Federal Register Vol. 80, No.220,

Federal Register Volume 80, Issue 220 (November 16, 2015)

Page Range70669-71680
FR Document

80_FR_220
Current View
Page and SubjectPDF
80 FR 70680 - Schedules of Controlled Substances: Placement of Eluxadoline Into Schedule IVPDF
80 FR 71677 - Termination of Emergency With Respect to the Actions and Policies of Former Liberian President Charles TaylorPDF
80 FR 70834 - Sunshine Act MeetingPDF
80 FR 70864 - In the Matter of Riverdale Mining Inc., and Tresoro Mining Corp., Order of Suspension of TradingPDF
80 FR 70862 - In the Matter of Tirex Corporation, Order of Suspension of TradingPDF
80 FR 70782 - Sunshine Act MeetingPDF
80 FR 70752 - Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) 277-Western Maricopa County, Arizona; Authorization of Production Activity; The Cookson Company, Inc. (Rolling Steel Doors); Goodyear, ArizonaPDF
80 FR 70802 - Sunshine Act MeetingPDF
80 FR 70751 - Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) 76-Bridgeport, Connecticut; Notification of Proposed Production Activity; MannKind Corporation (Inhalable Insulin); Danbury, ConnecticutPDF
80 FR 70752 - Foreign-Trade Zone 119-Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota; Application for Subzone; CNH Industrial America LLC; Benson, MinnesotaPDF
80 FR 70754 - Polyethylene Terephthalate Film, Sheet, and Strip From the People's Republic of China: Final Results of Administrative Review; 2013-2014PDF
80 FR 70808 - Medicare Program; CY 2016 Inpatient Hospital Deductible and Hospital and Extended Care Services Coinsurance AmountsPDF
80 FR 70756 - Multilayered Wood Flooring From the People's Republic of China: Final Results of Changed Circumstances ReviewPDF
80 FR 70758 - Circular Welded Carbon Quality Steel Pipe From the People's Republic of China: Notice of Court Decision Not in Harmony With Final Determination and Amended Final Determination Under Section 129 of the Uruguay Round Agreements ActPDF
80 FR 70881 - Fee Schedule for the Transfer of U.S. Treasury Book-Entry Securities Held on the National Book-Entry SystemPDF
80 FR 70831 - Johnson-O'Malley ProgramPDF
80 FR 70752 - Impact of the Implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) on Legitimate Commercial Chemical, Biotechnology, and Pharmaceutical Activities Involving “Schedule 1” Chemicals (Including Schedule 1 Chemicals Produced as Intermediates) Through Calendar Year 2015PDF
80 FR 70811 - Medicare Program; Medicare Part B Monthly Actuarial Rates, Premium Rate, and Annual Deductible Beginning January 1, 2016PDF
80 FR 70718 - Scrapie in Sheep and GoatsPDF
80 FR 70830 - Notice of Opportunity for Public Comment on the Dietary Supplement Label DatabasePDF
80 FR 70805 - Medicare Program; CY 2016 Part A Premiums for the Uninsured Aged and for Certain Disabled Individuals Who Have Exhausted Other EntitlementPDF
80 FR 70718 - Approval of Regional Haze BART Alternative Measure: WashingtonPDF
80 FR 70781 - Release of Draft Control Techniques Guidelines for the Oil and Natural Gas IndustryPDF
80 FR 70755 - Hydrofluorocarbon Blends and Components Thereof From the People's Republic of China: Postponement of Preliminary Determination of Antidumping Duty InvestigationPDF
80 FR 70687 - Safety Zone; Unknown Substance in the Vicinity of Kelley's Island Shoal, Lake Erie; Kelley's Island, OHPDF
80 FR 70768 - Privacy Act of 1974; Computer Matching Program Between the Department of Education and the Department of JusticePDF
80 FR 70697 - Tamarind Seed Gum, 2-Hydroxypropyl Ether Polymer; Tolerance ExemptionPDF
80 FR 70717 - Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Yellowfin Sole for Vessels Participating in the BSAI Trawl Limited Access Fishery in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management AreaPDF
80 FR 70884 - Notice of Meeting Cancellation-CorrectionPDF
80 FR 70843 - Proposal Review Panel for Computing and Communication Foundations; Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 70843 - Business and Operations Advisory Committee; Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 70865 - Petition for Waiver of CompliancePDF
80 FR 70807 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 70810 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 70779 - Swan Lake North Hydro LLC; Notice of Application Tendered for Filing With the Commission and Soliciting Additional Study RequestsPDF
80 FR 70778 - Public Service Company of Oklahoma: Notice of FilingPDF
80 FR 70778 - Jordan Whittaker; Notice of Preliminary Permit Application Accepted for Filing and Soliciting Comments, Motions To Intervene, and Competing ApplicationsPDF
80 FR 70774 - Consolidated Irrigation Company; Notice of Surrender of Preliminary PermitPDF
80 FR 70779 - Blackstone Hydro, Inc.; Notice of Intent To File License Application, Filing of Pre-Application Document, Approving Use of the Traditional Licensing ProcessPDF
80 FR 70777 - Oryx Southern Delaware Oil Gathering and Transport LLC; Notice of Petition for Declaratory OrderPDF
80 FR 70779 - Drury, Scott D.; Notice of FilingPDF
80 FR 70772 - Notice of Petition for EnforcementPDF
80 FR 70774 - East Texas Electric Cooperative, Inc., Sam Rayburn Electric Cooperative, Inc., Tex-La Electric Cooperative of Texas, Inc. v. Entergy Texas, Inc., Entergy Texas, Inc. v. East Texas Electric Cooperative, Inc., Sam Rayburn Electric Cooperative, Inc., Tex-La Electric Cooperative of Texas, Inc.; Notice of FilingPDF
80 FR 70771 - Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC; Notice of Request Under Blanket AuthorizationPDF
80 FR 70771 - Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, L.L.C.; Notice of ApplicationPDF
80 FR 70775 - Total Peaking Services, LLC; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Proposed Vaporization Capacity Increase and Bog Compressor Project, and Request for Comments on Environmental IssuesPDF
80 FR 70777 - Combined Notice of Filings #2PDF
80 FR 70774 - Industrial Energy Users-Ohio, Complainant, v. The Ohio Power Company and PJM Interconnection, LLC, Respondents: Notice of ComplaintPDF
80 FR 70780 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
80 FR 70773 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
80 FR 70841 - Notice of Information CollectionPDF
80 FR 70826 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Submission to OMB for Review and Approval; Public Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 70829 - Submission for OMB Review; 30-Day Comment Request Scientific Information Reporting System (SIRS) NIGMSPDF
80 FR 70675 - Export Administration Regulations: Removal of Special Comprehensive License ProvisionsPDF
80 FR 70836 - Notice Pursuant to the National Cooperative Research and Production Act of 1993-TeleManagement ForumPDF
80 FR 70837 - Notice Pursuant to the National Cooperative Research and Production Act of 1993-Silicon Integration Initiative, Inc.PDF
80 FR 70836 - Notice Pursuant to the National Cooperative Research and Production Act of 1993-OpenDaylight Project, Inc.PDF
80 FR 70846 - Rare Element Resources, Inc.; Bear Lodge ProjectPDF
80 FR 70835 - Notice Pursuant to the National Cooperative Research and Production Act of 1993-High Density Packaging User Group International, Inc.PDF
80 FR 70850 - Preparing and Reviewing Licensing Applications for Instrumentation and Control Systems for Non-Power ReactorsPDF
80 FR 70843 - Sodium Iodide-131 Patient Release Information CollectionPDF
80 FR 70804 - Commission To Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities; Announcement of MeetingsPDF
80 FR 70827 - Meeting of the Secretary's Advisory Committee on Human Research ProtectionsPDF
80 FR 70676 - Amendment to the Export Administration Regulations to Add XBS Epoxy System to the List of 0Y521 Series; Technical Amendment to Update Other 0Y521 ItemsPDF
80 FR 70754 - President's Export Council; Meeting of the President's Export CouncilPDF
80 FR 70770 - Melvin R. Sampson Hatchery, Yakima Basin Coho ProjectPDF
80 FR 70747 - Availability of FSIS Compliance Guidelines for Allergens and Ingredients of Public Health Concern: Identification, Prevention and Control, and Declaration Through LabelingPDF
80 FR 70840 - Labor Certification Process for the Temporary Employment of Aliens in Agriculture in the United States: Adverse Effect Wage Rate for Range Occupations Through 2016PDF
80 FR 70760 - Multistakeholder Process To Promote Collaboration on Vulnerability Research DisclosurePDF
80 FR 70783 - Federal Reserve Bank ServicesPDF
80 FR 70838 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed eCollection eComments Requested; Extension Without Change, of a Previously Approved Collection Federal Coal Lease RequestPDF
80 FR 70840 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Disclosures for Participant Directed Individual Account PlansPDF
80 FR 70751 - Generic Clearance for Questionnaire Pretesting ResearchPDF
80 FR 71617 - Mark William Andrew Holder, M.D.; Decision and OrderPDF
80 FR 70765 - Privacy Act of 1974; System of RecordsPDF
80 FR 70750 - Deschutes Provincial Advisory CommitteePDF
80 FR 70866 - Coordinated Remedy Order With Annex A; Coordinated Remedy Program ProceedingPDF
80 FR 70762 - Procurement List; Addition and DeletionPDF
80 FR 70761 - Procurement List; Proposed AdditionsPDF
80 FR 70874 - Hazardous Materials: California and Los Angeles County Requirements Applicable to the On-Site Handling and Transportation of Hazardous MaterialsPDF
80 FR 70767 - Privacy Act of 1974; System of RecordsPDF
80 FR 70838 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed eCollection eComments Requested; Acquisition 360 SurveyPDF
80 FR 70827 - The National Advisory Council on the National Health Service Corps; Notice for Request for NominationsPDF
80 FR 70881 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Form 8611PDF
80 FR 70680 - Transitional Amendments To Satisfy the Market Rate of Return Rules for Hybrid Retirement PlansPDF
80 FR 70879 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Information Collection Renewal; Submission for OMB Review; Market RiskPDF
80 FR 70669 - Oranges and Grapefruit Grown in Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas; Decreased Assessment RatePDF
80 FR 70694 - Air Plan Approval; Michigan; Sewage Sludge Incinerators State Plan and Small Municipal Waste Combustors Negative Declaration for Designated Facilities and PollutantsPDF
80 FR 70727 - Air Plan Approval; Michigan; Sewage Sludge Incinerators State Plan and Small Municipal Waste Combustors Negative Declaration for Designated Facilities and PollutantsPDF
80 FR 70689 - Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Arizona; Phased Discontinuation of Stage II Vapor Recovery ProgramPDF
80 FR 70721 - Approval of Air Quality State Implementation Plans (SIP); State of Nebraska; Infrastructure SIP Requirements for the 2008 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard in Regards to Section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I)-Prongs 1 and 2PDF
80 FR 70883 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Form 6781PDF
80 FR 70883 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Schedule C-EZ (Form 1040)PDF
80 FR 70882 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Form 5304-SIMPLE, Form 5305-SIMPLE, and Notice 98-4PDF
80 FR 70782 - Information Collection Being Reviewed by the Federal Communications CommissionPDF
80 FR 70880 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Information Collection Revision; Comment Request; Domestic First Lien Residential Mortgage DataPDF
80 FR 70834 - Certain Beverage Brewing Capsules, Components Thereof, and Products Containing the Same; Commission Determination To Review in Part a Final Initial Determination Finding No Violation; Schedule for Briefing on the Issues Under Review and on Remedy, the Public Interest, and BondingPDF
80 FR 71649 - Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area; American Fisheries Act; Amendment 111PDF
80 FR 70728 - Independent Living Services and Centers for Independent LivingPDF
80 FR 70851 - New Postal ProductPDF
80 FR 70750 - Yakutat Resource Advisory CommitteePDF
80 FR 70860 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; New York Stock Exchange LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Amending Its Price List to Modify Certain Fees for Transactions that Remove Liquidity from the ExchangePDF
80 FR 70852 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE Arca, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Adopt a Principles-Based Approach To Prohibit the Misuse of Material Nonpublic Information by Lead Market Makers (“LMMs”) by Deleting Rule 6.83PDF
80 FR 70857 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; BATS Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing of Amendments Nos. 1 and 2 and Order Granting Accelerated Approval of a Proposed Rule Change to List and Trade Shares of the ProShares Managed Futures Strategy ETF of the ProShares Trust Under BATS Rule 14.11 on BATS Exchange, Inc.PDF
80 FR 70851 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; BATS Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Withdrawal of a Proposed Rule Change, as Modified by Amendment No. 1 Thereto, To Adopt New Rule 8.17 To Provide a Process for an Expedited Suspension Proceeding and Rule 12.15 To Prohibit Layering and Spoofing on BATS Exchange, Inc.PDF
80 FR 70856 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Miami International Securities Exchange LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Amend MIAX Rule 521PDF
80 FR 70862 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Establish an Examination Fee for the Securities Trader Qualification Examination (Series 57)PDF
80 FR 70802 - Granting of Request for Early Termination of the Waiting Period Under the Premerger Notification RulesPDF
80 FR 70821 - Center for Devices and Radiological Health: Experiential Learning Program; General Training ProgramPDF
80 FR 70833 - Sugar From MexicoPDF
80 FR 70822 - Drugs for Human Use; Drug Efficacy Study Implementation; Nitroglycerin Transdermal Systems; Withdrawal of Hearing Request; Withdrawal of Applications; Final Resolution of Hearing Requests Regarding Transdermal Systems Under DocketPDF
80 FR 70842 - Arts Advisory Panel MeetingsPDF
80 FR 70820 - Eighth Annual Sentinel Initiative; Public Workshop; Request for CommentsPDF
80 FR 70839 - Notice of Lodging of Proposed Amendment to Consent Decree Under the Comprehensive Environmental Repsonse, Compensation, and Liability ActPDF
80 FR 70679 - National Environmental Policy Act; Environmental Assessments for Tobacco Products; Categorical Exclusions; CorrectionPDF
80 FR 70825 - Request for Nominations for Voting Members on a Public Advisory Committee; Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory CommitteePDF
80 FR 70825 - Gastroenterology and Urology Devices Panel of the Medical Devices Advisory Committee; Amendment of NoticePDF
80 FR 70762 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Third Party Testing of Children's ProductsPDF
80 FR 70759 - Marine Mammals; File No. 17952PDF
80 FR 70760 - Marine Mammals; File No. 17670PDF
80 FR 70830 - National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
80 FR 70828 - National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
80 FR 70828 - National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
80 FR 70830 - Prospective Grant of Exclusive License: Development of Cripto-1 Point of Care (POC) Tests and Kits for the Detection of CancerPDF
80 FR 70700 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removal of the Delmarva Peninsula Fox Squirrel From the List of Endangered and Threatened WildlifePDF
80 FR 70674 - IFR Altitudes; Miscellaneous AmendmentsPDF
80 FR 70671 - Regulatory Capital Rules; Enhanced Prudential Standards for Bank Holding Companies and Foreign Banking Organizations; CorrectionPDF
80 FR 71387 - CrowdfundingPDF
80 FR 70832 - Moose-Wilson Corridor Comprehensive Management Plan, Draft Environmental Impact Statement, Grand Teton National Park, WyomingPDF
80 FR 70885 - Medicare Program; Revisions to Payment Policies Under the Physician Fee Schedule and Other Revisions to Part B for CY 2016PDF

Issue

80 220 Monday, November 16, 2015 Contents Agricultural Marketing Agricultural Marketing Service RULES Decreased Assessment Rates: Oranges and Grapefruit Grown in Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas, 70669-70671 2015-28913 Agriculture Agriculture Department See

Agricultural Marketing Service

See

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

See

Food Safety and Inspection Service

See

Forest Service

Animal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service PROPOSED RULES Scrapie in Sheep and Goats, 70718 2015-29179 Antitrust Division Antitrust Division NOTICES Changes under the National Cooperative Research and Production Act: High Density Packaging User Group International, Inc., 70835-70836 2015-29030 OpenDaylight Project, Inc., 70836 2015-29056 Silicon Integration Initiative, Inc., 70837-70838 2015-29057 TeleManagement Forum, 70836-70837 2015-29058 Bonneville Bonneville Power Administration NOTICES Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Melvin R. Sampson Hatchery, Yakima Basin Coho Project, 70770-70771 2015-28936 Fiscal Bureau of the Fiscal Service NOTICES Fee Schedule for the Transfer of U.S. Treasury Book-Entry Securities Held on the National Book-Entry System, 70881 2015-29194 Census Bureau Census Bureau NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Generic Clearance for Questionnaire Pretesting Research, 70751 2015-28929 Centers Medicare Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services RULES Medicare Program: Revisions to Payment Policies under the Physician Fee Schedule and Other Revisions to Part B for CY 2016, 70886-71386 2015-28005 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 70807-70808, 70810-70811 2015-29159 2015-29160 Medicare Programs: Inpatient Hospital Deductible and Hospital and Extended Care Services Coinsurance Amounts, CY 2016, 70808-70810 2015-29207 Medicare Part B Monthly Actuarial Rates, Premium Rate, and Annual Deductible Beginning January 2016, 70811-70820 2015-29181 Part A Premiums for the Uninsured Aged and for Certain Disabled Individuals Who Have Exhausted Other Entitlement, CY 2016, 70805-70807 2015-29176 Coast Guard Coast Guard RULES Safety Zones: Unknown Substance in the Vicinity of Kelley's Island Shoal, Lake Erie, OH, 70687-70689 2015-29171 Commerce Commerce Department See

Census Bureau

See

Foreign-Trade Zones Board

See

Industry and Security Bureau

See

International Trade Administration

See

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

See

National Telecommunications and Information Administration

Committee for Purchase Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled NOTICES Procurement List; Additions and Deletions, 70761-70762 2015-28922 2015-28923 Comptroller Comptroller of the Currency NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Domestic First Lien Residential Mortgage Data, 70880-70881 2015-28896 Market Risk, 70879-70880 2015-28914 Consumer Product Consumer Product Safety Commission NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Third Party Testing of Children's Products, 70762-70765 2015-28845 Defense Department Defense Department NOTICES Privacy Act; Systems of Records, 70765-70768 2015-28920 2015-28927 Drug Drug Enforcement Administration RULES Schedules of Controlled Substances: Eluxadoline; Placement into Schedule IV, 70680 C1--2015--28718 NOTICES Decisions and Orders: Mark William Andrew Holder, M.D., 71618-71647 2015-28928 Education Department Education Department NOTICES Privacy Act; Computer Matching Program, 70768-70769 2015-29170 Employment and Training Employment and Training Administration NOTICES Labor Certification Process for the Temporary Employment of Aliens in Agriculture in the U.S.; Adverse Effect Wage Rate for Range Occupations through 2016, 70840 2015-28934 Energy Department Energy Department See

Bonneville Power Administration

See

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Environmental Protection Environmental Protection Agency RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: Arizona; Phased Discontinuation of Stage II Vapor Recovery Program, 70689-70694 2015-28909 Sewage Sludge Incinerators State Plan and Small Municipal Waste Combustors Negative Declaration for Designated Facilities and Pollutants, 70694-70697 2015-28911 Exemptions from the Requirements of a Tolerance: Tamarind Seed Gum, 2-hydroxypropyl Ether Polymer, 70697-70700 2015-29169 PROPOSED RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: Michigan; Sewage Sludge Incinerators State Plan and Small Municipal Waste Combustors Negative Declaration for Designated Facilities and Pollutants, 70727-70728 2015-28910 Nebraska; Infrastructure Requirements for the 2008 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard, etc., 70721-70727 2015-28908 Washington; Approval of Regional Haze BART Alternative Measure, 70718-70721 2015-29175 NOTICES Release of Draft Control Techniques Guidelines for the Oil and Natural Gas Industry, 70781-70782 2015-29174 Federal Aviation Federal Aviation Administration RULES Instrument Flight Rules: Altitudes; Miscellaneous Amendments, 70674-70675 2015-28625 Federal Communications Federal Communications Commission NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 70782 2015-28899 Federal Election Federal Election Commission NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 70782-70783 2015-29278 2015-29279 Federal Energy Federal Energy Regulatory Commission NOTICES Applications: Swan Lake North Hydro LLC, 70779-70780 2015-29158 Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co., LLC, 70771 2015-29148 Combined Filings, 70773-70774, 70777-70778, 70780-70781 2015-29143 2015-29144 2015-29146 Complaints: Industrial Energy Users—Ohio vs. Ohio Power Co. and PJM Interconnection, LLC, 70774-70775 2015-29145 Environmental Assessments; Availability, etc.: Total Peaking Services LLC, Vaporization Capacity Increase and BOG Compressor Project, 70775-70777 2015-29147 Filings: East Texas Electric Cooperative, Inc. v. Entergy Texas, Inc., 70774 2015-29150 Public Service Company of Oklahoma, 70778 2015-29157 Scott D. Drury, 70779 2015-29152 License Applications: Blackstone Hydro, Inc., 70779 2015-29154 Petitions for Declaratory Orders: Oryx Southern Delaware Oil Gathering and Transport LLC, 70777 2015-29153 Petitions for Enforcement: Allco Renewable Energy Limited, Allco Finance Limited, 70772-70773 2015-29151 Preliminary Permit Applications: Jordan Whittaker, 70778 2015-29156 Preliminary Permit Surrenders: Consolidated Irrigation Co., 70774 2015-29155 Requests under Blanket Authorizations: Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC, 70771-70772 2015-29149 Federal Railroad Federal Railroad Administration NOTICES Petitions for Waivers of Compliance, 70865 2015-29162 Federal Reserve Federal Reserve System RULES Regulatory Capital Rules: Enhanced Prudential Standards for Bank Holding Companies and Foreign Banking Organizations; Correcting Amendments, 70671-70673 2015-28294 NOTICES Federal Reserve Bank Services, 70783-70802 2015-28932 Federal Retirement Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 70802 2015-29242 Federal Trade Federal Trade Commission NOTICES Early Termination of the Waiting Period under the Premerger Notification Rules, 70802-70804 2015-28858 Fish Fish and Wildlife Service RULES Endangered and Threatened Species: Removal of the Delmarva Peninsula Fox Squirrel from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife, 70700-70717 2015-28742 Food and Drug Food and Drug Administration RULES National Environmental Policy Act; Environmental Assessments for Tobacco Products; Categorical Exclusions; Correction, 70679 2015-28848 NOTICES Center for Devices and Radiological Health Experiential Learning Program; General Training Program, 70821-70822 2015-28857 Drugs for Human Use: Drug Efficacy Study Implementation; Nitroglycerin Transdermal Systems; Withdrawal of Hearing Request; Withdrawal of Applications; Final Resolution of Hearing Requests Regarding Transdermal Systems, 70822-70825 2015-28853 Meetings: Eighth Annual Sentinel Initiative Public Workshop, 70820-70821 2015-28851 Gastroenterology and Urology Devices Panel of the Medical Devices Advisory Committee; Amendment, 70825 2015-28846 Requests for Nominations: Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee, 70825-70826 2015-28847 Food Safety Food Safety and Inspection Service NOTICES Compliance Guidelines for Allergens and Ingredients of Public Health Concern: Identification, Prevention and Control, and Declaration through Labeling, 70747-70749 2015-28935 Foreign Trade Foreign-Trade Zones Board NOTICES Applications for Subzones: CNH Industrial America LLC; Foreign-Trade Zone 119, Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, 70752 2015-29237 Production Activity Authorizations: The Cookson Company, Inc.; Foreign-Trade Zone 277, Western Maricopa County, AZ, 70752 2015-29250 Proposed Production Activities: MannKind Corp., Foreign-Trade Zone 76, Danbury, CT, 70751-70752 2015-29241 Forest Forest Service NOTICES Meetings: Deschutes Provinicial Advisory Committee, 70750-70751 2015-28926 Yakutat Resource Advisory Committee, 70750 2015-28873 General Services General Services Administration NOTICES Meetings: Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities, 70804-70805 2015-29002 Health and Human Health and Human Services Department See

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

See

Food and Drug Administration

See

Health Resources and Services Administration

See

National Institutes of Health

PROPOSED RULES Independent Living Services and Centers for Independent Living, 70728-70746 2015-28888 NOTICES Meetings: Secretary's Advisory Committee on Human Research Protections, 70827-70828 2015-29001
Health Resources Health Resources and Services Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 70826 2015-29140 Requests for Nominations: National Advisory Council on the National Health Service Corps, 70827 2015-28917 Homeland Homeland Security Department See

Coast Guard

Indian Affairs Indian Affairs Bureau NOTICES Meetings: Johnson-O'Malley Program, 70831-70832 2015-29188 Industry Industry and Security Bureau RULES Export Administration Regulations: Removal of Special Comprehensive License Provisions, 70675-70676 2015-29084 XBS Epoxy System--Addition to List of Items; Technical Amendment to Update Other Items, 70676-70679 2015-28978 NOTICES Impact of the Implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention on Legitimate Commercial Chemical, Biotechnology, and Pharmaceutical Activities Involving Schedule 1 Chemicals, 70752-70754 2015-29182 Interior Interior Department See

Fish and Wildlife Service

See

Indian Affairs Bureau

See

National Park Service

Internal Revenue Internal Revenue Service RULES Hybrid Retirement Plans: Market Rate of Return, 70680-70687 2015-28915 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 70881-70884 2015-28903 2015-28904 2015-28907 2015-28916 International Trade Adm International Trade Administration NOTICES Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Hydrofluorocarbon Blends and Components Thereof from the People's Republic of China, 70755-70756 2015-29172 Multilayered Wood Flooring from the People's Republic of China; Changed Circumstances Review, 70756-70757 2015-29199 Polyethylene Terephthalate Film, Sheet, and Strip from the People's Republic of China, 70754-70755 2015-29209 Court Decisions not in Harmony with Final Determination and Amended Final Determination of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act: Circular Welded Carbon Quality Steel Pipe from the People's Republic of China, 70758-70759 2015-29198 Meetings: Presidents Export Council, 70754 2015-28937 International Trade Com International Trade Commission NOTICES Investigations; Determinations, Modifications, and Rulings, etc.: Beverage Brewing Capsules, Components Thereof, and Products Containing the Same, 70834-70835 2015-28893 Sugar from Mexico, 70833 2015-28856 Meetings; Sunshine Act, 70834 2015-29334 Justice Department Justice Department See

Antitrust Division

See

Drug Enforcement Administration

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Acquisition 360 Survey, 70838 2015-28919 Federal Coal Lease Request, 70838-70839 2015-28931 Proposed Amendment to Consent Decrees under CERCLA, 70839-70840 2015-28850
Labor Department Labor Department See

Employment and Training Administration

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Disclosures for Participant Directed Individual Account Plans, 70840-70841 2015-28930
NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 70841-70842 2015-29141 National Endowment for the Arts National Endowment for the Arts NOTICES Meetings: Arts Advisory Panel, 70842-70843 2015-28852 National Foundation National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities See

National Endowment for the Arts

National Highway National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NOTICES Coordinated Remedy Order with Annex A, 70866-70874 2015-28924 National Institute National Institutes of Health NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Scientific Information Reporting System, 70829-70830 2015-29085 Dietary Supplement Label Database, 70830 2015-29177 Exclusive Licenses: Development of Cripto-1 Point of Care Tests and Kits for the Detection of Cancer, 70830-70831 2015-28832 Meetings: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, 70830 2015-28835 National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 70828 2015-28834 National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, 70828-70829 2015-28833 National Oceanic National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RULES Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska: Yellowfin Sole for Vessels Participating in the BSAI Trawl Limited Access Fishery in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area, 70717 2015-29168 PROPOSED RULES Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska: Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area; American Fisheries Act; Amendment 111, 71650-71675 2015-28889 NOTICES Permits: Marine Mammals; File No. 17670, 70760 2015-28838 Marine Mammals; File No. 17952, 70759-70760 2015-28841 National Park National Park Service NOTICES Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Moose-Wilson Corridor Comprehensive Management Plan, Grand Teton National Park, WY, 70832-70833 2015-28016 National Science National Science Foundation NOTICES Meetings: Business and Operations Advisory Committee, 70843 2015-29164 Proposal Review Panel for Computing and Communication Foundations, 70843 2015-29165 National Telecommunications National Telecommunications and Information Administration NOTICES Multistakeholder Process to Promote Collaboration on Vulnerability Research Disclosure, 70760-70761 2015-28933 Nuclear Regulatory Nuclear Regulatory Commission NOTICES Guidance: Preparing and Reviewing Licensing Applications for Instrumentation and Control Systems for Non-power Reactors, 70850 2015-29029 License Applications: Rare Element Resources, Inc.; Bear Lodge Project, 70846-70850 2015-29031 Requests for Information: Sodium Iodide I-131 Patient Release, 70843-70846 2015-29027 Pipeline Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration NOTICES Hazardous Materials: California and Los Angeles County Requirements Applicable to the On-Site Handling and Transportation of Hazardous Materials, 70874-70879 2015-28921 Postal Regulatory Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products, 70851 2015-28880 Presidential Documents Presidential Documents EXECUTIVE ORDERS Liberia, Former President Charles Taylor; Termination of Emergency (EO 13710), 71677-71680 2015-29403 Securities Securities and Exchange Commission RULES Crowdfunding, 71388-71615 2015-28220 NOTICES Self-Regulatory Organizations; Proposed Rule Changes: BATS Exchange, Inc., 2015-28862 70851, 70857-70860 2015-28863 Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc., 70862-70864 2015-28860 Miami International Securities Exchange LLC, 70856-70857 2015-28861 New York Stock Exchange LLC, 70860-70862 2015-28865 NYSE Arca, Inc., 70852-70855 2015-28864 Trading Suspension Orders: Riverdale Mining Inc., and Tresoro Mining Corp., 70864-70865 2015-29288 Tirex Corp., 70862 2015-29287 Transportation Department Transportation Department See

Federal Aviation Administration

See

Federal Railroad Administration

See

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

See

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

Treasury Treasury Department See

Bureau of the Fiscal Service

See

Comptroller of the Currency

See

Internal Revenue Service

Veteran Affairs Veterans Affairs Department NOTICES Meetings: National Research Advisory Council; Cancellation, 70884 2015-29166 Separate Parts In This Issue Part II Health and Human Services Department, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 70886-71386 2015-28005 Part III Securities and Exchange Commission, 71388-71615 2015-28220 Part IV Justice Department, Drug Enforcement Administration, 71618-71647 2015-28928 Part V Commerce Department, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 71650-71675 2015-28889 Part VI Presidential Documents, 71677-71680 2015-29403 Reader Aids

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80 220 Monday, November 16, 2015 Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service 7 CFR Part 906 [Doc. No. AMS-FV-15-0035; FV15-906-1 IR] Oranges and Grapefruit Grown in Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas; Decreased Assessment Rate AGENCY:

Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Interim rule with request for comments.

SUMMARY:

This rule implements a recommendation from the Texas Valley Citrus Committee (Committee) for a decrease in the assessment rate established for the 2015-16 and subsequent fiscal periods from $0.11 to $0.08 per 7/10-bushel carton or equivalent of oranges and grapefruit handled under the marketing order (order). The Committee locally administers the order, and is comprised of producers and handlers of oranges and grapefruit operating within the area of production. Assessments upon orange and grapefruit handlers are used by the Committee to fund reasonable and necessary expenses of the program. The fiscal period begins August 1 and ends July 31. The assessment rate will remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated.

DATES:

Effective November 17, 2015. Comments received by January 15, 2016, will be considered prior to issuance of a final rule.

ADDRESSES:

Interested persons are invited to submit written comments concerning this rule. Comments must be sent to the Docket Clerk, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237; Fax: (202) 720-8938; or Internet: http://www.regulations.gov. Comments should reference the document number and the date and page number of this issue of the Federal Register and will be available for public inspection in the Office of the Docket Clerk during regular business hours, or can be viewed at: http://www.regulations.gov. All comments submitted in response to this rule will be included in the record and will be made available to the public. Please be advised that the identity of the individuals or entities submitting the comments will be made public on the internet at the address provided above.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Abigail Campos, Marketing Specialist, or Christian D. Nissen, Regional Director, Southeast Marketing Field Office, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA; Telephone: (863) 324-3375, Fax: (863) 291-8614, or Email: [email protected] or [email protected]

Small businesses may request information on complying with this regulation by contacting Jeffrey Smutny, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237; Telephone: (202) 720-2491, Fax: (202) 720-8938, or Email: [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

This rule is issued under Marketing Agreement and Order No. 906, as amended (7 CFR part 906), regulating the handling of oranges and grapefruit grown in the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas, hereinafter referred to as the “order.” The order is effective under the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, as amended (7 U.S.C. 601-674), hereinafter referred to as the “Act.”

The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is issuing this rule in conformance with Executive Orders 12866, 13563, and 13175.

This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. Under the marketing order now in effect, orange and grapefruit handlers are subject to assessments. Funds to administer the order are derived from such assessments. It is intended that the assessment rate as issued herein will be applicable to all assessable oranges and grapefruit beginning August, 1, 2015, and continue until amended, suspended, or terminated.

The Act provides that administrative proceedings must be exhausted before parties may file suit in court. Under section 608c(15)(A) of the Act, any handler subject to an order may file with USDA a petition stating that the order, any provision of the order, or any obligation imposed in connection with the order is not in accordance with law and request a modification of the order or to be exempted therefrom. Such handler is afforded the opportunity for a hearing on the petition. After the hearing, USDA would rule on the petition. The Act provides that the district court of the United States in any district in which the handler is an inhabitant, or has his or her principal place of business, has jurisdiction to review USDA's ruling on the petition, provided an action is filed not later than 20 days after the date of the entry of the ruling.

This rule decreases the assessment rate established for the Committee for the 2015-16 and subsequent fiscal periods from $0.11 to $0.08 per 7/10-bushel carton or equivalent of oranges and grapefruit handled.

The Texas orange and grapefruit marketing order provides authority for the Committee, with the approval of USDA, to formulate an annual budget of expenses and collect assessments from handlers to administer the program. The members of the Committee are producers and handlers of Texas oranges and grapefruit. They are familiar with the Committee's needs and with the costs for goods and services in their local area and are thus in a position to formulate an appropriate budget and assessment rate. The assessment rate is formulated and discussed in a public meeting. Thus, all directly affected persons have an opportunity to participate and provide input.

For the 2014-15 and subsequent fiscal periods, the Committee recommended, and USDA approved, an assessment rate that would continue in effect from fiscal period to fiscal period unless modified, suspended, or terminated by USDA upon recommendation and information submitted by the Committee or other information available to USDA.

The Committee met on June 24, 2015, and unanimously recommended 2015-16 expenditures of $701,148 and an assessment rate of $0.08 per 7/10-bushel carton or equivalent of oranges and grapefruit. In comparison, last year's budgeted expenditures were $809,500. The assessment rate of $0.08 is $0.03 lower than the rate currently in effect. The recommended 2015-16 expenditures include decreases in educational outreach and compliance, which were reduced by approximately $100,000. The Committee considered proposed expenses and recommended decreasing the assessment rate to more closely align assessment income to the lower budget.

The major expenditures recommended by the Committee for the 2015-16 year include $600,248 for the Mexican fruit fly control program, $77,200 for management and compliance, and $23,700 for operating expenses. Budgeted expenses for these items in 2014-15 were $503,000, $175,000, and $21,500, respectively.

The assessment rate recommended by the Committee was derived by dividing anticipated expenses by expected shipments of Texas oranges and grapefruit. Orange and grapefruit shipments for the 2015-16 year are estimated at 8 million 7/10-bushel cartons or equivalent, which should provide $640,000 in assessment income. Income derived from handler assessments, along with interest income and funds from the Committee's authorized reserve, will be adequate to cover budgeted expenses. Income in the reserve (currently around $230,000) will be kept within the maximum permitted by the order (approximately one fiscal period's expenses as stated in § 906.35).

The assessment rate established in this rule will continue in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated by USDA upon recommendation and information submitted by the Committee or other available information.

Although this assessment rate is effective for an indefinite period, the Committee will continue to meet prior to or during each fiscal period to recommend a budget of expenses and consider recommendations for modification of the assessment rate. The dates and times of Committee meetings are available from the Committee or USDA. Committee meetings are open to the public and interested persons may express their views at these meetings. USDA will evaluate Committee recommendations and other available information to determine whether modification of the assessment rate is needed. Further rulemaking will be undertaken as necessary. The Committee's 2015-16 budget and those for subsequent fiscal periods will be reviewed and, as appropriate, approved by USDA.

Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

Pursuant to requirements set forth in the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601-612), the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has considered the economic impact of this rule on small entities. Accordingly, AMS has prepared this initial regulatory flexibility analysis.

The purpose of the RFA is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of businesses subject to such actions in order that small businesses will not be unduly or disproportionately burdened. Marketing orders issued pursuant to the Act, and the rules issued thereunder, are unique in that they are brought about through group action of essentially small entities acting on their own behalf.

There are approximately 170 producers of oranges and grapefruit in the production area and 13 handlers subject to regulation under the marketing order. Small agricultural producers are defined by the Small Business Administration as those having annual receipts less than $750,000, and small agricultural service firms are defined as those whose annual receipts are less than $7,000,000 (13 CFR 121.201).

According to Committee data and information from the National Agricultural Statistics Service, the weighted average grower price for Texas citrus during the 2013-14 season was around $13.89 per box and total shipments were near 7.4 million boxes. Using the weighted average price and shipment information, and assuming a normal distribution, the majority of growers would have annual receipts of less than $750,000. In addition, based on available information, the majority of handlers have annual receipts of less than $7,000,000 and could be considered small businesses under SBA's definition. Thus, the majority of Texas citrus producers and handlers may be classified as small entities.

This rule decreases the assessment rate established for the Committee and collected from handlers for the 2015-16 and subsequent fiscal periods from $0.11 to $0.08 per 7/10-bushel carton or equivalent of Texas citrus. The Committee unanimously recommended 2015-16 expenditures of $701,148 and an assessment rate of $0.08 per 7/10-bushel carton or equivalent handled. The assessment rate of $0.08 is $0.03 lower than the 2014-2015 rate. The quantity of assessable oranges and grapefruit for the 2015-16 fiscal period is estimated at 8 million 7/10-bushel cartons or equivalent. Thus, the $0.08 rate should provide $640,000 in assessment income. Income derived from handler assessments along with interest income and funds from Committee's authorized reserve, will be adequate to cover budgeted expenses.

The major expenditures recommended by the Committee for the 2015-16 year include $600,248 for the Mexican fruit fly control program, $77,200 for management and compliance, and $23,700 for operating expenses. Budgeted expenses for these items in 2014-15 were $503,000, $175,000, and $21,500, respectively.

The recommended 2015-16 expenditures include decreases in the amount budgeted for educational outreach and compliance. The Committee considered proposed expenses and recommended decreasing the assessment rate to more closely align assessment income to the lower budget.

Prior to arriving at this budget and assessment rate, the Committee considered information from various sources, such as the Committee's Budget and Personnel Committee and the Market Development Committee. Alternative expenditure levels were discussed by these groups, based upon the relative value of various activities to the Texas citrus industry. Based on estimated shipments, the recommended assessment rate of $0.08 should provide $640,000 in assessment income. The Committee determined that the assessment revenue, along with funds from reserves and interest income, would be adequate to cover budgeted expenses for the 2015-16 fiscal period.

A review of historical information and preliminary information pertaining to the upcoming fiscal period indicates that the average grower price for the 2015-16 season could be around $13.00 per 7/10-bushel carton or equivalent of oranges and grapefruit. Therefore, the estimated assessment revenue for the 2015-16 fiscal period, as a percentage of total grower revenue would be around 0.6 percent.

This action decreases the assessment obligation imposed on handlers. Assessments are applied uniformly on all handlers, and decreasing the assessment rate reduces the burden on handlers.

The Committee's meeting was widely publicized throughout the Texas citrus industry and all interested persons were invited to attend the meeting and participate in Committee deliberations on all issues. Like all Committee meetings, the June 24, 2015, meeting was a public meeting. All entities, both large and small, were able to express views on this issue. Interested persons are invited to submit comments on this interim rule, including the regulatory and informational impacts of this action on small businesses.

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), the order's information collection requirements have been previously approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and assigned OMB No. 0581-0189 Generic Fruit Crops. No changes in those requirements are necessary as a result of this action. Should any changes become necessary, they would be submitted to OMB for approval.

This action imposes no additional reporting or recordkeeping requirements on either small or large Texas orange and grapefruit handlers. As with all Federal marketing order programs, reports and forms are periodically reviewed to reduce information requirements and duplication by industry and public sector agencies.

AMS is committed to complying with the E-Government Act, to promote the use of the internet and other information technologies to provide increased opportunities for citizen access to Government information and services, and for other purposes.

USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this rule.

A small business guide on complying with fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop marketing agreements and orders may be viewed at: http://www.ams.usda.gov/MarketingOrdersSmallBusinessGuide. Any questions about the compliance guide should be sent to Jeffrey Smutny at the previously mentioned address in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section.

After consideration of all relevant material presented, including the information and recommendation submitted by the Committee and other available information, it is hereby found that this rule, as hereinafter set forth, will tend to effectuate the declared policy of the Act.

Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553, it is also found and determined upon good cause that it is impracticable, unnecessary, and contrary to the public interest to give preliminary notice prior to putting this rule into effect, and that good cause exists for not postponing the effective date of this rule until 30 days after publication in the Federal Register because: (1) The 2015-16 fiscal period began on August, 1, 2015, and the marketing order requires that the rate of assessment for each fiscal period apply to all assessable oranges and grapefruit handled during such fiscal period; (2) this action decreases the assessment rate for assessable oranges and grapefruit grown in Texas beginning with the 2015-16 fiscal period; (3) handlers are aware of this action which was recommended by the Committee at a public meeting and is similar to other assessment rate actions issued in past years; and (4) this interim rule provides a 60-day comment period, and all comments timely received will be considered prior to finalization of this rule.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 906

Grapefruit, Marketing agreements, Oranges, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 906 is amended as follows:

PART 906—ORANGES AND GRAPEFRUIT GROWN IN LOWER RIO GRANDE VALLEY IN TEXAS 1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 906 continues to read as follows: Authority:

7 U.S.C. 601-674.

2. Section 906.235 is revised to read as follows:
§ 906.235 Assessment rate.

On and after August, 1, 2015, an assessment rate of $0.08 per 7/10-bushel carton or equivalent is established for oranges and grapefruit grown in the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas.

Dated: November 9, 2015. Rex A. Barnes, Associate Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-28913 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM 12 CFR Parts 208, 217, 225, and 252 [Regulations H, Q, Y, and YY; Docket Nos. R-1442 and R-1492] RIN 7100 AE-87 Regulatory Capital Rules; Enhanced Prudential Standards for Bank Holding Companies and Foreign Banking Organizations; Correction AGENCY:

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

ACTION:

Final rule; correcting amendment.

SUMMARY:

The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Board) published a final rule in the Federal Register on October 11, 2013 (78 FR 62018) regarding Regulatory Capital Rules and another final rule on October 27, 2014 (79 FR 64025) regarding Capital Plan and Stress Test Rules. This publication removes certain expired transitional requirements in Regulations H and Y, resolves certain citation errors, replaces a wrongly duplicated paragraph in Regulation Q, and corrects a typographical error in Regulation YY.

DATES:

The corrections are effective November 16, 2015, except that instructions 10.b and 10.f amending 12 CFR 208.43 are effective January 1, 2018.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Benjamin McDonough, Special Counsel, (202) 452-2036, Julie Anthony, Counsel, (202) 475-6682, or Mark Buresh, Senior Attorney, (202) 452-5270, Legal Division, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 20th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20551. Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) users may contact (202) 263-4869.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Board is correcting errors in and deleting certain expired transitional requirements from the final rule that was published in the Federal Register on October 11, 2013 (78 FR 62018). These revisions will remove text or footnotes in 12 CFR parts 208 and 225 describing certain transitional requirements that have expired, correct citations in 12 CFR 217.2 and 12 CFR 217.202(b)(10), and remove and replace a wrongly duplicated paragraph in 12 CFR 217.300(c)(3). The Board is also correcting a typographical error in the final rule that was published in the Federal Register on October 27, 2014 (79 FR 64025), which caused the unintended deletion of § 252.153(e)(2)-(5).

List of Subjects 12 CFR Part 208

Accounting, Agriculture, Banks, Banking, Confidential business information, Consumer protection, Crime, Currency, Global systemically important bank, Insurance, Investments, Mortgages, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Securities.

12 CFR Part 217

Administrative practice and procedure, Banks, Banking, Holding companies, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Securities.

12 CFR Part 225

Administrative practice and procedure, Banks, banking, Federal Reserve System, Holding companies, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Securities.

12 CFR Part 252

Administrative practice and procedure, Banks, Banking, Federal Reserve System, Holding companies, Nonbank financial companies supervised by the Board, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Securities, Stress testing.

For the reasons set forth in the preamble, chapter II of title 12 of the Code of Federal Regulations is amended as follows:

PART 208—MEMBERSHIP OF STATE BANKING INSTITUTIONS IN THE FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM 1. The authority citation for part 208 continues to read as follows: Authority:

12 U.S.C. 24, 36, 92a, 93a, 248(a), 248(c), 321-338a, 371d, 461, 481-486, 601, 611, 1814, 1816, 1818, 1820(d)(9), 1833(j), 1828(o), 1831, 1831o, 1831p-1, 1831r-1, 1831w, 1831x, 1835a, 1882, 2901-2907, 3105, 3310, 3331-3351, 3353, and 3905-3909; 15 U.S.C. 78b, 78l(b), 78l(i), 780-4(c)(5), 78q, 78q-1, 78w, 1681s, 1681w, 6801 and 6805; 31 U.S.C. 5318; 42 U.S.C. 4012a, 4104b, 4106, and 412

§ 208.2 [Amended]
2. In § 208.2, remove footnote 2.
§ 208.3 [Amended]
3. In § 208.3, redesignate footnote 3 as footnote 2.
§ 208.4 [Amended]
4. In § 208.4, remove footnotes 4 and 5.
§ 208.5 [Amended]
5. In § 208.5, redesignate footnote 6 as footnote 3 and footnote 7 as footnote 4.
§ 208.21 [Amended]
6. In § 208.21, redesignate footnote 8 as footnote 5.
§ 208.24 [Amended]
7. In § 208.24, redesignate footnote 9 as footnote 6. 8. In § 208.40, revise paragraph (e) to read as follows:
§ 208.40 Authority, purpose, scope, other supervisory authority, and disclosure of capital categories.

(e) Timing. The calculation of the definitions of common equity tier 1 capital, the common equity tier 1 risk-based capital ratio, the leverage ratio, the supplementary leverage ratio, tangible equity, tier 1 capital, the tier 1 risk-based capital ratio, total assets, total leverage exposure, the total risk-based capital ratio, and total risk-weighted assets under this subpart is subject to the timing provisions at 12 CFR 217.1(f) and the transitions at 12 CFR part 217, subpart G.

§ 208.41 [Amended]
9. In § 208.41, remove footnotes 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15. 10. In § 208.43: a. Revise paragraph (a); b. Effective January 1, 2018, paragraph (a)(2)(iv)(C) as added on May 1, 2014 (79 FR 24540), and further amended on August 14, 2015 (80 FR 49102), is redesignated as paragraph (a)(4)(iii). c. Remove paragraph (b); d. Redesignate paragraphs (c) and (d) as paragraphs (b) and (c). e. Revise the introductory text of newly redesignated paragraph (b); and f. Effective January 1, 2018, paragraph (c)(1)(iv) as revised on May 1, 2014 (79 FR 24540), and further amended on August 14, 2015 (80 FR 49102), is redesignated as paragraph (b)(1)(iv).

The revisions read as follows:

§ 208.43 Capital measures and capital category definitions.

(a) Capital measures. For purposes of section 38 and this subpart, the relevant capital measures are:

(1) Total Risk-Based Capital Measure: The total risk-based capital ratio;

(2) Tier 1 Risk-Based Capital Measure: The tier 1 risk-based capital ratio;

(3) Common Equity Tier 1 Capital Measure: The common equity tier 1 risk-based capital ratio; and

(4) Leverage Measure:

(i) The leverage ratio; and

(ii) With respect to an advanced approaches bank, on January 1, 2018, and thereafter, the supplementary leverage ratio.

(b) Capital categories applicable to all member banks. For purposes of section 38 and this subpart, a member bank is deemed to be:

§ 208.102 [Amended]
11. In § 208.102, redesignate footnote 16 as footnote 7.
§ 208.111 [Amended]
12. In § 208.111, redesignate footnote 17 as footnote 8 and footnote 18 as footnote 9.
PART 217—CAPITAL ADEQUACY OF BANK HOLDING COMPANIES, SAVINGS AND LOAN HOLDING COMPANIES, AND STATE MEMBER BANKS (REGULATION Q) 13. The authority citation for part 217 continues to read as follows: Authority:

12 U.S.C. 248(a), 321-338a, 481-486, 1462a, 1467a, 1818, 1828, 1831n, 1831o, 1831p-l, 1831w, 1835, 1844(b), 1851, 3904, 3906-3909, 4808, 5365, 5368, 5371.

14. In § 217.2, in the definition of “covered savings and loan holding company”, revise paragraph (1) to read as follows:
§ 217.2 Definitions

Covered savings and loan holding company * * *

(1) A top-tier savings and loan holding company that is:

(i) An institution that meets the requirements of section 10(c)(9)(C) of HOLA (12 U.S.C. 1467a(c)(9)(C)); and

(ii) As of June 30 of the previous calendar year, derived 50 percent or more of its total consolidated assets or 50 percent of its total revenues on an enterprise-wide basis (as calculated under GAAP) from activities that are not financial in nature under section 4(k) of the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 (12 U.S.C. 1843(k));

§ 217.202 [Amended]
15. In § 217.202(b), in paragraph (10)(ii) of the definition of “securitization”, remove “[12 CFR 208.34 (Board), 12 CFR 9.18 (OCC)]” and add in its place “12 CFR 208.34.” 16. In § 217.300, revise paragraph (c)(3) to read as follows:
§ 217.300 Transitions.

(c) * * *

(3) Depository institution holding companies under $15 billion and 2010 MHCs. (i) Non-qualifying capital instruments issued by depository institution holding companies under $15 billion and 2010 MHCs prior to May 19, 2010, may be included in additional tier 1 or tier 2 capital if the instrument was included in tier 1 or tier 2 capital, respectively, as of January 1, 2014.

(ii) Non-qualifying capital instruments includable in tier 1 capital are subject to a limit of 25 percent of tier 1 capital elements, excluding any nonqualifying capital instruments and after applying all regulatory capital deductions and adjustments to tier 1 capital.

(iii) Non-qualifying capital instruments that are not included in tier 1 as a result of the limitation in paragraph (c)(3)(ii) of this section are includable in tier 2 capital.

PART 225—BANK HOLDING COMPANIES AND CHANGE IN BANK CONTROL (REGULATION Y) 17. The authority citation for part 225 continues to read as follows: Authority:

12 U.S.C. 1844(b), 3106 and 3108, 1817(j)(13), 1818(b), 1831i, 1972, 3310, 3331-3351 and 3353; 12 U.S.C. 3901, et seq.; and 12 U.S.C. 1841, et seq.

§ 225.2 [Amended]
18. In § 225.2(r)(1), remove footnotes 3 and 4.
§ 225.4 [Amended]
19. In § 225.4, remove footnote 1.
§ 225.12 [Amended]
20. In § 225.12: a. Remove footnote 1; b. Redesignate footnote 2 as footnote 1.
§ 225.22 [Amended]
21. In § 225.22, remove footnote 1.
§ 225.172 [Amended]
22. In § 225.172, remove footnote 1.
PART 252—ENHANCED PRUDENTIAL STANDARDS (REGULATION YY) 23. The authority citation for part 252 continues to read as follows: Authority:

12 U.S.C. 321-338a, 1467a(g), 1818, 1831p-1, 1844(b), 1844(c), 5361, 5365, 5366.

24. In § 252.153, add paragraphs (e)(2) through (5) to read as follows:
§ 252.153 U.S. intermediate holding company requirement for foreign banking organizations with U.S. non-branch assets of $50 billion or more.

(e) * * *

(2) Capital requirements for a U.S. intermediate holding company—(i) Risk-based capital and leverage requirements. (A) A U.S. intermediate holding company must calculate and meet all applicable capital adequacy standards set forth in 12 CFR part 217, other than subpart E of 12 CFR part 217, and comply with all restrictions associated with applicable capital buffers, in the same manner as a bank holding company.

(B) A U.S. intermediate holding company may choose to comply with subpart E of 12 CFR part 217.

(C) Notwithstanding 12 CFR 217.100(b), if a bank holding company is a subsidiary of a foreign banking organization that is subject to this section and the bank holding company is subject to subpart E of 12 CFR part 217, the bank holding company, with the Board's prior written approval, may elect not to comply with subpart E of 12 CFR part 217.

(ii) Capital planning. A U.S. intermediate holding company must comply with § 225.8 of Regulation Y in the same manner as a bank holding company.

(3) Risk management and risk committee requirements—(i) General. A U.S. intermediate holding company must establish and maintain a risk committee that approves and periodically reviews the risk management policies and oversees the risk-management framework of the U.S. intermediate holding company. The risk committee must be a committee of the board of directors of the U.S. intermediate holding company (or equivalent thereof). The risk committee may also serve as the U.S. risk committee for the combined U.S. operations required pursuant to § 252.155(a).

(ii) Risk-management framework. The U.S. intermediate holding company's risk-management framework must be commensurate with the structure, risk profile, complexity, activities, and size of the U.S. intermediate holding company and consistent with the risk management policies for the combined U.S. operations of the foreign banking organization. The framework must include:

(A) Policies and procedures establishing risk-management governance, risk-management procedures, and risk-control infrastructure for the U.S. intermediate holding company; and

(B) Processes and systems for implementing and monitoring compliance with such policies and procedures, including:

(1) Processes and systems for identifying and reporting risks and risk-management deficiencies at the U.S. intermediate holding company, including regarding emerging risks and ensuring effective and timely implementation of actions to address emerging risks and risk-management deficiencies;

(2) Processes and systems for establishing managerial and employee responsibility for risk management of the U.S. intermediate holding company;

(3) Processes and systems for ensuring the independence of the risk-management function of the U.S. intermediate holding company; and

(4) Processes and systems to integrate risk management and associated controls with management goals and the compensation structure of the U.S. intermediate holding company.

(iii) Corporate governance requirements. The risk committee of the U.S. intermediate holding company must meet at least quarterly and otherwise as needed, and must fully document and maintain records of its proceedings, including risk-management decisions.

(iv) Minimum member requirements. The risk committee must:

(A) Include at least one member having experience in identifying, assessing, and managing risk exposures of large, complex financial firms; and

(B) Have at least one member who:

(1) Is not an officer or employee of the foreign banking organization or its affiliates and has not been an officer or employee of the foreign banking organization or its affiliates during the previous three years; and

(2) Is not a member of the immediate family, as defined in § 225.41(b)(3) of the Board's Regulation Y (12 CFR 225.41(b)(3)), of a person who is, or has been within the last three years, an executive officer, as defined in § 215.2(e)(1) of the Board's Regulation O (12 CFR 215.2(e)(1)) of the foreign banking organization or its affiliates.

(v) The U.S. intermediate holding company must take appropriate measures to ensure that it implements the risk management policies for the U.S. intermediate holding company and it provides sufficient information to the U.S. risk committee to enable the U.S. risk committee to carry out the responsibilities of this subpart.

(4) Liquidity requirements. A U.S. intermediate holding company must comply with the liquidity risk-management requirements in § 252.156 and conduct liquidity stress tests and hold a liquidity buffer pursuant to § 252.157.

(5) Stress test requirements. A U.S. intermediate holding company must comply with the requirements of subparts E and F of this part in the same manner as a bank holding company.

By order of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, November 2, 2015. Robert deV. Frierson, Secretary of the Board.
[FR Doc. 2015-28294 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6210-01-P
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 95 [Docket No. 31048; Amdt. No. 523] IFR Altitudes; Miscellaneous Amendments AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This amendment adopts miscellaneous amendments to the required IFR (instrument flight rules) altitudes and changeover points for certain Federal airways, jet routes, or direct routes for which a minimum or maximum en route authorized IFR altitude is prescribed. This regulatory action is needed because of changes occurring in the National Airspace System. These changes are designed to provide for the safe and efficient use of the navigable airspace under instrument conditions in the affected areas.

DATES:

Effective: 0901 UTC, December 10, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Richard A. Dunham, Flight Procedure Standards Branch (AMCAFS-420), Flight Technologies and Programs Division, Flight Standards Service, Federal Aviation Administration, Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center, 6500 South MacArthur Blvd. Oklahoma City, OK. 73169 (Mail Address: P.O. Box 25082 Oklahoma City, OK. 73125) telephone: (405) 954-4164.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

This amendment to part 95 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR part 95) amends, suspends, or revokes IFR altitudes governing the operation of all aircraft in flight over a specified route or any portion of that route, as well as the changeover points (COPs) for Federal airways, jet routes, or direct routes as prescribed in part 95.

The Rule

The specified IFR altitudes, when used in conjunction with the prescribed changeover points for those routes, ensure navigation aid coverage that is adequate for safe flight operations and free of frequency interference. The reasons and circumstances that create the need for this amendment involve matters of flight safety and operational efficiency in the National Airspace System, are related to published aeronautical charts that are essential to the user, and provide for the safe and efficient use of the navigable airspace. In addition, those various reasons or circumstances require making this amendment effective before the next scheduled charting and publication date of the flight information to assure its timely availability to the user. The effective date of this amendment reflects those considerations. In view of the close and immediate relationship between these regulatory changes and safety in air commerce, I find that notice and public procedure before adopting this amendment are impracticable and contrary to the public interest and that good cause exists for making the amendment effective in less than 30 days.

Conclusion

The FAA has determined that this regulation only involves an established body of technical regulations for which frequent and routine amendments are necessary to keep them operationally current. It, therefore—(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); and (3) does not warrant preparation of a regulatory evaluation as the anticipated impact is so minimal. For the same reason, the FAA certifies that this amendment will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 95

Airspace Navigation (air).

Issued in Washington, DC, on November 6, 2015. John Duncan, Director, Flight Standards Service. Adoption of the Amendment

Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, part 95 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR part 95) is amended as follows effective at 0901 UTC, December 10, 2015.

PART 95 [AMENDED] 1. The authority citation for part 95 continues to read as follows: Authority:

49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40103, 40106, 40113, 40114, 40120, 44502, 44514, 44719, 44721.

2. Part 95 is amended to read as follows: Revisions to IFR Altitudes & Changeover Point [Amendment 523 effective date, December 10, 2015] From To MEA § 95.6001 Victor Routes-U.S. § 95.6014 VOR Federal Airway V14 Is Amended To Read in Part ERIE, PA VORTAC DUNKIRK, NY VORTAC #3400 #ERIE R-064 UNUSABLE, USE DUNKIRK R-245 § 95.6043 VOR Federal Airway V43 Is Amended To Read in Part ERIE, PA VORTAC U.S. CANADIAN BORDER # #UNUSABLE § 95.6522 VOR Federal Airway V522 Is Amended To Read in Part FAILS, OH FIX ERIE, PA VORTAC # #UNUSABLE ERIE, PA VORTAC DUNKIRK, NY VORTAC #3400 #ERIE R-064 UNUSABLE, USE DUNKIRK R-245 From To MEA MAA § 95.7001 Jet Routes § 95.7513 Jet Route J513 Is Amended To Delete U.S. CANADIAN BORDER U.S. CANADIAN BORDER #18000 45000 #FOR THAT AIRSPACE OVER U.S. TERRITORY U.S. CANADIAN BORDER SUDBURY, CA VOR/DME #24000 45000 #FOR THAT AIRSPACE OVER U.S. TERRITORY. Airway segment From To Changeover points Distance From § 95.8003 VOR Federal Airway Changeover Point V298 Is Amended To Add Changeover Point SEATTLE, WA VORTAC ELLENSBURG, WA VORTAC 47 SEATTLE.
[FR Doc. 2015-28625 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Bureau of Industry and Security 15 CFR Part 730 [Docket No. 140613501-5956-03] RIN 0694-AG13 Export Administration Regulations: Removal of Special Comprehensive License Provisions AGENCY:

Bureau of Industry and Security, Commerce.

ACTION:

Final rule; correcting amendment.

SUMMARY:

The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) publishes this final rule to amend the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) Supplement that lists “Information Collection Requirements Under the Paperwork Reduction Act: OMB Control Numbers” to remove certain citations related to Special Comprehensive Licenses listed under Collection number 0607-0152. This final rule is precipitated by an error contained in a final rule published on August 26, 2015 that resulted in the retention of these citations. This action will ensure the accurate and complete implementation of the purposes of the August 26, 2015 final rule: To remove all Special Comprehensive License provisions and related provisions from the EAR.

DATES:

This rule is effective November 16, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Thomas Andrukonis, Director, Export Management and Compliance, Office of Exporter Services, Bureau of Industry and Security, by telephone at (202) 482-6396 or by email at [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

On August 26, 2015, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) published the final rule “Export Administration Regulations: Removal of Special Comprehensive License Provisions” (80 FR 51725), effective September 25, 2015. In that rule, BIS amended the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) by removing the Special Comprehensive License (SCL) provisions and made conforming amendments.

The August 26 rule included amendatory instructions to revise or remove certain Collection numbers in Supplement No. 1 to part 730 (Information Collection Requirements Under the Paperwork Reduction Act: OMB Control Numbers). However, the amendatory instruction erroneously identified Collection number “0607-0152” as Collection number “0694-0152,” and as a result, the entry for Collection number 0607-0152 was not amended. In this final rule, BIS amends the Supplement by revising Collection number “0607-0152” to remove references to “§§ 752.7(b) and 752.15(a)” under the “Reference in the EAR” Column as originally intended. This correction will ensure the accurate and complete implementation of the purposes of the August 26, 2015 final rule: To remove all the SCL provisions and related provisions from the EAR.

Although the Export Administration Act expired on August 20, 2001, the President, through Executive Order 13222 of August 17, 2001, 3 CFR, 2001 Comp., p. 783 (2002), as amended by Executive Order 13637 of March 8, 2013, 78 FR 16129 (March 13, 2013) and as extended by the Notice of August 7, 2015, 80 FR 48233 (August 11, 2015), has continued the Export Administration Regulations in effect under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. BIS continues to carry out the provisions of the Export Administration Act, as appropriate and to the extent permitted by law, pursuant to Executive Order 13222 as amended by Executive Order 13637.

Rulemaking Requirements

1. Executive Orders 13563 and 12866 direct agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). Executive Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, reducing costs, harmonizing rules, and promoting flexibility. This rule has been determined to be a not significant regulatory action for purposes of Executive Order 12866.

2. This rule does not contain an information collection subject to the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, no person is required to respond to, nor shall any person be subject to a penalty for failure to comply with, a collection of information subject to the requirements of the PRA, unless that collection of information displays a currently valid OMB Control Number.

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

4. The provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553) requiring notice of proposed rulemaking and the opportunity for public participation are waived for good cause because they are unnecessary and contrary to the public interest. (See 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B)). The changes contained in this rule are technical corrections of a previously published final rule. This rule is necessary to prevent confusion caused by the continued inclusion in Supplement No. 1 to part 730 of references to the sections of the EAR that were removed by the August 26, 2015 rule. Collection number, “0607-0152,” needs to be revised for purposes of removing all the SCL provisions from the EAR. Therefore, this change is essential to ensure the accurate and complete implementation of the changes intended by the August 26, 2015 final rule.

The provision of the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553) requiring a 30-day delay in effectiveness is also waived for good cause. (5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3)). The correction contained in this final rule is merely a technical correction necessitated by a typographical error in a previously published rule, for which a notice, comment and delay were completed. The revisions made in this rule are technical corrections which should be in place as soon as possible to avoid confusion caused by the incorrect inclusion of references to sections of the EAR removed by the August 26, 2015 rule in OMB Collection number 0607-0152 in Supplement No. 1 to part 730. This change is necessary to ensure immediate, accurate and complete implementation of the purposes of the August 26, 2015 final rule.

Further, no other law requires that a notice of proposed rulemaking and an opportunity for public comment be given for this final rule. Because a notice of proposed rulemaking and an opportunity for public comment are not required to be given for this rule under the Administrative Procedure Act or by any other law, the analytical requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) are not applicable. Therefore, this regulation is issued in final form.

List of Subjects in CFR Part 730

Administrative practice and procedure, Advisory committees, Exports, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Strategic and critical materials.

For the reasons stated in the preamble, part 730 of the Export Administration Regulations (15 CFR parts 730-774) is amended as follows:

PART 730—[AMENDED] 1. The authority citation for 15 CFR part 730 continues to read as follows: Authority:

50 U.S.C. app. 2401 et seq.; 50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.; 10 U.S.C. 7420; 10 U.S.C. 7430(e); 22 U.S.C. 287c; 22 U.S.C. 2151 note; 22 U.S.C. 3201 et seq.; 22 U.S.C. 6004; 30 U.S.C. 185(s), 185(u); 42 U.S.C. 2139a; 42 U.S.C. 6212; 43 U.S.C. 1354; 15 U.S.C. 1824a; 50 U.S.C. app. 5; 22 U.S.C. 7201 et seq.; 22 U.S.C. 7210; E.O. 11912, 41 FR 15825, 3 CFR, 1976 Comp., p. 114; E.O. 12002, 42 FR 35623, 3 CFR, 1977 Comp., p. 133; E.O. 12058, 43 FR 20947, 3 CFR, 1978 Comp., p. 179; E.O. 12214, 45 FR 29783, 3 CFR, 1980 Comp., p. 256; E.O. 12851, 58 FR 33181, 3 CFR, 1993 Comp., p. 608; E.O. 12854, 58 FR 36587, 3 CFR, 1993 Comp., p. 179; E.O. 12918, 59 FR 28205, 3 CFR, 1994 Comp., p. 899; E.O. 12938, 59 FR 59099, 3 CFR, 1994 Comp., p. 950; E.O. 12947, 60 FR 5079, 3 CFR, 1995 Comp., p. 356; E.O. 12981, 60 FR 62981, 3 CFR, 1995 Comp., p. 419; E.O. 13020, 61 FR 54079, 3 CFR, 1996 Comp., p. 219; E.O. 13026, 61 FR 58767, 3 CFR, 1996 Comp., p. 228; E.O. 13099, 63 FR 45167, 3 CFR, 1998 Comp., p. 208; E.O. 13222, 66 FR 44025, 3 CFR, 2001 Comp., p. 783; E.O. 13224, 66 FR 49079, 3 CFR, 2001 Comp., p. 786; E.O. 13338, 69 FR 26751, 3 CFR, 2004 Comp., p 168; E.O. 13637 of March 8, 2013, 78 FR 16129 (March 13, 2013); Notice of September 17, 2014, 79 FR 56475 (September 19, 2014); Notice of November 7, 2014, 79 FR 67035 (November 12, 2014); Notice of January 21, 2015, 80 FR 3461 (January 22, 2015); Notice of May 6, 2015, 80 FR 26815 (May 8, 2015); Notice of August 7, 2015, 80 FR 48233 (August 11, 2015); Notice of September 18, 2015, 80 FR 57281 (September 22, 2015).

Supplement No. 1 to Part 730—[Amended] 2. Supplement No. 1 to part 730 is amended by revising the entry for Collection number “0607-0152” to read as follows: Supplement No. 1 to Part 730—Information Collection Requirements Under the Paperwork Reduction Act: OMB Control Numbers *         *         *         *         *         *         * Collection No. Title Reference in the EAR *         *         *         *         *         *         * 0607-0152 Automated Export System (AES) Program §§ 740.1(d), 740.3(a)(3), 754.2(h), 754.4(c), 758.1, 758.2, and 758.3 of the EAR. Dated: November 5, 2015. Karen H. Nies-Vogel, Director, Office of Exporter Services.
[FR Doc. 2015-29084 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-33-P
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Bureau of Industry and Security 15 CFR Part 774 [Docket No.150825777-5777-01] RIN 0694-AG70 Amendment to the Export Administration Regulations to Add XBS Epoxy System to the List of 0Y521 Series; Technical Amendment to Update Other 0Y521 Items AGENCY:

Bureau of Industry and Security, Commerce.

ACTION:

Interim final rule with request for comments.

SUMMARY:

In this interim final rule, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) amends the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to make certain items subject to the EAR and to impose on those items a license requirement for export and reexport to all destinations, except Canada. Specifically, this rule classifies the specified XBS Epoxy System under Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) 0C521 on the Commerce Control List (CCL). As described in the final rule that established the 0Y521 series and that was published in the Federal Register on April 13, 2012, items are added to the 0Y521 series upon a determination by the Department of Commerce, with the concurrence of the Departments of Defense and State, that the items should be controlled for export because the items provide at least a significant military or intelligence advantage to the United States or foreign policy reasons justify control. The items identified in this rule are controlled for regional stability (RS) Column 1 reasons. The only license exception available for these items is for exports, reexports, and transfers (in-country) made by or consigned to a department or agency of the U.S. Government. In this rule, BIS also removes technology and software related to aircraft wing folding systems.

DATES:

This rule is effective November 16, 2015. Comments must be received by January 15, 2016. Comments requested on the addition of the 0C521 item only.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments by any of the following methods:

• Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. The identification number for this rulemaking is BIS-2015-0043.

By email directly to: [email protected] Include RIN 0694-AG70 in the subject line.

• By mail or delivery to Regulatory Policy Division, Bureau of Industry and Security, U.S. Department of Commerce, Room 2099B, 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230. Refer to RIN 0694-AG70.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Michael Rithmire, Electronics and Materials Division, Office of National Security and Technology Transfer Controls by phone at (202) 482-6105 or by email at [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

BIS established the ECCN 0Y521 series to identify items that warrant control on the CCL but are not yet identified in an existing ECCN (77 FR 22191, April 13, 2012). Items are added to the ECCN 0Y521 series by the Department of Commerce, with the concurrence of the Departments of Defense and State, upon a determination that an item should be controlled because it provides at least a significant military or intelligence advantage to the United States or because foreign policy reasons justify such control. The ECCN 0Y521 series is a temporary holding classification with a limitation that while an item is temporarily classified under ECCN 0Y521, the U.S. Government works to adopt a control through the relevant multilateral regime(s), to determine an appropriate longer-term control over the item, or that the item does not warrant control on the CCL.

Items classified under ECCN 0Y521, including the item identified in this interim final rule as an 0C521 item, remain so-classified for one year from the date a final rule identifying the item is published in the Federal Register amending the EAR, unless the item is re-classified under a different ECCN, under an EAR99 designation, or the 0Y521 classification is extended. During this time, the U.S. Government determines whether it is appropriate to submit a proposed control to the applicable export control regime (e.g., the Wassenaar Arrangement) for potential multilateral control, with the understanding that multilateral controls are preferable when practical. An item's ECCN 0Y521 classification may be extended for two one-year periods to provide time for the U.S. Government and multilateral regime(s) to reach agreement on controls for the item, and provided that the U.S. Government has submitted a proposal to obtain multilateral controls over the item. Further extension beyond three years may occur only if the Under Secretary for Industry and Security makes a determination that such extension is in the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States. An extension or re-extension, including a determination by the Under Secretary for Industry and Security, will be published in the Federal Register.

License Requirements, Policies and Exceptions

The license requirements and policies for the ECCN 0Y521 series appear in § 742.6(a)(7) of the EAR. ECCN 0Y521 items are subject to a nearly worldwide license requirement (i.e., for every country except Canada) with a case-by-case license review policy, through regional stability (RS Column 1) controls. The description and status of ECCN 0Y521 items appear in Supplement No. 5 to part 774 of the EAR, along with any item-specific license exceptions, where applicable. Unless otherwise indicated, License Exception GOV is the only license exception available and is applicable to all ECCN 0Y521 series items, including those items identified in this document, if the item is within the scope of § 740.11(b)(2)(ii) (Exports, reexports, and transfers (in-country) made by or consigned to a department or agency of the U.S. Government), as provided in § 740.2(a)(14).

Addition of ECCN 0C521 Item: XBS Epoxy System

In this rule, BIS amends the EAR to make the specified XBS Epoxy System subject to the EAR and impose a license requirement on the item. This item is being added to the 0Y521 series pursuant to a determination by the Department of Commerce, with the concurrence of the Departments of State and Defense, that the item should be controlled because it provides a significant military or intelligence advantage to the United States or because foreign policy reasons justify such controls. The specified XBS Epoxy System is classified under ECCN 0C521 No. 1. The control, which appears in the table found in Supplement No. 5 to part 774 of the EAR, covers an Epoxy system designed to obfuscate critical technology components against X-ray and terahertz microscopy imaging attempts.

License Applications for the New ECCN 0C521 Item

License applications for this item may be submitted through SNAP-R in accordance with § 748.6 of the EAR. Exporters are directed to include detailed descriptions and technical specifications with the license application, and identify the item as 0C521.

Technical Amendment: Removal of No. 3 0D521 and No. 2 0E521 Items, Aircraft Wing Folding Systems, From Supplement No. 5 to Part 774

In this rule, BIS also removes references to aircraft wing folding systems “software” and related “technology” listed, prior to this rule, as entries No. 3 0D521 and No. 2 0E521, respectively, in Supplement No. 5 to part 774. The references to these items are obsolete because, in accordance with procedure established in the April 13, 2012, final rule, the U.S. Government adopted a control through the relevant multilateral regime(s), which determined an appropriate longer-term control over the item. The wing fold system “software” is now controlled by ECCN 9D001, and the “technology” is controlled by ECCN 9E003.j on the CCL. A final rule published in the Federal Register May 21, 2015 (80 FR 29431), and which went into effect the same day, implemented the 2014 Wassenaar Plenary Agreements by establishing new controls on the items, rendering their 0Y521 status obsolete. BIS is not soliciting public comments on the removal provisions.

The rule is being issued in interim final form because while the government believes that it is in the national security interests of the United States to immediately implement these controls, it also wants to provide the interested public with an opportunity to comment on the new controls of the XBS Epoxy System. Comments may be submitted in accordance with the DATES and ADDRESSES sections of this rule.

Export Administration Act

Although the Export Administration Act expired on August 20, 2001, the President, through Executive Order 13222 of August 17, 2001, 3 CFR, 2001 Comp., p. 783 (2002), as amended by Executive Order 13637 of March 8, 2013, 78 FR 16129 (March 13, 2013) and as extended by the Notice of August 7, 2015, 80 FR 48233 (August 11, 2015), has continued the Export Administration Regulations in effect under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. BIS continues to carry out the provisions of the Export Administration Act, as appropriate and to the extent permitted by law, pursuant to Executive Order 13222 as amended by Executive Order 13637.

Rulemaking Requirements

1. Executive Orders 13563 and 12866 direct agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, distribute impacts, and equity). Executive Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility. This rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866.

2. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person is required to respond to, nor is subject to a penalty for failure to comply with, a collection of information, subject to the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) (PRA), unless that collection of information displays a currently valid OMB control number. This rule affects two approved collections: (1) The Simplified Network Application Processing + System (control number 0694-0088), which carries a burden hour estimate of 43.8 minutes, including the time necessary to submit license applications, among other things, as well as miscellaneous and other recordkeeping activities that account for 12 minutes per submission; and (2) License Exceptions and Exclusions (0694-0137). With these initial 0Y521 series items, BIS does not believe that this rule will materially increase the number of submissions under these collections.

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

4. The provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553) requiring prior notice, the opportunity for public comment and a delay in effective date are inapplicable because this regulation involves a military or foreign affairs function of the United States (See 5 U.S.C. 553(a)(1)). BIS, with the concurrence of the U.S. Departments of Defense and State, is implementing this rule because the item identified for the ECCN 0Y521 series in this rule provide a significant military or intelligence advantage to the United States. Immediate imposition of a license requirement is necessary to effect the national security and foreign policy goals of this rule. Immediate implementation will allow BIS to prevent exports of these items to users and for uses that pose a national security threat to the United States or its allies. If BIS delayed this rule to allow for prior notice and opportunity for public comment, the resulting delay in implementation would afford an opportunity for the export of these items to users and uses that pose such a national security threat, thereby undermining the purpose of the rule. In addition, if parties receive notice of the U.S. Government's intention to control these items under 0Y521 once a final rule was published, they might have an incentive to either accelerate orders of these items or attempt to have the items exported prior to the imposition of the control. In addition, prior notice and opportunity for public comment is unnecessary for the amendment to remove references to wing folding technology and software. The removal of the references updates Supplement No. 5 to part 774 and ensures that it accurately reflects the legal status of those items now classified under other ECCNs under the EAR. This amendment also serves to avoid confusing readers about the items' current status.

Further, BIS finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). Immediate implementation of these changes will allow BIS to prevent exports of these items to users and for uses that pose a national security threat to the United States or its allies. If BIS delayed this rule to allow for a 30-day delay in effectiveness, the resulting delay in implementation would afford an opportunity for the export of these items to users and uses that pose such a national security threat, thereby undermining the purpose of the rule. BIS also finds good cause to waive the 30-delay in effectiveness for the implementation of the amendment to remove items because the amendment will assist in clarifying the current status of the wing folding technology and software, eliminating any possible confusion. Furthermore, the amendment is not a substantive change. Because a notice of proposed rulemaking and an opportunity for public comment are not required to be given for this rule by 5 U.S.C. 553, or by any other law, the analytical requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., are not applicable. Accordingly, no regulatory flexibility analysis is required and none has been prepared. Although notice and opportunity for comment are not required, BIS is issuing this rule as an interim final rule with a request for comments. All comments must be in writing and submitted via one or more of the methods listed under the ADDRESSES caption to this document. All comments (including any personal identifiable information) will be available for public inspection and copying. Those wishing to comment anonymously may do so by submitting their comment via regulations.gov and leaving the fields for identifying information blank.

List of Subjects in 15 CFR Part 774

Exports, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

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

PART 774—[AMENDED] 1. The authority citation for part 774 continues to read as follows: Authority:

50 U.S.C. app. 2401 et seq.; 50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.; 10 U.S.C. 7420; 10 U.S.C. 7430(e); 22 U.S.C. 287c, 22 U.S.C. 3201 et seq.; 22 U.S.C. 6004; 30 U.S.C. 185(s), 185(u); 42 U.S.C. 2139a; 42 U.S.C. 6212; 43 U.S.C. 1354; 15 U.S.C. 1824a; 50 U.S.C. app. 5; 22 U.S.C. 7201 et seq.; 22 U.S.C. 7210; E.O. 13026, 61 FR 58767, 3 CFR, 1996 Comp., p. 228; E.O. 13222, 66 FR 44025, 3 CFR, 2001 Comp., p. 783; Notice of August 7, 2015, 80 FR 48233 (August 11, 2015).

2. Supplement No. 5 to part 774 is revised to read as follows: SUPPLEMENT NO. 5 TO PART 774—ITEMS CLASSIFIED UNDER ECCNS 0A521, 0B521, 0C521, 0D521 AND 0E521

The following table lists items subject to the EAR that are not listed elsewhere in the CCL, but which the Department of Commerce, with the concurrence of the Departments of Defense and State, has identified warrant control for export or reexport because the items provide at least a significant military or intelligence advantage to the United States or for foreign policy reasons.

Item descriptor.
  • Note: The description must match by model number or a broader descriptor that does not necessarily need to be company specific
  • Date of initial or
  • subsequent
  • BIS classification
  • (ID = initial date;
  • SD = subsequent date)
  • Date when the item will be designated EAR99, unless reclassified in another ECCN or the 0Y521 classification is reissued Item-specific license
  • exception eligibility
  • 0A521. Systems, Equipment and Components [RESERVED] 0B521. Test, Inspection and Production Equipment [RESERVED] 0C521. Materials No. 1 XBS Epoxy system designed to obfuscate critical technology components against x-ray and terahertz microscopy imaging attempts November 16, 2015 (ID) November 16, 2016 License Exception GOV under § 740.11(b)(2)(ii) only No. 2 [RESERVED] [RESERVED] [RESERVED] [RESERVED] 0D521. Software [RESERVED] 0E521. Technology [RESERVED]
    Dated: November 9, 2015. Kevin J. Wolf, Assistant Secretary for Export Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2015-28978 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-33-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration 21 CFR Part 25 [Docket No. FDA-2013-N-1282] National Environmental Policy Act; Environmental Assessments for Tobacco Products; Categorical Exclusions; Correction AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Final rule; correction.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or we) is correcting the preamble to a final rule that appeared in the Federal Register of September 24, 2015. This final rule provided FDA with categorical exclusions from the requirement to prepare environmental assessments for certain actions regarding the marketing of tobacco products under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act). The final rule also included amendments to certain environmental impact regulations to include tobacco products, where appropriate, in light of its authority under the Tobacco Control Act.

    The document published with technical errors in reference numbers cited in the document. This document corrects those errors. We are placing a corrected copy of the rule in the docket.

    DATES:

    Effective on November 16, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Katherine Collins, Center for Tobacco Products, Food and Drug Administration, Document Control Center, Bldg. 71, Rm. G335, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, 877-287-1373, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    FDA is correcting the preamble to the September 24, 2015 (80 FR 57531), final rule entitled, “National Environmental Policy Act; Environmental Assessments for Tobacco Products; Categorical Exclusions.” The document published with three technical errors in reference numbers cited in the document. This document corrects those errors. We are correcting reference 2 and adding new reference 3. We are also placing a corrected copy of the rule in the docket.

    In FR Doc. 2015-24219, appearing on page 57531 in the Federal Register of Thursday, September 24, 2015 (80 FR 57531), FDA is making the following corrections:

    1. On page 57533, in the second column, under the Response for Comment 1, add “(Ref. 3)” at the end of the second sentence.

    2. On page 57535, in the first column, under section IX, “2. Statement of RADM David Ashley, Ph.D. and Hoshing Chang, Ph.D., ‘Impact of Tobacco Products on the Environment.’ ” is corrected to read “2. ‘Final Regulatory Impact Analysis,’ Food and Drug Administration, available at http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/ReportsManualsForms/Reports/EconomicAnalyses/default.htm.

    3. On page 57535, in the first column, under section IX, add “3. Statement of RADM David Ashley, Ph.D. and Hoshing Chang, Ph.D., ‘Impact of Tobacco Products on the Environment.’

    Dated: November 9, 2015. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-28848 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Drug Enforcement Administration 21 CFR Part 1308 [Docket No. DEA-419F] Schedules of Controlled Substances: Placement of Eluxadoline Into Schedule IV Correction

    In notice document 2015-28718, beginning on page 69861 in the issue of Thursday, November 12, 2015, make the following correction:

    On page 69861, in the first column, in the eighteenth and nineteenth lines from the bottom, “December 17, 2015” should read “December 14, 2015”.

