This MCAI may be found in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2015-0933-0003.

    (l) Material Incorporated by Reference

    None.

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on October 11, 2015. Jeffrey E. Duven, Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-26612 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2015-3940; Directorate Identifier 2015-SW-065-AD; Amendment 39-18300; AD 2015-19-51] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation Helicopters AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Final rule; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    We are publishing a new airworthiness directive (AD) for Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation Model S-76A, S-76B, S-76C, and S-76D helicopters, which was sent previously to all known U.S. owners and operators of these helicopters. This AD requires inspecting the main rotor (M/R) and tail rotor (T/R) pushrod assemblies and the jamnuts, and applying slippage marks across the pushrod tubes and jamnuts. This AD is prompted by an accident of a Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation Model S-76C helicopter. During preliminary investigation, a failed pushrod assembly was identified. These actions are intended to prevent loss of M/R or T/R flight control and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

    DATES:

    This AD becomes effective November 10, 2015 to all persons except those persons to whom it was made immediately effective by Emergency AD 2015-19-51, issued on September 14, 2015, which contains the requirements of this AD.

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

    ADDRESSES:

    You may send comments by any of the following methods:

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

    Fax: 202-493-2251.

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

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

    Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-3940; or in person at the Docket Operations Office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this AD, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, the economic 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 service information identified in this AD, contact Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, Customer Service Engineering, 124 Quarry Road, Trumbull, CT 06611; telephone 1-800-Winged-S or 203-416-4299; email [email protected]. You may review the referenced service information at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy, Room 6N-321, Fort Worth, TX 76177.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Blaine Williams, Aerospace Engineer, Boston Aircraft Certification Office, Engine & Propeller Directorate, 12 New England Executive Park, Burlington, Massachusetts 01803; telephone (781) 238-7161; email [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Comments Invited

    This AD is a final rule that involves requirements affecting flight safety, and we did not provide you with notice and an opportunity to provide your comments prior to it becoming effective. However, we invite you to participate in this rulemaking by submitting written comments, data, or views. We also invite comments relating to the economic, environmental, energy, or federalism impacts that resulted from adopting this AD. The most helpful comments reference a specific portion of the AD, explain the reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data. To ensure the docket does not contain duplicate comments, commenters should send only one copy of written comments, or if comments are filed electronically, commenters should submit them only one time. We will file in the docket all comments that we receive, as well as a report summarizing each substantive public contact with FAA personnel concerning this rulemaking during the comment period. We will consider all the comments we receive and may conduct additional rulemaking based on those comments.

    Discussion

    On September 14, 2015, we issued Emergency AD 2015-19-51 for Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation Model S-76A, S-76B, S-76C, and S-76D helicopters with M/R servo input control pushrod (pushrod) assembly part number (P/N) 76400-00034-059 or T/R pushrod assembly P/N 76400-00014-071 installed. Emergency AD 2015-19-51 requires inspecting the M/R forward, aft, and lateral pushrod assemblies, the T/R pushrod assembly, and the jamnuts, and applying slippage marks across the pushrod tubes and jamnuts. Emergency AD 2015-19-51 was sent previously to all known U.S. owners and operators of these helicopters and was prompted by an accident of a Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation Model S-76C helicopter in which a failed pushrod assembly was identified during preliminary investigation. Separation of the pushrod tube and the control rod end with bearing was found.

    FAA's Determination

    We are issuing this AD because we evaluated all the relevant information and determined the unsafe condition described previously is likely to exist or develop on other helicopters of these same type designs.

    Related Service Information

    Sikorsky issued Alert Service Bulletin No. 76-67-57, Basic Issue, dated September 10, 2015 (ASB), which specifies a one-time inspection of the M/R forward, aft, and lateral pushrod assemblies, the T/R pushrod assembly, and the jamnuts for proper installation, condition, and security. If a pushrod or jamnut does not meet criteria specified in the inspection, the ASB specifies replacing the assembly. The ASB also specifies applying two slippage marks across each M/R and T/R pushrod tube and jamnut. Further, the ASB references the applicable maintenance manual for a new recurring inspection of the slippage marks.

    AD Requirements

    This AD requires, within five hours time-in-service (TIS), inspecting each M/R and T/R pushrod assembly by inspecting the position of the control rod end in the pushrod tube. If the lockwire passes through the inspection hole, this AD requires replacing the pushrod assembly. If the lockwire does not pass through the inspection hole, this AD requires inspecting the jamnut to determine seating position against the pushrod and whether the jamnut can be turned with finger pressure. If the jamnut is not seated against the pushrod or is loose, this AD requires replacing the pushrod assembly. This AD also requires, both for those pushrod assemblies that are replaced and for those that pass the inspections, applying two slippage marks across each M/R and T/R pushrod tube and jamnut.

    Interim Action

    We consider this AD to be an interim action as the accident investigation is ongoing. If additional action is later identified, we might consider further rulemaking.

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this AD affects 198 helicopters of U.S. Registry. We estimate that operators may incur the following costs in order to comply with this AD at an average labor rate of $85 per work-hour. It takes about 1 work-hour to inspect the pushrod assemblies and jamnut for a cost of $85 per helicopter and $16,830 for the U.S. fleet. It takes a minimal amount of time to apply the slippage marks for a negligible cost. Replacing a pushrod assembly takes about 1.5 work-hours for a labor cost of $128. Parts for an M/R pushrod assembly cost $2,411 for a total replacement cost of $2,539. Parts for a T/R pushrod assembly cost $1,905 for a total replacement cost of $2,033.

    FAA's Justification and Determination of the Effective Date

    Providing an opportunity for public comments prior to adopting these AD requirements would delay implementing the safety actions needed to correct this known unsafe condition. Therefore, we found and continue to find that the risk to the flying public justifies waiving notice and comment prior to the adoption of this rule because the previously described unsafe condition can adversely affect the controllability of the helicopter and the initial required action must be accomplished within five hours TIS.

    Since it was found that immediate corrective action was required, notice and opportunity for prior public comment before issuing this AD were impracticable and contrary to public interest and good cause existed to make the AD effective immediately by Emergency AD 2015-19-51, issued on September 14, 2015, to all known U.S. owners and operators of these helicopters. These conditions still exist and the AD is hereby published in the Federal Register as an amendment to section 39.13 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR 39.13) to make it effective to all persons.

    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

    For the reasons discussed, I certify that this AD:

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

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

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

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

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

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    Adoption of the Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD):

    2015-19-51 Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation: Amendment 39-18300; Docket No. FAA-2015-3940; Directorate Identifier 2015-SW-065-AD.

    (a) Applicability

    This AD applies to Model S-76A, S-76B, S-76C, and S-76D helicopters with main rotor (M/R) servo input control pushrod (pushrod) assembly part number (P/N) 76400-00034-059 or tail rotor (T/R) pushrod assembly P/N 76400-00014-071 installed, certificated in any category.

    (b) Unsafe Condition

    This AD defines the unsafe condition as a loose jamnut. This condition could result in failure of a pushrod assembly, loss of M/R or T/R flight control, and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

    (c) Effective Date

    This AD becomes effective November 10, 2015 to all persons except those persons to whom it was made immediately effective by Emergency AD 2015-19-51, issued on September 14, 2015, which contains the requirements of this AD.

    (d) Compliance

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

    (e) Required Actions

    Within five hours time-in-service:

    (1) Inspect each pushrod end to determine whether a 0.020 inch diameter lockwire can pass through the inspection hole.

    (i) If the lockwire passes through the inspection hole, replace the pushrod assembly.

    (ii) If the lockwire does not pass through the inspection hole, inspect the jamnut to determine whether it is seated against the pushrod and whether it can be turned with finger pressure. If the jamnut is not seated against the pushrod or can be turned with finger pressure, replace the pushrod assembly.

    (2) Apply two slippage marks across each pushrod tube and jamnut as follows:

    (i) Clean the area where a slippage mark is to be applied.

    (ii) Apply two slippage marks across the pushrod tube and jamnut, parallel and on opposite sides of each other. Each slippage mark must extend at least 0.5 inch onto the pushrod tube and must not cover the inspection hole. Figures 2 and 4 of Sikorsky Alert Service Bulletin No. 76-67-57, Basic Issue, dated September 10, 2015, illustrate slippage marks across a pushrod tube and jamnut.

    (f) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

    (1) The Manager, Boston Aircraft Certification Office, FAA, may approve AMOCs for this AD. Send your proposal to: Blaine Williams, Aerospace Engineer, Boston Aircraft Certification Office, Engine & Propeller Directorate, 12 New England Executive Park, Burlington, Massachusetts 01803; telephone (781) 238-7161; email [email protected]

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

    (g) Additional Information

    Sikorsky Alert Service Bulletin No. 76-67-57, Basic Issue, dated September 10, 2015, which is not incorporated by reference, contains additional information about the subject of this AD. For service information identified in this AD, contact Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, Customer Service Engineering, 124 Quarry Road, Trumbull, CT 06611; telephone 1-800-Winged-S or 203-416-4299; email [email protected]. You may review a copy of the service information at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy, Room 6N-321, Fort Worth, TX 76177.

    (h) Subject

    Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 2700, Flight Control System.

    Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on October 9, 2015. Lance T. Gant, Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-26949 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2015-4208; Directorate Identifier 2015-NM-152-AD; Amendment 39-18303; AD 2015-21-10] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company Airplanes AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Final rule; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    We are superseding Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2015-19-03 for all The Boeing Company Model 737-600, -700, -700C, -800, -900, and -900ER series airplanes. AD 2015-19-03 required revising the maintenance or inspection program to include new airworthiness limitations. This AD continues to require a maintenance or inspection program revision, but with revised language. This AD was prompted by a determination that certain language in the airworthiness limitation was not accurate in AD 2015-19-03. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct latent failures of the fuel shutoff valve to the engine, which could result in the inability to shut off fuel to the engine and, in case of certain engine fires, an uncontrollable fire that could lead to wing failure.

    DATES:

    This AD is effective October 28, 2015.

    We must receive any comments on this AD by December 10, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may send comments, using the procedures found in 14 CFR 11.43 and 11.45, by any of the following methods:

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

    Fax: 202-493-2251.

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

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

    Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-4208; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Office (phone: 800-647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Rebel Nichols, Aerospace Engineer, Propulsion Branch, ANM-140S, FAA, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; phone: 425-917-6509; fax: 425-917-6590; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Discussion

    On September 7, 2015, we issued AD 2015-19-03, Amendment 39-18266 (80 FR 55527, September 16, 2015), for all The Boeing Company Model 737-600, -700, -700C, -800, -900, and -900ER series airplanes. AD 2015-19-03 required revising the maintenance or inspection program to include new airworthiness limitations. AD 2015-19-03 resulted from reports of latently failed fuel shutoff valves discovered during fuel filter replacement. We issued AD 2015-19-03 to detect and correct latent failures of the fuel shutoff valve to the engine, which could result in the inability to shut off fuel to the engine and, in case of certain engine fires, an uncontrollable fire that could lead to wing failure.

    Actions Since AD 2015-19-03, Amendment 39-18266 (80 FR 55527, September 16, 2015), Was Issued

    Since we issued AD 2015-19-03, Amendment 39-18266 (80 FR 55527, September 16, 2015), we have determined that certain language in the airworthiness limitation was not accurate. In paragraph D. of the “Description” column of figure 1 to paragraph (g) of AD 2015-19-03, the “START LEVER” is identified as a “FUEL CONTROL switch” in four locations. In addition, in two locations in paragraph D. of the “Description” column of figure 1 to paragraph (g) of AD 2015-19-03, it specifies that fuel spar valve actuators are located in the “rear spar,” but the correct location is the “front spar.” Also, in two locations in paragraph D. of the “Description” column of figure 1 to paragraph (g) of AD 2015-19-03, the term “quadrant” is used to describe the control stand, but the correct terminology is “CONTROL STAND.” We have determined that the language must be corrected to avoid any confusion in the paragraphs of the airworthiness limitation. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct latent failures of the fuel shutoff valve to the engine, which could result in the inability to shut off fuel to the engine and, in case of certain engine fires, an uncontrollable fire that could lead to wing failure.

    FAA's Determination

    We are issuing this AD because we evaluated all the relevant information and determined the unsafe condition described previously is likely to exist or develop in other products of the same type design.

    AD Requirements

    This AD requires revising the maintenance or inspection program to include new airworthiness limitations.

    Interim Action

    We consider this AD interim action. The manufacturer is currently developing a modification that will address the unsafe condition identified in this AD. Once this modification is developed, approved, and available, we might consider additional rulemaking.

    FAA's Justification and Determination of the Effective Date

    We are superseding AD 2015-19-03, Amendment 39-18266 (80 FR 55527, September 16, 2015), to correct inaccurate terminology in paragraph D. of the “Description” column of figure 1 to paragraph (g) of AD 2015-19-03. We have made no other changes to the requirements published in AD 2015-19-03. We have determined that the changes impose no additional burden on any operator. Therefore, we find that notice and opportunity for prior public comment are unnecessary and that good cause exists for making this amendment effective in less than 30 days.

    Comments Invited

    This AD is a final rule that involves requirements affecting flight safety, and we did not provide you with notice and an opportunity to provide your comments before it becomes effective. However, we invite you to send any written data, views, or arguments about this AD. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include the Docket Number FAA-2015-4208 and Directorate Identifier 2015-NM-152-AD at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this AD. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this AD because of those comments.

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

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this AD affects 1,244 airplanes of U.S. registry.

    We estimate the following costs to comply with this AD:

    Estimated Costs Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per
  • product
  • Cost on U.S.
  • operators
  • Incorporating Airworthiness Limitation 1 work-hour × $85 per hour = $85 $0 $85 $105,740
    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

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

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

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

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

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

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    Adoption of the Amendment

    Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the FAA amends part 39 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (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) 2015-19-03, Amendment 39-18266 (80 FR 55527, September 16, 2015), and adding the following new AD: 2015-21-10 The Boeing Company: Amendment 39-18303; Docket No. FAA-2015-4208; Directorate Identifier 2015-NM-152-AD. (a) Effective Date

    This AD is effective October 28, 2015.

    (b) Affected ADs

    This AD replaces AD 2015-19-03, Amendment 39-18266 (80 FR 55527, September 16, 2015).

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to all The Boeing Company Model 737-600, -700, -700C, -800, -900, and -900ER series airplanes, certificated in any category.

    (d) Subject

    Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 2823, Fuel Selector/Shutoff Valve.

    (e) Unsafe Condition

    This AD was prompted by reports of latently failed fuel shutoff valves discovered during fuel filter replacement. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct latent failures of the fuel shutoff valve to the engine, which could result in the inability to shut off fuel to the engine and, in case of certain engine fires, an uncontrollable fire that could lead to wing failure.

    (f) Compliance

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

    (g) Revision of Maintenance or Inspection Program

    Within 30 days after the effective date of this AD, revise the maintenance or inspection program, as applicable, to add airworthiness limitation number 28-AWL-MOV, “Engine Fuel Shutoff Valve (Fuel Spar Valve) Position Indication Operational Check,” by incorporating the information specified in figure 1 to paragraph (g) of this AD into the Airworthiness Limitations Section of the Instructions for Continued Airworthiness. The initial compliance time for accomplishing the actions specified in 28-AWL-MOV is within 10 days after accomplishing the maintenance or inspection program revision required by this paragraph.

    Figure 1 to Paragraph (g) of This AD—Engine Fuel Shutoff Valve (Fuel Spar Valve) Position Indication Operational Check AWL No. Task Interval Applicability Description 28-AWL-MOV ALI DAILY 737-600, -700, -700C, -800, -900, and -900ER series airplanes Engine Fuel Shutoff Valve (Fuel Spar Valve) Position Indication Operational Check. INTERVAL NOTE: The operational check is not required on days when the airplane is not used in revenue service
  • The check must be done before further flight once the airplane is returned to revenue service
  • APPLICABILITY NOTE: Only applies to airplanes with a fuel spar valve actuator having part number MA20A2027 (S343T003-56) or MA30A1001 (S343T003-66) installed at the engine fuel spar valve positions Concern: The fuel spar valve actuator design can result in airplanes operating with a failed fuel spar valve actuator that is not reported. A latently failed fuel spar valve actuator could prevent fuel shutoff to an engine. In the event of certain engine fires, the potential exists for an engine fire to be uncontrollable.
  • Perform one of the following checks of the engine fuel spar valve position (unless checked by the flightcrew in a manner approved by the principal operations inspector):
  • A. Operational Check during engine shutdown.
  • 1. Do an operational check of the left engine fuel spar valve actuator. a. As the ENG 1 START LEVER on the CONTROL STAND is moved to the CUTOFF position, verify the SPAR VALVE CLOSED indication light on the OVERHEAD PANEL for No.1 Engine changes from OFF to BRIGHT then DIM. b. If the test fails (bright light fails to illuminate), before further flight, repair faults as required (refer to Boeing Aircraft Maintenance Manual (AMM) 28-22-11). 2. Do an operational check of the right engine fuel spar valve actuator. a. As the ENG 2 START LEVER on the CONTROL STAND is moved to the CUTOFF position, verify the SPAR VALVE CLOSED indication light on the OVERHEAD PANEL for No. 2 Engine changes from OFF to BRIGHT then DIM. b. If the test fails (bright light fails to illuminate), before further flight, repair faults as required (refer to Boeing AMM 28-22-11). B. Operational check during engine start. 1. Do an operational check of the left engine fuel spar valve actuator. a. As the ENG 1 START LEVER on the CONTROL STAND is moved to the IDLE position, verify the SPAR VALVE CLOSED indication light on the OVERHEAD PANEL for No. 1 Engine changes from DIM to BRIGHT then OFF. b. If the test fails (bright light fails to illuminate), before further flight, repair faults as required (refer to Boeing AMM 28-22-11). 2. Do an operational check of the right engine fuel spar valve actuator. a. As the ENG 2 START LEVER on the CONTROL STAND is moved to the IDLE position, verify the SPAR VALVE CLOSED indication light on the OVERHEAD PANEL for No. 2 Engine changes from DIM to BRIGHT then OFF. b. If the test fails (bright light fails to illuminate), before further flight, repair faults as required (refer to Boeing AMM 28-22-11). C. Operational check without engine operation. 1. Supply electrical power to airplane using standard practices. 2. Make sure No. 1 and No. 2 Engine FIRE switches on the Aft Electronic Panel are in the NORMAL (IN) position. 3. Make sure No. 1 and No. 2 Engine Start Switches on the Forward Overhead Panel are in the OFF or AUTO position. 4. Do an operational check to the left engine fuel spar valve actuator. a. Move ENG 1 START LEVER on the CONTROL STAND to the IDLE position and wait approximately 10 seconds. NOTE: It is normal under this test condition for the ENG VALVE CLOSED indication light on the OVERHEAD PANEL to transition from DIM to BRIGHT and stay BRIGHT. b. Move ENG 1 START LEVER on the CONTROL STAND to the CUTOFF position. c. Verify the SPAR VALVE CLOSED indication light on the OVERHEAD PANEL for No. 1 Engine changes from OFF to BRIGHT then DIM. d. If the test fails (bright light fails to illuminate), before further flight, repair faults as required (refer to Boeing AMM 28-22-11). 5. Do an operational check of the right engine fuel spar valve actuator. a. Move ENG 2 START LEVER on the CONTROL STAND to the IDLE position and wait approximately 10 seconds. NOTE: It is normal under this test condition for the ENG VALVE CLOSED indication light on the OVERHEAD PANEL to transition from DIM to BRIGHT and stay BRIGHT. b. Move ENG 2 START LEVER on the CONTROL STAND to the CUTOFF position. c. Verify the SPAR VALVE CLOSED indication light on the OVERHEAD PANEL for No.2 Engine changes from OFF to BRIGHT then DIM. d. If the test fails (bright light fails to illuminate), before further flight, repair faults as required (refer to Boeing AMM 28-22-11). D. Perform an inspection of the engine fuel spar valve actuator position. NOTE: This inspection may be used whenever the SPAR VALVE light does not function properly. 1. Make sure the ENG 1 START LEVER on the CONTROL STAND is in the CUTOFF position. NOTE: It is not necessary to cycle the START LEVER to do this inspection. 2. Inspect the left engine fuel spar valve actuator located in the left front spar. NOTE: The left engine fuel spar valve actuator is on the left wing front spar outboard of the engine strut. Access is through access panel 521BB on the left wing leading edge. a. Verify the manual override handle on the engine fuel spar valve actuator is in the CLOSED position. b. Repair or replace any engine fuel spar valve actuator that is not in the CLOSED position (refer to Boeing AMM 28-22-11). 3. Make sure the ENG 2 START LEVER on the CONTROL STAND is in the CUTOFF position. NOTE: It is not necessary to cycle the START LEVER to do this inspection. 4. Inspect the right engine fuel spar valve actuator located in the right front spar. NOTE: The right engine fuel spar valve actuator is on the right wing front spar outboard of the engine strut. Access is through access panel 621BB on the right wing leading edge. a. Verify the manual override handle on the engine fuel spar valve actuator is in the CLOSED position. b. Repair or replace any engine fuel spar valve actuator that is not in the CLOSED position (refer to Boeing AMM 28-22-11).
    (h) No Alternative Actions or Intervals

    After accomplishment of the maintenance or inspection program revision required by paragraph (g) of this AD, no alternative actions (e.g., inspections) or intervals may be used unless the actions or intervals are approved as an alternative method of compliance (AMOC) in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (i)(1) of this AD.

    (i) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

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

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

    (j) Related Information

    For more information about this AD, contact Rebel Nichols, Aerospace Engineer, Propulsion Branch, ANM-140S, FAA, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; phone: 425-917-6509; fax: 425-917-6590; email: [email protected]

    (k) Material Incorporated by Reference

    None.

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on October 16, 2015. Jeffrey E. Duven, Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-26992 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY U.S. Customs and Border Protection DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY 19 CFR Parts 4, 7, 10, 12, 18, 19, 24, 54, 102, 113, 123, 125, 128, 132, 134, 141, 142, 143, 144, 145, 146, 148, 151, 152, 158, 163, 174, 181, and 191 [CBP Dec. No. 15-14; USCBP-2015-0045] RIN 1515-AE03 Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) Filings for Electronic Entry/Entry Summary (Cargo Release and Related Entry); Correction AGENCY:

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security; Department of the Treasury.

    ACTION:

    Interim final rule; correction.

    SUMMARY:

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) published an Interim Final Rule (CBP Dec. 15-14) on October 13, 2015, in the Federal Register, which amends the CBP regulations to reflect that on November 1, 2015, the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) will be a CBP-authorized Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) System. That document erroneously included language in Amendatory Instruction 38 that was not consistent with the text of the existing CFR. This document corrects the text in Amendatory Instruction 38.

    DATES:

    Effective November 1, 2015. The effective date for the interim final rule, published October 13, 2015 (80 FR 61278), remains November 1, 2015. Written comments must be submitted on or before November 12, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Robert Altneu, Chief, Trade and Commercial Regulations Branch, Regulations and Rulings, Office of International Trade, at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On October 13, 2015, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) published in the Federal Register (80 FR 61278) an Interim Final Rule (CBP Dec. 15-14) document, entitled Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) Filings for Electronic Entry/Entry Summary (Cargo Release and Related Entry). As published, the Interim Final regulation contains an error in the text of Amendatory Instruction 38 in the “Amendments to the CBP Regulations” section of FR Doc. 2015-25729.

    Correction

    On page 61289, in the second column, under “§ 141.57 [Amended]” revise Amendatory Instruction 38 to read as follows:

    38. Amend § 141.57, in paragraph (d)(2) by removing the words “through the Customs ACS (Automated Commercial System)” and adding in their place the words “to the CBP Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) or any other CBP-authorized electronic data interchange system”. Dated: October 20, 2015. Harold M. Singer, Director, Regulations and Disclosure Law Division, Regulations and Rulings, Office of International Trade, U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Heidi Cohen, Senior Counsel for Regulatory Affairs, Department of the Treasury.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27103 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111-14-P
    DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Employee Benefits Security Administration 29 CFR Part 2509 RIN 1210-AB73 Interpretive Bulletin Relating to the Fiduciary Standard Under ERISA in Considering Economically Targeted Investments AGENCY:

    Employee Benefits Security Administration, Labor.

    ACTION:

    Interpretive bulletin.

    SUMMARY:

    This document sets forth supplemental views of the Department of Labor (Department) concerning the legal standard imposed by sections 403 and 404 of Part 4 of Title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) with respect to a plan fiduciary's decision to invest plan assets in “economically targeted investments” (ETIs). ETIs are generally defined as investments that are selected for the economic benefits they create in addition to the investment return to the employee benefit plan investor. In this document, the Department withdraws Interpretive Bulletin 08-01 and replaces it with Interpretive Bulletin 2015-01 that reinstates the language of Interpretive Bulletin 94-01.

    DATES:

    This interpretive bulletin is effective on October 26, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Office of Regulations and Interpretations, Employee Benefits Security Administration, (202) 693-8500. This is not a toll-free number.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    The Department has been asked periodically over the last 30 years to consider the application of ERISA's fiduciary rules to pension plan investments selected because of the collateral economic or social benefits they may further in addition to their investment returns. Various terms have been used to describe this and related investment behaviors, such as socially responsible investing, sustainable and responsible investing, environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing, impact investing, and economically targeted investing (ETI). The terms do not have a uniform meaning and the terminology is evolving. As used in this interpretive bulletin, however, an economically targeted investment broadly refers to any investment that is selected, in part, for its collateral benefits, apart from the investment return to the employee benefit plan investor. The Labor Department previously addressed issues relating to ETIs in Interpretive Bulletin 94-1 (IB 94-1) 1 and Interpretive Bulletin 2008-1 (IB 2008-1).2 The Department's stated objective in issuing IB 94-1 was to correct a popular misperception at the time that investments in ETIs are incompatible with ERISA's fiduciary obligations. The preamble to the Interpretive Bulletin explained that the requirements of sections 403 and 404 of ERISA do not prevent plan fiduciaries from investing plan assets in ETIs if the ETI has an expected rate of return that is commensurate to rates of return of alternative investments with similar risk characteristics that are available to the plan, and if the ETI is otherwise an appropriate investment for the plan in terms of such factors as diversification and the investment policy of the plan. Some commenters have referred to this standard as the “all things being equal” test.

    1 59 FR 32606 (June 23, 1994). Prior to issuing IB 94-1, the Department had issued a number of letters concerning a fiduciary's ability to consider the collateral effects of an investment and granted a variety of prohibited transaction exemptions to both individual plans and pooled investment vehicles involving investments, which produce collateral benefits. See, Advisory Opinions 80-33A, 85-36A and 88-16A; Information Letters to Mr. George Cox, dated January 16, 1981; to Mr. Theodore Groom, dated January 16, 1981; to The Trustees of the Twin City Carpenters and Joiners Pension Plan, dated May 19, 1981; to Mr. William Chadwick, dated July 21, 1982; to Mr. Daniel O'Sullivan, dated August 2, 1982; to Mr. Ralph Katz, dated March 15, 1982; to Mr. William Ecklund, dated December 18, 1985, and January 16, 1986; to Mr. Reed Larson, dated July 14, 1986; to Mr. James Ray, dated July 8, 1988; to the Honorable Jack Kemp, dated November 23, 1990; and to Mr. Stuart Cohen, dated May 14, 1993; PTE 76-1, part B, concerning construction loans by multiemployer plans; PTE 84-25, issued to the Pacific Coast Roofers Pension Plan; PTE 85-58, issued to the Northwestern Ohio Building Trades and Employer Construction Industry Investment Plan; PTE 87-20, issued to the Racine Construction Industry Pension Fund; PTE 87-70, issued to the Dayton Area Building and Construction Industry Investment Plan, PTE 88-96, issued to the Real Estate for American Labor A Balcor Group Trust; PTE 89-37, issued to the Union Bank; PTE 93-16, issued to the Toledo Roofers Local No. 134 Pension Plan and Trust, et al.

    2 73 FR 61734 (October 17, 2008).

    The Department has also consistently stated, including in Interpretative Bulletin 94-1, that the focus of plan fiduciaries on the plan's financial returns and risk to beneficiaries must be paramount. Under ERISA, the plan trustee or other investing fiduciary may not use plan assets to promote social, environmental, or other public policy causes at the expense of the financial interests of the plan's participants and beneficiaries. Fiduciaries may not accept lower expected returns or take on greater risks in order to secure collateral benefits.

    Specifically, the Department stated in Interpretive Bulletin 94-1: 3

    3 59 FR 32606, 07.

    Sections 403 and 404 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), in part, require that a fiduciary of a plan act prudently, and to diversify plan investments so as to minimize the risk of large losses, unless under the circumstances it is clearly prudent not to do so. In addition, these sections require that a fiduciary act solely in the interest of the plan's participants and beneficiaries and for the exclusive purpose of providing benefits to their participants and beneficiaries. The Department has construed the requirements that a fiduciary act solely in the interest of, and for the exclusive purpose of providing benefits to, participants and beneficiaries as prohibiting a fiduciary from subordinating the interests of participants and beneficiaries in their retirement income to unrelated objectives.

    The Department continued in Interpretative Bulletin 2008-1: 4

    4 73 FR 61734, 35.

    ERISA's plain text thus establishes a clear rule that in the course of discharging their duties, fiduciaries may never subordinate the economic interests of the plan [participants and beneficiaries] to unrelated objectives [ ].

    In the preamble to IB 94-1, the Department elaborated: 5

    5 59 FR 32606, 07 (footnote omitted).

    While the Department has stated that a plan fiduciary may consider collateral benefits in choosing between investments that have comparable risks and rates of return, it has consistently held that fiduciaries who are willing to accept expected reduced returns or greater risks to secure collateral benefits are in violation of ERISA. It follows that, because every investment necessarily causes a plan to forgo other investment opportunities, an investment will not be prudent if it would provide a plan with a lower expected rate of return than available alternative investments with commensurate degrees of risk or is riskier than alternative available investments with commensurate rates of return.

    Thus, it has been the Department's consistent view that sections 403 and 404 of ERISA do not permit fiduciaries to sacrifice the economic interests of plan participants in receiving their promised benefits in order to promote collateral goals.

    At the same time, however, the Department has consistently recognized that fiduciaries may consider such collateral goals as tie-breakers when choosing between investment alternatives that are otherwise equal with respect to return and risk over the appropriate time horizon. ERISA does not direct an investment choice in circumstances where investment alternatives are equivalent, and the economic interests of the plan's participants and beneficiaries are protected if the selected investment is in fact, economically equivalent to competing investments.

    On October 17, 2008, the Department replaced Interpretive Bulletin 94-1, with Interpretive Bulletin 2008-01, codified at 29 CFR 2509.08-01. IB 2008-01 purported not to alter the basic legal principles set forth in IB 94-1. Its stated purpose was to clarify that fiduciary consideration of collateral, non-economic factors in selecting plan investments should be rare and, when considered, should be documented in a manner that demonstrates compliance with ERISA's rigorous fiduciary standards.

    The Department believes that in the seven years since its publication, IB 2008-01 has unduly discouraged fiduciaries from considering ETIs and ESG factors. In particular, the Department is concerned that the 2008 guidance may be dissuading fiduciaries from (1) pursuing investment strategies that consider environmental, social, and governance factors, even where they are used solely to evaluate the economic benefits of investments and identify economically superior investments, and (2) investing in ETIs even where economically equivalent. Some fiduciaries believe the 2008 guidance sets a higher but unclear standard of compliance for fiduciaries when they are considering ESG factors or ETI investments.

    An important purpose of this Interpretive Bulletin is to clarify that plan fiduciaries should appropriately consider factors that potentially influence risk and return. Environmental, social, and governance issues may have a direct relationship to the economic value of the plan's investment. In these instances, such issues are not merely collateral considerations or tie-breakers, but rather are proper components of the fiduciary's primary analysis of the economic merits of competing investment choices. Similarly, if a fiduciary prudently determines that an investment is appropriate based solely on economic considerations, including those that may derive from environmental, social and governance factors, the fiduciary may make the investment without regard to any collateral benefits the investment may also promote. Fiduciaries need not treat commercially reasonable investments as inherently suspect or in need of special scrutiny merely because they take into consideration environmental, social, or other such factors. When a fiduciary prudently concludes that such an investment is justified based solely on the economic merits of the investment, there is no need to evaluate collateral goals as tie-breakers.

    In addition, this Interpretive Bulletin also clarifies that plan fiduciaries may invest in ETIs based, in part, on their collateral benefits so long as the investment is economically equivalent, with respect to return and risk to beneficiaries in the appropriate time horizon, to investments without such collateral benefits. In an effort to correct the misperceptions that have followed publication of IB 2008-01 the Department is withdrawing IB 2008-01, replacing it with this guidance that reinstates the language of IB 94-1.

    Consistent with fiduciaries' obligations to choose economically superior investments, the Department does not believe ERISA prohibits a fiduciary from addressing ETIs or incorporating ESG factors in investment policy statements or integrating ESG-related tools, metrics and analyses to evaluate an investment's risk or return or choose among otherwise equivalent investments. Nor do sections 403 and 404 prevent fiduciaries from considering whether and how potential investment managers consider ETIs or use ESG criteria in their investment practices. As in selecting investments, in selecting investment managers, the plan fiduciaries must reasonably conclude that the investment manager's practices in selecting investments are consistent with the principles articulated in this guidance.

    In addition, the Department does not construe consideration of ETIs or ESG criteria as presumptively requiring additional documentation or evaluation beyond that required by fiduciary standards applicable to plan investments generally. As a general matter, the Department believes that fiduciaries responsible for investing plan assets should maintain records sufficient to demonstrate compliance with ERISA's fiduciary provisions. As with any other investments, the appropriate level of documentation would depend on the facts and circumstances.

    The Department also has concluded that the same standards set forth in sections 403 and 404 of ERISA governing a fiduciary's investment decisions, discussed above, apply to a fiduciary's selection of a “socially-responsible” mutual fund as a plan investment or, in the case of an ERISA section 404(c) plan or other individual account plan, a designated investment alternative under the plan. Specifically, in Advisory Opinion 98-04A, the Department has expressed the view that the fiduciary standards of sections 403 and 404 do not preclude consideration of collateral benefits, such as those offered by a “socially-responsible” fund, in a fiduciary's decision to designate an investment alternative in an individual account plan. Whether a particular fund or investment alternative satisfies the requirements set forth in sections 403 and 404 of ERISA is an inherently factual question that the appropriate plan fiduciaries must decide based on all the facts and circumstances of the individual situation.

    The following Interpretive Bulletin deals solely with the applicability of the prudence and exclusive purpose requirements of ERISA as applied to fiduciary decisions to invest plan assets in ETIs, and in particular the collateral benefits they may provide apart from a plan's performance and the interests of participants and beneficiaries in their retirement income. The bulletin does not supersede the regulatory standard contained at 29 CFR 2550.404a-1, nor does it address any issues which may arise in connection with the prohibited transaction provisions or the statutory exemptions from those provisions.

    List of Subjects in 29 CFR Part 2509

    Employee benefit plans, Pensions.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, the Department is amending subchapter A, part 2509 of title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations as follows:

    SUBCHAPTER A—GENERAL PART 2509—INTERPRETIVE BULLETINS RELATING TO THE EMPLOYEE RETIREMENT INCOME SECURITY ACT OF 1974 1. The authority citation for part 2509 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    29 U.S.C. 1135. Secretary of Labor's Order 1-2003, 68 FR 5374 (Feb. 3, 2003). Sections 2509.75-10 and 2509.75-2 issued under 29 U.S.C. 1052, 1053, 1054. Sec. 2509.75-5 also issued under 29 U.S.C. 1002. Sec. 2509.95-1 also issued under sec. 625, Public Law 109-280, 120 Stat. 780.

    § 2509.08-1 [Removed]
    2. Part 2509 is amended by removing § 2509.08-1.
    3. Part 2509 is further amended by adding § 2509.2015-01 to read as follows:
    § 2509.2015-01 Interpretive bulletin relating to the fiduciary standard under ERISA in considering economically targeted investments.

    This Interpretive Bulletin sets forth the Department of Labor's interpretation of sections 403 and 404 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), as applied to employee benefit plan investments in “economically targeted investments” (ETIs), that is, investments selected for the economic benefits they create apart from their investment return to the employee benefit plan. Sections 403 and 404, in part, require that a fiduciary of a plan act prudently, and to diversify plan investments so as to minimize the risk of large losses, unless under the circumstances it is clearly prudent not to do so. In addition, these sections require that a fiduciary act solely in the interest of the plan's participants and beneficiaries and for the exclusive purpose of providing benefits to their participants and beneficiaries. The Department has construed the requirements that a fiduciary act solely in the interest of, and for the exclusive purpose of providing benefits to, participants and beneficiaries as prohibiting a fiduciary from subordinating the interests of participants and beneficiaries in their retirement income to unrelated objectives.

    With regard to investing plan assets, the Department has issued a regulation, at 29 CFR 2550.404a-1, interpreting the prudence requirements of ERISA as they apply to the investment duties of fiduciaries of employee benefit plans. The regulation provides that the prudence requirements of section 404(a)(1)(B) are satisfied if (1) the fiduciary making an investment or engaging in an investment course of action has given appropriate consideration to those facts and circumstances that, given the scope of the fiduciary's investment duties, the fiduciary knows or should know are relevant, and (2) the fiduciary acts accordingly. This includes giving appropriate consideration to the role that the investment or investment course of action plays (in terms of such factors as diversification, liquidity, and risk/return characteristics) with respect to that portion of the plan's investment portfolio within the scope of the fiduciary's responsibility.

    Other facts and circumstances relevant to an investment or investment course of action would, in the view of the Department, include consideration of the expected return on alternative investments with similar risks available to the plan. It follows that, because every investment necessarily causes a plan to forgo other investment opportunities, an investment will not be prudent if it would be expected to provide a plan with a lower rate of return than available alternative investments with commensurate degrees of risk or is riskier than alternative available investments with commensurate rates of return.

    The fiduciary standards applicable to ETIs are no different than the standards applicable to plan investments generally. Therefore, if the above requirements are met, the selection of an ETI, or the engaging in an investment course of action intended to result in the selection of ETIs, will not violate section 404(a)(1)(A) and (B) and the exclusive purpose requirements of section 403.

    Phyllis C. Borzi, Assistant Secretary, Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Department of Labor.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27146 Filed 10-22-15; 11:15 am] BILLING CODE 4510-29-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 117 [USCG-2015-0964] Drawbridge Operation Regulations; Tchefuncta River, Madisonville, LA AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of deviation from regulations.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard has issued a temporary deviation from the operating schedule that governs the SR 22 Bridge over the Tchefuncta River, mile 2.5, at Madisonville, St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. This deviation is necessary to complete scheduled maintenance of the bridge. This deviation allows the bridge to remain closed to navigation for approximately six weeks while allowing for two scheduled openings on scheduled work days except for a five-day period and a 36-hour period, both in December, when there will be complete closures. The bridge will operate normally on non-scheduled work days and on weekends.

    DATES:

    This deviation is effective from 7 a.m. on November 2, 2015 until 7 p.m. on December 15, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    The docket for this deviation, [USCG-2015-0964] is available at http://www.regulations.gov.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions on this temporary deviation, call or email Jim Wetherington, D8 Bridge Administration Branch, Coast Guard; telephone 504-671-2128, email [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Coastal Bridge Company, LLC, on behalf of Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LDOTD), requested a deviation from the operating regulation for the SR 22 Bridge across the Tchefuncta River, mile 2.5, at Madisonville, St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. The SR 22 Bridge is a swing bridge with a vertical clearance of 6.2 feet above Mean High Water (MHW) in the closed-to-navigation position and unlimited clearance in the open-to-navigation position. The operation of this bridge is currently governed by 33 CFR 117.500.

    The closure is necessary for mechanical and electrical rehabilitation of the bridge. The deviation from the operating regulations will be in effect from Monday, November 2, 2015 until Tuesday, December 15, 2015, except for weekends. Within this time frame there will be multiple closure periods, deviating from the regular operating schedule, as follows:

    (1) The first closure period will be from 7 a.m. on November 9th, until 7 p.m. on November 13th, 2015, except that the bridge will open at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m., daily, to pass all vessel traffic;

    (2) The second closure period will be from 7 a.m. on November 16th until 9 p.m. on November 17th except that the bridge will open at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m., daily, to pass all vessel traffic;

    (3) The third closure period will be from 7 a.m. on November 23rd until 9 p.m. on November 24th except that the bridge will open at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m., daily, to pass all vessel traffic;

    (4) The fourth closure period will be a total closure from 7 a.m. on November 30th until 7 p.m. on December 4th; there will be no openings during this period;

    (5) The fifth and final closure period will be a total closure from 9 a.m. on December 14th until 7 p.m. on December 15th; there will be no openings during this period. All work is expected to be completed by 7 p.m. on Tuesday, December 15, 2015.

    Any changes to the scheduled closure times will be announced through the Local Notice to Mariners or through a broadcast. The traffic on the Tchefuncta River is primarily recreational with minimal commercial traffic. The contractor approached each marina and business that could possibly be impacted and forwarded them a copy of the work schedule. No negative comments were noted.

    Vessels able to pass through the bridge in the closed-to-navigation position may do so at anytime. The bridge will not be able to open for emergencies and there is no immediate alternate route for vessels to pass. The Coast Guard will also inform the users of the waterways through our Local and Broadcast Notices to Mariners of the change in operating schedule for the bridge so that vessels can arrange their transits to minimize any impact caused by the temporary deviation.

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

    Dated: October 20, 2015. David M. Frank, Bridge Administrator, Eighth Coast Guard District.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27131 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 117 [Docket No. USCG-2015-0904] RIN 1625-AA09 Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, John F. Kennedy Space Center/NASA Parkway Bridge, Addison Point, FL ACTION:

    Notice of deviation from drawbridge regulation.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard has issued a temporary deviation from the operating schedule that governs the John F. Kennedy Space Center/NASA Parkway Bridge across the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, mile 885.0, Addison Point, FL. For the safety of the participants, this temporary operating schedule will allow the bridge to not open to navigation including tugs with tows, during the Rocketman Triathlon in November.

    DATES:

    This deviation is effective from 7:30 a.m. on November 15, 2015 through 3 p.m. November 15, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    The docket for this deviation, [USCG-2015-0904] is available at http://www.regulations.gov.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions about this temporary deviation, call or email LT Storm, Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville, Chief, Prevention Office; telephone 904-564-7563, email [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    In order to accommodate the annual Triathlon, a temporary schedule deviation has been authorized for the John F. Kennedy Space Center (NASA) Parkway Bridge, across the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, mile 885.0 at Addison Point, FL. This deviation is in effect from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on November 15, 2015. During this time, the bridge shall remain closed to navigation, including tugs with tows. Currently, the bridge opens as required per 33 CFR 117.261(l). The regulation changes may have a minor impact on vessels transiting the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway in the vicinity of Addison Point, FL, but will still meet the reasonable needs of navigation.

    The John F. Kennedy Space Center (NASA) Parkway Bridge provides a vertical clearance of 27 feet at mean high water in the closed position and a horizontal clearance of 90 feet. Vessels able to pass through the bridge in the closed position may do so at anytime. The bridge will be able to open for emergencies. The Coast Guard will inform users of the waterways through Local and Broadcast Notices to Mariners of the change in operating schedule for the bridge so that vessels can arrange transits to minimize any impact caused by the temporary deviation.

    In accordance with 33 CFR 117.35(e), the drawbridge must return to its regular operating schedule immediately following the end of the effective period of this temporary deviation. This deviation from the normal operating regulations is authorized under 33 CFR 117.35.

    Dated: 21 October 2015. Barry Dragon, Director, Bridge Administration, Seventh Coast Guard District.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27115 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 117 [Docket No. USCG-2015-0970] Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Houma Navigation Canal, Mile 36.0, at Houma, Terrebonne Parish, LA AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of deviation from regulation.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard has issued a temporary deviation from the operating schedule that governs the SR 661 Swing Bridge across the Houma Navigation Canal, mile 36.0, in Houma, Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana. The deviation is necessary to conduct scheduled metal repairs and maintenance. This deviation allows the bridge to remain closed-to-navigation for up to six daylight hours each weekday for two weeks.

    DATES:

    This deviation is effective from 6 a.m. on November 9, 2015, until 6 p.m. on November 20, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    The docket for this deviation, [USCG-2015-0970] is available at http://www.regulations.gov.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions on this temporary deviation, call or email Jim Wetherington, Bridge Administration Branch, Coast Guard, telephone (504)671-2128, email [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    C.E.C., Inc., for the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LDOTD), requested a temporary deviation from the operating schedule of the SR 661 Swing Bridge across the Houma Navigation Canal, mile 36.0, in Houma, Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana. The vertical clearance of the swing bridge is one foot above mean high water in the closed-to-navigation position and unlimited in the open-to-navigation position. The bridge is governed by 33 CFR 117.455.

    This deviation will be in effect from 6 a.m. through 6 p.m., daily, from November 9, 2015, until November 20, 2015 except weekends. This Deviation allows the bridge to remain closed-to-navigation for up to six hours, from 6 a.m. through 6 p.m. daily. During the evening and weekend time periods, the bridge will be left in the open-to-navigation position. During the closure periods, the contractor will make every effort to minimize the delays to mariners as well as maintain the bridge in the open-to-navigation position at all times when that repair work is not being conducted. Marine traffic, when allowed to pass, should pass at the slowest safe speed. The deviation was requested for the purpose of conducting necessary repairs and maintenance, including metal structure and rivet repair.

    Navigation on the waterway consists primarily of commercial tugs and recreational craft. The contractor has informed the waterway users of the upcomming delays. This deviation is similar to previous work schedules and no issues were noted.

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

    In accordance with 33 CFR 117.35(e), the drawbridge must return to its regular operating schedule 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: October 20, 2015. David M. Frank, Bridge Administrator, Eighth Coast Guard District.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27130 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    POSTAL SERVICE 39 CFR Part 20 International Product and Price Changes AGENCY:

    Postal ServiceTM.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Postal Service is revising Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, International Mail Manual (IMM®), to reflect the prices, product features, and classification changes to Competitive Services, as established by the Governors of the Postal Service.

    DATES:

    Effective date: January 17, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Paula Rabkin at 202-268-2537.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    New prices will be posted under Docket Number CP2016-9 on the Postal Regulatory Commission's Web site at http://www.prc.gov.

    This final rule describes the international price and classification changes and the corresponding mailing standards changes for the following Competitive Services:

    • Global Express Guaranteed® (GXG®).

    • Priority Mail Express InternationalTM.

    • Priority Mail International®.

    • First-Class Package International ServiceTM.

    • International Priority Airmail® (IPA®).

    • International Surface Air Lift® (ISAL®).

    • Direct Sacks of Printed Matter to One Addressee (Airmail M-bags).

    • International Extra Services:

    • Insurance.

    • International Postal Money Orders.

    • International Money Order Inquiry Fee.

    • International Money Transfer Service.

    New prices will be located on the Postal Explorer® Web site at http://pe.usps.com.

    Global Express Guaranteed

    Global Express Guaranteed (GXG) is the Postal Service's premier international expedited product provided through an alliance with FedEx Express®. The price increase for GXG service averages 7.1 percent.

    The Postal Service provides Commercial Base pricing to online customers who prepare and pay for GXG shipments via USPS-approved payment methods (with the exception of Click-N-Ship® service), with a 5 percent discount off the published retail prices for GXG. Customers who prepare GXG shipments via Click-N-Ship service will now pay retail prices.

    The Postal Service continues to offer Commercial Plus pricing for large volume customers who commit to tendering $100,000 in annual postal revenue from GXG, Priority Mail Express International, Priority Mail International, and First-Class Package International Service via USPS-approved payment methods. The Postal Service will also continue to include GXG in customized Global Expedited Package Services (GEPS) contracts offered to customers who meet certain revenue thresholds and are willing to commit a larger amount of revenue in international postage.

    Priority Mail Express International

    Priority Mail Express International (PMEI) service provides fast service to approximately 180 countries. Priority Mail Express International with Money-Back Guarantee service is available for certain destinations. The price increase for Priority Mail Express International service averages 11.6 percent. The Commercial Base price for customers that prepare and pay for Priority Mail Express International shipments via permit imprint, online at USPS.com®, or as registered end-users using an authorized PC Postage vendor (with the exception of Click-N-Ship service) will be 5 percent below the retail price. Customers who prepare Priority Mail Express International shipments via Click-N-Ship service will now pay retail prices. The Postal Service continues to offer Priority Mail Express International Commercial Plus pricing to large volume customers who commit to tendering $100,000 in annual postal revenues from GXG, Priority Mail Express International, Priority Mail International, and First-Class Package International Service. The Postal Service will also continue to include Priority Mail Express International in customized Global Expedited Package Services (GEPS) contracts offered to customers who meet certain revenue thresholds and are willing to commit a larger amount of revenue in international postage.

    We are discontinuing the Priority Mail Express International Flat Rate Box. Customers who present items at retail to be mailed in a Priority Mail Express International Flat Rate Box will pay the retail price based on the item's weight and price group.

    Priority Mail Express International flat rate pricing continues to be available for Flat Rate Envelopes. New this year, the prices for what was formerly the “all other countries” rate group are being replaced with flat rate prices in seven rate groups, based on geographical regions.

    Priority Mail International

    Priority Mail International (PMI) is an economical way to send merchandise and documents to about 180 countries. The price increase for Priority Mail International service averages 10.2 percent. The Commercial Base price for customers that prepare and pay for PMI items via permit imprint, online at USPS.com, or as registered end-users using an authorized PC Postage vendor (with the exception of Click-N-Ship service) will be 5 percent below the retail price. Customers who prepare Priority Mail International shipments via Click-N-Ship service will now pay retail prices. The Postal Service continues to offer Priority Mail International Commercial Plus pricing to large volume customers who commit to tendering $100,000 in annual postal revenues from GXG, Priority Mail Express International, Priority Mail International, and First-Class Package International Service. The Postal Service will continue to include Priority Mail International in customized Global Expedited Package Services (GEPS) contracts offered to customers who meet certain revenue thresholds and are willing to commit to a larger amount of revenue to the USPS® for Priority Mail Express International and Priority Mail International.

    Priority Mail International flat rate pricing continues to be available for Flat Rate Envelopes, Small Flat Rate Priced Boxes, and Medium and Large Flat Rate Boxes. New this year, the prices for what was formerly the “all other countries” rate group are being replaced with flat rate prices in seven rate groups, based on geographical regions.

    In this filing, we are proposing a structural change in the way insurance is provided and reimbursed for Priority Mail International. Priority Mail International shipments containing merchandise (other than in Priority Mail International Small Flat Rate Priced Boxes and Flat Rate Envelopes) will now be insured against loss, damage, or missing contents up to $200 at no additional charge. Additional insurance coverage up to a maximum of $5,000 (depending on individual country insurance limits) may be purchased at the sender's option. Priority Mail International shipments containing nonnegotiable documents (other than in Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelopes and Small Flat Rate Priced Boxes) will now be insured against loss, damage, or missing contents up to $100 for document reconstruction at no additional charge. The insurance coverage will be provided on all outbound Priority Mail International shipments accepted at retail or paid for by using postage validation imprinter (PVI) labels, postage meter imprints, USPS-approved PC Postage, Click-N-Ship service postage, or permit imprint.

    Electronic USPS Delivery Confirmation International service — abbreviated E-USPS DELCON INTL—is an optional service available for Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelopes (except for the Gift Card Flat Rate Envelope) and all Small Flat Rate Priced Boxes to select destination countries, for customers using select software or online tools, at no charge. We are adding E-USPS DELCON INTL service to four countries with this price change: Lebanon, Norway, Slovak Republic, and Turkey.

    In the May 2015 price change, we created new price zones for Priority Mail International to Canada, based on the distance of the origin ZIP Code to the serving International Service Center (ISC). An ISC Zone Chart is now available for a subscription fee from the National Customer Support Center in Memphis, Tennessee, to support zone-based pricing for Priority Mail International to Canada. The chart will enable mailers to determine the applicable zone, based on the origin ZIP Code. Once the zone and weight of the item are known, the mailer will be able to determine the applicable postage price.

    First-Class Package International Service

    First-Class Package International Service (FCPIS) is an economical international service for small packages weighing less than 4 pounds and not exceeding $400 in value. The pricing structure for FCPIS will continue to be simpler than for some other international products, with identical prices for 0 to 8 ounces within each country price group, and identical prices for 9 to 32 ounces within each country price group. The price increase for FCPIS averages 21.6 percent. The Commercial Base price for customers that prepare and pay for FCPIS items via permit imprint or by USPS-approved online payment methods will be 5 percent below the retail price. Customers who prepare First-Class Package International Service shipments via Click-N-Ship service will now pay retail prices. Commercial Plus pricing will be available to large volume customers who commit to tendering $100,000 in annual postal revenue for GXG, Priority Mail Express International, Priority Mail International, and First-Class Package International Service.

    Electronic USPS Delivery Confirmation International service—abbreviated E-USPS DELCON INTL—is an optional service available for First-Class Package International Service items to select destination countries, for customers using select software or online tools, at no charge. We are adding E-USPS DELCON INTL service to four countries with this price change: Lebanon, Norway, Slovak Republic, and Turkey.

    International Priority Airmail and International Surface Air Lift

    Published prices for International Priority Airmail (IPA) and International Surface Air Lift (ISAL) will increase by 4.2 percent for IPA and 3.5 percent for IPA M-bags, as well as 6.3 percent for ISAL and 5.3 percent for ISAL M-bags. The structure of IPA and ISAL price categories will continue to be priced by the worldwide and 19 country price groups and applicable mail shapes (letters and postcards, large envelopes [flats], and packages [small packets and rolls]). These categories correspond to the Universal Postal Convention requirements to use shape-based pricing. For IPA and ISAL, the Postal Service offers incentive pricing through International Negotiated Service Agreements (NSAs).

    International Priority Airmail (IPA) service, including IPA M-bags, is a bulk commercial service that provides business mailers with rapid and economical worldwide delivery for volume mailings of First-Class Mail International postcards, letters, large envelopes (flats), and FCPIS packages (small packets) weighing up to a maximum 4.4 pounds. IPA is dispatched to the destination country where it is entered into the postal administration's air or surface priority mail system for delivery. The overall price increase for IPA service averages 4.2 percent.

    International Surface Air Lift (ISAL) service, including ISAL M-bags, is a bulk commercial service that provides economical worldwide delivery to business mailers of volume mailings of all First-Class Mail International postcards, letters, large envelopes (flats), and FCPIS packages (small packets) weighing up to 4.4 pounds. ISAL is dispatched to the destination country where it is then entered into the postal administration's surface nonpriority network for delivery. The overall price increase for ISAL service averages 6 percent.

    Direct Sacks of Printed Matter to One Addressee (Airmail M-Bags)

    Airmail M-bags are direct sacks of printed matter sent to a single foreign addressee at a single address. Prices are based on the weight of the sack. The price increase for Airmail M-bags averages 9.2 percent.

    International Extra Services and Fees

    Depending on country destination and mail type, customers may add a variety of extra services to their outbound shipments. Prices for some of these extra services are increasing:

    International Postal Money Orders will increase 5.6 percent.

    International Money Order Inquiry Fee will increase 3.5 percent.

    International Money Transfer Service will increase 3.3 to 3.7 percent, depending on the rate cell.

    List of Subjects in 39 CFR Part 20

    Foreign relations, International postal services.

    The Postal Service hereby adopts the following changes to Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, International Mail Manual (IMM), which is incorporated by reference in the Code of Federal Regulations. See 39 CFR 20.1.

    Accordingly, 39 CFR part 20 is amended as follows:

    PART 20—[AMENDED] 1. The authority citation for 39 CFR part 20 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    5 U.S.C. 552(a); 13 U.S.C. 301-307; 18 U.S.C. 1692-1737; 39 U.S.C. 101, 401, 403, 404, 407, 414, 416, 3001-3011, 3201-3219, 3403-3406, 3621, 3622, 3626, 3632, 3633, and 5001.

    2. Revise the following sections of Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, International Mail Manual (IMM), as follows: Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, International Mail Manual (IMM) 1 International Mail Services 130 Mailability 134 Valuable Articles 134.1 Service Options

    [Delete distinctions between Priority Mail International service with and without insurance as follows:]

    d. Priority Mail International service (except for Priority Mail International Small Flat Rate Priced Boxes and Flat Rate Envelopes).

    Note:

    Priority Mail Express International service cannot be used to send the articles noted in 134.2.

    2 Conditions for Mailing 210 Global Express Guaranteed 213 Prices and Postage Payment Methods 213.6 Commercial Prices 213.62  Commercial Plus Prices 213.621  General

    [Revise the first sentence to read as follows (eliminating the availability of Commercial Plus prices for users of Click-N-Ship service and eliminating the difference in price between Commercial Base and Commercial Plus prices):]

    An approved mailer who pays postage with a permit imprint under 213.8, or through a registered end-user of a USPS-approved PC Postage product (except for Click-N-Ship service), qualifies for the Global Express Guaranteed Commercial Plus prices. * * *

    213.7  Online Methods 213.71  Online Prices—Commercial Base or Commercial Plus Prices

    [Revise the text to read as follows (eliminating the availability of Commercial Base and Commercial Plus prices for users of Click-N-Ship service service):]

    For selected destination countries, Global Express Guaranteed items qualify for discounted prices (equal to the Commercial Base price or Commercial Plus price) when mailers use one of the following online shipping methods:

    a. Commercial Base Price: Registered end-users of USPS-approved PC Postage products using online postage (with the exception of Click-N-Ship service); or a USPS meter label solution using metered postage.

    b. Commercial Plus Price: Registered end-users of USPS-approved PC Postage products (with the exception of Click-N-Ship service).

    Commercial Base and Commercial Plus prices are not available through Click-N-Ship service. The Commercial Base or Commercial Plus price is automatically applied to each shipment when using one of the postage payment methods above. The discount applies only to the postage portion of the Global Express Guaranteed price. It does not apply to any other charges or fees, such as fees for Pickup on Demand service, insurance, or shipments made under a customized agreement.

    220  Priority Mail Express International 221  Description and Physical Characteristics 221.3  Priority Mail Express International Flat Rate Envelopes

    [Revise the first sentence to read as follows (adding a reference to the rate group):]

    Only USPS-produced Priority Mail Express International Flat Rate Envelopes are eligible for the Flat Rate price and are charged a flat rate price depending on the rate group of the destination. * * *

    [Delete 221.4 and renumber current 221.5 as 221.4 (there are no other changes except renumbering)]

    222  Eligibility

    [Delete 222.4, “Priority Mail Express International Flat Rate Boxes,” in its entirety (including Exhibit 222.4), and renumber current 222.5 through 222.8 as 222.4 through 222.7 (there are no other changes except renumbering)]:

    223  Prices and Postage Payment Methods 223.1  Prices 223.11  Availability and Price Application—General

    [Delete reference to 223.15 to read as follows:]

    Except under 223.14, Priority Mail Express International shipments are charged postage for each addressed piece according to its weight and country price group. * * *

    223.13  Commercial Plus Prices

    [Revise 223.13 to read as follows:]

    An approved mailer who pays postage with a permit imprint under 223.222, or as a registered end-user of a USPS-approved PC Postage product (except for Click-N-Ship service), qualifies for the Priority Mail Express International Commercial Plus prices, which are the same as Priority Mail Express International Commercial Base prices. Customers who prepare Priority Mail Express International shipments via Click-N-Ship service pay retail prices. See Notice 123, Price List, for the applicable price.

    [Delete 223.15 Priority Mail Express International Flat Rate Boxes Prices in its entirety]

    223.2  Postage Payment Methods 223.24  Online Methods 223.241  Online Prices—Commercial Base or Commercial Plus Prices

    [Revise the first paragraph to read as follows (eliminating the availability of Commercial Base and Commercial Plus prices for users of Click-N-Ship service):]

    For selected destination countries, Priority Mail Express International items qualify for discounted prices (equal to the Commercial Base price or Commercial Plus price) when mailers use one of the following online shipping methods:

    a. Commercial Base Price: Registered end-users of USPS-approved PC Postage products using online postage (with the exception of Click-N-Ship service) or a USPS meter label solution using metered postage.

    b. Commercial Plus Price: Registered end-users of USPS-approved PC Postage products (with the exception of Click-N-Ship service).

    230  Priority Mail International 232  Eligibility 232.1  Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelopes and Small Flat Rate Priced Boxes 232.12  Electronic USPS Delivery Confirmation International 232.122  Availability Exhibit 232.122 Countries Accepting Electronic USPS Delivery Confirmation International Service Note:

    An asterisk indicates that service was temporarily suspended on June 12, 2014.

    [Revise the exhibit to read as follows (adding Lebanon, Norway, Slovak Republic, and Turkey):]

    Australia Belgium Brazil* Canada Croatia Denmark* Estonia Finland France* Germany Gibraltar* Great Britain and Northern Ireland Hungary Israel Italy* Latvia Lebanon Lithuania Luxembourg* Malaysia Malta Netherlands New Zealand Norway Portugal* Singapore Slovak Republic Spain Switzerland Turkey 232.126  Price Eligibility

    [Revise the text to read as follows (eliminating the availability of Commercial Base and Commercial Plus prices for users of Click-N-Ship service):]

    Only items paid with USPS-approved PC Postage (with the exception of Click-N-Ship service), permit imprint, or a USPS meter label solution are eligible for the applicable Commercial Base or Commercial Plus price for the postage portion of the mailpiece. Customers using a USPS meter label solution to print shipping labels must apply postage from a meter to be eligible for Commercial Base or Commercial Plus prices. Items with electronically generated customs forms that are not generated with PC Postage, a permit imprint, or a USPS meter label solution (for example, forms electronically generated by Webtools or Click-N-Ship service) are charged the retail price.

    232.5  Priority Mail International Parcels 232.51  General

    [Replace the next-to-last sentence with the following two sentences to read as follows:]

    * * * Priority Mail International parcels containing merchandise are insured against loss, damage, or missing contents up to $200 at no additional charge. Additional insurance may be available, depending on country and value—see Exhibit 322.2 and the Individual Country Listings for insurance availability, limitations, and coverage. * * *

    232.6  Customs Forms Required

    [Revise the title and text of 232.63 to read as follows (removing references to ordinary and insured parcels):]

    232.63  Priority Mail International Parcels

    Each Priority Mail International parcel must bear a properly completed PS Form 2976-A.

    232.8  Priority Mail International Insurance and Indemnity 232.81  Indemnity

    [Revise the first two sentences to read as follows:]

    Except for Small Flat Rate Priced Boxes, Priority Mail International parcels containing merchandise are insured against loss, damage, or missing contents up to $200 at no additional charge. Indemnity is limited to the lesser of the actual value of the contents or $200. * * *

    [Revise the Note to read as follows:]

    Note:

    Merchandise insurance that provides coverage greater than the included $200 merchandise insurance may be available, depending on country, content, and value—see Exhibit 322.2 and the Individual Country Listings for insurance availability, limitations, and coverage. When merchandise insurance is purchased, it replaces the included $200 merchandise insurance.

    232.82  Exclusions

    [Revise the entire section to read as follows:]

    Insurance coverage is not provided for consequential losses, delay, concealed damage, spoilage of perishable items, articles improperly packaged, articles too fragile to withstand normal handling in the mail, or prohibited articles.

    [Delete 232.83 Ordinary Priority Mail International Weight and Indemnity Limits in its entirety (including Exhibit 232.83)]

    232.9  Extra Services 232.91  Certificate of Mailing

    [Revise the text to read as follows:]

    Certificate of mailing service is available for purchase only for Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelopes and Small Flat Rate Priced Boxes.

    232.92  Merchandise Insurance

    [Revise the text to read as follows:]

    Merchandise insurance that provides coverage greater than the included $200 merchandise insurance is available for Priority Mail International parcels, except Small Flat Rate Priced Boxes, to many countries. When merchandise insurance is purchased, it replaces the included $200 merchandise insurance. See Exhibit 322.2 and the Individual Country Listings for insurance availability, limitations, and coverage. See Notice 123, Price List, for the fee schedule for Priority Mail International merchandise insurance coverage.

    233  Prices and Postage Payment Methods 233.1  Prices 233.11  Availability and Price Application—General

    [After the current text, add text to read as follows:]

    * * * Price zones for Priority Mail International to Canada are based on the distance of the origin ZIP Code to the serving International Service Center (ISC). An ISC Zone Chart is available by subscription from the National Customer Support Center in Memphis. To purchase copies of the Zone Chart, call the Zone Chart program administrator at 800-238-3150 or write to the following address: NATIONAL CUSTOMER SUPPORT CENTER, UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE, 225 N HUMPHREYS BLVD STE 501, MEMPHIS TN 38188-1001.

    233.13  Commercial Plus Prices

    [Revise the first sentence to read as follows (eliminating the distinction between Commercial Base and Commercial Plus prices and excluding Click-N-Ship service):]

    An approved mailer who pays postage with a permit imprint under 233.222, or through a registered end-user of a USPS-approved PC Postage product (with the exception of Click-N-Ship service), qualifies for the Priority Mail International Commercial Plus prices.

    233.14  Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelopes and Small Flat Rate Priced Boxes

    [Revise the first sentence to read as follows (adding a reference to the rate group):]

    Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelopes and Small Flat Rate Priced Boxes are charged a flat rate price depending on the rate group of the destination. * * *

    233.15  Priority Mail International Medium and Large Flat Rate Boxes

    [Revise the first sentence to read as follows (adding a reference to the rate group):]

    The Priority Mail International Medium and Large Flat Rate Boxes are charged a flat rate price depending on the rate group of the destination. * * *

    233.2  Postage Payment Methods 233.22.  Permit Imprint 233.222  Permit Imprint—Commercial Base or Commercial Plus

    [Revise the first sentence of the text to read as follows (eliminating the distinction between Commercial Base and Commercial Plus prices):]

    A mailer who pays postage with a permit imprint qualifies for the Priority Mail International Commercial Base or Commercial Plus prices.

    233.23 Online Methods 233.231 Online Prices—Commercial Base or Commercial Plus Prices

    [Revise the first paragraph to read as follows (eliminating the availability of Commercial Base and Commercial Plus prices for users of Click-N-Ship service):]

    For selected destination countries, Priority Mail International items qualify for discounted prices (equal to the Commercial Base price or Commercial Plus price) when mailers use one of the following online shipping methods:

    a. Commercial Base Price: Registered end-users of USPS-approved PC Postage products using online postage (with the exception of Click-N-Ship service); or a USPS meter label solution using metered postage.

    b. Commercial Plus Price: Registered end-users of an authorized PC Postage vendor (with the exception of Click-N-Ship service).

    250 First-Class Package International Service 252 Eligibility 252.2 Electronic USPS Delivery Confirmation International 252.22 Availability Exhibit 252.22 Countries Accepting Electronic USPS Delivery Confirmation International Service Note:

    An asterisk indicates that service was temporarily suspended on June 12, 2014.

    [Revise the exhibit as follows, adding Lebanon, Norway, Slovak Republic, and Turkey:]

    Australia Belgium Brazil* Canada Croatia Denmark* Estonia Finland France* Germany Gibraltar* Great Britain and Northern Ireland Hungary Israel Italy* Latvia Lebanon Lithuania Luxembourg* Malaysia Malta Netherlands New Zealand Norway Portugal* Singapore Slovak Republic Spain Switzerland Turkey 252.26 Price Eligibility

    [Revise the text to read as follows (eliminating the availability of Commercial Base and Commercial Plus prices for users of Click-N-Ship service):]

    Only items paid with USPS-approved PC Postage (with the exception of Click-N-Ship service), permit imprint, or a USPS meter label solution are eligible for the applicable Commercial Base or Commercial Plus price for the postage portion of the mailpiece. Customers using a USPS meter label solution to print shipping labels must apply postage from a meter to be eligible for Commercial Base or Commercial Plus prices. Electronically generated customs forms that are not generated with PC Postage (with the exception of Click-N-Ship service), a permit imprint, or a USPS meter label solution (for example, forms electronically generated by Webtools) are charged the retail price.

    253 Prices and Postage Payment Methods 253.1  Prices 253.15  Commercial Plus Prices

    [Revise the first sentence to read as follows (eliminating the distinction between Commercial Base and Commercial Plus prices and the availability of Commercial Plus Prices for users of Click-N-Ship service):]

    An approved mailer who pays postage with a permit imprint under 253.222, or through a registered end-user of a USPS-approved PC Postage product (with the exception of Click-N-Ship service), qualifies for the First-Class Package International Service Commercial Plus prices. * * *

    253.2 Postage Payment Methods 253.23 Online Methods 253.231 Online Prices—Commercial Base or Commercial Plus Prices

    [Revise the first paragraph to read as follows (eliminating the availability of Commercial Base and Commercial Plus Prices for users of Click-N-Ship service):]

    For selected destination countries, First-Class Package International Service items qualify for discounted prices (equal to the Commercial Base price or Commercial Plus price) when mailers use one of the following online shipping methods:

    a. Commercial Base Price: Registered end-users of USPS-approved PC Postage products (with the exception of Click-N-Ship service) using online postage; or a USPS meter label solution using metered postage.

    b. Commercial Plus Price: Registered end-users of an authorized PC Postage vendor (with the exception of Click-N-Ship service).

    3 Extra Services 310 Certificate of Mailing 311 Individual Pieces 311.2 Availability 311.21 At Time of Purchase

    A customer may purchase a certificate of mailing (individual pieces) when sending the following:

    [Delete item f and renumber item g as item f]

    320 Insurance 323 Priority Mail International Insurance 323.1 Description

    [Revise the text to read as follows:]

    Insurance is not available for Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelopes or Small Flat Rate Priced Boxes. Priority Mail International shipments containing merchandise are insured against loss, damage, or missing contents up to $200 at no additional charge. Priority Mail International shipments containing only nonnegotiable documents are insured against loss, damage, or missing contents up to $100 for document reconstruction at no additional charge. Indemnity is paid by the U.S. Postal Service as provided in 933. For a fee, the sender may purchase additional insurance to protect against loss, damage, or missing contents for Priority Mail International parcels containing merchandise. Additional document reconstruction insurance may not be purchased. If the parcel has been lost, or if it has been delivered to the addressee in damaged condition or with missing contents, payment is made to the sender unless the sender waives the right to payment, in writing, in favor of the addressee.

    323.2 Availability

    [Revise first sentence to read as follows (including a reference to Medium and Large Flat Rate Boxes):]

    Merchandise insurance above the included $200 amount is available only for Priority Mail International parcels (including Medium and Large Flat Rate Boxes) and only to certain countries. * * *

    323.3 Coverage and Fees

    [Revise the text to read as follows (adding references to additional merchandise insurance):]

    Additional merchandise insurance coverage above the included $200—up to the maximum amount allowed by the country (see Exhibit 322.2) but never to exceed $5,000—may be purchased at the sender's option. The insurance fee is in addition to postage and other applicable fees and is based on the insured value. See Notice 123, Price List, for the fee schedule for optional Priority Mail International merchandise insurance coverage.

    323.6  Preparation of Insured Priority Mail International Parcels 323.62 Accepting Clerk's Responsibility

    The accepting clerk must do the following:

    [Revise items a through c to read as follows and delete Exhibit 323.62 in its entirety:]

    a. When additional insurance has been purchased, indicate on PS Form 2976-A the amount for which the parcel is insured. Write the amount in U.S. dollars in ink in the “Insured Amount (U.S. $)” block.

    b. When additional insurance has been purchased, as an indicator write a bold capital “V” in the space provided adjacent to the boxes for Insured Amount and Insurance Fees.

    c. Round stamp PS Form 2976-A in the appropriate place on each copy.

    9 Inquiries, Indemnities, and Refunds 930 Indemnity Payments

    [Revise the title of 932 to read as follows (removing the distinction between insured and ordinary parcels):]

    932 General Exceptions to Payment—Registered Mail and Priority Mail International Parcels

    [Revise the title of 933 to read as follows (removing the distinction between insured and ordinary parcels):]

    933 Payments for Priority Mail International Parcels 933.1 General Provisions

    [Revise the title of 933.11 to read as follows (removing the reference to insured parcels):]

    933.11 Payment of Indemnity

    [Insert a new paragraph at the beginning of 933.11 to read as follows:]

    Priority Mail International shipments are covered by document reconstruction and merchandise insurance in case of loss, damage, or missing contents. Indemnity will be paid by the Postal Service as specified in DMM 503.4 and 609, subject to the exclusions in IMM 933.12.

    [Revise the title of 933.13 to read as follows (removing the reference to ordinary parcels):]

    933.13 Priority Mail International Parcels—Indemnity Limitations

    [Revise the text to read as follows:]

    When additional merchandise insurance has not been purchased, coverage is limited to the actual value of the contents or $200, whichever is less. Document reconstruction insurance is limited to the actual cost of document reconstruction or $100, whichever is less.