    [FR Doc. C1-2015-28718 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1505-01-D
    DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Internal Revenue Service 26 CFR Part 1 [TD 9743] RIN 1545-BL62 Transitional Amendments To Satisfy the Market Rate of Return Rules for Hybrid Retirement Plans AGENCY:

    Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Treasury.

    ACTION:

    Final regulations.

    SUMMARY:

    This document contains final regulations that provide guidance regarding certain amendments to applicable defined benefit plans. Applicable defined benefit plans are defined benefit plans that use a lump sum-based benefit formula, including cash balance plans and pension equity plans, as well as other plans that have formulas with an effect similar to a lump sum-based benefit formula. These final regulations relate to previously issued final regulations that specify permitted interest crediting rates for purposes of the requirement that an applicable defined benefit plan not provide for interest credits (or equivalent amounts) at an effective rate that is greater than a market rate of return. These final regulations permit a plan sponsor of an applicable defined benefit plan that does not comply with the market rate of return requirement to amend the plan in order to change to an interest crediting rate that is permitted under the previously issued final hybrid plan regulations without violating the anti-cutback rules of section 411(d)(6). These regulations affect sponsors, administrators, participants, and beneficiaries of these plans.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: These regulations are effective on November 16, 2015.

    Applicability Date: These regulations generally apply to plan amendments made on or after September 18, 2014 (or an earlier date as elected by the taxpayer). These regulations cease to apply for amendments made on or after the first day of the first plan year that begins on or after January 1, 2017 (or, for collectively bargained plans, on or after a later date specified in the regulations).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Neil S. Sandhu or Linda S.F. Marshall at (202) 317-6700 (not a toll-free number).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    This document contains amendments to the Income Tax Regulations (26 CFR part 1) under sections 411(a)(13) and 411(b)(5) of the Internal Revenue Code (Code).

    Generally, a defined benefit pension plan must satisfy the minimum vesting standards of section 411(a) and the accrual requirements of section 411(b) in order to be qualified under section 401(a) of the Code. Sections 411(a)(13) and 411(b)(5), which modify the minimum vesting standards of section 411(a) and the accrual requirements of section 411(b), were added to the Code by section 701(b) of the Pension Protection Act of 2006, Public Law 109-280 (120 Stat. 780 (2006)) (PPA '06). Sections 411(a)(13) and 411(b)(5) and certain related effective date provisions were subsequently amended by the Worker, Retiree, and Employer Recovery Act of 2008, Public Law 110-458 (122 Stat. 5092 (2008)) (WRERA '08).

    Under section 411(b)(5)(B)(i), a statutory hybrid plan is treated as failing to satisfy the requirements of section 411(b)(1)(H) (which provides that the rate of an employee's benefit accrual must not be reduced because of the attainment of any age) if the terms of the plan provide any interest credit (or an equivalent amount) for any plan year at a rate that is in excess of a market rate of return. Section 411(b)(5)(B)(i) is generally effective for plan years beginning after December 31, 2007.

    Section 411(d)(6) provides generally that a plan does not satisfy section 411 if an amendment to the plan decreases a participant's accrued benefit. For this purpose, a plan amendment that has the effect of eliminating or reducing an early retirement benefit or a retirement-type subsidy or eliminating an optional form of benefit with respect to benefits attributable to service before the amendment is treated as reducing accrued benefits.

    Sections 204(b)(5)(B)(i) and 204(g) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, Public Law 93-406 (88 Stat. 829 (1974)), as amended (ERISA), contain rules that are parallel to sections 411(b)(5)(B)(i) and 411(d)(6), respectively. Under section 101 of Reorganization Plan No. 4 of 1978 (43 FR 47713), the Secretary of the Treasury has interpretive jurisdiction over the subject matter addressed in these final regulations for purposes of ERISA, as well as the Code. Thus, these final regulations apply for purposes of sections 411(b)(5)(B)(i) and 411(d)(6) of the Code, as well as for purposes of sections 204(b)(5)(B)(i) and 204(g) of ERISA.

    Section 1.411(d)-4, A-2(b)(1), of the Income Tax Regulations provides, in part, that the Commissioner may, consistent with the provisions of § 1.411(d)-4, provide for the elimination or reduction of section 411(d)(6) protected benefits that have already accrued to the extent that such elimination or reduction is necessary to permit compliance with other requirements of section 401(a). The Commissioner may exercise this authority only through the publication of revenue rulings, notices, and other documents of general applicability.

    Section 1.411(d)-4, A-2(b)(2)(i), provides that a plan may be amended to eliminate or reduce a section 411(d)(6) protected benefit, within the meaning of § 1.411(d)-4, A-1, if the following three requirements are met: The amendment constitutes timely compliance with a change in law affecting plan qualification; there is an exercise of section 7805(b) relief by the Commissioner; and the elimination or reduction of the section 411(d)(6) protected benefit is made only to the extent necessary to enable the plan to continue to satisfy the requirements for qualified plans.

    Final regulations (TD 9505) (2010 final hybrid plan regulations) were published by the Treasury Department and the IRS in the Federal Register on October 19, 2010 (75 FR 64123). Additional final regulations (TD 9693) (2014 final hybrid plan regulations) were published by the Treasury Department and the IRS in the Federal Register on September 19, 2014 (79 FR 56442) (collectively, the 2010 and 2014 final hybrid plan regulations are referred to herein as the final hybrid plan regulations). The final hybrid plan regulations provide, effective for plan years that begin on or after January 1, 2016, a list of interest crediting rates and combinations of rates that satisfy the requirement of section 411(b)(5)(B)(i) that a plan not provide an effective rate of return in excess of a market rate of return, while not permitting other rates. The provisions that provide for a list of rates are set forth at § 1.411(b)(5)-1(d)(1)(iii), (d)(1)(vi), and (d)(6)(i).

    Interest crediting rates can be broadly characterized as either investment-based rates or rates that are not investment-based rates. An investment-based rate is a rate of return provided by actual investments, taking into account the return attributable to any change in the value of the underlying investments. A rate of return that is based on the rate of return for an index that measures the change in the value of investments can also be considered to be an investment-based rate. Rates that are not investment-based rates are either fixed rates of interest or bond-based rates (such as yields to maturity of bonds).

    Section 1.411(b)(5)-1(d)(3) and (d)(4) sets forth permitted rates that are not investment-based rates, such as the third segment rate described in section 417(e)(3)(D) or 430(h)(2)(C)(iii), the yield on 30-year Treasury Constant Maturities, and a fixed 6 percent rate of interest. Section 1.411(b)(5)-1(d)(5) sets forth permitted investment-based rates, such as the rate of return on certain regulated investment companies (RICs), as defined in section 851, and the rate of return on plan assets. As provided in § 1.411(b)(5)-1(d)(6), certain annual (or more frequent) floors are permitted in combination with the bond-based rates and cumulative floors (in excess of the cumulative zero floor required under section 411(b)(5)(i)(II)) are permitted in combination with either the bond-based rates or the investment-based rates.

    Section 1.411(b)(5)-1(e)(3) provides that the right to future interest credits determined in the manner specified under the plan and not conditioned on future service is a factor that is used to determine the participant's accrued benefit for purposes of section 411(d)(6). Accordingly, section 411(d)(6) protection applies not only to interest credits that have already been credited but also to future interest credits that are not conditioned on future service.

    Proposed hybrid plan transition regulations (REG-111839-13) (2014 proposed regulations) were published by the Treasury Department and the IRS in the Federal Register on September 19, 2014 (79 FR 56305). The 2014 proposed regulations would permit an amendment to change the interest crediting rate under a hybrid plan from a rate not on the list to a rate on the list of interest crediting rates and combinations of rates that satisfy the requirement of section 411(b)(5)(B)(i) for plan years that begin on or after January 1, 2016.

    Written comments in response to the 2014 proposed regulations were received, and a public hearing was held on January 9, 2015. After consideration of the comments received, the provisions in the 2014 proposed regulations are adopted by this Treasury decision, subject to a number of changes that are summarized in this preamble.

    Explanation of Provisions

    A number of commenters requested that the regulations provide for sufficient time for plan sponsors to implement amendments pursuant to these regulations to change a plan's interest crediting rate to a permissible rate. In addition, these commenters pointed out that these amendments are often interrelated with amendments required to comply with the 2014 final hybrid plan regulations, and that plan sponsors often consider and implement all of the required amendments at the same time. In response to these comments, these final regulations delay the applicability date of certain provisions under sections 411(a)(13) and 411(b)(5) in the final hybrid plan regulations, including those provisions that provide a list of interest crediting rates and combinations of rates that satisfy the requirement of section 411(b)(5)(B)(i) that the plan not provide an effective rate of return in excess of a market rate of return. Under these regulations, these provisions are generally effective for plan years that begin on or after January 1, 2017.

    Prior to the first day of the first plan year that begins on or after January 1, 2017, a plan that uses an interest crediting rate that is not permitted under the final hybrid plan regulations must be amended to change to an interest crediting rate that is permitted under those regulations. Although a plan is permitted to be amended to change the interest crediting rate with respect to benefits that have not yet accrued, an amendment that reduces the interest crediting rate with respect to benefits that have already accrued would ordinarily be impermissible under section 411(d)(6).

    In order to resolve the conflict between the market rate of return rules of section 411(b)(5)(B)(i) and the anti-cutback rules of section 411(d)(6), these regulations permit a plan with a noncompliant interest crediting rate to be amended with respect to benefits that have already accrued so that its interest crediting rate complies with the market rate of return rules. If the applicable requirements of these regulations are satisfied, such an amendment is permitted with respect to benefits that have already accrued, but only with respect to interest credits that are credited for interest crediting periods that begin on or after the later of the effective date of the amendment or the date the amendment is adopted (the applicable amendment date within the meaning of § 1.411(d)-3(g)(4)).1 To qualify for this treatment, the amendment must be adopted prior to and effective no later than the applicability date of the regulatory market rate of return rules (generally, the first day of the first plan year that begins on or after January 1, 2017, with a delayed applicability date for collectively bargained plans).

    1 Thus, these regulations do not permit a reduction in the hypothetical account balance as of the applicable amendment date.

    Like the 2014 proposed regulations, these regulations permit amendments that bring the plan into compliance by changing the specific feature that causes the plan's interest crediting rate to be noncompliant, while not changing other features of the existing rate. If the noncompliant interest crediting rate has more than one noncompliant feature, then each noncompliant feature must be addressed separately in the prescribed manner. Examples are included to illustrate the application of these rules.

    The standard in these final regulations for resolving this conflict between section 411(d)(6) and section 411(b)(5)(B)(i) is generally comparable to the standard under the rules of § 1.411(d)-4, A-2(b)(1) and (b)(2)(i) with respect to the Commissioner's exercise of authority to resolve a conflict between section 411(d)(6) and another qualification requirement under section 401(a). The Treasury Department and the IRS believe this approach is the most appropriate manner to resolve the conflict between the market rate of return rules of section 411(b)(5)(B)(i) and the anti-cutback rules of section 411(d)(6).2

    2 A plan may have been amended to change its interest crediting rate under the rules of section 1107 of PPA '06. Section 1107 of PPA '06 provided relief from the requirements of section 411(d)(6) for amendments made pursuant to a change in law under PPA '06 if the amendment was adopted by the last day of the first plan year that began on or after January 1, 2009 (or 2011, in the case of a governmental plan as defined in section 414(d)). If an interest crediting rate adopted under the rules of section 1107 of PPA '06 is not permitted under the final hybrid plan regulations, then these final regulations permit a subsequent amendment to change the rate to a rate permitted under the final hybrid plan regulations.

    If a noncompliant rate involves one or more variable rates or a variable rate together with a fixed rate, it is not always readily apparent which specific feature or component rate causes the rate to be noncompliant. In addition, if either the existing rate or any of the potential corrections involves variable components, it is impossible to determine with certainty at the time of amendment the single amendment that in all cases that will result in the least reduction to the participant's accrued benefit as of the participant's annuity starting date. Thus, in response to a number of comments on the 2014 proposed regulations that more flexibility to amend noncompliant features be provided, the final regulations in many cases permit a plan sponsor to choose one of two or more alternative amendments in order to bring a plan into compliance.

    A number of commenters specifically requested that the rules in the transition regulations permit any noncompliant bond-based rate to be capped at the third segment rate. The Treasury Department and the IRS agree that this is an appropriate approach. Accordingly, an additional option has been added in each case involving bond-based rates so that any noncompliant variable rate that is not an investment-based rate (including the greater of two or more non-investment based variable rates) may be capped at the third segment rate. If this approach is used, the third segment rate cap would have to satisfy the rules that apply to the use of the third segment rate as an interest crediting rate. Thus, the cap could be any of the third segment rates that may be used as an interest crediting rate and the cap would have to use a permissible lookback month and stability period. Note, however, that if any noncompliant composite rate is limited so that it does not exceed a third segment rate cap, that limit would also apply with respect to any annual fixed minimum rate that is part of the noncompliant composite rate. Therefore, the annual interest crediting rate (taking into account the cap) could be lower than the otherwise applicable fixed minimum rate.3

    3 This limitation on an otherwise applicable minimum rate may have implications for plans that require an annual minimum rate in order to satisfy the anti-backloading rules of section 411(b)(1).

    A special rule has been added to the regulations to clarify that an amendment to correct a noncompliant feature that provides for a greater interest crediting rate than the specific amendment set forth in the regulations also does not violate section 411(d)(6). Thus, for example, in any case in which it is permissible to address a noncompliant rate by capping the rate at the third segment rate, it would also be permissible to address the noncompliant rate simply by switching to the third segment rate. Similarly, an amendment to switch to the third segment rate together with a permitted fixed minimum rate would be permissible.

    These final regulations also provide flexibility with respect to noncompliant investment-based rates. In particular, if a plan credits interest using a noncompliant investment-based rate and there is no permitted investment-based rate with similar risk and return characteristics as the plan's impermissible rate, then, as an alternative to the specified corrective amendment that was in the proposed regulations, an amendment to switch to the third segment rate with a 4 percent fixed minimum rate is permitted. The regulations also clarify the specified corrective amendment that was in the proposed regulations by providing that it is permissible in such a case to switch to a permitted investment-based rate that is otherwise similar to the plan's impermissible investment-based rate but without the risk and return characteristics of the impermissible rate that caused it to be impermissible (generally requiring the use of a rate that is less volatile than the plan's impermissible investment-based rate but is otherwise similar to that rate).

    The preamble to the 2014 final hybrid plan regulations contained a discussion of statutory hybrid plans that permit participants to choose from among a menu of hypothetical investment options. Because of the significant concerns relating to the use of these plan designs, the Treasury Department and the IRS continue to study the issues raised in the preamble to the 2014 final hybrid plan regulations related to these plans, and it is possible that the Treasury Department and the IRS will conclude that such plan designs are not permitted. Nevertheless, the Treasury Department and the IRS understand that some of these plans contain one or more hypothetical investment options that provide for a rate of return that is not permitted under the final hybrid plan regulations. A special rule is included in these regulations in order to address the noncompliance that results from the availability of at least one hypothetical investment option that provides for an impermissible rate of return. This special rule provides that the rules of these final regulations may be applied separately to correct each impermissible hypothetical investment option. Alternatively, with respect to such a plan that permitted a participant to choose an interest crediting rate from among a menu of hypothetical investment options on September 18, 2014, pursuant to plan provisions that were adopted on or before September 18, 2014, this special rule provides that the entire menu of investment options may be treated as an impermissible investment-based rate for which there is no permitted investment-based rate with similar risk and return characteristics (so that the rule of § 1.411(b)(5)-1(e)(3)(vi)(C)(7) does not apply). As a result, plans described in the preceding sentence may be amended to eliminate a participant's ability to choose an interest crediting rate from among a menu of hypothetical investment options in accordance with § 1.411(b)(5)-1(e)(3)(vi)(C)(9). The inclusion of this special rule with respect to plan designs that permit participant direction of interest crediting rates is merely intended to address the noncompliance that results from the availability of a hypothetical investment option that provides for an impermissible rate of return, and should not be construed to create any inference as to the permissibility of these plan designs in general.

    The preamble to the 2014 proposed regulations specifically requested comments as to an amendment to bring a plan into compliance if the plan credits interest using a composite rate that is an investment-based rate of return with an impermissible annual (or more frequent) fixed or variable rate. Many commenters requested flexibility to choose among options in such a case because there is no single correction that is the best correction for all cases. The Treasury Department and the IRS agree that, for this type of interest crediting rate, no single correction method is the most appropriate method for all cases. Therefore, the final regulations provide that it is permissible either to eliminate the fixed minimum rate (or any variable non-investment based rate) and eliminate any reduction to the investment-based rate, or to switch to the third segment rate (preserving any fixed minimum rate to the maximum extent permitted).

    In response to comments inquiring about the treatment of plans that provide for a cumulative floor (such as, for example, in order to comply with section 411(d)(6) in connection with a prior amendment to change the plan's interest crediting rate on accrued pay credits), the regulations provide for a special rule that applies with respect to a participant under a plan that takes into account a minimum rate of return that applies less frequently than annually or that determines the participant's benefit as of the annuity starting date as the benefit provided by the greatest of two or more account balances and that minimum rate or benefit based on two or more account balances does not satisfy the market rate of return rules. If this rule applies, the plan must be amended to provide that the benefit for a participant is based solely on the benefit (and the associated interest crediting rate with respect to that benefit) that is greatest for that participant as of the applicable amendment date for the amendment adopted pursuant to these regulations. In addition, the plan must be further amended pursuant to the other rules in these regulations if the remaining interest crediting rate does not satisfy the market rate of return rules.

    In response to comments as to the permissibility of rounding interest crediting rates and the need for the regulations to provide section 411(d)(6) relief for plans that use an impermissible rounding rule, the regulations provide for a rounding rule and also provide for section 411(d)(6) relief for transitional amendments to comply with this rounding rule. Under the rounding rule, a plan is not treated as failing to meet the requirement that a plan not credit interest at a rate that exceeds a market rate of return merely because the plan determines interest credits for an interest crediting period by rounding the calculated interest rate or rate of return. Under this rule, an annual rate may be rounded to the nearest multiple of 25 basis points (or a smaller rounding interval). If a plan provides for the crediting of interest more frequently than annually, then the rounding interval must not exceed a pro-rata portion of 25 basis points. Notwithstanding the preceding sentence, a plan is permitted to round to the nearest basis point regardless of the length of the interest crediting period.

    Several commenters identified the need for section 411(d)(6) relief for plans that provide for rules that apply upon plan termination that do not comply with the plan termination rules in the final hybrid plan regulations. In response to these comments, the regulations provide for section 411(d)(6) relief for transitional amendments made to enable a plan to comply with the plan termination rules in the final hybrid plan regulations.

    In response to the comment request included in the 2014 proposed regulations with respect to all aspects of those proposed rules, the Department of Treasury and the IRS received a number of comments with respect to provisions of the 2014 final hybrid plan regulations instead of the 2014 proposed regulations. These final regulations delay the applicability date of certain provisions in the 2014 final hybrid plan regulations (and provide for a special delayed applicability date for collectively bargained plans), but do not otherwise address comments on provisions of the 2014 final hybrid plan regulations.4

    4 Proposed regulations (REG-132554-08) under sections 411(a)(13), 411(b)(1), and 411(b)(5) (2010 proposed hybrid plan regulations) were published by the Treasury Department and the IRS in the Federal Register on October 19, 2010 (75 FR 64197). The Treasury Department and the IRS received written comments on the 2010 proposed hybrid plan regulations, and a public hearing was held on January 26, 2011. The 2014 final hybrid plan regulations, which finalized the 2010 proposed hybrid plan regulations, took into account the comments received prior to publication of the 2014 final hybrid plan regulations.

    Effective/Applicability Dates

    These regulations generally apply to plan amendments made on or after September 18, 2014 (or an earlier date as elected by the taxpayer), and they do not apply for amendments made on or after the first day of the first plan year that begins on or after January 1, 2017. However, for collectively bargained plans, these regulations continue to apply for amendments made before the first day of the first plan year that begins on or after January 1, 2019, unless the last collective bargaining agreement ratified on or before November 13, 2015 expires before January 1, 2019, in which case these regulations cease to apply to amendments made on or after the first day of the first plan year that begins on or after the later of the date on which the last applicable collective bargaining agreement expires or January 1, 2017.

    Special Analyses

    Certain IRS regulations, including this one, are exempt from the requirements of Executive Order 12866, as supplemented and reaffirmed by Executive Order 13563. Therefore, a regulatory impact assessment is not required. It also has been determined that section 553(b) of the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. chapter 5) does not apply to these regulations, and because these regulations do not impose a collection of information on small entities, the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. chapter 6) does not apply. Pursuant to section 7805(f) of the Code, the notice of proposed rulemaking preceding these regulations was submitted to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration for comment on its impact on small business.

    Drafting Information

    The principal authors of these regulations are Neil S. Sandhu and Linda S.F. Marshall, Office of Associate Chief Counsel (Tax Exempt and Government Entities). However, other personnel from the IRS and the Treasury Department participated in the development of these regulations.

    List of Subjects in 26 CFR Part 1

    Income taxes, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Adoption of Amendments to the Regulations

    Accordingly, 26 CFR part 1 is amended as follows:

    PART 1—INCOME TAXES Paragraph 1. The authority citation for part 1 continues to read in part as follows: Authority:

    26 U.S.C. 7805 * * *

    § 1.411(a)(13)-1 [Amended]
    Par. 2. For each entry listed in the “Location” column, remove the language in the “Remove” column and add the language in the “Add” column in its place. Location Remove Add § 1.411(a)(13)-1(d)(3)(i), third sentence for plan years that begin on or after January 1, 2016 for plan years described in paragraph (e)(2)(ii)(A) or (e)(2)(ii)(B) of this section, as applicable. § 1.411(a)(13)-1(d)(3)(i), fifth and sixth sentences for plan years that begin on or after January 1, 2016 for plan years described in paragraph (e)(2)(ii)(A) or (e)(2)(ii)(B) of this section (as applicable). § 1.411(a)(13)-1(d)(4)(ii)(A), second sentence for plan years that begin on or after January 1, 2016 for plan years described in paragraph (e)(2)(ii)(A) or (e)(2)(ii)(B) of this section (as applicable). § 1.411(a)(13)-1(d)(4)(ii)(C), second sentence For plan years that begin on or after January 1, 2016 For plan years described in paragraph (e)(2)(ii)(A) or (e)(2)(ii)(B) of this section (as applicable).
    Par. 3. Section 1.411(a)(13)-1 is amended by revising paragraph (e)(2)(ii) to read as follows:
    § 1.411(a)(13)-1 Statutory hybrid plans.

    (e) * * *

    (2) * * *

    (ii) Special effective date—(A) In general. Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph (e)(2)(ii), paragraphs (b)(2), (3), and (4) of this section apply to plan years that begin on or after January 1, 2017.

    (B) Collectively bargained plans. In the case of a plan maintained pursuant to one or more collective bargaining agreements between employee representatives and one or more employers ratified on or before November 13, 2015, that constitutes a collectively bargained plan under the rules of § 1.436-1(a)(5)(ii)(B), paragraphs (b)(2), (3), and (4) of this section apply to plan years that begin on or after the later of—

    (1) January 1, 2017; and

    (2) The earlier of—

    (i) January 1, 2019; and

    (ii) The date on which the last of those collective bargaining agreements terminates (determined without regard to any extension thereof on or after November 13, 2015).

    § 1.411(b)(5)-1 [Amended]
    Par. 4. For each entry listed in the “Location” column, remove the language in the “Remove” column and add the language in the “Add” column in its place. Location Remove Add § 1.411(b)(5)-1(b)(1)(ii)(F) For plan years that begin on or after January 1, 2016 For plan years described in paragraph (f)(2)(i)(B)(1) or (f)(2)(i)(B)(3) of this section (as applicable). § 1.411(b)(5)-1(b)(1)(iii), third sentence for plan years that begin on or after January 1, 2016 for plan years described in paragraph (f)(2)(i)(B)(1) or (f)(2)(i)(B)(3) of this section (as applicable). § 1.411(b)(5)-1(b)(2)(i), third sentence for plan years that begin on or after January 1, 2016 for plan years described in paragraph (f)(2)(i)(B)(1) or (f)(2)(i)(B)(3) of this section, as applicable. § 1.411(b)(5)-1(e)(2)(ii)(B)(1), second sentence the first plan year that begins on or after January 1, 2016 the first plan year described in paragraph (f)(2)(i)(B)(1) or (f)(2)(i)(B)(3) of this section (as applicable). § 1.411(b)(5)-1(e)(3)(ii)(D) For plan years that begin on or after January 1, 2016 For plan years described in paragraph (f)(2)(i)(B)(1) or (f)(2)(i)(B)(3) of this section (as applicable). Par. 5. Section 1.411(b)(5)-1 is amended by: 1. Adding a new sentence between the second and third sentences of paragraph (d)(1)(iv)(A); 2. Adding paragraph (d)(1)(iv)(E); 3. Adding paragraphs (e)(3)(vi) and (vii); and 4. Revising paragraph (f)(2)(i)(B).

    The additions and revisions read as follows:

    § 1.411(b)(5)-1 Reduction in rate of benefit accrual under a defined benefit plan.

    (d) * * *

    (1) * * *

    (iv) * * *

    (A) * * * In addition, a plan is permitted to round the calculated interest rate or rate of return in accordance with paragraph (d)(1)(iv)(E) of this section.

    (E) Rounding of interest crediting rate. A plan is not treated as failing to meet the requirements of this paragraph (d) merely because the plan determines interest credits for an interest crediting period by rounding the calculated interest rate or rate of return in accordance with this paragraph (d)(1)(iv)(E). An annual rate may be rounded to the nearest multiple of 25 basis points (or a smaller rounding interval). If a plan provides for the crediting of interest more frequently than annually, then the rounding interval must not exceed a pro-rata portion of 25 basis points. Notwithstanding the preceding sentence, a plan is permitted to round to the nearest basis point regardless of the length of the interest crediting period.

    (e) * * *

    (3) * * *

    (vi) Transitional amendments needed to satisfy the market rate of return rules—(A) In general. Notwithstanding the requirements of section 411(d)(6), if the requirements set forth in this paragraph (e)(3)(vi) are satisfied, a plan may be amended to change its interest crediting rate with respect to benefits that have already accrued in order to comply with the requirements of section 411(b)(5)(B)(i) and paragraph (d) of this section. A plan amendment is eligible for the treatment provided under this paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(A) to the extent that the amendment modifies an interest crediting rate that does not satisfy the requirements of section 411(b)(5)(B)(i) and paragraph (d) of this section in the manner specified in paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(C) of this section.

    (B) Rules of application—(1) Multiple noncompliant features. If a plan's interest crediting rate has more than one noncompliant feature as described in paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(C) of this section, then each noncompliant feature must be addressed separately in the manner specified in paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(C) of this section.

    (2) Definition of investment-based rate. The application of the rules of paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(C) of this section to an interest crediting rate depends on whether the interest crediting rate is an investment-based rate. For purposes of this paragraph (e)(3)(vi), an investment-based rate is a rate based on either a rate of return provided by actual investments (taking into account the return attributable to any change in the value of the underlying investments) or a rate of return for an index that measures the change in the value of investments. A rate is an investment-based rate even if it is based only in part on a rate described in the preceding sentence.

    (3) Timing rules for permitted amendments. The rules under this paragraph (e)(3)(vi) apply only to a plan amendment that is adopted prior to and effective no later than the first day of the first plan year described in paragraph (f)(2)(i)(B)(1) or (f)(2)(i)(B)(3) of this section, as applicable. In addition, the rules under this paragraph (e)(3)(vi) apply to a plan amendment only with respect to interest credits that are credited for interest crediting periods that begin on or after the applicable amendment date (within the meaning of § 1.411(d)-3(g)(4)).

    (4) Amendments that provide for greater interest crediting rates. If a plan is amended in accordance with paragraphs (e)(3)(vi)(C)(1) through (10) of this section to switch from a noncompliant rate to a compliant rate and is subsequently amended to switch to a second compliant rate that can never be less than the first compliant rate, then the second amendment does not violate section 411(d)(6). If, instead, the plan is amended to switch from the noncompliant rate to the second compliant rate in a single amendment, that amendment also does not violate section 411(d)(6). For example, if it is permitted under paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(C) of this section to first amend the plan to credit interest using the lesser of the current rate and a rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section, it is then permissible to amend the plan to credit interest using that rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section. In such a case, it is also permissible to amend the plan to switch from the current rate to a rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section in a single amendment.

    (5) Cumulative floors, including floors resulting from a prior change in rates with section 411(d)(6) protection. This paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(B)(5) applies to a plan that takes into account a minimum rate of return that applies less frequently than annually. This paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(B)(5) also applies to a plan that determines the participant's benefit as of the annuity starting date as the benefit provided by the greatest of two or more account balances (for example, in order to comply with section 411(d)(6) in connection with a prior amendment to change the plan's interest crediting rate). In either case, this paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(B)(5) applies with respect to a participant only if the requirements of paragraph (d)(6) of this section are not satisfied with respect to that participant. If this paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(B)(5) applies with respect to a participant, the plan must be amended to provide that the benefit for the participant is based solely on the benefit (and the associated interest crediting rate with respect to that benefit) that is greatest for that participant as of the applicable amendment date for the amendment made pursuant to this paragraph (e)(3)(vi). In addition, the plan must be further amended pursuant to the other rules in this paragraph (e)(3)(vi) if the remaining interest crediting rate does not satisfy the requirements of paragraph (d) of this section.

    (6) Plans that permit participant direction of interest crediting rates. This paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(B)(6) applies in the case in which a plan permits a participant to choose an interest crediting rate from among a menu of hypothetical investment options and at least one of those hypothetical investment options provides for an interest crediting rate that is not permitted under paragraph (d) of this section (so that the plan fails to satisfy the requirements of paragraph (d) of this section). In such a case, the rules of this paragraph (e)(3)(vi) may be applied separately to correct each impermissible investment option. Alternatively, with respect to such a plan that permitted a participant to choose an interest crediting rate from among a menu of hypothetical investment options on September 18, 2014, pursuant to plan provisions that were adopted on or before September 18, 2014, the entire menu of investment options may be treated as an impermissible investment-based rate for which there is no permitted investment-based rate with similar risk and return characteristics (so that the rule of paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(C)(7) of this section does not apply). As a result, plans described in the preceding sentence may be amended to eliminate a participant's ability to choose an interest crediting rate from among a menu of hypothetical investment options in accordance with paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(C)(9) of this section.

    (C) Noncompliant feature and amendment to bring plan into compliance—(1) Timing or other rules related to determining interest credits not satisfied. If a plan has an underlying interest rate that generally satisfies the rules of paragraph (d) of this section but that does not satisfy the rules relating to how interest credits are determined and credited as set forth in paragraph (d)(1)(iv) of this section, then the plan must be amended either—

    (i) To correct the aspect of the plan's interest crediting rate that fails to comply with the rules of paragraph (d)(1)(iv) of this section with respect to its underlying interest crediting rate; or

    (ii) If the plan's interest crediting rate is a variable rate that is not an investment-based rate of return, to provide that the plan's interest crediting rate is the lesser of that variable rate and a rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section that satisfies the rules of paragraph (d)(1)(iv) of this section.

    (2) Fixed rate in excess of 6 percent. If a plan's interest crediting rate is a fixed rate in excess of the rate described in paragraph (d)(4)(v) of this section, then the plan must be amended to reduce the interest crediting rate to an annual interest crediting rate of 6 percent.

    (3) Bond-based rate with margin exceeding maximum permitted margin. If a plan's interest crediting rate is a noncompliant rate that consists of an underlying rate described in paragraph (d)(3) or (d)(4) of this section except that the plan applies a margin that exceeds the maximum permitted margin under paragraph (d)(3) or (d)(4) of this section to the underlying rate, then the plan must be amended either—

    (i) To reduce the margin to the maximum permitted margin for the underlying rate used by the plan; or

    (ii) To provide that the plan's interest crediting rate is the lesser of the plan's noncompliant rate and a rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section (together with any fixed minimum rate that was part of the noncompliant rate, reduced to the extent necessary to comply with paragraph (d)(6)(ii) of this section).

    (4) Bond-based rate with fixed minimum rate applied on an annual or more frequent basis in excess of the highest permitted fixed minimum rate. If a plan's interest crediting rate is a composite rate that consists of a variable rate described in paragraph (d)(3) or (d)(4) of this section in combination with a fixed minimum rate in excess of the highest permitted fixed minimum rate under paragraph (d)(6)(ii)(A)(2) or (B)(2) of this section (as applicable), then the plan must be amended in one of the following manners:

    (i) To reduce the fixed minimum rate to the highest permitted fixed minimum rate that may be used in combination with the plan's variable rate;

    (ii) To credit interest using an annual interest crediting rate of 6 percent; or

    (iii) To provide that the plan's interest crediting rate is the lesser of the plan's noncompliant composite rate and a rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section (together with a fixed minimum rate of 4 percent).

    (5) Greatest of two or more variable bond-based rates. If a plan's interest crediting rate is a composite rate that is the greatest of two or more variable rates described in paragraph (d)(3) or (d)(4) of this section, then the plan must be amended to provide for an interest crediting rate that is the lesser of the composite rate and a rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section.

    (6) Other impermissible bond-based rates. If, after application of the rules of paragraphs (e)(3)(vi)(C)(1) through (5) of this section, a plan's interest crediting rate is a variable rate that is not an investment-based rate of return and is not described in paragraph (d)(3) or (d)(4) of this section, then the plan must be amended either—

    (i) To provide for an interest crediting rate based on a variable rate described in paragraph (d)(3) or (d)(4) of this section that has similar duration and quality characteristics as the plan's variable rate, if such a rate can be selected; or

    (ii) To provide for an interest crediting rate that is the lesser of the plan's variable rate and a rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section.

    (7) Impermissible investment-based rate that can be replaced with a permissible rate that has similar risk and return characteristics. If a plan's interest crediting rate is an investment-based rate of return that is not described in paragraph (d)(5) of this section and a permitted investment-based rate described in paragraph (d)(5)(ii)(A), (d)(5)(ii)(B), or (d)(5)(iv) of this section that has similar risk and return characteristics as the plan's impermissible investment-based rate can be selected, then the plan must be amended to provide for an interest crediting rate based on such a permitted investment-based rate.

    (8) Investment-based rate with an annual or more frequent minimum rate that is either a fixed rate or a non-investment based variable rate. If a plan's interest crediting rate is an investment-based rate of return that would be described in paragraph (d)(5) of this section except that the plan uses an annual or more frequent minimum rate that is either a fixed rate or a non-investment based variable rate in conjunction with the investment-based rate, then the plan must be amended either—

    (i) To credit interest using that investment-based rate of return described in paragraph (d)(5) of this section without the minimum rate and eliminating any reduction (or other adjustment) to the investment-based rate; or

    (ii) To provide that the plan's interest crediting rate is a rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section (together with any fixed minimum rate, reduced to the extent necessary to comply with paragraph (d)(6)(ii) of this section).

    (9) Other impermissible investment-based rates. If, after application of the rules of paragraphs (e)(3)(vi)(C)(1), (7), and (8) of this section, a plan's interest crediting rate is an investment-based rate that is not described in paragraph (d)(5) of this section, then the plan must be amended either—

    (i) To provide for an interest crediting rate that is an investment-based rate that is described in paragraph (d)(5) of this section and that is otherwise similar to the plan's impermissible investment-based rate but without the risk and return characteristics of the impermissible investment-based rate that caused it to be impermissible (generally requiring the use of a rate that is less volatile than the plan's impermissible investment-based rate but is otherwise similar to that rate); or

    (ii) To provide that the plan's interest crediting rate is a rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section with a fixed minimum rate of 4 percent.

    (D) Examples. The following examples illustrate the application of the rules of this paragraph (e)(3)(vi). Each plan has a plan year that is the calendar year, and all amendments are adopted on October 1, 2016, and become effective for interest crediting periods beginning on or after January 1, 2017. Except as otherwise provided, the interest crediting rate under the plan satisfies the timing and other rules related to crediting interest under paragraph (d)(1)(iv) of this section.

    Example 1.

    (i) Facts. A plan determines interest credits for a plan year using the average yield on 30-year Treasury Constant Maturities for the last week of the preceding plan year (which is an impermissible lookback period for this purpose pursuant to paragraph (d)(1)(iv)(B) of this section because it is not a month).

    (ii) Conclusion. Pursuant to paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(C)(1) of this section, the plan must be amended in one of two manners. It may be amended to determine interest credits for a plan year using the average yield on 30-year Treasury Constant Maturities for a lookback month that complies with the requirements of paragraph (d)(1)(iv)(B) of this section. Alternatively, the plan may be amended to cap the existing rate so that it cannot exceed a third segment rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section for a period that complies with the requirements of paragraph (d)(1)(iv)(B) of this section.

    Example 2.

    (i) Facts. A plan determines interest credits for a plan year using the average yield on 30-year Treasury Constant Maturities for the last week of the preceding plan year, plus 50 basis points.

    (ii) Conclusion. Pursuant to paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(B)(1) of this section, the plan must be amended to correct both the impermissible lookback period and the excess margin. Accordingly, pursuant to paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(C)(1) and (3) of this section, the plan may be amended to determine interest credits for a plan year using the average yield on 30-year Treasury Constant Maturities (with no margin) for a period that complies with the requirements of paragraph (d)(1)(iv)(B) of this section. Alternatively, the plan may be amended to cap the existing rate so that it cannot exceed a third segment rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section for a period that complies with the requirements of paragraph (d)(1)(iv)(B) of this section.

    Example 3.

    (i) Facts. A plan credits interest for a plan year using the rate of return on plan assets for the preceding plan year.

    (ii) Conclusion. Pursuant to paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(C)(1) of this section, the plan must be amended to determine interest credits for each plan year using the rate of return on plan assets for that plan year.

    Example 4.

    (i) Facts. A plan credits interest using the average yield on 30-year Treasury Constant Maturities for December of the preceding plan year with a minimum rate of 5.5 percent per year.

    (ii) Conclusion. Pursuant to paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(C)(4) of this section, the plan must be amended to change the plan's interest crediting rate. The new interest crediting rate under the plan may be the average yield on 30-year Treasury Constant Maturities for December of the preceding plan year with a minimum rate of 5 percent per year. Alternatively, the new interest crediting rate under the plan may be an annual interest crediting rate of 6 percent. As another alternative, the existing noncompliant composite rate may be capped so that it cannot exceed a third segment rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section, with a minimum rate of 4 percent as a floor on the entire resulting rate.

    Example 5.

    (i) Facts. A plan credits interest using the greater of the unadjusted yield on 30-year Treasury Constant Maturities and the yield on 1-year Treasury Constant Maturities plus 100 basis points.

    (ii) Conclusion. Pursuant to paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(C)(5) of this section, the plan must be amended to cap the existing composite “greater-of” rate so that the composite rate cannot exceed a third segment rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section.

    Example 6.

    (i) Facts. A plan credits interest using a broad-based index that measures the yield to maturity on a group of intermediate-term investment grade corporate bonds.

    (ii) Conclusion. Pursuant to paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(C)(6) of this section, the plan must be amended in one of two manners. The plan may be amended to credit interest using a second segment rate described in paragraph (d)(4)(iv) of this section. Alternatively, the plan may be amended to cap the existing rate so that it cannot exceed a third segment rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section.

    Example 7.

    (i) Facts. A plan credits interest using the rate of return for a broad-based index that measures the yield to maturity on a group of short-term non-investment grade corporate bonds.

    (ii) Conclusion. Pursuant to paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(C)(6)(ii) of this section, the plan must be amended to cap the existing rate so that it cannot exceed a third segment rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section.

    Example 8.

    (i) Facts. A plan credits interest using the rate of return for the S&P 500 index. To bring the plan into compliance with the market rate of return rules, the plan sponsor amends the plan to credit interest based on the rate of return on a RIC that is designed to track the rate of return on the S&P 500 index.

    (ii) Conclusion. The amendment satisfies the rule of paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(C)(7) of this section.

    Example 9.

    (i) Facts. A plan credits interest based on the rate of return on a collective trust that holds a portfolio of equity investments, which provides a rate of return that is reasonably expected to be not significantly more volatile than the broad U.S. equities market or a similarly broad international equities market. To bring the plan into compliance with the market rate of return rules, the plan sponsor amends the plan to credit interest based on the actual rate of return on the assets within a specified subset of the plan's assets that is invested in the collective trust and that satisfies the requirements of paragraph (d)(5)(ii)(B) of this section.

    (ii) Conclusion. The amendment satisfies the rule of paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(C)(7) of this section.

    Example 10.

    (i) Facts. A plan credits interest for a plan year using the rate of return on a RIC that has most of its investments concentrated in the semiconductor industry.

    (ii) Conclusion. Pursuant to paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(C)(9) of this section, the plan must be amended in one of two manners. The plan may be amended to provide for an interest crediting rate that is an investment-based rate that is described in paragraph (d)(5) of this section and that is similar to the plan's impermissible investment-based rate except to the extent that the risk and return characteristics of the impermissible investment-based rate caused it to be impermissible. Thus, the plan may be amended to provide for an interest crediting rate based on the rate of return on a RIC that is invested in a broader sector of the market than the semiconductor industry (such as the overall technology sector of the market), provided that the sector in which the RIC is invested is broad enough that the volatility requirements of paragraph (d)(5)(iv) of this section are satisfied. Alternatively, the plan may be amended to provide that the plan's interest crediting rate is a third segment rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section with a fixed minimum rate of 4 percent.

    Example 11.

    (i) Facts. A plan was amended in 2014 to change its interest crediting rate for all interest crediting periods after the applicable amendment date of the amendment. The amendment changed the rate from the yield on 30-year Treasury Constant Maturities to the rate of return on aggregate plan assets under paragraph (d)(5)(ii)(A) of this section. The amendment also provided for section 411(d)(6) protection with respect to the account balance as of the applicable amendment date (by providing that the account balance after the applicable amendment date will never be smaller than the account balance as of the applicable amendment date credited with interest using the yield on 30-year Treasury Constant Maturities).

    (ii) Conclusions. (A) Participants benefiting under the plan. With respect to those participants who were benefiting under the plan as of the applicable amendment date of the amendment described in paragraph (i) of this Example 11, the requirements of paragraph (e)(3)(iii) of this section (which provides a special market rate of return rule to permit certain changes in rates for participants benefiting under the plan) are satisfied. Accordingly, no amendment is required under this paragraph (e)(3)(vi) with respect to those participants.

    (B) Participants not benefiting under the plan. With respect to those participants who were not benefiting under the plan as of the applicable amendment date of the amendment described in paragraph (i) of this Example 11, the requirements of paragraph (e)(3)(iii) of this section are not satisfied and, accordingly, the “greater-of” rate resulting from the section 411(d)(6) protection does not satisfy the requirements of paragraph (d)(6) of this section. As a result, pursuant to paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(B)(5) of this section, it must be determined on a participant-by-participant basis which account balance provides the benefit that is greater as of the applicable amendment date for the amendment made pursuant to this paragraph (e)(3)(iv) (the transitional amendment). If, as of the applicable amendment date for the transitional amendment, the account balance credited with interest after the change in rates using the yield on 30-year Treasury Constant Maturities is greater, then the plan must be amended to provide that the participant's benefit is based solely on that account balance credited with interest using the yield on 30-year Treasury Constant Maturities. On the other hand, if, as of the applicable amendment date for the transitional amendment, the account balance using the rate of return on aggregate plan assets is greater, then the plan must be amended to provide that the participant's benefit is based solely on that account balance credited with interest at the rate of return on aggregate plan assets.

    (vii) Plan termination amendments. A plan amendment with an applicable amendment date on or before the first day of the first plan year described in paragraph (f)(2)(i)(B)(1) or (3) of this section (as applicable) is not treated as reducing accrued benefits in violation of section 411(d)(6) merely because the amendment changes the rules that apply upon plan termination in order to satisfy the requirements of paragraph (e)(2) of this section.

    (f) * * *

    (2) * * *

    (i) * * *

    (B) Special effective date—(1) In general. Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph (f)(2)(i)(B), paragraphs (d)(1)(iii), (d)(1)(iv)(D) and (E), (d)(1)(vi), (d)(2)(ii) and (v), (d)(5)(ii)(B), (d)(5)(iv), (d)(6), (e)(2), (e)(3)(iii), (iv) and (v), and (e)(4) of this section apply to plan years that begin on or after January 1, 2017 (or an earlier date as elected by the taxpayer).

    (2) Transitional amendments. Paragraphs (e)(3)(vi) and (vii) of this section apply to plan amendments made on or after September 18, 2014 (or an earlier date as elected by the taxpayer).

    (3) Collectively bargained plans. In the case of a plan maintained pursuant to one or more collective bargaining agreements between employee representatives and one or more employers ratified on or before November 13, 2015, that constitutes a collectively bargained plan under the rules of § 1.436-1(a)(5)(ii)(B), the paragraphs referenced in paragraph (f)(2)(i)(B)(1) of this section apply to plan years that begin on or after the later of—

    (i) January 1, 2017; and

    (ii) The earlier of January 1, 2019; and the date on which the last of those collective bargaining agreements terminates (determined without regard to any extension thereof on or after November 13, 2015).

    John Dalrymple, Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement. Approved: November 3, 2015. Mark J. Mazur, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury (Tax Policy).
    [FR Doc. 2015-28915 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4830-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 165 [Docket No. USCG-2015-0994] RIN 1625-AA00 Safety Zone; Unknown Substance in the Vicinity of Kelley's Island Shoal, Lake Erie; Kelley's Island, OH AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Temporary final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard is establishing a temporary safety zone in the waters of the Lake Erie in the vicinity of Kelley's Island Shoal, OH. This zone is intended to restrict vessels from a portion of Lake Erie due to the presence of an unknown substance emanating from an unknown vessel. This temporary safety zone is necessary to protect people and vessels from the hazards associated with this event.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective without actual notice from November 16, 2015 until 8 p.m. November 24, 2015. For the purposes of enforcement, actual notice will be used from 2 p.m. October 25, 2015, until November 16, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Documents indicated in this preamble as being available in the docket are part of docket USCG-2015-0994 and are available online by going to www.regulations.gov, type the docket number in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.” Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this rulemaking. They are also available for inspection or copying at the Docket Management Facility (M-30), U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions on this temporary final rule, contact or email LT Jennifer Disco, U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Toledo, telephone (419) 418-6000, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Table of Abbreviations COTP Captain of the Port DHS Department of Homeland Security E.O. Executive Order NAD 83 North American Datum of 1983 II. Background Information and Regulatory History

    The Coast Guard is issuing this temporary final rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment pursuant to authority under section 4(a) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553(b)). This provision authorizes an agency to issue a rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment when the agency, for good cause, finds that those procedures are “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.” Under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for not publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) with respect to this rule because doing so would be impracticable. The Coast Guard received notification of the unknown substance emanating from an unknown vessel on the evening of October 23, 2015. Thus, waiting for a notice and comment period to run would inhibit the Coast Guard from protecting the public and vessels from the possible hazards associated with this unknown substance.

    Under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), The Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for making this temporary rule effective less than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. For the same reasons discussed in the preceding paragraph, waiting for a 30 day notice period to run would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest.

    III. Legal Authority and Need for Rule

    The Coast Guard is issuing this rule under authority in 33 U.S.C. 1231, 33 CFR 1.05-1 and 160.5; and Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1. The Captain of the Port Detroit (COTP) has determined that a temporary safety zone is necessary to ensure the safety of vessels from the unknown hazards associated with this substance. Such hazards include the possibility of an inhalation hazard that may cause death or serious bodily harm.

    Establishing a safety zone to control vessel movements around the location of the unknown substance will help ensure the safety of persons and property during assessment and response activities and help minimize the associated risks. Therefore, this rule will remain in place for the time stated herein but will be canceled if response activities cease before 24 November 2015.

    IV. Discussion of Rule

    This rule establishes a safety zone from 2 p.m. on October 25, 2015 until 8 p.m. on November 24, 2015. The safety zone will encompass all U.S. navigable waters of Lake Erie within a 1000 foot radius of 41°38′21″ N., 82°29′35″ W. (NAD 83).

    Entry into, transiting, or anchoring within the safety zone is prohibited unless authorized by the COTP or a designated representative. Vessel operators must contact the COTP or his on-scene representative to obtain permission to transit through this safety zone. The COTP or his on-scene representative may be contacted via VHF Channel 16.

    V. Regulatory Analyses

    We developed this rule after considering numerous statutes and executive orders related to rulemaking. Below we summarize our analyses based on these statutes and executive orders.

    A. Regulatory Planning and Review

    This rule is not a significant regulatory action under section 3(f) of E.O. 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, as supplemented by E.O. 13563, Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review, and does not require an assessment of potential costs and benefits under section 6(a)(3) of E.O. 12866 or under section 1 of E.O. 13563. The Office of Management and Budget has not reviewed it under those Orders.

    We conclude that this rule is not a significant regulatory action because we anticipate that it will have minimal impact on the economy, will not interfere with other agencies, will not adversely alter the budget of any grant or loan recipients, and will not raise any novel legal or policy issues. The safety zone created by this rule will be relatively small and enforced for a relatively short duration, and it is designed to minimize the impact on navigation. Moreover, under certain conditions, vessels may still transit through the safety zone when permitted by the COTP.

    B. Impact on Small Entities

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

    This rule will affect the following entities, some of which might be small entities: The owners or operators of vessels intending to transit or anchor in designated portions of Lake Erie from 2 p.m. on October 25, 2015 until 8 p.m. on November 24, 2015.

    This safety zone will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities for the reasons cited in the Regulatory Planning and Review section. Additionally, before the enforcement of the zone, Coast Guard Sector Detroit will issue a local Broadcast Notice to Mariners so vessel owners and operators can plan accordingly.

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

    C. Collection of Information

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

    D. Federalism and Tribal Implications

    A rule has implications for federalism under E.O. 13132, Federalism, if it has a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. We have analyzed this rule under that Order and determined that this rule does not have implications for federalism.

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

    E. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

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

    F. Environment

    We have analyzed this rule under Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 023-01 and Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, which guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have concluded this action is one of a category of actions which do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. This rule involves the establishment of a safety zone and is therefore categorically excluded from further review under paragraph 34(g) of Figure 2-1 of the Commandant Instruction. An environmental analysis checklist supporting this determination and a Categorical Exclusion Determination are available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES. We seek any comments or information that may lead to the discovery of a significant environmental impact from this rule.

    G. Protest Activities

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

    H. Taking of Private Property

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

    I. Civil Justice Reform

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

    J. Protection of Children

    We have analyzed this rule under E.O. 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.

    K. Energy Effects

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

    List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 165

    Harbors, Marine Safety, Navigation (water), Reporting and record keeping requirements, Security measures, Waterways.

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

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

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

    2. Add § 165.T09-0994 to read as follows:
    § 165.T09-0994 Safety Zone; Unknown Substance in the Vicinity of Kelley's Island Shoal, Lake Erie; Kelley's Island, OH.

    (a) Location. The following area is a temporary safety zone: Unknown substance from an unknown vessel in the vicinity of Kelley's Island Shoal, Lake Erie; Kelley's Island, OH. The safety zone will encompass all U.S. navigable waters of Lake Erie within a 1000 foot radius of 41°38′21″ N, 82°29′35″ W. All coordinates are North American Datum 1983 (NAD 83).

    (b) Enforcement period. The safety zone described in paragraph (a) of this section will be enforced from 2 p.m. on October 25, 2015 until 8 p.m. on November 24, 2015.

    (c) Regulations. (1) In accordance with the general regulations in § 165.23, entry into, transiting, or anchoring within these safety zone is prohibited unless authorized by the Captain of the Port, Sector Detroit (COTP) or his designated on-scene representative.

    (2) The safety zone is closed to all vessel traffic, except as may be permitted by the COTP, via the Command Center, or his designated on-scene representative.

    (3) The “on-scene representative” of the COTP is any Coast Guard commissioned, warrant or petty officer or a Federal, State, or local law enforcement officer designated by or assisting the COTP to act on his behalf.

    (4) Vessel operators must contact the COTP via the Command Center to obtain permission to enter or operate within the safety zone. The COTP may be contacted via VHF Channel 16 or at 313-568-9560. Vessel operators given permission to enter or operate in the safety zone must comply with all directions given to them by the COTP, via the Sector Command Center or his on-scene representative.

    Dated: October 25, 2015. Scott B. Lemasters, Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port Detroit.
    [FR Doc. 2015-29171 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R09-OAR-2014-0256; FRL-9936-77-Region 9] Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Arizona; Phased Discontinuation of Stage II Vapor Recovery Program AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking final action to approve a state implementation plan (SIP) revision from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality related to the removal of “Stage II” vapor recovery equipment at gasoline dispensing facilities in the Phoenix-Mesa area. Specifically, the EPA is approving a SIP revision that eliminates the requirement to install and operate such equipment at new gasoline dispensing facilities, and that provides for the phased removal of such equipment at existing gasoline dispensing facilities from October 2016 through September 2018. The EPA has previously determined that onboard refueling vapor recovery is in widespread use nationally and waived the stage II vapor recovery requirement. The EPA is approving this SIP revision because the resultant short-term incremental increase in emissions would not interfere with attainment or maintenance of the national ambient air quality standards or any other requirement of the Clean Air Act and because it would avoid longer-term increases in emissions due to the incompatibilities between onboard refueling vapor recovery equipment on motor vehicles and the predominant type of stage II vapor recovery equipment installed at existing gasoline dispensing facilities in the Phoenix-Mesa area.

    DATES:

    This final rule is effective on December 16, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    The EPA has established docket number EPA-R09-OAR-2014-0256 for this action. The index to the docket is available electronically at www.regulations.gov and in hard copy at EPA Region IX, 75 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco, California. While all documents in the docket are listed in the index, some information may be publicly available only at the hard copy location (e.g., copyrighted material), and some may not be publicly available in either location (e.g., Confidential Business Information). To inspect the hard copy materials, please schedule an appointment during normal business hours with the contact listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

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

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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

    Table of Contents I. Background for Final Rule II. Summary of Proposed Action III. Public Comments and EPA Responses IV. Final Action V. Incorporation by Reference VI. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. Background for Final Rule

    On September 2, 2015 (80 FR 53086), we proposed this action and provided for a 30-day comment period. On that same date, we issued a direct final rule (80 FR 53001) taking final action effective November 2, 2015 but indicated that, if we received adverse comments by the end of the comment period, we would publish a withdrawal of the direct final rule in the Federal Register prior to the effective date informing the public that the direct final rule will not take effect.

    We received timely adverse comments, and on October 27, 2015 (80 FR 65660), we withdrew the direct final rule. In today's action, we provide our responses to the public comments and take final action based on the proposal published on September 2, 2015.

    II. Summary of Proposed Action

    In our September 2, 2015 proposed rule (80 FR 53086), we directed commenters to the direct final rule for a detailed rationale for the proposed approval of the SIP revision. As such, the following paragraphs summarize the background information and evaluation included in the direct final rule also published on September 2, 2015 (80 FR 53001).

    Under the Clean Air Act (CAA or “Act”), the EPA has promulgated national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS or “standards”) for certain pervasive air pollutants. The NAAQS are concentration levels the attainment and maintenance of which EPA has determined to be requisite to protect public health (i.e., the “primary” NAAQS) and welfare (i.e., the “secondary” NAAQS). Under the CAA, states are required to develop and submit plans, referred to as state implementation plans (SIPs) to implement, maintain, and enforce the NAAQS.1

    1 Under Arizona law, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) is responsible for adopting and submitting the Arizona SIP and SIP revisions. Within the Maricopa County portion of the Phoenix-Mesa area, the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) is responsible for developing regional ozone air quality plans.

    Ozone is one of the air pollutants for which the EPA has established NAAQS.2 The original NAAQS for ozone was 0.12 parts per million (ppm), 1-hour average (“1-hour ozone standard”).3 In 1997, we revised the ozone NAAQS, setting it at 0.08 ppm averaged over an 8-hour timeframe (referred to herein as the “1997 8-hour ozone standard”) (62 FR 33856, July 18, 1997), and in 2008, we lowered the 8-hour ozone standard to 0.075 ppm (“2008 8-hour ozone standard”) (73 FR 16436, March 27, 2008). The 1-hour ozone standard and the 1997 8-hour ozone standard have now been revoked. See 69 FR 23951 (April 30, 2004) and 80 FR 12264 (March 6, 2015). Since publication of the direct final rule, the EPA has lowered the ozone standard further, to a level of 0.070 ppm, eight-hour average (“2015 8-hour ozone standard”). 80 FR 65292 (October 26, 2015).

    2 Ground-level ozone is an oxidant that is formed from photochemical reactions in the atmosphere between volatile organic compounds (VOC) and oxides of nitrogen (NOX) in the presence of sunlight. These two pollutants, referred to as ozone precursors, are emitted by many types of pollution sources including on-road motor vehicles (cars, trucks, and buses), nonroad vehicles and engines, power plants and industrial facilities, and smaller area sources such as lawn and garden equipment and paints.

    3 See 44 FR 8202 (February 8, 1979).

    Under the CAA, the EPA is also responsible for designating areas of the country as attainment, nonattainment, or unclassifiable for the various NAAQS. We classified the “Phoenix metropolitan area,” defined by the Maricopa Association of Governments' (MAGs') urban planning area boundary (but later revised to exclude the Gila River Indian Community, as a “Moderate,” and later “Serious,” nonattainment area for the 1-hour ozone standard. We have designated a larger geographic area, referred to as the “Phoenix-Mesa” area,4 as a “Marginal” nonattainment area for the 1997 8-hour ozone standard and 2008 8-hour ozone standard. While we have redesignated the Phoenix metropolitan area, and the Phoenix-Mesa area as “attainment,” for the 1-hour and 1997 8-hour ozone standards, respectively, the Phoenix-Mesa area remains “Marginal” nonattainment for the 2008 ozone standard. More recently, we proposed to reclassify the Phoenix-Mesa area as “Moderate” ozone nonattainment for the 2008 8-hour ozone standard based on ambient data showing that the area did not attain the standard by the applicable attainment date (i.e., July 20, 2015) for such areas. 80 FR 51992 (August 27, 2015). The EPA has not yet issued area designations for the 2015 8-hour ozone standard.

    4 The Phoenix-Mesa 1997 8-hour ozone nonattainment area covers a much larger portion of Maricopa County than the Phoenix metropolitan 1-hour ozone area and also includes the Apache Junction portion of Pinal County. The precise boundaries of the Phoenix-Mesa 1997 8-hour ozone nonattainment area and the Phoenix metropolitan 1-hour ozone nonattainment are found in 40 CFR 81.303.

    States with “nonattainment” areas are required to submit revisions to their SIPs that include a control strategy necessary to demonstrate how the area will attain the NAAQS. As “Moderate,” and later “Serious,” nonattainment for the 1-hour ozone standard, the State of Arizona was required under CAA section 182(b)(3) to submit a SIP revision that requires the use of “Stage II” vapor recovery systems at gasoline dispensing facilities (GDFs) located within the Phoenix metropolitan area.5 In response to this requirement, the State of Arizona promulgated and submitted certain statutes and regulations that require use of Stage II vapor recovery systems in the Phoenix metropolitan area, and later extended the requirements to a larger geographic area referred to as “Area A.” 6 The EPA approved the state's Stage-II-related statutes and regulations as a revision to the Arizona SIP. See 59 FR 54521 (November 1, 1994) and 77 FR 35279 (June 13, 2012).

    5 Gasoline dispensing pump vapor control devices, commonly referred to as “Stage II” vapor recovery, are systems that control VOC vapor releases during the refueling of motor vehicles. This process takes the vapors normally emitted directly into the atmosphere when pumping gas and recycles them back into the underground fuel storage tank, preventing them from polluting the air.

    6 “Area A” is defined in Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) section 49-541, and it includes all of the Phoenix metropolitan 1-hour ozone nonattainment area plus additional areas in Maricopa County to the north, east, and west, as well as small portions of Yavapai County and Pinal County. Area A roughly approximates the boundaries of the Phoenix-Mesa area designated by the EPA for the 1997 8-hour ozone standard.

    The 1990 amended CAA anticipates that, over time, Stage II vapor recovery requirements at GDFs would be replaced by “onboard refueling vapor recovery” (ORVR) systems that the EPA was to establish for new motor vehicles under CAA section 202(a)(6). ORVR consists of an activated carbon canister installed in a motor vehicle. The carbon canister captures gasoline vapors during refueling. There the vapors are captured by the activated carbon in the canister. When the engine is started, the vapors are drawn off of the activated carbon and into the engine where they are burned as fuel. In 1994, the EPA promulgated its ORVR standards,7 with a minimum 95% vapor capture efficiency, which fully applied to all new light duty vehicles by 2000. The ORVR requirements were phased in to apply to heavier classes of vehicles as well—reaching full effect for all new vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of up to 10,000 pounds by 2006.

    7 See 59 FR 16262 (April 6, 1994).

    Recognizing that, over time, the number of vehicles with ORVR as a percentage of the overall motor vehicle fleet would increase with the turnover of older models not equipped with ORVR with newer models equipped with ORVR, CAA section 202(a)(6) permits the EPA to promulgate a determination that ORVR is in “widespread use” throughout the motor vehicle fleet and to revise or waive Stage II vapor recovery requirements for Serious, Severe and Extreme ozone nonattainment areas. The EPA made the determination that ORVR systems are in “widespread use” in the nation's motor vehicle fleet in 2012. 77 FR 28772, May 16, 2012; and 40 CFR 51.126. In the wake of the EPA's “widespread use” determination, states, such as Arizona, that were required to implement Stage II vapor recovery programs under CAA section 182(b)(3) are now permitted to remove the requirement from their SIPs under certain circumstances.

    On August 7, 2012, the EPA released its “Guidance on Removing Stage II Gasoline Vapor Control Programs from State Implementation Plans and Assessing Comparable Measures” 8 (“Stage II Guidance”) to aid in the development of SIP revisions to remove Stage II controls from GDFs. The EPA's Stage II Guidance projects that, by 2015, over 84% of all the gasoline dispensed in the nation will be dispensed to ORVR-equipped motor vehicles.9 As such, Stage II and ORVR have become largely redundant technologies, and Stage II control systems are achieving an ever-declining emissions benefit as more ORVR-equipped vehicle continue to enter the on-road motor vehicle fleet. In addition, the EPA's Stage II Guidance recognizes that, in areas where certain types of vacuum-assist Stage II control systems are used, the limited compatibility between ORVR and some configurations of this Stage II hardware may ultimately result in an area-wide emissions disbenefit. The disbenefit can result when the Stage II controls pull air into the underground tank instead of gasoline vapors when both vacuum-assist Stage II controls and ORVR are active during refueling. This increases the pressure in the underground tank and can cause venting of excess emissions into the air. The Phoenix-Mesa ozone nonattainment area is an area where the vast majority of Stage II systems that have been installed use vacuum assist technologies.10

    8 “Guidance on Removing Stage II Gasoline Vapor Control Programs from State Implementation Plans and Assessing Comparable Measures,” EPA Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, August 7, 2012.

    9 See Table A-1 of the Stage II Guidance.

    10 Table A-6 of the EPA's Stage II Guidance cites the percentages of State/Area GDF using vacuum assist Stage II technology. The listed percentage for the Phoenix-Mesa area is 85%.

    In light of EPA's national “widespread use” determination allowing states to revise their SIPs to remove Stage II vapor recovery requirements and the potential for a disbenefit from continuation of the Stage II vapor recovery program, MAG developed emissions estimates based on information from the EPA's Stage II guidance and based on Phoenix-area-specific motor vehicle fleet data to determine the impact of continuation of the program and the impact of the phased removal of Stage II vapor recovery in the Phoenix-Mesa area. The emissions estimates demonstrated that the emissions reduction benefit from the Stage II vapor recovery program would continue to provide marginal but diminishing emissions reductions through 2017 and that the disbenefit from continuation of the Stage II vapor recovery program would begin in 2018 and increase in the years thereafter. See table 1 on page 53005 of the direct final rule.

    In response to these findings, the Arizona Legislature adopted changes in the specific statutory provisions establishing the Stage II vapor recovery program to eliminate the requirement to install Stage II equipment at new GDFs and to provide for a phased decommissioning process to remove Stage II equipment at existing GDFs beginning in October 2016 and ending in September 2018.11

    11 Effective for State law purposes upon the Governor's signature (i.e., on April 22, 2014), House Bill (HB) 2128 (in relevant part) amends Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) sections 41-2131 (“Definitions”), 41-2132 (“Stage I vapor recovery systems”), 41-2133 (“Compliance schedules”), and adds new section 41-2135 (“Stage II vapor recovery systems”). The new section ARS 41-2135 retains the existing Stage II control requirements for existing GDFs and establishes a phased decommissioning process to remove Stage II controls beginning October 1, 2016 and ending September 30, 2018.

    Subsequent to legislative action, on September 2, 2014, ADEQ submitted a SIP revision, titled “MAG State Implementation Plan Revision for the Removal of Stage II Vapor Recovery Controls in the Maricopa Eight-Hour Ozone Nonattainment Area” (“Stage II Vapor Recovery SIP Revision” or “SIP Revision”), including the statutory revisions and related emissions impact documentation.

    After review of the SIP Revision, on September 2, 2015 (80 FR 53086), the EPA proposed approval based on the following conclusions:

    • ADEQ has met the procedural requirements for SIP revisions under section 110(l);

    • Pursuant to the EPA's determination of “widespread use” (of ORVR systems in the motor vehicle fleet), states are allowed to rescind Stage II vapor recovery control requirements in their SIPs if doing so is consistent with the general SIP revision requirements of CAA section 110(l) and section 193;

    • CAA section 193 does not apply to this particular SIP revision because the Stage II vapor recovery controls were not in effect prior to the 1990 CAA Amendments;

    • MAG's year-by-year estimates of areawide VOC emissions with and without the SIP Revision reflect reasonable methods and assumptions, and provide a reasonable basis upon which to evaluate the ozone impacts of the SIP Revision;

    • MAG's emissions estimates conclude that the temporary emissions increases due to the SIP Revision (relative to the scenario in which Stage II requirements remain fully implemented) will occur during years 2014 through 2017 and will range from 0.015 metric tons per day (mtpd) to 0.031 mtpd, and that beginning in 2018 and increasing in magnitude thereafter, the SIP Revision will result in fewer VOC emissions than would otherwise have occurred if Stage II requirements were to remain fully implemented in the Phoenix-Mesa area (due to the incompatibility of ORVR-equipped vehicles and vacuum-assist Stage II technologies);

    • The temporary increases in VOC emissions during years 2014 through 2017 due to the SIP Revision would represent an approximate 0.002 percent to 0.005 percent increase in the overall VOC emissions inventory in the Phoenix-Mesa area; 12 and

    12 The EPA-approved MAG Eight-Hour Ozone Maintenance Plan anticipates VOC emissions between 653.9 mtpd (June ozone episode, 2005) and 659.0 mtpd (June ozone episode, 2015) during the relevant period. See our proposed approval of the maintenance plan and redesignation request at 79 FR 16734, at 16744 (March 26, 2014).

    • The SIP Revision would not interfere with reasonable further progress or attainment of the ozone NAAQS for the purposes of CAA section 110(l) because: (1) The increases in VOC emissions from 2014 through 2017 would have negligible impacts on ozone concentrations in the area; (2) the schedule for the phase-out of Stage II controls under the SIP Revision will maintain most of the emissions reductions benefits associated with Stage II control through 2017; (3) the scheduled phase-out will reduce the emissions increase (due to ORVR and Stage II incompatibilities) that would otherwise be expected in 2018 but would not entirely avoid an emissions increase in that year because some existing GDFs will not yet have removed Stage II controls by the beginning of the 2018 ozone season; and (4) the phase-out of Stage II controls by the end of the 2018 ozone season will support longer-term regional efforts to attain or maintain the ozone standards in the Phoenix-Mesa area.

    For further information about the SIP Revision and our corresponding evaluation, please see the direct final rule (80 FR 53001, September 2, 2015).

    III. Public Comments and EPA Responses

    In response to September 2, 2015 proposed rule, we received four comments. In the following paragraphs, we provide our responses to these comments.

    Comment #1: While supportive of our proposed action, a commenter suggests that the EPA eliminate the Arizona vehicle inspection and maintenance (VEI) program as well.

    Response #1: The State of Arizona's VEI program is an approved element of the Arizona SIP. A state may submit revisions to its SIP, but such revisions do not become effective until the EPA approves them under section 110(k) of the CAA. No VEI SIP revision submittal is pending at this time. If the State of Arizona were to submit a revision to the SIP-approved VEI program, or rescission of the program, the EPA is authorized to approve such a revision only if such revision were consistent with all CAA requirements such as section 110(l), which prohibits the EPA from approving a SIP revision if the revision would interfere with any applicable requirement concerning reasonable further progress towards, and attainment of, the NAAQS.

    Comment #2: A commenter was not opposed to the removal of Stage II vapor recovery equipment at GDFs so long as the fuel pump dispensing nozzle is properly covered to capture vapors during refueling.

    Response #2: We disagree that such covers are necessary to capture vapors during refueling with ORVR-equipped motor vehicles. While Stage II vapor recovery systems rely upon a rubber boot around the nozzle to create a seal between the nozzle and the vehicle, ORVR prevents vapors from escaping during refueling by employing a seal in the fill pipe. In most instances, these seals are created by the incoming gasoline backing slightly near the bottom of the fill pipe. When the engine is started, the vapors are purged from the activated carbon canister and into the engine where they are burned as fuel. See 77 FR 28772 at 28774 (May 16, 2012). Because ORVR uses a seal within the fill pipe of the vehicle, a rubber boot or cover is not required to prevent vapors from escaping during refueling.

    Comment #3: A commenter objects to our proposal, and asks the EPA to reconsider its proposed approval of the SIP revision, contending that the revision will cause adverse effects particularly in the summer months. This commenter also questions whether there would be any benefit from the revision and asks the EPA to identify to whom the revision applies.

    Response #3: We recognize that the Stage II vapor recovery controls have provided significant reductions of VOC emissions in the Phoenix-Mesa area since they were implemented in the mid-1990s. These controls have done so by taking the vapors normally emitted directly into the atmosphere when pumping gas and recycling them back into the underground fuel storage tank, preventing them from polluting the air. However, as discussed in more detail in the direct final rule at 80 FR 53002 and 52003 (September 2, 2015), the 1990 amended CAA anticipated that, over time, Stage II vapor recovery requirements at gasoline stations would be replaced by ORVR systems installed on motor vehicles, and authorized the EPA to revise or waive Stage II vapor recovery requirements for ozone nonattainment areas, including such areas as the Phoenix-Mesa area, once the EPA determines that ORVR is in “widespread use” throughout the motor vehicle fleet. The EPA published its “widespread use” determination in 2012 at 77 FR 28772 (May 16, 2012), and as a result, the Stage II vapor recovery controls are no longer required in ozone nonattainment areas.

    Moreover, as described further in our direct final rule at 53004, with certain types of vacuum-assist Stage II control systems, the limited compatibility between ORVR and some configurations of this Stage II hardware may ultimately result in an area-wide emissions disbenefit. This is because the Stage II controls pull air into the underground tank instead of gasoline vapors when both vacuum-assist Stage II control and ORVR are active during refueling, increasing the pressure in the underground tank and causing venting of excess emission into the air. The Phoenix-Mesa ozone nonattainament area is an area where the vast majority of Stage II systems that have been installed use vacuum assist technologies, and MAG has estimated that 2018 is the first year in which the disbenefit from implementation of Stage II controls would occur if Stage II control requirements were to remain in place given the motor vehicle fleet in the Phoenix-Mesa area. The disbenefit (i.e., the increase in emissions if Stage II control were to be retained) grows quickly after that year as shown in table 1 of our direct final rule at 53005.

    Thus, from the perspective of summertime ozone conditions in the Phoenix-Mesa area, the issue is not whether to remove the Stage II vapor recovery equipment but when and how. The state has submitted a SIP revision that eliminates the requirement for installation of Stage II vapor recovery equipment at new GDFs, and that establishes a phased decommissioning process to remove Stage II controls at existing GDFs over a two-year period beginning October 1, 2016 and ending September 30, 2018. As explained on page 53003 of the direct final rule, the two-year period for decommissioning is based on the expectation of the Arizona Department of Weights and Measures of the time necessary to safely decommission Stage II controls at the over 1,000 existing GDFs in the Phoenix-Mesa area. Decommissioning is expected to be spread evenly over each of the 24 months from October 2016 through September 2018 and to occur for existing GDFs during the month when the annual scheduled Stage II control test would have occurred.

    We believe that the two-year decommissioning process established by the state minimizes the temporary adverse effect of increased VOC emissions (i.e., from foregone emissions reductions from elimination of the Stage II requirement at new GDFs and the phase-out of Stage II equipment at existing GDFs) while avoiding the longer-term adverse impact due to the disbenefit associated with retaining the Stage II vapor recovery controls. As noted on page 53005 of the direct final rule, the temporary adverse effect during years 2014 through 2017 would represent an approximate 0.002 percent to 0.005 percent increase in the overall VOC emission inventory in the Phoenix-Mesa area. Based on the small magnitude of this impact, its temporary nature, and the avoidance of the long-term disbenefit, we have concluded that the SIP revision would not interfere with attainment or maintenance of the ozone NAAQS in the Phoenix-Mesa area.

    Comment #4: A commenter objects to our proposal, stating that it does not take into account those individuals who are chemically sensitive to vapors and would be harmed if the SIP revision were to be approved. This commenter also noted that there are communities where most of the drivers operate older vehicles and that those living in such areas would be at higher risk than those in areas where the vehicle models are newer, and suggested that the EPA defer the approval of the Stage II vapor recovery phase-out for a couple of years to allow for a greater percentage of ORVR-equipped vehicles to replace the older vehicles without ORVR.

    Response #4: The commenter is correct that, in reviewing the Stage II SIP Revision, the EPA did not take into account the particular sensitivities of individuals to gasoline vapors or the percentage of ORVR-equipped vehicles refueling at individual GDFs in the Phoenix-Mesa area. Our role in a reviewing SIP revision is to approve state choices, provided that they meet the criteria of the CAA. None of the applicable CAA criteria calls for evaluating the sensitivities of individuals to gasoline vapors nor do the criteria require a GDF-specific ORVR evaluation.

    Rather, as described on pages 53004 and 53004 of the direct final rule, we evaluated the SIP revision for compliance with CAA section 110(l), which prohibits the EPA from approving a SIP revision if that revision would interfere with any applicable requirement concerning reasonable further progress towards, or attainment of, any of the NAAQS, or any applicable requirement of the CAA. In this instance, because the Stage II SIP revision would affect VOC emissions, and because VOC is a precursor to ozone, we focused on ozone NAAQS impacts. Ozone is a regional pollutant and thus our evaluation of the SIP revision is appropriately based on area-wide VOC emissions estimates and considers those emissions in the context of regional, not local, ozone concentrations.

    Lastly, deferral by the EPA of action on the Stage II SIP revision is not appropriate because CAA section 110(k)(2) establishes a deadline of at most 18 months from the date a SIP revision is submitted for the EPA to take final action. Moreover, we have concluded that the two-year decommissioning process established by the state would minimize the temporary adverse impact on regional VOC emissions while avoiding the longer term disbenefit associated with implementation of Stage II vapor recovery controls at GDFs in the Phoenix-Mesa area. Deferral by the state of the two-year decommissioning process would be less advantageous from a regional ozone perspective because it would only serve to lengthen the period in which the area would experience the disbenefit from Stage II vapor recovery due to the increasing percentage of motor vehicles with ORVR and accompanying incompatibilities with the Stage II vapor recovery equipment.

    IV. Final Action

    Under CAA section 110(k) and for the reasons set forth in our September 2, 2015 direct final rule and summarized above, the EPA is taking final action to approve the Stage II Vapor Recovery SIP Revision submitted by ADEQ on September 2, 2014 to provide for the phased removal of “Stage II” vapor recovery equipment at GDFs in the Phoenix-Mesa area. Specifically, the EPA is approving a SIP revision that eliminates the requirement to install and operate such equipment at new GDFs, and that provides for the phased removal of such equipment at existing GDFs from October 2016 through September 2018.

    The EPA is approving this SIP revision because Stage II vapor recovery controls are no longer a SIP requirement under CAA section 182(b)(3) due to EPA's “widespread use determination” for ORVR. Additionally, we are approving this SIP revision because the temporary incremental increase in VOC emissions from 2014 through 2017 would not interfere with reasonable further progress toward, or attainment of, any of the NAAQS, and because this SIP revision avoids the longer-term VOC emissions increases associated with continued implementation of Stage II controls in the Phoenix-Mesa area. As part of this final action, the EPA is approving the specific statutory provisions that provide for the phase-out of Stage II controls in Area A, i.e., sections 5 through 8, and 10 through 12 of House Bill 2128, amending ARS sections 41-2131, 41-2132, 41-2133 and adding section 41-2135.13

    13 Approval of these statutory provisions as revisions to the Arizona SIP supersedes the following existing SIP provisions in the Arizona SIP: ARS section 41-2131, as approved at 77 FR 35279 (June 13, 2012); ARS section 41-2132, as approved at 77 FR 35279 (June 13, 2012); and ARS section 41-2133, as approved at 77 FR 35279 (June 13, 2012). As noted previously, “Area A” is roughly the same geographic area as the Phoenix-Mesa 8-hour ozone nonattainment area.

    V. Incorporation by Reference

    In this rule, the EPA is finalizing regulatory text that includes incorporation by reference. In accordance with requirements of 1 CFR 51.5, the EPA is finalizing the incorporation by reference of certain sections of House Bill 2128 amending various sections of the Arizona Revised Statutes related to stage II vapor recovery systems in Area A, effective April 22, 2014, as described in the amendments to 40 CFR part 52 set forth below. The EPA has made, and will continue to make, these documents generally available electronically through www.regulations.gov and/or in hard copy at the appropriate EPA office (see the ADDRESSES section of this preamble for more information).

    VI. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Under section 307(b)(1) of the 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 January 15, 2016. Filing a petition for reconsideration by the Administrator of this final rule does not affect the finality of this action for the purposes of judicial review nor does it extend the time within which a petition for judicial review may be filed, and shall not postpone the effectiveness of such rule or action. This action may not be challenged later in proceedings to enforce its requirements (see section 307(b)(2)).

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

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

    Dated: October 28, 2015. Jared Blumenfeld, Regional Administrator, Region IX.

    Chapter I, title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations is amended as follows:

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

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Subpart D—Arizona 2. Section 52.120 is amended by adding paragraph (c)(171) to read as follows:
    § 52.120 Identification of plan.

    (c) * * *

    (171) The following plan was submitted on September 2, 2014 by the Governor's designee.

    (i) Incorporation by reference.

    (A) Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.

    (1) House Bill 2128, effective April 22, 2014, excluding sections 1 through 4, and 9 (including the text that appears in all capital letters and excluding the text that appears in strikethrough).

    (ii) Additional materials.

    (A) Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.

    (1) MAG 2014 State Implementation Plan Revision for the Removal of Stage II Vapor Recovery Controls in the Maricopa Eight-Hour Ozone Nonattainment Area (August 2014), adopted by the Regional Council of the Maricopa Association of Governments on August 27, 2014, excluding appendix A, exhibit 2 (“Arizona Revised Statutes Listed in Table 1-1”).

    [FR Doc. 2015-28909 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 62 [EPA-R05-OAR-2015-0701; FRL-9936-96-Region 5] Air Plan Approval; Michigan; Sewage Sludge Incinerators State Plan and Small Municipal Waste Combustors Negative Declaration for Designated Facilities and Pollutants AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Direct final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is approving Michigan's State Plan to control air pollutants from “Sewage Sludge Incinerators” (SSI). The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) submitted the State Plan on September 21, 2015. The State Plan is consistent with the Emission Guidelines (EGs) promulgated by EPA on March 21, 2011. This approval means that EPA finds that the State Plan meets applicable Clean Air Act (Act) requirements for subject SSI units. Once effective, this approval also makes the State Plan Federally enforceable. EPA is also notifying the public that we have received from Michigan a negative declaration for Small Municipal Waste Combustors (SMWC). The MDEQ submitted its negative declaration on July 27, 2015. MDEQ notified EPA in its negative declaration letter that there are no SMWC units subject to the requirements of the Act currently operating in Michigan.

    DATES:

    This direct final rule will be effective January 15, 2016, unless EPA receives adverse comments by December 16, 2015. If adverse comments are received, EPA will publish a timely withdrawal of the direct final rule in the Federal Register informing the public that the rule will not take effect, and will respond to all comments in a final action based upon the associated proposal.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R05-OAR-2015-0701, by one of the following methods:

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

    2. Email: [email protected]

    3. Fax: (312) 692-2566.

    4. Mail: Jacqueline Nwia, Acting Chief, Toxics and Global Atmosphere Section, Air Toxics and Assessment Branch (AT-18J), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 77 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60604.

    5. Hand Delivery: Jacqueline Nwia, Acting Chief, Toxics and Global Atmosphere Section, Air Toxics and Assessment Branch (AT-18J), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 77 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60604. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Regional Office normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information. The Regional Office official hours of business are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. excluding Federal holidays.

    Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-R05-OAR-2015-0701. EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available online at www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected through www.regulations.gov or email. The www.regulations.gov Web site is an “anonymous access” system, which means EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an email comment directly to EPA without going through www.regulations.gov your email address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should not contain special characters or any form of encryption, and should be free of any defects or viruses.

    Docket: All documents in the docket are listed in the www.regulations.gov index. 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. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically in www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5, Air and Radiation Division, 77 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60604. This Facility is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding Federal holidays. We recommend that you telephone Margaret Sieffert, Environmental Engineer, at (312) 353-1151 before visiting the Region 5 office.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Margaret Sieffert, Environmental Engineer, Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5, 77 West Jackson Boulevard (AT-18J), Chicago, Illinois 60604, (312) 353-1151, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Throughout this document whenever “we,” “us,” or “our” is used, we mean EPA. This SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section is arranged as follows:

    I. Background II. What does the State Plan contain? III. Does the state plan meet the EPA requirements? IV. What action is EPA taking? V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. Background

    Section 111(d) of the Act requires that EPA develop regulations providing that states must submit to EPA plans establishing standards of performance for certain existing sources of pollutants when a standard of performance would apply to the existing source if it were a new source, and if the pollutants are noncriteria pollutants (i.e., pollutants for which there is no national ambient air quality standard) and are not on a list published under section 108 of the Act or emitted from a source category regulated under section 112 of the Act. Section 129 of the Act and 40 CFR part 60, subpart B apply the section 111(d) requirements to existing solid waste combustors, including SSIs and SMWCs, and provide that EPA should include, as part of the performance standards, emissions guidelines (EGs) that include the plan elements required by section 129.