    [Revise the title of 933.14 to read as follows (removing the reference to ordinary parcels):]

    933.14 Priority Mail International Parcels—Exceptions to Indemnity Country Price Groups and Weight Limits

    [Revise the text and table to read as follows (adding columns to Priority Mail Express International and Priority Mail International to show price groups for Flat Rate products; editing, combining, and reordering current footnotes, including removing a separate footnote for Cuba regarding conditions that can be found in Cuba's Individual Country Listing and in Publication 699, Special Requirements for Shipping Internationally; and adding a new entry for Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba):]

    Listed below are the countries and their price groups and weight limits for the five principal categories of international mail. Complete tables of prices are available in Notice 123, Price List.

    n/a = Service is not available.

    1 Priority Mail Express International Flat Rate Envelopes maximum weight: 4 lbs. 2 Priority Mail International Flat Rate Service maximum weights: Flat Rate Envelopes and Small Flat Rate Priced Boxes, 4 lbs.; Medium and Large Flat Rate Boxes, 20 lbs. 3 First-Class Mail International maximum weights: Letters, 3.5 ozs.; Large Envelopes (flats), 4 lbs. Note that the heading in the maximum weight column lists both ounces and pounds (“ozs./lbs.”) and that there are two numbers in the entry for each country (“3.5/4”)—this indicates that the maximum weight for Letters is 3.5 ozs., and that the maximum weight for Large Envelopes (flats) is 4 lbs. For First-Class Package International Service, the maximum weight is 4 lbs. 4 Ascension, Bolivia, Cuba, and the Falkland Islands: Only Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelopes and Small Flat Rate Priced Boxes (maximum weight: 4 lbs. each) may be used. 5 Korea, Democratic People's Republic of (North Korea): Only Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelopes (maximum weight: 4 lbs.) may be used. Dutiable items and merchandise are prohibited. Country Global Express
  • Guaranteed
  • Price group Max. wt.
  • (lbs.)
  • Priority Mail Express
  • International
  • Price group Max. wt.
  • (lbs.)
  • PMEI Flat Rate
  • Envelopes price group 1
  • Priority Mail
  • International
  • Price group Max. wt.
  • (ozs./lbs.)
  • PMI Flat Rate
  • Envelopes and Boxes price group 2
  • First-Class Mail
  • International and First-Class Package
  • International Service
  • Price group Max. wt.
  • (ozs./lbs.) 3
  • Afghanistan 6 70 n/a n/a n/a 6 66 8 6 3.5/4 Albania 4 70 4 66 8 4 44 8 4 3.5/4 Algeria 4 70 8 44 8 8 44 8 8 3.5/4 Andorra 5 4 5 66 8 5 66 8 5 3.5/4 Angola 4 70 7 44 8 7 44 8 7 3.5/4 Anguilla 7 70 9 55 8 9 22 8 9 3.5/4 Antigua and Barbuda 7 70 n/a n/a n/a 9 22 8 9 3.5/4 Argentina 8 70 9 44 2 9 44 2 9 3.5/4 Armenia 4 70 4 44 8 4 44 8 4 3.5/4 Aruba 7 70 9 44 8 9 44 8 9 3.5/4 Ascension 4 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 4 8 7 3.5/4 Australia 6 70 10 66 6 10 66 6 3 3.5/4 Austria 5 70 5 66 4 5 66 4 5 3.5/4 Azerbaijan 4 70 4 70 8 4 70 8 4 3.5/4 Bahamas 7 70 9 22 8 9 22 8 9 3.5/4 Bahrain 6 70 8 44 8 8 44 8 8 3.5/4 Bangladesh 6 70 6 44 8 6 44 8 6 3.5/4 Barbados 7 70 9 66 8 9 44 8 9 3.5/4 Belarus 4 70 4 44 8 4 66 8 4 3.5/4 Belgium 3 70 5 66 4 5 66 4 5 3.5/4 Belize 8 70 9 66 8 9 44 8 9 3.5/4 Benin 4 70 7 66 8 7 66 8 7 3.5/4 Bermuda 7 70 9 44 8 9 44 8 9 3.5/4 Bhutan 6 70 6 66 8 6 66 8 6 3.5/4 Bolivia 4 8 70 9 66 2 n/a 4 2 9 3.5/4 Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba 7 70 9 66 8 9 44 8 9 3.5/4 Bosnia-Herzegovina 4 70 4 66 8 4 44 8 4 3.5/4 Botswana 4 70 7 66 8 7 66 8 7 3.5/4 Brazil 8 70 15 66 2 15 66 2 9 3.5/4 British Virgin Islands 7 70 n/a n/a n/a 9 44 8 9 3.5/4 Brunei Darussalam 4 70 6 66 8 6 44 8 6 3.5/4 Bulgaria 4 70 4 66 8 4 70 8 4 3.5/4 Burkina Faso 4 70 7 70 8 7 66 8 7 3.5/4 Burma (Myanmar) n/a n/a 6 44 8 6 22 8 6 3.5/4 Burundi 4 70 7 66 8 7 66 8 7 3.5/4 Cambodia (Kampuchea) 8 70 6 66 8 6 66 8 6 3.5/4 Cameroon 4 70 7 44 8 7 66 8 7 3.5/4 Canada 1 70 1 66 1 1 66 1 1 3.5/4 Cape Verde 4 70 7 66 8 7 44 8 7 3.5/4 Cayman Islands 7 70 9 44 8 9 44 8 9 3.5/4 Central African Republic n/a n/a 7 66 8 7 66 8 7 3.5/4 Chad 4 70 7 66 8 7 44 8 7 3.5/4 Chile 8 70 9 66 2 9 44 2 9 3.5/4 China 6 70 14 66 3 14 66 3 3 3.5/4 Colombia 8 70 9 44 2 9 66 2 9 3.5/4 Comoros n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 7 44 8 7 3.5/4 Congo, Democratic Republic of the 4 66 7 66 8 7 66 8 7 3.5/4 Congo, Republic of the 4 70 7 66 8 7 44 8 7 3.5/4 Costa Rica 8 70 9 66 8 9 66 8 9 3.5/4 Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) 4 70 7 66 8 7 66 8 7 3.5/4 Croatia 4 70 4 66 8 4 66 8 4 3.5/4 Cuba 4 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 4 8 9 3.5/4 Curacao 7 70 9 66 8 9 44 8 9 3.5/4 Cyprus 6 70 4 70 8 4 70 8 4 3.5/4 Czech Republic 4 70 4 70 8 4 70 8 4 3.5/4 Denmark 5 70 5 66 4 5 66 4 5 3.5/4 Djibouti 4 70 7 44 8 7 44 8 7 3.5/4 Dominica 7 70 9 44 8 9 44 8 9 3.5/4 Dominican Republic 7 70 9 66 2 9 44 2 9 3.5/4 Ecuador 8 70 9 66 2 9 66 2 9 3.5/4 Egypt 6 70 8 44 7 8 66 7 8 3.5/4 El Salvador 8 70 9 66 8 9 44 8 9 3.5/4 Equatorial Guinea n/a n/a 7 44 8 7 22 8 7 3.5/4 Eritrea 4 70 7 66 8 7 44 8 7 3.5/4 Estonia 4 70 4 66 8 4 70 8 4 3.5/4 Ethiopia 4 70 8 66 8 8 66 8 8 3.5/4 Falkland Islands 4 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 4 8 9 3.5/4 Faroe Islands 5 70 5 44 8 5 70 8 5 3.5/4 Fiji 8 70 6 66 8 6 44 8 6 3.5/4 Finland 5 70 5 66 4 5 70 4 5 3.5/4 France 3 70 13 66 4 13 66 4 5 3.5/4 French Guiana 8 70 9 66 8 9 66 8 9 3.5/4 French Polynesia 4 70 6 66 8 6 66 8 6 3.5/4 Gabon 4 70 7 66 8 7 44 8 7 3.5/4 Gambia 4 70 n/a n/a n/a 7 66 8 7 3.5/4 Georgia, Republic of 4 70 4 66 8 4 44 8 4 3.5/4 Germany 3 70 16 66 4 16 70 4 5 3.5/4 Ghana 4 70 7 66 8 7 66 8 7 3.5/4 Gibraltar 4 70 n/a n/a n/a 5 44 8 5 3.5/4 Great Britain and Northern Ireland 3 70 11 66 4 11 66 4 5 3.5/4 Greece 5 70 5 66 8 5 44 8 5 3.5/4 Greenland 5 70 n/a n/a n/a 5 66 8 5 3.5/4 Grenada 7 70 9 66 8 9 44 8 9 3.5/4 Guadeloupe 7 70 9 66 8 9 66 8 9 3.5/4 Guatemala 8 70 9 66 2 9 44 2 9 3.5/4 Guinea 4 70 7 44 8 7 66 8 7 3.5/4 Guinea-Bissau n/a n/a 7 44 8 7 66 8 7 3.5/4 Guyana 8 70 9 66 2 9 44 2 9 3.5/4 Haiti 7 70 9 66 8 9 55 8 9 3.5/4 Honduras 8 70 9 44 8 9 44 8 9 3.5/4 Hong Kong 3 70 3 66 3 3 66 3 3 3.5/4 Hungary 4 70 4 66 8 4 44 8 4 3.5/4 Iceland 5 70 5 66 8 5 70 8 5 3.5/4 India 6 70 6 70 5 6 44 5 6 3.5/4 Indonesia 6 70 6 66 3 6 44 3 6 3.5/4 Iran n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 8 44 8 8 3.5/4 Iraq 6 70 8 44 7 8 44 7 8 3.5/4 Ireland 3 70 5 66 4 5 66 4 5 3.5/4 Israel 6 70 8 44 7 8 44 7 5 3.5/4 Italy 3 70 5 66 4 5 66 4 5 3.5/4 Jamaica 7 70 9 66 8 9 22 8 9 3.5/4 Japan 3 70 12 66 3 12 66 3 3 3.5/4 Jordan 6 70 8 66 7 8 66 7 8 3.5/4 Kazakhstan 4 70 6 66 8 6 44 8 6 3.5/4 Kenya 4 70 7 70 8 7 70 8 7 3.5/4 Kiribati n/a n/a 6 66 8 6 44 8 6 3.5/4 Korea, Democratic People's Republic of (North Korea) 5 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 4 8 6 3.5/4 Korea, Republic of (South Korea) 6 70 3 66 3 3 44 3 3 3.5/4 Kosovo, Republic of 4 70 n/a n/a n/a 5 70 8 5 3.5/4 Kuwait 6 70 8 66 8 8 66 8 8 3.5/4 Kyrgyzstan 4 70 6 66 8 6 44 8 6 3.5/4 Laos 8 70 6 66 8 6 44 8 6 3.5/4 Latvia 4 70 4 66 8 4 70 8 4 3.5/4 Lebanon 6 70 8 66 8 8 66 8 8 3.5/4 Lesotho 4 70 7 66 8 7 44 8 7 3.5/4 Liberia 4 70 7 44 8 7 44 8 7 3.5/4 Libya 4 70 n/a n/a n/a 8 44 8 8 3.5/4 Liechtenstein 5 70 5 66 8 5 66 8 5 3.5/4 Lithuania 4 70 4 70 8 4 70 8 4 3.5/4 Luxembourg 3 70 5 66 4 5 66 4 5 3.5/4 Macao 3 70 6 44 8 6 70 8 6 3.5/4 Macedonia (Republic of) 4 70 4 66 8 4 70 8 4 3.5/4 Madagascar 4 70 7 66 8 7 44 8 7 3.5/4 Malawi 4 70 7 44 8 7 66 8 7 3.5/4 Malaysia 6 70 6 66 8 6 66 8 6 3.5/4 Maldives 6 70 6 66 8 6 66 8 6 3.5/4 Mali 4 70 7 66 8 7 66 8 7 3.5/4 Malta 5 70 5 44 8 5 66 8 5 3.5/4 Martinique 7 70 9 66 8 9 66 8 9 3.5/4 Mauritania 4 70 7 66 8 7 44 8 7 3.5/4 Mauritius 4 70 7 66 8 7 44 8 7 3.5/4 Mexico 2 70 2 70 2 2 70 2 2 3.5/4 Moldova 4 70 4 70 8 4 70 8 4 3.5/4 Mongolia 4 70 6 66 3 6 66 3 6 3.5/4 Montenegro 4 70 n/a n/a n/a 5 70 8 5 3.5/4 Montserrat 7 70 n/a n/a n/a 9 44 8 9 3.5/4 Morocco 4 70 8 68 8 8 66 8 8 3.5/4 Mozambique 4 70 7 66 8 7 66 8 7 3.5/4 Namibia 4 70 7 22 8 7 44 8 7 3.5/4 Nauru n/a n/a 6 44 8 6 44 8 6 3.5/4 Nepal 6 70 6 69 8 6 44 8 6 3.5/4 Netherlands 3 70 17 66 4 17 66 4 5 3.5/4 New Caledonia 8 70 6 66 8 6 66 8 6 3.5/4 New Zealand 6 70 10 66 6 10 66 6 6 3.5/4 Nicaragua 8 70 9 55 8 9 66 8 9 3.5/4 Niger 4 70 7 70 8 7 70 8 7 3.5/4 Nigeria 4 70 7 66 8 7 66 8 7 3.5/4 Norway 5 70 5 66 4 5 66 4 5 3.5/4 Oman 6 70 8 66 8 8 44 8 8 3.5/4 Pakistan 6 70 6 66 8 6 70 8 6 3.5/4 Panama 8 70 9 66 8 9 70 8 9 3.5/4 Papua New Guinea 8 70 6 55 8 6 44 8 6 3.5/4 Paraguay 8 70 9 55 2 9 66 2 9 3.5/4 Peru 8 70 9 70 2 9 70 2 9 3.5/4 Philippines 6 70 6 44 3 6 44 3 6 3.5/4 Pitcairn Island n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 6 22 8 6 3.5/4 Poland 4 70 4 44 8 4 44 8 4 3.5/4 Portugal 5 70 5 66 4 5 66 4 5 3.5/4 Qatar 6 70 8 66 8 8 70 8 8 3.5/4 Reunion 4 70 n/a n/a n/a 9 66 8 9 3.5/4 Romania 4 70 4 70 8 4 70 8 4 3.5/4 Russia 4 70 4 70 8 4 44 8 4 3.5/4 Rwanda 4 70 7 66 8 7 66 8 7 3.5/4 Saint Helena n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 7 44 8 7 3.5/4 Saint Kitts and Nevis 7 70 9 66 8 9 44 8 9 3.5/4 Saint Lucia 7 70 9 44 8 9 44 8 9 3.5/4 Saint Pierre and Miquelon n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 4 66 8 4 3.5/4 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 7 70 9 44 8 9 22 8 9 3.5/4 Samoa n/a n/a 6 44 8 6 44 8 6 3.5/4 San Marino 3 70 5 66 8 5 66 8 5 3.5/4 Sao Tome and Principe n/a n/a 7 66 8 7 44 8 7 3.5/4 Saudi Arabia 4 70 8 66 7 8 66 7 8 3.5/4 Senegal 4 70 7 66 8 7 66 8 7 3.5/4 Serbia, Republic of 4 70 5 66 8 5 70 8 5 3.5/4 Seychelles 4 70 7 66 8 7 70 8 7 3.5/4 Sierra Leone n/a n/a 7 66 8 7 66 8 7 3.5/4 Singapore 3 70 6 66 3 6 66 3 6 3.5/4 Sint Maarten 7 70 9 66 8 9 44 8 9 3.5/4 Slovak Republic (Slovakia) 4 70 5 66 4 5 66 4 5 3.5/4 Slovenia 4 70 5 66 4 5 66 4 5 3.5/4 Solomon Islands n/a n/a 6 66 8 6 44 8 6 3.5/4 Somalia n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a South Africa 4 70 7 66 8 7 66 8 7 3.5/4 Spain 5 70 5 66 4 5 44 4 5 3.5/4 Sri Lanka 6 70 6 66 8 6 66 8 6 3.5/4 Sudan n/a n/a 7 66 8 7 44 8 7 3.5/4 Suriname 8 70 n/a n/a n/a 9 44 8 9 3.5/4 Swaziland 4 70 7 66 8 7 44 8 7 3.5/4 Sweden 5 70 5 66 4 5 66 4 5 3.5/4 Switzerland 5 70 5 66 4 5 66 4 5 3.5/4 Syrian Arab Republic (Syria) n/a n/a 8 44 8 8 70 8 8 3.5/4 Taiwan 3 70 6 33 8 6 44 8 6 3.5/4 Tajikistan n/a n/a 6 66 8 6 66 8 6 3.5/4 Tanzania 4 70 7 66 8 7 66 8 7 3.5/4 Thailand 6 70 6 66 3 6 66 3 6 3.5/4 Timor-Leste, Democratic Republic of 6 70 n/a n/a n/a 6 44 8 6 3.5/4 Togo 4 70 7 66 8 7 70 8 7 3.5/4 Tonga 4 70 6 66 8 6 44 8 6 3.5/4 Trinidad and Tobago 7 70 9 66 8 9 44 8 9 3.5/4 Tristan da Cunha n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 7 22 8 7 3.5/4 Tunisia 4 70 8 66 8 8 66 8 8 3.5/4 Turkey 6 70 4 66 7 4 66 7 4 3.5/4 Turkmenistan n/a n/a 6 66 8 6 44 8 6 3.5/4 Turks and Caicos Islands 7 70 9 66 8 9 44 8 9 3.5/4 Tuvalu n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 6 55 8 6 3.5/4 Uganda 4 70 7 66 8 7 66 8 7 3.5/4 Ukraine 4 70 4 44 8 4 66 8 4 3.5/4 United Arab Emirates 6 70 8 70 7 8 70 7 8 3.5/4 Uruguay 8 70 9 44 2 9 66 2 9 3.5/4 Uzbekistan 4 70 6 66 8 6 70 8 6 3.5/4 Vanuatu 8 70 6 55 8 6 44 8 6 3.5/4 Vatican City 3 70 5 66 8 5 44 8 5 3.5/4 Venezuela 8 70 9 66 2 9 66 2 9 3.5/4 Vietnam 6 70 6 66 3 6 70 3 6 3.5/4 Wallis and Futuna Islands 4 70 n/a n/a n/a 6 66 8 6 3.5/4 Yemen 6 70 8 66 7 8 66 7 8 3.5/4 Zambia 4 70 7 66 8 7 66 8 7 3.5/4 Zimbabwe 4 70 7 44 8 7 44 8 7 3.5/4
    Individual Country Listings Country Conditions for Mailing Priority Mail Express International (220)

    [For every country listing that contains Priority Mail Express International—Flat Rate Envelopes and Flat Rate Boxes, remove Flat Rate Boxes from the heading and the text, to read as follows:]

    Priority Mail Express International—Flat Rate Envelopes

    Flat Rate Envelopes: The maximum weight is 4 pounds. Refer to Notice 123, Price List, for the applicable retail, Commercial Base, or Commercial Plus price.

    Priority Mail International (230)

    [For every country listing that includes a Note about ordinary Priority Mail International including indemnity at no cost, remove the note.]

    We will publish an appropriate amendment to 39 CFR part 20 to reflect these changes.

    Stanley F. Mires, Attorney, Federal Compliance.
    [FR Doc. 2015-26918 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7710-12-P
    POSTAL SERVICE 39 CFR Part 111 Domestic Competitive Products Pricing and Mailing Standards Changes AGENCY:

    Postal Service TM.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Postal Service is amending Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®), to reflect changes to prices and mailing standards for competitive products.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: January 17, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Karen Key at (202) 268-7492 or Garry Rodriguez at (202) 268-7281.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This final rule describes new prices and product features for competitive products, by class of mail, established by the Governors of the United States Postal Service. New prices are available under Docket Number CP2016-9 on the Postal Regulatory Commission's (PRC) Web site at http://www.prc.gov, and also located on the Postal Explorer® Web site at http://pe.usps.com.

    The Postal Service will revise the Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM), to reflect changes to prices and mailing standards for the following competitive products:

    • Priority Mail Express ®.

    • Priority Mail ®.

    • First-Class Package Service ®.

    • Parcel Select ®.

    • Standard Post TM.

    • Extra Services.

    • Return Services.

    • Mailer Services.

    • Recipient Services.

    Competitive product prices and changes are identified by product as follows:

    Priority Mail Express Prices

    Overall, Priority Mail Express prices will increase 15.6 percent. Priority Mail Express will continue to offer zoned Retail, Commercial BaseTM, and Commercial PlusTM pricing tiers.

    Retail prices will increase an average of 14.4 percent. The price for the Retail Flat Rate Envelope, Legal Flat Rate Envelope, and Padded Flat Rate Envelope will increase to $22.95.

    Commercial Base prices offer lower prices to customers who use authorized postage payment methods. Commercial Base prices will increase an average of 17.7 percent. Commercial Base pricing offers an average 10.0 percent discount off retail prices.

    The Commercial Plus price category offers price incentives to large volume customers. Commercial Plus prices will increase an average of 48.2 percent. The Postal Service is proposing this increase to match Commercial Plus prices with Commercial Base prices as part of a pricing strategy with the long-term goal of eliminating the Commercial Plus price category to reflect the industry standard of publishing only one set of commercial price tables. Commercial Plus customers may be transitioned to Negotiated Service Agreements (NSAs) for additional discounts.

    Priority Mail Express Flat Rate Box

    The Postal Service will discontinue the use of Priority Mail Express Flat Rate Boxes as a product offering. As of January 17, 2016, Priority Mail Express Flat Boxes will be charged the applicable Priority Mail Express price based on weight and zone.

    Priority Mail Prices

    Overall, Priority Mail prices will increase 9.8 percent. Priority Mail will continue to offer zoned Retail, Commercial Base, and Commercial Plus pricing tiers.

    Retail prices will increase an average of 8.6 percent. The Flat Rate Envelope price will increase to $6.45, the Legal Flat Rate Envelope will also increase to $6.45, and the Padded Flat Rate Envelope will increase to $6.80. The Small Flat Rate Box price will increase to $6.80 and the Medium Flat Rate Boxes will increase to $13.45. The Large Flat Rate Box will increase to $18.75 and the Large APO/FPO/DPO Flat Rate Box will increase to $16.75.

    Commercial Base prices offer lower prices to customers who use authorized postage payment methods. Commercial Base prices will increase an average of 9.4 percent. Commercial Base pricing offers an average 13.9 percent discount off retail prices.

    The Commercial Plus price category offers price incentives to large volume customers. Commercial Plus prices will increase an average of 13.3 percent. The Postal Service is proposing this increase to bring Commercial Plus prices within three percent of Commercial Base prices as part of a pricing strategy with the long-term goal of eliminating the Commercial Plus price category to reflect the industry standard of publishing only one set of commercial price tables. Commercial Plus customers may be transitioned to Negotiated Service Agreements (NSAs) for additional discounts.

    Critical Mail

    The Postal Service will discontinue the Critical Mail (Critical Mail and Critical Mail with Signature) product offering. As of January 17, 2016, Critical Mail letters and flats will be charged the Commercial Plus Flat Rate Envelope price. Critical Mail with signature letters and flats will be charged the Commercial Plus Flat Rate Envelope price and Signature Confirmation TM customer generated electronic label fee.

    Priority Mail Regional Rate Boxes

    The Postal Service will implement a two-tier zone surcharge for Regional Rate Boxes A and B paid at retail. Zones 1-4 will have a $2.25 surcharge and Zones 5-9 will have a $1.00 surcharge.

    Additionally, the Postal Service will discontinue the Priority Mail Regional Rate Box ® C to simplify this product offering. As of January 17, 2016, a Regional Rate Box C will be charged the applicable Priority Mail price based on weight and zone.

    First-Class Package Service Prices

    Overall, First-Class Package Service prices will increase 12.8 percent. The Intelligent Mail ® package barcode (IMpb) will continue to provide free USPS tracking and confirmation of delivery with these parcels.

    First-Class Package Service Restructuring

    The Postal Service will discontinue First-Class Package Service Commercial Plus pricing and restructure First-Class Package Service commercial parcel prices to simplify this product offering. First-Class Package Service commercial parcels will only be a single-piece product with prices starting at 1 ounce up to less than 16 ounces. First-Class Package Service commercial parcels will not be sealed against inspection.

    Parcel Select Prices

    Parcel Select Destination Entry prices will increase an average of 4.9 percent and Parcel Select Ground (formerly Parcel Select Nonpresort) prices will increase an average of 1.9 percent. The prices for Parcel Select Lightweight® (PSLW) will increase an average of 23.5 percent.

    The IMpb will continue to provide free USPS tracking and confirmation of delivery with all Parcel Select parcels.

    Parcel Select Nonpresort

    The Postal Service will rename Parcel Select Nonpresort as Parcel Select Ground. No changes to the product features or mailing standards are being made as a result of this change.

    Parcel Select ONDC and NDC

    The Postal Service will discontinue the Parcel Select ONDC and NDC price categories to simplify product offerings. As of January 17, 2016, parcels entered at Parcel Select ONDC and NDC prices will be charged the applicable Parcel Select Ground prices.

    Parcel Select Lightweight

    The Postal Service will consolidate the Parcel Select Lightweight Machinable and Irregular price tables to simplify this product offering. The new price table, similar to the existing Irregular price table, will be titled “Parcel Select Lightweight-Commercial Parcels” and will have 5-Digit, SCF, NDC, and Mixed NDC/Single Piece price levels. The weight increments will start at 1 ounce and include pieces up to less than 16 ounces. Mail preparation will remain the same for machinable and irregular presorted parcels, and will be subject to the applicable price levels based on sortation.

    Standard Post

    Overall, Standard Post prices will increase an average of 10.0 percent.

    Standard Post

    The Postal Service will rename Standard Post as Retail Ground. No changes to the product features or mailing standards are being made as a result of this change.

    Extra Services Adult Signature Service

    Adult Signature Required and Adult Signature Restricted Delivery service prices are increasing 3.6 and 3.5 percent respectively. The price for Adult Signature Required will increase to $5.70 and Adult Signature Restricted Delivery will increase to $5.95.

    Return Services Parcel Return Service

    Overall, Parcel Return Service (PRS) prices will increase an average of 5.0 percent.

    Return Sectional Center Facility (RSCF) prices will increase an average of 5.0 percent and Return Delivery Unit (RDU) prices will increase an average of 5.0 percent.

    The Parcel Return Service annual permit fee and annual account maintenance fee will not change at this time.

    Parcel Return Service Return Network Distribution Center (RNDC)

    The Postal Service will discontinue the RNDC price option to simplify this product offering. As of January 17, 2016, parcels entered at RNDC prices will be charged the applicable Parcel Select Ground price.

    Mailer Services Treatment of Mail—Treatment of Undeliverable Parcel Select

    The Postal Service is introducing a reduced Additional Service Fee for Parcel Select shippers who use IMpbTM ACSTM with Shipper Paid Forward/Return, when those packages are forwarded or returned. The Postal Service will charge the ACS & Shipper Paid Forward/Return Additional Service Fee of $1.50 to Parcel Select shippers when their UAA parcels have been processed using IMpb ACS with Shipper Paid Forward/Return. With certain ACS Shipper Paid ancillary services, the forwarding or return postage and ACS & Shipper Paid Forward/Return additional service fee for UAA Parcel Select may be invoiced through the ACS billing process.

    Premium Forwarding Service

    Premium Forwarding Service® (PFS®) prices will increase an average of 3.6 percent. The enrollment fee paid at the retail counter will increase to $18.65 and the residential and commercial enrollment fee paid online will increase to $17.10 per application. The price of the weekly reshipment charge will increase to $18.65.

    USPS Package Intercept

    The USPS Package InterceptTM fee will increase 3.3 percent to $12.55.

    Pickup on Demand Service

    The Pickup on Demand® service daily fee will remain at $20.00 for January 17, 2016.

    Recipient Services Post Office Box Service

    The competitive Post Office BoxTM service prices will increase an average of 3.5 percent within the modified price ranges.

    Other Click-N-Ship

    The Postal Service is restructuring Click-N-Ship® to offer only retail prices. Click-N-Ship will no longer be an authorized payment method for Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail Commercial Base pricing.

    Resources

    The Postal Service provides additional resources to assist customers with this price change for competitive products. These tools include price lists, downloadable price files, and Federal Register Notices, which may be found on the Postal Explorer® Web site at pe.usps.com.

    List of Subjects in 39 CFR Part 111

    Administrative practice and procedure, Postal Service.

    The Postal Service adopts the following changes to Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM), incorporated by reference in the Code of Federal Regulations. See 39 CFR 111.1.

    Accordingly, 39 CFR part 111 is amended as follows:

    PART 111—[AMENDED] 1. The authority citation for 39 CFR part 111 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    5 U.S.C. 552(a); 13 U.S.C. 301-307; 18 U.S.C. 1692-1737; 39 U.S.C. 101, 401, 403, 404, 414, 416, 3001-3011, 3201-3219, 3403-3406, 3621, 3622, 3626, 3632, 3633, and 5001.

    2. Revise the Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) as follows: Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) 100 Retail Mail 110 Priority Mail Express 113 Prices and Eligibility 1.0 Priority Mail Express Prices and Fees 1.3 Flat Rate Packaging

    [Revise the first sentence of 1.3 to read as follows:]

    Only USPS-produced or approved Flat Rate Envelopes are eligible for the Flat Rate price and are charged a flat rate, regardless of the actual weight (up to 70 pounds) of the mailpiece or domestic destination. * * *

    114 Postage Payment Methods

    [Revise the heading of 1.0 to read as follows:]

    1.0 Basic Standards for Postage Payment 1.1 Payment Method

    [Revise the first sentence of 1.1 to read as follows:]

    Retail Priority Mail Express postage may be paid with adhesive stamps (see 604.1.0), with meter stamps (see 604.4.0) affixed to each piece, or with Click-N-Ship. * * *

    115 Mail Preparation 1.0 Priority Mail Express Supplies 1.2 Sealing Flat Rate Packaging

    [Revise the text of 1.2 to read as follows:]

    When sealing a Flat Rate Envelope, the container flap must be able to close within the normal fold. Tape may be applied to the flap and seams to reinforce the container provided the design of the container is not enlarged by opening the sides, and the container is not reconstructed in any way.

    120 Priority Mail 123 Prices and Eligibility 1.0 Priority Mail Prices and Fees 1.6 Regional Rate Boxes

    [Delete the heading 1.6.1 and move the text under 1.6. Revise the text of 1.6 to read as follows:]

    Regional Rate Box prices are available to Priority Mail Commercial Base or Commercial Plus customers who use USPS-produced Priority Mail Regional Rate Boxes under 223.1.8. Regional Rate Boxes paid at retail are charged a fee based on zone (1-4 or 5-9), in addition to the applicable Commercial Base or Commercial Plus postage. Regional Rate Boxes that exceed the maximum weight as specified in 223.1.8 or have container flaps that do not close within the normal folds are not eligible for Regional Rate Box prices and are assessed the applicable single-piece Priority Mail price.

    [Delete current 1.6.2 in its entirety.]

    124 Postage Payment Methods 1.0 Basic Standards for Postage Payment 1.1 Payment Methods

    [Revise the text of 1.1 to read as follows:]

    Priority Mail postage may be paid with postage stamps (see 604.1.0), with meter stamps (see 604.4.0) affixed to each piece, or with Click-N-Ship.

    [Revise section 150 and the DMM globally to change the name from “Standard Post” to “Retail Ground”.]

    150 Retail Mail Retail Ground 200 Commercial Mail Letters, Cards, Flats, and Parcels 201 Physical Standards 2.0 Physical Standards for Nonmachinable Letters

    [Revise the heading of 2.5 to read as follows:]

    2.5 Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail Letters

    [Delete the second sentence of 2.5]

    3.0 Physical Standards for Machinable and Automation Letters and Cards 3.5 Maximum Weight, Machinable and Automation Letters and Cards

    The following maximum weight limits apply:

    [Delete item a and renumber items b through d as items a through c.]

    4.0 Physical Standards for Flats 4.7 Flat-Size Pieces Not Eligible for Flat-Size Prices Exhibit 4.7b Pricing for Flats Exceeding Maximum Deflection

    [Revise the text in Exhibit 4.7b under “Eligibility with failed deflection” column to read as follows:]

    First-Class Mail Presorted (Nonautomation) Eligibility as presented Eligibility with failed deflection Presorted Flat Single-piece flat or First-Class Package Service. 5.0 Physical Standards for Nonautomation Flats

    [Revise the heading of 5.5 to read as follows:]

    5.5 Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail Flats

    [Delete the second sentence of 5.5.]

    6.0 Physical Standards for Automation Flats 6.2 Additional Criteria for Automation Flats 6.2.2 Maximum Weight

    Maximum weight limits are as follows:

    [Delete item a and renumber items b through e as items a through d.]

    8.0 Physical Standards by Class of Mail 8.3 First-Class Package Service Parcels 8.3.1 Weight

    [Revise the text of 8.3.1 to read as follows:]

    First-Class Package Service parcels must weigh less than 16 ounces.

    202 Elements on the Face of a Mailpiece 3.0 Placement and Content of Mail Markings

    [Revise the heading of 3.3 to read as follows:]

    3.3 Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail Markings 3.6  First-Class Package Service Markings

    [Revise the text of 3.6 in its entirety to read as follows:]

    The basic required marking “First-Class Package” or “First-Class PKG” must be printed as part of, directly below, or to the left of the postage on all parcels.

    3.7 Parcel Select, Bound Printed Matter, Media Mail, and Library Mail Markings 3.7.1 Basic Markings

    * * * Optionally, the basic required marking may be printed on the shipping address label as service indicators composed of a service icon and service banner (see Exhibit 3.7.1):

    [Revise the second sentence of item b to read as follows:]

    b. * * * The appropriate marking (e.g., “PARCEL SELECT”, “MEDIA MAIL”) must be preceded by the text “USPS” and be printed in minimum 20-point bold sans serif typeface, uppercase letters, centered within the banner, and bordered above and below by minimum 1-point separator lines. * * *

    3.7.2 Parcel Select Markings

    * * * The following product markings are required:

    [Delete items b and c, and renumber items d and e as items b and c.]

    [Revise renumbered item b to read as follows:]

    b. Ground—“Parcel Select Ground” or “Parcel Select GND”.

    210 Priority Mail Express 213 Prices and Eligibility 1.0 Prices and Fees 1.3 Commercial Base Prices

    Priority Mail Express Commercial Base prices are less than Priority Mail Express retail prices (see Notice 123—Price List). These prices are available to:

    [Delete item b and renumber items c through e as items b though d.]

    1.5 Flat Rate Packaging

    [Revise the first sentence of 1.4 to read as follows:]

    Only USPS-produced or approved Flat Rate Envelopes are eligible for the Flat Rate price and are charged a flat rate, regardless of the actual weight (up to 70 pounds) of the mailpiece or domestic destination. * * *

    214 Postage Payment and Documentation 1.0 Basic Standards for Postage Payment Options 1.1 Commercial Base Pricing

    Commercial Base Priority Mail Express postage may be paid with:

    [Delete item b and renumber items c through e as items b through d.]

    215 Mail Preparation 1.0 General Information for Mail Preparation 1.2 Sealing Flat Rate Packaging

    [Revise the text of 1.2 to read as follows:]

    When sealing a Flat Rate Envelope, the container flap must be able to close within the normal fold. Tape may be applied to the flap and seams to reinforce the container provided the design of the container is not enlarged by opening the sides and the container is not reconstructed in any way.

    2.0 Priority Mail Express 1-Day and 2-Day 2.1 Mailing Label

    [Revise the first sentence of 2.1 to read as follows:]

    For each Priority Mail Express item, the mailer must complete Label 11-B or Label 11-F, Label 11-HFPU for Hold For Pickup service, or a single-ply Priority Mail Express label generated through a USPS-approved method. * * *

    220 Priority Mail 223 Prices and Eligibility 1.0 Prices and Fees 1.2 Commercial Base Prices

    For prices, see Notice 123—Price List. The Commercial Base prices are available for:

    [Delete item a and renumber items b through f as items a through e.]

    [Delete 1.4, Critical Mail Prices, in its entirety and renumber items 1.5 through 1.13 as items 1.4 through 1.12.]

    1.8 Regional Rate Box Prices

    * * * Regional Rate Box options are:

    [Delete item c.]

    1.9 Hold For Pickup

    [Revise the text of renumbered 1.9 to read as follows:]

    Priority Mail is eligible for Hold For Pickup service under 508.7.0.

    1.11 Determining Single-Piece Weight

    [Revise the text of renumbered 1.11 to read as follows:]

    To determine single-piece weight in any mailing of nonidentical-weight pieces, weigh each piece individually. To determine single-piece weight in a mailing of identical-weight pieces, weigh a sample group of at least 10 randomly selected pieces and divide the total sample weight by the number of pieces in the sample. Except for mailers using eVS, express all single-piece weights in decimal pounds rounded off to two decimal places. Mailers using eVS may round off to four decimals, and eVS will automatically round to the appropriate decimal place. If a customer is using a manifest mailing system, the manifest weight field must be properly completed by adhering to the rules relative to the specific manifest.

    3.0 Basic Eligibility Standards for Priority Mail 3.1 Definition

    [Revise the second sentence of 3.1 to read as follows:]

    * * * Lower weight limits apply to Commercial Plus cubic (see 1.5); Regional Rate Boxes (see 1.9); APO/FPO mail subject to 703.2.0 and 703.4.0 and Department of State mail subject to 703.3.0.

    [Delete 3.2 in its entirety and renumber 3.3 through 3.5 as 3.2 through 3.4.]

    3.2 IMpb Standards

    [Revise the first sentence of renumbered 3.2 to read as follows:]

    Unless authorized to use a unique IMb on Priority Mail letters and flats prepared in high-speed environments, all Priority Mail pieces must bear an Intelligent Mail package barcode prepared under 708.5.0. * * *

    3.4 Matter Closed Against Postal Inspection

    [Revise the text of renumbered 3.4 to read as follows:]

    Priority Mail matter is closed against postal inspection.

    224 Postage Payment and Documentation 1.0 Basic Standards for Postage Payment 1.1 Postage Payment Options 1.1.1 Commercial Base Pricing

    Priority Mail Commercial Base and Regional Rate Box postage may be paid with:

    [Delete item a and renumber items b through e as items a through d.]

    [Delete 1.1.3, Critical Mail Pricing, in its entirety and renumber 1.1.4 as 1.1.3.]

    225 Mail Preparation 1.0 General Information for Mail Preparation 1.1 Priority Mail Packaging Provided by the USPS

    [Delete the last sentence in 1.1.]

    [Delete 4.0, Additional Standards for Preparing Critical Mail, in its entirety and renumber 5.0 as 4.0.]

    226 Enter and Deposit 1.0 Deposit 1.1 General

    [Revise the first sentence of 1.1 to read as follows:]

    Mailpieces bearing postage evidencing indicia must be deposited in a collection box or at a postal facility within the ZIP Code shown in the indicia, except as permitted under 2.0 or 604.4.6.3. * * *

    250 Parcel Select

    [Revise 250 and the DMM globally to change the name of “Parcel Select Nonpresort” to “Parcel Select Ground”.]

    253 Prices and Eligibility 1.0 Prices and Fees 1.1 Price Application

    * * * The price categories for Parcel Select are as follows:

    [Delete item b and renumber items c and d as b and c.]

    [Revise renumber item b to read as follows:]

    b. Ground

    1.2 Parcel Select Prices

    [Revise the first sentence of 1.2 to read as follows:]

    Pricing is available for Parcel Select at the Destination Entry and Parcel Select Ground levels. * * *

    2.0 Content Standards 2.1 Definition of a Parcel

    [Revise the second sentence of 2.1 to read as follows:]

    * * * When postage is paid using USPS-approved PC Postage in conjunction with barcoded Parcel Select Ground mailings, there is no minimum volume.

    4.0 Price Eligibility for Parcel Select and Parcel Select Lightweight

    [Delete 4.2 in its entirety and renumbered 4.3 through 4.8 as 4.2 through 4.7.]

    4.3 Parcel Select Lightweight 4.3.2 Price Application

    [Revise the first sentence of renumbered 4.3.2 to read as follows:]

    Prices for Parcel Select Lightweight apply to parcels that meet the eligibility standards in 2.0 and 4.4 and the preparation standards in 255.7.0, 705.6.0, or 705.8.0. * * *

    [Delete renumbered 4.6, Delivery and Return Addresses, in its entirety and renumber 4.7 as 4.6.]

    254 Postage Payment and Documentation 1.0 Basic Standards for Postage Payment 1.1 Postage Payment Options

    Mailing fees must be paid for the current 12-month period at the Postal Service facility where postage is paid for the mailing.

    [Revise item a to read as follows:]

    a. Permit imprint may be used for identical-weight pieces provided the mail can be separated at acceptance into groups that each contain pieces subject to the same combination of prices.

    2.0 Mailing Documentation 2.2 Other Documentation

    [Revise the first sentence of 2.2 to read as follows:]

    When presented for acceptance, documentation of postage by entry office and presort level (e.g., by DNDC and by 5-digit ZIP Code for DSCF and DDU prices) is required under 705.2.0 through 705.4.0. * * *

    255 Mail Preparation 1.0 General Information for Mail Preparation 1.8 Parcel Select Markings

    [Revise the text of 1.8 to read as follows:]

    Each piece in a Parcel Select mailing must bear a price marking under 202.3.7.2. Markings must appear in either the postage area described in 202.3.7, or in the address area on the line directly above or two lines above the address if the marking appears alone (when no other information appears on that line). The “Retail Ground” marking is not allowed on any Parcel Select mailpiece.

    [Delete 5.0, Preparing NDC Presort and ONDC Presort, in its entirety, and renumber 6.0 and 7.0 as 5.0 and 6.0.]

    6.0 Preparing Parcel Select Lightweight 6.1 Basic Standards

    [Revise the introductory text of renumbered 6.1 to read as follows:]

    All mailings and all pieces in each mailing at Parcel Select Lightweight prices are subject to the specific preparation standards in 7.2 and 7.3, and to these general standards:

    256 Enter and Deposit 2.0 Deposit 2.5 Mail Separation and Presentation of Destination Entry Mailings

    * * * Mailers presenting destination entry mailings to the Postal Service must meet the following requirements:

    [Revise the first sentence of item a to read as follows:]

    a. Mark each DNDC, DSCF, or DDU Parcel Select piece as “Parcel Select,” according to 202.3.7.2. * * *

    280 First-Class Package Service 283 Prices and Eligibility 1.0 Prices and Fees for First-Class Package Service

    [Revise the heading and text of 1.2 to read as follows:]

    1.2 Price Determination for First-Class Package Service

    First-Class Package Service prices start at 1 ounce and must weigh less than 16 ounces. Any fraction of an ounce is considered a whole ounce.

    1.3 Commercial Prices

    [Revise the introductory text of 1.3 to read as follows:]

    Commercial prices are available when paid by one of the following methods:

    [Delete 1.4, Commercial Plus Prices, in its entirety and renumber 1.5 through 1.8 as 1.4 through 1.7.]

    1.4 Surcharge

    A surcharge applies for parcels that are irregularly shaped, such as rolls, tubes, and triangles.

    [Delete renumbered 1.5, Presort Mailing Fee, 1.6, Computing Postage for First-Class Package Service, and 1.7, Determining Single-Piece Weight in their entirety.]

    2.0 Content Standards for First-Class Package Service Parcels 2.1 General

    [Revise the text of 2.1 to read as follows:]

    In addition to restricted material described in 601.8.0, parcels mailed at First-Class Package Service prices may not contain documents or personal correspondence, except that such parcels may contain invoices, receipts, incidental advertising, and other documents that relate in all substantial respects to merchandise contained in the parcels.

    2.2 Matter Required To Be Mailed as First-Class Mail

    [Revise the introductory text of 2.2 to read as follows:]

    See 233.2.0 for a detailed description of matter required to be mailed as First-Class Mail or Priority Mail. The following types of contents must be mailed as First-Class Mail or -Priority Mail:

    [Delete 2.3, Restricted Air Transportation, in its entirety.]

    [Revise the heading of 3.0 to read as follows:

    3.0 Basic Eligibility Standards for First-Class Package Service 3.2 Defining Characteristics 3.2.1 Inspection of the Contents

    [Revise the text of 3.2.1 to read as follows:]

    Articles mailed at First-Class Package Service prices are not sealed against postal inspection. Regardless of physical closure, the mailing of articles at First-Class Package Service prices constitutes consent by the mailer to postal inspection of the contents.

    3.3 Additional Basic Standards

    [Revise the introductory text of 3.3 to read as follows:]

    All First-Class Package Service parcels must:

    [Revise the text of item b to read as follows:]

    b. Bear a delivery address that includes the correct ZIP Code or ZIP+4.

    [Delete 3.5, Move Update Standard, and 3.6 ZIP Code Accuracy in their entirety.]

    [Revise the heading of 4.0 to read as follows:

    4.0 Price Eligibility for First-Class Package Service

    [Delete 4.1 through 4.4 and move the text under 4.5 as new 4.0 to read as follows:]

    Single-piece prices apply to nonpresorted parcels mailed under 285.1.0.

    248 Postage Payment and Documentation

    [Revise the heading of 2.0 to read as follows:]

    2.0 Postage Payment for First-Class Package Service 2.1 Permit Imprint Postage

    [Revise the second sentence of 2.1 to read as follows:]

    * * * All mail manifested using the Electronic Verification System (eVS) under 705.2.9 must be paid using a permit imprint. * * *

    [Revise the heading and text of 2.2 to read as follows:]

    2.2 Affixed Payment for First-Class Package Service

    Each First-Class Package Service parcel bearing postage evidencing system indicia (IBI Meter or PC Postage) must bear the full numerical value of postage at the First-Class Package Service price for which it qualifies.

    285 Mail Preparation

    [Delete 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, and 4.0 in their entirety and add a new 1.0 to read as follows:]

    1.0 Preparation for First-Class Package Service

    The following standards apply to single-piece First-Class Package Service:

    a. Each piece is required to bear the markings under 202.3.6.

    b. There are no sorting requirements for single-piece First-Class Package Service parcels.

    286 Enter and Deposit 1.0 Deposit 1.2 Approved Collections

    The USPS may collect First-Class Package Service parcels at a mailer's facility if part of an approved collection service for other classes of mail; space is available on the transportation; and:

    [Revise the text of item c to read as follows:]

    c. Postage is paid with postage evidencing system postage.

    [Delete 1.3, Permit Imprint Collection, in its entirety.]

    2.0 Verification8

    [Delete the heading 2.1 and move the text under 2.0. Revise the text of 2.0 to read as follows:]

    Mailings are subject to USPS procedures to verify correct postage payment. The return of mailings to the mailer's facility for reworking is the mailer's responsibility.

    [Delete current 2.2 Timeframe for Corrective Action, and 2.3, Payment at Single-Piece Price Rather than Correcting Errors, in their entirety.]

    500 Additional Mailing Services 503 Extra Services 1.0 Basic Standards for All Extra Services 1.4 Matter Eligible for Extra Services 1.4.1 Eligible Matter Exhibit 1.4.1 Eligible Matter—Domestic Destinations

    [Delete “Critical Mail” in the “Eligible Mail Class” column under the following Extra Services: Insurance, Signature Confirmation, and Adult Signature Required.]

    4.0 Insured Mail 4.3 Basic Standards 4.3.1 Description

    Insured mail is subject to the basic standards in 1.0; see 1.4 for eligible matter. The following additional standards apply to insured mail:

    [Revise item e to read as follows:]

    e. First-Class Mail, First-Class Package Service, and Priority Mail may be insured, if it contains matter that is eligible to be mailed at Standard Mail, Retail Ground, or Package Services prices.

    505 Return Services 3.0 Merchandise Return Service (MRS) 3.7 Additional Standards for USPS Return Services 3.7.4 Postage

    [Revise the first sentence of 3.7.4 to read as follows:]

    Postage is calculated based on the weight of the parcel and zone, except for First-Class Package Return Service, for which postage is based on the weight of the parcel. * * *

    3.7.5 Description

    [Revise the text of 3.7.5 to read as follows:]

    Priority Mail Return Service, First-Class Package Return Service, and Ground Return Service provide return service options to customers who meet the applicable standards in 3.0. Except for restricted material described in Publication 52, any mailable matter may be mailed using any of the USPS Return Service options. Any content that constitutes First-Class Mail matter may only be mailed using Priority Mail Return Service.

    3.7.8 Additional Standards for First-Class Package Return Service

    [Delete the second sentence of 3.7.8.]

    4.0 Parcel Return Service 4.1 Prices and Fees 4.1.2 Parcel Return Service Prices

    [Revise the first sentence in the introductory text of 4.1.2 to read as follows:]

    Parcel Return Service prices are based on the price that applies to the weight increment of each addressed piece, and on the designated return facility, RDU or RSCF. * * *

    [Revise the first sentence of item b to read as follows:]

    b. Balloon and Oversized Prices: RSCF parcels that weigh less than 20 pounds but measure more than 84 inches in combined length and girth are charged the applicable price for a 20-pound parcel (balloon price). * * *

    [Delete item c in its entirety.]

    4.1.3 Postage

    [Revise the introductory text of 4.1.3 to read as follows:]

    There are two PRS price categories:

    [Delete item c in its entirety.]

    [Delete 4.1.4, Standard Post Prices, in its entirety.]

    4.2 Basic Standards 4.2.1 Description

    [Revise the text of 4.2.1 to read as follows:]

    Parcel Return Service (PRS) applies to parcels that are picked up in bulk by authorized permit holders or their agents. Permit holders guarantee payment of postage for all parcels mailed with a PRS label. By providing an approved PRS label to its customers, the merchant or other party designates the permit holder identified on the label as their agent for receipt of mail bearing that label, and authorizes the USPS to provide that mail to the permit holder or its designee. PRS permit holders also may retrieve parcels at one or more designated return sectional center facilities (RSCFs) or designated return delivery units (RDUs). Payment for parcels returned under PRS is deducted from a separate advance deposit (postage-due) account funded through the Centralized Account Processing System (CAPS). The permit holder must be authorized to use eVS (see 705.2.9).

    4.2.9 Pickup Schedule and Location

    [Revise the second sentence in the introductory text of 4.2.9 to read as follows:]

    * * * If the permit holder (or agent) has existing appointments to deliver Parcel Select parcels to destination facilities and those facilities are one of the designated RSCFs or designated RDUs, those appointments can be used for retrieving PRS parcels at the same time. * * *

    [Delete item a and renumber items b through d as items a through c.]

    [Delete renumbered item c.]

    4.3 Labels 4.3.5 PRS Label Format Examples

    The following are PRS label format examples. Note: The ZIP Code 56999 appears in each example for demonstration purposes only.

    [Replace the RNDC label example in items a and b with RSCF/RDU labels.]

    507 Mailer Services 1.0 Treatment of Mail 1.5 Treatment for Ancillary Services by Class of Mail 1.5.4 Retail Ground, Package Services, and Parcel Select

    [Revise the introductory text of 1.5.4 to read as follows:]

    Undeliverable-as-addressed (UAA) Retail Ground, Package Services, and Parcel Select (see 1.5.3 for Parcel Select Lightweight) mailpieces are treated as described in Exhibit 1.5.4, with these additional conditions:

    [Delete item g in its entirety.]

    Exhibit 1.5.4 Treatment of Undeliverable Standard Post, Package Services, and Parcel Select “Address Service Requested” Shipper Paid Forwarding/Return Option 1

    If change-of-address order on file:

    [Revise the first bullet under “If change-of-address order on file” to read as follows:]

    • Months 1 through 12: Parcel forwarded. Forwarding postage is charged to the mailer as follows; at the applicable Retail Ground or Package Services single-piece price or the Parcel Select Ground price plus the ACS & Shipper Paid Forward/Return additional service fee. Separate notice of new address provided (electronic ACS fee charged).

    Shipper Paid Forwarding/Return Option 2

    If change-of-address order on file:

    [Revise the first bullet under “If change-of-address order on file” to read as follows:]

    • Months 1 through 12: Parcel forwarded. Forwarding postage is charged to the mailer as follows; at the applicable Retail Ground or Package Services single-piece price or the Parcel Select Ground price plus the ACS & Shipper Paid Forward/Return additional service fee. Separate notice of new address provided (electronic ACS fee charged).

    Shipper Paid Forwarding/Return Option 3

    If no change-of-address order on file:

    [Revise the text under “If no change-of-address order on file” to read as follows:]

    Piece returned with reason for nondelivery attached; Return postage is charged to the mailer as follows: at the Retail Ground or Package Services single-piece price, or the Parcel Select Ground price plus the ACS & Shipper Paid Forward/Return additional service fee. Separate notice provided (electronic ACS fee is charged).

    If change-of-address order on file:

    [Revise the first bullet under “If change-of-address order on file” to read as follows:]

    • Months 1 through 12: Parcel forwarded. Forwarding postage is charged to the mailer as follows: at the Retail Ground or Package Services single-piece price or the Parcel Select Ground price plus the ACS & Shipper Paid Forward/Return additional service fee. Separate notice of new address provided (electronic ACS fee is charged).

    “Change Service Requested”

    (For Shipper Paid Forwarding/Return participants via ACS only)

    If change-of-address order on file:

    [Revise the first bullet under “If change-of-address order on file” to read as follows:]

    Months 1 through 12: Parcel forwarded; postage due charged to the mailer as follows: at the Retail Ground or Package Services single-piece price for the specific class of mail or the Parcel Select Ground price plus the ACS & Shipper Paid Forward/Return additional service fee; separate notice of new address provided (electronic ACS fee charged).

    1.6 Attachments and Enclosures 1.6.3 Package Services and Parcel Select

    Undeliverable, unendorsed mailpieces with a First-Class Mail attachment or enclosure are forwarded or returned as follows:

    [Revise the text of item a to read as follows:]

    a. Parcel Select at the Parcel Select Ground price plus the additional service fee.

    508 Recipient Services 7.0 Hold For Pickup 7.1 Fees and Postage 7.1.1 Postage Payment Methods

    [Revise the introductory text of 7.1.1 to read as follows:]

    Hold For Pickup service is available for the mail classes listed under 7.2.2, when postage is paid by:

    7.2 Basic Information 7.2.2 Basic Eligibility

    [Revise the introductory text of 7.2.2 to read as follows:]

    Hold For Pickup service is available at retail Post Office locations for Priority Mail Express presented under 113.4.2 or 113.4.3, and for Priority Mail using Click-N-Ship. It is also available with commercial mailings of Priority Mail Express presented under 213.4.2. or 213.4.3, Priority Mail, First-Class Package Service, Parcel Select Ground, Parcel Select Lightweight, and Bound Printed Matter parcels, when:

    [Revise the first sentence of item b to read as follows:]

    b. For electronic option, mailers establish an electronic link with USPS to exchange acceptance and delivery data. * * *

    600 Basic Standards for All Mailing Services 601 Mailability 6.0 Mailing Containers—Special Types of Envelopes and Packaging

    [Delete 6.2, Critical Mail Envelopes, and renumber 6.3 through 6.6 as 6.2 through 6.5.]

    602 Addressing 1.0 Elements of Addressing 1.5 Return Addresses 1.5.3 Required Use of Return Addresses

    The sender's domestic return address must appear legibly on:

    [Revise item e to read as follows:]

    e. Priority Mail.

    5.0 Move Update Standards 5.1 Basic Standards

    [Revise the second sentence in the introductory text of 5.1 to read as follows:]

    * * * Each address, except for mail bearing an alternative address format (under 3.0), in a mailing at commercial First-Class Mail presorted or automation prices, Standard Mail, or Parcel Select Lightweight prices is subject to the Move Update standard and must meet these requirements:

    [Revise the text of item b to read as follows:]

    b. The Move Update standard is met when an address used on a mailpiece in a mailing at any class of mail is updated under 5.2, and the same address is used in a First-Class Mail, Standard Mail, or Parcel Select Lightweight mailing within 95 days after the address has been updated.

    5.2 USPS-Approved Methods

    The following methods are authorized for meeting the Move Update standard:

    [Revise the first sentence of item d to read as follows:]

    d. For First-Class Mail only: Mailer Move Update Process Certification and USPS-approved alternative methods for mailers with legitimate restrictions on incorporating USPS-supplied change-of-address information into their mailing lists. * * *

    6.0 ZIP Code Accuracy Standards 6.1 Basic Standards

    [Revise the introductory text of 6.1 to read as follows:]

    Except for mail bearing a simplified address, addresses used on pieces in a mailing at all commercial First-Class Mail, nonbarcoded presorted Periodicals, Standard Mail, Parcel Select Lightweight, and Bound Printed Matter presorted and carrier route prices are subject to the ZIP Code accuracy standard and must meet these requirements:

    604 Postage Payment Methods 4.0 Postage Meters and PC Postage Products (“Postage Evidencing Systems”) 4.1 Basic Information 4.1.5 Authorized Classes of Mail

    [Revise the text of 4.1.5 to read as follows:]

    Mailers may use postage evidencing systems to affix or apply indicia on any class of mail except Periodicals and Bound Printed Matter. PC Postage products may be used for Retail Ground only by USPS-Approved Shippers.

    5.0 Permit Imprint (Indicia) 5.3 Indicia Design, Placement, and Content

    [Revise the heading and text of 5.3.6 to read as follows:]

    5.3.6 Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, First-Class Mail, and First-Class Package Service Format

    A permit imprint indicia on Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, First-Class Mail, or First-Class Package Service mailpieces must show “Priority Mail Express,” “Priority Mail” (or “Priority”), “First-Class Mail,” or “First-Class Package” (or “First-Class Pkg”) as applicable; “U.S. Postage Paid”; city and state; and permit number. If the Electronic Verification System (eVS) is used under 705.2.9, the marking “eVS” (or the alternative “e-VS” or “E-VS”) must appear directly below the permit number. The “Priority Mail Express,” or “Priority Mail” (or “Priority”), marking may be omitted when using USPS-provided Priority Mail Express or Priority Mail containers. The indicia may show the mailing date, amount of postage paid, or the number of ounces for which postage is paid. The ZIP Code of the permit holder may be shown directly after the state name or in a separate inscription reading “ZIP Code 00000,” when that ZIP Code does not create uncertainty about the permit holder's correct address or permit number. Instead of printing the city and state of mailing in the indicia, the mailer may print “Mailed From ZIP Code,” followed by the 5-digit ZIP Code assigned to the postmaster of the mailing office. The indicia may also include required price markings.

    7.0 Computing Postage 7.1 General Standards 7.1.1 Determining Single-Piece Weight for Retail and Commercial Mail

    [Revise the third sentence of 7.1.1 to read as follows:]

    * * * Express all single-piece weights in decimal pounds rounded off to two decimal places for the following mailpieces: Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, Parcel Select, Bound Printed Matter, Media Mail, and Library Mail prices. * * *

    12.0 Scan Based Payment 12.1 Basic Information 12.1.2 Eligibility

    [Revise the second sentence of 12.1.2 to read as follows:]

    * * * Returns include Ground Return Service, First-Class Package Return Service, Priority Mail Return Service, and Parcel Return Service shipments. * * *

    700 Special Standards 705 Advanced Preparation and Special Postage Payment Systems 6.0 Combining Mailings of Standard Mail, Package Services, and Parcel Select Parcels

    [Revise the heading of 6.3 to read as follows:]

    6.3 Combining Parcels—DSCF and DDU Prices 6.3.1 Qualification

    Combination requirements for specific discounts and prices are as follows:

    [Delete item a and renumber items b and c as items a and b.]

    6.3.2 Preparation and Prices

    Combined parcels must be prepared as follows:

    [Delete item c and renumber item d as item c.]

    8.0 Preparing Pallets 8.4 Pallet Boxes 8.4.1 Use

    [Revise the text of 8.4.1 to read as follows:]

    A mailer may use pallet boxes constructed of single-, double-, or triple-wall corrugated fiberboard placed on pallets to hold sacks or parcels. Pallet boxes must protect the mail and maintain the integrity of the pallet loads throughout transportation, handling, and processing. Single-wall corrugated fiberboard may be used only for light loads (such as lightweight parcels) that do not require transportation by the USPS beyond the entry office, or for Parcel Select DSCF and DDU price mail. Mailers must supply their own pallet boxes. The base of the boxes must measure approximately 40 by 48 inches.

    8.4.2 Height

    [Delete the last sentence of 8.4.2.]

    8.5 General Preparation 8.5.2 Required Preparation

    [Revise the introductory text of 8.5.2 to read as follows:]

    The following standards apply to Periodicals, Standard Mail, Parcel Select, and Package Services, except Parcel Select mailed at DSCF and DDU prices:

    8.5.3 Minimum Load

    The following minimum load standards apply to mail prepared on pallets:

    [Revise the introductory text of item a to read as follows:]

    a. For Periodicals, Standard Mail, Parcel Select, and Package Services (except for Parcel Select mailed at DSCF and DDU prices):

    [Revise the text of item b to read as follows:]

    b. Parcel Select mailed at DSCF and DDU prices. A minimum load for the price claimed may be stated in terms of weight, combined piece minimum and weight, or minimum height. Mail entered at the Parcel Select DSCF prices and prepared directly on pallets or in pallet boxes on pallets must be prepared under either a minimum height requirement or under one of two options requiring a minimum number of pieces and pounds per pallet. There is no minimum weight requirement for an SCF pallet containing 5-digit scheme and 5-digit sacks prepared for the DSCF price. There are no minimums for the Parcel Select DDU price.

    8.5.4 Minimum Height of Mail

    [Revise the introductory text of 8.5.4 to read as follows:]

    The definitions of the minimum height of mail used to qualify for DSCF Parcel Select prices are as follows:

    [Delete 8.19, Parcel Select—Origin Network Distribution Center (ONDC) Presort Discount, in its entirety and renumber 8.20 through 8.22 as 8.19 through 8.21.]

    18.0 Priority Mail Express Open and Distribute and Priority Mail Open and Distribute 18.1 Prices and Fees 18.1.5 Payment Method

    Postage payment methods are as follows:

    [Revise the first sentence in item b to read as follows:]

    b. Priority Mail Express postage may be paid under any of the options listed in 214.1.1. * * *

    [Revise the first sentence in item c to read as follows:]

    c. Priority Mail postage may be paid under any of the options listed in 224.1.1.1. * * *

    18.5 Preparation 18.5.1 Containers for Expedited Transport

    Acceptable containers for expedited transport are as follows:

    [Revise the text of item c to read as follows:]

    c. A Priority Mail Express or Priority Mail Open and Distribute shipment destined to a DDU may be contained in USPS-provided Priority Mail Express Flat Rate envelopes using the applicable label in 18.5.3a, or Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelopes and boxes using the applicable label in 18.5.3b.

    21.0 Optional Combined Parcel Mailings 21.2.2 Price Application

    Apply prices based on the criteria in 200 and the following standards:

    [Revise the text of item e to read as follows:]

    e. Parcel Select prices are based on the destination entry for pieces in 5-digit, 3-digit, ADC, or NDC containers.

    708 Technical Specifications 1.0 Standardized Documentation for First-Class Mail, Periodicals, Standard Mail, and Flat-Size Bound Printed Matter 1.3 Price Level Column Headings

    The actual name of the price level (or abbreviation) is used for column headings required by 1.2 and shown below:

    b. Presorted First-Class Mail, barcoded and nonbarcoded Periodicals flats, nonbarcoded Periodicals letters, and machinable and nonmachinable Standard Mail:

    [Revise the table under item b to read as follows:]

    Price Abbreviation Presorted [First-Class Mail letters/cards, flats, and parcels] Presort. 5-Digit [all Standard Mail and Periodicals letters] 5D. FSS [Periodicals flats, Standard Mail flats] SD. 3-Digit [all Standard Mail and Periodicals letters] 3D. SCF [for Standard Mail parcels] SCF. AADC [Standard Mail machinable letters] AB. ADC [Standard Mail nonmachinable letters, flats, and irregular parcels, and all Periodicals] AD. Basic [In-County Periodicals] BS. Mixed AADC [Standard Mail machinable letters] MB. Mixed ADC [Standard Mail nonmachinable letters, flats, irregular parcels; and all Periodicals] MD. NDC [Standard Mail machinable parcels and Marketing parcels 6 ounces and over] NDC. Mixed NDC [Standard Mail machinable parcels and Marketing parcels 6 ounces and over] MNDC. Firm [Outside-County Periodicals] FB. 6.0 Standards for Barcoded Tray Labels, Sack Labels, and Container Placards 6.2 Specifications for Barcoded Tray and Sack Labels 6.2.4 3-Digit Content Identifier Numbers Exhibit 6.2.4 3-Digit Content Identifier Numbers Priority Mail Open and Distribute

    [Delete the “First-Class Package Service, Parcels” section in its entirety.]

    First-Class Mail

    [Delete the “FC Parcels—Presorted” section in its entirety.]

    7.0 Optional Endorsement Lines (OELs) 7.2.5 ZIP Code Information Exhibit 7.2.5 OEL Labeling Lists First-Class Mail

    [Delete the “Parcels” line in its entirety from the “First-Class Mail” section.]

    Index and Appendices A Address Quality Standards, Parcels Move Update

    [Delete DMM reference 283.3.5]

    B Bundles of Parcels sacks

    [Delete the “First-Class Package Service” line under “sacks”.]

    D Documentation commercial parcels

    [Delete the “First-Class Package Service” line under “commercial parcels”.]

    E Entry commercial parcels

    [Revise “First-Class Mail” to read as “First-Class Package Service”.]

    F First-Class Package Service, Commercial Parcels

    [Revise the index of “First-Class Package Service”, commercial parcels to read as follows:]

    combined with other classes of mail, 703.9.0 computing postage, 283.1.1 content standards, 283.2.0 deposit of, 286.1.0 documentation, 284.3.0 eligibility standards, 283 incidental enclosure with another class of mail, 703.9.5 mail preparation, 285 markings required on each mailpiece general, 202.1.0 postage payment methods, 284 postage statements, 284.2.0 price eligibility, 283.4.0 size, 201.8.3 surcharge, 283.1.4 undeliverable mail, 507.1.5.1 weight, 201.8.3.1 ZIP Code accuracy, 283.3.5 L Labels sacks and trays commercial parcels

    [Delete the “First-Class Package Service” line under “commercial parcels”.]

    M Mailing Fees commercial parcels

    [Delete the “First-Class Package Service” line under “commercial parcels”.]

    Move Update Standard

    [Delete DMM reference 283.3.5 from the “commercial parcels” line.]

    P Parcel Select mail preparation

    [Delete the “NDC Presort prices on pallets” and “ONDC Presort prices” lines under “mail preparation”.]

    price eligibility

    [Delete the “NDC Presort prices” and “ONDC Presort prices” lines under “price eligibility”.]

    Presort Verification commercial parcels

    [Delete the “First-Class Package Service” line under “commercial parcels”.]

    Priority Mail

    [Delete the “Critical Mail” line under “Priority Mail”.]

    S Sacks

    [Delete the “First-Class Package Service” line under “sacks”.]

    We will publish an appropriate amendment to 39 CFR part 111 to reflect these changes.

    Stanley F. Mires, Attorney, Federal Compliance.
    [FR Doc. 2015-26920 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7710-12-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 62 [EPA-R02-OAR-2015-0509; FRL-9936-09-Region 2] Approval and Promulgation of State Plans for Designated Facilities; New York AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency is approving a request from the State of New York that EPA withdraw its approval of a provision of the New York State plan that implements and enforces the Emission Guidelines for existing sewage sludge incineration units. This action withdraws the EPA's approval of a provision of the State sewage sludge incineration plan allowing for affirmative defenses of Clean Air Act violations in the case of malfunctions. No other provision in the State plan is affected by this action.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective on November 25, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket ID No. EPA-R02-OAR-2015-0509. All documents in the docket are listed on the www.regulations.gov Web site. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, e.g., CBI or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, will be publicly available only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket materials are available either at www.regulations.gov or at the Environmental Protection Agency, Region 2 Office, Air Programs Branch, 290 Broadway, 25th Floor, New York, New York 10007-1866. The EPA requests, if at all possible, that you contact the individual in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section to view the docket. The Regional Office's official hours of business are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., excluding legal holidays.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Anthony (Ted) Gardella ([email protected]), Air Programs Branch, Environmental Protection Agency, 290 Broadway, 25th Floor, New York, New York 1007-1866, (212) 637-3892.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. What action is the EPA taking?

    The EPA is approving a request from the State of New York that EPA withdraw its approval of an affirmative defense provision in New York State's sewage sludge incineration (SSI) plan, based on a letter submitted by New York on January 27, 2015. New York State submitted the State SSI plan for EPA approval on July 1, 2013 to fulfill the requirements of sections 111(d) and 129 of the Clean Air Act (CAA). The EPA approved the proposed State SSI plan on June 11, 2014 (79 FR 33456). The State SSI plan adopts and implements the emission guidelines (EG) set forth at Title 40 part 60 subpart MMMM of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and is applicable to existing SSI units and establishes air emission limits and other requirements. Existing SSI units are units constructed on or before October 14, 2010.

    II. Which provision of the State SSI plan is EPA withdrawing approval of?

    New York State requested that the EPA withdraw its approval of a provision in the State SSI plan that allows for an affirmative defense by an owner/operator of an affected SSI unit for violations of air emissions or other requirements of the State's plan in the event of malfunction(s) of the SSI unit. The EPA's withdrawal of its prior approval, once finalized and effective, results in the removal of the affirmative defense provision from the federally-enforceable State SSI plan while maintaining the federal enforceability of the remainder of the State SSI plan for covered SSI units located in New York State.

    New York's State SSI plan adopted by reference all the applicable requirements of the EPA's SSI EG, including the affirmative defense provisions at § 60.5181, into its State plan at Part 200 of Title 6 of the New York Code of Rules and Regulations (6NYCRR) of the State of New York, entitled “General Provisions.”

    For further details concerning today's action, the reader is referred to the EPA's proposed rule published in the Federal Register on August 24, 2015 (80 FR 51170).

    III. What comments were received on the proposed approval and how has the EPA responded to them?

    There were no comments received on EPA's proposed rulemaking (80 FR 51170, August 24, 2015) regarding the EPA's withdrawal of its prior approval of the affirmative defense provision in New York State's SSI plan. The 30-day public comment period on EPA's proposed approval ended on September 23, 2015.

    IV. What is the EPA's Conclusion?

    The EPA has evaluated New York's January 27, 2015 request for consistency with the CAA, as well as the EPA's regulations and policy. Therefore, the EPA is approving to withdraw its approval of the affirmative defense provision of New York's State SSI plan, which the EPA approved on June 11, 2014 (79 FR 33456) as part of New York's sections 111(d) and 129 State SSI plan for existing sewage sludge incineration units. No other provisions in the New York State SSI plan is affected by this approval.

    The EPA has determined that New York State's SSI plan will continue to meet all the applicable approval criteria if EPA withdraws its approval of the affirmative defense provision. First, the removal of the affirmative defense provision is consistent with the DC Circuit's decision in Natural Resources Defense Council v. Environmental Protection Agency, 749 F3d 1055 (D.C. Cir. April 18, 2014), as described in the EPA's proposed rulemaking (80 FR 51170, August 24, 2015). Second, a state plan must be at least as protective as the emissions guidelines promulgated by the EPA, and the removal of the affirmative defense provision from the approved state plan does not render the plan less protective, as it removes a potential defense to a violation resulting from a malfunction.

    V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

    Under the CAA, the Administrator is required to approve a 111(d)/129 plan submission that complies with the provisions of the Act and applicable Federal regulations. 40 CFR 62.04. Thus, in reviewing 111(d)/129 plan submissions, EPA's role is to approve state choices, provided that they meet the criteria of the CAA. Accordingly, this action merely approves state law as meeting Federal requirements and does not impose additional requirements beyond those imposed by state law. For that reason, this action:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The 111(d)/129 plan is not approved to apply on any Indian reservation land or in any other area where EPA or an Indian tribe has demonstrated that a tribe has jurisdiction. In those areas of Indian Nation Land, 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 (65FR67249, November 9, 2000).

    The Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 801 et seq., as added by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, generally provides that before a rule may take effect, the agency promulgating the rule must submit a rule report, which includes a copy of the rule, to each House of the Congress and to the Comptroller General of the United States. EPA will submit a report containing this action and other required information to the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Comptroller General of the United States prior to publication of the rule in the Federal Register. A major rule cannot take effect until 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register. This action is not a “major rule” as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804(2).

    Under section 307(b)(1) of the Clean Air Act, petitions for judicial review of this action must be filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the appropriate circuit by December 28, 2015. Filing a petition for reconsideration by the Administrator of this final rule does not affect the finality of this action for the purposes of judicial review nor does it extend the time within which a petition for judicial review may be filed, and shall not postpone the effectiveness of such rule or action. This action may not be challenged later in proceedings to enforce its requirements. (See section 307(b)(2)).

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 62

    Environmental protection, Administrative practice and procedure, Air pollution control, Aluminum, Fertilizers, Fluoride, Intergovernmental relations, Paper and paper products industry, Phosphate, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Sulfur oxides, Sulfur acid plants, Waste treatment and disposal.

    Dated: October 14, 2015. Judith A. Enck, Regional Administrator, Region 2.

    40 CFR part 62 is amended as follows:

    PART 62—APPROVAL AND PROMULGATION OF STATE PLANS FOR DESIGNATED FACILITIES AND POLLUTANTS 1. The authority citation for part 62 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Subpart HH—New York 2. Section 62.8108 is amended by adding paragraphs (d) and (e) to read as follows:
    § 62.8108 Identification of plan.

    (d) On January 27, 2015, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) a request to revise its section 111(d)/129 plan for implementation and enforcement of 40 CFR part 60, subpart MMMM—Emission Guidelines and Compliance Times for Existing Sewage Sludge Incineration (SSI) Units submitted on July 1, 2013 and approved by the EPA on June 11, 2014 (79 FR 33456). NYSDEC's January 27, 2015 revision consisted of a request that EPA withdraw its June 11, 2013 approval of the affirmative defense provision as part of its State SSI plan, submitted to EPA for approval on July 1, 2013.

    (e) The effective date of EPA's approval of NYSDEC's revised plan for existing sewage sludge incineration units is November 25, 2015.

    [FR Doc. 2015-27166 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Federal Emergency Management Agency 44 CFR Part 67 [Docket ID FEMA-2015-0001] Final Flood Elevation Determinations AGENCY:

    Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    Base (1% annual-chance) Flood Elevations (BFEs) and modified BFEs are made final for the communities listed below. The BFEs and modified BFEs are the basis for the floodplain management measures that each community is required either to adopt or to show evidence of being already in effect in order to qualify or remain qualified for participation in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

    DATES:

    The date of issuance of the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) showing BFEs and modified BFEs for each community. This date may be obtained by contacting the office where the maps are available for inspection as indicated in the table below.

    ADDRESSES:

    The final BFEs for each community are available for inspection at the office of the Chief Executive Officer of each community. The respective addresses are listed in the table below.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Luis Rodriguez, Chief, Engineering Management Branch, Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, Federal Emergency Management Agency, 500 C Street SW., Washington, DC 20472, (202) 646-4064, or (email) [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) makes the final determinations listed below for the modified BFEs for each community listed. These modified elevations have been published in newspapers of local circulation and ninety (90) days have elapsed since that publication. The Deputy Associate Administrator for Mitigation has resolved any appeals resulting from this notification.

    This final rule is issued in accordance with section 110 of the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973, 42 U.S.C. 4104, and 44 CFR part 67. FEMA has developed criteria for floodplain management in floodprone areas in accordance with 44 CFR part 60.

    Interested lessees and owners of real property are encouraged to review the proof Flood Insurance Study and FIRM available at the address cited below for each community. The BFEs and modified BFEs are made final in the communities listed below. Elevations at selected locations in each community are shown.

    National Environmental Policy Act. This final rule is categorically excluded from the requirements of 44 CFR part 10, Environmental Consideration. An environmental impact assessment has not been prepared.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act. As flood elevation determinations are not within the scope of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601-612, a regulatory flexibility analysis is not required.

    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 final rule involves no policies that have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132.

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

    List of Subjects in 44 CFR Part 67

    Administrative practice and procedure, Flood insurance, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Dated: October 8, 2015. Roy E. Wright, Deputy Associate Administrator for Insurance and Mitigation, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency.

    Accordingly, 44 CFR part 67 is amended as follows:

    PART 67—[AMENDED] 1. The authority citation for part 67 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.

    § 67.11 [Amended]
    2. The tables published under the authority of § 67.11 are amended as follows: Flooding source(s) Location of referenced elevation * Elevation in feet (NGVD)
  • + Elevation in feet (NAVD)
  • # Depth in feet above ground
  • ⁁ Elevation in
  • meters (MSL)
  • Modified
  • Communities affected
    St. Charles County, Missouri, and Incorporated Areas Docket Nos.: FEMA-B-1062 and B-1167 Baltic Creek At the confluence with Dardenne Creek +470 City of Cottleville, City of St. Peters, City of Weldon Spring, Unincorporated Areas of St. Charles County. Approximately 0.7 mile upstream of the confluence with Tributary 7 +492 Blanchette Creek (Backwater from Missouri River) Just downstream of Katy Trail/Abandoned Railroad +455 City of St. Charles, Unincorporated Areas of St. Charles County. At the confluence with the Missouri River +455 Boschert Creek At the confluence with Cole Creek +441 City of St. Charles, Unincorporated Areas of St. Charles County. Approximately 0.6 mile upstream of Sibley Street +532 Cole Creek Approximately 0.4 mile upstream of the confluence with Boschert Creek +443 City of St. Charles. Approximately 800 feet upstream of Graystone Drive +529 Crooked Creek At the confluence with Dardenne Creek +475 City of Cottleville, City of O'Fallon, City of Weldon Spring, Unincorporated Areas of St. Charles County. Approximately 0.7 mile upstream of I-64 +574 Crystal Springs Creek (Backwater from Missouri River) At the confluence with the Missouri River +457 City of St. Charles, Unincorporated Areas of St. Charles County. Approximately 871 feet upstream of South River Road +457 Cunningham Branch At the confluence with Dardenne Creek +535 City of O'Fallon, Unincorporated Areas of St. Charles County. Approximately 1,250 feet upstream of State Highway D +644 Dardenne Creek Approximately 400 feet downstream of Norfold Southern Railroad +444 City of Cottleville, City of O'Fallon, City of St. Peters, Town of Dardenne Prairie, Unincorporated Areas of St. Charles County. Approximately 2.3 miles upstream of Oberhelman Road +748 Duckett Creek (Overflow from Missouri River) At the confluence with the Missouri River +462 Unincorporated Areas of St. Charles County. Approximately 0.5 miles upstream of Jungs Station Road +463 East Branch Spencer Creek At the confluence with Spencer Creek +458 City of St. Peters. Just downstream of Boone Hills Drive +503 East Branch Tributary B At the confluence with Dardenne Creek +480 City of Cottleville, City of O'Fallon, Unincorporated Areas of St. Charles County. Approximately 150 feet upstream of State Highway K +525 East Cole Creek At the confluence with Cole Creek +457 City of St. Charles. Approximately 600 feet upstream of Canary Lane +478 Femme Osage Creek (Backwater from Missouri River) Approximately 0.4 miles downstream of State Highway 94 +476 Unincorporated Areas of St. Charles County. Approximately 1.4 miles downstream of Defiance Road +476 Kraut Run At the confluence with Dardenne Creek +506 Unincorporated Areas of St. Charles County. Approximately 1,000 feet upstream of Wilson Road +607 Lake Sainte Louise Entire shoreline within community +546 City of Lake St. Louis. Little Dardenne Creek At the confluence with Dardenne Creek +554 Unincorporated Areas of St. Charles County. Approximately 0.9 mile upstream of Morrison Lane +719 Mississippi River At the St. Charles County, Missouri/St. Louis County, Missouri/Madison County, Illinois county boundary, approximately 6.2 miles downstream of Melvin Price Lock and Dam +434 City of O'Fallon, City of Portage Des Sioux, City of St. Charles, City of St. Paul, City of St. Peters, Town of West Alton, Unincorporated Areas of St. Charles County. At the St. Charles County/Lincoln County boundary, approximately 3.0 miles upstream of confluence with Peruue Creek +444 Missouri River At the St. Charles County, Missouri/St. Louis County, Missouri/Madison County, Illinois county boundary, approximately 7.4 miles downstream of the Lewis Bridge +434 City of St. Charles, City of Weldon Spring, Town of West Alton, Town of Augusta, Unincorporated Areas of St. Charles County. Near the St. Charles County/Warren County boundary, approximately 22.3 miles upstream of the Daniel Boone Bridge +492 Oday Creek At the confluence with Dardenne Creek +505 City of Lake St. Louis, City of O'Fallon, City of St. Charles, Unincorporated Areas of St. Charles County. Approximately 425 feet upstream of State Highway N +587 Old Dardenne Creek At the confluence with Dardenne Creek +486 Town of Dardenne Prairie, City of O'Fallon, City of St. Charles, Unincorporated Areas of St. Charles County. Approximately 350 feet upstream of U.S. Route 40/61 +502 Peruque Creek Approximately 0.3 mile downstream of State Highway Z +530 City of Foristell, City of Wentzville, Unincorporated Areas of St. Charles County. Approximately 1.3 miles upstream of State Highway T +630 Peruque Creek Tributary 12 At the confluence with Peruque Creek +471 City of St. Paul, Unincorporated Areas of St. Charles County. Approximately 0.4 mile upstream of Meadow Farm Lane +527 Peruque Creek Tributary 14 Approximately 0.2 mile upstream of the confluence with Peruque Creek +464 City of O'Fallon, Unincorporated Areas of St. Charles County. Approximately 1,000 feet upstream of Civic Park Drive +512 Peruque Creek Tributary 15 Approximately 900 feet upstream of the confluence with Peruque Creek +464 City of O'Fallon. Approximately 1,300 feet upstream of Main Street +507 Peruque Creek Tributary 2 At the confluence with Peruque Creek +613 City of Foristell, Unincorporated Areas of St. Charles County. Approximately 600 feet upstream of State Highway T +734 Peruque Creek Tributary 8 Approximately 1.0 mile upstream of the confluence with Peruque Creek +505 City of Lake St. Louis, City of Wentzville. Approximately 0.6 mile upstream of I-70 +546 Peruque Creek Tributary 9 Approximately 1.0 mile upstream of the confluence with Peruque Creek +505 City of Lake St. Louis, Unincorporated Areas of St. Charles County. Approximately 0.4 mile upstream of Henke Road +539 Sandfort Creek Just downstream of Norfolk Southern Railroad +442 City of St. Charles, Unincorporated Areas of St. Charles County. Approximately 350 feet downstream of Muegge Road +497 Schote Creek At the confluence with Dardenne Creek +481 City of O'Fallon, Town of Dardenne Prairie, Unincorporated Areas of St. Charles County. Approximately 1.6 miles upstream of U.S. Route 40/61 +583 Spencer Creek Approximately 365 feet upstream of the railroad +444 City of St. Peters, Unincorporated Areas of St. Charles County. Approximately 1,200 feet upstream of Millwood Drive +526 Taylor Branch (Backwater from Missouri River) At the confluence with the Missouri River +460 City of St. Charles, Unincorporated Areas of St. Charles County. Approximately 0.6 miles upstream of South River Road +460 Tributary A At the confluence with Dardenne Creek +469 City of St. Peters, Unincorporated Areas of St. Charles County. Approximately 500 feet upstream of Starlight Drive +536 Tributary No. 1 At the confluence with Dardenne Creek +464 City of St. Peters, Unincorporated Areas of St. Charles County. Approximately 400 feet upstream of Harris Drive +473 Tributary No. 13 At the confluence with Dardenne Creek +486 Town of Dardenne Prairie, City of O'Fallon. Approximately 700 feet upstream of McClure Road +508 Tributary No. 15 At the confluence with Dardenne Creek +495 Town of Dardenne Prairie, City of O'Fallon, Unincorporated Areas of St. Charles County. Approximately 300 feet upstream of Keystone Crossing Drive +567 Tributary No. 17 Approximately 0.8 mile upstream of the confluence with Dardenne Creek +522 City of O'Fallon, Unincorporated Areas of St. Charles County. Approximately 900 feet upstream of Hopewell Road +895 Tributary No. 19 Approximately 1,300 feet upstream of the confluence with Dardenne Creek +505 Unincorporated Areas of St. Charles County. Approximately 2.1 miles upstream of the confluence with Dardenne Creek +573 Tributary No. 2 Just upstream of Ohmes Road +465 City of St. Peters. Approximately 0.5 mile upstream of Ohmes Road +478 Tributary No. 3 At the confluence with Tributary A +469 Unincorporated Areas of St. Charles County. Approximately 0.8 mile upstream of St. Peters-Howell Road +503 Tributary No. 4 At the confluence with Tributary A +469 City of St. Peters, Unincorporated Areas of St. Charles County. Approximately 1,150 upstream of Woodstream Drive +509 Tributary No. 7 At the confluence with Baltic Creek +482 City of St. Peters, City of Weldon Spring. Approximately 0.8 mile upstream of Pitmann Hill Road +504 Tributary No. 9 At the confluence with Crooked Creek +480 City of Weldon Spring, Unincorporated Areas of St. Charles County. Approximately 0.5 mile upstream of Guthermuth Road +497 West Branch Spencer Creek At the confluence with Spencer Creek +450 Unincorporated Areas of St. Charles County. Approximately 400 feet upstream of Willott Road +510 West Branch Tributary B At the confluence with East Branch Tributary B +489 Town of Dardenne Prairie. Approximately 150 feet upstream of Bryan Road +622 West Sandfort Creek At the confluence with Sandfort Creek +450 City of St. Charles, Unincorporated Areas of St. Charles County. Approximately 1,400 feet upstream of Harry S. Truman Boulevard +459 * National Geodetic Vertical Datum. + North American Vertical Datum. # Depth in feet above ground. ⁁ Mean Sea Level, rounded to the nearest 0.1 meter. ADDRESSES City of Cottleville Maps are available for inspection at City Hall, 5490 5th Street, Cottleville, MO 63338. City of Foristell Maps are available for inspection at City Hall, 121 Mulberry Street, Foristell, MO 63348. City of Lake St. Louis Maps are available for inspection at City Hall, 200 Civic Center Drive, Lake St. Louis, MO 63367. City of O'Fallon Maps are available for inspection at City Hall, 100 North Main Street, O'Fallon, MO 63366. City of Portage Des Sioux Maps are available for inspection at the County Adminstration Building, 201 North 2nd Street, Room 420, St. Charles, MO 63301. City of St. Charles Maps are available for inspection at City Hall, 200 North 2nd Street, St. Charles, MO 63301. City of St. Paul Maps are available for inspection at City Hall, 2300 St. Paul Road, St. Paul, MO 63366. City of St. Peters Maps are available for inspection at City Hall, 1 St. Peters Centre Boulevard, St. Peters, MO 63376. City of Weldon Spring Maps are available for inspection at City Hall, 5401 Independence Road, Weldon Spring, MO 63304. City of Wentzville Maps are available for inspection at City Hall, 310 West Pearce Boulevard, Wentzville, MO 63385. Town of Dardenne Prairie Maps are available for inspection at Town Hall, 2032 Hanley Road, Dardenne Prairie, MO 63368. Town of West Alton Maps are available for inspection at 201 North 2nd Street, Room 420, St. Charles, MO 63301. Unincorporated Areas of St. Charles County Maps are available for inspection at the County Adminstration Building, 201 North 2nd Street, Room 420, St. Charles, MO 63301. Town of Augusta Maps are available for inspection at Town Hall, 239 Green Street, Augusta, MO 63332.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27186 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-12-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 46 CFR Part 15 [Docket No. USCG-2015-0758] RIN 1625-AC25 Offshore Supply Vessels, Towing Vessel, and Barge Engine Rating Watches AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Direct final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This direct final rule amends the Coast Guard's merchant mariner manning regulations to align them with statutory changes made by the Howard Coble Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014. The Act allows oilers serving on certain offshore support vessels, towing vessels, and barges to be divided into at least two watches. This change increases the sea service credit affected mariners are permitted to earn for each 12-hour period of work from one day to one and a half days.

    DATES:

    This direct final rule will be effective January 25, 2016 unless the Coast Guard receives adverse comment by December 28, 2015. If an adverse comment is received, the Coast Guard will publish a timely withdrawal of the direct final rule in the Federal Register informing the public the rule will not take effect.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG-2015-0758 using the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. See the “Comments” portion of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for further instructions on submitting comments.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions on this rule, email or call Mr. Davis Breyer, Marine Personnel Qualifications Division (CG-OES-1), Coast Guard; email [email protected], telephone (202) 372-1445.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Comments

    If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this rulemaking, indicate the specific section of this document to which each comment applies, and provide a reason for each suggestion or recommendation. If your material cannot be submitted using http://www.regulations.gov, contact the person in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document for alternate instructions. Documents mentioned in this notice, and all public comments, are in our online docket at http://www.regulations.gov and can be viewed by following that Web site's instructions. All comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov and will include any personal information you have provided. For more about privacy and the docket, you may review a Privacy Act notice regarding the Federal Docket Management System in the March 24, 2005, issue of the Federal Register (70 FR 15086).

    II. Abbreviations CFR Code of Federal Regulations DHS Department of Homeland Security FR Federal Register NPRM Notice of proposed rulemaking OMB Office of Management and Budget QMED Qualified Member of the Engine Department RFA Regulatory Flexibility Act The Secretary The Secretary of Homeland Security Sec. 316 Section 316 of the Howard Coble Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014 U.S.C. United States Code III. Basis and Purpose A. Basis

    The changes to 46 CFR 15.705 made by this rule are required by 46 U.S.C. 8104 as amended by Sec. 316 of the Howard Coble Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014 (Pub. L. 113-281, December 18, 2014). Under Title 46 of the United States Code, Sec. 2103, the Secretary of Homeland Security (the Secretary) has general authority over the merchant marine of the United States and merchant marine personnel. The Secretary delegated the authority for determining minimum manning standards to the Commandant of the Coast Guard in Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1, paragraph 92.

    B. Purpose

    The purpose of this rule is to conform regulations to the amended statute and clarify that oilers on covered vessels are entitled to receive an equitable amount of sea service credit.

    IV. Discussion of the Rule

    The Howard Coble Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014, sec. 316, amended 46 U.S.C. 8104(g)(1) by allowing coal passers, firemen, oilers, and water tenders serving on offshore supply vessels, towing vessels, and barges engaged in seagoing voyages of less than 600 miles to be divided into at least two watches. Previously, only officers and other deck crew members on those vessels were divided into two watches.

    46 CFR 10.107 and 10.232(h)(2) provide in the definition of “Day” that “[o]n vessels authorized by 46 U.S.C. 8104 and 46 CFR 15.705 to operate a two-watch system, a 12-hour working day may be creditable as 11/2 days of service.” Regulations at 46 CFR 15.705(c)(1), however, still do not authorize mariners affected by sec. 316 to be divided into two watches. In order to align the regulations with the amended statute, this direct final rule revises 46 CFR 15.705(c)(1) by deleting the clause “(except the coal passers, firemen, oilers, and water tenders)”.

    Similarly, sec. 316 also updated 46 U.S.C. 8104(d) by deleting the words “coal passers, firemen, . . . and watertenders.” The changes related to those terms simplify the statute. To update the corresponding regulations and align them with the revised statute, this rule also makes similar changes to 46 CFR 15.705(b).

    This rule makes existing regulations consistent with the statute and clarifies the sea service credit of maritime personnel on affected vessels, which have for many years operated on a two-watch system, both on deck and in the engine room. Specifically, the revised regulations make clear that typical sea service credit for upgrades toward engineering licenses for oilers is 11/2 days for each 12-hour period worked, as it is for personnel aboard the same vessels working toward deck licenses and upgrades. The effect of these changes is that all qualified members of the engine department on covered vessels are permitted to divide into two watches, and will be given proper credit for 12 hours of work in accordance with the amended statute.

    Revision of our regulations without delay is necessary because misalignment between the amended statute and the corresponding regulations causes confusion, and delay could have a negative impact on the sea service credit and career advancement of oilers on affected vessels. Additionally, the Coast Guard must conform its regulations to the revised statute, and is exercising no discretion in doing so because this rule will only mirror amended statutory language. For these reasons, the rule is expected to be uncontroversial, and adverse comment is unlikely.

    V. Direct Final Rule

    A direct final rule is appropriate when a rule is noncontroversial and unlikely to result in adverse public comment. The Coast Guard considered publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking, but is pursuing a direct final rule because it will better serve the regulated mariners and industry by correcting the misalignment between the regulations and statue more quickly. If no adverse comment is received by December 28, 2015, this rule will become effective as stated in the DATES section.1 In that case, we will publish a document in the Federal Register stating that no adverse comment was received and confirming that this rule will become effective as scheduled. However, if we receive an adverse comment, we will publish a document in the Federal Register announcing the withdrawal of all or part of this direct final rule. If an adverse comment applies only to part of this rule (e.g., to an amendment, a paragraph, or a section) and it is possible to remove that part without defeating the purpose of this rule, we may adopt, as final, those parts of this rule on which no adverse comment was received. We will withdraw the part of this rule that was the subject of an adverse comment. If we decide to proceed with a rulemaking following receipt of an adverse comment, we will publish a separate notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) and provide a new opportunity for comment. A comment is considered “adverse” if the comment explains why this rule or a part of this rule would be inappropriate, including a challenge to its underlying premise or approach, or would be ineffective or unacceptable without a change.

    1 33 CFR 1.05-55 provides that a direct final rule effective date is “generally at least 90 days after the date of publication” and “[t]he public will usually be given at least 60 days” to submit comments.

    VI. Regulatory Analyses

    The Coast Guard developed this direct final rule after considering numerous statutes and executive orders related to this rulemaking. Below, the Coast Guard summarizes its analyses based on these statutes or executive orders.

    A. Regulatory Planning and Review

    Executive Orders 12866 (“Regulatory Planning and Review”) and 13563 (“Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review”) direct agencies to assess the costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). Executive Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility. This direct final rule has not been designated a “significant regulatory action”, under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866. Accordingly, the direct final rule has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). A regulatory assessment of the direct final rule follows.

    This direct final rule conforms Coast Guard regulations to sec. 316, which eliminated the exception of engine ratings originally found within 46 U.S.C. 8104(g)(1). Sec. 316 amended 46 U.S.C. 8104(g)(1) to allow coal passers, firemen, oilers, and water tenders serving on certain offshore support vessels, towing vessels, and barges to be divided into at least two watches. In order to align the regulations with the amended statute, this rule will revise 46 CFR 15.705(b) by deleting the words “coal passers, firemen, . . . and water tenders,” and 46 CFR 15.705(c)(1) by deleting the words “except the coal passers, firemen, oilers, and water tenders.”

    Affected Population

    The changes in 46 CFR 15.705(c)(1) clarify that the sea service credit afforded to all qualified members of the engine department, on certain offshore support vessels, towing vessels and barges is consistent with revised 46 U.S.C. 8104(g)(1). The National Maritime Center of the Coast Guard identified approximately 18,721 such mariners holding valid licenses as of the end of 2014. This figure constitutes the total number of mariners that this rule could affect and includes valid licenses for Unlicensed Engine Ratings and QMED with a variety of job descriptions. Before the statute was amended, these unlicensed mariners could not be divided into two watches to work 12-hour shifts and, therefore, could not receive 11/2-day sea service credit for 12 hours of work that licensed mariners both on deck and in the engine room are allowed. The changes in 46 CFR 15.705(b) align with revised 46 U.S.C. 8104(d) by removing the coal passer, fireman, and watertender exceptions to simplify the statute and regulations.

    Costs

    This direct final rule will result in no adverse impacts or costs to the industry and affected mariners. On the contrary, the industry is urging speedy revision of our regulations because delaying this rule would have a negative impact on the sea service credit and career advancement of affected mariners due to confusion caused by conflicting statutory and regulatory provisions. This rule will not result in a change to the Coast Guard's budget and it will not increase federal spending.

    Benefits

    The direct final rule aligns Coast Guard regulations with the amended statute and clarifies that affected mariners are entitled to benefits allowed by 46 CFR 10.107 and 10.232(h)(2). The primary benefit of this rule is to reduce confusion and clarify that affected mariners are allowed to receive 11/2 days sea service credit for working 12-hour shifts on a two watch schedule that can be utilized for career advancement and renewal. Additionally, by making the accrual of sea service credit comparable to other mariners serving on the same vessels, vessel owners will have greater assurance of having a steady supply of mariners with higher ratings that are required to operate offshore supply vessels.

    Alternatives

    The Coast Guard considered four alternatives for this direct final rule:

    • Alternative 1: No action • Alternative 2: Delayed Action • Alternative 3: Develop Policy

    The no-action alternative (Alternative 1) would cause confusion because it would leave regulations in place that contradict the new statute. Therefore, the Coast Guard rejected this alternative.

    The Coast Guard rejected the delayed-action alternative (Alternative 2) for the same reason. The misalignment between 46 U.S.C. 8104 and the corresponding regulations is causing confusion among mariners, and there is no discernible advantage in delay.

    The develop policy alternative (Alternative 3) could grant the affected engine ratings the same sea service credit as the officers and deck ratings aboard the affected vessels. The Coast Guard rejected this alternative, however, because policy properly provides either: guidance about accepted methods for meeting regulations; or short term solutions, within the limits of existing regulations, to provide relief until amended regulations can be promulgated.

    In this case, the time and effort required by the Coast Guard to develop and publish relevant policy would equal or exceed that expected to amend the regulation with a direct final rule. In addition, after publishing the policy, the regulation would still require amendment to be consistent with the statute. Therefore, the Coast Guard rejected this alternative.

    B. Small Entities

    In accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601-612), the Coast Guard prepared this Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (RFA) that examines the impacts of this direct final rule on small entities (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). Under the RFA, we have considered whether this rule will have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The term of “small entities” comprises small businesses, not-for-profit organizations that are independently owned and operated and are not dominant in their fields, and governmental jurisdictions with populations of fewer than 50,000.

    The direct final rule will regulate mariners who are individually responsible for obtaining their appropriate sea service credit for career advancement. In addition, current and future mariners will not incur any costs to comply with this rule. Finally, individuals, such as the mariners regulated by this rule, are not small entities under the definition of a small entity in the RFA. Therefore, we certify that this direct final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under section 605(b) of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

    The Coast Guard is interested in the potential impacts from this direct final rule on small businesses and we request public comment on these potential impacts. If you think that your business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction qualifies as a small entity and that this rulemaking would have a significant economic impact on it, please submit a comment to the address under ADDRESSES. In your comment, explain why you think it qualifies and how, and to what degree this rule would economically affect it.

    C. Assistance for Small Entities

    Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-121), the Coast Guard wants to assist small entities in understanding this rule so that they can better evaluate its effects on them and participate in the rulemaking. If the rule would affect your small business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction and you have questions concerning its provisions or options for compliance, please consult Mr. Davis Breyer, Maritime Personnel Qualifications Division (CG-OES-1), Coast Guard; email [email protected], telephone (202) 372-1445. The Coast Guard will not retaliate against small entities that question or complain about this rule or any policy or action of the Coast Guard.

    Small businesses may send comments on the actions of Federal employees who enforce, or otherwise determine compliance with, Federal regulations to the Small Business and Agriculture Regulatory Enforcement Ombudsman and the Regional Small Business Regulatory Fairness Boards. The Ombudsman evaluates these actions annually and rates each agency's responsiveness to small business. If you wish to comment on actions by employees of the Coast Guard, call 1-888-REG-FAIR (1-888-734-3247).

    D. Collection of Information

    This rule calls for no new collection of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520).

    E. Federalism

    A rule has implications for federalism under Executive Order 13132, Federalism, if it has a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. The Coast Guard has analyzed this rule under that Order and has determined that it is consistent with the fundamental federalism principles and preemption requirements described in Executive Order 13132. It is well settled that States may not regulate in categories reserved for regulation by the Coast Guard. It is also well settled that all of the categories covered in 46 U.S.C. 3306, 3703, 7101, and 8101 (design, construction, alteration, repair, maintenance, operation, equipping, personnel qualification, and manning of covered vessels), as well as the reporting of casualties and any other category in which Congress intended the Coast Guard to be the sole source of a vessel's obligations, are within the field foreclosed from regulation by the States. (See the decision of the Supreme Court in the consolidated cases of United States v. Locke and Intertanko v. Locke, 529 U.S. 89, 120 S.Ct. 1135 (2000)). Since this rule involves the documentation of merchant mariners manning covered U.S. vessels, it is a matter of personnel qualifications, which is a field reserved for regulation by the Coast Guard. Because States may not promulgate rules within this category, the rule is consistent with the principles of federalism and preemption requirements in Executive Order 13132.

    F. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

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

    G. Taking of Private Property

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

    H. Civil Justice Reform

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

    I. Protection of Children

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

    J. Indian Tribal Governments

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

    K. Energy Effects

    The Coast Guard has analyzed this rule under Executive Order 13211, Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use. The Coast Guard has determined that it is not a “significant energy action” under that order because it is not a “significant regulatory action” under E.O. 12866 and is not likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy. The Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs has not designated it as a significant energy action. Therefore, it does not require a Statement of Energy Effects under Executive Order 13211.

    L. Technical Standards

    The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) (15 U.S.C. 272 note) directs agencies to use voluntary consensus standards in their regulatory activities unless the agency provides Congress, through the OMB, with an explanation of why using these standards would be inconsistent with applicable law or otherwise impractical. Voluntary consensus standards are technical standards (e.g., specifications of materials, performance, design, or operation; test methods; sampling procedures; and related management systems practices) that are developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies.

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

    M. Environment

    The Coast Guard has analyzed this rule under DHS Management Directive 023-01 and Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, which guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and has concluded that this action is one of a category of actions that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. This rule is categorically excluded under section 2.B.2, figure 2-1, paragraph (34) (a) and (c) of the Instruction. This rule involves procedural changes and the licensing of mariners under sec. 316. An environmental analysis checklist and a categorical exclusion determination are available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES.

    List of Subjects in 46 CFR Part 15

    Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Seamen, Vessels.

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard amends 46 CFR part 15 as follows:

    PART 15—MANNING REQUIREMENTS 1. The authority citation for part 15 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    46 U.S.C. 2101, 2103, 3306, 3703, 8101, 8102, 8104, 8105, 8301, 8304, 8502, 8503, 8701, 8702, 8901, 8902, 8903, 8904, 8905(b), 8906, 9102, and 8103; sec. 617, Pub. L. 111-281, 124 Stat. 2905; and Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1.

    § 15.705 Watches.
    2. Amend § 15.705 as follows: a. In paragraph (b), remove the words “, coal passers, firemen, oilers, and watertenders” and add in their place the words “, and oilers”; and b. In paragraph (c)(1) introductory text, remove the words “(except the coal passers, firemen, oilers, and watertenders)”.
    J.G. Lantz, Director, Commercial Regulations and Standards, U.S. Coast Guard.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27062 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    80 206 Monday, October 26, 2015 Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY 10 CFR Part 430 [Docket No. EERE-2015-BT-STD-0003] RIN 1904-AD49 Energy Conservation Standards for Pool Heaters AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice of data availability (NODA).

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has completed a preliminary analysis for purposes of considering energy conservation standards for electric pool heaters. At this time, DOE is not proposing energy conservation standards for electric pool heaters. However, it is publishing this analysis so stakeholders can review the analysis's output and the underlining assumptions and calculations that might ultimately support a proposed standard. DOE encourages stakeholders to provide any additional data or information that may improve the analysis. The analysis is now publicly available at on the DOE Web site.

    DATES:

    DOE will accept comments, data, and other information regarding this rulemaking no later than December 10, 2015. See section IV, “Public Participation,” of this document for details.

    ADDRESSES:

    The direct heating equipment and pool heater docket (EERE-2015-BT-STD-0003) is available for review at www.regulations.gov. It includes relevant Federal Register notices, the Request for Information, public comments, and other relevant documents/materials. All documents in the docket are listed in the www.regulations.gov index. However, not all documents listed in the index may be publicly available, such as information that is exempt from public disclosure. The www.regulations.gov Web page contains instructions on how to access all documents in the docket, including public comments.

    Also, the DOE Web page for pool heaters (which includes additional information about existing standards and test procedures, and the history and impacts of previous DOE regulatory actions for these products) may be viewed at http://www1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/appliance_standards/product.aspx/productid/47 and contains links to the aforementioned docket.

    For detailed instructions on submitting comments and additional information on the rulemaking process, see section IV, “Public Participation,” of this document. For further information on how to submit a comment or to review other public comments and the docket contact Ms. Brenda Edwards at (202) 586-2945 or by email: [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. John Cymbalsky, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Building Technologies, EE-5B, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585-0121. Telephone: (202) 287-1692. Email: [email protected] Ms. Sarah Butler, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of the General Counsel, GC-33, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585-0121. Telephone: (202) 586-1777. Email: [email protected]

    For information on how to submit or review public comments, contact Ms. Brenda Edwards, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Building Technologies, EE-5B, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585-0121. Telephone: (202) 586-2945. Email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Table of Contents I. Authority II. History of Energy Conservation Standards Rulemaking for Pool Heaters A. Background B. Current Rulemaking Process III. Summary of the Analyses Performed by DOE A. Market and Technology Assessment B. Engineering Analysis C. Markups To Determine Commercial Consumer Prices D. Energy Use Analysis E. Life-Cycle Cost and Payback Period Analyses F. National Impact Analysis IV. Public Participation A. Submission of Comments V. Approval of the Office of the Secretary I. Authority

    Title III, Part B 1 of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (“EPCA” or “the Act”), Public Law 94-163 (codified at 42 U.S.C. 6291-6309) sets forth a variety of provisions designed to improve energy efficiency and establishes the Energy Conservation Program for Consumer Products Other Than Automobiles.2 This program includes most major household appliances (collectively referred to as “covered products”), including the two covered products that are the subject of this rulemaking process: Direct heating equipment (DHE) and pool heaters.3 (42 U.S.C. 6292(a)(9) and (11)) Under EPCA, this energy conservation program generally consists of four parts: (1) Testing; (2) labeling; (3) establishing Federal energy conservation standards; and (4) certification and enforcement procedures.

    1 For editorial reasons, upon codification in the U.S. Code, Part B was redesignated as Part A.

    2 All references to EPCA in this document refer to the statute as amended through the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act, Public Law 114-11 (April 30, 2015).

    3 A “pool heater” means “an appliance designed for heating nonpotable water contained at atmospheric pressure, including heating water in swimming pools, spas, hot tubs and similar application.” (42 U.S.C. 6291(25)) This definition of coverage does not specify a fuel type, and so electric pool heaters are considered to be covered products under EPCA even though energy conservation standards are not currently established.

    EPCA prescribes specific energy conservation standards for pool heaters and direct heating equipment. (42 U.S.C. 6295(e)(2), (3)) EPCA directed DOE to conduct two cycles of rulemakings to determine whether to amend its standards for direct heating equipment and pool heaters. (42 U.S.C. 6295(e)(4)) The statute further requires DOE to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking including new proposed standards or a notice of determination that the standards for a product need not be amended no later than 6 years after issuance of any final rule establishing or amending standards for that product. (42 U.S.C. 6295(m)(1)) DOE last promulgated a final rule on April 16, 2010, amending its energy conservation standards for direct heating equipment and pool heaters, constituting the first of these two required rulemakings. 75 FR 20112. The current rulemaking satisfies the statutory requirements under EPCA to conduct a second round of review of the DHE and pool heater standards. (42 U.S.C. 6295(e)(4)(B)) Additionally, this rulemaking will satisfy the requirement for DOE to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking containing proposed standards or a notice of determination that the standards for direct heating equipment and pool heaters do not need to be amended by April 16, 2016. (42 U.S.C. 6295(m)(1)). If DOE were to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking containing proposed amendments to its standards for either direct heating equipment or pool heaters, DOE would be required to issue a final rule amending the standards no later than 2 years after issuance of the notice. (42 U.S.C. 6295(m)(3)(A))

    EPCA also provides criteria for prescribing amended standards for covered products generally, including direct heating equipment and pool heaters. As indicated above, any such amended standard must be designed to achieve the maximum improvement in energy efficiency that is technologically feasible and economically justified. (42 U.S.C. 6295(o)(2)(A)) Additionally, EPCA provides specific prohibitions on prescribing such standards. DOE may not prescribe an amended standard for any of its covered products for which it has not established a test procedure. (42 U.S.C. 6295(o)(3)(A)) Further, DOE may not prescribe a standard if DOE determines by rule that such standard would not result in “significant conservation of energy,” or “is not technologically feasible or economically justified.” (42 U.S.C. 6295(o)(3)(B)) EPCA also provides that in deciding whether a standard is economically justified for covered products, DOE must, after receiving comments on the proposed standard, determine whether the benefits of the standard exceed its burdens by considering, to the greatest extent practicable, the following seven factors:

    1. The economic impact of the standard on manufacturers and consumers of the products subject to the standard;

    2. The savings in operating costs throughout the estimated average life of the covered products in the type (or class) compared to any increase in the price, initial charges, or maintenance expenses for the covered products that are likely to result from the imposition of the standard;

    3. The total projected amount of energy (or, as applicable, water) savings likely to result directly from the imposition of the standard;

    4. Any lessening of the utility or the performance of the covered products likely to result from the imposition of the standard;

    5. The impact of any lessening of competition, as determined in writing by the Attorney General, that is likely to result from the imposition of the standard;

    6. The need for national energy and water conservation; and

    7. Other factors the Secretary of Energy (Secretary) considers relevant. (42 U.S.C. 6295(o)(2)(B)(i)(I)-(VII))

    In addition, EPCA, as amended, establishes a rebuttable presumption that any standard for covered products is economically justified if the Secretary finds that “the additional cost to the consumer of purchasing a product complying with an energy conservation standard level will be less than three times the value of the energy (and as applicable, water) savings during the first year that the consumer will receive as a result of the standard,” as calculated under the test procedure in place for that standard. (42 U.S.C. 6295(o)(2)(B)(iii))

    EPCA also contains what is commonly known as an “anti-backsliding” provision. (42 U.S.C. 6295(o)(1)) This provision mandates that the Secretary not prescribe any amended standard that either increases the maximum allowable energy use or decreases the minimum required energy efficiency of a covered product. EPCA further provides that the Secretary may not prescribe an amended standard if interested persons have established by a preponderance of the evidence that the standard is likely to result in the unavailability in the United States of any product type (or class) with performance characteristics (including reliability), features, sizes, capacities, and volumes that are substantially the same as those generally available in the United States at the time of the Secretary's finding. (42 U.S.C. 6295(o)(4)) Under 42 U.S.C. 6295(q)(1), EPCA specifies requirements applicable to promulgating standards for any type or class of covered product that has two or more subcategories. Under this provision, DOE must specify a different standard level than that which applies generally to such type or class of product that has the same function or intended use, if DOE determines that the products within such group: (A) Consume a different kind of energy from that consumed by other covered products within such type (or class); or (B) have a capacity or other performance-related feature which other products within such type (or class) do not have and such feature justifies a higher or lower standard than applies or will apply to the other products. (42 U.S.C. 6295(q)(1)) In determining whether a performance-related feature justifies such a different standard for a group of products, DOE must consider “such factors as the utility to the consumer of such a feature” and other factors the Secretary deems appropriate. Id. Any rule prescribing such a standard must include an explanation of the basis on which DOE established such higher or lower level. (42 U.S.C. 6295(q)(2))

    Section 310(3) of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA 2007; Public Law 110-140) amended EPCA to prospectively require that energy conservation standards address standby mode and off mode energy use. Specifically, when DOE adopts new or amended standards for a covered product after July 1, 2010, the final rule must, if justified by the criteria for adoption of standards in section 325(o) of EPCA, incorporate standby mode and off mode energy use into a single standard if feasible, or otherwise adopt a separate standard for such energy use for that product. (42 U.S.C. 6295(gg)(3)) On December 17, 2012 DOE promulgated a final rule amending its test procedures for vented direct heating equipment and pool heaters to incorporate standby and off-mode energy consumption. 77 FR 74559. The amendments related to standby and off-mode energy consumption were not required for purposes of compliance until the compliance date of the next standards final rule for those products. Id. This rulemaking, if amended standards are ultimately adopted, would serve as the next energy conservation standards rulemaking subsequent to these test procedure amendments, and therefore this rulemaking will take into account standby and off-mode energy consumption.

    Finally, Federal energy conservation requirements for covered products generally supersede State laws or regulations concerning energy conservation testing, labeling, and standards. (42 U.S.C. 6297(a)-(c)) DOE can, however, grant waivers of Federal preemption for particular State laws or regulations, in accordance with the procedures and other provisions of section 327(d) of the Act. (42 U.S.C.6297(d))

    Before proposing a standard, DOE typically seeks public input about the analytical framework, models, and tools that it will use to evaluate standards for the product or equipment at issue and the results of preliminary analyses DOE performed for that product or equipment. This NODA announces the availability of the preliminary Technical Support Document (TSD), which details the preliminary analyses and summarizes the preliminary results of DOE's analyses for electric pool heaters.

    II. History of Energy Conservation Standards Rulemaking for Pool Heaters A. Background

    Currently, energy conservation standards are established for vented home heating equipment (a form of direct heating equipment) and gas-fired pool heaters. (10 CFR 430.32(i) and (k)) DOE last amended its energy conservation standards for pool heaters and direct heating equipment through a final rule published in the Federal Register (FR) on April 16, 2010 (hereafter referred to as the “April 2010 final rule”). 75 FR 20112. (codified at 10 CFR 430.32(i) and (k)). Compliance with the amended standards was required beginning on April 16, 2013. Id. As described above in section I, EPCA directed DOE to conduct two cycles of rulemakings regarding standards for DHE and pool heaters, and this rulemaking satisfies the statutory requirements under EPCA to conduct a second round of review of the DHE and pool heater standards. (42 U.S.C. 6295(e)(4)(B)) To initiate this rulemaking, DOE issued a Request for Information (RFI) in the Federal Register on March 26, 2015 (hereafter “March 2015 RFI”). 80 FR 15922. Through this RFI, DOE requested data and information pertaining to its technical and economic analyses for direct heating equipment and pool heaters.

    In addition to determining whether energy conservation standards for vented home heating equipment and gas-fired pool heaters should be amended, DOE is considering during this rulemaking whether it is appropriate to establish energy conservation standards for electric pool heaters, including both electric resistance pool and spa heaters as well as electric heat pump pool heaters. As described in section I, although energy conservation standards for electric pool heaters have not previously been set, the definition of coverage for pool heaters found at 42 U.S.C. 6291(25) does not specify a fuel type, and therefore all pool heaters (including electric) are considered covered products under EPCA. Among other topics, the March 2015 RFI sought data and information pertaining specifically to electric pool heaters, including electric resistance pool and spa heaters as well as electric heat pump pool heaters. Since energy conservation standards have not previously been established for electric pool heaters, DOE is publishing this preliminary analysis for electric pool heaters in order to solicit feedback regarding the methodologies used and results obtained based on information collected during the March 2015 RFI public comment period and preliminary confidential manufacturer interviews, among other sources. DOE does not plan to publish a similar preliminary analysis for vented home heating equipment and gas-fired pool heaters. DHE product offerings have not markedly changed since the final rule analysis in 2010 (with the exception of condensing technology for fan-type wall furnaces). Additionally, DOE has performed testing on vented home heating equipment (a subset of DHE) and through this process has built sufficient knowledge, in combination with the previous rulemaking analyses and the March 2015 RFI, to forgo a preliminary analysis for these products. DOE requests comment on its determination to forgo a preliminary analysis for these products and notes that interested parties will have the opportunity to comment on DOE's analyses for vented home heating equipment and gas-fired pool heaters during the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) phase of the rulemaking process.

    DOE completed a separate test procedure rulemaking for direct heating equipment and pool heaters by publishing in the Federal Register a final rule on January 6, 2015. 80 FR 792. (Codified at 10 CFR part 430, subpart B, Appendix P) Any energy conservation standards for pool heaters of any fuel type adopted as part of this rulemaking would be based on the updated test procedure.

    B. Current Rulemaking Process

    As indicated above, in initiating this rulemaking DOE published a Request for Information on March 26, 2015. Among other topics, DOE solicited data and information pertaining to electric resistance and electric heat pump pool and spa heaters. Comments received since publication of the March 2015 RFI have helped DOE identify issues and collect data related to the preliminary analyses for electric pool heaters. Chapter 2 of the preliminary TSD summarizes and addresses the comments received in response to the March 2015 RFI.

    III. Summary of the Analyses Performed by DOE

    For the electric pool heaters covered in this rulemaking, DOE conducted in-depth technical analyses in the following areas: (1) Engineering; (2) markups to determine product price; (3) energy use; (4) life-cycle cost and payback period; and (5) national impacts. The preliminary TSD that presents the methodology and results of each of these analyses is available at http://www1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/appliance_standards/rulemaking.aspx?ruleid=113.

    DOE also conducted, and has included in the preliminary TSD, several other analyses that support the major analyses or are preliminary analyses that will be expanded upon for a NOPR if DOE determines that amended energy conservation standards are technologically feasible, economically justified, and would save a significant amount of energy, based on the information available to DOE. These analyses include: (1) The market and technology assessment; (2) the screening analysis, which contributes to the engineering analysis; and (3) the shipments analysis, which contributes to the life-cycle cost (LCC) and payback period (PBP) analysis and national impact analysis (NIA). In addition to these analyses, DOE has begun preliminary work on the manufacturer impact analysis and has identified the methods to be used for the LCC consumer subgroup analysis, the emissions analysis, the employment impact analysis, the regulatory impact analysis, and the utility impact analysis. DOE will expand on these analyses in the NOPR.

    A. Market and Technology Assessment

    When initiating an analysis of potential energy efficiency standards for a residential product, DOE develops information for the products and characterizes the market and industry structure, evaluating both current and historical information. This activity is primarily based on a review of publicly-available information.

    When evaluating and establishing energy conservation standards, DOE generally divides covered products into product classes by the type of energy used or by capacity or other performance-related features that affect efficiency. DOE has tentatively decided to differentiate between electric pool heaters and electric spa heaters on the basis that each of these two products have different characteristics which have the potential of affecting efficiency. Specifically, electric spa heaters often have space constraints which would impede the use of higher efficiency technologies. DOE therefore considered two product classes—electric pool heaters and electric spa heaters—for this preliminary analysis. DOE recognizes that electric spa heaters, being integral to the construction of a spa or hot tub, use electric resistance heating elements due to space constraints and DOE has tentatively determined that heat pump technology is therefore not a viable option for electric spa heaters. DOE did not analyze electric spa heaters because it did not identify technologies that would measurably increase the integrated thermal efficiency of these products. DOE does, however, consider electric resistance to be a baseline technology for the electric pool heater product class, since electric resistance heaters are available at capacities that could serve a pool and electric heat pumps represent an improvement in efficiency over these products.

    Energy conservation standards may be proposed later in the rulemaking for either, both, or neither of these potential product classes in addition to gas-fired pool heaters. (42 U.S.C. 6295(q)) Alternatively, DOE could propose different product classes than those analyzed in its preliminary analysis if comments, information, or additional analysis be provided that suggest doing so would be more appropriate for the pool and spa heater market. Chapter 3 of the preliminary TSD addresses the market and technology assessment.

    B. Engineering Analysis

    The engineering analysis establishes the relationship between the manufacturer selling price and efficiency levels of the products that DOE is evaluating as potential energy conservation standards. This relationship serves as the basis for cost-benefit calculations for individual consumers, manufacturers, and the Nation. The engineering analysis identifies representative baseline products, which is the starting point for analyzing technologies that provide energy efficiency improvements. “Baseline” refers to a model or models having features and technologies typically found in minimally-efficient products currently available on the market and, for products already subject to energy conservation standards, a model that just meets the current standard. After identifying the baseline models, DOE estimated manufacturer selling prices by using a consistent methodology and pricing scheme that includes material costs and manufacturer markups. DOE used these inputs to develop manufacturer selling prices for the baseline and more-efficient designs. Later, in the markups analysis to determine the installed price, DOE converts these manufacturer selling prices into installed prices. Chapter 5 of the preliminary TSD discusses the engineering analysis.

    C. Markups To Determine Commercial Consumer Prices

    DOE derives consumer installed prices based on manufacturer markups, retailer markups, distributor markups, contractor markups (where appropriate), and sales taxes. In deriving these markups, DOE determines the major distribution channels for product sales, the markup associated with each party in each distribution channel, and the existence and magnitude of differences between markups for baseline products (baseline markups) and higher-efficiency products (incremental markups). DOE calculates both overall baseline and overall incremental markups based on the product markups at each step in each distribution channel. Chapter 6 of the preliminary TSD addresses the markups analysis.

    D. Energy Use Analysis

    The energy use analysis provides estimates of the annual energy consumption of electric pool heaters. The energy use analysis seeks to estimate the range of energy consumption of products that meet each of the efficiency levels considered in a given rulemaking as they are used in the field. DOE uses these values in the LCC and PBP analyses and in the NIA. Chapter 7 of the preliminary TSD addresses the energy use analysis.

    E. Life-Cycle Cost and Payback Period Analyses

    The LCC and PBP analyses determine the economic impact of potential standards on individual consumers. The LCC is the total cost to the consumer of purchasing, installing, and operating the considered pool heater over the course of its lifetime. The LCC analysis compares the LCCs of products designed to meet possible energy conservation standards with the LCC of the products likely to be installed in the absence of standards. DOE determines LCCs by considering: (1) Total installed cost to the purchaser (which consists of manufacturer selling price, distribution chain markups, sales taxes, and installation cost); (2) the operating cost of the product (energy cost and maintenance and repair cost); (3) product lifetime; and (4) a discount rate that reflects the real consumer cost of capital and puts the LCC in present-value terms. The PBP represents the number of years needed to recover the increase in purchase price (including installation cost) of higher-efficiency products through savings in the operating cost of the products. PBP is calculated by dividing the incremental increase in installed cost of the higher-efficiency products, compared to the baseline products, by the annual savings in operating costs. Chapter 8 of the preliminary TSD addresses the LCC and PBP analyses.

    F. National Impact Analysis

    The NIA estimates the national energy savings (NES) and the net present value (NPV) of total consumer costs and savings expected to result from amended standards at specific efficiency levels (referred to as candidate standard levels). DOE calculated NES and NPV for each candidate standard level for electric pool heaters as the difference between a base-case forecast (without amended standards) and the standards-case forecast (with standards). DOE determined national annual energy consumption by multiplying the number of units in use (by vintage) by the average unit energy consumption (also by vintage). Cumulative energy savings are the sum of the annual NES determined for the lifetime of the products shipped from 2022-2051. This 30-year analysis period begins in 2022, the expected first full year of compliance with the amended standards. The NPV is the sum over time of the discounted net savings each year, which consists of the difference between total operating cost savings and increases in total installed costs. Critical inputs to this analysis include shipments projections, estimated product lifetimes, product installed costs and operating costs, product annual energy consumption, the base case efficiency projection, and discount rates. Chapter 10 of the preliminary TSD addresses the NIA.

    IV. Public Participation

    DOE invites input from the public on all the topics described above. The preliminary analytical results are subject to revision following further review and input from the public. A complete TSD is available for this analysis, and the Executive Summary of the TSD identifies specific issues on which DOE seeks comment. The final rule establishing any amended energy conservation standards will contain the final analytical results and will be accompanied by a final rule TSD.

    The TSD is available at: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/appliance_standards/rulemaking.aspx?ruleid=113. DOE is also interested in receiving views concerning other relevant issues that participants believe would affect energy conservation standards for this equipment or that DOE should address in the NOPR.

    DOE welcomes all interested parties to submit in writing by December 10, 2015 comments, data, and other information on matters addressed in the TSD and on other matters relevant to consideration of energy conservation standards for pool heaters.

    After the closing of the comment period, DOE will consider all timely-submitted comments and additional information obtained from interested parties, as well as information obtained through further analyses. Afterward, DOE will publish either a determination that standards for electric pool heaters need not be established or a NOPR proposing to establish those standards. The NOPR would include proposed energy conservation standards for the products covered by the rulemaking, and members of the public would be given an opportunity to submit written and oral comments on the proposed standards.

    A. Submission of Comments

    DOE will accept comments, data, and other information regarding this rulemaking no later than the date provided at the beginning of this document. Please submit comments, data, and other information as provided in the ADDRESSES section. Submit electronic comments in WordPerfect, Microsoft Word, PDF, or text (ASCII) file format and avoid the use of special characters or any form of encryption. Comments in electronic format should be identified by the Docket Number EERE-2015-BT-STD-0003 and/or RIN 1904-AD49 and, wherever possible, carry the electronic signature of the author. No telefacsimiles (faxes) will be accepted.

    Pursuant to 10 CFR 1004.11, any person submitting information that he or she believes to be confidential and exempt by law from public disclosure should submit two copies: One copy of the document including all the information believed to be confidential and one copy of the document with the information believed to be confidential deleted. DOE will make its own determination as to the confidential status of the information and treat it according to its determination.

    Factors of interest to DOE when evaluating requests to treat submitted information as confidential include: (1) A description of the items; (2) whether and why such items are customarily treated as confidential within the industry; (3) whether the information is generally known by or available from other sources; (4) whether the information has previously been made available to others without obligation concerning its confidentiality; (5) an explanation of the competitive injury to the submitting person which would result from public disclosure; (6) a date upon which such information might lose its confidential nature due to the passage of time; and (7) why disclosure of the information would be contrary to the public interest.

    V. Approval of the Office of the Secretary

    The Secretary of Energy has approved publication of this notice of data availability of the preliminary technical support document.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on October 15, 2015. Kathleen B. Hogan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27203 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450-01-P
    CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION 16 CFR Chapter II [Docket No. CPSC-2015-0030] Notice of Availability: CPSC Plan for Retrospective Review of Existing Rules AGENCY:

    U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice of availability.

    SUMMARY:

    The Consumer Product Safety Commission (“Commission,” or “CPSC”) has approved a document titled, “Plan for Retrospective Review of Existing Rules.” CPSC seeks comments on this plan.

    DATES:

    Submit comments by December 28, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by Docket No. CPSC-2015-0030, by any of the following methods:

    Electronic Submissions: Submit electronic comments to the Federal eRulemaking Portal at: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. The Commission does not accept comments submitted by electronic mail (email), except through www.regulations.gov. The Commission encourages you to submit electronic comments by using the Federal eRulemaking Portal, as described above.

    Written Submissions: Submit written submissions by mail/hand delivery/courier to: Office of the Secretary, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Room 820, 4330 East West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814; telephone (301) 504-7923.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and docket number for this document. All comments received may be posted without change, including any personal identifiers, contact information, or other personal information provided, to: http://www.regulations.gov. Do not submit confidential business information, trade secret information, or other sensitive or protected information that you do not want to be available to the public. If furnished at all, such information should be submitted in writing.

    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to: http://www.regulations.gov, and insert the docket number CPSC-2015-0030, into the “Search” box, and follow the prompts.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Patricia K. Adair, Directorate for Engineering Sciences, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 5 Research Place, Rockville, MD 20850-3213; telephone: (301) 987-2238; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Commission has approved a Plan for Retrospective Review of Existing Rules (“Plan”) that sets forth a method for identifying and reconsidering certain rules that are obsolete, unnecessary, unjustified, excessively burdensome, counterproductive, or ineffective, or that otherwise would benefit from modification. The Plan's review processes are intended to facilitate the identification of rules that warrant repeal or modification, including those that could benefit from strengthening, complementing, or modernizing. The Plan is consistent with Executive Orders 13579,1 13563 2 and 13610.3 The Plan is available on the Commission's Web site at: http://www.cpsc.gov/Global/Regulations-Laws-and-Standards/Rulemaking/DraftrulereviewplanSeptember2015Final.pdf. Please submit comments as directed in the ADDRESSES section of this document.

    1 76 FR 41587 (July 11, 2011). The President. Executive Order 13579 of July 11, 2011. Regulation and Independent Regulatory Agencies.

    2 76 FR 3821 (January 18, 2011). The President. Executive Order 13563 of January 18, 2011. Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review.

    3 77 FR 28469 (May 10, 2012). The President. Executive Order 13610 of May 10, 2012. Identifying and Reducing Regulatory Burdens.

    Dated: October 15, 2015. Todd A. Stevenson, Secretary, Consumer Product Safety Commission.
    [FR Doc. 2015-26695 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6355-01-P
    CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION 16 CFR Ch. II [Docket No. CPSC-2015-0022] Petition Requesting Rulemaking on Products Containing Organohalogen Flame Retardants; Notice of Extension of Comment Period; Notice of Opportunity for Oral Presentation of Comments AGENCY:

    U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

    ACTION:

    Extension of comment period and notice of opportunity for oral presentation of comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (“Commission” or “CPSC”) on August 19, 2015 published a notice that the Commission received a petition for rulemaking under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (“FHSA”) regarding additive organohalogen flame retardants. The notice invited the public to submit written comments concerning the petition by October 19, 2015. The Commission has received two requests to extend the comment period. In response to these requests, the Commission is extending the comment period to January 19, 2016. Additionally, the Commission announces that there will be an opportunity for interested persons to present oral comments on the petition.

    DATES:

    The comment period for the proposed rule published August 19, 2015 (80 FR 50238), is extended. Submit comments by January 19, 2016. The meeting for interested persons to present oral comments on the petition will begin at 10 a.m., December 9, 2015, at 4330 East-West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814. Requests to make oral presentations and the written text of any oral presentations must be received by the Office of the Secretary not later than 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) on December 2, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by Docket No. CPSC-2015-0022, by any of the following methods:

    Electronic Submissions: Submit electronic comments to the Federal eRulemaking Portal at: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. The Commission does not accept comments submitted by electronic mail (email), except through www.regulations.gov. The Commission encourages you to submit electronic comments by using the Federal eRulemaking Portal, as described above.

    Written Submissions: Submit written submissions by mail/hand delivery/courier to: Office of the Secretary, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Room 820, 4330 East-West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814; telephone (301) 504-7923.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and docket number for this proposed rulemaking. All comments received may be posted without change, including any personal identifiers, contact information, or other personal information provided, to: http://www.regulations.gov. Do not submit confidential business information, trade secret information, or other sensitive or protected information that you do not want to be available to the public. If furnished at all, such information should be submitted in writing.

    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to: http://www.regulations.gov, and insert the docket number, CPSC-2015-0022, into the “Search” box, and follow the prompts. A copy of the petition is available at http://www.regulations.gov under Docket No. CPSC-2015-0022, Supporting and Related Materials.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For information about the procedure to make an oral presentation, contact Rockelle Hammond, Office of the Secretary, Consumer Product Safety Commission, 4330 East-West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814; telephone (301) 504-7923.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    A. Background

    On July 1, 2015, the Commission received a petition requesting that the Commission initiate rulemaking under the FHSA to declare several categories of products containing additive organohalogen flame retardants to be “banned hazardous substances.” The petition was filed by Earthjustice and the Consumer Federation of America, which are joined by American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Women's Association, Consumers Union, Green Science Policy Institute, International Association of Fire Fighters, Kids in Danger, Philip Landrigan, M.D., M.P.H., League of United Latin American Citizens, Learning Disabilities Association of America, and Worksafe.

    B. Extension of Comment Period

    On August 19, 2015, the Commission issued a notice that the Commission received the petition, and in the document, invited submission of written comments concerning the petition. 80 FR 50238. The Commission has received two requests to extend the comment period 90 days, due to the breadth and complexity of issues raised in the petition. The Commission has considered the requests and is extending the comment period until January 19, 2016.

    C. Opportunity for Oral Presentation of Comments

    The Commission is providing a forum for oral presentations concerning the petition regarding additive organohalogen flame retardants. See the information under the headings DATES and ADDRESSES at the beginning of this document for information on making requests to give oral presentations at the meeting.

    Participants should limit their presentations to approximately 10 minutes, exclusive of any periods of questioning by the Commissioners or CPSC staff. To prevent duplicative presentations, groups will be directed to designate a spokesperson. The Commission reserves the right to limit the time further for any presentation and impose restrictions to avoid excessive duplication of presentations.

    Dated: October 15, 2015. Todd A. Stevenson, Secretary, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
    [FR Doc. 2015-26694 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6355-01-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION 47 CFR Part 25 [IB Docket No. 06-123; DA 15-1147] Supplemental Comments Sought on Proposed 17/24 GHz Reverse Band BSS Ground Path Operations AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    In this document, the International Bureau of the Commission invites interested parties to provide any supplemental information or comments concerning the Commission's proposed ground-path interference rules for 17/24 GHz Reverse Band Broadcasting-Satellite Service (BSS) operations.

    This request is intended to refresh the record in this proceeding, and to provide parties with the opportunity to update or add to their comments, as well as allowing parties who have not filed comments in this proceeding previously to do so.

    DATES:

    Submit comments on or before November 25, 2015, and replies on or before December 10, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by IB Docket No. 06-123, by any of the following methods:

    Federal Communications Commission's Web site: http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    People with Disabilities: Contact the FCC to request reasonable accommodations (accessible format documents, sign language interpreters, CART, etc.) by email: [email protected] or phone: 202-418-0530 or TTY: 202-418-0432.

    For detailed instructions for submitting comments and additional information on the rulemaking process, see the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This is a summary of the Public Notice in IB Docket No. 06-123, DA 15-1147, adopted October 7, 2015, and released October 7, 2015. The full text of this document is available for inspection and copying during normal business hours in the FCC Reference Center, 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554. The document also is available for download over the Internet at http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2015/db1007/DA-15-1147A1.pdf.

    Synopsis

    On May 2, 2007, the Commission proposed rules in a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) to mitigate ground path interference. The ground path interference issues in this proceeding have been considered and discussed among the interested parties previously. Since considerable time has passed, however, since the release of the FNPRM, the Commission asks the public to provide any updates for the record and any additional comments on the proposed rules for ground path interference mitigation in 17/24 GHz reverse-band BSS operations presented in the FNPRM.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Stephen Duall or Sean O'More, International Bureau, FCC, (202) 418-2453 or via the email to: [email protected] and Sean.O'[email protected]

    Comment Filing Procedures

    Pursuant to §§ 1.415 and 1.419 of the Commission's rules, 47 CFR 1.415, 1.419, interested parties may file comments and reply comments on or before the dates indicated on the first page of this document. Comments may be filed using the Commission's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS). See Electronic Filing of Documents in Rulemaking Proceedings, 63 FR 24121 (1998).

    Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically using the Internet by accessing the ECFS: http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/.

    Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must file an original and one copy of each filing. If more than one docket or rulemaking number appears in the caption of this proceeding, filers must submit two additional copies for each additional docket or rulemaking number.

    Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial overnight courier, or by first-class or overnight U.S. Postal Service mail. All filings must be addressed to the Commission's Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.

    All hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings for the Commission's Secretary must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 445 12th Street SW., Room TW-A325, Washington, DC 20554. The filing hours are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. All hand deliveries must be held together with rubber bands or fasteners. Any envelopes and boxes must be disposed of before entering the building.

    Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service Express Mail and Priority Mail) must be sent to 9300 East Hampton Drive, Capitol Heights, MD 20743.

    U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority mail must be addressed to 445 12th Street SW., Washington DC 20554.

    People with Disabilities: To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an email to [email protected] or call the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (tty).

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    This document does not contain proposed information collection requirements required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13. It also does not impose information collection burdens 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).

    Federal Communications Commission.

    Sarah Van Valzah, Assistant Bureau Chief for Management, International Bureau.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27154 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Parts 223 and 224 [Docket No. 150901797-5914-01] RIN 0648-XE163 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife; 90-Day Finding on a Petition To List the Thorny Skate as Threatened or Endangered Under the Endangered Species Act AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    90-day petition finding, request for information.

    SUMMARY:

    We, NMFS, announce a 90-day finding on a petition to list a “Northwest Atlantic Distinct Population Segment” (DPS) or “United States DPS” of thorny skate (Amblyraja radiata) as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). We find that the petition to list thorny skate presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted. We will conduct a review of the status of the species to determine if the petitioned action is warranted. To ensure that the status review is comprehensive, we are soliciting scientific and commercial information pertaining to this species from any interested party.

    DATES:

    Information and comments on the subject action must be received by December 28, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, information, or data on this document, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2015-0120, by either any of the following methods:

    Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2015-0120. Click the “Comment Now” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.

    Mail: Submit written comments to Julie Crocker, NMFS Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, Protected Resources Division, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930, USA.

    Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by us. 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. We will accept anonymous comments (enter “N/A” in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous).

    Copies of the petition and related materials are available on our Web site at: http://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/pr/species/fish/thorny-skate.html.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Julie Crocker, Protected Resources Division, 978-281-9328, or Marta Nammack, NMFS-HQ, Protected Resources Office, (301) 427-8469.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    On May 28, 2015, we received a petition from Defenders of Wildlife and Animal Welfare Institute to list a “Northwest Atlantic DPS” of thorny skate as threatened or endangered under the ESA, or, as an alternative, to list a “United States DPS” as threatened or endangered. The petition also requests that we designate critical habitat for thorny skate. Copies of the petition are available from us (see ADDRESSES, above) and can be found at: http://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/pr/species/fish/thorny-skate.html.

    ESA Statutory, Regulatory, and Policy Provisions and Evaluation Framework

    Section 4(b)(3)(A) of the ESA of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), requires, to the maximum extent practicable, that within 90 days of receipt of a petition to list a species as threatened or endangered, the Secretary of Commerce make a finding on whether that petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted, and to promptly publish such finding in the Federal Register (16 U.S.C. 1533(b)(3)(A)). When we find that substantial scientific or commercial information in a petition indicates the petitioned action may be warranted (a “positive 90-day finding”), we are required to promptly commence a review of the status of the species concerned, during which we will conduct a comprehensive review of the best available scientific and commercial information. In such cases, within 12 months of receipt of the petition, we must conclude the review with a finding as to whether, in fact, the petitioned action is warranted. Because the finding at the 12-month stage is based on a more thorough review of the available information, as compared to the narrow scope of review at the 90-day stage, a “may be warranted” finding does not prejudge the outcome of the status review.

    Under the ESA, a listing determination may address a species, which is defined to also include subspecies and, for any vertebrate species, any DPS that interbreeds when mature (16 U.S.C. 1532(16)). A joint NMFS-U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) (jointly, “the Services”) policy clarifies the agencies' interpretation of the phrase “distinct population segment” for the purposes of listing, delisting, and reclassifying a species under the ESA (61 FR 4722; February 7, 1996). A species, subspecies, or DPS is “endangered” if it is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range, and “threatened” if it is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range (ESA sections 3(6) and 3(20), respectively, 16 U.S.C. 1532(6) and (20)). Pursuant to the ESA and our implementing regulations, we determine whether species are threatened or endangered based on any one or a combination of the following five section 4(a)(1) factors: the present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of habitat or range; overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes; disease or predation; inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; and any other natural or manmade factors affecting the species' existence (16 U.S.C. 1533(a)(1), 50 CFR 424.11(c)).

    ESA-implementing regulations issued jointly by NMFS and USFWS (50 CFR 424.14(b)) define “substantial information” in the context of reviewing a petition to list, delist, or reclassify a species as the amount of information that would lead a reasonable person to believe that the measure proposed in the petition may be warranted. In evaluating whether substantial information is contained in a petition, the Secretary must consider whether the petition: (1) Clearly indicates the administrative measure recommended and gives the scientific and any common name of the species involved; (2) contains detailed narrative justification for the recommended measure, describing, based on available information, past and present numbers and distribution of the species involved and any threats faced by the species; (3) provides information regarding the status of the species over all or a significant portion of its range; and (4) is accompanied by the appropriate supporting documentation in the form of bibliographic references, reprints of pertinent publications, copies of reports or letters from authorities, and maps (50 CFR 424.14(b)(2)).

    At the 90-day finding stage, we evaluate the petitioners' request based upon the information in the petition including its references and the information readily available in our files. We do not conduct additional research, and we do not solicit information from parties outside the agency to help us in evaluating the petition. We will accept the petitioners' sources and characterizations of the information presented if they appear to be based on accepted scientific principles, unless we have specific information in our files that indicates the petition's information is incorrect, unreliable, obsolete, or otherwise irrelevant to the requested action. Information that is susceptible to more than one interpretation or that is contradicted by other available information will not be dismissed at the 90-day finding stage, so long as it is reliable and a reasonable person would conclude it supports the petitioners' assertions. In other words, conclusive information indicating the species may meet the ESA's requirements for listing is not required to make a positive 90-day finding. We will not conclude that a lack of specific information alone negates a positive 90-day finding if a reasonable person would conclude that the unknown information itself suggests an extinction risk of concern for the species at issue.

    To make a 90-day finding on a petition to list a species, we evaluate whether the petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating the subject species may be either threatened or endangered, as defined by the ESA. First, we evaluate whether the information presented in the petition, along with the information readily available in our files, indicates that the petitioned entity constitutes a “species” eligible for listing under the ESA. Next, we evaluate whether the information indicates that the species faces an extinction risk that is cause for concern; this may be indicated in information expressly discussing the species' status and trends, or in information describing impacts and threats to the species. We evaluate any information on specific demographic factors pertinent to evaluating extinction risk for the species (e.g., population abundance and trends, productivity, spatial structure, age structure, sex ratio, diversity, current and historical range, habitat integrity or fragmentation), and the potential contribution of identified demographic risks to extinction risk for the species. We then evaluate the potential links between these demographic risks and the causative impacts and threats identified in section 4(a)(1).

    Information presented on impacts or threats should be specific to the species and should reasonably suggest that one or more of these factors may be operative threats that act or have acted on the species to the point that it may warrant protection under the ESA. Broad statements about generalized threats to the species, or identification of factors that could negatively impact a species, do not constitute substantial information indicating that listing may be warranted. We look for information indicating that not only is the particular species exposed to a factor, but that the species may be responding in a negative fashion; then we assess the potential significance of that negative response.

    Many petitions identify risk classifications made by nongovernmental organizations, such as the International Union on the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the American Fisheries Society, or NatureServe, as evidence of extinction risk for a species. Risk classifications by other organizations or made under other Federal or state statutes may be informative, but such classification alone may not provide the rationale for a positive 90-day finding under the ESA. For example, as explained by NatureServe, their assessments of a species' conservation status do “not constitute a recommendation by NatureServe for listing under the U.S. Endangered Species Act” because NatureServe assessments “have different criteria, evidence requirements, purposes and taxonomic coverage than government lists of endangered and threatened species, and therefore these two types of lists should not be expected to coincide” (http://www.natureserve.org/prodServices/pdf/NatureServeStatusAssessmentsListing-Dec%202008.pdf). Additionally, species classifications under IUCN and the ESA are not equivalent, and data standards, criteria used to evaluate species and treatment of uncertainty are also not necessarily the same. Thus, when a petition cites such classifications, we will evaluate the source of information that the classification is based upon in light of the standards on extinction risk and impacts or threats discussed above.

    Distribution and Life History of Thorny Skate

    The thorny skate occurs on both sides of the Atlantic. In the western North Atlantic, it ranges from western Greenland to South Carolina, and in the eastern North Atlantic, it ranges from Iceland to the southwestern coasts of Ireland and England (Bigelow and Schroeder, 1953). This species is characterized by a row of 11 to 19 large thorns running down the midline of the back and tail (Bigelow and Schroeder, 1953; Collette and Klein-MacPhee, 2002). Thorny skate are generally brown dorsally with a white ventral surface. They may reach lengths of over 39 inches (991 mm), but maximum size varies over its range.

    According to Collette and Klein-MacPhee (2002), females deposit a single fertilized egg capsule, which ranges in size from 2 to 4 inches (48 to 96 mm) in length and 1.33 to 3 inches (34 to 77 mm) in width. While females with fully formed egg capsules are captured year round, the percentage of mature females with capsules is highest during the summer (Collette and Klein-MacPhee, 2002). Thorny skate feed on benthic invertebrates and fish. Thorny skates are found over a wide variety of substrates including sand, broken shell, gravel, pebbles, and soft mud and are primarily found from 20 to 3,900 feet (18 to 1200 m) deep (Collette and Klein-MacPhee, 2002). They appear to make seasonal migrations that have been noted on the Scotian Shelf and the Grand Banks, but specific details on the spatial patterns and timing are lacking (NEFSC, 2003). Kulka and Miri (2003) report a change in the spring and fall distributions resulting in a higher density and greater proportion of biomass being found in deeper waters during the spring. These aggregations, they note, appear to be correlated with warmer relative temperatures.

    Sulikowski et al. (2005) aged thorny skate in the Gulf of Maine and estimated the oldest age to be 16 years for both males and females. For females, 50 percent maturity occurred at approximately 11 years and 875 mm (34.5 inches) total length (TL); while for males, approximately 10.9 years and 865 mm (34 inches) TL (Sulikowski et al., 2006).

    Analysis of Petition and Information Readily Available in Our Files

    We have determined, based on the information provided in the petition and readily available in our files, that substantial information is presented in the petition indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted. The petition contains a recommended administrative measure, provides the scientific and common name, contains a detailed narrative justification for the recommended measure, provides information on the status of the species, and includes supporting documentation. Below is a synopsis of our analysis of the information provided in the petition and readily available in our files to determine whether a reasonable person would conclude that an endangered or threatened listing may be warranted as a result of any of the factors listed under section 4(a)(1) of the ESA.