    EPA promulgated new source performance standards and EGs for SMWCs on December 6, 2000, (64 FR 76349, 65 FR 76377). The standards and EGs are codified at 40 CFR part 60, subparts AAAA and BBBB, respectively. Thus, states were required to develop plans for existing SMWCs, pursuant to sections 111(d) and 129 of the Act and 40 CFR part 60, subpart B.

    EPA promulgated new source performance standards and EGs for SSIs on March 21, 2011, (76 FR 15372). The standards and EGs are codified at 40 CFR part 60, subparts LLLL and MMMM, respectively. Thus, states were required to develop plans for existing SSIs, pursuant to sections 111(d) and 129 of the Act and 40 CFR part 60, subpart B.

    A SMWC unit is defined in 40 CFR 60.1550, as any device that has the capacity to combust at least 35 tons per day of municipal solid waste but no more than 250 tons per day of municipal solid waste or refuse derived fuel. The designated facilities to which the EGs apply are existing SMWC units that commenced construction on or before August 30, 1999.

    A SSI unit is defined in 40 CFR 60.5250 as any device that combusts sewage sludge for the purpose of reducing the volume of the sewage sludge by removing combustible matter. The designated facilities to which the EGs apply are existing SSI units that commenced construction on or before October 14, 2010. 40 CFR 60.5060.

    Under section 129(b)(2) of the Act and the EGs at 40 CFR part 60, subpart MMMM, States with SSIs must submit to EPA plans that implement the EGs. The plans, which must be at least as protective as the EGs, become Federally enforceable when EPA approves them. 42 U.S.C. 7411(d)(2). If the state fails to submit a satisfactory plan, the Administrator must promulgate a Federal plan for implementation and enforcement. Id.

    40 CFR part 60, subpart B contains general provisions applicable to the adoption and submittal of state plans for subject facilities under sections 111(d) and 129 (111(d)/129 plan). 40 CFR part 62, subpart A provides the procedural framework for the submission of the plans. However, 40 CFR 60.23(b) and 62.06 provide that, if there are no existing sources of the designated pollutant in a state, the state may submit a letter of certification to that effect (i.e., a negative declaration) in lieu of a plan. The negative declaration exempts the state from the provisions of 40 CFR part 60, subpart B that require the submittal of a 111(d)/129 plan.

    On September 21, 2015, MDEQ submitted its SSI State Plan. The State's final rule became effective on May 20, 2015. The public hearing for the State Plan was on August 19, 2015. The plan includes State rule R 336.1972, “Emission standards for existing sewage sludge incineration units,” and R 336.1902 “Adoption of standards by reference,” which contain emission standards for existing SSI.

    On July 27, 2015, MDEQ submitted its SMWC negative declaration, in which it certifies that there are no SMWC units currently operating in Michigan.

    II. What does the state plan contain?

    The State SSI plan submittal is based on the Federal SSI EGs. As set forth in section 129 of the Act and in 40 CFR part 60, subparts B and MMMM, the State Plan addresses the nine minimum required elements, as follows:

    1. An inventory of affected SSI units, including those that have ceased operation but have not been dismantled. Michigan has provided this along with the shutdown notices for four facilities and the operating permits for the remaining three affected facilities in Michigan.

    2. An inventory of the emissions from affected SSI units. Michigan has provided this.

    3. Compliance schedules for each affected SSI unit. Michigan has provided a compliance schedule with a compliance date of March 21, 2016.

    4. Emission limits, emission standards, operator training and qualification requirements and operating limits for affected SSI units that are at least as protective as the EGs. Michigan has provided this.

    5. Performance testing, recordkeeping and reporting and requirements. Michigan has provided this.

    6. Certification that the hearing on the state plan was held, a list of witnesses and their organizational affiliations, if any, appearing at the hearing, and a brief written summary of each presentation or written submission. Michigan has provided the required certification and other information, including a summary of the one comment it received.

    7. A provision for State progress reports to EPA. Michigan has stated that it will submit an annual report that will include updates to the inventory, removing sources that have shut down, adding any new sources, and identifying any sources that have met increments of progress. The annual report will also include any enforcement activities initiated against designated facilities and submission of technical reports on all performance testing on designated facilities, including updated emissions inventories.

    8. Identification of enforceable state mechanisms that the State selected for implementing the EGs. Michigan has provided a detailed list which identified the enforceable mechanisms.

    9. A demonstration of the State's legal authority to carry out the SSI State Plan. Michigan has provided a detailed list which demonstrated that it has such legal authority. This includes the legal authority to incorporate by reference federal emission guidelines provisions, as confirmed by a Michigan Attorney General's Opinion letter dated May 27, 2015.

    III. Does the State Plan meet the EPA requirements?

    EPA evaluated the SSI State Plan and related information submitted by Michigan for consistency with the Act, EPA regulations and policy. For the reasons discussed above, EPA has determined that the State Plan meets all applicable requirements and, therefore, is approvable.

    IV. What action is EPA taking?

    EPA is approving the State Plan which Michigan submitted on September 21, 2015, for the control of emissions from existing SSI sources in the State. EPA is also providing the public with notice of, and amending 40 CFR part 62 to reflect, EPA's receipt of Michigan's negative declaration for SMWC facilities.

    The EPA Administrator continues to retain authority for several tasks, as provided in 40 CFR 60.5050 and as stated in the cover letter of the State Plan.

    EPA is publishing this approval action without prior proposal because the Agency views this as a non-controversial action and anticipates no adverse comments. However, in the proposed rules section of this Federal Register publication, EPA is publishing a separate document that will serve as the proposal to approve the State Plan in the event adverse written comments are filed. This rule will be effective January 15, 2016 without further notice unless we receive relevant adverse written comments by December 16, 2015. If we receive such comments, we will withdraw this action before the effective date by publishing a subsequent document that will withdraw the final action. We will then address all public comments received in a subsequent final rule based on the proposed action. EPA will not institute a second comment period. Any parties interested in commenting on this action should do so at this time. Please note that if EPA receives adverse comment on an amendment, paragraph, or section of this rule, and if that provision can be severed from the remainder of the rule, EPA may adopt as final those provisions of the rule that are not the subject of an adverse comment. If we do not receive any comments, this action will be effective January 15, 2016.

    V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews A. General Requirements

    This action is not a “significant regulatory action” under the terms of Executive Order 12866 (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993) and therefore is not subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget under Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 (76 FR 3821, January 21, 2011). For this reason, this action is also not subject to Executive Order 13211, “Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use” (66 FR 28355, May 22, 2001). This action merely approves state law as meeting Federal requirements and merely notifies the public of EPA receipt of a negative declaration from an air pollution control agency without any existing SMWC units in its state. This action imposes no requirements beyond those imposed by the state. Accordingly, the Administrator certifies that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). Because this rule approves pre-existing requirements under state law and does not impose any additional enforceable duty beyond that required by state law, it 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). This rule is not approved to apply on any Indian reservation land or in any other area where EPA or an Indian tribe has demonstrated that a tribe has jurisdiction. In those areas of Indian country, the rule does not have tribal implications and will not impose substantial direct costs on tribal governments or preempt tribal law as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000). This action also does not have Federalism implications because it does not have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government, as specified in Executive Order 13132 (64 FR 43255, August 10, 1999). This action merely approves a state rule implementing a Federal requirement, and does not alter the relationship or the distribution of power and responsibilities established in the Act. This rule also is not subject to Executive Order 13045 (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997), because it approves a state rule implementing a Federal standard.

    In reviewing section 111(d)/129 plan submissions, EPA's role is to approve State choices, provided that they meet the criteria of the Act. With regard to negative declarations for designated facilities received by EPA from states, EPA's role is to notify the public of the receipt of such negative declarations and revise 40 CFR part 62 accordingly. In this context, in the absence of a prior existing requirement for the State to use voluntary consensus standards (VCS), EPA has no authority to disapprove a section 111(d)/129 plan submission or negative declaration for failure to use VCS. It would thus be inconsistent with applicable law for EPA, when it reviews a section 111(d)/129 plan or negative declaration submission, to use VCS in place of a section 111(d)/129 plan or negative declaration submission that otherwise satisfies the provisions of the Act. Thus, the requirements of section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (15 U.S.C. 272 note) do not apply. This rule does not impose an information collection burden under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

    B. Submission to Congress and the Comptroller General

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

    C. Petitions for Judicial Review

    Under Section 307(b)(1) of the Act, petitions for judicial review of this action must be filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the appropriate circuit by January 15, 2016. Filing a petition for reconsideration by the Administrator of this final rule does not affect the finality of this rule for the purposes of judicial review nor does it extend the time within which a petition for judicial review may be filed, and shall not postpone the effectiveness of such rule or action. This action approving Michigan's section 111(d)/129 plan for SSI sources or negative declaration for SMWC units 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, Intergovernmental relations, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Sewage sludge incinerators, Small municipal waste combustors.

    Dated: October 29, 2015. Susan Hedman, Regional Administrator, Region 5.

    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 X—Michigan 2. Add two undesignated center headings and §§ 62.5620, 62.5621, 62.5622, and 62.5630 to subpart X to read as follows: Control of Air Emissions From Sewage Sludge Incinerators
    § 62.5620 Identification of plan.

    On September 21, 2015, Michigan submitted a State Plan for implementing the emission guidelines for Sewage Sludge Incinerators (SSI). The enforceable mechanism for this State Plan is a State rule codified in R 336.1972, “Emission standards for existing sewage sludge incineration units,” and R 336.1902 “Adoption of standards by reference.” The State's final rule became effective on May 20, 2015.

    § 62.5621 Identification of sources.

    The Michigan State Plan for existing Sewage Sludge Incinerators (SSI) applies to all SSIs for which construction commenced on or before October 14, 2010 or for which a modification was commenced on or before September 21, 2011 primarily to comply with this rule.

    § 62.5622 Effective date.

    The Federal effective date of the Michigan State Plan for existing Sewage Sludge Incinerators is January 15, 2016.

    Control of Air Emissions From Small Municipal Waste Combustors
    § 62.5630 Identification of plan—negative declaration.

    On July 27,2015, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality submitted a negative declaration letter to EPA certifying that there are no existing Small Municipal Waste Combustors (SMWC) units in the State of Michigan subject to the emissions guidelines at 40 CFR part 60, subpart BBBB.

    [FR Doc. 2015-28911 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 180 [EPA-HQ-OPP-2015-0421; FRL-9936-25] Tamarind Seed Gum, 2-Hydroxypropyl Ether Polymer; Tolerance Exemption AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This regulation establishes an exemption from the requirement of a tolerance for residues of tamarind seed gum, 2-hydroxypropyl ether polymer (CAS Reg. No. 68551-04-2) when used as an inert ingredient in a pesticide chemical formulation. Lamberti USA, Incorporated submitted a petition to EPA under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA), requesting an exemption from the requirement of a tolerance. This regulation eliminates the need to establish a maximum permissible level for residues of tamarind seed gum, 2-hydroxypropyl ether polymer on food or feed commodities.

    DATES:

    This regulation is effective November 16, 2015. Objections and requests for hearings must be received on or before January 15, 2016, and must be filed in accordance with the instructions provided in 40 CFR part 178 (see also Unit I.C. of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION).

    ADDRESSES:

    The docket for this action, identified by docket identification (ID) number EPA-HQ-OPP-2015-0421, is available at http://www.regulations.gov or at the Office of Pesticide Programs Regulatory Public Docket (OPP Docket) in the Environmental Protection Agency Docket Center (EPA/DC), West William Jefferson Clinton Bldg., Rm. 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001. The Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the Public Reading Room is (202) 566-1744, and the telephone number for the OPP Docket is (703) 305-5805. Please review the visitor instructions and additional information about the docket available at http://www.epa.gov/dockets.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Susan Lewis, Registration Division (7505P), Office of Pesticide Programs, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001; main telephone number: (703) 305-7090; email address: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. General Information A. Does this action apply to me?

    You may be potentially affected by this action if you are an agricultural producer, food manufacturer, or pesticide manufacturer. The following list of North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) codes is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather provides a guide to help readers determine whether this document applies to them. Potentially affected entities may include:

    • Crop production (NAICS code 111).

    • Animal production (NAICS code 112).

    • Food manufacturing (NAICS code 311).

    • Pesticide manufacturing (NAICS code 32532).

    B. How can I get electronic access to other related information?

    You may access a frequently updated electronic version of 40 CFR part 180 through the Government Printing Office's e-CFR site at http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?&c=ecfr&tpl=/ecfrbrowse/Title40/40tab_02.tpl.

    C. Can I file an objection or hearing request?

    Under FFDCA section 408(g), 21 U.S.C. 346a, any person may file an objection to any aspect of this regulation and may also request a hearing on those objections. You must file your objection or request a hearing on this regulation in accordance with the instructions provided in 40 CFR part 178. To ensure proper receipt by EPA, you must identify docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPP-2015-0421 in the subject line on the first page of your submission. All objections and requests for a hearing must be in writing, and must be received by the Hearing Clerk on or before January 15, 2016. Addresses for mail and hand delivery of objections and hearing requests are provided in 40 CFR 178.25(b).

    In addition to filing an objection or hearing request with the Hearing Clerk as described in 40 CFR part 178, please submit a copy of the filing (excluding any Confidential Business Information (CBI)) for inclusion in the public docket. Information not marked confidential pursuant to 40 CFR part 2 may be disclosed publicly by EPA without prior notice. Submit the non-CBI copy of your objection or hearing request, identified by docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPP-2015-0421, by one of the following methods.

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be CBI or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute.

    Mail: OPP Docket, Environmental Protection Agency Docket Center (EPA/DC), (28221T), 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001.

    Hand Delivery: To make special arrangements for hand delivery or delivery of boxed information, please follow the instructions at http://www.epa.gov/dockets/contacts.html.

    Additional instructions on commenting or visiting the docket, along with more information about dockets generally, is available at http://www.epa.gov/dockets.

    II. Background and Statutory Findings

    In the Federal Register of August 26, 2015 (80 FR 51759) (FRL-9931-74), EPA issued a document pursuant to FFDCA section 408, 21 U.S.C. 346a, announcing the receipt of a pesticide petition (PP IN-10807) filed by Lamberti USA, Incorporated, 161 Washington Street Eight Tower Bridge, Suite 1000 Conshohocken, PA 19428. The petition requested that 40 CFR 180.960 be amended by establishing an exemption from the requirement of a tolerance for residues of tamarind seed gum, 2-hydroxypropyl ether polymers (CAS Reg. No. 68551-04-2). That document included a summary of the petition prepared by the petitioner and solicited comments on the petitioner's request. The Agency did not receive any comments.

    Section 408(c)(2)(A)(i) of FFDCA allows EPA to establish an exemption from the requirement for a tolerance (the legal limit for a pesticide chemical residue in or on a food) only if EPA determines that the exemption is “safe.” Section 408(c)(2)(A)(ii) of FFDCA defines “safe” to mean that “there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result from aggregate exposure to the pesticide chemical residue, including all anticipated dietary exposures and all other exposures for which there is reliable information.” This includes exposure through drinking water and use in residential settings, but does not include occupational exposure. Section 408(b)(2)(C) of FFDCA requires EPA to give special consideration to exposure of infants and children to the pesticide chemical residue in establishing an exemption from the requirement of a tolerance and to “ensure that there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result to infants and children from aggregate exposure to the pesticide chemical residue . . .” and specifies factors EPA is to consider in establishing an exemption.

    III. Risk Assessment and Statutory Findings

    EPA establishes exemptions from the requirement of a tolerance only in those cases where it can be shown that the risks from aggregate exposure to pesticide chemical residues under reasonably foreseeable circumstances will pose no appreciable risks to human health. In order to determine the risks from aggregate exposure to pesticide inert ingredients, the Agency considers the toxicity of the inert in conjunction with possible exposure to residues of the inert ingredient through food, drinking water, and through other exposures that occur as a result of pesticide use in residential settings. If EPA is able to determine that a finite tolerance is not necessary to ensure that there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result from aggregate exposure to the inert ingredient, an exemption from the requirement of a tolerance may be established.

    Consistent with FFDCA section 408(b)(2)(D), EPA has reviewed the available scientific data and other relevant information in support of this action and considered its validity, completeness and reliability and the relationship of this information to human risk. EPA has also considered available information concerning the variability of the sensitivities of major identifiable subgroups of consumers, including infants and children. In the case of certain chemical substances that are defined as polymers, the Agency has established a set of criteria to identify categories of polymers expected to present minimal or no risk. The definition of a polymer is given in 40 CFR 723.250(b) and the exclusion criteria for identifying these low-risk polymers are described in 40 CFR 723.250(d). Tamarind seed gum, 2-hydroxypropyl ether polymers conforms to the definition of a polymer given in 40 CFR 723.250(b) and meets the following criteria that are used to identify low-risk polymers.

    1. The polymer is not a cationic polymer nor is it reasonably anticipated to become a cationic polymer in a natural aquatic environment.

    2. The polymer does contain as an integral part of its composition the atomic elements carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen.

    3. The polymer does not contain as an integral part of its composition, except as impurities, any element other than those listed in 40 CFR 723.250(d)(2)(ii).

    4. The polymer is neither designed nor can it be reasonably anticipated to substantially degrade, decompose, or depolymerize.

    5. The polymer is manufactured or imported from monomers and/or reactants that are already included on the TSCA Chemical Substance Inventory or manufactured under an applicable TSCA section 5 exemption.

    6. The polymer is not a water absorbing polymer with a number average molecular weight (MW) greater than or equal to 10,000 daltons.

    7. The polymer does not contain certain perfluoroalkyl moieties consisting of a CF3- or longer chain length as specified in 40 CFR 723.250(d)(6).

    Additionally, the polymer also meets as required the following exemption criteria specified in 40 CFR 723.250(e).

    8. The polymer's minimum number average MW is greater than or equal to 10,000 daltons. The polymer contains less than 2% oligomeric material below MW 500 and less than 5% oligomeric material below MW 1,000.

    Thus, tamarind seed gum, 2-hydroxypropyl ether polymer meets the criteria for a polymer to be considered low risk under 40 CFR 723.250. Based on its conformance to the criteria in this unit, no mammalian toxicity is anticipated from dietary, inhalation, or dermal exposure to tamarind seed gum, 2-hydroxypropyl ether polymer.

    IV. Aggregate Exposures

    For the purposes of assessing potential exposure under this exemption, EPA considered that tamarind seed gum, 2-hydroxypropyl ether polymer could be present in all raw and processed agricultural commodities and drinking water, and that non-occupational non-dietary exposure was possible. The number average MW of tamarind seed gum, 2-hydroxypropyl ether polymer is 10,000 daltons. Generally, a polymer of this size would be poorly absorbed through the intact gastrointestinal tract or through intact human skin. Since tamarind seed gum, 2-hydroxypropyl ether polymer conform to the criteria that identify a low-risk polymer, there are no concerns for risks associated with any potential exposure scenarios that are reasonably foreseeable. The Agency has determined that a tolerance is not necessary to protect the public health.

    V. Cumulative Effects From Substances With a Common Mechanism of Toxicity

    Section 408(b)(2)(D)(v) of FFDCA requires that, when considering whether to establish, modify, or revoke a tolerance, the Agency consider “available information” concerning the cumulative effects of a particular pesticide's residues and “other substances that have a common mechanism of toxicity.”

    EPA has not found tamarind seed gum, 2-hydroxypropyl ether polymer to share a common mechanism of toxicity with any other substances, and tamarind seed gum, 2-hydroxypropyl ether polymer does not appear to produce a toxic metabolite produced by other substances. For the purposes of this tolerance action, therefore, EPA has assumed that tamarind seed gum, 2-hydroxypropyl ether polymer does not have a common mechanism of toxicity with other substances. For information regarding EPA's efforts to determine which chemicals have a common mechanism of toxicity and to evaluate the cumulative effects of such chemicals, see EPA's Web site at http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/cumulative.

    VI. Additional Safety Factor for the Protection of Infants and Children

    Section 408(b)(2)(C) of FFDCA provides that EPA shall apply an additional tenfold margin of safety for infants and children in the case of threshold effects to account for prenatal and postnatal toxicity and the completeness of the data base unless EPA concludes that a different margin of safety will be safe for infants and children. Due to the expected low toxicity of tamarind seed gum, 2-hydroxypropyl ether polymer, EPA has not used a safety factor analysis to assess the risk. For the same reasons the additional tenfold safety factor is unnecessary.

    VII. Determination of Safety

    Based on the conformance to the criteria used to identify a low-risk polymer, EPA concludes that there is a reasonable certainty of no harm to the U.S. population, including infants and children, from aggregate exposure to residues of tamarind seed gum, 2-hydroxypropyl ether polymer.

    VIII. Other Considerations A. Existing Exemptions From a Tolerance

    There are no existing tolerance exemptions for tamarind seed gum, 2-hydroxypropyl ether polymer.

    B. Analytical Enforcement Methodology

    An analytical method is not required for enforcement purposes since the Agency is establishing an exemption from the requirement of a tolerance without any numerical limitation.

    C. International Residue Limits

    In making its tolerance decisions, EPA seeks to harmonize U.S. tolerances with international standards whenever possible, consistent with U.S. food safety standards and agricultural practices. EPA considers the international maximum residue limits (MRLs) established by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex), as required by FFDCA section 408(b)(4). The Codex Alimentarius is a joint United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization food standards program, and it is recognized as an international food safety standards-setting organization in trade agreements to which the United States is a party. EPA may establish a tolerance that is different from a Codex MRL; however, FFDCA section 408(b)(4) requires that EPA explain the reasons for departing from the Codex level.

    The Codex has not established a MRL for tamarind seed gum, 2-hydroxypropyl ether polymer.

    IX. Conclusion

    Accordingly, EPA finds that exempting residues of tamarind seed gum, 2-hydroxypropyl ether polymer from the requirement of a tolerance will be safe.

    X. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

    This action establishes a tolerance under FFDCA section 408(d) in response to a petition submitted to the Agency. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has exempted these types of actions from review under Executive Order 12866, entitled “Regulatory Planning and Review” (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993). Because this action has been exempted from review under Executive Order 12866, this action is not subject to Executive Order 13211, entitled “Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use” (66 FR 28355, May 22, 2001) or Executive Order 13045, entitled “Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks” (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997). This action does not contain any information collections subject to OMB approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), nor does it require any special considerations under Executive Order 12898, entitled “Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations” (59 FR 7629, February 16, 1994).

    Since tolerances and exemptions that are established on the basis of a petition under FFDCA section 408(d), such as the tolerance in this final rule, do not require the issuance of a proposed rule, the requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.), do not apply.

    This action directly regulates growers, food processors, food handlers, and food retailers, not States or tribes, nor does this action alter the relationships or distribution of power and responsibilities established by Congress in the preemption provisions of FFDCA section 408(n)(4). As such, the Agency has determined that this action will not have a substantial direct effect on States or tribal governments, on the relationship between the national government and the States or tribal governments, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government or between the Federal Government and Indian tribes. Thus, the Agency has determined that Executive Order 13132, entitled “Federalism” (64 FR 43255, August 10, 1999) and Executive Order 13175, entitled “Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments” (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000) do not apply to this action. In addition, this action does not impose any enforceable duty or contain any unfunded mandate as described under Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) (2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.).

    This action does not involve any technical standards that would require Agency consideration of voluntary consensus standards pursuant to section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) (15 U.S.C. 272 note).

    XI. Congressional Review Act

    Pursuant to the Congressional Review Act (5 U.S.C. 801 et seq.), EPA will submit a report containing this rule and other required information to the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Comptroller General of the United States prior to publication of the rule in the Federal Register. This action is not a “major rule” as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804(2).

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 180

    Environmental protection, Administrative practice and procedure, Agricultural commodities, Pesticides and pests, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Dated: November 5, 2015. G. Jeffrey Herndon, Director, Registration Division, Office of Pesticide Programs.

    Therefore, 40 CFR chapter I is amended as follows:

    PART 180—[AMENDED] 1. The authority citation for part 180 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    21 U.S.C. 321(q), 346a and 371.

    2. In § 180.960, add alphabetically the polymer in the table to read as follows:
    §  180.960 Polymers; exemptions from the requirement of a tolerance. Polymer CAS No. *    *    *    *    * Tamarind seed gum, 2-hydroxypropyl ether polymer, minimum number average molecular weight (in amu), 10,000 68551-04-2 *    *    *    *    *
    [FR Doc. 2015-29169 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Part 17 [Docket No. FWS-R5-ES-2014-0021; FXES11130900000; 4500030113] RIN 1018-AY83 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removal of the Delmarva Peninsula Fox Squirrel From the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife AGENCY:

    Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The best available scientific and commercial data indicate that the Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel (Sciurus niger cinereus) has recovered. Therefore, under the authority of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act), we, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), remove the Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel (commonly called the Delmarva fox squirrel) from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife (List). This determination is based on a thorough review of all available information, which indicates that the subspecies is now sufficiently abundant and well distributed to withstand foreseeable threats and no longer meets the definition of an endangered or threatened species under the Act.

    This rule removes the Delmarva fox squirrel from the List throughout its range, including the experimental population designated for Assawoman Wildlife Management Area in Delaware. It also announces the availability of a post-delisting monitoring plan for the subspecies.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective December 16, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    This final rule and the post-delisting monitoring plan are available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov under Docket No. FWS-R5-ES-2014-0021. Comments and materials received, as well as supporting documentation used in rule preparation, will be available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Chesapeake Bay Field Office, 177 Admiral Cochrane Drive, Annapolis, MD 21401; and on the Chesapeake Bay Field Office Web site at: http://www.fws.gov/chesapeakebay/.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Field Office Supervisor, Genevieve LaRouche, by telephone at 410-573-4573; or Cherry Keller, Wildlife Biologist, at 410-573-4532, or by email at [email protected] Written questions or requests for additional information may also be directed to: Delmarva fox squirrel QUESTIONS, at the street address listed under ADDRESSES. Individuals who are hearing-impaired or speech-impaired may call the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8337 for TTY assistance.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background Previous Federal Action

    On September 23, 2014, the Service published a proposed rule (79 FR 56686) to remove the Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel, commonly called and hereafter referred to as the Delmarva fox squirrel (DFS), from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife (List). In the proposed rule, we solicited information and comments from the public and scientific experts for 60 days, ending November 24, 2014. Later in this document, we discuss comments we received. For more information on previous Federal actions concerning the Delmarva fox squirrel, refer to the proposed rule available at http://www.regulations.gov under Docket No. FWS-R5-ES-2014-0021.

    Species Information

    The Delmarva fox squirrel (Sciurus niger cinereus), a subspecies of the eastern fox squirrel (Sciurus niger) found only on the Delmarva Peninsula, is located between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean in portions of Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia. The DFS is a large, silver-gray tree squirrel with white underparts and a wide tail. It inhabits mature forests of mixed hardwoods and pines within the agricultural landscapes of the Delmarva Peninsula and is not typically found in suburban settings. The DFS is also associated with forests that have a relatively open understory (Dueser et al. 1988, entire; Dueser 2000, entire) or where understory shrubs are clumped, leaving other open spaces (Morris 2006, p. 37). While these squirrels need mature forest for both feeding and denning, they can travel and forage in other areas, including clearcuts, young forests, and agricultural fields.

    As a member of the Order Rodentia, the DFS has a life history with good potential for population increase. For example, females breed at 1 year of age, litter sizes range from two to four young, some females have potential for two litters in 1 year, and lifespans can reach 6 to 7 years in the wild. Den sites are frequently found in tree cavities, but leaf nests may also be used. Home ranges of the DFS vary considerably but are typically 12 to 16 hectares (ha) (30 to 40 acres (ac)), and individual home ranges overlap (Flyger and Smith 1980; entire, Paglione 1996; entire, Pednault-Willett 2002, p. 109). Densities range from 0.36 to 1.29 DFS per ha (0.15 to 0.5 DFS per ac), averaging 0.82 DFS per ha (0.33 DFS per ac) (Paglione 1996, p. 28; Pednault-Willett 2002, pp. 85-104).

    Historically, this subspecies had a patchy distribution throughout most of the Delmarva Peninsula and into southern Pennsylvania, but by the time of its listing in 1967 (32 FR 4001; March 11, 1967), remnant populations occurred in only four Maryland counties (Taylor 1976, entire); this range contraction was most likely caused by land use changes and hunting. When the subspecies was listed, its distribution had been reduced to only 10 percent of the Delmarva Peninsula. After listing, the hunting season for this subspecies was closed, and recovery efforts focused on expanding the squirrel's distribution through translocations. In addition, new populations have been discovered since the time of listing (particularly since more intensive search efforts were initiated), and there are now many more areas of forest known to be occupied by the DFS.

    The squirrel's current occupied range is defined as the area within 4.8 kilometers (km) (3 miles (mi)) of credible DFS sightings. As of the 2012 status review for the DFS, this covered 28 percent of the Delmarva Peninsula, including 10 of the 14 peninsular counties (8 counties in Maryland and 1 each in Delaware and Virginia) and 54,543 ha (134,778 ac) of occupied forest (USFWS 2012, based on 2010 data). Since that time, new sightings have continued to occur and an updated overview of its range as of 2013 is provided below in Table 1. An additional population discovered in Worcester County, Maryland, is the first population found there that was not a result of a translocation. Figure 1 shows range changes between the time of the 1993 recovery plan and the present decade.

    Table 1—Known Occupied Range of the DFS, 1970 to 2013 Occupied range Year ~ 1970 1990 2005 2010 2013 Number of counties in the range (without translocations) 3 3 6 6 7. Number of counties in the range (with translocations) 4 10 10 10 10. Total acres of occupied forest rangewide N/A 103,311 128,434 134,778 137,363. Percent of historical range occupied 10 27 28 28. Source Taylor and Flyger 1974 USFWS 1993, recovery plan USFWS 2007, 5-yr review USFWS 2012, 5-yr review USFWS 2013 data. BILLING CODE 4333-15-P ER16NO15.211 BILLING CODE 4333-15-C Summary of Changes From the Proposed Rule

    We have not made any substantive changes in this final rule based on the comments that we received during the public comment period on the September 23, 2014, proposed rule (79 FR 56686), but we have added or corrected text to clarify the information that was presented. This information and other clarifications have been incorporated into this final rule as discussed below in Summary of Comments and Recommendations.

    Summary of Comments and Recommendations

    In the proposed rule published on September 23, 2014 (79 FR 56686), we requested that all interested parties submit written comments on the proposal by November 24, 2014. We also solicited peer review of the scientific basis for the proposal (see Peer Review Comments, below), and contacted appropriate Federal and State agencies, scientific experts and organizations, and other interested parties and invited them to comment on the proposal. Newspaper notices inviting general public comment were published in the Baltimore Sun, placed on Service Web sites, and advertised by other online media outlets (e.g., http://www.wboc.com/story/26574688/maryland-state-officials-set-to-discuss-delmarva-peninsula-fox-squirrel). We did not receive any requests for a public hearing.

    During the public comment period for the proposed rule, we received a total of 129 comment letters. Of these, 74 provided substantive comments that we address below, including one letter from the State of Maryland and comments from two peer reviewers. Both peer reviewers asked for additional detail on the life history of this subspecies, which we have provided in the supplemental documents that can be found at http://www.regulations.gov under Docket No. FWS-R5-ES-2014-0021. All substantive information provided during the review period either has been incorporated directly into this final determination or into the supplemental documents, or is addressed below.

    Comments From States

    (1) Comment: The State of Maryland's Department of Natural Resources (DNR) was supportive of the proposed rule and concurred with our findings. The DNR added that it would continue to provide protection to the DFS under the authority of Maryland's Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act, although likely not at the endangered level. The DNR also stated that the post-delisting monitoring plan proposed by the Service was adequate to document expansion or contraction of the range of the DFS and that the agency would participate in the monitoring effort.

    Our Response: We are in agreement with the DNR and appreciate its commitment to continued conservation.

    Public Comments

    (2) Comment: Several commenters expressed concern that the DFS would be hunted after delisting, and that populations would then decline and might require relisting.

    Our Response: As explained in the proposed rule and supplementary documents (see Post-delisting Monitoring Plan, appendices D through F), after delisting, the State of Maryland intends to keep the DFS on the State list of endangered and threatened species as a Species of Conservation Concern; this status does not allow a hunting season. This intention is reinforced by the State of Maryland's comment letter reiterating that the subspecies will remain State-listed as described above.

    The State of Delaware also intends to keep this subspecies on its State list of endangered and threatened species, and no hunting of the DFS will be allowed after delisting. The State has written a management plan for the DFS (DNREC 2014) that calls for adding two additional DFS populations in the State, likely through translocations.

    In the State of Virginia, all DFSs are currently on the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, where they will not be hunted. The State has evaluated locations for potential translocations of DFSs in the future, but any future translocated populations are not expected to be subject to hunting. Enhancement of DFS populations in Virginia would be primarily aimed at restoring the native fauna of Virginia.

    (3) Comment: Several commenters stated that the occupancy of 28 percent of the historical range was insufficient to warrant delisting.

    Our Response: The Act is legislation intended to prevent extinction of native species and does not describe recovery in terms of the proportion of a historical range that is occupied by a species. We do take into account in our listing and delisting determinations the effects that loss of historical range may have on the current and future viability of a species. As explained in our significant portion of the range (SPR) final policy (79 FR 37578; July 1, 2014), we have concluded that this consideration is sufficient to account for the effects of loss of historical range when evaluating the current status of a species. The purposes of the Act, stated in section 2, are to provide a means to conserve the ecosystems upon which endangered species and threatened species depend and to provide a program for the conservation of endangered species and threatened species. The Act itself does not contain the phrase “historical range,” nor does it ever allude to restoration throughout the entire historical range as a conservation purpose.

    Some concerns about the current range of the DFS likely stem from a frequently quoted reason for listing, “the species was listed because it declined to 10 percent of its historical range” (USFWS 1993, p. 1). However, the substantial population decline as evidenced by that range decline is the actual reason for the listing. In 1944, the DFS was found in seven counties (Dozier and Hall 1944), but by 1967, it was known to occur in only four counties; thus, the decline would have been apparent and reasonably concerning to many biologists at the time of listing.

    (4) Comment: Several commenters stated that the total number of animals in the rangewide population did not appear to be large enough to warrant delisting and expressed a concern that the population would decline again after delisting.

    Our Response: As described in the proposed rule, the best estimate of the rangewide number of the DFS at the time of the 2012 status review was 22,368 (USFWS 2012, p. 20), which we can approximate as 20,000. However, the critical question with regard to the listing status of the subspecies is not a specified number of individuals; rather, it is the level of extinction risk, indicating whether the subspecies meets the definition of endangered or threatened. To address this question, we conducted a population viability analysis (PVA) for the DFS (Hilderbrand et al. 2007, entire), which enabled us to evaluate how the foreseeable threats may affect the probability of extinction of DFS subpopulations (USFWS 2012, pp. 18-21, 23-44).

    The Hilderbrand et al. (2007) PVA model indicates that a population of 130 animals would have a 95 percent chance of persisting for 100 years. This threshold, also called a minimum viable population (MVP), provides a useful benchmark of extinction risk. It should not be mistaken for a recovery goal but is, rather, a population size with an associated extinction risk based on the life history of the DFS before assessing additional threats. This PVA includes variations in adult and juvenile survival, the number of young produced per year, and variability in environmental effects.

    Using this model, we estimate that the known occupied forest within the range of the DFS contains a total population that is 171 times the MVP and that, even under the worst-case scenarios for threats, including inundation of areas up to 0.6 meters (m) (2 feet (ft)) above sea level due to sea level rise, we would still have a total population that is 145 times the MVP. Further, our analysis indicates that the rangewide population would comprise at least 15 subpopulations broadly distributed across the Delmarva Peninsula. After considering the conservation imperatives of habitat availability, habitat connectivity, population resiliency and redundancy, and genetic and/or ecological representation, we concluded that the risk of extinction is low, even under a worst-case scenario, and that the current population is sufficiently abundant and well distributed to withstand foreseeable threats.

    (5) Comment: Several commenters stated that sea level rise was a great concern, and that threats from climate change and sea level rise have not been eliminated.

    Our Response: We agree that climate change and sea level rise trends are continuing; nonetheless, the pertinent question is whether these factors are likely to threaten the DFS with extinction or with endangerment in the foreseeable future. We analyzed the impact of sea level rise and associated habitat loss on the DFS using a worst-case scenario of 0.6 m (2 ft) of inundation within 40 years. As stated in our response to Comment 4, we evaluated this factor along with a number of other factors with the potential to affect the long-term viability of DFS subpopulations (noting that various conditions can occur on the landscape and threaten some species and not others depending on the abundance, distribution, and life history of the species). After considering habitat availability and connectivity, as well as population resiliency, redundancy, and representation, we conclude that the risk of extinction is low even under the worst-case sea level rise scenario (see Summary of Factors Affecting the Species, Factor A), given projected population levels and distribution, and the ability of the DFS to colonize unoccupied habitat as described in the September 23, 2014, proposed rule (79 FR 56686) and 2012 status review (USFWS 2012).

    (6) Comment: One commenter expressed two concerns regarding DFS movements in response to sea-level rise: First, during sea level rise, individual animals would not be able to move inland because DFSs prefer moving on the ground and would be unable to move across habitat that became flooded. Second, with the occurrence of sea-level rise and the associated loss of habitat, populations would not be able to shift inland over time.

    Our Response: DFSs have always been abundant in southern Dorchester County, where forests are frequently flooded in the spring and are often exposed to high tidal surges. Further, DFSs have been observed moving across marshlands to other woodlands (L. Miranda 2010 and C. Keller pers. comm. 2009) and moving through flooded woodlands on logs and hummocks as well as through the trees (C. Bocetti pers. comm. 2015). In these same areas, marked animals have been documented to move 4 km (2.5 mi) and return within a season, despite intervening streams and associated marshlands 100 m (328 ft) wide or greater (C. Bocetti pers. comm. 2015). Typical home ranges are about 16.2 ha (40 ac) in size and generally include forested wetlands, indicating that DFSs already inhabit forests that experience periodic flooding.

    Sea level rise is likely to result in more frequent flooding and storm and tidal surges, with gradual deterioration of habitat at the shoreline edges. It is therefore likely that individual animals will need to shift their home range inland and that the overall population will shift inland as well. The ability of DFSs to shift their home ranges in response to habitat change has already been demonstrated as individual animals moved to new areas following clearcuts in portions of their home ranges (Paglione 1996); we note that clearcutting is a more rapid and dramatic habitat alteration than would be expected from flooding or storm surges.

    In terms of available habitat for the DFS to move into following storm events and/or sea level rise, we evaluated the rangewide availability and connectivity of forest patches in the 2012 status review (USFWS 2012) by mapping the connectivity of forest patches relative to dispersal of DFS subpopulations (USFWS 2012, figures 9 and 10). After quantitative analysis of habitat that could be lost due to sea level rise and development (USFWS 2012, table 7), we concluded that even if all potentially affected habitat was lost immediately, remaining DFS populations would still be sufficiently abundant and well distributed to alleviate the risk of extinction.

    With regard to the connectivity needed to allow DFSs to move to more upland habitats, we recognize that sea-level rise can widen rivers and increase obstacles to DFS movement, especially from west to east in southern Dorchester County. However, even with maximum projected inundation, DFSs could disperse from southern Dorchester without crossing streams. In addition, southern Dorchester County would still contain about 2,400 to 3,200 ha (6,000 to 8,000 ac) of suitable occupied habitat, supporting at least six times the MVP. Given this, we predict long-term population viability in these areas of Dorchester County.

    (7) Comment: One commenter stated that the DFS should not be delisted because it has not met all of the recovery criteria contained in the most recent DFS recovery plan (USFWS 1993). In particular, the commenter contended that our analysis of recovery criterion 6 does not adequately support our conclusion that this criterion has been met.

    Our Response: We will respond first to the issue of whether recovery criteria must be met in order to delist a species, and second to the issue of whether criterion 6 has been met.

    Notwithstanding our conclusion that the recovery criteria for the DFS, as required under section 4(f) of the Act, have been met, this is not the requisite analysis for determining the appropriate listing status of the species. Rather, listing determinations must be made in accordance with sections 4(a)(1) and 4(b) of the Act. Section 4(a)(1) requires that the Secretary determine whether a species is endangered or threatened because of one or more of five threat factors, while section 4(b) requires that the determination be made “solely on the basis of the best scientific and commercial data available.” Thus, any determination to delist a species must be based on the best information available at the time of the determination and the results of the five-factor analysis, notwithstanding any information in the recovery plan.

    Although meeting recovery criteria is not essential for determining a species' listing status, our most recent status review (USFWS 2012) led us to the conclusion that all recovery criteria for the DFS, including criterion 6, have been met. Criterion 6 states that “mechanisms that ensure perpetuation of suitable habitat at a level sufficient to allow for desired distribution [must be] in place and implemented within all counties in which the species occurs.” Our analysis showed that there are many State and Federal laws and land protection programs in place that actively protect land at the present time and will continue to do so into the future. A detailed table and map of the land protected by these programs in each county is provided for each county in the 2012 status review (USFWS 2012, table 5 and figure 7). These protective mechanisms are also presented in our analysis of Factor D (USFWS 2012, pp. 38-39), with a detailed description of each program provided in appendix D of the same document. These data clearly portray the adequacy of these regulatory mechanisms.

    (8) Comment: One commenter stated we had not adequately addressed the future of the translocated population of the DFS at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) due to the projections in sea level rise.

    Our Response: We agree with the commenter that this coastal population of the DFS, inhabiting Assateague Island, a barrier island, is vulnerable to reduced habitat and isolation from sea level rise, and we discussed this situation in the September 23, 2014, proposed rule (79 FR 56686). We also discuss it below, under Factor A: Loss of forest habitat from sea level rise, where we note that although the island's beaches, marshes, and shorelines are vulnerable to sea level rise, most of the forest habitat occupied by the DFS is above the 0.6 m (2 ft) inundation worst-case scenario. Even so, Refuge managers are aware of the risks of sea level rise and are actively exploring management responses to this factor. As stated in the proposed rule: “Sea level rise is expected to cause severe losses to beach and tidal flat habitat but currently upland habitat would only be reduced by 4 to 8 percent (National Wildlife Federation 2008, p. 69). [Chincoteague's] Comprehensive Conservation Plan [CCP] commits to continued forest management to maintain suitable habitat for Delmarva fox squirrels and continued monitoring of Delmarva fox squirrel populations.” The draft CCP is available at: http://www.fws.gov/nwrs/threecolumn.aspx?id=2147550165.

    We consider it highly likely that a DFS population will persist on Chincoteague NWR for the foreseeable future, although there may be a shift in the habitats that are occupied. Nonetheless, even if the Chincoteague population were to be lost, this would not cause a rangewide risk of extinction (USFWS 2012, table 7).

    (9) Comment: One commenter stated, “In its 2007 and 2012 status reviews, the Service concluded that these recovery criteria were not based on the best available science and did not represent the most up-to-date information on the biology of the DFS. And the Service also concluded in these status reviews that the recovery criteria did not specifically address all of the five threat-based listing factors.”

    Our Response: The commenter may be referring to sections 2.2.2.1 and 2.2.2.2 of the referenced status reviews (USFWS 2007, p. 3; USFWS 2012, p. 5):

    2.2.2.1 Do the recovery criteria reflect the best available and most up-to-date information on the biology of the species and its habitat? No. More recent information on the squirrel's distribution, subpopulation delineation, and population persistence is not reflected in the 1993 recovery criteria. Nonetheless, these criteria continue to act as generally appropriate measures of recovery.

    2.2.2.2 Are all of the relevant listing factors addressed in the recovery criteria? No. None of the recovery criteria specifically addresses any of the five listing factors, although habitat-related threats are alluded to. The criteria evaluate the biological status of the species.”

    These statements are intended to convey that although new information had become available since 1993, the recovery criteria were still considered adequate for assessing DFS recovery progress. With regard to criteria addressing the five listing factors, the lack of specific threats-based criteria is typical of recovery plans at that time and does not preclude a separate five-factor analysis (see Comment 7, above). Significantly, since the two status reviews analyze both the recovery criteria and the five listing factors, each review constitutes a complete assessment of the status of the species (USFWS 2007; USFWS 2012). Overall, the two status reviews and the September 23, 2014, proposed rule (79 FR 56686) are based on the best available information on the biology of the DFS and the threats to its long-term viability.

    (10) Comment: One commenter noted that the population data in the 2012 status review were the same as those in the 2007 review and suggested that this showed there was no increase in the population or range between those two time periods. The commenter further suggested that there was a decrease in DFS-occupied forest between 2007 and 2012. The commenter stated that despite the information for the two status reviews being essentially the same, different conclusions were reached.

    Our Response: It is not clear how the commenter's interpretation of the data in the two reviews was made. Both the September 23, 2014, proposed rule (79 FR 56686 Table 1) and the 2012 status review (Chart 2) clearly show an increase in the area of occupied forest from 51,975 ha (128,434 ac) in 2005, to 54,543 ha (134,778 ac) by 2010; a map illustrating the changes in the range between the two reviews is also provided (USFWS 2012, figure 3). Since 2010, we have continued to document new areas of occupied forest and provide an updated number of 55,589 ha (137,363 ac) as of 2013 (79 FR 56686, September 23, 2014, Table 1).

    The rangewide population estimates in the 2007 and 2012 reviews differ only slightly (19,265 versus 22,368 animals, respectively), but as described in the 2012 review, the two estimates were based on different survey methods. Light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data, which allow us to distinguish between mature forests and other forested areas, were not available for the 2007 status review. We were able to use a more refined and conservative approach in the 2012 review and estimated the rangewide population using only occupied mature forest. Both estimates are intended to provide a general measure of the rangewide population size (USFWS 2007, p. 8; USFWS 2012 p. 20).

    It should also be noted that in the 2007 review, we concluded that DFS recovery was imminent. We indicated that a final listing recommendation was pending while we obtained and analyzed LiDAR data, and that, if new information continued to support our finding that DFS habitat availability and connectivity were likely to persist over the foreseeable future, we would recommend initiation of delisting when the LiDAR analysis was completed (USFWS 2007, p. 27).

    (11) Comment: One commenter was concerned because 9 of 22 subpopulations (40 percent) appear to be vulnerable to extirpation.

    Our Response: This concern does not take into account the relative size of these subpopulations. As described in the 2012 status review (USFWS 2012, p. 42, figure 5 and table 7), there is a higher vulnerability to extirpation for 9 smaller subpopulations, but the vast majority (95 percent) of DFSs occurs in 11 large, secure subpopulations. This provides a solid indication of continued persistence and growth of the rangewide population. Most of the smaller populations originated as translocations, which have become well established and have contributed to the expanded distribution of the subspecies. Further, as shown by the 2007 population viability analysis (Hilderbrand et. al 2007), if one or more small populations blink out, the rangewide population is still not vulnerable to extinction; even accounting for all projected losses from sea level rise and development, the rangewide population will still be 145 times the MVP, indicating long-term viability.

    Peer Review Comments

    In accordance with our peer review policy published on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34270), we solicited expert opinion from five independent scientists with expertise that included familiarity with the DFS and its habitat, biological needs, and threats. We received responses from two of the peer reviewers.

    We reviewed comments received from the peer reviewers for substantive issues and new information regarding the status of the DFS. The peer reviewers generally concurred with our methods and conclusions and considered the scientific information to be correct and the analyses to be sound. However, both reviewers identified parts of the document that could be strengthened. Peer reviewer comments are addressed below and incorporated as appropriate into the final rule or supplemental documents, available at http://www.regulations.gov under Docket No. FWS-R5-ES-2014-0021.

    (12) Peer Review Comment: Both reviewers asked for more detail to be provided on life history of the subspecies.

    Our Response: We have added more life-history information in a supplemental document for the final rule, particularly life history related to reproduction, litter size, and survival. The supplemental document is available at http://www.regulations.gov under Docket No. FWS-R5-ES-2014-0021.

    (13) Peer Review Comment: One reviewer asked for clarification on the length of time that agreements preventing development on private lands would continue.

    Our Response: The private lands we consider protected from development have easements that extend in perpetuity, and this has been added to the text of this rule.

    (14) Peer Review Comment: Both reviewers thought that the rate of future development might be underestimated and suggested possibly using zoning or projected road development as additional sources of information.

    Our Response: We consider the analysis of future development conducted by the Maryland Department of Planning to be the best available source of information on development trends insofar as this office has both the responsibility for tracking such information and the requisite expertise to make trend projections. The September 23, 2014, proposed rule (79 FR 56686) and 2012 status review (USFWS 2012) used data from Maryland's 2008 planning report (Maryland Department of Planning 2008a), as this was the most current information at the time; the same trends and areas of expected development are also mapped in a more recent planning document (Maryland Department of Planning 2011a). The data continue to show that the eastern shore of Maryland is far more rural, with less development and more protected lands, than elsewhere in Maryland. Thus, the most recent information continues to support the past and future trends used in our previous analysis.

    Consideration of zoning was not included in our analysis specifically because zoning restrictions can be changed, making projections based on this source of information less certain. Further, we took a cautious approach in considering future development by projecting complete loss of any DFS-occupied habitat within a “Smart Growth” area that was not otherwise protected. (“Smart Growth” is a theory of land development that concentrates new development and redevelopment in areas that have existing or planned infrastructure to avoid sprawl.) Currently, DFSs inhabit blocks of forest within the Smart Growth areas of both Cambridge and Easton in Maryland. Although limited monitoring shows that DFSs have been persisting in these woodlands over many years and may be able to continue doing so in the future, our analysis assumes loss based on lack of ensured habitat protection.

    (15) Peer Review Comment: One peer review comment referred to the possibility of residential development causing problems because of the presence of free-ranging dogs that may pursue the DFS.

    Our Response: We agree that this can be a problem in some situations, and although all counties within the current range of the DFS have regulations that require dogs to be on a leash, at heel, or directly beside the owner, enforcing these regulations can be difficult. Further, as noted in the status review (USFWS 2012, p. 27), the presence of dogs may be one reason DFSs do not inhabit residential developments. Despite these concerns, we do not consider free-roaming dogs to be a threat that would result in population-level effects, either individually or in combination with other possible risks, to this subspecies, as effects are highly localized and regulations do exist to enable management of this issue.

    (16) Peer Review Comment: Both peer reviewers raised a concern regarding the commitment to monitoring of the DFS after delisting and questioned whether there would be long-term funds, time, and available personnel to carry out the monitoring work described in the post-delisting monitoring plan.

    Our Response: We agree that sustaining monitoring efforts can be challenging and subject to competing priorities. Nonetheless, we have designed the post-delisting monitoring strategy to fit into current work plans and are seeking additional ways in which this effort can be incorporated into other monitoring work conducted by the States. For example, the hunt clubs leasing the Maryland State Chesapeake Forest lands are now asked to report sightings or camera shots which have already provided DFS records, and we are working with the States on other opportunities to invite hunters to report DFS sightings. We also anticipate that DFS-occupied sites managed by conservation groups will be monitored as part of their management efforts; sightings of DFSs are often reported by those who live or work on these properties. Overall, recording these sightings will enhance our ability to conduct widespread monitoring of the DFS.

    Recovery

    Section 4(f) of the Act directs us to develop and implement recovery plans for the conservation and survival of endangered and threatened species unless we determine that such a plan will not promote the conservation of the species. Recovery plans are not regulatory documents and are instead intended to establish goals for long-term conservation of a listed species; define criteria that are designed to indicate when the threats facing a species have been removed or reduced to such an extent that the species may no longer need the protections of the Act; and provide guidance to our Federal, State, and other governmental and nongovernmental partners on methods to minimize threats to listed species. There are many paths to accomplishing recovery of a species, and recovery may be achieved without all criteria being fully met. For example, one or more criteria may have been exceeded while other criteria may not have been accomplished, yet the Service may judge that, overall, the threats have been minimized sufficiently, and that the species is robust enough to reclassify or delist the species. In other cases, recovery opportunities may have been recognized that were not known at the time the recovery plan was finalized. These opportunities may be used instead of methods identified in the recovery plan.

    Likewise, information on the species that was not known at the time of the recovery plan may become available. The new information may change the extent that criteria need to be met for recognizing recovery of the species. Recovery of species is a dynamic process requiring adaptive management that may, or may not, fully follow the guidance provided in a recovery plan.

    Despite the guidance provided by recovery plans, determinations to remove species from the List must be made in accordance with sections 4(a)(1) and 4(b) of the Act. Section 4(a)(1) requires that the Secretary determine if a species is endangered or threatened because of one or more of five threat factors. Section 4(b) of the Act requires that the determination be made “solely on the basis of the best scientific and commercial data available.”

    Although recovery criteria, as mentioned above, help guide recovery efforts and should always be consulted when considering a change in the status of a listed species, the ultimate determination of whether to reclassify or delist a species must be made in accordance with statutory standards, and recovery criteria can neither substitute for nor pre-empt section 4(a)(1) requirements. Ultimately, a decision to remove a species from the List is made when the best available data show that the species is no longer an endangered species or a threatened species, regardless of how closely this information conforms to the information and criteria in the recovery plan.

    The most recent DFS recovery plan was approved by the Service on June 8, 1993 (USFWS 1993, entire), and updated on October 31, 2003 (USFWS 2003, entire). The plan states that “the long-range objective of the DFS recovery program is to restore this endangered species to a secure status within its former range.” The plan provides three criteria for reclassifying the DFS from endangered to threatened status. It then provides four additional criteria to be considered in conjunction with the first three for delisting the DFS.

    Recovery Criteria

    A discussion of the extent to which each recovery criterion has been met is provided in the proposed rule (79 FR 56686; September 23, 2014). This discussion is summarized below.

    Criterion 1: Ecological requirements and distribution within the remaining natural range are understood sufficiently to permit effective management. A considerable body of new information has been amassed regarding the DFS' distribution and ecological requirements, and we thus conclude that this recovery criterion has been met. The six key contributions to our understanding of the DFS are summarized below.

    (1) DFS range and distribution: The geographic information system (GIS) maintained for the DFS documents a significant increase in the area occupied by the DFS since the 1993 recovery plan was issued (see Figure 1, above). Records of DFS sightings by knowledgeable observers and, in particular, the use of trap and camera surveys have greatly improved our ability to determine which forest tracts are occupied by the DFS and monitor continued presence.

    (2) Population persistence: Persistence of DFS populations over the recovery period has been evaluated through comparison of occupancy over time, including a survey conducted in 1971 and repeated in 2001, and a second analysis comparing occupancy from 1990 through 2010 (Table 2). These studies are summarized in the proposed rule (79 FR 56686; September 23, 2014) and status review (USFWS 2012, pp. 15-17).

    Table 2—DFS Occupancy of 275 Forested Tracts (41,733 ha or 103,125 ac) in Maryland, 1990 Compared to 2010 Occupancy change from 1990 to 2010 Area of forest Number of forest tracts Percent of the original 41,733 ha (103,125 ac) in each occupancy status Persistence 38,130 ha (94,221 ac) 181 91 Extirpations 499 ha (1,233 ac) 7 1 Uncertain 3,104 ha (7,671 ac) 87 8 Discoveries or colonizations 13,042 ha (32,227 ac) 250

    As indicated in Table 2, DFSs continued to persist in the vast majority of woodlots where they were known to occur in 1990, and their presence was newly documented in an additional 13,042 ha (32,227 ac) in all three States through 2010 (USFWS 2012, p. 8). Although some of these discoveries are likely to be occurrences that were previously present but undetected, anecdotal information indicates that several new localities represent true range expansion (see, for example, USFWS 2012, figure 4). Using the 2010 figures for occupied forest in all three States, as well as maps of mature forest and density estimates of the DFS available from various studies, we estimate that the total population of the DFS is now about 20,000 animals across an expanded range (USFWS 2012, p. 21).

    (3) Population viability: A DFS population viability analysis (PVA) developed by Hilderbrand et al. (2007, entire) modeled the extinction probabilities of different-sized populations and determined that a population with 65 females, or 130 animals total, had a 95 percent chance of persisting for 100 years. This value, also called a minimum viable population (MVP), was used to gauge extinction risk by projecting how many populations of this size are likely to remain present in a given portion of the current DFS range (USFWS 2012, pp. 18-20; also see Public Comments, above).

    The PVA also estimated that 75 percent of a given DFS population would have the ability to disperse to areas within 4 km (2.5 mi) (Hilderbrand et al. 2007, p. 73), and thus animals in forested tracts within this distance would be likely to interbreed; these interbreeding groups are defined as subpopulations. The analysis indicated that approximately 85 percent of DFSs are found in four large, narrowly separated subpopulations that could expand to become even more connected. Each of these subpopulations contains populations estimated to be several times the MVP minimum and have a high likelihood of population persistence. Overall, the rangewide population, estimated at between 17,000 and 20,000 animals, contains more than 100 times the MVP.

    (4) Effects of timber harvest: Two major studies of the effects of timber harvest on the DFS (Paglione 1996, entire; Bocetti and Pattee 2003, entire) suggest that the subspecies is fairly tolerant of timber harvest, although specific impacts depend on the size, location, and landscape context of the harvest. Small clearcuts within a surrounding forest showed relatively little impact on the DFS, with individual squirrels shifting their home ranges into adjacent habitat, whereas harvest of more isolated forest peninsulas forced DFSs to move greater distances (Paglione 1996). Findings from the long-term Bocetti and Pattee (2003) study lead to the general conclusion that the DFS can tolerate timber harvests and can continue to occupy forested mosaics of mature and regenerating stands. In addition, both studies suggest that the DFS has high site fidelity and tends to shift home ranges rather than abandon a site in response to disturbance.

    (5) Habitat availability: An analysis of LiDAR data provided by the State of Maryland enabled an inventory of mature forest suitable for the DFS throughout most of the squirrel's range (USFWS 2012, Appendix E). As of 2004, LiDAR mapping had identified 175,656 ha (434,056 ac) of mature forest in the eight Maryland counties occupied by DFSs (55 percent of all forest was considered mature), with 17 percent currently occupied and thus over 80 percent of mature forest available for expansion (USFWS 2012, table 4).

    Although the amount and location of mature forest will change over time with timber harvest and forest growth, these data provide good baseline information about the availability and distribution of suitable habitat. Mature forest is often found in riparian zones (USFWS 2012, figure 8) that can provide connected habitat for DFS dispersal and colonization of new areas. LiDAR mapping also showed large tracts of mature forest distributed in upland areas throughout the Maryland portion of the subspecies' range. Given that most DFS populations occur in Maryland and, further, that unoccupied but suitable habitat is found both along the coast and inland elsewhere on the Delmarva Peninsula, we can infer from this habitat inventory that there is ample unoccupied mature forest to enable further expansion of the DFS' rangewide population.

    (6) Habitat connectivity: Lookingbill et al. (2010, entire) conducted a GIS analysis of the connectivity between 400-ha (175-ac) forest patches on the Delmarva Peninsula (although the DFS is not a forest interior obligate and does not require forest blocks this large). Study results show high connectivity of forest blocks in the southern Maryland portion of the squirrel's range, indicating few obstacles to DFS dispersal throughout this area. Two major forest corridors were identified for DFS dispersal out of Dorchester County, Maryland, one of which is already occupied by the DFS (a third dispersal corridor not identified by the model is also DFS-occupied). Observations of DFS movement through a wide range of habitats, in conjunction with the results of this connectivity model and the map of LiDAR-defined mature forests, indicate that there is sufficient habitat availability and connectivity for further DFS range expansion.

    Criterion 2: Benchmark populations are shown to be stable or expanding based on at least 5 years of data. Criterion 2 was intended to measure overall DFS population trends using monitoring data from seven benchmark populations. Although a slightly different set of eight benchmark sites was ultimately monitored, analysis of the resulting data (Dueser 1999, entire) showed that the benchmark sites were stable over a 5- to 7-year period, and benchmark monitoring was concluded.

    We also have collected data to better understand rangewide population trends. The distribution data that document an expanded range and population persistence within that range as described under criterion 1, above, are much better indicators of DFS recovery. Although DFS populations in isolated areas (such as on small islands) are vulnerable to extirpation, all available population data for the DFS indicate that the range has expanded and populations are persisting within the range, and that this recovery criterion has been met.

    Criterion 3: Ten translocated colonies are successfully established throughout the historical range. This criterion requires that at least 10 new DFS colonies must show evidence of presence for at least 5 to 8 years after release, demonstrating the ability of the DFS to colonize new sites, whether naturally or through management.

    Post-release trapping results (Therres and Willey 2002, entire), along with more recent trapping and camera surveys, indicate continued presence of 11 of 16 translocated colonies (69 percent) for more than 20 years (USFWS 2012, table 1, p. 83). Further, in several of these areas, DFSs have dispersed well beyond the initial release site.

    This success rate is higher than is typically found for similar translocation efforts for other endangered species (see Fischer and Lindenmayer 2000, p. 5), although the success rate is generally higher for mammals and wild source populations (Wolf et al. 1996, p. 1146). Further, despite some initial concerns about the genetic diversity of the translocated populations, subsequent analysis indicated that their genetic diversity was comparable to that of their source populations (Lance et al. 2003, entire). These data indicate that this criterion has been met.

    Criterion 4: Five additional (post-1990) colonies are established outside of the remaining natural range. Criterion 4 requires discovery or establishment of colonies outside the range known at the time of the 1993 recovery plan, thus addressing the threat of range contraction and providing for additional population redundancy as one component of long-term species viability.

    By 2007, eight new populations had been identified that did not result from translocations (USFWS 2007, figure 2), expanding the range toward the east. Notably, a colony discovered in Sussex County, Delaware, represents the first population found in that State since the time of listing that was not a result of a translocation. Since 2007, additional occupied forest has been discovered between some of these new populations, thus improving their long-term likelihood of survival (USFWS 2012, figure 3). We therefore conclude that this recovery criterion has been met.

    Criterion 5: Periodic monitoring shows that translocated populations have persisted over the recovery period. Criterion 5 requires the continued presence of at least 80 percent of translocated populations, with at least 75 percent of these populations shown to be stable or improving. All successfully established translocated populations have persisted over the full period of recovery and have either become more abundant on their release sites or have expanded or shifted into new areas, as shown by trapping efforts (Therres and Willey 2002, entire), and, more recently, both trapping and/or camera surveys (USFWS 2012, table 1). Overall, the continued presence and growth of DFS populations at translocation sites show that this recovery criterion has been met.

    Criterion 6: Mechanisms that ensure perpetuation of suitable habitat at a level sufficient to allow for desired distribution are in place and implemented within all counties in which the species occurs. Several well-established programs protect DFS habitat from development in perpetuity (Rural Legacy, Maryland Environmental Trust, Maryland Agricultural Programs, etc.). These programs, along with State and Federal ownership, protect an estimated 15,994 ha (39,524 ac; 29 percent) of DFS-occupied forest throughout the subspecies' current range (USFWS 2012, table 3). In addition, several State laws and regulatory programs will continue to protect forest habitat (USFWS 2012, appendix D). In Delaware and Virginia, the DFS occurs primarily on Federal and State land; the sole Virginia population was established on Chincoteague NWR and is completely protected from residential development or commercial timber harvest. Overall, we conclude that this recovery criterion has been met.

    Criterion 7: Mechanisms are in place and implemented to ensure protection of new populations, to allow for expansion, and to provide inter-population corridors to permit gene flow among populations. As discussed under recovery criterion 1, LiDAR data indicate that mature forest blocks connected by riparian corridors are scattered throughout the Delmarva Peninsula. Further, Lookingbill et al. (2010, entire) indicate that these connected blocks constitute a good network of forest to allow for dispersing DFSs. Given ample opportunities for dispersal, and the fact that many of these corridors are protected by State regulatory mechanisms (as discussed under The Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms, below), we conclude this recovery criterion has been met.

    Summary of Factors Affecting the Species Overview

    Section 4 of the Act and its implementing regulations (50 CFR part 424) set forth the procedures for listing species, reclassifying species, or removing species from listed status. “Species” is defined in section 3 of the Act as any species or subspecies of fish or wildlife or plants, and any distinct vertebrate population segment of fish or wildlife that interbreeds when mature (16 U.S.C. 1532(16)). A species may be determined to be an endangered or threatened species based on one or more factors described in section 4(a)(1) of the Act: (A) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range; (B) overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes; (C) disease or predation; (D) the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or (E) other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence.

    We must consider these same factors in delisting a species, and we must show that the best available scientific and commercial data indicate that the species is neither endangered nor threatened because: (1) It is extinct; (2) it has recovered and is no longer endangered or threatened (as is the case with the DFS); and/or (3) the original scientific data used at the time of listing classification were in error (50 CFR 424.11(d)). Determining whether a species is recovered requires evaluation of both the threats currently facing the species and the threats that are reasonably likely to affect the species in the foreseeable future following delisting and removal or reduction of the Act's protections.

    A species is endangered for purposes of the Act if it is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range (SPR) and is threatened if it is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range. The word “range” in these definitions refers to the range in which the species currently exists. Although the term “foreseeable future” is left undefined, for the purposes of this rule, we regard foreseeable future as the extent to which, given available data, we can reasonably anticipate events or effects, or extrapolate threat trends, such that reliable predictions can be made concerning the future status of the DFS. In conducting this analysis, our general approach was to review past threat trends and the DFS' response, followed by a prediction of future trends. With some exceptions, we used a time frame of approximately 40 years for both past and future trend analyses; this time period also allowed use of available data to make more reliable projections despite the inherent uncertainties attached to predicting the future.

    In the following five-factor analysis, we evaluate the status of the DFS throughout its entire range. We then address the question of whether the DFS is endangered or threatened in any significant portion of its range. Note that information discussed in detail in the September 23, 2014, proposed rule (79 FR 56686) and/or the 2012 status review (USFWS 2012, pp. 26-44) is summarized for each factor below.

    Factor A. The Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment of Its Habitat or Range

    Here we considered habitat changes caused by residential development, sea level rise, and commercial timber harvest, as well as the habitat-related effects on DFS population and rangewide viability, with the exception of development or timber harvest effects on the population on Chincoteague NWR, as it is completely protected from these activities; we did, however, address the impact of sea level rise on this population.

    Habitat Loss Due to Development

    The Delmarva Peninsula is basically a rural landscape, but the human population has increased since the DFS was listed, as shown by Maryland Department of Planning data discussed in the September 23, 2014, proposed rule (79 FR 56686) (see Maryland Department of Planning 2008a, 2008b, and 2011b). Despite the past—and continuing—growth, the majority of the Delmarva Peninsula's land base remains rural, with approximately 47 percent agricultural land, 36 percent forest, 9 percent wetlands, and only 7 percent developed land (USFWS 2012, table 2).

    Further, since listing, a variety of State laws and programs have been put in place to counteract the rate of development across the State (USFWS 2012, appendix D), including the Maryland Forest Conservation Act and Maryland Critical Area Law. In addition, the Maryland Environmental Trust, Maryland Agricultural Land Protection Fund, and Maryland Rural Legacy Program used easements to permanently protect about 3,642 ha per year (9,000 ac per year) of private lands between 2000 and 2008, enhancing protection of DFS habitat (USFWS 2012, chart 4).

    Overall, approximately 30 percent of DFS-occupied forest lands, widely distributed across the subspecies' range, is protected from development (USFWS 2012, table 5). Additional acres of protected forest outside the current range of the DFS provide areas for further expansion (USFWS 2012, figure 7). Overall, the 15,995 ha (39,524 ac) of occupied forest protected from development could support a DFS population 45 times the MVP (based on Hilderbrand et al. 2007, entire). However, because 70 percent of DFS-occupied forest occurs on private land that remains legally unprotected from development, future losses from development are likely.

    We assessed the potential threat of DFS habitat loss stemming from future development by overlaying the acres of existing occupied forest with areas projected to be lost to development, including: (1) Smart Growth areas (excluding the acres that are protected by easement), (2) areas where development projects are already planned, and (3) areas that are projected to be lost by 2030 if Smart Growth policies are not implemented (USFWS 2012, figure 11). Overall, 3 percent (2,283 ha or 5,643 ac) of the forest area currently occupied by the DFS is anticipated to be lost to development by 2030. This relatively low rate of projected loss can be attributed to the likelihood that most future development on the Delmarva Peninsula will occur outside the current range of the DFS. Future development within the current range is expected to primarily affect two small, isolated DFS subpopulations where extirpation is already probable. Together these subpopulations constitute less than 0.5 percent of the total viable population; thus, their loss would have a negligible effect on the rangewide extinction risk for the DFS. Although information on development projections past 2030 is not available at this time, we consider it likely that development on the Delmarva Peninsula will continue to be concentrated near large towns outside the range of the DFS, with some scattered development within the subspecies' range.

    Conversely, we also anticipate continued expansion of DFS populations, including expansion onto Chesapeake Forest lands (which are now owned and managed by the State of Maryland), noting that some occupancy on these lands has already occurred. The anticipated discovery of additional occupied forest areas may further offset projected loss of occupied forest due to development, resulting in little change to the overall area of the distribution. Discovery of additional occupied forest has occurred at the rate of 763 ha per year (1,887 ac per year) over the past 10 years. Even if we discover new occupied forest at half that rate, the anticipated net loss of occupied habitat from development would be offset by known occupied habitat in 6 years. With the continued protection of forest lands provided by State laws and programs, we do not expect habitat loss from development to substantially elevate the risk of the DFS' extinction.

    Loss of Forest Habitat From Sea Level Rise

    The Delmarva Peninsula is a low-lying landform, and sea level rise in the Chesapeake Bay can flood and kill shoreline forests that provide habitat for the DFS. However, the DFS does not occur exclusively in coastal habitats, which moderates its vulnerability to this threat, and GIS analysis indicates that over 80 percent of the current range would remain even after a projected inundation of coastal areas by 0.61 m (2 ft); see the discussion below.

    Regarding sea level rise in the past, the forces of land subsidence and sea level rise have resulted in a long history of island loss and formation in the Chesapeake Bay. In the last century, these forces combined to produce a relative sea level rise in the Chesapeake Bay region of approximately 0.3 m (1 ft) per 100 years (National Wildlife Federation 2008, p. 2).

    Loss of some forest areas in southern Dorchester County, Maryland, is already apparent at the lowest elevations where trees have been killed by saltwater intrusion from recent hurricanes. Although we cannot precisely estimate how much occupied habitat has been lost in the past 40 years, LiDAR analysis of forest height and canopy cover has identified at least 68 ha (170 ac) at the edge of coastal marshes that are now standing dead trees.

    Hurricanes contribute to forest loss as sea levels rise, with saltwater moving farther into forested areas during associated storm surges. However, hurricanes and intense storms have always been part of the weather in this region, and there is no evidence that they pose a problem per se for the DFS. For instance, in October 2012, cameras placed in woods to monitor DFSs near the Atlantic coast recorded DFSs onsite after superstorm Sandy passed through, indicating survival through the storm. Although direct loss of trees used by the DFS may have occurred in the past, the major effect of hurricanes has been the additional push of saltwater into more upland areas, killing coastal forest trees.

    In terms of future effects of sea level rise and climate change, sea level rise in the Chesapeake Bay is certain to continue, and the rate of change is likely to be even higher than in the past (National Wildlife Federation 2008, pp. 16-17; Sallenger et al. 2012, entire; Boesch et al. 2013, entire). To determine the extent of DFS-occupied forest that may be lost through the combined effects of sea level rise and subsidence (i.e., relative sea level rise), we used a 0.61-m (2-ft) inundation scenario. A rise in sea level of this magnitude is predicted to occur by about 2050 under a worst-case scenario (Boesch et al. 2013, p. 15).

    Our GIS analysis, in which we overlaid this inundation scenario with DFS-occupied forest, indicated that the most severe effects of sea level rise on the DFS by 2050 will be seen in the southwestern portion of Dorchester County, Maryland (USFWS 2012, figure 12). Here, 9,332 ha (23,060 ac) of currently occupied forest would either be lost or remain only on isolated islands (USFWS 2012, figure 12). In addition, 4,409 ha (10,897 ac) of habitat along the remaining southern edge of the county would eventually deteriorate, causing DFSs to move inland. The ability of DFSs to move into connected habitat likely reduces the effects on this subspecies due to forest losses at the coastal marsh fringe; we nonetheless recognize this as habitat loss. Other projected forest losses include scattered patches throughout the range, including some losses in the range of the Chincoteague population (USFWS 2012, figure 12).

    Even if the predicted habitat losses from sea level rise in southwestern Dorchester County were to occur immediately, the area's remaining 23,632 ha (58,398 ac) of occupied habitat would continue to support a highly abundant DFS population with a negligible risk of extinction. Moreover, the habitat in the northeastern portion of this area is connected to existing occupied forest farther inland (USFWS 2012, figure 9) into which DFSs could move. In particular, a large tract of State-owned forest that will soon become sufficiently mature to allow for DFS expansion connects the Dorchester DFS subpopulation to forest tracts in Caroline and Sussex Counties (USFWS 2012, figure 10). Although sea level rise may cause streams and rivers to widen and pose more of a barrier in the future, forested corridors will still be available to provide DFSs with access to habitat in the inland portions of Dorchester County.

    Given our current understanding of DFS habitat use, dispersal, and population dynamics, the expected DFS response to deterioration of coastal woodlands from sea level rise is the gradual movement of some DFSs to more inland areas. The DFS is known to travel across areas of marsh and can move at least 40 to 50 m (131 to 164 ft) between forested islands and may also move across frozen marsh in the winter. We acknowledge that despite the squirrel's ability to move, isolation and loss of some individuals is likely to occur. Nonetheless, we conclude that habitat loss due to sea level rise will not be a limiting factor to the future viability of this subspecies.

    The 0.61-m (2-ft) inundation scenario does not play out the same in parts of the range outside southwestern Dorchester County. In the series of small peninsulas in northwestern Dorchester County called the “neck region,” this scenario results in shrinkage of available habitat but does not create islands, and leaves habitat for the DFS to move into (USFWS 2012, figure 12). This is also the case in other portions of the squirrel's range near the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Coast. Some additional small areas of occupied habitat may be lost, but the gradual loss can be accommodated by shifts in DFS home ranges to adjacent but currently unoccupied habitat.

    The most coastal population of the DFS is a translocated population introduced in 1968 to Chincoteague NWR, a barrier island in Virginia that could be severely affected by sea level rise (National Wildlife Federation 2008, p. 69). The refuge's draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan (available at http://www.fws.gov/nwrs/threecolumn.aspx?id=2147550165) addresses this issue, and the refuge may consider future land acquisitions on the Delmarva Peninsula mainland. Chincoteague NWR will continue to manage for the DFS into the future whether or not the subspecies remains listed. In addition, translocations of DFSs to areas outside refuge boundaries at some point in the future are possible.

    It is not clear how climate change effects may alter the nature of the forests of the Delmarva Peninsula. However, as the DFS occurs in pine, hardwood, and mixed hardwood forests, with a preference for mixed forests with diverse tree species, any effects on the species composition of these forests are unlikely to become a significant threat for the squirrel.

    Overall, DFS distribution has increased in the past 40 years even with some sea level rise occurring. In the next 40 years under a worst-case scenario, we predict some deterioration of forests in certain areas along the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Coast (USFWS 2012, figure 12), but we also anticipate population expansion and shifts in DFS home ranges into suitable but currently unoccupied habitat available in the interior of the Delmarva Peninsula. Although some concern has been expressed about the likelihood of such expansion (e.g., by the Center for Biological Diversity 2013), the analysis of habitat suitability, connectivity, and the range expansion documented in the last 15 years provides a rational basis for this expectation. Thus, available data indicate that loss of habitat due to climate change and sea level rise does not pose an extinction risk to the DFS.

    Combined Effects of Development and Sea Level Rise

    Having determined that neither development nor sea level alone threatens the DFS with rangewide extinction, we conducted a spatial analysis to examine how these most pervasive stressors might interact (USFWS 2012, figure 5 and table 7).

    As of 2010, 54,429 ha (134,496 ac) of habitat supported 22 DFS subpopulations, (USFWS 2012, table 7), and 95 percent of the occupied forest contains the 11 largest subpopulations, which are highly likely to remain demographically viable. Even with projected losses from both development and sea level rise, and not accounting for potential discovery of additional occupied habitat, over 95 percent of the DFS-occupied forest would continue to support these most viable subpopulations. Thus, the combined effects of these threats do not pose an extinction risk to the DFS.

    Loss of Mature Forest From Timber Harvest

    Unlike development and sea level rise, timber harvest does not result in permanent loss of habitat. Further, as noted under Recovery Criteria, above, DFSs are resilient to timber harvests when there is adjacent habitat into which they can move. Thus, the major habitat concerns related to timber harvests are (1) the prevalence of short-rotation timber harvests, where trees are harvested before they mature enough to become DFS habitat; and (2) harvest rates that exceed growth rates and result in a continual decline of mature forest.

    Short-rotation pine forestry involves harvesting stands at approximately 25 years of age for pulp and other fiber products, precluding their suitability as DFS habitat. In the past, two large corporations managed for short-rotation pine on the Delmarva Peninsula; however, these industries have effectively left the Peninsula. In 1999, the State of Maryland acquired 23,471 ha (58,000 ac) of these lands, collectively administered as the Chesapeake Forest Lands and comprising scattered parcels throughout the southern four Maryland counties (USFWS 2012, figure 13). Another 4,202 ha (10,384 ac) of forest land previously owned and managed for short-rotation pine are now owned by the State of Delaware. All these lands will now be protected from development and managed for sustainable sawtimber harvest and wildlife habitat objectives. Moreover, DFS management has been integrated into the Sustainable Forest Management Plan for Chesapeake Forest Lands prepared by Maryland's Department of Natural Resources (Maryland DNR 2013, pp. 92-96), which identifies a total of 17,618 ha (43,535 ac) as DFS Core Areas and DFS Future Core Areas. Overall, these land acquisitions represent a future of protected forest areas managed for sawtimber where the DFS can survive and grow in numbers, substantially removing the threat posed by short-rotation pine management on the lower Delmarva Peninsula.

    Harvest rate estimates for both the 2007 and 2012 status review (USFWS 2007, pp. 17-20; USFWS 2012, table 6) indicated that harvests in more recent years have been substantially less than in previous years (generally prior to 2005) (USFWS 2012, table 6). For instance, in the four southern Maryland counties, the average annual harvest dropped from approximately 1,050 ha (2,594 ac) prior to 2005, to approximately 303 ha (749 ac) since then. The average size of harvested stands in these counties has also decreased, from an average of 22 ha (54 ac) to an average of 15 ha (36 ac). This is also the case in Delaware; in Sussex County, the annual harvest rate in the last 4 years was half of what was generally harvested between 1998 and 2005, with the same holding true for the size of individual harvest areas.

    Among other reasons for these reductions, economic pressures have resulted in the closure of several sawmills on the Delmarva Peninsula. The market for timber has declined dramatically, with low prices acting as a disincentive to harvesting. As discussed below, reduced harvest levels are likely to continue in the future.

    Although it is very difficult to predict future market forces, trends in fragmentation and parcelization in the Chesapeake Bay region (Sprague et al. 2006, pp. 22-24) suggest that future timber harvests might remain smaller in size and occur less frequently. Parcelization is the subdivision of large blocks of land into multiple ownerships, with a consequent tendency to shift from forest management to management for aesthetics and wildlife values. In Maryland, 45 percent of woodland owners own less than 20 ha (50 ac) of woods (U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2012). Given general sizes of timber harvests, these woodlands may be too small for future harvests and are more likely to be managed for aesthetics and wildlife.

    This ownership pattern also reflects the gentrification of the eastern shore of Maryland, with landowners becoming less likely to be farmers or foresters and more likely to be commuters or retirees who do not use their properties for income. This trend is expected to continue into the future (see http://www.mdp.state.md.us/msdc/S3_Projection.shtml), with a concomitant reduction in total acres harvested.

    Overall, the forest land transfers in Maryland and Delaware, in conjunction with available data on harvest rates across the range of the squirrel, suggest that timber harvest does not pose an extinction risk for the DFS.

    Factor A Summary

    The current range of the DFS spans coastal and interior areas of the Delmarva Peninsula where DFSs inhabit diverse wetland and upland forest types, suggesting that DFS populations will continue to remain resilient to a variety of habitat-related effects. Further, the distribution of these habitats provides for redundancy of populations, which reduces the risk of catastrophic loss. We recognize that habitat losses may occur in some areas, primarily from residential development and sea level rise, but we expect the DFS population to remain at or above recovered levels, and, moreover, we do not expect such habitat losses to prevent overall expansion of the range in the future.

    Factor B. Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or Educational Purposes

    Overhunting has been posited as a factor in the original decline of this subspecies. Squirrel hunting was common in the early and middle decades of the 20th century, and hunting of the DFS in small, isolated woodlots or narrow riparian corridors could have resulted in local extirpations. Taylor (1976, p. 51) noted that the DFS remained present on large agricultural estates where hunting was not allowed, suggesting that these areas may have provided a network of refugia for the DFS.

    By 1972, hunting of DFS was banned through state regulations. Removal of hunting pressure may have been one factor in the renewed population growth and expansion of the squirrel's range to its current extent. Coincidentally, squirrel hunting has declined in popularity in recent decades; nationwide, squirrel hunting declined by about 40 percent between 1991 and 2001, and by an additional 20% between 2001 and 2011 (DOI 1991 p. 70; DOI 2001, p. 57; DOI 2011, p. 60). Recent records of squirrel hunters specifically are not available for Maryland but the number of small game hunters in Maryland (pursuing squirrels, rabbits and/or quail) declined from 64,000 to 35,000 between 1991 and 2011 (DOI 1991, p. 113; DOI 2011, p. 102). Hunting gray squirrels will continue to some extent, and though some hunters may mistake DFS for gray squirrels, this is likely a rare situation that has not prevented the DFS from expanding over the last 40 years.

    Regarding hunting in the future, discussions with our State partners indicate that DFS management after delisting would be conducted very cautiously and that a hunting season would not be initiated in the immediate future. We recognize that a restricted hunt could be conducted at sites where DFSs are abundant without causing a population decline, and that State management agencies have the capability to implement careful hunting restrictions and population management; the reopening of the black bear (Ursus americanus) hunt in Maryland is a good example of a carefully and successfully managed hunt (Maryland Department of Natural Resources 2012, entire).

    We nonetheless foresee only limited individual interest in reinitiating a DFS hunt, coupled with strong public attitudes against hunting DFSs and, more generally, recreational hunting (Duda and Jones 2008, p. 183). Given public sentiment, the declining interest in squirrel hunting, and the restrictions that we expect would be imposed on a renewed hunting program, hunting is highly unlikely to pose an extinction risk to the DFS in the foreseeable future.

    Factor C. Disease or Predation

    Each of these types of threat is summarized below.

    Disease

    Reports of disease in the DFS are uncommon. Although other subspecies of eastern fox squirrels are known to carry diseases such as mange and rabies, there is no documentation of these diseases in the DFS, and there is no evidence or suspicion of disease-related declines in any local population (USFWS 2012, pp. 37-38).

    Although the advent of white-nose syndrome affecting bats (Blehert et al. 2009, entire) and chytrid fungus affecting amphibians (Daszak et al. 1999, entire) demonstrates the uncertainty surrounding novel disease events, the life-history traits of the DFS tend to make them less susceptible to these types of epizootics. Delmarva fox squirrels do not congregate in large numbers where disease can easily spread through a population. Further, the DFS is patchily distributed across its range, which makes it more difficult for disease to spread across populations, and DFSs are not migratory and do not inhabit the types of environment (as with aquatic species) where pathogens can readily disperse.

    Overall, there currently is no evidence of disease-related declines or any indication that DFSs are particularly susceptible to disease outbreaks, and we conclude that disease is neither a current nor a future extinction risk for this subspecies.

    Predation

    Predators of the DFS include the red fox (Vulpes vulpes), gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), and possibly domestic pets and feral animals.

    Changes in numbers of certain predators may cause some fluctuations in DFS numbers at a site (for instance, a DFS population may decline when red fox numbers increase), but these types of events are sporadic and localized. Conversely, although bald eagle numbers have dramatically increased in the Chesapeake Bay region over the past 40 years and eagles have been known to take DFSs, they still prey primarily on fish. And while feral dogs and cats may occasionally take DFSs, such predation is not a rangewide threat. The DFS population has increased over the last 40 years despite ongoing predation, and we conclude that predation at these levels is not a current or future extinction risk for this subspecies.

    Factor D. The Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    Several laws established in Maryland over the past 40 years provide substantial protections for DFS habitat (USFWS 2012, appendix D). The Maryland Critical Areas Act of 1984 designates all areas within 304.8 m (1,000 ft) of high tide as Critical Areas and, as amended, prohibits development and forest clearing within 60.96 m (200 ft) of streams and the Chesapeake Bay. These areas serve as both breeding habitat and dispersal corridors for DFSs. The Maryland Forest Conservation Act of 1991 requires that when a forested area is cleared and converted to other land uses, other forest areas must be protected in perpetuity or, alternatively, replanted to offset these losses. Additionally, the State-implemented portions of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.) provide rangewide protection to the many forested wetlands where DFSs occur.

    Several State programs in Maryland, including its Agricultural Land Protection Fund, Environmental Trust, and Rural Legacy Program, encourage voluntary conservation easements that protect lands from development. Collectively, these programs now protect 79,066 ha (195,377 ac) of private lands within the DFS' range. Similar programs in Delaware protect an additional 12,677 ha (31,327 ac) in Sussex County (USFWS 2012, table 3).

    Although in Delaware and Virginia the DFS occurs primarily on Federal and State lands, regulatory protections affecting private lands allow for continued DFS range expansion. For example, Delaware's Agricultural Land Protection Program and Forest Legacy Program now protect more than 12,677 ha (31,327 ac) in Sussex County, much of which is or could be occupied by the DFS. The Virginia DFS population is completely protected on Chincoteague NWR. If needed, State-owned lands or private lands, or both, protected by land trusts would provide suitable habitat for future translocations.

    Overall, many State laws and programs that protect the DFS and its habitat have been enacted or strengthened in the last 40 years, and it is likely that this State protection will continue. Currently, these regulatory mechanisms, together with other factors that address population and habitat trends, have substantially reduced threats to the DFS. We thus conclude that existing regulatory mechanisms are adequate in terms of reducing extinction risks for the DFS.

    Factor E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting Its Continued Existence

    The level of risk posed by each of the following factors is assessed below.

    Forest Pest Infestations

    Forest pest infestations can affect forest health and its ability to provide suitable habitat for the DFS. Gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) outbreaks can decimate mature forest stands, although the affected stands will eventually regenerate. Monitoring outbreaks and spraying for gypsy moth control appear to have reduced this threat within the current range of the DFS, as infestations in the last several years have diminished in acreage (Maryland Department of Agriculture Forest Health Highlights 2007, 2008, 2009; entire).

    Southern pine bark beetle (Dendroctonus frontalis) infestations can also decimate mature forest stands within the range of the DFS. Although beetle outbreaks necessitated salvage cuts for a total of 809 ha (2,000 ac) scattered across the southern counties in Maryland in the early 1990s, monitoring and control efforts appear to have reduced this threat as well.

    Overall, an analysis of forest pests in the Chesapeake Bay watershed found that most areas on the Eastern Shore where DFSs occur have a relatively low likelihood of insect infestations, with 3.8 to 10 percent of this area considered to be at risk (Sprague et al. 2006, p. 87). Although emergence of new forest pests is to be expected, Maryland's Forest Health Monitoring Program conducts surveys to map and report forest pest problems (Maryland Department of Agriculture, Forest Pest Management, 2012, entire). Forest pest outbreaks are likely to recur and may increase if the climate warms as projected; however, this threat appears to be localized and sporadic and, with existing programs to monitor and treat forest pest outbreaks, we conclude that this is not an extinction risk factor for the DFS.

    Vehicle Strikes

    Vehicle strikes are a relatively common source of DFS mortality. Similarly to other species, the probability of DFSs being hit by vehicles is dependent on the DFS' density and proximity of roads to habitat. Vehicle strikes of DFSs tend to be reported more frequently in areas where DFSs are abundant, even if traffic levels are relatively low (e.g., Dorchester County). The conscientious reporting and collecting of DFSs killed on roads at the Blackwater and Chincoteague NWRs, where the DFS is very abundant, likely results in a more complete count of vehicle strikes than elsewhere. Vehicle strikes occur regularly at both refuges, yet DFSs remain abundant in both places and have expanded their occupancy at Chincoteague NWR.

    Overall, most DFS populations across the subspecies' range continue to remain stable or are increasing in numbers despite these localized events, and we conclude that vehicle strikes alone are not a pervasive threat or extinction factor for this subspecies.

    Overall Summary of Factors A Through E

    A summary of the five-factor analysis discussed above is provided in Table 3. Based on our analysis, we conclude that no single factor or combination of factors poses a risk of extinction to the DFS now or in the foreseeable future.

    Table 3—Summary of Five-Factor Analysis Under the Act for DFS Factor Past trends Foreseeable trends Does factor
  • pose an
  • extinction
  • risk?
  • Habitat loss from development In the past 40 years, development increased from 3 to 8 percent of the land area in the Maryland range of the DFS; development also increased in Sussex County, Delaware. Some habitat has been lost, but most development occurs near existing towns where DFSs are not as prevalent, and development often occurs on agricultural rather than forest land Development is projected to increase to 14 percent of the land area in the Maryland and Delaware portions of DFS' range. Although most development will occur near urban areas where DFSs do not occur, 3 to 4 percent of total DFS occupied habitat is expected to be affected. While these losses may cause some small subpopulations to disappear, most occupied habitat will remain available. Despite the projected development, DFS distribution is expected to continue to expand No. Habitat loss from sea level rise In the past, loss of occupied habitat due to inundation and saltwater intrusion has occurred in southern Dorchester County, although the acreage is not known. Sea level rise has occurred in the past at the rate of 3.5 millimeters (mm) per year (about 1 ft per 100 years) Under an extreme scenario of 0.61-m (2-ft) inundation in 40 years, considerable acreage will be lost or isolated in southwestern Dorchester County. However, even if this loss were to occur immediately, the Dorchester County subpopulation would remain over 70 times larger than the MVP. It would thus continue to be the largest subpopulation, and given a 40-year time frame for reaching this level of inundation, is very likely to remain viable over the long term No. Habitat loss from timber harvest Sawtimber harvest has occurred throughout the Delmarva Peninsula. Past harvest rates appear to have been sustainable, as DFSs have remained present across the range Recent declines in timber harvests, along with mill closings, may reduce the harvest rate for some time. Increasing parcelization of land will further reduce opportunities for large-scale timber production. Gentrification of the Eastern Shore is shifting public values for forest management from timber production to management for aesthetics and wildlife. Thus, future timber harvest rates are not expected to exceed past harvest rates No. Habitat loss from short-rotation pine management In the past, short-rotation pine harvests occurred on approximately 68,000 ac of the forest lands in the Maryland and Delaware portions of the DFS' range. These acres were typically harvested before they were mature enough to become DFS habitat Since 1999, these lands have been acquired by the States of Maryland and Delaware and are now managed for sawtimber, which will provide suitable DFS habitat. Thus, 58,000 ac of land in Maryland and 10,000 ac in Delaware are protected from development and managed for sawtimber, enabling future use by the DFS that was previously precluded No. Overutilization Hunting seasons have been closed since 1972 Hunting seasons are likely to remain closed into the foreseeable future. If opened, DFS hunts would be limited and carefully managed. Interest in squirrel hunting has declined significantly, and public attitudes toward hunting have changed to primarily support hunting of those species viewed as needing population management, such as deer No. Disease or predation Disease and predation have not been significant threats for this subspecies in the past 40 years These threats are not expected to increase, and the expanding distribution of the DFS lessens the potential impacts that disease and predation could have on this subspecies No. Inadequacy of regulatory mechanisms Several new Maryland laws have appeared in the last 40 years to help conserve forest areas that support the DFS. DFS occurrences in Delaware and Virginia are almost exclusively on protected lands In the next 40 years, forest conservation measures are expected to continue, and the programs that have begun in Maryland are expected to continue or increase as they have in the past. Easement programs that protect private lands from development have begun in Delaware and Virginia and are expected to increase in the future as well No. Other natural or manmade factors Forest pests and vehicle strikes have occurred in the past 40 years to some extent but have not limited the expansion of the DFS' distribution Forest pests and vehicle strikes are likely to continue to some extent, but neither factor has limited growth of the subpopulations in the past, nor are they expected to do so in the future. As DFS populations increase in density, vehicle strikes could increase, as the probability of a strike is primarily a function of animal abundance No.
    Determination

    We have carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial information available regarding past, present, and future threats to the long-term viability of the DFS. The current range of the DFS spans the northern and southern portions of the Delmarva Peninsula, comprising all three States, and extends from coastal areas to the interior of the Delmarva Peninsula. The DFS inhabits a variety of forest types, from hardwood-dominated to pine-dominated forests and from wetland to upland forests, indicating an underlying genetic variability or behavioral plasticity that should enhance the subspecies' ability to adapt to changing environmental conditions. Its relatively wide distribution also provides redundancy of occupied forest across the landscape, which further reduces extinction risk, and its continued occupancy of woodlots over the past 20 to 30 years and the success of translocation efforts indicate considerable resilience to stochastic events. We thus expect the rangewide population of the DFS not only to remain at recovery levels but to grow and continue to occupy the full complement of landscapes and forest types on the Delmarva Peninsula.

    The Act defines “endangered species” as any species that is “in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range,” and “threatened species” as any species that is “likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.” The term “species” includes “any subspecies of fish or wildlife or plants, and any distinct population segment [DPS] of any species of vertebrate fish or wildlife which interbreeds when mature.” As a subspecies, the DFS has both met the recovery criteria we consider for delisting, and the analysis of existing and potential risks shows that the range and distribution of the subspecies is sufficient to withstand all foreseeable threats to its long-term viability. Thus, after assessing the best available information, we have determined that the DFS is no longer in danger of extinction throughout all of its range, nor is it likely to become threatened with endangerment in the foreseeable future.

    Significant Portion of the Range Analysis Overview

    Having determined the status of the DFS throughout all of its range, we next examine whether the subspecies is in danger of extinction in a significant portion of its range. Under the Act and our implementing regulations, a species may warrant listing if it is in danger of extinction or likely to become so throughout all or a significant portion of its range, as stated above. We published a final policy interpreting the phrase “significant portion of its range” (79 FR 37578; July 1, 2014). This policy states that: (1) If a species is found to be endangered or threatened throughout a significant portion of its range, the entire species is listed as an endangered species or a threatened species, respectively, and the Act's protections apply to all individuals of the species wherever found; (2) a portion of the range of a species is “significant” if the species is not currently endangered or threatened throughout all of its range, but the portion's contribution to the viability of the species is so important that, without the members in that portion, the species would be in danger of extinction or likely to become so in the foreseeable future throughout all of its range; (3) the range of a species is considered to be the general geographical area within which that species can be found at the time we make any particular status determination; and (4) if a vertebrate species is endangered or threatened throughout an SPR, and if it can also be shown the population in that significant portion is a valid DPS, we will list the DPS rather than the entire taxonomic species or subspecies.

    The SPR policy is applied to all status determinations, including analyses for the purposes of making listing, delisting, and reclassification determinations. The procedure for analyzing whether any portion is an SPR is similar, regardless of the type of status determination we are making. The first step in our analysis of the status of a species is to determine its status throughout all of its range. If we determine that the species is in danger of extinction, or likely to become so in the foreseeable future, throughout all of its range, we list the species as an endangered (or threatened) species and no SPR analysis will be required. If the species is neither in danger of extinction, nor likely to become so, throughout all of its range, we determine whether the species is in danger of extinction or likely to become so throughout a significant portion of its range. If it is, we list the species as an endangered species or a threatened species, respectively; if it is not, we conclude that listing of the species is not warranted.

    When we conduct an SPR analysis, we first identify any portions of the species' range that warrant further consideration. The range of a species can theoretically be divided into portions in an infinite number of ways. However, there is no purpose to analyzing portions of the range that are not reasonably likely to be both significant and endangered or threatened. To identify only those portions that warrant further consideration, we determine whether there is substantial information indicating that (1) the portions may be significant and (2) the species may be in danger of extinction in those portions or likely to become so within the foreseeable future. We emphasize that answering these questions in the affirmative is not a determination that the species is endangered or threatened throughout a significant portion of its range—rather, it is a step in determining whether a more detailed analysis of the issue is required. In practice, a key part of this analysis is whether the threats are geographically concentrated in some way. If the threats to the species are affecting it uniformly throughout its range, no portion is likely to warrant further consideration. Moreover, if any concentration of threats apply only to portions of the range that clearly do not meet the biologically based definition of “significant” (i.e., the loss of that portion clearly would not be expected to increase the vulnerability to extinction of the entire species), those portions will not warrant further consideration.

    If we identify any portions that may be both (1) significant and (2) endangered or threatened, we engage in a more detailed analysis to determine whether these standards are indeed met. The identification of an SPR does not create a presumption, prejudgment, or other determination as to whether the species in that identified SPR is endangered or threatened. We must go through a separate analysis to determine whether the species is endangered or threatened in the SPR. To determine whether a species is endangered or threatened throughout an SPR, we will use the same standards and methodology that we use to determine if a species is endangered or threatened throughout its range.

    Depending on the biology of the species, its range, and the threats it faces, it may be more efficient to address the “significant” question first, or the status question first. Thus, if we determine that a portion of the range is not “significant,” we do not need to determine whether the species is endangered or threatened there. Conversely, if we determine that the species is not endangered or threatened in a portion of its range, we do not need to determine if that portion is “significant.”

    SPR Analysis for DFS

    Having determined that the DFS does not meet the definition of endangered or threatened throughout its range, we considered whether there are any significant portions of its range in which it is in danger of extinction or likely to become so. The full discussion regarding this analysis, summarized here, is provided in the September 23, 2014, proposed rule (79 FR 56686).

    Applying the process described above, we evaluated the range of the DFS to determine if any area could be considered a significant portion of its range. Based on examination of the relevant information on the biology and life history of the DFS, we determined that there are no separate areas of the range that are significantly different from others or that are likely to be of greater biological or conservation importance than any other areas. We next examined whether any threats are geographically concentrated in some way that would indicate the subspecies could be in danger of extinction, or likely to become so, in that area. Through our review of threats to the subspecies, we identified some areas where DFSs are likely to be extirpated, including areas in Queen Anne's County, Maryland, where DFS distribution is scattered and relatively isolated by roads and water, and where future development is anticipated. We thus considered whether this area in the northern portion of the range may warrant further consideration as a significant portion of its range.

    The forest area currently occupied by DFSs that is projected to be lost to development by 2030 would affect two small populations in Queen Anne's County that together constitute less than 0.5 percent of the rangewide population; however, five large DFS subpopulations are expected to remain viable across the northern portion of the current range. Additionally, Queen Anne's County's landscape does not represent a unique habitat type or ecological setting for the subspecies. Thus, the areas expected to be lost due to development would not appreciably reduce the long-term viability of the subpopulation in the northern portion of the range, much less imperil the DFS in the remainder of its range. Therefore, we have determined that this portion of the DFS' range does not meet the definition of SPR under the 2014 policy.

    We also anticipate loss of DFS-occupied forests from sea level rise in Dorchester County, Maryland, on the southwestern periphery of the habitat supporting the largest subpopulation of DFS. However, these losses do not threaten either the subpopulation or the subspecies with a risk of extinction, as there is ample unoccupied and sufficiently connected habitat for displaced squirrels to colonize; this is bolstered by their ability to readily colonize new areas evidenced by successful expansion of DFS translocations. In addition, we anticipate the continued presence of mixed pine/hardwood forests adjacent to marsh and open water in Dorchester County and do not anticipate losses of any unique habitats. Therefore, losses due to sea level rise in this portion of the range would not appreciably reduce the long-term viability of the subpopulation, much less cause the subspecies in the remainder of its range to be in danger of extinction or likely to become so. We thus conclude the portion of the range that is expected to be lost from sea level rise does not meet the policy's definition of an SPR.

    These are the only two portions of the range that we identified as meriting analysis as to their significance and level of endangerment in conformance with the 2014 SPR policy. Finding that the potential losses in small areas of Queen Anne's County would not cause cascading vulnerability and do not constitute unique areas that are not represented elsewhere in the subspecies' range, and finding that loss of areas in Dorchester County to sea level rise would not diminish the continued viability of the Dorchester subpopulation or cause the remainder of the subspecies to be in danger of extinction or likely to become so, we do not consider this subspecies to be endangered or threatened in any significant portion of its range. Further, having not found the basis for an SPR determination on grounds of either significance or threat, we also find that a DPS analysis is not warranted.

    Summary

    The subspecies' current and projected resiliency, redundancy, and representation should enable it to remain at recovered population levels throughout all of its range, and even expand its range, over the foreseeable future. Having assessed the best scientific and commercial data available and determined that the DFS is no longer endangered or threatened throughout all or a significant portion of its range and is not it likely to become so in the foreseeable future, we are removing this subspecies from the List under the Act.

    Future Conservation Measures

    Section 4(g)(1) of the Act requires us, in cooperation with the States, to implement a monitoring program for not less than 5 years for all species that have been recovered and delisted. The purpose of post-delisting monitoring (PDM) is to verify that a species remains secure from risk of extinction after the protections of the Act are removed by developing a program that detects the failure of any delisted species to sustain itself. If, at any time during the monitoring period, data indicate that protective status under the Act should be reinstated, we can initiate listing procedures, including, if appropriate, emergency listing under section 4(b)(7) of the Act.

    This rule announces availability of the final PDM plan for the DFS. Public and peer review comments on the draft PDM plan have been addressed in the body of the plan and are summarized in the plan's appendix. The plan can be accessed at: http://www.regulations.gov under Docket No. FWS-R5-ES-2014-0021. It is also posted on the Service's national Web site (http://endangered.fws.gov) and the Chesapeake Bay Field Office's Web site (http://www.fws.gov/chesapeakebay). A summary of the PDM plan is provided below.

    Post-Delisting Monitoring Plan Overview

    The PDM plan for the DFS builds upon and continues the research conducted while the DFS was listed. In general, the plan directs the Service and State natural resource agencies to (1) continue to map all DFS sightings and occupied forest to delineate the distribution and range, and (2) assess the occupancy of DFS in a sample of forest tracts to estimate the relative persistence of DFS populations versus extirpations across the range.

    The PDM plan identifies measurable management thresholds and responses for detecting and reacting to significant changes in the DFS's protected habitat, distribution, and ability to remain at recovered population levels. If declines are detected equaling or exceeding these thresholds, the Service, along with other post-delisting monitoring participants, will investigate causes, including consideration of habitat changes, stochastic events, or any other significant evidence. Results will be used to determine if the DFS warrants expanded monitoring, additional research, additional habitat protection, or resumption of Federal protection under the Act.

    Effects of This Rule

    This final rule revises 50 CFR 17.11(h) to remove the Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife (List). It also revises 50 CFR 17.11(h) and 50 CFR 17.84(a) to remove the listing and regulations, respectively, for the nonessential experimental population of Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrels at Assawoman Wildlife Management Area in Sussex County, Delaware. The prohibitions and conservation measures provided by the Act, particularly through sections 7 and 9, no longer apply to this subspecies. Federal agencies are no longer required to consult with the Service under section 7 of the Act in the event that activities they authorize, fund, or carry out may affect the DFS. The take exceptions identified in 50 CFR 17.84(a)(2) for the experimental population of the DFS are also removed. There is no critical habitat designated for the DFS.

    Required Determinations National Environmental Policy Act

    We have determined that environmental assessments and environmental impact statements, as defined under the authority of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), need not be prepared in connection with regulations pursuant to section 4(a) of the Act. We published a notice outlining our reasons for this determination in the Federal Register on October 25, 1983 (48 FR 49244).

    Government-to-Government Relationship With Tribes

    In accordance with the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994, “Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal Governments” (59 FR 22951), Executive Order 13175, and the Department of the Interior's manual at 512 DM 2, we readily acknowledge our tribal trust responsibilities. We have determined that there are no tribal lands affected by this rule.

    References Cited

    A complete list of all references cited in this final rule is available at http://www.regulations.gov, or upon request from the Chesapeake Bay Field Office (see ADDRESSES).

    Authors

    The primary authors of this final rule are staff members of the Chesapeake Bay Field Office (see ADDRESSES).

    List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17

    Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Transportation.

    Regulation Promulgation

    Accordingly, we amend part 17, subchapter B of chapter I, title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as set forth below:

    PART 17—ENDANGERED AND THREATENED WILDLIFE AND PLANTS 1. The authority citation for part 17 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1361-1407; 1531-1544; 4201-4245, unless otherwise noted.

    § 17.11—[Amended]
    2. Amend § 17.11(h) by removing both entries for “Squirrel, Delmarva Peninsula fox” under MAMMALS from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife.
    § 17.84—[Amended]
    3. Amend § 17.84 by removing and reserving paragraph (a).
    Dated: October 23, 2015. James W. Kurth, Acting Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-28742 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 141021887-5172-02] RIN 0648-XE312 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Yellowfin Sole for Vessels Participating in the BSAI Trawl Limited Access Fishery in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Temporary rule; closure.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for yellowfin sole in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI) for vessels participating in the BSAI trawl limited access fishery. This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the 2015 allocation of yellowfin sole total allowable catch for vessels participating in the BSAI trawl limited access fishery in the BSAI.

    DATES:

    Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), November 11, 2015, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Steve Whitney, 907-586-7228.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the BSAI according to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP) prepared by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council under authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Regulations governing fishing by U.S. vessels in accordance with the FMP appear at subpart H of 50 CFR part 600 and 50 CFR part 679.

    The 2015 allocation of yellowfin sole total allowable catch for vessels participating in the BSAI trawl limited access fishery in the BSAI is 16,165 metric tons (mt) as established by the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (80 FR 11919, March 5, 2015). In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(i), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), has determined that the 2015 allocation of yellowfin sole total allowable catch for vessels participating in the BSAI trawl limited access fishery in the BSAI will soon be reached. Therefore, the Regional Administrator is establishing a directed fishing allowance of 16,065 mt, and is setting aside the remaining 100 mt as incidental catch. In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iii), the Regional Administrator finds that this directed fishing allowance has been reached. Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for yellowfin sole for vessels participating in the BSAI trawl limited access fishery in the BSAI.

    After the effective date of this closure the maximum retainable amounts at § 679.20(e) and (f) apply at any time during a trip.

    Classification

    This action responds to the best available information recently obtained from the fishery. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds good cause to waive the requirement to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment pursuant to the authority set forth at 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) as such requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest. This requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest as it would prevent NMFS from responding to the most recent fisheries data in a timely fashion and would delay the closure of directed fishing for yellowfin sole by vessels fishing in the BSAI trawl limited access fishery in the BSAI. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of November 9, 2015.

    The AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in the effective date of this action under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). This finding is based upon the reasons provided above for waiver of prior notice and opportunity for public comment.

    This action is required by § 679.20 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: November 9, 2015. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-29168 Filed 11-10-15; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    80 220 Monday, November 16, 2015 Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service 9 CFR Parts 54 and 79 [Docket No. APHIS-2007-0127] Scrapie in Sheep and Goats AGENCY:

    Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule; reopening of comment period.

    SUMMARY:

    We are reopening the comment period for our proposed rule that would revise completely the scrapie regulations, which concern the risk groups and categories established for individual animals and for flocks, the use of genetic testing as a means of assigning risk levels to animals, movement restrictions for animals found to be genetically less susceptible or resistant to scrapie, and recordkeeping requirements. This action will allow interested persons additional time to prepare and submit comments.

    DATES:

    The comment period for the proposed rule published on September 10, 2015 (80 FR 54660-54692) is reopened. We will consider all comments that we receive on or before December 9, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments by either of the following methods:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2007-0127.

    Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Send your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2007-0127, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.

    Supporting documents and any comments we receive on this docket may be viewed at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2007-0127 or in our reading room, which is located in Room 1141 of the USDA South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC. Normal reading room hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. To be sure someone is there to help you, please call (202) 799-7039 before coming.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dr. Diane Sutton, National Scrapie Program Coordinator, Sheep, Goat, Cervid & Equine Health Center, Surveillance, Preparedness and Response Services, VS, APHIS, 4700 River Road, Unit 43, Riverdale, MD 20737-1235; (301) 851-3509.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On September 10, 2015, we published in the Federal Register (80 FR 54660-54692, Docket No. APHIS-2007-0127) a proposal to revise completely the scrapie regulations in 9 CFR parts 54 and 79, which concern the risk groups and categories established for individual animals and for flocks, the use of genetic testing as a means of assigning risk levels to animals, movement restrictions for animals found to be genetically less susceptible or resistant to scrapie, and recordkeeping requirements.

    Comments on the proposed rule were required to be received on or before November 9, 2015. We are reopening the comment period on Docket No. APHIS-2007-0127 for an additional 30 days until December 9, 2015. We will also consider all comments received between November 9, 2015, and the date of this notice. This action will allow interested persons additional time to prepare and submit comments.

    Authority:

    7 U.S.C. 8301-8317; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.4.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 9th day of November 2015. Kevin Shea, Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-29179 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-34-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R10-OAR-2015-0398: FRL-9937-11-Region 10] Approval of Regional Haze BART Alternative Measure: Washington AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve a Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART) alternative measure for the BP Cherry Point Refinery located near Ferndale, Washington. The BART alternative measure increases the oxides of nitrogen (NOX) emission limit from the R-1 HC Reactor Heater (R-1 Heater), a BART-eligible source currently subject to BART emission limits on NOX. To offset the increase in NOX emissions from this emission unit, the NOX emission limits on the 1st Stage Hydrocracker Fractionator Reboiler (R-1 Reboiler), also a BART-eligible source subject to BART emission limits on NOX, will be reduced. The net effect of these changes is a decrease of 10.4 tons per year (tpy) of allowable NOX emissions from sources subject to BART at the BP Cherry Point Refinery.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before December 16, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R10-OAR-2015-0398, by one of the following methods:

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

    Email: [email protected]

    Mail: Steve Body, EPA Region 10, Office of Air, Waste and Toxics (AWT-150), 1200 Sixth Avenue, Suite 900, Seattle, WA 98101.

    Hand Delivery/Courier: EPA Region 10, 1200 Sixth Avenue, Suite 900, Seattle, WA 98101. Attention: Steve Body, Office of Air, Waste and Toxics, AWT-150. Such deliveries are only accepted during normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information.

    Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-R10-OAR-2015-0398. The EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available online at www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information the disclosure of which is restricted by statute. Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected through www.regulations.gov or email. The www.regulations.gov Web site is an “anonymous access” system, which means the EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an email comment directly to the EPA without going through www.regulations.gov your email address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, the EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If the EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, the EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses.

    Docket: All documents in the docket are listed in the www.regulations.gov index. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, e.g., CBI or other information, the disclosure of which is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is not placed on the Internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically in www.regulations.gov or in hard copy during normal business hours at the Office of Air, Waste and Toxics, EPA Region 10, 1200 Sixth Avenue, Seattle WA, 98101.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Steve Body at (206) 553-0782, [email protected], or the above EPA, Region 10 address.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Throughout this document, wherever “we”, “us” or “our” are used, it is intended to refer to the EPA.

    Table of Contents I. Background II. Regional Haze Rule Provisions for BART Alternative Measures III. Washington's State Implementation Plan Revision Submittal IV. The EPA's Evaluation of SIP Revision Submittal V. The EPA's Proposed Action VI. Incorporation by Reference VII. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. Background

    In the Clean Air Act (CAA) Amendments of 1977, Congress established a program to protect and improve visibility in the Nation's national parks and wilderness areas. See CAA section 169A. Congress amended the visibility provisions in the CAA in 1990 to focus attention on the problem of regional haze. See CAA section 169B. The EPA promulgated regional haze regulations (RHR) in 1999 to implement sections 169A and 169B of the CAA. These regulations require states to develop and implement plans to ensure reasonable progress toward improving visibility in mandatory Class I Federal areas 1 1 (Class I areas). See 64 FR 35714 (July 1, 1999); sec also 70 FR 39104 (July 6, 2005) and 71 FR 60612 (October 13, 2006).

    1 Areas designated as mandatory Class I Federal areas consist of national parks exceeding 6000 acres, wilderness areas and national memorial parks exceeding 5000 acres, and all international parks that were in existence on August 7, 1977. 42 U.S.C. 7472(a). In accordance with section 169A of the CAA, the EPA, in consultation with the Department of Interior, promulgated a list of 156 areas where visibility is identified as an important value. 44 FR 69122 (November 30, 1979). The extent of a mandatory Class I area includes subsequent changes in boundaries, such as park expansions. 42 U.S.C. 7472(a). Although states and tribes may designate as Class I additional areas which they consider to have visibility as an important value, the requirements of the visibility program set forth in section 169A of the CAA apply only to “mandatory Class I Federal areas.” Each mandatory Class I Federal area is the responsibility of a “Federal Land Manager.” 42 U.S.C. 7602(i). When we use the term “Class I area” in this action, we mean a “mandatory Class I Federal area.”

    Regional haze is impairment of visual range or colorization caused by air pollution, principally fine particulate, produced by numerous sources and activities, located across a broad regional area. The sources include but are not limited to, major and minor stationary sources, mobile sources, and area sources including non-anthropogenic sources. These sources and activities may emit fine particles (PM2.5) (e.g., sulfates, nitrates, organic carbon, elemental carbon, and soil dust), and their precursors (e.g., sulfur dioxide (SO2), NOX, and in some cases, ammonia and volatile organic compounds). Fine particulate can also cause serious health effects and mortality in humans, and contributes to environmental effects such as acid deposition and eutrophication. See 64 FR at 35715. Data from the existing visibility monitoring network, the “Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments” (IMPROVE) monitoring network, show that visibility impairment caused by air pollution occurs virtually all the time in most national parks and wilderness areas. The average visual range in many Class I areas in the western United States is 100-150 kilometers, or about one-half to two-thirds the visual range that would exist without manmade air pollution.2 Visibility impairment also varies day-to-day and by season depending on variations in meteorology and emission rates. The deciview (dv) is the metric by which visibility is measured in the regional haze program. A change of 1 dv is generally considered the change in visual range that the human eye can perceive.

    2 64 FR at 35715.

    The RHR requires each state's regional haze implementation plan to contain emission limitations representing BART and schedules for compliance with BART for each source subject to BART, unless the state demonstrates that an emissions trading program or other alternative measure will achieve greater reasonable progress toward natural visibility conditions.

    II. Regional Haze Rule Provisions for BART Alternative Measures

    The RHR contains provisions whereby a state may choose to implement an alternative measure as an alternative to BART if the state can demonstrate that the alternative measure achieves greater reasonable progress toward achieving natural visibility conditions than would be achieved through the installation, operation and maintenance of BART. The requirements for alternative measures are established at 40 CFR 51.308(e)(2). As explained in the RHR, the state must demonstrate that all necessary emission reductions will take place during the first long term strategy period (i.e., by 2018) and that the emissions reductions resulting from the alternative measure will be surplus to those reductions resulting from measures adopted to meet requirements of the CAA as of the baseline date of the SIP. See 40 CFR 51.308(e)(2)(iii) and (iv). Sources subject to BART must be in compliance with the BART emission limitations as expeditiously as practical but no later than 5 years after EPA approves the implementation plan revision. See 40 CFR 51.308(e)(1)(iv).

    III. Washington's State Implementation Plan Revision Submittal

    On December 22, 2010, Washington submitted to the EPA for approval a Regional Haze State Implementation Plan (2010 RH SIP) to meet the requirements of 40 CFR 51.308. The SIP submittal covers the planning period of 2008 through 2018 and, among the other required elements, includes a BART determination for the BP Cherry Point Refinery located near Ferndale Washington. On June 11, 2014, the EPA approved certain BART-related provisions of Washington's 2010 RH SIP, including the final BART determination for the BP Cherry Point Refinery. See 79 FR 33438. That approval incorporated by reference specified conditions of Administrative Order No. 7836 issued by Washington to BP Cherry Point Refinery on July 7, 2010 (Original BART Order). See 40 CFR 52.2470(d).

    On May 8, 2015, the State submitted a revision to the 2010 RH SIP that includes a BART alternative measure for the BP Cherry Point Refinery. This BART alternative measure is contained in Administrative Order 7836, Revision 2-Inclusion of BART Alternative, dated May 13, 2015 (Revision 2). The BART alternative measure would revise the BART emission limits in Conditions 2.6.1.2 and 2.7.1 of the original BART Order that apply to the R1-Heater and R1-Boiler, respectively, and are currently incorporated by reference into the Federally-approved SIP for Washington. The current Federally-approved Condition 2.6.1.2 limits NOX emissions from the R1-Heater to 3.6 pounds per hour (lb/hr) based on a 24-hour rolling average. Condition 2.5.1.2 of Revision 2 increases the NOX emission limit on the R1-Heater to 4.9 lb/hr based on a 24-hour rolling average.

    To offset the NOX emissions increase at the R1-Heater, Revision 2 contains a BART alternative measure. Revision 2 decreases the NOX emission limits for the R1-Boiler associated with the hydrocracker to reflect the installation of ultra-low NOX burners that were installed after Washington's submission of the 2010 RH SIP. Condition 2.7.1 of the original BART Order currently approved in the SIP limits NOX emissions from the R1-Boiler to 0.07 pounds per million British thermal units (lb/MMBtu) and 56.2 tpy. Condition 2.6.2 of Revision 2 reduces these limits to 0.05 lb/MMBtu and 9.9 lb/hr.

    Revision 2 also: (1) Adds language clarifying that when an emission unit subject to BART is decommissioned and permanently taken out of service, the BART emission limits no longer apply to that unit and, (2) allows the State to revise the monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements through issuance of a regulatory order, rather than through a revision of the BART order, provided the revised monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting provide equal or better information on the compliance status of the emission unit in question.3

    3 Between issuing the original BART Order that was incorporated into the SIP and submission of BART Order Revision 2, Washington issued BP a BART Order Revision 1 in May 2013 (Revision 1). Revision 1 removed from the Original BART Order the conditions for Boilers #6 and #7, two units that were not BART-eligible. Boilers #6 and #7 replaced Boilers #1 and #3 that were subject to BART. This action resulted in a renumbering of conditions in the order. The original BART Order required that Boilers #1 and #3 be decommissioned by no later than March 27, 2010. Boilers #6 and #7 were subject to New Source Review and are not subject to BART. The Conditions in the Original BART Order applicable to Boilers #6 and #7 were not incorporated into the SIP, see 79 FR 33440, and Revision 1 was not submitted by Washington to the EPA as a SIP revision.

    IV. The EPA's Evaluation of SIP Revision Submittal A. BART Alternative Measure

    The EPA evaluated the emission reductions associated with the BART alternative measure. The BART alternative measure revises the 24-hour maximum mass emission limit for the R-1 Heater, but does not revise the concentration limit for this unit. The concentration limit remains 26 parts per million by volume, dry basis, corrected to 7 percent oxygen, based on a 24-hour rolling average. However, Washington requests approval to revise the Federally-approved NOX BART mass emission limit on the R1-Heater from 3.6 lb/hr to 4.9 lb/hr of NOX, reflecting an increase in operation of the burners from 88 mmBTU/hr to 120 mmBTU/hr. This change results in an increase in the hourly average mass emission limit from the R-1 Heater of 1.3 lb/hr of NOX. The increase in annual emissions is 5.7 tons of NOX per year.

    The increase in the allowable mass NOX emissions from the R-1 Heater is offset by a decrease in the emission limit for the R-1 Reboiler. This decrease results from the installation of ultra-low NOX burners on the R-1 Reboiler. The emission limit is reduced from the current 0.07 lb/MMBtu and 12.8 lb/hr to 0.05 lb/MMBtu and 9.9 lb/hr. The net emission reduction in allowable NOX emissions as a result of the BART alternative measure is 1.6 lb/hr, on a 24-hour rolling average. These emission reductions are not otherwise required by the CAA as of the baseline date of Washington's regional haze SIP and thus may be considered surplus.

    These are emission reductions that are achieved at the same location and for the same visibility impairing pollutant, NOX. Thus, because the BART alternative measure in Washington's submission results in a greater emissions reduction than BART, the BART alternative measure is deemed to achieve greater reasonable progress. See 40 CFR 51.308(e)(3). With reduced NOX emissions, reduced visibility impairment from the formation of secondary nitrate would be expected.

    The EPA believes the BART alternative measure submitted by Washington as a SIP revision meets the requirements of 40 CFR 51.308(e)(2) and proposes to approve it.

    B. Decommissioned BART Units

    Condition 9 of Revision 2 is a new provision that states the BART requirements for an emission unit specifically listed in Revision 2 do not apply after the BP Cherry Point Refinery has certified in writing to Washington and the local air pollution authority that the named BART emission unit “has been permanently taken out of service and dismantled.” The State explains in its submittal that any replacement unit would be subject to new source review and would not be subject to BART. Ecology's SIP meets the requirements for new source review under 40 CFR 51.307 and will ensure that new subject sources will not have an adverse impact on visibility and will be consistent with making reasonable further progress towards the national visibility goal, as applicable. See WAC 173-400-117.

    Although not a BART requirement on the BP Cherry Point Refinery, this condition results in a clear statement that BART requirements no longer apply to an emission unit once subject to BART that has been permanently taken out of service and dismantled. The EPA therefore proposes to approve Condition 9.

    C. Revisions to Monitoring, Recordkeeping, and Reporting

    As discussed above, Revision 2 includes a provision authorizing the State to revise the monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements in Revision 2 in a regulatory order. See Revision 2, Condition 10. Washington explains that any revised monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements approved by the State under Condition 10 will need to be submitted to, and approved by, the EPA as a SIP revision in order to become the applicable federally-enforceable monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements. Thus, in the interim, both sets of monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements apply to the source and must be included in the Title V permit. The EPA agrees with this assessment. The EPA has a longstanding interpretation of the CAA that prohibits “director's discretion” provisions in SIPs if they provide unbounded discretion to allow what would amount to a case-specific revision of the SIP without meeting the statutory requirements of the CAA for SIP revisions. See 80 FR 33840, 22874-75 (June 12, 2015); see also 40 CFR 52.2476 (specifically providing that any change of a provision to the Washington SIP must be submitted by the State for approval by the EPA in accordance with 40 CFR 51.104). Accordingly, the EPA is proposing to not approve Condition 10.

    V. The EPA's Proposed Action

    The EPA proposes to approve the BART alternative measure for the BP Cherry Point Refinery located near Ferndale, Washington by incorporating by reference the conditions of Revision 2 identified below. The EPA proposes to remove the BP Cherry Point Refinery, BART Compliance Order No. 7836 currently in the Federally approved SIP at 40 CFR 52.2470(d) and replace it with provisions of the BP Cherry Point Refinery, BART Compliance Order No. 7836 Revision 2. The EPA is also proposing to approve new Condition 9 of the BART Compliance Order 7836 Revision 2 relating to decommissioned units. The conditions of the BP BART Compliance Order Revision 2 that are proposed for incorporation by reference are:

    Condition 1: 1.1, 1.1.1, 1.2, 1.2.1, 1.2.2;

    Condition 2: 2.1, 2.1.1, 2.1.2, 2.1.3, 2.1.4, 2.1.5, 2.2, 2.2.1, 2.2.2, 2.3, 2.3.1, 2.3.2, 2.4, 2.4.1, 2.4.2, 2.4.2.1, 2.5, 2.5.1, 2.5.1.1, 2.5.1.2, 2.5.2, 2.5.3, 2.5.4, 2.6, 2.6.1, 2.6.2, 2.6.3, 2.7, 2.7.1, 2.7.2, 2.7.3, 2.7.4, 2.8, 2.8.1, 2.8.2, 2.8.3, 2.8.4, 2.8.5, 2.8.6;

    Condition 3, 3.1, 3.1.1, 3.1.2, 3.2, 3.2.1, 3.2.2, 3.2.3, 3.2.4;

    Condition 4, 4.1, 4.1.1, 4.1.1.1, 4.1.1.2, 4.1.1.3, 4.1.1.4;

    Condition 5, 5.1, 5.2;

    Condition 6, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3;

    Condition 7; and

    Condition 9.

    VI. Incorporation by Reference

    In accordance with requirements of 1 CFR 51.5, the EPA is proposing to revise our incorporation by reference located in 40 CFR 52.2470(d)—“EPA-Approved State Source-Specific Requirements—Washington” to reflect the proposed approval of the BART alternative measure for the BP Cherry Point Refinery and the provision relating to decommissioned units. Due to the fact that the conditions in the original BART Order were renumbered in Revision 1, which was not submitted as a SIP revision, the EPA is proposing to remove the original IBR entry for “BP Cherry Point Refinery” in its entirety and incorporate in its place the specified conditions of Revision 2 included in the docket for this action. The end result is that all of the conditions in the Original BART order remain in the SIP (but with different numbers) except as discussed above with respect to the BART alternative measure and the addition of Condition 9. The EPA has made, and will continue to make, these documents generally available electronically through www.regulations.gov and/or in hard copy at the appropriate EPA office (see the ADDRESSES section of this preamble for more information).

    VII. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    In addition, this rule does not have tribal implications as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000), because it will not impose substantial direct costs on tribal governments or preempt tribal law. The SIP is not approved to apply in Indian reservations in the State or to any other area where the EPA or an Indian tribe has demonstrated that a tribe has jurisdiction.

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Incorporation by reference, Nitrogen dioxide, Ozone, Particulate matter, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Sulfur oxides, Volatile organic compounds.

    Dated: November 3, 2015. Dennis J. McLerran, Regional Administrator.
    [FR Doc. 2015-29175 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R07-OAR-2015-0710; FRL-9937-09-Region 7] Approval of Air Quality State Implementation Plans (SIP); State of Nebraska; Infrastructure SIP Requirements for the 2008 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard in Regards to Section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I)—Prongs 1 and 2 AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve elements of a State Implementation Plan (SIP) submission from the State of Nebraska addressing the applicable requirements of Clean Air Act (CAA) section 110 for the 2008 National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for Ozone (O3). CAA section 110 requires that each state adopt and submit a SIP to support implementation, maintenance, and enforcement of each new or revised NAAQS promulgated by EPA. These SIPs are commonly referred to as “infrastructure” SIPs. The infrastructure requirements are designed to ensure that the structural components of each state's air quality management program are adequate to meet the state's responsibilities under the CAA.

    Specifically, EPA is proposing to approve Nebraska's SIP as it relates to section 110 (a)(2)(D)(i)(I) prongs 1 and 2, for the 2008 O3 NAAQS.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before December 16, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R07-OAR-2015-0710, to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or removed from Regulations.gov. The EPA may publish any comment received to its public docket. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Multimedia submissions (audio, video, etc.) must be accompanied by a written comment. The written comment is considered the official comment and should include discussion of all points you wish to make. The EPA will generally not consider comments or comment contents located outside of the primary submission (i.e., on the web, cloud, or other file sharing system). For additional submission methods, the full EPA public comment policy, information about CBI or multimedia submissions, and general guidance on making effective comments, please visit http://www2.epa.gov/dockets/commenting-epa-dockets.

    Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically in www.regulations.gov or at the Environmental Protection Agency, Air Planning and Development Branch, 11201 Renner Boulevard, Lenexa, Kansas 66219. The Regional Office's official hours of business are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding legal holidays. The interested persons wanting to examine these documents should make an appointment with the office at least 24 hours in advance.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. Gregory Crable, Air Planning and Development Branch, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 7, 11201 Renner Boulevard, Lenexa, KS 66219; telephone number: (913) 551-7391; fax number: (913) 551-7065; email address: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Throughout this document whenever “we,” “us,” or “our” is used, we refer to EPA. This section provides additional information by addressing the following questions:

    I. What is a section 110(a)(1) and (2) infrastructure SIP? II. What are the applicable elements under sections 110(a)(1) and (2)? III. What is EPA's approach to the review of infrastructure SIP submissions? IV. What is EPA's evaluation of how the state addressed the relevant elements of sections 110(a)(1) and (2)? V. What action is EPA proposing? VI. Statutory and Executive Order Review I. What is a section 110(a)(1) and (2) infrastructure SIP?

    Section 110(a)(1) of the CAA requires, in part, that states make a SIP submission to EPA to implement, maintain and enforce each of the NAAQS promulgated by EPA after reasonable notice and public hearings. Section 110(a)(2) includes a list of specific elements that such infrastructure SIP submissions must address. SIPs meeting the requirements of sections 110(a)(1) and (2) are to be submitted by states within three years after promulgation of a new or revised NAAQS. These SIP submissions are commonly referred to as “infrastructure” SIPs.

    II. What are the applicable elements under sections 110(a)(1) and (2)?

    On March 12, 2008, EPA promulgated a revised NAAQS for ozone based on 8-hour average concentrations. The level of the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS (hereafter the 2008 O3 NAAQS) was revised from 0.08 parts per million (ppm) to 0.075 ppm (73 FR 16436).

    For the 2008 O3 NAAQS, states typically have met many of the basic program elements required in section 110(a)(2) through provisions adopted in earlier SIP submissions in connection with previous NAAQS. Nevertheless, pursuant to section 110(a)(1), states must review and revise, as appropriate, their existing SIPs to ensure that the SIPs are adequate to address the 2008 O3 NAAQS. To assist states in meeting this statutory requirement, EPA issued guidance on September 13, 2013 (2013 Guidance), addressing the infrastructure SIP elements required to be addressed under section 110 (a)(1) and (2) for the 2008 O3 NAAQS.1 In a previous final rulemaking (80 FR 55266, September 15, 2015) EPA addressed elements (A through C), (D)(i)(II), and (E through M). As discussed in that notice, EPA planned to take separate action on section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I)—prongs 1 and 2 on a timeline consistent with a deadline agreed to by the parties and entered by the court in Sierra Club v. McCarthy 4:14-cv-05091-YGR (N.D. Cal. May 15, 2015). In this action, EPA proposes action that, if finalized, fulfills that commitment to take final action as to Nebraska's SIP submission addressing section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I).

    1 Stephen D. Page, Director, Air Quality Policy Division, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, “Guidance on Infrastructure State Implementation Plan (SIP) Elements Under Clean Air Act Sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2),” Memorandum to EPA Regional Air Division Directors, Regions I-X, September 13, 2013.

    III. What is EPA's approach to the review of infrastructure SIP submissions?

    EPA is acting upon the February 11, 2013, SIP submission from Nebraska that addresses the infrastructure requirements of CAA sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2) for the 2008 O3 NAAQS. The requirement for states to make a SIP submission of this type arises out of CAA section 110(a)(1). Pursuant to section 110(a)(1), states must make SIP submissions “within 3 years (or such shorter period as the Administrator may prescribe) after the promulgation of a national primary ambient air quality standard (or any revision thereof),” and these SIP submissions are to provide for the “implementation, maintenance, and enforcement” of such NAAQS. The statute directly imposes on states the duty to make these SIP submissions, and the requirement to make the submissions is not conditioned upon EPA taking any action other than promulgating a new or revised NAAQS. Section 110(a)(2) includes a list of specific elements that “[e]ach such plan” submission must address.

    EPA has historically referred to these SIP submissions made for the purpose of satisfying the requirements of CAA sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2) as “infrastructure SIP” submissions. Although the term “infrastructure SIP” does not appear in the CAA, EPA uses the term to distinguish this particular type of SIP submission from submissions that are intended to satisfy other SIP requirements under the CAA, such as “nonattainment SIP” or “attainment plan SIP” submissions to address the nonattainment planning requirements of part D of title I of the CAA, “regional haze SIP” submissions required by EPA rule to address the visibility protection requirements of CAA section 169A, and nonattainment new source review permit program submissions to address the permit requirements of CAA, title I, part D.

    Section 110(a)(1) addresses the timing and general requirements for infrastructure SIP submissions, and section 110(a)(2) provides more details concerning the required contents of these submissions. The list of required elements provided in section 110(a)(2) contains a wide variety of disparate provisions, some of which pertain to required legal authority, some of which pertain to required substantive program provisions, and some of which pertain to requirements for both authority and substantive program provisions.2 EPA therefore believes that while the timing requirement in section 110(a)(1) is unambiguous, some of the other statutory provisions are ambiguous. In particular, EPA believes that the list of required elements for infrastructure SIP submissions provided in section 110(a)(2) contains ambiguities concerning what is required for inclusion in an infrastructure SIP submission.

    2 For example: Section 110(a)(2)(E)(i) provides that states must provide assurances that they have adequate legal authority under state and local law to carry out the SIP; section 110(a)(2)(C) provides that states must have a SIP-approved program to address certain sources as required by part C of title I of the CAA; and section 110(a)(2)(G) provides that states must have legal authority to address emergencies as well as contingency plans that are triggered in the event of such emergencies.

    The following examples of ambiguities illustrate the need for EPA to interpret some section 110(a)(1) and section 110(a)(2) requirements with respect to infrastructure SIP submissions for a given new or revised NAAQS. One example of ambiguity is that section 110(a)(2) requires that “each” SIP submission must meet the list of requirements therein, while EPA has long noted that this literal reading of the statute is internally inconsistent and would create a conflict with the nonattainment provisions in part D of title I of the Act, which specifically address nonattainment SIP requirements.3 Section 110(a)(2)(I) pertains to nonattainment SIP requirements and part D addresses when attainment plan SIP submissions to address nonattainment area requirements are due. For example, section 172(b) requires EPA to establish a schedule for submission of such plans for certain pollutants when the Administrator promulgates the designation of an area as nonattainment, and section 107(d)(1)(B) allows up to two years, or in some cases three years, for such designations to be promulgated.4 This ambiguity illustrates that rather than apply all the stated requirements of section 110(a)(2) in a strict literal sense, EPA must determine which provisions of section 110(a)(2) are applicable for a particular infrastructure SIP submission.

    3 See, e.g., “Rule To Reduce Interstate Transport of Fine Particulate Matter and Ozone (Clean Air Interstate Rule); Revisions to Acid Rain Program; Revisions to the NOX SIP Call; Final Rule,” 70 FR 25162, at 25163-65 (May 12, 2005) (explaining relationship between timing requirement of section 110(a)(2)(D) versus section 110(a)(2)(I)).

    4 EPA notes that this ambiguity within section 110(a)(2) is heightened by the fact that various subparts of part D set specific dates for submission of certain types of SIP submissions in designated nonattainment areas for various pollutants. Note, e.g., that section 182(a)(1) provides specific dates for submission of emissions inventories for the ozone NAAQS. Some of these specific dates are necessarily later than three years after promulgation of the new or revised NAAQS.

    Another example of ambiguity within sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2) with respect to infrastructure SIPs pertains to whether states must meet all of the infrastructure SIP requirements in a single SIP submission, and whether EPA must act upon such SIP submission in a single action. Although section 110(a)(1) directs states to submit “a plan” to meet these requirements, EPA interprets the CAA to allow states to make multiple SIP submissions separately addressing infrastructure SIP elements for the same NAAQS. If states elect to make such multiple SIP submissions to meet the infrastructure SIP requirements, EPA can elect to act on such submissions either individually or in a larger combined action.5 Similarly, EPA interprets the CAA to allow it to take action on the individual parts of one larger, comprehensive infrastructure SIP submission for a given NAAQS without concurrent action on the entire submission. For example, EPA has sometimes elected to act at different times on various elements and sub-elements of the same infrastructure SIP submission.6

    5 See, e.g., “Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; New Mexico; Revisions to the New Source Review (NSR) State Implementation Plan (SIP); Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Nonattainment New Source Review (NNSR) Permitting,” 78 FR 4339 (January 22, 2013) (EPA's final action approving the structural PSD elements of the New Mexico SIP submitted by the State separately to meet the requirements of EPA's 2008 PM2.5 NSR rule), and “Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; New Mexico; Infrastructure and Interstate Transport Requirements for the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS,” (78 FR 4337) (January 22, 2013) (EPA's final action on the infrastructure SIP for the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS).

    6 On December 14, 2007, the State of Tennessee, through the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, made a SIP revision to EPA demonstrating that the State meets the requirements of sections 110(a)(1) and (2). EPA proposed action for infrastructure SIP elements (C) and (J) on January 23, 2012 (77 FR 3213) and took final action on March 14, 2012 (77 FR 14976). On April 16, 2012 (77 FR 22533) and July 23, 2012 (77 FR 42997), EPA took separate proposed and final actions on all other section 110(a)(2) infrastructure SIP elements of Tennessee's December 14, 2007, submittal.

    Ambiguities within sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2) may also arise with respect to infrastructure SIP submission requirements for different NAAQS. Thus, EPA notes that not every element of section 110(a)(2) would be relevant, or as relevant, or relevant in the same way, for each new or revised NAAQS. The states' attendant infrastructure SIP submissions for each NAAQS therefore could be different. For example, the monitoring requirements that a state might need to meet in its infrastructure SIP submission for purposes of section 110(a)(2)(B) could be very different for different pollutants, for example, because the content and scope of a state's infrastructure SIP submission to meet this element might be very different for an entirely new NAAQS than for a minor revision to an existing NAAQS.7

    7 For example, implementation of the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS required the deployment of a system of new monitors to measure ambient levels of that new indicator species for the new NAAQS.

    EPA notes that interpretation of section 110(a)(2) is also necessary when EPA reviews other types of SIP submissions required under the CAA. Therefore, as with infrastructure SIP submissions, EPA also has to identify and interpret the relevant elements of section 110(a)(2) that logically apply to these other types of SIP submissions. For example, section 172(c)(7) requires that attainment plan SIP submissions required by part D have to meet the “applicable requirements” of section 110(a)(2). Thus, for example, attainment plan SIP submissions must meet the requirements of section 110(a)(2)(A) regarding enforceable emission limits and control measures and section 110(a)(2)(E)(i) regarding air agency resources and authority. By contrast, it is clear that attainment plan SIP submissions required by part D would not need to meet the portion of section 110(a)(2)(C) that pertains to the PSD program required in part C of title I of the CAA, because PSD does not apply to a pollutant for which an area is designated nonattainment and thus subject to part D planning requirements. As this example illustrates, each type of SIP submission may implicate some elements of section 110(a)(2) but not others.

    Given the potential for ambiguity in some of the statutory language of section 110(a)(1) and section 110(a)(2), EPA believes that it is appropriate to interpret the ambiguous portions of section 110(a)(1) and section 110(a)(2) in the context of acting on a particular SIP submission. In other words, EPA assumes that Congress could not have intended that each and every SIP submission, regardless of the NAAQS in question or the history of SIP development for the relevant pollutant, would meet each of the requirements, or meet each of them in the same way. Therefore, EPA has adopted an approach under which it reviews infrastructure SIP submissions against the list of elements in section 110(a)(2), but only to the extent each element applies for that particular NAAQS.

    Historically, EPA has elected to use guidance documents to make recommendations to states for infrastructure SIPs, in some cases conveying needed interpretations on newly arising issues and in some cases conveying interpretations that have already been developed and applied to individual SIP submissions for particular elements.8 EPA most recently issued guidance for infrastructure SIPs on September 13, 2013 (2013 Guidance).9 EPA developed the 2013 Guidance document to provide states with up-to-date guidance for infrastructure SIPs for any new or revised NAAQS. Within the 2013 guidance, EPA describes the duty of states to make infrastructure SIP submissions to meet basic structural SIP requirements within three years of promulgation of a new or revised NAAQS. EPA also made recommendations about many specific subsections of section 110(a)(2) that are relevant in the context of infrastructure SIP submissions.10 The guidance also discusses the substantively important issues that are germane to certain subsections of section 110(a)(2). Significantly, EPA interprets sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2) such that infrastructure SIP submissions need to address certain issues and need not address others. Accordingly, EPA reviews each infrastructure SIP submission for compliance with the applicable statutory provisions of section 110(a)(2), as appropriate.

    8 EPA notes, however, that nothing in the CAA requires EPA to provide guidance or to promulgate regulations for infrastructure SIP submissions. The CAA directly applies to states and requires the submission of infrastructure SIP submissions, regardless of whether or not EPA provides guidance or regulations pertaining to such submissions. EPA elects to issue such guidance in order to assist states, as appropriate.

    9 “Guidance on Infrastructure State Implementation Plan (SIP) Elements under Clean Air Act Sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2),” Memorandum from Stephen D. Page, September 13, 2013.

    10 EPA's September 13, 2013, guidance did not make recommendations with respect to infrastructure SIP submissions to address section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I). EPA issued the guidance shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review the D.C. Circuit decision in EME Homer City, 696 F.3d 7 (D.C. Cir. 2012) which had interpreted the requirements of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I). In light of the uncertainty created by this litigation (which culminated in the Supreme Court's April 29, 2014 decision at 134 SCt. 1584), EPA elected not to provide additional guidance on the requirements of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) at that time. As the guidance is neither binding nor required by statute, whether EPA elects to provide guidance on a particular section has no impact on a state's CAA obligations.

    As an example, section 110(a)(2)(E)(ii) is a required element of section 110(a)(2) for infrastructure SIP submissions. Under this element, a state must meet the substantive requirements of section 128, which pertain to state boards that approve permits or enforcement orders and heads of executive agencies with similar powers. Thus, EPA reviews infrastructure SIP submissions to ensure that the state's SIP appropriately addresses the requirements of section 110(a)(2)(E)(ii) and section 128. The 2013 Guidance explains EPA's interpretation that there may be a variety of ways by which states can appropriately address these substantive statutory requirements, depending on the structure of an individual state's permitting or enforcement program (e.g., whether permits and enforcement orders are approved by a multi-member board or by a head of an executive agency). However they are addressed by the state, the substantive requirements of section 128 are necessarily included in EPA's evaluation of infrastructure SIP submissions because section 110(a)(2)(E)(ii) explicitly requires that the state satisfy the provisions of section 128.

    As another example, EPA's review of infrastructure SIP submissions with respect to the PSD program requirements in sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II), and (J) focuses upon the structural PSD program requirements contained in part C and EPA's PSD regulations. Structural PSD program requirements include provisions necessary for the PSD program to address all regulated sources and New Source Review (NSR) pollutants, including greenhouse gases (GHGs). By contrast, structural PSD program requirements do not include provisions that are not required under EPA's regulations at 40 CFR 51.166 but are merely available as an option for the state, such as the option to provide grandfathering of complete permit applications with respect to the 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS. Accordingly, the latter optional provisions are types of provisions EPA considers irrelevant in the context of an infrastructure SIP action.

    For other section 110(a)(2) elements, however, EPA's review of a state's infrastructure SIP submission focuses on assuring that the state's SIP meets basic structural requirements. For example, section 110(a)(2)(C) includes, inter alia, the requirement that states have a program to regulate minor new sources. Thus, EPA evaluates whether the state has an EPA-approved minor NSR program and whether the program addresses the pollutants relevant to that NAAQS. In the context of acting on an infrastructure SIP submission, however, EPA does not think it is necessary to conduct a review of each and every provision of a state's existing minor source program (i.e., already in the existing SIP) for compliance with the requirements of the CAA and EPA's regulations that pertain to such programs.

    With respect to certain other issues, EPA does not believe that an action on a state's infrastructure SIP submission is necessarily the appropriate type of action in which to address possible deficiencies in a state's existing SIP. These issues include: (i) Existing provisions related to excess emissions from sources during periods of startup, shutdown, or malfunction that may be contrary to the CAA and EPA's policies addressing such excess emissions (“SSM”); (ii) existing provisions related to “director's variance” or “director's discretion” that may be contrary to the CAA because they purport to allow revisions to SIP-approved emissions limits while limiting public process or not requiring further approval by EPA; and (iii) existing provisions for PSD programs that may be inconsistent with current requirements of EPA's “Final NSR Improvement Rule,” 67 FR 80186 (December 31, 2002), as amended by 72 FR 32526 (June 13, 2007) (“NSR Reform”). Thus, EPA believes it may approve an infrastructure SIP submission without scrutinizing the totality of the existing SIP for such potentially deficient provisions and may approve the submission even if it is aware of such existing provisions.11 It is important to note that EPA's approval of a state's infrastructure SIP submission should not be construed as explicit or implicit re-approval of any existing potentially deficient provisions that relate to the three specific issues just described.

    11 By contrast, EPA notes that if a state were to include a new provision in an infrastructure SIP submission that contained a legal deficiency, such as a new exemption for excess emissions during SSM events, then EPA would need to evaluate that provision for compliance against the rubric of applicable CAA requirements in the context of the action on the infrastructure SIP.

    EPA's approach to review of infrastructure SIP submissions is to identify the CAA requirements that are logically applicable to that submission. EPA believes that this approach to the review of a particular infrastructure SIP submission is appropriate, because it would not be reasonable to read the general requirements of section 110(a)(1) and the list of elements in section 110(a)(2) as requiring review of each and every provision of a state's existing SIP against all requirements in the CAA and EPA regulations merely for purposes of assuring that the state in question has the basic structural elements for a functioning SIP for a new or revised NAAQS. Because SIPs have grown by accretion over the decades as statutory and regulatory requirements under the CAA have evolved, they may include some outmoded provisions and historical artifacts. These provisions, while not fully up to date, nevertheless may not pose a significant problem for the purposes of “implementation, maintenance, and enforcement” of a new or revised NAAQS when EPA evaluates adequacy of the infrastructure SIP submission. EPA believes that a better approach is for states and EPA to focus attention on those elements of section 110(a)(2) of the CAA most likely to warrant a specific SIP revision due to the promulgation of a new or revised NAAQS or other factors.

    For example, EPA's 2013 Guidance gives simpler recommendations with respect to carbon monoxide than other NAAQS pollutants to meet the visibility requirements of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II), because carbon monoxide does not affect visibility. As a result, an infrastructure SIP submission for any future new or revised NAAQS for carbon monoxide need only state this fact in order to address the visibility prong of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II).

    Finally, EPA believes that its approach with respect to infrastructure SIP requirements is based on a reasonable reading of sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2) because the CAA provides other avenues and mechanisms to address specific substantive deficiencies in existing SIPs. These other statutory tools allow EPA to take appropriately tailored action, depending upon the nature and severity of the alleged SIP deficiency. Section 110(k)(5) authorizes EPA to issue a “SIP call” whenever the Agency determines that a state's SIP is substantially inadequate to attain or maintain the NAAQS, to mitigate interstate transport, or to otherwise comply with the CAA.12 Section 110(k)(6) authorizes EPA to correct errors in past actions, such as past approvals of SIP submissions.13 Significantly, EPA's determination that an action on a state's infrastructure SIP submission is not the appropriate time and place to address all potential existing SIP deficiencies does not preclude EPA's subsequent reliance on provisions in section 110(a)(2) as part of the basis for action to correct those deficiencies at a later time. For example, although it may not be appropriate to require a state to eliminate all existing inappropriate director's discretion provisions in the course of acting on an infrastructure SIP submission, EPA believes that section 110(a)(2)(A) may be among the statutory bases that EPA relies upon in the course of addressing such deficiency in a subsequent action.14

    12 For example, EPA issued a SIP call to Utah to address specific existing SIP deficiencies related to the treatment of excess emissions during SSM events. See “Finding of Substantial Inadequacy of Implementation Plan; Call for Utah State Implementation Plan Revisions,” 74 FR 21639 (April 18, 2011).

    13 EPA has used this authority to correct errors in past actions on SIP submissions related to PSD programs. See “Limitation of Approval of Prevention of Significant Deterioration Provisions Concerning Greenhouse Gas Emitting-Sources in State Implementation Plans; Final Rule,” 75 FR 82536 (December 30, 2010). EPA has previously used its authority under CAA section 110(k)(6) to remove numerous other SIP provisions that the Agency determined it had approved in error. See, e.g., 61 FR 38664 (July 25, 1996) and 62 FR 34641 (June 27, 1997) (corrections to American Samoa, Arizona, California, Hawaii, and Nevada SIPs); 69 FR 67062 (November 16, 2004) (corrections to California SIP); and 74 FR 57051 (November 3, 2009) (corrections to Arizona and Nevada SIPs).

    14 See, e.g., EPA's disapproval of a SIP submission from Colorado on the grounds that it would have included a director's discretion provision inconsistent with CAA requirements, including section 110(a)(2)(A). See, e.g., 75 FR 42342 at 42344 (July 21, 2010) (proposed disapproval of director's discretion provisions); 76 FR 4540 (January 26, 2011) (final disapproval of such provisions).

    IV. What is EPA's evaluation of how the state addressed the relevant elements of sections 110(a)(1) and (2)?

    EPA Region 7 received Nebraska's infrastructure SIP submission for the 2008 O3 standard on February 11, 2013. The SIP submission became complete as a matter of law on August 11, 2013. EPA has reviewed Nebraska's infrastructure SIP submission and the applicable statutory and regulatory authorities and provisions referenced in those submissions or referenced in Nebraska's SIP. EPA has previously approved sections 110(a)(2)(A), (B), (C), (D)(i)(II)—prong 3, (D)(ii), (E), (F), (G), (H), (J), (K), (L), and (M); did not propose any action on section 110(a)(2)(I)— Nonattainment Area Plan or Plan Revisions under part D; and disapproved 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II)—prong 4, as it relates to the protection of visibility (80 FR 55266, September 15, 2015). EPA also stated that it would take action on section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I)—prongs 1 and 2 at a later time (80 FR 35290). A discussion of that action follows.

    On March 12, 2008, the EPA revised the levels of the primary and secondary 8-hour ozone standards from 0.08 parts per million (ppm) to 0.075 ppm (73 FR 16436). The CAA requires states to submit, within three years after promulgation of a new or revised standard, SIPs meeting the applicable “infrastructure” elements of sections 110(a)(1) and (2). One of these applicable infrastructure elements, CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i), requires SIPs to contain “good neighbor” provisions to prohibit certain adverse air quality effects on neighboring states due to interstate transport of pollution. There are four sub-elements (or prongs) within CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i). This action addresses the first two sub-elements of the good neighbor provisions, at CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I). These sub-elements require that each SIP for a new or revised standard contain adequate provisions to prohibit any source or other type of emissions activity within the state from emitting air pollutants that will “contribute significantly to nonattainment” or “interfere with maintenance” of the applicable air quality standard in any other state. We note that the EPA has addressed the interstate transport requirements of CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) for the eastern portion of the United States in several past regulatory actions.15 We most recently promulgated the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), which addressed CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) in the eastern portion of the United States.16 CSAPR addressed multiple national ambient air quality standards, but did not address the 2008 8-hour ozone standard.17

    15 NOX SIP Call, 63 FR 57371 (October 27, 1998); Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR), 70 FR 25172 (May 12, 2005); Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), 76 FR 48208 (August 8, 2011).

    16 76 FR 48208.

    17 CSAPR addressed the 1997 8-hour ozone, and the 1997 and 2006 fine particulate matter NAAQS.

    In CSAPR, the EPA used detailed air quality analyses to determine whether an eastern state's contribution to downwind air quality problems was at or above specific thresholds. If a state's contribution did not exceed the specified air quality screening threshold, the state was not considered “linked” to identified downwind nonattainment and maintenance receptors and was therefore not considered to significantly contribute or interfere with maintenance of the standard in those downwind areas. If a state exceeded that threshold, the state's emissions were further evaluated, taking into account both air quality and cost considerations, to determine what, if any, emissions reductions might be necessary. For the reasons stated below, we believe it is appropriate to use the same approach we used in CSAPR to establish an air quality screening threshold for the evaluation of interstate transport requirements for the 2008 ozone standard.

    In CSAPR, the EPA proposed an air quality screening threshold of one percent of the applicable NAAQS and requested comment on whether one percent was appropriate.18 The EPA evaluated the comments received and ultimately determined that one percent was an appropriately low threshold because there were important, even if relatively small, contributions to identified nonattainment and maintenance receptors from multiple upwind states. In response to commenters who advocated a higher or lower threshold than one percent, the EPA compiled the contribution modeling results for CSAPR to analyze the impact of different possible thresholds for the eastern United States. The EPA's analysis showed that the one-percent threshold captures a high percentage of the total pollution transport affecting downwind states, while the use of higher thresholds would exclude increasingly larger percentages of total transport. For example, at a five percent threshold, the majority of interstate pollution transport affecting downwind receptors would be excluded.19 In addition, the EPA determined that it was important to use a relatively lower one-percent threshold because there are adverse health impacts associated with ambient ozone even at low levels.20 The EPA also determined that a lower threshold such as 0.5 percent would result in relatively modest increases in the overall percentages of fine particulate matter and ozone pollution transport captured relative to the amounts captured at the one-percent level. The EPA determined that a “0.5 percent threshold could lead to emission reduction responsibilities in additional states that individually have a very small impact on those receptors—an indicator that emission controls in those states are likely to have a smaller air quality impact at the downwind receptor. We are not convinced that selecting a threshold below one percent is necessary or desirable.” 21

    18 CSAPR proposal, 75 FR 45210, 45237 (August 2, 2010).

    19See also Air Quality Modeling Final Rule Technical Support Document, Appendix F, Analysis of Contribution Thresholds, Docket ID #EPA-HQ-OAR-2009-0491-4140.

    20 CSAPR, 76 FR 48208, 48236-37 (August 8, 2011).

    21Id.

    In the final CSAPR, the EPA determined that one percent was a reasonable choice considering the combined downwind impact of multiple upwind states in the eastern United States, the health effects of low levels of fine particulate matter and ozone pollution, and the EPA's previous use of a one-percent threshold in CAIR. The EPA used a single “bright line” air quality threshold equal to one percent of the 1997 8-hour ozone standard, or 0.08 ppm.22 The projected contribution from each state was averaged over multiple days with projected high modeled ozone, and then compared to the one-percent threshold. We concluded that this approach for setting and applying the air quality threshold for ozone was appropriate because it provided a robust metric, was consistent with the approach for fine particulate matter used in CSAPR, and because it took into account, and would be applicable to, any future ozone standards below 0.08 ppm.23

    22Id.

    23Id.

    On August 4, 2015, the EPA issued a Notice of Data Availability (NODA) containing air quality modeling data that applies the CSAPR approach to contribution projections for the year 2017 for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS.24 The moderate area attainment date for the 2008 ozone standard is July 11, 2018. In order to demonstrate attainment by this attainment deadline, states will use 2015 through 2017 ambient ozone data. Therefore, 2017 is an appropriate future year to model for the purpose of examining interstate transport for the 2008 ozone NAAQS. The EPA used photochemical air quality modeling to project ozone concentrations at air quality monitoring sites to 2017 and estimated state-by-state ozone contributions to those 2017 concentrations. This modeling used the Comprehensive Air Quality Model with Extensions (CAMx version 6.11) to model the 2011 base year, and the 2017 future base case emissions scenarios to identify projected nonattainment and maintenance sites with respect to the 2008 ozone NAAQS in 2017. The EPA used nationwide state-level ozone source apportionment modeling (CAMx Ozone Source Apportionment Technology/Anthropogenic Precursor Culpability Analysis technique) to quantify the contribution of 2017 base case NOX and VOC emissions from all sources in each state to the 2017 projected receptors. The air quality model runs were performed for a modeling domain that covers the 48 contiguous United States and adjacent portions of Canada and Mexico. The NODA and the supporting technical support documents have been included in the docket for this SIP action.

    24See 80 FR 46271 (August 4, 2015) (Notice of Availability of the Environmental protection Agency's Updated Ozone Transport Modeling Data for the 2008 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS)).

    The modeling data released in the NODA on July 23, 2015, is the most up-to-date information the EPA has developed to inform our analysis of upwind state linkages to downwind air quality problems. For purposes of evaluating Nebraska's interstate transport SIP with respect to the 2008 8-hour ozone standard, the EPA is proposing that states whose contributions are less than one percent to downwind nonattainment and maintenance receptors are considered non-significant. The modeling indicates that Nebraska's largest contribution to any projected downwind nonattainment site is 0.51 ppb and Nebraska's largest contribution to any projected downwind maintenance-only site is 0.36 ppb. 80 FR 46271.25 These values are below the one percent screening threshold of 0.75 ppb, and therefore there are no identified linkages between Nebraska and 2017 downwind projected nonattainment and maintenance sites. Note that the EPA has not done an assessment to determine the applicability for the use of the one percent screening threshold for western states that contribute above the one percent threshold. There may be additional considerations that may impact regulatory decisions regarding “potential” linkages in the West identified by the modeling.

    25 Largest Ozone Contributions From Each State to Downwind 2017 Projected Nonattainment and to 2017 Projected Maintenance-only sites, specific to the state of Nebraska are found in Table 3 at 80 FR 46277.

    The State of Nebraska submitted a SIP on February 11, 2013. The SIP states that Nebraska does not contribute significantly to nonattainment in, or interfere with maintenance by, any other state with regards to the 2008 O3 NAAQS. To support this conclusion, Nebraska cited modeling that EPA conducted for purposes of evaluating upwind contributions to downwind air quality in the CSAPR rulemaking. See 76 FR 48244 (Federal Implementation Plans: Interstate Transport of Fine Particulate Matter and Ozone and Correction of SIP Approvals; Final Rule). Nebraska noted EPA's statement in that action, that states “which contribute 0.8 ppb or more to 8-hour ozone nonattainment or maintenance in another state are identified as states with contributions to downwind attainment and maintenance sites large enough to warrant further analysis.” Nebraska noted that 0.8 ppb cutoff equates to a one percent threshold, which was the threshold EPA used in that rulemaking for the previous 1997 ozone NAAQS. According to Nebraska, the rule stands for the proposition that “states whose contributions are below these thresholds do not significantly contribute or interfere with maintenance of the relevant NAAQS.” Nebraska noted that, pursuant to the modeling discussed in that rule (76 FR 48245), Nebraska's largest downwind contribution to any identified nonattainment or maintenance receptors for ozone was 0.2 ppb. Nebraska concluded that because this modeling contribution represents far less than one percent of the 2008 ozone NAAQS at issue here, it “does not have any obligations” to reduce emissions to address interstate transport as to that standard.

    The EPA notes that the modeling Nebraska relies upon was conducted by EPA in 2011, for purposes of evaluating upwind state contributions and downwind air quality problems as to a prior, less-stringent ozone NAAQS, and that the modeling evaluated a 2012 compliance year. Accordingly, the fact that this modeling showed downwind contribution less than one percent of the 2008 ozone NAAQS is not necessarily dispositive of Nebraska's obligations under section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I).26 However, as discussed above, the EPA has conducted more updated modeling subsequent to the state's SIP submission that confirms the underlying conclusion of our 2011 modeling, and of Nebraska's SIP submission.

    26 Nebraska's SIP submission appears to rely on EPA's 2011 air quality modeling because at that time, the D.C. Circuit's decision in EME Homer City Generation, L.P. v. EPA held that EPA must first quantify each state's transport obligation before states had an obligation to make a SIP submission. See 696 F.3d 7 (D.C. Cir. 2012). Accordingly, Nebraska cites a November 19, 2012, memorandum from Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy, which describes the D.C. Circuit's holding that “a SIP cannot be deemed deficient for failing to meet the good neighbor obligation before the EPA quantifies that obligation.” See Memo at 2, available at http://www3.epa.gov/airtransport/pdfs/CSAPR_Memo_to_Regions.pdf. The memorandum also communicated the Agency's intentions to “act in accordance with the [D.C. Circuit] decision during the pendency of the appeal,” id., but on appeal the Supreme Court reversed that holding. See EPA v. EME Homer City Gen., 134 S. Ct. 1584, 1609-10 (2014).

    Based on the modeling data and the information and analysis provided in Nebraska's SIP, EPA is proposing to approve Nebraska's interstate transport SIP for purposes of meeting the CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) requirements as to the 2008 ozone standard. The EPA's modeling confirms the results of the State's analysis: Nebraska does not significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2008 ozone standard in any other state.

    V. What action is EPA proposing?

    Based upon review of the state's infrastructure SIP submission for the 2008 O3 NAAQS, with respect to the requirements of section 110(a)(2)(D(i)(I)—prongs 1 and 2, and relevant statutory and regulatory authorities and provisions referenced in these submissions or referenced in Nebraska's SIP, EPA is proposing to approve this element of the February 11, 2013 SIP submission.

    We are hereby soliciting comment on this proposed action. Final rulemaking will occur after consideration of any comments.

    VI. Statutory and Executive Order Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The SIP is not approved to apply on any Indian reservation land or in any other area where EPA or an Indian tribe has demonstrated that a tribe has jurisdiction. In those areas of Indian country, the rule does not have tribal implications and will not impose substantial direct costs on tribal governments or preempt tribal law as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000).

    Statutory Authority

    The statutory authority for this action is provided by section 110 of the CAA, as amended (42 U.S.C. 7410).

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

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

    Dated: November 2, 2015. Mark Hague, Regional Administrator, Region 7.
    [FR Doc. 2015-28908 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 62 [EPA-R05-OAR-2015-0701; FRL-9936-95-Region 5] Air Plan Approval; Michigan; Sewage Sludge Incinerators State Plan and Small Municipal Waste Combustors Negative Declaration for Designated Facilities and Pollutants AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve Michigan`s State Plan to control air pollutants from Sewage Sludge Incinerators (SSI). The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality submitted the State Plan on September 21, 2015, following the required public process. The State Plan is consistent with the Emission Guidelines promulgated by EPA on March 21, 2011. This approval means that EPA finds that the State Plan meets applicable Clean Air Act requirements for subject SSI units. Once effective, this approval also makes the State Plan Federally enforceable. EPA is also announcing that we have received from Michigan a negative declaration for Small Municipal Waste Combustors (SMWC). The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality submitted on July 27, 2015 a negative declaration certifying that there are no SMWC units currently operating in the state of Michigan.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before December 16, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R05-OAR-2015-0071, by one of the following methods:

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

    2. Email: [email protected]

    3. Fax: (312) 692-2566.

    4. Mail: Jacqueline Nwia, Acting Chief, Toxics and Global Atmosphere Section, Air Toxics and Assessment Branch (AT-18J), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 77 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60604.

    5. Hand Delivery: Jacqueline Nwia, Acting Chief, Toxics and Global Atmosphere Section, Air Toxics and Assessment Branch (AT-18J), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 77 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60604. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Regional Office normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information. The Regional Office official hours of business are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. excluding Federal holidays.

    Please see the direct final rule which is located in the Rules section of this Federal Register for detailed instructions on how to submit comments.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Margaret Sieffert, Environmental Engineer, Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5, 77 West Jackson Boulevard (AT-18J), Chicago, Illinois 60604, (312) 353-1151, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    In the Rules section of this Federal Register, EPA is approving through a direct final rulemaking Michigan's State Plan for control of air pollutants from SSI sources, and is amending 40 CFR part 62 to reflect the State's submittal of the negative declaration as a direct final rule without prior proposal because the Agency views this as a noncontroversial submittal and anticipates no adverse comments. A detailed rationale for the approval is set forth in the direct final rule. If no adverse comments are received in response to this rule, no further activity is contemplated. If EPA receives adverse comments, we will withdraw the direct final rule and will address all public comments in a subsequent final rule based on this proposed rule. EPA will not institute a second comment period. Any parties interested in commenting on this action should do so at this time. Please note that if EPA receives adverse comment on an amendment, paragraph, or section of this rule, and if that provision can be severed from the remainder of the rule, EPA may adopt as final those provisions of the rule that are not the subject of an adverse comment. For additional information, see the direct final rule which is located in the Rules section of this Federal Register.

    Dated: October 29, 2015. Susan Hedman, Regional Administrator, Region 5.
    [FR Doc. 2015-28910 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES 45 CFR Part 1329 RIN 0985-AA10 Independent Living Services and Centers for Independent Living AGENCY:

    Administration for Community Living, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This proposed rule would implement the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act enacted on July 22, 2014 and reflects the transfer of Independent Living Services and Centers for Independent Living programs from the Department of Education to the Department of Health and Human Services. The previous regulations were issued by the Department of Education. This proposed rule will consolidate the Independent Living (IL) regulations into a single part, align the regulations with the current statute and HHS policies, and will provide guidance to IL grantees.

    DATES:

    Comments are due on or before January 15, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments in one of following ways (no duplicates, please): Written comments may be submitted through any of the methods specified below. Please do not submit duplicate comments.

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: You may (and we encourage you to) submit electronic comments on this regulation at http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions under the “submit a comment” tab. Attachments should be in Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, or Excel; however, we prefer Microsoft Word.

    Regular, Express, or Overnight Mail: You may mail written comments to the following address ONLY: Administration for Community Living, Attention: IL NPRM, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC 20201. Please allow sufficient time for mailed comments to be received before the close of the comment period.

    Individuals with a Disability: We will provide an appropriate accommodation, including alternative formats, upon request. To make such a request, please contact Marlina Moses-Gaither, (202) 357-3552 (Voice) or at [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Molly Burgdorf, Administration for Community Living, telephone (202) 357-3411 (Voice). This is not a toll-free number.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014

    The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (“WIOA,” Pub. L. 113-128), signed into law on July 22, 2014, included significant changes to title VII of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. WIOA transfers the Independent Living Services and Centers for Independent Living programs authorized under chapter 1, title VII of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehabilitation Act or Act), as amended by WIOA (Pub. L. 113-128) from the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), U.S. Department of Education (ED), to the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). WIOA also transferred the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research, and the Assistive Technology Act programs to ACL.