    Population Trends

    The petitioners state that the IUCN lists the U.S. population of thorny skates as “Critically Endangered” and the Canadian population as “Vulnerable” throughout its range in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean. They conclude that the IUCN categorization proves that reasonable people have determined that the best available scientific evidence shows that the species is likely to be endangered or threatened as those terms are defined in the ESA. They state that the IUCN classification of the U.S. population of thorny skates as “Critically Endangered” means that the species is as close to extinction in the wild as possible. However, species classifications by the IUCN and under the ESA are not equivalent. We will evaluate the information that the IUCN classification is based upon in light of the ESA's standards on extinction risk and impacts or threats discussed previously.

    The IUCN reviewed the status of thorny skate in 2004 and concluded that the extent of decline warranted an assessment of vulnerable globally, but critically endangered in U.S. waters. They noted that the species was relatively stable in recent years in Canada and the Northeast Atlantic yet declining in the United States. The species was assessed as “Least Concern” in the Northeast Atlantic. They also noted that the overall abundance (whether divided among subpopulations or not) still constitutes several hundred million individuals. The minimum biomass for the Northwest Atlantic was estimated at 100,000 tons, which has been stable or increasing slightly over the last 15 years. The reasons cited for the IUCN's critically endangered classification for U.S. waters include low relative abundance (below the fisheries limit reference point), the long-term population decline, lack of population increase despite strict management laws, and the inability to monitor species-specific landings.

    The petitioners cite the 2008 Skate Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) Report prepared by the Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) as demonstrating a precipitous decline in thorny skate abundance and biomass in United States waters since the late 1970s. Skate biomass has been monitored annually by the NEFSC bottom trawl survey since 1963. The survey occurs from Cape Lookout to the Scotian Shelf. Currently, this survey is the only long-term, comprehensive source of information on the relative abundance of thorny skates in U.S. waters, which are primarily distributed in the Gulf of Maine. Based on this information, the survey biomass index of thorny skates has steadily declined from a high 3-year average of 6.17 kg/tow in 1969 to 1971, to a low of 0.12 kg/tow in 2011 to 2013. The petition notes that when the Northeast skate complex Fishery Management Plan (FMP) was implemented by us in 2003, thorny skate was determined to be “overfished” because the biomass index that year (0.74 kg/tow) was below the established biomass threshold (2.2 kg/tow) and below the biomass target (4.41 kg/tow). The petitioners correctly note that the current biomass threshold and biomass target are 2.06 and 4.13 kg/tow, respectively. The petitioners correctly state that the most recent 3-year average mean biomass survey from 2011-2013 (0.12 kg/tow) is the lowest in the time series and that we have determined that overfishing is occurring. A stock that is subject to overfishing has a harvest rate higher than the rate that produces its “maximum sustainable yield” (MSY). MSY is the largest long-term average catch that can be taken from a stock under prevailing environmental and fishery conditions. A stock that is overfished has a population size that is too low and would jeopardize the stock's ability to produce its MSY. “Overfished” can be the result of many factors, including, but not limited to, overfishing.

    The petitioners further state that Canadian indices of thorny skate have also demonstrated a precipitous decline over the past four decades. They reference a report by Canada's Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC 2012) noting that thorny skate dominates Canadian catches of skate species, composing approximately 90 percent of rajids caught in survey trawls (COSEWIC 2012). In 2012, COSEWIC, which was established as a legal entity under Canada's Species at Risk Act, published an assessment of the status of thorny skate in Canada and classified thorny skate as a “species of special concern;” COSEWIC assessments are considered advice to the Government of Canada on the status of wildlife species, but it is up to the Governor in Council (a subcommittee of federal cabinet ministers), on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, to decide whether such species should be added to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. A COSEWIC assessment of “species of special concern” means that thorny skate may become “a threatened or an endangered species because of a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats.” COSEWIC made this designation because the species has undergone severe population declines over the southern part of its distribution in Canada (specifically, the Scotian Shelf/Bay of Fundy and Georges Bank areas), its range has contracted, and declines have continued in spite of a reduction in fishing mortality. However, the report also notes that the abundance of mature individuals in the northern part of its range has been increasing and is approaching 1970s abundance levels. The report indicates that on the Scotian Shelf and Bay of Fundy, the abundance of immature skates has declined over 76 percent from 1970 to 2010 and that the rate of decline for mature skates was 95 percent over the same period. The authors note that there is no evidence that these declines are due to individuals moving north. The report also indicates that the abundance of juvenile thorny skates on Georges Bank declined by 40 percent from 1987-2008, and the abundance of adults declined by 85 percent over the same period. In the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence, abundance of thorny skate of all sizes has fluctuated between 1971 and 2010 and was lower at the end of the time series. The report notes that adults declined by 95 percent from 1971-2010 and that this matches increases in natural mortality over this period (citing Benoit and Swan 2011). The rate of decline for juveniles over this period was 32 percent, although there was an increase from 2003-2010. They note the uncertainty with how an apparently large number of juveniles could be produced by so few adults. Abundance trends could not be calculated for the Baffin Bay/Davis Strait/Ungava Bay region. Based on limited data, the report concludes that thorny skate abundance in the Grand Banks to Labrador Shelf area has fluctuated without trend between 1978 and 2010. On the southern Labrador Shelf, thorny skate declined until 1995 and then stabilized or increased thereafter. For example, adults declined by 91 percent from 1997 to 1994 but subsequently increased by 821 percent from 1995 to 2008. Similar patterns of decline and then increased abundance are reported for the Grand Banks.

    The petitioners state that since the mid-1980s, the range of the thorny skate on the Grand Banks has been contracting (Kulka and Miri 2003). They cite evidence of a hyper-aggregation with 80 percent of the biomass now concentrated in 20 percent of the area along the southwest slope of the Grand Banks (Kulka et al. 2007). As noted by Kulka et al. (2006), in the early 1980s, thorny skates were distributed over the entire Grand Banks in moderate to high concentrations, but by the late 1990s, much of the biomass was concentrated in the southwest. The proportion of the surveyed area containing no skates increased from about 2 percent in 1980 to 1988 to 22 percent in 2004 to 2005. During 1980 to 1988, about 57 percent of the biomass was located within 20 percent of the survey area, by 2001 to 2005, 78 percent of the biomass was concentrated into 20 percent of the survey area. Therefore, the area occupied by thorny skates has decreased, and the population has become increasingly more concentrated in a smaller area where bottom temperatures are warmest. A very similar pattern of aggregation was observed for northern cod just prior to its collapse (Rose and Kulka 1999). Kulka and Miri (2003) state that aggregation and reduced area of occupancy led to the cod being increasingly more vulnerable to exploitation and they state this is very similar to what is happening to thorny skate. They do acknowledge that it is unknown whether these spatial dynamics are an indication of a skate stock under stress. The 2007 update by Kulka and Miri noted that the species had shown a minor re-expansion in its distribution in the past 3 to 4 years.

    Kulka and Miri (2006) noted that the average weight of thorny skate had declined from 2 kg in the early 1970s to 1.2 kg in 1996 with the majority of this decline occurring in the 1990s concurrent with the decline in biomass. They reported that average size had increased to about 1.6 kg since that time. They note that the decline of thorny skate, particularly on the northern Grand Banks, is concurrent in space and time with the decline of many other demersal species and occurred during a period when bottom temperatures were below average.

    In conclusion, in the southern part of its range in Canada, and in the United States, we find evidence suggesting that population abundance of thorny skate has continued to decline, and in the northern part of its range thorny skate may be stable at a diminished abundance. While data are still limited with respect to population size and trends, we find the petition and our files contain sufficient information on thorny skate trends and status to indicate that the petitioned action may be warranted.

    Analysis of DPS Information

    The petition requests that we list the thorny skate population in the Northwest Atlantic as a threatened or endangered DPS and presents arguments that thorny skate in the Northwest Atlantic meet the criteria to be considered a DPS, as described in the 1996 joint NMFS and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service DPS policy (61 FR 4722; February 7, 1996). Alternatively, the petition requests that we list the thorny skate population in the United States as a threatened or endangered DPS and presents arguments that thorny skate in U.S. waters meet requirements for being identified as a DPS eligible for listing. Our DPS policy identifies two elements that must be considered when identifying a DPS: (1) The discreteness of the population segment in relation to the remainder of the species (or subspecies) to which it belongs; and (2) the significance of the population segment to the species to which it belongs. A population segment of a vertebrate species may be considered discrete if it satisfies either one of the following conditions: (1) It is markedly separated from other populations of the same taxon as a consequence of physical, physiological, ecological, or behavioral factors—quantitative measures of genetic or morphological discontinuity may provide evidence of this separation; or (2) it is delimited by international governmental boundaries within which differences in control of exploitation, management of habitat conservation status, or regulatory mechanisms exist that are significant in light of section 4(a)(1)(D) of the ESA. If a population segment is considered discrete under one or more of the above conditions, its biological and ecological significance will then be considered in light of Congressional guidance (see Senate Report 151, 96th Congress, 1st Session) that the authority to list DPSs be used “sparingly” while encouraging the conservation of genetic diversity. In carrying out this examination, the Services will consider available scientific evidence of the discrete population segment's importance to the taxon to which it belongs. This consideration may include, but is not limited to, the following: (1) Persistence of the discrete population segment in an ecological setting unusual or unique for the taxon; (2) evidence that loss of the discrete population segment would result in a significant gap in the range of a taxon; (3) evidence that the discrete population segment represents the only surviving natural occurrence of a taxon that may be more abundant elsewhere as an introduced population outside its historic range; or (4) evidence that the discrete population segment differs markedly from other populations of the species in its genetic characteristics.

    The petitioners state the Northwest Atlantic thorny skate population, encompassing Canadian and U.S. waters, satisfies both the “discrete” and “significant” requirements for DPS identification. They state that the Northwest Atlantic population is discrete because it is markedly separated from other populations due to physical and biological factors.

    The petitioners describe the results of tagging studies (Templeman 1984, Templeman 1987, Walker et al. 1997) and suggest that thorny skate are a relatively sedentary species in both the Northwest and Northeast Atlantic. They use the maximum distance traveled from a tagging location (386 km; Templeman 1984), the small portion of the tagged individuals that traveled more than 161 km (13 percent; Templeman 1984) in the Northwest Atlantic, the small portion of tagged individuals that traveled more than 93 km in the North Sea (15 percent; Walker et al. 1997), and the conclusions of Templeman (1987) that “large scale migrations did not occur” between the Grand Banks and Labrador Shelf to conclude that long distances may hinder thorny skates from embarking on long enough migrations to travel between the Northeast and Northwest Atlantic. The petitioners claim that there is no indication that a significant portion of the populations travel between the Northeast and Northwest Atlantic. These studies rely solely on conventional tagging data and only report the distance between the tagging location and the location of recapture. It is unknown if the maximum distances reported between tagging and recapture location are in fact reflective of the maximum normal or maximum possible migration distance. However, as noted in the 2015 petition, if this is interpreted to mean that the maximum migration is 386 km, this is not far enough to allow for trans-Atlantic migration, and this could support the petitioner's claim that separate, isolated Northwest and Northeast Atlantic populations of thorny skate exist.

    The petitioners present some information on available genetic studies of thorny skate. They state that the findings of Coulson et al. (2011) suggest that genetic diversity may exist in thorny skate and that this is indicative of population structure. The petitioners also address the findings of Chevolet et al. (2007) and question the validity of Chevolet et al.'s conclusions. The results of Coulson et al. (2011) indicate that thorny skate showed the highest level of within-species divergence (0.8 percent) across all skate species from Atlantic Canada examined, but this was largely due to a single individual, collected off the Gulf of Maine, with 3-4 percent sequence divergence from the other thorny skates examined. Coulson et al. (2011) also note that, with the exception of one other species (for which only two samples were tested), thorny skate showed the highest levels of both haplotype and nucleotide diversity; this was true even when the Gulf of Maine sample was excluded.

    The petitioners interpret Chevolet et al. (2007) to note that the near absence of genetic differentiation in thorny skate over the North Atlantic does not conform to predictions based on life history characteristics, and they acknowledge that the lack of power related to small sample size and the use of only one molecular marker might explain this. However, the authors note that a parallel study using the same marker for another skate species did find strong and highly significant structure at the ocean basin scale. The petitioners claim that this is not credible because the other study (Chevolet 2006) deals with a different skate species with different phylogeographic and population genetic structure patterns and because it does not minimize the problems associated with a small sample size. The only other information in our files is a study (Ostrow et al. 2008) that concluded there was no significant population structuring between phenotypically different thorny skate within the Gulf of Maine or between thorny skate samples from the Gulf of Maine and Canada. This suggests that mixing may occur between thorny skate in the Gulf of Maine and Canada. The authors also concluded that the number of migrants between the Gulf of Maine and Canada indicated large amounts of gene flow suggesting that genetic isolation had not occurred between any of the groups. The petitioners also note a statement in COSEWIC (2012) that states that large morphological and reproductive differences among thorny skates in different areas in conjunction with indications of minimal migration suggest that there could be spatial variation in population structure.

    The available genetic studies present conflicting information on the potential for significant differences between populations of thorny skate. We conclude that, viewed together, the genetics and tagging information presented in the petition combined with the information in our files present sufficient evidence that the DPS policy's criterion for discreteness may be met for the Northwest Atlantic population of thorny skate.

    The petitioner argues that thorny skate in the Northwest Atlantic are significant because the loss of this population would result in a significant reduction in the species' range with no significant evidence that populations outside of this range could recolonize these waters. While not clearly stated, we presume the petitioners based this on the tagging information presented in their arguments for discreteness. The petitioners also claim that the separate assessments and classifications of the Northwest and Northeast Atlantic stocks of thorny skate by the IUCN are evidence that the populations are discrete and significant. The petitioners do not present any analysis to support the claim that the IUCN stock determination is equivalent to a determination that a population meets the significance criterion in the DPS policy. However, based on the tagging information, we conclude that the petition presents sufficient evidence that the DPS policy's criterion for significance, particularly the “significant gap” consideration, may be met for the Northwest Atlantic population of thorny skate. Because the Northwest population of thorny skate may qualify as a DPS, we will consider it a potentially listable entity for purposes of this 90-day finding, and whether the Northwest Atlantic population of thorny skate constitutes a DPS will receive further analysis in the status review.

    The petition claims the thorny skate population in U.S. waters also satisfies the discreteness and significance criteria for DPS designation. The petition claims that the U.S. population is discrete, because it is delimited by international governmental boundaries (delineating the United States and Canada) and significant differences exist in the control of exploitation, conservation status, and regulatory mechanisms. The petition presents information on differences in management regimes between the United States and Canada, notably that possession and landing of thorny skate is prohibited in the United States and a directed fishery occurs for thorny skate in Canada and suggests that regulatory mechanisms in Canada are inadequate. The petition also describes management by the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO), which sets catch limits for thorny skate in the Northwest Atlantic. The petitioners claim that evidence suggests that the U.S. DPS may be discrete because it is markedly separated from the Canadian population as a consequence of physical and/or ecological factors. To support this, the petitioners point to the hyper-aggregated population along the southwest slope of the Grand Banks in Canadian waters (Kulka et al. 2007) and the relatively concentrated populations of thorny skates in the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank offshore strata in U.S. waters (NEFMC 2009). The petitioner argues that the thorny skate population in the United States is also significant because the loss of this population would result in a significant gap in the species' range. We find that the petition presents substantial evidence that the DPS policy's criteria for discreteness and significance may be met for the U.S. population of thorny skate. Because the U.S. population of thorny skate may qualify as a DPS, we will consider it a potentially listable entity for purposes of this 90-day finding, and whether the U.S. population of thorny skate constitutes a DPS will receive further analysis in the status review.

    Analysis of ESA Section 4(a)(1) Factors

    The petition provides information on all five factors but asserts that the continued survival of the thorny skate is endangered by three of the five factors specified in section 4(a)(1) of the ESA: (B) Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes; (D) inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; and (E) other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence.

    Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or Educational Purposes

    Skates are harvested in two different fisheries, one for lobster bait and one for wings for food. The fishery for lobster bait is a more historical and directed skate fishery, involving vessels primarily from Southern New England ports that target a combination of little skates and to a much lesser extent, juvenile winter skates. The fishery for skate wings evolved in the 1990s as skates were promoted as an underutilized species. The wing fishery involves a larger number of vessels located throughout the region. Vessels tend to catch skates when targeting other species like groundfish, monkfish, and scallops and land them if the price is high enough (NEFMC 2009).

    Thorny skates in the Atlantic U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone have been managed under authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) by the New England Fishery Management Council's fishery management plan for the Northeast (NE) Skate Complex (Skate FMP) since September 2003. Since that time, possession and landing of thorny skates has been prohibited, but the survey biomass index has continued to decline. It is important to note that based on the limited productivity of this species (long-lived, late maturity, low fecundity, etc.), rebuilding to target levels (4.12 kg/tow) was estimated to take at least 25 years (i.e., 2028) (NEFMC 2009). The thorny skate's low productivity makes it vulnerable to exploitation, but also suggests that the population is inherently slow to respond to fishery management efforts.

    The petition states that population estimates for the thorny skate in Canadian waters indicate stable, but not increasing numbers, and in the waters of the United States, biomass indices have been declining for decades, despite the federal ban on the landing and possession of thorny skates since 2003. The petition claims that thorny skate populations have been historically exploited at unsustainable rates. They state that participation in the commercial skate wing fishery in the Northwest Atlantic has grown dramatically over the past 30 years. They cite the initiation of a directed skate fishery in Canada in 1994 and an increase in skate landings in U.S. waters between the early 1980s and 2007. The petitioners note that biomass indices in Canada indicate that the species is maintaining relatively stable population numbers at very low levels. They claim the thorny skate population in U.S. waters continues to decline and state that the lack of regulation prior to 2003 reduced the population. The petitioners claim that current, and historical, overfishing has deleterious effects on the species population in U.S. waters and is a significant factor in the species' continued decline.

    The petitioners claim that reports of illegal thorny skate landings suggest that thorny skates are being exploited in the commercial wing market. They state that in the United States prior to August 2014, skate landings were not required to be reported by species. They cite NEFMC (2009), reporting that thorny skate wings composed 6.7 percent and 3 percent of the sampled dockside landings of skate wings in Massachusetts and Maine, respectively, from 2006-2007. However, according to port sampler data provided by the NMFS Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office's Analysis and Program Support Division, the occurrence of thorny skates in skate wing landings has been significantly reduced since 2006. Out of 50,653 skate wings sampled between 2007 and 2010, only 353 (0.7 percent) were identified as thorny skate wings. The available information does not suggest that illegal landings are impacting thorny skate populations to a degree that raises concern that the species may be at risk of extinction.

    The petitioners acknowledge that in contrast to Canada's directed thorny skate fishery, in the United States, thorny skates are primarily taken as bycatch in groundfish trawl fisheries. They also acknowledge that the prohibition on retention of the species means fishermen are banned from possessing or landing thorny skates or their parts, and Federal regulations mandate the discard of any incidentally caught thorny skates. The petition cites the 2009 and 2010 Standardized Bycatch Reporting Methodology (SBRM; Wigley et al. 2011) reports, which indicate that roughly 70 percent of all skates caught in various fisheries were discarded. We reviewed the SBRM reports for later years (Wigley et al. 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012); these reports indicate that 49-63 percent of skates caught between July 2010 and June 2014 were discarded. The petitioners claim the possibility of egregious mis- and under-reporting of skate discards. However, other than noting that only 10 percent of selected otter trawl vessel total trips were observed under the Northeast Fisheries Observer Program, the petitioners provide no substantial information to support this claim of mis-reporting or under-reporting of skate discards. The available information does not suggest that mis-reporting or under-reporting is impacting thorny skate populations to a degree that raises concern that the species may be at risk of extinction.

    The petitioners cite an estimate of 3,594 tons of thorny skate discarded from otter trawl fisheries in U.S. waters from 2003-2010. The petitioners claim that post-discard mortality for thorny skate is high and exacerbates the thorny skate's population decline and critically threatens stock rebuilding efforts. The petitioners cite Mandleman et al. (2013) as support for their claim of high post-discard mortality. This study indicates that while 72-hour post-discard mortality of a sample of individuals retained in captivity following cage trials was only 22 percent, the condition of many of the individual thorny skate was poor (52 percent injury rate at time of capture; most with listless appearance and lack of vigor at the end of the 72-hour period) and 7 day mortality was 66 percent. The authors note that the species may be less resilient than indicated by the 22 percent 72-hour mortality rate and cautions against the use of the 22 percent mortality rate in management. The effects of captivity on these mortality rates are unknown. Further review is necessary to determine if this level of fishery-related mortality is a threat to thorny skate, but we cannot discount it as a possible threat to the species.

    Given the evidence of historical exploitation of the species and subsequent population declines, the continued bycatch of thorny skate, and the potentially high post-discard mortality rate, the information in the petition and in our files leads a reasonable person to conclude that the petitioned action may be warranted.

    Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    The petitioners claim that a general lack of species-specific identification, both on-boat and at landing, poses a significant threat to the thorny skate's survival in U.S. waters and that because thorny skate are a prohibited species, the likelihood that the landings are underreported is strong. They also state that misidentification and mislabeling is a problem. The petitioner states that positive species identification at landing is hindered because current regulations allow vessels to possess and/or land skates as wings only (wings removed from the body of the skate and the remaining carcasses discarded). The petitioners also state that the designation of thorny skates as “prohibited”, “overfished” and “subject to overfishing” allows room for inconsistent enforcement of the law. The petition states that the existing regulatory mechanisms provided for in the 2003 FMP are ineffective.

    As noted in the petition, in 2013, we determined that overfishing is occurring for thorny skate. The determination that overfishing is occurring is made when there is a decrease of more than 20 percent between two consecutive moving averages of the biomass index. The 2011-2013 3-year average biomass index (0.12 kg/tow) is only 3 percent of the species' biomass target. This 3-year average index represents an approximately 33 percent decrease from the 2010-2012 3-year moving average (0.18 kg/tow). While not noted in the petition, in an August 2014 memorandum (August 22, 2014 memo from NEFSC to GARFO) we determined that based on new survey data collected through autumn 2013/spring 2014, thorny skate remained overfished and overfishing was still occurring. Because thorny skate are a long lived species, the species may be slow to respond to management measures. However, the determination that overfishing is occurring suggests that, despite the ban on possession or landing, fishing mortality is a threat that may warrant further consideration.

    As noted in the petition, the framework for the FMP for the Northeast skate complex was adjusted in 2014 to implement a 30 percent reduction in the skate Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC). However, as noted in the petition, the Federal Register notice announcing the availability of Framework Adjustment 2 acknowledges that while these reductions in catch limits are expected to address the current overfishing status for winter skates (not its overfished condition), the New England Fishery Management Council intends to develop a new skate action in 2014 to address overfishing and rebuild overfished thorny skates. The petition correctly notes that the Framework Adjustment 2 was not designed to address overfishing of thorny skates and correctly notes that as of the date of the petition, no new management action for thorny skate has been proposed.

    While the determinations that thorny skate is overfished and that overfishing is occurring do not alone indicate that the species may be at risk of extinction, thorny skate biomass in the United States continues to decline and appears to be at historically low levels, and information was presented suggesting that fishing may be a contributing factor to this decline. Based on the information presented in the petition as well as information in our files, we find that further evaluation of the adequacy of existing regulatory measures in the United States is needed.

    While the historical lack of species-specific trends in landings and discards has hampered stock assessment efforts, recent data collection efforts have greatly improved our understanding of the species composition of the landings. As noted in the petition, in August 2014, the reporting standard was changed. Framework Adjustment 2 to the Northeast Skate FMP requires all landings be reported by one of the seven specific skate species or by “little/winter skate” if an unknown mix of the two species exists. Thorny skate wings are easily distinguishable from legal winter skate wings with a minimal amount of training, and port samplers and enforcement agents have received this training. Landing of thorny skates may have been more frequent in the past, but it has been dramatically curtailed since the prohibition on possession went into effect. Mislabeling of skate products does not appear to be widespread at U.S. ports, but port agents and enforcement agents have been trained to correct mislabeling if they observe it. The only information on mislabeling presented in the petition was about one specimen from a seafood show in Brussels, Belgium, which we view as not relevant to a potential listing in the United States. We conclude that the petition does not present sufficient information to determine that issues with landings data, misidentification or mislabeling are impacting thorny skate populations to a degree that raises concern that the petitioned action may be warranted.

    The petition also states that regulatory mechanisms in Canada are inadequate to protect thorny skate. They claim that by adopting NAFO's suggested total allowable catch (TAC) limits for skate, Canada has implemented regulations that have not successfully promoted stock rebuilding. Finally, the petition also states that Canada lacks substantive protective regulatory mechanisms for thorny skate and has not afforded a conservation status by COSEWIC. As reported in the petition, thorny skate abundance indices have stabilized in Canadian waters in recent years while biomass indices have gradually increased (DFO 2013), but both indices are at historically low levels. The petitioners argue that while the average reported annual catch from NAFO Division 3LNO from 2009-2011 is less than half the current TAC, there has been minimal to no rebuilding of the stock during this period. The petitioners claim there are no indications the stock is recovering since it was brought under management and argue that both the current TAC (reported by the petitioners as 7,000 tons, citing NAFO 2012) and the reported average skate catches are too high to promote any stock recovery. The most recent stock assessment of thorny skate in NAFO Subdivision 3PS (inside Canada's 200-mile limit) indicates the TAC has been continually reduced since 2004 (13,500 tons) and is currently at 8,500 t (DFO 2013). The Canadian research survey abundance for Subdivision 3Ps was relatively stable from 1993-2012, while the survey biomass index indicated a gradually increasing trend (DFO 2013). In NAFO divisions 3LNO, Canadian research survey indices declined rapidly until the early 1990s; abundance indices were relatively stable in 1993-2012, while the survey biomass indices have generally been increasing (DFO 2013). DFO 2013 acknowledges that since the 1980s, thorny skate has undergone substantial changes in its distribution and has become increasingly aggregated in subdivision 3Ps, and on the southern part of the Grand Banks. They state that this results in a decreasing area of occupancy and increasing catch rates in commercial fisheries occurring in those aggregation areas. The report also indicates that discarding of skate bycatch at sea remains unreported by Canadian and other fishers, which results in higher removals of thorny skate than available fisheries statistics indicate and that commercial skate landings from Canada's EEZ are not required to be reported by species. The report concludes that despite a number of years of reduced commercial landings, there was no recovery of thorny skate in the 3LNOPs stock area despite apparently stable abundance in the 3Ps portion and that biomass and abundance indices for the entire division 3LNO and subdivision 3Ps thorny skate stock area remain at relatively low levels. Based on the information presented in the petition as well as information in our files, we find that further evaluation of the adequacy of existing regulatory measures outside of the United States is needed. Given the information presented above, the information in the petition and in our files leads a reasonable person to conclude that the petitioned action may be warranted.

    Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting Its Existence

    The petition claims that global warming poses a long-term threat to Northwest Atlantic thorny skates and their recovery from depletion. They state that the documented global ocean warming trend could result in a change in species composition in northern waters which could adversely affect the thorny skate's predator-prey dynamics or introduce new pathogens that could harm thorny skates. The petitioners provide information on sea surface temperatures and hydrography in the Gulf of Maine and state that one outcome will be reductions in phytoplankton productivity. While they state that changes at the lower levels of the food web may have consequences to animals at higher trophic levels, they provide no information on the impacts of these changes on thorny skate. The petitioners have not provided substantial information indicating that potential impacts to lower levels of the food web are causing detrimental effects to thorny skate or may be contributing or may, in the foreseeable future, contribute significantly to population declines of thorny skate to the point where the petitioned action may be warranted.

    They also state that global warming could result in a contraction of the range of cold-water species such as the thorny skate. They speculate that a range contraction could be a potential factor in the decrease in thorny skate biomass in the Gulf of Maine and that the amount of thermal habitat in the 5 to 15 °C range has decreased over the past two decades. The petitioners state that the majority of thorny skates are not capable of journeys of more than 96 km and the farthest an individual has been documented traveling is 386 km (citing Templeman 1984) and that, as such, a large-scale northern migration to move away from warming waters in the southern portion of their range appears unlikely. As noted above, it is unclear what the actual maximum migratory distance for a thorny skate is. The petitioners also claim that thorny skate have experienced a northward shift in the center of their biomass. More research is necessary to investigate if there is a correlation between Gulf of Maine water temperatures and thorny skate biomass, but the available information on thorny skate temperature preferences suggests that this could be a possibility.

    There is uncertainty regarding the role of temperature in driving or contributing to the historical and current distribution and abundance of thorny skate and even greater uncertainty regarding potential future impacts of climate change. Impacts from climate change to habitat availability or suitability could pose particular problems for U.S. populations of thorny skate as they are at the southern extent of the range of the species and are at historically low levels of abundance. Further review is necessary to determine if climate change is a threat to thorny skate. Given the evidence of range contraction and the uncertainty regarding the role of warming ocean waters, we conclude that the information in the petition and in our files suggests that climate change, and warming ocean waters specifically, may be impacting thorny skate to a degree that raises concern over their continued persistence and that should be further evaluated in a status review.

    The petitioners claim that hypoxia (oxygen deficiency) has increased in frequency, duration, and severity in coastal waters and that this decreases the abundance and diversity of benthic macrofauna (citing CSIS 2011). They also claim that the combination of hypoxia and increased water temperature would reduce the quality and size of suitable habitat for aerobic organisms whose suitable habitat is restricted by water temperature and claim that thorny skate is such a species. While acknowledging that any prediction of the effects of hypoxic zones on thorny skates is speculative, the petitioners state that any adverse impact on the species or on the abundance/distribution of its predators or prey will severely hinder the species' ability to recover. However, neither the petitioners nor the information in our files indicate that thorny skate are impacted by hypoxia or that hypoxia may be contributing significantly to population declines in thorny skates to the point where the species may be at a risk of extinction. As such, we conclude that the information presented in the petition on the threat of hypoxia does not provide substantial information indicating that hypoxia may be impacting thorny skate to a degree that the petitioned action may be warranted.

    The petitioners state that the life history characteristics of thorny skate place the species at risk of adverse effects resulting from natural stochastic events. However, neither the petitioners nor the information in our files indicate that natural stochastic events are causing detrimental effects to the species or may be contributing significantly to population declines in thorny skates to the point where the species may be at a risk of extinction. As such, we conclude that the information presented in the petition on the threat of natural stochastic events does not provide substantial information indicating that such events may be impacting or may, in the foreseeable future, impact thorny skate to a degree that the petitioned action may be warranted. However, given all of the information presented above on other natural and manmade factors, particularly the warming of oceans, the information in the petition and in our files does lead a reasonable person to conclude that the petitioned action may be warranted, and it is necessary to consider the impacts from other natural and manmade factors in a status review.

    Summary of ESA Section 4(a)(1) Factors

    We conclude that the petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that a combination of three of the section 4(a)(1) factors (overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes; inadequate existing regulatory mechanisms; and other natural or manmade factors) may be causing or contributing to an increased risk of extinction for thorny skate which needs to be further evaluated in a review of the status of the species.

    Petition Finding

    After reviewing the information contained in the petition, as well as information readily available in our files, and based on the above analysis, we conclude the petition presents substantial scientific information indicating the petitioned action of listing a Northwest Atlantic or United States DPS of thorny skate as threatened or endangered may be warranted. Therefore, in accordance with section 4(b)(3)(B) of the ESA and NMFS' implementing regulations (50 CFR 424.14(b)(2)), we will commence a review of the status of the species. During our status review, we will first determine whether one of the populations identified by the petitioners meets the DPS policy criteria, and if so, whether it is threatened or endangered throughout all or a significant portion of its range. We now initiate this review, and thus, the Northwest Atlantic population of the thorny skate is considered to be a candidate species (see 69 FR 19975; April 15, 2004). To the maximum extent practicable, within 12 months of the receipt of the petition (May 28, 2016), we will make a finding as to whether listing either of the populations identified by the petitioner as DPSs as endangered or threatened is warranted as required by section 4(b)(3)(B) of the ESA. If listing a DPS is found to be warranted, we will publish a proposed rule and solicit public comments before developing and publishing a final rule. The petitioners request that we designate critical habitat for thorny skates. ESA Section 4(a)(3)(A) and its implementing regulations state that, to the maximum extent prudent and determinable, the Secretary shall, concurrently with listing a species as endangered or threatened, designate any critical habitat for that species. If a thorny skate population were to be listed as a DPS, we would follow the relevant statutory and regulatory provisions regarding the designation of critical habitat.

    Information Solicited

    To ensure that the status review is based on the best available scientific and commercial data, we are soliciting information on the thorny skate. Specifically, we solicit information in the following areas: (1) Historical and current distribution and abundance of this species in the Northwest Atlantic; (2) historical and current population status and trends; (3) any current or planned activities that may adversely impact the species, especially as related to the five factors specified in section 4(a)(1) of the ESA and listed above; (4) ongoing efforts to protect and restore the species and its habitat; and (5) genetic data or other information related to possible population structure of thorny skate. We request that all information be accompanied by: (1) Supporting documentation such as maps, bibliographic references, or reprints of pertinent publications; and (2) the submitter's name, address, and any association, institution, or business that the person represents.

    References Cited

    A complete list of references is available upon request (see ADDRESSES).

    Authority

    The authority for this action is the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

    Dated: October 16, 2015. Samuel D. Rauch, III. Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service.
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    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 224 [Docket No. 150209121-5941-02] RIN 0648-XD760 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife; 12-Month Finding on a Petition To Identify and Delist a Saint John River Distinct Population Segment of Shortnose Sturgeon Under the Endangered Species Act AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice of 12-month petition finding.

    SUMMARY:

    We, NMFS, announce a 12-month finding on a petition to identify and “delist” shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum) within the Saint John River in New Brunswick, Canada under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The shortnose sturgeon is currently listed as an endangered species, at the species level, under the ESA. Based on our review of the best scientific and commercial data available, we have determined that the population of shortnose sturgeon from the Saint John River does not qualify as a distinct population segment. Therefore, we did not consider the petition further, and we do not propose to delist this population.

    DATES:

    This finding was made on October 26, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Information used to make this finding is available for public inspection by appointment during normal business hours at NMFS, Office of Protected Resources, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910. The petition and the list of the references used in making this finding are also available on the NMFS Web site at: www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/fish/shortnose-sturgeon.html.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Lisa Manning, Office of Protected Resources, 301-427-8466; Stephania Bolden, Southeast Regional Office, 727-824-5312; Julie Crocker, Greater Atlantic Regional Office, 978-282-8480.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    On September 24, 2014, we received a petition from Dr. Michael J. Dadswell, Dr. Matthew K. Litvak, and Mr. Jonathan Barry regarding the population of shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum) native to the Saint John River in New Brunswick, Canada. The petition requests that we identify the Saint John River population of shortnose sturgeon as a distinct population segment (DPS) and contemporaneously “delist” this DPS by removing it from the species-wide listing under the Endangered Species Act. On April 6, 2015, we published a positive finding indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted and that we were initiating a status review to consider the petition further (80 FR 18347).

    The shortnose sturgeon was originally listed as an endangered species throughout its range by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) on March 11, 1967, under the Endangered Species Preservation Act (ESPA, 32 FR 4001). Shortnose sturgeon remained on the endangered species list when the U.S. Congress replaced the ESPA by enacting the Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1969, which was in turn replaced by the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA, 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). We subsequently assumed jurisdiction for shortnose sturgeon under a 1974 government reorganization plan (39 FR 41370, November 27, 1974). In Canada, the shortnose sturgeon falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and was first assessed by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) as “Special Concern” in 1980. This status was reconfirmed in 2005, and the species was listed as Special Concern under the Canadian federal Species at Risk Act (SARA) in 2009. The Special Concern status was reconfirmed again in 2015 (COSEWIC, In Press). Shortnose sturgeon is also listed under Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna (CITES).

    Statutory, Regulatory and Policy Provisions

    We are responsible for determining whether species are threatened or endangered under the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). To make this determination, we first consider whether a group of organisms constitutes a “species” under section 3 of the ESA, and then we consider whether the status of the species qualifies it for listing as either threatened or endangered. Section 3 of the ESA defines a “species” to include “any subspecies of fish or wildlife or plants, and any distinct population segment of any species of vertebrate fish or wildlife which interbreeds when mature” (16 U.S.C. 1532(16)). A joint policy issued by NMFS and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS; collectively referred to as “the Services”) clarifies the interpretation of the phrase “distinct population segment” (DPS) for the purposes of listing, delisting, and reclassifying a species under the ESA (“DPS Policy,” 61 FR 4722, February 7, 1996). The DPS Policy identifies two criteria for determining whether a population is a DPS: (1) The population must be “discrete” in relation to the remainder of the taxon (species or subspecies) to which it belongs; and (2) the population must be “significant” to the remainder of the taxon to which it belongs.

    Congress has instructed the Secretary to exercise the authority to recognize DPS's “sparingly and only when the biological evidence indicates that such action is warranted” (S. Rep. 96-151 (1979)). The law is not settled as to the extent of the Services' discretion to modify a species-level listing to recognize a DPS having a status that differs from the original listing. In a recent decision, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia held that the ESA does not permit identification of a DPS solely for purposes of delisting. Humane Soc'y v. Jewell, 76 F. Supp. 3d 69 (D.D.C. Dec. 19, 2014), appeal docketed, No. 15-5041 (D.C. Cir. Feb. 19, 2015) (Western Great Lakes gray wolves) (consolidated with Nos. 15-5043, 15-5060, and 15-5061).

    A species, subspecies, or DPS is “endangered” if it is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range, and “threatened” if it is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range (ESA sections 3(6) and 3(20), respectively, 16 U.S.C. 1532(6) and (20)). We interpret an “endangered species” to be one that is presently in danger of extinction. A “threatened species,” on the other hand, is not presently in danger of extinction, but is likely to become so in the foreseeable future. In other words, the primary statutory difference between a threatened and endangered species is the timing of when a species may be in danger of extinction, either presently (endangered) or in the foreseeable future (threatened). In addition, we interpret “foreseeable future” as the horizon over which predictions about the conservation status of the species can be reasonably relied upon.

    Pursuant to the ESA and our implementing regulations, the determination of whether a species is threatened or endangered shall be based on any one or a combination of the following five section 4(a)(1) factors: The present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of habitat or range; overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes; disease or predation; inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; and any other natural or manmade factors affecting the species' existence. 16 U.S.C. 1533(a)(1); 50 CFR 424.11(c). Listing determinations must be based solely on the best scientific and commercial data available, after conducting a review of the species' status and after taking into account any efforts being made by any state or foreign nation (or any political subdivision of such state or foreign nation) to protect the species. 16 U.S.C. 1532(b)(1)(A).

    Under section 4(a)(1) of the ESA and the implementing regulations at 50 CFR 424.11(d), a species shall be removed from the list if the Secretary of Commerce determines, based on the best scientific and commercial data available after conducting a review of the species' status, that the species is no longer threatened or endangered because of one or a combination of the section 4(a)(1) factors. The regulations provide that a species listed under the ESA may be delisted only if such data substantiate that it is neither endangered nor threatened for one or more of the following reasons:

    (1) Extinction. Unless all individuals of the listed species had been previously identified and located, and were later found to be extirpated from their previous range, a sufficient period of time must be allowed before delisting to indicate clearly that the species is extinct.

    (2) Recovery. The principal goal of the USFWS and NMFS is to return listed species to a point at which protection under the ESA is no longer required. A species may be delisted on the basis of recovery only if the best scientific and commercial data available indicate that it is no longer endangered or threatened.

    (3) Original data for classification in error. Subsequent investigations may show that the best scientific or commercial data available when the species was listed, or the interpretation of such data, were in error.

    50 CFR 424.11(d).

    To complete the required finding in response to the current delisting petition, we first evaluated whether the petitioned entity meets the criteria of the DPS Policy. As we noted in our initial petition finding, a determination whether to revise a species-level listing to recognize one or more DPSs in place of a species-level listing involves, first, determining whether particular DPS(s) exist(s) (based on meeting the criteria of the DPS Policy) and, if that finding is affirmative, complex evaluation as to the most appropriate approach for managing the species in light of the purposes and authorities under the ESA.

    Species Description

    Below, we summarize basic life history information for shortnose sturgeon. A more thorough discussion of all life stages, reproductive biology, habitat use, abundance estimates and threats are provided in the Shortnose Sturgeon Biological Assessment completed by the Shortnose Sturgeon Status Review Team in 2010 (SSRT 2010; http://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/pr/species/fish/shortnose-sturgeon.html).

    There are 25 species and four recognized genera of sturgeons (family Acipenseridae), which comprise an ancient and distinctive assemblage with fossils dating to at least the Upper Cretaceous period, more than 66 million years ago (Findeis 1997). The shortnose sturgeon, Acipenser brevirostrum, is the smallest of the three extant sturgeon species in eastern North America. Many primitive physical characteristics that reflect the shortnose sturgeon's ancient lineage have been retained, including a protective armor of bony plates called “scutes”; a subterminal, protractile tube-like mouth; and chemosensory barbels. The general body shape is cylindrical, tapering at the head and caudal peduncle, and the upper lobe of the tail is longer than the lower lobe. Shortnose sturgeon vary in color but are generally dark brown to olive or black on the dorsal surface, lighter along the row of lateral scutes, and nearly white on the ventral surface. Adults have no teeth but possess bony plates in the esophagus that are used to crush hard prey items (Vladykov and Greeley 1963; Gilbert 1989). The skeleton is almost entirely cartilaginous with the exception of some bones in the skull, jaw and pectoral girdle.

    Shortnose sturgeon occur along the East Coast of North America in rivers, estuaries, and marine waters. Historically, they were present in most major rivers systems along the Atlantic coast (Kynard 1997). Their current riverine distribution extends from the Saint John River, New Brunswick, Canada, to possibly as far south as the St. Johns River, Florida (Figure 1; Kynard 1997; Gorham and McAllister 1974). Recently available information indicates that their marine range extends farther northward than previously thought and includes the Minas Basin, Nova Scotia (Dadswell et al. 2013). The distribution of shortnose sturgeon across their range, however, is disjunct, with no known reproducing populations occurring within the roughly 400 km of coast between the Chesapeake Bay and the southern boundary of North Carolina. Shortnose sturgeon live in close proximity with Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus) throughout much of their range. However, Atlantic sturgeon spend more of their life cycle in the open ocean compared to shortnose sturgeon. Within rivers, shortnose sturgeon and Atlantic sturgeon may share foraging habitat and resources, but shortnose sturgeon generally spawn farther upriver and earlier than Atlantic sturgeon (Kynard 1997, Bain 1997).

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    Shortnose sturgeon typically migrate seasonally between upstream freshwater spawning habitats and downstream foraging mesohaline (i.e., salinities of 5 to 18 parts per thousand) habitat based on water temperature, flow, and salinity cues. Based on their varied and complex use of freshwater, estuarine, and marine waters, shortnose sturgeon have been characterized in the literature as “anadromous” or “amphidromous” (Bain 1977; Kieffer and Kynard 1993). An anadromous species is defined as one that spawns in freshwater and spends much of its life cycle in marine waters, whereas a freshwater amphidromous species is one that spawns and remains in freshwater for most of its life cycle but spends some time in saline water. Because shortnose sturgeon had historically rarely been detected far from their natal estuary, they were once considered to be largely confined to their natal rivers and estuaries (NMFS 1998). However, more recent research has demonstrated that shortnose sturgeon leave their natal estuaries, undergo coastal migrations, and use other river systems to a greater extent than previously thought (Kynard 1997; Savoy 2004; Fernandes 2010; Zydlewski et al. 2011; Dionne et al. 2013). The reasons for inter-riverine movements are not yet clear, and the degree to which this behavior occurs appears to vary among river systems.

    Shortnose sturgeon are benthic feeders, and their diet typically consists of small insects, crustaceans, mollusks, polychaetes, and small benthic fishes (McCleave et al. 1977; Dadswell 1979; Marchette and Smiley 1982; Dadswell et al. 1984; Moser and Ross 1995; Kynard et al. 2000; Collins et al. 2002). Both juvenile and adult shortnose sturgeon primarily forage over sandy-mud bottoms, which support benthic invertebrates (Carlson and Simpson 1987, Kynard 1997). Shortnose sturgeon have also been observed feeding off plant surfaces (Dadswell et al. 1984). Sturgeon likely use electroreception, olfaction, and tactile chemosensory cues to forage, while vision is thought to play a minor role (Miller 2004).

    Foraging in the colder rivers in the northern part of their range appears to greatly decline or cease during winter months when shortnose sturgeon generally become inactive. In mid-Atlantic areas, including the Chesapeake Bay, and the Delaware River, foraging is believed to occur year-round, though shortnose sturgeon are believed to feed less in the winter (J. O'Herron, Amitrone O'Herron, Inc., pers. comm. 2008 as cited in SSRT 2010). In the southern part of their range, shortnose sturgeon are known to forage widely throughout the estuary during the winter, fall, and spring (Collins and Smith 1993, Weber et al. 1999). During the hotter months of summer, foraging may taper off or cease as shortnose sturgeon take refuge from high water temperatures.

    Shortnose sturgeon are relatively small compared to most extant sturgeon species and reach a maximum length of about 120 cm total length (TL) and weight of about 24 kg (Dadswell 1979; Waldman et al. 2002); however, both maximum size and growth rate display a pattern of gradual variation across the range, with the fastest growth rates and smallest maximum sizes occurring in the more southern populations (Dadswell et al. 1984). The northernmost populations exhibit the slowest growth and largest adult sizes. The largest shortnose sturgeon reported in the published literature to date was collected from the Saint John River, Canada, and measured 143cm TL (122 cm fork length (FL)) and weighed 23.6 kg (Dadswell 1979). In contrast, in their review, Dadswell et al. (1984) indicated that the largest adult reported from the St. Johns River, Florida, was a 73.5 cm (TL) female. Dadswell et al. (1984) compared reported growth parameters across the range and showed that the von Bertalanffy growth parameter K and estimated asymptotic length ranged from 0.042 and 130.0 cm (FL), respectively, for Saint John River fish to 0.149 and 97.0 cm (FL) for Altamaha River, Georgia fish. However, the land-locked shortnose sturgeon population located upstream of Holyoke Dam at river km 140 of the Connecticut River has the slowest adult growth rate of any surveyed, which may at least in part reflect food limitations (Taubert 1980a).

    Shortnose sturgeon are relatively long-lived and slow to mature. The oldest shortnose sturgeon reported was a 67 year-old female from the Saint John River, and the oldest male reported was a 32 year-old fish, also captured in the Saint John River (Dadswell 1979). In general, fish in the northern portion of the species' range live longer than individuals in the southern portion of the species' range (Gilbert 1989). Males and females mature at about the same length, around 45-55 cm FL, throughout their range (Dadswell et al. 1984). However, age at maturity varies by sex and with latitude, with males in the southern rivers displaying the youngest ages at maturity (see review in Dadswell et al. 1984). For example, age at first maturation in males occurs at about 2-3 years of age in Georgia and at about 10-11 years in the Saint John River. Females mature by 6 years of age in Georgia and at about 13 years in the Saint John River (Dadswell et al. 1984).

    Sturgeon are iteroparous, meaning they reproduce more than once during their lifetime. In general, male shortnose sturgeon are thought to spawn every other year, but they may spawn annually in some rivers (Dovel et al. 1992; Kieffer and Kynard 1996). Females appear to spawn less frequently—approximately every 3 to 5 years (Dadswell 1979). Spawning typically occurs during late winter/early spring (southern rivers) and mid-to-late spring (northern rivers) (Dadswell 1979, Taubert 1980a and b, Kynard 1997). The onset of spawning may be cued by decreasing river discharge following the peak spring freshet, when water temperatures range from 8 to 15 °C and bottom water velocities range between 25-130 cm/s, although photoperiod (or day-length) appears to control spawning readiness (Dadswell et al. 1984; Kynard et al. 2012). Spawning appears to occur in the sturgeons' natal river, often just below the fall line at the farthest accessible upstream reach of the river (Dovel 1981; Buckley and Kynard 1985; Kieffer and Kynard 1993; O`Herron et al. 1993; Kieffer and Kynard 1996). Following spawning, adult shortnose sturgeon disperse quickly down river and typically remain downstream of their spawning areas throughout the rest of the year (Buckley and Kynard 1985, Dadswell et al. 1984; Buckley and Kynard 1985; O'Herron et al. 1993).

    In a review by Gilbert (1989), fecundity of shortnose sturgeon was reported to range between approximately 30,000-200,000 eggs per female. Shortnose sturgeon collected from the Saint John River had a range of 27,000-208,000 eggs and a mean of 11,568 eggs/kg body weight (Dadswell 1979). Development of the eggs and transition through the subsequent larval, juvenile and sub-adult life stages are discussed in more detail in SSRT 2010.

    A total abundance estimate for shortnose sturgeon is not available. However, population estimates, using a variety of techniques, have been generated for many individual river systems. In general, northern shortnose sturgeon population abundances are greater than southern populations (Kynard 1997). The Hudson River shortnose sturgeon population is currently considered to be the largest extant population (61,000 adults, 95 percent CI: 52,898-72,191; Bain et al. 2007; however, see discussion of this estimate in SSRT 2010). Available data suggest that some populations in northern rivers have increased over the past several decades (e.g., Hudson, Kennebec; Bain et al. 2000; Squiers 2003) and that others may be stable (e.g., Delaware; Brundage and O'Herron 2006). South of Chesapeake Bay, populations are relatively small compared to the northern populations. The largest population of shortnose sturgeon in the southern part of the range is from the Altamaha River, which was most recently estimated at 6,320 fish (95% CI: 4387-9249; Devries 2006). Occasional observations of shortnose sturgeon have been made in some rivers where shortnose sturgeon are considered extirpated (e.g., St. Johns, St. Mary's, Potomac, Housatonic, and Neuse rivers); the few fish that have been observed in these rivers are generally presumed to be immigrants from neighboring basins.

    The most recent total population estimate for the Saint John River dates to the 1970's. Using tag recapture data from 1973-1977, Dadswell (1979) calculated a Jolly-Seber population estimate of 18,000 (±30% SE; 95 percent CI: 7,200-28,880, COSEWIC, In Press) adults (> 50 cm) below the Mactaquac Dam. Several partial population estimates are also available for the Kennebecasis River, a tributary in the lower reaches of the Saint John River. Litvak (unpublished data) calculated a Jolly-Seber estimate of 2,068 fish (95% CI: 801-11,277) in the Kennebecasis using mark-recapture data from 1998 to 2004 (COSEWIC, In Press). Based on videotaping of overwintering aggregations of shortnose sturgeon on the Kennebecasis River at the confluence of the Hammond River (rkm 35), Li et al. (2007) used ordinary Kriging to estimate that 4,836 (95% CI: 4,701-4,971) adult shortnose sturgeon were overwintering in that area. Usvyatsov et al. (2012) repeated this sampling in 2009 and 2011 and, using three different modeling techniques, estimated a total of 3,852-5,222 shortnose sturgeon in the study area, which suggests fairly stable abundance and habitat use at this site.

    Threats that contributed to the species' decline and led to the listing of shortnose sturgeon under the ESA included pollution, overfishing, and bycatch in the shad fishery (USDOI 1973). Shortnose sturgeon were also thought to be extirpated, or nearly so, from most of the rivers in their historical range (USDOI 1973). In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, shortnose sturgeon were commonly harvested incidental to Atlantic sturgeon, the larger and more commercially valuable of these two sympatric sturgeon species (NMFS 1998). Although there is currently no legal directed fishing for shortnose sturgeon in the United States, poaching is suspected, and bycatch still occurs in some areas. In particular, shortnose sturgeon are caught incidentally by bass anglers and in the alewife/gaspereau, American shad, American eel, and Atlantic sturgeon fisheries in the Saint John River; and shad fisheries in the Altamaha River, Santee River, Savannah River, and elsewhere (COSEWIC, In Press; SSRT 2010; Bahn et al. 2009; COSEWIC 2005). The construction of dams has also resulted in substantial loss of historical shortnose sturgeon habitat in some areas along the Atlantic seaboard. The construction and operation of dams can impede upstream movement to sturgeon spawning habitat (e.g., Connecticut River, Santee River). Remediation measures, such as dam removal or modification to allow for fish passage have improved access in some rivers, and additional similar restoration efforts are being considered in other areas (e.g., possible removal of the Mactaquac dam in the Saint John River). Other possible and ongoing threats include operation of power generating stations, water diversion projects, dredging, and other in-water activities that impact habitat.

    Distinct Population Segment Analysis

    The following sections provide our analysis of whether the petitioned entity—the Saint John River population of shortnose sturgeon—qualifies as a DPS of shortnose sturgeon (whether it is both “discrete” and “significant”). To complete this analysis we relied on the best scientific and commercial data available and considered all relevant literature and public comments submitted in response to our 90-day finding (80 FR 18347, April 6, 2015).

    For purposes of this analysis, we defined the Saint John River population segment of shortnose sturgeon to consist of shortnose sturgeon spawned in the Saint John River downstream of the Mactaquac Dam. Prior to construction of Mactaquac Dam in 1968/1969, sturgeon occurred upstream of the dam; however, it is unclear whether these were shortnose and/or Atlantic sturgeon and whether any sturgeon are still present upstream of the dam (COSEWIC, In Press). Lacking this information, we cannot consider fish that may be present upstream of the dam in our distinct population segment analysis. Throughout our discussion below we also use the term “population” to refer collectively to all shortnose sturgeon that are presumed to be natal to a particular river rather than using this term to refer strictly to a completely closed reproductive unit.

    Discreteness Criterion

    The Services' joint DPS Policy states that a population segment of a vertebrate species may be considered discrete if it satisfies either one of the following conditions:

    (1) It is markedly separated from other populations of the same taxon as a consequence of physical, physiological, ecological, or behavioral factors. Quantitative measures of genetic or morphological discontinuity may provide evidence of this separation.

    (2) It is delimited by international governmental boundaries within which differences in control of exploitation, management of habitat, conservation status, or regulatory mechanisms exist that are significant in light of section 4(a)(1)(D) of the ESA (61 FR 4722, February 7, 1996).

    There are no physical barriers preventing the movement of Saint John River shortnose sturgeon outside of the Saint John River estuary or along the coast. The Mactaquac Dam, located about 140 km upstream and at the head of tide (Canadian Rivers Institute 2011), is the first upstream physical barrier on the Saint John River. This and other dams on the Saint John River block shortnose sturgeon from accessing upstream habitats, but there are no dams or other physical barriers separating Saint John River sturgeon from other shortnose sturgeon populations.

    As mentioned previously, shortnose sturgeon have been documented to leave their natal river/estuary and move to other rivers to varying extents across their range. For example, telemetry data generated by Zydlewski et al. (2011) during 2008-2010 indicate that inter-riverine movements of adult shortnose sturgeon occur fairly frequently among rivers in Maine. Seventy percent of tagged adults (25 of 41 fish) moved between the Penobscot and Kennebec rivers (about 150 km away), and up to 52% of the coastal migrants (13 of 25 fish) also used other, smaller river systems (i.e., Damariscotta, Medomak, St. George) between the Penobscot and Kennebec rivers (Zydlewski et al. 2011). Shortnose sturgeon are also known to move between rivers in Maine and (e.g., Kennebec, Saco) and the Merrimack River estuary in Massachusetts, traveling distances of up to about 250 km (as measured by a conservative, direct path distance; Little et al. 2013; Wippelhauser et al. 2015). At the other end of the range, in the Southeast United States, inter-riverine movements appear fairly common and include movements between the Savannah River and Winyah Bay and between the Altamaha and Ogeechee rivers (Peterson and Farrae 2011; Post et al. 2014).

    Many inter-riverine movements have been observed elsewhere within the species' range, but patterns are not yet well resolved. For example, some shortnose sturgeon captured and/or tagged in the Connecticut River have been recaptured, detected, or were previously tagged in the Housatonic River (T. Savoy, CT DEP, pers. comm. 2015), the Hudson River (Savoy 2004), and the Merrimack River (M. Kieffer, USGS, pers. comm. 2015). At this time, the available tagging and tracking information is too limited to determine if Hudson River and Connecticut River shortnose sturgeon are making regular movements outside of their natal rivers and whether movement as far as the Merrimack River is a normal behavior. Movement data from the Chesapeake Bay is also relatively limited, but existing data indicate that shortnose sturgeon do move from the Chesapeake Bay through the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal into the Delaware River (Welsh et al. 2002).

    The distances of the reported marine migrations vary widely from very short distances—such as between the Santee River and Winyah Bay, which are only about 15 km apart—to fairly long—as in the case of movements between the Merrimack and the Penobscot rivers, which are about 339 km apart at their mouths.1 In general, the available data suggest that movements between geographically proximate rivers are more common, while movements between more distant rivers do not, or only rarely, occur. A detailed discussion of the physical movements of shortnose sturgeon is provided in SSRT 2010.

    1 Distances between rivers mouths reported here were measured in GIS using the NOAA Medium Resolution Vector Shoreline, 20m bathymetry contour, and a fixed scale of 1:250,000. Estimated distances reported are the average of three, independently drawn and measured paths for each river pair. The assumed travel path between river mouths was the shortest possible distance that followed the general outline of the coast and was constrained by the 20m bathymetry contour, except where the shortest travel path across a deep, narrow inlet or bay crossed the 20m bathymetry contour.

    The extent of coastal movements of shortnose sturgeon from the Saint John River is currently unknown (COSEWIC, In Press); however, some limited data are available and provide some insight into whether these fish may be geographically isolated from other populations. Any movement between Saint John River sturgeon and the nearest population in the Penobscot River would require a marine migration of about 362 km, a similar travel distance as between the Merrimack and the Penobscot rivers (340 km) and between the Connecticut and Merrimack rivers (348 km).2 Dadswell (1979) reported that of 121 marked Saint John River shortnose sturgeon recaptured by commercial fisherman, 13 fish (11 percent) were recaptured in the Bay of Fundy, indicating that a portion of the population migrated into the marine environment. In addition, a confirmed shortnose sturgeon was caught in a fishing weir in the Minas Basin, off the coast of Nova Scotia about 165 km north of the mouth of the Saint John River (Dadswell et al. 2013). Fishermen in the Minas Basin also claim to catch about one to two shortnose sturgeon per year in their weirs (Dadswell et al. 2013). While it is plausible that the shortnose sturgeon captured in the Minas Bay originated from the Saint John River, data to confirm this are not available. In contrast, limited telemetry data suggest that movements outside of the Saint John River are not common. Of 64 shortnose sturgeon tagged in the Saint John River over the course of about 16 years from 1999 to 2015, none have been detected moving past the farthest downriver acoustic receiver located near the Saint John Harbor Bridge (M. Litvak, pers. comm. July 31, 2015).

    2 Distances reported here were measured following the same methods described in the previous footnote. The distance reported between the Connecticut and Merrimack River assumes a travel path via the Cape Cod Canal. A travel path around Cape Cod would instead result in a marine migration of about 560 km.

    Overall, while there is unambiguous evidence that shortnose sturgeon from the Saint John River leave the estuary—at least occasionally—and use the marine environment, and that shortnose sturgeon are capable of making long distance movements between river systems, there are no available data on coastal migrations of Saint John River shortnose sturgeon. To date, there are also no reported observations or detections of shortnose sturgeon from the Gulf of Maine rivers moving into the Saint John River. Thus, while it is possible that the Saint John River shortnose sturgeon come in contact with shortnose sturgeon from elsewhere, it is also likely that some degree of geographical isolation by distance is occurring.

    Although acoustic telemetry studies have revealed that shortnose sturgeon leave their natal river systems to a much greater extent than previously thought, such movements do not necessarily constitute permanent emigration or indicate interbreeding of populations. Tagging and telemetry studies within several river systems have provided evidence that shortnose sturgeon in those particular systems tend to spawn in their natal river (e.g., Dovel 1981; Buckley and Kynard 1985; Kieffer and Kynard 1993; O`Herron et al. 1993; Kieffer and Kynard 1996). Tag return data for shortnose sturgeon in the Saint John River over the course of a 4-year study completed by Dadswell (1979) suggests there is little emigration from this system as well, and that spawning takes place in the freshwater sections of the upper estuary. The high site fidelity to natal rivers suggested by this and other studies indicates a there is a possible behavioral mechanism for the marked separation of the Saint John River population of shortnose sturgeon from other populations of the species.

    A substantial amount of genetic data has become available since the “Final Recovery Plan for Shortnose Sturgeon” was developed in 1998. Below, we summarize the best available genetic data and information, which informed our evaluation of the “discreteness” of the Saint John River population segment. A more in-depth presentation of genetic data, including discussions of types of analyses and assumptions, is available in the Biological Assessment (SSRT 2010).

    Much of the published information on population structure for shortnose sturgeon has been based on the genetic analysis of the maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) due in part to the difficulties of analyzing data from the polyploid nuclear genome (Waldman et al. 2008). The analyses have focused on a moderately polymorphic 440 base pair portion of the mtDNA control region—a relatively rapidly evolving region of mtDNA and thus a good indicator of population-level differentiation. Haplotype frequencies and sequence divergence data have consistently indicated an overall isolation-by-distance pattern of genetic population structure across the species' range, meaning that populations of shortnose sturgeon inhabiting rivers and embayments that are geographically more distant tend to be less related than those that are geographically closer (e.g., Walsh et al. 2001, Grunwald et al. 2002, Waldman et al. 2002, and Wirgin et al. 2005; Wirgin et al. 2009). The haplotypes observed are typically shared across two to four or more adjacent sampled rivers but with little sharing of haplotypes between northern and southern populations (Waldman et al. 2002; Wirgin et al. 2009). Results for the Saint John River are compatible with these general patterns. For example, in the largest study to date, Wirgin et al. (2009) observed eight haplotypes within the Saint John River sample (n=42); and of the eight observed haplotypes, one was exclusive (or “private”) to the Saint John River (and observed in 1 of 42 fish), and the remaining haplotypes were shared with two to six other rivers. None of the shared haplotypes were observed in samples south of the Chesapeake Bay. A previously unreported haplotype was recently observed in 2 of 15 shortnose caught from the Kennebecasis River, a tributary of the Saint John (Kerr, 2015; P. Wilson, public comment, May 2015). This new haplotype could indicate an even greater degree of differentiation of the Saint John River fish; however, no other rivers were sampled or analyzed as part of this study.

    Despite the localized sharing of haplotypes, frequencies of the observed haplotypes are significantly different in most pairwise comparisons of the rivers sampled (i.e., comparisons of haplotype frequencies from samples from two rivers), including many adjacent rivers (Wirgin et al. 2009). Such pairwise comparisons for the Saint John River in particular have indicated that this population is genetically distinct from the geographically closest sampled populations, including the Penobscot, Kennebec, and Androscoggin rivers (Grunwald et al. 2002; Waldman et al. 2002; Wirgin et al. 2005; Wirgin et al. 2009). For example, Wirgin et al. (2009) reported significant differences (p<0.0005) in haplotype frequencies between Saint John River shortnose sturgeon (n=42) and Penobscot (n=44, Chi-square=37.22), Kennebec (n=54, Chi-square=54.85), and Androscoggin (n=48, Chi-square=37.91) river samples. The level of genetic differentiation between the Saint John River population and the Penobscot, Kennebec, and Androscoggin rivers also appears substantial, with Phi ST values ranging from 0.213 to 0.291 (where Phi ST ranges from 0 to 1, with 1 indicating complete isolation; Wirgin et al. 2009).

    Estimates of female-mediated gene flow between the Saint John River and the Gulf of Maine rivers are fairly low. Wirgin et al. (2009) estimated female-mediated gene flow between the Saint John River and other Gulf of Maine rivers as 1.90-2.85 female migrants per generation based on Phi ST values, and as 1.5-1.9 females per generation in a separate, coalescent-based analysis. This result suggests that (if model assumptions are true) no more than three female shortnose sturgeon from the Saint John River are likely to spawn in the other Gulf of Maine rivers (or vice versa) per generation. These results provide additional evidence that the degree of female-based reproductive exchange between the Saint John River population and other nearby shortnose river populations has been relatively limited over many generations.

    More recently, King et al. (2014) completed a series of analyses using nuclear DNA (nDNA) samples from 17 extant shortnose sturgeon populations across the species range. In contrast to the maternally inherited mtDNA, nDNA reflects the genetic inheritance from both the male and female parents. King et al. (2014) surveyed the samples at 11 polysomic microsatellite DNA loci and then evaluated the 181 observed alleles as presence/absence data using a variety of analytical techniques. The population structuring revealed by these analyses is consistent with the previous mtDNA analyses in that they also indicate a regional scale isolation-by-distance pattern of genetic differentiation. Analysis of genetic distances among individual fish (using principle coordinate analysis, PCO) revealed that the sampled fish grouped into one of three major geographic units: (1) Northeast, which included samples from the Saint John, Penobscot, Kennebec, Androscoggin, and Merrimack rivers; (2) Mid-Atlantic, which included samples from the Connecticut, Hudson, and Delaware rivers, as well as the Chesapeake Bay proper; and (3) Southeast, which included samples from the Cape Fear River, Winyah Bay, the Santee-Cooper, Edisto, Savannah, Ogeechee, and Altamaha rivers, and Lake Marion (King et al. 2014).

    Subsequent analyses revealed that each of the three regions has a different pattern of sub-structuring. Within the Northeast group, two separate analyses (PCO and STRUCTURE) indicated a high degree of relatedness and possible panmixia (i.e., random mating of individuals) among the Penobscot, Kennebec, and Androscoggin rivers; whereas, the Saint John and Merrimack rivers appeared more differentiated from each other as well as from the other Gulf of Maine rivers (King et al. 2014). Pairwise comparisons at the population level showed that, within the Northeast region, estimates of genetic differentiation were greatest between the Saint John and Merrimack rivers (Phi PT = 0.100, p <0.0004), the two most distant rivers within this region. Pairwise comparisons of the Saint John River to the remaining rivers within the Northeast region revealed lower but still statistically significant levels of genetic differentiation (Phi PT = 0.068-0.077; King et al. 2014). Relatively low levels of differentiation were observed in pairwise comparisons for all other rivers within the Northeast region (Phi PT = 0.013-0.087), half of which were not statistically significant (King et al. 2014). In comparison, within the Mid-Atlantic group, pairwise comparisons among rivers showed moderate levels of genetic differentiation among most river populations (average Phi PT = 0.077, range = 0.018-0.118); whereas, estimates of population level genetic differentiation were very low among samples populations in the Southeast group (average Phi PT = 0.047, range = 0.005 to 0.095; King et al. 2014), suggesting a more genetically similar set of populations.

    Theoretical estimates of gene flow (derived from Phi PT values) between the Saint John River and the other Northeast rivers ranged from 2.25 to 3.43 migrants per generation (King et al. 2014). Gene flow estimates for the Merrimack River were similarly low, ranging from 2.25 to 4.06 (King et al. 2014). In contrast, the effective number of migrants per generation estimated to occur between the remaining rivers within the Northeast region was much higher and ranged from 16.42 to 83.08 (King et al. 2014).

    Overall, the analyses completed by King et al. (2014) indicate that differentiation among Northeast populations is less than that observed among the Mid-Atlantic populations and greater than that observed among Southeast populations. However, within the Northeast region, both the Saint John and Merrimack River sample populations are genetically distinct from the other sample populations. Although the estimates of gene flow suggest some connectivity between the Saint John and other rivers within the Northeast, the significantly different allele and haplotype frequencies shown consistently in the nDNA and mtDNA studies provide indirect evidence that the Saint John River population is relatively reproductively isolated.

    As highlighted in the DPS Policy, quantitative measures of morphological discontinuity or differentiation can serve as evidence of marked separation of populations. We examined whether the morphological data for shortnose sturgeon across its range provide evidence of marked separation of the Saint John River population. As noted previously, maximum adult size (length and weight) varies across the range, with the largest maximum sizes occurring in the Saint John River at the northernmost end of the range, and the smallest sizes occurring in rivers at the southern end of the range (Dadswell et al. 1984). The largest individual reported in the literature (122 cm FL, 23.6 kg) was captured in the Saint John River, although there is also a report of a specimen measuring 124.6 cm FL (M. Litvak, unpublished data, as cited in COSEWIC, In Press). Lengths of shortnose sturgeon captured in surveys of the Saint John River in 1974-1975 ranged from 60 to 120 cm FL (n=1,621). The majority of these fish, however, were smaller than 100 cm FL (1,476 fish), and only six fish were longer than 111 cm FL (Dadswell 1979). To the south, in the Kennebec River, Maine shortnose sturgeon captured during 1980 and 1981 had lengths ranging from 58.5 to 103.0 cm FL, and averaging 80.8 cm FL (n=24; Walsh et al. 2001). Smaller size ranges are reported for rivers in the southernmost portion of the range with some occasional captures of larger specimens. For example, adult shortnose sturgeon captured in the Altamaha River, Georgia, in 2010-2013 ranged from 57.4-83.0 cm FL and averaged 70.1 cm long (FL, n=40; Peterson 2014), but a shortnose sturgeon measuring 104.5 cm FL and weighing 8.94 kg was captured in the Altamaha River in summer, 2004 (D. Peterson, UGA, unpubl. data). Overall, the attribute of size appears to display clinal variation, meaning there is a gradual change with geographic location (Huxley 1938). The fact that the Saint John River population segment, which lies at the northernmost end of the range, exhibits the largest sizes does not in itself constitute a morphological discontinuity. Given the apparent gradual nature of the variation in size with latitude, we find that there is no marked separation of the Saint John River population segment on the basis of a quantitative discontinuity in size.

    In addition to body size, other attributes such as snout length, head length, and mouth width can provide evidence of a morphological discontinuity and were also considered. Walsh et al. (2001) examined six morphological and five meristic attributes for shortnose sturgeon in the Androscoggin, Kennebec, and Hudson rivers. All morphological features measured (i.e., body length, snout length, head length, mouth width, and interorbital width) were largest for the Kennebec River fish and smallest for fish from the southern-most river in the study, the Hudson River (Walsh et al. 2001). Meristic features (e.g., scute counts) were similar for the three rivers and were not related to fish size (Walsh et al. 2001). Overall, the degree of phenotypic differentiation of fish from the two rivers in Maine (Androscoggin and Kennebec), which share an estuary mouth, was very low, while a much greater degree of differentiation was observed for the fish from the Hudson River (Walsh et al. 2001). This result was congruent with results of corresponding mtDNA analyses, which indicated that the Hudson River had a much greater degree of genetic differentiation from, and much lower rate of gene flow with, the two rivers in Maine (Walsh et al. 2001). The results of this particular study suggest there could be clinal variation in these other phenotypic characteristics, similar to the pattern observed for body size. As far as we are aware, however, similar studies have not yet been conducted to examine the variation in additional sets of morphological attributes across the range of shortnose sturgeon and relative to the Saint John River population in particular. Therefore, there is no basis to conclude marked separation of the Saint John River population segment on the basis of morphological discontinuity.

    In conclusion, although the currently available data do not show that the Saint John River shortnose sturgeon constitute a completely isolated or closed population, we find that available genetic data, evidence of site fidelity, and the likelihood of some degree of geographical isolation together constitute sufficient information to indicate that the Saint John River shortnose sturgeon are markedly separated from other populations of shortnose sturgeon. Thus, after considering the best available data and all public comments submitted in response to our initial petition finding, we conclude that the Saint John River population segment of shortnose sturgeon is “discrete.” We therefore proceeded to evaluate the best available data with respect to the second criterion of the DPS Policy, “significance.”

    Significance Criterion

    Under the DPS Policy, if a population segment is found to be discrete, then we proceed to the next step of evaluating its biological and ecological significance to the taxon to which it belongs. As we explained above, a population must be both “discrete” (the first prong of the DPS Policy) and “significant” (the second prong of the DPS Policy) to qualify for recognition as a DPS.

    Consideration of significance may include, but is not limited to: (1) Persistence of the discrete population segment in an ecological setting unusual or unique for the taxon; (2) evidence that the loss of the discrete population segment would result in a significant gap in the range of a taxon; (3) evidence that the discrete population segment represents the only surviving natural occurrence of a taxon that may be more abundant elsewhere as an introduced population outside its historical range; and (4) evidence that the discrete population segment differs markedly from other populations of the species in its genetic characteristics (61 FR 4722, February 7, 1996). These four factors are non-exclusive; other relevant factors may be considered in the “significance” analysis. Further, significance of the discrete population segment is not necessarily determined by existence of one of these classes of information standing alone. Rather, information analyzed under these and any other applicable considerations is evaluated relative to the biological and ecological importance of the discrete population to the taxon as a whole. Accordingly, all relevant and available biological and ecological information is analyzed to determine whether, because of its particular characteristics, the population is significant to the conservation of the taxon as a whole.