    Background

    ACL was established as an Operating Division within HHS in 2012. ACL focuses on the shared interests of both older adults and people with disabilities, while acknowledging and continuing to address the unique needs and differences across the populations served. As an agency, we strive to ensure that all Americans, regardless of age or disability, can make their own choices and live, learn and work in their communities with the services and supports they need to be fully participating and contributing members of society. The transferred Independent Living (IL) programs make important contributions to the work of ACL in unique ways, and they also align with the mission of ACL to maximize the independence, well-being and health of individuals with disabilities across the lifespan, and their families and caregivers.

    As part of the transfer, the Administrator of ACL (Administrator) is issuing new regulations for the programs that implement changes made by WIOA in accordance with section 12 of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended, 29 U.S.C. 709(e), and section 491(f) of WIOA, 42 U.S.C. 3515e(f). This notice of proposed rulemaking applies to the Independent Living programs. It proposes new regulations that implement the transition of the Independent Living programs, including the Independent Living Services and the Centers for Independent Living, to ACL. While the proposed regulations retain many of the provisions in the Department of Education regulations, they also include new provisions to implement changes made to the programs by WIOA and to replace references to Department of Education procedures and regulations with references to procedures and regulations applicable to Department of Health and Human Services programs. Existing Department of Education Independent Living program regulations found at 34 CFR parts 364, 365, and 366 remain in effect until such time as the proposed HHS regulations become final.

    Programs Amended by WIOA Overview of the Independent Living Program

    Independent Living (IL) empowers individuals with disabilities to live independently in their communities assisted by two federal programs: Independent Living Services (ILS) and Centers for Independent Living (referred to as CILs or Centers).

    Independent Living Services

    Authorized under Title VII, chapter 1, part B of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended by WIOA, the Independent Living Services (ILS) Program provides formula grants, based primarily on population, to States for the purpose of funding, directly and/or through grant or contractual arrangements a number of activities. These activities include:

    1. Supporting the operation of Statewide Independent Living Councils (SILCs);

    2. Providing IL services to individuals with significant disabilities, particularly those in unserved areas of the State;

    3. Demonstrating ways to expand and improve IL services;

    4. Supporting the operation of CILs that comply with the standards and assurances of section 725;

    5. Increasing the capacity of public or nonprofit organizations and other entities to develop comprehensive approaches or systems for providing IL services;

    6. Conducting studies and analyses, developing model policies and procedures, and presenting information, approaches, strategies, findings, conclusions, and recommendations to federal, State and local policymakers to enhance IL services;

    7. Training service providers and individuals with disabilities on the IL philosophy; and

    8. Providing outreach to populations that are unserved or underserved by IL programs, including minority groups and urban and rural populations.

    To be eligible for financial assistance, States are required to establish and maintain a SILC and to submit an approvable State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL) jointly developed by the chairperson of the SILC and the directors of the Centers for Independent Living, with input from individuals with disabilities and other stakeholders throughout the State. The SPIL must be signed by the SILC chairperson acting on behalf of and at the direction of the SILC, the director of the designated State entity (DSE), and not less than 51 percent of the directors of CILs in the State.

    Centers for Independent Living

    Authorized under title VII, chapter 1, part C of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended by WIOA, the Centers for Independent Living Program provides grants to consumer-controlled, community-based, cross-disability, nonresidential, private nonprofit agencies for the provision of an array of IL services to individuals with significant disabilities. At a minimum, Centers funded by the program are required to provide the following five IL core services:

    1. Information and referral;

    2. IL skills training;

    3. Peer counseling;

    4. Individual and systems advocacy; and

    5. Services that facilitate transition from nursing homes and other institutions to home and community based residences with the necessary supports and services, provide assistance to those at risk of entering institutions, and facilitate transition of youth to postsecondary life.

    Centers also may provide, among others: Services related to securing housing or shelter; personal assistance services; transportation, including referral and assistance, mobility training, rehabilitation technology; and other services consistent with 29 U.S.C. 705(18), including those necessary to improve the ability of individuals with significant disabilities to function independently in the family or community and/or to continue in employment. The Rehabilitation Act establishes a set of activities along with standards and assurances that must be met by the Centers. To continue receiving CIL program funding, eligible Centers must demonstrate minimum compliance with the following evaluation standards: Promotion of the IL philosophy; provision of IL services on a cross-disability basis; support for the development and achievement of IL goals chosen by the consumer; efforts to increase the availability of quality community options for IL; provision of IL core services; resource development activities to secure other funding sources; and community capacity-building activities. Centers' levels of compliance with the standards are assessed based on compliance indicators.

    A population-based formula determines the total funding available for discretionary grants to Centers in each State. Subject to the availability of appropriations as required by statute, ACL provides continuation funding to existing Centers at the same level of funding they received the prior fiscal year, including a cost-of-living increase, as long as they meet the standards and assurances, or are taking appropriate action to address identified deficiencies though a corrective action plan. Funding for new Centers in a State is awarded on a competitive basis, based on the State's priority designation of unserved or underserved areas in the SPIL and the availability of sufficient additional funds within the State. There are currently 354 Centers for Independent Living that receive direct grants from the federal government.1

    1 In many States there are additional CILs that receive State funding or federal IL funding administered by the State agencies.

    Statewide Independent Living Councils

    As discussed above, a State must establish and maintain a Statewide Independent Living Council (referred to as a SILC or Council) in order to be eligible for IL and CIL funding. Although SILCs are not funded directly by the federal government, they are an important partner in implementing the ILS and CIL programs in a State. The SILCs are composed of a majority of people with disabilities and include other independent living stakeholders. SILC members are generally appointed by the Governor of the State, except in the case of a State that, under State law, vests authority for the administration of the activities carried out under the IL programs in an entity other than the Governor (such as one or more houses of the State legislature or an independent board), the chief officer of that entity would appoint SILC members. The chairperson of the SILC, and the directors of the Centers for Independent Living in the State jointly develop the State Plan for Independent Living (referred to as SPIL or State plan) after receiving public input from individuals with disabilities and other stakeholders throughout the State. The SILC monitors, reviews and evaluates the implementation of the SPIL.

    A SPIL has already been approved in each State through fiscal year 2016. The law remains unchanged that the SPIL continues to govern the provision of IL services in the State. Each State is expected to continue its support, including specified obligations, under the approved SPIL. Any amendments to the SPIL, reflecting either a change based on the WIOA amendments or any material change in State law, organization, policy or agency operations that affect the administration of the SPIL, must be developed and signed in accordance with section 704(a)(2) of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended. SPIL amendments must be submitted by the State to ACL for approval.

    Indicators of Minimum Compliance

    WIOA requires ACL to publish minimum compliance indicators for CILs and SILCs before July 22, 2015. (See section 706(b) of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. 796d-1(b), as amended.) Section 706(c) of the Rehabilitation Act continues to require compliance reviews of CILs funded under section 722 and reviews of State entities funded under section 723 of the Rehabilitation Act. Until the new minimum compliance indicators are published, the IL staff at ACL will continue to conduct compliance reviews and make final decisions on any proposed corrective actions and/or technical assistance related to compliance reviews, in accordance with current compliance indicators. Grantees must also continue to submit annual performance reports (referred to as the 704 Report). ACL is in the process of reviewing related instruments and instructions in light of changes under WIOA. Proposed changes and new indicators will be published in the Federal Register in accordance with the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. chapter 35.

    Overview of Key Statutory Changes Made by WIOA

    As previously discussed, WIOA transferred the Independent Living Programs to ACL and created a new Independent Living Administration within the agency, adding section 701A of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. 796-1. WIOA also made a number of other changes. WIOA amended section 702 of the Act, 29 U.S.C. 796a, to insert the definition of Administrator as the Administrator of the Administration for Community Living in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The responsibilities of the Administrator are set forth in amended section 706, 29 U.S.C. 796d-1.

    New section 702 of the Act also amended the definition of a CIL and requires that CILs provide, at a minimum, independent living core services for individuals with significant disabilities, regardless of age or income.

    WIOA amended section 7(17) of the Act, to add a new fifth core service to the definition of independent living core services. Other relevant amendments to the definition section include the addition of a new section 7(42), definition of youth with a disability.

    WIOA also amends section 704 of the Act, 42 U.S.C. 796c, which describes requirements for the State Plan. The law now requires that the SPIL be developed jointly by the chairperson of the Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) and the directors of the Centers for Independent Living, after receiving public input from individuals with disabilities and other stakeholders throughout the State. The SPIL is to be signed by the SILC chairperson acting for and at the direction of the SILC, the director of the designated State entity (DSE), and not less than 51 percent of the CILs in the state. The law also requires that the SPIL address working relationships and collaboration between CILs and other entities performing similar work. Finally, the SPIL is required to describe strategies for providing independent living services on a statewide basis, to the greatest extent possible.

    As part of the amendments to section 704 of the Act, the DSE is responsible to receive, account for and distribute funds based on the SPIL, provide administrative support for programs under Title VII B, maintain records, and provide information or assurances to the Administrator. Section 704(c)(5) adds a cap of 5 percent of the funds received by the State for any fiscal year under Independent Living Services that the DSE may retain to perform these services.

    WIOA made several amendments to section 705 of the Act, 29 U.S.C. 796d, regarding the Statewide Independent Living Council. Amended section 705 (b)(2) requires that voting members of the SILC include, in a state in which one or more CILs are run by, or in conjunction with, the governing bodies of American Indian tribes located on Federal or State reservations, at least one representative of the director of such Centers. It also removes the term limit for a CIL director appointed to the SILC if there is only one CIL within the State. Amended section 705(c)(2) permits the SILC to engage in new activities in addition to the original duties outlined in section 705(c)(1). However, the amended section 705(c) also provides that the SILC may not provide independent living services directly to individuals with significant disabilities or manage such services. The SILC may work with CILs to coordinate services with public and private entities in order to improve services provided to individuals with disabilities, and may now also conduct resource development activities. SILCs must prepare a resource plan in conjunction with the designated State entity.

    WIOA requires that between 1.8 percent and 2 percent of funds be set aside for technical assistance and training for SILCs. The law also amends section 713 of the Act, 29 U.S.C. 796e-2, to provide that States may not use more than 30 percent of the funds received under chapter 1, part B, of the Rehabilitation Act for the SILC resource plan unless the State plan specifies a greater percentage is needed.

    Finally, WIOA modifies section 706(c) of the Act, 29 U.S.C. 796d-1(c) to eliminate the requirement that compliance reviews of CILs be conducted randomly.

    Overview of Regulatory Changes

    U.S. Department of Education (ED) regulations governing the Independent Living Program are found at 34 CFR parts 364, 365, and 366. Part 364 sets forth regulations addressing State Independent Living Services and Centers for Independent Living: General Provisions; part 365 sets forth regulations addressing State Independent Living Services; and part 366 sets forth regulations addressing Centers for Independent Living. ACL proposes to consolidate the IL regulations into one new part, 45 CFR part 1329. We further propose to eliminate regulations applicable specifically to ED processes, as well as to eliminate duplicative language or language no longer applicable in the existing ED regulations. We propose to eliminate regulatory language that does not add further interpretation to the statutory language. Unless otherwise noted, the proposed changes in in this notice of proposed rulemaking represent changes to implement WIOA, including the transfer of the programs from ED to HHS.

    45 CFR Part 1329 Subpart A

    We propose to create a Subpart A of the new 45 CFR part 1329 that will address General Provisions for the IL programs.

    Proposed § 1329.1 sets out the programs covered by the new Part. Proposed § 1329.2 sets out their purpose as defined in Section 701 of the Act, 29 U.S.C. 796.

    In considering the purpose of the Act and the changes made under WIOA, we wish to highlight ACL's interpretation that the IL programs promote a philosophy of person-centeredness in keeping with the mission of ACL and with the policy of the Department of Health and Human Services. On June 6, 2014, HHS issued guidance on implementing Section 2402(a) of the Affordable Care Act. Section 2402(a) of the Affordable Care Act requires the Secretary to ensure all States receiving federal funds develop service systems that are responsive to the needs and choices of beneficiaries receiving home and community-based long-term services (HCBS), maximize independence and self-direction, provide support coordination to assist with a community-supported life, and achieve a more consistent and coordinated approach to the administration of policies and procedures across public programs providing HCBS. Because so much of the work done by IL programs involves these same principles, we believe it is important to clarify that the June 2014 guidance, including person-centered planning requirements,2 applies to IL programs.

    2 Person-centered planning is a process directed by the person with long-term services and supports needs. The person-centered planning approach identifies the person's strengths, goals, preferences, needs (e.g. medical and home and community-based services), and desired outcomes. The role of agency workers (e.g., options counselors, support brokers, social workers and others) in the process is to enable and assist people in identifying and accessing a unique mix of paid and unpaid services to meet their needs, and provide support during planning. Person-centered planning is consistent with the independent living philosophy, including consumer control and self-determination, in order to maximize independence.

    Proposed § 1329.3 replaces the ED regulations specified in 34 CFR 364.3 with references to other HHS regulations that govern the activities of the Independent Living programs.

    Proposed § 1329.4 is the Definitions section.

    Sec. 1329.4 Definitions

    Proposed § 1329.4 defines terms used in the regulations. We propose to include statutory definitions when we believe the terms to be significant enough to warrant repetition in the regulations. We propose to incorporate some definitions from the existing ED regulations at 34 CFR 364.4. We propose modifications to other definitions to reflect WIOA changes or to modernize the terms.

    a. Definition of Independent Living Core Services

    ACL proposes to amend the existing regulatory definition of independent living core services by adding the new fifth core service to the previous definition. The four original core services are information and referral services; independent living skills training; peer counseling, including cross-disability peer counseling; individual and systems advocacy.

    The new fifth core service has three components, each of which must be met to fulfill the fifth core service. It requires CILs to (1) facilitate the transition of individuals with significant disabilities from nursing homes and other institutions to home and community-based residences, with the requisite supports and services; (2) provide assistance to individuals with significant disabilities who are at risk of entering institutions so that the individuals remain in the community; and (3) facilitate the transition of youth who are individuals with significant disabilities, who were eligible for individualized education programs (IEPs) under Section 614(d) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and who have completed their secondary education or otherwise left school to postsecondary life.

    We recognize that the fifth core service of promoting full access to community living and postsecondary life is an important addition to the core services. We acknowledge that through various Medicaid and State-specific programs, including partnerships with other programs administered by ACL, many CILs have experience and existing services consistent with one or more of the three components. To achieve the right balance between clarity and flexibility in implementing the new core service, ACL is considering the appropriate level of detail. We invite comment on whether the proposed language is sufficiently specific, or if more information is needed to successfully implement this new requirement. Under our proposed approach, we have chosen not to define the terms “institution,” “home and community-based residences,” and “at risk of institutionalization” at this time. We propose, however, to define “youth with a significant disability” and related terms around youth transition to postsecondary education.

    In considering whether to define the term “institution,” we looked at a variety of existing Medicare and Medicaid definitions, including the definitions at Sections 1819(a) and 1862(e)(1) of the Social Security Act, and 42 CFR 416.201, 441.301(c)(5), and 441.710(a)(2). These definitions include hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, Medicaid nursing facilities, and Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICF/IID) services. They also include a definition consistent with settings that are not “community based” for Section 1915(c) home and community based waivers and for Section 1915(i) State plan home and community based services. We are concerned, however, that defining “institution” based on the Medicare and Medicaid model may not be broad enough to encompass all institutions with which CILs may work, including juvenile detention centers, jails and prisons. We seek public comment on whether to include a definition and, if so, the suitability of applying Medicare and Medicaid definitions to the fifth core service.

    We also considered definitions of “home and community-based residences” and “at risk” of institutionalization. We determined not to define these terms at this time, but request comment on whether and how “home and community-based residences” and “at risk” of institutionalization should be defined for purposes of the fifth core service. We are specifically interested in learning how CILs that are already transitioning individuals with disabilities to the community and/or doing work to avoid the institutionalization of people with significant disabilities currently define “transition” from institutions to the community, and people who are “at risk of entering institutions.” To maintain the consumer-directed purpose of the programs, ACL also invites comments on the effectiveness and limitations of including the issue of being “at risk” as a part of CIL consumers self-disclosing their needs in the intake process.

    CILs that provide youth transition services to a broader group of youth with significant disabilities beyond the populations covered under the youth transition prong of the new fifth core service (in Section (17)(E)(iii) of the Act) have the option of continuing to do so, but such services would be included as IL services, rather than as “core services” for purposes of the 704 report, and provision of those services would not satisfy the core services requirement. ACL proposes to define a youth with a significant disability as an individual with a significant disability who (i) is not younger than 14 years of age; and (ii) is not older than 24 years of age. This definition is based on the definition of “individual with a significant disability” in Section 7(21), 29 U.S.C. 705(21) and “youth with a disability” in Section 7(42) of the Act, 29 U.S.C. 705(42).

    We further propose to define the term “completed their secondary education” to mean that an eligible youth has received a diploma; has received a certificate of completion for high school or other equivalent document marking the completion of participation in high school; has reached age 18, even if he or she is still receiving services in accordance with an individualized education program developed under the IDEA; or has exceeded the age of eligibility for IDEA services.3 Similarly, we propose a broad interpretation of “otherwise left school.” For example, “otherwise left school” could mean that the youth has dropped out of school; taken a leave of absence from secondary school for health or disciplinary reasons; or did not graduate but is no longer attending classes at a secondary school. We request comments on this interpretation.

    3 The fifth core independent living service to facilitate the transition of youth who are individuals with significant disabilities requires that they “. . . were eligible for individualized education programs under section 614(d) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1414(d) . . .” under Section 7 of the Act, 29 U.S.C. 705(17)(E)(iii).

    b. Definition of Other Terms in Proposed § 1329.4

    We propose a definition of “Administrative support services” provided by the designated State entity under Part B, to Part C CILs administered by the State under Section 723 of the Act, with some examples. We request comments on this definition.

    We proposed to incorporate the definition of “Administrator” at Section 702(1) of the Act, 29 U.S.C. 796a(1).

    We propose to define “Advocacy” consistent with the definition in the existing regulations, 34 CFR 364.4. Individual and system advocacy remain integral elements of promoting independent living according to the purpose of the law. The term includes providing assistance and/or representation in obtaining access to benefits, rights, services, and programs to which a consumer or group of consumers may be entitled. We invite comment on the definition. Grantees should continue to present information in a balanced and non-partisan manner that is consistent with the principles of the Rehabilitation Act and in accordance with relevant federal and State laws and the restrictions and exceptions in the Uniform Guidance, including 2 CFR 200.450, and other applicable requirements.

    We propose to incorporate the existing definition of “Attendant care services” in 34 CFR 364.4.

    We propose to add to the existing definition of “Center for independent living” in 34 CFR 364.4 that the array of independent living services provided includes, at a minimum, the independent living core services defined in Section 7(17) of the Act. A “Center” that receives assistance under the Act must meet all of the requirements of Section 725 (b) and (c) of the Act, 29 U.S.C. 796f-4(b) and (c), the standards and assurances for Centers for Independent Living.

    We propose to add to the statutory definition of “Consumer control” at Section 702 of the Act, 29 U.S.C. 796a(3), that control is vested in individuals with disabilities, including those who are or who have been recipients of IL services.

    We propose to add to the existing definition of “Cross-disability” at 34 CFR 364.4 that the CIL provide services to individuals representing a range of significant disabilities, including individuals who are members of unserved or underserved populations.

    We propose to define “Designated State entity (DSE)” based on Section 704 of the Act, 29 U.S.C. 796c(c).

    We propose to incorporate the statutory definition of “Eligible agency,” Section 726 of the Act, 29 U.S.C. 796f-5.

    We propose to incorporate the statutory definition of “Independent living services,” from Section 7(18) of the Act, 29 U.S.C. 705(18).

    We propose to define “Individual with a disability” using the language of 42 U.S.C. 12102 as specified in Section 7(20)(B) of the Act, 29 U.S.C. 705(20)(B).

    We propose to incorporate the statutory definition of “Individual with a significant disability” in Section 7(21)(B) of the Act, 29 U.S.C. 705(21)(B).

    We propose to add a definition of “Majority” to clarify that a majority means more than 50 percent. This definition applies to the SILC member and voting member qualifications, 29 U.S.C. 796d(4)(A)(iv) and (B), and the required assurances relating to the CIL Board & CIL staff, 29 U.S.C. 796f-4(C)(2) and (6), among other provisions. This addition is intended to help clarify statutory requirements, particularly those related to establishing consumer control.

    We propose to define “Minority group” to mean American Indian, Alaskan Native, Asian American, Black or African American (not of Hispanic origin), Hispanic or Latino (including persons of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, and Central or South American origin), and Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, based on the Office of Management and Budget Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity (62 FR 58782 (Oct. 30, 1997)), considered in conjunction with the definition for minority in National Science Foundation regulations, 34 CFR part 637 and with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Office of Minority Health's definitions.

    We propose to incorporate the existing definition of “Nonresidential” at 34 CFR 364.4.

    We propose to incorporate the existing definition of “Peer relationships” at 34 CFR 364.4.

    We propose to incorporate the existing definition of “Peer role models” at 34 CFR 364.4.

    We propose to add to the statutory definition of “Personal assistance services” in Section 7(28) of the Act, 29 U.S.C. 705(28), examples of what might constitute personal assistance services. We also propose to add that such services may be paid or unpaid.

    We propose a definition of “Service provider” based on the existing definition in 34 CFR 364.4. We further propose to modify the definition to reflect the WIOA changes by removing references to a designated State unit and adding a designated State entity (DSE).

    We propose to incorporate the statutory definition of “State” Section 7(34) of the Act, 29 U.S.C. 705(34).

    We propose to define “State plan” by reference to Section 704 of the Act, 29 U.S.C. 796c.

    We propose to define “Unserved and underserved” groups or populations to include populations such as individuals with significant disabilities who are from racial and ethnic minority backgrounds, disadvantaged individuals, individuals with limited English proficiency, and individuals from underserved geographic areas (rural or urban). This definition is based on the statutory requirement in Section 704(l) of the Act, 29 U.S.C. 796c(l), to provide outreach to “populations that are unserved or underserved by programs . . . including minority groups and urban and rural populations.” We further base the definition on the Congressional findings on traditionally underserved populations set forth in Section 21 of the Act, 29 U.S.C. 718. We recognize that unserved and underserved groups or populations will vary by service area. For example, in some service areas unserved and underserved groups may include people with disabilities from the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities.

    We propose to define “Youth with a significant disability” consistent with the definition of “individual with a significant disability” in Section 7(21)(B), 29 U.S.C. 705(21)(B) and “youth with a disability” in Section 7(42)(A), 29 U.S.C. 705(42)(A), and with the definition of “individual with a disability” in § 1329.4.

    Sec. 1329.5 Indicators of Minimum Compliance

    Section 706 of the Act, 29 U.S.C. 796d-1, discusses the responsibilities of the Administrator with regard to oversight of the IL programs. Specifically, WIOA requires the development and publication of indicators of minimum compliance for CILs, consistent with the standards set forth in Section 725 of the Act, 29 U.S.C. 796f-4, and indicators of minimum compliance for SILCs. WIOA did not amend Section 706(c), which requires annual compliance reviews of 15 percent of CILs and, to the extent necessary to determine compliance with the requirements of Section 723(f) and (g) of the Act, 29 U.S.C. 796f-2, one-third of designated State entities. WIOA deleted the requirement that the CILs and State entities reviewed be chosen on a random basis and we propose to amend the regulations accordingly. We invite comment on the criteria and selection process for compliance reviews going forward, given this change.

    ACL proposes to require Centers to demonstrate minimum compliance consistent with Section 725, for the following: Promotion of the IL philosophy; provision of IL services on a cross-disability basis; support for the development and achievement of IL goals chosen by the consumer; efforts to increase the availability of quality community options for IL; provision of IL core services; resource development activities to secure other funding sources; and community capacity-building activities. ACL will continue to monitor programs based on the standards and indicators set forth in the statute as we re-evaluate and develop protocols that meet the requirements of the Act.

    Sec. 1329.6 Reporting

    In addition to compliance reviews, each CIL and State is required to file an annual performance report, known as the 704 Report, which describes its work and how the CIL or State is meeting the goals and requirements of the Act. This requirement is set forth in proposed § 1329.6. ACL is currently in the process of reviewing the 704 reports. However, for this year, CILs and States are expected to complete the 704 instrument that they have used in the past. We will issue guidance as to how the reports are to be filed. We are considering changes to the 704 Report for future years. The 704 Reports are subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), and interested stakeholders will have an opportunity to comment on any future revisions to the report through the PRA clearance process.

    Sec. 1329.7 Enforcement and Appeals Process

    The existing IL regulations at 34 CFR 366.39 through 366.46, include an enforcement and appeals process for the CILs funded under Part C of Chapter 1 of Title VII of the Rehabilitation Act. There is no corresponding process in the existing ED independent living regulations for the designated State entities administering Part B funds in accordance with the State Plan, as authorized by Part B of Chapter 1 of Title VII. In determining the appropriate approach for enforcement and appeals, ACL reviewed the existing Department of Education regulations and the regulations applicable to ACL programs funded under the Older Americans Act (OAA), 45 CFR part 1321, and the Developmental Disabilities and Bill of Rights Act (DD Act) regulations, 45 CFR part 1385. The NPRM proposes to utilize a version of the process from the existing IL regulations modified to account for the new administrative structure of the programs. This approach, intended to create a uniform, clear and relatively simple process, best meets the needs of the CILs, has the advantage of offering a procedure that is familiar to the programs, and is not as intricate, formal or lengthy as those in current ACL rules.

    Under the proposed rule, if the Director of the Independent Living Administration (ILA) determines that a Center is not in compliance with the standards and assurances of a grant received from ACL, the Director notifies the Center that the Center is out of compliance and may be subject to enforcement action, including termination of funds. ACL will continue to make reasonable efforts to work with the Center to provide technical assistance in accordance with the procedures in the Notice of Award terms and conditions and any applicable subsequent guidance, to correct any deficiencies and to resolve compliance concerns before taking enforcement action. ACL also proposes a two-step preliminary appeals process where there is the imminent threat of termination or withholding of funds: First to the Director of the Independent Living Administration and then to the Administrator of ACL.

    The proposed rule requires a Center found out of compliance to develop a corrective action plan. ACL could provide technical assistance in developing and implementing the corrective action plan and would monitor its implementation. If the Center fails to submit an approvable plan or ACL determines that the Center is otherwise out of compliance, even with the plan, the Administrator may take steps to enforce the corrective action plan or to terminate funding. If the determination by the Administrator is a type of determination described in 45 CFR part 16, Appendix A, Paragraph C, subparagraphs (a)(1)-(4), it would be subject to review by the Departmental Appeals Board (DAB).4 These determinations are: (1) A disallowance or other determination denying payment of an amount claimed under an award, or requiring return or set-off of funds already received; (2) a termination for failure to comply with the terms of an award; (3) a denial of a noncompeting continuation award under the project period system of funding where the denial is for failure to comply with the terms of a previous award; and (4) a voiding (a decision that an award is invalid because it was not authorized by statute or regulation or because it was fraudulently obtained). Under 45 CFR 16.3, the Center would have 30 days from receipt of notice of that determination in which to file a notice of appeal with the DAB.

    4 45 CFR part 16 refers to Procedures of the Departmental Grant Appeals Board, which is currently known within the U.S. Dep't of Health and Human Services as the Departmental Appeals Board (DAB).

    We include the enforcement and appeals process in the General Provisions part of these proposed regulations because we propose a parallel process for the Part B grants. We also propose a two-step preliminary appeals process for the Part B grants where there is the imminent threat of termination or withholding of funds, first to the Director of the ILA and then to the Administrator of ACL. We believe such a process is necessary because there may be situations in which a State is out of compliance with the requirements of its grant or of these regulations. For example, Section 704 of the Rehabilitation Act requires that, “[t]o be eligible to receive financial assistance . . . , a State shall submit to the Administrator, and obtain approval of, a State plan developed and signed in accordance with [Section 704] . . . .” WIOA added the requirement that the State plan (SPIL) must be signed by not less than 51 percent of the CILs in the State. If a State submits a SPIL that does not comply with the 51 percent signature requirement, ACL wants to ensure that a process exists whereby ACL can provide technical assistance to the State to help bring it into compliance.

    As indicated above, ACL may not provide any funds to a State that does not have an approved plan. ACL will work with States to resolve issues that may result in the disallowance or denial of funding. However, should these efforts be unsuccessful, we believe the State should have an appeals process through which it may appeal a decision to disallow or deny funds that would otherwise be provided to a State in accordance with an approved plan.

    Because we intend to create a uniform process for Part B and Part C grants, we also propose in these regulations to allow a State to file an appeal with the DAB concerning the four types of determinations set forth in 45 CFR part 16, appendix A, paragraph C, subparagraphs (a)(1) through (4). We further propose that the procedures in 45 CFR part 16 apply to appeals by a State.

    We solicit comments about our proposed process and whether additional details need to be included in regulation. As indicated, we intend to utilize technical assistance to help resolve issues before they reach the appeals stage, and are interested in the role that other informal types of dispute resolution and mediation might play in compliance and enforcement, and how such dispute resolution and mediations might be conducted. We note that mediation is already included as an option for determinations that are appealed to the DAB, 45 CFR 16.18.

    Because the processes we propose are new, particularly with regard to Part B funds, we are considering the issuance of sub-regulatory guidance to provide additional detail. Such an approach provides ACL and stakeholders with the opportunity to determine the processes that allow Centers and States to come into compliance quickly, while giving ACL the authority to take enforcement actions if the need arises.

    Subpart B Independent Living Services

    Proposed Subpart B of proposed 45 CFR part 1329 sets forth requirements for the designated State entity (DSE), the Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC), and the State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL). It incorporates some of the regulatory language from 34 CFR part 364 and Part 365. ACL proposes to simplify language and processes, to eliminate duplication of language specified in the Act, and to implement and clarify changes made by WIOA.

    Proposed § 1329.10 discusses the authorized use of funds for independent living (IL) services as set forth in the Act. WIOA amended Section 713(b)(1) of the Act to add that a State may use funds to provide independent living services to individuals with significant disabilities, “particularly those in unserved areas of the State.” This section includes the new statutory requirement that that States may not use more than 30 percent of the funds received under Chapter 1, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act for the SILC resource plan unless the approved State plan specifies a greater percentage is needed. This new requirement is also reflected in § 1329.15(c)(3). We propose to add the phrase “particularly to those in unserved areas of the State” to the previous regulatory language at 34 CFR part 365.

    In proposed § 1329.11 we describe the designated State entity (DSE) as the entity identified by the State and named in the State plan. We propose that the DSE must submit to the Administrator and receive approval of a State plan in order to receive funding under the Act.

    Proposed § 1329.12 defines the role of the DSE as those services identified in Sections 704(c)(1) through (5) of the Act. These services were unchanged by WIOA. However, WIOA added Section 704(c)(5), stipulating that the DSE may not retain “more than five (5) percent of the funds received by the State for any fiscal year under Subpart 2 for the performance of the services outlined in paragraphs (1) through (4).” We propose in § 1329.12 that the 5 percent administrative cap apply only to the Part B funds allocated to the State and to the State's required 10 percent Part B match. We further propose that the five (5) percent cap not apply to program income funds, including, but not limited to, payments provided to a State from the Social Security Administration for assisting Social Security beneficiaries and recipients to achieve employment outcomes.

    In implementing the new requirement, the proposed language in the rule adopts an interpretation that the “funds received by the State” include the Part B and State matching funds only, rather than applying the 5 percent cap on administrative funds allocated to the DSE to all federal funds, and other program income, supporting the Independent Living Services program. The cap limits the funds a DSE can retain for administrative purposes in order to ensure that the Part B (State Independent Living) funds are primarily used to support the State's independent living programs and give the SILC sufficient resources to carry out required duties. We think it is consistent with the administrative cap requirement that the required State match be treated on an equal basis with the Part B funds received under this section. This creates consistency in accounting for funds that are inextricably linked to the funds provided under the Part B program, and should be treated the same way as the federal award of Part B funds. However, because program income funds are “received by the State” through means other than an appropriation under Part B, we believe those funds should be treated differently and should not be included in the administrative cap.

    Proposed § 1329.13 references the allotment of funds for IL services in accordance with statutory provisions. It also proposes that if a State plan designates more than one entity to administer the State plan, including a State agency or unit of a State agency to administer IL services to individuals who are blind, then it is up to the State to determine and specify how the State's allotment will be distributed between the multiple entities, consistent with the State plan. We ask for comments on the likelihood of a State continuing to or deciding to designate more than one entity to share in the allotment.

    Proposed § 1329.13(d) implements new Section 711A of the Act, which was added by WIOA. WIOA requires the Administrator to reserve between 1.8 percent and 2 percent of Part B appropriated funds to provide for training and technical assistance to SILCs. The proposed regulation authorizes the technical assistance to be provided directly or through grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements in accordance with Section 711A. ACL intends to provide further information about SILC technical assistance and training in any funding vehicle which makes funds available under Section 711A.

    Proposed § 1329.14 describes the requirements for the establishment and maintenance of a Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC). We propose that a State must establish a SILC that meets the requirements of Section 705 of the Act, including composition and appointment of members, in order to receive funding.

    WIOA made a number of amendments to the composition of the SILC. WIOA removes the requirement for a director of a project carried out under Section 121 (the American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program) to be a required SILC member. WIOA added the requirement that, in States with one or more CILs run by or in conjunction with the governing bodies of American Indian tribes located on Federal or State reservations, at least one representative of the directors of such Centers serve as a voting member of the SILC. We ask for comments whether additional directions are needed to implement this provision consistent with the definition of a Center in Section 702 of the Act. For example, we seek information about what types of CIL-Tribal relationships currently exist that would meet this definition, and to what extent might the current CIL-Tribal relationships meet the requirement of CILs “run by” or “run in conjunction with” the governing bodies of American Indian tribes located on Federal or State reservations.

    In proposed § 1329.14(b), ACL proposes to further strengthen the independence of the SILC by requiring that the SILC be independent of and autonomous from the DSE and all other State agencies.

    Proposed § 1329.15 describes the duties of the SILC with reference to Section 705 of the Act and incorporates several changes made by WIOA. We propose to clarify in § 1329.15(b) that the SILC may provide contact information for the nearest appropriate CIL, and that sharing of such information does not constitute the direct provision of independent living services. WIOA amended Section 713 of the Act to add new language that limits the share of Part B funds that may be provided to the SILC resource plan. We propose in § 1329.15(c) to incorporate and clarify this change.

    The resource plan, as required under Section 705(e) of the Act, is a document that is separate from the SPIL and that describes how resources necessary and sufficient to carry out the functions of the SILC, will be made available. The WIOA amendment to Section 713 provides that not more than 30 percent of the funds allocated to the State may be used for the resource plan, unless the SPIL specifies that a greater percentage is needed.

    Because Section 713 refers to funds received under Part B, we propose to include the State's required 10 percent Part B match in calculating the 30 percent cap to provide the resources in its resource plan.5 The cap on Part B funds being used for the resource plan ensures that there are sufficient financial resources remaining so that the State may achieve the goals and objectives for Part B funding identified in the SPIL. The State match of the Part B funds is included in the calculation of the 30 percent amount, because the Part B funds are not available in the absence of the State match. Treating the State match as part of the 30 percent also creates efficiency and consistency of accounting within the programs regarding treatment of the Part B State match. In addition, it aligns with current practice in other ACL-administered grants, such as the Alzheimer's Disease Supportive Services Program, which include the State match in calculating the caps for administrative costs and the set asides for services required under the Public Health Services Act.

    5 The proposed regulation concerns the Part B funds, to which the “30 percent” specifically applies. Many SILCs receive Part B funds and/or Vocational Rehabilitation program Innovation and Expansion (I&E) funds, Social Security reimbursement funds, other federal funds, State matching funds or other public or private funds. Conversely, in several States SILCs receive no Part B funds at all, but are funded instead through I&E funds, primarily, and possibly other non-Part B federal and non-federal funds as well. Of the 32 states/territories that reported using I&E funds towards their SILC Resource Plan in the FY14-16 SPILs, 13 of these funded their SILC Resource Plan entirely with I&E.

    The proposed regulation states that the percentage allocated to the resource plan in each State is based on the amount of Part B funds actually needed (i.e., “necessary and sufficient”) by each SILC to fulfill its statutory duties and authorities, rather than an expectation that 30 percent is automatically the baseline. Under WIOA, 30 percent is the ceiling, unless the SPIL explicitly authorizes additional funding, and SILCs are not guaranteed the 30 percent. The language authorizing up to 30 percent of Part B funds to be used for the SILC resource plan will not automatically result in a greater share to be allocated to the SILCs, though it may present an opportunity for an increase. The actual percentage received will result from negotiations among the SILC and DSEs as mandated under the law, and, as indicated, may exceed 30 percent if the State specifies that a greater percentage is needed in the approved SPIL. These changes in the law should allow States the flexibility to choose an approach that works best for the IL network in the State.

    We have not defined what is meant by funds necessary and sufficient to carry out the functions of the SILC. We seek comments on whether a definition is necessary, including the process for making that determination.

    Proposed § 1329.15(d) requires the SILC, as appropriate, to coordinate activities with other entities in the State that provide services similar to or complementary to independent living services. ACL recognizes that many SILCs, as well as many CILs, already coordinate activities with other entities, including Area Agencies on Aging, Protection and Advocacy programs, Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs, Aging and Disability Resource Centers, and other organizations funded by ACL, other federal agencies, and States. Some SILCs may choose to coordinate with private entities providing similar services. We have chosen not to include a list of all such entities so as to provide SILCs with the maximum flexibility to work with entities in their state to serve individuals with significant disabilities.

    Proposed § 1329.16 describes the authorities of the SILC to conduct discretionary activities as described in the State Plan. The proposed rule requires coordination with the CILs. Again, we have chosen not to define how a SILC should engage in coordination, recognizing that such efforts depend on the needs and requirements in each State.

    Proposed § 1329.17 sets forth the requirements for the State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL). The SPIL is a plan that identifies activities to achieve the State's specified independent living objectives and reflects the State's commitment to comply with applicable statutory and regulatory requirements. Each State must have a SPIL approved by the Administrator in order to receive both CIL and ILS program funds under the Act, and each SPIL must be reviewed “not less than once every three years,” Under Sec. 704(a)(3) of the Act.6 WIOA did not change the requirement that each SPIL be reviewed not less than once every three years. We propose that the State must submit the SPIL in the form, manner and time frame determined by the Administrator in accordance with Section 704.

    6 29 U.S.C. 796c(a)(3).

    WIOA changed the requirements for joint development of the State Plan, and we propose to implement the new requirements in the proposed regulations. Section 704(a)(2) of the Act, 29 U.S.C. 796c(a)(2), was amended to require that the State plan be developed jointly by the chairperson of the SILC and the directors of the Centers for Independent Living in the State, after receiving public input from individuals with disabilities and other stakeholders throughout the State. While WIOA eliminated the required role of the designated State entity (formerly the designated State unit) in development of the State plan, it does not preclude DSE input in the development of the SPIL in collaboration with the SILC and CILs, and ACL would encourage such input. Proposed § 1329.17(d) makes this change.

    WIOA also amended Section 704(a)(2) to require that the SPIL be signed by the chairperson of the SILC acting on behalf of and at the direction of the Council; the director of the DSE; and by not less than 51 percent of the directors of the Centers for Independent Living in that State. We propose in § 1329.17(d)(2)(iii), and (iv) to define a CIL for purposes of signing the SPIL as any consumer-controlled, community-based, cross-disability, nonresidential, private nonprofit agency for individuals with significant disabilities, regardless of funding source, that is designed and operated within a local community by individuals with disabilities; and provides an array of IL services, including, at a minimum, independent living core services and complies with the standards set out in Section 725(b) and provides and complies with the assurances in Section 725(c) of the Act and § 1329.5 of these regulations. We seek comments on this approach.

    On a related issue regarding what type of entity constitutes a CIL for SPIL signature purposes, proposed § 1329.17(d)(2)(iii) counts the “legal entity” that may receive more than one grant as the entity included in determining the 51 percent, rather than looking at individual grants. For example, an agency that receives multiple Part C grant awards serving different geographical locations and operated by one governing board and that has one director would constitute a single CIL for SPIL signature purposes, rather than labeling each Part C grant awarded to that agency a stand-alone Center for Independent Living. ACL's intent is that the proposed change will add clarity and simplify the signature process. We seek comments on this proposal as well, including whether this change should be implemented and the problems, if any, this interpretation would create. If the proposed language should be implemented in this instance, should it also be applied more broadly across the IL programs? What are the possible implications for the 704 Reporting process?

    Additional proposed regulatory language related to the SPIL in proposed § 1329.17 primarily mirrors Section 704 of the Act and existing regulatory language in 34 CFR part 364, with technical changes, and requirements for effective communication and access for individuals with disabilities, as required under existing law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act as amended.

    Subpart C—Centers for Independent Living

    Subpart C of part 1329 of the regulations concerns the Centers for Independent Living. The proposed regulations are derived from and consolidate existing regulations in 34 CFR part 366. ACL proposes to simplify language and processes and to eliminate duplication of language. We invite comment on the need for additional clarity in these regulatory sections.

    Proposed § 1329.20 refers to the definition of a CIL and eligible agency in § 1329.4 of the regulations, and includes Rehabilitation Act citations regarding the Part C allotment to States and the funding formula to CILs.

    Proposed § 1329.21 outlines the conditions CILs which currently receive Part C funds have to meet in order to receive continuation funding. It also addresses continuation funding requirements for States that receive Part C funds under Section 723 (currently, Minnesota and Massachusetts) and Section 724 (currently American Samoa) of the Act.

    Proposed § 1329.22 discusses competitive awards to new Centers for Independent Living in accordance with the requirements of Sections 722(d) of the Act, 29 U.S.C. 796f-1, 796f-2. It stipulates that such awards are provided to the most qualified applicant based on the selection criteria established by the Administrator consistent with Section 722(d) of the Act; subject to the availability of funds; and in accordance with the order of priorities in Section 722(e) of the Act and the State Plan's design for statewide network of Centers.

    Proposed § 1329.23 addresses the periodic reviews of CILs to verify compliance with the standards and assurances in Section 725(b) and (c) of the Act and the grant terms and conditions, in accordance with Sections 706(c), 722(g) and 723(g) of the Act and guidance set forth by the Administrator.

    Proposed § 1329.24 sets forth the requirement that the Administrator reserve between 1.8 percent and 2 percent of appropriated funds to provide, either directly or through grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements, training and technical assistance to CILs. The proposed regulation states that the training and technical assistance shall be in accordance with Section 721(b) of the Act. ACL intends to provide further guidance in any funding opportunity announcement related to training and technical assistance for CILs.

    II. Regulatory Impact Analysis A. Executive Order 12866

    Executive Order 12866 requires that regulations be drafted to ensure that they are consistent with the priorities and principles set forth in Executive Order 12866. The Department has determined that this rule is consistent with these priorities and principles. Executive Order 12866 encourages agencies, as appropriate, to provide the public with meaningful participation in the regulatory process. The rule implements the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act enacted on July 22, 2014. In developing the final rule, we will consider input received from the public, including stakeholders.

    B. Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    The Secretary certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b), the Regulatory Flexibility Act (Pub. L. 96-354), that this regulation will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The small entities that would be affected by these proposed regulations are States and Centers receiving Federal funds under these programs. However, the regulations would not have a significant economic impact on States or Centers affected because the regulations would not impose excessive regulatory burdens or require unnecessary Federal supervision. The proposed regulations would implement statutory changes that impose new requirements to ensure the proper expenditure of program funds.

    The ILS Program provides formula grants to States for the purpose of funding a number of activities, directly and/or through grant or contractual arrangements. To be eligible for financial assistance, States are required to establish a designated State entity, State Independent Living Council and to submit an approvable three-year State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL) jointly developed by the chairperson of the SILC and the directors of the CILs in the State and signed by the chairperson of the SILC, not less than 51 percent of the directors of the CILs in the state, and the director of the designated State entity (DSE). The signature requirement of not less than 51 percent of CIL directors is a new requirement under WIOA. While this requirement does increase the amount of time a State may need to prepare an approvable SPIL, the statute provides no flexibility in implementing the new requirement. We are not able to estimate the amount of additional time the 51 percent signatory requirement will add to the SPIL development and approval process at the State level given that this is a new requirement. We are soliciting comments from affected States on this issue.

    The CILs program provides grants to consumer-controlled, community-based, cross-disability, nonresidential, private nonprofit agencies for the provision of IL services to individuals with significant disabilities. WIOA expanded the previous definition of core IL services, specified in Section 7(17) of the Act, to include a fifth core service. Specifically, Centers funded by the program must now provide services that facilitate transition from nursing homes and other institutions to the community, provide assistance to those at risk of entering institutions, and facilitate transition of youth to postsecondary life. Currently there are 354 CILs that receive federal funding under this program.

    WIOA did not include any additional funding for the provision of this new fifth core service, but rather assumed that CILs would reallocate existing grant money to ensure the appropriate provision of all services required under Title VII of the Rehabilitation Act. Since successful transition is a process that requires sustained efforts and supports over a long-term period, and the CILs were aware of the changes under the law before officially tracking these efforts as core services, we do not currently have a clear picture of the impact of the changes under WIOA on the programs, though we are applying the closest applicable data to the estimates in this analysis. We hope to conduct a more throughout analysis when we are able to collect updated data and specifically request comments on the impact of the change.

    Analysis of Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 data available in the required annual performance reports (704 Report) indicates that CILs are providing services that are same or similar to the new fifth core service to one or more consumers. For purposes of this analysis, we looked at three specific categories of data currently captured in the 704 Annual Performance Report that we believe most accurately match the three components of the fifth core service.7 We believe that the “Relocation from a Nursing Home or Institution” category matches the first component of the new fifth core service: Facilitate transitions from nursing homes and other institutions to the community. We believe that the “Community-Based Living” category matches the second component of the new fifth core service: Provide assistance to those at risk of entering institutions. We believe the “Youth/Transition Services” category captures some relevant information for the third component of the new fifth core service: Facilitate transition of youth to postsecondary life. For FY 2014, 281 CILs report nursing home transition goals established for at least one consumer, 343 CILS report community-based living goals established for at least one consumer, and 224 CILs report youth transition services provided to at least one consumer under the “Youth/Transition Services” category of the 704 Annual Performance Report.

    7 The current 704 Report was not designed to incorporate the fifth core service, so current data roughly corresponds with the categories.

    5th Core service 704 Annual performance
  • report category
  • Percentage of CILs * Number of CILS
    Facilitate Transitions from Nursing Homes and Other Institutions to the Community Relocation from a Nursing Home or Institution 83 281 Provide Assistance to those at risk of entering institutions Community-Based Living 99 343 Facilitate Transition of Youth to Postsecondary Life Youth/Transition Services 66 224 * Percentage of CILs reporting a goal set for at least one consumer. The Youth/Transition Services sub-category represents the percentage of CILs reporting service provision to at least one consumer.

    Based on this analysis, we believe that many CILs currently have staff capable of providing the new fifth core service. However, due to the lack of additional funding, compliance with this statutory change may require CILs to re-examine their individual budgets, staffing plans, and consumer needs in order to reallocate funding to ensure the appropriate provisions of services as required by the Rehabilitation Act. We estimate that this analysis will require approximately 10-15 hours of time for each CIL director. We proposed to use the upper end of the time estimate (15 hours) for purposes of estimating the total impact of this statutory requirement. Therefore, we estimate the amount of compliance analysis time for CIL directors to total 5,310 hours.

    To estimate the average hourly wage for a CIL director, we examined data compiled by the IL Net (a collaborative project of Independent Living Research Utilization (ILRU), the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), and the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL)) and Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data. According to a 2003 National Survey of Salaries and Work Experience of Center for Independent Living Directors, compiled by IL Net, the most common annual salary range for CIL directors in 2002 was between $41,000 and $45,000. This equates to an average hourly salary range of $19.71 to $21.63. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provided more recent salary information. According to 2012 BLS data, the average hourly wage for a social and community manager (a BLS occupational classification for managers who coordinate and supervise social service programs) was $28.83. We propose using the more recent BLS data to calculate the total estimated impact of this statutory requirement. In order to estimate the benefits and overhead associated with this hourly wage, we assume that these costs equal 100 percent of pre-tax wages, for a total hourly cost of $57.66. Therefore, we estimate the total dollar impact of this additional CIL director time to be $306,174.60.

    As noted previously, we have interpreted recent 704 Reports as indicating that many CILs currently have staff capable of providing the new fifth core service. However, as shown in the table above, a substantial number of CILs do not yet provide the newly required services and therefore would potentially incur costs in order to comply with this proposed rule.8 We would welcome comments from CILs as to their cost estimates of providing the statutorily-required fifth core service, so as to better inform our budgeting assumptions going forward.

    8 Costs of new actions are included in a regulatory impact analysis even when budgets or grant amounts do not change. If CILs are reallocating grant funds to these newly required services, then they are doing some other worthwhile activity to a lesser extent, and the value of that alternative activity represents the opportunity cost of the new requirements.

    WIOA continues to require annual onsite compliance reviews of at least 15 percent of CILs that receive funding under section 722 of the Act and at least one-third of designated state units that receive funds under section 723 of the Act. The only change made by WIOA was to eliminate the requirement that CILs subject to compliance reviews be selected randomly. ACL is not proposing any changes to the compliance review process in this regulation. We do not anticipate any additional burden on grantees as a result of the compliance and review process, including the development of additional corrective action plans in response to such reviews. While ACL is proposing to establish a new appeals process for States where there is the imminent threat of termination or withholding of funds, we anticipate that the process will be utilized infrequently based on past experience of the Independent Living Services programs. The process is designed to provide additional protection against the termination of funding. Therefore, we do not expect that funds will be terminated more or less frequently.

    The allocation of 1.8 to 2 percent of Part B funds to training and technical assistance for SILCs is a new requirement under WIOA. We have limited available data regarding the impact on programs of this provision and therefore request comment on this aspect of the analysis.

    The 5 percent administrative cap on the DSE and 30 percent ceiling on the SILC resource plan (absent a different amount with justification in the SPIL) are also new statutory requirements. The NPRM adopts a narrow interpretation of the 5 percent administrative cap, limiting its application to “Part B” funds only, rather than applying the 5 percent cap on administrative funds allocated to the DSE to all federal funds supporting the Independent Living Services. Additional funding sources include Social Security reimbursements, Vocational Rehabilitation program Innovation and Expansion (I&E) funds, and other public or private funds. The NPRM avoids a broader application of the cap in an attempt to avoid creating too great a disincentive to State agencies to serve as DSEs, given the more limited role of the DSEs in decision-making (as they no longer have a statutory role in the development of the SPIL). Our intent is to effectuate the limitation as required under the law, while helping ensure retention of DSEs for the Part B programs. We request comment on the impacts of this and other potential approaches.

    C. Alternative Approaches

    Although we believe that the approach of the proposed rule best serves the purposes of the law, we considered a regulatory scheme requiring an alternative treatment of the Part B State matching funds. In the proposed rule, funds used to meet the required 10 percent state match are treated the same as funds “received by the State” under Part B.

    To better understand the implications of this decision, consider the five percent administrative cap on the DSE's use of Part B funds for administrative purposes in § 1329.12(a)(5), for example. The proposed regulatory language mandates that WIOA's 5 percent cap on funds for DSE administrative expenses applies only to the Part B funds allocated to the State and to the State's required 10 percent Part B match. It does not apply to other program funds, including, but not limited to, payments provided to a State from the Social Security Administration for assisting Social Security beneficiaries and recipients to achieve employment outcomes, any other federal funds, or to other funds allocated by the State for IL purposes. Treating the issue in this way makes more Part B funds available for IL services and SPIL activities, while retaining sufficient funds to permit the DSE to accomplish its responsibilities and oversight requirements for ILS program funds under the law. One key advantage of this approach is minimizing disruptions to the ILS program from potential DSE decisions to relinquish the program due to insufficient resources to fulfill the WIOA-related fiscal oversight/administrative support responsibilities. For context, on average, 10-15 percent of DSE funding was spent on administrative costs prior to WIOA, though this must be considered along with the more limited role the DSE now plays under the law as amended.

    A narrower interpretation of this provision would be to apply it to Part B funds only, without the state match. Not only would this approach severely limit the funds available for fulfillment of DSE responsibilities under the law, it would also create some potential accounting burdens for programs, as State funds provided as a result of the ILS program's State matching requirement have traditionally been treated similarly to Federal Part B funds. It would also be inconsistent with prior accounting practices regarding the 10% State match for Part B funding, which existed prior to WIOA.

    The broadest interpretation would include all federal funds supporting the ILS program, including Social Security reimbursements and Innovation and Expansion funds from the Title I (Vocational Rehabilitation) program in the cap, which would broaden the pot of monies allocated for administrative costs of the DSE, which on its face seems counter to the change in the law capping the available percentage for these purposes at a relatively low amount.

    D. Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq., requires certain actions before an agency can adopt or revise a collection of information. Under the PRA, we are required to provide notice in the Federal Register and solicit public comment before an information collection request is submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval. In order to fairly evaluate whether an information collection should be approved by OMB, Section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA requires that we solicit comments on new or revised information collections, which in the case of this rule, includes the new SPIL development requirements. The law is also intended to ensure that stakeholders can fully analyze the impact of the rule, which includes the associated reporting burden. We are not introducing any new information collections in this proposed rule however, it does revise process requirements. As discussed earlier, WIOA changed the requirements regarding SPIL development and who must sign the SPIL.

    This NPRM makes no revisions to the 704 reporting instruments, the Section 704 Annual Performance Report (Parts I and II). ACL is currently convening workgroups to recommend and implement changes to the 704 reporting instruments. These changes will be subject to the public comment process under the PRA before they are finalized.

    1. State Plans for Independent Living (SPIL)

    The SPIL encompasses the activities planned by the State to achieve its specified independent living objectives and reflects the State's commitment to comply with all applicable statutory and regulatory requirements during the three years covered by the plan. A SPIL has already been approved in each State through fiscal year 2016. (State Plan for Independent Living and Center for Independent Living Programs, OMB Control Number 1820-0527.) The law remains unchanged that the SPIL continues to govern the provision of IL services in the State. Each State is expected to continue its support, including specified obligations, for an approved SPIL. Any amendments to the SPIL, reflecting either a change based on the WIOA amendments or any material change in State law, organization, policy, or agency operations that affect the administration of the SPIL, must be developed in accordance with Section 704(a)(2) of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended. SPIL amendments must be submitted by the State to ACL for approval.

    WIOA changed the content of the SPIL to the extent that the SPIL must describe how the State will provide independent living services that promote full access to community life for individuals with significant disabilities and describe strategies for providing independent living services on a statewide basis, to the greatest extent possible. The SPIL must also include a justification for any funding allocation of Part B funds above 30% for the SILC's resource plan. We solicit comments on any information we should consider regarding the potential impact of these changes.

    We anticipate that such changes may, on average, increase the amount of time to develop the SPIL by five (5) hours. There are 57 SPILs, one for each state, the District of Columbia, and the six territories. Assuming the same hourly cost of $57.66 discussed in the Regulatory Impact Analysis above, we therefore estimate the cost of the changes to be $16,433.1 (57 SPILs × $57.66/hour × 5 hours). We solicit comments on any information we should consider regarding the potential impact of these changes.

    2. 704 Reporting Requirements

    The Section 704 Annual Performance Report (Parts I and II) are the reporting instruments used to collect information required by the Act, as amended by WIOA, related to the use of Part B and Part C funds. Sections 704(m)(4)(D), 706(d), 704(c)(3) and (4), and 725(c) of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended, and these proposed regulations require CILs and DSEs to submit an annual performance report (704 report) to ACL to receive funding. This proposed regulation simply transfers the statutorily required annual reporting from the Department of Education Regulations to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regulations. No additional reporting requirements are being added to the current OMB approved 704 report at this time. (Section 704 Annual Performance Report (Parts I and II), OMB Control Number 1820-0606).

    Prior to WIOA, an effort was underway to make formal changes to the 704 reporting instruments. The passage of WIOA in July 2014 put those efforts on hold until late 2014. ACL is currently convening workgroups to recommend and implement changes to the 704 reporting instruments, and these changes will be subject to the public comment process under the PRA before they are finalized. Key steps in ACL's current and projected timeline on the process include an external workgroup webinar, held April 1, 2015, to share the status of 704 revision efforts and invite feedback on specific issues. It is ACL's goal to publish the revised reporting instruments for comment in Federal Register in April 2016. According to this projected timeline, in October 2017, programs will begin collecting information for the FY 18 reporting period using the new 704 reporting instruments. In December 2018, the FY18 704 reports reflecting the new reporting requirements will be due.

    Updating the 704 reporting instruments (Parts I and II) will require changes to include the new fifth core service under WIOA. We propose definitions for some of the terms in the fifth core service in this NPRM, and request comments on other areas that need more detail, as well as the burdens on programs of implementing this required core service. Assuming revised 704 reports include reporting on the new fifth core service, we estimate that providing the information will take approximately 1 hour per 704 Report. We estimate the total number of 704 Reports filed annually to be 412.9 Assuming the same hourly cost of $57.66 discussed in the regulatory impact analysis above, we estimate the cost of the changes to be $23,755.92. In summary, future proposed changes to the Section 704 Annual Performance Report (Parts I and II) will be published in the Federal Register in accordance with the requirements of the PRA. However, we seek comments now on these estimates.

    9See, 79 FR 23960 (April 29, 2014); information collection approved June 4, 2014 through June 30, 2017. http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=201404-1820-001.

    Section 706 of the Rehabilitation Act continues to require reviews of CILs funded under Section 722 and reviews of state entities funded under Section 723 of the Rehabilitation Act. Therefore, ACL will continue to conduct compliance reviews and make final decisions on any proposed corrective actions and/or technical assistance related to compliance reviews of a CIL's grants.

    In Section 706(b), 29 U.S.C. 796d-1(b), WIOA requires the Administrator to develop and publish in the Federal Register new indicators of minimum compliance for Statewide Independent Living Councils. The SILC Standards and Indicators of minimum compliance are currently under development. It is ACL's goal to share a draft for informal stakeholder review by January 2016. The CIL indicators of minimum compliance (consistent with the standards set forth in Section 725) are awaiting the addition of the fifth core service, which requires input in response to this proposed rule.

    E. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    Section 202 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Unfunded Mandates Act) requires that a covered agency prepare a budgetary impact statement before promulgating a rule that includes any Federal mandate that may result in expenditures by State, local, or Tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million, adjusted for inflation, or more in any one year.

    If a covered agency must prepare a budgetary impact statement, Section 205 further requires that it select the most cost-effective and least burdensome alternatives that achieves the objectives of the rule and is consistent with the statutory requirements. In addition, Section 203 requires a plan for informing and advising any small government entities that may be significantly or uniquely impacted by a rule.

    ACL has determined that this rulemaking does not result in the expenditure by State, local, and Tribal governments in the aggregate, or by the private sector of more than $100 million in any one year. The total FY 2015 budget for the Independent Living Services and Centers for Independent Living programs authorized under Chapter 1, Title VII of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehabilitation Act or Act), as amended by WIOA (Pub. L. 113-128) is $101,183,000. We do not anticipate that the rule will impact the majority of the budget for these programs.

    F. Congressional Review

    This proposed rule is not a major rule as defined in 5 U.S.C. 804(2).

    G. Assessment of Federal Regulations and Policies on Families

    Section 654 of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act of 1999 requires Federal agencies to determine whether a policy or regulation may affect family well-being. If the agency's conclusion is affirmative, then the agency must prepare an impact assessment addressing seven criteria specified in the law. These proposed regulations do not have an impact on family well-being as defined in the legislation.

    H. Executive Order 13132

    Executive Order 13132 on “federalism” was signed August 4, 1999. The purposes of the Order are: “. . . to guarantee the division of governmental responsibilities between the national government and the States that was intended by the Framers of the Constitution, to ensure that the principles of federalism established by the Framers guide the executive departments and agencies in the formulation and implementation of policies, and to further the policies of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act . . .”

    The Department certifies that this rule does not have a substantial direct effect on States, on the relationship between the Federal government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.

    ACL is not aware of any specific State laws that would be preempted by the adoption of the regulation.

    List of Subjects in 45 CFR 1329

    Centers for independent living, Compliance, Enforcement and appeals, Independent living services, Persons with disabilities, Reporting.

    Dated: June 24, 2015. Kathy Greenlee, Administrator, Administration for Community Living. Approved: July 17, 2015. Sylvia M. Burwell, Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services. Regulatory Language

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, proposes to add part 1329 to title 45, chapter XIII, subchapter C, of the Code of Federal Regulations to read as follows:

    PART 1329—STATE INDEPENDENT LIVING SERVICES AND CENTERS FOR INDEPENDENT LIVING Subpart A—General Provisions Sec. 1329.1 Programs covered. 1329.2 Purpose. 1329.3 Applicability of other regulations. 1329.4 Definitions. 1329.5 Indicators of minimum compliance. 1329.6 Reporting. 1329.7 Enforcement and appeals procedures. Subpart B—Independent Living Services 1329.10 Authorized use of funds for Independent Living Services. 1329.11 DSE eligibility and application. 1329.12 Role of the designated State entity. 1329.13 Allotment of Federal funds for State independent living (IL) services. 1329.14 Establishment of SILC. 1329.15 Duties of the SILC. 1329.16 Authorities of the SILC. 1329.17 General requirements for a State plan. Subpart C—Centers for Independent Living Program 1329.20 Centers for Independent Living (CIL) program. 1329.21 Continuation awards to entities eligible for assistance under the CIL program. 1329.22 Competitive awards to new Centers for Independent Living. 1329.23 Compliance reviews. 1329.24 Training and technical assistance to Centers for Independent Living. Authority:

    29 U.S.C. 709; 42 U.S.C. 3515e.

    Subpart A—General Provisions
    § 1329.1 Programs covered.

    This part includes general requirements applicable to the conduct of the following programs authorized under title VII, chapter 1 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended:

    (a) Independent Living Services (ILS), title VII, chapter 1, part B (29 U.S.C. 796e to 796e-3).

    (b) The Centers for Independent Living (CIL), title VII, chapter 1, part C (29 U.S.C. 796f to 796f-6).

    § 1329.2 Purpose.

    The purpose of title VII of the Act is to promote a philosophy of independent living (IL), including a philosophy of consumer control, peer support, self-help, self-determination, equal access, and individual and system advocacy, in order to maximize the leadership, empowerment, independence, and productivity of individuals with disabilities, and to promote the integration and full inclusion of individuals with disabilities into the mainstream of American society by:

    (a) Providing financial assistance to States for providing, expanding, and improving the provision of IL services;

    (b) Providing financial assistance to develop and support statewide networks of Centers for Independent Living (Centers or CILs)

    (c) Providing financial assistance to States, with the goal of improving the independence of individuals with disabilities, for improving working relationships among—

    (1) State Independent Living Services;

    (2) Centers for Independent Living;

    (3) Statewide Independent Living Councils (SILCs or Councils) established under section 705 of the Act (29 U.S.C. 796d);

    (4) State vocational rehabilitation (VR) programs receiving assistance under Title 1 of the Act;

    (5) State programs of supported employment services receiving assistance under Title VI of the Act;

    (6) Client assistance programs (CAPs) receiving assistance under section 112 of the Act (29 U.S.C. 732);

    (7) Programs funded under other titles of the Act;

    (8) Programs funded under other Federal laws; and

    (9) Programs funded through non-Federal sources with the goal of improving the independence of individuals with disabilities.

    § 1329.3 Applicability of other regulations.

    Several other regulations apply to all activities under this part. These include but are not limited to:

    (a) 45 CFR part 16—Procedures of the Departmental Grant Appeals Board.

    (b) 45 CFR part 46—Protection of Human Subjects.

    (c) 45 CFR part 75—Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for HHS Award.

    (d) 45 CFR part 80—Nondiscrimination under Programs Receiving Federal Assistance through the Department of Health and Human Services—Effectuation of title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    (e) 45 CFR part 81—Practice and Procedures—Practice and Procedure for Hearings under Part 80 of this title.

    (f) 45 CFR part 84—Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Handicap in Programs and Activities Receiving Federal Financial Assistance.

    (g) 45 CFR part 86—Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Sex in Education Programs and Activities Receiving or Benefiting from Federal Financial Assistance.

    (h) 45 CFR part 91—Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Age in Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Financial Assistance from HHS.

    (i) 45 CFR part 93—New restrictions on Lobbying.

    (j) 2 CFR part 376—Nonprocurement Debarment and Suspension

    (k) 2 CFR part 382—Requirements for Drug-Free Workplace (Financial Assistance)

    § 1329.4 Definitions.

    For the purposes of this part, the following definitions apply:

    Act means the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 701 et seq.), as amended. Part B refers to part B of chapter 1 of title VII of the Act (29 U.S.C. 796e to 7963-3). Part C refers to part C of chapter 1 of title VII, of the Act (29 U.S.C. 796f to 796f-6).

    Administrative support services means services and supports provided by the designated State entity under Part B, and to Part C CILs administered by the State under section 723 of the Act in support of the goals, objectives and related activities under an approved State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL). Such support includes any costs associated with contracts and subgrants including fiscal and programmatic oversight, among other services.

    Administrator means the Administrator of the Administration for Community Living (ACL) of the Department of Health and Human Services.

    Advocacy means pleading an individual's cause or speaking or writing in support of an individual. To the extent permitted by State law or the rules of the agency before which an individual is appearing, a non-lawyer may engage in advocacy on behalf of another individual. Advocacy may—

    (1) Involve representing an individual—

    (i) Before private entities or organizations, government agencies (whether State, local, or Federal), or in a court of law (whether State or Federal); or

    (ii) In negotiations or mediation, in formal or informal administrative proceedings before government agencies (whether State, local, or Federal), or in legal proceedings in a court of law; and

    (2) Be on behalf of—

    (i) A single individual, in which case it is individual advocacy;

    (ii) A group or class of individuals, in which case it is systems advocacy; or

    (iii) Oneself, in which case it is self advocacy.

    Attendant care means a personal assistance service provided to an individual with significant disabilities in performing a variety of tasks required to meet essential personal needs in areas such as bathing, communicating, cooking, dressing, eating, homemaking, toileting, and transportation.

    Center for independent living (“Center”) means a consumer-controlled, community-based, cross-disability, nonresidential, private nonprofit agency for individuals with significant disabilities (regardless of age or income) that—

    (1) Is designed and operated within a local community by individuals with disabilities;

    (2) Provides an array of IL services as defined in section 7(18) of the Act, including, at a minimum, independent living core services as defined in section 7(17); and

    (3) Complies with the standards set out in Section 725(b) and provides and complies with the assurances in section 725(c) of the Act and § 1329.5 of these regulations.

    Completed their secondary education means, with respect to the Independent Living Core Services that facilitate the transition of youth who are individuals with significant disabilities in section 7(17)(e)(iii) of the Act, that an eligible youth has received a diploma; has received a certificate of completion for high school or other equivalent document marking the completion of participation in high school; has reached age 18, even if he or she is still receiving services in accordance with an individualized education program developed under the IDEA; or has exceeded the age of eligibility for services under IDEA.

    Consumer control means, with respect to a Center or eligible agency, that the Center or eligible agency vests power and authority in individuals with disabilities, including individuals who are or have been recipients of IL services, in terms of the management, staffing, decision making, operation, and provision of services.

    Cross-disability means, with respect to services provided by a Center, that a Center provides services to individuals with all different types of significant disabilities, including individuals with significant disabilities who are members of unserved or underserved populations by programs under Title VII. Eligibility for services shall be determined by the Center, and shall not be based on the presence of any one or more specific significant disabilities.

    Designated State entity (DSE) is the State agency designated in the State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL) that acts on behalf of the state to provide the functions described in title VII, chapter 1 of the Act.

    Eligible agency means a consumer-controlled, community-based, cross-disability, nonresidential, private, nonprofit agency.

    Independent living core services mean, for purposes of services that are supported under the ILS or CIL programs—

    (1) Information and referral services;

    (2) Independent Living skills training;

    (3) Peer counseling, including cross-disability peer counseling;

    (4) Individual and systems advocacy;

    (5) Services that—

    (i) Facilitate the transition of individuals with significant disabilities from nursing homes and other institutions to home and community-based residences, with the requisite supports and services;

    (ii) Provide assistance to individuals with significant disabilities who are at risk of entering institutions so that the individuals may remain in the community; and

    (iii) Facilitate the transition of youth who are individuals with significant disabilities, who were eligible for individualized education programs under section 614(d) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1414(d)), and who have completed their secondary education or otherwise left school, to postsecondary life.

    Independent living service includes the independent living core services and such other services as described in section 7(18) of the Act.

    Individual with a disability means an individual who—

    (1) Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual;

    (2) Has a record of such an impairment; or

    (3) Is regarded as having such an impairment, as described in section 3(3) of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12102(3)).

    Individual with a significant disability means an individual with a severe physical or mental impairment whose ability to function independently in the family or community or whose ability to obtain, maintain, or advance in employment is substantially limited and for whom the delivery of independent living services will improve the ability to function, continue functioning, or move toward functioning independently in the family or community or to continue in employment, respectively.

    Majority means more than 50 percent.

    Minority group means American Indian, Alaskan Native, Asian American, Black or African American (not of Hispanic origin), Hispanic or Latino (including persons of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, and Central or South American origin), and Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander.

    Nonresidential means, with respect to a Center, that the Center does not operate or manage housing or shelter for individuals as an IL service on either a temporary or long-term basis unless the housing or shelter is—

    (1) Incidental to the overall operation of the Center;

    (2) Necessary so that the individual may receive an IL service; and

    (3) Limited to a period not to exceed eight weeks during any six-month period.

    Peer relationships mean relationships involving mutual support and assistance among individuals with significant disabilities who are actively pursuing IL goals.

    Peer role models mean individuals with significant disabilities whose achievements can serve as a positive example for other individuals with significant disabilities.

    Personal assistance services mean a range of services, paid or unpaid, provided by one or more persons, designed to assist an individual with a disability to perform daily living activities on or off the job that the individual would typically perform if the individual did not have a disability. These services must be designed to increase the individual's control in life and ability to perform everyday activities on or off the job and include but are not limited to: Getting up and ready for work or going out into the community (including bathing and dressing), cooking, cleaning or running errands.

    Service provider means a Center for Independent Living that receives financial assistance under Part B or C of chapter 1 of title VII of the Act; a designated State entity (DSE) that directly provides IL services to individuals with significant disabilities; or any other entity or individual that provides IL services under a grant or contract from the DSE pursuant to section 704(f) of the Act.

    State includes, in addition to each of the several States of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

    State plan means the State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL) required under Section 704 of the Act.

    Unserved and underserved groups or populations include populations such as individuals from racial and ethnic minority backgrounds, disadvantaged individuals, individuals with limited English proficiency, and individuals from underserved geographic areas (rural or urban).

    Youth with a significant disability means an individual with a significant disability who-

    (1) Is not younger than 14 years of age; and

    (2) Is not older than 24 years of age.

    § 1329.5 Indicators of minimum compliance.

    To be eligible to receive funds under this part, a Center must comply with the standards in section 725(b) and assurances in section 725(c) of the Act, with the indicators of minimum compliance established by the Administrator in accordance with section 706 of the Act, and the requirements contained in the terms and conditions of the grant award.

    § 1329.6 Reporting.

    (a) The Center must submit a performance report in a manner and at a time described by the Administrator, consistent with section 704(m)(4)(D) of the Act, 29 U.S.C. 796c(m)(4)(d).

    (b) The DSE must submit a report in a manner and at a time described by the Administrator, consistent with section 704(c)(4) of the Act, 29 U.S.C. 796c(c)(4).

    (c) The Administrator may require such other reports as deemed necessary to carry out the responsibilities set forth in section 706 of the Act, 29 U.S.C. 796d-1.

    § 1329.7 Enforcement and appeals procedures.

    (a) Process for Centers for Independent Living. (1) If the Director of the Independent Living Administration (Director) determines that any Center receiving funds under this part, other than a Center that is provided Part C funding by the State under section 723 of the Act, is not in compliance with the standards and assurances in section 725 (b) and (c) of the Act and of this part, the Director must provide notice to the Center pursuant to guidance determined by the Administrator.

    (2) The Director may offer technical assistance to the Center to develop a corrective action plan or to take such other steps as are necessary to come into comply with the standards and assurances.

    (3) The Center may request a preliminary appeal to the Director in a form and manner determined by the Administrator. The Director shall review the appeal request and provide written notice of the determination within a timely manner.

    (4) Where there is an imminent threat of termination or withholding of funds, the Center may appeal an unfavorable decision by the Director to the Administrator within a time and manner established by the Administrator. The Administrator shall review the appeal request and provide written notice of the determination within a timely manner.

    (5) The Administrator may take steps to enforce a corrective action plan or to terminate funding if the Administrator determines that the Center remains out of compliance.

    (6) Written notice of the determination by the Administrator shall constitute a final determination for purposes of 45 CFR part 16. A Center that receives such notice, which would result in termination or withholding of funds, may appeal to the Departmental Appeals Board pursuant to the provisions of 45 CFR part 16.

    (7) A Center that is administered by the State under Section 723 of the Act must first exhaust any State process before going through the process described in paragraphs (a)(1) through (6) of this section.

    (b) Process for States. (1) If the Director of the Independent Living Administration determines that a State is out of compliance with sections 704, 705, 713 or other pertinent sections of the Act, the Director must provide notice to the State pursuant to guidance determined by the Administrator.

    (2) The Director may offer technical assistance to the State to develop a corrective action plan or to take such other steps as are necessary to ensure that the State comes in to compliance.

    (3) Where there is an imminent threat of termination or withholding of funds, the State may seek an appeal consistent with the steps set forth in paragraphs (a)(3) and (4) of this section.

    (4) The Administrator may take steps to enforce statutory or regulatory requirements or to terminate funding if the Administrator determines that the State remains out of compliance.

    (5) Written notice of the determination by the Administrator shall constitute a final determination for purposes of 45 CFR part 16 with regard to the types of determinations set forth in 45 CFR part 16, appendix A, section C, paragraphs (a)(1) through (4). A State that receives such notice that would result in termination or withholding of funds may appeal to the Departmental Appeals Board pursuant to the provisions of 45 CFR part 16.

    Subpart B—Independent Living Services
    § 1329.10 Authorized use of funds for Independent Living Services.

    (a) The State, after reserving funds under section 13(d) for SILC training and technical assistance:

    (1) May use funds received under this part to support the SILC resource plan described in section 705(e) of the Act but may not use more than 30 percent of the funds unless an approved SPIL so specifies pursuant to § 1329.15(c);

    (2) May retain funds under section 704(c)(5) of the Act; and

    (3) Shall distribute the remainder of the funds received under this part in a manner consistent with the approved State plan for the activities described in paragraph (b) of this section.

    (b) The State may use the remainder of the funds described in paragraph (a)(3) of this section to—

    (1) Provide to individuals with significant disabilities the independent living (IL) services required by section 704(e) of the Act, particularly those in unserved areas of the State;

    (2) Demonstrate ways to expand and improve IL services;

    (3) Support the operation of Centers for Independent Living (Centers) that are in compliance with the standards and assurances in section 725 (b) and (c) of the Act;

    (4) Support activities to increase the capacities of public or nonprofit agencies and organizations and other entities to develop comprehensive approaches or systems for providing IL services;

    (5) Conduct studies and analyses, gather information, develop model policies and procedures, and present information, approaches, strategies, findings, conclusions, and recommendations to Federal, State, and local policy makers in order to enhance IL services for individuals with significant disabilities;

    (6) Train individuals with disabilities and individuals providing services to individuals with disabilities, and other persons regarding the IL philosophy; and

    (7) Provide outreach to populations that are unserved or underserved by programs under title VII of the Act, including minority groups and urban and rural populations.

    § 1329.11 DSE eligibility and application.

    (a) Any designated State entity (DSE) identified by the State pursuant to section 704(c) is eligible to apply for assistance under this part in accordance with section 704 of the Act, 29 U.S.C. 796c.

    (b) To receive financial assistance under Parts B and C of chapter 1 of title VII, a State shall submit to the Administrator and obtain approval of a State plan that meets the requirements of section 704 of the Act, 29 U.S.C. 796c.

    (c) Allotments to states are determined in accordance with section 711 of the Act, 29 U.S.C. 796e.

    § 1329.12 Role of the designated State entity.

    (a) A DSE that applies for and receives assistance must:

    (1) Receive, account for, and disburse funds received by the State under Part B and Part C in a State under section 723 of the Act based on the state plan;

    (2) Provide administrative support services for a program under Part B and for CILs under Part C when administered by the State under section 723 of the Act, 29 U.S.C. 796f-2;

    (3) Keep such records and afford such access to such records as the Administrator finds to be necessary with respect to the programs;

    (4) Submit such additional information or provide such assurances as the Administrator may require with respect to the programs; and

    (5) Retain not more than 5 percent of the funds received by the State for any fiscal year under Part B, for the performance of the services outlined in paragraphs (a)(1) through (4) of this section. For purposes of these regulations, the 5 percent cap on funds for administrative expenses applies only to the Part B funds allocated to the State and to the State's required 10 percent Part B match. It does not apply to other program income funds, including, but not limited to, payments provided to a State from the Social Security Administration for assisting Social Security beneficiaries and recipients to achieve employment outcomes, any other federal funds, or to other funds allocated by the State for IL purposes.

    (b) The DSE must also carry out its other responsibilities under the Act, including, but not limited to, arranging for the delivery of IL services under Part B of the Act, and for the necessary and sufficient resources needed by the SILC to fulfill its statutory duties and authorities, as authorized in the approved State Plan.

    (c) Fiscal and accounting requirements: The DSE must adopt fiscal control and fund accounting procedures as may be necessary to ensure the proper disbursement of and accounting for federal funds provided to CILs, SILCs, and/or other services providers under the ILS program. The DSE must comply with all applicable federal and state laws and regulations, including those in 45 CFR parts 75.

    § 1329.13 Allotment of Federal funds for State independent living (IL) services.

    (a) The allotment of Federal funds for State IL services for each State is computed in accordance with the requirements of section 711(a)(1) of the Act.

    (b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a) of this section, the allotment of Federal funds for Guam, American Samoa, the United States Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands is computed in accordance with section 711(a)(2) of the Act.

    (c) If the State plan designates a State agency or unit of a State agency to administer the part of the plan under which State IL services are provided for individuals who are blind and a separate or different State agency or unit of a State agency to administer the rest of the plan, the division of the State's allotment between these two units is a matter for State determination, consistent with the State plan.

    (d) The Administrator shall reserve between 1.8 percent and 2 percent of appropriated funds to provide, either directly or through grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements, training and technical assistance to SILCs. Training and technical assistance funds shall be administered in accordance with section 711A of the Act.

    § 1329.14 Establishment of a SILC.

    (a) To be eligible to receive assistance under this part, each state shall establish and maintain a SILC that meets the requirements of section 705 of the Act, including composition and appointment of members.

    (b) The SILC shall not be established as an entity within a State agency, including the DSE. The SILC shall be independent of and autonomous from the DSE and all other State agencies.

    § 1329.15 Duties of the SILC.

    (a) The duties of the SILC are those set forth in section 705(c), (d), and (e) of the Act.

    (1) The SILC shall develop of the SPIL in accordance with guidelines developed by the Administrator.

    (2) The SILC shall monitor, review and evaluate the implementation of the SPIL on a regular basis as determined by the SILC and set forth in the SPIL.

    (3) The SILC shall meet regularly, and ensure that such meetings are open to the public and sufficient advance notice of such meetings is provided;

    (4) The SILC shall submit to the Administrator such periodic reports as the Administrator may reasonably request, and keep such records, and afford such access to such records, as the Administrator finds necessary to verify the information in such reports; and

    (5) The SILC shall, as appropriate, coordinate activities with other entities in the State that provide services similar to or complementary to independent living services, such as entities that facilitate the provision of or provide long-term community-based services and supports.

    (b) In carrying out the duties under this section, the SILC may provide contact information for the nearest appropriate CIL. Sharing of such information shall not constitute the direct provision of independent living services as defined in section 705(c)(3) of the Act.

    (c) The SILC, in conjunction with the DSE, shall prepare a plan for the provision of resources, including staff and personnel that are necessary and sufficient to carry out the functions of the SILC.

    (1) The resource plan amount shall be commensurate, to the extent possible, with the estimated costs related to SILC fulfilment of its duties and authorities consistent with the approved State Plan.

    (2) Such resources may consist of Part B funds, State matching funds, Innovation and Expansion (I & E) funds authorized by 29 U.S.C. 721(a)(18), and other public and private sources.

    (3) In accordance with § 1329.10(a)(1), no more than 30 percent of the State's allocation of Part B and Part B State matching funds may be used to fund the resource plan, unless the approved SPIL provides that more than 30 percent is needed and justifies the greater percentage.

    (4) No conditions or requirements may be included in the SILC's resource plan that may compromise the independence of the SILC.

    (5) The SILC is responsible for the proper expenditure of funds and use of resources that it receives under the resource plan.

    (6) A description of the SILC's resource plan must be included in the State plan.

    (d) As appropriate, the SILC shall coordinate activities with other entities in the State that provide services similar to or complementary to independent living services, such as entities that facilitate the provision of or provide long-term community-based services and supports, to better serve individuals with significant disabilities and help achieve the purpose of section 701 of the Act.

    (e) The SILC shall, consistent with State law, supervise and evaluate its staff and other personnel as may be necessary to carry out its functions under this section.

    § 1329.16 Authorities of the SILC.

    (a) The SILC may conduct the following discretionary activities, as authorized and described in the approved State Plan:

    (1) Work with Centers for Independent Living to coordinate services with public and private entities to improve services provided to individuals with disabilities;

    (2) Conduct resource development activities to support the activities described in the approved SPIL and/or to support the provision of independent living services by Centers for Independent Living; and

    (3) Perform such other functions, consistent with the purpose of this part and comparable to other functions described in section 705(c) of the Act, as the Council determines to be appropriate and authorized in the approved SPIL.

    (b) In undertaking the foregoing duties and authorities, the SILC shall:

    (1) Coordinate with the CILs in order to avoid conflicting or overlapping activities within the CILs' established service areas;

    (2) Not engage in activities that constitute the direct provision of IL services to individuals, including the IL core services; and

    (3) Comply with Federal prohibitions against lobbying.

    § 1329.17 General requirements for a State plan.

    (a) The State may use funds received under Part B to support the Independent Living Services program and to meet its obligation under the Act, including the section 704(e) requirements that apply to the provision of independent living services. The State plan must stipulate that the State will provide IL services, directly and/or through grants and contracts, with Federal, State or other funds, and must describe how and to whom those funds will be disbursed for this purpose.

    (b) In order to receive financial assistance under this part, a State shall submit to the Administrator a State plan for independent living.

    (1) The State plan must contain, in the form prescribed by the Administrator, the information set forth in section 704 of the Act, including designation of an Agency to serve as the designated State entity, and such other information requested by the Administrator.

    (2) The State plan must contain the assurances set forth in section 704(m) of the Act.

    (3) The State plan must be signed in accordance with the provisions of this part.

    (4) The State plan must be submitted 90 days before the completion date of the proceeding plan, and otherwise in the time frame and manner prescribed by the Administrator.

    (5) The State plan must be approved by the Administrator.

    (c) The State plan must cover a period of not more than three years and must be amended whenever necessary to reflect any material change in State law, organization, policy, or agency operations that affects the administration of the State plan.

    (d) The State plan must be jointly—

    (1) Developed by the chairperson of the SILC, and the directors of the CILs, after receiving public input from individuals with disabilities and other stakeholders throughout the State; and

    (2) Signed by the—

    (i) Chairperson of the SILC, acting on behalf of and at the direction of the SILC;

    (ii) The director of the DSE; and

    (iii) Not less than 51 percent of the directors of the CILs in the State. For purposes of this provision, if a legal entity that constitutes the “CIL” has multiple Part C grants considered as separate Centers for all other purposes, for SPIL signature purposes, it is only considered as one Center.

    (e) In States where DSE duties are shared with a separate State agency authorized to administer vocational rehabilitation (VR) services for individuals who are blind, the State plan must be signed by the:

    (1) Director of the DSE;

    (2) Director of the separate State agency authorized to provide VR services for individuals who are blind;

    (3) Chairperson of the SILC, acting on behalf of and at the direction of the SILC; and

    (4) Not less than 51 percent of the directors of the CILs in the State.

    (f) Periodic review and revision. The State plan must provide for the review and revision of the plan, not less than once every three years, to ensure the existence of appropriate planning, financial support and coordination, and other assistance to meet the requirements of section 704(a) of the Act.

    (g) Public input. (1) The public, including people with disabilities and other stakeholders throughout the State, must have an opportunity to comment on the State plan prior to its submission to the Administrator and on any revisions to the approved State plan. Meeting this standard for public input from individuals with disabilities requires providing reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures; effective communication and appropriate auxiliary aids and services for individuals with disabilities, which may include the provision of qualified interpreters and information in alternate formats, free of charge.

    (2) The requirement in paragraph (g)(1) of this section may be met by holding public meetings before a preliminary draft State plan is prepared or by providing a preliminary draft State plan for comment at the public meetings, as appropriate.

    (3) To meet the public input standard of paragraph (g) of this section, a public meeting requires:

    (i) Accessible, appropriate and sufficient notice provided at least 30 days prior to the public meeting through various media available to the general public, such as Web sites, newspapers and public service announcements, and through specific contacts with appropriate constituency groups.

    (ii) All notices, including notices published on a Web site, and other written materials provided at or prior to public meetings must be available upon request in accessible formats.

    (h) The State plan must identify those provisions that are State-imposed requirements. For purposes of this section, a State-imposed requirement includes any State law, regulation, rule, or policy relating to the DSE's administration or operation of IL programs under Title VII of the Act, including any rule or policy implementing any Federal law, regulation, or guideline that is beyond what would be required to comply with the regulations in this part.

    (i) The State plan must address how the specific requirements in the Act and in paragraph (g) of this section will be met.

    Subpart C—Centers for Independent Living Program
    § 1329.20 Centers for Independent Living (CIL) program.

    State allotments of Part C, funds shall be based on section 721(c) of the Act, and distributed to Centers within the State in accordance with the order of priorities in sections 722(e) and 723(e) of the Act.

    § 1329.21 Continuation awards to entities eligible for assistance under the CIL program.

    (a) In any State in which the Administrator has approved the State plan required by section 704 of the Act, an eligible agency funded under Part C in fiscal year 2015 may receive a continuation award in FY 2016 or a succeeding fiscal year if the Center has—

    (1) Complied during the previous project year with the standards and assurances in section 725 of the Act and the terms and conditions of its grant; and

    (2) Submitted an approvable annual performance report demonstrating that the Center meets the indicators of minimum compliance referenced in in § 1329.5.

    (b) If an eligible agency administers more than one Part C grant, each of the Center grants must meet the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section to receive a continuation award.

    (c) A designated State entity (DSE) that operated a Center in accordance with section 724(a) of the Act in fiscal year (FY) 2015 is eligible to continue receiving assistance under this part in FY 2016 or a succeeding fiscal year if, for the fiscal year for which assistance is sought—

    (1) No nonprofit private agency submits and obtains approval of an acceptable application under section 722 or 723 of the Act to operate a Center for that fiscal year before a date specified by the Administrator; or

    (2) After funding all applications so submitted and approved, the Administrator determines that funds remain available to provide that assistance.

    (d) A Center operated by the DSE under section 724(a) of the Act must comply with paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) of this section to receive continuation funding, except for the requirement that the Center be a private nonprofit agency.

    (e) A designated State entity that administered Part C funds and awarded grants directly to Centers within the State under section 723 of the Act in fiscal year (FY) 2015 is eligible to continue receiving assistance under section 723 in FY 2016 or a succeeding fiscal year if the Administrator determines that the amount of State funding earmarked by the State to support the general operation of Centers during the preceding fiscal year equaled or exceeded the amount of federal funds allotted to the State under section 721(c) of the Act for that fiscal year.

    (f) A DSE may apply to administer Part C funds under section 723 in the time and in the manner that the Administrator may require, consistent with section 723(a)(1)(A) of the Act.

    (g) Grants awarded by the DSE under section 723 of the Act are subject to the requirements of paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section and the order of priorities in section 723(e) of the Act, unless the DSE and the SILC jointly agree on another order of priorities.

    § 1329.22 Competitive awards to new Centers for Independent Living.

    (a) Subject to the availability of funds and in accordance with the order of priorities in section 722(e) of the Act and the State Plan's design for the statewide network of Centers, an eligible agency may receive Part C funding as a new Center for Independent Living in a State, if the eligible agency:

    (1) Submits to the Administrator an application at the time and manner required in the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) issued by the Administrator which contains the information and meets the selection criteria established by the Administrator in accordance with section 722(d) of the Act;

    (2) Proposes to serve a geographic area that has been designated as a priority unserved or underserved in the State Plan for Independent Living and that is not served by an existing Part C-funded Center; and

    (3) Is determined by the Administrator to be the most qualified applicant to serve the designated priority area consistent with the State plan setting forth the design of the State for establishing a statewide network of Centers for independent living.

    (b) An existing Part C-funded Center may apply to serve the designated unserved or underserved areas if it proposes the establishment of a separate and complete Center (except that the governing board of the existing center may serve as the governing board of the new Center) at a different geographical location, consistent with the requirements in the FOA.

    (c) An eligible agency located in a bordering State may be eligible for a new CIL award if the Administrator determines, based on the submitted application, that the agency:

    (1) Is the most qualified applicant meeting the requirements in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section; and

    (2) Has the expertise and resources necessary to serve individuals with significant disabilities who reside in the bordering State, in accordance with the requirements of the Act and these regulations.

    (d) If there are insufficient funds under the State's allotment to fund a new Center, the Administrator may—

    (1) Use the excess funds in the State to assist existing Centers consistent with the State plan; or

    (2) Reallot these funds in accordance with section 721(d) of the Act.

    § 1329.23 Compliance reviews.

    (a) Centers receiving Part C funding shall be subject to periodic reviews, including on-site reviews, in accordance with sections 706(c), 722(g), and 723(g) of the Act and guidance set forth by the Administrator, to verify compliance with the standards and assurances in section 725(b) and (c) of the Act and the grant terms and conditions. The Administrator shall annually conduct reviews of at least 15 percent of the Centers.

    (b) A copy of each review under this section shall be provided, in the case of section 723(g), by the director of the DSE to the Administrator and to the SILC, and in the case of section 722(g), by the Administrator to the SILC and the DSE.

    § 1329.24 Training and technical assistance to Centers for Independent Living.

    The Administrator shall reserve between 1.8% and 2% of appropriated funds to provide training and technical assistance to Centers through grants, contracts or cooperative agreements, consistent with section 721(b) of the Act. The training and technical assistance funds shall be administered in accordance with section 721(b) of the Act.

    Editorial Note:

    This document was received for publication by the Office of the Federal Register on November 9, 2015.

    [FR Doc. 2015-28888 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4150-04-P
    80 220 Monday, November 16, 2015 Notices DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Food Safety and Inspection Service [Docket Number FSIS-2013-0029] RIN 0583-AD39 Availability of FSIS Compliance Guidelines for Allergens and Ingredients of Public Health Concern: Identification, Prevention and Control, and Declaration Through Labeling AGENCY:

    Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice of availability.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is announcing the availability of an updated version of the Agency's compliance guidelines for controlling hazards posed by allergens and other ingredients of public health concern. The guidelines provide recommendations for identifying hazards when conducting a hazard analysis and for preventing and controlling hazards through a hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) plan or Sanitation standard operating procedures (SOPs) or other prerequisite programs with respect to these substances.

    ADDRESSES:

    A downloadable version of the revised compliance guide is available to view and print at [http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/f9cbb0e9-6b4d-4132-ae27-53e0b52e840e/Allergens-Ingredients.pdf?MOD=AJPERES]. No hard copies of the compliance guidelines have been published.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For further information contact Daniel Engeljohn, Assistant Administrator, Office of Policy and Program Development, FSIS, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250-3700, (202) 205-0495.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    On April 21, 2014, FSIS published a Federal Register notice (79 FR 22083) announcing the availability of and opportunity to comment on Agency guidance on allergens and other ingredients of public health concern. FSIS explained that in recent years (2008-2012), there had been a sustained increase in the number of recalls of FSIS-regulated product that contained undeclared allergens, and that these recalls were preventable as many had been the result of ingredient changes, product changes, products in the wrong package, or products with misprinted labels. The Agency also explained that the consumption of meat and poultry products containing ingredients of public health concern, such as undeclared allergens, may result in adverse health outcomes for certain individuals.

    The Agency explained that it was issuing the guidelines to provide meat and poultry establishments with recommendations on how to identify hazards with respect to allergens and other ingredients of public health concern when conducting their hazard analysis, how to prevent and control these hazards through HACCP plans, Sanitation SOPs, or other prerequisite programs, and how to properly declare allergens in product. The guidelines also provided information on proper procedures for processing, handling, storing, and labeling a product with an allergenic ingredient or ingredient of public health concern.

    In addition, the Agency explained that the guidelines represent the best practice recommendations of FSIS, based on scientific and practical considerations, and that the recommendations are not requirements. FSIS said that by following the guidelines, establishments would be likely to ensure that product labels declare all ingredients, as required in the regulations, and that the product would not contain undeclared allergens or other undeclared ingredients. FSIS recommended that establishments consider incorporating the guidelines in their HACCP plan or Sanitation SOPs or other prerequisite programs.

    Updated Guidelines:

    FSIS has updated the guidelines to include numbered appendices for diagrams, checklists, and supplemental information to simplify locating these references. In response to the comments discussed below, FSIS updated the guidelines by:

    • Clarifying, on pages 2 and 4, that the focus of the document is on FSIS-regulated establishments, state-regulated establishments, and operations where all or part of the premises meet the “food processing plant” definition, as defined in the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) “2013 Food Code”;

    • clarifying, in Section 1.2, page 5, that sulfur-based preservatives (sulfites), lactose, FD&C Yellow 5 (Tartrazine), gluten, and monosodium glutamate (MSG) are ingredients of concern that may result in adverse reactions in certain susceptible individuals, yet they are not considered allergens;

    • revising the “What is a letter of guarantee (LOG)?” box on page 8, and adding a paragraph on page 9 to clarify and describe a LOG, the difference between a LOG and a Certificate of Analysis (COA), and the communication and coordination between an establishment and its suppliers that FSIS recommends when an establishment relies on LOGs;

    • adding “Allergenic Ingredients and Foods,” a listing of allergenic ingredients and foods that may contain allergenic ingredients, as a resource (Appendix 6);

    • adding “Tips for Avoiding Your Allergen,” published by Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) to the “References and Resources” section (Appendix 7); and

    • adding FSIS Directive 8080.1, “Recall of Meat and Poultry Products,” to the ”References and Resources” section (Appendix 7).

    In addition, in Section 2.1, FSIS edited the text to emphasize the purpose of a hazard analysis and a hazard identification. Under Section 2.3, FSIS edited the third paragraph to delete that an establishment include storage in its HACCP system because that guidance is included in the first paragraph of this section. Also, in Section 2.3, FSIS added the recommendation that an establishment conduct simulations with inaccurate product labels to test system, checklists, and procedures as a step to prevent mislabeling during packing, labeling, and storage of the final product.

    Comments and Responses

    FSIS received a total of seven comments in response to the April 2014 Federal Register notice and guidelines. The commenters included consumer and trade organizations, individuals, and a professional organization. The comments and the Agency's responses are discussed below.

    Comment: A professional organization recommended that FSIS modify the introductory sections of the document to clarify that the compliance guidelines were developed for a processing setting.

    Response: FSIS has modified the introductory sections of the guidelines to clarify that the emphasis of the document is on FSIS-regulated establishments, state-regulated establishments, and operations where all or part of the premises meet the food processing plant definition as defined in the FDA “2013 Food Code,” available online at (http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/GuidanceRegulation/RetailFoodProtection/FoodCode/UCM374510.pdf).

    Comment: An individual commented that Attachment 3 to FSIS Notice 29-13, “Allergenic Ingredients and Foods,” is very useful, especially to very small meat and poultry establishments, including those that are dual jurisdiction processing establishments, and that it should be included in the compliance guidelines.

    Response: The attachment, entitled, “Allergenic Ingredients and Foods,” is based on “Tips for Avoiding Your Allergen,” published by Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE). FSIS Notice 29-13 was issued in April 2013 and is now expired. FSIS agrees that the attachment provides useful information and has included it in the guidelines as Appendix 7.

    Comment: A consumer group recommended clarifying that some of the ingredients listed under Section 1.2 are not allergens, and that monosodium glutamate (MSG) should not be included because research has not confirmed that it causes adverse reactions.

    Response: The list of ingredients in Section 1.2 has been modified to clarify that sulfur-based preservatives (sulfites), lactose, FD&C Yellow 5 (Tartrazine), gluten, and monosodium glutamate (MSG) are ingredients that may result in an adverse reaction in certain susceptible individuals, yet they are not considered allergens. FSIS is concerned about all foods or food ingredients that may cause adverse health effects. Therefore, MSG remains an ingredient of public health concern.

    Comment: A trade group recommended that, to ensure that industry is aware of the recommendations in the compliance guide, FSIS provide outreach to the meat and poultry industry.

    Response: FSIS intends to provide outreach to the meat and poultry industry on the compliance guidelines by conducting web-based (webinar) sessions for industry and announcing he compliance guide recommendations on the FSIS Small Plant News Web page at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/newsroom/meetings/newsletters/small-plant-news/small-plant-news.

    Comment: One commenter requested that FSIS require the listing of all spices by name on product labels. The commenter stated that spice allergies are significant health concerns and that food labels need to specifically list all spices in the product. The commenter was specifically concerned with the labeling of garlic.

    Response: The Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) and the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA) require the listing of the common or usual name of ingredients on product labels, except that spices and flavorings may be designated as “spices” and “flavorings,” without naming each ingredient. Therefore, FSIS does not have the legal authority to require the listing of each spice or flavoring. The term “spice” is defined in the FSIS labeling regulations (9 CFR 317.2(f)(1)(i)(A) and 381.118(c)(1)) to mean any aromatic vegetable substance in the whole, broken or ground form, with the exceptions of onions, garlic and celery, whose primary function in food is seasoning rather than nutritional, and from which no portion of any volatile oil or other flavoring principle has been removed. In addition, the terms “natural flavor,” “natural flavoring,” “flavor,” or “flavoring” may be used to designate spices as well as powdered garlic, powdered onion, or celery powder, specifically. If whole or broken garlic is used in the formulation of the product, it would need to be declared in the list of ingredients.

    Comment: Two trade organizations commented that throughout the guidelines, the focus was on the “Big Eight” allergens with little discussion of the ingredients of concern that may cause adverse reactions in susceptible individuals. The commenters recommended that a list of ingredients of public health concern be created in collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases or similarly informed entity.

    Response: FSIS is concerned about all foods or food ingredients that may cause adverse health effects. These include the “Big Eight” ingredients as well as other ingredients of concern. As discussed above, FSIS has modified the list of ingredients in Section 1.2 to clarify that sulfur-based preservatives (sulfites), lactose, FD&C Yellow 5 (Tartrazine), gluten, and monosodium glutamate (MSG) are ingredients of concern that may cause adverse reactions in certain susceptible individuals. However, FSIS has not established a list of all ingredients to which consumers have reported adverse reactions. Establishments are required to be aware of the ingredients they are using in the production of their products and to determine whether the ingredients may trigger food sensitivities. They need to employ the necessary in-plant controls to prevent cross-contact and assure accurate label declarations.

    In addition, FSIS Directive 8080.1, “Recall of Meat and Poultry Products,” lists factors considered by the FSIS Recall Committee when evaluating the public health significance of an undeclared ingredient in a meat or poultry product. The directive lists the questions and other factors that the Agency considers. Although the Directive provides instructions to FSIS personnel, the questions that the FSIS recall committee considers will be helpful to industry also. Therefore, the Directive has been added to the “References and Resources” section (Appendix 7).

    Comment: A trade organization recommended that the list of undeclared allergen recalls include the corrective actions taken to ensure that allergens appear on the label.

    Response: FSIS agrees that providing undeclared allergen corrective action scenarios could be a useful mechanism to ensure that allergens appear on the label. “Allergen Scenarios and Possible Prevention Measures,” Appendix 5 of the compliance guidelines, is based on historical recalls, giving some insight into the possible preventive measures that would have prevented the undeclared allergen.

    Comment: Two trade organizations commented that requiring establishments to review ingredient lists on a continuous basis, especially when an establishment has changed suppliers, or the supplier has modified the ingredient formula, would create unjustified increases in manufacturing cost. They additionally commented that a review of letters of guarantee should not to be confused with certificates of analysis.

    Response: FSIS has edited the “What is a letter of guarantee (LOG)” box on page 8 of the guidelines, as well as the description of recommendations on page 9 to clarify what are Letters of Guarantee. As mentioned above, establishments are required to be aware of the ingredients they are using in the production of their products and to determine whether they have considered and employed the necessary in-plant controls to prevent cross-contact and assure accurate label declarations. LOGs are a means to prevent the possible inclusion in the product of an allergen that is not declared on the product label. If a LOG is only a general statement, the establishment should consider initiating a dialogue with its suppliers to ensure the establishment understands ingredient information or to recommend that more specific information be included in LOGs. However, these are guidelines, and FSIS is not establishing any new requirements.

    Comment: Two trade organizations commented that if the Agency is suggesting that testing is the only way to meet the guidelines, the guidelines are regulatory requirements that should follow proper rulemaking procedures. The commenters stated that examples of cleaning controls and procedures of sanitation verification should be provided in the guidelines. They also recommended that testing ingredients should only be done in cooperation and knowledge of the supplier to ensure that related product is properly held.

    Response: Because some FSIS-regulated establishments conduct testing for allergens in their products, page 12 of the guidelines includes information about the test kits and the use of reference laboratories. As stated in the guidelines, allergen testing may be considered to verify and document sanitation effectiveness. As also noted in the guidelines, testing is not the only way to demonstrate that allergens are not presented on a production line, on equipment, or in product, Section 2.2 specifically addresses sanitation. Therefore, testing is not required, and the guidelines do not represent regulatory requirements.

    When establishments conduct allergen testing of ingredients, FSIS encourages communication with the supplier. Also, FSIS recommends that establishments hold or control product tested for allergens until they receive results, although doing so is not required. Establishments should design their food safety system within their available resources to take all necessary and practical steps to ensure that only safe product enters commerce.

    Comment: Two trade organizations commented that proper labeling and packaging of products constitutes product separation. They stated that recommending unrealistic definitions of separation would be an unwarranted expense that would not effectively correct the cause of allergen recalls.

    Response: Properly labeling and packaging products is essential and required by FSIS regulations and authorizing statues. As an additional preventive measure, as stated in the guidance, establishments should consider whether the identification and separation of products would effectively prevent employees from selecting the wrong ingredient during formulation, the wrong label, or the wrong product.

    Comment: Two trade organizations commented that the compliance guideline establishes regulatory requirements. They recommended that the document more clearly state that the practices in the compliance guidelines are neither regulatory requirements nor the only way to control and prevent undeclared allergens in the production process.

    Response: The compliance guidelines are intended to inform industry about effective and innovative methods to address the problem of undeclared allergens and ingredients of public health concern. The document does not establish any new requirements that industry must follow, but rather it is intended to assist establishments in meeting the existing FSIS labeling and HACCP regulations.

    The compliance guidelines provide recommendations, not requirements, to establishments for identifying hazards when conducting a hazard analysis and for preventing and controlling hazards with respect to allergens and other ingredients of public health concern through the implementation of HACCP plans, sanitation SOPs, or other prerequisite programs. The guidelines were edited to clarify that the document consists of recommendations, not requirements.

    Additional Public Notification

    Public awareness of all segments of rulemaking and policy development is important. Consequently, FSIS will announce this Federal Register publication on-line through the FSIS Web page located at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/federal-register.

    FSIS also will make copies of this publication available through the FSIS Constituent Update, which is used to provide information regarding FSIS policies, procedures, regulations, Federal Register notices, FSIS public meetings, and other types of information that could affect or would be of interest to our constituents and stakeholders. The Update is available on the FSIS Web page. Through the Web page, FSIS is able to provide information to a much broader, more diverse audience. In addition, FSIS offers an email subscription service which provides automatic and customized access to selected food safety news and information. This service is available at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/subscribe. Options range from recalls to export information, regulations, directives, and notices. Customers can add or delete subscriptions themselves, and have the option to password protect their accounts.

    USDA Non-Discrimination Statement

    No agency, officer, or employee of the USDA shall, on the grounds of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, or political beliefs, exclude from participation in, deny the benefits of, or subject to discrimination any person in the United States under any program or activity conducted by the USDA.

    How To File a Complaint of Discrimination

    To file a complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, which may be accessed online at http://www.ocio.usda.gov/sites/default/files/docs/2012/Complain_combined_6_8_12.pdf, or write a letter signed by you or your authorized representative.

    Send your completed complaint form or letter to USDA by mail, fax, or email:

    Mail

    U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250-9410.

    Fax

    (202) 690-7442

    Email

    [email protected]

    Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.), should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).

    Done, at Washington, DC, on: November 9, 2015. Alfred V. Almanza, Acting Administrator.
    [FR Doc. 2015-28935 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-DM-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Yakutat Resource Advisory Committee AGENCY:

    Forest Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice of meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The Yakutat Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) will meet in Yakutat, Alaska. The committee is authorized under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act (the Act) and operates in compliance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The purpose of the committee is to improve collaborative relationships and to provide advice and recommendations to the Forest Service concerning projects and funding consistent with Title II of the Act. RAC information can be found at the following Web site http://cloudapps-usda-gov.force.com/FSSRS/RAC_Page?id=001t0000002JcvkAAC.

    DATES:

    The meeting will be held December 10 & 11, 2015 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

    All RAC meetings are subject to cancellation. For status of meeting prior to attendance, please contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lee A. Benson, District Ranger and Designated Federal Official, Yakutat Ranger District, (907) 784-3359.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will be held at the Kwaan Conference Room, 712 Ocean Cape Drive, Yakutat, Alaska. Send written comments to Lee A. Benson,c/o Forest Service, USDA, P.O. Box 327, Yakutat, AK 99689, electronically to [email protected], or via facsimile to 907-784-3457.

    Written comments may be submitted as described under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. All comments, including names and addresses when provided, are placed in the record and are available for public inspection and copying. The public may inspect comments received at the Yakutat Ranger District Office. Please call ahead to facilitate entry into the building.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Lee A. Benson, District Ranger by phone at (907) 784-3359 or via email at [email protected]

    Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The purpose of the meeting is to: Review current and completed projects. We will also review proposals submitted for 2016 and 2017 project years.

    The meeting is open to the public. The agenda will include time for people to make oral statements of three minutes or less. Individuals wishing to make an oral statement should request in writing by December 2, 2015 to be scheduled on the agenda. Anyone who would like to bring related matters to the attention of the committee may file written statements with the committee staff before or after the meeting. Written comments and requests for time to make oral comments must be sent to Lee A. Benson, District Ranger, P.O. Box 327, Yakutat, AK 99689 by email to [email protected], or via facsimile to (907) 784-3457.

    Meeting Accommodations: If you are a person requiring reasonable accommodation, please make requests in advance for sign language interpreting, assistive listening devices or other reasonable accommodation for access to the facility or proceedings by contacting the person listed in the section titled FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. All reasonable accommodation requests are managed on a case by case basis.

    Dated: November 3, 2015. Lee A. Benson, District Ranger.
    [FR Doc. 2015-28873 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3411-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Deschutes Provincial Advisory Committee AGENCY:

    Forest Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice of meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The Deschutes Provincial Advisory Committee (PAC) will meet in Bend, Oregon. The committee is authorized pursuant to the implementation of E-19 of the Record of Decision and operates in compliance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The purpose of the committee is to provide advice and make recommendations to promote a better integration of forest management activities between Federal and non-Federal entities to ensure that such activities are complementary. PAC information can be found at the following Web site: http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/deschutes/workingtogether/advisorycommittees.

    DATES:

    The meeting will be held on December 15, 2015, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

    All PAC meetings are subject to cancellation. For status of meeting prior to attendance, please contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will be held at the Deschutes National Forest Headquarters Office, Ponderosa Conference Room, 63095 Deschutes Market Road, Bend, Oregon.

    Written comments may be submitted as described under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. All comments, including names and addresses when provided, are placed in the record and are available for public inspection and copying. The public may inspect comments received at Deschutes National Forest Headquarters Office. Please call ahead to facilitate entry into the building.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Beth Peer, PAC Coordinator, by phone at 541-383-4769 or via email at [email protected]

    Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The purpose of the meeting is to:

    1. Review past work of sustainable recreation working group;

    2. Determine primary elements of a sustainable recreation focus item;

    3. Presentation of recent scientific findings concerning fire history in mixed conifer forests in central Oregon; and

    4. Plan potential field trips for coming year.

    The meeting is open to the public. The agenda will include time for people to make oral statements of three minutes or less. Individuals wishing to make an oral statement should request in writing by December 1, 2015, to be scheduled on the agenda. Anyone who would like to bring related matters to the attention of the committee may file written statements with the committee staff before or after the meeting. Written comments and requests for time to make oral comments must be sent to Beth Peer, Deschutes PAC Coordinator, 63095 Deschutes Market Road, Bend, Oregon, 97701; by email to [email protected], or via facsimile to 541-383-4755.

    Meeting Accommodations: If you are a person requiring reasonable accommodation, please make requests in advance for sign language interpreting, assistive listening devices or other reasonable accommodation for access to the facility or proceedings by contacting the person listed in the section titled FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. All reasonable accommodation requests are managed on a case by case basis.

    John P. Allen, Forest Supervisor, Deschutes National Forest.
    [FR Doc. 2015-28926 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3411-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Census Bureau Generic Clearance for Questionnaire Pretesting Research AGENCY:

    U.S. Census Bureau, Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13 (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)).

    DATES:

    To ensure consideration, written comments must be submitted on or before January 15, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Direct all written comments to Jennifer Jessup, Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer, Department of Commerce, Room 6616, 14th and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230 (or via the Internet at [email protected]).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Requests for additional information or copies of the information collection instrument(s) and instructions should be directed to Jennifer Hunter Childs, U.S. Census Bureau, 4600 Silver Hill Road, Washington, DC 20233-9150, (202) 603-4827 (or via the Internet at [email protected]).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Abstract

    The Census Bureau plans to request an extension of the current OMB approval to conduct a variety of small-scale questionnaire pretesting activities under this generic clearance. A block of hours will be dedicated to these activities for each of the next three years. OMB will be informed in writing of the purpose and scope of each of these activities, as well as the time frame and the number of burden hours used. The number of hours used will not exceed the number set aside for this purpose.

    This research program will be used by the Census Bureau and survey sponsors to improve questionnaires and procedures, reduce respondent burden, and ultimately increase the quality of data collected in the Census Bureau censuses and surveys. The clearance will be used to conduct pretesting of decennial, demographic, and economic census and survey questionnaires prior to fielding them. Pretesting activities will involve one of the following methods for identifying measurement problems with the questionnaire or survey procedure: Cognitive interviews, focus groups, respondent debriefing, behavior coding of respondent/interviewer interaction, and split panel tests.

    II. Method of Collection

    Any of the following methods may be used: Mail, telephone, face-to-face; paper-and-pencil, CATI, CAPI, Internet, or IVR.

    III. Data

    OMB Control Number: 0607-0725.

    Form Number: Various.

    Type of Review: Regular submission.

    Affected Public: Individuals or households, businesses or other for profit, farms.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 5,500 per year.

    Estimated Time per Response: 1 hour.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 5,500 hours annually.

    Estimated Total Annual Cost to Public: There is no cost to the respondent other than time to answer the information request.

    Respondents Obligation: Voluntary.

    Legal Authority: Data collection for this project is authorized under the authorizing legislation for the questionnaire being tested. This may be Title 13, Sections 131, 141, 161, 181, 182, 193, and 301 for Census Bureau-sponsored surveys, and Title 13 and 15 for surveys sponsored by other Federal agencies. We do not now know what other titles will be referenced, since we do not know what survey questionnaires will be pretested during the course of the clearance.

    IV. Request for Comments

    Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden (including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for OMB approval of this information collection; they also will become a matter of public record.

    Dated: November 10, 2015. Glenna Mickelson, Management Analyst, Office of the Chief Information Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-28929 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-07-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Foreign-Trade Zones Board [B-75-2015] Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) 76—Bridgeport, Connecticut; Notification of Proposed Production Activity; MannKind Corporation (Inhalable Insulin); Danbury, Connecticut

    MannKind Corporation (MannKind), an operator of FTZ 76, submitted a notification of proposed production activity to the FTZ Board for its facilities in Danbury, Connecticut, within FTZ 76. The notification conforming to the requirements of the regulations of the FTZ Board (15 CFR 400.22) was received on October 29, 2015.

    A separate application for subzone designation at the MannKind facilities was submitted and will be processed under Section 400.31 of the FTZ Board's regulations (Doc. S-147-2015). The facilities are used for the production of inhalable insulin. Pursuant to 15 CFR 400.14(b), FTZ activity would be limited to the specific foreign-status material and specific finished product described in the submitted notification (as described below) and subsequently authorized by the FTZ Board.

    Production under FTZ procedures could exempt MannKind from customs duty payments on the foreign-status ingredient used in export production. On its domestic sales, MannKind would be able to choose the duty rate during customs entry procedures that applies to inhalable insulin (duty-free) for the foreign-status ingredient, fumaryl diketopiperazone (duty rate—6.5%). Customs duties also could possibly be deferred or reduced on foreign-status production equipment.

    Public comment is invited from interested parties. Submissions shall be addressed to the FTZ Board's Executive Secretary at the address below. The closing period for their receipt is December 28, 2015.

    A copy of the notification will be available for public inspection at the Office of the Executive Secretary, Foreign-Trade Zones Board, Room 21013, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230-0002, and in the “Reading Room” section of the FTZ Board's Web site, which is accessible via www.trade.gov/ftz.

    For further information, contact Diane Finver at [email protected] or (202) 482-1367.

    Dated: November 9, 2015. Elizabeth Whiteman, Acting Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-29241 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Foreign-Trade Zones Board [B-45-2015] Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) 277—Western Maricopa County, Arizona; Authorization of Production Activity; The Cookson Company, Inc. (Rolling Steel Doors); Goodyear, Arizona

    On July 13, 2015, The Cookson Company, Inc. submitted a notification of proposed production activity to the Foreign-Trade Zones (FTZ) Board for its facility within FTZ 277—Site 11, in Goodyear, Arizona.

    The notification was processed in accordance with the regulations of the FTZ Board (15 CFR part 400), including notice in the Federal Register inviting public comment (80 FR 42789, July 20, 2015). The FTZ Board has determined that no further review of the activity is warranted at this time. The production activity described in the notification is authorized, subject to the FTZ Act and the FTZ Board's regulations, including Section 400.14.

    Dated: November 10, 2015. Elizabeth Whiteman, Acting Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-29250 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Foreign-Trade Zones Board [S-151-2015] Foreign-Trade Zone 119—Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota; Application for Subzone; CNH Industrial America LLC; Benson, Minnesota

    An application has been submitted to the Foreign-Trade Zones (FTZ) Board by the Greater Metropolitan Area Foreign Trade Zone Commission, grantee of FTZ 119, requesting subzone status for the facilities of CNH Industrial America LLC in Benson, Minnesota. The application was submitted pursuant to the provisions of the Foreign-Trade Zones Act, as amended (19 U.S.C. 81a-81u), and the regulations of the FTZ Board (15 CFR part 400). It was formally docketed on November 9, 2015.

    The proposed subzone would consist of the following sites: Site 1 (25.26 acres)—Benson Plant, 260 Highway 12 SE., Benson; Site 2 (4.01 acres)—Benson Plant Warehouse, 140 30th Avenue SE., Benson; and, Site 3 (1.47 acres)—Benson Northstar, 2200 Tatges Avenue, Benson. The proposed subzone would be subject to the existing activation limit of FTZ 119. A notification of proposed production activity has been submitted and is being processed under 15 CFR 400.37 (Doc. B-61-2015).

    In accordance with the FTZ Board's regulations, Camille Evans of the FTZ Staff is designated examiner to review the application and make recommendations to the Executive Secretary.

    Public comment is invited from interested parties. Submissions shall be addressed to the FTZ Board's Executive Secretary at the address below. The closing period for their receipt is December 28, 2015. Rebuttal comments in response to material submitted during the foregoing period may be submitted during the subsequent 15-day period to January 11, 2016.

    A copy of the application will be available for public inspection at the Office of the Executive Secretary, Foreign-Trade Zones Board, Room 21013, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230-0002, and in the “Reading Room” section of the FTZ Board's Web site, which is accessible via www.trade.gov/ftz.

    For further information, contact Camille Evans at [email protected] or (202) 482-2350.

    Dated: November 9, 2015. Elizabeth Whiteman, Acting Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-29237 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Bureau of Industry and Security [Docket No. 151022984-5984-01] Impact of the Implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) on Legitimate Commercial Chemical, Biotechnology, and Pharmaceutical Activities Involving “Schedule 1” Chemicals (Including Schedule 1 Chemicals Produced as Intermediates) Through Calendar Year 2015 AGENCY:

    Bureau of Industry and Security, Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice of inquiry.

    SUMMARY:

    The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) is seeking public comments on the impact that implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), through the Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act (CWCIA) and the Chemical Weapons Convention Regulations (CWCR), has had on commercial activities involving “Schedule 1” chemicals during calendar year 2015. The purpose of this notice of inquiry is to collect information to assist BIS in its preparation of the annual certification to the Congress on whether the legitimate commercial activities and interests of chemical, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical firms are being harmed by such implementation. This certification is required under Condition 9 of Senate Resolution 75, April 24, 1997, in which the Senate gave its advice and consent to the ratification of the CWC.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received by December 16, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments by any of the following methods (please refer to RIN 0694-XC028 in all comments and in the subject line of email comments):

    Federal rulemaking portal (http://www.regulations.gov)—you can find this notice by searching on its regulations.gov docket number, which is BIS-2015-0039;

    Email: [email protected]—include the phrase “Schedule 1 Notice of Inquiry” in the subject line;

    Fax: (202) 482-3355 (Attn: Willard Fisher);

    • By mail or delivery to Regulatory Policy Division, Bureau of Industry and Security, U.S. Department of Commerce, Room 2099B, 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For questions on the Chemical Weapons Convention requirements for “Schedule 1” chemicals, contact Douglas Brown, Treaty Compliance Division, Office of Nonproliferation and Treaty Compliance, Bureau of Industry and Security, U.S. Department of Commerce, Phone: (202) 482-1001. For questions on the submission of comments, contact Willard Fisher, Regulatory Policy Division, Office of Exporter Services, Bureau of Industry and Security, U.S. Department of Commerce, Phone: (202) 482-2440.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    In providing its advice and consent to the ratification of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling, and Use of Chemical Weapons and Their Destruction, commonly called the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC or “the Convention”), the Senate included, in Senate Resolution 75 (S. Res. 75, April 24, 1997), several conditions to its ratification. Condition 9, titled “Protection of Advanced Biotechnology,” calls for the President to certify to Congress on an annual basis that “the legitimate commercial activities and interests of chemical, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical firms in the United States are not being significantly harmed by the limitations of the Convention on access to, and production of, those chemicals and toxins listed in Schedule 1.” On July 8, 2004, President Bush, by Executive Order 13346, delegated his authority to make the annual certification to the Secretary of Commerce.

    The CWC is an international arms control treaty that contains certain verification provisions. In order to implement these verification provisions, the CWC established the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The CWC imposes certain obligations on countries that have ratified the Convention (i.e., States Parties), among which are the enactment of legislation to prohibit the production, storage, and use of chemical weapons, and the establishment of a National Authority to serve as the national focal point for effective liaison with the OPCW and other States Parties in order to achieve the object and purpose of the Convention and the implementation of its provisions. The CWC also requires each State Party to implement a comprehensive data declaration and inspection regime to provide transparency and to verify that both the public and private sectors of the State Party are not engaged in activities prohibited under the CWC.

    “Schedule 1” chemicals consist of those toxic chemicals and precursors set forth in the CWC “Annex on Chemicals” and in Supplement No. 1 to part 712 of the Chemical Weapons Convention Regulations (CWCR) (15 CFR parts 710-722). The CWC identified these toxic chemicals and precursors as posing a high risk to the object and purpose of the Convention.

    The CWC (Part VI of the “Verification Annex”) restricts the production of “Schedule 1” chemicals for protective purposes to two facilities per State Party: A single small-scale facility (SSSF) and a facility for production in quantities not exceeding 10 kg per year. The CWC Article-by-Article Analysis submitted to the Senate in Treaty Doc. 103-21 defined the term “protective purposes” to mean “used for determining the adequacy of defense equipment and measures.” Consistent with this definition and as authorized by Presidential Decision Directive (PDD) 70 (December 17, 1999), which specifies agency and departmental responsibilities as part of the U.S. implementation of the CWC, the Department of Defense (DOD) was assigned the responsibility to operate these two facilities. Although this assignment of responsibility to DOD under PDD-70 effectively precluded commercial production of “Schedule 1” chemicals for protective purposes in the United States, it did not establish any limitations on “Schedule 1” chemical activities that are not prohibited by the CWC. However, DOD does maintain strict controls on “Schedule 1” chemicals produced at its facilities in order to ensure accountability for such chemicals, as well as their proper use, consistent with the object and purpose of the Convention.

    The provisions of the CWC that affect commercial activities involving “Schedule 1” chemicals are implemented in the CWCR (see 15 CFR 712) and in the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) (see 15 CFR 742.18 and 15 CFR 745), both of which are administered by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). Pursuant to CWC requirements, the CWCR restrict commercial production of “Schedule 1” chemicals to research, medical, or pharmaceutical purposes (the CWCR prohibit commercial production of “Schedule 1” chemicals for “protective purposes” because such production is effectively precluded per PDD-70, as described above—see 15 CFR 712.2(a)). The CWCR also contain other requirements and prohibitions that apply to “Schedule 1” chemicals and/or “Schedule 1” facilities. Specifically, the CWCR:

    (1) Prohibit the import of “Schedule 1” chemicals from States not Party to the Convention (15 CFR 712.2(b));

    (2) Require annual declarations by certain facilities engaged in the production of “Schedule 1” chemicals in excess of 100 grams aggregate per calendar year (i.e., declared “Schedule 1” facilities) for purposes not prohibited by the Convention (15 CFR 712.5(a)(1) and (a)(2));

    (3) Provide for government approval of “declared Schedule 1” facilities (15 CFR 712.5(f));

    (4) Provide that “declared Schedule 1” facilities are subject to initial and routine inspection by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (15 CFR 712.5(e) and 716.1(b)(1));

    (5) Require 200 days advance notification of establishment of new “Schedule 1” production facilities producing greater than 100 grams aggregate of “Schedule 1” chemicals per calendar year (15 CFR 712.4);

    (6) Require advance notification and annual reporting of all imports and exports of “Schedule 1” chemicals to, or from, other States Parties to the Convention (15 CFR 712.6, 742.18(a)(1) and 745.1); and

    (7) Prohibit the export of “Schedule 1” chemicals to States not Party to the Convention (15 CFR 742.18(a)(1) and (b)(1)(ii)).

    For purposes of the CWCR (see 15 CFR 710.1), “production of a Schedule 1 chemical” means the formation of “Schedule 1” chemicals through chemical synthesis, as well as processing to extract and isolate “Schedule 1” chemicals produced biologically. Such production is understood, for CWCR declaration purposes, to include intermediates, by-products, or waste products that are produced and consumed within a defined chemical manufacturing sequence, where such intermediates, by-products, or waste products are chemically stable and therefore exist for a sufficient time to make isolation from the manufacturing stream possible, but where, under normal or design operating conditions, isolation does not occur.

    Request for Comments

    In order to assist in determining whether the legitimate commercial activities and interests of chemical, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical firms in the United States are significantly harmed by the limitations of the Convention on access to, and production of, “Schedule 1” chemicals as described in this notice, BIS is seeking public comments on any effects that implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, through the Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act and the Chemical Weapons Convention Regulations, has had on commercial activities involving “Schedule 1” chemicals during calendar year 2015. To allow BIS to properly evaluate the significance of any harm to commercial activities involving “Schedule 1” chemicals, public comments submitted in response to this notice of inquiry should include both a quantitative and qualitative assessment of the impact of the CWC on such activities.

    Submission of Comments

    All comments must be submitted to one of the addresses indicated in this notice. The Department requires that all comments be submitted in written form.

    The Department encourages interested persons who wish to comment to do so at the earliest possible time. The period for submission of comments will close on December 16, 2015. The Department will consider all comments received before the close of the comment period. Comments received after the end of the comment period will be considered if possible, but their consideration cannot be assured. The Department will not accept comments accompanied by a request that a part or all of the material be treated confidentially because of its business proprietary nature or for any other reason. The Department will return such comments and materials to the persons submitting the comments and will not consider them. All comments submitted in response to this notice will be a matter of public record and will be available for public inspection and copying.

    The Office of Administration, Bureau of Industry and Security, U.S. Department of Commerce, displays public comments on the BIS Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Web site at http://www.bis.doc.gov/foia. This office does not maintain a separate public inspection facility. If you have technical difficulties accessing this Web site, please call BIS's Office of Administration, at (202) 482-1093, for assistance.

    Dated: November 6, 2015. Kevin J. Wolf, Assistant Secretary for Export Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2015-29182 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-33-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration President's Export Council; Meeting of the President's Export Council AGENCY:

    International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice of an open meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The President's Export Council (Council) will hold a meeting to deliberate on recommendations related to promoting the expansion of U.S. exports. Topics may include: The Administration's trade agenda, Safe Harbor, infrastructure investment, workforce readiness, access to capital for microbusinesses and SMEs, and export control reform. The final agenda will be posted at least one week in advance of the meeting on the President's Export Council Web site at http://trade.gov/pec.

    DATES:

    December 3, 2015 at 9:30 a.m. (ET).

    ADDRESSES:

    The President's Export Council meeting will be broadcast via live webcast on the Internet at http://whitehouse.gov/live.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Tricia Van Orden, Executive Secretary, President's Export Council, Room 4043, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230, telephone: 202-482-5876, email: [email protected]

    Press inquiries should be directed to the International Trade Administration's Office of Public Affairs, telephone: 202-482-3809.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background: The President's Export Council was first established by Executive Order on December 20, 1973 to advise the President on matters relating to U.S. export trade and to report to the President on its activities and recommendations for expanding U.S. exports. The President's Export Council was renewed most recently by Executive Order 13708 of September 30, 2015, for the two-year period ending September 30, 2017. This Committee is established in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), as amended, 5 U.S.C. App.

    Public Submissions: The public is invited to submit written statements to the President's Export Council. Statements must be received by 5:00 p.m. ET on December 1, 2015 by either of the following methods:

    a. Electronic Submissions

    Submit statements electronically to Tricia Van Orden, Executive Secretary, President's Export Council via email: [email protected]

    b. Paper Submissions

    Send paper statements to Tricia Van Orden, Executive Secretary, President's Export Council, Room 4043, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230.

    Statements will be posted on the President's Export Council Web site (http://trade.gov/pec) without change, including any business or personal information provided such as names, addresses, email addresses, or telephone numbers. All statements received, including attachments and other supporting materials, are part of the public record and subject to public disclosure. You should submit only information that you wish to make publicly available.

    Meeting minutes: Copies of the Council's meeting minutes will be available within ninety (90) days of the meeting.

    Dated: November 9, 2015. Tricia Van Orden, Executive Secretary. President's Export Council.
    [FR Doc. 2015-28937 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DR-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-570-924] Polyethylene Terephthalate Film, Sheet, and Strip From the People's Republic of China: Final Results of Administrative Review; 2013-2014 AGENCY:

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

    SUMMARY:

    On August 12, 2015, the Department of Commerce (the “Department”) published the preliminary results and partial rescission of the 2013-2014 administrative review of the antidumping duty order on polyethylene terephthalate film, sheet, and strip (“PET film”) from the People's Republic of China (“PRC”), in accordance with section 751(a)(1)(B) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (“the Act”).1 The period of review (“POR”) is November 1, 2013, through October 31, 2014. This review was initiated with respect to four companies. After rescinding the review with respect to three of the four companies, one company, Shaoxing Xiangyu Green Packing Co., Ltd. (“Green Packing”), remains under review. The Department invited interested parties to comment on the Preliminary Results. No parties commented. Our final results remain unchanged from the Preliminary Results.

    1See Polyethylene Terephthalate Film, Sheet, and Strip From the People's Republic of China: Preliminary Results of Antidumping Administrative Review; 2013-2014, 80 FR 48293 (August 12, 2015) (“Preliminary Results”).

    DATES:

    Effective Date: November 16, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jonathan Hill, AD/CVD Operations, Office IV, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-3518.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    On August 12, 2015, the Department published the Preliminary Results. We invited interested parties to submit comments on the Preliminary Results, but no comments were received.

    Scope of the Order

    The products covered by the order are all gauges of raw, pre-treated, or primed PET film, whether extruded or co-extruded. Excluded are metalized films and other finished films that have had at least one of their surfaces modified by the application of a performance-enhancing resinous or inorganic layer more than 0.00001 inches thick. Also excluded is roller transport cleaning film which has at least one of its surfaces modified by application of 0.5 micrometers of SBR latex. Tracing and drafting film is also excluded. PET film is classifiable under subheading 3920.62.00.90 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”). While HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes, our written description of the scope of the order is dispositive.

    Separate Rates

    In the Preliminary Results, we determined that because Green Packing did not provide separate rate information, it did not establish its eligibility for separate rate status. Accordingly, the Department preliminarily determined that Green Packing is part of the PRC-wide entity, and determined a rate consistent with the Department's current practice regarding conditional review of the PRC-wide entity.2

    2See Preliminary Results and accompanying Decision Memorandum at 4. See also 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, 65970 (November 4, 2013). Under this practice, the PRC-wide entity will not be under review unless a party specifically requests, or the Department self-initiates, a review of the entity. Because no party requested a review of the PRC-wide entity, the entity is not under review and the entity's rate is not subject to change.

    No party commented on the Preliminary Results. For these final results, the Department continues to find that Green Packing is part of the PRC-wide entity.

    Final Results of Review

    The Department determines that Green Packing is part of the PRC-wide entity.

    Assessment

    The Department will determine, and CBP shall assess, antidumping duties on all appropriate entries covered by this review.3 The Department intends to issue assessment instructions to CBP 15 days after the date of publication of these final results of review. The Department intends to instruct CBP to liquidate entries of subject merchandise from Green Packing at the PRC-wide rate of 76.72 percent.

    3See 19 CFR 351.212(b)(1).

    Cash Deposit Requirements

    The following cash deposit requirements will be effective upon publication of the final results of this administrative review for all shipments of the subject merchandise from the PRC entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the publication date, as provided by section 751(a)(2)(C) of the Act: (1) For previously investigated or reviewed PRC and non-PRC exporters which are not under review in this segment of the proceeding but which have separate rates, the cash deposit rate will continue to be the exporter-specific rate published for the most recent period; (2) for all PRC exporters of subject merchandise that have not been found to be entitled to a separate rate, including Green Packing, the cash deposit rate will be the PRC-wide rate of 76.72 percent; and (3) for all non-PRC exporters of subject merchandise which have not received their own rate, the cash deposit rate will be the rate applicable to the PRC exporter(s) that supplied that non-PRC exporter. These deposit requirements, when imposed, shall remain in effect until further notice.

    Notification to Importers Regarding the Reimbursement of Duties

    This notice serves as a final reminder to importers 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 POR. Failure to comply with this requirement could result in the Department's presumption that reimbursement of antidumping duties has occurred and the subsequent assessment of doubled antidumping duties.

    Notification to Interested Parties

    This notice also serves as a reminder to parties subject to the administrative protective order (“APO”) of their responsibility concerning the disposition of proprietary information disclosed under APO in accordance with 19 CFR 351.305(a)(3). Timely notification of the destruction of APO materials or conversion to judicial protective order is hereby requested. Failure to comply with the regulations and the terms of an APO is a sanctionable violation.

    We are issuing and publishing these results and this notice in accordance with sections 751(a)(1) and 777(i) of the Act.

    Dated: November 9, 2015. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance.
    [FR Doc. 2015-29209 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-570-028] Hydrofluorocarbon Blends and Components Thereof From the People's Republic of China: Postponement of Preliminary Determination of Antidumping Duty Investigation AGENCY:

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

    DATES:

    Effective date: November 16, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dennis McClure or Elizabeth Eastwood at (202) 482-5973 and (202) 482-3874, respectively; AD/CVD Operations, Enforcement and Compliance, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    On July 22, 2015, the Department of Commerce (the Department) published a notice of initiation of antidumping duty investigation of hydrofluorocarbon blends and components thereof from the People's Republic of China.1 The notice of initiation stated that the Department, in accordance with section 733(b)(1)(A) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act), and 19 CFR 351.205(b)(1), would issue its preliminary determination for this investigation, unless postponed, no later than 140 days after the date of the initiation. The preliminary determination of this antidumping duty investigation is currently due no later than December 2, 2015.

    1See Hydrofluorocarbon Blends and Components Thereof From the People's Republic of China: Initiation of Less-Than-Fair-Value Investigation, 80 FR 43387 (July 22, 2015).

    Period of Investigation

    The period of investigation is October 1, 2014, through March 31, 2015.

    Postponement of Preliminary Determination

    Section 733(c)(1)(A) of the Act permits the Department to postpone the time limit for the preliminary determination if it receives a timely request from the petitioner for postponement. The Department may postpone the preliminary determination under section 733(c)(1) of the Act no later than the 190th day after the date on which the administering authority initiates an investigation.

    On October 28, 2015, American HFC Coalition and its individual members,2 as well as District Lodge 154 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (collectively, the petitioners), made a timely request pursuant to section 733(c)(1) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.205(e) for postponement of the preliminary determination in this investigation. The petitioners requested a 50-day postponement of the preliminary determination in order to allow the petitioners additional time to review and comment on the questionnaire responses submitted in this case, as well as to consider the Department's recent inclusion of Mexico and Romania on the list of potential surrogate countries. The petitioners submitted a request for postponement of the preliminary determination more than 25 days before the scheduled date of the preliminary determination.3

    2 The individual members of the American HFC Coalition are: Amtrol Inc., Arkema Inc., The Chemours Company FC LLC, Honeywell International Inc., Hudson Technologies, Mexichem Fluor Inc., and Worthington Industries, Inc.

    3See 19 CFR 351.205(e).

    Because the petitioners' request was timely and provided reasons for the request, and since the Department finds no compelling reasons to deny the request, the Department is postponing the deadline for the preliminary determination in accordance with section 733(c)(1)(A) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.205(b)(2) and (e) by 50 days to January 21, 2016. The deadline for the final determination will continue to be 75 days after the date of the preliminary determination unless postponed at a later date.

    This notice is issued and published pursuant to section 733(c)(2) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.205(f)(1).

    Dated: November 4, 2015. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance.
    [FR Doc. 2015-29172 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-570-970] Multilayered Wood Flooring From the People's Republic of China: Final Results of Changed Circumstances Review AGENCY:

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

    SUMMARY:

    On September 24, 2015, the Department of Commerce (the “Department”) published its preliminary results of a changed circumstances review 1 of the antidumping duty (“AD”) order on multilayered wood flooring (“MLWF”) from the People's Republic of China (“PRC”).2 The Department preliminarily determined that Sino-Maple (JiangSu) Co., Ltd. (“Sino-Maple”) is the successor-in-interest to Jiafeng Wood (Suzhou) Co., Ltd. (“Jiafeng”) for purposes of the AD order on MLWF from the PRC and, as such, is entitled to Jiafeng's cash deposit rate with respect to entries of subject merchandise. We invited interested parties to comment on the Preliminary Results. As no parties submitted comments, and there is no other information or evidence on the record calling into question our Preliminary Results, the Department is making no changes to the Preliminary Results.

    1See Multilayered Wood Flooring From the People's Republic of China: Preliminary Results of the Changed Circumstances Review of Sino-Maple (JiangSu) Co., Ltd., 80 FR 57576 (September 24, 2015) (“Preliminary Results”), and accompanying Preliminary Decision Memorandum.

    2See Multilayered Wood Flooring From the People's Republic of China: Amended Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value and Antidumping Duty Order, 76 FR 76690 (December 8, 2011).

    DATES:

    Effective Date: November 16, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Krisha Hill, AD/CVD Operations, Office IV, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-4037.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    On March 13, 2015, the Department of Commerce (the “Department”) initiated a changed circumstance review to determine whether Sino-Maple, an exporter of subject merchandise to the United States, is the successor-in-interest to Jiafeng for purposes of the AD order on MLWF from the PRC.3 On September 24, 2015, the Department made a preliminary finding that Sino-Maple is the successor-in-interest to Jiafeng, and is entitled to Jiafeng's cash deposit rate with respect to entries of merchandise subject to the AD order on MLWF from the PRC.4 We also provided interested parties 30 days from the date of publication of the Preliminary Results to submit case briefs in accordance with 19 CFR 351.309(c)(1)(ii). No interested parties submitted case briefs or requested a hearing. On October 19, 2015, the Department issued to interested parties draft customs instructions and solicited comments.5 No comments were received.

    3See Initiation of Antidumping Duty Changed Circumstances Review: Multilayered Wood Flooring From the People's Republic of China, 80 FR 13328 (March 13, 2015) (“Initiation Notice”).

    4See Preliminary Results, 80 FR at 57576.

    5See Memorandum to the File from Krisha Hill, International Trade Compliance Analyst, regarding “Changed Circumstances Review of Sino-Maple (JiangSu) Co., Ltd: Multilayered Wood Flooring from the People's Republic of China: Draft Customs Instructions,” dated October 19, 2015.

    Scope of the Order

    Multilayered wood flooring is composed of an assembly of two or more layers or plies of wood veneer(s) in combination with a core. The several layers, along with the core, are glued or otherwise bonded together to form a final assembled product. Multilayered wood flooring is often referred to by other terms, e.g., “engineered wood flooring” or “plywood flooring.” Regardless of the particular terminology, all products that meet the description set forth herein are intended for inclusion within the definition of subject merchandise.

    All multilayered wood flooring is included within the definition of subject merchandise, without regard to: Dimension (overall thickness, thickness of face ply, thickness of back ply, thickness of core, and thickness of inner plies; width; and length); wood species used for the face, back and inner veneers; core composition; and face grade. Multilayered wood flooring included within the definition of subject merchandise may be unfinished (i.e., without a finally finished surface to protect the face veneer from wear and tear) or “prefinished” (i.e., a coating applied to the face veneer, including, but not exclusively, oil or oil-modified or water-based polyurethanes, ultra-violet light cured polyurethanes, wax, epoxy-ester finishes, moisture-cured urethanes and acid-curing formaldehyde finishes). The veneers may be also soaked in an acrylic-impregnated finish. All multilayered wood flooring is included within the definition of subject merchandise regardless of whether the face (or back) of the product is smooth, wire brushed, distressed by any method or multiple methods, or hand-scraped. In addition, all multilayered wood flooring is included within the definition of subject merchandise regardless of whether or not it is manufactured with any interlocking or connecting mechanism (for example, tongue-and-groove construction or locking joints). All multilayered wood flooring is included within the definition of the subject merchandise regardless of whether the product meets a particular industry or similar standard.

    The core of multilayered wood flooring may be composed of a range of materials, including but not limited to hardwood or softwood veneer, particleboard, medium-density fiberboard, high-density fiberboard (“HDF”), stone and/or plastic composite, or strips of lumber placed edge-to-edge.

    Multilayered wood flooring products generally, but not exclusively, may be in the form of a strip, plank, or other geometrical patterns (e.g., circular, hexagonal). All multilayered wood flooring products are included within this definition regardless of the actual or nominal dimensions or form of the product. Specifically excluded from the scope are cork flooring and bamboo flooring, regardless of whether any of the sub-surface layers of either flooring are made from wood. Also excluded is laminate flooring. Laminate flooring consists of a top wear layer sheet not made of wood, a decorative paper layer, a core-layer of HDF, and a stabilizing bottom layer.

    Imports of the subject merchandise are provided for under the following subheadings of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”): 4412.31.0520; 4412.31.0540; 4412.31.0560; 4412.31.2510; 4412.31.2520; 4412.31.3175; 4412.31.4040; 4412.31.4050; 4412.31.4060; 4412.31.4070; 4412.31.4075; 4412.31.4080; 4412.31.5125; 4412.31.5135; 4412.31.5155; 4412.31.5165; 4412.31.5175; 4412.31.6000; 4412.31.9100; 4412.32.0520; 4412.32.0540; 4412.32.0560; 4412.32.0565; 4412.32.0570; 4412.32.2510; 4412.32.2520; 4412.32.2525; 4412.32.2530; 4412.32.3125; 4412.32.3135; 4412.32.3155; 4412.32.3165; 4412.32.3175; 4412.32.3185; 4412.32.5600; 4412.39.1000; 4412.39.3000; 4412.39.4011; 4412.39.4012; 4412.39.4019; 4412.39.4031; 4412.39.4032; 4412.39.4039; 4412.39.4051; 4412.39.4052; 4412.39.4059; 4412.39.4061; 4412.39.4062; 4412.39.4069; 4412.39.5010; 4412.39.5030; 4412.39.5050; 4412.94.1030; 4412.94.1050; 4412.94.3105; 4412.94.3111; 4412.94.3121; 4412.94.3131; 4412.94.3141; 4412.94.3160; 4412.94.3171; 4412.94.4100; 4412.94.5100; 4412.94.6000; 4412.94.7000; 4412.94.8000; 4412.94.9000; 4412.94.9500; 4412.99.0600; 4412.99.1020; 4412.99.1030; 4412.99.1040; 4412.99.3110; 4412.99.3120; 4412.99.3130; 4412.99.3140; 4412.99.3150; 4412.99.3160; 4412.99.3170; 4412.99.4100; 4412.99.5100; 4412.99.5105; 4412.99.5115; 4412.99.5710; 4412.99.6000; 4412.99.7000; 4412.99.8000; 4412.99.9000; 4412.99.9500; 4418.71.2000; 4418.71.9000; 4418.72.2000; 4418.72.9500; and 9801.00.2500.

    While HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written description of the subject merchandise is dispositive.

    Final Results of Changed Circumstances Review

    Because no party submitted a case brief in response to the Department's Preliminary Results, and because the record contains no other information or evidence that calls into question the Preliminary Results, the Department continues to find that Sino-Maple is the successor-in-interest to Jiafeng, and is entitled to Jiafeng's cash deposit rate with respect to entries of merchandise subject to the AD order on MLWF from the PRC.6

    6 For a complete discussion of the Department's findings, which remain unchanged in these final results and which are herein incorporated by reference and adopted by this notice, see generally the Preliminary Decision Memorandum accompanying the Preliminary Results.

    Instructions to U.S. Customs and Border Protection

    Based on these final results, we will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect estimated ADs for all shipments of subject merchandise exported by Sino-Maple and entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the publication date of this notice in the Federal Register at the current AD cash deposit rate for Jiafeng (i.e., 13.74 percent). This cash deposit requirement shall remain in effect until further notice.

    Notification to Interested Parties

    This notice serves as a final reminder to parties subject to administrative protective order (“APO”) of their responsibility concerning the disposition of proprietary information disclosed under APO in accordance with 19 CFR 351.305(a)(3). Timely written notification of the return/destruction of APO materials or conversion to judicial protective order is hereby requested. Failure to comply with the regulations and terms of an APO is a sanctionable violation.

    We are issuing and publishing this final results notice in accordance with sections 751(b) and 777(i) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, and 19 CFR 351.216.

    Dated: November 9, 2015. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance.
    [FR Doc. 2015-29199 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-570-910] Circular Welded Carbon Quality Steel Pipe From the People's Republic of China: Notice of Court Decision Not in Harmony With Final Determination and Amended Final Determination Under Section 129 of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act AGENCY:

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

    SUMMARY:

    On October 22, 2015, the United States Court of International Trade (CIT or Court) issued final judgment in Wheatland Tube Company v. United States, Consol. Court No. 12-00296, affirming the Department of Commerce's (the Department) final results of redetermination pursuant to court remand. Consistent with the decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) in Timken Co. v. United States, 893 F.2d 337 (Fed. Cir. 1990) (Timken), as clarified by Diamond Sawblades Mfrs. Coalition v. United States, 626 F.3d 1374 (Fed. Cir. 2010) (Diamond Sawblades), the Department is notifying the public that the final judgment in this case is not in harmony with the Department's implemented final determination in a proceeding conducted under section 129 of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (Section 129) related to the Department's final affirmative determination in the antidumping duty (AD) investigation of circular welded carbon quality steel pipe (CWP) from the People's Republic of China (the PRC) for the period October 1, 2006, through March 31, 2007.1 The Department is amending its implemented Final Section 129 Determination with regard to granting adjustments to the AD cash deposit rates.

    1See Memorandum from Christian Marsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, to Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, “Final Determination: Section 129 Proceeding Pursuant to the WTO Appellate Body's Findings in WTO DS379 Regarding the Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Investigations of Circular Welded Carbon Quality Steel Pipe from the People's Republic of China,” (July 31, 2012) (Final Section 129 Determination); see also Implementation of Determinations Under Section 129 of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act: Certain New Pneumatic Off-the-Road Tires; Circular Welded Carbon Quality Steel Pipe; Laminated Woven Sacks; and Light-Walled Rectangular Pipe and Tube From the People's Republic of China, 77 FR 52683 (August 30, 2012) (Implementation Notice).

    DATES:

    Effective Date: November 2, 2015

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Cara Lofaro, Office IV, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-5720.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    On July 22, 2008, the Department published AD and countervailing duty (CVD) orders on CWP imports from the PRC.2 The Government of the People's Republic of China challenged the CWP orders and three other sets of simultaneously imposed AD and CVD orders before the Dispute Settlement Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The WTO Appellate Body, in March 2011, found that the United States had acted inconsistently with its international obligations in several respects, including the potential imposition of overlapping remedies, or so-called “double remedies.” 3 The U.S. Trade Representative then announced the United States' intention to comply with the WTO's rulings and recommendations, and the Department initiated a Section 129 proceeding.4

    2See Notice of Antidumping Duty Order: Circular Welded Carbon Quality Steel Pipe from the People's Republic of China, 73 FR 42547 (July 22, 2008); see also Circular Welded Carbon Quality Steel Pipe from the People's Republic of China: Notice of Amended Final Affirmative Countervailing Duty Determination and Notice of Countervailing Duty Order, 73 FR 42545 (July 22, 2008) (collectively, CWP orders).

    3See United States—Definitive Anti-Dumping and Countervailing Duties on Certain Products from China, 611, WT/DS379/AB/R (Mar. 11, 2011).

    4See Implementation Notice.

    On July 31, 2012, the Department issued its Final Section 129 Determination. In that determination, the Department found that an adjustment was warranted to the AD rates on CWP imports from the PRC to account for remedies that overlap those imposed by the CVD order.5 As a result, the Department reduced the applicable AD rate for separate rate companies from 69.2 percent to 45.35 percent and reduced the PRC-wide entity AD rate from 85.55 percent to 68.24 percent.6 The Department published a notice implementing the Final Section 129 Determination on August 30, 2012.7 Various parties challenged the Department's Final Section 129 Determination at the CIT.

    5See Final Section 129 Determination.

    6See Implementation Notice, 77 FR at 52687.

    7Id.

    Following the final disposition of litigation related to the Final Section 129 Determination regarding the CVD investigation of CWP from the PRC, in which the Department found no basis for making an adjustment to the companion AD rates under Section 777(A)(f) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act),8 the CIT granted the Department's request for a voluntary remand in the litigation challenging the Final Section 129 Determination regarding the AD investigation of CWP from the PRC.9 On October 8, 2015, the Department issued its Final Remand Redetermination regarding the AD investigation of CWP from the PRC, in which it amended its Final Section 129 Determination regarding the AD investigation and denied the adjustment to the AD cash deposit rates granted to respondents in the Final Section 129 Determination.10 On October 22, 2015, the CIT sustained the Department's Final Remand Redetermination.11

    8Wheatland Tube Co. v. United States, Consol. Court No. 12-00298, Slip Op. 15-44 (Ct. Int'l Trade May 7, 2015).

    9See Wheatland Tube Co. v. United States, Court No. 12-00296 (August 3, 2015).

    10See “Final Redetermination Pursuant to Court Remand, Wheatland Tube Co. v. United States, Consol. Court No. 12-00296,” (October 8, 2015) (Final Remand Redetermination).

    11See Wheatland Tube Company v. United States, Slip Op. 15-118, Consol. Court No. 12-00296 (CIT October 22, 2015).

    Timken Notice

    In its decision in Timken, 893 F.2d at 341, as clarified by Diamond Sawblades, the CAFC held that, pursuant to section 516A(e) of the Act, the Department must publish a notice of a court decision that is not “in harmony” with a Department determination and must suspend liquidation of entries pending a “conclusive” court decision. The CIT's October 22, 2015, judgment affirming the Final Remand Redetermination constitutes a final court decision that is not in harmony with the Department's Final Section 129 Determination. This notice is published in fulfillment of publication requirements of Timken.

    Amended Final Determination

    Because there is now a final court decision with respect to the Department's Final Section 129 Determination regarding the AD investigation of CWP from the PRC, the Department is amending the Final Section 129 Determination, as implemented, regarding an adjustment to the AD cash deposit rates. The revised AD cash deposit rates are as follows:

    Exporter Producer Revised AD cash deposit rate
  • (percent)
  • BEIJING SAI LIN KE HARDWARE CO., LTD XUZHOU GUANG HUAN STEEL TUBE PRODUCTS CO., LTD 69.2 WUXI FASTUBE INDUSTRY CO., LTD WUXI FASTUBE INDUSTRY CO., LTD 69.2 JIANGSU GUOQIANG ZINC-PLATING INDUSTRIAL COMPANY, LTD JIANGSU GUOQIANG ZINC-PLATING INDUSTRIAL COMPANY, LTD 69.2 WUXI ERIC STEEL PIPE CO., LTD WUXI ERIC STEEL PIPE CO., LTD 69.2 QINGDAO XIANGXING STEEL PIPE CO., LTD QINGDAO XIANGXING STEEL PIPE CO., LTD 69.2 WAH CIT ENTERPRISES GUANGDONG WALSALL STEEL PIPE INDUSTRIAL CO. LTD 69.2 GUANGDONG WALSALL STEEL PIPE INDUSTRIAL CO. LTD GUANGDONG WALSALL STEEL PIPE INDUSTRIAL CO. LTD 69.2 HENGSHUI JINGHUA STEEL PIPE CO., LTD HENGSHUI JINGHUA STEEL PIPE CO., LTD 69.2 ZHANGJIAGANG ZHONGYUAN PIPE-MAKING CO., LTD ZHANGJIAGANG ZHONGYUAN PIPE-MAKING CO., LTD 69.2 WEIFANG EAST STEEL PIPE CO., LTD WEIFANG EAST STEEL PIPE CO., LTD 69.2 SHIJIAZHUANG ZHONGQING IMP & EXP CO., LTD BAZHOU ZHUOFA STEEL PIPE CO. LTD 69.2 TIANJIN BAOLAI INT'L TRADE CO., LTD TIANJIN JINGHAI COUNTY BAOLAI BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY CO. LTD 69.2 WAI MING (TIANJIN) INT'L TRADING CO., LTD BAZHOU DONG SHENG HOT-DIPPED GALVANIZED STEEL PIPE CO., LTD 69.2 KUNSHAN LETS WIN STEEL MACHINERY CO., LTD KUNSHAN LETS WIN STEEL MACHINERY CO., LTD 69.2 SHENYANG BOYU M/E CO., LTD BAZHOU DONG SHENG HOT-DIPPED GALVANIZED STEEL PIPE CO., LTD 69.2 DALIAN BROLLO STEEL TUBES LTD DALIAN BROLLO STEEL TUBES LTD 69.2 BENXI NORTHERN PIPES CO., LTD BENXI NORTHERN PIPES CO., LTD 69.2 SHANGHAI METALS & MINERALS IMPORT & EXPORT CORP BENXI NORTHERN PIPES CO., LTD 69.2 HULUDAO STEEL PIPE INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD HULUDAO STEEL PIPE INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD 69.2 TIANJIN XINGYUDA IMPORT AND EXPORT CO., LTD TIANJIN LIFENGYUANDA STEEL GROUP CO. LTD 69.2 TIANJIN XINGYUDA IMPORT AND EXPORT CO., LTD TIANJIN XINGYUNDA STEEL PIPE CO., LTD 69.2 TIANJIN XINGYUDA IMPORT AND EXPORT CO., LTD TIANJIN LITUO STEEL PRODUCTS CO., LTD 69.2 TIANJIN XINGYUDA IMPORT AND EXPORT CO., LTD TANGSHAN FENGNAN DISTRICT XINLIDA STEEL PIPE CO., LTD 69.2 JIANGYIN JIANYE METAL PRODUCTS CO., LTD JIANGYIN JIANYE METAL PRODUCTS CO., LTD 69.2 RIZHAO XINGYE IMPORT & EXPORT CO., LTD SHANDONG XINYUAN GROUP CO., LTD 69.2 TIANJIN NO. 1 STEEL ROLLED CO., LTD TIANJIN HEXING STEEL CO., LTD 69.2 TIANJIN NO. 1 STEEL ROLLED CO., LTD TIANJIN RUITONG STEEL CO., LTD 69.2 TIANJIN NO. 1 STEEL ROLLED CO., LTD TIANJIN YAYI INDUSTRIAL CO 69.2 KUNSHAN HONGYUAN MACHINERY MANUFACTURE CO., LTD KUNSHAN HONGYUAN MACHINERY MANUFACTURE CO., LTD 69.2 QINGDAO YONGJIE IMPORT & EXPORT CO., LTD SHANDONG XINYUANGROUP CO., LTD 69.2 PRC-WIDE ENTITY 85.55

    Unless the applicable cash deposit rates have been superseded by cash deposit rates calculated in an intervening administrative review of the AD order on CWP from the PRC, the Department will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to require a cash deposit for estimated AD duties at the rate noted above for each specified exporter and producer combination, for entries of subject merchandise, entered or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption, on or after November 2, 2015.

    This notice is issued and published in accordance with sections 516A(e) and 777(i)(1) of the Act and section 129(c)(2)(A) of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act.

    Dated: November 5, 2015. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance.
    [FR Doc. 2015-29198 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XC554 Marine Mammals; File No. 17952 AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice; issuance of permit amendment.

    SUMMARY:

    Notice is hereby given that a major amendment to Permit No. 17952-01 has been issued to Daniel P. Costa, Ph.D., Department of Biology and Institute of Marine Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064.

    ADDRESSES:

    The permit amendment and related documents are available for review upon written request or by appointment in the Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, Room 13705, Silver Spring, MD 20910; phone (301) 427-8401; fax (301) 713-0376.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Amy Sloan or Rosa L. González, (301) 427-8401.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On August 17, 2015, notice was published in the Federal Register (80 FR 49210) that a request for an amendment to Permit No. 17952-01 to conduct research on California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) had been submitted by the above-named applicant. The requested permit amendment has been issued under the authority of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.), and the regulations governing the taking and importing of marine mammals (50 CFR part 216).

    Permit No. 17952 authorized long-term research on California sea lions to study their foraging, diving, energetics, food habits, and at sea distribution through capture, sampling, and tagging California sea lions throughout their U.S. range (California, Oregon and Washington). The permit also authorized harassment of California sea lions, harbor seals (Phoca vitulina), and northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) incidental to research activities, unintentional mortalities of California sea lions, and import and export of pinniped samples. A minor amendment (Permit No. 17952-01) included attachment of cameras to instrumentation deployed on sea lions and intubation during gas anesthesia.

    Permit No. 17952-02, issued on September 30, 2015, includes authorization to (1) add remote darting as an approved capture method with use of various sedative drugs for adult and juvenile California sea lions, (2) increase incidental harassment takes of non-target California sea lions, (3) include incidental harassment takes for the Eastern stock of Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus), and (4) include takes for capture and disentanglement of California sea lions. The authorized takes are delineated in the amendment application and amended permit and are authorized for the duration of the permit. The permit expires June 7, 2018.

    In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), a final determination has been made that the activity proposed is categorically excluded from the requirement to prepare an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement.

    Dated: October 29, 2015. Julia Harrison, Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-28841 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XC014 Marine Mammals; File No. 17670 AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice; issuance of permit amendment.

    SUMMARY:

    Notice is hereby given that a major amendment to Permit No. 17670-02 has been issued to NMFS Northeast Fisheries Science Center, 166 Water Street, Woods Hole, MA 02543 (Responsible Party: William Karp, Ph.D.).

    ADDRESSES:

    The permit amendment and related documents are available for review upon written request or by appointment in the Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, Room 13705, Silver Spring, MD 20910; phone (301) 427-8401; fax (301) 713-0376.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Amy Sloan or Rosa L. González, (301) 427-8401.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On July 10, 2015, notice was published in the Federal Register (80 FR 39749) that a request for an amendment Permit No. 17670-02 to conduct research on gray (Halichoerus grypus), harbor (Phoca vitulina), harp (Pagophilus groenlandicus), and hooded (Cystophora cristata) seals had been submitted by the above-named applicant. The requested permit amendment has been issued under the authority of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.), and the regulations governing the taking and importing of marine mammals (50 CFR part 216).

    Permit No. 17670-00 authorized takes of gray, harbor, harp, and hooded seals in waters within or proximal to the U.S. EEZ from North Carolina northward to Maine, during conduct of stock assessment research, including estimation of distribution and abundance, determination of stock structure, habitat requirements, foraging ecology, health assessment and effects of natural and anthropogenic factors. Types of take include harassment during shipboard, skiff, and aircraft transect and photo-identification surveys, and scat collection; and, capture with tissue sampling and instrument or tag attachment. A limited number of research-related mortality is also allowed, as well as world-wide import and export of pinniped samples. A minor amendment (Permit No. 17670-01) authorized sampling of pinniped carcasses aboard commercial fishing vessels. An additional minor amendment (Permit No. 17670-02) authorized nail clipping and fecal loop sampling during permitted captures.

    Permit No. 17670-03, issued September 28, 2015, includes authorization to increase the number and frequency of gray and harbor seal harassment and capture takes annually during research, add use of unmanned aircraft systems to survey seals, increase the number of biopsy samples taken (from one to two), increase the number of gray and harbor seal samples imported/exported annually, and allow euthanasia in the event sick or injured seals are inadvertently captured. The permit expires April 30, 2018.

    In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), a final determination has been made that the activity proposed is categorically excluded from the requirement to prepare an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement.

    Dated: October 29, 2015. Julia Harrison, Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-28838 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Telecommunications and Information Administration Multistakeholder Process To Promote Collaboration on Vulnerability Research Disclosure AGENCY:

    National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice of open meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will convene a meeting of a multistakeholder process concerning the collaboration between security researchers and software and system developers and owners to address security vulnerability disclosure on December 2, 2015.

    DATES:

    The meeting will be held on December 2, 2015 from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Eastern Time. See Supplementary Information for details.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will be held at the 20 F Street NW Conference Center, 20 F Street NW., Washington, DC 20001.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Allan Friedman, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Room 4725, Washington, DC 20230; telephone (202) 482-4281; email; [email protected] Please direct media inquiries to NTIA's Office of Public Affairs, (202) 482-7002; email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background: On March 19, 2015, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, working with the Department of Commerce's Internet Policy Task Force (IPTF), issued a Request for Comment to “identify substantive cybersecurity issues that affect the digital ecosystem and digital economic growth where broad consensus, coordinated action, and the development of best practices could substantially improve security for organizations and consumers.” 1 This Request built on earlier work from the Department, including the 2011 Green Paper Cybersecurity, Innovation, and the Internet Economy, 2 as well as comments the Department had received on related issues.3 On July 9, 2015, after reviewing the comments, NTIA announced that the first issue to be addressed would be “collaboration on vulnerability research disclosure,” 4 and subsequently announced that the first meeting of a multistakeholder process on this topic would be held on September 29, 2015.5

    1 U.S. Department of Commerce, Internet Policy Task Force, Request for Public Comment, Stakeholder Engagement on Cybersecurity in the Digital Ecosystem, 80 FR 14360, Docket No. 150312253-5253-01 (Mar. 19, 2015), available at: http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/publications/cybersecurity_rfc_03192015.pdf.

    2 U.S. Department of Commerce, Internet Policy Task Force, Cybersecurity, Innovation, and the Internet Economy (June 2011) (Green Paper), available at: http://www.nist.gov/itl/upload/Cybersecurity_Green-Paper_FinalVersion.pdf.

    3See Comments Received in Response to Federal Register Notice Developing a Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity, Docket No. 140721609-4609-01, available at:http://csrc.nist.gov/cyberframework/rfi_comments_10_2014.html.

    4 NTIA, Enhancing the Digital Economy Through Collaboration on Vulnerability Research Disclosure (July 9, 2015), available at: http://www.ntia.doc.gov/blog/2015/enhancing-digital-economy-through-collaboration-vulnerability-research-disclosure.

    5 NTIA, Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities, http://www.ntia.doc.gov/other-publication/2015/multistakeholder-process-cybersecurity-vulnerabilities.

    Matters to Be Considered: The December 2, 2015 meeting is a continuation of a series of NTIA-convened multistakeholder discussions concerning collaboration on vulnerability disclosure. Stakeholders will engage in an open, transparent, consensus-driven process to develop voluntary principles guiding the collaboration between vendors and researchers about vulnerability information. The December 2, 2015 meeting will build on stakeholders' previous work. More information about stakeholders' work is available at:http://www.ntia.doc.gov/other-publication/2015/multistakeholder-process-cybersecurity-vulnerabilities.

    Time and Date: NTIA will convene a meeting of the multistakeholder process to promote collaboration on vulnerability research disclosure on December 2, 2015, from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Eastern Time. The meeting date and time are subject to change. Please refer to NTIA's Web site, http://www.ntia.doc.gov/other-publication/2015/multistakeholder-process-cybersecurity-vulnerabilities, for the most current information.

    Place: The meeting will be held at 20 F Street NW Conference Center, 20 F Street NW., Washington, DC 20001. The location of the meeting is subject to change. Please refer to NTIA's Web site, http://www.ntia.doc.gov/other-publication/2015/multistakeholder-process-cybersecurity-vulnerabilities, for the most current information.

    Other Information: The meeting is open to the public and the press. The meeting is physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to John Verdi at (202) 482-8238 or [email protected] at least seven (7) business days prior to the meeting. The meeting will also be webcast. Requests for real-time captioning of the webcast or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Allan Friedman at (202) 482-4281 or [email protected] at least seven (7) business days prior to the meeting. There will be an opportunity for stakeholders viewing the webcast to participate remotely in the meeting through a moderated conference bridge, including polling functionality. Access details for the meeting are subject to change. Please refer to NTIA's Web site, http://www.ntia.doc.gov/other-publication/2015/multistakeholder-process-cybersecurity-vulnerabilities, for the most current information.

    Dated: November 10, 2015. Kathy D. Smith, Chief Counsel, National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2015-28933 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-60-P
    COMMITTEE FOR PURCHASE FROM PEOPLE WHO ARE BLIND OR SEVERELY DISABLED Procurement List; Proposed Additions AGENCY:

    Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled.

    ACTION:

    Proposed additions to the Procurement List.

    SUMMARY:

    The Committee is proposing to add products to the Procurement List that will be furnished by nonprofit agencies employing persons who are blind or have other severe disabilities.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before: December 16, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled, 1401 S. Clark Street, Suite 715, Arlington, Virginia 22202-4149.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Barry S. Lineback, Telephone: (703) 603-7740, Fax: (703) 603-0655, or email [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This notice is published pursuant to 41 U.S.C. 8503(a)(2) and 41 CFR 51-2.3. Its purpose is to provide interested persons an opportunity to submit comments on the proposed actions.

    Additions

    If the Committee approves the proposed additions, the entities of the Federal Government identified in this notice will be required to procure the products listed below from nonprofit agencies employing persons who are blind or have other severe disabilities.