    Persistence in an Ecological Setting Unusual or Unique for the Taxon

    Shortnose sturgeon once occupied most major rivers systems along the Atlantic coast of North America (Kynard 1997). Although extirpated from some areas due mainly to overharvest, bycatch, pollution, and habitat degradation, shortnose sturgeon still occur in at least 25 rivers systems within their historical range (NMFS 1998). Throughout their current range, shortnose sturgeon occur in riverine, estuarine, and marine habitats; and, as adults, generally move seasonally between freshwater spawning habitat and downstream mesohaline and sometimes coastal marine areas in response to cues such as water temperature, flow, and salinity. Like other species of sturgeon (e.g. A. transmontanus in the Columbia River, Oregon), shortnose sturgeon are also capable of adopting a fully freshwater existence, as is the case for the population of shortnose sturgeon above the Holyoke Dam in the Connecticut River and in Lake Marion, South Carolina. While each river system within the shortnose sturgeon's range is similar in terms of its most basic features and functions, each river system differs to varying degrees in terms of its specific, physical and biological attributes, such as hydrologic regime, benthic substrates, water quality, and prey communities. A few examples are discussed briefly below.

    The Saint John River begins in northern Maine, United States, travels through New Brunswick, Canada, and empties into the Bay of Fundy within the northeast Gulf of Maine. The river is approximately 673 km long, fed by numerous tributaries, and has a large tidal estuary and a basin area of over 55,000 km2 (Kidd et al. 2011). According to the Nature Conservancy's (TNC) ecoregion classification system, the Saint John River watershed lies within the New England-Acadian (terrestrial), Northeast United States and Southeast Canada Atlantic Drainages (freshwater), and the Gulf of Maine/Bay of Fundy (marine) ecoregions. The mean annual discharge is approximately 1,100 m3/s, dissolved oxygen levels average 8.5 to 11 mg/l, and benthic substrates downstream of the Mataquac Dam consist largely of shifting sands (Kidd et al. 2011). Due to the low slope of the lower reaches and the extreme tidal range of the Bay of Fundy, the head of the tide can extend about 140 km upstream from the river mouth (Kidd et al. 2011). During the shortnose sturgeon spring/summer spawning season, water temperatures range from about 10 to 15 °C; and within overwintering areas, water temperature range between 0 and 13 C (Dadswell 1979; Dadswell et al. 1984). Shortnose sturgeon in the Saint John River appear to move to deeper waters when surface water temperatures exceed 21 °C (Dadswell et al. 1984). Further to the south, but still within the same terrestrial, freshwater, and marine TNC ecoregions as the Saint John River, is the smaller Penobscot River system in Maine. This river is 175 km long (not including the West and South Branches), has a drainage basin of 22,265 km2, and an annual average discharge of about 342 m3/s (Lake et al. 2012; USGS 2015). Benthic substrates, consisting of bedrock, boulders, cobble and sand deposits are undergoing changes in response to the removal of two dams—Great Works Dam at rkm 60 and Veazie Dam at rkm 48—within the past three years (FERC 2010; Cox et al. 2014). The Veazie Dam was located close to the head of the tide, and although conditions have since changed, Haefner (1967, as cited in Fernandes et al. 2010) stated that, during peak springtime flows, freshwater extends to rkm 17, and that the salt wedge intrudes as far as about rkm 42 when river discharges decrease in summer. Water temperatures in shortnose sturgeon overwintering areas in the Penobscot River range from about 0 °C to 13.3 °C, and the fish appear to move out of overwintering areas when water temperatures reach about 2.4 °C (Fernandes et al. 2010). Towards the southern end of the range and occurring within a very different set of ecoregions is the Altamaha River, which is formed by the confluence of the Ocmulgee and Oconee rivers in Georgia. One of the longest free-flowing systems on the Atlantic Coast, the Atlamaha River is just over 220 km long, has a watershed area of about 37,300 km2, and flows mainly eastward before emptying into the Atlantic Ocean (TNC 2005). Tidal influence extends up to about rkm 40 (DeVries 2006). The average annual discharge is 381 m3/s, and benthic substrates consist mostly of sands with very few rocky outcrops (Heidt and Gilbert 1979; DeVries 2006). Water temperatures during the winter/spring spawning period have averaged about 10.5 °C (Heidt and Gilbert 1979), which is consistent with DeVries' (2006) observation that spawning runs appeared to commence when water temperatures reach 10.2 °C. When water temperatures exceed 27 °C, shortnose sturgeon typically move above the salt-fresh water interface and aggregate in deeper areas of the river (DeVries 2006); however, shortnose sturgeon have also been observed to use lower portions of the river throughout the summer, even when water temperatures averaged 34 °C (Heidt and Gilbert 1979; DeVries 2006).

    Overall, the variation in habitat characteristics across the range of shortnose sturgeon indicates that there is no single type or typical river system. Despite a suite of existing threats, shortnose sturgeon continue to occupy many river systems across their historical range. The fact that the Saint John River lies at one end of the species' range, and among other attributes, experiences different temperature and flow regimes, does not mean that this particular river is unusual or unique given the variability in habitat conditions observed across the range. Therefore, we conclude that the Saint John River is not an unusual or unique ecological setting when viewed against the range of the taxon as a whole. Furthermore, though not relied up on for our finding, we note that COSEWIC (In Press) recently concluded that shortnose sturgeon from other river systems would probably be able to survive in Canada.

    Significant Gap in the Range of the Taxon

    The second consideration under the DPS Policy in determining whether a population may be “significant” to its taxon is whether the “loss of the discrete population segment would result in a significant gap in the range of a taxon” (61 FR 4722, February 7, 1996). Shortnose sturgeon are distributed along the Atlantic coast of North America from the Minas Basin, Nova Scotia to the St. Johns River, Florida, representing a coastal range of roughly 3,700 km. The Saint John River, located at the northern end of the range, represents a small portion of the species' currently occupied geographic range. In addition, although the Saint John River is presumed to contain a relatively large population of shortnose sturgeon, that populaiton is not considered the largest, and it represents one of at least 10 spawning populations (SSRT 2010). Furthermore, relatively recent field data indicate shortnose sturgeon make coastal migrations to a greater extent than previously thought (e.g., Dionne et al. 2013) and are capable of making marine migrations of over 300 km (e.g., between Penobscot and Merrimack rivers; M. Kieffer, USGS, pers. comm. 2010). Such data suggest the potential for recolonization of the Saint John River by shortnose sturgeon migrating from populations to the south. Further indirect evidence in support of this possibility comes from the existing genetic data, which indicate some level of gene flow among rivers in the Northeast, including the Saint John River (Wirgin et al. 2005; Wirgin et al. 2009; King et al. 2014). Thus, in light of the potential for recolonization and the fact that the Saint John River population of shortnose sturgeon does not constitute a substantial proportion of the species' range, we conclude that the loss of the Saint John River would not constitute a significant gap in the range of the species.

    Only Natural Occurrence of the Taxon

    Under the DPS Policy, a discrete population segment that represents the “only surviving natural occurrence of a taxon that may be more abundant elsewhere as an introduced population outside its historical range” may be significant to the taxon as whole (61 FR 4722, February 7, 1996). This consideration is not relevant in this particular case, because shortnose sturgeon are present in many river systems throughout their historical range (SSRT 2010).

    Genetic Characteristics

    As stated in the DPS Policy, in assessing the “significance” of a “discrete” population, we consider whether the discrete population segment differs markedly from other populations of the species in its genetic characteristics (61 FR 4722, February 7, 1996). Therefore, we examined the available data to determine whether the Saint John River shortnose sturgeon differ markedly in their genetic characteristics when compared to other populations. In conducting this evaluation under the second criterion of the DPS policy, we looked beyond whether the genetic data allow for discrimination of the Saint John population segment from other populations (a topic of evaluation in connection with the first criterion of “discreteness”), and instead focused on whether the data indicate marked genetic differences that appear to be significant to the taxon as a whole. In this sense, we give independent meaning to the “genetic discontinuity” of the discreteness criterion of the DPS Policy and the “markedly differing genetic characteristics” of the significance criterion.

    Genetic analyses indicate fairly moderate to high levels of genetic diversity of shortnose sturgeon in most river systems across the geographic range (Grunwald et al. 2002, Quattro et al. 2002; Wirgin et al. 2009). Based on the 11 nDNA loci examined in samples from 17 locations, King et al. (2014) reported that the number of observed alleles (i.e., versions of a gene at a particular locus; here with overall frequencies >1%) ranged from a low of 55 in the Cape Fear River (n= 3 fish) to a high of 152 in the Hudson River (n= 45 fish); 118 alleles were observed in the Saint John River sample (n=25 fish). Estimated heterozygosity was not reported by river sample, but King et al. (2014) noted that it was lowest for the southern rivers relative to the mid-Atlantic and northern river samples. Wirgin et al. (2009) reported that haplotypic diversity ranged from 0.500 (Santee River, n=4) to 0.862 (Altamaha River, n= 69) across 15 sample populations, with the Saint John River population having a haplotype diversity index of 0.696 (n=42). The number of individual haplotypes observed in any one river sample ranged from two (Santee River, n=4) to 13 (Winyah Bay, n=46), with eight haplotypes observed in the Saint John River sample (n=42, Wirgin et al. 2009). The level of genetic diversity based on the mtDNA was not correlated with population size, and there was also no evidence of population bottlenecks, which may be due to historical recency of most population declines (over past ~100 years, Grunwald et al. 2002; Wirgin et al. 2009). Overall, the level of genetic diversity observed for the Saint John River population segment is not unusual relative to that observed in the taxon as a whole. However, Grunwald et al. (2002) noted that the lack of reduced haplotypic diversity within the northern sample rivers contrasts with findings for other anadromous fishes from previously glaciated rivers. Grunwald et al. (2002) hypothesized the high degree of haplotypic diversity and large number of unique haplotypes in the previously glaciated northern region (i.e., Hudson River and northward) may be the result of a northern population having survived in one or more northern refugia.

    As discussed previously, at a regional scale, most of the mtDNA haplotypes observed are shared across multiple, adjacent rivers sampled; however, very little sharing of haplotypes has been documented between the northern and southern portions of the range (Quattro et al. 2002; Grunwald et al. 2002; Wirgin et al. 2009). In the analysis conducted by Wirgin et al. (2009), the Saint John River sample had one private haplotype (in 1 of 42 fish) and shared the remaining 7 haplotypes with multiple rivers. Of the seven shared haplotypes, two were each shared with two other river systems, including the Hudson and Connecticut rivers, and the remaining five haplotypes were shared across three to six other rivers within the northeast and mid-Atlantic portions of the range (Wirgin et al. 2009). In an earlier study by Quattro et al. (2002) in which control region mtDNA was sequenced for 211 shortnose sturgeon collected from five southeastern U.S. rivers and the Saint John River, one haplotype was observed in all river samples. This shared haplotype occurred in 1 of 13 fish (7.7%) sampled from the Saint John River and 1 of 5 fish (20%) sampled from Winyah Bay; the remaining river samples contained this haplotype at higher frequencies (36%-79%, Quattro et al. 2002).

    While the shortnose sturgeon from the Saint John River have a fairly high degree of genetic diversity and shared haplotypes with other rivers, they can be statistically differentiated from other river samples based on haplotype frequencies and nDNA distance metrics (Wirgin et al. 2009; King et al. 2014). However, the same is also true for the majority of rivers across the range of the species. For example, using genetic distances (Phi PT), King et al. (2014) detected significant differences in all pairwise comparisons except for three rivers in the northeast (Penobscot, Androscoggin, and Kennebec rivers) and three rivers in the southeast (Edisto, Savannah, and Ogeechee rivers). Similarly, significant differences in haplotype frequencies have been reported for most river populations sampled. In Chi-squared analyses, Grunwald et al. (2002) reported significant differences for all but 4 of 82 pairwise comparisons of mtDNA nucleotide substitution haplotype frequencies across 10 sample sets (two of which were from different sections of the Connecticut River), and Wirgin et al. (2009) reported significant differences for all but 9 of 91 pairwise comparisons of mtDNA haplotype frequencies across 13 river populations.

    The magnitude of these genetic differences between individual river systems varies across the range of the species and indicates a hierarchical pattern of differentiation. For example, the mtDNA data reveal a deep divergence between rivers in the northern portion of the range from rivers in the southern portion of the range. Of the 29 haplotypes observed by Grunwald et al. (2002), 11 (37.9%) were restricted to northern systems, 13 (44.8%) were restricted to the more southern systems, and only 5 (17.2%) slightly overlapped the two regions. In the later and larger study by Wirgin et al. (2009), the observed haplotypes again clustered into regional groupings: 10 of 38 observed haplotypes (26.3%) only occurred in systems north of the Hudson River, 16 of 38 (42.1%) only occurred in systems south of the Chesapeake Bay, and just 5 of 38 (13.2%) haplotypes overlapped in the mid-Atlantic region. The limited sharing of haplotypes between the north and south regions is consistent with strong female homing fidelity and limited gene flow between these regions. The break in shared haplotypes corresponds with the historical division of the species due to Pleistocene glaciation, which Grunwald et al. (2002) stated was probably the most significant event affecting population structure and patterns of mtDNA diversity in shortnose sturgeon.

    The recent nDNA analyses of King et al. (2014) also indicate an unambiguous differentiation of sample populations into one of three major geographic groupings—Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, or Southeast. When all 17 sample populations were pooled by these three geographic regions, correct assignment to each region was 99.1% for the Northeast and 100% (i.e., zero mi-assigned fish) for the remaining two regions (King et al. 2014). Of the 133 fish included for the Northeast group, one was mis-assigned to the Mid-Atlantic. The estimates of effective migrants per generation (based on Phi PT) are consistent with the regional zones of genetic discontinuity among Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Southeast river systems. The average migrants per generation between regions ranged from less than one migrant (i.e., 0.89) between Northeast and Southeast to nearly two migrants (i.e., 1.89) between Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. In contrast, the range of estimated migrants per generation within regions was 2.25-83.08 for the Northeast, 1.87-13.64 for the Mid-Atlantic, and 2.38-49.75 for the Southeast (King et al. 2014). The estimated migrants per generation between the Saint John River in particular and all other rivers within the Northeast ranged from 2.25-3.43 (King et al. 2014). Taken together, these data indicate that the degree of genetic differentiation between the Saint John River and the rivers within the Gulf of Maine is relatively small or “shallow”, especially relative to the deeper divergence observed among the regional groupings of river populations. A possible explanation for the relatively low level of differentiation within the Northeast is that the those populations are relatively young in a geologic sense due to recent glaciations compared to populations in the more southern part of the range (SSRT 2010).

    In conclusion, given the patterns of genetic diversity, shared haplotypes, and relative magnitudes of genetic divergence at the river drainage versus regional scale, we find there is insufficient evidence that the Saint John River population of shortnose sturgeon differs markedly in its genetic characteristics relative to the taxon as a whole so as to meet the test for “significance” on this basis. While the Saint John River population segment can be genetically distinguished from other river populations, available genetic evidence places it into a larger evolutionarily meaningful unit, along with several other river populations sampled. The degree of differentiation among the three larger regional groups is more marked than the differences observed among populations from the Saint John and other nearest rivers, suggesting that the Saint John River population's differentiation is not “significant” in the context of the whole species. Gene flow estimates are also consistent with the observed deeper zones of divergence detected at the regional scale. Thus, we conclude that these data do not support delineation of the Saint John River population segment as “significant.” In so interpreting the available genetic data, we are mindful of the Congressional guidance to use the DPS designation sparingly.

    DPS Conclusion and Petition Finding

    We conclude that the Saint John River population of shortnose sturgeon is “discrete” based on evidence that it is a relatively closed and somewhat geographically isolated population segment. It thus satisfies the first prong of the DPS policy. However, we also find that the Saint John River population segment is not “significant” to the taxon as a whole. It thus fails to satisfy the second prong of the DPS Policy. As such, based on the best available data, we conclude that the Saint John River population of shortnose sturgeon does not constitute a DPS and, thus, does not qualify as a “species” under the ESA. Therefore, we deny the petition to consider this DPS for delisting. Our denial of the petition on this ground does not imply any finding as to how we should proceed if the situation were otherwise, i.e., where a population is found instead to meet the criteria to be a DPS. Even if the population had met both criteria of the DPS Policy, and even if the population were also found to have a status that differed from the listed entity, it would not necessarily be appropriate to propose modifications to the current listing, in light of the unsettled legal issues surrounding such revisions. Nor do we resolve here what steps would need to be followed to propose revisions to the species' listing if the facts had been otherwise; such an inquiry would be hypothetical in this case. It is clear that because the petition at issue here sought identification of a DPS, and because the population at issue is not a DPS, this particular petition must be denied. As this is a final action, we do not solicit comments on it.

    References Cited

    A complete list of references is available upon request to the Office of Protected Resources (see ADDRESSES).

    Authority

    The authority for this action is the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

    Dated: October 20, 2015. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27148 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    80 206 Monday, October 26, 2015 Notices DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request October 20, 2015.

    The Department of Agriculture has submitted the following information collection requirement(s) to OMB for review and clearance under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13. Comments regarding (a) whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of burden including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected; (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    Comments regarding this information collection received by November 25, 2015 will be considered. Written comments should be addressed to: Desk Officer for Agriculture, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), New Executive Office Building, 725-17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20502. Commenters are encouraged to submit their comments to OMB via email to: [email protected] or fax (202) 395-5806 and to Departmental Clearance Office, USDA, OCIO, Mail Stop 7602, Washington, DC 20250-7602. Copies of the submission(s) may be obtained by calling (202) 720-8958.

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

    Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

    Title: Special Need Request Under the Plant Protection Act.

    OMB Control Number: 0579-0291.

    Summary of Collection: The Plant Protection Act (PPA) (7 U.S.C. 7701 et seq.) authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to restrict the importation, entry, or interstate movement of plants, plant products, and other articles to prevent the introduction of plant pests into the United States or their dissemination within the United States. This authority has been delegated to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers regulations to implement the PPA. Regulations governing the interstate movement of plants, plant products, and other articles are contained in 7 CFR part 301, “Domestic Quarantine Notices.” These regulations allow States or political subdivisions of States to request approval from APHIS to impose prohibitions or restrictions on the movement in interstate commerce of specific articles that pose a plant health risk that are in addition to the prohibitions and restrictions imposed by APHIS.

    Need and Use of the Information: APHIS believes that specific information—such as a pest data detection survey with a pest risk analysis that shows that a pest is not present in a State, or if already present, the current distribution in the State, and that the pest would harm or injure the environment and/or agricultural resources of the State or political subdivision—is needed and would be considered along with more general information available to APHIS for the Administrator to be able to determine whether to grant or deny a request for a special need exemption. The administrator's determination would be based upon his or her review of the information submitted by the State or political subdivision in support of its request and would take into account any comments received.

    Description of Respondents: State, Local or Tribal Government.

    Number of Respondents: 1.

    Frequency of Responses: Reporting: On occasion.

    Total Burden Hours: 160.

    Ruth Brown, Departmental Information Collection Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27093 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-34-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE National Agricultural Statistics Service Notice of Intent To Request To Conduct a New Information Collection AGENCY:

    National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces the intention of the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) to seek approval to conduct a new information collection to gather data related to the production and marketing of foods directly from farm producers to consumers or retailers. In addition NASS will collect some whole-farm data to be used to classify and group operations for summarizing and publication of results.

    DATES:

    Comments on this notice must be received by December 28, 2015 to be assured of consideration.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by docket number 0535-NEW, by any of the following methods:

    Email: [email protected]gov. Include docket number above in the subject line of the message.

    E-fax: (855) 838-6382.

    Mail: Mail any paper, disk, or CD-ROM submissions to: David Hancock, NASS Clearance Officer, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Room 5336 South Building, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250-2024.

    Hand Delivery/Courier: Hand deliver to: David Hancock, NASS Clearance Officer, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Room 5336 South Building, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250-2024.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    R. Renee Picanso, Associate Administrator, National Agricultural Statistics Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, (202) 720-2707. Copies of this information collection and related instructions can be obtained without charge from David Hancock, NASS—OMB Clearance Officer, at (202) 690-2388 or at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title: Local Foods Survey.

    OMB Control Number: 0535—NEW.

    Type of Request: Intent to seek approval to conduct a new information collection for a period of three years.

    Abstract: Interest is growing in support of local agricultural economies through the purchase of foods from sources that are geographically close to the consuming areas, via channels that are direct from farm to consumer or at most one step removed. Significant policy support for local food systems occurred with the institution of the USDA Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative (KYF2) in September 2009. The KYF2 Initiative was designed to eliminate organizational barriers to improve coordination and availability of resources for the promotion of local food systems. This initiative is in response to the perceived consumer and producer interests. Many community and farm advocacy groups are requesting changes in the next major agricultural program legislation (the Farm Bill) that will directly target local foods producers, consumers, and markets. Despite the emphasis of policy makers, there are currently no available data sources that provide representative and reliable national estimates of local food production.

    As a direct response to this interest in local foods, NASS included a question in the 2012 Census of Agriculture to capture data needed to benchmark the size of the intermediated local foods market. Contingent upon the availability of funding, the Local Foods Survey will be a Census follow-on survey. As a follow-on survey, it will be sampled from respondents to the 2012 Census of Agriculture who reported product sales directly to consumers or to retail outlets that in turn sell directly to consumers. Response to this survey will be voluntary.

    Authority: The data will be collected under the authority of 7 U.S.C. 2204(a). Individually identifiable data collected under this authority are governed by Section 1770 of the Food Security Act of 1985 as amended, 7 U.S.C. 2276, which requires USDA to afford strict confidentiality to non-aggregated data provided by respondents. This Notice is submitted in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13 (44 U.S.C. 3501, et seq.), and Office of Management and Budget regulations at 5 CFR part 1320.

    NASS also complies with OMB Implementation Guidance, “Implementation Guidance for Title V of the E-Government Act, Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of 2002 (CIPSEA),” Federal Register, Vol. 72, No. 115, June 15, 2007, p. 33362.

    Estimate of Burden: Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 50 minutes per response. NASS plans to mail out publicity materials with the questionnaires to inform producers of the importance of this survey. NASS will also use multiple mailings, followed up with phone and limited personal enumeration to increase response rates and to minimize data collection costs.

    Respondents: Farmers and Ranchers.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 28,000.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: 21,000 hours.

    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 will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (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 those who are to respond, through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, technological, or other forms of information technology collection methods.

    All responses to this notice will become a matter of public record and be summarized in the request for OMB approval.

    Signed at Washington, DC, October 16, 2015. R. Renee Picanso, Associate Administrator.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27139 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-20-P
    COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS Public Meeting of the Mississippi Advisory Committee; Advisory Memorandum Regarding Civil Rights Concerns Relating to Distribution of Federal Child Care Subsidies in Mississippi AGENCY:

    U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

    ACTION:

    Announcement of meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    Notice is hereby given, pursuant to the provisions of the rules and regulations of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (Commission) and the Federal Advisory Committee Act that the Mississippi Advisory Committee (Committee) will hold a meeting on Thursday, November 19, 2015, at 2:00 p.m. CST for the purpose of discussing and voting on an advisory memorandum on civil rights concerns relating to potential disparities in the distribution of federal child care subsidies in Mississippi on the basis of race or color. The committee previously gathered testimony on this topic on April 29, 2015, and May 13, 2015.

    Members of the public may listen to the discussion. This meeting is available to the public through the following toll-free call-in number: 888-505-4369, conference ID: 4796911. Any interested member of the public may call this number and listen to the meeting. The conference call operator will ask callers to identify themselves, the organization they are affiliated with (if any), and an email address prior to placing callers into the conference room. Callers can expect to incur regular charges for calls they initiate over wireless lines according to their wireless plan, and the Commission will not refund any incurred charges. Callers will incur no charge for calls they initiate over land-line connections to the toll-free telephone number. Persons with hearing impairments may also follow the proceedings by first calling the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-977-8339 and providing the Service with the conference call number and conference ID number.

    Member of the public are also invited and welcomed to make statements at the end of the conference call. In addition, members of the public may submit written comments; the comments must be received in the regional office within 30 days following the meeting. Written comments may be mailed to the Regional Programs Unit, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 55 W. Monroe St., Suite 410, Chicago, IL 60615. They may also be faxed to the Commission at (312) 353-8324, or emailed to Administrative Assistant, Corrine Sanders at [email protected] Persons who desire additional information may contact the Regional Programs Unit at (312) 353-8311.

    Records and documents discussed during the meeting will be available for public viewing prior to and after the meeting at http://facadatabase.gov/committee/meetings.aspx?cid=257 and clicking on the “Meeting Details” and “Documents” links. Records generated from this meeting may also be inspected and reproduced at the Regional Programs Unit, as they become available, both before and after the meeting. Persons interested in the work of this Committee are directed to the Commission's Web site, http://www.usccr.gov, or may contact the Regional Programs Unit at the above email or street address.

    Agenda
    Welcome and Introductions Susan Glisson, Chair Discussion and Vote on Childcare Subsidy Advisory Memorandum Mississippi Advisory Committee Open Comment Adjournment DATES:

    The meeting will be held on Thursday, November 19, 2015, at 2:00 p.m. CST. Public Call Information: Dial: 888-505-4369, Conference ID: 4796911.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Melissa Wojnaroski, DFO, at 312-353-8311 or [email protected]

    Dated October 21, 2015. David Mussatt, Chief, Regional Programs Unit.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27112 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6335-01-P
    COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS Notice of Public Meeting of the Oklahoma Advisory Committee To Discuss Findings and Recommendations Resulting From Its Inquiry Into the Civil Rights Impact of School Disciplinary Policies That May Contribute to High Rates of Juvenile Incarceration in Oklahoma AGENCY:

    U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

    ACTION:

    Announcement of meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    Notice is hereby given, pursuant to the provisions of the rules and regulations of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (Commission) and the Federal Advisory Committee Act that the Oklahoma Advisory Committee (Committee) will hold a meeting on Monday, November 9, 2015, from 1:00-2:30 p.m. CST for the purpose of discussing and findings and recommendations related to its inquiry regarding the civil rights impact of the “school to prison pipeline” in Oklahoma.

    Members of the public may listen to the discussion. This meeting is available to the public through the following toll-free call-in number: 888-539-3678, conference ID: 6512744. Any interested member of the public may call this number and listen to the meeting. The conference call operator will ask callers to identify themselves, the organization they are affiliated with (if any), and an email address prior to placing callers into the conference room. Callers can expect to incur regular charges for calls they initiate over wireless lines according to their wireless plan, and the Commission will not refund any incurred charges. Callers will incur no charge for calls they initiate over land-line connections to the toll-free telephone number. Persons with hearing impairments may also follow the proceedings by first calling the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-977-8339 and providing the Service with the conference call number and conference ID number.

    Members of the public are also invited and welcomed to make statements at the end of the conference call. In addition, members of the public may submit written comments; the comments must be received in the regional office within 30 days following the meeting. Written comments may be mailed to the Regional Programs Unit, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 55 W. Monroe St., Suite 410, Chicago, IL 60615. They may also be faxed to the Commission at (312) 353-8324, or emailed to Administrative Assistant, Corrine Sanders at [email protected] Persons who desire additional information may contact the Regional Programs Unit at (312) 353-8311.

    Records and documents discussed during the meeting will be available for public viewing prior to and after the meeting at: https://database.faca.gov/committee/meetings.aspx?cid=269 and clicking on the “Meeting Details” and “Documents” links. Records generated from this meeting may also be inspected and reproduced at the Regional Programs Unit, as they become available, both before and after the meeting. Persons interested in the work of this Committee are directed to the Commission's Web site, http://www.usccr.gov, or may contact the Regional Programs Unit at the above email or street address.

    Agenda Welcome and Roll Call Discussion of findings and recommendations regarding “Civil Rights and the School to Prison Pipeline in Oklahoma” Open Comment Adjournment
    DATES:

    The meeting will be held on Monday, November 9, 2015, from 1:00-2:30 p.m. CST.

    Public Call Information

    Dial: 888-539-3678.

    Conference ID: 6512744.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Melissa Wojnaroski, DFO, at 312-353-8311 or [email protected]

    Dated October 21, 2015. David Mussatt, Chief, Regional Programs Unit.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27113 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6335-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request

    The Department of Commerce will submit to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for clearance the following proposal for collection of information under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35).

    Agency: Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), Department of Commerce.

    Title: Quarterly Survey of Transactions in Selected Services and Intellectual Property with Foreign Persons.

    OMB Control Number: 0608-0067.

    Form Number: BE-125.

    Type of Request: Regular submission.

    Number of Responses: 8,800 annually (2,200 filed each quarter; 1,700 reporting mandatory data, and 500 that would file other responses).

    Average Hours per Response: 18 hours is the average for those reporting data and 1 hour is the average for those not reporting data or providing voluntary responses, but hours may vary considerably among respondents because of differences in company size and complexity.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 124,400.

    Needs and Uses: The Quarterly Survey of Transactions in Selected Services and Intellectual Property with Foreign Persons (BE-125) is a survey that collects data from U.S. persons that engage in covered transactions with foreign persons in selected services or intellectual property. A U.S. person must report if sales of covered services or intellectual property to foreign persons exceeded $6 million for the previous fiscal year, or if sales are expected to exceed that amount during the current fiscal year, or if purchases of covered services or intellectual property from foreign persons exceeded $4 million for the previous fiscal year, or they are expected to exceed that amount during the current fiscal year.

    The data are needed to monitor U.S. trade in services, to analyze the impact on the U.S. and foreign economies, to compile and improve the U.S. economic accounts, to support U.S. commercial policy on trade in services, to conduct trade promotion, and to improve the ability of U.S. businesses to identify and evaluate market opportunities. The data are used in estimating the services component of the U.S. international transactions accounts and national income and product accounts.

    The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) is proposing the following additions and modifications to the current BE-125 survey to increase the quality and usefulness of BEA's published statistics on trade in services:

    (1) Two new schedules, Schedules D and E, will be added to collect additional information related to intellectual property and merchanting services. Schedule D is to be completed by a U.S. person who engages in intellectual property transactions with foreign persons. Schedule E is to be completed by a U.S. person who engages in merchanting services transactions with foreign persons.

    (2) Several services categories that are currently collected as part of “other selected services” will be collected separately. These services include audiovisual services, artistic-related services, health services, heritage and recreational services, and other personal services.

    (3) “Maintenance services” will be collected separately from “installation, alteration, and training services.”

    BEA estimates the proposed changes will increase the average number of hours per response from 16 hours to 18 hours for those reporting data. The reporting thresholds of the current BE-125 survey will be retained. The effort to keep current reporting thresholds unchanged is intended to minimize respondent burden while considering the needs of data users. Existing language in the instructions and definitions will be reviewed and adjusted as necessary to clarify survey requirements.

    Affected Public: Businesses or other for-profit organizations.

    Frequency: Quarterly.

    Respondent's Obligation: Mandatory.

    This information collection request may be viewed at www.reginfo.gov. Follow the instructions to view Department of Commerce collections currently under review by OMB.

    Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent within 30 days of publication of this notice to [email protected] or fax to (202) 395-5806.

    Dated: October 21, 2015. Sheleen Dumas, PRA Departmental Lead, Office of the Chief Information Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27144 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-570-890] Wooden Bedroom Furniture From the People's Republic of China: Partial Rescission of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review AGENCY:

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

    SUMMARY:

    On March 2, 2015, the Department of Commerce (Department) published the notice of initiation of an administrative review of the antidumping duty order on wooden bedroom furniture from the People's Republic of China (PRC).1 The review covers 127 companies. Based on timely withdrawals of all review requests for certain companies, we are now rescinding the administrative review with respect to 109 companies.

    1See Initiation of Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Administrative Reviews, 80 FR 11166 (March 2, 2015) (Initiation Notice).

    DATES:

    Effective Date: October 26, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jeffrey Pedersen or Patrick O'Connor, AD/CVD Operations, Office IV, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230, telephone: (202) 482-2769 or (202) 482-0989, respectively.

    Background

    On January 2, 2015, the Department published a notice of opportunity to request an administrative review of the antidumping duty order on wooden bedroom furniture from the PRC.2 In January 2015, the Department received multiple timely requests to conduct an administrative review of the antidumping duty order on wooden bedroom furniture from the PRC. On March 2, 2015, in accordance with section 751(a) of Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act), the Department published in the Federal Register a notice of the initiation of an administrative review of that order.3 The administrative review was initiated with respect to 127 companies, and covers the period from January 1, 2014, through December 31, 2014. While a number of companies remain under review, the requesting parties have timely withdrawn all review requests for certain companies, as discussed below.

    2See Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Order, Finding, or Suspended Investigation; Opportunity To Request Administrative Review, 80 FR 27 (January 2, 2015).

    3See Initiation Notice.

    Rescission of Review, in Part

    Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.213(d)(1), the Department will rescind an administrative review, in whole or in part, if a party that requested the review withdraws its request within 90 days of the date of publication of the notice of initiation of the requested review. All requesting parties withdrew their respective requests for an administrative review of the companies listed in the Appendix within 90 days of the date of publication of Initiation Notice. Accordingly, the Department is rescinding this review, in part, with respect to these companies, in accordance with 19 CFR 351.213(d)(1).4

    4See Appendix. As stated in Change in Practice in NME Reviews, the Department will no longer consider the non-market economy (“NME”) entity as an exporter conditionally subject to administrative reviews. See Antidumping Proceedings: Announcement of Change in Department Practice for Respondent Selection in Antidumping Duty Proceedings and Conditional Review of the Nonmarket Economy Entity in NME Antidumping Duty Proceedings, 78 FR 65963 (November 4, 2013) (“Change in Practice in NME Reviews”).

    Assessment

    The Department will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) to assess antidumping duties on all appropriate entries. For the companies for which this review is rescinded, antidumping duties shall be assessed at rates equal to the cash deposit of estimated antidumping duties required at the time of entry, or withdrawal from warehouse, for consumption, in accordance with 19 CFR 351.212(c)(l)(i). The Department intends to issue appropriate assessment instructions directly to CBP 15 days after publication of this notice.

    Notification to Importers

    This notice serves as the only reminder to importers whose entries will be liquidated as a result of this rescission notice, of their responsibility under 19 CFR 351.402(f)(2) to file a certificate regarding the reimbursement of antidumping duties prior to liquidation of the relevant entries during this review period. Failure to comply with this requirement could result in the Secretary's assumption that the reimbursement of antidumping duties occurred and the subsequent assessment of double antidumping duties.

    Notification Regarding Administrative Protective Orders

    This notice also serves as a reminder to parties subject to administrative protective orders (“APO”) of their responsibility concerning the return or destruction of proprietary information disclosed under an APO in accordance with 19 CFR 351.305, which continues to govern business proprietary information in this segment of the proceeding. Timely written notification of the return or destruction of APO materials or conversion to judicial protective order is hereby requested. Failure to comply with the regulations and terms of an APO is a violation which is subject to sanction.

    This notice is issued and published in accordance with sections 751(a)(1) and 777(i)(1) of the Act, and 19 CFR 351.213(d)(4).

    Dated: October 15, 2015. Christian Marsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations. Appendix • Art Heritage International, Ltd., Super Art Furniture Co., Ltd., Artwork Metal & Plastic Co., Ltd., Jibson Industries Ltd., Always Loyal International • Balanza Co., Ltd. • Best King International Ltd. • Billionworth Enterprises Ltd. • BNBM Co. Ltd. (aka Beijing New Materials Co., Ltd.) • Brittomart Inc. • C.F. Kent Co., Inc. • C.F. Kent Hospitality, Inc. • Changshu Htc Import & Export Co., Ltd. • Cheng Meng Furniture (PTE) Ltd., Cheng Meng Decoration & Furniture (Suzhou) Co., Ltd. • Chuan Fa Furniture Factory • Classic Furniture Global Co., Ltd. • Dalian Guangming Furniture Co., Ltd. • Dalian Huafeng Furniture Co., Ltd. • Dalian Huafeng Furniture Group Co., Ltd. • Decca Furniture Ltd. • Der Cheng Furniture Co., Ltd. • Der Cheng Wooden Works Of Factory • Dongguan Bon Ten Furniture Co., Ltd. • Dongguan Dong He Furniture Co., Ltd. • Dongguan Fortune Furniture Ltd. • Dongguan Grand Style Furniture Co., Ltd. • Dongguan Kingstone Furniture Co., Ltd., Kingstone Furniture Co., Ltd. • Dongguan Lung Dong Furniture Co., Ltd. • Dongguan Mingsheng Furniture Co., Ltd. • Dongguan Mu Si Furniture Co., Ltd. • Dongguan Nova Furniture Co., Ltd. • Dongguan Sunrise Furniture Co., Ltd., Taicang Sunrise Wood Industry Co., Ltd., Taicang Fairmount Designs Furniture Co., Ltd., Meizhou Sunrise Furniture Co., Ltd. • Dongguan Sunshine Furniture Co., Ltd. • Dongguan Yujia Furniture Co., Ltd. • Dongying Huanghekou Furniture Industry Co., Ltd. • Dorbest Ltd., Rui Feng Woodwork Co., Ltd. Aka Rui Feng Woodwork (Dongguan) Co., Ltd., Rui Feng Lumber Development Co., Ltd. Aka Rui Feng Lumber Development (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd. • Dream Rooms Furniture (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. • Fairmont Designs • Fine Furniture (Shanghai) Ltd. • Fleetwood Fine Furniture LP • Fortune Furniture Ltd. • Fortune Glory Industrial Ltd. (H.K. Ltd.), Tradewinds Furniture Ltd. • Fuijian Lianfu Forestry Co., Ltd. aka Fujian Wonder Pacific Inc. • Fuzhou Huan Mei Furniture Co., Ltd. • Guangdong New Four Seas Furniture Manufacturing Ltd. • Guangzhou Lucky Furniture Co., Ltd. • Guangzhou Maria Yee Furnishings Ltd., Pyla HK Ltd., Maria Yee, Inc. • Hainan Jong Bao Lumber Co., Ltd. • Haining Kareno Furniture Co., ltd. • Hang Hai Woodcraft's Art Factory • Hong Kong Da Zhi Furniture Co., Ltd. • Huasen Furniture Co., Ltd. • Hung Fai Wood Products Factory Ltd. • Jasonwood Industrial Co., Ltd. S.A. • Jiangmen Kinwai Furniture Decoration Co., Ltd. • Jiangmen Kinwai International Furniture Co., Ltd. • Jiangsu Dare Furniture Co., Ltd. • Jiangsu Xiangsheng Bedtime Furniture Co., Ltd. • Jiangsu Yuexing Furniture Group Co., Ltd. • Jibbon Enterprise Co., Ltd. • Jiedong Lehouse Furniture Co., Ltd. • King Rich International, Ltd. • King's Group Furniture (ENT) Co., Ltd. • King's Way Furniture Industries Co., Ltd. • Kingsyear Ltd. • Kunshan Summit Furniture Co., Ltd. • Leefu Wood (Dongguan) Co., Ltd. • Nanhai Jiantai Woodwork Co., Ltd., Fortune Glory Industrial Ltd. (H.K. Ltd.) • Nantong Wangzhuang Furniture • Nantong Yangzi Furniture Co., Ltd. • Nathan International Ltd., Nathan Rattan Factory • Passwell Corporation, Pleasant Wave Ltd. • Perfect Line Furniture Co., Ltd. • Putian Jinggong Furniture Co., Ltd. • Qingdao Beiyuan Shengli Furniture Co., Ltd., Qingdao Beiyuan Industry Trading Co., Ltd. • Qingdao Liangmu Co., Ltd. • Qingdao Shengchang Wooden Co., Ltd. • Restonic (Dongguan) Furniture Ltd., Restonic Far East (Samoa) Ltd. • Sen Yeong International Co., Ltd., Sheh Hau International Trading Ltd. • Shanghai Chengguan Import & Export, Ltd. • Shanghai Jiangfeng Furniture • Shanghai Sinofound Imp. & Exp. Co., Ltd. • Shanghai Sunrise Furniture Co., Ltd. • Shenzhen Forest Furniture Co., Ltd. • Shenzhen Jiafa High Grade Furniture Co., Ltd., Golden Lion International Trading Ltd. • Shenzhen New Fudu Furniture Co., Ltd. • Shenzhen Wonderful Furniture Co., Ltd. • Shenzhen Xingli Furniture Co., Ltd. • Shing Mark Enterprise Co., Ltd., Carven Industries Limited (BVI), Carven Industries Limited (HK), Dongguan Zhenxin Furniture Co., Ltd., Dongguan Yongpeng Furniture Co., Ltd. • Songgang Jasonwood Furniture Factory • Starwood Industries Ltd. • Strongson Furniture (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd., Strongson Furniture Co., Ltd., Strongson (Hk) Co. • Sunforce Furniture (Hui-Yang) Co., Ltd., Sun Fung Wooden Factory, Sun Fung Co., Shin Feng Furniture Co., Ltd., Stupendous International Co., Ltd. • Superwood Co., Ltd., Lianjiang Zongyu Art Products Co., Ltd. • Teamway Furniture (Dong Guan) Co., Ltd. • Techniwood Industries Ltd., Ningbo Furniture Industries Ltd., Ningbo Hengrun Furniture Co., Ltd. • Tianjin Phu Shing Woodwork Enterprise Co., Ltd. • Tube-Smith Enterprise (Haimen) Co., Ltd. • Tube-Smith Enterprise (Zhangzhou) Co., Ltd. • U-Rich Furniture (Zhangzhou) Co., Ltd., U-Rich Furniture Ltd. • Xiamen Yongquan Sci-Tech Development Co., Ltd. • Xilinmen Group Co., Ltd. • Yichun Guangming Furniture Co., Ltd. • Yihua Timber Industry Co., Ltd., Guangdong Yihua Timber Industry Co., Ltd. • Zhang Zhou Sanlong Wood Product Co., Ltd. • Zhangjiagang Daye Hotel Furniture Co., Ltd. • Zhangjiang Sunwin Arts & Crafts Co., Ltd. • Zhangzhou Guohui Industrial & Trade Co., Ltd. • Zhong Shan Fullwin Furniture Co., Ltd. • Zhong Shun Wood Art Co. • Zhongshan Fookyik Furniture Co., Ltd. • Zhongshan Golden King Furniture Industrial Co., Ltd. • Zhoushan For-Strong Wood Co., Ltd.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27157 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-570-970] Multilayered Wood Flooring From the People's Republic of China: Initiation of Antidumping Duty New Shipper Review; 2013-2014 AGENCY:

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

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce (“Department”) is initiating a new shipper review of the antidumping duty order on multilayered wood flooring from the People's Republic of China (“PRC”). The period of review (“POR”) for the new shipper review is December 1, 2013, through November 30, 2014.1

    1 Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.214(g)(1)(i)(A), the POR for a new shipper review initiated in the month immediately following the anniversary month is the twelve-month period immediately preceding the anniversary month. However, this review is being initiated in accordance with an order entered by the US. Court of International Trade (“CIT”) on October 14, 2015. In that order, the CIT authorized the Department to initiate and conduct this new shipper review based upon Qingdao Barry's December 19, 2014 review request. Accordingly, we have used that submission to determine the POR. See 19 CFR 351.214(d)(1) (providing for initiation of new shipper reviews in the calendar month following the anniversary month if the request is made in the 6-month period ending in the anniversary month); 19 CFR 351.214(g)(1)(i)(A) (setting the POR for new shipper reviews initiated in the month following the anniversary month).

    DATES:

    Effective Date: October 26, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Maisha Cryor or Robert Bolling, AD/CVD Operations, Office 4, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: 202-482-5831 or 202-482-3434, respectively.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    The Department published the antidumping duty order on multilayered wood flooring from the PRC on December 8, 2011.2 On December 19, 2014, the Department received a timely new shipper review request from Qingdao Barry Flooring Co., Ltd (“Qingdao Barry”),3 in accordance with section 751(a)(2)(B)(i) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (“the Act”), and 19 CFR 351.214(c).

    2See Multilayered Wood Flooring from the People's Republic of China: Amended Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value and Antidumping Duty Order, 76 FR 76690 (December 8, 2011) (“Order”), as amended Multilayered Wood Flooring from the People's Republic of China: Amended Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Orders, 77 FR 5484 (February 3, 2012).

    3See Letter from Qingdao Barry to the Secretary of Commerce “Multilayered Wood Flooring from China: Request for New Shipper Review,” dated December 19, 2014 (“Initiation Request”).

    In its submission, Qingdao Barry certified that it is both the producer and exporter of the subject merchandise upon which its respective review request was based.4 Pursuant to section 751(a)(2)(B)(i)(I) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.214(b)(2)(i), Qingdao Barry certified that it did not export multilayered wood flooring to the United States during the period of investigation (“POI”).5 In addition, pursuant to section 751(a)(2)(B)(i)(II) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.214(b)(2)(iii)(A), Qingdao Barry certified that, since the initiation of the investigation, it has never been affiliated with any producer or exporter that exported multilayered wood flooring to the United States during the POI, including those not individually examined during the investigation.6 As required by 19 CFR 351.214(b)(2)(iii)(B), Qingdao Barry also certified that its export activities are not controlled by the central government of the PRC.7

    4See Initiation Request at Attachment 1.

    5Id.

    6Id.

    7Id.

    In addition to the certifications described above, pursuant to 19 CFR 351.214(b)(2)(iv), Qingdao Barry submitted documentation establishing the following: (1) The date on which it first shipped multilayered wood flooring for export to the United States and the date on which the multilayered wood flooring was first entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption; (2) the volume of its first shipment and a statement that it made no subsequent shipments; and (3) the date of its first sale to an unaffiliated customer in the United States.8

    8Id. at Attachment 2.

    The Department conducted U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) database queries and confirmed that Qingdao Barry's shipment of subject merchandise had entered the United States for consumption and that liquidation of such entries had been properly suspended for antidumping duties. The Department also confirmed by examining CBP data that Qingdao Barry's entries were made during the POR specified by the Department's regulations.9

    9See Memorandum from Wendy Frankel, Director, Customs Liaison Unit, Enforcement and Compliance, To Abdelali Elouaradia, Director, AD/CVD Operations, Office IV, Enforcement and Compliance, Regarding “Confirmation of Entry—Multilayered Wood Flooring, From the People's Republic of China (A-570-970),” dated August 4, 2015 (“Customs Data”); see also Memorandum to the File entitled, “Initiation of Antidumping New Shipper Review of Multilayered Wood Flooring from the People's Republic of China: Qingdao Barry Flooring Co., Ltd. Initiation Checklist” (“Initiation Checklist”) dated concurrently with this notice.

    Initiation of New Shipper Review

    Pursuant to section 751(a)(2)(B) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.214(b), and after reviewing the information on the record, the Department finds that the request submitted by Qingdao Barry meets the threshold requirements for initiation of a new shipper review for the shipments of multilayered wood flooring from the PRC produced and exported by Qingdao Barry.10 However, if the information supplied by Qingdao Barry is later found to be incorrect or insufficient during the course of this proceeding, the Department may rescind the review or apply adverse facts available pursuant to section 776 of the Act, depending upon the facts on the record. The Department intends to issue the preliminary results of this new shipper review no later than 180 days from the date of initiation, and the final results no later than 90 days from the issuance of the preliminary results.11

    10See Initiation Checklist.

    11See section 751(a)(2)(B)(iv) of the Act. Due to the unique circumstances of this new shipper review, the Department's ability to grant extension requests will be limited. See Memorandum from Robert Bolling, Program Manager, AD/CVD Operations, Office IV, Enforcement and Compliance, To The File, Regarding “Deadline Extensions—Multilayered Wood Flooring, From the People's Republic of China, dated concurrently with this notice.

    It is the Department's usual practice, in cases involving non-market economies, to require that a company seeking to establish eligibility for an antidumping duty rate separate from the country-wide rate provide evidence of de jure and de facto absence of government control over the company's export activities. Accordingly, the Department will issue a questionnaire to Qingdao Barry which will include a section requesting information with regard to the company's export activities for separate rates purposes. The review of the exporter will proceed if the response provides sufficient indication that it is not subject to either de jure or de facto government control with respect to its export of subject merchandise.

    The Department will instruct CBP to allow, until the completion of the review, at the option of the importer, the posting of a bond or security in lieu of a cash deposit for each entry of the subject merchandise from Qingdao Barry, in accordance with section 751(a)(2)(B)(iii) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.214(e). Because Qingdao Barry certified that it produced and exported the subject merchandise, the Department will apply the bonding privilege only for subject merchandise that the respondent both produced and exported. To assist in its analysis of the bona fides of Qingdao Barry's sales, upon initiation of this NSR, the Department will require Qingdao Barry to submit on an ongoing basis complete transaction information concerning any sales of subject merchandise to the United States that were made subsequent to the POR.

    Interested parties requiring access to proprietary information in this new shipper review should submit applications for disclosure under administrative protective order in accordance with 19 CFR 351.305 and 19 CFR 351.306.

    This initiation and notice are in accordance with section 751(a)(2)(B) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.214 and 19 CFR 351.221(c)(1)(i).

    Dated: October 20, 2015. Christian Marsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27156 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration New England Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice; public meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The New England Fishery Management Council (Council) is scheduling a public meeting of its Groundfish Advisory Panel to consider actions affecting New England fisheries in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Recommendations from this group will be brought to the full Council for formal consideration and action, if appropriate.

    DATES:

    This meeting will be held on Thursday, November 12, 2015 at 9:30 a.m.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will be held at the Holiday Inn by the Bay, 88 Spring Street, Portland, ME 04101; phone: (207) 775-2311; fax: (207) 772-4017.

    Council address: New England Fishery Management Council, 50 Water Street, Mill 2, Newburyport, MA 01950.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Thomas A. Nies, Executive Director, New England Fishery Management Council; telephone: (978) 465-0492.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Agenda

    The items of discussion on the agenda are: The panel will receive an overview from the Groundfish Plan Development Team (PDT) on draft alternatives in Framework Adjustment 55 (FW 55) specifications, changes to the groundfish monitoring program, other management measures and draft impacts analysis. They also plan to develop recommendations to the Groundfish Committee regarding alternatives in FW 55. The panel will also develop recommendations to the Groundfish Committee for 2016 Council priorities. They will also discuss other business as necessary.

    Although non-emergency issues not contained in this agenda may come before this group for discussion, those issues may not be the subject of formal action during these meetings. 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 Council's intent to take final action to address the emergency.

    Special Accommodations

    This meeting is physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Thomas A. Nies, Executive Director, at (978) 465-0492, at least 5 days prior to the meeting date.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: October 21, 2015. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27134 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XE233 Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; St. George Reef Light Station Restoration and Maintenance at Northwest Seal Rock, Del Norte County, California AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice; proposed incidental harassment authorization; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS has received an application from the St. George Reef Lighthouse Preservation Society (Society), for an Incidental Harassment Authorization (Authorization) to take marine mammals, by harassment incidental to conducting aircraft operations, lighthouse renovation, and light maintenance activities on the St. George Reef Light Station on Northwest Seal Rock in the northeast Pacific Ocean. The proposed dates for this action would be late November 2015 through November 2016. Per the Marine Mammal Protection Act, we are requesting comments on our proposal to issue an Authorization to the Society to incidentally take, by Level B harassment only, marine mammals during the specified activity.

    DATES:

    NMFS must receive comments and information on or before November 25, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Address comments on the application to Jolie Harrison, Division Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910. The mailbox address for providing email comments is [email protected] Please include 0648-XE233 in the subject line. Comments sent via email to [email protected], including all attachments, must not exceed a 25-megabyte file size. NMFS is not responsible for email comments sent to addresses other than the one provided here.

    Instructions: All submitted comments are a part of the public record and NMFS will post them to http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental/research.htm without change. All Personal Identifying Information (for example, name, address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business information or otherwise sensitive or protected information.

    To obtain an electronic copy of the application containing a list of the references used in this document, write to the previously mentioned address, telephone the contact listed here (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT), or visit the internet at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental/construction.htm.

    The Environmental Assessment (EA) specific to conducting aircraft operations, restoration, and maintenance work on the light station is also available at the same internet address. Information in the EA and this notice collectively provide the environmental information related to the proposed issuance of the Authorization for public review and comment. The public may also view documents cited in this notice, by appointment, during regular business hours, at the aforementioned address.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jeannine Cody, NMFS, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS (301) 427-8401.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    Section 101(a)(5)(D) of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as amended (MMPA; 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) directs the Secretary of Commerce to allow, upon request, the incidental, but not intentional, taking of small numbers of marine mammals of a species or population stock, by U.S. citizens who engage in a specified activity (other than commercial fishing) within a specified geographical region if, after NMFS provides a notice of a proposed authorization to the public for review and comment: (1) NMFS makes certain findings; and (2) the taking is limited to harassment.

    An Authorization shall be granted for the incidental taking of small numbers of marine mammals if NMFS finds that the taking will have a negligible impact on the species or stock(s), and will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of the species or stock(s) for subsistence uses (where relevant). The Authorization must also set forth the permissible methods of taking; other means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact on the species or stock and its habitat; and requirements pertaining to the monitoring and reporting of such taking. NMFS has defined “negligible impact” in 50 CFR 216.103 as “an impact resulting from the specified activity that cannot be reasonably expected to, and is not reasonably likely to, adversely affect the species or stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival.”

    Except with respect to certain activities not pertinent here, the MMPA defines “harassment” as: Any act of pursuit, torment, or annoyance which (i) has the potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild [Level A harassment]; or (ii) has the potential to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering [Level B harassment].

    Summary of Request

    On October 1, 2015, from the Society requesting that we issue an Authorization for the take of marine mammals, incidental to conducting restoration activities on the St. George Reef Light Station (Station) located on Northwest Seal Rock offshore of Crescent City, California in the northeast Pacific Ocean. NMFS determined the application complete and adequate on October 7, 2015.

    The Society proposes to conduct aircraft operations, lighthouse renovation, and periodic maintenance on the Station's optical light system on a monthly basis. The proposed activity would occur on a monthly basis over one weekend, November 2015 through April 2016 and again for one weekend in November 2016. The following specific aspects of the proposed activities would likely to result in the take of marine mammals: (1) Helicopter landings/takeoffs; (2) noise generated during restoration activities (e.g., painting, plastering, welding, and glazing); (3) maintenance activities (e.g., bulb replacement and automation of the light system); and (4) human presence. Thus, NMFS anticipates that take, by Level B harassment only, of California sea lions (Zalophus californianus); Pacific harbor seals (Phoca vitulina); Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) of the eastern U.S. Stock; and northern fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus) could result from the specified activity.

    Description of the Specified Activity Overview

    To date, NMFS has issued four Authorizations to the Society for the conduct of the same activities from 2010 to 2015 (75 FR 4774, January 29, 2010; 76 FR 10564, February 25, 2011; 77 FR 8811, February 15, 2012; and 79 FR 6179, February 3, 2014). This is the Society's fifth request for an annual Authorization as their last Authorization expired on April 10, 2015.

    The Station, listed in the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places, is located on Northwest Seal Rock offshore of Crescent City, California in the northeast Pacific Ocean. The Station, built in 1892, rises 45.7 meters (m) (150 feet (ft)) above sea level. The structure consists of hundreds of granite blocks topped with a cast iron lantern room and covers much of the surface of the islet. The purpose of the project is to restore the lighthouse and to conduct annual and emergency maintenance on the Station's optical light system.

    Dates and Duration

    The Society proposes to conduct the activities (aircraft operations, lighthouse restoration, and maintenance activities) at a maximum frequency of one session per month. The proposed duration for each session would last no more than three days (e.g., Friday, Saturday, and Sunday). The proposed Authorization, if issued, would be effective from November 27, 2015 through November 26, 2016 with restrictions on the Society conducting activities from May 1, 2016 to October 31, 2016. NMFS refers the reader to the Detailed Description of Activities section later in this notice for more information on the scope of the proposed activities.

    Specified Geographic Region

    The Station is located on a small, rocky islet (41°50′24″ N., 124°22′06″ W.) approximately nine kilometers (km) (6.0 miles (mi)) in the northeast Pacific Ocean, offshore of Crescent City, California (Latitude: 41°46′48″ N.; Longitude: 124°14′11″ W.). NWSR is approximately 91.4 m (300 ft) in diameter that peaks at 5.18 m (17 ft) above mean sea level.

    Detailed Description of Activities Aircraft Operations

    Because Northwest Seal Rock has no safe landing area for boats, the proposed restoration activities would require the Society to transport personnel and equipment from the California mainland to Northwest Seal Rock by a small helicopter. Helicopter landings take place on top of the engine room (caisson) which is approximately 15 m (48 ft) above the surface of the rocks on Northwest Seal Rock. The Society plans to charter a Raven R44 helicopter, owned and operated by Air Shasta Rotor and Wing, LLC. The Raven R44, which seats three passengers and one pilot, is a compact-sized (1134 kilograms (kg), 2500 pounds (lbs)) helicopter with two-bladed main and tail rotors. Both sets of rotors are fitted with noise-attenuating blade tip caps that would decrease flyover noise.

    The Society proposes to transport no more than 15 work crew members and equipment to Northwest Seal Rock for each session and estimates that each session would require no more than 36 helicopter landings/takeoffs per month. During landing, the helicopter would land on the caisson to allow the work crew members to disembark and retrieve their equipment located in a basket attached to the underside of the helicopter. The helicopter would then return to the mainland to pick up additional personnel and equipment.

    Proposed schedule: The Society would conduct a maximum of 16 flights (eight arrivals and eight departures) for the first day. The first flight would depart from Crescent City Airport at approximately 9 a.m. for a 6-minute flight to Northwest Seal Rock. The helicopter would land and takeoff immediately after offloading personnel and equipment every 20 minutes (min). The total duration of the first day's aerial operations could last for approximately 3 hours (hrs) and 26 min and would end at approximately 12:34 p.m. Crew members would remain overnight at the Station and would not return to the mainland on the first day.

    For the second day, the Society would conduct a maximum of 10 flights (five arrivals and five departures) to transport additional materials on and off the islet. The first flight would depart from Crescent City Airport at 9 a.m. for a 6-minute flight to Northwest Seal Rock. The total duration of the second day's aerial operations could last up to three hours.

    For the final day of operations, the Society could conduct a maximum of eight helicopter flights (four arrivals and four departures) to transport the remaining crew members and equipment/material back to the Crescent City Airport. The total duration of the third day's helicopter operations in support of restoration could last up to 2 hrs and 14 min.

    Lighthouse Restoration Activities

    Restoration and maintenance activities would involve the removal of peeling paint and plaster, restoration of interior plaster and paint, refurbishing structural and decorative metal, reworking original metal support beams throughout the lantern room and elsewhere, replacing glass as necessary, upgrading the present electrical system; and annual light beacon maintenance.

    Emergency Light Maintenance

    If the beacon light fails, the Society proposes to send a crew of two to three people to the Station by helicopter to repair the beacon light. For each emergency repair event, the Society proposes to conduct a maximum of four flights (two arrivals and two departures) to transport equipment and supplies. The helicopter may remain on site or transit back to shore and make a second landing to pick up the repair personnel.

    In the case of an emergency repair between May 1, 2016, and October 31, 2016, the Society would consult with the NMFS' Western Regional Office (WRO) biologists to best determine the timing of the trips to the lighthouse, on a case-by-case basis, based upon the existing environmental conditions and the abundance and distribution of any marine mammals present on NWSR. The regional biologists would have real-time knowledge regarding the animal use and abundance of the NWSR at the time of the repair request and would make a decision regarding when the Society could conduct trips to the lighthouse during the emergency repair time window that would have the least practicable adverse impact to marine mammals. The WRO biologists would also ensure that the Society's request for incidental take during emergency repairs would not exceed the number of incidental take authorized in the proposed Authorization.

    Sound Sources and Sound Characteristics

    NMFS expects that acoustic stimuli resulting from the proposed helicopter operations; noise from maintenance and restoration activities; and human presence have the potential to harass marine mammals, incidental to the conduct of the proposed activities.

    This section includes a brief explanation of the sound measurements frequently used in the discussions of acoustic effects in this notice. Sound pressure is the sound force per unit area, and is usually measured in micropascals (μPa), where 1 pascal (Pa) is the pressure resulting from a force of one newton exerted over an area of one square meter. Sound pressure level (SPL) is the ratio of a measured sound pressure and a reference level. The commonly used reference pressure is 1 μPa for under water, and the units for SPLs are dB re: 1 μPa. The commonly used reference pressure is 20 μPa for in air, and the units for SPLs are dB re: 20 μPa.

    SPL (in decibels (dB)) = 20 log (pressure/reference pressure).

    SPL is an instantaneous measurement expressed as the peak, the peak-peak (p-p), or the root mean square (rms). Root mean square is the square root of the arithmetic average of the squared instantaneous pressure values. All references to SPL in this document refer to the root mean square unless otherwise noted. SPL does not take into account the duration of a sound.

    R44 Helicopter Sound Characteristics

    Noise testing performed on the R44 Raven Helicopter, as required for Federal Aviation Administration approval, required an overflight at 150 m (492 ft) above ground level, 109 knots and a maximum gross weight of 1,134 kg (2,500 lbs). The noise levels measured on the ground at this distance and speed were 81.9 decibels (dB) re: 20 μPa (A-weighted) for the model R44 Raven I, or 81.0 dB re: 20 μPa (A-weighted) for the model R44 Raven II (NMFS, 2007).

    Based on this information, we expect that the received sound levels at the landing area on the Station's caisson would increase above 81-81.9 dB re: 20 μPa (A-weighted).

    Restoration and Maintenance Sound Characteristics

    Any noise associated with these activities is likely to be from light construction (e.g., sanding, hammering, or use of hand drills). The Society proposes to confine all restoration activities to the existing structure which would occur on the upper levels of the Station. Pinnipeds hauled out on Northwest Seal Rock do not have access to the upper levels of the Station.

    Description of Marine Mammals in the Area of the Specified Activity

    Table 1 provides the following information: All marine mammal species with possible or confirmed occurrence in the proposed activity area; information on those species' regulatory status under the MMPA and the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.); abundance; occurrence and seasonality in the activity area. NMFS refers the public the 2015 draft NMFS Marine Mammal Stock Assessment Report available online at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/sars/ for further information on the biology and distribution of these species.

    Table 1—General Information on Marine Mammals That Could Potentially Haul Out on Northwest Seal Rock, November 2015 Through November 2016 Species Stock Regulatory status 1 2 Stock
  • abundance 3
  • Occurrence and seasonality
    California sea lion (Zalophus californianus) U.S. MMPA-NC
  • ESA-NL
  • 296,750 Year-round presence.
    Northern fur seal (Callorhinus ursinus) California
  • Breeding
  • MMPA-D
  • ESA-NL
  • 14,050 Rare.
    Pacific harbor seal (Phoca vitulina) California MMPA-NC
  • ESA-NL
  • 30,968 Occasional, spring.
    Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) Eastern Distinct
  • Population Segment
  • MMPA-D
  • ESA-DL
  • 60,131-74,448 Year-round presence.
    1 MMPA: D = Depleted, S = Strategic, NC = Not Classified. 2 ESA: EN = Endangered, T = Threatened, DL = Delisted, NL = Not listed. 3 2015 draft NMFS Stock Assessment Reports: Carretta et al. (2015) and Muto and Angliss (2015).
    Eastern Distinct Population Segment of Steller Sea Lions

    Steller sea lions consist of two distinct population segments: The western and eastern distinct population segments (DPS) divided at 144° West longitude (Cape Suckling, Alaska). The western segment of Steller sea lions inhabit central and western Gulf of Alaska, Aleutian Islands, as well as coastal waters and breed in Asia (e.g., Japan and Russia). The eastern segment includes sea lions living in southeast Alaska, British Columbia, California, and Oregon. The eastern DPS includes animals born east of Cape Suckling, AK (144° W) and the latest abundance estimate for the stock is 60,131 to 74,448 animals (Muto and Angliss, 2015).

    Steller sea lions range along the North Pacific Rim from northern Japan to California (Loughlin et al., 1984), with centers of abundance and distribution in the Gulf of Alaska and Aleutian Islands, respectively. The species is not known to migrate, but individuals disperse widely outside of the breeding season (late May through early July), thus potentially intermixing with animals from other areas.

    The eastern distinct population segment of Steller sea lions breeds on rookeries located in southeast Alaska, British Columbia, Oregon, and California. There are no rookeries located in Washington state. Steller sea lions give birth in May through July and breeding commences a couple of weeks after birth. Pups are weaned during the winter and spring of the following year.

    Despite the wide-ranging movements of juveniles and adult males in particular, exchange between rookeries by breeding adult females and males (other than between adjoining rookeries) appears low, although males have a higher tendency to disperse than females (NMFS, 1995; Trujillo et al., 2004; Hoffman et al., 2006). A northward shift in the overall breeding distribution has occurred, with a contraction of the range in southern California and new rookeries established in southeastern Alaska (Pitcher et al., 2007). Overall, counts of non-pups at trend sites in California and Oregon have been relatively stable or increasing slowly since the 1980s (Allen and Angliss, 2012).

    Steller sea lion numbers at Northwest Seal Rock ranged from 20 to 355 animals (CCR, 2001). Counts of Steller sea lions during the spring (April-May), summer (June-August), and fall (September-October), averaged 68, 110, and 56, respectively (CCR, 2001). A multi-year survey at NWSR between 2000 and 2004 showed Steller sea lion numbers ranging from 175 to 354 in July (M. Lowry, NMFS/SWFSC, unpubl. data). The Society presumes that winter use of NWSR by Steller sea lion to be minimal, due to inundation of the natural portion of the island by large swells.

    For the 2010 season, the Society reported that no Steller sea lions were present in the vicinity of Northwest Seal Rock during restoration activities (SGRLPS, 2010). Based on the monitoring report for the 2011 season, the maximum numbers of Steller sea lions present during the April and November 2011, work sessions was 2 and 150 animals, respectively (SGRLPS, 2012). During the 2012 season, the Society did not observe any Steller sea lions present on Northwest Seal Rock during restoration activities. The Society did not conduct any operations for the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 seasons.

    California Sea Lion

    The estimated population of the U.S. stock of California sea lion is approximately 296,750 animals and the current maximum population growth rate is 12 percent (Carretta et. al., 2015).

    California sea lion breeding areas are on islands located in southern California, in western Baja California, Mexico, and the Gulf of California. During the breeding season, most California sea lions inhabit southern California and Mexico. Rookery sites in southern California are limited to the San Miguel Islands and the southerly Channel Islands of San Nicolas, Santa Barbara, and San Clemente (Carretta et. al., 2015). Males establish breeding territories during May through July on both land and in the water. Females come ashore in mid-May and June where they give birth to a single pup approximately four to five days after arrival and will nurse pups for about a week before going on their first feeding trip. Females will alternate feeding trips with nursing bouts until weaning between four and 10 months of age (NMML, 2010).

    Adult and juvenile males will migrate as far north as British Columbia, Canada while females and pups remain in southern California waters in the non-breeding season. In warm water (El Niño) years, some females range as far north as Washington and Oregon, presumably following prey.

    Crescent Coastal Research (CCR) conducted a three-year (1998-2000) survey of the wildlife species on NWSR for the Society. They reported that counts of California sea lions on NWSR varied greatly (from six to 541) during the observation period from April 1997 through July 2000. CCR reported that counts for California sea lions during the spring (April-May), summer (June-August), and fall (September-October), averaged 60, 154, and 235, respectively (CCR, 2001).

    The most current counts for the month of July by NMFS (2000 through 2004) have been relatively low as the total number of California sea lions recorded in 2000 and 2003 was 3 and 11, respectively (M. Lowry, NMFS, SWFSC, unpublished data). Based on the monitoring report for the 2011 season, the maximum numbers of California sea lions present during the April and November, 2011 work sessions was 2 and 90 animals, respectively (SGRLPS, 2012). There were no California sea lions present during the March, 2012 work session (SGRLPS, 2012).

    Northern Fur Seal

    Northern fur seals occur from southern California north to the Bering Sea and west to the Sea of Okhotsk and Honshu Island of Japan. NMFS recognizes two separate stocks of northern fur seals within U.S. waters: An Eastern Pacific stock distributed among sites in Alaska, British Columbia; and a San Miguel Island stock distributed along the west coast of the continental U.S. The estimated population of the San Miguel Island stock is 9,968 animals with a maximum population growth rate of 12 percent (Carretta et al., 2015).

    Northern fur seals may temporarily haul out on land at other sites in Alaska, British Columbia, and on islets along the west coast of the continental United States, but generally this occurs outside of the breeding season (Fiscus, 1983).

    Northern fur seals breed in Alaska and migrate along the west coast during fall and winter. Due to their pelagic habitat, they are rarely seen from shore in the continental U.S., but individuals occasionally come ashore on islands well offshore (i.e., Farallon Islands and Channel Islands in California). During the breeding season, approximately 74 percent of the worldwide population inhabits the Pribilof Islands in Alaska, with the remaining animals spread throughout the North Pacific Ocean (Lander and Kajimura, 1982).

    CCR observed one male northern fur seal on Northwest Seal Rock in October, 1998 (CCR, 2001). It is possible that a few animals may use the island more often that indicated by the CCR surveys, if they were mistaken for other otariid species(i.e., eared seals or fur seals and sea lions) (M. DeAngelis, NMFS, pers. comm.).

    For the 2010, 2011, and 2012 work seasons, the Society has not observed any northern fur seals present on Northwest Seal Rock during restoration activities (SGRLPS, 2010; 2011; 2012).

    Pacific Harbor Seal

    The estimated population of the California stock of Pacific harbor seals is approximately 30,196 animals (Carretta et. al., 2015). There is no current estimate of abundance available for the Oregon/Washington stock (Carretta et. al., 2015).

    The animals inhabit near-shore coastal and estuarine areas from Baja California, Mexico, to the Pribilof Islands in Alaska. Pacific harbor seals consist of two subspecies: P. v. stejnegeri in the western North Pacific, near Japan, and P. v. richardsi in the northeast Pacific Ocean. The latter subspecies, recognized as three separate stocks, inhabits the west coast of the continental United States, including: The outer coastal waters of Oregon and Washington states; Washington state inland waters; and Alaska coastal and inland waters. Two of these stocks, the California stock and Oregon/Washington coast stock, of Pacific harbor seals are identified off the coast of Oregon and California for management purposes under the MMPA. However, the stock boundary is difficult to distinguish because of the continuous distribution of harbor seals along the west coast and any rigid boundary line is (to a greater or lesser extent) arbitrary, from a biological perspective (Carretta et. al., 2015). Due to the location of the proposed project which is situated near the border of Oregon and California, both stocks could be present within the proposed project area.

    In California, over 500 harbor seal haulout sites are widely distributed along the mainland and offshore islands, and include rocky shores, beaches and intertidal sandbars (Lowry et al., 2005). Harbor seals mate at sea and females give birth during the spring and summer, although, the pupping season varies with latitude. Females nurse their pups for an average of 24 days and are ready to swim minutes after being born. Harbor seal pupping takes place at many locations and rookery size varies from a few pups to many hundreds of pups. The nearest harbor seal rookery relative to the proposed project site is at Castle Rock National Wildlife Refuge, located approximately located 965 m (0.6 mi) south of Point St. George, and 2.4 km (1.5 mi) north of the Crescent City Harbor in Del Norte County, California (USFWS, 2007).

    CCR noted that harbor seal use of Northwest Seal Rock was minimal, with only one sighting of a group of six animals, during 20 observation surveys. They hypothesized that harbor seals may avoid the islet because of its distance from shore, relatively steep topography, and full exposure to rough and frequently turbulent sea swells. For the 2010 and 2011 seasons, the Society did not observe any Pacific harbor seals present on Northwest Seal Rock during restoration activities (SGRLPS, 2010; 2011). During the 2012 season, the Society reported sighting a total of two harbor seals present on Northwest Seal Rock (SGRLPS, 2012).

    Other Marine Mammals in the Proposed Action Area

    California (southern) sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis), listed as threatened under the ESA and categorized as depleted under the MMPA, usually range in coastal waters within two km (1.2 mi) of the mainland shoreline. Neither CCR nor the Society has encountered California sea otters on Northwest Seal Rock during the course of the four-year wildlife study (CCR, 2001; SGRLPS, 2010; 2011; 2012)) nor has the Society encountered this species during the course of the previous four Authorizations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) manages the sea otter and NMFS will not consider this species further in this notice.