    The following products are proposed for addition to the Procurement List for production by the nonprofit agencies listed:

    Product Name(s)—NSN(s): Coat, Army Combat Uniform, Permethrin, Unisex, OCP 2015 8415-01-623-5052—XS-XXS 8415-01-623-5162—XS-XS 8415-01-623-5165—XS-S 8415-01-623-5166—XS-R 8415-01-623-5169—XS-L 8415-01-623-5170—XS-XL 8415-01-623-5172—S-XXS 8415-01-623-5174—S-XS 8415-01-623-5178—S-S 8415-01-623-5180—S-R 8415-01-623-5182—S-L 8415-01-623-5236—S-XL 8415-01-623-5237—M-XXS 8415-01-623-5525—M-XS 8415-01-623-5526—M-S 8415-01-623-5528—M-R 8415-01-623-5529—M-L 8415-01-623-5534—M-XL 8415-01-623-5537—M-XXL 8415-01-623-5541—L-XXS 8415-01-623-5542—L-XS 8415-01-623-5543—L-S 8415-01-623-5552—L-R 8415-01-623-5553—L-L 8415-01-623-5554—L-XL 8415-01-623-5557—L-XXL 8415-01-623-5740—XL-XXS 8415-01-623-5742—XL-XS 8415-01-623-5789—XL-S 8415-01-623-5790—XL-R 8415-01-623-5793—XL-L 8415-01-623-5795—XL-XL. 8415-01-623-5796—XL-XXL 8415-01-623-5797—XXL-R 8415-01-623-5801—XXL-L 8415-01-623-5803—XXL-XL 8415-01-623-5805—XXL-XXL Mandatory Source(s) of Supply: Industries of the Blind, Inc., Greensboro, NC Mississippi Industries for the Blind, Jackson, MS San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind, San Antonio, TX Mandatory Purchase for: U.S. Army for up to 200,000 ACU Coats for a period of one year Contracting Activity: Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, PA Distribution: C-List Barry S. Lineback, Director, Business Operations.
    [FR Doc. 2015-28922 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6353-01-P
    COMMITTEE FOR PURCHASE FROM PEOPLE WHO ARE BLIND OR SEVERELY DISABLED Procurement List; Addition and Deletion AGENCY:

    Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled.

    ACTION:

    Addition to and deletion from the Procurement List.

    SUMMARY:

    This action adds a service to the Procurement List that will be provided by nonprofit agency employing persons who are blind or have other severe disabilities, and deletes a service from the Procurement List previously furnished by such agency.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: 12/16/2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled, 1401 S. Clark Street, Suite 715, Arlington, Virginia 22202-4149.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Barry S. Lineback, Telephone: (703) 603-7740, Fax: (703) 603-0655, or email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Addition

    On 10/2/2015 (80 FR 59740-59741), the Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled published notice of proposed addition to the Procurement List.

    After consideration of the material presented to it concerning capability of qualified nonprofit agency to provide the service and impact of the additions on the current or most recent contractors, the Committee has determined that the service listed below is suitable for procurement by the Federal Government under 41 U.S.C. 8501-8506 and 41 CFR 51-2.4.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification

    I certify that the following action will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. The major factors considered for this certification were:

    1. The action will not result in any additional reporting, recordkeeping or other compliance requirements for small entities other than the small organization that will furnish the service to the Government.

    2. The action will result in authorizing small entities to furnish the service to the Government.

    3. There are no known regulatory alternatives which would accomplish the objectives of the Javits-Wagner-O'Day Act (41 U.S.C. 8501-8506) in connection with the service proposed for addition to the Procurement List.

    End of Certification

    Accordingly, the following service is added to the Procurement List:

    Service Service Type: Landscaping Service Service is Mandatory for: GSA PBS Region 1, John F. Kennedy Federal Building, 25 New Sudbury Street, Boston, MA Mandatory Source of Supply: Work, Incorporated, Dorchester, MA Contracting Activity: GSA/Public Buildings Service, Boston, MA Deletion

    On 10/2/2015 (80 FR 59740-59741), the Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled published notice of proposed deletion from the Procurement List.

    After consideration of the relevant matter presented, the Committee has determined that the service listed below is no longer suitable for procurement by the Federal Government under 41 U.S.C. 8501-8506 and 41 CFR 51-2.4.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification

    I certify that the following action will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. The major factors considered for this certification were:

    1. The action will not result in additional reporting, recordkeeping or other compliance requirements for small entities.

    2. The action may result in authorizing small entities to furnish the service to the Government.

    3. There are no known regulatory alternatives which would accomplish the objectives of the Javits-Wagner-O'Day Act (41 U.S.C. 8501-8506) in connection with the service deleted from the Procurement List.

    End of Certification

    Accordingly, the following service is deleted from the Procurement List:

    Service Service Type: Custodial Service Service is Mandatory for: Isle Royale National Park & Ranger III Vessel, 800 East Lakeshore Drive, Houghton, MI Mandatory Source of Supply: Goodwill Industries of Northern Wisconsin & Upper Michigan, Inc., Marinette, WI Contracting Activity: National Park Service, MWR Regional Contracting, Omaha, NE Barry S. Lineback, Director, Business Operations.
    [FR Doc. 2015-28923 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6353-01-P
    CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION [Docket No. CPSC-2010-0038] Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Third Party Testing of Children's Products 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 for Third Party Testing of Children's Products, approved previously under OMB Control No. 3041-0159. 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 January 15, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by Docket No. CPSC-2010-0038, 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-2010-0038, 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: Third Party Testing of Children's Products.

    OMB Number: 3041-0159.

    Type of Review: Renewal of collection for third party testing of children's products and inclusion of the previously approved burden for marking and labeling of durable infant and toddler products into this collection of information.

    General Description of Collection

    Testing and Certification: On November 8, 2011, the Commission issued two rules for implementing third party testing and certification of children's products, as required by section 14 of the Consumer Product Safety Act (“CPSA”):

    Testing and Labeling Pertaining to Product Certification (76 FR 69482, codified at 16 CFR part 1107; “the testing rule”); and

    Conditions and Requirements for Relying on Component Part Testing or Certification, or Another Party's Finished Product Testing or Certification to Meet Testing and Certification Requirements (76 FR 69547, codified at 16 CFR part 1109; “the component part rule”).

    The testing rule establishes requirements for manufacturers to conduct initial third party testing and certification of children's products, testing when there has been a material change in the product, continuing testing (periodic testing), and guarding against undue influence. A final rule on Representative Samples for Periodic Testing of Children's Products (77 FR 72205, Dec. 5, 2012) amended the testing rule to require that representative samples be selected for periodic testing of children's products.

    The component part rule is a companion to the testing rule that is intended to reduce third party testing burdens by providing all parties involved in the required testing and certifying of children's products the flexibility to conduct or rely upon testing where it is the easiest and least expensive. Certification of a children's product can be based upon one or more of the following: (a) Component part testing; (b) component part certification; (c) another party's finished product testing; or (d) another party's finished product certification.

    Records required by the testing rule and the rule on selecting representative samples appear in 16 CFR 1107.26. Required records include a certificate, and records documenting third party testing and related sampling plans. These requirements largely overlap the recordkeeping requirements in the component part rule, codified at 16 CFR 1109.5(g). Duplicate recordkeeping is not required; records need to be created and maintained only once to meet the applicable recordkeeping requirements. The component part rule also requires records that enable tracing a product or component back to the entity that had a product tested for compliance, and also requires attestations of due care to ensure test result integrity.

    Section 104 Rules: The Commission has issued 14 rules for durable infant and toddler products under section 104 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (“CPSIA”) (“section 104 rules”). Section 104 rules issued to date appear in Table 1. Each section 104 rule contains requirements for marking, labeling, and instructional literature:

    • Each product and the shipping container must have a permanent label or marking that identifies the name and address (city, state, and zip code) of the manufacturer, distributor, or seller.

    • A permanent code mark or other product identification shall be provided on the infant carrier and its package or shipping container, if multiple packaging is used. The code will identify the date (month and year) of manufacture and permit future identification of any given model.

    Each standard also requires products to include easy-to-read and understand instructions regarding assembly, maintenance, cleaning, use, and adjustments, where applicable.

    OMB has assigned control numbers for the estimated burden to comply with marking and labeling requirements in each section 104 rule. With this renewal, CPSC is moving the marking and labeling burden requirements for section 104 rules into the collection of information for Third Party Testing of Children's Products. The paperwork burdens associated with the section 104 rules are appropriately included in the collection for Third Party Testing of Children's Products because all of the section 104 products are also required to be third party tested. Having all of the burden hours under one collection for children's products provides one OMB control number and eases the administrative burden of renewing multiple collections. CPSC will discontinue using the OMB control numbers currently assigned to individual section 104 rules. The discontinued OMB control numbers are listed in Table 1.

    Frequency of Response: On occasion.

    Affected Public: Manufacturers and importers of children's products subject to a children's product safety rule.

    Estimated Number of Respondents

    Testing and Certification: CPSC reviewed every category in the NAICS and selected categories that included firms that could manufacture or sell any consumer product that could be covered by a consumer product safety rule. Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, we determined that there were approximately 34,000 manufacturers, about 77,000 wholesalers, and about 133,000 retailers in these categories. However, these categories also include many non-children's products, which are not covered by any children's product safety rules. Therefore, these numbers would constitute an overestimate of the number of firms that are subject to the recordkeeping requirements.

    Section 104 Rules: Table 1 summarizes the durable infant and toddler products subject to the marking and labeling requirements being moved into OMB control number 3041-0159.

    Table 1—Estimated Burden for Marking and Labeling in Section 104 Rules Discontinued OMB Control No. 16 CFR part Description Mfrs. Models Total respondent hours 3041-0145 1215 Safety Standard for Infant Bath Seats 7 2 14 3041-0141 1216 Safety Standard for Infant Walkers 16 4 64 3041-0150 1217 Safety Standard for Toddler Beds 78 10 780 3041-0157 1218 Safety Standard for Bassinets and Cradles 62 5 310 3041-0147 1219 Safety Standard for Full-Size Cribs 78 11 858 3041-0147 1220 Safety Standard for Non-Full-Size Cribs 24 4 96 3041-0152 1221 Safety Standard for Play Yards 31 4 124 3041-0160 1222 Safety Standard for Infant Bedside Sleepers 5 2 10 3041-0155 1223 Safety Standard for Swings 10 11 110 3041-0149 1224 Safety Standard for Portable Bedrails 17 2 34 3041-0158 1225 Safety Standard for Hand-Held Infant Carriers 71 2 142 3041-0162 1226 Safety Standard for Soft Infant and Toddler Carriers 54 2 108 3041-0164 1227 Safety Standard for Carriages and Strollers 85 8 680 3041-0166 1230 Safety Standard for Frame Child Carriers (not effective until 9/2016) 16 3 48 Total Burden Hours 3,378 Estimated Time per Response

    Testing and Certification: Based on comments received during rulemaking for the testing rule, we estimate recordkeeping for approximately 300,000 non-apparel children's products per year, with an average of 5 hours of recordkeeping burden associated with each product. We also estimate recordkeeping for approximately 1.3 million children's apparel and footwear products per year, with an average of 3 hours of recordkeeping burden associated with each product. Manufacturers that are required to conduct periodic testing have an additional recordkeeping burden estimated at 4 hours per representative sampling plan.

    Section 104 Rules: Each section 104 rule contains a similar analysis for marking and labeling that estimates the time to make any necessary changes to marking and labeling requirements at one hour per model.

    Total Estimated Annual Burden

    Testing and Certification: The total estimated annual burden for recordkeeping associated with the testing rule is 5.4 million hours (300,000 non-apparel children's products × 5 hours per non-apparel children's product + 1,300,000 children's apparel products × 3 hours per children's apparel product = 1.5 million hours + 3.9 million hours, or a total of 5.4 million hours).

    Representative Sampling Plans for Periodic Testing: We estimate that if each product line averages 50 individual models or styles, then a total of 32,000 individual representative sampling plans (1.6 million children's products ÷ 50 models or styles) would need to be developed and documented. This would require 128,000 hours (32,000 plans × 4 hours per plan). If each product line averages 10 individual models or styles, then a total of 160,000 different representative sampling plans (1.6 million children's products ÷ 10 models or styles) would need to be documented. This would require 640,000 hours (160,000 plans × 4 hours per plan). Accordingly, the requirement to document the basis for selecting representative samples could increase the estimated annual burden by up to 640,000 hours.

    Component Part Testing: The component part rule shifts some testing costs and some recordkeeping costs to component part and finished product suppliers because some testing will be performed by these parties rather than by the finished product certifiers (manufacturers and importers). Even if a finished product certifier can rely entirely on component part and finished product suppliers for all required testing, however, the finished product supplier will still have some recordkeeping burden to create and maintain a finished product certificate. Therefore, although the component part testing rule may reduce the total cost of the testing required by the testing and certification rule, the rule increases the estimated annual recordkeeping burden for those who choose to use component part testing.

    Because we do not know how many companies participate in component part testing and supply test reports or certifications to other certifiers in the supply chain, we have no concrete data to estimate the recordkeeping and third party disclosure requirements in the component part rule. Likewise, no clear method exists for estimating the number of finished product certifiers who conduct their own component part testing. In the component part rulemaking, we suggested that the recordkeeping burden for the component part testing rule could amount to 10 percent of the burden estimated for the testing and labeling rule. 76 FR 69546, 69579 (Nov. 8, 2011). Currently, we have no basis to change this estimate.

    In addition to recordkeeping, the component part rule requires third party disclosure of test reports and certificates, if any, to a certifier who intends to rely on such documents to issue its own certificate. Without data, allocation of burden estimation between the recordkeeping and third party disclosure requirements is difficult. However, based on our previous analysis, we continue to estimate that creating and maintaining records accounts for approximately 90 percent of the burden, while the third party disclosure burden is much less, perhaps approximately 10 percent. Therefore, if we continue to use the estimate that component part testing will amount to about 10 percent of the burden estimated for the testing rule, then the hour burden of the component part rule is estimated to be about 540,000 hours total annually (10% of 5.4 million hours); allocating 486,000 hours for recordkeeping and 54,000 hours for third party disclosure.

    Section 104 Rules: The burden for marking and labeling for each section 104 rule is provided in Table 1. The estimated total number of respondent hours is 3,378.

    Request for Comments

    The Commission solicits written comments from all interested persons about the proposed renewal of this 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: November 9, 2015. Todd A. Stevenson, Secretary, Consumer Product Safety Commission.
    [FR Doc. 2015-28845 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6355-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary [Docket ID DoD-2015-OS-0127] Privacy Act of 1974; System of Records AGENCY:

    Office of the Secretary of Defense, DoD.

    ACTION:

    Notice to alter a System of Records.

    SUMMARY:

    The Office of the Secretary of Defense proposes to alter a new system of records, DHRA 10 DoD, entitled “Defense Sexual Assault Advocate Certification Program” to track the certification of SARC and SAPR VAs. Information will be used to review, process, and report on the status of SARC and SAPR VA certification to Congress.

    DATES:

    Comments will be accepted on or before December 16, 2015. This proposed action will be effective the day following the end of the comment period unless comments are received which result in a contrary determination.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by docket number and title, by any of the following methods:

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

    * Mail: Department of Defense, Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer, Directorate of Oversight and Compliance, Regulatory and Audit Matters Office, 9010 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-9010.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and docket number for this Federal Register document. The general policy for comments and other submissions from members of the public is to make these submissions available for public viewing on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov as they are received without change, including any personal identifiers or contact information.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Cindy Allard, Chief, OSD/JS Privacy Office, Freedom of Information Directorate, Washington Headquarters Service, 1155 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1155, or by phone at (571) 372-0461.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Office of the Secretary of Defense notices for systems of records subject to the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a), as amended, have been published in the Federal Register and are available from the address in FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT or at http://dpcld.defense.gov/. The proposed system report, as required by 5 U.S.C. 552a(r) of the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, was submitted on November 4, 2015, to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) pursuant to paragraph 4c of Appendix I to OMB Circular No. A-130, “Federal Agency Responsibilities for Maintaining Records About Individuals,” dated February 8, 1996 (February 20, 1996, 61 FR 6427).

    Dated: November 10, 2015. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense. DHRA 10 DoD System name:

    Defense Sexual Assault Advocate Certification Program (July 11, 2012, 77 FR 40861).

    Changes: System location:

    Delete entry and replace with “National Organization for Victim Assistance, 510 King Street, Suite 424, Alexandria, VA 22314-3132.

    Back-up: Suntrust Bank, 515 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314-3157.”

    Categories of records in the system:

    Delete entry and replace with “Applicant's first name, middle initial, and last name; position type (Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) or Sexual Assault Prevention Representative Victim Advocate (SAPR VA)); Service/DoD affiliation and status; grade/rank; installation/command; work email address and telephone number; official military address of applicant and applicant's SARC (commanding officer, street, city, state, ZIP code, country); position level (Level I, II, III, or IV); certificates of training; date of application; verification of sexual assault victim advocacy experience (position, dates, hours, supervisor; name, title, and work telephone number of verifier); evaluation of sexual assault victim experience (description of applicant skills, abilities, and experience; name, title, and office of evaluator), letters of recommendation by the first person in the chain of command, SARC, and the Senior Commander or the Commander; supervisor and commander statement of understanding, documentation of continuing education training courses; Defense Sexual Assault Advocate Certification Program (D-SAACP) identification (ID) number.”

    Authority for maintenance of the system:

    Delete entry and replace with “10 U.S.C. 136, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness; DoD Directive 6495.01, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Program; DoD Instruction 6495.02, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Program Procedures; and Directive-type Memorandum (DTM) 14-001, Defense Sexual Assault Advocate Certification Program (D-SAACP).”

    Routine uses of records maintained in the system, including categories of users and the purposes of such uses:

    Delete entry and replace with “In addition to those disclosures generally permitted in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552a(b) of the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, the records contained herein may specifically be disclosed outside the DoD as a routine use pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(3) as follows:

    To the Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime and Training Technical Assistance Center for the purpose of verifying certified SARCs and SAPR VAs for participation in Advance Military Sexual Assault Advocate Training.

    Law Enforcement Routine Use:

    If a system of records maintained by a DoD Component to carry out its functions indicates a violation or potential violation of law, whether civil, criminal, or regulatory in nature, and whether arising by general statute or by regulation, rule, or order issued pursuant thereto, the relevant records in the system of records may be referred, as a routine use, to the agency concerned, whether federal, state, local, or foreign, charged with the responsibility of investigating or prosecuting such violation or charged with enforcing or implementing the statute, rule, regulation, or order issued pursuant thereto.

    Disclosure When Requesting Information Routine Use:

    A record from a system of records maintained by a DoD Component may be disclosed as a routine use to a federal, state, or local agency maintaining civil, criminal, or other relevant enforcement information or other pertinent information, such as current licenses, if necessary to obtain information relevant to a DoD Component decision concerning the hiring or retention of an employee, the issuance of a security clearance, the letting of a contract, or the issuance of a license, grant, or other benefit.

    Disclosure of Requested Information Routine Use:

    A record from a system of records maintained by a DoD Component may be disclosed to a federal agency, in response to its request, in connection with the hiring or retention of an employee, the issuance of a security clearance, the reporting of an investigation of an employee, the letting of a contract, or the issuance of a license, grant, or other benefit by the requesting agency, to the extent that the information is relevant and necessary to the requesting agency's decision on the matter.

    Congressional Inquiries Disclosure Routine Use:

    Disclosure from a system of records maintained by a DoD Component may be made to a congressional office from the record of an individual in response to an inquiry from the congressional office made at the request of that individual.

    Disclosure to the Office of Personnel Management Routine Use:

    A record from a system of records subject to the Privacy Act and maintained by a DoD Component may be disclosed to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) concerning information on pay and leave, benefits, retirement deduction, and any other information necessary for the OPM to carry out its legally authorized government-wide personnel management functions and studies.

    Disclosure of Information to the National Archives and Records Administration Routine Use:

    A record from a system of records maintained by a DoD Component may be disclosed as a routine use to the National Archives and Records Administration for the purpose of records management inspections conducted under authority of 44 U.S.C. 2904 and 2906.

    Disclosure to the Merit Systems Protection Board Routine Use:

    A record from a system of records maintained by a DoD Component may be disclosed as a routine use to the Merit Systems Protection Board, including the Office of the Special Counsel for the purpose of litigation, including administrative proceedings, appeals, special studies of the civil service and other merit systems, review of OPM or component rules and regulations, investigation of alleged or possible prohibited personnel practices; including administrative proceedings involving any individual subject of a DoD investigation, and such other functions, promulgated in 5 U.S.C. 1205 and 1206, or as may be authorized by law.

    Data Breach Remediation Purposes Routine Use:

    A record from a system of records maintained by a Component may be disclosed to appropriate agencies, entities, and persons when (1) The Component suspects or has confirmed that the security or confidentiality of the information in the system of records has been compromised; (2) the Component has determined that as a result of the suspected or confirmed compromise there is a risk of harm to economic or property interests, identity theft or fraud, or harm to the security or integrity of this system or other systems or programs (whether maintained by the Component or another agency or entity) that rely upon the compromised information; and (3) the disclosure made to such agencies, entities, and persons is reasonably necessary to assist in connection with the Components efforts to respond to the suspected or confirmed compromise and prevent, minimize, or remedy such harm.

    The DoD Blanket Routine Uses set forth at the beginning of the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) compilation of systems of records notices may apply to this system. The complete list of DoD blanket routine uses can be found Online at: http://dpclo.defense.gov/Privacy/SORNsIndex/BlanketRoutineUses.aspx.”

    Policies and practices for storing, retrieving, accessing, retaining, and disposing of records in the system: Storage:

    Delete entry and replace with “Paper file folders and electronic storage media.”

    Retrievability:

    Delete entry and replace with “First and last name and/or D-SAACP ID number.”

    Safeguards:

    Delete entry and replace with “Records are maintained in a controlled facility that employs physical restrictions such as double locks and is accessible only to authorized persons who hold key fobs. Access to electronic data files in the system is role-based, restricted to essential personnel only, and requires the use of a password. The data server is locked in a windowless room with restricted access. Data is encrypted, and backup data is also encrypted and removed to an off-site secure location for storage. Paper files are stored in a locked filing cabinet in a locked room in the controlled facility. System access to case files will be limited to computers within a closed network, not connected to the internet or other servers.”

    Retention and disposal:

    Delete entry and replace with “Temporary, Destroy when 5 years old.”

    System manager(s) and address:

    Delete entry and replace with “Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, ATTN: D-SAACP Manager, 4800 Mark Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22350-1500.”

    Notification procedure:

    Delete entry and replace with “Individuals seeking to determine whether information about themselves is contained in this system of records should address written inquiries to the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, ATTN: D-SAACP Manager, 4800 Mark Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22350-1500.

    Signed, written requests should contain first and last name and/or D-SAACP ID number.”

    Record access procedures:

    Delete entry and replace with “Individuals seeking access to records about themselves contained in this system should address written inquiries to the OSD/Joint Staff Freedom of Information Act, Requester Service Center, Office of Freedom of Information, 1155 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1155.

    Signed, written requests should contain first and last name, D-SAACP ID number, and the name and number of this system of records notice.”

    [FR Doc. 2015-28927 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary [Docket ID: DoD-2015-OS-0125] Privacy Act of 1974; System of Records AGENCY:

    National Guard Bureau, DoD.

    ACTION:

    Notice to add a new System of Records.

    SUMMARY:

    The National Guard Bureau proposes to add a new system of records INGB 009, entitled “National Guard Family Program Volunteers,” to document and manage volunteer activities including recruitment, training, recognition and support for eligible individuals who donate their services to the National Guard Family Program.

    DATES:

    Comments will be accepted on or before December 16, 2015. This proposed action will be effective the day following the end of the comment period unless comments are received which result in a contrary determination.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by docket number and title, by any of the following methods:

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

    * Mail: Department of Defense, Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer, Directorate of Oversight and Compliance, Regulatory and Audit Matters Office, 9010 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-9010.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and docket number for this Federal Register document. The general policy for comments and other submissions from members of the public is to make these submissions available for public viewing on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov as they are received without change, including any personal identifiers or contact information.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Jennifer Nikolaisen, 111 South George Mason Drive, AH2, Arlington, VA 22204-1373 or telephone: (703) 601-6884.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The National Guard Bureau notices for systems of records subject to the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a), as amended, have been published in the Federal Register and are available from the address in FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT or from the Defense Privacy and Civil Liberties Division Web site at http://dpcld.defense.gov/.

    The proposed system report, as required by 5 U.S.C. 552a(r) of the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, was submitted on October 23, 2015, to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) pursuant to paragraph 4c of Appendix I to OMB Circular No. A-130, “Federal Agency Responsibilities for Maintaining Records About Individuals,” dated February 8, 1996 (February 20, 1996, 61 FR 6427).

    Dated: November 10, 2015. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense. INGB 009 System name:

    National Guard Family Program Volunteers.

    System location:

    National Guard Bureau (NGB) Family Program, 111 South George Mason Drive, Arlington Hall 2, Arlington, VA 22204-1373.

    Categories of individuals covered by the system:

    Any individual that volunteers to participate in the National Guard Family Program.

    Categories of records in the system:

    Individual's name, mailing address, email address, telephone numbers, DoD ID Number, date of birth, gender, qualifications/skills, interests, program surveys, recommendation letters, volunteer awards, volunteer hours, volunteer services provided, start and completion date of volunteer service, volunteer training and incidental reimbursement expenses, sponsor name, background suitability check determination and completion date, employment and education information.

    For individuals under the age of 18 the following additional data may be in the record: Parental consent letter, report card, medication dispensation permission, health history including allergies, dietary restrictions, emergency contact information, signatures authorizing program/training participation and emergency treatment.

    Note: This system of records contains individually identifiable health information. The DoD Health Information Privacy Regulation (DoD 6025.18-R) issued pursuant to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, applies to most such health information. DoD 6025.18-R may place additional procedural requirements on the uses and disclosures of such information beyond those found in the Privacy Act of 1974 or mentioned in this system of records notice.

    Authority for maintenance of the system:

    10 U.S.C. 10502, Chief of the National Guard Bureau: Appointment; adviser on National Guard matters; grade; succession; 10 U.S.C. 10503, Functions of National Guard Bureau: Charter; 10 U.S.C. 1588, Authority to accept certain voluntary services; DoDD 5105.77, National Guard Bureau (NGB); DoD Instruction 1100.21, Voluntary Services in the Department of Defense; and National Guard Regulation 600-12/Air National Guard Instruction 36-3009, National Guard Family Program.

    Purpose(s):

    To document and manage volunteer activities including recruitment, training, recognition and support for eligible individuals who donate their services to the National Guard Family Program.

    Routine uses of records maintained in the system including categories of users and the purpose of such uses:

    In addition to those disclosures generally permitted under 5 U.S.C. 552a(b) of the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, the records contained therein may specifically be disclosed outside the DoD as a routine use pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(3) as follows:

    The DoD Blanket Routine Uses set forth at the beginning of the National Guard Bureau's compilation of systems of records notices may apply to this system. The complete list of DoD blanket routine uses can be found online at: http://dpcld.defense.gov/Privacy/SORNsIndex/BlanketRoutineUses.aspx.

    Policies and practices for storing, retrieving, accessing, retaining, and disposing of records in the system: Storage:

    Paper files and electronic storage media.

    Retrievability:

    Records are retrieved by the full name of volunteer in Joint Service Support (JSS).

    Safeguards:

    Records are maintained in monitored or controlled areas accessible only to authorized personnel. Electronic records are protected by software programs that are password protected or restricted from access through use of the Common Access Card (CAC) by National Guard personnel that have a need-to-know in the performance of their official duties.

    Retention and disposal:

    Disposition pending (treat as permanent until the National Archives and Records Administration has approved the retention and disposal schedule).

    System manager(s) and address:

    National Guard Bureau (NGB) Family Program, 111 South George Mason Drive, Arlington Hall 2, Arlington, VA 22204-1373.

    Notification procedure:

    Individuals seeking to determine whether this system of records contains information about themselves should address written inquiries to National Guard Bureau (NGB), Manpower and Personnel Directorate (J1), Family Programs; 111 South George Mason Drive, Arlington Hall 2, Arlington, VA 22204-1373.

    Written requests must include the individual's DoD ID number or their name and date of birth, and full mailing address to receive a response.

    In addition, the requester must provide a notarized statement or an unsworn declaration made in accordance with 28 U.S.C. 1746, in the following format:

    If executed outside the United States: `I declare (or certify, verify, or state) under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on (date). (Signature)'.

    If executed within the United States, its territories, possessions, or commonwealths: `I declare (or certify, verify, or state) under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on (date). (Signature)'.

    Record access procedures:

    Individuals seeking access to information about themselves contained in this system of records should address written inquiries to National Guard Bureau (NGB), Manpower and Personnel Directorate (J1), Family Programs; 111 South George Mason Drive, Arlington Hall 2, Arlington, VA 22204-1373.

    Written requests must include the individual's DoD ID number or their name and date of birth, and full mailing address to receive a response.

    In addition, the requester must provide a notarized statement or an unsworn declaration made in accordance with 28 U.S.C. 1746, in the following format:

    If executed outside the United States: `I declare (or certify, verify, or state) under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on (date). (Signature)'.

    If executed within the United States, its territories, possessions, or commonwealths: `I declare (or certify, verify, or state) under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on (date). (Signature)'.

    Contesting records procedures:

    The National Guard Bureau's rules for accessing records, and for contesting contents, and appealing initial agency determinations are published at 32 CFR part 329 or may be obtained from the system manager.

    Record source categories:

    Information is collected directly from the individual when registering as a volunteer.

    Exemptions claimed for the system:

    None.

    [FR Doc. 2015-28920 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION Privacy Act of 1974; Computer Matching Program Between the Department of Education and the Department of Justice AGENCY:

    Department of Education.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    This document provides notice of the continuation of a computer matching program between the Department of Education and the Department of Justice. The continuation is effective on the date in paragraph 5.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Section 421(a)(1) of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 862(a)(1)) includes provisions regarding the judicial denial of Federal benefits. Section 421 of the Controlled Substances Act, which was originally enacted as section 5301 of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, and which was amended and redesignated as section 421 of the Controlled Substances Act by section 1002(d) of the Crime Control Act of 1990, Public Law 101-647 (hereinafter referred to as “section 5301”), authorizes Federal and State judges to deny certain Federal benefits (including student financial assistance under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA)) to individuals convicted of drug trafficking or possession of a controlled substance.

    In order to ensure that HEA student financial assistance is not awarded to individuals subject to denial of benefits under court orders issued pursuant to section 5301, the Department of Justice and the Department of Education implemented a computer matching program. The 18-month computer matching agreement (CMA) was recertified for an additional 12 months on December 20, 2014. The 12-month recertification of the CMA will automatically expire on December 19, 2015.

    For the purpose of ensuring that HEA student financial assistance is not awarded to individuals denied benefits by court orders issued under the Denial of Federal Benefits Program, the Department of Education must continue to obtain from the Department of Justice identifying information regarding individuals who are the subject of section 5301 denial of benefits court orders. The purpose of this notice is to announce the continued operation of the computer matching program and to provide certain required information concerning the computer matching program.

    In accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a), as amended by the Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act of 1988 (Pub. L. 100-503), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Guidelines on the Conduct of Matching Programs (54 FR 25818, June 19, 1989), and OMB Circular A-130, the following information is provided:

    1. Names of Participating Agencies.

    The Department of Education (ED) and the Department of Justice (DOJ).

    2. Purpose of the Match.

    The purpose of this matching program is to ensure that the requirements of section 421 of the Controlled Substances Act (originally enacted as section 5301 of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, Pub. L. 100-690, 21 U.S.C. 853a, which was amended and redesignated as section 421 of the Controlled Substances Act by section 1002(d) of the Crime Control Act of 1990, Pub. L. 101-647) (hereinafter referred to as “section 5301”) are met.

    DOJ is the lead contact agency for information related to section 5301 violations and, as such, provides this data to ED. ED seeks access to the information contained in the DOJ Denial of Federal Benefits Clearinghouse System (DEBARS) database that is authorized under section 5301 for the purpose of ensuring that HEA student financial assistance is not awarded to individuals subject to denial of benefits under court orders issued pursuant to the Denial of Federal Benefits Program.

    3. Authority for Conducting the Matching Program.

    Under section 5301, ED must deny Federal benefits to any individual upon whom a Federal or State court order has imposed a penalty denying eligibility for those benefits. Student financial assistance under the HEA is a Federal benefit and under section 5301, ED must, in order to meet its obligations under the HEA, have access to information about individuals who have been declared ineligible under section 5301.

    While DOJ provides information under section 5301 about individuals who are ineligible for Federal benefits to the General Services Administration (GSA) for inclusion in GSA's List of Parties Excluded from Federal Procurement and Nonprocurement Programs, DOJ and ED have determined that matching against the DOJ database is more efficient and effective than matching against the GSA List. The DOJ database has specific information about the HEA programs for which individuals are ineligible, as well as the expiration of the debarment period, making the DOJ database more complete than the GSA List. Both of these elements are essential for a successful match.

    4. Categories of Records and Individuals Covered by the Match.

    ED receives data from the DOJ DEBARS system that is used to match title IV, HEA applicant data in ED's Central Processing System (Federal Student Aid Application File (18-11-01)). ED will use the Social Security number (SSN), date of birth, and the first two letters of an applicant's last name for the match.

    The DOJ DEBARS system contains the names, SSNs, dates of birth, and other identifying information regarding individuals convicted of Federal or State offenses involving drug trafficking or possession of a controlled substance who have been denied Federal benefits by Federal or State courts. This system of records also contains information concerning the specific program or programs for which benefits have been denied, as well as the duration of the period of ineligibility. DOJ will make available for the matching program the records of only those individuals who have been denied Federal benefits under one or more of the title IV, HEA programs.

    5. Effective Dates of the Matching Program.

    The matching program will be effective on the latest of the following three dates: (A) December 20, 2015; (B) thirty (30) days after notice of the matching program has been published in the Federal Register; or (C) forty (40) days after a report concerning the matching program has been transmitted to OMB and transmitted to Congress along with a copy of this agreement, unless OMB waives 10 days of this 40-day period for compelling reasons, in which case, 30 days after transmission of the report to OMB and Congress.

    The matching program will continue for 18 months after the effective date of the CMA and may be extended for an additional 12 months thereafter, if the conditions specified in 5 U.S.C. 552a(o)(2)(D) have been met.

    6. Address for Receipt of Public Comments or Inquiries.

    Individuals wishing to comment on this matching program or obtain additional information about the program, including requesting a copy of the computer matching agreement between ED and DOJ, may contact Marya Dennis, Management and Program Analyst, U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid, Union Center Plaza, 830 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20202-5454. Telephone: (202) 377-3385.

    Accessible Format: If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a text telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service, toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

    Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) by contacting the contact person listed in the preceding paragraph.

    Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations is available via the Federal Digital System at: www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys. At this site you can view this document, as well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the site.

    You may also access documents of the Department published in the Federal Register by using the article search feature at: www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published by the Department.

    Authority:

    5 U.S.C. 552a; 21 U.S.C. 862(a)(1).

    James W. Runcie, <E T="03">Chief Operating Officer Federal Student Aid.</E>
    [FR Doc. 2015-29170 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Bonneville Power Administration Melvin R. Sampson Hatchery, Yakima Basin Coho Project AGENCY:

    Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), Department of Energy (DOE).

    ACTION:

    Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and notice of floodplain and wetlands assessment.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), BPA intends to prepare an EIS to determine whether to fund the Confederated Tribes of the Yakama Nation's proposal to construct and operate a hatchery for coho salmon in the upper Yakima basin.

    The Melvin R. Sampson Hatchery would involve construction of a hatchery on 50 acres of land owned by the Yakama Nation in Kittitas County, Washington. Hatchery operations would include collection of adult coho for broodstock at the existing Roza and Sunnyside dams, incubation and rearing of up to 200,000 juvenile coho salmon, and release of smolts into the Yakima and Naches rivers.

    Coho were extirpated from the Yakima basin by the early 1980s. The proposal would augment anadromous fish populations available for harvest and aid natural spawning of coho in the Yakima basin.

    With this Notice of Intent, BPA is initiating the public scoping process for the EIS. BPA is requesting comments about potential environmental impacts that should be considered as an EIS is prepared.

    In accordance with DOE floodplain and wetland regulations, BPA will analyze impacts to floodplain and wetlands as well as measures to avoid or minimize potential effects. The assessment will be included in the EIS.

    DATES:

    Written comments are due to the address below no later than January 4, 2016. Comments may also be made at the scoping meeting to be held on December 9, 2015 at the addresses below.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments on the proposed scope of the Draft EIS and requests to be placed on the project mailing list may be mailed by letter to Bonneville Power Administration, Public Affairs Office—DKE-7, P.O. Box 3621, Portland, OR 97208-3621, or sent by fax to 503-230-4019. You may also call BPA's toll-free comment hotline at 1-800-622-4519 and leave a message (please include the name of the project), or submit comments online at www.bpa.gov/comment. All comments received will be accessible from the project Web site at www.bpa.gov/goto/MelvinSampsonHatchery.

    On Wednesday, December 9, 2015, a scoping meeting will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Hal Holmes Community Center, 209 N. Ruby Street, Ellensburg, Washington 98926. At this informal open-house meeting, BPA will provide project information and maps and will make members of the project team available to answer questions and accept verbal and written comments.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dave Goodman, Environmental Protection Specialist, Bonneville Power Administration, KEC-4, P.O. Box 3621, Portland, OR 97208-3621; toll-free telephone 1-800-282-3713; direct telephone 503-230-4764; or email [email protected]. Additional information can be found at the project Web site: www.bpa.gov/goto/MelvinSampsonHatchery.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    BPA's funding of the Yakama Nation's project would support efforts to protect, mitigate, and enhance fish and wildlife affected by the development and operation of the Federal Columbia River Power System in the mainstem Columbia River and its tributaries under the Pacific Northwest Electric Power Planning and Conservation Act of 1980 (Act) (16 U.S.C. 839b(h)(10)). The Act requires BPA to fund fish and wildlife protection, mitigation, and enhancement actions consistent with the Northwest Power and Conservation Council's (Council) Fish and Wildlife Program and the purposes of the Act. Under this program, the Council makes recommendations to BPA concerning which fish and wildlife projects to fund. This project was recommended to BPA by the Council. In addition to its responsibilities under the Act, on May 2, 2008, BPA, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers signed the 2008 Columbia Basin Fish Accords Memorandum of Agreement with the Yakama Nation. The agreement includes funding for this hatchery project, subject to compliance with NEPA and other environmental review requirements. The project is a component of the Yakima-Klickitat Fisheries Project EIS, which was completed in 1996. The proposal is also consistent with the policy direction in BPA's Fish and Wildlife Implementation Plan, which calls for protecting weak stocks while sustaining overall populations of fish for their economic and cultural value, including long-term harvest opportunities.

    The hatchery would be located approximately 5 miles northwest of Ellensburg, WA, between Interstate 90 and Highway 10. Construction of the hatchery would include a 28,000-square-foot hatchery and administration building, an adult holding and spawning facility, intake screens and a pump station to provide water from an existing irrigation canal, three new groundwater wells and acquisition of water rights, a new centralized degassing head box for groundwater treatment and supply, a waste treatment pond, and two 2,000-square-foot residences for hatchery staff.

    The proposed hatchery would produce up to 200,000 yearling coho smolts. Project operations would include collection of broodstock from the Roza Dam in Kittitas County, Washington and the Sunnyside Dam in Yakima County, Washington. Fish would be acclimated at existing acclimation sites adjacent to release locations and released into the tributaries and mainstem reaches of the upper Yakima and Naches rivers. Fish would be 100 percent coded wire-tagged and different wire tag codes would be used to distinguish release locations.

    BPA will be the lead agency for preparation of the EIS. Cooperating agencies for the EIS may be identified as the proposed project proceeds through the NEPA process.

    Alternatives Proposed for Consideration: In the EIS, BPA is considering two alternatives: To fund the proposed hatchery and a no action alternative of not funding the proposal. Other viable alternatives brought forth through the scoping process may also be evaluated in the EIS.

    Public Participation and Identification of Environmental Issues: The potential environmental issues identified so far for this project include effects of hatchery operations on water quality; the risk of competition between increasing numbers of coho and Endangered Species Act-listed fish such as bull trout; potential effects on soil, aesthetics, water quality, and climate change due to the construction of permanent facilities; and the social, cultural, and economic effects of project construction and operations, as well as harvest.

    BPA has established a 30-day scoping period during which affected landowners, concerned citizens, special interest groups, local governments, and any other interested parties are invited to comment on the scope of the proposed EIS. Scoping will help BPA ensure that a full range of issues related to this proposal are addressed in the EIS, and will help to identify significant or potentially significant impacts that may result from the proposed project.

    When completed, the Draft EIS will be circulated for review and comment, and BPA will hold at least one public comment meeting for the Draft EIS. BPA will consider and respond in the Final EIS to comments received on the Draft EIS. BPA's subsequent decision will be documented in a Record of Decision.

    Maps and further information are available from BPA at the address above.

    Issued in Portland, Oregon on November 4, 2015. Elliot E. Mainzer, Administrator and Chief Executive Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-28936 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. CP16-12-000] Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, L.L.C.; Notice of Application

    Take notice that on October 26, 2015, Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, L.L.C. (Tennessee), 1001 Louisiana Street, Houston, Texas 77002, filed an application pursuant to section 7(c) of the Natural Gas Act (NGA) requesting authorization to construct and operate its Southwest Louisiana Supply Project to provide 295,000 dekatherms per day of incremental capacity to serve Mitsubishi Corporation and MMGS, Inc. Specifically, Tennessee proposes to construct (i) approximately 2.4 miles of 30-inch-diameter pipeline lateral in Madison Parish, Louisiana; (ii) approximately 1.4 miles of 30-inch-diameter pipeline lateral in Richland and Franklin Parishes, Louisiana; (iii) five meter stations to allow Tennessee to receive gas on its existing 800 Line from five interconnecting pipelines; (iv) one new compressor station in Franklin Parish, Louisiana; and (v) to replace a turbine engine at an existing compressor station in Rapides Parish, Louisiana. Tennessee estimates the cost of the Project to be $170,453,208, all as more fully set forth in the application which is on file with the Commission and open to public inspection. The filing is available for review at the Commission in the Public Reference Room or may be viewed on the Commission's Web site at http://www.ferc.gov using the “eLibrary” link. Enter the docket number excluding the last three digits in the docket number field to access the document. For assistance, contact FERC at [email protected] or call toll-free, (886) 208-3676 or TYY, (202) 502-8659.

    Any questions concerning this application may be directed to Patrick Stewart, Senior Counsel, Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, L.L.C., 1001 Louisiana Street, Houston, Texas 77002, by telephone at (713) 369-8765, by facsimile at (713) 420-1601, or by email at [email protected]

    Pursuant to section 157.9 of the Commission's rules, 18 CFR 157.9, within 90 days of this Notice, the Commission staff will either: Complete its environmental assessment (EA) and place it into the Commission's public record (eLibrary) for this proceeding; or issue a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review. If a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review is issued, it will indicate, among other milestones, the anticipated date for the Commission staff's issuance of the final environmental impact statement (FEIS) or EA for this proposal. The filing of the EA in the Commission's public record for this proceeding or the issuance of a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review will serve to notify federal and state agencies of the timing for the completion of all necessary reviews, and the subsequent need to complete all federal authorizations within 90 days of the date of issuance of the Commission staff's FEIS or EA.

    There are two ways to become involved in the Commission's review of this project. First, any person wishing to obtain legal status by becoming a party to the proceedings for this project should, on or before the comment date stated below file with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, a motion to intervene in accordance with the requirements of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.214 or 385.211) and the Regulations under the NGA (18 CFR 157.10). A person obtaining party status will be placed on the service list maintained by the Secretary of the Commission and will receive copies of all documents filed by the applicant and by all other parties. A party must submit five copies of filings made in the proceeding with the Commission and must mail a copy to the applicant and to every other party. Only parties to the proceeding can ask for court review of Commission orders in the proceeding.

    However, a person does not have to intervene in order to have comments considered. The second way to participate is by filing with the Secretary of the Commission, as soon as possible, an original and two copies of comments in support of or in opposition to this project. The Commission will consider these comments in determining the appropriate action to be taken, but the filing of a comment alone will not serve to make the filer a party to the proceeding. The Commission's rules require that persons filing comments in opposition to the project provide copies of their protests only to the party or parties directly involved in the protest.

    Persons who wish to comment only on the environmental review of this project should submit an original and two copies of their comments to the Secretary of the Commission. Environmental commenters will be placed on the Commission's environmental mailing list, will receive copies of the environmental documents, and will be notified of meetings associated with the Commission's environmental review process. Environmental commenters will not be required to serve copies of filed documents on all other parties. However, the non-party commenters will not receive copies of all documents filed by other parties or issued by the Commission (except for the mailing of environmental documents issued by the Commission) and will not have the right to seek court review of the Commission's final order.

    The Commission strongly encourages electronic filings of comments, protests and interventions in lieu of paper using the “eFiling” link at http://www.ferc.gov. Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and five copies of the protest or intervention to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    Comment Date: 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on November 30, 2015.

    Dated: November 9, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-29148 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. CP16-14-000] Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC; Notice of Request Under Blanket Authorization

    Take notice that on November 2, 2015, Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC (Columbia), pursuant to its blanket certificate authorization granted in Docket No. CP83-76-000,1 filed an application in accordance to sections 157.205, 157.208, and 157.216(b) of the Commission's Regulations under the Natural Gas Act (NGA) as amended, requesting authority to abandon and construct certain pipeline facilities located in Fairfield County, Ohio. The proposed abandonment and construction are parts of Columbia's comprehensive modernization program to address its aging infrastructure, all as more fully set forth in the application which is on file with the Commission and open to public inspection.

    1 22 FERC ¶ 62,029 (1983).

    Columbia proposes to abandon in-place, as well as replaces a portion of Line G that was originally constructed in 1902, and to abandon in-place Line G-137. These sections of Line G and Line G-137 pipelines consist of 13.57 miles and 1.31 miles, respectively, of 4-, 6-, and 8-inch diameter bare steel pipe. The existing pipelines will be abandoned in-place without earth disturbance and Columbia will retain the easement rights. Also, a 5,000 foot section at the end of Line G from Pleasantville valve to the Gatherco point of receipt will be replaced with a 4-inch diameter plastic pipe to maintain service from Gatherco. The new 4-inch diameter plastic Line G pipeline will be installed within Columbia's existing right-of-way at a 15-foot offset to the east of the existing Line G pipeline. The reduction in pipeline diameter will have no adverse impact on Columbia's ability to meet operational needs and firm commitment on this pipeline. The proposed abandonment will have no impact on the services presently provided by Columbia. Continuity of service to the affected consumers will be maintained by converting them to an alternate energy source. Columbia does not propose abandonment of any tariff-based interstate gas transportation service when it abandons the proposed facilities.

    Any questions concerning this application may be directed to Tyler R. Brown, Senior Counsel, Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC, 5151 San Felipe, Suite 2500, Houston, Texas 77056, or by phone at (713) 386-3797.

    This filing is available for review at the Commission or may be viewed on the Commission's Web site at http://www.ferc.gov, using the “eLibrary” link. Enter the docket number excluding the last three digits in the docket number filed to access the document. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at FERC [email protected] or call toll-free at (866) 206-3676, or, for TTY, contact (202) 502-8659. Comments, protests and interventions may be filed electronically via the Internet in lieu of paper. See, 18 CFR 385.2001(a)(1)(iii) and the instructions on the Commission's Web site under the “e-Filing” link. The Commission strongly encourages interveners to file electronically.

    Pursuant to section 157.9 of the Commission's rules, 18 CFR 157.9, within 90 days of this Notice, the Commission staff will either: Complete its environmental assessment (EA) and place it into the Commission's public record (eLibrary) for this proceeding; or issue a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review. If a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review is issued, it will indicate, among other milestones, the anticipated date for the Commission staff's issuance of the final environmental impact statement (FEIS) or EA for this proposal. The filing of the EA in the Commission's public record for this proceeding or the issuance of a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review will serve to notify federal and state agencies of the timing for the completion of all necessary reviews, and the subsequent need to complete all federal authorizations within 90 days of the date of issuance of the Commission staff's FEIS or EA.

    Any person or the Commission's staff may, within 60 days after issuance of the instant notice by the Commission, file pursuant to Rule 214 of the Commission's Procedural Rules (18 CFR 385.214) a motion to intervene or notice of intervention and pursuant to Section 157.205 of the regulations under the NGA (18 CFR 157.205), a protest to the request. If no protest is filed within the time allowed therefore, the proposed activity shall be deemed to be authorized effective the day after the time allowed for filing a protest. If a protest is filed and not withdrawn within 30 days after the allowed time for filing a protest, the instant request shall be treated as an application for authorization pursuant to Section 7 of the NGA.

    Dated: November 9, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-29149 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Notice of Petition for Enforcement Allco Renewable Energy Limited Docket Nos. EL16-11-000 Allco Finance Limited QF14-109-001 QF14-114-001 QF14-115-001 QF14-116-001 QF15-117-001

    Take notice that on November 9, 2015, Allco Renewable Energy Limited and Allco Finance Limited (collectively, ALLCO) filed a Petition for Enforcement, pursuant to section 210(h)(2)(B) of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA), requesting that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) exercise its authority and initiate enforcement action against the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (collectively, the Connecticut Agencies) to remedy the Connecticut Agencies' implementation of PURPA. ALLCO asserts that the Connecticut Agencies' implementation is improper and outside the confines of PURPA, all as more fully explained in the petition.

    Any person desiring to intervene or to protest this filing must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211, 385.214). Protests will be considered by the Commission in determining the appropriate action to be taken, but will not serve to make protestants parties to the proceeding. Any person wishing to become a party must file a notice of intervention or motion to intervene, as appropriate. Such notices, motions, or protests must be filed on or before the comment date. On or before the comment date, it is not necessary to serve motions to intervene or protests on persons other than the Applicant.

    The Commission encourages electronic submission of protests and interventions in lieu of paper using the “eFiling” link at http://www.ferc.gov. Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and 5 copies of the protest or intervention to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    This filing is accessible on-line at http://www.ferc.gov, using the “eLibrary” link and is available for electronic review in the Commission's Public Reference Room in Washington, DC. There is an “eSubscription” link on the Web site that enables subscribers to receive email notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please email [email protected], or call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Comment Date: 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on November 30, 2015.

    Dated: November 9, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-29151 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings #1

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric corporate filings:

    Docket Numbers: EC16-28-000.

    Applicants: Sagebrush, a California partnership.

    Description: Application for Authorization for Disposition of Jurisdictional Facilities, Request for Confidential Treatment, and Request for Expedited Action of Sagebrush, a California partnership, et al.

    Filed Date: 11/5/15.

    Accession Number: 20151105-5234.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 11/27/15.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric rate filings:

    Docket Numbers: ER14-2619-003.

    Applicants: Illinois Power Marketing Company.

    Description: Compliance filing: Compliance Unexecuted Revised Amended and Restated SSR Agreement to be effective 8/14/2014.

    Filed Date: 11/6/15.

    Accession Number: 20151106-5093.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 11/27/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-948-002.

    Applicants: Illinois Power Marketing Company.

    Description: Compliance filing: Compliance Unexecuted Revised Amended and Restated SSR Agreement to be effective 1/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 11/6/15.

    Accession Number: 20151106-5096.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 11/27/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-271-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C., American Transmission Systems, Incorporated, Trans-Allegheny Interstate Line Company, Pennsylvania Electric Company, Monongahela Power Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: ATSI et al submits 6 service agreement nos. 3992, 3994, 3995, 4292, 4293, 4294 to be effective 1/5/2016.

    Filed Date: 11/5/15.

    Accession Number: 20151105-5198.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 11/27/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-272-000.

    Applicants: Central Maine Power Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Supplement No. 3 to CMP FERC Electric Rate Schedule No. 60 to be effective 1/5/2016.

    Filed Date: 11/5/15.

    Accession Number: 20151105-5200.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 11/27/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-273-000.

    Applicants: ISO New England Inc., Emera Maine.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Correction to ISO New England Tariff Schedule 21-EM to be effective 6/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 11/6/15.

    Accession Number: 20151106-5031.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 11/27/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-274-000.

    Applicants: Louisville Gas and Electric Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: OMU Amd and Rstd IA Rate Sched No 505 to be effective 1/6/2016.

    Filed Date: 11/6/15.

    Accession Number: 20151106-5048.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 11/27/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-275-000.

    Applicants: Kentucky Utilities Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: KU Concurrence to OMU Amd and Rstd Rate Sched 505 to be effective 1/6/2016.

    Filed Date: 11/6/15.

    Accession Number: 20151106-5065.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 11/27/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-276-000.

    Applicants: Freepoint Commodities LLC.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Revised MBR Tariff re 784 & SPP to be effective 11/7/2015.

    Filed Date: 11/6/15.

    Accession Number: 20151106-5069.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 11/27/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-277-000.

    Applicants: Talen Energy Marketing, LLC.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Reactive Supply and Voltage Control from Generation Sources Service to be effective 12/31/9998.

    Filed Date: 11/6/15.

    Accession Number: 20151106-5070.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 11/27/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-278-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Service Agreement No. 4288; Queue No. AA1-112 to be effective 10/13/2015.

    Filed Date: 11/6/15.

    Accession Number: 20151106-5071.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 11/27/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-279-000.

    Applicants: Southwest Power Pool, Inc.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Ministerial Filing to Correct Attachment AE Table of Contents to be effective 3/1/2014.

    Filed Date: 11/6/15..

    Accession Number: 20151106-5077

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 11/27/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-280-000.

    Applicants: Arizona Public Service Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Rate Schedule No. 244—Amendment 7 to be effective 1/6/2016.

    Filed Date: 11/6/15.

    Accession Number: 20151106-5079.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 11/27/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-281-000.

    Applicants: Arizona Public Service Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Rate Schedule No. 217 Exhibit B.MEX to be effective 1/6/2016.

    Filed Date: 11/6/15.

    Accession Number: 20151106-5092.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 11/27/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-282-000.

    Applicants: Arizona Public Service Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Rate Schedule No. 251—Amendment 3 to be effective 1/6/2016.

    Filed Date: 11/6/15.

    Accession Number: 20151106-5100.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 11/27/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-283-000.

    Applicants: Arizona Public Service Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Rate Schedule No. 273—Amendment 1 to be effective 1/6/2016.

    Filed Date: 11/6/15.

    Accession Number: 20151106-5101.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 11/27/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-284-000.

    Applicants: Arizona Public Service Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Rate Schedule No. 33—Exhibit A Revision 50 to be effective 1/6/2016.

    Filed Date: 11/6/15.

    Accession Number: 20151106-5108.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 11/27/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-285-000.

    Applicants: NorthWestern Corporation.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Revised Point-to-Point TSAs with Talen (SA 557 2nd Rev, 749 & 750) to be effective 11/9/2015.

    Filed Date: 11/6/15.

    Accession Number: 20151106-5120.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 11/27/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-286-000.

    Applicants: ISO New England Inc., New England Power Pool Participants Committee.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Revisions to ISO-NE Tariff Related to Hourly Requirements under the FAP to be effective 1/8/2016.

    Filed Date: 11/6/15.

    Accession Number: 20151106-5135.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 11/27/15.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric securities filings:

    Docket Numbers: ES16-3-000.

    Applicants: PacifiCorp.

    Description: Revised Exhibits C, D and E to October 16, 2015 Application for Authorization to issue and sell up to $1.5 billion of promissory notes or other evidences of unsecured short-term indebtedness of PacifiCorp.

    Filed Date: 11/6/15.

    Accession Number: 20151106-5025.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 11/27/15.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: November 6, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-29143 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Project No. 14443-001] Consolidated Irrigation Company; Notice of Surrender of Preliminary Permit

    Take notice that Consolidated Irrigation Company (Consolidated), permittee for the proposed Consolidated Irrigation Glendale Conduit Hydro Project No. 14443 has requested that its preliminary permit be withdrawn from consideration. The permit was issued on October 3, 2013, and would have expired on September 30, 2016.1 The project would have been located on Mink Creek canal and Cub River canal near the city of Preston in Franklin County, Idaho.

    1 145 FERC ¶ 62,008 (2013).

    The preliminary permit for Project No. 14443 will remain in effect until the close of business, December 9, 2015. But, if the Commission is closed on this day, then the permit remains in effect until the close of business on the next day in which the Commission is open.2 New applications for this site may not be submitted until after the permit surrender is effective.

    2 18 CFR 385.2007(a)(2) (2015).

    Dated: November 9, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-29155 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. EL14-43-000; Docket No. EL14-69-000] East Texas Electric Cooperative, Inc., Sam Rayburn Electric Cooperative, Inc., Tex-La Electric Cooperative of Texas, Inc. v. Entergy Texas, Inc., Entergy Texas, Inc. v. East Texas Electric Cooperative, Inc., Sam Rayburn Electric Cooperative, Inc., Tex-La Electric Cooperative of Texas, Inc.; Notice of Filing

    Take notice that on November 6, 2015, Entergy Services, Inc., on behalf of Entergy Texas, Inc. submitted tariff filing: Refund Report to be effectiveN/A.

    Any person desiring to intervene or to protest this filing must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211, 385.214). Protests will be considered by the Commission in determining the appropriate action to be taken, but will not serve to make protestants parties to the proceeding. Any person wishing to become a party must file a notice of intervention or motion to intervene, as appropriate. Such notices, motions, or protests must be filed on or before the comment date. On or before the comment date, it is not necessary to serve motions to intervene or protests on persons other than the Applicant.

    The Commission encourages electronic submission of protests and interventions in lieu of paper using the “eFiling” link at http://www.ferc.gov. Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and 5 copies of the protest or intervention to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    This filing is accessible on-line at http://www.ferc.gov, using the “eLibrary” link and is available for review in the Commission's Public Reference Room in Washington, DC. There is an “eSubscription” link on the Web site that enables subscribers to receive email notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please email [email protected], or call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Comment Date: 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on November 27, 2015.

    Dated: November 9, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-29150 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. EL16-10-000] Industrial Energy Users—Ohio, Complainant, v. The Ohio Power Company and PJM Interconnection, LLC, Respondents: Notice of Complaint

    Take notice that on November 6, 2015, pursuant to sections 206, 306, and 309 of the Federal Power Act (FPA), 16 U.S.C. 824e, 825e, and 825h, Rule 206 of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (Commission) Rules of Practice and Procedure, 18 CFR 385.206, Industrial Energy Users—Ohio filed a formal complaint against Ohio Power Company (AEP-Ohio) and PJM Interconnection, LLC (PJM) alleging that AEP-Ohio has taken, and PJM has allowed to be taken actions in contravention of the PJM Open Access Transmission Tariff and that such actions are unjust, unreasonable, and unduly discriminatory, in violation of the Federal Power Act, as more fully explained in the complaint.

    The Complainant states that a copy of the complaint has been served on the Respondents.

    Any person desiring to intervene or to protest this filing must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211, 385.214). Protests will be considered by the Commission in determining the appropriate action to be taken, but will not serve to make protestants parties to the proceeding. Any person wishing to become a party must file a notice of intervention or motion to intervene, as appropriate. The Respondent's answer and all interventions, or protests must be filed on or before the comment date. The Respondent's answer, motions to intervene, and protests must be served on the Complainants.

    The Commission encourages electronic submission of protests and interventions in lieu of paper using the “eFiling” link at http://www.ferc.gov. Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and 5 copies of the protest or intervention to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    This filing is accessible on-line at http://www.ferc.gov, using the “eLibrary” link and is available for electronic review in the Commission's Public Reference Room in Washington, DC There is an “eSubscription” link on the Web site that enables subscribers to receive email notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please email [email protected], or call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Comment Date: 5 p.m. Eastern Time on November 25, 2015

    Dated: November 6, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-29145 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. CP15-557-000] Total Peaking Services, LLC; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Proposed Vaporization Capacity Increase and Bog Compressor Project, and Request for Comments on Environmental Issues November 9, 2015.

    The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) will prepare an environmental assessment (EA) that will discuss the environmental impacts of the Vaporization Capacity Increase and BOG Compressor Project (Project) involving construction and operation of facilities by Total Peaking Services, LLC (Total Peaking) in Milford, Connecticut. The Commission will use this EA in its decision-making process to determine whether the Project is in the public convenience and necessity.

    This notice announces the opening of the scoping process the Commission will use to gather input from the public and interested agencies on the Project. You can make a difference by providing us with your specific comments or concerns about the Project. Your comments should focus on the potential environmental effects, reasonable alternatives, and measures to avoid or lessen environmental impacts. Your input will help the Commission staff determine what issues they need to evaluate in the EA. To ensure that your comments are timely and properly recorded, please send your comments so that the Commission receives them in Washington, DC on or before December 9, 2015.

    If you sent comments on this Project to the Commission before the opening of this docket on September 22, 2015, you will need to file those comments in Docket No. CP15-557-000 to ensure they are considered as part of this proceeding.

    This notice is being sent to the Commission's current environmental mailing list for this Project. State and local government representatives should notify their constituents of this proposed Project and encourage them to comment on their areas of concern.

    Total Peaking provided affected landowners with a fact sheet prepared by the FERC entitled “An Interstate Natural Gas Facility On My Land? What Do I Need To Know?” This fact sheet addresses a number of typically asked questions, including how to participate in the Commission's proceedings. It is also available for viewing on the FERC Web site (www.ferc.gov).

    Public Participation

    For your convenience, there are three methods you can use to submit your comments to the Commission. The Commission encourages electronic filing of comments and has expert staff available to assist you at (202) 502-8258 or [email protected] Please carefully follow these instructions so that your comments are properly recorded.

    (1) You can file your comments electronically using the eComment feature on the Commission's Web site (www.ferc.gov) under the link to Documents and Filings. This is an easy method for submitting brief, text-only comments on a project;

    (2) You can file your comments electronically by using the eFiling feature on the Commission's Web site (www.ferc.gov) under the link to Documents and Filings. With eFiling, you can provide comments in a variety of formats by attaching them as a file with your submission. New eFiling users must first create an account by clicking on “eRegister.” If you are filing a comment on a particular project, please select “Comment on a Filing” as the filing type; or

    (3) You can file a paper copy of your comments by mailing them to the following address. Be sure to reference the Project docket number (CP15-557-000) with your submission: Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426.

    Summary of the Proposed Project

    Total Peaking proposes to modify its existing liquefied natural gas peak shaving facility 1 in Milford, Connecticut to increase the vaporization send out capabilities from 90 million standard cubic feet per day (MMscf/d) to 105 MMscf/d. According to Total Peaking, the Project would meet its future system needs and projected peak day requirements.

    1 Peak shaving facilities liquefy and store natural gas during warmer months for vaporization and injection into natural gas pipelines during peak conditions such as cold weather.

    The Project would consist of the following modifications:

    • Installation of two new vaporizers and removal of three existing vaporizers;

    • installation of an additional boiloff gas (BOG) compressor;

    • installation of a 1,500 kilovolt-ampere transformer and three new 400 kilowatt emergency generators to replace the existing transformer and emergency generator; and

    • installation of a new 4,160 volt electric interconnection service line to provide the LNG facility with additional electricity to operate the new vaporization equipment.

    The general location of the Project facilities is shown in appendix 1.2

    2 The appendices referenced in this notice will not appear in the Federal Register. Copies of appendices were sent to all those receiving this notice in the mail and are available at www.ferc.gov using the link called “eLibrary” or from the Commission's Public Reference Room, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, or call (202) 502-8371. For instructions on connecting to eLibrary, refer to the last page of this notice.

    Land Requirements for Construction

    Construction of the proposed facilities would occur entirely within the fence line of the existing facility on paved and graveled areas. The construction would disturb about 0.44 acres of land within the approximately 24-acre facility site. Permanent operation of the Project's facilities would require about 0.18 acres.

    The EA Process

    The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires the Commission to take into account the environmental impacts that could result from an action whenever it considers the issuance of a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. NEPA also requires us 3 to discover and address concerns the public may have about proposals. This process is referred to as “scoping.” The main goal of the scoping process is to focus the analysis in the EA on the important environmental issues. By this notice, the Commission requests public comments on the scope of the issues to address in the EA. We will consider all filed comments during the preparation of the EA.

    3 “We,” “us,” and “our” refer to the environmental staff of the Commission's Office of Energy Projects.

    In the EA we will discuss impacts that could occur as a result of the construction and operation of the proposed Project under these general headings:

    • Geology and soils;

    • land use;

    • water resources, fisheries, and wetlands;

    • cultural resources;

    • vegetation and wildlife;

    • air quality and noise;

    • endangered and threatened species;

    • public safety; and

    • cumulative impacts

    We will also evaluate reasonable alternatives to the proposed Project or portions of the Project, and make recommendations on how to lessen or avoid impacts on the various resource areas.

    The EA will present our independent analysis of the issues. The EA will be available in the public record through eLibrary. Depending on the comments received during the scoping process, we may also publish and distribute the EA to the public for an allotted comment period. We will consider all comments on the EA before making our recommendations to the Commission. To ensure we have the opportunity to consider and address your comments, please carefully follow the instructions in the Public Participation section, beginning on page 2.

    With this notice, we are asking agencies with jurisdiction by law and/or special expertise with respect to the environmental issues of this Project to formally cooperate with us in the preparation of the EA.4 Agencies that would like to request cooperating agency status should follow the instructions for filing comments provided under the Public Participation section of this notice.

    4 The Council on Environmental Quality regulations addressing cooperating agency responsibilities are at Title 40, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 1501.6.

    Consultations Under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act

    In accordance with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation's implementing regulations for section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, we are using this notice to initiate consultation with the applicable State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), and to solicit their views and those of other government agencies, interested Indian tribes, and the public on the Project's potential effects on historic properties.5 We will define the Project-specific Area of Potential Effects (APE) in consultation with the SHPO as the Project develops. On natural gas facility projects, the APE at a minimum encompasses all areas subject to ground disturbance (examples include construction right-of-way, contractor/pipe storage yards, compressor stations, and access roads). Our EA for this Project will document our findings on the impacts on historic properties and summarize the status of consultations under section 106.

    5 The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation's regulations are at Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 800. Those regulations define historic properties as any prehistoric or historic district, site, building, structure, or object included in or eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.

    Environmental Mailing List

    The environmental mailing list includes: Federal, state, and local government representatives and agencies; elected officials; Native American Tribes; other interested parties; and local libraries and newspapers. This list also includes all affected landowners (as defined in the Commission's regulations) who are potential right-of-way grantors, whose property may be used temporarily for Project purposes, or who own homes within certain distances of aboveground facilities, and anyone who submits comments on the Project. We will update the environmental mailing list as the analysis proceeds to ensure that we send the information related to this environmental review to all individuals, organizations, and government entities interested in and/or potentially affected by the proposed Project.

    If we publish and distribute the EA, copies will be sent to the environmental mailing list for public review and comment. If you would prefer to receive a paper copy of the document instead of the CD version or would like to remove your name from the mailing list, please return the attached Information Request (appendix 2).

    Becoming an Intervenor

    In addition to involvement in the EA scoping process, you may want to become an “intervenor” which is an official party to the Commission's proceeding. Intervenors play a more formal role in the process and are able to file briefs, appear at hearings, and be heard by the courts if they choose to appeal the Commission's final ruling. An intervenor formally participates in the proceeding by filing a request to intervene. Instructions for becoming an intervenor are in the “Document-less Intervention Guide” under the “e-filing” link on the Commission's Web site. Motions to intervene are more fully described at http://www.ferc.gov/resources/guides/how-to/intervene.asp.

    Additional Information

    Additional information about the Project is available from the Commission's Office of External Affairs, at (866) 208-FERC, or on the FERC Web site at www.ferc.gov using the “eLibrary” link. Click on the eLibrary link, click on “General Search” and enter the docket number, excluding the last three digits in the Docket Number field (i.e., CP15-557). Be sure you have selected an appropriate date range. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at [email protected] or toll free at (866) 208-3676, or for TTY, contact (202) 502-8659. The eLibrary link also provides access to the texts of formal documents issued by the Commission, such as orders, notices, and rulemakings.

    In addition, the Commission offers a free service called eSubscription which allows you to keep track of all formal issuances and submittals in specific dockets. This can reduce the amount of time you spend researching proceedings by automatically providing you with notification of these filings, document summaries, and direct links to the documents. Go to www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/esubscription.asp.

    Finally, public meetings or site visits will be posted on the Commission's calendar located at www.ferc.gov/EventCalendar/EventsList.aspx along with other related information.

    Dated: November 9, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-29147 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. OR16-3-000] Oryx Southern Delaware Oil Gathering and Transport LLC; Notice of Petition for Declaratory Order

    Take notice that on November 3, 2015, pursuant to Rule 207(a)(2) of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (Commission) Rules of Practice and Procedure, 18 CFR 385.207(a)(2) (2015), Oryx Southern Delaware Gathering and Transport LLC, filed a petition for a declaratory order seeking order approving general rate structure and terms of service for new crude oil pipeline from Permian Basin receipt points to delivery points in Crane and Midland, Texas, all as more fully explained in the petition.

    Any person desiring to intervene or to protest this filing must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211, 385.214). Protests will be considered by the Commission in determining the appropriate action to be taken, but will not serve to make protestants parties to the proceeding. Any person wishing to become a party must file a notice of intervention or motion to intervene, as appropriate. Such notices, motions, or protests must be filed on or before the comment date. Anyone filing a motion to intervene or protest must serve a copy of that document on the Petitioner.

    The Commission encourages electronic submission of protests and interventions in lieu of paper using the “eFiling” link at http://www.ferc.gov. Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and 5 copies of the protest or intervention to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    This filing is accessible online at http://www.ferc.gov, using the “eLibrary” link and is available for review in the Commission's Public Reference Room in Washington, DC. There is an “eSubscription” link on the Web site that enables subscribers to receive email notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please email [email protected], or call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Comment Date: 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on December 3, 2015.

    Dated: November 9, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-29153 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings #2

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric corporate filings:

    Docket Numbers: EC15-210-000.

    Applicants: Dominion Solar Projects A, Inc., Dominion Solar Projects I, Inc.

    Description: Clarification to September 24, 2015 Application for Authorization Under Section 203 of the Federal Power Act of Dominion Solar Projects A, Inc., et al.

    Filed Date: 10/30/15.

    Accession Number: 20151030-5509.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 11/13/15.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric rate filings:

    Docket Numbers: ER14-1210-005.

    Applicants: Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.

    Description: Compliance filing: 2015-11-09_SA 6502 Edwards SSR 2014 Agreement Compliance to be effective 7/22/2014.

    Filed Date: 11/9/15.

    Accession Number: 20151109-5117.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 11/30/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER14-2605-002.

    Applicants: Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.

    Description: Compliance filing: 2015-11-09_SSR ER14-2605 Compliance Filing to be effective 7/22/2014.

    Filed Date: 11/9/15.

    Accession Number: 20151109-5103.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 11/30/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-943-003.

    Applicants: Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.

    Description: Compliance filing: 2015-11-09_SA 6502 Edwards SSR 2015 Agreement Compliance to be effective 1/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 11/9/15.

    Accession Number: 20151109-5122.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 11/30/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-293-000.

    Applicants: Mesquite Solar 2, LLC.

    Description: Baseline eTariff Filing: Mesquite Solar 2, LLC Certificate of Concurrence to be effective 11/20/2015.

    Filed Date: 11/9/15.

    Accession Number: 20151109-5073.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 11/30/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-294-000.

    Applicants: Mesquite Solar 3, LLC.

    Description: Baseline eTariff Filing: Mesquite Solar 3, LLC Certificate of Concurrence to be effective 11/20/2015.

    Filed Date: 11/9/15.

    Accession Number: 20151109-5074.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 11/30/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-295-000.

    Applicants: Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: 2015-11-09_SA 1503 NSP-Mankato 2nd Rev. GIA (G261) to be effective 11/10/2015.

    Filed Date: 11/9/15.

    Accession Number: 20151109-5085.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 11/30/15.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and § 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: November 9, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-29146 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY [Project No. 14723-000] Jordan Whittaker; Notice of Preliminary Permit Application Accepted for Filing and Soliciting Comments, Motions To Intervene, and Competing Applications

    On October 29, 2015, Jordan Whittaker filed an application for a preliminary permit, pursuant to section 4(f) of the Federal Power Act (FPA), proposing to study the feasibility of the Oxbow Hydroelectric Project (Oxbow Project or project) to be located on Clear and Tenmile Creeks, tributaries to Eighteenmile Creek and the Lemhi River, near Leadore in Lemhi County, Idaho. The sole purpose of a preliminary permit, if issued, is to grant the permit holder priority to file a license application during the permit term. A preliminary permit does not authorize the permit holder to perform any land-disturbing activities or otherwise enter upon lands or waters owned by others without the owners' express permission.

    The proposed project would utilize two existing diversions on Clear and Tenmile Creeks and would use irrigation water that currently flows from approximately March to October within the existing Clear and Tenmile Creeks irrigation canals. The project would consist of the following: (1) Reconstruction of the two existing diversions to include flow control gates, pipeline intakes, and fish screens; (2) two new plastic or steel, buried penstocks to replace or supplement the existing irrigation canals, depending on available flows, including a 7.7-mile-long, 24-inch-diameter Clear Creek penstock, and a 6.7-mile-long, 21-inch diameter Tenmile Creek penstock; (3) a new 20-foot by 40-foot powerhouse containing a single Pelton turbine and generator with a generating capacity of 1,400 kilowatts; (4) a new 4-foot by 4-foot concrete splitter box where water would exit the powerhouse into the Tenmile canal, with gates, as needed, to segregate irrigation water; (5) a new 7.7-mile-long, 12.5-kilovolt (kV) transmission line from the powerhouse to an existing 69 kV transmission line at the point of interconnection near the town of Leadore; and (6) appurtenant facilities.

    Applicant Contact: Mr. Jordan Whittaker, 270 Cold Springs Road, Leadore, Idaho 83464; phone: (208) 768-2058.

    FERC Contact: Ken Wilcox; phone: (202) 502-6835.

    Deadline for filing comments, motions to intervene, competing applications (without notices of intent), or notices of intent to file competing applications: 60 Days from the issuance of this notice. Competing applications and notices of intent must meet the requirements of 18 CFR 4.36.

    The Commission strongly encourages electronic filing. Please file comments, motions to intervene, notices of intent, and competing applications using the Commission's eFiling system at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling.asp. Commenters can submit brief comments up to 6,000 characters, without prior registration, using the eComment system at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/ecomment.asp. You must include your name and contact information at the end of your comments. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at [email protected], (866) 208-3676 (toll free), or (202) 502-8659 (TTY). In lieu of electronic filing, please send a paper copy to: Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426. The first page of any filing should include docket number P-14723-000.

    More information about this project, including a copy of the application, can be viewed or printed on the “eLibrary” link of Commission's Web site at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/elibrary.asp. Enter the docket number (P-14723) in the docket number field to access the document. For assistance, contact FERC Online Support.

    Dated: November 9, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-29156 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. TX16-1-000] Public Service Company of Oklahoma: Notice of Filing

    Take notice that on November 6, 2015, pursuant to sections 210, 211 and 212 of the Federal Power Act, 16 U.S.C. 824i, 824j and 824k (2012) and Part 36 of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (Commission) Regulations, 18 CFR part 36 (2015), Public Service Company of Oklahoma requests the Commission to issue orders to implement a proposed arrangement to enable the provision of black start service between the Electric Reliability Council of Texas and the Southwest Power Pool regions.

    Any person desiring to intervene or to protest this filing must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211, 385.214). Protests will be considered by the Commission in determining the appropriate action to be taken, but will not serve to make protestants parties to the proceeding. Any person wishing to become a party must file a notice of intervention or motion to intervene, as appropriate. Such notices, motions, or protests must be filed on or before the comment date. On or before the comment date, it is not necessary to serve motions to intervene or protests on persons other than the Applicant.

    The Commission encourages electronic submission of protests and interventions in lieu of paper using the “eFiling” link at http://www.ferc.gov. Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and 5 copies of the protest or intervention to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    This filing is accessible on-line at http://www.ferc.gov, using the “eLibrary” link and is available for review in the Commission's Public Reference Room in Washington, DC. There is an “eSubscription” link on the Web site that enables subscribers to receive email notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please email [email protected], or call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Comment Date: 5 p.m. Eastern Time on November 27, 2015.

    Dated: November 9, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-29157 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. ID-7757-000] Drury, Scott D.; Notice of Filing

    Take notice that on November 6, 2015, Scott D. Drury filed an application for authorization to hold interlocking positions, pursuant to section 305(b) of the Federal Power Act, 16 U.S.C. 825d(b) and Part 45 of the Regulations of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission), 18 CFR part 45.

    Any person desiring to intervene or to protest this filing must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211, 385.214). Protests will be considered by the Commission in determining the appropriate action to be taken, but will not serve to make protestants parties to the proceeding. Any person wishing to become a party must file a notice of intervention or motion to intervene, as appropriate. Such notices, motions, or protests must be filed on or before the comment date. On or before the comment date, it is not necessary to serve motions to intervene or protests on persons other than the Applicant.

    The Commission encourages electronic submission of protests and interventions in lieu of paper using the “eFiling” link at http://www.ferc.gov. Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and 5 copies of the protest or intervention to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    This filing is accessible on-line at http://www.ferc.gov, using the “eLibrary” link and is available for electronic review in the Commission's Public Reference Room in Washington, DC. There is an “eSubscription” link on the Web site that enables subscribers to receive email notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please email [email protected], or call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Comment Date: 5 p.m. Eastern Time on November 27, 2015.

    Dated: November 9, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-29152 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Project No. 3023-012] Blackstone Hydro, Inc.; Notice of Intent To File License Application, Filing of Pre-Application Document, Approving Use of the Traditional Licensing Process

    a. Type of Filing: Notice of Intent to File License Application and Request to Use the Traditional Licensing Process.

    b. Project No.: 3023-012.

    c. Date Filed: September 16, 2015.

    d. Submitted By: Blackstone Hydro, Inc.

    e. Name of Project: Tupperware Hydroelectric Project.

    f. Location: On the Blackstone River in Providence County, Rhode Island and Worcester County, Massachusetts. No federal lands are occupied by the project works or located within the project boundary.

    g. Filed Pursuant to: 18 CFR 5.3 of the Commission's regulations.

    h. Potential Applicant Contact: Lewis C. Loon, Blackstone Hydro, Inc., 37 Alfred Plourde Parkway, Suite 2, Lewiston, ME 04240; (207) 786-8834; or by email at [email protected]

    i. FERC Contact: Amy Chang at (202) 502-8250; or email at [email protected]

    j. Blackstone Hydro, Inc. (Blackstone Hydro) filed its request to use the Traditional Licensing Process on September 16, 2015. Blackstone Hydro provided public notice of its request on September 15 and 16, 2015. In a letter dated November 9, 2015, the Director of the Division of Hydropower Licensing approved Blackstone Hydro request to use the Traditional Licensing Process.

    k. With this notice, we are initiating informal consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act and the joint agency regulations thereunder at 50 CFR, Part 402. We are also initiating consultation with the Massachusetts and Rhode Island State Historic Preservation Officers, as required by section 106, National Historic Preservation Act, and the implementing regulations of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation at 36 CFR 800.2.

    l. With this notice, we are designating Blackstone Hydro as the Commission's non-federal representative for carrying out informal consultation pursuant to section 7 of the Endangered Species Act and consultation pursuant to section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.

    m. Blackstone Hydro filed a Pre-Application Document (PAD; including a proposed process plan and schedule) with the Commission, pursuant to 18 CFR 5.6 of the Commission's regulations.

    n. A copy of the PAD is available for review at the Commission in the Public Reference Room or may be viewed on the Commission's Web site (http://www.ferc.gov), using the “eLibrary” link. Enter the docket number, excluding the last three digits in the docket number field to access the document. For assistance, contact FERC Online Support at [email protected], (866) 208-3676 (toll free), or (202) 502-8659 (TTY). A copy is also available for inspection and reproduction at the address in paragraph h.

    o. The licensee states its unequivocal intent to submit an application for a new license for Project No. 3023-012. Pursuant to 18 CFR 16.8, 16.9, and 16.10 each application for a new license and any competing license applications must be filed with the Commission at least 24 months prior to the expiration of the existing license. All applications for license for this project must be filed by September 30, 2018.

    p. Register online at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/esubscription.asp to be notified via email of new filing and issuances related to this or other pending projects. For assistance, contact FERC Online Support.

    Dated: November 9, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-29154 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Project No. 13318-003] Swan Lake North Hydro LLC; Notice of Application Tendered for Filing With the Commission and Soliciting Additional Study Requests

    Take notice that the following hydroelectric application has been filed with the Commission and is available for public inspection.

    a. Type of Application: Unconstructed major project.

    b. Project No.: 13318-003.

    c. Date filed: October 28, 2015.

    d. Applicant: Swan Lake North Hydro LLC.

    e. Name of Project: Swan Lake North Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Project.

    f. Location: Approximately 11 miles northeast of the City of Klamath Falls, Klamath County, Oregon. The proposed project boundary would include about 730 acres of federal land managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

    g. Filed Pursuant to: Federal Power Act 16 U.S.C. §§ 791(a)-825(r).

    h. Applicant Contact: Joe Eberhardt, EDF-Renewable Energy, 1000 SW Broadway Ave., Ste. 1800, Portland, OR 97205; Phone: (503) 889-3838.

    i. FERC Contact: Dianne Rodman, [email protected]; phone: (202) 502-6077.

    j. Cooperating agencies: Federal, state, local, and tribal agencies with jurisdiction and/or special expertise with respect to environmental issues that wish to cooperate in the preparation of the environmental document should follow the instructions for filing such requests described in item l below. Cooperating agencies should note the Commission's policy that agencies that cooperate in the preparation of the environmental document cannot also intervene. See, 94 FERC ¶ 61,076 (2001).

    k. Pursuant to section 4.32(b)(7) of 18 CFR of the Commission's regulations, if any resource agency, Indian Tribe, or person believes that an additional scientific study should be conducted in order to form an adequate factual basis for a complete analysis of the application on its merit, the resource agency, Indian Tribe, or person must file a request for a study with the Commission not later than 60 days from the date of filing of the application, and serve a copy of the request on the applicant.

    l. Deadline for filing additional study requests and requests for cooperating agency status: December 27, 2015.