    Potential Effects of the Specified Activities on Marine Mammals

    This section includes a summary and discussion of the ways that the types of stressors associated with the specified activity (e.g., personnel presence) have been observed to impact marine mammals. This discussion may also include reactions that NMFS considers to rise to the level of a take and those that we do not consider to rise to the level of a take. This section serves as a background of potential effects and does not consider either the specific manner in which the applicant will carry out the activity or the mitigation that will be implemented, and how either of those will shape the anticipated impacts from this specific activity. The “Estimated Take by Incidental Harassment” section later in this document will include a quantitative analysis of the number of individuals that NMFS expects the Society to take during this activity. The “Negligible Impact Analysis” section will include the analysis of how this specific activity would impact marine mammals. NMFS will consider the content of the following sections: Estimated Take by Incidental Harassment; Proposed Mitigation; and Anticipated Effects on Marine Mammal Habitat, to draw conclusions regarding the likely impacts of this activity on the reproductive success or survivorship of individuals—and from that consideration—the likely impacts of this activity on the affected marine mammal populations or stocks.

    Acoustic and visual stimuli generated by: (1) Helicopter landings/takeoffs; (2) noise generated during restoration activities (e.g., painting, plastering, welding, and glazing); and (3) maintenance activities (e.g., bulb replacement and automation of the light system) may have the potential to cause the following: Temporary or permanent hearing impairment and/or behavioral disturbance (Southall, et al., 2007).

    Potential Effects of Aircraft Presence and Noise on Marine Mammals

    Pinnipeds have the potential to be disturbed by airborne and underwater noise generated by the engine of the aircraft (Born, Riget, Dietz, & Andriashek, 1999; Richardson, Greene, Malme, & Thomson, 1995). Data on underwater TTS-onset in pinnipeds exposed to pulses are limited to a single study which exposed two California sea lions to single underwater pulses from an arc-gap transducer and found no measurable TTS following exposures up to 183 dB re: 1 μPa (peak-to-peak) (Finneran, Dear, Carder, & Ridgway, 2003).

    Researchers have demonstrated temporary threshold shift (TTS) in certain captive odontocetes and pinnipeds exposed to strong sounds (reviewed in Southall et al., 2007). In 2004, researchers measured auditory fatigue to airborne sound in harbor seals, California sea lions, and northern elephant seals after exposure to non-pulse noise for 25 minutes (Kastak, Southall, Holt, Kastak, & Schusterman, 2004). In the study, the harbor seal experienced approximately 6 dB of TTS at 99 dB re: 20 μPa. The authors identified onset of TTS in the California sea lion at 122 dB re: 20 μPa. The northern elephant seal experienced TTS-onset at 121 dB re: 20 μPa (Kastak, et al., 2004).

    There is a dearth of information on acoustic effects of helicopter overflights on pinniped hearing and communication (Richardson, et al., 1995) and to NMFS' knowledge, there has been no specific documentation of TTS, let alone permanent threshold shift (PTS), in free-ranging pinnipeds exposed to helicopter operations during realistic field conditions (Baker, Jensz, & Chilvers, 2012; Scheidat et al., 2011).

    In 2008, NMFS issued an Authorization to the USFWS for the take of small numbers of Steller sea lions and Pacific harbor seals, incidental to rodent eradication activities on an islet offshore of Rat Island, AK conducted by helicopter. The 15-minute aerial treatment consisted of the helicopter slowly approaching the islet at an elevation of over 1,000 feet (304.8 m); gradually decreasing altitude in slow circles; and applying the rodenticide in a single pass and returning to Rat Island. The gradual and deliberate approach to the islet resulted in the sea lions present initially becoming aware of the helicopter and calmly moving into the water. Further, the USFWS reported that all responses fell well within the range of Level B harassment (i.e., limited, short-term displacement resulting from aircraft noise due to helicopter overflights).

    As a general statement from the available information, pinnipeds exposed to intense (approximately 110 to 120 dB re: 20 μPa) non-pulse sounds often leave haulout areas and seek refuge temporarily (minutes to a few hours) in the water (Southall et al., 2007). Per Richardson et al. (1995), approaching aircraft generally flush animals into the water and noise from a helicopter is typically directed down in a “cone” underneath the aircraft.

    It is likely that the initial helicopter approach to Northwest Seal Rock would cause a subset, or all of the marine mammals hauled out to depart the rock and flush into the water. The physical presence of aircraft could also lead to non-auditory effects on marine mammals involving visual or other cues. Airborne sound from a low-flying helicopter or airplane may be heard by marine mammals while at the surface or underwater. In general, helicopters tend to be noisier than fixed wing aircraft of similar size and underwater sounds from aircraft are strongest just below the surface and directly under the aircraft. Noise from aircraft would not be expected to cause direct physical effects but have the potential to affect behavior. The primary factor that may influence abrupt movements of animals is engine noise, specifically changes in engine noise. Responses by mammals could include hasty dives or turns, change in course, or flushing and stampeding from a haul out site. There are few well documented studies of the impacts of aircraft overflight over pinniped haul out sites or rookeries, and many of those that exist, are specific to military activities (Efroymson et al., 2001).

    Several factors complicate the analysis of long- and short-term effects for aircraft overflights. Information on behavioral effects of overflights by military aircraft (or component stressors) on most wildlife species is sparse. Moreover, models that relate behavioral changes to abundance or reproduction, and those that relate behavioral or hearing effects thresholds from one population to another are generally not available. In addition, the aggregation of sound frequencies, durations, and the view of the aircraft into a single exposure metric is not always the best predictor of effects and it may also be difficult to calculate. Overall, there has been no indication that single or occasional aircraft flying above pinnipeds in water cause long term displacement of these animals (Richardson et al., 1995). The Lowest Observed Adverse Effects Levels (LOAELs) are rather variable for pinnipeds on land, ranging from just over 150 m (492 ft) to about 2,000 m (6,562 ft) (Efroymson et al., 2001). A conservative (90th percentile) distance effects level is 1,150 m (3,773 ft). Most thresholds represent movement away from the overflight. Bowles and Stewart (1980) estimated an LOAEL of 305 m (1,000 ft) for helicopters (low and landing) in California sea lions and harbor seals observed on San Miguel Island, CA; animals responded to some degree by moving within the haul out and entering into the water, stampeding into the water, or clearing the haul out completely. Both species always responded with the raising of their heads. California sea lions appeared to react more to the visual cue of the helicopter than the noise.

    If pinnipeds are present on Northwest Seal Rock, it is likely that a helicopter landing at the Station would cause some number of the pinnipeds on Northwest Seal Rock to flush; however, when present, they appear to show rapid habituation to helicopter landing and departure (Crescent Coastal Research, 2001; Guy Towers, SGRLPS, pers. com.). According to the CCR Report (2001), while up to 40 percent of the California and Steller sea lions present on Northwest Seal Rock have been observed to enter the water on the first of a series of helicopter landings, as few as zero percent have flushed on subsequent landings on the same date. In fact, the Society reported that during the November 2011 work session, Steller sea lions and California sea lions exhibited minimal ingress and egress from Northwest Seal Rock during helicopter approaches and departures (SGRLPS, 2011).

    Potential Effects of Human Presence on Marine Mammals

    The appearance of Society personnel may have the potential to cause Level B harassment of marine mammals hauled out on the small island in the proposed action area. Disturbance includes a variety of effects, including subtle to conspicuous changes in behavior, movement, and displacement. Disturbance may result in reactions ranging from an animal simply becoming alert to the presence of the Society's restoration personnel (e.g., turning the head, assuming a more upright posture) to flushing from the haul-out site into the water. NMFS does not consider the lesser reactions to constitute behavioral harassment, or Level B harassment takes, but rather assumes that pinnipeds that move greater than 1 meter (m) (3.3 feet (ft)) or change the speed or direction of their movement in response to the presence of surveyors are behaviorally harassed, and thus subject to Level B taking. Animals that respond to the presence of the Society's restoration personnel by becoming alert, but do not move or change the nature of locomotion as described, are not considered to have been subject to behavioral harassment.

    Reactions to human presence, if any, depend on species, state of maturity, experience, current activity, reproductive state, time of day, and many other factors (Richardson et al., 1995; Wartzok et al., 2004; Southall et al., 2007; Weilgart, 2007). These behavioral reactions are often shown as: Changing durations of surfacing and dives, number of blows per surfacing, or moving direction and/or speed; reduced/increased vocal activities; changing/cessation of certain behavioral activities (such as socializing or feeding); visible startle response or aggressive behavior; avoidance of areas; and/or flight responses (e.g., pinnipeds flushing into the water from haul-outs or rookeries). If a marine mammal does react briefly to human presence by changing its behavior or moving a small distance, the impacts of the change are unlikely to be significant to the individual, let alone the stock or population. However, if visual stimuli from human presence displaces marine mammals from an important feeding or breeding area for a prolonged period, impacts on individuals and populations could be significant (e.g., Lusseau and Bejder, 2007; Weilgart, 2007).

    Disturbances resulting from human activity can impact short- and long-term pinniped haul out behavior (Renouf et al., 1981; Schneider and Payne, 1983; Terhune and Almon, 1983; Allen et al., 1984; Stewart, 1984; Suryan and Harvey, 1999; Mortenson et al., 2000; and Kucey and Trites, 2006). Numerous studies have shown that human activity can flush harbor seals off haulout sites (Allen et al., 1984; Calambokidis et al., 1991; Suryan and Harvey, 1999; and Mortenson et al., 2000) or lead to Hawaiian monk seals (Monachus schauinslandi) avoidance of beach areas The Hawaiian monk seal avoiding beaches (Kenyon, 1972). In one case, human disturbance appeared to cause Steller sea lions to desert a breeding area at Northeast Point on St. Paul Island, Alaska (Kenyon, 1962).

    In cases where vessels actively approached marine mammals (e.g., whale watching or dolphin watching boats), scientists have documented that animals exhibit altered behavior such as increased swimming speed, erratic movement, and active avoidance behavior (Bursk, 1983; Acevedo, 1991; Baker and MacGibbon, 1991; Trites and Bain, 2000; Williams et al., 2002; Constantine et al., 2003), reduced blow interval (Ritcher et al., 2003), disruption of normal social behaviors (Lusseau, 2003; 2006), and the shift of behavioral activities which may increase energetic costs (Constantine et al., 2003; 2004).

    In 1997, Henry and Hammil (2001) conducted a study to measure the impacts of small boats (i.e., kayaks, canoes, motorboats and sailboats) on harbor seal haulout behavior in Metis Bay, Quebec, Canada. During that study, the authors noted that the most frequent disturbances (n=73) were caused by lower speed, lingering kayaks, and canoes (33.3 percent) as opposed to motorboats (27.8 percent) conducting high speed passes. The seal's flight reactions could be linked to a surprise factor by kayaks-canoes which approach slowly, quietly and low on water making them look like predators. However, the authors note that once the animals were disturbed, there did not appear to be any significant lingering effect on the recovery of numbers to their pre-disturbance levels. In conclusion, the study showed that boat traffic at current levels has only a temporary effect on the haulout behavior of harbor seals in the Metis Bay area.

    In 2004, Johnson and Acevedo-Gutierrez (2007) evaluated the efficacy of buffer zones for watercraft around harbor seal haulout sites on Yellow Island, Washington. The authors estimated the minimum distance between the vessels and the haul-out sites; categorized the vessel types; and evaluated seal responses to the disturbances. During the course of the seven-weekend study, the authors recorded 14 human-related disturbances which were associated with stopped powerboats and kayaks. During these events, hauled out seals became noticeably active and moved into the water. The flushing occurred when stopped kayaks and powerboats were at distances as far as 453 and 1,217 ft (138 and 371 m) respectively. The authors note that the seals were unaffected by passing powerboats, even those approaching as close as 128 ft (39 m), possibly indicating that the animals had become tolerant of the brief presence of the vessels and ignored them. The authors reported that on average, the seals quickly recovered from the disturbances and returned to the haulout site in less than or equal to 60 minutes. Seal numbers did not return to pre-disturbance levels within 180 minutes of the disturbance less than one quarter of the time observed. The study concluded that the return of seal numbers to pre-disturbance levels and the relatively regular seasonal cycle in abundance throughout the area counter the idea that disturbances from powerboats may result in site abandonment (Johnson and Acevedo-Gutierrez, 2007). As a general statement from the available information, pinnipeds exposed to intense (approximately 110 to 120 decibels re: 20 μPa) non-pulsed sounds often leave haulout areas and seek refuge temporarily (minutes to a few hours) in the water (Southall et al., 2007).

    Stampede

    There are other ways in which disturbance, as described previously, could result in more than Level B harassment of marine mammals. They are most likely to be consequences of stampeding, a potentially dangerous occurrence in which large numbers of animals succumb to mass panic and rush away from a stimulus. These situations are: (1) Falling when entering the water at high-relief locations; (2) extended separation of mothers and pups; and (3) crushing of pups by large males during a stampede. However, NMFS does not expect any of these scenarios to occur at Northwest Seal Rock. There is the risk of injury if animals stampede towards shorelines with precipitous relief (e.g., cliffs). However, there are no cliffs on Northwest Seal Rock. The haulout sites consist of ridges with unimpeded and non-obstructive access to the water. If disturbed, the small number of hauled-out adult animals may move toward the water without risk of encountering barriers or hazards that would otherwise prevent them from leaving the area. Moreover, the proposed area would not be crowded with large numbers of Steller sea lions, further eliminating the possibility of potentially injurious mass movements of animals attempting to vacate the haulout. Thus, in this case, NMFS considers the risk of injury, serious injury, or death to hauled-out animals as very low.

    Anticipated Effects on Marine Mammal Habitat

    The only habitat modification associated with the proposed activity is the restoration of a light station which would occur on the upper levels of Northwest Seal Rock which are not used by marine mammals. Thus, NMFS does not expect that the proposed activity would have any effects on marine mammal habitat and NMFS expects that there will be no long- or short-term physical impacts to pinniped habitat on Northwest Seal Rock.

    The Society would remove all waste, discarded materials and equipment from the island after each visit. The proposed activities will not result in any permanent impact on habitats used by marine mammals, including prey species and foraging habitat. The main impact associated with the proposed activity will be temporarily elevated noise levels and the associated direct effects on marine mammals (i.e., the potential for temporary abandonment of the site), previously discussed in this notice.

    NMFS does not anticipate that the proposed restoration activities would result in any permanent effects on the habitats used by the marine mammals in the proposed area, including the food sources they use (i.e., fish and invertebrates). Based on the preceding discussion, NMFS does not anticipate that the proposed activity would have any habitat-related effects that could cause significant or long-term consequences for individual marine mammals or their populations.

    Proposed Mitigation

    In order to issue an incidental take authorization under section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA, NMFS must set forth the permissible methods of taking pursuant to such activity, and other means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact on such species or stock and its habitat, paying particular attention to rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar significance, and on the availability of such species or stock for taking for certain subsistence uses (where relevant).

    Time and Frequency: The Society would conduct restoration activities at maximum of once per month between November 27, 2015, through November 26, 2016. Each restoration session would last no more than three days. Maintenance of the light beacon would occur only in conjunction with restoration activities. The Society would not conduct restoration activities between May 1, 2016 through October 31, 2016.

    Helicopter Approach and Timing Techniques: The Society would ensure that its helicopter approach patterns to the Station and timing techniques do not disturb marine mammals as most practicable. To the extent possible, the helicopter should approach Northwest Seal Rock when the tide is too high for the marine mammals to haul-out on Northwest Seal Rock.

    Since the most severe impacts (stampede) precede rapid and direct helicopter approaches, the Society's initial approach to the Station must be offshore from the island at a relatively high altitude (e.g., 800-1,000 ft, or 244-305 m). Before the final approach, the helicopter shall circle lower, and approach from area with the lowest pinniped density. If for any safety reasons (e.g., wind condition) the Society cannot conduct these types of helicopter approach and timing techniques, they must postpone the restoration and maintenance activities for that day.

    Avoidance of Visual and Acoustic Contact with People on Island: The Society would instruct its members and restoration crews to avoid making unnecessary noise and not expose themselves visually to pinnipeds around the base of the Station. Although CCR reported no impacts from these activities in the 2001 CCR study, it is relatively simple for the Society to avoid this potential impact. The door to the lower platform (which is used at times by pinnipeds) shall remain closed and barricaded to all tourists and other personnel.

    Mitigation Conclusions

    NMFS has carefully evaluated the Society's proposed mitigation measures in the context of ensuring that we prescribe the means of affecting the least practicable impact on the affected marine mammal species and stocks and their habitat. The evaluation of potential measures included consideration of the following factors in relation to one another:

    • The manner in which, and the degree to which, the successful implementation of the measure is expected to minimize adverse impacts to marine mammals;

    • The proven or likely efficacy of the specific measure to minimize adverse impacts as planned; and

    • The practicability of the measure for applicant implementation.

    Any mitigation measure(s) prescribed by NMFS should be able to accomplish, have a reasonable likelihood of accomplishing (based on current science), or contribute to the accomplishment of one or more of the general goals listed here:

    1. Avoidance or minimization of injury or death of marine mammals wherever possible (goals 2, 3, and 4 may contribute to this goal).

    2. A reduction in the numbers of marine mammals (total number or number at biologically important time or location) exposed to vessel or visual presence that NMFS expects to result in the take of marine mammals (this goal may contribute to 1, above, or to reducing harassment takes only).

    3. A reduction in the number of times (total number or number at biologically important time or location) individuals exposed to vessel or visual presence that NMFS expects to result in the take of marine mammals (this goal may contribute to 1, above, or to reducing harassment takes only).

    4. A reduction in the intensity of exposures (either total number or number at biologically important time or location) to vessel or visual presence that NMFS expects to result in the take of marine mammals (this goal may contribute to a, above, or to reducing the severity of harassment takes only).

    5. Avoidance or minimization of adverse effects to marine mammal habitat, paying special attention to the food base, activities that block or limit passage to or from biologically important areas, permanent destruction of habitat, or temporary destruction/disturbance of habitat during a biologically important time.

    6. For monitoring directly related to mitigation—an increase in the probability of detecting marine mammals, thus allowing for more effective implementation of the mitigation.

    Based on the evaluation of the Society's proposed measures, NMFS has preliminarily determined that the proposed mitigation measures provide the means of effecting the least practicable impact on marine mammal species or stocks and their habitat, paying particular attention to rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar significance.

    Proposed Monitoring

    In order to issue an incidental take authorization for an activity, section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA states that NMFS must set forth “requirements pertaining to the monitoring and reporting of such taking.” The MMPA implementing regulations at 50 CFR 216.104(a)(13) indicate that requests for Authorizations must include the suggested means of accomplishing the necessary monitoring and reporting that will result in increased knowledge of the species and of the level of taking or impacts on populations of marine mammals that NMFS expects to be present in the proposed action area.

    The Society submitted a marine mammal monitoring plan in section 13 of their Authorization application. NMFS or the Society may modify or supplement the plan based on comments or new information received from the public during the public comment period.

    Monitoring measures prescribed by NMFS should accomplish one or more of the following general goals:

    1. An increase in our understanding of the likely occurrence of marine mammal species in the vicinity of the action, (i.e., presence, abundance, distribution, and/or density of species).

    2. An increase in our understanding of the nature, scope, or context of the likely exposure of marine mammal species to any of the potential stressor(s) associated with the action (e.g., sound or visual stimuli), through better understanding of one or more of the following: The action itself and its environment (e.g., sound source characterization, propagation, and ambient noise levels); the affected species (e.g., life history or dive pattern); the likely co-occurrence of marine mammal species with the action (in whole or part) associated with specific adverse effects; and/or the likely biological or behavioral context of exposure to the stressor for the marine mammal (e.g., age class of exposed animals or known pupping, calving or feeding areas).

    3. An increase in our understanding of how individual marine mammals respond (behaviorally or physiologically) to the specific stressors associated with the action (in specific contexts, where possible, e.g., at what distance or received level).

    4. An increase in our understanding of how anticipated individual responses, to individual stressors or anticipated combinations of stressors, may impact either: The long-term fitness and survival of an individual; or the population, species, or stock (e.g. through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival).

    5. An increase in our understanding of how the activity affects marine mammal habitat, such as through effects on prey sources or acoustic habitat (e.g., through characterization of longer-term contributions of multiple sound sources to rising ambient noise levels and assessment of the potential chronic effects on marine mammals).

    6. An increase in understanding of the impacts of the activity on marine mammals in combination with the impacts of other anthropogenic activities or natural factors occurring in the region.

    7. An increase in our understanding of the effectiveness of mitigation and monitoring measures.

    8. An increase in the probability of detecting marine mammals (through improved technology or methodology), both specifically within the safety zone (thus allowing for more effective implementation of the mitigation) and in general, to better achieve the above goals.

    As part of its Authorization application, the Society proposes to sponsor marine mammal monitoring, in order to implement the mitigation measures that require real-time monitoring, and to satisfy the monitoring requirements of the proposed Authorization. These include:

    At least once during the period between November 27, 2015 through November 26, 2016, a qualified biologist shall be present during all three workdays at the Station. The qualified biologist hired will be subject to approval by us and they shall document use of the island by the pinnipeds, frequency, (i.e., dates, time, tidal height, species, numbers present, and any disturbances), and note any responses to potential disturbances.

    Aerial photographic surveys may provide the most accurate means of documenting species composition, age and sex class of pinnipeds using the project site during human activity periods. The Society should complete aerial photo coverage of the island from the same helicopter used to transport the Society's personnel to the island during restoration trips. The Society would take photographs of all marine mammals hauled out on the island at an altitude greater than 300 m (984 ft) by a skilled photographer, prior to the first landing on each visit included in the monitoring program. Photographic documentation of marine mammals present at the end of each three-day work session shall also be made for a before and after comparison. These photographs will be forwarded to a biologist capable of discerning marine mammal species. Data shall be provided to us in the form of a report with a data table, any other significant observations related to marine mammals, and a report of restoration activities (see Reporting). The original photographs can be made available to us or other marine mammal experts for inspection and further analysis.

    Proposed monitoring requirements in relation to the Society's proposed activities would include species counts, numbers of observed disturbances, and descriptions of the disturbance behaviors during the restoration activities, including location, date, and time of the event. In addition, the Society would record observations regarding the number and species of any marine mammals either observed in the water or hauled out.

    The Society can add to the knowledge of pinnipeds in the proposed action area by noting observations of: (1) Unusual behaviors, numbers, or distributions of pinnipeds, such that any potential follow-up research can be conducted by the appropriate personnel; (2) tag-bearing carcasses of pinnipeds, allowing transmittal of the information to appropriate agencies and personnel; and (3) rare or unusual species of marine mammals for agency follow-up.

    If at any time injury, serious injury, or mortality of the species for which take is authorized should occur, or if take of any kind of any other marine mammal occurs, and such action may be a result of the Society's activities, the Society would suspend survey activities and contact NMFS immediately to determine how best to proceed to ensure that another injury or death does not occur and to ensure that the applicant remains in compliance with the MMPA.

    Summary of Previous Monitoring

    The Society complied with the mitigation and monitoring required under the previous authorizations (2010-2013). They did not conduct any operations for the 2013 season. However, in compliance with the 2012 Authorization, the Society submitted a final report on the activities at the Station, covering the period of February 15, 2012 through April 30, 2012. During the effective dates of the 2012 IHA, the Society conducted one work session in March, 2012. The Society's aircraft operations and restoration activities on NWSR did not exceed the activity levels analyzed under the 2012 authorization. During the March 2012 work session, the Society observed two harbor seals hauled out on Northwest Seal Rock. Both animals (a juvenile and an adult) departed the rock, entered the water, and did not return to the Station during the duration of the activities.

    Proposed Reporting

    The Society would submit a draft report to NMFS' Office of Protected Resources no later than 90 days after the expiration of the proposed Authorization, if issued. The report will include a summary of the information gathered pursuant to the monitoring requirements set forth in the proposed Authorization. The Society will submit a final report to the NMFS Director, Office of Protected Resources within 30 days after receiving comments from NMFS on the draft report. If the Society receives no comments from NMFS on the report, NMFS will consider the draft report to be the final report.

    The report will describe the operations conducted and sightings of marine mammals near the proposed project. The report will provide full documentation of methods, results, and interpretation pertaining to all monitoring. The report will provide:

    1. A summary and table of the dates, times, and weather during all research activities.

    2. Species, number, location, and behavior of any marine mammals observed throughout all monitoring activities.

    3. An estimate of the number (by species) of marine mammals exposed to human presence associated with the Society's activities.

    4. A description of the implementation and effectiveness of the monitoring and mitigation measures of the Authorization and full documentation of methods, results, and interpretation pertaining to all monitoring.

    In the unanticipated event that the specified activity clearly causes the take of a marine mammal in a manner prohibited by the authorization, such as an injury (Level A harassment), serious injury, or mortality (e.g., stampede), Society personnel shall immediately cease the specified activities and immediately report the incident to the Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, at 301-427-8401 and the Assistant Western Regional Stranding Coordinator at (562) 980-3264. The report must include the following information:

    • Time, date, and location (latitude/longitude) of the incident;

    • Description and location of the incident (including water depth, if applicable);

    • Environmental conditions (e.g., wind speed and direction, Beaufort sea state, cloud cover, and visibility);

    • Description of all marine mammal observations in the 24 hours preceding the incident;

    • Species identification or description of the animal(s) involved;

    • Fate of the animal(s); and

    • Photographs or video footage of the animal(s) (if equipment is available).

    The Society shall not resume its activities until NMFS is able to review the circumstances of the prohibited take. We will work with the Society to determine what is necessary to minimize the likelihood of further prohibited take and ensure MMPA compliance. The Society may not resume their activities until notified by us via letter, email, or telephone.

    In the event that the Society discovers an injured or dead marine mammal, and the marine mammal observer determines that the cause of the injury or death is unknown and the death is relatively recent (i.e., in less than a moderate state of decomposition as we describe in the next paragraph), the Society will immediately report the incident to the Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, at 301-427-8401 and the Assistant Western Regional Stranding Coordinator at (562) 980-3264. The report must include the same information identified in the paragraph above this section. Activities may continue while NMFS reviews the circumstances of the incident. NMFS would work with the Society to determine whether modifications in the activities are appropriate.

    In the event that the Society discovers an injured or dead marine mammal, and the lead visual observer determines that the injury or death is not associated with or related to the authorized activities (e.g., previously wounded animal, carcass with moderate to advanced decomposition, or scavenger damage), the Society will report the incident to the Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, at 301-427-8401 and the Assistant Western Regional Stranding Coordinator at (562) 980-3264 within 24 hours of the discovery. Society personnel will provide photographs or video footage (if available) or other documentation of the stranded animal sighting to us. The Society can continue their survey activities while NMFS reviews the circumstances of the incident.

    Estimated Take by Incidental Harassment

    Except with respect to certain activities not pertinent here, the MMPA defines “harassment” as: Any act of pursuit, torment, or annoyance which (i) has the potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild [Level A harassment]; or (ii) has the potential to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering [Level B harassment].

    All anticipated takes would be by Level B harassment, involving temporary changes in behavior. NMFS expects that the proposed mitigation and monitoring measures would minimize the possibility of injurious or lethal takes. NMFS considers the potential for take by injury, serious injury, or mortality as remote. NMFS expects that the presence of Society personnel could disturb of animals hauled out on Northwest Seal Rock and that the animals may alter their behavior or attempt to move away from the Society's personnel.

    As discussed earlier, NMFS considers an animal to have been harassed if it moved greater than 1 m (3.3 ft) in response to the Society's presence or if the animal was already moving and changed direction and/or speed, or if the animal flushed into the water. NMFS does not consider animals that became alert without such movements as harassed.

    Based on the Society's previous monitoring reports, NMFS estimates that approximately 960 California sea lions (calculated by multiplying the maximum number California sea lions present on NWSR (160) by 6 months of the restoration and maintenance activities), 172 Steller sea lions (NMFS' estimate of the maximum number of Steller sea lions that could be present on NWSR with a 95-percent confidence interval), 36 Pacific harbor seals (calculated by multiplying the maximum number of harbor seals present on NWSR (6) by 6 months), and 6 northern fur seals (calculated by multiplying the maximum number of northern fur seals present on NWSR (1) by 6 months) could be potentially affected by Level B behavioral harassment over the course of the Authorization. NMFS bases these estimates of the numbers of marine mammals that might be affected on consideration of the number of marine mammals that could be disturbed appreciably by approximately 51 hours of aircraft operations during the course of the activity. These incidental harassment take numbers represent approximately 0.32 percent of the U.S. stock of California sea lion, 0.42 percent of the eastern U.S. stock of Steller sea lion, 0.11 percent of the California stock of Pacific harbor seals, and 0.05 percent of the San Miguel Island stock of northern fur seal. However, actual take may be slightly less if animals decide to haul out at a different location for the day or if animals are foraging at the time of the survey activities.

    Because of the required mitigation measures and the likelihood that some pinnipeds will avoid the area, NMFS does not expect any injury or mortality to pinnipeds to occur and NMFS has not authorized take by Level A harassment for this proposed activity.

    Encouraging and Coordinating Research

    The Society would share observations and counts of marine mammals and all observed disturbances to the appropriate state and federal agencies at the conclusion of the survey.

    Analysis and Preliminary Determinations Negligible Impact

    Negligible impact is “an impact resulting from the specified activity that cannot be reasonably expected to, and is not reasonably likely to, adversely affect the species or stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival” (50 CFR 216.103). The lack of likely adverse effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival (i.e., population level effects) forms the basis of a negligible impact finding. An estimate of the number of Level B harassment takes alone is not enough information on which to base an impact determination. In addition to considering estimates of the number of marine mammals that might be “taken” through behavioral harassment, NMFS considers other factors, such as the likely nature of any responses (e.g., intensity, duration), the context of any responses (e.g., critical reproductive time or location, migration), as well as the number and nature of estimated Level A harassment takes, the number of estimated mortalities, and effects on habitat.

    Although the Society's survey activities may disturb a small number of marine mammals hauled out on Northwest Seal Rock, NMFS expects those impacts to occur to a small, localized group of animals for a limited duration (e.g., six hours in one day). Marine mammals would likely become alert or, at most, flush into the water in reaction to the presence of the Society's personnel during the proposed activities. Disturbance will be limited to a short duration, allowing marine mammals to reoccupy Northwest Seal Rock within a short amount of time. Thus, the proposed action is unlikely to result in long-term impacts such as permanent abandonment of the area because of the availability of alternate areas for pinnipeds to avoid the resultant acoustic and visual disturbances from the restoration activities and helicopter operations. Results from previous monitoring reports also show that the pinnipeds returned Northwest Seal Rock and did not permanently abandon haul-out sites after the Society conducted their activities.

    The Society's activities would occur during the least sensitive time (e.g., November through April, outside of the pupping season) for hauled out pinnipeds on Northwest Seal Rock. Thus, pups or breeding adults would not be present during the proposed one-day survey.

    Moreover, the Society's mitigation measures regarding helicopter approaches and restoration site ingress and egress would minimize the potential for stampedes and large-scale movements. Thus, the potential for large-scale movements and stampede leading to injury, serious injury, or mortality is low.

    Any noise attributed to the Society's proposed helicopter operations on NWSR would be short-term (approximately 5 min per trip). We would expect the ambient noise levels to return to a baseline state when helicopter operations have ceased for the day. As the helicopter landings take place 15 m (48 ft) above the surface of the rocks on NWSR, NMFS presumes that the received sound levels would increase above 81-81.9 dB re: 20 μPa (A-weighted) at the landing pad. However, we do not expect that the increased received levels of sound from the helicopter would cause TTS or PTS because the pinnipeds would flush before the helicopter approached NWSR; thus increasing the distance between the pinnipeds and the received sound levels on NWSR during the proposed action.

    If pinnipeds are present on Northwest Seal Rock, Level B behavioral harassment of pinnipeds may occur during helicopter landing and takeoff from NWSR due to the pinnipeds temporarily moving from the rocks and lower structure of the Station into the sea due to the noise and appearance of helicopter during approaches and departures. It is expected that all or a portion of the marine mammals hauled out on the island will depart the rock and slowly move into the water upon initial helicopter approaches. The movement to the water would be gradual due to the required controlled helicopter approaches (see “Proposed Mitigation” for more details), the small size of the aircraft, the use of noise-attenuating blade tip caps on the rotors, and behavioral habituation on the part of the animals as helicopter trips continue throughout the day. During the sessions of helicopter activity, if present on NWSR, some animals may be temporarily displaced from the island and either raft in the water or relocate to other haul-outs.

    Sea lions have shown habituation to helicopter flights within a day at the project site and most animals are expected to return soon after helicopter activities cease for that day. By clustering helicopter arrival/departures within a short time period, we expect animals present to show less response to subsequent landings. NMFS anticipates no impact on the population size or breeding stock of Steller sea lions, California sea lions, Pacific harbor seals, or northern fur seals.

    In summary, NMFS anticipates that impacts to hauled-out pinnipeds during the Society's proposed helicopter operations and restoration/maintenance activities would be behavioral harassment of limited duration (i.e., less than three days a month) and limited intensity (i.e., temporary flushing at most). NMFS does not expect stampeding, and therefore injury or mortality to occur (see “Proposed Mitigation” for more details). Based on the analysis contained herein of the likely effects of the specified activity on marine mammals and their habitat, and taking into consideration the implementation of the proposed monitoring and mitigation measures, NMFS preliminarily finds that the total marine mammal take from the Society's proposed survey activities will have a negligible impact on the affected marine mammal species or stocks.

    Small Numbers

    As mentioned previously, NMFS estimates that the Society's proposed activities could potentially affect, by Level B harassment only, four species of marine mammal under our jurisdiction. For each species, these estimates are small numbers (each, less than or equal to one percent) relative to the population size. These incidental harassment take numbers represent approximately 0.32 percent of the U.S. stock of California sea lion, 0.42 percent of the eastern U.S. stock of Steller sea lion, 0.11 percent of the California stock of Pacific harbor seals, and 0.05 percent of the San Miguel Island stock of northern fur seal.

    Based on the analysis contained in this notice of the likely effects of the specified activity on marine mammals and their habitat, and taking into consideration the implementation of the mitigation and monitoring measures, NMFS preliminarily finds that the Society's proposed activities would take small numbers of marine mammals relative to the populations of the affected species or stocks.

    Impact on Availability of Affected Species or Stock for Taking for Subsistence Uses

    There are no relevant subsistence uses of marine mammals implicated by this action. Therefore, NMFS has determined that the total taking of affected species or stocks would not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of such species or stocks for taking for subsistence purposes.

    Endangered Species Act (ESA)

    NMFS does not expect that the Society's proposed helicopter operations and restoration/maintenance activities would affect any species listed under the ESA. Therefore, NMFS has determined that a section 7 consultation under the ESA is not required.

    National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

    To meet our NEPA requirements for the issuance of an Authorization to the Society, NMFS has prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) in 2010 that was specific to conducting aircraft operations and restoration and maintenance work on the St. George Reef Light Station. The EA, titled “Issuance of an Incidental Harassment Authorization to Take Marine Mammals by Harassment Incidental to Conducting Aircraft Operations, Lighthouse Restoration and Maintenance Activities on St. George Reef Lighthouse Station in Del Norte County, California,” evaluated the impacts on the human environment of our authorization of incidental Level B harassment resulting from the specified activity in the specified geographic region. At that time, NMFS concluded that issuance of an annual Authorization would not significantly affect the quality of the human environment and issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the 2010 EA regarding the Society's activities. In conjunction with the Society's 2015 application, NMFS has again reviewed the 2010 EA and determined that there are no new direct, indirect or cumulative impacts to the human and natural environment associated with the IHA requiring evaluation in a supplemental EA and NMFS, therefore, intends to preliminarily reaffirm the 2010 FONSI. An electronic copy of the EA and the FONSI for this activity is available upon request (see ADDRESSES).

    Proposed Authorization

    As a result of these preliminary determinations, NMFS proposes issuing an Authorization to the Society for conducting helicopter operations and restoration activities on the St. George Light Station in the northeast Pacific Ocean, November 27, 2015, through November 26 2016, provided they incorporate the previously mentioned mitigation, monitoring, and reporting requirements.

    Draft Proposed Authorization

    This section contains the draft text for the proposed Authorization. NMFS proposes to include this language in the Authorization if issued.

    Proposed Authorization Language

    The St. George Reef Lighthouse Preservation Society (Society), P.O. Box 577, Crescent City, CA 95531, is hereby authorized under section 101(a)(5)(D) of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (16 U.S.C. 1371(a)(5)(D)) and 50 CFR 216.107, to harass marine mammals incidental to conducting helicopter operations and restoration and maintenance work on the St. George Reef Light Station (Station) on Northwest Seal Rock in the northeast Pacific Ocean.

    1. This Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) is valid from November 27, 2015, through November 26, 2016. The Society may not conduct operations from May 1, 2016 through October 31, 2016.

    2. This IHA is valid only for activities associated with helicopter operations and restoration and maintenance activities (See items 2(a)-(d)) on the Station on Northwest Seal Rock (41°50′24″ N., 124°22′06″ W.) in the northeast Pacific Ocean.

    a. The use of a small, compact, 4-person helicopter with two-bladed main and tail rotors fitted with noise-attenuating blade tip caps to transit to and from Northwest Seal Rock;

    b. Restoration activities (e.g., painting, plastering, welding, and glazing) conducted on the Station;

    c. Maintenance activities (e.g., bulb replacement and automation of the light system) conducted on the Station; and

    d. Emergency repair events (e.g., the failure of the PATON beacon light) outside of the three-day work session.

    3. General Conditions

    a. A copy of this IHA must be in the possession of the Society, its designees, and work crew personnel operating under the authority of this IHA.

    b. The species authorized for taking are the California sea lion (Zalophus californianus), Pacific Harbor seal (Phoca vitulina), the eastern Distinct Population Segment of Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus), and the eastern Pacific stock of northern fur seal (Callorhinus ursinus).

    c. The taking, by Level B harassment only, is limited to the species listed in condition 3(b). Authorized take: California sea lion (960); Steller sea lion (172); Pacific harbor seal (36); and northern fur seal (6).

    d. The taking by Level A harassment, injury or death of any of the species listed in item 3(b) of the Authorization or the taking by harassment, injury or death of any other species of marine mammal is prohibited and may result in the modification, suspension, or revocation of this IHA.

    e. In the case of an emergency repair event (i.e., failure of the PATON beacon light) between May 1, 2016 through October 31, 2016, the Society will consult with the ARA, Western Region, NMFS, to best determine the timing of an emergency repair trip to the Station.

    a. The Western Region NMFS marine mammal biologist will make a decision regarding when the Society can schedule helicopter trips to the Northwest Seal Rock during the emergency repair time window and will ensure that such operations will have the least practicable adverse impact to marine mammals.

    b. The ARA, Western Region, NMFS will also ensure that the Society's request for incidental take during an emergency repair event would not exceed the number of incidental take authorized in this IHA.

    4. Cooperation

    The holder of this Authorization is required to cooperate with the NMFS and any other Federal, state, or local agency authorized to monitor the impacts of the activity on marine mammals.

    5. Mitigation Measures

    In order to ensure the least practicable impact on the species listed in condition 3(b), the holder of this Authorization is required to:

    a. Conduct restoration and maintenance activities at the Station at a maximum of one session per month between November 27, 2015, through November 26, 2016. Each restoration session will be no more than three days in duration. Maintenance of the light beacon will occur only in conjunction with the monthly restoration activities.

    b. Ensure that helicopter approach patterns to the Northwest Seal Rock will be such that the timing techniques are least disturbing to marine mammals. To the extent possible, the helicopter should approach Northwest Seal Rock when the tide is too high for the marine mammals to haul-out on Northwest Seal Rock.

    c. Avoid rapid and direct approaches by the helicopter to the station by approaching Northwest Seal Rock at a relatively high altitude (e.g., 800-1,000 ft; 244-305 m). Before the final approach, the helicopter shall circle lower, and approach from area where the density of pinnipeds is the lowest. If for any safety reasons (e.g., wind conditions or visibility) such helicopter approach and timing techniques cannot be achieved, the Society must abort the restoration and maintenance session for that day.

    d. Provide instructions to the Society's members, the restoration crew, and if applicable, to tourists, on appropriate conduct when in the vicinity of hauled-out marine mammals. The Society's members, the restoration crew, and if applicable, tourists, will avoid making unnecessary noise while on Northwest Seal Rock and must not view pinnipeds around the base of the Station.

    e. Ensure that the door to the Station's lower platform shall remain closed and barricaded at all times.

    6. Monitoring

    The holder of this Authorization is required to:

    a. Have a NMFS-approved biologist present during all three workdays at the Station at least once during the period of November 27, 2015, through November 26, 2016. This requirement may be modified depending on the results of the monthly monitoring reports. The biologist shall document use of the island by the marine mammals (i.e., dates, time, tidal height, species, numbers present, frequency of use, weather conditions, and any disturbances), and note any responses to potential disturbances.

    b. Record the date, time, and location (or closest point of ingress) of each visit to the Northwest Seal Rock.

    c. Collect the following information for each visit:

    i. Information on the numbers (by species) of marine mammals observed during the activities;

    ii. The estimated number of marine mammals (by species) that may have been harassed during the activities;

    iii. Any behavioral responses or modifications of behaviors that may be attributed to the specific activities (e.g., flushing into water, becoming alert and moving, rafting); and

    iv. Information on the weather, including the tidal state and horizontal visibility.

    d. Employ a skilled, aerial photographer to document marine mammals hauled out on Northwest Seal Rock for comparing marine mammal presence on Northwest Seal Rock pre- and post-restoration.

    i. The photographer will complete a photographic survey of Northwest Seal Rock using the same helicopter that will transport Society personnel to the island during restoration trips.

    ii. For a pre-restoration survey, photographs of all marine mammals hauled-out on the island shall be taken at an altitude greater than 300 m (984 ft) during the first arrival flight to Northwest Seal Rock.

    iii. For the post-restoration survey, photographs of all marine mammals hauled-out on the island shall be taken at an altitude greater than 300 m (984 ft) during the last departure flight from Northwest Seal Rock;

    iv. The Society and/or its designees will forward the photographs to a biologist capable of discerning marine mammal species. The Society shall provide the data to us in the form of a report with a data table, any other significant observations related to marine mammals, and a report of restoration activities (see Reporting). The Society will make available the original photographs to NMFS or to other marine mammal experts for inspection and further analysis.

    7. Reporting Requirements

    Final Report: The holder of this authorization is required to submit a draft monitoring report to the Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 1315 East West Highway, 13th Floor, Silver Spring, MD 20910; phone (301) 427-8401 no later than 90 days after the project is completed. The report must contain the following information:

    a. A summary of the dates, times, and weather during all helicopter operations, restoration, and maintenance activities.

    b. Species, number, location, and behavior of any marine mammals, observed throughout all monitoring activities.

    c. An estimate of the number (by species) of marine mammals that are known to have been exposed to visual and acoustic stimuli associated with the helicopter operations, restoration, and maintenance activities.

    d. A description of the implementation and effectiveness of the monitoring and mitigation measures of the IHA and full documentation of methods, results, and interpretation pertaining to all monitoring.

    8. Reporting Prohibited Take

    In the unanticipated event that the specified activity clearly causes the take of a marine mammal in a manner prohibited by the authorization (if issued), such as an injury (Level A harassment), serious injury, or mortality (e.g., vessel-strike, stampede, etc.), the Society shall immediately cease the specified activities and immediately report the incident to the Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, at 301-427-8401 and the Assistant Western Regional Stranding Coordinator at (562) 980-3264.

    The report must include the following information:

    • Time, date, and location (latitude/longitude) of the incident;

    • Name and type of vessel involved;

    • Vessel's speed during and leading up to the incident;

    • Description of the incident;

    • Status of all sound source use in the 24 hours preceding the incident;

    • Water depth;

    • Environmental conditions (e.g., wind speed and direction, Beaufort sea state, cloud cover, and visibility);

    • Description of all marine mammal observations in the 24 hours preceding the incident;

    • Species identification or description of the animal(s) involved;

    • Fate of the animal(s); and

    • Photographs or video footage of the animal(s) (if equipment is available).

    The Society shall not resume its activities until we are able to review the circumstances of the prohibited take. We shall work with the Society to determine what is necessary to minimize the likelihood of further prohibited take and ensure Marine Mammal Protection Act compliance. The Society may not resume their activities until notified by us via letter, email, or telephone.

    9. Reporting an Injured or Dead Marine Mammal With an Unknown Cause of Death

    In the event that the Society discovers an injured or dead marine mammal, and the lead visual observer determines that the cause of the injury or death is unknown and the death is relatively recent (i.e., in less than a moderate state of decomposition as we describe in the next paragraph), the Society will immediately report the incident to the Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, at 301-427-8401 and the Assistant Western Regional Stranding Coordinator at (562) 980-3264. The report must include the same information identified in the paragraph above this section. Activities may continue while we review the circumstances of the incident. We will work with the Society to determine whether modifications in the activities are appropriate.

    The report must include the same information identified in the paragraph above. Activities may continue while we review the circumstances of the incident. We will work with the Society to determine whether modifications in the activities are appropriate.

    10. Reporting an Injured or Dead Marine Mammal Not Related to the Society's Activities

    In the event that the Society discovers an injured or dead marine mammal, and the lead visual observer determines that the injury or death is not associated with or related to the authorized activities (e.g., previously wounded animal, carcass with moderate to advanced decomposition, or scavenger damage), the Society will report the incident to the Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, at 301-427-8401 and the Assistant Western Regional Stranding Coordinator at (562) 980-3264, within 24 hours of the discovery.

    The Society's staff will provide photographs or video footage (if available) or other documentation of the stranded animal sighting to us.

    11. This Authorization may be modified, suspended or withdrawn if the holder fails to abide by the conditions prescribed herein, or if the authorized taking is having a more than a negligible impact on the species or stock of affected marine mammals.

    Request for Public Comments

    NMFS requests comments on our analysis, the draft authorization, and any other aspect of this notice of proposed Authorization for the proposed activities. Please include any supporting data or literature citations with your comments to help inform our final decision on the Society's request for an Authorization.

    Dated: October 20, 2015. Perry F. Gayaldo, Deputy Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27117 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC); Public Meeting AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice; public meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council's (Council) Collaborative Research Committee will hold a public meeting.

    DATES:

    The meeting will be held on Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will be held via webinar. Webinar connection details will be available at: http://www.mafmc.org.

    Council address: Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 800 N. State Street, Suite 201, Dover, DE 19901; telephone: (302) 674-2331 or on their Web site at www.mafmc.org.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Christopher M. Moore, Ph.D., Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, telephone: (302) 526-5255.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Council has undertaken a short-term collaborative research initiative and intends to provide funding for several projects that address specific, Council-defined collaborative research topics pertaining to mid-Atlantic fisheries. The purpose of this Collaborative Research Committee meeting is to develop a list of 4-6 research priorities which will be used to guide the solicitation of proposals and selection of projects to receive funding. A detailed agenda and background documents will be made available on the Council's Web site (www.mafmc.org) prior to the meeting.

    Special Accommodations

    The meeting is physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aid should be directed to M. Jan Saunders, (302) 526-5251, at least 5 days prior to the meeting date.

    Dated: October 21, 2015. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27132 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XE252 Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Rehabilitation of the Jetty System at the Mouth of the Columbia River, Washington and Oregon AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice; receipt of application for letter of authorization; request for comments and information.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS has received a request from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District (Corps) for authorization to take marine mammals incidental to the rehabilitation of the jetty system at the mouth of the Columbia River (MCR) including the North Jetty, South Jetty, and Jetty A. The Corps is requesting a Letter of Authorization (LOA) for pile installation and removal associated with construction of temporary offloading facilities at the North Jetty, South Jetty, and Jetty A over the course of 5 years; approximately September 2017 through August 2022. Pursuant to regulations implementing the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is announcing receipt of the Corps' request for the development and implementation of regulations governing the incidental taking of marine mammals and inviting information, suggestions, and comments on the Corps' application and request.

    DATES:

    Comments and information must be received no later than November 25, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments on the application should be addressed to Jolie Harrison, Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. Physical comments should be sent to 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910 and electronic comments should be sent to [email protected]

    Instructions: NMFS is not responsible for comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period. Comments received electronically, including all attachments, must not exceed a 25-megabyte file size. Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word or Excel or Adobe PDF file formats only. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted to the Internet at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental/construction.htm without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business information or otherwise sensitive or protected information.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Robert Pauline, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, (301) 427-8401.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Availability

    A copy of the Corps' application may be obtained by writing to the address specified above (see ADDRESSES), telephoning the contact listed above (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT), or visiting the internet at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental/construction.htm

    Background

    Sections 101(a)(5)(A) and (D) of the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) direct the Secretary of Commerce to allow, upon request by U.S. citizens who engage in a specified activity (other than commercial fishing) within a specified area, the incidental, but not intentional, taking of small numbers of marine mammals, providing that certain findings are made and the necessary prescriptions are established.

    The incidental taking of small numbers of marine mammals may be allowed only if NMFS (through authority delegated by the Secretary) finds that the total taking by the specified activity during the specified time period will (i) have a negligible impact on the species or stock(s) and (ii) not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of the species or stock(s) for subsistence uses (where relevant). Further, the permissible methods of taking and requirements pertaining to the mitigation, monitoring and reporting of such taking must be set forth, either in specific regulations or in an authorization.

    The allowance of such incidental taking under section 101(a)(5)(A), by harassment (which is defined to include behavioral harassment and injury), serious injury, death, or a combination thereof, requires that regulations be promulgated for the specific activity. Subsequently, a Letter of Authorization may be issued pursuant to the prescriptions established in such regulations, providing that the level of taking will be consistent with the findings made for the total taking allowable under the specific regulations. Under section 101(a)(5)(D), NMFS may authorize such incidental taking by harassment only, for periods of not more than one year, pursuant to requirements and conditions contained within an IHA. The proposed incidental take authorization and establishment of prescriptions through either specific regulations or an IHA requires notice and opportunity for public comment.

    NMFS has defined “negligible impact” in 50 CFR 216.103 as “. . . an impact resulting from the specified activity that cannot be reasonably expected to, and is not reasonably likely to, adversely affect the species or stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival.” Except with respect to certain activities not pertinent here, section 3(18) of the MMPA defines “harassment” as: “. . . any act of pursuit, torment, or annoyance which (i) has the potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild [Level A harassment]; or (ii) has the potential to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering [Level B harassment].”

    Activities such as those described in the application (e.g., pile driving) may result in the disturbance of marine mammals through disruption of behavioral patterns

    Summary of Request

    On February 13, 2015, NMFS received an application for a single multi-year project for the taking of marine mammals incidental to the rehabilitation of the North Jetty, South Jetty, and Jetty A at the MCR. NMFS issued an incidental harassment authorization (IHA) for the first year of the project on August 31, 2015 (80 FR 53777 September 8, 2015) allowing the take of specified marine mammals for work associated with the reconstruction of Jetty A only. The IHA is valid from May 1, 2016 through April 30, 2017. The Corps is seeking an LOA for this same project that would cover in-water work associated with continuation of Jetty A reconstruction as well as reconstruction of the North Jetty and South Jetty. The Corps has requested regulations to be effective for the period from approximately summer of 2017 through 2022. The Corps requested authorization to take marine mammals by Level B harassment only: Killer whale (Orcinus orca), Steller sea lion (Eumatopius jubatus), gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus), harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena), California sea lion (Zalophus californianus), and harbor seal (Phoca vitulina richardii).

    Specified Activities

    The Corps is proposing to conduct monitoring actions, repairs, and rehabilitation of the three rubble-mound jetty structures at the MCR. The three structures are referred to as North Jetty, South Jetty, and Jetty A. Initial work on Jetty A will be covered by an IHA which has already been issued. The Corps is requesting a LOA for remaining pile repairs and removal actions at Jetty A, for pile installation and removal at North Jetty, and for pile installation and removal at South Jetty. Pile installation and removal activities are required as part of the construction of four temporary barge offloading facilities. These facilities combined will require up to 96 piles with a maximum diameter of 24-inches and up to 373 sections of Z-piles to retain rock fill. They will be installed via vibratory installation. A full description of the activities proposed by the Corps is described in the application.

    Information Solicited

    Interested persons may submit information, suggestions, and comments concerning the Corps' request (see ADDRESSES). All information, suggestions, and comments related to The Corps' request and NMFS' potential development and implementation of regulations governing the incidental taking of marine mammals by the Corps will be considered by NMFS in developing, if appropriate, regulations governing the issuance of letters of authorization.

    Dated: October 20, 2015. Perry Gayaldo, Deputy Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27104 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Caribbean Fishery Management Council (CFMC); Public Hearings AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice of public hearings on amendments to the U.S. Caribbean Reef fish, spiny lobster and corals and reef associated plants and invertebrates fishery management plans: timing of accountability measure-based closures.

    SUMMARY:

    The CFMC is considering modifying the timing for the implementation of accountability measure based closures in the EEZ and specifying how often to revisit the modification. The Council is considering these management measures in order to ensure AM-based closures successfully achieve their conservation objective at the least cost to fishers and the fishing communities, consistent with National Standard 8 the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

    Following are the actions and management alternatives:

    The Amendment consists of two actions:

    Action 1: Modify the timimg for the implementation of AM-based closures in the EEZ.

    Alternative 1: No action. Continue AM-based closures resulting from an ACL overage beginning on December 31st of the closure year and extending backward in the year for the number of days neccesary to achieve the required reduction in landings.

    Alternative 2: Accountability measure-based closures resulting from an ACL overage will begin on September 30th of the closure year and would extend backward into the year for the number of days necessary to achieve the required reduction in landing. This closure start date would apply to all FMUs for each of Puerto Rico commercial and recreational sectors, St. Thomas/St. John, St. Croix, and Caribbean-wide. If for any FMU in any year, the number of days left in the year is not enough to achieve the required reduction in landings, then those additional days would be captured in the opposite direction.

    Alternative 3: Accountability measure-based closures resulting from am ACL overage will begin on January 1st of the closure year and would extend forward into the year for the number of days necessary to achieve the required reduction in landing. This closure start date would apply to all FMUs for each of Puerto Rico commercial and recreational sectors, St. Thomas/St. John, St. Croix, and Caribbean-wide.

    Alternative 4: Establish a fixed fishing closure start date for the implememtation of AMs for each FMU (i.e., species/species complex) by island/island group (Puerto Rico, St. Thomas/St. John, St. Croix, and Caribbean-wide). A different start date may be chosen for each FMU on each island/island group, but that start date would apply every year AMs need to be triggered for that FMU on that island. The start date will begin on the last day of the identified month and go backward towards the beginning of the year.

    Alternative 4 Sub-alternatives:

    Alternative 4(a): Closure to start the last day of the month with highest average landings.

    Alternative 4(b): Closure to start the last day of the month with lowest average landing.

    Alternative 4—Puerto Rico (Commercial):

    Sub-alternative 4(a): Closure to start the last day of the month that has the highest landings based on the most recent three years of available landings data.

    Sub-alternative 4(b): Closure to start the last day of the month with lowest landings based on the most recent three years of available landings data.

    Alternative 4—Puerto Rico (Recreational):

    Sub-alternative 4(a): Closure to start the last day of the month that has the highest landings based on the most recent three years of available landings data.

    Sub-alternative 4(b): Closure to start the last day of the month with lowest landings based on the most recent three years of available landings data.

    Alternative 4—St. Thomas/St. John, USVI (Commercial and Recreational combined):

    Sub-alternative 4(a): Closure to start the last day of the month that has the highest landings based on the most recent three years of available landings data.

    Sub-alternative 4(b): Closure to start the last day of the month with lowest landings based on the most recent three years of available landings data.

    Alternative-—Caribbean-Wide (Commercial and Recreational combined)

    Sub-alternative 4(a): Closure to start the last day of the month that has the highest landings based on the most recent three years of available landings data (shortest closure time).

    Sub-alternative 4(b): Closure to start the last day of the month with lowest landings based on the most recent three years of available landings data.

    Action 2: Specify how often to revisit the approach selected in Action 1.

    Alternative 1: No action. Do not specify how often the approach chosen should be revisited.

    Alternative 2 (Preferred): Review the approach selected no longer than 2 years from implementation and every 2 years thereafter.

    Alternative 3: Review the approach selected no longer than 5 years from implementation and every five years thereafter.

    Dates and Addresses: The meetings will be held on the following dates and locations:

    In the U.S. Virgin Islands: November 16, 2015, 7 p.m.-10 p.m.—The Buccaneer Hotel, Estate Shoys, Christiansted, St. Croix, USVI. November 17, 2015, 7 p.m.-10 p.m.—Windward Passage Hotel, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, USVI. In Puerto Rico: November 23, 2015, 7 p.m.-10 p.m.—Doubletree Hotel, De Diego Avenue, Santurce, PR. November 24, 2015, 7 p.m.-10 p.m.—Mayaguez Holiday Inn, 2701 Hostos Avenue, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. November 25, 2015, 2 p.m.-5 p.m.—Holiday Inn Ponce & Tropical Casino, 3315 Ponce By Pass, Ponce, Puerto Rico. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Caribbean Fishery Management Council, 270 Muñoz Rivera Avenue, Suite 401, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00918-1903, telephone (787) 766-5926.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Copy of the document, “Amendments to the U.S. Caribbean Reef fish, Spiny Lobster and Corals and Reef Associated Plants and Invertebrates Fishery Management Plans: Timing of Accountability Measure-Based Closures”, can be found at the CFMC Web page: caribbeanfmc.com.

    Written comments can be sent to the Council not later than December 10, 2015, by regular mail to the address below, or via email to [email protected]

    Special Accommodations

    These meetings are physically accessible to people with disabilities. For more information or request for sign language interpretation and other auxiliary aids, please contact Mr. Miguel A. Rolón, Executive Director, Caribbean Fishery Management Council, 270 Muñoz Rivera Avenue, Suite 401, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 00918-1903, telephone (787) 766-5926, at least 5 days prior to the meeting date.

    Dated: October 21, 2015. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27133 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    COMMISSION OF FINE ARTS Notice of Meeting

    The next meeting of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts is scheduled for 19 November 2015, at 9:00 a.m. in the Commission offices at the National Building Museum, Suite 312, Judiciary Square, 401 F Street NW., Washington, DC 20001-2728. Items of discussion may include buildings, parks and memorials.

    Draft agendas and additional information regarding the Commission are available on our Web site: www.cfa.gov. Inquiries regarding the agenda and requests to submit written or oral statements should be addressed to Thomas Luebke, Secretary, U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, at the above address; by emailing [email protected]; or by calling 202-504-2200. Individuals requiring sign language interpretation for the hearing impaired should contact the Secretary at least 10 days before the meeting date.

    Dated: 16 October 2015, in Washington, DC. Thomas Luebke, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-26859 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6330-01-M
    COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION Agency Information Collection Activities: Notice of Intent To Renew Collection: Clearing Member Risk Management AGENCY:

    Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“Commission” or “CFTC”) is announcing an opportunity for public comment on the proposed renewal of a collection of certain information by the agency. Under the Paperwork Reduction Act (“PRA”), Federal agencies are required to publish notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information and to allow 60 days for public comment. In 2012, the Commission adopted final rules, which address risk management for cleared trades by futures commission merchants (“FCMs”), swap dealers (“SDs), and major swap participants (“MSPs”) that are clearing members. This notice solicits comments on the obligation to maintain records related to clearing documentation between the customer and the customer's clearing member.

    DATES:

    Comments must be submitted on or before December 28, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by “OMB Control No. 3038-0094,” by any of the following methods:

    • The Agency's Web site, at http://comments.cftc.gov/. Follow the instructions for submitting comments through the Web site.

    Mail: Christopher Kirkpatrick, Secretary of the Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Three Lafayette Centre, 1155 21st Street, NW., Washington, DC 20581.

    Hand Delivery/Courier: Same as Mail above.

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

    Please submit your comments using only one method.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Christopher Hower, Special Counsel, Division of Clearing and Risk, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, (202) 418-6703; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Under the PRA, Federal agencies must obtain approval from the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) for each collection of information they conduct or sponsor. “Collection of Information” is defined in 44 U.S.C. 3502(3) and 5 CFR 1320.3 and includes agency requests or requirements that members of the public submit reports, keep records, or provide information to a third party. Section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA, 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A), requires Federal agencies to provide a 60-day notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information before submitting the collection to OMB for approval. To comply with this requirement, the CFTC is publishing notice of the proposed collection of information listed below.

    Title: Clearing Member Risk Management (OMB Control No. 3038-0094). This is a request for extension of a currently approved information collection.

    Abstract: Section 3(b) of the Commodity Exchange Act (“Act”) provides that one of the purposes of the Act is to ensure the financial integrity of all transactions subject to the Act and to avoid systemic risk. Section 8a(5) authorizes the Commission to promulgate such regulations that it believes are reasonably necessary to effectuate any of the provisions or to accomplish any of the purposes of the Act. Risk management systems are critical to the avoidance of systemic risks.

    Section 4s(j)(2) requires each SD and MSP to have risk management systems adequate for managing its business. Section 4s(j)(4) requires each SD and MSP to have internal systems and procedures to perform any of the functions set forth in Section 4s.

    Section 4d requires FCMs to register with the Commission. It further requires FCMs to segregate customer funds. Section 4f requires FCMs to maintain certain levels of capital. Section 4g establishes reporting and recordkeeping requirements for FCMs. Pursuant to these provisions, the Commission adopted § 1.73 which applies to clearing members that are FCMs and § 23.609 which applies to clearing members that are SDs or MSPs. These provisions require these clearing members to have procedures to limit the financial risks they incur as a result of clearing trades and liquid resources to meet the obligations that arise. The regulations require clearing members to:

    (1) Establish credit and market risk-based limits based on position size, order size, margin requirements, or similar factors;

    (2) use automated means to screen orders for compliance with the risk-based limits;

    (3) monitor for adherence to the risk-based limits intra-day and overnight;

    (4) conduct stress tests of all positions in the proprietary account and all positions in any customer account that could pose material risk to the futures commission merchant at least once per week;

    (5) evaluate its ability to meet initial margin requirements at least once per week;

    (6) evaluate its ability to meet variation margin requirements in cash at least once per week;

    (7) evaluate its ability to liquidate the positions it clears in an orderly manner, and estimate the cost of the liquidation at least once per month; and

    (8) test all lines of credit at least once per quarter.

    Each of these items has been observed by Commission staff as an element of an existing sound risk management program at an SD, MSP, or FCM. The Commission regulations require each clearing member to establish written procedures to comply with this regulation and to keep records documenting its compliance. The information collection obligations imposed by the regulations are necessary to implement certain provisions of the Act, including ensuring that registrants exercise effective risk management and for the efficient operation of trading venues among SDs, MSPs, and FCMs. 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.

    With respect to the collection of information, the CFTC invites comments on:

    • Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the information will have a practical use;

    • The accuracy of the Commission's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

    • Ways to enhance the quality, usefulness, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

    • Ways to minimize the burden of collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology; e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

    All comments must be submitted in English, or if not, accompanied by an English translation. Comments will be posted as received to http://www.cftc.gov. You should submit only information that you wish to make available publicly. If you wish the Commission to consider information that you believe is exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, a petition for confidential treatment of the exempt information may be submitted according to the procedures established in § 145.9 of the Commission's regulations.1

    1 17 CFR 145.9.

    The Commission reserves the right, but shall have no obligation, to review, pre-screen, filter, redact, refuse or remove any or all of your submission from http://www.cftc.gov that it may deem to be inappropriate for publication, such as obscene language. All submissions that have been redacted or removed that contain comments on the merits of the Information Collection Request will be retained in the public comment file and will be considered as required under the Administrative Procedure Act and other applicable laws, and may be accessible under the Freedom of Information Act.

    Burden Statement: The respondent burden for this collection is estimated to average 2 hours per response for an estimated annual burden of 504 hours per respondent. This estimate includes the total time, effort, or financial resources expended by persons to generate, maintain, retain, disclose, or provide information to or for a federal agency.

    Respondents/Affected Entities: Swap dealers, Major Swap Participants, and Futures Commission Merchants.

    Estimated number of respondents: 239 (105 Swap Dealers and Major Swap Participants and 134 Futures Commission Merchants).

    Estimated number of responses: 253.

    Estimated total annual burden on respondents: 120,456 hours.

    Frequency of collection: As needed.

    There are no capital costs or operating and maintenance costs associated with this collection.

    (Authority: 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) Dated: October 21, 2015. Robert N. Sidman, Deputy Secretary of the Commission.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27164 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION [Docket No. CPSC-2012-0034] Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Baby Bouncers and Walker-Jumpers AGENCY:

    Consumer Product Safety Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. chapter 35), the Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC” or “Commission”) requests comments on a proposed extension of approval of a collection of information relating to certain children's articles known as baby-bouncers and walker-jumpers, approved previously under OMB Control No. 3041-0019. The Commission will consider all comments received in response to this notice before requesting an extension of this collection of information from the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”).

    DATES:

    Submit written or electronic comments on the collection of information by December 28, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by Docket No. CPSC-2012-0034, by any of the following methods:

    Electronic Submissions: Submit electronic comments to the Federal eRulemaking Portal at: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. The Commission does not accept comments submitted by electronic mail (email), except through www.regulations.gov. The Commission encourages you to submit electronic comments by using the Federal eRulemaking Portal, as described above.

    Written Submissions: Submit written submissions by mail/hand delivery/courier to: Office of the Secretary, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Room 820, 4330 East West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814; telephone (301) 504-7923.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and docket number for this notice. All comments received may be posted without change, including any personal identifiers, contact information, or other personal information provided, to: http://www.regulations.gov. Do not submit confidential business information, trade secret information, or other sensitive or protected information that you do not want to be available to the public. If furnished at all, such information should be submitted in writing.

    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to: http://www.regulations.gov, and insert the docket number CPSC-2012-0034, into the “Search” box, and follow the prompts.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Robert H. Squibb, Consumer Product Safety Commission, 4330 East West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814; (301) 504-7815, or by email to: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    CPSC seeks to renew the following currently approved collection of information:

    Title: Ban of Certain Articles Known as Baby-Bouncers or Walker-Jumpers.

    OMB Number: 3041-0019.

    Type of Review: Renewal of collection.

    Frequency of Response: On occasion.

    Affected Public: Manufacturers and importers of baby-bouncers or walker-jumpers.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 33 firms that supply baby-bouncers or walker-jumpers to the United States market have been identified; there are approximately 4 new models per firm annually.

    Estimated Time per Response: 30 minutes/model associated with labeling requirements and 1 hour/model associated with recordkeeping requirements.

    Total Estimated Annual Burden: 132 hours on recordkeeping (33 firms × 1 hour × 4 models) and 66 hours for labeling (33 firms × 1/2 hour × 4 models) for a total annual burden of 198 hours per year.

    General Description of Collection: Under 16 CFR 1500.18(a)(6), certain articles known as “baby-bouncers” and “walker-jumpers” which are intended to support very young children while sitting, bouncing, jumping, and/or reclining, are banned if they are designed in such a way that exposed parts present hazards such as amputation, crushing, laceration, fracture, hematoma, bruise, or other injury to fingers, toes, or other parts of the anatomy of young children. An exemption from the ban is provided at 16 CFR 1500.86(a)(4) if the products are designed to guard against or prevent those same injuries. Among other requirements, the regulations require manufacturers, including importers, to meet the collection of information requirements for labeling and recordkeeping requirements.

    Products that are the subject of this information collection are distinguishable from the infant bouncer seats that are the subject of the Commission's recent proposed safety standard on infant bouncer seats at 80 FR 63168 (Oct. 19, 2015). Infant bouncer seats described in the Commission's proposed standard are intended to hold young infants that cannot sit up unassisted in a reclined position (approximately 0 to 6 months of age). Comments related to the Paperwork Reduction Act on the proposed safety standard for infant bouncer seats should be directed to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, the Office of Management and Budget, Attn: CPSC Desk Officer, FAX: 202-395-6974, or emailed to [email protected]

    The products subject to this information collection are typically described as baby walkers, and allow the child to jump in place or assist with walking. Such products are intended for use with children that are beginning to develop leg strength to aid in learning to walk. Comments on the information collection requirements for these products should be submitted through the process outlined in the Addresses section above.

    Request for Comments

    The Commission solicits written comments from all interested persons about the proposed collection of information. The Commission specifically solicits information relevant to the following topics:

    —Whether the collection of information described above is necessary for the proper performance of the Commission's functions, including whether the information would have practical utility; —Whether the estimated burden of the proposed collection of information is accurate; —Whether the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected could be enhanced; and —Whether the burden imposed by the collection of information could be minimized by use of automated, electronic or other technological collection techniques, or other forms of information technology. Dated: October 21, 2015. Todd A. Stevenson, Secretary, Consumer Product Safety Commission.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27114 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6355-01-P
    CORPORATION FOR NATIONAL AND COMMUNITY SERVICE Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request AGENCY:

    Corporation for National and Community Service.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, conducts a pre-clearance consultation program to provide the general public and federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing collections of information in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA95) (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)). This program helps to ensure that requested data can be provided in the desired format, reporting burden (time and financial resources) is minimized, collection instruments are clearly understood, and the impact of collection requirement on respondents can be properly assessed.

    Currently, CNCS is soliciting comments concerning the Operation AmeriCorps Evaluation. This two year evaluation seeks to assess the implementation of the new Operation AmeriCorps initiative, and to report on early results from the intended outcomes of each grantee's project. The evaluation will examine the extent to which multiple streams of national service are integrated and complement one another in each project; determine whether and how community capacity is being developed and sustained; and examine the Operation AmeriCorps grant making process to determine if this type of grant could be successfully used in future grants competitions. Researchers from CNCS will collect qualitative and quantitative data from grantees and their partners, AmeriCorps members, member supervisors, and program beneficiaries. Operation AmeriCorps grantees are required to participate in the evaluation as a condition of grant award.

    Copies of the information collection request can be obtained by contacting the office listed in the Addresses section of this Notice.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be submitted to the individual and office listed in the ADDRESSES section by December 28, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by the title of the information collection activity, by any of the following methods:

    (1) By mail sent to: Corporation for National and Community Service, Office of Research and Evaluation; Attention Joseph Breems, Policy Analyst, Room 10902B; 1201 New York Avenue NW., Washington, DC, 20525.

    (2) By hand delivery or by courier to: CNCS mailroom at Room 8100 at the mail address given in paragraph (1) above, between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    (3) Electronically through www.regulations.gov.

    Individuals who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TTY-TDD) may call 1-800-833-3722 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Joseph Breems, 202-606-6992, or by email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    CNCS is particularly interested in comments that:

    • Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the efficient performance of the functions of CNCS, including whether the information will have practical utility;

    • Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

    • Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

    • Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are expected to respond, including the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology (e.g., permitting electronic submissions of responses).

    Background

    This proposed two year evaluation seeks to assess the implementation of the new Operation AmeriCorps grant initiative, and to report on early results from the intended outcomes of each grantee's project. The evaluation will examine the extent to which multiple streams of national service are integrated and complement one another in each project; determine whether and how community capacity is being developed and sustained; and examine the Operation AmeriCorps grant making process to determine if this type of grant making process could be successful in the future.

    Current Action

    This is a new information collection request. Researchers from CNCS will collect qualitative and quantitative data from grantees and their partners, AmeriCorps members, member supervisors, and program beneficiaries. Quantitative data will be collected through a survey administered two times per year; qualitative information will be collected through interviews and focus groups.

    Type of Review: New.

    Agency: Corporation for National and Community Service.

    Title: Operation AmeriCorps evaluation.

    OMB Number: None.

    Agency Number: None.

    Affected Public: Organizations receiving Operation AmeriCorps grants and their partners involved in implementing the grant, including: The legal applicant organization; the legal sub-applicant organization; key operating partners identified by the legal applicant and/or sub-applicant; peripheral supporting organizations identified by key operating partners and the legal applicant and/or sub-applicant; AmeriCorps members working on an Operation AmeriCorps project; member supervisors working on an Operation AmeriCorps project; beneficiaries being served by an Operation AmeriCorps project.

    Total Respondents: 170.

    Frequency: Two times annually for survey; two times annually for grantee interviews, one time annually for other interviews and focus groups.

    Average Time per Response: Averages 30 minutes for the survey; 90 minutes per interview; 60 minutes per focus group.

    Estimated Total Burden Hours: 210 hours per year, or 12,600 minutes; see chart below.

    Operation AmeriCorps National Evaluation—Projected Burden Hours Instrument Approx. time to administrate (hours) Number
  • of respondents
  • Number of
  • administrations per
  • respondent
  • Total burden (hours)
    YEAR 1: Fall Interview 1 10 1 10 Survey 0.5 10 2 10 Spring Interview 1.5 80 1 120 Spring Focus Group 1 70 1 70 Year 1 Total 170 210 YEAR 2: Fall Interview 1 10 1 10 Survey 0.5 10 2 10 Spring Interview 1.5 80 1 120 Spring Focus Group 1 70 1 70 Year 2 Total 170 210 Study Total 420

    Total Burden Cost (capital/startup): None.

    Total Burden Cost (operating/maintenance): None.

    Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for Office of Management and Budget approval of the information collection request; they will also become a matter of public record.

    Dated: October 20, 2015 Mary Hyde, Director of Research and Evaluation.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27155 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6050-28-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Orders Granting Authority To Import and Export Natural Gas, To Import and Export Liquefied Natural Gas, To Vacate Authority, and Denying Request for Rehearing During September 2015 FE Docket Nos. KOCH ENERGY SERVICES, LLC 15-115-NG TALISMAN ENERGY USA INC 15-117-NG EDF TRADING NORTH AMERICA, LLC 15-118-NG AVISTA CORPORATION 15-116-NG EDF TRADING NORTH AMERICA, LLC 15-119-LNG EDF TRADING NORTH AMERICA, LLC 15-120-LNG BARCLAYS BANK PLC 15-127-NG JD IRVING, LIMITED 15-122-NG FERUS NATURAL GAS FUELS LP 15-114-NG RELIANT ENERGY NORTHEAST LLC 15-123-NG OCCIDENTAL ENERGY MARKETING, INC 15-128-LNG PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICT NO. 1 OF CLARK COUNTY 15-129-NG CONOCOPHILLIPS CANADA MARKETING & TRADING ULC 15-126-NG TRANSALTA ENERGY MARKETING (U.S.) INC 15-132-NG TRANSCANADA PIPELINES LIMITED 15-124-NG JPMORGAN LNG CO 14-20-LNG GAZ METRO SOLUTIONS TRANSPORT 15-131-LNG TEXAS LNG BROWNSVILLE LLC 15-62-LNG CAMERON LNG, LLC 11-162-LNG TEXAS LNG LLC 13-160-LNG FREEPORT LNG DEVELOPMENT, L.P 15-103-LNG AGENCY:

    Office of Fossil Energy, Department of Energy (DOE).

    ACTION:

    Notice of orders.

    SUMMARY:

    The Office of Fossil Energy (FE) of the Department of Energy gives notice that during September 2015, it issued orders granting authority to import and export natural gas, to import and export liquefied natural gas (LNG), to vacate authority, and denying request for rehearing. These orders are summarized in the attached appendix and may be found on the FE Web site at http://energy.gov/fe/downloads/listing-doefe-authorizationsorders-issued-2015. They are also available for inspection and copying in the Office of Fossil Energy, Office of Oil and Gas Global Security and Supply, Docket Room 3E-033, Forrestal Building, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585, (202) 586-9478. The Docket Room is open between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on October 19, 2015. John A. Anderson, Director, Office of Regulation and International Engagement, Office of Oil and Natural Gas. Appendix—DOE/FE Orders Granting Import/Export Authorizations 3700 15-115-NG 09/11/15 Koch Energy Services, LLC Order granting blanket authority to import/export natural gas from/to Canada. 3701 15-117-NG 09/15/15 Talisman Energy USA Inc Order granting blanket authority to import/export natural gas from/to Canada. 3702 15-118-NG 09/15/15 EDF Trading North America, LLC Order granting blanket authority to import/export natural gas from/to Canada/Mexico. 3703 15-116-NG 09/15/15 Avista Corporation Order granting blanket authority to import/export natural gas from/to Canada. 3704 15-119-LNG 09/15/15 EDF Trading North America, LLC Order granting blanket authority to import/export LNG from/to Canada/Mexico by truck. 3705 15-120-LNG 09/15/15 EDF Trading North America, LLC Order granting blanket authority to import LNG from various international sources by vessel and to export LNG to Canada/Mexico by vessel. 3706 15-127-NG 09/17/15 Barclays Bank PLC Order granting blanket authority to import natural gas from Canada. 3707 15-122-NG 09/18/15 JD Irving, Limited Order granting blanket authority to import natural gas from Canada. 3708 15-114-NG 09/15/15 Ferus Natural Gas Fuels LP Order granting blanket authority to import/export natural gas from/to Canada. 3709 15-123-NG 09/15/15 Reliant Energy Northeast LLC Order granting blanket authority to import/export natural gas from/to Canada. 3710 15-128-LNG 09/15/15 Occidental Energy Marketing, Inc Order granting blanket authority to import LNG from various international sources by vessel. 3711 15-129-NG 09/17/15 Public Utility District No. 1 of Clark County Order granting blanket authority to import/export natural gas from/to Canada. 3712 15-126-NG 09/17/15 ConocoPhillips Canada Marketing & Trading ULC Order granting blanket authority to import/export natural gas from/to Canada. 3713 15-132-NG 09/17/15 TransAlta Energy Marketing (U.S.) Inc Order granting blanket authority to import/export natural gas from/to Canada. 3714 15-124-NG 09/17/15 TransCanada Pipelines Limited Order granting blanket authority to import/export natural gas from/to Canada. 3405-A 14-20-LNG 09/17/15 JPMorgan LNG Co Order vacating blanket authority to import/export natural gas from/to Canada. 3715 15-131-LNG 09/25/15 Gaz Metro Solutions Transport Order granting blanket authority to import LNG from Canada by truck. 3716 15-62-LNG 09/24/15 Texas LNG Brownsville LLC Order granting long-term Multi-contract authority to export LNG by vessel from the proposed LNG Terminal at the Port of Brownsville, Texas to Free Trade Agreement Nations. 3391-B 11-162-LNG 09/24/15 Cameron LNG, LLC Opinion and Order denying request for rehearing of Orders granting long-term Multi-contract authority to export LNG by vessel from the Cameron LNG Terminal in Cameron and Calcasieu Parishes, Louisiana to Non-free Trade Agreement Nations. 3443-A 13-160-LNG 09/24/17 Texas LNG LLC Order vacating long-term authority Multi-contract authority to export LNG to Free Trade Agreement Nations, and Notice of Withdrawal of Application requesting long-term Multi-contract authority to export LNG to Non-free Trade Agreement Nations. 3717 15-103-LNG 09/25/15 Freeport LNG Development, L.P Order granting blanket authority to export previously imported LNG by vessel.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27193 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Proposed Agency Information Collection AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Energy (DOE) invites public comment on a proposed collection of information that DOE is developing for submission to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (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.

    DATES:

    Comments regarding this proposed information collection must be received on or before November 10, 2015. If you anticipate difficulty in submitting comments within that period, contact the person listed in ADDRESSES as soon as possible.

    ADDRESSES:

    Written comments may be sent to Mr. Chris Early, U.S. Department of Energy, Building Technologies Office, Mail Stop EE-5B, Forrestal Building, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585-0121 or by fax at 202-586-4617 or by email at [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Requests for additional information or copies of the information collection instrument and instructions should be directed to Mr. Chris Early, U.S. Department of Energy, Building Technologies Office, Mail Stop EE-5B, Forrestal Building, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585-0121. [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This information collection request contains: (1) OMB No. New; (2) Information Collection Request Title: Programs for Improving Energy Efficiency in Residential Buildings (3) Type of Request: New; (4) Purpose: The proposed collection will enable DOE to understand the universe of organizations participating in four voluntary programs: Zero Energy Ready Home Program, the Better Buildings Residential Network, the Home Energy Score, and the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Program (HPwES). The DOE published a notice and request for comments for 60 days related to this current request to collect information on May 15, 2014 (79 FR 27867) and received no comments. That notice asked for comments for four voluntary programs at DOE, three of which are the same as for this current request for clearance and one is different. The DOE decided not to collect information for one of the four programs that was part of that May 15, 2014 request for comments, the Building America Program. The DOE, however, is adding the HPwES program to this current request for comments. The purpose of this 15 day notice and request for comments is to again request public comments on the three programs that were in the earlier 60 day notice and request for comments and also request comments on the HPwES program which was not included in that earlier 60 day FR notice. Through these four programs DOE encourages and assists the people and organizations that volunteer to participate in them to build and renovate new and existing houses to use less energy. The program partners who voluntarily participate in the programs consist of most of the actors in the home building industry including home owners, home builders, home builder tradesman and associations, home design professionals, students in architecture and related building construction industries, home energy raters, home energy auditors, home inspectors, building consultants, manufacturers of building products, professional trainers, utility companies, home building and manufacturing industry associations, consumer and home building industry advocacy organizations, financial institutions, non-profit organizations, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, energy program administrators and implementers, Home Performance with ENERGY STAR sponsors, state or local government energy offices or agencies, clean energy non-profits with existing residential energy programs and other organizations who believe peer sharing will help them improve their effectiveness in encouraging homeowners to complete energy upgrades. DOE proposes to collect information about the participants such as their names and addresses, their evaluations of training they received about the programs, descriptions of their qualifications to conduct training for the programs, their plans to get people to participate in the programs, their certifications describing how they can assess homes, estimates of how many homes they can get to participate in the programs, and information about the homes. The collected information will help DOE understand the participating partners' activities and progress toward achieving scheduled milestones enabling DOE to make decisions about the best way to run the programs and respond to partners' needs to improve their operations and actions to lower energy consumption. The portion of the HPwES Program for which DOE is requesting comments was run by EPA. The operation of part of the HPwES program is to be transferred to the DOE from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The DOE intends to operate HPwES substantially similarly to the way EPA operates the program. The difference in estimates of numbers of responses, number of respondents, burden hours, and costs to respond between the HPwES that was approved by OMB for EPA and the one requested to be approved by DOE are minor. The OMB did give the EPA clearance for collection of information in the HPwES program on August 14, 2014. OMB gave it the ICR Control Number 2060-0586. EPA did not receive any comments in either the 30 or 60 day Federal Register Notices for that collection of information; (5) Annual Estimated Number of Respondents: 11,585. (6) Annual Estimated Number of Total Responses: 46,909. (7) Annual Estimated Number of Burden Hours: 22,926. (8) Annual Estimated Reporting and Recordkeeping Cost Burden: zero dollars. DOE estimates that there are no additional costs to respondents associated with the surveys other than the costs associated with the burden hours.

    Statutory Authority:

    The U.S. Code, Title 42, Chapter 149, Subchapter IX, Part A, Section 16191—Energy Efficiency.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on October 2, 2015. Roland J. Risser, Director, Building Technologies Office, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27202 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450-01-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [FRL-9936-18—Region 6] Clean Air Act Operating Permit Program; Petition for Objection to State Operating Permits for Shell Chemical LP Deer Park Chemical Plant and Shell Oil Company Deer Park Refinery in Texas AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Notice of final action.

    SUMMARY:

    Pursuant to Clean Air Act (CAA) Section 505(b)(2) and 40 CFR 70.8(d), the EPA Administrator signed an Order, dated September 24, 2015, granting in part and denying in part two petitions asking EPA to object to operating permits issued by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for Shell Chemical LP's Deer Park Chemical Plant and Shell Oil Company's Deer Park Refinery (Title V operating permit numbers O1668 and O1669). The EPA's September 24, 2015 Order responds to the two petitions, dated May 19, 2014, submitted by the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP), Sierra Club, and Air Alliance Houston. Sections 307(b) and 505(b)(2) of the CAA provide that a petitioner may ask for judicial review by the United States Court of Appeals for the appropriate circuit of those portions of the Order that deny issues raised in the petition. Any petition for review shall be filed within 60 days from the date this notice appears in the Federal Register, pursuant to section 307(b) of the CAA.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may review copies of the final Order, the petition, and other supporting information at EPA Region 6, 1445 Ross Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75202-2733.

    EPA requests that if at all possible, you contact the individual listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section to view copies of the final Order, petitions, and other supporting information. You may view the hard copies Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., excluding Federal holidays. If you wish to examine these documents, you should make an appointment at least 24 hours before the visiting day. Additionally, the final September 24, 2015 Order is available electronically at: http://www2.epa.gov/title-v-operating-permits/order-responding-2014-petition-requesting-administrator-object-deer-park.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Aimee Wilson at (214) 665-7596, email address: [email protected] or the above EPA, Region 6 address.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The CAA affords EPA a 45-day period to review, and object, as appropriate, to a title V operating permit proposed by a state permitting authority. Section 505(b)(2) of the CAA authorizes any person to petition the EPA Administrator, within 60 days after the expiration of this review period, to object to a title V operating permit if EPA has not done so. Petitions must be based only on objections to the permit that were raised with reasonable specificity during the public comment period provided by the state, unless the petitioner demonstrates that it was impracticable to raise such objections during the comment period or unless the grounds for the objection arose after this period.

    The Petitioners maintain that the Shell Deer Park title V operating permits are inconsistent with the Act based on the following contentions: (1) The proposed permits' incorporation by reference of minor NSR authorizations fails to assure compliance; (2) The proposed permits' incorporation by reference of permits by rule fails to assure compliance; (3) The proposed permits fail to require monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting sufficient to assure compliance with applicable requirements; (4) The proposed permit for the Deer Park Refinery impermissibly uses the permit shield provisions; (5) The proposed permits fail to require Shell to obtain SIP-approved authorizations for qualified facilities changes; (6) The proposed permit for the Chemical Plant fails to address Shell's non-compliance with 30 Texas Administrative Code section 116.116(d), which requires PBRs for previously permitted facilities to be incorporated into existing permits on renewal or amendment; (7) The Executive Director's revision to draft permits' special condition 28 in O1668 and special condition 29 in O1669 are improper; and (8) The proposed permits must clarify that credible evidence may be used by citizens to enforce the terms and conditions of the permits. The claims are described in detail in Section IV of the Order.

    Pursuant to sections 505(b) and 505(e) of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7661d(b) and (e)) and 40 CFR 70.7(g) and 70.8(d), the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has 90 days from the receipt of the Administrator's order to resolve the objections identified in Claims 2., 3.B., 3.C., and 6. of the Order and submit a proposed determination or termination, modification, or revocation and reissuance of the Shell Deer Park title V permits in accordance with EPA's objections. The Order issued on September 24, 2015 responds to the Petitions and explains the basis for EPA's decisions.

    Dated: October 15, 2015. Samuel Coleman, Acting Regional Administrator, Region 6.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27161 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [FRL 9936-15-OA] Notification of a Public Teleconference of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee Secondary National Ambient Air Quality Standards Review Panel for Oxides of Nitrogen and Sulfur AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Science Advisory Board (SAB) Staff Office announces a public teleconference of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) Secondary National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) Review Panel for Oxides of Nitrogen and Sulfur to peer review EPA's Integrated Review Plan (IRP) for the Secondary (welfare-based) National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Oxides of Nitrogen and Oxides of Sulfur.

    DATES:

    The CASAC Secondary NAAQS Review Panel for Oxides of Nitrogen and Sulfur will hold a teleconference on Tuesday December 1, 2015 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time).

    Location: The public teleconference will take place by telephone only.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Any member of the public wishing to obtain information concerning the public meeting may contact Dr. Sue Shallal, Designated Federal Officer (DFO), EPA Science Advisory Board Staff Office (1400R), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20460; by telephone/voice mail at (202) 564-2057 or at [email protected] General information about the CASAC, as well as any updates concerning the teleconference announced in this notice, may be found on the EPA Web site at http://www.epa.gov/casac.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The CASAC was established pursuant to the Clean Air Act (CAA) Amendments of 1977, codified at 42 U.S.C. 7409(d)(2), in part to review air quality criteria and NAAQS and recommend any new NAAQS and revisions of existing criteria and NAAQS as may be appropriate. The CASAC is a Federal Advisory Committee chartered under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), 5 U.S.C., App. 2. Section 109(d)(1) of the CAA requires that the Agency periodically review and revise, as appropriate, the air quality criteria and the NAAQS for the six “criteria” air pollutants, including oxides of nitrogen and oxides of sulfur. EPA is currently reviewing the secondary (welfare-based) ambient air quality standards for oxides of nitrogen and sulfur and has requested CASAC advice. Accordingly, the SAB Staff Office solicited nominations for the CASAC Secondary NAAQS Review Panel for Oxides of Nitrogen and Sulfur on March 27, 2014 (79 FR 17147-17149). Membership of the Panel is listed at http://yosemite.epa.gov/sab/sabpeople.nsf/WebCommitteesSubcommittees/Secondary%20NAAQS%20Review%20Panel%20for%20Oxides%20of%20Nitrogen%20and%20Sulfur. EPA will develop several documents in support of its review of the secondary (welfare-based) NAAQS for oxides of nitrogen and sulfur, drafts of which will be subject to review by the CASAC panel. These documents include the Integrated Review Plan (IRP) for the secondary NAAQS for oxides of nitrogen and sulfur, the Integrated Science Assessment (ISA) for Oxides of Nitrogen and Sulfur—Ecological Criteria; a Risk and Exposure Assessment (REA), as warranted; and the Policy Assessment (PA).

    Pursuant to FACA and EPA policy, notice is hereby given that the CASAC Secondary National Ambient Air Quality Standards Review Panel for Oxides of Nitrogen and Sulfur will hold a public teleconference to peer review EPA's Integrated Review Plan (IRP) for the Secondary (welfare-based) National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Oxides of Nitrogen and Oxides of Sulfur. The CASAC Panel will comply with the provisions of FACA and all appropriate SAB Staff Office procedural policies.

    Technical Contacts: Any technical questions concerning the Integrated Review Plan (IRP) for the Secondary (welfare-based) National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Oxides of Nitrogen and Oxides of Sulfur should be directed to Ms. Ginger Tennant ([email protected]), EPA Office Air Quality Planning and Standards.

    Availability of Meeting Materials: Prior to the teleconference, the review documents, agenda and other materials will be accessible through the calendar link on the blue navigation bar at http://www.epa.gov/casac/.

    Procedures for Providing Public Input: Public comment for consideration by EPA's federal advisory committees and panels has a different purpose from public comment provided to EPA program offices. Therefore, the process for submitting comments to a federal advisory committee is different from the process used to submit comments to an EPA program office.

    Federal advisory committees and panels, including scientific advisory committees, provide independent advice to EPA. Members of the public can submit comments for a federal advisory committee to consider as it develops advice for EPA. Interested members of the public may submit relevant written or oral information on the topic of this advisory activity, and/or the group conducting the activity, for the CASAC to consider during the advisory process. Input from the public to the CASAC will have the most impact if it provides specific scientific or technical information or analysis for CASAC panels to consider or if it relates to the clarity or accuracy of the technical information. Members of the public wishing to provide comment should contact the DFO directly.

    Oral Statements: In general, individuals or groups requesting an oral presentation at a public teleconference will be limited to three minutes. Each person making an oral statement should consider providing written comments as well as their oral statement so that the points presented orally can be expanded upon in writing. Interested parties should contact Dr. Sue Shallal, DFO, in writing (preferably via email) at the contact information noted above by November 17, 2015 to be placed on the list of public speakers.

    Written Statements: Written statements should be supplied to the DFO via email at the contact information noted above by November 17, 2015 so that the information may be made available to the Panel members for their consideration. It is the SAB Staff Office general policy to post written comments on the Web page for the advisory meeting or teleconference. Submitters are requested to provide an unsigned version of each document because the SAB Staff Office does not publish documents with signatures on its Web sites. Members of the public should be aware that their personal contact information, if included in any written comments, may be posted to the CASAC Web site. Copyrighted material will not be posted without explicit permission of the copyright holder.

    Accessibility: For information on access or services for individuals with disabilities, please contact Dr. Sue Shallal at the contact information provided above. To request accommodation of a disability, please contact Dr. Shallal preferably at least ten days prior to the teleconference to give EPA as much time as possible to process your request.

    Dated: October 15, 2015. Thomas H. Brennan, Deputy Director, EPA Science Advisory Staff Office.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27160 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [FRL-9936-19-OA] Performance Partnership Grants AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    This action adds the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act grant program to the list of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) environmental grant programs eligible for inclusion in Performance Partnership Grants (PPGs).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Reynold Meni, Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations, Office of the Administrator (Mail Code 1301), Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: (202) 564-3669; fax number: (202) 501-1540; email address: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Omnibus Consolidated Rescissions and Appropriations Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-134) and the Department of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act of 1998 (Pub. L. 105-65) authorize EPA to combine categorical grant funds appropriated in EPA's State and Tribal Assistance Grant (STAG) account and award the funds as PPGs. Public Law 104-134 states, in relevant part, that: “the Administrator is authorized to make grants annually from funds appropriated under this heading, subject to such terms and conditions as the Administrator shall establish, to any State or federally recognized Indian tribe for multimedia or single media pollution prevention, control and abatement and related environmental activities at the request of the Governor or other appropriate State official or the tribe.”

    Public Law 105-65 amended the PPG authority by authorizing “interstate agencies, tribal consortia, and air pollution control agencies” to receive PPGs. Pursuant to the authority granted in Public Law 104-134 and Public Law 105-65, EPA promulgated PPG regulations in January of 2001 as part of the Agency's revision of 40 CFR part 35, the rules governing categorical environmental program grants. The regulation at 40 CFR 35.133(b) states that: “The Administrator may, in guidance or regulation, describe subsequent additions, deletions, or changes to the list of environmental programs eligible for inclusion in Performance Partnership Grants.”

    EPA is authorized under Section 406 of the Clean Water Act (CWA), as amended by the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act (Pub. L. 106-284), to award program development and implementation grants to eligible states, territories, tribes, and local governments to support microbiological monitoring and public notification of the potential for exposure to disease-causing microorganisms in coastal recreation waters, including the Great Lakes. The BEACH Act grant program is funded in the same line item that funds categorical grants for “multimedia or single media pollution prevention, control and abatement and related environmental activities” and, therefore, this grant program is eligible for inclusion in PPGs. This notice is made pursuant to 40 CFR 35.133(b), to inform entities eligible to receive PPGs that the program listed above may be included in a PPG subject to any limitations herein defined. Hereafter, BEACH Act grants are eligible for inclusion in PPGs and may be included in a PPG at the request of the appropriate official of an eligible entity, subject to EPA's regulations at 2 CFR part 200 and 2 CFR part 1500 and 40 CFR 35.001-35.138 and 35.500-35.538. The authority to issue this Federal Register notice has been delegated to the Deputy Associate Administrator for Intergovernmental Relations.

    Dated: October 19, 2015. Mark W. Rupp, Deputy Associate Administrator for Intergovernmental Relations.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27162 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION [OMB 3060-0601 and 3060-0594] Information Collections Being Reviewed by the Federal Communications Commission Under Delegated Authority 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 the Commission) invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on the following information collection. 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 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 Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number.

    DATES:

    Written PRA comments should be submitted on or before December 28, 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 contact listed below as soon as possible.

    ADDRESSES:

    Direct all PRA comments to Cathy Williams, FCC, via email [email protected] and to [email protected].

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For additional information about the information collection, contact Cathy Williams at (202) 418-2918.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    OMB Control Number: 3060-0601.

    Title: Setting Maximum Initiated Permitted Rates for Regulated Cable Services, FCC Form 1200.

    Form Number: FCC Form 1200.

    Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection.

    Respondents: Business or other for-profit entities; State, Local, or Tribal Government.

    Number of Respondents and Responses: 100 respondents; 50 responses.

    Estimated Hours per Response: 2-10 hours.

    Frequency of Response: One time and annual reporting requirements; Third party disclosure requirement.

    Total Annual Burden: 800 hours.

    Total Annual Costs: $62,500.

    Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. The statutory authority for this collection is contained in Section 623 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.

    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 Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992 required the Commission to prescribe rules and regulations for determining reasonable rates for basic tier cable service and to establish criteria for identifying unreasonable rates for cable programming services and associated equipment. FCC Form 1200 is used by cable operators to justify the reasonableness of rates in effect on or after May 15, 1994. Cable operators submit this form to local franchising authorities (“LFAs”) or the Commission, in situations where the Commission has assumed jurisdiction. FCC Form 1200 also is filed with the Commission when responding to a complaint filed with the Commission about cable programming service rates and associated equipment.

    OMB Control Number: 3060-0594.

    Title: Cost of Service Filing for Regulated Cable Services, FCC Form 1220.

    Form Number: FCC Form 1220.

    Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection.

    Respondents: Business or other for-profit entities; State, Local, or Tribal Government.

    Number of Respondents and Responses: 20 respondents; 10 responses.

    Estimated Hours per Response: 4-80 hours.

    Frequency of Response: On occasion and annual reporting requirements; Third party disclosure requirement.

    Total Annual Burden: 1,220 hours.

    Total Annual Costs: $100,000.

    Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. The statutory authority for this collection is contained is Sections 154(i) and 623 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.

    Nature and Extent Confidentiality: There is no need for confidentiality with this collection of information.

    Privacy Impact Assessment: No impact(s).

    Needs and Uses: The Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992 required the Commission to prescribe rules and regulations for determining reasonable rates for basic tier cable service and to establish criteria for identifying unreasonable rates for cable programming services and associated equipment. FCC Form 1220 is used by cable operators to demonstrate their costs of providing cable service in order to justify rates above levels determined under the Commission's benchmark methodology. Cable operators submit this form to local franchising authorities (“LFAs”) or the Commission (in situations where the Commission has assumed jurisdiction) only when justifying rates based on cost of service.

    Federal Communications Commission. Gloria J. Miles, Federal Register Liaison Officer, Office of the Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27105 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION [OMB 3060-0837] Information Collection Being Reviewed by the Federal Communications Commission Under Delegated Authority 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 the Commission) invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on the following information collection. 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 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 Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number.

    DATES:

    Written PRA comments should be submitted on or before December 28, 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 contact listed below as soon as possible.

    ADDRESSES:

    Direct all PRA comments to Cathy Williams, FCC, via email [email protected] and to [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For additional information about the information collection, contact Cathy Williams at (202) 418-2918.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    OMB Control Number: 3060-0837.

    Title: FCC Form 2100, Application for Media Bureau Audio and Video Service Authorization, Schedule B.

    Form Number: FCC Form 2100, Schedule B.

    Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection.

    Respondents: Business or other for profit entities; Not-for-profit institutions.

    Number of Respondents/Responses: 300 respondents; 300 responses.

    Estimated Time per Response: 2 hours.

    Frequency of Response: On occasion reporting requirement.

    Total Annual Burden: 600 hours.

    Total Annual Costs: $133,800.

    Nature of Response: Required to obtain or retain benefits. Statutory authority for this collection of information is contained in Sections 154(i), 303 and 308 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.

    Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: There is no need for confidentiality with this information collection.

    Privacy Act Impact Assessment: No impact(s).

    Needs and Uses: Licensees and permittees of DTV broadcast stations are required to file FCC Form 302-DTV to obtain a new or modified station license, and/or to notify the Commission of certain changes in the licensed facilities of these stations. FCC staff use the data to confirm that the station has been built to terms specified in the outstanding construction permit, and to update FCC station files. Staff extracted the data from FCC Form 2100, Schedule B, for inclusion in the subsequent license to operate the station.

    Federal Communications Commission. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary. Office of the Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27138 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION [DA 15-1075] Notice of Debarment; Federal Lifeline Universal Service Support Mechanism AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Enforcement Bureau (Bureau) gives notice of Wes Yui Chew's debarment from the federal Lifeline universal service support mechanism (Lifeline program) for a period of three years. During this debarment period, Mr. Chew is prohibited from participating in activities associated with or related to the Lifeline program, including the receipt of funds or discounted services through the Lifeline program, or consulting with, assisting, or advising applicants or service providers regarding the Lifeline program.

    DATES:

    Debarment commences on the date Mr. Chew receives the debarment letter or October 26, 2015, whichever comes first, for a period of three years.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Celia Lewis, Paralegal Specialist, Federal Communications Commission, Enforcement Bureau, Investigations and Hearings Division, Room 4-A422, 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554. Celia Lewis may be contacted by phone at (202) 418-7456 or email at [email protected]. If Ms. Lewis is unavailable, you may contact Mr. Kalun Lee, Deputy Chief, Investigations and Hearings Division, by telephone at (202) 418-0796 and by email at [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Bureau debars Mr. Chew for a period of three years pursuant to 47 CFR 54.8 and 0.111(a)(14). Mr. Chew's conviction for money laundering in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1957(a), in connection with fraudulent claims against the Lifeline program is the basis for this debarment. Attached is the Notice of Debarment, DA 15-1075, which was mailed to Mr. Chew and released on September 25, 2015. The complete text of the Notice of Debarment is available for public inspection and copying during regular business hours at the FCC Reference Information Center, Portal II, 445 12th Street SW., Room CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554. In addition, the complete text is available on the FCC's Web site at http://www.fcc.gov.

    Federal Communications Commission. Jeffrey J. Gee, Chief, Investigations and Hearings Division, Enforcement Bureau. September 25, 2015 DA 15-1075 SENT VIA CERTIFIED MAIL, RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED Mr. Wes Yui Chew c/o Daniel G. Webber, Jr. Ryan Whaley Coldiron Shandy PLLC 119 N. Robinson Avenue, Suite 900 Oklahoma City, OK 73102 Re: Notice of Debarment, File No. EB-IHD-15-00019046 Dear Mr. Chew:

    The Federal Communications Commission (Commission) hereby notifies you that, pursuant to section 54.8 of the Commission's rules, you are prohibited from participating in activities associated with or related to the federal low-income support mechanism (Lifeline program) for three years from either the date of your receipt of this Notice of Debarment or of its publication in the Federal Register, whichever comes first (Debarment Date).1

    1 47 CFR 54.8 (e), (g); 47 CFR 0.111 (delegating to the Bureau authority to resolve universal service suspension and debarment proceedings). In 2007, the Commission extended the debarment rules to apply to all federal universal service support mechanisms, including the Lifeline program. See Comprehensive Review of the Universal Service Fund Management, Administration, & Oversight, Report and Order, 22 FCC Rcd 16372, 16410-12 (2007) (Program Management Order) (renumbering section 54.521 of the universal service debarment rules as section 54.8 and amending subsections (a)(1), (a)(5), (c), (d), (e)(2)(i), (e)(3), (e)(4), and (g)).

    On May 26, 2015, the Commission's Enforcement Bureau (Bureau) sent you a Notice of suspension and initiation of debarment proceeding (Notice of Suspension) that was published in the Federal Register on June 18, 2015.2 The Notice of Suspension suspended you from participating in any activities associated with or related to the Lifeline program, including receiving funds or discounted services through the Lifeline program, or consulting with, assisting, or advising applicants or service providers regarding the Lifeline program.3 It also described the basis for initiating debarment proceedings against you, the applicable debarment procedures, and the effect of debarment.

    2 Letter from Jeffrey J. Gee, Chief, Investigations and Hearings Division, FCC Enforcement Bureau, to Wes Yui Chew, Notice of suspension and initiation of debarment proceeding, 30 FCC Rcd 5006 (Enf. Bur. 2015); 80 FR 34906-01 (June 18, 2015).

    3 47 CFR 54.8(a)(1), (d).

    As discussed in the Notice of Suspension, on June 12, 2014, you were convicted of money laundering in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1957(a), in connection with fraudulent claims against the federal Lifeline program.4 You were the sole owner and president of Icon Telecom, Inc. (Icon), a participant in the Lifeline program from July 2011 until September 2013.5 Specifically, you pled guilty to one count of money laundering for transferring $20,455,829.10 from an Icon bank account to a personal bank account, despite knowing that Icon had thousands fewer customers than it had reported to the Commission.6 Pursuant to section 54.8(c) of the Commission's rules, your conviction of criminal conduct in connection with the Lifeline program is the basis for this debarment.7

    4 Any further reference in this letter to “your conviction” refers to your guilty plea and subsequent sentencing in United States v. Chew, Criminal Docket No. 5:14-cr-00170-D, Plea Agreement (W.D. Okla. filed June 12, 2014) (Plea Agreement). See also Lifeline & Link Up Reform & Modernization, WC Docket No. 11-42, CC Docket No. 96-45, WC Docket No. 03-109, Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 27 FCC Rcd 6656 (2012) (Lifeline Reform Order).

    5United States v. Chew, Criminal Docket No. 5:14-c-00170-D, Information at 4 (W.D. Okla. filed June 3, 2014).

    6Id. at 7-8; Plea Agreement at 2; see also United States Attorney's Office, western District of oklahoma, Press Release, Icon Telecom and Its Owner Plead Guilty And Agree To Forfeit More Than $27 Million In Connection With Federal Wireless Telephone Subsidy Program, June 12, 2014, available at http://www.justice.gov/usao-wdok/pr/icon-telecom-and-its-owner-plead-guilty-and-agree-forfeit-more-27-million-connection.

    7 47 CFR 54.8(c).

    In accordance with the Commission's debarment rules, you were required to file with the Commission any opposition to your suspension or its scope, or to your proposed debarment or its scope, no later than 30 calendar days from either the date of your receipt of the Notice of Suspension or of its publication in the Federal Register, whichever date occurred first.8 The Commission received no opposition from you.

    8Id. § 54.8 (e)(3)-(4). Any opposition had to be filed no later than July 1, 2015.

    For the foregoing reasons, you are debarred from involvement with the Lifeline program for three years from the Debarment Date.9 During this debarment period, you are excluded from participating in any activities associated with or related to the Lifeline program, including the receipt of funds or discounted services through the Lifeline program, or consulting with, assisting, or advising applicants or service providers regarding the Lifeline program.10

    9 47 CFR 54.8(g).

    10 47 CFR 54.8(a)(1), (d), (g).

    Sincerely yours, Jeffrey J. Gee Chief, Investigations and Hearings Division, Enforcement Bureau cc: Johnnay Schrieber, Universal Service Administrative Company (via email), Rashann Duvall, Universal Service Administrative Company (via email), Chris M. Stevens, United States Attorney's Office, Western District of Oklahoma (via email), Scott E. Williams, United States Attorney's Office, Western District of Oklahoma (via email)
    [FR Doc. 2015-27076 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION Notice to All Interested Parties of the Termination of the Receivership of 10360, Cortez ommunity Bank Brooksville, Florida

    NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) as Receiver for Cortez Community Bank, Brooksville, Florida (“the Receiver”) intends to terminate its receivership for said institution. The FDIC was appointed receiver of Cortez Community Bank on April 29, 2011. The liquidation of the receivership assets has been completed. To the extent permitted by available funds and in accordance with law, the Receiver will be making a final dividend payment to proven creditors.

    Based upon the foregoing, the Receiver has determined that the continued existence of the receivership will serve no useful purpose. Consequently, notice is given that the receivership shall be terminated, to be effective no sooner than thirty days after the date of this Notice. If any person wishes to comment concerning the termination of the receivership, such comment must be made in writing and sent within thirty days of the date of this Notice to: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Division of Resolutions and Receiverships, Attention: Receivership Oversight Department 32.1, 1601 Bryan Street, Dallas, TX 75201.

    No comments concerning the termination of this receivership will be considered which are not sent within this time frame.

    Dated: October 20, 2015. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Robert E. Feldman, Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27084 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6714-01-P
    FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION Notice to All Interested Parties of the Termination of the Receivership of 4556 Meritor Savings Bank Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) as Receiver for Meritor Savings Bank, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (“the Receiver”) intends to terminate its receivership for said institution. The FDIC was appointed receiver of Meritor Savings Bank on December 11, 1992. The liquidation of the receivership assets has been completed. To the extent permitted by available funds and in accordance with law, the Receiver will be making a final dividend payment to proven creditors.

    Based upon the foregoing, the Receiver has determined that the continued existence of the receivership will serve no useful purpose. Consequently, notice is given that the receivership shall be terminated, to be effective no sooner than thirty days after the date of this Notice. If any person wishes to comment concerning the termination of the receivership, such comment must be made in writing and sent within thirty days of the date of this Notice to: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Division of Resolutions and Receiverships, Attention: Receivership Oversight Department 34.6, 1601 Bryan Street, Dallas, TX 75201.

    No comments concerning the termination of this receivership will be considered which are not sent within this time frame.

    Dated: October 20, 2015. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Robert E. Feldman, Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27085 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6714-01-P
    FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION Sunshine Act Meeting

    Pursuant to the provisions of the “Government in the Sunshine Act” (5 U.S.C. 552b), notice is hereby given that at 11:15 a.m. on Thursday, October 22, 2015, the Board of Directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation met in closed session to consider matters related to the Corporation's supervision, corporate, and resolution activities.

    In calling the meeting, the Board determined, on motion of

    Vice Chairman Thomas M. Hoenig, seconded by Director

    Thomas J. Curry (Comptroller of the Currency), concurred in by Director Richard Cordray (Director, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau), and Chairman Martin J. Gruenberg, that Corporation business required its consideration of the matters which were to be the subject of this meeting on less than seven days' notice to the public; that no earlier notice of the meeting was practicable; that the public interest did not require consideration of the matters in a meeting open to public observation; and that the matters could be considered in a closed meeting by authority of subsections (c)(4), (c)(6), (c)(8), (c)(9)(A)(ii), (c)(9)(B), and (c)(10) of the “Government in the Sunshine Act” (5 U.S.C. 552b(c)(4), (c)(6), (c)(8), (c)(9)(A)(ii), (c)(9)(B), and (c)(10).

    Dated: October 22, 2015. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Robert E. Feldman, Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27295 Filed 10-22-15; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 6714-01-P
    FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION Sunshine Act Meetings AGENCY:

    Federal Election Commission.

    DATE AND TIME:

    Thursday, October 29, 2015 at 10:00 a.m.

    PLACE:

    999 E Street NW., Washington, DC (ninth floor).

    STATUS:

    This meeting will be open to the public.

    ITEMS TO BE DISCUSSED:

    Correction and Approval of Minutes for September 17 and October 1, 2015 Demonstration of FEC Web site Redesign, Beta Version Draft Advisory Opinion 2015-08: Repledge Draft Advisory Opinion 2015-09: Senate Majority PAC and House Majority PAC Draft Advisory Opinion 2015-10: 21st Century Fox Rulemaking Priorities and Proposals Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Reporting Multistate Independent Expenditures and Electioneering Communications in Presidential Primary Elections Commission Documents/Public Disclosure Policies Proposed Final Audit Report on the Committee for Charlotte/Charlotte DNC Host Committee Proposed Amendment to Directive 52—Technical and Conforming Authority Management and Administrative Matters

    Individuals who plan to attend and require special assistance, such as sign language interpretation or other reasonable accommodations, should contact Shawn Woodhead Werth, Secretary and Clerk, at (202) 694-1040, at least 72 hours prior to the meeting date.

    PERSON TO CONTACT FOR INFORMATION:

    Judith Ingram, Press Officer, Telephone: (202) 694-1220.

    Shawn Woodhead Werth, Secretary and Clerk of the Commission.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27336 Filed 10-22-15; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 6715-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [Document Identifier: CMS-10280] Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request AGENCY:

    Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is announcing an opportunity for the public to comment on CMS' intention to collect information from the public. Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (the PRA), federal agencies are required to publish notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information (including each proposed extension or reinstatement of an existing collection of information) and to allow 60 days for public comment on the proposed action. Interested persons are invited to send comments regarding our burden estimates or any other aspect of this collection of information, including any of the following subjects: (1) The necessity and utility of the proposed information collection for the proper performance of the agency's functions; (2) the accuracy of the estimated burden; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology to minimize the information collection burden.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received by December 28, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    When commenting, please reference the document identifier or OMB control number. To be assured consideration, comments and recommendations must be submitted in any one of the following ways:

    1. Electronically. You may send your comments electronically to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for “Comment or Submission” or “More Search Options” to find the information collection document(s) that are accepting comments.

    2. By regular mail. You may mail written comments to the following address: CMS, Office of Strategic Operations and Regulatory Affairs, Division of Regulations Development, Attention: Document Identifier/OMB Control Number ___, Room C4-26-05, 7500 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, Maryland 21244-1850.

    To obtain copies of a supporting statement and any related forms for the proposed collection(s) summarized in this notice, you may make your request using one of following:

    1. Access CMS' Web site address at http://www.cms.hhs.gov/PaperworkReductionActof1995.

    2. Email your request, including your address, phone number, OMB number, and CMS document identifier, to [email protected]

    3. Call the Reports Clearance Office at (410) 786-1326.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Reports Clearance Office at (410) 786-1326.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Contents

    This notice sets out a summary of the use and burden associated with the following information collections. More detailed information can be found in each collection's supporting statement and associated materials (see ADDRESSES).

    CMS-10280 Home Health Change of Care Notice (HHCCN)

    Under the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), federal agencies must obtain approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for each collection of information they conduct or sponsor. The term “collection of information” is defined in 44 U.S.C. 3502(3) and 5 CFR 1320.3(c) and includes agency requests or requirements that members of the public submit reports, keep records, or provide information to a third party. Section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA requires federal agencies to publish a 60-day notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, including each proposed extension or reinstatement of an existing collection of information, before submitting the collection to OMB for approval. To comply with this requirement, CMS is publishing this notice.

    Information Collection

    1. Type of Information Collection Request: Extension of a currently approved collection; Title of Information Collection: Home Health Change of Care Notice (HHCCN); Use: The Home Health Change of Care Notice (HHCCN) is used to notify original Medicare beneficiaries receiving home health care benefits of plan of care changes. Home health agencies (HHAs) must provide the HHCCN whenever they reduce or terminate a beneficiary's home health services due to physician/provider orders or limitation of the HHA in providing the specific service. Notification is required for covered and non-covered services listed in the plan of care. This iteration contains non-substantive changes which add language informing beneficiaries of their rights under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 by alerting the beneficiary to CMS' nondiscrimination practices and the availability of alternate forms of this notice if needed. There are no substantive changes. Form Number: CMS-10280 (OMB control number: 0938-0829); Frequency: Occasionally; Affected Public: Private sector (Business or other for-profits and Not-for-profit institutions); Number of Respondents: 12,459; Total Annual Responses: 13,764,434; Total Annual Hours: 917,262. (For policy questions regarding this collection contact Evelyn Blaemire at 410-786-1803).

    Dated: October 20, 2015. William N. Parham, III, Director, Paperwork Reduction Staff, Office of Strategic Operations and Regulatory Affairs.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27077 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4120-01P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration [Docket No. FDA-2013-N-1282] National Environmental Policy Act; Environmental Assessments for Tobacco Products; Categorical Exclusions—Small Entity Compliance Guide; Guidance for Industry; Availability AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of availability.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is announcing the availability of a guidance for industry entitled “National Environmental Policy Act; Environmental Assessments for Tobacco Products; Categorical Exclusions—Small Entity Compliance Guide.” This guidance is intended to help small businesses understand the recent changes to FDA's National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)-implementing regulations, which will allow certain classes of actions on tobacco product marketing applications to be excluded from the requirements to prepare an environmental assessment (EA) or an environmental impact statement (EIS). This will decrease the amount of time required for industry to complete, and for FDA to review, applications.

    DATES:

    Submit either electronic or written comments on Agency guidances at any time.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments as follows:

    Electronic Submissions

    Submit electronic comments in the following way:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. Comments submitted electronically, including attachments, to http://www.regulations.gov will be posted to the docket unchanged. Because your comment will be made public, you are solely responsible for ensuring that your comment does not include any confidential information that you or a third party may not wish to be posted, such as medical information, your or anyone else's Social Security number, or confidential business information, such as a manufacturing process. Please note that if you include your name, contact information, or other information that identifies you in the body of your comments, that information will be posted on http://www.regulations.gov.

    • If you want to submit a comment with confidential information that you do not wish to be made available to the public, submit the comment as a written/paper submission and in the manner detailed (see “Written/Paper Submissions” and “Instructions”).

    Written/Paper Submissions

    Submit written/paper submissions as follows:

    Mail/Hand delivery/Courier (for written/paper submissions): Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

    • For written/paper comments submitted to the Division of Dockets Management, FDA will post your comment, as well as any attachments, except for information submitted, marked and identified, as confidential, if submitted as detailed in “Instructions”.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the Docket No. FDA-2013-N-1282 for “National Environmental Policy Act; Environmental Assessments for Tobacco Products; Categorical Exclusions—Small Entity Compliance Guide.” Received comments will be placed in the docket and, except for those submitted as “Confidential Submissions,” publicly viewable at http://www.regulations.gov or at the Division of Dockets Management between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

    • Confidential Submissions—To submit a comment with confidential information that you do not wish to be made publicly available, submit your comments only as a written/paper submission. You should submit two copies total. One copy will include the information you claim to be confidential with a heading or cover note that states “THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION.” The Agency will review this copy, including the claimed confidential information, in its consideration of comments. The second copy, which will have the claimed confidential information redacted/blacked out, will be available for public viewing and posted on http://www.regulations.gov. Submit both copies to the Division of Dockets Management. If you do not wish your name and contact information to be made publicly available, you can provide this information on the cover sheet and not in the body of your comments and you must identify this information as “confidential.” Any information marked as “confidential” will not be disclosed except in accordance with 21 CFR 10.20 and other applicable disclosure law. For more information about FDA's posting of comments to public dockets, see 80 FR 56469, September 18, 2015, or access the information at: http://www.fda.gov/regulatoryinformation/dockets/default.htm.

    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or the electronic and written/paper comments received, go to http://www.regulations.gov and insert the docket number, found in brackets in the heading of this document, into the “Search” box and follow the prompts and/or go to the Division of Dockets Management, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

    Submit written requests for single copies of this guidance to the Center for Tobacco Products, Food and Drug Administration, Document Control Center, Bldg. 71, Rm. G335, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002. Send one self-addressed adhesive label to assist that office in processing your request or include a fax number to which the guidance document may be sent. See the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for information on electronic access to the guidance.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Katherine Collins, Center for Tobacco Products, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Document Control Center, Bldg. 71, Rm. G335, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

    FDA is announcing the availability of a guidance for industry entitled “National Environmental Policy Act; Environmental Assessments for Tobacco Products; Categorical Exclusions—Small Entity Compliance Guide.” This guidance is intended to help small businesses understand and comply with FDA's implementation of NEPA and the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations for classes of actions for tobacco products as provided by the final rule. Specifically, this guidance is intended to help small businesses understand which classes of actions for tobacco products require at least the preparation of an EA, and how to apply for categorical exclusions if they qualify based on their particular circumstance.

    NEPA and CEQ regulations require each Federal Agency to assess, as an integral part of its decisionmaking process, the environmental impacts of any proposed Federal action to ascertain the environmental consequences of that action on the quality of the human environment and to ensure that the interested and affected public is appropriately informed (42 U.S.C. 4332(2); 40 CFR 1506.6). FDA regulations governing its responsibilities under NEPA are codified at 21 CFR part 25, and the CEQ regulations are codified at 40 CFR parts 1500 to 1508.

    CEQ oversees FDA's compliance with NEPA. For major Federal actions that may have a significant environmental impact, FDA can either prepare an EIS or prepare an EA. An EA provides sufficient information and analysis for FDA to determine whether to prepare an EIS or issue a finding of no significant impact (21 CFR 25.20; 40 CFR 1501.4). FDA is responsible for the scope and content of an EA and generally requires an applicant to prepare an EA and make necessary corrections to it (21 CFR 25.40(b)).

    Categorically excluded actions refer to a category of actions that have been found not to individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the quality of the human environment and which do not normally require the preparation of an EA or EIS (40 CFR 1508.4). However, as required under 21 CFR 25.21 and 40 CFR 1508.4, FDA will require preparation of at least an EA for any specific action that normally would be excluded if extraordinary circumstances are present such that the specific proposed action may have the potential to significantly affect the quality of the human environment. In compliance with section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (Pub. L. 104-121), FDA is making available this small entity compliance guide stating in plain language the legal requirements of the September 24, 2015, final rule, set forth in 21 CFR part 25.

    II. Significance of Guidance

    This guidance is being issued consistent with FDA's good guidance practices regulation (21 CFR 10.115). The guidance represents the current thinking of FDA on NEPA and environmental assessments for tobacco products including categorical exclusions. It does not establish any rights for any person and is not binding on FDA or the public. You can use an alternative approach if it satisfies the requirements of the applicable statutes and regulations.

    III. Electronic Access

    Persons with access to the Internet may obtain an electronic version of the guidance at either http://www.regulations.gov or http://www.fda.gov/TobaccoProducts/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/default.htm.

    Dated: October 20, 2015. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27111 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Notice of Closed Meetings

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of the following meetings.

    The meetings will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The grant applications and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the grant applications, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Special Emphasis Panel; Ancillary R01 Telephone Review SEP.

    Date: November 10, 2015.

    Time: 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, Two Democracy Plaza, 6707 Democracy Boulevard, Bethesda, MD 20892, (Telephone Conference Call).

    Contact Person: Xiaodu Guo, MD, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Review Branch, DEA, NIDDK, National Institutes of Health, Room 761, 6707 Democracy Boulevard, Bethesda, MD 20892-5452, (301) 594-4719, [email protected].

    Name of Committee: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Special Emphasis Panel; Treatments for Fecal Incontinence.

    Date: December 2, 2015.

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

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, Two Democracy Plaza, 6707 Democracy Boulevard, Bethesda, MD 20892, (Telephone Conference Call).

    Contact Person: Maria E. Davila-Bloom, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Review Branch, DEA, NIDDK, National Institutes of Health, Room 758, 6707 Democracy Boulevard, Bethesda, MD 20892-5452, (301) 594-7637, [email protected].

    (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.847, Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolic Research; 93.848, Digestive Diseases and Nutrition Research; 93.849, Kidney Diseases, Urology and Hematology Research, National Institutes of Health, HHS)
    Dated: October 20, 2015. David Clary, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27061 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health National Institute of General Medical Sciences; Notice of Closed Meetings

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of the following meetings.

    The meetings will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The grant applications and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the grant applications, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: National Institute of General Medical Sciences Special Emphasis Panel; Support of NIGMS Program Project Grants.

    Date: November 16, 2015.

    Time: 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, Natcher Building, 45 Center Drive, Room 3An.12N, Bethesda, MD 20892, (Telephone Conference Call).

    Contact Person: Margaret J. Weidman, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Office of Scientific Review, National Institute of General Medical Sciences, National Institutes of Health, 45 Center Drive, Room 3An.12N, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-594-3663, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: National Institute of General Medical Sciences Special Emphasis Panel; NIGMS Support of Competitive Research (SCORE) Awards.

    Date: November 17, 2015.

    Time: 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, Natcher Building, 45 Center Drive, Room 3An.12N, Bethesda, MD 20892, (Telephone Conference Call).

    Contact Person: Margaret J. Weidman, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Office of Scientific Review, National Institute of General Medical Sciences, National Institutes of Health, 45 Center Drive, Room 3An.12N, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-594-3663, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: National Institute of General Medical Sciences Special Emphasis Panel; Review of K99 and R01 Grant Applications.

    Date: November 17, 2015.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: Courtyard by Marriott Chevy Chase, 5520 Wisconsin Avenue, Chevy Chase, MD 20815.

    Contact Person: Lee Warren Slice, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Office of Scientific Review, National Institute of General Medical Sciences, National Institutes of Health, 45 Center Drive, Room 3An.12E, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-435-0807, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: National Institute of General Medical Sciences Special Emphasis Panel; Support of Competitive Research (SCORE) Awards.

    Date: November 18, 2015.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: Embassy Suites at the Chevy Chase Pavilion, 4300 Military Road NW., Washington, DC 20015

    Contact Person: Nina Sidorova, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Office of Scientific Review, National Institute of General Medical Sciences, National Institutes of Health, 45 Center Drive, Room 3An.12K, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-402-2783, [email protected]

    (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.375, Minority Biomedical Research Support; 93.821, Cell Biology and Biophysics Research; 93.859, Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biological Chemistry Research; 93.862, Genetics and Developmental Biology Research; 93.88, Minority Access to Research Careers; 93.96, Special Minority Initiatives, National Institutes of Health, HHS)
    Dated: October 20, 2015. Melanie J. Gray, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27059 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health National Institute of Mental Health; Notice of Meeting

    Pursuant to section 10(a) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of an Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC or Committee) meeting.

    The purpose of the IACC meeting is to introduce the members of the new committee and discuss business, agency updates and issues related to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) research and services activities. The meeting will be open to the public and will be accessible by webcast and conference call.

    Name of Committee: Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC).

    Type of meeting: Open Meeting.

    Date: November 17, 2015.

    Time: 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.* Eastern Time * Approximate end time.

    Agenda: To introduce the members of the new committee and discuss business, updates and issues related to ASD research and services activities.

    Place: Fishers Lane Conference Center, 5635 Fishers Lane, Room 508/509/510, Rockville, MD 20852.

    Webcast Live: http://videocast.nih.gov/.

    Conference Call Access: Dial: 1-888-946-7302, Access code: 1453351.

    Cost: The meeting is free and open to the public.

    Registration: Pre-registration is recommended to expedite check-in. Seating in the meeting room is limited to room capacity and on a first come, first served basis. To register, please visit: www.iacc.hhs.gov.

    Deadlines: Notification of intent to present oral comments: Monday, November 9, 2015 by 5:00 p.m. ET. Submission of written/electronic statement for oral comments: Tuesday, November 10, 2015 by 5:00 p.m. ET. Submission of written comments: Tuesday, November 10, 2015 by 5:00 p.m. ET.

    For IACC Public Comment guidelines, please see: http://iacc.hhs.gov/public-comment/index.shtml.

    Access: Twinbrook Metro Station (Red Line).

    Contact Person: Ms. Lina Perez, Office of Autism Research Coordination, National Institute of Mental Health, NIH, 6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 6182A, Bethesda, MD 20892-9669, Phone: 301-443-6040, Email: IACCPublicInquiries[email protected]

    Public Comments

    Any member of the public interested in presenting oral comments to the Committee must notify the Contact Person listed on this notice by 5:00 p.m. ET on Monday, November 9, 2015, with their request to present oral comments at the meeting. Interested individuals and representatives of organizations must submit a written/electronic copy of the oral presentation/statement including a brief description of the organization represented by 5:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, November 10, 2015. Statements submitted will become a part of the public record. Only one representative of an organization will be allowed to present oral comments and presentations will be limited to three to five minutes per speaker, depending on the number of speakers to be accommodated within the allotted time. Speakers will be assigned a time to speak in the order of the date and time when their request to speak is received, along with the required submission of the written/electronic statement by the specified deadline.

    In addition, any interested person may submit written public comments to the IACC prior to the meeting by sending the comments to the Contact Person listed on this notice by 5:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, November 10, 2015. The comments should include the name, address, telephone number and when applicable, the business or professional affiliation of the interested person. NIMH anticipates written public comments received by 5:00 p.m. ET, Tuesday, November 10, 2015 will be presented to the Committee prior to the meeting for the Committee's consideration. Any written comments received after the 5:00 p.m. EST, November 10, 2015 deadline through November 16, 2015 will be provided to the Committee either before or after the meeting, depending on the volume of comments received and the time required to process them in accordance with privacy regulations and other applicable Federal policies. All written public comments and oral public comment statements received by the deadlines for both oral and written public comments will be provided to the IACC for their consideration and will become part of the public record.

    In the 2009 IACC Strategic Plan, the IACC listed the “Spirit of Collaboration” as one of its core values, stating that, “We will treat others with respect, listen to diverse views with open minds, discuss submitted public comments, and foster discussions where participants can comfortably offer opposing opinions.” In keeping with this core value, the IACC and the NIMH Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC) ask that members of the public who provide public comments or participate in meetings of the IACC also seek to treat others with respect and consideration in their communications and actions, even when discussing issues of genuine concern or disagreement.

    Remote Access

    The meeting will be open to the public through a conference call phone number and Webcast live on the Internet. Members of the public who participate using the conference call phone number will be able to listen to the meeting but will not be heard. If you experience any technical problems with the Webcast or conference call, please send an email to [email protected] or by phone at 415-652-8023.

    Individuals who participate in person or by using these electronic services and who need special assistance, such as captioning of the conference call or other reasonable accommodations, should submit a request to the Contact Person listed on this notice at least 5 days prior to the meeting.

    Security

    As part of security procedures, attendees should be prepared to present a photo ID at the meeting registration desk during the check-in process. Pre-registration is recommended. Seating will be limited to the room capacity and seats will be on a first come, first served basis, with expedited check-in for those who are pre-registered.

    Meeting schedule subject to change.

    Information about the IACC is available on the Web site: http://www.iacc.hhs.gov.

    Dated: October 21, 2015. Carolyn Baum, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27122 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases; Notice of Closed Meeting

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of the following meeting.

    The meeting will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The grant applications and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the grant applications, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases Special Emphasis Panel; Skin Biology and Disease Resource Based Center.

    Date: November 17-18, 2015.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: Hilton Garden Inn Bethesda, 7301 Waverly St., Bethesda, MD 20814.

    Contact Person: Kan Ma, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Scientific Review Branch, National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, NIH, 6701 Democracy Boulevard, Suite 814, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-451-4838, [email protected]

    (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.846, Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases Research, National Institutes of Health, HHS)
    Dated: October 21, 2015. Sylvia L. Neal, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27124 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health National Institute of General Medical Sciences; Notice of Closed Meetings

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of the following meetings.

    The meetings will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The grant applications and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the grant applications, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: National Institute of General Medical Sciences Initial Review Group; Training and Workforce Development Subcommittee—A.

    Date: November 18-19, 2015.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: Hilton Washington DC/Rockville Hotel and Executive Meeting Center, 1750 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852.

    Contact Person: John J. Laffan, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Office of Scientific Review, National Institute of General Medical Sciences, National Institutes of Health, 45 Center Drive, Room 3An.18J, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-594-2773, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: National Institute of General Medical Sciences Initial Review Group; Training and Workforce Development Subcommittee—C.

    Date: November 19-20, 2015.

    Time: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: The Ritz Carlton, Tysons Corner, 1700 Tysons Boulevard, McLean, VA 22102.

    Contact Person: Mona R. Trempe, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Office of Scientific Review, National Institute of General Medical Sciences, National Institutes of Health, 45 Center Drive, Room 3An.12, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-594-3998, [email protected]

    (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.375, Minority Biomedical Research Support; 93.821, Cell Biology and Biophysics Research; 93.859, Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biological Chemistry Research; 93.862, Genetics and Developmental Biology Research; 93.88, Minority Access to Research Careers; 93.96, Special Minority Initiatives, National Institutes of Health, HHS)
    Dated: October 20, 2015. Melanie J. Gray, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27060 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed Meeting

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of the following meeting.

    The meeting will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), Title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The grant applications and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the grant applications, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: Center for Scientific Review Special Emphasis Panel; Member Conflict: Cardiovascular Sciences.

    Date: October 29, 2015.

    Time: 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892, (Virtual Meeting).

    Contact Person: Margaret Chandler, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 4126, MSC 7814, Bethesda, MD 20892, (301) 435-1743, [email protected]

    This notice is being published less than 15 days prior to the meeting due to the timing limitations imposed by the review and funding cycle.

    (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.306, Comparative Medicine; 93.333, Clinical Research, 93.306, 93.333, 93.337, 93.393-93.396, 93.837-93.844, 93.846-93.878, 93.892, 93.893, National Institutes of Health, HHS)
    Dated: October 20, 2015. Melanie J. Gray, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27058 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health National Human Genome Research Institute; Notice of Closed Meeting

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of a meeting of the Board of Scientific Counselors, National Human Genome Research Institute.

    The meeting will be closed to the public as indicated below in accordance with the provisions set forth in section 552b(c)(6), title 5 U.S.C., as amended for the review, discussion, and evaluation of individual intramural programs and projects conducted by the NATIONAL HUMAN GENOME RESEARCH INSTITUTE, including consideration of personnel qualifications and performance, and the competence of individual investigators, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: Board of Scientific Counselors, National Human Genome Research Institute.

    Date: October 28-29, 2015.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate personal qualifications and performance, and competence of individual investigators.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, Building 31, Room 4B31, 31 Center Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892.

    Contact Person: Monica Berger, Executive Secretary, Office of the Scientific Director, National Human Genome Research Institute, 50 South Drive, Bldg. 50, Rm 5222, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-294-6873, [email protected]

    This notice is being published less than 15 days prior to the meeting due to the urgent need to meet timing limitations imposed by the intramural research review cycle.

    (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.172, Human Genome Research, National Institutes of Health, HHS)
    Dated: October 21, 2015. Sylvia L. Neal, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27123 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard [Docket No. USCG-2015-0895] Information Collection Request to Office of Management and Budget; OMB Control Number: 1625-0033 AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Sixty-day notice requesting comments.

    SUMMARY:

    In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the U.S. Coast Guard intends to submit an Information Collection Request (ICR) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), requesting approval of revisions to the following collection of information: 1625-0033, Display of Fire Control Plans for Vessels. Our ICR describe the information we seek to collect from the public. Before submitting this ICR to OIRA, the Coast Guard is inviting comments as described below.

    DATES:

    Comments must reach the Coast Guard on or before December 28, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments identified by Coast Guard docket number [USCG-2015-0895] to the Coast Guard using the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. See the “Public participation and request for comments” portion of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for further instructions on submitting comments.

    A copy of the ICR is available through the docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov. Additionally, copies are available from: COMMANDANT (CG-612), ATTN: PAPERWORK REDUCTION ACT MANAGER, U.S. COAST GUARD, 2703 MARTIN LUTHER KING JR AVE SE., STOP 7710, WASHINGTON, DC 20593-7710.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Contact Mr. Anthony Smith, Office of Information Management, telephone 202-475-3532, or fax 202-372-8405, for questions on these documents.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Public Participation and Request for Comments

    This Notice relies on the authority of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995; 44 U.S.C. Chapter 35, as amended. An ICR is an application to OIRA seeking the approval, extension, or renewal of a Coast Guard collection of information (Collection). The ICR contains information describing the Collection's purpose, the Collection's likely burden on the affected public, an explanation of the necessity of the Collection, and other important information describing the Collection. There is one ICR for each Collection.

    The Coast Guard invites comments on whether this ICR should be granted based on the Collection being necessary for the proper performance of Departmental functions. In particular, the Coast Guard would appreciate comments addressing: (1) The practical utility of the Collection; (2) the accuracy of the estimated burden of the Collection; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of information subject to the Collection; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the Collection on respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. In response to your comments, we may revise this ICR or decide not to seek approval of revisions of the Collection. We will consider all comments and material received during the comment period.

    We encourage you to respond to this request by submitting comments and related materials. Comments must contain the OMB Control Number of the ICR and the docket number of this request, [USCG-2015-0895], and must be received by December 28, 2015.

    Submitting Comments

    We encourage you to submit comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. If your material cannot be submitted using http://www.regulations.gov, contact the person in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document for alternate instructions. Documents mentioned in this notice, and all public comments, are in our online docket at http://www.regulations.gov and can be viewed by following that Web site's instructions. Additionally, if you go to the online docket and sign up for email alerts, you will be notified when comments are posted.

    We accept anonymous comments. All comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov and will include any personal information you have provided. For more about privacy and the docket, you may review a Privacy Act notice regarding the Federal Docket Management System in the March 24, 2005, issue of the Federal Register (70 FR 15086).

    Information Collection Request

    1. Title: Display of Fire Control Plans for Vessels.1625-0033.

    Summary: This information collection is for the posting or display of specific plans on certain categories of commercial vessels. The availability of these plans aid firefighters and damage control efforts in response to emergencies.

    Need: Under 46 U.S.C. 3305 and 3306, the Coast Guard is responsible for ensuring the safety of inspected vessels and has promulgated regulations in 46 CFR parts 35, 78, 97, 109, 131, 169, and 196 to ensure that safety standards are met.

    Forms: None.

    Respondents: Owners and operators of vessels.

    Frequency: On occasion.

    Hour Burden Estimate: The estimated burden has decreased from 581 hours to 576 hours a year due to a decrease in the estimated number of respondents.

    Authority:

    The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995; 44 U.S.C. Chapter 35, as amended.

    Dated: October 18, 2015. Thomas P. Michelli, U.S. Coast Guard, Deputy Chief Information Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27021 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Federal Emergency Management Agency [Internal Agency Docket No. FEMA-4241-DR; Docket ID FEMA-2015-0002] South Carolina; Amendment No. 5 to Notice of a Major Disaster Declaration AGENCY:

    Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice amends the notice of a major disaster declaration for the State of South Carolina (FEMA-4241-DR), dated October 5, 2015, and related determinations.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: October 15, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dean Webster, Office of Response and Recovery, Federal Emergency Management Agency, 500 C Street SW., Washington, DC 20472, (202) 646-2833.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The notice of a major disaster declaration for the State of South Carolina is hereby amended to include the following areas among those areas determined to have been adversely affected by the event declared a major disaster by the President in his declaration of October 5, 2015.

    Abbeville, Anderson, Fairfield, Laurens, and McCormick Counties for Public Assistance.

    Bamberg, Colleton, Darlington, Florence, Kershaw, and Newberry Counties for Public Assistance (already designated for Individual Assistance).

    Berkeley, Georgetown, Richland, and Williamsburg Counties for Public Assistance (Categories C-G) (already designated for Individual Assistance and debris removal and emergency protective measures [Categories A and B], including direct federal assistance, under the Public Assistance program).

    The following Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Numbers (CFDA) are to be used for reporting and drawing funds: 97.030, Community Disaster Loans; 97.031, Cora Brown Fund; 97.032, Crisis Counseling; 97.033, Disaster Legal Services; 97.034, Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA); 97.046, Fire Management Assistance Grant; 97.048, Disaster Housing Assistance to Individuals and Households In Presidentially Declared Disaster Areas; 97.049, Presidentially Declared Disaster Assistance—Disaster Housing Operations for Individuals and Households; 97.050 Presidentially Declared Disaster Assistance to Individuals and Households—Other Needs; 97.036, Disaster Grants—Public Assistance (Presidentially Declared Disasters); 97.039, Hazard Mitigation Grant.

    W. Craig Fugate, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27188 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111-23-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Federal Emergency Management Agency [Internal Agency Docket No. FEMA-4241-DR: Docket ID FEMA-2015-0002] South Carolina; Amendment No. 4 to Notice of a Major Disaster Declaration AGENCY:

    Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice amends the notice of a major disaster declaration for the State of South Carolina (FEMA-4241-DR), dated October 5, 2015, and related determinations.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: October 13, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dean Webster, Office of Response and Recovery, Federal Emergency Management Agency, 500 C Street SW., Washington, DC 20472, (202) 646-2833.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The notice of a major disaster declaration for the State of South Carolina is hereby amended to include the following area among those areas determined to have been adversely affected by the event declared a major disaster by the President in his declaration of October 5, 2015.

    Newberry County for Individual Assistance.

    The following Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Numbers (CFDA) are to be used for reporting and drawing funds: 97.030, Community Disaster Loans; 97.031, Cora Brown Fund; 97.032, Crisis Counseling; 97.033, Disaster Legal Services; 97.034, Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA); 97.046, Fire Management Assistance Grant; 97.048, Disaster Housing Assistance to Individuals and Households In Presidentially Declared Disaster Areas; 97.049, Presidentially Declared Disaster Assistance—Disaster Housing Operations for Individuals and Households; 97.050 Presidentially Declared Disaster Assistance to Individuals and Households—Other Needs; 97.036, Disaster Grants—Public Assistance (Presidentially Declared Disasters); 97.039, Hazard Mitigation Grant.

    W. Craig Fugate, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27189 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111-23-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY [Docket No. DHS-2015-0056] President's National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee AGENCY:

    National Protection and Programs Directorate, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Committee Management; Notice of Partially Closed Federal Advisory Committee Meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The President's National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC) will meet on Tuesday, November 10, 2015, in Washington, DC. The meeting will be partially closed to the public.

    DATES:

    The NSTAC will meet in a closed session on Tuesday, November 10, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. and in an open session on Tuesday, November 10, 2015, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:20 p.m.

    ADDRESSES:

    The open, public session will be held at the Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility, 500 12th Street SW., Washington, DC, and will begin at 11:00 a.m. For information on facilities or services for individuals with disabilities, to request special assistance at the meeting, or to attend in person contact [email protected] as soon as possible and no later than Tuesday, November 3, 2015.

    We are inviting public comment on the issues the NSTAC will consider, as listed in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below. Associated briefing materials that will be discussed at the meeting will be available at www.dhs.gov/nstac for review as of October 27, 2015. Comments must be identified by docket number DHS-2015-0056 and may be submitted by one of the following methods:

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

    Email: [email protected] Include the docket number in the subject line of the message.

    Fax: 703-235-5962, Attn: Helen Jackson.

    Mail: Designated Federal Officer, National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee, National Protection and Programs Directorate, Department of Homeland Security, 245 Murray Lane, Mail Stop 0604, Arlington, VA 20598-0604.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the words “Department of Homeland Security” and the docket number for this action. Comments received will be posted without alteration at http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided.

    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received by the NSTAC, go to http://www.regulations.gov, referencing docket number DHS-DHS-2015-0056.

    A public comment period will be held during the open portion of the meeting on Tuesday, November 10, 2015, from 1:55 p.m. to 2:10 p.m. and speakers are requested to limit their comments to three minutes. Please note that the public comment period may end before the time indicated, following the last call for comments. Please contact [email protected] to register as a speaker by close of business on November 8, 2015. Speakers will be accommodated in order of registration within the constraints of the time allotted to public comment.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Helen Jackson, NSTAC Designated Federal Officer, Department of Homeland Security, telephone (703) 235-5321 or [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Notice of this meeting is given under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, 5 U.S.C. Appendix (Pub. L. 92-463). The NSTAC advises the President on matters related to national security and emergency preparedness (NS/EP) telecommunications policy.

    Agenda: The committee will meet in the open session to receive an update on current engagement activities between the NSTAC and the NS/EP Communications Executive Committee. The NSTAC will also hold a panel discussion on high performance computing and big data convergence, focusing on public private and cross agency collaboration and the predictive analytics capabilities of big data. The NSTAC will receive brief remarks on the U.S. Department of Commerce's (DOC) progress in promoting Government's cybersecurity efforts since the adoption of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Cybersecurity Framework, the process and approach under which the DOC continues to seek partners for its cybersecurity initiatives, and how private sector participation helps to promote the DOC's cybersecurity efforts. In addition, the NSTAC will receive an update on the work of the NSTAC's examination of big data analytics. The meeting agenda will be available at www.dhs.gov/nstac as of October 27, 2015.

    The NSTAC will meet in a closed session to hear a classified briefing regarding current cyber threats against the communications infrastructure, and to discuss potential future NSTAC study topics.

    Basis for Closure: In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552b(c), The Government in the Sunshine Act, it has been determined that two agenda items require closure as the disclosure of the information would not be in the public interest.

    The first of these agenda items, the classified briefing, will provide members with information on current threats against the communications infrastructure. Disclosure of these threats would provide criminals who wish to intrude into commercial and Government networks with information on potential vulnerabilities and mitigation techniques, also weakening existing cybersecurity defense tactics. This briefing will be classified at the top secret level, thereby exempting disclosure of the content by statute. Therefore, this portion of the meeting is required to be closed pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552b(c)(1)(A).

    The second agenda item, the discussion of potential NSTAC study topics, will address areas of critical cybersecurity vulnerabilities and priorities for Government. Government officials will share data with NSTAC members on initiatives, assessments, and future security requirements across public and private networks. The data to be shared includes specific vulnerabilities within cyberspace that affect the Nation's communications and information technology infrastructures and proposed mitigation strategies. Disclosure of this information to the public would provide criminals with an incentive to focus on these vulnerabilities to increase attacks on our cyber and communications networks. Therefore, this portion of the meeting is likely to significantly frustrate implementation of proposed DHS actions and is required to be closed pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552b(c)(9)(B).

    Dated: October 20, 2015. Helen Jackson, Designated Federal Officer for the NSTAC.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27101 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-9P-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY [Docket No. DHS-2015-0017] Notice of Public Meeting Regarding Standards for Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations AGENCY:

    Office of Cybersecurity and Communications, National Protection and Programs Directorate, Department of Homeland Security.

    ACTION:

    Notice of public meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with EO 13691, DHS has entered into a cooperative agreement with a non-governmental ISAO Standards Organization led by the University of Texas at San Antonio with support from the Logistics Management Institute (LMI) and the Retail Cyber Intelligence Sharing Center (R-CISC). This Notice announces the ISAO Standards Organization's initial public meeting on November 9, 2015 to discuss Standards for the development of ISAOs, as related to Executive Order 13691, “Promoting Private Sector Cybersecurity Information Sharing” of February 13, 2015. This meeting builds off of the workshops held on June 9, 2015 at the Volpe Center in Cambridge, MA; and July 30, 2015 at San Jose State University in San Jose, CA.

    DATES:

    The meeting will be held on November 9, 2015, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The meeting may conclude before the allotted time if all matters for discussion have been addressed.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting location is LMI Headquarters at 7940 Jones Branch Drive, Tysons, VA 22102. See Supplementary Information section for the address to submit written or electronic comments.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Executive Order 13691 can be found at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/02/13/executive-order-promoting-private-sector-cybersecurity-information-shari.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions concerning the meeting, please contact [email protected].