    The Commission strongly encourages electronic filing. Please file additional study requests and requests for cooperating agency status using the Commission's eFiling system at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling.asp. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at [email protected], (866) 208-3676 (toll free), or (202) 502-8659 (TTY). In lieu of electronic filing, please send a paper copy to: Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426. The first page of any filing should include docket number P-13318-003.

    m. The application is not ready for environmental analysis at this time.

    n. The proposed project would be a closed-loop system using groundwater for initial fill and consist of the following new facilities: (1) A 7,972-foot-long earthen embankment forming a geomembrane-lined upper reservoir with a surface area of 64.21 acres and a storage capacity of 2,568 acre-feet at a maximum surface elevation of 6,135 feet above mean sea level (msl); (2) a 8,003-foot-long earthen embankment forming a geomembrane-lined lower reservoir with a surface area of 60.14 acres and a storage capacity of 3,206 acre-feet at a maximum surface elevation of 4,457 feet msl; (3) a 500-foot-long, rip-rap lined trapezoidal spillway built into the crest of each embankment; (4) a 0.5-percent slope perforated polyvinyl chloride tube of varying diameter and accompanying optical fiber drainage system designed to detect, collect, and monitor water leakage from the reservoirs; (5) a 25-inch-diameter bottom outlet with manual valve for gravitational dewatering of the lower reservoir; (6) an upper intake consisting of a bell mouth, 38.6-foot-wide by 29.8-foot-long inclined screen, head gate, and 13.8-foot-diameter foundational steel pipe; (7) a 36.5-foot-diameter, 9,655-foot-long steel high-pressure penstock from the upper reservoir to the powerhouse that is predominantly above ground with a 14-foot-long buried segment; (8) three 9.8-foot-diameter, 1,430-foot-long steel low-pressure penstocks from the lower reservoir to the powerhouse that are predominantly above ground with a 78-foot-long buried segment; (9) a partially-buried powerhouse with three 131.1-megawatt (MW) reversible pump-turbine units with a total installed capacity of 393.3 MW; (10) a 32.8 mile, 230-kilovolt above-ground transmission line interconnecting to an existing non-project substation; (11) approximately 10.7 miles of improved project access road; (12) approximately 3.4 miles of new permanent project access road; (13) approximately 8.3 miles of temporary project access road; and (14) appurtenant facilities. The project would generate about 1,187 gigawatt-hours annually.

    o. A copy of the application is available for review at the Commission in the Public Reference Room or may be viewed on the Commission's Web site at http://www.ferc.gov using the “eLibrary” link. Enter the docket number excluding the last three digits in the docket number field to access the document. For assistance, contact FERC Online Support. A copy is also available for inspection and reproduction at the address in item h above.

    You may also register online at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/esubscription.asp to be notified via email of new filings and issuances related to this or other pending projects. For assistance, contact FERC Online Support.

    p. Procedural schedule: The application will be processed according to the following preliminary Hydro Licensing Schedule. Revisions to the schedule will be made as appropriate.

    Issue Notice of Acceptance—March 2016 Issue Scoping Document 1 for comments—April 2016 Comments on Scoping Document 1—June 2016 Issue Scoping Document 2—July 2016 Issue notice of ready for environmental analysis—July 2016 Commission issues draft EIS—December 2017 Comments on draft EIS—February 2017 Commission issues final EIS—June 2017 Dated: November 9, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-29158 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings #1

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric corporate filings:

    Docket Numbers: EC16-29-000.

    Applicants: Holtwood, LLC, BIF III Holtwood LLC.

    Description: Joint Application of Holtwood, LLC et al. for Authorization under Section 203 of the FPA and Request for Limited Waivers.

    Filed Date: 11/6/15.

    Accession Number: 20151106-5197.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 11/27/15.

    Docket Numbers: EC16-30-000.

    Applicants: Talen Ironwood, LLC, Talen Energy Marketing, LLC, TransCanada Facility USA, Inc., TransCanada Power Marketing, Ltd.

    Description: Joint Application of Talen Ironwood, LLC et al. for Authorization of Disposition of Jurisdictional Facilities under Section 203 of the FPA and Requests for Waivers.

    Filed Date: 11/6/15.

    Accession Number: 20151106-5198.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 11/27/15.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following exempt wholesale generator filings:

    Docket Numbers: EG16-19-000.

    Applicants: BIF III Holtwood LLC.

    Description: Notice of Self-Certification of Exempt Wholesale Generator Status of BIF III Holtwood LLC.

    Filed Date: 11/6/15.

    Accession Number: 20151106-5169.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 11/27/15.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric rate filings:

    Docket Numbers: ER10-1790-012; ER10-2596-005; ER10-276-003; ER11-3325-004.

    Applicants: BP Energy Company, Fowler Ridge II Wind Farm LLC, Rolling Thunder I Power Partners, LLC, Whiting Clean Energy, Inc.

    Description: Supplement to June 26, 2015 Updated Market Power Analysis for Central Region of BP Energy Company, et al.

    Filed Date: 11/6/15.

    Accession Number: 20151106-5186.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 11/27/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-287-000.

    Applicants: BIF III Holtwood LLC.

    Description: Baseline eTariff Filing: BIF III Holtwood LLC MBR Application to be effective 11/9/2015.

    Filed Date: 11/6/15.

    Accession Number: 20151106-5139.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 11/27/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-288-000.

    Applicants: Entergy Services, Inc.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Entergy Services, Inc., Amended Service Agreements to be effective 11/8/2015.

    Filed Date: 11/6/15.

    Accession Number: 20151106-5141.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 11/27/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-289-000.

    Applicants: Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: COTP CIRS Appendix F Update to be effective 1/6/2016.

    Filed Date: 11/6/15.

    Accession Number: 20151106-5142.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 11/27/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-290-000.

    Applicants: Mesquite Solar 1, LLC.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Mesquite Solar 1, LLC Assignment, Co-Tenancy and Shared Facilities Agreement to be effective 11/20/2015.

    Filed Date: 11/6/15.

    Accession Number: 20151106-5143.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 11/27/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-291-000.

    Applicants: Arizona Public Service Company.

    Description: Notice of Cancellation of Rate Schedule No. 25 of Arizona Public Service Company.

    Filed Date: 11/6/15.

    Accession Number: 20151106-5185.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 11/27/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-292-000.

    Applicants: Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative, Inc.

    Description: Notice of Cancellation of Rate Schedule No. 1 of Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative, Inc.

    Filed Date: 11/6/15.

    Accession Number: 20151106-5195.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 11/27/15.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following land acquisition reports:

    Docket Numbers: LA15-3-000.

    Applicants: Cimarron Windpower II, LLC, CinCap V, LLC, Conetoe II Solar, LLC, Duke Energy Beckjord, LLC, Duke Energy Beckjord Storage, LLC, Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC, Duke Energy Commercial Enterprises, Inc., Duke Energy Florida, LLC, Duke Energy Indiana, Inc., Duke Energy Kentucky, Inc., Duke Energy Ohio, Inc., Duke Energy Piketon, LLC, Duke Energy Progress, LLC, Duke Energy Renewable Services, LLC, Happy Jack Windpower, LLC, Ironwood Windpower, LLC, Kit Carson Windpower, LLC, Laurel Hill Wind Energy, LLC, North Allegheny Wind, LLC, Silver Sage Windpower, LLC, Three Buttes Windpower, LLC, Top of the World Wind Energy, LLC, Seville Solar One LLC, Seville Solar Two, LLC, Tallbear Seville LLC.

    Description: Quarterly Land Acquisition Report of the Duke Energy MBR Affiliates.

    Filed Date: 11/6/15.

    Accession Number: 20151106-5154.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 11/27/15.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214) on or before 5 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: November 9, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-29144 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [EPA-HQ-OAR-2015-0216; FRL-9937-13-OAR] Release of Draft Control Techniques Guidelines for the Oil and Natural Gas Industry AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Extension of comment period.

    SUMMARY:

    On September 18, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of a draft Control Techniques Guidelines (CTG) document titled, “Release of Draft Control Techniques Guidelines for the Oil and Natural Gas Industry.” The EPA is extending the comment period on the notice of availability of the draft CTG document that was scheduled to close on November 17, 2015. The EPA has received several letters from trade and business organizations, states and tribes requesting additional time to review and comment on the notice of availability of the draft CTG document.

    DATES:

    The public comment period for notice of availability of the CTG document published in the Federal Register on September 18, 2015 (80 FR 56577), is being extended. Written comments must be received on or before December 4, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    The EPA has established a docket for the draft CTG document (available at http://www.regulations.gov). For the notice of availability titled, “Release of Draft Control Techniques Guidelines for the Oil and Natural Gas Industry,” the Docket ID No. is EPA-HQ-OAR-2015-0216. Information on this document is posted at http://www.epa.gov/airquality/oilandgas/actions.html. Submit your comments, identified by the appropriate Docket ID, to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or withdrawn. The EPA may publish any comment received to its public docket. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. If you need to include CBI as part of your comment, please visit http://www.epa.gov/dockets/comments.html for instructions. Multimedia submissions (audio, video, etc.) must be accompanied by a written comment. The written comment is considered the official comment and should include discussion of all points you wish to make.

    For additional submission methods, the full EPA public comment policy, and general guidance on making effective comments, please visit http://www.epa.gov/dockets/comments.html.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For additional information on this action, contact Cheryl Vetter, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, Environmental Protection Agency (C504-03), Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27711; telephone number (919) 541-4391; fax number (919) 541-5509; email address: [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    After considering the requests to extend the public comment period received from various trade and business organizations, states and tribes, the EPA has decided to extend the public comment period until December 4, 2015. This extension will ensure that the public has additional time to comment on the draft CTG document.

    Dated: November 10, 2015. Mary E. Henigin, Acting Director, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards.
    [FR Doc. 2015-29174 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION [OMB 3060-0016] Information Collection Being Reviewed by the Federal Communications Commission AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    As part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, and as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on the following information collections. Comments are requested concerning: whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the information shall have practical utility; the accuracy of the Commission's burden estimate; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and ways to further reduce the information collection burden on small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.

    The FCC may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. No person shall be subject to any penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information subject to the PRA that does not display a valid OMB control number.

    DATES:

    Written PRA comments should be submitted on or before January 15, 2016. 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 No.: 3060-0016.

    Title: FCC Form 2100, Application for Media Bureau Audio and Video Service Authorization, Schedule C (Former FCC Form 346); Sections 74.793(d) and 74.787; LPTV Out-of-Core Digital Displacement Application; Section 73.3700(g)(1)-(3), Post-Incentive Auction Licensing and Operations

    Form No.: FCC Form 2100, Schedule C.

    Type of Review: Revision of a currently approved information collection.

    Respondents: Business or other for-profit entities; Not for profit institutions; State, local or Tribal government.

    Number of Respondents and Responses: 4,250 respondents and 4,250 responses.

    Estimated Time per Response: 2.5-7 hours (total of 9.5 hours).

    Frequency of Response: One-time reporting requirement; on occasion reporting requirement; third party disclosure requirement.

    Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. The statutory authority for this collection is contained in Section 154(i), 303, 307, 308 and 309 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.

    Total Annual Burden: 40,375 hours.

    Annual Cost Burden: $23,579,000.

    Privacy Act Impact Assessment: No impact(s).

    Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: There is no need for confidentiality with this collection of information.

    Needs and Uses: The collection is being made to the Office of Management (OMB) for the approval of information collection requirements contained in the Commission's Incentive Auction Order, FCC 14-50, which adopted rules for holding an Incentive Auction, as required by the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (Spectrum Act). The information gathered in this collection will be used to allow Low Power television stations and TV Translator stations that are displaced as a result of the Federal Communications Commission's Incentive Auction to submit an application for displacement relief during a restricted filing window. Form 2100, Schedule C is also used to apply for authority to construct or make changes to a Low Power Television, TV Translator or TV Booster broadcast station.

    Federal Communications Commission. Gloria J. Miles, Federal Register Liaison Officer, Office of the Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-28899 Filed 11-13-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION Sunshine Act Meeting AGENCY:

    Federal Election Commission.

    Date & Time:

    Tuesday, November 17, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. and Thursday, November 19, 2015 at 1:30 p.m.

    PLACE:

    999 E Street NW., Washington, DC.

    STATUS:

    This meeting will be closed to the public.

    FEDERAL REGISTER NOTICE OF PREVIOUS ANNOUNCEMENT

    —Scheduled to be published on November 13, 2015.

    CHANGE IN THE MEETING:

    The meeting will commence at the conclusion of the Open Meeting on November 17, 2015.

    PERSON TO CONTACT FOR INFORMATION:

    Judith Ingram, Press Officer, Telephone: (202) 694-1220.

    Shelley E. Garr, Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-29279 Filed 11-12-15; 11:15 am] BILLING CODE 6715-01-P
    FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION Sunshine Act Meeting AGENCY:

    Federal Election Commission.

    DATE & TIME:

    Tuesday, November 10, 2015 at 10:00 a.m.

    PLACE:

    999 E Street NW., Washington, DC (Ninth Floor)

    STATUS:

    This meeting will be open to the public.

    Federal Register Notice of Previous Announcement—80 FR 68539 Change in the Meeting:

    The meeting will continue on Tuesday, November 17, 2015 at 10:00 a.m.

    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.

    Shelley E. Garr, Deputy Secretary of the Commission.
    [FR Doc. 2015-29278 Filed 11-12-15; 11:15 am] BILLING CODE 6715-01-P
    FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM [Docket No. OP-1522] Federal Reserve Bank Services AGENCY:

    Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Board) has approved the private sector adjustment factor (PSAF) for 2016 of $13.1 million and the 2016 fee schedules for Federal Reserve priced services and electronic access. These actions were taken in accordance with the Monetary Control Act of 1980, which requires that, over the long run, fees for Federal Reserve priced services be established on the basis of all direct and indirect costs, including the PSAF.

    DATES:

    The new fee schedules become effective January 1, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For questions regarding the fee schedules: Susan V. Foley, Senior Associate Director, (202) 452-3596; Slavea A. Assenova, Financial Services Analyst, (202) 452-2087, Division of Reserve Bank Operations and Payment Systems. For questions regarding the PSAF: Gregory L. Evans, Deputy Associate Director, (202) 452-3945; Lawrence Mize, Deputy Associate Director, (202) 452-5232; Manuel Garcia, Senior Financial Analyst, (202) 452-3480, Division of Reserve Bank Operations and Payment Systems. For users of Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) only, please call (202) 263-4869. Copies of the 2016 fee schedules for the check service are available from the Board, the Federal Reserve Banks, or the Reserve Banks' financial services Web site at www.frbservices.org.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Private Sector Adjustment Factor, Priced Services Cost Recovery, and Overview of 2016 Price Changes

    A. Overview—Each year, as required by the Monetary Control Act of 1980, the Reserve Banks set fees for priced services provided to depository institutions. These fees are set to recover, over the long run, all direct and indirect costs and imputed costs, including financing costs, taxes, and certain other expenses, as well as the return on equity (profit) that would have been earned if a private business firm provided the services. The imputed costs and imputed profit are collectively referred to as the PSAF. From 2005 through 2014, the Reserve Banks recovered 102.9 percent of their total expenses (including imputed costs) and targeted after-tax profits or return on equity (ROE) for providing priced services.1

    1 The ten-year recovery rate is based on the pro forma income statement for Federal Reserve priced services published in the Board's Annual Report. Effective December 31, 2006, the Reserve Banks implemented Statement of Financial Accounting Standards (SFAS) No. 158: Employers' Accounting for Defined Benefit Pension and Other Postretirement Plans [Accounting Standards Codification (ASC) 715 Compensation—Retirement Benefits], which resulted in recognizing a cumulative reduction in equity related to the priced services' benefit plans. Including this cumulative reduction in equity from 2005 to 2014 results in cost recovery of 95.1 percent for the ten-year period. This measure of long-run cost recovery is also published in the Board's Annual Report.

    Table 1 summarizes 2014 actual, 2015 estimated, and 2016 budgeted cost-recovery rates for all priced services. Cost recovery is estimated to be 104.1 percent in 2015 and budgeted to be 101.9 percent in 2016.

    Table 1—Aggregate Priced Services Pro Forma Cost and Revenue Performance a [Dollars in millions] Year Revenue Total expense Net income Targeted ROE Recovery rate after targeted ROE
  • [1/(2+4)]
  • 1 b 2 c 3 4 d 5 e 2014 (actual) 433.1 418.7 14.5 5.5 102.1% 2015 (estimate) 427.1 404.6 22.6 5.6 104.1% 2016 (budget) 426.9 414.9 12.0 4.1 101.9% a Calculations in this table and subsequent pro forma cost and revenue tables may be affected by rounding. b Revenue includes imputed income on investments when equity is imputed at a level that meets minimum capital requirements and, when combined with liabilities, exceeds total assets (attachment 1). c The calculation of total expense includes operating, imputed, and other expenses. Imputed and other expenses include taxes, Board of Governors' priced services expenses, the cost of float, and interest on imputed debt, if any. Credits or debits related to the accounting for pension plans under FAS 158 [ASC 715] are also included. d Targeted ROE is the after-tax ROE included in the PSAF. e The recovery rates in this and subsequent tables do not reflect the unamortized gains or losses that must be recognized in accordance with FAS 158 [ASC 715]. Future gains or losses, and their effect on cost recovery, cannot be projected.

    Table 2 provides an overview of cost-recovery performance for the ten-year period from 2005 to 2014, 2014 actual, 2015 budget, 2015 estimate, and 2016 budget by priced service.

    Table 2—Priced Services Cost Recovery [Percent] Priced service 2005-2014 2014
  • actual
  • 2015
  • budget a
  • 2015
  • estimate
  • 2016
  • budget b
  • All services 102.9 102.1 102.0 104.1 101.9 Check 103.7 115.6 105.2 110.1 106.7 FedACH 100.0 86.7 100.4 100.0 99.0 Fedwire Funds and NSS 101.9 103.2 100.7 100.7 100.0 Fedwire Securities 102.3 104.1 97.5 105.7 98.7 a The 2015 budget figures reflect the final budgets as approved by the Board in December 2014. b The 2016 budget figures reflect preliminary budget information from the Reserve Bank. The Reserve Banks will submit final budget data to the Board in November 2015, for Board consideration in December 2015.

    1. 2015 Estimated Performance—The Reserve Banks estimate that they will recover 104.1 percent of the costs of providing priced services in 2015, including total expense and targeted ROE, compared with a 2015 budgeted recovery rate of 102.0 percent, as shown in table 2. Overall, the Reserve Banks estimate that they will fully recover actual and imputed costs and earn net income of $22.6 million, compared with the targeted ROE of $5.6 million. The Reserve Banks estimate that all services will achieve full cost recovery, despite higher-than-budgeted pension expenses. Greater-than-expected check volume processed by the Reserve Banks has been the single most significant factor influencing priced services cost recovery.

    2. 2016 Private-Sector Adjustment Factor—The 2016 PSAF for Reserve Bank priced services is $13.1 million. This amount represents a decrease of $4.9 million from the 2015 PSAF of $18.0 million. This decrease is primarily the result of a reduction in the assets to be financed on the imputed priced-services balance sheet and an associated decline in the cost of debt and equity.

    3. 2016 Projected Performance—The Reserve Banks project a priced services cost-recovery rate of 101.9 percent in 2016, with net income of $12.0 million, compared with a targeted ROE of $4.1 million. The Reserve Banks project that the check service and the Fedwire® Funds and National Settlement Service will fully recover their costs; however, the Reserve Banks project that the FedACH® Service and the Fedwire Securities Service will not achieve full cost recovery because of investment costs associated with multiyear technology initiatives to modernize their processing platforms.2 These investments are expected to enhance efficiency, the overall quality of operations, and the Reserve Banks' ability to offer additional services to depository institutions.

    2 The Reserve Banks have been engaged in a multiyear technology initiative to modernize the FedACH processing platform by migrating the service from a mainframe system to a distributed computing environment. In late 2013, the Reserve Banks conducted an assessment focused on the viability and cost-effectiveness of the program. As a result, the Reserve Banks in 2014 suspended the program and began to investigate the use of other technology solutions. In 2015, the Reserve Banks evaluated alternative processing solutions, including commercially available options.

    The primary risks to the Reserve Banks' ability to achieve their targeted cost-recovery rates are unanticipated volume and revenue reductions and the potential for cost overruns with the technology modernization initiatives. In light of these risks, the Reserve Banks will continue to refine their business and operational strategies to manage operating costs, to increase product revenue, and to capitalize on efficiencies gained from technology initiatives.

    4. 2016 Pricing—The following summarizes the Reserve Banks' changes in fee schedules for priced services in 2016:

    Check

    • The Reserve Banks will increase the per-item fee for FedReturn® items that are qualified to the Reserve Bank in instances in which the bank of first deposit cannot be identified from $8 to $15.

    • The Reserve Banks will increase the fees for traditional paper check forward and return collection deposits. The Reserve Banks will increase the per-item fee for paper forward deposits from $2.00 to $2.50 and the per-item fee for each unencoded item from $1.00 to $1.50.3 The Reserve Banks will increase the per-item fee for paper return-collection deposits from $5.00 to $5.50 and the per-item fee for unqualified paper returns from $7.00 to $7.50. The Reserve Banks will discontinue image retrievals by fax for both incoming and outgoing retrievals within FedImage® Services.4

    3 Unencoded items are those items deposited without encoding of certain elements, such as amount, added to the magnetic ink character recognition (MICR) line.

    4 FedImage Services offer depository institutions products for the capture, archive, and retrieval of check images. A current list of services can be found at https://www.frbservices.org/serviceofferings/check/fed_image_services.html.

    • The Reserve Banks will introduce Select Mixed Level 3 to the Select Mixed image cash letter (ICL) product.5 The new level will have a daily fee of $3,000 and per-item fees from $0.002 to $0.350.

    5 A current list of Select Mixed endpoints can be found at https://www.frbservices.org/servicefees/check21_endpoint_listing.html.

    • The Reserve Banks will eliminate the FedForward® Fine Sort (ICL) product in January 2017 as part of the Reserve Banks' effort to reflect today's electronic check processing environment in their check fee schedule.6 To encourage depositors to shift volume from the fine-sort products to mixed deposit options in advance of this elimination, the Reserve Banks will increase the FedForward Fine Sort ICL product per-item fees at the 9 p.m., 1 a.m., and 5 a.m. deadlines by $0.002, $0.004, and $0.006, respectively.7 The Reserve Banks will increase the FedForward Deferred Fine Sort ICL product per-item fees at the 1 a.m., 5 a.m., and 10 a.m. deadlines by $0.004, $0.006, and $0.008, respectively.

    6 In a paper check processing environment, the fine sort product allowed the Reserve Banks to gain efficiencies because the checks did not require processing on reader-sorters. In today's electronic check processing environment, all image cash letters are processed through the Reserve Banks' electronic system in the same manner, and the Reserve Banks do not gain any efficiencies by having the depositing bank fine sort electronic checks prior to deposit.

    7 All times are stated in the Eastern Time zone (ET).

    Depository institutions may deposit image cash letters using nine deposit options within the FedForward product line; the options vary in price structure and funds availability. The Reserve Banks offer customers the option of sending FedForward ICLs for items drawn on specific endpoints in a separate cash letter, which combines a high fixed fee with a lower variable fee. All eligible items in the cash letter receive immediate availability, while ineligible items receive deferred availability of the next business day. A current list of FedForward deposit options can be found at https://www.frbservices.org/servicefees/check_services_2015.html.

    • In addition to the above changes, the Reserve Banks plan to announce further modifications to the check fee schedule during 2016 that reflect the efficiencies of today's electronic check processing environment. The new schedule may include elimination of certain sorted deposit options and modifications to the current endpoint-based tiered pricing structure.

    FedACH

    • The Reserve Banks will increase the minimum monthly fee for forward origination from $35 to $45.8

    8 Any originating depository financial institution (ODFI) incurring less than $45 for the following fees will be charged the difference to reach the minimum: Forward value and nonvalue item origination fees, FedGlobal ACH origination surcharges, and FedACH SameDay forward origination surcharges.

    • The Reserve Banks will increase the minimum monthly fee for receipt from $25 to $35.9

    9 Any receiving depository financial institution (RDFI) originating forward value and nonvalue items below the minimum level and incurring less than $35 in receipt fees will be charged the difference to reach the minimum based on origination. RDFIs not originating forward value and nonvalue items will incur the $35 minimum monthly fee for receipt.

    • The Reserve Banks will eliminate the large file and small file per-item fees and introduce a single base fee of $0.0032 for all origination files. The Reserve Banks will provide a discount of $0.0005 for origination volume between 750,000 to 1,500,000 items per month and $0.0007 for origination volume greater than 1,500,000 items per month.

    • The Reserve Banks will lower the top-tier volume origination discount level based on monthly receipt volume from 17,500,000 to 15,000,000 items per month, while maintaining the current discount amounts.10

    10 Origination discounts apply only to those items received by FedACH receiving points and are available only to Premium Receivers.

    • The Reserve Banks will increase the forward item receipt fee from $0.0025 to $0.0032 per item, while keeping the return item receipt fee at $0.0075 per item.

    • The Reserve Banks will change the volume-based receipt discount structure to encourage additional receipt volume. The changes will include a decrease in the first volume-based discount by 250,000 items per month to 750,001 items a month, the introduction of a new volume-based discount tier for volume between 1,500,001 and 2,500,000 items per month, and an increase for all existing volume-based receipt discounts by $0.0007.11

    11 Premium Receivers (institutions receiving a certain portion of volume through FedACH) with volume greater than 1,500,000 items a month will receive the increased discount for all items received.

    • The Reserve Banks will implement a $20 monthly billing discount for any customer that pays the origination minimum fee, subscribes to a FedLine Web® Plus or higher package, and subscribes to either FedACH RDFI Alert, FedACH Risk® Origination Monitoring, or FedPayments® Reporter. In addition to the above changes, the Reserve Banks plan to reassess the FedGlobal® ACH fee schedule during 2016.

    Fedwire Funds and National Settlement

    • The Reserve Banks will increase the Tier 1 per-item pre-incentive fee from $0.73 to $0.79 per transaction, increase the Tier 3 per-item pre-incentive fee from $0.150 to $0.155 per transaction, and leave Tier 2 per-item pre-incentive fees unchanged.12

    12 The per-item pre-incentive fee is the fee that the Reserve Banks charge for transfers that do not qualify for incentive discounts. The Tier 1 per-item pre-incentive fee applies to the first 14,000 transfers, the Tier 2 per-item pre-incentive fee applies to the next 76,000 transfers, and the Tier 3 per-item pre-incentive fee applies to any additional transfers. The Reserve Banks apply an 80 percent incentive discount to transfers over 60 percent of a customer's historic benchmark volume.

    • The Reserve Banks will increase the surcharge for offline transactions from $50 to $55. The Reserve Banks will increase the monthly participation fee from $90 to $95.

    Fedwire Securities and National Settlement Services

    • The Reserve Banks will keep prices at existing levels for the priced Fedwire Securities and National Settlement Services.

    FedLine® Access Solutions

    • The Reserve Banks will increase the fee for the FedLine ExchangeSM subscriber pack by $5 per month.13 The Reserve Banks will keep all other existing FedLine fees unchanged.

    13 FedLine packages do not include user subscriptions for priced services. Depository institutions that wish to access priced services must purchase user subscriptions in packs of five (5-packs).

    • The Reserve Banks will introduce a 256K/T1 legacy router surcharge of $5,000 per month to encourage customers to migrate to more efficient access solutions.14

    14 The $5,000 per month surcharge will be effective July 1, 2016. The price will increase to $10,000 per month on September 1, 2016 and $20,000 per month on November 1, 2016.

    • The Reserve Banks will introduce a fee for customers that choose to implement FedLine using a customized (nonstandard) router setup. The fee will vary from $2,500 to $5,000 based on the complexity of the setup.

    • The Reserve Banks will include two virtual private network (VPN) devices in the FedLine Direct® Premier package (rather than one) to align better with the FedLine Advantage® Premier package.

    • Depository institutions with more than 250 Fedwire transactions per month, or more than one routing number, will only have access to the FedPayments Manager Import/Export (FPM) tool via FedLine Advantage Premier.15 Affected customers will experience a fee increase ranging from $15 to $75 per month to upgrade to FedLine Advantage Premier.

    15 These customers are generally large institutions that may benefit from the expanded suite of services included in the FedLine Advantage Premier package. For example, large customers may benefit from the enhanced contingency preparedness solutions (such as a secondary VPN device) that are included in FedLine Premier packages.

    FedComplete Plus customers with more than 250 Fedwire transactions per month that use the FPM tool will also be transferred to FedComplete Premier packages with the associated fee increase because FedComplete Plus packages incorporate FedLine Advantage Plus. The transfer will affect about 10 current FedCompelete customers.

    5. 2016 Price Index—Figure 1 compares indexes of fees for the Reserve Banks' priced services with the GDP price index.16 The price index for Reserve Bank priced services is projected to increase approximately 1 percent in 2016 from the 2015 level. The price index for Check 21 services is projected to increase less than 1 percent. The price index for the FedACH Service is projected to decrease nearly 1 percent. The price index for the Fedwire Funds and National Settlement Services is projected to increase approximately 5 percent. The price index for the Fedwire Securities Services is projected to decrease nearly 1 percent. For the period 2006 to 2015, the price index for total priced services is expected to decrease 26 percent.

    16 For the period 2006 to 2014, the GDP price index increased 15 percent.

    BILLING CODE 6210-01-P EN16NO15.212 BILLING CODE 6210-01-C

    B. Private Sector Adjustment Factor—The imputed debt financing costs, targeted ROE, and effective tax rate are based on a U.S. publicly traded firm market model.17 The method for calculating the financing costs in the PSAF requires determining the appropriate imputed levels of debt and equity and then applying the applicable financing rates. In this process, a pro forma balance sheet using estimated assets and liabilities associated with the Reserve Banks' priced services is developed, and the remaining elements that would exist are imputed as if these priced services were provided by a private business firm. The same generally accepted accounting principles that apply to commercial-entity financial statements apply to the relevant elements in the priced services pro forma financial statements.

    17 Data for U.S. publicly traded firms is from the Standard and Poor's Compustat® database. This database contains information on more than 6,000 U.S. publicly traded firms, which approximates the entirety of the U.S. market.

    The portion of Federal Reserve assets that will be used to provide priced services during the coming year is determined using information about actual assets and projected disposals and acquisitions. The priced portion of these assets is determined based on the allocation of depreciation and amortization expenses of each asset class. The priced portion of actual Federal Reserve liabilities consists of postemployment and postretirement benefits, accounts payable, and other liabilities. The priced portion of the actual net pension asset or liability is also included on the balance sheet.18

    18 The pension assets are netted with the pension liabilities and reported as a net asset or net liability as required by ASC 715 Compensation—Retirement Benefits.

    The equity financing rate is the targeted ROE produced by the capital asset pricing model (CAPM). In the CAPM, the required rate of return on a firm's equity is equal to the return on a risk-free asset plus a market risk premium. The risk-free rate is based on the three-month Treasury bill; the beta is assumed to be equal to 1.0, which approximates the risk of the market as a whole; and the market risk premium is based on the monthly returns in excess of the risk-free rate over the most recent 40 years. The resulting ROE reflects the return a shareholder would expect when investing in a private business firm.

    For simplicity, given that federal corporate income tax rates are graduated, state income tax rates vary, and various credits and deductions can apply, an actual income tax expense is not explicitly calculated for Reserve Bank priced services. Instead, the Board targets a pretax ROE that would provide sufficient income to fulfill the priced services' imputed income tax obligations. To the extent that performance results are greater or less than the targeted ROE, income taxes are adjusted using the effective tax rate.

    Capital structure. The capital structure is imputed based on the imputed funding need (assets less liabilities), subject to minimum equity constraints. Short-term debt is imputed to fund the imputed short-term funding need. Long-term debt and equity are imputed to meet the priced services long-term funding need at a ratio based on the capital structure of the U.S. publicly traded firm market. The level of equity must meet the minimum equity constraints, which follow the FDIC requirements for a well-capitalized institution. The priced services must maintain equity of at least 5 percent of total assets and 10 percent of risk-weighted assets.19 Any equity imputed that exceeds the amount needed to fund the priced services' assets and meet the minimum equity constraints is offset by a reduction in imputed long-term debt. When imputed equity is larger than what can be offset by imputed debt, the excess is imputed as investments in Treasury securities; income imputed on these investments reduces the PSAF.

    19 The FDIC rule, which was adopted as final on April 8, 2014, requires that well-capitalized institutions meet or exceed the following standards: (1) Total capital to risk-weighted assets ratio of at least 10 percent, (2) tier 1 capital to risk-weighted assets ratio of at least 8 percent, (3) common equity tier 1 capital to risk-weighted assets ratio of at least 6.5 percent, and (4) a leverage ratio (tier 1 capital to total assets) of at least 5 percent. Because all of the Federal Reserve priced services' equity on the pro forma balance sheet qualifies as tier 1 capital, only requirements 1 and 4 are binding. The FDIC rule can be located at https://www.fdic.gov/news/board/2014/2014-04-08_notice_dis_c_fr.pdf.

    Application of the Payment System Risk (PSR) Policy to the Fedwire Services. The Board's PSR policy reflects the new international standards for financial market infrastructures (FMIs) developed by the Committee on Payment and Settlement Systems and the Technical Committee of the International Organization of Securities Commissions in the Principles for Financial Market Infrastructures. The revised policy retains the expectation that the Fedwire Services meet or exceed the applicable risk-management standards. Principle 15 states that an FMI should identify, monitor, and manage general business risk and hold sufficient liquid net assets funded by equity to cover potential general business losses so that it can continue operations and services as a going concern if those losses materialize. Further, liquid net assets should at all times be sufficient to ensure a recovery or orderly wind-down of critical operations and services. The Fedwire Services do not face the risk that a business shock would cause the service to wind down in a disorderly manner and disrupt the stability of the financial system. In order to foster competition with private-sector FMIs, however, the Reserve Banks' priced services will hold six months of the Fedwire Funds Service's current operating expenses as liquid financial assets and equity on the pro forma balance sheet.20 Current operating expenses are defined as normal business operating expenses on the income statement less depreciation, amortization, taxes, and interest on debt. The Fedwire Funds Service's six months of current operating expenses are computed based on its preliminary 2016 budget at $53.8 million. In 2016, $51.1 million of equity was imputed to meet the FDIC capital requirements; however, an additional $2.7 million of equity was imputed to meet the PSR policy requirement. The additional equity is solely allocated to Fedwire Funds Service.

    20 This requirement does not apply to the Fedwire Securities Service. There are no competitors to the Fedwire Securities Service that will face such a requirement, and imposing such a requirement when pricing securities services could artificially increase the cost of these services.

    Effective tax rate. Like the imputed capital structure, the effective tax rate is calculated based on data from U.S. publicly traded firms. The tax rate is the mean of the weighted average rates of the U.S. publicly traded firm market over the past 5 years.

    Debt and equity financing. The imputed short- and long-term debt financing rates are derived from the nonfinancial commercial paper rates from the Federal Reserve Board's H.15 Selected Interest Rates release (AA and A2/P2) and the annual Merrill Lynch Corporate & High Yield Index rate, respectively. The rates for debt and equity financing are applied to the priced services estimated imputed short-term debt, long-term debt, and equity needed to finance short- and long-term assets and meet equity requirements.

    The decrease in the 2016 PSAF is primarily due to lower financing costs as a result of fewer priced services assets to be financed than in 2015. Debt and equity financing rates declined and less debt and equity was imputed to fund priced services assets.

    Projected 2016 Federal Reserve priced-services assets, reflected in table 3, have decreased $486.3 million from 2015. This reduction is primarily due to a $589.0 million decrease in the balance of imputed investments in federal funds, driven by recent changes in the PSR policy resulting in a decrease in daily float balances and a corresponding effect on imputed investments. The reduction is offset by an increase of $170.0 million from 2015 in items in process of collection. As shown in table 3, imputed equity for 2016 is $53.8 million, a decrease of $18.1 million from the equity imputed for 2015. In accordance with FAS 158 [ASC 715], this amount includes an accumulated other comprehensive loss of $666.1 million.

    Table 4 reflects the portion of short- and long-term assets that must be financed with actual or imputed liabilities and equity. Debt and equity imputed to fund the 2016 priced services assets within the observed market leverage ratio produced an equity level that did not meet the FDIC minimum equity requirements. As a result, additional equity was imputed to meet the FDIC requirements, and imputed long-term debt was reduced. The ratio of capital to risk-weighted assets exceeds the required 10 percent of risk-weighted assets and equity exceeds 5 percent of total assets (table 6). In 2015, long-term debt and equity was imputed to meet the asset funding requirements and reflects the leverage ratio observed in the market; additional equity of $7.6 million was required (table 5) to meet the market leverage ratio.

    Table 5 shows the derivation of the 2016 and 2015 PSAF. Financing costs for 2016 are $6.1 million lower than in 2015. In addition to the decline in the levels of debt and equity mentioned above, the cost of equity declined 3 basis points. The reduced equity balance and the lower cost of equity result in a pretax ROE that is $2.0 million lower than the 2015 pretax ROE. Imputed sales taxes declined to $2.8 million in 2016 from $3.3 million in 2015. The priced services portion of the Board's expenses increased $1.7 million to $5.0 million in 2016 from $3.3 million in 2015. The effective income tax rate used in 2016 decreased to 21.6 percent from 22.4 percent in 2015.

    Table 3—Comparison of Pro Forma Balance Sheets for Budgeted Federal Reserve Priced Services [Millions of dollars—projected average for year] 2016 2015 Change Short-term assets: Receivables $35.6 $34.5 $1.0 Materials and supplies 0.5 0.6 (0.1) Prepaid expenses 10.2 11.0 (0.9) Items in process of collection 21 321.0 151.0 170.0 Total short-term assets 367.2 197.2 170.1 Imputed investments: 22 Imputed investment in Treasury Securities 55.8 55.8 Imputed investment in Fed Funds 11.0 600.00 (589.0) Total imputed investments 66.8 600.00 (533.2) Long-term assets: Premises 23 111.0 116.2 (5.2) Furniture and equipment 38.5 39.9 (1.5) Leasehold improvements and long-term prepayments 89.5 91.5 (2.0) Pension asset 79.6 (79.6) Deferred tax asset 187.9 222.8 (35.0) Total long-term assets 426.8 550.0 (123.2) Total assets 860.9 1,347.2 (486.3) Short-term liabilities: Deferred credit items 332.0 751.0 (419.0) Short-term debt 19.0 18.5 0.5 Short-term payables 27.2 27.6 (0.4) Total short-term liabilities 378.2 797.2 (418.9) Long-term liabilities: Pension liability 17.6 17.6 Long-term debt 81.9 (81.9) Postemployment/postretirement benefits and net pension liabilities 24 411.3 396.3 15.0 Total liabilities 807.1 1,275.3 (468.3) Equity 25 53.8 71.9 (18.1) Total liabilities and equity 860.9 1,347.2 (486.3)

    21 Credit float, which represents the difference between items in process of collection and deferred credit items, occurs when the Reserve Banks debit the paying bank for transactions prior to providing credit to the depositing bank. Float is directly estimated at the service level.

    22 Consistent with the Board's PSR policy, the Reserve Banks' priced services will hold six months of the Fedwire Funds Service's current operating expenses as liquid net financial assets and equity on the pro forma balance sheet. Six months of the Fedwire Funds Service's projected current operating expenses is $53.8 million. In 2016, $51.1 million of equity was imputed to meet the regulatory capital requirements; however, an additional $2.7 million of equity was imputed to meet the PSR policy requirement.

    23 Includes the allocation of Board of Governors assets to priced services of $1.3 and $0.7 million for 2016 and 2015, respectively.

    24 Includes the allocation of Board of Governors liabilities to priced services of $0.6 million for 2016 and 2015.

    25 Includes an accumulated other comprehensive loss of $666.1 million for 2016 and $523.7 million for 2015, which reflects the ongoing amortization of the accumulated loss in accordance with FAS 158 [ASC 715]. Future gains or losses, and their effects on the pro forma balance sheet, cannot be projected. See table 5 for calculation of required imputed equity amount.

    Table 4—Imputed Funding for Priced-Services Assets [Millions of dollars] 2016 2015 A. Short-term asset financing Short-term assets to be financed: Receivables $35.6 $34.5 Materials and supplies 0.5 0.6 Prepaid expenses 10.2 11.0 Total short-term assets to be financed 46.2 46.2 Short-term payables 27.2 27.6 Net short-term assets to be financed 19.0 18.5 Imputed short-term debt financing 26 19.0 18.5 B. Long-term asset financing Long-term assets to be financed: Premises 111.0 116.2 Furniture and equipment 38.5 39.9 Leasehold improvements and long-term prepayments 89.5 91.5 Pension asset 79.6 Deferred tax asset 187.9 222.8 Total long-term assets to be financed 426.8 550.0 Pension liability 17.6 Postemployment/postretirement benefits and net pension liabilities 411.3 396.3 Net long-term assets to be financed (2.0) 153.8 Imputed long-term debt 26 81.9 Imputed equity 26 53.8 71.9 Total long-term financing 53.8 153.8

    26 See table 5 for calculation.

    Table 5—Derivation of the 2016 and 2015 PSAF [Dollars in millions] 2016 Debt Equity 2015 Debt Equity A. Imputed long-term debt and equity Net long-term assets to finance $(2.0) $(2.0) $153.8 $153.8 Capital structure observed in market 58.5% 41.5% 58.2% 41.8% Pre-adjusted long-term debt and equity $(1.2) $(0.8) $89.5 $64.3 Equity adjustments 27: Equity to meet capital requirements 51.1 71.9 Adjustment to debt and equity funding given capital requirements 28 1.2 (1.2) (7.6) 7.6 Adjusted equity balance (2.0) 71.9 Equity to meet capital requirements 29 53.1 $51.1 $81.9 $71.9 B. Cost of capital: Elements of capital costs Short-term debt 30 $19.0 × 0.3% = $0.1 $18.5 × 0.2% = $0.0 Long-term debt 30 × 4.2% = 81.9 × 5.0% = 4.1 Equity 31 51.1 × 9.8% = 5.0 71.9 × 10.1% =7.3 5.1 11.4 C. Incremental cost of PSR policy: Equity to meet policy $2.7 × 9.8% = $0.3 × 10.1% = $ D. Other required PSAF costs: Sales taxes $2.8 $3.3 Board of Governors expenses 5.0 3.3 7.8 6.6 $13.1 $18.0 E. Total PSAF: As a percent of assets 1.5% 1.0% As a percent of expenses 3.6% 4.5% F. Tax rates 21.6% 22.4% 27 If minimum equity constraints are not met after imputing equity based on the capital structure observed in the market, additional equity is imputed to meet these constraints. The long-term funding need was met by imputing long-term debt and equity based on the capital structure observed in the market (see tables 4 and 6). In 2016, the amount of imputed equity exceeded the minimum equity requirements for risk-weighted assets. 28 Equity adjustment offsets due to a shift of long-term debt funding to equity in order to meet FDIC capital requirements for well-capitalized institutions. 29 Additional equity in excess of that needed to fund priced services assets is offset by an asset balance of imputed investments in treasury securities. 30 Imputed short-term debt and long-term debt are computed at table 4. 31 The 2016 ROE is equal to a risk-free rate plus a risk premium (beta * market risk premium). The 2016 after-tax CAPM ROE is calculated as 0.03% + (1.0 * 7.62%) = 7.65%. Using a tax rate of 21.6%, the after-tax ROE is converted into a pretax ROE, which results in a pretax ROE of (7.65%/(1-21.6%)) = 9.76%. Calculations may be affected by rounding. Table 6—Computation of 2016 Capital Adequacy for Federal Reserve Priced Services [Dollars in millions] Assets Risk weight Weighted
  • assets
  • Imputed investments: 1-Year Treasury securities 32 $55.8 Federal funds 33 11.0 0.2 2.2 Total imputed investments 66.8 2.2 Receivables $35.6 0.2 $7.1 Materials and supplies 0.5 1.0 0.5 Prepaid expenses 10.2 1.0 10.2 Items in process of collection 321.0 0.2 64.2 Premises 111.0 1.0 111.0 Furniture and equipment 38.5 1.0 38.5 Leasehold improvements and long-term prepayments 89.5 1.0 89.5 Pension asset 1.0 Deferred tax asset 187.9 1.0 187.9 Total 860.9 511.0 Imputed equity $53.8 Capital to risk-weighted assets 10.5% Capital to total assets 6.2% 32 If minimum equity constraints are not met after imputing equity based on all other financial statement components, additional equity is imputed to meet these constraints. Additional equity imputed to meet minimum equity requirements is invested solely in Treasury securities. The imputed investments are similar to those for which rates are available on the Federal Reserve's H.15 statistical release, which can be located at http://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/h15/data.htm. 33 The investments are imputed based on the amounts arising from the collection of items prior to providing credit according to established availability schedules.

    C. Check Service—Table 7 shows the 2014 actual, 2015 estimated, and 2016 budgeted cost-recovery performance for the commercial check service.

    Table 7—Check Service Pro Forma Cost and Revenue Performance [Dollars in millions] Year Revenue Total expense Net income (ROE) Targeted ROE Recovery rate after targeted ROE
  • [1/(2 + 4)]
  • 1 2 3 4 5 2014 (actual) 174.7 149.3 25.4 1.8 115.6% 2015 (estimate) 159.3 142.7 16.5 2.0 110.1 2016 (budget) 149.9 139.1 10.7 1.3 106.7

    1. 2015 Estimate—The Reserve Banks estimate that the check service will recover 110.1 percent of total expenses and targeted ROE, compared with a 2015 final budgeted recovery rate of 105.2 percent. Greater-than-expected check volumes processed by the Reserve Banks and lower-than-expected costs have influenced significantly the check services cost recovery.

    The decline in Reserve Bank check volume, which is attributable to the decline in the number of checks written generally, was not as great as anticipated.34 Through August, total forward check volume is 4.6 percent lower and total return check volume is 11.9 percent lower-than for the same period last year. For full-year 2015, the Reserve Banks estimate that their total forward check volume will decline 5.6 percent (compared with a budgeted decline of nearly 7 percent) and their total return check volume will decline 11.6 percent (compared with a budgeted decline of about 14 percent) from 2014 levels.35

    34 The greater-than-expected check volume is attributed to the retention of current customers through continued enhancements of two FedForward product offerings: select mixed and premium mixed.

    35 Total Reserve Bank forward check volumes are expected to drop from 5.7 billion in 2014 to 5.4 billion in 2015. Total Reserve Bank return check volumes are expected to drop from roughly 36.5 million in 2014 to 32.3 million in 2015.

    2. 2016 Pricing—The Reserve Banks expect the check service to recover 106.7 percent of total expenses and targeted ROE in 2016. The Reserve Banks project revenue to be $149.9 million, a decline of 5.9 percent from the 2015 estimate. This decline is driven largely by projected reductions in both forward check and return check volume. The Reserve Banks estimate that total Reserve Bank forward check volumes will decline 6.2 percent, to 5.1 billion, and return check volumes will decline 12.7 percent to 28.5 million in 2016. Total expenses for the check service are projected to be $139.1 million, a decline of 2.5 percent from 2015.36

    36 The reduction in check costs is driven in part by lower pension costs in 2016.

    The Reserve Banks will increase the per-item fee for FedReturn items that are qualified to the Reserve Bank in instances in which the bank of first deposit cannot be identified from $8 to $15.

    The Reserve Banks will increase the fees for traditional paper check forward and return collection deposits. The Reserve Banks will increase the per-item fee for paper forward deposits from $2.00 to $2.50 and the per-item fee for each unencoded item from $1.00 to $1.50.37 The Reserve Banks will increase the per-item fee for paper return collection deposits from $5.00 to $5.50 as well as the per-item fee for unqualified paper returns from $7.00 to $7.50. The Reserve Banks will discontinue image retrievals by fax for both incoming and outgoing retrievals within FedImage Services.38

    37 Unencoded items are those items deposited without encoding of certain elements, such as amount, added to the MICR line.

    38 FedImage Services offer depository institutions products for the capture, archive, and retrieval of check images. A current list of services can be found at https://www.frbservices.org/serviceofferings/check/fed_image_services.html.

    The Reserve Banks will introduce Select Mixed Level 3 tier to the Select Mixed image cash letter (ICL) product.39 The new level will have a daily fee of $3,000 and per-item fees from $0.002 to $0.350, as seen in table 8.

    39 A current list of Select Mixed endpoints can be found at https://www.frbservices.org/servicefees/check21_endpoint_listing.html.

    Table 8—FedForward Select Mixed Image Cash Letter a b Deadline 5 a.m. Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 12 p.m. Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Daily fixed fee $2,200.00 $900.00 $3,000.00 $2,200.00 $900.00 $3,000.00 Cash letter surcharge 25.00 25.00 25.00 Tier 1 0.0020 0.0020 0.0020 0.0020 0.0020 0.0020 Tier 2 0.0040 0.0060 0.0040 0.0040 0.0060 0.0040 Tier 3 0.0060 0.0080 0.0060 0.0060 0.0080 0.0060 Tier 4 0.0130 0.0130 Tier 5 0.0220 0.0220 Tier 6 0.1000 0.3500 Non-eligible endpoints 0.1000 0.1000 N/A 0.3500 0.3500 N/A a All deadlines are Monday through Friday. b A current list of FedForward endpoint tier listings can be found at http://www.frbservices.org/servicefees/check21_endpoint_listing.html.

    The Reserve Banks will eliminate the FedForward Fine Sort ICL product in January 2017 as part of the Reserve Banks effort to reflect today's electronic check processing environment in their check fee schedule.40 To encourage depositors to shift volume from the fine-sort products to mixed deposit options in advance of this elimination, the Reserve Banks will increase the FedForward Fine Sort ICL product per-item fees at the 9 p.m., 1 a.m., and 5 a.m. deadlines by $0.002, $0.004, and $0.006, an average increase of 22.7 percent.41 The Reserve Banks will increase the FedForward Deferred Fine Sort ICL product per-item fees at the 1 a.m., 5 a.m., and 10 a.m. deadlines by $0.004, $0.006, and $0.008, an average increase of 48.8 percent. The per item fees for each deadline are listed in table 9.

    40 In a paper check processing environment, the fine sort product allowed the Reserve Banks to gain efficiencies because the checks did not require processing on reader-sorters. In today's electronic check processing environment, all image cash letters are processed through the Reserve Banks' electronic system in the same manner, and the Reserve Banks do not gain any efficiencies by having the depositing bank fine sort electronic checks prior to deposit.

    41 All times are stated in the eastern time zone (ET).

    Depository institutions may deposit image cash letters using nine deposit options within the FedForward product line; the options vary in price structure and funds availability. The Reserve Banks offer customers the option of sending FedForward ICLs for items drawn on specific endpoints in a separate cash letter, which combines a high fixed fee with a lower variable fee. All eligible items in the cash letter receive immediate availability, while ineligible items receive deferred availability of the next business day. A current list of FedForward deposit options can be found at https://www.frbservices.org/servicefees/check_services_2015.html.

    Table 9 FedForward Fine Sort Image Cash Letter ab Deadline 9 p.m. 1 a.m. 5 a.m. Cash letter fee $3.50 $6.50 $12.50 Tier 1 0.0080 0.0120 0.0250 Tier 2 0.0120 0.0170 0.0290 Tier 3 0.0210 0.0260 0.0380 Tier 4 0.0310 0.0360 0.0480 FedForward Fine Deferred Sort Image Cash Letter ab Deadline 1 a.m. 5 a.m. 10 a.m. Cash letter fee $3.50 $3.50 $3.50 Tier 1 0.0100 0.0130 0.0160 Tier 2 0.0130 0.0160 0.0190 Tier 3 0.0220 0.0250 0.0280 Tier 4 0.0320 0.0350 0.0380 a All deadlines are Monday through Friday. b A current list of FedForward endpoint tier listings can be found at http://www.frbservices.org/servicefees/check21_endpoint_listing.html.

    The Reserve Banks estimate that the price changes will result in a 0.5 percent average price increase for check customers. In addition to the above changes, the Reserve Banks plan to announce further modifications to the check fee schedule during 2016 that reflect the efficiencies of today's electronic check processing environment. The new schedule may include elimination of certain sorted deposit options and modifications to the current endpoint-based tiered pricing structure.

    Risks to the Reserve Banks' ability to achieve budgeted 2016 cost recovery for the check service include lower-than-expected check volume due to reductions in check writing overall and competition from correspondent banks, aggregators, and direct exchanges, which will result in lower-than-anticipated revenue.

    D. FedACH Service—Table 10 shows the 2014 actual, 2015 estimate, and 2016 budgeted cost-recovery performance for the commercial FedACH service.

    Table 10—FedACH Service Pro Forma Cost and Revenue Performance [Dollars in millions] Year Revenue 1 Total expense 2 Net income (ROE) 3 Targeted ROE 4 Recovery rate after targeted ROE
  • [1/(2 + 4)]
  • 5
    2014 (actual) 124.4 141.4 −17.0 2.0 86.7% 2015 (estimate) 125.5 123.7 1.8 1.7 100.0 2016 (budget) 129.8 129.9 −0.0 1.2 99.0

    1. 2015 Estimate—The Reserve Banks estimate that the FedACH service will recover 100.0 percent of total expenses and targeted ROE, compared with a 2015 final budgeted recovery rate of 100.4 percent.42 Through August, FedACH commercial origination and receipt volume was 5.1 percent higher-than the same period last year. For full-year 2015 the Reserve Banks estimate that FedACH commercial origination and receipt volume will increase 5.5 percent, compared with a budgeted increase of 3.5 percent.

    42 The Reserve Banks have been engaged in a multiyear technology initiative to modernize the FedACH processing platform by migrating the service from a mainframe system to a distributed computing environment. In late 2013, the Reserve Banks conducted an assessment focused on the viability and cost-effectiveness of the program. As a result, the Reserve Banks in 2014 suspended the program and began to investigate the use of other technology solutions. In 2015, the Reserve Banks evaluated alternative processing solutions, including commercially available options.

    2. 2016 Pricing—The Reserve Banks expect the FedACH service to recover 99.0 percent of total expenses and targeted ROE in 2016. FedACH commercial origination and receipt volume is projected to grow 4.5 percent contributing to an increase of $4.4 million in total revenue from the 2015 estimate. Total expenses are budgeted to increase $7.2 million from 2015 budgeted expenses of $122.6 million, primarily because of costs associated with the development of a new FedACH technology platform.

    The Reserve Banks will increase the minimum monthly fee for forward origination from $35 to $45 and the minimum monthly fee for receipt from $25 to $35.43

    43 Any originating depository financial institution (ODFI) incurring less than $45 for the following fees will be charged the difference to reach the minimum: Forward value and nonvalue item origination fees, FedGlobal ACH origination surcharges, and FedACH SameDay forward origination surcharges.

    Any receiving depository financial institution (RDFI) originating forward value and nonvalue items below the minimum level and incurring less than $35 in receipt fees will be charged the difference to reach the minimum based on origination. RDFIs not originating forward value and nonvalue items will incur the $35 minimum monthly fee for receipt.

    The Reserve Banks will eliminate large- and small-file per-item origination fees and introduce a single base fee of $0.0032 for all origination files with a discount of $0.0005 for origination volume between 750,000 to 1,500,000 items per month and $0.0007 for origination volume greater than 1,500,000 items per month. The Reserve Banks will lower the top-tier volume origination discount level based on monthly receipt volume from 17,500,000 to 15,000,000 items per month, while maintaining the current discount amounts.44

    44 Origination discounts apply only to those items received by FedACH receiving points and are available only to Premium Receivers (institutions receiving a certain portion of volume through FedACH).

    The Reserve Banks will increase the forward item receipt fee from $0.0025 to $0.0032 per item, while keeping the return item receipt fee at $0.0075 per item. The Reserve Banks will change the volume-based receipt discount structure to encourage additional receipt volume. The changes will include a decrease in the first volume-based discount by 250,000 items per month to 750,001 items a month, the introduction of a new volume-based discount tier for volume between 1,500,001 and 2,500,000 items per month, and an increase for all existing volume-based receipt discounts by $0.0007 as seen in table 11.

    EN16NO15.213

    The Reserve Banks will implement a $20 monthly billing discount for any customer that pays the origination minimum fee, subscribes to a FedLine Web Plus or higher package, and subscribes to either FedACH RDFI Alert, FedACH Risk Origination Monitoring, or FedPayments Reporter.

    The Reserve Banks estimate that the price changes will result in a 6.5 percent average price increase for FedACH customers. In addition to the above changes, the Reserve Banks plan to reassess the FedGlobal ACH fee schedule during 2016.

    The primary risks to the Reserve Banks' ability to achieve budgeted 2016 cost recovery for the FedACH service are cost overruns associated with unanticipated problems related to efforts to modernize the FedACH processing platform and higher-than-expected support and overhead costs. Other risks include lower-than-expected volume and associated revenue due to unanticipated mergers and acquisitions and loss of market share due to direct exchanges and a shift of volume to the private-sector operator.

    E. Fedwire Funds and National Settlement Services—Table 12 shows the 2014 actual, 2015 estimate, and 2016 budgeted cost-recovery performance for the Fedwire Funds and National Settlement Services.

    Table 12—Fedwire Funds and National Settlement Services Pro Forma Cost and Revenue Performance [Dollars in millions] Year Revenue 1 Total expense 2 Net income (ROE)
  • [1-2]
  • 3 Targeted ROE 4 Recovery rate after targeted ROE
  • [1/(2 + 4)]
  • 5
    2014 (actual) 110.1 105.2 4.8 1.4 103.2% 2015 (estimate) 115.1 112.7 2.4 1.6 100.7 2016 (budget) 121.4 120.1 1.3 1.3 100.0

    1. 2015 Estimate—The Reserve Banks estimate that the Fedwire Funds and National Settlement Services will recover 100.7 percent of total expenses and targeted ROE, equal to the final budgeted recovery rate. Through August, Fedwire Funds Service online volume was 6.9 percent higher than for the same period last year. For full-year 2015, the Reserve Banks estimate Fedwire Funds Service online volume to increase 4.0 percent from 2014 levels, compared with the 3.2 percent volume decrease that had been budgeted. The Reserve Banks do not expect the strong volume growth in late 2014 and early 2015 to continue at that level through year-end. Through August, National Settlement Service settlement file volume was 7.1 percent lower than for the same period last year, and settlement entry volume was 19.3 percent lower. For the full year, the Reserve Banks estimate that settlement file volume will decrease 5.9 percent (compared with a 1 percent budgeted decrease) and settlement entry volume will decrease 15.6 percent from 2014 levels (compared with a budgeted 7.2 percent decrease).

    2. 2016 Pricing—The Reserve Banks expect the Fedwire Funds Service to recover 100.0 percent of total expenses and targeted ROE. Revenue is projected to be $121.4 million, an increase of 5.5 percent from the 2015 estimate. The Reserve Banks project total expenses to be $7.4 million higher than the 2015 estimate. The Reserve Banks expect volume to grow 1.5 percent in 2016.

    The Reserve Banks will adjust the incentive pricing fees for the Fedwire Funds Service by increasing the Tier 1 per item pre-incentive fee (the fee before volume discounts are applied) from $0.73 to $0.79 and increasing the Tier 3 per item pre-incentive fee from $0.150 to $0.155. The Reserve Banks will keep the Tier 2 per-item pre-incentive fee unchanged.45

    45 The per-item pre-incentive fee is the fee that the Reserve Banks charge for transfers that do not qualify for incentive discounts. The Tier 1 per-item pre-incentive fee applies to the first 14,000 transfers, the Tier 2 per-item pre-incentive fee applies to the next 76,000 transfers, and the Tier 3 per-item pre-incentive fee applies to any additional transfers. The Reserve Banks apply an 80 percent incentive discount to transfers over 60 percent of a customer's its historic benchmark volume.

    The Reserve Banks will increase the surcharge for offline transactions from $50 to $55. In addition, the Reserve Banks will increase the monthly participation fee from $90 to $95.

    The Reserve Banks estimate that the price changes will result in a 5.8 percent average price increase for Fedwire Funds customers.

    The Reserve Banks will not change National Settlement Service fees for 2016. The Reserve Banks' Fedwire Funds and National Settlement Services fees are consistent with their multiyear strategy to minimize pricing volatility while undertaking ongoing technology upgrades and projects to further strengthen operational resiliency. The Reserve Banks recently completed a significant milestone in the Fedwire Funds portion of its modernization initiative by migrating its back-end settlement system from a mainframe to a distributed platform, although key work to complete the initiative remains in progress.

    The primary risk to the Reserve Banks' ability to achieve budgeted 2016 cost recovery for these services is cost overruns from unanticipated problems with completing the final stages of complex technology programs.

    F. Fedwire Securities Service—Table 13 shows the 2014 actual, 2015 estimate, and 2016 budgeted cost recovery performance for the Fedwire Securities Service.46

    46 The Reserve Banks provide transfer services for securities issued by the U.S. Treasury, federal government agencies, government-sponsored enterprises, and certain international institutions. The priced component of this service, reflected in this memorandum, consists of revenues, expenses, and volumes associated with the transfer of all non-Treasury securities. For Treasury securities, the U.S. Treasury assesses fees for the securities transfer component of the service. The Reserve Banks assess a fee for the funds settlement component of a Treasury securities transfer; this component is not treated as a priced service.

    Table 13—Fedwire Securities Service Pro Forma Cost and Revenue Performance [Dollars in millions] Year Revenue 1 Total expense 2 Net income (ROE)
  • [1-2]
  • 3 Targeted ROE 4 Recovery rate after targeted ROE
  • [1/(2 + 4)]
  • 5
    2014 (actual) 24.0 22.7 1.2 0.3 104.1% 2015 (estimate) 27.3 25.5 1.8 0.4 105.7 2016 (budget) 25.8 25.9 −0.1 0.2 98.7

    1. 2015 Estimate—The Reserve Banks estimate that the Fedwire Securities Service will recover 105.7 percent of total expenses and targeted ROE, compared with a 2015 final budgeted recovery rate of 97.5 percent. The higher-than-expected cost recovery is primarily due to not spending contingency funds that were budgeted for the Fedwire Modernization Program. Increased revenues generated from higher-than-expected volumes from online agency transfers and account maintenance also increased cost recovery.

    Through August, Fedwire Securities Service online volume was 8.0 percent lower than during the same period last year. For full-year 2015, the Reserve Banks estimate Fedwire Securities Service online volume will decline 5.4 percent from 2014 levels, compared with a budgeted decline of 12.9 percent. The higher-than-expected online agency transfer volume resulted from the continued low interest-rate environment, which has supported mortgage underwriting activity and mortgage-backed securities issuance, and is generally associated with increased online agency transfer activity over the Fedwire Securities Service. Through August, account maintenance volume was 9.1 percent lower than during the same period last year. For the full year, the Reserve Banks estimate that account maintenance volume will decline 8.4 percent over 2014 levels, compared with a budgeted decline of 14.1 percent. The higher account maintenance volume is the result of conservative estimates for customer account closures that have not materialized.

    2. 2016 Pricing—The Reserve Banks expect the Fedwire Securities Service to recover 98.7 percent of total expenses and targeted ROE in 2016. The Reserve Banks project that 2016 revenue will decrease by $1.5 million and expenses will increase by $0.4 million, compared with 2015 estimates.

    The Reserve Banks project that online transfer activity will decline 7.7 percent in 2016, the number of accounts maintained will decrease 8.5 percent, and the number of agency securities maintained will decrease 3.3 percent.47 The projected decline in account maintenance activity reflects customer closures of empty accounts to avoid unnecessary expenses and increased competition in collateral management services.48 The Reserve Banks project a decrease in online transfers as gradually increasing interest rates lead to less mortgage refinancing, and, in turn, reduce issuances of mortgage-backed securities. The reduction in agency debt issuance reflects a reduction in government-sponsored enterprise portfolios, as required by the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Housing Finance Agency, leading to a reduced funding need for new debt issuance.49 New settlement logic introduced by the Fixed Income Clearing Corporation in late 2015 is also expected to reduce the number of agency debt transfers over the Fedwire Securities Service.50

    47 The online transfer fee, monthly account maintenance fee, and monthly issue maintenance fee accounted for approximately 92 percent of total Fedwire Securities Service revenue through June 2015.

    48 Specifically, collateral management services refers to the Fedwire Securities Joint Custody Service, which facilitates the collateralization of deposits made by a government entity, through the pledging of book-entry securities by its depository institution. Approximately 72 percent of Fedwire Securities priced accounts are collateral accounts related to the Joint Custody Service.

    49 Government sponsored enterprises are reducing their retained portfolio by 15 percent annually through 2018, as mandated by the Senior Preferred Stock Purchase Agreements, until each portfolio reaches a target level of $250 billion. Further information on these agreements can be found at: http://www.fhfa.gov/Conservatorship/Pages/Senior-Preferred-Stock-Purchase-Agreements.aspx.

    50 Information on the new settlement logic can be found at http://www.dtcc.com/~/media/Files/pdf/2015/6/22/GOV045-15.pdf.

    Expenses are budgeted to remain approximately the same as 2015 estimates, reflecting higher expected operating costs offset by increased reimbursements from Treasury for fiscal agency services.51 Higher operating costs in 2016 reflect the full-year impact of the completion of a multiyear technology modernization initiative and the advancement of new initiatives to improve resiliency and operational functionality.

    51 Treasury reimbursement is calculated by multiplying costs by the ratio of Treasury to agency transfers. In 2015, Treasury projects its transfer volume will increase 7.0 percent, while the Reserve Banks expect agency transfers to decrease. Therefore, the higher projected ratio of Treasury to agency transfers will result in Treasury reimbursing a higher portion of total costs.

    The Reserve Banks will not change priced Fedwire Securities Service fees for 2016.

    The primary risk to the Reserve Banks' ability to achieve budgeted 2016 cost recovery for these services is cost overruns and schedule delays from unanticipated problems with managing complex technology upgrades.

    G. FedLine Access—The Reserve Banks charge fees for the electronic connections that depository institutions use to access priced services and allocate the costs and revenue associated with this electronic access to the various priced services. There are currently five FedLine channels through which customers can access the Reserve Banks' priced services: FedMail®, FedLine Web, FedLine Advantage, FedLine Command®, and FedLine Direct.52 The Reserve Banks package these channels into nine FedLine packages, described below, that are supplemented by a number of premium (or à la carte) access and accounting information options. In addition, the Reserve Banks offer FedComplete® packages, which are bundled offerings of a FedLine Advantage connection and a fixed number of FedACH, Fedwire Funds, and Check 21-enabled services.

    52 FedMail, FedLine Web, FedLine Advantage, FedLine Command, and FedLine Direct are registered trademarks of the Federal Reserve Banks.

    Six attended access packages offer access to critical payment and information services via a web-based interface. The FedLine Exchange package provides access to basic information services via email, while two FedLine Web packages offer an email option plus online attended access to a range of services, including cash services, FedACH information services, and check services. Three FedLine Advantage packages expand upon the FedLine Web packages and offer attended access to critical transactional services: FedACH, Fedwire Funds, and Fedwire Securities.

    Three unattended access packages are computer-to-computer, IP-based interfaces designed for medium- to high-volume customers. The FedLine Command package offers an unattended connection to FedACH, as well as most accounting information services. The two remaining options are FedLine Direct packages, which allow for unattended connections at one of two connection speeds to FedACH, Fedwire Funds, and Fedwire Securities transactional and information services and to most accounting information services.53

    53 None of the FedLine packages offer an unattended connection to check services. The Reserve Banks offer an unattended check product, Check 21 Large File Delivery, outside of the FedLine suite that allows a depository institution to upload and download check image cash letters automatically via a direct network connection to the Reserve Banks.

    For the 2016 FedLine fees, the Reserve Banks will make a minor adjustment to existing fees—a $5-per-month increase for the FedLine Exchange subscriber pack—keeping the remaining existing FedLine fees unchanged.54 As in previous years, the Reserve Banks will introduce new fees on outdated legacy services in 2016. In particular, the Reserve Banks will implement a $5,000-per-month surcharge for 256K/T1 legacy routers to encourage customers to migrate to more efficient access solutions.55 The Reserve Banks will also introduce a new custom implementation fee in 2016 for institutions that request tailored FedLine Direct or WAN router setups. The fee, which will vary from $2,500 to $5,000 based on the complexity of the setup, is intended to help the Reserve Banks recover costs that result from nonstandard installations.

    54 FedLine packages do not include user subscriptions for priced services. Depository institutions that wish to access priced services must purchase user subscriptions in packs of five (5-packs).

    55 The $5,000 per month surcharge will be effective July 1, 2016. The price will increase to $10,000 per month on September 1, 2016 and $20,000 per month on November 1, 2016.

    In addition, the Reserve Banks will make two structural changes to existing FedLine packages. First, the Reserve Banks will include two Virtual Private Network (VPN) devices in the FedLine Direct Premier package (rather than one) to help ensure consistency across existing Premier level FedLine packages. Second, the Reserve Banks will modify the availability of the FedPayments Manager Import/Export (FPM) tool within the FedLine Advantage Plus and Premier packages based on Fedwire volume thresholds. In particular, depository institutions with more than 250 Fedwire transactions per month, or more than one routing number, will only have access to the FPM tool via FedLine Advantage Premier. Affected customers will experience a fee increase ranging from $15 to $75 per month to upgrade to FedLine Advantage Premier.56 Customers that wish to maintain their FedLine Advantage Plus package will be able to do so by removing the FPM tool from their subscription.

    56 The $75 fee increase is the difference in pricing between the corresponding Plus and Premier packages. Affected customers that currently subscribe to the $60-per-month a la carte option for a secondary VPN device will experience only a $15 fee increase because a secondary VPN device is included in Premier packages. Affected customers include FedComplete Plus subscribers with more than 250 Fedwire transactions per month, or more than one routing number, that use the FPM tool because FedComplete Plus packages include a subscription to FedLine Advantage Plus.

    The Reserve Banks estimate that the price changes will result in a 1.5 percent average price increase for FedLine customers.

    II. Analysis of Competitive Effect

    All operational and legal changes considered by the Board that have a substantial effect on payment system participants are subject to the competitive impact analysis described in the March 1990 policy “The Federal Reserve in the Payments System.” 57 Under this policy, the Board assesses whether proposed changes would have a direct and material adverse effect on the ability of other service providers to compete effectively with the Federal Reserve in providing similar services because of differing legal powers or constraints or because of a dominant market position deriving from such legal differences. If any proposed changes create such an effect, the Board must further evaluate the changes to assess whether the benefits associated with the changes—such as contributions to payment system efficiency, payment system integrity, or other Board objectives—can be achieved while minimizing the adverse effect on competition.

    57 Federal Reserve Regulatory Service (FRRS) 9-1558.

    The 2016 fees, fee structures, and changes in service will not have a direct and material adverse effect on the ability of other service providers to compete effectively with the Reserve Banks in providing similar services.58 The changes should permit the Reserve Banks to earn a ROE that is comparable to overall market returns and provide for full cost recovery over the long run.

    58 Certain correspondent banks believe that the FedForward Fine Sort ICL product, which the Reserve Banks will eliminate in January 2017, enables them to compete more effectively with the Reserve Banks in the collection of checks destined to paying banks with which the correspondent banks do not have electronic presentment agreements. Paying banks, however, may not have an incentive to accept electronic presentment unless the correspondent bank makes a decision to present checks directly and provides the paying bank the choice of receiving presentments in paper or electronic form (as the Reserve Banks do). We do not believe that the elimination of the product will have a direct and material adverse effect on the ability of such service providers to compete effectively with the Reserve Banks in providing similar services due to legal differences.

    59 Any ODFI incurring less than $45 in forward value and nonvalue item origination fees will be charged a variable amount to reach the minimum.

    60 Any RDFI not originating forward value and nonvalue items and incurring less than $35 in receipt fees will be charged a variable amount to reach the minimum.

    61 The fee includes the item and addenda fees in addition to the conversion fee.

    62 The fee includes the item and addenda fees in addition to the conversion fee. Reserve Banks also assess a $30 fee for every government paper return/NOC they process.

    63 Origination discounts based on monthly volume apply only to those items received by FedACH receiving points and are available only to Premium Receivers (institutions receiving volume above a specified threshold through FedACH).

    64 RDFI originating and receiving items on the same RTN.

    65 This per-item discount is a reduction to the standard receipt fees listed in this fee schedule.

    III. 2016 Fee Schedules FedACH Service 2016 Fee Schedule [Effective January 1, 2016. Bold indicates changes from 2015 prices.] Fee FedACH minimum monthly fee Originating Depository Financial Institution (ODFI)59 $45.00. Receiving Depository Financial Institution (RDFI)60 35.00. Origination (per item or record) Forward or return items 0.0032. Addenda record 0.0015. FedLine Web®-originated returns and notification of change (NOC) 61 0.35. Facsimile exception returns/NOC 62 45.00. Automated NOC 0.20. Volume-based discounts (based on monthly billed origination volume) per item when origination volume is: 750,000 to 1,500,000 items per month 0.0005 discount. More than 1,500,000 items per month 0.0007 discount. Volume-based discounts (based on monthly billed receipt volume) 63 per item when receipt volume is: 10,000,001 to 15,000,000 items per month 0.0002 discount. More than 15,000,000 items per month 0.0003 discount. Receipt (per item or record) Forward Item 0.0032. Return Item 0.0075. Addenda record 0.0015. On-Us Receipt Credit 64 0.0032 discount. Volume-based discounts (forward items excluding FedACH SameDay service items) Non-Premium Receivers—RDFIs receiving less than 90 percent of total network volume through FedACH per item when volume is: 750,001 to 12,500,000 items per month65 0.0014 discount. more than 12,500,000 items per month66 0.0016 discount. Premium Receivers, Level One—RDFIs receiving at least 90 percent of FedACH-originated volume through FedACH per item when volume is: 750,001 to 1,500,000 items per month65 0.0014 discount. 1,500,001 to 2,500,000 items per month66 0.0014 discount. 72,500,001 to 12,500,000 items per month66 0.0015 discount. more than 12,500,000 items per month66 0.0017 discount. Premium Receivers, level two—RDFIs receiving at least 90 percent of ACH volume originated through FedACH or EPN per item when volume is: 750,001 to 1,500,000 items per month65 0.0014 discount. 1,500,001 to 2,500,000 items per month66 0.0014 discount. 2,500,001 to 12,500,000 items per month66 0.0016 discount. more than 12,500,000 items per month66 0.0018 discount. FedACH Bundled Service Discount Monthly Bundled Service Package Discount67 20.00 discount. FedACH SameDay Service Origination Forward item 68 0.0035 surcharge. Addenda record 68 0.0015 surcharge. Return item 69 0.0025 discount. Return addenda record 69 0.0015 discount. Receipt Forward item 65 0.0025 discount. Return item 65 0.0075 discount. Addenda record (forward/return) 65 0.0015 discount. Monthly FedACH Risk® Management fees 70 Risk Origination Monitoring Service/RDFI Alert Service package pricing For up to 5 criteria sets 35.00. For 6 through 11 criteria sets 70.00. For 12 through 23 criteria sets 125.00. For 24 through 47 criteria sets 150.00. For 48 through 95 criteria sets 250.00. For 96 through 191 criteria sets 425.00. For 192 through 383 criteria sets 675.00. For 384 through 584 criteria sets 850.00. For more than 585 criteria sets 1,100.00. Risk origination monitoring batch (based on total monthly volume) For 1 through 100,000 batches (per batch) 0.007. For more than 100,000 batches (per batch) 0.0035. Monthly FedPayments Reporter Service FedPayments Reporter Service package pricing includes Standard reports 71 ACH volume summary by SEC code report—customer 72 Daily return ratio report Monthly return ratio report Receiver setup report Report delivery via FedLine file access solution (monthly fee) For up to 50 reports 35.00. For 51 through 150 reports 55.00. For 151 through 500 reports 100.00. For 501 through 1,000 reports 180.00. For 1,001 through 1,500 reports 260.00. For 1,501 through 2,500 reports 420.00. For 2,501 through 3,500 reports 580.00. For 3,501 through 4,500 reports 740.00. For 4,501 through 5,500 reports 900.00. For 5,501 through 7,000 reports 1,100.00. For 7,001 through 8,500 reports 1,300.00. For more than 8,501 reports 1,500.00. Premier reports (per report generated) 73 ACH volume summary by SEC code report—depository financial institution For 1 through 5 reports 10.00. For 6 through 10 reports 6.00. For more than 11 reports 1.00. On Demand Surcharge 1.00 ACH volume summary by SEC code report—customer On Demand Surcharge 1.00. Monthly ACH routing number activity report For 1 through 5 reports 10.00. For 6 through 10 reports 6.00. For more than 11 reports 1.00. On Demand Surcharge 1.00. On-us inclusion Participation (monthly fee per RTN) 10.00. Per-item 0.0030. Per-addenda 0.0015. Report delivery via encrypted email (per email) 0.20. Other fees Monthly fee (per routing number) Account servicing fee 74 45.00. FedACH settlement 75 55.00. FedACH Information extract file 100.00. IAT Output File Sort 75.00. Automated NOC participation fee 76 5.00. Non-electronic input/output fee 77 CD/DVD (CD or DVD) 50.00. Paper (file or report) 50.00. FedGlobal ACH Payments 78 Canada service fee Item originated to Canada 79 0.62. Return received from Canada 80 0.99. Item trace at receiving gateway 5.50. Item trace not at receiving gateway 7.00. Mexico service fee Item originated to Mexico 79 0.67. Return received from Mexico 80 0.91. Account-to-receiver (A2R) item originated to Mexico 79 3.45. Foreign currency to foreign currency (F3X) item originated to Mexico 79 0.67. Item trace 13.50. Panama service fee Item originated to Panama 79 0.72. Return received from Panama 80 1.00. NOC 0.72. Item trace 7.00. Latin America service fee A2R item originated to Latin America 79 4.40. Return received from Latin America 80 0.72. Item trace 5.00. Europe service fee Item originated to Europe 79 1.25. F3X item originated to Europe 79 1.25. Return received from Europe 80 1.35. Item trace 7.00.

    66 Receipt volumes at these levels qualify for the waterfall discount which includes all FedACH receipt items.

    67 This monthly billing discount is available for any customer that (1) pays the FedACH minimum monthly fee; (2) purchases a FedLine Web Plus or higher package; and (3) subscribes to either FedACH RDFI Alert, FedACH Risk Origination Monitoring, or FedPayments Reporter.

    68 This per-item surcharge is in addition to the standard origination fees listed in the origination and receipt fee schedule.

    69 This per-item discount is a reduction to the standard origination fees listed in the origination and receipt fee schedule.

    70 Criteria may be set for both the origination monitoring service and the RDFI alert service. Subscribers with no criteria set up will be assessed the $45 monthly package fee.

    71 Standard reports include Customer Transaction Activity, Death Notification, International (IAT), Notification of Change, Payment Data Information File, Remittance Advice Detail, Remittance Advice Summary, Return Item, Return Ratio, Social Security Beneficiary, and Originator Setup Reports.

    72 ACH volume summary by SEC code reports generated on demand are subject to a $1.00 per report surcharge.

    73 Premier reports generated on demand are subject to the package/tiered fees plus a surcharge.

    74 The account servicing fee applies to routing numbers that have received or originated FedACH transactions. Institutions that receive only U.S. government transactions through the Reserve Banks or that elect to use a private sector operator exclusively are not assessed this fee.

    75 The FedACH settlement fee is applied to any routing number with activity during a month, including institutions that elect to use a private sector operator exclusively but also have items routed to or from customers that access the ACH network through FedACH. This fee does not apply to routing numbers that use the Reserve Banks for only U.S. government transactions.

    76 The notification of change fee will be assessed only when automated NOCs are generated.

    77 Limited services are offered in contingency situations.

    78 The international fees and surcharges vary from country to country as these are negotiated with each international gateway operator.

    79 This per-item surcharge is in addition to the standard domestic origination and input file processing fees.

    80 This per-item surcharge is in addition to the standard domestic receipt fees.

    Fedwire Funds and National Settlement Services 2016 Fee Schedule [Effective January 1, 2016. Bold indicates changes from 2015 prices.] Fee Fedwire Funds Service Monthly Participation Fee $95.00 Basic volume-based pre-incentive transfer fee (originations and receipts)—per transfer for: the first 14,000 transfers per month 0.79 additional transfers up to 90,000 per month 0.24 every transfer over 90,000 per month 0.155 Volume-based transfer fee with the incentive discount (originations and receipts)—per eligible transfer for: 81 the first 14,000 transfers per month 0.158 additional transfers up to 90,000 per month 0.048 every transfer over 90,000 per month 0.031 Surcharge for Off-line Transfers (Originations and Receipts) 55.00 Surcharge for End-of-Day Transfer Originations 82 0.26 Monthly FedPayments Manager import/export fee 83 50.00 Surcharge for high-value payments: >$10 million 0.14 >$100 million 0.36 Surcharge for Payment Notification: Origination Surcharge 84 0.20 Receipt Volume 85 N/A National Settlement Service Basic Settlement Entry Fee 1.50 Settlement File Fee 30.00 Surcharge for Off-line File Origination 86 45.00 Minimum Monthly Fee (account maintenance) 87 60.00 Special Settlement Arrangements (fee per day) 88 150.00

    81 The incentive discounts apply to the volume that exceeds 60 percent of a customer's historic benchmark volume. Historic benchmark volume is based on a customer's average daily activity over the previous five calendar years. If a customer has fewer than five full calendar years of previous activity, its historic benchmark volume is based on its daily activity for as many full calendar years of data as are available. If a customer has less than one year of past activity, then the customer qualifies automatically for incentive discounts for the year. The applicable incentive discounts are as follows: $0.632 for transfers up to 14,000; $0.192 for transfers 14,001 to 90,000; and $0.124 for transfers over 90,000.

    82 This surcharge applies to originators of transfers that are processed by the Reserve Banks after 5:00 p.m. ET.

    83 This fee is charged to any Fedwire Funds participant that originates a transfer message via the FedPayments Manager (FPM) Funds tool and has the import/export processing option setting active at any point during the month.

    84 Payment Notification and End-of-Day Origination surcharges apply to each Fedwire funds transfer message.

    85 Provided on billing statement for informational purposes only.

    86 Off-line files will be accepted only on an exception basis when a settlement agent's primary and backup means of transmitting settlement files are both unavailable. For information, contact the NSS Central Service Support Staff at (800) 758-9403.

    87 This minimum monthly charge is only assessed if total settlement charges during a calendar month are less than $60.

    88 Special settlement arrangements use Fedwire Funds transfers to effect settlement. Participants in arrangements and settlement agents are also charged the applicable Fedwire Funds transfer fee for each transfer into and out of the settlement account.

    Fedwire Securities Service 2016 Fee Schedule (Non-Treasury Securities) [Effective January 1, 2016. Bold indicates changes from 2015 prices.] Fee Basic Transfer Fee Transfer or reversal originated or received 0.65 Surcharge Offline origination & receipt surcharge 66.00 Monthly Maintenance Fees Account maintenance (per account) 48.00 Issues maintained (per issue/per account) 0.65 Claim Adjustment Fee 0.75 GNMA Serial Note CUSIP Fee 9.00