    Background and Purpose

    On February 13, 2015, President Obama signed Executive Order 13691 intended to enable and facilitate “private companies, nonprofit organizations, and executive departments and agencies . . . to share information related to cybersecurity risks and incidents and collaborate to respond in as close to real time as possible.”

    At the Standards Organization's initial public meeting, they intend to review the results of previous DHS-hosted public workshops, and share a proposed standards framework and standards development process. In addition, they will solicit suggestions on existing standards, guidelines, and best practices that can be shared as provisional guidance until formal ISAO standards are established. Minutes from this meeting will be made available to the public.

    Information on Service for Individuals With Disabilities

    For information on facilities or services for individuals with disabilities or to request special assistance at the public meeting, contact [email protected] and write “Special Assistance” in the subject box or contact the meeting coordinator at the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this notice.

    Meeting Details

    Members of the public may attend this meeting by RSVP only up to the seating capacity of the room. The Breakout Panels that take place in the LMI Conference Facility will be audio recorded. The audio recordings will be made available on the DHS ISAO Web page, DHS.gov/ISAO. A valid government-issued photo identification (for example, a driver's license) will be required for entrance to the meeting space. Those who plan to attend should RSVP through the link provided on the ISAO Web page DHS.gov/ISAO or at LMI's registration page www.lmi.org/ISAO-Registration no later than 5 days prior to the meeting. Requests made after November 4, 2015 might not be able to be accommodated.

    DHS and the ISAO Standards Organization encourages you to participate in this meeting by submitting comments to the ISAO inbox ([email protected]), commenting orally, or submitting written comments to the DHS personnel attending the meeting who are identified to receive them.

    Submitting Written Comments

    You may also submit written comments to the docket using any one of the following methods:

    (1) Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Although comments are being submitted to the Federal eRulemaking Portal, this is a tool to provide transparency to the general public, not because this is a rulemaking action.

    (2) Email: [email protected]. Include the docket number in the subject line of the message.

    (3) Mail: ISAO Standards Organization, c/o LMI, 1777 NE Loop 410, Suite 808, San Antonio, TX 78217-5217.

    To avoid duplication, please use only one of these three methods. All comments must either be submitted to the online docket on or before November 4, 2015, or reach the Docket Management Facility by that date.

    Authority:

    6 U.S.C. 131-134; 6 CFR 29; E.O.13691.

    Dated: October 20, 2015. Andy Ozment, Assistant Secretary, Cybersecurity and Communications, National Protection and Programs Directorate, Department of Homeland Security.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27102 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-9P-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Transportation Security Administration Intent To Request Renewal From OMB of One Current Public Collection of Information: Office of Law Enforcement/Federal Air Marshal Service Mental Health Certification AGENCY:

    Transportation Security Administration, DHS.

    ACTION:

    60-day notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) invites public comment on one currently approved Information Collection Request (ICR), Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number 1652-0043, abstracted below, that we will submit to OMB for renewal in compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act. The ICR describes the nature of the information collection and its expected burden. The collection involves a certification form that applicants for the Office of Law Enforcement/Federal Air Marshal Service are required to complete regarding their mental health history.

    DATES:

    Send your comments by December 28, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments may be emailed to [email protected] or delivered to the TSA PRA Officer, Office of Information Technology (OIT), TSA-11, Transportation Security Administration, 601 South 12th Street, Arlington, VA 20598-6011.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Christina A. Walsh at the above address, or by telephone (571) 227-2062.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Comments Invited

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), 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 OMB control number. The ICR documentation is available at http://www.reginfo.gov. Therefore, in preparation for OMB review and approval of the following information collection, TSA is soliciting comments to—

    (1) Evaluate whether the proposed information requirement is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;

    (2) Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden;

    (3) Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

    (4) Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including using appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    Information Collection Requirement

    Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 44917, TSA has authority to provide for deployment of Federal Air Marshals (FAMs) on passenger flights and provide for appropriate training, equipping, and supervision of FAMs. In furtherance of this authority, TSA policy requires that applicants for the Office of Law Enforcement/Federal Air Marshal Service positions meet certain medical and mental health standards.

    In order to evaluate whether applicants meet TSA standards, applicants must undergo a psychological evaluation determining that they do not have an established medical history or clinical diagnosis of psychosis, neurosis, or any other personality or mental disorder that clearly demonstrates a potential hazard to the performance of FAM duties or the safety of self or others. As part of the psychological evaluation, applicants are required to complete a certification form regarding their mental health history and provide an explanation for anything they cannot certify. Applicants will be asked whether they can certify various statements including that they have never been removed from work for medical or psychological reasons.

    Upon completion, applicants submit the certification form directly to the FAMS' Medical Programs Section (FAMS MPS) for initial screening via fax, electronic upload via scanning document, mail, or in person. The FAMS MPS screens all certification forms received. Any explanations for uncertified items received will generally require further review and follow-up by a personal psychologist or psychiatrist. This certification is carefully geared to capitalize on other elements of the assessment process, such as personal interviews, physical task assessment, background investigation, as well as the other components of the medical examination and assessment. TSA estimates that there will be 600 respondents annually.

    It will take each respondent approximately one hour to complete the certification form for a total annual hour burden of 600 hours.

    Dated: October 19, 2015. Christina A. Walsh, TSA Paperwork Reduction Act Officer, Office of Information Technology.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27094 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9910-05-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS-R1-ES-2015-N191; FXES11120100000-156-FF01E00000] Draft Habitat Conservation Plan and Draft Environmental Assessment, Meier Group LLC, Thurston County, Washington AGENCY:

    Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice of availability; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have received an application from The Meier Group, LLC (applicant) for an incidental take permit (permit) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA). The applicant requests a permit with a 5-year term that would authorize “take” of the threatened Olympia pocket gopher incidental to otherwise lawful land development in Thurston County, Washington. The application includes the applicant's draft habitat conservation plan (HCP), which describes the actions the applicant will implement to minimize and mitigate the impacts of incidental take caused by covered activities. The Service also announces the availability of a draft environmental assessment (EA) that has been prepared in response to the permit application in accordance with requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). We are making the permit application, including the draft HCP and the draft EA, available for public review and comment.

    DATES:

    To ensure consideration, please submit written comments by December 28, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    To request further information or submit written comments, please use one of the following methods, and note that your information request or comments are in reference to the “Meier HCP/EA”:

    Internet: You may view or download copies of the draft HCP and draft EA and obtain additional information on the Internet at http://www.fws.gov/wafwo/.

    Email: [email protected] Include “Meier HCP/EA” in the subject line of the message.

    U.S. Mail: Tim Romanski, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington Fish and Wildlife Office, 510 Desmond Drive SE., Suite 102, Lacey, Washington 98503.

    In-Person Drop-off, Viewing, or Pickup: Call 360-753-5823 to make an appointment (necessary for viewing or picking up documents only) during normal business hours at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington Fish and Wildlife Office, 510 Desmond Drive SE., Suite 102, Lacey, Washington 98503. Written comments can be dropped off during regular business hours at the above address on or before the closing date of the public comment period (see DATES).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Tim Romanski, Conservation Planning and Hydropower Branch Chief, Washington Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES), telephone: 360-753-5823. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf, please call the Federal Information Relay Service at 800-877-8339.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    Section 9 of the ESA prohibits “take” of fish and wildlife species listed as endangered or threatened. Under the ESA, the term “take” means to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct (16 U.S.C. 1532(19)). The term “harm,” as defined in our regulations, includes significant habitat modification or degradation that results in death or injury to listed species by significantly impairing essential behavioral patterns, including breeding, feeding, or sheltering (50 CFR 17.3). The term “harass” is defined in our regulations as an intentional or negligent act or omission which creates the likelihood of injury to wildlife by annoying it to such an extent as to significantly disrupt normal behavioral patterns, which include, but are not limited to, breeding, feeding, or sheltering (50 CFR 17.3).

    Under specified circumstances, the Service may issue permits that authorize take of federally listed species, provided the take is incidental to, but not the purpose of, an otherwise lawful activity. Regulations governing permits for endangered and threatened species are at 50 CFR 17.22 and 17.32, respectively. Section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act contains provisions that authorize the Service to issue permits to non-Federal entities for the take of endangered and threatened species, provided the following criteria are met:

    (1) The taking will be incidental;

    (2) The applicant will prepare a conservation plan that, to the maximum extent practicable, minimize and mitigate the impact of such taking;

    (3) The applicant will ensure that adequate funding for the plan will be provided;

    (4) The taking will not appreciably reduce the likelihood of the survival and recovery of the species in the wild; and

    (5) The applicant will carry out any other measures that the Service may require as being necessary or appropriate for the purposes of the plan.

    We have received an application from the Meier Group, LLC (applicant) for an incidental take permit pursuant to Section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA). The applicant requests a permit with a 5-year term that would authorize “take” of the threatened Olympia pocket gopher (Thomomys mazama pugetensis) incidental to otherwise lawful land development and habitat conservation activities on land they own in Thurston County, Washington. The application includes a draft HCP, which describes the actions the applicant will take to minimize and mitigate the impacts of the take on the covered species. The Service also announces the availability of a draft environmental assessment (EA) addressing the draft HCP and proposed permit. We invite comments from all interested parties regarding the permit application, including the draft HCP and the draft EA.

    Proposed Action

    The applicant proposes to develop an approximately 6.4-acre property in the City of Tumwater, Thurston County, Washington, over the course of the next 5 years. The proposed project would entail clearing most of the 6.4-acre property of trees and other vegetation, including the invasive non-native Scot's broom (Cytisus scoparius), in preparation for construction of a two-story commercial office building and associated facilities. The proposed office building, paved surfaces, and parking areas would cover all of the property except an approximately 0.7-acre area that would be avoided to prevent impacts to guy-wires associated with overhead electric transmission lines.

    Approximately 2.7 acres of the 6.4-acre property is occupied by and provides habitat for the Olympia pocket gopher. Periodic mowing of the transmission line right-of-way keeps invasive vegetation controlled, which likely maintains habitat suitability for the pocket gopher. About 2.0 acres of the approximately 2.7 acres of potential pocket gopher habitat on the project site would be lost due to site preparation and construction activities under the proposed project. Olympia pocket gophers and their habitat would not be expected to persist in this area upon completion of the proposed project. Approximately 0.7 acre of the degraded grassland area beneath the transmission lines would remain undisturbed. Any pocket gophers in the remnant habitat patch may be able to survive for some period of time after project completion; however, the fragmentation, loss of foraging habitat, and reproductive isolation of remaining individuals makes long-term persistence of a viable population in this area unlikely.

    The applicant's draft HCP identifies measures intended to minimize and mitigate for the incidental take of the covered species. The draft HCP's mitigation measures consist of a conservation program that includes dedication of an off-site 2.5-acre permanent conservation land area at a location known as Bush Prairie Farm, that would be managed for the benefit of the Olympia pocket gopher. The proposed HCP would establish a conservation easement on Bush Prairie Farm that removes the threat of future development on the conservation site, and provide funding to ensure that the conservation site is managed to maintain long-term habitat suitability for the covered species. The Bush Prairie Farm 2.5-acre conservation site is approximately 1,000 feet away from the only designated critical habitat for the Olympia pocket gopher. The conservation site is separated by a highway from the 676 acres of designated critical habitat that is located on the Olympia Regional Airport property. The conservation site is also adjacent to other sites proposed for long-term management for the listed species. Securing long-term protection and management of the proposed conservation site could expand priority conservation areas that may contribute to recovery of this species.

    The Service proposes to issue the requested permit with a 5-year term based on the applicant's commitment to implement the draft HCP, if permit issuance criteria are met. Covered activities include construction, land development, and conservation of covered species. The area covered under the draft HCP consists of a project development site totaling 6.4 acres and a conservation site totaling 2.5 acres. Take would occur primarily on the already fragmented project development site and be mitigated for by managing a higher quality block of habitat for the covered species on the conservation site. A conservation easement with associated funding assurances would be executed by the applicant to ensure ongoing management of the conservation site.

    National Environmental Policy Act Compliance

    The proposed issuance of a permit is a Federal action that triggers the need for compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.; NEPA). Pursuant to NEPA, we have prepared a draft EA to analyze the environmental impacts of three alternatives related to the issuance of the requested permit and implementation of the conservation program under the proposed HCP. The three alternatives analyzed in the EA are a no-action alternative, the proposed action, and an avoidance alternative.

    No-action alternative: Under the no-action alternative, no construction or development would occur on the proposed project site. Because no impacts to listed species are expected under this alternative, no HCP would be needed and no permit would be issued.

    Proposed action alternative: The proposed action alternative is the implementation of the proposed HCP and issuance of the requested 5-year permit as described above.

    Avoidance alternative: The avoidance alternative would limit construction and development on the project site to areas where impacts to listed species could be avoided. Because no impacts to listed species are expected under this alternative, no HCP would be needed and no permit would be issued.

    Public Comments

    You may submit your comments and materials by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. We specifically request information, views, and recommendations from interested parties regarding our proposed Federal action, including identification of any other aspects of the human environment not already identified in the draft EA pursuant to NEPA regulations at 40 CFR 1506.6. Further, we specifically solicit information regarding the adequacy of the applicant's draft HCP pursuant to the requirements for permits at 50 CFR parts 13 and 17.

    Public Availability of Comments

    All comments and materials we receive become part of the public record associated with this action. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personally identifiable information in your comments, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personally identifiable information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personally identifiable information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. All submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, will be made available for public disclosure in their entirety. Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting documentation we use in preparing the EA, will be available for public inspection by appointment, during normal business hours, at our Washington Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES).

    Next Steps

    We will evaluate the permit application, associated documents, and any comments we receive, to determine whether the permit application meets the requirements of section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA. We will also evaluate whether issuance of the requested section 10(a)(1)(B) permit would comply with section 7 of the Act by conducting an intra-Service section 7 consultation on anticipated permit actions. After completion of the EA based on consideration of public comments, we will determine whether the proposed action warrants a finding of no significant impact or whether an environmental impact statement should be prepared. The final NEPA and permit determinations will not be completed until after the end of the 30-day comment period and will fully consider all comments received during the comment period. If we determine that all requirements are met, we will issue an incidental take permit under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA to the applicants for the take of covered species, incidental to otherwise lawful covered activities.

    Authority

    We provide this notice in accordance with the requirements of section 10 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and their implementing regulations (50 CFR 17.22 and 40 CFR 1506.6, respectively).

    Richard Hannan, Deputy Regional Director, Pacific Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Portland, Oregon.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27149 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS-HQ-WSFR-2015-N195;FVWF97820900000-XXX-FF09W13000 and FVWF54200900000-XXX-FFO9W13000] Information Collection Request Sent to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for Approval; National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation (FHWAR) AGENCY:

    Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    We (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) have sent an Information Collection Request (ICR) to OMB for review and approval. We summarize the ICR below and describe the nature of the collection and the estimated burden and cost. We 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.

    DATES:

    You must submit comments on or before November 25, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send your comments and suggestions on this information collection to the Desk Officer for the Department of the Interior at OMB-OIRA at (202) 395-5806 (fax) or [email protected] (email). Please provide a copy of your comments to the Service Information Collection Clearance Officer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803 (mail), or [email protected] (email). Please include “1018-0088” in the subject line of your comments.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    To request additional information about this ICR, contact Hope Grey at [email protected] (email) or 703-358-2482 (telephone). You may view the ICR online at http://www.reginfo.gov. Follow the instructions to view Department of the Interior collections under review by OMB.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Information Collection Request

    OMB Control Number: 1018-0088.

    Title: National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation (FHWAR).

    Service Form Number: None.

    Type of Request: Reinstatement with change of a previously approved collection.

    Description of Respondents: Individuals and households.

    Respondent's Obligation: Voluntary.

    Frequency of Collection: Pre-screener internet/paper questionnaire data collection will be conducted in January 2016. Household screen interviews and the first detailed sportsperson and wildlife-watcher interviews will be conducted April-June 2016. The second detailed interviews will be conducted September-October 2016. The third and last detailed interviews will be conducted January-March 2017.

    Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 29,179.

    Estimated Completion Time per Response: Varies from 5 to 35 minutes.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 6,355.

    Estimated Annual Non-hour Burden Cost: None.

    Abstract: The information collected for the National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation (FHWAR) assists the Fish and Wildlife Service in administering the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration grant programs. The 2016 FHWAR will provide up-to-date information on the uses and demands for wildlife-related recreation resources, trends in uses of those resources, and a basis for developing and evaluating programs and projects to meet existing and future needs.

    We collect the information in conjunction with carrying out our responsibilities under the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act (16 U.S.C. 777-777m), commonly referred to as the Dingell-Johnson Act, and the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act (16 U.S.C. 669-669i), commonly referred to as the Pittman-Robertson Act. Under these acts, as amended, we provide approximately $1 billion in grants annually to States for projects that support sport fish and wildlife management and restoration, including:

    • Improvement of fish and wildlife habitats,

    • Fishing and boating access,

    • Fish stocking, and

    • Hunting and fishing opportunities.

    We also provide grants for aquatic education and hunter education, maintenance of completed projects, and research into problems affecting fish and wildlife resources. These projects help to ensure that the American people have adequate opportunities for fish and wildlife recreation.

    We conduct the survey about every 5 years. The 2016 FHWAR will be the 12th conducted since 1955. We sponsor the survey at the States' request, which is made through the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. We contract with the Census Bureau, which collects the information using computer-assisted telephone or in-person interviews. The Census Bureau will select a sample of sportspersons and wildlife watchers from a household screen and conduct three detailed interviews during the survey year. The survey collects information on the number of days of participation, species of animals sought, and expenditures for trips and equipment. Information on the characteristics of participants includes age, income, sex, education, race, and State of residence.

    Federal and State agencies use information from the survey to make policy decisions related to fish and wildlife restoration and management. Participation patterns and trend information help identify present and future needs and demands. Land managing agencies use the data on expenditures and participation to assess the value of wildlife-related recreational uses of natural resources. Wildlife-related recreation expenditure information is used to estimate the economic impact on the economy and to support the dedication of tax revenues for fish and wildlife restoration programs.

    Comments Received and Our Responses

    Comments: On February 18, 2015, we published in the Federal Register (80 FR 8681) a notice of our intent to request that OMB approve this information collection. In that notice, we solicited comments for 60 days, ending on April 20, 2015. We received two comments, both from the same individual. This individual was concerned that the survey estimates are presented as aggregations of wildlife watching, hunting, and fishing data, suggesting this biases the results toward hunting and fishing and away from wildlife watching. The Census Bureau draws scientifically designed separate samples of wildlife watchers and sportspersons. These samples are interviewed independently, and estimates of each activity are tabulated separately in the Survey reports. We did not make any changes to the survey based on these comments.

    Request for Public Comments

    We again invite comments concerning this information collection on:

    • Whether or not the collection of information is necessary, including whether or not the information will have practical utility;

    • The accuracy of our estimate of the burden for this collection of information;

    • Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

    • Ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents.

    Comments that you submit in response to this notice are a matter of public record. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment, including your personal identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask OMB and us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that it will be done.

    Dated: October 21, 2015. Tina A. Campbell, Chief, Division of Policy, Performance, and Management Programs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27141 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Indian Affairs [167A2100DD/AAKC001030/A0A501010.999900] Renewal of Agency Information Collection for the Tribal Reassumption of Jurisdiction Over Child Custody Proceedings AGENCY:

    Bureau of Indian Affairs, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice of submission to OMB.

    SUMMARY:

    In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is seeking comments on the renewal of Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval for the collection of information for the Tribal Reassumption of Jurisdiction over Child Custody Proceedings, authorized by OMB Control Number 1076-0112. This information collection expires November 30, 2015.

    DATES:

    Submit comments on or before November 25, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments on the information collection to the Desk Officer for the Department of the Interior at the Office of Management and Budget, by fax to (202) 395-5806 or you may send an email to: [email protected] Please send a copy of your comments to: Evangeline Campbell, Chief, Division of Human Services, Office of Indian Services, Bureau of Indian Affairs, 1849 C Street NW., MS-4513-MIB, Washington, DC 20240; facsimile: (202) 208-5113; email: [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Evangeline Campbell, (202) 513-7621. You may review the information collection request online at http://www.reginfo.gov. Follow the instructions to review Department of the Interior collections under review by OMB.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Abstract

    The BIA is seeking to renew the information collection conducted under 25 CFR 13, Tribal Reassumption of Jurisdiction over Child Custody Proceedings, which prescribes procedures by which an Indian tribe that occupies a reservation over which a State asserts any jurisdiction pursuant to Federal law may reassume jurisdiction over Indian child proceedings as authorized by the Indian Child Welfare Act, Public Law 95-608, 92 Stat. 3069, 25 U.S.C. 1918.

    II. Request for Comments

    On August 17, 2015, BIA published a notice announcing the renewal of this information collection and provided a 60-day comment period in the Federal Register (80 FR 49264). There were no comments received in response to this notice.

    The BIA requests your comments on this collection concerning: (a) The necessity of this information collection for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) The accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden (hours and cost) of the collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) Ways we could enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) Ways we could minimize the burden of the collection of the information on the respondents.

    Please note that an agency may not conduct or sponsor, and an individual need not respond to, a collection of information unless it has a valid OMB Control Number.

    It is our policy to make all comments available to the public for review at the location listed in the ADDRESSES section. Before including your address, phone number, email address or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

    III. Data

    OMB Control Number: 1076-0112.

    Title: Tribal Reassumption of Jurisdiction over Child Custody Proceedings, 25 CFR 13.

    Brief Description of Collection: The collection of information will ensure that the provisions of Public Law 95-608 are met. Any Indian tribe that became subject to State jurisdiction pursuant to the provisions of the Act of August 15, 1953 (67 Stat. 588), as amended by title IV of the Act of April 11, 1968 (82 Stat. 73, 78), or pursuant to any other Federal law, may reassume jurisdiction over child custody proceedings. The collection of information provides data that will be used in considering the petition and feasibility of the plan of the tribe for reassumption of jurisdiction over Indian child custody proceedings. We collect the following information: Full name, address, and telephone number of petitioning tribe or tribes; a tribal resolution; estimated total number of members in the petitioning tribe of tribes with an explanation of how the number was estimated; current criteria for tribal membership; citation to provision in tribal constitution authorizing the tribal governing body to exercise jurisdiction over Indian child custody matters; description of tribal court; copy of any tribal ordinances or tribal court rules establishing procedures or rules for exercise of jurisdiction over child custody matters; and all other information required by 25 CFR 13.11. Response is required to obtain or retain a benefit.

    Type of Review: Extension without change of currently approved collection.

    Respondents: Federally recognized Indian tribes who submit tribal reassumption petitions for review and approval by the Secretary of the Interior.

    Annual Number of Responses: 1.

    Obligation to Respond: Response required to obtain a benefit.

    Estimated Time per Response: 8 hours.

    Estimated Total Annual Hour Burden: 8 hours.

    Estimated Total Annual Non-Hour Dollar Cost: $0.

    Elizabeth K. Appel, Director, Office of Regulatory Affairs and Collaborative Action—Indian Affairs.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27135 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4337-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management 16X.LLAZ956000.L14400000.BJ0000.LXSSA225000.241A Notice of Filing of Plats of Survey; Arizona AGENCY:

    Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice of Filing of Plats of Survey; Arizona.

    SUMMARY:

    The plats of survey of the described lands were officially filed in the Arizona State Office, Bureau of Land Management, Phoenix, Arizona, on dates indicated.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Gila and Salt River Meridian, Arizona

    The plat representing the dependent resurvey and subdivision of section 4, Township 22 North, Range 6 East, accepted September 28, 2015, and officially filed September 30, 2015, for Group 1123, Arizona.

    This plat was prepared at the request of the United States Forest Service.

    The plat, in seven sheets, representing the dependent resurvey, subdivision of certain sections, metes-and-bounds surveys in section 27 and 35, and recovery of certain corners, Township 23 North, Range 6 East, accepted September 28, 2015, and officially filed September 30, 2015, for Group 1123, Arizona.

    This plat was prepared at the request of the United States Forest Service.

    The plat representing the dependent resurvey and subdivision of section 18, Township 23 North, Range 7 East, accepted September 28, 2015, and officially filed September 30, 2015, for Group 1123, Arizona.

    This plat was prepared at the request of the United States Forest Service.

    The plat representing the dependent resurvey, corrective resurvey, independent resurvey and subdivision of certain sections, Township 21 North, Range 30 East, accepted September 29, 2015, and officially filed September 30, 2015, for Group 957, Arizona.

    This plat was prepared at the request of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

    The plat representing the dependent resurvey of a portion of the exterior boundary of the Gila River Indian Reservation in section 5, Township 5 South, Range 8 East, accepted April 7, 2015, and officially filed April 8, 2015, for Group 1135, Arizona.

    This plat was prepared at the request of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

    A person or party who wishes to protest against any of these surveys must file a written protest with the Arizona State Director, Bureau of Land Management, stating that they wish to protest.

    A statement of reasons for a protest may be filed with the notice of protest to the State Director, or the statement of reasons must be filed with the State Director within thirty (30) days after the protest is filed.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    These plats will be available for inspection in the Arizona State Office, Bureau of Land Management, One North Central Avenue, Suite 800, Phoenix, Arizona 85004-4427. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to contact the above individual during normal business hours. The FIRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question with the above individual. You will receive a reply during normal business hours.

    Gerald T. Davis, Chief Cadastral Surveyor of Arizona.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27125 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310-32-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [LLWYP07000.LL13100000.DB0000] Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Greater Crossbow Oil and Gas Project and Possible Amendments to the Casper Resource Management Plan, Wyoming AGENCY:

    Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice of intent.

    SUMMARY:

    In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA), the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, as amended (FLPMA), and the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, as amended, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), as lead agency, through the Buffalo Field Office, Buffalo, Wyoming, intends to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for EOG Resources Inc.'s (EOG's) proposed Greater Crossbow Oil and Gas Project (Project). The proposal area includes Federal lands administered by the BLM's Buffalo and Casper Field Offices and the U.S. Forest Service's (USFS) Thunder Basin National Grasslands. This notice initiates the public scoping process for the EIS and potential land use plan amendments. The purpose of the public scoping process is to seek input and identify issues regarding the Project.

    DATES:

    Comments may be submitted in writing until December 10, 2015. In order to be considered in the Draft EIS, all comments must be received prior to the close of the 45-day scoping period or 15 days after the last public meeting, whichever is later. The BLM will provide additional opportunities for public participation as appropriate. The dates and locations of any scoping meetings will be announced at least 15 days in advance through the local news media, newspapers, and the BLM Web site at: http://www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/field_offices/Buffalo.html.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit written comments by any of the following methods:

    Web site: http://www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/info/NEPA/documents/bfo/GC.html.

    Email: [email protected]

    Fax: 307-684-1122.

    Mail: Greater Crossbow Oil and Gas Project, BLM Buffalo Field Office, 1425 Fort Street, Buffalo, Wyoming 82834.

    Documents pertinent to this proposal are available for public review at the BLM Buffalo Field Office or the USFS Douglas Ranger District Office, 2250 E. Richards Street, Douglas, Wyoming.
    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Thomas Bills, NEPA Coordinator, telephone: 307-684-1133; address: 1425 Fort Street, Buffalo, Wyoming 82834; email: [email protected] Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to contact Mr. Bills during normal business hours. The FIRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question with the above individual. You will receive a reply during normal business hours. You may call either of these numbers to have your name added to our mailing list.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    EOG proposes to develop 1,500 oil and natural gas wells on 100 multi-well pads over a 10-year period. As part of this development, EOG proposes to:

    • Use directional, vertical, horizontal, and other drilling techniques;

    • Develop area infrastructure to support oil and gas production, including well pads, roads, pipelines, power lines, compressor and electrical substations, and support facilities, such as water supply wells and water disposal facilities;

    • Conduct year-round drilling where seasonal raptor restrictions may otherwise apply.

    Surface disturbance associated with the proposal is estimated to include 7,000 acres of initial surface disturbance for the construction of new roads, well pads, pipelines, and support facilities, of which approximately 3,700 acres of surface distrubance may remain for the life of the project.

    The proposal area lies between the towns of Wright and Bill, primarily west of Wyoming Highway 59, and includes approximately 120,000 acres. The USFS manages about 5,700 surface acres, or 5 percent of the Project area surface. The remainder of surface area affected by the proposal is privately owned (88 percent) or held by the State of Wyoming (7 percent). The BLM does not manage any of the surface area potentially affected by the Project. The proposal area includes about 74,000 acres (62 percent of the area) of BLM-administered Federal mineral estate. The remainder of the mineral estate in the Project area is privately owned (30 percent) or held by the State of Wyoming (8 percent). The BLM has identified the following preliminary issues: Greater sage-grouse and raptor conservation, especially ferruginous hawks; year-round drilling where seasonal raptor restrictions may otherwise apply; potential conflicts with coal mining and other area resource uses; air quality; ground and surface waters and water injection sites affected by the proposal; area transportation; the level of anticipated development of oil and gas resources in the planning area; and, the identification of opportunities to apply mitigation hierarchy strategies for on-site, regional, and compensatory mitigation, and, as appropriate, landscape-level conservation and management actions to achieve resource objectives.

    Authorization of this proposal may require amendment of the Casper Field Office, Casper Resource Management Plan (RMP). Similarly, the USFS, as cooperating agency, may use the EIS analysis to support preparation of a land use plan amendment for the Thunder Basin National Grassland, Land and Resource Management Plan (LRMP), if appropriate. By this notice, the BLM is complying with the requirements in 43 CFR 1610.2(c) to notify the public of potential amendments to land use plans, based on the findings of the EIS for the Project. If land use plan amendments are necessary or appropriate, the BLM will integrate the land-use planning processes with the NEPA process for this project.

    The BLM is announcing the beginning of a scoping process to solicit public comments and identify issues associated with the Public. The BLM seeks resource information and data for public land values (e.g., air quality, cultural and historic resources, fire/fuels, fisheries, forestry, lands and realty, non-energy minerals and geology, oil and gas including coalbed natural gas, paleontology, rangeland management, recreation, soil, water, and wildlife) in the Project area. The purpose of this process is to ensure that the BLM's analysis of the Project has sufficient information and data to consider a reasonable range of resource uses, management options, and alternatives for managing public lands. The EIS for the Project will incorporate elements of the Wyoming Core Population Strategy and the BLM's Greater Sage-Grouse planning effort and decisions (76 FR 77008, December 9, 2011).

    In connection with its evaluation of any authorizations and actions proposed in the EIS, the BLM will determine if those actions conform to the decisions in the current and proposed land use plans for the Project area. Any proposed actions that would change the scope of resource uses, terms and conditions, and decisions of these plans may require amendment of the affected plan(s). If the BLM determines that a plan amendment is necessary, it would conduct the appropriate analysis simultaneously with preparation of the EIS for the Project. The planning criteria for any necessary plan amendment will follow that found in the affected plan(s).

    To provide the public with an opportunity to review the proposal and associated information, as well as any proposed plan amendments, the BLM will host public meetings on or before November 25, 2015. The BLM will notify the public of the precise date of such meetings and any other opportunities for the public to be involved in the process at least 15 days prior to the event via news release to the media, individual mailings, and postings on the BLM's Project Web site.

    The BLM will use and coordinate the NEPA commenting process to help fulfill the public involvement process under section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) (16 U.S.C. 470f), as provided for in 36 CFR 800.2(d)(3). Information about historic and cultural resources in the area potentially affected by the Project will assist the BLM in identifying and evaluating impacts to such resources in the context of both NEPA and section 106 of the NHPA. Native American tribal consultations will be conducted in accordance with applicable policy, and tribal concerns will be given due consideration. Federal, State, and local agencies, along with other stakeholders that may be interested or affected by the BLM's decisions on this proposal, are invited to participate in the scoping process and, if eligible, may request or be requested by the BLM to participate as a cooperating agency.

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

    Authority:

    40 CFR 1501.7, 43 CFR 1610.2.

    Mary Jo Rugwell, Acting State Director.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27191 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [LLES962000 L14200000.B0000 15X] Eastern States: Filing of Plats of Survey AGENCY:

    Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice of filing of plats of survey; Minnesota.

    SUMMARY:

    The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will file the plats of survey of the lands described below in the BLM-Eastern States Office, Washington, DC, 30 calendar days from the date of publication in the Federal Register.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Bureau of Land Management, Eastern States Office, 20 M Street SE., Washington DC, 20003. Attn: Cadastral Survey. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to contact the above individual during normal business hours. The FIRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question with the above individual. You will receive a reply during normal business hours.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Survey in the Fifth Principal Meridian requested by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Surveys in the Fourth Principal Meridian were requested by the U.S. Forest Service.

    The lands surveyed are:

    Fourth Principal Meridian, Minnesota T. 64 N., R. 11 W.

    The plat of survey represents the dependent resurvey of the south boundary of Township 64 North, Range 11 West, of the Fourth Principal Meridian, in the State of Minnesota, and was accepted September 28, 2015.

    Fourth Principal Meridian, Minnesota T. 64 N., R. 10 and 11 W.

    The plat of survey represents the dependent resurvey of a portion of the range line between Townships 63 North, Ranges 10 and 11 West, and a portion of the south exterior boundary of Township 64 North, Range 10 West, of the Fourth Principal Meridian, in the State of Minnesota, and was accepted September 28, 2015.

    Fifth Principal Meridian, Minnesota T. 144 N., R. 39 W. and T. 143 N., R. 39 W.

    The plat of survey represents the corrective dependent resurvey of a portion of the subdivisional lines and the corrective survey of the subdivision of sections 22-27, and 36, Township 144 North, Range 39 West, and the corrective dependent resurvey of a portion of the east boundary and the corrective survey of the subdivision of section 1, Township 143 North, Range 39 West, of the Fifth Principal Meridian, in the State of Minnesota, and was accepted September 28, 2015.

    We will place a copy of the plat we described in the open files. It will be available to the public as a matter of information.

    If BLM receives a protest against this survey, as shown on the plat, prior to the date of the official filing, we will stay the filing pending our consideration of the protest.

    We will not officially file the plat until the day after we have accepted or dismissed all protests and they have become final, including decisions on appeals.

    Dated: October 7, 2015. Dominica VanKoten, Chief Cadastral Surveyor.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27126 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310-GJ-P
    INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION [Investigation No. 337-TA-938] Certain Coaxial Cable Connectors and Components Thereof and Products Containing Same Commission Determination Not To Review an Initial Determination Terminating the Investigation in Its Entirety Based Upon Withdrawal of the Complaint AGENCY:

    U.S. International Trade Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    Notice is hereby given that the U.S. International Trade Commission has determined not to review an initial determination (“ID”) (Order No. 10) of the presiding administrative law judge (“ALJ”) granting complainant's motion to withdraw the complaint and terminate the investigation in its entirety.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Panyin A. Hughes, Office of the General Counsel, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW., Washington, DC 20436, telephone (202) 205-3042. Copies of non-confidential documents filed in connection with this investigation are or will be available for inspection during official business hours (8:45 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.) in the Office of the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW., Washington, DC 20436, telephone (202) 205-2000. General information concerning the Commission may also be obtained by accessing its Internet server at http://www.usitc.gov. The public record for this investigation may be viewed on the Commission's electronic docket (EDIS) at http://edis.usitc.gov. Hearing-impaired persons are advised that information on this matter can be obtained by contacting the Commission's TDD terminal on (202) 205-1810.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Commission instituted Inv. No. 337-TA-938 on December 10, 2014, based on a complaint filed by PPC Broadband, Inc. of East Syracuse, New York (“PPC”). 79 FR 73336-37 (Dec. 10, 2014). The complaint alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1337), in the importation into the United States, the sale for importation, and the sale within the United States after importation of certain coaxial cable connectors and components thereof and products containing the same by reason of infringement of several claims of United States Patent No. 8,801,448. The notice of investigation named Corning Optical Communications RF, LLC of Glendale, Arizona (Corning) as respondent. The Office of Unfair Import Investigations is a party to this investigation.

    On September 22, 2015, PPC moved to withdraw the complaint and terminate the investigation in its entirety. Corning and the Commission investigative attorney do not oppose the motion.

    On September 25, 2015, the ALJ issued the subject ID, granting the motion. The ALJ found that the motion complied with the requirements of Commission Rule 210.21(a)(1) (19 CFR 210.21(a)(1)) and further found that no extraordinary circumstances prohibited granting the motion. None of the parties petitioned for review of the ID.

    The Commission has determined not to review the ID.

    The authority for the Commission's determination is contained in section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1337), and in part 210 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (19 CFR part 210).

    By order of the Commission.

    Dated: October 20, 2015. Lisa R. Barton, Secretary to the Commission.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27100 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7020-02-P
    DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Office of the Secretary Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Acquisition and Sale of Trust Real Estate Investment Trust Shares by Individual Account Plans Sponsored by Trust Real Estate Investment Trusts ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Labor (DOL) is submitting the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) sponsored information collection request (ICR) titled, “Acquisition and Sale of Trust Real Estate Investment Trust Shares by Individual Account Plans Sponsored by Trust Real Estate Investment Trusts,” to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval for continued use, without change, in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. Public comments on the ICR are invited.

    DATES:

    The OMB will consider all written comments that agency receives on or before November 25, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    A copy of this ICR with applicable supporting documentation; including a description of the likely respondents, proposed frequency of response, and estimated total burden may be obtained free of charge from the RegInfo.gov Web site at http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=201509-1210-002 (this link will only become active on the day following publication of this notice) or by contacting Michel Smyth by telephone at 202-693-4129, TTY 202-693-8064, (these are not toll-free numbers) or by email at [email protected]

    Submit comments about this request by mail or courier to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Attn: OMB Desk Officer for DOL-EBSA, Office of Management and Budget, Room 10235, 725 17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20503; by Fax: 202-395-5806 (this is not a toll-free number); or by email: [email protected] Commenters are encouraged, but not required, to send a courtesy copy of any comments by mail or courier to the U.S. Department of Labor-OASAM, Office of the Chief Information Officer, Attn: Departmental Information Compliance Management Program, Room N1301, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; or by email: [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Contact Michel Smyth by telephone at 202-693-4129, TTY 202-693-8064, (these are not toll-free numbers) or by email at [email protected]

    Authority:

    44 U.S.C. 3507(a)(1)(D).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This ICR seeks to extend PRA authority for the Acquisition and Sale of Trust Real Estate Investment Trust Shares by Individual Account Plans Sponsored by Trust Real Estate Investment Trusts information collection. Prohibited Transaction Class Exemption 2004-07 permits an individual account pension plan sponsored by a real estate investment trust (REIT) that is organized as a business trust under State law (Trust REIT), or by its affiliates, to purchase, hold and sell publicly traded shares of beneficial interest in the Trust REIT. The relief also covers contributions in kind of REIT shares. Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (Code) section 4975 and Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) section 406 would otherwise prohibit such purchases, holdings, and sales. See 26 U.S.C. 4975 and 29 U.S.C. 1106. The class exemption requires, among other conditions, that the Trust REIT (or its agent) provide the person who has authority to direct acquisition or sale of REIT shares with the most recent prospectus, quarterly report, and annual report concerning the Trust REIT immediately before an initial investment in the Trust REIT. The person with such authority may be, under the terms of the plan, either an independent fiduciary or a participant exercising investment rights pertaining to his or her individual account under the plan. Updated versions of the reports must be provided to the directing person as subsequently published. The exemption further requires the plan to maintain records concerning investments in a Trust REIT, subject to appropriate confidentiality procedures, for a period of six years and make them available to interested persons including the Department and participants and beneficiaries. The confidentiality procedures must be designed to protect against the possibility that an employer may exert undue influence on participants regarding share-related transactions, and the participants and beneficiaries of the plan must be provided with a statement describing the confidentiality procedures in place and the fiduciary responsible for monitoring these procedures. Code section 4975(c)(2) and ERISA section 408(a) authorize this information collection. See 26 U.S.C. 4975(c)(2) and 29 U.S.C. 1108(a).

    This information collection is subject to the PRA. A Federal agency generally cannot conduct or sponsor a collection of information, and the public is generally not required to respond to an information collection, unless it is approved by the OMB under the PRA and displays a currently valid OMB Control Number. In addition, notwithstanding any other provisions of law, no person shall generally be subject to penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information that does not display a valid Control Number. See 5 CFR 1320.5(a) and 1320.6. The DOL obtains OMB approval for this information collection under Control Number 1210-0124.

    OMB authorization for an ICR cannot be for more than three (3) years without renewal, and the current approval for this collection is scheduled to expire on October 31, 2015. The DOL seeks to extend PRA authorization for this information collection for three (3) more years, without any change to existing requirements. The DOL notes that existing information collection requirements submitted to the OMB receive a month-to-month extension while they undergo review. For additional substantive information about this ICR, see the related notice published in the Federal Register on June 17, 2015 (80 FR 34696).

    Interested parties are encouraged to send comments to the OMB, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the address shown in the ADDRESSES section within thirty (30) days of publication of this notice in the Federal Register. In order to help ensure appropriate consideration, comments should mention OMB Control Number 1210-0124. The OMB is particularly interested in comments that:

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

    • Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

    • Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

    • Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

    Agency: DOL-EBSA.

    Title of Collection: Acquisition and Sale of Trust Real Estate Investment Trust Shares by Individual Account Plans Sponsored by Trust Real Estate Investment Trusts.

    OMB Control Number: 1210-0124.

    Affected Public: Private Sector—businesses or other for-profits.

    Total Estimated Number of Respondents: 52.

    Total Estimated Number of Responses: 109,200.

    Total Estimated Annual Time Burden: 5,469 hours.

    Total Estimated Annual Other Costs Burden: $346,000.

    Dated: October 20, 2015. Michel Smyth, Departmental Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27119 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4510-29-P
    DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Occupational Safety and Health Administration [Docket No. OSHA-2012-0027] The 1,3-Butadiene Standard; Extension of the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Approval of Information Collection (Paperwork) Requirements AGENCY:

    Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Labor.

    ACTION:

    Request for public comments.

    SUMMARY:

    OSHA solicits public comments concerning its proposal to extend the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) approval of the information collection requirements specified in the 1,3-Butadiene (BD) Standard (29 CFR 1910.1051).

    DATES:

    Comments must be submitted (postmarked, sent, or received) by December 28, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Electronically: You may submit comments and attachments electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, which is the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Follow the instructions online for submitting comments.

    Facsimile: If your comments, including attachments, are not longer than 10 pages you may fax them to the OSHA Docket Office at (202) 693-1648.

    Mail, hand delivery, express mail, messenger, or courier service: When using this method, you must submit your comments and attachments to the OSHA Docket Office, Docket No. OSHA-2012-0027, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, Room N-2625, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210. Deliveries (hand, express mail, messenger, and courier service) are accepted during the Department of Labor's and Docket Office's normal business hours, 8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., e.t.

    Instructions: All submissions must include the Agency name and the OSHA docket number (OSHA-2012-0027) for the Information Collection Request (ICR). All comments, including any personal information you provide, are placed in the public docket without change, and may be made available online at http://www.regulations.gov. For further information on submitting comments see the “Public Participation” heading in the section of this notice titled SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

    Docket: To read or download comments or other material in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov or the OSHA Docket Office at the address above. All documents in the docket (including this Federal Register notice) are listed in the http://www.regulations.gov index; however, some information (e.g., copyrighted material) is not publicly available to read or download from the Web site. All submissions, including copyrighted material, are available for inspection and copying at the OSHA Docket Office. You also may contact Theda Kenney at the address below to obtain a copy of the ICR.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Theda Kenney or Todd Owen, Directorate of Standards and Guidance, OSHA, U.S. Department of Labor, Room N-3609, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone (202) 693-2222.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Background

    The Department of Labor, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent (i.e., employer) burden, conducts a preclearance consultation program to provide the public with an opportunity to comment on proposed and continuing information collection requirements in accord with the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)). This program ensures that information is in the desired format, reporting burden (time and costs) is minimal, collection instruments are clearly understood, and OSHA's estimate of the information collection burden is accurate. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (the OSH Act) (29 U.S.C. 651 et seq.) authorizes information collection by employers as necessary or appropriate for enforcement of the OSH Act or for developing information regarding the causes and prevention of occupationl injuries, illnesses, and accidents (29 U.S.C. 657). The OSH Act also requires that OSHA obtain such information with minimum burden upon employers, especially those operating small businesses, and to reduce to the maximum extent feasible unnecessary duplication of efforts in obtaining information (29 U.S.C. 657).

    The BD Standard requires employers to monitor employee exposure to 1,3-Butadiene; develop and maintain compliance and exposure goal programs if employee exposures to BD are above the Standard's permissible exposure limits or action level; label respirator filter elements to indicate the date and time it is first installed on the respirator; establish medical surveillance programs to monitor employee health, and to provide employees with information about their exposures and the health effects of exposure to BD.

    II. Special Issues for Comment

    OSHA has a particular interest in comments on the following issues:

    • Whether the proposed information collection requirements are necessary for the proper performance of the Agency's functions, including whether the information is useful;

    • The accuracy of OSHA's estimate of the burden (time and costs) of the information collection requirements, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

    • The quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; and

    • Ways to minimize the burden on employers who must comply; for example, by using automated or other technological information collection and transmission techniques.

    III. Proposed Actions

    OSHA is requesting that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) extend the approval of the collection of information (paperwork) requirements contained in the 1,3 Butadiene Standard (29 CFR 1910.1051). The Agency is requesting a one hour adjustment (from 916 hours to 915 burden hours). The adjustment is a result of the elimination of the federal access from the burden hour calculation from this ICR.

    Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection.

    Title: The 1,3 Butadiene Standard (29 CFR 1910.1051).

    OMB Number: 1218-0170.

    Affected Public: Business or other for-profits; Not-for-profit organizations; Federal Government; State, Local, or Tribal Government.

    Number of Respondents: 50.

    Frequency of Response: On occasion.

    Total Responses: 3650.

    Average Time per Response: Time per response ranges from 15 seconds (.004 hour) to write the date and time on each new cartridge label to 2 hours to complete a referral medical examination.

    Estimated Total Burden Hours: 915.

    Estimated Cost (Operation and Maintenance): $112,808.

    IV. Public Participation—Submission of Comments on This Notice and Internet Access to Comments and Submissions

    You may submit comments in response to this document as follows: (1) Electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, which is the Federal eRulemaking Portal; (2) by facsimile; or (3) by hard copy. All comments, attachments, and other material must identify the Agency name and the OSHA docket number for this ICR (Docket No. OSHA-2012-0027). You may supplement electronic submissions by uploading document files electronically. If you wish to mail additional materials in reference to an electronic or facsimile submission, you must submit them to the OSHA Docket Office (see the section of this notice titled ADDRESSES). The additional materials must clearly identify your electronic comments by your name, date, and the docket number so the Agency can attach them to your comments.

    Because of security procedures, the use of regular mail may cause a significant delay in the receipt of comments. For information about security procedures concerning the delivery of materials by hand, express delivery, messenger, or courier service, please contact the OSHA Docket Office at (202) 693-2350, (TTY (877) 889-5627).

    Comments and submissions are posted without change at http://www.regulations.gov. Therefore, OSHA cautions commenters about submitting personal information such as your social security number and date of birth. Although all submissions are listed in the http://www.regulations.gov index, some information (e.g., copyrighted material) is not publicly available to read or download from this Web site. All submissions, including copyrighted material, are available for inspection and copying at the OSHA Docket Office. Information on using the http://www.regulations.gov Web site to submit comments and access the docket is available at the Web site's “User Tips” link. Contact the OSHA Docket Office for information about materials not available from the Web site, and for assistance in using the Internet to locate docket submissions.

    V. Authority and Signature

    David Michaels, Ph.D., MPH, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, directed the preparation of this notice. The authority for this notice is the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3506 et seq.) and Secretary of Labor's Order No. 1-2012 (77 FR 3912).

    Signed at Washington, DC, on October 20, 2015. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27065 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4510-26-P
    DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Occupational Safety and Health Administration [Docket No. OSHA-2015-0022] Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee (WPAC) AGENCY:

    Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Labor.

    ACTION:

    Announcement of a meeting of WPAC.

    SUMMARY:

    WPAC will meet November 10, 2015, in Washington, DC.

    DATES:

    WPAC meeting: WPAC will meet from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., E.T., Tuesday, November 10, 2015.

    Written comments, requests to speak, speaker presentations, and requests for special accommodation: You must submit (postmark, send, transmit) comments, requests to address the WPAC meeting, speaker presentations (written or electronic), and requests for special accommodations for the WPAC meeting by November 2, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    WPAC meeting: WPAC will meet in Room S-4215 A-C, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210.

    Submission of comments, requests to speak, and speaker presentations: You may submit comments, requests to speak at the WPAC meeting, and speaker presentations using one of the following methods:

    Electronically: You may submit materials, including attachments, electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, which is the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Follow the on-line instructions for submissions.

    Facsimile (Fax): If your submission, including attachments, does not exceed 10 pages, you may fax it to the OSHA Docket Office at (202) 693-1648.

    Regular mail, express mail, hand delivery, or messenger (courier) service: You may submit your materials to the OSHA Docket Office, Docket No. OSHA-2015-0022, Room N-2625, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone (202) 693-2350 (TTY (877) 889-5627). OSHA's Docket Office accepts deliveries (hand deliveries, express mail, and messenger service) during normal business hours, 8:15 a.m.-4:45 p.m., E.T., weekdays.

    Requests for special accommodations: Please submit any requests for special accommodations to attend the WPAC meeting to Ms. Gretta Jameson, OSHA, Office of Communications, Room N-3647, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone (202) 693-1999; email [email protected]

    Instructions: Your submissions must include the agency name and docket number for this Federal Register notice (Docket No. OSHA-2015-0022). Due to security-related procedures, submissions by regular mail may experience significant delays. Please contact the OSHA Docket Office for information about security procedures for making submissions. For additional information on submitting comments, requests to speak, and speaker presentations, see the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this notice.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For press inquiries: Mr. Frank Meilinger, Director, OSHA Office of Communications, Room N-3647, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone (202) 693-1999; email [email protected]

    For general information about WPAC and WPAC meetings: Mr. Anthony Rosa, OSHA, Directorate of Whistleblower Protection Programs, Room N-4618, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone (202) 693-2199; email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: WPAC Meeting

    WPAC will meet Tuesday, November 10, 2015, in Washington, DC. WPAC meetings are open to the public.

    The tentative agenda of the WPAC meeting includes:

    Remarks from the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA);

    Remarks from the Director of the Directorate of Whistleblower Protection Programs;

    Presentation on State Plan issues;

    Public comments;

    Work Group discussions/presentations; and,

    Old business.

    OSHA transcribes WPAC meetings and prepares detailed minutes of the meetings. OSHA places the meeting transcripts and minutes in the public record of the WPAC meeting. The public record also includes Work Group reports, speaker presentations, comments and other materials submitted to WPAC.

    WPAC Work Group

    The Best Practices and Corporate Culture Work Group will meet on November 9, 2015. This work group meeting will be open to the public. The purpose of the work group is to provide recommendations to the full WPAC committee on issues related to best practices. The work group may report to WPAC at the November 10, 2015 meeting for discussion by the full committee. The work group will meet from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on November 9, 2015 in S-4215 A-C in the Francis Perkins Building.

    For additional information on WPAC work group meetings or participating in them, please contact Mr. Rosa or look on the WPAC page on OSHA's Web page at http://www.whistleblowers.gov.

    Public Participation, Submissions, and Access to Public Record

    WPAC meetings: All WPAC meetings are open to the public. Individuals attending meetings at the U.S. Department of Labor must enter the building at the visitors' entrance, 3rd and C Streets NW., and pass through building security. Attendees must have valid government-issued photo identification (such as a driver's license) to enter the building. For additional information about building security measures for attending WPAC meetings, please contact Ms. Jameson (see ADDRESSES section).

    Individuals needing special accommodations to attend the WPAC meeting should contact Ms. Jameson as well.

    Submission of written comments: You may submit written comments using one of the methods identified in the ADDRESSES section. Your submissions must include the Agency name and docket number for this WPAC meeting (Docket No. OSHA-2015-0022). OSHA will provide copies of submissions to WPAC members.

    Because of security-related procedures, submissions by regular mail may experience significant delays. For information about security procedures for submitting materials by hand delivery, express mail, and messenger or courier service, please contact the OSHA Docket Office (see ADDRESSES section).

    Requests to speak and speaker presentations: If you want to address WPAC at the meeting, you must submit your request to speak, as well as any written or electronic presentation, by November 2, 2015, using one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. Your request must state:

    • The amount of time requested to speak;

    • The interest you represent (e.g., business, organization, affiliation), if any; and

    • A brief outline of your presentation.

    The WPAC Chair may grant requests to address WPAC as time and circumstances permit.

    Public docket of the WPAC meeting: OSHA will place comments, requests to speak, and speaker presentations, including any personal information you provide, in the public docket of this WPAC meeting without change, and those documents may be available online at http://www.regulations.gov. Therefore, OSHA cautions you about submitting personal information, such as Social Security numbers and birthdates.

    OSHA also places in the public docket the meeting transcript, meeting minutes, documents presented at the WPAC meeting, and other documents pertaining to the WPAC meeting. These documents are available online at http://www.regulations.gov under Docket No. OSHA-2015-0022.

    Access to the public record of WPAC meetings: To read or download documents in the public docket of this WPAC meeting, go to Docket No. OSHA-2015-0022 at http://www.regulations.gov. The http://www.regulations.gov index also lists all documents in the public record for this meeting; however, some documents (e.g., copyrighted materials) are not publicly available through that Web page. All documents in the public record, including materials not available through http://www.regulations.gov, are available for inspection and copying in the OSHA Docket Office (see ADDRESSES section). Please contact the OSHA Docket Office for assistance in making submissions to, or obtaining materials from, the public docket.

    Electronic copies of this Federal Register notice are available at http://www.regulations.gov. This notice, as well as news releases and other relevant information, also are available on the Directorate of Whistleblower Protections Programs Web page at http://www.whistleblowers.gov.

    Authority and Signature

    David Michaels, Ph.D., MPH, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, authorized the preparation of this notice under the authority granted by 5 U.S.C. App. 2, 41 CFR part 102-3, chapter 1600 of Department of Labor Management Series 3 (Aug. 15, 2013), 77 FR 3912 (Jan. 25, 2012), and the Secretary of Labor's authority to administer the whistleblower provisions found in 29 U.S.C. 660(c), 49 U.S.C. 31105, 15 U.S.C. 2651, 46 U.S.C. 80507, 42 U.S.C. 300j-9(i), 33 U.S.C. 1367, 15 U.S.C. 2622, 42 U.S.C. 6971, 42 U.S.C. 7622, 42 U.S.C. 9610, 42 U.S.C. 5851, 49 U.S.C. 42121, 18 U.S.C. 1514A, 49 U.S.C. 60129, 49 U.S.C. 20109, 6 U.S.C. 1142, 15 U.S.C. 2087, 29 U.S.C. 218c, 12 U.S.C. 5567, 46 U.S.C. 2114, 21 U.S.C. 399d, and 49 U.S.C. 30171.

    Signed at Washington, DC, on October 21, 2015. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27136 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4510-26-P
    LEGAL SERVICES CORPORATION Notice of Intent To Award—Grant Awards for the Provision of Civil Legal Services to Eligible Low-Income Clients Beginning January 1, 2016 AGENCY:

    Legal Services Corporation.

    ACTION:

    Announcement of intention to make FY 2016 Competitive Grant Awards.

    SUMMARY:

    The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) hereby announces its intention to award grants and contracts to provide economical and effective delivery of high quality civil legal services to eligible low-income clients, beginning January 1, 2016.

    DATES:

    All comments and recommendations must be received on or before the close of business on November 25, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Legal Services Corporation—Competitive Grants, Legal Services Corporation; 3333 K Street NW., Third Floor; Washington, DC 20007.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Reginald Haley, Office of Program Performance, at (202) 295-1545, or [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Pursuant to LSC's announcement of funding availability on March 27, 2015, 80 FR 16461, and Grant Renewal applications due beginning June 1, 2015, LSC intends to award funds to provide civil legal services in the indicated service areas. Applicants for each service area are listed below. The amounts below reflect the funding amounts for 2015 grant awards to each service area. These amounts will change based on the 2016 census adjustment and the final FY2016 appropriation.

    LSC will post all updates and/or changes to this notice at http://www.grants.lsc.gov/grants-grantee-resources. Interested parties are asked to visit http://www.grants.lsc.gov/grants-grantee-resources regularly for updates on the LSC competitive grants process.

    Name of applicant organization State Service area Estimated annualized 2016 funding Alaska Legal Services AK AK-1 $ 659,864 Alaska Legal Services AK NAK-1 542,139 Legal Services Alabama AL AL-4 5,972,421 Center For Arkansas Legal Services AR AR-7 2,183,008 Legal Aid of Arkansas AR AR-6 1,495,419 American Samoa Legal Aid AS AS-1 222,147 Community Legal Services AZ AZ-3 5,017,450 Community Legal Services AZ MAZ 148,510 DNA-People's Legal Services AZ AZ-2 428,253 DNA-People's Legal Services AZ NAZ-5 2,615,849 Southern Arizona Legal Aid AZ AZ-5 2,121,481 Southern Arizona Legal Aid AZ NAZ-6 638,976 Bay Area Legal Aid CA CA-28 4,203,084 California Indian Legal Services CA CA-1 24,492 California Indian Legal Services CA NCA-1 885,652 California Rural Legal Assist CA CA-31 4,766,159 California Rural Legal Assist CA MCA 2,640,544 Central California Legal Services CA CA-26 2,838,996 Greater Bakersfield Legal Assist CA CA-2 1,018,963 Inland Counties Legal Services CA CA-12 4,676,508 Legal Aid Society of Orange County CA CA-19 3,514,880 Legal Aid Society of San Diego CA CA-14 2,793,238 Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles CA CA-29 5,746,726 Legal Services of Northern California CA CA-27 3,650,471 Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County CA CA-30 3,767,240 Colorado Legal Services CO CO-6 4,402,360 Colorado Legal Services CO MCO 148,559 Colorado Legal Services CO NCO-1 96,270 Pine Tree Legal Assistance CT NCT-1 15,693 Statewide Legal Services of Connecticut CT CT-1 2,430,737 Neighborhood Legal Services Program of the District of Columbia DC DC-1 754,494 Legal Aid Bureau DE MDE 24,834 Legal Services Corporation of Delaware DE DE-1 689,992 Bay Area Legal Services FL FL-16 3,274,589 Coast To Coast Legal Aid of So. Florida FL FL-18 1,959,338 Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida FL FL-15 4,086,748 Florida Rural Legal Services FL FL-17 3,759,690 Florida Rural Legal Services FL MFL 898,346 Legal Services of Greater Miami FL FL-5 3,221,428 Legal Services of North Florida FL FL-13 1,512,808 Three Rivers Legal Services FL FL-14 2,028,848 Atlanta Legal Aid Society GA GA-1 3,669,473 Georgia Legal Services Program GA GA-2 7,713,271 Georgia Legal Services Program GA MGA 392,175 Guam Legal Services GU GU-1 250,355 Legal Aid Society of Hawaii HI HI-1 1,213,720 Legal Aid Society of Hawaii HI NHI-1 229,627 Iowa Legal Aid IA MIA 37,740 Iowa Legal Aid IA IA-3 2,506,246 Idaho Legal Aid Services ID ID-1 1,460,374 Idaho Legal Aid Services ID MID 186,963 Idaho Legal Aid Services ID NID-1 65,127 LAF (Legal Assist Foundation. Metro. Chicago) IL IL-6 5,804,915 LAF (Legal Assist Foundation. Metro. Chicago) IL MIL 249,699 Land of Lincoln Legal Assist. Foundation IL IL-3 2,511,505 Prairie State Legal Services IL IL-7 3,650,736 Indiana Legal Services IN IN-5 6,558,725 Indiana Legal Services IN MIN 113,731 Kansas Legal Services KS KS-1 2,623,776 Appalachian Res. & Def. Fund of Kentucky KY KY-5 1,534,297 Kentucky Legal Aid KY KY-9 1,140,900 Legal Aid of The Blue Grass KY KY-10 1,479,070 Legal Aid Society KY KY-2 1,324,022 Acadiana Legal Services Corp LA LA-10 1,471,883 Legal Services of North Louisiana LA LA-11 1,415,964 Southeast Louisiana Legal Services Corporation LA LA-13 2,845,567 Community Legal Aid MA MA-10 1,399,287 Northeast Legal Aid MA MA-4 774,370 South Coastal Counties Legal Services MA MA-12 860,641 Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar MA MA-11 1,902,693 Legal Aid Bureau MD MD-1 3,725,595 Legal Aid Bureau MD MMD 90,943 Pine Tree Legal Assistance ME ME-1 1,104,061 Pine Tree Legal Assistance ME MMX-1 124,933 Pine Tree Legal Assistance ME NME-1 64,612 Pending receipt and review of grant proposals 1 MI MI-13 4,368,810 Legal Aid of Western Michigan MI MI-15 2,217,766 Legal Services of Eastern Michigan MI MI-14 1,626,693 Legal Services of Northern Michigan MI MI-9 815,225 Michigan Advocacy Program MI MI-12 1,637,057 Michigan Advocacy Program MI MMI 602,101 Michigan Indian Legal Services MI NMI-1 165,020 Anishinabe Legal Services MN NMN-1 239,566 Cent Minnesota Legal Services MN MN-6 1,675,663 Legal Aid Serv. of N.E. Minn MN MN-1 439,057 Legal Services of Northwest Minnesota Corp MN MN-4 336,144 S. Minn. Regional Legal Services MN MMN 200,128 S. Minn. Regional Legal Services MN MN-5 1,547,664 Legal Aid of Western Missouri MO MMO 81,487 Legal Aid of Western Missouri MO MO-3 1,939,623 Legal Services of Eastern Missouri MO MO-4 1,999,642 Legal Services of Southern Missouri MO MO-7 1,690,050 Mid-Missouri Legal Services Corporation MO MO-5 445,273 Micronesian Legal Services MP MP-1 1,255,539 Mississippi Center For Legal Services MS MS-10 2,653,869 Mississippi Center For Legal Services MS NMS-1 83,330 North Mississippi Rural Legal Services MS MS-9 1,747,289 Montana Legal Services Association MT MMT 54,599 Montana Legal Services Association MT MT-1 953,302 Montana Legal Services Association MT NMT-1 159,616 Legal Aid of North Carolina NC MNC 536,104 Legal Aid of North Carolina NC NC-5 10,616,211 Legal Aid of North Carolina NC NNC-1 218,781 Legal Services of North Dakota ND ND-3 447,577 Legal Services of North Dakota ND NND-3 270,032 Southern MN Regional Legal Services ND MND 115,945 Legal Aid of Nebraska NE MNE 42,294 Legal Aid of Nebraska NE NE-4 1,524,974 Legal Aid of Nebraska NE NNE-1 33,135 Legal Advice & Referral Center NH NH-1 742,908 Central Jersey Legal Services NJ NJ-17 1,095,631 Essex-Newark Legal Services Project NJ NJ-8 831,986 Legal Services of Northwest Jersey NJ NJ-15 389,039 Northeast New Jersey Legal Services NJ NJ-18 1,632,392 South Jersey Legal Services NJ MNJ 120,687 South Jersey Legal Services NJ NJ-12 681,325 South Jersey Legal Services NJ NJ-16 1,247,913 DNA-People's Legal Services NM NM-1 189,219 DNA-People's Legal Services NM NNM-2 22,773 New Mexico Legal Aid NM MNM 87,360 New Mexico Legal Aid NM NM-5 2,568,653 New Mexico Legal Aid NM NNM-4 465,776 Nevada Legal Services NV NNV-1 133,300 Nevada Legal Services NV NV-1 2,689,598 Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York NY MNY 276,872 Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York NY NY-22 1,586,522 Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York NY NY-21 1,235,643 Legal Assistance of Western New York NY NY-23 1,668,875 Legal Services of The Hudson Valley NY NY-20 1,623,879 Legal Services For New York City NY NY-9 11,120,280 Nassau/Suffolk Law Services NY NY-7 1,162,634 Neighborhood Legal Services NY NY-24 1,194,326 Community Legal Aid Services OH OH-20 1,942,738 Legal Aid of Western Ohio OH MOH 126,002 Legal Aid of Western Ohio OH OH-23 3,018,102 Legal Aid Society of Cleveland OH OH-21 2,180,522 Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati OH OH-18 1,640,696 Ohio State Legal Services OH OH-24 3,505,040 Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma OK MOK 62,596 Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma OK OK-3 4,213,616 Oklahoma Indian Legal Services OK NOK-1 820,795 Legal Aid Services of Oregon OR MOR 557,181 Legal Aid Services of Oregon OR NOR-1 185,053 Legal Aid Services of Oregon OR OR-6 3,596,884 Laurel Legal Services PA PA-5 632,369 Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania PA PA-23 1,111,687 MidPenn Legal Services PA PA-25 2,309,547 Neighborhood Legal Services Association PA PA-8 1,396,409 North Penn Legal Services PA PA-24 1,850,007 Northwestern Legal Services PA PA-26 696,354 Philadelphia Legal Assist. Center PA MPA 165,788 Philadelphia Legal Assist. Center PA PA-1 2,738,694 Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Services PA PA-11 421,409 Community Law Office PR PR-2 221,282 Puerto Rico Legal Services PR MPR 290,819 Puerto Rico Legal Services PR PR-1 11,127,089 Rhode Island Legal Services RI RI-1 950,613 South Carolina Legal Services SC MSC 197,851 South Carolina Legal Services SC SC-8 5,504,311 Dakota Plains Legal Services SD NSD-1 935,989 Dakota Plains Legal Services SD SD-4 385,715 East River Legal Services SD SD-2 385,575 Legal Aid Society of Middle TN and the Cumberlands TN TN-10 3,077,716 Legal Aid of East Tennessee TN TN-9 2,408,494 Memphis Area Legal Services TN TN-4 1,421,775 West Tennessee Legal Services TN TN-7 693,812 Legal Aid of Northwest Texas TX TX-14 8,649,058 Lone Star Legal Aid TX TX-13 10,283,901 Texas RioGrande Legal Aid TX MSX-2 1,692,033 Texas RioGrande Legal Aid TX NTX-1 31,374 Texas RioGrande Legal Aid TX TX-15 10,260,847 Utah Legal Services UT MUT 67,848 Utah Legal Services UT NUT-1 82,473 Utah Legal Services UT UT-1 2,346,659 Blue Ridge Legal Services VA VA-19 784,252 Central Virginia Legal Aid Society VA MVA 157,757 Central Virginia Legal Aid Society VA VA-18 1,111,038 Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia VA VA-16 1,145,838 Legal Services of Northern Virginia VA VA-20 1,254,701 Southwest Virginia Legal Aid Society VA VA-15 716,020 Virginia Legal Aid Society VA VA-17 850,074 Legal Services of The Virgin Islands VI VI-1 164,978 Legal Services Law Line of Vermont VT VT-1 486,833 Northwest Justice Project WA MWA 730,121 Northwest Justice Project WA NWA-1 285,566 Northwest Justice Project WA WA-1 5,393,583 Legal Action of Wisconsin WI MWI 91,069 Legal Action of Wisconsin WI WI-5 3,886,718 Wisconsin Judicare WI NWI-1 155,502 Wisconsin Judicare WI WI-2 1,024,320 Legal Aid of West Virginia WV WV-5 2,253,495 Legal Aid of Wyoming WY WY-4 416,828 Legal Aid of Wyoming WY NWY-1 173,227 1 LSC re-competed the MI-13 service area in Michigan on September 22, 2015. Grant proposals are due October 23, 2015. LSC will publish the notice of intent to award funding for the MI-13 service area in November 2015.

    These grants will be awarded under the authority conferred on LSC by Section 1006(a)(1) of the Legal Services Corporation Act, 42 U.S.C. 2996e(a)(1). Awards will be made so that each service area is served, although no listed organization is guaranteed an award or contract. Grants will become effective and grant funds will be distributed on or about January 1, 2016.

    This notice is issued pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 2996g(e). Comments and recommendations concerning potential grantees are invited, and should be delivered to LSC within thirty (30) days from the date of publication of this notice.

    Dated: October 21, 2015. Stefanie K. Davis, Assistant General Counsel.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27140 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7050-01-P
    OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET Draft 2015 Report to Congress on the Benefits and Costs of Federal Regulations and Unfunded Mandates on State, Local, and Tribal Entities AGENCY:

    Office of Management and Budget, Executive Office of the President.

    ACTION:

    Notice of availability and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requests comments on its Draft 2015 Report to Congress on the Benefits and Costs of Federal Regulations, available at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/inforeg_regpol_reports_congress/. The Draft Report is divided into three chapters. Chapter I examines the benefits and costs of major Federal regulations issued in fiscal year 2014 and summarizes the benefits and costs of major regulations issued between October 2004 and September 2014. It also discusses regulatory impacts on State, local, and tribal governments, small business, wages, and economic growth. Chapter II offers recommendations for regulatory reform. Chapter III summarizes agency compliance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.

    OMB requests that comments be submitted electronically to OMB by December 21, 2015 through www.regulations.gov.

    DATES:

    To ensure consideration of comments as OMB prepares this Draft Report for submission to Congress, comments must be in writing and received by December 21, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments by one of the following methods:

    www.regulations.gov: Direct comments to Docket ID OMB-2014-0002.

    Fax: (202) 395-5806.

    Mail: Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, Attn: Mabel Echols, NEOB, Room 10102, 725 17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20503. To ensure that your comments are received, we recommend that comments on this draft report be electronically submitted.

    All comments and recommendations submitted in response to this notice will be made available to the public, including by posting them on OMB's Web site. For this reason, please do not include in your comments information of a confidential nature, such as sensitive personal information or proprietary information. The www.regulations.gov Web site is an “anonymous access” system, which means OMB will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. For further information, contact: Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, NEOB, Room 10102, 725 17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20503. Telephone: (202) 395-5897.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Congress directed the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to prepare an annual Report to Congress on the Costs and Benefits of Federal Regulations. Specifically, Section 624 of the FY 2001 Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, also known as the “Regulatory Right-to-Know Act,” (the Act) requires OMB to submit a report on the costs and benefits of Federal regulations together with recommendations for reform. The Act states that the report should contain estimates of the costs and benefits of regulations in the aggregate, by agency and agency program, and by major rule, as well as an analysis of impacts of Federal regulation on State, local, and tribal governments, small businesses, wages, and economic growth. The Act also states that the report should be subject to notice and comment and peer review.

    Howard Shelanski, Administrator, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27163 Filed 10-23-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3110-01-P
    NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION [Notice: (15-092)] Notice of Centennial Challenges 2016 Sample Return Robot (SRR) Challenge AGENCY:

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

    ACTION:

    Notice of Centennial Challenges 2016 Sample Return Robot (SRR) Challenge.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice is issued in accordance with 51 U.S.C. 20144(c). The Sample Return Robot (SRR) Challenge is scheduled and teams that wish to compete may now register. Centennial Challenges is a program of prize competitions to stimulate innovation in technologies of interest and value to NASA and the nation. The 2016 SRR Challenge is a prize competition designed to encourage development of new technologies or application of existing technologies in unique ways to autonomously collect and retrieve samples using robotics. NASA is providing the prize purse and Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) is conducting the challenge.

    DATES:

    2016 SRR Challenge for Level 1 will be held June 6-11, 2016; Level 2 will be held September 1-5, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    2016 SRR Challenge will be conducted at Worcester Polytechnic Institute near Worcester, Massachusetts.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    To register for or get additional information regarding the 2016 SRR Challenge, please visit: http://www.nasa.gov/robotprize.

    For general information on the NASA Centennial Challenges Program please visit: http://www.nasa.gov/challenges. General questions and comments regarding the program should be addressed to Monsi Roman, Centennial Challenges Program, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL 35812. Email address: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Summary

    Autonomous robot rovers will seek out samples and return them to a designated point in a set time period. Samples will be randomly placed throughout the roving area. They may be placed close to obstacles, both movable and immovable. Robots will be required to navigate over unknown terrain, around obstacles, and in varied lighting conditions to identify, retrieve, and return these samples. Winners will be determined based on the number of samples returned to the designated collection point as well as the value assigned to the samples.

    I. Prize Amounts

    The total Sample Return Robot Challenge purse is $1,500,000 (one million five hundred thousand U.S. dollars). Prizes will be offered for entries that meet specific requirements detailed in the Rules.

    II. Eligibility

    To be eligible to win a prize, competitors must;

    (1) Register and comply with all requirements in the rules.

    (2) In the case of a private entity, shall be incorporated in and maintain a primary place of business in the United States, and in the case of an individual, whether participating singly or in a group, shall be